Xander grinned at the man coming up the ramp.  His dark skin and bald head were easily identifiable, but the more street look wasn't what he had seen him in the last time he had seen the man.  He noticed the small stoop to the shoulders and the way he was nearly trudging and coughed, making him stop and stare.  "What?  I grow fur and you stare? At least you're not trying to kill me."

"When you said a few changes, you could have clued me in, Xander," he said, frowning at him.  "Why are you furry?"

"I'm turning into my boyfriend."

"Oh, okay.  You're dating a demon?"


"Martians are furry?"  He nodded.  "Okay."  He shook his head.  "I've seen too much to not accept that too.  What's up?"  Xander handed over the summons, then led the way into the living area.  Gunn nodded at everyone.  "Hey."  He kissed Dawn on the head.  "Shouldn't you be in school?"  He noticed the bruise.  "Your man?"

"Bitch patrol."

"Hmm.  Pity.  They gone?"

"Locked up.  They took a plea," she said happily.  "One of them to spare her life in prison."  He smiled at that, going to sit down.  "Are you okay?  You look really tired."

"Yeah, well, it's just me and Connor now, Dawn."  He flopped down, reading the document.  "They can't do anything without Buffy."

"What worried me is what was spelled over top of it.  It said 'I know what you did in Sunnydale'."  Xander got comfortable.  "Someone toss me a soda for him?"

"Got anything stronger?"

"Sorry, man, the bros can't drink."

"That's okay."  He took the can of soda with a smile for the older woman who handed it to him. "Thank you, ma'am."  She smiled and went back to the kitchen.  "Dawn, Connor wanted a letter."

"Sure.  When I've got some free time.  Unfortunately my mentor is grilling me in Russian tonight.  I'm even typing in Russian tonight."

Gunn shook his head.  "Better you than me."  He reread it then shook his head.  "Buffy?"

"Is keeping me here or I'm going to be spilling some crap she didn't think I knew," Dawn told him.

Xander chuckled.  "She turns eighteen this summer too."

"Okay, these guys don't work without a reason," he said, looking at her.  "I know you're a witch."  She nodded.  "Powerful?"

"Fairly.  I tend toward creation and teraforming and stuff."  She came over to sit next to him, curling up against his side. "Can I?"

"Not if it was spelled.  It could hurt you," he said, looking down at her.  "Comfy?"  She nodded.  "I'm not yours."

"I know that but you looked like you could use a cuddle and my man's running an errand."  She gave him a hug. "I missed you guys."

"We missed you two, Dawn."  He patted her on the back, noticing the gray, vibrating lump of mouse on the ramp.  "I'm an old friend, I'm Gunn.  I'm assuming but you're the boyfriend?"  Rimfire nodded. "I don't poach, she's not for me."

"Good."  He smiled. "I'd hate to have to whip your tail."

Gunn snickered.  "Good one, kid.  She decided I needed a cuddle."

"You probably do," he admitted.  He left his girlfriend there, going to deliver the supplies he had been sent to pick up.  "Here you go, Grandmomma."

"Thank you, Rimfire.  You're such a good boy," she cooed, pinching him on the cheek.  "Go put Dawn down for a nap."

"She's curled up against her friend's side."  She gave him a look and he glanced around before muttering a swear.  "Can I steal her for a ride?"

"Ask Xander."

"Sure."  He walked back out.  "Xander, can she go for a ride?  Some fresh air might help her."

"Later, kid. It's going to rain soon," Xander told him, grinning and winking at him. "Come cuddle?"  Rimfire sat down beside him and Xander pulled him in for a cuddle, whispering in his ear.  He got a nod and Rimfire got up, going down to do sweet stuff for his lady.  He looked at Dawn.  "Give him ten minutes.  He's been working on a surprise for you."

"Thanks."  She read the letter.  "My grades go up and that worries them?"

"Yeah, basically.  That and they think you're incapable of doing anything for yourself."  He looked at her. "I wouldn't say anything about the furry stuff."  She nodded, getting that.  "Anything else I should warn her about?"

"Can't we just go in and kick their butts the old fashioned way?" Xander complained.  Gunn gave him a look.  "What?  I can hunt! I'm very good at hunting!"

"They'll get you for assault.  That would get her back to Cleveland."  Xander handed over the custody agreement for him to read.  "Throttle?"


"You're gay?"  He frowned at him.  "Since when?  I never noticed you checking me out."

"I didn't check you out, Gunn.  I respect you for other things," he said dryly, earning a smile in return.  "I've been dabbling since my roadtrip after graduation."  Gunn nodded at that and Xander fully relaxed. "I'm having a horrible thought, Dawn, but what if this is Ethan or Giles?"

"It could be Ethan.  Giles is back at home," she said, looking over at him.  "What am I getting?"

He shook his head. "You can wait."  He looked at Gunn.  "Ethan?"

"Only ran into him once and it's possible if he thinks he can use her."  He looked at her.  "You know the magic big three for power.  You fit?"

"I'm not a virgin, I've drawn blood but not killed, except for a vampire, and I'm attached to a sect of faith."

"Does he know this?" Gunn asked.

"The last time he saw me I was a virgin... no, wait, at the booksale I wasn't but he wasn't paying much attention to me.  He was paying more attention to Xander and what he was picking up."  She wrinkled her nose.  "The time before that I was a virgin and more blood innocent than I am now, and I've found my faith since then.  Even though it's not quite native."  Xander looked over at her. "What?  It spoke to me!"

"I'm not going to dictate that to you," he said dryly, making her grin.  "Does anyone else know that you're worshiping a Martian deity?"  She shook her head.  "Not even your man?"

"Yeah, he does I think," she admitted.

"We need what for an altar?"

"Um, nothing.  As far as I can tell."

"Thou shalt find out," he said seriously.  She nodded, getting that he wanted to make sure everyone was fine with it.  "Thank you."  He relaxed again and Rimfire was hopping up the ramp.  "Nice jump, kiddo.  Need her now?"  He nodded.  "Go ahead, Dawn."

She got up and let him lead her down to the bathroom, where there was a tub full of bubbles, some of her favorite treats waiting for her, one of her magic books, a few candles, and a smiling boyfriend who seemed more than willing to be her bodyslave.  She shivered and hugged him.  "Love you. You're so thoughtful."

"Xander told me to clean your room for you and to draw you a bath.  Everything else was my touch."

"And you touch me very well," she said with a grin, kissing him again.  "Help me out of these?"  He nodded, helping her out of her clothes.  He even helped by putting up her hair for her, then steadying her as she got into the tub.

"Rimfire," Grandmomma called.  "Where are you?"

"Talking with Dawn," he called back.  She came to the door and stopped so he grinned.  "She deserves to be so spoiled and pampered."

"She does," she admitted with a smile.  "If you're that serious, I'll allow it."

"Thanks, Grandmomma," he said, getting up to hug her.  He overturned a candle but quickly stopped it from hurting anything and put it back into place.  He gave her a hug, smiling as he whispered in her ear.  She patted him on the back.  "I do, Grandmomma," he promised.

"I know you do.  The same as I know she adores you.  Just take it slowly.  No great- grandbabies this year."

"Not until after I start working for Micah," Dawn assured her, waving her hands under the water with a grin.  "I'm due to go to college first and then go to him."

"That's fine then, Dawn. I like that man."  She smiled.  "You've got your head on right.  I like that about you."

"Momma, come talk to me?" she asked.  She nodded, coming in and sitting beside her.  "You too, Rimfire.  Close the door."  He closed the door and relit the candle that had went out.  "Momma, would it be okay if I worshiped a Martian deity? She's the one I feel the pull toward and Xander and I both wanted to make sure it was okay with everyone and wouldn't hurt anyone."

She considered it.  "It wouldn't bother me, child.  Which one?"

"The one of growth and nature."  She nodded at the book.  "Her."  Momma looked at it and smiled.  "That's okay?"

"It's fine, child.  She was a splendid Goddess in our lives."  She kissed her on the cheek.  "I did a bit of praying to her in my youth before I had Modo."  She stroked her bangs back.  "I'd be more than happy to help you set up a shrine to her."  Dawn grinned at that.  "We'll go shopping this weekend, dear."  She nodded.  Momma got up with a small moan.  "I'm too old to be sitting on the floor.  Now let him spoil you rotten.  You need it."  She kissed her grandson on the cheek.  "Be good to her, Rimfire," she said gently.  He nodded, smiling at her.  "Good boy."  She walked out, closing the door behind her.  She went to clue in Modo, just in case it bothered him.  He was shining his bike and she gave him a hug, whispering in his ear.  "That good with you?"

"It's fine with me, Momma.  She'd be proud to have her."  He grinned at her.  "Where is that pair of trouble?"

"She's bathing and he's being sweet by reading to her and hand-feeding her chocolates and the like," she said with a smile.  "He even cleaned her room."

"I'm impressed.  I never cleaned anyone's room but my own."  She laughed at that and gave him a hug.  "Does Throttle's momma like Xander?  It'll break their hearts if she doesn't."

"She does, she just doesn't know how to soothe the boy yet.  He'll show her.  Xander's a complex guy."

"He is and he's been so hurt, Momma," he said quietly.  "When he got back here with Switch, he wasn't sleeping, barely eating unless he was reminded.  He was miserable and Throttle soothed that."

"I know, son.  I saw some of that.  He's good to him and Xander treats him like his favorite treasure and a toy, which that boy needed to make him play some more.  Too old for his age."  She tweaked a bit of fur, making him chuckle.  "You need one of those, son.  You need to date and be happy.  Even if it's not permanent, you need to be happy."

"Yeah, but Charley ma'am's taken and Dawn's taken.  I'm not dating Micah, momma."

She chuckled. "I never expected you to, son.  I know the sort of girl you like.  That Paint was pretty, you were right, but she's so very serious.  She'd drag you down, not lighten you up.  You need someone like Xander to make you play more."  She smoothed the fur on his head.  "Finish up so we can go for a ride, son."

"Yes, momma."  He finished that coat of wax and buffed it quickly.  Then he grabbed their helmets and handed her hers, climbing on and letting her climb on behind him so they could go.  He roared out of the lair, heading for the parks.  His momma had always liked parks.


Throttle smiled as his mother walked around barefoot in the new grass that was just starting to come up.  "This is one of our favorite spots."

"Yours and Xander's?"

"No, all of ours.  We haven't picked a favorite spot yet."  He grinned at her.  "You do like him?"

"I do, son, but he's so very hurt."  He nodded.  "What happened to him?"

"The people in his former life."  He leaned forward, looking at her. "Momma, he's protected this world since he jumped in at fifteen and no one thanked him for it.  Almost no one knew and those who did didn't value him.  I find it hard to take since he's so skilled, but I saw his memories."  He pulled his legs up to rest his chin on his knees.  "His first slaying of a bad thing was of the demon his friend turned into.  He did it to save someone who didn't thank him and didn't like him when they dated a few years later."  His mother shook her head.  "Time and again, Momma.  Xander's one of the best good guys and no one saw it and no one valued him."  He heard a quiet footstep and looked at her.  She nodded behind him so he got up and pounced the reporter, taking everything off him to rip up.  "I'd leave," he warned.  The reporter scrambled off.  He went back to the clearing.

"Sorry about that."  He sat down again, looking at her.  "His first time here, about two years before Switch crashed, he slayed a vampire in front of us. He was here to pick something up from a clan and one of them made a slight step towards Charley girl.  He staked him.  The next night, they had to go take the thing back from Limburger.  We saw the commotion and went up there to see what was going on.  He got it back after being captured for a few minutes."  She groaned, rubbing her head.  "Then he jumped out the window without anything to stop him from dying except the vampires at the bottom of the tower waiting on him.  He told them they'd better catch him and they did, then he sent the tower to hell, Momma.  Said they got what they deserved."  She shivered and he nodded.  "That was my reaction. Two years later and he came back a weary, tired, hurting man who had been tossed aside because he had lost an eye.  The girls he had protected and helped had tossed him aside because of that.  I saw them on Thanksgiving this last year.  They still don't appreciate how much he gave up for them. He's fought down extreme odds and won, Momma.  After a few short days, even Stoker respected him. But his former best friends couldn't and didn't."

"Calm down, son," she said gently.  "He's got you now.  You appreciate and respect him.  It's clear how you feel about him."  She sat next to him.  "Do you love him though?  Is it love or is it that respect?  That's what got you caught up in Carbine, honey."

"I know."  He looked at her, shaking his head.  "I liked him before I respected him.  I thought he was more reckless than Vinnie that first time.  He came back into our lives and it was like a light going on.  He needed me to help him.  He needed someone to make him let go and have fun again.  He needed me, Momma.  He wasn't sleeping.  He'd forget to eat.  He was a miserable man.  He'd go two or three days without sleep, get maybe six hours, then do it again. He was going to the clubs to wear out that anger and rage he carries."

"He's got a temper?"

"He's got a fantastic temper.  It's every bit as hot as Modo's and every bit as violent as Vinnie's, but he comes by it naturally."  He shifted.  "I had to do a life review for Micah because we found some strange stuff. Karbunkle noticed it first.  He trapped me in his head," he said with a chuckle.  "He's one of those who the spirits crawl into to speak through."  She nodded, taking his hand to hold.  "I saw it all, Momma.  I sped through most of his childhood, but I saw the major highlights.  The kid didn't have a lot of highlights.  Then I started intensely with him meeting Buffy, Dawn's sister who he jumped in to help.  I was so deep it was like I was watching it next to him but I could feel everything happen to my body.  I saw it all.  The bad things, the good things, the dangerous things.  Each time he kissed someone, each time he got hit, all of it."  He swallowed.  "That's when I started to feel for him."

He glanced around then back at her.  "I saw the man he was and it ...turned me on.  He's like nothing I've ever met before.  It's like he's this savage at times when necessary. He can go on automatic when he's fighting but never with me.  He's a lot like Vinnie.  That's why they started that joke that they're brothers.  He's like a more hurt version of Vinnie.  When I took him on our road trip, it was like he was this airy, feather-light creature suddenly.  He just shed it all.  We pulled into the garage and he went on the defensive because of that general.  He pounced him and introduced himself like he was insane, momma."  He grinned at her.  "The guy would still be scared of him if he was alive."

"When did he turn furry?"

"Our first weekend away together," he said with a small blush.  "I took him to this place in Pennsylvania that sounded really nice.  It was, but it was one of those places where you go to have sex all the times."  She nodded, smirking at him.  "Oh, Momma, I learned stuff.  He's the one who came up with the idea of teasing the antennas by sucking on them.  He did everything to me that weekend and let me do anything I wanted to him.  And during one of them he suddenly sprouted a tail.  Then each time we got together it got a bit more involved.  He came back being a chocolate colored mouse, like his hair was.  He shed it that first night back and turned into a white baby mouse.  That same baby mouse fur.  Now he's aging to catch up to his natural form."

She gave his hand a squeeze.  "I can see that you like him that much, son.  Can you tell me how to make him relax?"

"I would but I'm not sure.  Modo's momma nearly drove him to leave because she wasn't comfortable with him being a human.  We left during that first time she was here.  That was our first trip away."  He blushed a bit, looking shy all of a sudden.  "Momma, I've never had anyone make me want to spank them one minute and then kiss it away the next."

"I get it, son. It's the most true form of love.  I'm glad you got him instead of Carbine.  She was sucking all the fun out of your life."  He grinned at that.  "Does he make you go have fun?"

"He makes me go dancing with him and he's the one who gets pushy about our diet now and then.  The only thing I can't get past is I think there's some sort of barrier there between us.  I can't understand that.  I don't know where it comes from."

"Son, if he was that hurt, it comes naturally.  The same as Vinnie has it.  Modo's got a small one and you've had a wariness of strangers for a few years now."  She stroked his cheek.  "It'll be fine.  He loves you and trusts you fully.   I think, if you look, that's just an illusion that he's creating to protect himself.  He thinks he can't let go and be himself with you.  He obviously does with Vinnie."  He chuckled, nodding.  "Then it's good he's found a family.  He's just not sure what a family means yet.  Did he have one?"

"Yeah, they were physically there.  Most of the time."

"By your answer I'd expect something like that boy up the street's upbringing?"  Throttle nodded.  "I'll ignore it when he gives me this hurt look for hugging him then."

"I'm not sure it's hurt, I think it's panic.  He's a pretty deep well, momma.  You thought Modo was deep, but that's nothing to that one."  He smiled at her.  "Thanks."

"If you're happy, I'm happy."  She kissed him on the cheek.  "Let's go for another ride.  I've had enough of this spot.  Show me some of the wilder things."

"No, those two are still at home. Speaking of," he said, looking at his watch. He called the lair. "When is your eye appointment?"  Xander groaned.  "Today or tomorrow?"  He sighed.  "Check the board, Xander."  He heard the scowl.  "So go, I'll meet you there with Momma.  Then we'll go for a drive. You can go faster."  He hung up and looked at her.  "He needs his eyes checked, he's seeing funny and it's giving him headaches."  He helped her up and got onto his bike, letting her sit behind him.  He handed back her helmet then took his and started his bike, heading off to meet Xander there.  Otherwise he'd never go.


Xander groaned as he hung up and called the number on the card.  "Hi, this is Xander Harris, I'm running a few minutes later.  Yeah, I'm on my way now.  Thanks."  He hung up and headed for his keys and wallet.  "I've got that stupid eye exam.  I'll be back," he called as he walked.

Gunn looked at Dawn.  "Throttle makes him take care of himself?"  She had come out of the bath and come up here when Rimfire had left to do something so he wouldn't have to lounge around.

"Throttle helps him take care of himself," she corrected with a smile.  "He used to have to remind him to sleep.  He's good to Xander.  They're cute together.  Throttle gets these possessive moods and plants Xander in his lap.  He'll eat then fill the plate and hand it to him so he has to eat.  He takes good care of him."

"I'm not sure that form of possessive is good."

"No, it's good for him.  Xander knows he cares because he does things like that.  Throttle tries to spoil him and Xander complains but accepts it.  He's met his match.  Their first weekend away together, Throttle paid for it.  Xander paid for the beds they broke."

"Then he's better for him than Anya was."

She laid a hand on his arm.  "You think you're tired now.  Xander came in not able to sleep from the nightmares."  He shuddered.  "He was getting eight hours a week if he was lucky.  His body was starting to shut down from it."  She gave his arm a squeeze.  "Throttle stepped in to help him, him and Vinnie both.  Vinnie helped him go wear it out at times by dancing.  Throttle took him for rides and very carefully got his trust.  Then the Willow thing happened," she added sadly.  "Throttle and Vinnie sat with him all night.  Throttle got him blasted on rum and let Xander sleep on him all night.  When he got up, Vinnie helped him from the living room."  He nodded, looking down.

"Throttle is very special to him.  We're talking fairytale romance.  Throttle had to do a life review to see why Xander was so odd.  After that there was no separating them.  Before that, Throttle and he had the 'you're a great guy and I'd love to bend you over right here and now, but I only play at being gay now and then' speech.  Then they started going for rides.  That got Xander to rest.  Throttle went from 'dad' figure, which he does very well," she admitted with a grin, "to being the tender and gentle lover who was willing to do anything and everything with that man. If it was possible, Xander was creative and Throttle sucked it all in with the best of 'em.  I got here and Throttle instantly accepted me.  Xander was teaching me self defense and I wanted a bit more.  I went to Throttle and he taught me.  He still does each and every weekend.  They taught me how to ride a bike.  They taught me a lot about people.  I'd die for these guys."

He gave her a hug.  "Then I'm glad you're happy, Dawn.  You were never happy in Sunnydale.  All that stress with your mom and stuff just made it worse."

She grinned.  "Joyce?"  Her mother came trotting up and hopped up into her lap.  "Gunn, she came back."

He stroked her fur gently.  "Hey, Joyce kitty."  The cat gave him one of those looks.  He stopped and stared at her.  He found another staring at him from behind Dawn and stared at her.  "What is going on?" he breathed.

"We've been gifted with a few rebirths," Dawn admitted, patting her mother's back. "This is mom.  The one behind me is probably Tara."  She glanced back and grinned.  "Hey, Tara."  She kissed her.  "I hope you guys aren't mad about the fixing stuff."  They both purred and nudged her to be petted.  "Easy.  Tara, come down here so I can pet you both."  She hopped down and nested into her lap with Joyce. She grinned at him.  "Andrew went to live with Buffy."

"Fred and Wes?"

"Are human. They got pulled back like everyone else the Powers yank."

"Like Spike?"

"Only with the memories and a few additional things," she admitted.  "She got the magic spells and he's got the magic to do the spells.  She got the 'good person' list and he got the facts about each.  I'm guessing someone needed to learn how to play nicely together."  Another cat leapt up onto the couch and walked along the back of it.  "We're not sure who he is yet but I'm pretty sure he's one of them."  She reached back to stroke over his back, earning a purr.  "Thanks, Buddy.  Who was your person before?"  Buddy nudged her and gave her a smirk before moving on. He jumped down when he heard Vinnie, going to twine around his ankles.

"Hey, Buddy."  He stroked his back, picking him up to nuzzle. "What's up?  No one awake to play with you?"  He looked at Dawn.  "Why do you have a book on the Martian Goddess of Nature and Fertility?"

"Because she called out to me," she admitted.  "That a problem?"  He shook his head and shrugged.  "Cool.  Xander told me to make sure."

"No, I've had enough of fertility for a while.  By the time the baby's born I'm going to be a gray mouse."  He let the cat hop down.  "He reminds me of someone."

"Me too but I'm not sure who."  The cat gave them a smug look.  "Hey, as long as you're not Spike or Angel."  The cat gave her a dirty look.  "Were you human or a mouse?"  The cat's tail swished.  "Human?"  The swishing stopped.  She looked at Vinnie.  "So a mouse.  Hmm."

Vinnie got down to play with the cat.  "Give me a hint, sweetheart.  Female?"  The tail swished again.  "I know so few of those," he said dryly.  "Um, Harley?"  The cat glared at him.  "Sorry, I had to try."  The cat gave a look at one of the new kittens trying to fish. "Hey!"  The cat jumped down, coming over to nuzzle him.  "Thanks, babe."  He smiled at her.  "Harley?"  The cat jumped up and ran away.  "Yeah, that's her all right," he said bitterly.  He looked at the new one.  "Okay, so you were a mouse.  How would Dawn know you?"  She shrugged. "Fine.  Hmm, female mice I've known.  Were you related?"  The tail swished and she leaned against his leg, allowing for better petting.  He stopped and looked at her.  "If I didn't know Primer was fine, I'd say you were her."  The cat meowed.  "I know, she's fine."  He went back to stroking her, smiling at Modo as he came back with his mother.  "We've got another rebirth kitten."

"I know, I've been trying to figure her out all day," Modo admitted. He bent down to scratch her.  "What's wrong?  Does he know too many?  Were you a Freedom Fighter?"  The tail swished and she gave him an adoring look.  He pulled back and stared down at her. "You'd better not be my niece."  The cat snorted and licked her paws.  "Or my sister."  The cat stared up at him, blinking at him.  He looked at Vinnie.  "Do you ever wonder why we got these ones?"

"They came with Xander."

"Point.  We like him too much to drive ourselves insane with this."

Dawn coughed and looked at the cat.  "You might as well tell 'em, they won't be figuring it out."

The cat got up and went to weave along the table legs.

"Train," they said in unison, smirking at each others. "Figures."

Modo's momma laughed.  "What are you two going on about?"

"Some of the cats are people reborn for a second chance," Dawn told her.  "My mom and Tara are two of them.  So's that one and so's the one fishing, who Vinnie called Harley."

"I'm sorry, bro."

"I figured as much," he sighed. "Harley, I'm watching those to see if all fish like to take over their universe."  The cat stared at him.  "Don't give me that look.  Go suck up to Stoker.  Maybe he'll take you home."  She hopped down and went to find him.  She snuck around the guards that kept the cats inside and found him next door helping the nice woman work on his bike.  She walked up to him and plopped herself in his lap, nuzzling his belt before giving him a satisfied look.

He looked down. "You're one of those odd cats, aren't you?"  She swished her tail.  "Why me?"

"There's probably a connection.  I'm assuming Anya's getting a pet?"  Charley grinned at him.  "I was thinking she seemed awfully familiar too, Stoker."  He stroked her slowly and she raised up into his hand. "How many females have you known who would let you do that?"

"Harley."  The cat meowed.  "Oh, no," he sighed, looking down at her.  "You are?"  She got up and kneaded her claws against his stomach, then laid down again with her head against his belt.  "Honey, I'm married now with two kids."  She stared up and him and he nodded.  "Really.  I am.  I married Carbine's sister last year while she was carrying our first one.  She's carrying the second one now."  The cat let out a pitiful meow.  "No, honey, I still remember you.  You've always been in my heart."  He stroked her back again, getting less pressure into it.  "I'll understand if you wanna stay with the punk."  She shifted and nestled in more firmly.  "Fine, if I can, I'll bring you back."  He looked at Charley. "This is just odd."

"Yeah, but it's comforting. They're getting a chance at a healthy and happy life of being spoiled rotten."  She picked some fur off a spot of grease, then wiped off the grease.  "She needs brushed and fixed."

"She's too young to fix."

"Then you'd better hope Mars can sustain a cat population," she said with a smile.

"We've got plenty of rodents."  Harley made a disgusted noise.  "You're a cat, you have to act like one."  He went back to helping, letting her sit in his lap.


Throttle forced Xander into the office, pushing him the whole way.  "Sorry, he doesn't like these sort of things but it's affecting his balance. Since we mostly bike and the other doctor said he thought it may be a dominance problem, he has to this time."

"I'll look like a dork in glasses."

"You sound like every six-year-old we've had in here," the nurse said kindly.  Xander pouted at her.  "It's not that bad.  Surely you've had your eyes checked, Mr. Harris?  Or am I assuming you're the wrong patient?"

"No, that's him," Throttle offered, standing Xander up.  "He's admitted he only got those school checks."

"Interesting.  Come this way, Mr. Harris.  Your spouse can come with you if you want."  Throttle nodded.  His mother though, she walked around and pinched Xander by the ear, walking him in there, and the nurse chuckled once they were in there.  "She's good."

"That's my momma," he said proudly.  "He told you about one of his eyes being different?"  She nodded.  "He's got a contact in that one and it's the stronger one."  He opened the door.  "Come on, I'll hold him down."  She smiled and led the way in there to find Xander rubbing his ear and his tail.  "It doesn't hurt, I promise."

"Bet me."  He looked up at Throttle's mother but a warm, furred hand went over his mouth and Throttle smiled at her instead.

"Okay.  Mr. Harris, your spouse said you've got a contact in, I need you to take it out please.  I've got a dish here so we can safely store it for you."  She poured some contact solution into a small ceramic dish and he slipped it out, putting it in there.  "My, are they supposed to be that pink?"  She looked at Momma, then nodded.  "I guess they are."  She touched a chin rest.  "Put your chin there.  We'll be doing the most irritating thing first to get it out of the way."  He groaned but did it and she adjusted the machine.  "This is going to blow a small puff of air.  It's either this or the doctor will have to get up close to your eye with a very bright light."  He shuddered. "Then try not to flinch or blink, Mr. Harris."  She hit the switch, watching his reaction and noting it.  Then she moved the setup and did his normal eye, which reacted slower.  "Good job, sir. That's the worst.  Let's go to the next part."  He nodded, taking his contact with him.  Before he got into the office they had taken pictures of the retinas and the veins, then they had done the other minor tests.  She let them into an office and left them there.

Xander pouted at Throttle. "This is torture."

"It's not, really. I can show you some if you want."

Xander kissed him.  "I saw already."  He looked up at him. "If I end up looking like a dork, you are *so* not getting any for at least a month."

"As long as I get to cuddle, unlike the last time you were crew lead."  He gave him another kiss, pushing him into the padded chair.  "Don't make me tie you down."  Xander shivered and curled up some.  "Good boy."  He sat down next to the chair, at least until the doctor came in, then they got to sit in the corner and watch.  This was so much worse than the Martian ones, so maybe Xander had a point.  He'd have to give him a treat for only fighting a bit.  His mother pinched him on the thigh, making him yelp.  "What?"

"Pay attention.  The nice doctor asked you a question."

Throttle looked at the man.  "What?"

"His eye is supposed to be this color?"

"Yup.  All ours are."

"Oh.  May I compare yours?"

"You need to ask my mother, I've got implants."

"Oh, sorry to hear that."  He looked at Xander again.  "Okay, we're going to do the most thorough job we can and it shouldn't bother you."  Xander groaned.  "We're down to the eye chart and the one-two test, okay?"  He nodded, accepting that.  He pulled over the big, black head mask looking machine, putting it in front of Xander and adjusting it.  "Okay, focus on the wall, Xander."

Xander looked at the wall.  "I can't see the wall."

"Let me flip open the window."  He flipped it open.  "How's that?"

"I still can't see the wall."  He closed his other eye.  "Oh, there we go."

"Yes, you definitely have very strong eye dominance issues, and non-binocular vision," he said, making a note of that. "Okay, on the chart on the wall, how far down can you read?"

"The next to last line."

"Go ahead then."


Modo looked up as Xander came back eating an ice cream cone and Throttle shaking his head behind him. "Not go well?"

"His mom likes my car but she pinches worse than yours," Xander told him, sitting beside him.  Vinnie leaned over and stole a lick so Xander kicked him.  "I just got tortured at the eye doctors.  I'm getting it for good behavior."  He licked around the cone, making his mate stare at him.  "You're not getting any tonight.  You tried to put me in dorky looking glasses.  Even your mother said they were dorky looking on me."

"Does that mean we have contacts again, like for real this time?" Vinnie asked.  Xander grumbled and nodded, eating more of his ice cream.  "How bad was it?"  Xander glared at him. "Oh, come on, I won't pick on you."

"His Martian eye is beyond human perfection.  His human eye is weaker, being shut out by his mind, and giving him headaches from light spots when it is working.  So now he's got matching contacts. One just colored and one clear with a fairly strong prescription."

"He wanted to put me into these dorky black plastic frames," Xander said darkly.

"I could have tried the hot pink."

"I would have kicked your tail in the office," Xander promised, glaring at him.  "Keep it up, make it a week and sleeping on the couch."

"Don't, bro, it'd make you more miserable than him," Vinnie warned.

"You think you could hold out that long?" Throttle asked.  Xander nodded. "You're sure?"  Xander nodded, looking smug.  "You're on."

"Sure."  He went back to licking his dripping ice cream cone, letting Vinnie steal another bite.  "Did you just get the bad image of sharing someone?" he asked.  Vinnie shuddered and moved off, not trying to steal any more.  "Thanks.  I didn't want to know where your mouth had been and I do have fairly sensitive taste buds."  He went back to licking, glancing up at his mate, who was staring at him.  He slurped out the last few spoonfuls then nibbled on the cone until it was all gone.  Then he had to clean his fingers and his wrist from the drips. He heard the growl and looked at Modo.  "I'm the wrong sex for you, big guy, but I'll let you steal my man if you want."

"No, I avoided that trap years ago," he admitted.  "You don't sleep with your team on assignments."

"Yeah, I know that rule very well," Xander sighed.  "That's one of the major braking points of our former group.  Willow and I kissed.  I got blamed, but we kissed."  He finished cleaning himself up then stood up and stretched.  "Is it safe to go out tonight?"  Throttle shook his head.  "Then we'll just have to hold the party here or at the garage."  He went to talk to Charley, getting him on her side.  She agreed to let them use the garage since it was empty and more soundproofed.  He went to select some of the CD's, bringing them over so Charley could play DJ.  She only had a small stereo so he went to get his boombox from his room, which had a six disc changer and a random setting. He set it up and grinned at her, going to order dinner.

Then he went to change.  He looked through his clothes, finding the ones he wanted were in the wash and still sweaty.  He thought about the black jeans but they weren't tight enough.  His hand hovered over an old pair of jeans he'd had for years, but they weren't that tight either.  Then he spotted it, his former favorite clubbing outfit.  He pulled it out and tossed it onto the bed, finding his tightest t-shirt to go with it.  He considered shoes, considered barefoot.  Put the jeans back and pulled out something else instead.  He hated those former clothes.  He saw a bag in the bottom of his closet and looked inside, then smirked.  Well, it had been Vinnie's third birthday present but he wouldn't mind.  It'd look just as good on him and he'd get him another pair.  He looked at the tags, then at the bag.  That wasn't the birthday present.  He searched and found it in the back of the closet.  He pulled out these new pants to look at, smiling at the simplistic beauty and his t-shirt would still go.  He went into the bathroom to change since there wasn't anyone to put on a show for.  "Dinner's on it's way," he yelled as he came out.  "We're going to club next door if anyone wants to come."

"Be right there!" Dawn yelled.  She and Rimfire headed for their rooms to change.

Vinnie came down the ramp, looking at Xander. "I like those on you."  Xander winked.  "Mine?"

"No, yours are in my closet."  He strolled next door, going to pay for the pizzas and fries, putting them all on the table.  He went to flip on the music, taking Charley out first.  She blushed a bit but he was insistent and she was pretty decent once she relaxed.  Vinnie came in next and blatantly stole his woman back, smirking at him.

"She only dances with one white mouse, bro, and that's me."  He danced her off, teasing her the whole way.

Xander shrugged and stole Rimfire from Dawn, so she could go get Modo and dance with him, showing him how it was done.  He saw Throttle come in and ignored him, showing him how to do this hip-swish thing he had learned stripping.  Rimfire tried it and Xander shook his head, standing behind him to correct him by moving his body for him.  "That's it," he encouraged.  Rimfire grinned and they switched, he got Modo.  "Hey," he said with a grin, dancing closer.  "Come on, I know you're not *that* shy," he teased.  "You're very athletic and you can move.  You have a sense of rhythm."  Modo blushed a bit but got with it.  Charley came over to steal him so he got Dawn while Vinnie taught Rimfire some of the other club dances going on these days.

Throttle leaned against the wall, watching his mate and Dawn.  Two excellent teases and it was clear that she had taken lessons from the older one.  He sipped his rootbeer slowly, shaking his head.  Tempting but he could hold out for the whole week. Someone blew in the door and everyone stared at the man standing there. "Hey," he said over the music.  Dawn reached over to cut it off.  "Sorry, were we disturbing the neighbors?"

"I'll kill you all!" he shouted. He rushed for Xander and Dawn since they were the closest.  Xander tripped him, Dawn kicked him in the jaw, then Xander hit him in the back of the neck, putting him down.

"Really?" Xander asked.  "You're sure of that?"

"If he's not, I am," another voice said smoothly, walking in.

"Huh.  Look, it's Junior."  He yawned.  "Yay.  Vinnie, can you please take the delicate people, like the mothers, and Modo there to the back room?"

"Bro," he whined.

"You can come back!"  He grinned at him, nodding for him to move the others.  Dawn caught the hint and headed back to where Modo was.  The mothers weren't going to be moving for anything and he caught Throttle's eye, smirking at him.  He looked at Junior again.  "What did you want?  And you do know you're going to be fixing that door, correct?"

"I own this place," he said smugly.

"I don't see how considering *I* own this place," Xander told him. "I'm the one who bought the mortgage on it and I still hold it.  There's no other one outstanding."  The man stopped.  "Didn't think about that?  She owns the land down to the mineral rights level.  That's fifty feet down, Junior.  Next time, read a fucking book."  The Plutarkian glared at him so he shrugged. "Your choice.  Spoil my happy mood, I dare ya."  He waved a hand and a guard came forward.  Xander tucked and rolled, taking that gun from the guard, using it on him to knock him out with a chin and throat strike with the grip, then he turned it on the intruders.  "I'm going to shoot your boss.  I'm not the nice one."

"You're a Martian," Junior sneered.  "They have ethics."

"Yeah, and I'm a warrior and protector from a long line, babe.  I was a human and I only got a 'D' in civics."  He shot him in the knee, watching as he fell.  "Anyone else?"  The others backed off.  "Seriously.  Pissing me off majorly.  Your choice, people."  The ran out, one of them remembering their boss at the last moment.

"Freeze, Federal Agents!" someone shouted outside.

Micah walked in and took the gun.  "I'm going to teach you how to use on of those properly."

"I did, I knocked that one out," he said, kicking the body next to him.  "We're holding a dance since we can't club.  Wanna come?"

"Sure.  Be back in a few minutes.  I'll even bring Lorne."  He drug out the other body, depositing him on the ground.  "Here's another.  They're holding a private party, wanna come, Lorne?"

"Sure.  Let the Feebs do the paperwork."

"Why does this one stink?" one of the FBI agents yelled.

"Because he's rotten to the core," Micah called back.  "If he gives you any shit, just threaten him with salt water."  He walked back inside and found Xander pulling down the auxiliary door.  "Nice work."

"Thanks."  He looked up.  "Music?"  It was flipped back on and Xander grinned, taking Micah out to dance with him.  He wasn't too bad, a bit old school.  He definitely needed to get out of the office more.

Carbine came in a while later with Stoker and stood against the wall shaking their heads.  Carbine looked at Throttle.  "Take me for a spin?"

"Sure.  Your boyfriend mind?"

"He's not here," she noted, leading him out.  It was a slower song so she got closer than she normally would.  "What happened?"

"I was picking on him about getting glasses," he admitted.  "My own fault."

"Huh.  So who's sleeping with your husband tonight?"  He shrugged.  "I'll offer," she said with a smirk.

"You couldn't put up with him, babe.  He likes to try new things."  He dipped her then let her go to Micah at the next song since he was nearby.  He looked around and didn't see Xander or Vinnie.  He checked in the kitchen.  One of the pizzas was missing.  So were one of the two-liters of root beer.  He walked out back and looked around, spotting them up on the lair's roof.  He had no idea why but apparently they were comfy for now.  He went back to dance with his mother.  "They're on the roof," he said at her confused look.

"He was serious?"

"It's a childish bet, momma.  It'll be fine."

"You can't let a boy like that get stolen from you, he won't come back."

"Momma, I've got it."

"Fine."  She backed down on the matter.  "So, who's sleeping where tonight?"

"Not a clue.  I know Vinnie's going to be over here unless he does something really dumb, and then he'll still probably be over here."  He saw the back door open and Enamel came in so he waved him inside.  "You can come too."

"Thanks.  I came to see how the appointment went.  Xander?" he called back.  Throttle pointed so he stole a few slices of pizza and headed next door.  It was nice how they had the ramps set up.  He found the two white mice talking quietly on the landing pad and plopped down beside Xander.  "That bad?"

"Yeah."  He handed over the note he had gotten earlier.  "For my records if you keep them."

"On you and Charley I do."  He read it over, nodding at most of it. "I had no idea our eyes were so much stronger."  Xander groaned and nodded. "It'll be fine. It could still even out."

"Maybe."  He took another drink and put the two-liter down.  "Throttle tried to put me in ugly glasses."

"He was just teasing," Vinnie reminded him.  "He does that.  That's how you know your bro loves you, he picks on you."  Xander gave him an odd look. "Really."

"I wouldn't really know about that stuff," he pointed out dryly. "Remember, I only had girls."

"Point," Vinnie admitted.  "He was just picking on you."  He looked at Enamel.  "He made a bet about no sex for a week."

"I'm sure both of you will be crawling the walls by then."  He nudged Xander.  "What else is bothering you."  Xander shook his head.  "Give, kid."

"It's nothing.  Just some older nightmares."  He stretched and had to catch himself before he fell.  "Ooh."

"Did you not sleep last night?" Vinnie asked.  Xander shook his head so Vinnie groaned.  "Did you try the allergy pills?"  Xander nodded.  "Need to sneak out?"

"I was thinking about it, but it's not working tonight.  Usually I could at least bleed out a bit, but it's not working."  He shrugged. "It'll fade. It's not like I have anything to do tomorrow."

"You could try sleeping with the light on since you're sleeping alone tonight," Enamel offered.  "You guys need more bedrooms."

Xander smirked. "I have a whole warehouse of books and weapons waiting on my pleasure."

"So you really do need to expand."  Xander nodded.  "What're you going to do about it?"

"Keep most of them in storage.  I was thinking about digging a basement but it might be interpreted as an escape hatch."  A breeze started so he shivered, and nearly fell again. This time Vinnie grabbed him and pulled him back further.  "Thanks."

"That's what bros and siblings are for," he joked, looking at Enamel.  "Problems?"

"Looking for something to do beyond obstetrical textbooks and possible fertility treatments for Mars."  He sipped his rootbeer, quietly staring out at the stars.  "There she is, boys," he said, pointing at Mars.  "She's pretty, but fairly distant."

"Did you have a sweetie or wife when you were banished?" Xander asked.

Enamel looked at him.  "I had a girl before then. She broke up with me weeks before I managed to not save that last patient.  She had a bad genetic instability and I couldn't get the stabilizer to work on her.  I switched to a new one and it was something she ended up being allergic to.  They looked in my records and found out I was doing private research," he sighed, shaking his head.

Xander punched him on the arm.  "That wasn't what I asked.  You don't have to keep going over that.  Yeah, it sucks.  It changed your life.  It was a horrible thing.  If you dwell, you end up like me.  Or like Gunn, who was sleeping on the couch the last time I knew."  He stared him down.  "It's done.  You can't change it," he said quietly.  "All you can do is have nightmares."  He nodded, accepting that.  "Use it to make sure the next generation doesn't get caught, Enamel.  Sorta like how Rimfire got suspended for following orders."  He stood up.  "I'm going for a drive."

"You sure you wanna do that?" Vinnie asked.  Xander nodded, heading off.  He waited until he was gone.  "That was pretty smart.  He gets it from my side of the family."

Enamel chuckled.  "Yeah, he must.  Those girls warped him badly."  He looked at him.  "Why is he having nightmares?"

"Depends on which one.  The ones about going into the hellmouth to fight.  The ones about other battles. The one about staking his only male friend as his first kill.  The ones about being captured and tortured again.  The ones about Angel and Spike getting him, which didn't get to happen.  Thankfully.  I think he'd make one of the most scary vampires around."

Enamel nodded.  "He probably would," he agreed.  He nudged him.  "Where's your girl?"

"The last time I saw her, she was dancing with Modo and making him blush."  He stood up.  "I'm going back in."

"Have fun, Vincent.  It's too fleeting."  He nodded, heading back inside while Enamel continued to stare at Mars.  "I used to be angry with you, girl.  Now I'm just sad.  Maybe some good blues tonight."  He gathered up everything and took it inside to put away, then headed back to his bike.  He got about a mile away when he saw Xander's car parked and him slumped in it.  "Oh, please, not tonight," he hissed, parking his bike so he could check him.  "Xander?"  He got a small moan and moved the head back carefully, looking at him.  Someone had hit him with something but the car was undamaged.  He heard a buzzing and glared at the source, making the person run.  "Demons," he said in disgust.  He looked at the boy's face.  It was going to be a pretty bruise.  He patted him gently until the boy woke up.  "What's going on?"

"Wolfram and Hart," he growled.  His eye blazed and he started the engine, taking off in a spew of dust.

Enamel watched him go, then called the garage.  There was no way that boy should be doing things like that alone.   He heard a voice come on.  "Charley, it's me.  There was just a demon coming after Xander.  He said something about Wolfram and Hart and took off.  Yeah, eye blazing, over-pumped on steroids, gratuitous violence kick.  Yeah, that one.  Want me to follow?"  He nodded. "Sure."  He got onto his bike and followed anyway.  That kid would need patching up.


Xander walked into the lobby of W&H Enterprises and to the elevator.

"Sir, do you have an appointment?" the receptionist yelled.

He turned and walked back, slamming a fist into her desk, breaking it. "They're fucking with me.  They just sent a demon after me.  I'm going to talk to someone about that.  You can tell them I'm here if you want."  He headed to the elevators, sniffing.  He could smell the demons but the one who had attacked him was here.  He followed the scent to an inside corner office and kicked the door in, then casually strolled in.  He looked at the demon. "Let's try attacking me when I'm not blinded by putting in a contact, shall we?"

"What is the meaning of this?" the man behind the desk shouted.

Xander looked at him, a cold, emotionless look. "This demon just attacked me, probably upon your orders.  I'd sit down and shut up.  I'm not here for you."

"He is my client and assaulting him...."  His words went to an 'erk' sound as Xander grabbed him by the throat and pulled him across the desk.

"Hear me this time.  Unless you sent him after me, you're probably safe from me.  Unless you're the one who's trying to fuck with my life, little man.  All I want is this demon, *this* time.  Next time, it'll be worse.  Oh, and by the way, it won't work.  You didn't put it over on Angel and I'm worse."  He let him go and grabbed the demon before he could bolt, dragging him down to the parking garage, where he pushed him against the wall.  "You wanted it, come get it."  He shook his head.  "Why not?  Scared?  You attacked me.  I don't know which project it was that got the attention, but you might as well stop it now.  Attacking me was *totally* stupid."  He stepped closer.  "Being who I am means that I know what bringing the pain home means and I like it," he hissed.  "Now, if you want some of me, take me.  If you don't, I suggest you tell me which of those nice demons upstairs sent you after me."

"Wrong white mouse," he said fearfully.  "I was to get the other one.  He's the target. Him and his wife."

Xander grabbed him again and walked him out to his car, shoving him in the other seat.  He climbed in ad started his nice, fast sports car, heading back to the garage.  He found Vinnie on his bike and got out, handing over the demon.  "He thought I was you," he said quietly, his voice like ice.  "He thinks you and your *wife* need attacked."

"Oh, really?" Modo asked, glaring at the creature.  "Then maybe we should talk to him." He grabbed the demon, dragging him around to the back of their place.  Charley didn't need to see this.

Xander got back into his car and took off again, heading for a drive.  It was a pretty night for a drive, even if his face did hurt.

Throttle was the one who realized that Xander hadn't followed and went back around the front of the building, not seeing the car there.  "Where did you go this time?" he muttered, checking the tracking system.  It was listed as 'discarded'.  "How in the name of Mars?" he asked, frowning at it.  He tried to reestablish contact with it and found it was in his room. That told him everything he needed to know.  Xander and he would be having a talk the next morning.  He went back to hit the demon a few more times.  He needed the stress relief now.  His mate had better come back in perfect condition and he had better not smell off.  Or else they would need a new building by the time he got done yelling.


Enamel walked into his apartment and found Xander in there on his computer.  "Something you need?"

"Yeah to be changed back.  That's what this shit was about," he said, looking at him.  "Wolfram and Hart were concerned because I tipped the balance in favor of the mice."

"Pity."  He walked in. "How did you get in here?"

"It's not that hard.  Your security system doesn't register if you take the door off and put it back on."  He went back to browsing.  "You're sure it's permanent?"

"Yeah.  Why?  Hate the fur already?"

"No."  He turned to look at him fully.  "Think about it, Enamel.  What's going to happen when this has to go to court?"  He shrugged.  "Court proceedings here on earth are recorded.  In this state by video recording.  You're sworn to tell the truth, no matter what.  So all they have to do is call me as a witness, which they'll have to do anyway, and ask me what I am. Then I'll have to answer or risk losing Dawn. I'm strong, not smart, I can't duck that question that well.  How do I do this and not expose them?"

"Us, Xander.  You are one of us."

"Point," he admitted.  "Can you think of *any* way, short of magic, that I can deal with this temporarily?"

He shook his head. "I can't even think of a way to do it permanently.  Temporary would be impossible.  Can't you just do an illusion or something?"

"Wolfram and Hart are Hell's lawyers," he said calmly. "They're the top people in the occult, research, magic, demonic, and data cataloging systems in the world. Anything I or Dawn could do they can undo or make it so we'd have to undo it."  Enamel sighed.  "So, the choice then becomes do I try my best to keep her, which will expose all of us, or should I let them win, which means that I'm going to kill them all?"

"There's got to be other options.  Gunn, or whatever his name was, should be able to come up with something."

"He looked it over.  What they did is perfectly legal.  They're filing to give her back to Buffy, which I don't believe."

"Then have her ask for emancipation."

"I thought about that and asked him.  They can block it while this case is in trial.  Gunn's going to ask for a continuance since he was just brought onto the case. I have two days to decide this."

"Have you told her?"

"We did."  He stood up, moving over.  "I don't have ethics that cover this.  My first instinct is to fight them, which is stupid.  They've got Hell's coffers.  They can literally create gold if they need it.  They've got plenty of judges in their pockets. Even if I lose and appeal it, they can have her."

"Then send her off on a learning trip, Xander."

"I suggested that and it's blocked.  She can't even go to Micah to talk about working with him.  He checked.  We're at stalemate and I'm not sure what they want.  Is it Dawn?  She's not the person they think.  Is it us exposed?  If so, that's a pretty brash plan.  Is it something else that I'm not seeing?"

"I'm not seeing anything else unless they're pushing weight around to let the dark win."

Xander shook his head. "Chicago isn't a powerful demon location.  If this were LA, then yeah.  New York, 'Frisco, hell, Fresno.  Seattle.  Vancouver.  Most of Florida.  We're in a null spot.  This is the most peaceful place with demons ever. This is where shy demons bring their families to raise them in peace.  I don't know what I'm missing."

"Me either," he admitted, patting him on the cheek.  "How's your face?"

"It's nothing.  I've had worse."  He glanced around.  "I can be arrested for sending her away or taking her away."

"If it's the right thing, he'll bail you out."

"Which would expose us. The only thing I can think of was that I stepped on their toes to design that new club myself.  They don't realize who I am.  They don't know me as more than some jumped up person who's flaunting their will.  They may be using Dawn as a pawn against Buffy, I'm pretty sure about that.  It's like a marker at a betting table."  Enamel leaned against the back of his couch, letting him talk it out.  "The problem with that is that no one knows what I did back in Sunnydale unless one of us told them.  Since the girls don't usually know what I did back in Sunnydale other than fetch food and sharpen stakes for them, I doubt that unless it's from Giles or Ethan.  Ethan knows enough to know that I'm a protector.  Giles knows more than Ethan does but not enough about me to gauge what I'm going to do.  So the question still remains, do I expose *us* or do I let her go?"

"Only your heart and Throttle can advise you of that, Xander.  Personally, I'd stay low tech. If they've got all the cards and the weapons, they're being smug.  They won't consider the lesser tactics because it'd be beneath them."  Xander grinned at him. "You know that you're mated to a strategist, right?"  He nodded. "Then why aren't you talking to him about this?"

"Because it's not really his problem.  It's mine.  They're threatening what's mine.  It's my job to protect that."

"Uh-uh."  He shook his head, using his tongue to remove some leftover pizza from his teeth.  "That's now what mates, brothers, or bros do, Xander.  If it's yours, any of those categories of people should help you protect them."

"Yeah, but this isn't a war."

"Point, but it will turn into one if you go after Wolfram and Hart."  He stared him down.  "You're good, very good, but you're aiming high and jumping from a plane without a chute. You don't jump to the moon on a pogo stick, but it can take you home."

Xander shook his head. "Not this time."

"If it exposes us, you have to tell them."

"I will, if I decide to go that way.  Though I'm sure it'd be pretty self-explanatory and obvious.  I'd think of that problem.  I know Charley did."

"Well, I'm betting Throttle hasn't yet, at least not until he asks the question of what to expect."  Xander shrugged.  "You have to tell him."

"If I do, I put them and Dawn in greater jeopardy.  If she runs, then she can and will be taken away."  Enamel sighed.  "So it's a box. A very tight fitting lid.  A seriously small keyhole.  And a bazooka to pick it with.  Either the box goes or I go."  He shrugged.  "I'm going to think if they call."  He walked out.  "I fixed the squeak."  He closed the door behind himself.

Enamel covered his face, shaking his head.  Why was he in the middle of this?  He hadn't allowed himself to care for years.  Suddenly he cared, he was fighting for Mars again, and he was fighting for one strong group of people who didn't really like him enough to talk to him on the streets unless they wanted something.  Except for Xander, he did talk to him.  Whenever he saw him he gave him an update on the problems he was going through and then changed the subject.  It was like he was getting the necessities out of the way so they could move on.  He had given him good advice earlier too.  He hoped he had repaid it by letting the boy think out loud.


Throttle woke up and sniffed.  Something was not right.  The other side of his bed was cold.  That definitely wasn't right and there was a strong smell that shouldn't be there anymore.  A human Xander and his old cologne.  He got out of bed and slid into his jeans, heading up the stairs to search out the scent. He found him on the roof, looking normal, but for a slender leather strip around his neck.  "That had better be magic."

Xander turned to look at him, nodding. "It is."  He took it off and handed it over.  "At the trial, I'm going to have to be there."

"They're not going to do it by phone or whatever? It'll be in a real courtroom?"  Xander nodded.  "Since when?"

"Since most of the time judges don't hear cases in their offices.  We'll be in a full courtroom that'll be open to anyone who wants to come in and watch.  There'll be cameras there to tape the proceedings and someone there to type it in too.  They'll have their people, we'll have ours.  It'll be like a polite assault."

"Do you get to hit anybody?" Vinnie asked as he joined them.

"Nope, no hitting, screaming, yelling, raising of voices of any kind, or any other outbursts.  You have to answer the questions they ask you and you can't lie.  No matter what, because they make you swear an oath."  They both winced.  "Vinnie, you're bringing Dawn quietly to the courthouse earlier in the day.  You're to guard her, she's not to run, which she may.  Rimfire's a great kid but they'll try to use that against her too.  If he's there, it'll only make it worse," he said bitterly, looking at Throttle. "You'll probably be called to testify.  Be yourself, please."

"If they find out we're mice, then everything can bottom out," Throttle said patiently.

"Then the choice becomes do we fight to keep her here and safe or do we let her go back."

Throttle winced. "I'm not the enemy here, Xander."

He nodded.  "I know.  I'm still trying to figure out why they're doing it.  No one from Sunnydale would have mentioned me.  No one thought I ever did anything but hang out."

"With everything you did and no one said anything about you?" Throttle asked.  Xander shook his head.  "What about graduation?"

"I assigned section leaders, they got their sections into position.  Those who knew were mostly the strongest, that's why I put them in charge.  Which also put them into the most danger."  Throttle shuddered at the matter-of-fact tone of his voice.  "I don't know how they even know who I am, beyond some minor documents here and there."  He shrugged.  "Here's the dilemma of this moment.  Which do we do?"

Throttle shrugged.  "I don't know.  How long do we have?"

"Two days.  Mid-afternoon in two days."  He walked off, leaving it in his hands.  He went to talk to Dawn, who was bouncing a ball off her ceiling. "I did that for years until I didn't catch it a few times."

"I heard," she said, continuing to bounce.  "What's the plan?"

"I don't have one," he admitted.  She stared at him, forgetting to catch the ball.  "At least it wasn't broken," he said with a grimace.  "I don't want you to go, I don't want you at that courthouse because I have the feeling that something's going to happen, and I want this to be one of my nightmares.  It's certainly turning into one of the more routine ones."  She grimaced back at him. "You're nearly an adult, you know the risks.  What do you want to do?"

"I want to stay."

"We want you to stay," Throttle told her as he joined his husband.  "We're going in with you as the Biker Mice.  I don't care, Dawn. You're too important to risk."

"Then that exposes you guys and puts you at risk of NID people showing up."

"Yeah, but you're worth it," Xander told her.  "On that mushy note, I need to have some fun.  I want you to stay here all day and tomorrow too.  No going out, not even for an errand."  She nodded, snuggling back into her pillows.  "Good girl.  We'll handle it.  Call Buffy, maybe Wes's had a new idea."  He headed up, finding Lorne checking his email.  "Is there anything *fun* going on today?  I need a distraction."

"Gun show."  He looked up at him.  "You like weapons."

"True."  Xander beamed.  "Clearance necessary?"

"Only to try some stuff out."  He waved at the table.  "Micah's in the kitchen making coffee."

Xander bounced that way.  "Micah, can you get me into the gun show?"  Micah gave him a look.  "I'm serious!"

"With the way you look?"  Xander ran off and came back with the leather strap, putting it on.  "Well, that covers everything but your tail."

"I'll wear a real shirt and baggy pants, it can hide it."

"Fine.  I'll get you into the gun show. You can go blow stuff up."  He shook his head.  "Maybe you should take someone with you."

"Then we'd look really odd.  I can't change Vinnie into a human."

"Point."  He considered it.  "Let me call someone."  Xander beamed.  He went out to feed the fish and to take out the newly dead one that the others had partially eaten.  He shook his head and called one of the guys he knew was there. "Pete, it's Micah, I've got two of my new special people, possibly three, who need a stress break and they like to see explosions.  Yeah, fully certified.  Um, the top one has omega seven."  He sipped his coffee, smirking.  "Yeah, that one," he agreed, rolling his eyes.  How had someone in the Pentagon learned about Xander this time?  "No, him, Vinnie, who looks a lot like him, and their mentor if I can wake him up to chaperone."  He took another sip.  "Nope, pure stress relief and looking after the local emergency arsenal.  Sure.  Thanks."  He hung up.  "Xander, take off the collar, you can go as yourself.  The boys in blue said that you're creepy, but good."  Xander rushed in and hugged him.  "You're welcome.  No buying stuff and I'll show you a secret later.  Unless it's really nice and then you call first," he sighed to ease the pout.

Xander whooped and went to find Vinnie, dragging him to his bike.  "We're going to the toy show."

"Toy show?  Why would I want to go to the toy show?"

Xander beamed at him.  "To look at the new toys.  Micah said we could go.  He's gotten us into the special section even."  Vinnie looked hesitant.  "Stoker's coming too."

"Fine," he grumbled.  "At least I'll find something for the baby."

"No buying stuff for the baby until it's almost born," Charley complained.

"Yes, sweetheart."  He looked at Xander.  "Shoes?"  Xander ran back to put on his sneakers and grab his helmet, dragging Stoker behind him.   "He said it's a toy show, old guy."

"Anya could use some stuff," he admitted, getting onto his bike.  Vinnie had to stop Xander from taking his and shook his head.  "They've got to get him his own," he complained.  He started his bike.  "Later, Charley girl."

"Have fun playing with the new toys," she called, smiling at them.  "I didn't know Xander liked toys that much.  I'll let him help me pick out some for the baby."  She walked into the office and found Micah kicked back checking his email.  "Someone on both of them?"

"Yeah, Lorne's doing official stuff and Dawn's being scary and watching smut.  Since I'm only checking my email I thought I'd come over and help you after I emailed a contact to warn them that Xander was coming."

"What toy show has agents?"

Micah looked up at her.  "Toy show?  Who said that?"


Micah groaned.  "Gun show, Charley.  Gun show."

"Ah, big boy toys," she said, rolling her eyes.

"Not that he doesn't have good taste in regular toys.  He's got a great collection under his bed."  She grinned at that.  "They'll be back after lunch, depending on some of the demonstrations."

"That's fine.  A few less to cook for."  She went back to work, doing the simple tune up and oil change on the priceless old antique car.


Vinnie pulled up outside where Xander had told him to go, a small convention center just outside the city, and stared in awe.

"Like I said, toy show," Xander said happily, pointing for Stoker's benefit.  "Toys."

"Toys," he agreed, grinning back.

"Yes!  New weapons!"

"Micah said we can shop but if we want anything we have to call him."

"Hey, that's fine, we've got better already but this'll be great!  I needed a new toy!"  They sped down to the parking lot, parking near the doors.  Xander strolled up to the door, smiling at the guards there.  "Hey," Vinnie said from behind him.

"Sir, this a private showing day."

"Micah sent me.  I'm Xander."  The man checked his list and opened the door for them.  Xander beamed. "Thanks.  We need new toys."  The guard simply nodded while holding the door.   Xander smiled and walked in, finding a general there in the doorway.  "'Scuse us."

"Who're you?" he asked, looking them over.  "Designers?"

"No, I'm a Xander."

"Oh, Micah's talked about you," he said, shaking his hand.  "How is the local arsenal?"

"Not that hefty.  I'd like it to be bigger," he admitted.  "I'm the sort who like the SBD weapons and the good things that don't require a tank to haul.  Though, explosions are always nice."

The general laughed, clapping him on the arm.  "We can show you those.  Urban, desert, or other sort of warfare?"

"I tend to multi-task," Xander admitted.  "Stoker, this guy," he said with a nod for him, "does a lot of desert warfare these days.  He's in training.  Vinnie," he said, nodding at him, "is my big brother and we basically do it together.  I do demolitions and things like rifles and grenade launchers, and some techie toys, and he does the tried and true - missiles and the like."

"Then you've got a good start going," he assured them.  "Let's go, I'll lead you around.  I'm Peter, I was actually Micah's CO when he was a Marine."

"Cool.  He told me this great story about him and a beach crab stand with his whole unit."

Peter laughed.  "Yeah, I remember that fondly.  A full month in the hospital with food poisoning because they were going for cheap stuff."  He shook his head.  "They had cast iron stomachs after that."  He led them to the first booth, where Xander picked up the pamphlets.  "Good idea.  That way you can compare and make orders later."  Xander beamed and nodded.  "Okay, this is one is a ballistics supplier."

Xander looked at the offerings.  "Do you do crossbow bolts too?  I've got one at home and I need a new supplier."

"No, not really.  My company does more of the exploding tip bullets."  He held one up.  "Packed with a small mercury charge to blow up on contact."

"Cool," Vinnie said, grinning as he leaned closer.  "Does it make big or little holes?"

"It'll totally shred a person's chest or blow through armor, but it won't do more than dent walls.  We've been working on a larger model, but it's not perfected yet and it's too heavy."  He smiled and handed over a small bag with three bullets.  "Here, our sample pack."

"Thank you," Xander said, tucking it into one of the pamphlets.  They moved onto the next table, going on until they made the complete circuit and then there was time for a snack and then the demonstrations.  Some of the higher end military weapons, vehicles, and toys.  Xander nudged Vinnie, nodding at Junior, which made Vinnie snickered and shake his head, giving him a nudge.  They clapped as the missile they were watching took out a concrete bunker, sending the little pieces very high up.  The better the explosion, the more they liked it.


Stoker forced the two boys back inside, letting Xander put down his new toys, but carrying all the pamphlets and sample kits.  Every table had something and Xander had picked up all of them.  He flopped down on the floor in front of the couch, handing them to Carbine.  "From the weapon show."

"I thought they went to the toy show."

"To some of us, they are toys," Xander said smugly.  He hugged Micah.  "I only got personal stuff.  Some crossbow bolts for my personal bow, as I told them, and some new bullets, oh!  And a flame thrower."

Micah patted him on the back.  "You were very restrained," he promised.  He sat down beside Carbine to look through them, sorting out the people who weren't good enough.  He handed her the smaller stack.  "Most of those sell to anybody and they're not going to be too picky.  The few on government contract I can get authorized if you find something you like."

She looked through them, handing them off to Stoker.  "What're these?" she asked, holding up a package of bullets.

"Sample pack of .... those are thermal tipped if I remember right."

She read the description of that product then looked impressed.  "Nasty.  I can see them being used."  She put those aside and went onto the next one, shaking her head as she read, but she was smiling.  "Fairly ambitious.  I wonder what they could do if they had a working prototype."

"Not gonna happen," Micah warned.  "If you give them one, everyone else will want one and then it'd be lost to the highest bidder and we'd have to be scared again.  Even with an exclusive contract, there's still espionage at those places."  She nodded, shrugging a bit.  "Now, if you could figure out a way to get a few good designers to Mars, that'd be different."  She smirked at him.  "Hey, you guys could probably recycle old ones."

"True.  Actually, there's some other alien races that do weapons very well. They're the ones who finalized the design for the blasters."  She looked over as Throttle walked up the ramp.  "They went to a weapons show."

"Find anything pretty?" he asked, kissing Xander on the head.  Vinnie was bouncing and opening his mouth.  "Slow down."

"You won't believe it!  You know those old Bronc bombs we had?  They've got those!" he said excitedly.  "They're refined them, they're smaller!  We could fit them on the bikes!"

Throttle looked impressed.  "Those would be handy."

"Especially since Junior was at the demonstrations," Xander offered.  Throttle nodded, going to get them something to drink.  Xander handed off the rootbeer and got up to get a real soda, coming back to sit down and pull out the ones he had liked best.  "I like them, Micah."

Micah looked at them. "For simple assaults and things, they're good," he admitted.  He found one in the other stack, handing it to him.  "These guys are very good at making things go boom."

"Their rep was creepy and vamp-like," Vinnie complained. "Pale, wheezy, and shaky."

"Ooh, they had the General there," he said, shuddering.  "It's his company.  His sons run it now but he used to sell to anyone and their brothers just to watch the carnage."  He tapped the brochure.  "They've updated the old bazookas and things."

"Wow."  He curled up to read over that one, smiling and nudging Vinnie at the description.  "If we could get one and modify it, that could be a replacement accessory for the bikes, like whenever was needed."

"Hmm, plug and play, I like that idea," Vinnie admitted, reading over it.  "A bit too big but it could probably trimmed down. We need Charley to look at some of these.  She does most of our upgrades and I'm hoping she can get an idea."  He got up to get her, pulling her out from under the antique car.  "Hey, we're doing dinner and looking over stuff from the toy show.  There's stuff that we liked a lot if you think it might be okay," he said with a smirk.  "Very suitable for the house and all that," he said with a wink since there was a customer.

"Give me an hour to finish up and then I'll come over," she said with a grin.  "Have fun?"

"Lots.  It was wonderful!  We even got to see the blowing up demonstrations!"  He cackled and went back to helping Xander think up new things for the bikes.

Xander looked at Micah. "Can I learn how to design weapons?"

"Sure, kid," he said with a smirk.  "I'll send you the beginning texts the Marines use."  He nudged him.  "We need to go for a drive later."  He nodded, grinning at him.  "So, did you have fun?"

"Lots of fun.  We cheered ourselves hoarse over some of the demonstrations."  He beamed at Vinnie, who beamed back.  "It was so cool!"

Modo rode up and stopped, looking at them.  "What're we doing?"

"They went to the big boy's toy show," Throttle said with a grin for him.  "Lots and lots of weapons."

"Cool.  Hey, momma, come look at the weapons."

"Coming, dear."  She came out and saw all the pamphlets and sample kits, smiling. "Did you have fun?"

"Yup, I raided each and every table," Xander said proudly.  "Then we got to watch stuff blow up.  Ooooh, Micah, I forgot. There some new plastic explosives that I *need*," he said with a manic grin.  "Please?"



He shook his head.  "They finally got it to work?"

"Apparently," Vinnie said dryly.  "Either that or they laced it with something else.  A small bouncy ball sized ball made a huge crater."

Micah nodded. "I'll look into that.  There's more subtle things."

"Sneaking is not the mouse way," Vinnie complained.  "Stealth is for less studly bodies and less talented mice."

"Yeah, where's the fun if you can't blow it up?" Modo asked.

Micah snorted, starting to laugh. "You guys are so bad."  He looked at Lorne.  "Did you go too?"

"You told me to."  He handed over the carefully selected ones.  "Sent Xander too?"

"He shops for different reasons, you shop for ECHO, pal."   He looked at them, nodding at his choices.  "Good and efficient.  I don't like them for bullets, they seem to fall behind a lot."

"Ooh, I like these guys for bullets," Xander said, pulling out a booklet and sample pack from the 'good' stack.  He handed it to Lorne.  "Those guy's were undersized slightly.  I saw them loading and they were too loose.  These loaded right and they didn't wiggle wrong and they seemed quieter for some reason."

"Low gunpowder," Micah read, looking it over.  "I'd like to try some of them."  He put those aside and moved on, nodding at the other choices.  "We'll sit down and talk with them in a few days, Lorne, good job.  Any problems?"

"They should've had pom poms," he said sarcastically.  "They warmed the hearts of all those cold, hard-heated generals by cheering for each explosion.  Then rating it.  The Sisyphus system is up and running too."

"Wonderful!" Micah said happily.  "I'm going out with him, Charley, and Throttle later.  Can you hold the fort if something happens with Dawn?"  He nodded, going to get a drink.  "Thanks, Lorne."

"Better me than Max.  They'd have had a lot of 'little lady, can you handle that big of a gun' issues with her.  Or Dawn I guess."  He pulled out a soda and went to help them look through the other things.  He had only browsed at some of the places he knew they wouldn't use.


Throttle pulled up beside Xander's car, which Micah had been allowed to drive Charley to the spot in.  Xander slid off the back and he found he missed the warmth.  He got off and looked at the nondescript building in front of them.  It looked like one of those concrete shacks that housed gas shut-offs and things.  Micah walked over to it and tapped in a code on the security panel, getting them access.  Once they had all squeezed inside the small building, he tapped the back panel, opening that security door.  That one he had to say something into.  "Okay, we're authorizing new people to get into here," Micah said as he typed.  "Each of you will need to give a retinal image, a thumb print, and a voice scan."   He got out of the way.  "Throttle, you're first since you're going to have the most problems."

Throttle stepped up, reading the instructions on the screen.  He put his eye in the right spot, watching as the little light came out to scan it.  He felt Xander shudder and put his tail around his boy's wrist to calm him down.  When the light was done he pulled back and put his thumb on the thumb spot, then said his name "Throttle."

"Please say authorization code," the computer said quietly.

"Mary had a little lamb," Micah told him.  Xander gave him a look.  "Some General decides that."

"Mary had a little lamb."

"Thank you, Throttle.  More input?"

"Yes," Micah said, coming over to type again.  "Okay, Xander.  Go ahead and use your human eye.  Just in case it can't pick up differences."  Xander stepped up and went through the steps, then Charley did.  When they were all in, he slowly punched in the access code again. "Okay, not very original.  Your access code is month, day, and full year of your birthday.  You do that, you get the three scans, and a door pops open."  He went through the scans again, and sure enough the black security door slid open.  They climbed on the elevator and went down.

"Wow, this is better than the Initiative's stuff," Xander said, liking this.  They came out in a warehouse, and he stared in awe, not minding when Charley had to move him.  "Wow.  Toys," he said in awe.  He grabbed onto Charley's arm, bouncing again. "Toys!  Lots and lots of toys!"

"Which you can only use if the world is getting ready to end," Micah told him.   He led Xander off. "You can't restock from here, Xander.  This is military property for the end of the world."

"Sure, REM moments only," he agreed.  He beamed at him.  "Can we add to it?"

"You probably shouldn't," he admitted.  "The Army technically deals with these.  Now, with that said, if you *have* to get into it to save the city, go ahead, just yell at me first and then afterward to tell me what you used, all right?" He nodded, beaming at him.  "Good boy.  Throttle?"

"I heard, not a problem," he agreed. "We can get ideas from this stuff though, right?"

"Yeah, that too," Micah agreed with a smile for him.  "That's why I wanted you three.  Charley designs most of yours and has to fix 'em.  You and Xander plan things so you two needed to know too."

Charley came back with a small tube.  "What's this do?"

"That?" he said, taking it to look over. "Oh, that's the XA-8.  It's a shortened missile launching system for assault vehicles.  This is just the replacement tubing."

"Oh.  What's the full thing look like?"  He handed it to Throttle and walked her off to look at it, making her smile.  "This is sorta like what was in that one pamphlet," she admitted, stroking it.  "Too heavy for a bike."  She moved to look it over.  "Half of this is unnecessary."

"Of course.  This is military you're talking about, Charley."

She grinned at him and went back to looking it over.  "I think I can cut this down to size if we could get a new sort of missile."

"Vinnie and I were thinking something along the plug and play idea," Xander offered, trotting over to get into the assault vehicle, looking over the controls. "Do they not come with a radio?  You need good music when you're blowing things up."

Throttle chuckled but he couldn't take his eyes off Xander.  He looked good in the assault SUV.  He moved to look at some of the other things and stopped at a car.  "Micah?"  He turned so Throttle pointed. "Isn't that Max's car?"

"Yeah, modified," he admitted, walking over there.  "This is a cross between hers and one by Q.  Again, minor missile system, guns, bulletproof, things like that."  Xander ran over to hug it and then get inside to look everything over.

"They put high-tech weapons on a car that's not that great, not that safe, and handles poorly?" Charley asked.

"That's who they had the contract with," Micah admitted.  "It was part of the deal for Toyota to set up an east coast shop."  He patted her on the back. "Come look at this one.  I think you'll like it more."  He led her to a small case and opened it, showing it to her.  "Titanium alloy.  Thermal tracking, exploding tip, and small enough to fit onto the bikes."

"I like the sound of that," she admitted, picking it up. "It's not that heavy."

"That's why they went with titanium instead of real steel," he admitted, patting the thing.  "It's a very practical baby but we don't have anything that launches those.  So they're on the outs."

"Can we get these for our personal stash?"

"Possibly, that's why I mentioned them.  Would they fit in Throttle's bike?"

"We can check if we can take it outside."

"Sure.  Throttle, have your baby pull around to the side entrance," he said, pointing at the other door.  Throttle nodded, going to open it and whistle for his bike.  He let Charley carry it out and insert it.  She had the bike spit it out, then loaded it the normal way, watching as it was a cramped fit. That could be fixed though.  He looked at Throttle.  "They're very nice."

"We'd have to grind down the fins a little bit," she offered, looking it over.  She popped it back out, then looked it over. "Is it stealth?"

"No, but it's often too small to be picked up."  He shifted so he was leaning against the wall.  "Like I said, we have nothing that will shoot it.  Not even the cars.  They need something that's smaller and torpedo shaped.  So we have weapons that work very well and nothing to use them with.  I'm waiting for final authority to transfer them to you, for demolition of course," he finished with a smirk.

"Oh, I can think of a few things I can destroy," Xander said wickedly, grinning at his mate. "Can't you?"

"If they're that good, we should send them home," Throttle offered.

"Which could also be done.  Could they replicate the majority of it?"

"Probably.  We've got one small munitions factory going."  He took the missile, looking it over.  "It's not too heavy or anything."  He handed it back to Micah, watching as his mate sighed.  "We might keep a few for emergencies though," he admitted.

"I figured you guys could make that decision," he admitted.  "We have to go back out the way we came in or else it'll sound an alarm."

Xander walked inside, stroking the assault vehicles on his way past. A gentle brush of his fingers across a side, or down a gun barrel, occasionally up a gun barrel, a longer stroke down the line of a hood.  Throttle watched him and moaned.  The final straw was Xander bending down to look at a gun sitting on the ground, and picking it up to hold it, looking quite deadly with it in his hands. He sighted down it then put it down with a sigh of longing.  Xander found a touring motorcycle with weapons on it and straddled it, shifting his hips to get comfortable on the wider seat.  That's where Throttle walked over and kissed him.  "Home, babe."

Xander looked up at him. "I thought I said none for a week."

"I can't take that.  You win," he said before kissing him again.  "You keep winning.  It's all good."  He pulled him off the bike. The only bike Xander should be on was his.  He crushed their mouths together, making Xander moan and go limp against him, giving in this time.  Next time he'd have to hold out longer. Xander moaned again, rubbing against him.

"Guys, I get enough of that at home," Charley interrupted, but neither one heard her.  Micah shook his head and walked her off.  "But they can't do that in here."

"As long as they clean it up, it won't matter," he assured her.  "It's probably not the first one."  He nodded at the bike.  "They'll be a few, go back to the other entrance.  We've got to come out up there."  It beeped and headed that way so he closed the doors.  Xander yelped and Throttle chuckled and he had to hold it in.  He looked at Charley, who was biting her lip.  "If you were single, I'd offer, but I'm not that sorta guy," he promised.  She smiled and hugged him then they went their separate ways.  He went to sit in one of the old assault vehicles he used to drive and she went to play among the weapons. "Damn those two are loud," he moaned, leaning his head back.  Otherwise he would have to watch them from this vantage point.  He refused to give in and do anything about it.  He would not, he wasn't some horny teenager and he could hold off until they got somewhere decent, like the house.  Maybe a long, hot shower.  He lifted his head to stare at them, unable to resist.  They did look good together.

Throttle had Xander pushed against that touring bike and was presently teasing him with his fingers. Xander was moaning into the bike's seat and Throttle switched to his tail.  So they could do that too with those handy things.  Xander was whimpering and making pleading noises.  Throttle pulled his hips up and slid home, making Xander moan into the old leather, and his legs were shaking.  He shifted them so he was straddling the bike and Xander was on his back on it, taking him that way instead, and Xander was smiling up at him.  Throttle leaned down to kiss him, whispering gently in his ear while he worked himself in and out of that body.  Xander slowly raised a hand and Throttle lowered his head, letting Xander have his antennas.  Xander was grinning but it wasn't triumphant, it was gentle and tender.  Like it was a special gift or a great honor.  Throttle let out a moan of his own and his back tensed, his hips quit moving and Xander said something to him. Throttle laid down overtop of his lover's chest, letting him do whatever he wanted. Xander lowered his head, linking their antennas and they both moaned, but Throttle's seemed to be more needy and then his hips were going again, and their tails were twining and stroking each other's. Xander let out a low moan and went limp and Throttle just sighed and did the same, cuddling with him.  They shared a small kiss.

Micah looked down at himself, seeing the small mess, and decided he didn't care.  He untucked his shirt and got out, slamming the door.  It didn't make either mouse flinch.  Though Xander did raise his head and then let it flop back down.  "Babe, gas cap, my back. You're going to be kissing the marks for days."

Throttle grinned at him.  "Sure. You deserve a backrub.  You didn't come home with all the weapons."  He gently slid out of his mate, helping him up to his feet to redress them both.  Xander was still wobbly and weak-kneed. He led him to the elevator.  "Sorry, people."

"Not an issue," Charley assured him, giving him a hug.  "We love you anyway."

"I'll make sure Vinnie doesn't jump to the wrong conclusions," he promised, nuzzling her throat.  She blushed and Micah joined them.  "Come on, let's head home."  They piled into the elevator and headed out, letting Micah lock everything back up and making sure he knew where the openings were. He got onto his bike with a groan and sank into the soft seat, letting Xander curl up behind him.  "Bike, did you remember this route?"  It beeped a negative sound.  "Okay, on the way back, memorize this route.  Mark it auxiliary emergency storage."  He groaned as he kicked his bike to life, then shook his head.  "I need a nap."

"Let me," Charley sighed, getting out.  "I'll drive, you hang on, let Xander nap in the car."  Small problem, Xander wasn't going to let go of the bike.  He had his tail wrapped around it.   So she got on in front of him and slid back, and he snuggled into her back instead.  She smiled at Throttle.  "Follow behind us."  He nodded, going to nap in the car.  "Okay, babe, let's go.  Your rider's exhausted."  It beeped so she started it, heading back to the garage after the car.  She felt Xander shift a few times and blushed when he managed to rub against her rear, but held it down.  He was just cuddly.  They pulled in behind the lair and she rode his bike up to the living area, earning an odd look from Vinnie.  "He's asleep.  Throttle's in the car with Micah."

He came over to grab him, putting him on the couch.  Micah walked Throttle in and laid him down on top of Xander and covered them.  Then Micah headed for the bathroom.  Vinnie looked at Charley, sniffing something.  He stepped away from the post-coital couple and sniffed his girl.  "Have fun?"

"He took off in one direction and I went the other when they started," she said, staring at him.  She got off the bike and hit him on the arm.  "You know I'm not going to cheat."

"I never said that," he defended.  "All I asked was if you had fun."  He pulled her closer, kissing her gently.  "I know you won't cheat, sweetheart.  I give you all you need and more."  He stroked her back, and she moaned. He could smell she was more than ready for this.  He let out a soft sound of contentment and went back to mugging her lips.  She moaned and he knew she was desperate.  He grinned at her when he pulled back.  "Charley girl, if we keep this up, I'm claiming you right here and right now," he said gently. "In front of everyone."  She kissed him, too desperate to do anything else.  "Bros, she's mine, right?" he called between kisses.

"Yeah, if you fall she's ours," Throttle said sleepily.  "Want the couch?"  He looked down at his pillow and smiled, sitting up and pulling his mate into his lap.  "Here, you can have the blanket too."  Vinnie drug her back to the couch, putting her down onto it and taking his time to have her.  Throttle threw the blanket over them and shook his head as Modo came up the ramp.  "There's an emergency station of weapons in case the world is ending."

"Good.  Have fun?" he asked with a grin.  He sniffled.  "He's claiming her?"

"Yeah," Throttle said with a grin, nodding at the blanket.  Then he kissed Xander and pulled him closer to him so his boy could nap on his shoulder.  Xander nibbled but he didn't mind.  It was nice.  Nice enough to make him hard, even without Vinnie's groans and moans of delight. He was rubbing against Xander's body and that was enough for now. Xander woke up and gave him a sleepy smile, kissing him before moving his hands to stroke Throttle's chest, making him moan.  It was going to be too much soon.

Modo got his sheet and tossed it over them, and the gap over Vinnie and Charley's blanket too.  Then he went into the kitchen to warn his mother.  "They're going at it out there."

"There's no claiming people in the living room!" she yelled.

"Tough!" Vinnie yelled back.  He was nibbling on the spots she liked while his hips and tail worked on her lower half.  She was weak and babbling for more so that's what he gave her.  One didn't deny their girl anything when she was like this.  He shifted and his feet came in contact with someone's leg, so he kicked it to get more room.  He got tail-whipped for it and used it to brace against instead. He needed some traction.  She let go for him and he moaned, enjoying that more than most things she could do.  He continued, he was still needy and he wasn't ready yet.  He teased her until she was close to a second one then he felt himself start over the edge.  He hurried her across that finish line so she came in right after him and went limp across her chest.  "Sweeeet," he whispered.  "Better and better each time."  He tried to move but she had her arms wrapped around him and as every stud in the universe knew, when your girl wanted to cuddle, you did so to keep her happy.  He felt his footrest move and smirked back there.  The blanket ended just above his ankles so he could tell it was Xander on top and they were still dressed.  Listening to them was starting to get him up again and he kissed his lady.  Maybe they should move this to his old bed.  Xander moaned again and the moving leg quit moving, followed by raspy panting noises.  Throttle finished up with a small moan of complaint and kissed him, then relaxed to.  They cuddled again, one of Throttle's hands coming down to cup Xander's butt so he couldn't move.   So apparently it was good all the way around.  He looked down, finding Charley staring at him. "Hi, dollface."

"Hi."  She stroked his cheek under his mask. "Did we do what I think we did?"  He nodded, grinning at her.  "So now I'm officially your girl?" she teased.

"By biker law, you're claimed and marked, sweetheart. If you try to escape, my bros will bring you back and help us work through it.  If something happens to me, then they'll take you in and if you want you'd be like you were theirs."  He stroked her chin, then ran a finger across her lips.  "You're so mine."

"I guess I am."  He grinned and kissed her again.  She shifted and ran into a leg, which got her whacked on the leg with a tail.  "Which one is that?"

"Xander's on top of Throttle.  They just got done."  He kissed her again.  "What happened?"

"Xander was stroking the guns and the assault vehicles.  He sat on this older model touring bike and stroked the tank, and Throttle lost it.  He jump him and it was soft and gentle.  From what I saw, they were mentally touching."  He nodded, grinning at her.  "You can?"

"Yeah, three different ways.  You can bring up memories to taunt the other, you can join into those memories to be with them, basically reliving it only it was you two in their bodies, or you could just do it like they do and touch minds and stroke each other that way."  He kissed her again.  "I'm good but I can't do that last part.  That's really hard to do because you've got to be deep in their mind so that your thoughts actually feel like they're rubbing against your fur.  You're so deep that each time you think about thrusting, their body flexes around the intruder they *swear* they can feel pushing into them.  It's like a fantasy but there's someone invisible there doing it while you're thinking it."  He licked her lips before diving in for a deeper kiss.  "I'd do that with you but you're not supposed to during pregnancies because you can get lost easier."

"I don't know that I could handle it anyway," she admitted softly, pulling him down for a real kiss. "We need a bath."

He grinned.  "I'm all for bathing, sweetheart.  Want bubbles?"  She smiled at him.  "Let me clean up a bit and then I'll go run you one.  You can stay over here if you want."  She nodded, letting him help her clean up and then he tucked himself back in his jeans and headed off to run her a bath downstairs.

She stretched and got comfortable under the blanket.  Apparently the other two didn't mind or they were still stuck in each other's heads.  Vinnie came back and picked her up, blanket and all, taking her down there to help her into the soothing water, but making sure she was in his lap.  She let him gently bathe the newly sore parts and then tease her to another orgasm.  "You're good," she said sleepily, grinning up at him.

"It took you this long to realize that?  I must not have bragged enough," he teased.  He picked up her fingers to lick them clean, making her moan.  "Did you have fun?"

"It was just so sweet and tender," she told him, sounding awed.  "Usually I can see those two going hard and fast, breaking beds and doing slightly kinky stuff now and then.  This time it was just holding and rocking, Xander staring into his eyes, gentle words and touches.  Then they joined minds."

"That's when it's best," he assured her.  "Pretty soon they're not going to be fully separate. Throttle will keep an awareness of Xander all the time.  I've seen an older couple but they both died during the war."  He stroked her stomach.  "I'd love that but I don't think I could handle it.  Being that deep is scary.  You've got to expose everything to them, like they're the sun in your desert."

"I'm not asking you to, Vinnie.  What we have and what they have are different.  If only because I'm not a mouse and I'm a girl."

He leered at that.  "That's a good reason to love you right there.  You're a wonderful girl.  You put up with a lot of stuff."

"Oooh, mushy alert," she teased gently, smiling at him.

"It only happens briefly, enjoy it," he teased back, kissing her on the forehead.  He slid a little lower, getting more comfortable and that meant the water came up to her chest.  It was barely covering her nipples and he liked that sight so he focused on it while he played.  "Pretty soon I'll have to be really careful with you and these," he reminded her.

"Not for months yet and we're not exactly the slamming into the wall to have it right then sort, Vinnie."

"If you'd let me, I'd pounce you anywhere and everywhere," he said quietly, speaking into her hair. "I'd pounce you so much your butt would have a permanent Vinnie imprint from my hips.  You'd be jumped while you were working, cooking, cleaning, showering, sleeping, or even just sitting there staring at the tv.  The only time I'd leave your body was for necessary things, like bathroom breaks and you having to talk to new customers or go outside.  I'd be buried so far up you you'd know I was there and staying there."  She shivered.  "Fortunately I have some self control."

"It's a good thing," she agreed, snuggling into his arms, which made her hips wiggle and he started to come back.  She found his tail around her waist and stroked it gently, feeling him swell.  It didn't take long before he was coming against her body and she smiled as he moaned her name.  "Let's rest.  More later."

"Yeah, more later," he agreed happily.  "If you had antenna, I'd do that sucking and licking thing you do to me."

"I have other things you can lick later," she promised gently, smiling up at him.

"I'm so there," he promised, grinning at her. "Let's nap."

"Sure, you nap and I'll guard your bod."

"You can guard my studly body anytime, babe. It's all yours now to mark and claim and get jealous over."  She chuckled but put her head down on his pec and he fell asleep cuddling her.

Rimfire started to walk in about an hour later and blushed, backing out so he could close the door quietly.  He looked at Dawn and shook his head.  "Sleeping," he whispered, leading her off.  Upstairs, the other couple had laid down and were cuddling on the couch.  They still had the sheet draped over them but now Xander was being held like a teddy bear. You could just see the tops of their heads from under the sheet.  He heard a sigh and looked at Dawn, who shook her head and took them back down to her room.  Since they were short of rooms, the adults had decided that they could spend the rest of the week together. That gave Gunn his room and the other spare room at the garage went to Micah, while the bigger room upstairs went to the mothers.  Lorne had taken Hannah back to DC earlier that evening so that had eased a bit of pressure.  He kissed her gently.  "I want what they have," he whispered.

"Me too, Rimmy.  We're still kinda young though, ya know?"

He beamed.  "There's plenty of lovers who find themselves bound during high school."  He brushed his antennas across her head, sending a flickering image, not a full one, just a flash, past her mind.  She shivered.  "If it is like that, then we'll know.  Though, from what I've seen, this not fighting with you stuff is pretty nice."  She grinned at that.  He stole another kiss and got to his knees, helping her out of her, well actually his, t-shirt, then he pulled off the one he was wearing, laying down so she could brush herself against his fur.  They both liked that. He was always very gentle and reverent with her.  It was like she was his most priceless gift and he wasn't going to part with her for anything.  Though he would not let her get into trouble.  He was nearly as bad as Vinnie and Throttle were about that.  One of her legs went over his thigh and that was all it took.  He snapped her panties to give him easier access and slid home.  She groaned and clutched at him while he played and teased, just like she liked him to do.  He connected with her mind, seeing where he could go this time to tease her that way too.  She arched up and growled as he found a spot he hadn't played with yet.  It was good between them.  He knew they'd be that close.

The End.

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