Shoot by Numb3rs
Word count: 1090
They had joined the LA Community in an odd fashion. One day, a couple of weeks after September 11th, Alan got a letter that only he could read. Every time Margaret or Charlie looked at it, they only saw blank paper. Don called within a day to tell them he'd gotten a similar letter in Albuquerque. Alan had always wondered if any of them were unchanged...they had family histories and journals...but it had been generations since anyone had found their soulmate. Charlie was a little disappointed that he wasn't a dragon, Alan was glad...having one son put himself in danger on a regular basis was enough. As guardians dragons had a habit of throwing themselves into dangerous situations.
It not only explained Don's profession as an FBI agent, but Alan's past as a protester in the ‘60s. He'd gotten arrested more than once when he stood up for what he believed in.
They made plans, he and Charlie, to go to the first Summit, he even called the number for the young man in Sunnydale. It was then that they learned there was already a Community in LA, and had been since 1998 when Community General Hospital had been blown to pieces.
Xander Harris put them in contact with the Sloans and the interesting young couple who were private investigators so they would at least know someone at the Summit. Now they got together at least once a month for Community Dinners...or Alan showed up at Barbeque Bob's...heck he made sure Cordelia and Doyle stopped in often to make sure they weren't living off fast food. No matter how busy they were helping the helpless.
Sometimes Anna Hodges hosted the dinners, and despite the teasing the boys did, Alan truly enjoyed her company and when he needed a break from them, or the often empty house, he found himself in Malibu. She always welcomed him with a smile and excellent food...though sometimes the two of them ended up invading the Sloan's kitchen next door. Mark and Jesse were both dedicated and worked odd hours some days at the hospital, Steve never had a shortage of cases in Homicide...and despite how easily Sara dived into her job at the crime lab...there was always backlog to go through. Adam often ended up staying with Anna or helping them cook. Anna wasn't always kidding when she said she was the only thing between them and starvation.
Anna was that and so much more. She and Margaret had become fast friends after the First Summit in 2001 and she'd been there for all of them when Margaret had been diagnosed with cancer. For every up and down, she was there with a smile and a hand to hold, even when Margaret was so wrapped up in morphine that she couldn't feel Anna's hand in hers.
She was a dear friend to Alan still, honorary aunt to his sons, stand in mother to Cordelia and her friends at Angel Investigations and Alan would be forever thankful that being part of the LA Community had brought her into all their lives.
LA had been fortunate, Don supposed. Their community had been well established for quite a while. Seven years now; one of the longest and in a tie with Chicago, both being second to Houston. They held first place in numbers though. Three bonded pairs, two unchanged and, at least, eleven additional community members. They also hadn't been directly affected by terrorists like DC or New York. Hell, New York's community consisted of one unchanged Dragon, Mac Taylor, unless you counted some of the refugees Mack had taken in from the Initiative labs. And DC only had Jethro Gibbs and his lover Tim McGee, and Jethro was unchanged.
Other communities didn't have the advantage of law enforcement cooperation. LA had community members in three branches of the LAPD (Major Crimes, Homicide, and the Crime Lab) and Don's FBI team. Having the cooperation of LAPD's Homicide and Major Crimes units came in handy; not to mention having Sara working with the Crime Lab. They even had a few members in the Medical and Academic fields in the form of Doctors Sloan, Travis, and Bentley...his brother Charlie was a Mathematician at CalSci. Their other academic, Sam Winchester, had transferred out of LA to Stanford and had plans to go into Law School.
Then there were the members of their community that dealt with the supernatural. Cordelia, Doyle and their friends at Angel Investigations...though Sam had helped from time to time when he'd been living in LA. His background as a Hunter had been invaluable, even though he was hiding his past from his girlfriend Jessica. She was completely normal and he was keeping her in the dark and had no plans of ever telling her. No one really agreed with that, but respected his decision. Don had a bad feeling though that if Sam didn't tell her it would all come crashing down. But it was the kid's life.
Having community members in the LAPD made joint task forces so much easier; especially the past few months. Don had been able to tell Steve Sloan everything, even about the Spanish flu bio attack. As the Alpha of LA, Steve and the DRoA (Dragons of America) special circumstances gave him the necessary clearance...not to mention Mark Sloan had experience dealing with such bio hazards including bubonic plague, small pox and legionnaire’s disease. The Spanish Flu was just another in a growing list.
On a personal level Don liked being part of a community. He didn't submerge himself in his work the way he did in Albuquerque. Here, back home in LA, he had his dad, Charlie, and a team of good agents. Sure he wasn't running an office like he had back in New Mexico...but he liked being home in LA. He liked seeing his dad and Charlie almost every day. Liked having Charlie help on cases. Their solve rate had almost doubled.
The added security of being part of a separate nation also helped. When Xander Harris had spread the word that Horatio Caine's niece needed bone marrow everyone got tested. Everyone. It was sheer luck that there were three donors in the DroA. One of them ten year old Stiles Stilinski was one of the first to volunteer. Don and his family had been right behind the kid. They, like Stiles and his father, had lost someone to cancer. And the last time he had inquired little Madison was responding well to treatment and things looked good.