Title: New Ideas and Reasons
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rating: NC-17 (Yes! Actual SEX! And SLASH too!)
Pairings: Willow/Oz/Xander, Nick/Buffy
Fandom: P:TL/BTVS xover
Status: new; complete
Archive: Sure, if you really want to.
Archive author: Voracity
Archive email address: email@example.com Or above
Other website: (being worked on)
Disclaimers: Not mine (sigh). I gain nothing but pleasure from writing. No copyright infringment intended. Yes, writing is therapy for me.
Summary: part 15: Xander's found and some good things happen when Derek finds out why it all happens.
Warnings: M/M (not that this should have to be a warning)
New Ideas and Reasons by Voracity
Derek watched as Xander was carried into his room, wondering what that boy did to bring this sort of wrath down on him. He waited until Nick had him tucked in before going over to the bed. "Sleep now, rest and wake up in the morning," he said, drawing a protective symbol on his forehead. He turned to see Oz and Willow standing in the doorway. "Sleep beside him, it might help." They nodded, going back to her room for a few minutes. Derek waited until he and Nick were alone. "Power of attorney?"
"You wanted his parents to have it?" He got frowned at. "Neither did I, so I fixed it." He grinned. "Besides, didn't he sign one when he came in? I did."
Derek nodded. "Yes, they all did, but to use it like that?"
"Hey," Oz said, stopping the argument. "They were going to kill him soon, I don't care." He put his pillow down and the velvet throw they'd confiscated for the last week and a half. "Out. We could all use a nap." He looked at Nick. "Could you get the kids? She didn't want me to." He waited until he was gone. "Derek, lay off. He did what was best for Xander." He stared down the older man, making sure he got the point. "Now, out, we need a nap." He shifted the dresser over, giving Nick a clear spot for the cradle, turning to watch Willow crawl into bed against the wall. When everyone was gone and the door locked, he covered all the light sources, turning on the black light, then crawled into the bed too. "Night guys," he whispered, kissing the younger man's cheek. "Wake up for us Xan," he said quietly before covering them. He laid awake, listening to the quiet sounds of the floor around him and the quiet breaths from everybody.
Derek closed his eyes, heading down into a trance state. He was sure that it wasn't a natural sleep that was affecting the younger man upstairs. All he had to do was to find the cure. He sank lower, going into the dream state where everyone met over time and space. He followed the only voice he could hear, ending up in front of a wall. He tried to move through it, but nothing would work. It was too solid for it to just be a dream. He woke himself up, looking around his room, shaking his head. "I've got to find that wall."
He got up to go downstairs, the only place he could think of to start looking.
Nick picked up the phone, then put it back down. He stared at it for a few minutes then picked it back up, dialing a number only he had. "Philip?" he asked quietly. "Can we talk?"
After his conversation, Nick headed downstairs to the library. He wanted to search for something, he just wasn't sure what. He walked into the control room, seeing Derek bent over a console, typing something in slowly. "Want help?" he asked quietly.
Derek looked up at him, then pushed his seat back. "Please. We both know it doesn't like me." He looked up at the screen. "I found him on the dream plane but he was behind a strangely solid wall. One that I couldn't go through."
Nick looked at him as he sat down. "Like the demon's plane where you came to get me that time?" Derek shook his head. "Okay, so a real wall in a dream state?" Derek nodded. "I can search for various combinations but if we had a technical term it might go faster."
Derek shook his head. "I don't know. This would be something that I would ask Rachel if she were still here."
Alex rubbed her eyes as she walked in. "You too?" She sat down beside Nick, pulling up her earlier search. "This is what I've been doing." She looked at Derek. "I don't believe in the theory that a parent has to turn if a child does but in this case, I'd be careful. We all know they've been after Kat since she manifested."
Derek grunted. "I'm aware of that." He looked at his former student. "Has she though, Alex? Has she been turned?"
Alex shrugged. "I don't know. She's borderline right now." She looked over her boss. "Go back to bed, let us do it." He nodded, getting up to go upstairs, so she turned to her helper. "What did he see?"
"A solid wall in the dream plane." He looked at her. "Sounds like a blockade."
She nodded. "Is one. Just by someone else." She tapped a few keys, bringing up a pertinent article. "Quite a few long term comatose patients end up wandering the dream plane like it was reality. That's part of what keeps them under when there's not a problem."
"So, if he's behind a wall, then it could be someone else keeping him from wandering, trying to pull him back?" She nodded. "But why go to that trouble?"
Alex sighed. "The big question, right along with who."
"We find one, we find the other," Nick said, tapping in a general search.
Derek dialed London, needing some friendly advice right about then. He smiled as William appeared on the screen, checking his watch. "Wondered how long it would take you," he said quietly. "How are the kids?"
"Fine. She's been delegating more to Oz and Buffy to spend more time with Xander." He leaned back, looking up at the ceiling. "I went searching on the dream plane. He's behind a wall."
"Turn the child, turn the parent," William said.
Derek shook his head. "Alex said she's not turned yet."
William smiled slightly. "Borderline still?" Derek nodded. "Then you have to stop it. We know it can't be her, but what about her mother? She's never gotten over his attack of her or your attack of her skill with the aliens."
Derek sat up. "That's what I've been thinking but she's never manifested power before. Where would she get the ability and the training?"
"Katherine is a power source. They could be draining her if they had Rachel's permission." He shrugged. "Check her out. If it turns out that she is, then you've got to deal with it."
Derek nodded, hanging up. He leaned back in his chair, dialing the control room. "Nick, authorize the personnel records to my computer please." He hung up after hearing the grunt of assent.
He turned on the screen, waiting for them to come up. When it did, he typed in his authorization, hunting for what she needed to do to create this problem.
Derek tapped on Rachel's front door, smiling kindly as Katherine answered. "Hello, Kat. May I talk to you for a minute?"
She leaned against the door. "Why? And have you had your flu shot?" She grinned. "A week and still running."
"Kat, who's that?" Rachel called, walking out. "Oh, Derek, hi." She patted a piece of hair back up behind it's bobby pin. "What's up?"
"I wanted to talk to Katherine about her gifts. I've noticed a strange calm around her that shouldn't be if they're still fighting over her."
"Maybe it's her illness." She wrapped an arm around her daughter's neck, pulling her closer. "She's had the flu for a week."
"Which is unusual, wouldn't you say?"
"Yeah, but at her age that stuff happens." She looked down at her daughter. "Want to talk to him or not?"
The young girl nodded, walking outside and closing the door. "Ice cream," she said, loud enough for her mother to hear. She waited until they were in the car before saying anything else, wanting to be far away from the house. "It's about that boy, isn't it?" She turned in her seat, looking at her friend. "I've seen him."
Derek stopped, parking the Range Rover. "Actually, yes. I've found him but he's behind some sort of wall."
"Not a natural one but it's too solid to come from behind?" He nodded. "Derek, I've seen him back there, I'm back there with him." She started to shake, really frightened of what was going on in her fourteen year old body. "I can't control it, but this flu isn't natural and I don't know what it is."
He reached over, pulling her to his chest to release the anxiety the only way she knew how, soothing her with quiet words. "We'll figure it out, Kat, don't worry. You'll both be fine, I promise."
The young teen pulled back, wiping her eyes. "Yeah, but only if I give in. I can make them let him go if I go over but I don't want to."
He took her face in his hand. "Kat, you must never go over. If you do, you become no better than the people we've hunted." She nodded and he released her. "Would you still like some ice cream?" She nodded, grinning. "Okay, I'll take you to his favorite place." He started the car, still looking at her. "If you see him again, I want you to tell him he has to go back to his body. His friends and the children need him." She nodded. "Okay," he said, pulling back out. "What else has been happening."
"Mom's got this new boyfriend," Kat said, still smiling, but briefly making a gross face. "He reminds me of a snake. All soft until you rub him the wrong way."
Nick walked into his brother's room, setting the tray on the small bedside table. "How's he doing?"
"Sleeping," Alex said. "I can't get a thing besides a wall." She looked up as she took a sip of the coffee he'd brought her. "I don't know how to bring him out." She frowned as the young man on the bed twitched again. "He keeps doing that."
Nick picked up Xander's hand, looking at the palm. "New creases." He laid it down gently, patting it. "If someone could merge with him, they might be able to bring him back, right?"
She nodded, swallowing her present sip of coffee. "Or they might get caught where he is." She looked at the door as someone walked in. "Hey Oz. Where's Willow?"
"Control room." He stripped off his outer shirt, crawling onto the wall side of the bed. "I'll watch him, go work." He laid his head down on the rapidly moving chest. He waited until they were gone to get up and lock the door. "Okay," he said quietly, getting back on the bed. "We've got to talk, Xan. You can't stay gone. You'll waste away. This is tearing us both up." He brushed the dark hair around some, messing it up. "Come on, man, talk to me." He got off the bed as someone knocked, letting them in. "Derek. We were talking."
The Precept nodded. "I know." He closed the door behind him. "What is the one thing that always manages to bring him around, no matter what state he's in?"
Oz leaned against the bottom of the bed, thinking. "His protective streak?" Derek nodded. "You want me to wolf out with him in here?"
"And your daughter that we know will turn." Oz shook his head. "He knows you won't attack her but he would still come out to protect her, right?" Oz shook his head. "Why not?"
"Because he can't hear us." He walked up the bed, lifting up an eyelid. "We noticed it last night. He's responsive but it's taking a while. It's like he's really far away and can't hear us."
Derek sat down in the chair beside the bed. "He is," he said with a sigh. "He's behind a massive wall on the dream plane. Kat's seen him but she's on that side too." He rubbed his brow. "I don't know what to do about that."
"Nick was saying something about going in after him."
"Too dangerous. You could get trapped."
"Derek, if it goes that way, I'm going."
The Precept looked him over. "That takes a great deal of skill." He closed his eyes, thinking. "I could bring you with me, let you be the link between us, but I can't let you go alone." The younger man nodded. "Tonight?"
"Tomorrow I change." He scratched at his arm.
"Oh, please tell me they aren't back." He turned Oz around, looking at his shoulder. "Have you seen any indication of them returning?"
"No, just an allergy to the baby powder we have." He shrugged. "Not a major problem right now."
Derek let him go, watching as he pulled his shirt back down. "I'm sorry, I just worry that we didn't get it all."
Oz nodded, getting back into the bed. "Me too." He looked toward the door. "Willow and Alex."
The two women walked in, smiling. "We found what the wall was," Willow said.
Alex patted the top of the younger woman's head. "You did dear, but here's the bad news. They've got to be using someone with untapped power." She frowned. "And it looks like it's Kat."
Derek sighed. "I talked to her earlier and she said she'd seen him." He got up, pulling her out into the hall. "She thinks the only way to save him is to turn. She knows that they're draining her but she can't fight it."
Alex shook her head. "She's not at the age of consent yet." She looked around the hall. "Now what?"
"I want you to help me go under tonight. I want to try to bring him back." She shook her head. "I know it's dangerous. I've been trying to convince Oz of that for the last few moments." He looked over his shoulder as the door opened.
"If you go, so do I," Oz said, closing the door behind him. "Or we could try a more conventional means. Willow thinks she's found another way."
"The Sleeping Beauty theory?" He nodded, making Alex frown. "Oz, that's not even proven to work."
"Faith, Alex. All it takes is love. Something she has for him."
She nodded. "If she can do it, and succeed, it would help a lot."
"It might bring him back closer," Derek said. "Giving us a chance to grab him." He smiled, putting an arm around the younger man's shoulder. "Now I see why William wants you to control this house some day."
He choked on his spit. "No," he said, pulling away. "Not a chance in heaven." He shook his head. "Not me, maybe Willow, but not me."
Derek smiled. "I used to say the exact same thing."
"Still do about London," Alex reminded him with a smile. She turned back to Oz. "We'd have to coordinate it. She'd have to start before us."
Oz tipped his head, listening to the sounds coming from the bedroom. "And?" He looked at them. "I'd go get ready."
Derek walked down the hall, shaking his head. "Go put yourself in a trance, I'll pick you up on the way. Alex call our accomplis and inform her she has to fight now."
Oz walked back into the room, locking the door behind him. "He'll cooperate," he said softly as he stripped down to something he could lay in for hours. "Give me the throw, it's chilly in here." He laid down beside Xander, snuggling up to his unresistant form, kissing him gently. "This is better when you're participating," he said quietly, closing his eyes and entering the trance state like his mate had shown him.
Xander grinned as his occasional companion met him wherever he was. He took her hand, pulling her down onto the swirling ground. "How are you?"
She smiled at him. "You need to try for home again." She touched his temples, sending her mind into his. "Feel your body, it's calling you. The ones that love you are calling you to them." She looked in his eyes. "You don't belong here." She stood up, throwing out her arms, screaming as the mists started coming out of her. "No, he's not yours!" she yelled.
Xander grabbed his head as the sounds started to echo through it, then the rest of his body. He stood up, walking away from her to get away from the noise, walking through a wall that felt like marshmallows. He brought his hands down when he made it to the other side, looking around at the other people near him. "Wow," he said, turning to look at all of them. "Where is this place?"
Derek watched, smiling fondly, as his friend walked through the wall. "Xander, over here," he called.
The younger man turned, not seeing who was calling him. "Okay, yeah, a voice but not a body." He shook his head. "The noise behind the wall was almost better." He frowned as the air got thicker around him. "Cute, really, but not for me, sorry." He walked away from the noise and the mysterious voice.
"Xan," Oz called, stepping closer to him, into the mists. "Come here now." He shook off Derek's restraining hand, moving closer to him. "Now, I gotta tell you what Willow's doing."
Xander turned at the familiar voice, smiling and running toward him. "Oz," he said, hugging him. "Oh, god, it's good to see you." He stepped back. "Hold on, if I'm dead and you're here..." He frowned. "I'll kick you ass if you left her alone."
The older man shook his head. "Not dead, pretty close but not quite." He pointed the way he'd come, off into the shadows. "Derek's waiting on us."
Xander stepped away from him. "Man, this is strange, but you're not you. You can't be you." He looked him over, seeing the mists changing him. "You're a figment, therefore a torture."
Oz stepped closer, pulling his head down. "No, I'm not. But she needs you to come back, same as I do."
"I'm dead man, not able to go back." He looked around, not seeing the people anymore. "Um, Oz, where is this?" He looked down but he was alone. "Oz?" He turned around, trying to find him.
Derek frowned at his companion, trying to go after him, but his bond to his body was too tight. "Oz, get back here. You'll get lost."
He heard the whole conversation, grunting in frustration as the younger mans' innate suspicion perked up again. "Xander," he called again. "Come towards me, you and Oz both." He waited but neither came.
Oz walked the way Xander had backed up, frowning. "I ought to kick your ass," he said, grabbing an arm and pulling his friend to him. He pulled his head down, kissing him deeply, letting go of his control over the wolf. "I'm Oz, you're Xander, and Derek's waiting for us." He pulled him toward where he could hear the Precept's voice, sighing in relief once he could see him again. "Xan," he said, turning to look at him. "Come with me, it's gotta be your choice." He rubbed over the firm arms, stepping a little closer. "Willow's waiting for you to come back and so's Buffy. Even the kids have been fussy since you left us." He looked him in the eyes. "Please, come back to us."
The younger man looked around. "What about that girl?"
"That was Katherine," Oz said, not wanting to give away too much. "She has her own way out." He took the offered hand, walking beside him as they headed back to Derek. "A hand to cross back?" Oz said, holding out his.
Derek held out his hand, grasping the ones reaching for his, pulling them to him so they could all go home.
Alex jumped as the body on the bed moved, groaning. "Derek," she said, hugging him. "Come on, time to get up now."
He opened his eyes, looking up at her. "How long?" he asked, coughing at the dryness in his mouth.
"Almost two days." She smiled as she got off him, handing him a glass of water. "Nick's dealing with Kat. She's had a major power breakthrough."
He nodded as he sipped. "She called up her abilities to free him." He sat up with her help. "How long?"
"Just over thirty-eight hours," she said, smiling. "I was about ready to go in for you."
He shook his head, taking her hand. "Never try that." He stood up, bracing on her shoulder. "We have to go check on them." He smiled as the excited squeal carried down the hall from upstairs. "Or maybe not."
She pointed him in the direction of the bathroom, helping him walk that way. "Give them a few minutes. I'm sure they'd appreciate it."
He nodded, smiling at her. "Probably." He closed the door behind himself, still smiling.
Alex leaned against the wall, smiling herself. "Nick you owe me three bucks." She checked her watch then walked over to the bedside, picking up the phone to call him. "Hey, it's me. They're up," she said, very happy that another hurtle had been breached.
Willow sniffed at Xander and Oz as they both groaned, coming fully awake. She smiled as first one, then the other, opened their eyes, looking at each other. "Oh, yeah, this is perfect." She kissed each of them, happily crying on them.
Xander pulled them both down to his chest, holding them both tightly. "Guys, we should quit meeting like this," he whispered.
Willow shrieked, hitting him with a pillow. "Xander!"
Derek met them in the kitchen, Xander definitely showing signs of being worse for the wear. He hugged the younger man to him, pulling him up out of the chair. "What did you do to warrant this sort of attention?" he asked in a very calm voice.
The younger man pulled back, shaking his head. "Not a damn clue, Derek." He gave him one last squeeze then sat back down. "Who's Katherine?"
"She's Rachel's daughter," Alex said as she sat down across from him. "Nick's gone to help her." He nodded. "Where did you meet her?"
"She was pushed into the box where I was by this big, nasty looking hand." He smiled as Nick walked in. "She's okay?"
"Sure, but Rachel's not." He forcefully pulled Derek from the room, walking him into the office. "Sit, you'll want to." He poured him a snifter of brandy, handing it over and making sure he drank some of it before he said anything. "Guess who Rachel's boyfriend is," he said, in that nice, conversational tone that meant he was furious. Derek gave him a questioning look.
Everyone turned when they heard glass breaking but they knew better than to go investigate. They were sure Derek had his reasons.
Derek stood in front of the judge, holding onto Katherine as she trembled in his arms. "As you can see, she has no desire to go live at home. We may not be her biological family but we can and will protect her like our own."
The woman in the robes nodded. "Yes, I can see that, but nobody has given me a reason to allow this unorthodox move." She looked at Katherine. "If you could just give me a reason child, I'd allow them to move you and to protect you how they felt best."
The young teen nodded, stepping away from Derek to show the marks that were on her arms. "I've been drugged a few times." She stepped closer to show off the needle marks. "My mother's a doctor, I don't use drugs, and would never touch an injectable one. I can't trust her with my safety."
The judge leaned forward, examining the marks. "Very well. Do what you have to to protect the child, Dr. Rayne. I expect she'll be in another branch of your organization before too long."
He nodded. "She leaves tonight for London. My associate over there has talked to her, and has three daughters of his own. He has agreed to take her into his house and protect her." She nodded, handing over an order. "Thank you. Goot day." He smiled at his new charge. "Come Kat, we need to get you to the airport."
"Nick's downstairs," she said happily. "He said he'd drive me."
Derek smiled in fond toleration. "I'm sure you'd love to ride in the Mustang. Very well, I'll turn you over into his hands to get you there on time." He led her outside, nodding at his associate as they walked closer. "Nick," he said, touching his arm. "You said you'd drive her?" He looked down at the car, his brother's. "I take it he wanted it driven?"
Nick grinned. "No, I wanted to drive it." He opened the door for her, handing her down into the low car. "Buckle up Kat, this car is a little bit of a monster." He walked around, getting in.
Derek watched them drive away, waving. He turned to see his former colleague, who slapped him. "She'll be safe now. They won't have her unless she wills it." He looked over her shoulder at the man in the limo window. "Hasn't he left you yet?"
She slapped him again, walking back to the limo. "We're not done with this Derek, I'll see you in Hell first."
He nodded politely for the people on the street around him. "You're more than welcome to try," he said politely. He waited until they were gone to go to the building where he'd parked the Range Rover, checking it over very carefully before getting in.
Xander was pronounced healthy, if now underweight, by Marcus and the next thing he saw was his favorite niece as she was lowered into his arms. "Oh, hi you. How are we today?"
Oz leaned over the back of the couch, laying his head on the firm shoulder. "That's the first time she's been quiet since that night. She started crying right after you got hit and really hasn't stopped until you woke up." He waited until they were alone to lick over the cheek he was resting against. "Want to come sit and watch me be snarly and drooling?"
Xander turned his head, pressing their cheeks together. "Anytime, you know that." He looked down, grinning at her. "Yeah, we should do that now, huh." He stood up, cradling her delicately. "Come on, Oz, let's get you down there."
"I wanted to kiss Willow first." He looked down, watching his hands. "Hmm, may not be enough time." He ran into the kitchen, grabbing a quick kiss and the diaper bag she'd packed for the one young one. He made it downstairs in just enough time, the change starting as he hit the bottom stair. He locked the cage door, stripping off and tossing the clothes through the bars. "Xan, back up some. We don't know how the wolf will react to her." His face started to change, distorting, growing hair.
Xander sat on the work bench, watching his favorite niece change too. He waited for Oz to start pacing and sniffing to bring her closer. "Oz?" he asked, sitting down out of arm's reach. "Hi, want to see your cub?" There was some sniffing in the general direction. "Yeah, you know your cub, huh." He moved a little closer, taking the searching hand in his to run it over the baby's hairy belly. "She's your's Oz, your cub." When it was well received, he moved closer still, sitting against the cage, watching as Oz petted the baby. "Yeah, your cub."
Derek stood on the bottom step, watching them. "At least he's not violent to her," he said softly, walking in a bit further. Oz looked at him, growling. "I won't touch your cub," he promised, sitting far away from them. "You're such a happy family," Derek said, wiggling his fingers at the baby. "How did you know he wouldn't hurt her?"
"No father would hurt his own child, not even a wolf. As long as he knew it was his cub, she's fine." He looked over his shoulder. "I'm already a pack member and Willow wouldn't be able to do this. Besides, she's my favorite." He looked down to smile at the cub, letting her latch onto one of his fingers. "Yeah, you're my favorite niece ‘cause you love me." He kissed her forehead, earning him a grunt and a bat from the werewolf. "Oh, possessive are we?" He looked at the man on the other side of the bars. "Can't I kiss my niece?" He was growled at for that. "Fine, I won't. Spoil sport." He kept hold of her when he tried to pull her through. "No, Oz, she needs to stay with me for a while. We'll be right here but she can't go in. You can hold her tomorrow night." He tipped his head, making a soft coughing noise. "‘Kay?"
The werewolf went back to petting his daughter through the bars, snarling at Derek every time he even started to look interested in his cub.
Willow walked down the stairs, expecting to see what she did. Oz was still fuzzy, it being about half an hour before dawn, but he was out of the cage, laying on Xander's shoulder, playing with his baby. She sat down on the bottom step, watching them play quietly.
He looked up, sniffing in her direction. The baby was put down on her Uncle's chest and he started toward her, sniffing the whole way. She stayed still, checking her watch to see how much longer it would be. Twenty minutes. She looked into the yellow eyes, reaching out a hand to pet him, something she'd never been able to do before. She scratched under his chin, knowing this was marking her as submissive to him, tipping her head the way Xander did.
Oz sniffed her closer, ending up with his snout in her lap. He batted at the buttons on her jeans, trying to get to the good smelling stuff, the blood he craved, but it ignored him.
Willow looked up as Xander grunted, walking over to sit beside her. He was sniffed too, the baby licked, then he went back to trying to figure out her clothing.
"Still bleeding?" Xander guessed. She nodded. "You know you shouldn't be down here, that's what he'll head for."
She took his hand, undoing the snap with the other. "He has ten minutes. He won't hurt me."
"No, he won't hurt you but I'd expect a big fight later." He started to get up but she looked at him, begging silently. He nodded, settling back down, handing her the baby. "Oz, Oz, man, look at me." He ruffled the baby's chest hair, making her squeak. When the yellow eyes were on him, he touched Willow's hair. "Your mate, your cub's mother." He could see the intelligence starting to come back. "She's yours."
Willow looked at the man beside her. "Both of yours." She leaned over, kissing him.
Oz grunted, trying to get to the good smelling stuff, using his nails to get to it now. She leaned back, holding the baby to her chest, letting her drink some breakfast. The werewolf grunted, looking up, stopping what he was doing to sniff at that new spot. He licked up some of the dripped milk, then grunted, licking his child again, catching all the stray drops.
Xander relaxed against the side wall, watching it progress. He smiled as a more human Oz kept it up, moving to taste this new part of his mate for himself. By the time the baby was finished with breakfast, and Oz had tasted all he wanted, she was moaning. "Better?"
She nodded, sitting up, cradling both of them to her chest. "Thank you for introducing me to the wolf so he wouldn't worry." She kissed him, tasting all the morning breath parts of his mouth. "Hmm, interesting. When did you have a coke?"
Oz snorted, pulling her head down for a kiss. "When did you come down?"
"About half an hour before sunrise. I needed to be introduced to the wolf too." She smiled, running her fingers through his hair. "I knew you wouldn't hurt me if Xan was here."
Oz got to his knees in front of her, touching the scratches on her stomach. "Yeah, I woulda if I could have gotten to what I wanted." She nodded, understanding. "Thank you." He stole another kiss then walked across the room to get dressed.
Xander tapped her on the shoulder. "I agree, pretty big risk. Let's wait until you're not bleeding to do this again, huh?" He picked up his niece, cuddling her close to his fuzzy shirt. "And you, my love, have survived yet another night as a fuzzy being."
Oz walked over, taking her from his arms and carrying her up the stairs. "And now she needs changing." He waited at the top for them, tapping his foot impatiently.
Willow smiled as she stood and did her jeans back up, Xander steadying her with a hand to her back. They followed up at a more sedate pace, watching the dad and his little girl have a silent staring conversation.
Xander walked into the control room and was promptly turned and walked back out by Buffy. "I can go back to work," he protested.
She turned him once they were outside. "I know but we're talking about you so go talk to Derek." She pushed him, smiling at his disgusted look. "It's not like it's a bad talking about you," she promised, going back inside.
Xander walked out of the library shaking his head. He didn't understand women some days. He walked into the office, grinning at his boss. "Buffy said I couldn't go work, they were talking about me." He sat down across from the desk. "What's up?"
Derek looked up, smiling gently. "Nothing, Xander, how are you feeling?" He nodded. "I'm glad. Did you hear what they were talking about?"
"Holes and stuff, not my birthday or anything." He leaned back in the chair. "What's going on?"
"We're trying to figure out what makes you such a target." He laid down his pen. "Why use Katherine to get to you? Or even to suppress you?"
Xander shrugged. "Maybe I look tasty."
Derek nodded, smile still there. "I'm sure you do, but why is the key here." He pulled out the folder he'd gotten from London a few months back. "Do you remember this man?" He handed it over.
"Yeah, Victor Arkadi, so?" He handed it back. "What does this have to do with me and my gift for getting hurt?"
"Maybe nothing or maybe something. He was the one that used Kat to get to you." He put it back in the pile. "He'd been dating Rachel for almost two months now. We need to find out why he chose you. Why not someone weaker willed or that has a more secretive past." He clasped his hands on the desk. "We need to know what makes you so special."
Xander nodded slowly. "Okay, so like the hyena type special or some other special? ‘Cause there's nothing else special about me."
Derek nodded. "I know. We've had you checked for every ability we know how to do that for. Maybe it's your ability to relate to werewolves." He grinned. "Who knows, but this man never moves without a plan and a purpose."
"So use me as bait." He stood up. "He wants me, let him come to me."
"No, I will not allow you to be hurt further." He frowned at the younger man. "Sit." He waited but it was followed. "He's too smart for that anyway. His purpose is always hidden carefully behind some legitimate screen."
Xander raised an eyebrow. "What is it? Do we even know why he was in town?"
"He's had to have a testicle removed for a cancerous growth and underwent some chemotherapy; he met Rachel during his counseling." He shrugged. "I don't know why he chose here or her, except for Kat who is a powerful young woman." He scratched a spot on his shoulder. "Can you think of anything else he might need you for?"
Xander thought for a second then closed his eyes. "No, not really." He leaned back in the chair. "Oz would have been a better option."
"Ah, but he has a very big disadvantage that would leave him out of the running. I was thinking maybe he was trying to get to Willow or Buffy through you."
Xander snorted. "Willow would let you and Oz handle it and Buffy wouldn't play that game. She's proven that before." He looked out the window. "What's the obvious reason?"
"Your possession a few years back." Derek looked at his monitor then smiled. "I want to test something, are you game?" The younger man nodded. "Goot, I want to see if any sort of mutation has happened in your seed."
Xander blushed. "You want a... that sample." Derek nodded. "Okay, that was a jump, how'd you reach that height?"
"Simple, he's infertile now. He must be planning on carrying on his gene pool somehow. He thinks he's found the perfect mate so now he's looking for a surrogate." He smiled. "We know he's been funding splicing research. He must be looking for a perfect child now that he has a mother that has shown a penchant for powerful children." He leaned back. "Your being unattached would just make that easier, but he doesn't know that you *are* attached to Willow and Oz, hence trying to get you into a vulnerable situation to get what he wants from you."
Xander shuddered, a gross look coming over his face. "This is creepy, boss man, let's drop the topic and I'll go do.. that for you." He looked around. "Where and into what?"
Derek stood up, leading him to the lab, handing him a specimen beaker. "Here, go to your room if it makes you more comfortable. Get as much as you can in there." He looked him over then smiled. "Try using a condom and emptying it." He walked out, heading back to his office.
Xander hurried up the stairs, not wanting to be caught by anybody and asked what he was doing, especially by his brother or Willow. He closed his door behind him, leaning on it. "Weirder and weirder," he told the silent room. "Every time I go downstairs, something strange happens. Maybe I should hide up here." He moved away from the door, grabbing his box of condoms and sitting on the bed. "How should I do this?"
"You know, a sure sign of mental illness is talking to one's self," Oz said from the doorway. He looked down at the items in his hand, arching an eyebrow up. "And you're doing what?"
"Derek wants a," he cleared his throat, "sample." He looked at him. "Close the door, I don't want the whole world to know."
Oz closed and locked the door behind him, walking closer. "He wants a sperm sample to test for what?"
"A mutation that makes Arkadi want me badly." He looked up, eyes still huge. "How do I do this?"
Oz took a deep breath. "Not a clue." He sat down beside him on the bed. "What did Derek say?"
"Use a condom and empty it inside the beaker."
Oz looked at it. "Well that would be better than trying to get it in there naturally." He looked around the room, getting up to put on a cd he knew calmed him down and was used when he wanted to cover those activities. "Okay, music, mood," he turned off all the lights, turning on the black light and a candle, "what else do you need?" He moved closer. "Inspiration?" The younger man nodded, looking up at him and swallowing. "What do you need?" he asked softly, seductively.
Xander grinned. "You're good at that."
"Yeah, Will loves me for my voice." He knelt in front of the younger man, touching his thighs. "I could leave."
"No, um, no." He shook his head. "I'm," his voice squeaked so he cleared his throat, "I want you here." Oz nodded so he looked down at the box in his hands. "Oz, have you ever done this stuff?"
"Nope, but there's a first time for everything and a perfect person to have it with." Xander nodded, mute. "Are you sure? I could leave and let you fantasize about some model or one of the guys at the club." He got a strong head shake. "Okay, so maybe we should do something." He frowned at the door as it was knocked on. "Go away, we're busy." When Willow pounded again, threatening him with non-cuddles for the rest of the week if he didn't let her in, he got up, letting her in and locking the door behind her.
She sat next to Xander on the bed, hugging him. "Derek had a discrete word with me," she said softly, whispering into his ear. "He wanted you to have some more help." He swallowed hard, not looking at them. "Our precious little one," she purred, rubbing up against his face. "Would you like some help?"
Oz stepped back, watching his girl go. He knew she had it well in hand, no pun intended of course, but he wanted to be there. "Will, you're embarrassing him," he said quietly. "What he needs is a better thing to put it in." She handed one over, making him shake his head. "Okay, so do your worst love, I want to watch."
Xander was pushed back onto the bed, but nobody touched him. "Um, guys, this is fun and all, but this isn't the objective."
Oz and Willow weren't listening, they were having a silent conversation. They decided to test her theory, something Oz had come to accept during this last bout of illness, that he was part of them both. He handed her the flask as he sat down on the bed, leaning over to steal a quick kiss from her soft lips. Xander groaned, watching them be together so he did it again and again, moving them closer to his prone body. The younger man never even realized it when his pants were undone or when someone else touched him, he was too involved in what he was seeing.
Xander reached up, running a hand over their cheeks, feeling the tongue battle going on behind the soft flesh, bringing him just a little closer to the goal. When Oz turned suddenly, sucking a finger into his mouth, that was it, he shot off. He sighed as he came down, seeing Willow licking off her hand. "Um, did it..."
She blushed but nodded. "But I haven't been kissed by you yet." She leaned down, taking control of his mouth, letting him taste what she'd just tasted, making him groan. She pulled back, looking down at him. "What?"
"You taste like me," he said softly, pulling her head back down, too far gone again to stop himself. Oz could beat him later. He grabbed her, growling as he pulled her down on top of him, running his hands down her body, learning it's curves and sweet spots from her responses.
Oz growled, pushing her off and taking her place, giving him as good as he had seen her get, wanting more from him though. Their battle wasn't one for control but for dominance. The younger man pulled back first, making him the submissive, giving him no say in what happened next. The older man looked down at his hand then at his mate, handing her the beaker before straddling the firm hips. "Mine," he growled, taking control of the mouth again. He only pulled away to see Willow rolling a condom down his new beta male, stopping to kiss her as she did it.
He went back to the intense kissing of his new mate, making him submit to him, teaching him who was boss. He heard the slight growl but didn't care, he was in control.
Xander rolled them over, taking control back, proving his right to dominance now. They fought back and forth, clawing at the other's clothes, mouths devouring the other, trying to make the other submit. In the end it was Oz, the one with the lesser breath control, that lost that fight, ending up underneath Xander, panting and baring his neck.
The younger man took a lick down the offered flesh, then back up to the firm lips, taking them hostage again, proving he was the alpha with a growl and a nip.
"No biting," Oz reminded him, only to be pounced and sucked on, his shirt being ripped open and his chest explored next. "Xan, no biting," he said louder. "I don't want you cursed too." The younger man looked up, growling at him. "Hey, I like but you can't bite, you don't want to be snarly forever." He ran a hand through the short sweaty hair. "I don't want you to wolf out too." He was nodded at and the former nips were now just with lips, the fingers still clawing at the bothersome clothes, wanting and needing to prove his dominance. Oz just gave in, letting him be the strong one for once. Truth be told, it was nice not to have to initiate for a change. All thoughts stopped once a pair of swollen lips surrounded him, sucking all thoughts from his head in one brief second of pleasure. He growled as he came, pulling Willow down to kiss.
Xander watched them, growling and licking his lips. He crawled back up the tired body under his, taking control of her mouth too. She had laid the beaker aside, fortunately, so could give in to him too, letting herself have the satisfaction and pleasure of being claimed by her other mate. He set her on top of her boyfriend's chest, making him grunt at the additional weight, taking over duties to her too.
Willow didn't object as her shirt was taken off her, tossed across the room, or when her pants were clawed off, or even when she was taken forcefully by the predator above her. She wanted it and gave as many scratches as she got, marking him as hers too. She bit his lip as she came, forcing him over the edge by squeezing him where he laid in her. She proved her dominance by rolling him off her and kneeling over his chest, smiling as she leaned down to kiss him, making him beg for it, making him silently ask to have it given. Only when she saw the submission in his eyes did she kiss him again, proving that she'd won over all of them. When she pulled back, she kissed Oz, marking him as hers too.
She stood up, heading for the bathroom. She came back out with a washcloth and the beaker, pulling off the condom to empty it into the container then cleaning them both up. She disappeared again, coming out more clean herself and partially dressed, wiping her hands on her jeans. "You need more hand towels, Xander," she said, crawling in next to him. She saw the scared look so bent down to kiss him again. "Mine," she said simply. "Both of you are." She pulled Oz over, kissing him too. "My two alpha's," she sighed, laying down.
Xander looked at Oz, fully expecting to be hit. Instead he got a gentle kiss, telling him what had happened had been wanted. When he was released, he walked into the bathroom, taking a quick cloth and sink bath before getting redressed. He walked out, beaker covered in a towel, heading down to the lab. He handed it to Derek without a word.
The Precept looked at the amount then at him. "I didn't think I needed that much." He saw the rampant blush so started a smear slide before turning to him. "Do you want to talk?" he asked as he set the computer to search it. The younger man shook his head. "It might help the confusion."
Xander cleared his throat but Willow walked in. "Maybe later," he said quietly, walking around her to escape the awkward situation.
Derek looked up at her. "Go fix it before it festers," he told her. "He's scared that he's done something wrong again."
She walked out after him, finding him in the garden and pulling him down the hill to where he had lived for over a month. "I wanted that, did you?" He nodded, pacing in the small clearing. "Then why the guilt act?" She put her hands on her hips. "Come on, give."
"You're Oz's," he said, looking at her. "You proved that when you had those four little darlings."
Willow shook her head, punching him on the arm. "You're not even getting away with that." She pulled him closer, hugging him tightly. "Do you remember the last formal? How we all talked in my room?" He nodded. "That's what that was about. We *marked* you as ours." She let him step back. "There's no way you're leaving us now." He sat down on the grass. "Oh, don't even. You're not Philip." She stood in front of him. "You're wanted and you're staying. Why else would we keep coming after you?" She regretted the words once she'd said them but didn't apologize then. Instead she kneeled in front of him. "Xander, Oz did what he did out of love, it was the only way you could be brought back and only the truest would do." She smiled at him, hoping he got the message. "We both feel that way about you."
He nodded. "I know, but you're a pair, a matched set. I'm just in the way." When he tried to get up, he was forced back to the ground. "Oz," he said, out of breath, still thinking he was going to be hit, and here was a good place for a fight.
"She's right. As much as I wanted to avoid it, you're part of my family." He sat down behind him, touching a deep scratch he'd put on the younger man's neck. "I want you like I do her." Xander shook his head. "Oh, give it up. This is us, and it's right."
"What about..." His mouth was stopped by Willow's. When he could breath again, he frowned at her, immediately earning him a kiss from Oz too.
Oz pulled back, almost grinning in that way of his. "Shut up and accept it, Xan, you're ours."
"I don't want to be some toy or like the maid in those stories you found."
Oz shook his head, running his fingers through the soft hair. "You're not. We both want you. Maybe not like we do each other but we both love you." He rested his head on top of the younger man's head. "Figure it out now or suffer later."
Xander tipped his head back, looking up at him. "You really want me?"
"Wouldn't have let you have either of us if I didn't." He dropped a soft kiss to the part then turned him around. "That was the most primal thing I've ever been part of," he whispered, "but you're subbing tonight." He took the kiss, challenging him for dominance for the night.
"You might want to win now unless you always want to be the beta," Willow said, giggling and smiling at the frown Oz gave her before his mouth was attacked. When he pulled back for air, she was still giggling. "You gotta start working out dear if that's how we're gonna decide." She kissed Xander softly, not even arguing with him about who was the alpha now. "You win, you get to top tonight."
Oz shook his head. "That was about so much more than that." He looked up at his newest mate.
"Very. But can we work that out later? I just really want cuddles tonight." He looked at Willow. "I'm sorry if I hurt you," he said quietly.
"Hon, you could never hurt me." She smiled at him, moving to sit in his lap. "That was just so primal and forceful, and I loved it, even if I am a little sore now, but we'll be doing that again when I'm all better." She kissed him soundly, then stood up. "Come on, Derek's standing at the edge of the garden, looking at us." She pulled them up, wrapping her arms around their waists to walk back up together.
Derek looked at what the computer pulled up from the sample, frowning. "That's not normal." He pulled up Nick's to compare it and Xander's first blood work, looking back and forth between them. He smiled, saving the results to the computer and sending it to the biologist in London. "So that's it," he said quietly, picking up the phone to call the biologist. "Hi, this is Derek in San Francisco, I just sent you a sample, could you please rush it and do as full a genetic work up as possible?" He smiled and hung up, hurrying out to the garden. He'd finally found an answer.
TO BE CONTINUED.