Modo ran around the streets, trying to find someone he knew. He knew this one wasn't his nightmare, but he couldn't find his bros in this one. Then again, that left one other possibility according to Dawn, so he headed back to the garage, getting there in time to find someone trying to muscle in on Charley. He pulled inside and coughed. "Charley ma'am, did you need me to remove these people from your garage?"
She looked at him, then shook her head. "It probably won't work. They're saying they bought my mortgage and that I'm short."
"Eighty bucks," she said dryly.
Modo patted himself down, and knew he had that thing Micah had given them on him. That's how he found it on the second pass. He looked at the balance like Dawn had shown him, then grabbed a pen. "How much?" He grinned at her. "As long as you help me with my bike of course."
"I don't know you that well," she said, backing away.
"It's this or losing it." She looked hesitant and he got up, walking her off into the office. He closed the door and took off his helmet, getting a gasp. "You won't believe me if I told you, but this is your nightmare. I'm here to get you out," he said quietly.
"There's two punks who ride around doing bad stuff who look a lot like you."
"Bad stuff? My bros? Now I know this isn't my nightmare," he said with a small smirk. "Let me. I have more than enough to pay it all off probably. Just let me do this and we'll free you from this horrible nightmare."
"You keep saying that. This isn't a dream, buddy."
"Modo," he corrected. Her eyes lit up and he smirked at her. "Remember me now?" She nodded, giving him a hug. "Now, are ya gonna let me do this or not, Charley ma'am?"
"Please. I don't want to tangle with Limburger this week."
"Fine." He patted her on the back. "You gotta let me go." She let him go with a nervous chuckle and he walked back out there. "How much is the remaining on her mortgage?"
Limburger's right hand, Greasepit, looked at the figure on the paper. "Ninety-four thousand and change."
"Then let's cover all the change." He took a pen and wrote out the check, then carefully entered it into the register. He handed it over, smirking at the shocked look. "Hey, she's got friends. I know she'll pay me back and I'd never make her close the garage."
"Is that check any good?"
Modo showed him the balance and Greasepit groaned. "Go cash it. If not, I can hit an ATM and deal with it." Greasepit took it and stomped off, and didn't come back so apparently the check was cashed. He looked back at her. "You okay?"
"What's going on here?" she demanded. "This never happened before!"
He nodded. "Well, from what Dawn and Xander announced, it was an attack. We're in this roving nightmare. She called it a daisy chain. She got me out, now I'm here to get you out." He looked over as two more motorcycles ran into the garage, tipping his head cordially at his bros. Who clearly weren't. Vinnie had a metal arm and a mask, Throttle had something extra on his leg, but you couldn't tell exactly what through his jeans. "Morning, boys."
"Modo," Vinnie said flatly. "What're you doing here?"
"Just dropped in to save her."
"Uh-huh. And the fact that you left us there?" Throttle asked.
"Now I know this is a nightmare, they're way out of character," Charley complained.
Modo looked at her. "You know that book you've been working from? Why don't you see if it's on the kitchen table and sit down to work with it." It was like someone was whispering the suggestion in his ear. Somehow this one was deeper. He knew that it was a nightmare without being told, but she hadn't. Since he was here and feeling odd, he was guessing it was something to do with the baby or something. Maybe that whispered suggestion of the book would help. He looked at the bros again, getting between them and her. "Don't," he said quietly. "It's not what it looks like. This isn't real. I saw you guys at breakfast this morning and it wasn't like this." Throttle gave him an incredulous look. "Seriously. It wasn't. I don't know what's going on. Xander said it was an attack."
"Who's Xander?" Vinnie asked.
Modo looked at him. "At home, you know who he is," he said grimly. "He's the guy who made it possible to beat Limburger. Now we're stuck with his son, Marshal." He looked them over. "You both know I'd never have left you two there. For that matter, you two had to get me free, not the other way around." They backed up. "Give it ten minutes."
Charley came out. "I can't find the book."
Modo concentrated and then looked around again. He handed it to her with a small grin. "The fairies that keep stealing Dawn's hair things brought it back," he joked.
"Thank them for me," she said, going to sit on a workbench and read through them. He came over and flipped the pages, pointing at one. "I'm not there yet."
"Get through there. You've been doing pretty good so far."
"What's that?" Vinnie asked.
"Shielding," they said in unison. Vinnie backed up farther.
"Vinnie, I know you know what that is," Modo said dryly. "You used to dabble yourself. That's why you never freaked about Dawn and Xander doing it."
"Who?" Throttle asked.
Charley flipped back to that one and read it over, then started to work on it. It was a concentration exercise and it was calming and peaceful. Then she felt the baby kick and had to stop to gasp, holding her stomach.
"Hey," Modo said, reaching over to pat the baby. "Calm down in there." He looked at Vinnie. "C'mere." He shook his head. "Now. Before I make you." Vinnie's eyes narrowed and he used his tail to grab him. It showed how curious Vinnie was that he didn't struggle. He put his hand on the baby, staring at him. "Yours, bro," he said quietly. "Remember now?"
"I never touched her, I don't even know her," Vinnie complained. He moved his hand and the baby kicked him, and he could feel something. "Whoa," he said, backing off. "It's mine."
"How?" Throttle asked. "Limburger?"
"No, the natural way," Modo said dryly. "C'mere. You've been waiting for this one too." Throttle shook his head. "Charley ma'am, go back to the exercises." She nodded, starting again after rereading it. Modo walked over there, picking Throttle up and carrying him over to make him realize this too. It would keep her and the baby unhurt. Since Dawn had been hurt he knew they could hurt the baby. "Feel her. She's obviously Vinnie's."
"She?" Vinnie asked.
"That's what you've been hoping for," he said with a shrug, watching Throttle touch her stomach. The baby must have kicked him hard, Charley groaned and Throttle backed off quickly. Modo looked at him. "I know you're free of this nightmare sequence," Modo offered to him. "I don't know about Vinnie yet. We're each freeing the next."
Throttle looked at him. "What?"
"To us, me and her, this is a nightmare," Modo told him, looking perfectly serious. "At home, we're being attacked by these nightmares. Dawn got me free, Rimfire got her free. I know you're free but I'm not sure about Vinnie yet. If he's not, then she'll probably be freeing him shortly."
"That's why I'm like this?" Vinnie asked, looking at his arm. "It doesn't work as well as yours," he said grimly.
Modo patted him on the back. "It doesn't have to at the moment. That's why I'm here. Speaking of, can I have a number three metric screwdriver? Someone put super glue in my arm again." Throttle looked around then got it for him, watching as he got his arm cannon unstuck. Just in case. "There, much better. Lil' Hoss, anyone coming?" She beeped. "Good. Watch out for the stinkfish. I don't trust this." Charley started to glow and both other mice groaned, grabbing their heads. "Morning," he said once they straightened up. "You two better now?"
"What's going on!" Vinnie shouted, hitting him on the real arm. "I have no idea what's going on!"
"Like I said, it's a nightmare attack," Modo told him, shrugging a bit. "Xander's handling it."
"Where is Xander?" Throttle asked.
Modo shrugged. "If he wasn't the first, he's still got to be rescued. If he was, then we're going to have to deal with it soon. We're not sure what's fully going on yet. All I know is that I've got to free her somehow and then she'll free someone else."
Throttle nodded. "How do you free her?"
"In mine, Dawn had to help me find the exit and save something that changed the exit so I could get out. In hers, she didn't say how Rimfire did it. For right now, I'm waiting on a clue."
Charley opened her eyes. "He's coming back. We have to defeat him and save the garage." She slid off the workbench, letting Vinnie steady her. "Hey."
"Hey. I don't know what's going on."
"Don't worry, I'll be seeing the real you soon," she soothed, stroking his cheek. "For now, quit groping the baby, she's tired."
"Is it a girl?" Throttle asked. She shrugged. "Just easier?"
"Better than calling her an it. That got a loud yell from him," she told him.
"Yeah, that would," he agreed quietly. "We've got to do what?"
"Greasepit is coming back, he's probably found some new fees or something. I've got to save the garage to get out of here."
"The problem is, if she's hurt here, she's hurt in the real world," Modo told him. He looked at her. "Dawn had the same problem but she was bleeding," he said quietly. She nodded. "So it wasn't an accident, it's that we go through nearly every form of birth control."
"Dawn?" Vinnie asked. "Which one is she?"
"Dating Rimfire," Modo said dryly. "My nephew's going to be fussing over her for months because of this." He shook his head as the sound of a motor came closer. "Lil' Hoss?" She beeped and rolled out then beeped again. "Fine. It's Limburger himself this time." He tossed the checkbook to Throttle. "Hold that."
"Ours back at the lair," he said dryly.
"Whoa," he said, looking at the balance. "How?"
"Some hackers stole Limburger's money and gave it to us," he said with a shrug. He walked to the door, standing in it blatantly, smirking at the man coming up. "Problems with the check?"
"No, it cleared, but there were some fees," he said dryly. "I'm sure it's nothing to someone of your worth." He looked him over. "You're a mouse," he said flatly. Modo nodded. "Why are you here?"
"To whip your slimy, stinky tail." He popped up his arm cannon. "I gave him more than enough to cover the fees. He said ninety-four and I made sure it was more than that."
"Yes, well...." He backed off. "I see you're protecting her. Perhaps I should...." Modo shot out the car's tires, making him flinch. "I was going to leave."
"No, you're gonna die," Vinnie said from behind him, walking around him. "You're threatening my girl and my kid. Not happenin', Limburger." He swallowed and stepped back.
"Hey, you got Karbunkle in there?" Modo asked. "We had a technical question." Limburger nodded, pulling his mad scientist out of the car and planting him in front of him, that way he'd be hit first. "Hey, Karbunkle, in all your experiments, did you ever find a working method of birth control for us?" The scientist looked stunned. "It's important. One kid from Vinnie is more than enough."
"Aww," Vinnie whined. "I'll be a good daddy."
"Yeah, but imagine having one just out of diapers when the next one comes, bro," Throttle told him. "We'll help and all, but that's too many kids."
"With our luck, it'd be the third white mouse in the group and everything would go to hell," Modo said dryly. "Xander would dote on that kid like there's no tomorrow." He looked at him. "Nothing?"
"IUD," he said, shrugging and backing away. "Why?"
Vinnie smirked at him. "I'm gonna be a daddy."
"But I castrated you."
"Hey, sweetheart?" Charley came forward and she was showing a lot more now. He stroked her stomach and smirked. "You were saying?" he asked smugly.
"Blast!" Limburger shouted, starting to run away. "Doctor, let's leave!"
"Of course, your cream cheesiness," he said, taking off after him. He managed to catch Greasepit and got a ride off him, and they raced their boss back to the tower.
"We should go destroy the tower for old time's sake," Modo said happily. He looked at Charley. "Cute."
"Thanks. It was on the next page." She concentrated and went back to normal. "What's that?" she asked, looking at the portal in front of them.
"I'm thinkin' that's the exit," Modo said dryly. "Come on, bike." His bike came over and he took Charley's hand, letting her get on behind him. "We'll see you two soon. Be safe." He rode them into the portal, and that's when he woke up. He looked at Stoker, who handed him a candy bar and a soda. "Thanks."
"Welcome. You okay?"
Throttle leaned out of the office. "Was I just there?" He nodded. "Any fun?"
"I paid off the mortgage. Oh, have Micah check on IUD's, whatever they are. I asked Karbunkle since I had him there and scared."
"Cool." He went to send that message to him, coming back. "Who did you get free?"
"Charley." He looked at where she was laying. "She's getting Vinnie?" Throttle nodded. "Good." He sat up, drinking his soda. "Why do I have to have this?"
"Rimfire went into shock," Stoker told him. "Enamel had to cart him back while Dawn rode his bike. Wesley said to use this."
"Fine." He finished off the candy bar in a few bites and forced himself to gulp the coke, then handed off the can and wrapper. "Who's not free yet?"
"Vinnie and Xander," Throttle said grimly. "Dawn's in a bath with Rimfire taking care of her. You knew?"
"She got kicked in the stomach or something," Modo told him, shrugging a bit. "Not that I think they wanted it."
"They didn't and Enamel said they didn't. He helped it hurry up, they had to call from the hospital." He looked in Modo's eye, then nodded. "You'll be fine. Just rest for a few more."
"What was yours?"
"I was being James Bomb and had to save Dawn after she was snatched," he said grimly. "I nearly lost her. They planted a bomb on a bridge and the trigger on her. I managed to save her and my bike, which was being Xander's car." He stretched out again. "I don't know what we need to do next. Any idea who's doing this?"
"Dawn was working on a way of tracing it. She's got the books in there with her," Throttle said quietly. "She's got the mindset of 'I'm gonna kill someone' at the moment."
"I would too, bro." He looked him over, especially his leg. "In Charley ma'am's nightmare, you had a metal leg and Vinnie had a metal arm. You two were working for Limburger and didn't know her."
"Wonderful," Stoker said grimly. "Why did she get one that was more specific?"
Modo smirked at him. "The baby. By the way, the baby was kicking in the nightmare."
Throttle walked over to her and laid a hand on her stomach, smiling and nodding at the strong kick. "Enamel, the baby's kicking!" he yelled. The doctor came trotting up the stairs and got down to examine her, smiling at something. "Girl?"
"Boy," he said fondly. "All traits indicate he's got her hair color."
"Good, no three white mice in the house," Modo said dryly, smirking at him. "He's a strong boy."
"He is." He had to adjust the instrument attached to her stomach since the little boy had just kicked. "Is she awake?"
"She's out but she's getting Vinnie out," Throttle told him.
"Fine. I'm keeping this on her, just in case."
Rimfire came up and looked, then patted her on the stomach, beaming when the baby kicked him. "You're a strong little future Freedom Fighter. Your daddy's gonna be so proud." He gave her one last pat then came over to look at his uncle. "Don't yell at her for what the job makes her do. I know what went on, and I knew it could happen before. The same as I could be asked to do something like that, Uncle Modo. It's not what we *want* to happen and I'll cream Micah if he so much as looks at her wrong when they're not on assignment, but it's one of those things you've got to accept in Intelligence work now and then."
"Huh?" Enamel asked.
"In hers, she was on a rescue mission," Rimfire told him. "With Micah."
Enamel winced. "You're all right with that?"
"The job is different than life," he said grimly. "I don't like it, and I'll whip his tail if he tries outside of an assignment, but that's the job at times. Fortunately we won't be getting many of those."
"You're sure you're okay with it?" Modo asked seriously.
"No!" he snorted. "I'm not okay with it, but it's life!" He shrugged and shook his head. "I'm just as eligible for those as she is," he reminded them. "We worked that out ahead of time, just in case. Besides, I heard everything, she didn't like it and he didn't get what I get," he said dryly, smirking at his uncle. "Clinical is the best way to put it." He shrugged again. "I can handle the job, it just sucks and Micah will still need traction if he tries it outside of the job."
"Rimfire," Dawn called. "He won't and we both know that." She came up the ramp. "Okay, we've got two possibilities. One of them is Wolfram and Hart. One of them is actually someone from Cleveland. Take your pick."
"No one in Cleveland wants to hurt Xander that way," Throttle told her. "Or you."
"No, it wasn't targeted at me, it was targeted at Xander and his personal network. Mine wouldn't have gotten Micah, it would have been Lorne and Max. Instead we got Lorne and Micah involved peripherally. That's his network, not mine." She handed the book to Throttle. "I can trace it but it'll take me about an hour and it's dangerous. I'll have to lower the lair's shields completely or do it outside but with something personal of Xander's with me. Like a good bit of blood."
"I saved the hair from his first shed," he offered.
"That'll work," she agreed. She looked at Enamel, then at Charley. "She'll be fine. I know she will."
"I gave her that book she was working with," Modo told her. "She was doing more of the shielding. We had some bros who were way out of character in her nightmare."
"Good." She smiled at him, then shrugged. "I'm fine."
"I know." He got up and gave her a hug. "I'll support you two as long as you don't hurt each other," he reminded her. She nodded, giving him a squeeze. "Do you need one of us to guard you?"
"Rimfire is going to have to help me, so yeah," she admitted. "I'll need full protection."
"Can we lower the shields and do it here?" Stoker asked.
"Sure, if we want to risk a secondary attack while we're distracted and are willing to risk the newest mouse." She stared him down. "Are you?" He shook his head and backed off. "Then I've got to head out to somewhere kinda quiet and alone with Rimfire and a guard."
"I'll go," Stoker told her.
"Fat chance," she told him dryly. "You're staying here to guard Charley. We need the better firepower here. The shields don't keep out a physical attack. It won't keep Marshal from attacking either." He shuddered. "Therefore, I can take a weaker fighter with me."
"I'll go," Enamel told her. "I'm not that weak but she should be fine and I can let Throttle watch the scanner." He nodded him over, pointing at three things. "Those three should stay the same. If not, you'll need to call. I've got my radio working again."
"Sure." He took his spot while Enamel followed the younger kids out and down to the bikes. He stared at the scanner's output screen, watching those numbers religiously. If they so much as fluctuated, he'd be calling.
Charley looked around where she found herself, then down at herself. "What am I wearing?" she said in disgust. "I'm not the sort to wear a short skirt and a trendy tanktop."
"Hey, Cordelia, that dweeb is staring again," a blonde girl yelled at her.
"Cordelia?" she muttered, looking around. She saw Vinnie and frowned at him, she could feel her eyes narrowing. He looked at the front of the building in front of them, then grinned. She looked up and groaned. Sunnydale High School read the big, bold letters across the top of the doors. "Fuck!"
TBC in the next part.