Notes: a bit of a different take on the usual way a Childhood story comes about. Thanks, Jette and Faramir.
To Be A Daddy
Mac Taylor woke up alone in a room, groaning in pain and agony. His stomach ached. His head was throbbing like he had been drugged. He was chilled. He was tired. He made himself sit up so he could hold his head and look around. It was an empty room. One doorway. A few windows. Looked like a former office to him. He heard a noise and shifted to look at the reason, hoping for a rat and not the reason he had been drugged. He blinked when he saw what it really was. He stared for a minute, making himself get up off the plastic-covered pallet to wander over to it. It was under one of the windows, in the sunlight. It was in his shirt, which he noticed, and that explained why he was cold. It was slimy, it was young, and it was shivering too. He picked it up to hold. "Shh, baby. We'll figure it out," he whispered. He looked around, spotting his wallet, keys, shoes, and cellphone beside the door. Placed like he would've normally placed it. "Someone is screwing with our heads, kid."
He slid into his shoes and grabbed the other things. That's when he noticed why his stomach was sore. There was a new line of stitches on it. "No way that's real." He walked him outside, sitting down with him on the stairs. It was marginally warmer out there. His first call was to a friend who could deal with this for him while he was in the hospital. "Stella? Trace my signal," he said tiredly. "I have no idea where in the city I am. It smells like Brooklyn maybe?" He coughed. "I woke up with stomach stitches, dizzy from being drugged, and there's a baby here in my shirt, Stella. Do it now please." He hung up and waited. "Don't worry, she'll only scream at whoever did this, kid." He looked him over. He looked okay. He blinked at the paramedics screaming his way. "That was fast."
One hopped out to come over. "Sir, we were called about a person in labor about a half hour ago?"
Mac shrugged. "I woke up drugged with him beside me. I think the building's empty except for us." He pulled his ID out of his pocket to hold it up. "I have *no* clue what's going on."
"Okay, Detective, let me have the baby?" he asked. Mac nodded and the baby screamed when he was handed over. "Shh, little one. I've got a few of my own. You're safe. Come with us please, Detective? You'll be warmer in the ambulance." Mac let them help him to his feet. One gave his stomach a look. "Recent?"
Mac shrugged. "Wasn't there last night when I fell asleep in my own bed at home. That's the last thing I remember. It's the twelfth, right?" They nodded. "I wasn't pregnant yesterday but someone went to a lot of trouble to make me think I was." He got laid down on the bed, letting the second paramedic check him over. Stella pulled in. "That's my second-in-command. Stella!" he yelled. She came jogging over. "Office upstairs, third floor," he said. "This side of the building."
"From the top, Mac," she ordered, getting in with him to look at him. "Stitches?"
"They had it set up so it looked like the baby's mine," he said weakly. "I woke up on a pallet. The baby was under the east window wrapped in my shirt. My keys, shoes, phone, and wallet were all lined up beside the door like I'd do if I had taken them off." He swallowed. "Expect blood for a tox screen."
"Sure, I can do that. Did you turn on your alarm last night?" He nodded once, then groaned and held his head. "Okay, let me handle this, you guys go to the hospital. Bag the shirt and his clothes for me, I'm sending one of the CSI there," she ordered.
"Please not Lindsay," he begged.
"No, not Lindsay, Mac. I'll send Doc or Danny."
"Danny. He's able to blink off the strange stuff if it's necessary. He won't tell me it's fascinating either. I don't think I can take that right now."
"I can do that. Call me," she ordered, writing her phone number on the order. "If he's to be admitted. "Got it?" They nodded. "Thanks, guys." She got out and went to call in help for the processing. Starting with Danny. "Where?" she called.
"St. Vincent's. His wallet card said so," the paramedic said, the driver getting out to close the door so the could go.
"Danny, me. Mac was taken last night. He just woke up alone, with stitches, and what looks like a newborn baby in Brooklyn. He's going to St. Vincent's. Get there now." She hung up and called Don. "Need a detective. Mac got kidnaped last night and woke up with a baby next to him this morning, Don. That's where I am. I texted it on the way over just in case I'd need help. Danny's going to process him and the baby. I need you here." She hung up and grabbed her kit to deal with it. Someone had just earned her foot up their ass. Maybe even a few times.
Danny walked into the busy ER, holding up his ID. "Detective Taylor and a baby got brought in together. I need to process them both?"
"He had us keep them together for you, Detective. Trauma three please." He nodded, heading that way once she had buzzed him through. She walked around to accompany him. "The stitches aren't that deep. More than superficial, less than real surgery. Whoever did them was excellent at it. We've taken preliminary photos because we needed to cover them and wash the baby. We did wipe him down and saved the cloths for you in case it's needed." He grinned and nodded at that. "His blood is already on the way to the lab and we pulled an extra vial for your lab if you need verification of ours. From both of them. They're both mildly chilled but should be able to go home once you're done with them and you find whoever had the baby."
"It was newborn slime so within days. He's a bit large. The mother had to have problems having him naturally." She let him into the room. "Detective?" She nodded at Danny. "This one?"
"Thank you. Can I get him a bottle or something? He's starving." He looked at the baby he was holding again. "Shh, it'll be soon, little one." She nodded, going to do that for him. "Danny, my clothes were cut off and they're in the corner," he said with a point. He looked at him. "What else will we need to do? I was out of it while telling them to do some things."
"Sounds like they covered most of it. Did we draw blood from him for DNA?" he asked the nurse when she came back.
"There's probably enough for that," she said. "We drew two vials from each of them." He nodded, bagging the clothes and tagging the other things that were bagged already. "We did what we could. He's a bit pushy."
"Should see him at work," Danny teased with a grin. "Want the baby here?"
"Preliminary results said he's healthy. If you don't have a parent waiting, we should probably admit him. The hospital admin agreed to that for up to a few days."
"That'll probably be best. It'll take us about a day to do DNA testing." She nodded, carefully taking the baby to put him into the little glass bed on wheels. "Any idea if he's from any particular sort of mom? Druggie, sick, anything like that?"
"No, not that we've seen," she said with a smile. "I'll take him upstairs, Detectives." They nodded.
Danny looked at Mac. "Camera?" He pointed. Danny checked the pictures, then came over to take his own shots of Mac's entire body just in case. "Any needle marks you found, Mac?"
"No, but my head is still ringing. I woke up with a dry throat so either I got oxygen while I was out or it was a gas."
"Stella told me she'd go to your place after she got done with that one. We heading back to the office?" he asked, knowing how Mac was. Mac nodded. "Good. I'll get someone started on paternity ASAP. This is strange."
"Very," Mac said, wincing as he stood up. "Tell me you brought me something to wear?" Danny grinned and dug out a work jumpsuit. "That'll do until I can hit my locker. Thanks." He slid into it. "Want to do hair or nails?"
Danny looked then shook his head. "Nothing under your nails. Open?" He pulled out his flashlight, checking his mouth. "No signs of you biting someone." He looked his hair over. "Nothing that I can see. I can do one if you want." Mac shook his head. It was a minimal chance at best. "Okay." He grabbed everything and they walked out together. He waved at the nurses, letting Mac sign the forms so they could get into the official SUV. "They said he was a newborn or really close to it. It was authentic baby slime," he said once they were out on the street and heading toward the lab. "She also said he was a bit big so the mother had a problem giving birth naturally."
"It's a lead," Mac said quietly. "I'm going to nap on my couch for a few hours until Stella's done."
"Good idea," he agreed. "I'll have Doc check on you in a few." Mac nodded at that, resting his head against the glass. "You nap, Mac. It's a good thirty more in this traffic." He called Stella. "It's me. Got Mac, he got the nurses to do most of it. The nurse said the baby's a newborn or close to it. Authentic baby slime. Said he was a bit big so Mom would've had a problem. You still gonna hit Mac's place? He thinks he was gassed." He nodded. "That'll work. I'm bringing him back. We've got blood to run DNA too." He hung up and flipped on the lights and siren. Mac shifted but he stayed asleep. "Must've been a bit too much gas," he muttered. "He'd never sleep through this normally." He sped up once an opening came up and headed faster. He had to find out who the kid's parents were so he could beat them to death with Stella.
Danny walked into the lab at the page. "Tell me you found at least one parent," he ordered.
"I found two." He grinned. "You're going to hate me and I'm going to go into hiding. Here, have my seat." He got up and moved out of the way. He paged Mac again.
"He's out," Danny told him. "Plus his phone's in trace." That got a groan. "Why?" The guy canceled his screensaver and Danny stared. "No way." He looked at the tech. "Gotta be wrong."
"Yes way and not wrong," he said dryly. "I have no clue! That's what the blood came up. I even ran it against Mac's blood today. It's *his* son and somehow the other one breaks down into a baby that's a horrible thing on the world, a Messer-Flack." He shrugged. "I tried everything. I had to halve it to get any sort of match and that's the only thing it came up as, Danny."
"Bullshit." He shrugged, throwing up his hands. "What do you want me to do?"
"Rerun it!" he snapped.
"Four times!" he said, handing over the reports.
"Do I need to yell too?" Stella demanded as she walked in. She looked at the screen. "How in the hell!" she shouted.
"That's my feeling," Danny told her. He looked at the tech. "Got a clue?"
"Um, let's see. Someone knocks out the former Marine with a gas, does surgery somewhere, leaves a theatrical setup with a baby there, Danny. Know any drama queens who can plan an operation like that?" he shot back.
"You think someone made the baby?" Mac asked from the doorway. Danny handed over the reports. "You ran it three times?"
"Four. I didn't print out the other one," the tech said, giving him a look. Danny hit the print button for that one. "Yeah, I do think, Mac. I think somewhere there's a crackpot with a microscope. This last one I broke down the unknown sample to try to get a family match. Doing that came up with a baby Danny and Don."
Mac looked then blinked. "Interesting," he said calmly.
"Go yell, Mac," Stella ordered, taking them.
"Once we find someone I will," Mac promised. He looked at him. Then at Danny. "Any other strange appearing babies recently?"
"Two, both dropped off by actual mothers at an ER. One did come up with strange DNA but that's mostly because he was sick and had a rare genetic defect." That got a nod. "A known one, not one from mixing in a dish. One from Mom having radiation treatments."
"Okay," Mac said, taking a deeper breath. Then he winced and rubbed his stomach. "Call the hospital, tell them we may have a parent?"
"Going to," Danny agreed. "We want to claim it?"
"I don't know," Mac said. "I do know that they'll send it to social services if we don't." Danny nodded, going to do that in person. Just in case someone doubted. He took one of the reports with him. He looked at Stella. "Anything at my place?"
"Two smudges that aren't yours," she said. "A gas canister that's not yours. A shoe print on a windowsill. They came in off the fire escape. Cut a small hole in the glass to get the gas in first." He nodded at that. "You probably ignored it as rats being out there."
"Probably. Can you get Don?"
"Sure." She called him and walked Mac back to his office, Don meeting them at the elevator. "We have a brilliant DNA tech. He even broke down the side that didn't come up to run a family search." Don beamed. "That side came up you and Danny as the daddies. The other side came up Mac." Don blinked, staring at them. Then he slowly shook his head. Mac nodded, handing over the reports she was holding. Including the printed one from the last test he had grabbed before Stella could walk him off.
"No way!" he said, grinning. "It's april, right?"
"No, it's still march," Stella told him dryly. Don glared at her. She shrugged. "We don't know. The other side comes up with a single parent. Mac."
"How?" Don asked.
"The tech thinks a crackpot with a microscope and a petri dish," Stella told him. "He made a good case for whoever took him being military or at least having some of the training."
Don nodded. "I can see that as a valid theory. This is nuts though."
Mac looked at him. "I have no clue, Don, but we need to figure this part out. Right now we're letting you know you may be a grandparent."
"Ha ha. Thanks, really." He put them down. "Now what?"
"Danny went to talk to the nurses at the hospital and possibly have them draw more blood. If so we can do a test to tell if you're related and about how close." Don nodded, taking off his jacket. She called the tech to come draw some for that purpose. He came in and drew it then left quickly. "He told Danny he's going to run and hide."
"Whoever did this needs to. The tech who figures it out doesn't," Don said, holding the small bit of cotton to the bend in his arm. "Now what? Anything forensically?"
"I've got the fingerprint tech going over the canister in detail for anything. The shoeprint came up with standard military issue boot, able to be found at any surplus store in the city and most of the second-hand stores since hunters like them. The place Mac woke up had nothing there. A few hairs that didn't have tags for DNA. I left them to be broken down, see if he can get mitochondrial or not. It'll take about four days for that though." Mac and Don both nodded. "Danny said something about others?"
"Two abandoned this week, one had a rare genetic defect, a known one. Other than that, no," Mac admitted. He leaned back, rubbing his head. "I have no idea what we're doing, guys. If the kid's mine he's not going into the system."
"Amen," Don agreed. "It's overcrowded and we can do good enough." Mac smiled at that. "Though Danny gets to be the Mom, okay?"
Stella smiled. "You're the one who wears mauve suits."
"Yeah but he'd be cuter in the dress. Before you ask, no I can't tell you how I'd know." He grabbed his jacket. "Do we need to tell anyone?"
"Not yet. Not until we have something definitive," Mac ordered. Don nodded, heading back to his desk since his arm wasn't bleeding. He looked at Stella. "Can you get me some coffee?"
"Sure, Mac." She went to do that for him, bringing him back an energy bar too. He looked like hell.
Danny tapped on the door of the motel room where Mac was staying for the night. "Hey." He held up a the folded papers. "Ran kinship and things." Mac let him inside, finding Stella and Don there. "I told the nurse and the social worker that worked at the hospital what we knew and what we thought. The social worker said she'd file a report and if you wanted him, to let her know by tomorrow afternoon, Mac. The next day he's discharged to a group home." Mac nodded at that so Danny handed over the forms. "I know how they had to do it. I know all they needed was an embryo to make our half so it could be mixed with yours. I have *no* clue who's doing this shit to us. I even called someone who'd know about private research going on in the city for this stuff. He said no one's on file as doing this sort of embryo study. I had Doc run every single test known to mankind on that kid's blood. He's healthy as a horse. Healthier than I am. Had all his shots. Comes off with slight radiation from something but it's not a known ray we see from any usual source. Doc said whatever the source it wasn't harmful and could've come from however he was being kept. Doc and I agreed this is stranger than even the X-Files people would want to handle. He even called ours." He sat down. "Ours said congrats and he's seen one other case, ten years ago. Single set of parents and they both died. Kid died in the hospital after the accident that killed her parents." He shrugged. "No one has a clue, Mac."
"Okay," Mac said, looking at the tests. "You both come up as grandparents." He handed them to Don. "I'm still listed as one parent."
"Could it be someone military?" Don asked.
"Usually they wouldn't pay for this sort of research," Mac said patiently. "I called a person I know who'd know. He did some searching and said there were no open or even slightly sealed cases of that. Anything else, Danny?"
"Kid's DNA came up in CODIS," he said dryly. They both stopped. "It was filed under another name. That name led to a dead end in California. It was put in for the boy's protection and identification purposes. Doesn't say if he's dead or not. Could be a runaway. He's twenty-one."
"Definitely not this kid," Don said. "Second set of results or did it copy over the old ones?"
"Not sure. Doc saw that and threw a fit though. In another language even." Mac snickered. "Sid was nearby and he didn't want to upset him." He looked at Stella, who was snickering too. "So we don't know. Doc called them but their department was closed for the day."
"Closed for the day?" Stella asked. "Small town? Has to be but they don't have a night shift?"
"No. No night shift. Only open a few hours. The answering service took a message and we'll see if they call back in the morning." She nodded at that. He looked at Mac. "The X-Files person was in by the time we found this and he identified the town as being of his kind," he said, smirking a bit. "Then he shuddered and went to have a drink for surviving that town once."
"Wonderful," Don said dryly, smirking back. "Any other good news, like aliens?"
"No. Not yet. We're waiting. So, Mac?"
"I don't know," he said. "I don't want him in the system if he is mine."
"Mac, if you don't, I am," Danny told him. Mac nodded at that. "Then we'll figure it the fuck out." He stood up. "I already told her that, she said she'd give you first option since you're apparently the mother. I'm gonna go home and look up what you need for a baby. If you bring him home, I'll be helping at the very least." He walked out, heading back to his place to think.
"Me too," Don admitted. "But you guys get to tell my mother." He stood up. "Mac, you be okay tonight?"
"I'll be fine. The hotel's security are alerted, there's an officer on the hotel itself. I'll be fine, Don." He nodded, leaving him and Stella alone. "You okay?"
"Trying hard not to see you as pregnant and waddling," she said, standing up. "We've got to tell everyone something, Mac. Rumors are already starting."
"I'll do it tomorrow," he promised. She nodded. "Go home. I'll see you in the morning." She nodded, giving him a pat on the shoulder before leaving. He laid down on the bed, getting comfortable while he thought. "Claire would have beaten someone," he decided finally. "Then let Stella have them." He yawned, letting himself drift off with thoughts of his former wife doing the job of vengeance this time. She would have enjoyed kicking their asses.
Mac walked into the hospital and up to the nursery, nodding at the nurses up there. He found the senior nurse and pulled out his ID. "Can we talk?"
"Of course, Detective. The other one told us what had went on last night and the social worker here had him tested for relationship as well in our lab. It's a bit strange but this is New York."
"Did it come up too?" She nodded. He smiled. "We've about decided between us that one of us is going to take him."
"Good." She led him to where he could sit and hold the baby, letting him get used to him. "He's a good boy. Pretty quiet. Doesn't like to fuss unless it's absolutely dark. We had a momentary power blink and he didn't like that." He smiled and nodded, looking down at him. "Let me get the social worker for you, Detective."
"Is he healthy?"
"Very. He's also very hungry." She handed him a bottle and went to make the call. "Detective Taylor is up here." She smiled. "For that reason, yes." She hung up and went back to her duties, keeping an eye on him. She knew he wouldn't hurt the baby but this was just too strange for this hospital. The social worker came in pulling up her hair. "There you go. He's feeding him a bottle."
"Thanks." She walked in there. "Detective?" He looked up. "Hi, Anya Hallison- Petrovitch." She shook his free hand before pulling a chair over. "I see you two can get along."
"We can," he agreed, smiling down at the baby. He had fallen asleep in his arms. "He's a good little boy?"
"He is. Very good. I came up to check on him before I went home last night." She smiled at him. "I know this is odd."
"It is but Danny and I both agreed one of us was taking him. The system's too crowded and if he's ours, he's ours." He looked at her. "Any idea how this happened? Any others reported with similar problems?"
She shook her head. "No, not that I've heard. There was one down in Texas about four years back but that cleared up as sperm donation taken out of a garbage can and used." He nodded once at that. "I do know that he's healthy. That he eats more than his fair share of the food. That he likes sweets. He tried to grab someone's lollipop." He grinned at that. "The only question remains which one of you is taking him home so we can start the paperwork."
"Can you call Danny and we'll talk?"
"Of course. I did on the way up here when I heard you were here." He smiled and went back to rocking and feeding the baby. "Let him burp too," she said gently. He handed her the bottle and put the baby on his shoulder, letting him burp a few times before going back to feeding him. "You seem to be doing okay."
"I took the three hour class on how to handle a baby at the academy and we've run into a few on scenes," he admitted. "Danny might know more than I do."
"All first time parents start out without a clue, Detective." Danny came walking in. "Hi again."
"Hi." He smiled at the baby. "You look good like that, Mac."
"Thanks, Danny." He looked at him. "Which one do you want to try first?"
"You've got the bigger place. Mine's got a bug problem I'm going to be spraying for next week. Had to scream at the landlord earlier 'bout it." He took the baby to hold and feed, shhing him when he fussed. "It's Danny, quit that." The baby settled down to eat and stare at him. "No cracks about the hair. I ran outta mousse this morning, kid." He looked at her. "Would that be okay? We figure out visitation among the three of us?"
"Of course. As long as he's going home to a stable, decent environment we have no problems." She stood up. "Let's bring him down to my office, all right?" The nurse handed her discharge papers and she let Mac sign them. Then they brought down the copies to her office so they could go over what was needed and how often they'd be visiting in the first few weeks. Plus the all important list of where to get things cheaply. She knew cops made crap wages. Which was why she'd be paying special attention to this one. Someone had interfered in her area of expertise.
Mac walked in the meeting he had called, nodding at his ultimate boss. "I know it's strange and some of you know why we're here." Danny came in with the baby. "Yesterday, or the night before really, I was taken from my apartment and left in Brooklyn with this little guy here." His boss sat up, staring at him. He held up a hand. "After paternity tests and other testing we found out that someone with a petri dish and a cheap degree decided to make Danny and Don a grandmother and me a father." Danny snorted at that. Stella handed his boss the report. "That has the DNA workups and all that?" She nodded. He looked at him. "After talking about it last night the three of us agreed he would not stay in the system."
"So you're claiming him?" the police commisioner asked.
Mac nodded. "I am. He'll reside with me for right now. Danny and Don can both jump in whenever they want to help. We'll figure out visitation and those things if and when it becomes necessary." He looked at his team. "As such, I've got to set up my place with a nursery and take some time off to find him a caretaker. Stella, you'll be in charge while I'm out. I know I have up to eleven weeks?" he asked his boss.
"That is federal law. State law gives you another two weeks of emergency leave on top of that if he's ill."
"Nah, he's a healthy guy," Danny assured him. He moved so he could see the baby. "This is him. We've still gotta figure out a name."
"He's adorable, Mac." He smiled. "You as well, Detective Messer, and Detective Flack."
"Thanks. Can you tell my folks for me? I wanna be in another borough, if not another state. One further away than New Jersey or Connecticut."
"I can do that." He looked at the reports. It included how it had to have happened for the less wary prosecutor. "Do we have any idea who?"
Danny stood up, shaking his head. He paced a bit since the baby looked like he wanted to fuss. "Nope. I called the people who'd get the results for authentication. I called the local science society, all that. No one knows about anything like this. Someone got curious and tried to figure out how it was done."
"I called some military contacts and they've never heard of anyone doing this either, sir," Mac said. "I know it's odd and sudden...."
He held up a hand. "I'd rather have him settled and safe than not, Detectives." He stood up. "Do you have the leave forms filled out?"
"On my desk, sir. I did them before I went to the hospital."
"Good enough." He clapped him on the back. "Good luck, detective. Remember, there's a parenting group on the NYPD server so you can get advice when the baby's being sick or something. Let me know how much you're taking or if you need the full eleven weeks."
"Right now I'm planning four. I have that much saved and banked for paid paternity leave."
"Good enough. I'll get the forms on my way out. Again, congratulations, no matter how he came to be." He walked out smiling. It wasn't an emergency. Thank God it wasn't an emergency with his top lab. He went to call his people and get them started on how it happened. If someone was doing this in his city he wanted them found and that lab would destroy everyone if they found them first. Then he sat down to call Don's father. He had to know and his son was right to worry and to want to run.
Mac looked at his team again. "So, Stella's in charge while I'm gone. Danny, Don, my place later then we'll shop?" They nodded. "Good. Stella, if you wanted to do a welcoming party, make it Sunday afternoon or sometime like that when it's not as busy. My place or here, doesn't matter."
"Of course." She smiled and took the baby to hold. "Hi, precious." He yawned and flailed a bit. "Good boy. How're we picking a name?"
"Don't know yet," Mac told her. "We'll figure that out tonight too." Don's phone rang. "Parents already?"
He looked. "Nah. Boss." He answered it. "In a meeting, boss." He hung up on his growl. "He's pissed. I gotta head. After shift?" Mac nodded. "You heading today?"
"Good luck. See you in a few hours. Danny, I'll give you a ride if we're done at the same time or thereabouts." He smiled at the baby. "We'll play later, snookums." He left, going to tell his boss. He found him pacing and walked into his office, making him follow with another growl. Don shut the door with a wave at the other detectives, giving them a comical look just before it shut. "You know what happened to Taylor?" His boss glared but nodded. The kidnaping had made it back to his ear. "The kid came up as one parent a mix of me and Messer, the other is Taylor." His boss flopped down, giving him a horrified look. "Yeah, so we're arranging things. Mac's got formal custody right now but we're arranging for things and figuring the rest out. We were having a meeting with the top guy over in CSI about that. I can get you the reports if you want," he said when he opened his mouth.
"Crackpot with a petri dish," he said bluntly. "We're still hunting them." That got a nod. "So we're good now?"
"We're fine," he said dryly. "Are you taking custody?"
"Now and then. Apparently I'm a grandparent." He shrugged. "What do I know? He's tiny, cute, and newborn. Kinda big but they said the slime on him was newborn slime when Mac woke up."
"That's an idea that's been put forth. Mac called. No one knows anything."
"Fine. Do you need legal services?"
"We'll figure that out later, Cap. All we know right now is that the baby's just come out of the hospital. Mac's gotta go shopping later. Danny and I are gonna go with him. That way I'm out of range of my parents when they hear. Then I'll set up mine at my place. Danny'll set up his at his place. We'll share custody and expenses, that stuff. That's as far as we've gotten so far. Not bad for three bachelors who don't know a thing about kids, huh?"
His boss nodded. "There's a lot more to raising a kid than sharing expenses, Flack."
"I know that. Barely but I know that. Watched it in a movie," he said with a grin. "So I'm gonna go back to work but I need out on time tonight."
"Go." Don left, letting him call his boss. "Have you heard about Taylor's predicament?" He listened to the official version, which mirrored Flack's. Plus that they had a copy of the report. "He was cut? Flack, he had surgery?" he called.
"Whoever took him cut him just enough to need stitches to make him look like he delivered," he called back.
The captain shuddered. "They're sharing custody. That's all they know so far. That and Flack wants to give his parents time to scream first." He saw Don's father walk in and pointed at his desk since Don couldn't see him. Don did take off running though. "Smart boy. His dad's here." He hung up and went to talk to him. "Taylor has primary custody."
"He's in his office doing the last few forms before leaving. I stopped in to see the baby." He gave him a look. "My son ran."
"He said he wanted to give you two time to yell."
"I should yell!"
"He should yell, you should yell, just do it somewhere outside my precinct, Flack."
"Fine, Gerrard." He went to find his son, finding him back in Taylor's office with Messer. "The kid in-between?"
"They didn't have to have it born ta do this," Danny offered quietly, feeding the kid. "Are you always hungry?" The baby gulped more formula. He looked at him. "They could've taken cells from an embryo and done it within days of mixing us together."
Don's father shuddered. "Fine. How are we sharing custody?"
"I'm taking primary, they can help whenever they want," Mac told him. "If we need more firm rules we'll make them as needed. You and your wife are welcome to visit too, Captain."
"Good to know." He took the baby from Danny, looking at him. "Want burped, kid?" The baby belched without his help. "Your dad did that a few times." He patted him anyway, holding him. "Don, your mother's going to scream."
"I'm helping Mac shop tonight, Dad. I'm not going to have my phone on. She can leave a message or ten."
"That won't save you, son. She knows where you live," he reminded him.
"She should, she painted it." He shrugged. "Not like I have a clue, Dad. First I heard of it, Danny and Stella told me."
"We'll figure it out then. Hopefully without your mother demanding a shotgun wedding."
"Dad, not legal," Don said dryly.
"That won't stop her," he said, staring at his son.
"Trios aren't legal?" he tried.
"That won't stop her either, son," he assured him. He took the bottle at the first fussy noise and stuck it in the open mouth. "Needed more?" he teased with a small smile. The baby sucked and got comfortable. "You're a bit huge for a newborn."
"The nurse and the tests said it was amniotic fluid and blood on him when Mac woke up," Danny said. "Tests said it was his." That got a nod. "The nurses thought he was a newborn too."
"Some woman in Brazil gave birth to a thirteen pound baby last year," Don said helpfully. "It was in the news. She even did it naturally without painkillers."
"More power to her," Danny quipped. "Thank God it wasn't me." Both Flacks cracked a smile at that. He stood up. "Let me finish doing my reports for this case, guys. Then I'll come back to help you two shop. I might need to move. My place is New York tiny." He left, going to his desk. He noticed some of them giving him odd looks. "Not like he came to be naturally, people. Unless you saw me waddling and belching? Or Mac waddling and belching, eating pickles and stuff?" A few shuddered and Lindsay whimpered. "Good. Get back to work." He finally made it to his desk, settling in to do his reports for this case. Lindsay walked in. "Hey."
"Do things like this happen in New York?"
"Now and then there's crackpots around here," he admitted. "Any real city has some. Ours come from all over the world." He called Mac's office. "What about international kooks with a petri dish?" He nodded at his 'one of the ones I called was CIA, they'd have heard'. "Just a thought." He hung up. "He put out a feeler that way too." He got back to work. "What?" he asked when she continued to stare.
"This doesn't bother you?"
"It bothers me a lot. Someone did this to my kid." He looked at her. "That means I'm more motivated to get the bastard and make 'em sorry."
"For making you a father."
"No, for doing this without my consent. I planned on having kids some day. I knew it'd happen some day. Didn't figure it'd be this way but I knew I'd have some some day." He shrugged. "Just strange that I'm a grandfather before I'm a father."
"You're not throwing a fit?"
"No." He looked at her. "Real New Yorkers roll with the punches, Monroe. I'll throw a fit when I find 'em and make sure that I don't have a son *and* a grandson out there." She shuddered, walking off to her desk. "Don't worry about having to babysit. Mac's not like that and neither are we. Whoever wants to can offer." He kept the opinion that he wouldn't want her to sit his kid or grandkid to himself. She wasn't handling this shock very well. She might say something to the kid that'd scar them for life or something. He finished up that report and the other one he needed to finish, bringing them to Mac. "Done." He logged out from his computer then went to get his stuff from his locker, coming back to grab the baby. "We have a carseat?"
"I borrowed one for the afternoon."
"That's first on the list then," Danny agreed. He grinned. "Come on, Mac." Mac finished up and logged out, texting Don that they were going. Don said he'd meet them at Mac's place in an hour. He was doing an arrest report. "We're good then," Danny said, seeing the answer. "Let's go." He walked out with the baby, letting Mac grab the empty bottle and small pack of stuff. "Let's see what we can figure out for you, precious. Including a name. He texted the word 'name' to Don. Don called back, letting him listen. "You got any others? Sure, that'll work. Thanks, Flack." He hung up. "He's got four or five he likes right off the top of his head. I don't care personally. Nothing too stereotypically Italian but otherwise that's all good."
"Anything I'd like?"
"Paul. John, James. Normal names, Mac. Make your own list and fight. I'll veto anything too strange and it'll work."
Mac smiled. "Sure, you can referee tonight." He got them into his car, doing the babyseat while Danny watched. That got a nod from the other guy. "Think you can?"
"I think I'll learn." That got a smirk. "Not like I have a car in the city." He buckled himself up and let Mac walk around to drive. "Your place first, see what we have ta move?"
"The spare bedroom is my office." He considered his place. "The dining room closes off and it's a nice room. Has a good view. No fire escape but a good view. A small storage closet that's about stuffed full."
"Where would you put your table?"
"If I take the leaves out it'll fit in the area by the window next to the tv," he said. Danny nodded at that. "I've got a list from the social worker too."
"Good! I didn't think to get one." Mac grinned. "I figured if I had to I'd ask an old girlfriend for help. She's got four or so."
"Well, a few are her girlfriend's."
"Ah, one of those." He pulled out into traffic, heading for his place. They were catching the tail end of rush hour so it was horrible but the baby slept most of the way. They finally got there and found Don waiting on them. "How in the hell?" Mac muttered.
"He's a Flack. Probably got a flight from the traffic copter," Danny snorted, taking the baby out. "There we go, snookums." He carried him over to Flack. "We made it home. We need a carseat."
"That's a good thing to start with," Don agreed. Mac took out that one to hand back to his neighbor while they checked out his dining area. Don looked around. "This is gonna be the baby's room?"
"His spare room is the office."
"I could move the office in here," Mac admitted. "The closet in there is packed higher." Don nodded at that. "Danny, put the baby on the couch?" He went to do that and came back to help Mac take the leaves out of the table he usually spread out on and put it in the corner of the living room. The baby made moaning noises and they all looked over. "Is that normal?"
Don nodded. "My cousin made those noises too."
"Good. I thought the baby was a zombie or something," Danny complained. The other chairs got stacked in the office for now. Though Mac left one in there for feeding and things. Then they measured the area. Danny touched the subtly striped wallpaper. "We gonna redo this?"
Mac looked then shook his head. "No. I don't want to wallpaper ever again." Don grinned at that. "Claire ambushed me when we first moved in. I hate wallpapering." That got a nod of understanding and Danny got them online to look at baby stores to see what they could get together and how much it was going to cost. "Babies cost more than new cars," Mac said finally.
"And more than maintenance, but less than parking," Don added happily.
Danny looked at him. "That's why I take the subway and cabs." Don snickered at that. "You two go argue over names. We'll get the baby seat first. Then we'll figure out where we're heading after that."
"I say one stop at a department store and we're done," Don said.
Mac nodded. "If at all possible. Sears?"
"Wal-Mart?" Don countered. "Be cheaper."
"And probably fall apart," Mac said.
"Guys, doesn't really matter," Danny pointed out. "We can't get diapers at Sears, but we can get everything else. If we hit the one mall out towards Queens we can hit both stores, plus get food since Mac's cupboards are usually bare." That got a nod and they settled down to look at a baby name sites. They agreed to look at the 'top 100' names first to see if anything hit them.
"Aaron?" Don offered.
"I've never liked double vowel names. Looks like you're stuttering when you write them," Danny said. "Middle name?"
"I could stand that if it goes with the first," Mac agreed. He started his list.
Don did his. He wasn't as picky bu the wanted it to sound good. "Are we going with a last name of Taylor?" Mac nodded. "You sure?"
"I'm the only full parent of the three of us. I thought it'd be reasonable."
"Sure," Danny agreed. "Don?"
"You can call him."
"No, if I call him, Mom'll know I can be reached. Not a chance." He worked on his list.
Mac looked over. "You want him to be a Don too?"
"Dad'll be a bit mollified."
"No he won't," Danny said with a grin. "If you can't give him a third he'll pout the same as you do."
"Fine." He scratched that one off. "Looks like he we have a name in common."
"Alexander. Good strong name, good men in history with it."
"What's it mean?" Danny asked.
Don looked it up. "Defender of Mankind."
"That'll work for our kid," Mac agreed. "I don't like it being Alexander Aaron though. Ethan?"
"Then the kids would pick on him for being 'AET'. Sounds like a bad cable network, Mac."
"AST isn't much better," Mac said dryly. "Unless we want him to be an assistant?"
"A anything T is going to come up looking funny," Don pointed out.
"Good point. Ethan?"
"Not really fond of it," Don said. "Knew someone who was. Bastard of the first order. James or Dean? Samuel? Good biblical name."
Mac mentally said all those combinations. "Dean," he decided. Don muttered it then nodded. Danny shrugged. "It's settled?" They all nodded and Mac put it on the birth certificate. "We can file that tomorrow. Where to first?"
"Mall," Danny reminded him. "Carseat first then furniture." He stood up and grabbed the baby, letting Don have him when he pouted. "Here, have the baby."
"Thanks." He beamed. "Hi, Al." The baby blinked at him then farted. He laughed. "Don't like that? Well we do and you'll learn to." He walked him outside. "How're we doing this?"
"It'll be safe enough on the way there," Danny said. "Unless we're cabbing?"
"We'll need a minivan to carry back the crib and stuff," Don said. Mac groaned. "Order online and have it shipped?" They nodded, going back upstairs to do that. There were a few of them that would and one was nearly as cheap. That way the got the carseat, crib, and some limited supplies for tonight. Danny found the online grocery store and ordered some of the stuff they needed. Mac shook his head, canceling it and ordering food for the night. "We can get the rest tomorrow. When we have the carseat and we only need diapers and stuff." The baby farted again. "Yeah, for that stuff, Al." He went to check him then shrugged. "Still dry. Just air so far."
"He's getting used to it," Mac told him.
Danny grinned. "We'll all get plenty of the fury of the butt soon enough, guys." They laughed at that but let it go for now. Don cuddled the baby until the stuff got there then they set it up and it went okay. Mac placed the crib first and the other stuff got put around it. Finally the baby had a safe, good place to nap so they put him down. Alex yawned then fell asleep with his thumb put into his mouth by Don. "Good boy," he said quietly, leaving the door cracked open. "What's left on the list?"
"Clothes, baby monitor, mobile if we want one," Mac said, reading it over. "Diapers, formula. We're down to half a can. Should last until tomorrow morning." He went to make a few for later on. He knew he wasn't going to be able to handle it at one in the morning. He came back to finish looking it over. "All stuff that'll fit in the trunk." They beamed at each other and dug into the dinner, Don turning off his phone after the first time it rang and came up his mother.
"Texas is pretty, right?" Don asked, eating a bite of sandwich.
"It's supposed to be," Danny agreed tolerantly.
"Maybe I'll hide there until Ma's less upset."
"She'll still be screaming even when you're fifty," Mac said patiently. Alex sniffled and they all hopped up to check on him. Don got to change his first diaper, grimacing a bit when he came out of the bathroom but that was to be expected. None of them were really fond of the bathroom stuff anyway.
Mac got his first real diaper the next morning. "Damn, Al. Did you eat a corpse?" he demanded. "I've seen less smelly things coming out of a dumpster dead." He took a breath and dove back into the cleaning portion, ignoring the hurt look in the baby's eyes. "I'm sorry, kiddo, but that's disgusting. How formula turns into that is a mystery even to me." He finished cleaning him, repowdered his butt, then put on a new diaper. "Can we maybe keep that down to one a day?" he asked hopefully. "Or every other day maybe? Big people can do that."
The baby fussed so he got him his pacifier and let him suck on it while they went to see what time it was and what was in the kitchen. He went to look online about diapers, finding something called a diaper capturing can. It supposedly kept the stink inside. "We need one of those." He put it on his list for the day. He got himself breakfast, sitting down with the baby in the little tabletop chair they had ordered. He had to prop up the bottle while he ate, making the baby much happier. "I forgot you couldn't do that yourself yet. Sorry, Alex." He decided he liked Alex better than Al. Sounded more dignified. He finished his breakfast and burped Alex then let him sit in his chair again to finish his bottle. He seemed to like it. He could see more than just him in it. He grinned and the baby made that baby zombie noise again. "We still have to finish your shopping, kiddo," he said quietly. "I don't know if the other two are coming or not."
He called Danny. "Are you coming shopping with us or did you want to do yours later?" He smiled. "That'll work. Sure." He hung up and called Don's desk since it was late enough for him to be in. "It's me," he said in greeting. "Shopping for your stuff?" He grinned at Don's 'my mother's got stuff stored and she'll get pushy'. "Sure. Then we'll go today. You guys come over tonight to help and see what I missed. We'll figure out who's getting the next one set up. Good. Have a good day, Don." He hung up and looked at the bottle. It was empty. "I don't think you need to suck air, Alex." He took the bottle and the baby cried. He found a pacifier and put it into his mouth and the baby was happier. "I like that!" He grinned. "Let's get cleaned up so we can go look at baby gear." The baby stared at him. "Hmm. How did they say to bathe a baby?" He stared at him then shrugged. The little chair was dryable and washable fabric over a plastic frame. It could go into the shower with him.
The baby didn't seem to mind. The diaper was already wet so that was fine too. He adjusted the spray so it hit him and the baby was behind him. His shower took a few minutes then he picked the baby up to clean him up. The baby enjoyed it, he was making happy baby noises for him. "We like water? I guess that's a good thing for future cleanliness." He finished up and watched the baby pee on him. He had to smile at that. "Wanted more time in here?" He put him back into his chair, letting the water barely hit him while he scrubbed that part of himself again. Then he got them both out, diapered in Alex's case, dressed both of them. He stared at the carseat, deciding the instructions were good in this case. He brought it down to his car, letting Alex lay on the front seat while he figured it out. Which he couldn't. He groaned, looking at the baby. "I think we're missing a part." Someone coughed so he looked at his neighborhood patrol officer. "Hey, Bob. Do you know how to hitch in a carseat?"
"I do. I came to see if that was the little guy we heard about. Rumors are seriously out of control."
Mac smiled. "They're probably true."
"I hope not, we have a few alien ones, Detective." He got him out of the way, then smiled and hitched the carseat in. "Like that." Mac beamed at him, letting him see the baby. "Hi, little fella."
"We decided his name's Alexander Dean Taylor."
"Hi, Alex." He shook his hand, smiling at him. "So how?"
"Someone with a petri dish." He shrugged. "They decided to be theatrical about introducing us too."
"That I heard about." He looked at him. "Flack's a grandparent?" Mac nodded. "Damn. His parents have got to be screaming."
"His father was calm yesterday afternoon. Don's ducking his mother today and last night." Bob laughed and nodded, letting him put the baby in there. He hitched the straps down. "There, comfy?"
"They make these little neck rolls so his head doesn't tilt too far to the side, Detective."
"Good. I was worried about that." He smiled. "Have one?"
"Four. My wife did fertility treatments and we have four." Mac patted him on the arm. "At least Messer and Bonasera will dote on the boy and spoil him until he begs."
"Probably. Especially since Danny's his other grandparent on that same side." The cop stared then burst out laughing. "They created a baby Flack and Messer, then took some of the cells of the embryo to create him with mine."
"Oh, Sweet Jesus," he laughed. "Well, at least one probably bakes cookies." He walked off giggling. "Have a good day shopping, Detective. Try the second-hand store in the Village. They have some nice baby clothes."
"I will. Thank you, Bob." He closed the door and walked around to get in and drive. "That was very nice of Officer Bob," he told the baby, who burped. He checked then used his handkerchief to wipe it off. "There we go." He turned back around, making sure all the doors were locked before heading off to the second-hand store. It'd be cheaper to start there.
Mac looked up as Danny knocked then walked in. "Could've sworn I locked that."
"I made a copy off Stella's key," he said with a grin. "Just in case the baby needs stuff."
"Fine," he groaned, shifting some. "He's down."
"Good! Did we shop all day?" He handed him something. "From the guys at the lab." He went to check on the baby, smiling at the other stuff now in there. "Did the daddy spoil you, Alex?"
"Let him sleep. Please let him sleep," Mac begged.
Danny laughed, coming out to sit next to him. "Sure, he can nap until Don gets here."
"His mother ever find him?"
"No but his landlord called him to make sure he wanted to move because his mother said he was." Mac shook his head. "They talked and there's a bigger one in his building so he's moving there. Not much more a month." He got comfortable. "We have anything left on the list?"
"I couldn't find a baby monitor that had a range I liked."
"Mac, it won't reach the office no matter what one you use. That's why there's nanny cams," Danny said.
"I know what they are."
"Good! Then you can set up long distance surveillance gear for that stuff."
"All of them were cutesy and didn't go that low in volume."
"Ah." He nodded. "I'll look tonight. Not like we won't hear 'im." He looked at the present. "They'll give you more than a card when Stella does the welcoming party. That's when it is."
Mac opened it, smiling at the congratulations card that had been signed by nearly everyone. Plus the date of the party and time next to Stella's name. "Thank them for me?"
"Sure." He patted him on the arm. "Did you remember groceries? I'll cook."
"Thank you." Danny grinned, going to see what he had then getting to work on dinner. "Where's Don?"
"On his way. I actually got done on time. No new cases today." He put some meat into a frying pan. "Wrapped my last one this morning. Handed Stella the report already."
"Anything else good happen?"
"Interesting." He went to check the baby since he heard sniffling. He was still asleep so he backed out carefully, heading back to the couch to flop down again. Don knocked. He checked. "It's open, Don." Don walked in. "Danny stole Stella's key."
"So did I. Doesn't mean I won't knock for a bit." He looked in on the baby, smiling. "There's my angel."
"Who flirted with every woman in existence," Mac told him dryly. He gave him a look. "Even the babies at the baby store didn't get as many coos as he did."
Don grinned. "That means he's a little Flack, we're all adorable." He sat down, looking at Danny. "Want help?"
"Nah. You get the next diaper though."
Mac looked back there. "I swear the baby smelled like a trash barge corpse this morning. No one said they were that disgusting. I doubt even Sheldon could come up with a scientific explanation for how bad those are. I know I can't."
"Um, yeah, they are," Danny said with a grin. "According to the place I looked online while doing my report they'll firm up in a few months."
Mac shuddered. Even the thought of months of diapers like that made his head hurt.
Don patted him on the shoulder. "Remember, we'll have him sometimes too."
"Good. Change the next one?"
"Of course." He settled in to watch tv with him. "My mother did want us to move in together. I finally had to tell her why and she's wailing and determined to find whoever made him so she can rip him apart. A few officers started a pool on who'd find the mad person first. Six or seven bet on my mother." Mac snickered. "They did. There's a good running for Stella next since it means she's gotta do more work. A few for Danny. A lot more for you. Some for me. Someone voted for Gerrard because all the baby stuff is driving him nuts." They shared a look. "Any clues so I can point my mother at them?"
"Bet on it being her?"
"Hell yes. She's where I get the stubborn streak from." Danny laughed, bringing him a plate. "Thanks, Danny." They dug in and Danny came out to eat too. At least until someone knocked. "Who is it?" he called, hand going toward his gun.
"Open this door right now, Donald, before I paddle you again!" a woman shouted.
Don looked at Mac. "See. Stubborn." He went to let his mother in. "He's sleeping, Ma. Let him." He nodded at his Dad, who walked in shaking his head. The baby wailed so he went to pull her away from him. "Ma!" She glared. "Let him sleep." He picked up the baby, patting and calming him down. "It's all right, Al. It's all okay. That's my parents. The great-grandparents are gonna let you nap, baby. I promise." He got him calmed down and looked down. "Liked the binky more than the thumb?" he teased. He smiled at his father, letting him have him. "Put him back down if he's going to nap." He went back to his dinner, still mentally shaking his head. Danny gave him a look but he shook his head. The baby fussed.
Mac went in there. "He's only had Stella and the nurses hold him so far," Mac said quietly. "He's not used to women holding him yet." He took the baby to finish calming him down, smiling when he fell back asleep. Then he handed him back. He sniffed. "He must smell the meat on you, Mrs. Flack. He didn't like me having a burger earlier."
"Some babies are like that." She sat in the chair, cuddling him. "You need a better feeding chair in here."
"I know. I was thinking a rocking recliner." She gave him a look. "Same function, more padding. Plus it'd give him something to sit in later on." She apparently had it so he went to finish dinner and look for seconds. "Thanks for cooking, Danny."
"Not an issue, Mac." He took Don's plate when he held it up. "Seconds or done?"
"Seconds if there's any left." He grinned when his father came out. "We've got to set up mine and Danny's nursery for visitation."
His mother came out without the baby. "You can't move in like a real father?"
"I'm a grandparent, Ma, not a parent." She glared at him, tapping a foot. He swallowed. He knew that look. "We're still working stuff out, Ma. I promise."
"I'm not moving and there's not that much room here," Mac told her. "The closets are full with just our stuff." He sat back down with his seconds. "Sorry, Danny cooked because he knew we'd be starved after shopping earlier." She waved him off and went to see what he already had. "Don could use the help when he's moved."
"I know he'll have the stuff we have in storage," Don Senior agreed. "Do you still need anything?"
"A good baby monitor that has more than a short range and a wider volume range. I have a thick wall and I want it able to reach the fire escape. The only one I found had teddy bears and balloons with no good range of volume."
"I can have someone look. A mobile?"
"We debated about it but he didn't like them. He screamed at most of them."
"I've found a great one," Danny offered. "It's polished metal from recycled bikes. No sharp edges but they've got some that're curved, some that're twisted, some that're shapes. All sorts of colors. I picked it up last night on the way home." Mac smiled at that. "I still need to move." Mac nodded that he understood that.
"You know, Don's going to have a nice, big place," Mrs. Flack offered. Her son scowled at her. "You will."
"Ma, you'd have it if I was sleeping with Danny. It means he's the only kid and he's a Taylor since I'm a grandparent." He stuffed his mouth and went back to eating. His father was trying hard not to laugh. "But if you want I'll gladly bend Danny over and make him squeal a few times a night. You up for that, Danny?"
"I've had worse offers," he said dryly, giving him a look. "Be the other way though. You'd have fun on your back." He ate a bite and weathered the pouting mother. "If he does you're going to hate not being able to nag for more grandkids."
"Fine," she muttered, going to check the kitchen. "You're feeding him formula? What about goat's milk? They say it's better for them."
"The social worker and nurses said that was fine. That's what he was eating in the hospital, Mrs. Flack. When I find him a pediatrician we'll ask on the first visit," Mac said patiently. Mr. Flack smiled at him. Don did too. So humoring her was the right track. "Did you see anything else I'm missing?"
"He'll need more clothes. Plus some toys in a few months."
"We'll start gathering baby toys next payday," Don told her. "Clothes too, Ma. We know he'll grow."
"He will," she agreed. "After all, you came out a measly eighteen inches long, Don."
"Now look how tall you are," Danny teased. "Our kid's gonna be the Jolly Green Giant."
Don swatted at him. "Shuddup."
Mac shook his head at their playing. "They'll have clothes at their places too."
"Good!" She looked at Danny. "How are we doing your nursery?"
"I've gotta move. I'm in a studio." She just nodded. "No bigger places in my building so I'm looking now. Then I'll set one up. I'll run over ta help these two until I get mine set up."
"That's reasonable." She patted him on the head and went to check on the baby again.
"Ma, let him sleep," Don complained. "Please? You know newborns never sleep."
"He's awake anyway. He's laying a very bad diaper." She brought the baby out. "Changing area?"
"I've been using the top of the cabinet in the bathroom."
She nodded, going to change him in there. "Oh, that's not so bad," she said happily. "Not bad at all, precious."
Mac gave Don's father an odd look. "It looked like a dead corpse's flesh this morning," he said. "That's not bad?"
"Unfortunately that's about normal. It'll be worse when he's sick. You get used to them, Taylor." He took the baby when she came back out. "Hey. What's his name?"
Don pouted at him. "I liked Al."
"Then call him Al. He'll figure out that you're you soon enough," Danny said to break up the fight and pouting. Don nodded, taking his son from his father but his mother took him and handed him back. Danny snickered quietly. "What's next on our list, Mac?"
"Baptism," Mrs. Flack said from the baby's room. "Mac, do you have a washer? If not you might want to consider getting one."
"It's in the closet in the kitchen, Mrs. Flack." She brought out the laundry to do for him. "I can do that."
"Shut up, Mac," she warned.
"Yes, ma'am." He'd let her fuss and get it out of her system. "Check the pockets? I know some woman slid her number into Alex's t-shirt this morning." She did that, looking at it before tossing it out. He smiled at that. "She had twins. She said to call for advice." She gave him a look then went back to checking things so she could do laundry. Don snickered at that. "She did," he said quietly.
"At least the girls think he's pretty already," Don said dryly. "Clearly his Flack side coming out."
Danny looked at him. "Sure it is, Don." He ate a bite, smirking at the scowl. He finished up and brought the dishes into the kitchen. She tried to shoo him out but he gave her a look. "Don't even try, woman." She backed off and he gave her a look. "I cooked, I can damn well do the dishes. Go fuss at the baby. Shoo!" She huffed but did that. Don came in to help him with the dishes while Mac tried to get the baby back from Don's parents. They shared a look. "How long?" he muttered quietly.
"Two-three weeks," Don muttered back. That got a nod and the baby wailed. Don went to take the baby back and cuddle him. "Shh, I've got you, Al. It's all right. No nasty nightmare is gonna get you." He walked him around the living room, getting him calmed down. "See, I'm good at fighting nightmare monsters. That's my boy. Let's go back to the crib or are you up again?" Mac made a bottle and warmed it for him. "Thanks." He stuck it in his mouth, getting a greedily sucking baby. "How much are we feeding you a day?"
"About twice what's recommended on the can," Mac told him. "Which is why I got a recommendation from my doctor about pediatricians. We go to see him next week." Don grinned and nodded. "You can both come if you can arrange the time off." He leaned on the back of the couch, watching Don pace and feed the baby. "Let me."
"I've got it. Sit down." Mac sat down, letting Don handle it for now. He smiled at the baby. "Have to bat at the fussy ones now and then," he told him. His mother reached and he swatted her hands. "See? Do like that and you can stay with me." The baby made happy baby noises again. "That zombie noise is good, right?" Don's father nodded. "Good ta know." He finally sat down and the baby drifted off in his arms, comfortable and content. "Good boy, Al. That's our good boy." The baby yawned so he put down the bottle to burp him, getting a good one down his shoulder. "We wash too." The baby made interested noises. "We like the water, huh?"
"He and I took a shower this morning," Mac admitted. "He liked it a lot. Peed on me to keep it going." Don snickered at that.
"You're supposed to give them a bath in shallow water," Mrs. Flack told him.
"I don't have a sink that'll stop up like that and he liked the shower. I was very careful to make sure it didn't drown him, Mrs. Flack. Really, I am." She huffed. He took the baby from Don, weathering the pout. "You can walk him later. Hi, Alex." The baby shifted but got comfortable against his shoulder and decided to finish his nap. "Want back in your crib or do you want to stay up?"
"Let him stay up this time. He'll be up and passed around again soon enough," Danny told him. He held up his hands. "Want me to? Your washer is getting loud." Mac handed off the baby so he could fix the unbalance problem that was making his washer bang in the closet. "Morning, Alex. Such a good boy to nap. Yes you are," he assured him. He patted his back gently, getting another burp. "I know that happens. It's all right." He settled back into the couch so he'd be more comfortable. "That's a good boy, Alex." The baby shifted again but stayed asleep.
"Do you have other children?" Mrs. Flack asked him.
"Nah, dated a few girls who had kids. One's got four or so now with hers and her girlfriend's kids together."
"I don't like that sort raising children," she said firmly.
He stared at her. "While that's nice for you, she's a damn good friend'a mine. I'm not your son." She withdrew at that. He looked at Don. Then back at Mac. "I'm looking at apartments closer to Don's neighborhood or between here and there mostly."
"It's an expensive area. Claire and I managed to buy this one during the real estate crash in the late eighties. I know one went up for sale in another building up the street for nearly half a million when it went condo." He smiled at his CSI for sticking up for his friends. "Closer to where Don lives is still nice but there's a huge slum between us too."
"I know. I'm thinking that there's one on the next block over in the other direction. That bother you?"
"No, it's not that far away. As long as you're not in another borough or something it'll be fine, Danny." Danny nodded at that. "We'll all have to do some commuting to hand him over. I will warn you that the nearest subway stop is about seven blocks away."
"Knew that already. That's how I got here tonight." He grinned and let Don have the baby since he was pouting. "There, ease Don's pout. Before it's permanent and some girl comes up ta mug him again so he's happier."
"I don't pout and she liked the badge," he defended.
"Sure ya don't," Danny said dryly, smirking at him. "Want me to get a camera?"
"No. Someone might post 'em on the bulletin board again," he shot back, giving him a look. Danny just smirked at that accusation. "I know it was you."
"Stella, not me."
"Fine." He looked down at the baby, patting him on the back.
"Monroe found one of 'em her first week."
"If you say she got hot or drooled, I'm gonna complain," he said before Danny could finish that sentence. "She might be a good CSI but it's not gonna happen there."
"Thank you for not dating in the lab," Mac said dryly, coming out with a damp cloth to wipe his mouth off. "He's drooling again." He tossed it into the sink and sat down again. "Want relieved?"
"No!" He swatted at him. "G'way."
"Fine," Mac agreed, smiling at Danny. "What's the one a block away like?"
"Not sure. I'm looking at it after work tomorrow."
"Interesting. I didn't know anything was open that way." Danny found the day's paper and showed him. "I know that address. It had a jumper about six months ago." He handed it back. "Must've finally cleared out and fixed things."
"I'll make sure to have a priest bless it then." He looked at the rest of the ads, smiling when the baby blinked at him. "You awake?" He cooed. Danny grinned. "Want read to? We can do that." He shifted and read the baby the ads, telling him about the neighborhoods or making comments like 'that'll be tiny' or 'that's a lot of stairs' with each one. The baby got happy and fell back asleep listening to him. "We do make cute kids together. Smart too."
"He gets the cute part from me," Don said with a grin.
Danny pinched him on the arm. "You've got a very good brain. Quit that shit now."
"No swearing in front of the baby," Mrs. Flack said. Danny gave her a look and she wilted again.
"Fine, he gets a third of his brain from me," Don said. "Happier now?"
"Much. 'Cause I know you're not stupid." He patted the baby on the head. "Wanna lay down for real this time?" He sniffed. "Huh. How you can sleep and do that I'm not sure." Don grimaced but got up to change him. "So," Danny said, grinning at Mac.
"We do make pretty and very smart babies together," Mac agreed. "I'm hoping he'll be okay."
"Of course he will be. You're the most overprotective parent in the universe, Mac. We'll be fine." Mac nodded that he probably would be. "Because if we're not, Stella will smack us all until we beg for mercy."
"True, she will," Mac agreed, making Don laugh as he came out. "She will."
"Yeah, she will. She's got a bad temper. Did you email your military buddies yet? I haven't written any of my other friends to let them know."
"I was going to today but I haven't yet," Mac admitted. He took the baby back. "Did you powder or cream him?"
"Powder. Cream's for when he starts to get a rash by the tube," Don told him.
"That's what I've been doing too." He sat Alex in his lap, staring at him. "Do you feel better now?" The baby sucked his pacifier and stared at him. "You'll be talking soon enough I'm sure, kid. Want to lay down or go back to Grandma and Grandpa Flack?" The baby sucked harder, blinking hard. Don took him to hand to his father, letting them cuddle up to stare at the baby together. They let them put him down for the next little while then leave. Mac looked at Danny. "Feel better?"
"I hate pushy people. Sorry, Don."
"Nah. No one's stood up to my mother in *years*," he said. "Just don't make her cry or else I've gotta beat your ass."
"Not a problem." He shifted, getting comfortable. "Now what? We've got a good few hours before he's up. Don, your plans?"
"Ma's got the crib I used and a bunch of stuff that she saved from me in the attic. She's even threatened to paint on me again."
"If she really wants to she can come wallpaper the baby's room," Mac said dryly. "Beers?"
"Please," Don begged. Mac got them both one and sat down, letting him sip it. "I'll probably need to pick up some clothes and stuff."
"We hit some good second-hand stores for him," Mac told him, taking a long drink. "Do you think he'll like the mobile, Danny?"
"I think he will. It's interesting with a lot of colors and shapes, a bit sparkly in the sun but not too bright. I noticed he didn't like the lab's lights because they were so bright. You've only got the small nightlight in there and it doesn't bother him. It's like a windchime for inside I guess."
Don nodded. "I'll have to see if we can find one he'll like for my place. Oh, I'm getting a three bedroom. One's tiny but it's there." He took another drink, looking toward the baby's room. "Is he up?"
Danny went to peek in on him, smiling and handing him back his pacifier. "You lost the binky but we can find it for you," he soothed. The baby drifted off again. He came back out. "Lost the binky." He sat down with his beer, rolling his head to pop his neck. "Ah, better."
Don grinned at him. "My mother's a bit set in her ways but she'd never say something directly to someone like your friend, Danny."
"Good. Hate to have to smack her for it."
Don nodded. "I'd hate to beat you if you did."
"I'm sure she has some tact and won't upset anyone that badly," Mac said. "I know a few very good same-sex couples raising babies. I called on one of them earlier for help and advice in crib bedding." He smiled. "He was very helpful and told me why bumpers were good but also a bit dangerous."
Don nodded. "I don't have a problem with that, guys. I never have. I know some really nice gay people myself. Ma's stuck in her ways and the Church told her it was bad. That's all she wanted to know. Hell, I dabbled once and Dad caught me. Warned me not to tell my mother if I was serious." He sipped his beer. "It'll be fine. He'll get to know a lot of people through us and our friends. Baptism, Mac, since that was all but an order?"
He shrugged. "I'm not particularly religious. Danny?"
"Raised Catholic. Lapsed most of the time. Don?"
He shrugged. "I still go when I can with the family. I'm not letting her go to the family priest for it." He called his father. "If he is being baptized it is not with the family's priest. Yes, I'm quite sure. Thanks." He hung up. "She's already getting pushy." He finished his beer, looking at Mac. "Got any you do like?"
"A few. I'm still considering it." They nodded. "I wouldn't mind if he was baptized Catholic since the two of you are. We'll figure that out in a few weeks." They nodded, agreeing on that. "You don't like the family priest?"
"He'd hate this situation. He's a bit hidebound. Doesn't like single fathers or mothers. Tried to have one single mother run out of the church because she decided to have her eggs fertilized without a husband around. I don't want the baby exposed to that."
"That I can agree with," Danny agreed. Mac nodded. "If we do, what about Father Lehrer? That nice old guy down in the Village? The one we worked with on that one case, Mac."
He thought back then nodded. "I did like him. He seemed like a practical and loving man. He was helping a lot of the street kids at the time." He finished his beer. "We can talk to him. He seemed very nice."
Don smiled. "Sure, you guys pick one and it'll be fine." He looked in toward the baby's room. "Sleep, Al." The baby snuffled but went back to sleep. He grinned. "Ah."
Mac snickered. "Soon he'll be sleeping through the night."
"That'll be nice. Less diapers to change," Danny said. He got up to check on him since he was panting. "Hey." He looked around, flipping on the lights. "Mac!" He came in and kicked the rat that was trying to crawl up the crib's legs, taking it out and tossing it out the window. "Not good."
"No, not good in the least." He went to see where it had come from. None of them had seen it coming in and they didn't have an open window anywhere in the apartment. He called his building's maintenance guy. "It's Taylor. Yes, that's me. We just had a rat get in somehow with all the windows closed and whole. In the baby's room. Thank you." He hung up. "He'll come put down traps tonight and do something tomorrow."
Don looked back. "My stuff's not fully down but the big things are mostly down if we wanted to stay at my place."
"We can do that," Danny decided. "Mac?"
"I'll pack him a bag." He did that, checking the diaper bag first. He let the maintenance guy in so he could put down traps, smiling when he stared at the baby. "I just found him the other day," he said. "We're going to head to his house tonight." That got a nod and they left once the guy had left, making sure everything was locked up tightly. He drove the baby. Danny rode with Don and stopped to pick up snacks. It was better for the night.
Back on the street the rat changed back, rubbing her side. "I was only checking on him. Rude people! I shouldn't have sent him over as yours so he'd have a better upbringing and be more secure and a better person without the dark streak. Meany." She disappeared.
Mac smiled at the look of Danny's new place. It was relatively close to his. Walking distance, only six blocks away. It was large enough for him and the baby to move in, plus one of the other fathers if they had to. The baby had a real bedroom and Danny had went for subtle touches of glass and wood with steel accents. It was a nice place with a good kitchen. The baby was cooing at his mobile with Don was tinkling it with his fingers for his amusement while Danny finished putting up his new baby clothes.
"There," Danny said finally. "Done."
Don smiled. "I think he likes this one nearly as much as the one I found him of dark shapes."
Mac came over to look at their kid, smiling. "Happier today?" The baby beamed and wiggled an arm. "Good job. You're doing better with that. Keep practicing, Alex." Someone knocked on the door so he went to get it. "Yes?" he asked the woman standing there.
"Marna, I'm in the baby's room," Danny called.
She stomped that way. "Baby? It was reported to us, Messer."
He looked at her then handed over a copy of the official report. "You guys already cleared us. The one over him already cleared all the nurseries and said we were good now."
She read it over then scowled at him. "Who in the hell?"
"Who knows," he said dryly, nodding at the baby. "Don and I decided we're dads instead of granddads anyway." He grinned. "We just got finished in here. Like it?"
"It's very nice. Open, a bit airy. Is that mobile firmly up?"
"I had the maintenance guys put it up for me," Danny promised. "They anchored it into a stud for him."
"Good." She came over to look at the baby. "Hello." The baby beamed and flailed the same arm. "Well, you are adorable." She touched his hand. "He's a bit warm."
"We were just outside carrying stuff," Don said with a grin. "Hi, Don Flack."
"Marna Speccoli, CPS." She shook his hand. "I've known that one since he was a young heathen brat following his brother around. You tell them?"
"I don't talk to them. Kinda hard to," Danny said dryly. He looked at her. "Did someone report him to you?" She nodded. "For?"
"Being alive." Danny gave her a look. "Gay guys raising a baby."
"That's not against the law," Mac reminded her.
"Which my boss told him when he demanded to speak to her. She still had me come warn him." Mac smiled at that. "He's healthy and all that?"
"So far. He might be starting to cut a tooth early, we're not sure. He's got an appointment in the morning."
"Good." She turned to look at Danny. "He never gave us his name."
"Oh, we've got a good few candidates," Danny said with a happy smirk. "Sound Southern, native, or growly?"
"Guy up the hall or Don's boss then," he told her. "We'll handle it." She nodded. "So anyway, you've seen. Like it?"
"I do like the new place. Can you afford it?"
"Yeah, it's not a problem. Same as my last one really." She rolled her eyes but left. He smirked at Don. "Yes, she used ta pant after me. Then she got married." He took the baby to hold, kissing his forehead. "You are running a bit of a fever." He shifted him to run a finger over his gums. "No poky things yet. We'll have to see why in the morning."
Don took him back. "My turn. Did Ma see this place yet?"
"Didn't want to hear her complain about my decorating. Your place is very different from mine."
"Good point." He walked the baby out to the couch. "How are you affording this place?"
"It's the same price my last one was."
"This is a more expensive neighborhood," Don said dryly. Danny showed him his lease so he'd drop it. "How did that happen?"
Danny grinned. "I asked nicely. That's what they wanted." He sat down on one end of the couch. "There's leftovers if anyone's hungry. I'm not cooking tonight." Mac smiled at that. "I'm not. I cooked and fussed all last night. I'm tired."
"That's fine, Danny. How's the lab doing?"
"We're good. How's the nanny hunt?"
"Poor," Mac admitted. He sat down between them. "I've interviewed eight different ones and none were great. None had great references. All of them hated my hours."
"None of them knew self-defense?" Don teased.
"That either. You told your landlord you had him?"
"I said I split custody when he heard me say that room would make a good nursery."
"That's one less thing we have to worry about," Mac decided. The tv suddenly came on very loudly. The baby scowled and it went off. "Remote?" he asked.
"Did that last night too, I think it got shaken up in the move," Danny admitted. He found the remote and waved it. He turned it back on but turned it down and let them settle in to watch some mindless game show. The baby even cooed at it and got comfortable being cuddled. They all looked over as something that had been squarely sitting on a countertop fell onto the floor. "If there's a ghost, no wonder I got it so cheaply," Danny said. "If we do, they can stop that or I'm having them banished. Because if they hurt the kid, they're going to meet God for whole different reasons." The thing that hit the floor flew back up onto the counter. "Thank you. Don't bother me and I don't bother you. And leave the baby alone." It quit happening and he shrugged. "My place about ten years ago had one too. He was going for annoying until I found a good priest to come in. Hopefully this one'll be fine."
Don looked at him. "I can't believe you believe in ghosts."
"We've seen too much weird shit to not to. Plus too many dead bodies," Danny said dryly. Alex suddenly squealed and bounced some in Mac's arms. "As long as you don't hurt the baby," he repeated firmly. "That's one sure way to get banished." The baby cooed and reached then laid his head back down. They all saw his shirt shift like he was being patted on the back. "Thanks." The ghost faded off and the baby settled down again. "It'll be fine."
"We hope," Don said.
"He doesn't seem to dislike the baby," Mac offered.
"We'll watch it to make sure," Don said.
Danny looked at him. "Of course we are." Don grinned at that. "Relax. I still know what he did and how to get hold of him. First time something bad happens and I'm calling." Don relaxed and nodded. "You better?" Don nodded. "Good, I baked banana bread." Don went to get some. He took the baby to hold, smiling at him. "How do you know ghosts, Alex?" The baby beamed at him. "Has he had nightmares with you, Mac?"
"A few times. You think it's a past life thing?"
"No. Could be something to do with how he was born."
"I guess it could. We'll see. The evidence will come out however it will," Mac said, taking the baby back. "Want to cuddle me since you're staying with Danny tonight?" The baby cuddled him and loved on him until Don came back with a bottle. "Ah, cupboard love," he teased.
"Often," Don teased back, settling in to feed the baby. It was good, he'd be fine, and if that ghost so much as laid a finger on the baby Don would make sure he was banished to hell even if he had to personally escort him there. The baby gave him an adoring look and he grinned back. "You know who loves you. Even if Ma is still fussing about your baptism not being done by her priest." The baby fussed a bit. "Don't worry. Ma won't win. Danny's more stubborn than Ma and Mac's more stubborn'n Danny. That's why they yell at each other at work." He winked. "Either that or they should date accordin' to Auntie Stella."
Mac gave him a look then took the baby back. "Don't give him that idea. Stella's having a warped week." Danny snickered and nodded at that.
"Introduced him to Aiden last week," Danny said. "She had a good yell on the fire escape then came back to cuddle and coo over him. Thinks the world's going to end because I had a kid."
Don snickered. "Sounds like her. She doing okay?"
"She was doing fine."
Mac smiled at him. "I don't mind if she's an honorary aunt too, Danny."
"Good because I can't stop her."
"I doubt you could." He looked at the baby, watching him slowly drift off. "Let's go lay down in the big crib Danny got you." He took him in there, laying him down so he could nap. The baby yawned but snuggled in and finished falling asleep. Mac walked back out, putting the rest of the bottle into the fridge. "We should have a few hours free."
"Hope so," Don said, yawning a bit. "Good banana bread, Danny."
Don grinned. "What else did you make? It's all sealed up."
"You can have some at the baby warming party tomorrow night." Don beamed at that. He called Stella. "We're doing that there at the office, right?" He grinned. "That's fine. Sleeping. My new place. Yeah, there. Why?" He snickered then hung up. "Dispatch had a call saying there was a homicide in progress here but the manager headed them off last night. Wondered why I got the odd looks this morning."
"Your neighbor?" Don asked dryly.
"I got warned about him." He stood up and found his badge and shoes, walking up the hall to talk to him. He tapped on the door until the older man opened it. "Sir, I'm Detective Messer, your new neighbor. It's come to my attention that you called some of my coworkers last night about a homicide that was not taking place? Especially since I wasn't even home at that time?" The man sneered. "You do know the penalty for filing a false report? Beyond annoying all us?" The man slammed his door. "Hey, the only warning you'll get," he promised. "The same as filing a false one with CPS carries a fine as well as jail time too," he assured him. He walked back there, going to talk to his manager. "Hey."
"He did it again?"
"Got hold of a friend of mine in CPS earlier today." He moaned. "I warned him about the penalties for filing a false report. He slammed the door. Pity. Only warning he'll get." That got a small smirk from the other man. "Who's the ghost?" He stiffened. "I don't mind as long as he's gonna stay peaceful. Just wanted to know if he had a name?"
"About six years ago a family lived there. Their middle son committed suicide after his girlfriend dumped him." Danny nodded, having seen that before. "We're pretty sure it's him. His name was Ralph. He was a nice kid."
"Then we don't have a problem unless he tries ta hurt the baby."
"Yeah, he's spending the next few nights in." He led him back there. "Guys, this is the building's manager if we ever need him." He let him see the baby, smiling down at his sleeping face. "He's adorable, huh?"
"Very adorable." He smiled at him. "The old guy's on a check. He misses that family and tries to get people to move out."
"He'll be fined if he keeps it up," Danny told him. "I don't play and we hate it at the office." That got a nod. "So, we're good?"
"We're fine, Danny. Thank you." He left, going down to make notes about that talk. Plus that he knew about the ghost and the ghost hadn't been bothering the baby. It was a good sign.
Mac walked into his office, smiling at his co-parents. "I have a good nursery watching him today." He logged onto his computer then onto the internet. "They're a secure nursery. The babies wear a GPS chip while they're in there. They have nanny cams that cover every inch of the building except the staff bathroom so you can log onto the system at anytime to check on the baby." He handed over the cards. "That's the address and the password to get on. His name's the user name." They both nodded. "They're fully bonded and do work with some agents. They've got everyone fingerprinted and DNA checked plus background checked. The six women who run it are very good. Two are former special ops sorts that retired due to knee and back injuries. They run it up to the age of eight. They understand about long hours. I gave them your pictures so when you go to pick him up tonight expect to be fingerprinted and have your ID checked. They will not let you pick him up without them being on the allowed list and they check the allowed list when we make one. It's you guys and Stella at the moment. I'll add Sheldon or your parents if we need to, Don."
"Sounds secure," Don agreed. "Playtime?"
Mac smiled, waving him over so they could see. He logged into the nursery's camera. "He's in the second crib." They smiled at the squealing their boy was doing while trying to grab the teddybear mobile above him. "They have one worker with an EMT certificate. There's a fireproof doorway, heavy sprinkler and fire foam system - both - and there's no way for a gunman to get in there to hurt the kids. They know that sometimes cases will come back to haunt cops or agents so they're very careful with our kids especially. They even said Alex could wear the GPS bracelet all the time if we wanted him to. They're all very nice ladies who love to read to the kids. They have an after school program with a sister daycare for older kids if we need it then."
"I'm not sure I like him wearing bling this young," Danny said.
Mac smirked. "They suggested they could put it on an earring if we wanted."
"My father would freak and my mother's screaming would know no end," Don said dryly. "How did you hear about this place?"
"Your dad sent me to their associated daycare, one that's less secure and does a wider range of ages. When they heard we're all officers they bumped me to the secure center. They let me check the backgrounds they had done. I spent two hours watching them from a hidden location to make sure no one was going to hurt him."
"Sounds like we'll give it a try," Don said. "How much is our cut?"
Mac shrugged. "I'll cover half, you two cover the other half? I know you two make less."
Don gave him a look. "What else do I spend it on, Mac? Diapers and cable?"
"How much?" Danny asked impatiently.
"It's two hundred a week," Mac told them. They both gave him odd looks. "I'll cover half...."
Danny made out a check and handed it over. "I'll pick him up tonight, Don?"
"We'll both go." He looked at his wallet then at him. "Let me get paid first?"
"Of course, Don. You just moved, that's expensive." Don grinned and left him alone to watch the nanny cam and listen to their son throughout the day. He was very good for the strange women. He was proud of how his son acted.
Danny looked out as someone came jogging up the halls. "Hey, Don."
"Mac just called. Small crash, he's fine, Alex is fine."
"Good. Do we need ta pick 'em up?"
"Yeah, we should. Whoever it was hit Mac's SUV pretty hard." That got a nod and Danny checked out so they could pick them up. They found Mac rubbing his ribs. "Not sore at all, huh?" he asked dryly. "You said you weren't hurt."
"They're only bruised, Don. I'm not hurt." He let him have the baby. "He's fine. The carseat worked wonderfully, like it should."
"Good." He cooed at the baby, getting one back. "It's good you're all right too, baby. Yes it is."
Danny grinned. "You ready? We checked out for the day."
"Sure." He grabbed his shirt, wincing as he put it on. They checked him out, letting him sign the papers for him and the baby, taking his pain killer prescription even though he probably wasn't going to use it. The walk to the car was a short, quiet one. "Carseat?"
"Mine's in the trunk," Don offered, handing him to Danny so he could install it. Then the baby and Mac got into the back seat. Danny and him got the front. "Your place, Mac, or one of ours?"
"Let's hit Danny's. We were out playing in the park because mine was getting sprayed again. It was another rat," he said at Danny's look back. "I don't know. It's only ever one and it shows up now and then."
"S'fine," Danny agreed. They went to drop him off, letting him go upstairs to rest. Then they went back to work. Stella was pacing and growling. "Mac's fine. The baby's fine."
"Why wouldn't they be and where did you go!" she demanded.
"Someone crashed into Mac's car," Don told her. "They were out at the park." She gasped, letting Danny help her sit down when her knees gave. "Mac's got bruised ribs. The baby's fine. They're at Danny's place because of that rat."
"He's fine," Danny promised. "Bruised ribs. Has a 'scrip. You know Mac."
"Yeah, I do." She gave him a look. "You back?" He nodded. "Good then I'm going to check on them."
"Go ahead," Danny said dryly. "Give me a few hours and I'll be home to make it a party." She smiled, going to do that. "Make sure your phone's on."
"Of course. It always is."
"I'm going to make sure the report was filed correctly," Don said, heading to his desk to do that. His boss gave him a heated glare from his office doorway. "Someone hit Mac's SUV. We had ta pick him and the baby up from the ER."
"Fine. Bruised ribs. Baby's good."
"Good. Your father tried to call your desk."
Don shook his head. "He could use my cell. It was on."
"Until I get ta leave again. Then we'll head back to Danny's. Mac has this single rat that keeps showing up every few weeks or so. They're spraying."
His boss nodded. "Any luck with a nanny?"
"Not yet. I'm about to suggest he get one of those professional, former military nannies. At least then he wouldn't be quite so picky."
Gerrard laughed. "I doubt he needs one."
"No but he might like one." He sat down to check on that report, seeing it already filed. "Good." He logged out and went back to his own work. He had plenty to do. As usual, the scumbags in the city didn't want to give him a break and take a few months off. Though he might worry if they did.
Danny came up the stairs and heard yelling, frowning at it. "Not good," he muttered. It was coming from his place. He unhitched his gun, giving Don a look when he jogged up the stairs behind him. He nodded. Don drew his gun and they both walked that way carefully, him handing over his keys.
Don unlocked it as quietly as he could and then pushed the door open. "Mac?" he called. The screaming picked up. "Mac!" Don shouted.
Danny nodded at the master bedroom, heading that way. He glanced in the nursery but no baby. He kicked in his door, walking in with his gun drawn. "Who the hell are you, lady?" he asked coldly.
"That's mine!" she said, pointing at the baby. "I had him turned back into a baby so he'd have a better upbringing and I'd get more than a guy like he was. You can't stop me from taking him back. I never wanted him to learn more violence tendencies. You're all mean and you kick rats! I don't want my boyfriend to learn how to be meaner. Therefore I'm taking him back and raising him right."
"Bet me," Don said. He moved into position to shoot her if necessary. "Mac?"
"We're good so far," he said, protecting the baby from her. "I have no idea what she's on. Stella's knocked out in the other room."
"Saw that," Danny assured him. He shifted closer to the bed, letting Mac have his gun since he was better at it. Alex let out a wail so he picked him up. "Shh, little man. I've gotcha. It's us, we're here." He glared at her. "You're upsetting him."
"He's still mine." She moved and Don shot her in the leg, Mac getting her in the shoulder. She screamed but went down. "No, mine!" she wailed.
Don called it in. "Dispatch, this is Flack Junior. I'm at 2334 Mercer, apartment 3. We have a B&E suspect here, down with two GSW to extremities. Need backup please?" He listened, nodding at what she said. "She does. Thank you." He hung up. "They'll send someone to take her away."
"Good," Danny said, glaring at her. He saw a shimmer. "Ralph, no." The ghost did something and she shrieked and flailed then went limp. Mac checked. "She alive?"
"Barely." He got a hand towel to put pressure on the wounds until the paramedics could get there. "He's been protecting the baby?"
"Yeah, even from the squirrel that tried to get in." He walked the baby into the other room, nodding at the manager when he stomped up the stairs with the cops. "This time it was someone breaking in trying to get the baby. Guys, she's whacked in the head too. Said she made the kid a baby so he'd have a better upbringing."
"She the scientist?" one asked.
"No clue," Danny admitted. "She went for the baby. Flack and Taylor got her. Taylor has my gun." That got a nod and a note made. The paramedics rushed in once they said it was clear. They took her away after taking statements and Danny was still cuddling the baby. The manager gave him a pat on the shoulder as he walked past him. "Sorry 'bout that."
"Druggies are all over the city. He's cute enough to get fixated on," he said, smiling some. "Ever think about those former military nannies like the pretty people have?"
"No but I'm starting to," Danny said. He walked out smiling. "Mac, we need to clean that up?"
"It's mostly on the throw rug, Danny," Mac said.
"It can be washed." He watched as Danny and Mac rolled it up, Mac getting the floor underneath with a clean towel and some bleach water. Then they settled in to watch the baby together. "Think she was the scientist?"
"No, I think she's a mental patient. She said she was his former girlfriend."
"Interesting," Don said. "Well, we probably won't have a whole lot of fight over her being confined to a hospital or the prison."
"Probably not," Mac agreed, taking the baby to hold. "Hi, Alex. Are you okay now?" The baby sniffled but cuddled. He was going to be fine. Don grinned and patted him on the back, getting a small coo of pleasure for it. "You're safe now and she won't come back," Mac promised.
"That's our good boy," Don agreed. Danny got up to fuss in the kitchen for a bit, bringing out food and stuff for him too. They settled in to eat and relax again. Mac cleaned Danny's gun on him later that night while he was thinking, but that was just how Mac thought now and then.
Mac looked at the young man who had answered the agency's ad, looking him over. It had been a long six months since he had gotten the baby. The current daycare situation wasn't working very well for them. They were good but it was out of the way to pick him up and they were usually tired at the end of their shifts. This was his next option. "What branch were you in?"
"I'm a Marine." That got a smile. "You've been doing this for a while now?"
"Six months. My last charge moved out of state and I didn't want to."
"I can understand that. We don't have many security risks but we are a bit paranoid since that one woman showed up."
"I was briefed with what you gave the agency, sir. There's no way someone's going to hurt your son."
Mac smiled. "Thank you. Now and then the work does come back to haunt us but we try not to let it."
"I understand. Is he here? I know it's important that he like me as well as all three fathers."
"He is. He's up the hall with his favorite aunt sucking up to her for some of her juice." He paged Stella, bringing her and the guys. "He wasn't getting your juice?"
"He decided to try to go for the motherlode instead," Don teased.
"I've noticed that now and then. Guys, this is Jeremy. He's the nanny candidate."
"Hi," Stella said. "I'm Stella, Mac's second-in-command." He shook her hand.
"Danny and he's Don," Danny introduced. "Which branch?"
"Danny. Don't sir me, kid. Not unless I've got you in interrogation."
That got a nod. "Of course not." He smiled. "Hi, Alex." He looked at Stella, who handed him over. "It's just as important that he like me as I like him." The baby stared at him. "They want to see if you'd let me watch you, little one. Would that be okay with you?" He sat down with him, letting him have his lap for now.
The baby stared then looked at Danny. "Mama!"
Danny grinned. "Well, that's new." He kissed him on the head. "You're so brilliant."
"Very," Stella agreed, smiling at him. "Good boy, Alex." He beamed at her then at the new guy.
"I think you're very smart too. Yes I do." The baby beamed at him, sucking on one of his fingers. "Do you taste good?" The baby cackled.
"That's usually the sign he's laying one," Don warned.
"Not the first diaper I've changed, sir." He grabbed the diaper bag from Mac. "Bathroom?"
"Two halls up then left," Stella told him. He nodded, going that way. She looked at Mac. "Think he'll need that sort of security?"
"Yes. She's out on bail," he said grimly. Danny and Don both gave him looks. "I don't know why but someone gave her bail until her trial in two months. There is a restraining order as well."
"Good!" Don agreed. "For all our places?"
"The prosecutor called me when he saw about the odd parentage and told the judge. He agreed it was for all three places, our jobs, and any crime scene we're actively working. She's to stay at least ten thousand feet from all of us at all times." That got a nod. He came back with the baby, who was giggling. "He seems to like you."
"I like him too. He's a nice boy. Tried to pee on me but that's usual." All the fathers nodded and Stella giggled at their 'oh yeah' looks. "He has a bit of a diaper rash so I put on some cream."
"That's what we do too," Danny assured him. "You think you can handle him?"
"I think I can, Danny. Which house is he heading to tonight? That way I can get used to his schedule and any bedtime rituals he might have."
"Mine," Mac told him. That got a nod. "Don gets him this weekend and Danny all next week since he's off."
"That's fine. I know you'll need me mostly during the working hours but you do work some longer hours now and then. I looked up what you did for a living when I got offered the chance to interview."
"There's been days that we worked quad shifts," Danny agreed. "Most of those, Don gets him."
"Again, that's reasonable. I can do it whenever you need me to. There's not even a girlfriend at the moment so I'm fairly open for my schedule." They all smiled at that. "Anyone else I should meet or be aware of, like girlfriends of the fathers?"
"Not at the moment," Don told him. That got a nod. "If it's serious enough that we'd let them have the kid we'll introduce you then." He looked at Mac, who was grinning. "Danny?"
"It's good with me. Welcome to the lab's insane group of people, Jeremy."
"Thank you, Danny. I hope I live up to your expectations." He almost saluted but Danny waved him off. "Sorry, old habits."
Mac snickered. "I've done that now and then too. Don's mother is a real general sometimes." That got a smile. "We'll introduce you to them tonight." He looked at Don, who was telling his father that, getting a nod. "Good. Think you can handle him this afternoon? I've got two budget meetings and he likes to spit at the mayor. The mayor was not amused last time and yelled, which made him cry and made me glare, which my boss didn't like."
"Of course. Address?" He wrote it down. "Yours?"
"Mine," Mac agreed, handing him a key. That got a nod. "Be good for Jeremy, Alex. We love you and we'll see you soon." Alex beamed at all them, letting them all get hugs before he was walked off. "Six week trial?" he told the others.
Danny nodded. "That's fine with me, Mac. He seems like a nice kid."
Don nodded. "He does. We'll make sure he's good with him." He stood up. "Dad said he'll bring over pizza and Ma. He'll spring it on her so she won't complain about not cooking." He grinned "I should go back to work unless we have someone for me finally?"
Danny shook his head. "Everything comes up inconclusive, Don. Sorry. Footwork?"
"Barely a lead and he's hiding." He shrugged and went back to his desk to get back to work. The detective across from him gave him an odd look. "Mac just hired the new nanny, a guy recently out of the Army."
"We need a background done on him?"
"No, Danny already did. Clean record except for his twenty-first birthday, when he went to get lit and came back signing show tunes off key." That got a snicker from the other guy. "He got some KP and it was fine. He's got the sprout at Mac's place for the moment."
"That's good though, right?"
"It's great actually. No more hurrying off to get him before the daycare closes." That got a laugh and a nod. "He said he knew they worked insane hours." He smirked. "I'm getting him all weekend."
"Good on you. You're still on Saturday."
"I know. Jeremy can work then and I'll get him when I get home." He smirked at his boss when he walked past. "FYI, the crazy broad who broke into Danny's place to get Alex is out on bail. There's a restraining order."
"That secure nursery Taylor uses knows?" he asked.
"Mac just hired a former Army corporal for the new nanny. His name's Jeremy. Youngish guy, 'bout twenty-five. Clean record except for one singing incident when he came in drunk after his twenty-first." That got a nod and a small smirk. "He's got him now."
"That's fine. Let me know if we have to shift your schedule around again to fit theirs."
"Shouldn't. He's not even dating. He's pretty open."
"He said he looked it up and knows they work funny hours too."
"Best yet," Gerrard agreed, heading for his office. "You have a raise review this month, Flack."
"Already did my part, boss." He went back to his paperwork. "Why can't they simplify forms? It should only take one."
His partner laughed. "Now and then it does. Sometimes it takes ten or sixteen."
"Or twenty. I think that's my all-time so far. Then again, that was SWAT and bomb squad called at the last minute too." He grimaced but went back to typing. He finally got done and went to hand it in. Then he could get down to arresting the next guy. It was going to be a long afternoon. He grinned at his partner. "Alex discovered boobs. Tried to eat off Stella, made me proud'a my boy," he said when he brought the guy back. His partner had to run before he laughed so hard he pissed himself. He smirked. He loved making others happy.
Mac was going over a case's files with Alex beside him, smiling when the baby took the pictures to look at. "Those are nice shots," he agreed, keeping anything gory from him. The baby squealed at the short sword's picture, waving it. "Do you like swords?" Alex beamed at him. "We should go to the museum soon so you can see swords then." The baby beamed and snuggled into his side, letting him have the sword's picture back. "Good boy." He stroked his arm while he refreshed himself, smiling when he heard stomping coming up the stairs. "Sounds like Grandpa Flack is here, Alex." He knocked then used the key he had made off Don's. "He's being cuddly."
"His grandmother is insane," he said bluntly, picking up the baby. "Want to come home with us tonight? She's getting pushy, kiddo."
"No. He can stay here," Mac said firmly. "She can visit."
"She thinks you don't trust her."
Mac looked at him. "You've had *how* many dealers busted in your neighborhood?"
"That was my point but she got cranky with me. Threatened to go to Israel to see about that program that was letting women her age have kids. I said she'd have to kill me first. She decided that was reasonable."
"Ah, the change of life," Don Junior said as he walked in. "Hey, snookums. Wanna come home with me tonight? That way Grandma can come nag us about giving you siblings?"
"Don't you dare," his father warned.
"Not without a wedding, Dad. You know that. She'll kill me in a way that'd make even Danny and Stella turn green from the mess." He took the baby to cuddle, getting a grin and a point. "Awww, were you putting your baby CSI skills to work helping Daddy Mac?"
"He liked the sword picture," he said, showing it to him. Alex squealed, taking it to hug.
Don grinned. "You're adorable." Alex beamed at him. "C'mon, let's go remind Grandma we're not dating so you can't have siblings." He kissed him on the head. "Wanna do that tonight, Mac?"
"Sure, I don't mind." He had to take the picture back. "We'll go see swords tomorrow, when I'm off work, Alex." The baby leaned down to suck on his hair. "That's my good boy. You be good for Don tonight?"
"We'll be just fine. We'll go watch movies and cuddle and eat nummy food that Auntie Aiden cooked." He kissed the baby on the head. "Thanks, Mac."
"You know all you have to do is ask. The same as Danny does. Even if he does demand." He waved. "Be a good boy, Alex." They left together and he laid down to go back over the file. He had to testify in the morning then he had all afternoon off to play with the baby.
Mac walked Alex into the exhibit room full of suits of armor and swords, watching him beam and reach for one. "No touching," he warned. The baby pouted. "I know you want to touch but you can't." They looked at each one as closely as he dared, keeping the baby from grabbing things. The baby wailed when he couldn't have the battle axe but he got him calmed down quickly. The museum's room guardian gave him a slight smile for that. "He likes swords." He moved onto the Asian room and their suits of armor and swords, making Alex coo as he tried to get one. "Alex." The baby pointed and squealed, trying to get free. "No, Alex. Be a good boy. You can't touch stuff in here." He shifted him to his other hip so he wasn't as close but let him look all he wanted. He smiled at the baby. "So you do like weapons? Does that mean you want to watch me clean my guns?" The baby sucked on his cheek. "I love you too, son." He walked him off, taking him to a weapons shop he knew. It was exclusive and pricey but the baby nearly made him deaf with his squeal when he saw what sort of store it was. He hated to shop but he apparently liked this one.
The man behind the counter smiled. "He likes weapons?"
"He kept trying to get his own suit of armor at the museum." He let Alex down since everything in here was in a case. The baby had learned to walk just last night so he toddled over to look at the pretty things, letting his father walk behind him. Alex had a definitely love of the katana and the mini battle handaxe they found. He was cooing and petting the case like it was his cat. He was calling it kiki too. "It's not a cat, Alex. It's an axe. Can you say axe."
"Kiki!" he said happily, pointing but beaming at his daddy. "Kiki!"
"Sure, that's a kitty," he agreed. He watched as Alex went to drool on the gun case, smiling but shaking his head. "I should have a video camera of this."
"I'll see if we can copy off the security ones," he said with a smile. "Is he just browsing tonight?"
"I do need to refill my gun cleaning kit," Mac admitted. He picked out what he needed and put it beside the register, going to take Alex away from the guns. "C'mon, we'll go clean Daddy's gun." Alex gave him a worshipful look before cuddling in. "I love you too, Alex." He paid for his things and took the copy of the tape with a smile. "Thanks." He took the bag and walked out with his content son, taking him home. He found Stella pacing in front of his apartment. "What happened?"
"Danny's having issues today."
"Why?" He unlocked the door and let Alex down so he could run inside first. He followed, letting her get the door. "What happened?"
"Lindsay and he got into it today." She gave him a look. "Very badly got into it. Like two cops pulled them apart."
"Did he start it?"
"No but he finished it and she walked off crying," she said, giving him a look. "The cops pulled her off him."
"She's been listening to rumors," she said bluntly. He groaned. "Yeah. She accused him and he went off, Mac. He's probably pouting and drunk but he won't answer when I call."
Mac called him, Danny would answer him in case it was something bad with Alex. "I have a new tape of Alex being adorable in a store if you wanted to see it." He hung up and looked at her, nodding. She nodded, giving the baby a cuddle before leaving.
Danny walked in a few minutes later. "Saw Stella. She nark?"
"She called me a dirty cop in the middle of the halls." He flopped down, taking the baby to cuddle. "Hi, Alex. We love you. You have good taste because you never sucked up ta Lindsay." He looked at Mac, letting the baby cuddle between them. "I was fully within my rights to yell back."
"You were. I think Stella's problem was that you got so loud others had to step in."
"I'm kinda surprised they pulled her off me," Danny admitted. He shrugged. "Don screamed at her later in the alley. Didn't seem to do any good. New tape of him being cute? He hates ta shop."
"I took him to a gun shop." He put it in and turned it on, settling in to clean his guns while Alex watched.
Danny snickered. "So your son's a weapons nut, huh?" He smiled at him. "You can help me clean mine, Alex."
"How clean is yours?" he asked quietly, looking at him. "I don't want to replay what Horatio had happen last year, Danny. It'd destroy all of us."
Danny nodded. "I know. He handed it over. "Been a month, could use it."
"Yes, it could." He handed it back and watched as Danny cleaned it and Mac called Don. "It's me. We have a cute tape of Alex in a gun shop." He smiled. "Sure." He hung up. "He's had two or three beers with a few detectives but he'll be over soon."
"Sure." He finished, letting Alex pick up something to hand him. "Thank you. I'll check the clip too." Alex beamed at him then went to see what Daddy was doing with his other guns.
Mac laughed. "Sure, we'll do the others too." He settled in to clean the rest of his collection, making his son a happy son. Don knocked then came in a while later. Alex scowled at him. "Quit," he warned.
"I know you hate it when we've been drinking. Sorry. I had a breath mint." He sat down so he could see the tv, letting Danny replay the tape for him, snickering at it. He picked up the baby to cuddle. "We'll make sure you have your own when you're old enough," he promised, kissing him on the head. Alex patted his. "Sure, since we're cleaning ours, I'll do mine too." He put him down and cleaned his under the baby's watchful gaze. He nudged Danny. "The guys wanted to know if you still wanted to kill her or not. If so, we'd make sure you two weren't left alone on a scene."
"I'm more professional than to kill her on a scene. If I want her dead, I'll get her in her apartment," Danny assured him. "Plus clean it up so there's no evidence."
"If you get that far into planning it, come cuddle Alex instead," Mac ordered. "I don't want to arrest you."
"Yeah, I can do that." He settled in to play with the baby once he had checked his clip and bullets, putting the gun back into his holster. The baby cooed and snuggled into his chest, making him a happy guy. Don ended up falling asleep on the end of the couch sitting up about an hour after Danny did. Mac covered them and went to bed. It wouldn't hurt Alex to sleep on Danny tonight.
Stella knocked on Mac's door at three, getting a glare from Don when he opened it. "Mac here? His phone's dead."
"Bedroom," he grunted, nodding that way.
She walked in and stopped, seeing Danny and the baby on the couch. "Thank God," she said, going to wake up Mac. He snapped awake as soon as she got close to him. She knelt beside the bed. "Keep Danny here."
"Lindsay just got attacked. She claimed it was him."
"Hard to do since he fell asleep first," Don said dryly. "Alex hasn't moved. I'd have woken if he had. Who has it?"
"Gerrard." She looked at him. "He kicked Hawkes and I off."
"We'll see about that," Mac said, groaning as he got up, grabbing clothes so he could change in the bathroom. He did stop to take a picture of Danny on the couch with the baby and headed out. "Don, stay. Stella?" She followed, driving him back there. He yawned as he got out, walking over to the sneering captain of Homicide, showing him the picture. "Danny fell asleep on my couch at ten. The son would've woken Don or I. Don was above his head sleeping sitting up." Gerrard groaned. "That good enough for you to exclude him?"
He nodded. "I suppose. Why were they over?"
"I had a new tape of Alex cooing at weapons and they came over to watch it. Stella told me what happened earlier so Danny came over first. Don came over after having a few at the bar."
"Fine. He still asleep?"
"Probably," Stella agreed. "Me showing up didn't wake him or Alex."
Gerrard nodded. "Then you have a problem with your CSI. She swears she saw him."
Mac walked that way, finding Lindsay sitting on the back of an ambulance with her arm bandaged. "What happened?"
"Danny shot me!" she said. He showed her the picture and she grimaced. "Where..."
"He's on my couch. He fell asleep at ten, Lindsay. The baby never woke us up and he would've if Danny had so much as shifted position. What made you think it was him?"
"The hair, the glasses. The same clothes. It was him or his twin."
Mac looked at her. "The bullet?" he asked Gerrard, getting the envelope to look inside. "That's a forty-five." He handed it back. "Danny has a nine-mil. We were all cleaning them for Alex's delight earlier."
"We found a semi-auto in the alley, Detective," one of the officers reported. "We didn't think it was part of this so we bagged it but kept it separate." He handed it over. Mac looked then shook his head. "Wrong one?"
"Wrong caliber. That's a thirty-eight. Stella, forty-five." She nodded, going to search the alley. He looked at Gerrard. "My people are working this one. I don't care if you don't like it. If someone's trying to frame my CSI we're working it." He looked at Hawkes, smiling. "I'll let Don bring in the tape so you guys can coo over the cuteness tomorrow."
"I took Alex to an exclusive gun and weapon shop. He cooed and petted the cases. He called a hand axe a kitty." Hawkes smiled and nodded a bit at that. He looked at the paramedics. "Take her if you need to." They nodded, getting her loaded and taking her off. He looked at Gerrard. "Any proof it was him?"
"Tape from an ATM. Bonasera had it sent back to the lab."
Mac called AV. "It's Taylor. Run the tape, describe the person that looked like Danny to me and what he was wearing." He listened as he ran it then frowned. "No, he had on a tank top when he came over earlier. Thank you." He hung up. "The same clothes he *left* in."
Gerrard nodded. "Green shirt, black pants." Mac nodded. "We'll check."
"Please do. Danny had changed when he came over at seven."
"I noticed in the picture. Your kid likes guns? Does Flack Senior know?"
"He tried so hard to get the swords at the museum. Cried when I wouldn't let him touch them. That's why we went to the gun shop. He helped me clean all mine, Danny clean his, and then Don clean his when he came over." Gerrard walked off shaking his head. Stella came out smiling, holding up a gun. "That it?"
"Forty-five semi-automatic, just like the officers who don't use nines use." She slid it into a bag. "Serial number intact." He smirked. "Let me go run that."
"Did you find any clothes?"
"Lots. Laundry day up on the lines." She pointed at the lines between the buildings. "Some fell. Why?"
"The ATM showed that whoever was wearing a copy of what Danny was when he left."
"Green shirt and black pants? I can look." They went to look for them then came back with a shirt at least. It went to the lab too and they settled in to run evidence. Gerrard was going to quit complaining to people because there was *no* way it could've been Danny. He couldn't stretch anything that far. Mac went back to lab to wait on reports, smiling when they showed up a few hours later. "Who?" he asked as he walked into DNA to answer the page.
"Shirt's sweat comes up female. We're running it though CODIS but we haven't gotten a hit in two hours," Hawkes told him. "I'm starting to doubt we will unless she's covered under a governmental database. Hair and glasses could've been natural or dyed. I didn't see any. Stella had the gun."
"Thanks." He walked that way, stopping in AV to watch it. It did look a lot like Danny. Except for the eyes. "Danny has blue eyes," he told the tech, who moaned. "Those are brown?" He nodded, enhancing the picture a bit since the perp had looked right at the ATM. "Facial structure is a bit different too. He looks younger than Danny does." A thought hit him. "Pull up his ID?" He did that and it did come up with the wrong eye color. Plus a younger picture of him. "He hasn't changed it since he came in and he said he used to wear contacts. Probably colored ones," Mac said dryly. "Can you match the two?" The images were resized and flipped onto each other, finding it a match. "So, someone hacked into our database and created a fake face?"
"The picture's too low resolution to do a bone structure analysis, Mac," the tech said. "If it was good video I might be able to pull an underlying facial structure but I can't."
"That's fine." He walked out, going to talk to Stella. "Where is it registered to?" he asked since she was giving him her best evil smirk.
"LA. To a gun dealer out there. Reported as stolen last week." She let him have the printout. "It does match the gun." He smiled at that. "I called. Their suspect in the case was arrested so he's going to ask him who he sold it to. Citing that they shot a cop and that makes him an accessory to murder one in this state. They said give them four hours. The guy's not that smart."
"I can do that." He went to his office to call home. "You're finally awake?" he asked tolerantly. "Yeah, that sort of diaper will do it every time," he agreed. "No, you're clear. What did Don tell you?" He sat down, leaning back, waving in his boss. "Chief." He smiled at Danny's complaint. "I'm telling Detective Messer what was found. We know that the gun was stolen from LA last week. They have a suspect in custody and they're asking him who he sold it to. They said give them a few hours. The gun we found was a match to the bullet in her arm. The ID she gave was nearly correct but we think they used latex to make a face mask since it's an *exact* match for Danny's picture in his intake file ten years ago." The Chief moaned. "Down to the wrong color eyes, sir. The picture showed brown, his file says brown, and Danny just said he was wearing colored contacts due to light sensitivity back then. He hasn't changed his photo since his first ID so that's why she was so sure but we're not. We do know that the sweat on the shirt we found was female and Hawkes was sure it was the shirt that the shooter was wearing. Her hair could've been recently cut or dyed. They didn't find anything there."
"So he's fully clear?"
Mac nodded. "He's fully clear, sir. He's at my place, has been since early last night to play with the son. He fell asleep on my couch and Don Flack Junior was asleep just past his head on the same couch. He fell asleep with our son in his arms and Alex would've woken us if he so much as moved." He showed him the picture. "Also, the clothing was a match to what he wore when he left. When he got to my place he had already changed."
"The shooting took place at ten."
"Danny got over there at seven-thirty. Don came over nearly at nine. They were both asleep by eleven."
"So no way it was him."
"No, sir. Not unless he has a younger twin with brown eyes."
"All right. Let me know when you have a suspect."
Mac listened to Danny. "I'll check her, Danny. She is that insane." He hung up. "He'll be in once the nanny gets there."
"Good." He looked around then at him. "He going to be okay?"
"It clearly wasn't him. We can convince CSI Monroe of it, sir."
"Good. I'll let you tell me when you have someone. Make sure they get an additional charge for impersonating an officer." He walked off.
Mac smirked. "Nice of him." He went to check on Hawkes. "Was she out there or here?"
"She was not. Nor was she in any database we have access to." He looked at him. "Which means it's not your stalker since you had her put in specially just in case."
"Danny thought it might've been her or someone she hired."
"Possibly someone she hired. We need a suspect then we can compare." He handed over the reports. "Gun?"
"Good." He moved onto his next piece of evidence.
Mac went back to his office, finding the nanny in there. "Alex is at my place with Danny, Jeremy."
"Sir, we need to talk about one of my past assignments," he said bluntly. He closed the door and got into a file, letting him see something. "Did the screaming woman look like that?"
He looked then nodded. "She did. That's who threatened to shoot me and take him. How did you know?"
He looked around then at him. "I was part of a classified op, sir. I had barely gotten there when it was shut down. I was still in the specialized training portion or else I'd be at the UN right now hunting with my former teammates."
"No, sir, demon hunting." He got into another file. "I had to check to make sure you could get access to this file. I started asking for permission when I found out what the screaming bitch looked like." He pulled up something, letting him see it. "As I said, sir, I left there after a few weeks of being assigned because the town got a bit pissed and took us down."
"Well, four or five people in the town. A slayer, two witches, a construction worker, a librarian, and one of our people who decided it was evil so he turned." He stared at him. "She was the girlfriend of one of them involved in shutting down the project. That's why she was noted."
Mac frowned but read, then glared at him. "Tell me someone with some sense put people in jail," he demanded.
"Yes, sir. Many of them. Most of the lower levels went to the UN and so did Agent Finn, the one who turned. As I said, I was only there for a few weeks."
"Why send you to me?" he asked.
Jeremy shrugged. "No one told me there was a higher objective beyond being your nanny and making sure your son would be safe, no matter who you brought down, sir."
"No one told you to come to me for any specific reason?"
"No, sir. None of my former bosses nudged as far as I know. I checked when I found out that the screaming bitch had been related to that. Just in case there was a higher plan that I'd have to kill myself for partaking of. If I had been there longer I'd have turned too, sir."
"I don't blame you, Jeremy." Don walked in and shut the door again. "The woman who claims Alex is her ex was the girlfriend of someone who took down Jeremy's former classified project, which he was only on for a few weeks before they shut it down."
"Sir, I was told I could tell you, not him," Jeremy said.
Mac smirked. "You're not. I am." He looked at Don again. "She's listed as a witch, a former vengeance demon, and her boyfriend's name was listed as Alexander Harris."
"Who was a construction worker as well as their weapons and planning support," Jeremy said quietly. "We were trying to break the group up and it didn't work very well. We tried to keep Miss Summers for her gifts, but the others they warned us were dangerous. Especially the two witches and Harris. He was unpredictable at best. He'd been fighting the same battle since sixteen and he did take things personally. Plus, for some reason, the demons liked him enough to want to keep him so it was thought he might influence them to attack us as well, sir."
"Huh?" Don asked. Mac let him see the page he had open. He read it then looked at Jeremy. "You were there how long?"
"Three weeks before they were taken down by two witches, a slayer, a construction worker, and a librarian. Plus one of ours that got tired of it and turned. I would have had I known the full breadth of the operation, sir."
Don nodded slowly. "Okay then." He looked at Mac. "You still trust him?"
"Sir, I know who I can ask to make sure Anyanka does not come near your son again. I had to beg my former superiors to get him clearance to tell him when the connection was made. They think...."
"Whoa," Don said, holding up a hand. "Harris, the other DNA match?" he asked Mac, who looked it up then nodded. "So we're thinking what?"
"Someone .... What did Anyanka say, sirs?" Jeremy asked.
"She had turned him into a child so he could grow up more secure, more wealth oriented, and with less of a dark streak," Mac told him.
"Well, she's a lot like a ho. Money and sex were all she really cared about. Which was why we all thought it was odd Harris was engaged to her. A vengeance demon is a type of wish demon, sir. She can .... I can put you on with someone who would know and would be able to tell you if this was her doing."
"Could she have impersonated someone else, like Danny, and shot someone?" Mac asked.
He nodded. "It's possible. It's also possible she talked Rosenburg into helping her since the last I heard from sources out there she was throwing a fit at Anyanka over what she had done to Mr. Harris this time. If not, there's things that could mimic him and use a gun. One got onto the base so we were warned and tested daily to make sure we were human."
Mac and Don shared a look. "Call them," Don said. "I want a full dossier on her, what she can do, what she's allowed to do, how to protect the kid from her, and how to stop and/or kill her if necessary."
Jeremy nodded, calling a number on the phone and talking quietly, taking the fax number Mac wrote out. He hung up, nodding. "My contact out there will get that from the former Librarian and Watcher, sirs. It'll be here within a few hours. I didn't ask for her specifically, just in general. That should hold over for all of them."
Danny walked in with the baby. "Wondered where you were."
"Sir, I had to find clearance to tell Mac things about a past classified ops and it became pertinent about two weeks ago."
"You being recalled?"
"Hell no. I'm not going to go hunting demons for the UN."
Danny stared at him. "I heard something from a drunk friend about demons and the military."
"I was only there three weeks, sir. I wasn't even out of specialized training yet. Though he might lead back there as well."
"I heard that too. Asked her bluntly and she agreed." He put him down. "Go ahead, Alex." He looked at Mac. "It'll fade."
"You sure?" Don asked.
"She was sure and she's a very strong witch locally. One of the city's protectors."
Don smirked at him. "I didn't know you knew people like that."
"Roomed with her brother in college. Slept with her a few times. Was nice." He smirked. "She's already sealed off any influence the past out there had. She found out and went off. Then she fixed it and told me why."
"So he really was...." Mac started. Danny nodded. "The screaming bitch?"
"His ex." Alex spit then beamed at Don, cuddling his leg until he got picked up. "We're good. It'll fade within a year or so, Mac."
"Might've been that or where the bitch changed him to be yours. You do like weapons."
"True." He took the baby to cuddle. "Jeremy, if you are ordered...."
"Sir, I would've turned them in. If I get ordered to do *anything* by my former masters, you'll hear first. I don't care which ones. I felt very betrayed that my bosses and yours liked that idea until it was stopped. That's why I let my commission run out."
"Good to know. Mac?"
"I still trust him," Danny said. "He had to get clearance but he was honest."
Mac nodded. "Okay." He handed Alex to him after a kiss on the head. "You be good for Jeremy today, Alex. We love you and we'll see you tonight." The baby beamed and waved, letting his nanny take him off. Danny came over to read at Don's point at the computer. "What are we doing about this?" He turned on the nanny cam at his place, just in case.
"As far as I'm concerned, that makes her the scientist," Don said.
Danny nodded. "Does to me too." The fax started to spit out information so he gathered it, handing it over as he read it. "She wasn't nice by any means."
"We'll protect the baby," Don promised. "We can beat her the next time, right?" He looked at them. "I love the little guy but I wasn't ready to be a daddy yet."
"I know, neither was I," Mac admitted. He smiled at Danny. "That bother you?"
"As long as we can make sure she goes under the jail and doesn't get anything funky back so she comes back in a few years."
They all nodded, sitting down to make plans on how to stop her when she showed up this time.
In the end it wasn't that hard to capture and stop her. They found her in her motel room unconscious. She wasn't going to wake up. She hadn't woken up after two weeks in the hospital. The judge commuted her sentence since the doctors said she wasn't going to be waking up, probably ever. It was one less worry.
Danny, of course, decided to throw a party. His ghost had liked that idea and was teasing Stella's hair for her, making her shudder and move around some. Danny had cooked. Nearly everyone was there. Peyton had glomped herself to Mac's side so she could coo at the baby, who was giving her odd looks.
Alex got put down onto the floor so he could wander around, smiling at his Daddy. "Momma!" he said happily, hugging Don.
"Hey, sprout. You having a good time too?" he teased, picking him up to cuddle him. "We love you."
"Dada!" he said, pointing at Mac.
"That's right, that's Daddy Mac. Very good," Danny said, pinching him on the cheek. "You're gonna have a giant brain, even bigger than Uncle Sheldon's computer brain." Sheldon snickered at that. "He will!"
Alex smiled at him. "Momma Da!" He hugged him around the throat. "Kissy!"
Danny smirked at him. "Who taught you that word?"
"Sti!" he squealed, hugging her around the neck when she got into range.
"Did you teach my son a new word?" Mac called.
"Yeah, he wanted us ta kiss," Don said, smirking at him.
Mac took his son back. "Alex, I don't think they're going to kiss just because you want them to."
"Kissy Momma Da!" he ordered, pouting at him, giving him the dreaded begging look that he used when Daddy wasn't giving him cookies.
Mac kissed him on the head. "I'll kiss you instead. How about that?"
Alex pouted. "Kiss Momma Do?"
"No, I'm not going to kiss Mommy Don either."
Don burst out laughing, pinching Stella since she was bright red. "Don't give our kid dirty thoughts already."
"Yeah, or you get to explain girls to him when he's older," Danny agreed.
"I'd do it anyway. You three are *horrible* with women and can't seem to date anything but skanky hos and Mac doesn't date."
"Ho?" Alex asked, looking at her. He grinned at Uncle Sheldon. "Ho?"
"No, I'm not a ho. Thanks for asking, Alex." He patted him on the head. "Can you say Sheldon? Or Uncle Sheldon?"
He blew a kiss and giggled then let himself be hugged by that uncle, who smelled really nice. He snuggled into his neck, hanging on while Sheldon got his dose of baby love. "Kissy?"
"I already kissed you on the head." He kissed him on the head again. "There, how's that?"
Alex beamed and pointed at Don. "Kissy?"
"No, I'm not going to kiss your daddies, Alex. Sorry. Not my type."
Stella was snickering into the couch cushion by now, trying to keep it quiet.
"Fuck!" Alex announced.
"No!" all three fathers shouted back. The baby pouted but put his head down again.
"Bad word, Alex," Sheldon told him. "Don't say the bad words, they'll make Mommy Danny pout." Alex beamed at him and wiggled over so Danny could take him. "Subway?"
"Adam," Danny said dryly. "He banged his knee the last time Alex saw him in the lab." He looked at his son. "You say that word again, you go take a nap." The baby gave him his cutest grin and kissed him on the cheek. "Love you too, kiddo. Want to get down?" He wiggled over so Don could take him. "Sure, you can go to Mommy Don."
"I'll get you later," he muttered. He smiled at the baby. "Hi, Al." He got a beaming baby look. "You're up to no good, aren't you?"
"Kissy Momma? Kissy Dada?"
"No, I'm not kissin' either one tonight. Not unless they ask. Quit being so pushy." He kissed him on the head. "Get the new present Auntie Stella got you so you can drive her nuts for a change." He put him next to the toy, letting him play with the very loud activity center.
"He's adorable," Peyton told Mac.
"He's got Danny's mischievous nature. Plus Don's innocent look when he gets in trouble. And his begging look when he sees you have cookies or something."
"Coco?" Alex asked, looking at him. "Coco?"
"No," Danny said. "No cookies around here, Alex. You know that. You ate the last one last night when you broke into the cabinet at two in the morning."
"How did he do that?" Mac asked.
"He's figured out how to climb the crib railing. Apparently him thumping to the floor didn't wake me but the sound of the plastic of the cookie tray did." Mac moaned. "I woke up to him gobbling the last ten chocolate chip cookies."
"No wonder you looked so worn out this morning," Don said, giving him a sympathetic pat. "Did he run baby laps or do his usual chocolate dance for you?"
"All night," he complained.
Mac snickered. "I quit keeping it in the house."
"I hid mine inside a crock pot. He still found 'em."
"I'll hide mine higher up," Don decided, watching him play with his aunt and the ghost. "At least your other visitor is good for him," he said quietly.
"Yeah, real good." He glanced back then looked at Sheldon. "He's okay."
"Who's making the mooing sound?"
"Ralph, he's my ghost," Danny said dryly. "He likes Alex too. Helps him bang on pots now and then."
"Okay then," he decided. He took another drink of his juice and smiled at Stella. "You need saved?"
"Me!" Alex yelled, bouncing up and down. "Me!"
"Oh, do you need saved?" he teased, giving him a hug. "Why don't you go pounce Auntie Peyton?" He ran that way and pounced her, making her squeal since she was wearing a skirt that ended just about at his forehead and his head had went up it.
"Alex, no sticking your head up girls' skirts until you're our age," Mac said patiently. He took the boy. "Behave."
"Si? Auntie Stella?" The baby pouted. "Oh, Sid. He's not here yet, Alex. You can try to call him if you want." He dialed and let the baby have the phone to babble at him. He grinned at Peyton. "He *loves* Sid's stories when he escapes the office. I've found him down there three times getting a story from Uncle Sid."
She smiled. "He does tell some amazing stories." She looked at the determined look. "Sid, he's got that face that means he's going to beat someone with the phone," she said next to it. "You should come over."
Alex beamed at her. "Ho!" He let Mac hang up while Don coughed and tried not to laugh.
"No, love, I'm not Santa either. Even if I'm wearing a red shirt." The baby just grinned at her.
Danny topped up his drink. "Sorry about him. Alex, go play." The baby pouted. "Keep it up and take a nap." The baby got down, going to play with the ghost and Uncle Sheldon this time. Something quieter since Uncle Sheldon gave him the box of blocks.
"He's very protective of his fathers," she said, smiling at Mac.
"He is. He flirts with women who Danny might like. He shoos women off Don. He shoos women off me. I don't know why he lets Danny flirt." He sipped his drink, going to let Sid in. "He's at the table."
"He's a very bright young man, Mac. We should encourage his mind."
"We are, but I'm not sure why sometimes he turns into this strange little guy." Danny and Sheldon gave up their spots to him when he got pounced by Alex. Danny got him some punch and a plate of stuff to nibble on. "Nothing you're allergic to, Sid."
"Thank you, Danny." He smiled at the baby, getting a cuddle back. "Did you miss me?"
"Yes, he did," Sheldon assured him.
Sid beamed at the baby. "I've not seen you in days. What have you been doing?"
"Oh, you've been kissing? Who've you been kissing? You're very young for a girlfriend, Alex. Is she your age?"
"Momma kissy Momma Do!" he said happily, beaming at him.
"Well, that's a whole sentence. That's a good use of the language, young man." Alex patted him on the cheek. "I know, I should've shaved." Alex kissed him anyway and made him smile. "Anything else going on?"
"Dada kissy ho."
"No, I don't think your father was kissing Santa."
"That's his pet name for Peyton apparently since she's wearing red," Sheldon told him.
"Ah. That makes more sense. I didn't know your father was seeing Auntie Peyton, Alex. That's very interesting news."
"Daddy kissy Momma?"
"You'd have to ask him about that."
"Not in public," Danny moaned.
Danny patted him on the head. "No more of that word, Alex. I mean it." The baby pouted. "Tough. No."
"Yes, bad. No more." He pouted but sucked up to Sid, helping him eat his nibbling things and talking to him about kissing people.
"I think Ma taught him 'bad'," Don offered. "She says it when he tries to grab her hair."
"Your mother had helmet head last week," Danny reminded him.
"I saw and complained." He sat down with Sid to play with his son. His baby beamed and leaned over to kiss him but went back to talking to Sid. "You're good."
"I try now and then," Sid shot back with a smile. "It's nice to have someone to tell stories to who'll talk back."
Don grinned. "Even if he does have a dirty mind?"
"Indeed, but I've been at that stage myself," he said with a smile. "Mine lasted a few years but I had a lot of fun and so did whoever I was with I hope."
"Kissy Momma?" Alex asked him.
"No, I've never kissed him, Alex. None of your parents or Peyton. I did kiss Sheldon on the head once because he was having nightmares while sleeping in his office and it calmed him down." Sheldon coughed and blushed a bit. "And I'd love to kiss your Aunt Stella but alas, she thinks of me as only a good friend and someone who admires her from afar. Perhaps you can help with that?"
"STI!" he shouted. She looked over. "Kissy!"
"No, I like Sid as a friend. I'm not kissing him tonight, Alex. Thanks for trying." She smirked at him. "Sid."
"What? All I said was he could help me." She rolled her eyes but she was smiling. "At least you tried, Alex." He patted him and helped him build with his blocks, making him a happy boy who quit thinking about kissing for a bit.
"So, Flack," Gerrard said the next morning, stopping beside his desk with a sneer. "Your son seemed to have some information about your nighttime habits."
"No, my son has hopes and wishes that I bend his other fathers over and take 'em hard. He's trying really hard to set us up together, plus Stella and Sheldon." He smirked back. "He might want, doesn't mean it happens, Cap. This is the same kid who calls ME Peyton a ho." Gerrard laughed at that. "He does. Did it all night. Even when my dad and mom got there. Stella taught him the word kissy and he used it very well in kiddie sentences all night long. He even tried to bag Stella for Sid." The nearest two detectives shuddered at that. "He loves Sid. If he's ever lost in the lab, check the morgue first. Sid tells him stories and he loves 'em." He looked at his boss again, still smirking. "Anyway, why would it matter that my son wants me to be gay and bend his other fathers over? For all I know, he wants siblings and thinks that'll do it." His boss walked off shuddering at the thought of a pregnant Taylor or Messer.
"With the way Messer and Hawkes eat sometimes, are you sure they're not?" another guy joked.
Don looked at him. "You can ask. I'm sure Alex would accept any kids Doc had as his siblings." The guy burst out laughing. "Anyone wanna make a pool on how long it'll take my very persistent son to get his chosen couples together? Because he can out-stubborn both my parents already. Especially about chocolate. Oh, never, ever give my kid chocolate unless *you* want to babysit, guys. Last time he danced for *six hours* and we couldn't get him ta sleep."
Mac walked in with a case file. "Please don't give Alex chocolate. He's horrible and he'll steal it from you if you hide it. He did to some cookies Danny had hidden." He handed the folder over. "You brought me a llama sample and then a bunny sample. Think I could have a human one instead?" He groaned, looking it over. "For future reference, yes, the baby is a bit warped. Stella taught him the word 'kissy', he does want siblings so he's put the ideas together. No betting on when the son will manage it because we're all trying very hard to resist the pout."
"If he gets one of you, we'll try really hard to distract him but otherwise you're on your own," Don teased. "Just like us."
"You know, if you showed him *girls* have babies, he might get the point that none of you can have one," another detective offered. "It helped when mine wanted me to give him a sister for six months."
"Tried that," Mac admitted. "He thinks I am a girl." That got a groan. "Though he calls Don and Danny mommy more often than me I had to teach him that we're all boys. He still hasn't gotten the point. Oh, whoever got him the box of chocolate frogs for his birthday last month, I'm making you babysit him when he has the next one." He walked off shaking his head. That detective was cackling in the corner.
Don looked over. "Thanks for getting me candy, Harner. I needed it to deal with the warped moments, like when the kid asked Mac if he'd kiss Peyton last night."
"What's her pet name?" Harner asked from his seat.
"Ho. She was wearing red last night. It put him in mind of santa." That got a louder snicker. "Oh, and no swearing. Adam taught him 'fuck' when he banged his knee."
"Retrain him using bribes," the experienced parent said patiently.
"He got the point it was bad when he suggested it ta Sid last night." They all shuddered, they didn't want to have the image of Sid and anyone!
"Get back to work," Gerrard yelled. "No more chatting about babies."
"Hey, Cap, you feeling all right?" Don joked. "You having mood swings? Who did my son set you up with? Just so we know what to get you at the shower." His boss gaped then stomped off, slamming his door so hard the glass broke. "Good! Make fun of my son's dirty mind again!" A few of the guys laughed at that. Don went back to work until his father called to tell him to take a nap, it'd help that problem his mouth was having. "Can't, Dad. Besides, we had Alex on a sugar high last night doing his chocolate dance." He hung up on the groan, getting back to work. It was a better mental image than him being pregnant. Cleared the thought of Mac being pregnant out of his head too. Though, he could see Danny as pregnant.... He did have those moods of his and the drama queen tendencies. Maybe he'd make him take a test later, just in case. After all, their son was that stubborn...
No, not even modern science could do that yet. Someday maybe but not yet.
Danny looked around the birthday party, then at his son. It was his second birthday. Things had been going well recently. No problems coming for the family. No problems with Alex except now and then his mouth got him into trouble. "Why are we doin' this here instead of at home?"
"More room here," she reminded him. "Some of us won't get off shift in time for the party you wanted to throw. It limits Grandma Flack's fussing and interference."
"Oh, yeah, that was the reason we agreed." He watched his son do his nearly patented chocolate dance. "Who gave him more?"
"I don't know. I think Marty since he went looking for Sid and Sid wasn't in yet."
Danny gave her an evil smirk. "Gonna tell me no?"
She snorted. "Hell no!" She smirked back, just as evilly. "Let Gerrard deal with him for being such a pussbag."
"Works for me. Alex!" His son turned around to stare at him and dance at the same time. "Get Monroe to take you ta Daddy Don. That way we can finish setting up and you don't peek at the presents."
"Presents?" he cooed, coming closer.
"Not until it's time for cake," Stella said with a grin. The baby cackled. "We need Daddy Don down here by then. Have Lindsay take you over there." She fed him another cookie and watched him run out hunting his least favorite aunt. She smirked at Danny. "Should we warn him?"
"Hell no." He got back to work on the balloons.
"Why am I taking him to Don?" Lindsay asked from the doorway.
"Because two of the homicide detectives are hiding chocolate from him."
"Ah. We're being evil." She walked the baby down to Don's desk, letting him run over to hug him even though he had a suspect. "They're putting up the balloons."
"Cake and presents," Alex told her with a happy grin.
"How many cookies have you had?" Don asked him. Alex finished that one then went back to dancing. "Tells me all I need ta know. You know what? Captain Gerrard was gonna give you chocolate for your birthday. Why don't you go frisk him for it? You're very good at frisking. Nearly as good as I am." Alex beamed his most insane smile at him and ran that way, pounding and kicking on the door until it was opened. He ran over the captain and started to frisk him once he had knocked him down.
"What are you doing!" he shouted.
"Frisking. He's learned very well, huh, Cap?" Don said with a proud smile. He beamed at the suspect. "He's two today."
"That's why I let my women handle mine and I visit."
Don snickered. "We three dads share custody since the military made 'im for us." Gerrard yelped. "Xander, that's still not a candy bar!"
"Gun!" he shouted, coming out cuddling it. Don held out a hand, checking it and ejecting the clip then handing it back. The safety was on. He went back to the office and dancing around with the gun as a partner.
"He's brilliant, loves weapons," Don said proudly.
"You're insane," the suspect warned.
"He hasn't slept in three days," he said happily.
"Yo, I'll confess. Don't stick me in a room with him."
"Aww, where's the fun in that?" Don asked. His captain deposited the baby next to him and took his gun and clip back, making Xander wail in misery. He gave him a hug. "Did you find the chocolate?" He shook his head. "You go look some more. I know he's hiding it somewhere in there." He got that baby 'determined' look that Danny and Mac both got when they were chasing someone. He stomped back in there, making him yelp but run away from the baby. "Find any, Xander?"
"Bars!" he shouted happily. He came out with the bag of miniatures and Gerrard's handcuffs. He waved them. "Present?"
"No, those aren't a present. Those are to lock bad little boys to a chair so they have a time out. Before they're spanked."
Alex spit. "Grandma Flack not need. Woose." He unwrapped a his-size candybar and ate it, going back to dancing with the bag. As the captain stomped over to complain to the daddy he took his gun back too. He ejected the clip and cuddled it and the bag of candy. He beamed at the other detectives, going to help them by dancing near their suspects too. Most of them begged, though one scowled. He cackled and petted him like he would a dog in the park. He was clearly bitchy.
"Flack," Gerrard ground out. "Why is he over here?"
"Danny and Stella are setting up his party over in CSI. That way the aunts who're on shift can see 'im today." He grinned. "Besides, I haven't slept in three days." He beamed brighter. "He's being helpful. Anyone who doesn't want me to let the kid eat the *whole* bag of candy, confess," he shouted. Suddenly, everyone really wanted to confess. "See?"
Alex pouted. "Being good," he said while he danced.
Gerrard took his clip and gun back, walking into the office and slamming his door shut, locking it this time.
"Woose!" Alex shouted. "Subway bad guys nicer!"
"Alex," Don warned patiently. "Your mouth and Grandma Flack are gonna meet again soon."
He looked at him. "The only oops there was you blurting shit out. Don't do that. Mac won't be happy."
He pouted, then shrugged and cackled, going back to dancing near the suspects. One tried to grab him so he bit him. The detective smacked the suspect's head "Don't touch the kid!"
Mac walked in and sighed, looking at his son. "Do you need all that candy?"
"Yup!" he said happily. "Present!" He held it up with a big grin.
"He was already on a chocolate high when Monroe delivered 'im," Don assured him dryly. "He did good frisking Cap." The other detectives laughed. "He's damn good at it."
Mac took the candy. "If that's a present you have to make it last, Alex. That way you have presents again next month." His son hugged him, still dancing. "What else did you do?"
"Gun," he cooed, beaming at him.
"Gerrard's," one of the other detectives said, handing him the rest of his can of soda. "Diet, Taylor."
"Thanks." He helped his son drink it to hopefully flush some of the sugar out of his system. It wasn't going to work for a *very* long time but oh well. "Come on. You can help me in my office."
"Boring!" he complained, pouting at him.
Mac gave him a look. "Tough. Now, Alex. March." He pointed. The baby ran over to cuddle Don, hoping to be saved.
Don smiled at him. "It's only until the party. Then you can dance around some more." He winked and handed him something, sliding it under his son's t-shirt. His son beamed and kissed him. "Be a good boy and we'll be over soon, Al." He nodded, heading that way, one hand holding the hershey bar in place so Daddy Mac wouldn't see it and confiscate it.
"That's mean," the suspect complained.
Don snickered. "He gets custody tonight."
"Thank you. Now, you did what again? Oh, yeah, killed someone. Why?" He looked at him. "Before I lock you and the son in the broom closet with another pound of chocolate." He opened his desk drawer to show him the box. It was the only way he ever got any. Alex hunted any he kept at home.
The guy whimpered. "He was doin' my baby's momma."
"Ah." He typed that in. "Any other good reasons you think you had?"
"I think he was staring at my boy."
Don nodded, typing that in. "I could almost see that one. Next time, report them. We can cap them for you and not go to jail like you will be." He kept filling out the forms. At least until his phone rang and he had to grab it. "Yeah, Flack." He smiled at the complaint from Lindsay. "How is he distracting you?" He laughed and hung up on her continued complaints that him dancing in Mac's office was making it so she couldn't work. "She can't turn around ta work and not watch the son dance his chocolate dance."
"She funny too?"
"Nah, she's sick in other ways," he said dryly, finishing the forms. "Okay. Let's get you booked, sent over, let you call a lawyer." He got up, dragging the guy down to booking, handing over the forms. The cop looked at it then at him. "What? That's the reason he gave."
He just nodded. "Son keeping you up again?"
"It's his second birthday. I unwisely took custody of him and the first cake at the same time. Three days ago."
"Ah!" he said, nodding as he walked the guy off. "When's the party?"
"Any half hour now." He walked back to his desk, finding his captain scowling at him. He grinned. "What?" he asked with a boyish, innocent grin. "It's good for him to learn what the daddies do all day."
"Your son is a monster."
"Aww, did he not frisk you right?"
"No, he did it textbook."
"That's my boy," Flack said proudly. "Even earlier than I learned." Gerrard stomped off again. "I'm gonna go help with the party stuff, Cap," he called after him, escaping once his desk was locked.
Gerrard growled. "I get promoted and that's what I get for a present."
One of the guys looked at him. "At least the baby doesn't have colic."
"Thank God," he muttered, heading into his office again.
Mac shut the door on his office once he had walked Alex inside, patting him on the head. "Let me do three things then it should be time for the party."
"Presents?" he chirped.
"And those." He sat down at his desk, watching his son dance around some more. He got to work on the files, shaking his head. His son really needed less candy this week. He had no idea how they were going to handle Halloween this year. Easter service, with candy, was tonight and Alex was *horrible* already. He looked up, spotting him with new chocolate smears around his mouth. "Where did you get more?" he asked.
"I'm going to spank him," Mac muttered.
"Grandma Flack?" he asked.
"Don't tempt me." He glared at the people watching his son dance, making a shooing motion. Most of them went back to work. Some kept checking on him. He shook his head, finishing his work, stopping Alex from getting his gun. "No."
"Pwease? Be careful!"
"I know you will. The answer's still no." Alex sniffled. He looked at him. "Keep it up, wait longer for the party."
Alex pouted, going back to his dancing, managing to sneak a few of the his-size candy bars out of the bag on the desk. His father caught him eating the first one and took the others, then swept his mouth with a finger to get the chocolate out. He wailed. "Presents!"
"You don't need more chocolate!" He wiped his finger off then sat back down to do the rest of his paperwork. His son was throwing a tantrum and he was trying to ignore it. He glared at him. Alex stuck his tongue out. "Sit!" he said, pointing at a chair. Alex sniffled all the way over. "Thank you." He got back to work. Stella leaned in and motioned at the baby. "He's having a time out because he just stuck his tongue out at me."
"Uh-huh. You were mean!" She grabbed the baby and walked off. "I think I heard Sid come in finally." He squealed and wiggled until she put him down, running for the elevator. He danced until it came then on and pushed the button until the doors closed. She watched. "He's fast," she decided, calling down there. "Marty, incoming for Sid." She hung up and went back to the party prep.
Alex came off the elevator and looked around. "Hey, Auntie Britty Lady Ho!" he squealed, waving at her as he ran past her, pouncing Sid. "SID!"
"Alex," he said with a smile, turning to get him off his thigh so he could hug him. "Are you in for your party?"
He beamed and nodded. "Presents. Bars!"
"Those are good presents at your age." The baby beamed. "How many have you had?"
"Not know. Grandma cake!" he said happily, hugging him around the throat, still wiggling. "Party?"
"Yes, I'm coming up for the party." He gave him the cuddle he needed, taking the candy Marty had before the boy could see it. "Give it to him later."
"It's Easter, Sid!"
"I don't think his fathers would appreciate that."
"He's not my kid. I'm being a good spoiling uncle." He tucked the peeps into Alex's pocket and patted him on the head. "We have to get to work so we can come to the party. Then you can have Sid back. Good for you?"
Alex nodded, kissing them both before getting down and heading for the elevator. One of the adults in the hall pushed the button for him since it was too high. He waved. "Fank you!" He got on and jumped up to hit the right button, heading back up to the floor, looking at the small box of yellow duckies. "Huh?" He ran into the room Danny and Stella were in. "Ducks!"
Danny looked. "Those are Peeps. They're like fluff only solid and kinda grainy from the sugar on the outside. You can eat 'em later." He put them on the table but Alex took them back and walked off. "Oh, no. Already gotten an earful from Daddy Mac," he warned, taking them back. Alex pouted. "Tough. Go back to the office." He went that way via the break room, he usually did. Sheldon was in there eating. "No more sugar until his cake!" he yelled up the halls. "Or else you're babysitting tonight!"
"Thank you!" Lindsay called back. "He's distracting!"
Sheldon smiled as he let the baby down. "Hug her too. Remember not to touch anything if she's in a lab." He gave him a bite of fried vegetable, watching him run off. "No wonder he can't have more sugar." He ate another bite.
Alex stalked his prey. She was a sour auntie. Didn't like him a whole lot and she gave bad presents. He found her in the halls and saw she only had a file with papers. He pounced and knocked her down to frisk her too, finding her roll of life savers.
Mac came out and grabbed him, handing them back. He put him on the couch again. "Thirty minutes, Alex. You know better than that." He walked out. "Are you all right?"
"Was he frisking me?"
"Don learned when he was three and Grandpa Flack said it's a good skill to learn. It was how they bonded a few days ago. Are you all right?"
"I'm fine. Nothing bruised." She got up and handed him the report. "For Danny. Are you punishing him?" He pointed at the sulky boy sitting facing the corner. "Time outs work?"
"He hates having to sit still."
"Oh." She walked off pouting. The baby was mean to her!
Danny leaned out. "He did what? He went to help Sheldon eat his lunch."
"She was being cranky so I told Alex to hug her," Sheldon defended from the break area.
"He dropped her then frisked her," Mac mouthed. Danny leaned back into the room and shut the door before starting to cackle. He walked into the break room. "Don and Grandpa Flack both decided to do some Flack-style bonding by teaching the baby how to frisk people." Sheldon choked. "Don learned when he was three. Alex is brilliant. He found her life savers."
"I only suggested a hug," he wheezed. "She okay?"
"He did a good tackle," Mac told him. "I'm not sure if I'm proud or not."
"Be proud. Think of the cop he'll be when he's older."
Mac smiled. "Thanks. No sugar." He walked off, heading back to the office. Alex hadn't moved. He was still pouting with his arms crossed over his chest. He checked the bag on the desk. It didn't look touched. He checked his watch. "Next time don't tackle your aunt, Alex. You know better."
"She not nice!" he said.
"She's very nice."
"She wanna kissy Daddy Danny."
"That's between them, son. Sit there." He went back to his work. Alex could be hell on the nerves at times. Especially when he got into the candy. He looked at him, seeing him shifting. He walked over and frisked him, finding the rest of Lindsay's sugary stuff and a few things he had snuck somehow. "Did you get into the bag?"
"Marty," he said with a grin. "Daddy Don's friends too."
Mac moaned, opening an unused evidence bag to put all the candy into. "You're still sitting there." His son whined. "Ten more minutes." He slumped but went back to pouting, sitting as still as he could. Mac knew that he'd had too much sugar to sit perfectly still like he should. He was surprised he was able to sit any bit still actually. When it was time he cleared his throat and his son got up, going back to dancing to wear out the extra sugar. "We should take you to the gym, son."
"No!" he shouted with a scowl. "Bad peoples!"
"There are?" Alex pouted but nodded. "Who?"
"The next time you see them, you point them out to us, okay?" Alex nodded, coming over to get a hug and take his gun to play with. Mac took it back. "Not at work, Alex."
"Want to sit another one today?" Alex pouted and whined, reaching for it. "We can clean them later. All right?" He nodded, going back to his dancing. "Thank you." He finally finished up and looked at his watch. He called Danny. "How long?" He smiled. "That'll work." He hung up, then paged people with the word 'party'. He stood up. "Time." Alex beamed and reached for the evidence bag, running back to the party room with it. He smiled fondly at his demented son. Don caught him and gave him a hug. "That hershey bar was mean."
"No it wasn't. It'll make sure he doesn't crash in the middle of the party. The peeps from Marty were mean."
Stella snickered. "Very." She gave Alex a hug. "It was two years ago that you were born. You're getting old, little guy."
He pouted. "Cute?"
"Yes, you're still cute." She kissed him on the head and put him down, letting him look at the pile of presents that had appeared while he was gone. "You can wait until everyone else gets here."
"No, I'm not going to kiss Sid, Alex," she said patiently, making Sid laugh as he walked in. "He's got Mac's stubbornness."
"No, he has more than I do," Mac assured her dryly. "I've seen whole platoons of Marines that weren't as determined as the son." Alex just beamed and waved at him. "Yes, you."
"Woose!" Alex yelled.
Don groaned. "Don't call people that!"
Gerrard walked in and stared at him. "I am not."
"Not pat down?"
"No, you already did once. I think that's enough." The baby gave him his best little hellion grin. He handed Don a present. "From the wife." He walked off. "I'm moving up. Hernandez is moving over."
"Okay." He nodded. "Thanks and good luck, Cap," he called. He shrugged. "The Chief of Detectives needed a better ass kisser?" he asked Mac quietly.
"Wonderful. Well, I like Hernandez. Could be worse." He put the present onto the table, getting a beam from the baby. "Not dancing anymore?"
"So sit down and let Sid tell you about something, or Sheldon." He pounced Sheldon, knocking him into a glass wall. "Not nice, son."
"He knocked Lindsay down to frisk her," Mac said quietly.
"That's my boy. He knows you don't frisk family and friends." He watched his son as the rest of them came in. He looked at Adam's package. "If that's sugar, you're babysitting."
"I know better than that. The last time you had him dance and do laps around my lab." He put it onto the table. "Who gave him peeps?"
"Marty," Danny said from his seat. "Montana comin' or not?"
"She might be putting some liniment on the bruises," Sheldon offered, going back to explaining about the skeleton in the corner to the baby. He was a good teacher.
Mac paged her, making her show up. "Are you coming to the party too?"
"Sure, I could use some cake since he stole all my candy." Mac handed her the evidence bag, letting her take what was hers back. "He's good, Don. He stripped me bare of sugar in seconds." She put her present on the table. "Are we nearly ready?"
"Yup," Stella said, lighting the candles. "Alex." He looked over and oohed at the pretty fire. "Don't touch. Make a wish and blow it out." He stared at her. "Make a wish."
"No, not a bad one. Make a good wish, like to be happy next year or something." He gave her a look. "I promise. It'll be okay as long as you make a good wish." She didn't know why he didn't like to make wishes. Not on falling stars, not on birthday candles. It was strange. She wondered who had said something. He mumbled something. "Now blow out the candles." He blew. They went out. "Good job!" She gave him a hug, lifting him up so he could see the cake. "Look, race cars." It was the only motif the parents had been able to agree on even if Alex didn't really like cars. He associated them with shopping and he still hated shopping.
"Oooh, gangs!" he said happily.
"Don, no more gangster movies with the kid," Danny complained, cracking others up.
"We were watching _The Untouchables_. It's a classic. He couldn't sleep anyway!"
"I've got him tonight and this weekend, Don. You can rest."
"Thank you!" He patted Alex on the head. "Okay, now let's cut the cake. Then we can open presents once people have their slices." Alex gave him a manic look but reached for the knife. "Ah! We'll do it, you tell us where." He let the baby show him where to cut. "Here?" He nodded. He sliced. "Which way now?" He pointed to the left so Don moved over to cut that side then the top, handing the square to Mac since had the plates. "Who gets the first one?"
"Stella kissy Sid?"
She rolled her eyes. "I'll kiss him some other time, Alex. Let Sid have it." He beamed at his uncle and nodded. They let Alex hand out cake to the others, knowing he was thinking he'd get the rest. She had a solution for that. "You know, you could give the rest of the cake to the guys that Daddy Don works with. Captain Gerrard just got a bigger desk and he deserves some cake too." Alex pouted at her. "It'd be very nice. It'd make him happy. Like you are."
"Yes, giving it to them would be nice. Like giving him a present for doing such a good job," Don agreed, smiling at her. That was brilliant! "We'll bring it over after you open your presents."
Alex ran over to the table full of presents, climbing up in the chair so he could sit on the table and rip them open. Most people laughed. "Presents!" he cooed, waving the first one. Books! He loved books! He beamed at Sheldon, who smiled at him. He opened the next one, letting Daddy Danny move them off to the side so he wouldn't lose them. He lost things at home all the time. He found a strange looking chair and looked at it then at Mommy Mac, holding it up.
"That's for when you learn how to go potty like a big boy," Mac told him. "You'll hopefully learn this year or next."
Alex grimaced. "Nasty!" He put it aside, getting some laughs. The one who gave the gift laughed hardest. "Bad diaper!"
"Yeah, that's so you don't have ta have bad diapers," Don agreed. "We'll like that too." Peyton cackled at that, it was her present. "Thanks, Peyton."
"Welcome, Don," she said with a pat for his shoulder. Alex stared at her. "I can give him friendly touches."
"No!" He shook his head, whipping his hair around. "No! Mine!"
"Would you like one?" She patted him on the head, making him smile. "There you go, love." She backed off. "He called Britty Lady ho again, Mac," she said quietly.
"He's on a sugar high, Amanda. I'll work on that," he said. She smiled at him and give him a pat too.
"Momma mine too," Alex said with a scowl for her, cracking the others up. That was Mac's pet name from him.
"Daddy," Danny corrected patiently. "Not Mommy. Mac's still a boy, Alex. Boys are daddies."
He spit at him, getting a gentle smack on the mouth. "Hey!" he complained.
"I warned you about that."
Alex pouted but Stella gave him his next present, making him happy again. The rest of the party was jovial. The baby was happy. He loved the presents. Even Monroe's Tonka truck, though he didn't really like cars. She smiled at him for saying 'thank you' and took her cake to get back to work. At the end, he helped his Daddy Don carry the cake over to his desk. Don whistled. "We got told the Cap was passing on and Alex generously donated his cake to help celebrate that." Gerrard came to his doorway. "He did."
"Thanks, Flack. You too, Alex."
Alex beamed. "Good job!" he praised, waving at him. The other guys smiled at that. He pounced Don. "Home?"
"With Mac tonight, Alex." He walked him off. "Have a good new desk, Cap."
He got a piece of cake, smiling at the theme. "Gangsters?"
"Probably Messer's idea," one said, coming over to get his own cake. "Think it's sugar free?"
"Probably," Gerrard agreed. "That kid's a monster on sugar." He went back to his office, cheered up a bit. Flack appreciated him. Even if it was a way to keep the baby out of the cake later on.
to part 2: