The Bringer of New Horrors.
Tony kept track of Xander for a few more months, watching as he settled in a small town on a construction crew and bought a small farm with a good sized mortgage he was paying off pretty fast. He sent Xander an email about the farm once but he said there was a kitten poker circuit nearby so he was using his winnings to pay it off. Then Xander offered him some apples from his apple tree so Tony left it there.
Though he was still watching. Xander had a habit that may not be good for him. Especially when he saw that Xander had to take on something huge and somehow had a piece of artillery. Tony stared at that news report then looked at Gibbs, who was involved in the current case. He'd call Xander later about that weapon. Xander wasn't allowed to own artillery. He knew that.
Steve McGarrett, having seen the same article, blinked a few times. He looked up Xander's locked journal site but it hadn't been updated in a while. The phone number was bad. The email address still worked so that was something. He asked and Xander admitted he had forgotten his password and hadn't gotten to change it. So Steve put that phone number into his personal phonebook.
He asked about the artillery. Xander's quip back about 'no one here to blow the thing's head off' and a picture of the thing afterwards made him question Xander's sanity. He pointed out if Xander had said something one of the ones he knew might have shown up. Xander told him it was a big nothing so not a problem. Steve asked about other artillery and how he got it. Xander's answer of demon poker circuit made Steve mentally groan. He asked about how many other pieces there were in circulation, before something got used on people.
Xander pointed out he wasn't going to do that and most of them went off-realm for their wars. Steve moaned loud enough that it drew attention to him in his office. He sent back an email and said he'd talk to him later, he was at work and that was not the place to talk about this. Xander quipped back inside a forwarded cute pet email. "Great," he muttered. "Just...great." If he knew who else knew about Xander he'd talk to them about his collecting habit. Someone really needed to have a talk with that boy.
Xander was in LA right before the invasion. He had a nice enough motel room. He had hidden weapons so no one could find them. He had his axe, sword, and guns on him because he was playing kitten poker with a lot of nervous demons. He finally looked at one. "Relax," he said bluntly. "They heard." The demons around him relaxed. "Even if they move it, we'll still go stop it."
"Angel said it wasn't going to happen."
"I'll let a few of them go wake his pale ass up," Xander quipped. Someone leaned over the top of his head to stare down at him. "Hi, Steve." He grinned. "Did you come to visit LA?"
"Yes I did." He pulled a chair over and sat down after making sure nothing was on it. "I remember what you showed me." He stared at him. "Do we have things?"
"Yeah, we have things," Xander promised. "Hidden but things." A few of the demons around the room nodded. He grinned. "Do you have what you'll need?"
"Hopefully." Tony stomped in with Gibbs behind him. "Wow, you brought more help. DiNozzo, Gibbs," he said with a nod. Xander grinned and waved, getting back to his poker hand. The others all complained about humans but oh well. Steve looked at a loudly complaining one. "We're here for the thing tomorrow. We can go home if you want."
"No. Please help us handle that," he squeaked, slumping down in his seat.
Xander reached over to pat him on the arm. "It'll be okay for most everyone." The demon nodded, getting back to his poker hand. He grinned at Tony. "Did you two meet?"
"They had to come question a teammate," Steve said. "There's some sort of glow."
"I see auras so I can't tell." He cashed out and went with the guys. "So, how's it been going, guys? Anyone want some of my apples from my tree? I won't eat most of them myself."
"Donate them," Tony suggested.
"Nowhere in town," Xander admitted. "Or else I would have." They walked outside together and Xander looked back as part of his money disappeared. "I didn't know your name was Anya," he called. "Give it back! I don't want to go into that battle pissed off." One of the bouncers brought it out to him. "Thanks." He walked off with the guys following. "So are we gathering anywhere specific tomorrow?"
"We wanted to look at the artillery you won," Steve quipped. Tony moaned, shaking his head. "You didn't see that one fight?"
"I did." He swatted Xander on the head, making him yelp. "You can't have those."
Xander smiled. "We'll see how much is left tomorrow."
"Good point." They went to check the weapons. That caught the attention of an LAPD member but a demon showed up and they freaked out and ran off. Xander got his little U-Haul truck to another parking garage and they settled in to deal with it tonight. They could sleep in shifts and go back to Xander's motel room to change and shower in the morning. They all gathered around ten that morning at a coffee place near that law firm's office. Nothing for a bit. Until about one. Then there was an explosion. And a lot of demons. Humans screaming and running. Some taping. Gibbs and Tony were alerting people it was now and it was huge. Xander had called a few of the hunters in town to let them know. They all stepped in to start dealing with it. The police showed up. The agents in town showed up. Xander broke out the weapons. Which Steve took control of.
Gibbs looked over from blowing off a demon's head. "McGarrett, when this is done, they're yours. We'll let you hand them in for destruction."
"Hey!" Xander complained. "Those sort usually try to confiscate my swords too. You can have the higher things but the rest are mine."
"We'll see," Tony quipped.
"All legal," Xander quipped back with an evil smirk before he beheaded the demon in front of them. He shot the next one and the one behind it but then had to behead again. "Steve, the portal has to be wrecked," he called. "Hit the boundary, not the portal."
"I can have someone do that." He called that in. "General, McGarrett. That thing I warned you about, it's now. The portal is inside the law firm. Break the boundary not the portal itself. I have confiscated a demon hunter's artillery stash he brought for this thing. Yes, that's me and him, General. Got it." He hung up. "DiNozzo, my general would love the higher weapons back but I doubt he'd take the guns."
"My guns," Xander said firmly. "All mine. All legal. Quit." He beheaded another thing and shot a glare at Steve. "Sorry but I don't answer to a military authority. My higher power is 'gotta solve this shit'. Which is now going to be in the open thanks to all the cameras around here." He went back to it, moving off. Steve followed because he wanted to make sure Xander made it through it. "I'm fine, can handle this."
"I can't," Steve told him. "So I'm going to be near the most knowledgeable source I can find until we're done. That way if something weird pops up, I can handle it." He pointed at one.
Xander looked. "That's Lorne, he's on our side. Leave him alone."
"Okay. That's good to know." He called that information in. Thankfully the demons coming out were all of one type. It made not hitting the helpful ones easier. By the end, Xander didn't have any artillery anyway and he was in a lot of pain from injuries. Plus out of breath. Steve was in the same shape. Gibbs had joined with a military unit who was firing on the demon invaders. Tony had helped the LA hunting team by using his shotguns. Steve looked around at the mess. "Damn glad I'm not on clean up." He limped over to Xander, making him stand up. "Leaning down will make it hurt more. C'mon, we're going to the medics."
"Fuck no, I don't trust them. I'll hit an ER, thanks." He limped off but Steve stopped him. "Steve, I don't trust them," he said bluntly, staring at him. "How many of them won't like me because of a little DNA contamination?"
"So don't tell them."
"They'll find out. Then I'll be hunted. So no." He got free. "Sorry but go get treated." He limped off again. He found a demon healer and nodded at their guard. "Which ER is better?"
"General." He pointed. "A few more blocks that way, Knight."
"Thanks." He limped off. A military guy tried to stop him. "I'm going to an ER."
"We have special medics, sir."
Xander stared at him. "Yes, I'm aware of their sort. I had to get help to bring down a military project that hated all demons and tortured them. I'll go to a regular ER. Thanks." The guy backed out of his way. "Thank you. If you find my machete, give it to Gibbs please." He limped off again. He moved around Gibbs' group and waved when Gibbs yelled his name. "No."
"Fine. We'll check on you later."
"Whatever." He growled at the guy in his way, making him move. "Thanks." He smirked some. "Did Angel make it, Wes?" He slowly shook his head. "I'm sorry you lost him then." He gave him a short, painful hug. "I'll be gone again tomorrow."
"You could stay," he said hoarsely.
"No. Not really. I only deal with huge things or if they're in my face. Thanks though. Tell everyone I said hi and keep Willow from trying to kill me again? She tried last week." Wesley winced but let him go. "I'm going to General."
"Medics?" Wesley asked with a point.
"Swim team, Wes." He gave him a pointed look.
"Three blocks then left," Wesley said with a point. Xander grinned, limping off again. He sighed, going to check on the others of them. "Xander said hello on his way to the ER at General."
Gunn looked up from being stitched. "Boy's tough. He should be fine." Wesley nodded he agreed. "Anything else?"
"His machete is missing," Steve called. "If anyone finds where I lost it on him please give it to Gibbs or those guys." He pointed. Someone handed it over. "Thank you." Steve let the medics take him. "Please have something to drink?" They handed him a few bottles of gatorade and some energy bars. Steve tucked into them while he got stitches. He looked at his general. "It sucked, sir."
"It did. We had a lot of unknown species out there."
"They're locals and they're helping," Steve said firmly. "We respect them for falling in for the huge emergency that blew their kind into the open." The general stared at him. Steve stared back. "They were hiding long before the military tried to figure out how to rip them apart. If such a group would start again, a lot of us would feel the need to bring them down."
"We did what?" the general demanded.
"Go ask Gibbs, sir." He pointed. "He's NCIS and arrested a lot of them."
"In my navy?"
"In the Rangers for a lot of them." Steve stared at him. The general stomped off to demand to know why the locals were being so upset by the military cleaning things up. Gibbs told him and Tony added a note.
"General, they would probably like some way to claim their dead," Tony told him. "Preferably without a lot of extra incisions." The general winced. "Would you like them to do it to your family?"
"No. I can pass on that order. Most of us are just gathering things. We didn't count on that." He went to tell that to the clean up teams. They were already separating them out but there were medics there looking over the bodies. "People, they're locals."
"They're not human," one of the medics said.
"Yes, apparently the army found out about that at one time and did things so disgusting they got the rest of us hated by proxy." The medic stepped back, nodding. "They'd like to get their honored dead back."
"We can arrange that, sir," one said. "We'll talk with their healers." He pointed at that area. "They're guarded and we don't blame them. A few of them are really freaked out at us. I guess we know why now." He looked at his fellow doctor and got back to work. "We're just numbering them for the moment, sir. That way we can note it on the report."
"That's fine. I can go tell them myself. That way no one has to get any bad ideas about our boys and girls having bad ideas." He walked over there. A bodyguard sort got in his way. "I'm here in peace, son. I wanted to thank people and let you know that they're separating out the dead."
A healer came out, mostly human looking. "General."
He smiled at her. "Thank you for helping, ma'am. You and all your peoples have our thanks for helping stop this problem. Our medics over there are separating out anyone who wasn't from that portal." He pointed. "They're giving them numbers since we don't have any names. The reports will have to be done."
"I remember those when I was in the military," the healer said, smiling slightly. "Thank you for not being like those ones who tortured our people."
"I just heard about that. Made me sick, ma'am. If they try it again, let us know." He shook her hand. "Be safe and we'll be here for hours cleaning things up. Who would know about the group that started that?"
"Wolfram and Hart's senior board and a few from outside the US," she said. "We told those who would understand. That's why agents got here so fast. And the Knight." She looked at the guard. "We have not seen him?"
"He asked for an ER. I sent him to General," the guard said.
"That's fine. He would be uneasy with us and with theirs." She smiled at the general. "We will be taking ours back to the clinics within an hour."
"That's fine, ma'am. We'll be here probably until tomorrow. Let us know so we can block any reporters that might try to bother you." She nodded and went back to her patients. He went to talk to Gibbs again. "They're probably right to be paranoid."
"Probably," Gibbs agreed. "I would be if I was them." He leaned against the jeep behind him. "Agents and MP's are already blocking off reporters."
"That's fine. Let us know when we need to give them a better exit strategy."
"DiNozzo is handling that, General. He and I were there to take down the project that made them hate the US military."
"Good to know. Anyone else there?"
"You saw the shitpile last month? O'Neill was there."
"That poor general but at least someone handled it." He went off to talk to his SEALs again. Most of them were conscious and injured but enduring. "We'll release you boys to a local base tonight to clean up and rest before you go back to your normal duties. I've already arranged it. It'll be newbie barracks but you can handle it for a night."
McGarrett shook his head. "I need to check on the one I was fighting beside, General. He won those weapons in poker games and I can probably make sure that was all he had."
"Not a bad idea. You have permission to go find him tomorrow, McGarrett. Confiscate anything bad."
"He went on a 'my weapons' fit," Steve admitted quietly.
"Yeah, I would too if I had to deal with this sort of thing often." He walked off, going to talk to the other military leaders there. The governor was already there demanding answers. He pointed him at Gibbs. Better an agent than a soldier to deal with politicians. They were used to them.
Steve had to go back to Xander's farm to find him the next day. He had flown out that night to avoid them. He knocked on the door before walking in. Xander looked up from changing his bandages. Steve settled in to help him. "I got ordered to check to make sure you don't have any more."
"That's because you narked."
"It's the law, Xander."
"Yeah but demons don't really fall under the law." He gave him a pointed look. "I'm pretty well down to guns now." He taped down the last piece of gauze. "Thanks for the help."
"Need any others checked?"
"No, I'm good. Just not answering the phone or the door. My boss has already left a threatening voicemail." He sighed. "I'll find another job somewhere."
"Going to move?"
"I have another ten years of payments on the farm."
"If you sell it for at least that amount, you can pay off that mortgage."
"Yeah but I had a lot of problems getting this one."
"That could be a good point." He stared at him. "I still have to look." Xander shrugged but got up to make coffee. Steve watched him. "I ate at the airport, Xander. Don't worry about me." Xander gave him a look. "What?" he asked patiently.
"Even if I had weapons I wouldn't tell you, Steve. I'll need them again some day."
"You can play more poker."
"Not really. The local circuit dried up last year." Steve grimaced. "They wanted out of the midwest. Not that I really blame them. There's really nothing to do around here but go to bars."
"Yeah. That can happen in any small town anywhere though." He took his cup of coffee. "Thanks." Xander nodded, sitting down with his toast and scrambled eggs. "Are you all right?"
"Yeah, so far. No mob with torches has shown up."
"If they do, I'll help since I'm here." Xander smirked at him. "Really." He let the kid eat then let him show him around the farm. Xander even showed him his gun room. It was nice, neatly put together, and had a good selection. That's about when the locals showed up to yell at him. Steve walked out there, staring at them. He was in his uniform so they knew he was in the Navy. "Gentlemen," he said with a nod.
"He was there with those *things*," one of them shouted with a point at the house. "You shouldn't be here."
"I should be here. We were both fighting that invasion." He stared at them. "So were a lot of other military people. A lot of agents too. Did you want us to not fight and let them take over LA to eat people?" One of them threw a rock at him but he batted it aside. "That's rude, people. Don't make me call the police." Another rock got thrown, this time by a guy in a uniform. Then Gibbs drove up and got out with DiNozzo.
"Federal Agents," Gibbs yelled. "Move it. Now! Before I arrest all of you!" A few fled. Tony and he got into the group, arresting them all. The local sheriff came out to protest but Gibbs had State Police on their way and they overruled the sheriff.
Tony walked up to look at Xander. "You should probably move," he said quietly.
Xander nodded. "I have years left on the mortgage, Tony." He stared at him. "And housing prices are falling, not going up. I won't be able to move with what I'd get under these circumstances."
An ascended being appeared, staring at him. "Well, you said you wanted to still help," she said.
"Hey, Cordelia. The Powers mad?"
"Well, fuck them. We can bring the last demons up there to them if they want." She smirked at him. "Seriously, I will."
"No, not really in their plans, Xander." She smirked. "They hate you enough to have one of *them* be out of jail and in this area."
"I met him earlier," Xander said with a nod. "He's already on his way to hell."
She blinked at him. "What?"
He stared back. "I called a justice ring on him." She shuddered, backing away slowly. "Be damned if I go back to that tumor again because some higher up is mad that we won and humanity is going on without bowing and scraping. You can quote me." He grinned. "Or I can go visiting if I want."
"No, you're back in your body."
"Yeah and I can get out of it again if I want to. Done it a few times." She shrank back. He walked over to hug her. "You have a great afterlife nagging people, Cordy," he said quietly, smiling at her. "We miss you." He kissed her on the cheek then stepped back to let her go. "You have a great life."
"I..." She sighed. "Okay. You too. You should definitely move."
"I have a mortgage, Cordy."
"Maybe there's someone who wants to put up a paranoid compound around here," she said. "It could get you somewhere safer, like Hawaii."
Xander looked at her oddly. "Why Hawaii?"
She pointed. "He's going to end up there some day. That way you know people you can talk to about stuff. And there's some protections so Willow can't do anything there. Considering I had to stop her earlier from a mass memory charm to consider yesterday a hallucination...." He winced, shaking his head as he looked down. "Giles is in 'oh dear god' land again and cleaning his glasses. Wes is livid about the press coverage and Travers blaming him."
"I warned you guys when I had that vision," Xander quipped.
"We remember, Xander. We know it's not your fault. Or anyone but Wolfram and Hart's fault. They did the portal thing." She grimaced. "Hawaii would be better and you could get back to studying your bellybutton. It'd also keep the O'Neill thing from coming down on you." Xander winced. "Yeah, that report got released by one of the higher ups trying to make O'Neill look heroic. Your getting them and the growly one over there was noted. Sorry."
"Who released those?" Tony sighed.
"Not a clue, hottie," she said with a smile. "But you're cute."
"I can't date ghosts. I'd miss cuddles and sex," Tony quipped. "What can we do to protect ourselves?"
"Go into hiding for a bit," she sad with a grin. "It'll protect you and that goth girl and all those other sorts around you. Your new director...having a *huge* Willow fit. It came with the red hair." She looked at Xander. "Try to move to Hawaii. It'll be safer. You can still do farm and building stuff."
"I can think about that. I have no idea how I'd buy out there. It's more expensive than here. Had to fight really hard to get the mortgage for this one."
"I forgot. Medical bills."
"They should've taken care of those," Tony said, looking at Gibbs.
"That's news to me and Sinai Hospital," Xander said dryly. "Because I'm still paying them off. Will be until I die probably and still be owing more."
Steve looked at him. "They're that bad?"
"The cheapest days were twelve hundred," Xander said. "About sixty of the year and eleven months in the hospital were twelve thousand a day." Steve flinched, shaking his head with a sigh. "I had insurance but..." He shrugged. "It got canceled shortly after I went in there since it was through my job."
"Crap." Steve looked at Gibbs.
"They were supposed to pay them off," he agreed. "We all talked about it and they agreed to."
"Guys, I'm a realistic person. Those sort won't care about me. I'm not one of them. I wasn't physically there to stop the mess. Victims of messes like that get shut up, and I'm still fighting against the ones that show up now and then." They all looked at him. "I had one show up at work and start to threaten me the other day. They don't care about me as long as I don't go on the news. And with yesterday, doing that is out of the question anyway because there's a lot of people like those idiots who hated me for saving their asses. It's not going to change just because we saved LA and probably most of humanity. Well, at least this and the connected continent. They can't fly or swim so they'd have to be moved so therefore taken out then." He shrugged at the continued staring going on. "Really."
"We can talk to the agent that showed up the other day," Tony said patiently.
"It won't make them do anything, Tony. They had their chance and decided not to. I get that. I should've been louder about the hell." He shrugged and walked off, going to get more coffee. He still had to reclean his blades and axe to make sure they were really clean from all the goo from yesterday. He had cleaned them but he had been tired and may have missed things that would tarnish or even corrode the metal.
Tony looked at the people they had arrested. "Which agent showed up at his work?" he asked. They all glared at him. "You know, the ones that have been living in LA for generations probably want to move somewhere safer. This would be a great new enclave area."
"It's not safe enough for that," Gibbs said. "Pity. They probably could use the peaceful area to stay safe in right now." He frowned. "Go search the house, DiNozzo. Find their card." Tony strolled in to do that. He looked at McGarrett. "What were your orders?"
"Find the artillery he still had." He leaned on a porch support. "Which he says he doesn't have any more of."
"Yeah, I believe that too," Gibbs said dryly. "Really."
Steve grinned. "Me too." Tony came out with the card and was already calling someone. "I told my general yesterday why all the natives were trying to get away from them. He wasn't pleased."
"I still have disgusted nightmares about breaking that project," Tony admitted. "Yes, Agent Peters. I am calling about Mr. Harris. Actually, he's helped us a lot over the years." The agent spewed some rancid stuff. Tony handed the phone to Gibbs and looked at Steve. "The barn?"
"A wreck from what I could tell. He may be out of anything bigger." Steve grimaced when Gibbs walked off talking to that agent. "Xander's scrubbing down his axe."
"We can help him." They went to help Xander calm down. He was nearly glowing in the dark room. "Are you going to go out of your body again?"
"Don't tempt me to go talk to the PTB," Xander muttered. "I'm fine, guys."
"Yeah." Steve sat down, taking the cleaning cloth and sword. "Teach me how to sharpen these? That's not how I do my blades." Xander nodded, showing him the picky art of sharpening a sword. The tip to side blade transition was a bit delicate. He and Tony helped sharpen and clean everything in the armory until Gibbs found them later.
"That agent is very sorry he's an idiot," Gibbs said. "Though he was bringing the agreement out to you. He wasn't sure why, just that you were to read it over and agree to it, Xander." Xander looked at him. "You didn't let him get that out."
"That's because he got out of his rental Fed-mobile sneering."
"Yeah, that was his idiot moment. He had no idea that you were a victim of agents that got arrested. He does now and he'll be bringing *me* the agreement so I can make sure of it. Then we'll talk." He looked over the armory. "Where's your bigger guns?" Xander pointed at the closet. Steve leaned over to open it, frowning at what it contained. "Didn't you have more?"
"Lost 'em during the battle," Xander admitted.
"Your machete's in the car," Steve told him. "So is your shotgun." Xander smiled at him. "Least I could do since I was coming out here anyway."
"I really don't have any more artillery." The three older men all gave him looks. "I brought it all with me. The poker circuit's been pretty dry recently because of the massive off-realm wars going on."
"We can still see the room," Steve said with a grin. Xander rolled his eyes but took them out to look at the empty rooms. They were simply dug out but pretty roomy. "Was this all full?"
"How much did you bring from Sunnydale?" Tony asked.
"Those...are inconvenienced." Steve and Gibbs both gave him dirty looks. He picked up one to show them the miniature weapon. "Willow'd. No one can undo them."
"Fuck," Steve said. "That could've been very handy during the invasion. Did you ask her?"
"She tried to set me on fire for grabbing my stuff out of Sunnydale. Now I know for certain why my car exploded in Oxnard on my roadtrip," Xander said dryly. "You can ask her if you want. There's a ton of stuff we really could've used during the invasion." He pointed and let them bring up all those shrank boxes. Xander had one piece of small artillery left and it wasn't much beyond a heavy powered rifle. And the Gatling gun he had behind the barn for taking bad moods out on some wood.
Gibbs looked it over, shaking his head. "It works."
"Yes it does. I put a huge chunk of wood out there and blow the hell out of it some days," Xander quipped. "It's helpful."
Steve patted him on the arm. "That's easier than doing target rounds." Xander nodded, heading back toward the house. They all heard the heavy engine and someone tried to ram the house but Xander had a forcefield of some sort built in front of it that responded to a keychain remote. "Where did you get that?" he asked as Gibbs and Tony ran out to stop the idiots in the pickup truck.
"I stole one from the old base and retuned it to cover the house." He shrugged. "Not that hard."
Steve took it to look over. He waited until the truck was turned off to bring it down so he could look at the generator itself. "We could use that."
Tony looked over. "Yes we should be using it instead of bars." The State Police officer that was stationed nearby huffed but came to pick these yahoos up too. "Trying to run through his house, Lieutenant." He grinned. "Xander's not going to put up with that."
"They all think he's demonic because the local doctor doesn't see him," he said, looking at Xander.
Xander shrugged. "She's creepy and a flesh eater." The lieutenant flinched, shaking his head. "Doctor Sarah? Yeah she is. And yes, you can tell them I did get exposed to demon blood when I was a demon hunter for four years. I have a grand total of two chromosomes of fish demon taint." The guy slumped, staring at him. "If they hate it that much, they should probably have the stupid hunting group in the next county that they sell their yearly deer to move too. Mine barely shows on a DNA test. They're fully ones."
"Crap. How long have you known that?"
Xander smiled at him. "Lieutenant, I was born and raised in Sunnydale on that hellmouth. I helped a slayer hunt for four years before that brain tumor brought me down. And that was given to me by that military group out there that I sent people to bust." He pointed at Gibbs and Tony. The guy moaned. "I was Buffy's backup warrior. Though, fuck her because she's a horrible friend. The ones in town who are panicking are idiots. They know damn well I only handle ones that are causing problems. And most vampires if I catch one." The lieutenant walked off calling someone.
Xander looked at the two yahoos. "You two are just part of that purity group in the next country on the other side. Pity about you being racist assholes but I don't do for your kind. I'd rather have ten thousand peaceful demons than ten of you. At least they're decent beings with morals and ethics." They tried to move. "And if you try to attack me again, I get to go use alllll the stuff I learned from years of demon hunting to hunt all of you down and blow you the fuck up.
"You're not nearly as hard as a huge demon snake that would've been bigger than a football field." He gave them a pointed look as they shrank away from him. "Got it?" One nodded, looking away from him. "Good!" He smiled. "Then I won't have another of these. Because if I go missing the rest of my stuff, especially my pictures from a friend I lost, I'll still kill you all. Every last one of you. Including any wives that you've included. Though I have no doubt you probably had to brainwash them into loving you. Most women aren't as full of hate as you are. Now, you guys have a nice life and I hope some nice people will pray for you. I'd do that but the higher powers hate me for warping prophecies. Though the Goddess might forgive you for dirtying her creation." One was about to cry. He looked at the lieutenant, who was staring at him. "She probably would."
"Maybe. You're not Christian, kid?"
"No. Because no God like that would've let kids like me suffer the way I did before and after I found demon hunting." He gave him a pointed look. "I tried. It failed me." The lieutenant grimaced. "Sorry but not my way. I may swear to him now and then, and he's probably happy to get anything positive from me. Unfortunately, demon hunters are overseen by other higher powers. The Powers That Be are over the slayers and most of the hunters. They think they want a true balance between good and evil and we're all pawns." He smiled. "I'm *so* going to go introduce them to reality some day soon." The lieutenant shuddered. "Exactly. The one that was here earlier? She's one of their mouthpieces. And my ex-girlfriend."
"Damn you're not normal."
"No, but then again I had to weed out the radiation I had from the damn hellmouth out there. Radiation sickness sucks."
"I figure it does." He hauled those two guys with him and had someone come pick up the pickup truck.
Xander looked at the staring people, shrugging some. "It means they really want to leave me alone. Miss Clara, the local librarian keeps trying to pray for me. I should see if Cordy would like to tell her why." He walked off again. "Let me go protect my stuff since I can feel magic building and it feels like dark magic." He took the portal generator inside and set it around his special stuff. He threw a few more things inside the bubble when he felt the magical being appear. He got one last thing in before someone tried to attack the house but Steve slapped the living fuck out of Willow and made her stop it.
"Thank you," he called. He decided to make tea. They'd have others here soon. Probably that coven. Yup, he could feel more magic building and brought out the tea pot and mugs. "Sorry, no real tea cups out here. I'm a guy. I only serve tea for formal things," he told the staring witches. "Are you guys going to finally stop her from trying to burn me because I didn't get with her plan to have an owner who abused me? Or how she started soulmates for everyone?"
They stared at him. He grinned and waved. "Hi, I'm Xander." One of them slumped. "Yeah, exactly. This is the third time she's tried to burn me to death. Frankly, I'm going to let it rebound next time," he said, glaring at Willow. Then he smiled at the witches again. "Tea? I just brewed it." He let them get some tea and got more cups since Tony and Steve could use some too. He came out to sit on his house's stairs. "Anyway, what's her malfunction this time?"
"She said you've broken the wish she cast at you to make you better," one said.
"Um, no. I don't have a soulmate. Never have that I can tell. If I did, he was probably the friend that died when we were in tenth grade. Which was how soulmates got spread into the rest of humanity, looking for mine." He looked at Willow then at them. "Then again the PTB hate me for warping their playing field to make sure humanity won and they had more light than balance. Heard from one of their mouthpieces earlier about that actually." He sipped his tea. "Oh, Willow, Cordelia said hi. She's working with Whistler." He looked at the appearing messenger. "I can go get you some water, Whistler. I'm out of tea."
"No thanks, Harris." He looked at Willow. "You've gone so dark the Powers That Be think you're the next great evil."
"No, I knocked her out when she nearly went there when Tara died," Xander said. "Before I escorted Tara to her safe eternal spot." He sipped his tea again. "Though, can we switch them so Willow went and we kept Tara?"
"Don't tempt them, kid. They wanted her to do that so she'd have to call all the slayers to fight that invasion and other problems." Willow moaned, shaking her head.
"Yeah but that would've meant that over two-thirds of all the potentials, little girls, would've been killed horrifically," Xander said. "Fuck that idea. I'm not into that. Though I might have not minded when the First Evil blew up the Council itself, I won't let the potentials be done that way."
"You weren't ascended."
Xander smiled. "That meant that they couldn't try to make me not interfere, Whistler. I was nicely in between while out of my body and spent a lot of time on the astral plane. Have you ever been?" The balance demon slowly shook his head. "It's like you're standing on a glowing cobweb inside a navy blue space with light amounts of sparkly spots but there's puddles of portals that show you limited events." Whistler stared, mouth open. Xander smiled. "It took me a month to get off the astral plane. Of course I looked at some of the puddles. I saw how some of them connected to me and worked to get some things eased. Like that Initiative mess that I had to get help to stop. Or O'Neill's outing."
"They're still saying that's evil of them to deal with the aliens," one of the witches said, looking at him oddly.
Xander rolled his head to look at her. "Evil would've been letting them come through to treat us as slaves again. Like they did in Egypt."
"I remember someone had a theory about that," the lead witch said, sipping her tea. "Very nice blend, young man."
"Thank you. I find it nice after I've been meditating too long." He smiled. "That guy works on O'Neill's project. He was right." The witch moaned, shaking her head. "They fought them first. Then they turned on a machine and found another enemy. And one in a further galaxy that eats people." He grinned. "But not their bodies. Just their energies."
"Crap," the last witch muttered. "I saw one of them during my own meditation. Eats through things on their hands."
"Yup. That's O'Neill's people fighting them," Xander said. "And they took down the Initiative for everyone. With Gibbs and Tony's help," he said with a point and a grin. "That way they could be arrested." He looked at Willow then at them again. "Isn't she on probation?" They nodded. "Then why is she being allowed to try to burn me and my things?"
"She's not," the lead witch noted. Xander pointed and the fire behind them went out. The wood was repaired by magic as well. She glared at Willow. "What are you doing?"
"He's profaning my wish!" she shouted, trying to get up to her knees. "You have a protector somewhere!"
"No, I don't. And I don't need one, Willow. I may not be as strong as I was before I went down to their brain tumor drugs, but I'm still pretty strong overall. I'm back to working construction again. I've actually started to get my life on track. I've made friends, until the battle happened."
"You weren't there," she sneered.
"He was there," Steve told her. "He was followed on national news because they realized he had a clue what he was doing with that axe and swords of his. They did a good twenty minutes of following him fighting the battle, Willow. Then the military showed up so they switched to them and did a more broad look at the area. It's all over the news channels and youtube." He looked at the witches. "Does she have a brain tumor?"
"We had her checked," the last witch admitted. "She's jealous."
"She's stuck," Xander corrected. "She's stuck back in high school. She has to have the attention on her and only her because that means that she's worth something." He looked at her. "That's why you made my car explode in Oxnard. You thought I'd come home sooner. Instead I ended up stripping a lot." She dry heaved. "It was fun sometimes. I got to dick tease a few different arms dealers." He finished his tea and put the mug down. "I found out I was bi then too. I had a whole lot of fun and learned a lot from the other guys dancing there. Most of them had worse lives than we did but I did learn a lot about people and personal strength from them."
"Did six weeks undercover as one," Tony quipped. "You do learn a lot about humanity and it's not the happy parts." Xander nodded that was true. "You really stripped?"
"I mostly worked in the kitchen but we had people who came in late or left early or just didn't show up so I did more than a few turns. I asked and the guys helped me learn what rhythm was. I froze my first two times and got pity drinks, and the arms dealer. Then they helped me and I did a lot better. I got more than pity drink sales. And that arms dealer. And a serial killer." He grinned a tiny bit. "Great tipper. Wanted me to be his helper to his Hannibal Lector." Gibbs choked, walking off shaking his head. "Sorry, Gibbs." He looked at Tony. "Is Sergeant Wallace still around?"
"Probably," he said. "I'll check when we get back to the office." Tony stared at him. "How did you get his attention?"
"I draw bad boys and girls," he quipped with a grin. "My last one was the sort that tinkered with animals to do genetic testing and the like."
"Eww," Steve said. "Necessary but yuck." He sipped his tea, looking at the cup. "That is a nice blend." Xander grinned. "I'm finding that I don't meditate a lot but I can get out of my body easier now."
"Too many new injuries?" Xander guessed. Steve nodded that was a probability. "Tony?"
"It's not hard for me once I figured out how to do it on my own. I just need a nap afterwards. I wear myself out doing that. I found how to play six degrees of separation to find the guy that's going to cause a lot of problems soon." He looked at Steve. "We have a Mossad guy showing up soon who's actually a traitor."
"Ari?" he asked. Tony nodded. "I'm so sorry. We weren't allowed to take him down and out when my SEAL team ran into him. He was considered an information asset."
"Great. Well, we're going to have to try. He's coming for Gibbs."
"That really sucks," Steve said. "If I'm near there, ask for my help." Tony smiled and nodded. He looked at Xander. "You don't go after those sort, right?"
"No, I tend to get bought drugged drinks by those sort and end up in their beds. It's a pity but that sort don't believe in anyone else's pleasure. It'd be great if a few of them believed I'd like to get off too. They won't even hand job me."
"That is horribly rude," Tony agreed. Gibbs was still moaning. "Did you ask them?"
"They said I'm there to make them happy, not myself. Which means I usually rob them when I get tired of dealing with them and walk off." Steve moaned, staring at him. He grinned. "I have a filing cabinet in there of their stuff if she didn't burn it." Steve went to find it. Tony followed, taking Xander's mug with him to put into the kitchen. Xander looked at the witches. "What are you going to do with her?"
"The slayer needs her help," the lead witch admitted. "She's horribly upset right now."
"Yeah, the same people that gave me the brain tumor gave her mom hers."
"They needed stopped," the lead witch said.
"Which is why I asked Gibbs and O'Neill," Xander quipped with a smirk. "They handled it where I couldn't help handle it. And stomped them a lot while respecting the demon communities."
"It was a good job they did," the lead witch agreed. "I have no idea what to do with her."
"Well, when she showed up I knew it was her by the dark magic," Xander said. "She's full of dark magic. Hellmouth and blood magic. I don't know why she's got blood magic taint though."
The witches walked over to test her. The backup witch moaned, swatting the girl. "You have disappointed us horribly, Willow, and Tara's memory. Would she have liked you to do this?" She swatted her again. The witches shared a look. "We will be binding her and sending her home. Are you staying here, Harris?"
"I probably shouldn't but I have a mortgage."
"That makes sense. Perhaps you can do something about it." They took Willow with them. The boy was nicer than they were led to expect by the Council.
Xander looked at Whistler. "Will that help Buffy?"
"A swift kick might help her more," he said more quietly, walking closer. "You could go back."
"No, I can't." Xander stared at him. "I hate having to weed out the radiation I gathered from the hellmouth. Radiation sickness sucks ass, Whistler. Also...yeah, I might be willing to help save the planet. Not with her. She didn't visit me a single time and nagged me when my treatments knocked me down for a few patrol nights because it meant she had to do more work that she discounted me doing anyway. Friends don't rip you apart that way."
"No, they don't. The Powers weren't watching over your little group."
"I noticed. They were playing ahead into the next decade." He nodded. "They only noticed that we had changed things during graduation from what I could tell. They were horrified Buffy was still alive and went looking. I got flashes of it that night."
"Yeah, they were." He stared at the boy. "You might be considered in the way."
"I will bring weapons up there to say hi," he said bluntly then smiled. "I'm sure they'd love to see where their inattention got them mixed up. I mean, they didn't see Buffy and Angel either."
"No, they didn't and it confused them."
"That's because beings who don't know love can't ever be humane. Or human." Xander stood up. "They can quit sending the panicking sort too, Whistler. I can and will go back to my out-of-body state to mess with things that need it. It's easier now than it was before." He grinned slightly. "I have the knack for finding screwed up things and helping straighten them out."
"We saw. Can you stay out of it?"
"I'm down to self protection." He shrugged. "Not much for me to handle right now."
"Yeah, I get that, kid. All right, I'll let them know. The ascendeds might complain."
"Yup, they tried that and I pointed out I wasn't one of them. I was basically ghosting around." He grinned. "Atlantis is really pretty by the way." Whistler let out a moan that made Gibbs stare at them. "You can tell them I said that." He nodded, disappearing. Xander settled down to wait on the next attack. A local demon appeared and stomped up to him. "Welcome," he said in a demon trade tongue.
The demon stared at him. "You are not a hunter," he sneered.
"I'm Xander," he said with a smirk. "I used to back up the slayer in Sunnydale."
"No, I was out of my body for a long time but I survived the brain tumor the Initiative gave me to get me out of their way." He shrugged but grinned slightly. "Of course I helped end them."
The demon stared at him. "You are not him."
"I am him." He pulled out his wallet and old ID, letting him see it and the pictures he still carried. "See?"
The demon stared, wincing at what he saw. "Oh, dear." Xander nodded. "We worried you were a hunter."
"Only if I find someone being violent towards others. I don't care and welcome the peaceful and nice ones. I've always been that way. I leave the peaceful alone."
"I welcome that distinction." He shook Xander's hand and went back to their little clearing. "He is the White Knight. He showed me his old license." They groaned. "He said he openly welcomed the peaceful but we have made ourselves a problem. Thankfully he has some humor still."
"We heard he was dead," one of their people said.
"He said the Torturing Ones gave him a brain tumor and he had been out of his body but alive," the first demon said. They all moaned. They would sent him a letter of apology and help him protect the grounds from the yahoo sort that would bother them all. It was very fair of them to do that since he hadn't taken them all out for trying to harm him. Or helped the Red Witch when she tried to harm him.
Xander looked at the agent that was driving up the driveway. "There's the great sneering one, Gibbs." He looked at Steve. "If I could get those unshrunk and working again it'd be a lot of great help."
"I'd still have to confiscate it," Steve said smugly.
Xander pointed behind him. "You sure?" The three agents and one SEAL looked over at the fields and Xander waved. "You're in the wrong part of my land, dude," he called. "I know your kind's not peaceful or harmless." The demon grunted and threw something at him. The protections held. Xander sighed as he got up and went to get his axe. He heard someone shoot at it. "It grows with each metal based injury unless it's silver," he called. He came out with his axe and dove in to kill the thing. It wasn't that hard to kill. It just stunk. He panted once he was done. "I'm still out of shape. This sucks."
Gibbs stared at him. "You lasted the whole battle yesterday."
"Yeah because you've got to. You can't just lay down and nap during a battle, Gibbs." He gave him a funny look. "Difference between a battle and a fight."
Tony nodded. "That's true. Battles you keep going because you have to," Steve agreed. "Then you usually have clean up and/or debriefing times before you get a rest. I've fallen asleep during a few debriefs and got my butt chewed like there wasn't going to be a tomorrow."
"I did sniper duty," Gibbs admitted. "The few battles I was in, I was exhausted by the end but he's right, you have to keep going when it's necessary. Kid, gym time?"
"I was working construction. I never had gym time before. I grew stamina in high school by jumping in. And a few bad girlfriends."
"Damn," Tony muttered, shaking his head. He looked at the staring agent. "Agreement?"
"How did he know how to do that?"
"I was helping the slayer in my former hometown," Xander said dryly. "She needed it so it wasn't one cheerleader saving humanity. Then I got a brain tumor thanks to some torturing little fucks in the army." Gibbs handed over the agreement after reading it. "Why do they want medical checks?"
"To make sure it doesn't come back like Mrs. Summers' did," Tony said more quietly. "I can't promise treatment but they might like the samples to test on."
"My doc put out a journal article about mine and Joyce's tumors since they hadn't been seen before and were caused." He looked at Gibbs, who nodded he had seen it. "Too bad mine had been too far gone then. There's days I think this is some sort of alternate dream world inside my coma."
"There's days I'd like it to be that way because it meant that the messed up things weren't reality," Tony said, patting him on the arm. He looked the agreement over. "Gibbs, they seriously rewrote what they agreed on during that meeting. There's no treatment clause. There's actually a clause that says if he needs treatment he's to be ignored."
Gibbs took it back to look over, walking off calling someone. "Sir. I'm going to read you the agreement that got handed to Mr. Harris." He read it as he walked around the house to check it. He paused at one point. "Harris, you have fanged bunnies back here," he yelled. "Living in a shadow."
"Yeah, I know I have a vampire bunny, Gibbs. I think she was pregnant too. I was going to see if anyone wanted them."
"Okay." He went back to reading as he walked. The secretary of the navy was not pleased. He was choking and spluttering saying that's not what they had agreed on. "I'm out here, sir, with DiNozzo and a SEAL Harris met once. Yes, that one. We've already handled the attacks on his house today. Please do. The agent that brought this sneered at him and is still sneering at him, sir. Thank you." He hung up and walked back to the front. "He'll send out the real one that wasn't tampered with," Gibbs said.
The agent glared at him. "He's...."
"A combat vet from saving people's lives," Tony said firmly, glaring at the little toad. "We fucked up his life in a merciless way and we should pay for doing that to him since the army decided he was in their way to torture beings."
"Maybe they should be!" the agent sneered.
Xander pulled out a gun, pointing it at him. "I loathe bigots. I don't know if you were part of their little group or just a silent supporter but I'll be damned and you're trespassing now. This is your only warning, boy. I've saved the earth. Twice now. And helped a few other times. You...." He shook his head. "You'd better be thankful you aren't in hell for being a hypocrite to your supposed faith. Now shoo, before I hit your car and make you hike home." The agent glared and reached for his cuffs. Xander shot the car's engine. "Oops, looks like you'll have to walk." The agent tried to hit him and Xander fought him down and smirked down at him. "Hi."
"Let him go, Harris," Gibbs ordered. "You can't harm the idiots even if they are idiots."
"He attacked me, Gibbs. That means he's the issue, not me. And if they arrest me for it, I'm going to tell everyone *everything* I know. Including how you look an awful lot like one of those scientists that got busted for pulling sentient beings apart to torture and play with them." The man was glaring but didn't say anything. "That's fine. I can ask the demon courts if they'll charge you for me." The guy was trying to get away now. "Aww, you're afraid of the demon courts. Why is that? Are you a partial demon?" The agent tried to hit him again but Steve stepped on his hand and shook his head. "I can handle it." He grinned at Steve. "I could use some stress relief." He glared at the agent.
"Harris," Gibbs warned. "Get off him. Now. You can't attack agents."
"Gibbs, everyone has the right of self defense," Xander quipped. He did get off the guy. "Be damned if I'm going to give up my right to self defense." He glared at the guy. "Especially a sneering little boy like this one." The agent smirked and pulled out his cuffs. Tony pulled out his. "No, Tony, go ahead. I can easily sell my story." He smirked. "That would out a lot of things that they'd hate to see in the press, little boy. Are you even an agent?"
Tony took a picture of the guy's face and badge. "Nope. He's not," he said when he got an answer back. "Abby said he's related to a hate group, boss. Fornell hasn't answered yet but ... no there his is." He opened it. "Not an agent." Gibbs took Tony's cuffs to arrest the guy. "Any idea who he really is with, Xander?"
"NID probably. They're the only ones who'd want samples of me. They showed up to get one while I was down. Tried to talk the doctor into doing brain surgery on me to remove the tumor. It would've caused more complications so he had them thrown out of the hospital and had the hospital's lawyer go after them." He looked at Tony. "They didn't offer enough money for the hospital to forget it had ethics." He looked at the guy again. "You know, I can show you how to get out of your body too. Then you can do what I did." The guy backed up, but Steve held him in place. "You're good at that, Steve." He grinned. "Some day you're going to have a lot of fun doing that."
"I'm going to be arresting people?" Xander nodded. "I got downgraded to an MP?"
"Remember the blond guy I showed you? Wrapped up in that."
"Oh. Okay. Is he nice?"
"Kinda. He seemed okay when I went to introduce it. That you two don't shoot each other at first sight. It was pretty close so I arranged that."
"Uh-huh. Okay. I'll trust that. But I'd like an explanation."
Xander stared at him. "You can get up there still. It won't make you happy. It'll piss you off. A lot. It'll make you hurt too."
"Point." He walked off sighing to consider that idea. Yeah, he wanted to know.
Xander looked at Tony. "It will be why he's hunting the guys down," he sighed, sitting down. "That's one of those that if he doesn't, he's screwed. If he does, he's screwed."
"Yeah, we had that with Kate," Tony said, patting him on the back. "You told us all there's things we won't be able to change." Xander nodded. "That's probably his."
Steve came back, staring at them. "Why?"
"Why what?" Tony asked.
"Why would it make me hurt? Or would I be setting it off?"
"Someone you're already looking for is going to go after your dad," Xander said. "You're already hunting him. It had been five years of hunting him at that time." He stared at him. "I don't know how you'd be able to stop that."
Steve took a centering breath. "Damn it."
"Yeah." Xander nodded. "And I can't change it. I couldn't see how to change it."
"I need to go see that." He went to Xander's meditation room. Xander came in to help him out of his body faster so he could see that portal puddle. It was darker this time but still pretty clear. He stared at it at the end. Then he looked at Xander. "It's dark."
"It's very dark and the more dark the less able to be changed. I wanted to. I don't know how."
"I...maybe I can figure out how." He hugged the boy, getting one back. "Thank you for the warning."
"I had to give Tony one too," he admitted. "One of his teammates is going to fall to a psychotic fuck named Ari."
"I know about Ari." They went back to their bodies and he went to talk to Gibbs. "I've tracked Ari in the past but was told to leave him alone because he's an intelligence asset."
Gibbs stared at him. "Why do I need to know?"
"Because he's going to come after the team, Gibbs," Tony said, looking at him. "How bad? Can he be stopped?"
"I don't know. I would hope so since he's starting a cell in the US."
Tony nodded. "I saw in ours that he got into the building and took hostages and then later shot Kate."
Gibbs stiffened, staring at him. "Kate got shot?"
"Yeah. She was going to be the tipping point to make you hurt, Gibbs. We got things solved and thought we had protected her enough then at the end of a mission, he ...well, head shot while we were looking at each other." He cleared his throat. "I've been trying to stop that one."
Gibbs nodded. "I can agree with that. I need to know details." Tony and Steve settled in to talk about Ari and that scene. When an actual agent got out there with the faxed over copies of the agreement, Gibbs went to talk to the boy. Xander was still angry and no one blamed him for that, but he had to calm down and lay lower.
Xander showed up at a sneaky battle, taking down one of the aliens that was trying to cause problems. "Hi." He grinned at him. "How're you?" The other aliens tried to attack him and a few tried to shoot him. The slight graze wasn't that bad. Two more aliens fell to him. Then O'Neill's people got there. Xander waved and disappeared. O'Neill could handle this part. He was getting his bandages out when a soldier knocked on his motel room door. He opened it, staring at him. "I don't know you. Are you fun?"
The soldier stared at him. "General O'Neill wanted to talk to you, sir."
"I'm here. He can show up."
"That's not how it usually works." Xander grabbed his drink and went with the soldier for now. He did bring him to O'Neill. "Sir, as requested, one guy who jumped in."
O'Neill looked at Harris, who was sipping his fast food drink. "Did you have to do that? It got more attention."
"They were already drawing attention by making people sick. That eased it until you guys could get there since you had been held up by the power of politics."
"Good point. Did you foresee that?"
"The other day. I apparently now have visions. They're *charming*," he said dryly with a slight smirk. "Not only a migraine but pictures!"
"Eww." He looked him over. "You good, Harris?"
"Small graze. A few bruises. I was going to treat my graze. I took extra time to get back to the motel so no one would follow me."
"Someone told us where you were," the soldier said smugly.
"Yeah, I'm in the possession of a reputation," Xander complained. "Some people watch me." He took another drink. "Problems, General?"
"Not yet. Yours?"
"Only if someone thinks this is a good idea."
"Point. Go back home, Harris. We have it."
"No you don't. There's more coming tonight." O'Neill straightened up to stare at him. "And they're going to gather friends among the less than peaceful demons who want some power back." He finished his drink and tossed it out. "It's not going to be any prettier."
"We can handle that," O'Neill promised. "Even if we do have to behead things."
Xander smiled. "Including the ones that're going to bother your city when she lands later?"
"Crap. I forgot about that." Xander grinned. "Did you talk to them?"
"Yeah. For a few minutes. And I told one young woman that she could be great some day."
"Okay," O'Neill said. "We can handle that. I'll alert the city about that attack. We'll handle here. You only jump in if you must. You're a civilian."
"There's other demon hunters, General. We're all mostly civilians but we get it done."
"Yeah but this time it's my job and if I run into any of the other hunters I'll thank them and tell them that we can handle most of these things but to jump in whenever they need to, just like I am you." He grinned. "Besides, my doctors are interested in your brain."
"Huge needles. Would love to scan you for that," Jack O'Neill said smugly. Xander grimaced. "Shoo. Only jump in tonight if you have to." Xander nodded, getting taken back by that soldier. He looked at the people around him. "He reminds me of a younger me."
"Yes he does," Sam Carter agreed dryly. "In many bad ways, sir."
"Shuddup," he said sarcastically. "Someone warn Atlantis."
"Did," Sam said. "I sent an email. They're close enough to get satellite based communications."
"Good." He looked at the others. "Let's finish this problem."
"Sir, the fence gateway is reporting NID people demanding to be let in," one guard called.
"Denied. I don't want them to do the same thing in a few weeks and us to have to shoot them. You can quote me."
Daniel got a flinch of feeling. "Get Harris back here to protect him, people. NID wants him for testing." Jack waved a hand and that soldier got told to come back with him. Xander complained he needed his bag from his motel room. So the soldier let him get it and his weapons then brought him back. Jack looked over as Xander was walked in. "NID."
"They tried when I was in the coma but they didn't offer money to the hospital to look the other way," Xander said dryly. "And tried the other day." He put his pack down and came over to point. "You're going to have to drop this point. I'll take that area to make sure they don't get there?"
Jack looked. "If we pull in, that would be a good spot. We'll send any civilians we find trying to help there." Xander nodded. "Sit and rest in a corner for now, kid."
"Sure. Thanks for protecting me." He settled in with his pack as a pillow.
Jack looked at his people. "That's one place we'd have to pull back from to protect the center. Let's get some others there to handle that edge." He pointed at it on the map. "This area." Carter got them another unit to hit that area.
Xander looked at his phone about an hour after the battle had finished. "Hey," he said, trying to sound chipper. "I'm fine. Yes I am fine. I know they had guns and I had my battle axe," he said patiently. The soldiers in the medical tent all winced at that, a few shaking their heads.
"Your wife?" the nurse treating him asked with a smile.
"He's spluttering and choking. He's a SEAL I helped. He's nagging. I know, but I did all right, the same as usual. Sure, you rant and all that. I'll talk to you sometime soon I'm sure." He hung up on the renewed complaint. He got a 'you're in deep shit' from an unknown number and answered back he never dug latrines so he probably wasn't. Then he put his phone back and went back to helping bandage his few injuries. "I'm okay," he told the nurse.
"And I believe that just like I believe the general's actually a twelve-year-old hockey junkie," the nurse quipped, cracking up the nearby soldiers. "The general said we were going to take care of your injuries."
"Yeah but I'm not in the military, dear. I don't take orders."
"I do and he gave me permission to knock you out." She got back to tidying up his injuries until the doctor came over to scan him. Xander stared at the machine. "It's very handy."
"It's very Stark Trek," he quipped. "And I'm not Scotty. I'm not an engineer." He stared at the pretty doctor. "Though I know you covet parts of me, Doc, can't you covet all that I am instead of just tiny pieces."
She stared at him. "Nice try, kid."
"I'm well above age, Doctor." He grinned. "I'm a good boy, usually."
"I'm sure you are but no flirting today. Flirt when we're not coming down off an emergency."
"No, that's when the city lands." She stared at him. "Visions. Suck," he said with a nod and a slightly insane looking smile. "Really a whole lot."
"I'm sure they would." She scanned his brain. "You have lesions."
"I had a brain tumor."
"Oh, all right." She kept scanning him, frowning at something. "You have an energy build up."
"My former town has a portal to multiple dimensions. Radiation sickness isn't much better than visions." Sam Carter flinched, staring at him. He grinned and waved. "It's under the former high school library and why we used to have so much work for patrols." He grinned at the doctor. "So can I disappear before the press people show up again?"
"Too late on that, Mr. Harris." She frowned as she read something. "You have some very unusual readings."
"Like from when I was out of my body?" he asked, staring at her.
"I... You're the one that taught that to Doctor Jackson." He grinned and nodded. "Good! We appreciated them taking that down." He hugged her. "Thank you. Please get off. No hugging on duty, Mr. Harris." He let her go and let her admire his insides for a bit longer. "Can we run some tests to make sure you're healthy?"
"No thanks. I'm really tired of hospitals."
"I'm sure you are but I'd like to scan those lesions."
"Baltimore took some when those same assholes tried to cover up their bad ideas and burned a motel."
"I can get those to compare. I'm not so sure you're not regrowing that tumor," she said quietly, staring at him. He blinked at her. "Please?"
"You can get the records to compare it to."
"Can we do bloodwork?"
"You can but you can't let it get out of your hands. Personally. I really hate beating NID people."
"Okay, I can agree with that." The nurse got her the kit she needed and she took blood samples and another few scans of his brain and back area. "I'll have the general put me in touch with you within a week." He nodded and hopped off the bed, going to find his axe and pack. He took it from the soldiers staring at it and his pack so he could repack it then he left, slinking into the shadows. She took those back personally. Everyone else had pretty standard injuries and they had a small lull until the city docked and their injured got sent over.
Cordelia showed up to Xander that night. "You're going in the wrong direction. You need to head west, not east."
"I still have to pack stuff."
"Why didn't you bring it with you?" she demanded. "We warned you!"
"I have at least three weeks, Cordelia. It's fine."
"It's not! They moved it up. They can burn you out tonight."
"They won't," he said, staring at her. "Even if they do, they're in for a really rude awakening." She stared at him. "I have most everything out of the house and in storage."
"Which probably got burned down earlier."
"I doubt it since it's on a PODS truck." She blinked. He grinned. "Those shipping pods? Yeah. If you seriously want me to move to Hawaii, it has to go that way."
"Oh. I didn't realize that. What did you leave?"
"A few pictures. My journal. They said they got everything but my bedside table onto the container. It had those things and a few other things." She winced. "They had been in my desk but I moved them so I could grab them."
"I..." She looked that way. "They're not safe and they're probably going to lost within a few hours."
"Or I could do something stupid and go call in a poker debt," he said dryly. She moaned. "Which I already have." He picked up his stuff and repacked his bag, going to get that lift from that portal making guy. He got a nod and went back there. Yep, he could hear the local yahoo hate group. He got what he wanted and a few other things that had been left. They had left his meditation room alone. Great. Well, he had some room left in his two bags. He did a fast search, finding the miniaturized weapons and his spare swords. They wouldn't fit. So he'd take one of them's trucks into town.
Or he'd hide out there in the barn and film it. That might be better. He did call the fire department and saved that call to make sure it wouldn't get erased until he wanted it to. Then he took film of what they were doing. A few came near him but they decided the old barn was just a wreck. A few smirked his way, giving him great shots of them. When they were finally stopped by the fire department showing up half an hour later, he decided he was going to the state police instead of the locals. Or maybe someone FBI. After all, he was filming the local cops helping arsonists.
A few more came toward the barn and he backed into the shadows but they decided they could knock it down with pickup trucks later, when it was clear so they couldn't hurt their trucks. They even posted a guard. How cute of them. Xander shook his head, uncovering his ancient motorbike he had found online and had been fixing up. His bags went into the sidecar. The guards drifted off into an alcoholic sleep after a few hours so Xander could leave. Though not quietly, that bike was loud.
They flinched awake and he smiled and waved as he drove past them. They tried to follow but he threw down spikes and got their tires. One managed to drive on a bit longer but he also had an acid grenade and the driver hated his truck's windshield being eaten by it. He headed to the next biggest town, going to their police department. A few of the officers stared at him in horror. He grinned. "And I got them on film," he told one. "Where's your internal affairs person please?" A shaky hand pointed. "Thanks." He walked that way. The office was clearly marked. He knocked and a guy opened the door. "I have film of some of your officers and my former town's officers burning down my house. Would you like to view it before I take it to the state PD?"
"Please," he said. Xander walked in and showed him the film. He had already saved down another copy of it to his SD card. And he had sent one to an online file service with an email to Tony to download it fast. He grimaced. "Why were you there, sir?"
"That was my house." He stared at him. "I'm going to be calling my insurance agent in a minute too." He smiled and pointed. "Getting to the good point. The fire department's ten minutes from my house. They had to come out once when I was burning an old couch I found that had a lot of bugs."
The officer kept watching, wincing at what he saw. "What do you intend to do with this?"
"Well, I intended for people who do your sort of job to actually do your job but if you won't." He took the phone back. "By the way, it's already on youtube." The guy flinched, shaking his head. Xander smiled. "I'm a CYA sorta guy. I grew up in a town dirtier than you'll ever be in. Now, would you like me to send you a copy so you can do something or should I just go to my insurance agent and then a reporter?"
"Sure. I get that. One's probably related to you with the way things happen around here." He stood up and walked out. He bike was booted so he used the tiny bit of magic he had to unlock it and tossed it back onto the steps of the police station, giving one a pointed look. "You have fun now, ya hear? It's on youtube." The guy flinched away from him. Xander got onto his bike and drove off, going to the local news station that liked to follow him around. He found the reporters getting into a van. "Want to be useful this time instead of stalking me?" he called. She looked over and her mouth fell open.
He waved her over, getting into the saved copy of that file. "It didn't save down the last five minutes but I doubt you need it." He let her see it but not hold the phone. She swallowed hard. "I tried to tell the local IAD guy. He wanted to know what he was supposed to do with that. Apparently the law around here is just as crooked as it was where I grew up," he finished sarcastically, glaring at the officer speeding toward them.
He took her pen and wrote down something. "It's there." He kicked the bike into life and headed off. The officer ran up to the reporter to threaten her but she was running for the station. She got inside and they guarded her while she downloaded the file. Her supervisor came out to see what was so important and had a hissy fit about their PD and the next town's department. That went right up on their website and they taped a story immediately. Just in case they tried to stop her from telling people.
Xander found a version of his insurance agent's office in the town he paused for lunch in, going to them first instead of eating. "Hey. I have a farm a few states over and taped the people burning it down last night. Unfortunately a few of them were officers." She winced. "Can I show you? That way I can start a claim and start selling it?"
"Sure, sir. Do you know your policy number?" Xander got into his phone's contact list, he had saved it with the number for calling in. He showed her. She typed it in and nodded. "I do see you do have a farm with us and someone filed a report that you set fire to it." He let her see the file, even letting her copy it off his SD card. "No, that's not you doing arson, is it? That was covered by a news station."
"That I told," he said with a grin. "They tried to threaten the reporter too."
"She's in the ER after a suspicious car crash."
He winced. "I didn't think they'd go that far."
"Me either." She sent an email to her head office about that claim. Including a copy of that file. Her supervisor got back to her while they filled out forms. "The local agent there said he was not part of that and had not filled that form out. They had went to another one."
"I knew he was honest. I wasn't going to make him go against those that he probably grew up with."
"That's decent." She sent back that reason and her supervisor agreed. "I have the name of a realtor there."
"That's probably who put in the file," Xander said dryly. "They're an agent of insurance too. That's who I asked about various insurance policies before I went with you guys."
"Yes, their name is on the file." She found another realtor there. They hung up on her when she introduced herself. She found another one in that bigger town. "This is Madeline Eillbrich with Progressive. I have a young man in my office who is filing a claim after some local idiots burned his farm. He's wanting to sell to move somewhere safer. Yes, that farm."
"It's on youtube," Xander quipped. "I put it on there after giving the reporter an online site where I had a copy saved."
"He said it's on youtube." She waited while that realtor looked it up and winced at what she said. "He is."
"Everyone's suggested I move to Hawaii," Xander quipped with a grin. "Grow my own food, all that. My stuff was already being moved that way because they were getting pushy and forceful about it and I was going to put my farm up for sale in a few days. I just moved my timetable up. Though most of the town knew that. I put it in the local paper a few days back so it should be in today's edition. They knew I was coming back yesterday because I had my mail held at the local post office while I was in Colorado."
The insurance agent said that and agreed she could list it. They faxed the paperwork there and he signed it and the insurance claim forms. They got sent where they needed to and Xander went to lunch after shaking her hand and thanking her.
Xander was eating when two officers stomped in and over to him. "I had nothing to do with them, Officer. I just reported it and other dirty ones decided to join them. Including an internal affair's person." He ate another bite then sipped his drink. "I have the file on youtube. It shows the local PD and other militant yahoos there burning my house down. I couldn't easily slip past them so I taped it from the old barn." He put down things and looked at them. "Are they trying to blame me for more things?"
"That reporter had a wreck."
"I left that town once I showed it to her and gave her the file download address because the local officers there were showing up to threaten her." One winced. The other glared. Xander pulled out his phone and got into the file, showing him. "It wasn't me."
"We can have that file pulled."
"I have a few friends who have copies now," Xander said. "I'm not that stupid. I grew up in a town so dirty they made up death reports and assault cases." The glaring officer moved his hand to his gun. "You know, there's at least five other camera phones in here, Officer," he said quietly. "You can arrest me if you want but I can guarantee I'll be outing them all over the world."
"You can remove things from online," the other said smugly.
"Until the ACLU gets a copy," Xander agreed. "Or the state's police department. Or the FBI actually." The glaring officer stepped back, looking alarmed. "I'm *very* used to dirty cops and how they work. My hometown was full of them. They made up death statistics so we had people who died by barbeque fork. And gangs of PCP people eating others. Like I said, I'm not stupid. They might not all want to listen but some will. And that film's still going to be there for them." He turned off his phone and put it into his pocket. "You can't ever get something fully off the internet. There's always a copy somewhere. Like with the news station." He leaned on the table then paid his bill and waved at the waitress, pointing at it. He looked at the officers again. "You want to arrest me, let's go. I can do that. I know my rights pretty well."
"You're not eligible for a free lawyer," the other officer sneered. "You have money."
"It went to medical bills, guys." He shrugged. "Those same people that paid me, they gave me cancer." One slumped. "It all went to a hospital by LA." He shrugged again. "Though yes, I do have some money in the bank that I moved before I went to Colorado."
"You knew they were going to do that," the second officer sneered.
"No. I went to help with the stupid that was going on around General O'Neill's people. I used to hunt demons who were causing problems. Never the peaceful but the ones causing hell and havoc." He stared at him. "I put a notice in the paper a few days before I left that I was going to be selling my farm because my friends were getting insistent that I get out of there. The shipping people got most of it out of there the day before I was coming back. I found they didn't take everything, including a few swords and my bedside table, which had some older pictures from my youth in it. Which was why I was at the farm at all. The guys at the post office were locals and I had my mail held for a few days. So they probably told that group if imbeciles when I got back."
"We think you're committing insurance fraud," the second officer said smugly.
"They have a copy of the tape too. I showed her while we were filling out forms." One of them tried to hit him and he blocked it. "You should smile and wave because you're on camera." He pointed behind him. A few people were staring and a few were camera filming. "I didn't do anything wrong. Never had in that whole time I was there. The paranoid bastards decided I was a better man than them and got jealous and mad. Go yell at them. Agents stopped them trying to drive through my house a few weeks before I went to Colorado. Which is when I made plans to move because all of my friends were insistent. If they're mad I'm man enough to help save others, that's their problem. Not mine. They made it mine. I'm trying legal means of stopping them instead of repaying the favor. I can go do that if you want."
"No," the second officer growled. "They're not scared of you."
Xander snorted. "No, their fear is that they're not the same sort of strong I am. They never jumped in to protect even their own families. That's fine for them. I don't judge them on that unless something attacks their families and they abandon them. That one I did judge and I did protect his wife and daughter, and helped her move out of their house afterwards. He was my boss's brother-in-law thanks to who he married." He leaned his elbows on the table again. "I'm not the evil one here. You can try to blame me but it'll come out and waste your town's money. But if you want to arrest me, let's go. I'm not resisting."
"You think you're famous," the first officer sneered.
"No. I know I'm not famous. Or anything special. I'm a normal guy who helped out. But I'm not going to let myself be blamed for things I didn't do."
"You removed a boot system from your bike," the second officer said.
"They had no right or reason to boot my bike," Xander said. "Or steal one of my swords since it was in the sidecar. I have no outstanding tickets, warrants, or anything else. I had been at that station to talk to their internal affairs person, who looked really sickened by what he saw some of his people doing. But he wasn't going to do anything about it. Pity because I'm not going to be a victim ever the hell again."
"Again?" the officer smirked.
"Yeah, again. The cancer I had was caused by someone trying to make sure I couldn't keep calling their higher ups about their torture plans. I thought the Pentagon would take care of their own. This makes the second time I thought the system wasn't as crooked as it is and was proven wrong." He looked at the other officer. "You can try to stab me too. I can see the knife in your hand." That officer tried to hit him with it. The knife blade was in full view. Xander shifted and blocked it with his drink. "Ooh, did your knife slip out all the way to your hand?" he sneered. He stood up. "Try again."
"That's resisting arrest."
"You're not trying to arrest me," Xander pointed out. "You're just trying to threaten me." He shrugged. "I don't do that." He got the money and paid the waitress. "Thanks, dear. Have a better day." He walked off. The officers followed. One of them tried to pounce him but Xander shifted out of the way and stared down at him. They all watched, and filmed it. The other one pulled his gun and Xander held out his hands in a 'come on, do it' way then smirked at him. The guy's hand was shaking. The waitress was calling the local station. They showed up to stop that guy. Xander pointed out they had cameras inside. They came in to get them and watch the ones on camera phones that were willing to show them. So two more officers went to jail for that and Xander got warned to go away as fast as he could. So he drove off again.
Xander walked into Wolfram and Hart's new building. Which Angel's people were running again. "Is Gunn or Wesley in please?" he asked the receptionist.
"Do you have an appointment, sir?" She looked him over, grimacing some.
"I'm an old friend of their team. I was just checking in that I'm in town in case something happens."
She called up there. The secretary asked her a question. "Name, sir?"
She repeated that and he was let up. She pointed. "Elevator two please." She released it for him. He limped that way, making her shake her head. Apparently their law team used to have bad friends.
Xander got off the elevator and nodded politely at the guards. "Hi, guys. Which one's here, Wes or Gunn?"
"Mr. Gunn's in his office," one of them said, looking him over.
"I just got into LA away from dirty cops. Yeah, I didn't stop to change." He walked that way, smiling at the secretary before knocking on the door. He leaned in. "So I'm taking the pointed hint and moving."
Gunn stared at him. "I saw that film." Xander came in and shut the door. "How many?"
"Nineteen officers overall were helping them try to cover it up. Including running a reporter off the road to try to silence her and the one that tried to kill the insurance agent I went through. Then an agent got to mock them all that I had plans of leaving within a week. They only had to wait a week and they could've bought the farm and done something with it." He stared at him. "Cordelia gave me the heads up that they want me in Hawaii hunting there."
"It's supposed to be safer." Gunn stared at him, getting grinned back at. "You're right, Connor's pretty neat." Xander smiled. "Any other messages from on high?"
"Not yet. Are people still screaming about not-ascendeds?"
"That's fine. I was out of my body and helped a few others to that state. Including Agent DiNozzo, who was there to help stop that problem. An NYPD officer, an officer from New Jersey who'll be moving within a year or so. And a SEAL."
Gunn made that note with a smirk. "Thanks, kid."
"Welcome, Gunn. Anything going on I need to hear before I fly out later?"
"Not yet. You good on housing out there?"
"Yeah. I already bought a vacation farm." He smiled. "Back when she hinted about it the first time. I did take the hint but not as fast as she wanted."
"That's fine. What happened in Colorado?"
"Those were the telepreacher aliens. You convert to their faith or die. They were proving it by creating sicknesses they'd cure for the converted."
"Charming," Gunn complained. "They all good?"
"Should be. The people from their mystical city should be okay by now too."
"That's good to know too." He looked at him. "You should probably clean up before you fly."
"Yeah, I'm going to do that. It's a lot colder in the midwest than it is here or will be there." He looked at himself then at him. "I fly out on a redeye so I have a few hours. Nothing going on that's going to make me run faster?"
"Not that we've heard. What did you hear?"
"Buffy's in town."
"Ah. Well...." He grimaced. "Joyce is sick again." Xander nodded he knew that. "Are you going to visit?"
"No. I sent Joyce a few emails and she never responded. They never once visited me. Willow tried to kill me a few times but that's about it. I said 'bye' to Buffy when I got my stuff out of Sunnydale. Sucks but that was on them. It doesn't take that long to show up two floors up for a few minutes."
"No, it doesn't. Are you going to be okay in Hawaii?"
"It's just another starting over point. I'm just past my last attempt at that. Maybe I'll learn to go talk to the mermaids that almost got me turned." He shrugged and grinned. "Tell everyone I said hi."
"I can do that." Xander grinned and left, going to the motel for the few hours of rest and cleaning up. He could sell his bike on his way to the airport so he didn't have to ship it. Gunn went to talk to Wesley and Buffy. "Xander's taken Cordelia's advice and is on his way to Hawaii."
"I got a dream vision of why," Wesley told him. "It's horrible how they treated him." Gunn nodded.
"More people came after Xander for the out-of-body thing?" Buffy guessed.
"No, militant yahoos who hate that Xander's a better man than he is came after him and tried to kill him," Wesley told her.
"Oh. Is he okay?"
"A bit dusty from the ride here," Gunn said. "He's fine overall, Buffy."
"Is he going to visit Mom?"
"No. He said she didn't even answer an email." She winced and slumped. "Something about being two floors up and it would've only taken you maybe ten minutes to visit with him too." He stared at her. "Also how Willow tried to kill him again." She sighed but nodded. "So I think he was pretty sure he already said goodbye."
"I get that. Thanks, Gunn."
"Not a problem. You know you only have to call and we'll come help too." He went back to his office. Buffy was having a hard few years and not all of it was her fault.
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