Notes: Reflections, Shaz, MM, and Evelynz suggested it. So, here we go. By the way, Kate didn't die. Ziva is still going to be joining the team but Kate's alive. New Director warning as well on the NCIS side.
by Ali, didn't she do a nice job with the kids?
Cordelia looked up from her bed. She was having major headaches due to her visions. She knew they were killing her. Angel and the others were trying their best to help her find a way to not die but right now, she was getting another one and she really wanted to go. Just to make the pain stop. She screamed as the vision hit her, grabbing and clutching at the first hand that hers hit while she was in it. She squeezed her eyes shut, hating this one a whole lot. She whimpered, then it stopped and she panted, coming down slowly. "Phone," she said weakly once she had her breath back.
"What?" Wesley asked.
"You need to tell Xander?" he asked. She glared and he got the phone for her. It took a small hike down to the lobby, so he could tell the others on the way. "She's had another one," he announced. "She said she needs to call Xander for some reason." Angel gave him an odd look. "That's what she said. The first thing she said." He brought the phone back up to her, dialing it for her. "There you go, Cordelia. The Magic Box."
She hit the send button and listened to the cheerful voice on the other end. "Willow, it's me," she said, sounding very tired. "I need Xander here tonight." She grimaced. "I don't give a damn, get him here." She hung up and looked at him. "We've got problems and it's not an Angel slaying sort of problem." She made herself sit up. "Help me into the shower. I need to be cleaner for this talk." He carried her in there then left her alone to deal with her own hygiene issues.
Willow hung up and grimaced at the phone. "Xander!" she bellowed. He came out of the basement with a curious look. "That was Cordy. They need you in LA ASAP or sooner."
"She wouldn't say. Just that she needed you there. She said she didn't give a damn but you had to be there by tonight."
"Okay. Think I should bring weapons or just bring her chocolate?"
"I don't know. She sounded tired and sick," she admitted.
He just nodded. "Okay. I'll be out of slaying contact tonight then. Someone tell Anya." He went back to his inventory. He had an hour or so before he could really leave town. He didn't want to leave Willow alone in the store and Giles wouldn't be back from helping Buffy for about an hour. He came up with the completed inventory then gave her a look, getting a shooing motion. "You sure?"
"It's daylight, I'll be fine. Not like anyone's going to mug me," she said dryly.
He gave her a look. "You can't catch bullets."
"I won't have to."
"Fine." He walked out, heading for his car, smiling when he saw Giles pull in. He waited long enough to see the older man get out. "Cordy called; she needs me in LA by tonight. Willow's in the shop by herself."
"I'll head in once I get some lunch," he agreed. "Any idea why?"
"Nope. Willow talked to her. Said she sounded tired or sick." He got in his car, driving off, humming with the radio. It was a nice three-hour drive. He knew the back roads so he didn't get stuck on the parking lot that was the interstates around LA. He'd make it there long before the 'tonight' deadline ran out. He was even thoughtful enough to stop and get her some of her favorite chocolate. He finally got there around nine that night, walking in with the small box. "I'm here," he called as he walked in.
Angel nodded. "She's in her room."
"What's going on?"
"She won't tell me," Angel said grimly. "Um... Did anyone tell you about her visions?"
Xander held up a hand. "She did, Deadboy. I know. That's why I brought her chocolates." He walked up the stairs, finding her room easily enough. It smelled like perfume. He tapped then walked in, looking at her. "You look rotten."
"I took a shower, feel special," she quipped, grabbing the chocolates. "Sit, it's not going to make you happy."
"Of the demon's going to take me and use me worse than Anya does not happy or of the dying not happy?" He sat on the foot of her bed.
"Worse. The Powers That Be have decided to interfere with a recently shut down project. I just got a head's-up that the interference was going on *long* before they found Buffy." He nodded once. "And they're panicking because you screwed up the future too many times."
"I tipped over the chessboard so they did what?"
"They..." She ate a piece of chocolate while she thought how to put it. "They decided that after this generation, there won't be any more super studs to handle things."
"Should I go find a cape and tights?" he sighed, staring at her.
She smirked. "I remember the last time you wore those. I still have the picture somewhere in my underwear drawer."
"Willow posted it online," he said dryly. "Anya cooed and said it was good my dick grew since then." Cordy choked. "You die tonight, I'm going to have to make Willow bring you back," he said while she coughed and calmed herself down. She glared at him. He just grinned. "They did what because I'm so good and studly?"
"They decided that there's not going to be any more heros so they made Walshy make some."
"Yuppers." She ate another chocolate with a grin. "Willow and you need to go down into the base. You need to get into B-5 and B-8. For some reason I saw both of those doors. They were super sealed and one has a computer. One has physical files. You're going to be pissed. I saw you blowing the whole base once you had scoured it again."
"Uh-huh," he said slowly. "When?"
"Now. Now's good. Their other base is about to be raided and if you don't want your daughter and son to disappear into the ether of the military special projects database, I'd go tonight." She handed over what she remembered. "This is what I got. At the bottom is one of the other fathers. He can stop them from going into hiding again." Xander nodded once and stood up. "Come to him with proof, Xander. You'll need it."
"Am I going to find a set of Powers and beat them?"
"Sure, please do. Have them pass on my visions while you're at it."
Xander grinned. "If at all possible, Cordy. How many?"
"It's a mess," she told him. "You'll be pissed. Explosives pretty but remember to scour the base first. They left stuff behind and you'll probably need the cash to set stuff up."
He just nodded and walked off with the paper, going back to his car. "Deadboy, there's going to be an explosion in Sunnydale soon. It's not an issue, you don't have to run up and save Buffy. Though she might like a call since she had to get ten stitches after the last demon decided he wanted a free peep show." He walked out and slammed the door, getting into his car. He called Willow once he had it started. "Start gathering a pack for us. We, you and I, and just us, are going down into the Initiative's base. Cordy's vision, Willow. We have to go tonight. I'm going to need yo to hack stuff. Plus we're scouring things. Because the Powers That Be interfered and I got told it was because I'm so damn good they didn't think they'd have heros in the next generation." She gasped. "So get packs ready. I can be home in two hours if I hit the right roads." He hung up and pulled out of the parking lot, heading for the back roads again. They weren't really well patrolled and he could speed up. He knew them well enough for that.
Xander walked into Lowell House, finding the two agents who were guarding the base in there. He coughed. "There's stuff hidden down there."
"No, really?" one said dryly. "You can't go down there, Harris."
Xander held up the report, making him grimace. "I was told to go down there. I have to visit that section and find what's up, also to clean up the dead bodies. By the way, I was told I had the right of demolition." They gaped. He smirked. "I think the Powers are higher than the Pentagon. If you don't, bite me." He walked around them, snatching one's ID pass. He tried to get it back but Xander knocked him out. Willow got the other one. He got them into the elevator and down to the base's level. "Let's find this section."
"Sure. B-5 and B-8, right?" He nodded silently, leading the way to the control room so they could look at the map. She found it first and tapped. "Here. That's under the woods." He looked then pointed at a locked gate marking. "I can get us past that." He nodded and followed the appointed hallway. Their guards met them in front of it. "Move, boys. If Cordelia was right, we've all got issues and some of them are yours." She took her laptop out of her backpack and found her key card adapter, sliding it into place. A few clicks into a program and it was finding the proper code for the door to open.
Xander looked at them. "I was told who to call once we found it. It's going to get messy. I was also told to scrounge and clean the place out before I bombed it." Both guards shook their heads. "We'll see. If she's right, it's not going to take explosives." He walked in once the door was open, staring at the hospital ward. "Willow?" he asked calmly. "Can you test the goo on one of the beds?"
She moved to do that with the kit she had brought while he found the filing cabinets Cordy had mentioned. "It's Replessor blood," she announced. "They're generally harmless." She looked over at the silence. "Xander?"
He waved the file. "She's right." She walked over and took it from him, and the guards took it when she went pale. Xander looked at them. "So, explosives or not explosives, gentlemen?"
They both stared at him. "Who were you to contact?" He handed over the information. "I'll fax this to him from the command center, Harris. Any idea?"
"They managed to remove them to another base. They're somewhere that's about to be shut down." That got a nod and one of them hurried off. He looked at Willow, who was reading off her laptop. "Why them?"
"They're breeders. They can carry any demonic race's babies." She stared at him. "You don't think...."
"No, I'm pretty damn sure," Xander told her. "Go find the other room. It should have the computer. I... we're going to need the files." She nodded, going to do that. He went back to the filing cabinet. It had a lot of notes he'd need translated. Genetics was not a field he was familiar with. He finally gave up and went to scrounge around, finding plenty of things that shouldn't be down here. He got the bags out of his pack that Willow had packed for them. "Willow, I'm going to start piling demon parts," he called. "Half of these are rare as hell."
"Sure, Xander." She brought out her bags and handed them over, then went back to her hacking. There was some serious crap on there that they hadn't had before. She didn't want to acknowledge that anyone was this bad but if Cordy had said the Powers interfered, she knew there was a good reason. Why they thought Xander wasn't going to let there be more slayers and other people to step into the fight in the future she wasn't sure. But apparently he was.
Somewhere in DC, a fax machine started to go off. The agents in that row frowned. None of them were expecting anything. "Get that, McGee," Special Agent Jethro Gibbs ordered. He went back to his report. They had just solved a case and were finishing up so they could go home. He wasn't quite watching his youngest team member but when he froze while reading something he noticed. He got up to take it from him and read it, then he growled. "DiNozzo."
"Yeah, boss." He looked up, taking the held-out paper. He looked at it then shook his head quickly. "Can't be."
"Can be," McGee countered, handing him the other papers. "They sent the full file, Tony." Tony snatched it and read it over, starting to growl. "Boss?"
"Find the original organization. Do it now. I want them found within an hour. If this is real, we'll have to step in. Calm down, DiNozzo."
"No!" He stood up. "I apparently need to head to California."
"Let us find them. Or better yet, call the number on the bottom of the last page. That's handwritten."
DiNozzo found it and dialed his desk phone, putting it on speaker. "This is Special Agent DiNozzo...."
"Good, it did get to you," the voice said. "We have Harris and Rosenburg here. They got told about this project. We had no idea, sir. They're cleaning up the base right now and getting the rest of the information."
A new voice came on. "You are?"
"Special Agent DiNozzo. You?"
"Xander Harris. Look up a project called the Initiative. They're the ones who did this. The offspring were moved to a different base from what we can tell. The person who told me about the project said that other base is about to be raided and the kids placed in foster homes or whatever."
Tony took a deep breath. "I'd like confirmation."
"So would I, Agent DiNozzo. I'm thinking if we can find them, we can do DNA. Because there's no way in *hell* someone else is taking care of what's mine. So, can you help or are you going to stand in our way?"
"No, we'll find this second base," Gibbs told him.
"You would be...," Xander asked.
"Gibbs, his boss," he noted patiently. "We need all you have."
"Willow, they need the records you're hacking," he called on his end. "Sorry, she's in another section at the moment. This section was a locked and gated section so we didn't have to come in here when we took them down."
"I want to come out there," Tony told him. "Tonight."
"During the daylight is best. You'll die after dark if you're not careful and with one of the group."
"How do I get there?"
"Go to LA, rent a car. Head to Sunnydale. Go to the Magic Box. We'll be there," Xander told him.
"I can do that. I'll be there by tomorrow."
"That's fine. If you find them, can you stop the kids from being removed?" he asked more quietly.
"For now. I can have the boss do that. Are you all right?"
"I'm going to blow up this former base once it's cleared of information and parts. It'll make me feel better." He hung up.
Tony looked at McGee, who was typing. "Find it yet?"
"The secondary base? They used three. I'm looking at requisitions to find which one the kids are at, Tony."
"I'm making travel arrangements," Kate offered, clicking her mouse. "I can get you to LA if you can leave now and get on a flight in about an hour and a half."
"That'll work. Thanks, Kate." He headed off. "Reagan?"
"Even closer. Thank you. Be back soon, boss." The elevator doors shut.
Gibbs looked at them. "Get me that information sooner, McGee." He saw the redhead stomping down the stairs and looked at Kate. "Send him the info?"
"Already did, Gibbs."
"What are you doing?" the director demanded.
"Someone took DiNozzo's sperm and made him a kid. They're hiding him on a military base. He's going to find him," Gibbs said succinctly. "Any other questions can wait until we find the kids."
"You're to stop this search now. That is a classified...."
McGee snorted. "Ma'am, politely, screw yourself. If it were my kid, I'd be pissed to. Tony didn't give them permission to make him a father and take his child." She gaped. He went back to typing. She stomped over but Gibbs caught her and handcuffed her to the filing cabinet. "Thanks, boss. I've narrowed it down to two." He showed him. "They've both got baby items requisitioned. I'm thinking it's the second by the amount they've ordered."
Kate came over to look. "They've both got to have some. Maybe the others are from another experiment." That got a nod. "What do we do, Gibbs?"
"Go there, shut them down," he ordered. "I'll have orders for you by the time you land." He grabbed the phone and started to call. "It's Gibbs. I don't give a damn if he's getting a massage or not. Put him on. Because someone made DiNozzo and others a father without his consent and then took the kid to raise on a military base."
McGee got up and grabbed the phone. "Someone just called from Sunnydale and the Initiative base, sir. Your choice if we do this officially or not." He handed it back and handed Gibbs what he was printing off. "The original base's reasons for existence."
Gibbs looked it over. "Crackpots with a research grant?" McGee turned his monitor around to show him the file he had found, making him turn away at the torture. "Turn that off." He listened to the crankier voice. "I don't care, sir. Because DiNozzo just found out that someone named...." He looked at the papers. "Doctor Maggie Walsh made him a father without his consent."
"They handcuffed me," the director called. "I tried to stop him."
Gibbs listened. "Exactly. Who called? Someone named Harris and Rosenburg." He smirked. "So they took down the group. Good to know. No, from what they were talking about, it's more than DiNozzo who's suddenly finding out they're a parent. I've been told by Harris that the bases the kids are on is going to be raided and the kids redistributed. I'd like to stop that plan and hand them back to their parents. Do you have a problem with that?" He smirked. "Didn't think so. I need all the files here. I'm sending Kate and McGee to stop it. I'll go if I need to, sir," he agreed. "That'll be fine. Send it here. Want the Director?" He handed her the phone and walked off. "Kate, you're going to Florida. McGee, I'm heading to Texas. Orders will be here within two hours. Make plans, you're staying to gather the files and make a case. We'll be finding the parents so this sad chapter of military crackpot theory is closed." He finished his trek for new coffee, coming back to find a messenger waiting on him with a file. "That all?"
"No, sir. The rest is coming. This is the program information on the part of the Initiative called the Solomon Project." He handed it over. "From the General's hand to yours, Gunny."
"Thank you, son." He saluted him and the guy left. He sat down to read it, ignoring the still handcuffed director. She reached for a page he had put down but he glared and she backed off. "McGee, they've got at least sixteen children." He handed over that list. "Find their birth certificates and other information." He nodded, sitting down to do that. "Kate, this is the list of which ones you're going to stop from being moved." He handed it over. "Also here's the desist orders." He handed those over. "Call me when you get there. Do whatever you have to, including involving local base personnel. Am I clear?"
"Yes, Gibbs." She headed out, going to catch the flight she had planned for.
Gibbs took the rest with him. It was not going to be a pretty night.
McGee got up and got the director a bottle of water then went back to his searching. He wanted these people to suffer. You didn't do that to his military.
Tony walked into the Magic Box, looking around. "For some reason I expected this place to be more crowded and creepy."
"It's California, we're creepy in different ways," the woman behind the register said. "Can I help you find something?"
"He's in the office. Xander?" she called. He came out. "He's looking for you?"
"Yup, sure is. Willow, he's here." She brought out her laptop so he could go through the files. "Did you find them?"
Tony looked at him. "The boss did," he assured him. "He and another team member went to stop them from moving the kids, Mr. Harris."
"You might as well use my first name." He pointed at an entry. "We're related now." Tony looked then moaned. "What do you want to do first?"
"I need to send this back to McGee." Willow got into her email program for him, zipping the file and attaching it to a message. He typed in the email address and sent it on. Then he looked at them. "I want to see the base."
"We can do that. There's two guards there to make sure no curious people or other demons move into it."
"Demons," Willow agreed. "Sorry but that's what they were supposed to be doing. They were supposed to be categorizing and making demons be the new grunts in the military."
"Uh-huh," Tony said grimly. "We funded that?"
"Very well," Xander told him. "And a lot of side projects being done in it. Like drugging the soldiers to test them." He nodded. "We can go. Giles, do you want those last few parts?"
"Please. I can use them." He glanced at Xander then at Anya, then back. Xander shook his head and walked out with the young agent. "Anya, we should talk about what's going on," he said calmly.
Willow looked at her. "Because the Initiative took DNA and made babies, Anya. Including one between those two." Anya dropped the shiny thing she had been playing with. Willow nodded. "That was what Cordy's vision was about. The Powers stepped in to make sure there'd be enough fighters for the next generation. Something about Xander screwing up a prophecy." She shrugged. "So we're figuring out how far they went and if there's just eggs in a freezer somewhere or if there's actual babies."
"There can't be babies. I'm not a mother," she said, glaring at her. "How could he do this to me!"
"He didn't have a thing to do with it," Willow told her. "He didn't know. If he had, don't you think you'd have seen the baby by now?"
"I won't stand for this! I'm not going to be a mother! Mothers are poor and they have to care for them and they have to sacrifice nice things so the baby can have things! I'm not doing that!"
"Then I suggest you break up with him," Willow said bluntly. "Because Walsh liked Xander's DNA. There might be more than one." Anya wailed and walked off crying. She shrugged at Giles' odd look. "Best get it over with. Like a bandaid that has to come off." She took her laptop back into the office, logging onto a chat room and going to find the guy Tony had sent the information too. She had other information he could have if he was a nice enough person.
Gibbs walked into the base commander's office, presenting him with the order. "Shut it down, do not harm or move the children," he ordered coolly.
"Who are you...."
Gibbs pointed at the paper. "Signed by the president. The parents found out. They're a bit pissed. One's apparently got demo experience." The commander went pale. "Now, where are they?"
"In the nursery," he said with a shaking hand, pointing at a building. "Doing the educational programming part of the day."
Gibbs nodded. "You're to be confined to base. Call back all personnel. Do not touch those children except for immediate care needs."
"Special Agent Gibbs, NCIS."
"This is an Army base, Special Agent...."
"Tell that to the president. ACIS is on its way." He stared him down, watching him sweat. "I can call if you think that's a fake."
"No. We'll lock the base until ACIS is here."
"She was landing right after I did. She'll be here any minute now. Call back all personnel." The door opened and a cool, blonde woman walked in. "Lieutenant Colonel Hollis."
"Special Agent Gibbs." She shook his hand. "We meet again. Why?"
"There was a special project called the Initiative."
"I loathe that place," she admitted. "So?"
"They decided to make some future soldiers as well."
She gaped. "They did what?"
He pointed at the building. "That's a nursery." He handed over the file he had carried. "That's what I got handed."
She looked it over then the desist order. She nodded. "Works for me. Close the base. Call back all personnel. This base is hereby in lockdown by presidential order. Argue and be in the brig."
He nodded, making those calls. "There might be a few off base. One needed to see a specialist about his back. A birth defect."
"Any children that're supposed to be there are to reappear within the hour," Gibbs told him. "We can find a new specialist." That got a nod and he made that call as well. He looked at her. "Handle this? I'm going to check on the children."
"Agreed. The other base?"
"I sent Kate. She flew overnight."
She smirked. "That's mean."
"Mean was leaving my director handcuffed to a filing cabinet when I walked out. That was hours ago." He walked off, heading to the nursery. Someone unwisely tried to get into his way. "The President said these children are going to their parents," he said coolly. "Move or be in the brig."
"I can't do that, sir."
Gibbs held up his ID. "Yes, you will." The soldier shook his head. "Now, sergeant."
"Sir, my orders...."
The blonde opened up a window. "Announce it," she ordered.
"This base is hereby in lockdown," he said over the speakers. "All personnel are to report to their stations. No one is to move from their post until ACIS or NCIS says so. We have a desist order, people."
The sergeant grimaced and looked at Gibbs. "The children?"
"Going home to their rightful parents."
The sergeant nodded. "Then I'd go in there before someone panics, sir." He let him inside.
Gibbs walked in and coughed. "NCIS." Everyone glared at him. "Don't try it. You won't like my foot up your asses before you hit the brig." He took the fussing baby from one man and put him back down. "There, quit." The baby stared at him. "We'll take care of you." He looked at the workers. "Report to your quarters."
"You can't take care of sixteen children," one of them protested.
"I don't trust you to not hurt them," he countered. She sniffed at that. "If I could, I'd let you stay."
"Sir, I'm not moving," one said from his seat in the rocking chair with a baby. "This one's mine and I'm staying." Gibbs looked at him. "I was Initiative, sir. I found out last month. I got myself transferred here on purpose when someone let it slip during a trial of one of our scientists." He smiled at the baby in his arms. Then at him. "I'll stay."
Gibbs nodded. "That's what we had planned, son. You can stay. The rest of you report to quarters." They left with the MP's the ACIS lieutenant colonel had brought with her. He walked over. "He's how old?"
"Six months." He smiled. "A few are a bit older. A few are newborns. The one you put down needs a clean diaper."
"I can do that." He went to change her, making her a happier baby. Then he put her back down. "How many are missing?"
"Three. Two are at doctor's appointments. One's been gone for two days. The person who has him was his father, one of his fathers anyway, and escaped."
"We'll need to see him and the child to make sure of that. Plus to find the other parent."
The soldier nodded, pulling out his phone to call someone. "It's Graham. NCIS and ACIS just stepped in to bring the kids back to their parents. They want to see that one to do testing to make sure he's yours and to tell you who the other father is." He smiled. "We're here. Please. Thank you. You do? That'll work. Great, man, thanks." He hung up. "He's got the other two as well. He knocked them out and took them to try to save them."
Gibbs nodded. "I don't mind that. It's a good thing in my book."
"Thank you, Special Agent..."
"I've heard of you." He smiled and went back to cuddling the baby. "How did you hear?"
"Someone told a Mr. Harris."
"Ah. Them." He nodded. "Harris always manages to do something unexpected. I'd watch out for that trait. It's not often a construction worker, two lesbian Wiccans, one other female college student, and a former librarian turned shopkeeper can take down a military unit."
"I saw that." He sat down. "What happened?"
Graham smiled. "Ask Harris. He tells it better and he even does voices. You're about to get pounced." Gibbs looked at the child sneaking over, pulling her into his lap to hold. "You're good."
"Thank you. You too."
"I'm learning." He smiled at his son. "Ready for a nap?" The baby yawned and sucked on his fingers. "I know, it's been a long day already. We'll nap." He got up, walking him into the other room to put him down. "Can I change the tape?"
"Put it on PBS if you can. It's educational and only slightly annoying." The tv channel was changed and all the older toddlers gravitated toward it to watch the brightly colored, singing creatures. They hadn't seen them before. It was something new. Gibbs looked around then at the woman stomping in. "Thanks for the backup."
"Not a problem. Kate had to call in local law enforcement and another base's MP's to help her. Fortunately she got them before she went. They went in like an invasion force."
"Good. She okay? She hasn't called."
"She's fine. We have three kids at the gate?"
"Two were saved by a father who found his and rescued his child."
"That's fine. I had the MP's bring him in here."
"He was taken hostage by us," Graham told her. He looked over. "Hollis."
"Graham Miller. Why are you here?" He held up his son. "How did you find out?"
"Something one of the scientists said at his trial," he said dryly, smirking some. "So I casually got assigned here." One of the older kids pulled on his hand. "Yes, Trish?"
"Play money?" she asked, smiling at him.
"Sure, we can play with the Monopoly game." He sat down to play with her. She didn't play it correctly but it was fine with him if she only wanted to plant houses and play with the money for now.
Gibbs looked at Hollis. "Abby's doing the DNA."
"Agreed. She's better and faster."
"Not an issue. Are we moving them all together and then finding parents or leaving them here and then finding parents?"
"I'm not sure yet. We can figure that out in a few."
"Good enough. Let me finish locking down personnel." She looked around then at him. "Only one person?"
"There were five, I sent them back to quarters."
"Decent of you." She went to find them and lock them in their dorms. She had enough personnel with her to keep anyone from sneaking off but she didn't want to have to hurt anyone. Yet. She found the MP's dragging in the other guy. "He's a father who managed to rescue his. He was a hostage and used, boys. Be nicer." They nodded and quit dragging him. She went to debrief him and Graham. This was not what she had been expecting out of the little side projects this horrible idea had been doing.
Tony looked at the front of the building. "They built it under a frat house? As a frat brother, I should be horrified and offended."
"They threw parties here too," Xander said dryly, looking at him, earning a smirk back. "I'm sure yours did too."
"Quite often," he agreed. "So, this isn't that big."
"It's underground." He led him inside. "Hey, guys, this is SA DiNozzo from NCIS. The one I had you guys fax stuff too." The new guard gave him an odd look. "Don't make me hit you too." The other two laughed. "Your boss?" The two older guards nodded. "That's fine." He looked at the new boss. "The Initiative made kids too. Including one of mine." The boss hissed and backed up. "So we're going down there." He pulled out the card key from the night before, waving it. "I'll give it back once I've blown the place up." He ran it through the reader, getting an error message. He looked back at the boss, who handed over his after a glare from Tony. He knew what outranked meant. "Danka." He ran it again and it went through this time. He waved a hand. "It's safe," he told Tony, who nodded and got inside. "Heading down there. It'll be a while. We won't call out for lunch or anything," he said just before the doors closed.
"How did he take down a military unit?" the boss asked. "He's a goofy kid."
"With construction and explosives experience," one of the guards told him. "It was his battle plan during graduation, sir." The boss moaned. "Plus they had that Buffy girl too." That just got a nod. That about said it all.
Xander led the way off the elevator. "This isn't the command level. This is the overlook and behind us are some of the stunning examination areas." He looked at him, seeing him gape. "They built all this without anyone in town realizing it. No one saw any construction going on. No one saw a *thing*. And it's all underground but an air port in the woods, a hidden exit near the air port, and the frat house." He opened the door behind them, showing him the exam table with leather cuffs for feet and ankles, plus a dangling strap that would've gone around a waist. There was blood and goo on the bed, making Tony shudder and cross himself. "Yeah, they were like that. This is the American version of Nazis as far as we can tell." He looked at him. "And they made us a child."
Tony patted him on the arm. "We'll figure it out, Xander. I never really expected to be a father."
"Yeah, I expected to die before it'd happen," Xander admitted. Tony gave him an odd look. "I'm on the local hunting squad. We take down those who're eating others." That got another shudder. "We don't torture, we're not mean about it, but we reduced the death rate to below twenty percent."
"I guess I can't fault that," he decided, letting Xander lead him on to show him around. They headed down the stairs to the command area, letting him see what they had. "Did your hacker friend download everything?"
"And then some. They vanished after the second ass-kicking," he told him, leaning against a work station. "Willow and I came down here to find the written records that hadn't been put onto the computer yet. We have about a storage closet full of them."
"We'll probably want them."
"Get a copier," Xander told him. That got a nod. "That way we can find anything else they've been doing. We know they tested steroid and drug compounds on their soldiers. We know that they put control chips into them. We know that they're assholes who deserve to be rotting in hell instead of some prison. Some did go to prison. Willow got talked to by someone in ACIS about some of the scientists being arrested."
"They saw me as support staff," he said bluntly, giving him a look. "I get a lot of that." Tony just nodded once. "So, want to see the other areas?"
"How were the kids born?"
Xander nodded and walked him to the room he had found. "This one was where they kept the maternal demons. There's a few breeds that can carry any sort of demon or human or crossbreed baby. They apparently found that out somehow and used a bunch since it wouldn't stress their systems." He pointed at the messy beds. "As you can see, they extracted them in a hurry. I found one skeleton in the other room. I'm not sure if that was the labor area or not but it's basically a room done in tile with a shower." He let him see it and the skeleton. "No infant with it so I'm not sure if they took it with them or not."
"Would..." He looked at the skeleton, clearly not human. Then at him. "Would that hurt the kids?"
Xander gave him a gentle smile but shook his head. "No. They'd be a comfy womb, nothing more, Tony. It'd be like implanting the offspring of two great race horses into a draft horse for her to carry. That's what Willow said when I asked." That got a nod. "There's no taint and those aren't unholy. They simply *are*."
"That's good." He swallowed and looked around again, seeing the amount of tables. "The boss left me a message on my phone. He said they found about twenty kids."
Xander shrugged. "We found more but that doesn't mean they were all born alive. I'm sure your people can find them all then find the parents."
Tony nodded. "They're being given to their parents. Gibbs already made sure of that. He has presidential orders to stop this."
"I didn't figure our present one would like this too much. Doesn't really go with his stated morals." Tony gave him a look. "Not real fond of him."
"If I comment I could lose my job," Tony said, shrugging a bit. "What else was there?" Xander led him around the rest of the base, finishing off with the things he still had to carry up. "What are those?"
"Parts. They're fairly valuable to the right people and I'm going to use them to start a fund to take care of the kids while they're in custody. Someone's got to buy diapers."
"That's not a bad plan," he agreed. He even helped him carry stuff out to Xander's car. Then he looked at the front of the frat house. "Now what?"
"Cordy promised I could blow it up."
Tony gave him a look. "The government might not like that."
Xander grinned. "She's a seer for the Powers That Be, Tony. If she saw it, it'll happen." He gave him another strange look. Xander just grinned brighter. "Someone's got to be over this mess."
"If it's blown up, it could damage the other buildings on the campus."
"I'm thinking there might be a reason for that," Xander told him. "Maybe it's meant to get a bunch of the after-midnight snacking population out of the way. Maybe it'll stop something bigger from coming. Who knows. She promised I could blow it up."
"We'll see," Tony told him with a small smile. He could like this guy. He was a lot like him it seemed like. "What do you do for a day job?"
"Construction worker. You didn't do a background?"
"I left after we got off the phone. I'm sure someone has but no one's told me yet."
Xander grinned. "Don't believe the hype anyway, Tony." He patted him on the arm. "Come on, we'll go back to the Magic Box and talk. I should get to know the mother of my child."
Tony snickered. "I think I'm the daddy, Xander."
"You sure? Because you know, my sperm's super powerful. That's why they used me so often." Tony shook his head. "Three times. You only got used twice."
"I wonder why."
"Don't know. Walsh got stabbed by her super Frankenstein creature. Maybe Willow can ask her spirit if she can find her in hell." He shrugged and got into his car. "Need directions?"
"I'll follow you." He went to his rental and got in, heading back with him. He needed to check in and he needed to get an update. Then he needed to talk to the...other parent of his child. Before things got stranger.
Xander and Tony both flew back to DC on the same flight. It had been commanded from on high so they were both dressed nicely when they met Gibbs at the airport. "Boss, this is Xander Harris," Tony introduced.
Xander shook his hand. "Special Agent Gibbs. How're the kids?"
"They're good, Mr. Harris."
"Xander, please. I'm not formal. I'm a construction worker." That got a nod and they walked out together, their carry-on bags with them. "Did we move them all together?"
"We did," Gibbs told him, nodding a bit. "Any checked luggage?"
"And have it eaten?" Xander asked dryly. "No thanks. Trusting an airline with your baggage is like trusting a diabetic with real chocolate. Now and then they resist eating it but not always. I don't make enough to replace my wardrobe."
Gibbs looked at him. "Relax, Xander."
"I'm nervous. I never thought I'd be a dad. I thought I'd end up dying first."
"You are a father. Now we'll figure out the rest."
Xander nodded. "The other parents?"
"We're doing DNA tests to find them. We've identified a few others. We're going to tell you all together. That way you can talk to each other, meet each other, figure out custody and those things faster."
Xander nodded. "That is an issue. My girlfriend just left me. She didn't want to be a stepmommy."
"I wasn't going to mention Anya if you didn't," Tony told him. Gibbs glared at him. "Worse than anything I've dated, boss. Really." He looked at Xander. "You can do better."
"She's the only one who hasn't tried to kill me yet," he complained. Gibbs stopped and stared at him. Xander nodded. "The Xander appreciation society is a bit homicidal. Cordy only tried to kill my self esteem and spirit. Anya only wanted sex and money." He shrugged. "It was good enough. I was about to propose."
Gibbs shook his head. "You'll find someone better, kid. Maybe DiNozzo can introduce you to someone nice." He started walking again, wondering about the kid. The background check they had done hadn't come up with anything unusual or spectacular. He'd have to ask DiNozzo since they had spent the last two days together. He could usually read people fairly well. They finally made it out to the car and got in, Xander taking the back seat. Gibbs looked at him. "We're putting you in the same hotel as the others."
"That's fine. I don't care as long as it's a bed and a shower."
"It's a bit higher class than that."
"In other words the Pentagon is highly embarrassed?" Tony asked.
Gibbs nodded. "Upset and embarrassed. They sent someone to take over when Walsh was killed."
"Yeah, we met him too," Xander said dryly.
"How did you take them down?"
Xander grinned. "Magic."
"Don't ask, Boss. Really. Just don't ask. There's strange and freaky things out there. I saw it in action when Miss Rosenburg decided to do a hair spell on Miss Summers. Just don't ask."
"I'll ask later," Gibbs told him, backing out of the parking spot and driving off. The parking fee was paid quickly and then they were on the highway. "I've seen two of your three, Xander. The other one came back with Kate and is a bit shy. She's hiding behind Kate at the moment." Xander grinned and nodded. "The other two like to get into things. One's not crawling yet and he's getting into things somehow."
"That's a Xander for you," he quipped, relaxing again. "How many other parents?"
"Ten. Two military, mostly scientists and CSI types. They went for brains."
Xander raised an eyebrow. "How many of the scientist types were Initiative?"
"Two of the soldiers were," Gibbs admitted. "A Graham..." Xander shook his head. "Know him?"
"Very well. His squad leader was dating Buffy for a while. Is Riley the other one?" Gibbs nodded. "Then I won't kick their asses this weekend. They're not relatives of mine, right?"
"No. Both their kids are with each other. She was trying to keep the military types separate from the scientist types. I don't know why she used you more frequently than most."
"I'm strong, I've survived this long. I'm good at planning battles and hunting," Xander told him. "I've got some other stellar qualities that you'll probably never see because I've submerged them in my head for a while now. I'm fairly resistant to being sick. In eighteen years on the hellmouth I only broke my arm once." Tony gaped. "Yeah, doing that fighting stuff for two years before I broke my arm. Lots and lots of falling into things with my head first, but I only broke my arm that once," he finished more quietly.
"Then they probably went with a stable base. Disease resistant, strong, intelligent, able to do the physical things," Tony said thoughtfully.
"I'm all that but intelligent. School and I aren't good friends."
"Did you take the SAT?" Gibbs asked. Xander nodded. "What did you get?"
"1100 but I had a straight D average in high school."
Tony shook his head. "That proves intelligence, Xander. Not everyone learns in a classroom. I didn't."
"Out of the twenty parents, you two accounted for four between you," Gibbs told them. "So you're probably right, DiNozzo."
"Can we look at the files first, boss?"
"You can look at them then, DiNozzo. Try to rest tonight. We'll hold the meeting in the morning when the last person comes in." That got a nod from both of them. "Try not to get drunk tonight."
"I don't usually drink," Xander assured him. He watched the scenery go whizzing past. "Will we have time to sightsee? I doubt I'll be back anytime soon."
"You could stay," Tony offered.
Xander gave him a small smile. "I helped take down a military unit, Tony. I don't think they want me around. There's got to be those who see me as a threat or else they wouldn't have used me. The same as they do you." He looked at Gibbs. "Are any of them yours?"
"No, kid. They couldn't get a DNA sample apparently. Our lab tech said that they used semen and regular DNA to code the babies somehow. She was going into detail and I don't understand that."
"Me either," Xander admitted. "I barely made it through biology." They pulled off the freeway and into a crowded street, heading for a hotel. "That's nice."
"Very," Tony agreed. "Do we at least get a list?"
"You'll recognize most of them," Gibbs told him. "You're all on the same floor. All but one who's coming in very late tonight." He parked in the dedicated parking garage and got them out, taking them inside. "Two more," he told the clerk. "Harris and DiNozzo." Tony gave him an odd look. "It's easier if you're here, DiNozzo."
"That's fine. I should probably stop at home to get some clothes."
"I had Abby pack."
"Did she pack the leather or real clothes?"
"I made her pack real clothes with the leather," he said, then he smacked him on the back of the head. "Play later."
"Yes, boss." He looked at the clerk, smiling. "Need ID's?" He nodded so they handed over their ID's and got their room keys. "Thank you. Any itinerary for tonight, boss?"
"Calm down, think, relax, stress," he told him, walking them off to the elevator. Xander looked at the envelope around his key then pushed the button inside. They went up to the right floor, getting off and heading different directions, Xander being followed. Xander even waited until he was in his room to look at him. "I like DiNozzo."
"I'm not finding much I don't like about him," Xander told him. "I'm not going to be mean to him just because he works for you, Gibbs. I'm willing to give the other parents a fair shot as long as they don't take my family away from me. They're about all I have left."
Gibbs nodded. "That's what I'm worried about. Some of them have strong families."
"Then they won't mind me having visitation or even partial custody."
Gibbs smiled. "You'll work it out, Xander."
"I hope so. I'd hate to have to slay someone tomorrow."
"Please don't. We'll have to pay for the damage." He gave him a look. "Weapons?"
"On a domestic flight? Are you insane?" Gibbs gave him a long stare. "I left them at home, Gibbs. I promise I did. Not even a pocket knife. You know they take those things."
"Thank you." He left him alone, going to check on Tony. He found him collapsed on his bed, one arm over his eyes. "You all right?"
"Nope. Still having scary thoughts about being a father." He looked at him. "I don't know what I'm doing yet, Gibbs."
"For now, think about how much custody you can really handle."
Tony nodded. "I know Xander wants custody. I might not mind but I'd want to know more about him first."
"I think he'd agree to that readily. He just told me they're about all he has left."
Tony snorted. "Don't get me started, Gibbs. I'd rather he moved somewhere else first then took custody." Someone tapped on the door. "Who is it?" he said, moaning as he sat up.
Gibbs answered it, looking at the man standing there. "CSI Taylor."
"Special Agent Gibbs. What is going on?"
"We're going to brief everyone tomorrow."
"Half the people here aren't military."
"Less than half," Tony told him. "I peeked at the records." He yawned then laid back down, putting his arm back over his eyes. "You're going to have a headache tomorrow, Detective. Stock up on the aspirin now. Please. That way you can share."
Taylor looked at him then at Gibbs. "Further explanations?"
Gibbs looked at him. "You'd rather hear now?"
"Fine." He led him off, taking him to talk to him with Xander since he knew. He tapped on Xander's door, smiling when he opened it but was down to a t-shirt and pants. "This is Detective Mac Taylor, Xander. We're going to go over some of the information tonight. I figured you two should meet because he can introduce you to someone else you will have to meet."
"Sure." He let him inside, handing over the file from his bag. "The condensed version of what Willow found in the files on their computers. I found more in the physical files but we sent that off to you so I can't search for more information."
"We have them and it's in a nice presentation. McGee got nervous and decided to get creative." He flipped through it then looked at Taylor. "You'll want to sit."
"Why?" He looked at Xander. "Military?"
"I helped take down the unit that got us all called here," he said grimly, sitting down. "Sit, really. They were doing some genetic experiments."
"No, on your kids," Xander told him. Taylor shook his head slowly. Xander nodded. "They decided to make you some. Me some, you some, his guy Tony some. There's a bunch of them. They were also experimenting on their own people and doing experiments that led to torture and pain." Mac sat down on the end of the bed.
Gibbs handed him the folder. "Read." He took the other chair at the table. "Someone told Xander and he told Tony so we went to stop them from moving the kids, Mac."
Mac stared at him then started to look over the notes. "This can't be," he said halfway through. "How did they do this?"
"I'm from Sunnydale, Detective," Xander said, earning a shudder. "Ah, you've heard of us," he said with mock cheer, grinning at him. "I'm on the hometown protection patrol. We had to bring them down. They were trying to create a monster that would've killed a lot of people and then we had to go back and do it again because they were still going on with the torture and stuff. They had a friend," he said at the harsh look. "I'm not leaving a friend with torturing, sick bastards. Not with what we know they did."
"The video files made me sick," Gibbs said simply. Mac looked at him. "Even the countries that condone torture wouldn't have allowed this."
"They were trying to make our shadow population be the new grunts after they figured out what they could do the hard way," Xander added. Mac shuddered and went back to reading. "I got told and went to check on the information I got given. When we found evidence of this, the informant I had said to call Tony since he was involved and they were going to move some of the kids again."
"They were. One of the bases was going to be shifted," Gibbs agreed. "We and ACIS stopped it, Mac. Kate got one base, I got the other. We decided to move the kids together so you guys could make the hard decisions about custody and those things."
Mac handed back the folder. "When can we see them?"
"I planned on briefing everyone tomorrow at ten, then letting you all drink lunch or look over the files we have. Then we'd see the kids that afternoon."
"How old?" Mac asked, hands on his knees.
"The oldest is about two. The youngest is newborn. The two youngest came from their own people. They wanted to keep the pure military ones separate apparently."
"Walsh was sick that way," Xander agreed. "Can I blow up the base soon? Cordy said I could."
"We're still talking about that. Especially with it being under a college." Xander grimaced but nodded. "Was it cleaned out?"
"Fully. I did everything but sweep the corners. I even took out the printer paper. Willow needed it."
Gibbs nodded. "Not like we'll mind this week." He looked at Mac again. "I thought it best if we went over it together."
"Who did the DNA testing?" Mac asked.
"She's good." He stood up. "I need to think."
"Of course you do," Xander agreed. "I have been since I found out. We all need to think. Rational things will help the kids more than being emotional and panicking people." He grinned slightly. "Not that I think you're going to be a panicking person but some will."
"No, I'd have thrown a fit if I heard this tomorrow. Can I tell the others?" Gibbs shook his head. "They'll be mad."
"Let them. This way we only have to drag the files over here once. We're still going through the last box looking for others. Just in case." That got a nod and Mac left the room. He looked at Xander. "You did good."
"Thank you. I have *no* idea what I'm doing after this. I live on the mouth to hell. There's a high death rate and I do dangerous shit. How am I supposed to help raise them?"
"Then move," Gibbs told him, standing up. "You can do that. Construction work is available through most of the country. Find somewhere safer, kid." He gave him a pat on the shoulder before leaving him alone to think. He knew Mac would slip the information to a few others. It'd keep the shouting down in the morning so he didn't mind. He got cornered by the elevator by one pissed off redhead. "Caine."
"Gibbs. What happened?" He let him have the folder. He flipped through it then glared at him. "The people responsible?"
"Gone. Mostly in jail, some dead. The ones over the kids ACIS has jurisdiction over. They're going to jail if Hollis has her way." That got a single, slow nod. "The kids are all together. We're going to tell you all the facts tomorrow, let you go over the information we have, then go see them."
"I see I have one."
"You do and the young man who's the other father is determined he's going to have at least visitation. That's something to work out later. After you've looked over everything, seen the kids, all that."
"I live in a dangerous world."
"He lives in Sunnydale, Caine. He helped bring down the group. His is worse." Horatio growled. "Exactly. So think. We'll talk tomorrow when the last person gets in." He took the folder back. "By the way, if you try to muscle that kid, you'll probably lose." He pressed the button for the elevator, then looked at him again. "He's as tough as I am but he's still young."
"If they're mine then they're mine."
"They're not just yours," Gibbs reminded him. "They used two parents, Horatio." The other man walked off. Gibbs got onto the elevator and headed down to get the last few on his list. Kate had gotten some while McGee and Abby finished with the files. He met her in the lobby. "Any more?"
"The one coming in at two. I've got him. How many know?"
"A few." He nodded at the ones who were done checking in. "Go rest, guys. We'll talk tomorrow at ten." He walked off, going back to his car. It was not going to be a good weekend.
Horatio found the young man in question. He knew most everyone else whose name he had seen on the lists. He sat down across from him in the restaurant, weathering the look the boy gave him. "I think we should talk."
"I think we should too but I'd rather do it once you're calm and rational. I don't need to be screamed at. I got enough of that when my girlfriend dumped me for this." He ate a bite of his burger. "Want some of my fries?"
"No, thank you." He stared at him. "You're how old?"
"Twenty-one, almost twenty-two." He ate another bite and chewed quickly because the other man was giving him a death glare. He sipped his soda then put down all his food, looking at him. "Before you say I'm young and I can have more, I can't. I probably won't. I will fight you if I don't at least get a good bit of visitation. I'd prefer at least partial custody and I'm a bitch when I have my back to a wall. I'm an end-game fighter and I've proved it a whole hell of a lot in my town. Now, we can work this out, and we can be civil, or we can fight and it'll be bad on all three of us. I'm more than happy to be civil and work things out."
"This would be my only one, Mr. Harris."
"My name is Xander. Use it." The other man gave him a stunned look for his cold tone. He leaned closer. "I'm not the easiest of people, whoever-you-are."
"Horatio Caine. Lieutenant Horatio Caine, Miami-Dade Crime Lab."
Xander nodded. "Gibbs said a lot of us were CSI. I'm not. I know I don't have the college education you have. I know that I'm not pulling down the big bucks. I can tell you that I will love and protect that child with everything in me. I'm even prepared to move and give up the dangerous stuff I do nightly to protect him. Are you?" Horatio shook his head. "Then we can work it out so I at least have visitation."
"Our," Xander corrected. "They used both of us in the same way, Horatio." He waved at the waitress. "Can I get a box?" She nodded, bringing him one. He paid her and gave her a smile. "Thank you." He put his food up and looked at him again. "I'm going back to my room. If you want to come talk in a civilized manner, we can do that. I don't want to fight in public. No one else has to know about the problems that created this situation. It won't do the governing body any good and I respect them even if I did help bring down this problematic little unit." He stood up. "I'm up in 1134 if you want to talk." He walked off, heading to the elevator.
Horatio watched him go. He was nearly growling in frustration. The kid had walked away from him. He hadn't listened to him.
Tony looked over from his seat. "Don't threaten him, Horatio. He's got enough stress as is. He's a nice guy once you get to know him. If you did that, it might help you both. He could use more friends, especially supportive ones who gave a damn about this stuff." Horatio glared at him too. "Hey, glare away. You're not worse than Gibbs." He sipped his coffee. "It's only going to get harder from here. If you stay pissed, it won't help anyone." Horatio got up and walked off. Tony went back to his dinner. He didn't want to eat but he knew if he didn't he'd be in trouble later when he didn't have the energy to argue with the people who'd be replaying the same scene with him. He was watching the lobby as a distraction from his thoughts. That's why he saw the director come in and nearly sneered. She was dressed in a feminine business suit with a skirt and heels. "How very Barbie of her," he muttered, eating a bite of his salad. He waved and she stomped his way. "Director."
"Agent DiNozzo." She put her briefcase on the table and sat across from him. "What are you going to do about this situation?"
"I don't know yet. We're working on that once everyone knows tomorrow. The boss set the timetable and I think it's a pretty decent one. We all need some thinking time and political pressure will only make it worse. I'm hoping none of us snap and do something rash." He ate another bite of his salad. "Why?" he asked once he swallowed.
"This is an embarrassment to everyone."
"We're not the ones who did it," he reminded her. "To us, this is a bit more personal and our families. We'll figure it out among ourselves and let the higher ups know. You can tell them I said that."
"We'd like for it to go away."
"I doubt you're going to get to kill them, Director. At least six of us would mind." She gave him a horrified look. "As for shutting us up? Don't know about them. I know that Hollis is working hard to make sure they all go to prison. I'd support her doing that. That way no one else would get a bright idea if there's any embryos left. Otherwise?" He shrugged. "I don't know yet. Come apply political pressure Sunday night. By then most of us should have an idea about custody and those things." He ate another bite. He grabbed her hand when she picked up her briefcase. "Out of the twenty of us, only six know so far. Doing it now will only cause more problems. Coming in Sunday is not only humane but more sensible."
"Are you done?" she asked.
"No. Because if you create a mass of problems for us, it'll take us much longer to work things out. We've got enough problems without political pressure not to out the program." He stared at her. "But you already knew that, didn't you?" She nodded. "Good. Then come back Sunday night with a proposal. Then the nice CSI upstairs can counter it or accept it." He let her go. "Doing it now would only get you beaten or screamed at." He ate another bite, nodding at Gibbs when he came back. "Boss. Kate?" he asked when he saw her.
Gibbs whistled, bringing Kate back. "Director. I take it the higher ups want this to go away?"
"As soon as possible, Agent Gibbs. As quietly as possible."
"Come back Sunday night with a proposal. Some might sign a hush agreement. Some might not want to. Doing it now will only lead to more drama and it'll take longer to calm them down and get them thinking about the necessary things."
"Why not tell them now?"
"One won't be in until two," Kate told her. "I'm supposed to pick him up." The director glared at her. "Go for it. I'm sure we can see if you were involved too."
"I was not!"
"Then quit acting like you're covering your own six," Gibbs told her. "This is an emotional issue, not a political one. Let the emotions be blown over then come back with the politics." He looked at Tony. "You're not done yet?"
"I paused to watch Horatio and Xander have a fight." He ate a bite of his peppers, then chewed slowly. "Xander told him where he was, laid out what he wanted and would accept, then told him to come talk to him when he was calmer. Then he walked off." He ate another bite, using it to clean up the dressing at the bottom. He finished his coffee and stood up, putting down money for the waitress, earning a smile. "Thank you." He walked his boss off. "Do we want to do this tonight?"
"We couldn't get him on an earlier flight or he'd already be here, DiNozzo."
"Boss, half of them will want to know," Tony reminded him. "Mac and Horatio would've talked already. The others who know might have too. Xander probably hasn't. I think he's hiding and letting the emotional storm blow over before he gets hit by someone." That got a nod. "Maybe letting it slip isn't a bad idea, but it's going to get to strangulation levels of anger for some of them."
"I know. That's why I let it slip tonight. So they could get the anger out of their systems faster." He patted him on the arm. "Go back upstairs, DiNozzo. Get a movie, rest and think. You've got the same problems the others do."
Tony nodded. "I know. Thanks, boss. Later, Kate."
"I'll see you tomorrow. I'm on guard duty then with the kids." That got a nod and Tony headed back to his room. She looked at Gibbs. "Is this wise? It will turn into a screaming match for at least one set."
"It'll be fine," Gibbs assured her. "Better now than where the kids can hear it." He looked at the director. "Try again Sunday, Director. When they all know." She huffed off. "Remind me to talk to someone about her," he muttered.
Kate smiled. "About time." She walked off, heading back to her car. "Going back to the office to check on Probie and Abby, Gibbs."
"Thank you." He went to get some coffee and headed back himself. He needed to know what else had been found out.
Gibbs walked into the meeting area, closing and locking the door. They all gave him odd looks. "It's better if you can't storm out at the moment." He put down the box in his hands. Then he looked at them. "Some of you know why we're here. Does anyone not know?" The late arrival raised his hand slowly.
Xander looked at him. "Let me start since it was in my town, Gibbs." That got a nod. Xander looked at him again. "I live in Sunnydale and there was a special research and ops unit that moved into our town. They created a base underground, decided to torture beings to see what they could do in the hopes of getting new grunt level forces for the military, and did other odd, nefarious projects on the side. They doped their own people with super steroids and drugs. They put control chips in their people. They killed a bunch of creatures and people. And they decided to mess in genetic futures." The cop looked confused. "They did the mix-a-lot thing in a dish and created kids based on the head scientist's idea of what the future needed in the way of guardians and protectors. We're here because we were all used."
"No way," he said with a grin. He looked at Mac. Who just nodded. "You're joking, right?" He looked less sure at the second negative head shake.
"I'm afraid not," Gibbs told him. "What Xander didn't tell you was that a group of people out there overran the program and got them stopped. Twice."
"One of them they had a friend. That was the objective," Xander said more quietly. "The second time we stopped them." He looked at him again. "I got information that led me to go back there looking for more files. They had a locked section the hacker we worked with didn't get into. That's where we found the information in the box Special Agent Gibbs carried in. I called his guy, who told him, who got onto the higher ups, and the kids were found."
"I want to see proof," Horatio said.
Gibbs shoved the box over. "In there are the pertinent files sorted for each child. Both parents names are on the tab. Find yours, Horatio." He got into the box, finding his name and passing it down. "Abby and McGee did the whole presentation if anyone wants to watch it." They all shrugged so he let it play. He saw a few softer looks at the pictures of the kids. "In their folders are also copies of their birth certificates."
Mac looked at him. "We'll see them when?"
"When you're all done. They're in a safe and secure location. ACIS and we have been guarding them for you. There's two of you missing. They used some of their soldiers as well but they found out before Xander did so one of them was there already. Also, we found out that they had taken one of the fathers hostage. He had managed to escape and take his child with him. He's with the children." He looked at Horatio. "You're going to be more upset."
"I saw his name," he said calmly.
"I saw him for breakfast. He needed more diapers. He and the two soldiers are there with theirs since they already knew. One managed to get assigned to the base when he found out." That got a mass nod. "We're leaving it up to you about who gets custody, who gets visitation, and what's going to happen after that."
"Why so many with Xander's name?" Don Flack, the late entrant, asked.
"We think they wanted a sturdy baseline to explore from," Tony told him. "Him and me both, Flack. We're both pretty healthy. We've fought off major diseases. We don't get injured easily. We both have a lot of the same skills. We're the next step up from their own soldiers and they could get ours easier because of sperm donation." Xander nodded at that. "Plus he was local and one of his friends was dating one of the soldiers."
"Who is with the other kids," Xander agreed. "He helped us take them down the second time." He looked at the folders. "Are mine in there?" Horatio handed his over. "Thank you, Lieutenant." He looked at the picture, smiling. "He's adorable."
"He is," Horatio agreed quietly. "Do you work?"
"I work construction." He looked at him. "Being snotty to me won't help you." That got a few gapes. "Okay, let me say this in public since he heard it yesterday. These are probably the only children I'll ever have. I'm going to fight to at least get visitation, I'd prefer at least partial custody. I'd also like to be civil. I can be civil if others can. But I will warn you that trying to take full custody and leaving me without anything will make me fight you. You don't want that." He handed the folder back to him. "My others please?" They got handed down. One from Tony, one from a Latino man next to Horatio. "Thank you." He looked them over, smiling at their pictures. Then he looked at Gibbs. "For those of us who aren't technical, were there any spare embryos left?"
"We think they did have some stored. I'm not sure what we're doing except making sure no one but the biological parents can use them." That got a nod. "I'm not sure how many. McGee is tracking that down today. They only found that last night with a lot of searching. Can you calm down now?"
"I am calm." He looked around then at him. "Can we go over?"
"In a few, Xander," Tony told him. "Let the others get into the information files. He stored the rest of the files in my room if you needed the bare bones research files. Boss, can we go over sooner?" Xander and he didn't need the science stuff and getting Xander there would mean he'd calm down faster.
"Whenever everyone's ready," Gibbs told him.
"So we can see 'em, hold 'em, all that?" Don asked.
"Then you can work out custody among yourselves."
"Though our director will be back Sunday night to try to convince you to not talk about it," Tony added. "We drove her off once already." That got a few more nods.
"The president himself saw the bare facts that Xander sent us, one file and the basic research notes of it. He signed the desist order and told us to clear this up quickly, quietly, and give the parents their children," Gibbs said. "Anything else is politics."
"They were stopped?" Mac asked.
"Walsh, who was over this, was killed by the creature she was making," Xander told him. "She was originally in charge."
"The others?" Horatio asked, staring at Gibbs.
"ACIS is putting them away as fast as they can," Gibbs told him. "Before this they had half the scientists already sentenced. Now they have more to go after."
That got a mass nod. The Latino guy waved a hand. "What about baptisms and those things?"
"No one's said anything that I've heard," Gibbs told him. "I do know that they were showing the older toddlers some educational propaganda. Basically Sesame Street with a military theme."
"Then my mother will shriek but call the priest first thing," he decided. He looked down at Xander. "You wouldn't mind splitting it?"
"As long as you don't cut me off totally? No," he said quietly, giving him a look. That got a smile. He got up and got some water from the pitcher in the corner, coming back drinking it. "Do you need me to call Willow to help, Gibbs?"
"No, they've been talking to her. She found McGee online and started a conversation about what they had and what your group had in the closet from the raids you had done earlier." That got a nod and another sip taken. "I talked to your Mr. Giles."
"I'm not dating Giles, Gibbs. What did he say?"
"That it'd be reasonable if you wanted to move. He told me to tell you that they kept Anya out of your things again." Xander just sighed but nodded, taking a longer drink. "He said Willow's got it locked specially so you'll have to find her when you go back."
"I can do that. Thank you. Did you call?"
"I wanted to make sure we had copies of everything."
"I think we're keeping the copies and you're getting the originals. After all, the courts would want original documents," he said. "Will they need us to testify?"
"Not that I know of. Have you yet?"
"Willow did at two of them."
"No one seems to see a lot of what I do," Xander said grimly. "I got served with notice that I could be called but they decided not to at the last moment I guess. Either that or he took a plea."
"He probably took a plea. Most of them did. Out of the fifteen trials only three haven't." Xander gave him a small smile. "What about your informant?"
"Cordy? She'll live, for now. She's got brain problems that're slowly killing her painfully but they're working on it."
"Cancer?" Mac asked quietly.
"No. Longer and stranger story, Detective. Not the forum for that talk." He looked at Gibbs again. "Can we go yet?"
"Whoever's done we can take over in a first wave," he agreed. Xander and Tony stood up, so did Don Flack. "You sure?"
"I hang out with science guys but it's not my thing. I'm the person who kicks down the door and chases the bad guy, not the guy who looks through the microscope to find him. Mac'll explain it to me if I have questions." That got a nod and he followed the other two out. "Hey, kid?" Xander looked at him. "You okay?"
"I'm fine. It's been a long week, Detective."
Xander grinned. "You can use my name too. I don't mind."
"Sure, I can do that." They got into the van Gibbs pointed at, heading over to the big warehouse the kids were being housed in. "This is..."
"Forties prison movie cheery?" Tony suggested when Don couldn't find a word. "It's safe. It's better inside I'm sure." They drove into the building and parked, letting them out. He smiled. "Guys, this is Kate. She's on my team at NCIS. Kate, these are Xander and Detective Don Flack from New York."
"It's nice to meet you in person, Xander. You as well, Detective." She pointed. "They're in there napping off breakfast at the moment." Xander smiled, heading in there first. She looked at them. "Don't be scared, they cuddle but only a few bite."
Don grinned. "I love kids." He walked in there too, finding Xander struggling to hold all three of them. "Why don't I take one for now," he suggested, sitting across from him to hold a little girl. Xander grinned and let him. "There, now the other daddy doesn't have to have three arms," he told her, earning a small grin. "You're adorable."
Tony sat down next to Xander, taking his with him. "Hi, precious." She burped. "That's a good introduction. You sound like some of my frat brothers." The baby patted at him. "Good girl." He smiled at Xander. "Relax. Calm down."
"I am calm. I'm staying calm no matter who yells at me." He looked at all the pitiful faces. "You guys can come cuddle in too. The other parents are coming." They came to get their own lovies, letting Xander have his back so they could get their other ones. Tony smiled at Xander's son, earning a beaming grin back from the seventeen-month-old baby. "He's adorable," Xander told him.
"Thanks." He grinned at the others. "I've got more lap room, guys." A few more came to sit with him and Don and Xander both got their share of attention too. "Kate, the others are trickling over."
"I heard. Gibbs has on an earwhigg, Tony." She took a picture before walking off to check on the littler infants. The rest came in two vans and got out.
Horatio came over to stare at the kids. "Hi." Xander pointed. "That's my son?"
"That's your son."
Horatio took him. "Let me hold you for a while, son. Then we'll see what's going to happen." He sat down on one of the cots, getting comfortable. The baby stared at him, starting to sniffle. He felt his heart tighten and kissed him on the forehead. "There you are, son. It's all right." The baby calmed down. He looked over at the sound of a moving person. "Speed," he said quietly, making him flinch.
The other man looked at him. "I cleaned it."
"We'll pull it back out and check," he told him. "Are you all right?"
"No. I'm healing." Xander looked at him. "They moved us two days before the last assault. We heard about it, kid." Xander nodded, still looking at him. "I was stuck in the maternity ward's second room. Along with a few others. You wouldn't have found me."
"I'm sorry I didn't."
"Not your fault. You did good." Xander nodded, going back to the other two kids, smiling at the others who were still being sorted out. He came over to sit on the floor next to Horatio and his son. "He's sweet but he has a temper. If he's not taken care of immediately he'll howl." Horatio smiled at that. "How's Alexx?"
"She's fine. Eric's across the room."
"I saw. I'm avoiding that bit of yelling for the moment. There's enough emotional overflow in here." Eric looked over, shaking his head. "Yes there is," he called. He smiled at the toddler climbing into his lap. "Needed a cuddle and Xander's too full?" He gave her a cuddle, then pointed. "I think that's your daddy, sweetie." She squealed and ran over to pounce Mac, making him smile and pick her up to hold. He smiled at Xander. "It's hard when they're clingy."
"We should probably take some of the stress off him," Horatio said quietly.
Xander looked at him. "This is the first time I've ever held children. I'm doing fine for my first day. Thank you anyway." He went back to talking to them, making them all happy babies.
Speed nudged Horatio's thigh. "Don't fight with him. The kids deserve better than that, H." He got up and walked over to where Eric was. "Hey."
"Hey." He gave him a hug, hearing him hiss. "What?"
"Still a bit sore, Eric. I escaped." Eric turned him around so he could look at his back, hissing at it. "I know. It's nearly healed. I've been doing good."
Xander looked over. "I have a good ointment in my bag if you need it, Tim." That got a nod and a small smirk. "I've had many cuts over the last few years. It works well. All herbal too." He went back to the kids.
"You've had cuts?" Horatio asked.
Xander looked at him then nodded. "Yeah, I have. And a broken arm." He looked at Tony, who was pouting. He handed him his daughter, getting a smile and him cooing. He smiled at his remaining child and the one on his lap. "Where are your parents, young lady?"
"Over here," Eric called. Xander pointed and she ran over to hug him. "Hi, pumpkin." He gave her a cuddle but she went running back to cuddle Xander some more. "Seen them recently?"
"Nope. This is my first time," Xander said. "I was telling her a story." He smiled and went back to quietly telling her the fairytale about the female knight and her trusty sidekick squire. She even giggled when they slayed the dragon. He looked around. "Gibbs?" He came over. "Why not Buffy?"
"Walsh's notes said that she was enhanced but it wouldn't pass on genetically. It was an extreme recessive gene and only activated in certain circumstances." Xander nodded at that. "I'm not pretending to understand."
"Tony got that lecture." That got a nod and he walked off to help with the one who was crying at Mac. "Hey!" Xander called. "No fussing. Cuddle instead of fussing." She sniffled and gave her daddy the pitiful look. "Sit down with her, Detective. I doubt the people who had them cuddled." He went back to his two. His daughter yawned and slowly drifted off, letting him watch Tony with his two. They were comfy and content too. "We do good."
"We do good," Tony agreed with a smile. "She's beautiful."
"They all are."
Tony nodded. "They all are but I can be biased and say that mine are prettiest." Xander grinned and nodded at that. "Now what, Xander?"
"I'm thinking about giving up the game and moving. I don't know where yet. I'll figure that out." That got a nod. "Somewhere with a lot of construction work and a low cost of living if I can. I'll figure that out tonight." That got another nod. He went back to the kids, smiling at the other sleepy one. "Want to take a nap?" She shook her head. "I bet if you asked, your daddy would tell you a story too."
She walked over to an adult without kids at the moment, tugging on his pantsleg. "Tory?" she asked, giving him a hopeful look.
"I can do that," Don agreed, gathering his own attentive harem to tell the story to. Most of the kids went down but Xander and Tony stayed together with theirs. He walked over, sitting across from Xander. "I don't know what I'd do with a kid. I live in a small walk- up in New York. We'll figure it out, Xander." Xander nodded, giving him a smile. "You good?"
"I'm fine." He went back to cuddling them until Kate came over "Repossessing them?"
"Just putting them down so they can have a good nap. Otherwise they'll be crankier than Gibbs when he can't drink coffee." She took the kids carefully and walked them off. Then she came back for Tony's two, then Horatio's son. She smiled at Xander. "You're good."
"It's nice to hear." He looked at Tony, then at Don. "Got any ideas about custody?"
"I'm a confirmed bachelor and I work horrible hours," Tony told him. "I'd like to visit and have partial custody." Xander nodded at that. "Do you think..." Xander nodded.
Don grinned. "I think we can work out how to split it and I'll keep my folks from nagging you."
"Thanks. That'll be good until I'm comfortable with doing all the baby stuff," Xander agreed. He looked at Horatio. "Want to talk later?"
"We should," he agreed. He shifted, looking at Speed. "Excuse me, but we thought he was dead." He walked that way, going to talk to him with Eric.
Tony stroked over Xander's shoulder. "We'll figure it out, Xander." Xander looked at him. "We will. We'll be as fair as we can." Xander smiled and nodded. "Why are you worried about embryos?"
"Because I'm sure there was some. Walsh liked to plan ahead. She didn't start building her Adam creation until she had all the parts. She wouldn't have started this without a good store of embryos. Considering how fragile IVF is on them, she had to have more stored in case they didn't take or didn't implant right and there was a miscarriage. With the way you and I were used more, I'm going to suggest we've each got some more there."
"It's a good thought," Don agreed. "They'll find 'em and you can figure out what to do with them, Xander." He patted him on the arm. "Let me go calm Mac down. He looks like he's ready to hit someone." He got up and went to talk to his buddy. "Hey, Mac."
"Don." He smiled. "They're good kids."
"They are. We'll make great fathers and we'll keep Stella from spoiling them rotten."
Mac smiled and nodded. "That might be nice, yes. Danny too."
"Danny's a bit scared of kids but we'll figure it out." He patted him on the arm again. "Now what?"
"Now, we figure out who has primary custody and how we're doing visitation. Then we deal with the pressure to not speak about this," he reminded him. "Then we go home, hopefully with the kids, and figure out how to be fathers."
Gibbs nodded. "That's the current plan. I have no idea if she'll block it if you don't agree."
Xander strolled over. "She tries and I'm having her eaten." He walked past him, going to check on his fussy one since he could hear her whimpering. "Hey, precious. Do we have nightmares already?" He stroked her stomach until she fell back asleep, making him smile. "You even snore cutely. How cool is that? Not even Buffy can manage that one." He smiled at the two kids that hadn't been claimed, walking over to them. "Do we not know their parents?" he asked the guard.
"One came up unknown DNA type. One came up as a reference sample they took but they couldn't get a secondary donor," the guard told him. "We couldn't find the one we had."
Xander looked at him. "Ethan Rayne?" That got a nod. "I can have someone get hold of him." He found his cellphone and called home. "Giles, me. Yes, they're adorable and I'll bring home pictures if I can't bring home the babies right away." He smiled. "No, I'm here with a baby that's partially Ethan's." He stroked her stomach, watching her blink. "Ah, you're like your mommy." He smiled at the hiss Giles let out. "Yeah, looks like it when she blinks. They couldn't find him. Can you tell him? Thanks, Giles. I don't know. I'm still considering my options." He smiled at the words of support. "Thanks, Giles." He hung up and walked over to the other one, nodding the guard over when he felt how heavy he was. "Let's see if we can figure out who else's you are." He tickled him, getting his fingers captured when the rock-like formations came out to protect the baby. "Hmm. Doctor Walsh was mean and used another of her test subjects." He called Giles back. "It's me. Rock-like, heavy, blue eyes, looks mostly human but a bit more like tan granite?" He nodded. "There is one that's at least half, Giles." He nodded slowly. "So they'd hurt the baby? Okay, any special precautions?" He beamed. "That'll be fine. I can have someone take a blood sample so we can see." He hung up and looked at him. "My mentor can test and see what else he is."
"Thank you, Mr. Harris. We were wondering."
Xander shrugged. "They're not all bad. Some simply *are*. It'd be better if they knew their own kind. Send pictures too." That got a nod and he went to find someone to take a blood and hair sample for the guys. Xander walked back over to Gibbs. "Those two I found the one's father, but she's a lot like her mother otherwise."
Gibbs stared at him for a minute. "Will it show?"
"They're taller, gangly, hunched over just a bit. The main thing is the blink and they were slightly more green in color. Her daddy was someone that my mentor Giles gave to them for being a prick. I had him call to see what Ethan wanted to do." That got a nod. "If I hear from him I'll tell him to give you guys whatever sort of statement since he's fully human and they were testing him too," he finished quietly.
"Thank you. It could help. What about the other one?"
"He's another halfie and Giles can figure out what his other half is, see if they'd be willing to claim him. We know the main one, the one that's making him so heavy, wouldn't. So we'll see within a few days."
"I'll make sure they have the right address. Thanks, kid."
"I don't want to see them suffer."
"They'd probably go into foster care."
"The system won't take them, Gibbs. Not with what they are. Let Giles and I handle that part." That got a nod and he went back to check on his own. He found Horatio staring at their son. "Is he asleep?" he asked quietly.
"Fast asleep." He looked at him. "You're going to adopt them too?"
"One's not fully human." One of the others in the group gave him a horrified look. "I'll explain it later." He got a head shake and walked over.
"Not human how, Mr. Harris?"
Xander smiled. "They're from other residents of Sunnydale. Giles is finding his people."
The guy relaxed. "That's good to know. Thank you." He looked at the baby. "He's adorable."
"He is but Tim said he had a temper," Horatio admitted. "I don't know you."
"Daniel Jackson. I'm out of another top-secret military project based in Cheyenne Mountain."
"Horatio Caine, Miami-Dade PD." He shook his hand. "Science?"
"Linguist and Anthropologist actually." He smiled at Xander. "I did a background check on you."
"Did it come up with anything?"
"Don't annoy, don't feed chocolate, and watch out for weapons." Xander simply grinned at that. "No explanations given."
Xander shrugged. "It's like that now and then in Sunnydale. Which is why I'm thinking hard about moving," he said at Horatio's horrified look. He looked at Daniel. "How many of yours?"
"One with the blond guy in the corner who's arguing with the other father of his other child." He pointed. "I don't know him yet."
Xander looked. "That's.... I went over the records partially. I think that's Detective Kowalski." That got a nod and Daniel walked over there to stop the fighting. He looked at Horatio. "Talking later?"
"We'll be talking later. I want to know about your life."
"It won't matter if I move." He walked off, going to check on the other two, finding himself next to Tony and Don again. "Hey." He flopped down, resting against a cot. The child on it reached up to play with his hair but he didn't mind. "Sure, you can do that." The little fingers scrunched a few times then went still and he heard a pleasured sigh. He smiled at Tony. "How are we doing?"
"I'm doing okay," he admitted. "You?"
"I'm a bit pissed at Walsh but I know she's dead. It's not worth the energy it'd take to bring her back to kill her again. So I'll leave it as being pissed at the others in the group who knew." He pointed. "They were goon squad leaders. They had no idea. They were grunt and capture teams."
"Good to know," Tony said quietly. He glanced at them then at Don. "How's your other father taking it?"
"He's not happy. I guess they used me as a baseline too." He shrugged. "Mac's ready to destroy people and can't." He nodded and Mac came over to sit with them, letting the child on the cot he was leaning against snuggle into his back. "How are we tellin' everyone?"
"I'm going to call a staff meeting," Mac said simply. "Bring the baby in." That got a smile and a nod.
A young goth girl came bouncing in. "We've got the last of the genetic tests done, Gibbs. Just came out. The two we didn't know of are found." She handed them over with a bright smile. "Can I cuddle now?"
"Go ahead, Abby." He looked at them then at Xander. "Kid, got you another one."
"With who?" Gibbs pointed at Don. "Huh. Which one?" He found her and pointed. "Aww. She's adorable. So I only have the one son?"
"So it appears." He looked at the other folder. "Taylor, found another of yours." He pointed at one of the cribs. "He's yours and Tony's." He handed over the forms when they came over to look.
"Aww," Don said happily. Mac simply smiled. "That brings me up with Xander's total, right?"
"DiNozzo's. You have one with Xander and one with Taylor. Xander's got four now."
Tony smiled at Xander. "You're going to have a whole sports team sometime soon."
Xander grinned. "Hopefully they'll be happy with me." That got a smile back. He got up to get that other folder to look at, going to stare at the little one. "Hi, baby." She shifted in her sleep so he left her alone. He went back to sitting beside Tony. "Well, now what?"
"We wait for them to wake up." They watched as the other father of Stanley Kowalski's other child fled the building. Tony shook his head. "Some people weren't going to take the news well."
"He'll calm down and think later," Xander told him. He looked at Tony. "I should quit, huh?" Tony nodded. "I don't know what I'm going to do if I do."
"Move somewhere safer, that's my opinion." Tony gave him a pat on the back. "It'll work itself out, Xander. You've been through too much for it not to. Karma owes you."
Xander smirked. "Cordelia told me Walsh did this because I screwed up too many prophecies."
"Cordelia isn't always right. After all, you haven't gotten to blow up the base yet."
"True. I'll do that soon." He heard a sniffle and looked over, but Horatio beat them to their son. "Sure, you cuddle." He sat down again. "That's not going to be a happy talk," he muttered.
Tony patted him on the back. "You'll work it out. Gibbs can step in if he has to." That got a nod. "He's been divorced a few times. He knows how heated the 'it's mine' discussions can get." Xander let out a soft smile. "Got any idea where you're moving to?"
"Low cost of living but Wiccan safe. That way I don't have to worry about some things and if I break out in strange stuff it'll be excused that way. A good job base is going to be important."
"Small town, small city, urban area?" Tony suggested.
Xander considered it. "I'd rather have a small town. They're more friendly. I'm used to them and how they operate. Where you know everyone within a few months would be nice." He pulled out his phone to call the Magic Box again. "Giles, it's me." He smiled. "Yeah, I think I'm going to tender my resignation but I need Wills to help me find somewhere safe to move to." He nodded, smiling. "I'd like that, thank you. No, I'm up to four. I'm not sure. My only son is being loved on by his daddy." He beamed. "Thanks, Giles. Small town if possible. Wiccan safe rating. Low cost of living. Probable job base." He listened to her input that into a database she found online. "Texas, Maine, Vermont, Georgia, and where?" He shook his head. "Illinois. Okay. Lowest cost of living?"
He nodded slowly. "Georgia? Okay. Anything looking promising that way? Because I've got four and I'm at least taking visitation, Giles. Exactly. Plus with the two halfies here, we'll have to see." He nodded. "That'll be nice. How expensive is it?" He smiled at the generous offer. "Thank you." He heard Willow talk about the house. "Why so cheap?" He beamed. "DEA put it up already?" He nodded. "How far out in the country?" He nodded. "I might be able to stand that. I've got her spare laptop on me so can she send me pictures? I'll be back there in a few hours probably. Thanks, guys. Of course you're coming for the first few days, Giles. Someone's got to teach me how to change a diaper." He laughed. "Thanks, man." He hung up. "I'm moving to Georgia it looks like."
Tony grinned. "It's pretty country."
Xander nodded. "So she said. She said it's an older farm with some land and trees. So apparently I'm living at the Burrow." Tony snickered and nodded. "If it needs work, I can do that and then worry about a job."
"Good point." He looked over as Gibbs came over. "He's moving to Georgia."
"I heard. Is it safe?"
Xander smiled. "Rated safe for Wiccans, Gibbs." That got a nod. "So it's tolerant and safe."
"That's good. DEA seizure?" Xander nodded. "How big?"
"Farm, old farm. Some land, some trees. I'll be living like a Weasley." Gibbs shook his head at that. "Willow gave me the books for Solstice last year."
"Hopefully you won't have to do too much work to make it liveable, kid."
"I hope not." He looked at Tony again. "Want to move with me?"
"No, not really. The boss would get mad if I was that far outside call-in." That got a grin back. "He would." He heard Xander's stomach rumble. "Lunch time?"
Xander shrugged. "It'll keep for now." He looked around at the parents watching their kids sleep. "I have no idea what I'm doing next. I got myself to this point, made my decision about wanting my kids, and now I'm stuck without a next goal. It's like I won the hill and can't decide which direction I'm conquering from here." Daniel gave him an odd look. "What?" he mouthed.
"D&D?" Daniel asked.
Xander grinned. "No comment until the statute of limitations has run out and the FBI doesn't want to talk about it anymore." Daniel and Tony both gaped. He grinned. "My high school rather had a severe issue. I'm on the hometown protection patrol."
Riley Finn looked over. "Who planned graduation?"
"I fixed Giles' plans if you must know," Xander said dryly. "Plus got others involved." Riley shuddered. "You guys saw that?"
"We were in Sunnydale your Junior year, Harris. We saw it all while we were expanding the former research center." He turned away shaking his head.
Graham came over, squatting down next to him. "Those two strange ones?" he asked quietly.
"One's half Ethan, half their mother. One's Laporess and something," he said equally quiet. "Giles' is getting a sample of the second's blood to see if the mother's family might want to take it in." That got a nod. "Does Ethan have one?"
"He escaped with his daughter. His escape let Speedle escape."
"Good deal. I had Giles tell him about her. So we'll see. If not, I might be talked into it since I'm going to have so many anyway." That got a nod and Graham walked off to talk to Gibbs about those two infants. Xander looked at Tony. "We'll have to see where things fall. Who knows what'll happen later on with some of the tempers in this room."
"True." He got up. "I'm going to ask about lunch. I didn't get breakfast." He walked that way. "Boss, some of us are going to start gnawing on the babies soon."
He gave him a dirty look. "Then order pizza, DiNozzo."
"I can do that." He smirked back. "Cheese, pepperoni, and supreme or just cheese?"
"Order one cheeseless, one's got a milk allergy," he said, walking off shaking his head, Graham following him.
Tony opened his phone, doing a head count while he found the number in his phone book. Then he smiled. "Hi, it's Tony DiNozzo from NCIS. We're on a special project in a meeting and we're starving. We have twenty-three adults and about fifty kids overall. One cheeseless, a milk allergy kid. The rest cheese and pepperoni. Figure.... Yeah, that'll work. Do I get the discount?" he teased. "That'll work. Thank you. Call my cell and I'll give directions to meet the person at. Thank you." He hung up. "Kate, going on a pick up in thirty," he called. She nodded. He wrote out a check and handed it over. "Here, food."
"Where am I meeting them?" He handed over his phone too. "That'll work." She went to tell Gibbs and take one of the vans. That way she could pick a good meeting spot. She hadn't scouted the local parking lots yet.
Tony went back to where Xander was. "We'll have pizza soon." The kid gave him a slight smile. "You okay?"
"I'm fine. Thinking. Panicking. The usual I guess."
"The first thought through my head was 'oh, shit, I'm a daddy, no more women'," Tony quipped. Xander giggled and punched him on the arm. "You'll work it out with Horatio." He smiled as the rock demon baby was brought over being fussy. Xander took him and he quieted down for him. "Thanks, Miller."
"Welcome, DiNozzo. I didn't figure any of us could."
Xander looked at him. "Don't worry about them, Graham. We'll handle them." He nodded and headed off again. He looked at the baby then at Tony. "They called them all hostiles," he said quietly. "I doubt they'd want to."
"Probably not." He shifted closer. "Is he as heavy as he looks?"
"Yup, sure is." He smiled at the baby. "You're a precious thing anyway, little one. You're loved and wanted." His phone rang and he let Tony dig it out for him since his hands were full.
"Xander's phone," Tony answered. "He's busy holding a baby. Who's this?" He looked at him. "Wesley?"
Xander took the phone, cradling it between his neck and shoulder. "Hey, Wes. What's up? Willow did a pickup of the blood already?" He smiled. "Who's the mom?" He nearly dropped the phone and the baby. "Scuse me? Repete, por favor?" he asked. Wesley repeated the information again, still calmly. "Uh-huh. And...." He just nodded. "Well, we have Spike, you guys have her sire. What's going to happen?" He nodded. "He's a happy baby. Loving, gentle, giving me looks like I'm God at the moment. I am." He smiled. "You'd have to talk to Gibbs about that, Wes. Make a decision and call me back. I can put you on with him. Thanks." He hung up and looked over. "Gibbs?" He came back, squatting down. "We found this one's mom and it's not going to be a happy thing." Gibbs nodded once. "Did Tony tell you about Spike?"
"He called freaking out about Spike. Why?"
"Well, this one's Mommy was Spike's lover and sire. Her name was Dru and she was battier than Batman. Talked to the stars batty." Gibbs moaned. "The group in LA is talking about it since her sire's there, we have Spike in Sunnydale, and they can argue about it. I told them to figure it out and let me know so I could put them on with you."
"That'll work. The other one?"
"Their mother's eyes," he said quietly. "The daddy was Ethan Rayne. I'm not sure but I had Giles get a message back to him since they knew each other way back when."
Gibbs nodded. "That'll work. Thanks, Kid. Let me know when you hear."
"Of course. If you're not nearby I'll put them on with Tony." That got a nod and Gibbs stood up, walking off. Xander looked at the baby. "Did you just pee on me?" he asked with a smile. "Well, we should fix that, huh?" He got up and found the changing area, staring at the diapers. One of the guards handed him one and the box of wipes. "Thanks, man. Never done this before." He studied the current diaper, then the clean one, then got to work changing it.
"Tighter," the guard ordered. Xander made the waist tighter. "That'll do it." Xander beamed at him. "Good first changing job. I got anointed mine. Boys do that to you." He walked off, letting Xander sit down with the baby again. It'd be okay and most of the parents had sense.
Xander looked up as Eric and Horatio found him later that night. "Hey, guys." He went back to watching the traffic from the lounge. "What's up?"
"I talked to my mother, who is throwing a loud fit," Eric said, sitting across from him. "She wants custody."
Xander looked at him. "As long as I get at least visitation."
Eric nodded. "Momma said you could have her half the time, Xander. That's not a problem. She did say you'd be overloaded with the others and that'd make it easier on you and us. More of us to fly than to send her to you."
Xander grinned. "That'll work." He wrote down a town. "I'm moving there. Willow found it for me earlier and Giles is in negotiations." Eric beamed. "How far away would that be?"
"About six, seven hours of driving," Horatio said quietly. He looked at him. "I'd like majority custody as well, Xander."
Xander looked at him. "I looked you up."
"A wise precaution."
"Are you going to quit getting shot at, blown up, and have people quit trying to gun you down?" Horatio gave him a stunned look. "I know why you do your job, Horatio. It's the same reason I did mine before I quit. I'll gladly split custody with you but I don't want him in danger. He's my only son too."
Horatio considered it then nodded slowly. "I can foresee a problem coming but I think we can work it out. I have a very nice house."
"I'll have a farm."
Horatio looked at him. "We'll work it out tomorrow?" Xander nodded. "I'll consider that point."
"Please do. I don't want my kid blown up if someone decides to get smart and plant one on your hummer while you're asleep some night. Gang kids aren't that dumb and it'll be something someone thinks of someday."
"Where's Sunnydale?" Eric asked.
Xander gave him a small grin. "Three hours outside LA."
"So you know gangs?"
"A bit. My town's dangerous, Eric. That's why I'm leaving it. Your town's dangerous too but you're not in command. Good commanders always get more notice to protect their people."
Eric nodded. "H does draw them."
"And I'd like for the baby to not draw them too."
"Which is a consideration," Eric agreed. "We'd be protecting the baby and Speed and his baby too."
Xander nodded. "I'd like to make sure of that."
"Of course. I understand why you're not fussing about me."
"You're not in command and you've talked about multiple sisters and your parents. If something comes for you, you have someone to hide the baby with."
"H can use my family for that," he promised. "He's got others in the department who'll help."
Xander nodded. "As long as we know that, then I'm not going to fight on getting good visitation."
Horatio nodded. "I can see that happening, Xander." He walked off, going to think. It was a valid point, but one he didn't like to think about.
Xander shrugged a bit. "Sorry but I don't want to attend that funeral," he said quietly.
"Neither do we. It won't happen." Xander stared at him. "It won't."
"Then you don't have a gang after your lab?"
"How did you hear about that?"
"Some of my crew have underground contacts. I told them who the other parents were and they did some research." He grinned. "Willow likes your mother. She said she sounded kind."
"She is. A bit loud but she'll be a good Nana to the baby."
Xander nodded. "Then I don't have a problem, Eric." Eric beamed. "How often do I get to see her?"
"Whenever you want. Give us some warning." Xander nodded. "Thanks, man."
Eric grinned and went to find Gibbs to work up an agreement for him to sign. He found him in the restaurant getting coffee. "Xander and I worked it out."
"Good. You're not the first. One signed over custody completely." He walked him back to the meeting area, sitting him down to go over the paperwork. He filled in the part that Eric told him, letting him read it. Eric nodded and took it to Xander, having him sign. They brought it back to Gibbs, who had it signed by someone else who was a notary. Then it got filed in the folder with the earlier one. "It'll go to the judge Monday." That got a nod and Eric left, going to get to know Xander better. It'd help Horatio when they worked out their agreement. Gibbs sipped his coffee, looking at Tony as he came in. "How're you doing?"
"I'm all right but I'm not sure if I can handle total custody, boss."
"Then don't. One's with Xander, one's with Taylor. They're both hyper protective of what's theirs."
"Point. I can't find them."
"Delko found Xander already. They worked out an agreement." Tony nodded, heading to find them. Gibbs took another drink, looking over as Daniel Jackson came in. "It took us ten people to finally get your boss."
"Hammond wasn't happy that you found me at all," he admitted, sitting down across from him. "I don't know if my project will let me keep the baby."
"You have another parent, Jackson."
"I know and it seems wrong."
"My parents died when I was young. I don't want my kid in the custody of someone else."
"Then move Kowalski closer to you and give him custody. You two can work out a living together arrangement or whatever. He's got full custody of his other one." He took another drink and put his cup down. "I can't do more than sit here and mediate."
"I know. I need to get in touch with my people and talk to someone. Do we have a secured line?"
"At the office. I can get you in there. It's video even."
"That'll work. Can I take McGee?"
"Go ahead. Watch out for my director."
Daniel smirked. "Our project is only heard about by certain members and the president, Gibbs. I outrank her." Gibbs snickered at that. "If I don't, I have an Air Force Colonel who does since he's second in command at the project." He stood up. "Thanks."
"Welcome. Bringing him?"
"Go ahead. Tell McGee you need to do that."
"Thank you." He walked off, finding McGee in the lobby talking with Stanley. "Hey." Stan smiled at him. "I've got to talk to someone to see what the regs say and to make sure I can have some time off at the moment. I was going to bring him with me if you don't mind."
"Nah, I don't mind," Stan said with a small grin. "He's yours too, Danny."
"Thanks, Stan. Agent McGee..."
"Tim or simply McGee is fine, Doctor Jackson. Gibbs barks it, so can you."
He smiled. "Thank you. He said I could use your secured communications equipment to call my project once we have the baby?"
"If the boss said so. I'll make sure the Director's gone."
"I outrank her," Daniel told him simply. That got a gape. "I'm working out of Cheyenne."
"Good enough." He nodded at Stan. "Want to bring the other back?"
"I don't see why not." He led them out to his car, taking them there. Once there they found their kids by the ID bracelets, just to make sure there wasn't a mixup, then Stan got brought back to the hotel by one of the guards since the vans had safety seats in them. He took one for his car and took Daniel to NCIS, walking him inside once his pass had gotten them past security. He walked him off the elevator. "This is the mezzanine level. Down there's the pods for the various teams," he said. "This is MTAC."
"Are we giving tours now?" the director asked from her office doorway.
Daniel looked at her. "I need to call my project on a secured line, Director."
"Doctor Daniel Jackson, attached to a special project out of Cheyenne Mountain." She shuddered. "I need to call to get more time off and to talk to my team. Agent Gibbs said I could use your secure lines."
"Go ahead. Clear MTAC, McGee, and use it yourself." She slammed her door. She had heard not to mess with him if he showed up. The president himself had warned her.
McGee grinned. "Someone laid down a heavy-handed law," he muttered, getting a nod and a smile. He got them into MTAC. "I need MTAC cleared please? We're putting through a secure call to Cheyenne Mountain." Everyone walked off, one stopping to smile at the baby and Daniel. McGee sat down at a console to bring it up. "Headset is beside you, Danny."
"Thank you, McGee." He put it on, smiling at the picture that came up. "General Hammond, good evening."
"Doctor Jackson." He stared at the thing on his lap. "Is that what I think it is?"
Daniel nodded. "Yes, General. There was a group called the Initiative..."
Hammond held up a hand. "I heard. They were creating children as well?" Daniel nodded. "Are they a clone?"
"No, this isn't the mini-Daniel," he promised with a smile. "His other father is a cop out of Chicago. We're trying to figure out a preliminary custody agreement at the moment. So I need some time off to go to Chicago and to get to know him, plus possibly to move if Stan can't keep him too. He's got another son as well thanks to the same people."
Hammond nodded. "I can give you up to a month. Any longer than that and O'Neill will be driving everyone insane. You guys need the downtime anyway. Where are you?"
"NCIS. One of the people in Sunnydale, a Mr. Harris, found out that they were making babies and told one of the fathers who works here on Gibbs' team."
"Which is why Gibbs and I had to talk," he finished. Daniel nodded. "All right. Want to talk to them?"
"If I could, sir. Better to let Jack get the screaming out of the way now instead of later."
"Good point." He grimaced, looking at him. "What's his name?"
"His name ... originally it was Wyatt. I'm not sure if we're keeping it or not. Stanley doesn't like it. He's only four months old."
Hammond smiled. "They're precious at that age, even if they do get colic. Anything else I should know?"
"NCIS might need help finding the missing embryos Mr. Harris thinks they have stored. I'm not sure if any more are mine or not."
"Agreed," he told him. "I'll give them whatever help they need. Who's running the equipment?"
"Special Agent McGee. He's on Gibbs' team and has been helping do the research end. Their lab tech, a Miss Scuito, did all the DNA work locally."
Hammond nodded. "The DC branch is known for Gibbs' team and her lab work. It'll be fine. Let me transfer you to the meeting area and gather the others." He hit a button on his phone. "Gather SG-1 in the briefing room ASAP. Tell them Doctor Jackson is calling from DC." He waved. "Call soon, Daniel. That way we know what's going on."
"I will. Especially once we've decided custody." That got a nod and they were switched over to a meeting room. He smiled at the women walking in together. "Janet. Sam."
"Oh my god," the blonde woman of the two said, staring at him. "Is that a baby?"
Daniel grinned and nodded. "He's four months old."
"Is he a clone?" Janet, the doctor of the two and a redhead asked.
Daniel shook his head. "No, there was a project called the Initiative. Janet, I'd like to have them send you some of the research so our people can make sure they weren't trying any modification on the babies please. We know they did it to their own soldiers. I'm doubting someone bright didn't think to try the kids."
She nodded. "I can look it over. Where are you?"
"NCIS, DC. They've been very helpful. Don't get pushy with their lab tech please."
"I'll let Abby know," McGee said, leaving them alone. "Push the blue button to end the call," he said before the door shut. He used the phone in the hall to call down there.
Daniel shifted. "Can you see him all right?"
"I can see him perfectly," Sam cooed. "He's adorable."
"He is," Daniel agreed. "His other father is out of the Chicago PD. We're deciding custody at the moment."
"With what we do," Sam started.
"I know. We'll figure it out, Sam. I was very honest that I don't get off base often." Teal'c walked in and he nodded. "Hey, Teal'c."
"DanielJackson, is that what I think it is?"
"It is but it's not a clone."
"Thankfully. That might be a very scary child," the big alien said. "How did he come into being?"
"A special project somehow got some of my DNA and decided to make him for me." Their friend and team leader walked in. "Hey, Jack."
"Danny..... Tell me that's a clone?" He didn't want to beg but this probably called for a bit of groveling with God if that was Daniel's clone.
"Nope. There's a former group called the Initiative...."
Jack held up a hand. "I saw the briefing paperwork when a few got transferred in. Then got transferred back out to unscrew them. They made him?"
"They made him from me and a detective out of Chicago's department. So I'm taking some time off."
Jack stared at the baby. "He's cute."
"He's got a strong grip too. Didn't want to let go of my glasses earlier." He gave him a gentle smile. "I'm taking some time off. We're still working on custody and those things."
Jack nodded slowly. "Two weeks?"
"A month?" He looked a bit upset at that.
"Jack, it's my four-month-old son," Daniel growled.
"Okay then." He just nodded. "You'll be where?"
"Probably Chicago for at least the first few weeks. Stan's got another son thanks to the program." That got another nod. "They took one of the donors and gave him four, Jack. I was considered a higher functioning being so they wanted a specific one from me. I'm having Janet look over the files to see if they did any other tampering."
"Good to know," Jack agreed. "What's his name?"
"They named him Wyatt. We're not sure if we're renaming him or not."
"That's cool," Jack said.
Daniel looked at the baby. "Did you pee on me?" he cooed. He could feel where it was seeping onto his leg.
"Fercryin'outloud, he's cooing," Jack muttered.
Janet punched him on the arm. "I'm sure you did too, Jack." She smiled. "You should change him. Can we come visit?"
"If Hammond will let you off or I can talk Stan into letting me bring him to Colorado." That got a nod and a smile. "We're figuring that stuff out soon. Stan's a nice guy. He works in Major Crimes and with Mounties."
Sam smiled. "Then I'm sure he'll be a polite baby." She waved. "You're going to be so spoiled. You're the only baby around here, Wyatt." The baby smirked at her. "Are you sure he's not Jack's too? That smirk looks familiar."
Jack pinched her. "Shuddup." He looked at Daniel. "A full month?" Daniel nodded. "Fine. Let us know when you're back in town so the ladies can go gooey over the baby and we can throw him a welcoming party."
"Let's try not to get invaded for the entertainment," Janet said dryly.
Teal'c looked at her. "I do not think a System Lord would like his son enough to show up and be entertaining," he said seriously.
Jack looked at him. "It was a joke, Teal'c." He looked at Daniel again. "We'll try not to schedule an invasion that day."
"Thanks. I'm sure Stan would appreciate that." He smiled. "What do I tell Stan, Jack?"
"I'll have Hammond clear him," he said. "What does he know so far?"
"Special project, Cheyenne Mountain."
"That'll work for now. I'll have Hammond start the paperwork. Be careful with him. He's damn tiny, Danny."
"I am. He's a good boy so far." He smiled and got up, turning off the call. He looked at his son. "You're going to be so spoiled by Sam. She has no idea what to do with you so she'll overcompensate. She'll be teaching you physics before you're five if I know her." He put down the headset and walked out, finding McGee in the hallway with the lab tech from earlier. "I hope you don't mind...."
She snorted and took the baby to cuddle. "Of course I don't. Not with some of the stuff we've heard came out of your program, Doctor Jackson. It's better to be safe than sorry." She smiled at him. "Clones?"
"None of mine," he said dryly. "Classified otherwise."
"That's still kinda cool." She patted the baby, cooing at him when he started to fuss. "Is someone messy?"
Daniel nodded. "He is. Did we have diapers?"
"I have some in the lab," Abby said cheerfully. "Since I had to bring them in to draw blood we kept a few just in case." She led them down to her lab, handing him one and some wipes. "There you go. Go use the morgue or the bathroom." McGee led him off to the bathroom while she got the files bundled together and ready. He came back with the baby. "Type in an email. I've scanned it all in and zipped the file."
Daniel handed her the baby carefully then typed in the email and the passcode to let it through the filters. Plus a personal message. Abby took a picture of the baby and attached it as well, earning a smile. "Thanks."
"Friends will want to see pictures." He nodded and sent it then let her have the keyboard back. "There you go, studly. You go home with the daddy and be a good boy for him." The baby yawned and made a grab for a pigtail, letting her hand it to him. He tugged gently then let it go and stared at the man holding him.
"I'll bring you back to the hotel, Daniel," McGee said quietly. "You can keep him tonight if you want."
"Thanks." He smiled at her then walked out with him. "Poor Xander's going to go insane with four."
"He'll do fine," McGee assured him. "From what we've seen, he's a strong guy and he can handle it." He took them back to the hotel, letting Daniel request the crib on his own, going to report to his boss. "Gibbs?" He looked up. "He called, Abby sent the research to Doctor Jackson's people since they have a geneticist on staff, and he's got Wyatt back here with him. I left after the second question about him being a clone. Abby said they do some strange things out there."
"I decided long ago I didn't want to know what special projects were doing unless it was something wrong. They're usually doing something strange." He smirked at him. "The Director?"
"Got out of the way once she heard who he was. Apparently someone told her to give him every courtesy. He said his project has presidential oversight."
Gibbs just nodded. "Sounds like it. Thank you." McGee nodded and left. He went back to looking over the agreements they already had. A few more had worked it out already. Some were going to take a lot longer. Including Caine since he was stomping that way. "You piss off the kid again?"
"I want to know who he is. He did a background on me."
Gibbs looked at him. "We can't find out who he is. All we know is he knows weapons, he's dangerous if he's hyped on chocolate, and the Initiative hated him."
"How did they know about him?"
"Remember the dark-haired soldier?" Horatio nodded slowly. "He was a team leader on one of their hunt and extraction teams. He was dating one of Harris' best friends. She was under investigation by the same people once they found out what she could do." Horatio swallowed. "He was also one of the people that defended his town before they got there and after they got there. Including protecting those who needed it from these same folks. They took in one of the escaped supposed-hostiles and made him part of their team."
Horatio sighed. "I'd like more to go on. He doesn't seem very friendly to me."
"I think it's more the frustration and anger you're sending at him," Tony said from behind him. "He warned you not to back him into a corner. You did." He shrugged and handed over a few papers. "Mac Taylor and I worked ours out, boss."
He looked at them. "Going to give Xander and Taylor primary custody?"
"Boss, with Ari barely being gone and our hours? The kid wouldn't see me three days out of every week. I can visit and they both agreed I could call or pop around whenever I could. All I had to do was ask. Flack's kid with Xander is still pending. Don wants to talk to his parents first. He's decided he'll be helping Taylor with his other one but Taylor decided he wanted custody since he had the bigger apartment and higher salary."
Gibbs nodded and put them in the stack to be signed later. "That'll work. Georgia is a long commute from New York City."
"Which is what Flack was thinking but he's also thinking his parents are going to be yelling loud enough that we'll be hearing them the normal way."
"It's possible. Thanks, DiNozzo. You hung with Xander. Can you explain him to Horatio?"
"Why doesn't he ask Finn? They were clearly watching the group if they knew not to give Xander too much chocolate."
"That's a good idea, thank you, Tony," Horatio said, walking off. He found him in the hotel bar. Those two had been moved back with Speed, who was in Eric's room with him. He sat down next to him. "I want to talk to you."
Riley looked at him. "If I had any idea, I'd have told the group and they would've stopped it sooner," he said quietly.
"I know that. I need hints on how to talk to Xander."
Riley finished his beer and looked at him. "He's not that hard to get along with. He's actually a very nice guy. Very patient. He put up with my ex and his ex; that about makes him a saint in patience."
"He's not being agreeable."
"He's also very stubborn," Riley agreed. "He's the only one we've ever seen out-stubborn Rosenburg when she's got her resolve face on." He smiled and took his new beer over to a table. Horatio followed. "We were there starting the team's junior year, Caine. What do you want to know?"
"What's he like?"
"Xander's every bit someone who'll do what's necessary. He's also someone who cares about the outcome." He took a drink. "We've seen him be so angry that he nearly destroyed people." His phone chirped so he looked at the text message. "Sorry, got that wrong. Willow said he didn't have anything to do with that bomb. He was stopping the person who laid it. She's not sure of more than that." He looked at him again once his phone was up. "Rosenburg."
"Is she bugging you?"
"Willow's a witch, Horatio. She can do all sorts of fantastic things and get away with it. There's no telling what sort of trace she has on me for Buffy." He took a drink and put his beer down. "Xander's a very stable young man. For all that he's young, he knows what he wants, what he's doing, and he's pretty good at planning. The graduation battle was his plan." He stared at the shocked looking older man. "He's not the average twenty-one- year-old. We're not sure *why* he's not but he's been working with Buffy since before we got there." His phone chirped again so he put it on the table. "Hmm, tenth grade. So probably late fifteen, early sixteen." He looked at him again. "Fighting the same things my team was capturing to figure out. Taking out those things that hurt others almost every single night with two other girls and a librarian behind him."
"He doesn't seem to like me."
"You made him go into crisis mode with your 'do you work' comment this morning. Willow said so." Horatio shook his head. "If you're around Xander you might as well get to know Buffy, Willow, and Giles. I doubt they won't be there at times."
"I'd like primary custody."
"He said he wasn't against it as long as he had visitation."
"He also told me my life was dangerous and why."
"Was he right?" Horatio grimaced but hummed and nodded. "Yeah, we couldn't figure out how he did that either. It's like he was a tag-along, a goofy kid, and then suddenly he was there at the right moment in time, with what you needed, and was the force that you smashed the enemy against. Then he went back to being the goofy tag-along again that the girls sometimes seemed to ignore or not appreciate. We never did figure out how he did it. It creeped me out a number of times. That and he can be the king of sarcasm when he wants to be."
"Did you fight against him or with him?"
"Both. Eventually I saw what they were doing was wrong and I turned to help Buffy. Who I was dating at the time." He took another drink of his beer. "I don't know what I can tell you. Xander's very easy to like. I went in with every intention of turning Buffy to our side and taking her in so my people could see what made her so special. Xander kind of makes you like him somehow. Even with him distrusting me, somehow knowing I was there to cause the group problems from the start, and knowing what we were doing, he still made me like him for some reason. Like hos...Spike, he proved his worth time and again, even when the girls weren't watching. I have no idea how he does it but he does it to you and wiggles his way into your soul until you have to like him."
"They're not close?"
"Now and then they take these moods where they ignore him. For whatever reason it comes and it goes. Xander's a lot more patient. I would've found new friends." He stared at him. "He's also got a very ...unique sense of fashion. Before he started his construction job he couldn't keep one over a month thanks to the nightly hunting we all did." Horatio nodded slightly at that. "He likes construction work. He's good at it too. He found his niche basically." He took another drink. "I learned the hard way it never pays to discount Xander. Buffy was facing something huge that would've destroyed everyone. Xander somehow managed to get her artillery. They used it in a mall to solve the problem. It worked. Xander's about the end result and about being safe most of the time. He's got a baseline of need that he lives on. Anya kept trying to push that up but she never really succeeded. Or in replacing his ugly, loud shirts."
"His ex. I'm not sure where she is."
"He said he got dumped," Horatio admitted, considering it. "An abuse case?"
"He was. His parents aren't particularly pleasant. He won't be like them. I've seen him hit a normal father who was picking on his kid in the mall. Just hauled off and socked him one. Middle of the food court. The cops came. Arrested the father for beating his kid with a belt. Told Xander to go away. Sunnydale likes to ignore him. A lot."
"This bomb incident...."
"Just before we got there to watch the group. I wasn't part of that duty. We had advance scouts for that." Horatio nodded. "All we know is that someone tried to bomb the school. Somehow Xander was involved and apparently he stopped them. I can ask."
"No, I can ask him."
"That's usually the best idea," Riley agreed. "I never really *talked* to Xander. We were a bit hostile to each other because somehow he knew I was there to break the team up so we could have Buffy. He never forgave me for trying to break the team apart or paying Spike to help me. I can only advise you to make him calm down before you go back into a serious discussion. You put him into crisis and stubborn mode both, Lieutenant. That's the sort of thing he usually has to save the world with. Get him calmed down and talking with you. Be calm yourself. The more upset you are, the more he'll read it. He reads body language very well. I've seen Xander pick the single vampire out of the group of walking people and be right. Then I've seen him stake them and walk off like it was nothing because he had to. He's as much a combat veteran as I am and Graham is and all the others are."
"And I put him in the wrong frame of mind," Horatio finished. Riley nodded. "Anything else I should know?"
"He loves chocolate but he bounces horribly on it. Getting him hyper will make him happy and probably destroy the hotel." He smirked. "Where is he moving to? I doubt Buffy wants to change diapers. Or Anya."
"Georgia. Somewhere his friend Willow found that he said was rated safe for Wiccans."
"That means that they accept some strange stuff but nothing horribly strange, it's a safe and tolerant community, and he won't have to fight anymore."
Horatio nodded. "Thank you."
"Welcome. Think tonight, go to him tomorrow. If I know Xander, he's in the gym right about now working out some stress."
"Because he thinks you were being snide and putting him down earlier. He was trying very hard not to snark at you at the warehouse. He managed it, I'm impressed." He finished that beer. "Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to rescue Graham. He's demon sitting."
Horatio shook his head. "They're not."
"They are. One's already tried to pull the tv on his head. The other decided to try to drown himself in the shower. Both nearly succeeded." He paid his tab and walked out, taking his phone up to his room. He walked in and found both kids sacked out in their cribs. "Thank God," he muttered, closing the door quietly. "Caine stopped me to ask how to deal with Harris."
"Give him chocolate, get him in a good mood, then come back to it?" Graham suggested. "What happened anyway?"
"Caine's got alpha-dog syndrome. You know Harris won't let anyone alpha-dog him. I tried, look what happened." Graham shuddered but nodded. "Are they staying asleep?"
"I hope so. This is tougher than boot camp."
Riley nodded, flopping down on his bed. "They are. My parents are going to freak."
"I don't have to worry about that," Graham reminded him.
"Wonder what Jackson's bosses are doing?"
"Nope. Wondering about him makes visits from the NID happen again. I don't want to see them again. Ever again." He shook his head. "Anyway. What about the two baby hostiles?"
"I think Harris was going to arrange it or take them in. Someone's got to." Graham nodded. "He and Anya broke up."
"She's a fine woman but I don't make the money she wants a boyfriend to make."
"Willow was listening in."
"Interesting. Not surprising. Anything else?"
"Yeah, Harris stopped the person with the bomb. She said so."
"Very interesting. Think he'll get to blow up the base?"
"Probably. He'll have to go back to pack and stuff. Who knows, maybe it'll slow down some of the problems out there if the college would close. Less people for the vampires to eat."
"Yeah, might be nice. Then Buffy could go back to being a normal girl."
Riley gave him an odd look. "I doubt it. She's too happy with the job. Lets her work out her PMS." That got a nod and they both winced when one of the babies started to fuss. "No, sleep," Riley commanded. The baby fussed louder. He sighed and got up to make the baby sleep somehow.
Four hours later he called Harris since he seemed to have the touch. Xander came over in his jammies and looked at the babies. "Were they mean and thinking you're soldiers already?" he teased, taking one to hold and cuddle. "Shhh, that's all right. We'll teach the daddies that commanding babies only makes them angry. Yes we will." He walked the baby a few times and he calmed down, letting him put him down. He took the other one and did the same thing, making him fall asleep on his shoulder. He carefully put him down and looked at the two men. "They're not adults, they don't understand more than the tone of your voice, guys. Think of them like puppies. They have to be trained to accept orders and it's going to be *years* before they get there. Like eight, nine more. They need firm, gentle, loving speech so they feel loved and comforted. Less annoyance, more cuddlesome. Think like Willow or Tara and you'll do fine." He left, going back to his room. He found Daniel walking his son in the hallway. "Fussy?"
"Just ate. Calming down," he said quietly. "Them?"
"Ah." He nodded, smiling some. "Doesn't seem to work with kids." He looked at the baby, then smiled. "You're asleep. I love you. Night, Xander."
"If you need help, I'm in Georgia, Danny." That got a smile and a nod. "I'll let you write letters to brag and talk about what happened. Not like I haven't seen it all." He went to his room, laying down again. This was probably his last night free of the little ones so he needed to get a lot of good rest. From what he knew, he wouldn't be getting any for a while once he got the kids.
Gibbs looked at the gathered people the next morning. "All but five of the kids have agreements in place, guys. Can we work on them today?" They all nodded. "Thank you. Also, Harris, Rayne did call. He doesn't think he can handle her."
"I know what she is; if her mother's people can't, I can and will," he agreed. "The other one?"
"Your friend Wesley called DiNozzo directly at two to talk. They think they want the baby. We're going to let them see him in a few days." Xander nodded. "Are they safe?"
"Depends on the week, the same as it did in Sunnydale, Gibbs. They've got hell's lawyers on their tails now and then. They've got plans in place if not." That got another nod. "I'll cede to them if they want."
"Thank you." He looked around again, then back at him. "Flack? Any discussion with your parents?"
"My mother's still throwing fits and demands that I get custody but Xander can have all the visitation he wants."
Xander looked down. "Long commute, Don."
"I know, but she's fussy that way."
"I wouldn't care," Mac told him. "You and both of them can move in with me, Don. It'll make things easier on all of us."
Don smiled. "Thanks, Mac. We'll figure that out soon." That got a nod. "Xander?"
"That'll be fine as long as I get to see her."
"Thanks, Xander." Gibbs handed over an agreement with their names on it, letting them fill it out. He signed it, Xander signed it, then they handed it back. "That all of yours?"
"For now. Horatio and I will probably end up talking in private later."
Horatio nodded. "I think it'd be best."
"As long as you work it out today," Gibbs told them. "The rest of you as well." They all nodded. "Now we have the government's representative here to threaten you." He looked around. "My director was a field agent. Now she's political."
"In other words, don't worry, she and reality sometimes don't have a happy relationship?" Xander asked.
"Now and then," Tony agreed dryly.
"You're welcome to come to Georgia too, Tony," Xander quipped.
"Thanks, Xander. Then we'll really look like the Weasleys." A few snickered at that. "We will!"
Xander nodded. "We will."
Gibbs opened the door, letting the director in her power suit in. He sat down once the door was locked again. "Go ahead."
"Gentlemen, I'm here to ask you to not say anything about this closed, sealed matter," she announced, putting her briefcase down. "We don't want the press to lose faith in the government or the military. We would like you all to sign hush agreements saying you will not divulge the children to anyone."
Don Flack snorted. "Lady, some of us do work. Most of us do work. We have to tell our bosses because most of us will have to take time off to get the things the kids need and some of us will have ta move. If we don't tell them we suddenly have kids, we can't do that." She gaped.
Xander nodded. "That's also not even bringing up the point of we'll have to tell our friends we have kids. Plus the daycares they'll be going to. If they're friends they'll want to see the baby and their pictures," he said at the horrified look. He leaned forward. "Politely, fuck off, lady. The kids are ours now. The military police dealt with the people who created them. Those who're working at the moment can't get that nifty family leave time if they don't talk about their kids. They're going to have to. If they want to make up a cover story about how they came to be, that's up to them. Remember, most of them are military or officers. I'm pretty sure their bosses already know the system fucks up now and then."
"If you talk about how the children came to be, we won't allow you any government support," she said coolly.
"Uh-huh. That's a state issue, not a federal issue. If those of us who need government support, which would basically be me for their health insurance at first, need it, that's up to the state, not the Feds." He stared at her. "You've obviously never dealt with smart people before so let me put it to you simply. I can dance down the street proclaiming that I have a son without divulging how he came to be. But you've already got leaks. It was in the Post this morning." She blanched. "The trials got notice and so did the raid on a few bases. So, politely, go leap. Those in the military can handle it themselves. Again, their people already know that sometimes the system creates quacks with bright ideas," he finished dryly. "I already knew that. My town's drawn them and their project. Why do you think we stopped it? Them, NID, the few freako-torturing bastards from Area 51 who came one night. They *all* hate me." She backed away from him. "Now, scoot. Please. You're giving me a headache and I still have to deal with the last father of my child." She fled. "Thank you for your cooperation!" he called after her, smiling and waving. He looked at Gibbs, who was looking stunned, then at Tony, who was snickering. "Sorry, not enough caffeine." He got up and got some coffee. "Anyone else want some while I'm up? It's been a while since I was a waiter but I still remember the basics."
"I could use some coffee, thanks," Daniel said with a small smile. "Xander, want to join the military?"
"Hell no. They'd hate me and I'd warp people horribly when they tried to fix me." He handed him a cup of coffee and took Gibbs' cup to pop the top and refill for him then hand back. He sat down with his own. "Besides, Willow likes you guys and your project. She thinks she wants to join. She'd be great at the long-distance one you've got at the moment. Something about horses and the probability factor being higher and stranger than Sunnydale? Plus, hey, experience with that sort of issue," he finished with a smile. "Buffy might too if you promised she could hit on the hot guys." He took a sip of his coffee while Riley choked and Graham spluttered.
Daniel wiped his stunned look. "I'll suggest Jack go recruiting," he said with a grin. "Thanks."
"Welcome. I'm looking forward to a normal, semi-boring life with the kids causing most of the chaos in it. It'll be nice not to have to hunt again unless I'm hungry." He grinned. "What is the official background on me?"
"Likes weapons, don't annoy, don't give too much chocolate, he gets worse, be cautious because he can cause plans to suddenly change or improbable ones to work," Danny told him.
Xander nodded. "Sounds like someone watched us." He looked at Riley.
"For over a year, it wasn't our job. We had advance scouts."
"Charming. By the way, the zombie planted the bomb. I stopped him. The girls found out about a week later when someone realized that the bomb was still there and the principal had fingerprints tested. Jack's fingerprints were on the trigger wire and they got the whole story out of me. She was not amused. Buffy cried." He sipped again, looking smug. "Anything else you want to know, ask."
"I can do that," he agreed, looking away. He looked at Gibbs. "What about Graham and I? We were up for reassignment. I was on a UN hunting team but it's not like I can do that now."
"We're having you reassigned locally during the trials and then we'll see," Gibbs told him. That got a nod from them both.
"Xander, drink more coffee," Tony ordered. Xander drank some more, making him smile. "Thanks." The director came back. "Ma'am."
"Director," Gibbs said.
"Fine, we've agreed that no one will divulge the methodology or the project that got the kids made," she announced. Gibbs shut the door. "Can we agree on that?" Everyone shook their heads. "Why not?"
"Because I want my bosses warned if they come back for 'em," Don told her simply.
"Mine already know," Danny told her. "Hammond got briefed when a few got transferred in then transferred out again for treatment from their manipulations." He looked at Xander. "As far as our geneticists can tell, they did not tamper with the baby's genetic sequence." Xander smiled at that. "But yours have a marker we'd like to study."
"Fuck. No," Xander said. "I don't want to be a lab rat. Thanks anyway. Had enough of that being under Riley's people for a while."
"We only want a bit of blood, Xander. Nothing else."
"We'll see. Come see me in a year."
"We can do that." He looked at the director again. "To be realistic, half of us have already told our people that the children got mixed in a dish and implanted. We had to tell them something about why we're taking leave time." Mac nodded. "The officers' departments have a high concentration of former military people. They'd understand that the military sometimes has people with ideas that are simply wrong. We might agree not to out it in the press, but as Xander pointed out it was in the Washington Post this morning and the New York Times." She moaned. "Your bosses want to save the public perception that the military is good, we all agree that's a good idea. That's why we all assured the bosses we've already told that they were stopped and we're hoping we won't be called back for any trials that are upcoming." He looked at Xander. "Have you been called?"
"Willow was twice. They were going to call me in one but didn't need me apparently." He leaned back, looking at her. "Ma'am, you're not even military. Gibbs is, I accept that he's going to ask us to not go on Oprah about this. If he asks nicely I might even agree. Of course, it would mean the kids had a secure future and college funds but I'm sure I can work like I used to." She gaped at him. He stared her down. "I'm retiring," he said with a sweet smile. "Next time a special ops group goes to Sunnydale, they can handle it without me. Gibbs, can I blow up the base finally?"
"Fine, kid. Blow up the base. Don't cause any further property damage."
"Yes, Gibbs," he sighed. "I'll try not to sink the campus." He looked at her again, then smiled sweetly. She shuddered and backed away from him. "Now, any other demands? If not, I've got to talk to the person who's securing a house for me and my children to live in and then go home and pack." He looked at Gibbs, then at the fathers. "Do you guys want them first since Sunnydale's so dangerous?"
"Please," Eric agreed. Xander nodded at that. "Won't your friends mind?"
"They'll come see them once I'm settled. They'll probably even help me move. That way I can move the excess weapons that they won't be needing." Riley gave him a horrified look. "What? Sometimes you have to have a gun. Though your base did leave a few taser guns and things. Very nice. Thank you." He grinned sweetly. "Buffy said thank you too. It was better than a sundae last week. Target practice on the biker demons was good for her."
Graham nodded. "Sure, kid. That works for us. How many?"
"I've got the list at home. I'll fax it to Gibbs." That got a nod. "Nothing too big. Wouldn't work in Sunnydale anyway." He looked at the director again. "So, what were they going to give us to shut up?"
"Free medical checks to make sure they're healthy and no later tampering occurred."
"I think my people can handle that," Daniel told her. She shuddered. "Anything else?" She shook her head and walked out. He smirked at Xander. "Feel better?"
"Yes, I hate cranky women. I see enough of them daily. I used to date one." Riley shuddered. "She broke out in tears with 'I can't be a mother, it'll take all the money' and fled. Willow had to protect my stuff from her."
"We can help you move," Graham offered.
"Why? Buffy moves sofas better than a whole team of Marines," Xander quipped. "Plus Willow cleans *really* well. And Tara will make cookies for the trip," he finished with a grin.
"Have more coffee, Xander."
"Too much caffeine is as bad as too much chocolate," Riley protested.
"She'll come back again," Tony told him smugly.
"Hopefully she comes with hush money this time," Xander quipped back. "I could use a new car. And probably house improvements." He batted his lashes. "Sometimes Anya has a point. She told me to hold out for millions if I could. I told her we couldn't. The government was too broke."
"She pout?" Tony asked.
"Still is," Xander agreed. "Tara told me that at my morning briefing." That got a head shake but a smile from Tony. "Just think, you were only out there for two days, Tony. I've known Willow since the first day of school."
Gibbs shuddered. "Her background check is a lot more comprehensive."
Riley gave him a horrified look. "Not really. We struck out half of what they had."
Xander nodded. "She got half of what was left. She didn't like being called a pouty new- age freak with powers." He finished his coffee and smiled. Everyone gaped at him. "She's a hacker. Of course she found her files. And mine. I figured they would've added more than that by now."
"We couldn't figure you out," Riley complained.
"It's not like I'm Algebra, Riley. I'm not that hard to get to know," Xander quipped back, giving him a look. "You never looked." The director came back. "My ex wants me to hold out for money. Should I tell her to come talk to you?" She glared at him. He grinned. "She's like that."
"We'll give you all the equivalent amount to what Agents Finn and Miller are getting," she announced. "Plus state-sponsored health care if you need it, Mr. Harris."
"Only for a few months. Until I can find a new job."
"Fine. Would that suit you? You won't out the cause of the conception in the press? You won't discuss it in mass groupings outside those here? Only telling those who need to know?" They all nodded. They'd be doing that anyway. "Thank you. Make sure Agent Gibbs has your addresses." She handed over paperwork. "Sign it or don't get it," she told Xander, then stomped off again.
"Gibbs, can I have her eaten?" Tony asked.
"No, DiNozzo. The next one might be worse."
"We can suggest they appoint Abby, boss."
Gibbs looked over then smacked him on the head. "I don't need that thought."
Xander read it over. "We need snippage. It says we won't tell anyone."
Gibbs looked then took it to hand to McGee. "Reformat and retype that so it's reasonable." He nodded, sitting down to fix that from his corner seat.
"McGee, if no one mentioned it, I liked the presentation," Xander told him. "Very nicely done and laid out, with enough information given on the screens so Gibbs could run it and not have to say anything." That got a smile and a nod of thanks then he went back to it. The new copy was what they had agreed to so Xander signed it and handed it to Gibbs. "Let me get some twinkies and I'll be in my room, Horatio. Gibbs, do you want me to take the others with me or not?"
"Take them with you for now," he ordered. That got a nod. "We're hoping you can all take them home this week."
"We should be able to," Horatio said quietly. He got up to follow Xander once he had signed the non-disclosure agreement. "Xander."
"Let me get a twinkie and I'll meet you in my room, Horatio." He nodded, heading that way. Xander found what he wanted in the gift shop and paid for it then went up there. He let him inside, sitting on the foot of his bed. Horatio closed the door and sat in one of the chairs. "Did you make a decision?"
"I'd like for our son to not be in danger as well," he said calmly. Xander nodded. "I'm not so sure he won't be in just as much danger with you."
"I've given up hunting, Horatio. Or else I wouldn't be moving to Georgia." Horatio grimaced but nodded. "My house will be safe. You'll be more than welcome to come up or ask for visitation whenever you want. All you have to do is ask."
"I have a lot of people who would help me if I needed a night off. You'll be starting over."
"I make friends and I'm moving to a very small town. They'll all know within days." He ate a bite of his sponge cake goodness. "Want some?"
"No, thank you. You're not going to feed them...."
"They're kids, Horatio. They'll get them now and then but not live on junk food. I can cook."
"Good. I wasn't sure with the diet I've seen this weekend."
"I've been stressed. Of course I hit the junk food."
"Good point. I do the same now and then, though I choose white cheddar cheese popcorn." He shifted in his seat. "I'd still like primary custody, Xander. You would be more than welcome to visit when you come down to visit with your daughter by Eric."
"Horatio, think about it. I'm going to have custody of one of the halfie babies as well. Plus the others. Even if Eric's family gets pushy, he works long hours. You work long hours. Who's going to take care of the kids while you're working ten hour days?" Horatio grimaced. "I'm foreseeing Eric's daughter mostly coming back to me half the time. His parents have a lot to worry about without raising his daughter for him. He told me he works ten and twelve hour days. So did Tim."
"We can, but I can cut back."
"Until a victim needs you. We're both like that. That's why I'm moving. So nothing and no one can come near the kids or get between us." Horatio nodded at that. It was a good reason. "I'll be a few hours away and it's easier for you to drive up than me to pack everyone and drive down. I'll probably end up bringing my daughter back up too. That's beyond the fact that Miami's expensive to live in. I can't afford to live in both places."
"Good point." He considered it. "I could come up whenever or ask for custody whenever I wanted?" Xander nodded. "What if I wanted to keep him for a month?"
"Then I might call and nag."
Horatio smiled and nodded. "I can see that. Thank you, Xander."
"You're welcome. Eric and I had this talk too. He was easier to talk to." Horatio stood up. He put a hand on his arm. "Go easy on Tim, Horatio. He's got trauma to deal with outside of nearly dying and all that. He needs a friend, not a boss."
"I'm going to try." Xander let him go and he left, going to find Gibbs and write out the agreement. Gibbs looked at it then nodded at the reasonable thinking on it. "We talked."
"I find it's easier than when you've got their backs to the wall. Have him sign it too." Horatio took it back up there for Xander. He leaned back. That was the last of it. It was brought back and the notary signed it too. Gibbs gave it to McGee. "To Hollis for the judge." He nodded, taking it off. "DiNozzo, are you taking custody while he's in Sunnydale?"
"Yeah, boss. If we get a major case I'll let him know and hand her off." That got a nod. "I guess I need to do some shopping."
Eric handed over a list. "That's my mother's list for when she babysits. It should give you enough time to get a real crib if you plan on having a lot of custody."
Tony smiled. "Thanks, Eric."
"Not a problem." He handed out copies to the others. Danny smiled at it. "The full list is on the back. Momma approved it."
They all smiled and nodded, taking whichever list they needed to back up to their rooms to start planning on where to shop. Those who hadn't picked up their kids went to do that and bring them back. Phone numbers, emails, and other contact means were exchanged and then they left in groups, heading to whatever place they needed to go.
Danny Jackson looked around the small apartment Stan had, smiling at the turtle. "That's a nice pet."
"She's calm and here when I need her ta be," he agreed with a smile. "I've gotta move."
"Might be an idea, yeah," he agreed with a smile. "I don't mind helping out with some of the costs, Stan. I'm not going to abandon you."
"Thanks, Danny. Wanna go help me introduce them to the others?"
"I can do that if you want." He smiled and they headed out together, going to Stan's work. He had Wyatt, and Stan had Richard. The carseats they had gotten off Gibbs' people fit nicely in the back of the GTO. The precinct was an older stone building. Danny touched the doorframe. "This is nicer than most old buildings."
"It's the constant use," Stan quipped, leading him upstairs. Every cop they passed gave him horrified looks. "Butt out! You'll hear soon enough!" he called finally. "Nag Frannie later." He walked him up to the detective's squad room, earning a sudden silence when the baby cooed and some horrified looks. "Later, guys. Let me talk to Welsh first." He walked them in there, shutting the door. "Lieu."
"Kowalski. I see you brought them back."
"I have custody of Rich here fully and I'm splitting with Danny. This is Wyatt and his other Daddy."
Welsh shook his hand. "Welcome to the two-seven. You do what?"
"I work with the military on a special project out of Cheyenne Mountain. I'm an Anthropologist."
"Interesting." He stared at the babies. "We have paperwork. I called down to get it when you called."
"Thanks, Welsh." He sat down to fill them out. They had the files Gibbs had made in Danny's briefcase so it went faster. Someone finally knocked and walked in. He looked over. "Hey, Vecchio."
"Kowalski. Want to explain this?"
"Close the door." He did that. "Think your Ma would let me pay her to sit?"
"She does Maria. I don't see why not. Why is it necessary?"
Danny coughed. "All we can note is that someone did it for us, Detective. We found out Friday."
"So.... Someone did the DNA thing?" Vecchio asked. Stan nodded. "And now what?"
"I have full custody of Rich. Here, hold 'im while I finish this. He wants the pen." He handed the baby over. Vecchio's sister had three, he knew about babies. "I'm splitting with Danny since he's in Colorado but he'll live with me." He grinned. "That's Rich and the other is Wyatt."
"Did you name 'em?" Welsh asked. Danny shook his head. "Good to know." He took the completed forms and took the baby, handing them to Vecchio. "Get me copies and the birth certificates." Danny handed those over. "Thank you." He smiled at the baby. "Hi." The baby beamed at him and patted his chest. "How old?"
"Wyatt is four months," Danny told him. "Richard is just over a year. His birthday was a few weeks back."
"Good. They're adorable." He looked at Kowalski. "Unless it's an emergency, they don't come here again."
"Of course not. They might catch somethin' from someone." Vecchio came back with the paperwork, handing him the birth certificates. He put them back into the folders and sat back, taking Wyatt. "Here, let your other daddy rest," he ordered with a grin. Wyatt cooed and snuggled in. "Good boy, Wyatt."
Vecchio looked at him. "Ma'll want a real explanation."
"We signed non-disclosure statements, Detective," Danny told him.
"My mother's purebred Italian. She'll want a real reason." He looked at him. "Non- disclosure. Government?" Danny nodded. "They did the DNA thing?" They both nodded. "Crap."
"Basically," Stan agreed. "At least I only had two. One guy had four and took in one that they couldn't find the parents on. All under 2."
Ray shuddered. "Poor man."
"He's twenty-one," Danny told him. "He's still got the energy to follow them around."
Ray shuddered again. "That poor man. Parents?" Stan shook his head. "Friends at least?"
"He's moving to a small town in Georgia. His old one's too dangerous."
Ray walked off moaning. "I'll warn Ma you're both coming to dinner tonight."
Stan smiled at Danny. "See, not a big problem even if they do get loud."
Danny smiled. "Jack got loud too." He looked at Welsh, taking Richard back since he was falling asleep. "Here, nap on me, Rich," he said quietly, earning a content baby. "He'll need a few days off."
"One of those was his family leave paperwork, Doctor Jackson. He's got eleven weeks to move, find a nice spot, and talk Vecchio's mother into doing daycare." Stan smiled. "Not that she'll mind. She'll gush over those two. They're sweet and cute."
"They are but Rich has a wicked sense of timing," Stan told him. "Fusses when I'm trying to eat something." He looked at his sons. "You wanna make the announcement for us?"
"I can do that." They got up, Danny putting the strap of his briefcase over his shoulder. Welsh led the way out. "Guys. Someone made Kowalski a daddy, twice. We're not going to talk about the reason or ask him. He signed an agreement saying he wouldn't sue or talk about it when he found out. Got me?" They all nodded, staring at the two boys. "In Kowalski's paws is Wyatt, his younger son, and in Doctor Jackson's hands is his other son Richard. Wyatt's four months, Richard just turned a year. Doctor Jackson will be around now and then since he's a relative too. No questions? Good." He walked back into his office, leaving it there.
"Not going to cut it," Huey told them.
Danny smiled. "It's all we can tell you, Detective."
"They had a non-disclosure agreement," Vecchio told him. He took the other one to hold. "Hey, Wyatt. You're tiny." The baby yawned and reached up to grab his nose. "Good eyesight. Better than your dad's for sure." He handed him back. "Come to dinner. Ma said so."
"Thanks, Vecchio. Going to see Benny."
"He's on statue duty," he warned.
"That's fine. It's nearly three." He walked off with Danny and the boys, taking them to the consulate once they were back in the car. He checked his watch and grimaced. "We have until four-thirty unless I can talk Turnbull into taking a turn." He got out and walked inside, smiling at Turnbull when he ran into him and his feather duster. "I need ta see you guys for an announcement. The Dragon Lady don't have to attend."
"Good news? Like an engagement?"
Stan smiled. "Someone made me a daddy twice." The feather duster dropped and the young Mountie gaped. "Yeah, and my bestest buddy is out there."
"Let me see them and then I'll relieve him." He took off his apron, grabbing his feather duster on the way back to his office. "Inspector?" She came out of her office. "Detective Kowalski is here with his two new sons."
"He has kids?"
"He said someone made him a father twice, sir. I'm going to relieve Fraser for a few minutes."
"Fine. Whatever." She went back to her desk to take some antacid. She'd need it apparently.
Stan came back with the kids and Danny, and Fraser once Turnbull had gotten a good coo in. He smiled at the Inspector when she came out. "Hey."
"No, someone was hiding them and somehow I got found. The older one is Richard and the younger is Wyatt."
"They're strong looking boys," she praised. "Fraser is not a babysitter and neither is Turnbull or Diefenbaker."
"Of course not! Dief will feed 'em donuts." She walked off shaking her head. He smiled at Fraser, who was staring at them. "Hi."
"Good afternoon." He took Wyatt from him. "You are very tiny," he said gently. The baby burped and then cooed. He smiled. "Feel better?" He looked at him. "That's good. You'll learn how to say excuse me in a few months."
"He's only four months," Danny told him. "Hi, Doctor Daniel Jackson."
"Constable Benton Fraser." He shook his hand. "And that one is yours?"
"Mine too," Stan told him. "Danny's related to Wyatt, Frase. We're splitting custody but he does military stuff."
"That's most reasonable." He gave Wyatt back and then took Richard, who played with his lanyard and hat. "You're very bright." The baby smirked at him. "Here." He handed him back. "When are you introducing them to Ray's mother?"
"Tanight. I'm gonna ask her if she can let me pay her to do daycare."
"If not, I know of a few good ones. We'll figure it out together, Stanley." Stan grinned. "Are you off work for a few weeks?"
"Eleven," he agreed. "It's the family leave act thingy Congress passed."
"Good enough. I'll help you look for a bigger place as well." He smiled at the boys. "They'll need some room to roam."
"Yeah, Richard can already wander," Stan told him. "Fair warning, Frase. He's attracted to shiny things."
Danny smiled. "Just because he kept trying to steal Horatio's watch," he teased.
"That ain't all." He grinned back. Then he grinned at Fraser. "Ma probably wants you over as well."
"I'll check with Ray before I go outside." He patted both boys on the head. "I'm happy for you, Stan. You're a lucky man."
Stan smiled. "Thanks, Frase. We gotta go get the necessary things, like diapers. See ya later." They walked out together, taking the boys shopping for clothes, diapers, and other baby things that they'd need.
Dinner was going to be very loud. Ma would squeal and babble at them in Italian for hours when she saw the boys. He did stop to call Ray Vecchio. "Should I plan on attending as well?" He smiled. "Thank you kindly, Ray. No, I didn't ask. Thank you. You have a good day as well." He hung up and went to take his spot back. "Thank you, Turnbull," he said quietly, taking the correct spot once he was out of it.
Turnbull went back inside to his dusting, happy about the new additions to his extended consulate family. They were so adorable!
Xander finally made it to the Magic Box at ten that night, looking very tired. He put down the carriers and went back for the other one. "Here," he said, flopping down. "I dropped off the one that was Dru's with Angel." Spike gave him an odd look. "No one told you? They mixed Dru and a rock demon, Spike. Angel took him in. If they can't, he'll find him a good surrogate mom."
"Good to know," he muttered. "Looks like I need to talk to the nancy ponce again." He looked at the one who smelled like a half demon then at the other one. "Who're we?"
"The half-demon is one I agreed to take in since Ethan said he couldn't handle it. We're pretty sure her momma's the breeder demons they used to give birth to the kids. The other two are my son and one of my daughters. The other two daughters are with their fathers. Don couldn't take his daughter tonight and Horatio needed a few days to get things set up but he'll meet us in Georgia to take him for a few weeks while I do any fixing I have to on the house." He looked at Giles. "I do have a house, right?"
Giles smiled and nodded. "You do have a house, Xander." He came over to look at them, smiling at Ethan's daughter. "He does make pretty spawns of Janus."
Xander pinched him. "She's my daughter now, Giles, and Willow said all kids cause chaos."
"From what I've heard, they do," he agreed, smiling at him. "Are you sure?"
"You'd rather have a probable witch and a half-blood demon in the system?"
"No," he admitted. "It's a kind thing you're doing."
Xander grinned. "I got to scare the person who wanted us to keep it quiet too. It got my frustration out." He looked at Spike. "Straighten her out for me please?" Spike gave him an odd look but straightened the baby up in the carrier. "Thanks. I can hear Willow babbling up the street."
"She's with Anya," Giles warned.
Xander shrugged. "That's fine." The girls walked in together and he waved. "I'm back from the hellhole of politicians. I even got to scare one."
Willow squealed and came over to look at the babies. "You got all three?"
"No, that one is half Ethan, half demon," Xander told her with a point. She gaped. "The breeder demons they used, Wills. I couldn't let her go into the system. There's no telling who would know if she manifests."
"Good point. But aren't we so cute!" she cooed, teasing bellies. She looked at the others. "Two of your three?" He held up four fingers. "Including her?" He switched to five fingers. "You're joking," she ordered flatly.
"Apparently I'm the preferred breeder for baseline skills. They gave me four kids: three daughters and a son. Then I adopted Ethan's." He looked at Buffy, who was staring at the babies like they were demons. "Don't even think about slaying them," he ordered calmly.
"Not. I'm scared to death of those things. They're contagious." She moved to call Tara. "Xander's back."
"She can see them tomorrow," Xander said loudly enough for Tara to hear. "Bring cookies, please?" He looked at Anya. "Hi."
"Hi," she said weakly. "You're...."
"A father," he said when she got stuck for words. "A single father apparently since you dumped me."
She glared at him. "They'll take my comfortable life."
He snorted. "That's fine, Anya. I'm moving anyway."
"Then I want the tv and the furniture. I get half."
"Only if we were married. Which we're not," Xander told her.
"Palimony," she said smugly.
He shook his head. "You have to prove a substantial amount of time living together, Anya. We only lived together two months. No judge would give it to you." She stamped a foot. "Quit, now. I will not have my kids shown such fits. They don't need to learn that." She gaped but he stared her down until she walked off pouting. "By the way, I'm moving to Georgia by the end of the week. You're going to have to tell the landlord who's going to pay the rent." He looked at Giles, who shook his head. "Sorry. Laying it out up-front."
"I agree. It's easier that way. Fewer fits. She doesn't need to learn that." He took Ethan's child to hold. Willow took the boy. Xander took his daughter. Spike and Buffy watched from far away so they wouldn't be corrupted. He looked at them. "They won't bite you."
"Bet me. She bites," Xander told him. "She's teething." He grinned at Buffy. "Saw Riley."
"Is he okay?"
"They bred him to Graham." She moaned. "Twice." She shuddered and walked off to get some ice cream. "Get me a drink too, please?" he called after her. He looked at Spike. "Dru's is a son. He's a rock demon cross so he's very solid. If you tickle him it comes out to protect him." That got a nod and Spike lit a cigarette.
"Go outside," Willow ordered with a point. "The babies don't need secondhand smoke."
Spike grumbled but did that, going to get away from the tots and the brain rotting they were inducing. He smiled at Tara when he saw her, opening the door since her hands were full. She squealed once she saw the babies, coming in to demand her turn. Xander let her hold his daughter and she blissed out, cuddling and loving her. Spike shook his head. She was a maternal sort. She'd love on those kids until they were older than she was now.
Mac looked around the staff meeting he had called. "I know you're wondering why Don and I got called to DC suddenly." They all nodded. "Don's got one, I've got one, we've got one together. Don's is with the other parent before you ask. She'll be back soon. He has to arrange some stuff and so do I before we have room for her."
"For who?" Danny asked.
Mac opened the door, smiling at Don since he had the baby. "Come on."
Don strolled in. "Hey, guys. Look what the military made Mac and me."
Stella passed out.
Danny stared. "That's a baby."
"Yes, it is," Lindsey agreed, giving them horrified looks.
"Aww, who's precious then?" Sheldon asked, taking the baby to hold. "Aren't you sweet, snookums. What's your name?"
"She's Emily," Mac said, going to get the carrier from the hall. "This is my son with someone else, Craig. I'll have primary custody of both but Don will be moving closer to me for Emily's sake; Craig's father is in DC. Don has another daughter by someone else, her name is Selene. He'll have her once he gets things settled and her other father will have visitation from Georgia."
Danny stared. "They're babies, Mac."
"I know that, Danny."
"Way to state the obvious, Danny," Lindsey said. He glared at her. "Can I hold them?"
"No," Don told her. "You'll infect them with your meanness. She's mean enough already." He took Craig to hold. "Hey, little man. Let's wake up Auntie Stella." He kicked her on the foot. Danny helpfully spilled some of his bottle of water on her face. "Thanks, Messer."
"We won't get answers until she wakes up. Now that she is, how did two guys have kids?"
"The military thought we needed ta be daddies," Don said with a small shrug. "They found us with DNA once they found the little ones."
"We have non-disclosure agreements," Mac noted. "No talking about it." He looked at Stella. "Are you all right?"
"There's two now!" Danny helped her back into her seat.
"Emily is mine and Mac's," Don summarized. "Craig's Mac's and a guy named Tony's. I've got Selene but she's with her other daddy in Sunnydale." Sheldon gave him a horrified look. "He's moving to Georgia this week."
Stella took Emily from Sheldon. "Hi, princess." She got a grin back. "How old are we?"
"Twenty months," Mac told her. "Needless to say, Don and I are taking some more leave time to get things straightened out. Yes, Lindsey, you can hold the babies later. Let Stella first."
"She'll hit you otherwise," Danny quipped. "Can I have him, Don?" He carefully handed over Craig. "How old are you?"
"Six months," Mac said proudly. "His other father is at NCIS. So I'll be rearranging the emergency contact information I have, Danny and Stella." They both nodded. They kept a copy for Mac in case he got injured in the field. "Don and I are both allowed eleven weeks of leave. I'm taking five right now."
"I'm taking six," Don agreed. "I've got to move." That got a smile from Danny. "Any who wanna help with that, you're more than welcome."
Stella grimaced. "Ewww, Em."
Sheldon gave her a look when she tried to hand her back. "She did it on you."
Danny huffed and took that one, switching with her so he could change the baby. "Hopeless," he muttered as he walked past Don. "Diapers?"
"Bag's in the car," Don admitted, jogging off to get it.
Mac smiled at his team. "I'm hoping this won't lead to anything other than less overtime on our parts. At least one of them will be up here at all times since we share Emily."
"How?" Sheldon asked. "Without violating the non-disclosure."
"The project basically wanted to create future great soldiers," he told him. "They used a few officers, some soldiers, and a few others. They separated it into future soldiers and future scientists." That got some nods. "Most of us are okay with it after venting but one father did walk off saying he couldn't handle it. His son's fine with his other father, who is in Chicago."
"Good to know," Stella said, looking down. "Did you just pee on me, Craig? Am I wearing a scent that makes a baby dirty their diaper? If so I'll quit wearing it. Just tell me which one it is."
"I don't think they need the excuse, Stella," Mac offered, taking him back to change him as well. Then he handed him back. "I had one in my overnight bag." He sat down. "Stella, while I'm on leave, you're in charge. If you have to hand off, hand it to Danny." She nodded. Danny and Don came back. "Thanks, guys."
"Not an issue," Danny assured him, sitting down with Emily again. He saw Lindsey staring and handed her over. "Here. Get the cooing out now."
"Not all girls coo, Messer," she said with a small glare.
"Bet me," Stella said. She smiled at Emily as she took her back, letting someone else have the baby boy. "Hi, precious. I'm your Auntie Stella. Can you say Stella?"
"Moo!" she said happily, beaming at her.
"No, I'm not a cow. Those aren't udders." Emily pouted. "Stella. Try it, you can say it. Stella."
"Wa!" she said happily, beaming at her.
"Close enough," she agreed happily. "You'll learn." She traded off with Lindsey, but Emily got stolen by Sheldon fairly quickly. She smiled at the other one. "Hi, Craig."
Emily beamed at her daddy. "Tana!" she said happily.
Lindsey looked at him. "I'm going to get you for that." Flack just smirked back.
"Kids, you're older than the toddlers," Sheldon complained. He smiled at Emily. "That's very good to talk, Emily." She beamed and took his finger teasing her stomach to chew on. "Awww, are we teething?"
"Yup, drool everywhere on the plane," Don told him, sitting down as well. "We'll get Selene in about a week. Just after Xander gets to Georgia." Sheldon gave him another odd look. "You know him?"
"Heard of him. Why?"
"Xander's got four from the same people plus he took in the one who didn't have parents."
"That's kind of him," Stella said quietly, smiling at the baby. "Someone's tired."
"It's been a big day," Mac agreed, taking his son back. "Hi, Craig." Craig snuggled down on his shoulder, getting comfy. "Good boy. You rest. You'll drive us nuts later." Don nodded, cracking Danny up. "If you want to offer to babysit you can but it is not mandatory," Mac told them. "No spoiling them with every toy in existence either."
"You know, they make baby DNA and fingerprint kits," Danny said with a grin. "Make sure the nephew and niece are kick-ass CSI."
Mac smiled. "When they're a bit older, Danny. When they won't eat the fingerprint powder." Don nodded at that. "For now, Emily likes Barney and Teletubbies. Craig just likes noise."
"Selene likes to bat at the noise," Don told them. "She's a bit picky. Took her two whole hours to learn to like my shoulder. She kept patting it to get it softer."
Stella smiled. "Too many muscles," she teased.
"Definitely." He grinned. "My parents are coming over tomorrow. So if you hear screaming it's my mother." He looked at Mac. "We're going back to your place tonight?"
"I am, you can come over tomorrow, Don. I can handle walking the floor if Craig gets up."
"I'll be fine."
Don stood up. "Then I'll take my last bachelor night out." He grinned. "Stella, let's do the welcoming party once I've moved? And Mac if he's gonna move too. That good, gives you plenty of time to shop?"
"Works for me," she agreed happily. "Danny?" He shrugged and nodded. "Want me to spread the news around, Mac?"
"I'm going to take him to introduce him to Sid and them," Mac promised. "They're next." That got a smile and an understanding nod. She knew he and Peyton were doing...something. He stood up. "Let's go do that so we can go home," he said quietly.
Don took Emily back, putting her back into her carrier. "We'll be home, guys. Call if you need baby cuddles or help." They walked out together, heading down to the morgue. "Sid?" he asked once they were on the elevator.
"I'm ...seeing Peyton."
"Ah. That'll work." They got off on the morgue's floor, walking into the morgue. "Yo, we're back!" he announced. Peyton and Sid both stared at them. He grinned. "With two of the three of the reasons we left so suddenly for DC."
Mac walked over, letting them gather around. "This is Craig. He's mine," he said quietly. "He just fell asleep."
"He's adorable," Sid praised with a smile, smoothing a hand over his hair. "Absolutely perfect looking, Mac." He looked at the other one. "Aww, you're pretty too. What's your name?"
"Emily. She's mine and Mac's together. I've got another daughter but she's with her other daddy."
Sid stared at him. "Please tell me you're kidding."
Don shook his head. "'Fraid not, Sid."
"Some crackpot scientist?"
"That the military stopped," Mac assured him. "There's more than these three. Craig's other father is in NCIS in DC." He looked at Peyton. "We've decided that I'm going to have custody of them and Don's going to move either across the hall from me or we're moving in together," he said quietly.
She nodded. "It's important that they see their parents. Do the two missing parents have visitation?" Don nodded. "Your other is a daughter?"
"Selene. Her daddy is in Sunnydale but he's moving to Georgia this week."
"Thank God," Sid muttered. Mac smiled and nodded.
"Sheldon said the same thing," Don said dryly. He looked at Peyton. "Not stealing him."
"I know you're not, Don. A child always has to come first in a parent's affections." She smiled. "Though you do make a stunning daughter together. She's beautiful."
"Thanks. She's heavy too. Twenty months." He put the carrier on a table, letting them see her closer. "Selene and Craig are both six months."
"It's a fun age," Sid told them.
"Drooled everywhere on the plane," Don told him.
"Of course they did. They're babies, they do that." He smiled. "So, taking leave time, Mac?"
"Five weeks. If I need more I can take more." That got a nod from both of them. "Stella's in charge. Danny after her. Stella's planning the party to welcome them all after we've moved."
"That's fine. Gives me plenty of time to shop," Sid said happily. He patted them again. "I should get back to work." He walked off.
Don looked at Mac, then nodded. "I'll give you two some privacy."
"It's not necessary, Don," Peyton said quietly, her British accent coming out more fully. "When do you get Selene back?"
"About a week. When her Daddy gets to Georgia and I've got some stuff set up for her. Mac wanted them kept together so we wouldn't have to argue over Em's bed."
"That's most reasonable." She patted them both. "They're adorable. I'm sure the other is too. I'll be over soon to help move things, Mac."
"Thanks, Amanda." He smiled at her and they took the babies over to Don's squad room, getting an instant silence. "It's a long story we can't tell you," Mac noted. He looked at Captain Gerrard. "In your office?"
"Please." He followed them, closing the door. "I'm assuming this is why you left suddenly, Flack?"
"The military stopped the crackpot who mixed us to make Emily here and Mac and another guy to make Craig, plus me and another guy to make my other baby girl Selene." His boss gaped. He handed over the paperwork he had downloaded and filled out on the plane. "Here. Family leave. We've decided Mac's got custody of Craig and Em so I'm moving next to or in with him and my other girl so they're all together."
He looked over the paperwork, nodding slightly. "You'll need to redo your insurance." He looked up. "For obvious reasons, the kids don't do more than visit."
"Of course not," Mac agreed.
"They might learn to like Montana if they did," Don agreed sarcastically.
"Tana!" Emily said happily.
"Yup, her. You're so smart," he praised, getting a smile back. He grinned at his boss. "We're finding a good daycare while I'm gone too. If you need me to, I can do paperwork at night or something. Not an issue, Cap."
"That's fine, Flack. Do your parents know?"
"Yup, called and told 'em. Ma's scream probably echoed over this way too."
Gerrard shook his head. "You mentioned a third?"
"With her other daddy. I'll get her back when he's in Georgia. He's moving this week and I need ta get stuff for 'em. This way we're not overloaded while we're moving. He said he can handle her and the others while he's doing the long-distance moving thing."
"That's fine," he decided. "Anything else I need to know?"
"Non-disclosure agreement," Flack said grimly.
"Of course. The government stepped in, they don't want to be embarrassed. Amend your other paperwork to include them. Keep them out of the station from now on."
Flack nodded. "Of course. Wanna tell the guys?"
"Nope." He looked at him. "I'm staying safely in here away from them."
"Fine." He stood up and opened the door. "Yo, guys?" They all stared at him. "I've got two daughters. One's mine with Mac, one's mine with another guy. Mac's got a son with another guy too. We're going to be doing a cooperative parenting thing together so neither of us go insane with the babies. Don't ask, we can't tell you how, the government said so. Any presents, wait until we've moved in a few weeks." He grinned. "My other daughter'll be up in about a week."
One of them opened his mouth then shook his head. "You and *Taylor* have one?"
"Yeah, Em." He brought her out. "This is Emily, my older one. Our older one. Craig, Mac's son, and my daughter Selene are both six months."
That guy shook his head. "Did the labor hurt?" another quipped.
"Don't know, can't find the person who gave birth," he said dryly. "The government said it was fixed." That got a horrified look. "You can come coo. Stella passed out." They came over to look at the babies, mostly smiling at them when he brought out Craig. Everyone should worship their kids. "By the way, my parents are coming over tomorrow. They already knew."
"I wondered why there was a scream that echoed the other night," one guy quipped.
"I swear I heard Ma from DC," Don quipped back.
"Wouldn't surprise me," he said with a grin. "So, happy being a daddy?"
"Scared shitless. But we accept tips, people. That way my daughters don't end up on a pole some year."
"Tana!" Emily squealed.
Lindsey moaned, shaking her head. "I was only bringing a report. She's got great eyesight." She handed the detective the report and patted the baby on the head. "Try Lindsey?"
"Tana," she cooed, taking her hand to gnaw on.
"Sorry, teething," Don offered. He grinned. "I'm also off for six weeks, guys. Gotta move. Anyone wanna help, you can." That got a nod and they went back to work after one last pet. He grinned back at Mac. "We ready?"
"Sure." He took both the children back, taking them down to his car. Craig got put into his seat then Emily got buckled back in. He looked at Don. "Nine?"
"My parents will be over at ten."
"That's fine. I'll be up and have them dressed by then." He walked around to get in and drive. "Have a good night, Don. Don't have a hangover. Your mothers' going to be squealing and screaming in turns tomorrow."
"'Specially since I don't have the other one." He got into his own car and headed back to his place to start the packing process. They had agreed Mac would find out if he had an open place in his building or find the new place for them. That way they didn't both have to look. It was going to be a long week.
Horatio and Eric walked into the staff meeting he had called on the way back from the airport, closing the door behind him. "We have to talk." He nodded at his boss. "There has been a situation that has recently arisen."
Eric looked at Horatio then shook his head. "Sorry, he's still grumpy. We got called to DC by NCIS to talk about some kids that got found after a special operations project caved in." The Police Chief spluttered and choked. "It is what you're thinking." He looked at Horatio, then grinned at the stunned friends and coworkers. "We have a non-disclosure agreement but I can tell you I'm sharing custody of my daughter with her other father. He's presently moving to Georgia this week from California."
Calleigh slowly inched a hand up. "Excuse me, but two fathers?"
Horatio nodded, taking off his sunglasses. "That's why there's non-disclosure agreements. I have a son. His name is Liam." He put down the pictures. "The girl is Catty, which I don't know how her name came to be."
"I asked Xander and the guys who were part of that project. Xander said that Catty means mine in the mother's native language," Eric told him. That got a single nod. "So I'm taking a bit of family leave. Momma and I talked...."
"You mean your mother screamed and you listened?" Calleigh suggested dryly, smiling a bit.
"Yeah," Eric agreed, grinning back and nodding. "Oh, yeah. There was much screaming. My father was calling a priest on my sister's cellphone so it became three- person screaming on their end. Anyway, I'm moving back home so they can help with the childcare stuff and all that. Xander and I are splitting custody, though I have primary. I've got Catty back at Momma's right now actually. Though if the nephew is as sick as Momma thinks, she'll be going back to Xander's fairly quickly. We think he has chicken pox and Catty's only twenty months. So, boss, I need some family leave time."
"As do I," Horatio said. He looked at Eric. "If you do have to send her to Xander suddenly I'll take her so I can pick up Liam. I should be able to get things set up within a day."
Eric looked at him. "You and Xander need to make better peace," he said bluntly.
"I think he's a bit young for all this responsibility, Eric. He's only twenty-one or so." He looked at the staring CSI and detectives. "This came as a shock to us too. All we know for sure is that somehow they took semen or blood samples for their experiments. We've found all the children born but there may be embryos. If you hear *anything* on that subject, tell us and then the people at NCIS who're handling this. The lead agent's name is Jethro Gibbs. He's apparently one of the top agents in the agency. We've sat on the same panel before at conventions." He swallowed. "Any questions so far?"
His sister-in-law Yelina raised her hand. "They did prove it, correct?"
"They found us through genetic testing," Eric told her. "The program that created them didn't keep comprehensive notes that we've found so far. They're still looking. They think the scientists fled with their notes when they escaped. One of the fathers, the other father of both of our kids actually, got told about the kids, raided their former base, found information and told the father that's at NCIS on Gibbs' team."
"Which pissed that whole agency off," Horatio added grimly. "We all heard rumors about that small reserve base upstate that got raided with local and federal agents in addition to military ones?" Everyone nodded. "That's one of the bases the children were being stored on." He looked at them. "I should not have to take off the full eleven weeks I have from the government. I'm hoping to only take about three so I have everything set up and a good nanny or daycare situation going. Until then, Calleigh, you're still in charge."
"Of course. When do we get to meet them?"
"Whenever Momma says," Eric said dryly. She laughed at that and so did a few others. "She's being clingy to the newest grandchild. Considers her a miracle."
Horatio looked at him. "She said she was thinking about asking the same people if they could make you a son to carry on the family name, Eric."
"I heard. I yelled back," he said bluntly, cracking most everyone up. "I'm going to be doing good to handle one daughter. One wandering, slobbering, cooing, chatty daughter with a 'tude about redheads." He looked at Horatio. "I don't know why Catty doesn't like your hair..."
"I don't know either. We'll figure it out, Eric." He looked at them. "We'll arrange for greeting parties in a few weeks, once we've got them settled into Miami for a while. Until then, boss, we both need paperwork. The one online was down."
"I can get the forms for you, Horatio. You'll also need to amend your insurance and HR paperwork." That got a nod from both of them. "Delko, how long were you going to take off?"
"I was thinking four weeks to start. Save the rest in case she got sick."
"That's reasonable. How much vacation time do you have banked? I know Horatio had nearly four months of it banked for emergencies and then another two of it in the open."
"I think I have about a month and a half total at the moment," he admitted. "Plus, we need to see you and only you here in a minute." He looked at them. "Horatio? You wanna...." He nodded, taking his boss out to tell him about Speed. Eric closed the door. "We found out that they'd done other things, guys," he said honestly, looking around. "Including kidnaping some of the potential fathers so they'd have fresh samples. Including rigging guns to jam." He looked at Calleigh, who was pale. He nodded. "We saw Speed and his son Doug there. Doug's cute." He grinned and pulled out a picture, handing it to her. "He's fine but he's up there testifying against them. He managed to escape with his son. We have *no* idea why they took him since they were focused on genetics and the paranormal stuff. All we know is that he wasn't killed. They arranged that whole thing. We have no idea and Speed's not sure about coming home at the moment. He's had a bad year."
She blinked at him. "Bad year?" He nodded. "How old is Doug?"
"Twenty months. Speed still has bruises and he got free a few months back, Calleigh," he said more gently. "I've got his number in DC but they're helping him right now."
"Oh, God," she whispered. "Call him! Right now!"
He called and let her have his phone, watching her walk off talking to him. Eric looked at them. "We're telling Alexx separately, guys. Let us handle that one?" They all nodded slowly. "I know it's strange. Horatio freaked out badly when he found out. He and Xander got into a lot of fights before they finally agreed on custody of Liam. Horatio pushed all the kid's buttons on purpose. It's not going to be a happy partnership but it should be okay for now. They've called a truce. Horatio has a temper and Speed said Liam has the same temper." He grinned. "We're at the wait and see stage. Speed won't be done in DC before the month is up. Possibly not for another four months. They're slowly putting *all* the people involved in this project away. They even used their own people."
"How did they get samples?" Yelina asked.
"I don't know. I know I have some stored and some in a sperm bank. Maybe Horatio has some stored for later use if something happens." He shrugged. "I don't know, Yelina. You'd have to ask him that. I didn't feel like asking him about his semen."
Frank choked but smirked a bit at that answer. "So, the kids will be here?"
"They will be here. Xander and he worked it out so Xander has primary custody of Liam but all Horatio has to do is ask. Xander made a very good point about how dangerous being Horatio is. I have primary custody of Catty and all I have to do is call and I can drop her off again. He did say he'd get pushy to have them at least part of the time. Then again, Xander has a few kids. He's got four naturally from this project born and adopted another one that didn't have parents they could find." That got a shudder from Yelina. "We're all sharing custody with him so he'll have anywhere from one to five of them at a time. He's moving to a tiny town in Georgia, a few hours drive from here. Momma's anxious for him to get there so we can go meet him. She wants to grill the other father of my daughter. Even Poppi's not helping that any."
Ryan cleared his throat. "Are you okay with this, Eric?"
"I ranted and screamed before we went to see the kids. A few of us did. Then I saw her and she's adorable. She's cuddly and she coos at my hair. She said I'm cute." Ryan laughed at that. "We worked it out and it's all right. There were some very strange combinations. They got a linguist who works with the military and one Chicago cop. The linguist is apparently a super brain. They were using the cops and Xander as what they were calling baseline and then adding in combinations to see how was going to turn out to be better for their long-term plans."
"Which means there's probably a lot of embryos or something," Ryan finished.
Eric nodded. "Probably. I know Xander's very worried about that. I also know that I'll be getting a maintenance check from the government for Catty. It was part of the hush agreement. Horatio came back in with Calleigh. "The boss?"
"He'll send us the papers later today. We need to clear our desks." That got a nod. "As of this moment, we're not to talk about Speed yet. Until we can figure out if they had help within the department to make that scene happen, I know I can trust all of you. I do not know about everyone else. Am I clear?" They nodded. "We'll be telling Alexx ourselves." He looked at Eric. "Anything I missed?"
"I told them about Speed, about the embryos, about the baseline thing. It should be fine." He gathered the pictures. "So, we're going to go make Alexx cry. I'll call when I find out if Catty's staying for now or not. He can call around when Liam gets down here. We can have a party then." He grinned. "Do not spoil my daughter, guys. She's already being spoiled by my parents and her other father. He's really good so far and I'll expect some of you to want to call him. Let him get settled in Georgia first since he's moving from near LA. He's moving to an old farmhouse."
"Drug seizure," Horatio added. He looked around. "Any other questions?"
"Do we need to reopen the case?" Calleigh asked.
Horatio nodded. "I want to know what happened to his gun, Calleigh. He swore to us that he had cleaned it not even a month before. Within weeks."
She nodded. "I'll pull the case quietly. You'll be around for sudden calls?" They both nodded. "Then go clean your desks, guys." She handed the phone back to Eric. "Thank you."
"Welcome. We all got a bit fussy about him." He smiled, nodding. "Want me to tell Alexx, H?"
"No, I will, Eric. Thank you. Go finish up your last case." He nodded, going to do that. He looked at them. "If you have questions, let us know. I told Jethro that if he needed help he could call us. Mac Taylor said the same thing when he and Detective Flack ended up with three kids between the two of them, one shared. Dismissed." He walked off, going to the morgue. "Alexx," he said as he walked in. She looked over and smiled. "We have to talk. Are you nearly done with her?"
"Not even close. I've barely opened her."
He gave her a look. "You'll want to put her back for a few minutes, Alexx. It's going to be a painful talk."
"Was I fired?"
"No, but we need to talk about personal matters, mine and yours." She looked confused but put the body back into the cooler, letting him take her into the office and close the door once she had her gloves off. He sat her down and sat across from her, looking at her for a minute. "This is going to be painful but I need you to listen to the whole thing. Please?" She nodded slowly, still looking confused. "First of all, you know Eric and I were called to DC over the weekend?"
"Something about a case," she agreed.
"It turned out to be an NCIS case, not ours. They were informed that a former special operations project that covered multiple agencies and branches of the military were doing some things that aren't anywhere near ethical. They had known some of it before, ACIS is presently putting the people in this program away as fast as they can." She nodded again, her hands clenched. He pulled out his copy of his pictures, looking at them. "What they called us up there for was because someone mundane in the town that the project had been working out of heard some information about them and some genetics work." He glanced down then at her. He put out the two pictures of the kids. "They decided to not only try to genetically engineer future soldiers, but also the next generation of scientists by picking their parents." She let out a squeak, looking at the pictures. "The young lady is Eric's daughter Catty. The little boy is my son Liam." He smiled a bit. "They share the same other father."
"You heard me correctly," he assured her. "We're not sure of the full details. The other father of our children was the one who heard. They considered him a good baseline to combine more experienced and more highly educated lines with. One of a few. They were using some other officers as well, including one of the people on the case at NCIS."
"Where are they?"
"Catty is with Eric's mother but she thinks they may have chicken pox so she may be going back to Xander, the other father. He's moving to Georgia later this week. He's out by LA." She nodded slowly at that. "He's got Liam with him. He has primary custody because he made some very valid points about how dangerous our life is. Eric has his family to protect Catty if something happens. I have Yelina but it's not the same amount of support. He did assure me all I have to do is ask. Even though I did apparently piss him off to no end during the weekend talks." He swallowed. "This is the painful part." He looked at the other picture then at her. "We also found out that they've decided some of them should be taken hostage. They arranged things so they could be taken hostage. I know you pulled a bullet out of him but we're reopening a case." He put down the other picture, face down. "He's recently escaped and blew the whistle, Alexx, but he wasn't safe. He's in DC with his son Doug." She turned over the picture and looked, then burst out crying. He moved closer to hold her. "Shhh. He's healing."
"My boy," she sobbed, looking at him. "But...how?"
"I don't know. That's why Calleigh's reopening the case. I do know that they had to have help from someone here in Miami. Speed himself didn't know." He pulled out the phone number he had written down ad put it into her hand. "He's having to stay up there to testify right now," he said quietly. "We are not letting this get out. This is why I didn't call you to the meeting everyone one heard at." He licked his lips, trying to get her calmed down. "He's fine and he's healing, Alexx."
"Healing?" she asked, sniffling. She grabbed some tissue to blow her nose, then wiped her eyes with a clean edge. "My baby was hurt?"
"He's still got some healing cuts. He only managed to get free about a month ago. With his son." He smiled gently. "He said he wanted to hear from you but he couldn't call. We don't think it's going to be safe down here, Alexx. They have some people who slipped the net. We're not sure there's not more embryos as well."
She sniffled again, dialing then hanging up. "I'll call him in a minute."
He nodded, patting her on the hand. "This is why I told you in private, Alexx. Eric and I both fussed over his bruises and healing cuts. Doug is twenty months. So's Catty, Eric's daughter. Liam's seventeen months at the moment."
"We have no idea. NCIS is handling that. We signed non-disclosure agreements because this was such a foul program they had to stop." He let out a mean smirk. "Actually, Xander and his friends helped stopped them and called in the proper authorities. The father of my son is very strong man. Very stubborn."
"He's still got Liam?"
"He said all I have to do is ask. If Catty has to go back because of the chicken pox, I'll be picking up Liam. Though I did want to ask you to help me set up the nursery. Eric's got his mother and sisters. I have Yelina and she's not looking happy about my son." He smiled. "He's got a temper, Alexx. If you ignore him when he wants something he'll huff and then scream. Speed was keeping him calm when he could."
She laughed. "Sounds like the redheaded temper was passed down." She wiped her eyes off again. "I can't tell Peter? He's my husband."
"As long as he knows he can't tell anyone, Alexx. We don't know who facilitated down here." She nodded at that, clutching the picture. "That's your copy of Doug and Speed. You can take your own pictures of Liam and Catty when they're both down here. Also, Eric and I are taking some family leave time to set things up. He's moving back home."
"Of course he is! He's a single guy who dates billions of women a year! He can't hope to raise a daughter that way."
He smiled. "I think that was one of his mother's arguments during the screaming session. His father ended up calling a priest, who screamed too." He smiled brighter when she laughed. "Call him when you can, Alexx. Just don't let anyone know."
"I won't, Horatio. Thank you. You found my boy."
"Calleigh will find who took him from us," he reminded her. "Then we'll get him too." She nodded, swallowing a bit. He gave her a hug then stood up. "Take a break, Alexx." The pictures went into his pocket and he smiled. "I've got to clean my desk. I'll be out for about three weeks." She nodded. "Call me if you want to talk."
"Thank you." She watched him walk out and closed the office door, calling him. "Baby?" she said quietly. "You made me a grandmother?" She smiled at the much missed voice. "Oh, Speedy." She sighed, making him laugh and tell her he was okay. "Are you eating?" She smiled at the answer of 'of course. The son's demanding I nibble with him'. "That's good. I know why you can't come back but can you at least sneak and visit?" She leaned back, relaxing now that she knew he was going to be okay and she'd get to see him again soon. "Of course I have to spoil my first grandbaby! Silly boy!" She laughed when he did. "I want more pictures too. Horatio told Calleigh to do it. It was her case. I know, baby, but we'll figure it out. Of course yo can. I can take the weekend off!" She smiled and made notes. "I'll be off then. You take care of him and email me! Yes, you. Thank you, sugar. I'll see you soon to hug you. I've missed you." She beamed at his 'me too'. "You be good to my grandbaby and I'll see you in two weeks. Email me today. Love you. Get back to nibbling with him. He's probably too skinny too." She hung up and sat there digesting the news. The number was put into her phone book so she couldn't lose it. Someone was going to die for doing this to her family! She'd go find out who later on.
Danny opened his hotel room door, looking at the man on the other side. "Jack. What are you doing here?"
"Layover on my way to recruit the ones you sent back." He walked in, looking around. "No kids?"
"With Stan. I'll get Wyatt tomorrow night." He smiled, sitting down. "No invasion, right?"
"No. No invasion." He took off his ball cap and sat down across from him. "How's the kid?"
"He's good. He's healthy. He's a happy baby most of the time. He likes to coo at Stan's turtle." He smiled. "I can go get him if you want."
"I want to meet the mother of your son," he agreed dryly.
"Fine." He grabbed his rental car's keys and headed out with him, taking him to Stan's. The Vecchios had given them up an hour ago. He looked up. "No lights."
"There's a small one," Jack said, getting out and heading up into the apartment building. He found the right apartment, it paid to do a background check ahead of time, and tapped politely. For him. A disgruntled blond man came to the door to squint at him. "Hi. I'm Danny's boss, Jack."
Stan grunted but let him and Danny in. "They're asleep. Finally." He let them go over to the crib. "The smaller one's Wyatt."
"I know," Jack told him. He looked at them then smiled. "Aren't you special?" Richard yawned and beamed at him. "Go back to sleep, Richard." The baby drifted off with some stomach petting. He looked at Wyatt, picking him up. It woke him up but he glared. "Your daddy does the same thing when I take his coffee." He sat down to hold him, smiling at him. "I promise I won't rob the place, Kowalski."
"Better not. I'll make the baby puke on ya." He went back to his room. Danny had warned he had overprotective friends who turned into nagging worrywarts on occasion.
Danny sat next to him, smoothing out his son's forehead wrinkle. "He's a nice guy, Wyatt. He'll spoil you rotten and take you fishing."
"I am?" Jack asked him.
"You take Thor."
"Good point." He went back to staring at the baby. The baby finally gave up and cooed, making him smile. "Hi, Wyatt. Are you a good boy or are you gonna be like Daddy and get in trouble every other week?"
"I do not."
"Do so." He gave him a look. "Don't make me start mentioning them." Danny grumbled at that. He looked at the baby. "Don't worry and don't listen to Sam. Your daddy's way smarter than she is. She's smart in a strange way and your daddy's strange in a smart way." Danny shook his head and rolled his eyes. "We'll even make sure the big, cuddly General doesn't hog all your attention because he's having baby envy and missing his girls being this age." He looked at his buddy. "Sam's got a party planned for him in two weeks."
"That's fine. I can bring him back to Colorado for a few days then." That got a nod. "We have it worked out so all I have to do is call ahead."
"Good idea." He looked at the baby again. "You're tiny."
"He's four months old. He's not supposed to be some big brute."
"He's a good size. He's nearly as big as Thor." He looked at him. "By the way he said congrats."
"I thought you said there wasn't an invasion."
"He popped down to get some new leggos and stuff to amuse himself. Sam told him." He went back to staring at the baby. "You're gonna do great things. Hopefully not in the same way as your daddy, but great things, Wyatt."
Danny took him back, taking him to his crib. "Let's nap, Wyatt. Jack's sorry he woke you up. He won't do it again." The baby took his pacifier back and slowly drifted off while daddy leaned over him. "Good boy," he whispered. He nodded and they left, Danny making sure the door was locked. They headed back to the car. "So, that's my son."
"Thanks, Jack. Thor came for leggos?"
"Someone taught him how to create stuff. He's using them to try to predict what Loki's doing next."
"Building small universes to mimic the larger one?"
"Yup." He got into the car, looking at him. "How much time are you thinking he'll be around?"
"Depends on both of the jobs, Jack," he reminded him, starting the car and heading back to the hotel. "I wouldn't mind having him around most of the time but Stan wants to stay in Chicago. If not, he'll move closer so I can have him more often."
"Is this the longest distance for custody?"
"No, Xander's in Sunnydale again but he's moving to Georgia. One of his is Don Flack's."
"He seemed like a nice guy."
"Xander? Yeah he was. I was expecting some froth-breathing warrior with a battle axe. Instead he's a nice, goofy, sweet guy."
"I'll remember that. You think Rosenburg would work for us?"
"Ask." He shrugged. "Who knows." He parked at the hotel and got out, leading Jack back up to his room. "How long are you staying?"
"Tomorrow. Like I said, layover. Then we'll see him when you bring him back for a few weeks. Then you can hand him back and we'll go back to work, but you'll get more time off from Hammond. He said so."
"That's good of him," he said, yawning a bit. "It's nearly one in the morning, Jack."
"Sorry, Danny. Go sleep. I can borrow the couch."
"Sure. Go for it." He laid down on the bed, getting comfortable and going to sleep.
Jack smiled, shaking his head but laying down on the couch. The kid had been cute. Nearly as cute as his own had been.
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