Title: Reactions and Breaks
Email address: email@example.com
Pairings: Derek/Philip, 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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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 19: Buffy's injured and the guys handle it. Then they do something harmful to all of them.
Warnings: M/M (not that this should have to be a warning), ANGST!
Reactions and Breaks by Voracity
Derek looked up as Willow joined him at his table. "Not go well?" he asked her, seeing her down expression.
She shook her head, sipping her water slowly. "You were right," she whispered finally. "Two months."
Derek raised an eyebrow. "And we can trust this estimate?" She nodded, still grim looking so he touched her hands. "You know there are other alternatives."
She looked at him in alarm. "No," she said forcefully. "Not going to happen." She put her hand over her stomach. "I just wanted to wait a while. You know, two, maybe three years, give the quad time to learn to walk and potty-train and stuff." She shook her head. "This is just kinda a shock to me." She shook her head. "He's not going to be pleased."
"He loves being a father," Derek pointed out. "Hmm, two months ago, that would have been about when Kristen was bitten, right?" She nodded. "Then it's not his?"
"Maybe. We'll have to wait and see." She smiled at the waiter. "May I have the chef's salad special please? Dressing on the side?" He nodded, turning to Derek.
"She'll also take a nice sandwich with that and I'll have the same." He handed over their menus. "You have to keep eating, for them."
"Him," she said. "One as in singular." She grinned. "They'd pass out if it was multiples again."
"Maybe we should stop to pick up some smelling salts anyway," he suggested, smiling kindly at her. "I do hope to be at least a gotfather this time."
She smiled. "Derek, didn't you know we willed them to you if something happened."
He sat back in shock. "You did?"
She nodded, still smiling. "I know anything that takes me out would take Oz and Xan too so we had to pick someone that would still be here." She patted his hand. "You, Nick, and Alex. I actually asked Buffy and she almost got whiplash denying the suggestion." She leaned back as the food was put in front of her. "Thanks." She waited until they were alone. "You don't mind, right?"
He shook his head quickly. "No, definitely not at all." He smiled again, almost tearing up. "I'd be honored."
"Hmm, good name for a girl," Willow remarked, digging into her salad. "I'm not worrying about it, they'll be sixty or so before something happens to us."
Derek nodded. "I'd hope." Of course silently he was vowing to protect them anyway he possibly could but she didn't need to know that.
Nick looked down in frustration as his brother fell out of his chair. "Baby," he said, snorting. "We're very happy for you Willow. Just not in the tub again, huh?"
She shook her head. "I liked it. It was comforting for them." She smiled at Derek. "You can even coach if you want."
Buffy pinched her upper arm. "Hey, that's my job." She pouted. "But he can if he wants to."
"Thank you, but no," Derek said, patting the expectant mother's hand. "I'd rather not have to be in the room. Once was enough." He smiled at Alex. "Although, someone else wasn't here so maybe you should ask her."
"Ask her what?" Oz said, walking into the room. "Who hit him?" He stood over his lover's head, looking down at him. "Napping again?" he asked once the eyes started to flutter. He looked up to see his girlfriend smiling at him again. "Oh, no," he said, backing up. "You're not having another one." He tossed the papers onto the table. "I'm getting fixed."
"Might not be yours," Nick said. He helped Xander back into his chair. "You never know, could be my nephew."
Buffy grinned. "I can't imagine Xan as a full time dad. He still shies away from dirty diapers."
"Buffy," Nick warned. He gave her a dirty look, then turned to look at Oz. "At least you didn't pass out."
"How... How far along," Xander asked, taking a drink of water to calm himself.
"About two months."
Alex smiled. "Didn't the guy in London say that and you turned out to be pretty close to eight?" She nodded, biting her lip. "Are we trusting this one?"
"That was my first question but I met with her Obstetrician many years ago and I believe she's highly qualified." He smiled at the two men. "We can test for paternity at five months. We'll wait and see."
Oz shook his head as he sat down. "I'm still getting fixed. Four is enough for me."
Buffy looked at him. "You sure? When they're walking most parents start thinking about having another." She looked at Derek. "Hey, Derek, when are we getting them a real nursery."
Willow punched her arm. "Sshh, this was an accident but we won't need it. The four are moving to real cribs and this *one* can have the cradle." She frowned at her friend. "Keep it up and babysit for life."
Buffy grinned. "Just so long as I can hand them back sometime we're good to go."
Derek shook his head. "When it's your own, you'll understand," he told the blonde. "Now, back to business." Buffy got up, leaving the table.
Willow looked at him, frowning. "She can't 'cause of the job." She got up, following her friend.
Derek leaned back in his chair, sighing. "Adjourned. We'll try this again later." Everyone else filed out, but Nick, who moved to a closer chair. "I hadn't even thought that she wanted one."
"It got her thinking when you asked her while she had the flu. We've talked but I've told her I can't and won't."
Derek nodded, not looking at him. "I'll apologize later. Go do something." He waited until he was alone then picked up the phone. Philip would tell him what to say. "Father? Do you have a minute to talk? I could use some advice on how to pull my foot out of my mouth."
Willow caught up with Buffy outside her room. "He didn't realize," she said, pulling her into a hug. "He was being manish and didn't think."
Buffy nodded, wiping her eyes. "I know, but it just brought it closer, how I can't and all." She sniffled some then hugged Willow before walking into her room. "I'll be down for lunch," she said softly.
Willow looked at the closed door, biting her lip. She started back down the stairs but Nick stopped her. "She's calling her mom," she told him.
"He didn't realize. He didn't know that it was a permanent appointment."
Willow wiped her eyes. "We don't know that it is." She walked into her room, slamming her door.
Nick knocked gently on Buffy's door, walking in when she told him to go away. "Hey," he said, closing it. He walked over to the bed in the dark room, sitting down beside her and holding her as she cried. "I know, it's tough." He ran his fingers through her hair, shifting her around so that she was in his lap, crying against his shoulder. "We'll figure it out."
Derek looked up as Jonathan, the present nanny, walked into his office. "Run out of laundry," he asked him, pointing at his shirtless state.
"No, just on my way down to a ceremony." He pulled on his leather jacket. "Leave Buffy alone for a few days. She's still upset that she won't be able to have one." He leaned across the desk. "Her being upset makes her much more vulnerable." He zipped up his jacket. "I have the quad, we're gonna go to a christening of another member's baby." He walked out, smiling at Alex as he passed.
"Where's he taking them now?"
"Christening ceremony." He looked up at her. "Sit, I need to know how to apologize to her."
"She's still not sure this is a lifelong calling," Alex pointed out. "She's wavering on hope and depression over it." She shrugged. "Nothing you could say would be right." She got comfortable. "What about Willow? She won't be able to do field work for months."
"If she's only two months, she's fine for another four or until she shows, which ever is first. I've not been putting her in the field anyway." He grimaced. "She's excellent on the computer but I think actual field work might be a bit much for her. She's too soft willed to go stare down a ghost."
Alex shook her head. "She's not that soft Derek. She's sensitive, which is completely different. Think of her as a female Philip. She does people and ideas, not action."
"Oh, our person in Sunnydale has seen her in action, but she's not very goot at handling it. For that matter, neither is Xander. He tends to break down afterward."
"As long as it's not during." She looked at the paperwork littering his desk. "Let me guess, evaluations?"
Derek frowned, nodding. "I'm not sure how to rate them."
"Task specific, same as you do us." She grinned. "With this," she handed over her load of papers, "you might want to move job descriptions around some. That's the report on London's field trials of her people finder software. Has a few problems with the operating system but it works incredibly well. William said it could be used if she could work out the bugs."
Derek glanced over it. "I'll have her explain it to me later." He tossed it back down. "Nick did suggest she take over his computer maintenance work."
"Which would leave you with another field operative," she pointed out. "That gives you five." He raised an eyebrow. "Me, him, Oz, Buffy, and Xander."
He grunted. "I'm not too thrilled with Xander's work recently." He handed over his last report. "It's not up to his usual par."
"He's not been getting a lot of sleep either." She frowned down at it. "He needs to go out again," she said. "Possessive and raw sounding."
Derek made a wry face and nodded. "I know he's not been since the quake."
"Where would he go? They never rebuilt."
"I don't know," he said, tossing it back down. "On the security issues, he's ranking with Nick. On the field work, he's ranking with Buffy." He frowned. "Which is another problem."
She smiled. "Call Rupert back from Israel. They all focus better with him around. Even when he's doing nothing but being there." She stood up. "I'm off for the rest of the day, right?" He nodded, frowning up at her. "Deal with it. You volunteered this house to work with them, now you have to handle it. But it will be much better when they're in school again next semester."
Derek smiled. "The only high point of all this. All the papers have been first rate." An idea struck him. "Willow suggested that they write one on urban predatory behavior. That would give them something to do, something to focus on." He smiled at her. "On your way out, stop and tell them to come in here." He leaned back, watching her rear as she walked out. "Still very nice after all this time," he told the room.
Willow looked up from her notes. "Guys, we could just compile what we have." She turned to watch Xander get ready to go out. "Tonight?"
He nodded. "Yeah, I've been restless all day." He grinned at her, patting the top of her head. "Get into ours. We both had stuff too, including some stuff I noticed while clubbing." She nodded, picking up Serena to hand over. "You will be good tonight for Mommy, and I'll be home later," he told the baby, hugging her tightly. "Yes, I'll come back in and we'll talk later." She beat his face. "Now, none of that. Be nice to me and I might bring back a pretzel for us to share." She smiled, pounding on his lips. "Kisses, yes, kisses." He kissed her hand then her forehead. "Now, be good for Mom and Jonathan. They both deserve it." He looked down at them. "You guys too." He walked past Oz, smiling at the lick to his face. "Later," he called over his shoulder.
"Wait," Oz said. "I'm going too." He looked down at himself and pulled off his shirt, pulling on a t-shirt and his normal playing shirt. "Okay." He looked over his lover leaning against the doorway. "Wow. I haven't seen you in those clothes for a while." He rubbed his hand over the velvet overshirt. "Mind me coming?"
Xander shook his head, patting down his pants for his wallet and keys. "Nope, could use someone to dance with." He blew an air kiss at Willow. "We'll come help later." Then he ran down the stairs before anyone else could stop him.
He and Oz were communicating on the dance floor, their inner animals greeting each other again after a long separation when the page came through. Oz looked down at it and frowned. "Derek," he mouthed. He left his mate on the floor, heading for the phones in the bathroom, snarling at the two men that tried to take his place.
Xander frowned as he came back, very white. He pulled Oz to him, putting their ears to the other's mouth. "Will and the kids?"
Oz shook his head. "Buffy."
He pulled him toward the door, but Xander beat him to the car, getting in and pulling out quickly. They made it to the hospital in record time, only running three lights.
"What happened," Xander said, slamming the door open. He looked at Nick, who was white at the moment. "Patrol?" He nodded silently. "Who and where?" he snarled.
Oz put a restraining hand on the younger man's arm. "What happened?"
"She was taking on a single one and some punk kid came up behind her, shooting her in the back of the head." He wiped his eyes. "She's fine, the bullet hit that empty space and wasn't powerful enough to do much damage." He looked at his brother. "I wasn't there. The cops called us."
Xander walked over to him, letting the older man rest his head against his stomach. "If they don't have him, they will." He looked over as Derek walked in. "Do they?"
The Precept shook his head. "No, no one would say what had been happening."
Oz frowned, bending down to look over her head. "There was someone there that saw," he muttered. "Xan, come on, let's go find them."
Derek stopped them from leaving. "The police are still there. Go tomorrow night." He touched both of their faces. "Willow's downstairs. She couldn't come up." He grimaced. "She answered the phone." Oz ran out of the room, followed by Xander after he'd made sure Nick was going to be all right. Derek sat down beside Nick, touching his hand. "She'll be fine. We have to believe that."
"I've got to call Rupert still," he said quietly. "I just haven't been able to." Derek handed him his phone and his handkerchief. "Thanks." He wiped his eyes again and dialed Israel, needing to do this himself.
Oz ran into the garden, finding Willow easily. He ran up to her, hugging her back against his chest. "She's gonna be fine," he assured her, turning her around to let her cry on him.
"Why did she go out alone?" she asked, down to sniffles now. "She refused to let Nick or Derek go with her." She looked at him, seeing the pain in his eyes, and the younger man walking up behind them. "Are you two okay?"
Xander nodded, holding them both from the opposite side of her. "We were safely inside when it happened." He looked at Oz, seeing the determination to go find whoever did this and tear them into pieces. "Not without me," he promised softly. He kissed Willow's head gently, pulling them both tighter."
Xander tossed the smoke grenade he'd liberated out of the armory earlier, watching as it exploded next to the bar. "Raid," he called through his mask. The vampires started to choke then started to fall. He and Oz secured them together, right under the covered skylight.
When the head of the group woke up, it was in alarm, finding the two men squatting down beside him, one with a stake the other with a lighter. "What?" he asked, suddenly very afraid. "It wasn't us. We didn't hurt her."
Oz nodded, very calm. "We know that but you know who did." He looked at Xander, who lit the cord holding the cover over the skylight, starting the sequence that would make it drop right before dawn.
"I'd suggest you tell us," Xander said, his voice very cold. "For every five minutes, one of you gets a bath and we drive a stake into your leader's body here. Not enough to kill him maybe but he's gonna be in serious pain *long* before sunrise." He smiled at the leader. "Your turn."
"We'll retaliate," he promised, spitting on Oz.
Oz wiped it off, dipping the vial of holy water that Philip had blessed a few months ago down so the first drop fell in the middle of the guy's forehead. "Yeah, and I'm not touched at all," he whispered as the vampire shook and screamed in pain as that single drop started to burn into his head. "Your turn," he looked at the next one over.
"It was some goth kid. He wanted to join but no one'd bring him over." He looked in fear at Xander. "We've heard of you both but we didn't do it. None of us would have touched her."
Xander drove the first stake through the leader's leg. "And I'm a princess." He grinned. "Someone had to point her out to them. She's hardly ever in town." He twirled the next one, showing it to be one of Derek's special crossbow bolts that had been soaked in holy water and was silver tipped. "I'd give now. This one will hurt him more." He nodded at Oz when the silence was deafening. He watched as the older man tipped the vial again, letting just the single drop burn down into the younger vampire's head.
"This isn't the way," a voice said from the door. "They didn't do it."
Xander looked him over, seeing the badge. "Feeder or non?" He stood up, still twirling the stake. "'Cause she was one of ours and we don't appreciate outsiders playing." He looked over the vampire as he moved closer, walking around him. "Now, you look like fun."
The vampire held up a hand. "I want him too. They put a bad name on the community. Help me find him." He opened his coat, showing off his lack of gun. "Help me and we'll end this here. She'll be safe."
Oz put a restraining hand on Xander's arm. "We can always try someplace else tomorrow night if it doesn't work out. I'm sure they're not going to be so quiet then." The younger man nodded, still eyeing the stranger. "You're a cop?"
"And you're a Legacy member," he said, nodding. "Now, let's go." He looked at the string then down at the vampires. "Pity, I don't like them either. I'll call someone to come get them. Of course he lives in Oakland and it's four am." He smiled, waving at the door. "After you."
Xander raised an eyebrow but didn't move. The vampire detective walked out in front of them, not wanting to waste this little bit of peace. He got into his car, and they into theirs, and both pulled away form the curb out into the non-traffic.
Xander bent down to kiss Buffy's covered forehead. "He's in custody, still living almost," he told her quietly. "We got him and found an ally for you if you'd just wake up." He turned around, running into Derek and Giles. "Hey guys," he said, walking past them.
"They're pissed," Oz said in the car.
"Yeh, and?" Xander started the Jaguar, pulling out and heading for home.
Derek looked at Rupert, tiredly rubbing over his eyes. "You want to yell at them later?"
The former Watcher shook his head. "Not really. They're feeling better." He pulled a chair over to the bed, sitting down and taking her hand in his. "Now all you have to do is wake up and I'll gladly do anything, even teach you to drive," he promised the still woman on the bed.
Derek pulled out his phone, calling home. "We're at the hospital and they're on their way home." He frowned as he put it back in his pocket. "They stole a knock out grenade," he said quietly.
"I'm sure they were careful," Giles said quietly, not looking up. "I really don't care how they did it as long as they found the person."
William Sloan frowned down at the two young men from the main screen in the control room. "Do you know how dangerous that was to us?" he asked, seriously pissed.
"I don't care," Xander said quietly. He took off his bracelet and laid it down. "She's our duty, not yours." He turned and started to walk out.
"If you leave this house now young man you will never step foot in it again." William looked at Oz. "You either. Those are the rules."
The werewolf took off his bracelet and put it down. "So be it," he said, walking out after his mate.
William looked at Nick. "Go stop them," he said quietly, hanging up. "We'll discuss this later."
Nick and Derek ran out after them but they weren't in their room. They made it back downstairs as the van pulled past the front door, the Jag not far behind. Nick picked up his phone, calling the gate. "Stop them. They can't leave." He smiled as he put it back down. "They're calling the ferry and telling them we have a rabid animal loose on the island. It won't stop again until we call them back."
Derek nodded, taking the bracelets from Alex's hand. "Then we still have time to convince them to stay." He walked out, heading down the drive, walking to clear his head for the battle ahead.
Xander tossed back the bracelet, throwing it at Derek's chest. "I don't want this. I don't want that so much that I'll puke if it touches me again." He opened his door but Willow stopped him.
"What about losing your brother? If we leave, you'll lose him again." She pulled him closer, not wanting to leave. "I like it here, except for this stuff. You did too before this. If you leave, we have to too," she said.
Xander patted her head, pushing her away. "I'm not telling either of you to leave with me. You can if you want to or not. And as for my brother, yeah, in three days or so, it'll hurt but right now I could care less." He snarled as Derek caught his arm. "Let go," he said, deadly quiet and cold.
"Think about your future," Derek said "That three days you mentioned. You'll hate yourself then." He looked hopeful. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have even said anything about your methods or let William know but it was wrong."
Xander shrugged, taking back control of his arm. "That's nice." He looked at Willow. "I'll see you when you come over." He didn't hear the gun cock but he felt the dart hit his arm. He tried to jump on Nick but it started to work too fast.
Oz bent down to check him. "You shouldn't have," he said, not looking up. "He'll leave for sure now."
Nick shook his head, firing one into his arm too. "Yeah, you both might." He looked at Willow. "Drive the van back up to the castle. I've got his car."
"Or what? You'll shoot me too?"
Nick shook his head. "No. You're pregnant, I can't do that." He frowned at her. "Get in and drive."
"Fuck you," she said, pulling Oz's gun from under the seat she was leaning against, pointing it at him. "Let us go. We don't want to be here anymore."
Derek walked closer, slowly. "Willow, that's something you don't want to do. This isn't you, it's them. You're not the violent one." He reached over, pushing her arm down. "Think of your children. What would they say?" He took it from her nerveless fingers, pulling her closer. "I know you're scared but we're not letting them go without a fight. We don't want any of you to leave." He handed it to Nick, watching as he put it in his waistband. "Now come back to the house and we'll talk about this like grownups," he promised her. He let her step back. "Do you want me to drive?" She shook her head, getting in. Derek loaded both young men into the back of the van, watching as she turned around and headed back for the house.
Nick wiped the sweat off his brow, sighing in relief. "What would you have done if she hadn't had the safety on?"
"She had it on?" Derek asked, getting into the passenger's side. "Drive. I want to keep an eye on them." The engine roared to life and they headed back up toward the house.
Once there, they had to convince her to unlock the doors, using a phone call from Rupert to get it done almost an hour later. Xander started to come around as he was being carried upstairs but a hard punch from Nick left him unconscious again quickly. Derek locked them in the room from the outside, pocketing the key.
"We'll come back up when they've calmed down," he told his security chief.
Derek knocked on the door before opening it. He walked in, not expecting to find no one inside. He grabbed the phone, calling the gate house. When he got no answer, he ran back down the stairs, meeting Nick in the library. "They're gone," he said.
Nick shook his head. "Shitheads," he muttered. He grabbed his jacket on the way out, taking his car keys from Dominick. "I'll find 'em. You call Rupert."
Derek picked up the nearest phone once the door closed, tapping his foot impatiently as it rang and rang. "Damn," he muttered. "He trained them too well." He looked at the butler. "Where would they go?"
"Home sir," he said, frowning at his boss. "I do believe you overplayed your hand, sir. They might never come back now." He turned, walking back down the hall. "Dinner in three hours, sir," he called back, reminding him.
Derek headed for his office, pulling out his card file. He pulled out Precious' number, dialing it quickly. "Precious," he said, "have they gotten there yet?" He looked at the phone as it was hung up on him. "Damn and double damn," he muttered, dialing Sunnydale. "Philip Callaghan please," he asked the Sister that answered. "Yes, this is somewhat of an emergency. I need to speak to him now." He ran his hands through his hair, messing up the nearly straight part. "Philip? Thank Got. No, something happened here. Buffy was almost killed and those two boys handled it their way." He frowned at the snort. "Then William, Nick, and I all overreacted. We think they might be heading back your way." He frowned at the handset then put it back to his ear. "Yes, this is an emergency. I don't know what they'll do. They actually snuck out of the house after I had them brought back tranquilized." He hung up, gnashing his teeth. "I know that," he told the offending instrument. "But it's all I could do at the time." He dialed Nick's cell phone. "I'm assuming they're on the way out of town. Precious hung up on me and I've asked Philip to watch for them." He snarled. "They did what?" He covered his eyes, leaning back. "We've got to stop them. No, I don't care how. Just don't hurt them or the children." He hung up, still ready to snarl.
Unfortunate for the London Precept that just called. "Derek," he said.
Derek picked up the screen, tossing it across the room, smiling as it erupted in a shower of sparks. "Asshole," he muttered, searching for his keys. He had to get them back. This house wouldn't be the same without them.
Xander leaned out from his window, handing over his check card. "Give me three hours. Go to the bank and take as much out as you can." The older man nodded so he sped away.
Oz looked at his family. "Let me go check us in and then I'll go do what he said." He closed his door softly, walking into the small motel's office.
Xander sped down the interstate, hurrying toward the next exit. He checked his watch as he pulled up to a gas station, smiling when he saw he still had five minutes. He pulled the paper he'd written the hotel's number down on, holding it up to look at as he dialed the car height phone. "Hi, I need to talk to the family that just checked in a few hours ago. Van, two redheads, lots of kids?" He smiled as he was connected. "Hey, Will. It's me." His smile fell as he did the hard part. "In the bag in the back of the van is the stuff I put in while you were in saying goodbye to Precious. In it's some tapes and about ninety percent of my saving's account." He pulled the phone away from his ear. "No, calm down. I'm laying a false trail for them to follow." He tapped his fingers as she put Oz on. "Man, calm her down before she miscarries. I'm fine, I'm laying a false trail. In the bag is most of my money, my velvet throw for you to cuddle up in and remember me, and some story tapes I was working on for the kids so you can wean Serena off my voice. Be safe and take care of them. I love you all." He hung up over the protests of his lover, rolling back up his window as he pulled away from the small convenience store and it's three pumps. "I'll miss you," he whispered.
Oz snarled and tossed the phone back into it's cradle. "He left us for our own protection," he told Willow once he'd calmed down. "He says he's laying a false trail to take them off the scent." He looked at his family, opening the bag she'd brought in and dumping it out. "Story tapes," he said, setting them aside. "Velvet throw, money." He picked it up, looking in it then tossed it across the room, taking her in his arms to comfort them both. "He'll be fine and he'll come back to us when it's safe," he whispered. "He always does."
Willow nodded, looking over his shoulder at all the stuff, sniffling softly. "I know but this is bad." She pulled back. "He's gonna do something stupid, I know it."
Oz tried to reassure her. "He can take care of himself better than we could together. That's why he's leading Derek away." He put the card he'd been handed away in her purse. "For emergencies only," he warned her. "Otherwise Derek will find us."
She wiped her eyes, nodding. "Okay." She looked around. "We can't stay here."
"They'll be looking for us to go home."
"Then we'll go someplace else," she said, smiling wanly. "Want to go live in the desert?" He shook his head. "We could do Vegas." He shook his head again. "Okay, then where?"
"How about," he said, pulling her into his arms to give himself time to think, "we call Jonathan where he is. I'm sure he'd like to say goodbye to them too."
Willow nodded. "Sounds like a plan. He's up in Oregon someplace." She wiped at her eyes one last time them laid down next to her babies. "Yeah, we'll see Jonathan and then we'll pick a spot."
Derek looked up as someone walked into his office, frowning at the redhead that so resembled the one he wanted to be home. "I didn't mean to force them," he told her.
Precious nodded, sitting down in front of his desk. "Then maybe you shouldn't have tranqed them or locked them in. As they say, set the things you love free and they'll come back." She tossed over the postcard she'd gotten. "They're safe. Being watched out for."
Derek read the back, his stomach rising to sit in his throat. "He left them?" He looked up but she was gone. He looked back down at the card, frowning at it. "Why did he leave them defenseless?" He beeped the control room, handing it over to Alex as she came running. "He left them."
Nick nodded, leading him over to the couch. "He's trying to protect them," he said, looking at Alex and nodding her out of the room. "Sleep, Derek, you need it." He covered him then stepped back, frowning at the disorder of the house. He sat down at the desk, working on getting everything back to how it was supposed to be. Derek's shock had lasted too long already and the house was ready to fall apart. Once he had it cleaned and Derek was fully asleep, he called London, putting the call up on the new screen. "He's napping. I'll deal while he's under," he said quietly.
"No, Xander, don't leave them," was said softly from the couch.
Nick shook his head. "We'll find them, just to ease his mind."
William shook his head. "Just get them back to the house. This little *vacation* of theirs has gone on too long." He hung up, leaving Nick smiling.
"Yeah, it has, hasn't it." He called up the latest search results, figuring in what he'd read. "Brother you're gonna come back or I'm gonna kick you ass." He smiled at the recent account activity. "Got ya."
TO BE CONTINUED.