The dog staring up at Willow was growling. She was staring back at it like it was weird. "What are you doing?"
//I'm going to bite you,// the dog sent. //I didn't want to be a dog today, Willow. So why am I a dog?//
She grinned. "I can send you to the pound if you bite me." He growled deeper and stood up to walk toward her. She backed up, looking scared. "I'm going to send you to the pound to be put down!" she shouted.
He snapped at her, making her scream and run into the back room of the shop. She was already calling someone. Xander trotted out the door, which was open for air flow anyway, and to the local demon bar. He walked in and to one of the poker buddies he had. //Please find someone to change me back? I might even be willing to pay something to do it.//
The demon looked at the dog, staring at is oddly. "Xander?" he demanded, getting attention.
//Witchy poo. Please, just get me changed back before I need rabies shots because I bit one of them.//
"Is that how rabies works?" the demon asked. He was grinning at the mutt in front of him.
//Yes. Clearly it does.// He turned to glare at the blonde girl standing behind him. //I'm going to bite the bitch until she's sorry this time.//
Buffy frowned. "Why is the dog growling at me?"
"You're not that stupid," Spike called from the other side of the bar. "That's the bloody little brat that helps you for *some* reason." The dog's head nodded, staring at her. She burst out laughing until he growled and snapped at her.
"Hey!" she complained. "You're not that mean, Xander!"
//I wasn't, but then again now I'm a dog. I have better teeth to eat you with.//
"You're not the big bad wolf," the demon said, petting him. "I have no idea who can undo the idiot's spells, Harris. I'm sorry."
//Fine.// He looked up. //I call in the wish you owe me from that poker game. Come fix this shit and I'm gone, you can have her yourself!//
A demon appeared, staring at him. "What was that?" He smiled.
//Not like you didn't hear me. I'm done. I'm out. Take the spell off and I'm getting out of everyone's way. They can have the bitches all they want.// The dog stared up at him. //Or else I'm going to ask a world where I learned magic myself.//
The demon nodded. "We could all appreciate you doing that, Harris. But to use that wish..." He grinned. "You could use it later when the eye of the hurricane that forms around you tries to eat you instead."
//I figured I'm going to use the house I found in Torrence when I got taken up there that weekend. It had some nice looking stuff for me to do instead of all this. To sweeten it, that means Anya can go back to D'Hoffryn.// He doggy grinned.
The demon hummed and nodded. "Yes, that's a great idea. Fairly nicely simple and yet slightly evil." He waved a hand and undid the spell. He grinned.
Xander hugged him, patting him on the back. "Let me go pack." He walked around Buffy, still growling at her.
"Hey!" she complained. "I didn't do it!"
"You stuck up for her," Xander called back. "Fuck off, Buffy. Suffer for all the hell you put me through. I bless you with an interesting life from here on out." A few of the demons, including Spike, shuddered at that blessing. He stormed into his apartment, staring at his girlfriend. "I'm done. I'm going tonight." She opened her mouth. "Not one word but that does mean you can call your former boss." He gave her a pointed look before he went in to pack his things.
"What are you going to do somewhere else?" she asked, following him to watch him pack.
"Whatever the hell I want that doesn't require me to put up with Buffy and Willow making each other's bad habits worse. Before she turns me into a dog again and really does send me to the pound."
"But the pound sells all the animals for food," she said, considering it. "She knows that."
"Yes she does," he agreed, tossing the rest of his clothes into a bag. He looked in his pile of stuff in the closet, Anya having taken the rest over. That would fit in his car. "I promised the demon that undid the spell I'd be gone. And I'm going to go enjoy some real life without having to kill each and every night." He grinned at her, taking a kiss. "Help me pack the car?"
"Sure. I guess that'll be fun." She hefted down his boxes of comic books with his help. Then his tools, and his bags of clothes. Then came his weapons. The car was pretty full, he couldn't actually see through the back windshield. She stared for a minute. "That's probably too full. They might pull you over and ticket you for it. You're not wearing a short skirt so they'll give you a ticket."
He shrugged, taking a last kiss before grinning at her. "They won't bother me. I'm moving, what're they going to say?" He got into the car, going to the bank first to close out his accounts. Then to the store again. He walked in and took his weapons. The axe was extremely heavy so he looked at the witch. "Take it off."
"It's to make sure you don't use it on me," she complained. "I was just having fun." He held up the axe, staring at her. "You can't use that. It's like twenty pounds!"
He snorted, taking a swing at her with it. "Really? Don't think I have to lift all day long thanks to construction work? I can work with twenty pounds." He stared at her. "You're going to hell and I'm going to send you there." She burst out crying. "Good! Take all the spells off me, my stuff, and never touch me again, Willow! Now!" he finished at a shout. Giles came in looking alarmed. "Not into you right now. This is between me and little miss victim here." He glared at her. "Now, Willow. Right the fuck now." She flinched at the swearing but did take the spells off. "Good. Thank you. See you when I make it to hell in a few years. You'll probably be there first since you never protect yourself."
"That's uncalled for," Giles complained.
Xander stared at him. "Were you a dog earlier that she threatened to send to the pound, which sells all the animals to the demon poker circuit?"
"Then congratulations. I'm out. I'm done and I'm out and I'm going to slug the little bitches soon." Giles got out of his way. "Thanks. Have a nice life and you might want to teach her how to finally stake a vampire. I learned in hours, she hasn't learned in six years." He walked off, carefully putting the swords and axe into the car before getting in to drive.
Giles glared at Willow. "What did you do?" he demanded. "I've never seen him lose his temper that way and we'll be lucky if he comes back from this vacation."
Anya walked in shaking her head. "He promised the demon that had to undo her spell to make him a dog that he was out for good." She looked at Willow, smiling at her. "I've gotten my job back." She beamed at Giles. "I can probably work my hours here around that other job."
"That's fine, Anya. What, exactly, did she do?"
"I just saw him when he was packing. I heard he was a dog. He said she threatened to send him to be eaten by a demon that eats out of the pound." Willow huffed. Anya stared at her. "I'm wondering if Vickie will come help me with you." She grinned. Willow went pale and shook her head. "Oh, yes. She could. I'd run until I forget that you robbed me of my orgasms." Willow ran off. She looked at Giles, hugging him while bouncing and babbling about her job. He expected it of her and she needed to break him out of his bad thought loop.
Buffy stomped in. "Giles, Xander's evil now."
"Maybe if you didn't encourage the great evil pussy to cast spells for fun, he might not be," Anya quipped, grinning at her. "But now we're all without his help. I might be leaving soon, just so I don't die here." She looked up at Giles. "How did Willow not learn how to physically stake and only float a branch? That's killing with magic." He flinched but nodded that was true. "Well, Xander said he's heading to somewhere he was kidnaped to on his road trip. I'm sure they'll have some construction work." She bounced off. "I'm getting a muffin then I'll be back."
Buffy stared at her watcher, who was shaking his head. "What just happened?"
"You and Willow have pissed off Xander for the last time. He's left town apparently." He took his glasses off to rub his eyes. "Bring Willow back here. Her harmful magic is getting out of hand again. Changing someone into a dog is a very harmful spell," he said firmly at her weird look at him. "Should she test it on you?"
"I'd have to bite the vampires instead of staking them." She walked off to find Willow to drag her back to the store. She'd figure out what had happened and call Xander to come back later. When things made sense.
Xander walked up to where his ex was in line to wait on an interview for a photo shoot. He stared at her until she looked at him. "Want to help me kill two bitches?" he asked dryly.
"Not exactly. It's really hard to get blood and skin from under my nails, Xander." She shifted to look at him better. "Why would I want to kill Buffy and Willow?"
"Because I was a dog earlier." She winced, shaking her head. "Yeah. And she threatened to send me to the pound." He stared at her. "So I'm done." He grinned. "You should tell Angel to go up so she can sob on his shoulder like a good ex would." He grinned. "I'm going to be in Torrence for a bit. I'll email, Cordy. Good luck with that and warn him Anya got her original job back." He winked, strolling back to his car. An officer was staring at it. "I'm in the middle of moving, just had to tell my ex-girlfriend where I was going. She's a mean bitch but she's still better than a few others I know." He pulled out his keys.
"Sir, the back window being full can cause problems and is borderline for against the law." He stared at him.
"I'd move it but it's got my ammo underneath all that and I don't want to be able to get to it right now. My friends were bitches and I'm done. So I'm moving. Before I find my bullet stash."
The officer nodded. "That makes sense. Get wherever you're going fast. That is illegal in Nevada and Oregon." He walked off.
Xander got in and drove off, smiling at the models giving Cordy staring looks. Apparently they weren't as dangerous or as evil as Cordelia Chase could be. She'd do fine.
Cordelia got back to the investigative office, slamming the door. "I'm back and there's news," she yelled.
Wesley came up the stairs. "Angel's at the bar. Someone's heard rumors from Sunnydale."
"Willow turned Xander into a dog and threatened to send him to the pound so he left. For good. He's moving to Torrence right now." Wesley considered that then called Angel's cellphone to let him now that. "He said Angel should go let Buffy sob on him like a good ex-boyfriend would."
Wesley added that, listening to the story Angel was hearing. "Are we sure it was Willow?"
"Yup, he was. He showed up where I was waiting on the cattle call. Had the whole car packed, said Anya got her original job back, and said he was done for good."
Wesley sighed, repeating that. Angel said something back so he hung up. "He'll be listening to what's going up there." He smiled at her. "How did your cattle call go?"
"I'm on the call back list."
"That's wonderful." He hugged her then went to make notes in his journal. Just in case things happened.
Cordelia sat behind her desk to call the store up there. "Giles, it's Cordelia. Are you going to need Angel to run up to help for a few days?" She listened about how Xander would be back. "No he won't. Xander's reached his point of 'fuck it all' and he's walked, Giles. He's not coming back. Ever. Even if the world would fall, he's not coming back." She rubbed her forehead.
"Yeah, he suggested Angel come up to let her cry on him. I can tell him that. Thanks, Giles, and let us know when the town goes to hell because she ignores things for a date again." She hung up. "Tell Angel he does need to go up to fill in this weekend," she called. "Buffy's still confused why Xander would be so mad to find himself a dog." Wesley moaned from his spot. "Giles thought he'd come back."
"Of course he would," Wesley agreed.
"Um, no. Xander's reached his point of 'fuck you all'. He's not going back, Wes. Even if it would mean the world ended, he'd work at it from somewhere else." Wesley came back to the door. "He's damn lucky he had some temper control or we'd be mourning the tiny chunks of Willow. Xander does have a temper, he gets it from his family." Wesley winced but nodded once. "He's not going back. If he does, he's probably been turned and is going to eat them for all the hell they've given him for the last four years."
"Oh, dear. That's something the Council worried about."
She snorted, flapping a hand in the air. "They worried more that Buffy wasn't their little puppet because she was allowed to have friends, Wesley. They didn't care that Xander's technically capable of doing the work or that he's male. He made her think for herself and they hate that."
"True in most cases. They claim that the worry is a friend would be sent back to take out the slayer."
She snorted again, shaking her head. "Buffy had an ex-boyfriend show up as a ploy to get her. She didn't fully fall for it then. And if Xander was turned and went after her, she'd never realize it. She underestimated him for years, Wes. Most of us did." She smiled. "He calmed down a lot since he was the angry little kid in our kindergarten class that nearly set the teacher on fire for being mad that he didn't get to do the homework while locked in a closet." She stared at him. "There's going to be a funeral. It may be Willow, who can't even stake without magic. It may be Buffy, who still goes on dates during patrol. It's kind of a race right now as to which one falls first." She grinned. "I need to buy a new pink shirt for Willow's funeral."
"Be nice, Cordelia," he chided quietly, staring at her. "Even if she has harmed your life. Be above all that." He went back to his journal.
Cordelia went online to look at appropriate funeral outfits. A girl had to plan ahead sometimes.
Xander made one more stop, finding the agent he wanted to talk to was in. He walked in with two folders from a box he had put into the front seat. "Can I talk to Agent Granger please?" he asked the receptionist with a smile.
"Legal office paperwork, sir?"
"No. I found some things that he might really want to hear. Including that there's at least one nuclear bomb in LA's harbor storage area." She nodded as she reached for the phone to call up there. An agent stomped off the stairs. "You're not Agent Granger, ATF dude that made up a totally bogus, bullshit report about my town," he said dryly but loudly enough that others heard. The guy flinched and backed away from him. "Hi again!" He grinned, wiggling his fingers at him. "How're you today? No more battles to try to cover up?" The guy turned and ran. "Huh, pity." The agent he wanted, who he had given a lap dance to one night, stomped out of the stairs a minute later. "Hey again." He smiled, walking over to pull him aside. "So, two things."
"First, nuclear weapon?" he demanded quietly.
"Oh, that. Sure." He held up the file. "I want a finder's fee. My first point is that I'm moving. The slayer's all alone up there with her witchy poo. Who went dark magic on me earlier." He smiled. "Can I have a finder's fee?"
"I..." He took the file to look at. "Where is that?"
Xander pointed at the shipping notice. "That's LA Harbor's shipping area. From the underground rumors I've heard, he had to run, his head minion got chopped up by a jet's engine, and the good guys got away from the problems but no one's thought to clean that up. If they have, you can probably track that too?"
"Yeah, I can do that." He looked that file over more carefully. "What the hell is that?" he muttered.
"Saw that island that disappeared?"
Granger stared at him oddly. "What?"
"Oh." He pulled out his phone, looking that up. "It's not exactly on youtube but it's on the Chinese version. They have their own version." He let him see that video, and hear the commentary from two guys. "I know there's at least one left. The good guys that got away managed to stop it from exploding but no one who was in charge could clean it up without notice. The minions had all the knowledge of where things were." He shrugged but grinned.
"I can happily go look that up, kid." He stared at him. "Where did you find this file?"
"A demon that I took out had it." He beamed and nodded. "So much hell. And now that I'm out I'm going to go look at some of his other files."
"I want to know first if you find something."
"Sorry but I need some payments now. I'm now working for myself because I was going to kill the bitches earlier."
Agent Granger nodded at that. "I can understand that. I can get you a finder's fee for handing that over. What's the other file you have?"
Xander held it up with a smile. "Two different demon arms dealers. They refused to pay me the kittens they owed me." He waved it a bit. "Military sourced, going to targets down here, will sell to about anyone..." Granger grabbed the file with a smirk. "Be my payback and give me a finder's fee too? Please?" He batted his big brown eyes at him. "Pretty please?"
Granger looked it over, nodding at that. "Yeah, I can do that." He stared at him. "What else do you have?"
"I haven't looked it all over yet. If I find anything else that'll keep me in hohos I'll tell you."
"We'll gladly help keep you in snack cakes, Harris. How bad is your town?"
Xander burst out laughing, shaking his head. "You wouldn't believe me if I told you, Agent Granger. Go watch her for a few days when you do surveillance on that group." He winked. "Call. My number's on that folder. Apparently bomb guy was looking at my former town for some reason." He waved. "Let me know."
"Yeah. Call me tomorrow, Harris." He went back upstairs, finding his boss and team leader both staring at the elevator. "We have at least one mess that has not been cleaned up as far as anyone knows. They nearly exploded some sort of green nuclear bomb in harbor storage." His boss stared at him, glaring slightly. "We had minions who knew where things were but they died by jet engine. We had good guys stopping the explosion but they didn't clean up the bomb or call anyone because they're supposedly dead thanks to the same bomb guy." He put the file into his boss's hand. "Harris. Left. Sunnydale." He held up the other file. "Military sources selling to anyone they like."
"Both our sort of case," his team leader agreed, taking that file to look over. "You told me about him because you were confused."
"His eyes said he was going to kill them if he didn't leave."
"Good!" He grinned at him. "Find out all you can on the bomb. If it's still there, it's ours."
"On it. I'll look up that team too. We need to find out why they had to leave the mess behind." He went to his desk to look that up. "Oooooh," he moaned. "Max! He was talking about Max!"
Don Epps flinched. "That psycho!" he demanded.
"Yup." He held up a page he printed. "His bombs."
"That explains a lot. Only a psycho would want an environmentally friendly nuclear device." He took the other file to start on.
"Harris wants a finders fee to keep him in hohos."
"Slutty club girls?" Don guessed.
"Snack cake versions," Colby corrected, grinning at the keyboard. "He's a chocolate hound. He said he couldn't explain what was going on, we just had to watch them when we go up to get that one file that owed him kittens and refused to pay him." Don Epps laughed but nodded he could arrange that. "He said he'd be in Torrence. I told him to call if he found anything else."
"That would be nice."
Xander found the demon's lair in Torrence again. It wasn't a large lair but it was a small, abandoned house. Which he'd probably get into trouble for squatting in but until someone told him otherwise, it'd do for now. Until he got a job or something or a finder's fee for all that stuff he had turned over. Of course, he had worse in there. He didn't want to play with those sort but hey, if he was going to turn against all his former bad habits...
Someone knocked and walked in wearing a uniform. "Sir? Can I ask what you're doing?"
Xander smiled at him. "I'm clearing out the stuff that someone left here for me, Officer."
"Do you have an ID?"
"Yes but I'm from Sunnydale so all the files are screwed up thanks to the old Mayor. He had me being an arms dealer, Officer. I don't know why...." He sighed and pulled his wallet out to hand over his ID. "A former date left these for me here. Since I'm in the middle of moving...I figured I'd pick them up now. Maybe have to squat tonight but then I'd move them tomorrow."
"Your former date?" he asked dryly.
"Yeah, that's why he kidnaped me from the club I was working in." Xander grinned, pulling out his phone to show him the site on his reputation. "See, that guy," he said with a point.
The officer read it, staring at him. "Most people wouldn't be admitting to that or being happy about it."
"Yeah, well, my ex girlfriend I just broke up with likes to torture cheating guys." Xander shrugged but grinned. "That guy was nearly normal in my life. It was a nice change."
The officer winced but nodded, calling in that ID. He got a report back. "What is wrong with your town?" He handed the ID back.
Xander shrugged. "Beyond the old mayor who attacked our graduation and everyone got told it was a gas explosion? All that was because of him. Thankfully only his minions are left."
The officer sighed but nodded. "We've been watching this house because someone reported they got taken to here and nearly sacrificed on some sort of pagan altar."
"That's in the back room, Officer. I pointed out I wasn't a virgin and I gave him a blow job to avoid the knife." The officer stared at him, looking less than amused. "And I turned him in to you guys. You got him for a drunk and disorderly then he got bail."
"What?" he demanded. "We had him..."
"Yeah." Xander looked around, finding something and handing it over. "This is the guy who was using here and left me the files."
"Is this a to the victor goes the spoils?"
"Quite possibly but I'm also aware that I'm handing a lot of it to an FBI agent I gave a lap dance to once." He grinned. "Someone made my car explode and the only job was in a strip club's kitchen."
"I've seen others who did that and liked it."
"The attention was nice but this was the nicer psycho I got the few times I danced. I had two real serial killers, who just did it for fun, and one guy who wanted to wear my skin. The local officers there were *very* amused," he said with a smile. "Until they found his basement with equipment like table saws. And then his safe with things like tapes. And a map to the national forest." Xander winced. "That poor officer got so very sick."
"Yeah, I would too, kid." He stared at him. "How are you getting things out of here since your car's full?"
"I was going to check it then go get a trailer tomorrow?"
"Might be a good idea. Squat for tonight, do some sorting. Anything on local crimes or him killing anyone else, let us know?"
Xander pointed behind them toward a bedroom. "Mystical altar?" The officer went to look and gagged. "Yup," he agreed, nodding when the officer came back. "I'd have gotten here earlier but I had to change a flat. I know u-haul isn't open this late."
"Nope. Let me.... Go find a motel room. Take what you can." Xander looked and lifted boxes out to his car. It was even more stuffed, he barely had room to sit, but he only left two boxes. The officer got them into his car and took them to the motel after the kid. "Remember what I said."
"Yes, Officer. And I wouldn't worry unless his probable basement access hatch is open tonight. Guys like that always have some sort of access panel to get away."
"I'll look for that next." He went back to the house and called in the altar, with blood, and something that might be intestines. He did look for the access hatch, finding one and another two boxes down there, and one with spilled files. He read them over and winced. He needed to talk to that same FBI agent the kid knew apparently.
He came up when their crime scene person came in waving a file at him. "He sold guns. Nothing too high end, but rifles to people who're prepping for wars. The altar's in the back," he said with a point and a smirk. "Got guts on it it looks like. I met another of his victims but the guy said this nutso was more sane than his last girlfriend so he just gave a blow job."
The crime scene person went to look then came back looking grossed out. "We can call someone if you want to hand it over."
"The victim said he was going to sort through things and hand them to an FBI agent he gave a lap dance to once." He grinned.
"Works for me. I hate psychos. They're always doing weird things. Let me call their lab."
Xander leaned in. "Agent Granger, LA FBI unit. And I just found his dog, who was chewing on a toddler, and shot the dog." The officer followed him to go check that kid. Xander pointed. The demon dog was dead. The kid was crying. The officer could handle that and forget about Xander for a bit.
The officer called in to get the kid sent to an ER and to call that agent in the LA FBI office. Since he already knew, he could do the paperwork and handle the psycho people. FBI had to do that anyway. He'd check the kid for being one himself in the morning. Hopefully a nap would cure a lot of the guy's problems.
Colby knocked on the motel room door, staring at the kid. "That date guy?"
"Wanna be sorcerer. He was doing things to hopefully get enough energy to summon something to give him powers." He yawned. "I've sorted out a few other files for the locals."
Colby walked in to look at those. He spotted one and snatched it to read.
Xander took it back with a grin. "Poker buddies." He beamed. "I might need them some day soon."
"Uh-huh. Didn't you retire?"
"Yeah but things will still happen around me. I am the eye of the chaos hurricane sometimes."
"That's probably what drew the serial killers?"
Xander grinned and nodded. "My ex I just broke up with was a vengeance demon who tortured cheating guys. This version of psycho, *so* much nicer."
"Good point." He helped go through the other files, confiscating a few for the locals and two more for him. "I'll have them add this to your finders fee, kid." He left, going back to the house. "Here," he said, handing the officer the files. "On local crimes the guy was keeping track of."
"Thank you, Agent Granger. That kid?"
"Saner than he could be," Granger quipped. "Seriously a lot more sane than he should be. His whole former town is one psych med away from a breakdown. It'll probably take part of the state with it." The officer shivered but walked off to call his boss to get those files. He looked at his boss, who as grimacing. "Epps, I found a few more." He held them up with a smirk. "He still wants a finders fee."
"Of course he does. Moving is expensive," Epps complained. "Will he move to LA?"
"Nope. Part of the team is there protecting us all."
"Anyone like Summers?"
Epps looked up her file, then frowned. "She nagged someone into going invisible?" he demanded, looking up. Granger shrugged but smiled and nodded. "Great! Just....great!" He put his phone up. "Why did we start tracking them again?"
"Summers burned down a gym full of vampires then moved up to a place that has a lot of unexplained, or non-explained, deaths? It got someone curious even after he died of it."
"Oh, yeah, him." He nodded once. "At least we know so we're prepared in case something happens." He paused. "Can we get a list of sites Harris uses?"
"I can ask. He might share since he says he's retired but he also told me he's the eye of the chaos hurricane sometimes."
"Yeah, really?" Epps complained. "Ya think?"
Granger grinned. "Could be worse. It could be Summers herself."
"No thank you. I deal with enough fashionable people trying to be airheads." He looked around. "We nearly done, people?"
One of the scene techs looked at him. "Do we need to ask someone else?"
"Sunnydale," Granger said, making her shudder and shrink into herself. "One was out of town and got taken by this charming being but got out of being sacrificed by giving a blow job. He said this isn't the worst he's seen, his ex girlfriend likes to torture cheating guys."
"Great!" she sneered. "So not a lot of help?"
"Apparently not. Anything we haven't searched?"
"Most of the rest of the house," the others said, going to start on that. The closet upstairs had torture implements. And a safe. They took it all with them.
Granger got Harris back there. "Search for stuff," he ordered with a point. "I'm checking anything you take out of here."
Xander looked at him. "Didn't your people?"
"Yeah and I don't doubt he had something hidden you'll find that we won't. We don't think like sorcerers."
"Only Willow thinks like that in Sunnydale." He went to look, coming out with a few grenades. He went back to look over other hidden things. He found two more hidden areas. And a wallet that was under a bed. He nicely emptied that. Then he found the hidden room and the money in there. That all fit inside a briefcase so he tucked that under his arm. He went to grab a few of the grenades. "Back of the closet has a hidden door that led to a room that has tapes and a tv system." He grinned. "But I found fifty bucks and his briefcase with his magic books."
Colby held out a hand to get the briefcase. He looked then handed it back with a sigh. He took the grenades back too as he went to look at that room. Xander had two more grenades so he was a happy guy who had pizza and motel money for a bit now.
Colby Granger, not a happy, nauseous agent at all. He did not want to have to view those tapes.
Granger handed Xander the envelope with the check and then had to blink at the sudden fire that went off. It torched all of Xander's clothes off him but didn't burn him or Granger, or anything around them. It did get the envelope and the check though. "I'll have that reissued," he said, calling Don to do that. Don brought the new copy while Xander called someone.
"Go distract Rosenburg please. Someone's paying me for finding a terrorist and she just burned the check. I'm not going back, ever, so they can all die of it, but please go distract her for about an hour or so? Yeah, a succuba would work great. Thanks." He hung up and looked at himself then shrugged, going inside the motel room to get redressed. He came back in shorts and a t-shirt that had a few holes in it. "Just in case."
"Probably a good idea. You sure it was Rosenburg?"
"Yup. If it was a chaos sorcerer it wouldn't have just burned my clothes."
"Point." Don got out of his car, and the car got lit on fire this time. Colby looked at Xander. "Can we go arrest her?"
"If you can prove it? I wouldn't care anymore," he admitted. "Not since she threatened to send me to the pound, which have demons eating out of it."
"Yeah, that's not a good thing to tell your friend." He went to get the check from Don, who was still staring at the remains of the car. "Check?" he asked.
Don handed it over from his back pocket. "Don't lose it this time?"
"Same thing happened to the kid. Got the envelope and his clothes." He looked up there. "Can we deposit it for you?"
"No bank account or I'd say yes. I was going to start one with it. Then warn the bank I used to know a hacker and had a girlfriend who sucked me dry in multiple ways. Maybe they can keep them out of it."
"We can do that," Granger agreed. "Put on something better and we'll take your car?"
"I need to empty my car, just in case." He came down to move everything out of it. Including a few other boxes, a few bags, his swords, his crossbow, and his axe. Then he got the other weapons subtly because if she was going to blow up his car he didn't want to destroy part of the town. They'd hate him for that and he'd have to find somewhere else to live.
Epps stared, watching the weapons being carried up to the room. He stopped one box to look in it then at the kid. "We should probably talk, Harris."
"You wanted someone like that *group* to have it?"
"No. I heard about them." He smirked. "Thank you for turning them in again. Now we can do things about them." Xander grinned, carrying those upstairs too. Then he came back in regular jeans and a better shirt so they could find a bank to start an account in. They all felt when the pressure left. "So no longer scrying." Xander pulled in at the first bank he saw, a credit union. That would work. Granger came in with him to help him start that account. That would be handy.
Epps made a report back to his boss about the reissue of the check, and Rosenburg, and the weapons. At least Harris wouldn't threaten humanity with them.
Xander found where the bad guy he wanted to talk to was. And the bad guy was a bit drunk and high so this was going to be charming he was sure. The guy leered so maybe more than charming. He got hit on and went with it for now. He'd give a blow job to get a better job and to dump a few things before moving on. Though the guy was an asshole and farted during it.
Xander found something oily and used it to finger him during the blow job, not realizing it was a chemical weapon or that it would react against his mixed silver and titanium ring. He got to hop backward when the guy screamed as his ass was lit on fire, literally. Xander got the fire extinguisher and put him out at least. The guy didn't really make it very far when he tried to get to his feet. "Why did you have chemical weapons out?" he demanded. "That's dumb!"
"I was going to use it on you!" he shouted.
"Why? I'm a nice guy, most of the time. I'd never hurt anyone who wasn't a danger to humanity." The man moaned, rolling around holding his dick. "Sorry, I didn't realize." A guard came in and tried to shoot Xander but the fire extinguisher hit him on the head before he could pull his gun. "Sure. Let's be that sort of Xander tonight." He decided to look around and loot. A lot. When he ran into the few real weapons he thought about it.
"Do I have ethics?" he told the guy he had accidentally burned. "I used to. I..." He sighed. Then he took two of the bigger weapons. He called Granger from the desk phone. "Oops, I did it again," he said when it was answered. Then he fled from the area. He didn't want to see the disappointed looks. It really wasn't planned or wanted but it had happened and he had to accept that. And maybe get the sample of that chemical liquid to see what else it could do.
On the other end of the phone, Granger sighed. "Trace it," he called. "That was Harris." Epps groaned but had the number traced. Then they went to see what had happened this time. It was someone they had seen files on. Granger looked at the guy that had been knocked unconscious, clearly by the fire extinguisher next to him. Which still had foam on it. Then at the guy they had a thick file on, who had fire fighting foam on him and was moaning in pain. "What happened?" he demanded. The guy whined and pointed at the vial. "What's that?"
Don sniffed. "Chemicals." He found the lid and carefully put it back on. "Did he set you on fire?" he demanded.
"His ring," he whined, starting to cry. "It reacted with it. I'm so sorry!" he sobbed. "Please put me out of my misery! I can't live like this!"
"We're FBI, not assassins," Don noted. Granger was getting an ambulance for them. And officers to arrest for them for now. The local's lab people came in to get the chemicals to test for them. Granger went looking for weapons, because of course there were weapons if Harris was involved, and found a few big, dangerous things.
"Fuck," Don said loudly when he looked over his shoulder. "At least he called instead of taking it." Colby pointed at a dust free spot. "We'll get it from him later." He went to let in the team. "We could use a weapons person too. This arms dealer is an idiot. He was keeping higher weapons in a closet."
"Without cases," Colby said. "But they're not nuclear at least."
"That's good," the lab tech said, looking around his arm to see what it was then called in SWAT. "What happened to the crying guy?"
"The arms dealer said that the chemical in the vial next to him reacted with someone's ring. Then he begged us to kill him in mercy," Don explained, then sighed. "Can you figure out what the chemicals are?"
"Sure." She looked at the guy, tipping her head. "Looks like it caught fire." She carefully put it into an airtight container then went back to the lab to start breaking it down. She did test a few drops against some metal samples. The fire was impressive against silver. That explained a lot to her. She put that in her report first so no one would have to wonder how it had happened.
Epps woke up Harris the next morning, smirking when he opened the door. "How on earth?"
"It reacted to my ring." He let him see the scorch mark. "I had to ice my finger too." He let him inside. He had already hidden the weapons. "Sorry. I really did not mean to do that. I was hoping I could get him to go to Sunnydale to take down a threat that would've wanted to take him out."
"Uh-huh." Epps stared at him. "Weapons, kid? Before we have to bring you in."
"Slight problem with that," Xander said with a wince.
"If you've already sold it, I'm going to arrest you."
"No. Not in the least." He looked up something and let him see it. "That's in a bit over a year. Maybe two years. They might have to move it back but that would be within five years anyway."
Epps took the phone to read that, one eyebrow going up. "Um..."
"Partially that law firm Cordy was complaining about being evil. Which means that you'd have the LA team, with my ex, and Buffy and Willow in Sunnydale coming in to help stop that mess. If I show up they'd never see me but I may have to jump in then."
Epps considered it. "That I need to stop. I do not think you should keep weapons that large until then because with your luck it'll get taken from you or burned up by the redhead."
Xander nodded. "I can see that but if it's not around we'll have to hunt something spontaneously. Which would cause a lot of problems, some stress, and probably a few deaths."
Don Epps nodded. "I can agree with that. I can arrange to hold them safe from destruction. Once I show that to my boss, he'll be having a stroke but we have an old invasion plan from world war two that we can revive slightly so it'll be ready. We can call it anti-terrorism plans." Xander grinned and nodded, getting the bigger things from under the bed. "No, anything above the legal limit, Harris."
"But..." He petted a grenade with a pouty look. "I might need it with what I accidentally run into. I was just planning on paying for him to do something with a blow job last night. I thought that was lube."
Epps nodded. "We figured it was something like that. They sedated him in the ER and won't let him wake up yet." He sighed. "One."
"Two? One's gas." He held it up with a grin. "Not even eating gas like that one," he said with a point.
Epps stared at it. "Fine. If you have to use it, I want a confession immediately."
Xander blushed. "I guess I can do that. Agent Granger seems understanding."
"You're driving him nuts, but his girlfriend will appreciate it when we get home."
"For that I kinda miss Anya. Not totally but slightly for that."
"Don't remind me we had to listen to her complain when we were up watching your town's problems."
Xander snapped as he sat up straighter. "Oh!" Epps flinched. "Warren Meers!"
"I know he's been mentioned."
"No, he's about to break mentally. He's been talking to his robotic girlfriend again."
"That girl he's seeing is robotic?" Epps demanded.
"Um, yeah. He built Natalie in high school. He wants to be a great super villain. Him and the other two. They keep discounting Andrew though."
Epps stared then nodded once. "I'll report that. Maybe we can use them." Xander smiled and nodded that's why he had mentioned them. "Okay. Do a search before I have to come back. We're going back this afternoon." Xander got up to look, handing him a knife he didn't like anyway with a grin.
"Fine. Thank you, Harris." He carried the rest of the grenades down to the rental car to go back to their own hotel room. Colby wasn't amused. Their boss wasn't amused. Then he got a full report on why and they all had a sip of mylanta as a FBI agent bonding routine.
Don Epps found the idiot Meers, who for some reason had a gun and was stomping toward Summers' house. So he stopped him to talk to him. Meers was ranting about how Buffy had ruined all his plans so Epps arrested him and walked him off to arrest him for it. Brandishing a weapon would only get him a few weeks in confinement but long enough to get him psych help.
He saw someone watching and shrugged. "Brandishing a weapon at a federal agent is always a bad idea," he called then smirked. He recognized that geek. Well, Wells could go nark about his buddy being arrested. It'd make Epps do a few extra forms if they tried to rescue Meers but oh well. He didn't have any plans tonight.
Andrew ran into Jonathan's garage, panting hard. "A Feeb just arrested Warren. Said he was brandishing a weapon." He straightened up, gulping air while his best friend ever stared at him. "Warren's gun was his father's old thing and he was nearly at Summers' house."
"Crap!" He considered it. "We can have Natalie go bail him out I guess."
"If. That was an agent. He was one of the guys that busted the arms dealer last week."
Jonathan grimaced but nodded once. "I can arrange to get him bailed out. You okay?"
"I'm fine." Andrew grinned. "It's amazing what's going on since Harris left."
"Nah, he's got nothing to do with it. He wasn't that much help or anything."
"He was the reason we survived graduation, Johno." Andrew stared at him until Jonathan shuddered. "He did stuff and he got fed up with Buffy and Rosenburg and stomped off. I've heard rumors that he's up by Torrence and is responsible for two arms dealers dying."
"They probably tried to date him," Jonathan pointed out then grinned. "But that makes Summers weaker."
"Yeah, weaker right before it's spring sometime soon. Then what happens?"
"Good point." He turned to type that into his computer program. "We'll figure it out and maybe go to a comic convention during that time."
Andrew sighed but nodded, sitting down. "We might want to move, permanently move. Willow's the reason Harris left and you know they're tighter than we are. What did she do and is she the next great evil Summers will have to fight?"
"Ooooh. Didn't consider that." Jonathan typed that in as well. "Yeah, she could be going evil. Magic isn't a science and it relies on ethics, and we all know Willow had some flexible stuff thanks to her parents screwing up." He turned to face his buddy again. "If she is, will Arizona be far enough away? The only comic convention I know during that time is Tempe."
"Venus might not be far enough away," Andrew said, pulling up information he had found. "I found the demon's network about the ones who bother them." He let his buddy see what he had seen in the last week. Jonathan heaved at one point. "Yeah, so we're possibly on the front lines of an epic battle coming up."
"I'll let someone shoot her," Jonathan offered.
"Would that work? Maximoff can block those in the comics. So can Strange."
"Hmm. Point." He considered it. "What about the people about that Giles guy?"
"From the site's page on him, Buffy told them to screw themselves and they've been trying to take out Willow and Xander since they heard about them. And if they're the sort to take out teenagers for protecting themselves they'd be the sort to take out their warrioress, and then we're all doomed."
"There's that other girl."
"In a coma by her page."
"Super crap." He grimaced. "Are there others who could stop Willow if she does lose it?"
"Will we have time to call them?"
"Will us preemptively striking make her go evil?" Jonathan countered, staring out the garage door. "And there's Willow stomping this way. Shit." He turned off his monitor. "What's up, Rosenburg?" he called.
"Who was that? The guy who arrested your buddy? He freaked out Buffy!" She put her hands on her hips, scowling at them.
"An agent who arrested an arms dealer the other day," Andrew said. "He told me Warren was brandishing a weapon when he caught me staring from just outside your best friend's house."
She blinked a few times. "What?"
"Yeah, he was at the white house on the corner's sidewalk. Miss Pierson's old house. With a weapon." She shuddered. "So apparently he had a reason. We were just talking about what could be going on since we didn't know that Warren was out for a walk."
"Well, poopy!" She stomped off. "Don't make us deal with your next crackhead idea," she ordered.
Jonathan closed the garage door with the remote, looking at Andrew. "She is slipping mentally worse than Warren," he said quietly. "We need to make sure she isn't the next apocalypse battle Summers has to fight."
Andrew nodded, looking at that site to see if he could find someone reasonable who could deal with an irate witch. They found a few hunters mentioned, one just up the coast. So he wrote that one an email about how to handle an irate witch who had mistake issues. He got back one an hour later asking for directions to their town so they could check on the witch. It sounded like something someone needed to handle. Andrew told them where they were and how to get to the Magic Box once they were in town. Hopefully they'd be able to handle Rosenburg in a snit fit. Because all they wanted to do was hide in a deep, dark place that had a lot of internet access.
"I'm not evil!" Willow shouted at the strange woman. "I've never been evil! I don't know what that imbecile Xander told you but I'm not evil and I wasn't even when I turned him into a dog because he was being an annoying idiot!"
"I've never heard of that one, Rosenburg," the woman said, smirking at her. "But thank you for confessing that you crossed the line by a lot." Willow glared. "Changing someone into a dog against their will is evil. It's the definition of evil workings." She stared at her. "You're going even more evil now because I can feel your magic."
"It's the hellmouth, not me!" she sneered. "If you knew anything about anything you'd know about it!"
"I know plenty about the hellmouth, kid. I grew up here too." She sneered at the blonde running their way. "And I learned about your friend's duty too. I can't stand the people over her but I think they may have a point about you needing to step out or be taken out. Before you become an apocalypse yourself."
"I am not evil!"
"She's not!" Buffy called.
"Shut up, Summers. This isn't about you."
"It is so! She's my backup!"
The hunter looked at her. "So? She's gone to the dark side by a long walk off a short pier of ethics." She glared at the witch. "And then she admitted to something even worse than magical domestic abuse. The only thing worse she could be doing is murdering with her skills."
"We have to go on patrol to keep down the biting committee," Buffy complained. "How do you expect her to do that?"
"By hand, like the rest of us?" the hunter demanded. "Using her magic to stake is probably what set her on the path toward the evil point she's on. I am duty bound, by an oath I took, to make sure the evil doesn't thrive. She's only getting worse. Soon we'll see her sacrificing things for her power base."
"I can close the hellmouth," Willow snorted. "Why would I need to?"
"And that doesn't worry you?" the hunter asked Buffy. "That she claims to control the portal full of evil energy that can and someday will take out the town?"
"She keeps it closed!" Buffy complained.
"No!" The hunter shook her head. "It doesn't work that way, Summers. Magic never has." Buffy slumped. "Does she have a teacher, a coven, anything?"
"Giles. She borrows his books."
"Take me to him and maybe he can arrange to have her mentored by some senior witches who'll teach the little bitch ethics. Though, what she did with the memory spells, especially the ones on her girlfriend, get you taken out by hunters." She stared at Willow. "Permanently taken out by hunters." Willow shrank back. "Let's go, ladies, and I use that term loosely."
"What did Xander tell you after he stomped off in a girl snit?" Buffy asked.
"Um, never mind." She hauled Willow off by her arm, taking them all back to let Giles sort it out. He was the watcher and the dad figure, he could help the hunter lose her temper or something. She walked in first hauling Willow. "Someone called someone to come take Willow out for magical abuse."
Giles took off his glasses. "Excuse me?" he demanded. The hunter walked in looking smug. "You're..."
"Anabeth Majors, Mr. Giles. I grew up here a few years ago." She shook his hand. "So far I've been asked how to handle a witch that was greatly stepping over the line of ethics. They mentioned magical domestic abuse. They've mentioned memory spells. Then she admitted that she turned someone into a dog against their wills and killing with her magic, which means she's probably not going to be able to come back to our side." She glared at the young witch. Then at Giles. "Does she not have a mentor? Some sort of senior magic user?"
"I've tried to teach her the proper methods. She grew into extraordinary powers rather quickly."
"That's even more reason why she needs teaching and a mentor," Anabeth complained. "Like how you don't give powerful sports cars to kids on their first driving lesson. They tend to get taken away by the power. And usually die."
He nodded. "I've sent inquiries to the Devon coven."
Anabeth gave him an unamused look. "That bunch of people who follow your council and frankly aren't great witches with ethics anyway? What about the Delaware coven?"
"I don't know any of them."
"I do." She pulled out her phone to call someone. "Susan, why are you answering Karen's phone?" She listened. "Ah. That's a good reason. Nope, rogue, powerful witch who not only controls the hellmouth but she's moved to the dark side already. No, Rosenburg. I got an email from someone else in town who was worried she'd be the next great apocalypse battle. Misusing her gifts. Accidentally admitted to something heinous you'd seen in a thirteen-year-old witch sort," she finished dryly. "Please. Sunnydale. Yup, that witch. Thanks." She hung up. "Tonight. They'll fly out within an hour. They're in Kansas right now thanks to someone's niece having a hard delivery problem with her kid." She looked at Buffy again then at Giles. "Didn't she see the Marmoset book?"
"Mamorasal," he corrected. "And I don't have a copy. I can't find a copy."
"Can you find one to remove her spells on people? It might be a good place to start with since I got warned about magical domestic abuse."
He rubbed his eyes. "We've since detoxed her."
Anabeth pulled Willow over, pushing her sleeve up. "Noticed it when she was trying to defend her actions." She pointed at the sore. "That's magic eating her."
"Oh, it is." He went to get a potion and brought it back. "Put that on there, Willow."
"Does that mean the hellmouth's tainting her?" Buffy asked.
"That she's using black magic," Anabeth said. She looked at the young idiots. "Who is this Xander guy they mentioned and is he still a dog?"
"He's left. He was Buffy's backup," Giles said quietly. "He didn't turn her in to you?"
"No, someone in town did."
"Oh." He slumped, staring at her. "We need to do another spell cleaning. I can ask Anya to do that."
"Is it a good idea to expose more normal people to Anya?" Buffy asked. Giles glared at her. "Let me go tell my mom." She ran off before the hunter got her too.
"Let me call my helper," Giles said quietly, going into the office to do that. "Anya, we need you at the store. We need to do a spell cleaning. I know she might have hit you as well but doing the preliminary is more in your area than mine." He smiled. "Thank you. No, a hunter's here for Willow thanks to someone in town telling on her." He listened. "Oh, dear. Any idea who? No, not a bit. Thank you, Anya." He hung up and walked out there. "She'll be here in about five minutes. Let her put on clothes." He looked at Willow then got the things Anya would need.
Anabeth stared at the woman walking in. "Anyanka. This is where you went to?"
"I lost my job for a few months so I dated Xander." She smirked. "I'm back now."
"I'll warn some others. Are you aware of this witch?"
"A lot," Anya said with a nod. "Including her doing some really nasty things that got her a job offer from D'Hoffryn." Giles choked and spluttered. "She turned him down. That was with the will spell, Giles." She got a few other things, coming back to do a spell cleansing on the shop first then the people.
"Keep track for me please, Anyanka. A member of the Delaware coven is coming tonight to talk to her."
"I thought about writing to them or the Amherst coven then somehow forgot to do that," she said, glaring at the witch. "At least the Delaware coven is full of lesbians so she can't claim they're prejudice that way." She did the removing on each of them, including Anabeth, freeing her from an earlier curse. The hunter grinned at her for that. "Looked nasty and not by one of us. Let me get Buffy and her mother." She skipped off to do that.
Rupert took his glasses off, staring at Willow. "We should probably give you some meditation time, Willow." She flinched away from him. "Let's use the ritual room you set up."
"Let's not in case she has things in there," Anabeth suggested. "Let's use a closet?"
"We only have the weapons closet unfortunately. We can use the sparring room. It'll give her something to kick for a bit." He dragged her back there and locked her in there after making sure she couldn't get out the tiny window. He came back to talk to the hunter. "Who wrote you?"
"It was signed Andrew."
"If it's the one I'm thinking of, he would know about black magic as his brother went there." He rubbed his forehead and looked at her. "I'm going to make myself some tea. Feel free to browse." He went into the kitchen to rant quietly about the stupidity of that girl. And at himself for not seeing it more clearly.
In LA Cordelia and Wesley both looked at themselves as they started to glow. "Huh," Cordy said, then shrugged it off. "I wonder what Rosenburg did this time." He gave her an odd look. "The others glow a different color."
Wesley stared at her. "You can see magical auras?" he demanded quietly.
"Always have been able to, Wes." She smiled. "That's how I knew it was Rosenburg doing stuff instead of Harmony or Amy or anyone else."
"Harmony used magic?"
"She dabbed and scared herself by calling up an imp to help her with her hair." Wesley moaned and shook his head. "Thankfully I've heard she's Angel's newest daughter-in-law because Spike turned her to replace Dru."
"I'm sure he'll be thrilled with that news," Wesley said dryly, finishing their grocery shopping so they could head back to the office. "Doyle, here," he said, handing him a bag. "The milk you wanted." He smiled. "Is Angel awake?"
"He's brooding to the tv news."
"That's fine." He went down there. "Cordelia shared some news," he said as he walked into the apartment. Angel stared at him oddly. "She can apparently see magical auras."
"Cordy with magic would be a horrible thing on humanity," he said dryly.
"Well, it might go well with the light powered witch that Spike turned to replace Druscila. Named Harmony."
Angel sat up straighter, staring at him. "The cheerleader?" he asked. Wesley smiled and nodded. "She has magic? And you said Spike turned her?"
"Apparently to replace his past lover. Cordelia said Harmony summoned an imp once to help her with her hair and scared herself."
Angel blinked a few times. "The world is going to hell," he moaned, leaning back again.
"No, not really. We do keep that sort of thing down." Wesley smiled. "She thought you might be happy to have a new daughter-in-law."
"I'm glad he's out of my hair but she's a terrible price to pay for it." Wesley smiled, leaving him alone to think about that fact set. The world really was screwed if Harmony got higher magics to work. Spike knew enough to teach them to her. Yup, they'd have another apocalypse soon. He grabbed his phone to text his childe to order him to distract Harmony before she started to use magic again. She was easier to distract than to stake so maybe a trip to Paris. He really hadn't liked Paris during their last trip so...Harmony was a nice thing to gift to that city. "Maybe she'll run into that mythical guy running around with the sword who thought he was a Highlander," he muttered as he typed that idea to Spike.
In Torrence, Xander looked at his glow and huffed but let it fade again so he could go back to enjoying the park. It was a pretty day with no one running, screaming, or dying. Even the mugger he had punched hadn't been that evil. The last evil he had found had been taken care of last night so he could enjoy this pretty day today.
Giles looked up as a woman stomped into the store. "Joyce," he said, smiling at her. "Are you all right?"
"Maybe. Anya sent me to a healer for some reason she didn't explain after doing something magical around me?"
"A demagicing. Someone called a hunter about Willow's mistakes."
"What did she do this time? I've heard Xander left thanks to her."
He nodded. "She turned him into a dog against his will then threatened to send him to the pound."
"Doesn't the kitten poker circuit use that as a grocery store?" she demanded. He nodded. "I need to beat that girl to death."
"We have a senior witch showing up soon. What did the healer have to say?"
"She's reading the scans and will call later." She pushed her hair back. "Have you seen Buffy? I haven't seen her since Anya did the magic stuff around her."
"I haven't seen her and Willow is in the training room. By herself."
"It'll make it easier to find her later. Why is a senior witch coming out? Did Xander call one on his way out of town?"
"No. Apparently Andrew Wells contacted a hunter to come handle her being scary, as his email said. It noted she has had some mood swings and had done a few spells that are considered evil. He mentioned the memory spells on Tara specifically."
"Wasn't his brother the one behind the prom attack?"
"Yes, his brother was into black magic."
"So he'd know," Joyce decided. "I can't find Buffy at all. I wanted her here when we got the call from the clinic. She's probably with that idiot Riley again." She huffed.
Giles went outside to see if he could spot one of their group. Perfect. "Wells." Andrew flinched, turning to stare at him. "Go find Buffy for her mother please? We need her here when the doctor calls later." He nodded, running off. "Thank you, lad. And it was a good call to send that email." He went back into the store. He had no idea how long a flight from Kansas to LA would take. Anabeth had gotten a room at the motel for the night in case it ran long so she was resting to let them all calm down and consider how best to beat Willow for her problems.
Andrew found where Buffy was with her boyfriend. "Buffy, your mom's looking for you. Something about a doctor's call later."
"Why is my mom talking to a doctor?"
"Don't know. That librarian guy told me to find you for her for that."
"That's kinda weird." She looked at Riley, who was looking guilty. "Is there some reason my mother might need a doctor, Riley? Since you look like a dog that just created a spot on the carpet." Andrew fled before he had to witness Summers doing something evil.
"No, I don't know why she'd be sick. Unless she's had headaches or something? I know you said she had one last week."
"Huh." She got up. "C'mon." She hauled him with her. Even if he didn't want to go, she was pulling him with her. He still looked guilty so something had went on at sometime. She ran into that hunter. "Anabeth, this is my boyfriend Riley Finn. She's a hunter, Riley. She came to help Willow."
"I actually came to burn her at the stake," she said dryly, staring at Buffy. "Before she slips worse." She looked at Finn. "Marines?"
"Army. How did you know?"
"The way you stand, kid." She looked around then at Buffy. "Meeting to talk about beating the witch?"
"Mom's expecting a call from a doc and was looking for me for some reason." She glanced at Riley then at Anabeth, who smirked a tiny bit. "Want to come with us? Your witches should be here soon?"
"I hope so. She's about to land in about another thirty and she's flying into the next county instead of LAX. Not a long drive from there." She walked off. "Follow, Soldier." He groaned but did follow. He got further and further behind them as they got closer to the store so Anabeth grabbed him and forced him with them. "Slayers can't harm people. I don't have that problem," she warned when he struggled.
Buffy stopped to look at them. "Why did you look so guilty, Riley?" she asked quietly. "I might be willing to give you a head start, but not if you lie."
"The...the scientists wanted to test something." Anabeth groaned and squeezed him, making him scream. "Hey!"
"Shut up, scum. What did you do to the girl's mother?"
"I don't know what that liquid will do!" he complained, trying to get free. He almost managed it but Anya caught him and handed him back with an evil grin. "Anya," he moaned.
"Nope. I just got that calling tingle from Buffy. What's going on?"
"Mom may be sick. He gave Mom some sort of liquid," Buffy said slowly and clearly, staring at Riley.
"I don't know what it's supposed to do!" he complained.
"Yeah, I doubt that," Anabeth said dryly, walking him into the store. "Mrs. Summers, he said his people had him give you something liquid that they wanted to test. Let me figure out what it does for you and your daughter." She walked Riley into the alley to work on him. It'd be great stress relief.
Buffy walked in with Anya, hugging her mother. "I keep reminding myself I can't hurt people. Remind me more often, Mom?"
She hugged her. "Gladly. I need to hurt him first." Riley screamed in pain. "Hopefully that won't happen too many more times. It's unpleasant."
"I can ask Spike to help him," Anya offered. She had already pulled out her phone to call Spike. "Riley got more than you. He got Mrs. Summers too. That hunter is having funsies with him." She hung up. "He'll be right here." She smiled at Giles. "I should go give her tips. I haven't had to torture anyone in weeks." She strolled out there. "Can I help? I haven't had to torture anyone in weeks." She smiled at Riley. "And you really have earned it." She pulled up a spell to help Anabeth by making Riley very sensitive to any touch.
Buffy leaned out a few minutes later. "The doctor said Mom has a brain tumor. I suggest he run before I break the slayer code." Anya beamed and nodded she'd take care of him. She took him with her to go do something special with Riley. "Thank you, Anabeth."
"Welcome, Summers. Shitty men like that deserve to be under the ground, not flirting with girls." She walked in with Buffy. "The demon took him with her."
"I'm sure she'll have fun with that," Giles said, patting Joyce on the back. She was crying on his shoulder. "We will fight this, Joyce. We'll find a good doctor and he'll make sure you're fine so you're around for Buffy for years." He looked at Buffy, who took over hugging her mother while he called Wesley in LA. "Would you know of a good person to treat Joyce's brain cancer that Riley and his sort gave her?" he asked quietly.
He heard the moan and grimaced. "Wesley, it's rather important. She had a healer up here tell her." He wrote down an address and name. "I'll call them tomorrow to get her an appointment. No, we have a senior witch of an American coven showing up soon about Willow, Wesley. It's been a rather bad day.
"Anya took him before Buffy could even punch him. It's a pity, I wanted to do some of that myself." He nodded, making another note. "Thank you, Wesley. Have a better day than we will be." He hung up so he could look up those offices to call them in the morning. He looked over as Anabeth answered her phone, giving them directions. "The coven?"
"Yup. The spoiled one still in there?" He nodded, going to grab Willow to bring her out and chain her to a chair. Joyce looked then sighed and hugged Buffy again. "I hope they can cure it, Mrs. Summers. A sensible woman is a rare thing in today's world, especially in our sorts of jobs." A witch stomped in. "I thought you'd be with your niece."
"I was. The child came out via c-section very easily and healthier than we had hoped for. My niece ordered me to quit fussing." She looked at the witch then at Anabeth. "How bad?"
"Magical girlfriend abuse with memory spells," Buffy said quietly. "And all of us. Changed a friend into a dog." The witch was glaring at Willow. "But she's my backup and I need her. Please, can we just fix her? I know her parents were crappy but I really need the help."
"Who're you, dear?" she asked.
"Buffy Summers. Slayer Buffy Summers. This is my backup witch and that's my watcher, Rupert Giles," she said with a point. "And my mom." She hugged her again then moved away by a few inches. "We need Willow's help. She closes the hellmouth when icky things try to open it. She helps the team a lot. It's just...she's always had this blind spot about magic."
"If it was regular spousal or girlfriend abuse would you feel the same way?" the witch asked.
"I'd have worked to break them up if Tara didn't run from her like she did." Willow spluttered. "I would protect Tara any way I could, like I do. I adore Tara like a sister, but without Willow we're really down on helpers. And have no one to close the hellmouth when it opens the next time someone tries to use it."
"I can see the point that you need her but I'm not leaving her here. It's too polluted."
Buffy nodded. "We're in our summer slow down almost. It won't pick back up until the college starts again in late August."
"She may not be able to come back."
"Then we have no way to close the hellmouth when it opens."
"All right. We can detox her first, see if we can stop it from spreading. Then we'll talk about her."
"She's dangerous," Anabeth warned. "She doesn't stake like we do, she uses her magic." The witch moaned, shaking her head. "I totally get why Summers needs the help. I spent earlier staking some of the biters myself on the way to the motel to help out." Buffy grinned at her. "She's still dangerous, Summers."
"I know. I don't want to die a second time though. It's not time yet. I still have next year's runway shows to look forward to." The witch gave her an odd look. "I'm fashionable," she said dryly. "I was a cheerleader until I got hit with the slayer mole."
The witch sighed but nodded. "At least you weren't raised by them."
"I met one of those after I drowned and got restarted." Joyce looked at her. "The Master, Mom. Long time ago, back when we were barely here."
Joyce rubbed her forehead with a sigh. "Figures. Who brought you back?"
"I always assumed Angel since he was there but when I said thank you he said he couldn't do it because he doesn't breathe. Xander did the CPR stuff."
Giles spluttered. "He does so breathe well enough to do CPR! He speaks so therefore draws in air!"
Buffy shrugged. "Not my doing, Giles. I was unconscious."
"Fine. I need to have a talk with that vampire." He looked at the witch. "I've asked a member of the Devon coven to help her and gotten no response."
"Because their noses are so far up the Council's tail they can't see anymore," the witch agreed. She looked at the pouty young witch. "We can handle that problem."
"I found some cell destroying going on," Anabeth said quietly. "They used a potion on it."
"We can make her dump it all and confess to everything. There's nothing like a real mother to handle bad children." She hauled Willow up, relocking the chains around her so she was bound, adding magic on top of it. "Come along, young lady. We've got to meet the other witches." She walked her off. "Thank you for the help, Anabeth. I'll tell your sister you said hello."
"Please. And to quit sending me dog pictures. I can't have one when I travel most of the time." The witch laughed about that. "Be safe."
"I've seen worse than this little one has ever been." She walked the pouty thing out to her car to bring her back to the rest of the coven. They'd be highly amused at this young thing's misdeeds. Until one of them corrected the girl.
Anabeth looked at the others. "Summers, need me to stay for a day to help? I know you're emo right now."
"I'm okay," she said quietly, staring at her. "Taking it out on patrol means I get more of them."
Anabeth nodded, shaking her hand. "Let me know if you do need backup. I hope you're cured easily, Mrs. Summers. Mr. Giles," she said with a nod for him. She left, going back to the motel for the night. Then she'd head off in the morning to tell the other hunters about this. That way they were alerted this town was a miasma of hell.
Buffy looked at Giles then at her mother. "We're going to have ice cream, Giles."
"Go ahead, Buffy. It's a grand night for it." She nodded, walking her mother off so they could go home and rant in private. He made notes for himself and consciously didn't file a report with the Council. They didn't need to hear about any of this.
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