Xander looked up as the nurse came in, giving him a pitiful look. "Can I run away now?"
"Enamel will have to do one last test," he offered with a small grin. "Then you're to head to your mother-in-law's since your man's there with the baby. But Stoker wanted you to stop in to get a report before then. He's in his office waiting on you." Xander nodded, looking at Enamel as he walked in. "He's ready to escape."
"No, that was his last stay here," he complained, checking him over. He finished up with the disc and looked at him. "How did you manage to not eat?"
"It was oatmeal."
"Never mind. Your mother-in-law will be feeding you." He got him free. "Spike, take him to your daddy now." Spike grabbed Xander and hauled him off, allowing him to smirk at the nurse. "Tag has Throttle wrapped around his tail already. He and his half-sister are going to be some spoiled mice soon." He walked out, finishing off the notes and putting the chart away. Then he headed out for the house. Their house was being built at the moment and it was looking wonderful. Boris had sent a few of his crew up to help them with it and it was going pretty fast. Xander's former second-in-command was really good at crew management and teaching others. He had paired each of the students with someone experienced and let them learn from them and their specialties. They now had one guy who could run plumbing and wiring exclusively, which meant others, like Throttle's momma, could get hers repaired before it caused a fire again. Not that Xander knew about it, or even her son, but Wrench had let it slip that it had happened already.
Xander was drug up the halls by Spike. "How's my son?"
"Doin' good," he offered, smirking up at him. "Racer and Ramjet were cooing at him this morning before classes. Racer's momma keeps trying to steal him." He kicked on the door then opened it, shoving Xander inside. "Have fun," he offered before strolling off. He had stuff he had to do, even though he was suspended for the day. It was his punishment to help his father, that way he supposedly learned not to beat up on the bullies picking on the other kids.
Xander looked at Stoker. "What happened? Did I forget to pay for the cliffs?"
"No, I checked, all that's gone through and ready for you. The bike did stop one of the kids from looting but the cop who answered pointed out you're not on rations, which was what he was trying to equalize out in his head." He put his feet up on his desk and kicked back. "Sit, you look tired."
"The hospital's a noisy place," he admitted as he sat down. "Did I do something wrong? Or more wrong than usual?"
"No, Xander. I've got reports from Earth for you." He tossed them over. "Dawn stormed into Cleveland like some avenging Goddess. Buffy managed to save the house and the girls, but they're doing a bit of remodeling now," he said smugly. "She said something about the roof hitting a house up the block." Xander shivered and looked at the reports. "Also, Micah took on Wolfram and Hart. What was left of it." Xander looked up and he smirked. "Apparently a lot of people really like you, kid. I can see why even if you can't, but there's a few new vampire lawyers in the city of Chicago now. Most of their empire is starting to crumble. I believe your boss shouted at one of the senior staff not to fuck with you again. I'm assuming they learned their lesson this time." Xander went back to reading, flipping pages quickly. Then he groaned and looked up at him. Stoker smirked again. "Yeah, the punk and his clan decided to loot Plutark as a baby welcoming present. Fred the alien was most helpful in that. He tortured Karbunkle to get a map for them. A bunch of them transported up and then Chassis's flying a ship back. They're on their way back right now. The early reports that they sent said 'at least two transporters and at least a ton of recyclable materials'. Chassis talked her squadron leader into coming out to tow some stuff in as well, against orders. She used your cargo containers on a tow beam."
"Sure. I said you guys could have them when I was done with them," he promised. "What about the Bringers?"
"Wrench and Rivet went with them just in case. She had the scythe, he said to tell you that, and she was beautiful according to his report. There may still be a few there, but she's there waiting on her unit to appear and start the looting with her help. Wrench said he's got to get you to work out with him more often too." He smirked. "Those are your copies of the reports, mini punk. Hand them to Throttle and go to his momma's house. Your house is nearly done, they're just waiting on things to finish drying and the like. You'll be able to take him home soon." He sat up, his feet hitting the ground with a thud. "When were you handing over that filtering technology?"
"When I had an official come out and test it once the house was done," he offered. He grinned. "Wrench said it tastes good too."
"It does. I couldn't tell. How often do you scrape the screens?"
"About once a week, just in case. It can probably go two, but I didn't want it to."
"Sure," he agreed, grinning at him. "How much are you going to soak us for over this?"
Xander grinned. "Ten years of free taxes for the compound, families, and the club when I get it opened."
Stoker chuckled and nodded. "Sure, punk. I'll tell Exhaust to come out and check it. He's taken some training in that." Xander nodded. "What was with his nephew and Racer?"
"His nephew was of the opinion that being tortured was the worst fate the Plutarkians gave us. Racer's opinion was that those born to experiment on and those who were half- Plutarkian had it worse."
"I'm not sure which I agree more with," he admitted, considering it. "Racer was born to be experimented on?" Xander nodded. "Any changes made?"
"Not that I've ever been told. Ask Enamel."
"Point. Not that it matters. He wouldn't be the first." He kicked back again, but kept his feet down. "So, how are you liking being a daddy?"
"So far it's okay. He's a pretty quiet mouse."
"Yeah, so was Spike," Stoker said dryly. "Thanks for that by the way." Xander just grinned. "He's a good kid most of the time, but now and then...." He shook his head. "Anya redid their marking again. She needs more fur dye."
"Sure, when I go down for the final shopping trip, after we temporarily transport the house up to switch out the furniture and stuff, give me a list. We'll be doing one final moving moment with the last six containers." Stoker moaned. "Not that he knows it," he offered with a grin. "Has Throttle been out to the caves?" Stoker nodded. "Really?"
"He wanted to see and explore. He took two days and went to roam every inch of that property of yours. He wanted to know how you were doing inventory. He only went into a few of the caves, he hid during that small storm we had."
"Vinnie," Xander said with a smirk. "It'll give him something to do and a way to help teach others in the clan."
"Have you told him that yet? He's not exactly the responsible sort," Stoker joked.
"You'd be surprised," Xander offered with a sweet grin. "My big brother can be responsible when he wants to be. I'll even let him borrow my PDA for the inventory database." He stood up. "Anything else? I need a Throttle cuddle."
"He's probably outside the door and give him those reports." Xander nodded, grinning at him. "You're having us out to dinner when everything's finished."
"Sure." He winked and headed out, walking into his mate with a grin. "Hi." He stole a kiss and handed over the reports. "Where's Tag?"
"At home with Momma. She refused to let me bring him." He nodded. "Repel's in labor."
"We should be there then." He walked him back there, grinning at the nurse who gave him a horrified look. "His baby's coming."
"Oh! Repel's having yours! Okay. She said my last terror was coming to see me." She led them to Repel's room, letting them inside. Then she hurried off. They hadn't wanted to see Xander again for a very long time but he wouldn't be staying this time. All the nurses said prayers that he wasn't going to be staying this time. He had been horrible!
Xander was led out to the house, expecting a shell to be up. Instead he found everything up just like his plans and it was all perfectly finished. All they needed was the furniture. "Wow," he breathed, looking around. "I did a really good job on the plans."
Vinnie chuckled. "You did. A lot of us pitched in to help," he offered, steering Xander that way. "Charley's hugging the bathroom because you remembered she wanted green marble." He walked him inside, showing that Dawn and Wrench had already done the displacement spell and the furniture was all in. "The kids thought Modo's bed was really cool. One of them joked about needing something like it to make sure his kids were as good as Punch was." Xander grinned at that. "We couldn't leave the gym down there so we just brought up the building," he offered, pointing at it. "Sorry if it blocks the view or anything."
"No, it's good for me and I can always paint it if I have to." He smiled back at Throttle. "I love our family."
"Me too. It saved me from having to lift Modo's bed." Xander grinned and pounced him to kiss and cuddle. "Is anything left on the construction, bro?" Before he got involved.
"Setting up the greenhouse to grow stuff, planting the garden when it's time. Hooking the final hose on the water lines." He handed over the wrench with a grin. "We thought you should do that." Xander beamed and went to do that, then turned on the tap happily. Everyone in the house clapped. "Okay, now what's left, Xander?"
"A final shopping trip right before the holidays, or right after the holidays," he announced. "That way we can figure out if we forgot anything and get a final list from the Councils. Did our transporter come up?" Vinnie nodded. "Is it still working?"
"Yeah, we've already had Dawn up and here and left again," he said dryly. "Stan loves their house. He said their future kids would love drawing over the wallpaper you chose." Xander grinned at that. "Dawn and Rimfire both squealed over theirs and she's planning on stealing room in a cargo container for her office stuff. The Canadians told her what she needed." Vinnie pulled him in for another hug. "Welcome home, baby brother."
Xander sniffled and smiled up at him. "Thanks, big brother. I love you too." He hugged him as hard as he could, then pulled Throttle over with his tail to hold him too. "Big brother, I want you in charge of the stored stuff." Vinnie cackled at that. "That way we know when we're running out of things."
"Fine," he agreed with a grin. "Modo would be better, bro."
"Yeah, but he's busy with the bike plant and you're going to be helping me with the club," Xander teased. "Speaking of, I've still got to submit the formal plans and talk to my cook," he said dryly, grinning at Throttle. "Where's momma?"
"Home, with the kids. The same as she was when we left a bit ago," he teased. "We did a bit of shopping before the displacement too, dear. There's a few extra beds in storage out there too, just in case." Xander grinned at that. "Plus, I found where you hid Crankshaft and the new daughter's bikes. You'll have to do one for Tag." He gave him a kiss. "Let's go find Charley girl." Xander led the way into the bathroom, making him whistle. "Wow. This is huge!"
"It is," Charley agreed happily. "Everything's water efficient too!" She hugged Xander. "Thank you."
"You're welcome." He gave her a nuzzle then patted her stomach. "This one'll need it."
"No, no more kids," she said firmly. Vinnie chuckled. "You knew?"
"Kinda obvious, sweetheart, you tasted even better than usual last night." He stole a kiss with a wicked grin. "So, what's this one?"
Xander laid a hand over her stomach. "I think it's a girl." He shrugged and went to check the taps. "We already checked all the lines?" Vinnie nodded. "Shoot. What do I have left to do?"
"Christen it," Vinnie and Charley said in unison.
Xander let out a wicked chuckle and pounced his mate, dragging him to their apartment. He could do that.
Xander flipped the steak over, looking over at his helper. "Momma, you know I want to open a club, right?" She nodded. "Well, I had an idea for all the Martians who can't cook, like most of us can't." She gave him a sideways look. "I want to open a small kitchen at the club, one meal a day, and serve a ration's worth of food. Something like stews or soup or casseroles, but something worth the full ration." He looked at her, giving her puppy eyes. "That way you'd get to have something to do most of the time and Throttle could brag on your cooking to a lot more people, and it'd be family working together."
She kissed him on the cheek. "Dear, I heard about this idea, and I agree, you need a good cook. Should I help you find me one?" He pouted. "You wanted me?" He nodded. "Dear, I'm not that good. Modo's momma cooks better, baby."
"No, you do. I like your stew better," he pouted. "Besides, she's busy all day with Racer and the twins and the daycare she's running. We need to get you out of the house so some young mouse stud can come woo you and make you a happy grandma." He leaned closer with a wicked grin. "Just think of the scandal. You and a mouse Rimfire's age?" he teased.
She swatted him but was laughing. "I wouldn't know what to do with a mouse his age. Are you sure?" He nodded. "Positive you want me?"
"You'll keep a clean kitchen, you cook well, you can easily make stuff that's great tasting that's worth the ration coupon. I doubt anyone's going to doubt you're filling them up for it. It had better be you or else we might starve."
"When were you submitting plans?"
"Stan, come take over the grill," he called, walking her back to his office to let her see everything. "That's what I've got planned for the club. Including the kitchen. I'm going to take over that building that we got into trouble at. It has a small kitchen but nothing big enough. You'd be fully in charge of the kitchen, including shopping with the prior day's ration coupons, and you'd have complete control of the menu. You can even complain about the music now and then, momma." She smiled at that. "I was planning on a mix, like our favorite club does, with one techno day a week so I won't forget what it sounds like." She nodded, looking over the kitchen. "I can change those if you want. All the basics were in a container marked 'for the club, don't use in compound's construction' so they should still be together."
"They are," she admitted, handing them back. "I like that idea, baby. Have you got it approved?"
"I'm bringing it to the council tomorrow but I can hold off. If you wanted, I can include recipes and things to make sure it's enough food for a whole ration coupon. I can offer the filtering technology tomorrow instead."
"I think you should wait, that way I can pull together a sample menu," she offered, standing up. "You're sure you want me?"
"Yes! Your kitchen is clean, you cook very well, and you even put up with me, who'll be running the club with Vinnie's help," he offered with a grin. "The first week's stuff you can easily start by raiding our stores here." She nodded, leaning across the desk to give him a kiss on the cheek. "I figured one full ration coupon for a regular meal, two with dessert and extras."
"That works for me," she admitted, smiling at him. "I'll get to work on that tonight, after we go home, baby. Now, come eat. The babies will be getting up soon." He beamed and walked out with her, going to take his daughter and son to cuddle and hold. She walked up to Stoker. "How long have you known?"
"Since the day he brought me out here to look over what he wanted for land," he admitted. "He said he was going to talk to you the day he moved everything up here." He shrugged and grinned. "We'll want a sample menu and portions, how you plan to equalize them out and the like." She nodded. "Tell him he's got a spot next week for that."
"He said he's going to be offering the filtering technology tomorrow."
"Sure. We could use that. This is really good water. Even if the screens do need cleaned again." He walked off, smiling at Carbine and her man. "Hey."
"Hey yourself. Why are you smirking?"
"Well, Chassis' group is back with her, they're landing later tonight." Stan smiled at that and held up the next steak, which was snatched from the fork before it could drip once. "Put on a few more if we've got 'em."
"He bought the big box of steaks for tonight," Stan offered, going to get a few more.
Stoker grinned at Carbine. "He planned this party well. He's also just talked to Momma about heading the club's kitchen for him. I told her we'd want a sample menu and relevant prices and things." She nodded at that. "He's bringing the filtering stuff to us tomorrow."
"I like this system, even if you would have to scrape the filters every day instead of every week. He did a great job making this house low water usage. Even the tubs." Stoker nodded at that. "I never considered them to be that pretty before but he did a very nice job designing these. Have we even seen Enamel and Shell since theirs got done?" He smirked and shook his head. "Wonderful. Maybe another one?"
"Hopefully. He's a good daddy and Xander could always use more kids to spoil."
Chassis strolled in, fluffing out her hair as she pulled it down from her braid. "Babe, feed me before I have to eat you," she demanded. He grinned and pulled her closer to kiss her making her moan and clutch him. "Never mind. I think I'd rather have you for dinner instead," she purred, teasing his chest with her fingertips. "Hand the sharp, pointy thing off, dear." He handed the fork to the nearest mouse and let her drag him off to their house. She looked around, frowning at the wallpaper. "That's a bit huge."
"The kids can trace over it when they're bein' bad," Stan teased, dragging her up to their room. It had been over a week already. He wasn't that patient.
Back at the patio Carbine's boy Thrust was holding up the fork. "What do I do with this?"
Both mothers came over to take over the grill. Throttle's momma grinned at her cohort. "Xander wants me to run the kitchen in his new club."
"I heard about that," she admitted, smiling at her. "It'll give you something to do besides push for more grandbabies."
"No more kids for quite a while," Repel called. "Xander where's my daughter? I haven't gotten to hold her in days!" she complained, heading for him. The clan laughed.
He gave her a sheepish grin and handed her over. "Sorry, Repel."
"Not an issue, dear. You can have her back when she needs changed." She walked off with her content and sleepy baby, going to cuddle her. Someday soon she might even remind them that she could watch her overnight too. Her daughter blinked up at her and smiled, so she grinned back. "Hey, baby mouse. How are you?" She sat down, cuddling her gently while she ate another bite of dinner. "Are the big, fuzzy blurs treating you okay? Do you like the little fuzzy blur too?"
Throttle came over and handed her more food and kissed her on the cheek. "She likes sleeping with Tag and Tag likes to suck on little Comet's ear." He grinned and walked off, going to pounce Wrench for the gag he had found on their bed earlier. He found him and frowned, he had a plate in his hands. Then again, someone saw and stole his plate, leaving him open and complaining already. He pounced, knocking him down to stare down at him. "I didn't need the extra equipment."
"Yes you did! You scared Willow!" He wiggled and Throttle picked on him in finest biker mice style, making them both happy and sore.
Xander grinned, holding up their son. "There you are, Tag. Your daddy is playing like a little mouse again. Some day we'll get to teach you that too."
Vic walked up to him, hugging him around the thigh. "When me get bike?"
"When you quit talking in baby talk because I know you can," he said dryly, looking down at his cousin.
"Fine, when can I have a bike?" he asked. "I'm not the littlest anymore."
"No, you're not the littlest, you're the biggest. So when you're ready to move up in bikes, Tag and Comet will get yours."
Vic considered it. "I'll give 'em rides for a few years," he promised. Xander grinned down at him. "I have a bike?"
"You do have a kiddie bike. I will tell you now that the weapons are only for practice, they will only be coming on when there's an adult there or you're in danger, and the first time you pull a Spike and head out into the desert for a long ride, it's going to Crankshaft instead."
"Yes, Uncle Xander." He gave him his best begging look. "My birthday's tomorrow."
"I know it is. Go ask your daddy. He's with Stoker." Vic ran that way and Xander looked down at his son. "Some day, you'll have his or Spike's bike and then we'll have to keep track of you too," he offered, kissing him on the cheek. His son cooed at that. "You'll be a studly little baby biker mouse." He walked him back to the grill, he was really hungry.
"Daddy! Uncle Xander said I could have my bike early!" he said, bouncing around his legs. "Please!"
Vinnie looked down at his son. "I'm not sure you're ready yet since you walked into my shower this morning, son."
"You said we should preserve water," he defended.
Stoker chuckled at that, shaking his head. "Not even Spike tried that one," he admitted. "Did they ever take the weapons off?"
"Uncle Xander said they'd only come on if I was in trouble or there was a big mouse around," Vic defended. His daddy's bike had weapons so his should too, it was only fair!
"If you need help training the AI, we've got Spike's so it'll come home when we tell her to, even if he doesn't want it. She will override him and bring him home when we say."
Vinnie grinned at that. "We'll have to get that far on his too. Fine, go tell Uncle Xander to pull your bike out of storage." He crowed and went to do that, and Xander taught him how to whistle. He watched as his son's bike crept through the crowd, smiling at the pretty paint job. It looked like a sunset and went very well with his son's auburn fur. Stoker whistled and Vinnie grinned. "He hadn't painted it the last I knew." He watched as his son ran over and hugged it, getting beeped at. Then his son used a chair to climb up and settle himself. The bike fixed his position a bit by shifting, then they were off, zooming past the crowd into the open space.
"Xander, I wanted him to wait a year," Charley complained.
"Oh, quit, Spike had his by then and Anya was riding her momma's with help," Stoker told her with a small grin. "He's a natural, Vinnie. Good job."
"Thanks, he rides my sweetheart with me every chance he gets, plus with his momma and Auntie Dawn and Rimfire too. He's even talked Micah into giving him a ride."
"I do believe Xander loves your baby boy more'n my daughter," Modo joked as he came over. "That' a pretty bike, bro."
"It is. All the first kids'll get one," he assured him. "Magnet will get one of her own probably too since they're so close in age." He grinned at him. "Xander's already got one for Punch, Crankshaft, and Comet. He's got one for Healer but Enamel's complaining a lot."
Stoker shook his head. "I love that boy of yours, Vinnie. What about Racer's next one? He's about to need a bigger one."
"Xander said Racer's big enough to ride Rimfire's other kiddie bike until his real one. He told him that and Racer agreed." He sipped his rootbeer. "Son! Do not ride off!" he called. His son sped back and went back to riding in the empty space. "We'll have to set up a bike course next," he joked.
Modo clapped him on the back. "I can't wait until Punch starts to ride."
"Me either, bro. It'll be easier with the kids able to follow us sometimes." He looked over as Enamel stormed past with his son clinging to his back and grinning. "Hey, Healer." Healer looked back and waved, still grinning at him. "His sister will get his kiddie bike I think."
"Xander, don't do that to my son," Enamel demanded.
"Yo, Healer's bike!" Xander bellowed. A few minutes later a small touring bike parted the crowd, looking just like his daddy's bike. It beeped inquisitively so Xander pointed at the new rider.
Healer hopped down and ran over to it, hugging his bike. "Just like daddy's!" he crowed, getting on. His bike adjusted him and he wiggled. "Make it go!"
Enamel glared at Xander. "He's too young."
"Bet me," he snorted. "By the way, I'm putting the bike course on the southern side of the house." He got up and went to help the little guy with his momma's help, watching as he joined Vic riding in circles. Then he sat down again with a smug look. Anya tugged his arm. "You, my dear, are ready for a bigger bike anyway and your momma said you can use hers."
"I know." She hugged him. "You're very special, Uncle Xander."
He grinned. "Thanks, most people mean that the wrong way."
"I'm not sure which way I mean it, but it's true either way," she teased, going to help the boys. "Spike, come help me!" she bellowed as she strolled.
Spike looked over there, then smirked, going over with his crew to help their junior members. His sister started to sniffle so he looked at her, then whistled. Her bike came roaring around the house and stopped in front of her, staring at her. She just stared back until he gave her a shove. "It's yours, dumb bint." She ran over and climbed on, heading off into the desert for a ride. "Get back here!" His bike came over and he went to herd her back. She was a lot like him and she'd be driving their parents insane later by wanting to bring her bike inside to sleep with her too. Just like he had.
Switch moaned and shook her head. "Xander!"
"Yes, dear?" he called, using his most sweet, innocent, and kind to kittens and puppies smile with it.
"You're horrible, mini punk," Stoker said as he walked past him. "Absolutely rotten. Crankshaft, get back here, or no biking for a month!" he yelled. His daughter turned right around and headed right back to hug him, Spike behind her. "Nice try, son. Nearly there too." He looked at Racer, who was grinning at them. "I guess it's time to teach these punks how to ride, huh?" Racer nodded, smirking at him. "Then we've got to work on your riding skills."
Racer whistled and a pretty new bike showed up. It looked a lot like Modo's but a bit less stretched out since he wasn't as big. It was still a bit big for him but he'd grow into it. He got on and headed out to do some tricks, making Stoker just gape in awe. Then he grinned. "Momma Cell taught Flat on me," he said proudly. Then he winked at Spike. "We're doing him next."
"Give him two years first, kiddo. Please." He shook his head, looking at his family. He never thought he'd have a family but damn, they were definitely his. Spike cackled and he smirked at him. "Yes, you, son. Just like me. Racer, where did you get the bike?"
"I walked into a cave and it came over to love on me," he offered. "I showed Momma Cell where that was and she had Uncle Modo and Auntie Staff come out to rescue the hiding bikes and put away their former owners." Stoker nodded at that. "He's mine and I love him, Uncle Stoker, even if I'm too young."
"Sometimes young is a state of mind," Enamel assured him. "You need some work, but you're looking good so far. We'll help you on the bike course Xander's going to be putting up for the kids." He looked at his own son, who was still riding around in circles. He was definitely too young, but he looked good on his little bike. He still glared at Xander for it and got one of those shit-eating grins in return. He rolled his eyes and went to help his son a bit. He was still off-balance and leaning.
Vinnie shook his head. "I just realized. There's Spike's crew and then there's going to be Crankshaft's crew. She'll have all the younger kids but Vic in hers." He finished his can of rootbeer and tossed it in the recycling can. "Two complete units of Freedom Fighters, including medical backup." He looked at Stoker. "Mars will keep going for a long time."
"Oh, definitely," he agreed. "Which was what we fought for."
Xander came over to hug them both, grinning at them. "That's years in the future, guys, quit being so glum. For right now, they just want to ride like the daddies and mommas. This is their fun. They don't even realize I've already trained them." He smirked at Stoker. "Just wait until you see Racer on the agility course tomorrow, old guy."
"I've got tomorrow afternoon free," he noted, looking at Racer, who was preening in front of his uncle and mommas. "Are you sure he's not a VanWham by birth?" he asked Vinnie.
"Yeah, I am. I checked. His momma was almost related by marriage. His daddy's is one of Mirror's former kin. His daddy was the last Highest of Othra." They shared a look and then looked at Tag, who was being cooed at by Switch. "Makes ya wonder," Vinnie noted dryly.
"Not really. That kid'll be one terror of a punk, but he'll be skilled to back it up." Vinnie nodded at that. "What about Comet?"
"Oh, she's got a pretty bright future," he promised, grinning at him. "She'll be Vic's second wife." He walked off shaking his head at that. They weren't that close of relatives. Wrench and Repel were on the distant side of the family from his, like third cousins or something, so it'd be fine. They'd just have to watch those kids really closely. He went to make a note in his journal, the one he'd pass onto the next Clan Elder, just in case he wasn't around and Wrench conveniently forgot. That made it Spike and Dawn's first daughter, Vic and Ramjet, then Vic and Comet, Anya and someone hopefully understanding, Crankshaft and Piston, Tag and Punch, and Racer with a young mouse in his clan. Those were going to be some dangerous grandkids. The lines were going to be really fun later on in his life.
Willow faded in. "I thought it'd be Anya and Racer," she pouted.
"Nope, he likes boys," Vinnie said with a smirk for her. "Anya needs someone supportive and understanding, Racer will be working a lot of hours."
"Fine. I still think they'd be cute together."
"I think Anya and that one boy who stares at her back are cute together. That or her and Thruster, the younger one. He adores her and doesn't put up with her crap."
"True," she agreed. "Maybe. I could see that. They'd be cute babies."
"They would," Charley agreed as she came in. "Doing clan stuff?" she asked.
"Writing down some things Wrench saw about the future kids." He pulled her into his lap to kiss and cuddle. "Healer's going to have some uptight mouse named Brink. His sister Disc will have some studly biker that'll remind her a lot of Chassis." He grinned and kissed her again. "Vic and Ramjet will be cute for a while then they'll split and he'll hit someone else's baby girl."
"I don't want that mental image," she decided, kissing him to take it away. "You're sure I'm pregnant?" He grinned and nodded. "Absolutely positive?"
Vinnie used his tail to raise the nearest window. "Hey, Enamel, come check her! She's pregnant again! I'm looking forward to a son this time!"
"It's a girl and you're out of luck, it'll be a mini-Xander with your fur and her hair," he called back.
"Yes!" Xander howled, cackling madly. "Another baby to warp into my image...I mean teach!"
Charley moaned and reached over to put down the window. "Another image I don't need."
"At least our daughters will be beautiful and sought after," Vinnie teased, stroking her stomach. "Every mouse will want our daughters." He winked at her. "I'll have to challenge any serious ones to a riding contest and tell them they can't date her unless they beat me and Xander."
"Well, that's one way not to have grandkids," she complained, kissing him to stop him from bragging that she was right. "Hush, Vincent." He nuzzled her neck and she moaned. "Never mind. Just keep doing that. You're good with your mouth."
Throttle walked in and took Magnet from Charley, then walked out, locking the door behind them. "Remember, we only have a few extra beds, bro."
"If you'd quit breaking them, we'd have more," he called, pulling his wife to their bed so he could celebrate. "No more after this one, sweetheart, give it a few years," he said with a grin.
"I know," he said smugly, going down on her. "I know how hard you tried and it makes me hard thinking about you trying." She wiggled and grabbed his ears to stop him. "Awww, sweetheart!"
"Be nice and gentle," she ordered.
"Yes, babe, always." He winked. "Unless you order otherwise." He went back down to pleasure her. He loved it when she was pregnant. She tasted so good!
Outside, Repel looked at Throttle. "If I want a second one, could I actually have that one for a few weeks at a time?"
He shook his head. "Probably not. You want Comet tonight?"
"Sure, why not. She hasn't even been inside my house yet." Wrench came over to steal her. "Hey! My daughter!"
"Not tonight, dear, there's another meteor shower coming." She moaned. "Later this week, once you've rebuilt again."
"I swear I'm moving into Xander's housing project," she complained.
"You and Starlight both," he offered with a wink. "We're helping him we can help you too."
"If I have anything left," she complained. "Stoker, whatever happened to our beam to fry asteroids?" she called. "I'm tired of rebuilding!"
"We're talking about making everyone in that section move," he called back. "It's still working everywhere but there. Sorry, Wrench."
"Not an issue, I can always put up a new temple," he sighed. "Anya can do more statues for us." She grinned at that. He went to call the clan to warn them, that way they'd be around there when and if it happened so something might get saved. Flat just gave him a look and shook his head. "Already?"
"Yup, already. Fortunately we moved you and Repel already. Starlight said so. He said she can stay with him until she finds a new spot. I guess you're staying with the elder or your son. Oh, the hand came off again." He cut the connection.
Wrench looked up. "I love you, Lady, but how long do I have to live in this insanity? And which one will be my right hand, Vic or Tag?"
The Seal appeared. "Xander's going to be finding you one," she admitted. "It's neither kid. Tag's going to Othra's exclusively since he's got no magic, and he'll be the one training the slayers later. Vic's just the clan heir as far as we know. He has the chance to turn out like Willow but I doubt Xander will let him. Later on, there'll be a girl who'll need to step out of succession. She'll be your right hand girl and a field watcher first." She grinned at him. "Tag will be your trainer once Xander's busy with his daughter in a few years. She'll be an 'empty nest' baby."
"No, not really. They'll have to go to a real school some day," she pointed out. "That'll break his heart." She grinned at him. "Not that long."
"How am I supposed to find a girl of my own when I'm being hounded by you two?" he asked bitterly.
She leaned down to kiss him on the cheek. "You could ask us to help you look. We found one girl we like a lot."
She snorted. "Hell no. Martian." She winked and faded out.
"Okay, I'll ask. Who?" he called. Willow came in with a grin, then wiggled her finger to make him follow. She led him outside and out to the party, pointing at one lady there in the crowd. "Who's she?" he asked.
"Piston. She's Stoker's assistant," she whispered in his ear. "It's not her, but she has a very nice young sister, who is Taver. She's of the Clan Arc." She floated over, making Piston blink and stare in open-mouthed shock. "Hi, I'm Willow," she said, shaking her hand. "I hang with Spike a lot."
"Okay." She nodded, looking at Wrench as he came over. "Highest."
"This is informal, Wrench, please," he offered, smiling and shaking her hand.
"Don't hit on my assistant!" Stoker yelled. "I'm not losing her!"
"I'm not leaving, old man," she complained. She shook her head. "He's paranoid I'll get married and leave him to flounder under his paperwork again."
Willow beamed. "Well, I can help you find someone," Willow offered, "but I'm more here about Taver." She nodded at Wrench. "I think those two should meet."
"You're very blunt, I like that in a being," Piston noted. "She's presently dating."
"Pity," Wrench offered. "She's pretty good at finding people to know."
"I'll gladly introduce you two. I hate her current boyfriend. He's a bragging little brat." She walked off with him, her arm around his. "How's your schedule tomorrow?"
"Probably clear. I'm told most of my house was destroyed in the last meteor strike."
"You can have our spare room," Xander yelled.
"Thanks, babe." He waved and walked on with her. "So all I've got tomorrow is finding a new spot to live along with the temple."
"Good. Meet me for lunch in the main building?" He nodded. She smiled. "Let me call my sister."
"The comm's this way," he offered, grinning at her. "Who's she dating?"
"Some punk named Thruster at the local base."
"I know him, he's the base gossip," he admitted, walking her to the comm system. "He and Rimfire are pretty tight."
"Yes, I've heard all about his hero worship for Rimfire. Where is he anyway?"
"Finals. He'll be up in a few days for the holidays and then they'll be back down there for the next semester."
"Oh, wonderful." She dialed her sister, staring at Thruster until he moved away from her. "Lunch, tomorrow? I'll buy."
"Why?" she asked.
"Well, Rimfire's coming back in a few days and I thought you'd like to get used to being alone, plus I've recently met some new friends and they're going to be wandering all over the city chasing after the newly-biked children in the family."
"Huh?" she asked.
Wrench smiled at her. "Xander gave Spike's little sister Crankshaft and my cousin Victor their first bikes, plus Enamel's son got his a bit early as well," he offered. "Xander has to come in for a Council meeting tomorrow about his filtration system and I was going to tag along to look for a new place to live. Your sister and I thought you'd like to join us for lunch tomorrow since I'm going to be around the main building all day."
"Sure," she agreed. "Who're you?"
"Oh, Taver, this is Wrench, the Highest of the M'dreth. Unfortunately his house is out in asteroid field." Her sister shuddered. "Hence him in looking at open buildings tomorrow." She smiled. "Since Stoker's not going to be that busy, I thought I'd help him out. So, lunch?"
"When is Rimfire coming back?" Thruster asked. He looked at Wrench and glared a bit. "I'll expect you to be more gentlemanly than your reputation."
"I haven't been a punk like you in years, little boy," he sneered back. "I'd get on your happy little bicycle too. Rimfire's bringing his lady home for the holidays again. They're going to be settling in here at the compound over it." He shuddered. "So yeah, you'll probably be out here with me anyway." He grinned. "And the humans on Mars."
"Why are there still humans on Mars?" Taver asked, looking at her boyfriend. "Huh?"
"Rimfire's girl is a human," he admitted.
"So's Chassis' stud," Wrench offered. "She's the new ambassador and Stan's her helper."
"Oh, that's very cool," Taver admitted. "At least they found a lot of love with them. Better that than being alone and lonely or having the horror of having been a slave of Plutark in *that* way." Wrench nodded, swallowing a bit. "When should I pop around? My job's not that demanding, I'm only hiring for the bike plant."
"Anytime between eleven and three," Piston offered with a grin. She squealed as Vinnie grabbed her and moved her.
"Thruster, Rimfire wanted a call soon, like the day after tomorrow when he gets up here," he noted. "They're moving up here permanently in about another year if they're done with their education on time." That got a small nod. "They're going to want your help setting up her computer stuff so he doesn't have to heft and tote since he hurt his back the other day."
"Fine," he agreed. "How much stuff is there?"
"Her formal wardrobe for State stuff. Her office and library, plus the storage stuff. You're more than welcome to use our transporter too so you'll probably need the day off. She told Rimfire he couldn't fly them home because she didn't want to ever crash and he still wasn't that great at landings."
He moaned. "Fine. I'll ask General Rotor for that day off. Thank you, Vinnie."
He grinned. "Welcome, kid. Hey, Taver. This is my cousin Wrench in case he forgot that part. He's my second in the clan."
"Cool. I like how you two managed to keep the clan together through everything, Vinnie. I think you and he do a very good job. What does Chassis do?"
"She's our enforcer. She basically goes out to slap those who need it," Wrench offered with a grin. "It keeps us from having to yell at certain relatives."
She chuckled. "Gotcha. I need one of those. Piston, dear, dating?"
"Not ready," she assured her firmly. "Not going to happen either. Stoker's still paranoid."
"Fine. I'm bringing my assistant with me so you two can talk about how to organize my office again." She waved and hung up.
Vinnie grinned at Piston. "Thank you. Wrench, you can have the extra room in our apartment if you want. Charley's already asleep." He headed out to the celebration to eat. He needed it.
"Is it always this lively around here?"
"Not really the roving party, but kinda," he admitted, walking her back out. "Stoker, how soon before we know how much of my neighborhood is gone?"
"I've already got reports from the military unit sent out to help. Your temple was deserted, but heavily damaged. Where are you moving to?"
"I'll figure that out tomorrow," he decided, heading out to watch the kids play on their bikes. Vic was sleeping on his. Healer was petting his like the cats. He looked around. "Vinnie, where are the cats?"
"Coming tomorrow," he called. "You always move pets first or last so they have time to get used to stuff. The fish are coming then too." He grinned at Modo. "Have Cell get rid of Rimfire's friends the day he's due up so they can help those two move in and get the pets and stuff."
"Sure. Cell?" She looked over at him, letting the baby gnaw on her piece of steak. "Rimfire's got a sore back, he'll need help moving stuff day after tomorrow. Plus the fish and the pets. Think they can get free?"
"Sure, we can count it as PT," she agreed happily. "Rotor!" He looked over. "PT for Rimfire's bros day after tomorrow is helping him move!"
"Sure! I'll excuse them and drag them here myself," he promised with a grin. "I've got to say, Racer looks good on his bike," he told Stoker.
"He wants to be a doc," he said firmly. "He's Enamel's apprentice."
"Fine. Pity, but fine. How about his training?"
"Xander," he said dryly. "All Xander." Rotor looked pleased at that. "Along with Spike and Anya, Vic and all their kids, Crankshaft when she's a bit older.... At least he won't have time to be bored for a bit."
"Good! We like that idea!" He clapped him on the back and went to tell Vinnie about his son.
Vinnie came walking over and stopped to 'awwww' at the cuteness. "That's adorable!" He looked around and took the camera, taking a few pictures of them. "Healer." Healer looked up and grinned, continuing to pet his bike. "Good boy." He handed the camera off. "Go download those before we move anyone." Throttle chuckled but went to do that. They were cute. He came back and nodded. "Cool." He walked over there, picking up his son carefully. The little tail wrapped around the handlebars. "You can ride with me tomorrow, son. For now it's time to rest," he said quietly. "Let the bike go. We can go camping later this week with it in the caves." He unwound the stubborn tail and walked him inside, tucking him into his bed. Then he headed back out, finding Stoker holding his sleepy daughter and Healer being walked home too. He grinned at Racer. "Got a few?" He nodded so Vinnie brought him into the comm center, turning on the file he had found earlier. "Okay, I did a bit of background checking. Everyone thought you were part of the clan and it's my job to find all of us and put us back together again."
"I am?" Racer asked.
"You're not," he admitted, "but you have a few family left." He pulled up the file. "I traced the base records of your parents. Your daddy used to have Xander's job as Othra's high priest." Racer looked stunned. "The Plutarkians *really* wanted him. They raided your house in a true raid to get him, Racer." He patted him on the back. "Your momma was one of us by her first marriage, which had no kids, but her family is gone as far as I could tell. There may still be some. We're still trying to figure out who everyone on Mars is and where they are. I know your daddy's family was Mirror's." He blinked at that. "So you've got a bit of kin left on that side. Now, again, your momma may have some left, I'm not sure. I couldn't find any but then again the files are kinda in a mess." He kissed him on the forehead. "That way you know."
He looked at him. "Thank you, Vinnie. Are you tellin' Momma or Momma Cell?"
He snorted and hugged him. "Do you think it matters to either of them, boy? They could care less if your parents showed up tomorrow. They're your family now." He gave him a squeeze. "You never have to worry about that, okay? The same as you might as well be my clan too." He looked down and Racer nodded, looking relaxed. "This was just for you so you can track others down if you want. Remember, Mars has a long history of adoption and you're still one of Modo's clan with the way you ride." He clapped him on the back and let him go. "Now, come on. There's food out there and she wore me out, again," he offered happily. "A little girl like Xander," he said happily as he walked him out.
"She'll be the worst kid in the whole preschool," Racer assured him. "I'll sic Spike on her now and then."
Vinnie chuckled. "That'd be fine. It'll take all of us to make my daughters calm down anyway. Just look at Magnet," he said, pointing at where she was trying to climb Exhaust from the back of his robes. He snatched her off and tickled her as he walked away with her. "You should be in bed, Magnet."
"No sleep!" she crowed proudly. "Me bike?"
"Not yet you're not. Not until you're too big to ride with me." He walked her back inside and tucked her back into her bed. "You stay in here. There'll be plenty to do tomorrow cleaning up." She nodded, snuggling in with her teddybear. He grinned and walked out, closing the door behind him. He saw a mouse snooping around and cleared his throat. "You are?"
"Oh, I'm Herald, I'm with the new newspaper service, Mr. VanWham."
"I'm sure Xander will get a subscription eventually. Why are you in front of my door?"
"Because I thought I heard a noise."
"My wife is more than capable of whipping tail if someone's in there," he noted, dragging him outside and putting him in front of Stoker. "He was snooping in my bedroom. Or trying to." He walked off, heading back to his plate, which he had to shoo Spike away from. "Go make another one if you're hungry!" Spike grinned and went to toss another steak on the grill. He sat down and shook his head, grinning at the sleepy Xander on Throttle's lap with Tag in his arms. "He's cute, bro. Gonna keep him?"
"Yeah, I'd better. My momma'd get pissed if I tossed him away. You know how she can be about wanting grandbabies."
"Not funny," Xander complained sleepily. He glared at the man staring at him. "What?" he growled. He turned away. "Who is he?"
"Reporter," Vinnie offered, reaching over to take Tag. "Hey, cousin, come cuddle me. My lap's empty again." He watched as Xander got up to stalk the reporter back into the house, coughing and nodding at his cousin Tire to follow him. "Reporter," he mouthed. Tire snorted and followed, dragging him out by the tail a few minutes later. Xander came out and hit him, knocking him into the ground. "What'd he do?" he called.
"He was staring down at Magnet," he called back, hitting him again. "Licking his lips."
"Hey, hit 'im for me," Vinnie called. "'Cause if he touches her, he's mine!" Xander punched the guy again and he looked at Stoker. "So, how's our penal code doing?"
"Arbitrary," he admitted, going to rescue the poor idiot before he died. He shook him, staring him down. "Were you going to touch that child inappropriately?" The man sobbed and nodded. "Pity." He handed him off to Exhaust. "It's your month to be on the court bench starting tomorrow. Have fun with him. Want some guards?"
"Please," he said, dropping him and wiping off his robes. "Nice work, Xander. Thank you for handling that peacefully." Xander just growled. He held up a hand. "Let me handle it from here. If he's set free, you can have him back." Xander nodded, going back to his comfy Throttle seat. He looked back down at the mouse. "I believe you realize what's in your best interests." He nodded quickly and Exhaust looked around as two more bikes roared up and suddenly stopped, just inches away from Stoker's feet. "Nice slide," he noted, pointing at the idiot. "Him."
"What was the charge?"
"They caught him standing over Magnet VanWham's sleeping body and he told Stoker he was going to harm her by touching her inappropriately." The mice glared. "He's going to be seeing me tomorrow. Find him a cell and an advocate."
"I want to press assault charges."
"Fat chance you're going to hurt a man for protecting his house," Stoker told him. "The law has always stated that a mouse may protect their house and their mates by hurting, but not killing, the one trying to harm what's theirs. You've already lost that battle, mouse." He whimpered and was drug off. "Have one of the medics look him over too, that way he can't claim torture." The guards nodded and drug him away. He looked at Exhaust. "I'd do it but I'm too close as her godparent."
"Understandable," he admitted. "Besides it's too late for us to go back in tonight anyway." He looked around, finding Racer talking with Modo in a set of chairs. "Is he all right? I whipped my nephew's tail for what he said."
Stoker nodded. "He's fine. Vinnie's been checking on his family and I think he found him one. Oh, did you know that I'm getting reports on who accesses the family database again?" He shook his head. "I don't know why but I am." He shrugged and walked off to complain to someone else about that.
Modo looked around. "Mirror?" She walked over, smiling at the couple. "This is Racer, my little brother, and it looks like a distant cousin of yours."
She smiled and patted the boy on the head. "I was more than happy to see you went to a good family, child." He looked up at her. "If you want me to be, I'll be around for you, that's not a problem, but I'm not the pushy sort." He relaxed and nodded. She smiled and fluffed his hair up. "That was excellent riding by the way. I'm very impressed. Are you joining the military when you're older?"
"I want to be a doctor, ma'am."
She smiled. "Even better. We need more of those, especially good ones." She winked at him. "Come see me sometime this week after school so we can trace it back. There's a few other cousins here and there." She walked off, pleased with that news.
Modo nudged the boy. "See, I told you it wouldn't matter. It didn't matter to Cell, it don't matter to me, and it's all right with her too. Now, quit worrying! You're too young to be so worried and we don't need those ulcers to come back, hear me?" Racer grinned and nodded. "Good boy. And good riding, I was impressed too. I'll help you wherever I can with your bike, little brother." He patted him on the knee and got up to rescue his wife from some of Vinnie's younger cousins. They'd embarrass her horribly and she'd blush all night.
Racer kicked back and relaxed. He was secure and wanted, it was all a young mouse needed beyond his bike, who was beeping at Spike's now and then. "Don't take tips from Spike's bike, Dragon, we'll get in trouble," he called. His bike beeped at him and went back to talking to the younger bikes. "Oh, well, I tried. That's all that would get me in real trouble," he noted, sipping his rootbeer.
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