It was Sunday, a nice day for a long nap on the couch, and Xander would be doing that if it wasn't for the gun in his face at the moment. "Ya know, I'm not going to let you get with this," he said calmly and patiently. Commandos, why did this keep happening to him?
"Shut up," the soldier ordered coldly. "You're not doing anything."
"You'd be surprised." He saw one dragging Charley out of their room and growled. "Leave her alone."
"We're not hurting her."
"She's a nursing mother, you're hurting her and her son, and I will hurt you all," he sneered, tensing up. The guy tried to hit him so he grabbed his arm and broke it. He was much stronger as a mouse. He tossed the guy and stood up but the others pointed their guns at him. "I will kill you all."
"We only need her help for a few days," the guy who had Charley said calmly. "We'll bring her back unharmed."
"And what's her son supposed to do until then?" he asked bitterly. "Or her business?"
"You can handle it." He walked Charley down the ramp and down to their van. He heard a shot and someone screamed but it was one of his guys who came running out holding his arm, his face bleeding under his mask. The other guy ran out and slammed the doors as well. "Let's go!" he ordered the driver.
Xander calmly shot out the tires on his side before the van could move. "I don't think so." He shot at the window of the van but it was bulletproof. "I'd let her go, now!" he ordered coldly. "I'm not the most happy of campers." Another van came around the corner and he shot at it when the door opened, but had to duck when he was shot at. He knew he wasn't bulletproof and Throttle would be really upset if he got hurt. He stood up and shot at it again when the shooting stopped but it took off. He jogged down to the first van, finding two people in there. "Well," he said dryly. "Let's see who we get to torture this time."
"Freeze! Chicago PD!" someone yelled.
"These idiots just stole Charley, there was another van, a little bit more green than this one that took the rest of them," he said, turning to face the cops standing there. "I was trying to protect her. They're military!"
"Shit!" the cop shouted, diving for his radio. If it was true, they'd need to stop the van. If it wasn't true, well, someone would know. He reported it and his captain came on telling him to let it go. He reported the situation and his captain repeated to let it go. He hung up and looked at the others. "The captain said to let it go, sir."
"Hey, then I get to torture these guys, right?" he asked dryly. "Phone?" He looked inside, then at one of them. "Would one of you go get me my cellphone? It's only my desk, which is upstairs. I have a friend who might want these two when I get done with them, he's a Fed," he said bitterly. They all went wide-eyed as he heard the bikes. "Guys! Military van, dark, dark green, took Charley," he yelled. "They went West, probably heading for the interstate, cops won't intervene!" The bikes went that way, all but Rimfire and Dawn's. "Dawn, go do a protection on her. They promised not to hurt her, but I'm not trusting military guys. And call Micah, 'kay?" he finished with a sweet smile.
"Sure. If they're not already on their way from the gunshots through our wires." She and Rimfire headed up the stairs to do that.
Xander looked at the two groaning people. "Don't worry, you won't die...today," he said sweetly, grinning at them. He looked back and the cops were just standing there. "If you're not going to help, I'd leave. You probably don't want to watch me do this." They all nodded, heading out. One of them called the state police and his brother who worked there, letting him know what was going on and that they had been stopped from helping but not to stop the other bikers. Xander looked at the military guys again, yanking off their masks. "Ah, Graham," he said dryly. "Long time, no see."
"You don't know me."
"Honey, I'm still a Xander," he said smugly. "Just a bit more furry now thanks to Willow." He saw the flinch. "Oh, by the way, we're gonna have a long talk about some things." He let out a cold chuckle and drug them inside, locking them in a bathroom. There wasn't anything sharp in there to kill themselves with and he needed a drink before he killed them. He saw Rimfire pacing. "I was having a nap, Charley was napping with Vic in the bedroom. I woke up to a gun in my face."
"Not an issue, I told them what I saw and Throttle said to check on the baby. Dawn's doing that and laying protection spells with him." He stopped, looking at his uncle. "Vinnie is so pissed but not at you."
"Well, there's a new thing." He picked up the radio. "Throttle, honey, one of the guys I shot earlier was Graham. From the Initiative."
"I'll kill them all," Vinnie said bitterly. "Horribly and painfully, inch by inch. The kid?"
"Dawn's got him. I've got those two locked in the bathroom. I'm going to get a drink and deal with them soon for information. Hurry back if you can't get her back." He hung up and got his scotch on the rocks and headed back down there sipping it. He put the glass aside and unlocked the bathroom door, reaching in to grab one of them then shutting it and locking it with the padlock again. "Rimfire, come guard this door."
"Yes, sir." He came down, finishing off Xander's drink and watching him drag the other guy off to one of the empty buildings they still hadn't finished tearing down yet. A few minutes later he heard screaming and it sounded like Xander yelling at someone. He shuddered and settled in to wait and listen for others coming to rescue their buddies. Xander came in a few minutes later with Lorne. "You got here fast."
"I was on my way earlier when I got the message something had happened." He looked at Xander. "Torture is bad."
"So? They stole Charley. The military apparently didn't get the message the last time not to fuck with my friends and family. You can have him after I'm fucking well done with him, Lorne. You can tell Micah I said that." He unlocked the bathroom door and went in there, shutting the door behind him. Someone in there started to cry and sob and plead, then screamed like he was being skinned.
Rimfire looked at him. "So, what was on our training agenda?"
"Um, mostly how to spot and use surveillance equipment." He shook his head, pointing at the door. "You're allowing that?"
"I'd be in there helping but the bathroom's too small."
"I didn't think you guys believed in torture."
"It's fair game when you capture someone who's just hurt your family. Ya might wanna get someone here before Vinnie gets back."
"They won't be hurting her."
"And I *so* believe that," Dawn said dryly, coming down the stairs with Victor on her back. "Sorry, not leaving him alone. He was still sleeping. Not harmed. Xander?"
"Torture," he said, nodding behind him. "We need the vampire him here to help."
"I'll call and see if he's busy," Dawn offered, grabbing a phone and dialing. "Hey, Megan, it's Dawnie. Is the Vamp Xander still there? Someone military came in and snatched Charley and I'm not sure that our Xander will make him break and beg soon enough." She listened. "Cleveland, huh? Pity. How about Willow?" She nodded. "No, I understand. They were a bit psycho. Any new news on getting Boris back? Oooh, good!" she squealed happily. "Tell him I said hi when he wakes up and that Xander's probably taking tomorrow and possibly the rest of the week off if we have to go retrieve her. I'm thinkin' there's going to be some dead people." She hung up. "They're in Cleveland. Xander, the vamps are in Cleveland."
"Don't need 'em, not an issue," he called back fondly. You heard another wet sounding thud then came out wiping his hands off on a towel. "When did Charley sell a bike to the military?"
"It was her own design, based off ours," Rimfire reported. "Probably a year after the bros got here. Why?"
"It's apparently rejecting its rider so they want her to fix it. They're taking her to Louisiana and then she's going to another base from there."
"Wonderful. Can we kill them now?" Dawn asked sweetly.
"No, you can't. But I do get Graham for other things, like Spike," he said, going back out to the other building to talk to him again.
Lorne just gaped at Dawn. "You're not like that!"
"Hello! They just touched my family. No one touches my family. I don't care if you're a God, you don't touch my family. I do get a tad bit upset. Right now, I'm thinking about huge destruction spells. Like opening a portal somewhere to suck in the planet." He shivered. "You can ask Micah, he knew I can be like this. He asked me once what I'd do if someone touched my family. I very calmly told him I'd destroy them at the molecular level and then cackle pleasingly."
"I love you," Rimfire sighed, grinning at her. "Xander might be done with this one if you want him, Lorne."
"Let me get a clean up crew here," he said patiently, calling someone on his phone but speaking German. Micah ordered him to leave them alone about this. That he'd be surprised if the Pentagon didn't get blown up after doing this to his family. Then Micah told him why Xander was going to torture someone and how he probably should try to keep him calm until Throttle got back. He hung up and sighed. "Go call them and tell them what he found out if he didn't," he ordered. Rimfire nodded, going to do that. The guy in the bathroom wouldn't be walking anytime in the near future so it was safe. Lorne looked at Dawn. "She'll be fine. They don't want to hurt her."
"See, a military strike force barging in here doesn't exactly inspire confidence in that," she pointed out. "If they had wanted her help, they could have asked or brought the bike back here. Even with that rider, who probably just needs to have an ego adjustment. I'm sure we could have done that easily." She walked off, going to check the garage to make sure everything was okay. She found Staff in a closet, bound and gagged. "Boy is Modo gonna be pissed," she offered while she released her. "Charley's been taken. Xander's torturing people."
"Good, I want to too," she said firmly. "What's going on!"
"Charley once designed a bike based off the bro's bikes," Dawn told her. "It went Military. They're not working well together."
"So they kidnap her!" she demanded shrilly. "That's not right!"
"Well, Micah swore that they wouldn't be hurting her," she said dryly. "I'm doubting that and Xander's busy torturing others."
"Oh, no, I want one good kick," she said, stomping to where she could hear someone screaming, taking a kick at the guy's balls. He only whimpered. "I expected more of a scream."
"I ground them under my boot a few minutes ago, let them get a chance to feel sore again," he quipped, grinning at her. "You okay?"
"No! They tied me up and locked me in a damn closet!" she shouted, waving a hand around. "I want to hurt someone!" She kicked him in the stomach and he howled so she backed off. "Took the skin off?"
"Not yet," he admitted, cracking his knuckles. "I learned a lot from reading about vampires, and listening to Spike and Anya tell stories about how they used to torture others. We'll be out here until either Throttle comes back or Lorne comes out to repossess him. There's another in the secure bathroom. His balls are still intact, just not his legs or his arms or most of his ribs or his nose."
"Then maybe I'll go visit them," she said grimly, going to kick him in the nuts too. She was a gentle soul and couldn't do more than that, but she was sure Xander was doing it for her as well as for Vinnie and Modo. She heard the bikes and paused, watching as they pulled in. "Couldn't catch them?"
"Nope, disappeared," Vinnie said bitterly.
"Xander's torturing people for you."
"Where?" Vinnie asked casually.
"You okay?" Modo asked.
"They tied me up, gagged me, and put me in a closet. I'm going to kick the other one in the nuts." She stomped that way.
Throttle coughed. "Vinnie, Xander's torturing someone that way," he said, pointing at where he smelled blood. "The other's probably in the bathroom."
"I'll be right back," he said, strolling that way. Once inside he took out a flare and handed it over after lighting it. "Here, you might need this," he said with a smirk.
"No, I insist, go ahead," Xander said, handing it back. "I was just having a talk with Graham here about how he tortured Spike and us because we had to take care of Spike." He kicked him in the ribs and only got a groan. "I think he's ready for the fire treatment now. Want holding or burning?"
"Burning," he said, bending down to make sure he was awake. "You took my wife," he said with a fierce grin. "You're gonna pay worse than any Plutarkian ever did."
Throttle looked over as both white mice came in, already cleaned up. "Thank you for showering off the blood."
"No spewed blood to shower off," Xander noted dryly. "I didn't break the skin. Vinnie only burned his." He shrugged. "I like internal injuries. They're more useful and hurt longer." Then he grinned. "One of them did Spike and made us protect him." He sat down with Victor once he had grabbed the crawling infant, cuddling him. "We will be getting your mommy back, Victor. I promise we will or there's gonna be some human fireworks," he said, giving him a squeeze.
"I put on an anti-locking spell for cuffs, something to help keep her calm and logical while this was going on so she could work on getting free, tried to cast a location charm but something powerful was blocking it, and marked the truck with her in it as holding snatched people," Dawn reported. "I'm hoping they're pulled over and she's freed." She took Victor from Xander, sitting down to hold him but Vinnie stole him from her and she didn't protest. He was the daddy, he needed the comfort. "Did Lorne's people come finally?"
"Yeah, and they were quite impressed that I didn't break any skin," Xander said happily. "Lorne said he'd pop around tomorrow to work on your further training, once he got drunk tonight."
"Sure," Rimfire agreed, shrugging a bit. "Movies tonight?"
"It won't ease the worry," Throttle said grimly.
"No, but it'll kill time until we can find these people and have a discussion with them," Modo said, squeezing Staff's middle where she was cuddled in his lap. "I wanna have a long discussion with them."
"Lorne's guys said that she should be back within two weeks," Vinnie said bitterly. "I pointed out that she has a business here and Lorne suggested we fill in like she's on a vacation or something. I wanted to hit him so bad for not telling us where she was going but I don't think he knew."
"No, he didn't know about it beforehand, but he found out some things," Xander assured him. "After the other guy so nicely told us about the bike, he found out that the final base is in Florida. That they are not to hurt her, and that there's going to be some people apologizing within a few days. Here, of course."
"Of course," Throttle said grimly. "Can we hit them?"
"Sure," he agreed, waving a hand. "Micah said we could hold them and beat the shit outta them for doing it this way. He agreed, they should have *asked* or brought the bike back up here. Which they'll be doing from now on. Apparently Micah complained to the President, who got onto a General, who's telling the others to commit suicide before we get to ...talk with them too," he finished dryly, glaring at a wall. "Pity about that."
"Hmm," Vinnie agreed, cuddling his son. "Staff, what happened to you?"
"They tied her up and gagged her, then locked her in a closet," Modo said grimly.
"I woke up with an assault rifle in my face," Xander offered. "If I had magic, they'd be dead right now."
"It'll be fine," Vinnie soothed. "We can kill the ones who bring her back."
"They might be messengers, but they'll make an admirable statement," Dawn said coolly. "I'll restrain."
"Sure, Dawn," Throttle agreed. "You can do the chains and we'll hit 'em. We hit harder than you do."
"Oh, but then I get to use a weapon," she assured him. "Someone might be able to identify them when you get done."
"Sure," Rimfire agreed, grinning at her. "You're so fierce. I love you."
"Love you too, babe, but you're turning me from angry to mushy." She kissed him gently. "Stop that."
"You are so whipped," Vinnie said dryly, shaking his head.
"Yes, but I enjoy being this way," Rimfire said smugly. He sat up. "Willow."
"Already tried that," Dawn reminded him.
"Not the vampire Willow, the other one."
"Hmm, well able to track and she did have that diary of mean things to do to the Initiative," she admitted. Vinnie's ears perked up at that. "It was her form of therapy so she didn't actually *do* anything to them." She got up and went to find it in her things, bringing it back to him. "Here ya go. We'll work on it together," she offered with a grin.
"Sure, Dawnie, I like that idea," he agreed happily. "We should do some of that now."
"According to the computer, it takes about 15 hours driving non-stop to reach New Orleans. They're still on the road, don't make 'em wreck," Xander advised, leaving it there. He curled into Throttle's side, getting the cuddle he needed. Throttle gently stroked his back. "I'm sorry if you're mad at me," he whispered.
"I'm not, I would have done the same," he assured him. "There's a time and a place for things like that. Mostly when someone has your family." He kissed his mate gently. "We'll cuddle tonight." Xander nodded, snuggling in harder and wrapping his arms around him. "Thanks, babe."
"Welcome." He watched as Vinnie and Dawn went out to the library to work on the spells together, taking the baby with them. Rimfire got up to grab some sodas and followed a few minutes later. "I should go help and cheer 'em on."
"No, it's all right. Let Vinnie get it out of his system, Xan. He needs this more right now." Xander nodded, settling down and staying comfortable.
Charley was drug out of the back of the van and her hood was removed, making her gasp. "What are you doing! I'm a damn citizen! You're letting me go before I have you fucking castrated and arrested!" she shouted.
"Calm down please. We don't want to have to sedate you," the officer in front of her stated. "We're sorry we were a bit abrupt, Miss Davidson, but we need your help. You sold us a bike and it was going well but now we're having problems."
"You couldn't just bring it up to me?" she asked sarcastically. "After all, we do have people with a security clearance around us."
"Yes, but that's why we didn't," he offered. "We don't know why they have one."
"Then maybe you should ask around. The mice will be killing you."
"Ma'am, we are the military." She snorted. "They can't really hurt us."
"Really? Missing anyone?" she asked dryly. "I know Xander got at least one."
"Two," one of the guys coughed. "One was injured, the other was too slow." He saluted. "She's here, sir, and I'm going to get the kicks she gave me looked at. By your leave?"
Charley turned and spat on him. "You'd better be thankful I only kicked you." He nodded, hurrying off when the officer waved him away. She glared at him. "I will see you hurt for this."
"Ma'am, no one knows this base is still in use. It's been closed except for a very small covert group working out of here."
"Really? Then our friends who work covert ops in Intelligence should know about you, huh?" she said smugly. "I will have him close you and have you tortured."
"Well, for now, we're going to feed you, put you on a chopper to your final destination, and then you can go home," he said tiredly. "If you come to my office, I'll get you checked over and hopefully the rider you'll be assisting is here now. She was on her way from a base in Virginia that was having problems." He led her that way, taking her arm again when she yanked it from his grasp. "You'll find it nicer when you cooperate."
"Yay." She tripped him and walked off, heading for the gate. "Got scissors?" she asked a soldier. "These cuffs are killing me."
"Here, let me," a female offered, slicing the link between the plastic cuffs. "You'll need those bandaged, Miss Davidson. I'm sorry about the heavy-handed way they came after you."
"You could have killed my son or my friends."
"If they had resisted we would have only used knockout gas."
"Which isn't formatted for infants or for mice," she said bitterly. "You still could have killed them. Then the others would have killed you."
"Oh, we have no doubt that there'll be reprisals for this. Especially since the unit left two of them there."
"Then I'm sure Xander had a lot of fun with them."
"Ah, you don't know," she said smugly. "The guy on the couch, Xander Harris, works in Intelligence now and then. He's a survivor from Sunnydale."
"I've heard that name," she admitted, walking her into a ground floor office and typing the name into a computer. She blinked. "There's a do not engage order on his file."
"That's probably the wisest thing you guys have done in decades. He will kill you and blow up this place once he finds me. And he will find me."
"You'll be in Florida by then, ma'am." She looked at her. "He wasn't hurt. They reported he was awake and shooting at people to try to get you back. The person we left watching the house said that the infant was fine as well, and that your friend and your mate both went to torture Graham."
"Yeah, Xander knew him from his last job," she said dryly. "I'm sure they're having a long talk."
"How did you know?"
"One of your idiots said something about the Initiative. We knew about it already. Xander told us."
"Oh, damn," she sighed, sitting down. "Okay, well, we can't save 'em now. Regrettable but he was too cocky and now he's paying. Let me bandage your wrists for you." She pulled out her first aid kit and opened it, pointing at a chair. "If you'll sit, ma'am."
"It's easier to bandage wrists when the hands are on something flat," she offered. "I'm not going to hurt you, ma'am. I'm here to make sure none of the boys hurt you."
"No, I think I hurt them more," she said snidely.
"Good, I'd have killed 'em for it." She used her knife to slice off the remains of the plastic cuffs, then got to work putting a salve and bandages on the rub marks she had created while struggling to get free. "You're much more feisty than our usual hostage."
"Pity, but good for me."
"True." She got them both cleaned up then pushed a button on her phone. "Bring dinner." She let it go. "There, it'll be a short wait. I'm sure you'll need some food. It hopefully won't take that long for you to fix the conflict in the bike."
"It's semi-sentient. You've probably pissed it off too."
"Actually, the last rider got reassigned."
"It'll only bond once. It's sentient. It's programmed to protect the rider."
"There's no reset?"
"There is one, but why would I show you?" she snorted.
"Because it'll get you home faster, Miss Davidson. Back to your business and your son."
"If either one of them is hurt by this, I'll be the one killing people," she promised. "Not even your God'll save you."
She coughed. "Ma'am, we are *covert* ops."
Charley laughed. "Really? Then explain how a non-military person got here," she said, pointing at the Willow-shaped person who had just walked through the walls. "Can you get me home?"
"Not quite that powerful," she admitted. "At least not at the moment." The woman spun, reaching for her gun. "I doubt it'll work, Colonel. All you'll do is put some pretty holes in the wall which you'll have to fill out forms to have fixed." She floated closer, looking at Charley's wrists. "Pity Dawnie's spell to make sure locks wouldn't lock around you didn't work on those cuffs."
"No locks on the plastic," she said grimly.
"Yeah, well, we're sorry about that," she offered, stroking her cheek. "Victor is fine. He slept through it. Xander tortured their two guys and Modo found the guy watching the house about an hour ago. He's already had his fun with them." She grinned. "I wish I could just teleport you home, Charley, but with my power tied up in the temple, I can't do that. Then again, I could go nudge Xander's magic free and use him as a battery I suppose," she said thoughtfully.
"Xander doesn't have magic," she said, looking confused. "At least not strong magic."
The Seal from the Hellmouth looked at her. "Yes, he does," she said firmly. "The PTB didn't think they needed another magic user. His powers are opposed to mine so therefore he couldn't use it on the Hellmouth. I ended up wrapping them up around the hyena actually." She smirked at her. "Pity about that, but he does have it. It's simply unexploded at the moment. See, Willow used to use him as a battery."
"You are Willow," the colonel said bitterly.
"Honey, I'm not Willow. I'm the Seal from the old Hellmouth. I'm bound to Willow and I like Willow, but she's way too nice at the moment. Don't worry, we'll talk once she's on her way to Florida." She looked at Charley again. "Don't help 'em unless the rider is worth it. Stick to the Martian principles." Charley nodded at that. "Oooh, I wish I could help more!" she said angrily, making the room's walls explode and the roof disappear. "I hate this! I really, seriously hate this! I should go free Xander again!"
"Again?" Charley asked.
"Yeah, there was that Martian temple incident," she sighed. She sat on the edge of the desk, looking at her. "See, I knew about the temple. It was there for centuries before people were. The ones who came down here built it. They knew that the power that still gathers there isn't all dark and set it there so it'd be a powerful spot to lead back home." Charley nodded at that. "When Xander first came back from his trip, I sensed the changes in him. I sent him that way actually by breaking a water main so he had to go down Third street and made him want to go into the bakery for a donut. Instead he headed down to the basement level and found the temple's opening." She sighed. "I knew then that I had lost him. I've always liked Xander. He has chaos floating around him. Like he was a lightening spike drawing it to me."
"That's why you protected him."
"When I could," she agreed dryly. "Sometimes it was kinda hard to protect the kid. His house was one I couldn't get into and I couldn't make Willow leave him alone. She used him like he was a rechargeable battery. Then he walked into the temple and he changed so drastically. I felt him blind the PTB and I felt them discard him, and then I felt the magic come out to recharge that temple. It felt like he finally had a place to be comfortable. He went there after Willow pounded the shit outta him when she tried to destroy the world. He went there after his eye was popped and before the final battle. He thought it was some saint's temple," she said smugly.
"Who was it to?" Charley asked.
"Our God of Protection. The one who watches over children," she said quietly, misting up a bit. "He has a place on Mars waiting for him when he's ready." She nodded, accepting that. "Anyway," she said, wiping off a stray tear. "He found a home. He didn't know it was Martian until he came back and made the realization after seeing something on one of Modo's posters in Martian. There had been some carvings on the walls you see." She grinned. "It was partially that temple that stopped the suckage. The rest was Spike, who joined with its power. It read the intent and used him." Charley nodded at that, she knew Spike had protected Dawn over the years. "Long time ago, I noticed the magic in him and how it was basically allergic to mine. That's why I bound it up with the hyena in his head."
"Hyena?" the colonel snorted.
"Yeah, the guy was possessed a few times." She looked at Charley again. "Think about his first two, you'll understand why."
"The soldier Ethan gave him was cold and logical, going toward Special Ops," Charley noted. "He told me that."
"It was, and it didn't like the magic either. He had some bad denial about Sunnydale at times." She winked and grinned. "But now, the hyena's pack is wonderful and safe for the most part. It agrees with Xander, the pack will be bound together for its own protection. Including you so quit fussing about things like the water and electric meters."
"He got the electric meter too?" she demanded. "Why?"
"He's a Xander," she said dryly, shrugging. "You're his pack. You were his pack before Vinnie was. They were friends but you accepted him as he was, problems and all. If you hadn't told him to stay, he would have probably went to some wooded area and became a lumberjack and had his hyena and the magic come out. Then Willow would have died protecting him from himself and I'd be alone. I'd have destroyed Plutark and been lonely on the dead planet without all the fun that we had first and pouting badly about the boredom. So you see, I owe you a few times over." She grinned again. "I knew protecting Xander would be worthwhile for me. So now I'm going to do a few things. I'm going to strengthen Dawnie's protections on you so if anyone tries to touch you wrong, they're in for a hell of a shock. I'm also going to make you temporarily bulletproof. It should last the full two weeks they're expecting this to take." She winked again as she leaned closer. "When you get home, make Xander quit fussing. Point out that his pack isn't leaving. Put it in those terms so he'll make the connection," she said patiently. "Then tell Throttle what he did so he can help him too. Personally, I think the boy needs to have another week away like they had when he started to change. That'll screw all those insecurities out of his system," she said dryly, sitting back again and waving a hand around her. "There, done." He smirked at the colonel. "Now, go take your cheeseburger and go wait a few buildings down so you don't have to see this, dear. It'll be unpretty in the extreme."
"Thanks." She stood up, looking at her wrists. "I thought you were more psycho."
"Oh, I can be. That's part of what I picked up from so many years on the Hellmouth. I was just a seal and a portal before that but living there taught me a lot about evil and bad things. The new rider is coming this way in a jeep. Be ready, I don't think she's worthy." Charley nodded, walking off and taking the plate of food someone had left on the other desk in the other no-longer-a-room. The seal looked at the colonel then froze her, leaning over to tap her on the forehead. "That's my Xander buddy and her buddy. He considers her like a sister. I'd run, change your name, and hide forever. Otherwise the others that Xander likes and who like him will make you suffer." She touched her again, making her scream and writhe as the pain ran through her. "I liked those books Willow read to me. That is a really neat spell." She got up and strolled off, watching as the new rider was driven in and headed for the helicopter. "Go after her," she told Charley. "Talk to her, make sure she's worthy."
"Thank you, dear. Have fun in Florida. You'll be near the bottom tip of the penis-state." Charley blushed at that. "You can't tell me it doesn't look like that. Oh, and the running joke about Vinnie's furry, jingling balls? Remind Xander of that prank he did to Jessie. I wanna see him do that to Vinnie."
Charley shook her head. "I don't wanna know." The soldiers from earlier started toward her. "Touch me and die, guys." One tried and yelled as the pain ran through their bodies and made them lose control of their bowels. "Hmm, good. You deserve it for kidnaping me away from my son." She headed for the helicopter, looking at the man standing there. "What?" she demanded.
"Go ask her yourself." He glared at her and she glared back. "I'm not cooperating with you and I hope she tortures you like Xander got the other two."
"Just get on the chopper," he said grimly. She gave him a look so he shoved her, then yelled as his hand burst into flames.
"Here, let me help you, ma'am," the other woman with her offered, holding out a hand. "That way you don't have to crawl the rest of the way on." Charley took it and let her pull her up. "Thank you for not hurting me."
"You're not trying to hurt me and you're as stuck by this as I am."
"What is going on? All I know is that there was a base raid drill and then I was being carried off by some woman."
"Apparently you've been reassigned to a special project that includes a bike I designed once."
"Oookaaaaaay." She shook her head. "I don't ride a bike, not even a ten-speed. I never learned. That's my sister." She looked at the man in the opening. "I'm Susie, not Crystal. I can't ride a bike. You wanted my sister maybe?"
"I doubt it. I don't have any balance. I have vertigo. They're thinking about discharging me for medical reasons because of my vertigo." He looked stunned and she nodded. "I can't ride a bike. I've never been able to."
"We'll see, it's not my decision," he said grimly, shutting the door. He waved at the pilot then got out of the way, holding his hand all the way to the infirmary. He found that irritating redhead in there already and glared at her. "What do you think you're doing! You attacked Army personnel!"
"Yay. I didn't like you when you came to my town to try to take over on me either." She waved a hand and the rest of him burst into flames. "Ah, a weenie roast. Angelus would be really proud of me." She looked around and then found a phone, using it to call Micah. "Trace this," she ordered. "No, I'm the seal," she said smugly. "They fucked with Xander's family and I'm keeping him from destroying them. This is a base for covert ops. No, New Orleans. It was closed and consolidated from what I can tell." She beamed. "Sure! No, there's gonna be a few bodies. I don't like them. They're upsetting me. Just be glad it's me instead of scary, veiny Willow as Xander calls her." She put the phone down and walked off, going to visit the other guys who had taken Charley.
"We were only following orders!" one yelled when he saw her. "Please! I didn't hurt her!"
"Yay. Next time, don't follow stupid stuff."
"We can't do that, ma'am, we're in the military," another complained. "That's why we didn't gas the family. We didn't know how it'd hurt them."
"While that's nice and all, I might let you live, as long as you testify." She stared at them. Then she smiled. "Then again, Vinnie, her husband, is still quite ...upset." They shuddered. "I'd have to ask him what he wants me to do. Give me a minute." She sealed the doors and popped back up to Chicago, startling the drowsy Vinnie awake. "Hey. She's fine. They used plastic cuffs on her so Dawn's anti-locking spell didn't work. But they were cleaned and bandaged by someone in charge. If those guys testify, should I let them live? They claimed they were as nice as they could be."
He looked at her. "You're not Willow," he noted. "The babble's wrong."
"True, I'm the Seal," she agreed smugly, grinning at him. "They claim they were only following orders. If they testify and the stuff is shut down, do you want them to live?"
"Make sure they remember this lesson always," Throttle ordered. "They can't get off without some punishment but they can live."
"Sure," she agreed, grinning at them. She wiggled her fingers at Victor. "Your mommy is just fine and she's on her way to Florida with the person they wanted her to calibrate the bike for. She's someone who can't ride due to her balance problems too." She disappeared, landing back in the barracks. "Well, they said that you could be mildly punished as long as you remembered the lesson learned and were going to testify against this sort of thing."
They all nodded, they'd rather be tortured than dead. They all screamed as one of their hands fell off, but it hadn't really hurt, just a bit of a shock.
"Sorry, but I was born and made in the Middle East," she said smugly. "You did steal. That's kinda traditional. At least you're not bleeding or anything." They all nodded, settling down on their beds to wait for someone to come get them. "Good boys. Shouldn't be too long. Micah's on a plane this way," she sang, disappearing again to go find more people who had pissed her off.
Suzie came off the helicopter and saluted. "Sir, there's a small problem with your plans. I'm not my sister and I can't do what you want me to do."
"Apparently got mixed up with my sister's again. Crystal is in Afghanistan. She's a nurse. She rides a motorcycle every day. I'm Suzie, sir, I have vertigo. I can barely walk without getting dizzy. They're considering discharging me for it. You stole the wrong one, sir. Respectfully speaking, I'd rather be back doing my encryption work."
"Well, you're here now so you'll have to learn."
"Sir, unless you want that pretty, multi-million dollar prototype to be crashed within moments, you won't let me near it," she said dryly. He gave her a dirty look. "Sir, I'm not allowed to drive a normal vehicle because my balance is so off that it affects my sight. I can't drive a motorcycle."
"Since when? Your file doesn't say anything about that."
She took it from him when he held it out, then she sighed and pointed at the name. "Sir, Crystal is my *sister*. She's in Afghanistan being a nurse." He looked stunned. "They mixed us up again. They did this once before and I ended up in a war zone hospital in Korea. Didn't know why and it took three weeks for someone to get a clue and send me home, even though the doctors and nurses complained. I don't even look like her, sir."
"I figured it was hair dye."
"And the thirty pounds of muscles she has that I don't? Did you think I was that sick as well?" He glared at her again. "Respectfully of course, sir, but it's not me and I can't do what you want." She looked at Charley. "Besides, from what she said, her bike is sentient. It'd be cruel and unusual punishment to make her forget the last few months and start over again."
"The military has no use for single use weapons," he sneered at her.
Charley hit him. "Don't give me that look and I'm not one of you. You can kiss my ass and give me my bike back now." She heard struggling and headed that way, sure it was her prototype. It popped up a gun and shot at the chains holding it, coming over to rest against her. "It's all right, girl. I was wrong. They can't use you. They're too stupid. But I do know someone who could. Modo's got a girl now," she offered. "She's designing and you could be wonderful to help her. She doesn't have a bike and I can find you a wonderful mouse to ride you, baby." She patted it. "Come on, let's go."
"That's military property," a man stated firmly.
"I sold it to you but you're not treating it right. Therefore you can't have it. Want the money back? The check bounced." He looked stunned. She sneered at him. "You'll be paying for this and for kidnaping me. I swear you will." She got onto her bike and rode it into the other room, startling the general standing there. "You know that the check bounced, right?" she demanded. "I'm already working on suing you. By the way, since this is sentient, you can't really destroy it. If you try, I'll add to the suit."
"No one is going to say anything to us if we do destroy it."
The bike popped up a gun and she pulled it, pointing it at him. "Really? You sure about that? Bike, dear, do you still have that satellite radio link I installed?" It beeped pleasantly. "Open a communication to Maxine London, DC. You should be able to find her cellphone listed." She continued to hold the gun on him, then shot back at someone sneaking up behind her. "I'm not that nice. Your check bounced, I've already started proceedings to take my bike back."
"Hello?" Max asked. "Charley?"
"Yeah, it's me, Max. I'm in Florida. They had the bike I sold the military and their check bounced so I'm repossessing it. Also, we'll need transfer orders for the woman they wanted to ride, who is not her sister. She doesn't even drive."
"Shit," she said in awe. "Give me two minutes. I'm going to keep this line open. Okay?"
"Sure. I'm sitting here with a gun and PMS."
"Cool. I like doing that too," she agreed, and you could hear her typing something. "Okay, got you linked in. You're in Miami?"
"Not a clue," she admitted.
"Yes, we are," Suzie offered. "I saw that cute little island that all the rich people live on when we flew over it. We're probably on the outskirts of the city."
"Fine, thank you," Max agreed. "I'm sending PD forces to you and I want you to wait, Charley. They'll take you and her with you. I've explained everything to them as well. I have a friend down there."
"Sure. My arm's not tired yet."
"Are you okay?"
"Plastic cuffs dug into my wrists but I've been bandaged. Bike sounds run down, probably needs a new battery and plugged in." The bike shivered under her. "I can help you, baby. I do it every day. It won't hurt if I do it." It beeped happily.
"Is that one of the guy's bikes?" Max asked.
"No, based off it but not actually one. I couldn't give it the conscience that theirs have. We're not that advanced yet. Jack's design is pretty decent though."
"Okay. You've got two squads of PD coming your way. Just hold on."
"Thanks, Max. About that other base?"
"Oh, the Seal was there doing her nails when Micah got there. Gave him a moment's pause but the guys who had lost a hand for stealing were most helpful."
"Stealing?" Suzie asked.
"I was kidnaped from my home, where I was laying down to nap with my six-month-old son."
"Sounds like stealing to me," Suzie agreed. "They could have just *asked*."
"That's not the manly man way, it's like with directions," Max said bitterly.
"That's okay, the check they tried to pay me with bounced, so I'm doing what I'm allowed to legally and repossessing my bike," Charley told her.
"Sure. I fully agree," she promised. "I'd think it'd do better somewhere like the CHP personally," Max offered. "Micah said so to, I'm typing updates to his phone at the moment. He's calling them to update what's really going on."
"I hear sirens," Charley offered.
"Sure. Which one's Suzie?"
"The other female. Blonde, skinny, works on encryption stuff she said. Has bad vertigo."
"Okay. Updating that to him, he's talking to them so they don't hurt you."
"I'm on my bike."
The door was crashed into and the Miami police department rolled in, cops coming out with guns. Charley put hers up. "Thanks, Max."
"Welcome and I'll tell Vinnie you're okay before he goes more insane. Your son's giving him hurt looks anytime he's cuddled now."
"Yeah, my son'll be one of those manly little guys," she agreed dryly. "Come up soon." She hung up. Then she rolled over to them. "I'm Charlene Davidson."
"That's fine, ma'am. Where's your fellow hostage?" She pointed her out. "Take her outside with you, ma'am."
"Sure. Suzie?" She looked hesitant. "I promise, no turning." She nodded, climbing on the back and holding on for dear life. She rode them outside and Suzie threw up as soon as she stood up again. "She's got very bad vertigo," she offered the officers. "I'm Charley Davidson."
"Nice to meet you, ma'am, and your bike," the officer said, nodding at it. "Is it okay?"
"A bit rundown. Needs to be plugged in I think. She should be fine."
"Yes, ma'am. If you can follow us please?"
"Sure. Happy to," she said patiently. "Can I blow them up?"
"No, ma'am, I wish I could let you," he offered. "Does this...um, she, have weapons?"
"Weapons up," she ordered, patting the crank case. The bike popped up all the weapons, making him moan. She smiled. "They're very handy for urban combat. Their check bounced and then they had the audacity to try to intimidate me into silence about that and my former design, try to steal the design itself, and then kidnaped me yesterday."
"I understand, ma'am. Let's head down to the station. That way you can plug her in at the garage while we take your statement."
"Thank you. Suzie?"
"I'll take a car. It's better in a car," she moaned. An officer helped her up and into the back of her car, taking off with her.
Charley followed the nice officer in, and he did lead her to a private garage where she could plug the poor dear in. It beeped happily at that and settled in to suck up and recharge while she was led upstairs. "She'll only be looked at, right?"
"Oh, yes, ma'am. One of our CSI's here rides and he wanted to look her over. He won't touch her though. I called ahead about the weapons system."
"Thank you. That's very nice of you," she offered, grinning at him. "She's actually a bit less sentient than the ones I designed her off of. They'd have kicked the military's ass and rode home on their own." He smiled at that. "Jack McCyber's bikes are probably around the same advancement as she is too," she admitted. "He's a programmer, I only did what I could."
"That's fine, ma'am. She seems quite protective of you." He led her into an interview room and got her some water, then sat down across from her. "Can you tell me what happened with all this? From the beginning if it helps."
"Sure. That bike is a prototype I designed a few years back off a few friend's bikes. Theirs have true intelligence. Mine has partial. Probably about the same as a little kid if I'm being honest, but she can learn. I'm not a great programmer and I had to talk one of my friends into helping me. I didn't originally plan to put a brain in her, but Jack thought it'd be a neat challenge and did it for me." He nodded, continuing to write while she talked. "Well, I offered it to the military, it's an urban assault vehicle and I needed the cash. They agreed, came to take her for a week of testing, gave me a nice big check, and then the problems started. I tried to deposit the check and it bounced. I started legal proceeding to sue them because of it and got threatened and got death threats. I filed a suit about that too, and they threatened the judge, making him dismiss it. I've recently refiled to get my bike back or the money if they had destroyed her plus extra for the aggravation of dealing with them." He nodded again. "So, yesterday, while I was napping with my six-month-old son, a commando unit bursts into my house and steals me." He looked up, gaping at her. "It was a friend of ours and my son and I in there. The others were out for a lazy Sunday ride. Staff was working in the garage on something so I'm not sure if she saw them or not." She sipped her water. "I'm told my son didn't wake up through it all and that he's fine, and that our friend Xander is also fine, but that he managed to torture a few of them when he caught them. I was drug out to a van, and he found his guns. He shot out the tires."
"Is he military?"
"Um, that's classified," she admitted. "You'll be seeing a Mr. Simms or one of his people soon. Ask him." He nodded, writing that down as well. "Anyway, I heard him pop two of the tires, I heard another bullet hit the driver's side window since it was facing the house by the way they shoved me into the back. I didn't hear glass shatter, but before we could take off, the tires were popped. That's when a second van joined us and I was rudely shoved over there and tied with the plastic cuffs since I was struggling." She held up her hands. "When we got to Louisiana, or so I was told, the big guy there sneered at me and I struggled against him. Then a female officer who was called colonel by someone else there bandaged my wrists. I was talked down to for a few minutes, then shoved into a chopper and landed here, where Suzie started to protest because she can't ride a bike, she's got extreme vertigo. Her sister rides a bike and apparently people get them confused somehow."
"And that's why we were called to rescue you," a man said from the doorway. "Are you all right, ma'am?"
"A bit sore around the abrasions from where I struggled." She undid the tape on one side, letting him see the wounds. "I'll live. Is my bike okay?"
"Just fine, ma'am." He sat down across from her. "That Mr. Simms. Was he the one who called us?"
"The first one might have been a woman named Max London. She works for Micah. I called her from my bike once I had a weapon and we were at a standstill."
"I understand." He nodded a few times. "We have talked to a Mr. Cash as well?"
"He works for Micah, he's his second-in-command."
"Where might these people be from?" the man asked casually.
"Intelligence," she said firmly. "As in classified and ask him."
"Ah. That's fine. We can do that. We're more used to dealing with the DEA and Immigration," he admitted, "but we have had to deal with others in the past."
"Micah's a sweetie," she promised. "So are Max and Lorne. Just be thankful it wasn't my man or our friend Xander."
"Oh, I am. Civilians in the middle of these things tend to make it more messy. Do you need anything?"
"I'm okay at the moment," she promised. "I could use a candy bar in a little while, but for right now I'm okay."
He smiled and nodded. "I'll see what I can do. Officer, go ahead and let her check on her bike for now," he said quietly. "Then bring her back up here until Mr. Simms or one of his people show up."
"Yes, sir," he agreed, coming around to help her back up and take her back down there. They ran into someone staring at the bike. "She's very pretty," he offered, making the man jump and look at them. "You are?"
"CSI Wolfe. I did traffic for a long time," he offered. "She is very pretty."
"Thanks. You can look closer. Bike, he's okay," she offered. It beeped and popped out her weapons and other features for him, making him moan. "I designed her for urban assaults."
"I can see that," he agreed happily. "I wish I had one of these babies when I was working in Traffic. It'd have been much easier to pull people over." The bike let out beeps sounding like a snicker. "You have a sense of humor, girl?" He gently stroked the seat, squatting down to look at the weapons. "Some aren't loaded."
"She probably ran out of ammo," Charley offered, coming over to look. " Yeah, the missiles are empty and so are the bullets." She pushed on those and they went back down. "Let's see, the laser? Can you fire a small beam at the joint where the floor and the wall meet, dear?" She did so, a small, concentrated beam. "Good job!" She stroked the handlebars. "Very good job." She walked over to look at it. "Fairly weak though. Did they turn the strength down again?" The bike beeped an assertive noise. "Pity." She shrugged. "We can deal with those later, dear. After Staff and I check you over to make sure you're healthy. Then we'll figure out if you're going to be going to someone like Stoker for safety."
"Friend of ours. Doesn't live around here, but he's got a similar bike."
"Oh, okay," the CSI officer agreed. "Are there many of these up north?"
She smiled. "He's really not from around here. It's a long story, another thing to ask Mr. Simms."
He nodded, accepting that. "I can believe that. That's almost super-human in design. Can I take some pictures?"
"Go ahead. She can preen for you. Go ahead and pop everything back out for him, baby." The bike did so and stood up a bit straighter so he could take the pictures he wanted. She heard a familiar voice and looked around. "In here, Lorne!" she yelled.
Lorne stuck his head in, then smiled. "You'd be very proud of Xander, he left them living. Vinnie used a few torches on one, but otherwise Xander only caused internal injuries. Not even broken skin."
"Then I'm really impressed. How many broken bones?"
"Nearly every single one on the guy they did together. The other guy had all four limbs, all his ribs, and his nose broken."
"Good," she said firmly. "Hopefully they'll never try to kidnap me again."
"No, hopefully not," Lorne agreed. "Is this her?" She nodded and moved so he could look at her. "She's beautiful. Where is she headed after you get home?"
"Probably up to Stoker," she admitted. He smiled at that. "It's safer."
"It is, and I'm sure she'll make someone very happy to ride her. Even if she's not quite as sensitive as Vinnie or Rimfire's bikes are."
"More sensitive?" the CSI asked.
"Rimfire's has a bad case of jealousy," she offered. "Any other questions, refer them to this guy," she said, pointing at Lorne. "Did Micah ever get that legal stuff I sent over?"
"We did and we're using it right now," he admitted. He looked at it, then at her. "He might offer to keep her safe for you," he suggested. "I'm not sure yet."
"We'll see once we get home."
"Sure. We're borrowing a DEA jet so we can do that and the nice Staff Sergeant can ride with us back to DC. Micah's on his way in and hopefully he'll have orders for her."
"Sir, we're gathering up in an interview room if you'd like to come with us," the officer offered. "You as well if you want, CSI Wolfe."
"Sure. I wouldn't mind. Thank you, dear. You're very pretty and strong. I'm sure you kick butt very well." The bike beeped and hid everything again, looking just like a normal bike. "I would have killed for one of those while I was in Traffic," he sighed, following them back upstairs. He nodded at his boss and pointed at the others, getting a wave in return. In the interview room was a man writing out a statement for another cop, this time a detective.
"Charley, you okay?" he asked without looking up.
"Fine except for some plastic burns from the cuffs they used."
He did look up at that, taking her wrist to look over. "The Seal should have healed those."
"They're fine." She hugged him. "Thank you."
"Not a problem but we'll be talking later about whether she goes up to visit Spike or stays with me. I wanna test her first," he said smugly, grinning at her. "Think I could?"
"We'll see," she said dryly.
"Sure. I'll even let Xander or Throttle ride with me to make sure I don't get into trouble." She did grin at that. "Sit. You look exhausted." She sat down beside him, looking at the papers. "An official statement."
"What seal?" the officer asked.
Micah looked up at him. "Son, there are things on this world that aren't normal to most people. How much do you really wanna know?" He shuddered and walked off, leaving his notes there for their use. Micah looked them over, then nodded. "All you left out was her."
"I didn't know how to explain her."
"Good point," Lorne assured her. "I don't even like to think about her." He looked at the CSI. "How about you?"
"I'm all for odd things, as long as I can explain them away," he offered. "That's what I like about CSI work."
Micah looked up at him, then at the detective, who got up and walked out. "Kid, what do you know about the link between real magic and aliens?"
"Um," he said, blinking and thinking as fast as he could. "I know a few people online who believe Martians are fuzzy mice."
"They're right," Charley assured him. "I'm married to one."
"Oh. Okay. That makes a lot more sense and I can fill in the rest of my mental gaps," he offered, grinning at her. "As long as you're happy. By the way, what's wrong with Meg? She was ranting online the other day."
"She's pregnant with a baby Oz."
"Ah. Tell her I said hi and congrats. I'll send her an e-card later. I'm not telling anyone, sir, it's just interesting."
"Good." Micah handed him a card. "If you feel the urge to tell anyone or the need to find a new job, call me. I'm over the NID labs now too." The CSI beamed and nodded, heading off to go back to work. He looked at Charley. "You knew?"
"I figured. He didn't look horrified at the weapons, stunned at the laser, and was all but cooing over her."
Micah nodded. "Reasonable excuses." He finished writing out his statement and handed it to Lorne after proofreading it then signing it. "There, go hand that in. We'll head home, leaving the military to figure out the wreckage."
"What about Suzie?"
"The Staff Sergeant will be fine. We're bringing her back to DC with us so she can go give a statement to the nice JAG people so they can fry the people over this. She's already headed for the plane with one of my girls. You ready?"
"If I can go," she admitted. "The bike needs more time plugged in."
"I'll see what I can arrange on the plane," he promised, following Lorne down to the garage to gather the bike. He stopped to look at it. "She does look tired."
"She's been in the hands of the military for the last few years," Charley said sadly. "If I had known, I'd never have said a word about it." Micah nodded, walking over to stroke her handlebars and have a quiet word with her. She beeped. "I can ride her."
"No, we'll bring her on a truck, Charley. That way she doesn't have to strain herself any more and you only have to ride her back from the airport." He stroked her handlebars again. "She's well designed. Very well designed. Vinnie faxed me the plans when he figured out what this was about. Max was drooling. She said she's better than her car." The bike snickered at that. "Yeah, me too," he admitted, patting her on the seat. "Come on, we'll hoist you onto a truck so you don't have to strain yourself then we'll see if we can plug you in while we're flying you home." The bike unplugged and recoiled her power cord. "You're very handy. I'll have to stay around for a few days, see if you might like to work with my guys instead of going to Mars." He whistled and a truck backed into the garage, stopping so the agent inside could get out and lower ramp. "Can you move yourself?" She beeped and rode up the ramp they laid out, settling in on the back of the truck. "Good girl. You're much more than I had hoped for." He got back there with her to check her over. The guys' bikes had always fascinated him. This one was nearly as good, if not as smart as Modo's or Xander's bikes. Then again, maybe that was a good thing, he wouldn't get backtalk from his bike.
Charley leaned on the side of the truck. "I'll leave it up to you whether you stay with Micah or go to Mars," she said quietly. The bike beeped and then leaned toward her, letting her pet a handlebar. "Good girl." She got into the truck and Lorne sat beside her, the agent getting in to drive. "She might be happy with him."
"She might," Lorne agreed. "Plus, Micah used to be a Marine. He did some odd things with them for some covert projects that he still can't talk about." He pulled her into a hug. "I'm glad you're fine, Charley. Xander's a scary guy when he's mad."
"The Seal said he's got magic too," she said quietly. "More than just fetching the remote."
"It's tied up with his hyena."
"Oh, well, maybe it'll stay hidden then," he said, hoping and praying it'd be so. She fell asleep against him and he was nice enough to carry her onto the plane.
Vinnie answered the phone. "Yeah?" He sat up straight. "Give me thirty minutes. Twenty if there's traffic." He hung up and rushed down to his bike. "Micah and Charley girl are back!" he shouted. "I'm going to pick her up! He's got a ride!" He hopped onto his bike and sped off before anyone could do more than look in the direction he had been yelling from. He heard another bike and glanced back, finding Xander there. "I can guard her."
"I know, I want my own hug and to look at this new bike," he said firmly. "Besides, we're all coming. Staff's babysitting Victor at the moment since she's doing that oil change for Charley."
"Sure." He sped up, heading for the nearest on-ramp and doing his usual jump up onto the interstate and going through, around, and over traffic.
"Besides," Xander continued. "This way I can distract the others so you can take a sudden side trip to make sure she's really okay."
Vinnie snickered at that, he would definitely welcome that service. He headed into the private plane terminal, going through the gate and to where he could smell Charley waiting. He stopped beside her and grabbed her with his tail, pulling her onto the back of his bike so he could take off and check her over while the others made nice with Micah. She only laughed and gave him a hug.
Xander stopped beside Micah. "He's going to do a physical check," he said smugly. He looked at the bike. "Hey, baby love. You okay?" She beeped and he nodded. "Good." He looked at Micah and his defensive posture. "Bonded," he said smugly. "Need help?"
"No, I can ride. I haven't in a while but I can ride." He looked at the others. "Hey, guys. Vinnie took off with her."
"He'll be back within ten minutes," Throttle noted dryly. "He usually is." He looked at the bike Charley had ridden before to pop their masculine egos, then over at Modo. "She looks tired."
"She does. But I'm sure we can baby her back into good health and less exhaustion." He looked at Micah. "Plus we'll help her new rider go over a few of the standard maneuvers."
"It'll give me someone to train with Xander," Throttle agreed. He grinned at his mate. "Did I see you jump a car?"
"Yeah, but he was in the wrong lane," he defended. "It was either jump him or possibly crash as I went around him. I knew what I was doing."
"Fine. We'll restart your training this weekend," he said smugly.
"Yes, dear," he agreed happily, beaming at him and Modo. Vinnie came back. "That was fast."
"Funny, bro," Vinnie said sarcastically. "That sort of stuff can wait until she's had lunch and a nap."
"I napped on the plane but I could use some food," Charley offered patiently.
Vinnie nodded, closing his face shield. "I'll stop at Chef Andy's to get lunch." He zipped off before anyone could protest.
"That boy is gonna fuss for days," Modo offered dryly.
"Yeah, she'll end up screaming at him to stop," Throttle agreed. "Just like I do." Xander gave him his most innocent look. "Won't work on me, Xan."
Xander blew a kiss. "I'm a damn angel compared to how I used to be. Just think, I used to fuss over Willow. I learned it from her and did her worse than she did me. Come home with us, Micah. Ride her back so she gets used to your style." He headed off, heading for home and calling Staff on the way. And possible Enamel if Vinnie hadn't yet. She had bandages on her wrist and they'd need looked at.
Throttle shook his head. "She's gonna yell at both of 'em."
Modo nodded, looking grim. "At least you can protect her from Xander. Get a small scrape, bro. Let him fuss over you."
"I'm still sore from him wearing out his frustration last night," he complained.
"I can hear you," Xander called over the radio. "You're gonna be more sore tonight."
"Damn," Throttle muttered, closing his face shield. "Hurry back, Micah, let him fuss over you for a bit." He took off, going to chase his mate. He seemed to do a lot of that recently. He'd have to give Xander a few rides instead.
Modo shook his head. "He loves being fussed over, no matter how much he does complain. Carbine never fussed and he used to pout. Saddle up, I'll ride back beside you in case there's a problem."
"Sure, thanks, Modo," Micah offered, grabbing the new helmet they had picked up in Miami and mounting up, heading out beside him. Modo wasn't going too fast, letting him get used to riding a bike again. It was a nice thing.
To Part 51