Redemption Children: Redux

Xander looked at the men he was here to charm and help.  Mentally he was swearing.  He thought D'Hoffryn meant a slayer.  But nooooo, he had to help the Demon Magnet that made him look sweet and innocent.  The woman with him was glaring at his wiggling so he blew a kiss at her.  That drew attention.

"Samuel," she growled.

"Beth?" he asked.  "What happened?"

She handed over the baby.  "I was too damn drunk to remember to take the morning after pill," she said snidely and walked off.  "I can't deal with him.  He's a little smartass with a high IQ and clearly *your* son."

Sam looked at her.  "What?" he demanded, following her.  He looked at the baby and handed him off to Dean.  "Give me a few."  He jogged after her, stopping her before she could drive off.  "We didn't sleep together, Beth."

"Bull fucking shit, Sam.  We did, and it was your birthday if my very fuzzy memories are correct."

"Beth, someone wants to kill me," he told her.

"So do I, Sam."  She smirked.  "Because I can't get a job with him in tow.  They don't want to hire single mothers.  We have to take time off."  She started the car.  "All his stuff is at the motel in town.  I rented a room for you even.  Have a happy life, the custody papers are there."  She drove off.

"What the hell, Sammy?" Dean called once she was gone.

Sam trudged back.  "I don't know, Dean.  I didn't sleep with her.  For my birthday a few years back, me and Jess played with her but Jess played with her and I played with Jess."  He looked at the baby.  "She rented us a room.  All his stuff is there, I have no idea what I'm doing."

The man with them took the baby since he was getting a bit stressed out.  He stared at him.  "Oh, dear," he said.  The brothers stared at him.  "It's a Redemption Child."  The baby leaned forward to kiss him on the nose, then grinned.

"A what?" Dean demanded.

"When the one who will do great things loses all hope in humanity, a child is sent to them to remind them of what they're meant to do.  A very ancient wish demon, before the demon lord D'Hoffryn, created the ten redemption children."  He put the baby on a nearby headstone, bowing to him.

Xander grinned.  "Cute."

"Thank you.  Do you have a name?"

Xander shrugged.  "Usually Xander, Alex, whatever."  He looked at Sam then back at the angel.  "Not just his."

The former angel stared, then swallowed hard.  "I understand.  Thank you."  The toddler grinned.

"We're going into a battle soon," Dean said.

The baby looked at him and shook his head.  "No."

"Yeah, we are."

"No."  Alex smiled and pointed.  "Faith!"  The former angel jumped.  So did the female trying to stalk their way.

She looked then stomped over.  "Are you a damn demon?"

"He's a toddler, about the same thing really," Dean said dryly.  "Who're you?"

"Who're you?" she demanded.

The former angel stared.  "Slayer Faith."

"And who the fuck are you?" she demanded, looking at him.

"The former Angel Castiel."

She blinked a few times.  "Shit, is Xander around here somewhere screwing things up?  Figured he would haunt me."

The baby stared at her.  "Bitch."  She gaped at him.  He smirked.  "Daddy," he said with a point.

She looked at Sam.  With the way they had weapons and were standing, they were fighters.  With a former angel in tow....  They had to be hunters.  "Fair warning, he had visions, he was a demon magnet, and only bad girls wanted to sleep with him in his last life."

"Damn, was he one of us then?" Dean asked.

"No clue," Faith sighed.  She looked at the baby.  "Doing the reborn thing?"  The baby smirked and nodded.  "Which one?"  He pointed at them.  "Huh.  Okay.  Why call me?"

"Angels bad," Xander told her with a smirk.  "Apoc."

"An apocalypse?" she asked dryly.  "Really?"  She looked at the angel, who nodded, looking down.  "Why did we not include the slayers?"

"Because it was not in the plans of the angels who started it," Castiel told her, still staring at the ground.

"Huh.  Pity."  She called someone.  "D, me.  Find me with your stupid ass sister.  Now.  Apocalypse started by both higher powers."  She hung up.  "I'm not telling them," she told the baby, who gave her a hug.  A few minutes later a flash went off.  "D, B, this is the former angel Castiel."

"Over Thursdays," Willow said, shaking his hand.  "What's going on?"

Dawn smirked.  "I heard about the apocalypse.  It will not happen."

"Huh?" Buffy asked.

"The angels are tired and want a final solution," Dawn said, looking at the staring brothers.  "Hi, Dawn Summers, witch.  This is Willow Rosenburg, also a witch.  This is my sister Buffy Summers, the other senior slayer."  Castiel moaned.  "We handle apocalypses all the damn time.  So, what's going on?"  She stared at the baby.  "Yours?"

"His mother just decided she couldn't get a job with a baby," Sam admitted, rubbing the back of his head.  "We're still in shock."

"Ah.  Selfish bitch syndrome," Dawn said, cracking Dean up.  "Give us the run down so we can do our usual stunning job of stopping it, guys?"

"Um, they kinda want my brother," Dean said slowly and carefully.

"Yeah, me too," Dawn sighed.  "Are you a Harris?" she asked.

"Winchesters," Sam said with a grin.  "They want you too?"

"All the time," she admitted with a grimace.  "Be the reborn incarnation of an artifact and everyone wants you."

The angel gaped, then bowed.  "Key!"

"Duh.  Took you long enough."  She touched him on the head, then looked up.  "Give it back or I'm fucking coming up there!" she yelled.  A new angel appeared.  She glared.  "Give it back to him."

"Who are you to summon me?" he demanded.  She glowed and he gaped.  "You're human?"

"For now."  She smirked.  "This is my sister, the slayer Buffy.  This is the slayer Faith.  Give it back to him.  Because now we're here."  She smirked.  "And I will come up there.  My mother may yell but she'll agree and cheerlead me on as I destroy *everything*."

"Ditto," Willow said with a smirk.  "Because, hey, nearly ended the world myself in grief."

The angel stared at her.  "You brag about such things?"

"I'm better now," she said, letting the power start flowing into her.  "A lot better."

The angel stared, backing away slowly.  "This was not in the plans."

"Yeah, no one expects the Spanish Inquisition either," Dawn said dryly.

Buffy swatted her on the arm.  "Be more polite to the higher powers before they try to send me another asshole to date, Dawn."

"Sorry."  She looked at the angel again.  "Consider it done.  Unless we want it all to be reformed?"

He shook his head.  "The seals are broken."

"The important one isn't," she said dryly.  "Willow?"  She hummed, concentrating.  The angels both gaped in horror.  She smirked.  A high level demon showed up.  "Hey, Steve."

"Slayers," he said weakly.  "Oh, shit."  He disappeared.

Dean looked at the newly charred spot then at the ladies.  "You guys really scare demons," he quipped.  "Why?"

"Slayers are mystically chosen warriors with special gifts," Castiel told him.  "They're chosen by the Powers That Be."

"Fucked up," Dawn added with a smirk.  "It's a huge chess game to them.  Since Buffy's been dead now three times.  Faith's the one the line stopped in, and all the lines got started instead, I'm really powerful and so is Willow, they don't really like screwing with slayers."

"Slayers are always honored but the Hosts of Hell do not bother them," Castiel assured the brothers.  "Especially not this group.  They tend to warp prophecies."

Buffy sniffled.  "Don't remind me we lost him."

"Who?" Dean asked.

"Xander.  He always warped prophecies for us before an apocalypse."

Dean nodded.  "I think that's a great calling to have," he said.  She smiled and hugged him.  He stood there stiffly until she let go.  "Thanks."

She smiled.  "It's all good.  We just miss him during apocalypse season."  A new demon appeared.  She stared.  "Huh, not all that scary really."

"Who are you to thwart my plans!" the demon shouted.

"Buffy.  This is Faith, that's Willow, that's Dawn," she said with a grin.  "That's Sam and his cutey baby boy.  That's Castiel, and Dean.  I'm assuming here since you were too rude to introduce yourself that you're Satan or something."  She shrugged.  "Yay.  Now that we all know each other, can we get on with it?"

"I am Lucifer," he sneered.

"Cool!  Wanted to say thank you for not trying for my sister the last time."  She grinned.

Lucifer looked at the other angel.  "What are they?"

"Slayers," he said.  "And the Key."

The demon stared.  Dawn smirked and waved.  "Oh, dear.  I heard you warped prophecies, Key."

"No, that was Xander.  He was apparently our redemption child."  Buffy sniffled again.

"Oh, yay," Lucifer said quietly.  "You're *that* Buffy, right?"  She smirked and nodded, pulling out a dagger to clean her nails with.  "Um...  You're not in our plans, ladies."

"Yeah, you never expect a slayer," Faith said dryly.  "None of you."

"It's really not tactically sound," Dawn agreed.  "You should always plan for at least one slayer to show up during any apocalypse attempt.  After all, there's about fifteen hundred of us all over the globe.  We'll eventually hear."

"Then we show up, ruin plans, get messy nails, complain about the blood and things on our clothes, all that," Buffy added, leaning on her sister's shoulder.  "So, Luci...  What's the what?"

Lucifer looked at Dawn.  "What did she say?"

"What's the big idea.  She did grow up in Southern California.  You know, Sunnydale and LA?"

"Ooh-kay," Lucifer said.  "The seals are broken."

"Were broken," Willow corrected.

"The soul got brought back.  He is demon tainted," Lucifer said.

Dawn looked at Sam then at him.  "Luci," Buffy said, "so was I.  And?"  He gaped.  "The slayer essence did originally come from one to make us stronger, faster, all that shit."  She waved a hand in the air.  "You don't see me breaking seals and starting an apocalypse."

"The Hosts of Heaven say it's time," the other angel said.  He didn't notice Castiel pulling the brothers and baby out of the way of the fight.  "How dare you try to stop us."

"Our mom is *so* going to beat you to death," Buffy assured him with a smile.  "For trying to make us join her early."

"I'd run from her, but it won't save your butt," Dawn agreed.  "She made us both sorry enough to know better than to piss Mommy off."  Dean coughed, shaking his head.  She smiled at him.  "Our mom was like the Goddess when pissed off."

"Yeah, our dad too but a more male deity," Dean admitted with a smirk.  He looked at the baby, who was holding onto Sam's shirt with one hand and sucking on his other thumb.

"So, Luci, you *really* don't want to piss us off, right?" Buffy asked.

"My name is Lucifer," he growled.

"That's what I said," Buffy assured him.  She looked at Willow.  "Didn't I say that?"

"You called him Luci, Buffy.  He might be having Charlie Brown thoughts or something."

"Oh, never mind."  She smirked.  Willow smirked back.  Faith shifted her weight some, getting ready for a fight.  "So, anyway," Buffy said, looking at the two beings.  "No, there won't be a final apocalypse.  I have a date next week."

"You can't stop it," the angel said.

Buffy snickered.  "Why not?  We stopped the First's plans.  We stopped the Mayor's plans.  We stopped the invasion.  We stopped the one last year.  You guys are kinda weak compared to them.  I mean, you're all possessing humans so you can be banished.  You're all destroying the bodies really.  Which is really uncool."

"Mine gave me free reign," Lucifer said smugly.

"Hmm.  Wonder how that's working out for him."  She heard Willow start mumbling.

"That will not work, witch."

Willow shrugged.  "I'm asking the Goddess for forgiveness in advance.  She likes the fair warning I think."

"For what?" Castiel asked.  He looked very unsure.  These four were more insane than Dean and Sam were.

"This," Willow said, crushing something.  All the slayers from everywhere showed up.  "Girls, this is Lucifer, and one of the Angels.  They want to start an apocalypse."

"Oh hell no!  I have a date next week!" one complained in a Jamaican accent.

"You!  I'm getting married in three days!" another complained, sounding French.  "Buffy, can we waste them?"

"Sure can," she promised, letting go of Dawn and walking forward.  "Down, Dawn."

"Yup, I'll guard the hotties who they want."  She smiled at the baby, getting a grin and a wave back.  She looked at Castiel.  She knew.  She knew he knew.  "He'd better be perfectly safe," she mouthed.  "Forever and ever."

He nodded.  "As I can," he mumbled.

She patted him on the cheek.  "By the way, give him his powers back!" she shouted.

"Yeah, give the nice angel his powers back," Willow said, pulling down more authority.   Her voice was different now.  She touched his neck, making him shiver.  "Might not fully be the same but the Goddess adores you, Castiel.  You have done great preventing humanity from dying."   She walked forward, going up to Lucifer.  "You, young man, are naughty.  You will be spanked."   She raised a hand.  "Get out of that body.  You don't belong in there."  The body fell apart into an ooze.

"Eww," Buffy complained, getting out of the way.  "Willow, let us."

"He'll call more.  Both sides will.  Which is a very big mistake.  The Mother says so."  She looked at the angel, who was giving her a horrified look.  "Pity about your arrogance."  She knocked him out of his body as well.  More demons and angels appeared.  "Ladies, do be safe.  All of you have a better destiny than dying here."  They slayers attacked and the demons screamed in fear.  The angels weren't much better.

"What is going on here!" a male voice shouted as someone appeared.

Willow looked.  "They're naughty.  They're arrogant.  Clearly someone needs to quit sparing the rod."

The male looked at her.  "How did you get in her?" he demanded.  "We locked you up."

She laughed.  "I'm everywhere.  You can't really fool Mother Nature, dear."  She smiled at him.  "This is very wrong and you know it."

"Humanity is lost," he said, looking pissed off.

She shook her head.  "No, I and the slayers say not."  She waved a hand.

Dawn walked forward.  "If she doesn't, I do."  She let her shields down.  The higher being stared, then slowly shook his head.  "Oh, yes.  We do work with the slayers."  She smiled.  "Stop it.  Before you lose everyone."

He looked.  "Stop!" he shouted.  The few angels who had been winning fell back at that command.  One slayer was injured but Dawn walked over to heal her.  He looked at Willow.  "They live like animals."

"Animals have their place in nature, as humans do.  Though humans do overstep themselves a lot."  She gave him a look.  "Don't do it again.  I do hate possessing this fragile shell.  She tends to keep the energy."  She raised a glowing hand.  "You, I believe, need someone to remind you of why you created humanity."  He shook his head quickly, backing away.  "Do not make me change your destiny by making you have a second child.  Perhaps a daughter," she offered with a smile.  "Wouldn't that be grand?"  He disappeared.  All the angels did.  Willow looked at the demons.  "Shoo.  You're fouling my ground."  They disappeared.  She released Willow and faded off.

"Joyce Summers was waiting, Dawn had called her to talk to the angels coming back," Willow said, holding her head.  She blinked at them.  "She was not a happy Mother."

"Clearly," Buffy agreed.  "Do we need to do any clean up?"

Willow did that for them.  "There, that uses that extra energy nicely."  She looked around the old graveyard and cleaned it up a bit, including new flowers next to the graves.  She smiled and passed out.

Buffy caught her.  "Yup, that's wonderful."  She looked at the girls.  "Let's leave the nice hunting boys to their duties.  Thank you, ladies."

"No problemo," one called with a smile.  She waved at the boys.  "You're awfully cute.  If you're ever in Brazil, stop at the house, boys."   Dawn sent them all home again.

Dawn sent Willow back home too, then looked at Buffy and Faith.  "Shower, change, go hit a club," she ordered, sending them.  She turned to look at the boys.  "I won't tell," she said with a smile for Sam.  "It'd only hurt."  Sam nodded, swallowing hard.  "Yeah, demons like to taint people and then plot, plan, and practice a lot of things.  That's why there's slayers."  She pinched him on the cheek.  "I'll want updates on his well being.  Consider me like a nosy aunt."  She looked at the angel.  "I can call one back," she offered.

"No, this is fine.  Thank you, Key."

"My name is Dawn.  Use it."  He nodded, looking down.  She pinched the baby on the cheek.  "Give them less hell than you ever gave us," she whispered.  Then she disappeared to cry over losing Xander, but he was in a better life now.

Dean cleared his throat.  "Wow."

Sam nodded.  "Very wow."  He looked at the baby, who cooed and grinned at him, waving a hand.  "Hi, Xander."  He picked him up to hold.  "What are we going to do with you?"

"Pood!" he said clearly, staring at him.  "Pet the baby?"

"We'll see about petting the baby," he promised, smiling at him.  "Motel, guys?"  They nodded, going back with him.  "Um, Bobby?" Sam asked.

"We'll see what we can do," Dean promised.  "Because that truly sucks that he paid for that."

Castiel coughed.  "I'll see what my limits now are."  A small card floated down in front of him so he picked it up.  "Hmm.  What are you?  Beyond magically sent."  They went to the hotel to check in and look over what Beth had left.  This was a very strange day, even for a Winchester.


Bobby Singer looked up as the boys walked into his house.  "Castiel.  Dean.  Sam.  Who's that?"

"Apparently Sammy and Castiel needed a baby to coo at them," Dean said.

"A redemption child?" he demanded.  Sam grinned and nodded.   He put the baby in the devil's trap but he crawled out and over to Bobby, smiling and petting him.

"Good boy," he praised with a grin.  "Cas!"  Castiel looked over.  He waved a hand.  "Fingy!"

"This was dropped and all I know is it's magical," he said, handing it over.  Bobby glowed.  "Well, that's interesting.  Thank you, Mother Goddess," he called.

"Welcome," a female voice called.  "All noble warriors who sacrifice for the greater good get rewarded sometime.  Yes, the baby is yours, Dean."  Then it faded off.

Dean nodded.  "Sure," he decided.  "I'll be a great uncle."  The baby smiled at him.  He sat down.  "I have no idea what we're doing.  It's been a long time since I did baby duty."

"You and me both," Bobby agreed.  "'Specially since you two were the last babies I took care of."  Castiel smiled.  "You sit too."  Castiel sat, letting the baby crawl up him to sit in his lap.  Then the baby crawled over his shoulder.

"Cas, he needs to have some structure," Sam said, taking the baby back.  "You can tell him no."

"They're special."

"So?  He's still a baby.  He needs some structure."  He looked at the baby.  "No crawling all over Cas."

The baby smiled.  "Good boy."

"Only if you quit crawling all over people.  Then you'll be a good boy."  He put him down.  "Sit and behave?"  The baby cackled, shaking his head with a grin.

"Are we sure he's not Dean's?" Bobby asked.

"Fairly since I never saw the mother before," Dean quipped.  "Sammy apparently had a great birthday one year."

"I never touched her.  Jess touched her.  Not me."  He got a book and sat down again.  Xander crawled up to look at it then at him.  Sam grinned.  "I'm happy you like books."  He opened it to read to him in Latin.  The baby cooed and patted his cheek.  "Yes, it's in Latin.  You'll learn Latin soon enough."

Dean looked at him then at Bobby.  "I do not know what we're doing with the baby," he told Bobby.  "If we're settling down or what."

"I...." Sam said then shrugged.  "I do not know."  He went back to reading.

Castiel looked at them.  "I have no say in the matter.  Even the other angels are staying out of it."

"How did we stop it?" Bobby asked.  Dean pointed at the baby.  "How did a baby stop it?"

"He introduced us to a slayer," Dean said.

Castiel nodded.  "Which brought more."

"Which ended up bringing the rest," Dean agreed.  "Who stomped on them until the higher being possessing a witch told them to stop it before she spanked them."

"What higher power?" Bobby asked cautiously.  Castiel pointed up.  "Oh, her.  All right.  So she threatened to spank Lucifer?"

"No, she threatened to spank both sides," Sam said with a grin.

"I would not want to screw with her," Castiel agreed.  "I heard how strong she was.  Apparently some of her followers are quite strong as well."

Bobby nodded.  "I've seen some pretty strong witches."  Dean got up and found a book, finding the mention and handing it over.  "How ...."

"The sister of a slayer," Dean said.  "Threatened to redecorate on them."

Bobby shuddered.  "So it's stopped?"  Castiel nodded with a smile.  "Good work I guess."

Sam smiled.  "Now we have to figure out if we're still hunting or not."

"Still plenty of evil things," Bobby said.  Dean pointed at the baby.  "That's a good point."

"I don't know what I'm doing," Sam admitted quietly.  "That's why we're here.  That and so you can meet the newest Winchester, Xander."

"He's adorable," Bobby agreed.  "Is he potty trained?"

"Yes, thankfully," Dean said.  "That saves the car a lot of messes."

"Until he snacks, throws books all over the backseat, throws up," Bobby said dryly.  "Things that used to drive your own father nuts."

Castiel suddenly started to look up.  "What's that?"

"The baby needs a guardian," Dawn said as she appeared.  "Loki showed up to talk to the one who is beloved of chaos."  The baby shrugged.  "Yes, you."

"Not me."

"Yes, you," she assured him.  "So you're getting guardian spirits."  She smirked.  "Mommy missed you too and she thinks your daddy is very cute."  She smiled at Bobby.  "Sorry for dropping in unannounced, sir.  Dawn Summers."

"Bobby Singer."

She smiled.  "I'm officially one of the researchers at the Watchers Council."  He smirked at that.  She shook his hand.  "Anyway, Loki appointed his two guards.  I think it's his version of a reward.  Either that or they were going to rip some angels some new assholes.  Can't really tell."  She waved and disappeared.

"Dad?" Sam called, rolling his eyes.  Two figures faded in, still ghostly.  "Guarding the baby?"

"Yes," John said, scowling at him.  "How did he get made?"

"No clue," Sam said.

"I had that talk with you twice, Sammy," Dean joked.  Sam hit him on the arm.  "Hey!"

"Shut up, Dean."

"Bitch, make me."

The other figure tapped her foot.  "Stop it now."  Dean stared at her.  "I beat manners into Buffy, I can do it to you two."

"You're incorporeal," Castiel pointed out.

"That won't matter to a real mother," Joyce Summers assured him with a grin.  "There's my baby."  She floated over to kiss him on the head.

"Chilly," Xander said patiently.  She laughed and patted him.  "Book!"

"Books are very good for you, dear."  She smiled at Sam.  "You might watch for a small learning disability."  The baby scowled at her.  "I don't know if it carries over."

He nodded.  "Thank you, Mrs. Summers."

"Call me Joyce, dear."  She smiled.

"Joyce then," he said with a grin back.

She straightened up.  "I'm going to nag my eldest for showing up at an apocalypse in a booty skirt.  Be back later."  She disappeared.

John looked at them.  "Now what?"  Both sons shrugged.  So did Castiel.  "That's fine.  We'll figure it out."  He looked at the baby.  "We'll figure out how to train you as a future hunter."

Xander nodded.  "Cool."  He poked Sam and pointed at the book.  "Book?  Good boy?"

Sam smiled and hugged him.  "Yes, you're a good boy so we can read some more."  He went back to reading.

John smiled, giving them a fond look.  This was what he wanted from his grandson.


In DC, a man looked up as the elevator dinged.  "May we help you, ma'am?" he asked.

She sighed, staring at him.  "You look just like your picture in the federal database, Agent DiNozzo."

"I should," he offered.  "Why is it important?"

She handed over a file.  "Someone was hiding something from you.  It was in her suicide note."

Tony read and stiffened, then took a deep breath and let it out.  "I ...  Three, four years ago?"

"Three and a half plus nine months so just over four," she agreed.  She stared at him.  "I am here to talk to you about what needs to happen or have you do paperwork, Agent DiNozzo."

He stared at her.  He realized what she was.  "You're that social worker Hallie, right?  We've worked with you before?"

"You have," she agreed.  "Back in Baltimore."  She smirked.  "So?  Am I doing paperwork?"

"No, you're not."  Something inside him twanged and he realized yeah, he had backup now.  He finished relaxing, smiling at her.  "I'm your guy."

"Yes you are.  Now, let's talk about your home life?"

"I have a spare bedroom I can change from the office."

"Excellent.  Is there somewhere more private we can talk?"

"Elevator," he offered, standing up.  "Boss, going to have a conference."  Only McGee was at his desk and was giving him an odd look.  He glared.  "Butt out, McGeek."

"Sure," he said weakly.  Once they were in the elevator, McGee called Gibbs' phone.  He had no idea where he was.  "Boss, McGee.  You need to come back to the office.  Tony's talking to a social worker," he said quietly.  "They're having a *conference*."  He hung up on the growl.  This was really not a good thing.  He wouldn't tell Abby until the yelling was done.  That way she couldn't get attached.


Tony came out of the elevator on the ground floor, walking her back to her car.  "Thank you, Hallie.  I'm sorry you had to witness that scene."

She pinched him on the cheek.  "There's more.  By the way, she named him Evan."  She handed over the folder.  "I'll be watching."

"I know."  He watched her walk the last few feet to her car, not looking over at the telltale squeal of the brakes coming his way.  He heard the stomping.  "Boss, I need today and tomorrow off."

"Social worker?" Gibbs demanded.

Tony looked in the folder and held up the picture.  "She never told me," he said quietly.  "She committed suicide the other day."  He put the picture back.  "I'm going to the 22nd in Baltimore to pick him up."  He finally looked at his boss.  "I might need some help painting the office this weekend for him."


"Evan."  He found his picture and held it up with a grin.  "I'm so screwed."  He put the picture back and walked off.  He paused beside his car.  "Want to drive?"

"Not really."

Tony nodded.  "Okay."  He got in and started his car, backing out and driving off.  That put him back in his place.  He knew how much Gibbs didn't like him now.  So maybe it was time to look around again.  Yeah, he needed the backup and hope.  A lot.  Because his soul was damaged and bleeding.


Tony made it home to a worried Abby.  "What?  I get fired?"

"Vance said you took off without warning?" she demanded.  She paused.  "That's a baby, Tony."

"His name is Evan.  His mommy wanted him and made sure she got him, then she got depressed."  He opened the door.  "In we go, Evan."

Evan pointed.  "Auntie?"

"Yes, that's your Aunt Abby."  He shut the door behind them.  Then he called Vance on his computer video conferencing system that he used when he was at home on medical leave.  "Sir," he said, sitting Evan in his lap.  "Gibbs didn't tell you why I left?"

"No, he didn't," he said, staring.  "He's adorable.  Sitting for a relative?"



"Yes.  Just found out today thanks to the social worker."  He smiled and got a grin back.  "His name is Evan."

"He's adorable, DiNozzo.  You only need tomorrow off?  He said you were taking off tomorrow."

"I ....."  He sighed.

Vance smirked.  "Take it from me, you need at least a week to find a good sitter and things."

"I can video commute, Director."

"That would require Gibbs to be able to use his computer," Vance said dryly.  "I think that's slightly less probable than you finding him a mom in the next month."

Abby leaned down.  "Tony uses it all the time when he can't come in from the latest concussion and gunshot wound."

Vance nodded.  "Then I'll allow that for up to two weeks," he decided.   "Good luck."

"Thank you, Director."  He hung up and looked at Evan.  "Sleepy?"  He shook his head.  "Hungry?"  He grinned and nodded.  "Then let's fix you dinner and then we'll figure out the sleeping stuff until we can get you a bed of your own."  He got up and carried him into the kitchen.

"I can cook," Abby offered, following.

He stared at her.  "Abby, I can cook.  I'm a fairly decent at it."

"Oh, yeah.  I forgot."  She took the baby to hug.  "You're adorable."  He grinned and nodded.  "And very modest too."  He kissed her.  "Aww, thank you!"  She looked at him.  "Are you going to bring him in to show him off?"

"Nope.  Because Gibbs didn't want to support me today."  He looked at her.  "So I don't think so."  He got back to looking at food.  "How about... chicken and rice?"

"He should be able to eat that," she agreed.  He grinned, getting to work on the cubed chicken that was precooked and some microwave brown rice.  It went together with a bit of cheese and it was a quick, good dinner.

Tony sat down, putting Evan on the table for now.  He settled himself and let Tony feed him all he would hold.  "Good boy."  He grinned.  Evan inhaled most of the dinner on them and then went down on the couch for now.  Tony leaned back, making him and Abby dinner now that Evan was down.  "I'm so going to mess this up."

She gave him a hug.  "I'll help."

He hugged her back.  "Thanks, Abby."  She nodded and ate.  She walked out with her plate to look over the spare room Tony had.  He followed.  He had to shift some things around.  They got started on that tonight.  Thankfully his desk would fit with a twin sized bed.


Tony walked back his first day back, sitting down at his desk.  "Did I miss anything?" he asked Ziva.

"Apparently we did."

Tony looked at her.  "Nothing I wanted to share."  She gaped.  He stared back.  "He's fine.  Perfectly healthy, has a very nice au pair."  He smiled.  He logged onto his system and found an email waiting from Vance.  "Excuse me, I've been summoned."  He got up and went up there.  "Yes, Director?" he asked once he was in the office.

"How is he?"

"Fine.  He has a very nice au pair.  That way late nights don't cause a problem.  She's very sweet, in college, doing it by internet."

"Good.  Three and a half?"  Tony smiled and nodded, handing over a picture he had taken.  "He's adorable."  He handed it back.  "What other plans do you have?"

"I don't know," he admitted.  "I'm guessing that's going to be decided this week."

"Thank you for being honest."

"It's not even about him," he said.

"I heard that the day you left."  Tony nodded.  "Good luck."

"I might need it."  He shrugged.  "Anyway, anything else important?"


"Did it during a nap."

"Wonderful."  He smiled.  "I hope it works out the way you want."

Tony shrugged.  "I don't know if it could, Director.  When you've been through hell, heaven doesn't look like such a reward sometimes."  He walked off, going back to his desk.   He sat down.

"Where were you?" Gibbs asked.

"Vance wanted to make sure I had updated my paperwork and had figured out suitable arrangements for late nights here."  He logged back onto his computer.

"The last time I knew, daycares had mandatory hours," Gibbs said.

"Yeah but au pairs don't," Tony quipped, looking smug.  "Evan already adores Natalie."  He got back to what he had to do.

"Are you throwing him a welcoming party?" McGee asked.  Tony stared at him.  "Never mind.  When's his birthday?"

"Just over four months from now."  He got back to work.

"You are being snippy," Ziva noted.  "It was not like we knew."

Tony looked at her.  "I figured you didn't really care since only Abby showed up to meet him," he said dryly.  She flinched and looked down again.  He got back to the paperwork.

"DiNozzo, do you need to box?" Gibbs asked.

"No.  Not in the least, Boss.  I'm having a wonderful morning.  It started with rice krispies and moved on from there to my son picking out my tie."  He smiled.  He went back to his computer work.  It was really make work.   He was considering how to frame his resume.  Evan was the push he needed to get out of his inertia situation.

Gibbs looked up and stared then got up and swatted him.  "You clearly need to talk."

"No, I talked the whole way to Baltimore to my radio working things out in my head."  He stared at him.  "Why, did you need to talk?"  Gibbs glared.  Tony stared back.  "I'll have that report to you in a few minutes.  I'm proofreading now."

"Conference, DiNozzo."  He walked to the elevator.  Tony sighed but followed.  He locked them between floors.  "What is your problem?"

"The utter lack of respect I get from anyone in this agency.  Vance cared more about my son than my own team did," he said bluntly, staring at him.  "The person I thought I could trust to watch my back didn't."

Gibbs stared.  "That's something a man has to do on his own."

"Uh-huh.  Yeah, well, some of us didn't know.  She broke the condom on purpose.  It was in her suicide note.  She used me for my dick and sperm and then left to do her happy thing until the depression got the better of her.  So don't blame me for things I didn't know.  I'm not psychic."  He stared him down.  "Since you clearly don't want to respect me, I'm not sure you won't be hiring soon."  He turned back on the elevator.  Gibbs turned it back off.  Tony stared at him.  "It's all on you, Gibbs."  He turned it back on and got off when the doors opened, taking the stairs.  He sat down and finished that report, sending it over to him and getting into another search that had been forwarded to him.

"What are you doing?" Gibbs asked.

"Team 3 wanted me to do one of their searches for them because their computers are down," he said as he typed.  "I'm sure McGee has some if he'd check his email."  He finished up and texted the report to her phone.  She sent back a thank you and it was better.  "There, now they know where she lives."  He got into something else HR sent up.  "No, let's not change that at this time, I'm taking a higher deduction than I need," he mumbled as he typed back a response.   "That way I get the hefty payment in February."  He sent that one and got into something from Natalie, smiling when the video came up.  "What's up?" he asked.

"Evan is being absolutely adorable, Tony."  She pointed.  Evan was trying to stand on his head.

"Aww, that is cute."  She grinned.  "I'll be home at the normal time unless we get a case."  She nodded.  "Evan, be a good boy for Natalie and I'll pick up more books on the way home?"  His son cheered and waved.  "Good boy and good job.  I'll talk during lunch."  Evan waved and Natalie turned it off. He smiled, finding something online to order and have sent to the house.  Evan needed more books.  They would get there today.  So would the extra clothes.  "There."

Gibbs stared at him.  "What was he doing?"

"Trying to stand on his head.  It shows great coordination for three-and-a-half."  He went back to work.

"Do we have pictures?" McGee asked.

"Yup.  Abby does too."

"Can I see?" McGee asked.  Tony took it out and walked it over with a grin.  "He's adorable."

"He's very adorable."  He put it back and sat back down again.  "At least I don't have to move.  That would be a pain with a baby.

"You have the carseat and stroller?" McGee asked.

"He's too old for a stroller.  We do just fine walking together in the mall.  He listens very well.  Only wanted to pet the carousel."  He smiled.  "He's very smart.  She had his IQ tested and it's in the 140's."

"Wonderful," McGee asked.  "Are you looking at schools?"

"Yup.  Started that last night.  There's a few good ones around here.  I'll make a final decision and put him on any waiting list in about a month."

"Have your parents heard?" Ziva asked.

"Why would they?" he asked.  "We don't usually speak."  He got back to what he was doing then his system shut down.  "Virus or what?" he asked, looking at McGee.

He looked.  "Virus.  The same thing that happened to Team 3."  He got to work, logging into Tony's system to see if he could stop it and fix any damage.  "This thing is nearly evil."

"Hmm, NSA made?" Tony guessed.

"Could be.  It's as nasty as some of theirs."

"How long?" Tony asked.

"Two hours."

"Couldn't get through to my home system with the vid conference thing, right?"

"Nope.  You have a very good anti-virus at home, Tony.  Abby and I made sure of it."  He smiled.  "Relax."

"I'm trying.  I can't remember if I told her he hates spaghetti-ohs."

"I'm sure you did and you never have those in your cabinets anyway," Gibbs complained.

One of the other agents came over, handing Tony a card.  "I heard someone did it to you."  She kissed him on the forehead with a grin.  "Pass that on to the adorable one."  Tony pulled out a picture with a grin.  "Awww!  He's sweet looking."

"Until about six in the morning," he agreed dryly.  "Thanks."

"What's his name?"


"That's adorable, Tony."  She handed it back with a smile.  "Just think, no teething or potty training."

"I sent up a huge prayer in thanks for that gift."  She walked off giggling.  He read the card, smiling as he put it into his bag.  Abby bounced up and handed him something.  "Aww, you got him a Bert."

"I did because he needs a stuffed friend of his own and we can't just get him *any* friend."  She grinned.  "McGee, you have that virus look."

"Team 3 and Tony both went down."

"Oooh, yeah, I worked on theirs.  Total bagger of a virus from the NSA."  She looked at Gibbs.  "Are you going to come play with Evan soon?"

"Not that I know of."  She glared at him, giving him that scary look.  "I'm not really into watching kids play, Abby."

"Humph."  She turned back around and grinned.  "I told Natalie all about our spaghetti-oh adventure."

"Cool, thank you."  He grinned.  "I couldn't remember if I had."

"It's all right.  He's sweet and he'll just suck up to her for ice cream like he does me."  She beamed and bounced off.  "McGee, the anti-virus patch is in the system."

"Thank you, Abby."  He found it and installed it on Tony's machine, running the scanner.  It picked it up, ate it, and it was better.  He released it back.  "There you go, Tony."

"Thank you, McGee.  Back to my usual standards of paperwork."  He shot him a scary look, getting a snicker back.

"Do I have your last one?" Gibbs asked.

"Yup, sent it over when I got back, boss."  He got back into that program and went back to editing things he had ready to be sent.  He did adore the work from home program that let him do reports after hours when he was bored without having to drive all the way back to the office.  His email icon popped up and he got into it.  "Yup, I sent that," he said, answering back.  She said that she signed for it.  "Thank you, Natalie," he muttered as he responded.  Then he got back to work.

"Something good?" McGee asked.

"I got him some new books and they just got delivered."  He smirked.  "Evan's probably dancing around the living room."

"Books are good for a kid, especially as one as smart as yours is," McGee said, looking at him.  "Was his mother a genius?  Not that you're not intelligent but that high and you'd expect one parent to be," he babbled when he realized the slip up.

"You know, I didn't really talk to her, McGee.  She pounced me at a club one night and that was about it.  She chose me, I didn't have a thing to do with it beyond going along."

"Well, you got a special thing out of it," McGee said.  Tony grinned and nodded.  "Does the present girlfriend like him?"

"You know, I haven't talked to her in a few days."  He sent her an email.  "Thank you for reminding me, McGee."

"Welcome, Tony."  He gave Gibbs a pointed look, getting a glare back.  McGee went back to fighting that virus.  He walked over to install that definition on the other machines they used.  Just in case.  Though why the NSA would be getting something off Tony's computer he wasn't sure.


Up in New York, Don Flack was getting a surprise visit from the same social worker.  Funny how that worked for D'Hoffryn's people.  She walked up to his desk, staring at him.  "Detective."  She smiled.  "I'm going to ruin your life."

He stared at her.  He knew what she was.  He had worked with her before on a case.  "Why?"

She smirked and handed over a picture.  "Congrats.  We found him in a lab."

Don stared then looked at her.  "'Scuse me?"

She nodded.  "He's adorable.  They named him John."

"Someone in a *lab* made me a son?"  Everyone in the room was staring at him.   His boss even came out of his office to stare at them.

"Yup."  She smirked.  "They were a bit freaky too, unless Daniel Messer was a mistype and it's Daniella?"

"No, it's not," he said dryly.  "Who put you up to this?"

"No one."  She smirked evilly.  "Did you want me to leave him in the lab?"

"No.  Where is he?"

"He is with the one taking him for shots today.  I thought it best if I didn't show up with him."

"Ah," he said weakly.  "You're sure this isn't a prank?  I mean it's really good."

"Nope, sorry."  She beamed.  "I can't find the other father."

"He's in our crime lab."  He called him.  "Come see me the fuck now, Messer.  Yes, it's damn important."  He hung up and looked at her, sighing a bit.  "Okay.  Are we checking both of our homes?"

"Yup.  Frankly, if Messer's who I think he is, I hate his wife."

Don nodded.  "She grows on you."

"So does mold if you don't wash it off."  Mac stomped in.  "I did not need you today, Detective Taylor."

That was not what he was expecting by his face.  "Miss Halfrek.  What are you doing here?"

"We found a wonderful little baby that was being grown in a lab.  Detective Flack is a daddy to him.  So is a Daniel Messer."

"I called Danny," Don admitted.

"He's on a scene and called me to see what the problem was," Mac said, walking off calling him.  "You have to handle this in person, Danny."  He hung up.  He walked back, much more calm now.  "Can I do anything to help?"

"I need to do a home check on Detective Flack's hole in the wall.   Then I need to talk to the other daddy.  Which will probably piss off his wife.  Which I don't really care about," she said with a smile.

"I'm sure it will," Mac agreed.  Danny stomped in.  "Calm down," Mac ordered.  "It's a social worker."

"Something happen to my girl?" he demanded, staring at her.

"No, but we found your son."  She smiled.  "Being grown in a lab.  They wanted to breed up a genius IQ."  Danny burst out laughing.  She held up the picture.  He took it and flopped into an empty chair.  "So...."  She clapped her hands together.  "Let's get the paperwork started, shall we?"

"I need to tell my wife we've got a second kid," Danny said.

"He's staying with me," Don said.  Danny gave him an odd look.  "She doesn't like your wife."

"She grows on you," Danny said.

"As does fungus, mold, and mildew if you don't take enough baths, dear."  She patted him on the hand.  "We'll work out custody and visitation later I'm sure.  For right now, I'm putting him with this nice daddy."

"Sure, I get that.  We can subtly stare over his shoulder for a bit and all that.  Make sure he can change diapers."

"John's about two and he's potty trained," she said with a grin.  "He's such a little charmer.  Very affectionate, very cuddly, loves his books."

"That's good," Danny agreed.  She pulled out papers for both of them to go over.  "The ones who had them?"

"They are so dealt with by Federal people, dear.  Don't worry about that."

He nodded.  "Good.  Will we need to be there for a trial?"

She stared at him.  "They busted that lab."

"Okay then, no trial."  He got back to work on the forms.  He finally handed them over, rubbing his hand.  Don handed his back.  "Where is he?"

"Last wellness visit, shots, all that."  She called her 'coworker' and the baby got brought over.  She walked out to get him and carried him inside.  "John, this is Daddy Don and Daddy Danny.  Can you say hi?"

John smirked and waved.  "Nope."

Danny laughed, taking him to hold.  "Nope works for me right now."  He stared at him.  "You'd think you'd have blue eyes from us."  John shook his head with a grin.  "That's cool anyway.  You're a handsome little guy with your green eyes."  John grinned and nodded.

"Very modest already too," Don said, taking the kid to hold.  He stared into his eyes.  "You're right, I would've expected some shade of blue."  But he knew.  He cuddled him, getting one back.  "Hi, John."


Don snickered.  "Try Daddy instead?"


"That's a good word for me."  He cuddled him some more because the kid hugged him.  "Hey, boss?"

"Go," he ordered.  "I've already called uptown.  They said freaky stuff like that happened to CSI."  Mac scowled.  He smirked back.  "He said he gave them both paid time off to get stuff straightened out and to please remember to update your paperwork and your will, Flack."

"Yup, tomorrow."  He got up and grabbed things.  "Can I take him home?" he asked her.

"I need to make sure your rathole in the wall isn't too tiny."

"Nah, I've got four rooms, two of them are even bedrooms," he offered with a grin.

"I'll show up tomorrow.  I'll be nosy and all that then.  If you need me tonight, call me."  He nodded and she left.

Danny stared.  "Let me tell Lindsay and we'll pop over for dinner tonight?" he offered.  "Let him meet Lucy?"

"Sure, he should know his sister."  Don grinned.  "Though, she screams, she goes out a window."

"Lucy don't scream," Danny reminded him smugly.

"I didn't mean Lucy."  They shared that best friend look then Don walked off.  "Apparently I need ta go shopping, huh?" he asked.  "Shit, car seat."

"Bum for tonight," Mac called.  "There's the emergency supplies."  Don grinned, going to the sergeant over that.  He had already heard and had one out for him.  Mac looked at Danny.  "Go use my office?"

"I'm thinking the tunnels under the building," he admitted.  "So I don't get things thrown at me."  He got up and walked off shaking his head.  He found his wife in a lab and nodded.  "We need ta talk."

"About what?" she asked with a sunny smile.

"Let's go downstairs."

"That sounds ominous."

"Yeah, is kinda."  He saw Adam and shook his head.  Adam just punched him on the arm.  "You might wanna warn Stella to be on call for emergency 'what do I do' calls," he told him.

"Already have.  She was cackling *so* hard over that."

"Over what?" Lindsay asked.

"That's what we're gonna talk about," Danny promised, taking her down there.  He found a nice, quiet, slightly lit place and leaned against the wall staring at her.  "A social worker just showed up at Don's desk."

"Is Lucy all right?"

"As far as I know, I haven't checked."  He stared at her.

"Don has a kid?  You'd think he was the sort of guy to marry the mother."

"Well, first of all, it's legal in this state for him to marry me but I'm kinda already taken," he said dryly.  She gaped.  "They found John in a lab.  He's two.  He's potty trained.  He's apparently halfway to Einstein."  He sighed.  "Don has custody.  We're working out visitation."

"Why didn't you tell me you had participated in this sort of experiment?"

"Because I didn't," he said.  "The first we knew of it was the social worker showing up at Don's desk.  Someone Federal raided the lab and found him."

"So...  You have two kids now."  He nodded.  "What does that mean?"

"Right now, it means tonight we're going to Don's for dinner with Lucy so we can introduce them."

"We don't know if that lab did something to him.  He might hurt her."

"They wanted geniuses, Lindsay.  I doubt they turned him into a toddler serial killer."

"I don't like this."

"And while I care, he's still my boy too.  He and his sister will learn to get along."  He stared at her.  "So Lucy and I are going over for dinner tonight and you can come if you're calmer," he offered.

She glared.  "This is a lot to take in."

"He'll have custody and we'll have visitation because the social worker decided not to like you," he said bluntly.  "Right now, we're figuring things out and working on that to see who has him when.  She's doing the home study tomorrow so Don might have to move."

"But...  Everyone likes me."

He stared at her.  "No, not everyone.  No one is liked by everyone."  She glared again.  He shrugged.  "Facts are facts.   Now, John, he's a cutey.  He hugged Don like he was a teddybear."  He grinned.  "When she told him to say hi he said nope."  She rolled her eyes and stomped off.  "This is why I told you down here and why the whole lab didn't tell you when the gossip started.  Because things like this, run through the PD faster than Mexican Water did you that time."

"So they all know that you and he got it on in a dish," she said dryly.

"Yup, basically."

"I still don't like this."

He stared at her.  "Not like I'm going to not see my kid.  Either of them."  She huffed off.  He glared at her back for a minute then went up to talk to Mac.  "I married a shrew," he said once he had closed the door.

"Give her some time to think."

"She's acting like I should leave John totally alone because of Lucy.  And get this, she's worried the lab did something to him to make him mean."

"Not if they wanted a genius.  Then they'd just get a serial killer."  He stared at him.  "It'll work itself out.  Want today off?"

"Yeah, I think I do.  Lucy and me, we'll go greet the new brother.  Who is the older brother."  He shrugged, then shook his head quickly.  "Tell Stella I'm sorry when they have the next case.  She'll be ranting for hours."

"Not like you could've prevented it, Danny.  Go get Lucy and go help Flack shop.  You know what he needs."

"Oh, yeah."  He went to the parking area, calling on the elevator.  "It's me.  I'm picking up his little sister and we are going to help you shop."  He grinned.  "Cribs?  Get one that you like, he won't care.  Though, look at beds, Don.  That'd probably be better at his size.  Yup, give me thirty to pick her up."  He hung up and walked off the elevator, going to the his car.  Lindsay could take a cab home.  He picked up his daughter at the daycare, earning a scowl.  "What?"

"Her mother said that she's upset and you're having a fight?"

"She's upset and she's having a fit.  I'm being a reasonable person."  The daycare worker snickered.  "If she calls again, we're helping shop for a friend's baby."  That got a nod and she made that note.  "Thanks."  He picked Lucy up, smiling at her.  "Hi, Princess."  She kissed him on the cheek.  "That's wonderful.  Wanna help Uncle Don shop?" he asked, walking her out.  "You have a big brother you have to get to know and he needs stuff."  She giggled and hugged him.  He squeezed back.  "That's my girl."  He got her into her carseat and walked around to drive.  They met Don at the store.  John stared at Lucy and she stared back.  Danny moved them closer.  "John, this is Lucy.  She's your little sister."

John leaned over and hugged her, getting a squeal back with some patting.  "I think he likes that idea," Don said with a smile.  "Thanks."

"Not a problem.  She's throwing a fit so it may just be us for dinner."

"That's cool too."  He pointed.  "That?  It converts."

"He's really too big for a crib," Danny said.  "Put him in one to see."  Don did that and nodded, picking out the bed he liked to be delivered.  It ended up being tomorrow but he could sleep on the couch or something.  Maybe camp with Lucy on his bed.  "Clothes?"

"I just felt a pain in my wallet," Don moaned, shaking his head.

"Think how I feel.  I'm already saving up for prom and a wedding."  They shared a smirk and left to go clothes shopping then toys shopping then dinner shopping.  They got back and Don was exhausted.  He sat on the floor with the kids, turning on a jingling, rolling toy for them to chase around.  Lucy loved it.  John gave it a funny look and kept patting it.  It was still fun to watch them figure things out.  Danny came out with dinner bowls for them.  "Guys, come eat with us.  We can share tonight."

John came racing back and stared.  "Big spazghetti?"

"Yup, big spaghetti," Don agreed with a grin.  "Hungry, Lucy?"  She came over and crawled into Danny's lap.  She opened her mouth.  "You have her well trained."

"We do this when she can't sleep in the middle of the night."

Don pulled John into his lap and they fed the kids.  They eve got to eat some themselves between kid bites.  Then it was bath time.  Lucy had something in her diaper bag for the night.  John now had all sorts of jammies.  "Want Batman, Superman, Ironman, or Spiderman tonight?" Don asked, letting him see.

"Batman!"  He grinned but it looked a bit sad.

Don picked him up to hold.  "I remember that feeling," he said in his ear, getting a grin back.  "It's all good."

John hugged him.  "Talk later?  Sleepy?"

"Yup, we'll talk later because we're both sleepy."  He got him changed and into his bed.  "You watch over Lucy tonight, okay?"  John nodded, snuggling closer to her.  "Good boy.  I'll be on the couch, yell if you need stuff."  He walked out and went to sit next to his buddy.  "So?"

"Yup, so.  I had that same feeling my first night."  He smiled.  "It'll get easier.  I promise."

"If you're sure."

"I'm certain.  He won't be up all night with colic, teething, need changed diapers....  It's gotta be easier."  Don laughed, punching him on the arm.  "So... a re we gonna introduce him around."

"Yup.  I figure maybe a picnic Saturday?"

"Adam has it on.  Hawkes is on that afternoon."

"We can have a long one in the park so they can drop in."

"That's a nice plan," Danny agreed.  "We'll need shade for the kids."

"We can arrange it."

"You tell your dad yet?"

"He called and told me."

"He happy?"

"Oh, so happy his swearing knew no end," he said dryly.  "Told my sister and she cackled until she heard how then she swore.  So I guess we'll see them Saturday too."  Someone knocked.  Don got up with a groan, going to let her in.  "Hey, Lindsay.  The kids are curled up on my bed."

"They're already asleep?  It's only nine."

"Yeah, they were tired after dinner," Danny said.  "Big days and all that."  He shrugged.  "He's very good to her.  He played with her, he followed her, he squealed to let me know she was trying to get under the couch.  Right now he's probably cuddling her."

"They're not the same sex, they shouldn't be sleeping together," she complained.

"They're toddlers.  They don't know about sex yet," Don said dryly.  She glared.  He scowled back.  "They don't."

"Toddlers often grope," she said.  "All the books say so."

"He didn't earlier when we switched them for a bath," Danny said.  "You can check if you want."  She stomped in there.  "For one night it's not going to hurt anything."  She yelped so they went in to see what happened.  "He hit you?"

"He bit me!  The little monster!"

Don swatted her harder than he would Danny.  "He's protecting his sister.  He doesn't know you yet, I want that sort of reaction to strangers trying to pick him up."  She glared.  "It's only been you so far."  He sat down.  "Hey, John, this is Lindsay.  She's Lucy's mommy.  Can you say hi?"

He looked at her.  "Mean, loud and mean."  He snuggled back in, one arm over her chest.  "Snuggly?"

"That's right, you two can be snuggly tonight since your bed won't be here until tomorrow," Danny soothed, petting them both.  Lucy smiled.  "Night, princess.  Mommy won't wake you up again."  She yawned and snuggled into John's chest, curling up against him to nap.

"I don't like that they're together.  We can put a pillow between them."

"Then Lucy could suffocate on it," Danny countered.  "It won't hurt 'em to sleep together tonight.  He's not gonna grope or anything."  She huffed but left the bedroom.  He looked at Don.  "Sorry," he said quietly.

"She's a panicky mother.  We've seen others," he reminded him, staying quiet.  They walked out together, closing the door most of the way.   "He has a pretty good vocabulary for a two-year-old," Don said.

Danny nodded.  "Very good one.  He's a smart little guy.  Must be my genes," he taunted with a smirk.

"Could be.   He wanted that math workbook we saw."

"That's gotta come from you.  I didn't like math that much as a kid," Danny said, sitting on the couch again.  Don sat down too.  "So, Saturday for the introduction picnic."

"I have it on," Lindsay said.

"I thought we could go to the park for about four, five hours so everyone could drop by during their lunch if they were on," Don told her.

"That might be nice but they'll want a nap if they're out that long."

"They can nap.  I can bring extra blankets and pillows," Don said.  He looked at Danny.  "Maybe like a sleeping bag?"

"That play tent you bought might work better."

"John did love that."  He smiled.   Someone else knocked.  "Hold on."  He got up again and went to answer it.  "Hey, Mac.  Problems?"

"Very few right now."  He walked in and smiled.  "I came to make sure you made it through the first night.  Danny, Lindsay," he said with a nod at them.

"They're in there cuddled together, Mac," she said.

"It won't hurt 'em," Danny said more firmly.

"He could touch her or something."

"Then she'd sock him one like I taught her," Danny said.

"My little girl does not hit people that way."

"Bet me," Danny said.  "She doesn't like something I expect her to hit 'em."  Don sat down again.  "We did okay.  We fed them some nice rigatoni.  They called it big spaghetti."  Mac grinned, sitting down in the free chair.  "They played, we bathed, all that."

"Good.  Did we get all the shopping done?"

"The rest is being delivered tomorrow," Don said with a grin.  "He's got a nice bed coming."

"Your father called to swear at me," Mac said.  "I told him your phone number."

"Yeah, I got some of that too," Don admitted.  "We're thinking Saturday for the multi-hour picnic?"

"That'll work with most everyone's schedules," he agreed.  He heard a sniffle.  "I think Lucy's up."

Danny went to look and waved Don in.  Don got a camera and let Danny take pictures since he was better at it.  John was cooing in her ear and petting her hair to get her to go back to sleep.  "Thanks, John.  That's a very good boy," Danny praised, coming in to pet him.  "Very good boy.  You're a fantastic big brother."  He checked, she was just fussy.  "She does that sometimes."

"Cuddle her?"

"Cuddling her helps, yeah.  That's very nice of you."  He kissed him on the head, getting a grin back.  He did the same to Lucy, who drifted off again.  "There we go.  You both need to sleep.  You've got another big day tomorrow."  John snuggled in better, holding her closer.  "That's my good boy."  He walked back to the doorway to stand with Don.  The kids both started to quietly huff so they left them alone.  "He got her calmed back down," Danny said with a grin.  "Petting and cooing over her until she got calm."  He and Don sat down.

Don crossed his legs.  "He's a good big brother so far."

Mac smiled.  "For some it comes naturally."  They nodded that was true.  "Any issues yet?"

"No, not in the least.  He's been a good boy.  He's been cuddly, a bit of a looker.  He kissed one of the other mothers in the baby store when she came close, making her smile and pat him on the head."

"Clearly that's the Flack charm since every picture of me before six I was scowling," Danny quipped.

"Has to be," Don agreed with a grin.  "I used ta charm women all the time."  John toddled out and patted him.  "Can't sleep?"

"Sissy whine."

Danny hopped up.  "That's a nightmare, kiddo.  Sometimes they happen.  I can teach you how to soothe them."  John followed, climbing into his lap when he had Lucy in it.  "Here, we hold her like this," he said, showing him.  John mimicked.  "Now, just cuddle.  That's all she needs.  If you talk to her, she'll stay awake.  Then she'll be fussy tomorrow."  John gave him a solemn nod and just cuddled.  They both fell asleep pretty quickly and Lucy didn't make any more nightmare noises.   Danny tucked them back in.  Lindsay tried to put a pillow between them but Danny tossed it across the room.  John sighed in pleasure, cuddling up to her again.  "There, that's right," he praised, petting him.

"But," she started quietly.  He glared.  She backed down.  They walked out together.

"Kids in the old country used to all share one bed until the girls started to think girl things and the boys started to think boy things, then they shared the same bed with any of the same sex.  They're too young to know anything," Danny told her.

"Fine.  Since you're so adamant."

"Yes, I am."  He sat down again, looking at Mac and Don.  "Anyway.  He cuddles her very well."

"I noticed," Don said with a grin.  "He's a good boy."

"He's a very good boy," Danny agreed.  "Mac, want some water or something?"

"No, I should head home.  Thanks, guys.  Call me if you need help or relief.  I might be able to do a few hours of babysitting now and then."  He smiled and got up, heading home.

"We should get Lucy into the car so we can go home too," Lindsay said.  "Before she's too deeply asleep."

Danny shook his head.  "Too late.  She's baby snoring."  She slumped, shaking her head.  "Go home, I'll stay and help.  It's not a problem.  I've camped here before."

"There's only one couch," she said.

"I can go nap with the kids since I know I won't roll over on 'em."

"True, you hardly move at all at night," she sighed.  "Fine.  I'll see you at work tomorrow?"

"Probably.  Though we were given some time off with pay to deal with new kid things."

"That's nice of them."  She left, going home alone.

"I'm sure whoever didn't mean to make it tough on you," Don said quietly.

"It's not.  She'll calm down tomorrow probably.  It's all reaction."  Don nodded.  "Let me go to bed too.  They'll be up at the crack of dawn.  Lucy likes to tweet back at the birds outside the windows."

Don grinned.  "That's a very girly thing to do."

"Yes it is," Danny sighed.  "Which means I'm going to have to endure dress shopping and all that.  Plus high heels and makeup.  I'm gonna have to fight to get her into baseball or something."  He went to the bedroom while Don snickered.  Fortunately John probably wasn't going to like dresses too much so they didn't have to worry about dress shopping for him.  Or the prom or his wedding dress.


Six months later, Don had both Lucy and John for the weekend.  Danny and Lindsay were 'talking' for a while and needed some alone time.  John was petting Lucy's hair.  "What's wrong?" Don asked.  That was bedtime behavior and they were both wide awake.

"Sissy chilly."

Don felt her forehead and called.  "Danny, your little girl has a pretty good fever."  He tested John's forehead.  "No, he's fine so far.  Baby tylenol?  Yeah, got it."  He hung up and went to get some.  He dosed her, smiling at her grossed out face.  "I know but you need it."  He put the medicine back up and checked with the ear thermometer.  103 was not a good sign.  He called back.  "Gave her a dose of tylenol.  It's 103.  What's her doc's number just in case?"  He wrote it down.  "Got it.  No, you two argue or whatever.  I've got it."  He hung up.  "We'll make sure everything's all right, princess."  He got a book and they put Lucy between them while he read to them.  She fell asleep.  John took a nap too.  He checked, he wasn't running a fever thankfully.


Three hours later, Don was in the emergency room with the kids.  "Technically, her parents are on their way.  I'm babysitting.  He's mine."  The nurse nodded.  "I gave her some baby tylenol like the directions said three hours ago but it hasn't went down any and she's starting to look pasty and pale."

"She is.  It's a good call, Detective.  Don't worry.  What's her parents' name?"

"Danny and Lindsay Messer.  They're both CSI."

"We'll watch for them.  Give us a few minutes to get a nurse."  She went to tell the desk nurse that so they'd know to send them back.  She came back to check in about thirty minutes.  No parents, no nurse.  She went to nag the nurse since she could hear the nice detective giving the parents a butt chewing with his update.  The nurse walked in and he hung up.  The check-in nurse smiled.  He was polite.  It was a nice change.

Don looked at her.  "They're supposedly on their way.  I know Danny's already in the car and she's fussing at something."

"Mothers can be fussy," the nurse agreed.  "Which one?"  Don pointed.  "Hmm.  Pale.  Puking?"

"Not yet thankfully.  High fever.  I gave her a baby dose of tylenol nearly four hours ago now.  No change.  Was 103 when I gave it."

She checked it again.  "It's almost at 104 now.  So clearly we have a problem.  Can you call him so I have permission to take blood?"  Someone knocked and was let in.  "Are you the father?"

"Yup.  Her mother's throwing an unholy fit at the daycare for some reason.  I've already apologized."

"Some women are very high strung," the nurse said with a sigh.  "We see a lot of them."

Danny nodded.  "So do we.  I'm in the lab and he's homicide."  She shuddered.  "What do we have?"

"High fever, some chills, some sweating," Don told him.

"Sounds like the flu?" Danny asked.

"That's why I want to pull blood."

"Yup, good with me, just don't make her cry.  I can't take it."

"I understand fully.  Most fathers can't."  She drew the blood quickly and hurried it off.  She came back with a baby dose of advil and they gave it to her, making her puke finally. "Oh, dear.  That's not good.  Koolaid?"

"Grape," Don said.  "John likes grape.  Is that blood?"

Danny sniffed a swab he ran through the mess.  "Marinara.  When did she eat pasta?"  Don shrugged.  "Huh.  You feed them yet?"

"No, he had a granola bar in the car but she refused."

"Smart of her."  Lucy started to wail so he picked her up to pace with her, patting her on the back.  "Shh, daddy has you," he soothed.  "We'll make it all better.  I promise, it'll be okay."

The nurse got a page and went to get the results.  She came back.  "We have food poisoning."  Danny gave her a strange look.  "Looks like it's something we can give her some medicine for and she'll be fine."

"No worries about the fever?"

"Within a day her body will have sweated it out."  Danny nodded.  She went to get the medicine prescribed by the ER doctor, who was happy to do it after looking at the results.  She came back.  "Any antibiotic allergies?"

"Not that we know of.  This is her first one," Danny said.

"That's fine.  If she does, you call us immediately and we'll give you something else.  You might be here for the reaction."

"We've both had first responder training," Don promised.

"Excellent.  So you know what to do?"  They both nodded.  She handed over the prescription.  "Make sure she drinks.  If she keeps vomiting or any diarrhea strikes for too long, switch to pedialyte."

"Got it," Danny agreed.  "She had a bout of the runs once so we can handle that."

"No antibiotics?" the nurse asked.

"Her mom said it was probably a temporary thing.  The doc agreed with her."

"All right, let us know.  Come back if you have to.  Tell your doctor when he gets back from his convention vacation."  They smiled and checked out, Danny giving them his insurance card since Don hadn't had a copy.  They fixed everything and went home after a quick stop at a drive-thru pharmacy.   They settled in at Don's place, letting John cuddle her all he wanted.  She was content to be held so it was all right.


Lindsay showed up a few hours later.  "What's wrong with her?"

"Food poisoning by the bloodwork," Don said, letting her in.  "She puked up some marinara sauce while there."

"I fed her some of the stuff in the freezer," she said.

Danny shrugged.  "We'll check when we get home then."  She nodded that was reasonable.  "She's got an antibiotic, some baby advil, and if she keeps sweating this way we're to get pedialyte again."

"Why does she need an antibiotic?"

"Because even adults get antibiotics for food poisoning," Don told her.  She scoffed.  He shrugged.  "They do.  I had it a few times."  He sat down.  "They say some can be so dangerous in kids they can kill 'em under the age of two."  She groaned but sat down.   "She's due another dose in about an hour so if you two need to talk some more I'm good."

Danny scowled.  "I'm not going anywhere when my baby girl is sick.  She needs me."

"Us," Lindsay said.  "Can I make dinner?"

"We picked up," Don said.  He didn't trust her to cook.  Danny, he loved his cooking.  Lindsay, not so much.  She always over salted.  She sat back down.  "Hey, John, can we have her to give her a bath?"

John pouted.  "My sissy."

"Yeah she is," Danny agreed, smiling at him.  "You're a great big brother, John, but she needs a bath.  So let's do that and then you can have her back?"  He nodded, letting Danny take her.  "Thanks, little man.  We'll be out in a few."  John looked at his father, who patted his lap, giving him a hug before picking up a book.

"Know this one," John said with a grin.

"You're so brilliant, it must come from Daddy Danny."  He picked up one that was new.  John oohed because it had planes.  They had realized he loved planes and space stuff.  Don read it to him and by the time he was done the littler wiggle monster was out of the bath and redressed.  John crawled over Danny to get her to hold.  She smiled and snuggled in again, sucking her thumb.

"That's my girl," Danny praised with a smile.  "Don, water?"

"Please.  Lindsay?"

"No, I'm good.  Thanks."  She watched Danny give her a dose.  "Does she really have to have an antibiotic?  You hear such bad things about giving them too many."

"It's her first one," Danny reminded her.  "She's not constantly on them."  She nodded, accepting that.  He laid down on the couch, putting both kids on his chest.  "There, that's a good spot for you to sleep tonight, Lucy.  That way I can make sure you're all right and I won't forget why I'm waking up at two."  He set his watch for the next two doses.

"Two?" Lindsay asked.

"Yeah, she's got to have her meds ever four hours," Don said.  He set his own alarm clock.  "Just in case."

"Thanks, Don."

"Not a problem.  Want me to put him down?  John, wanna go to bed?"

"No, stay sissy.  She sick."

"I know, but she's gonna nap on daddy tonight.  So you can hit your own bed and cuddle her all day tomorrow.  Okay?"  John nodded, kissing his sister then Danny then climbing down for Don to cuddle on the way into his bath and then bedtime rituals.  "You're a good boy.  You have been very helpful today," Don told him with a smile.  "Next time we got to the store, remind me you get a treat."

"Candy?" he asked.

"Sure, we can do a piece of candy."  John hugged him and snuggled in.  "Good boy."  He kissed him on the forehead and turned off the lights, leaving his nightlight.  He shut the door most of the way, because it was too high for John to open, then went back to sitting down.  "He is the most excellent, protective big brother ever," Don said.

"He is," Danny agreed.  "No boy will ever mess with her because of him."

"Some day she'll have to date," Lindsay said.

"Sure, when she's fifty she can date," Danny said, looking totally serious.  "Because I'm in no way ready to be a grandfather before then."   Don snickered, shaking his head.  "You?"

"I'll let him flirt but he'll be a virgin until I feel better about that issue and have a daughter-in-law."

Lindsay shook her head.  "They'll date like normal teenagers."

"Have you seen what normal teenagers get up to today?" Danny asked.  She shuddered.  "We'll all be overprotective of them."

Don nodded.  "Must've been harder to get into trouble back in Montana.  Here, they only have to go about three blocks to hit a gang, another one to hit a club where they can hit it on the floor instead of the back room, and to the corner to find drugs."  He sipped his drink.  Lucy looked over so he handed her the sippy cup he had ready.  "Yours."  She grinned and let her father help her drink.  "Good girl.  You need more of that.  Flush that nasty stuff right out of your belly."  She laid back down again, getting comfy on her daddy's chest.

"We can head home," Lindsay said.

Danny shrugged.  "We're good and John would worry and stress about her.  Not like she can go to daycare tomorrow with this either."

She gave him that squinty-eyed look.  "You two just wanted to hang out together?" she suggested.  He glared back.  So did Don.

"No, my girlfriend wanted some kid-free time tonight but she didn't get lucky either," Don quipped.  "The kids have to come first.  Beyond that, Danny's always had couch rights, Lindsay."  She huffed as she stomped off.  "How long has that been going on?"

"Since that first night you had wonderboy.  She thinks we spend a lot of time together."

"Yeah, you're being a good second-father to John."  He shrugged.  "I spend a lot of time with Lucy because of it.  Is she feeling excluded?  She never wants to join us when I ask."

"When I ask either," Danny said with a small shrug.  "I don't know.  She wanted to start couples counseling."  Don shuddered.  "I'm not sure why since she hates shrinks."  He looked at his girl then at his best friend again.  "I'm about to give in on that one so someone figures out what's wrong this time since I don't have a clue."

"You know, you did kinda rush," Don said quietly.

"I know.  If it hadn't been for Lucy I wouldn't have.  But that's the man I was raised to be."

"Me too," Don agreed.  He put his feet up and got comfortable.  "Her temp must be going up again.  She's turning pink."

"That's usually the sign of impending puking," Danny sighed, getting up and taking her to the bathroom to show her how big people puked.  He even nicely cleaned Don's toilet because nothing was more gross than puking into a dirty toilet.

Don brought her in some more ice water, earning a weak grin from her.  "It'll be okay, princess.  We'll make your tummy better and it'll be good again."  She cuddled her daddy until she had to puke, then Danny taught her how to hit the bowl.  That was much easier to clean up than the couch, the floor, the bed, or his shirt.  Don left them alone before he got sick from the noise of vomiting.  "You two can have the bed if you want," he called as he walked off.

"Thanks, Don."  He smiled, petting her hair back off her sweaty face.  "I know.  It'll be okay really soon, Lucy.  We'll be all better," he soothed.  She sniffled and snuggled in again once he had cleaned her face off.  "That's my good girl."


Mac looked up the next morning when Lindsay stomped in.  "What's wrong?"

"Where's Danny?"

"He called about five.  He's been up all night with Lucy throwing up.   He joked that he had managed to teach her to throw up in the toilet at least.  He hasn't slept so I let him switch with Hawkes since he wanted some extra hours.  Why aren't you with her?"

She huffed and stomped off again muttering things.

Mac stared, shaking his head.  "What now?" he wondered.  He called Don.  "What's wrong with Lindsay?"  He gave his opinion.  "Yeah, I saw that just now.  I wasn't criticizing her mothering skills.  Thanks, Don.  Is John all right?  Oh, so maybe it was her fault then.  Huh.  Thanks."  He hung up and paged her.  "Did you want to test a sample for food poisoning so you knew which container to throw out?"

"I tossed out everything," she sighed.  "I'm sorry."

"I wasn't criticizing your mothering skills, Lindsay.  I wanted to know if you hadn't had any sleep either."

"I think Danny and I need to go to couples counseling."

"That helped Claire and I a few times when we did nothing but argue over stupid things for no reason.  The underlying issues sometimes hide in the arguments."

She looked at the door then at him.  "I think Danny's gay."

He shook his head.  "No.  Not that I've ever seen, Lindsay."

"He's always with Don."

"They share John together.  He's being a good father to both of the kids."  She slumped, shaking her head.  "I don't think they'd ever get together, even if they lived in the same apartment."

"Lucy's always there now."

"So join them.  I've heard them ask you to come over and you haven't."

"That's because they have this way of looking at each other and it creeps me out.  Plus they don't think that John can do anything bad and I know his earlier upbringing wasn't standard so something must be wrong."

Mac shook his head.  "Don's kept careful track of anything out of the ordinary to talk to his pediatrician about.  All new parents do.  I know he said his pediatrician laughed because John's a voracious knowledge hound right now."  He looked confused.  "They're not together.  Don's had some very nice girlfriends.  So has Danny, and now he has you."

"I still can't shake the feeling that they're going to take Lucy from me."

"Only if you let them.  If you start joining them when they ask, it might give you a lot more time to be with Lucy."

"But then I feel like I'm interrupting things."

"They are very close friends.  When you're the one who holds the bandage over a wound, you tend to get a bit closer than most friends do; like combat troupes are usually tighter than most other units.  It's the shared blood and experiences."

She huffed.  "I've seen plenty of bad things, Mac."

"Danny once helped hold Don's intestines in, Lindsay.  He had been stabbed."

"Oh."  She shuddered.  "They're too close and it makes me uncomfortable."

"Then you should talk to Danny."

"I did.  He said I'm paranoid and basically told me I'm delusional."

He shook his head.  "I think you're over-reading between the lines.  They're just very close friends."

"Maybe.  I still don't feel comfortable."

"Then you and Danny need to take some visitation with John at your place," Don said as he walked in.  "Mac, that burglar who reported the crime just got caught.  He's waiting in 3 for you."  He looked at Lindsay.  "If you wanted, Danny has every right to bring John over for visitation instead of always doing it at my place.  I don't mind."

"I'm still concerned that John will have behavior problems that will hurt Lucy."

"No, you're being a bitch because your husband has a kid with someone else.  You're being the snotty, wicked stepmother."  She gasped then stomped off in a huff.  "Hopefully that'll break that," he said dryly.

"She's going to throw a fit."

"Then she'll get it out of her system.  What would she have done if Danny had kids from a relationship before them?"

"True.  She is looking like a stepmother issue.  He turned himself in?"

"No, we caught him breaking into his car to get away from his latest crime scene," Don said dryly, smirking at him.  "He left the keys upstairs."

"I love stupid criminals."  He got up and followed Don down there.  Don was calling Danny on the way to tell him what he had overheard and told Lindsay so he could straighten out his own wife.


Danny walked in an hour later, handing Lucy and John to Stella.  "Please?"  He smirked and walked off.  "Don's where?"

"Three with Mac."  She looked at the kids.  "I can take a bit in the office.  You'll like that and Sheldon can come read maybe since he's here early today."  She walked them that way, calling him once they were closed in the office.  That way the kids couldn't wander and get hurt.

Danny found Don, waving him out.  He looked at him.  "You're right, she is.  We're all going to have a talk."

"I told her you could take visitation at your place."

"I know."  He nodded.  "You done?"

"Nearly."  He walked in there, staring at him.  "I gotta take care of family stuff."

"I didn't know you were Italian, Detective."

Don smirked.  "If so, I'm the Godfather in my family.  Mac, we'll be in the basement."  He walked out.  They found Lindsay sulking in fingerprints and Danny walked her down there by force - she had to go where her arm was pulled.  Don followed.  He saw Sheldon's worried look.

"Stella has the kids, Doc," Danny called.

"Sure," he agreed, going to figure out what help she needed.  She was reading when he walked in.  "Danny looked like he was almost feral," he said quietly.

"I walked past the office when she and Mac were talking.  She thinks Danny and Don are together."

"I didn't think she was taking drugs," Sheldon said.  "I'll have to find the drug testing paraphernalia."  Stella laughed.  "You needed help?"

"You read more interesting stories than I do."

"Good point."  He sat down to read them something from the journal in his back pocket, explaining all the medical stuff to them.  Lucy was in awe.  John was giving him a strange look.  He grinned.  "I'm not a baby doctor, I'm an ER sort of doctor too."

John looked at his waist.  "Yes, he's one of us here in the lab too.  He wanted to work with us instead of sick people," Stella told him.

"Wow, smarter than me," John said, getting a hug back from him.

Sheldon grinned.  "You'll grow up to be just as smart as I am.  Both of you will."  He hugged Lucy.  "Are you warm?"  He tested her forehead again.

"Sissy sick," John told him.  "Have pukies."

"Your parents are really good and if they need help they'll call."

John grinned and nodded.  "He make better too, sissy."  She smiled and hugged Sheldon, getting another one back.  "Why blood?"

Sheldon looked at him and went back to explaining the neat things in the article.  They both looked amused and amazed so it was good.

Don walked in and shut the door gently, looking at Stella.  "We might need help from a realtor friend of yours," he said quietly.


"She's now firmly decided we're together so she's leaving him so we can be gay together.  She's off sobbing that he was cruel marrying her when he wanted me.  That she wasn't a wicked stepmother, just worried, all that."

John snorted.  "Stepmommy always evil."

"I know a lot of very good stepmothers, John," Stella told him.  "Real ones are good.  The ones in books are bad.  People are different than books."  He smirked at her.  "Really."

"Danny's heartily against anything Disney," he reminded her.

"She's been showing the kids Cinderella."  She smirked.  "Lucy has a Snow White outfit for Halloween."

"He's going to crap bricks."  He went to tell him that.  That way he could throw that fit at her in peace.  "She's going as Snow White for Halloween?" he asked, breaking into the current discussion at the top of Danny's lungs.

"Hell no!" he said hotly, glaring at her.  "You know how I feel about Disney and their unreasonable expectations and looks.  All the girls would look like Barbie in real life and that's just as bad."

"John just told me all stepmothers are evil.  Stella corrected it.  Told him real people and books were different."

"Good!"  Danny looked at her again.

"All girls like Disney princesses," she defended.  "There isn't much girlish stuff that isn't Disney related."

Both men stared at her.  "It's warping," Danny said.

"It didn't do anything to me," she shot back.

"Then you haven't tried to push John away because he's your stepson?" Don asked dryly.   She glared at him.  "I've seen worse on strung out crack hos."  She stomped off again.  He looked at Danny.  "If we have to, we can find adjoining apartments or something."

"Yeah, whatever."

Don patted him on the arm.  "Sheldon's explaining medical things to them."

"I'm good with that.  If Lucy or John want to be Docs, they can do that."  He huffed then kicked the wall behind him.  "I don't know what to do, Don."

"Two options here if you don't wanna continue this way.  Counseling or separation."

"I'd doubt she'd go even if it was her idea," he said.  "She hates shrinks.  I'm not really fond of them thanks to the after-shooting therapy myself."  He ran his hands through his hair.  "Let's get the kids, I'll go to the park?"

"However you wanna calm down.  I can handle it for an hour," Don offered.  "Medicine's not due soon."  He checked his watch.  "In about an hour and a half."  He looked at Danny, who smiled.  "What?"

"You wanna show off how smart he is."

"Of course.  He's my boy," Don said, grinning at him.  "Go for it."  Danny nodded.  Don went to get the kids and diaper bag.  "Okay, let's thank the auntie and uncle for reading."  They hugged them.  "Good thank yous, good kids.  Let's go to my desk."

"You'll have all sorts of idiots," Stella complained.

"I have a corner desk right now."  He smirked.  "We'll be fine until Danny calms down.  Besides, this way the other guys can see and admire, then work on their own kids so they're as smart and good as ours."  She grinned at that.  He took them back to his desk, earning a scowl from his boss.  "Messer's calming down.  They just had a fight," he said quietly.


"Wicked stepmother who thinks we're gay," he muttered in his boss's ear, making him cackle and shake his head.  "So yeah, bad."  He sat down and pulled over a chair for them.  "You two, sit there; we'll be admired and talk to people.  Learning how to talk to people is very important.  Neither of you two will ever be allowed to be someone who locks themselves away from people."  He smoothed down some of John's hair with a grin.  "You can even flirt."  John beamed at him for that.  He got into his desk to find something he could do that didn't require explaining.  Lucy looked over.  "It's a report on a bad guy."

"Bad guys go 'way," John said.

"That's right, that's your daddys' job, to make the bad guys go away.  That's very bright," another officer said.  He came over to look at them.  "Hi, Lucy."  She smiled and waved.  "Why aren't you guys in daycare?"

"She got some bad food," Don said.

"That happens," he assured them.  "Parents?"

"Epic fight."

"Yeah, had a few of those over the years," he sighed.  He patted them on the head.  "You two be good kids and we'll make sure no bad guys get near you."  He winked and walked off.

Don grinned.  "He's a really nice guy, huh?"  They nodded.  John was cuddling Lucy, checking her forehead with his lips like Danny did.

"Aww," one of the other detectives said.

"Checking fever," John said with a scowl for him.  "Boys not adorable.  Sissy adorable."

"Boys can be adorable until they're teenagers," Don said.  "Who told you that?"

"Miss Elizabeth."  He gave him a shy grin.  "Really?"

"Yup, I said so."  John beamed and he grinned back.  "I'll swat her good when I see her."

John nodded, hugging his sister.  John heard a loud person and pointed.  "Need big stick like with doggy."

Don looked over.  "He's in cuffs.  We can't hit 'em with a stick when they're in cuffs.  It's against the law and it's very important to follow the law."  John nodded.  Lucy nodded too.

"Why is my daughter near criminals?" Lindsay complained as she walked in.

"Because we're not," Don said.  "They're on the other side of the room."

She huffed.  "Give me my daughter."

"She has to take her meds in an hour."

"She doesn't need them," she growled.

"Sissy sick," John reminded her.  "Needs 'cine!"

She glared at him.  Don got up and got between them.  "He's clearly not right."

"Get away from the kids," he ordered coldly.  "I'm not going to let you take out your foul damn temper on them."  He stared her down.  She was balling up her fists.  "Do it, watch them learn what a bail hearing is."  His boss walked her off to talk to her in the office.  He could conference in Mac.  Don looked at the kids.  "Don't worry, she's just upset," he sighed.  "She didn't mean it, John, and you're a normal little boy who is really smart."  He gave them both a hug.  "Okay?"

John nodded, staring at him.  Don grinned back.  "She's being a stupid head," he whispered.  John cackled, he had heard that phrase before.  Don sat back down.  "Daddy Danny will be here in a few minutes probably.  If not Uncle Mac."  Mac did indeed storm in a few minutes later and the kids cheered.  Mac smiled and waved at them before walking into the office and slamming the door.  Mac didn't like to raise his voice so there wasn't any yelling.  But everyone felt the chill creeping out of the office and moved away from the door.  They even nicely cleared an escape path without realizing it.  So when she stomped off it was fully clear for her.

Mac walked out and over.  "Can Danny stay at your place tonight?"

"Of course."

"Thank you."  He patted both kids on the head, getting smiled at.  "You're good kids.  You're very smart, very good kids."  They both nodded.

"And somehow they both have Flack modesty too," Don joked with a smirk of his own.  "She didn't want to give Lucy her meds," he said quietly.

"She's a panicking mother."

"She's a wicked fucking witch," he said more quietly.

"That too," Mac sighed.  "I don't know why."  He walked off.  "Let me tell Danny you're here, guys."  He called him to let him know what had happened.  Danny hung up abruptly but he had been swearing when he answered so he assumed he was having another diva-like tantrum.  The old Danny had a few of those before meeting Lindsay.  This new one... seemed a bit less tough and diva.

Don pulled up real estate listings on his computer.  Stella had sent him a realtor to talk to.  He called and talked to him in a preliminary manner to see what was out there and what the usual budget would have to be.  That way if they had to move, they had an idea of how much it was going to cost.


In DC, Tony had made a decision.  He was on a footchase after a suspect who was randomly shooting back at him.  Without a vest because his was still in evidence from the last shooting, even though he had requested it eight times - twice in person.  He already had two grazes and he had called in for backup from anyone, even the Metro PD.  Who had ignored him apparently.  They had stopped to help the other people he had shot.

And of course this guy was heading for a more populated area.  It was right out of the bad guy handbook's chapter on how to do a foot chase.  "Federal Fucking Agent!" he shouted when people started to get close.  "Move!"  They got out of the way for once.   He finally got the guy and tackled him into a fountain.  Which splashed people and made them complain.  He hauled him out and put him in cuffs.

"Next time, don't make me chase you fifteen blocks."  He walked him off reading him his rights.  Both civilian and military since he wasn't sure which one he was.  He had been at the crime scene and taken off.  He looked around.  "Of course, I lost my whole team," he said.  The bad guy snickered so Tony tightened his cuffs again, making him whine.  "Shut up, idiot."  He called in for a ride, again, and this time an officer actually managed to find him.  "Thank you," he said, shoving that one into the back.  "Somehow my team managed to get lost."

"They're probably still back at your crime scene, Agent DiNozzo.  That's where Gibbs said to bring him."

"That's so sweet of him," Tony said sarcastically.  He looked back at the guy.  "If you hadn't run we wouldn't be having this sort of talk, would we?"  The guy shrank down.  "Good idea since you shooting at me hit at least three civilians I know of."

"Four," the officer said.  "We got the fourth one a minute ago."

Tony looked at him.  "Where were they when I called for help chasing him?"

"I don't know, Agent DiNozzo."

"Can you ask for me please?"

"I can ask the supervisor."

"Thanks.  That way the people he hit, who didn't have to get shot if I had help, can sue him."  He smirked.

"Obviously you're in a bad mood."

"Just a bit."  They parked at the crime scene and he got out, hauling the guy out of the back.   He walked him over to Gibbs.  "I'm not your puppy, I don't play fetch."  He walked off.  He tossed his hat down.  "Thanks to not getting backup for stopping him, he got to shoot four civies too, Gibbs.  Make sure it's added."  He got into the company car and headed back to the office.  He quietly cleaned his desk, printed something, and walked up to Vance's office.

"I heard no one helped you," he said in greeting.

"Which led to four more people being hurt."  He handed over the letter.  "I'm not his dog.  I'm not his bitch, and I'm no longer his senior agent either.  Been nice working for you, Director."

"I'll make sure you get accurate and nice remarks when you transfer.  Are you going to Fornell?"

"Probably, yeah.  At least he respects the teams he works with."  He walked off.  He came back to hand over his ID.  "I'll be at home.  Well, maybe.  We might be in a park."  He smirked and walked off again.  He left NCIS and headed for home.  He dropped his things inside and went to check on Natalie and Evan.  They were both napping.  "Hey, Nat?" he called quietly.  She flinched and woke up, staring at him.  "We're going to the park."

"That's cool.  You're home early?  Are you injured?"

"No, I got tired of being the bitch."  He shrugged.  "I have open offers from ten other places though."  He picked up his son.  "Have a good night."

"You too, Tony."  She left right after he did.  She had paused to forward the phone to his and start the dishwasher for him.

Tony smiled when they reached the park.  Evan woke up on the drive over, looking at everything.  "We're going to play with normal kids."

"Cool," Evan said.  "Bad day?"

"Yup.  Those'll stop though."  He grinned.  "You've been very helpful reminding me of why I went into the job, Evan.  I appreciate the hell out of it."  Evan grinned at that compliment.  He was doing good for his first assignment.  Tony parked and got them out, taking Evan to the playground area.  He cheered and went to slide.  "Be careful."  He sat down next to the other parent there.  "Hi, Tony and my son Evan."

"It's good to see fathers out here," she said, shaking his hand with a grin.  "I'm Mary and this is about to be Carson I think."  She patted her swollen stomach with a smile.  "It's a great place to think."

"Yeah, it is."  He leaned back, watching Evan play all he wanted.  A few more kids got brought over.  They apparently knew each other.  "I didn't know this was a clique," Tony said quietly.

She nodded.  "Quite often.  Ladies, this is Tony and that's his son Evan."

Tony smiled and waved.  "Hi, ladies.  Evan, please have manners."

"Am," he called with a grin.  "Build in sand?"

"That's a great thing to do."  He came over to help.  "We can make a great sand castle together."  Evan beamed and they got to work.  The others came over to help.  The other parents were looking nervous but Tony looked at one.  "Until earlier I was a federal agent," he told her quietly.  "I'm a good single father."  She relaxed and nodded.  They quit hovering and went to have a mommy conference on the benches.

Tony kept playing with his son, who was having a lot of fun.  "Maybe the next job will let me send you to daycare one day a week or so.  That way you get to play with more kids."  Evan hugged him and went back to playing.  Tony grinned.  "Thanks, kiddo."  The other mothers finally took their heathens without manners home.  Tony looked at Evan.  "Want dinner?"

Evan nodded.  "Could."

"Want subs for dinner or Thai?"


"Cool.  Me too."  They shared a smile and left.  Evan went into his carseat.  Tony got in to drive.  They picked up subs and went to visit a possible boss.  He had a daughter who was older than Evan but she liked new friends.  He knocked, holding up the bag.  "Ham okay?"

"I like ham," he said.  He let them in.  "I heard.  Jethro's already warned me away from you."

"His bark is now worse than his bite.  Evan, this is Deputy Director Fornell of the FBI.  He and his daughter Emily have wanted me to come work for him.  Can you say hi?"

Evan grinned.  "Shiny?"

Fornell smirked.  "Smartass."

Evan nodded.  "I'm good at it."  Fornell burst out laughing.  Evan smirked at his father, who only shook his head but patted him on the head.  He looked at the staring little girl.  "Hi.  I'm Evan.  I'm four."

"I'm Emily, I'm seven," she said proudly.  "Can you play dollies?"

"Play horsies," he offered.

"I don't have horsies here."  She pouted at her father.

"Don't start," Fornell warned.

Tony looked in the bag he had gotten from the house.  "I have coloring books and crayons here.  Would that work, kids?"  They cheered and settled down on the floor to color beside each other.  She helped him stay in the lines and he suggested better colors than pink and blue.  Tony handed Fornell his two subs and looked at him.  "No allergies?"

"She's fine on that.  Ham?"


"Ham," he said, handing her half of one of his and taking hers.  Evan got his and they nibbled while coloring.  The lettuce helped by hiding the colors they hated.  "So, what happened?"  He ate a bite.

"Lack of respect.  A lot of lack of respect.  Today it got to the point of intolerance so I bit back."

"I heard about the backup issue."

"They should have.  I asked for anyone, even Metro."

"They definitely should have.  FBI agents get that sort of help."  He ate a bite.

"I heard."

Fornell smirked.  "You sure?"

"I quit earlier.  I told Vance, cleaned my desk, all that."

"Congrats."  He ate another bite.  "We have an analyst position or a training one."

"I can train but I'm not exactly the standard agent."

"I know.  The analyst is presently for people watching.  A lot of stakeout tapes."  Tony nodded at that.  "It's really boring, usually for injured agents, and pays better."

"I heard that.  No field agent openings?"

"Not really at the moment.  Can your nanny pass a background?"

"She did mine."

"Good.  Excellent in fact.  I know there's a new senior agent spot opening up next month.  You can apply now but you'd have to wait.  Which means three until a paycheck probably."

"I can handle that.  It'll stretch into the retirement funds but I can handle that.  Not that I mind people watching...."  He ate a bite when Fornell snickered.  "ATF only wanted me for undercovers.  Which I can't do anymore.  Not after the last one."

"The training position might actually be fore the best," Fornell offered.  "It's at the academy so you'd have pretty standard hours.  You can live off campus."

"It's clear across town from me."

"Do you really want to stay there?  He'll show up sometime to bark in person."

Tony nodded.  "Good point.  Training in what?"

"Field techniques.  Please!  Some of them are so helpless when they get out.  The last one was the same one that told the ladies they could wear heels."

"Sounds like she listened to Sheppard," he said dryly.  "I might."

"I can get it passed tonight."

Tony sighed, looking at his son.  "The standard hours would be nice.  He needs to play with more kids."

Fornell smirked.  "We even have a daycare on site there."

"He would adore that.  Natalie could fall back to babysitter.  She wants to take more hours next semester.  Pays well?"

"Same as you're making now probably."  He called someone.  "It's Tobias.  I have a good candidate for the training position."  He smirked at Tony.  "DiNozzo got fed up earlier and walked."  He listened.  "She's cheering.  Yes, for that.  He has a young son too.  He's here coloring with Emily."  He smirked.  "Pay?"  He looked at Tony again.  "Thirty-eight plus time in raises for what you already have."

"Seven years at NCIS.  Seven before then in uniform."

"Fourteen years total in law enforcement, including in uniform."  He nodded.  "Thanks."  He hung up.  "Report tomorrow at nine to fill out paperwork and meet your class, get the tour, all that."

Tony shook his hand.  "Thanks, Fornell."

"Not a problem.  I hate seeing talent go to waste that way.  Will you have sniffling people tonight?"

"Abby.  Maybe McGee being stunned.  Otherwise, no.  Probably not beyond some barking."

"I'm sure he will be."  He gave his daughter a smug look.  "She's very good at coloring and he's getting better."

"He's only four," he said.  "It's great he can stay within the lines as much as he does."  They shared parental news and it was easier.  He could easily handle making better agents.

No matter how much Gibbs barked at him.


Dean and Sam had settled near Bobby.  Castiel was with them.  He was almost hovering and unsure of the new human things.  He wasn't a full angel but he had the powers again.  So it was a bit easier on them.   Xander was growing and they were working on his early training.  "Shotgun, not sword," Dean ordered when Xander walked behind him.

"We used swords all the time."

"Yeah, because slayers are weird.  You're a hunter now and hunters use shotguns.  Machete work is a special treat."

"Fine, Mom."  Dean glared at that pet name but the kid just smirked and went to get his shotgun for some target practice.  Somehow they had ended up with a large bit of property in their name.  They had argued about who had hacked until Joyce said they were welcome and boys needed room to play, dig up things, and roam.  Not like he could live at a mall like her daughters had.

Sam had agreed with that.  So now they had a huge farmhouse that was half-falling in and half updated.  They did a little bit at a time.  They still went on important hunts but not as many.  The other hunters hated them.  Still.  It wasn't really their fault they had started an almost apocalypse.  Though a few hunters had gotten to meet slayers and were now happily taken by their girlfriends.   Xander jogged outside.

"No running with the guns," Sam called from the kitchen.

"Yes, Grandmother!" Xander said then slammed the back door.

"You do fuss like a grandmother, Sammy," Dean called.

"Bite me," Sam called back.  "Jackass."

"Little girl," Dean called.

Sam came out of the kitchen with a knife in his hand.  "I think we're getting a visit soon."

Dean looked at him.  "Why are you wearing an apron?  Where did you *find* an apron?" he asked.  He knew they didn't have one in the house.

"It just appeared on me."

"Hi, Dawn," Dean called.  She and Buffy appeared.  "What's up?"

"She's down," Dawn sighed.  "She needs to remember why they do things."

Dean looked at her.  "Because if you don't, more people die."

"But..."  She slumped.  "I never wanted that duty.  I was an airheaded cheerleader before I got chosen.  I didn't think about more than the next dance and my boyfriend's gropey hands.  About how fashionable I needed to be to stay in power in my clique."

Dean nodded.  "Sucks," he agreed.  "We never had a normal setting.  Sammy tried really hard."

Dawn smiled at him.  She noticed the apron.  "That wasn't me."

"No, it was John," Castiel said from his seat.  He looked at Buffy.  "There are others, you can retire like we have."

She nodded.  "I tried that.  Something came for my last boyfriend.  Ate him.  I woke up when he burped actually, the shoe that he burped up hit me on the head and woke me."  Dean shuddered.  "Can we really retire?"

Dean shrugged.  "We handle small things to keep in practice."  He heard a gun going off.  "Sammy, make sure he's not shooting at the car?"

Sam looked.  "No, he's shooting at the police car.  They're not amused."  He took off the apron and walked out there.  "Get your ass inside," he ordered.  He went running and hid.  "Sorry.  We had him taking target practice."

"He's a real good shot since he got my tire, Winchester."  The officer glared at him.  "Do you know what he did at school earlier?"

"Beyond pissing the math teacher off by knowing the answer again?"  He shrugged.  "We haven't gotten a call or a note."  A small hand waved a note from the doorway.  He snatched it to read.  "Grounded."

"He needed it.  He's a bully."

"I don't care."  He handed it over.  "Give it to Castiel and expect a lecture.  Swat Dean if he tells you good job."  He looked at the officer.  "Is the bully hurt really a whole lot?"

"He's in traction.  Your son was evil."

Xander walked out to look at him.  "That's because I found him holding down a sixth grade girl and the teacher ignoring it grandly.  Apparently he couldn't see three feet to his left or hear her screaming for help.  So yeah, if he's in traction, good.  Maybe he'll think before sexually assaulting someone next time.  Am I under arrest?"

The officer stared at him then at Sam.  "He has an IQ of 150 something.  Tested as high as 160."

"That's better than the principal."

"He tried to say something and I pointed out his teacher was right there and did nothing.  Then I looked at her mother and told her to sue his ass for that.  She wasn't his first.  Apparently that teacher enjoys watching it happen because he's a sick ass pervert.  What did you want me to do, cry on him?"

"I didn't expect you to thump him into the hospital, kid."  The officer walked closer.  "You could've told us."

"Have one of you suddenly stopped him?  Since he probably doesn't just do it at school?  Since we all know he did that arson last month?"

"Fingerprints said it was Jacob."

Xander snickered.  "No, not hardly.  Not unless he put them up to it.  How would someone like Jacob, who is severely impaired but wants to fit in way too much, do that?  No one would let him buy gas.  I saw people denying him the right to buy sparklers last summer."

"We figured someone put him up to it, Xander."  He stared at him.  "You're still in deep.   His father wants to press charges.  By the way, there's no school tape today."  Alex held it up with a smirk.  "How...."

"Sometimes you have to know how to pick locks to handle something, " Sam said, taking it.  "Dean, run this," he called, handing it over.

Dean leaned out.  "What happened?"

"Bobby Keller's in the hospital thanks to him protecting a little girl," the officer said.

"Good damn job, son.  I'm proud you helped her.  Next time, be more subtle."

"The teacher was ignoring it, Uncle Dean.  Not three feet from him."



"Knew he was a fucking pervert."  He took it inside to watch, turning it off when his own temper started to climb.  He made a copy of it and walked it out.  "Here you go, a copy."

"His dad still wants to press charges."

"That's because his dad's afraid of his son," Xander quipped back.  "He does and I'll help those girls press some against him.  That'll be my whole defense right there.  Because no good man, future or present, could stand to watch that and not react."

"This state's self defense laws won't shield you," the officer warned.

"I had my reason.  I snapped upon hearing her screaming for help.  We can go if you want."

"Go change his tire first," Sam ordered.  Xander huffed but did that.  He looked at the officer.  "I'm proud and happy he did it."

"Us too," he admitted with a smirk.  "He's still a little monster.  He's in seventh grade and he's only eight."

"I know," Sam said, grinning proudly.  "He can't skip any more until he's at least ten to take some pressure off him."

"If they let him back."

"I'm so suing that school," Dean muttered.

"Ditto," Sam agreed.  They both smirked at the officer, who shuddered.  "Let them pick on my son for being a good man."

"I'll let them know."

"No, we can," Sam promised.  He smirked.  They could handle the bully's father too.

Dawn strolled out.  "You know, they have this show where bullies go up against MMA fighters," Dawn offered.  "It teaches them real fast they aren't the biggest or toughest."  She smiled.  "Kiddo, you need help?"

"The tire's locked down and the lock isn't easy to pick," he called.  The officer went to get it out for him.  "Thanks."  He grinned.  "I'm sorry I shot your tire."

"Is that because you're changing it?" he asked dryly.

"Mostly, yeah."  He let the officer hand him the jack too.  Dean had made sure he knew how to deal with car stuff.  He and Bobby had considered it PE when he was younger.  Dean came down to tighten the lug nuts for him since he couldn't at his delicate age, but otherwise it was fine.  Then they all went downtown.  Buffy and Castiel could talk.  It would do them both a lot of good.  Joyce had even been pushing Cas to talk to Buffy recently.

Sam walked into the police station first, punching the father.  "That's for not teaching your son not to rape little girls."

"There's no evidence...."  Sam held up the tape with a smirk.  "How!"  He made a grab for it.  "How did you get that?"

"The kid."  He looked back then at the other father.  "My eight-year-old son beat up your sixteen-year-old son.  That's probably why he picks on younger kids, right?"  The father took a swing and Sam kicked his ass too.  "Next time, teach your sons to be men, not rapists."  He saw the principal and sneered.  "And you!  You hired the fucking pervert who stood there and did nothing!

"Since we've all heard this isn't his first one, I'm hoping the parents do sue you and the teachers that ignored it!"   He ran out looking like he was scurrying.  "I swear to God, if this doesn't get cleaned up, I'm going to run for the school board and it'll be a *real* school instead of a hellhole it presently is!"  He helped the officer up.  "Real men protect those who're weaker.  I'm absolutely happy my son stepped in to stop yours.  If you're not, be a better father."

"He'll go to juvie for it," he sneered.  "I'll make sure of it."

Xander looked at him.  "Actually, with my IQ, they can talk to a number of government programs that would probably take me in for a year or two."  The man gaped.  "It's not like I'm in seventh grade for no reason.  Hello, genius."  He shrugged.  "I'm working on stuff the high school teacher isn't teaching."  The other father moaned.  "Your son was holding down a little girl.  The teacher was ignoring it.  Would you stand there?"

"No.  I'm an officer though."

"Yay you.  We have on the grounds and he didn't do anything either.  Seems to be something wrong with the idea that the uniform means you'd help."  He stared him down.

"You're creepy."

"Sometimes we all are.  It's part of the human condition," Dean said dryly.   "Calm down, nephew."  Sam huffed at him.  "You too!"  He looked at the father of the bully.  "What your son does is sick.  I can guarantee Sammy can talk those kids into suing you and the school.  Plus probably the town because they knew he was going bad and didn't stop him."

"There are many good legal precedents," Sam agreed smugly.  "I can think of tons of groups that would love to file briefs to help him."

Dean looked at him.  "We know you're now a lawyer, Sammy.  We were there to see you walk and all that, but damn don't go into evil mode?  Please?"

Xander looked at him.  "I like dad in evil mode.  It gets us ice cream after dinner."

"Good point.  Fine, evil lawyer away, Sammy."  Sammy laid down all the laws that his son had broken and all the points where someone in town could sue the little brat without having to ask any of those girls what happened.  The father slunk off.  "Does that mean he's not being charged?" Dean asked dryly.

The captain looked at them.  "Do you think you two might consider moving?"

"Hell no," Sam said with an evil smirk.  "We love the farm."

"Damn it.  Sam, you could run for the school board.  They could use some backbone."

"Yes, they could," Sam agreed with a less evil smirk.  "So could the principal."

"Clearly.  What proof do you boys have?"

Dean handed it over.  "Alex got a copy of the tape before he came home."

"Huh."  He put it on the screen out there to watch it and they all shuddered.  He turned it off.  "Looks like that's an airtight case and a good reason for a beating his father didn't give him."

Xander shrugged.  "Not everyone can be as excellent as my parent or as cool."  He grinned.  "So, am I in trouble?"

"You ever do it again and you will be," the captain ordered.

Xander nodded.  "If there's another one, I'll drag him home so Dad can talk to him instead."

"You know anything about that arson?" one of the other officers asked.

"Jacob wants to fit in so much and be like the other kids so often that he's taken to following Kale around."  They all groaned.  "Like that guy in 300 that was disfigured?  He'd do anything to be part of the group."

"We can talk to Kale," the captain said smugly.  "We were wondering.  Jacob won't talk to us."

"No one would let Jacob buy gas," Sam said.  "Xander pointed that out earlier.  They wouldn't let him buy sparklers last Fourth."

"True.  There's only two gas stations in town too....."  He looked at his officer.  "What did they say?"

"Not a damn thing but one is Buck Owens and the other was Tyler Walls's mother."

"Tyler has her cowed," Xander said.  "He's a mean bitch too.  He doesn't pick on those smaller than him usually but he's got a real bad temper.  I got to see him beat the crap out of Kale for picking on Jacob last year.  I don't know if it's his steroids or not."  They all smirked at that.  Tyler was the star defensive lineman at the high school's football team.
They *all* knew he was taking steroids.  He used to be a scrawny kid then suddenly he grew a foot, got muscles, and suddenly girls liked him.  "Buck's son Daniel is following Kale as well.  The older one sneered about it last week when he came down to stomp his brother on the playground for being an idiot."

"We'll talk to Buck some more," the captain decided.  "You're damn smart, kid."

"Part of hunting is knowing people and watching what's going on," Sam said dryly.  "He's going to be an excellent hunter some year soon."  He patted his son on the shoulder.  "He's also grounded for the next month for not telling us what happened immediately and for using excessive force."

"But..." Xander complained.

"No," Dean said with a smirk.  "Grounded for a month.  No library, no school library, homework and only homework, no soccer either."  Xander slumped, making pitiful noises.  "You could've held yourself back and didn't."

"You should have told us and didn't," Sam added.  "That should have come out before 'were you bored today' in the car."  He stared him down.  "Am I clear?"  He nodded.  "Go outside."  He went to sit outside.  "I'll teach him to pull his punches if he has to," he told the Captain.  "We didn't put up with bullies either.   Dean and I got into more than one fight over him picking on me.  We didn't put up with it around us at all."

"We actually had to leave Alabama when I was fifteen because Sammy put two teachers into the ER for threatening to cut his grades if he didn't quit reading feminist literature," Dean said.

"It was a good book!  Feminist lit or not, it was a really good book and had a great plotline.  The next year I heard the teacher added it the mandatory reading list."

Dean smirked back.  "That's because you were her favorite nerd, Sammy.  She socked the gym teacher for daring to run her brightest star student off."

The captain coughed, shaking his head.  "You two are nuts."

"It's the hunting," Sam assured him with a smirk.

"It's his brain sucking up everything," Dean countered.  "Including mine sometimes.  That's why I have a GED while he went to Stanford, even though we had went to six different high schools."

"Damn," the captain said, staring at Sam.  "So that's where your son gets it from."

"Yes he does," Sam agreed happily.  He left.

"Don't make his ego bigger, please," Dean asked quietly.  "I'll never get any peace and have to kick his ass again while Cas holds Xander off me."  He followed.  Castiel had driven down to get them.  They went home.  Buffy was gone but Cas went to talk to her at her house.  Dean pointed, looking at Sam.

"He'd understand her," Sam offered.  "She'd get him."

"Eww, Buffy sex," Xander muttered.  "She used to only go for the dangerous ones."

"Cas can be pretty dangerous when he wants to be," Dean quipped.  "We saw it when we were fighting beside him."  Sam nodded quickly.  "Maybe he'll get a girlfriend then.  Could help them both finish settling down."  He went into the kitchen.  "What's for dinner, Mother Sammy?"

"Spoiled Brother stew," he called, glaring at his back.  He stared at his son.  "Go."  He ran up to his room.  "No fun reading.  I'll be checking."


John faded in.  "Go take his book stash, Sam.  That's what I had to do with you."

"I remember and I always had more."  He went up to remove them all.  He found a lot of things that he wasn't sure where his son got it from but that was Xander's weirdness.  Probably related back to another past life.


Back in New York, the kids were now six and five.  John was still an insanely overprotective big brother.  Lucy was strangely good at kicking butt since her brother showed her how.  Not that Danny and Don realized that.  No one ever wanted to attribute Lucy with any butt kickings that had happened around them.  John's puppy eyes were deadly.  Lucy had the cutely innocent look down pat.

Danny and Don had moved into a big house, giving Don one level, Danny one level, and the kids lived in between.  That worked well for them.  Lindsay technically had visitation with Lucy but she was presently in a hospital.  She had stupidly walked into a stickup and gotten shot in the head.  Lucy had mourned but was getting back to normal.  John had helped her a lot.

The kids got to decorate their own rooms, mostly.  Their fathers had right of refusal.  John's was filled with flying things, moving things, and stars.  Lucy had some stars in hers because she liked the zodiac stuff and a lot of horses.  And unicorns.  Plus one bear that Don had won her at a carnival.  John helped her with her homework so much they were both in fourth grade when they started school.  Which let John be the overprotective manboob his sister called him all too often.  She always helped bandage every single injury and never told the adults unless another adult did first.  Then she defended John.

Don had a lot of talks with John about not picking back a the bullies, but it didn't work.  Lucy got a few from her father about not picking fights too.   He was worried that John was turning into a thug so he talked to him about that life.  John said he wanted to be a pilot so Danny grinned and helped him look up what he needed to know.  Which showed that he did have a lot of what it took.  Lucy did too.  John was helping her in that direction.  She liked to dance but had very little gift for it.  She got kicked out of ballet class for tripping the whole line once.

Don was the easy going dad and Danny did the 'mom' nagging duties.  It worked pretty well.  All the uncles and aunts helped because the kids were generally good kids who listened and had manners, most of the time.  Now and then John would taunt people he considered dumbasses.  He even had a rating scale he and Lucy worked up.  Don had quietly adopted it and so had Mac somehow.  He was startled to realize he had adopted it but then shrugged it off and accepted that someone needed to hand those sort a sign telling them they were brain dead.

Things were going well.  John had penpals in a few countries and in the US.  Lucy wrote to some of them because they sounded nice.  Things were going so well that even the thought that they were going well was going to cause a problem.  That's why John was taken from school.  Which caused Lucy to step up into her hidden bitch role firmly in the limelight.

"Mother fucker, you let my goddamned brother go!  Fucking ass pervert!" she shouted at the van, chasing after it.  The teachers, unused to Lucy Messer, the sweet, gentle girl, swearing raced to see what was wrong.  They heard the end of it.  A quick check showed John wasn't hiding.  His parents were going to be livid.


Don looked up as his boss came toward him with another piece of paperwork.  "That had better not be another case or I swear I'll rip whoever's head off for it," he warned.

"Your kid was taken from school," he said quietly.  Don stiffened, glaring at him.  "Lucy saw it."  Don grabbed things, including his gun.  "You should leave that."

"Fuck it, I find 'em first and they're mine," he said hotly, storming out of the station.  When he got there, Lucy was still swearing at people for standing around.  "I taught you better manners," he noted.  She launched herself at him to hug him.  "You recognize 'em?"  She shook her head, staring at him.  "See what it was?"

"Blue panel van, Detective," the principal said.  "We got that and the plate out of her.  We reported it with the Amber alert."  She handed it over.  "We can't reach her father."

"He's in court."  He called Mac.  "It's me.  Come stop me from ripping up this city to find my son."  He hung up.  He hugged her.  "We'll get him back and I'll stomp them into the earth if I can," he promised in her ear.  She nodded.  "Now, calm down, tell me what you know."  She repeated it for him.  She was a lot more calm now.


Mac walked into the courtroom.  "I'm sorry, Your Honor, I have to interrupt.  Danny, someone stole John from school.  Lucy saw them speeding off.  We already have an Amber alert."  Danny was already out of his chair and out the door, Mac following.

"That would be his son," the Defense attorney said.  "I had to depose him last year and he had to take a call from his school about a fight they got into with a bully."

"Detective Messer can come back whenever he's able to," the judge agreed.  "Let's adjourn for today."  They nodded.  The DA headed back to the office to check on things.  He knew that Flack was also the father of the child.  The son of two officers being missing was going to look very bad on the city.  The PD was going to be a tense, nervous wreck and arrests would go up because of it.


Evan knew something had went wrong.  He looked at Tony, but they were in public.  He couldn't spout off wisdom of the ages to save his dumbass past and future boyfriend.  Which made him sound like a girl but still, John was his.  He got up and walked over, poking him on the leg.  "We need a vacation."

"Why?"  He leaned down when Evan wiggled a hand.  Evan whispered.  "We can do that.  Is he all right?"  Evan nodded.  "We can do that.  Go get my bag?"  Evan ran off to do that.  Tony told his students he had to check on something so they were getting the rest of the afternoon free to study.  They needed it, they have tests in a week.  He gathered Evan and headed off.  It was a good drive to New York.  "How do you know?"

"John and I served last time.  Plus he's very snuggly."

Tony nodded.  "I can understand that."

"There's a lot of us this time.  It's important.  I volunteered though."


"It was needed."  He smirked.  "You'll find out some day I'm sure."

"I'm sure I will.  Anything you want to study since I haven't gotten to ask recently?"

"Pilot.  I was USAF before."

"That works for me," Tony assured him.  He turned on the radio.  "Nap, I'll wake you up when we get to the city."

"Before the city.  He's in the 'burbs."

"Okay."  Evan pulled out his schoolbooks to work on them.  The past memories were helping him in school.  Tony was homeschooling him because he was testing way too high for his age.  Plus he'd probably paste any bullies really hard.  In a few hours, Tony nudged him.  "Which way?"  He pointed.  Evan led him right to the apartment building.  Tony watched.  Then looked at him.  "You sure?"


"Okay.  He's a school friend."  He winked and they got out.  "Behind me."

"Of course."  He walked up behind his father.  "I'm not big enough yet."

Tony knocked on the door, smiling.  "My son swears up and down his school friend lives here."

"There's no kids here, sir."

Evan looked at him.  "John lives here.  We dropped him off here before."

"Maybe he moved," the adult said.

"John!" Evan shouted.  They heard struggling.  "I think he's home.  He's probably being a dumbass and locked himself in a closet or something."  He smiled.  "Can I see my school friend?"  The man pulled a knife.

Tony pulled his badge.  "FBI."  The man blanched and backed up, shaking his head.  "That's what I thought you'd say."  He called it in and officers showed up.  "Somehow my son heard that his penpal John was here."

"John.... do we have a last name?" the lead officer asked.

"Flack."  He looked at Evan.  "Flack?"  Evan nodded with a grin.

"We have an Amber Alert on him," the officer said grimly, going to search the place.  The kid was kicking and yelling.  Though he was gagged since the yelling was more grunts.  Evan followed.  "Sir....  Please?"

"He hasn't gotten to him yet or John wouldn't be yelling," Evan said.  "It doesn't make sense."

"Evan," Tony ordered.  He came back.  The officer found John and came out with him.  Evan pulled him over to look at him.  "Hi, John."

"This is my dad Tony," Evan said with a grin.  "I wrote you about him."

"You did," John agreed, rubbing his wrists.  "Is my sister all right?" he demanded.

"Yes," the officer said.   "She alerted people by venting very loudly."  Someone ran up the stairs.  "In here, sir."

Don ran in, followed by Danny.  "Thank God," he whispered, pulling John over to hug.  "Are you all right?"

"Yeah, the pervert didn't touch me."  He grinned.  "This is Evan, I write to him."

"I've seen his letters.  Thank you," he told Tony.

"Somehow Evan knew," he said with a smile.  He shook their hands.  "Evan, let's go get a hotel room for the night?"

"Sure," he chirped.  "We can do that."

"Can I make you guys dinner?" Danny offered.

"That'd be great," Tony said with a grin.  Danny nodded and they left together after filling out the forms.  The pervert got arrested when they found his picture equipment and pictures of John knocked out and gagged.  Thankfully he hadn't gotten beyond that.

They went back to the station to let others hug John and gather Lucy then home for dinner.  Danny did make dinner.  Don and Tony talked.  They had recognized what each other was.  "You too?" Don asked quietly.

"Yeah.  Evan volunteered recently."

"Huh.  I didn't know we could do that."

John and Evan walked in then closed the door behind them.  "Some of our penpals are like us," Evan said quietly.

"Why?" Don asked.

"When I'm sixteen, you'll know," John promised with a smile.  "That'll be just after we lost."  Evan nodded that was true.

"Lost?" Tony asked.

"I'll tell you," Evan said with a look at the door.  He hugged John.  "I've missed you, dumbass."

"You call me such nice names," John teased with a smirk.  Evan cackled.  "Anything on Xander?"

"McKay's got a twin brother named Alexander.   Though I have been told there's somehow two."

"Ow," John said.  "With how bad he was the last time?"


"D'Hoffryn said that he was going to help some hunters."

"Hunters?" Don asked.  "Like demon hunters?" he asked more quietly.  They nodded.  "Why?"

"Alexander," John said quietly.  "The Warrior Child."

"Oh.  Never mind.  That explains a lot.  I'm sure he's stopping problems."

"Or being driven nuts by McKay to learn math this time," Evan added dryly.

"Also possible," John agreed.  He went to let Lucy in, hugging her.  "You know about Evan.  We write him."

"I know."  She hugged him.  "Thank you for finding my stupid big brother."

"It's not a problem.  I'd miss writing to you two."

She grinned.  "You're still an icky boy."

"You'd better think that for centuries," Don assured her with a grin.  She rolled her eyes and walked off like her father would.  He winked at the boys, who grinned back.  "Let me know?"

"Soon," John agreed.  They went to see what Danny was making.  "He's a really good cook," he told Evan.

"Cool.  So's my dad.  What grade are you in?"

"Fourth.  You?"

"Homeschooled," he said with a wicked grin.  "I get to help from his office while he's teaching FBI agents."

"Cool," John said, grinning at Tony.  "Can we do that?"

"No," Don said.  "I wish but no.  There's no one to stay home with you all day."

"Damn," John complained, getting swatted by Lucy.  "Sorry, excuse my mouth."  Danny grinned.  "Evan's home schooled."

"It'd be an ideal option for you two but we're not home to do it."

"You two can find us a stepmother who isn't evil and put her between you," Lucy quipped.

Danny looked at her then at John.  "Did you teach her that?"

"No, the English teacher taught her that when she didn't realize Lucy was reading romance stories over her shoulder."

"They were more fun than our books," Lucy complained.  "I was bored."

Danny stared at her, spoon in his hand.  She squeaked and ran off.  "Yeah, I'd go lock up your fun stuff, Lucy," he called.  He looked at John.  "Any other sins?"

"She doesn't tell mine, I don't nark on hers," John said firmly.  Evan giggled at that, shaking his head.  He smiled sweetly.

Danny looked at him.  "Uh-huh."  He and Don shared a look, making Don smirk.  "You all good with whatever secret you and he hold that you won't tell me?"

"Yup," Don said with a grin.

"Him too?" Danny asked.  Tony nodded.  "Okay.  When can I know?"

"Some year," John said, giving him a hug.  Danny patted him on the head then went back to cooking.  "Want us to set the table?"

"Sure," Danny agreed.  "Bowls and plates."  John nodded, getting help from Evan.  Lucy came down to help.  He looked at Don and Tony.  "You two know each other the same way?"

"Not really," Tony admitted.  "Long story."

"Don't matter," he decided.  "It helped save John from the fucking pervert."  He went back to browning meat.  "Make sure they put out knives, Don."  Don went to do that.  "So, FBI?"

"Training agent.  I was homicide in Philly and Baltimore.  NCIS for five years too."

"Huh.  So you're not the typical asshole agent."  Danny smiled.

"Not hardly and I make sure my students don't become one because they know I will show up with my combat boots."  Danny snickered, shaking his head.  "I hated those sort."

Lucy huffed when she came in.  "John's not playing with me, Dad."

"Is that because they're playing boy things and you don't want to?" Danny guessed.

"They're talking about silly stuff like flying cities.  Cities can't fly."

"With fantasy everything's possible," Don said as he walked behind her.  "If they want to think up flying cities, that's their thing."

"Fine."  She huffed, going back up there.  "I want to be able to fly too.  John said I'd be good at it."

"You will," John agreed.  He pulled her down to include her.  They could go back to general things instead of making future plans.  Though they did have to talk to McKay sometime soon.  Thankfully Evan knew where he was growing up.  John would have to ask how so many of the key Atlantis personnel had been reborn so quickly.  That was a bit fishy.  Though, his son being McKay's twin....  Yeah, that would freak them out greatly.  McKay was probably having a baby freakout most days because of that.  Maybe he'd be able to teach Xander math this time since last time it had gone over his head.


Six more years had gone past.  Xander was thirteen.  He was glaring at his body.  "I fucking hated this each and every single life," he muttered.

Dean leaned into his room, finding his nephew naked.  "Problems?" he guessed, standing up to lean in the doorway.  "Something you need to talk about?"

Xander looked at him.  "Keep the psycho chicks off me?"

"Gladly.  You're too young to date."

Xander snorted.  "Ask Dawn... never mind, she wasn't there."  He sat down to tell Dean about some of his ex's through the ages.  Dean was whimpering by the time he got to his next-to-last life.   The preying mantis woman broke him and he walked off swearing he'd find him a male chastity belt.

Dean walked into the kitchen, looking at Castiel and Sam.  "Before he dated mass murderers, revolutionaries, evil bitches who wouldn't even come near you...."

Castiel nodded.  "His past lives were very attractive to that sort."

Sam looked at Dean.  "Uh-huh."  Dean nodded.  "Kid?"  Xander came jogging down in shorts.  "You have school today."

"No, I'm skipping today.  It's a happy day," he said bitterly.  "I got my first stiffie so now all the evil chicks are coming."

"Go gay," Dean ordered.  "Please go gay?"

Xander shrugged.  "Would it really matter to the ones who like me?"


"Did it help Dad?"

"No," Dean sighed, shaking his head.  "It so fits that you're his because of that single fact."

Xander looked at his uncle.  "So can we go to the porn store?  That way I can get some condoms?"  Castiel coughed and choked.  Sam was doing the same.  "What?  That way I can do myself without creating a lot of messy laundry!"

Dean nodded.  "I can handle that.  Trojans?"

"For just me, it can be the cheap kind," Xander said.  "I don't have the same reasons for the stamina I used to have."  He grinned.

"I'm finding you a male chastity belt," Dean assured him.

Castiel looked at him.  "Since when do they make male versions?"

"Since kinky gay guys use them," Sam said.  He looked at his son.  His special, strange, demented son.  "You still can't date."


"Good."  Sam smirked.   "Permanently."

"We'll see."  He walked off.  "I'm going back to bed since I'm skipping today's holiday."

Sam shook his head.  "You have a math test."

"Another great reason to skip!" Xander called.  "Math sucks demon cock."

Dean cackled, shaking his head.  "I remember saying that.  Dad thought I meant the teacher."  He walked off cackling to bond with his nephew.

Sam and Cas shared a look.  "Go give him the 'thou shall not screw a girl' lecture?" Sam asked quietly.

"I will tonight.  There's a few references I need to look up."  He went to look them up in Dean's Playboys.  They would be good examples of what not to do.


John woke up and looked down his body.  He was twelve.  It figured.  He got up and locked his door because he heard his sister stomping to get him up.  "No, Lucy, you can't come in."

"Why not?" she complained.  "It's not like I haven't shared a bath with you, John."

"Yeah, well, not anymore, sis."  She huffed off.  John groaned, looking at his body.  "Already?" he muttered.  "Really?"  Someone knocked.  "Had a wet dream, didn't think she needed to see that."

"No, definitely not," Don said.  John let him in.  He closed the door and looked at him.  "You okay?"

"Yeah, just pissed off that I'll start drawing bad girls soon."  Don smirked.  "Seriously!"

"We'll figure it out.  You need anything?"

"Condoms to make sure I don't make a mess when I have to scratch that urge?"

"Bum from my drawer."  He smirked.  "Thanks for protecting her."

"She needs a bra," John said bluntly.

"Neither of us can handle that."

"I don't care," John said.  "I beat some asshole off her the other day, Dad."

"I'll see if Mac can."  He grinned.  "He's off on injury leave.  Or maybe one of the nuns."

"You want her to have a warped and shameful view of her body?" John asked.  "Really?"

"No.  But I'm not a girl and neither is her dad."  He patted him on the head.  "No dating until you're fifteen."

"Sure.  As long as you keep the bad girls off me."

"Gladly."  He left, going to talk to Danny and Lucy, who were chatting.  "He had a nice night," he told Danny, who smirked at him.  "He was protecting her.  By the way, Lucy, who do you want to take you shopping?"

"If Stella hadn't went to New Orleans for her health, I'd have asked her," she said dryly.  "The new girl sucks.  A lot.  And many officers."

"Yeah, not a role model you need," Danny agreed.  "I can drop you off.  Let the ladies in there help."

John came bounding down the stairs.  "I say we let Lindsay do it since she wrote."  He held up the letter.

Lucy snatched it to look over.  "Huh, she did write.  She hasn't seen me in years.  So no."  she put it aside.  "There's not really anyone I can ask.  Do I really need one?"  She looked down her shirt.

"Yeah, you do," Danny sighed.  "Which sucks.  Quit doing that."  She let her shirt go.  "You two eat so you can go to school.  We'll figure out who to take you this weekend."  They sat down to eat and then went to get dressed and grab their homework.  John came down wearing jeans and a t-shirt.  Don and Danny both gave him a look since Lucy was in her uniform.

"I don't have a shirt that fits," she complained.  "They're all tighter."

"I'll still paste the next one that tries to grope," John assured her.  She hit him on the arm with a growl.  He smirked at her.  "I will."

"I'm sure your manboob brain will," she huffed. "Someday I'll find a nice boy."

"Find a nice girl for all I care," John said.  "But one more senior gets the bright idea to grope you and I'm going to ruin his football and basketball dreams."

Don patted him on the head.  "You could let us scare the crap out of them."

"Why?  He's already scared of me," John said with a shrug.  "He's an idiot too."  He opened the door.  "After you, Princess."

"Moron."  She walked out, going to the car.  The others followed, Danny locking the door.   They got dropped off at school.  She was holding her books over her chest, suddenly self-conscious.  One of the nuns gave her a pitying look.  "Not like I haven't had them for a few months," she said dryly.  "I don't want to encourage anyone to grope again.  Before I have to paste someone on the football team instead of my brother."

"Aww, who'd help you?" a male voice said and swatted her on the ass.

"Like I need help," she said, turning to hit him with her book.  "Mother fucker, don't touch my ass again.  It's not yours.  You're too filthy for a girl like me.  Stick to your own slime creature species."  She walked off.

John stared down at him.  "Do I need to intervene?"  He smiled.

"No!" the guy said, getting up.  "I'm not gonna touch your sister ever again, Flack!"  He ran off.

"Pity," John said.  "I haven't hit anyone in days."  He looked at the nun.  "They're figuring out who's taking her for her first bra."  He walked off.  They had separate home rooms but the rest of the classes were together.  He heard his sister get called to the office and sighed.  The teacher gave him a dirty look.  "She hit the boy who decided her ass needed spanked."

"Good!" the teacher said.  "The rest of you girls have already had that talk back in Junior High."

John snorted.  "We'll deal with them," he assured her.  The teacher snickered, letting them go to their first period class.

Lucy walked into the office, finding Danny already there.  "He slapped me on the butt, Dad."

"Then you hit him.  I'm damn proud."  He gave her a hug and looked at the female principal.  "What would you do?"

"We don't like to encourage violence," she complained.

"So, yesterday when my big brother had to beat him for trying to grope my chest?" she asked.  "You expect us to let the little rapist bastards do it?"

"No," she said.  "Had I known I would have punished him.  You doing it in self defense is one thing."

"John's highly overprotective of me," she said dryly.

"Yes, we've noticed," the principal said dryly.  "Perhaps we should talk about female attire rules?"

"They're not that big," she pointed out.  "Half the girls in my class are bigger.  They're picking on mine because they're new."

"Beyond that, we're figuring out who's taking her on that girl trip," Danny said.

"Where is her mother?"

"Hell for all I give a damn," Lucy said with a shrug.  "Can I go to class?  I have a math test in a period."

"Fine."  She left.  "She really does need to get into proper female clothes soon."

"We know.  Unfortunately her really close female aunt took a job in New Orleans about a year ago for her health."  The principal nodded at that.  "So we're working on that.  Probably this weekend.  He still doesn't have the right to grope and I want my kids to beat the shit outta someone who does."

"It's still not encouraged by school rules."

"Yeah, but if I find 'em, I might lose my badge."  He smirked.

"Good point.  You are a highly overprotective father."  She smiled.  "You can take her out today.  I'm sure someone there can help her."

"I'm told that's some sort of girl ritual thing."  He shrugged.  "Not a dad and daughter occurrence.  The last time I took her shopping, the people scowled thinking she was my girlfriend.  She had to point out repeatedly that I was her father before they calmed down."

"That's not reasonable of them.  That's fine.  We can excuse her for a few days so she's more comfortable."

"She's perfectly fine and needs to keep her grades up for softball."  He stood up.  "If she gets into another one, let me know."  He left, going to the labs.  Mac was supposed to be off because of a back and leg injury.  He was, instead, doing paperwork.   Danny leaned in.  "Got any good suggestions for who can take Lucy girl shopping?"

Mac shuddered.  "No.  Though I have heard Lindsay's in town."

"Yeah, she wrote.  Lucy consigned her to hell."  They shared a look.  Danny grinned.  "Anyone?"

"Not at the moment.  We don't have any really good female officers."

"Maybe I'll ask Adam to dress up in drag or something."  He walked off.  Mac was snickering, rubbing his sore leg.  He walked into the lab.  "Sheldon, Adam, Lucy needs ta go girl shopping."

"I noticed when she was wearing that really tight white t-shirt last weekend," Adam admitted.  "If I was dating I'd offer someone."

"We can get you in drag," Danny offered.

"No, that was for a charity event and I had to be *really* drunk."  He looked at Sheldon.  He was a doctor.  He had seen those things.

"Oh, no!" he said, holding up his hands and backing off.  "There's no way.  I know nothing about bras outside of taking them off."

"You've got a girlfriend," Adam said.

"Yeah but she only has boys."

"Then maybe she'd like some girl time and we can help with guy stuff?" Danny offered.

"I'll ask."  He smiled.  "I saw Lindsay."

"Lucy said for her to go to hell."

"Doesn't really surprise me," Adam said.  "Especially with Lindsay's whole 'your father's gay and going to turn you into a lesbian' fit during the divorce and custody hearing."

Danny grimaced and nodded.  "Thankfully, the judge knew some of Don's ex's."  He shrugged.  "She pasted some boy today for swatting her on the butt."

"Aww," Adam said with a grin.  "That's cool.  John didn't even have to."

"Nope.  He promised to if the boy did it again."  He logged in and got his gloves and coat to get to work.  He'd go insane with Lucy becoming a woman soon.  He wasn't ready for this.


Lucy looked up as her name was called over the intercom, sighing and looking at John.  He nodded.  She walked off to see what was going on.  He'd move her backpack for her if it took too long.  She walked into the office.  "I got summoned out of Our Sister Of Misery's Semi-History of Stupidity?"

"Sister Alice isn't that bad," the receptionist said.  "You have a visitor."  She smiled and let her have a peppermint candy from her jar.  "It'll be okay."

Lucy looked at her.  "I can paste them too," she pointed out.  She walked into the office and stuck the candy in her mouth so she didn't say the first thing that came to her mind.  That much swearing might get her expelled.  "Mother.  What are you doing here?"

"I thought I'd spend some mother/daughter time with you," she said with a smile.

"I haven't seen you since I was seven.  Why now?"

"Not everyone has ulterior motives and I'll be reminding your father of that."

Lucy snorted.  "I didn't learn it from him, I learned it from you during the divorce."  Lindsay glared.  "We'll talk later, for dinner."

"I can take you shopping since you clearly need it."

"So my new boobs brought you all the way from Montana?" she asked dryly.  "After seven years?"  She stared at her.  "No, you wanna connect, you come for dinner.  If you'll excuse me, I have an important history lesson to get back to."  She walked off muttering.  The change bell rang so she ran into John in the hallway.  "We need dinner with everyone."

John looked over her shoulder.  "Yeah, we do."  He walked her off, arm over her shoulder.  "So, you missed the Spanish Inquisition."

"Monty Python said everyone does," she quipped.  She got her phone out of her locker and used it quickly.  "I know," she told the scowling teacher.  "My mother just showed up.  I'm telling my father I invited her for dinner."  She listened to Danny swear.  "Apparently my new boobs brought her alllll the way back here.  Yup.  Still might be here actually.  Wanted to take me shopping.  Thanks."  She hung up and put the phone back, then they hurried to class.  Lucy wasn't really in the mood for science but oh well.  She had to do it.  Then she could go kick someone's ass in PE.


Danny hung up and called Don and Mac on conference.  "We're having dinner," he noted.  "All of us.  Lindsay is at the school.  Wanted to take Lucy shopping."  He hung up with a growl.

"Way to channel my dog," Sheldon said, smiling at him.

Danny snorted.  "Yeah, because I'll bite too," he promised.  "This week might get worse.  I'm not real sure."  He stomped off taking his gloves off.  He needed a bathroom break to kick the wall in there.  Mac walked in and stared at him. "If you're there, I won't rip her head off."

"That's reasonable.  Should I order?"

"Please."  He tossed him his wallet.  "Find something nice that the kids will eat.  Lucy's anti-sausage right now for some reason."

"I can do that."  He walked off.  Don was probably doing about the same thing at his precinct.  This was going to be bad.


John and Lucy walked out together.  They got to walk home.  "Why are you two so close?" Lindsay asked.

John looked at her.  "So I can kick the ass of the people who upset her."  He stared her down.  "There's so few of them."  He glared at one boy coming his way.  "She's grounded."

"I only wanted help in chemistry."  He gave Lucy the puppy eyed look.  "Please?"

"We have lunch together, right?"  He nodded.  "Catch me tomorrow."  He grinned and jogged off to let his mother drive him off.  She looked at her mother.  "This isn't dinner."

"I am your mother, young lady."

"No, see, my mother threw a fit with the judge.  And then she fucked off back to Montana."  She stared at her.  "We're having dinner so everyone can talk and perhaps my father and uncle can make me not hate you."  She walked off.  John followed.  "We're still in the same house."

Lindsay glared.  "I knew there was something wrong with him."

John stomped back.  "Excuse you?  Something wrong with *me*?  You're the one who took a friendship and turned it into a gay conspiracy against you.  You're the one who threw such massive fits in the middle of your divorce hearing about everyone being against you because you're a female that you got confined for a seventy-two hour evaluation.  Not me.  I'm a perfectly normal little smartass genius.  So is my sister."

"Half sister," she said firmly.

"She's more my family than yours," he shot back.  She tried to hit him.  One of the teachers stopped her and another made him walk off.  "She doesn't get near my sister."

"Who is she?" that teacher asked.

"That's her fucking bitchy mother."

"I think you and Lucy should go home and let your father handle this," the teacher said.

"I'd love to but apparently she's stalking us.  Lucy told her we'd deal with this at dinner and the bitch didn't listen.  I'm not letting anyone hurt my sister."  He stared at that teacher.  "Especially that one."

"I agreed.  Go home, we'll call your father."  John nodded, walking off, taking his bag back from Lucy.  They counted their pocket change and got a cab.  The teacher smiled at that move.  It was highly protective.  She walked back.  "I said I'd call their father.  They took a cab home," she told the principal.  "John was highly upset that she insulted him."

"I would be too," she agreed.  She called Danny.  She got Don instead.  "Mr. Flack, yes, it is the principal.  No, I nearly had to have John confined for hurting an adult.  Yes, that one.  That's what he told her.  Exactly.  No, cab.  Thank you."  She hung up.  "Detective Flack also said for you to show up to dinner, where they could discuss family matters out of the public view."  She stared at Lindsay.  "I would suggest you do so, Ms. Monroe-Messer."  She walked off.  The teacher was worried but that was normal.  The children had to have a temper when things happened because of their youth and brains.  There had been all sorts of threats to them over the years because of that.

Lindsay stomped off.  This was not going the way she wanted.  She went to file the proper paperwork.  She would get her daughter back.


Mac got a head's up from the courthouse.  "I'll let him know.  Thank you, Patrice.  Kiss the baby for me."  He hung up and rubbed his face, paging them to call him.  They both called at the same time from Don's phone.  "Bad news.  I got a head's up that Lindsay just filed for custody amendment to give her full custody."

"I'm going to bury her somewhere," Danny said.

"We have a river, Danny.  Chop her into pieces and dump her body," Don ordered.  "Lucy can even help.  It'll be bonding.  Thanks, Mac."  He hung up.  On their scene, Danny was kicking the building.  It dislodged some brick dust and a brick that was hiding their murder weapon.  That made Danny hop around when it hit his foot but that was fine.


Danny looked at the judge who was doing the emergency hearing.  The kids were with him.  "Your honor, I haven't had time to get a lawyer but I am an officer."

"That's fine.  Can you handle this on your own for this single hearing, Detective Messer?"

"I can."  He pulled out files.  "This is from the first hearing and the divorce.  Including her fit that got her confined to psych.  Also a letter from the principal of my kids' school stating she was stalking them today and had upset both of them, including verbally baiting my son."  He handed them over.

He read them, nodding at what he saw.  "It looks fairly clear cut."  He looked up.  "Are you in a relationship with the other detective?"

"No.  Due to the way our son was made, we share a residence but I have one floor as my suite and he has another."

"How did that happen?" the judge asked.

"Someone found John as a two-year-old in a lab."

"That's not nice of them."  He went back to the records.  "I'm seeing the same complaints.  I'm seeing she didn't show up to the last hearing?"

"She spent approximately sixteen months in a physical rehabilitation center for being shot in the head," Don said.  "When she got out, she tried a few more times, swore at all of us, made threats in the courtroom, then stomped off never to be heard from again."

"You're Detective Flack I suppose?"  Don nodded.  "Those are the children?"  They nodded.  "They're very nice looking, Detectives."

"They're sophomores," Danny said proudly.

"Excellent job then."  He went back to reading then compared it to her filings.  "She still believes you're together."

"I'd never sleep with Don.  He's cuddly according to his girlfriends," Danny said dryly.

"That's fine."  He kept going.  "Why was visitation not ordered?"

"Because I'd rather slit my wrists, Your Honor," Lucy said.  "I don't care what she wants.  She's done nothing like a mother should in my opinion."

The judge stared at her.  "Technically she still has rights."

"And so do I."  She stood up.  "If I have to, I'll ask to appoint a lawyer to look out for my interests."

"That's not a bad idea if I let this go on."  He went back to rereading.  Things weren't looking happy.  "Why did the marriage split up?"

"His gay love child," Lindsay sneered.  "He and his *other father* decided to make a go of it."

"No, we didn't," Don said.  "I was dating a really nice woman, who I actually proposed to.  She turned me down."  He looked at the judge.  "We invited her over for whenever Danny wanted visitation, Your Honor.  She never came.  I offered to let them take John to her house and she refused.  She became the wicked stepmother.  Then Lucy got food poisoning and she went nuts, deciding she didn't need her medicine, which started a fight and they split.  That's when the theory hit that we were together."

"I think that's not a reasonable suggestion.  You two split custody?"

"I usually had him.  She wouldn't let John in her house because she decided he was somehow wrong."

"Look at where he is in school!  He can't be normal!" Lindsay shouted.

"Gee, Mom, and yet I'm in the same grade and ten months younger," Lucy shot back.  Lindsay gasped and sat down again.  "Your Honor, even if you order it, I'd rather be committed those weekends to a psych hospital."  Danny glared at her.  "I would!"

"You say that again, I'm paddling your ass," he said.  "You turn that bad, we'll talk, but there's nothing here that's that bad."

"Yes, Dad."

"Thank you!"  He turned to look at the judge again.  "John's almost thirteen, she's just barely twelve."

"They're all drama queens at that age," the judge sighed.  "My three were and one of mine turned into one of those emo boy band sorts.  I had such hopes for him."  He looked at the children then at the mother.  "I would wish that you do give her some visitation, at home if you wish," he said.

"I told her to come to dinner tonight so we could fight out of the public view.  Instead she stalked me around the school and insulted my brother to the point where he nearly killed her.  Apparently she doesn't want to catch up or anything," Lucy finished, sounding bitter.  "I could use more women in my life but not that one."

"It is a time in a young woman's life when she could use a female influence," the judge agreed.  "Grandparents?"

"My father's alive," Don said.

"Mine kicked me out," Danny said.  "I wasn't a thug."  He sighed.  "We had some nice women in the lab but the main one I'd go to for help left for a job in New Orleans."

"That's something that many single parents must deal with," the judge agreed.  "How do you feel about some visitation?"

"I don't want the kids upset.  She refuses to get along with my son.  She upsets my daughter.  My daughter is going to lash out and hurt her if she upsets her too much.  We taught her how to protect herself.  She tends to make me feel unneeded when I want to protect her."

"Some girls do."  He smiled at the children.  "Would you consent to the dinner tonight?"

"If I must, as long as she leaves again," Lucy said.

"You could find that she missed you," the judge said.

"Then she would've communicated in the last seven years," Lucy said dryly.  "I've been able to write and use the phone since I was five.  Text since I was eight.  She chose to go back to Montana and not keep in touch.  That was her thing.  Not that I respected her with the way she treated my father anyway."

"I thought you'd understand when you were older," Lindsay said.

"I'm pretty sure I understood then.  You're a selfish bitch," Lucy said with a shrug.

"I was having problems."

Lucy looked at her.  "When you become a mom, all your problems have to be pushed back for the good of your child," Danny said.  "Mine sure as hell did."  He cleared his throat.  "Even when she was getting better in the hospital, she didn't want Lucy there."

"I didn't want her to see me that way."

Lucy made a scoffing noise.  "Uh-huh.  Yank the other one since it took you six months after you were back on duty to refile for custody."

"Four months," the judge corrected.  "The trial took a bit of time, dear."  He looked at the parents.  "Try dinner tonight.  We'll have a full hearing on this in..."  He flipped through his calendar.  "Six weeks?  The 23rd?"

"No can do," Danny said.  "I'm due to testify that week sometime.  I'm free the next week."

"Me too," Don said.

"As far as I know we don't have any tests," John agreed.

"You can get an excused absence for that," the judge said.  "I have the 28th free?"  They nodded, making that note.  "I would like an evaluation done.  She seems fairly upset at this moment and it might help her to have someone to talk to."

"I don't need a shrink," Lucy assured him.

"It's SOP," Don told her, giving her a hug.

"I want him away from my daughter.  Him and his mutant son," Lindsay ordered.

"He's my son too," Danny said dryly.  "And since he lives there and so does John, it can't be done."

"He's touching her."

"It's called a hug, moron," John snorted.  "Must we?" he asked the judge.  "Really?"

"No.  I don't think that's logical.  Though you both sound angry."

"Since the day she's met me she's been certain there's something wrong with me. I didn't want to grow up with that," John said bluntly.  "I'm not the one with something wrong with them."

"No, such hateful things are not good to grow up to," the judge agreed, glaring at her.  "I will have you not say such things."  He cleared his throat.  "I'll still want the evaluation, just as a precaution because I know her lawyer will ask for one," he sighed.

Danny nodded.  "We can and will."

"Thank you.  Let me know with who."

"I want to pick them," Lindsay said.  "It's my right!"

"No, it's the court's right," Don countered.  "We'd be sticking with the DA approved list."

"I find that sufficient," the judge agreed.  He stared.  "Dinner and then we'll talk on the 28th at 2."  They nodded and left.  Lucy was under her father's arm.  John was protectively hovering.  Don was behind them in case Lindsay did something.  The judge sighed.  "Sometimes the law needs an out clause," he muttered.


Evan heard from John that night, grimacing.  "That truly sucks," he said.

"What does?" Tony called from the kitchen.

"Lucy's mom showed up."

"Yeah, that sucks."  He came in.  "John can come down for a few days if you want."

"I'm not ready for that yet," Evan complained.

Tony patted him on the head.  "He still can."  He went back to making dinner.  "We're having a visitor."

"Aunt Abby?"

"No, McGee.  I'm not sure why.  He called a few minutes ago."

"I can be less teenager and more messy," Evan quipped, changing shirts.  He had today off so he was in sweats and a t-shirt.  He came out to answer the door.  "Hey, McGee.  He's in the kitchen."  Abby followed, giving him a hug.  "Make an extra plate for Aunt Abby," Evan called, grinning at her.

"It's an adult talk," she said quietly.  She went to the kitchen too.

"We need you back," McGee said.  "Gibbs is missing."

"Like his fuck-off vacation to Mexico or actually missing?" Tony asked.

"No, we think someone kidnaped him," Abby sighed, hopping up to sit on the counter.  Tony moved her and she smiled.  Weakly but she was smiling.  "All we know is his door was broken in, there was a struggle."

"They were wearing gloves.  We found the ends of rope," McGee said, handing over the file. "Vance said to bring you back for this."

Tony nodded.  "I can do that.  Has he talked to my bosses?"

"Yup, we did," Abby agreed.  "They've agreed it's important."  Evan walked in to get some chips.  "That is not dinner, young man."

"You guys are having an adult talk," he quipped.  "I'm going to be chatting with France and England."

"Tell them I said hi," Tony said.  He dished up food and handed over a plate.  "Eat."  Evan grinned, taking it back to his room.  He looked at them.  "How much do we know outside the file?"

"Not much.  None of the usual sources know anything," McGee said.

"So use behavior modeling equations," Evan called.  "Or probability equations."

"We can't do that, dear," Abby said.

"Some professor at CalSci can and he works with the FBI," Evan said, leaning into the kitchen.  "That nice guy with the hair, Dad."

"I remember him.  I can ask.  Go eat."  Evan grinned and went back to chatting with people he used to know.  He went to look that number up and called, chatting to him.  He was still in his office.  Or that was his cellphone, one of the two.  He agreed to take what they could find and do some math for them.  Tony put him on with Abby who could go over the recent cases, the bad guys who wanted him, who had contracts out on him, and all the other important stuff.  She even faxed the folder they had for Tony over.


Lucy was locked in with the shrink.  "God, woman!  I just got boobs and you want to know if I'm a lesbian?  First, I'm not old enough to know yet.  Second, that sounds a shitload like you're hitting on me and I'll turn your ass in for it."  The therapist said something more quietly.  "No, that's her damage.  They aren't together and even if, it wouldn't make me a lesbian.  And before you ask, no, I don't mind lesbians.  One of my posse is.  Has been since she was five.  I'm sure I'll find a use for boys some day but it won't be this year at my age."  She opened the door and walked out.  "I'm done."

Don grinned.  "I heard.  You okay?"

"I think her whole purpose was to piss me off.  If so, she did a great job of it."  She sneered back at her.  "I hope you aren't dealing with hurt kids who could actually use the therapy because you'd screw them up worse."  She grabbed her bag from the chair.  "Can we go?"

"Yup."  Don stood up.  "Doc, did you really have ta piss her off?  I mean, seriously?  Now I gotta put up with it tonight while I made her do her hated geometry homework."

"I hate math," she muttered.  "John's *so* much better at it."

"You have your areas and he has his," Don reminded her, walking her out.  "You'll be fine and help each other since he's not doing well in English."  She nodded with a sigh.  "Doc, her father wanted a copy of your report as well," Don reminded before they left.  He took her home, letting her tell Danny how badly it had went.


Danny and Lindsay met with the judge with their lawyers, and without the kids.  "I heard the shrink asked her inappropriate stuff."

"He did?" the judge asked.

"She did," Danny said, handing over the tape recording.  "My girl's a genius.  Her phone has a record feature."  The judge listened to it, wincing at some of the very blatant questions.  "Loud," Danny warned before Lucy started to shout.

The judge turned it off and nodded.  "That was not the evaluation I was hoping for.  Her statements said that she was homophobic and very in-tune with her violent side."

"No, she's real protective of herself and us but not violent unless you go after her, or you're one of the boys in school who try to grope.  For years we didn't know Lucy could brawl.  We always blamed all the bully baiting on John.  Turned out, ninety percent of the time it was her."  The judge snickered.  "Not that he won't, but she apparently felt the need to assert herself."

"Clearly."  He looked at them.  "How did the dinner go?"

"She walked out within ten minutes," Lindsay said.  "I want to have another one."

"She huffed off when her mother asked her about why she wasn't in her right grade, like she supposedly should be.  John followed when Lindsay blamed that on him.  Rightly but still."

"He did help her get into a higher grade?"

"Yes.  He thought she'd be bored and she had done a lot of the same workbooks and reading he had.  They started in fourth."

"That makes perfect sense," the judge said.  "It's often that way when one child's a genius.  They'll help the others, especially if they're close, to be more like them so they're not as outcast."  He sighed.  "Would she consent to another visit?"

"No.  Her exact statement on that was filthy and got her grounded."

"She's my daughter."

"She's mine too and you left.  You orchestrated all this for no reason and it's stupid.  You're hurting our daughter and she don't need this.  Especially not at this age."  He stared at her.  "You chose your path, live with it."  He looked a the judge.  "She wanted to visit a penpal in DC this weekend."

"Female?" the judge asked.

"No, a friend of John's.  She started to write him after him.  They make good penpals but she wanted to hit the museums and I can't take time off to take her."

"How old is he?  Does she perhaps show interest?"

"He shows more interest in John," Danny said bluntly.  The judge smiled.  "He's also their age."

"That's a good friend then.  I wouldn't obstruct it if the plans are made."

"I wanted to make sure first."

"That's fine."  He clasped his hands over the pile of paperwork on his desk.  "Yes, by law she should have visitation with her daughter, but her daughter is clearly of the mental age, if not the physical age, who can make some of her own life decisions.  Anyone who was in tenth grade would be asked their opinion on the matter and I can agree with that in her case since she is so smart."  He looked at her.  "If you want to build a relationship with her, I would start more slowly, with a letter.  Perhaps some phone calls."

"She's still my daughter.  By law I have to be able to see her if I'm a fit parent."

"Yeah, but your fitness isn't really fit, is it?" Danny asked.  "Are they blackmailing you?"

"What?" she asked, looking nervous.

Danny stared at her.  "Evan has friends all over the world and one of them's parents have used the same exact argument."  He looked at the judge, who shuddered.  "Also slightly genius."

"So we believe someone wants the children?"  Danny nodded.  "Then I hope she'll be safe."

"Actually, DC might be safer.  Evan's just as big of a brother as John is and he has a very close aunt.  That might be her reason for going."

"It could be," the judge agreed.  "I'll revisit this in a year.  See if any contact has been welcome."  He banged his gavel and they filed out.  "I hope it's not true, Detective.  If so, I wish you much luck guarding the children," he whispered.  It did seem a bit strange to him in hindsight, especially with that other knowledge.


Evan went to answer the door, smiling at Lucy.  "Hi, you got free?"

"I so got free and whoever was going to try to snatch me can't now."  She hugged him.  "Is your auntie here?"

"I can call her or we can go visit."

"Let's, that way your dad knows I'm camping on your couch."  Evan nodded, grabbing stuff and taking her over by cab.  They got let in and up to the work floor.  Lucy smiled.  "Hi, Uncle Tony."

"Hi, Lucy."  He gave her a hug.  "Guys, this is one of Evan's penpals from New York.  Her father's a detective."  He looked at her.  "We find out who it was?"

"Nope.  Still worried though."  She shrugged.  "Can I talk to Abby?" she asked quietly.

"I thought it might be a girl issue," he said with a smirk.  "Evan's at that same age."  Evan blushed.  "She's in the lab.  Evan?"  He took her down there and they got back to work.

Evan walked into the lab first.  "Look who I have, Auntie Abby."

She smiled.  "Now's not a good time, kids."

Lucy looked.  "Isn't that platelets?"

"Yes," Abby said, staring at her.  "How do you know?"

"Science class.  I'm doing okay in it but I hate math."

Abby smiled, giving her a hug.  "Think about forensics?"

"Maybe, not real sure.  I guess that depends on what college courses look most interesting.  John wants to fly planes."

"John and his planes," Evan muttered.  Lucy pinched him.  She gave him that girl look too so he backed off.  He watched Lucy whisper in his aunt's ear, getting a hug and a tiny squeal back.

"I'd be honored, Lucy.  Won't your aunts mind?"

"She left last year for New Orleans."

"That sucks."  She gave her another hug.  "You can stay and watch how brilliant I am if you want."  Lucy nodded, and they sat down to watch what she did.  Separating out the samples and all that was something they could use.  She smiled at Evan.  "I didn't know you like science."

"I like aerodynamics," he offered with a grin.

"That would be bullet trajectories in forensics," Abby said.  She went into her office and came out with her beginning textbook.  "I want that back."  They nodded and settled in to watch her and go over the first few lessons so they could ask questions.  She was a good recruiter for her field.  Then she could help Lucy with girl things.  Because the girl clearly needed bra help.


Xander felt the call first and sighed.  They had a year to get it together. He started to work on the thing his other half couldn't because they were being watched.  He got Sam and Dean to help him gather weapons too.  Dean wanted to know why, all Xander could say was it was important and not just to earth.  So they helped.  Dean was a tinkering genius.  Sam knew a lot of things that helped.  Cas even helped but he kept giving him looks like he knew.

When it was time, they called in a favor from Dawn to get things together.  Then Xander picked a date and started the calling ring.  The others agreed.  The only problem was there was no gateway outside the mountain but Rodney had built one and was having it sent to a good area to use it.  Xander was almost getting sniffly but he refused to do that.  He'd seen his parents die before.  This time, it might be him.  But he was okay with that.  It was important.  Dean stopped him before he could go, staring at him.  "I have to."

"We can help," Dean pointed out.

"It's not your destiny."

"So?  Destiny and prophecy are for the weak, as you prove every single day," Sam said as he joined them.  "Give us time to pack."  Really he mostly was but a few reference books never hurt and he had the feeling he might need some.  Cas had his own bags packed, including weapons.  They drove to the site picked out, which was an out-of-the-way warehouse.   Dean and Sam helped Xander carry in things, Cas bringing their personal items.  "How soon?" Sam asked.

"Hours," Xander said, biting his lip.  "I don't know how to work that thing.  My other half does."

"Other half?" Dean asked.

"When I got sent back, I accidentally got split."

"Yes but it's helped me terribly," Rodney McKay said as he came over and hugged him.  "You're more handsome now than you were as my own son."  Xander cackled, giving him a squeeze.  "You told them?"

"He's our boy," Sam said dryly.  "He doesn't go do world ending things without us."

"We actually know what's going on," Rodney said.  "You don't."

Castiel coughed.  "Wrong, Doctor Meredith Rodney McKay."  He stared at him.  "Some of us do know."

"You're that one he talked about, Castiel."  Cas smiled and nodded.  "Well, I suppose it can't hurt, even though there's no scientific evidence of God."

"Don't, just don't," Xander muttered.  He looked at his twin.  "If I touch you do we get back together?"

"Probably," he admitted.  "Which means one side would win out."

Rodney gave him a shove toward his twin.  They did merge.  "I'm hoping it's a balance this time instead?"  Xander nodded with a grin.  "Good.  We can use more warrior geeks to follow in your other father's footsteps."  More of the teams came in.  One of the last groups was John, Lucy, and Evan, plus Tony and Don and Danny, and Mac.  "Are the parents wishing us a fond voyage?" he called.

"Hell no!" Don shouted.  "No one takes my boy that far away without me."  He stared at him.  "Are we missing people?"

"Six," Xander said.  "Carson's still pretty young."

"Yeah, he's only twelve," Evan said.  "I met his mother when I first got sent to Tony."  Danny stared at him.  "You didn't tell him?" he asked John.

"No," he sighed.  He took him and Mac aside to tell them about redemption children.  Mac hugged him.  Danny was sniffling.  But they still wanted to go.  The last group minus Carson showed up.  Including Jennifer Keller, who hadn't died on Atlantis.  She had been back on earth during the final attack, evacuating the injured.  John stared at her.

"I knew something was going on.  There was a huge upsurge in toddler geniuses."

"Shut up, Doctor Barbie," McKay sighed.  Carson finally walked in, alone thankfully.

"I have things in the car," he said.  "I could use some help."  They went to get the supplies. Xander, Rodney, and Radek fixed things so the new stargate would work.  Jennifer gasped when it lit up and started to dial.  Carson got the last thing in and then remembered his bag of personal stuff.  He got that and came back.

Finally the wormhole was established and they sent through a camera, which whited out.  "The shield is still up, John."

John walked up to the gateway.  "Atlantis, I'm home," he called.  "Lower it.  We're coming back.  I told you I'd be back."  The camera view came back on as Radek hacked the native systems.  "We good?"

"It is down," he said.  "I still think I sound odd not being Czech."

"I feel the same way about not being Scottish," Carson quipped.  "They all decided I was in my last life."  They hauled the stuff over then the last people went.  The adults were mostly curious and worried but followed.  Castiel went first.

"Oh, my," he said, smiling as he looked around.  "It's very beautiful here, Atlantis."  The shades went up so they could see.  Everyone else got things settled, shut down the gate, and Xander pulled out the weapons and other stuff they needed.

"Phase generator," Xander announced, holding it up.

"Gimme," Rodney said, snatching it from him.  "Thank you.  Most helpful."

"Of course I am."  He smirked.  "City, can we have a status update please?"  She ran that past the screens.  "Looks like the shields are partially down."

"Why did you like the merpeople?" John asked suddenly.  "You never told us."

Xander grinned.  "Because in Sunnydale I kinda almost got turned into one."  He beamed.   "They're like cousins."  He got back to work.  "All right, I have the shield recalibrated for you, Rodney.  Whenever you're ready to insert the new ones."

"I'm going," he promised, taking the crate of ZPM's with him.  "Did we leave some?"

"Want me to dial there and check?" Xander asked dryly.  "We had three crates of them."

Rodney counted.  "We have two."

"I'm missing a few smaller things," Carson admitted.

Xander started the dial out sequence.  Rodney went to add the ZPM so they could use it.  "Military guys there," he announced.  "But it's Uncle Jack."  He skipped back through the gateway and stared.  "Hi, Esme.  You're late."

"Sorry!" she scoffed.  "You forgot stuff?"

"Yeah, lots of stuff."

"We confiscated that, Xander.  How in the hell?"

Xander grinned.  "Redemption children hardly ever die, Uncle Jack.  We need those.  One's ZPM's."  He gaped then had it brought back in with the other stuff they had left.  "That's so sweet, we left the MRE's.  Rodney's going to shit bricks."  He got it through the gateway, carefully going with the ZPM's.  Esme O'Neill followed.  Jack followed.  The gate shut down when no one else started to follow.  "Welcome back to Atlantis, Uncle Jack."

Jack looked around.  "Oh, my God," he whispered.

"Unfortunately, humanity is next on the menu so we have to stop them or all of everyone everywhere will die."

"We're on another world?" Dean asked.

"You clearly need caffeine, Uncle Dean," Xander quipped.   He let Esme handle the plant samples and seeds they had for the greenhouse systems.  Rodney took the ZPM's down there to store them in the proper room and make sure they were all working.  Xander and the others got Atlantis ready for a hell of a fight.  Because one was coming.  They may have lost when they were older, but it had only been a few months Atlantis time.  They were better prepared now and it was going to be a hell of a battle this time.

The End.

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