Modo, Rimfire, and Dawn came off the transporter, looking cold as hell by the looks they were getting. "Where might my nephew-in-law be?" he asked coolly.
Stoker looked at him. "He should be on base as far as I know," he admitted. "Why?"
"Thank you," Dawn said, giving him a sweet, but cold smile. "We'll be back in a few minutes." She followed them off, thinking up all the nasty things she could be doing to that mouse.
"Dawn, physical punishment only," Rimfire chastised as they came out of the building.
Inside, Exhaust and Stoker were both trying to find the kid. Stoker took the direct root, calling Commander Rotor. "Where's Plumb?"
"He's around here somewhere. Why?"
"You've got problems and I don't know why. We just had Modo, Rimfire, and Dawn show up looking like they're going to kill and asking about him."
"Oooh, shit," Rotor muttered. "Thank you." He hung up and opened his window. "Thruster!" He looked up and he pointed, making the boy run up to the building he was in. The boy was the base's gossip, if something was going on, he'd know. The boy walked in and saluted him. "Thruster, what's going on with Plumb? Make it short and sweet, I think he's about to die and I need to know if we should try to protect him."
"Well, he's been drinking a lot recently and he came in today bragging about how he's making Primer into a better mouse," he offered. "He's been doing a lot of bragging, sir, and I think he's been drunk on duty a few times. I mentioned it to my CO and she groaned and I'm hoping had him checked on. Though, I do hear that Ty Rod, his daughter, is a bit ill." He heard bikes and looked out, then swallowed. "Oh, shit, I know that look. No, you shouldn't protect him," he said, shaking his head.
"Then show the nice mice and Dawn where he is," he said firmly. "Then bring him to me when they leave him living." He nodded, hurrying down there. Rotor put his head down with a moan, then called his wife. "Your brother, son, and daughter-in-law are here."
"They're yours too," she said dryly.
He looked at her. "What happened?"
"Plumb hit her."
"Thruster said that he's bragging about how he's making Primer into a better mouse supposedly." She hissed and he nodded. "I'm not protecting the son-in-law. I'm letting Thruster lead them to him."
"Good! I want a piece of him too. I'll be right there."
"Sure." He smiled at her. "Can I apologize then?"
"Be mushy later, there's tail to whip first," she said, smirking back. She hung up.
Rotor got up when he heard screaming, looking out there because someone was bothering Dawn. He opened his window again. "I suggest you leave my daughter-in-law alone!" he yelled. That mouse looked up, gave him a horrified look, then ran away. "Thank you! You now have patrol, head out!" Modo looked up at him. "Bring him up here still living, your sister would like to speak to him too. Thruster, find him and escort them." He nodded, saluting and taking them to motor course. He moved to get a better view and watched as Rimfire and Dawn joined up to herd him and Modo stopped his bike cold. He winced at that. That poor bike. Then Modo got off his and stood up really straight and tall, making the idiot on the ground sneer. That's when Dawn started on him. Eventually Rimfire pulled her off, complaining he wanted some, and took him instead. Then he hauled the bleeding body up and handed him to Modo with a small grin. Rotor shivered as Modo looked at the kid, then hit him twice. Once finished destroying his face. The second caved in his chest. Then Dawn kicked him in the nuts, making a lot of mice wince. Modo drug the body behind him by a limp arm to the office, then dumped him on the floor. Rotor looked at him, sitting down again. "Okay, what do I put on the court forms?"
"He hit my niece."
Rotor blinked and looked at the guy. Then looked at Modo again. "I'm impressed you left him living. He can be court marshaled for that. Let me fill out the two forms while we wait for Cell." Modo grunted and leaned against the wall. "Is Dawn all right? She looked like she hurt her shoulder."
"She still hits oddly now and then but she's good at it," Modo admitted. The door opened and the couple came in. "Go talk with some of your friends, nephew, we're waiting on your momma."
"Yes, sir," he agreed, saluting the commander. "Sir, it looks like we may be back sooner than expected. Am I going to be stationed here?"
Rotor looked at him and shrugged. "Probably not. Talk to Mirror about that, Rimfire. She does intelligence." He nodded, saluting again and taking Dawn off to find some of his buddies. After all, he hadn't gotten to show her off recently. Rotor smirked at Modo. "Why?"
"The next president down there would have problems with us. So the Chicago group will be moving up here in the next few years."
"That's fine. I'll make sure Repel has maternity leave papers when necessary." He finished filling out the forms by the time Cell got there. He got up and walked her over the body, letting her sit down. "Here, please sign these as a commanding officer. I need a second signature," he offered gently. She read them, then signed them with an evil smirk. Then she got up and kicked the boy's body, making him whimper.
"You didn't leave me any," she complained, swatting her little brother.
Modo smirked. "Dawn didn't leave us much. Rimfire had to pull her off him. I only got him twice."
Cell kicked the kid in the head, making him moan and pass out. "There, we can drag him to prison that way."
"Let me get the MP's up here," Rotor soothed, sitting her down again. "You really shouldn't be standing with how close you are to delivering, dear."
"Nibble my tail. I was up and fighting the day before I had the twins."
"Yes, and you said you were never going to do that again," Modo reminded her, coming over to pat his nephew. "Hi, little one." The baby kicked and he felt the stomach tighten, watching her hiss. "Those are labor pains in case you forgot," he said dryly.
"I know what they are!" She hit him on the arm. "It's not time yet."
Rotor turned on his comm system, calling the emergency number. "Hi, I need an escort for my pregnant wife, Cell. She's in labor," he ordered calmly. "She says it's still early but I want her there anyway." The nurse on the other side nodded and hung up. "I'd rather have you closer to the hospital and not having to deliver on the base," he soothed, coming over to stroke her back. "After all, we have pain killers in the hospital."
She looked at him. "They make pain killers for that?" He nodded and so did Modo. "Then hell! I want some now!"
"Just as soon as we get you there," he soothed, stroking her cheek. Two MP's walked in and he pointed at the body on the floor. "Him. Here, have the forms too. Also, someone tell General Carbine I'm off for paternity leave from this moment." He helped her up and down to her bike, letting the ambulance join them there. She was checked over, then loaded in and taken away with the trio and him following behind and her bike following them.
Stoker looked up as the report hit his desk, smirking a bit. "Cell was just taken down the hall in labor," he announced. "Rotor's with her, Exhaust, so someone's got to fill in. Also, Mirror, there's going to be a court marshal soon. Have fun with the moron."
"Who did what?"
He looked at her. "Plumb," he said dryly. "The MP's have the forms."
"That's fine. He can wait in a cell until I get them." She smiled at him. "Shouldn't you call Cell's momma?"
"I'm hoping one of that quad is smart enough to do that." Racer wandered in and gave him a hug. "What're you doing up here?" He handed over the note and curled up on him. He read it and groaned. "Are you feeling miserable?" Racer nodded. "That's fine. Cell was just taken back there to have the baby."
Racer looked up and then dialed Momma. "Cell's here too, Momma. She's in labor." He hung up and went back to cuddling. "I feel like crap."
"I understand, kiddo." He stroked his back. "Apparently part of the local problem with the mold is that one school's kids got fed jongis root?" He nodded at Racer and most everyone moaned. "Mayflower said they're all to come in to be checked over by tonight."
"Sure, I'll get that order out," Exhaust said, typing it in so the cops could go announce it and visit houses if necessary. "That's easily cured, right?"
"Yeah, the flower is the cure for the root," Stoker assured him. "We use the flower in tons of stuff. Some of the partial mice are allergic to it but it won't usually kill you, just makes you feel really sick." He went back to soothing Racer, smiling because he was snoring. "I'll check on the family later."
"What was going on out there? One of our mutual neighbors said that his momma was being yelled at about favoritism," Mirror said.
Stoker raised an eyebrow. Then he groaned. "Some people feel it's playing favorites that good sons take care of their mothers by sending them food. Since both mothers in question pass on over half of what's sent up each time, I don't consider it so. I consider that an act of a thoughtful son who was stupid enough to crash on Earth. I don't know who was yelling...." He shrugged. "We all know Xander sends up extra in their shipments of food to the parents each month. He said it's only fair and to please pass it on to some kids who need it. That's the sort of mouse he is, but some parents feel that's unfair."
"Then their sons can go crash on earth and go shopping too," Exhaust said dryly.
One of the other cities' councilors coughed. "Does this get passed on to the rest of us?"
"Both mothers put it into the general fund, which means it gets passed around to whoever gets there first, and at least half of it gets shipped off." That got a small nod and a grin. "Throttle and Modo would have been sending stuff up sooner if they could have. Every time someone went down there to visit, check on them, or crash, they always sent a lot of stuff back. Now that they've got the transporter, they're sending monthly shipments of groceries. Xander goes out and shops the big bulk places to get them stuff. And again, they pass on whatever they don't need. Xander's very good to his family and since he's married to Throttle and adopted by Vinnie, and likes Modo as a bro too, well, they're family."
"He's been sending stuff to the VanWhams?" Exhaust asked. "I haven't seen any yet."
"I do now and then. Since he can't pinpoint just one house to send it to, he usually sends it to Wrench. They send down lists and stuff," he said dryly, shrugging a bit. "I'm sure we'll see more soon."
"No, that was earlier," Carbine said as she walked in. "Wrench and Xander showed up with a semi full of food and things. They said that's what good sons did for their mommas and they were all good sons. They also said that giving it to the mothers first was only fair since family came first and then Mars, the way it should be, and that the VanWham in the general fund warehouse was going to be in charge of handing this out since they're family too. Then Xander glared at one woman who snorted and told her, quite plainly, she could make her son crash on earth too and send up stuff." Everyone snickered at that. "She huffed off." She took her seat. "Yes, I'm back early since Rotor is going on paternity leave. What's going on today?"
"Nothing much. There's a school that got fed jongis root," Exhaust said. She shuddered at that. "Racer was one."
"I saw him. I was wondering why he wasn't bothering anyone to help with the birth since he wants to be a doctor."
"'Cause I feel like crap," Racer said flatly. He glared at her. "You're mean to Spike and he's a good boy most of the time."
Stoker poked him on the side. "Tact, it's not something most mice learn but we all should."
"I'm too sick to care," he said bitterly, snuggling in again. He heard the door open and looked back. "Momma, I'm sick," he whimpered.
"I know, dear. Apologize to Carbine anyway."
"Why? I am mean," she offered. "I do pick on Spike, though he's not a good boy most of the time."
Momma gave her a long stare. "It's boys like Racer and Spike who will make sure Mars goes on and prospers, Carbine. If you want to be around more mannerly children, have some." She picked up Racer and nuzzled him. "Come on, dear. Cell's about had the baby by now and you can cuddle up in her room for a bit until we all head home." She walked him off, taking him back up there. She walked past the twins, watching them sniff each other. "You two just took baths this morning."
"We're making sure we're not turning into Plutarkians for being so evil to Racer and them," Detail complained, sniffing herself. "I still say I stink."
Shot shrugged. "I can't smell anything."
Momma stopped to look at them, just staring. "Who told you that?" she asked finally.
"Enamel," they said in unison.
Shot hugged her around the leg. "Grandmomma, is it true?"
"Well, dear, your attitude is already nearly Plutarkian, but I don't think you can physically turn into one."
"Then why do we stink?" Detail demanded, stamping her foot.
"It's the rot from where you've been so bad," Dawn told them, coming out to look down at them. "As you do more good, the stink will decrease. Once you're really good girls, you'll wake up and realize you don't stink after all." They nodded at that, hugging her. "Thanks, guys. Now behave. Cell needs her momma and you guys have got to play nicely."
"Can we cuddle Racer?"
"No, he's sick," Rimfire said, coming out to take him to cuddle. "I'll do it since I'm not going to get the mold thing." Momma patted him on the face and went to help her daughter. "It'll take a few months to fully unstink, but remember, the stink'll come back if you suddenly turn evil again after you go good." They nodded, looking very serious. "Good kids." He patted them both on the head, then went back to cuddling Racer. "I think he's napping, Dawn."
She cooed and took Racer to cuddle, going in to sit in a chair while they waited. He was a big kid.
Modo walked out of the transporter, his bike following, all smiles. "It's a boy," he announced. Everyone beamed at him from the hot tub. "Cell's fine. A bit sore but Rotor's making her a happy momma by spoiling her." He looked at the tub. "Room enough for me?"
"Vin and I were heading to the mineral pool in a minute so soon," Xander offered, shifting onto Throttle's lap. "For now you can have my butt-warmed spot."
"Thanks." He stripped down and climbed in, hissing a bit. "Ooh, that feels nice." He looked at Throttle. "Dawn took away most of our fun earlier," he said dryly. "I only got to hit the idiot twice."
Rimfire and Dawn came off the transporter and she undid the spell, making the truck reappear. "There ya go," she said fondly, grinning at them. "One very empty truck."
"The VanWham in charge of it sorted out the stuff that was marked 'family only' first," Rimfire reported. "I think one bag got mixed up but she said that was fine."
"I can't believe they put Reflection in charge of anything," Wrench said dryly. Xander looked at him. "She was always an airhead and Chassis usually wants to kill her. If you hear her talk about someone she calls Stupid, that's Reflection." Vinnie nodded at that. "What caused that split?"
"Reflection stole her first boyfriend by being open to sex right off," Vinnie said dryly. "It turned into a Springer moment with a chorus of 'slut' and 'ice princess' and went downhill from there," he said with a small smirk. "Then their momma came home and found Reflection having sex with her boyfriend in *her* bed...."
"Hold on, she had sex in her parent's bed?" Throttle asked. Vinnie and Wrench both nodded. "Did she get her tail whipped?"
"All the way to the priest," Vinnie agreed smugly. "Not that they're happy or anything. It says something when you look at your husband and tell him 'I hope you die in the war' and mean it. Unfortunately he survived and now she's picking on Chassis about Stan, but Chassis was waxing poetic about his tongue and other skills so now Reflection's jealous and is going to try to steal him. It won't work, but she's gonna try."
"At least I won't miss any soaps while we're up there," Dawn said dryly. "Is there room for us?"
"Let me and Xander hit the mineral pool in a bit," Vinnie offered. "Go check on the kids out on the course."
"Sure. Are they in trouble?"
"Anya is," Throttle said dryly. "She was nice enough to change Healer earlier because she decided she'd be a momma some day and might as well learn now. She told him he was the cutest baby she'd ever seen since Crankshaft and Spike told her that he had been a very cute baby. She retorted with 'how do two gray mice have a white one'. Spike went off and started to cry, running back to his momma. Switch came down to beat her senseless and she's off being grounded. So we got to explain how two gray mice had a white one."
"I told him being a white mouse was a special thing that marked you as being powerful and being able to go do things other mice were afraid to do," Xander offered with a grin.
"Just as long as the kid doesn't become a mini-you, we'll be good," Throttle said patiently.
"Babe, can I go bungee jumping?" Xander asked sweetly, grinning at his mate.
"Not even if I go with a reputable place?"
"NO!" He stared down at his mate. "No! No bungee jumping ever again, Xander. No. No buts," he said at the opening mouth. "I don't wanna hear it. No. You cracked ribs the last time, there's no way I'm letting you ever do it again." He kissed him. "Behave or else you can't go soak with Vinnie later." Xander snuggled in, stroking his fur. "Thank you. And no fur dye either."
"It'd wear off in a couple of weeks," Xander offered. "I was going to do pretty designs on my belly fur."
"No," Throttle said, shaking his head. "No, no, no." He handed him to Vinnie. "Behave with him and make him more sane. Apparently I don't have the touch today." Xander leaned over to kiss him, making him moan. "Babe."
"It'll be okay," he promised, grinning at him. "I'm a good boy mouse."
"You keep telling yourself that and some day you'll believe it and so will we," Charley said from the doorway. "Where's Vic?"
"Watching Healer to see if he'll grow," Vinnie said with a small smirk. "He's going to be spending a lot of time doing that."
She rolled her eyes. "Son!" He came running out and ran into her legs, hugging them and beaming up at her. "Thank you. Want to eat some lunch?"
"Please!" he agreed, beaming at his daddy now. "Hotdogs?"
"That's up to the mommy, son. She's making 'em."
Xander looked at Charley. "Have you talked to Chef Andy recently?" She shook her head. "I was there the other day when he was talking to his family about who would be taking over for him. I thought, since you've known him forever, that you might wanna go hug him or something."
She nodded. "Yeah, that's a good idea for lunch. Come on, son, let's go visit Chef Andy." Her son jumped around and cheered. "Should I bring you guys back some food?"
"No, we're good," Enamel offered.
"Vinnie and I were going to hit the mineral pool," Xander told her, grinning at her. "Cell had a boy."
"And I, genius that I am, may have found the solution to the twin terrors of Mars," Enamel said modestly, smirking at her. "I pointed out that they were going to turn Plutarkian soon for being so bad."
She tried to hold it in, but then burst out in giggles. "You're so bad sometimes."
"Modest too," Throttle pointed out dryly.
Enamel splashed him. "In my case it's true, and tested, thank you." He looked at Charley. "They decided they're already stinking from it."
"We had to tell them it'd take months to unstink, but that it could return if they started to go evil again," Dawn said as she came down the hall. "You're going out for lunch?"
"Yeah, I'm heading over to Chef Andy's."
"Oooh, I'm coming," she said, hurrying back to her room to grab a textbook and a real set of clothes. She was not the sort of girl to go out in old, ratty sweats. "Rimfire, we're going to Chef Andy's."
"Ride your bike, you've got a test in an hour," he reminded her.
"Point." She grabbed her keys as well, heading off to join Charley. "I've got a test in an hour."
"Sure, we'll ride over together," Charley agreed, heading back to pick up the baby carrier. If Xander had noticed something was wrong, she had to be gentle. He wasn't always the least clueless guy in the world about other people. They pulled up and found the place open but no one inside. She parked and got off the bike, heading up to the window. "Chef Andy?" she called. "Are you in here?" She heard a moan and looked around, noticing him on the floor. "Chef Andy." She slid under the bar keeping others out and went to check him. "Dawn, call someone!"
She picked up the phone and dialed 911. "Hi, I'm at Chef Andy's place and he's collapsed. Yeah, that one. No, he's an older man. Charley is he responsive?"
"Barely. He's moaning but not answering."
Dawn listened. "No, ma'am, not answering but moaning. Please. I'm not sure if he fell or not, ma'am, we just got here for lunch." She hung up and came inside to help, checking him over. "He's got a pulse and no lump on his head," she offered gently. "Call one of the others who should be told."
Charley grabbed the phone in the kitchen, noticing the numbers written on the wall around it. She called the Low Rider, it was one of the most popular biker bars in the city. "Squeeze?" She snorted. "No, it's Charley. I came to Chef Andy's for lunch and he's collapsed. Do you know if he's got any family? No, we're waiting on an ambulance right now. Please. Thanks, man." She hung up and dialed another number up there, getting a polite sounding woman. "This is Charley Davidson, of the Last Chance Garage, and I'm here with Chef Andy. We just had to call an ambulance for him and I was told one of his relatives could be reached at this number." She nodded. "Thank you. No, they're coming up the street now. Where should I have him taken?" She nodded. "Thank you, ma'am. No, I called the Low Rider to find one of you." She looked at him. "He's groaning. I think he may have fallen but I'm not sure. Sure, I'll see you down there. I can wait for the paramedics." She hung up and went to let the ambulance guys in through the side door. "He's a nice guy, guys. He's a neighborhood favorite and he's been here for years. He's got a niece coming to Memorial to meet him." They nodded, moving Dawn out of the way to check him over.
"I didn't find a knot on his head," Dawn offered, taking the baby to cuddle. She saw a kid coming their way and slid out, going to stop him. "He fell or something. He'll be fine but it'll be a few days. They're taking him to Memorial." He just stared, then nodded, going to tell his mother that. They had all grown up on Chef Andy's cooking and even their parents loved him. Even the most grouchy parent loved and trusted him. Dawn watched as they took the old dear out to the ambulance and took off with him, looking at Charley. "You got a real relative, right?"
"His niece. Let me put up the sign." She locked up the place, putting the register in the safe like he liked, and then hung up the sign, adding a note on the bottom that he was ill and at Memorial Hospital for now, that he'd be back as soon as he could. Then she locked the door and shut it behind her. She saw a parent come running and held up a hand. "They think he fell. They took him to Memorial."
"Is the shop closed?" she asked. Charley nodded. "Thanks, Charley. Memorial?" She nodded. "Did you find any of his family?"
"I called the Low Rider, Squeeze told me how to reach one of his nieces. I figure she'll know the rest." She nodded at that. "Can you watch the place? His safe needs to be watched."
"Sure. Not an issue. I'll head up there tonight if he's not at home." They shook hands and she ran off to get the rest of the neighborhood involved. The few thugs they had wouldn't be bothering this place while he was gone.
Charley looked at Dawn. "Go hit your test, I'll call later." She nodded, going to her bike to head to the college. Charley went back to the garage. "Guys, I just found Chef Andy on the floor," she called. "He went to Memorial."
"We'll be there later then," Throttle called back. "How long before they admit him?"
"Probably at least an hour," she said, going over to the garage. "I closed up the place, but keep an eye on it when you're out riding, okay?" He nodded. "I put his register in the safe, like he liked."
"Good. Is he okay?"
"He looked like he fell," she admitted. "I don't even know how old Andy is. He was old when I was a kid." He and Modo gave her a hug. "Thanks, guys. Give it a few hours then head over there."
"Sure," he agreed, stroking her cheek. "You could get Vinnie out of the mineral pool."
"They won't let us see him since we're not family until he's admitted upstairs. They're picky about that." She looked behind her at the horn. "I'd better get that." She headed back to the garage, pulling up the door as she walked in. "Hey, Ray."
He got out and looked at her. "What happened to Andy?"
She smiled. "That's a bit out of your way."
"Yeah, but he's an icon in the city . What happened?"
"The paramedics think he fell. We found him on the floor. He's headed to Memorial."
"I'll make sure the guys know." He pointed at his engine. "It's making that noise again."
"Sure, pull her in here, Ray." He got in and pulled in, letting her hear the noise. She smiled as he popped the hood, getting in there. "It's the same problem as last time. I told you a refurbished part wouldn't work."
"Fine. Just trying to save some money. Is Stan here?"
"No. We thought Chassis was with him." She came out from under the hood to look at him. "Have you tried their house?"
"Yeah," he said dryly. "And Canada. Turnbull said they were talking about a romantic drive."
Charley grabbed the cordless phone and called Micah on her way out. "Where's Chassis?" She dropped the phone, staring at it. "Sure." She reached down and hung it up, then looked at him. "You may need a present too. She went to visit Winch, the ambassador, in Vegas."
"If he does that, Ma will kill him," he assured her dryly. "They drove to Vegas?"
"Apparently," she agreed dryly. "On her bike." Ray shivered, that was a long, cold drive this time of year. She called the lair. "Someone call Winch and tell her that Ray was looking for Stan since he and Chassis are out in Vegas." She hung up and went back to work pulling that problem piece so she could order a new one.
Ray sat down to call the office. "Hey, Lieutenant, did Kowalski say anything to you about a sudden road trip to Vegas? Nah, we're not sure yet. We're waiting on word from a contact out there. Sure. When I know, you'll know. No, on her bike according to what Charley heard. Oh, tell Huey that Chef Andy collapsed or something. He got sent to Memorial. Sure. No, Charley found him. She thinks he might have fallen or something. Sure. Thanks, sir." He hung up. "Kowalski's gonna get a butt chewing majorly when he comes back. He just said he needed some vacation days for personal and private reasons."
She came out of the office. "It'll be about two hundred including labor." He hissed. "Sorry, but I'll let you make installments. Besides a honeymoon is usually considered personal and private days."
"Thanks, I'll need that. Ma won't be happy if she's got to cut down on the Thanksgiving dinner. Speaking of, what are you guys doing for that?"
"Hmm. Cooking I suppose," she said dryly. "We usually do it for dinner. The guys like to go out and play football in the snow." She went back to removing that part. "It could be worse, I've seen one of these go and crack the block."
"Ouch, I don't even want that pain the wallet." He looked at Vinnie as he walked in, only wearing a towel. "Aren't you cold?"
"A bit, then again I was just in our hot pool." He kissed Charley on the cheek. "Xan and I are headed over now. Did you want me to bring anything to him other than your well wishes and a picture of Vic?" She smiled at him and shook her head, giving him a real kiss. "Thanks, sweetheart." He headed up to their room to change, his son toddling behind him by a few minutes, carrying Healer with him.
"Please tell me that's just an incredibly lifelike doll," Ray said dryly.
"Son, don't carry Healer around! You're not that big yet!" Enamel came running over, naked and dripping, to save his son.
"Doc, more than I wanted to know about you," Vinnie complained from upstairs. "Son, don't carry Healer around like that. I don't want to have to see his daddy naked ever again." He came down carrying Victor to hand him to Ray. "At least it wasn't upside down this time."
"True," Enamel agreed, taking the baby back with him. His son was happy and cooing so it was fine, but he still didn't want Vic carrying him. He was too small! He got into the pool with the baby, shivering a bit. "There, we'll rest in here for a while, son."
Modo grinned at him. "You're a good daddy, Enamel."
"Thanks. I'm trying really hard to be. I've got to live up to Xander's standards." Xander came out and gave him a hug, then got onto his bike and headed off. "I'm sure he'll be fine."
"We hope so. He's been good to us," Modo offered. Enamel nodded at that. "Want me to hold him? I could use some practice." Staff came back with the kids a few minutes later and smiled at him. "I'm getting in practice, the same as Vic was."
"Was he carrying him upside down again?"
"No, rightside up this time, but still carrying him up the stairs at the garage," Enamel told her. "We can lower the heat if you want in."
"No, I'm fine," she offered with a gentle smile. She smoothed down the baby's hair, then went to take the kids home. She walked off the transporter, seeing the guy with the gun. She pulled hers and shot him in the arm, making him holler. Then Spike bowled into him with Anya not far behind. They beat the snot out of him and Spike bit him for good measure. "Good job, kids," she congratulated. "You'll make Xander proud."
"They make me damn proud too," Stoker admitted, grinning at them. "Nice job, guys. There's two more outside but the others have it." He looked at her. "What's going on down there?"
"Chef Andy fell or something at the stand. Charley found him. Vic was carrying Healer around again, thankfully rightside up this time." She smirked as the door opened and someone backed in, looking at Stoker, who shrugged. She coughed loudly then smiled. "I'm pregnant and having mood swings. Do you really want to do that?"
"You're what?" the man with the gun asked. She shot at him and he yelped. "Hey! I'm a cop!"
"Good. Then we got another one." She pointed at the one Anya was sitting on. "Spike bit him so he's bleeding a bit." Spike bit the other guy since he backed into him, making him scream and swat at him but Spike got his hand too.
"Damn, and I thought Detail and Shot were bad and evil," the cop said in awe. Spike let out his most evil chuckle and the guy whimpered, going to his knees. Spike kicked him in the nuts and he fell forward, letting Spike jump up and down on his back until he begged for mercy. The cop shook his head and went to get the third one, bringing him back. Then he looked at Stoker. "Sir, I'm quite impressed with your kids. Will they run from medals too?"
"Medals are for poofs," Spike said wryly.
"Hey! They're shiny and I like shiny things!" Anya protested. "They can be made into all sorts of pretty things since they're shiny." She scowled at him, then at her father. "Can't they?"
"It's a use I'd appreciate and even your uncle Xander wouldn't run from a medal statue." He grinned at Staff. "Where's Crankshaft?" She turned, letting him see the baby on her back. "There's my little girl." He got up to get her, cuddling her. "You're all so great." He hugged the other two but Spike pushed him off, walking off growling. "It's okay, son, I won't hug you in public again," he called after him.
"Going to beat up on Ramjet," he called back. He heard Anya running after him and let her 'escort' him back to the daycare center. That way he didn't need to make any side trips to get her too. At least his father didn't think he was a *real* poof. He gave his sister an odd look since she was babbling about what pretty statues she could make using medals. She just wasn't right in the head.
Vinnie came home grinning happily. "Andy's fine," he announced. "There's a neighborhood kid who came up to him and asked him to teach him how to cook. Said he wanted to be just like him and help him until he was better. The kid's mother was quite shocked but gave him permission." He kissed Charley. "He's fine. Nothing too serious. They said he'll limp for a few weeks but nothing was broken or torn. He'll get to go home tomorrow sometime." She relaxed and smiled, so he kissed her again. "Anything else happen?"
"Chassis' visiting Winch in Vegas."
"Really?" he asked dryly, smirking at her. "Interesting. Is she pulling a Rimfire?"
"We're not sure yet. Winch hasn't called back that I know of." Xander pulled in with some flowers. "Awww. Throttle will sneeze for weeks."
"They're for you." He handed them over then kissed her gently. "Just 'cause you deserve 'em." He strolled back to the house.
"Xander, how many times do I have to complain about you spoiling my girl?" he yelled.
"I don't know, I don't listen to complaints."
"He's just being sweet so you have to jump me later," she reassured, kissing him gently. "Let me put these in water." She went to find a vase. She turned and found her mate staring at her with a look in his eyes that said he wanted to pounce. He slowly moved closer and she swallowed. "Remember, be gentle," she prompted. "I'm fragile." He pounced and kissed her, making her forget about everything, including Ray and his car.
Ray came back about an hour later, finding them going at it in the kitchen. He smiled and shook his head, walking off. "I expect at least ten bucks off for having to see that. I'll see you guys tomorrow before work!" He hit the button to close the garage doors on his way out. The average person didn't need to see that. He smiled at his sister as he got into her car. "The part's not in yet," he told her.
"Oh, Vinnie was celebrating the baby doing something neat earlier," he said dryly. "I doubt they even knew I was there. I'll get it before work tomorrow." She nodded, smiling at him as she took off. "Their son's about a year, I think, and he was carrying around another baby like a doll. They were saying it was nice it was rightside up this time." She burst out in giggles. "So, yeah, they're in the kitchen celebrating that and that Chef Andy's gonna be fine."
"Good!" She smiled at him when she stopped for a light. "How much is this part going to be?"
"Two hundred," he sighed, "but Charley's fair and she's letting me make some payments."
"That's good of her." She went on at the sound of horns. "Any word on Stan?"
"He ended up taking a road trip with Chassis to visit with their ambassador. We're not sure if they're going to pull a Vegas wedding or not."
"They'd better not. Ma would tan his hide and then hers."
"Yeah," he agreed. "Stan knows that though. Did he ever tell Stella?"
"Um, yeah, and she freaked majorly but then she realized Chassis was a sweet girl who could out-tough her on occasion." She turned onto their street. "That was quick," she said smugly, parking beside the bike in the driveway.
Ray got out and opened the door. "Kowalski, you'd better have a good explanation or the Lieutenant's going to trim her tail with his nail file!" he yelled as he walked in.
"Geez, Ray." He frowned at him. "It's fine. We didn't get hitched or anything." He looked at Chassis. "See what I've got to put up with?"
She nodded and patted him on the thigh. "At least they give a damn."
"Point," he admitted, kissing her gently. He grinned at Ray. "My actual mother hates her. Said I'm no longer her son."
"Eh, you've got Ma, that's more than enough for everyone else," he said with a small shrug.
"You beat her yet, Chassis?" Maria asked as she walked in.
"The thought occurred to me but she's old, frail, and mentally incapable of seeing love outside of her heterosexual, white bread marriage."
Stan looked at her. "That's a very Dawn thing to say," he noted smugly, smirking at her.
"It is and I got it off her," she admitted, grinning back. She kissed him on the nose. "What's been going on?"
"Well, Chef Andy's fine," Ray told her. "He fell but word's gone around that it's just a minor sprain so he's only staying for the night for observation due to his age. I just walked in on Vinnie and Charley a few minutes ago in the kitchen at the garage so I've got to go pick up my car tomorrow before work. I think Modo and the boys headed out earlier, but I'm not sure where or why. The patrol who does that neighborhood said he heard a number of bikes together but they never hit the street." He shrugged. "Not a clue otherwise."
She picked up the phone and dialed the lair. "No, we didn't get married, even though Winch tried. She sent us back by transporter. We're at Ray's house. What happened earlier?" Rimfire gave her the rundown and her eyes narrowed. "Is he living? Pity." She pursed her lips. "Sure. And yeah, Stupid can handle that much. It's all sorting and she's at least good at that. Oh, thanks for the warning too, Rimfire." She smirked. "Later, dear. Sure." She hung up, looking at Stan, then at Ray. "Someone had the bad form to hit Primer. They went to talk to her spouse for her."
Ray and Stan both winced. Modo was a big guy who could do a lot of damage. Just him alone would create a tragic scene, the others added in would be worse.
Stan shook his head. "That's one thing you've never got to worry about. Fights yeah, but nothing hotter than screaming," he promised. "Not even when Stella used ta throw knives at me."
She kissed him gently, smiling at him. "Don't worry, honey, if you even thought about it, I'd whip your tail and make you one sorry human." Then she smiled sweetly. "And get Dawn to help since she did Primer's husband for the most part earlier."
"Dawn?" Ray asked. Chassis nodded, smirking at him. "You never think she's that dangerous."
"Oh, she is. People misjudge her because she's fashionable and cute. It's always a mistake to do." She grinned at Stan. "I just got paid and I need a new Earth-style outfit. Are you still off tomorrow?" He nodded. "Can you show me where I should go?" He beamed and nodded. "Thanks, Stan." She kissed him gently then snuggled into his side. "I still can't believe they went out there and got married and neither of them stopped in on Winch as a courtesy. It's only polite since she's not getting a lot of news from home at the moment. Meg's still working on her comm system."
Stan nuzzled her cheek. "I'm sure she can call over here by regular phone if she wants to gossip," he assured her, kissing her temple. "Ma, can we help with dinner?"
"No, you sit out there. Send Chassis in here," she called back. "You're hopeless in the kitchen, bambino."
"Sure, Ma." He kissed her again and let her go, watching her walk away. He looked at Ray and leaned closer. "I wanted to so bad," he moaned. "I just couldn't because I knew her cousin would kill me."
Ray nodded, looking smug. "A lot. They'd kill you a lot."
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