Xander looked at the people gathered as he rode up, parking his bike and heading up to the dias with the casket he had found. "You needed this, Tangent?" he asked, handing it over.

"I did," he agreed, smiling at him.  He took them and looked inside.  "It's all here and shined.  Good job, Xander."

"Thanks."  Xander looked around.  "I wasn't sure if you needed some of the slabs."

"I could use two of them."  He looked at Xander.  "How are you doing?"

"I'm missing pieces."  He whistled and his bike moved through some of the crowd, parking beside him.  He looked around and nodded Spike to lift off the two platters and carry them up, handing them to him.  "Thanks, Spike.  Good job."  He handed them over.  "As many pieces as I found, Tangent."

He nodded, looking at them.  "Silver trays?"

"My personal favorite for working on things, just in case they bring trouble."  He shrugged. "I'm like that."

"I would be too with your past."  He laid the trays out and watched as Xander got down and poured something into a cup, then put it among the flowers around the stone of names. He gave him an odd look. "Libations for the dead?"

"Earth habit among some of my friends.  Admittedly learned from Gunn and some of his street friends.  Like the Egyptians burying the people with food."

"Libations for the dead," Tangent decided, nodding.  He looked around, then at Xander's bike.  "Back off."

"Spike, watch Vic," Xander ordered, coming up to hand over the bottle of wine.  Tangent looked at it then sniffed.  "Yes, wine.   It should be good wine on today."  He looked around, then up.  "What ship is coming in?"

Stoker looked at him.  "No ship, Xander.  Even though I heard you've got one coming in."  Xander gave him a look.  "Not yours?"  Xander shook his head.  "How can you tell?"

"They make my ears pop."  He looked up again, moving a few feet away.  "Stoker, can we call a time out on this?"

"It's not for another hour, Xander.  I'm sure it's just yours."

"It's not mine, mine is still at home. Terror's not coming until the end of the ceremony."

"You and Terror, there's an image worthy of my nightmares," Tangent sighed, shaking his head.

"I like my cousin Terror!  He's a cool mouse and we understand each other very well!" he defended.

"Sir!" Stoker's radio crackled.  "We've got a ship incoming to where you are!  I can't tell make, model, or species!"

Stoker tapped his end.  "Any lifeforms?" he asked.

"No, sir.  Well, yes, but we can't tell how many or what type.  Do you want a unit?"

"Yeah.  Now.  Just in case."  He hung up and looked at Xander.  "No laser?"

"Um, no. I don't tend to come armed with visible weapons to remembrance thingies."  He gave Stoker an odd look.  "Why does everyone always assume I'm armed and dangerous even if I'm naked and in the bathtub?"

"Because that's the sort of mouse you are," Tangent advised.  "Sorry, but you really are like that."  He smirked at him.  "What do you have?"

"About what I went traveling with.  A few crossbows, my pole, a dagger."  He shrugged.  "Nothing too major."  They looked up as the ship started to become visible. "That's not friendly."

"How do we know that?" Stoker demanded. "Spike, get Vic, head home!" he yelled. "People, we've got a ship coming in, we're not sure of the reason or who it is!"   Most everyone ran and Spike got Vic onto his bike, programming it to head to somewhere safer because he'd never make it home in time. Besides, all his parents would be heading in. Stoker helped guard most everyone back to the nearest bunker, looking around and counting noses.

Xander was the one who noticed Spike was still there.  "Why didn't you go with him!"

"Bike wouldn't let me, it said it's not an emergency and Vic's not a reasonable person."  He shrugged.  "Sorry!"

Xander sighed and looked around, then whistled, bringing his bike back.  He patted down everything and ended up finding a side cannon that came off.  He looked up, the ship was getting ready to land.  "Here, take this, get behind the stone, guard anyone still running and follow them.  If someone takes the gun, give it!"  He headed off.  "Bike, guard the fleeing! Spike, you can ride him this time!"  He pulled out his pole and expanded it, looking at Tangent.  "That's Plutarkian, I can smell 'em from here," he called.

"As can I."  He called the base.  "Base, this is High Priest Tangent.  We have sighted and smelled Plutarkian landers at the Remembrance Canyon.  I repeat, it is Plutarkians.  We do need assistance.  Most everyone has been evacuated and is running."

"Two field units en route, Tangent.  Can you hold a line?"

"We'd better," Xander agreed. "They're not getting any farther in."  Tangent nodded and cut the connection.  The ship landed and a raving lunatic ran out, straight for them. "Marshall," he sneered, stepping up to take him out himself.  Him and the three guards following him were all downed within minutes, and then a Bringer came running out.  "Oh, fucking wonderful!  Tangent, we need Wrench and Rivet!" he called.  He sent that out mentally to Throttle too.  He'd be somewhere closer to Wrench anyway.  He beat the shit out of the Bringer, but they were super vampires who could withstand anything but that scythe.  "You want the Plutarkians?" he called as someone came riding up behind him.  A female mouse jumped off.  "Not him!  Only Rivet, Wrench, or I can kill them, it takes something special!"

"You're sure?"

"Yeah, that's a Bringer, they ate the Plutarkians!  Get the stinkfish!"  She nodded, heading to help Tangent. He went back to beating the Bringer, and its buddy that appeared too.  "Seal!" he howled.  "Some help here please!"

"I can't open, more will come out!" she yelled back.  She appeared and tossed him the scythe.  "Here!  Rivet's too far away!"

"Blessed be, and all that jazz."  He tossed his pole to her and went to work on the Bringers for real now.  And hey, it worked on smelly Plutarkians too.  He cut off the head of Marshall Limburger very quickly.  He took a deep breath and focused himself, heading on to take care of the others.  A few more were coming out and he charged.  He felt someone fall in step behind him and glanced back, nodding at Wrench.  "Hey!  Long time no see!"  He swung and then ducked, then swung again, gutting it to slow it down so he could cut its head off.   And he kept going.  By the time he was done, there weren't any adults or Bringers.  One tried to get up so he walked over and calmly finished severing the head, then kicked it into the canyon.  "Here, be an honor guard to those killed by your own stupidity."  He growled when someone came near him, panting a bit.  They smelled like a Plutarkian.  They really did.

Wrench looked over then casually stole the scythe and used the end of the handle to knock him out.  "Throttle, your boy keeps getting lost in there," he called pleasantly.  "You might want to work on that with him now and again.  Just for our safety."  He looked around, then down at himself.  "Wow, I need a shower and a change of clothes."  Taver, both of them, ran up and kissed him and he grinned at his ladies.  "Hi.  That's almost as good as a shower and a change of clothes.  Seal!"  She appeared and he tossed the scythe.  "Put it back in my office and tell Rivet where it is this time."  She nodded, bowing to him.  "How many are left on Plutark?"

"Three.  All on the smaller continent."

"Thanks.  Shoo."  She faded out, taking the weapon with her.  He sighed and held his ladies, watching Throttle go into super fuss mode.

"Man, he didn't leave us any," Vinnie complained as he rode up.

"I wish we had, then you'd be dirty too," Wrench joked.  He looked at Tangent, who was staring at Xander.  "Now you know why."

"I do, I did before," he admitted.  "He can't counsel very well but he trains magnificently.  I think I'll put him over that."   He walked back up to the podium, checking on everything.  He moved a piece back into place, watching as it fused.  "Blessed be, Lord Othra, for bringing us this defender.  Please guard his mind so he doesn't break from this."

"Not a chance," Throttle called, looking over at him.  "It's happened in the past too."


"When he ran the people up the valley," Vinnie admitted.

"That was him!"  The mice in the know all nodded.  Tangent looked up and smiled.  "Thank you, Lord.  I feel no qualms about dying or anything else now.  He is more than fit to follow and lead the next generation.  Thank you."  He went back to checking the stone tablets, his touch fusing them where they should go.  He smiled at the nearly complete ones.  "It's as they should be," he announced.  He looked around.  "They'll be honor guards and slaves to the dead in the afterlife.  Are there young on the ship?" he called.  The person who had been searching it shook his head.  "Are you sure?"

"Very.  There had been two ships but the other headed off while this one landed," he reported.  He looked at the mouse Throttle was holding.  "Does he need medical attention, sir?"

"No.  Just a pillow.  We're good."  He looked over, seeing Spike coming back on Xander's bike.  "Where's yours?"

"I can't ride alone unless it's an emergency."

"I'm going to be redefining an emergency later," Stoker said from behind him.  He looked at his son.  "Nice work."

"Thanks."  He grinned his most shit-eating grin.  "I'm starting with Xander this weekend."

"Fine.  As long as you don't turn into him."  He walked off shaking his head after a quick hug.  He checked on Xander, then Throttle. "You okay?"

"No.  He didn't leave us any."  He looked at him.  "I want to watch him fight.  Did anyone get it on camera?"

"Spike did.  The bike was herding and he managed to get caught here, but hidden.  His swearing was very well heard over it.  What are Bringers?"

"The super vamps who ate the Plutarkians," Wrench noted.  "It takes that scythe to kill 'em, Stoker.  That's why he wouldn't let the others near them.  It'd have gotten them killed."  He looked at Carbine, who casually dropped a box on Xander's chest then walked off.  "He'll get you for that," he called, knowing very well what it was.  He had one of those in his closet from the battle where he found faith.  He looked at Stoker, then at himself.  "I need to change."

"My place is closer.  Throttle, get your boy there too.  You can both change."  Throttle nodded and called their bikes over, Xander's bike pushing his out of the way.

"Whoa, babe.  He's fine.  Just knocked out so he didn't hit the rest of us too.  We're heading to Stoker's to clean up, all right?"  The bike beeped and he put Xander on him, watching as he rode off.  He got onto his own bike to follow, he needed to clean up from the stuff he'd gotten off Xander's clothes.  By the time they got there, Xander was awake and complaining about the mess in his fur and the medal that had stuck in the mess on his fur.

Xander walked in and handed Anya the medal.  "Here, make something pretty out of that."

"I can't, not that one.  Daddy said that's sacred and I'm not allowed to use it for my medal statues."  She handed it back. "Sorry, Uncle Xander."

"Xander, the bathroom's already ready for you," Switch offered, coming out to kiss him on the cheek.  She smiled at Throttle and Wrench as they rode up too.  "I'm sure you guys can share a bathroom.  I've got some clothes since Willow sent some over.  Shoo!  Bathe!"  They headed in there and she went to rearrange the clothes, then headed out with the kids.  "We're heading there!  Close the door when you come."

"Sure!" Xander agreed.  "Wrench, don't scrub so hard!" he whined a moment later.

"It's the only way to get your fur clean," Throttle complained.

"Ow!  Babe!"


Stoker looked up as the three mice returned, staring at Wrench, who was wearing new robes.  They looked darker to him and they fit him a bit better too it appeared.  Throttle was back in his usual leather vest and jeans.  He had been dressed up earlier.  Xander was....  He blinked a few times, staring at him.  "White leather?" he muttered.  He nudged Tangent.  "Can he do that?"

Tangent looked, then blinked.  "He's got spots, so those must be some sort of clothes."

Vinnie looked and groaned. "I thought he confiscated those."   He looked at Tangent.  "When did you see him naked?" he demanded.

"When he was bathing while we were working together, before he rode off again.  I caught him in the communal bath.  Nothing happened."  Vinnie glared but left it there.

"I did," Throttle growled.  "Willow found them and sent them for him to wear."  He looked at his mate, who was very warmth inducing in that outfit.  Fur-tight didn't begin to describe what those leather pants did for Xander's legs and butt, or his tail.  He let out another little growl when Spike let out one of desire.  "Mine, Spike."

"I never appreciated him when I had the chance," he sighed, shaking his head.  "Damn!"  He walked off shaking his head.

"I suggested he use more fur dye, but Uncle Throttle yelled at me," Anya offered as he stomped past her.  "Nice job recording, little brother."  Spike nodded at that and continued on, going to get a drink from the table.  Ramjet pounced him and he growled at her so she smirked.

"I've got you, Spike.  Some day you'll get those from him.  Then you'll be hot and wanted too."  She got off him and dusted him off, taking him over to hang with their group.  Vic was with his mommy and Switch was watching Crankshaft and some of the other kids with Cell and Modo's momma.   Ramjet looked up as another ship appeared.  "Should we run?"

"No, that's Martian," Switch said loudly.  The people around them relaxed.

Terror landed and stepped out once the engines were off. "I had planned to do this later," he announced, "but I'd hate to make more people paranoid.  The Clan VanWham had some members who went to Plutark to loot and on the grounds of one mansion we found some of our relics.  We're handing them back today and asking formal permission to retrieve the rest," he said, nodding at the full councils of Mars since they were all there. "The ship's odd, but there's plenty of stuff on there.  If you wouldn't mind?"

"Can you offload?" Stoker asked quietly.

"I could, but then you wouldn't be able to move them anywhere else for a bit."

"Point," he admitted, shrugging and following him.  "For those who don't know, this is Terror VanWham.  Come on, people, I do trust him."  The others followed and he walked into the ship, looking around.  "Wow.  This is much bigger than it looks outside," he said dryly.

"Starlight said the same thing," he noted dryly.  He got out of the way, waving them on.  "There you go, Councilors."  They all wandered in and around, a few sniffling and touching some things.  A few stared at the base of the obelisk.  "That's always been Vinnie's favorite," he offered to one crying.  "He doesn't know we've found it yet either."  She nodded and hugged him.  "There's more things there and we could use what they've given up. It's ours and made from our stuff anyway."

"I heard you found a Floor Show Crystal," one of them said, looking at him.

"In Xander's caves there's a small one with a few," he admitted quietly.  "I pried one off for Victor."  She nodded, smiling at that.  "I'm sure there's more."  She nodded, walking around to look at the things again. "It's up to you, boss."

Carbine looked at him. "How long will this...deepening last?"

"Until Starlight enters the ship again.  Though he was looking a bit tired by holding it recently."

"Then offload it here.  We can use some of the other ships to move them," Carbine ordered.  The others stared at her.  "We can decide that during our meeting later this week.  We have some ships, we can easily move them individually."  That got a round of nods and a few nodded at Terror to do that.

"Sure thing, Carbine."  He went to open the back doors and start the mechanical arm unloading, watching the process as it kept going.  "By the way, their main library was still up there.  Even if you don't like it, we're going back for that and donating it in total to the new University."

"Thank you," the female councilor from Omega City said, kissing him on the cheek.  "Was that a clan decision?"

"We didn't have to ask, Vinnie would have agreed.  Vincent!"  He came in and stared, then ran over and hugged the obelisk before calming himself and wiping his face off.  "Xander mentioned that one by name, cuz."  He punched him on the arm.  "The main library was there.  We're donating it to the uni, right?"

"Hell yeah."  He nodded, punching him back with a small grin.  "In total, but we need to send Micah a file with the various species of aliens around."

"Done," Stoker admitted.  "You're sure, Vinnie?  This could mean a lot of cash for your family."

"Why do we need it, Stoker?  The kids need it more.  That way we don't have to worry about training healers and engineers and things like that.  Give it to the university."  He smirked at Terror. "You could come up to the house."

"Why?"  He shrugged and flipped over a smaller crystal from his coat pocket.  He winked.  "You want to ride the obelisk out?"  Vinnie grinned and went back to hugging it while it was taken out.  "It was his favorite part of visiting the ancestral home."

"I visited it many times as well," a male mouse noted quietly.  He looked around as the rest of everything was offloaded, picking up something smaller to hand carry.  The others followed suit, a few choosing to carry one of the larger things between them.  Stoker and Carbine came back for the last thing and carried it off.  Then Starlight came inside and sighed in relief as the spell ended.  Starlight tossed out the book then went to lie down in one of the staterooms for a bit.

Stoker looked at the mass of things, then at the ship lifting off.  He looked at the gathered crowd.  "Some of our history was found on Plutark," he noted calmly and quietly.  "It was given back to us by the Clan VanWham.  Even if Vincent is still clinging to his favorite thing."  Vinnie slid down with a sheepish grin.  "Later, punk."

"Yes, coach," he answered automatically.

Carbine stepped forward.  "There have been those who have suggested we take back what they stole of ours that's left, and loot the planet of Plutark. The full councils of Mars will be meeting to discuss that later this week.  Talk to your councilors, people, so we know what the majority feel like."  They all nodded at that.

"Most of us have assistants so call our offices," Stoker noted.  "Otherwise we'll get nothing else done this week."  He looked around but Xander was with Tangent, holding stuff for him.  He smiled at the boy, then at Carbine.  "The battle earlier was fierce and we would like to thank those who helped us, even though they're only commanders in name."

"If you do, I'm running," Xander said quietly, but sweetly.

A few mice laughed at that and Carbine rolled her eyes.  "He's like that, forgive him."  That got a lot more laughs.  "He and the Highest and the others who fought have our deepest gratitudes and we'll be figuring out how to reward them later this week as well."  She looked at the other councilors.

Another one stepped forward and smiled.  "We of the full Martian Councils want to thank the Clan VanWham for being pushy and going without permission to do this for us.  If there are further trips, they may head it, but others may go as well.  We'll figure that out later this week."  Everyone smiled at that.  "For now, let us get on with our remembrance.  Everyone should be remembered for the brave souls they were.  They survived as long as they could and tried their best to help us win the war.  Their sacrifices are not forgotten today or any other day."  He turned and the priests there stepped forward to lead the prayers, Xander in the background. He looked, he hadn't realized the boy was naked.  He heard the squeak of leather and smiled at him.  White leather on a white mouse.  His mate would be making him sore later for being so naughty he was sure.


Xander got off his bike, looking over the house.  He was pleased with how everything had gone today, even the fight, though he hadn't planned on it.  He sighed and looked at the fledgling gardens they had started the last weekend and smiled.

Throttle walked by his mate and grabbed him by the ear, walking him off.  "Naughty white mouse," he said fondly, smirking at Modo when he opened his mouth.  "He deserves it."

"Momma said not to make him too sore.  We're all eating here tonight."

Throttle nodded.  "That's fine.  We'll come out eventually."  He walked Xander into his room and kicked the door closed, then let his mate go, smirking at him, arms crossed over his chest, legs crossed as he leaned against the wall.  "Strip, naughty mouse.  You deserve to be punished for wearing that outfit."

"I didn't choose it," he offered with a small grin. "Willow picked it out."

"You still bought it.  You still jumped in without a real weapon today. You deserve double punishment."  He uncrossed his legs and his arms.  "Now, naughty mouse."

Vic pounded on the door.  "I want a hug!"

"Later, little mouse.  Xander needs a cuddle from me.  You can have him at dinner."

"Fine," he said, sounding like he was pouting.

"You know, your momma's pregnant again," Xander called with a grin.  Vic squealed and headed to find his mother.  Xander smirked at his mate.  "I'm the naughty mouse?"

"That's three now," Throttle assured him.  He undid his belt.  "I'm going to cut those off if you don't take them off." Xander took off the vest, tossing it in their chair.  Throttle moaned and shifted some.  "Keep going.  Those pants are worse than the top."  Xander undid the buttons, moving closer.  "All the way.  No stripping today."  Xander kissed him and allowed him to push the pants down.  He moaned into the talented mouth and pulled back to breathe.  "Naughty mouse."

"Ya think?" Xander offered with a grin.  He unzipped his mate's pants, getting down to please him.  "How naughty was I?"

"Very, very naughty.  People thought you were naked and enjoyed it."  He moaned, arching into the warm heat licking him.  "Then you teased me," he growled, picking Xander up and tossing him onto the bed.  Throttle stripped and came over, stopping to pick up the special lube they kept.  Xander was on his stomach, his tail waving around.  Throttle smirked and put the lube down, bending down to spank him.  Xander yelped and glared at him.  "No more jumping in without a real weapon, Xander. You could have died and I would have followed. I'm going to stuff your laser in your bike's bag and you'll use it."

"I couldn't have killed the Bringers with it," he promised.

"I know, I saw.  I'm impressed and proud, but you still went after the Plutarkians with a pole."  He spanked him again.  "I won't lose you already, Xander.  Do you understand me?"  Xander nodded, putting his head down.   "I should paddle your ass until you beg," he said quietly, leaning forward.  "You scared the tail off me, Xander.  Please don't do it again."

"I didn't want to do it that time but I didn't have any weapons on me," he admitted, pulling Throttle down to cuddle him. "I'm sorry."

"I understand, but you're putting weapons in your bike's bag."  Xander nodded, putting his head down on his chest, making Throttle smile. "I'm not mad, you just scared me gray, Xan."  Someone knocked on the door.  "No!"

"It's me, bro.  I want a cuddle too." Vinnie forced open the door and came in to hug him.  "I'm proud, impressed, and going gray, Xander.  Please, babe."  He kissed him gently then headed back out.  "Tonight, Throttle?"

"Maybe.  Lock the door again."  Vinnie grinned and locked the door before closing it.  Throttle looked at the foot of the bed, then got up to hand Punch back to her daddy, who was blushing.  "She's a sneaky mouse."  He headed back, checking the room before locking the door.  He looked at his mate.  "They agree, you're putting a weapon on your bike."  He moved closer, staring down at him.  "Get yourself ready."  Xander moaned and nodded, picking up the pot of oil and working on his own body.  Throttle sat down on the bed, patting his lap.  "When you're done, sit here."  Xander moaned and nodded, continuing with the oil that made him much more sensitive.  He was finally done and spread the remaining on his hand down his mate then sat on him, moaning the whole way down.  Throttle held Xander, just holding him still while they cuddled.  He touched his mate's mind, hearing him repeating over and over not to jump in.  "I don't care if you jump in, just carry more weapons, babe," he said quietly, putting their foreheads together.  Xander nodded, his eyes closed.  "I was so worried."

"I'm sorry."

"I know, but I had to watch in case they got a lucky shot in and you died, and I didn't want to think about that happening."  Xander crushed him in a sudden hug, making him feel he was still there.  "Thanks. I need this."

"I'm sorry."

"It's all right, just never again."  He held onto him, moving gently now.  He had to reaffirm that Xander was still there.  He needed his mate howling and screaming for him.  He arched up and Xander relaxed, letting him lead, just doing whatever he wanted this time.  It was gentle and long and hard, but it was what they both needed.  During it, Vinnie picked the lock and came in, locking the door behind him.  Throttle looked at him.  "What?" he asked when he was closer to coming.

"I needed a real cuddle.  I'm bouncy and worried."

Throttle nodded and finished off, then handed over his mate, cuddling them both for now.  He understood the tight bond those two had and it didn't really bother them but he wasn't going to allow them to hurt Charley either.  Xander relaxed and fell asleep in Vinnie's arms and Throttle stroked Vinnie's arm over Xander's side.  "He's okay, bro."

"He is, but I'm not."  He looked at him.  "That was the last one, right?" Throttle nodded. "We're putting a gun in his bag?"

"Tonight."  Vinnie relaxed at that.  "He was amazing."

"So?  He still nearly died."  He squeezed his Xander tighter to him and just held on.  "I can't lose him either, bro.  I just can't."

"We're not, Vinnie.  He's ours and we're not losing him.  Xander will outlive us all by at least a few days."  Vinnie nodded and slowly relaxed, allowing himself to fall asleep like that.  Throttle grinned and covered the white mice, then got up to clean up and head out to see who else was there.  He found Charley hitting the heavy bag. "They're cuddled together but nothing else," he said quietly.

"I don't care about that!" she said angrily.  "He nearly died!"

"Whoa, Charley girl, he's fine.  He didn't have another weapon with him.  We're fixing that tonight."  He pulled her into his arms, letting her vent on him for a bit.  Pregnancy was making her weepy, but she calmed down.  "He's fine.  Why don't you go cuddle them too?" he offered gently.  She nodded, wiping off her cheeks and heading that way.  He came out and found Modo staring in the freezer.  "Pizza, bro."  Modo nodded and pulled some out, putting them in the oven.  "Thanks."

"Not a problem. I was thinking pork chops."  He looked at him.  "He's a dangerous mouse."

"Yeah, but I love him anyway," he sighed with a small grin.  "He didn't have another weapon."  Modo looked stunned.  "Spike was on his bike because of the restriction blocking him riding his alone.  He took on Plutarkians with a staff."  He moaned and forced himself to calm down.  "He's fine.  I checked, he's fine.  A bit bruised but fine.  Vinnie and Charley girl are holding him as tightly as they can."

"That's good.  I'll get my own cuddle later."  Modo looked outside, then at him. "He's a good fighter, bro."

"He is," Throttle agreed proudly.  "A very good fighter. I saw it in Cleveland and I thought it was all anger.  Man, was I wrong."  He checked the pizza and turned up the heat.  "Four-fifty, big fella."  He clapped him on the arm.  "Who else is comin' out?"

"Momma and all them.  Stoker and the kids.  Switch said she wants a night off so she can cry in private.  Your momma's already called to make sure he was fine too.  I told her he was and to come out.  Some of the clan probably will too.  I know Chassis wants to give him a long hug."  He shrugged a bit.  "Most of the family again."

"That's fine.  They can fix themselves stuff when they get here.  Xander's going to be in my lap most of the night."  He went back to his room, curling up behind Charley to hold her too.  She needed it more right now.


Rivet walked up to Xander later that night, looking at his bare chest.  "Xander, who hit you on the chest and the back?" she asked.

"That's from being squeezed so hard," he admitted with a shy grin.

"I can understand that."  She smiled at him, then pinched him on the ear.  "You're not the Chosen one up here, Xander.  Don't do that again!"

"I couldn't wait for you," he defended.  "I didn't have any other real weapons besides a crossbow and I sent my bike off with Spike since his wouldn't go with him.  All I had was my collapsible pole and a dagger."

"Yet you used the scythe and used it well," she stated, staring down at him. "Now I know why Buffy worries about you."

Wrench grabbed her by the back of the neck and walked her off, saying something quietly in her ear.  "She's sorry, Xander.  She knows you know your stuff."

"That's fine.  Figure out why they all want to baby me," he called, waving a bit.  He smiled as Vinnie came over to take his turn guarding him.  "She started on ye olde Buffy rant number two - that's my job and thou are not chosen."  Vinnie snickered at that.  "Sorry, had to do it."

"No, I understood why you did it.  Rivet was way out in the desert.  She never would have gotten there before someone died.  If you ever do it again, I'll have to become a gray mouse."

"Would that mean Modo would have to adopt us?" he joked.

Vinnie pinched him. "Neither of us would be allowed in their family, we're not that polite, little brother."

"Momma said she could fix that," Modo joked from a few feet away, winking back at Xander.  "Just wait."

Xander groaned and leaned over to rest his head on Vinnie's shoulder. "Protect me?"

"Hell no," he snorted.  "Where is your mate?"

"I don't know.  He said he'd see me in a bit."  He looked around, seeing the mothers eyeing him and realized he was about to be spanked by one of them, if not both.  "I'll be back."

"Sure," Vinnie agreed, smirking as Xander made a dash for the garage.  He figured Throttle had anticipated again and was waiting for him wherever he was going to hide now.  He grinned at Chassis as she strolled over and took Xander's seat.  "He escaped."

"Throttle did that a while ago.  He's impressive, Vinnie, but so wild."

"He had to.  He didn't have any other weapons and Spike's bike wouldn't let him ride it out.  It didn't consider it an emergency.  Yo, Stoker?"  Stoker's head popped up.  "Did you fix Spike's bike?"

"Yeah.  It apparently decided that since Xander was there, it wasn't an emergency.  It has been corrected, I let Carbine do the definition of an emergency this time."  He saluted him with his bottle of rootbeer.  "Where's the mini punk?"  Vinnie just grinned.

"Hey, cousin, since he's gone, can Taver and I borrow your hot pool?" Wrench called.

"Yeah, fine," he agreed lightly.  He caught Wrench's arm.  "If you create the baby in there, Xander and I get to name him," he said, staring his cousin in the eyes.  Wrench just smirked and walked his lady off, watching her blush cutely.  "Those kids will make me look sane," he decided.  "They'll all be like Wrench when he was younger."  He grinned at his son, who was looking around and frowning.  "He escaped, Vic.  You know how he is about mushy stuff."

"I was looking for momma," he said, still scowling.  "I wanted to hug the baby."  He spotted her finally when Modo moved and ran over to hug her belly, grinning up at her.  "Hi, momma, hi, sisser."

"She says hi right back, Vic.  Who told you I was pregnant?" Charley asked, smiling down at him while she tried to smooth his forelock.

"Uncle Xanner."  He rubbed his cheek on her stomach.  "When do I get to cuddle her?" he demanded.

"When she's born, son, just like with Magnet and Comet."  She looked at Repel, who was snickering at that.  "There are days when I wonder if he's not Xander's after all.  He's got his forelock and his nature."

"It just proves Vinnie was meant to adopt Xander," Repel said lightly, shrugging a bit.  Comet belched and she looked down at her. "Thank you, daughter."  She wiped her mouth off with a smile. "That's the clan spirit.  Got another one?"

"Hey, Repel?  When are you going to find someone for Xander and I to threaten?" Vinnie called smugly.

"Last week as you very well know," she called back.  "He's around here somewhere."  She gave him a look. "He's not happy with me surrogating for them."

"I'd do it but it'd ruin my figure," Vinnie joked, smirking at her.

"A kid between you and Xander would ruin Mars," Charley said dryly.  "It really would."  Modo and his momma both chuckled at that. "It would!  We'd never catch him once he started to crawl. It'd be like Racer, Spike, and Vic had a kid.  It'd be a white mouse with a violent streak that he uses very well, a desire to prank, and he'd never quit bouncing."  She looked at Modo.  "You never did get to tell your momma the good news.  Remember, she didn't make it out that night thanks to Shot."

Modo coughed and found his lady, pulling her into his side. "Everyone?" he called, waving his real arm a bit to get attention.  Everyone stared at him.  "We've got an announcement to make.  The family is growing again.  She's pregnant.  It's triplets thanks to the Viagra.  You might wanna watch out for that now and then."  Staff pinched him but she was smiling up at him.  "Enamel said it's three boys, Xander's already called them Modo the second, third, and fourth."  His sister squealed and rushed over to hug Staff.  His mother passed out.  "Oops.  Sorry, momma.  That's why I wanted you to come out," he said, meeting Racer at her body to help her wake up again.

"Don't feel bad, he and Vinnie both passed out at that news," Staff said when she woke up.  "Modo's head broke the sink."

"At least Xander will never be bored again," Momma said weakly.

"Yeah, Modo, thanks for giving Xander something to do besides my kids and Spike's crew," Vinnie teased with a bright grin. "That'll keep him occupied for at least the next six years."

"When is yours due?" Chassis asked dryly.

"I don't know.  Charley, how far along are you?" he asked with a grin for his lady.

"Morning sickness, can't you feel it?" she smarted back, staring him down.  He just grinned at her.  "Why did I take you in?"

"Because I'm so cute you couldn't resist.  Otherwise you and Throttle would've started having babies years ago."  He nodded at Stan, who pushed her closer so he could catch her and settle her in his lap.  "Thanks.  Stan, Chassis, got any announcements you'd like to make?"

"I don't believe in knocking my women up before marriage. That's why someone intelligent invented birth control," Stan said dryly, smirking at his lady.  Who only blushed at that.  "Sorry," he mouthed.  She pulled him closer and took control of his mouth, then blatantly walked him inside.

"If you conceive in our house, we get to name him," Charley called.

"Let Uncle Xander, he's very good at it," Anya offered with a grin for them.  "Congratulations."

"Thanks, Anya.  When she's further along you can play with her tummy again."

"Sure!"  She bounced off to hug her father.  "I'll get to play with the baby again," she said proudly.  "They said I could."

"That's because they're using you to try and make her a normal mouse," Stoker said dryly, patting his daughter on the back.  "Did Xander leave his new medal?"  She nodded, beaming up at him.  "We need to give it back to him."

"Since he left it, you should present it to him," she said with a grin.

Spike looked around Racer and Ramjet at her. "That's a thought worthy of me and my evil mind.  Congrats," he said, saluting her.  He shook his head, then suddenly cackled.

Stoker and Carbine shared a long look, then smirked and nodded.  They could do that.


Wrench walked into Xander's room, pulling out clothes and putting them on the foot of the bed, then he hauled Xander out of Throttle's grasp, getting a laser pointed at him. "We're wanted at the council."  Throttle groaned and put his head back down so Wrench walked Xander into their bathroom and put him in the shower, making him shriek as the cold water hit him.  "We've got a half-hour to get to the Council, Xander.  Get dressed!  I pulled out something respectable."  He walked off to the muttering, going to find his new formal robes and put them on.  They were really comfortable.  He could almost sleep in these.  He was bending over and doing up his boots when Vinnie walked in, handing over a cup of coffee.  "Thanks, cuz."  He looked up at him, then took the cup.  "What's going on?"  Vinnie shrugged.  "No clue?"

"Not that I've heard."  He walked out, going to present Xander with his usual soda or two.  Xander was still trying to figure out how his pants went so Vinnie handed off the soda and got him sitting and dressed.  "There.  Hurry up.  You'll be late."  Xander pulled on his boots and grumbled the whole way out to the garage.  He and Wrench left together and Vinnie chuckled.

"What's going on?" Throttle demanded, his eyes shut.

"Xander conveniently forgot his newest medal so they get to present it to him.  Wanna come watch?  I'm taping it for Dawnie."

"Sure."  He got up with a groan, grabbing his robe in case the little mice were going to be there.  Modo and Charley had plates for them so they sat down to eat and watch the Council's work.  "I knew I should have stuffed that in his bike's bag," he noted dryly.

On the screen Wrench walked in, looking calm, cool, and centered.  Xander was behind him but he still looked a bit sleep mussed.  "You called for us?" he asked, standing in the center as protocol demanded.

"Yup, we sure did," Mirror said with a big grin.

Stoker looked at Carbine.  "I'm delegating this to you."  He leaned back and put his feet up, his arms behind his head.

"Gee, thanks," she said dryly, standing up.  She snapped her fingers and one of the messengers ran up with the tray she had prepared earlier.  "As you refused to take these in the quiet way you usually do, we've decided you must want them in a more public fashion."  She smiled at them, and her eyes were full of glee, you could tell. "Wrench, Highest of the M'dreth, for jumping into that fight even though you were not on active duty at that moment, and for saving multiple lives during that battle, we do present you with the Martian Star."  She walked forward and put the medal on his robe.  "This is only given for the bravest of the brave acts, those which have saved our world."  He nodded at that, she knew he already knew that.  She turned and grabbed the other one.  "Xander Harris."  Xander let out a small whimper and Wrench oh so calmly grabbed him by the arm. "For not only jumping into the fight, but jumping in with only an aluminum staff instead of a real weapon, and for taking on creatures that no one on Mars but you or Rivet could defeat, we're giving you the Martian Star in addition to your many other medals and your honorary commendation as a Commander of a cavalry unit.  As such, you will also be given a raise in rank to General, honorary of course."

Xander let out another whimper and she grinned.  "I thought it about time we gave you these medals publicly," she announced, taking off the ribbon of his other ones.  "Since you've since refused to come get them, we've been keeping them for you and do present you with them all today: three Martian Ahnks for bravery and saving of lives, four Life Crystal awards for doing some very brave, yet stupid things that also saved lives, plus six Pretrasias - named for that former unit and the sacrifices they made to save their base - for how you handled the last invasion you were part of.  We also thought it fitting at this time to give you a Talisman of Othra for sheer, dumb luck at not getting killed in any of those battles you have jumped into the middle of."  She stepped closer.  "These of course go with your honorary commission into the cavalry of Mars and your honorary position of General within that unit.  Step forward and be recognized.  Oh, I almost forgot, there's a medal on here for personal bravery in front of the Council as well," she said meanly, "for the daring audacity to beard some of us on our worst days."

Xander looked at the medals, then at Stoker, then he made a run for the transporter, sending himself to Micah's office.  He looked at Max and Lorne, who were at their desks.  "Save me?  They're giving me medals."

"Sure, come on up, Micah could use a report," Lorne promised, walking him off.  He understood that very well, he ran from medals too.  Carbine came through and Max helpfully pointed the way and Xander got away from him and ran off to hide in the building.

"It won't save you!" Carbine called.  "As soon as you come back, you're getting them!"

"Banish my ass!" Xander yelled back.

"Hell no!  Things are calmer with you on Mars!" Micah yelled, coming to the edge of his loft office.  "What's going on?"

"We're graciously awarding him for his stupid, yet brave actions.  He ran."  She looked behind her as Spike came through. "Find him for me, Spike."  Spike sniffed and smirked, leading her right to him.  She pulled him back by his tail.  "If you don't accept them, you can't come back to Mars ever, Xander, and we'll have to keep Throttle so you're going to be alone and lonely."

"No I won't!  He'll visit!" he said, trying to break free. "Max, help! I can't whip her tail!  I'll get in trouble!"

"Sorry, Xander, you're on your own.  Medals happen to the best of us," she quipped.

"That's mean," Lorne complained. "You'd save me, right?"  She grinned and shook her head, heading up to hand Micah a folder.  "Can I go to Mars to hide from my next one at least?" he called.

"No," Micah called back.  "If you do, I'm letting the Chinese have you back!"  He watched as Xander nearly made it back through but someone stopped him again.  "I wonder how many he has now," he told Max.  "The last I knew was thirteen."

"I'm sure we can get that report from Dawn," she said cheerfully.  She went to call her to share this new gossip, having to leave it on her voice mail.

Back on Mars, Carbine picked up the other strip as the other three mice were led into the chambers by the mothers, smiling at them.  "Thank you, that's very good timing.  We're also presenting the awards for helping clear Earth of its Plutarkan menace as well.  Vincent?"  He shook his head and Xander hid behind him.  Both of them ducked behind Modo but the mothers pushed them forward, letting her pin them on their clothes.  She looked at Throttle's bathrobe.  "No one let you dress?"

"I'm going back to bed after this."  He took his with a small snatch and looked at his mate, then sighed and pulled him forward, whispering in his ear. "If you don't accept it, we'll all have to stay forever."  Xander whimpered but held out his hand.

"Oh, you've got one other than they do.  It's come to our attention though our ally Micah Simms that you were instrumental to helping save Earth a number of times before you met our people, Xander. For that, he's given you this and wanted me to present it as well."  She held up the Congressional Medal of Honor and smiled sweetly.  "It takes an act of their Congress to award this medal and it was told in secret what you had done and how you had helped.  They believed you deserved it as much, if not more for being a normal person and doing the job anyway."  She pinned that on his shirt then the rest of his.  "There you are."  She smiled and saluted him. "General."

He snapped off one with a sigh. "Thank you, Carbine.  I'll get you later," he said through clenched teeth. She laughed and went back to her seat.  "Are we done yet?"  They all nodded and he turned, running out of the room before anyone could stop him.  Outside Overthruster stopped him to give him a hug and a grin.  "Thanks, little mouse.  But I've got to escape before they come up with more useless decoration stuff.  I don't do this for the medals. Shiny stuff makes you more visible."  He hurried out to his bike, heading for a private hiding spot.  He found Chassis there and she pounced him to hug, and he let her.  She was a very good hug.  Stan gave him a look so he shrugged. "She pounced me."

Stan looked at all the medals and shook his head. "At least I don't get those. I've only got two from the PD."  He clapped him on the back and took his girl from his arms. "C'mon, Terror wanted to have breakfast."  Xander nodded, heading after them to eat with the members of the family who understood.

In the chamber, Throttle was headed out to his bike with his new medals, stuffing them in his saddlebags.  He headed for the house to get dressed, and to find his mate eventually.  Xander would have to appear sometime soon.  His poor mouse was severely traumatized by all this medal stuff.  He understood even if everyone else thought it was funny.  He found Charley holding up a pair of pants and slipped into them, then handed his robe off. "Where is he?"

"Having breakfast with Terror, Stan, and Chassis."

"Cool. I'm headed there to calm him down."

"It was a nice escape," she joked with a grin for him.

He nodded.  "Very.  He should learn to play blaster ball."  He headed back to his bike, then out to the caverns. His poor mouse.

The End.

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