Xander opened the door two days after he started to feel better and saw a most hated person standing there. "Giles," he said coldly. He hit him before the other man could say anything, then walked outside, slamming the door behind him so he could drag him around to the back, to their lounge area. He found an extra four-by-eight and tied him to it with some rope Vinnie had been playing with the night before. Then he stood it up and sank it into the ground with a few choice words. He sat down to smirk at him until he woke up. "You actually showed up. I'm impressed with the size of your balls, Giles."
"Xander, you must believe me," he started.
"No, sorry, don't do that anymore. There's no more belief in this body for you." He casually crossed his legs. "I should kill you the way you wanted to kill me. You know that, right?" he asked with a gentle smile. Giles swallowed and nodded. "But I don't think so. I think there's a few people who wanted to talk to you first."
"Um," a female voice asked quietly. "Am I interrupting play practice or something?"
Xander looked over at the slight blonde female standing between their house and the garage. "Something like that," he assured her, making her relax with a smile. "Did you need something, miss?"
"Actually, I'm looking for Charley. I'm one of her *other* cousins and I wanted to check on her. Isn't she around?"
"Vinnie took her out to lunch before the court date this afternoon. We're due there about three if you wanted to join us. I know she's been swearing at most of her family so a good member willing to support her would be helpful. Need directions to the court house?"
"No, I know where it is," she offered with a grin. "Which one are you?"
"I'm Xander. I own this place," he said, getting up to shake her hand. "I'm the one who bought the mere hundred feet for a corner of the house," he said sadly.
"That's okay. A hundred feet isn't like selling out to Limburger." She patted him on the cheek. "I'll see you at the courthouse, Xander. You be safe while you're practicing for your play." She walked off, heading back to her car.
Xander smiled, then grinned at Giles. "It's nice when you've got supportive family." He sat down again. "I have that now and it's so much more wonderful than it used to be." Giles swallowed and Xander gave him that same sweet, goofy grin. "You're going to die for this, Giles. I'm just not sure how yet." He checked his watch and stood back up. "Well, I was getting ready." He said a few more phrases and the ground turned a bit less solid, letting his post sink in deeper. He had to pull it back up and solidify it around his neck instead of over his head, the way it had been, but that would be too easy. He left him there, just his head and the top of the post sticking out of the ground, while he went to get dressed in his best suit and shoes. He came out and waved as he headed for the street, smiling as Throttle stopped to pick him up. "Giles is here."
"In the yard. I buried him to his neck so he can't get away."
Throttle nodded. "Sure, we'll deal with him later." He sped off, not sure if he was teasing him or not. He felt the stroke to his stomach and decided he must be teasing him. This day couldn't start off with an omen like that. At least until Modo called a few minutes later.
"Bro, why is there a bad guy buried up to his neck on a post in our lounge area?" he called over the radios. Throttle's groan was his only answer until Xander giggled.
"My fault. Don't worry, I'll clean him up later."
"Sure," Modo agreed. "Who is he?"
"Ah. That's fine, I'll leave him there then. No, Vinnie, don't try to help him up, that's Giles."
"I know that's Giles, I wanna hit him," he complained.
"Later, bro. Xander buried him. It'll be a special treat for later."
"Like a pinata," Xander agreed over the radio.
"Fine," Vinnie complained.
"Thank you, Xander," Modo agreed.
"Change, meet us at the courthouse," Throttle ordered, turning off his feed, and Xander's feed too. He shook his head. Okay, so they had a bad omen but that didn't mean things were going to go that badly for them. He let Xander nudge him into pulling through a burger place, stopping to get him lunch, then they headed to the courthouse, where Charley and Vic were sitting with Rimfire so Vinnie could go change.
Xander looked up as the judge came in, then at their empty spot, grimacing. "Where is the other attorney?" he asked.
"As near as we can tell, a hostage situation," Xander offered.
"Fine, sir. Who are you?"
"Xander Harris, the one who lives next door and happens to be her near family."
"Are you here for support?"
"I'm the one who bought the hundred feet for the corner of my house."
"Oh, I see." He nodded, looking at Charley, who was pale and shaky looking. Then he looked at the other side and the smug people. "Well, we can get started a bit I suppose. We don't need opening statements. I've looked over the will, and while I must say it's not an unusual clause, I'm not sure this is what the former owner meant. Especially since the claimant has no business sense and no business plan."
"Yes, your honor, but she broke the will," Marissa noted.
"I can see that and I'm not sure that a purchase of a hundred foot rectangle is quite what he meant, ma'am." He looked at her. "Miss Davidson's attorney did file letters with me saying that the residence that was put up is partially for her benefit and the benefit of her child as well?"
"We don't recognize her relationship in our family or that of the child," Marissa said coldly. "She married a thing and had a baby thing. As far as we're concerned, that means she's not one of us."
"Yes, but you're only her cousin and technically speaking you're not really an heir. You got something from the will but you're not a direct heir at that relationship," he explained.
"The will said...."
"Yes, I'm quite aware of what the will said and I'm quite aware of why it says it, young lady," he said sternly. "I also know that the person who killed him was the reason for the clause and that your cousin, the rightful heir, still defended that garage from that man time and again at the serious risk of her life. As did her spouse." She glared at him. "Now, yes, there is a formality here, but what would you do with the garage, young lady? You're not a mechanic I'm informed. You've had no training in it."
"I'd hire someone to run it," she defended. "There's plenty of work to be done. Plus the place is a dump. It's got patches all over the walls."
Xander looked over at her, then at the judge. "We live in a neighborhood that used to be terrorized by thugs, your honor. I did most of the patching and I'm working on doing a more permanent patch to a few of the walls without having to rebuild it totally. I am a licensed contractor. I did design our house."
"I understand, and I saw those in the pictures. Miss Davidson, how is the garage doing financially?"
"When I had a mortgage, I was barely making that and the utilities," she admitted. "There's a lot of work around but not that much."
"You had a mortgage? What, did someone buy it and give it back?" Marissa asked coldly.
"Yes, I did," Xander said. "With the first flush of getting my own inheritance." She gave him a cold glare. He gave it back and she shivered. He looked at the judge, modulating it. "Your honor, she's clearly being prejudice against me and against Miss Davidson's husband, who looks a lot like me. He's my big brother. His friends and I live in that house next door. I can't see of a situation where her father wouldn't like her husband. He's protective of her, he treats her well, he's physically responsive to her many times a day when she allows it." Charley blushed at that. "Sorry."
"Not an issue," she whispered.
"The only thing that he could complain about is that her husband looks like me," Xander finished. "And I doubt that he'd say much about it since Vinnie and the guys have helped her keep the garage when Limburger kept coming around to threaten her. It was Vinnie and the guys who kept her from losing her life a number of times thanks to those goons. He's got to at least like him enough for that and grandchildren do often soften the worst scowls."
The judge nodded. "I know. My mother-in-law hated me too until there was a grandchild. What of the rest of the family?"
"They support me," Marissa said firmly.
"I saw one of Charley's cousins earlier who said she didn't," Xander told him. "Charley?"
"I've talked to Marissa's parents, who should also be here, and they said they're not supporting her in this," she said quietly. Vic fussed so she picked him up to cuddle him. "Shh, Vic, it's okay," she whispered. "Calm down. There's no threat."
"Here," Xander said, taking the baby from her to hold. "Her spouse would be here but he's gone to see if he can't get the lawyer free faster."
"That's fine," the judge agreed, watching them with the baby. "You do some of her childcare?"
"I'm presently unemployed and spoiling him keeps me from spoiling my mate to death," he quipped with a grin. "He's a wonderful little guy. If his cousin can't see that then she doesn't have to come around. By the way, this is the first time I've ever seen this woman and I've been in Chicago a bit over a year now. They're not that close."
"Fine." He reread the will. Then he looked at her. "What would you do if there was a thin month at the garage, ma'am?" he asked Marissa. "How would you make up any shortfall?"
"Things would even out," she said firmly. "So said my Econ professor."
Charley moaned. "I've had thin months for four and five months in a row. Winter isn't that great for bikers and you usually only get the small stuff, like oil changes and tire rotations during the winter," Charley told him. "I've had to live on my savings a number of times. Thankfully Xander found my mortgage up for sale and bought it for me so I didn't have to worry about it."
"Was the sale of the hundred feet part of the return?"
"No, but he was building onto the prior house at that time. So we did it in the same document. I could have asked for it back anytime but I knew he wasn't going to do anything with it. Xander loves me like his sister."
"If something happens to her husband, she and the baby are coming to stay with me and my mate," Xander agreed. "I had it, it was sitting on my desk, we just never got around to transferring it back in a timely manner. At that time, the subject came up so I transferred it back to her then. At the same time, my plans for the house required a small bit of a few other lots so I ended up buying some from the city too."
"I saw the deeds dated around the same time. What is on top of that hundred feet, sir?"
"The corner of the library and the garage. There's an alley behind her garage and we made it so our garage ends on it. The extension takes up the rest of the alley and I own most of the block. If I had wanted to buy the Last Chance and be a bastard, I would have done that when I first got here, when I bought the mortgage. I'm not going to hurt her or the garage. I love helping out in the garage because she keeps my sports car running beautifully with my help. She's teaching me a lot of things, including how to cook. The woman is like my sister and I'm deeply offended that her blood relation would do this to her. The rest of our family group is seriously enamored of the idea of pounding her into a greasy spot outside the garage for trying this. So far, we're doing good containing it."
"I understand," he sighed, smiling at him. "Thank you for not harming her so far."
"It's been a struggle," he said grimly, glaring at the other table.
"Your honor," Marissa's lawyer complained. "He's clearly violent."
"Yay," Xander said dryly. "Bad people make me violent. The President would be proud of me." Charley snickered and hit him on the arm, giving him a look. "Sorry."
The judge shook his head. "I understand that comment as well, Mr. Harris. Let's not turn this into a social commentary please." He looked at them. "Would you let her repurchase the land?"
"I'd sell it to her right now for the change in her pocket."
"That would be less than what he paid for it," the lawyer said patiently.
"Hey, I can eat a hundred dollar loss," he snorted. "For family, that's nothing." He looked at the judge again. "I'd gladly sell it back to her and shave off that hundred feet if I have to."
"As long as she doesn't care about it being there, we can't really do that," he noted.
"It would raise my property taxes," Charley told him. "By about eighty bucks a year."
"We need to have it resurveyed anyway," Xander told her. "I was looking at the tax records and they've got different numbers than the will."
"More or less?" the judge asked. "Do you have those?" Xander nodded, letting her pull them out of his presentation case and hand them to the bailiff. "Thank you. At least you came prepared, though I do wonder what's keeping the lawyer." He read them over, comparing the boundaries marked. "The tax authority says the lot is smaller than it is."
"I know," Xander agreed. "That's why I want it resurveyed. There may not be a problem, or as much of a problem, after we do that."
"The will says 'even one inch'," Marissa said coldly. "You and your ...kind should be in a zoo. You're creatures!"
"Oh, shut up, Miss Clairol. At least my hair's my natural shade and texture."
"Gay are we?" she sneered.
"Combat veteran are we, gay is just an added advantage," he promised. She moved further away again. He looked at the judge again. "May I step outside to call my spouse so he can come take the child? That way Victor doesn't have to hear such rhetoric?"
"Please. Ask them where your attorney is as well."
"Thank you, your honor." He walked out into the hall with his helmet, calling Throttle's. "Hey, me. Where are you and someone come take the baby. She's spouting off that we should be in a zoo. She's shrieking so loud right now I can hear her through the doors and my helmet."
Vinnie's voice came on. "We're on our way. Give us ten more minutes."
"Thank you." He took his helmet off and put it over Vic's head before walking back in. "Ten more minutes, your honor."
"Thank you, Mr. Harris. Miss Davidson, please calm your responses to what a normal human would put up with." Marissa's mouth snapped shut. "Thank you." He looked at Xander. "He looks quite cute in your helmet."
"He does," he agreed, putting it down again. "I didn't want him to have nightmares about those bad words."
"It's clear you're a very good uncle, sir."
"Thank you." He handed her back when he felt the little mouth working. "He needs fed."
"I can't do that here!" she complained. Xander shook his head and got a bottle out of the diaper bag, handing it over. "Oh, sorry. Thank you, Xander."
"I didn't figure you slept last night." He looked at the judge again and grinned. "We had to resort to bedtimes stories for both of them recently. This has started to affect her health. Were I being mean, I'd try to get her to sue her cousin for doing this to her."
"She technically has that right."
"I don't want to see her again," Charley told him. "I don't want to go back over this again. As far as I'm concerned, she can go live somewhere and happily raise little racist babies."
Vinnie walked in and grinned at the judge. "Sorry we're a bit late." He looked at his son, then carefully took him and sat down so he could nap and eat on him. "The lawyer should be the next one in."
"Thank you. You are?"
"Oh. That solves that reason," he said, nodding at that. Two other furry beings walked in with the human lawyer between them. "There you are. What happened?"
"Hostage situation, sir. Unavoidable." He handed over the letter he had a cop write out for him. "Proof of it for the court."
"Thank you." He stuck it into the file after glancing at it. "Your client?"
"No, unfortunate time to need a cup of coffee," he said grimly. He looked at Xander, then at Charley. "Are you okay?" They nodded. "Good."
"Mr. Harris found something in the tax records, that the lot for the Last Chance garage is in fact smaller than the will states."
"Yes, your honor, and Mr. Harris is more than willing to have the city come out and remeasure all the lots on that block. That way there's no doubt about his either."
"I see." He looked at him. "You're funding her defense?"
Xander nodded. "If I have to go broke, take out a loan, even sell a vital organ, she's not losing her garage. It means too much to her. Her father raised her there, he taught her there, and now she's raising the next generation there and training him right."
He nodded, looking at Marissa. "You've shown no proof that the garage would have better management in your care than it would in hers," he said calmly.
"Yes, but the letter of the law is on my side," she snapped. "The will says she couldn't sell even an inch of it, and she did. Even if you let him sell it back to her, she still sold some of it. That's illegal under the will's contents."
"Your honor, even if she does lose it, we'll be appealing, will be building a second garage on the lots I owe, and then we'll simply connect them," Xander told him. "I believe in being vindictive. I also believe that she'd have the Last Chance in receivership within three months. It's not the cash cow she's hoping to make her life easy with. She should have found a more rich husband."
The judge snorted, coughing to cover up his laughter and smile. "Do you have financial records?"
"I do," the lawyer stated, pulling them out and handing them over. "Those are her records from this year and the last two year's tax forms. As you can see by the balance sheet, she's barely breaking even at this point in time."
"Too many free jobs?" Marissa sneered.
"Too little work last month since I had to take two weeks off to have him," Charley retorted. "That eats into a person's savings, Marissa." The doors opened and she smiled at Marissa's parents, who came over to hug her instead of their daughter. "Thank you."
"Not an issue, Charley. We adore you and the garage is yours," her cousin, Marissa's father, said plainly. "Your honor, we're the claimant's parents. May I have a moment to take my child outside and beat some sense and decency into her? I would have done it before but we couldn't get around all the cops."
"I take it you don't support her actions as she's stated repeatedly?"
"No, your honor, none of the family does. Her mother and I are going to be having a *long* talk with her later about this stunt, and she's paying for everything she's done and started. Her brother and sister don't accept this either and want a piece of her hide as well."
"Frankly all she has on her side is the will," the judge offered. "Would your uncle have really cared if she sold a small bit of the land to help out her family?"
"No, and if I could bring back Hank, he'd be kicking her tail with me," Marissa's mother said firmly, glaring at her daughter. "We'll be talking later, when I get home, daughter. You're in deep for this stunt."
Xander shivered, hearing a deep, baritone laugh coming from behind him. He turned, staring at the man standing there. "Are you visible?" he mouthed. Charley's dad nodded, moving forward, which made Throttle and Vinnie both shiver. He tapped Charley on the shoulder and pointed. "I think we need to flame Dawn and Rimfire later. That feels like Rimfire's doing."
"Dad?" she asked, staring at him. "How?"
"Is Dawn the girl?" Xander nodded. "Then it was the boy's idea and he did it, but with her powers and her consent. I'm not mad, this is a good time for it. Not that I haven't been floating around there now and then." He looked at Vinnie. "I like you, son. You overprotect her like I would, even though she fusses."
"Dad!" she whined.
"Sorry, Charley." He grinned at her. "Wish I could give you a hug, daughter. You don't need this with my grandson being here and so young. Just don't turn into your mother and fuss the baby to sickness." He looked at Xander. "I'm impressed, you didn't hurt the guy you staked out in the back yard."
"Me too," he agreed. The judge gave him a long stare. "He tried to kill me. I've got him tied to a pole in the ground at the moment until my mate gets home."
"You will be calling the cops?"
"Probably," he admitted. "But he may end up pretty bruised before then. That man tried to kill me, kill all of us, and tried to have my friends turn on us to kill us. He's probably going to have some bruises."
"As long as the cops get him and he's in decent shape, son," the judge said firmly.
"Yes, sir." He looked at him. "Did you mind that I needed that hundred feet?"
"No," he said, shrugging. "You're family. You're like her little brother, boy. Among other things," he said with a knowing smirk, which made Xander blush. "She's a beautiful woman, who wouldn't have a crush on her." He grinned at his daughter, then at Marissa. "If I was alive, I'd be kicking your can up the street and making you beg for mercy," he vowed. "You don't do this to family, Mary."
"She broke your will."
"No, she defended the garage against the guy who killed me and tried to kill her. That's all I really wanted from her, was to keep Limburger from having it and to give her a chance at a happy and secure life in it. Since she nearly died a few times protecting the garage, I'd shut up now, Mary. She went above and beyond my intentions. Family does for family, the same as we'd do for you, but not how you're doing her. I like her mate and her son. They're cute. They're cuddly. Her husband's relatively insane at times, but he's still cute and cuddly."
"I'm studly," Vinnie defended.
"Not now, Vinnie," Throttle groaned.
"Lighten up, son. You've got two of them. He knows I was only teasin'," he said with a grin for Throttle. He looked at Xander. "You protect my daughter, young man. You do it very well so far, along with the rest of them. Keep it up. Charley, bring him to come see me sometime. I'll be watching when you come to visit." She nodded, sniffling a bit. "Ahhh, don't do that. I hated it when your momma cried too." He looked at Xander. "May I?" He nodded, lowering his shields for him to slip inside so he could give her a hug. He whispered something in her ear, getting a nod. "Now, you be safe and have more of those. They each bring a bit of insanity out of their daddy. He could use it and so could you." He tweaked her nose, then left Xander's body, floating up. "Don't rule in my niece's favor, judge. She's a spoiled, selfish brat who should marry a rich guy." He winked at his baby girl. "I'm damn proud, Charley. Very damn proud. I've been bragging to anyone who'd listen." He faded out.
Charley burst out crying and Vinnie was there instantly, letting Throttle have the baby so he could cradle her instead. "Shh," he whispered. "He's proud, he loves you, and he wants you to keep the garage." He got her calmed down, looking at the judge. "I know it's not really legal...."
"No, it's not. There's really no place in the law code for a ghost's special requests. Though I suppose I could consider it like a taped message." He considered it. He looked at the tax forms then at Marissa. "Last year, the garage in question made about three thousand dollars more than the taxes on it." She gaped. "Did you really want to be saddled with that sort of debt, young lady? You wouldn't be able to hire anyone to help you do the repairs unless you married a mechanic. Which means your cousin would be buying it back within months. That's barely enough to make the utility payments on a place. Is that what you really want?"
She shuddered and shook her head. "No, sir."
"Then I'm going to rule in favor of the true heir. She'll be keeping her garage. I won't make you sell back the land, Mr. Harris, it probably would raise her tax debt and that's not nice. Do continue to protect her." He nodded at them, then banged the gavel. "Case dismissed." Charley smiled at him and hugged her mate, then her family.
"So, is this like a recessive gene for evil?" Xander asked Marissa's father, earning a laugh. "I figure you probably did a much better job with the other kids and they're probably a lot like Charley if she likes you the way she seems to, so it's got to be something other than you guys that made her do this. I was hoping it was a recessive gene and we could check any future babies for it."
"No more kids, Xander. Not for a very long time," Charley said firmly. "Even if they do make Vinnie less insane." She hugged him. "Thank you. I'll repay you."
"Eeh, like I care," he snorted. He nodded at the lawyer. "Send me the bill directly."
"Yes, sir." He shook his hand. "I'm sorry about that."
"Not an issue. I'm sure your bill will reflect it." The lawyer nodded and gathered his things to take with him. Xander patted Charley on the back. "Let's go out to Chef Andy's for dinner to celebrate."
"I'll treat," Marissa's father offered.
"Sir, we eat a lot," Throttle said. "We can get our part, you get Charley girl's and your family's." He hugged Xander, giving him a bone-crushing squeeze. "I'm impressed. You didn't kill Giles yet."
"Me too. I only sunk the post into the ground and then I decided to pull him back up so he didn't suffocate." He grinned at Charley. "We'll deal with him after dinner."
"Sure." She hugged her cousin and his wife again, then took her son back. "This is Vic, he's about two and a half weeks old," she said with a bright smile.
"Ooh, he's adorable!" Marissa's mother said, taking him to hold. "Aren't you so pretty! All dressed up and so cute! And that little tail!"
Vinnie grinned. "It's the nature of the family to be cute," he said smugly. "He proves each and every day that he's my son."
Marissa's father chuckled. "Now I see why she likes you, boy. Come, let's talk since I haven't gotten to threaten you yet." He walked Vinnie off to threaten him like proper family does while his wife and Charley talked about the baby and being a working mother. "Honey, they haven't had the official wedding yet, just the biker bondings."
"That'll be changed by next summer," she said firmly, glaring at her cousin, who wilted a bit. "I mean it, Charley dear. I won't have this adorable one without an official father one moment longer than he has to. Of course, we'll let you use the farm if you want." She kissed her on the cheek. "Have a reception at one of the biker bars here in town perhaps?"
"I'm still arguing with him about those things," she admitted. "He wants something big and fancy and I don't."
"Yes, well, dear, a boy's got his dreams about how his wedding should be," she said kindly, patting her on the arm and grinning. "Even worse than little girls do most of the time. Their fairytales come with pyrotechnics and things."
"Oh, we can do those," Xander offered from behind them. "I've got a demolitions license. That'd be more than easy enough to create." He grinned sweetly. "Then Throttle can play dad and get Vinnie there on time after the bachelor party too."
"No, Xander. No explosions at my wedding unless there's an invasion." She looked at her cousin. "This is why we're still arguing about it. It's not just him that's insane, it's his whole family."
Xander beamed at them. "Of course I am."
Throttle pinched him. "Behave. Please? Don't make a bad impression on her family."
"Yours loves me, that's all I need," he promised, stealing a kiss. He bounced out to the bike, getting on in front. "We're going to Chef Andy's. Come on, Throttle."
"My bike," he said firmly, staring at him. Xander started her and gave him a smirk. "Don't you dare, Xander."
"Get on or walk, she agrees."
"This time," he said grimly, getting on the back. His bike sounded like she was chuckling. "Don't let him do this without my permission. He's getting bad about it." She showed a picture of him riding alone. "When was that?"
"That's not our bikes," Xander said, checking both ways before pulling out of the parking spot and heading for Chef Andy's diner. "I went for a test ride on a new Harley model the other day. She saw me but you didn't realize it was me."
"Are you buying it?"
"Thinking about it. I'm still off balance now and then." He swerved around a small pit then sped up to get through a yellow light, whistling happily as he drove. They got there first and Xander took off his helmet, shaking out his hair. "Hey, Chef Andy?" The old man came to the window and Xander suddenly realized he was the oldest person he knew. "You okay?"
"Just some joint pain, Xander. It happens at my age. You in for lunch?"
"Please. There's more coming too." He parked the bike in her usual spot, getting off and walking Throttle inside. "Got any barbeque made up?"
"Sure do. Vinnie wanted some yesterday," he said fondly. "Three each to start?" He nodded, pulling out his wallet and putting down a fifty under the register's drawer. "Thanks, Xander."
"Welcome. We won by the way. Her parents are going to beat her for days." He went out to grab their usual table, moving another one close to it so they wouldn't have to shout at each other.
"Won what?" Andy asked, stopping his fixing to look at Throttle.
"Her cousin decided to challenge her over the garage because she sold a hundred feet of the land to Xander for the house. Xander's offered to sell it back to her and somehow take that hundred feet off, but the judge said it was fine and she won."
"Good! How come I didn't hear about that?"
"We didn't hear about it until Marissa had filed for a court date," he said grimly, glancing outside as the rest of everyone showed up. "Everyone else is here. Xander's getting our stuff, her family's getting her stuff. That way they don't have to pay for Xander's bottomless pit." He grinned and walked out, sitting down against the wall and pulling Xander next to him in the shade. "So, how did Giles come to be in our lawn?"
"He knocked on the door. It was really stupid of him to show up to justify himself."
"It was," Vinnie agreed as he sat down after waving. "Did you order?"
"Just for us."
Vinnie headed inside with the baby, letting him have a hug of the little mouse, to place his and Modo's orders. Then he came back out once the chef had washed his hands. "Here we are, one uncle," he said, handing the baby to Xander, making him stop fussing.
"Did you miss me?" he cooed, rubbing noses with him. "You're such a good boy, Victor. Yes, you are. You were a good boy today. You deserve a treat. Maybe I'll get some ice cream and you can have a bit of that."
"No," Charley called. "No ice cream at his age, Xander. He can't process it yet."
"Fine. Spoil my fun."
"You must hear that a lot," Marissa's mother said dryly, smiling at them. "I have an unmarried daughter if you want someone to spoil."
"I've got this stud here and my mate," he said, nodding at Throttle. "I would otherwise."
She smiled. "Pity. The good ones are always gay." She went to place her order, adding some money to Xander's stash since it was there. "What's good here?"
"Well, the boys out there got me to start fixin' some barbeque and it's good enough for them to call me in the middle of the night for some. Or I do a mean hotdog if you want one'a those, ma'am."
"I'm Morrey's wife, Julie," she said with a smile. "He's Charley's cousin."
"I remember your daughter being up now and then. How is she?"
"Unable to sit," she said sweetly, smiling at him. "As she'll be for the rest of the week if I have anything to say about it." He chuckled and nodded. "Give me two hotdogs, just ketchup please? Morrey? Hot dogs or barbeque?"
"Barbeque. Two please. And a drink."
"Two for him, no slaw, just pickles, and a coke no ice?" He nodded, writing that down too. "Thank you. You're a very nice man."
"Charley and them keep me in business some months, ma'am. We love her like family."
"Good. She needs more family locally. Otherwise she'll never have an official wedding." She went back to sit with Charley, staring at Vinnie until he came over to join them.
Modo got their food and brought it out, sitting down with Throttle and Xander. "Who did the summoning?"
"It felt like Rimfire but her dad said Dawn had a part," Xander said quietly. "Flaming tails?"
"Definitely," Modo agreed firmly. "He's not to be doing that. I don't care if he can but you don't bring the dead back to speak."
"No, it's not polite," Throttle agreed, watching as the cop car pulled into the driveway and a cop got out to walk over to their table. "Officer," he greeted.
"Mr. Harris, why is there a torture victim in your yard?" he asked bluntly.
"He tried to kill me, he tried another time to have us all killed, and then he tried to get my friends to turn on us to kill us."
"Ah. You're handing him over, right? We can pull him up for you if you'd like," he offered.
"Can't I hit him a few times first?" he asked sweetly, grinning back. "He deserves it, he used to be my mentor."
"That wouldn't really be with the law, sir," he offered gently. "I understand why you want to, but I'm sure you could get some friends who're inside to do it for you."
"I don't have any friends inside," he pouted. "If I did, I'd bribe 'em. Just a few hits?"
"Fine," he sighed, "spoil that fun too. Go ahead and pull him up. Watch out for the water line, he's right next to it and it's fairly shallow."
"How did you bury him without disturbing any ground?" Modo asked.
"Magic," Xander said with a grin. "I remembered to pull his head back up when he sank too far too." He ate a bite of his sandwich. "I can't have him for just an hour?"
"No, sir, but if he makes bail, you can probably have him if he comes back."
"He's more likely to run," Xander told him. "He's a foreigner and he's been out of the country for a while now. Plus he's got a substantial amount of support in Cleveland."
"I'll tell the judge you said that, sir. Thank you for being reasonable."
Xander grinned. "I'm not, but I'm creative. I can get him other ways."
"That's fine, sir, as long as we can't trace it back to you."
"Oh, you won't be able to," he promised. He ate another bite. "Want me to come release him?"
"No, we can pull him up, sir. Thank you." He walked back, going back to the scene to tell the others what was going on. That man was just so nice, but a bit scary at the moment. So he warned his boss that he was being scary and had promised he'd get him back, but it'd be untraceable. He finished up with, "he said there's a water line right next to him so be careful of that, guys."
The cops sighed and got to work loosening the ground around the man's throat. It'd take a while, and Modo came in later to lift him out for them. "Thank you," one cop said with a smile. "I hate digging."
"I hated it too," he agreed, heading into the house. He had some antacids somewhere and clearly his momma needed to come back to control Xander. Even Throttle thought so, that's why he had sent him back. That and to find Rimfire and Dawn.
Throttle looked at Xander late that night, tracing his cheekbones. "No more getting bad ideas from Spike, Xander. You scared those cops."
"Sorry," he grumbled. "But he deserved it!"
"Then let the law handle it and we'll retaliate if they don't."
"He used magic, it's not exactly covered," Xander complained.
"Point, but I'm sure Micah can help. I called him and he sent over a charge sheet of what happened. Let him handle it. You can sit back and giggle. That's slightly less evil and I married a good and protective mouse."
"I know," he sighed, pulling him down to kiss. "I'm sorry if I scared you."
"That's okay, just tone it down now and then." Someone knocked on the door. "What, Vincent?"
"How'd you know?" he asked as he opened the door.
"Who else would bother us in bed but you?" Xander quipped. He lifted the edge of the blanket. "Come crawl in, Vinnie. Did she kick you out again?"
"Yeah, she quit bleeding and I wanted to celebrate and she said no," he sighed, crawling in behind Xander. "I'd go to the pool but I wanted to cuddle and no one would cuddle me."
"I'll cuddle you," Xander promised. "Come on. We'll go soak it away. Maybe it'll take all the evil thoughts out of my head for a bit." Vinnie gave him a look. "Throttle and Boris both said I was having evil thoughts," he defended.
"What did your former boss say?" Throttle asked.
"That I had wicked, evil Masterish thoughts and that if you didn't have me, he'd have me bent over, fucked hard, and turned right there so he could enjoy them for a while." He climbed out and got Vinnie out, dragging him down to his personal space.
"I need to watch that vampire more closely," Throttle sighed, shaking his head.
Over at the garage, Morrey was looking at his wife and cousin. "That white one just drug your husband into a closed room."
"They're probably going to soak in the mineral springs since I wouldn't let Vinnie have sex tonight."
"Are you a threesome?" Julie asked, looking slightly confused.
"No, but those two are very cuddlesome and I'm not breaking into that," she admitted. "He's the one who's kept Vinnie sane for the last three weeks. That's just how they are and I've accepted it, mostly because I know Xander loves me just as much as Vinnie does and will steal me at the first slacking on Vinnie's part." Julie stared at her. "He loves Throttle with everything in him, cousin. He'd die to protect him, but Xander loves Vinnie and I nearly as much. Throttle knows this and understands, and he and Vinnie used to date when they were in the same Freedom Fighter unit. Way back when," she added with a grin. "Nothing happens between them but I know how they feel. They're very honest with each other. Then again, Throttle's a sweetheart who loves me nearly as much as Vinnie does too. So we're technically couples but a few people think that some day we'll be a quad or if something happens to one of them, the other three will get together."
"That doesn't bother you?" her cousin asked, sitting down with his cup of water.
"Not really. They're all very sweet, but I know nothing will happen unless I allow it. I had to order Vinnie to wear out the need to celebrate the baby before he tried it the night he was born. They basically took him to the bathroom and whispered in his ears so he got off." She sipped her rootbeer. "Trust me, I'd know." She held in her moan, getting up to call the pool since Xander had made that a special extension. A breathless Xander answered but said it was Throttle and him, with Vinnie watching and lending a tail so she snorted and hung up. "Xander and Throttle are going at it in the pool and Vinnie's drooling," she offered. "That's all he knows he can do without my permission, which he doesn't have."
"So you're taking it slowly?" Julie asked.
"Yeah, that and I'd never get any sleep with three of them."
Morrey laughed. "I can tell. That Xander seemed like he's pretty jump happy."
"Oh, he is," she sighed, nodding. "He certainly is. Throttle has to sit him in his lap sometimes to keep him from jumping him in public."
"That could be fun," Julie teased, making Charley blush. "Well, if you make it a quad, we want to know about it, dear." She patted her on the arm. "We'd understand you know. We're not that unhip and uncool. You're nearly one of ours anyway." She smiled and stood up. "I'm headed up to bed. Morrey?"
"Coming." He waited until she was gone. "You're safe?"
"Very safe. Those four guys would never let me get hurt and Xander's a big one on keeping the foursome idea down so he doesn't upset Throttle with it."
"Good, then we won't say anything until you come crying to us, then I've got a few lead pipes with their names on them." He kissed her on the cheek. "Sleep safely, Charley. I'll see you in the morning." She nodded, watching as he went up to her room. She went to the couch, then decided on a long bath for a while, using the downstairs bathroom. That way no one would have to hear her getting off from Throttle pinning Xander to the pool and going deep enough to choke him.
To Part 38