Notes: Aiden was never fired. Sorry, I can't see Montana dealing with a baby Xander and I need Sheldon to be a CSI.
A Son Found.
Someone knocked on the door and Don Flack frowned. It was three in the morning. Sure, he was up, half of New York was still up since it was a Saturday night, but none of his neighbors should be. He looked out the spyhole and saw nothing but something was wrong. He was a detective, he had good instincts. It made him open the door carefully. Nothing in the hall of normal human height. He heard a noise and looked down, then blinked. It was.... "Aw, shit!" he swore, bringing the baby inside. He took it, him, out of the carrier to hold up. It was a boy, the shirt he was in said 'boy' in sparkly letters. "Hi, who're you? I doubt I qualify as leaving you in a safe place to get around the abandonment laws." The baby sniffled so he put him onto the couch and looked inside the backpack style carrier. There was a sealed plastic envelope, like the ones you got with a new tv. He opened it, looking at the birth certificate. He stared at it for a few minutes before he burst out laughing. "Not even," he said plainly, glancing at the baby. It was watching him. He looked at the other things, hoping for a note. "Ah."
//I know this is strange, you won't remember me, but I'm Dawn. You met me once a while ago. Before you complain, Xander is yours. I know he's yours. I was a virgin when we got together and didn't have anyone else until I was six months along. You can test him if you want but I can't take him, Don. See, my life is in danger and I'm going into hiding. If I keep him with me, he'll die and so will I. With you, he'll be safe. I'll be safe. I'm very sorry and I know you probably think I'm the most selfish thing ever, but I'm sorry. Dawn.//
He stared at it then at the baby. He took a slow, calming breath, then got up and threw something breakable at the doorway. "Okay," he said once he was calmed down. The baby clapped and cooed. He smiled. "How old are you?" He looked at the birth certificate again, then at him. "Eight months? So you're probably at least crawling." He held his head. He got a bright idea. Stella! He called her. "Stella, I know it's *really* late but I need a huge ass favor. No, I'm not drunk and need a ride home. I know what cabs are. No, I got my son dropped off on my doorstep. No, just now. Why did I call you? You're good with kids. All I know is how to coo and go 'he needs a change' to the paramedics when we find one. Or with the older ones to make funny faces until they laugh and forget they're under stress and then have the paramedics change them. Eight months, I have *no* clue!"
He smiled at her complaining this was a strange dream, no more Hungarian chili before bed. "Stella, not a dream. It's still me. There's a baby." He let the baby have the phone. "Coo at Auntie Stella, Xander." He babbled happily, banging the phone. Don took it back. "See, baby! I have no idea what to do with a baby!" He stared to pace. "Apparently the mother's life is in danger. I'm on the birth certificate. I don't know! I did throw the ugly vase my mother gave me last year. She said it was good for that. Yeah, crashed pretty and then he clapped. Please? Pretty please?" She hung up after another chili comment and he slumped, putting his phone back down. "We'll figure it out tonight, Xander. Then we'll let you cuddle up to her tomorrow. It'll make her sorry. No woman can resist a cute little Flack for long." He picked him up to cuddle, letting the baby fall asleep on him.
He was so screwed.
He was a daddy now and he had NO idea what he was doing.
He looked down at the wet, sloppy sounding noise the baby let out and realized it had just gotten worse. He was a daddy and had to change *diapers* too.
Don snuck into Mac's office. "Thanks for coming in, Mac. I know it's your day off."
"What's wrong, Don?" He looked at him. "Why are you wearing a trench coat today? It's a beautiful day." Don took off the jacket and the carrier, then put the baby down on the floor, making him lean over the desk to look at him. The baby sat there smiling at him, sucking on his fingers. "Uh-huh." He glanced at the father. "Is it mine?"
"We think he might be mine. His Ma dropped him off last night at three, Mac. I called Stella for help and she complained about Hungarian chili."
"She was still belching this morning," he admitted. "What did she drop him with?" Don handed over the whole packet. He looked down, smiling when the boy crawled over to him. "Hi. What's your name?"
"The note calls him Xander. The birth certificate says Alexander."
"Hmm." He stroked over the baby's hair, letting him into his lap so he could look at the papers with him. "Go get Sheldon. We'll draw blood for a paternity test." Don hurried out. He smiled at the baby. "He's not usually like that. He's a very stand-up guy, Xander. He'll take very good care of you. Your grandparents will spoil you absolutely rotten." He went back to reading.
Stella walked in and paused. "That's a baby."
"It wasn't the chili when Don called you," he said dryly, watching her go pale and then turn to walk into the hall and swear in Greek, smiling a bit. "She must think you have delicate ears, kid. She swears at me all the time." He finished reading the note, smiling when Sheldon came in. "Here you go, Doc."
"Awww, who's the cutey then," he cooed, taking him to the couch to look him over. When he got done he looked at the worried parent. "He seems pretty healthy. I'll have chem run the standard tests we'd run in autopsy." He drew three vials of blood and patted the baby once he had on the bandaid. "Good boy. Such a good boy." The baby beamed and kicked his feet. "Good boy." He got up and walked out. "Congrats, Don."
"Thanks. I hope." He sat down in Mac's visitor's chair. The baby was playing with his toes on the couch. He looked at Mac again. "Whadda I do now?"
"Now, we wait for paternity," Mac told him. "We wait for health. Then you tell your parents if he's yours. If not, we call a social worker."
Don nodded at that. "Okay. The mother?"
"I doubt we'd find her, Don," he said gently. "If she's not lying, and I'm not sure whether or not she is by the evidence I have here, she's in deep hiding to protect her life."
Stella stormed back in. "How did we get the child?" Mac handed her the letter. She read it slowly then called Don. "So you called *me*?"
"You do good when we find living kids," he reminded her. "I couldn't figure out how to change a diaper with one on him!"
She huffed. "Just because I'm female...."
"No, if I wanted any female, I'd have called Aiden."
"Fine. Whatever." She looked. Then groaned. "How mobile is he?"
"Crawling at least," Mac said, looking over there. "Let's find Xander. Before he finds trouble."
Don went one way, Mac went another, and Stella went a third.
Xander, well, he found a shortcut through a lab. No one noticed him. The only person in there had his back turned to him. He crawled into another lab. That was empty and kinda dark so he kept going. The dark held bad things and he didn't want to run into bad things ever again. He found one that had a lot of lights but only one person. He was sitting on a stool staring at a microscope. The baby looked at him. He felt nice to him. He crawled over and headbutted his foot, making him jump and shriek. Xander beamed at him, he liked that response.
"Who the fuck are you?" he demanded, picking him up to look at him. "You're too tiny to work here, kid." He looked around. No frantic parents. He sat down on the stool again, holding the baby. "You're chilly. It's cold in here so of course you're chilly since you're in shorts and a tank top." He put his lab coat around them both and buttoned it, smiling when the baby snuggled in. "Oh, so you like me, huh? Well, you're not the only one," he teased, teasing his chin with a finger. The baby gnawed on his covered finger. "Hold on. I know it tastes like a bottle but it's not." He pulled off his gloves and gave him his bare finger to suck on. His other hand inched toward the phone. "Let me call someone, 'kay?" He called the front desk. "It's Messer. A baby just crawled into Trace. Yeah, let whoever's looking know. He's chilly and I wanna chew someone a new one." He hung up, smiling at the baby again. "There, now Mommy or Daddy can get yelled at, like a good uncle should." He sat there cuddling the baby, just talking to him for a few more minutes. The baby paid wonderful attention to him. "You gotta name?" he asked finally. A young woman walked in. "Go find someone. No one's come looking for him yet."
She paused, looking at the lump in his lab coat. She came over to look then at him. "It's a baby," she said bluntly.
"I know that. He crawled in and headbutted me. I thought we had giant rats again," he said sarcastically. "I called the desk, no one's come. Go find Stella since it's her day in charge."
"Sure," she agreed, backing out slowly. She went jogging off, running into a frantic Mac. "There's a baby in Trace?" she demanded. "How in the hell did a baby get into the lab and no one noticed, Mac!"
"Calm down, Aiden."
"You stay calm! He was crawlin' around and could've gotten into anything!" she shouted. "He could've been hurt or stepped on or infected or something!"
"Someone left him on Don's doorstep last night. Don brought him in and we lost him in the office. He's where?"
"Trace. Danny's got him and he's cold. Danny said so." She hit him on the arm. "Stupid! Flack!" she bellowed, going to find him and beat the snot out of him. "How dare you not pay attention to that precious little alien creature!" she said, hitting him on the arm a few times. "How dare you leave him alone! You don't do that to babies!"
He ducked away, holding up his hands. "I got him dropped on me last night. He was on the couch in Mac's office and then he wasn't!" he defended. "I've only had him since three, Aiden, back off!" She hit him again and stomped off. "Where is he?" he called, following at a safe distance.
"Danny's got 'im. He's cold."
Don jogged to where Danny usually was, finding Mac in there watching the two. "Aww." His son's head popped out. "You comfy, son?" Danny gave him a horrified look. "Not a clue. Dropped on me at three. I tried ta call Stella. She claimed it was Hungarian chili."
Danny smacked Stella on the arm. "Stupid." He gave the baby a cuddle and undid his coat. "Go to daddy, little guy." The baby clung to him. "Awww, you're adorable. Don's he's freezing."
Don took off his shirt and put it over Xander's other outfit, letting him come to him. "That's my boy. We'll figure this out together, Xander." He snuggled him, patting him gently. "He get scratched or anything?"
"Nah. Headbutted me. I thought we had giant rats again." Aiden stormed in. "So, the mother?"
"May or may not be going into hiding to protect her life," Mac admitted. "Sheldon's running paternity now."
Danny grinned. "Sure, that'll work." The baby whined and reached for him. "Aiden, do this sample for me so we can get him back to the office?" She nodded, letting them walk out together. He closed Mac's door. "That solves the wandering problem until he's strong enough to push it." He sat down and the baby got down and crawled to him, coming to play with his hair this time, making him smile. "I know, I'm nearly as cute as you are," he agreed happily. "Play away. Girls like messy hair. You'll find that out someday soon." He looked at Don. "So?"
He shrugged. "Someone knocked, he was in the carrier in front of my door. It sounds cheesy but it was. He ate my cereal with me this morning and we came in so I could talk ta Mac about what to do. Sheldon looked him over, said he was probably healthy, took blood, and then disappeared."
"He's a smart boy," Danny said, rescuing his glasses. "Thanks but I need those, little guy."
"Xander," Mac told him. The baby looked at him. "Telling him your name, Xander. He didn't know."
"Xander? New agey?"
"Short for Alexander," Mac told him. "She did include his birth certificate." Sheldon came in. "Close it, he got out earlier."
"I'm fascinating enough for him," Danny said. "Something seriously wrong?"
"A bit odd. His blood sugar's a bit high at the moment."
"He had my cereal with me," Don admitted. "Stole some of my coffee too."
"Okay, that could be that. He's got odd DNA." He handed it to Mac, getting a horrified look. "I've only seen that once and it's from a small town out west."
"Huh?" Danny asked.
Sheldon looked at him. "There's a small town named Sunnydale out west that creates this small shift in the DNA codes. It adds one extra marker on one specific gene. Those who're born there have it."
"His birth certificate said he was born in LA county," Don said. "That close?"
"A few hours, probably the closest hospital." He looked at Mac. "So we know where his mother was. The shift's not a dangerous thing just an identifying marker that's thought to be caused by some low-level radiation. Not linked to any sickness or future risk of cancer." That got a nod. "Don is the father. And interestingly enough I ran the mother through CODIS. Just in case someone's run into her, that way we'd have an identity." He looked at Danny. "Do you have a twin sister?"
"No," he said. "No sisters. Why?"
He handed over the sheet of paper and then got out of range. "Congrats, it's a boy." He escaped.
"Aaaaaaahhhhhhhh," Don said, trying hard to think.
Mac took the forms to look at, then called Sheldon. "Ran it more than once?" He nodded. "Thank you." He hung up. "He ran it through the system twice, Danny. It comes up as you being one parent and Don being the other."
"Well, he likes you," Don said quietly, sitting down again. "How?" he asked finally.
"Some freak and a petri dish?" Danny suggested. "She carried and now she can't take it?"
"I've never donated to a bank, Messer," Don said dryly.
"For right now, let's deal with that issue later. Don, do you want to keep him?"
Don glared at him. "No one touches my kids, Mac."
"Good. Then call your father." Don went pale. He sat down, looking at him. "You'll have to tell him sometime, Don. The yelling will only get worse if you wait."
"Can we get someone else in some other lab ta run it? In case it's a wonky machine?" he asked. "Not that I'm doubting he's mine, just who his mother is."
"I can do that." He called Sheldon back. "Do we have any blood left?" He smiled. "Please. Thank you." He hung up. "He's taking it to non-felony and having them run it. Would that help?" He swallowed and nodded. "It'll be okay, Don."
"Mac, if you had a baby dropped off on your doorstep, you'd be ranting and screaming at the mother," he said dryly. "And God, and everyone else."
"Probably true," he admitted.
"I've been good, I've only thrown a vase."
"You've been very calm, Don. Go fix that," he agreed. Don went to fix that in the alleyway. "Danny?"
"I'm good with him, Mac. We're comfy." He settled in and Xander beamed at him. "Got somethin' ta read?" Mac handed over a forensic journal. "Never too early to recruit?" he teased. He opened it and started to read the first article to him. The boy cooed and rested his head against his shoulder, grabbing one of his fingers to hold onto while he listened. He finally looked over. "He's an easy baby to love. Not too fussy."
"Let's hope," Mac agreed. Sheldon came back and handed over the forms then ran for his life. He looked then nodded. "Theirs came out the same."
Don came back ten minutes later. "You need to call the parents," Danny said, going back to the article.
"Why are you reading to him about blood separation?"
"It's reading, it's good for him," Danny shot back. "Call your parents then we'll figure out the parentage things."
"Sure." He sat down to call his mother from the office phone. "Hey, Ma, I broke the vase you gave me to break the next time I needed to." He smiled. "Yeah, it's important enough to pull Dad away from football." He let Xander have the phone, hearing him coo. Then he hung it up. "They've got caller ID."
"Half an hour to get here from their part of Queens in today's traffic," Danny said, checking his watch, then going onto the next article. The baby beamed at him and he beamed back. "Good boy." He told him about DNA separation and how genome testing would lead to some limited arrests. He laughed at something. "Hey, Mac, this one's a fruitcake." He kept going. "It's like a fairy tale so it's all good," he told the baby. Don's parents stomped in twenty minutes later. Danny looked up. "Should we be expecting a huffy traffic cop too?"
"No, I blew him off," Don Senior said, glaring at his son. "Excuse me?"
Mac handed over the letter and the DNA testing. "Done in two labs. We don't know how Danny's coming up the mother. Sheldon Hawkes drew the baby's blood before he had met Danny."
Danny nodded. "Shocked the hell outta me."
Don's mother swatted him. "Don't swear in front of the baby."
Danny glared at her. "Blow off. Apparently he's mine too." She looked shocked. "Hi, Danny Messer." He waved a hand and got back to reading to the baby.
Don stood up. "Ma, Dad, I don't know what happened. We have no clue. He's mine though and apparently Danny's. I don't know how. Mac doesn't know how."
"Had to be a petri dish and nuclei exchange," Danny told him. "No other way possible since I'm still not a girl." He turned the page and went back to reading about statistical data.
"Whatever," Don told him, looking at his father. "All I know is that someone tapped on my door at three. He was there and no one else was. Mac's got the stuff she left him with. I came in this morning ta see Mac and get the tests run. It says he's mine."
Don Senior huffed. "This is not how I wanted grandchildren, Donny." Xander burst out wailing. "You quit."
Danny glared at him. "Blow off," he repeated coldly. "Shh, Xander. It's all right. He'll love you. He's just a grumpy bastard at the moment. It's shock, baby." He got him calmed down. "Mac, takin' him outta here so they can scream. Going to the break room, Don." He headed that way with the baby, closing the door behind himself. Stella gave him an odd look. "Don's dad set him off wailing."
"Poor little guy," she cooed, taking him to cuddle. He snuggled into her neck, one arm around it, sniffling some. "Shh, it's all right. Auntie Stella and Uncle Danny have you. Anything on the mother?"
"Yeah, two different labs came up with me bein' the mom," Danny said, catching the baby when she nearly dropped him. "Easy!" He took the baby back. "You're dangerous. We won't let you babysit, Stella." He kept going with him, going to get a drink and read to him in there while Stella went to double check Sheldon's results. The baby settled in again and got happy within a few minutes. Don's mother came looking and he waved, bringing her in. "What?"
"I don't want to be hostile, Mr. Messer."
"He still don't need that."
"He doesn't," she agreed, coming over to sit across from him. "I let the boys yell at each other. Can I hold him?" Danny let her hold him, making him give her odd looks. "I'm the grandmother, Xander. I'm your father's mommy. I gave birth and raised him." She settled him into her lap, making him smile at her delicate touch. "Such a good boy. Just like your daddy was at that age. Yes you are." She kissed him on the head. She looked at him. "How would this have been done?"
Danny used his bottle to diagram. "See, we can suck the nucleus out of a cell," he said, using the cap for that. "Doing it to an egg isn't unheard of. That's how they clone. They put a full cell's nucleus in there and it sets off cell growth." He put the cap back on. "What they would've done is taken the DNA material from a sperm cell and done the same thing. That makes it a viable egg for fertilization." He twisted on the cap and shook the bottle. "Then add sperm, stir, put into an incubator for a few days, implant, then nine months later it's a baby."
"How long have we been able to do that?"
"The stuff with the dish, since the seventies. It's how IVF works." She nodded at that. "All the test tube babies, done the same way. The DNA exchange?" He shrugged. "Late nineties from what I understand. Back when the brouhaha over cloning started."
"Okay. Then how did they get yours? I know Donny didn't give to a sperm bank."
"I did back in college," he admitted. "Been a while and by now it should've been destroyed probably. It was also in-state and Sheldon's tests said he was born out by LA. Apparently there's a town with low-level radiation that shows up in the DNA of those born there. He said it's not gonna hurt him any but it's a marker of where he came to be."
"All right," she agreed calmly, holding onto him even though he was trying to move. "No, dear. You'll fall." Danny got up to close the doors and then put him down. "Are you sure? It's a bit dirty in here."
"Too clean and kids are more prone to asthma. Besides, we're all a bit germ phobic around here thanks to the job so it's dingy wax not dirt." He sat down, watching Xander head for the snack machines to coo at the chocolate. They both smiled at that. He looked at her. "I'll gladly step up ta help. Apparently Don panicked big time last night when he called Stella."
"He's never had any experience with babies outside the one hour course they taught at the academy about how to birth one and put on a diaper." Danny smiled at that. "Sisters?"
"Two exes with babies," he admitted. "None of my own but him." Xander patted the machine very hard, making something fall. "Way ta go, little man!" he said proudly, going to see what prize he had won. "Wow, peanuts." He paid for something better for him, taking it out. She got the nuts and he sat down to let Xander gum on the crackers with cheese, making him beam at him. "Good boy. You eat. It's time for a snack." Mac walked in. "Door!" The door was closed. "They at the hitting stage?"
"Calming down." He came over, smiling at Xander. "Hungry?"
"He got nuts, they're too small for him," Danny pointed out. He let Mac take him and his crackers. "You sure they're ready?"
"Don's pouting you stole him."
"Which one?" she asked dryly, eating a nut.
"Your husband." She smiled at that. "Come on, Danny. You too, Mrs. Flack." He led them back to the office, letting Xander down again once everyone was inside and the door was closed again. "Thanks." He sat down behind the desk again. "Okay, now what are we going to do?" He handed Danny the crackers.
"I've gotta get him stuff and a bigger place," Don told him.
"I've got a two bedroom place," Danny said. "You can camp on our couch for a few days, Don. If he's mine, he's mine." Don smiled at that and nodded. He sat down, watching as Xander went to investigate the new man. Don Senior picked him up, settling him in his lap. "That's Grandpa Flack, Xander."
"Don the third," he said firmly.
"He's almost nine months old, it's too late for that," Don said dryly. "He can stay a Xander, Dad."
"Dad," Don warned.
"Fine. Whatever as the young kids say." He looked at the baby. "Hi, Xander." The baby held out his cracker. "No thank you, you eat it." He helped him stuff it into his mouth, getting a smile around it. He grinned back. "You are adorable. Messer, I don't want your father near him."
"I don't talk to my parents," he said dryly. "Not an issue."
"Thank you. However you're the mother I can't really complain. DNA doesn't lie." He looked at him. "You will help Donny?"
"Yeah, not an issue. I like the little guy. At the very least I'll take visitation." That got a nod. "Don't go planning a church wedding or anything."
"You'd have to wear the dress," Don told him. Danny swatted him. "Hey!"
"You've got a better chance of marrying Aiden."
"She hits hard," he complained, rubbing his arm. "I'm bruised."
"Good." He looked at Don Senior again, who was smiling. "We're friends, we can deal with this."
"Then we'll set up a nursery for him at your apartment until Don can move to a bigger place," his mother said happily. "Donny?"
"If he can find one, more power to him. Housing is tight this year." He handed the baby back, letting Don have him. Xander cooed and snuggled in, rubbing his cheek against Don's undershirt. "He loves you."
"He should. He woke up in my armpit this morning," Don said happily, smiling at him. "Were you a good boy for Danny?" The baby patted his nipple. "No, those don't give milk. Sorry. We'll do a bottle when I find one." Danny handed over his water. "Thanks." He helped the baby sip some of it, getting a happier baby. "Did Danny feed you stale crackers with fake cheese?"
"He slapped the machine hard enough he got nuts," Danny told him. "Crackers were safer."
"Thanks." He looked at him. "You gonna move too?"
"I'm rent controlled at six hundred a month. I've got a two bedroom. I move when they carry my body out in a corpse bag or they come drag me out in cuffs."
"Sure. We'll come stay with you." He smiled at his son. "Ma, what do I need to get beyond a crib and bottles?"
"Diapers," Danny said. "Clothes. Spit up cloths. Shoes maybe. Wet wipes. Pacifiers maybe. Food because he's old enough for baby food. There's whole sections of stores with baby stuff. We can go get a few of each."
"Okay. That I can see."
"Carseat," Mac told him. Don nodded at that. "I'm sure you guys can figure it out. Danny, do you need a few days off?"
"Probably should," Danny agreed. "Gotta clean stuff outta my spare room." That got a nod and they left together, Danny clocking out and leaving his coat in his locker.
Mac leaned back in his chair, calling Stella. "It looks like we have to plan a baby shower. Well, you plan the other parties, Stella. Thanks. Get with Don and Danny. Sure."
Don carried in the last bag, flopping down on the couch. Danny came up with a box and put it down then disappeared. "Huh?" Don asked.
"His landlord, son," his father reminded him.
"Oh, yeah." He looked at all the stuff. Then at Danny's spare room. "We'll do it around the desk," he decided, going to start shifting some thing so they could put together the crib.
Danny tapped on his landlord's door, smiling a bit. "Hey, head's up. Someone showed up with a son of mine."
"Nine months. Crawling."
"You do know the lease says no children?"
"Really? 'Cause you know that's discrimination?" he asked, tapping his badge with a finger. He glared. "It is. There's others in the building."
"You bring a lot of work home?"
"Haven't yet. Why? Someone been looking for me?" He nodded. "Who?" He shrugged. "Okay, we got a picture of him or anything? Security camera footage?"
"Not my job," he sneered. "Your lease runs out in six months."
"And I've still got an unlimited number of renews," he reminded him. "Thanks for the worry." He walked off, going back up there. "The landlord said he's gonna try crap, Don."
"So we'll both look for new places. Or one really big place. Whatever." He finished with the bracket on his end, his father finishing his. They got to work on the second side, then let Danny hold things while they attached the footboard and bottom. "Hey, Dad, will we have problems with this?"
"I'll clue in the higher ups, Don. It shouldn't matter since you're both male."
"Thanks, Dad." They slid in the mattress and tested it by rocking it. It held. Danny carefully put Xander in there. He rocked it. It held. He beamed. The baby beamed back. "Good, now take a nap!" The baby wailed. He gave him a look and it turned down to sniffles. "Please?"
Danny kissed him on the head, then shooed them out, turning off most of the lights. "There ya go, baby. You rest and we'll be back in a while." He backed out, closing the door most of the way. He turned around and smiled. The baby was cooing at the dark. "Some babies like dark." He shrugged. "Okay, as you saw, I need to move some stuff in there. Let's pile things in the corner except for the changing stuff and some of the clothes until I can get it sorted out in there." They nodded, doing that with him. Someone knocked and he went to answer it. "Hey, Mrs. H," he said, kissing her on the cheek. "Did he wake you?"
"I wondered why I heard a baby, Danny." She came in. She looked at the pile of things then at him. "We have a son?"
"Someone mixed our DNA without telling us," Don told her. She laughed at that.
"Serious," Danny said. "It comes out that Don and I are the parents. He's nine months old. He's adorable." He let her peek in on him, getting a sigh of pleasure. "His name's Xander. He's a good boy so far."
"Good." She smiled at him. "Is he usually loud?"
"Nah. Not as far as I know. Whoever dropped him off on Don last night at three."
"Oh, dear." She patted Don's cheek. "Well, you'll find a good apartment building that allows children since this one doesn't."
"There's ten other families in this building, Mrs. H, and that's not allowed by law," Danny told her. She gave him a horrified look. "It's discrimination."
"It is," Don Senior agreed. "Those buildings have to have special permission with the city. As far as I know this one's not on the register as being for the elderly, which is the usual exception."
"I didn't know that." They nodded. "Hmm. And children bring such noise to a building too." She walked off shaking her head.
Danny looked at Don. "We'll start looking tonight on the computer."
"Please," he agreed. "I'll call the PD housing office in the morning too." That got a nod. "Mom, Dad, staying for dinner?"
"No, we're going to go brag," his mother told him. She kissed her son on the cheek. She hesitated briefly before kissing Danny. "You are the mother of my grandson," she sighed afterward, heading out with her husband.
"She'll get used to it," Don Senior advised. "Want me to talk to your Captain, Don?"
"No, I will." He waved. "Thanks, Dad." He nodded and they left. Don looked at Danny. "Think it's safe to use the computer?"
"In the dark maybe." Don nodded, going to do that while Danny called around to some of the landlords he had been looking at recently. He checked in on Don and the baby. Xander was stroking over Don's hair. "Awww." He took a picture once the lights were on and went back to it.
Don called his boss at home that night once Xander was down. "Hey, Cap. Flack. Yeah, news actually." He put his feet up on the couch, covering his eyes. He had a headache. Xander hated to sleep. That must come from Danny. He had read the same story six times before he had finally conked out. "Did you hear any gossip from the CSI labs today?" He smirked at the disgruntled noise. "No, big surprise coming. Yeah, I'd sit, possibly get a beer too," he admitted. Danny looked out from the bathroom. Don waved at him so he went to his shower. His captain said he was sitting and had a beer ready. "Last night, 'bout three, I got a knock on the door. No, not long lost relatives. My son, not long lost. He's only eight months old. Nine months in three days." He heard the indrawn breath. "Well, some bigger news. It comes up that he's mine and Messer's kid somehow. Not sure how yet but two different labs agreed with that." He listened to the complaint and his captain's wife complaining. "Sorry, boss. Hawkes did the tests and had non-felony run it too. Both came up as he's mine and Danny's. No, we're at Danny's. Because I don't have room for a crib, much less a crawling being who likes to gum on glass things." He listened to him rant. "Sorry!" He rubbed his forehead. "That's why I'm calling. I need some leave time so I can move." He nodded slowly. "I know but it's this or I've got to bring him to work, Captain. As much as the perps might like my son...."
Danny leaned out of the bathroom. "Aiden said she's pulled pictures off the security system in Mac's office." He closed the bathroom door.
"Danny said Aiden's pulled pictures if you wanna see him before I bring him in to sign papers tomorrow. No, we're both having to move. His landlord hates kids and is trying to say that the building's kid free." He smirked. "Yeah, we told him that. He insinuated someone's been following him home," he said more quietly. The shower came on. "So I need a few weeks, Cap. Probably," he admitted. "We'll be interviewing daycares, moving our big asses, all his new stuff, and trying to figure out which sicko mixed us in a dish. Well, Messer's still not a girl, Cap," he said dryly. "It didn't happen naturally. Yeah, his mom left a note. Dawn. That's all she signed it. We've got a town and I'm sure Mac or someone is tracing it for us. We think she was a surrogate but she said her life's in danger. I'm not sure if she's being fanciful or not but I've got the gut feeling she's not lyin' about this." He nodded slowly. "That's what I need. I told you you'd need the beer," he offered, then he laughed. "Sure, a shot too if you want, Cap. Thanks. No, Mac's given him time off too since he's gotta move and he knows how to change diapers. No, he's not going to be the mom. I'll learn. Tomorrow." He smirked. "Thanks, Cap. I'll bring him in when I sign papers tomorrow and to clear my desk a bit. Fine, without him. Thanks." He hung up and went to check on the baby, finding him awake. "He'll learn to love you too, Xander. No one can withstand a baby Flack being cute and adorable in their face. I made a bigoted City Council member give up and leave office." He kissed him on the head. "Nap. Please?" Xander cooed at him. "No, nap. Time for sleepies."
Danny walked in wearing a towel around his waist, leaning on the crib's headboard. "If you don't sleep you'll be too tired to crawl, play, and drive us nuts tomorrow. Therefore, you'll sleep and we'll play with you then. You won't miss nothin'. I promise. Okay?" The baby smiled at him and he grinned back. "I know, you wanna play. You can play *later*. For now, nap." He turned on the nightlight in there, making the baby relax. Don stuck his thumb in his mouth - he had slept earlier with it in there. They watched as he drifted off and Danny looked at him. "You made a City Councilman leave office?"
"Yeah, after I puked on him a few times. Bigoted SOB thought my Dad was going to stick up for him. He handed me over when I had the flu," he said with a mean smirk. "Drove him insane because he was germ phobic." Xander flinched at that. "Hey! No, not around you, Xander. Relax. You've already met most of the aunts and uncles. They're all pretty normal and nice."
"Even if Mac does growl," Danny said dryly.
"True but he'll protect you to the end of his life," Don assured him, tucking him better. Xander sighed and fell deeper into sleep. "That's my good boy." They backed out, Danny going to get dressed for bed while Don went to take a shower and nap on the couch. At least it was a comfortable couch. He decided he'd start with his landlord in the morning. Maybe they had a bigger place in his building coming open. It would be nice not to have to move everything halfway across the city.
Don walked around his last showing the next afternoon, frowning. It was tiny. He hefted Xander onto his hip, looking at the landlord, who shrugged. "Anything bigger?"
"On your salary?"
"I can go bankrupt," he said dryly. "He'll be out of diapers soon."
Danny came out of the bedroom. "Nasty leak in there." He went to look while Danny looked at Don. "What did the housing office suggest?"
"Praying for luck or a mortgage for a condo."
Danny sighed, looking at the squirt then at him. "C'mon." He looked in the bedroom. "Thanks." He walked them down to the car, letting Don strap him in this time. They were taking turns since they both hated the carseat his mother had chosen. Then Danny drove them to somewhere nicer. He got out and went to ring a bell, looking at the woman who came to answer it. "Miranda."
"Messer," she said dryly. "What's up? Another bust?"
He moved closer. "Someone dropped my nine-month-old son off on his daddy. They mixed our DNA." She burst out laughing. "Seriously. Remember Flack? He's the daddy." She gaped in awe. "He's a pretty baby but we gotta move. My landlord's trying to find a way to evict me. His is tiny and up so many stairs he can't make it some days. Let alone hauling a ten pound wiggling thing plus diapers."
She considered it. "We've got three open within my domain. The only one big enough for that sort of family is by the club."
"Noisy?" Don asked.
"S&M club, Don," Danny told him.
"Again, noisy? They tend to be fairly well mannered at least," Don said, getting out with the baby. "This is Xander."
She smiled, tapping his nose. "You're adorable." The baby beamed at her. "I've got a four bedroom down there, Detective. It's thirteen a month, all utilities included."
"That's steep," Don admitted.
"If you two go in together, it's not," she offered.
"True. Can we see it?"
"Let me put on shoes and get keys. Danny, you know where?"
"Yeah, sure do." He went to put the baby back into the carseat and head down there. "Before you ask, I met her in college, I bartended at the club in college for spare money." He pulled into the right neighborhood and parked, getting out. Someone gave him a dirty look. "Miranda's coming to show us an apartment."
"One of us?"
"I used ta bartend when the place was called Kinky." He went pale and left. He took the baby when Don got him out, following her when she got out of her car and walked over to the apartment. "I remember this building. Buzzy used ta live here."
"It's the apartment above her old one," she said happily, leading them up to it. She let them look around. It wasn't a mansion and it wasn't wonderful but it was a good place. "The heat's a radiator but it works well from what I've heard. I keep a maintenance guy on retainer." That got a nod. "You pay me monthly. First, last, security." Don nodded at that. Danny tested the water, nodding when it came out a bit loudly. "Sorry, they've been working on the pipes for two days."
"It happens. A place this old has got to have old pipes too," Don said with a grin. "Thirteen hundred?"
"Yup, sorry. It's fairly cheap for this size."
"It is," Don agreed, looking at Danny. "You take the one in the back, I take the one next to the bathroom?"
"Give him the one next to the bathroom so he gets used ta noise," Danny ordered. "You take the blue one?"
"It's the smallest. Use that one for the office?"
"Or use the one next to the bathroom for the office since it's got a phone and cable jack," she suggested. "Give him the blue one, you take the other ones?"
"It'd need the broken window fixed."
She nodded. "I'll have it done tomorrow. Yes, no, maybe?"
"Can't resist," Danny told her. They both wrote out checks and handed them over while Xander went to look out the window. "Thanks."
"Welcome, Randy." She walked out, leaving them with the keys. She knew he'd come back to her some year. The club was like that and Randy had been the favorite bartender for a few years.
Danny picked up the baby. "C'mon, we've got to get copies made and all that." They headed back once it was closed up and went to start the tedious moving process, then the paperwork would come in a few days.
Danny looked at the doctor they had chosen. "Hey," he said. "So, health certificate for daycare?"
"We found an anomaly, Danny." He gave him a horrified look. "Not a bad one. A good one. He's had all his shots."
"He's had all his shots. We can do an antigen test for which one's he's had."
"We do them now and then at the lab," Danny agreed.
"We did one on him to see if his mother missed any. He's had everything but a meningitis booster." Danny gaped. "Up to eighteen years old."
"Fuck if we know," he offered. "So he's good?"
"He's in perfect health. I can give you the certificate and fill out his booster card so you won't have a problem. I'd suggest saying his mother did it."
"I'm hoping she did."
"Ah, the other anomaly." He held up a test. "Some of his cells came up as abnormal for a baby so we did an aging test. Came up as twenty-years-old." Danny gaped. He nodded. "I don't know how. It's something to look at."
"Yeah." He took it to look over. "Thanks, doc." He took the health certificate too. "Anything we should do?"
"More juice. He's a bit of a thirsty baby."
"Sheldon said his blood sugar was a bit high."
"It wasn't when we tested. It was probably his diet of the moment. This is normal 'it's a hot day' baby thirst."
"Sure. Thanks." He gathered the baby back into the backpack and tucked the reports into his pocket, taking him back to the lab via the subway. Xander squealed the whole ride there, loving the movement of the trains. He found Sheldon and pulled him into the lab where Mac was, putting down the results. Xander cooed. "Yeah, about you, squirt." He looked at Sheldon. "How would he have twenty-year-old cells?"
"What?" he demanded, looking at the reports. "All his shots to eighteen?" He frowned, going over them and handing them to Mac when he got impatient and took the first one. "I have no clue unless he was cloned."
"I would've been ten, eleven at that point," Danny told him. "Don too."
"Can we draw more blood for a CODIS match on him?" Mac asked.
"Take a hair, Mac. It'll be just as good and for other things too." That got a nod and Sheldon gathered some plus a cheek swab. "I'm not gonna say anything to Don until later." That got a nod from Sheldon but Mac shook his head. "No?"
"No, I think we should tell him now. Just in case this is something very odd."
"It's gotta be odd, Mac." He went to find Don at his desk. "He's cleared." Don beamed and took the baby to hold. Danny sat down in his desk chair. "Two small problems."
"I thought you said he cleared."
"He did. He's also had all his shots until he's eighteen and the doc found twenty-year-old white cells."
Don blinked. "What?"
"Yeah, that's what Doc's lookin' at."
"I don't know. That's why Doc's lookin' at it." Captain Gerrard came over, glaring at the child. "Butt out," Danny said dryly. "Xander, this is Daddy Don's boss." Xander beamed and waved like he did when he was introduced to people. "He makes Uncle Mac scowl." Xander pouted at him.
"He's too young to be here."
"He was just getting his health certificate," Don told him. He settled the baby in his lap, looking at him. "So, now what?"
"Wait on Doc and Mac."
"I can do that. Anything else to do today?"
"Decide if we're sending him to the daycare up the street or the church one you hated?" Danny offered.
"The one up the street. I don't mind church but the women up there scared me and needed more doses of their prosac when we went in." Danny nodded at that, handing over the health certificate. "When can he start?"
"Tomorrow, the next day, whatever," Danny told him. That got a nod. "One of us has to be off work by six though." He looked at Gerrard. "I'm more prone to working hellish hours. I've pulled quad and quintuple shifts in the past for cases." Gerrard shuddered at that. "Yeah, so Don's gonna need some strong hours to be set for him."
"That's fine," he agreed. "He's not the only single father in the department." Xander cooed at the perp at the next desk, getting a smile. "Don't coo at him. He doesn't deserve it."
"I'm sure the guy knows if he touches my son I'm gonna kill 'im," Don told him simply. He stood up. "Guys, for future reference this is my son Xander. We're not sure how he came to be."
"Need that lecture?" one of the other detectives joked.
"Nah, someone combined our DNA," Danny said with an evil smirk. "One of us is the mother." That got some stares of horror. "So yeah, that's Xander. Also, we're both moving this weekend. That way he's got a home life in a decent building. Anyone wanna help?"
"Sure," one guy agreed. "I'll get a truck, Flack."
"Thanks, man. Messer?"
"I've got one and a very distant cousin who gave me a cheap rate since I'm on call." He stood up. "No parties, but if we know how to do toddler training things, give advice. Please? Stella's still swearing about this one and she's the one we'd normally hit up. Don called her and she thought it was the Hungarian chili." The guys laughed at that and got up to come talk to and hold Xander. Danny left, leaving the backpack system there for now. He went to look over Sheldon and Mac's shoulders. "Anything?"
"Not yet," Sheldon said. "I'm spinning it. Three hours, Danny."
"Sure. Or let Adam or Marty?" Sheldon smiled. "Hey, Marty?" He looked over. "You busy?"
"Am I ever unbusy?"
"Somehow Xander comes up as mine and Don Flack's." He gaped. "He's got twenty-year- old cells." The gape got worse and a whimper was added. "How?"
"With or without sci-fi strange stuff like lives downtown?" he asked.
Danny shrugged. "Any and all reasonable possibilities, man." Don walked in with the baby. "Came ta check. This is Xander."
"He's adorable," Don agreed.
"That smug look on his face says he knows that," Marty joked, coming over to kiss him on the head. "Let me work on this, Sheldon. You go work on mine." He nodded, changing with him. "We're running his DNA through CODIS first?" They nodded. "Okay. I'll let you guys know. Anything I should know?"
"His mother's note named her as Dawn," Don offered. "Sheldon said he's from Sunnydale, out by LA."
"That's the capitol of strange stuff like happens downtown," he said in awe. He got onto another database and took the sample to run it through there. He smiled and beamed, turning the screen so they could see it. "We have a match." Xander peered and he patted him on the head. "Yes, to you, Xander." Xander looked at him. "Do you have any idea what happened?"
"Plug in the name Dawn," Mac ordered calmly. He did that and Xander's name into a google search, finding a locked live journal. "Comment, let's see." He did that and he was added almost immediately. They read the entries and Mac walked off swearing.
"Okay, so strange stuff," Danny said, looking at Xander. "You're ours anyway by DNA. No matter how."
"Two ways it could've been done," Marty told him. "Either you two went back in time and did it then or the wish changed it," he offered. "With that sort of wish, it's good, but it's not perfect. This is perfect except for those antigen cells."
"And having had all his shots already," Danny said, considering it. He looked at Don, who was stiff. "Don?" Don looked at him. "He's still ours. No matter how strange."
"You explain that to my father."
"I say it stays in the family," Danny told him. "Marty, us, Mac, and Sheldon."
Don sighed then nodded. "Could be a good idea." He looked at Xander. "Do you remember them? Dawn or Willow or Buffy?" The baby stared back at him. "Even better."
Marty added a comment about something, getting a comprehensive email from Dawn. He handed it over. "Here ya go, guys." They settled in to read it while he held Xander. The baby loved him already, he was cooing and playing with his hair.
"Well, she wasn't lying, her life's in danger," Don said finally.
"Just not how we thought," Danny agreed. He looked at the baby then at him. "Nightmares?"
"Haven't seen any but I've been collapsing most nights. You?"
"Not that I've heard either." He stared at him. "Well?"
"I'm not telling the folks. He's mine however he's mine. He's my only son unless you suddenly turn into a girl."
Sheldon looked over at him. "There's surgeries for that."
"Wouldn't let him give Xander a sister," Don told him.
"True." He came over to look then scowled. "You can't prove that."
"Then you explain it," Don offered.
Sheldon pulled up something, letting them see it. "Military project. Including breeding the better soldier ideals. What's Dawn's last name?"
He typed it in. "Is she related to a Buffy?"
"Big sister by this," Marty admitted.
"She's dating one of them." He looked at the fathers. "I went looking for Sunnydale stuff when I saw that. The town's got a bad rep for strange things. Even worse than Roswell."
"Charming," Danny said. "Can we turn 'em in?"
"Perhaps. I know an ME in training down somewhere it could help. I did some tutoring in the forensic program since he was behind me. I told him and he's telling his people. So we might get a visit from NCIS. Not sure." He shrugged. "Anyway, more reasonable than strange wish demons and things."
Marty looked at him. "At least mine comes with a full story."
"And a crackpot," he agreed dryly. "You can't go back in time."
Stella walked in. "Hi, Xander. Why are you in the lab this time?" She took him to hold. He snuggled in and played with her hair. "Aww, that's my favorite nephew." He tried to grope but she stopped it and patted him on the back. "Those don't feed you, little guy, they're only for appreciation purposes. What's going on?"
"Let's get Mac in here too," Don said, paging him. They waited and Mac came back. "We've got a small answer or two."
"Two?" he asked. He read the email, frowning at Marty. "Let's weed these down then. From the beginning. Where did we find that?"
"The Xander mentioned is the one he comes up as a match to in CODIS, Mac."
"Yeah, as a twenty-year-old with combat experience saving the town of Sunnydale. Their PD put him in so they could identify it when he was killed by something. Their explanation." He backed up to show him that page. He groaned at that. "So, Sheldon?"
"He does?" He looked then frowned. "That's just odd."
"So that comes back to us going back in time to be *that* kid's parent, wish demons, or the special program Doc found," Danny told Mac. "Who're breeding the better soldier among other things. Doc's won't explain the CODIS hit though."
"Including torture," Sheldon told them, letting Mac see. He scowled at that. "I tutored an ME in training and I passed that back to him, Mac. We're seeing."
"So, they mixed Danny and Don in a dish plus some enhancing shots to up his immune system or something and had this Dawn girl carry him?" Stella suggested.
"With this project, it's possible," Sheldon admitted. "They've implanted behavior chips, someone was working on grafting demon parts, things like that." She groaned at that, sitting down. "Sunnydale is like the darker version of New Orleans' dark side apparently."
"So, any of the three options are viable?" Don asked. Sheldon nodded. "Uh-huh. Any way we can weed it down? Just for peace of mind?"
"I'm going to go with Stella's version," Marty said. "It explains why Dawn's not the mother, just the surrogate, and how he got here. Hers is nice but she's also stated she's fourteen and a half. This could be trauma related with the wish stuff."
"It's very possible," Sheldon agreed. "Especially if they tortured her too." He looked at the boys. "So, pick, guys."
"I like yours," Don decided. "With Stella's thrown in for the twenty-year-old cells and all the shots." He'd ignore the evidence that didn't fit. Maybe their kid had went back in time and that's how he ended up in CODIS?
"He's had all his shots?" Stella asked.
"Yeah, up to the age of eighteen," Danny told her dryly.
"Well, that's one less expense I guess," she offered. She looked down and smiled. "Someone needed a nap."
"Yeah, me," Don offered, taking the baby back to cuddle him. "Shh, it's me, you're good. Nap on the daddy. You can have the Auntie later since she promised to come cook dinner in the new place." He looked over. "Moving this weekend, guys."
"I'm on," Mac said, "but when I'm done I'll come see if you still need help." That got some smiles. "Danny?"
"Me too. We're moving in together. My building hates kids. Landlord made that real clear."
"That and someone was coming around to see you," Don reminded him.
"Yeah, Louis. Not an issue." He looked at Sheldon. "We like hers?"
"I like hers better than Marty's and Dawn's," he offered. "It'll work for me."
"Then we'll tell Ma and Dad that one," Don said dryly. He looked at Danny. "You wanna make the call since you explained it to Ma?"
"I'll take him ta visit." He took the baby back, getting a sleepy glare. "Wanna go see Grandma?" He put his head back down. "Good. I left you the carrier." Don went to get it. He looked at Mac and Stella. "I've got someone moving my crap. Don't worry about mine. Papers, Mac?"
"I've already filed them for you and there were questions but Don's father got the word out so it should be fine." That got a nod. "You're back tomorrow?"
"I am and he's going to daycare." He smirked and walked out, heading to get that from Don. "Want me to drop the certificate off?"
"I'll do that, make sure they don't need more stuff and what we've gotta pack for him tomorrow," Don promised.
"Thanks. Have a better day." He put on the carrier and headed out to Queens. He found the right house and tapped on the door, smiling at Mrs. Flack. "We figured it out."
"Figured what out?" She took the baby once he had him undone, taking him inside to cuddle. Danny went to her computer and got onto the site Sheldon had pulled up, letting her see it. "What am I looking at?"
"The people who mixed our DNA and implanted him in Dawn, the mother's, body," he said gently. He sat down nearby, letting her read and cuddle the baby. She finally looked at him. "Sheldon found it out since he's had all his shots and there were some bloodwork anomalies with some older cells." He'd ignore the whole CODIS match until he could corner Sheldon about that. Maybe they had went back in time to make the original kid. Who knew with some of the strange stuff in the world. "We think they injected him pre- birth with some extra cells to make his immune system stronger. He's still healthy and his doc found it out. Sheldon found that for us."
"So that's how he came to be?" He nodded. "Well." She thought about it. "Are they being stopped?"
"As far as we know, yes. Sheldon turned them in ta someone who could do that. Mac saw and scowled like they were child rapists." She covered his ears. "He's fully asleep, Mrs. Flack. Don't worry about it."
"You still shouldn't mention those things around him. I didn't let Donny say such things around Don either." She kissed her grandson on the head, then smiled when he blinked at her. "Having a good nap, Xander?" He beamed and poked her on the nose before wiggling. "Sure, you can get down and crawl." She let him down, watching him head for the couch. Danny went to help him up onto it so he could look out the window. She came out to watch him too. "When did we find this out?"
"Today. I had to get a health certificate for daycare. He'll be up the street from us so we can pop in and check on him all day long." She smiled at that. "We're all set for the move this weekend. I've got someone moving me and Don's got friends who can help since I'm on this weekend." She nodded, smiling at Xander when he looked back at her. He looked outside. "Since when did dealers come out here?"
"There are?" She looked. She sighed. "Don Senior was growling at them."
"Good for him. Be back." He went out there, making sure he had his handcuffs, gun, and badge. "Yo! This is police officer property," he noted, holding up his badge. Two of the kids took off and he took off after them, handcuffing one to a pipe so he could get the other. He pounced him and cuffed him then brought him back, grabbing the other one to cuff them together. He walked them back, nodding at the house. "Call someone?" he called. She smiled as she did that, holding Xander. "See the baby? That's her grandson. Her husband's second generation PD. Her son's third. You fucked up," he said, smacking them both on the head. A cruiser pulled up. "Hey. Messer with Manhattan Felony." That got a nod after the officer looked at his ID. "Saw these two upstanding citizens dealing on the Flack's sidewalk." He pointed at the bags they had tossed down. "That was theirs and then they ran."
"Mrs. Flack, are you going to press charges?"
"They did it in front of my grandson! I want them to fry!" she ordered. "You don't do that in front of good neighborhoods, boys!" They gave her sheepish looks so she came out. "This is my grandson Xander, Officer Perkins. They somehow mixed Don's and CSI Messer's DNA to give me him." The officer gaped.
Danny nodded. "Then dropped him on Don's doorstep eight months after he was born."
"Oh, crap," the officer muttered.
"I want them out of here so this neighborhood is safe for my grandson. Before I take a shotgun to one. Again," she noted.
"Of course, Mrs. Flack. Nice cuffing job, Messer."
"Eh, they ran." He waved a hand. "Switch out with me." That got a nod and they switched cuffs so the officer had his for later. "Have fun with 'em. Need me to bag the drugs?"
"No, I can. Thanks. Needed a lunch break and filling out forms gives me that." Xander clapped. "He's adorable."
"And he knows it too," Danny said with a fond smile for his boy. The officer laughed. "He even cooed at Gerrard." That got a louder laugh from the officer and Mrs. Flack. "Yeah." He walked them back inside. "Have a better day."
"You too, sir." He looked at them. "The Flacks are legendary in the department. One of you is the son of a cop!" he shouted. "How did you not know that!" He got them into the car after they were cuffed properly and frisked. Then he bagged the drugs and cash they had dropped. He took them back to the station, putting them in front of his boss. "Selling drugs on the Flack's sidewalk."
He looked at them. Then nodded once. "You call his father?"
"Not yet. Did you hear about the newest Flack?" He got a confused look. "Someone mixed Messer, from the Manhattan crime lab, and Flack Junior's DNA to give Flack a son?"
"I heard *something* about him having one dropped on his doorstep."
"Yeah, eight months later," he said dryly. "He's a cute kid. Cooed at me. He was loving on his grandma. Messer cuffed so I changed cuffs with him."
"Works for me. Messer works with Taylor, who works with Flack. Any idea who? In case we should all duck when his father gets them?"
"Nope, didn't share that. Just that Flack Junior's a mommy." That got a smirk. "He's adorable. Truly adorable."
"S'good for him to be," the lieutenant said. "Call that one's father. Call Flack Senior to let him know." He nodded, going to do that and book those two. The one's father stomped in and his son tried to take the chair with him when he went for a run to save his life. Didn't save him but he tried really hard. He leaned out of his office. "If you kill him we've got to call homicide," he noted. "Even if it is justified. Then they'll call IAB and we'll all be miserable. Kill him later when he's out."
"I'm not bailing him out," he said coolly, glaring at his whimpering son. He kicked him again. "You're going to be lucky if your mother doesn't gut you."
"I'll turn evidence," he begged the officer. "Please?"
"We'll see what you know. Maybe the DA will be nice in your case." He shrugged, looking at the father. "On the Flack's front sidewalk." The father shuddered at that. He looked over as Flack Senior came in. "Your grandson's adorable."
"He was over?"
"Messer had him. How did that work anyway?"
"Not sure yet. We're still looking into how he came to be." He looked at the two kids. "I gave you two a warning last time and called both your parents. Are you truly that dumb? My wife shot one of you last year." They slunk down in their seats. He clapped the father on the back. "At least it's not coming out cold."
"No, it's not. Thanks for that, Don." He glared at the boys. "Your mother's going to gut you too." He called her. "Helen, Peter. Your son and my son got busted in a drug deal. That's where we are. Thanks." He hung up. "You'd both better pray."
The one who wasn't his son started to pray. His mother would be sending him to the afterlife and he had just enough time to get right with God before his deathbed confession.
Don Junior walked into his parents' house that night. "Hey. She really stabbed him? In front of all those officers?" His father nodded. "That takes balls."
"Definitely," Danny agreed. "Like doin' it on the front walk." He handed over the squealing baby. "He's bein' bouncy and happy."
"I could hear him outside," he teased, taking him to cuddle. "Hi, Xander. Are you a happy baby today?" He kissed him on the head. Xander poked him on the nose and giggled. "Ah, Ma gave you candy. I can smell the peppermint." He sat down with him, letting the baby cuddle and play with his tie. He liked his ties. "So, Ma, Dad. I take it you heard how he came to be?"
His father looked at him. "I talked to Taylor, he turned them in too." That got a grin. "We'll see that idiocy stopped soon enough I'm sure." He looked at the baby. "How he likes your ugly ties I'm not sure, Don." Danny snickered at that. "You should make him dress better."
"Not my job," Danny reminded him. "We're not together like that. Only cohabitating."
"Whatever," his mother said. "I made meatloaf if you're staying, boys?"
"Wouldn't miss it, Ma. Danny?"
"Not like I can pass up a chance ta not cook. Although Stella might get pissed."
He called Stella. "Ma cooked so I wanted to know if you still wanted to cook tonight?" He smiled. "I heard you got the last case of the day." Danny winced. "Tomorrow?" He nodded. "Even better. Thanks, Stel." He hung up. "She got a floater about an hour ago."
"Poor woman," Danny sighed, shaking his head. "Better her than me stinkin' that way though." That got a few laughs from Don Senior. "Seriously." The baby crawled over and pounced him. "Did you pounce me?" he teased, picking him up to kiss on the cheek and nuzzle. Xander giggled and got down, going to pounce Daddy again. "Good job. Soon you'll be doin' bad guys like he does too."
Don stroked over Xander's back. "If he wants ta be a cop, he'll tell us," he promised happily. "He'll be good at it if he wants it." His father gave him a look so he scowled back, getting a snort and his father heading in to clean up. "Can we help, Ma?"
"No, dear. Play with the baby for now." She went to finish pulling out food for dinner and putting it onto the table. Danny came in to help. "You can go play with the baby too."
"I had him all day. It's Don's turn ta play with the baby." She laughed at that. "I'm still getting used to having someone there ta take care of," he admitted. His phone rang. "Messer." He listened. "What's up, Mac? We're with Don's parents. No, Stella said she'd cook tomorrow night."
"If he's hungry, he can come out and explain that program to Donny," she said loudly enough to be heard by Mac. He nodded at that. "Does he need directions?"
"Need directions, Mac?" He smiled. "That'll work. Thanks." He hung up. "He's halfway here."
"That's fine. He can dive in when he gets here. Now, take this out there and watch out, I saw Xander go crawling past the kitchen." He smiled, checking on the floor to make sure he didn't trip over him again. She carried out milk and water. "Food. Dear, Mac's coming and he can explain more about this stuff to you."
"That'll help. Hopefully he has an answer about stopping them."
"I hope they are," Don told him. "I don't need more." He picked up Xander to look at. "You don't want siblings, right?" Xander fussed. "Good. One of you now, maybe one in ten years." He kissed him on the head. "That way you can fuss and coo over 'er." Xander gave him a shy smile and hid in his shoulder, cuddling in. "Love you too, Little Man." He patted him on the back, letting his mother dish him up food. "Not so much, Ma. Save some for Mac. He never gets lunch."
"No one down there eats enough," she complained.
Danny shrugged. "Gerrard gave me a horrified look when I mentioned my quad shift last month." He dug in, moaning. "Oh, this is better than my mother's." She beamed and patted him on the hand, digging in. "Want me...." Don scowled. "Fine, you hold the squirt. I had him all day," he agreed. Don beamed and dug in, helped by Xander stealing some of his food to gum and lick off his fingers now and then. "We need ta pick up a highchair," he reminded Don before eating another bite. Mac walked up to the door and knocked so he waved. "Hey, Mac."
"It's open, dear," Mrs. Flack called. He walked in after wiping his feet. "Such a polite young man." She got him a plate and food, plus the spare chair from the corner. "There. You eat. Don said you missed lunch."
"I do most days," he admitted. "Thank you, Mrs. Flack."
"Not a problem, dear." She dug in again and her husband gave her a look. "What?"
She swatted at him. "I'm a grandmother now, I should be allowed to."
"If you say so but if you get that scary I'm gonna go have an all-night poker game again." He stuffed his mouth before his wife's scowl killed him. "So, Detective Taylor...."
"Mac then. How did this happen?"
"After dinner. That way we can distract Xander," Don Junior ordered. That got a nod from his father. The kid didn't need to hear about this. They finished up and Don took him out to the backyard while Danny and Mac did the tag-team explanation for his parents. He had all he needed to know. "You're still mine, Xander. That's all that matters ta me." Xander beamed and hugged him around the neck. "Good boy." He swung on his mother's yard swing, letting his son be comfortable and watch the other neighbors for now. One smiled over the fence. "My son Xander. His Ma didn't tell me but couldn't take care of him." She cooed and waved. "Say, hi, Xander?" He waved then went back to his thumb sucking and watching the stars come out. "They are pretty," he agreed. His father came out so he shifted. His father sat on the other side of the swing. "He's still mine."
"Good. I knew I raised you to be a good man." He took the baby to hold, getting a happy smile. "Hey, grandson." He let the baby cuddle in his lap and watch the stars. "He does like nights."
"He does. Danny got him this little mobile thing that shines stars on his ceiling. It's good for him." His father smirked at him. "Gonna take Ma Christmas shopping?"
"I'd never make it," he reminded him. "She'll be going for months about his presents."
"Yeah, he's gonna be spoiled if we don't set a limit."
His father snorted. "Good luck. Not even I can do that."
"Hey, Ma? You know you can't spoil him, right?" She burst out laughing and slammed the back door. He sighed. "Maybe Danny can stop that one." Danny came out a few minutes later. "You get the no spoiling through to her?"
"I told her I can't shop until the second payday in December and I don't wanna duplicate so we'll get together on that one." That got a nod. "Mac's heading home."
"Night, Mac," Don called. "Thanks."
"Welcome." He smiled. "They're being stopped. I called an old buddy and they're being stopped. Sheldon's friend talked to him and he was already looking into it. This just made it more important." That got some smiles. "Be a good boy, Xander, and I'll see you this weekend?" The baby waved. "Night." He left, heading home to make notes in case something in this case back later. You never knew.
Don stood up. "We should get him home too. Kiss Grandpa night." He let Xander have him back and kiss him loudly. "Good boy. C'mon. Let's kiss Grandma." He carried him in, letting his mother take him to kiss, cuddle, and whisper in his ear, getting a cackle from the baby. "That'll work too. Come on, evil one. Let's go home. Time for a bath and bed." He walked out, Danny with him and the carrier. They settled in to ride home. "He was good?"
"He was excellent. He's the one who saw the drug dealers first."
Don snickered. "That's a Flack for ya," he agreed dryly. "You told yours?"
"Sent a card saying 'congrats, I'm a mother'. Haven't heard back yet," he said dryly. "I'm sure they're going to ignore it since underneath it said 'no you can't visit the baby'."
"We gonna have problems with your past?"
"If we do, I'm going to shoot someone," Danny said quietly. "I doubt anyone would say anything if they came near the son." Don nodded at that, humming some. "Shouldn't come near him anyway but now and then Mac still brings up Sonny."
"Yeah, he's a bit focused on that. Gotta get him over that." They drove across the bridge, heading for their part of Manhattan. "You really bartended in an S&M club?"
"Yeah, made good tips too. They all thought I was cute. Which I was back in those days."
Don smiled. "We were all cute when we were in college. Young, but cute." Xander cackled at that. "I know, you're the cutest of all since you're so young. That's how those things work. Then you grow up to be handsome." He finally made it to their block, looking back. "Both of you are asleep?" he said quietly. "Huh. Not a good thing. Can't carry you both." He nudged Danny, making him jump. "We're home."
"Thanks." He yawned and got out, taking the baby upstairs to put him down. He looked at the bathroom then at him. "You need a bath."
"If you do, he'll wake up and want to play," Don reminded him. They had found that one out the hard way.
"Point. We'll have time in the morning. I'm not due in until eleven." He got him down and went to his own bed to collapse.
Don shook his head. "I'm gonna have ta get more time with him somehow." He went to check on Xander, then went to read in his room. They only had their beds, some clothes, and Xander's bedroom here but they were getting along well enough until the rest of their stuff could be moved over.
Don flopped down at his desk the next morning, looking at the detective he knew had four or five kids. "What do you give kids that belch all night?"
"Pepto. Half a dose," he said with a smug look. "Heartburn?"
"Nasty heartburn. Stole some of Mom's meatloaf from my plate and loved the onions. Did not agree with him. Messer can sleep through a screaming baby and a crapped out diaper that nearly had a hole in it." That got a laugh. "Not kidding."
"Wait until he eats his first bug," he offered. He got back to work. "Gerrard was looking for you an hour ago."
"I called. I let Xander talk to him while he burped and laid another one that did blow through the diaper. He was not impressed. Should've solved that." He got to work slowly. He had warned the daycare worker, who had laughed it off. So if he got a call.... He'd take the day off. He could use a nap. His boss gave him a dirty look. "Not my fault he liked onions!" he complained.
"You couldn't let Messer do it?"
"He's my son too. I should change just as many diapers as Danny does. It's only fair. Especially since he's got a ten hour shift today." That got a shudder of horror. "And got called out for a case at nine." He got back to work a bit faster. Someone laid a present beside him, earning a smile. "For me or the squirt?"
"For the baby, Flack. You're not cute enough for presents," the officer said, walking off smiling.
Don smiled and opened it. "Aww. He'll love it, thank you." He put it into his gym bag and got back to work. He did stick a post-it to it just in case. That way they could write thank you notes. A few more presents came through the day and Don got up to leave at five-forty-five. His boss scowled again. "Sorry! I'll make up the two hours."
"You were on overtime last week. Be on time tomorrow."
Don nodded. "I'll do that." He went to pick up the baby from daycare, smiling at the impatient worker. "Sorry."
"Cutting it a bit close, Detective." Xander crawled over and headbutted her, knocking her down. "Xander! That's not nice!" she complained.
"Danny said he bit someone on the train who said Danny was obviously not his father since Xander was cute." He picked the baby up. "Oooh, did you eat a brick?" he complained, holding him. "Ready ta go home?" He got a beam and a string of babble. "Good idea. Diaper bag?" It was handed over and he signed Xander out. "I'll try to cut it a bit less close next time."
"Thank you." She waved. "Have a good night, Xander." She rubbed her ankle. "That is one protective baby." She went to make that note. They knew he'd be cutting it close most nights. Police work was like that.
Don walked in and smelled real food. "Auntie Stella must be here already." He put the baby down. "There, go find her and suck up to her. No onions tonight either."
"I heard," Stella called from the kitchen, smiling at him. "I made enough to bring Danny some too." She smiled at the baby who was pulling himself up on her leg. "Hi, Xander." He beamed and babbled at her. "Did you have a good day at daycare?" She lifted him with a groan. "Did you eat a tree?"
"I was thinking a brick," Don said, taking him back to change him and make sure. "Ah, he snuck out a weight." He let it thump onto the floor then finished changing his brilliant klepto son, sending him back out. He called the daycare. "If we're missing a five pound mini-weight, it was in Xander's diaper. I'll bring it back tomorrow. No. Nothing on it. He was hiding it." He smiled. "That's fine." He hung up and went to clean the weight anyway, sticking it into the diaper bag in front. "He stole a weight," he announced.
"Most babies steal strawberries and grapes," she said dryly, looking at the baby. "We'll have to watch you closer." She stirred the pot. "You've got ten, Don." He beamed, going to shower and change. She watched Xander follow him, laughing when he yelled because Xander was in the shower with him. "They can like water," she called. She got back to work, looking out when Danny stomped in. "Dinner break?"
He snorted. "Fussy Mac."
"Someone on high didn't like this idea of ours and didn't like me taking care of my son." He looked around so she pointed at the bathroom. "Did that to me this morning." He leaned into the bathroom. "Watch out for him stealing bubbles from indelicate places. It's an easy height for him to reach." He closed the door. "Anyway, they think we're fraternizing. So we had a screaming match in his office with Mac doin' most of the screaming for a change." She smiled at that, nodding a bit. "You would've screamed too. Told me I was corrupting the noble Flack line." That got a snort and a head shake from Don in the bathroom doorway. "So I'm off again tomorrow while they work it out."
"Suspended?" Don asked. Danny nodded. "For?"
"Being here with you two and being a good dad."
"Uh-huh." He went to call his father. "What happened?" He listened, then snickered. "No, they suspended Danny, Dad. Yeah. Am I?" He smirked. "We'll go do tourist things before we blow 'em then, get Xander used to his new home. Thanks for the warning." He called Gerrard. "What's this I hear I'm suspended for doing the right thing and being a good father?" He smirked. "Sure, we'll go do tourist things tomorrow. Thanks." He hung up. "It'll be Monday before it's fixed. The person in charge is out of town at his sister's wedding. So hey, we can move stuff faster too."
"Speedboat ride around the island?" Danny suggested.
"He'd probably love that. Oh, he knocked over the daycare worker and he stole a weight."
Danny nodded. "He's very protective of what's his." He sat down and let Stella feed them, letting the baby have his lap this time. "No onions, right?"
"No, no onions, very little spices in his," she said, putting down a smaller bowl. "C'mere, Xander. I'll feed you." He got handed over so she settled in to feed him, making him very happy with her, even if he did want to snuggle into her chest. "You're a good boy." Xander smiled and clapped. "Can you say Daddy?"
"P'ggie!" he said happily.
"When did we see a pig?" Don asked. Xander beamed at him.
"Probably one of the other mothers at daycare," Danny said quietly. "One was calling us that earlier when I dropped him off. I glared, he glared, her daughter burst out crying and she huffed off. Wonder who got the bee up the butt about this apartment?"
"Not a clue," Don admitted. "We'll figure it out." He dug in, moaning. "This is so good, Stella."
"You're welcome. He needs good food to grow big and strong like his fathers." She fed him another bite. "Then you can pounce girls your own age." She took his hand out of her shirt, giving him a smile. "Not for your entertainment, kid."
"Xander, boobs aren't your friends, baby. Girls get mean when you grope without asking."
Danny gave him a look. "That's probably above his cognitive level, guys. A simple no works." Xander wailed. "You, quit. Now." Xander sniffled, giving him a pitiful look. "No playing with Aunt Stella's breasts. Try that on Aiden, watch her squeal."
"That's mean," Stella pointed out. Danny shrugged but grinned. "When's the housewarming party?" Someone knocked. "Who is it?" The door was knocked on again so she sighed and got up, going to answer it with Xander. "Hi, and you are?"
"I thought two boys lived here."
"They do, I'm a friend and I'm cooking. You are?"
Danny leaned back to look. "The upstairs neighbor. We too noisy?"
"No, dear. Wondering if one of you boys could do something for me."
Danny got up since he was more dressed, heading up to help her with the stuck cabinet door. Then he deftly avoided her come on ploy before going back down. "Stuck cabinet." He sat down.
"Gee, she hit on me when I went ta help her with something," Don said dryly.
"Yeah, well, I avoided it. Dating right now would only make things more complicated." Someone tapped politely. "Gotta be someone we know. What?" Aiden opened the door and peeked in. "C'mere. Greet the son again." She came over and grabbed the baby to hold, getting a smile and him sucking on her neck. "Ah, he likes you. You taste good." He dug in again. "Stella, love your cooking fingers."
She pinched him on the arm. "You love me for more than that since I bought new diapers."
"Then I doubly love you because he crapped through one this morning," Don said happily, blowing a kiss. "Wanna give him a sister some year?"
"Then he'd really wanna play with my breasts and he's a bit too young for my tastes." She smiled at Aiden. "Bad case?"
"Idiot men." She sat down and let Stella push down the bowl of food for Xander, who was making cheeping and pleading noises. "Sure, I'll feed you." She took out the spoon, wiped off any drips and let him have some, smiling when only a bit came back out. "That's a good boy to eat it for the Auntie Aiden." She went back to it. "Why is it that babies turn everyone gooey minded?"
"They're cute," Don told her. "It's a lesser version of what we stunning and handsome men do to you."
She looked at him. "Even naked you wouldn't turn my mind to goo like a cute baby does, Flackie. Sorry but you're not that built." She fed him another bite, smiling when he put his head on her shoulder and one hand went to play with her bra strap. "Not yours." She took his hand off and fed him more, removing the hand the next time too. "Highchair, guys? Ever think about it?"
"He hates 'em," Danny said, scraping his plate. He gave Stella a hug. "You're great."
"Thanks. I'll remember you said that the next time you get into trouble." She pinched him on the ear. "I made enough for seconds." He and Don both went to grab more while she sat down. "He did the same thing to me."
Aiden looked down at the hand down her top. "Those aren't yours." She kissed him in the forehead before shifting him to her other leg and going back to feeding him. He was more subtle this time but he still ended up stroking the top of her breast. "You're persistent, Xander. You'll make a great cop some day soon." She did up another button on her shirt but he leaned forward to suck on it, grinning at her around it.
"Hey, squirt, no sucking up to Aiden. She doesn't live here and change diapers," Don said, adjusting his towel better. Danny took the direct route, taking a picture. Xander beamed at him when the flash went off and went back to snuggling and making baby bird begging noises until his aunties fed him again. When they were done, Aiden let Xander down onto the floor, watching as he went to try to crawl up Don's towel. Don stopped him with a smirk and went to put on pajama pants, coming back to a pouting baby. Aiden giggled. "Maybe he'll be gay," Don sighed.
"I'll still love 'im unless he brings home something girlier than Stella," Danny said, patting his lap. Xander spit at him. "Fine, I won't read to ya then," he said dryly. Xander gave him a sniffle. He picked up a book and opened it, looking at the front page. Xander gave Don a look.
"He's the better reader, you like his voice more," Don reminded him. "Go to him for stories, Xander. I'll teach you how to play basketball so you don't suck." He settled into the other end of the couch, letting Xander have the floor again. Xander gave his other father a determined look and climbed up Don's legs again, then into his lap with a bit of help. Don steadied him while he was standing, making him smirk. Then he lunged over and ran to Danny, pouncing his head.
"Hey!" Danny said, grinning at him. "Is the book that good?" He gave him a kiss. "C'mere, you." He settled him in his lap, reading to his son while everyone else watched. When he was done he tossed Stella a book. "Follow it, make Auntie Stella read. She's got a pretty voice." Xander cooed and Danny put him back onto the floor since she was a good ten feet away. This time he didn't quite run or fall like he had across the couch. This time he stumbled but he did walk.
"He's ...." Don started, blinking. "Did he just walk?"
"He did," Danny said, smiling at his boy. "Good boy!" Xander beamed at him and let Stella pull him into her lap, snuggling into her chest again so she could read to him.
"If he snuggled much more he'll be under one," Aiden joked. "Was his mother breastfeeding?"
"Not like we have a clue," Don told her. He shrugged at her odd look. "The note didn't mention it. He eats normal food. Most of the time. He ate vinegar last night," he said, glaring at Danny.
"It was vinegar shrimp and he sucked one off," Danny defended.
Stella shook her head, going back to the story of the Teddybear Family. Xander was staring up at her like she was a superhero and she had to smile back at his worship. "If all babies were like you, I might consider having one some year." She stroked his back and he belched, making Aiden laugh. "It's good for guys to do that. If you were a little girl I might complain."
"Oh, please," Danny said dryly.
"Heard you belch louder," Don agreed.
"Women burp, we don't belch," she told him. She went back to reading and Xander made begging noises and pointed when she finished, pointing at the magazines on the table. "You want another one? Want Aiden to read to you?" He looked then snuggled in again. "Okay, I'll read you something else."
"I've been using bedtime to keep up with my forensic journals," Danny offered, handing one over. "DNA puts him to sleep."
"Good to know." She found an article on DNA and read it to him, watching him fall asleep to it. He had one hand inside her shirt and was clutching her bra again but he was asleep on her chest. She smiled and carefully got up so she could put him into bed, having to unwind the small fingers from the lace he had managed to get through the holes of, but he was content with a pacifier and a sheet going over him. She came out of his room, closing the door most of the way, then went back to her seat. "You two make great kids," she said, kissing each of them on the cheek. "See you guys in a few days."
"We might pop around for lunch to show off his new skills," Danny offered.
"Sure. Beats a granola bar." She smiled at Aiden. "See you tomorrow too." She left, going home to do something to tamp down the baby envy she was starting to have.
Aiden stood up. "I'll let you to do whatever you two do at night," she offered with a bright smile. "We still on for this weekend, Flack?" He nodded. "Cool. Later, boys." She left, letting Danny close and lock the door behind her.
Danny flopped down on the couch. "Our son's mobile."
"We're in trouble now," Don agreed with a small sigh. "We'll never catch him. He'll run better than any perp. He steals and hides it better than most perps. We've gotta drop that weight back at the daycare."
"Where was it?"
"In the back of his diaper," Don said, smirking at him. "Weighed a ton for five pounds." He got up. "I'm gonna go to bed. Nothing on tv tonight anyway." He headed that way, going to get a full night's sleep since no one was going to call him at five for a new homicide.
Danny cleaned up the kitchen and table then went to his own room to settle in and read for a while.
Danny set Xander on his feet. "There, go find an uncle." Xander looked at him. "Go ahead," he said, waving a hand. "Mac's up the hall somewhere. So's Doc." Xander squealed and ran off hunting for them with Danny behind him. He let out an ear-piercing squeal when he found Mac, making him flinch and look around before the little arms grabbed his thigh.
He smiled down at the baby. "Are you walking?"
"Running," Danny corrected. "I'll never lose a perp again, Mac." He pointed. "Look, it's Stella!" Xander let out another squeal and she smiled, leaning down to grab him for a hug. His hand went down her shirt and she slapped it but he didn't care. She brought him back and Danny took him to hold. "No going down the auntie's shirts, Xander. They don't like that and you don't eat from those sets." He kissed him on the forehead. "So, any word on when the dickheads uptown are gonna relent and I can come back to earn my paycheck?"
Mac shook his head. "Not yet. I'm trying, Danny. We even showed them what Sheldon found on that group. They're horrified but you two are still doing what you're supposed to do by taking care of him like real men."
"Well, they're dickless so wouldn't know what a real man is," Stella said. Xander wiggled down and they watched as he went to pounce Sheldon, making him scream because he hadn't seen the baby, just been grabbed. They all laughed. "He loves you."
"I can tell. Hi, Xander." He picked him up to hold him. "How are you today?" He walked him back. "You pounce very well. Some day you can even play football." Xander scowled at him. "No? That's fine. If you don't want to, how about soccer?" That got a deeper scowl.
"Don's already corrupted him ta hockey, Doc."
Xander beamed at that phrase, giving Sheldon an air-endangering hug. "Love you too, Little Man." He kissed him on the head before handing him back. "Taking more family leave?"
"No," Danny told him. "Someone uptown doesn't like me being a real man and being a father." He shifted Xander to his hip, getting a pout. "You, quit, or no spaghetti for dinner." The pout came with a pitiful look. He looked at him. "Keep it up." Xander pouted at Stella, holding up his arms. "No, she's gotta work and I know what you'll do."
She took him back anyway, letting him cuddle. Even though he did try to hide his head in her cleavage. She looked down at him. "Did I drop something?" He came up with cracker crumbs and she wiped them off. "Sorry, breakfast." His head went back down and she had to hand him off. "He kissed me."
"He's clearly not going to be gay," Danny said dryly, making her walk off shaking her head.
"They are the first nurturing things many babies see," Sheldon said, patting Xander on the head. "You'll learn to be more polite soon enough."
Danny gave him an odd look. "He sneaks into our showers to steal the bubbles while we wash our butts, Sheldon. He's got butt crack fascination." Sheldon walked off shaking his head. He looked at Mac again. "Can I blow them up or somethin'?"
"It's not polite and they'd make me either arrest you or take one of their job. I'd hate to have to kill you for making me do more paperwork, Danny." Xander pouted at him until he took him to hold. "Hi, Xander. Are you comfy?" Xander snuggled into his shoulder, breathing into his neck until he fell asleep. He carefully handed him back. "I'll let you know."
"Thanks. Can't live that long without my check." He looked at his son then at him. "Had ta drop off the weight he snuck outta daycare yesterday in his diaper." Mac smiled at that. "Don says he's klepto. Did good. No one noticed he stole a five pound weight. Just that he was too heavy."
Mac smiled and walked off shaking his head. "I'll ask someone later on, Danny. After lunch."
"Thanks, Mac." He looked at his son. "Wanna go bug Don's boss and pick up his check?" His son burbled in his sleep. He grabbed his mail out of his mail slot and looked through it, putting most of it back, then headed to the detective's side, going to get Don's. A few of them gave him funny looks. "Don's doing some of the lighter stuff today so I volunteered since Xander wanted to come mug Stella again." That got smiles from everyone but Gerrard. "What? He's cute when he dove down her shirt and came up with cracker crumbs." He smirked at the guy coming in struggling. "You mind? My son doesn't need that sort of example." The man gave him a glare. "I'm not on shift, try it," he offered. The detective drug him off. He patted Xander on the back. "C'mon, we'll hit the bank for Don and then we'll get groceries once I pay the rent, Little Man." He walked him out, taking a cab to the police credit union for their deposits. He made it home in time to find Don sitting on the front stairs panting. "You stuck?"
"No, got the recliner up there."
"Cool." He sat down next to him, handing him the baby. "He dove down Stella's top, came up with cracker crumbs."
"That's my boy!" Don said proudly, cuddling him. He looked at the deposit slip and stuck it into his pocket. "Thanks."
"I talked to him earlier, let him know how we got him. He swore at the military people." He smiled at the innocent smile his son gave him. "Had ta pee on me, didn't you?" He shook his head. "I'll change you in a few." He looked at Danny. "Anything yet?"
"Mac'll nag after lunch." He shrugged. "Not a clue."
"That's fine I guess." He stood up. "C'mon, we'll change your tiny butt." He walked him upstairs, letting Danny watch his car since it was unlocked. He came out to find Danny had gotten two of the three boxes he had left. He carried up the other one and locked everything up. They unpacked the books and stuff then broke down the boxes for later use. Then they flopped down on the couch. "Which side do you think will break first?"
"I think your dad'll get you back on shift first," Danny admitted. "He knew some of them when they were morale boosters giving blows in the locker room."
"I don't want that mental image," Don said dryly.
"And?" Danny countered with a smug look. "They were and you know they were."
"I know that, I didn't want that mental image of them doing it." He hit him on the arm. "Are either of us cooking tonight?"
"I promised the squirt spaghetti."
"Thanks, man." He got up with a moan. "Should go get the rest of the books."
"Go for it," Danny offered. "We'll be here."
"Gee, thanks." He headed out, going to get the rest of his boxes of books.
Danny shifted until his feet were up and turned on the tv. He could use an afternoon nap too. Watching Xander run was tiring.
Danny was home a week later when Don had been allowed to go back a few days earlier. He was enjoying the vacation but Xander was about to drive him nuts today. He wouldn't quit fussing for some reason. He was also staring at one window until Danny pulled down the shades. Even reading wasn't helping so he was almost relieved when someone knocked. He hoped it was Grandma Flack or someone. Nope. Some guy in a uniform. "I'm too old to join, sorry."
"I'm here to talk to you about the baby, Detective Messer. May I come in?"
"No." He slammed the door, locking it. He grabbed Xander, heading back to his room. He heard the door rattle and grabbed his cellphone from his room and his gun, plus his wallet and shoes. The door opened and he looked at them. "I could've sworn you needed a valid warrant to do that."
"Sir, we're here for the child."
"No. He's my kid, you're not getting him. Over your dead bodies."
"We're the government, sir, we can make all of you disappear and get you your job back."
"I'm not fired." He called someone. "It's Messer. The military is here." He listened to the orders to get there. "Could, yeah," he agreed at the offer of backup. "Thanks." He hung up. "I don't care who you are. You created my son without my permission. You're not taking him back now that I've got 'im. He's my son and he's staying my son. You get him over our dead bodies." An officer jogged up the stairs. "Hey, take us." He walked out, shoving the military guy out of his apartment, closing and locking the door. He looked at the officer. "Let's go," he said quietly. He got a nod and they headed out. They didn't have a carseat but he wasn't going to take the time to do grab it since there were three other military officers down there. He punched one in the face when he came closer, ducking into the cruiser. "Let's go now."
"Why are you they after you?"
"They're the ones who mixed me and Flack in a dish to get Xander." Xander let out a wail. "You, hush. We want you anyway, kiddo. We love you." He cuddled him, flicking on the lights and sirens. "Go faster," he suggested. "They just threatened to make him disappear. Gerrard's wanting us in there so we're safe."
"Agreed, sir." He sped up, taking a shortcut he knew. That had been too easy, they had been being polite that time. They were going to quit being polite soon and they'd need to have more backup than him.
Gerrard hung up with Danny, called him backup. "I need someone to go to Messer and Flack's place to evacuate Messer and the baby now. They're in danger from the people who made the baby. The military." He hung up and called Mac. "It's Gerrard. The military came for Flack's kid. Messer called me for backup. I've got him being evacuated. Should get here, yes. You're one of them." He hung and walked out to the squad room. "Flack's kid is coming in being chased by the military assholes who had him created." That got some heated looks. "They mixed him in a dish. They came for the kid." That got some nods. "Guard them. Taylor's on his way in to beat them." A few of the guys went down to wait on them to get in. Gerrard went to call Flack's father, Flack, and finally his boss to let him know they were in trouble.
Danny came stomping in and he pointed at his office. "In there. It'll keep him safe."
Danny walked in and put Xander down. "You sit in here. Got me?" He handed him a magazine. "Look at the pretty pictures and Daddy will be right back." He walked out, closing the door. "Mac know yet?"
"I called him and Flack." He looked at him. "Why didn't you call him?"
"Scanner had him in Brooklyn."
"No wonder." Stella stomped in. "Taylor?"
"He'll be back as fast as he can. We're thinking thirty minutes. They won't invade the station, right?"
Danny snorted. "One came up to politely request my son and there were three more outside, Stella. Whadda you think?"
"Okay. We'll handle it, Danny." She heard the sniffling and went to smile and hug the baby. "It's all right, Xander. We love you and they're not getting you. No matter what. Uncle Mac and Daddies will stomp them into greasy spots." She called Aiden. "You busy?" She smiled at the sullen answer. "Get to Gerrard's office. The military came for Xander." She listened. "That'll work." She hung up and came out. "Aiden's coming to watch him, Danny."
"That'll work. She's sneaky. She's native so if she has to run she can hide him somewhere most of us can't find." That got a nod from Gerrard. "Where was Don?"
"With Taylor," he admitted. Don Flack Senior stomped in. "They out there?"
"Just pulling in. The grandson?" Stella pointed. Aiden walked in and in there, grabbing the baby to walk out with him. "Hide him well," he ordered. He handed her something. "My subway pass. My address is on the back."
She smiled. "Thanks, Flack." She snuck out the back way with a few officers escorting her. She had her cell, they could find her when she called in to say he was safe. She got into a cruiser and headed off with the baby. She'd park it at another precinct and take a cab from there, then switch to the subway once she was in another borough.
Flack Senior sneered at the man who had come to Danny's apartment. "Him?"
"Him," Danny agreed, crossing his arms over his chest. "What part of no, you can't have him, didn't you understand?"
"He is our property. He was never supposed to get out of our jurisdiction, Mr. Messer."
"He's not property. He's my son." He stared him down. "You get my son over my dead body and the body of most of us in here."
"I don't want to have to do that but I can get a warrant."
Danny snorted. "I doubt it and even then you still won't get 'im. No judge in the country is going to hand you a living baby to experiment on." The man sneered back. "You're more than welcome to try."
"You don't have to escalate this."
Stella pulled her gun. "Get out of our station before we arrest you," she ordered, pointing it at him. "Now." He backed up a step. "Keep going." Mac stomped in. "Mac, cuff him for me?"
"Let's take this to my office," Mac ordered. "We need to talk to some others involved." That got a nod and Danny came forward to cuff him anyway. Mac smirked at him. "The baby?"
"Safe. Where I want him to be." Don stomped in. "Parking the car?"
"Cuffing the ones out there with the other guys. Mac? Baby?"
"Safe," Danny said, smirking a bit.
"Even better. Thanks, Cap." He helped walk the helpers over to Mac's office, leaving them cuffed.
Mac called someone. "It's Taylor. I'm putting you on speaker. Someone came for Xander." He put him on speaker. "You there?"
"I am. Which branch are they?"
"I've got two Marines and an army Captain in the lead," he admitted.
"Let me get our CID contact over here. It won't take that long. DiNozzo, call CID. Tell her I need her ASAP over that case we're splitting."
"She's in MTAC," a faint male voice reminded him.
"You are," a female voice said a minute later.
"Mac Taylor, Manhattan Felony."
"Gibbs told me you were in the same unit," she said grimly. "Who do you have?"
"The guy in charge's tag says Meyers," Danny told her. "They came for my son. He came up and demanded him. Threatened to get a warrant for him too."
"Is your son safe?" the first male voice said.
"He's safe, Gibbs. We evacuated him," Mac told him.
"Good. Only three?"
"One's in fatigues and not wearing patches," Mac offered. "I'd say Special Ops with the way his beret is but I can't be sure which branch. You want to tell them?" He stayed silent. "Unless you're over a Lieutenant, I am a Lieutenant and you will show me respect or I will make you miserable in addition to the hell you're already digging yourself, boy," he said coldly. "Name, rank, and serial number. Now." The man stayed silent.
Don Flack Senior pressed on a point in his neck, making him scream and then pant out his name. "Delarange, Kirk, US Army. 115-44-4487."
"Got him," the female voice said. "Special Ops, black ops trained, on loan to ...NSA."
"Charming. I hate them," Danny said grimly. "They're not nice folk," he said at Mac's odd look. "Remember that jumper last year that was one of theirs who didn't really jump?"
"Unfortunately. Now, we're going to talk about the Flack baby, gentlemen. All of us."
"We made him for our purposes. He was not supposed to get out," the guy in charge sneered.
"Captain Myers, I would expect you to show more manners," the female voice warned.
"Hollis," he sneered.
"Exactly, Captain. That's Lieutenant Colonel Hollis to you. Taylor, I was briefed about this the other day. Can we prove that they made him?"
"We can prove he's from Sunnydale. We can prove he's had some modifications since he's had all his shots until the age of eighteen, and he's got some twenty-year-old white cells," Danny told her. "Plus both his parents are male. His listed mother is out there, a Dawn Summers. Aged fourteen by her blog."
"Have you talked to the mother?" she asked.
"Nope, since I came up as the biological one," Danny said dryly.
"Charming. We've looked over their full files. Are they in custody?"
"Cuffed," Don Flack Senior offered, staring his son down until his gun was handed over. "Thank you, son."
"Welcome. It's always more satisfying to beat them manually than to shoot 'em."
"It is," Danny agreed.
Mac looked at them. Then shook his head. He wouldn't be stopping them. "What can we do?"
"They've threatened us and to get a warrant," Danny told her.
"No judge in the country would ever give your son over to them," she assured him. "Our local office up there isn't dealing with the case. This is a Washington case so we'll be up as soon as humanly possible and there will be a judge up there who'll take over. Keep the baby safe and away from them." She hung up.
"Prepare a cell specially for them," Mac ordered. Don leaned out to have that done. He looked at the military people. "We're not going to give you any rights until they get here. No phone calls, no contact, nothing."
"They'll get us free when we don't check in," Myers sneered.
"I doubt it," Mac told him. Officers came in and he looked at them. He knew three of them. "The cell ready?"
"End of the holding block, Detective. Just big enough for them and private. A suicide cell so it's got remote surveillance."
"That'll do. I want people outside that cell the full time. Am I clear?"
"Crystal, sir." They walked them out, dragging one part of the way. They didn't care, you didn't hurt little kids and they liked Xander.
Mac looked at his people. "Don, have Adam or someone write that blog." He nodded. "Danny, call Aiden, tell her to keep Xander for the night. Dig in and hide." He nodded, pulling out his phone to do that. "Captain Flack, we'll let you do what we can."
"I'm here," he said firmly, sitting down. "It's only an hour and a half flight from DC. They'll be up by dinner time hopefully."
Mac smirked. "Gibbs eats FBI agents when they get in his way. He'll be up by four with a judge in chains if he has to."
"Good. Let me warn the wife." He called her. "It's me. Xander's safe." He listened. "Did he tell you why I set him on the house?" He smiled. "Good. Call me if something happens, dear." He hung up, looking at his son as he came back. "There's someone watching your mother."
"Good. Aiden, Danny?"
"Went to voicemail but she's sneaky and native," he reminded him. "She can find holes only a native could find and pull it over herself."
"Good." He flopped down. "Mac, they can't take him, right?"
"No, Don. No judge would ever give them Xander. Not knowing what they're doing." A young woman appeared with two boxes and a lock box. "You are? And how did you get in here?"
"I'm Dawn." She walked over to shake his hand. "You're which one?"
"Mac Taylor, head of this CSI unit."
Danny looked at her. "Our son had a good surrogate."
She smiled at him, shaking his hand. "Danny or Don?"
"Danny. That's Don and his dad." He smirked at her. "How did you get here?"
"I'm like that." She smirked at Don, shaking his hand then his father's hand. She looked at Mac again. "My group out in Sunnydale, who was my sister and a few others, took down their unit twice, Detective Taylor." He gaped. "They were trying a bit hard to rule the world. That was the purpose of their experiments. Fortunately we have a hacker as one of us." She pointed. "The physical files we found, all on DVD now and indexed by her. The bigger boxes are tapes of what they did in their experiments. I thought someone could use it now. Which one showed up?"
She considered it. "Buffy didn't say anything about him. We can do an index search if you want."
"Please." She handed over the lockbox and he got into it, finding his personnel records and job title. "He's in charge of recruitment, Danny."
"My son's too young to join the service," he said. He looked at Dawn again. "So, you're 'like that'? That's not much of an explanation." She was spunky, cute, and seemed nice enough he guessed. Just a bit...odd.
She smirked. "I'm a witch, Danny. Some of us at the higher levels can do that. I just learned." She beamed and hugged him. "You obviously take very good care of Xander. Where is he?"
"Safe," he told her. "With a friend and safe."
"Even better. Why do you think I gave him to you?" She stared him down. "We thought they were gone for good. Most of the guys on the containment and capture patrols went into a UN hunting program." Mac gagged at one file. She went to look. Then she hugged him around the throat. "That's Buffy, Willow, our hacker, her girlfriend Tara, and our Xander," she said quietly in his ear. "I'm Buffy's younger sister and she was dating the other guy. He is Riley Finn and he's in one of the UN hunting squads." He nodded so she let go. She straightened up as another woman walked in. "Hi, Dawn Summers."
"Stella Bonasera. You're the one who carried Xander."
"I am." She shook her hand. "I came to help where I could when I got word that they big idiots had come for the baby." That got a smile. "Including what we found when my sister's group took them down the first two times."
"How did they take down a military unit?" Mac asked.
"Our version is on Disc 8." He loaded that one, finding it as a separate word document. He loaded it and read it, then gave her a horrified look. She smiled more gently. "Sunnydale is like that, Mac. It's my sister's sworn duty." She looked at Stella again. "Has he been a good boy?"
"All but diving down shirts now and then," she admitted with a small smile.
"Yeah, he tried that with my sister, made her squeal in fear. She swore off having kids who might do the same thing." Stella laughed. "You'd have to meet Buffy to understand her." She called. "Mommy, I'm in New York helping the people who wanted to protect the Xander from the stupid heads at the military again. No, I'm safe. I'm with Xander's parents and a few other cops. Thanks, Mom. I'll try to be home by curfew." She hung up. "Sorry but she worries."
"If I had made a call like that," Don started.
"We would've beaten you senseless then called in a shrink," his father finished. Don smirked at his old man. "We would have."
Dawn smiled. "Ever heard of Sunnydale?"
"Ever heard of the Watcher's Council and their duties?"
"Unfortunately," Mac, Stella, and Danny offered.
"My sister is, was, their current girl. It was her hunting team that took them down." They all shuddered.
"Huh?" Don Junior asked.
Stella looked at him. "Remember the uptight British assholes a few years back with the young girl he was training to fight?"
"Yeah," he said, grimacing some. "He was whacked in the head and a bastard. I called CPS on him since she was only fifteen."
"They're Watchers. They're over girls like the one he was training and my sister," Dawn told him. "My sister's the current Slayer." Don went pale. "She was dating one of the Initiative's team leaders. They found out about the bad things and went to stop it on them. Twice."
"Wow," Don said flatly. "So...."
"I'm not. I'm only a witch. Which is why me calling Mom like that will only get me a plate of dinner held back." That got a nod and they all relaxed and went over the evidence she had brought up. Sheldon got a long look when he came in. "Hi."
"Hi. Do I know you?"
"Dawn Summers." She shook his hand. "Little sister to Buffy and constant whining target of Anyanka."
Sheldon raised an eyebrow. "Interesting. I know her."
"I can tell."
He walked her out into the hall. "And?"
She smiled. "The blog was right," she said quietly. "Willow had another oops with something around Xander," she admitted. "It was my wish."
He nodded. "If we have to, we'll cover." He let her go. "Go help, Dawn."
"Thanks. Oh, Anya's pouting."
"Of course she is. She did it for many years that I remember." She smiled and went back into the office. He went to make a few phone calls. Sunnydale coming to New York was a very bad idea. New York had plenty of demons without the ones from the Hellmouth. Though that did explain everything to him.
Gibbs and a blonde, uptight woman in an Army uniform walked into Mac's office with Stella. "They still here?"
"Still in their cell," Mac offered, pointing at the camera he had up on one screen. He pointed at the boxes. "Miss Summers came out to give us their files and experiment tapes if you need them."
Lieutenant Colonel Hollis looked at the boxes then at him. "How did she get them?"
"My sister's Buffy Summers," she said from behind her. "She helped take them down the first time. And the second time."
Gibbs looked at her. "You're the surrogate mother."
She nodded, smiling and shaking his hand. "Dawn Summers of Sunnydale. When we stomped them the second time they abandoned the base so our friend who is a hacker broke in to get the tapes and put their files on DVD. All indexed and things."
He nodded. "That could help. Personnel lists?" Mac handed over something he had printed out. He flipped through it, nodding a bit. "Multi-agency and branch." He handed them over to Hollis. "Anything else good?"
"Interrogation notes, plans, base plans, and files on her friends and family," he said with a nod toward Dawn. "Also their impregnation files and what they had planned. She's not the only surrogate mother."
"Charming," Hollis said with a grimace. "How many others?"
"Three," Dawn told her. "Two died while pregnant. One's missing. We're not sure if Sunnydale Syndrome got them or if the Initiative or one of their sponsoring agencies did."
"Sunnydale Syndrome?" Mac handed over something else to Gibbs so she looked over his shoulder. "How did you guys get a death rate that high?"
Dawn snorted. "You're too literal minded so if I told you you wouldn't believe me anyway." She leaned out the door. "Sheldon, sweetie, they're here," she called. Danny, Don, and Stella walked in, Aiden behind them. "Awww, there's my boy!" she squealed, taking him to hug. "You've grown and added weight. I'm so proud!" she cooed, sitting down to cuddle him. "Dawnie loves you, Xander. You know that." He beamed and kissed her, then wiggled down, walking over to stare at Gibbs.
He smiled at the kid, squatting down to get on his level. "We'll make sure you're safe, Xander. Go back to Mommy or Daddies." Xander blew a raspberry at him and giggled, hugging him. He patted him on the back. "Thank you." He let the boy go, watching him crawl back into Dawn's lap and wave at his fathers. "He's very bright."
"He's a smartass too," Aiden told him. "If you need me to, I can disappear overnight with him."
"Might be a good idea," Hollis said, staring at the baby. Those things scared her. Another man walked in and Xander held up his arms, making begging noises.
"Grandson." He gave him a hug. "Such a good boy." He smiled at Dawn. "Sucking up to her again?"
"Why doesn't he dive down your shirt?" Don asked. "He does Stella and Aiden." Aiden hit him on the arm.
"Mommy had a hand-on-diaper talk with him about that," she admitted. "She made him quit on us since he was scarring Buffy for life."
"I don't mind the occasional grope," Aiden promised. "Better than my last boyfriend." She took him back. "Say night-night, Xander. Let Auntie Aiden take you somewhere safe." Xander pouted. "No, the mean men want to hurt you. We want you safe."
Don kissed him on the head. "We'll see you in the morning, squirt."
Danny kissed him. "You be good for the auntie, like at daycare." Xander put his head down. "I'll read to you all day tomorrow, all right?" Xander gave him a shy smile and waved. "Night-night, Xander. Be a good boy and I'll see you in the morning." Aiden left with him. He looked at the two agents. "Now what?"
"Now, we take them before a judge," Hollis told him. "There's a federal judge up here who's an alternate for JAG duties if we can't find one." Mac pushed over his desk phone so she looked up the number from her briefcase. "Sir, Lieutenant Colonel Hollis, CID. I'm here with Special Agent Gibbs, NCIS. I need a hearing set up immediately for an arrest and possibly something else. Sir, I'll brief you when I get there. There's a JAG officer on vacation in the city, Sir. We can use him. I can be there." She hung up. "Two hours." She called the other number she had looked up. "This is Lieutenant Colonel Hollis. I need you in Mac Taylor's office at Manhattan Felony CSI within minutes. It's bad and impacting children," she said simply. "Thank you. Shouldn't take too much of your vacation." She hung up and pulled out the files they had found in DC. "Thank you for bringing more evidence, Miss Summers."
"I want them dead," she said dryly, crossing her legs. "Preferably after you treat them like they treated others. I'm not the only one to feel that way in Sunnydale."
"Even better," Gibbs agreed. "How did your sister take down a military project?"
"It's going to cross into the realm of strange things," Mac said quietly, looking at him. "She just ...appeared with the evidence." Gibbs groaned. He let him see that file.
"Disc 7 has the ADAM file," Dawn offered. "Including pictures and training files. Disc 5 has my sister's training file on it." He opened both of those to read over them with Hollis over his shoulder. A youngish man stomped in. "Morning."
"Dawn Summers." He blinked and frowned. "Forced surrogate to a son for the nice detectives next to me." She nodded at Danny and Don. "All because my sister was dating a patrol commander for the Initiative."
He looked at Hollis. "I've heard of that one."
"We've got proof, tapes, and their files from a hacker," she said, looking at him. "Including.... What is that green thing?"
"Mostly harmless unless you scare it. Then it shoots mind numbing slime," Dawn told her. She got up to look. "At that size Buffy said it was probably a child." She looked at her. "Probably within months of being hatched so it'd be like a six-month-old puppy." She looked at the guy. "Whatever you need from me."
"I've got a judge who can do an arrest and confinement hearing," Hollis told him.
"They wanted to take our son back," Danny told him. "Came up to do that."
"Okay, let's see what we have," he said, coming over to go through the index and the files they had open. He went into another few, then looked at some of the tapes. He finally looked at Hollis. "Let's go." She nodded, going to help Gibbs move the prisoners with the local officers. "No talking about the strange things, Dawn. Demons won't help this any."
"Then don't ask," she told him.
"Agreed. Guys, let's go." He walked out with them, letting Don and Mac take the files while Danny got the DVD files. He looked at her in the car. "Where are the others now?"
"UN hunting squads. Including Riley. He helped us."
"I saw. I'll find him first for the debriefing before the trial." She smiled at that. "Do you want visitation or anything? If I can I'll have the judge decide custody of the boy."
"I wouldn't mind but he's settled in here. I'll pop around and ask." He nodded at that, looking forward again. "I'm just glad I was right to send him to them. I was hoping they'd protect him."
He looked at her. "How?" he asked quietly. "I do know a bit about the full situation."
"Willow and a wish," she answered just as quietly.
He nodded. "Figures. Tell Anyanka that Caroline says hi."
She pulled out her phone and texted it back there. She smiled at the answer. "She said hi back and to call her. She's bored."
"I'm sure she is," he sighed. They pulled into the courthouse parking lot and got out, following behind the prisoners. Dawn made sure the car was locked for him, getting a smile. "Thinking about law?"
"I'm more concerned about survival at the moment," she admitted. "I'll think about more than dating and ninth grade in eleventh." He nodded and smiled. She smiled and nodded at Hollis for holding the courtroom door for them. She sat where pointed at. Don gave her a hug. "I'll pop up now and then to check on him."
"Sure. Give us some warning so we can make sure he's not in daycare," he offered. Danny nodded that he agreed. He looked at her. "How much danger are you in?"
She gave him an odd look. "Things are worse now. Buffy just recently died because of some of those things that they tortured," she said quietly, making him gape. "Otherwise she'd be here. Then again, she was kind of an airhead now and then. It's probably better you have me."
Don gave her another squeeze. "It'll get better, Dawn."
"Thanks. I hope so." The judge came in and they all stood up. Then they sat down once he had banged the gavel.
"Your Honor, I know this is an odd occurrence but we're here for a confinement hearing and to possibly talk about a custody issue," the JAG officer told him. "These officers worked for a special ops project sponsored by the Pentagon, NSA, and a few other groups."
"You have evidence?"
"We do, Your Honor. We also have proof that they came up to kidnap the product of an experiment that had been handed to his parents." He pointed at them then turned back. "To this point they have only been held. I'm asking you to permit us to confine them, take them back to DC for a true trial, and to give the parents full custody of their child."
"He has no authority over this matter," Meyers sneered.
"Actually, son, I'm a Reserve Captain and I am a JAG judge," he said dryly. "That's why Lieutenant Colonel Hollis called me specifically." Meyers gaped at him. He looked at her. "Though this is a bit outside of normal protocol. Were they read their rights?"
"We confined them as they came up to kidnap a child, Your Honor," Mac told him, standing up. "I'm Detective Taylor, Manhattan Felony Lab." That got a nod. "We did no more than put them into holding because we knew we didn't have jurisdiction in this case. We did not give them access to a phone or other means of communication because we could not be sure they wouldn't contact people for a rescue or to take the child for them."
"Which is outside both NYPD and JAG protocol," he admitted. "But probably reasonable since a child's life is in danger. Where is he?"
"Safe," Mac told him. "With another officer hiding for the night."
"Good idea. He's how old?"
"Nearly ten months," Dawn told him.
"Dawn Summers. I'm the one they impregnated with the baby, Your Honor. I'm fifteen." He winced at that. "My sister was dating one of their patrol leaders."
"Am I going to need a trashcan handy?" he asked the JAG lawyer. Who nodded. "Let me get one." He went to get one, just in case he got sick. He sat down again. "All right, what evidence do we have of how this child came to be? I'll be ruling on their confinement on that issue alone. JAG can rule on anything further related to this project at the trial."
"That's reasonable." He pulled out the forms he had found. "This is the file on how young Xander Messer-Flack came to be." He handed them to the bailiff, who handed them over. "They showed up today to apparently get him back to make him rejoin the project."
He looked at it then at Dawn. "How did he get to New York?"
"When my sister and her friends stomped them the second time he was found and handed back to me. Since my life was in danger I sent him to his fathers once we knew who they were. My mother agreed it was the right thing to do, Your Honor, especially at my age." That got a nod. "So I dropped him off and ran because I didn't want to freak the fathers out. As you can see, they mixed him in a dish from two men."
He looked at the forms then at the two fathers. "You two?" They nodded. "Is the boy well taken care of?"
"Very," Mac agreed. "Danny works with me, his other father is one of our associated homicide detectives. His grandfather on that side is also a Captain with the NYPD and he's spent time with the boy as well. If there was something wrong in the house everyone who worked with them would beat them until it was fixed."
"All but the higher ups who don't think us being in the same apartment to take care of him is a good thing," Don reminded him dryly.
"I know some of the people you're talking about and I have heard about this problem in general terms. One was looking at the legal things he could do in this case," he admitted. He looked at the papers again then at Meyers. "Are you the officer in charge of this part of the operation?"
"No," he said.
"Who is your commander here in the city for the purpose of getting Xander Messer-Flack back?"
"Just Flack, Your Honor," Don told him. "His birth certificate lists myself and Miss Summers. We found out about Danny's part with the paternity tests."
"That's fine." He looked at Meyers again. "Well? Who is in charge of you?"
"I'm not going to say anything, sir. You have no authority over this matter. This is a top level national security project."
"Then I'm sure the secret judges in DC will have fun with you in a few weeks. I'm not concerned about the whole operation, just about the attempted kidnaping today." Meyers didn't say anything.
"It's all right, Your Honor, we can easily find them," Gibbs told him.
That got a nod. "Good luck with this trial, both of you." He went back to reading it. "We do have probable reasons why sending him back is a bad thing?" The first box of tapes was opened and a tape chosen at random. The bailiff pulled in a tv and popped in the tape to let them see the experiment going on. The judge got sick a few minutes later.
The JAG lawyer coughed when he was done. "This appears to be a good portion of what they've been doing, Your Honor. We can firmly extrapolate that the boy going back to their custody would result in the same sort of treatment."
He nodded, sipping his water. "Turn that off please." The bailiff did that and he looked at Gibbs then at Meyers. "I'm going to agree. Custody of the child Xander Flack will be with his biological parents. His surrogate...."
"Can pop around," Don interrupted. "We've already worked that out."
"Decent of you." He looked at Hollis. "As for their arrest, they are hereby remanded to the custody of CID and NCIS. They are to be given their rights once they are out of the city. That way no further attempts on the child can happen." He banged his gavel. "I turn this matter over to JAG for trial. Lord help your souls if it gets worse from here, gentlemen." He stood up. "Dismissed." They walked the prisoners off, and the evidence was taken with them. "Miss Summers." She turned to look at him. "You do have the right to push for custody."
She gave him a sad smile. "I'm fifteen, Your Honor, and my life is in constant danger in my town. It's safer for Xander if he's with his fathers and they do love him. I can pop around. After all, I only carried and loved him but he's their son." That got a nod and she left, following the others. She gave them a cheery wave as the prisoners were driven off. "Don't come back!" She looked at Danny and Don. "I put a charm on Xander so anyone else who comes up to try to take him or harm him can't and won't." They gaped. She smirked. "It helps. They'll end up telling on themselves to an officer. I did specify that." That got a nod. "Keep my boy safe or else. After all, I'm the mean one of the group." She looked around before disappearing again.
Danny looked at Don. Then at Mac and Don's father. "Beer?"
"Beer," Don Junior agreed. "Think we'll have more?"
"I think it'll be stopped within days," Mac offered. "Gibbs isn't a waiting sort. As soon as they get back to DC people are going to be hunted down and arrested. Both of their teams are going to be very busy over the rest of the week. Sullivans?" That got a nod and they piled into Mac's car to head there. Aiden met them there with the baby, making both fathers smile since he had a piece of Aiden's burger in his hand suck on. "We're safer for now."
"Good." She let Danny have the baby, watching as Don stole him. "Awww. Did you need baby cuddles?"
"Yup. Those guys freaked me out majorly." He snuggled his son, inhaling his scent. "Did Auntie Aiden give you a bath?"
"I had to! He crapped through a diaper, Flack. It was gross!"
"It can be," Danny said dryly, going to get beers for them. "Onions again?"
"It usually has onions," Don Senior said, calling Gerrard. "We're in the clear we think. Sullivans." He looked at his son. "Hugging him to death. Thanks." He hung up. "Gerrard is on his way down, Don."
Don shrugged. "Yay me. He can buy a round." Mac snickered. "He could." He looked at Danny as he came back. "Why call my boss?"
"Scanner had Mac out in Brooklyn. I know you told him so he'd be just as protective as Mac was while we got reinforcements."
"Yeah, good point." He took his beer, sipping it. His son scowled at him. "What?" He took another drink and put it down. "I promise, I won't get drunk, Xander. A beer now and then doesn't equal drunken slobs." Xander stared at him.
"Dawn said there's a few drunks around them," Sheldon said as he sat down, smiling and taking the baby to hold. "Hi, Xander." He kissed him on the forehead, using his powers to block some of his memories of his former parents by modifying the wish a tiny bit. The baby beamed and kissed him. "Good boy." He handed him back at Don's impatient look. "Sorry, couldn't resist. When I finally have some I want them to be that cute."
"So, Doc, that private talk you and Dawn had in the hall?" Danny asked.
Sheldon looked at him. "It turns out I know someone out there. I was making sure it was really her."
"Ah." He nodded, taking another drink. "Who?"
"Her name's Anya." That got a nod from Don; Dawn had mentioned her. "Do we think they'll come back?"
"Nope," Aiden told him. She smirked at him.
"I hope Gibbs and Hollis get them all," Danny said.
"Yeah, I wish them luck finding them all," Don agreed. "And the judge many antacids with some of that evidence they've got to present."
"I'm almost wishing Dawn would be safer so she could visit more often," Don Senior offered. "She seemed like a nice girl but she could clearly use less danger."
Mac nodded. "Definitely. It's clear she's on edge from the combat."
"Maybe someone will help her out of Sunnydale some year soon, like to school or something," Aiden offered.
"That could be good for her," Sheldon agreed, smirking at his counterpart. "If it was a good prep school she could even follow one of us into the labs."
"She might," she agreed. They understood each other very well. The first wish had already been granted and was working its way around the world now. The second.... well, they were both over victims of horrible crimes. Dawn's sister dying would count... They'd have to make sure they wouldn't interfere with a higher work. She could be almost- adopted like a big sister to Xander. Flack could use more female influences. And it would make baby Xander a normal baby. Some year. Hopefully. Stella came in and Xander crawled over his fathers to hug her and stick his head back down her shirt, making the grandfather laugh and nearly choke on his beer for that move.
"Not cute, kid," Stella said, removing him and giving him a hug. "Hug me this way, dear. Not the other way."
Xander beamed and blew a kiss. She was his sort of woman: dangerous, deadly, and smart. He was in heaven. He could appreciate this new life quite a lot. Especially if the fathers kept reading and playing with him. Being a Flack was going to be pretty cool.