Xander walked off the small plastic tubing and looked at the man on the bed at the end of the room.  "Hey," he said, nodding at him.  "You're allowed to see me as long as you don't get violent, father."

"Son?" he asked, looking at him.  "I knew it!  You're a god!"

"Not hardly," he said dryly, dragging a chair over.  "Why the Magneto treatment?" he asked with a nod back toward the tubing.

"Oh, them, they're being fussy.  They said I hurt some people and they needed some extra space between me and the world."  He sat up, looking at his son.  "You're quite pale."

"Yeah, well, that's kinda a good thing in my life."  He stared at him.  "I'm not a God."

"You are."

"Only of chaos and mayhem.  I don't heal.  I protect.  I have to fight.  I don't heal."

His father sighed.  "You have no idea what's within you, boy.  You never did."  Xander quirked an eyebrow up.  "We knew, son."

Xander shrugged.  "I figured if you did, you didn't give enough of a damn to worry."  He crossed his legs and looked his father over.  "So, they say that you're now mentally deficient.  You hiding in here?"  He gave a negligent shrug.  "Ah."  He stood up to look at him.  "They want me to bring you home, father, but you're not going to be happy.  There's a young child there and I'm taking care of a friend's sister since her needed me.  There's two older teenagers in the house, we've got other kids who visit, and we're generally a heavy working bunch.   And most of them are like me," he said quietly.

"Why would I care about you being furry?"

Xander nodded.  "Including my husband."  His father glared at him.  "It's my house with them.  I own it but I gave it to him and his bros.  We're all bikers."  His father's glare got hotter.  "I'm not going to dispute anything, but you have to know since they want me to drag you home with me."

"There's no one normal?"

"Yeah, a few.  They're still like me.  Well, except for Charley.  She's still human."  He crossed his arms, looking down at him.  "You know they found mom, right?"  He shrugged again.  "Fine.  They did.  We thought both of you were dead."

"No, I went into that place and some blond whiny guy got me out."

"Spike saved you?" he asked dryly.  "Why?"

"To torture you."  He stood up and looked at his son, facing him down.  "Do you have any idea what you are?"

Xander nodded.  "I do actually.  I have for a while now.  It was my changing that allowed me to see what I was.  Then again, I don't worry about that too much.  I've got other things that are more important.  My husband, our godson and his family, the other bros.  My job with the construction company and my weapons designs.  If you do come, it'd be a joint effort to take care of you and I won't have you drunk and I won't have you hurting Victor or Charley or anyone else in the house.  There are going to be limits.  I work hard for what's mine and we're presently under assault."


"Stinky assholes from Siberia."  His father sneered at him.  "Why?  Wanted to meet one?"

"I already did.  He paid me thirty grand to get you here."

Xander flipped open his phone and pushed the button, his earbud had already been in.  "Throttle, he was paid to get me here.  Watch out."  He hung up and put the phone back in his pocket.  "Handled."  His father sneered at him.  "Up to you, father," he said calmly.  "Did you want to come to Chicago and live with my bros and husband?"

His father roared and lunged for him but Xander calmly flipped him onto his back and held him down until the attendants ran in.  "I won't have you living like this!" he shouted, struggling to get free.  He finally managed it and grabbed the other thing he had been given by the man who paid him, pointing it at his son.  "Say goodbye to your husband," he sneered and pulled the trigger.

Xander ducked, only getting a graze, and hit him, knocking him out cold.  He took the laser, putting it in his waistband.  Then he helped the nearest attendant up.  "He's out cold for at least an hour.  He's got a glass jaw," he said calmly.

"How did you not die!"

"Easy, I ducked."  He looked at him.  "You might want to think about having him examined again.  This is how he always was.  And yeah, that warrant is valid and we do believe it was him but we couldn't prove it."  The man gaped and someone came through the tubing, making Xander glance at him.  "You his doc?"

"Yes, I am, Mr. Harris.  What are you?"

"Busy."  He looked at him.  "He's not damaged.  This is how he's always been."  He heard the bed creak, the attendant move, and ducked, wincing as he was stabbed with a shiv.  "Fuck me," he said, kicking it away from his father's hand, then hitting him again, twice this time.  His father went down under the doctor and the second attendant.  Xander continued to hold the spot on his left side, barely on his back.  "Do you need me to sign something to commit him as violently insane?"

"Please," the doctor agreed, sedating him.  He stood up to look at him.  "Are you all right?"

"I'm fine.  I could use a bandage."  He looked at his father, then at the doctor again.  "I don't want that around my godson or my husband."  His father moaned.  "I won't have that around either of them or my bros."

"I understand.  He was always like this?"

"Only more drunk."  He shrugged a bit and winced, hissing as he forced himself to relax.  "Okay.  Let's get that paperwork."

"Of course.  I wouldn't want someone that violent around my family either.  Tell me, where is your mother?"

"Dead.  They found her under some rubble in Sunnydale about a year ago.  They were both presumed dead.  The court order went through last year."  The doctor nodded, walking him to his office.  He sat down with another wince.  "I don't know who it was that paid him."

"I heard that part," he admitted.  "Do you have enemies, Mr. Harris?"

"Everyone has enemies, I have lawyer enemies because I stopped them from doing a human sacrifice.  Wolfram and Hart hate me.  I figure it was them or someone who hates my husband and wants to kill him.  That's why I called to warn him."

"I heard that.  I had wondered why you had your phone on."

"For my safety.  I know what he was like."  The folder was handed over and he looked it over, then looked at him.  "I have to pay to have him committed?  Can't I just press charges?"

"That would require you to appear in court and describe what happened."

"Not really.  If he's here, there's a good chance he'll be found mentally incompetent."  He looked at the paperwork again.  "Let me talk to my husband.  I don't have the cash to care for him anymore.  I had to use it for some emergency situations."  The doctor nodded so he got up and went outside to sit in the smoking area and call home.  "Hey, me," he greeted when Dawn answered the phone.  "Did he attack?"  He nodded, smirking a bit.  One of the attendants offered him a cigarette and he took it with a nod and a slight grin, letting him light it for him.  "Thanks, man."

"Not a problem.  Looks like you just had to deal with Harris too."

"Yeah, I'm his spawn," he sighed, taking a long drag.  "Thanks."  The guy nodded, heading off to give him some privacy.  He took another long drag, calming himself down.  "Hey," he greeted Vinnie.  "Was there an attack?"  He listened to the attempt that had happened.  "Wonderful.  Throttle all right?"  He nodded slowly.  "No, they want me to pay them to keep him.  About ten grand a month."  He took another drag.  "No I don't."  He let it out slowly.  "It's a former habit, Vinnie, I promise.  I'm just stressed."  He finished it and put it out, then hissed a bit as he moved.  "No, he stabbed me.  Tried to shoot me but the graze doesn't hurt.  He got paid thirty grand to bring me here.  They gave him a laser pistol and he had a shiv."  He smirked a bit as Throttle wrestled the phone away from Vinnie.  "I'm fine."  He let a small smile come out when his mate disagreed with him.  "I'm fine.  It's a small stab.  On my side.  It didn't hit anything.  It'll quit bleeding pretty soon."  He checked his hand, it was mostly older blood.  "Looks like it's nearly done bleeding."  He wiped his hand off, then sniffed the blood.  "Not even any poison that I can tell."

He wiped his hand again.  "No, they want me to pay them.  I'd rather press charges."  He nodded, listening to the wise advice.  "No, he's playing, Throttle.  He's not mentally damaged.  He's just evil."  He sighed and nodded.  "I know.  Still....."  He sighed again and nodded.  "I can't.  So they'll let him go if I don't press charges or pay them for him.  Personally I'd rather he died at the moment."  He heard a scream and looked around, then dropped his phone and ran for the guy with the gun pointing at the attendants, not even realizing who it was.  He tackled him, breaking his arm in the process, and held him down.  "Get me some damn cuffs!" he shouted.  They ran to get him something to restrain the patient with.  More people came running and Xander shifted out of the way but continued to hold him down, pressing his cheek against the pavement.  The attendants got him restrained and he backed off, heading back to the table.  He picked up his phone, hearing the yelling.  "I'm fine," he reported.  "Someone else had a gun too."  He sat down, patting the one on his back.  It was still there.  He looked over as a cop stormed his way.  "Gotta go.  Tell him I'm fine.  I'll be home tonight."  He hung up and looked at the officer, who looked really pissed.  "Sorry, didn't see you coming to respond."

"That was dangerous!" he shouted.

"I'm a combat veteran, officer.  I've seen worse in Sunnydale and LA."  The man backed off, staring at him so he stood up.  "I wasn't about to let him shoot the attendants.  Sorry if I usurped your authority.  I do need some advice if you've got a few moments."

"What?" he asked hesitantly.

"My father's here, they want me to pay for his commitment.  He stabbed me and tried to kill me earlier.  If I press charges, would they keep him without it?"

"You're serious?"

Xander lifted up the side of his shirt, showing off the wound.  "He had a shiv."

"What are you?"

"Odd."  He put down his shirt.  "If I had the money I might pay for it but I don't.  I also don't think he needs to be this coddled.  They've got him in a special cell here."

"You're Harris' son?" he asked.

Xander nodded, holding out his hand.  "Xander Harris.  Now of Chicago."

The cop shook it.  "I've heard your name."

"I used to work in LA against some bad things.  It's entirely possible," he offered quietly.  He sat down again.  "If I press charges what would happen to him?"

"They found him criminally incompetent after the first assault, they'll just move him to a more secure facility."  He sat down across from him.  "You didn't know he was alive?"

"We used to live in Sunnydale.  I got out, as far as I knew then he had refused to evacuate.  He and my mother both.  My mother's body was found about a year ago.  The courts declared them both legally dead."

The cop considered it.  "I'd say press charges.  They'll just move him higher.  There won't be a trial."  He looked at Xander's arm on the table.  "You're furry?"  Xander shrugged.  "Okay.  I used to work in LA but I changed to the state cops a few years ago."

Xander nodded.  "I worked with Angel and his crew now and then."

"That's where I heard about you," he decided.  "Thank you for clearing it up.  I take it that work doesn't pay well?"

"It did, but I've had some emergencies over the years."  His phone rang and he checked the number then hit the 'ignore' button.  He looked at him again.  "Sorry, my husband."

"That's fine."  He sighed and looked at the building, then at him.  "You can have him moved without having to pay anything.  He is officially under the state's care."

"They never said that."  He handed over the folder.  "This is what they gave me."

The cop looked it over, then shook his head.  "As far as I know, your father is under perpetual arrest until he's competent to stand trial.  You're not the first he's assaulted."  He looked over as someone came running out the door, being chased by Xander's father.  "Speaking of him."

"Yeah, well, he's not really mentally deficient.  He's pretending, officer.  He's always been like this, only more drunk."  His father caught sight of him and he tensed up, handing over the gun.  "So I don't use it.  He had it earlier."

"Sure.  I'll hold it."  He checked it over.  "What is this?"

"Don't ask."  He stood up, stepping away from the table.  "Don't, father.   You're not going to sucker money out of me.  I'm not giving up my life to pamper and bless yours.  You've already lost."

"You're nothing," he sneered, stopping to glare at him.  "Without me, you'd have died."

"Actually, the guy who taught me how to fight turned against me for turning furry," he sneered.  His phone rang again.  "Later," he answered, then hung up.  He continued to stare at him, noticing the cop had gotten up.  "I'm not doing this.  You won't make me kill you.  You won't make me hurt you except to defend myself or an innocent.  I don't have the money you want, it's been spent for better reasons.  You've already lost so just put the weapon down."

"You spent it on pansy-assed shit probably," his father sneered.

"I don't consider helping a city rebuild itself after a tragedy to be that, but if you do I'm sorry for you.  I'm not going to let the people who give a damn about me starve or go without a roof over their heads."

"Oh, so you're doing charity?  They'll dump you once you're broke."

"Really?  I doubt my husband's family will do that.  They think I'm taking it out of my paycheck."  His father sneered more.  Xander shrugged a bit.  "They liked me even before I changed.  They cared long before I started to date my man.  They're the ones who helped me calm down after Sunnydale."  His father lunged and Xander moved, putting him onto the ground.  "No, you're not going to hurt me.  I'm not going to allow it."  He looked at the officer.  "Can I have him arrested?"

"I can, he'll just go back inside."   He pulled out his cuffs.

Xander's father got up and moved away from him, waving the shock rod in front of him.  "You're not taking me."

"I don't care one way or another, father," Xander said calmly.  His phone rang again and he turned it off with his thumb.  "You're not going to hit me with that and you're not going to hurt the officer either.  He told me you've been confined here until you're fit to go to jail.  By the way, I can testify in that rape," Xander told him.  "My mother and I were fairly sure he did do it.  There's too many coincidences."  He glared at his father as he moved.  "Not happening, pops.  Drop it.  My godson is better with weapons than you are."

"Did you know that you were the last hope?" he sneered.  "You're the last hope of a lot of people."

"Yay.  I've been the last hope before but it was always for good reasons.  If it's for a good reason then I'm happy.  If not, then I'm sorry.  Consider me however you want.  I don't have the money you want.  I helped rebuild a lot of lives with it.  That's more important to me.  I'm like that, I always have been."

"I tried to beat it out of you."

"Yeah, well, you failed, old man.  The same as you failed to beat the gay out of me.  Did you know that Jessie and I were going to get together when he was killed?"

"When you killed him!" his father spat.

"Yeah, well, I was protecting someone from him in his drugged state," he said grimly, using the old excuse.  "He slammed into that breaker box.  I wish like hell most every day that I hadn't had to do that.  I'd be a lot different now.  I'd be happier, which my mate does deserve.  He deserves more than I can give him because of how Sunnydale damaged me."  He stepped closer.  "What you and Sunnydale did to me," he said quietly.  "Now, put it down.  You won't win.  You won't kill me and get the money.  It all goes to him and Dawn."

"You filthy beast!"  He lunged, trying to shock him with the pain rod, but Xander grabbed it, weathering the pain to capture him.  He struggled, reopening Xander's side wound.  He finally managed to break free and the cop tried but he kicked him under the chin, snapping his head back.

"Shit.  Officer down!" he yelled.  "He needs medical!  His neck just broke!"  Someone in the doorway went running and Xander looked at his father again, using his tail to pick up the cuffs.  "You're not getting away with that.  Most cops won't let you."  His father sneered and backed up.  Xander summoned the pain rod, turning it off and tossing it aside when it burned his hand again.  He flexed his fingers and stared him down.  "Give it up, father.  You're not going anywhere and there's nothing for you."

"You probably live in a mansion," he sneered.  "I live here!" he shouted.

"I live in a nice house but it's not a mansion.  It's a former industrial building that I had renovated and added onto.  I did a lot of the work myself and I designed it."  His father gaped so he smirked a bit.  "I'm talented that way.  Go me."  He lunged and his father backhanded him but Xander just shook it off and caught him by the wrist, getting a handcuff on him.  Then he swung him around by it, into the table so he could finish cuffing him.  He nodded the paramedic waiting closer.  "He kicked him under the chin.  I heard it snap."

"That's fine, sir.  Are you all right?"

"Take him first.  I've got a burn on my hand and a stab wound.  Nothing major."  The paramedic gaped at him.  "I've had worse. Get him stable."  He looked at his father, noticing he was moving off.  "Someone come get him!" he yelled.  "Before he hurts himself!  He's cuffed!"

A few attendants hurried out to grab him.  One of them nodded at him.  "I'm sorry, sir."

"Not your fault.  He's always been this way.  He's not mental, he's evil."  He turned his back on his father, looking at the cop.  "Can I help?"

"No, sir, I've got it."  He glanced up at him.  "I've called for an ambulance.  I was on my way in."  Xander nodded, getting down to help any way he could.  "You really do need looked at."

"I've had worse," he said quietly.  "I'll live with a few bandages and some cream."  He looked up as someone else came running, glaring at him.  "You are?"

"His partner!"  He stopped, staring at him.  "What happened!"

"My father, Harris."  He went back to helping.  "Got a board in your car?"

"No, sir.  Like I said, the ambulance is coming."

"It was right behind me," the second cop said, going to wave them closer.  "They need a board.  They've got a collar on him!"  The paramedics nodded and rushed over to help.  He went to pull Xander away, watching him hiss.  "You need medical attention, sir?"

"Yeah, a few bandages," he said, showing his hand.  "I've got a minor stab wound on my back too."  He popped his neck.  "My father is Harris.  I was told to come see him.  They wanted me to pay for his care."  The cop gaped and Xander looked at him.  "Sorry if I sound kinda cold.  This is post-battle me."  The cop nodded, swallowing a bit.  "I found out my father was paid thirty grand to get me out here so my family could be attacked back in Chicago.  He's the one who stabbed me.  We struggled in there, the director handed me the paperwork to commit him.  I came out here since they wanted substantial money to keep him.  I talked with your partner about what my options were since he had tried to kill me.  He said my father was already committed."  The cop nodded at that, quickly.  "My father chased someone out.  I kept him occupied.  Your partner pulled his cuffs.  My father went for him and kicked him under the chin, I heard a snapping sound so I yelled for them to call someone while I subdued my father."  He looked at the officer again.  "I hope he's fine."

"Me too."  He swallowed as his partner was loaded up.  "I really should take a formal statement."

Xander handed him a business card for the company.  "I work for them.  They can get me at home or on-site.  Whenever you're ready for one, yell."  He walked off, going to get into his rental car and head for the airport.  He could pick up some bandages on the way.


Modo met Xander coming off the plane, staring at him.  "What happened!"

"My father."  He looked at him.  "What happened here?"

"They managed to hit Throttle with a bullet.  Enamel had to instruct someone how to take it out."  He walked him out to the parking garage.  "You all right, bro?"

"Hell no," he said bitterly. "Just get me there, I'll be fine."  Modo nodded at that, and whistled for his bike.  They were in the shadowy area.  His bike came up and Modo handed Xander his helmet.  "Thanks, Modo."  He got onto the back, holding on while he rode and thought.  His phone rang and he checked the number, hitting the key to answer it.  "Better be good, we're having a family crisis," he responded.  He listened to the quiet report from Max.  "That's his thing, Max.  Let the state bury him.  I want nothing to do with him.  Thank you."  He hung up and made sure the phone would stay in his pocket.  "My father killed himself when he figured out I had escaped and not paid him."  Modo shivered at that.  "That's what that was about.  That and he was paid to get me there."

"We know.  Throttle hung up with you and was basically shot the next minute.  A sniper from across the street into the office."  He took the corner onto the interstate and sped up.  "Come on, Lil' Hoss, we've got to get him to the hospital and Throttle's side.  You can go better."

"Sounds like she's ready for some gas and an oil change," Xander said tiredly.  "I'll help you with that once he's home."

"Don't worry, bro, we can do that," Vinnie said over the radio.  "You okay?"

"No, but I'll live.  How is my man?"

"Doing better.  He's woken once.  It was in the side of his neck.  The guy who did it did get caught.  Rimfire was outside."  Xander sighed in relief.  "We even handed him over."

"Wonderful.  Someone paid my father thirty grand and gave him a blaster to get me out there," he reported.  "Tell whichever cop is over the case that."

"Done."  He hung up.

Xander rested against Modo's back.  "How's Enamel doing?"

"He's fine.  He just stood there and ordered this time.  The docs looked at his hands and arms and said if they knew it'd wear off that he'd be fine and to make sure he didn't do anything like burn himself."

"Yeah, I've been good about that so far," Xander admitted, clutching tighter as Modo took the off-ramp.  He sped across the street to the hospital.  "Why this one?"

"The other was full and they transferred him on Micah's orders after treating him."

"Fine."  They stopped in front of the doors and Xander got off. "Thanks, big guy, I'll see you up there."  He headed inside.  "I'm here to see my husband."

The receptionist looked at him, then at his bare arm.  "Up in ICU, sir, floor three.  The others like you are up there.  You can take off the helmet.  We've already been shocked by the other white guy."

"Thanks."  He took off his helmet and headed up there.   He came off the elevator and walked into the ICU, weathering the nurse's stares.  "I'm his husband."  He walked into where he could hear Charley crying and gave her a pat on the back, then leaned down to kiss his mate on the nose.  "You'd better be all right or else I'm going to kill people over this," he whispered.

"He's fine, bro, they just need him to nap," Vinnie said from the corner.  He walked over to hug him.  "He's fine."

Xander pulled back to look at him.  "What about you?"

"I'm fine.  It's his blood.  I haven't cleaned up yet."

Xander nodded.  "Go do that."  He gave him a clap on the back.  "Go clean up, get Charley calmed down.  Give me ten minutes.  No one's coming in while I'm here."  Vinnie nodded and helped Charley up and out to his bike so they could head back and clean up a bit.  Xander pulled Charley's chair over, sitting down in it the wrong way so he could rest on the back of it and still hold his mate's hand.  "Hey, babe.  It's me.  I'm home.  I didn't want to blow you off earlier but there were a few small problems."  The hand in his squeezed gently and he squeezed back. "I'm here, babe.  Get better sooner."

Modo walked in and closed the curtains across the doorway.  "Vinnie and Charley?"

"He had blood in his fur so I told him to go clean up and calm her down."  He looked at him.  "Tell the nurse to come tell me what's wrong?"  Modo nodded, going to do that. The nurse came in a moment later.  "I'm his spouse."

"It's been noted, sir.  Generally speaking, he's fine.  We're keeping him under light sedation so he doesn't struggle or scratch."  She checked Throttle's vitals from the machines around him.  "He's doing just fine.  He should be able to go home later today.  We only have him up here because it's easier to quarantine him from the general public."  Xander nodded at that.  "Are you all right?"

"Small burn.  I've had worse.  I'll get stuff for it later."

"Of course."  She gave him a gentle smile and brushed his hair off his forehead.  "He's a very strong man, sir.  He'll be fine and back to cuddling you within a few days."  Xander nodded at that, giving her a faint smile.  "I'll let you stay in here.  You're all allowed in here all hours.  I think the other white gentleman would destroy things if he wasn't allowed."

"Probably," Modo agreed dryly.  "Vinnie's very protective of us, ma'am."

She smiled at him.  "That's fine, I understand that."  She left them alone, going to report that he was the spouse and what she had told him, plus make notes on his chart.


Xander looked up as the curtain opened, looking at the detective standing there.  "They handed it to you because it was us?"  He nodded.  "You okay?"

"I'm fine," Ray admitted, coming in and closing the curtain again.  "How is he?"

"Better.  He's healing.  Dawn and I did a small healing spell to speed it up.  They're keeping him under light sedation."  He yawned and stretched, then winced. "Sorry, funny position."

Ray looked him over, then shook his head. "Then why are you bleeding, kid?"

"My father tried to stab me," he said honestly.  "He had a shiv.  I'm fine."  He looked at Throttle again.  "It's been a long day, detective.  Who did it?"

"Wolfram and Hart.  They paid for it and had another inmate kill their assassin."  Xander nodded at that.  "And another cop."

Xander looked at him again.  "I wish you the best of luck catching them, detective.  I hope like hell they suffer in general population."

Ray smirked a bit at that.  "Sure, kid.  If we can manage it.  They fled.  We're working with the Mounties to catch them before they leave Canada."  He moved closer.  "Are you sure you're okay?  You look really pissed."

Xander looked at him.  "My father was paid to get me out there.  It was all a ruse to get me to pay him off to keep quiet.  He was the same evil bastard he was before, only now he wasn't drunk.  He assaulted a few people, he might have snapped a cop's neck when he was trying to help me subdue him outside, after he had chased someone else outside.  He had a stun rod and tried to kill me with it. I took it from him.  The same as I took the blaster from him earlier in the day.  He also committed suicide instead of going to prison because I did note that he wasn't mentally damaged, he was always like that."  Ray nodded once.  "I'll be fine. This isn't the time for this.  Throttle needs me more."

"I get it, kid."  He looked at the hand Throttle was holding, then at the other one.  "That's a burn, kid."

"I'm fine."

"Bull."  He came around to look at the hand, watching the boy hiss in pain.  "Nurse!"  She came rushing in. "He's got a burn on his hand that I can see muscle through."  He pried Xander out of the chair and pushed him toward her.  "He also said he got stabbed earlier.  Bandage him so he can sit."

"Yes, detective.  Did we get the person?"  He nodded.  "Thank you."  She walked Xander off.  "You should have told us!  We would have bandaged it for you!"

"I didn't even pay any attention to it," Xander told her honestly.  "He needed me more.  It's nothing."

"It's not nothing!"  She sat him down in a chair.  "Where were you stabbed?"  He took off his shirt and she blinked a few times at his body, then looked at the bloody spot on his side, finding the hole.  "A shiv?"

"My father was in a criminal mental hospital.  He stabbed me and used a stun rod on me.  I grabbed it to get it away from him, twice."

"Stupid idiot!" she said, slapping him on the shoulder.  "How dumb can you be!"

"He nearly killed a cop, nurse.  He kicked him under the chin and broke his neck.  It was necessary."

"And he wasn't?  How do you think your husband would go on if you had died!"

"I'm not that badly hurt," he said, standing up.  "It's not that serious."

"Sit!" she ordered and he flinched.  "Now!"  He shook his head, heading back to Throttle's side.  She followed after grabbing some bandages and gauze, plus the burn cream they used.  She got him on the chair and went to work on him.  "You stubborn bastard, he would have died if you hadn't come back."

"There's not a chance I wouldn't come back and I'm fine."

"Shut up, kid," Vecchio ordered calmly.  He looked at the injury, then winced.  "I've seen prettier wounds."

"It was a shiv, detective.  It happens.  He was in a mental place for being a bastard."  He hissed and flinched.  "Can you please quit?" he snapped.  "I'm fine!  Take care of Throttle."

"I hear stubborn people," Staff said as she walked in, looking at Xander's back, then at the hand Ray was holding open.  "What happened to you!" she shrieked.

"My father.  He tried a few times to kill me. I'm fine.  They're being fussy."

"Modo, come hold Xander down!  He's got a stab wound and a burn plus a graze!"  He came trotting in and helped Ray hold Xander still so he could be bandaged.

"I'm fine!"

"You're not, bro.  Now calm down before you wake Throttle."  Xander hissed.  "You sound like the cats.  Calm down.  We're trying to help you."

"I'm fine," he said, breaking free and getting up.  "I've been fine all day.  I'm fine.  It's nothing."

Vinnie walked in and slugged him, knocking him out.  He flexed his hand a few times.  "It won't last that long."  He took the chair, stroking Throttle's arm.  "He's fine, just stubborn.  I just knocked him out for them."

The nurse snorted and got to work on him, bandaging his side and wrapping gauze around his waist to hold the bandage in place.  Then she got to work on his hand.  It was a bad burn but it should heal fine.  "He'll need to have someone more experienced look at this later.  Your own doctor should be good enough, he can order him around."

"When Throttle's awake, Xander will snap back to being his normal self," Vinnie assured her.  "He'll be in pain then."  He looked over as Enamel walked in.  "He got hurt too.  He said he's fine."

"He's got a second degree burn on his hand," the nurse told him, letting him see what she was doing.  "I can unwrap it if you want."

"No, I'll look at it after his bandage change.  How did it happen?"

"He said something about a stun rod," Vecchio admitted.  "He also said the wound on his back was a stab wound from a shiv."

"Hmm.  I thought my brother was bad," he said dryly.

"He's alive and on Mars too," Vinnie told him.  "Rimfire was told to watch out about him."

"Hmm.  Another good reason not to go back."   He looked at the machines.  "He's starting to come around."  He looked at the bandage.  "Go ahead and peel up a side, Vincent, let's look at it."  Vinnie did so carefully and he nodded.  "Good job.  Nurse, the wound's nearly closed.  We can let him wake up this time."  She nodded, making note of that on the chart once she had Xander's hand bandaged.  "Thank you," he said with a small grin for her.  "He's just like that when Throttle is hurt."

"That's fine," she agreed, patting her hair back into place.  "Watch him better."  She walked out, going to tell the shift supervisor what was going on and the new orders.

Enamel nodded at Modo.  "Wake him up."  Modo slapped Xander's face a few times.  He looked down at him.  "How bad was it, kid?"

"I'm fine," he growled, getting up.  He looked at his waist.  "It didn't need that much cloth."

"Shut up," Vinnie told him, looking at him.  "You can't be injured while he is.  You're the only one he'll let spoil and baby him."

"Which is why I'm not hurting," he said patiently.  "Move."

"Nope, it's my turn.  Go get something to eat.  You're grumpy."  Xander growled.  Vinnie got up to walk him off, taking him down to the cafeteria.  He caught the shirt Modo tossed at his back, forcing it on Xander in the elevator.  He walked him into the cafeteria and got him a tray, paying for it.  Then he slammed him down in a chair, putting the food in front of him.  "Eat it all," he ordered firmly, then he headed back upstairs.

Xander glared at him but did as ordered.  He knew he'd pass out if he didn't eat and Throttle didn't need that.


Throttle woke up and blinked at his mate.  He was sitting in a chair, chin resting on the back of it, and was holding his hand tightly.  He gave it a gentle squeeze and Xander squeezed backed but didn't wake up.  He looked over at the other mouse in the corner.  "Why is he bruised, Stoker?"

"Vincent had to knock him out so he'd allow himself to be treated.  It seems he got stabbed earlier."  Throttle moaned.  "He also got a burned hand from a stun rod."  He moved closer.  "He's fine. Just asleep.  He's exhausted and needs it."  He looked at Throttle.  "He and Dawn did something to make your neck heal faster."

"I figured as much or else I'd still be asleep.  Is it the same day?"  Stoker nodded.  "Is he okay?"

"He claims he is, but he's been a chilly mouse to everyone.  Vinnie had to drag him off to make him eat."  He looked at Xander, then at Throttle.  "He'll be fine, Throttle."

"He'd better be.  Or else I'm going to have to hurt that puss sucker."

"He killed himself since he couldn't get the money he wanted from Xander."  He stroked the boy's hair, making him relax again.  "When did he use it all?"  Throttle looked at him.  "You've got to be kidding me."  Throttle shook his head.  "How much did he spend on us?"

"About twelve million.  He's down to about two. We mostly live off his paychecks.  Except for things like vacations and taxes."

"We don't need him to break himself."

"He did it without having to be asked," Throttle pointed out.  "You guys needed it so he was there.  It's the sorta mouse he is," he said tiredly.  He yawned.  "I hate being hurt."

"I know, Throttle."  He stroked his hair.  "I told your momma you're fine.  That Dawn and Xander healed you."  He nodded at that, letting out a small grin.  "We don't need a patron.  Things are starting to go well again.  Make him back off and take a vacation."

"He won't do it even if I really want to," Throttle pointed out sarcastically.  "He sees needs and decided he's going to help you meet them.  That's the sorta guy he is."

"I know.  Just tell him to quit for a bit.  Except for the groceries for your families, let us handle it on our own."

"I'm good," Xander muttered.

"Yeah, but we don't need a patron like that," Stoker said quietly, stroking the back of the kid's head.  "We've got it, Xander.  We're back on firmer footing again and we've got it.  So just let us handle it. You take care of the family down here first and the moms next.  Let me worry about Mars for a while so we can see what we can and can't do.  It's time for us to walk without some help."  Xander looked up at him.  "Really, it is.  You helped us when we needed it and now it's time to watch us toddle on our own for a bit.  You can't ruin yourself for us, kid."  He patted him on the back of the head.  "So just let us struggle for a bit.  It'll give us a reason to find some more solutions to some problems."

"What problems?"

"Oh, drilling problems."

"We have those drilling tips," Throttle pointed out.  "They go through rock."

"See, I like that sort of solution."  He grinned at Xander.  "Let us toddle on our own.  The cities are finally starting to work together and we're doing okay.  Just take care of my boys down here and the moms."  Xander nodded at that.  "Got me?  No more surprise stuff up there is needed."

Xander snorted.  "Shut up and go away, Stoker.  I'm going to do more than that anyway and you know it.  Even if I do send up stuff they won't eat so they pass it on."

Stoker smirked at that.  "That I don't mind, mini-punk.  Just no more big things for the time being.  Take care of your own family for right now.  This is going to be costly.  Even for only being a few days."  Xander nodded at that.  "So take care of the boys down here and I'm going to stop Carbine from adding you into the thought of holiday presents."

"I can buy holiday presents."

"No, you can't."

"I can so."

"Fine, you can for your families.  And the kids because they'd pout otherwise, but no playing Santa to the orphanages on Mars.  There's too many of them.  You're stretching yourself so you're in danger of tipping the scale into poverty."  He gave him another pat.  "Though I'm impressed and amazed you did it for so long without us finding everything you did, mini-punk.  Just let us handle it for now.  We're a proud race and only getting more proud and stubborn."  Xander nodded at that.  "Good boy.  By the way, there'll be a new ambassador next week.  Tailpipe is getting recalled in favor of a more political mouse, Winch.  She's a bit tougher but also knows what it's like being a Freedom Fighter from the front of the pack.  We'll let her handle the shopping stuff most of the time and let you do the fun and the family stuff."  He grinned at him.  "Got it?"  Xander nodded, not looking the least bit upset.  "Good kid."  He smirked at Throttle.  "How about you?"

"I'm good with that.  It's time to focus on home."  He looked at Xander's hand, then at him.  "You okay?"  He nodded.  "Are you sure?"  Xander nodded again.  "Then why are you bandaged?"

"He had a stun rod, I ended up grabbing it twice to keep myself from being hurt."

"You grabbed a *stun rod*?" Throttle asked blandly.  Xander nodded.  "Uh-huh.  And that small injury?"

"They found a graze and a stab," Stoker told him.  "I don't know why no one's done a quick healing on them."

"They're fine.  I'm not in any pain."

"You should be screaming in pain," the nurse said as she came in.  "I heard talking and I thought I'd give you a few minutes to kiss good morning," she offered with a gentle smile.  "Let me check your neck, Throttle."  He nodded, tipping his head out of the way for her.  She pried up the bandage to look under it.  "Well, you're a very quick healer.  Extraordinary.  It's nearly fully closed."  She taped it back down.  "Now, for you, sir," she said impatiently.  Xander opened his mouth and Stoker took his shirt off him before he could protest.  "Thank you.  He seems a bit stubborn.  How do you make him do this at home?"

"I usually sweet talk him into it," Throttle admitted.  "Babe, let them check them so I can see how uninjured you are and I'll reward you with a cuddle."

"Not in that bed you won't," the nurse said firmly.  She checked his hole on his back, and then the graze.  "He looks all right.  We might want to get him an antibiotic or something though.  That wound doesn't look that superficial."  She held out her hand.  "Let's see the burn."

"Let me see his back," Throttle ordered. Xander sighed and turned around so he could see it.  "Up."  Xander stood up, the chair was in the way and he knew it.  "Who did that?"

"Father."  He sat down and held out his hand.  "It's not that bad.  It was a shiv.  He had a blaster."

"Who gave him a blaster or a shiv?" Stoker asked.

"The same guys who gave him thirty grand to make me come out there," Xander said bitterly.  He winced as the nurse moved his hand.  "Do you have to do that?"

She showed it to Throttle.  "This is pretty bad.  He needs someone good to look at it."

"Can you get him someone?  I'm not sure our doc can do burns."

"If not, Mayflower can," Stoker assured him.  "I'll have her down here by tomorrow."  Throttle nodded his thanks.  He looked at the burn and winced.  "That's not that nice looking.  Why aren't you feeling that?"

"I'm suppressing it," he said dryly.  "I figured out how to do that after I got bitten by that thing."  He looked at the nurse.  "Should I rewrap it?"

"Smart ass," she snorted, getting the cream to put on there and changing his bandage.  Then she made a note on Throttle's chart and walked away shaking her head.  "The spouse needs some antibiotics.  Remind the day shift to ask his doctor to prescribe some."  The nurse made a note on a sticky pad and put it next to the time clock.  "Thanks.  That burn's looking pretty rank but they were talking about getting another of their doctors down tomorrow."

"That's fine.  They seem pretty nice, if a bit stubborn and loud," the other nurse offered.  "I wouldn't mind working with more of them."

"Me either, as long as it's not that one white mouse."  She went to do a check on another patient.

"Yes, that one definitely needs a leash, even though it's only because he's upset about his mate," the second nurse noted calmly.  She smiled as the older mouse came out.  "Do you guys allow human nurses and doctors to train to help you?  Plenty of us wouldn't mind the change."

"Right now we're working on getting our own people properly trained," he admitted.  "We're just coming off a multi-generation war, miss."

She nodded.  "I can understand that.  Well, remember, if you need that sort of help quite a few of us would volunteer."  She smiled at him.  "Most of you seem quite nice and I'm sure the other is because he's worried about his husband."

Stoker grinned, nodding a bit.  "True.  Xander's usually the nicer one."  She smiled at that.  "I'm headed back to their place.  Call us if there's any problem.  Xander's curled up next to him while Throttle becomes reasonable and makes him take care of himself."  He headed off, taking his bike home.  He rode up the ramp and stopped in the lounge area, making everyone look at him.  "Throttle's awake and we just showed him Xander's injuries.  He's pointing out that he can be hurt too.  That they can baby each other for a bit."  He got off his bike and gave her a pat.  "Go rest, girl.  Plug in if you can find a spare one."  She beeped and headed back to the garage to snuggle in against Xander's bike.  "The nurses are very nice.  They wanted to know if we could use a few of them on Mars."  He sat down beside Dawn.  "How've things been here?"

"I got the window fixed," Modo offered.

"I got everyone fed and watered, including Vic and Charley," Vinnie told him.

"Good.  Throttle can probably come home tomorrow night but he's supposed to be on bed rest."  They all nodded at that.  "Need help with the stink fishes?"

"No, send Pit and Chassis home, that way nothing gets ruined," Vinnie told him.  "We can handle it and they won't help against Wolfram and Hart anyway.  It's better to get that stuff home so you can use it."

Dawn poked Stoker on the side.  "Is Xander bankrupt yet?"  He shook his head.  "I'm transferring some of my money to the new Mars account too."

"Don't," he told her, giving her a hug.  "We appreciate it, but we need to stand on our own for a bit.  We've got most everything settled in now.  We've got trade agreements worked out and everything.  The new ambassador, Winch, is very good at that stuff and she was a Freedom Fighter from the front ranks.  We can easily trust her to handle that stuff.  Save it for your future.  After all, you've got a good few years down here before you come up to live."  He pinched her on the nose.  "Got it?"  She nodded.  "Good.  Keep Xander from doing it too.  We need to struggle a bit to innovate."

Rimfire looked at him.  "Does that mean I'm not supposed to ship more books back?"

"No, please do.  They've been very helpful so far," Stoker promised.  He smirked at him.  "The engineers have been going nuts over those and the ones Xander included from his weapons design stuff. We'll be to replicate where we were a few decades ago pretty soon.  The remaining problems are water and getting things settled and slightly back toward normal."

"That's fine.  Let me know if there's any other subjects I can find books for you on," Rimfire offered gently.  Stoker nodded at that.  "How is Xander?"

"We'll need someone to look at that burn on his hand, the nurse described it as rank."  They all shuddered.  "He grabbed a *stun rod*?" he asked.  "Does he not know those things hurt you?"

"He was probably trying to keep it from hurting him," Modo offered.

"And he did it twice," Vinnie sighed, shaking his head.  "My little brother has 'brave, yet stupid' syndrome."

"Well, at that age, you did too," Stoker reminded.    Vinnie nodded at that.  "You can help him cure his with Throttle.  How goes the other stuff?"  He looked over as Enamel came up the ramp.  "You still okay?"

"I could use another massage but I'll be fine," he admitted.  "Thank you for asking instead of sneering."

Stoker looked at him.  "I would but Xander's just proven to be more arrogant than you."  Enamel stopped moving to look at him.  "He's got a bad burn on one hand and an open hole on his back, plus a graze.  He was ignoring them in favor of Throttle."

"Of course.  If he's injured he can't take care of Throttle like he needs to.  Xander's just as fussy of a mouse as Shell is."  He sat down beside Staff on the floor.  "What were we doing tonight?"  Everyone stared at him.  "I'll have the nurse check his hand tomorrow when I go in to check on them."

"I was thinking that Mayflower could come down.  It's a burn and she's excellent at them," Stoker offered.

Enamel shook his head.  "I've seen plenty and I doubt it's as bad as the ones from licking the light socket and things."  Stoker shuddered at that.  "I saw all sorts of injuries as a pediatrician, Stoker.  Kids are creative in how they hurt themselves and each other.  It's not the first burn I've seen."  He looked at Vinnie.  "Can I get you to work on my arms so I might make it through a shower?"

"Sure."  He nodded him over and Enamel scooted over, unable to stand up without using his hands.  He had to swing his shoulders to make one of his arms move and Modo picked up the other one.  He hissed and winced as they worked on him but he was getting some limited feeling back.  "Thanks, guys.  I'm sorry I'm in the way with him hurting too."

"Not an issue," Modo promised.  "This is the sort of thing that you need to be babied a bit over."

"When's Shell coming back?" Staff asked as she moved to work on the back of his neck and his shoulders.  It could only help.  He let out a visceral moan and she blushed but kept going. "This way there's no block here," she assured him gently.

"She'll be back in a few days.  She had to go clear her schedule and things."  He tipped his head forward.  "Thank you, guys.  You too, Staff.  You're a damn special girl and Modo is damn lucky to have you."  She giggled and patted him on the back of the head before finishing him off.  The other two let him go when his hands twitched.  "Thanks, guys."  He got up with a hiss of pain and went to take a quick shower and change clothes.  It wouldn't last long but maybe he'd get long enough to have a leisurely shower this time.  Shell would make him take baths with her so she could scrub him.  He looked down at his erection and let out a bitter snort.  "Sorry, I can't do that.  Not yet, old boy."  He finished up his shower and barely made it into clothes before his nerves started to cramp and shut down again.  He couldn't tie the drawstrings on his sweats but they weren't that loose.  They'd hopefully stay up long enough for him to get to bed.  He toed open the door, having left it slightly open so he wouldn't have to call for help when he couldn't work the knob, and headed back to his room.  He flopped down on his bed, looking over as someone knocked.  "Good, come change the tape for me," he offered.  Dawn walked in and changed the tape and put down the large mug with the straw for him.  "Juice?"

She smiled and patted him on the ear.  "Of course.  You've got to keep your strength up or else Shell will maul you to death."  She started the tape and grinned at the story.  "I've got books two and three, Doc, you can borrow them from Rimfire when you're done with this one."  He nodded.  "You rest.  It'll be another long day tomorrow."  She left him, closing his door most of the way.  That way he could get out if he had to.

Enamel leaned over to sip his juice, then went back to listening to the book on tape.  Now he understand the twins joke that Vinnie and Xander had been using recently.  He could see him as the Weasley twins, definitely.


 Xander woke up in his chair, looking at the doctor standing beside the bed and her big needle that she was drawing out of a vial.  "Who're you?" he asked sleepily.

"I'm the person who's going to be cleaning your hand up," she told him, sticking him quickly in the arm.  She checked Throttle. He was still asleep so she walked around and got Xander up and onto the gurney she had drug in with her, walking him out.  "I'm taking him to look at his hand."

The nurses looked at her and one nodded.  "Sure.  It's a serious second degree but not the most horrible I've seen."

The doctor smiled.  "Of course.  Thank you, nurse."  She walked the gurney off, taking him to the elevators.  She smiled at the mouse coming off the elevator.  "I'm taking him to work on his hand."

"Then I'm coming with you," Vinnie told her.  "Otherwise he'll be waking up within a few minutes."  She looked stunned.  "Pain killers and sedatives don't work right on him.  Actually, he's listed as 'do not sedate' on his husband's files because he can die from them."  He smirked at her.  "So I'm going with you.  He has a tendency to wake up violent if he doesn't know you."  The elevator dinged and Enamel walked off.  "She's taking him to look at his hand."

"Good, I need to look at it as well so I can prescribe the correct antibiotic."

The doctor looked at him.  "Are you one of us, sir?"  He nodded.  "Do you have credentials here?"  He nodded again.  "May I see them?"

"Sure, but I can't move my hands at the moment.  Vincent?"  Vinnie pulled them out of his pocket and held them up for her.  Her face fell and she turned him over to him.  "Thanks.  Who are you anyway?"

"Just one of the burn center's docs.  Let's go look at his hand."  She got them onto the elevator and down to an exam room in the burn unit, undoing his hand to look at it.  "It's not that bad," she promised.

Enamel looked at it.  "Move his fingers for me?  He gripped a stun rod."  She manipulated the hand. "He's going to be stiff.  I'm going to have to get him to do PT for that."  He frowned and looked at the cream she had pulled out.  "That doesn't work well with us, but generic neosporin does.  Use that instead."  She nodded, getting some of that instead.  "Thank you."

"You're welcome."  She rebandaged the hand after creaming it down then helped get him back upstairs and into the chair.  She walked away, pulling out her phone to call her boss.  "I failed.  The other white one and their doctor showed up," she hissed. "I couldn't.  The burn is severe but not that bad."  She pushed the button for the elevator.  "No, he'll be fine but he won't be using that hand for a bit."  The elevator opened and she blinked up at the huge gray mouse standing there.  "I just brought Xander Harris back," she offered, getting out of his way.

"Thank you, miss."  He walked off with the mouse behind him.

Staff stopped to look at her.  "NID?" she asked.  She shuddered and shook her head.  "Wolfram and Hart?"  She nodded, looking stunned.  "I'd quit.  They like to steal souls and sacrifice people.  Especially those who fail.  They have in the past from what Xander said of his time in LA."  She walked off, leaving her there.

The doctor got onto the elevator, shaking as she hung up.   She was not touching this case again.  Too many things were going wrong.

Staff walked into the room and smiled at Modo.  "She worked for Wolfram and Hart.  I warned her off."

"I wondered why she had him knocked out and was moving him herself," Vinnie agreed, sitting down and putting Xander in his lap.  "Need to look at his stab wound too, Enamel?"

"Please."  Vinnie pried off the tape and he looked at the small hole.  "It's not too deep or bad.  It could have probably used stitched when it happened, but it's been too long now."  He nodded at the hole. "Press gently around the edges."  Vinnie did so.  "No, no infection yet.  I'll be getting him an antibiotic for his hand but nothing for this but bandages.  Go ahead and tape it back down."

"I can change that for you if you want," a nurse offered from the doorway.

"We're pretty good at that stuff," Modo offered with a small grin for her.  "Let us tape it down.  He's asleep again."

"Sure."  She handed over the necessities and checked on Throttle while they worked on the small wound.  "How is his hand?"

"He'll need some PT for it because it affected the joints," Enamel offered, watching her.  "Is he sedated?  His heart rate's pretty low."

"We didn't, but the doctor may have," she admitted, checking his chart.  "Yup, here we go.  Night shift did add a small one to his IV because he was having some nightmares."  She looked at him.  "He should wake up fairly quickly.  It was a quarter of what we had been giving him before.  The same medicine even."

"That's fine."  She smiled and made a note of that on his chart then took back the scissors and the tape, going back to the desk to tell the others they were all in and what had been said about the young man's hand.

Enamel looked at Xander, who was still on Vinnie's lap.  "He'll pounce you for that."

"He won't," Vinnie said smugly.  "Xander will have nightmares and thrash soon."

"He probably woke up because she was in here," Staff told him.  "That's why she sedated him."

"Hopefully she takes the warning you gave her," Modo offered with a kiss to her temple.  "When can they come home, doc?"

"Soon," he promised.  "Throttle should be able to come home tonight.  Then Xander should be able to handle most of it at home.  We'll just have to watch his hand."  He looked over as two more mice walked in, both in lab coats.  "Morning, gents.  You're Proxima and Heat?"

"I'm Heat, sir," the one on the left said, shaking his hand.  "Do you have any feeling at all?  We were told to make notes about the possible treatments you've been using."

"Right afterward, for about a half-hour," he advised.  "If I get a massage right after another acupuncture treatment then it's a bit longer and it fades instead of suddenly cramping up and no longer moving."

"That's fine," Proxima noted, writing that down.  "We'll want to watch some of the treatments to see if it's something that can benefit the others.  How can we help you today?"

"What sort of patients do we have to look at today?" Heat asked.

"Just these guys for the most part," Enamel offered.  "At home there's a mother and a baby mouse as well."

"We saw her, sir," Heat agreed.  "She directed us this way."

Vinnie looked at him, then at Enamel.  "I think you're right and the baby reabsorbed.  She smells different to me today."

"That's fine, we'll check later," Enamel promised. "Have they gotten a disc system working?"

"Three sets, sir.  They did have to trade for some of the monitors since we couldn't manufacture them, but we're doing okay with them so far.  They're in the main ER and one outpost mostly," Proxima offered.  "What's the status of these two patients?"

"Throttle was shot in the neck," Vinnie told him.  "Human style bullets.  Dawn and Xander did a small healing spell to speed the healing up.  The wound's nearly closed."  Xander shifted so he stroked his back.  "I've got you, bro, just calm down," he whispered.  Xander settled in on his shoulder.  "This one was in a serious battle yesterday with someone who lured him away from the main group.  He has a graze, a minor stab wound, and burns on one hand from grabbing a stun rod twice."

"The burns are technically yellow-tagged, or what humans consider second degree," Enamel told them.  "They do go into the joints since he was grabbing it when he was burned by it.  The stab wound is about three centimeters diameter and not looking too horrible.  It's open, not stitched.  Apparently he didn't have it seen to until late last night when he got them that morning."

"Can you use a glue to seal it?" Heat asked.

"Won't work on him, son," Enamel told him.  "Xander's a tough old mouse.  He was ignoring the pain yesterday so that his mate wouldn't have to worry."

"You must have to worry about him often, sir," Proxima told Vinnie.

Modo chuckled.  "They're bros, boys, his mate's on the bed. The baby mouse and human are Vinnie's."

"Our mistake, we're very sorry," Heat told him, blushing a bit.

"Not an issue, kid.  We got hit with a lust ray," Vinnie told him.  "We were pretty close before this."  They nodded at that and made a note to themselves.  Vinnie looked at Enamel.  "No Shell?"

"She said three to four days and then I can get out of your fur."

"You're more fun than those two will be when they start to fuss about bed rest," Staff assured him with a small grin.  Throttle suddenly flailed and woke up.  "Hey!" she complained, coming over to steady him.  "Don't do that, you'll reopen it and have to stay here longer.  You'll hate yourself if you do that and it messes up your fur with another scar."  He calmed down, letting her put his glasses on him.  "There, how's that?" she asked with a small grin.

"Better, thanks.  Water?" he asked hoarsely.  She nodded, going to get him some from the fountain up the hall.  He looked at Vinnie and Xander.  "What happened?"

"A doc tried to take him, bro.  He's fine.  They rebandaged his hand. She was working for Wolfram and Hart."

"Wonderful," he groaned, forcing himself to sit up.  He looked at the two new mice, nodding a bit.  "You are?"

"Proxima and Heat, sir, the new doctors Enamel is mentoring," Heat offered, shaking his non-IV'd hand.

"We'll be his hands until he can use his again," Proxima said, shaking his hand.  "I'm Proxima, he's Heat."

"Wonderful," Throttle agreed.  He looked at Enamel.  "When can I get sprung?"
"Probably tonight.  We're waiting for another scan of your neck," he offered.  "Then you'll get the chore of keeping Xander calm and making him help his hand by doing the exercises he'll have to do."

"It's that bad?" Throttle demanded.

"He grabbed a stun rod *twice*," Vinnie told him simply.

"Shit," Throttle said bitterly, taking the water from Staff.  "Thanks, dear."

"Welcome."  She kissed him on the cheek.  "One was probably to yank it from his father's hand and the other was probably to block it.  He'll be fine in a few weeks."  She smoothed some of his fur back off his forehead.  "Now, you should probably be lying down, Throttle.  Don't make me get mean and tell your mother you're being a bad patient."  She smiled at him.  "She'll fuss worse'n Xander."

"Point," he admitted, finishing his water and lying back down.  "Can we do the scan?"

"It's scheduled for about eleven," Enamel assured him.  He looked at his students.  "Later today we'll be going over what you know and what you can do, and then we'll start going over the textbooks from down here, that way you've got a good foundation of both sciences."  They nodded in unison.  "You two military?"

"I was, sir," Proxima offered.  "I lied to get in early.  Heat here was going to go to the Freedom Fighters base nearest his house but his mother made him take medic lessons and they moved him on."

"I can speak," Heat said firmly, glaring at his fellow student.

"Boys," Enamel said dryly, looking at them.  "No fighting.  It's juvenile and you'll get enough of that from some of your patients.  Xander will pout you to death."  They let out a small whimper at that. "Mice are not good patients to have under your care, but some are worse than others.  Two of them are in that chair.  Stoker's another one."

"Hey!" Vinnie complained. "I'm an angel compared to Xander and his pouting."

"Vincent, we nearly tied you down the last time you were in the hospital."

"I knocked him out, it stopped the headache," Throttle offered, sipping more of his water.  The nurse came back in.  "Can I eat?"

"We'll get you some soft food for lunch," she promised, checking him over and tucking him back in.  "Should we get him a cot?" she asked Vinnie.

"No, I'm comfy and he's fine," he assured her, patting Xander on the back.  "He'll only have nightmares otherwise.  Unless you want him to rest in Throttle's bed with him."

"No, the hospital would probably not like that.  It might cause a situation where his tubes would come free or something else horrible like sex between patients.  The hospital frowns on that," she said seriously, bustling back out after doing a bit of cleaning up around the bed.

"So I get to go home right after lunch, right?" Throttle said after a moment's silence.  "Xander will definitely need cuddled to avoid the dreaded whining."

Enamel looked at him and shook his head.  "When we've got the results back and the human doctor and I agree, Throttle.  Until then, you can have cuddles; we'll just watch out for you in case they fuss."  He looked at his two students.  "Start by checking everyone's vitals so I know you can, then we'll move on from there."  They got to work, Heat taking Modo and Staff while Proxima got the other two.


Xander walked into the house and glared at the man standing there.  "You needed something?" he growled at his boss.

Boris looked stunned.  "I'm sorry if I offended you by dropping by, Xander.  I hadn't heard from you in a few weeks and I wanted to make sure you were still all right," he said stiffly.

"Forgive him, he's in pain," Throttle complained as he walked up the ramp and took Xander to the couch with him. He was on orders to make both of them rest.  "He's got a pretty painful burn on one hand and a stab wound.  I'm just getting out of the hospital too."  He laid down with a sigh and pulled Xander against his chest to cuddle him.  He picked up Xander's hand and held it up.  "See?"

"What happened!"

"His father was a lure to get him away from us," Vinnie complained as he walked up the stairs.  "Sorry but he's not going to be working for quite some time.  Enamel said months."  Xander growled at that.  "Well, next time don't *grab* the stun rod!"

"You wanted me to let him hit me with it?"

"No, kick it next time," Vinnie offered with a grin.  "That's what I usually do."  He flopped down on the chair, then got up to put a blanket over them.  "They're on mandatory rest."

"I had wondered why I hadn't heard anything for a while," Boris offered, looking at Xander.  "Did you want to look at the newest designs and see what you can do to make them better?  It'd give you something sedate to do."

"That depends, are you going to offer my man money to sleep with me again?"

Boris grimaced. "I'm sorry, Xander.  I was teasing him.  I would never disrespect your union that way.  He makes you happy in ways I could never hope to."

"Ease off him, babe," Throttle said gently.  "It's the pain," he explained.  "Usually he'd be teasing."

"I know.  If he wants I will bring those new designs over so he can have something to do."  Xander shrugged. "All up to you."

"Fine.  Since I won't be using my hand for months."

"That's fine, Xander.  I hope you heal well enough to be able to use it again."  He walked over and leaned down to kiss him on the forehead.  "I want you well.  You're a very important person in the city and in my life and I'd hate to see you handicapped by this."

Vinnie coughed.  "Another thing, Boris."  The vampire looked at him.  "Did you hear Limburger got us for a bit?"  He slowly shook his head.  "Xander's now both of ours.  So no more picking on Throttle by offering to sleep with him for two million."

"I'm worth much more," Xander said dryly.

Boris smirked at him.  "I could only base it on the vampire you's performance and he didn't have the training you did."  He smoothed out the blanket over them.  "I'll bring those designs over.  No hurry on them, dear one.  I hope Vinnie can make you just as happy as Throttle is."

"They got hit with a lust ray, it's not a confirmed quad," Throttle said dryly. "He's still mine, Vinnie's just possessive."

"I see."  He smiled at Throttle.  "They must be a handful for you.  They are quite adorable together as well.  I'm sure he's just as good as Xander is.  I'd offer three but I think Xander would get quite pissed at me."  Xander growled and Vinnie just smirked at him.  "I'll send over those designs and file for the temporary insurance claim for him.  He was coming back to work, correct?"

"I'm not sure, I don't like him working where he's so wanted," Throttle said blandly.  "That's a lot like harassment.   I don't want to make Xander go where he has to fight off being pinched every day."

"I'd never pinch him, Throttle.  If I got him, he'd never feel anything worse than a mild nibble.  I pamper what's mine.  Even if it'd only be mine for a night.  Look how well I treated Carbine."  He grinned and walked off, going to plan on what he could do for Xander.  That poor boy.  He got into the car and called his contacts.  "Meg, dear, find out what happened to Xander's hand and his father for me.  Yes, dear.  He's terribly burned."  His driver started him home, making him smile.  "Head to the club, Fred.  I need to see someone there."

"Yes, master."

"Good boy, Fred.  I'll let Willow and Xander play with you again tonight."

"Oooh!  Thank you, master!" he said happily, beaming as he ran a red light and caused a crash behind him.

"Fred, traffic laws," he snapped.

"Sorry, master.  I'll be more careful.  I know you don't want to be in a car crash.  It won't be as fun for you."  He did drive more carefully.  His master could give and take away his pain at will and he wanted to stay on his good side.  After all, Willow and Xander were quite a treat for him. Usually they played with his maker instead.


To Part 61

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