The time came as it always did for real holidays to start.  Dawn had considered her options, then begged Charley for her bike for the holiday weekend, reasoning that she could put the Andrew cat into one of the new saddlebags she had bought for when she used it.  She had asked him and he hadn't seemed to mind.  He liked sleeping in them anyway.  Charley had considered it, then relented after Vinnie promised her a weekend out of town.  So Dawn had carefully packed for the weekend, calling Max to tell her she was leaving, then packed the cat onto her shirts and fasted that bag securely after putting a water bottle in there with him.  She could always wash or dry her shirts if something happened.  She pulled out of the garage early Wednesday morning with Xander's blessings for skipping a day since she had already done all her homework due for Monday.  It was a crisp morning but not too cold and no real snow yet.  It was a great ride too.  The cat had howled for a few minutes then apparently settled down for a nap.  Every once in a while she saw the bag shift but that was fine.


Xander opened his phone with a sleepy complaint moan. "What?" he asked at the giggling.  "Why would I want to go to Cleveland?"  He moaned and scrubbed his face.  "I'm not sure if I can make it, Buffy.  Yeah, but I also have a boyfriend and he's here."

"We can go if you want," Throttle whispered in his ear.  "We'll even take your car so you don't freeze.  My bike'll understand."

Xander looked at him, then spoke into the phone.  "Let me discuss that with him."  He hung up and turned to look at him.  "You want to spend the holiday with Buffy and the slayers?"

"Not really but they are your only family and Dawn is there."

"Yeah, but they won't hurt Dawn."  Throttle kissed him, making him calm down.  "If you want," he said finally. He stole another kiss and sat up.  "We should take your bike."

"Nah, that's fine," Throttle promised, stroking his back.  "You'd freeze on the interstate.  There's supposed to be snow today."  He tweaked the edge of his tail.  "Entirely up to you."

Xander sighed and nodded.  "Maybe.  But that'll leave Modo here alone with the cats."  His mother had left the week before with the other mice.  His dream last night was bothering him so he curled up on Throttle's chest.  "He'd be miserable."

"Then call Buffy back and ask if you can bring both of us," he said reasonably.  "She probably won't mind."  Xander looked up at him.  "I'll go ask him first if you want."

"Sure."  He let his lover get up, slowly and gently stroking the tail flicking around as it walked off.

Throttle walked up into the lounge.  "If we go to visit Buffy too did you want to come?" he asked.

"I don't want to impose," Modo said softly.

"I'd be imposing too," he assured him dryly.  "She wanted Xander back and we might as well go protect Dawn."

"What about the city?"

"Meg and Oz are here.  They can call."

"Point."  He looked at his bike.  "Want a road trip, Lil' Hoss?"  She beeped.  "Then we can go."  He sat up.  "You're sure?"

Xander came up the ramp, smirking at him.  "Buffy said that was fine and she'd try to keep the girls from hitting on you guys.  I didn't tell her anything about my changing."

"Sure," Throttle agreed.  "Since he's coming, you wanna take the bike?"

"Sure."  Xander headed into the bathroom.  "I'm showering."

"Fine," Throttle agreed, watching his tail disappear.  He looked at Modo, who was smirking at him.  "What?  I like him riding behind me.  Otherwise we were going to take the car so he wouldn't freeze."  He went down to lay out some clothes for them.  Even he'd be cold on the interstate today.  He packed something slightly more formal for Xander, of course all black because he liked him in black, and something nice for himself.  Then he gave them enough for the return trip.  He found Xander's large backpack and stuffed the clothes inside, then took them out and carefully repacked so it was smoother.  By the time he was done, Xander was out of the shower and he took his turn, going to get clean.  He came out and found Vinnie bouncing on the balls of his feet.  "Anxious?"

"Yeah," he admitted with a grin. "This is our first holiday together and she let me plan it.  I'm hoping she doesn't object."

"I liked your ideas, Xander liked your ideas, she'll like your ideas," Throttle assured him, clapping him on the arm.  "Take a shower before you sweat too much and start to stink."  Vinnie rushed in there to clean up, then let Modo have it.  He came down the stairs and found Xander had changed the outfit, putting on a thick, soft black sweater, a pair of nice leather pants, and his boots.  His jacket and gloves were waiting in the chair.  "Will your backpack fit over that?"

He nodded.  "Yeah, I adjusted the straps out to make sure.  I thought I looked cute in it."

"You do," Throttle agreed, liking that sweater.  It clung in the right spots but it was loose and soft to tease him and keep him warm.  "Whenever Modo's ready we can go."

"Sure."  He gave him a kiss and went to present Modo with the sweater he had found him.  "Here you go, wear this," he said happily, grinning at him.  "I figured even such a warm guy as you got cold."  He headed down to look over the bikes.  "We'll need to fill you up, baby.  Go ahead and plug in for a few minutes to top your tank up. It'll be a pretty long drive and I'm not sure if we've got plugs in the garage at the house."  The bikes plugged in, even Vinnie's.  He stroked the handlebars.  "He's not taking you, girl.  He's taking her on a plane and they'd have to treat you like cargo.  Think you can hold down the fort and make sure the cats are fine?"  She beeped.  "I'll let Meggy come over and put on her white outfit," he teased quietly.  The bike snickered.  "Sure."  He went to call Meg and Oz.  "Hey, it's us.  Can you come cat sit at the lair and watch Vinnie's bike?  No, I got invited back for a Sunnydale Thanksgiving special.  No, no Indians this time, Meg.  I swear, no spirits this time.  Yeah, and you can bring your white outfit.  I asked, she said she didn't mind."  He grinned as Vinine stopped to look at him. "Thanks, no, we're leaving within an hour.  You know where the key is.  Love you guys."  He hung up and looked at Vinnie.  "I asked her."

"Meg does what on my bike?"

"She has this all white outfit that she sewed a tail on and she does a decent impersonation of you on a really calm day with a bit too little enthusiasm."

"So she's like you on a calm day?" Vinnie taunted.

"Not even close," he snorted.  "Ask your bike.  It took pictures."

Vinnie went to talk to his bike, who was sharing the pictures.  He looked at it, then shook his head.  "She looks very strange as a white mouse."  The picture flipped and she was a gray mouse.  "Fine, if you want to let her play Switch and ride you, that's up to you.  Make sure she cleans you up, I don't want to know what she did."  Another picture flashed and he blushed, walking off shaking his head.  Charley gave him a kiss and a worried look.  "Meg dressed up in mice costumes and plays on my bike," he whined.

"I know, I walked in on her the last time.  She was wearing her 'you' outfit and Oz was dressed in gray, but without the tail or ears.  They were doing stuff I hadn't considered," she admitted with a blush.

He gave her a kiss.  "If you wanted to have sex on my bike, we can do that, sweetheart," he promised smugly.  "Any time and every time you want."  He let her go and went to check her bags.  "You won't need the sweaters."

"You never said we were going somewhere warm."

He repacked and handed her the bag, giving her a kiss.  'That's all you'll need and all I'm wanting you in.  No peeking."  He walked away.  "Put on your other blue shirt.  I like you in it, Charley."  She groaned but changed shirts, smiling as Modo and Throttle took off with Xander in his usual spot.  They were so cute together.  Nearly as cute as Meg and Oz.  They walked out to the cab, finding Meg parking and getting out in her 'Throttle' costume and Oz shaking his head at his girlfriend.

"Just don't ask," Oz suggested when Vinnie stared at her.  "Cats at the lair?"

"Yeah, and turn on our security system," Charley said, kissing Meg on the cheek. "You're adorable!  Take pictures of those for Xander."  She got into the cab, pulling Vinnie in with her, even though he fell across her lap.

"Sweetheart, I love you but no sex in the back of a cab," he complained, getting in properly and closing the door.  "My poor bike."

"She enjoys it, Vinnie, let her play."  She patted him on the thigh.  "Airport."

"Sure, ma'am.  Are you in?"  She looked and Vinnie used his tail to grab the bags through the window, then they were off.  "Was that a mouse costume?"

"Meg's a programmer," she told him.  "She's working on a new game."

"With us?" Vinnie asked excitedly.  "When can we play it?"

"Soon, Vincent, she's still writing code," she said, patting him on the thigh again.  He moaned and kissed her.  "You said no sex in public."

"Cheese, I hate it when I make rules too early."

"We can change it after you take me away for the holiday."

"Sure."  He smirked, she was going to have a lot of fun.  They got to the airport.  "International," he told the driver, who was glancing back.  He nodded, taking them to that terminal.  He paid the guy then got out, heading inside with the bags, his girlfriend behind him. "Come on, you don't want to miss the warm water."

"We're going where?" she asked, jogging to catch up to him.  "Where are we headed?" she asked.

"You'll see," he said smugly.  He found an empty check in counter and walked up to it, handing over one of the bags, but keeping the other.  It had the passports and stuff.  He leaned closer, whispering his name and she smiled. "It's a surprise."

"I can tell, she looks shocked already," the woman said with a British accent.  She found their reservations and popped out their tickets.  "Identification, sir?"

He dug into the bag, handing over their ID's and passports.  She smiled and made notes, then handed them all back.  "Which way?"

"Through security to gate 15, sir.  Thank you for flying British Air."  She smiled at Charley and winked at her.  "You'll enjoy it, I did on my honeymoon, and congratulations, ma'am."

"Thanks," she said with a smile, taking his arm to walk away with him.  "Where are we heading?"

Vinnie smirked and winked, getting them into the security checkpoint line.  He handed over their tickets with a grin for the woman checking them.  "It's a surprise for her, don't spoil it?" he begged, looking just pitiful enough to get a smile in return.  He emptied his pockets, realizing he had his bike keys.  "Meg might need those."

"She can't ride," she assured him, patting him on the back.  He went through and beeped so had to come back and take of his boots, showing the chain he had on underneath.  "That doesn't come off."

"A very dear friend welded it on," Vinnie told her.  She nodded and motioned him over, doing the hand wand.  "Sorry, it's in remembrance."

"I understand, sir.  I've seen others."  She smiled as Charley went through and gave him back the tickets.  "Happy honeymoon, sir."

"Thanks," He said with a wink, putting back on his boots.  He took their bag and the small plastic container of change and keys, putting them back in his pocket before leading her off again.  "Gate fifteen?"  She nodded, looking around.  "You'll love it, it was highly recommended."

"I hope so."  She looked at his hand.  "You got me a passport?"  He beamed and nodded.  "You're being sneaky."

"No, Xander did the picture," he assured her.

"I wondered why he was snapping pictures."  They got to the gate and she stared at the board, then snatched the tickets.  "You're taking me St. Croix?"

"Well, yeah," he admitted, grinning at her.  "I heard it was nice.  Max said it was pretty nice and there's a local F-1 if you wanted to go."

She grabbed him by the ears and pulled his head down to kiss him soundly.  "You are amazing."  She let him go and took the tickets to check in.  "He's surprising me," she said at the amused look on the girl's face.

"This is one great surprise," she assured her.  "Thank you, Miss Davidson.  It'll be about a half an hour before we start to board.  Since you're in first class, you do have priority boarding."  She smiled and drug Vinnie off to the bathrooms, knowing he'd never be able to use the one on the plane without destroying it.  She was even nice and bought him a rootbeer to take on the plane.  She'd reward him for real when they got to their hotel.


Dawn parked her bike in the open garage, taking the left two-thirds of a parking spot.  That way if someone else had to come in they had a chance of parking.  She climbed off and grabbed the saddle bags.  Andrew meowed pitifully.  "Give me ten minutes, Andrew."  She walked inside, slamming the door.  "I'm here!"  She walked into the kitchen and put down her bags, letting Andrew out onto the counter, where he promptly hopped down and went to investigate, hopefully finding a suitable litter box.

"There's a litter box in the bottom bathroom and he's got food and water in the living room," Buffy said with a smile.  "Good time."

"Thanks.  It took me about six hours.  I had to stop for gas because I'm borrowing a bike."

"You're riding a ten speed?" one of the slayers asked.

Dawn snorted and took off her helmet.  "Yeah, because I dress like this to ride a ten speed.  No, honey, I rode a Harley that belongs to a very nice friend."

"One of those big guys?" Buffy asked.

"No, Charley.  She owns the garage and is dating the white one."

"That's rascist," another female voice called.

"Not really," she muttered, looking at her sister, who was beaming.  "What?"

"I talked Xander into coming up and Micah so you and Max could do some training," she said happily.  "Xander's bringing Throttle and Modo, whoever they are."

"I'll go move my bike in a while to make sure they've got room to park," she said dryly.  "If they don't have plugs out there, they'll need an extension cord as well.  Two plugs, heavy draw."

"We've got three or four outlets on the work table," Buffy assured her.  "I didn't know they made motorcycles with electric engines."

"These ones have very fussy computers," Dawn said patiently.  She scrunched up her hair.  "Sorry, I sweated on the road.  It was starting to snow."  Andrew leapt up and nuzzled her.  "Hey, liking it here?  Did you find the kitty box?"  He meowed and rubbed against her chest, then wandered over to love on Buffy as well.

"Not cats on the counters.  I'll be sitting soon so you can cuddle then," she said, picking him up to give him a hug and a kiss.  "I missed you, you little dickhead."  She put him down with another pat and cleaned off the counter.  "Go change!"

"I am dressed.  It's not like I'm in pajamas."  She sat down, checking her bag, then looked at the cat, who was smirking at her.  "Thank you for not messing up my shirts."  He rubbed against her leg, then stiffened when he heard a child's squeal.  "No, it's not Anya, she won't try to eat you."  The cat still took off when the toddler came into view.

"Kitty kitty!" the girl called, chasing after it.

Dawn snagged her, looking at he.  "To pet the Andrew cat, you've got to sit down and let him come to you.  He's been scared by babies.  So go sit down and call to him, he'll come."

"Kitty kitty?" she asked.

"She's not quite that developed yet," a woman said, taking her back.  "Scared of children?"

"The last infant was just crawling and thought he was a chew toy.  Especially his tail."

"Oh, good.  Then we'll teach her how to tempt him with a treat and pet him gently.  Come on, Cara."

"Kitty kitty!" she demanded.  She cooed when Andrew came around a corner and trotted up to leap into Dawn's lap.  The baby lunged but her mother kept hold of her.  Dawn lifted up the cat and she patted him on the head.  "Kitty kitty.  Pretty.  Mine!"

"Everybody's," Buffy retorted, looking at her.  "Behave, Caroline."  She pouted but got down and went to chase the cat into the living room.  "That really is Andrew, huh?"  She nodded.  "How did you know?"

"Well, the first *true* proof wasn't that great, he was sleeping on top of Xander's Star Trek collection or next to his yearbook.  Then one day, while we were moving Xander's stash of weapons, Andrew snuck into the old SUV while Oz was picking me up.  First day of school no less," she said dryly, holding up a hand.  "They still had a few grenade launchers in the back and Andrew was posing on top of one, straddling it like he was showing off his manliness, and licking himself while Oz was waiting to pick me up.  So *everyone* in school saw that we have weapons, and cats, and Oz explained it as an art piece."  The slayers chuckled.  "Oh, if Xander's coming, we've got to have a short talk.  Something's happened."

"He's more injured?" Caroline's mother asked.  "I knew we should have brought him back, Buffy!"

"No, he's happier there and has a boyfriend."

"Who is furry," Dawn told them, hearing the bikes coming up the street.  "As is Xander now."  Buffy dropped the spoon and the other slayers stared in shock.  She nodded. "Yeah, it's pretty new, but he's a mouse now."  She got up and went to move her bike so they could park, grinning at them.  "There's outlets over there," she offered once both engines had stopped. "I warned a few of them.  The rest are hiding so far."

"Goodie," Xander said dryly, getting off and taking off his helmet. He slid his backpack to one shoulder and went to find an extension cord for the bikes.  They popped out their cords and he plugged them in, giving them both pats.  "Close the garage door, Dawn, it's cold out there."

"I'm guessing there's a car missing," she offered, but she did close the door.  "Sonya has a baby."

"Wonderful," Throttle agreed.  "Another tail grabber."

"But it suited Anya's personality so well!" Dawn teased, smirking at him.  "Come on, I'll walk you inside.  Xander, you wanna take point or follow?"

"I'll lead.  That way I can kick asses," he muttered, heading into the house.  "We're here!"

"Xander!" someone yelled, coming down the stairs.  She stopped when she saw the creatures and let out a scream.  "Shape shifters!"  Then she attacked.  Xander blocked two blows, ducked a third, then slammed her into a wall, holding her there.

"You done now?" he asked.  She babbled and he pressed harder.  "Yes, I'm furry.  I like being furry, just like my man is furry.  The same as I like having a tail."  He yelped and glared at the cat.  "Andrew!"

The slayer scooped up the cat, backing away from him. "Buffy!  We've got a problem!" she called.

Buffy came out and dispersed the remaining slayers.  "Wow, you are furry.  Dawn just barely told us."  She shrugged and gave him a hug.  "It's all good, they work with Micah," she called.  That got a groan and most of the girls departed.  She smiled at the other two mice.  "My sister rides a Harley?"

"Only when she can beg to borrow it," Throttle told her, shaking her hand.  "Throttle.  This is Modo.  Vinnie's in St. Croix with Charley, the owner of her bike."

"I see," she said, smirking at her sister.  "You are so much in trouble."

"I asked.  She said I could borrow it.  I respect Charley, she's a great woman who's teaching me how to fix engines."  She walked Xander into the kitchen, pulling down packets of cocoa.  "Here, hot cocoa will make you warm again."

"I've got cider on the stove," Buffy told her, pulling it onto the front burner to reheat.  "Strip off the jackets, guys.  We're not that formal around here."  Modo and Throttle shrugged, getting back down to their usual harness and vest respectively.  "Wow.  She was right about you two being hotties.  I hadn't realized the last time I was there."  She got down mugs and poured out drinks, saving the opened package of cocoa for the baby since she was heading for Modo.  "Um, big guy, she's still grabby."

"We have a friend's kid who just left last week," Throttle told her.  "We named her after Anya because she was born on the anniversary of her death."

"Wow.  Is she like her?"

"So far," Xander agreed.  "Modo likes kids, it'll be fine, Buffy."

"I'm wary around all non-parents," she said dryly.  "I don't trust myself with her."  She looked down at the baby.  "Caroline, I've got cocoa brewing."  The baby beamed and then beamed up at Modo, reaching for his tail.

Xander snickered, shaking his head as he picked her up and got his buddy free.  "Hi, Caroline. I remember you when your mommy was puking her guts up."  She patted him, just like she would the cat.  "Sure, you do that, baby."  He sat down next to Dawn, continuing to be petted.  He looked back at Throttle and used his tail to pull him closer, giving him a deep, with tongue, kiss.  "I feel better now, much warmer."

"No making out in front of those of us who aren't dating," Dawn sighed.  "House rules still apply, guys."  Modo chuckled and hugged her.  "Thanks, big man.  You do know your mother threatened to move down here and bring you eligible women, right?"  He nodded, patting her on the head.  "See, I'm overprotected as their little sister, but they do it in a better way since they *encourage* me to learn how to protect myself."

"She's gotten very good, she bruises Xander now," Throttle assured Buffy.  Micah came in stomping his feet.  "We were invited too."

"I know, I was here when she called you guys."  He looked around, then paused. "Vinnie took Max's suggestion?"

"St. Croix," Xander said proudly.  "He kept it a surprise until this morning at least."

"I'm impressed, I didn't think he could keep that sort of secret," Micah muttered.  Xander held out the baby.  "No," he said, backing away.  "I don't like kids and they don't like me."  He looked around.  "No mother?"

"No, and she's a tail person too," Xander said, putting her back down.  "Go get your mommy so you can have cocoa."

She toddled off.  "Kitty kitty, mommy, kitty kitty."

"Yes, I saw the kitty kitty, Cara," her mother said, coming out of another room.  She stopped at the sight in front of her and whimpered.  "Not in front of the kid."

"What?  I held your head when you puked, ungrateful wench," Xander taunted, smirking at her.  "I like being furry, I'm not cold now."  The baby was put down and the mother came over to hug him, getting in a pet of her own.  "Yes, I'm soft."

"I can see that."  She kissed him on the nose and Throttle coughed.  "Oh, really?" she asked, glaring at him.  "What makes you think you're going to keep him?"

"Because he's mine and I said so," Xander said blandly, staring her down.  She blushed and took the cocoa back to the other room where her daughter was petting the cat.  He looked at Buffy.  "We could stay in a hotel."

"Fat chance!  Giles wanted to talk to you about how you were using the money anyway," she informed him.  "He's out right now."

"They took his usual parking spot so he'll have to cover his car," Micah told her.  "The bikes need the garage or somewhere else that's warm."  He clapped Xander on the back, then smoothed down some hair.  "Helmet tracks."  He touched the hair again.  "You're dry too."  He looked at Throttle.

"He's shedding, it's normal at his age," he assured him dryly.  "I take very good care of my boy."

"Good, I like that."

Xander looked back at Micah.  "If I had known you were interested, I might have held off to see if you could keep up."

"You'd be worn out in seconds, kid," Micah teased back.  He laughed at the looks on the girls' faces.  "I'm not.  I like Xander, he handles things so I don't have to show up so often."  He looked at Throttle.  "Anything of note?"

"Meg's working on something with us.  Vinnie's bike has been letting her play on her," Xander told him.  "She's even made costumes and gets Oz to help."

"I saw enough of that the day I walked in on it," Dawn announced.  "And it gave me nightmares so let's not go there again.  I can't see those two like that."

"Meg and Oz?" Throttle asked.

"No, she was being Vinnie and he was dressed all in gray, but no ears or tail," she said sweetly.  Modo shuddered.  "Exactly.  Now you know why I had nightmares," she said with a bright smile.  He nodded, shaking his head to clear it.  "Bathroom's got the litter box.  Bedrooms are probably in the distant wing of the house."  She glanced at Buffy, who nodded.  "So let's go unpack and by the time we get back, the cider should be pretty warm."  They followed her, heading up to the rooms with the open doors.  No one who lived here kept their doors open, it was the only privacy the slayers got.  Xander looked at Throttle. "No traumatizing the slayers," she said patiently, "with loud, claiming, noisy sex."

"I agree," Micah said as he came up the stairs, taking the first doorway and shaking his head.  "That's mean and vindictive, Xander," he said gently.  "You're better than that.  Just show off and be yourself.  Let Throttle have another of those lap days.  That's more than enough."

"Sure.  Get a beer later?" Xander asked.

Micah nodded.  "Please.  Sports bar."  Xander grinned and nodded, taking the far room with his man.  Modo took the one next to Micah and Dawn took the one between them.  "Did you bring real clothes?"

"Dress pants."

"That'll do.  Your sister's cooking," he shared, going into his room and shutting the door.

Dawn shuddered but went to unpack her stuff.  Then she came back down the stairs, finding the others in the kitchen. She looked at Buffy, who shook her head at the questioning look.  "Guys, did anyone tell all of you that Xander and his guests are giant mice?"  They all moaned at that.  "Thanks.  Oh, the big, gray guy is Modo, he's very sweet, so don't hit on him.  He's one of those nice, sweet, gentle, respectful guys that mothers like.  Got it?  Messing with him is messing with me and Xander."

"Who is apparently gay now?" one girl asked. "He's dating the tan one, right?"  She nodded.

Another girl coughed. "I thought he was being racist talking about 'the white one' earlier."

"No, that's Vinnie, he took his girl to St. Croix for the holiday.  I'm borrowing Charley's bike for the weekend," she said patiently.  "Vinnie is like Xander, only worse."

Throttle chuckled and gave her a hug.  "That's one way of putting it."  He nodded.  "Ladies."

"Hi," most of them said, staring at him.

One of them moved closer, then patted him on the bare arm.  "You are furry."

"I'm a mouse, ma'am."

"Sandy," she said, smiling at him.  Dawn popped her one. "Hey!"

"You put drugs in my car, bitch.  I should rip your fucking head off and shove it down your throat.  That's obviously why the demons sent you back, because the drugs made you taste funny."

"Dawn," Throttle said patiently.  "You already handled that."

"Fine," she said, glaring at her.  "Don't try it again or with Xander.  You won't like it."  She looked at her sister, taking the mug of cider.  "Thanks, Buff."

"Welcome, Dawnie.  Were you the reason we got the visit from the drug dog?"  Dawn smirked and nodded.  "I totally agreed with your judgement in that case.  Besides, the dog was cute."  She grinned at Throttle. "Can you drink cider?"

"Non alcoholic?"

"We can't serve anything else with two people on probation around here," she assured him, dipping out a mug and handing it over. "I've got extra cinnamon if you want some."

"No, that's okay, we've got very sensitive taste buds."

"They won't eat true Xander chili either," Dawn shared.  More of the girls moaned and drank their cider.

"He bought the girl who came to hide with us white chocolate covered jalapenos," Throttle shared.  "Then he tricked us into eating them."  He sipped his cider, sitting down again.  "You made good time."

"I had to stop twice for gas and to check on Andrew when it started to snow.  He was in my saddlebag."

"Risky if you had crashed."

"I wasn't going to crash.  Charley took me out into Quigley Field and made sure I could handle the bike on a sheet of ice."  She took another sip.  "Do you think she's thinking about going for a new one?"

"Maybe," he admitted.  "You might ask her.  That would make a good graduation present since you're going to the college."

"Thanks, Throttle."  She kissed him on the cheek, then wiped off the lip print.  "So Xander doesn't get jealous."

"Won't keep it from happening," he said smugly.

"Do you guys get to wander around like that in Chicago?" one of the girls, a younger one, asked.  He nodded. "Do you guys have a hellmouth?"

"No.  We had other aliens."  He took another sip.  "Most people don't want to see us as mice so we're okay with it.  Every once in a while we go out in disguise."

"Trench coats, scarves over their mouths, hats," Dawn said dryly.  "They got asked if they were going to rob things.  The cops like seeing them like this more."

He nodded.  "They decided it's easier this way."  He took another sip.  "Modo?  Are you okay?" he called.

"Fine, bro.  Just got attacked by the baby again."  He came down the stairs carrying her.  "It took me a minute to catch her."  He sat down with her in his lap, taking his mug.  "Thank you, ma'am."

"It's Buffy," she said firmly.  "Remember that.  I'm not a ma'am yet.  At least I hope I'm not."

"No, you look good for your age and slaying all week," most of the slayers assured her.

Xander came down the stairs with Micah, taking his mug from between Throttle and Modo's shoulders, giving her a grin.  "Long week?"

"Fairly, that's why Micah was here.  You?"

"Not really.  Quiet on the construction front.  Quiet on the demonic and alien front.  Vinnie even got bored."

"As Charley found out when she left to get groceries and came back to find him painting the kitchen," Throttle agreed.  "She was not impressed."

"He was getting paint everywhere," Xander reminded him.  "At least he had the sense to cover everything with plastic."

"He was hopping up and down to get the ceiling," Dawn told the others.  "Very cute.  White mouse, yellow paint.  Bright yellow paint."  They all chuckled at that.  "Xander came behind him and did the trim work for him so he wouldn't have to jump up and mess that up."

"The ceiling wasn't too bad," Modo offered.

"No, it wasn't and Xander fixed the spots he missed," Dawn agreed with a grin for Xander. He shrugged and grinned before taking another sip.  "Are we riding back as a group?"  Throttle nodded.  "Fine.  Some of those roads were pretty iffy in spots."

"Yeah, we noticed," Throttle assured her, patting her on the back.  "Good job. Your first road trip by yourself."

"Thanks," she said proudly.  "Can I have a snack?"  Buffy grabbed something out of the fridge and tossed over the green pepper.  "Thanks."  She broke it open and took the seeds out, flicking a few at Andrew when he jumped back up.  "Down."  He looked at her. "Spray bottle."  He jumped down and went to nuzzle Xander's leg.  "Remember, you're staying with all these girls, Andrew."  She took a bite, nodding.  "Thanks."

"You're welcome," she said happily.  "How's school?"

"I'm pulling down mostly B's, but Russian is still a trip and physics is hard. I asked the local college, taking a few extra minutes to go up there and give them my application.  The woman I talked to said it wasn't too bad and since I was now local I was probably going to be accepted, even if I bottomed out."

"Which you can't do if you want to hit the Academy," Micah reminded her.  She sighed and nodded.  "It's all right, we understand that you're not into Physics, but you being able to speak Russian would be really helpful.  Though I like the choice of Hindi."

"Thanks, Micah," she said with a grin for him.  She looked at her sister. "I'm going to be working for him."

"So he said.  Are you fighting?"

"Only when Xander's not there," she said honestly.

"She helped us with an alien menace a few weeks back," Micah offered.  "She took orders, she scouted first, she worked with Lorne at the second site.  She did okay. Even he said so."

"He did?"

He nodded.  "He did, but he said you need more work in your fight practice."

"I'm already doing a martial arts and working out with Throttle and Vinnie each weekend," she reminded him.

"That's something that takes time to learn, Dawn," Modo said gently.

"Yeah, whipping tail wasn't an overnight ability for us," Throttle agreed. "You're picking it up pretty well."

"I'd like to see Buffy sparing with her this weekend," Micah offered.  Dawn shrugged and nodded.  Throttle looked at her, then nodded slowly.  "Buffy?" Micah asked.

"Sure."  She grinned at her little sister.  "Mom would be proud, but scared."

"Mom would just be proud.  I've got six boys panting after me and I don't pay any attention to them."

"That's because we'd whip your tail if you brought any of those punks home," Xander said dryly.  "Though, the guy on the red Kawasaki, he's nice.  He likes you."

"Phil?" she asked, looking back at him.  "He does?"

"He's always staring at you so either he thinks you're odd or you're cute," he offered.  He smirked at her.  "If you bring him home, we might not mind.  He's a smart and good boy."

"He stares at Vinnie too," she reminded him.  "Mostly in awe."  She finished her cider and put her mug down.  "We'll see.  I'll try to speak to him on Monday.  He might not be more than confused by big, furry people."  She ran a hand up Xander's arm.  "You're getting denser."

"I noticed.  We've been busy recently and I've been tired."

"That's what holidays are for," Throttle reminded him, pulling him closer by twining their tails, earning a small grin.

"I don't care if you're gay and doing ...gerbils," Caroline's mother noted, "but please not more than cuddling in front of my kid.  Her father's trying for custody and this city has judges who would hand her over in a heartbeat because of that."

"He's more my lap pet anyway," Throttle offered, picking Xander up and putting him into his lap. "I'm possessive."

"Good," she agreed, smirking at him. "Someone needs to be about that boy.  He keeps getting into trouble."

"The *boy* as you call him took down the same alien menace twice by himself and three times with the group," Micah told her.  "He's much better than most people think.  He also designed their present house and paid for it since he owned the building as an investment property, but he worked really hard to build it in two weeks."  Buffy looked impressed at that.

"It had a shell we built some stuff around," Xander offered.

"You still designed it, helped work on the crew all hours of the day and night, and got us an amazing house in under two weeks when we had to move," Modo reminded him.  "Then you blew up the old building and didn't damage ours at all."

"Shiiiiiittt," one of the slayers muttered.

"He's not supposed to be fighting, he's injured," one of them noted.

"So am I," Modo said, holding up his mechanical arm.  "It works sweeter than my real one sometimes."  She stared at him, looking so confused.

"A missing eye isn't a reason to stop fighting unless he wanted it to be," Throttle told her. "He's not helpless.  He doesn't usually touch the money Giles gave him, unless it's a crisis, a vehicle, or Dawn's education.  He's far from helpless.  I lost both of my eyes and have implants and I still whip tail and do it very well."

Xander nodded.  "I'm far from helpless, Melanie.  Think about what I've done since then.  I've fought bad aliens, I've helped build a lot of stuff, I've gotten a few injuries, and I'm still going."

"He walked into the final battle just a few days after losing his eye," Throttle reminded them.  "He wasn't helpless then either."

"Well said," Buffy said quietly.  "It's good that you appreciate them where we couldn't.  I still don't like the idea of Dawnie riding a motorcycle."

Dawn nudged Modo.  "I said bike and one of them thought I meant a ten speed."  He chuckled and hugged her.  "Thanks, Modo."

"You're welcome. You deserve it.  You were careful on the way here if we caught up with you."  He kissed her on the side of the head.  "If Momma brings back women, I'll expect you to help protect me and to pick a good one."

"Sure, always happy to help," she assured him, grinning up at him.  "Otherwise Vinnie will make you date one like him and Meg will swoon."  He blushed but chuckled.

"Meg needs another hobby," Throttle told her, shaking his head against the back of Xander's head.  Xander patted his arms.  "I thought she was strange when you two were dating."

"Hey, she's the one who asked if tail size equated," he said smugly.  "Not me.  I avoided asking it for her just so she could ask Vinnie herself."

"Can I pet you, Xander?" one girl asked.  He looked up at Throttle. "I don't mean to hit on him but he looks very soft."

"He is," he agreed, pulling her closer with his tail.  "Go ahead.  You can pet us both.  Xander's still got baby mouse fur."

"Thanks."  She stroked down Xander's cheek then down Throttle's arm.  Then she blushed and retreated to the safety of the group. "Thank you.  You're both very soft."

"I help him take very good of his new fur," Throttle assured them.

"I bet you do," one said with a leer.

Xander kicked her in the head, knocking her out.  "My man, no poaching," he said flatly.  "As a club recently learned."

"Wow," Buffy said, looking at the unconscious girl.  She stared at Xander.  "You were never that possessive about Anya.  When's the wedding?"

"By our standards, we are," Throttle told her.

"I didn't even get a card?" Micah teased.

"Throttle claimed him in front of everyone.  I thought Vinnie was going to interrupt so I pounced him, but then I realized I was in a nightie and he was thinking smutty Charley thoughts about doing the same thing."

"Claimed?" Micah asked.  Xander leaned back to whisper in his ear, making him nod.  "Then I'll just wish you luck and I don't need those mental pictures."  He finished off his cider.  "Any more, Buffy?"

"Sure," she agreed, taking his mug to dish out some more for him.  "Bottom of the pot," she warned as she handed it back, letting him have another cinnamon stick.  He took one with a smile for her.  "Where's Max?"

"She'll be over for dinner tomorrow and then she's stealing Dawn on Saturday.  I want to watch both sparring sessions, Dawn."

"Yes, Micah."

"Good girl.  She writes good reports for me too," Micah told Buffy.  "We found a link between Druidic markings and Martian ones."

"Wow," she said.  "There were Druids on Mars?"

"Similar styles but not a perfect match," Dawn told her.  "I'm thinking one came down to learn and took it back."  She looked around.  "When are we going to the store? I need to pick up a few girl things."

"In the bathroom closet, top shelf," Buffy told her.

"We'll need to go anyway, Buff, these guys like root beer."

"I know.  I asked Micah when I went last night.  There's two cases in the fridge."  Modo grinned at that.  "He said you guys ate a lot."  She pinched him on the cheek.  "So help yourself.  Did anyone want to do the dishes?"  Like magic, all the slayers disappeared.  She snorted.  "Wonderful.  Just leave me to it, girls."  She loaded the dishwasher and turned it on.  "Giles should be back soon," she told them.  "He's been looking forward to talking to Xander to see how things are going."

"They're going okay in Chicago.  Things are kinda calm now that we've gotten rid of the big alien menace."  Xander snuggled back into the comforting arms.  "Did anyone think to warn him that I'm furry?"

"He wasn't here when Dawn came back.  He's temping in at the local book store for the holiday season because he's bored," Buffy offered.  She looked at the clock as she heard the garage door open. "Hmm, he's back a bit early.  Did you guys leave him a spot?"  They shook their heads.  "Then he can park in the driveway.  It's not really snowing."  The door closed and someone came in. "Hi, Giles."

"Buffy, whose bikes are those?" he demanded, walking into the kitchen and stopping.  "Hello."  He stared at them, then at Dawn, then at Micah.  "No Xander, Dawn?"  Xander wiggled his fingers with a grin.  "You're not usually that hairy, my boy.  Did you run into something?"

"We're not sure if it was those Druid markings or not, but yeah, I'm furry.  This is Throttle, he's my man.  The other is Modo, he's a bro."

"Oh, congratulations," he said gently.  "Um, those markings were to keep the peace so I doubt it was that."

"The demon that made you stronger?" Dawn suggested.

"Maybe," Xander agreed.  Giles opened his mouth.  "Quonoset demon."

"I see.  When?"

"Road trip."

"Ah."  He nodded.  "I thought you came back a bit different but I could never put my finger on it."  He held out a hand.  "Rupert Giles.  I'm assuming those are your bikes?"

"The soft tail's mine," Throttle said, shaking his hand.  "We've talked on the phone."

"Yes, I remember."  He shook Modo's hand.  "A pleasure to meet you both.  Xander, I've been meaning to talk to you about how you've been spending that money I sent."

"Dawn's education, my ride issues, building a house we all live in, a few splurges now and then, but we're mostly quiet," Xander offered.


"Um, fifty grand purchase at home depot and a few checks."

"Ah.  I saw that.  The fifty-eight thousand?"

"New car.  It exploded.  We've got a sinkhole problem.  I put the insurance check back into my account and bought my new one, which is at home, plus I'm spending it on Dawn's education.  By the way, who's paying her tuition?"

"I am," Giles promised.

"Good, then you owe me about a hundred bucks for fees," Dawn told him.  He nodded, smiling at her.  "I'm going to UC there.  I'm probably taking languages since I kinda like 'em, except for Russian.  Hindi and I get along great though.  I'm thinking about doing Middle Eastern and a minor in Spanish or Hindi, plus the odd classes in Russian to keep up so Micah's not disappointed."

"I like that," Micah admitted.  "You do well in those classes.  Even in Russian.  It's a useful skill.  We'll make sure you can pass as native if necessary. Even if we suddenly get switched back to the normal spy fields, I'm having you stay in ECHO."

"Thanks, Micah," she said with a happy grin for him.  She grinned up at Giles.  "The regular Harley that's not plugged in is mine."

"Oh, dear, I unplugged them.  I thought it was a bad joke by some of the girls."

"I'll go fix that," Modo promised, going out to fix the cords.  It was hard to wiggle the cords back into place inside the bikes, but he had experience in it.  He dusted his hands off. "You ladies all right?"  They beeped and nudged him.  "Good girls.  If they bother you, tell us."  He headed back inside, going to get their blankets from his saddle bag and going back out to cover them. It was still cold in the garage.

"Wow, he really loves his bike," Buffy said in awe when he left again.

"They're family," Throttle assured her.  "Just like these two are."  He gave Xander a squeeze, making him snort, then snuffle and go back to sleep.

"Awww," Dawn said, smirking at him.

"I'm comfy, he's fine," Throttle admitted.  "It's the changing."  He looked up at Giles.  "You minded him buying a car?"

"No, not per se, but I didn't think the weekend away was a legitimate business expense.  It was provided so he could train himself to do something he could do for a career."

"He's a crew manager on a construction site and he loves it," Throttle said blandly.

"That's fairly dangerous work," he protested.  "I wish he'd take up something more gentle, something that would allow him a long career without causing aches and pains, or worse, death if he falls from a height."

"They don't build skyscrapers," Dawn told him. "Besides, with this new change, his eye's growing back.  It's pink, like a proper mouse's, but it's in there and growing at the same rate he is."

"I'm not getting the growing part," Buffy said.

"When he changed, he basically changed into a baby mouse.  He had unerupted antenna, a tail that was shedding and peeling, plus baby-style fur.  As his mouse side ages, it's rebuilding like a baby would.  So he's regaining his balance slowly and he's managing the small things and growing.  He's learning again, right now he's learning from Charley, our mechanic friend, while they work on his new car together.  He's picked up some computer stuff from Oz and Meg.  He's picked up more Spanish from Dawn's textbooks.  He's slowly growing his mouse side into his human one."

"That doesn't bother you?" Giles asked.

"I know how old he is, even if he does present some infant characteristics.  It'd be like someone your age having baby fat or baby hair."  Giles nodded, accepting that.  "By the time the changing is finished, he'll be one studly mouse with a lot more skills."

"How many more months do you think until he's able to ride?" Dawn asked.

He looked at her.  "That depends on the participation level," he reminded her. "He's having a busy time rebuilding some of those houses that fell in.  He's been too tired to do more than nap recently."

"I noticed that," she sighed, rolling her eyes.  "When should we start on the balance stuff?"

"By next spring," he offered.  He looked at Modo as he came back.  "She brought up a good point.  We're going to have to do a lot of balance work with him."

"He likes to swim, you could let him learn how to dive," Micah offered.

"We've thought about that, but he needs walking balance too.  He still runs into things now and then.  So we'll need to set up a balance beam or something."  Dawn nodded.  "I don't know where."

"Make him take up yoga," Dawn told him.  "That'll help the flexibility since he's nowhere near as flexible as Vinnie is."

"It's also relaxing, I do it after a hard day," Buffy told them, leaning on the counter to stare at him.  "I didn't realize it but he does kinda look like a baby version of you guys.  His nose isn't as pronounced and his ears aren't as high."

"We noticed that too," Modo assured her.  "The ears will go up soon.  When he reaches about two."

"He's aging in leaps and bounds at the moment," Dawn told her.  "It's working on the Anya principle."

Buffy blushed.  "Tell me you don't mean sex, Dawn."

Dawn beamed.  "I sure do.  The more they have the faster he changes."

"Could it be a physiological phenomenon then?" Giles asked.

"Our other bro is dating a nice human girl and she's not changing," Throttle told him.

"But if she starts to sprout a tail, we'll hear Vinnie howl all the way from St. Croix," Dawn said smartly, cracking them up.

"They called me during their special weekend away," Micah told him.  He looked at Throttle.  "Didn't you pay for that?"  He nodded.  "Then what did he pay for?"

"The beds we broke," he said blandly, smirking at him and giving him a look over his sunglasses.  "You should go, it's a nice, quiet place."

"As long as you don't take Carbine, you should be fine," Dawn added with a grin.  She grinned at Throttle.  "I still want to know why he bought a sling."

"For when he's tail's in trouble," Throttle kicked back immediately, trying to keep from blushing.

"He gets injured that often?" Buffy asked.

"No, but sometimes it's a necessity to have around.  He's gotten some broken ribs and things from car crashes and the bad aliens."

"Oh.  Poor guy.  Are the aliens really mean?"

"Stinky," Micah told her.  "Slimy and stinky.  That's why I smelled the last time I showed up."  She nodded, going to unload the dishwasher.  "Maybe you should put him to bed, Throttle."

"Sure."  He stood up carefully, letting Modo and Dawn brace Xander until he could pick him up and carry him up the stairs.

"Guys!" one of the slayers called.

"Quit, he's asleep," Dawn yelled back.  She looked at Giles.  "He spends it however he wants, Giles.  We don't need a Watcher, we need people who can kick butt and take names every few weeks.  The last time I dealt with magic was seeing if we could stick his transformation.  Speaking of, I wanted to know if we could stop the transformation around his actual age.  I brought the spell if you can look it over."

"Of course.  I didn't know you were doing magic."

"Only under careful cat watch.  Speaking of, watch out.  Andrew's behind you."  Andrew leapt onto Giles' shoulder, meowing in his ear when the human yelped.   "He likes doing that and he likes to sit on top of grenade launchers like they're part of him."  The cat gave her a smug look.  "See, I knew it was him."

Buffy looked and nodded.  "Yeah, that's an Andrew smirk.  How's the Tara cat?"

"Doing well.  She's going to have another litter.  She snuck out," Dawn shared.  "Then we're getting her fixed."  She looked at Andrew, then at Buffy.  "If you get him a cute male cat, he'd love you forever and ever.  He's like that."

"Sure, we'll go to the pet warehouse and see if they've got any up for adoption," she said immediately.  Giles gave her an odd look.  "At the least they'll play with each other."

"I can see him, looking at the row of cats, shouting out in cat: I'm a boy cat looking for a hot boy cat to live with me and my women," Dawn said with a chuckle.  "One baby already, she likes tails, and so do I.  If you're interested, suck up to the woman holding me."   Buffy giggled at that too.

"Dawn, cats don't think that way," Giles chided.

"Giles, even with a female in heat around him, he still went to bugger his brother," Dawn said dryly.  "Unfortunately Bob recently got adopted by a family up the street."  Andrew let out a pitiful meow. "I'm sure you've went to check on your honey, Andrew.  I'm sure he's fine."  Andrew let out another meow, sounding a bit less pitiful.  "Suck up to Buffy.  She'll have to take you to the pet warehouse place."

Andrew leapt from Giles' shoulder to Buffy's back, then turned around to knead her, purring gently into her hair.  "If we can find you a honey, Andrew, we will," Buffy promised, reaching back to try to pet him.  He sniffed her fingers and licked them.  "We'll go Friday.  Okay?  That way you can give them the good points of the house."  He meowed pitifully again.  "Fine.  Hop down.  Find a kitty carrier box."  He walked around and down her shirt.  "Andrew!"  She pulled him out as Dawn chuckled.  "Yeah, he's Andrew all right," she said dryly, carrying him out to Giles' car.  "I'm taking your car, Giles."

"I say not," he protested, heading after her to drive her.  That way they wouldn't end up with every cat in the pet store and most of the other animals too.

"We need to get Vinnie a new fish," Dawn decided. "A big, huge tank of fish."

"Charley girl might get pissed when she never gets to see him again," Throttle said as he came back down the stairs.  "I wouldn't mind. Maybe against that blank wall in the lounge so he can watch them before sleeping."

"We'll work on that when we get home.  We can't carry one of those on the bike," Modo pointed out.  "The fish would freeze and the tank would burst."

"We've got that major pet place out by the walmart past the college," Dawn offered.  "They deliver the bigger stuff if we can't fit it into the back of the sports car."

"Sports car?" one of the slayers asked as she wandered into the kitchen.  "Buffy and Giles?"

"Going to find the Andrew cat a boyfriend."

"Oh, good."  She smiled at them.  "You drive a sports car, Modo?"

"No, we bike, Xander has a sports car.  He bought it off someone who customized it.  He takes very good care of it."

"He does," Dawn agreed.  She was watching the girl.  She knew her and she had always wanted Xander.  "So, how goes the slaying?"

"Not too bad now.  We've got the major stuff calmed down.  The hellmouth doesn't like to open and it's in a park so the police help by patrolling it for odd people."  She looked at Throttle, then suddenly lunged and attacked, but Dawn stepped in and backhanded her into a wall.  "Dawn!"

"Shut it, bitch.  I like him with Xander.  I like how he treats Xander and how he takes care of Xander.  Touch either of the mice and I'm going to pull your miniscule brain out your asshole and laugh when I piss on it.  Got it?"  The girl held her cheek, staring at her in a hurt way.  "Yay. You're a slayer, suck it up.  Xander would never go for you, all you wanted was money and babies to get out of slaying.  I suggest you go nowhere near my bros."  The girl stomped off.  "If you head up there, he won't need to smack you around again," she called after her.  The girl changed direction.

"I locked our room door," Throttle admitted.

"Slayers are super strong.  They'd just break the door in," Dawn told him.  "I'm sure you could hear that though," she said with a smirk. "That was ho number one, Candace, who basically just wanted to be Anya's successor - only with babies."  She looked around.  "Next?" she called.  One of the younger girls stuck her head out of the living room.  "No one touches Xander."

"I didn't want to.  I thought you were calling me."

"No, Zineta, I said 'next', as in 'who's stepping up for me to kick their asses' next."

"Oh," she said, nodding and grinning. "Perfectly understandable.  Leanne and Tro snuck up the stairs."

Throttle got up and went to save his man.  The girls turned at his cough, looking scared and running away.  "Good idea."  He checked the door, walking in when he found it open.  He picked up the girl on the bed, carrying her down the stairs to hand her to Micah.  "She was trying to wake him up."

Micah nodded, looking at the girl.  "Sandy, you're already in deep.  Don't you think you should stop now?  That would probably violate your probation and he had enough of people like you with Faith."  She was dropped and Throttle went back up the stairs, going to make sure no one else got the same idea.

Dawn tapped Sandy and hit her again.  "What part of 'no' didn't you get?" she asked sarcastically.

Buffy walked back in.  "Forgot the wallet," she announced, looking at Sandy, then at Dawn.  "Issue is?"

"She was trying to wake Xander up by crawling into bed with him," she said dryly.  "I hit Linette too on my way down for trying to sneak into his room."

"Sure.  Someone's got to protect the Xander.  He looks vulnerable and soft.  Most of the girls would want to pet him."  She grabbed her purse and checked it, then headed back to the car, catching Andrew outside stalking a bird.  "No, we like those.  Zineta feeds them."  She climbed back into the seat and closed the door, checking her purse to make sure it wasn't caught.  "Sandy and Linette have tried for Xander already.  Dawn's done the smacking duties."

"Good.  Someone needs to protect that boy," Giles agreed as he shifted into reverse and backed down the driveway.  "Must we do this today?"  Andrew let out another pitiful meow.  "Fine.   You definitely are Andrew."  He shifted into first and took off slowly.  "Do not let him lounge in the library.  I don't wish to sneeze from masses of cat fur."

"Sure, Giles," she agreed happily, petting the cat.  "We'll pick you up some hairball medicine and a nice brush, and even a cute collar," she assured him.  "We'll even get you tags and stuff."  Giles sighed and shifted up.  "He'll need 'em."

"He will," he admitted. "Has he had his shots?"  Andrew hid under Buffy's shirt again, making him shake his head.  "I'm supposing that's a yes?"  Buffy nodded. "Good.  Is he fixed?"

"I'm not sure, but he likes boy cats.  Dawn said he ignored a girl cat in heat to go for a boy cat."

"Fine," he sighed, turning on the blinker to change lanes.  Fortunately the pet place wasn't that far.


Dawn smirked as Andrew led his two new friends inside, waving at them.  "Hey, guys.  Welcome and happy holidays.  There's a kitty box in the bathroom and food in the living room.  Watch out for the baby, she's up again."  Andrew trotted into the living room and one followed him.  The other planted himself in a window and stared outside.  "Huh, you're like an Oz cat, but I know he's still alive," Dawn said, shrugging it off as Buffy came in with a big bag of food and Giles carried litter.  "Need help?"

"Nope, there's only one bag and my purse left," Buffy admitted, dropping the food and going out for the bag of collars and stuff.  She came back and looked at the cats.  "If you're special beings, like Andrew, let us know what you want as a name and we'll name you that.  If not, in a week the girls will get to name you."  The cats stared at her so she shrugged and went back to the kitchen, watching the one who was staring out the window.  "Is that Oz?"

"No, Oz was fine when we left this morning," Dawn assured her.  "He was going to have sex with his girlfriend on Vinnie's bike.  She has to get into character for anything she does and she's doing something on these guys."

"Oh.  That's good."  She shook her head.  "Is she nice?"

"Yeah, and she used to date Xander," Modo offered.  "She babbles and she's fun, but she's a bit odd now and then.  May I help with dinner?"

"No, don't worry about it."  She grinned at him.  "You can help with leftovers tomorrow."  He nodded, accepting that.  "How many did you have to smack?  I saw a few black eyes."

"One of the girls defended Throttle's claim and pounced the others," Dawn told her.  "The ones I got are hiding.  I only got Sandy, Linette, and Candace.  Throttle scared off the others and she got those."

"Good.  It's good he's willing to protect you and Xander.  As long as you continue to do well, I'll leave you there if you want."

"Thanks, Buffy.  Not that it matters because I'd go back after I ran away."

"I understand," she said with a grin.  "Anything else going on?"

"Yeah, a bit," Dawn sighed.  "Giles still has to pledge to pay for my tuition since I can't take any money out of my trust until I'm twenty-one.  By the way, I want to do some studying overseas."

Buffy nodded.  "That's reasonable.  Especially if you do languages."  She brushed some of Dawn's hair back behind her ear.  "You're growing up and I like that," she decided, turning to start on dinner.  "If you're eating, I'd get to your chores!" she bellowed.  "Or starve!"

The sound of feet running was heard all over the house.

"I can't do mine, Buffy," Sandy called.  "I'm too sore."  Dawn snorted.

"I've cleaned my room with broken bones, you can clean the living room and go hose down the shower with that spray stuff," she called back.  "Or else you're not eating."  She looked at Dawn.  "It was the right choice to turn her in.  We're doing weekly drug tests too.  She got rid of the baby before we knew about it, but those two have now been banned.  By the way, Cal was a demon.  Winsington was a nice guy, but I don't want that around here."  Dawn nodded at that.  "He didn't hold any menace either.  I made sure when I faced him down about not coming around again.  He said he understood why you did it, and that he didn't care.  It wasn't anything but her personal stash."

"Good. I'd hate to let Xander rip him to pieces if he wanted to threaten me."  Buffy smiled at that.  "I'm good but I'm not good enough to take on someone like him.  He'd shoot first and then come check the body."  She got up to dig in the refrigerator, handing Modo a soda and taking one for herself.  "Need help?"

"We've got two helpers tonight but they're doing their rooms first."  She looked at Modo.  "We're having tacos and burgers tonight.  Sorry, no hotdogs.  The store's were kinda warm and I wasn't going to chance it."

"I understand and Xander makes us eat Mexican food now and then," he admitted.  He looked over as Throttle and Xander came down the stairs.  "Have a good nap?"

"Very," Xander said with a small grin and a stroke up Throttle's arm.  "I woke up to him protecting me from a girl again."

"There were a few of them," Throttle told him, sitting down and pulling Xander into his lap.  "Can we help?"

"Nope, we've got assigned chores.  You guys can do leftovers tomorrow night with Modo."  She looked over with a smile as her two helpers showed up.  "We're doing tacos and burgers.  Finish the dishes, Linette; Taylor, do the forming and browning."  They nodded, going to their tasks.  Buffy grinned at Dawn.  "Are you cooking?"

"Only when she's fussing," Xander said, grinning at Dawn.  "She fusses very well."

"I guess she got that from Mom," Buffy said gently.  "She was a great fusser too."  Dawn nodded and Buffy gave her a hug over the counter.  "I miss her too."

"Yeah, me too," Dawn admitted.  "But she watches over us. You know she does."

"Then I wish she'd send me a man," Buffy said dryly.  She went to check on the others, making sure they were doing what they were supposed to do.

Giles came out of the library, plopping Andrew in front of Caroline.  "Here, dear, have that one. He's being annoying."  He tapped Xander. "Come, I want to hear about what's been going on."

"Sure."  He got up and followed him into the library.  "All I was told was that the money was a reward for surviving."

"It was, but I also expected that you'd need it to set up things in Chicago to do the same thing we're doing here."

"I do, more or less," Xander admitted. "Most of our demons are the quiet sort.  I work with a lot of them on the construction crew.  Even the vampires don't really cause much a problem.  My boss is one and he's fairly content to eat at the clubs and only nibble."  He crossed his arms.  "We have more aliens than anything and it's not that bad.  We whip the tail of the ones who need it and the rest are usually Martians like us.  Then we blow up something and stop the bad guys."

"Us?" Giles asked.

"That's what I'm changing into, Giles.  I've accepted it.  They're neat guys.  Their culture got hit by the interplanetary rapists first.  That's why Mars is barren."

Giles slowly nodded.  "Have you had many problems of the sort?"

"We defeated that last one a few months back, right before school started.  I got captured and injured for a few minutes.  Throttle came back for me and we took down that group with Micah's backup.  Since then, they've handled a small incursion while Throttle and I were away for the weekend.  Meg used the grenade launcher instead.  I've used some of it to build the lair we all live in.  The bros had to pull an emergency move so I renovated a building I bought.  We basically tore out the insides and rebuilt, then destroyed the outer shell.  I bought a car, which later got blown up, and then bought a new one for six grand."

"For a sports car?"

He nodded.  "It was a custom job and his wife said he had to get rid of it.  It's a beautiful ride," he said, pulling out his wallet to show off the car.  "That's the original, then this is the new one."  Giles smiled at them.  "So now we're down to the bikes and my sports car.  I ride behind Throttle and feel lucky to do that."

"What about the books?"

"They're in the library.   We've got a small research center set up.  Most recently it was to help some of the Martians figure out whether or not the Druid marks we found were theirs or ours.  It resembles a lot of their ancient priestly language."

"Is it?"

"Dawn did most of the helping.  She thinks that one of them came down and learned, then took it back home.  I wasn't doing more than getting headaches so I left it to her.  Micah wanted to her to do a report.  He may give you a copy if you asked."

"I shall," he agreed gently.  "Are you happy?  I meant for you to use it to do something that made you happier than construction work."

"Actually, I love construction work, Giles.  It was the nightly patrols while working all day and then coming home to a demanding Anya.  So I was either building, screwing, or fighting.  I was exhausted."

"I understand.  We all were, Xander," he said gently.  "You work with demons?"

"There's a largeish community of family clans in Chicago.  I work with some of them but the night crew has more.  I'm a crew chief on the interior crew."

"Congratulations," he said with a smile.  "I'm sure it eases some of the strain."

"I pull nearly as much work as they do plus some paperwork," he admitted.  "My crew is great, they're usually ahead of schedule and we have fun."

"Then I'm very happy for you.  Would you need anything?"

He shook his head.  "Not really.  Anytime we need special books, Dawn calls.  I've got a lot of weapons and Micah's stuffed the locker again.  We're doing well enough.  We're in a lull.  We're expecting a new menace soon but not for at least a month."

"That's fine then, Xander.  Use that money however you want, but do keep some for emergencies."

"Giles, I've maybe spent a hundred and fifty thousand over all," Xander told him.  "Of five million."

"I've noticed you've shown restraint, Xander.  I wanted to make sure there wasn't anything further I could do."  Xander shook his head.  "What about this changing you're going though."

"I just want it to be stopped when I turn about twenty and start to age normally.  So if you can find a way for me to age normally as a mouse until then, maybe speeding it up a bit.  I'm aging about a week and a half each time Throttle and I have good sex."  Giles shivered at that.  "We know it's not from that, Giles.  One of the other ones is dating a very nice woman.  She's not changing.  Only me."

"I see."  He nodded, looking him over.  "It may have been from the Quonoset."

"Really?  I hadn't considered that.  From what Throttle found in my mind, he took advantage of me and then blocked it off before going to die."

"Took advantage of you?"

"He got me drunk by buying me drinks at the bar through a human female and then took me away once I was too drunk to protest."  He scratched his nose, then flicked off the hairball. "Sorry, Tara cat had her tail up my nose last night."

"That's fine," he assured him.  "I'm sure we'll have that from Andrew and his friends.  Do you need help?"

"Nah, not at the moment. We've got more than enough.  Vinnie and I destroy things and Throttle and Modo help us rip down things and cheer us on."  He smirked.  "If we need help, we'll scream.  It's only six hours away."

"Fine," he agreed gently.  "If you do need us, yell.  Do you personally need anything?"

"A better backscratcher."

Giles smirked.  "I'll see what I can do for the holidays.  Anything else?"

"Yeah, my tail's still chapping," he said, flicking it around to show him.  "We don't know why."

Giles leaned forward to look at it, then pulled something out of his desk drawer and handed it over.  "That may help.  It's for calluses and the like."  He leaned back again, watching as Xander lotioned part of his tail.  He wiggled it. "Sorry, it's peppermint."

"Hey, it tingles.  I can't wait to do that to Vinnie.  Can I?"  He waved a hand.  "Thanks, Giles.  Anything else?"

"Are you happy?"

"Yeah, very happy.  Lots and tons of happy.  He's possessive, protective, and loves to let me do whatever I want and to take me often.  He lets me be playful and experiment.  Plus he likes my oral streak.  He tastes so *good*, Giles.  It's like bittersweet chocolate!" he moaned.  "He likes me the same way.  Besides, he even likes my clothes."

"Fine, Xander," he said with a fond smile.  "I'll learn to like him as well.  He seems like a very stand-up and serious fellow.   I know he's protective of you, I figured that out after he called when ...Willow...happened," he finished softly.

Xander nodded.  "We were wondering if it was her doing this to me," he admitted.

"She's a nature spirit but they're mostly virginal and innocent of such things," Giles told him.  "She may have seen that would make you happy and done it for you.  We'll figure it out and how to stop the accelerated aging shortly.  How old is your mouse side at the moment?"

"Just under a year."

"I see.  How fast are you aging?"

"A week and a half each bout of fantastic sex.  Quickies don't seem to matter."

"Thank you."  He made a note of that.  "Let me look, Xander."

"Fine."  He grinned and went out to pounce Modo, making him chuckle and roll around on the floor playing with him.

"Boys, there's breakable stuff in here and sharp stuff," Buffy complained.  "Go outside in the snow."

Xander chuckled evilly and got up, running outside.  "You can't catch me!"

"Bet me," Modo called.  "But I don't like snow."

"Fine, I'll go play with my boy," Throttle said, going to the door.  Xander hit him with a snowball.  "That's it, we should have brought the sling.  Your tail is in trouble now."  He raced out to pounce him, dragging him into the snow.  "You're going to worry about me retaliating for years, Xan."

"Nah-uh."  Xander chuckled and flipped him onto his back, gabbing some snow to smoosh into his chest. He grabbed some more with his tail, dropping it on Throttle's face.  "Ha!"  He got up and ran off.

Throttle got up, wiping the snow off his face and chest.  "Xander," he growled.  "You're in deep now."  He chased him down, pouncing him, sending him into the snow face first.  He pushed his face into the snow.  "Are you sorry yet?" he demanded.  Xander was spluttering.  "Are you?"

"Off!" Xander gasped.

Throttle leaned back, getting away from his ribs, but ready for his baby to roll over.  "You okay?" he asked once he realized Xander wasn't playing.  He got up and pulled Xander up, brushing him off.  "Did I hurt you?"

"Either I've got brain freeze or that lobe stuff is happening," he said, grabbing his forehead.  He got a kiss and leaned against his chest.  "I don't feel so good."

"I know."  He stroked his back, earning a small purr.  "Come on, we'll go get warm.  Your head will quit hurting soon."  Xander nodded and Throttle walked him inside.  "His headache started again," he said quietly.  Modo went to get him a warm compress and they got Xander settled on the couch, the compress over his eyes.

"Did you hurt him?" Dawn asked.

"No, the lobe dropping headaches have started."

"So was it good?" Dawn asked dryly.  He pinched her on the arm.  "Ow!  Meany!"  She kissed Xander on the forehead.  "Yell if you need me to fuss, Xander."  He nodded but didn't move any further than that.  "Okay."  She went back to the kitchen.  "Xander's having growing pain headaches.  They have a bit more brain."

"He okay?" Buffy asked.

"Yeah, he's fine.  It comes and it goes.  I'm guessing the cold got him this time.  He'll be fine in about an hour."  She looked over as Micah came back in.  "Xander's got a small headache so you may have to wait for your boys night out."

"He'll be fine.  They said it was normal."  Micah moved the cloth and looked at his eyes.  "Yeah, it'll be a short one.  He'll be fine by dinner."  He replaced the cloth and went to help with dinner.  Buffy gave him a reproving look but he shrugged and did it anyway.  "Are we having real food?"

"That depends on how you fix your tacos and burgers, but we're out of lettuce," she told him.  "Someone come do buns!"

"I'm right here, Buffy, I can easily help warm up stuff."  He grabbed the packages of buns, splitting them so they could warm in the oven.  He got another pan and put the taco shells on it, then put them into the oven too.  He pulled out the tomatoes and a knife, working to slice them into small pieces and a few rings for the burgers. Buffy grinned at him and gave him a nudge.  "Yeah, I'm useful for more than filling out paperwork and bailing people out of trouble."

"I knew you were," she said, giving him a kiss on the cheek.  "You're a nice man, Micah, even if you have had to toast some butts as a spy."  She went to flip the burgers over.   She brushed her hair back behind her ear.  She had quit dying it earlier this year.  It was back to the original brunette now and she decided she liked it.


Xander looked at the tv, which was starting a very girly sitcom.  "Beer?" he asked Micah.

"Beer," he agreed.  He stood up.  "We'll be back later after an injection of manliness via sports."  He helped Xander up and took him to his car.  "Good timing, kid."

"Thanks."  He got into the passenger's side, letting Micah drive them to a nearby sports bar.  He walked in, smiling at the hostess.  "Two."


Xander looked stunned.  "They actually have a smoking section around here?  They don't where I am."

Micah patted him on the back.  "Non."  She nodded, leading them to a table.  "Beer."

"Any particular brand?  We have some microbrews and the usual suspects," she said with a smile.

"I'm good with a strong stout," Xander told her.  She nodded writing that down.

"Miller."  Micah waited while she left, then looked at Xander.  "What's up?  I didn't think this was a social chat," he said at the nervous look.  Their beers were brought and he handed her a ten, which made her hurry off again.  "Well?"

Xander coughed.  "I had a dream last night and it creeped me out.  I'm not usually prophetic but something in it bothered me and I wanted to make sure of some stuff."

"Saying that you're not *usually* prophetic is enough to make me want a shot too," Micah said dryly.  He smirked at him.  "Have you had dreams like that before, kid?"

"Um, well, more like foreshadowing.  Like I get hints of stuff I have to pay more attention to.  When Willow went off the deep end," he sighed, "I kept dreaming about her wearing a beanie and being Tweedle Dee or Dum.  Buffy was the other."

"At that time, her behavior probably warranted the title," Micah admitted, waving him on while he took another sip.

"Before Angel lost his soul, I had a lot of heavy dreams about him.  Dark, odd shapes in mist, and Angel popping out to stab the shadows."  Micah nodded slowly.  "Before the slayers started to pile into Sunnydale I had a lot of dreams about traveling around in a suit of armor.  I even woke Anya with that one a few times.  She said I was worrying over nothing."

"Okay, so we're seeing a pattern.  I can see that.  What about this one creeped you out, Xander?"

"It more raised some questions."  He glanced around.  "Let me explain the dream."  Micah nodded at that.  "First, a big, nasty, dark-haired, stupid internal affairs guy decided you were the bad guy.  He came in, arrested you, and there were problems that he didn't want to hear about."

"It's happened before," Micah admitted.  "Mostly it was a plan."

"Yeah, well, this time it wasn't and we had about twenty-nine ships in orbit, hovering.  They were dangerous, they were pulling a 'circle the planet at critical spots' maneuver."   The waitress passed by them and gave him an odd look.  "I'm a screenwriter.  This is my producer."  She smiled and headed off again after dropping off some unshelled nuts.  Xander took a handful and popped the first one, eating the nuts inside.  "Anyway, I was on my way to you because we had seen the ships, but you were being arrested, Lorne and Max were having a screaming fit at each other.  Literally screaming at each other in the office about who was going to take over.  So I walk into the middle of this and ask a very serious question to try and solve it.  The question was, does it go to the next higher ranking person by name or by clearance."

Micah choked on his drink.  "Lorne said by clearance, and I pointed out mine, and his is less than mine.  He had to find me in a special folder because you had me under 'outsourced agents' or something like that."  He ate another nut.  "Then I looked at the creepy dark-haired guy and told him what was going on.  He laughed, so we prove it to him by getting NASA to send over satellite photos from Hubble or something.  Max arranged that while we argued.  I called up there and ordered them to disperse or be destroyed, they sent down a happy, cheerful song that grated my nerves so I threatened to rip them limb from limb.  They claimed they came in peace."

He popped another shell open and ate the contents.  "So we tell them to have one land and since you're still there, but in handcuffs, you suggest where to let them land.  Since the internal affairs guy is flabbergasted but *still* doesn't believe, I name you over this and then knock him out and order Lorne to lock him in a closet.  We head out, we find out the aliens know me.  Now, for some reason, I'm human again during this whole thing but this is where I saw something around my neck.  It was like a really thin collar. I'm thinking illusion device."

"That's really over-complicated," a guy at the next table noted.

"Not part of this conversation," Xander said firmly, glaring at him.

"Why?  You and your boyfriend playing?" he taunted back with a smirk.

"Bob, shut up.  This is Xander."

"Oh, hey."  He waved.  "I'm the local guy."

"Wonderful."  He looked at Micah again, earning a smirk in return.  "Anyway, these people knew me by name.  They were kinda like the Roswell grays but built along the lines of Jabba the Hut."  Micah nodded at that.  "I don't know what they are and I haven't asked any one about it.  Now, they're down here to say that there's a problem with where the bros were.  There had been a few prison worlds found and they had been recalled to go release the prisons and get their families back."

"Reasonable," Micah agreed.  "Then they got captured?"

"Or so the aliens said.  I considered it and looked at you, then at the internal affairs guy who had been pulled along.  He still wasn't believing in aliens, even with them in front of him.  Then they said that Camembert had landed in Chicago with a few lackeys.  I looked at you, looked at that guy, who was still saying that this was all a joke.  I shrugged and told him that he could come with me if he needed more proof.  I named you head of the agency again, overriding everyone else, dispatched Lorne and Max to help Charley and Dawnie.  Then we left.  Now, we had apparently had a fight a few weeks before they had left and I was told to get out, so I had.  The cats and I had went to work at a motel since we were in a lull.  Dawn was with me in another room.  They had left their bikes because it was going to be a space battle, which bothered me a lot more for a lot of reasons.  Then they got captured, Charley told me I couldn't watch over her anymore because I was driving her nuts.  She told me to go.  So we got to the world, we fought a pretty good battle, we freed them, then Vinnie jumped on me for leaving Charley alone and I was doing my best to ignore Throttle so I didn't have to deal with our fight."

"That sounds really gay," Bob noted.

Xander growled and smacked him across the back of the head.  "Shut up, Bob."  He looked at Micah again, seeing the tolerant smirk.  "Anyway, the internal affairs guy unfortunately lived, the aliens decided they didn't have to bring us back.  I stopped a ship and made them at least bring us back and we'd call the others to come get the others.  I lost my tail tip getting it caught in the door and Modo took off the illusion device.  We landed at RFK field, traveled back in some jeeps you had sent, where I came up to talk to you."  He took another drink.  "I told you that I did what was necessary, if you had to arrest me, I understood, but it was necessary.  The internal affairs guy had slunk off muttering about checking on his cat to make sure you had taken care of it.  You had me sign two forms saying I agreed with you changing the chain of command and giving you back total control.  You said it was close but I wasn't going to be arrested.  You had Lorne's clearance upped to mine and one special code above.  At that point it went Lorne, Max, then me after you."  Micah nodded at that.  "So, the questions raised were, who takes over, are they coming, is the bigger cheese coming, and are there other prison worlds?"

"Hmm."  Micah picked up a nut and cracked it.  "Well, they're good points and I hadn't thought about that.  You are in the files that way.  It's how I think about you guys, as outsourced agents."  He ate a nut, tossing the other a few times in his palm before eating it.  "Lorne isn't that high, yet, but I'm going to fix that the minute I get back.  Actually, you're one too high at the moment because you are with Throttle.  The Prez won't like that.  Did you talk to any generals?"

"Yeah, up until we got one of them to land.  They were very paranoid but let me handle it since they asked for me.  I had to knock one out too, but he lived."

"Good.  Always nice."  He took Xander's beer to gulp since his was empty.  "Are there other prison worlds?  Yes, I can almost guarantee it."

"So can I, but I don't know where they are."

"I think if anyone did, they'd be there working on it and I can see your guys leaving.  I can see Charley telling you off for fussing but not making you leave.  I can't see Throttle making you leave either but I have the feeling that you're fairly insecure about personal relationship, especially after this changing started.  If that happens, I'd be damn shocked and alarmed, and probably ask you if he was possessed."

Xander gave him a gentle smile.  "Thanks, Micah."

"You're welcome.  The other points are more valid and I'm going to talk to Carbine about them.  If there's prison worlds, they'll need some decent weapons."

"I joked about habenero bombs."

"Pepper spray is a really good idea," Micah agreed, smirking at him.  "Any others?"

"Did you send baby vitamins?"

"And some food stuff," he agreed.  "It was only humane and we have room in the budget suddenly."  He ate another nut.  "As for things at ECHO, I'm getting that fixed first thing Monday morning."  He grinned at him.  "You're good, but you'd never do any paperwork and the budget would go to hell under you.  I'm going to name people instead of going by clearance.  Me, Lorne, Max is almost expected.  I don't want you fourth.  I want you in the field.  I know you can manage, but this sort of management takes a lot more skills than you think."

"You'd be surprised at what I could do."

"Oh, I'm pretty sure I know, Xander," he drawled, smirking at him, shaking his head.  "That nightmare I don't want to have.  If necessary or in an attack situation, yeah.  I want you as a field general.  I want you doing the major battles and things like that.  By the way, study more strategy.  You're great at small group but I want you to study more large group, just in case it becomes necessary."  Xander nodded at that.  "So I'd probably place you about sixth if that doesn't bother you."

"If you weren't straight, I'd kiss you," he said seriously.  Then he grinned back.  "Who's in front of me, just so I know?"

"Me, Lorne, Max, probably Andrew McPherson, and Kyle, who's the guy in LA."

"Cool.  Andrew is...?"

"The guy from Canada."

"Okay.  I think I'm spotted him lurking around."  Micah nodded, popping another nut and eating it.  "So I'm being totally paranoid?"

"No, you had some very good points," Micah assured him.  "I hadn't even thought that you have Omega seven clearance."

"How?" Bob asked.

"To quote my dream, that's not important at that moment," Xander retorted.  "Don't send him to us."

"No, Xander, Meg and Oz are your city's watchers.  I promise, Buffy likes Bob so he's staying here."  He smirked at Bob.  "What's with her hair?"

"Um, you said you like brunettes," Bob said sarcastically.  "She likes you, Micah.  You're like a neat big brother to her."

"Let's hope she doesn't try to baby him like she did me," Xander said, waving at the waitress and holding up his glass.  She smiled and brought over another round and he paid this time.  "As long as I'm being mostly paranoid, I'm good."  He looked at the monitor above their head, then caught the reflection, looking over his shoulder and then groaned and gulped his stout.  "Got a gun?"

"No, why?"

Xander pointed behind him. "Giant bug, probably in retaliation for Ms. French."

Micah sipped his drink.  "How do you get them?"

"Bats drive them insane and you rip off their heads."

"Want me to call Buffy?  You don't exactly have claws."

Xander snorted and walked outside, shaking his head.  He strolled toward the nearest alleyway, then smirked back at her.  She sniffed and followed him, at least until he dragged her into the alleyway and beat the snot out of her, then snapped her neck and kept twisting it around until it came off.   He tossed the head away with a sigh and wiped his hands off, going back into the bar, heading for the restrooms to clean up.  "I like this Martian stuff," he decided, cleaning off the ichor from his pants.  "Hopefully the washer works at home."  He walked out and flopped down again.  "I feel better now."

"Good," he said happily. "Is it handled?"  Xander held out his shirt to show off the blood.  "Let's go home. That's gross."  He finished off his beer and they headed out to his car.  Xander was very careful not to get any of the ichor on anything and they headed back.  Micah parked and let the boy out since he was smoking, shaking his head as he ran inside to grab the baking soda.  He walked in.  "We're back!  Xander killed the giant bug monster."

"Giant bug monster?" Buffy called, coming into the kitchen.  "Again?"

"Yeah, again," Xander said, patting the baking soda paste he had made on his pants.  He stripped off and handed them to her.  "Ichor."

"On it," she agreed, going to deal with them.  "These are real leather, Xander."

"I can wipe them off if you won't."

"No, I can do that.  I'm bored with the girly sitcom anyway."

Xander shook his head, heading up to his room to find something to put on.  Since hadn't been wearing underwear, his t-shirt was pulled down as far as it would go.   He walked into his room and kicked the slayer lounging on his bed out then dove into his bag.

Throttle came in, staring at the bare butt in front of him.  "Why are you nearly naked?"

"I got sprayed with demon blood and it was eating my clothes."  He found a pair of sweats on the dresser and put them on.  "There, better," he decided, looking at his lover.  "We had our talk about my new nightmare.  I won't end up in Micah's job unless there's a major emergency."

"Good.  What was this nightmare and why didn't you tell me first?"

"Because most of the time when I get these it raises questions for me to look at.   This one raised a big question.  I have a higher clearance than Lorne does and a few grades higher than Max."  Throttle suddenly shuddered.  "Exactly," he said smugly.  "This was about the same time as the gray aliens came down to tell us that the raids on the newly found prison worlds had went really wrong and you guys were captured, and Charley had ordered me not to fuss over her since Vinnie was gone.  By the way, I think she was barely pregnant when you kicked me out, right before you left.  Then the aliens came looking for me specifically so I came up with them and we kicked their asses and I had to get mean to get them to bring us back and I lost my tail tip at the same time."

Throttle shook his head, trying to sort all that out.  "Okay," he said finally.  "First, if I ever tell you that bluntly to get out, there had better be a dead body on the floor, like Modo's.  You had better have done it.  That's the only reason I can see that happening."  He moved closer to kiss him hard.  "Not an issue, Xander.  Never an issue.  Don't worry about that.  Secondly, if we have to leave to do that, what makes you think we're leaving you and Charley here?"

"The biggest cheese was headed this way.  Charley, Dawn and I were fixing it until the other aliens appeared and then I left Charley and Dawn to deal with it.  She outed magic by taking his mask.  It caused a panic but Chicago kicked them out.  I sent Lorne and Max to them as soon as I took over because I had the highest security clearance."

"Never gonna happen," Throttle assured him.

"Which was why I was talking with Micah earlier."  He stole another kiss. "I'm sixth now."

"Good.  I like that idea better."  He stole another kiss.  "Describe the other aliens?"

"They were playing happy music, like REM and stuff.  They introduced themselves by playing _Shiny, Happy People_."  Throttle moaned at that.  "Gray, looks kinda like the Roswell grays, but fat and built like Jabba."

"The Riosan," he said dryly.  "They like to make deals and meddle, until it bores them and then they back out."

"Which they did, and I had to get mean to get us back down here and have them call the others.  I lost my tail tip in the doorway because it clamped on it and we were in the middle of taking off."

Throttle shook his head, hugging him.  "Won't happen.  Though, that's an idea to pass back."  He gave him a strong, bone cracking hug.  "Feel better?"  He nodded.  "Good.  Next time, tell me first so we can work these things out so you don't have to worry."  He stole another kiss and grabbed his helmet, taking it outside to call home.  "Stoker?  Carbine?" he called.  "Xander had a semi-prophetic dream."

"What?" Carbine demanded.  "Since when?  That's not something we do."

"He's had a few before by the way he was hiding it.  It gives him things to think about.  He saw a few newly found prison worlds and the Riosan."

"Riosan?  They might know.  Kiss that boy for me, Throttle.  If anyone would know, they would.  Want in on it?"

"Depends.  That was part of it.  We got captured too."

"Then I'll be careful when I plan it," Carbine assured him.  "There's hints of a few more coming your way.  Be careful."  The connection cut off.

Throttle took off his helmet and walked back inside.  "Micah, that was a very good hint.  The Riosan would know if there were any prison worlds and would gladly deal with the information because it would be fun.  Also, there's hints of more coming this way."

"He thought there might be.  That was part of his nightmare."  He looked at him. "Did he tell you about the other part?  Where he went to work in a motel?"

"No, and if he ever leaves me, there had better be bodies on the floor.  That's the only reason I'm kicking him out." Modo's head popped up.  "Nightmare from Xander's mind."

"I doubt that'll happen, bro."

"Me either.  It won't happen but he's being insecure."

"Um, gee, wonder why with his track record?" Buffy suggested.  She stared him down.  "If it does, there will be tails being chopped up into small, tiny pieces and fed to their original owners.  Among other things."

"Understood," he agreed, smirking at her.  "Won't happen anyway."  He headed back up to cuddle Xander.  He probably needed one. He found one of the slayers pinning him on the bed trying to kiss him.  He picked her up and punched her, knocking her out so he could carry her downstairs and present her to Buffy.  "Tongue molesting him."

Buffy looked at the woman in her arms, then back up at him.  "When did Faith get here?" she demanded.

"So that's her," he said dryly.  He slapped her awake.  "Xander is mine," he said slowly and clearly. "Touch him again and I'll make you wish you hadn't done it the first time.  Which I did see from his mind."  He gave her a smug smirk and strolled off, going back to his boy.  He still owed Xander for the snow earlier.  He found him lounging on the bed.  "That was Faith?"

"Yeah, she was greeting me.  I told her no."

"I know you did.  You wouldn't cheat on me."  He closed the door and leaned on it so the person coming up the stairs couldn't walk in, even when they tried and knocked.  "No."

"I'm sorry," Faith called.

"I'll see you tomorrow," Xander called, shaking his head and smirking at his boyfriend.  "You're so bad," he mouthed.

"All the way to the tip of my tail."  She finally gave up and he waited, just in case, but she went back down the stairs.  Then he pounced his mate and kissed him, stroking him gently.  They were going to make this bed break too.  He was sure of it.

The End.

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