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A Knight's Son.

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A Knight's Son.

Xander Harris walked into a nice looking tailor shop, smiling at the older man behind the counter. "Hi. My biological father comes here a lot and I wanted to know if he was here since he hasn't been anywhere else recently."

"Is he a tailor?" the man asked.

Xander grinned, holding up his ID card for the new Council building. "No." The man winced. "I believe they call him Harry a lot, but we've only barely nodded at each other once upon a time." He grinned. "I wanted to talk to him and his boss actually. I'm the liaison as well as other needs need to be discussed and I'm sure as shit not showing up at the slightly named Camelot estate considering I tripped into the real one a few days back. They weren't that happy."

"The real..." The man opened his mouth.

"Things like that just happen to me sometimes. Someone who knew me wanted to talk about a fairy he had spotted out there. Nice time bubble and all though." He shrugged. "I've seen weirder in Sunnydale."

The man blinked a few times. "Does your father know you're coming?"

"Nope." He smiled. "Not in the least."

"I don't believe he's in."

"Is his boss? That'd be just as handy for me anyway. We could get the stuff out of the way for the liaison part of the duties."

"I'll call, shall I?" he said, walking off to the office to call.

Xander looked around, smiling at a few things. "Giles should come here. He's been missing tweed again," he said when the older man came out. The guy had a gun. Xander shrugged. "I've taken better off guys who wanted to fuck me and keep me as their love slave, dude."

"As far as we know, Mr. Hart doesn't have any kids."

Xander burst out laughing. "He does, but they sent me to live with some failed agents in Sunnydale. Something about a legacy plan when they don't have a proper wife...." He shrugged and grinned. "You can ask him about that if you want. Or I can pull up the files Rosenburg found but didn't relate back to me if you want." He pulled out his phone to do that, holding it up. "You can call Arthur back again if you wanted to. Please."

The man read it, taking the phone into the back to call again. He came out and handed back the phone, waving Xander into a changing room. "Have a good trip, lad."

"Thank you, and please send Giles a card so he can get a proper suit? He's missing his tweed and the other Watchers won't listen to a thing he says when he's in jeans. They consider him having changed sides to the slayers' so it might cheer him up."

"I can do that." He sent the boy off, shuddering once he was gone. That had been a bad failed plan the last Arthur had done.

Xander walked into the office after the secretary, sitting down to stare at the man behind the desk. The secretary left after a nod from the guy. He stared at Xander. Xander sized him up. Greedy, not field ready, and you could just see the hint of something in his eyes that showed he was definitely into Xander. He did draw a certain type. "I need some training."

"Are you joining our business?"

"First, don't play," Xander said, staring him down. "We both know why I came to you."

"They told you?" he asked, leaning back.

"About every other day because them being retired ruined their lives. That's why they were drunks before the hellmouth there sucked them in."

"Oh, dear." He frowned. "I'll put that note into their files to close them out." Xander gave him a pointed look. "If you're not joining the family business, why do you think we can help you?"

"I'm going to become the training watcher in Africa. I'm good at camping but I'm pretty sure that I need skills to do that, and more fighting skills to help my future slayers."


Xander held up a hand. "When the old Council got blown up, my team rebuilt it after fighting off the First Evil out in Sunnydale. It's why it got sunk. I'm also aware that I have a few peculiar things that I can probably attribute to the ones that made me then handed me over to those two *charming* former coworkers of yours. Including me drawing some really weird, dangerous people to date me."

"I'd assume that would come from them, yes. One does have the gift of attracting targets."

"I nearly married the vengeance demon over scorned women."

The man behind the desk blinked a few times. "Excuse me?" he demanded. Xander grinned and nodded. "That makes you happy?"

"She had been fired. I change her a lot. She quit telling me how she tortured people and just became a bit nympho and present demanding. Unfortunately she died in that same last battle."

The man blinked a few times. "Is that normal?"

"Is it normal that Norman DePew and I had a few fun hours of stress relief?"

The man cleared his throat. "He's an assassin, Xander."

"I know that now." He grinned. "Anya used to torture guys upon wish request. Is he really that weird? Or the two arms dealers and a serial killer I drew while I was broken down and stripping to earn a new car?"

The man cleared his throat again. "That probably did come from them, yes. So why do you think you'll be of benefit to us down there?"

"Do you think I won't get any dating in? Or having to handle problems? I doubt Giles will be thrilled if I tell him I had to injure an arms dealer last night that thought I was a cute puppy he could claim out of the chip shop I was in." He tossed over the guy's wallet. "I only stabbed him a tiny bit in the alley when he coerced me to leave with him at gunpoint. He probably needed some stitches."

The man opened his mouth then stared at him. "What sort of training did you think you lack?"

"Compensation training, fight training because I'll be teaching young women how to be slayers and they all have innate knowledge in most areas of weapons and fighting, and some survival training. As I said, I can camp. I did for years over Christmas to get away from the yearly drunken fighting. I can and have been backing up a slayer that thought I was *normal*." He stared at him. "Which I probably am more normal than her but I'm not exactly the average guy."

"What happened to your eye?"

"Minion's fingernail." He shifted, crossing his feet and putting his hands on his stomach. "A few weeks before the battle. I compensated well enough during it but I know I need work. In return I'd tell you anything weird I heard about down there."

"We have some agents."

"And I'll be in little villages, handling major demon emergencies, and traveling all over the continent to get to them. Plus probably running into problems. I already know I need to find one and rescue her from Kenya."

"You can't hope to do that."

"I can hope to do that and not come out too injured on the other side, and I've handled nests and other problems since I was sixteen and demanded Buffy take me with her to save my only light." He stared at him. "I'm not bad but I'm aware of how self-trained I am, plus what I got from one possession thanks to the high priest of Janus."

"You really do odder things than we do."

"Wouldn't you rather have someone steady who you can note huge problems to instead of having to send a team?"

"You're not a team. Even with training you couldn't be a team."

Xander grinned. "You'd be shocked about what I've done by myself on patrol and things. Also, I'll be handling huge demon emergencies without involving any underage girls." He snapped his fingers and pulled out something. "By the way, that's the stuff I'm bringing with me."

He looked at it, then blinked at the boy. "How did you find those?"

"Nests and the like. Kitten poker too." He grinned. "Like I said, I'm scarily self trained."

The man sighed but nodded. "When are you to report to Africa?"

"Six weeks. I told Giles I needed time to look at things and mourn Sunnydale, Anya, and all that stuff first. He agreed because he has some idea that I'm on some sort of holy suicide mission to go train the girls down there. He thinks the slayer spirit will be doing most of my job for me."

"Which it won't?"

"Memories seen in a dream aren't the same as practicing and who says they'll be listening because they're girls in environments that aren't exactly woman power friendly."

"No, that's not an area you'd expect it but others have come from down there."

"The old Council took any girl they identified. There were a few, I researched, but there hasn't been a slayer in Africa since the sixteen hundreds and they worked with a watcher who was a missionary priest."

"I can see both sides, though that's crappy for the girls." Xander nodded. "We're changing that?"

"The girls are going to stay home. No one patrols before eighteen if possible. Buffy laid down the law with the girls who wanted to go on patrol and had been in Sunnydale."

"Good. Excellent in fact." He stared at the boy. "We can give you most of what you need but I'm not sure if you can handle yourself in a fight."

"I've been in a real battle without it."

"Not the same thing."

"I've been on patrol too. And a fight club, that's where I met Norman. I was relieving stress."

The guy nodded. "We can test you but really we can't watch your back."

"Not asking you to. I'm asking to have someone I can report huge human problems to, and who if necessary can help me when I have to cover something up. I can't imagine that some countries are going to be very happy to have a demon emergency happening."

"No, they probably won't. Are you all here?"

"I left my bag with my other clothes in my hotel room. My weapons are hidden and coming to wherever I am in six weeks. I won a poker bet specifically to get them there then."

"I'd like to pick your brain about this poker circuit. Do they have intelligence?"

"Usually only on demon things."

He nodded. "That may be handy to know. Let's get you tested in hand-to-hand?"

"Of course." Xander stood up and pulled off his overshirt, tucking it under his arm. "I'm ready." He smiled.

"Good." He got up, walking him down to the agent training area. He nodded at one and she strolled over. "This is the son of one of our agents." Xander looked at him. Then at her and held out a hand. She shook it. "They've rebuilt the Council the proper way so the girls are actually protected and he's going to be training the ones in Africa so they can stay home."

"I can work on his survival training."

"I know how to camp," Xander offered. "I know I need more training there and in hand-to-hand. I'm very good with a sword but not everything's going to be able for that."

"It's good you know what you need to learn."

"Test his fighting skills. Let's see how baseline he is."

Xander tossed his shirt out of the way and shrugged. "Okay. Here?" She lunged to hit him and he turned it aside. "Should I treat you like you're a vampire or not?"

"Please do use your real skills," she said, smirking at him. He did and she looked impressed for a bit. At least until he nearly staked her. Then she sneered and worked better. The higher up was making notes. "You're not bad."

"I've been on patrol for a bit over seven years now."

"The eye?" she asked with a wave toward the patch.

"Minion's fingernail a few months ago."

She stopped, staring at him. "A few months?" she demanded, hands going to her hips.

"Two months, tomorrow actually."

She opened her mouth then moaned. "Have you done any compensation work?"

"A battle two weeks after I lost it count?"

"Not enough," she noted. "Fuck!"

"Basically, which is why I'm here. I've got to train the girls how to survive with their new skills plus handle any emergencies down there."

She looked at the higher up, who waved a hand as he walked off. She looked at him. "So you're in for advanced training?"

He nodded. "I have to be able to train my girls once I'm down there, and survive being down there." He stretched his arms over his head.

"What about joining us?"

"Not unless I retire from training the slayers. They need me more. We're down to about one percent of the people they used to have, who hated me, but someone's got to help the girls. It's also getting me away from the girls who keep telling me I'm normal and now worthless due to my eye."

"You think it'll be easier down there?"

"No, but I think I'm the only one of the remaining Council people, new and old, who can get down there. I'll be telling uptight man about what I'm seeing in the way of problems."

"We could use someone down there." She waved a hand. "You're weak on your injured side, which I expect, and you're moving funny."

"I was self-trained. The old Council hated me, tried to kill me a few times." She grimaced. "It's not supposed to be some guy who jumps in helping their girls. Now, it's more open and welcoming since my old team is in charge."

She nodded. "They never trained you at all?" He shook his head. "Your parent that was here?"

"I was given to a set of failed-slash-retired spies who wanted to be together to raise. They were not pleased. A lot. They did some but it just made them drink more." He shrugged and lunged, catching her slightly off guard but she blocked his hit and they got back to it. "Can you teach me more about survival training too? I can camp but I know that's not going to be enough."

She nodded. "Yes I can." He grinned. "No flirting."

"No, you're not an assassin or an arms dealer. I only seem to draw people like them, and a former vengeance demon that had been fired."

She paused, staring at him. "You dated a vengeance demon?"

"I nearly married Anya after she got fired for having her power center broken by our team. Her friends got together to tell me how miserable we'd be so I left her there. She got her job back for a while then realized I had given her a conscience." She whimpered, shaking her head. "She died in the last battle there too," he said quietly, moving closer. She hugged him. "Thanks."

"I could've stabbed you."

Xander grinned. "All the bad boys and girls say that and then they want oral sex usually instead." He shrugged and smirked, poking her on the side. She swatted him and they went back to sparring again. After they were done, Xander went back to his hotel room to shower, change, and go out for dinner, and maybe some light fun. Light fun turned out to be a club when he was taken from the restaurant. He complained a lot so they were nice enough to feed him a burger at least. Then he got to play with the bad guys who had no idea who he was. He spotted his trainer and smirked a tiny bit at her then got back to dealing with the idiot bad guy. Ooops, he had said that out loud by the pout. "You kidnaped me when you only had to ask," he told him. The guy nodded at that, pulling him closer.


Xander strolled into the training area the next morning shaking his head. "Pitiful in bed too," he quipped. "Small penis, easy to get off, not wanting to pleasure me. Someone thinks I'm a ho and they're wrong. I demand my own pleasure too."

"Sometimes you gotta give one up for the team," she said dryly. "Do you know who he was?"

"Um.... Bad guy of some sort? I'd say he wasn't an agent, wasn't an assassin since his only weapon was a pocket knife, and I'm going to guess he was a money guy?"

She nodded. "Yes he was. How do you tell that?"

"The amount of weapons, their personality, and he kept talking about his stock options going up so he was celebrating by kidnaping me from dinner." He burped then shook his head. "Sorry."

"At least we have someone following him now."

He smirked. "How many people do you have to do that? I'm guessing he won't be the last while I'm in town."

"We can figure that out later." She waved him on. "Come on. Let's work on your compensation skills again." He nodded, strolling closer until he could grab her. She fought back but he found a pressure point before she could block him, making her yelp and go to her knees. "That's a dick move," she said, looking up at him.

He grinned. "Sometimes you gotta use the dick you got, or as you put it, take one for the team."

She got up shaking her head. "I didn't mean that way." She took a swing at him and he fought back. "You're slow this morning."

"I've only had two hours of sleep. Sorry, but he wanted a third round." He tripped her and shrugged. "I've went longer on less sleep. Anya wanted eight orgasms a night while I was working construction plus patrolling." She moaned, getting up. He smiled. "It does tend to make me weird and mean though. Sorry." He grinned and attacked this time.

"You need to work that out. Lack of sleep is dangerous in any field."

"Yeah, I know. You haven't lived until you're in a battle with a sword against a lot of beings that want to kill you and you haven't gotten to sleep in two days thanks to them trying things to get you down early."

She shook her head. "Not good."

"Still happens."

"Thankfully you won't have to worry too much about that." He snorted, giving her a look. "You'll have backup."

"I'm not expecting many of the slayers down there to want to patrol. Or be old enough. We haven't found one yet that's over twenty-four." She groaned. "Willow's finding said they're mostly kids. So no, I've got a lot of work coming up."

She nodded. "I can see why. Maybe it's not as bad as you think."

"Or I could've gotten a call on the way in from a demon goddess who's local and wanted to make sure I'm not here to hunt her people down," he quipped.

She stepped back. "What?" He nodded. "Is she in London?"

"She's peaceful and the slayer way states we only take out harmful or hunting demons who are going after people unless we're asked to intervene by a peaceful species in danger." He smiled. "I reminded her of that, her brother was in Sunnydale but kept a very low profile. She thanked me for living on that principle and told me where the few in Africa are. There's eight of them and two of them are at war." She shuddered, shaking her head. "I need to handle that before I go near any of the girls."

"You're going to handle it how?"

"I don't know yet. I'll figure that out when I see them." She shook her head. "I might be able to do something to knock them out or something. Or maybe collapse something on them. I can't be sure until I find them and look over what they're doing. One has a semi-large town in thrall."

A demon appeared. "I knew you'd cause us trouble. Our Goddess said you weren't but I knew you would."

"I was telling her about the two in Africa that your Goddess told me about this morning. I don't care about you guys until you do something to harm humans, like appear here to attack her." The demon growled and lunged. Xander pulled something out and flicked it open, letting it grow in his hand. He lunged, getting the demon out of the way of the pretty agent lady. They could battle it out in here. He needed that sort of workout too. "Bullets don't work on his kind unless they erupt in flames," he called when he heard her try to shoot him.

"Fuck!" she complained, getting them help.

"No, he's got poisonous snot," Xander called. "Don't come near him." The demon smirked and tried to blow something at him. He shrugged. "I'm immune to your snot and all your other bodily fluids, dear. Thank the former swim coach," he quipped with a grin then moved to the side and attacked again. The demon screamed as he hit a soft spot and tried to bat at Xander with his free hand. Xander ducked it and got back to fighting it.

He finally stabbed it in the head then pulled out the sword to quickly behead it. He panted, leaning on his sword. "Fire," he panted. "Lots of fire." The agents nodded, pulling the demon off to look it over quickly before setting it on fire. Xander straightened up with a moan, taking the bottle of water his trainer was holding. "Thanks." He gulped it, walking over to grab a towel to clean off his sword. He put the thing on the handle so it'd shrink again.

"What's that?"

"Something Willow worked up back in Sunnydale." He let her see it. "The little case closes around the end so the weapon shrinks down into it."

"That's sweet. Can it work on guns?"

He shrugged. "You'd have to ask her." He pointed off to the side, getting another bottle of water. "It's dead."

"What happened!" Willow demanded, hands on her hips as she glared at him.

"The local demon Goddess's minion got upset when she told me about the warring two near one of the baby slayers I'm going to go train." He finished that water and threw the bottle out. He looked at her again. "Took a bit but I killed it."

"How?" she demanded.

"Sword, just like I did on patrol."

"You're missing an eye, you can't do that any more," she sneered. He threw something at her head, making her shriek. "How dare you!"

"I have one eye left, Willow. I can aim with that one and sword work doesn't take that sort of aiming." He stared at her. "Watch me call the coven. You're not supposed to be porting across the ocean."

"You're clearly doing wrong things. What's this?"

"One of my relatives works here and he arranged for me to get some compensation work in so I don't have a problem aiming. We were doing a mild hand-to-hand bit of work to make sure I was good enough when that demon showed up." He smiled at her. "It happens." He waved as he pulled out his phone. She disappeared. Xander sent Giles a text message about that. "There, reported in and all that's done too." He smiled at her. "I need to get out of here so she can't trace me here again. Unless you think everyone here wants to become mice or something?"

"Not particularly. Let's go to the gun range."

"Outside the building?" he asked.


"We need to get out of her scrying range. She'll throw a fit at Buffy while scrying here to show her how bad I am to her new way of thinking. Museum?"

"Sure. Just don't let weird things happen. I'll meet you out front in a minute?" He nodded, going outside to wait on her. She wiped her sweat off, heading out after him once she told their boss. That was weird but she could hear someone muttering about her when no one was there. She smiled at Xander, taking his arm. "Art museum or natural history one?"

"Natural history but no mummies please. I don't want to see if one of my ex girlfriend's show is traveling over here."

"I'm not even going to ask."

He smirked. "Might be a good idea but it was more a tragic story." As they walked he told her about Ampata. She nodded at the end, giving his arm a squeeze. They walked into the museum and the magic feeling that was tracking them fell off. He looked up at the doorway then at the outside doorway. "They have magic blocking stuff. I need to find out how."

"So do we," the agent said, smiling at him. "Seriously?"

He nodded. "Seriously."

"I meant about Ampata."


She groaned. "Oh, dear." He grinned a good boy grin. "Let's look at the jewels. It might come in handy down there if you can identify them. They're common currency in the underground markets."

"Sure." He followed her, letting her teach him new things. Willow could be a worry for later. Probably if he got snatched from dinner again.


Xander met with Giles a few days later, giving him a hug. "Hi."

"I thought you'd be visiting the rest of Europe."

"I thought I'd pop in on a relative and he offered to have his friends up my survival training." He walked off with the older man. They had agreed to meet in a nice small park.

"That's very good. How did you know you have relatives over here?"

Xander smiled. "Drunk parents, Giles. They complained about them too."

"Ah. I see. Are they special in any way?"

"One's dating an agent. She's been working on some of my fight training."

"That's sweet of her."

"The girls will need me to be more diverse."

"Probably, yes." He looked at him. "Willow is rather worried."

"Willow showed up after a demon attacked me at her training area and I killed it. She ranted I couldn't do that because of my eye." Giles winced. "Then she interrupted later that night when a lady I teased after we split but before the final battle showed up to flirt some more."

"She mentioned her, yes."

"She needs to butt out."

"She does worry," he said, staring at Xander.

"No, she's not worried. She still thinks I'm helpless."

"You don't have the special skills she has."

"She doesn't have that many special skills, Giles. Magic doesn't give her anything in the way of fighting skills or anything else. Hell, she still can't stake worth a damn, even when she's floating it into the vampires. She's off target all the time." Giles rolled his eyes, taking off his glasses. "Willow's trying to put me down to make herself feel more special and I'm not playing that game. I gave that up after high school. Especially after the infection by Riley. Speaking of, I've been told by that agent lady that he's in Central America and his team is presently stuck thanks to a demon working with a drug lord they weren't prepared to deal with. I warned the watcher down there and he promised he'd keep her far away from that demon since it can compel you."

"Thank you. I got a report on that and wondered why. I got one from you as well?"

"I would've asked them to send you the film of the battle but I know how much you hate computers."

"I wouldn't mind seeing it. You have learned some from patrol."

"I knew some before then, Giles. I've always been Willow's way of making herself feel better. That's why she kept cheating for Buffy and sneering at me when I asked her what something meant. She's been doing that part of it since fourth grade because it meant no one got near her grades."

"I hadn't realized that."

Xander nodded, walking off with him again. They were in the nicer park downtown. "She actually got into my grades once to change them on me, and put them all down by a grade. When my parents got the 'amended' report card they weren't pleased but I told them why. I had the original too. It kept them from beating the living fuck outta me for flunking. I believe they had a talk with Mr. Rosenburg about her issues with boys."

"You two used to be friends."

"Slightly," he agreed. "She was.... You saw how me and Cordelia were friends before all the closet groping stuff?" He nodded. "Willow was a more emotionally abusive version of that. Even Cordelia noted that to make fun of it." He looked at the older man, shrugging a bit. "All I had was her and Jesse, and then he got turned. Really, I could've left the town then and saved what little is left of my sanity." He looked up. "I can feel that, Rosenburg!" The magic feeling left. He looked at Giles again. "She's scrying. She's been doing it on and off for a few days. Came back to get huffy that I was chatting with a nice-ish lady I had flirted with after Anya and I broke up."

"Was she in some evil field?"

"Not really. An occult researcher that wasn't Council related. Amira?"

"I know of her," Giles admitted. "She's nicer than Anya had been as a human."

"Which is why she only flirted." He grinned. "Willow accused me of being a cold person who wasn't grieving Anya. I nearly called Anya's shade back to yell at her herself."

"Please don't."

"I'll try." He looked around then at him again. "So, why else did you show up?"

"Just to see what had happened that had you stranded here."

"I plan on going on a short train trip through Europe in four weeks then fly from Italy to Africa."

"That's a nice trip. I did much the same when I graduated from high school." He patted him on the arm. "She worries about you."

"For the wrong reason."

"Perhaps but maybe she has a point. Are you able to fight the same way with your eye being gone?"

"Didn't I in the battle?"


"Didn't I on patrol for the next three weeks because the girls were slacking hard while recovering from the shock of their first battle being that one?"

"You did?"

"Yeah. I went out with Gunn's crew and Connor more than once, Giles. We had to go handle the problems going on from the mass exodus the battle caused. We had groups trying to take advantage of it and had to stop them. Riley's boss was one and he fled when Connor nearly broke a chair on his head to make him stop his renewed plans for the Initiative reborn."

"I had not heard about that."

"I'm pretty sure we reported to Wes because you were stressed about the move to Cleveland."

"I was, yes. I ...did you tell Buffy?"

"She wasn't going to go on patrol, Giles. Connor asked her two different nights, right before the exodus to Ohio, and she said she was still tired three weeks later." Giles grimaced. "I went out with him and some weapons we found. Rona went with us the second time because it had to be killed by a female and none of us were. Faith offered but that was before she had her cast removed."

Giles nodded. "I remember Rona going out. She came back complaining about goo. Angel complained about them patrolling."

"Yup, and yet it had to be done because they were massing for an attack on the slayers." He shrugged. "We handled it, told Wes, all that."

"I'll have to check with him to make sure we don't have a new group of them forming in Cleveland."

"No, you don't. That was something prompted by the lawyers. They got the point when agents got wind of their problematic ideology and started to investigate them. Then the lawyers overreacted, had the agent discredited and then killed, and now higher ups are looking at them for it." He smiled. "They're not amused at the lawyers."

"Good." He cleared his throat. "How did you hear about that?"

"Poker." He grinned. "I kept going to play poker. It came in handy."

"It seems it did. I'll have to remind Buffy to keep playing now and then."

"I taught Connor how to play with Gunn's person."

"Even better. That way they hear about problems out there." He sighed and checked his watch then his face went blank. "Xander, we really must talk...." Xander smacked him on the forehead, making him moan and shake his head. "What was that?"

"You went blank faced and then started to tell me we had to talk because apparently I'm not doing what you wanted me to do?"

"No, I had no intention of that." He considered it. "I need to do a magic check."

"Park bench?" Xander suggested with a point. Giles nodded, going to sit down so he could do that without drawing attention. Xander sent a text message to his agent trainer about things. She'd come talk to them over dinner apparently. Giles sighed, opening his eyes to look at him. "You still tainted by Willow or the coven?" he asked without looking.

"I don't know what you're talking about."

Xander pulled out something and tossed it on him. The small package bounced so Giles looked at it, picking it up. It dissolved in his hands and the potion leached into his skin, making him shudder as it fought the compulsion. "Really?"

"Oh, dear," Giles sighed a few minutes later. "Thank you, Xander."

Xander grinned at him. "Redheaded menace or the coven that told her she was next to the goddess?"

"I believe it was them. I'll have to talk to the old dears."

"Oh, let me?" he asked with a smile.

"No. We might need their help, Xander."

"Yeah, and they blamed me somehow for Tara dying."

Giles blinked at him. "You weren't even nearby when she was shot."

"Exactly." They shared a look. "Want dinner with me before you go up there?"

"Please. I'm a bit hungry. That potion makes one peckish."

"It's the herbs in it," Xander quipped, getting up and walking off with Giles to somewhere he remembered he liked to eat. During it, Xander's agent trainer showed up to praise him to Giles and offered a car service's number to get him to Devon safely. They had anti-magical marks and were demon owned. Giles called them and they agreed the witches needed a good talking to.


Xander opened his hotel room door, blinking at the man standing there. "Huh, I never expected you to show up." He let the older man in then checked the hallway before closing the door.

"You don't check who it is before you open it?"

"I figured it was someone coming to talk to me about the local demon network or someone who wanted to go out to dinner with me." He flopped down in a chair, looking at him. "So, Dad."

Harry Hart smiled. "How long have you known?"

(Sent to list to here via email)

"You put me with two failed, heavy drinking agents. I've known since I could remember. About every other day since I was the reason that their lives went to hell when they got together."

"They were failed because they were drinking and horrible at any sort of spycraft," he admitted. "We thought it'd be safer."

"Who told them to go to Sunnydale?"

"You were born there," he admitted. "They got moved there because no one noted that town anywhere, even on federal paperwork."

"Yeah, the reason for that turned into a giant demon during my graduation from high school." He nodded a bit, grimacing. "Really nasty."

"He did what?" Xander pulled up the footage he had to show him. "Damn."

"Basically, yeah." He smiled. "We survived."

"I can see that." He handed back the tablet. "Are you well?"

"Still bummed and still tense because of Willow."

"That happens I'm told." He looked around then at him. "Why did you show up?"

"I'm about to become the training watcher for the slayers in Africa. When we rebuilt the Council we did it the right way but we only have about fifty people left."

His father sighed, nodding. "Understood. You're getting training."

"Yup, and I agreed to do reports on any human problems I run into or anything demon battle huge that they wanted to know about."

"Good. That's good." He sat on the foot of the bed. "You didn't even try to contact me?"

"I figured you had been made to forget."

"Not hardly. We worried but we had to push it aside. They assured us you were safe out there when I found out. Though they didn't really survive that talk."

"Yeah, the old Council had a file on me. It's what let them put the price on my head." He shrugged but smiled. "They got blown up by the First Evil, hence me having a job."

"They had a... that wasn't you."

"Yeah it was me. They changed my name. Kept the Alexander but used their last name instead, Dad."

"Oh, dear."

"Yup. Wasn't a huge one but still something I had decided meant I was doing good. The cranky bastards who treated the girls wrong thought I was doing too good and decided I needed to be taken out."

"That can be a badge of honor," he agreed. He stared at him. "Want to go to dinner?"

"Yup, but I have the feeling we'll be interrupted and should you be seen with me?"

"A few of our agents have been. They won't do more than wonder." He stood up and smiled. "Come along."

Xander looked at himself. "I need to change, huh?"

"I do know some nice lower class places that will take you in jeans and a t-shirt. They're more practical; they let you blend into the masses of people." Xander nodded, grabbing his knife, his wallet, and his shoes to go with him. The key was the last thing put into his pocket before they walked out. "You're limping."

"I got tripped earlier by a plant that suddenly came flying over to my blind side."

"Do we know who moved it?"

Xander looked at him. "I have a good feeling, yup."

"Is that going to keep happening?"

"Until she gets bored and moves onto another target. It'll happen on and off for the rest of my life probably. It's almost enough to make me vow to a chaos god so I can get her back."

He patted his son on the back. "Don't do that. It'll look bad to your girls."

"True, which is why I haven't." He looked at him. "Have you seen Mom recently?" he asked with a grin.

"Yes, earlier today to let them know you were in town. They weren't all that amused when I explained why they needed to hear."


"No, I agree you need the training and at least we're not biased about it." He held open the door, making his son smirk at him before walking out it. Of course, someone mugged his son while kissing him, making his father sigh and get the things back before they broke off. He handed his son his things. Xander held up the few things he had gotten from him. "Nice."

"Thanks." He grinned. "Chocolate bar money." They walked off together, talking about Xander's future plans. He could help him refine some of them. Xander was young, he was still idealistic and had unrealistic ideas about living hard. They could work on those together.


Xander knocked on a door a week later, staring at the man standing there. He held up a letter. "Giles asked me to deliver this after he left the country."

"Why would dear Rupert send you, boy? Do I know you?"

"Considering you had me possessed by my costume that halloween, and it was really helpful?" He smiled. "I felt you try it again around me and it didn't work. Or some other chaos person tried really hard to change me once and it didn't work."

"I don't remember working directly on you and I should if I had." He took the letter. "How is dear Rupert?"

"Fighting a magical infection of bitchiness thanks to Rosenburg and the coven both while running all the slayers since we had to rebuild the Council."

Ethan Rayne blinked at him. "Excuse me?"

Xander nodded. "They blew up. Sunnydale sank. Same reason. Then we rebuilt things the way they should have been. Which means I get a tiny paycheck when Giles isn't under spells from the coven or Rosenburg. The coven agreed she was *special*."

Ethan's eyes narrowed. "Was that a plea for help?"

Xander grinned. "Hell no. If I wanted that sort of help I'd go offer myself as a sexual minion. There's a few in London who'd love me for the status."

"Which one are you?"


"There were a few boys back in Sunnydale."

"Yeah, I was the one that helped Buffy who wasn't a vampire or a werewolf."

"Oh, all right. That narrows it down."

"Magical hangover?" Xander asked, pulling out something to hold up. "You're presently fading in and out of reality. Want an anti-magic potion?"

"Please." He sniffed it then drank it, snapping awake. "I'll gut that wanker," he muttered as he walked off. Xander didn't follow. "Enter." Xander followed him back to the kitchen while he made his own antidote. He looked at the letter then at the boy. "When was Rupert in town?"

"Few days back. Willow magiced him into coming to nag me about being normal, one eyed, and all that shit." He sat down, staring at him. "I nearly vowed myself to Janus to get rid of her."

"He might like you."

Xander grinned. "Many like me. Mostly because I can channel the stupid hellmouths." Ethan stiffened, staring at him. Xander wiggled his fingers with a grin. "Hi."

"Oh, dear, you're that one."


"The last time I saw you, you had a battle axe."

"It's shrank in my pocket."

Ethan sipped his tea with antidote, staring at him. "So just delivering a letter?"

"No. Warning you that she's trying to work on Giles and can get you through him. Something about binding marks and sympathetic skills with the way you used to work? She babbled about it once upon a time. I thought I'd come up today since the demon underground in London said you've been compromised by the witches of doom."

"That's a charming name for them."

"A few of them blamed me for Willow's girlfriend being killed when I wasn't even near there when she was shot. When I'm the one who stopped her from killing all of humanity. Apparently it's my fault?" He shrugged. "I'm not sure if Willow whammied them or someone else got them sooner so they reinforced whatever Willow was doing. All I know is that she's trying compulsion stuff and I'm really tired of it, plus I don't want to be blamed if they get you too. Which I know someone will since they've already tried. One of the coven, so charming. She really should quit flying without the broom."

Ethan nodded. "That's a bad idea, yes." He finished his tea. "Do you need an antidote?"

"No, I went to the Goddess Dimira last night and offered oral sex for two days of protection from the witches. Before I went up there to deal with them for their bullshit."

"One of them is my aunt," Ethan said dryly.

"I'm sorry. Is that why you went to chaos magic instead of earth magic? They've about turned me off women for good."

"You could do much for Janus, young man."

Xander grinned. "I could do much for everyone after I use the hellmouths to take over. I'm resisting that urge. Willow keeps making it come up though, and you're glowing again."

Ethan looked at himself and poured more antidote into some tea to drink. Xander reached over to touch his hand and the glowing quit. "That's interesting." He felt the young one's aura and winced. "You're bound to the hellmouth?"

"No clue."

"You are."

"The Cleveland one likes me just the same and so does the ancient power point up north that's been calling to me to come visit and pet it."

"The coven's near there."

"I know." He let him go. The glow came back. "Want to go visit the pretty spot of power with me?"

"It gives me a dreadful headache."

"Got any way to uncloud them?"

"Not likely. Depending on the source it might be from infancy. Though it would explain a lot."

"I'm wondering which way the infection goes," Xander admitted.

"I can't be sure without being in the same room with them and I do avoid that."

"Probably a great idea." His phone beeped. "Aww, my daily reminder that I'm handicapped and worthless from Willow." He looked at it then held it up. "She's only gotten worse since she went to the coven."

"There's no real way to cut them off from their magic."

"No, there is a few ways but they're not nice," Xander corrected. "Various wish demons or beings. Spells to cut them off, all sorts of things I can find to work on, but I'm not that evil this week. I've gotten a bit of sleep in spite of Willow's attempts." He smiled at the back window, waving at the crow. "Nice try, biddy." It flew off.

Ethan looked then at him. "Perhaps they think you're the corruption of the lines and such."

"Travers thought the same thing because I reminded Buffy she had the right to make decisions about things. And I did CPR on her."

Ethan choked. "That was you?" he demanded. Xander nodded. "They put a curse on whoever did that."

"I've felt that a few times," Xander said dryly. "Hasn't mattered much yet."

"If you go somewhere more dangerous it could."

"And yet, it didn't kill me when I was in LA."

"There's more dangerous places that rumors state you're going toward."

"I am. I think I can handle it. I'm taking training in things I knew I needed." He leaned back, shrugging some. "What's it going to do? Have me burned as a witch? I'll make that vow then and there."

"He might not answer you."

"There's more than one chaos god, Ethan." He smiled. "A whole different one protects a museum for some reason."

"I've noted that." He finished that cup of tea. "Are you able to do anything?"

"Yes, I am. Thank you for helping me make plans. Giles would probably want a letter back and you know how he feels about computers." He stood up. "Easy days, High Priest of Janus." He bowed slightly and left, heading up country. He and that power point needed to commune.

Ethan got up to get something stronger before reading that letter. Between the chaos source and Rupert, his head hurt a bit.


Xander looked up from meditating on the power point, smiling at the officer and old woman standing there. "Officer," he said in greeting. "Nagging old crone of hell." He stood up and stared at her. "You corrupted Willow even worse than she had been."

"You know nothing, boy."

"You'd be shocked." He stared at her. "By the way, I'm not Oz. I'm Xander. You got us confused when you laid that spell. Thankfully he's protected and the old ones here removed it for you." She gasped and stepped back, shaking her head. Xander looked behind him then bowed, smiling as he turned around. "Ancient One, how may we help you?"

"It's not often that a walking bound one comes to talk to us."

"I made no binding of my own free will. I was just born there."

"It likes you."

"Many people like me, including arms dealers," he quipped with a smile. "I'm helping rebuild the Council the way it should be. I simply had to stop some corruption going on." He pointed at the witch.

The old one looked at her and nodded. "She is very corrupt. Not of the Light as we know it." She burst out crying, stomping off. "That is not what the blessed coven should be."

Xander nodded. "I figured it was something like a taint. They have others that have gotten just as bad."

"Rosenburg is no member of the blessed coven, boy."

"No, but she's the witch that helps the slayers with offensive magic, in all meanings of the word."

"True." He moved closer. "That taint will kill you some day."

"Then I'll release it during a battle, when it's needed."

"You can't do magic."

Xander smiled. "No, I can't. That doesn't mean I can't leach the power out. That's a potion and nearly anyone can make those."

"Point." He studied him then nodded. "You'll do. No matter what those women say." He smiled and disappeared.

Xander bowed. "Thank you, Ancient One, and blessed be your name and memories." He stepped out of the circle had found already there, nodding at the officer. "I was trying to send a healing spell the coven's way because they're all tainted by something," he said quietly. "Not trying to harm them."

"We don't like that stuff."

Xander smiled. "Then it's good I'm going to train girls in Africa, huh?"

"You from there?"

"Sunnydale. Born and raised by that hellmouth." He walked around him. "Have an easy night, Officer. The three demons in town are actually peaceful and made sure I knew that when I drove up."

"I should arrest you."

Xander smiled back at him. "You can if you want but you can't prove I did anything wrong. Do you really want to listen to me sing off-key tonight?"

"No. Go away."

"Going." He went to his rental car, heading back toward London. He'd find somewhere for dinner on the way.

The officer went to report that to his boss, who was the son of one of the witches. He went to check on his mother, agreeing she had a severe personality change when she started to rant about that boy.


Xander stepped into a little country place, smiling at the smells. "Still open for dinner?" he asked the waitress staring at him.

"Yes, but we don't get too many visitors these days."

Xander smiled. "I'm on my way back to London and the smells directed me here. What is that bready thing that smells great? I'll probably have that."

"Lamb pie?"

"Great." She nodded, going to put in his order for him. She came out with a glass of water. "Thank you, miss."

"You're welcome. So, you're American then? I noticed the accent."

"I am. Just recently moved to Cleveland but now I'm going on duty in Africa soon. I'm just picking up some extra training in London for the moment." He sipped his water while her eyes went wide. "You know I'm peaceful," he said quietly. "Even if I didn't realize until I stepped in, I've had Patrick's dishes in LA and he was the best cook I've ever seen."

"I've heard about him. His kind cook here too." Xander smiled. "We're peaceful."

"Great, so am I." He patted her hand. "I'm Xander, dear. Unless it's attacking me, I'm all for happy beings of any species. Though I would have avoided coming here if I had known so I wouldn't cause anyone to panic."

"No, you're good." She smiled, relaxing again. "We won't panic about you."

"One of the kids outside was giving me funny looks."

"They're like that. You don't have gills."

"I almost did but they faded with the blood transfusion to get rid of the mermaid taint." She walked off giggling. She came back with his pie. He sniffed and moaned. "That smells great." He dug in, nodding and humming as he ate. "Really good," he said between bites." She smiled, getting him more water and some bread to sop up the gravy in the pot pie. The cook got told he liked it and Xander made sure he tipped very well when he was done. He'd have to remember how well these guys cooked if he was ever in England again.


Xander answered his phone. "Yup? It's early. There's a time difference."

"Why are you rampaging around the country?" Giles demanded.

"I wouldn't call going to dinner rampaging, Giles. Why would you?" He sat up with a sigh, looking at the clock. "I'm not due up for another four hours but I guess it's fine."

"You intentionally went to cause harm."

"No I didn't."

"You scared an entire town."

"I would have avoided it if I had known it was an enclave town and they were some of the best cooks I've ever tasted. I made sure they knew I thought that, that I was not going to harm anyone there, and that I believed all peaceful beings should be happy. Plus I left a huge tip for the waitress. The only one that looked scared was a little kid who wanted to pet my rental car and I made sure he got a pat on the shoulder for being so nice to the car."

Giles sighed. "They still panicked."

"I stopped in on the local council here in town to apologize if I had panicked anyone and praised that cook to the heavens for making such great lamb pot pie."

"That's not the point."

"That is the point, Giles. I didn't cause a panic. I didn't harm anyone. I also noted that the slayers of today are like me, they don't take out harmless anythings."

"That is a good job but why stop there?"

"It was six at night, I was hungry, it was the only town I'd run into in a half-hour and no hope of another one for another hour and a half?"

"Oh, that part of the country. I've only been by there once myself."

"I was coming back from communing with that little power point upcountry that has been calling out to me in my dreams. I went up to meditate after giving Ethan your letter. An Ancient One popped up to thank me for being so kind and told me the blessed coven was having a few problems."

"Blessed.... They are?" Giles demanded.

"Yup, apparently."

"I'll have to look that up. It could be problematic."

"Considering someone kept trying to spell Ethan while I was there? Yup. Probably is."

"Did...did he clear it?"

"After two doses of anti-magic potion plus mine? I'd hope so."

"Good. That's...that's good." He coughed. "Are you all right?"

"Yeah, I'm fine. It didn't harm me at all. The curse they laid on me for doing CPR has apparently backfired at least once. They thought I was Oz, that's why the coven was blaming me for Willow going off the deep end in her grief." Giles moaned. "I had to point that out earlier to one of the ones that should really use her broomstick to fly instead of doing it on her own."

"That's not polite."

"Neither are they since they tried to charm a harmless demon into eating me yesterday."

"Are you sure it was them?"

"I brought her to the local council and they said it was them." A note popped into being in front of him. "Hmm." He wrote on it. "Go home," he said, making 'go away' motions. Nothing. "Can you tell the coven I don't have magic, I can't send their note back or just appear in front of them? They sent a note saying they wanted a meeting."

"I believe someone can, yes. Sylvia, please text the coven that Xander doesn't have magic and can't reply to their note or pop up there like Willow please?" he called, covering the phone a bit.

"Thanks," Xander said. He yawned but got up to stretch. He might as well since he's up.

"I have no idea how they could've become tainted."

"Doing harm?" Xander guessed. "I think I read something about witches and doing harm."

"Hmm, yes, a blessed coven would be forbidden from doing harm," Giles agreed, sounding thoughtful. "Oh, dear. They've done harm by doing non-protection spells. But Willow...."

"The Ancient One said that Willow was not a member of the coven."

"Well, she did stake vampires and did do harm while grieving." He sighed. "That may be the answer."

Another note appeared. "Giles, tell them I'm in London. If they want to meet me they have to pick a spot and give me time to get there. Plus tell me where it is. I still can't teleport up there and it's probably a trap."

"It might be," he agreed. "Let me call." Music came on then he came back a minute later. "Xander, I've managed to conference you in," he said.

"That's fine, Giles. Yes, ma'am, you wanted to speak to me?"

"Boy, what were you doing earlier?"

"Making a plea to heal all of you from whatever's corrupting your minds," Xander said bluntly. "After you cursed me, tried to curse Giles, tried to curse Ethan while I was sitting there, I thought it'd be a good idea not to let the coven go dark permanently. I was hoping for a healing spell or something to be sent."

She moaned. "That wouldn't work!"

"It would work," Giles corrected. "He was on the power point that you all draw from. Which Ancient One appeared, Xander?"

"He had slight deer horns but otherwise no idea beyond pointy ears."

"Hmm. I'll have to look that up and make a prayer to him," Giles said, then the sound of scratching. "Elizabeth, I'm quite sure there's a problem within the coven as I was compelled there for a bit to try to send Xander off or harm him."

"He's Oz," she said.

"Oz is a redhead," Xander said dryly. "He's also a werewolf. I'm still Xander. Past possessions and all. The same as I'm the guy that's going to be training the girls in Africa in a few weeks. Thankfully I had someone remove the curse you put on me for doing CPR already."

"What sort of curse?" Giles asked.

"Misfortune. Such a great thing to curse a sixteen-year-old guy with," Xander finished dryly.

"That's an age of adulthood to many," the witch complained.

"Not in this civilized world we presently live in," Xander quipped back. "But I won't quibble on that one."

"You were there when dear Tara...."

"I wasn't near the house," he interrupted.

"He wasn't," Giles agreed. "Nor was Oz since you got them confused. He's in training."

Xander made a humming noise, starting his coffee pot. "The local council said he was in control and happy there. He's even started to play music again."

"That's wonderful news," Giles said. "Does he know about the town?"

"Yeah. His baby nephew, the one that bit him, joined him there to learn the same control lessons from what they said. He told him. I sent him a letter through them if anyone goes near that temple."

"That's nice of you." He cleared his throat. "Elizabeth, do you have more things you wished to talk about?"

"He was there, she mentioned him."

"I'm the one that stopped her from killing everyone," Xander said. "Which you ignored. You also ignored that she nearly killed me and left me with magic poisoning, ma'am. Thanks a whole lot but I made a lot of friends letting them suck it out of me before I died from it." She gasped. "Yeah, me. She shot that magic at me to stop me from stopping her. Seven blasts of it and then I had to have help."

"I was not aware of that," Giles said quietly.

"You were busy and not answering the phone. Spike told me who to go talk to. Which I don't blame you for. You had to handle Buffy's hissy and Dawn's hissy and all the mess she had made. I was a minor worry and you didn't know she had hit me with all that magic."

"No, I hadn't," he sighed. "That explains why it never went back though."

"Yeah, because it was causing me to glow and have liver problems," Xander said dryly. "The protections you laid saved me from dying from it. The witches saw me and just ignored it."

"We couldn't feel any differences on the hellmouth, boy. It's like a blanket over our senses."

"Yet you found her? Did Giles send out a GPS?"

"We followed the surge of magic of her raising that temple."

"That wasn't her raising the temple, that was her hitting me with the black magic," Xander said. "She barely got the temple up by a spire and it wasn't setting off anything else magic anywhere in town. I asked later, the ones in LA hadn't known what she was doing."

"Oh. Well...." She cleared her throat loudly. "Perhaps we weren't looking at the right things then. Are you well now?" she asked.

"I'm better. Or at least better enough."

"I hadn't realized you had any side effects," Giles said quietly.

"Hmm. Yeah, neither did Anya until she poked me too hard one night. I've gotten used to the tenderness there and I can fight through it."

"Good. Though I hate that for you."

"A weakness is a weakness until you fix it or find a way around it," Xander said dryly. He poured himself a cup of coffee. "Also, Miss Elizabeth, I don't have magic. I couldn't come meet you or answer your note. That's why I had Giles call you."

"That's fine."

"Next time, tell me to meet you somewhere and then where that place is. I can do that while I'm local for a few more weeks." He took a sip and moaned. "Sorry, first coffee of the day."

"It is very early," she admitted.

"Giles forgot the time zone thing." He took another sip, sitting in his room's chair. "So, when the Ancient One noted that you were a blessed coven...." She gasped and shouted something in Latin back at the others. "That's what I figured he meant. So did the corruption come from the hellmouth, from Willow, or from you guys doing something that's not allowed to that sort of coven?" He took another sip.

"Probably a bit of all three. Willow is a tad bit bitter about you, boy," another female voice said.

"Yeah, I'm her puppy that validates her existence to put it like her father would." He took another sip then put the cup down. "It's been that way since fourth grade though so I can't really say much about it. She'll nag me about things to make herself feel better or to make sure she's elevated above me. That's why she cheated for Buffy and nagged me when I asked her to explain something that went over my head in class. Me getting good grades would've meant she wasn't as special."

"We've seen others," that second female voice agreed. "She really can be a mess."

"Yup," he agreed. "Often. And if she's scrying, we're all going to be lizards because I can feel her." Someone on that end yelped and then started to swear about Xander being evil. "I can do that if she wants me to," he said dryly. "I've already said if Willow didn't quit that shit, I was going to vow to a chaos god that wasn't Janus with her being fixed as my entry boon."

Giles moaned. "That's evil, Xander."

"Thank you, Giles. I was thinking about the one that's protecting your old museum."

"He's..." He cleared his throat and took a drink of something. "That may suit you but it would be harmful when I had to fire you, Xander. It could harm the girls you know."

"I know but I wouldn't let it. I might even get better warrior skills."

"I saw the tape of your battle with that demon. You looked better than I expected with your eye being so recent."

"And yet, battle two weeks later and I was there," Xander said dryly, smirking at the phone. "Doing the same thing I've always done."

"True. I don't like to think on that battle though." He took another drink. "Is Amilee all right?"

"We've gotten the compulsion cleared," Elizabeth said, sounding grumpy. "We really must spank that child."

"Please do," Xander said. "I'd like to witness that one. Before I have to burn her at a stake for harming me and others again. Like earlier when she was trying to get me while I was driving and missed, causing a car wreck. Thankfully the people in the car were fine, including the kids. Just shaken up."

Giles spluttered. "She did *what*!" he demanded.

"Yup. I sent you an email, Giles. One of the constables identified the magic and said it felt like something tainting me. So either it was the hellmouths or her."

"I doubt the hellmouths are that sentient really," Elizabeth said. "We thought we felt her magic this way but I thought she was correcting you."

"I don't take correction from her, ma'am. She's not my mother or my spouse or my keeper. She might think she is, but I'd rather be the love slave of an arms dealer or someone like that if it came down to it. At least then I'd get treated better than a puppy. And he couldn't turn me into one again."

"When was this?" Giles asked.

"During your drinking year."

"Oh. That time."

"Yup. Anya got me changed back pretty fast. That's why she hissed at Willow for a week. It deprived her of orgasms for a day and a half." He finished that cup of coffee.

"I remember the hissing spell she had. That was right after the will spell."

"Which nearly got me killed," Xander quipped, smirking at the phone again. "How nice of her. Buffy nearly gets married, you got blinded, Spike nearly died thanks to Buffy's love, and I nearly got hunted down because she decided I'm a demon magnet."

"You do draw them."

"I also draw arms dealers and I'm not the one that slept with Angel."

"We do not nag her about that."

"Then she shouldn't nag me about any of mine."

"True, but sometimes young women are like that."

"Which is why I've only dated guys this whole trip." He got up to get more coffee, turning to find his chair on fire. "Hmm." He used the coffee to put it out. No go. "Um, Miss Elizabeth, she magically set the chair I had been sitting in on fire. Can you put it out before we have to get the fire department in here?" He looked up. "The smoke alarm is blinking." She did that. He sighed. "Thanks." Someone pounded on the door and he went to answer it. "A witch I know is mad at me for pointing out she's being a dick." He sipped the remains of the coffee in his cup.

"The room next door said you're being a bit loud, sir."

"Sorry, I didn't realize. I'll try to be more quiet while they're nagging me for existing."

"What smells like smoke?"

"The same witch got the chair I had just gotten out of. Apparently she meant to burn me. I'm going to beat the ever loving fuck out of her when I see her next time."

The manager blinked. "Can you prevent that?"

"I'm going to find out how in the morning. I'm sorry my head watcher called. He forgot the time zone difference. I'll try to be more quiet." He got the chair to hand over. "Willow Rosenburg. That's the witch."

"I'll make sure it's paid for," Giles said.

"Our head watcher," Xander said.

"That's fine. Just try to be more quiet, sir." He took the chair with him. Xander's address was the new Council building so they charged the damage to that address. Giles called in to take care of it while having everyone else on hold.

Xander got more coffee and sat against the edge of the bed. "I'm sorry you had to hear that, Miss Elizabeth."

"It's all right, boy."

"I'm still Xander. You can use my name. I doubt Willow has any recent blood or skin of mine, or even hair." He took another drink. "I'm really glad I asked for that protection to last a few days."

"How did you do that?" the witch asked.

"There's a few higher powered beings in town. They like oral sex too." She spluttered but oh well. Giles came back during the spluttering. "We were just talking about the protection I have for a few days."

"I've heard," Giles admitted. "Faith got told and told me. I told her why. A nice plan but a bit odd, Xander."

"She was nice about it."


"Hey, find me an anti-Rosenburg protection, Giles."

"Point. I'll let you both rest. We'll talk tomorrow?"

"I have training tomorrow. Was off today but tomorrow I have some survivalist lessons."

"That's fine. Call when you can and I'll conference in the coven then, Xander. Try to get back to sleep." He hung up.

Xander put the phone down and climbed back into bed, then got out of bed and went to run a tub of bubbles and water. He could nap in that and it'd be safer. When he woke up, his father was sitting at his small vanity, reading a file. Xander blinked at him. "Is that on me?"

"On your Mr. Giles actually." He looked up. "Yours is spectacularly wrong somehow."

"Willow. She edited everything like it was wikipedia."

"Government files too?"

"She had been a hacker for a while but the magic won over her other skills." He sat up, yawning and stretching. "Beyond that, mine was seriously wrong. The Initiative's files listed me as a tagalong and useless."

"Well, I suppose they might see it as you being closer to normal?"

"Probably not if they knew anything about us in high school. One of them was even dating Buffy and he's the one they got the information from. Buffy told him I was a tagalong. He was even there for one of the events that was something only I could do and didn't report it. Which I'm a bit thankful for. I didn't want to be experimented on."

"We would've shown up to solve that. We were on our way to stop that very bad idea when your group did." His father stared at him. "Why are you in the tub?"

"Willow. It's insulative and protective since she tried to set me on fire last night."

"What charming friends you have."

"I don't know if I'd call her a real friend any more." He got out, accepting the towel to dry himself off. "I'll do my hair in a minute."

"Shower. I can wait on you out in the bedroom." He went that way, making notes into the file. By the time Xander got out, someone had dropped another file in front of him magically. "Interesting the things they kept track of," he said when Xander came out to grab clothes.

"I felt the chaos magic. Is that on Halloween, the possession, the swim team, the Initiative's battle, or something else?"

"I'm hoping it's some drug addict's fantasy," he said, looking at his son. "If not, it might be too dangerous for you to go down there."

"Tough." He pulled on boxer briefs then jeans, then a t-shirt and overshirt. "Someone's got to do it and that someone's me." He stared at his father. "Breakfast?"

"You're late for training already. Are you sure you want to waste another hour?"

"Yup, because I got a call at four this morning thanks to Giles forgetting time zones."

"Was this when you nearly got burned?"

"Yup. She set the chair on fire instead of me because I had just gotten up."

"Answer me something? What possession?"

Xander smiled, pulling out his laptop to open his journal. "I'm pretty sure I can trust you with this. Right?"

"I'd hope so?" He took it to read over while Xander went to train and get breakfast. By two that afternoon he was really worried about his son. He had also sent in orders to do bloodwork on his son. He went back to the office to soothe his son's fighting back against agents. "Son." Xander looked over. "Did you forget to mention that little Thanksgiving thing in there?"

"You wanted to do what?"

"Test it to make sure it's not something we need to guard you against. Especially with who wants to sleep with you," he said bluntly.

"Um, yay. If they know, they'll come harder." He swatted at someone's hands. "Don't grab me." He punched that one then the other two went down after a few more hits and one stab. "I said don't fucking touch me." He looked at his father. "I'm going to decline the intended health check I think. I'm pretty sure it's dangerous."

"Son, your liver function could be way off."

"It could be," he agreed, then smiled. "Then I'll die a martyr during a battle. Like I probably will some day anyway." He shrugged. "They don't need to draw my blood for that and I don't want to know what's in it because then someone else will find out," he finished more firmly, staring his father down.

His father sighed but nodded. "Perhaps but it's still best to be known in case they get you anyway during sex?"

"I have protections."

"They can't get into our systems."

"They can so. The UN took the bastards in."

"We're not affiliated."

Xander snorted, staring at him. "That doesn't mean you don't have leaks and if they knew they could use my blood and tissue to integrate those interesting things they were torturing beings for, there'd be a lot more problems."

"What happens if one of those charming dates of yours draws some?"

"Why would they want to? That fact isn't mentioned anywhere and if it gets known about I get to find out who spilled it and go after them instead." He stared at him. "Every system has leaks. Yours included. Me telling you was an act of trust. You telling others just broke it." His father winced. "Because if this gets me hunted, then you're going to have a lot of problems too. Where will they think I get it from?"

"I didn't record it anywhere, Xander. Calm down."

"You calm down!" He pointed at the agents he had knocked down. "You sent them after me. Did you expect me to be pleased?"

"No. I expected that at some point in the future you might need medical attention and they might find it."

"Why would they be looking for those particular things?"

"A good point but if someone doesn't know why you're sick they'd have to go looking."

"I doubt I'm going to be many places that have full hospitals. Most slayers aren't born in cities. They're born in backwoods areas that demons might be hiding in. Places that probably have a traveling doctors troupe maybe. I don't plan on being most anywhere large enough to have a university level hospital."

"They're not as rare as you think down there." He stared at him. "It could help you."

"It could also get me killed. This is why I'd never work for you guys, you'd get me killed by expecting things." His father rolled his eyes. "Beyond that, your system still has leaks. Leaks that finding this stuff out would mean I'm in danger, so thanks greatly for this talk as well." His father stiffened, staring at him. Xander stared back. "Do you want me to turn evil to protect myself and others? I can do that."

"I'd have to correct that," he said dryly.

"If you could catch me."

"You're not that good yet."

Xander smirked. "Are you sure of that? Sometimes it's a matter of who you know."

"Magic isn't usually accounted for but I can still track you. I'm that good."

"Yeah, and you're that overconfident. You sent two guys to LA to check on me and then came yourself when they couldn't find me, and you didn't find me."

"I did spot you."

"You saw Connor, Dad. I spotted you." He smiled. "I was on the other side of the club that night, getting a blowjob actually."

His father shook his head. "I can still track you if you become evil."

"If you're sure. You're still not getting blood. The protections I have on me won't let anyone take blood unless I'm conscious and let them."

"That could get you killed."

"And then again I'll probably die in a huge battle. There's only so many times you walk into an apocalypse battle with a battle axe and make it out alive."

"I do wish you'd quit that."

"Sorry, no one else to do it."

"You could teach."

"That's what I'm going to be doing. Mostly."

His father stared at him. "We can test it and not let it get out."

"So you can guarantee those lab techs won't tell anyone? Or anyone else who looks at it because I'm pretty sure they're going to be amazed at a few things."

"You're very paranoid."

"Yeah but there's things out to get me." A demon appeared with a scream and Xander glared. "Shut the fuck up." It stopped its lunge to stare at him. "You're interrupting a family squabble. You mind?"

"The red witch won't protect you," the demon sneered.

"I never expect Willow to protect me. To her I'm her puppy. Sorry but not reality." He shot it then put his gun back. He walked over to pick up a few things. "I need to give these back to his mother. It's only honorable and it'll dissolve if I don't get it off him." He looked and lifted one more thing then walked off. "Let me go to the local council."

"I can go with you."

"If you want but I'm not having the rest of this argument anywhere else. Why let others know? I'll be back in a few hours hopefully. Let me know if we're done for the day."

"Go have dinner, Xander." His trainer looked at the boy's father, shaking her head. "He's more stubborn than you are." She walked off. "Someone clean up the agents and the demon before it dissolves, whatever that means." She looked back at the mess, nodding. "I've done good with him." She went to file a report. She had no idea what they had really been talking about, she hoped, because if it was what she was thinking about they'd have to teach the boy common sense too. Common sense was way too rare for guys Xander's age.

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