By The Power of the Unholy.
by Ali, thank you a whole lot!
Mac Taylor looked up as someone stomped into his office. "Is there a problem?"
"I cannot seem to find someone to notify him of a problem that has cropped up at my office in DHHR. Everyone seems to think you hold some magical power to find him, Detective Taylor."
"Which one, ma'am?"
"He's up the hall getting results," he said, calling that way. "Send Flack to my office. There's someone here who's looking for him." He hung up. "Give him a few minutes to get one last report and he'll be right up. Do you need me to vacate the office so you can talk privately?"
"I believe he'll need smelling salts," she said with a bit more humor. "It might be good to have friends around him. They said you were?"
"Fairly." Don strolled in with a grin. "Don, this social worker has been looking for you."
Don looked at her. "I play safely," he said, backing off from her.
"Not safely enough, Detective." She smirked, pulling the file out of her bag. She looked then handed it over. "I do believe DNA does not lie unless your name is OJ."
He gave her an odd look. "No, if I had money like that, I'd be wearing better suits." He looked, frowning at her. "No way."
"They were abandoned. We do believe something happened to their mother with the way they were dropped off at a police station by someone unseen. We do know that their mother is not listed in any DNA database but we do have it flagged for when and if she does get found by whatever means possible."
Don sat down, staring at her. "You're joking. Danny or Montana set this up, right?" he asked with a grin.
She gave him a look. "You poor man." She patted him on the shoulder. "We will have to make sure that you can handle them at your home."
"Them?" Mac asked. "Not to interrupt," he said when Don gave him a panicked look.
"Triplets," she said with a smile. Mac moaned. "They're incredibly bright little boys. They've charmed everyone they've come into contact with."
"Where are they from?" he asked a bit too calmly.
"It's not in there?" She found the report. "Here, this is where they were dropped off. They're too young to show anything but an extreme accent but they don't show any strong accents like Texan or anything. We're fairly sure they're local."
Don nodded slowly. "Are you sure my buddies didn't set you up?" he asked. She sighed and pulled a picture out of the file, letting him stare. "None of them have blue eyes?"
"Brown and green?"
"I don't know how that happens. My job is to place children, not ponder the mysteries of DNA."
Mac coughed. "If one of the parents' parents had it, it's possible to activate as a recessive, Don."
Don looked at him and let out a small, hysterical sounding chuckle. "Really?"
Mac sighed. "Want Danny or Stella?"
"Can you make sure Danny didn't plan this? Now and then his sense of humor sucks and this is the sorta thing he'd do to try to prank me."
"If he did, I'm going to kill him." He called Danny. "Come to my office? Don needs you, Danny. That can wait an hour." He hung up. "He'll be right up."
Don hopped up as soon as Danny appeared. "This joke you planned isn't funny, Messer!" he shouted.
"Whoa! What joke?"
Don gaped, then waved the folder. "Kids dropped off at a police station by whoever hurt or took their mother? Triplets were a bit of overkill, really!"
Danny looked at him then at Mac. "Is he sick? He was sniffling earlier."
"No, it's shock."
"Ah." He looked at Don then shrugged. "Wasn't me." Don glared. "It wasn't!" He took the folder. "This them?" The social worker handed over the picture. "Awww, they're adorable!" He grinned. "Not a joke, Don." He looked at the report. "See, that's Gerrard's signature." He pointed at it.
"He was very helpful getting us the DNA we needed to make sure of a match," the social worker agreed.
Don stared at her. Then at Danny. "You promise?"
Danny patted him on the arm. "Not a joke, Don."
"Aw, shit," he said, sitting down. "My father's going to kill me."
"We'll keep him from doing it," Mac promised patiently.
"With the charm the boys show, point one at him and he'll melt," the social worker said smugly. "They did it to my boss." She took the folder back. "We have paperwork to sign, Detective. Do you feel mentally competent to do so now or would you like to leave your boys in foster care for another night?"
"I like a lot of foster parents, some are really nice, but if they're mine, I... well, I can sleep on the couch tonight. I'll have ta move probably."
She nodded. "That sort of thing is factored into the leeway I can give you." He relaxed. "Now, do you need a handholder? Call a wife or girlfriend?"
"I'd like to do that in person," he said. She nodded, settling in to pull out files for him to go over and sign. Danny left to get back to his lab. Mac left them alone. "Mac, can you please summon my father down here?"
"I can bring you the boys in a few hours," she said with a small smile. "Our background check on you shows you're an exemplary man, no obvious anger issues, and that you're well respected."
He grinned. "I try, ya know."
"I do." She patted his hand. "Have your father show up after you've met them or do you want him here when you do so?"
"After or else he'll scream and rant." She nodded, letting him go back to signing.
"I'll get him down here at seven?"
She nodded that would be fine. Don handed over the last form. "Now, how long do you think it'll be before we can do a preliminary check on them? I should do a home study today but your landlord was nice enough to let me into your place. I did not touch anything."
"Okay. I'll have ta yell at him about that." He grinned. "I know it's tiny; it was just me before."
"I know. You need to get food tonight too."
"I can order with the best of 'em and I doubt I'll be alone tonight." No way would Stella or his dad leave him alone with his new kids, that he just found out about, tonight.
"So in about a week, I'll come by to see how things are going?" He nodded quickly at that. "Then you can tell me what you're planning about giving them their own beds so you're not on the couch and all that."
"That's a good time," he agreed, shaking her hand. "Sorry about the sweat."
"I'm not doing my job if you're not sweating," she said dryly, making him crack and laugh. "Good. Now, give me an hour to put these in and then I'll bring the boys over."
"We'll set it officially in six months. When we know more about how they got to the station." He nodded. "That'll give the detective over it time to make some decisions about what happened. If so, we'll hopefully have her name by then."
"You're most welcome. I love when I can make someone happy instead of having to take someone away." He nodded, hopping up to look out the windows. "Give me a few hours." She left, going to hand them to her boss. "Hallie, he's a very nice guy."
"Good." She smiled. "When are you going to bring them by?"
"Tonight, in a few hours." Hallie signed off and handed it back. "What about the mother's thing?"
"Not an issue." She smirked. "Really."
"You're the head vengeance demon over children." She skipped off to gather the boys and take them to him. Hallie had arranged everything when they had gotten to her. She came back with the triplets, finding him and a few others waiting on her. "Detective?" She looked. Then she sighed. "Alex!" He came trotting back with something held up. "How did you sneak into someplace and steal that already?" She handed it to Taylor. "He's only two and a half. He doesn't know much else." She counted then closed the door to make sure they didn't sneak out again. "Here you go."
Don sat down, staring at the kids. "Hey," he said quietly. They all stared at him. "I guess I'm your dad."
The blond of the group stuck his first two fingers in his mouth, staring at him, head tipped to the side. "Why?"
"Because that's how the blood work came out. I have no idea."
"Babies from turtles," Alex said. Don smiled at that. "Does."
"I guess they might. We'll talk about that later." He had *no* idea where that came from but he'd help the kid to get it right. They were old enough for storks. He had been once. "So, what's their names?"
"Alex, Greg, and Tim." She pointed at each. "Alex is a bit klepto now and then. He likes shiny things."
He looked up at her then spit. "Not shiny, booms!" he said firmly. Then he looked at Mac, staring at him. "Who you?" He walked over to stare at him closer. "Grandpa?"
"No, I'm a friend of your father's. I'm Mac."
"Mac?" He frowned. "Not grandpa name," he said with a scowl.
Mac laughed. "I'm not old enough to be his dad, Alex. His father is coming in a while so you can meet your grandpa then." Alex snorted, going to look at Don's back. Then he hopped up onto the back of the chair to climb up his back. "He's active."
"We've noticed," she agreed. She watched how Don got him back around to sit in his lap. Tim had moved slightly closer. Greg was still staring, looking confused. "It's okay, boys. He won't hurt you. He's a very nice man and your father."
"You turtle?" Greg asked him.
Don looked. "Not exactly." He kept Alex from pulling his gun. "You may not play with that." Alex pouted. "Tough. Guns are not toys, Alex." He handed it back to Mac, who put it into his desk drawer. "Thanks." He pointed. "That's Danny. He's a friend of mine too so you guys can call him uncle." Greg smiled and waved. Tim stared at him. "It's okay, Tim. We'll figure it out." Tim shook his head. "Yes we will." He pulled him closer to hug, smiling when he wiggled free. "Sure, you're anti-hug. That's cool too. We'll work on that."
Tim scowled at him, shaking his head. "No." He looked around then went to stare out the window. Alex pounced him, making him shriek. "Hey!" He swatted at him. "No pouncy!"
Alex just beamed and pulled him down to hug him. "Turtle hugs!"
"Get off!" he whined.
"No!" He lapped his cheek. "Love you."
"Get off!" Tim whined again, pushing at him.
Alex pouted. "No love?"
"Love," Tim sighed, but still wiggled free. "No pouncy!" he said with a scowl.
Alex giggled. "Pouncy good!"
"No," Tim said.
Greg pounced them both with a cackle. "Pouncy!" He ran over to hide behind Danny, grinning at him. "Hi!"
"Hi, Greg," he said, smiling at him. "Aren't you guys cute?"
Alex lifted his head to look over, shaking his head. "Terrors."
Don laughed. "It's just because there's three of you guys." He pulled them both over to sit in his lap. "Not cuddling, Tim." Tim smirked at that. "So, what do you guys like to do?" Tim pointed at the folders on the desk. "Read? We're good at reading." The social worker left them alone. He looked at Mac. "Reading stuff?"
He looked then handed over a newspaper. "That should work. It's the sports section." Alex spit. Mac smiled. "They're a handful."
Greg nodded. "Terrors."
Danny smiled. "I'm sure you can be when you want, guys." He sat down and let Greg crawl all around him. Over him. Under the chair. Then he went to investigate Mac the same way. Then he went to investigate the father. He was pretty nice, just smiled at him. He smelled good too. He saw the door open and looked then cackled and headed for it.
"Close it," Danny ordered. The door was shut. "Stella, these are Don's kids."
"They're adorable," she said, picking up the one on the floor to cuddle. He beamed at his brothers, waving at them. "What's your name?"
"Boobies!" he said happily.
She stared. "That's not a nice word, kid."
Don shook his head. "That's Greg. On my right is Tim. The other is Alex."
"You're all very cute." They smirked at her. "How did this happen?" He pointed at the folder. She settled down to look over it. She had to remove Greg's head from her shirt. "That's not for you, Greg."
He pouted. "Pretty!"
She stared at him. "You don't get those back until you're your dad's age." He stared at his father.
"Don't look at me, those aren't mine to play with, son. They're only hers. You can meet my girlfriend later."
Don's father stomped in. "Why did we call a meeting here, son?" The boys looked around the paper at him. He stared. "Are you...adopting?"
"Nope." He put the paper down. "All three came up as mine. And Gerrard knew and didn't tell me."
His father stared so Stella handed over the file. He read it then looked at his son. "Uh-huh."
"No clue, Dad. The first I knew today I was having a mild panic attack and thought Messer had set up the joke."
His father stared at him. Then he shuddered. "Okay. What are we doing?"
"The detective looking over the case has been found and talked to," Mac told him. "He has no leads at the moment. He does know he'll be watched over until he does make a conclusion." That got a slow nod. "They'll be doing another home visit in a week to find out how Don's doing and how things are being handled."
"My son lives in a tiny apartment," he said slowly.
"Yeah, probably gotta move," Don agreed.
His father scowled. "No probably about it, Donny." His son just handed over one of the kids. He stared at him. "What's your name?"
"Puppy!" he said with a happy grin.
"That's Alex, Dad. This is Tim. That's Greg trying to get inside Stella's shirt again. Greg." He stopped, giving him an innocent look. "Those things don't belong to Flacks, son." He took him to hold with Tim. Who looked at his brother then bopped him on the forehead. "Don't hit your brother."
Tim gave him an odd look then blew a raspberry at him.
"Hey!" Danny said. "Do not spit at your father."
"They're two, they're all like that, Messer," Don Flack Sr. said dryly. "Okay. This was a good reason to hold the meeting."
"I spent about thirty minutes thinking Danny had set me up."
"If he had, it'd be a good joke," he said dryly. He looked at Alex. "Now what?"
"Car seats?" Mac asked. Don gave him a look. "You're going to need them, Don."
"I have no idea about that stuff!"
"Relax, Don, we'll help," Stella promised. He grinned at her. "Don't try to hug me. Tim might not like it." Tim spit at her. She stared at him. "I pull out tongues that get shown to me that way, Tim." He pulled it back in and stared at her. "Much better. Thank you. Would you like a hug?" He shook his head and went to rescue Alex from the guy he was going to torment later. "Can we borrow from the station's emergency stash, Mac?"
"Of course. As long as we get them back tomorrow sometime." Don grinned at that. "You've got to buy some sometime."
"Don't remind me." He stood up. "Where are they?"
"In your backseat," Danny told him with a grin. Stella laughed. "I can plan ahead. So, Dad. Dinner?"
Junior looked at his father. "See what I put up with?"
"I got worse from your friends, Donny." He smiled and picked up Tim too. "Hi. Tim, right?" The boy nodded. "Any idea on their mother, Donny?"
"I don't even remember dating back then, Dad."
"I hate to mention it, but storage bank?" Stella asked.
Don stared then nodded. "That's possible. It's been a long time though." His father gave him an odd look. "An extra two hundred, dad."
"Fine," he said. "However it happened, it did. Let's get them to your place."
"Sure." He stood up and put Alex down. "Take my hand so we can go to the car?"
"Because we gotta go outside and I don't want you to get lost," Sr. said.
"Ooh," the boys said together.
"Cars?" Tim asked.
"That too." He carried the boys while his son got Alex. "Are they coming over?"
"Hopefully. That way I don't freak out with them later when I'm alone."
His father looked at him. "I managed not to do it with you."
"There was only one of me and you had time to get used to me at this age."
"Good point. They'll be fine tonight. They'll explore everything they can get into. We'll need to toddler-proof your home quickly." Stella laughed from behind them. "We will."
"Alex snuck out earlier to steal stuff from a lab," she told him.
"Then we'll watch really carefully tonight until someone can run to a hardware shop."
"On it," Mac said. "I can bring some over. Should I stop to pick up dinner, Don?"
"We'll order in a few hours," Don said with a small grin. "When we figure out if they need a nap or not."
"Probably not," Sr. said. "They're very hyper at the moment."
"We didn't feed them candy," Danny said with a grin. "Yet."
Both Flack's stared at him. "Don't even try," Junior said.
Stella giggled. "Of course he will sometime."
"Tell me if he does and I'll ground him to the lab," Mac promised.
"Thanks, Mac." They got onto the elevator. His father kept the boys from pushing buttons. They pouted at him. He stared back. Junior grinned. "I'll learn that trick."
"Quickly. Because otherwise you have to visit every single floor and they'll try to get off then pout when you don't let them. You did a lot of that."
"I kinda remember that." He got them off in the lobby, waving at the receptionist, who only stared in horror. "Don't ask."
Mac stared at her. "Private and personal, Gladys." She pouted. "We're heading to Flack's place if anyone needs us." She nodded, making a note of that. He helped Don with the unfamiliar car seats then headed to his own car so he could hit a store to get babyproofing stuff. He looked over. "Diapers, Don?"
He patted one kid. "Please. He was about thirty pounds." That got a nod and Mac left them alone. He grinned at the boy. "Thank you for not needing one already."
"Pretty soon you'll be able to potty train," his father said wisely. "Have you talked to your boss yet?"
"I'm gonna kill my boss since he knew and didn't tell me." He closed the door then called his boss's office. "You damn shitbag, you didn't even tell me I had kids!" he snarled. His boss spluttered. "Yes, she did. You could've warned me. Had my back a bit." He looked at the boys and smiled. "I'm taking a few days off. You don't like it, I'm so going to tell the others you didn't warn me. The other guys'll stand up for me." He hung up, looking at his father. "Think you can get him fired?"
Senior shrugged. "I don't know." He made his own call. "Hey, Jim. It's Don Flack. Small problem with my son's boss. Social worker...you heard? You should've warned us, Jim. Yes, they are his. We're taking them home. He just snarled at his boss and threatened to end him for not giving him a head's up. Can you fill out some emergency family leave paperwork for him?" He smiled at his son. "He's in shock. He thought one of the CSI kids set him up as a joke. We're going to his house. Thanks, Jim. Yeah, let me know if you hear anything about the case or the kids." He hung up. "He'll do that and go around Gerrard." He clapped his son on the back. "Turn on the radio, most kids like music." He went for his own car. His son was going to be insane by tomorrow. There was no way to prevent it with triplets. Though they didn't really look like his son. Must look like their mother.
Don finally laid down on his couch that night. Danny and Stella had managed to get the boys down when even he and his father couldn't. So they were on his bed. Wearing his t-shirts as nightshirts. Tim had scowled a bit but that was fine. He didn't seem like a happy baby. Don was on the couch, stretched out with one arm over his eyes. He was *so* tired and it was only going to get worse. Tomorrow he'd have them all day long. And every day after that. It was enough to make a man want to drink. But he wouldn't because he was responsible. And Danny had taken all the liquor and beer out of the house on him.
Tomorrow he'd have to call his girlfriend. Tell her the good news. He had *no* idea how she'd take it.
Tim woke up and looked around. Something was very wrong. He looked at his brothers. Alex was staring at the window. He climbed off the bed to look, wincing at the coldness of the floors. He definitely needed socks. He looked. Then he scowled and pointed. Alex came over to look after sliding off the bed too. Alex waved and grinned. The thing out there smirked and ran into something on the windows. The demon screamed then fled. Tim and Alex shared a grin. They looked at Greg, but he was snoring. They shared another look and went to check on the apartment. It was quiet. It was mostly dark but the tv was playing very quietly in the corner. Their father was on the couch. Alex cooed. Tim gave him a nudge. Alex pointed and made begging noises. Tim shrugged and they went to check on him closer.
He was a nice man. They liked him. He had taken the shock very well. When they were older they'd even tell him how this had happened. If Hallie let them. If not, they'd sulk until she gave in and told him how this had happened. They climbed up the arm of the couch next to his feet, staring at him as they moved across the back of the couch. He snuffled then shifted some. Tim nearly slipped and fell but Alex caught him and held him still until he got his balance back. They stared at him. Don flipped onto his back. Then onto his stomach. It shook the couch but they were steady. Alex grinned a naughty grin and slid down, carefully moving onto their father's back.
"Woohoo!" Alex shouted quietly, for him. Don flinched but Tim laughed and slid down to thump onto him too. Alex shouted again and bounced.
Don looked back over his shoulder. "I'm not the horse that you see at the supermarket, Alex." He shifted carefully, pulling both boys over to his side as he made it onto it. "There. Better?" They both smirked at him. "Why are you two up?" Alex pointed at the window. "Noisy?" The boys nodded. "That's okay. It's like that sometimes around here." He pulled the blanket over them and let them cuddle in. "This couch is really small, huh?" They laughed and got down, running for the refrigerator. "It's not snack time, guys." He got up to capture them, swinging them around, making them giggle. "C'mon, we'll go back to bed and read." Tim beamed at that. Alex pouted. "It'll be breakfast time really soon." He walked them in there. They were easily tucked in around Greg and he settled in next to them to read them another story from the pile that Stella had gotten on her way there. "You guys probably need teddybears or something, huh?" Alex pouted at him, holding up his arms. "What? If I knew where it was, Alex."
Tim pushed on Alex until he was cuddling Greg then sighed in pleasure because it meant Greg quit snoring.
Don laughed. "That's a good job, Tim." He patted them all on the head. "Can we sleep now?" Alex spit. "Damn," he muttered. Tim laughed. "I know. I shouldn't say those words around you." He laid down and cuddled in too. They all liked that. Greg even smiled in his sleep. Or it could've been the sign that he had wet his diaper - who knew about kids.
Alex spotted something and pointed. He was making frantic noises and hopping up and down while pointing at it. "What?" Don asked. "Do you recognize that house?" Alex beamed and nodded. He looked at the other two. "You two recognize it?" He called the detective who was over their case. "It's Flack. I've got the boys at the park and one's frantic that he recognized a house over here. 80th street. Thanks, man." He hung up. "Let's wait on the nice detective to see what he knows. All right? Calm down, Alex. If you're right, we'll see." The boy pouted, sucking on Greg's fingers for him. "Good boys. Let's go over to that juice seller across the street?" They followed him. When the detective pulled up he walked them back over. "Show him which house, guys." He shrugged. Tim led them to a door and Alex patted it until someone opened it. "Ma'am, Detective Flack with the NYPD." He flashed his badge. She nodded, smiling at the boys.
"Ma'am, Detective Fortner." He smiled at Flack, who moved the boys back. "Those three were dropped at a station recently without their mother," he said quietly. She moaned. "They said they knew this house somehow. Do you recognize them?"
She looked. "They look like the boys who live up the street, but I'm the housekeeper. Let me get the nanny. She would've seen them in the park. Stay here, Detective." She went inside to get her. They came back hissing at each other.
The nanny smiled. "Ah, boys." Don stared at her, a small smile starting. "I do know those three. They lived on the other side of the block with their nanny Hortense and their stepmother."
"Stepmother?" Don asked. "Um, I came up their biological father but no one ever told me."
She nodded. "That can happen but their mother wasn't exactly...pleasant and her girlfriend was nicer so we saw her sometimes."
Detective Fortner smiled. "That's good to know. Would you know which house?"
"The one with the black shutters just around the corner here. Those three like to pause on our steps and wait for Hortense to catch up. She's a bit older and walked more slowly than they ran."
"Why is the door open?" a cranky voice called.
"Ma'am, the triplets from the other side of the block were misplaced all the way to a police station without a note or anything. The detective and father were asking about them and their family."
She came to the door. "Their family?"
"Yes, ma'am. It turns out they're my sons and no one told me," Don said. "At least until the social worker ran the tests from where they were dropped off at a police station in the Bronx."
She grimaced. "That's unseemly. Rebecca isn't exactly a *good* sort but she's not *that* bad usually. Have you seen her or her nanny recently?" she asked hers.
"No, I haven't, ma'am. Not in about a week."
"They were dropped off six days ago," Detective Fortner said. "Their mother's name is Rebecca?"
"Rebecca Tolemere. She's supposedly slumming by living in this area but I have the feeling her family doesn't exactly approve of how she got pregnant." She scratched the back of her neck. "You'd have to ask her."
"Have you seen anyone strange by their house recently?"
"No, I haven't," she admitted. "But I don't usually stare that way. Maria, have you seen anything strange around Rebecca's house?" she called.
"No, missus. I haven't seen anything but the kitchen light being on all day and night." She smiled at the boys. "They're so adorable."
"They are but they're trouble," Don said dryly, looking around. "Tim!" He came running back with a dog. "Is that yours?"
"No, that's Paul's dog. He lives up the street," the nanny said.
"You can't keep anyone else's dog," Don told him. Tim pouted. "You can pet it until its daddy shows up and wants it back."
The nanny laughed. "He'll be down in a minute. He usually lets it leave the house to do its business then it runs home."
Don nodded. "I know people like that." He watched the boys, making Greg quit hugging it. "Not so tight. It can't breathe. Like when Tim squeezes you too hard."
An older man in a bathrobe and slippers came out scowling. "Oh, it's you three. Where is your nanny?"
"That's what we were wondering," Don said, flashing his badge. The man stopped and went pale. "Have you seen or heard anything from their house in the last few days, sir? These three were dropped at a police station six days ago without anyone knowing why or by who."
"Oh, dear." He grimaced. "That's not good."
"No, it's not." He smiled. "Thankfully they found me in their DNA."
"Oh. So you're the unnamed donor," he said dryly, smirking at him.
"Apparently. They're good boys. Boys, give him back his dog?" They pouted at the guy. "It's his dog, like Stella's hair thing is hers and you had to give it back." Alex pouted and Greg sniffled, looking pitiful. Don coughed. "Boys. Save it for Grandpa." They let the dog go. "Thank you." He gave them all a hug. "Would anyone have seen? Maybe a neighborhood spy?"
"Their next door neighbor to the right is one," the nanny said, looking at her employer.
"Indeed. She has a telescope she likes to point at my husband's dressing area."
Detective Fortner smiled. "We'll ask her and make a quiet comment about that, ma'am. Thank you for your help and if you find anything out, let me know?" He handed over his card. Don handed over his as well with a grin. "Thank you, ladies, and you, sir." They walked around the corner. Greg was pulling now. "Calm down," the detective ordered. "We're getting there." He went to talk to the neighbor. The boys bounced on their doorstep. "They're cute, Flack."
"Yes they are." He smiled at the neighbor. "Ma'am, do you know my sons?"
She gasped. "Oh, dear."
"Please tell us what you know, ma'am?" Fortner said quietly. "We were told you have quite the eye for the neighborhood's going on." She blushed a bit. "Your neighbors mentioned your attention to local details."
"Of course. Boys, would you like some soda and cookies?" Alex was inside her house before she quit talking. Greg wasn't far behind. Tim scowled at her. "Yes, I have raisins for you, Tim." He smiled and went inside. "Tim's a bit of a picky eater." She let them inside and got the boys treats so they could talk like civilized beings in the sitting room.
Don walked the boys into Mac's office with the detective. "It's not pretty."
"It never is." He put down his pen and looked at them. "Boys, there's a magazine behind you. Alex, do not crawl up to hug the flag again please," he said patiently. He looked at the detective. "Fortner?" He nodded, shaking his hand. "What happened?"
"It was a contract it looks like. Clean kills of the adults. We think the kids were left by the killer." Mac nodded, looking grim. Don got Alex away from the pictures and in front of the magazine. It got a hoot and the others came to look. Greg and Tim growled at the Guns'n Ammo. "They're hell of set of boys, Flack."
"Yes they are." He found something else for Tim and Greg, letting them look at the pretty scientific journal instead. He sat down. "The house is a mess. Their CSI have it, still." That got a nod. "It's messy. The CSI let me get their clothes and toys. They're in the car."
"Good. No sign of other relatives?"
"Supposedly she has parents," Don said. "I have no idea where."
Fortner nodded. "I'm having my partner track that down for me once we had a name. Hopefully we'll know within a few days. Hopefully the hitman is found as well. I'm guessing the kids weren't part of it or he decided they were innocent of whatever crime they think they did."
"Do we think it's related?"
"With her last name, I think she's somehow related to a very crooked construction company," he admitted. "We'll be seeing." That got a nod. "Bronx CSI is looking a bit green about the house. I don't know but I do know if she's related to that basta....um, pain in the butt that the prosecutor's office has tried to charge six times and can't seem to find a grip on, then he might have a problem."
"If we see him, we'll handle it for the kids."
"Good." He shook his hand. "Give us a few days, Flack."
"Sure, let me know." He nodded and left. "All the neighbors knew the boys. They all loved them and one fed them cookies. Tim liked raisins instead of cookies for some strange reason." Mac smiled at that. "They're all a bit strange." He kept Alex from climbing up to look at the pictures again. "You can ask your uncle to bring them down. You do not climb on the furniture like that."
Alex pouted at him. "Meany."
"Tough," he said but he was grinning. "There's rules, Alex, and you gotta follow the same rules I do. If I can't climb on it, you can't."
"Big meany." He pouted over to Mac, pointing and grunting. "Please?"
"We'll pick you up so you can look at them but you cannot touch." He carried the boy over to let him look at the pictures, getting a happy boy. He even smirked at his father. Mac put him down and pointed at the magazine. Alex went back to petting the gun pictures with a grin. "Good boys." He looked around. "Greg?" Don pointed under the couch. "Good thing you were watching."
"He's gonna try to sneak out as soon as anyone opens the door." He looked at Mac again. "So now we know some at least."
"How did they come to be?"
"One of the neighbors thought she went to a bank since she has a girlfriend."
"Oh. Is she...." Don nodded. "I'm sorry."
"Don't be. I knew it could happen. But now that we know, we'll have to see what her will says."
"Sure. I understand that." He let Tim crawl up into his lap so they could look at the article together. "That's on DNA separation techniques and a new machine someone came out with that doesn't work very well, Tim." Tim smirked at him. "You are very smart. All three of you are very smart."
"They're smart enough to have woken me up at three to sit on my back like I was the horse at the grocery store," Don said. "Him and Alex both." Mac laughed at that, giving Tim a squeeze. Tim scowled. "Hugs are nice, Tim. Get used ta hugs. Stella likes ta hug too."
"Boobies?" Greg asked from his hiding spot, then he groaned.
"Don't say that word," Mac ordered. "It's a bad word."
"Mama say," Tim said quietly.
"She's an adult and adults can say bad words," Don said patiently. "Until you three are big like me and Mac, you can't."
Tim shrugged and went back to flipping through the magazine. He pointed at something then looked at Mac. "Slides?"
"Yes, that is a slide," he said, beaming at him. "How do you know about slides?" Tim just grinned and went back to flipping through it.
"There's something a bit strange about all of 'em," Don said quietly, watching Alex kiss the picture of a P-90 assault rifle.
Mac hummed. "It could be." Stella leaned in and Greg ran for the door but she stopped him and cuddled him. "Nice catch."
"I'm good at catching little criminals. Since this one stole hearts, I guess he fits." She put him down and closed the door. "What's up?"
"Found where they used ta live," Don told her. "Bronx CSI has the crime scene."
"I'm sorry, Don."
"I figured it had to be something like that. I wish I had known about her or them so I didn't get shocked that way but it's okay."
"If you need help, we're here."
"I know. Watch out." She caught Alex when he pounced with a wicked, evil laugh. "He's good at that."
"Very." She set the baby down with a smile. "Hi, Alex. I wasn't ignoring you. You're adorable." He beamed and showed her the magazine. "Guns."
He nodded. "Good."
"Yes, they can be but you're still too young to play with one," Don said. Alex spit at him. "Dad said I can smack your mouth if you keep doin' that. You want that?" Alex pouted, getting onto the table to look at his magazine, his back to his father. "Fine, whatever," he said, looking at the other adults. "We're waiting to see if she had a will or other relatives."
"It'll work out fine," she promised, giving him a hug. Greg looked at her, then held up his arms with a big grin. "Do you need one too?" She gave him a hug and swatted the hand trying to go down her shirt. "Not yours, Greg." She put him down. "I don't give hugs to boys who grope." Tim spanked her, making her jump. "Hey!" She scowled at him but he just grinned back.
"Thank you, Tim. It's good to know you think my butt is cute. Can't wait until you start dating."
"Don't wish that on me," Don groaned. The boys laughed because Daddy sounded like he was in pain, making Mac and Stella laugh. "I'll make you two give 'em the big boy speech too." Stella laughed as she walked out, making sure none of them followed her.
Don walked them into his boss's office a few days later. "You wanted ta see 'em?"
"No, but IAB wants to see you and them." He pointed at the other guy in there. "Couldn't find a sitter?"
"I'm interviewing daycares. They had a nanny before." He sat the boys in one of the empty chairs and handed them the magazine off the desk then sat down. "Okay, what's up, Hillbourne?"
"How did you find her family home?"
"We were wearing them out in the park. Alex kept walking away so we followed him. Figured it wouldn't hurt. He came out of a park entrance and nearly bounced himself to death pointing at a house. I called the detective over how they appeared at the station and let him ask questions while the neighbors cooed over their cuteness."
"They're how old?" Tim glared at him. "He's got his grandfather's scowl." Tim spit. Don glared so he smiled and waved. Then he went back to the magazine. "He's spoiled. You need to correct that soon."
"He only does it to guys he don't like," Don said, staring at him. "I'm still pissed you heard and didn't tell me they were looking for as a daddy, Gerrard." Hillbourne hissed and winced. "Social worker came looking. He signed forms saying I was him and here but I was on vacation at that time. Gave her stuff to do a DNA test."
"That's against protocol and pretty low," Hillbourne agreed. He looked down at the feeling of a hand in his pocket, stopping the kid. "What are you doing?"
"Give him his wallet back, Alex," Don said patiently. "And his gun." Hillbourne looked then took them back with a head shake. "Coming in to meet us, he stole from a lab."
"He's good and sneaky. Two?"
"Few months over."
"That's a fun age," Hillbourne said with a smirk.
"Oh, I heard." He pulled Alex into his lap but Greg tried to steal him back so he let him hold Alex instead. "Behave." He looked at him. "Is there a doubt?"
"Did we find out anything on how they came to be?"
"I had some donations in a bank. We're waiting to see what her will says about them."
"That's reasonable." He made notes. "What about the crime scene?"
"We were with the neighbor when Fortner checked it out. Bronx CSI has it. Why the interest?"
Hillbourne looked at him. "Three kids show up at a police station without a note or an adult, it gets noticed. We're making sure everything's above board."
"I can understand that. They're good kids. Even if Alex did just steal your wallet again." He snatched it and handed it back then glared at the boy, getting a pout. "Sit. Now." Alex sat beside his foot, hugging his ankle. "Sorry."
"It happens with kids. Better than my gun." He looked at Gerrard, then at him. "He tried to write you up for growling at him."
"He deserved it and if I'd been in his face in person, he'd have a broken nose."
"I understand why now. You're clear on that." He shook his hand. "Make sure I'm informed of the outcome." That got a nod. "The Chief is not happy that this happened this way."
"Fortner and I think the killer dropped 'em off."
"Damn. Okay." He left, going to check over his shoulder too. No one wanted to think that Flack had killed them to get his sons, but you never knew and someone had made that accusation.
Gerrard looked at him. "Daycare?"
"Starting next week."
"You're coming back then?"
"Pending what social services says. I might have to move before we know what her will says."
He nodded. "I can understand that. I gave you until the first. That's three weeks total."
"Hopefully that'll be enough." He stood up and looked at the boys. "Let's go." They followed him out, then he turned and let them walk in front when Tim tried to rob one of the detectives of his lunch. "No, we'll feed you at home, Tim." He walked them out, herding them toward the car. "Car!" Greg quit trying to go for another car. Alex too. "Home so we can eat. I might even have cookies." They ran for the car. He shook his head. But you had to grin. They were generally good, if hyper, kids.
Don walked into the lawyer's office three days later, nodding politely at him. "The boys are in daycare for the time being. I didn't want them to be here while we talked."
"That's a good thought," he said. "This is the biological grandfather of those boys."
"Mine's parking the car." He shook his hand. "They're good boys."
"How did they find you?"
"Apparently she had taken the sperm I had stored in a bank. Social services did a DNA scan to find relatives."
"Mine's in there."
"It never came up with you, sir. I don't know why." He sat down. "Did she have a legal order that gave the boys to someone?"
"I think it was clear she wasn't going to give them to you."
Don stared at him for his snotty attitude. "Then I'll take that as a no." The older man bristled and glared. He looked at the lawyer. "So the precedence of biological father, even if I was shocked, or grandfather that's been indicted six or seven times would be?"
He cleared his throat. "It's about an equal claim. We'd like to propose a settlement so we don't have to go in front of family court. Would you take visitation?"
"No, I'll take custody and let him have visitation." His father walked in. "And I want the DNA test rerun to see why he didn't show up."
"I'm her stepfather," he said grimly. "The only one she knew."
"We've seen that before," Don Senior told him. He sat down. "So it's the biological father versus her family?" The lawyer nodded. "What is the precedent?"
"You're in the law?" the other man asked. They both pulled their badges. He sneered. "I see."
"Both of us have exemplary records and my father's considered one of the top captains in the city," Don Junior said quietly. He gaped. "There's a lot of things that can be said about us. Including that the kids are safe and content."
"They need special handling. They have ...issues."
"They're a bit hyper. Tim's a picky eater. Tim and Greg are very interested in books and Alex likes gun magazines." He shrugged. "Nothing too special there. They're only two."
"Once they can read, we'll do educational testing to make sure they don't have any problems learning things," Senior agreed. "Have their eyes checked, all that."
"How did you find out who they were?" the lawyer asked.
"We were in the park and Alex recognized the area, led us to their house. The detective over the case of them being dropped at the station found the crime scene."
"Crime scene, is that what you call it?" the other grandfather sneered.
Don gave him a patient look. "I work in homicide. I was trying to be polite and not grate on nerves by reminding everyone why we're here and having this discussion." The other man got up and stomped out. "When do you want to schedule the hearing? I need time to get my own lawyer."
"We'd be very generous in the visitation rights and give you a good stipend for when you had them," the lawyer offered.
"No deal," Don snorted as he stood up. "They're my boys now. They can visit grandpa but I'll be damned if I want them to live with a crook like that. Especially with what he's been indicted for." He leaned down. "We're not sure if their mother's murder was a warning to him or not." The man moaned. "So no. They're safer with me. Thank you anyway and I'm not some whore to be paid for my time. I'll have my lawyer contact you for the date of the hearing. Have a better day." He and his father walked out together. "The nerve of that bastard," he said once they were outside.
"They never said she had a will," Don Senior said, staring up at the building. "C'mon, I know someone pretty decent."
"I got the name of someone from the DA's office, Dad." He led him to the car and uptown to the office, smiling as he was let in. "Hi, can I schedule an emergency appointment with Mr. Woods?"
"Of course, sir. Emergency?"
"I was recently found by social services after the mother of the children I fathered through a sperm bank was killed. Her father has been indicted multiple times." She let out a small moan and called back there. An elderly Asian man came out. "Mr. Woods, sir. It's a pleasure. The DA's office gave me the recommendation to come to you. They said if you couldn't handle it fairly no one could."
"What is the issue?" He led them back to his office.
"I'm Detective Flack and this is my father, Captain Flack, sir. About a week and a half ago, a set of triplets were dropped off anonymously at a police station in the Bronx. It turns out they're mine. We found out that the donation I'd made to a sperm bank for some extra money was used by their mother." That got a short nod. "Their grandfather on her side is a crooked contractor that's been indicted six times." That got a wince. "Their mother was killed and we think the killer dropped the boys off after killing their nanny, their mother, her girlfriend, and the housekeeper. They just tried to strong-arm me for custody of the triplets."
"Two. Almost three. Just under by about a month and a half."
The lawyer nodded. "Who's their lawyer?" Don Senior handed over a card. "A will present?"
"They never said. They tried to offer me generous visitation and a stipend to take care of them while I had 'em." The lawyer groaned. "If they're my kids, they're my kids," he said firmly. "Her stepfather can leap."
"Well, first of all, we have to make sure who filed for executor status. What's her name?" Don Senior pulled the copy of the casefile out to hand over. "You're thorough."
"That's why I'm a captain," he said with a smile.
That got a nod of understanding. "It sounds like they promoted well." He read it over then looked at Don. "Both claims are a bit iffy. You'd probably be awarded custody at least at first because you are the biological father."
"The other's her stepfather. He didn't show up in the DNA scan."
"That's understandable really. Let me do some searching. You do know that I do have to charge you? We charge two hundred dollars an hour." Don winced at that.
"I've got a good retirement account," Senior promised.
"If I have to, I'll take out a loan," Don Junior agreed. That got a nod. "They're my boys."
"Good. That's an attitude I like. Let me poke my nose into the filings for the death court and see what's happened." They shook hands. "Your number?" Don handed over a card. Senior did the same. "I'll talk to you in a few days, let you know what I've found so far. It may simplify or create new problems if she has a will."
"Good. Then you're realistic." He watched them go and called his favorite magistrate's secretary. "Pauline, Bob Woods. I need to see if someone's filed anything on a Rebecca Tolemere for executor of her estate or anything like a will or custody paperwork for her sons. Triplets. They think the killer spared them and dropped them at a police station." He leaned back while he listened, smiling and nodding. "Please do, dear. I'm here. Yes I am to be noted as the attorney of record for the children's biological father. No, she used a bank. I know it'll complicate things but he's a very nice detective. Thank you, dear." He called the social worker that was listed in the file to get her records too. Then he called the other lawyer to talk legalese at him. The poor boy was simply screwed. The detective would have a whole lot of ease getting those boys with what he was seeing.
Don walked into his boss's office his first day back, handing over a form. "Family court about her estate." He left.
He looked at the leave request and signed it, sending it up the chain. That was a promising sign. Three hours later, Taylor walking into his office and shutting the door was less promising. "One of my guys go bad again?"
"Hillbourne's going to be coming to talk to Don in a little bit. The boys' grandfather was just killed in a mafia-style hit after his last indictment hearing." Gerrard moaned. "Fair warning." He opened the door. "Flack?" He looked up then came in. "Tolemere's dead. Shot in the back of the head coming out of the courthouse after his indictment hearing."
"I've been here all morning doing paperwork."
"Good. Hillbourne's on his way. Someone higher up thinks this is fishy. If you need us, we're here."
"Thanks, Mac. Means a lot." He patted him on the arm. "I guess that'll ease the custody hearing. Can you tell my dad? I can see people scurrying so he must be here."
"I can do that." He left, going out the other door so he wasn't seen.
Don looked at Gerrard. "We're borrowing your office again." He waved him in. "I heard there's new problems that they think I'm getting revenge for?"
"Where were you today?"
"At my desk doing the backed up paperwork. Everyone in here can tell you that. Guys, he needs to know where I was."
"Here. He took a few calls from the daycare," one guy said. "What happened? More kids?"
"Someone shot their maternal grandfather coming out of his indictment hearing." They all stared. "I can't afford a hitman, Hillbourne. The lawyer's two hundred an hour. I had to take out a loan and it wouldn't solve anything. Her mother's still alive."
"Oh." He stared at him. "Did you make any off-hand remarks that you'd like him dead?"
"To dad in the car. We were alone. He's well known as a crooked construction guy up that way."
"He has mafia ties too," Hillbourne told him. "The boys?"
"A secure, knows how to take security precautions daycare."
"Even better." He made notes. "It is a formality that we have to ask."
"I know. You're easier to deal with than the will shit."
"If you say so." He flipped his notebook closed. "I'll be watching."
"Of course you will. I'll try not ta pick my nose or any wedgies out." Hillbourne walked off scowling. The guys all looked at him. "Someone decided to make the custody hearing easier for me by shooting her stepfather." That got a few groans. "And Greg managed to sneak into the refrigerator at the daycare. He ate all the fruit while he was in there." That got a few grins. He went back to his desk to tell Mac how it had went then got back to his paperwork monster.
Gerrard shook his head and reported further up the food chain about what had been said and done. He wanted his butt firmly covered when something happened to Flack.
Don came out of the closed hearing with a grin. "They're all mine. Her mother doesn't want visitation. I don't know why but she's obviously touched in the head since she doesn't love 'em like everyone else does." His father gave him a hug and a pat on the back. "Also, her will's being probated in a few months. The lawyer filed for executor status over it on the boys' behalf. Her mother did as well. So we'll see."
"Good." He walked him off. "We should get the heathens from the daycare and go celebrate."
"We can do that. Ice cream? Even Tim likes ice cream. I don't know why he doesn't usually like cookies."
"Some kids are strange at that age," his father said. "You had a few days when all you would eat was fresh, uncooked green beans." Don laughed, shaking his head. They ran into the criminal courts' waiting area. "There's one of your buddies."
Don nearly bounced over talk to her. "I got 'em." Stella beamed and gave him a hug too. "We're gonna go have ice cream with my terrors. Comin' over tonight?"
"If you want. How did it go with your girlfriend?"
"She said they all showed the Flack charm and nearly didn't wanna go home that first night. Even after Greg did his shirt diving trick and Alex tried to get up her skirt." She snickered. "I told her they were doing what I loved doing. She giggled and helped me put 'em down for the night. We're cool so far." He winked. "Have fun with that. I'll be back tomorrow."
"Sure." She watched them leave, smiling at the people around her. "Just settled custody." That got a few nods from the other cops. It explained the un-cop-like behavior.
*** (sent to list to here)
Don looked up from his crime scene when a new cruiser pulled up with lights and sirens. "Damn, are we being invaded?" he called to his boss when he got out.
"I want to know your whereabouts for the last three hours, Flack." Don waved a hand around. "Nowhere else? Not even a piss break?"
"No," he said slowly. "What happened to my pseudo-in-laws this time?"
"Her mother just burned down her second house." Don moaned, turning to kick a building. "You were only here?"
"Only here, Gerrard. Hold on, we know who did it?"
"She was giggling madly and holding another molitov when the fire department showed up," he said dryly. Don sighed. "Her stuff?"
"In storage. I did confiscate any and all photo albums we found for the boys."
"That's good thinking. How much longer is this going to take?"
"Don't know. Anyone ask her if she had their mom killed?"
"Probably not yet. I'll make sure someone does though." Because that wasn't a bad idea. "I want you to stay noticeable all day."
"Sure. I can do that. Buddy system on lunch too."
"Good." He went back to the patrol car and let the rookie take him back to the station. He had a word with the detective. "Flack did not ask for or order this to happen but he did want to know if she killed the boys' mother too," he said quietly.
"I heard about that already from her. She did because her going to a bank disgraced her family." That got a slow nod. "No idea what's going on, Cap."
"Everyone in this family is being destroyed slowly," he said, glancing around. "Flack's always got an alibi, always away from there. We don't think he's planned it."
"Flack?" He snorted. "His dad might but Junior's not like that. Too uptight or Taylor wouldn't let him work with him." That got a nod. "Trust me. Even Internal Affairs has been listening in. He's clear."
"Thank you." He left, going back to his desk to think. It was an extreme set of circumstances to happen around those boys and Flack. Something was clearly going on.
Danny walked into an office downtown, kicking the door closed behind him. "Thought she was one of yours."
"Daniel," she sighed, looking at him. "What's going on?"
"The Flack triplets."
"Figures. You know the father?"
He smirked. "He's my buddy and best friend. You could've sent them my way," he said quietly.
"The Higher Ups did that, not me. Only one was mine."
"One of them was in the way of the Higher Ups so they allowed a witch to hiccup," she said quietly. "One was a second-chance as a favor to a friend of D'Hoffryn because of all the work he's done. The other was a real call. We had to make sure that the three didn't have a marginal childhood this time. All three were nearly lost childhoods last time."
"You still could've picked me."
"I didn't know you were local or I would've. Though they wanted that one far away from any demons."
He smirked. "My human job helps me weed down the amount of work I gotta do."
"Being the one who speaks for those who were forgotten is a big job. Nearly as big as mine."
"I thought that worker was one of yours." She nodded with a grin. "Anything I should know?"
"Alex used to be Anya's."
"Hold on. That's Ahn's Xander?" She beamed and smiled. "Let me guess, he was in the way?"
"Yup, sure was." She smirked. "There's no way they want him in the way and none of us are allowed to tell them."
"The boys know. Alex still likes guns. Greg and Tim used ta be CSI?" She nodded. "Figures. They're science mad." She groaned. "So they do remember."
"That was not part of my job."
"It'll destroy their dad. He's a decent, good guy. Had my back anytime I needed him to."
She sighed. "That's another good reason not to tell him. Though, I have just heard that as they reach a year in this life, they'll be fully changed over to little Flacks."
He nodded once. "Will Don and the others notice?"
"No. It'll be attributable to raising them."
"Okay. If it comes out, you're gonna be shot at the very least. Don's gonna get you and if he don't, his dad will and Don'll call for backup from Taylor and them."
"I'll talk to him if he does find out," she said quietly.
"The thing against the mom's family?"
"Not my doing but it's amusing to watch. As someone once said, Xander is the butterfly in the chaos theory." He smirked at that. "That's all their connections, not us."
"Okay. Just makin' sure." He straightened up. "Anything I should tell 'im?"
"No. Not allowed."
"Fine. When are you guys comin' back? He's in the middle of figuring out what's going on and who has custody of the kids' trust funds."
"He will. The mother snapped. Her husband's business dealings with the mafia related contractors has sullied her once proud family name and fortune. The hit was for her daughter sullying the family name. The husband was his contacts and his trials bringing notice to them. The boys are safe and the higher ups erected a shield around them to keep any demons off. Alex *still* draws them."
"I'll be on the watch for that. Anything we need ta know?"
"Alex on chocolate is scary. So said Anya after she fed him chocolate and wanted sex."
"Good old Ahn," he sighed, shaking his head. "Never changes some things."
"Not on that one," she agreed with a smirk again. "Anyway, how close are you to the boys? That might create a problem."
"I'm a favorite uncle and you can tell the boss to kiss my ass."
"I'll do that." She looked up then smirked at him. "He said you can play guardian."
"Already do." He smirked back. "Me and Taylor. Is he one of us?"
"No, he's just stubborn."
"Good to know. Thanks, Hallie." He left, going back to the office to look at Mac. "Hey."
"Hey." He took the tape Danny had made. "Evidence?"
"Something Don can't know but someone should." Mac settled in to listen to it while Danny sat down and stretched out on one of the uncomfortable chairs that populated Mac's office. Mac gave him a horrified look. "I'm over those who've died and been forgotten. Those who have no one to speak for 'em," he said quietly.
"I come from an old family, Mac. So does he. He and my dad have been in business forever. Or nearly so in human history."
"Good to know. Any special powers?"
"Nope. Not unless I'm called."
"Okay." He stared at him. "So the kids...." Danny nodded. "But we can't tell Don."
"Don'll be heartbroken."
"He will." He tossed the tape into the trash. "Thank you for letting me know. Were you ever going to tell me?"
Danny snorted as he stood up. "Hell no. I use my job here to cut down on those that need my services."
Mac smiled. "Good. I like that attitude. Let me know if it calls and we'll see if we can work on the case." Danny nodded, smirking back. "So we don't tell him."
"Nah. Though we do need ta watch Alex more closely. His old life, he liked artillery and guns. He hunted demons."
"No, he's dating a former one in my job. She was over scorned women before they broke her power center and she got fired for it." Mac whimpered. "Sunnydale, Mac," he said slowly and clearly. Mac shuddered. That place had rumors spread about it. "So Tim and Greg...."
"Las Vegas has a missing DNA tech," he moaned.
"And the other was reborn."
"I wonder if she meant Horatio or Alexx."
Danny smiled. "Horatio." He nodded at Don coming up the hall. "Now, we gotta forget." He cast the spell on them both so neither one could tell them. The tape went up in a burst of smoke. Danny looked over as Don came in. "Anything for us?"
"Not today. I'm more worried about all these deaths in her family."
Danny glanced up as the information hit his head again. "Her stepdad is mafia'd up. How much attention did his stuff get his partners?"
"Her mother's maiden name probably goes back to a better family with what their home looks like. That place has been constantly lived in by the same family by what I saw when I glanced at her family."
Don groaned. "She snapped."
"Yup," Danny agreed with a grin. "Why?"
"Sullying the family name by what she said to Fortner," Mac said. Don slumped with a groan, sitting on the couch. "So this won't hurt the kids?"
"If they wanted to hurt the boys, they wouldn't have dropped them off," Danny said. Don nodded at that wisdom. "Be a bit careful but not all the way to paranoid."
"I can do that." He stood up. "Hillbourne loves me. Still."
"Not your fault it's going on. Point out what the stepdaddy did."
"Oh, he's got his whole file and he thinks it's from that. Gerrard thinks I paid a hitman."
Danny laughed. "Fat chance." He gave him a pat on the arm. "When's the estate hearing?"
"Then you'll have good news then. We'll celebrate, give the terrors ice cream and cookies for the night, and let Stella defend her tits from Greg again." Don snickered, nodding a bit. "Moving?"
"I'm not sure. If I get executor for the boys, should I sell her house or have it cleaned and move the boys back?"
Mac shrugged. "Which one do you think is going to be better for the boys?"
"I think they'd love to be so near the park but it's a longer drive for me and them in the mornings."
"Then sell it and find something nice closer," Danny said. "No bad memories for them. Bigger for you."
"Expensive on taxes," Don put in.
"Then find a bigger apartment closer."
"I'm looking but they're damn expensive. I don't wanna spend their money."
"We'll figure it out," Mac promised. That got a nod. "See what the judge says first."
"I'm gonna do that anyway." He looked outside then at him. "How do I stop Greg's bra diving?"
"No, don't do that."
"Maybe a hand smack from her whenever he tries," Mac added.
"Good. Then I'm on the right track. Hopefully." They smiled at him. "Okay, well, let's get back to work. The case this morning? Any clues yet? I'm stuck."
"No," Mac said. "We're all waiting." That got a nod and Don went back to his desk to think and make plans.
Don walked the judge around the house the boys had lived in. The crime scene clean up team had done a good job. The house looked spotless and ready to be sold. The judge was making notes about it. The social worker too. He looked at her and got a smile. "The boys had a room upstairs with a playroom attached." They went up there to look. The judge wanted to know what he wanted to do about this. Don wasn't sure. He had admitted he wasn't sure about moving the boys there or selling it and finding somewhere closer to work and daycar, without memories for them.
The social worker looked around their room. "It's nice but I'm not sure it'd be good for the boys to live here."
The judge looked at her. "It's a good neighborhood."
"It is but they may have memories of their mother and stepmother being killed here, Your Honor."
"Which is a worry you both had," he agreed. He looked at Don. "How far out of your commute is this?"
"With the way the streets are laid out, the evening commute is about twenty longer after the daycare. In the morning it's nearly forty or fifty, and more if traffic's bad."
He sighed, looking around. "I would like to put the estate into trust for the boys."
"Which I'd expect," Don agreed. "I'm not doin' this to get their money or spend it, Your Honor. I'm not like that."
"I can see that, Detective." He smiled. "Relax. I'm mean but not that unreasonable. You're the only adult in the family that's been found. Even if you're not really related. How are they doing?"
"We found out Alex turns into a holy terror on crack when he has chocolate."
The judge laughed. "Some are like that."
The social worker nodded. "He's a bit hyper." Don nodded, giving her a look. "Sorry."
"Not your fault. Greg is too."
The social worker looked around. "You got all their clothes?"
"Toys too. The day we found the house CSI helped me clean out their stuff. Alex has this stuffed mouse that he loves."
"Good." She made another note. "If you're not moving here, where are you thinking?"
"I don't know. Probably a townhouse maybe? If I can. Somewhere with a room for me, rooms for them so they can have their own room, a play area, and a decent enough kitchen."
She wrote down an address. "Nearer to your work. It's renovated from a commercial property. Former rental area." He smiled, tucking it into his shirt pocket. "It's expensive but probably less than this house would go for."
The judge looked at her. "You know real estate?"
"A few friends have been looking for their own house."
"That's always a fun job. I hated doing mine." Don drove them back to the courthouse when they were done, letting him think on the way. It was a nice area. It was a problem for the detective and father though. Not to mention the boys possibly remembering what happened there. During his thinking recess he got a visit who made him decide a few things. The judge over the stepfather's and mother's estates needed to know about the daughter's. There was going to be a shock there. He came back with the first judge. "Detective Flack, this is Judge Herbert Simpkins. He's handling the mother's parent's estate."
"She's in jail the last I knew," he said, looking confused.
"She killed herself a few days back," the other judge told him. "There have been no relatives found by their lawyers. We've talked to them about the boys. They agreed that it should go to them."
Don nodded. "We can put it in trust for 'em. I have no problem with that going on with their mother's and grandparent's estate."
The judges smiled. "It's nice to see someone who doesn't come to us seeking things for themselves." They got together, talking quietly, then nodded. "All right," the first judge said. "There's going to be some things done for you. The estates are going to be put in trust for the boys. You may spend some of it on their needs. Food, shelter, clothing, medical, schooling, those needs. I will not demand that you put the old house into that trust. If you wish to sell it I see no problem with it. Find them somewhere nice to live. Find them a good school that will be able to nourish those minds." Don nodded. "As for the parent's estate...."
"I'm going to add that to their trust. The lawyer you have can set that up for you and let you know the standard clauses. We will have to approve of it before we turn everything over." Don and his lawyer both nodded. "Good. Get to work on that, give it to us in a few days."
The lawyer cleared his throat. "I need the particulars of both estates to set up any sales, Your Honors."
"Of course," Simpkins agreed. "You can get that from my office on the way out, Mr. Wood. He was a very good choice, Detective Flack."
"The DA's office said if he couldn't do it, no one could."
That got a smile. "Good." He banged his gavel. "Get that to us so we can approve it and those boys get settled. They're adorable little scamps."
"Until they decide to be naughty," Don said dryly. "Then one bra dives, one likes to pickpocket, and the other's a picky eater." The older men all laughed. "Thank you for handling this quickly." He stood up, looking at his lawyer. He got a nod so he left to tell everyone the good news.
Don looked around the house that had been recommended and hated it on sight. "It's dark." The real estate agent nodded. It was the same one selling the other house. She already had buyers for it so they only had to find a new place with the money they were overpaying for the other house. "Anything like this only less dark?"
"Not really. Dark is probably easily cured. A few new windows in the front? Or less thick curtains." She opened the one she had spotted and it was much brighter. Don actually winced. "It's brighter."
"Very." He looked at the window. "Still a shop window." She nodded. "We may be able to work around that." They walked around the place again. It had a trio of rooms that were linked together by a play area and a bathroom. The boys would love that. He'd have a master suite. The kitchen was nice. Big even by Danny's HGTV standards. Stella would hate the front windows. "How much you think it'd cost to fix the front windows so it was normal windows?"
"Probably a few hundred. You'd have to ask a contractor." Don nodded, going up to the attic. Then down to the basement area. It was carpeted but not finished off. "This would be a good game room for the boys' nights and the sports games."
Don grinned. "My hockey watching buddies would love this." He ran a hand over a carpeted wall. "Let's get an inspector in to see how much work it needs beyond the front windows?"
"I'll have to file a bit of paperwork to say that you're interested."
"That's fine. We can do that." They sat down upstairs to do the paperwork then he went to find a good inspection agent. By the end of the week, the paperwork was in the pipe and Don had someone in to fix the window before he moved in. Construction crews and kids? Not a good combination in his mind.
Don walked the boys into the new place. Everything had been moved earlier in the day while Grandpa watched the boys for him. "This is home, guys. You like it?" Tim looked up at him. "We live here now. Instead of the small place. This one has a room for each of you and your own bed." Alex beamed and Greg nodded. "C'mon." He walked them up there to show them their room and the new gate that Mac had installed to keep them from going up and down the stairs without supervision. They ran over to look at their toys.
Tim peeked at the other rooms then pointed, stomping a foot. "No bed!"
"No, that's Greg's room. Your room is on this side, Tim." Tim pouted. "It's not nap time yet. You don't have to go to bed until after dinner." The boy grinned a shy grin and went back to playing. Don went to get a snack then came back. The others he liked had emergency keys in case they had to come up. They could bring in the dinner they were off getting. Mac was getting a few more gates too. Don climbed over the gate and sat down in the middle of the toy mess Danny had recreated for them with the snack. "Food?" They dove in and then went back to playing. He heard someone knock and called Danny's phone. "Whichever of you that is, come in. Oh, neighbor. Okay, we're in the playroom." He grinned and hung up. "The neighbors are over." They ran once he had opened the gate and he got up with a groan to follow them. Danny let the neighbor in with a smile and a wave at the boys. "Hey," Don greeted. "Sorry, we were teaching them about their new rooms."
"And trouble," Danny agreed. Tim likes plants."
"I'll be sure to watch my roses." She smiled at the boys. "Hello, boys. What's your names?"
"Terrors," Greg said with a sweet grin.
"He told me the same thing," Don said dryly, cracking her up. "That's Greg, Tim, and Alex."
"They are adorable. Your wife?"
"Unfortunately their mother was killed. That's how I found out about 'em."
"You poor thing," she said, pinching his cheek. "You'll figure it out."
"My girlfriend loves the little heathens because they watch hockey with us." She laughed. "They're mostly good. Alex, no trying to take her stuff," he said impatiently. "Put it back." He put it back with a happy grin. "I think his mother taught him that."
"Surely wasn't any of us," Danny said.
She smiled and pinched his cheek too. "It's good he has friends to help him with things." She handed Alex over, letting Don frisk him and hand back whatever he had taken this time. Danny took him to hold. "He's very sneaky."
"We're working on breaking him of that," Don assured her. "Sorry."
"Not a problem, dear." She patted Alex on the head. "With such a nice father, I'm sure he'll learn better soon enough." She smiled at them. "Do you like cookies? My housekeeper makes some wonderful ones."
"Tim likes raisins instead of cookies but otherwise they'll run me and everyone else over for cookies, ma'am."
"Call me Sheila." She smiled. "I think we can make raisin cookies so he can have some sweets. All boys need sweets."
"If I'm too sweet the criminals don't like to give up as soon," Don offered with a grin.
"I'm a detective with a Homicide division, Sheila. Danny's one of our borough's CSI's."
"Oh, my." She beamed. "That's very good to know. Let me get her on those cookies. I'll let you boys settle in and get things arranged." She patted them again then left.
Don looked at Danny. "She seemed nice."
"What's she wanted for?" he hissed.
Danny shrugged. "Mac's looking her up." That got a smirk. "Let's put them in the play area?"
"Sure. C'mon, guys, let's go back to where the snacks are." They ran up there and he let Alex down so he could run too. "Less energy to keep him up later." Danny laughed, following him up to help the boys feel more comfortable in their rooms.
Don blinked later that night at the foot of his bed. "C'mon, Greg." He quit trying to crawl up from the bottom of the bed and wiggled his way up beside him then under the covers. Don smiled, giving him a cuddle. "It's all right if you wanna crawl in with me for a few more weeks. We'll get you used ta sleeping alone again." He let himself start to doze off until Greg lost his fingers to suck and tried to latch on, making him jump and nearly scream. "Greg, not for you, baby. Those don't feed you guys." He gave him a hug since he was sniffling. "I know, you lost your fingers. Suck on them instead of me." Don put on a better t-shirt and laid back down to cuddle him. His poor boy. He'd understand why you didn't do that to daddies later on, when he was older. He looked down at a sneaking noise. "C'mon, Tim and Xander. Usually you two sneak quieter. We gotta work on that." They wiggled up behind him and snuggled in to his back. "Sure, you two lay there. Greg, you wanna lay with them?" Greg shook his head, settling in to nap again.
Don grinned because you had to grin when his terrors were behaving and sleeping cutely. Even if Xander was wiggling his way into Don's kidneys.
Don walked into Stella's lab. "Greg and the boys crawled in last night but I've got to find a way to stop Greg's sucking habit."
She looked at his neck. "I can see that."
"He lost his fingers last night and made me have to get up and put on a shirt." She giggled. "So it's not just you, Stell. Any ideas from friends who have kids?"
"Not a one but I'll ask around."
"See if you can figure out how to stop my klepto son before he ends up in juvie?"
"I can ask about that too. Anything else happen?"
"They love their rooms. Didn't sleep in their beds for very long but they love their rooms. Alex danced around for nearly half an hour instead of getting dressed." She laughed. "But they do like the building. Danny stayed on the couch last night. I guess he's lucky the boys didn't crawl in with him."
She patted him on the arm. "It'll work out and they'll be older soon. Out of the terrible twos."
"Yeah," he snorted. "With three of 'em? They'll still be terrible at five and six."
"Have you started to look at schools?"
"Don't remind me." He rolled his eyes. "Please." He grinned. "Anything for me?"
"On any case?"
"Crap." He went back to his desk, settling in for some fruitless searching. He hated cases that didn't want to end themselves with an arrest. His boss came out to stare at him. "What?"
"What happened to your throat?"
"Greg lost his fingers to suck on after he crawled in around two." He looked up. "Wanna see the bruise on my back from Alex's pointy toes?" His boss stomped off again. "Ask if you do," he called after him, making a few of the other guys laugh. "What?" he asked with an innocent grin. "I'm a good boy."
"Your boys get that from you?" one teased.
"Yup, sure did." He went back to searching, smiling at the few laughs. Mac came stomping in. "Please tell me you have something on one of my cases?"
"No. Where's Danny?"
"He had been asleep on the new couch but he went home after the boys pounced him for breakfast. Said he wasn't on for another few hours. Why? Was he wrong?"
"Very. Someone claimed they switched shifts with him."
"He never said anything, Mac." That got a grim look and a nod, and him going to call Danny's apartment instead of his cellphone. Don got back to work, wondering about the temper Mac had when he couldn't find Danny all of a sudden. Usually he wasn't that jealous of wherever he was spending the night. He did write his girlfriend a cute email about his baby hickey, hopefully making her grin about it. Then he got back to work. He hated cases without evidence. He really did.
Don looked at Tim's present shirt. "You need some bigger clothes, Tim." Then he groaned. That meant he'd have to take them *shopping*. Oh, God, save him now! He moaned and Alex was nice enough to give him a hug and a pat on the back. "If I take you boys shopping, will you three not be holy terrors in the store? Or should I go armed and have guards?" he asked when they all grinned sweetly at him. He called his father. "We need to do some clothes shopping for the boys. Tim's shirt is riding up because it's too small. Dad, me, the three of them, in a store. Do you see a disaster in the making here?" Tim cackled, blowing kisses. "Please? Come armed?" He hung up and waited. When his father got there, they put the boys into Don's car and headed out for a mega-store.
"One of the first things is to put them into the back of the cart so they can sit and play with each other," Don Senior said patiently.
Don looked at him. "The last time I took them grocery shopping I did that and they *still* managed to shoplift food. I have no idea why Tim wanted canned beans and Greg wanted yogurt, but they did and Alex had to be kept out of anything bad for you. Then they set up a racket in the cereal aisle."
Don's father just grinned. "You did the same only you kept trying to steal grapes, son."
"I avoided that section totally, Dad. Or else I'd have to pay for all the fruit they snatched."
He looked back then at his son. "Probably a good idea." They got out and walked the boys inside by letting them hold each other's hand and taking the free hands on the end. He looked at the cutesy kid cart and went with the regular one. That one would allow the boys to get out freely. They didn't want that. They went back to the baby gear section and Alex tried to grab a blonde's shiny belt. "No," Don Senior ordered. "You cannot buy a girl. We're here for clothes shopping, grandson." The girl gave him a confused look until Don got his fingers out of her belt. "Sorry."
Don grinned. "He has nice taste, but sorry about my boys."
"It's all right." She walked off looking back at the boys. They looked so innocent but three of them meant he was clearly taken by someone.
Don looked at the boys. "No grabbing *anything*." They pouted. "Tough." He got to push the cart, keeping it away from anything easily grabbed as often as possible. So they avoided jewelry, electronics, and the glassware section. Don senior laughed. "Hey, I know my boys and how much my check is." They finally made it to the baby section. Don checked the tag on Tim's shirt, then looked. "He's wearing a three now."
"We can go up to a five probably." That got a nod. Don Senior did try one shirt on each of the boys, making them pout. "Okay. You three, which ones do you want." He put a bunch of them on the cart and let them grab what they wanted. When it came to a fight over a few he got multiple ones. They all wanted a black t-shirt with a strange squiggly picture on it so he got three copies for the days they felt like being triplets. Don checked pants sizes, pulling Greg out since he was the tallest. Greg giggled and wiggled but trying the pants on him worked. Then they got the next size bigger because those were too tight on him. They got a few of those for Alex since he had a tiny waist. Don Senior nodded. Don smiled. "Should we start stocking up on big boy underwear?"
"Are they trying to run around naked?"
"Alex is. He tried to crawl up my girlfriend's nightgown the other night and danced around singing 'naked' over and over," he said dryly. "She wasn't quite amused. Though he did tell her she should be naked with him. The same as I should."
Don Senior laughed. "They're nearly ready." He took them to that section, putting the shirt Alex grabbed back on the rack. "No, grandson." They looked. "Superheros?" That got a nod and a few packs got tossed in. With some more socks that Tim grabbed. He hated having cold feet. They went to look at shoes, measuring them against their feet. Three boxes of sneakers and they were done. Don Junior nearly prayed his thanks out loud that they only had to make it out of the store. They went to check out. Don Senior took out all the shiny stuff that Alex had managed to grab. The cashier giggled. "He's not allowed to have that."
"At all," Don Junior said, glaring at his son. Alex gave him a sheepish look. "You do not lift stuff, Alex. At all. That's bad." Alex pouted. "Tough. No more. Next time I get ta spank and so does Grandpa." Alex slumped but leaned his head on Greg's shoulder. "Thank you!" Don Senior held up a wallet, getting a groan. The cashier took it and called the owner to her register. "I'm so sorry."
"It happens, sir. Don't worry. Most kids do some minor theft. He just likes shiny things."
Don nodded. They frisked the kids and handed over a few more things. Then they paid for their things and went home. To collapse on the couch while the boys played upstairs. "Think putting him in mittens will help?"
"Not much." He groaned. "I'll ask a few others how to stop that, Donny."
"Thanks, Dad. It's driving me nuts. That and their insistence that girls are their personal playground."
"I'll ask about that too." He patted his son on the head. "Next time, we'll have a few more guards. One for each boy." Don grinned at that. "I don't know how single mothers without support systems do it."
"They probably go while they're in daycare or something. Which isn't a bad idea."
"No, it's not." They relaxed until something crashed. Then they went to find who had tipped over the toy box this time. They found Alex hiding inside it like it was his turtle shell. "What happened?"
Tim scowled and pointed. "Bad!"
Don sighed, sitting down. "Just because he's bad at the store doesn't mean we don't love him, Tim. It just means that he's been bad and we have ta correct some bad things. The same as I didn't like you stealing beans at the grocery store." Tim sniffled, giving him a hurt look. He gave him a hug. "It's a bad thing to steal. No matter which one of you do it. I don't know who taught you how ta steal but it's a bad thing and we'll have to make you stop it. I don't hate Alex or you or Greg for that. I'm upset that you guys do bad things. Then I gotta punish you guys. Understand?" He shook his head.
"Didn't think so. I still love you even when you are bad, Tim." Tim quit sniffling at that. "Even when you're bad, I'm still gonna love you. I just want you to quit being so bad. No more takin' stuff. Doing bad stuff means I gotta be mean to make you stop. Like an extra nap that you guys are getting today for the store stuff." His father got Alex out. "C'mere." He came over, sniffling to cuddle him. "I don't hate you, Alex. I'm mad that you were so bad, but I don't hate you." He kissed them both on the head. "Want one, Greg?" Greg shook his head, hugging Alex's stuffed mouse. "Okay." He looked at his boys. "If you guys quit doing bad stuff, I'd be happy. Until then, we've gotta work on this. So you guys have ta take a nap now." They all wailed.
"Stop it," Don Senior ordered.
They stared up at him. Don made them look at him. "If you weren't bad, you wouldn't have to take one. Since you were bad, you have to take one. Doing bad things means that you guys don't get to play." He stood up, taking them to their rooms to tuck them in, like he did every night. Kiss on the head and all. "Now, you guys gotta stay in your rooms and nap today instead of play since you were bad." He shut their doors and walked off with his father. "Okay?" he hissed.
"Not bad. Bit over their heads." He went back up to put the boys into their own beds again when he heard sneaking around. They had baby gates for their rooms if they needed them and putting them in was pretty quick work. That way they had to stay in their own rooms. Then he went to the kitchen with his son. He had the baby monitor hanging from his pocket. "I put the gates up in front of their doors."
"That could help." He handed him a beer and they went to watch the evening news. Don ordered dinner from a place he liked and it was better. When the boys got up, they'd get some dinner and then a bath and bed again. Hopefully that problem behavior would stop soon. "How do you potty train?"
"You start by reading them books about it and getting them a potty chair. Then you show them how to use it and bribe the hell outta them when they do good," his father said. "That's how we got you to start it. Then it became a hug and a praise. Then you got that big boys did it and it made you a big boy now." He smirked. "We had the worst trouble with you peeing off the fire escape." Don laughed. "You pointed out the drunk that lived below us did it all the time. So we had to have a talk about role models for being a big boy too." Don snickered louder. "It'll go. Night time training is harder. Expect a lot of accidents."
"Maybe I'll work on it while I take a few vacation days."
"That could help. Consistent training is the key." That got a nod and another drink of the beer taken. They listened to one of the boys sniffling. "Go to bed," he called. "That's why this is called a punishment."
"Dad, they have nightmares," Don said more gently, going up to check on them. He gave that one a hug and tucked him back in. "Sleep, Alex. No more nightmares."
"Of course I love you. Even when you've done bad things." He smoothed down his hair. "I can't let you get away with the bad stuff. That's my job as a dad." He grinned. "Go to sleep." Alex covered his head and snuggled in, letting Don go and put the gate back up. Then close the door. Don came back in and turned on the nightlight he had forgotten then left again. He checked on the other two. Already asleep. He went back to the news and his beer. "Alex has nightmares."
"Don't know but he doesn't like the dark. Not afraid but it makes him growl and tense up."
"That's a strange reaction."
"It could be what happened at the old house. I don't know."
"Could be," he agreed. When the boys woke up, they went up to release them before they could climb over the gates and got them dinner up there. That seemed to work the best for the boys. They got to cuddle things while they ate and it was easier to clean up the floor in here than it was the one in the kitchen. Don even had a hand-vac for the carpet. His son was getting the hang of being a dad pretty well for having it pounce him the way it did.
Don walked in the next morning looking exhausted. His boss sneered. "Don't start or I'll let you watch all three pukey little boys for me," he said snidely. He flopped down at his desk, looking at the guy already handcuffed in his chair. "Did I arrest you and forget to book you?"
"I needed the seat," a nearby detective said. "I brought them in together. Boys have a bad night?"
"The sausage we got for dinner made two puke and the other started around five." They shared a look. "I don't know if it was food poisoning or not. Dad's got them at the baby doctor this morning." He yawned. "Then we'll see." He pulled up a booking form once he had his computer on. "What did he do? I'll start it." The guy tried to struggle. "I have three sick two-year-old boys," he said grimly. "Who kept me up all night long. I'm *not* in a good mood." The guy stopped. "Name?" The guy didn't say anything. "I can find that sausage and feed you too," he offered.
"No threatening them with food poisoning," the detective said. "I'd tell him. That's Flack."
The guy swore and mumbled his name. Don typed it in. "Last." He typed in all the fields he could then handed him to the other guy while he walked the first down to booking for him. "Steve's got another one coming, guys." He handed him over.
"The boys got sick off dinner. Dad's got them at the doc's this morning." They nodded at that. "How do they puke purple?"
"Koolaid?" one suggested.
"Crayons?" that one suggested with a small grin.
"More possible. Thanks, guys." He went back to his desk to call his father. "Ask why they were puking purple too, Dad. Anything yet?" He listened. "That's fine. We won't order from them until after the health department gets 'em. Thanks. Booking someone since my chair's being refilled for me. Sure, I can do that." He hung up and went to lean into the office. "Gerrard, I've gotta leave at noon to relieve Dad with the boys."
"They can't go to daycare?"
"Not when they're sick. Even if it is from food poisoning. Daycares don't allow that. Or if they have even a slight fever." He went back to his desk to book that guy for the other detective. "What'd you do?"
"He beat this other guy for his plans on how to rob, kill, and then carjack me," the detective said. "I caught them against my car arguing about it."
"Ah. Stupidity in action," Don said dryly. "Thankfully even my klepto son isn't that stupid." He got into the right form. "Name?"
"You have boys?"
Don looked at him. "Triplet two-year-olds." The guy shuddered. "With food poisoning. So yeah, I've had *no* sleep," he snarled. The guy said his name. "Thank you. Date of birth?" He got to work on that until Stella came in with a folder. "Mine?"
"Two of yours, lucky."
"Great. Anything you know that'll soothe food poisoning?"
"Cuddles. Antibiotics depending on the type. The boys?" He gave her a look and nodded. She patted him on the shoulder. "It'll be okay. Your dad have them?"
"I'm going to relieve him in a few hours." He finished and took the folder to look over. "That wasn't a suspect we had."
"No, it wasn't. Which is why we're not sure if it's really one or not." They shared a look. "Whenever you get done."
"He's ready to go down to booking." He handed it back and got the guy rehandcuffed properly. "Hit print for me please?" She did and he grabbed the forms on the way down to booking. He held them up when the booking sergeant looked up.
"Interesting time the detectives had this morning. The other?"
"Arguing over how to spell his last name. He keeps changing his mind."
"Won't save him."
"Bonasera's up there." He smirked. "It'll be solved." That got a snicker and the guy was taken. "Thanks." He walked up to gather Stella, who was staring at the idiot until he finally swore and gave in, looking away. "Nice job, Bonasera. It's good you scare the stupid ones."
"Keeps them from dating some unsuspecting woman who wouldn't know they're idiots." She followed him out to question their suspect. Because she had no idea how that person had shown up on their homicide. Her being a fairly bad drag queen was shocking. They had only gotten fingerprints and someone had put him into the system as a her. Not supposed to do that.
Don trudged in the next morning and handed over a note from the doctor then left again. His boys were in the car. It was helping them sleep. They were going back to the doctor but it was helping them sleep. Him too really. He flinched when someone knocked on his window before he could get the car started, rolling it down. "What?"
"Shift over, Flack. You're too tired to drive."
"We're going to the baby doc's again."
"Good!" He got Flack over and drove him over there, then caught a ride back to the station. He walked in. "Flack was asleep behind the wheel so I drove him," he told the boss. "The boys are at the doctor's and hopefully he's catching a nap with them."
"Is he coming back today?"
"Don't know, call him later," he said, sitting down to get to work. Danny Messer walked in. "Hey, got anything for me?"
"Montana had your last one," he reminded him. "The one before I left on your desk while you were gone." He looked and nodded, finding it in his stack of files. "Flack?"
"Food poisoning. They're at the doc's again. Flack was taking a nap behind his wheel."
Danny grinned. "Gotta be worse than just having one." He handed another detective something. "Yours, you lucky man. DNA found someone."
"Hallelujah." He took it to read over, smiling at that. "Thought so."
"Go get 'em." He walked back over to explain the results to the first detective. "That's your guy."
"Thanks, Messer." He went to find and arrest him.
Danny walked off shaking his head and smiling. He was having a good day making others happy. He ran into Mac in the halls. "I got two to go get their guys."
"Congrats. I've got to get Don from the pediatrician's. He's asleep in the waiting area." They shared a smirk and Mac left to get Don and the boys. The boys looked so miserable but they were patting their sleeping daddy while cuddling him to protect him from the mommies giving them cute looks. He held up his ID, getting a smile from the receptionist. "Should I have to stop at the pharmacy to pick anything up?"
"Probably not. Just put them in bed, Detective." He nodded, going to get Don up. Alex was resting on Don's holster so he ran into him when he tried to reach for his gun at the first gentle poke Mac gave him. "Detective, he's very tired. It's been two days."
"I heard." He smiled and poked Don again, getting a glare. "You're at the doctor's office. Come on. I'll drive you home."
"I had a nap, I'm good," he said through a yawn. He gave his boys a hug, getting sleepy grins back. "C'mon, guys. We'll go nap on the couches at home." They followed him out but Mac still took the keys. "I can."
"Shut up, Don. You can't even see straight at the moment." Don got in with a grunt of displeasure but he fell asleep on the way home too. "Probably ignoring he was sick too," Mac muttered, parking them in front of the house. He waved at the neighbor as he got out. The boys were easily carried inside and put onto a couch. Don got another poke and the keys being handed back. Don grunted and patted him on the arm before trudging inside. Mac got a cab back to the doctor's office to pick up his car then headed back to the station. Hopefully all four boys would be all right soon.
Alex looked at someone then pouted. "Flu bad," he said.
"I'm sure it is," he agreed, patting him on the head. "I'm sorry you have the flu. I'm not here about that though."
Don looked over the back of his couch. "You do realize I'm a detective, have my gun in hand, and you're touching my kid, right?" Tim walked over to puke on him. "Thanks, Tim. That's helpful." He called dispatch, getting up to arrest the guy who had broken into his house. Greg made whining noises so he let him have the bathroom. Alex was staring at the guy. "Know him, Alex?" Alex shook his head but he was still staring at him. "Don't bite 'im. He might make you more sick." He went to let the officers in. The guy screamed suddenly. "Alex, I said no biting!" he called. "The triplets are sick," he said grimly. "Sorry, one puked on him."
"That'd make sure most thieves wouldn't do it again," one cop quipped with a grin. "Is that a gun, sir?"
"Detective," he corrected.
"Yup." He walked them back there, finding Alex had knocked the guy down and was standing in the middle of his chest, staring down at him. "Alex, do we know this guy?" he asked dryly.
"I know that, son. Do you know him for some other reason?"
Tim looked up then pointed. "Bad, bad guy. Mommy bad guy."
"Oh!" He looked down. "Thank you for dropping them off for me. They do light up my life. It was nice of you to not kill them too." The guy whimpered. "Was it you?" He nodded. "Good! Then why break in here?"
"Someone still wants them gone," he said miserably.
Don smirked. "Tell me who so I can make the boys go puke on 'em too?" The guy shook his head. "Alex, be nice." Alex moved up and started to jump up and down on him. Don looked at the two officers. "That guy goes to Fortner in the Bronx. Homicide." They nodded. "He killed the triplet's mother." They glared at the guy. One removed Alex but Alex managed to kick the guy in the chin on the way up. "Thanks, Alex. That was very helpful. Tell Fortner I want to at least witness the arrest." That got a nod and they pulled the guy up then out. "At least he didn't kill you three and dropped you off for me to love," he told them, giving them a hug. They smiled at him. "Want some soup?" They nodded so Don went to make them some soup. They were generally good boys, even if Tim and Alex were staring at each other and scowling. "Tim, Alex, behave," he said quietly. "You weren't old enough to hurt the guy." Tim shrugged and Alex beamed at Tim. Tim gave him a head shove so it was all right again. Don shook his head. Sometimes his boys were a bit odd. Maybe it was being triplets.
Mac knocked on Don's door later that night. "He finally turned over who told him to hit the family," he said quietly. "You've got a guard."
"Sure, I can make the guard soup and grilled cheese too," he said dryly, letting him inside. "They gonna be in jail or leave the boys alone?"
"It was enough with what we already had to arrest them. The judge didn't give him bail but you never know what his people will do."
"I'll have a security company out tomorrow," he promised. "Got the day off thanks to the doctor anyway."
"Gerrard isn't amused."
"Not like I have a nanny."
"I know but he's cranky today." He clapped him on the arm. "How are they feeling?"
"We're all getting better. It's down to loose diapers. No one's puked since Tim did it earlier on the guy."
"Fortner said that was cute of them. That and Alex trying to beat up the guy by jumping up and down on his chest." Don grinned back. They went into the kitchen to help the boys eat dinner. "Hey, boys." They smiled at him and got hugs. "Can I take a couch, Don?"
"Sure, go ahead. He broke in earlier while we were all sleeping on them. The one with the flowers on it isn't that comfy unless you can curl up in a tiny ball like Greg does." He made Mac dinner and settled in to eat his own. "So, baths, then upstairs?" he asked. They pouted. "I don't care. You still gotta sleep tonight, boys. You're still sick."
"Not bad," Greg pointed out.
"No, this isn't a punishment nap. This is bedtime nap. This is dinner, guys. Not lunch." They all pouted. "I know, but we had soup for lunch, remember? It's dark out so it's night-night time." The phone rang so he grabbed it. "Yeah, Flack." He grinned. "Hey, Dad. Mac is. Talk to him, Dad." He handed over the phone. Once he finished he got the boys upstairs so they could take a bath. He even read them a story while they soaked off the soup they had dripped on themselves. It made them sleepy enough to not protest going to bed. Much. Mac came up to help tuck them in and read them a story too. It helped and was better. Then they went downstairs to check over the house. Don had made sure it was fairly secure against regular burglars. These would be more motivated though so they had to make it better.
Don walked into work two days later. "Thanks, boss. The flu's finally gone." Gerrard gave him a mock clap. "Did you see? Tim puked on the intruder on purpose." He grinned.
"I heard. Proves your boys are terrors."
"Yeah, well, they're Flacks. Gotta be a terror on someone bad." He smirked as his father and the Chief of Police walked in. "Saves me faxing it down," he said, handing over his excuse.
"I heard, Flack. How secure is your daycare?"
"GPS chips on the kids. Security list for pickups. Good building security and a doorman to make sure no one gets in with stuff. Ten minute response time from the local PD when they had one that snuck out last month. She only got about ten feet outside the door before the alarms went off."
"Good." He smiled. "That sounds like a good choice."
"Do they really think they're going to hit the kids? They're too young to be witnesses."
"We think they're pissed," his father said. "And they're mad at the guy who didn't do the kids."
"I'm not. Well, I am but I'm not for not hitting my kids. That's why I didn't let Alex hurt him too bad."
"We heard," Senior said with a grin. Don grinned back. "You've got three little hellions there, son."
"They're good boys most of the time. Even if Alex does still lift things." He patted himself down. "He's got my wallet again." He sighed, shaking his head. The higher ups stared at him. "Alex is a bit klepto. He pickpockets already."
The Chief of Police nodded. "Is he any good?"
"Ask Gerrard. He got him twice." Gerrard groaned but nodded.
"He lifted my gun without me realizing it until he had it in hand," Senior admitted. That got an amused look. "He was careful with it, just petting it like it was his stuffed mouse."
The Chief of Police sighed, shaking his head. "Good to know. How's the home security, Don?"
"Pretty decent. Taylor and I went over it last night. I'm having a security company out today. Since I could afford it I got the ones that the billionaires in town go to." That got a nod. "And told 'em why. They said they can be extra jumpy and they'll have exterior cameras around the windows in the most open spots. They're the sort who hired a few good former thieves to find the weak spots for you. Not too bad every month either."
"Good," Gerrard agreed. "How much to set it up?"
"Seven grand. Then again, I'm only paying property taxes, not rent or a mortgage so my check goes farther. It's only one-fifty a month." That got a nod. He looked at the higher ups again. "Do we really think they're going to hit the boys?"
"I think one threatened to on the way to the squad car," the Chief of Police admitted. Don nodded at that. "So be careful?"
"Of course. I love my boys. Anyone touches them, I'll call CSI myself to clean 'em up." That got a smirk. "I will. I nearly did that guy but Alex was having fun jumping on his chest for me." He smirked back. The Chief of Police snickered, walking off shaking his head. "He did, and Tim puked on him," he told his father.
"Knew I liked those boys. They need better class in how they torment but they're good boys most of the time."
"If you go to check on 'em, get my wallet back, Dad?"
"Sure, son." He patted him on the back. "I'll be by for dinner tonight."
"Sure." His father left. He looked at Gerrard. "Sorry about the flu. I'll make it up on Saturday for as long as I can." He went to his desk to get back to work. A few of the detectives gave him odd looks. "The guy who killed the boys' mother broke in last night. Alex jumped on his chest. Tim puked on him." They all snickered at that.
Gerrard came to the doorway. "Then the family that hired him threatened the boys."
"We'll listen to the underground in case anyone says anything about those kids," one promised.
"Someone decent's got to date my kids when they grow up and the triplets seem like the sort I'd let try their hand at my girls," another said.
Don grinned. "Don't get Dad's hopes up." That got a laugh. "He said they need better thug lessons so they're more classy when they're doing it. That'd make him think of a fourth and fifth generation in uniform." The rest of the guys laughed at that. "Thanks, Cap."
"Welcome, Flack." He went back to his desk to call his own snitches to tell them he wanted to know anything about the Flack triplets if it came down to them.
This was going to be messy. He was sure CSI would need shovels to clean up anyone who came after those three terrors.
Danny walked into Hallie's office later that morning. "We do know that the people who took out their mother now wants to take out the boys?" he asked.
She looked at him. "No, I hadn't."
"Yeah, a whole criminal syndicate." She swore. "So maybe some help there?"
"I'll see what I can do. How do we know?"
"The guy who got their mother came for 'em a few days ago. They arrested him and the guy who ordered the hit but you know how family things run the same as I do, Hallie."
"Point. Thank you for that information, Danny. How are they otherwise?"
"Cranky. They just had the flu." She shuddered. "Their dad too. They're fine now but still don't like sleeping in their own beds. Xander's still pickpocketing too. Might wanna give Don an idea how to handle it."
"I can do that." She smiled. "Thank you."
"I like the little terrors. They're cute. Makes me think about spawning some day too," he said dryly, heading off again. Mac wanted him at work early for *some* reason. He signed in and headed up to find Mac in a lab. "Who didn't call in?"
"Someone said you traded hours with them again."
"They said you did." He looked at him. "Checking on the boys?"
"No. Went to talk to an info source to tell them I'd like to know if they hear anything."
"Good." He went back to his present sample under the microscope. "Peter said you traded with him."
Danny snorted. "In his dreams."
The lab tech in there smiled. "Well, you are one of his dreams, Messer, but not that way." Danny walked off shaking his head to get his stuff from his locker then came back to work on his open case. Mac stared at the poor tech. "He is!"
"Not at work."
"Fine." She went back to work herself.
Mac stopped Danny in the halls. "That thing on the tape?" he asked quietly.
"I let her know."
Danny smirked. "Their personalities do come through." He went to get sucked in. Mac went back to work as well. It was going to be a long day, but hey, overtime when Mac found out that he hadn't really switched with the guy. Always a plus to his wallet.
Alex looked around the daycare, frowning at the new worker. She stared at him. He scowled. She smiled, handing him a block. "No."
"No what, Alex?" He continued to scowl so she moved closer. "No what, pumpkin?"
"Not," he said firmly. He poked her on the cheek then stared at her. She gaped, then slowly shook her head. He beamed. "No."
"I'm not a bad one," she said quietly. "Really." He relented and let her hand him more blocks to build with. She mentally sighed. Something had went really wrong with stripping them of their past memories. Greg pounced her from behind, making her shriek as she fell over. One of the other workers came to save her while Greg tried to tickle her. "That was mean, Greg," she said, frowning at him.
He just beamed. "Mine," he said, pointing at Alex.
"I know he's your brother. He was playing nicely with me." Greg stared at her. Alex patted him so he came to play blocks too. She looked at Tim, who was staring at her. "I'm not mean, Tim. I promise I'm not. You can come play with us too." He shook his head. "I promise it'll be okay."
He shook his head again. Because he realized what his brother had seen in her now. She was a demon. That was not a good thing.
She came over to pick him up to look at him. "I'm a harmless sort, Tim," she said, staring at him. "I'd never hurt a baby." He stared back. "Really. I'd never hurt a baby. I'm not mean." He looked at Alex, who shrugged subtly. Then he wiggled to be put down and went to play with them. She looked at the room's guardian, who shrugged. They hadn't gotten any of the half-demons on staff, so why her?
Alex looked up and grinned at her. "DeDe, happy place?"
She stared at him. "Someone messed up your memory removal portion," she said dryly. He nodded looking so smug. "Crap." Tim looked up and nodded too. "Does anyone else know?" she asked the head demon.
"One of their guardians is in vengeance." Alex gave her an odd look. She smirked back. "Not here for you, young man."
He snorted. "No." He went back to playing. Greg built really good towers. Tim was helping him build something to knock it down. Greg cackled when they did it, then helped them build another one. They shared a look. Something really had to be done soon about all this stuff.
The demons sighed, shaking their heads, one moving to call the one she knew so he could out himself to them.
Danny smiled as Don went out for milk while he watched the boys. He looked around then at Alex. "We know Hallie screwed up your memory spells," he said quietly. They all nodded. "I'm over those who don't get a voice. It won't be happening here."
Xander snorted. "Many here."
"I know that. We're all busy too." He stared at the boy. "So behave and relax. It's not about you this time. Though, I did tell Hallie and she's not happy about that." He looked over as Don walked in. "Forgot your keys?"
"Yup." He took them off the table. "What is going on?" Danny manifested and Don stared. "I thought that was a shadow."
"Technically, I'm a vengeance demon for those who were killed and don't have justice done for them," he said calmly.
"Uh-huh. And the rest of the story? Since seeing that means that something odd is going on here?"
"Go get the milk, you'll want it later, Don." He went back to his human guise. Don stared at him. He sighed and looked up then at him. "One of us is over lost childhoods, Don." He nodded slowly. "They answered their wishes to find a better family but all the stuff with the *other* family situation is all on them, not her. I had to tell her about that earlier so we could move to protect the boys. Alex knew about us already so I had to calm him down before he went paranoid because there's a few who work in the daycare who're harmless," he said, looking at Alex. He got a nod and a grin back. He looked at Don again. "So relax. It's been going on for ages untold and they're the ones who found you. She made the guy drop the boys at the station so you could be found."
Don stared at him. "That's not the whole truth. My BS meter just twanged."
Danny grinned. "You do have a good BS meter and that's not all of the truth, but I can't tell you the rest. They can kill me for it. I had no idea until the social worker showed up so coincidentally, Don. Honestly."
Don nodded slowly. "That's the truth at least." He stood up and moved closer. "What does this do for you?"
"Now and then I take on a case that isn't mine so we make sure no one's lost to justice."
Don frowned. "Fine." He backed off. "The boys? They made sure I got 'em?"
"Made sure they weren't killed. She had no idea they were still trying against them until I told her. She'll help protect 'em. Otherwise I'd have to do *my* job." Don shuddered. "Exactly and none of us want that. They're special little boys."
"Special in the same way?"
"Alex can tell one of us. Tim and Greg are really smart. Alex is smart but not really book smart. He's street and weapons smart we think." Don stared at him. "They are. Greg and Tim have that curious mind. Alex just thinks curious thoughts now and then."
"There's that twang again," he said, starting to glare now. Tim reached over to give him a hug. "What the hell is going on, Danny?"
Danny sighed, sitting down to look up. "Need orders?" he called. Hallie appeared and shook her head. "Don, this is Hallie, she's over lost childhoods."
"Thank you for them getting to me."
"You're most welcome." She smiled. "They were the result of a wish, Don. To come into being someone had to grant a wish." Don groaned. "That makes them special."
"Like reincarnated?" he asked.
Danny looked at him. "That's an odd jump to make."
"So're they sometimes."
"They are," she admitted. He sat down, staring at her. "But for good reasons. They were mine before they died." She pointed at one. "He may want to be a CSI again, I don't know. Greg too." Greg looked at her then shrugged and went back to his snack. Alex poked her until she looked at him. "You may not handle anything like you had before."
He blew a raspberry then cackled. "DeDe," he said with a point.
"So she said, son. He's reincarnated from who? Should I worry about former relatives?"
"No. They have no idea and they're not allowed to know. You're not supposed to know and they're supposed to have lost their last memories." All three boys snorted at that. Don snickered. "By the end of their first year with you, they will have lost most of them." Tim shook his head. "Yes you will." He shook his head again. "Why not?" Tim pointed at his shoulder. She looked then groaned, swatting Danny. "Did you do that?"
He looked then shook his head. "Their mother did." He looked at Don. "She was a witch."
"The sort that could get it to work, Don. Not a crank," Danny told him. Don slumped again, nodding a bit. "This life, this reincarnated life, they're Flacks. They're going to be the boys they are because of how you and the rest of us help you raise them." Don looked at him. "They will grow out of most of their last memories. Right now, it's their age holding it in. So yeah, in their last lives it was like that. This life they're not. And hey, it's not like they were idols or saints or anything. They were three guys. It happens every day but these three have stronger minds to keep that stuff."
Don looked at him. "So they're really my boys?" Both demons nodded. "And you guys only helped them get here?"
"One of my underlings granted the wish to have them come into being," Hallie offered calmly.
Don stared at her. Then at Danny. "Should I keep 'em away from their old selves?"
"Nope. If they wanna follow me and their Uncle Mac into tha field, so be it," Danny said with a grin. Alex gave him an odd look. "You might like it, Alex." He looked at Don again. "Yes, two were CSI. Alex used to be in construction and protection."
"Like against the bad of our kind," Danny admitted. Hallie swatted his arm. "He'd figure it out." He looked at Don again. "That was *last* time. This time, they're Flacks."
"You weren't supposed ta tell me, huh?" he asked with a small grin. Danny shook his head with a grimace. "I knew something was up. They don't act like normal kids. Especially not my thief there."
"He was the more normal of the three," Hallie admitted. "It wasn't a skill he had before his mother gave it to him."
"Oh." He looked at the boys then at her. "Did the wish make 'em my kids?"
"Good." He grinned and relaxed. They were his kids, no matter how they had been reborn. "Then I need milk." Danny handed him his keys. "Thanks, buddy."
"Welcome. I'm not even supposed ta be watching over 'em."
"He's getting into trouble for that," Hallie admitted.
"Tough shit. Don's a friend and they're my nephews," Danny said firmly. "Until I have brats of my own, they're like mine."
"Fine." She sighed and smiled at Don. "You're doing just fine and since the social worker is one of mine as well, you're fine, Don. If you need one of us, have Daniel find us." She disappeared.
Danny grinned. "Go get milk."
"She's the head guy over that?"
"Over that. There's a head guy over all of us."
"You gonna be okay?"
"Yup. It's not an issue. She had no idea I knew you when her person found you. I scared the hell outta her by tellin' her. And about the threats earlier today, just in case."
"Thanks, Danny. Watch my terrors." He went to the store, thinking the whole way. He hadn't really thought about reincarnation before but it wasn't *that* strange. As long as they were naturally his kids and no one or no demon had made them be his kids it was fine with him. He came back and saw a flash go off but he felt soothed by it. The knowledge was now in the back of his mind if he needed it but it wasn't pertinent. Danny looked a bit more tired. "Go take a nap on the couch." Greg hooted and wiggled down to help him out to the couch and get a cuddle with him. "Sure, you cuddle him, Greg. I'm sure your uncle loves you for it." He hugged his other two. They got some milk, he got some milk and his own snack, and they went to watch tv with their daddy. It was fine now.
Mac looked up the next day when Don stomped in. "Bad night with the boys?"
"Met Danny's coworker Hallie."
Mac paged Danny down from the lab. Danny strolled in. "Yeah, someone wanted you to remember because they want Alex out of the old business. Which was to hunt the bad of us." Don slumped, sitting down. "That one's nads deep when we find him." Don looked at him. "Doesn't change anything, Don. They're still your boys."
"Are you in bad trouble?"
"Got nibbled on and yelled at. Mac's worse." He shrugged. "How are they otherwise?"
"They will lose it?"
"Should've lost most of it by now but their mother interfered. No clue." Don nodded at that. "If so, Alex might like construction or weapons and Greg and Tim might like to be a CSI. If so, we'll deal. Other reborn souls have followed the same plan in the past and it never hurt 'em."
Don nodded at that. "The pickpocketing thing was their mother?"
"Yup, sure was. And her girlfriend," Danny admitted. He sat down, looking at him. "Before you ask, yeah, Mac knew."
"I thought he did. Why come here to find me?"
"I didn't know until Danny came back from his first talk with Hallie, Don."
"Oh. Seriously?" Mac nodded. "So you know now?"
"Yup. We weren't supposed to tell you that they're reborn souls."
"That's fine. As long as they're mine naturally and not created that way for some purpose."
"Nope," Danny assured him. "Not that I've heard and I did check." Don smiled at that. "They're three little Flacks that'll some day make all the girls scream and run from 'em so they can't get dates, just like you."
"Ha, ha," he said dryly. "Not funny, Messer." He looked at him. "You sure you're okay?"
"I'm fine, Don. Really." Don nodded at that. "The one who wants Alex may or may not show up. If so, I'll feel it and help. Hallie too." A body appeared with a sigh of displeasure. "You mind? We got cameras and things around here." The demon waved a hand to block the windows and cameras. "Guys, this is the one over vengeance demons, D'Hoffryn. Boss, this is Don Flack. Someone undid the spell you did to make him forget."
"So I can tell." He looked at him. "The children are yours naturally, Detective." Don beamed at him for that. "If I had known Daniel was here, I would've twitched that so they were his, but they did get your sample out of the bank to bear the child." Don nodded. "Daniel, I want you to protect those boys."
"We all do," Mac promised.
"Some things a bullet cannot kill," D'Hoffryn said. "Pity, it'd be easier."
"Higher, lower? Chaos people since I noticed they seem to like the little squirt?"
"Lower who considers himself higher. He's wrong but he does try our patience with it." Daniel nodded. "Though, do keep him away from *all* magic, Detective. It does not go right around him. That is why they still have some memories." Stella stomped in and stopped. "Stella Bonasera."
"I knew someone had something to do with them."
"They're reborn," Danny told her. "Did you know about me?"
"Of course I did," she snorted. "You have a purpose, unlike some of them."
"Alex's last life tied back to Anyanka."
She shuddered. "There's one I don't like the purpose of. D'Hoffryn, why the visit?"
"Don found out last night that the boys were reincarnated souls, and that Hallie had helped them get to him," Danny told her.
"Figures. Assassins don't usually care about kids. Which is why they're in danger now?" Danny and Don both nodded. "We have it covered?"
"We do," D'Hoffryn said. He smiled at her. "Working magic around Alex Flack is a very risky idea."
"I noticed the signs that someone had botched it up."
"It's keeping their last life memories," Danny told her.
"Wonderful," she said sarcastically. She looked at Don. "You okay?"
"They're mine naturally, that's all I care about in all this. I'm thankful to the one who made sure they got to me."
She smiled and gave him a hug around the head. "Good." She looked at them. "I'll start laying wards around the house, D'Hoffryn."
"I started some too," Danny told her, giving her a grin.
"Is she one of you?" Mac asked.
"Pretty powerful witch," Danny told him. She nodded, smirking a bit. He looked at Don. "We'll do whatever we can to help the boys, Don. You know that."
"Alex must not go back into his old life because who he was last time would bleed through more than the others." They all nodded. "That means he is not to hunt demons ever again."
"One of the ones at daycare said he identified one of them as being less than light side. She called me," Danny said.
"I've taken care of that."
"How many demons are around my kids?" Don asked.
"Your daycare has a few who mentor some of the younger ones in their first job," Danny said. "I checked. Anyone harmful and I would've thrown a fit." Don nodded his thanks. "So they're safe." He looked at D'Hoffryn. "How do we keep Alex from it?"
"I don't know," he admitted. "Just do so." He looked at Don then at Stella. "Try at least. He's more stubborn than a few Highers I know." He disappeared.
Danny snorted. "Love his delegation style, don't you?"
"Looks familiar," Mac said dryly, giving him a dirty look. He got a grin back. "Stella, can you help protect the boys?"
"I've already started on it."
"Their mother marked 'em on the shoulder," Danny said.
"I'll look at that later." She looked at Don. "We'll do what we can to help you protect the boys, Don. You know that."
"Yeah, I do. I don't like this freaky stuff suddenly coming out of the closet but I guess I can deal."
Danny smirked at him. "I can tell you his last life, Alex messed up some major mojo on someone to make sure the world didn't end. He earned his second go-round." Don grinned and relaxed. "It's just sticking to him past the baths and brushes they use on the souls that cross over before being reborn."
"That's better. How do I keep him away from it?"
"We'll do what we can and we'll be on the lookout for any of it coming his way negatively," Stella assured him. "Who was he his last life?"
"Used ta date Anyanka, Stella."
She blinked then gaped. "Really?" He nodded. "Yeah, we can keep him away from it." She whispered and he nodded quickly. "That makes *so* much sense!"
"Do I need ta know?" Don asked.
"No," they said together.
"It'll mean he goes back more toward who he was before instead of being a baby Flack now," Danny said. "Just... the stubborn and toughness, it's not all from you."
"He's more stubborn than I am. I figured it came from somewhere."
"Oh, yeah," Danny agreed dryly. "He might have bad taste in women too."
"Good ta know," he sighed. He stood up. "Fine. Keep me in the loop?"
"Of course," Stella agreed. "We'll come over tonight and finish that once they're in bed." She gave him a one-armed hug. "It'll be okay. They're your boys no matter who they were in their last lives. Find them a good school that can deal with them so they take our places in the lab some day. Even your dad can't complain since they'd be cops." Don grinned and left. She looked at Danny. "What is it about Lindsay that bugs you?"
"Her personality most of the time. She's not."
"Good. Hate to see it from her." She looked at Mac. "It changes nothing."
"Of course it doesn't. I know you're ethical and not using it for little things."
"Using magic for personal gain gets you bitten," she told him. "Though, the next related case we get, I might step off from. I scared the last witch we ran into." She left, going back to work.
Danny looked at Mac. "See, I'm not the strange one." He went back to work too. Lindsay gave him an odd look. "We were talking about how to protect the Flack triplets better. The guys who killed their moms is still wanting them."
"Are they okay?"
"They're just fine," he assured her. "Stella might even have an idea of how to make Alex quit takin' stuff."
"That'd be good. He's too cute to go bad already." She went back to work. Danny gave her back an odd look but went back to his own samples. "Are they coming in anytime soon?"
"Why would Don bring 'em to work?" he asked, looking confused. "They don't need ta know how to frisk thugs."
"I meant to pick up uncles or aunts for a play date in the park or something."
"Nope. We want play time, we go see 'em."
"Very." He mentally shook his head. "They're getting used to having a dad since before they had two moms. Doing pretty good at it."
She shook her head. "I don't understand those things."
And she probably never would, Danny decided mentally. He ignored her because something in his sample wasn't right. He ran a specific test and growled, taking it to Mac. "We had a bad demon show up on our scene. That's his slime." He went back to work to make sure it wasn't demon related. Now and then they did get one around there.
Don looked up as his dad joined him for lunch. "Did you know about the strange stuff that went on around here?"
"I've seen it before on a case." He looked at his son. "Yes, I talked with Messer last night. He told me."
"Good!" He picked a his burger. "We're good with this?"
"They're little Flacks, Don. That's all that matters." He nodded. "You okay with this?"
"I am. I'm just a bit freaked out. I mean, their momma was a witch. Stella's apparently on that side too?" He shrugged, looking at his father. "We have to keep it from Alex. One of their bad guys wants him."
"Figures. It's always the cute ones they want." Don grinned at that. "We'll handle it, son."
"I know. Just a bit freaked at the moment." He sighed. "So, schools? Any idea since I can afford a private one with their trust?"
"Have you talked to the person over the trust?"
"He said educational expenses are expected and good for them. He said none of the ones in town could bankrupt them so it's all good."
"Good. I don't know that I have any private ones that I like all that much." He considered it. "There's a good private catholic school up the road from me."
"Way too far to commute them most days," Don pointed out. "Queens is too far every day."
"Good point." He considered the ones in Manhattan. "I don't know. I know we could ask the local school boards for a listing."
"That might help. They'll be three soon. That's a good time to put them on the waiting list."
"I hate those things."
"The best ones have one," he reminded him. "I want 'em somewhere good, Dad."
"I do too, Donny." He smiled at his son. "We'll figure it out together." Don nodded. "Any other worries this week?"
"We're working on stopping him."
"Good point. Thanks, dad. Can you pick 'em up tonight? I've got to cover a few of the hours I missed with the flu."
"Sure, I can do that. We'll bring you dinner." He patted his son on the cheek. "I'll see you later, Donny." He went to eat his lunch on the way back to his desk while Don finished and went to his own.
Don Junior looked down when he suddenly got hugged. "Hey, Tim." He stopped typing to give him a hug. "How's my boys?" They all grinned at him, Alex putting stuff on the table. "Where did you find the bad drugs, son?" He pointed at one guy. "Hey, Sarge?" he yelled. One of them leaned in. "My son just frisked that guy there and found drugs?" He pointed at them. The guy groaned, coming in to take them and the guy to be strip searched this time. "It was helpful, Alex, but you know better." His son just grinned and hugged him. His father walked in and put down a bag. "They run from you, Dad?" he asked dryly.
"I told them to. The hooker outside wanted to adopt and breastfeed them. I had to shoo her off." The boys all grinned at him. "They were good today. We went to talk to a horse patrol guy and the boys all loved the horse until she walked away from them. Then Alex huffed and pouted until Greg chased her down to bring her back for his petting pleasure." Don snickered. "You nearly done?"
"Reports." He waved a hand at the files on his desk. The boys all stared at him. "Not my fault, guys. It's from where I was sick with you three." He petted them all on the head. "I'll be home by bath time."
Danny and Stella walked in. Greg squealed and pounced Stella, Alex giving her and Danny a grin while Tim waved. "There's the biggest terrors in the city," Danny teased, picking the other two up. "What're you three doin' here?"
"I got reports. Dad picked 'em up," Don said with a small shrug. "Greg, no shirt diving," he ordered. Stella pulled his head up out of her collar. "Alex found drugs on someone for us too."
"Good of him," Don Senior said. "How long?"
"Maybe an hour or two?" he asked hopefully.
"I've got a bowling league match tonight, son. There'll be drinking."
"I can babysit," Stella said. The boys all beamed at her. "As long as someone helps with dinner." Don Senior smiled and nodded. "Good. I'll meet you there after I change clothes. I smell like the harbor. I was there all day." She handed over Greg. "I'll see you three in a while." They all waved so she walked off.
Don patted his boys on the head. "I'll be home in time for bedtime." They pouted but grandad got them back out to the car. "Thanks for dinner, Dad."
"Welcome, son. Happy reports." He took them home, letting Stella in when she got there. "They're devouring everything in sight again."
"Hopefully they won't eat us too." They went back to the kitchen. The boys all gave her a hug then went back to their burgers. "Splurged?"
"A bit but it's okay for them. Keeps me from cooking." He snatched a pickle from Tim's plate. Tim looked at him. "I can share too, kids." Alex held up one of his. "Don't like pickles?"
Stella took it to eat. "Thanks, Alex. Usually you like pickles." He gave her a shy grin and went back to his dinner. She kissed him on the head. "You're cute." Greg offered her one and she treated him the same way. Greg grinned at Tim, who ate his own pickle. She laughed, giving him a hug and went to get some books so she could amuse the holy terrors of New York until their daddy came home. Senior left them alone once the boys were cleaned up again. She settled them into the living room with the books, having a lapful of Greg and Tim. Alex settled on the couch behind her neck, curling around it so he could see the pictures too. That's how Don found them when he finally trudged home. "Long report?"
"Six long reports." He smiled and took a picture. "They're adorable cuddling you, Stella."
"I'm not stepmommy material, Don."
"I know that. I wasn't hinting, Stell." He hugged all his boys. "Were you good for Auntie Stella, boys?" They all beamed at him and nodded. "Good! We like good boys. That means you get a treat before bed." He handed over the bite size candy bars and sat down on the couch. Stella got to open them for them but it was good for them. Especially when she got her own king size one with a grin. "What did dad get them for dinner?"
"Figures." He got comfortable. "It's nearly bath time." Tim pointed at Stella with a hopeful look. "Ask her if she wants to help, Tim. Not me. It's not my decision."
Stella looked at him. "We'll see if you need help." They stripped off and took their chocolately fingers upstairs. The adults smirked but followed. They were mostly good but Greg did splash her a few times until Tim sighed and splashed him back for her. "Such a gentleman," she teased. She kissed him on the head. "Let's finish up. One more story before bedtime, boys." They pouted but finished up with help and got dressed for the night. Don read the bedtime story and they decided to curl up on Tim's bed that night, using him as a pillow. The adults took another picture of the cuteness then left them alone. Don was even nice enough to lend her a shirt since hers was soaked.
Mac looked at Stella three hours later when she got called out to a scene. "Isn't that Flack's shirt?"
"I watched the triplets for a while. Greg soaked me."
"Ah." He nodded. "I'm sure they thought you were cute that way," he teased.
"Of course I am but Tim got Greg back for it for me."
He laughed. "Good to know." He waved a hand. "Our mystery victim of the night."
"You're in a good mood." She gloved up and pulled out her camera. "Nice dinner?"
"Pretty decent. A movie I ordered came in." She smiled at that. "I was asleep on the couch when I got called in."
"I can understand that." They got to work, dealing with the current crime scene. "Does she look familiar?"
"I was thinking that but I don't know from where. There's no ID or purse."
"Then we'll probably find her in the system," she decided. They let the ME's people take the body and got back to work.
Don looked at his boys the next morning. They were not cooperating. "You still have to go to daycare and I have ta go to work, boys. C'mon, please?" he begged. Tim scowled. "I'm sorry but I gotta work so you guys can eat and have clothes." Greg shook his head. "No what?" Alex pounced him to try to knock him down. "What is wrong with you three?"
"No go," Greg said firmly, stomping a foot. "Bad!"
"No, it's not bad. You guys like daycare. I like work. We all like to eat and wear clothes so I gotta go today." Alex shook his head. "Yes you do."
"No," Alex said. "Bad work!"
"No, it's not bad work," Don answered. He was starting to get impatient. "I have ta go to work, guys. So you guys have ta go to daycare." They shook their heads and took off their clothes, walking off to the kitchen. "Guys!" Don shouted. "Not cute!" He grabbed the clothes and went after them. "We're going to put on the clothes, right now." His phone rang. "Yeah, Flack. Small problem with that. The boys aren't cooperating this morning."
"Work bad! Boom!" Alex shouted.
Don stopped to stare at him. "Excuse me?"
"Bad boom," Tim said, nodding some. He pointed at Alex. "He said so."
"I'll be damned if you guys know things like that," Don said. He listened to Danny say something. "Yeah, that's what they said. I don't know why, Danny. Sure, you come get them dressed so I can go to work." He hung up and looked at them. "I don't care what sort of bad thing you guys think'll happen, I still gotta be there so I can catch the guy doin' the bad stuff." They shook their heads. "Yeah, I do. I can't let Uncle Mac have all the fun arresting them."
"No," Greg said, shaking his head. "No go. No go you. No go us."
Danny knocked and walked in. "Okay, what's going on?" They ran out to hide behind him. He looked down. "What the crap, guys?"
"No go!" Greg shouted. "Bad!"
"You guys like daycare," Danny said. Alex patted him on the leg, staring at him. Danny stared back. "You weren't a seer." Alex smirked and nodded. "No way, we would've known." Alex pointed at his arm. "What?" Alex pulled him down and patted his watch, pointing at something. "Okay, which one and what's going on?"
"Boom, bad boom," he said.
"Daycare or work?"
"Daycare. Work bad later."
"Sure, we can check it out, then if it's nothing, you're going and so are we," Danny said.
"Huh?" Don asked.
"Some of their last life is leaking again," Danny told him.
"Alex thinks he has a vision."
"About the daycare."
"Crap," he muttered, walking off. "I don't believe in that shit."
"Me either. Especially since he wasn't known about. We track a lot of them." He looked at the boys then looked at Don. "Call in an hour late." Don nodded, waving his cellphone. "Let me check the daycare." He went to do that, smiling when the kids cheered behind him. He went to the daycare, going to nose around. He held up his badge at the curious look from the security guard. "One of the Flack triplets seems to think someone's going to do something bad today. If I check, they'll let their daddy bring 'em."
"Sure," the guard agreed. "Let us know if you find anything."
"You mean like the drugs that got dumped down the sewer?" he asked with a point. The guard groaned but came to look. Danny went back to his checking, finding it wasn't anything already there. So he extended his senses a bit. There it was and they were in deep shit when the boss heard about that. He called Hallie. "It's me. One of Anya's kin is going to do stupid shit," he said in greeting. "Look near the daycare." She did and swore, hanging up to deal with it. He heard and felt D'Hoffryn be called to the city and then winced when he felt him 'deal' with the demons responsible. He left to talk to him. "Hey, boss?"
"Daniel." He looked at him. "Why are you here?"
"I live and work here as a CSI. Don Flack's my best friend," he reminded him. Sometimes the boss had short term memory loss from dealing with some of the stranger demons. They drove him nuts so he forgot things.
"Why?" the head vengeance demon demanded. "You know the rules, Daniel."
"I was before he got the triplets." He stared him down. "Dumbass! You should've checked since *Alex* got a vision about this." D'Hoffryn stared at him. Then he shook his head. "Yeah, he did. The boys kept Don from taking them today."
"Why are you still friends with him?"
"Because he stuck up for me when my family came back." D'Hoffryn shuddered. "Speaking of, weren't you supposed to keep them away from me?"
"I'll look into it," he growled.
Danny nearly slugged him but instead he smirked. "You do that. Sonny's here too." D'Hoffryn growled. "And tried to have me named a dirty cop."
"I'll deal with him after these three idiots."
"Good! So when are the boys going to lose their former memories?" D'Hoffryn stared at him. "Alex had the vision." Hallie moaned. "Tim and Greg are still very good. Alex is a great pickpocket."
"I'll make sure of that fact," he decided. "You still annoy me."
"Yay me. The boys are like my own some days." He smirked. "Now, anything else gonna happen today? Because if they try to blow up the daycare, there'll be a big problem."
"They will not be doing that," D'Hoffryn said. "I should have your supervisor turned."
"Ask him, he might like that." He left, going back to Don's house. He stared at Alex. "It's fixed. You wanna go now?" They let Don dress them and walk them out to the car. Don gave him an odd look. "Just a holdover that should be gone. We're gonna make sure of it because I know you hate the strange stuff."
"Yeah but I seem to be in the middle of it." Alex burst out crying. "Hey!"
"Not love me," he sobbed.
"I do so love you and if you can do the strange stuff so be it. I'll get used ta it." He gave him a cuddle on the front seat. "I promise, I love you, Alex. Even if you can do strange stuff. I'll get used ta it." Alex stared at him. "I can't not love you three. You're my boys." Alex sniffled, shaking his head. "Yeah, you three are mine. So whatever happened before is over with. For now, you're mine." Alex stared, blinking some. "I love you, Alex. No matter what you do. Even when you do things I don't like." Alex gave him a tentative hug. Don squeezed. Alex relaxed. "No matter what you're my boys and I love you. Even when things go odd and strange. No matter what." He looked down at him. "Now, grin for me, Alex?" Alex gave him a slight grin. "No, a real one. I still love you."
Alex pouted. "No?"
"Yes, I love you."
"You still have to go to daycare and I still gotta go to work, Alex. It doesn't mean I don't love you. It just means I've gotta work so I can buy you guys dinner and stuff like clothes." He looked at his shirt. "Isn't that Greg's shirt?" Alex ducked his head, giving him a shy grin. "If he doesn't mind, I don't." He gave him another hug. "Now, let's go. No more fussing." He put him into his seat. Danny got into the front. "Needed a ride?" he taunted.
"Yup. Got here the easy way earlier." Don snorted but drove them all to the daycare. He checked in the triplets and then took them both to work. Danny walked in and found Mac being talked to by Hallie. "You tell him yet the boss wants him to join us?" He walked off smirking because Mac was growling now.
"D'Hoffryn did threaten him with that for breaking a few rules."
"He had no idea before you two talked. Don and he have been friends for years."
"Which is all that's saving him."
"This thing would hurt him?"
"D'Hoffryn would feel justified in killing him for ignoring his orders. That's the way our world works, Detective. Now, how are the triplets?"
"I'm assuming they're at daycare. You'd have to ask Don. I haven't seen them in a week."
"I can do that." He stared at her. She smiled back. "There was a small issue this morning with Alex's last life leaking through."
"Vision. We didn't know he could do that so we didn't take precautions. We have now."
"That's fine. I'm sure Don would like that."
"Probably." She smiled happily. "How were they the last time you talked to them?"
"Good. Stella helped babysit the other day."
"I can ask her."
He found something and held it up. "I have the feeling you know her."
"I do. She was one of ours," she sighed. "I'll need to see if that was done by a mortal or not."
"If it was a mortal, I'd like to know who. If not, it's an open case until we get an answer."
"If it was one of us, I will make sure it doesn't stay open." She disappeared.
Mac shook his head. "They're incredibly strange," he muttered. "And they won't get to hurt Danny either." He went to talk to Danny. "Can you be a bit more careful? I was told they wanted to kill you."
"Yeah, I told the higher boss why he had made a few mistakes. He said he'd go talk to Sonny for me." He grinned. "A few wanted the kids gone. They've been solved."
"And your problems?"
"Will be solved. If I get a sudden call, I'll let you know."
"Thank you. Try to discourage him from trying to recruit me."
"It's not a bad job, Mac. It means we can make sure that people pay for what they did, even when we can't on the job."
"Are there others in the lab?"
"Two. Sheldon and Adam." He grinned. "In different areas though. They're both minor ones under someone." Mac moaned, walking off shaking his head. "Maybe Don learned that move from him," he decided, going to talk to them. "Hey." Adam looked up and smiled. "The big boss wants Mac to join us."
"Us?" Adam asked, looking confused. Danny stared him down. "No way."
"He threatened me with it earlier." He smirked. "He had no idea any of us lived here in the city and might know someone."
"Oooh. I'll miss you."
"Not happenin'. He broke his word to me and I told him that."
"That kinda sucks and I'll still miss you."
"He won't, Adam. It'd cause a stink." He smirked. "By the way, Alex...."
"Had a vision."
"Basically. So there's a few openings if you want to move laterally."
"I'll look into that. Why?"
Adam shuddered. "In it?"
"Wanting it to go boom according to Alex."
"Yeah, I'll see if the new openings are nice." Danny walked off smiling. Adam went to talk to Sheldon. "Danny said there's some new openings," he said in his ear. Sheldon looked over at him. "Some stupid young ones this morning."
"They wanted a daycare and someone had a vision."
Sheldon straightened up from his sample, looking around before dragging him somewhere more private. "What?"
"Danny said Alex Flack had a vision," he said quietly. "The big boss was here earlier. Danny told him how he had screwed up. And about the vision I guess. He said there's some openings."
"Aw, crap," Sheldon muttered, glancing around. "They okay?"
"Apparently. He didn't look unhappy."
"I'll miss Danny."
"He said it's not an option. But they did want Mac to join us."
Sheldon laughed. "That's a good one."
"Still never happen, Adam." He went back to work, mentally checking with the vengeance demon over his area about the new openings. He hadn't moved up in a few centuries. It was time to look at that career too.
Don found Hallie waiting on him. "Hey. They're fine. They're in daycare today. Unless there's a problem with daycare?"
"I think it's good for them. I'm more worried that you're not able to spend a lot of time with them."
"I spend just as much as any other working parent does," he defended. "Yeah, I've got a few later nights but I got that covered and they love their uncles, aunts, and grandfather."
She stared at him. "Is there a way you can cut down hours?"
"Not without putting my job in danger."
"Your job is a danger."
He stared at her then moved closer. "I know why you're panicking, but it don't matter to me," he said quietly. "I spend as much time with my boys as I can. Every day. I've only had one late night since I've had them. That night, grandpa watched them through most of it and Stella got 'em the rest of the three hours I was late." She slumped but nodded. "I'm a good dad. Since I now know, I can handle stuff."
"Alex won't have another one."
"I don't care if he does or not. That was handy to know."
"It was. They've been dealt with." He nodded at that. "By the boss."
"So Danny said."
"He doesn't like you two being friends."
"He can kiss my ass."
"I'll tell him you said that."
He grinned. "Tell him to come tell me why in person too. You're not a mouthpiece, Hallie."
"I'm not," she agreed. "You're a very unusual man."
He shrugged. "Not like I'd like being a cardboard cutout anyway."
"Flack, is she reporting a crime?" his boss demanded.
"She's the social worker over the boys."
"Never mind. Why were you late?"
"Alex had a slight panic attack about daycare today."
"Danny said he found someone had dropped drugs into the sewer outside it," Hallie told him. She looked at the boss then at Don. "I don't like your hours."
"Then make crime slow down."
"If I could do that, I wouldn't have much of a job."
"Better little job than more job."
"True. I'll put forward that solution." She smirked. "Smartass."
"And my boys are just like me," he assured her.
"Good. I do like that. Try to do something about your hours."
"I can't use their trust."
"No, you can't." She sighed. "At least you're not a CSI. They work some really nasty hours." He nodded. "Fine, we'll do what we can, Don."
"Just let me know, Hallie. I'm not mean. Today. Unless you try for my boys."
"I'll let that be known too."
"Good. Because I'll make someone bleed and wail if they harm my boys."
"Agreed. I like that about you." She patted his cheek then left to tell the bigger boss that news. There was no way he was going to break up that friendship or act against Don Flack. That would bring a lot of dead demons. Even worse than the slayer had with her helper.
Mac walked into Don's house later that night. "You left early?"
"Gerrard sent me home early since the social worker showed up." They shared a look. "The boys were happy to leave daycare early. After I had done some shopping without them."
"Probably a good idea."
"Oh, yeah. Their first shopping trip with me and Dad? Horrible!" Mac laughed. "We're in the play area upstairs. Danny coming too?"
"Later." He followed him up, watching the boys play. "They're good boys."
"Most of the time. Tim tried to get under one of the daycare worker's shirts a few times today." He stared at Tim. "Isn't that usually Greg's issue?"
Tim shrugged. "Not good."
Alex looked at him then nodded. "Very good. Just strange."
"Huh?" Don asked.
Danny appeared in a flash of light up the hall. "There's a few harmless demons who work at the daycare. Some young ones." Alex nodded, pointing at him. "Tim was looking to see if she was a normal human. She told me." He walked over the fence and sat down to hug Alex, putting on the block. Alex stared at him. "To make sure you don't have another dream like that unless it'll hurt you or your dad. Okay?" Alex beamed and nodded. "Good." He looked at Don. "The boss is still very unhappy."
"Not my type," Danny said dryly. Don snickered. "Really. That's a thought to make him drink." He sent that up the ladder of contact. Then he looked at the boys. "Okay, we'll play a bit, have some dinner, then go to bed, right, guys?" They cackled, and went back to playing. "I tried, Don."
"Yeah, you did." He and Mac came in, closing the gate behind them. "So, what're we playing?" he asked. They smiled and went back to it, letting the adults have most of the toys and the floor. "Can we play with you?" Don asked. Tim shook his head. "Why not?"
"Oh, we're adults."
"That makes sense," Mac agreed. He hugged Greg since he was nearest. "You needed one," he said at the look he got. Greg grinned but went back to his toys. "Danny?" he asked quietly.
Danny checked then shook his head. "No, it's not anything of ours. Magic but not ours." He canceled it out. D'Hoffryn showed up. "Rosenburg." He checked then growled and left. "The higher boss, guys."
"I'm not thrilled with that guy's problems anyway," Don told him. Mac nodded. "You okay?"
"He threatened to recruit me to piss off Danny," Mac told him.
Don snickered. "I can't see it," he told him. "Sorry, Mac."
"Not a problem. I can't see it either." Mac looked at them. "Potty training, Don?"
"Soon. I need a few days off in a row."
Danny nodded. "And some bribes. Like chocolate."
"Canny?" Greg asked, perking up again. "Canny us?"
"If you can go potty we can get you some," Don offered. Greg scrunched up his face but stripped and went to the bathroom with his dad's help. He tried really hard but he didn't have to pee yet. "It can happen later, Greg. Don't worry about it." Greg shook his head and tried again, peeing for him. "Good boy!" He gave him a hug then cleaned him up. "We'll send Mac out for candy for you." The baby beamed at him. "Mac?"
"I heard." He got up and went to the corner store. When he came back he handed over the bags of hershey's kisses. "That should help." Alex creeled, reaching for the bag. "Go potty, Alex. You have to go potty to have one." Alex scowled. "You're nearly as fierce at that as I am," he offered with a grin.
Don gave Tim and Alex one but Greg got three. Alex and Tim pouted. "Going potty gets you more, guys." They went in to see if they could. Danny monitored them and sent them out to get a treat. "Now, the next time you guys don't wet your diapers but go potty instead, then you can have another one." He put the bag behind him. "Tell us and we'll get you in there." Tim nodded, scrunching his face up. Don gave him a hug, getting one back. Then they went to play again. They did try to sneak the bag of candy but Don was sneakier than even those three.
Don walked into Stella's lab the next day. "My boys are slightly brilliant." She smiled. "They're all going potty for bribes."
"Now you have to move them away from bribes to encouragement."
"They did this morning and only wanted breakfast." He grinned. "Only one accident last night and he got up during it to use the potty so it's good."
"Excellent of them. Any other news?"
"Danny's other boss wants Mac to join them to punish Danny for being a smartass."
She considered that statement. "Horns, huge guy?" Don grinned but nodded. "Uh-huh. Poor Danny." She shook her head. "I can't see it."
"Me either. Oh, daycare's going to take a tour of the station soon. They arranged it with the Commissioner since they had some kids of officers." She whimpered. "Yeah, he said they could come into the lab." He handed over the letter he had gotten when he had dropped them off. "Haven't seen Mac yet but I doubt anyone told him since he nearly threw a fit last time."
She looked at him. "I'm going to. They'll create a mess." Don shrugged and walked off to get results. Stella closed down her current task, going to find Mac. "The daycare gave Don notice that they're touring," she said, tossing it at him and fleeing.
"I'm not in a bad mood yet, Stella," he called after her. He picked it up and read it. "But that may do it," he muttered, moving to call and complain about this. Again. Kids did not need to be in the lab.
Don walked into his unit, looking around then at his scowling boss. "Had to drop off a notice to the lab that the kids' daycare is taking a tour."
"Here?" Gerrard demanded.
"Two patrol guys have their kids there too, Cap. They talked the Commissioner into it. Mac's probably throwing a fit." Gerrard stomped off to call them. He grinned at the other detectives. "Remember, Alex can pickpocket with the best of them. Found drugs the time Dad brought him in because I had ta work later." They all groaned.
"When?" one asked him.
"We can clean up our desks," one decided. "Your boys like guns, right?" Don nodded. "They can be put in drawers." He shook his head. "Why us?"
"After us they're going to the federal building."
"Poor Feebs. I almost feel sorry for them," another guy said with a wince. "Your three terrors babble."
"They're very smart. They're nearly fully potty trained after one night." That got a knowing grin. "The only accident last night he got up in the middle of and used the potty for the rest of it." He sat down and got into his computer to find what he was doing today.
"What did you bribe them with?" one asked. "Mine's two and not there yet."
"Mac got a bag of kisses. One for each and three for the one that went." He grinned. "A bit of competition in this area works for them."
"That's the beauty of two or three," a guy who had twins agreed. "My girls got it over a week's time by wanting the other's treat. You tell the daycare people?"
"Yeah and they're happy to help them to the potty and stuff. Said it was a good job." He grinned. "There's seventeen in the group coming." That got a nod. "And we can't buy them cookies. One of the kids has a wheat allergy."
"Fruit tray then," the senior detective decided, writing that down. "Thanks for the warning, Flack."
"Not an issue. I gave them a horrified look and warned them Taylor hates the lab tours." They all laughed because Mac was a bit uptight about his lab now and then.
Gerrard came stomping out. "Cap, we're getting them fruit since one's got a wheat allergy," the senior detective said. "We'll need some of the petty cash." That got a nod. "When tomorrow, Flack?"
"Late morning. Starting at ten, Feds that afternoon."
"So, eleven, twelve for us then the lab?" Don nodded. "Good to know." Gerrard groaned, grabbing some tylenol from someone's desk to take. "Seventeen kids still?"
"That's what the higher ups said." He glared at Flack. "Don't spawn again."
"It was in a bank. She was gay." He shrugged. "Pity her dad was in bed with the mob."
Gerrard shuddered, going back to his office to have his headache in peace.
The other guys laughed because the Flack Terror Trio were very adorable. When they wanted to be.