Enamel walked into Xander's room and smiled since he was alone. "Where's the baby this time?"
"Modo's got him. He said he wanted to see if he'd potty train. The nurses got very upset that I fed him my oatmeal."
"They tend to do that," he agreed. "Don't worry, this is a phase. He's basically protecting you for the daddy and mommy and hoping to get into trouble. I've already told Vinnie that." He settled in on the bed, looking at his favorite patient. "Is the pain less today?"
"Some. My hand is still one big throb." Enamel nodded at that. "Some of the pain in my chest is easing though. They itch more now."
"It should. Wait until the hair grows back," he offered with a small smirk. Xander shuddered at that. "No man?"
"His momma wanted to see him again. Apparently he hadn't been home in three days?"
Enamel shook his head. "He was here and when the nurses kicked him out he was with his bros whining about being kicked out. You haven't really been alone since you got out."
"Oh." He looked at him. "I got visited by Cell earlier. She said to thank you for being an arrogant bastard when she gave me a kiss on the cheek for helping save her."
He snorted. "I used to date Cell."
"I thought you were Stoker's age."
"I am. She's ten years older than Modo and she hunted me, Xander. I wasn't into cradle robbing back then." He got comfortable, crossing his legs in front of him. "She was just barely of age, I was working as the top pediatrician in the city. She hit on me. I thought she'd be a one-night thing, but she came back and got stubborn about it," he said dryly. "Modo was about nine at the time." He tried to shrug and nearly made it, making Xander smile. "Wrench found something that could cure it for a few hours, but it could also cause nerve damage. So I got to feel the baby kick."
"Congratulations," Modo said as he walked back in. "Cell still calls you arrogant and sometimes even spoiled." He grinned as he handed over the baby. "He got the point of the toilet and used it, then grinned at me. Hopefully he'll like potty training so there's no more diapers for a bit."
"Until you and Staff have one," Xander teased, patting the baby on the back. "That was a very good boy, Victor, to go potty like a big boy. Yes it was, a very good boy." Vic smiled at him and snuggled in. "Why did you and Cell break up?"
"Because my patients had to come first and she couldn't understand that," Enamel said honestly. "She was eighteen. She wanted someone to cling to and to go around with her and I was pretty well tied to the city by my duties. A doctor can't get further than ten miles away if they're on call. She didn't want to understand that this meant more to me than she did. She .... You know how Rimfire is with Dawn?" Xander and Modo both nodded. "Well, that's almost exactly how his momma was with me. Unfortunately I worked long hours and had to be on-call a lot. She hated it. She couldn't understand why I couldn't blow off my duties. Then she joined the Freedom Fighters. Back then the age was nineteen. She figured out the sense of duty I had eventually, but then again all Modo's family was involved in that movement. I'm not sure how his mother managed to not raise him in a houseful of fighters all day and all night, but they were all helping where they could at times."
"Momma tried so hard to let us have a normal childhood, even with everything going on," Modo sighed. "She didn't let any of the fighters come in to eat with us until I was twelve. That way I wouldn't get any foolish notions like Rimfire did." He looked at Xander. "I love my nephew but I wish he had waited a bit more patiently." Xander nodded at that. "The time Momma had invited him over for dinner to meet him, Enamel here had to call off."
"I was patching together Vinnie's head for the second time," Enamel admitted. "Your mother understood but your sister threw an incredible fit the next day. Until she found out it was your friend, then she whined about me finding someone to take over for me now and then. I pointed out we were already short of doctors on Mars. She didn't like that." He snorted. "The very last straw came when she was captured on a mission and I got tapped to go on the rescue to do the field treatment. Stoker didn't like me, hasn't since we were in school together. I was a smartass with brains back then. A great rider, including stunts, a pretty decent shot, and I had the brains on top of it. He knew one of them had a severe chest injury so he had to send a real doc and the medics all nominated me. So I rode out with the group, they got them free, and I healed her and the others. It came down to her and one other person who needed attention and she got upset that I went to help them. I tried to tell her that one was more injured, she didn't want to hear it. She thought I was playing God and doing it just to hurt her. I sighed and told her that the other patient needed me more for a bit and that she had better pipe down before anyone heard her. She broke up with me. That seems to be the story of my life though. My last girlfriend, the one right before I was banished, decided to tell me to let the patient die." Xander gaped at him and he nodded. "She tried to reason it out as it not being fair to the kid and all that, but she basically tried to talk me into letting the child slip into the Great Beyond so I could go on vacation with her. I told her off and she threw a fit and broke it off with me. About a month later, the kid died and she sent me an 'I told you so' card."
"I saw the note you sent Cell," Modo admitted.
"Hey, she wrote me when she found her husband about six months later. I simply wrote her back and told her I hoped she was happier, to have a good life, and that I hoped she had many kids who were just like her. I'm not sure how I meant that last bit, but I'm sure she took it the negative way." Modo nodded. "She wrote the first one, man. Not me. She sent me a note to gloat about finding a man she could cling to and cart around with her. I was happy for her, she deserved happiness."
"I bet you were lonely," Modo offered gently.
Enamel shook his head. "I've been a survivor all my life, Modo. I didn't have time for more than lovers. That's why some days I hate Xander for making me feel things instead of my isolation. Letting people close means you can get hurt and that you have to pay attention to things other than your duty. When you're a doctor, especially one of the top ones, you don't have time for anyone else. When you're banished, letting others closer can be problematic and dangerous. I was happily content in my isolation and anger and then Xander comes along and makes me like him. Then he makes me like the others of you, including Vincent. Then Shell comes and I realize I'm not that alone anymore and she's more stubborn than your sister because I can't push her away with a digging machine." Modo snickered at that. "Seriously. I got so mad at Xander for a few months because suddenly I *cared* and it wasn't right I thought I had been content but Shell makes me happy and stuff. Occasionally insane, but mostly happy," he admitted at the knowing look from Xander. "Then again, she's pregnant. That's another thing I hadn't anticipated and wasn't really sure I wanted, kids. If a wife takes time away from your duty, a kid definitely does. I wouldn't have even considered a child before I was banished and afterward I couldn't take care of one reliably. At least until I crashed on earth. Then I cared about *peoples* but not individuals. Xander's got a special gift for healing those around him. After all, who else could have made Vincent settle down?"
Modo smirked at that. "He hasn't, he's just got whole new ways to cause trouble and be loud." He looked at his friend. "How are you feeling this morning?"
"I ache," he said blandly. "I'm tired of the pain."
"There's worse here," Enamel told him patiently. "If I was sure we wouldn't need it, I'd gladly give you stronger drugs." Xander sighed and nodded. "Sorry."
"No, I'm being selfish, I just can't stand pain."
"I don't particularly like it myself," Modo offered. "Can't we use the herbal stuff we used to have?" he asked Enamel. Who shook his head. "Why not?"
"It's out of date and he's allergic. Otherwise there wouldn't be so many people in pain up here." He looked at Xander again. "If I could, I would," he reminded him. Someone tapped on the door and walked in. He looked at the clock. "Hey, it's time anyway."
"Please, Goddess, make it quit hurting," Xander begged the nurse. She smiled and handed him a mug. "Oral?" Enamel nodded. "Crap." He forced himself to sit up, then flopped backward. "Straw?" he asked.
Modo came over and hefted him up, holding him while the nurse helped him drink the medicine. "Should I move him for the sheets or anything, ma'am?"
"No, that's tomorrow and he can go outside for some fresh air during that." She walked out, heading back to the desk.
Enamel watched her go, then looked at Xander. "It's experimental. Don't ask what's in it."
"I've seen others make potions." He grinned up at Modo. "Hey."
"Hi." He settled him down and tucked him back in, with the baby since he was hiding under the sheets now. "Can you handle him for an hour? Vinnie's due in but he's late and Momma wanted me home for lunch. I can stay if I need to."
"If we have to, we can get help changing him," Enamel promised. "Shoo. Tell Cell to get her arm checked again too. Nag her if it helps."
"What's wrong with her arm?"
"A deep tissue bruise on the back where she hit a rock after being knocked out and something's wrong with her shoulder joint itself."
"Oh, she's so going to get it if she doesn't get it checked," he said with a grimace. "Thanks, Doc."
"Hey, she's not my patient, I can let out those things ethically." Modo chuckled and left.
Vic lifted his head. "Go bye-bye?"
"He went back for lunch and you're staying here with me, little mouse." Vic smiled and snuggled in again. "Good boy." He looked at Enamel. "I really have to stay another week?"
"If I could be sure you would be a good boy at home and let Throttle take care of you and change your bandages, no. Since you're not and you won't, hell yeah." Xander muttered something and he smirked. "No, I like my mother but she's not my sort. She was a socialite."
"Have you seen your brother?"
"I did. Wrench was beating the snot out of him at the remembrance for trying to get near Vic. He's up the hall with a broken jaw and nose. I'm very impressed," he said smugly.
"Can we go visit?" Xander offered.
Enamel giggled, leaning forward shaking his head. "When you're better if he's still here."
"Go bye-bye?" Vic asked from his hidden spot.
"Maybe later," he promised. He smiled at Xander. "So, are you going to give me any more problems or can you agree to tell me these things?"
"I can tell you these things," he admitted. "But if I ask you can't tell him."
"Of course not. That's not ethical. Now, if it's something *harmful* I might have to hint. Got me?" Xander nodded. "Good." He smirked at him and looked down the halls. Then he looked at him. "Let's go for a stroll. I want to see his face when he sees you." He went to get a nurse and a wheelchair. "Hi," he said, smiling at her. "Xander wanted to meet my brother since he's in here."
"Sure," she offered. "Is he all right?"
"So far." The nurse smiled. "That doesn't have that little green flower, right?" She shook her head. "Good. He's allergic to that and it's helping. He quit whining about the pain." She chuckled and got a chair, coming in to help him into it. Then she helped roll him down the hall, patting the baby on the head when he tried to ride on her patient's shoulders. Enamel pushed the door open, holding it for them. "Hi, brother. This is Xander, he wanted to meet you."
His brother looked at him, frowning as much as he could. He looked at Vic and tried to smile, then he saw Xander. He looked at his brother again, writing a note on his board. "You know someone who follows that path?"
"Depends on which path we're talking about," Xander said dryly, rolling himself further in. "Thank you, nurse."
"Of course, dear. Only ten minutes though." She closed the door after him and went back to make a note on his chart.
Xander looked at the man on the bed. "Technically, chaos loves me, I don't love it. Then again, I was born and raised on the Sunnydale hellmouth." The mouse on the bed shivered and Vic chuckled. "So, why did you want to meet my godchild and about the only kid I'm having?"
The mouse erased the board. "I won't go near him," it stated.
Xander beamed. "Good!" He smirked at him. "So, why did you want him anyway? I know why Rosenburg watches him and has most of the M'dreth watching him and me. Why are you, who is clearly a very dark chaos person, doing it?"
"Power," was written. He looked at the mouse, then shrugged.
"Ah, innocent power. It won't help. It won't heal Mars either. Rosenburg's been working on that." The mouse swallowed and he grinned again. "She's actually a very interesting spirit. I grew up with her. Best friends for *years*." Willow faded in, still sniffling from where she had been crying. "What were you watching this time?"
"You," she sniffled, trying to hug him. "I'm sorry I sucked. I was a big meany." She sniffled and looked at Enamel. "Thank you for helping my Xander-shaped friend." She looked at the mouse on the bed, then at Vic, then at him. "Try it, buster! I protect what's his! Me and the Seal!" The mouse whimpered and shivered, nodding quickly. "Good. Then when you get out of here, you're coming to my temple and you're going to have a long talk with the Seal. Anything other than that and we get to come find you. Got me here?" He whimpered and nodded. "Good." She smiled and cooed at Vic. "You're so adorable!" Vic just gave her that same VanWham grin. "God, I remember that look on Jesse," she sniffled, wiping off her eyes. "Xander, can I help you any?"
"Heal me," he said simply. "I ache like hell."
"I'm trying to find one," she promised. She smiled at the baby. "You should come see Wrench. The Seal's afraid of babies." She looked at the mouse on the bed. "Understood?" He nodded quickly. "Good. That's a good mouse." She flicked him on the forehead, making him shiver. She winked at Enamel then faded out.
Enamel checked his brother, watching him breathe through it. "Are you all right?" His brother whimpered but nodded. "Cool. I'll check on you tomorrow." He tapped the door with his foot and the nurse came in. "He's a bit tired."
"I saw that spirit come in."
"She likes Vic because he's cute," Xander offered with a grin. "She wanted him to come play with Wrench for a bit."
She snorted. "I'm sure the Highest would be most pleased with that. Speaking of, he's in your room, dear." She rolled Xander back into his room, letting Wrench help her settle her patient back into bed. "There you go." She patted the baby on the head, getting a grin. "You're adorable." He nodded. She laughed, leaving them alone and taking the chair.
Enamel took his usual perch on the end of the bed. "My brother was just met and talked to," he offered.
Wrench looked at him, then at Xander, who just smirked at him. "All right then." He nodded. "That's cool." He leaned down. "Vinnie's asleep in my office."
"Yeah. The Seal knocked him out." He smirked at him. "So, what can the rest of the family do to help you, Xander?"
"Help me escape?"
Wrench chuckled and nodded. "Sure. Got any healing spells?"
"Give me the damn book, I'll figure it out," he vowed. "Enamel, you can tell them the pain's not any less." He nodded, shrugging a bit. "How much longer?"
"Hell no," Xander said, shaking his head. "No, no no no no nonononono!" He sat up, looking at Wrench. "Is there a handy book of healing spells? Demon byproducts that help heal? Anything?"
"A mystical crystal that we need found," he offered. "No idea otherwise."
"Fine," Wrench agreed, dropping something on the floor. Smoke started and he took Xander out to his bike, putting him onto it. Vic clung to his fur and Enamel was still laughing his ass off back in the hospital by the time Xander roared away. He looked at his cousin. "Think I should have told him the Seal is going to steal him?" Vic cackled. "I didn't think so." He walked over to his bike, getting on and moving the baby to his front. "Okay, let's head to the house, baby mouse. I'll fix you a good lunch with hotdogs and everything." The baby beamed at him, that same VanWham smile, which Wrench returned. Then they shared a cackle and sped off.
Throttle sat up suddenly, frowning at his mother. "Wrench helped him escape!"
She patted him on the leg. "It's all right, dear. Go back to your nap. I'm sure we'll see Xander very soon."
"He's going to find the Seal's temple. He thinks she's got a healing spell around for him." He swung his legs around to sit up, shaking his head. "My husband is insane. I should chase him." He got up to call Wrench's office, knowing Vinnie was supposedly there. The screen answered itself and he saw Vinnie napping on the desk. "VanWham!" he snapped. Vinnie snapped awake and looked around. "Your little brother just escaped from the hospital and is heading the Seal."
"Damn, I'm impressed. How did he do that?"
"Ah." He nodded. "Okay. She was talking about a healing spell to make him heal faster." He stretched then grinned. "If he's on his bike, he'll be fine."
"He's still got an open wound!"
"He'll be fine," Vinnie said firmly. "Willow said so. She's on the other side of the desk grinning brightly."
"Oh, we went to threaten Enamel's brother about Vic," she offered just audibly.
"Hmm. Then where is Xander heading?"
"Oh, to find Seal a crystal." The screen cut out.
"Fuck," Throttle snarled, heading out to his bike. He hated chasing Xander. He really did.
Xander rode back into town a week later, pulling into his mother-in-law's house. She came outside and gaped at him so he took off his glasses. "Hi, mom."
"Dear," she started calmly. "Where were you?"
"Oh, Throttle found me that first night. He had to stop to get something for the Seal." He got off his bike and patted him. "We'll go home tomorrow, big guy. Let's plug you in." He plugged his bike in then stroked a handlebar. "Good boy. Need anything else?" His bike beeped, sounding like he was chuckling. "Seriously?" His bike shook his front wheel. "Cool." He walked up the few stairs and kissed his mother-in-law on the cheek. "I'm better now."
"I can see that. Dear, where did you get the sand colored leathers?" She walked him inside, looking at his Martian red leather pants and vest, then looked at her boy's mate. "What did you do?"
"Throttle and I found a Plutarkian storage cave that was hiding something the Seal wanted. She was working on a healing spell for me," he said with a happy grin. He heard Throttle roar up and grinned. "See, he's home."
"Good." She walked out there, finding her boy pulling a cart behind his bike. "What's that, dear?"
"The stuff Stoker just looked at and moaned over, Momma." He parked and plugged his bike in, then hauled off two boxes, handing her one. "Dried rations. Stoker's just moaning about being old." He grabbed a bag and carried it inside, tossing it at his mate. "You forgot that."
"Sorry." He put it beside him and dug out his I-Pod, starting it with a touch to the button. "Willow charmed it for me," he said proudly. "No more having to do it myself."
"Baby, are you sure you're all right?" she asked patiently.
"I asked that too. This is playful Xander, mom. Like playful Vinnie, you've got to deal with him." He walked into the kitchen and put the box down on the counter, then came to get the other one, putting it down too. "There, the rest really should go to Stoker but he was whining. He said to give the rest to you, but....." He smirked at her and kissed her on the cheek. "I'm leading one of Vinnie's other cousins back there later but that'll be after dinner. It's easier to get to at night." She just nodded. "Don't worry, momma, it's all good. He's okay. I made sure of it. We emptied out another cave complex that they left." Someone pounded on the door and he walked over there, looking at Stoker and Carbine. "Morning."
"Bastard," he muttered, walking past him. "What else was there?"
"The stuff on the cart that you said Momma could have."
Carbine looked at him. "Was that all?"
"Well, he said Momma could have some of it, so I gave her some of the stuff." He smiled at her. "Why, Carbine?"
"You've been infected by your mate's odd mood," she sneered. Xander reached over and slapped her across the back of the head. "Hey!" She turned and stopped, finding a grinning Xander sitting there. "You hit me!"
"I told you to leave my man alone, Carbine. I'm in a playful mood." She went pale and backed out. "I take it she's not fully healed?" Stoker shook his head. "Bike, cyclone beam, half stun," he called. "Hit the bitch." He heard his bike discharge and looked at him. "It worked on Cell very well. She woke up normal."
"Thanks," he said dryly, going out to put Carbine on her bike since it was facing off with Xander's. "It was to heal her. It helped on Cell," he told the bike. "She's still wrong in the head." He put her on the bike and then went back inside after looking at the cart. "What was on that?" he asked.
"Some survival supplies, a few cases of rootbeer, some books."
"Stoker, dear, you take whatever you want," Momma instructed. "The other two are in the kitchen." He nodded, kissing her on the cheek. "Son!" He ducked his head, looking sheepish. Xander cackled. "You too!"
"He bitched me out, momma. He said to take it, so we did."
"You were driving people insane, Xander."
"I'm still driving people insane, your fur's standing on end. Just think, I'm only playful. Today." Stoker shivered. "By the way, Stoker, you wanted to test me on the playbook?" He nodded once. "When and where?"
"Two hours, let your bike charge. Local base." He headed out to look at the cart, taking it all with him. Throttle had left the really important stuff. He wondered if Throttle knew one of those boxes was marked 'dried worms'. Not that it wouldn't serve him right.
Throttle popped open the case and pulled out the pack of dried fruit, smirking at his mother. "It was an empty box." She swatted him and took the fruit, nibbling as she went back into the kitchen to put things up. He looked at Xander. "Are you *sure*?" Xander nodded. "Absolutely certain?" He nodded again. "Because if you flunk, he's never going to let you live it down or go on missions with us."
"I'm sure. I know what I'm doing now."
"Fine. Do you want an audience?"
"Fine." He walked over to give his mate a kiss. "Want to be sore when you ride?" he teased. Xander purred and pulled him down to kiss him again.
"Upstairs!" Momma called without having to look. "Not on my couch. I'll be sitting on that later." She heard two sets of footsteps running up the stairs and sighed, shaking her head. "I love my son, and his mate," she told herself while she worked. She called Modo's Momma. "They're back and in a playful mood but Xander's got to go in about two hours and Throttle's got to hit somewhere tonight. Plus he brought some dried fruit. Want half?" she asked with a smile. A very loud moan drifted down and across the bond from the way Modo was laughing. "We can make that salad again if you want."
"I'll be over after lunch, dear. Remember, a playful Xander and a playful Vinnie are the same mouse," she said patiently, swatting Vinnie on the ear with her tail.
"Where were they?" Modo asked. Another moan came down and he chuckled. "I take it they're desperate?"
"Throttle's being a good son and saving me from having to deal with a playful white mouse." Vinnie cackled at that and Vic joined in from his booster seat. "Should we come over tonight?" she offered.
"Sure," Modo's Momma offered. She smiled at Throttle's yell of Xander's name in outrage. "What are they doing?"
"I find I usually don't want to know," she admitted, turning off the call and heading back to unpack her half of the stuff. Throttle wobbled down the stairs a few minutes later and collapsed on the couch. "Son, are you alive?" she called. He grunted and then snored.
Xander bounced down the stairs, kissing her on the cheek. "He needed it," he said with a grin. "Should I haul stuff around for you, momma?"
"Dear, did you worry my son?"
"No, Momma. He caught me about ten minutes after I left the hospital. He chased me for a bit but he did catch me." She stared him down and he just gave her his version of the sweet and innocent boyish grin. "I promise. He wasn't worried about me and we did a lot of connecting and I got to practice some of the playbook and we got a lot closer and talked and stuff," he offered. She snorted, crossing her arms. "Okay, and I got to have sex in a really old ruin with him and we redid our vows, including the one where I wouldn't go out if I was injured. See, my hand's fine," he said, showing it off.
"Where did the leathers come from?"
"From the storehouse. We ran into a mine field and accidentally set it off, and followed the path that was cleared to a cave complex. It's huge!" he said, grinning at her. "They were storing stuff from way back when, like the start of the war, and we broke into it and looked at everything, then did the good thing and called." Someone pounded on the door and he looked that way. "Give me a minute." He looked at her again. "Then, since I was still in hospital stuff, Throttle let me pick out some clothes since there was so much. He said something about an arena full of clothes."
"Fine." She walked over to open the door, finding a light gray mouse dressed like a cop there. "What's he done?"
"Unless it's about where I knocked out Carbine to scramble the programming she was under, I've been an angel for the last week." He looked at the cop. "Am I in trouble?"
"No, sir. I was looking for my cousin Vincent?"
"He's at Modo's, son," Momma said patiently. "We'll be going over later."
Xander moved closer. "I didn't meet you at any of the reunions. Did you just come home?" He nodded. "I'm Xander," he said, shaking his hand. "Vinnie adopted me."
"Welcome to the family," he said, shaking his hand. "I'm Diesel." He walked in. "Who's Vic? Chassis and Lightening told me about him."
"Vic is Vinnie's son with Charley."
"He's dating a guy?"
"Charley's our human mechanic friend. And no, she's all girl."
"Oh." He shook his head. "I never figured him for being that kinky." Momma glared at him and he flinched. "Sorry, ma'am."
Xander smirked and looked the comm, then at Momma, who dialed them. "Vinnie!" He came to the screen. "Do you know this mouse? He claims he's one of our many cousins."
Vinnie looked. "Diesel?" He nodded, giving him an impatient look. "Meet you in town at the market, by the bar, cuz. I'll even bring the kid."
"You're dating a human?"
"No, I married a human. You do know Chassis' mom is under death threat for threatening him, right?"
"Lightening and Chassis told me." He smiled suddenly. "Is that him?" Vinnie looked, then nodded. "Meet you there in about fifteen?"
"About thirty. Modo's momma lives a bit out," he pointed out. "Just wait on me." He looked at Xander, then opened his mouth. "Where!"
Xander beamed. "We found a *huge* storage cave," he said proudly. "Throttle said I could have an outfit since I was wearing hospital stuff."
"I'm borrowing those some day."
"Sure, the pants are a bit loose on me. They should fit you great." He beamed at him. "I've got a trial this afternoon at the base. He's leading Lightening back there tonight. We were planning on heading home tomorrow. Oh, I used Cell's cure on Carbine because she started on me again." Vinnie snickered. "Laters." He hung up and grinned at his cousin. "Go ahead. Shoo." He smiled. "You'll like Vic. He's a true member of the family from what everyone says."
"I'm sure he is. Vinnie's got enough charisma to infect normal mice." Throttle let out a loud snore and he looked at him. "Is that Throttle?"
"My mouse," Xander said proudly. "Sorry, I'm bouncy today."
"I can see that." He grinned and nodded at the mother. "Thank you, ma'am. There's a few more of us and he leaves this address to most of the family to find him." He left, heading out to his tryke.
Xander watched him go. "I didn't know some of us rode those." Momma grabbed his ear and he winced. "Ow, mom!"
"Son," she said, sitting him down. "No more bouncing, son."
Throttle lifted his head and looked at her. "Momma, are you feeling all right?"
"I was worried sick!"
"I called," Xander defended. "You weren't home and Modo's momma wasn't home when I called her. I got Racer."
"He said so." She swatted him across the ear. "You need to behave and quit dragging my son off."
"I was going to come back here the next morning, he's the one who wanted the vacation," Xander defended. She glared at Throttle, who just grinned and put his head back down. "Besides, he wanted to talk about who to give you grandbabies."
Her eyes went wide. "Already!"
"Not yet, momma. We agreed on some things," Throttle said through a yawn. "She's got to either be a Freedom Fighter, or Chassis. It won't be Carbine. It will be done medically. It's got to be someone we both like and respect. We will be sharing custody, if not keeping total custody."
"We agreed most of Vinnie's cousins were okay. We eliminated almost three-quarters of Mars." He grinned at her. "Got any good suggestions?"
"Chassis' boy would be heartbroken," she said firmly.
"Actually, I don't get that from him," Xander noted. "It'd be like his stepkid, but I don't take him as one who'd mind. I wouldn't do it without talking with him first," Xander noted dryly.
"We agreed to eliminate Mythica," Throttle admitted. "There's enough strange stuff and putting the mother from Wrench's part of the family would just make it worse." He yawned again then closed his eyes. "Babe, can I have a shoulder rub? You wore me out."
"Sure." Xander came over to work on his shoulders, making him moan and go limp under him. "When you figure out who, you just tell me," he whispered. "I'm looking forward to a little tan blur running around chasing Vic all the time." Throttle smiled at that. He was soon asleep and Xander got off him, looking at his mother-in-law. "So if you've got any suggestions, we'll gladly take them."
She considered who she knew in that family. "Actually, I like Mythica's sister, Repel. She's a nice girl, but deadly. Unmated but thinking about a child from what I heard her sister muttering about in the marketplace." She nudged Throttle. "Honey, what about Repel? Mythica's sister."
"I never met her," he admitted, blinking at her. "How odd is she?"
"She's the normal one in the family, and she's a deadly shot," she offered with a smile. "I heard Mythica muttering that she wanted a child."
"I can ask Wrench for the gossip," Xander offered.
"I'd like to meet her first," Throttle admitted. "I think the last time I saw her, she had pigtails and braces on her leg."
"Sure. We can meet informally tonight if you want, before you go." Throttle nodded. "Okay, let me call Wrench and then I'm heading to the base." He stole a kiss and called Wrench, smiling at him. "I hear you have a normal sister. I'm seriously shocked."
"That's okay, the rest of us are usually offended by Repel." He looked at him, then stared at him. "I want to look like that in leathers," he complained. He put down his pen. "Why the questions?"
"Throttle and I were talking about future little tan blurs."
Wrench smiled. "Repel is *exactly* like Throttle when he was twenty." Throttle moaned at that. "But she is thinking about a kid. Sometime in the next three or four years."
"Which is about our timeline too," Xander admitted. "Not this year. We'll need Modo and Staff to have one first so they can help calm ours down." Wrench smiled at that. "Think you could drag her to dinner tonight? Throttle's got to head out for a while, but before then's a good time for dinner."
"Sure. Lightening can come too. That way they can leave together." He looked at Xander again, then gave him his most dry look. "Are you going for pinup?"
Xander smirked. "The pants are too loose. That's my black set." Then he grinned and hung up. "Should I change before I go?"
"You said those were riding up your tail. I would," Throttle admitted. He looked at him. "Fine, you can wear the black leathers. Just be careful. No letting anyone pinch." Xander kissed him and grabbed the bag, heading up to the room. "Momma, you might wanna sit down when he comes back down." She sat down and Xander hopped down a few minutes later, making her stare in open-mouthed shock. "Are they tighter?"
"I've gained a bit of weight back," he defended. He sat down to put on his boots, then stood up and ran a hand over the vest. "Should I wear a shirt?"
"No," Throttle said, shaking his head. "Not needed up here. Go. Be good and try your best. Be the wicked white mouse I practiced with." Xander kissed him, making him moan. "Go, before I make you sore." Xander hopped out, going to unplug his bike then head out. He put his head back down, shaking it. "I don't think I'll be able to keep up with him later if Stoker doesn't wear him out on the course."
"Those were real pants and not fur paint?" she demanded. Throttle smirked and nodded. "He can ride in those?"
"He can ride and fight in those," he admitted. "Those are his fighting clothes, momma." He closed his eyes. "I'm gonna take a nap and rest up for later. He's going to wear my tail out once we get home." She nodded and he smirked, he could hear her doing it. "Just think, momma, it's not like I took up with Vinnie."
"No, dear, you took up with his little brother. Xander's just as bad in his own way." She went back into the kitchen, going to find him something to nibble on later. He'd need it from the way Xander looked.
Xander found his mate's bike and parked, then patted him. "We did great today, baby love. Remind me to spoil you rotten when we get home." His bike beeped smugly. "Yeah, we're the bestest there are." He stroked his tank, then got up and headed inside, pushing open the door and striding in.
"You let him out in that!" Vinnie demanded from the corner table.
"They fit him better. The red ones need some adjusting, they ride up his tail," Throttle said. "Over here, Xander."
"Let me get a drink."
"You've already got one," a female called.
"Cool." He walked over and climbed over the back of the seat to take his spot, grinning at them. He pulled something out of his vest and put it on the table. "Stoker's got a headache." Then he smiled sweetly at Vinnie. "Record busted."
"Cheese, how did you do that!"
"I'm good," he said smugly.
Chassis hugged him around the neck. "I'm damn proud of you, cousin." She grinned at Repel and Lightening. "Have you two met Xander?"
"We met earlier," Lightening said, nodding at him with a grin. He looked at the pin. "Cavalry?" Xander nodded, giving him a smug look. "Good job."
"Thank you." He grinned at Vinnie. "I should say both records busted. Most difficult dismount from the physical course and best run through the bike course. Next to last standing during the battle drill. It came down to me and one other, I heard the whistle and the other guy shot. Stoker yelled at me but I pointed out he had ended it and then punched the smug little brat, who's only sixteen anyway." Vinnie just groaned and shook his head. He smirked at Chassis next. "When you come back, you've got to teach me how to fly."
"Sure," she said, nodding. "You and Vic both. And Rimfire, so he doesn't crash." The others snickered at that. She shook her head quickly. "You're so bad, Xander."
He grinned. "I know." He grinned at Repel. "So, you're Wrench's little sister. How much did you traumatize him as a kid?"
"Every day if possible," she offered, smirking at him. "You're the missing husband?" He nodded, shaking her hand. She looked him over. "I like you. We'll be talking later."
"It'll still be his kids. I have to deal in stuff Wrench does and I've got elemental powers on my tail."
"I heard. We'll see. Willow's throwing a fit according to him."
"She's good at that," Xander admitted. "We went to talk to Enamel's brother." Vinnie choked at that. "Willow came too and he decided he's not going to go anywhere near my godson." He beamed at him. "Who's babysitting?"
"His momma. We're going back tomorrow and he wanted her." Vinnie looked at him. "I'm still upset my son wanted you more."
"I let him get away with stuff you won't."
"So?" He pouted. "He's my son."
Xander leaned over the table to kiss him on the nose. "I tell you what. We'll work together on his education stuff. He just likes me because I let him be naughty and Spike likes me." He sat down, pushing his plate back into place. "Together we'll turn my godson into a younger me."
"Hey!" Vinnie protested.
Xander beamed. "Okay, a younger you," he sighed, looking at Throttle, then back at Vinnie. "And we'll teach him together."
"Fine," he agreed, then couldn't hide his smirk. "We need more kids around the house."
"Hey, you've got a lady," Xander said dryly. "Talk to Modo too, that way his kids can calm down ours."
Throttle looked at him. "We're not making a new Biker Mice crew, Xander."
"We are so. Besides, Spike said Vic's going into his unit." He looked at Repel. "A problem for you?" She shook her head. "How about the fact that we want at least half of the custody, including the nasty stuff?"
"No, I'm good with that. You can change as many diapers as you want."
"He changed about three-quarters of Vic's," Vinnie said dryly. "You saw my son and how he turned out. That's what any kid around him is like. That or Spike and Anya."
"Stoker's two terrors?" Xander just beamed at her. "What's wrong with the daughter?"
"Anya has a firm belief that being able to find something pretty in the world makes the ugliness easier to bear."
"Oh!" She nodded. "The world could always use more artists and hairdressers. Can we eat now?" Everyone nodded and dug in. "Xander, how were your range scores?"
"He didn't make me," he said with a small shrug. "I have no idea. I haven't been on a range in a while."
"He's a very good shot," Throttle told her. "He's also a very quick learner when you show him something, Chassis. Books and he don't always get along."
"That's fine," she agreed. "There's not much in the books on good piloting. I can bring down the simulator, right? Your home computer's got the space?"
"Honey, I've got a six terabyte external harddrive," Xander said dryly, smirking at her. "It's my toy." She just gaped and he grinned and winked. "Enough space?"
"More than the central command computer," she said, swatting him on the arm. Then she stopped to feel the muscle. "Damn," she said, squeezing again. "Those give Modo a run for the money, cousin."
"Not really. His are bigger."
"No, he's got more definition and he might be stronger, but yours are just as nice."
Throttle felt the one nearest him. "Very nice," he agreed. "Flex for me, babe. We haven't seen you to judge that recently." Xander wiggled up to sit on the back of the bench seat and took off his vest to flex and pose. "More than good enough. Vinnie?"
"He could use some definition on his arms and legs, but his abs are great. We'll have to make sure he doesn't blur them when he regains all that weight he's lost. Sit down and eat." He put more food on Xander's plate, making him grin as he sat down again. "We need to go through our closets. I've got about six pairs of jeans I can't wear."
"Gained some mass have you?" Repel teased.
Vinnie snorted. "No. Cheese, Xander won't eat hot dogs. He feeds us stuff like pork chops and ham and vegetables. Which is good for the son and him, but I need more hotdogs. No, I've got stuff that's the wrong size. Stuff Modo's momma bought that's the wrong size. I think she gave me the wrong bag and that was meant for the general fund."
"Sure," Xander agreed. "I've got to clean out my closet anyway." He looked at his husband. "I've got all those jeans I can't wear because they're too long and then the ones that are way too loose now. Plus about ten pairs that got suddenly too tight when I changed." Throttle nodded at that. "Are they still taking donations to the clothing fund?" He nodded. "After all we found?"
"Yeah. Or if not, we'll find one down there. I agree, your closet is a wreck, Xander." He kissed him on the cheek. "Eat." Xander dug in, eating heartily. "Then we're going over the bank statements tonight. The bank wanted you to call about the way you've been spending money."
"How much do you have left?" Vinnie asked. Xander looked at him. "Never mind, that's being nosy."
"Enough to live on if we're careful and I go back to work sometime in the near future. Or I design more stuff in the near future. Speaking of, did I ever get back to Boris with those design modifications?" Everyone shook their heads. "He's got to be swearing at me."
"Charley called him to tell him about the surgery. She said she's never had a vampire pounce her and shake her to find out how you were. He's going to be expecting you when you get back, but he's still going to try to play cool and calm about it."
"I'll pop around tomorrow night."
"Sure. By the way, Faith's due soon too." Xander nodded at that, eating another bite. "You're fully healed?" He grinned and nodded. "Let's see the hand then." Xander held it out for him to look at. "Yeah, that's healed." He touched it, looking for a flinch. Nothing. So he squeezed. Xander did wince a bit at that.
"You're still sore?" Chassis demanded. He shrugged and ate another bite.
"He's a bit more sensitive there," Throttle told her. "He might ache now and then on it. It was a pretty deep burn."
"I remember seeing it during a bandage change."
"You were burned?" Repel asked.
Xander nodded. "Someone came after me with a stun rod. I had to block it once and then had to grab it to turn it off." He held up his hand. "Second degree." She winced. "So, yeah, I'm just now healing." He grinned at her. "You?"
"Oh, I've never been burned, but I've had broken bones, grazes, a few good shots into me. I'm a sniper."
"I've done that job," he admitted.
"That's what Wrench said." She smiled at him. "We'll be talking while Lightening is gone, cousin."
"Sure." He grinned at her. "Are you at the local base?"
"I'm not on duty today. Eat, dear. You need to eat. Your mate is giving you this 'you'd better eat' look."
"I'm going to sic Momma on him," Throttle assured her. He handed Xander his fork, getting a sheepish look in return. Xander started to eat again. "Usually we can't stop you from eating."
"I'm not that hungry since I quit growing."
"Eat anyway. You still need to maintain the general guidelines for good health." Xander scraped his plate a moment later and gave him a kiss, making him moan. "Easy, Xander. Tomorrow night." That got a grin. "And no naughty stuff, mate."
"Yes, dear." He looked at Vinnie. "How's Spike doing on his sign language?"
"He's getting really good at the alphabet. Piston's a bit slower, but Ramjet and Thruster are great too, bro. The morse code is going well too. I practiced that with them a bit."
"You know you're giving those kids a way to talk without any adults knowing, right?" Throttle demanded between bites. He handed Xander his roll and got another kiss for it. "Keep it up." Xander just beamed and nibbled for him.
Vinnie smirked at him. "Stoker should have a really smart kid who can communicate with others when they're held captive by the evil parents of doom. He deserves a kid just like us." Xander cackled and nodded, giving him his most evil smirk. "Oh, no, what else did you give them?"
Xander beamed. "In mine and Jesse's journal was our own private code. I copied the journal for Spike as promised." Every mouse there groaned.
"Cheese, those kids are going to be horrible," Vinnie complained, shaking his head. "My poor son."
"Oh, don't worry, they'll initiate him as soon as he's old enough. Spike promised me."
Throttle got up and pulled his mate away. "We'll be right back." He took him into the bathroom to 'talk' to him and calm him down again. About ten minutes later he led Xander back out and slid his new insignia into his pocket. He put Xander back in his seat, patting him down to find the other one. He pulled out his rank pin and looked at it, then flipped it at Vinnie. "He outranks you, bro." He sat down and let Xander nap against his shoulder. "Sorry, had to have a discussion."
"Stan and I have had a few of those," Chassis offered with a grin. "What'd he get?"
"Commander, unit second," he said, tossing it to her. "Just what they gave him after that medal thing."
"It's got the reserve marking," she said, holding it up. She handed it to Throttle. "There ya go, babe. You hold that for him. Maybe he'll be over my unit. We could use it since Cell's not back yet."
"Don't say that," Vinnie said, shuddering. "Remember his focus is small group combat."
"Why?" Repel asked.
"He lived and learned on the Sunnydale hellmouth," Throttle told her. She dropped her fork and he nodded, smirking at her. "He had about eight years before he met us of combat training with the slayer there. He wasn't a watcher, like Wrench basically is, but he was her warrior.
"He used to have short, dark hair. Brown eyes. Construction worker?" Everyone who knew nodded. "The Seal was cooing over him while I was with Wrench the other day. She said we'd be good together."
"She likes Xander. That's why the kids would all be mine," he told her.
"Damn," she said in awe. "Oh, she said he'll have a daughter some day. They're working out how." Throttle nodded at that then sighed. "Not Rivet's next holder."
"That's fine. As long as I know about it beforehand," he said dryly. She nodded at that, picking back up her fork. "You can back out. We don't want the Seal to force anyone into anything."
"Hell, I like the Seal. She's a practical being most of the time. Unlike the human bound to her. That Willow girl is a bit flighty."
"They were best friends when he was younger."
"Then he's definitely a stronger bloke than me," she offered dryly. Throttle and Vinnie both nodded at that. "Then we're good, mate. It's all good to me. I know enough about him just from watching Vic to know he's a good daddy. You'll temper that urge in him since he turned Victor into a white mouse with dyed fur." Vinnie snickered at that. "He is! He's got the family bouncing problem." She looked at him. "So whenever you're ready, you just call me, or I'll call you now and then to see if you're ready. I agree, let Modo have one first, it can only help calm yours down." Everyone cracked up at that. "Cousin, when's the next one?" she asked Vinnie.
"Charley says never but we had a close call and a miscarriage already," he admitted. "I want a daughter. Someone like Chassis is, only like me."
"I'm sure it'll happen," Repel told him, grinning at him. "Welcoming home celebrations often help those things." He beamed at that. "Did he tell you Vic potty trained finally?"
"Really?" Throttle asked. "Good job, bro."
"Mostly Modo. He said he didn't want to change any more. Vic's at that age where he's wanting to rip it off and run around naked. He said this way he can run around naked and traumatize him all he wanted without having accidents for him to sit on." Throttle chuckled at that. "Fully potty trained, even at night. I called Charley and she just smiled at that news. Apparently she hated diapers anyway."
"Just wait until you're all old and need them," Chassis teased.
Lightening looked at her. "If we do, we're getting you to change them. Since you're younger."
"I can whip your tail," she promised.
He smirked. "Ya think?"
"No, honey, I know."
"No whipping tail without me," Xander mumbled, curling around Throttle's arm and putting his feet in Chassis' lap. He sighed and smiled.
"Are you quite comfy?" Chassis asked blandly. She moved the feet off her legs and dusted herself off. "Next time don't make him nap."
"That's what cures that," Vinnie said with a bright grin. "Consider it a compliment. He usually only does that to me."
"Yeah, but I'm not you and I like my human."
"Human?" Repel asked. "Another one?" She nodded, pulling out her wallet to show off his picture. "He's cute," she offered, looking at her. "Are you serious?"
"So far. I'm going to enjoy dating for a while." She cleared her throat. "Speaking of bondings, we've got to get Rimfire in front of Carbine. The crabby one needs to do more weddings."
"Is she normal again?"
"When she woke up," Chassis said with a smirk. "What did he hit her with?" Throttle and Vinnie both shrugged. "You don't know the weapons on his bike?"
"Xander designs weapons, cuz. We're not sure he hasn't figured out how to interchange them." Vinnie looked over as the music started. "When did you have to go, Throttle? I'll make sure he gets home."
Throttle looked at Lightening. "Up to you. It's about twenty miles out of town."
"How did we miss that?"
"It's on the other side of a mine field."
"Oh, I know where that is. Why go in at night?"
"It's easier to see the cleared area."
"Ah." He nodded. "I hadn't realized they glow."
"Heat readings," he said, tapping his specs. "Active mines glow."
"That's pretty cool," he agreed. "Whenever you're ready, Throttle."
Throttle finished his dinner and got up, letting Xander lay down in his spot. "We'll be back later tonight, Vinnie. Take care of my boy and make sure he makes it home unpinched from the club." He walked out with Lightening, talking quietly. He really wanted to explore the rest of that complex. He found Wrench waiting on him outside with Rivet. "Group outing?" he joked.
"It's an old temple the Plutarkians built to one of their Gods. Just in case, ya know?" Wrench offered. Throttle nodded at that. "Lightening, this is Rivet."
"Hey. Xander's inside," he offered, shaking her hand.
She squealed and hurried in to hug him, then bounced back out. "The Seal told me about him."
"I think she considers him some wayward son," Throttle told her. "Come on, let's head." He turned his bike around and headed out, the others following.
"What did Xander do that was so famous?" Lightening called to Wrench, who just grinned. "Do I even want to know?" He shook his head. "Okay. I'm sure I'll find it out through the family grapevine. Speaking of, when did you give Vinnie that tattoo, Throttle?"
"What tattoo?" he called back.
"He got a set of vines just under his beltline," Wrench told him. "I went with him to hold his hands." Throttle looked at him. "Not ivy vines, man, not ours." Throttle nodded at that. "Grape vines actually. He said something about Dionysus and Dawnie." He shrugged at the snort he could hear over the radio. "Rimfire, where are you?" he called.
"Meeting you there, Wrench. Dawn said so. Hey, Throttle. Mind much?"
"Not an issue. We've got Lightening and Rivet with us too."
"Hey," Dawn called, waving as they came closer to where they were riding. Rivet waved back, beaming at her. "We'll talk later, sister."
"Okay," she chirped.
"Rimfire, you're with a human too?"
"Yup, sure am. She blew my mind that first night and she still teases me to this day," he called back, smirking at him. "Hey, Lightening. Long time no see."
"Man, I've got some serious catching up to do. Get taken off Mars for a year and look what I miss."
Everyone laughed at that, it'd take him all night to catch up with the gossip.
To Part 67