Lost and Found.
Derek screamed as Nick passed out beside him, desperately reaching for his hand. "Nick!"
"Shh," Alex said, coming over to hold his hand. "They knocked him out so he wouldn't feel the cut." She soothed her boss and friend as the drugs started to take effect on him too. Within minutes, it was just her and the doctors. "Now what?" she asked. They all looked at her. "I'm not leaving."
"Good. We'll need someone to hold the children and cut the cords," the doctor Strife had asked to come said, smiling at her. "Stay up there if you don't want to watch them be cut out."
"It can be quite gruesome looking," Alex's gynecologist agreed. He tapped on the stomach, smiling at the response he got. He looked at the monitor they had hooked up to Philip, then nodded. "I think it's time for this one," he announced, pulling over his surgical tray. They had all scrubbed in a few minutes earlier in the bathroom attached to the lab. It was a rush job but it should be good enough. He swabbed down the raised stomach with antiseptic, making wider and wider circles with each pass. He tossed that swab away and picked up another one, starting over again. He smiled as Alex came over to watch him. "Dear, in the future, I'd prefer not to be in on this."
"I understand fully," she said, smiling at him. "I doubt they want to go through this again." She nodded at the bare spot on the large bump. "How long?"
"Just as soon as I finish this," he said, checking his watch. "In about six minutes we'll have the baby out." He tossed away the swab pulled up his mask, then picked up a scalpel and bent over slightly. "You might want to stand back. This is surgery."
"I've got a pretty good idea of what this looks like," she admitted. "I've watched the films before."
"All right," he agreed, making the first cut.
After a few more cuts, Alex decided to stand up by Philip's head and stroke through his hair. She watched as Derek was prepped next, jumping when she heard a cry. "Is it okay?" she asked, coming back down to look at the little... "Boy?"
"Yes, it is," he said, handing her the child. "Hold it still and I'll cut the cord. You can trim it later." He cut the baby free and watched as Alex took him over to be cleaned off. "Note the time," he called.
"All right," she said, checking the clock on the wall. She wrote it down then grabbed one of the towels, starting on the baby's face. She picked up the suckage bulb and worked on the baby's nose, getting baby squeaks in protest. "I think he's going to be fine," she said, wrapping him securely as she heard another scream. She came over to get this child too, smiling down at him. "Another boy?"
"Yup," the doctor Strife had called in to look over them said, giving her a smile. "Do like you did with the first one." He started to clean out the womb area using his powers while she took the baby away. He closed Derek up and healed him, coming over to do the same to Philip. He gave the other doctor a faint smile. "Don't worry," he whispered. "It's all going to be okay. Let's get the other one out." They walked over to do this one together.
Alex took the third boy when it was time, going over to clean him off too. She noted the time of birth and then a light flashed. She blinked and opened her eyes, staring down at three just born children. She looked at the cards beside each one's head, shaking her head at the skimpy notes. She looked around the lab in confusion. "What's going on?" she called. One of the boys cried so she finished their first baths, rewrapping them in clean blankets. She noticed a set of birth certificates on a side table and picked up the first one, smiling at it's filled out state. "All right then," she said, able to deal with the strange, even when it's her name on the birth certificate. She put the three boys into a nearby laundry basket, which she guessed was for this purpose, and went to find everyone else. They had to know about this. They could take care of her memories.
Derek woke up first and sat up in the bed, looking around his bedroom. He felt a hand curl around his thumb and looked down, smiling at the picture Nick made curled up between him and Philip. He rubbed his stomach absently, thinking that something might have happened to it, but the skin was smooth and soft like it usually was. He lay back down, sure all answers would be provided.
Philip opened his eyes and smiled at Derek, wrapping an arm around Nick's shoulders. "It's all right," he whispered. "We're all fine."
"Why wouldn't we be?" Derek asked. He frowned. "Memory spells never worked very well on you. You know what's going on, don't you?"
"Yes, and you might want to prepare yourself for a shock," Philip said with his brightest smile. He looked toward the opening door, giving the same smile to Alex. "There they are," he said, waving her inside. "How are they?"
"Fine, what do you know?" she asked as she set the laundry basket on the end of the bed. One of the inhabitants screamed, he did not appreciate being jostled that way. "Shh, I'm sorry," she cooed, picking that one up to hold. The other two promptly started to scream too.
"Too much noise," Nick groaned as he woke up. He flopped over and glared at Alex. "Why are you in here?"
"Because I brought you a surprise," she said, handing over the child that had Nick's name on his card. "It's yours," she said when he just stared at the child in his arms.
"A child?" Derek asked, looking at the perfect little boy. "When did you have a child, Nick?"
"I didn't," Nick said, starting to panic. "I'm sterile, I can't have kids. I certainly didn't have one recently." He grunted and rubbed his stomach. "Hey, not nice," he told the son, who hadn't been anywhere near the sore spot.
"I think I might have something else for you," Alex said, pulling out the birth certificates. She handed one to Nick. "This was there with him when I woke up in the lab. They still had birth fluid on them."
He frowned at the paper, then glared at her. "Not funny, Alex."
"Not a joke," Philip said quietly, picking up another one.
"Not yours," Alex said, switching children with him, handing the one Philip had been holding to Derek. "And we have paperwork on them too." She stood up. "I think I should probably run out and get diapers and formula and stuff. Will you three be okay?"
"Fine," Nick grumbled, staring at the foreign little alien on his stomach. He looked up as the baby started to scream again but she was already gone. "What's wrong?" he asked, starting to panic.
"Stick your finger in his mouth," Philip advised. He was a big brother and an Uncle, he knew about these things. He looked over at Derek, who was still silent. "Somethin' wrong with him?"
"No, I'm trying to use my Sight on him," Derek admitted.
"They're not human?" Nick asked.
"No, they are," Philip disagreed. "What little I remember is that they're special and had to be reborn. That and we had to do it together for some reason." He shrugged at Derek's hard look. "I don't know anymore." He got up and walked into the bathroom with his son, going to give him a real bath.
Nick looked down at his son then over at Derek, who shrugged. He got up and followed Philip, hoping to get some clues. He had *no* idea what to do with a child. Derek came in a few heartbeats later, not wanting to miss any of the lessons Philip might be giving.
Strife appeared in the nursery, smiling at the children. "Hey, guys," he said happily, touching each one of them. "What's the sitch?" He gave each one a kiss and nearly jumped out of his skin at the cough from the doorway. He turned to find Philip standing there. "Hey," he said, still happy. "You didn't forget?"
"Nah. Memory blocks don't work well on me." He came in and looked down at the two-week- old boys too. "Who were they?"
"My fav kids before. Triplets."
"Ah." Philip patted him on the arm. "We'll do our best with them." He looked at the happy God. "Anything we ought to know?"
"Oh, you'll find out," Strife said with a smirk. He lost it, his face getting hard. "I will be checking up on my boys," he threatened. "They'd better be treated better this time than they were last time."
"We'll do our best to spoil them rotten," Philip agreed, giving him a hug. "Thank you, Strife," he whispered. Then he was alone. He smiled down at his son, who was awake and looking at him. "Hungry, Jason?"
The baby cooed up at him.
Epilogue: Four Years Later:
Philip smiled as his son danced around in one of Alex's old outfits. Nick walked over to join him watching the boys. "Jas does that a little too well," Nick noted.
"He'll be whatever he'll be," Philip said wisely. "Any idea why Joxerin's balance is so off?"
"Yeah," Nick said, rubbing his itching nose. His son had bopped him on it when they had been at the doctor's earlier that day. "Apparently I named him after the right person. He has the same problems with his ears and depth perception that my grandfather had, the ones that kept him out of active duty in the Old Country." He shrugged off Philip's comforting hand. "They think they can put him on medicine to counteract the dizziness now and they'll hope he'll grow up able to compensate. The doctor suggested I start working on Tai Chi with him to improve his balance too."
"That's good," Derek said as he joined them, watching Jas pick on Jox. He frowned as his son Jettan pulled Jox behind him and scolded the other child. "He's certainly protective of that one," he noted.
"Jett's a predator," Philip said solemnly. "Joxerin is his playtoy." Derek glared at him. "It's true."
"It is," Nick added. "We've known it since they were old enough to push each other down the hallways." He looked at Derek. "You could push his predatory nature into something better for him though. Maybe a ghost hunter or something?"
Derek smiled, but it wasn't a nice one. "I refuse to turn my son into my father, Nick, same as you refuse to turn your son into your grandfather."
"Point," Philip agreed, "but there's plenty of things that people hunt. He might be a good cop."
"He might," Derek agreed, mollified by the more practical suggestion. He frowned at the boys. "Philip, why does your son look like a bad drag performer?"
"Because he's like that," Nick said simply. "His is gonna be a drag queen. Mine's going to do something mental instead of physical, and yours is going to go get into trouble or stop people from having trouble."
Philip smiled to himself. He had done research over the last few years, ever since the first time Strife had told him who they were. "You never know, Nick, yours might be a fierce warrior of the light, same as you are."
"Philip, I'm being realistic," Nick told him. "Joxy's not gonna be a SEAL. He's not gonna be able to do anything very physical without his balance problems getting in the way."
"You never know," Philip repeated, giving him a smile. "Sometimes the will is stronger than the body."
"Yeah, and maybe yours is going to end up a preacher in the Religious Right too," Nick countered playfully.
"Over my dead body," Philip muttered.
Derek gave them both a tolerant smile. "The boys will grow up fast enough, let's not make trouble for them already. They'll decide what they want to be in goot time." He smiled and grabbed his son as he ran up to get a hug. "Hello, Jett, did you enjoy playing with them?"
"My Joxy," he said fiercely. "Mine!"
"Yours," Nick agreed. "We'll share him, okay?" The little boy smiled, accepting this arrangement. For now. He looked up at the roof, smiling at the man sitting up there. He started to wave but Uncle Philip shook his head so he didn't. He knew the man, he would come visit them tonight after everyone was asleep and tell them *great* stories. He always did. That's why he was another daddy. He started to frown as another guy joined him on the roof, but his other daddy gave him a hug so he must be okay. He shrugged it off and got free of his father's arms, going back to playing. Someone had to prove to Jas that she wasn't all that.