Notes: Started out as a dream that wouldn't go away. Ended up writing it anyway. Still only seen to the end of season 2. Spoilers for the deal made to save Sam. This is just another way to fix that issue.
The Right Rite.
Dean tapped the steering wheel with the music he had playing, glancing at his brother. His brother was giving him an odd look. "What?"
"Where are we going? We haven't found a job out this way. Did we find out someone needed us?"
"No, we're going to see a contact I have out here. She's a nice lady. Fair warning, don't take the candy from her, the cats aren't really mean, and if you want something cleaned don't nag. You'll end up doing it yourself."
"Okay. What sort of contact is she?"
"Research. She's a fairly powerful witch with a mind for research." He smirked a bit. "Dad introduced us."
"When I was sixteen."
"Where was I?"
"Being babysat that week," he admitted. He turned onto a darker road. "I really do want to have lights out here sometimes. It can't be safe."
"It doesn't look like anyone lives out this way."
"There's a small trailer park on the other side of the playground," he told him. He turned a corner and Sam saw the trailers, and smiled at the one they were heading to since it had lights on. Dean parked and got out, leaning on the roof for a second. "Do not upset her, Sammy. I'm not sure if she'd make you a kitten or not. She used to think you were adorable."
The trailer door opened, letting the heavyset woman stare at them. "Put a tarp over her, Dean. The neighbor's nosy enough to check plates." He nodded, getting one of out of the trunk to cover the car. She looked at the other one, smiling a bit. "You're still cute. I knew I should've talked your daddy into letting me have you instead."
"Thanks, I think," he said. He stared at her. "Do I know you?"
"You probably saw a book cover," Dean said, walking Sam that way. He slid past her to get inside, bending down to pet the head bitch of the cat herd. "Hey, Princess."
"She's getting on in years and even more deaf," she said, smiling at Sam. "He never told you?"
"No. Not until a few minutes ago. Did we meet?"
"No, your Daddy lost Dean in a poker game."
"I think it was the other way around," Dean said dryly, giving her a look. "You lost and Dad made me marry you."
"Could be a valid viewpoint." She sat down again, getting comfortable in the corner of her couch in front of the computer. "What's up?" She looked at her boy. "By the way, I heard. You're in *deep* shit this time, Dean Andrew Winchester."
Sam snickered. "I doubt he's heard his full name since our Mom died." He sat down, letting the cat staring at him sniff his fingers. "I don't mind kitties." He petted it gently, watching it scamper off to play with something.
She looked. "I said no playing with the imp, Bitch." The cat ran when she squirted it. "Sorry, trapped imp and she thinks it's a mouse." She smiled at Dean. "Coming to apologize?"
"Maybe." He flopped down, staring at her. "I want you to watch out for Sammy when I'm gone."
She shook her head. "You're my legal spouse, Dean. He's an in-law even if he is adorable."
Sam gave her a look. "He really made you marry Dean when he was sixteen?"
She smirked at him. "I was only twenty-one. Your father knew I was a witch and a powerful one at that. He figured I'd be able to help Dean later on in life and it'd mean that Dean wouldn't be screwing around too often on the road or bearing babies."
"Which I haven't. There's no baby Dean's," he assured her. "You're the one who told me to go screw around. I think you nearly gave Dad an ulcer when you took me to the orgy."
"Probably." Sam was gaping at them. "Had to have him broken in somehow."
Dean looked at him. "You got pushed at the cheerleader for a reason, Sam. He was probably trying to find you an anchor who'd take part of your soul to hold it for future use too."
"She did what?" Sam asked.
"His daddy did it so I could hold a small piece of his soul. That way he could retire and ease some of the burden on him by giving him back a piece of his innocence." She looked at him. "Not that it'll matter now."
"No, but it can help Sam some year probably."
"I won't be here then."
"You never told me you were getting sick again," he said, staring at her.
"I'm not. I already know when I'm going, Dean." She stood up. "Let me grab a bag. You boys get some food while I shower and change." They nodded.
Sam went into the kitchen, looking at the dishes. He grimaced. "Um...."
"She's been busy writing, she hates to do dishes," Dean explained. "Clean them if you want to use one. I usually do. Nagging means it won't be done until every piece in this kitchen is dirty. The last time I gave up after a week and had to scrub the kitchen."
"Sure." He started some dish water, watching it back up. "Your drain's clogged," he called.
"Yeah, I haven't removed the cat fur from it for a while. Sorry. Use the antibacterial stuff in the bottle to clean the dishes so you don't freak out if something went fuzzy."
He shook his head, fixing the sink for her then moving on to do the dishes. He hated dirty kitchens. The rest was spotless. She had simply kept piling the dishes until the sinks were full. Then again, a few of the bottom pieces were looking a bit moldy.... He grimaced and rinsed it well before getting in to scrub it. That was nasty. Once he was done he looked in the fridge, then at Dean. "She's where you got the M&M fetish from."
Dean nodded. "She sends me some every few months too." He grinned. "She's not supposed to have them so she buys them for herself, nibbles a few times, then sends them to me."
"Are you two.... Or ever?"
Dean shook his head. "She'd lose a lot of her powers," he said quietly. "That's why she gave me permission to go out and lay any chick I wanted as long as it was good and I had fun."
"Oh." He considered that. "Dad was going to..."
Dean nodded to interrupt him. "That's why I took you to that party at the cheerleader's house. So one of them could pounce you and he couldn't do it to you too. Not that it's not great and I grew back what she took, but Dad had the idea that it'd help us later if we had some innocence left. You being laid by the triplets of terror and funky hair got you past that. She literally lost the card game and that's the price Dad named."
Sam shook his head quickly. "I never would've thought Dad could do something like that."
"He was trying to help and protect us the best he knew how. He said it came from something Bobby told him."
"Wow." He looked in the fridge again then at him. "There's turkey." He came over to make himself a sandwich, letting Sam do the same. They waited while she dressed and packed a small bag. "Where are we heading?"
"She doesn't drive anymore," Dean told him. "If she needs to go somewhere it's probably why I felt I should come see her now." He ate another bite, watching her come out to grab a few things and slit open a large bag of cat food. Then she printed something massive off the computer, putting it into an envelope. "The newest book?"
"Yup. Just finished it yesterday," she said proudly. He grinned back. "I know you guys laughed at them."
"I have. Sam doesn't realize that you're you yet." He gave him a nudge then pointed at her. "She' the one who writes that hilarious witches and hunters series that had you giggling when you were a senior." Sam gaped. She grinned and wiggled her fingers at him. "Exactly. My woman's a talented bitch. With way too many cats. Which one's that one?" he asked with a point.
She looked. "That's not a cat. It's a demon who came to spy on me." She sprinkled something from a pot on it so it puffed up and left. "There we go. Let me do the water thing." She got around them, kissing Sam on the cheek. "Thank you for handling the dishes for me, Sammy."
"He hates that name," Dean told her. "Yells at me for it."
"Every boy should have a cutesy name for girls, Dean. It makes them remember when they were younger and playing around." She put down a large bowl of water then walked out to grab four books. One she handed to Sam. "Hold that for me?" she said, staring at him for a minute. He nodded. "Good. Let's head to that guy you told me about, Dean."
"Which one?" he asked, making a few more sandwiches.
"Grab the bag from the bottom shelf and fill it," she ordered. "The one that you said was a book nerd too. I'll need to leave this to someone sometime soon." He stopped packing to stare at her. She stared back. "I do know these things. The same as I knew when you made the stupidest fucking decision in your life. If you had called, I could've done a resurrection *so* much easier and you wouldn't be about to die too."
"Did that link us?" he said.
"Kind of," she said blandly, putting in some sodas for herself. "Come on." She walked Sam outside, letting Dean carry out the food. She looked at Sam then smiled gently. "He'll be fine, Sam. There's plans in place to help what you need to do," she said quietly since Dean was back inside. "All you have to do is play along and he'll be safe." He relaxed, nodding at that, smiling a bit back. "Yes, I'm his bitch. I do love the little grease monkey bastard. Have for a few years now. When I'm gone, you'll have a few days, a very hard thing to do that you can't tell him about beforehand, then it'll be fixed and he'll be yours and whole again. Especially with that piece of his soul I have frozen in its innocence."
He nodded. "Thank you. I wasn't sure he wasn't coming to say goodbye."
"He is. So am I." She smiled. "Just not how he thinks." She got into the back of the car, taking the groceries with her. "Put the last two inside, Dean. They're under the stairs."
"Get your furry tails inside," he ordered. One ran up the stairs. "Huh, the other not your familiar?"
"No, she's inside on the couch. Shoo, Sheeba." Dean picked her up and tossed her inside, locking the door before closing it and heading back to get in and drive. Sam got into his spot, looking at the book. She leaned forward. "Now, none of that wild driving that might make you hot, Dean. Don't wanna have to watch you pick up chicks," she teased. "Might make me wonder."
He smirked back. "Blow it out your ass," he said fondly, backing up and heading off into the night. "Which book nerd are we hitting?"
"Bobby," Sam said. She nodded he was right. He smiled, opening the book. A few pages in he blinked and looked back at her. "You're a damn powerful witch if you can do this."
"I am," she agreed.
"I thought only pure.... Oh, you never?"
"Nope, never," Dean agreed. "She would've lost most of her powers and she's one of the guardians of the world."
"Another's been born and called," she promised. "It'll be fine. I'll go haunt the new one to help her."
"Anyone we should meet?" Dean asked. "That way you can warn her before she gets into trouble?"
"She's a lesbian, won't matter."
"Huh. She cute?" Dean teased.
"Very and you may get to meet her some year." She kicked his seat. "Behave. Remember the potholes." He nodded, swerving around one particularly deep one. "So we're going where?"
"South Dakota," Dean told her.
"A few states isn't much," she decided, settling in to nap or something. In truth she was praying for her last, greatest work to work correctly but neither of them needed to know that. One would know soon enough and one would never know the full extent of what she was helping Sam do to save his big brother. It was for the best. Dean would protest if he knew. Then she'd have to come back to spank him.
Dean pulled into the salvage yard, getting out and opening the door for her. She smiled, pinching him on the cheek. "Gee, thanks." She walked toward the house, letting the boys follow them. "Bobby!" he yelled.
Bobby came out, staring at the woman. "Ma'am."
She giggled. "I've never been that nice." She stared at him then smirked. "I don't expect it in others."
"Are you a hunter?"
"Witch," Sam said.
"Powerful witch," Dean corrected.
Bobby stared at her. "At your age, ma'am?"
"John solved me having to get laid by making Dean marry me when he was sixteen." Bobby gaped. "Since I know my time's coming soon I've got to put my books somewhere. They said you'd respect them."
"I respect a lot of knowledge." He let them inside, staring at Sam, who was still holding the book. "You good?"
"I'm fine." He smiled, taking the keys from Dean's pocket. "I should get the food out of the car."
"Go ahead, sugar," she agreed. She stared around the room then nodded, smiling at him. "Annabelle McGoverns-Winchester," she said, holding out a hand. He gaped. She giggled. "Exactly."
"She lost to Dad in a poker game. Dad made me marry her when I was sixteen," Dean told him. He sat down, watching them. "She's an author too, Bobby."
"You write those DSW books?"
"No, that's a very nice man who's in San Francisco at the moment. I write the other set," she said with a point at one of hers on the shelf. "That's mine." He smiled at that. "Now, I have about a trailer full of books that'll have to go somewhere in a few months. My cats the coven can take care of." Sam nodded at that when he came back in. She had told him that late last night. She looked at Bobby again. "Will you respect my books and help the new guardian if she should come to you?"
"I will. Do we know who got tapped?"
"Little southern girl named Tara. She's a beautiful young lady with a soul of gold, but a nasty ass family I'd like to club a few times. Including her new girlfriend." Bobby nodded at that, smiling a bit. "You'll be meeting her sooner than you think but it won't be because of a huge problem. She'll need a good uncle to get her straightened out since some of the ones around her are a bit skewed. They've been hunting so long they're scarred, even at their ages," she said more quietly.
"It happens to the best of us," he agreed. She smiled and sat down. "Want some tea? Water, anything?"
She smiled. "No, I came to see who'd get my books, dear. Then I'm taking Dean to a motel tonight. I should get to enjoy myself before both of us go."
"You're linked to him?" he asked, looking worried.
"Not exactly. Sam'll tell you later on." She looked at Dean. "Would you do me that honor?"
"Should be mine to do," he agreed calmly. She smiled at that. He looked at Bobby. "Can you Sammy-sit?"
"Sure," he agreed, watching him leave. She was making him leave the Impala for some reason. He looked at Sam. "What the hell?" he asked once he was sure Dean couldn't hear.
"She knows how to save him," he said quietly, patting the book. "She called the plan, Bobby." Bobby slumped. "She's going to end her powers to save him. Then I've got to do something to finish saving him. Speaking of, I've got to go back to her house. I'll call tonight." He took the book with him, finding the other three still in the backseat. He looked at them, smiling at the note on the top. He walked them inside. "She said these were just the beginning and had to go to Tara." He walked back out, heading off to drive back to her trailer.
Bobby sat down to look over the three books. They had some powerful spells in there. Ones only a pure witch could or should touch. He put them carefully in a protected spot, wondering why they had come back to him this time. And what was with the book petting? Sam wasn't a wizard by any means. Or a witch.
She smiled at the motel room, heading in to take a shower and get ready for her special night. After her shower she carefully drew the marks on her body with the skin-colored paint, putting up a small shield over the door when the demon was summoned. "Morning."
"What did you want, guardian?"
She stared at herself then at him. "To save the one who's mine."
"There's only one reason I'm ever called upon. Name the price you're going to pay."
She waved a hand at herself. "All of it, baby. To save Dean Winchester. He'll be given a new vessel and body."
He considered it. Then he nodded. "That would be amusing to watch. The lower ones would be screaming about that loss for decades. The highers would get to punish them for breaking the vow to end that family. Why now?"
"His deal ends in a month. They'll need that time."
He nodded. "Very well then. Someone will do the spell?" She nodded. "Someone competent will do the spell?" he asked again.
"His brother loves him enough to be on this end if he knew."
Dean knocked on the door. "What're you doing?"
"Witch things." She looked at the demon again, strengthening her shield so he couldn't come in. "Do we have a deal? I'll be the sacrifice to have the spell done."
He nodded. "That would be amusement for ages to come. He'll be put into a new vessel and body. He'll be carried and reborn. Any other boons?"
"Have him be *Dean* that's reborn. Sam would hurt himself otherwise."
He nodded. "That's reasonable but it would take some of the soul that's not marked by the crossroads demon."
"Which is in storage," she agreed. "His brother's going to put my cats with my coven; he can find where I've hidden it."
He nodded. "Then I can do that. Good luck and have a happy night, Guardian." He faded.
She checked herself over, making sure nothing was undone or able to be seen before she walked out. She kissed him, running her fingers through his hair. "Product, Dean?"
"It takes a little bit to look this good," he teased. "What witch things?"
She smirked. "If I'm going to lose my powers, I've got to make sure they transfer over correctly, my boy." She led him to the bed. "I know I'm not your usual young, hot thing with a tight ass. Sorry."
"No, it's good," he assured her, stripping down. She was heavier than he liked but she was also his wife. It was about time they consummated things. After all, he only had a month left to live, he probably should do this for her. He laid down, kissing and gently stroking her, grimacing at some of the paint. "Markings?"
"Not an issue."
He smirked. "Naughty."
"Of course! Didn't you see the porn I wrote last month when I was bored?" He laughed, leaning down to lap at a nipple. She let herself enjoy it and experience his body. He wasn't thrilled with her body but he was doing what she needed him to. He finally pierced her, making her wiggle a bit in discomfort but he eased it and it was good.
He was watching her face as he worked himself inside her body, watching her get warmer and hotter. Finally she came. He grinned, pulling back to go harder. She sighed and seemed to fall asleep. He paused, staring for a minute. No new breath. "Oh, no. You're not doing this to me." He checked her pulse. None. "Bitch!" He started CPR, listening to her. "No, not happening. Not my doing!"
A light appeared next to him, stopping him. "Don't." He growled. "She chose this method to help you, Dean." He stopped working on her, staring at the ghost. "She chose it to help you. She'll have died of a heart attack or an aneurysm or something. It was natural causes. Clean yourself up and let someone know." She ran a hand over his head, making him forget most of it. Then she faded out.
Dean got up and got dressed, covering her. He walked out to the office. "Hey, I think my wife needs a, um, ambulance," he said, trying hard to think of what to say. "We were... having fun and she kinda came...then went." The motel clerk gave him an odd look. He let out a hysterical sounding laugh. "I don't know! I tried CPR, dude!"
The clerk pointed at a chair. "Sit there. Let me get someone, sir." He called and went to check on her. She was in the bed. He had taken the time to cover her up. There wasn't any blood or any signs of something wrong going on. He met the officer that showed up. "No signs of anything. He said they were having fun and she went," he said quietly.
The officer looked then nodded. "It happens sometimes. Where's the husband?"
"The office. He's dressed."
"Sometimes shock can do that to you," he said, heading that way. "Sir?" Dean hopped up, staring at him. "What happened?"
"It sounds bad but we were having fun and then she came... and sighed and seemed to pass out. I tried CPR. I haven't taken it in a while but I tried."
"I'm sure you did, sir." The paramedics came in. "Let me get some facts for them, all right?" Dean nodded, taking the form he had to fill out. He handed it back over. He looked at the religious box, then at him. "Should we contact someone about strange rituals?"
"I..." He coughed. "I'll call." He nodded, leaving him alone. Dean called the salvage yard. "Can you come pick me up? I probably shouldn't drive, Bobby. No, she just died." He rubbed his forehead. "Why can't Sammy?" He groaned. "She knew she was sick or something," he said quietly. "Yeah, that's where I am. Thanks." He hung up, watching them load her into the ambulance. He looked at the clerk. "I'm going to check out."
"Of course, sir." He got him checked out, watching as his friend pulled in and stopped to talk to the cop. The guy handed him something, getting a nod. Then he came in for Dean, walking him off. He went to snoop. "He thought she might've been sick."
"Sometimes people can tell when it's their time," one of the paramedics said. "It was good she left some instructions for us on his chair." He closed the ambulance door and got in to drive. He hated these runs but at least she wasn't a bad one. Dying during sex was a lot better than homicide any day.
The cop finished his report and headed back to file it with his boss.
Bobby got Dean settled on the couch with a mug of coffee. "She knew."
"She said she'd be going soon. I didn't expect it today." He took a drink and put it aside. "She said she was doing witchly things to make sure her powers passed on."
"For some their powers are linked to their souls, Dean." He sat across from him.
"Why did she send Sammy back to her place?"
"To get the things that no one else should touch probably."
"She did have a trapped imp that one of her cats thought was a toy," he admitted. He took another drink, calling his brother. "It's me." He listened to him say something. "You knew?" He nodded, leaning his head back. "Can you handle the packing stuff or come back to pick me up so I can?" He smiled. "Sure. Her coven? The number's on the fridge the last time I knew. Thanks, Sammy. Yeah, I'll stay here." He hung up. "He'll be back in a week with her books. Once the coven's got her nineteen cats."
"Nineteen? That's a lot in a trailer."
"Yeah but she loved the little furry mess makers." He finished his coffee. "Can I nap?"
"Go ahead. You know where the spare room is." Dean nodded his thanks, heading that way. Something was seriously going on now. He walked outside to deal with a customer, calling Sam before he came back inside. "What is going on, Samuel?" He listened to him. "It can't...." He sighed at the 'she was making sure it'd happen and Dean can't know, she said so' answer. "You sure?" He nodded. "Then why come to me?" He smiled at the 'books were important to her, like her cats'. "Sure, I get that. We'll be here. Thanks, Sam." He hung up, going to tinker around for a bit and think. Those two would need an anchor and he needed to look up what that rite consisted of. If it was powerful enough to break the hold the demon had on Dean's soul it had to come with consequences. He found it in his collection, only a mention of it, and sat down to read it over. It was odd. Putting Dean into a vessel to have him regrow a piece of soul that wasn't tainted? He decided he'd get the full explanation from Sam and the book he had been petting. It was probably in there.
Sam walked into the trailer, looking at the cats. "Hey, guys. I'm sorry you lost the mommy. We'll get someone nice to come get you new homes." He found the fridge and the number on it, starting to dial when someone else walked in. "You're.... Exactly how I pictured Nanny Gramley to be," he said dryly.
She smirked. "Took us a while to get used to her talking about us that way." She looked him over. "You're not the one she married."
"No, he's with a friend who's getting her books, ma'am. I'm his younger brother Sam."
"That's fine then. You're family."
He nodded. "You wouldn't know where she put it, would you?"
"It's frozen," she said with a nod. "Should be lighting up the freezer."
He looked, pulling out the small sealed jar. "I need to protect this while I pack the books for her."
She got him something from a closet. "It's furry so it'll pad it and you can sling it over one shoulder and around a hip so you don't bump into it all that often," she said kindly. He nodded, doing that. A young girl walked in with cages. "This is Melinda. She won't show up until the eighth book if you haven't read that far."
"Hi, I'm Sam."
"Like Dean's younger brother?" He grinned and nodded. "Wow. She talked about you a lot. Said you were cuter and she should've gotten you instead of the arrogant one who made girls swoon." Sam laughed, shaking his head. "I've got the cages, Grandma."
"Good. How many are there again?"
"I walked around the outside before coming in. There's a mother having kittens underneath the back, right corner. There's at least ten in here that I've seen."
"I'll get more cages," Melinda said. "I've got boxes for you too, Sam."
"Thanks." He went to help her carry them inside. The books were easy enough to put into them once they were together. They were both staring at two cats on the back of the couch. "Her familiars?"
"Yup," Melinda said, smiling at one. "Come on, Princess. You too, Fussy." She put them into the same cage then took one to get the mother and kittens, grabbing a towel from the trunk on the way to pad it for her.
Nanny Gramley got the other cats, two to a cage. Sam pointed. "Those two were fighting when I came in."
"That'll keep them occupied while we drive home tonight," she promised, putting them together. She smiled at him. "We have twelve women in our coven. If they can't take them in, we'll send them to other covens around the US. They'll be finding good homes."
"She'd like that."
"She would." She patted him on the arm. "It'll be okay, Sam. She did what she did for a reason. She loved him just as much as you do, if a bit differently, and knew what she was doing. Now you have the harder part to play."
"I caught her researching it. That's how I knew to come get the cats tonight." He nodded, swallowing before going back to the book packing. Melinda came back in to carry out more cages to the car, then helped her get the ones hiding under things. "Did she get that last book finished?"
"She dropped it in a Fed Ex box on the way out of town with us a few days ago," he said quietly.
"Good. She wasn't sure she could finish it." She snatched one trying to sneak past her, staring at it. "Don't do that. You'll never get a witch of your own if you do that." She put him into a cage and shut it. Her granddaughter handed her two last ones, making sure they hadn't missed any since they had an extra cage. "Outside, Melinda. A few like to hide." She nodded, going to find them. She came back with them and a kitten, putting them all into the last cage. They took it to the car and then came in to pack her working equipment and altar. He wrote down a name, getting a nod for the information on the town they'd be getting her remains from. Melinda gathered up her computer to take with them. Then they left him to finish the books.
Sam pulled in a few days later, nodding at Bobby as he climbed out of the car. "All the books, research and not. I don't think she wanted them split up."
"That's fine. We can empty the little trailer later tonight and send it back." He patted him on the arm. "Dean's pissed."
"It was her idea," he said quietly. "Does he know?" Bobby shook his head. "Thanks." He checked the bottle and the book, carrying it inside. Dean glared at him. He held up a hand. "She called the play, Dean. She did it to save your worthless ass so get over it." Dean gaped. "She's the one who told me what to do. She planned it all. It was her way to help you. So take the gift and grieve. Or go help Bobby unpack the books."
"Nanny Gramley showed up." Dean smiled a little bit at that. "She and her granddaughter Melinda packed them and the computer up, plus her altar. They said if the women in their coven couldn't take them they'd be sending them to covens around the US. They'd find good homes, like she would've wanted."
"She really...." Sam nodded. "What are you wearing?"
"Something I've got to protect until the new protector can get it at the end of the month."
"Some of it. Something she imbued. Go help Bobby with the books?" He nodded, going to help him shift them into the garage for now. Sam sat down, checking the bottle. It was still fine and glowing faintly. Almost humming with energy. He smiled, stroking over the top before rereading the ritual. He had to get it exact when it was time. Bobby came in and scowled at him so he handed over the book. He read it, giving him the oddest look. "Who else could make sure he'd be all right?" he asked quietly. "He'll be Dean again, just smaller for a bit."
Bobby handed back the book. "You're going insane when the food cravings start."
"Tell me that in six months." Bobby walked off shaking his head. Sam made sure everything was together in the freezer then went to help unpack the books. "I tried to keep them by sort, Bobby."
"That's fine. How many books did she have?"
"More than she had pounds," Dean said dryly. He lo oked at his brother. "Where's the thing?"
"Freezer for a few minutes." He held up one box. "This is the manuscripts that're printed and bound but not like a book." Bobby pointed at the work bench since they might be more fragile than regular books. Dean dug into that one. "Nanny Gramley asked about her last book."
"She said she got it done," he reminded him.
"I told her that. She was happy. Melinda took her computer."
Dean smiled. "You should read the rest of the series. Melinda's the same sort of hellraising witch she was." He got another box then closed the trailer and took the keys so he could hand it back to the local U-Haul place in town.
Sam looked at Bobby. "We'll be nearer to home. It'll be important. I'll call when it's done."
"Sure. You do that." He patted him on the arm. "What's in the furry bag?"
"What Dad had her store." He went inside to get them both out of the freezer, checking on it. Still sealed. Still faintly humming Megadeath it sounded like. He smiled, going to sit down and go back over the rite again. It had to be perfect. Or else Dean might be his little sister instead.
Dean looked over at what Sam was reading at the motel room table, giving him an odd look. "Please tell me you're not going to name your firstborn after me?" he begged.
He grinned. "Of course I am." He went back to reading. "I've even got a few girls in mind. Would you rather your future mother be a blonde or a brunette?"
Dean shuddered. "Eww!" He walked off, going to play pool at the local bar. Sam was getting weird! He didn't want to know. He knew it was because he was going to die soon but still! That was a bad thought and one he didn't want to have. He doubted Sam could even knock up a girl, much less help her by being a *guy* through the pregnancy instead of turning more girl-like to have the problems with her.
Sam went back to reading up on what pregnancy did to a body. He might not be built for it but he could handle those side effects. Even if pickles were starting to sound a bit too good already. It had to be psychological. It really had to be.
Dean looked at the place Sam had been working. It had a small altar with a fire and a few things around it. He looked at his little brother. "What's all this?"
"I'm saving your soul, Dean. Do you trust me?"
"Usually." He looked at the altar then at him. "Why?"
"Because if you die from her she'll have you." He stepped closer, staring down at the green eyes. "Annabelle said if I did it this way you'd live. You'd come back, be the smartass big brother again, all that stuff that I depend on like an anchor in my life."
"No mush," he ordered. "Or guilt tripping. I knew what I was doing."
Sam punched him. "I don't care! I know what I'm doing too, Dean. This way she doesn't get her paws on you and you don't go to hell! Any other questions?"
"No," he said, staring at his brother. "You done doing your Redrum impersonation?"
"Yes!" He stared at him. "Do you trust me?"
Dean nodded. "Yeah, I do."
"Then strip and get on the altar."
"You sure you can do this?"
"To save your short ass? Yeah." Dean muttered something but handed him his necklace and bracelets, watching as they were carefully put into a wooden box. "That way they're protected until you can wear them again." Dean nodded, taking off his shirt, then his boots, looking around before stripping the rest of the way. "Just us, Dean."
"She'll be here soon."
Sam smiled. "The fire's for her body when I'm done with it." He pointed at the altar. "Need help?"
"No, not really," he said dryly, hopping up onto it. The fire had warmed the stone enough that it was barely a bit chilly. He laid down, watching his brother do a few things. He was mixing something in a small pewter dish. "Not silver?"
"Nope." He brought it over, using his finger to draw them on Dean's stomach, then on his own chest and stomach. Then he drew a few marks on the knife he picked up. He looked at him, then at his watch. "We've got three minutes if you wanted to be sappy."
"No. I'm not spending my last few minutes on earth feeling like I'm trapped in a bad chick flick," he complained, grabbing onto the stone. "Were those drugs?"
"Something to keep you calm," he said gently, fixing his hair so it was perfect. He grinned at his brother when his watch beeped. "Ready?" He shook his head. "Me either, but oh well. You'll be fine and loved again soon." He picked up the dagger, said the small chant over it, begging the demon she had went to for his help. Dean started to open his mouth so he stabbed him once, quickly, ending it as fast as he could. He couldn't do it any other way and this was going to give him nightmares forever, even though he knew he'd have Dean back in a few years. He waited, he could feel the magic building, changing, shrinking in a lot of ways. The demon appeared on the other side of the altar. "Sorry about the fire."
"It's a good improvisation to make him more comfortable." He looked at him. "He's going to the vessel."
The demon smiled. "Do you know why we do this, Samuel?"
"Your kind? Amusement I've heard."
"Indeed. In this case she begged very prettily and gave me a lot of amusement. The trio of you have given me a wonderful way to get one over on the snotty little brats who annoy me." He smirked. "The vessel is fine. He'll still be your brother, but this will make him, as well as you, stronger. Plus solve a few future problems that would rob me of amusement when the world ended."
"I was supposed to be the vessel," he said quietly.
"I know that. Still, it let me solve a higher problem that the higher ups thought would be cute. I didn't think so." He walked around to stare down at him. "He is still your brother, in form, soul, and function. In thought and deed he'll be him. He'll simply have *two* parents this incarnation." He smiled. "It'll make him stronger and possibly a bit happier now and then."
"Where is he?" he asked quietly.
"With the favorite toy of many." He patted him on the head. "He's where the energy would be easier for him to be carried. You would've had to retreat there soon enough or else you both would've died. By the way, he had a moment of consciousness when he was transferred over. He was swearing at you for the whole second." Sam smiled at that. "Find him, love him, raise him better this time. The world needs ones like you and his new mother." He disappeared.
Sam looked at the body, gathering the box and the clothes. He looked at the body then he burned it. It was just a shell. His spirit wasn't in the right vessel but it was in a vessel. One he had to find as soon as he could. He ran for the Impala, storing the important things in the trunk. Then he drove back to Bobby's to talk to him. He walked in, slamming the door. "The demon gave him to a vessel that would make us stronger and give him two parents. Someone that's the favorite plaything of the demons and somewhere powerful. Got any ideas?"
"A demonic concubine?"
"Has to be male. The spell only works on males," he said, staring at him.
"Want a beer while we look?" he suggested.
"Please. He said he's fine. He had a minute to realize what was going on and spent it swearing at me."
Bobby laughed. "His body?"
"Burned. Not salted. He'll have his old body back again soon." He grabbed a few books, finding what the demon meant.
"Tell me all the clues you got, Sam." Sam repeated the whole conversation as he remembered it, getting a nod. "The powerful area might be the easier one to find. There's only so many in the world."
"Do we think he's not in the US?" Sam asked.
"I don't know. It'd be a bit harder to find if he was." He got his book on powerful areas and sat down to look it over. "Did you give him any hints?"
"He caught me reading up on what would happen while I was carrying him. He asked if I was naming my first kid after him. I said I was and asked if he wanted a blonde or a brunette mother. He swore and went to play pool." He smirked. "He wasn't a happy Dean by any version of the definition."
Bobby laughed. "That's because you've been a bit strange this last month, Sam."
"Well, duh!" He went back to reading. "How many are there in the US?"
"Any more likely than the others?"
"How're you gonna tell, boy?"
Sam gave him a look. "I don't care if I have to make each and every demon's concubine or playtoy take an EPT, Bobby. I'm getting him back."
"Fine," he said, backing down. Even if that was a funny image. Sammy going up to each and every demon's whore and handing him the little pink stick. Scowling with that face Dean used to call his bitchy face until they sighed and took it. He had another idea and went to look up future problems in the prophecy books she had given him. "I may have an idea," he said finally. "Most of the major future prophecies center around this one town. There's three others for other towns." He let him see them. "If making someone carry Dean for you would solve that major of an issue they have to be there or nearby."
Sam wrote down the town names and the prophecies, giving him a pat on the arm. "Thanks, Bobby. Love you, man. I'll call when I find them." He ran out, heading to get some gas and head off.
"I thought John was the stubborn one," he sighed. "Sam's clearly got him beat now. If not for the family insanity award too." He cleaned up the few books, putting them away. Sam would handle things and let him know when he could help. After all, not like a guy could walk into any OB and expect them to help him deliver Dean's new body.
Xander Harris, who was a bit tired from the last night's patrol and the nightmares it had caused, looked at his boss the next morning. The Sunnydale Construction Company's boss was a good one, a nice man most of the time. Though he did like to pick on Xander since he knew what he did at night. "Morning, boss," he said with a small yawn.
"What's wrong? The girl fuss at you all night or something bigger?"
"Smaller and it caused nightmares." He shrugged. "It happens." He walked off.
His boss stared at his back. "Xander." He looked back at him. "My office, kid." He sighed but walked that way. He walked in behind him, closing the door and windows. "Did you perhaps do something with magic last night?"
"No," he said carefully. "Why? And how would you know?"
"I can feel it floating around you." He stared at him. "You need to see what sort. It's not dangerous but it is demonic."
Xander blinked. "Like protection, like marking for a later meal, or maybe helpful?"
"Protection I can feel." He sat him down and got something out of his desk, pressing it against Xander's forehead. He looked at it then got another strip to confirm it. He nodded and got something else out of his first aid kit, handing it to him. "Go use that."
Xander looked at the little box he used to pick on the guys having moody days then at him. "Boss? I'm still a guy."
"The spell comes up protection and fertility."
"Excuse me? Fertility?"
"Yeah. Use that now. We need to know if you are. That way I make sure you don't get hurt by falling off a roof or something." Xander stomped off to the port-a-potty and came back ten minutes later, slapping it down on the desk. He looked at it then at him. "Congratulations."
Xander looked. "No way in hell!" he shouted.
"Go find your witchly friends, Harris. Get them to look into it. I'll even pay you for today." Xander stomped off, not even driving. That was a very bad sign. He tossed out the stick test and went to make notes on the daily log in sheet. His crew lead looked at him. "Someone decided to make him super fertile without his consent," he said. His guy shuddered. "Exactly. He went to beat someone to death."
Xander pounded on Buffy's door before walking in and slamming the door hard enough to crack the jamb. "BUFFY!" She came running down the stairs. "I need to kill a few witches. I'm not sure if they're our witches or not, or even if it's Anya, but I need to kill some witches. Wanna help?"
"Why?" she asked cautiously, backing up a few steps. She'd never seen Xander this pissed before. He was huffing and panting, his eyes were dilated. She almost expected them to start glowing when the hyena came back out. "Are you all right?"
"Hell no I'm not all right! I walked onto my construction site this morning and my boss handed me a fucking pregnancy test! One that came up POSITIVE!" he finished in a scream. He panted a few times, trying to calm down. "I need to kill a witch. He found magic." She nodded quickly at that. "So I need to kill some witches. Are you helping me or not!"
"Sure, we'll find the witch who did this and kill it," she agreed. "Do we know anything else? Like how far along you are?"
He glared at her. "How in the hell should I know?"
"Good point," she said weakly. "Do we know anything else?"
"He said demonic fertility magic," he said grimly.
"Okay, well, first of all, let's calm down," she said, leading him to a couch and making him sit. "This is Sunnydale. We've had stranger things than you suddenly coming up pregnant." He got up to pace. "Sit, Xander. It can't be good for the little one." He glared at her. "Don't give me that look, Mister; I will put you in a dress when you're too fat to get out of it!" He started to laugh then a few tears dripped so she cuddled him on the couch again, getting him calmed back down. Her mother came down the stairs more cautiously. "Mom, can you please call Giles and tell him we need him now at the Magic Box. It'll take us a few to get there but tell him he's looking for spells on Xander. Him and only him so far." She nodded, going to do that. She got Xander straightened out and looked at him. "At least this way I can be a good auntie before I die."
He nodded. "You can be. Thank you for not freaking out and staking me."
She snorted. "Like a pregnant guy is a big thing in Sunnydale? Hello, hellmouth here, Xander. I'm surprised we haven't seen one already!" She got up. "Let me change. Did you drive?" He shook his head. "That's probably a better idea. Before you run over the wrong witch." She ran up to change then came back down to walk him over there. She walked in first. "Good, you didn't get Willow here. Xander's boss gave him a pregnancy test this morning and it came up positive after he found some demonic fertility magic on him. He's pissed enough he broke Mom's door."
"I'll fix it later," he muttered. He looked at Giles. "He did a strip test thingy on my forehead twice then handed me the EPT."
"I see." He brought him back to where they cast major spells, setting him down and getting to work around him while Buffy watched the shop and kept people from bothering them. The spell finally showed what was going on, making him blink. "Hmm."
"Is that a good hmm or a bad hmm?" Xander asked, looking up at him.
"It's definitely an interesting spell. It's a rebirth." He went to find a book, coming back with it to show him. "This is the spell I found on you."
Xander took it to read, then blinked at him. "So someone wanted their loved one reborn and I got hit?"
"I have a feeling the energy here drew the spell, Xander. It can only work on a man and you're attuned very well to the magic around here. What with being in the library all those years plus patrolling, all that stuff."
"Well, I couldn't find a good word to cover Willow's occasional accident," he said dryly, giving him a look. The boy cracked a smile. "As such the pregnancy is protected. It may even be for a very good reason. We'd have to find the demon to ask. Only one demon ever deals with this spell."
Xander stood up. "Then what do I do, Giles? I'm not ready to be a dad! I never wanted kids," he complained. "I'll end up being dirtbags like mine were."
"You will not," he said firmly. "Unlike yours, you know what love and respect are." Xander slumped, nodding at that. "You will be an excellent father, Xander. The other parent is probably frantic since it was suppose to go into their body." He patted him on the shoulder. "We'll call the demon, see if we can get any information. Until then we've got to make sure you see a specialist."
"There's a specialist in guys being pregnant?"
"Well, no, not for humans but there are demons with male bearing capabilities and there is one breed of demon that are healers, so I'm assuming they'd know how to handle it," he said, giving him a look. "I know there's a few in town. I can send Buffy to get one. Or Anya if you wanted?"
"I'm not sure I want to be in the same century as Anya when she figures it out, Giles."
"I'll send Buffy to tell her then as well," he promised, walking him out there. "Buffy, be a dear and get one of the Frakeleth demons please?"
"What's a Frankenleather demon?" she asked.
"The ones with the glowing hands that heal others, Buffy. At the demon clinic if you would? They'll be able to help him with this."
"Can't I be an auntie?" she asked with a pout.
"It's protected. Even should he want that he can't terminate it, Buffy. They're healers, they'll make sure he stays healthy and unhurt though the pregnancy and can help with the birth."
"Drugs and a knife?" Xander asked hopefully.
Xander looked at him. "Is Ethan getting high off me again?"
"Quite possibly." Xander nodded, going to sulk in the basement with a candy bar for now. He looked at Buffy. "Could you also break the news to Anya so she doesn't try to hurt him?"
"I can do that on the way," she agreed, heading out to do that. She was so happy! She'd be a great auntie. She might even change diapers! Well, now and then and none of the gross ones but she'd change a wet diaper now and then she guessed. She found Anya at home, smiling when she was let inside. "We gotta talk, Anya."
"Did something happen? Was there an accident? I have Xander's insurance forms sitting around here somewhere."
"Accident, yes. To Xander yes, insurance needed, no." She sat her down, staring at her. "Sometime recently there was a huge demonic fertility thingy that went wrong and snapped here instead of somewhere else. I was listening while Giles and Xander talked." Anya frowned, shaking her head. She nodded, sitting beside her. "It did. Xander's boss found the magic around him and had him take a test. Your honey's pregnant."
"But... no. That's wrong. Only one demon can do that and it's only in very special cases."
"Giles said it was protected. That they'd try to talk to the demon to see if we could find the other parent."
"No. I can't be a mother. Babies are more expensive than shoe and bra shopping combined. They take things and make you pay attention to them even when you want to have orgasms or do other things. I can't be a mother, Buffy. I can't pay that much attention to Xander, much less a baby! They're innocent so they'd never understand me and I'd never be able to afford them or their stuff."
"Weren't you and Xander talking about having kids some day?"
"Yes but that was more of the adopting a starving crack ho's child so I didn't have to get stretch marks and be grossly fat for six months sort of talks. That way they're not so innocent and even if I do ignore them now and then they'll have low expectations. Xander didn't want to have kids at all but he said that might be okay far in the future when we had a good savings and stuff so we could buy the crack ho off plus afford all the stuff they needed. I don't want stretch marks."
"We can both be aunts," Buffy said with a small smile. It was a very Anya explanation. "That way he has to pay the most attention but we can babysit when we don't have anything else to do and buy the cute, less expensive stuff."
"That might be nice. How is Xander?"
"He's hiding in the basement of the shop. He didn't want to be nearby when you threw a fit, just in case. Then again I found out because he came over and broke part of Mom's door."
"I'd imagine so. Suddenly being pregnant must come as a shock to one. Especially a guy since they don't have babies. Or so I'm told humans don't?" Buffy shook her head. "Okay. How far along is he? I know there's a nice time in the second trimester that's all about the orgasms and love. I'd like to be there for that but I'll have to let him go, huh?" Buffy shook her head. "There's got to be a second parent with that spell. It should've went into their body instead."
"They're trying to find it now, let them know it warped," she said. "Can you help me get the Frankenleather demon for Giles? He said they're healers and could help with the nastiness of birth and be the doctor through the pregnancy."
"Sure, I know what they are," she agreed happily. "Come on." She led her out to the demon clinic. She knew Buffy had a problem with demon names but that was close enough for her to have a clue with the description. "Giles needs to see a senior Frakeleth demon," she told the receptionist. "My boyfriend's pregnant."
The receptionist demon just nodded. "We knew he wasn't fully human. There's no way with his diet."
"No, he is. Giles found demonic fertility magic around him," Buffy told her. The receptionist gave her an odd look then went to find them a healer. She smiled at the young looking, purple skinned girl. "Hi."
Anya looked at her, saying something in a common demon language, getting a slow nod. She said something else and the demon rushed out. "We should follow. She's worried about him and his diet too probably. He does live on bad food."
"He always has," Buffy told her, walking her back to the shop. "Basement," she called when she saw her about to go in. The demon rushed in and down to the basement. She beamed at Giles when they walked in. "Anya's been very calm about this."
"That's good. You did tell her what was going on?"
"Babies are more expensive than shoe and bra shopping together," Anya said. "I'll be a good auntie and someday when I'm ready to pay attention to something other than my orgasms and money I'll pay a crack ho for her child so it's not so innocent and will have low expectations when my attention slips for a few hours."
He patted her on the arm. "That's not a bad idea. When you're ready we'll talk more to make better, concrete plans, Anya," he said, clearly humoring her.
"She's right. Baby stuff is *really* expensive, Giles," Buffy said. "That's why aunties are better. We get to buy the cute stuff and change less stinky, gross diapers and things. Plus we don't have to put up with crying all night or drool or stuff."
"Very true," he said with a smile. "You're both being supportive of Xander?"
"Of course but I can't be with someone who's carrying the baby of another person. It's like magical rape and I'm not as good as a talk show host when Xander would need to talk about that stuff and his emotions. So I'll help with the fun part of the second trimester when it's all about the orgasms and comfort and stuff." She beamed. "Of course I'll get to threaten the baby's daddy when he shows up. Should we call that demon to see if he'll tell us?"
"Could you?" he agreed. She nodded, going into the work area to do that. "Buffy, would you like to tell the other girls?"
"Sure. Tara's going to make a great auntie too." He handed over a book. "I need this?"
"Willow will probably want to know how. She's very focused on the details now and then," he reminded her.
"That's why I get her to write my english papers," she said cheerfully, heading up to the college to talk to her friends. She found them together, sitting across from them. "We're going to be aunties."
"Anya's pregnant?" Willow asked, looking a bit disgusted.
"No, Xander is." Willow opened her mouth to scream but Tara covered it on her. Buffy handed her the book. "Giles said you'd want to know how. He had us get a Frankenleather demon to help Xander since it's protected and we'll make great aunties." She beamed at Tara. "Anya's already agreed she's not going to go after him. She's not as good with emotions as a talk show host and babies are more expensive than bra and shoe shopping. She said she'd adopt a crack ho baby when she was ready."
Tara blinked. "Hopefully not for a few years," she said quietly. She took the book to look at the information they had. "It must have been someone important."
"It's still wrong!" Willow told her, huffing a bit.
Buffy looked at her. "Yay. It's still Xander. Besides, we've seen stranger things around here than Xander being knocked up. He'll look so cute waddling around," she said happily. "We'll get to pat the belly and throw a baby shower, plus nag him into a better diet while trying to keep him away from chocolate and stuff."
"Buffy, did you get another head injury?" Willow asked. "This is *Xander* we're talking about! He messes up simple stuff!"
Tara scowled at her. "He does not."
"Actually, Giles thinks that the reason it's in him instead of where it should be is because the power here drew it this way and then Xander's known ability to warp magic kicked in while he was napping. His boss caught it and made him take an EPT. He came to break Mom's door."
Willow moaned, holding her head. "We've got to help him."
Tara pointed at a line in the book. "We'll be wonderful aunts, Willow. The baby will be loved no matter who the other parent is."
Willow read it and moaned. Nothing she could do or the demon would kill her for trying to destroy its work. "Fine. We'll be good aunts. I need processing and chocolate fudge time but we'll be good aunts. Excuse me. I hear the ice cream machine calling." She went to get herself some.
"Is he all right?" Tara asked.
She beamed and nodded. "He's fine. Upset, which I'd be if I suddenly woke up pregnant too. Screamed and ranted at Mom's but I got him calmed down. It'll be okay. That's why we got the frankenleather demon for him. Giles said they're healers."
"Good." She closed the book, handing it back. "After classes?"
"Sure. We'll be there," she said happily, heading back to the shop. She walked in and handed Giles back the book. "Willow went militant female for a few but she's having a good sulk with the ice cream machine. Tara said she'd be down after classes to hug the Xander and make him feel better. Plus to help me plan the baby shower and stuff. Can we hold it here or should we plan for Mom's?"
"Your mother would probably host it if you asked," he offered. She beamed and went to call her mother. He looked at where Xander was sulking. The OB had checked him over then gave him a long list of instructions. "It won't be that bad."
"Yes it will be. I'm pregnant, I'm a guy, and I work construction, Giles. I'm supposed to be lifting heavy stuff. She said I can't. That means I can't work." He looked at him. "That also means I lose my health insurance, my apartment, my car, all that good stuff that I kinda count on."
"You can do some modified tasks," he said calmly. "If your supervisor already knows I'm sure he has plans in place in case one of the women on the crew ends up stuffed up."
"Maybe," he said, going back to his third candybar. Buffy walked past him to take it. "Hey!"
"Two every two hours, Xander. We don't need you bouncy. You might knock the baby's brains around and give him a concussion. We can't wake him up in there so that'll be bad and could hurt him." She nibbled on it. "Besides, you should be eating salads and stuff. Healthy stuff so he'll grow big and strong."
"Him?" he asked dryly.
"Well, you're a guy having a baby; it's seems more natural that you're having a boy. Is Anya okay?"
"She and the healer demon had a long talk and got scary together," he said, reaching over to snatch a piece of the candy back. "She did say I could have the apartment and Spike if I wanted."
Buffy beamed. "Can we tell Spike here so we can all see it?"
He rolled his eyes. "Sure, Buffy."
"Did she find anything about the other daddy?"
"He's searching for us. He can't directly give him clues but he might put some hints in his way since he's on the wrong coast at the moment." She nodded that happened. "It also happened two weeks ago." He finished that piece of chocolate and Giles gave him his soda back. "Thanks."
"You're welcome. I agree you have a right to sulk but to overload on sugar and caffeine can't be good for either of you."
"Yeah, we can't knock you out and tie you down this time when you get too bouncy," Buffy agreed cheerfully, going to help a customer with something.
Xander shook his head, giving Giles a look. "Is it me or her that's sane?"
"I fear I'm the only sane one around here now and then," Giles assured him.
"Good, then it's her." He got up. "I should go fix Joyce's door."
"Let me call her first. She was at the gallery," Buffy called.
"Sure." He sat down again. That could take an hour of mother/daughter chatting about things. He finished his soda and went to the bathroom, going back to his curling-up spot. He figured he'd be there for a lot over the next few months.
Sam stared at the last demon he had caught, pinning it against a wall, stepping into its face. "The one they call the favorite playtoy of demons?" he snarled. "Where is he?"
"He!" he snapped. "He's carrying my son and he's not here!"
The demon swallowed, nodding. "You must mean the one in Sunnydale. We've heard. His mood swings are even making the slayer cranky when he throws things at her!" he said, trying to beg. If he gave enough information the guy might leave him living.
"Your kind don't deal with them?"
"No." He texted that word to Bobby. He showed him the 'mythical' answer he got back. "Wanna try again?"
"I swear, it's not! It's not! All our kind know it! It's got enough power to drive us insane! That's why master vampires go there to end the world!" he wailed. "Please!"
"Map, now," he growled. The demon wrote out directions. He looked at them then at him. "It had better be right."
"Ask any of us!" Sam let him go and he went to his knees. "We're sorry!"
"My brother's nearly five months now."
"No wonder he has mood swings!"
Sam gave him a look and killed him anyway. He glared around the demon bar before heading off. The other patrons slowly uncowered and went back to their drinks. How did a hunter not hear about those sort of places?
"I'll fucking well fix it later, Buffy!" Xander said, snatching the urn back to throw at the window. Someone walked through the door and caught it. "I wanted to break that," he snarled, hands on his ever-expanding hips. "Who're you?"
Sam put the urn down and carefully moved closer. "I'm the one who had the accident with my spell. I forgot to specify that *I* should be the vessel for my brother to be reborn."
"So this is *your* fault," Xander said coldly, staring at him. He was tall, cute, muscled, clearly a pretty boy without sense. "What was so damn important that you had to knock me up from wherever you were? Also, where in the fuck have you been!" he shouted.
"I've been looking for you," he said calmly. "My kind of hunters think this town is mythical. Can I have your name?"
"Xander," Anya called helpfully. "Xander Harris. White Knight to the Slayer."
Xander glared at her and she ducked back down behind the counter again. "Not happy with you either." He stared at him. "You would be? And what was so damn important?"
"I'm Sam Winchester, Mr. Harris." He stopped a respectful distance away, knowing his life was over with if he pissed this one off. "My brother gave up his soul to save my life," he said quietly. "I was going to be the vessel so I didn't lose the last of my family." Xander frowned, and he noticed his eyes were getting teary. Mood swings must be driving him nuts. "Someone else started it and I had to finish it. I fully planned to carry him. I know Dean's a bit hard on the nerves now and then," he said with a small grin. "He got on mine often enough."
"Winchester. Beyond the rifle where do I know that name?"
"My family and I have been demon hunters since I was six months old," he said quietly. "That's why I didn't know to look here. Our kind consider this place mythical."
"Wow. Does that make me Cinderella or Snow White?" Buffy asked Giles, who moaned and walked off shaking his head. "So how did the magical oops happen?"
"The demon it called upon said that the baby had to grow somewhere with a lot of energy. Then he decided that having Mr. Harris carry him for me would solve some later, worse problems. Plus be very amusing apparently because the higher ones only do things for their amusement." He stepped closer. "Are you all right?" he asked quietly.
"I'm fine. Not thrilled with you but I'm fine."
"Good. Can we talk without your fierce horde of girls?"
"No," he snorted. "Get to know me, get to know our witches and slayer."
"Slayer?" Buffy smiled and waved a hand, going back to braiding her ponytail. "Wow, you're really mythical. More so than unicorns. We've spotted one of those in the last century but none of us have ever spotted you."
"Now you have," she said cheerfully. "So you can die so I can be a good auntie now."
"Fat chance," he said dryly, giving her a look. "If I could, I'd take the baby so he wouldn't have to do this. I had every intention of doing it myself," he told Xander when he snorted. "I was going to make sure he was still *Dean* when he was born and raised so I'd have him back."
Xander glared at him. "Too late for that now, huh?"
"Would you let me be there and help you?"
"Help me with what?" he demanded.
Sam shifted a bit closer, reaching out a hand. "May I?" Xander growled so he stroked over the rippling stomach. "Dean, stop it. You're hurting him," he said quietly to the lump. "Leave him alone for a bit, okay? I'll play Metallica if you do." The baby stopped kicking. Xander slumped in relief. He grinned a bit. "He likes heavy metal. Specifically older Metallica. I've got some in the car. We can go talk? You can bring a chaperone to make sure I have totally honorable intentions if you want," he said at the opening mouth. "I'm an honorable man. If you were a girl I'd have shown up with a ring."
Xander looked at the ladies, smiling when Tara came over. "You sure, Tara?"
She nodded. "I...i...I'm sure," she stuttered.
Sam smiled at her. "I heard something about a witch with your name from Annabelle. She was the guardian in Morrisville."
She blushed, then nodded. "I heard she passed."
"My dad made her marry my older brother when he was sixteen to keep him partially safe. She, um...."
She laid a hand on his arm, smiling a bit. "I know," she whispered. He nodded. She looked at Xander. She nodded outside and he nodded, walking out with her between them. They got into the car and she waited until they were out of town to pull up some of her goddess given power, pinning him against the door. "If y..you hu...hurt him I will m...make you pay," she warned.
He looked at her. "I'd never hurt the mother of my child or of my brother, Tara. I'm not that sort of guy. I have every intention of being nearby to help Xander all I can and to be there while Dean's growing." She released him, letting him talk to Xander. "I did not mean for this to happen."
"You kiss ass very well," he said dryly. He got kicked and winced. Sam put in the tape and turned it on. The baby calmed down and he sighed. "Thank you."
"Sorry, I would've put it back on at the store but I didn't want to upset Tara too." He looked at the stomach then at Xander. "Will you let me be here?"
"He's still my son."
"Actually, he'll be Dean again," Sam said quietly. Xander's face fell. "The demon did say that some things might change. He'd be happier this time. He'd be more content. That's one of the reasons he gave me for giving him two parents instead of using me. That, the extra energy here that would help keep you healthy, that it'd solve some later problems, and would make a lot of the lower demons scream in outrage so he'd have some amusement."
Xander shook his head, leaning against the window. "That's probably why Willow found the accelerated growing?"
Sam shrugged. "She did?"
"He'll grow a year every month," Tara said quietly. For some reason she wasn't scared of this guy. Not like most men but she wasn't scared of him.
Sam nodded. "Even then I'm still not going to abandon you, Xander."
"You'll have him back by the time he's sixteen," he said dryly.
"That's not the sort of man I am," he said firmly, staring him down. "I never have been. If I had knocked you up the normal way I'd have been there with a ring and a preacher within an hour. As a matter of fact," he said, opening the glovebox. "I heard that hands can swell during this so I thought a necklace might be nicer?" he said, handing him the box. "I have no intention of abandoning you, even when he's back to his proper age. If I did Dean would kick my ass and summon our father back from hell to help him."
"Your father's in hell?"
"He made a deal to save Dean's life after an accident with a demonic semi," Sam said quietly.
Xander blinked. "Damn."
"Basically. The same demon took my mother's life and my girlfriend's life." Xander slumped. "My family is everything to me. I'm more than prepared to move into the town, get a job, help support you. Work toward a real relationship if that's what you want."
"What if I don't want?"
Sam studied him. "I don't take you as the sort to hit it and forget it, Xander."
"Well, he's not really going to be my kid, huh?" he said bitterly.
Sam pulled him over to kiss him. "Just because he'll be Dean reborn doesn't mean he's not our kid," he said, staring into his eyes. "We've still got to take care of him, help his training he'll want to do, all that. He'll need good, guiding parents."
Sam smiled, putting a finger over his mouth. "It can't be worse than our father. He raised us as tiny soldiers in a war because of the demon that killed my mom when I was six months old. I was ten before I realized that other kids didn't eat MRE's every few days and consider it good food."
"Mine weren't considered human by some people."
"You're part demon?"
"No, they were drunks."
"So?" He shrugged. "I'm sure you're not." Xander shook his head slowly. "Are you going to let them babysit?"
"Hell no," he snorted. The baby kicked when the new song started. "Favorite or hated?"
"Hated," he admitted, fast forwarding that song. He saw the kick. "Relax, Dean. I'm not going to hurt the tape." He let the next song play, grinning a bit. "This car, his music, me, and hunting were his whole life, Xander. That's why he's reacting so strongly."
"For the last six hours he's done nothing but kick the snot out of my lungs," he admitted grimly, stroking his stomach.
"I hit the edge of town two hours ago. I went to drop stuff at the motel first. That way it wouldn't look like I was showing up and moving in."
Xander snorted, shaking his head. "There's no way I'm ready for a new roomie. I just got rid of Anya."
Tara snickered. "She was happy."
"Of course, I could still have sex then," he said dryly, giving her a look. He looked at Sam again. "I'm still not happy with this situation."
"Neither am I," he said honestly. "If it had went right I'd be craving pickles right about now." Xander nodded, moaning a bit. "Can I ...touch?" Xander nodded, letting him stroke over his stomach. He got kicked once then Dean settled down. "Hey, Dean. It's all right and we still love you. Bobby said hi when I talked to him last night." The baby shifted, he could feel it. He looked at Xander. "Are you okay on the health stuff?"
"The demon OB said I'm perfectly healthy even if my diet does suck and I need to work less hours."
"I can help with the expenses, Xander. I meant what I said. I'm here to help and to get as close as you'll let me be."
Xander stared at him. "Why?" Sam gave him a confused look. "The only things that want that close to me want to kill me or use me."
"Well, you can make a good case for the second but it was an accident," Sam admitted. "Otherwise? You're carrying my family. That's a sacred thing to some of us. If you had gotten a girl in trouble, wouldn't you be having this same sort of talk?"
"I didn't want to have kids at all, Sam."
"Oh. I guess I can see that." That was a different situation. Of course he'd be a bit resentful as well.
He snorted. "I doubt it. You may hunt demons but so do I. We have a lot of vamps and demons around here. More than humans really. We do nightly patrols to control the vampire population." Sam frowned at that. "Plus we have non-harmful and harmful other demons. We have semi-annual apocalypses we have to handle. I'm a part of the team here, even when Buffy doesn't like it because I'm a normal guy - except for being pregnant - and I still save asses around here."
"Good then I don't have to hide the hunting I've done from you," Sam said. "I doubt anyone normal is ever going to understand coming home from killing a demon that used to be someone you know because that's all you could do to save them." Xander slumped. "It's my life too, Xander, and if you guys need help with that I'll learn your style. I'll even teach you how to salt and burn ghosts so they go away." Xander gave him a confused look. "You guys don't deal with ghosts and poltergeists? Possessions?"
"His," Tara said with a small snicker.
He gave her a dirty look. "One poltergeist replaying why he killed his lover and himself back in high school."
Sam shrugged. "If it comes up I can teach you guys that." He stroked over his stomach again, staring at him. "I'm not some ogre. I'll let you set the boundaries. I'll let you make demands. I'll let you rant and scream at me during mood swings." Xander nodded that he'd be doing that. "But I want to be part of his life and help him. Dean was a stubborn bastard, even worse than me. Even our Dad couldn't make him listen sometimes. It'll take a good troop this time since he'll be trying to yell at me for not letting him go."
"Why did you do it?" Xander asked quietly.
"I didn't want to lose him. Dean was my only family. He took the deal to save my ass from a demon who said he tainted me heavily. I know I'm not evil and Dean knew that I wasn't evil either. He held that in his heart the whole time we were going through that episode. When the demon took me, all of it. He found me as I was dying and he made the deal to save my ass. Not only did I owe him for that but he was my brother."
She put a hand on his shoulder. "He's an only child, Sam." She looked at him. "If Willow had made a deal to save you or I and you could do this to save her, would you?" He nodded, giving her an odd look. "That's why he did it, Xander. He can't explain it any more than you could."
Xander nodded. "I can get that. Now what?"
"Now, I have a motel room with protections on it for the most part. Got a good place to find a decent job?"
"He works construction," Tara offered. Xander gave her a horrified look. She knew she was being bossy but Xander needed her to be a mother hen right now and Sam clearly needed the help in wooing Xander. Plus she knew she could turn him into roadkill goo if he hurt her Xander friend. "You guys need help, you said so earlier." He slumped, nodding. "That would give you a good, neutral place to get to know him. You could see him at work and talk to him during work and at lunch. Plus he'd make enough to help you when you have to quit working in a few months."
He nodded. "There is that," he admitted, looking at him. "I'm a crew lead now."
Sam grinned. "I've only done some charity building and helping a few friends nail boards over windows. I've helped Dean with the car now and then, but I'm a quick study. I almost went to law school."
Xander snorted. "That's why you have that smile that says you're charming, huh?"
"No, that's being a little brother and having to go after Dean to pick up girls," he admitted. Xander shook his head, thumping it on the glass a few times. "Sorry." He shifted closer. The baby moved. "You like this song."
Xander looked down. "My position's squishing him I think. He likes me to recline, not sit up straight."
"If the seat reclined I'd do that but it doesn't," Sam admitted. Xander shrugged, shifting so his hips were lower on the seat. "Comfy?" Xander nodded. "Can I at least try?"
"You have one shot," Xander told him. Sam nodded at that. "No sucking up either. I don't let Buffy suck up to him; I'm not letting you."
"That's fine," he assured him. "Everyone who knew us considered Dean the suckup and me the cute and smart one." Xander got kicked again, making him laugh. "See, he agrees," he said with a small grin.
"What did he look like?" Tara asked. Sam pulled down his visor and handed over the picture there.
"Not in your wallet?"
"I've pretty well lived in the car for the last five months looking for you, Xander." He gave him a look. "I was about an hour upstate a month ago. No one said anything about here. None of the demons I found, none of the concubines I freed looking for you. None of the toys I freed looking for you." They both gave him an odd look. "He called you a favorite plaything."
"Charming," Xander said dryly, taking the picture to look over. He smiled at the shorter guy, smirking at his big brother. "Are you older?"
"He's older. He complained a number of times about being older, yet shorter. Called me gigantor a few times too."
"You're not that tall," Xander said, handing it back. "How tall was he?"
"About yours. A few inches shorter than yours."
"Not that tall," he said, shifting again. Xander reached back into the backseat and got a pillow, handing it to him. "Gee, thanks."
"The books said that hemorrhoids could happen starting in the fifth or sixth month." He helped settle him on it then grinned. "How's that?"
"No more spring in my tailbone. Nice. Thank you. Quit being so nice. I'm not used to nice or sweet."
Sam shrugged. "It's the guy I am, Xander. I'm a nice guy unless you're an evil bastard or picking on my family. You're now family."
Xander gaped. "Just like that?"
Sam stroked over his stomach. "Just like that. I can still find a preacher if you want. My father would be screaming at me to find one even if you didn't like it if he knew."
Xander took his hand off his stomach. "I'm not going to be your property or your toy, Sam. I'm more than a womb or whatever I have."
"Of course you are. That's why I want to get to know *you*. Not just his mother, but you." Xander gave him a confused look again.
Tara leaned forward to stroke his hair. "This is normal guy things, Xander. He should want to court you and check on you, help you, and learn to love you."
"But.... The accelerated...."
Sam covered his mouth, making Xander look at him. "I don't give a damn if he's eighty," Sam said bluntly. "Got it?" Xander nodded slowly but he still looked confused. "You'll get used to it, Xander. I promise. I did. You can."
"You've courted others?" she asked quietly.
"I was living with my girlfriend and seriously thinking about rings when she was killed by the demon," Sam admitted. She smiled at that. He looked at Xander again. Dean chose that moment to kick him extra hard. "Sorry. He hated emotional moments." He stroked over his stomach. "I've got to talk to him, Dean. Quit. Please?" The baby shifted so his back was up, making him grin. "Does he do that to you guys too?
"He did it when Buffy was complaining about her new zit the other day," Tara said.
Sam grinned. "He could never stand chick flick moments as he called them." He looked at Xander. "So maybe this time the girls will make him a bit more tolerant of it."
Xander shrugged. "I'm not. They drag me kicking and screaming most of the time."
Sam chuckled. "Now and then I did him too. He lost a bet so I made him go see a dress movie with me. It let me break the date with the succubus who wanted me badly."
"Your life was nearly as insane as mine, huh?" he asked dryly.
Sam shrugged. "I won't know until you tell me and I tell you about mine, Xander. That's part of getting to know someone."
"I guess." He looked around. "We should get back. We have patrol tonight." Sam started the car and drove them back to the shop. He walked in. "We're going to at least get to know each other." Buffy beamed and clapped. "Plus since he's a hunter he said he'd be willing to help with patrol and stuff."
Sam walked in with a shotgun and a pack. "Okay."
"Wow, you use Xander methods?" Buffy asked.
He nodded. "Yeah, what do you guys use?" She put a stake on the table. Xander pulled out a crossbow. "Wow. Huh. Okay, I can use a crossbow." He unloaded the shotgun and put it into the pack then pulled out his own crossbow.
"Wooden shafts," Xander said quietly.
"The ones we ran into were killed with dead people's blood."
"That's a different sort of vampire," Giles said from behind the counter. "These are fairly young minions of the lower class of vampire, Mr. Winchester. Stake to the heart or beheading."
"Like the movies," Willow agreed cheerfully. Xander gave her an odd look. "What? He was cute!"
"Eww," Xander told her. "Plus thoughts I don't need."
"Hello, better than the hos you used to date," she shot back. "Now you have a baby's daddy so he can do what Anya was trying to." She smirked and grabbed her own stake, then Tara's hand. "Come on, Buffy, let's go while Xander has a moment of gay panic."
Xander looked at her back then muttered something, making her yelp. Tara gave him a dirty look. "What? She deserved it!"
"Xander, no doing magic on Willow. You'll end up a rabbit again," Tara reminded him. She drug Willow off, Buffy following to calm Willow down. "All he did was swat," she said when Willow started to mutter. "You were being naughty."
"You kinda were," Buffy agreed. "Let's see how bad and evil Sam is before we make plans on how to hurt him. After all, he could be minor, Spike level, evil instead of Angelus or worse Initiative level evil. I doubt he's mayor level evil," she said when Willow looked at her. "Or even Cordy level of evil. He might be so minorly evil that he's good for Xander. At the very least he'll keep the evil bimbos off him so we don't have to worry about them trying to kill him again. Or Anya."
Willow pouted. "Fine, we'll see what sort of evil bastard he is before we turn him into goo and then something more fun."
"That's my witch," Buffy said cheerfully.
Behind them Sam looked at Xander. "I'm not evil. Not in the least."
Xander shrugged. "They think I only draw evil things."
"Science teacher," Buffy called back.
"Virgin at the time, hello! Could've gotten you too if you were male," Xander called back. She burst out cackling. "Besides, I was stunned by the size of her breasts, Buffy. Like you are with Spike's ass." He shook his head. "They're sure that I draw evil women."
"Well, I'm not a woman and not evil so it might be a way to stop them," he offered.
Xander looked at him. "We'll see about the last part. But don't tempt Willow, she'll make you a girl. She offered to do it to me for the birth." He pointed. "That's Spike. He's a vampire but he's a helpful one so we don't stake him." He waved at him. "Spike, this is Sam Winchester." Spike backed away slowly. "Ah, you do have a rep. He's the baby's little brother."
Spike just nodded once and backed up farther. "Need more chocolate, whelp? More mood swings?"
"No, he caught the urn with the evil sock demon when I was going to use it to break the window at the store earlier. He even found out what makes him not kick!" he said with a manic grin. "Now maybe I can get some sleep."
"Be good for you," he agreed. He nodded politely at Sam. "He's carrying your big brother?" Sam grinned and nodded. "Why?"
"The demon decided not to use me. It let him be more amused and stop some worse evil things."
"Ah," he said weakly, walking off smoking. "Should go stake myself now," he muttered. "Be easier."
"Buffy would get mad if you do," Xander called. "Buffy, Spike's threatening to stake himself again and not in that fun way Anya wanted him to," he called.
Buffy came jogging over to pounce Spike and talk him out of his suicidal tendencies again. She stared down at him. "Four more months and he'll have a baby, Spike. No more mood swings then."
"Do you know who that was!" he demanded.
"Their kind think I'm mythical," she said with a bright, happy smile.
"Yeah, and they're bloody indiscriminate!"
"I don't have the energy to take on things that aren't harmful," Sam called as they moved out of hearing range.
Buffy stared at him. "If you know I want to know, Spike. If we have to protect Xander we'd best know now. Give me then I'll go beat on Willie for a bit." He nodded, so she let him up and walked him off to talk to him, staking a few minions on the way. What she found out didn't make her unhappy... but not really happy either. That's why she stopped him later from going into the shop. "Demon?"
He groaned. "Mind games," he said. "Not what you think, Buffy. I've never been evil except the time I was possessed. I'm not now and I'm hoping I never am again." She stared at him. "I have nothing but honorable intentions toward Xander. My family means *everything* to me. The same as Dean sold his soul to save my ass, I'd give up mine for him to be okay. It was supposed to happen to me, not come here."
She stared at him. "You're going to talk to my mother tomorrow once you find a job. She'll make the decision. Am I clear?" He nodded. "Good. Where are you staying?"
She giggled. "That's a bait and buffet place, Sam."
"I have salt and cats eye wards up plus some others."
She gave him an odd look. "Salt?"
"Yeah, salt keeps spirits out. Don't you guys use that?" She slowly shook her head. "Huh. Another difference. Tara and Xander said you guys don't deal with very many poltergeists either. We did a lot of spirits and that sort of manifestation. Some natural beasts that were out of control and hurting people. A wendigo." She gave him that same confused look. He walked her inside, finding a book on the shelves, waving it at Giles, who nodded. He sat down with her and Willow, Xander looking over from sharpening crossbow tips. He found the wendigo entries, letting her see. "Those. We took one on about two years ago."
She stared at it. Then at him. "Why?"
"It was eating hikers and campers."
"Oh." She nodded, looking over it again. "Wow, it's ugly." He nodded, grinning some. She looked at him. "How do you feel about Xander hunting?"
"If he's able to hunt in a way that's safe and practical, that's up to him. If it's something that's going to endanger his life, then he should probably let me handle it." Xander shook his head. "If it'll kill you...."
"It'll be like my ex-girlfriend, who used to be a vengeance demon," he said, pointing at her. "Or the one before her or the one before her....." He smirked. "I'm going to keep on patrolling, Sam."
"That's fine. As long as you can do it in a way that's safe I have no problem with it." Xander nodded at that.
"That's why I made him start using the crossbow instead of a stake," Buffy told him.
"That's a wise precaution. He can be farther away and take on more of them if he's outnumbered. Does he carry a cellphone?" Xander nodded. "So he'll be fine. I'll go with him so I learn you guys' style of hunting instead of ours."
"Good enough for now," Buffy said. "Xander, he's going to meet my mom tomorrow. That good for you? She'll be able to tell if he's a bastard after telling me Riley was."
He looked at her. "Don't I have a say in this?"
"Yeah but if he's a bastard we should know now," Buffy told him. "That way we can beat his ass and make him less of a bastard so he can't hurt you or little Ralph in there."
"Dean," Sam said, then he coughed. She gave him an odd look. "He was my brother Dean, Buffy."
"Oh. Well, it's not a stupid name," she decided. "I didn't like Ralph anyway but Xander said he wasn't going to announce a name until after he was born." She shrugged and walked off to call her mother. "Hi, Mom. The baby's little brother showed up finally. Yup, that's what I want you to do." She listened then looked at him. "Eww, Mom." She stared at Sam for a minute. "Mom said that since there was a love clause you two weren't doing nasty, dirty, sex stuff, right?"
He shook his head. "No, we weren't, Buffy. You can assure her that some people thought we were but we weren't."
"No, Mom. He said it was talked about by people with sick dreams but didn't happen. Yeah, Sam. He's really huge too. Thanks. Xander, what time did you want him to show up to interview at the site?" He shrugged. "Okay, Mom. How about he goes there in the morning if he survives the motel and then comes to see you after lunch? That'll work. Thanks." She hung up. "My mom's up the street at the art gallery. She said be there at three so she can rip you to shreds to make sure you won't hurt her only grandbaby."
"I can do that," he agreed.
"What's your highest grade completed?" Willow asked.
"I nearly finished my last year of college before a demon killed my girlfriend. I was headed for law school, probably on a full ride," he told her. She gaped. He smirked. "My father and I actually fought about me going to college. We didn't talk for four years because of that."
She nodded slowly. "Your brother's?"
"He's hands-on smart and weapons smart. He's the only guy I know who can build an EMF meter from a walkman." She slumped some more. "Plus he had a very good hand at hunting and weapons."
"Guys, enough," Xander ordered. "You're making the baby cranky again." Sam moved but he glared. "No more tummy rubbing tonight."
"Okay." He stepped back. Willow gave him an odd look. "I gave him the right to set boundaries, miss. That's his option. That is a very personal thing and if it bothers him I won't do it unless he wants me to."
"Are you gay?" Buffy asked. "You're really nice, polite, and sweet. The only ones around here like that are gay or looking to hunt young girls to kill and rape them."
"No, I'm not like that either," he said patiently. "My father raised us to be honorable men. If he'd been a girl I'd have a ring in one hand and preacher behind me when I showed up earlier." She gave him a horrified look. "My father was a Marine, Miss Summers. Our honor is very important to us. The same as our family, made and natural, is."
"I guess that's okay. Are you sure you're not gay? Because if you were, that'd help you both be together."
He sighed. "Dabbled twice, otherwise no. I had a long-term, living with relationship with my last girlfriend for over a year and a half."
"Wow, way longer than mine," Buffy admitted.
"Tara and I are working on seven months," Willow told her.
"Congratulations," Sam told her. "It's a hard thing to make a relationship work well."
Tara smiled. "She's grumpy," she said quietly. He laughed at that. "Xander, how long were you and Anya together?"
"Six months. One living together."
"My new place is still a dump," Anya complained.
"You'd rather watch me eat pickles and chocolate sauce?" Xander countered.
She turned a bit green. "No." She fled to get sick again. Xander smirked at Sam. She came back out a few minutes later with some ice water. "At least another of those evil bunnies died when you got pregnant, Xander. We should all have one so more of them die."
Sam shook his head quickly. "That's because they used to do a pregnancy test by inserting some scraped tissues into a bunny to see if it grew, Anya. Then they had to kill it to see if the cells grew or not. If they did you were pregnant."
"Oh. Not automatically?"
"No, not automatically, sorry," he said.
"Pity. They're still evil. All twitchy nose and fluffy." She shuddered, walking off again.
"It's okay, when she's ready for kids she's going to go buy one off a crack ho," Buffy told Sam. Who only nodded once slowly at that.
"She was a vengeance demon for eleven hundred years," Willow told him. "You get used to Anya."
"Does this mean I can't have the pregnancy orgasms any more?" Anya called from the back room. "I'm missing having any and I ran out of batteries."
"Use the blue one," Xander called patiently.
"I can't. My electric bill was over eighty dollars last month from the two plug-in vibrators."
"Way more than I needed to know," Buffy complained. "I'm gonna go do another quick patrol on the way home. Girls?" They fled with her. She could get them back to the campus then go beat Willie for information.
"You really do get used to her," Giles assured Sam.
"I'm sure we'll learn to get along. I'm a nice guy most of the time unless you threaten me or my family." He shrugged. "Xander, want driven home?"
"I'm good," he said quietly.
"Okay. Ten a good time or is nine better?"
"Nine's good. Ten's a usual break." Sam nodded and left. Xander looked around then at Giles. "What's wrong with him?" he asked.
"He's a generally nice, normal young man with hunting experience," Giles told him. "Most boys are like that, Xander."
He slumped. "He can't be. Too good of a deal, Giles."
Giles shrugged. "I'm sure there's trauma in his past as well, Xander."
"He told me about his dad. His mom got killed when he was six months old by the same demon that took out his girlfriend."
Giles nodded slowly. "Then he does it for a different reason than you do, Xander. He still seems like a nice boy. I'm sure you two will at least find an amicable relationship where he can help you."
He walked over there. "He said the baby's going to be his big brother again. Down to the preppy hair apparently." He pouted some. "That means he won't be *my* son."
Giles patted him on the arm. "Even if it is him reborn you'll still be able to teach him things, to love him, to help raise him to be a good man, Xander. He'll still be your son." He paused then he smiled. "Think of it like raising a slayer. You know he has a destiny, but you can still find other things to do with him as well as help him train for that destiny."
Xander blinked a few times. "I didn't think about it like that."
"Exactly. He'll still have things he'll need to learn. Including weapons. That's something you can help teach him as well as other things. Like how to do your special dance and things." Xander smiled at that. "Even if he does have the same memories your stamp and raising will still be molding him a bit." He got a nod. "Now, shoo. You have to be at work early tomorrow to tell your supervisor the good news."
"I know." He looked down at his stomach. "I should've went with the girls."
"I can call Buffy back."
"She's off beating Willie by now," he said dryly. He grabbed his crossbow and headed off into the night, heading home. He could feel someone watching him and turned, finding Sam there. "Didn't like the motel room?" he asked dryly.
"The two vampires in there were killed and the others ran screaming my name. I figure it'll be okay for a few more if you want walked home. Or I can go get the car?"
"No, walking's good for me," he admitted. Sam nodded and walked beside him, simply watching around them while he thought. "You're still too good to be true."
Sam snickered. "I'm not going to claim I don't have a temper and I'm not stubborn, Xander. I'm the next best thing to an ox when you've engaged my stubborn streak." That got a nod of understanding. "The same as if someone tried to hurt you I'm going to handle it. Violently if possible." Xander gave him a sideways look. He stopped them, staring down at Xander. "I have killed demons to protect Dean. I've killed demons to protect both of us and Dad. I've killed demons to protect Bobby and the other hunters. You're in that same circle of family for me. If I have to kill a demon who's bothering you I will be. I might even be very pissed and make a mess of it. Even with that, I'd still never hurt you or him. Okay?" Xander nodded. "The same as I might have a beer now and then but I'm not a drunk. Dean said two beers and I'm off singing karaoke. Which isn't far off." He grinned. "You can have all the time you want to get to know me, Xander. Ask me stuff and I'll answer if I can. Even the embarrassing things."
"Awww," a vampire said. "How mushy and girl like." Xander gave him a look. "On you we excuse it since you're basically a girl." Xander took the stake from Sam and went after him, beating him pretty well before staking him.
Sam grinned. "Nice job. There's a few katas that can help you compensate for the shifting weight. I can teach them to you this weekend if you want."
"I might like that," he admitted. "But you've got to move."
"Once I have a paycheck I'll get a place." Xander nodded, letting them walk on. He smiled at some of the buildings. "That one's pretty. Residential?"
"Um, demon apartments but mostly harmless things." He pointed at one. "We're heading there. It's a mixed building." Sam nodded. "Want walked back to the rathole?"
Sam smiled at him. "I'm more dangerous than the rifle that shares our family name, Xander. They won't be getting me." He got him to his door. "Want walked up?" Xander shook his head, finding his keys so he could get inside. "I'll let you help me look, okay?" He nodded, heading up there. "Have a good night, Xander." He made sure the downstairs door was closed then went back to his motel. He had stayed in worse places. It even had the magic fingers system that Dean adored. It made him feel closer to his brother again. He missed the jerk.
Xander's boss smiled when he saw Sam coming in. He was neatly pressed. He looked decent. He had a good, firm handshake. "Xander said you're the baby's father."
"Yes, sir," he agreed. He let himself be walked into the office. "How he got pregnant didn't quite go as planned. That's why it took me so long to find him."
"Hmm. I've heard your name from somewhere." He could see the boy's mental sigh and smirked. "Any relation to the people who make the guns?"
"A very distant one," he said with a small grin. "I think my father was something like a fifth cousin."
"Pity. Then you could've kept the boy in a style that he needs to be and afforded the best for the baby."
"Technically, if I really wanted to I could go find a wish demon and do the same thing."
"I don't think they work the way you think, boy."
"That depends on which one you get," Sam said. "If you get one of the vindictive ones who doesn't like what we do for a living, then giving us money would get us notice, which would upset and piss us off because notice means we can't hunt."
"Hmm. You a lawyer?"
"I was heading to law school when my last girlfriend died because of the family's demon."
"Interesting. Knew I'd heard something 'bout your family." He stared at him for a minute. "What do you know about construction?"
"I've helped board up some windows and doors. An afternoon with my former girlfriend doing a Habitat house." That got a nod. "They gave me mixing duties."
"I usually am, yes, sir."
"You're polite, I'll give you that."
"My father was a Marine. He made sure of it."
"Even better. We start at eight." Sam nodded at that. "Work all day until five. You get lunch and two breaks."
"I can do that. If I have trouble understanding things I'll be sure to ask. Can I start tomorrow? I've got to set up a better place to live and make sure Xander has what he needs."
"You're focused on your family."
"My family's more important to me than my honor or my soul."
"Then I like you, boy. You go by Sam or Sammy?"
"I prefer Sam. Only my brother ever got away with Sammy."
"Good enough. Call me boss if you want." That got a nod and a grin. "That grin'll get you looked at funny by the boy. He's never had normal or good."
"We're going to get to know each other. I'm not expecting to jump into anything with him. If he had been female I'd brought have a preacher and a ring but this is a special circumstance so I'll get to know him and let him get to know the real me."
"Good plan, Sam." He shook his hand. "Be here at eight to start the forms."
"If you want I can do them today so I can jump in tomorrow. The only other thing I have to do today is to meet with one of his friends' mother at three."
"Joyce?" Sam nodded. "She's a fine woman, and sweet as hell. Hell, if Buffy weren't her daughter I'd have made a play by now."
"Buffy seemed like a nice girl last night," Sam said quietly.
"She is but she damn near killed the robot that tried to date her Ma." He handed over some forms. "Here you go. Fill those out. I'll let Xander know. Try to find a place on the eastern edge of town. It's safer. Not that far away if you're gonna do what the boy does either. Closer to the witches he hangs out with." He left him alone, going to talk to Xander. "He's sweet." Xander gave him a grimace. "I know, you've never had sweet or a taste for any sweet but chocolate and coke, but he's a stand-up guy it seems. He's filling out forms."
"Sure. Where do you want him tomorrow? Alan's crew needs a body to haul and tote for the landscaping part of their job."
"That'll work. Then we'll get him back here to teach the boy how to do things." He went to tell him that. "Xander pointed out that the other crew in town needs someone with dumb grunt strength tomorrow for some landscaping. You allergic to chemicals?"
"No, sir." He smiled. "How far out of town?"
"'Bout ten minutes from here. He can show you tomorrow. Appear there at eight." Sam nodded, finishing the last of the forms for him. He put them back together in the folder then handed them over. "Thanks, Sam. Have a good afternoon." They shook hands and he left. He went to let the boy look them over. That was only fair to his mind. Xander gave him an odd look. "That way you know."
Xander opened it to look through. "Stanford? Bigger brains than Willow." He kept going, handing over one. "Signature's too scrawled."
"Have him fix it tonight, before you show him where that site is."
"Yes, boss," he sighed, handing back the rest. His boss walked off happier. "Pushy people are getting annoying," he muttered. "First Willow calls to make sure I'm wearing underwear and now the boss too." He was nearly pouting. One of the guys giving him a rice krispy treat showed that. "Thanks, needed it. Dean likes sweets too."
"Sam's brother that just died."
"Wow." He patted him on the shoulder. "It'll be okay. You'll get to know the guy and it'll be fine. Like any virgin bride."
Xander looked at him. "What makes you think I'm a virgin?" he asked dryly. "Even in that area?" The guy walked off laughing. "Road trip after graduation, Peter. Really." The guy gave him a stunned look. "What? I broke down. I ended up stripping. What else do you think I did?" The guy shuddered but walked off shaking his head.
"Don't make me drug test you," the boss called from the office.
"It's been over a year. I doubt anything would show up," Xander quipped back. He finished his treat and got back to the schedule.
Sam found a pretty nice place and called Buffy over for her opinion. She looked around and nodded that it was nice. "Let me get paid tomorrow and I'll sign forms then?" he offered the landlord, who nodded, letting them go. "You didn't like it?" he asked once they were farther away.
"I think it's tiny and you two are going to have an active baby sometime soon," she told him. "My mom's got tons of stories about the wandering I used to do and how I broke stuff."
"Good point but I need to be able to save some of it."
She stared at him for a minute. "So far we haven't seen anything that would mean that you're really evil so I'll give you a hint to help you there. Xander's OB wants him to be a bit more monitored since he nearly fell down last night."
"He did?" he demanded. "Is that why he wasn't at work?"
She nodded. "He won't be for the next two days either." She gave him a sideways look then walked off again. "Have you ever seen the inside of Xander's apartment?"
"No, not yet." He followed her, catching up pretty quickly. "You think he would?"
"I think you'd need to suggest it the right way," she admitted. "I wouldn't harp on his health. Willow walked off crying when she tried to baby him." She gave him another sideways look. "Can you cook?"
"I'm not bad at the simple stuff," he admitted. "Thanks, Buffy." He gave her a quick hug then jogged off for the Impala and the grocery store.
She smiled at his back. "I love giving clues. I drive a good clue bus."
Sam smiled when Xander opened his door and gave him an odd look. "Buffy said you were feeling a bit tired so I thought I'd come make dinner while you let me babble about the place I found?" He held up the bags. "I make a mean spaghetti and meatballs."
He nodded after a second. "Okay." He let him inside. "But no mothering, nagging, or babying me."
"Xander, you're not a baby, you don't need diapers or coddling," he said dryly. "Even if you could use a backrub with the way you're standing."
"I think I'll pass on that service," he said, sitting down and putting his feet up. "What did she really tell you?" he asked, watching him make meatballs. "You can do more than open the bag of those?"
Sam smiled and nodded. "One of the other hunters' wife taught Dean and I both how to make meatballs when we were little. She was babysitting us. Bring a chair in or come sit on the counter. You can watch." Xander pulled over one of his barstools to sit and watch him. "The breadcrumbs and eggs make them stick together and have that nice texture. The herbs give it and the sauce flavor," he said quietly, showing him what he was doing. "Want big or little ones?"
"Either's good." Sam smiled, making good size but not huge meatballs. The last one was smaller but that was to be expected. He opened the jar of sauce and found a saucepan, putting them in there to brown with the sauce. He moved around Xander to find a pot for the water. "West cabinet." Sam found it and poured water in, then looked and poured it out, getting water from the fridge. "Sorry, they've been working on the lines. I forgot."
"That's all right. What do you think of the building on Peterson and Fourth?"
"I think it's smaller than this place. Are you on the payroll tomorrow?"
"The boss said I was. That way I could find somewhere better than the motel." He gave him a look. "Got a better suggestion?"
"I'd live over on New Money row but I can't," he said patiently.
"The big houses?" Xander nodded. Sam turned the meatballs carefully, glancing at the water. "I looked at one ad over that way. Three bedrooms, eight hundred a month plus electric." Xander hissed at that, shaking his head. "I know, pipe dream unless we moved in together. Since you're not looking for that step I pared back down so I could help with the baby expenses. Diapers and clothes are atrocious."
"Which building had one open?"
"The one with the pretty iron railings on the balconies." Xander sighed at that. "It's still open. I called to check before I looked at mine."
"That's still really expensive, Sam."
"Three bedrooms." He looked at him. "I can have one, you can have one, the baby can have one?"
Xander considered it. "Let me think."
"Let me know by tomorrow or else I said I'd sign a lease."
"Sure." He looked at the water. "It's starting to boil."
Sam smiled. "We want them done about the same time. The meat has about ten more minutes so let it get to a full boil then I'll put some in." He pulled out two boxes. "I wasn't sure which one you'd want. Do you want dinosaurs or regular spaghetti?"
"You got me dinosaur pasta?" Sam handed over the box and went back to cooking so Xander could be mushy in private. Xander smiled at the thoughtful gesture. Maybe he could get used to nice. He gave his back a hug. "Would you mind dinosaurs?"
"If I had, I would've gotten race cars." Xander laughed at that, giving him a proper hug, which somehow turned into a kiss. He pulled back, looking at him. "As fast or as slow as you want, Xander. Remember, I'm not going to get pushy." Xander nodded, sitting down again to watch him cook. The rest of the sauce got poured in once the meatballs were browned and the pasta got poured in too. Sam slowly stirred it and they chatted about work for a bit. Xander helped him drain the pasta and set the breakfast bar - the only table he had - so they could eat. Sam put down the bowl so they could serve themselves and he dug in then suddenly leaned over to kiss him again. Sam grinned. "You taste good."
"I think that was your intention. Making me tasty for later kissing?"
"Pasta's great comfort food when you feel a bit nasty and it's not that hard to make," he said with a gentle smile. "It's what I go for when I'm having a bad day." He stroked over Xander's head, smoothing down some hair. "I'm glad you let me cook for you. I don't do it often but it's nice to cook now and then." He ate again, letting Xander have his personal space again.
Xander ate and thought. "How big is this other place?"
"We can go look at it tonight if you want."
Xander wobbled then nodded. "Let's." Sam beamed and he felt his stomach clench. Of course, Dean decided to protest the mushy feeling by kicking the shit out of him for a few minutes. "Ow," he said, clutching the counter.
Sam got him shifted so Xander was leaning with his head on his shoulder, clutching his thighs, letting him rub his stomach. "Shh, I've got you," he whispered. "You're all right." Dean finally quit kicking. "I made him the special spaghetti, Dean. Calm down." He leaned down a bit, humming to him. The baby shifted then went still. "Thank you. Good boy." He stroked him for a few more minutes, then let Xander sit up. "You better?"
"I'm better," he agreed, wiping off his cheeks. "Was he Jet Li like?"
"No, not really. He could kick in a door but never martial arts that way." He grinned. "He hated mushiness."
Xander let out a small laugh. "No wonder he hated Anya hitting on me." The baby shifted again so he looked down. "Want us to move in together?" The baby shifted but didn't kick. "I think he likes that idea."
Sam pulled out his cellphone and the ad, calling the guy back. "Can we come see the one with the balconies? That one, yeah. Thank you. No, both of us, Boss. Thanks." He hung up. "The boss owns it. That's how I know it'll probably be gone tomorrow."
"Maybe he'll cut us a deal." He shifted so he could eat again and Dean seemed to like that. He laid there calmly and didn't shift or kick. Xander sighed in pleasure. "That's so much better. He's napping." Sam chuckled. "Some year you can have one of these."
"If you decide we're together, I'll have the next one, how about that?"
Xander stared at him. "You're serious about the relationship stuff?" Sam nodded. "Honestly? You really, truly want *me*?"
"The more I get to know you the better I like you, Xander. Even without the huge lump of fussing in there."
"You're sure? Because I'm like glue when I'm stuck on someone." Sam nodded. "Absolutely certain?" Sam nodded again. "Then we should ask the boss about the loft on Southern."
"He said it's not open."
"Hmm. I thought it was." He finished up and got seconds, handing the bowl to Sam, who got some more too. "You do make good meatballs."
"Why was she babysitting you?"
"Dad and the other guy were off hunting something together."
"Oh. How old were you?"
"I was eight so Dean was twelve."
"Wow." He ate another bite. "Your dad would hate me, huh?"
"I think he'd hate that I hadn't drug you before a minister yet. That would've been my screaming match though. He wouldn't have hated you, Xander."
"That didn't bother him."
"You're sure?" Sam nodded. "Okay, as long as you're sure." He tentatively reached a hand over and Sam took it to squeeze, going back to eating. Xander smiled, eating too. It was ...nice. So apparently he could get used to nice.
Xander looked over the huge apartment then at their boss. "This is *way* massive, Boss."
"True. If the loft was open I'd offer it to you, though it's not good to have stairs with a baby." He gave him a look.
Xander smirked. "Any kid of mine will be exceptional, you know that."
Xander looked around then at him. "Is the one on the other side, the blue one, open?"
He considered it then went to check it, nodding at them to follow. "I think the old person got eaten last week."
Xander checked the name. "We staked him last week when he came up." Sam gave him a look so he showed him the name on the mail. "If it's his place we staked him the night after you got here."
"Oh. Okay. I wasn't paying attention to names." He shrugged, looking around. This one was a nice place. Open, had a single bedroom up a few stairs with a smaller one downstairs. He looked at Xander, who blushed. "If that's what you want. How much is this one, boss?"
"Seven plus electric." He looked at them. "You sure you're ready to have him in the same bed?"
"The baby doesn't kick him," Xander told him. "It's self defense of my kidneys and things." Their boss pouted. Dean kicked and Sam stroking the mound stopped him. "See?"
"Fine. You like this one?"
"I do like this one," Xander decided. "It's about five times larger than mine." He looked around. "Did we leave that connecting room open?"
"Yup." He went to open it. "It's basically a large closet, Sam."
"It's neat. We can use that for the baby stuff." That got a nod and they settled in to sign forms. "Can you take it out directly?"
"Sure, I can do that. I already do that to Xander. You splitting it equally?" Sam nodded but Xander shook his head. "Make a decision, boys," he said patiently.
"We're splitting it equally then arguing over the electric bill," Sam said, looking at Xander. "That's fair."
"I can ...."
Sam kissed him. "We're splitting it, Xander."
Xander slumped. "Fine. I'm not used to anyone paying for anything. Anya certainly didn't."
"I'm not Anya," Sam said quietly.
"Good point. Sure, equal is good, boss. Leaves me more to my paycheck." He nodded, making a note on the lease. "When can we move in?"
"Let me get a death certificate for him so I can claim his stuff."
Xander looked around. "If no one wants it, we'll keep the furniture."
"Sure, boys." He smiled, patting them on the back. "We'll try for this weekend. If not, certainly next weekend." They nodded, shaking his hand. "Sam, stay on Xander's couch for a few days, please? He's a bit pale and shaky looking." He left, making them go home too.
"I'm fine," Xander said once they were in the car.
"If you want I can call the OB demon over."
"No, I'm good."
"You sure?" Xander nodded, but he was even paler. "Uh-huh. Stubborn is my thing, Xander."
"You are but I want you healthy." He drove him to the clinic and walked him inside. The receptionist got the doctor immediately and they were let back into a room. She came in to fuss over something and he saw something new. "What's that below his navel?"
"How the baby's coming out," she said, looking at him. "It will have an opening with a small portal to allow the baby to exit without hurting him. He'll still have to push but not much." Sam nodded at that. "Unless he prefers me to prepare one from his rectal column?"
"Ewww, no," Xander said weakly. "Sam, dizzy." Sam helped him lay down. "Doc?"
She checked then healed a spot. "Your stitches popped open again, Xander. Quit doing that." She patted him then left to see her next patient.
"When I fell in the Magic Box."
Sam saw the lie and stared down at him. "Fell on what at the Magic Box?"
"My battle axe."
"Uh-huh. Did the demon that pushed you die?"
"Buffy screamed and killed it," he sighed. "I'm fine. It was only three stitches." He let him see. "See, not bad." Sam kissed it and Xander let out a small, hysterical sounding chuckle. "You don't like injuries right?"
"No, Xander. I don't. A kiss is often used to help heal things." He helped him up, supporting him until he quit feeling so dizzy. "Better?"
"Better," he admitted. "Thank you, Sam."
Sam tipped his face up to kiss him again. "It's never a problem, Xander. Remember that, okay?" Xander nodded so they went back to Xander's place. Sam went to the motel to put everything into his car for the next few nights but that was fine. Even though Xander's place was really tiny.
Sam heard Xander shifting and moaning in his bedroom, frowning a little bit at the pained noises. "Xander, are you all right?" he called quietly. He knew the poor guy had some nightmares now and then, he didn't want to wake him if it was one of those.
"No, I'm fine and dandy," he called back in a squeaky 'been caught being naughty' voice. "Really. No worries in here with us two."
Sam smiled, going to stand in the doorway so he could look at him. "All the books said it's normal to feel that way, Xander."
"So Anya said," he admitted, looking embarrassed. "I can't reach it anymore."
"Want me to help?" Xander went bright red so he walked in and laid down beside him, stroking down his chest and stomach to tease his cock. "Like that?" Xander nodded quickly. "Harder, slower? Faster?"
"More," he moaned, shifting his hips up some. Sam kissed him, getting into pleasing his boy. The moans were very pretty and Xander was arching his back to get him closer.
"Is that all you need?" he teased.
"No," he moaned. "Please, Sam?"
"Anything you want, Xander." He found stuff and looked down at him, smiling a bit. "Want on your side? It'll be more comfortable." He helped him shift when he got an uneasy look. He was even nice enough to put a pillow between his thighs. Then he got to work playing with his ass. It was a nice ass and Xander was still making the nicest noises. Sam knelt so he could do that and stroke him. It was making Xander happier to do it that way. He finally got him stretched enough and slid inside, moaning at the tightness he had left. "Oh, tight," he moaned in his ear. Xander shivered, shifting his hips back. Sam adjusted his position a little bit, curling more around Xander's back, but one hand came over to stroke him while he gently thrust in and out of the tense body. Xander was back to making the pretty begging noises and it was so very nice. He let him come first, nibbling on his shoulder. "Want another one or can you sleep for a while?" he asked in his ear.
"Did you?" Xander asked, sounding tired.
"I'll do it in a minute."
"You're not a sex toy, Sam." Sam smiled, going back to what he was doing until he came. Xander was halfway back to interested so Sam shifted over to gently suckle on him. It was very nice. Xander fell asleep after that orgasm. Sam went back to curled around Xander's back, holding him while he slept.
Xander blushed when Sam came out of the bathroom the next morning dressed for work. "Coffee?" Sam took his cup and put it down, kissing him. Xander moaned, leaning against his chest. "What was that for?"
"The blush was adorable but we're still moving as fast or as slow as you want, Xander," he said gently, taking a second kiss before grabbing his coffee to go. "See you later. Call if you need stuff." He waved then left a much happier man this morning.
Xander sat down, sipping his coffee. Sam wasn't being pushy and that had been the most natural morning after he'd ever had. He decided to do some mild cleaning in preparation for the move, starting in the bedroom. He found the used condom's wrapper and smiled. Sam was taking good care of him. He tossed it out and checked what Anya had left for him to use. Not that much. He decided to make a pharmacy run as well. It wouldn't be presumptive to stock up a little bit. Right? He ran into Joyce there and suddenly couldn't get what he wanted but she gave him a look and bluntly handed it over with a grin and a pinch to the cheek. He squeaked.
"Xander, I remember that stage *very* well," she promised gently. "It's what I remember most about being pregnant beyond the morning sickness. Enjoy it. In the eighth month you'll want to kill him if he does more than rub your feet and back." She pinched him again then checked out.
He went to get his usual brand of condoms but otherwise he was done here. He went home to reload the drawer then got to work on his closet. Sam only had a small bag that he had brought up from the car. That wasn't right to him. He dug in it, hanging things up. That fit better. After he was done with that he went to sweep and vacuum. It was a nice day so he opened all the windows too. He was barely done with the bathroom when Buffy came over to drag him down to the store. "But I'm cleaning," he protested.
"That's called nesting, Xander, and we need approval of the baby shower gift list."
"Isn't that a girl thing?" he demanded. Dean kicked him and he moaned, bending down to stop him. "Dean, please? I promise Sam'll be home soon. Please quit kicking?" He did it again.
Buffy got him down to Giles' car and they drove to the site. She went to get Sam for him. "Hi, Mr. Henderson. Xander's having a bit of a problem so we need to let Sam see him to see if it's a real issue for his OB or not," she babbled as she walked past him. "Sam!" she shouted. He came down off the roof. "Xander's in Giles' car." She gave him a nudge but he was already running that way. "We hope it's nothing, we really do," she told the boss as she walked past him again. "If so you can have Sam back in a few minutes. If not I'm sure the OB will send him back soon." She got into the front, watching Sam talk to Xander's stomach and rub it gently. "Can I help?" Dean kicked again. "Guess not. Xander was busy cleaning and nesting."
"That's normal," Sam said calmly. He finally got Dean calmed down. "There we go. It's all right, Dean. What happened?"
"Buffy was talking about gift lists for the baby shower. He didn't like that," Xander said, sounding miserable.
Sam smiled. "He probably wanted more attention." He petted his boy a few more times, watching him get interested from that. He winked. "Remember, we'll get to clean the new place this weekend."
"We got it?" Xander asked, getting help sitting up. "We did? You're sure?"
"He said so this morning. That means you can clean both places and make the new one a proper nest for both of you." He stroked his cheek. "Still good?" Xander beamed, nodding a bit. "That's my boy." He kissed him. Dean kicked. He looked down. "Yay, put up with it, Dean." He kissed him again. "Tape, Xander."
"We can do the headphones around the belly thing," Buffy offered.
Sam grinned. "He likes heavy metal. Metallica is best but he likes Megadeath and AC/DC, most of the heavier metal bands except for Stryper really. Anything heavier of classic rock too."
"Eww," she said. "That's not baby music."
"No but it calms him down," Sam said wisely.
"Uh-huh. We'll figure out something. Can Xander come to the shop or should he lay down?"
"As long as he's comfortable," Sam said, looking at Xander, who was napping. "Let him nap, Buffy." She nodded, shifting so he could get out. "Have a better afternoon, guys." He watched them pull off and went back to work. "The baby didn't like the idea of going over the baby shower stuff so he was trying to come out between the bottom two ribs. Again."
Their boss snickered. "Anything calm him down for sure?"
"Good to know."
"I told them that, Buffy said it's not baby music." He shrugged. "She'll learn." He got back to work. "He was happy about the apartment too, boss. Thanks."
"Welcome, Sam." He shook his head, going to make a note about the baby's odd taste in music.
Willow set up the headset with some of Tara's music, watching as the baby wiggled and shifted inside Xander's stomach. "See, he likes it," she said happily. Xander groaned as he was kicked. "He doesn't?" she pouted.
"Sam said Metallica, Willow. Not new age instrumental stuff. Tara!" he pleaded when he saw her. She changed the CD to one of Spike's and it was better. Dean only shifted a few times. "Oh, thank the Goddess." He went limp, looking down at his stomach. "Thank Uncle Spike when you see him, okay? That's his music, Dean." He looked at the ladies, brushing the tears from the pain of the kicking off. "Thank you, Tara."
"Welcome." She got in her own pat of the tummy. "There there, precious. It's all right. We'll get you other music today," she soothed. The baby quit for a while and laid there listening to _London Calling_ while she drug Willow off to help her buy music. Buffy still got a lullaby tape but that was fine. It was on sale. They raided the eighties metal section and nearly bought out the stuff on sale, bringing it back to the CD player and large headphones around the sleeping Xander's stomach.
Buffy looked. "Should we turn up the music? Dean's moving."
"No, babies are inside a water pouch. It focuses the sound," Willow told her. "There's been babies born deaf because the music was too loud. A little lower than normal listening volume is fine." She let Tara change the CD. Dean gave one small kick, shifted onto his side by what they could see, and slept apparently because he didn't move for at least the next ten minutes that they watched. "Okay, baby shower," Willow decided. They sat at the table to go over what they'd need.
"Sam said they got a new place," Buffy told them. "They're moving this weekend. Xander was nesting earlier too." They smiled at that, nodding a bit. A bigger place meant more toys.
"Remember, ladies, he'll be aging one year a month after the first month," Giles warned. "Don't go too happy over any particular size." They nodded, paring back their plans but that meant they could work on later clothes that would be cuter and more fashionable.
"Sam's picture showed him in jeans, a t-shirt, and a leather jacket," Tara said quietly.
"So he dressed like Spike?" Willow asked.
"With preppy boy hair," Xander said tiredly. "Sam has most of his stuff in the trunk." He shifted onto his side and went back to sleep on the coffeetable. The couch was hurting his back too often to sleep on it like this.
"We can fix that so he looks like a normal, California guy," Buffy decided. "Without letting Xander dress the poor kid." They nodded, making plans to go shopping now. "How long should he be in diapers?"
"Two or three years," Tara said.
Willow found a baby care website that had a diaper calculator, letting her figure up how many she'd use in a week and then they could spread it over the years' worth they'd need. Joyce had said she'd let the boys use Buffy's old crib and Willow had some good baby blankets from when she was younger that her parents had packed and never looked at again.
Buffy called Sam. "It's us. Do we need to get a teddy bear or anything?" She smiled, writing that down. "Thanks, Sam. Napping." She hung up. "He used to have a blue bear with a brown bow." They nodded, taking their parts of the list to go shopping for their future little nephew. Giles got his list and would go later that night. It was nice of the girls to remember he had to buy things too. He heard the CD player click off and went to change CD's, struggling with the plastic for a second. The baby shifted. "Shh, Dean. Let me change the music out," he soothed, stroking gently over the lump. He finally got it open with his pocket knife then switched out the CD, turning it back on. He had to turn down the volume a bit but that was fine. Xander continued to sleep on the coffeetable. All the customers in the store gave him pleased looks. "He's a bit exhausted with all that's been going on."
"He's adorable," one woman said. "Even if he is a bit heavy at the moment."
"A medical condition. It'll be better in a little bit." She nodded, paying for her things then leaving.
Xander sniffled, looking around the new apartment. "I'm happy, I really am," he said, wiping at his cheeks so Sam wouldn't see.
Sam gave him a cuddle. "It's the hormones, Xander," he said gently. "They're making you do it. Nothing wrong with it." Xander nodded, turning to cuddle him and cry on his shoulder. "Shhh, I've got you. It's all good." He sat them down, letting Xander sit in his lap for now. Dean wasn't being a butt about the mood swings so that was nice but he had a good, long music binge earlier to keep him calmed down. Xander fell asleep on him, earning a smile. Sam gently shifted him onto the couch and went to get the rest of their stuff from the cars, carrying it upstairs. The closets were filled again. The kitchen was filled. All that was left were the weapons. Xander started awake, earning a smile. "Dream?"
"Small nudge to the bladder." He got up, heading for the bathroom. "Do you realize I picked somewhere with the only bathroom downstairs from the bedroom?" he said before closing the door. Sam was snickering. He knew he was. It was a good laugh though. He came out to look around. "Anything left?"
"Weapons, cleaning. Last check while cleaning." Xander nodded, going to do that. He liked to clean. Now. He hated to clean usually but he liked to clean now. While he was gone Sam was making a grocery list until he got visitors. He smiled at the girls and their boxes. "Did you bring the weapons?"
"No," Buffy said, pinching him on the chest. "Baby stuff."
"Okay. The room down here, ladies." He let them see, getting smiles for the light, airy, open room without a fire escape attached so nothing could climb up it to get the baby. They settled in to set back up the crib under Joyce's watchful look. Sam ran out for groceries, still beating Xander back. By the time Xander got there he had made him homemade spaghetti-o's. Plus stuff for the girls to nibble. He sat Xander down, going to carry the weapons, earning a smile for the bowl of food. The last of them got put into that little closet then Sam made sure both cars were locked. It was nearly dark, they had to be a bit more careful. He came back up the stairs, locking the door behind him. "Both cars are locked, Xander." He took a kiss. "The girls are putting up the crib." He helped Xander off the couch, taking the half-full bowl to put onto the counter. They went to check on them, finding things nearly together. Willow was making up the crib bed. Tara was stacking the clothes and diapers by size. Joyce was fussing with the curtains and throw rugs. Buffy was staring in the closet frowning. "What's wrong with the closet, Buffy?"
"There's guns in here."
"Ours," Sam agreed. "We've had a few of those since I was six." She gave him a look and so did Joyce. "Our father taught us how to hunt from a really young age." He let Xander past him, watching as he looked at everything and cuddled the bear, smiling at them. They had gotten one nearly exactly like Dean's old one. His boy started to sniffle and the girls sniffled back, moving to hug him. Dean didn't like the girl pile but Buffy patted him a few times and he quit. "Thank you, ladies. I think that's a happy crying." Xander nodded. "I made stuff to nibble on." They came out to nibble, watching Xander eat the rest of his special dinner. Sam snuggled up with him and it was nice. No one did more than give him happy smiles for finally getting to this stage with Xander. Buffy called Giles so he came over to join them with his part of the baby gear, making Xander sniffle again before hugging him. Dean did protest that but oh well. A few belly rubs and he went back to sleep. Babies didn't get to make that rule.
The time came when it always does and the baby decides its had enough. Dean chose a nice enough night. It was pouring rain. It was a horrible thunderstorm. The healer was on the other side of town if she was at the clinic, or another ten miles past that if she wasn't, and Xander was in enough pain that he couldn't walk. Sam carried him down to the car, getting him into the passenger's seat. He jogged around to drive them off, praying silently that the doctor was at the clinic. Of course, she wasn't. She was with her clan. They got directions and headed out. All the way to the caves through a lot of mud. Sam took Xander's hand to hold. "The Impala has gotten a lot of Winchesters to the hospital in time, Xander. It'll get the one I brought into the family and the one you carry there too." Xander nodded, curling up in a little ball with his head on Sam's thigh, trying to control the pain. "Is the flap on your stomach open? She said it should be."
"I can't see that far down," he panted.
"Okay." He pulled through another muddy field and finally found the caves, honking until someone came out. "Doctor Krkeld's patient is in labor," he called. The demon ran back inside and their doc came out. "He's in a lot of pain, doc."
"No painkillers. Will interfere," she ordered, helping him carry Xander inside.
He ran back to make sure the car was closed up - Dean would never forgive him if it got water damage - then ran back inside. He wiggled his way inside the circle, sitting beside Xander's head. He was on a low stone altar looking rock. The entire clan was bending around him to help him through this. He took Xander's hand, giving it a squeeze. "I'm here, babe."
Xander rolled his head to look at him. "Babe?"
He grinned. "If this isn't a time for pet names I don't know what is."
"You might be right," he said, tensing up as another one started.
"Breathe," Sam coached, helping him with the exercises Tara had found them. Xander nodded, following along.
Their doctor looked up. "The portal is nearly open. When his water comes he can push. We will help where we can." Sam nodded, focusing on Xander, helping him to the point where he got to push and then helping him push until he heard the squishy, sucking noise that meant the baby was out. He took the baby once it was free, trimming the umbilical cord with his pocket knife. He took the squeezy ball to clear his airway, puffing a gentle breath into his mouth. Dean let out a wail of protest. "I know, it's dark, cold, and I had pepperoni for dinner," he soothed, taking off his shirt to wrap him in it. "Shh, Dean, it's all right. It's Sammy."
"Do I get to call you that too?" Xander asked quietly.
Sam grinned at him. "From you I might not protest the way I do when he does it." He took a kiss. "Here, our boy." He let him have the baby to hold. He looked at his stomach. It was seriously deflated. "Why isn't the flap closing?"
"Anyone who does the spell is marked," another of the clan told him. "Even as you have one but it never opened." She smirked. "Unless an egg is planted and fertilized or a full embryo planted, it will not be used." They got Xander cleaned up and let them rest together. It had been a good teaching experience for the younger doctors. They went to talk about it and teach what they needed to know in such cases.
Sam leaned down to kiss Xander. "You good?"
"Bit tired," he said, yawning. "He's a lot of work. You were right, he's stubborn."
Sam grinned. "You're more stubborn than both of us, Xander."
Xander nodded with a faint smile. "Probably true. Hold him?" Sam nodded, settling in beside him to guard him and the baby while he slept. He woke up in the car, smiling because they were moving and Dean's favorite tape was playing. "I slept through carrying my big, heavy ass?"
"You almost woke up," Sam teased. "Having a baby is hard work, Xander." He stroked over his cheek. "We're almost home. Another three blocks." Xander nodded, resting, looking back at the sleeping baby. "He's been good. Slept through most of it. He gave me a dirty look when I put on his diaper." He parked in his spot and got out, coming around to help Xander out, letting him have the baby. He hovered protectively all the way up the stairs and until the baby was in his new crib. Dean yawned and fell back asleep again once he was settled. Sam grinned at him. "He's very comfortable."
"It stood up to Buffy, it'll stand up to him." He smiled. "Thank you."
"You're welcome." He gave him a kiss but Xander backed off. "I know you feel nasty, Xander. The same rules apply. Whenever you're ready you'll tell me." That got a nod. "When did you want to schedule his circumcision?"
"I don't." Sam stared, looking confused. "I think it's a horrible torture put on men for the ease of cleaning them. The studies say it robs them of feeling. Men who're cut get less sex too. Willow said it's just as evil as female circumcision and mostly done for the same sort of reasons - to keep people from enjoying sex as much and to control how they are. To make everyone like barbies and kens."
"They only take off the foreskin, Xander. We're both cut."
"I know and I miss mine."
"Okay, we'll talk about it next week?"
Xander shook his head, walking off going to bed. "Nope. Not talking about it."
"Sure," Sam said, shrugging mentally. This wasn't the war he wanted to have. As far as he knew it didn't really matter. Though he wanted to look at those studies. They sounded about as good as the ones that said men who weren't cut got more STD's and AIDS. He wasn't sure any of them were right since the old studies saying men who weren't cut were more prone to diseases and cancer were all proved false decades ago. Besides, they had plenty of fights coming up about how to train Dean to be the hunter he used to be. He smiled down at the baby. Dean burped but stayed asleep. Sam went upstairs after making sure everywhere was locked as tightly as could be. He'd have to call off work soon but the boss had expected it sometime soon.
Buffy squealed when they walked into the shop. "There's my shopping buddy," she said, taking Dean to hold.
"Probably not," Sam told her. "He was an in-and-out guy before."
"Me too," Xander agreed, sitting down with a moan of pain. "Never do it through the belly flap, Buffy. You don't get the good drugs." He took the baby back. "Do you like your Auntie Buffy? I know she squeals but that's just a Buffy for you." The baby blinked at him then sucked his pacifier a few times. "Good boy, Dean." He settled him in his lap, letting the girls come over to pay homage to him.
Sam smoothed down the baby fur on Dean's head, smiling down at him. "I know, they're all beautiful women, Dean. They'll mother you horribly until you run away screaming and then Willow will hunt you down, send Buffy to retrieve you, and let Tara change your mind." Willow snickered but nodded. Xander wouldn't let go of the baby when she tried. "Xander."
"Mine. Greedy. Have your own."
She pouted. "I want to hold him."
"You hold him and he needs changed, you do it," he warned. She shrugged and took the baby.
"That's so mean," Sam said dryly.
Xander beamed. "After the one we changed last night? So? One less I have to." The girls all snickered. Sam too. Sam had seen it though and the girls could only give it disgusted looks when it happened. Tara cleaned him gently enough before rediapering him but she was going to be his favorite auntie anyway. She baked cookies and Dean had a sweet tooth.
Buffy handed over a present. "It's very practical, it's adjustable so it'll work for a few months, and when it won't, you can sell it back to the consignment shop, where we got it from," she said proudly.
Xander opened the backpack snuggler system. "Aww, now he can go on patrol with us," Sam said happily. "Thanks, Buffy."
She put her hands on her hips, staring at him. "Oh no he can not! There's no patrolling in this town until you are at least sixteen, Mister Hunter. No one, and I do mean no one, hunts before sixteen. I was called at fifteen but I was special case and only had three weeks here before my sixteenth birthday. He's not hunting until then either. He can train, he can learn new stuff, but he's not to go on a hunt until he's sixteen. That's for going shopping and out to dinners and stuff so you can continue to spoil Xander. He is your baby's momma after all." She turned around and went back to the baby. She took him from Willow so she could sit and cuddle the sleepy one. He fell asleep on her chest, making her make gooey faces at him. Since he couldn't kick Xander anymore they could be mushy and girl-like around him. At least until he screamed and wailed loud enough to bring help.
Xander looked at Sam. "That is the local rule," he said quietly. "We all started when we were sixteen."
Sam nodded slowly. "Dean killed his first demon at seven. I did mine at nine."
Xander shrugged. "If they break in or attack him that's one thing. To actually go hunting it's sixteen. Or else they'll kill us and raise him." Tara looked over and nodded. "See?"
"You don't have a problem with him training?"
Buffy snorted. "Babies learn a lot of stuff easier than adults. He can go to baby self- defense and baby karate and baby judo if you want."
"Plus baby Spanish and Latin and Sumerian and Egyptian," Willow said excitedly. "I can teach him those."
"We both knew Latin," Sam admitted. "You read Sumerian?"
"Yeah, don't you?" Xander quipped. "I read three demon languages, Sam. Half the books around here are in strange languages and usually the one thing we need is in them. Giles did a spell," he said at the awed look.
"I wouldn't mind having that one done on me," Sam said, looking at Giles, who shrugged. "Thanks, Mr. Giles." He took the baby back, getting a happier look. "Want to nap?" The baby yawned so he stuck his binky back into his mouth. Tara stole him again and let him nap on her lap. He smiled. "Sure, Tara. You're a good auntie too."
"Since we're babysitting you two can do couply things," Buffy said. She made shooing noises. "Go. Shoo. Do couply cute stuff."
"Buffy, sore," Xander reminded her. "Just had a baby. Sex is gonna wait until I'm not sore. Even gentle touching is out until I'm not sore."
"That doesn't mean he can't take you to dinner," Willow said, staring at Sam.
He got the point, helping Xander up. "Sure, we'll have dinner and you three can change diapers," he agreed. They walked out together, smiling at each other. "I thought you said she didn't have the redhead temper."
"She doesn't usually but she hasn't been able to take Tara out for snuggly time. Too much homework."
"I remember those months." He got Xander into the car and walked around to drive, taking them to a nice, modest place to eat. It was nice and Xander quit worrying for a bit. Sam wasn't sure how to make him quit worrying for good. There was no way he could reassure him that he wasn't going to take Dean away from him and run away in the middle of the night without showing it to him and that would take time. He kissed the back of his hand. "We'll be great parents," he reminded him.
Xander smiled. "I can't be any worse than mine." He looked around and coughed. "Speaking of, my uncle's across the room with his whore." Sam looked and grimaced but shrugged it off. He was even nice enough to order him real food - a steak to replace all the blood and fluids he had lost in the labor. Sam got the fish and it was nice. A good date. Sam's phone rang, making him snicker at the text message. "Yes, they do that every few hours," he agreed.
"Or more often," Sam agreed happily. "That's two we don't have to change."
"We only have him being cuddly for this first month then the accelerated growth will kick in," Xander said. "I'll miss him being cuddly and comfy to nap with."
"He'll still be cuddly for a few years yet," Sam promised with a smile. Xander nodded, digging in when their salads came. He saw someone coming over and sighed. "Xander, incoming," he said softly.
Xander looked at his uncle then went back to cutting his steak. "Yeah, Uncle Rory?"
"Special date?" he sneered.
"Celebrating the birth of our son," Sam told him, staring at him. "His aunts are babysitting and keeping Anya from warping him." He ate a bite of his dinner. Xander was giving him a look. "Tell me she won't."
"No, she will," Xander admitted. "He'll learn to appreciate her outlook. She's got a lot of knowledge if you know what to ask."
"I figured she did. With her former job she had to know most of them at least by name." Xander nodded, grinning some. "Are we going to let Spike babysit?"
"If he asks, I'll think about it." He ate another bite, then looked at his uncle again, waving at him. "Have a good night, Uncle Rory." His uncle stomped off, still sneering. "That'll be a problem."
"Not really," Sam said dryly. Xander gave him an odd look. "The thing with him was a fire demon," he said quietly.
"Aw, shit," Xander sighed, calling Buffy. "It's me. Caught Uncle Rory out with a fire thing. Yeah, him. Thanks. Fair warning, yeah. Steak," he said proudly. He fed Sam a bite. "Night. Two hours, yup." He hung up. "We have two hours or Spike's babysitting while they're on patrol."
"We can eat in that amount of time," Sam promised, feeding him a bite of his own dinner, getting a smile and a small blush back. "You need the steak, Xander."
"Can I want to never do that again?" Xander asked a few bites later.
"If you do or don't, you'll tell me," Sam promised. "Not like we won't have to go beg for eggs anyway. It can't happen accidentally without magical intervention."
"Good point," he agreed, relaxing again. Another text message hit Sam's phone, making Xander moan. "Why is he trying to eat Tara?"
"He's probably trying to eat off Tara," he said wisely. Xander gave him a horrified look. "It's a natural urge, even if he is being bottle fed, Xander. Relax. She's probably not offended."
"No, she'd probably offer to do it for him," he admitted quietly, eating again. "Are you creeped out?"
"A bit. That whole 'my brother' thing is doing it to me though." Xander squeezed his hand. "Thanks, Xan. Eat? Please? You worry me when you don't eat." Xander dug in again, making him happier.
Xander walked into the Magic Box first, Sam was checking the oil level since the light had come on during their drive back.
"Who has a horsey belly? Dean has a horsey belly. We should feed him oats, yes we should," a female voice sang. "We should feed him oats until he fills up his horsey belly and then explodes to turn back into a little boy. Yes we should."
Xander grabbed a stake. He knew that voice. He walked into the back area, looking at the vampire playing with his son. "Dru?" She smiled at him. "Give me my son now and I'll only stake you a bit."
"He's adorable. The stars sing about this one's strength."
"Sam, get Spike! Dru's here!" he shouted when he heard the door open. He heard someone go running. "Dru, give me my damn son before I kill your bitch ass," he growled, stepping closer, stake in one fist. "Now!" She pouted. "Right the hell now, Druscilla."
"But he's adorable!" she cooed, nuzzling cheeks with him. "The daddy would be very happy with him." Xander punched her with the fist holding the stake, taking his son as he withdrew. He checked him over, no bite marks. "Poo," she complained, standing up. "I was being nice to him. Not the least bit mean because I know he's not a picnic snack. I should be mean to you for doing that." Sam rushed in and she giggled. "There he is, the one who botched it all up for the stars to sing about." Sam growled, taking Xander's stake. "Now now. You do that and the Powers get very upset. So will Daddy, their Champion, and Spike, the future one."
Spike came rushing in the back door, dragging her off. "What are you doing here!" he demanded. "You know it's not allowed!"
"Daddy sent me with the pretty song from the stars about his special destiny to destroy the great one next year," she complained as she was dragged off.
"Bring her to Buffy, Spike," Xander called, cuddling the baby. "No bite marks," he said quietly.
"You can't stake her?" Sam demanded.
Xander looked at him. "She's a seer, she's insane, she's insane thanks to Angelus, but she sired Spike. She shows up with cryptic messages from the Powers now and then for Spike. If we do, we have to put up with Angel. Besides, I don't want wailed at. All she was doing was bouncing him on her knee or else she'd already be dust. I did get to hit her." Spike stomped in so he kicked him in the knee. "Do not even *think* about screaming at me for punching her! She had the baby!"
Spike growled. "She's mine, Harris. You leave her be!"
"No shit, I'd never date her," he shot back. "Take your looney bitch and do a catch and release on the edge of town! Before I warn Buffy she's back myself!" Spike huffed off again. He calmed himself, walking the baby back to the front of the store. He found Buffy walking in looking confused. "Dru." She ran out the back way to make sure she got escorted out of town. He looked at Willow and Tara. "Who was watching him?"
"Um, Anya," Willow said. "Anya!" she called. They went to look for her. Not in the shop anywhere.
"Okay," Xander decided, sitting down with the baby. He looked at the still furious Sam. "I'm sure you've had buddies that've had insane girlfriends that show up now and then. Like staking Spike, the consequences are too high. We refer her back to Angel and Spike so they take care of the problem they created."
"I'll do a warding and protection amulet," Willow said, moving to get the stuff. "That way all vamps have to stay away from him, Xander." He nodded at that. Tara rushed off to help.
Xander settled in to hold their son. "He's not damaged. She was singing some song about horsey bellies and feeding him oats until he exploded."
"He might be cackling in his head about that but she's still dangerous!"
Buffy stomped back in. "Xander, did you hit Dru?"
"She had the fucking baby, Buffy; yes I did!" he shot back. She gaped. "Any other questions?" She stomped off again. He waved a hand for Sam's benefit. "I have to go with the team leader's opinion in this matter. She's higher ranking so I don't get to countermand orders." He found the shop's phone and dialed Cordelia's phone from memory. "It's me. My son's wonderful but you can tell Angel I hit his little girl for bouncing the baby on her knee." He hung up and went back to let Willow finish the protection on the amulet for him.
Willow slumped down under Sam's glare. "Anya said she could handle it and there was screaming up the street," she defended. "She said she could handle it for ten minutes, Sam."
"It will not happen again," Xander said, staring at his ladies. They both nodded and got back to work. The amulet was finally finished and put on Dean's neck, making him a happier baby. "Thank you. We're going to bathe off the Dru stench. Later, ladies." He walked out, Sam following him. They could fight later, once the baby was down. Sam opened his mouth. "I will not fight in front of the son, Sam. That's a soul-sucking thing to have start at his age. Am I clear?" He nodded at that, pressing his lips together. "If you want to yell, yell at them. I've been overruled on that matter in the past. Trust me, if he had so much as a hair out of place I would've gotten her this time." He slid into the car, checking the baby again.
Sam calmed himself before he got into the car. He could scream and rant later, to Bobby. Maybe another hunter could take her out for them. The town's rules were sometimes arbitrary but he did understand the analogy about crazy ex-girlfriends. Dean had one of those when he was younger that wouldn't leave him alone. Their father had moved them because of it. They got Dean bathed and down to nap for a while then he pulled him out onto the balcony. "What other uses does she possess besides being a seer?"
"She keeps Spike in pain, keeps Angel brooding so he doesn't lose his soul. Taunts him all the time. I'm sure she came here with a message since she said Angel sent her." He called Buffy's phone, getting her voicemail. "If there's a prophecy, we should hear it too, Buffy Summers." He hung up and called the shop. "Well?" he asked Giles. "She said Angel sent her with a message, Giles. Do we have one? Because she was still bouncing my son on her knee, Giles. Really? And if he was your son?" He smirked at the spluttering. "No more dangerous things around the baby. Buffy set her foot down about patrols earlier. I'm going to set mine down about this. The only dangerous thing around him had better be Willow and Spike. Now, where's Anya? Ah, out for coffee." He handed Sam the phone. "Here, you scream. I'm exhausted." He went to check on the baby, laying down in there beside the crib, just in case.
Sam finished his tirade and hung up twenty-six minutes later, going to check on them. He smiled at Dean sleeping. Xander sleeping was nearly as cute. He nudged his foot with his toe. "Hey," he said when Xander blinked at him. "There's a bed upstairs, Xander. If we have to set a watch, I'll stay up then wake you." Xander nodded, heading up to bed. Sam sat down in there, getting one of the shotguns out of the closet to clean and make sure it worked, just in case. He smiled when the baby woke up, yawned, then went back to sleep after a few sucks on the pacifier. Someone knocked a few hours later so he got up to answer it, with the shotgun, finding Buffy on the other side. "Do we have a prophecy?"
"Yeah," she admitted, walking inside. She looked at the gun. "Aren't those unsafe around babies?"
"Dean's had this one since he was ten, Buffy. It's in my hands, not his." He stared down at her. "Well?"
"Apparently the big, bad thing that his birth stopped wasn't fully stopped so we'll have to step in. We'll need Xander to plan a simple assault for us next month."
"Ask me yourself," Xander called, coming out of the bedroom in his boxers. She looked at him. "What?"
"The stomach thingy isn't closed."
"It's not going to close," he said patiently. "And?" She kept staring so he bopped her on the forehead. "And? What am I planning for?"
She swallowed. "Minor assault from a demon clan war. The Initiative started the fight by nearly wiping out both clans. Now they're struggling for power since they don't believe the military did it. It won't close?"
"No, it won't close," Sam said. "Where I was going to be the vessel I have one but it's never fully opened."
"Oh. Interesting." She blinked a few more times. Xander took Sam's t-shirt off him and put it on. "Um, cute belly fur, Sam." Xander growled. She backed up. She knew that sound. "Okay, anyway. It'll be a small demon war. It'll be out in the woods. Um... you really do have one."
"Are we refereeing, stepping in, or standing back and watching?" Xander asked less patiently.
"If I'm there they'll feel me and attack us then attack each other," she said, blinking at him. "Doesn't that hurt?"
"Labor hurt. He came out through that same flap," he told her. "The same as it hurts you guys." She nodded, stepping back. The look in his eyes said the growl was going to come back soon. "Anything else I have to know before tomorrow?"
"She said she's sorry she upset you. Spike's still growling because you hit her."
"She's a vampire, even with skills she can be staked," Sam told her.
She grimaced. "She's Spike's true love. If we do, Angel and Spike will go bat-crap and battier. Since one's the Power's champion and the other's killed two slayers we decided it was better to drive her off whenever she came up to try to claim Xander again." She left when Xander started to growl again, jogging all the way back to the Magic Box and safety. "Giles, did you know the belly flap didn't close and Sam has one? Plus some nice belly and chest fur?"
"No, Buffy, I don't usually look at young men's chests," he said dryly. "Perhaps you should quit before Xander's latent hyena taint comes up and eats you?"
"Yeah, I probably should. He was just growling. I told him though, I get the gold star for that."
"Yes you do," he agreed patiently. "Head home." She nodded, taking the back ways so Xander definitely wouldn't catch her.
Sam looked at Xander once the door was closed. "The insane vampire likes you?"
"She calls me her dark kitten and thinks I'll make a good brother for Spike. She's tried a few times. Notice the pulse?" He walked off, tossing the t-shirt back at him. "Thanks for the loan so she quit staring at mine."
"Um, yeah." He watched him go then went up once the door was locked again. "Why were you growling?"
Xander stared at him. "Leftover hyena taint." Sam gaped, sitting on the foot of the bed. "Back in tenth grade I was possessed by the pack leader. She's a bit pissed when people try to take some of her pack from her."
"Oh," he said weakly. "They couldn't remove it?" Xander shook his head. "Did we do an exorcism?"
"Huh. I can try one if you want. I'm good with them," he said at the look he got.
"I've learned to live with her and the soldier, Sam. It's like they're my other halves, or my twins or something. They're comfortable and they give me the edge to keep up with Buffy even when she's on the mega-fast patrols so she can go on a date."
"Xander, I've watched you. You're good. Not great, there's stuff you could still use some training in, but you're already really good. Why do you need the taint?"
"Because I do," he said patiently. "The same way you need your visions."
"Oh." He laid down next to him. "I guess that makes sense. You still don't need it. I've wanted to do a bit of refining on your hand-to-hand but you're already really good. Nearly as good as most of the hunters in our circle."
"I've been doing this for five years, Sam," he said dryly. "I'd better be good by now."
Sam looked at him. "No one taught you?" Xander shook his head. "Then you're really good for not having been taught. I had hand-to-hand drilled into me from the time I could walk. For not having anyone teach you you're really, really good."
Xander grinned. "Flattery won't get you sex any sooner, Sam."
"Not expected, it's still the truth." Xander beamed at that. Dean fussed. "Of course his stomach would wake him up," he said, going down there. He brought the baby and the bottle up to put him between them. "There, that way we can both feed your greedy stomach."
"He's got to grow a lot, Sam. He needs it." He stroked the baby's stomach while Sam held the bottle. Dean pulled back to pant a few times then went back to gobbling food. He looked over at his boyfriend. "If we can't trust them to babysit, how are we going to do that?"
Sam shrugged. "I don't know but you've still got four weeks of leave left to heal and rest."
"So I get to be a stay-at-home mom?" he teased.
"If you want. Or we could let Tara watch him. She doesn't seem to have too many classes this semester."
"One of her teachers got eaten and the other's a research class. I guess I could like that. I'm sure Willow will help since she realizes I'm going to kill her if it happens again."
Sam smirked. "Buffy did look scared when you growled."
Xander took a kiss. "That's because the rest of my pack ate the old principal at the high school. I went to check her for pack inclusion." Sam gaped, dropping the bottle. Xander grinned and nodded. "I only ate the school mascot, a pig, but they ate the principal. Which caused us *no* end of problems when the VP took over. The little toad was power hungry and a little, short bastard with Frenchman syndrome."
"Napoleon complex?" Sam suggested.
"That's what I said." He smirked. "Then again, he's the reason I have the soldier. He forced us to go out as chaperones for trick-or-treating kids on halloween that one year. He forced us to go in costume. The only costume shop in town belonged to a chaos sorcerer who turned us into whatever our costumes that we bought from him were. Buffy turned into a seventeenth century fainting girl. I turned into PFC Harris. Willow turned into a ghost. The kids turned into demons and gobilns and witches and ran around like they were on world-destruction crack. I think that's one of the few times I've managed to beat Spike off Buffy actually." He beamed. "So they're necessary. That's how I plan and things."
Sam stroked his face. "You still don't need them. You're better than the taint gave you, Xander. Even if you started out using it, you've learned more than they gave you." Dean chose that minute to lay a diaper that stunk even while he was laying it. He looked down. "What? Too mushy for you?" he asked dryly. He picked him up and carried him down to the bathroom to bathe and change. There was no way wet wipes were handling it this time. "Keep it up, I'm letting Buffy change these because she stared at Xander's chest." His brother peed at that suggestion. "Sure, you can do that on her," he agreed happily. He finished cleaning him up, being sure to clean under the little foreskin. "That good with you?" he whispered. "We can have it removed if it's not."
"No we're not," Xander called. "We're not maiming him and decreasing his future enjoyment. And damn it did I just sound like Anya."
Sam snickered, nearly dropping the baby into the sink again.
Giles looked at the baby he got handed as Sam ran in then ran back out again. "Well, hello, Dean. What's going on?" Someone outside screamed. "Ah, Sunnydale issues." He went to look with the baby, nodding at what they were doing. He opened the door. "The vulnerable part is under the left armpit. That's where the heart is, Samuel." He closed the door and took the baby back to read some ancient Watcher's journal to him. It put him to sleep too, so it wasn't just him. Sam came in and headed for the bathroom. "The blue box under the sink. It removes slime from people and clothes."
"Good to know. Thanks." He shut the door. "Let Buffy change diapers for staring at Xander's naked chest."
"Of course I shall," he agreed, smiling at the precious young one. Tara walked in and squealed, making Dean start awake before she could grab him. "Do be careful and gentle, Tara."
"You hush! I'd never hurt the baby, Giles!" She sat down to cuddle him, not minding in the least when he tried to nurse off her again. "They still don't work, Dean. Sorry, snookums."
Xander strolled in wiping off his blade. "Left armpit, Sam. Theirs, not yours." He looked at Giles, handing off the sword. "Dead. Slime eating box?"
"In there with him."
Xander went to steal the box of slime remover, going to sprinkle it over the body. It ate through it and left the street shiny and clean. He grinned as he handed it back. "Two tablespoons per load of cold water laundry, Sam." He gave him a pat then went back inside.
"I stabbed under both left armpits," he complained, following him.
"It's under the bottom one angled up toward the top one," Xander said. "You probably went straight or just below it." He grinned. "It happened to all of us at least once. Tara, why is our son trying to nurse?"
"It's a natural reflex with how he used to covet them," Sam said dryly. He went to finish cleaning up, then came out to repossess the baby. "We wanted to know if you wanted to babysit when we're at work. Xander has four weeks before he can go back but after that we'll need someone."
She blinked then nodded, hugging him and the baby. "I'd enjoy that. The hours I can't can Buffy and Willow?"
"As long as they straighten up and never leave the baby alone again," Xander said firmly.
"It was an accident, Xander. We won't let Anya babysit again."
"Oh, Anya knows what she did wrong," Xander assured her. "We've already had a talk."
"Is that why she's walking funny?" she asked archly.
"Not that sort of talk," he said, giving her a look. "Unlike her, I don't screw around. I learned my lesson the one time." He sat down, stealing the baby, getting a long look. "Yes, it's me again," he said dryly. "You have to put up with me, Dean. I gave birth to your tiny butt." Dean fussed at that. "Tough, suck it up, kiddo. Life's full of shit, just ask Robin Williams." Sam walked off shaking his head. He put the baby on his shoulder, patting him on the back gently. He got a small burp but a sleepier baby. "Thanks, Dean. Sam, did you file his birth certificate?"
"Yup. I heard from Bobby too. They finally identified his old body." He shrugged. "So that takes care of the Feds looking for us." Everyone stared at him. "There was a identity theft demon...."
Xander held up a hand. "Don't. I don't want to know. As long as they don't break in the door to arrest you in the middle of the night and get us too." Sam shook his head. "Good." He looked at the baby. "That good with you?" He let out a small fuss. "More music later, kiddo. None here." Tara bounced over to get his stomach system. "I think the headphones are too big," he said. She adjusted them to their smallest size, checking the volume before laying Dean down in a comfortable chair and putting them next to his head. The baby squealed and cooed, liking that.
"We love you too, Dean," she said, patting his belly. She bounced back over, grinning at Xander.
"Did you eat springs?" he teased.
"Was the spring named Willow?" Sam teased.
She blushed. "Good girls don't talk about that."
"You're right, they don't. I'm sorry to embarrass you, Tara."
"I'm not. Was she good?" Xander asked.
"Xander!" Giles shouted.
He shrugged. "What?" She swatted him with a scowl. He smirked at her. "Enquiring minds and all that."
Buffy strolled in. "Morning my slayerettes. How are my crew today? Sam, aren't you supposed to work?"
"Not until Monday. We just finished a job so I've got this week off," he said happily. He pointed at the baby. "Don't take his music."
"Of course not," she cooed, coming over to play with his belly. He was too young to stop her. He could try to stop her later, when he was older and a meany like Xander. "What're we doing in?"
"The thing with four arms," Xander said dryly.
"Eww. It dead? I don't need slime today. I look too cute for that and this is a new outfit."
"It's dead," Sam promised. She beamed at him. "I tried, Xander killed it."
"Good, he did finally learn how to stab the thing."
"Told you we had all done it," Xander told him. He nudged Tara, nodding at the baby. She giggled.
Buffy wrinkled her nose. "Eww, Dean. What is that?" She backed away.
"You had custody when he laid it, go for it," Xander said happily.
"Just because I stared at Sam's belly fur," she started. The baby let out a wail of misery. "Come on, guys! You're the parents!"
"I told you the first time you held him, Buffy. If you have possession when he needs a change, you're doing it."
She pouted but took the diaper bag from Xander's side and went to the bathroom to change him. "EWWWWWWWW!" floated out a minute later. "What is that! There's no way that's crap! AAHHHHHHHHHHH! Giles! He peed on me!" she wailed.
Sam snickered all the way to the bathroom, losing it before he knocked and walked in. "Clean in the other direction, Buffy. It's sticky."
She let him have it so she could go change and throw those clothes in the washer. Her mother caught her. "Slime is nicer," she pouted. "The baby laid a really nasty, sticky load that wouldn't come off then he peed on me," she sulked, going downstairs to shower and put stuff in to soak. She came back up in jogging pants and a t-shirt. "All because I stared at Xander and Sam's belly fur. Mom! Make them let me cuddle the baby without diapers? He's their kid, they should change them."
"If you're babysitting and the baby needs changed, you have to do it, Buffy," she said patiently. "The same as your sitter used to have to change yours."
"But they were there. Xander said since if I had possession I had to."
She patted her daughter on the shoulder. "I know, Buffy. It'll be okay. Get cute again. I'll drive you back since I'm nearly done with lunch." Her daughter pouted all the way upstairs, letting her giggle in peace. Those boys did get her back very well for staring at them.
Buffy came back down in another new outfit. "Mom, how do you clean around the hangy stuff on the end of the penis?"
"They didn't have the baby circumcised?"
"Um.... Not like I know to compare, Mom. I've never seen anything but the normal kind."
"Did the head have skin around it or was it clear?"
"It had hangy, elbow skin around it."
"He wasn't circumcised. I wonder why."
"Is that what Willow was going on about lack of feeling and stuff?"
"Probably," she admitted, taking her out to the car and back to the shop. She walked her inside even. "Dean's not circumcised?" Sam pointed at Xander. "Xander?" she asked patiently.
He looked at her. "Why do I want to maim him and take part of his future enjoyment away from him? Just to make it a bit easier to clean?"
"You know, they are saying that men who're circumcised are less likely to get STD's," Tara said.
"Yeah because they get less sex," Xander pointed out. "Willow said they never do those studies with guys who get a whole lot of sex. Just guys who don't. They do it on purpose. Like the old ones did."
"There were old studies that said circumcising a boy led to less UTI's and things," Sam admitted. "They were proven wrong back in the nineties. There's new, contradictory ones about circumcising being better. All those AIDS studies have been in Africa and they vary in tribes that have multiple partners or promiscuous sex or those who have single partners. They're not great studies and yes, I can agree we need further research, but I don't feel like I miss out on anything when I have sex."
"The foreskin does add some extra sensation," Giles admitted. "It's a personal preference anymore."
"It's not a war I'm willing to take on," Sam said. "So I let Xander have this one. We'll have later ones about Dean's training." Xander gave him a patient look. "Self-defense starting at four."
"Five or six," Xander said.
"Four's easier and then he can move into a martial arts if he wants to by six. We did before. He was older and always complained he didn't pick it up as easily as I did."
Xander shrugged. "There's no dojo in town, Sam." Sam groaned. "You can teach him. I can teach him. Buffy and Giles can teach him since they both know some. Spike knows street brawling and Angel knows all the meditative, ending season of Highlander with the crappy plotline about the woosy demon that was beat by not beating it styles. Let's get him reading when he's four. That way he can have brains like yours. That way he's not caught in the same trap I was - begging to graduate."
"Are we home schooling him?" Buffy asked.
"I think we can get him to pass the equivalency test," Sam told her. "That way we can have him home schooled but he doesn't have a problem with having to study more." He looked at Xander. "We can start Latin and self-defense that year."
Xander shrugged. "We could but that year's still only going to be a month. We won't have time to do that and work." Sam moaned, holding his head. "Exactly. So let's get him back to the baseline level where his memories can start to take over for him and then train his body once he's old enough to understand what he's doing with it and why."
Sam considered it. "I can see that," he decided. Xander relaxed. "Latin first?"
"I figured Spanish first since this is California, but we can do it at the same time as Latin." He grinned. "He can even start that sooner since there's all sorts of games for Spanish."
"Good point." He took a kiss. "I can ceded that point. As long as we do get to train him."
"Of course. He's got to be able to survive around here."
Joyce coughed. "What happens if he keeps aging pat his old age?"
"It's written into the spell that it stops it," Sam told her.
"Oh, good." She patted him on the cheek. "Any other battles we want to have?"
Sam looked at Xander. "I'm not doing what Dad did to save part of his soul before he loses his innocence. It was helpful but it was mean to her. He had me broken in so Dad couldn't."
"If we have to do something like that we can do it here," Xander told him. "Keep it safe that way without having to use anyone?"
Sam considered it then nodded. "That would work too. Good for everyone else?" They nodded. "Cool." He looked at the fussing baby and Buffy, who was holding him, giving him a comical look really. "Buffy....."
"Oh, come on! I just changed one!" she whined.
Joyce took pity on her and went to change it for her. "It's not that bad, Dean. She'll get used to tiny baby butts." She gave him a light pinch before putting the diaper on. "There, even less wiggly than Buffy was at your age." She carried him back out, handing him to Tara, watching as he tried to latch on. "Buffy did that too," she sighed. "She tried to do it to a statue once. And her father. Her father threw an unholy fit in Church." She walked off, going to the art gallery she owned.
"I'm *so* glad I don't remember that," Buffy said. She waved at Dean. "I'll hold you after you get changed the next time, little guy." Tara snickered, breaking his suction. Xander handed over a pacifier. Dean spit it out and tried again.
"And they said I was stubborn," Sam teased, taking him back. "Don't suck on the aunt, Dean. She'll be mean and not make you cookies and stuff." The baby settled down in his arms, going to sleep on his shoulder. "Thank you. Good boy." Xander grinned. "Would you mind if some of the hunters we know got to see him?"
Xander shrugged. "Can they come here or near here?"
"They could come here, we'll make sure they're all okay," Buffy promised. "That way maybe I could meet a hotty of my own."
Sam grinned at her. "Some of them are cute."
"In a gay boy like you way?" she asked.
He snickered. "Give Dean two years, Buffy."
"Um, no. Seen too much of his butt already. I'll keep flashing back to it being that tiny. I might giggle and he'd be mortally offended." She stood up. "I'm going to go play while I'm still cute and clean." She skipped off before anyone else could suggest something like that.
Tara shook her head. "Poor thing." She stole him back and got comfortable to sit with him, letting the CD player go on with the headphones near his head again. It made him a happier baby to listen to it.
Sam grinned at Xander. "Looks like we're free for an hour."
"I'm still too sore for sex," Xander said dryly, giving him a look.
"How about laundry then?"
"Laundry I might be able to handle," he admitted. He looked at Tara, getting waved off. He looked at Giles, who nodded he'd protect the baby. They headed off to the laundromat while it was still light outside. That way they wouldn't have to worry about hiking laundry and killing vampires. Sam came back to take pictures and email them off to the others who wanted to know. It was a nice night. Calm, peaceful. Dean slept most of it. Xander slept through him waking up. That was fine though, they needed more bonding time. He sat there with the baby, holding and cuddling him, talking to him about all the demons he had hunted while he was gone.
Xander sat down with his son the first day Sam was gone, weathering the fussing. "I know I'm not Sam, Dean." He stared down at his son. "Listen, okay? I gave birth to you. I don't want you to call me mom if you don't want to. Dad could be okay if you wanted to but I'm not going to try to take your original parents places," he said quietly. He heard someone outside and went to look, nodding at the officer. "Yes?"
Xander pulled up his shirt to show off the flap. The officer gave him a horrified look. "He was reborn to save him." He put down his shirt. "Technically, Sam, my boyfriend, is his big brother. He was supposed to carry him, not me, but the old Sunnydale magical issues bit me instead. Anything else?"
"Someone said you've got a child here that you shouldn't have."
"No, all I have is the one I gave birth to, who's got an accelerated growth problem. Don't believe me, go ask Buffy."
"Um, it was Willow who told us, Harris," he said.
"I'm so going to kill her." He let him inside. "See, just Dean." He pointed. "That's all him." He handed over the birth certificate they still had to file. "All his."
He read it over then looked at the baby. "He is a bit magical," he said. He looked at Xander. "That won't close?"
"Ever. If I had eggs I could do it again," he said dryly. The officer shuddered. "You guys all saw me being fat and stuff. What did you think was wrong with me?"
"Mr. Giles said a medical condition."
"You know what, let's go talk to Giles," Xander said. "That should clear it all up." The officer nodded at that. Xander grabbed the diaper bag and headed down with him, looking in his car. "Of course, Sam has the carseat." He looked at him. "I'll walk so we don't get a ticket." That got a nod and the officer drove off. Xander called Giles. "Incoming. Can you please get Miss Rosenburg down here so I can thump her good?" He walked off with the baby. It was only four blocks and it was a nice day. He walked into the shop, finding the officer already in there and Willow looking guilty. "I'm going to kill your ass, Willow." She eeped and ran. "Good idea!" he shouted after her. He calmed himself because the baby was fussy. "Giles, Willow nicely told this officer that Dean is not my child and is inappropriately in my custody."
"Excuse me?" Giles asked, looking at the officer.
"You said it was a medical condition, Mr. Giles."
"Yes, pregnancy is one of those," he said dryly, leaning on the counter, palms down so he wouldn't do anything rash. "Xander is a wonderful mother to Dean," he said. "He gave birth to him after Sam saved his life by having him reborn. It wasn't meant to come to Xander but he did. Xander gave birth to him and all that. We've seen him since he was a day old and helped him before then because Xander got the snot kicked out of him on occasion."
"Okay. As long as you guys are sure. I know Xander's not a pervert or anything. I wasn't sure if it had been abandoned or anything."
"No, he wasn't," Xander said, trying to stay calm, bouncing the baby a bit with him. "It's all right, Dean. We'll stay calm," he promised. Anya came out and held out her hands. "After you left him alone to get coffee?" She pouted. "Tough! Sit! Find good things for me to do to Willow later on."
"Why?" Xander pointed at the cop. "She turned you in for being a dad?"
"For having custody of a child that wasn't his naturally," the officer said.
Anya gave Xander a horrified look. "Do you want a spot on the vengeance team? I'm sure D'Hoffryn would come. He did when Willow did the will spell, he'll come for this one too."
"No, I'll manage without him," he promised her. "Come up with good ideas for me."
"Sure, I have a whole store of them that I never got to use," she said happily, bouncing off to do that.
"Xander, let me," Giles said, taking the baby. "Go blow off the energy on the heavy bag. I'll watch Dean personally for a few minutes." Xander stomped off with a last glare at the officer. "Is that enough to satisfy everyone?"
"Yes, Mr. Giles. As long as we're all sure." He nodded. "Thank you for clearing this up and not letting him hit me or her. I'd hate to arrest him if he hit her."
"Don't worry, he'll be beating her out of police view," he promised. He nodded and left. He looked at the fussy baby. "He really does love you. Otherwise we would've seen a very messy homicide already. He wouldn't have stopped on my account." The baby stared at him. He smirked. "Hitting that first growth spurt a bit early?" The baby cooed. "We'll figure it out. I'm sure Xander won't pick up magic or anything. I hope. Xander? Are you calmer? I do believe he's hungry and I don't know how to mix a bottle yet."
Xander came out to grab the stuff, going into the bathroom. Then he came out shaking a bottle. "Thanks." He took him, sticking it into his mouth. "How's that?" Dean burped but sucked. "Thanks, kid. Sorry you had to see that. I'll kill her later, when Sam's babysitting." He grabbed the diaper bag and headed off. "Thanks, Giles."
"Don't worry." Once Xander was out of sight he called Sam. "Samuel, no, not the baby. Well, not wholly the baby. No, not an attack. Willow, Samuel. She told someone that Xander had Dean without a good reason. We just convinced the officer, yes. Running for her life. Xander's a bit pissed. I'm sure Dean's going to be down for a nap soon so he can calm down. I did promise the officer we wouldn't kill her where they'd find her," he admitted. "That would be good, yes. Thank you, Samuel. Walked home. I don't know why he didn't drive. Does he have the carseat?" Sam groaned. "Ah, that reason. That's fine then. He's headed home. The baby has a bottle he's sucking on the way. Yes, I thought you should know so you could calm him down when you get home tonight. No, he asked Anya to find him a suitably evil idea when he turned down her suggestion that he take a spot like she had. Exactly. Thank you, Samuel." He hung up then hung his head, sighing a bit.
"Willow's going to be a big problem or a little problem?" Anya asked. "It'll depend on what sort of idea I give Xander."
He looked at her. "I have no idea," he admitted. "I'm about to find out. Can you watch the store?" She nodded, beaming, coming over to play with the money while he went to find Willow wherever she was hiding and spank her until she begged for mercy. His Ripper side was screaming to come out for that stunt. He should let him play.
Xander sat down, looking at the baby again once they were home. "Now that someone is beating Willow for me, so I can do it later when she's slower since I'm still sore, can we go back to our talk?" Dean kept slurping, staring at him. "Thanks. Do you think we can get along? I know you'll end up being the same guy you were. I can only hope to give you some good influences, be there for you when you're growing up, that stuff." He patted the baby on the stomach. "There for a while I had talked myself into believing I'd be a good dad then your brother showed up to tell me I wasn't going to have to really worry about it." The baby frowned at him. He burped him and the facial expression cleared. "Better?" He put him back down, giving him the bottle back. "I'm trying, okay? Can we not hate me for that? I know I'm an outsider to your family thing but can I at least be like a stepparent or something?" The baby kept staring at him, still drinking. He tipped the bottle a bit so he'd get better milk flow. "We'll talk when you're older and you understand more." He stood up. "For now I need to calm down before I accidentally find magic and kick her ass long distance." He looked at him. "Can you stay there while I see how sore I really am? I need to get back onto patrol too." The baby finished the bottle, watching him play with his battle axe.
Someone knocked. "Xander?" Joyce called.
"Open," he called. She opened the door and walked in. "Can you give him back his pacie?" She nodded, switching out the empty bottle for his pacifier. "Thanks. What's up?"
"Willow's cowering in my basement why?"
"Because she told the cops I shouldn't have Dean but I do."
"Oh dear." She gave him a look. "Would you like me to babysit while you kick her around? He shouldn't see that."
"I'll get her later, after Giles has. Since I'm still sore, I can't run after her. He'll beat her so she's slower for me."
"Are you okay?"
"Tired, sore, and still pissed. I'll be fine and take a nap when he does." She nodded, kissing him on the cheek. "Thanks, Joyce."
"You're welcome, dear. By the way, Buffy knows not to leave the baby with Anya if you want either of us to sit sometime soon."
"If I can be less sore I might let you tonight while we go on patrol."
She beamed. "I'd love to." She patted him and left, going to talk to Giles so he could find Willow easier.
Xander looked at Dean once he made sure the door was shut. "She's pretty cool. She took the news of Buffy being a slayer really well. She's like my mom. If you call her grandma I'm sure she'd be happy with that." He went back to work, letting the baby watch him.
Dean watched, thinking hard about what was going on. Maybe he was missing some clues somewhere. His Dad was Sammy? And this was his stepmother? Huh? He nearly groaned. His stepmother had a bad aim with that backhand swing. He would've said something if he could talk. Then again, the guy had just given birth to him.... He said he was sore. He watched him keep going, falling into the same patterns over and over while he practiced. That backhand swing was still bothering him but the other stuff looked okay. His father would've screamed about his training though.
Sam came home while Xander was practicing. "You didn't gain any weight," he said calmly.
"They still need me on patrol tonight. Joyce said she'd sit so we can both go."
"You said you're sore."
"And I am. Doesn't mean I get to slack. I went with a broken arm, concussions, and other bruises. I can go with a sore stomach and tired shoulders, Sam." He put down his axe, rubbing his sorer shoulder. "Let me shower. I'm sweaty and stinky. Can you change him?"
"Sure." He watched Xander head into the bathroom, then leaned on the back of the couch to look at Dean. "You know, if it had to be anyone to be the new mom, he's a great one," he said gently. "He's sweet, he's gentle, he's protective. He's hot, he's smart but he hides it like you do. He wears some ugly shirts now and then but so does everyone. Do you like the new mom?" Dean stared at him, sucking on his pacifier. He smiled at the look in the green eyes that said Dean would be screaming if he could. "Give him a chance and get to know him, Dean. Xander's a great guy. Please? For me?" Dean kept sucking. "Fine. We'll figure things out." He picked him up, taking him to change. "You know, Bobby's coming out next week to see you. He wants to make sure the nasty vampires haven't eaten you yet. He's worried about Spike. Which is probably a good thing even though he can't eat you." He heard Xander get out of the shower. "Bobby's coming next week," he called.
"Sure. We'll figure out where to put him," he agreed as he headed up to his room to change. He sat down, listening to Sam and Dean talk about their friend. "Maybe I should have one for myself, that way I don't feel jealous," he whispered. He finished getting dressed and came down to check the diaper bag. Still full: six diapers, two bottles and enough mix to make another three, two outfits and a spare shirt, a stake, a hunting knife, a pocket knife, and a handgun loaded with silver bullets. He found a spare pacifier to put into it and dropped it in, taking the backpack system to put on and adjust for the baby's current size. "Drop him in?"
"I can carry him, Xander. You're still sore."
"I'll never get unsore if I don't get back into the swing of things. We need me back to work soon." He took the baby, kissing him on the head before putting him down inside it. "That good with you, Dean?" Dean looked happy enough. "Okay, let's go see Grandma Joyce and then we'll go on patrol for a few hours. Then we'll pick you up and come back here to nap. Then we'll do it all over again without the Willow torture in the center. Sound good to you?" he asked, walking out with the diaper bag. Sam followed, sighing a bit at the stubborn nature. He looked down at the baby, smiling at his happy expression. It was just now starting to fall dark. They walked up the road to Joyce's, taking their time. It was a safer part of town. A few vamps but Sam got two and Xander got one. He checked the baby. "Maybe a hat so you don't get vampire ash in your eyes. Can't be good for them." He brushed his face off again. "How's that?" The baby cooed. Sam picked up the pacifier, tossing it into the diaper bag so it could be cleaned first. "Thanks. Can't bend."
"I could carry him."
"I'm good. You'll be spending most of your day with him soon, Sam. Give me my time now." He walked up onto Joyce's porch a few minutes later, knocking before walking in. "Hi, Grandma. Say hi Grandma, Dean." The baby blew spit bubbles but didn't look unhappy.
"That's a good greeting for the grandma," she cooed, taking the whole carrier off Xander. Sam set down the carrier. "Standard patrol tonight?"
"Two, two and a half hours," Xander assured her. "Cemetery patrol." She nodded, taking the baby to read to him. "Thanks, Joyce." He walked out, heading out to the Magic Box. Willow saw him and backed away slowly. "I'm still going to kill your dumb ass." She took off running.
"She did what this time?" Buffy asked patiently. "Where's the baby?"
"With your mother so we can go on patrol," Xander said dryly. "As for her? Ask Giles about the officer who came today. I'll get pissed again." He grabbed a few stakes. "Which cemeteries tonight?"
"Golden Slumbers, Restview, Rest Haven, and the one by the college. That family plot." Xander nodded, heading out. "Hey!"
"You can catch up," Sam promised with a grin. "I'll be with him. We already got three on the way to Joyce's." He hurried out after Xander once he had bolts for his crossbow. "You know, you don't have to prove anything to me, Xander," he said after a few blocks. "I'm proud of how good you are."
Xander gave him an odd look. "Sam, I don't have time to take off for being sore. Or else I never would've patrolled with concussions and a broken arm. It's a matter of manpower. We don't have enough. We need more. Please, let some of your guys show up here and want to stay. Buffy could use a good boyfriend." He grinned. "Besides, I need to wear out the aggression from earlier or else I'm going to bite someone. Who's over there with Spike." He strolled that way. "She whining about calling the cops on us for having the baby?"
Spike gave Willow a look. "I'd run. I can't hurt him enough ta stop hin, Red." She pouted but stomped off to find Buffy. "You good?"
"Pissed as hell. She's damn lucky I believe it was a misunderstanding. Or else she'd be dead by now. Anya was going to give me ideas." Spike and Sam both shuddered. "Exactly. Coming? We're going on patrol."
"Sure. Make sure you don't fall over from the sore spots."
"Fuck being sore," Xander muttered loud enough for vampire hearing to catch and headed off again. They were near the closer cemetery. The first minion was already out and trying to help his buddy out of his grave so Xander jumped in. He figured out how sore he really was when the vampire fought back. He still managed to kick the thing off him and back into Sam's stake while Spike got the one struggling to get out. He sighed. "I'm out of practice being beaten up." He walked on, shaking his head a bit. Only one way to get back into practice. The same way he had learned.
"He's insane," Spike told Sam.
Sam shook his head. "He's proving stuff to himself," he said quietly. He followed. The next one was easier. Xander handled it and kept guarding the sorer areas. The vamp went whoosh and they went to another one. Spike stopped Xander, getting an angry look. Sam kept going.
"He's a Master," Spike said, heading off to help him. Xander followed at a jog anyway. He and Sam double-teamed him while Xander snuck up from behind and got him. Xander sighed, looking at them. "No way you could've taken the lead," Spike defended. "Even before the baby."
Xander gave him a look. "You know damn well that wouldn't have stopped me." He walked off rolling his eyes. "Maybe I'll move. That way all the over-protective people quit hovering," he told himself as he walked. They ran into Buffy and Giles. "Morning," he said dryly. "Spike's trying to keep me from helping again. Any more this way? We've gotten three fledges and a master."
"Oooh, nice count," Buffy said. "Are you teaching the baby?" she teased.
He looked at her. "I don't think it's going to be necessary since he still has all his memories from his last life. I'll teach him whatever I can that he doesn't already have. Thanks for asking though." He walked off shaking his head.
"I was teasing," Buffy called after him. Sam jogged off to follow him, shooting a glare at her. "I was," she pouted at Giles.
Spike shook his head. "He's still in a bad mood, slayer."
"That's not my fault, that was Willow," she complained, following after the couple. She found Sam hugging Xander while talking to him. "I was only teasing."
"Tonight's not a good night for that," Sam told her. "Please?"
"Fine, you two take the Bronze. I'll give up dancing tonight so you two can do that part." Xander shook his head, getting free and walking off. "Usually he likes the Bronze part of the hunting," she said with a pout.
"We promised your mom we'd only be out for a few hours."
"Oh. Yeah, she's got to get to bed because she works."
"Xander's going to be going back in a few weeks," Sam told her. He went after Xander, finding him fighting a demon that he didn't know anything about. "Xander?" he called, stepping in to kill it. "How do we kill this one?"
"No clue," he admitted with a small grin. "Like usual."
"Rubber!" Giles called. "It's allergic to rubber."
"Eraser, anything like that on you?" Xander asked, thinking about what he had. He had a condom but those were latex. He got an idea and kicked the demon on some exposed skin, watching as it pussed up there. He took a running jump, jumping further up its back so he could kick it higher and hopefully choke it to death. It worked, after a few good kicks to the neck. He had to jump off before he got pinned under it while it rolled around and gasped for breath but that was usual. "Rubber soles because now and then we have the demonic version of Picachu." He grinned and walked off again. "Thanks, Giles," he called, waving back at him.
Buffy frowned. "Aren't they harmless?"
"Unless they're in heat. Then they can jump young men to have them fertilize their eggs," he agreed, pulling off his glasses to clean them. "I'm hoping it jumped him."
Sam caught up with Xander again, stopping him so they could talk to him. "Hey. Did it jump you?" Xander nodded. "Any idea why?"
"I was born here." He shrugged. "It was probably female and decided I was tasty. That happens now and then. The girls pick on me about it." He shrugged again. "Why?"
"That was dangerous."
"That's patrol, Sam. It's not the first time I've been jumped."
"No but this is probably the first time that you're hormonal, pissed at Willow, and sore at the same time." He moved closer. "I'm worried about you, Xander. You're acting odd."
"Sam, you've only seen me under high hormones. This is the real me."
"You're normally suicidal?" he asked, staring at him.
"I'm not presently."
"You're clearly upset by something. Tell me, please?"
"Oh, just go blow him," a female voice called. "You two are worse than my soaps." Xander turned and threw a stake at her, dusting her.
"Nice shot." He made Xander look at him again. "I'm worried about you. You haven't laughed in a few days, Xander. Is this the postpartum depression stuff?"
Xander walked off shaking his head. "I'm not a textbook case, Sam. You can't get all the facts from a book."
"I'm trying to ask," he complained, following him. "That's why I started the conversation, so you could tell me what's wrong."
Xander turned to stare at him. "You want to know what's wrong? I have a wonderful, beautiful son that I have not a damn thing to do with. Never will. If I'm lucky he'll consider me a stepparent when he gets older. There's not much I can teach him that he doesn't already know. That's what the hell is wrong with me. Okay? Happier now? This has actually made me think about having a normal kid so I can do this with one of my own and prove that I have broken the family curse of being sucky human beings." He was jumped by something and threw it onto the ground, stomping on it. "Having a talk, do you fucking well mind?" he snarled. It got up and ran. He looked at Sam again. "Maybe it'd be better if you did take him and go home. That way I couldn't screw up what you have to make him relearn." He walked off again.
"It's not like that, Xander! You have a lot of stuff you can teach him!" He chased after him but Xander had made it inside the house and had locked himself in the bedroom. "Xander! Let me in? Please?" he called. He tried the knob again. Still locked. He thought about kicking it in but he was on stairs and they weren't that deep so he couldn't get a good balance going. There wasn't a handrail for him to lean on either. "Come on, Xander. It's not going to be like that. Yeah, I'm going to be prompting memories but you can still help me retrain him. You can work out with us. All that stuff. You can teach him a lot of stuff."
"Just go away," Xander called.
"No. I'm not like that." He sat on the stairs, checking his watch. "I'm going to pick up the baby. We'll talk when I get back."
"He's the kid, I'm not," Xander said, throwing something at the doorway.
"I know that," he complained, glaring behind him. He stomped down to the car, heading over to Joyce's. She pouted but he shrugged. "Xander's having an end-of-the-hormones moment," he said grimly. "Thank you."
"You're welcome. He's a sweet boy."
"Only when he wants to be." She laughed at that, nodding a bit. "Thanks." He grabbed the diaper bag and headed back to the house, finding the doors locked again and the chain on. He could kick this one in, making Dean coo. "Your mother's insane," he told him, putting him into his crib. "You stay here. I'm going to talk to him." He put the diaper bag back into the closet then headed back to look at his room door. It was unlocked but Xander wasn't in there. He searched the rest of the apartment. Apparently he had left over the balcony. He put his head down, taking a deep, calming breath. He needed it before he started to scream and rant at God. He went to check on Dean. "I'm sorry. He's having a small issue. Can you learn stuff from him? Make him happy? He thinks all he was is a womb to you." Dean stared at him. "Fine, we'll talk in a few weeks when you can talk." He checked his diaper, still dry and clean. So he went to check the closet. It hadn't been packed at least. There were a few things missing but most of them were in the laundry and his. He went down to the couch to wait. Xander had to come home sometime. He hoped. Because he had no idea how to fix this if he didn't.
Xander walked onto his site the next Monday. "Hey, boss. Where do you need me?"
"Back on medical leave?" he suggested.
"You're still tired looking, Harris. Sam's even worse. Does the baby have colic already?"
"No, I..." He shook his head. "Long story. Not sharing. Not a girl. Where do you want me?"
"Are you still sore?"
"A bit but I can lift and hunt. I'll live as long as I'm not hauling bricks."
"That's fine. Go work on the roof." Xander nodded, getting up there to work. He checked his watch. He was over an hour early. Interesting. He waited for Sam to come in, seeing him looking miserable. "Xander's better already?" he asked. Sam stiffened, staring at him. "He's on the roof. I do not want to hear screaming, I will not let you hit him or him you. Am I clear? You two take it off the site if you need that sort of fighting."
"I need to yell at him but he won't listen." He nodded. "Want me inside or up there?"
"Go up there. I'll leave it as you two for now." Sam nodded, heading up there to help. He watched but Xander only stiffened then nodded cordially before handing him something. So they'd had a fight, huh? Why this time? Harris had a bad temper. Everyone knew about his temper since the first mood swing when he had decked the cop coming to try to ticket his car for existing. He kept watch on them. Sam was trying to talk. He was getting more and more pissed but he was trying to talk. Xander wasn't saying anything back. He went up there to see how they were coming along. Xander was halfway up his section. "Let him catch up, Harris. That way we don't have uneven rows."
"Yes, boss," Xander said, pulling out his water bottle to take a drink so Sam could catch up on his shingles.
"What happened?" the boss asked.
"Xander seems to think that just because the baby has some past life memories that there's nothing he can do with him except change him and be his womb. I've been trying to correct that but he's not listening."
"This is work, Sam. Work and personal lives are different," Xander said calmly. "Besides, what do you want me to teach him? How to wire a DVD player?" He shrugged. "I'm sure he had everything else covered already."
"It wasn't like that," he said coolly. "We were still learning on the job too, Xander. Even if we did start younger we weren't allowed to handle things on our own until we were older than you were when you started. We've had different experiences. There's all sorts of demons I don't know about."
"That would be Giles, not me," Xander said, giving him a look. "I'm grunt support. The same as he was." He shifted over to start on another section, that way it wouldn't fall behind. "We're fine, boss."
"No, I think you're being dumb," he told Xander.
Xander glared at him. "Thanks for the commentary but there's still nothing that I know that he won't when he's older. All I am was a place for the demon that let him be reborn to park him. It did it because it amused him. I'm not going to punish my ass every day because I can't have a thing to do with raising my own kid. That will drive me over the edge and you will end up losing me horribly. Now, anything else? The roof isn't getting done with this argument and it's still work so personal matters do not come here." He glared at Sam. "Or go work inside and I'll do the roof."
"You know, you taught me how to do this stuff," Sam told him.
"Which is why you just applied that one upside down?" Xander said. Sam groaned but put it on right. "Now you know so you can teach him that too in case it comes in handy."
"There's still a lot I don't know, Xander. You can still teach him stuff."
"Sam, go inside before I yell at you," Xander ordered. "I don't bring my personal life to the job. Ever. Go inside."
"He goes or I go," Xander said to stop the boss from trying to keep them together today. "One of us is going."
"Fine. You do the roof, Harris. Sam, go inside and help in the kitchen. You don't have a great hand at plumbing yet so you need the practice." Sam nodded, getting down to do that. "You sure you can handle this?"
"Of course I can. I could before, I can now."
"If you're sure. I'll check after lunch for progress." He went back down to talk to the kid. Xander was giving him grief but he could see his point, at least a bit. He pulled him into the office. "What did he know before he died?" he asked.
"We're a hunting family. We handle different sort of things than they do here." He flopped down, rubbing a hand through his sweaty hair. "Xander thinks I should take the baby and go since he's my big brother and he'll be him again once he's fully grown. He doesn't think he can teach the baby anything. I know that's not true. A lot of what we missed growing up having a parent that wasn't teaching us to hunt would've cured. Xander could teach him a lot about loving and caring for something. About being there even when things are hard. All that. Instead he went to stay on Joyce's couch for a few days."
"Four," he admitted. "I only found him last night and only because Tara told me." He looked at him. "Yeah, he's partially right. Dean was a great hunter, better than I ever will be. He'll be one again. The most important thing he can teach him is the value of a stable, loving family and I can't do that because he doesn't see that it's important."
"Not like his family had one." He looked out there then at him. "I fired Xander's father about seven years ago, Sam. He was a drunken bastard, even on the job. He sneered at any sort of education. Xander's very stable and it surprised the hell out of the rest of the town that he didn't blow them up the way he did the high school."
"He blew up the high school?"
"Graduation had a huge demon attacking it. It was the only way to kill it."
"He said something about that," he admitted quietly, looking out there. "He shouldn't be back yet."
"Xander's often been the guy that let a single decision determine his whole path. He jumped in to help Buffy when he lost his friend. Look at him now."
Sam nodded. "I get that and I get that he doesn't understand what I need Dean to learn this time. I mean, I can't teach him anything other than to prompt old memories and help his body retrain itself."
"Yes but you have those old memories to prompt him with," the boss said. Sam slumped, nodding at that. "You've probably called in some old friends to help?" He nodded. "Now what?"
"If he was just a womb to me, I wouldn't have moved in with him."
"Xander's always seem himself in the measurement of how useful he was, Sam. Here he's very useful so he takes a lot of pride in his work. To you, he sees himself as a diaper changer, a womb, and probably a sex toy." He got a miserable look back. "You need to fix that. Even if you do have to drag him home in handcuffs tonight. Before your friends get the wrong idea and jump his case too. Because then we all lose Xander. Am I clear?"
"He was talking about having another one so he'd have a kid that was his."
"He might do that," he agreed. "Then again, if he did he might die of it too. His doc last time wasn't that thrilled with his health when we talked."
"She didn't say that around me. Neither did anyone else."
"She wouldn't. I had to press to get her to admit he shouldn't be working anymore. That would've been a few months before he stopped before you ask."
"I knew that. She was nagging him in his seventh month to stop working." He looked outside. "He's still tired."
"Couches aren't comfortable. Especially not for a guy like Harris who has a lot of nightmares. He's seen things that make hell look pleasant. He's probably trying very hard not to let the baby see that side at all. Or you. The others don't often see it. Why is Rosenburg hiding from him anyway?"
"She told a cop that we shouldn't have Dean."
"Shit," he muttered. Sam nodded. "He kick her ass yet?"
"He said he was sore so Giles could do it then he'd take over once she was too sore to run."
"Has he done that yet?"
"No," he admitted. "He growled. He paced, he snarled, he threatened. He was asking Anya for advice. He hasn't done more than that."
"Then he's not near ready to forgive her yet." He looked out there. "He's wobbling."
"He's tired." He went to help Xander again, bringing him more water. "Here, you look thirsty and you were wobbling."
"That's not the heat. That's hunger pains. I missed breakfast." He took the water anyway, pouring half into his bottle then handing it back. "Thank you." Sam handed him a granola bar too. "Are you a wagon lady?"
"No, I'm trying to be a bit helpful." He took the hammer and tossed it down after glancing down to make sure he wasn't going to hit anyone. "You know, I don't have a damn thing I can teach Dean that he didn't already know. All I can do is prompt things and help him relearn how to use his body. At least you have skills that he didn't have before. I should be jealous that you can teach him what loving support is like and how to do this stuff. You can help him build his first craft."
"Your dad did?"
"Made him carve his own practice sword."
"That's not that hard."
"No, it's not, but he was only seven." Xander grimaced at that. "One of the main things we both needed growing up was a softer influence. Someone who wasn't training us to be a little soldier in a neverending war."
"I am one of those."
"Yeah but you're going to be teaching him to be more than that, Xander. The same as you are more than that." Xander gave him a look and a snort. "They count on you as more than grunt support. Half the hunters in our circle are as good as Dean and I are. They can do the same things we can. Dean was good at building equipment before when we needed it. I heard from Tara that you're good with electronics. You can help him there definitely since I can't. I know how to put together the stereo." Xander shrugged. He shifted closer but not too close. Xander was back to having very strong personal space issues. "You can also teach him how to love something other than me. Dad handed me to Dean to get us out of the house when the demon attacked. Since then Dean's been my protector first, Dad's son second, and a hunter third. That's all his life was. You manage to do more than that."
"That's because I have to pay rent."
"You also manage to have solid friendships, ones that're going to be there in a decade. We never learned that skill. I learned it at college and Dad felt betrayed that I wanted to go to college and have a normal life. To him there was the search for the thing that killed mom and every other evil bastard on the way. You guys manage to have friends, family, fun times, playing times. Picnics. All while fighting."
"The usual path for a slayer is to be isolated from everyone but her watcher. They never raised Buffy," he said calmly. "The Council has a hit out on me for jumping in and bringing Willow, Sam. They can understand why she stayed but not me. They want me out of the way at any cost. They upped it last week from what Giles heard."
"So! We can defend ourselves against them too!"
"They're mostly military trained and extraction teams, Sam. They'll kill you and Dean to get me. They'll burn down the apartment building and make sure no one in the building gets out alive." Sam gaped. "They hate me for changing what slayers were supposed to be and do. It's safer if I'm not there."
"That's not the reason you left."
"No but it's a good reason to stay gone. I'll never be more to him than the one who carried him for you. I'm not going to be his family."
Sam pulled him closer by pulling on the back of his head. "I see you as family. Dean will see that you're my boyfriend and that'll be enough for him. If he suddenly turns homophobic I'll spank his tiny ass until he begs," he said calmly. Xander gave him a look. "Come home tonight. Even he's been miserable."
"Shut up, Xander. We need to finish having this talk somewhere private where the guys aren't watching. Do you mind?" he called down.
"Yeah. You two going emo is disturbing the rest of us." Xander glared and the guy ran for his life.
"How do you do that?" Sam asked.
"I had a mood swing on a cop and nearly beat him into a coma for a parking ticket," Xander said dryly, giving him a look. "Then I burst out crying and walked off to have cocoa."
"Interesting. Beyond that. They wouldn't still be scared of you, Xander."
"Some of them know about the hunting patrols. I'm guessing someone saw and told the others." He shrugged. "Can I be let go now?"
"No." He kissed him. "I want you there even if Dean is an asshole about things. Got me here? He is our son. He may've been my big brother but now he's our son." He kissed him again when he started to protest. "If you want another one someday so you can be a regular parent, we'll ask Tara," he assured him. Xander slumped, nodding a bit. "For now, I need you and Dean needs you. I need my boyfriend back to help me with things. Because I wanted to hurt him last night when he wouldn't quit crying."
"It's probably growing pains," Xander told him.
"I tried a warm bath and massage to deal with those. It didn't help, Xander. Please? I'll handcuff you if I have to but I need you home tonight. If we can't work it out then we'll switch things around. You can have him in the bigger bedroom and I'll take the nursery. Whatever." Xander shrugged at that. "Don't make me beg in public?"
"Fine. Your turn to order."
"I'll even cook if I'm not too sore." He grinned. "Okay?"
Sam kissed him again. "Thank you. Now, want help on the shingles? We're never going to get this done if you do it by yourself."
"I've gotten a good portion done," he complained, looking down at his hammer. "You threw it." Sam climbed down to get it, bringing his with him. They got back to work. "Circle that way and meet up with mine," he ordered. Sam nodded, doing that, making sure they had the size rows all the way around. One he had to adjust but that was fine with him. He was still learning about shingles and roofing. When they got done with the point they were on they moved over to the regular roof to get to work on it instead. It was a lot larger and Xander snapped chalk lines for him to guide him. He grinned at that and it went faster. No picky cutting to make sure there wasn't a gap or too much overlap.
Xander walked in with the baby, putting him down on the couch. "There good for you?" The baby screamed. He sighed, sitting down with him. "Okay, what do you want? Use the baby ESP and tell me, Dean." Dean blinked at him. "Yes, it's still me." The baby fussed louder.
"Dean, suck it up," Sam said from behind them. "Xander is your mother. Get used to us being together. I'm not losing him because you like breasts." Dean sniffled again then let out another wail. "I don't know what's wrong. We've tried everything. Even the ER couldn't tell us last night."
Xander walked him into the bathroom, stripping him down so they could take a warm bath together. It gave him the time to look him over for anything that might be hurting him. He checked and groaned. "Someone forgot to clean out underneath the foreskin." He settled him in on his lap, cleaning that for him. "Let's see. You probably need something like cranberry juice, huh? Does it hurt when you pee? Some of that was a few days old."
Sam brought in a bottle of water. "That's one of the good reasons to circumcise him."
"Tough. If he's my son he's not." He made sure he was fully cleaned out, letting the warm water soothe him while he drank the water. It was a bit better now. Dean was slowly calming himself down. "Get me a towel to put between us?" he asked quietly. Sam did that, handing over a dish towel. He covered his lap then put Dean back into his spot. "There, that's better." He stroked and patted his back until he belched but that was normal. He got another one and the baby cooed in pleasure. "Huh, gas pains, huh?" He kept patting him until he was done with the bottle. Then he let him curl up on his chest while he added more water to the tub. Dean fell asleep that way. He actually looked happy this time too.
Sam sat beside the tub, stroking over the baby's hair. "He looks comfortable and content doing that," he said quietly, smiling at Xander. "You do have the touch." He took his hand to hold. "This is the one thing I could never teach him, Xander. You can."
"I didn't have it myself, Sam."
"So? You still learned what it was and I didn't. I can't teach something I don't know. I'm pretty sure he was fussing because you weren't there. He knew." He gave the hand a squeeze. "Why did you need the towel?"
"I felt dirty suddenly."
"I'm sure every parent gets that." He took a kiss. "I know you'd never, ever hurt him, Xander. I know that. I have known that." Xander smiled at that assurance. "No matter what possessed you, no matter what taint you carry, no matter what horrors you've seen, you'll never hurt him. He's your son."
"It doesn't stop others."
"You're not them."
"I could be. You don't know me that well."
"I do so." He kissed him then stood up. "Let me start on dinner." He went to do that, checking on them now and then. Xander was nearly asleep in the tub too when he brought in food. Dean woke up too, fussing a bit but Xander got him calmed down. He stroked over Dean's head until he shifted and went back to sleep. Sam settled in to feed Xander, earning a few strange looks. "Your hands are full." He ate a bite for himself every few bites but it was fine with him. When dinner was done he took the dishes back into the kitchen then came back. "Want to wash him down so he can go to sleep for real?"
"Sure." Sam got the soap down since it was above and behind Xander's head, settling in to help him wash the baby. Dean woke up again but he was content to let them spoil him with affection for now. Sam took him to diaper and dress, then put him down, coming in to climb into the shower with Xander. Xander stiffened. "Just wanted a cuddle of my own." He gave him a hug from behind. "Want me on the couch or with you upstairs?" he asked when Xander went back to soaping his chest and arms.
"Yes it does. Do you want me upstairs with you or do you want me to sleep on the couch so you can have some privacy?"
Xander shrugged. "I don't care, Sam. Whatever you feel like."
"Can I sleep next to you?" Xander shrugged again. "Thank you." He kissed him on the back of the neck. "I should change the sheets. I think I sweated through the last set." He got out and dried off, heading up to do that while Xander finished his shower. When he was done Sam took his own and checked on Dean before going up to bed to lay down next to his boyfriend. Who was already asleep. He smiled, shifting closer to hold him. Xander mumbled something but a gentle squeeze and a soft nibble on his neck fixed that. Though the groaned 'Spike' made him growl. "Not Spike, Xander. It's Sam."
"Yes, me." He looked down at him, seeing the smile. "I'm here. Spike's in Buffy's basement." Xander sighed in pleasure and fell deeper into his dreams. Sam could go ask Spike about that tomorrow and then stake him if he had touched Xander inappropriately.
to part 2: