The Adorable Realm Lock.
Xander woke up at the gentle touch to his arm. It was nice he didn't gasp awake; didn't take a swing at the nurse standing next to him either. He was proud of himself for that. "Why am I in a hospital?"
"You collapsed, young man. They brought you in because you were having some delusions and you collapsed."
"Delusions?" he asked, sounding confused.
She smiled gently. "It'll be all right. We know you're not pregnant."
"Never said I was."
"The ER said you were."
"The ER is smoking what sort of crack?" he joked weakly.
"The doctor will be in shortly now that you're awake." She finished checking his IV then left again.
Xander looked at the bag, nothing unusual in there. So it wasn't drugs that was making this very odd conversation happen. Maybe a head injury again? But no, this wasn't any room in Sunnydale General. It was bright, sunnier, and had LA's skyline out the window. "What the hell?" he muttered, making himself sit up. His head wasn't spinning, it didn't hurt, so no head injury. Someone tapped once then walked in, making him blink. No way. No damn way.
"Sir, I need to ask you a few questions."
"Sure, if you answer one first. Are you Dean Winchester?"
The supposed Fed in a suit gave him an odd look. "How did you know? And does anyone tell you that you look like that guy from that show?"
"What show? I know when I'm at home, you're a tv show."
The guy blinked. "Here you're on a show called Buffy the Vampire Slayer."
"No, I had breakfast with Buffy this morning," he said. He curled up a bit more. "This is really weird."
"Yeah, it is." He put up his notepad. "So, you're really...."
"Xander Harris, yeah." He frowned then looked around before looking at him again. "Okay, let's start with a few things. There's gotta be an explanation. Date?"
"The twenty-fifth. Buffy a natural blonde?"
"Hell no," he snorted, but was grinning some. "This is LA?" Dean nodded. "Go ahead and sit, man. I'm not going to bite. I'm not Spike or like that." He let Dean sit on the foot of his bed. "Why're you in LA?"
"We were on our way back east from dropping something off when I heard a guy on the radio say 'oh, shit, you're a demon' then suddenly go to station break. You?"
"Cordy's twenty-first birthday. The whole gang was going to come down for it. I'm guessing that's why I'm in LA anyway." They looked at each other. "If we both think we're in the wrong realm...."
"It's probably magic," Dean agreed. He shifted some. "How do you think it happened?"
"I think I want to get out of here and go ask Willow that question, or Anya. They'd know more if they're here. Unless Dawn made a wish or something since she practically drools on the show you're on."
Dean grinned. "I am a handsome devil," he quipped.
Xander gave him a nudge with his foot. "Beyond that, I need to get out of here. The nurse just said they were going to cure my delusions and said that the ER said I'm pregnant."
"Really? That's....wrong on so many levels, dude." He shuddered. He couldn't even imagine.
Xander smirked. "I wasn't as far as I knew last night. So I'm guessing the magic spit." Someone opened the door. "Huh. Fed. Charming. What can I do for you?"
"Mr. Harris, I need to talk to you about what's going on." He closed and locked the door.
Xander nearly reached for Dean's pocket since he had noticed he was carrying something heavy and that meant a weapon. "I take it someone has the Initiative's files?" he asked dryly.
"Then which one of us was displaced," Dean asked.
"As far as I know, it's been merged because yesterday I had no idea who you were, Mr. Winchester, and now I do." Dean gave him a horrified look. "By the way, your income generation method? Stop it. Before someone catches you."
"Sure, I'll teach him how to rob vamps too," Xander said dryly, staring him down. "What the hell, dude?"
The agent sighed. "All I know is that someone figured out that there was a merging of some sort or another here in the last little bit."
"Which one of us was the show before?" Xander asked.
"You were. My daughter watched it all the time," he admitted. "But on the way over, my GPS system found Sunnydale." Xander grimaced. "Which does mean that the Initiative's files are floating around somewhere, yes."
"I need to get out of here."
"Why?" the agent asked.
"Because the nurse said the ER people said I'm pregnant," Xander said. "And I need to talk to Willow and Anya about what's going on. That way we can fix it. Because this is too strange even for me."
"I can cover up that report," the agent assured him. "We know you were sent in when you collapsed at the Hyperion Hotel. We know that your friends are there as well."
"And I thought I was having a crappy week when the back loader knocked me down and nearly ran me over," he said dryly. "Get me the papers and my clothes? We have *got* to straighten this out before someone gets hurt." He looked at Dean. "Why come here?"
"I saw them carrying you out and wondered." He shrugged. "Figured it was something strange and possibly related."
"Oh. Cool I guess." The nurse came back. "Can I go home now?"
"The doctor's coming to talk to you, sir."
"Yay me. Have him come in and tell me why you thought I was delusional and pregnant."
"The ER said you were."
"If your machines said I was, that's not me being delusional. That's your machine needs fixed," he said dryly. "Since I was unconscious, I had no idea your machine needed fixed and it's not my delusion."
"The doctor was going to bring in an ultrasound to check for a tumor."
"Good!" Xander agreed. "As soon as possible so I can go home please. Because I don't wanna be here when some woman rants and rips the technician apart for your machine being broken." She walked off shaking her head. He looked at Dean. "Do you have things like this happen to you too?"
Dean smirked. "Freaky shit like this doesn't happen to anyone but you on that show and Sammy."
"Speaking of, is he back with you?"
"Has been for a while."
"So I'm taking it you're post-deal?"
Xander sighed, looking at him. "On the show, you ended up making a deal to save and bring Sammy back to life," he said quietly. "After the demon kidnaped him."
Dean growled. "No, that hasn't happened." Nor would it be if he could prevent it.
Xander slumped. "Then maybe we can prevent it for you, Dean." Dean relaxed at that. "Okay, have you lost your dad yet?" Dean gave him a horrified look. "The demon's daughter attacked you guys. Your dad did the same sorta thing with *that* demon to save *your* life. You were in a coma."
"No," Dean said quietly. "If he does, I'm going to kick his ass."
Xander grinned. "Seen the skinwalker?" Dean nodded at that, looking happier. "Been to Chicago and met Meg yet?"
"Good! Then we might have a shot at stopping her. She's the demon's daughter." Dean sat up straighter at that. "The girls watch more religiously than I do, so I'll let you pump them for information in case it's the same here."
"Deal, dude. Thanks."
"Not an issue. Things like that piss me off anyway."
"You guys dealt with graduation?" Xander nodded. "Initiative?" Xander grimaced but nodded. "Glory?"
"Have Dawn and know about her yet?"
"Found out recently."
"Then maybe we can help there too." He smirked at the agent since he was blatantlyconfused. "Figuring out where in the timeline we are."
"That makes sense. It's good to see you're both thinking tactically."
"I have to or else I'm going to start screaming about the thought that they think I'm pregnant," Xander said dryly. The doctor and nurse rolled a machine on a cart into the room. "Finally!" He checked under the blanket and Dean hopped off the bed. He pulled up his gown and pushed the blanket down to cover his naked groin area. "Go for it, doc. I want to know why you think I'm pregnant since I'm a guy."
The doctor smiled. "It's rare but there are a few types of tumors that can cause that problem, sir. We know it's not testicular. We already checked those." Xander nodded once. "Are you ready?"
"Go for it."
He spread the gel and turned on the machine, letting the nurse plug it in for him. Then he pulled up the wand and selected a setting. "Let's start with the general area first." He put the wand onto the gel and paused. "Sir, not to be indelicate in front of your friends, but did you maybe have some *surgery*?"
"No. I was born a guy. Why?"
"I'm seeing...." He moved the wand. "I'm seeing a uterus."
Xander looked at the screen then at him. "I think if I had a hidden extra part, they would've found it when they went in to do my appendix," he said. He was going to stay calm. He really was. He was also going to gut Willow if this was her doing. "I didn't have that before and if I remember from high school biology correctly I can't be a hermie because I work. My girlfriend's already had one pregnancy scare and early miscarriage."
"That is true, hermaphrodites don't usually work," he admitted, flipping a few more switches to look deeper. "You said you have a girlfriend?"
"And no opening. You can check if you want." The doctor did check subtly for him. "See?"
"So he is pregnant?" Dean asked.
"I'm seeing a small bubble formed in one corner of the uterus," he admitted. He looked at the young man. "Do you have any clue?"
"Pollution?" he suggested dryly. He sighed, calming himself down again. "Let me go scream and rant at someone, doc. Please."
He pulled out a metal box from his pocket and handed over a card. "Call me within a week. I want to redo your scan then. That's my office number."
Xander nodded. "That'll give me plenty of time to think." And to figure out how this had happened. Because if he was right, there was nothing he could do about it. "Thank you."
"A week. This can't be good for you." He left, letting the nurse get the machine.
"Can I please have my clothes and paperwork?" Xander called after her. The agent went to get it for him. He looked at Dean. "Don't worry, I'm going to wait until I'm alone to scream and rant at someone or something."
"You're stronger than I am. I'd already be ranting," he offered.
Xander nodded. "I need to see if I'm adding Willow to that rant."
"Good point. You good?"
"Fine for now. Can I get a ride to the Hyperion?"
"Sure, I can do that. It's going to be a long night."
"You have no idea but hey, if it was Willow, Anya and Cordy can both help me torture her." Dean smirked at that, shaking his head. "Bet me they won't. My women of snark will rip her to shreds." The agent came back with his clothes so he went to the bathroom to get dressed. He came out and signed papers then got into the wheelchair, letting Dean follow him down. He looked at the agent. "Tomorrow," he said slowly and clearly. "Let our geeks talk."
"Gladly." He left them alone to make a preliminary report. This was too strange for the government. He didn't want to know.
Xander looked around. "No Sam?"
"Local library looking up that radio station. Get into the front, Xander." Xander slid in and gently closed the door, getting a grin back. "You think the girls can tell me more about the demon?"
"Including how to kill it." Dean gave him such a hopeful look. "You need the colt."
"Samuel Colt's colt. It'll kill any demon. Your dad and Bobby know about it. Also, someone *has* to go knock down or fill in the lock mechanism for the devil's gate by Bobby's house." Dean gaped. "Yeah. We'll call later. Dawn's a bigger fan than I am."
That got a nod and Dean started the car, calling Sam as he backed out of his space. "Sammy. Meet me at the Hyperion. Don't go in without me but meet me there. It's stranger than we thought." He hung up on his complaint that it wasn't a real place. "So, they drool on me?" he asked as he drove.
"Yeah, they do. And Willow thinks that you're doing your brother but yeah." Dean snorted, shaking his head. "Don't worry she won't push you to kiss him or anything."
"Good. I doubt he'd be any good at it." He turned on the radio and let the other guy think for now. He'd be thinking some very bad thoughts if he were pregnant. And didn't that just beat Sammy's usual luck by leaps and bounds of badness? He was *so* glad this wasn't his brother having this problem!
Xander walked into the Hyperion. Dean and Sam were talking outside for a minute. He looked at the people staring at him. "Why was I in the hospital?"
"You passed out," Buffy said.
"Next time, do what we do for you girls, and put me on the couch." She flinched at that. "But that's okay this time because we found a few things. We're in the wrong world." Buffy slowly shook her head. "Oh, yeah, we are."
"No we're not."
"Hey, guys?" Xander called. They walked in. "Yeah, we are, Buffy. To them we're a tv show."
She wobbled but stayed standing. "You found two actors?" she asked hopefully.
"I'm decent at roleplaying but I'm not dangerous enough for your usual tastes, Buffy. And don't hit on Sammy either. He's too fragile for you." Sam swatted him on the arm.
Xander smirked at her. "Not actors. He came up to my room to see what was going on. Speaking of, they're pre-losing their dad. They need facts on what's going on. They can tell us what happened on the tv show here that we are to them."
"Sure," she said weakly. "WILLOW!"
She came running out of the kitchen. "What happened?" She stopped and nearly squealed and pounced. "You found actors?"
Dean pushed her off him. "No, he found hunters when I went up to see if he knew anything about the strangeness going on, Miss Rosenburg." She gaped. "Here you're a tv show. Yours and Angel's show both."
She stuttered. "Not possible," she said finally.
Xander cleared his throat. "Well, there's other news, Willow. Seems their ER's bloodwork machines said I'm pregnant. Would you happen to know anything about that?" Buffy let out a hysterical sounding giggle. He glared at her. "Not. Funny," he growled. She passed out. "And see, we can do to her what you should have done for me. We can put her on the couch so she can sleep it off."
"We weren't sure if something was really wrong," Willow defended.
"So you left me there alone!" he shot back.
"Oops. We were coming to visit."
He glared. "Don't even try lying, Willow. I know you too well." She squeaked. "Now, what the hell did you do this time!" She turned a bit more pale. "Willow," he growled, moving closer. "Dawn's blood involved maybe?"
"I...I was cleaning her scrapes off because one was looking a bit icky. I was washing my hands in the kitchen sink and grumbling about things," she said, backing away from him. "I didn't know this was going to happen." He reached for her but she changed into a mouse and ran off.
Fred shrieked. "Mouse!"
"That's Willow, don't hit her too hard. I get to kill her myself!" Xander yelled back. He looked at the still-stunned Angel. "Hi again. Sorry to bring the strange back into your life."
Angel swallowed then nodded. "It's better we know what's going on."
"That's why I invited them to dinner."
"Sure," he agreed. "We can order more for them." He nodded at that. Then he went to check on Buffy. She was still out.
Sam coughed. "Angel, where in your timeline are we? I know we haven't had the invasion yet. There's not a lot of slayers so I'm guessing we're pre-Sunnydale falling in times." Xander gave him a horrified look. "You don't wanna hear that yet. Bad shocks for later on." That got a single nod. "Have you had Connor yet, Angel?"
"No," he said slowly. "Am I pregnant too?"
"Wolfram and Hart, dude," Dean told him. "With Darla." Angel shuddered. "How long have you been here?"
"A little under a year," Cordelia said as she joined them.
Dean nodded. "Has Lilah or whoever figured out the herbs that'll make him slip his soul for a few hours?"
"There is?" Angel demanded. Sam nodded quickly. He walked off shaking his head. "I hope not. Wolfram and Hart are bad enough."
"Who's Lilah?" Cordy asked.
"She's Wolfram and Hart's secondary hitter after Lindsey."
"Oh. Charming. Aren't you two actors...." They shook their heads. "Displaced?" she asked hopefully.
"Or we're merged," Sam told her. "You're tv shows to us too."
"Oooh. Okay. Why is Buffy passed out?"
"For the same reason Willow's hiding somewhere as a mouse," Xander said. "Wesley here?" She nodded, going to get him. He looked at them. "Anything critical we should know before we figure things out?"
"Has Joyce been to see a doc recently?" Dean asked. Xander slowly shook his head. "She needs to. On the show she died of a brain tumor right before you guys took on Glory."
Xander found the phone and called there. "Joyce, Xander. I need you to get to LA and go to the hospital immediately. We have someone who said they think you have a tumor." She said something smart. "I don't care, Joyce. Because I can't hold your girls together if you die." She sighed but said she'd go. "Thank you. We're at Angel's at the Hyperion." He hung up and called Giles. "Make sure Joyce is coming to LA immediately, Giles. We have credible information that she may have a tumor. She's to come to LA and go right to a clinic or an ER. I wouldn't trust Sunnydale's hospital for anything this big and you know it. Thanks." He hung up then called back. "You might wanna send Anya this way too. Tell her it's probably not the best of news. Because we're merged realms and I'm pregnant," he said then he hung up again. "That way he can tell her and get his ass beaten for whatever happened thanks to Willow." He looked at them. "Anything else rally pertinent at the moment?"
"We can talk about Glory after we figure out what the hell happened," Sam told him.
"Good. Dawn!" She came jogging down the stairs. "Not actors," he said when she squealed, grabbing her before she could pounce. "These are Dean and Sam. They need to have a quick rundown of what happened on the show and how and where the colt is."
She nodded, pulling Sam off to the side to get into Willow's laptop and see what she had saved down. "My favorite fansite is down."
"That's because the realms merged somehow," Wesley said as he came out. "I'm fairly certain if we check, both shows are now missing." He looked at Xander. "You look terrible. Should you perhaps go back?"
"Not until after I've beaten Willow to death for doing it." Dawn gave him an odd look. "Mumbling over the sink while cleaning your blood after that scrape." She shuddered and shrank down some. "I know you didn't want me to be knocked up."
"No, you eat strange enough things already."
"Well, yeah," he admitted. "When your mom gets here, we need to take her to the ER." She gave him a long stare. "She's sick if the show's right, Dawnie."
"Shit," she muttered. Wesley glared at her. "That deserves some swearing." She turned back around, finding the things Willow had downloaded. "Ha, she's back to writing internet smut!"
"Figures. She used to write it back in high school too." Xander looked at Wesley. "How?"
"Magic or a wish."
"I had Giles send Anya down."
"Is that wise?" Wesley asked.
"She was a wish demon, she'd know how to get it fixed or whatever."
Wesley coughed. "Xander, if it was done that way, there has to be an anchoring spot. Like if the one she created with Cordelia had gotten her killed, the world would've snapped back into place," he said gently. Xander gave him an odd look. He nodded at his stomach. "It's the most likely explanation. If we do unmerge them, it'd mean the infant would stay here and you may or may not, and may or may not continue to carry it," he said quietly. "Depending on how long you were in contact with him. Even if you should terminate at this point, it may still leave you here."
"Leaving her without me."
"Which would make the world go boom splat," Dawn put in.
"Dean, we have to call Bobby," Sam said. Dean came over to read and turned pale. "We have to call Bobby to wreck that or whatever. However."
"Done." He pulled out his phone to call him. "Bobby, Dean. Small issue, man. We've been merged with another realm. Because I'm standing here looking at the unconscious form of Buffy Summers and her little sister is letting us look at the stuff Rosenburg saved down since we're a show to them." He waited through the spluttering. "You know where a certain gun is? A colt."
Xander took the phone. "Mr. Singer, Xander Harris. There's a colt made by Samuel Colt himself. Has Latin down the barrel. Can kill any demon? They need it *now* because that demon is going to kidnap Sam to open the devil's gate somewhere near your house." Bobby said something. "A mile wide devil's trap around it?"
"Ash knew," Dawn said. "Ellen told him after they blew up the bar."
"Dawn said Ash knew, that he had told Ellen and she came to see you after the demon had the bar burned down." He nodded. "That'll work. Yeah, we're working on that. No, I think it's our side's fault," he admitted. "She's hiding as a mouse though." He heard what he said and shuddered. "If so, we'll deal," he assured him. "Thank you for letting us know. No, we have Dawn but we've got to face Glory soon. That's what we've been doing. Also, you might wanna warn their father if he's heading for Chicago? The demon's daughter is up there and she's going to try to kill him and Dean. We can definitely share, Mr. Singer. Not an issue. We'd never let that happen to another person. It's wrong. Agreed. LA at the Hyperion for right now. Since Sunnydale's around, we'll be back there soon I guess. Thanks, man. No, this is his phone. Thanks." He hung up and handed it over. "He thinks he knows where it is and he'll call Ellen after he calls that person." Dean relaxed, nodding some. "And yeah, he'll see if he can find your dad too. That way you don't lose him."
"Shouldn't have to happen to anyone, Dean." He looked at Wesley. "How can we be sure if it's a wish or not?"
"We can do a few telling spells but I might need Willow's help."
"She's a mouse and Fred yelled that she had seen her."
"I'll find her then," he said, looking grim. He glanced at Dawn then at Xander. "How do we think this happened?" Xander leaned closer to whisper in his ear, getting a shudder. "Oh, dear lord."
"Think how I feel," Dawn quipped. Sam patted her on the back with a grin. "So, do you really get into stuff that only Xander could do?"
"Yup," Dean said dryly, making his brother swat him again. "Sammy, track that down while they work on the telling spells." He nodded, taking Dawn to work with. He looked at Xander. "Let me guess, Bobby went on his usual rant about what happened to witcheswho went that bad?" Xander nodded. "She and this guy Rack were getting *real* friendly. Not carnally friendly but real friendly."
"Rack?" Angel said as he came out of the library. "I know him. Why are we talking about him?"
"He and Willow are buds," Dean said.
Angel paused to look at him. "The magic dealer?" Dean nodded. "Hell."
Xander sighed. "How bad?"
"Warren shot Tara trying to kill Buffy and she went to pull up some statue or temple or something and nearly ended the world," Sam said. "That's after Glory and that stuff though."
Xander sighed. "I should hear all of this. Buffy!" She snapped awake. "Naptime's over with. We're working on the whys. Could use some help."
"I can tell you what I remember," Dean assured her. "Sammy's getting what they remember about our show." She nodded, pushing her hair back and taking him to the library to talk quietly.
Xander looked at Angel. "When Joyce gets here, I'll take her off to see about that thing. Can you ...." He waved a hand at Dawn's head. That got a nod and he walked off again. "Okay." He went to get a drink and find Cordelia. "Hey. I thought it was only Buffy that had incidences on her birthday." She swatted him but she was smiling. "At least it doesn't look like a mini apocalypse."
"No, hopefully not. It might even be more helpful. What're you going to do, Xander?"
"First we need to find out of it's related. Wesley said if it was a wish or something like that, I'm stuck this way." She nodded once. "If not, then we'll figure it out." She gave him a short hug. "Thanks. I had Giles send Joyce down for an ER visit and Anya to help since she'd know. Think if I'm stuck like this, you and she wanna help me with Willow?"
She smirked. "Count on it. That kid will be *rotten*." She walked off feeling better. Xander had that effect on people.
Xander went to wait outside for Joyce, smiling when she got there and got out to glare at him. "Do not give me that look for taking care of you so I don't have to adopt your younger daughter." He took her keys. "C'mon."
"You can't just go to the hospital and ask for a CT or something, Xander."
He smirked. "There's ways around that. Get in. They're working on the current problem." She nodded, but got in with a sigh. He got in to drive, taking her to the clinic he knew about. Halfway there, Dawn appeared in a flash of light. "Magic bad," he said dryly.
"Not my doing," she complained, trying to pull her arm out of the portal that had brought her there. "Give it back! It's my hand!" He handed back his dagger and she stabbed at the thing holding her arm. She finally got it free and the portal disappeared. "I don't know what that was."
"Freaky shit from the merging. Tell your mom what's going on while I find this place." He hoped it had come too. It wasn't in the usual spot but it was up the street. He parked and got them out and inside. "I know it's late but can she be seen very quickly? I doubt it's not something he'll have to send her on for."
"Is it an emergency, sir?"
"We have a seer who's attuned to the family who said she has a brain tumor." Dawn was clutching her mother to hug her. "She's been right before."
That got a nod. "Let me see if the doctor's still here." She went to do that then brought Joyce back to a room. The doctor examined her and asked her some questions that she hadn't been putting together. He wrote her an order for the CT and Xander took them to the local hospital.
Xander smiled at the radiology receptionist. "Is there a hope that we can get her in tonight?" he asked, handing over the order. "We have a young woman who loves the family who has been proven right before who's been seeing her having a brain tumor."
The nurse gave him an odd look. "Proven right how?"
"She saw her daughter nearly dying and me saving her. About five other times too." That got a shudder. "Since she's had repetitive visions of Mrs. Summers having a brain tumor, I'm being pushy. Is there an opening tonight?"
"Let me see if we have one." She went to talk to her supervisor. Things like that were weird but they knew not to discount them. She came back. "We have an opening in about an hour during the ER saved time. It's the beginning of rush hour so she might have to wait a bit but we'll see if we can sneak her in."
"Thank you. Caf?" Dawn asked.
"Downstairs and to the right."
"We'll bring it back up," she promised, taking Xander's wallet to go down there. Her mom needed something to calm her down. Dawn was good at finding that sort of thing. Xander sat with her until she got back then Dawn got to cling some more. They finally brought Joyce in and she clung to Xander instead, getting a hug and a kiss on the head. "What do we do if she is sick?"
Xander looked at her. "We find her a very good doctor." She nodded at that. He went to talk to the receptionist. "If she's right, who do we get her in to see? Do you have any recommendations? We're from just outside of town and our hospital is pitiful in the extreme."
"We're not supposed to do that but I do. We see a lot from this practice," she said, writing down a name and number for him. "They're very pushy about treatments and using the latest things. If they can't, they'll be able to help you find one." He grinned and nodded, taking it back. Joyce came out a bit later and they went back to the hotel. "That poor family," she sighed, shaking her head. She hoped that person was wrong.
Joyce walked in and let Xander carry in the food he had stopped to get. "Mom?" Buffy asked.
"They'll call in a few hours, once the radiologist has read the CT," she said. Buffy hugged her. It made her a nice daughter sandwich filling. "It's all right. Xander got the nurses to give him the name of a good practice here in town. They can hopefully find me someone good."
"They're one of the best in town," Xander said. "They're supposed to be a bit pushy about treatments and things too." The girls smiled at that. "You're not going to see some quack in Sunnydale, Joyce. You need to see someone good. The group can't take another death." She nodded at that, sitting down with her girls. He saw the look on Dean's face and sighed. "Bad?" he hissed at him. Dean told him in a whisper in his ear. Xander moaned, sitting down to hold his head. "Wonderful. Can't happen. I won't let it." They grinned at him. "I got food!" he yelled. He pulled out his and gave Dawn hers, her mother's, and Buffy's dinners. "There, go snuggle and talk." They went to find a place to do that, Wesley showing them up to a room. "Thanks, Wes."
"They could use the privacy and comfort," he said.
Cordelia looked at what Xander was having on his burger. "Now I know you're pregnant."
"I always have them like this," he defended. He ate a bite. "It's good. Try it?"
"You might be contagious."
"If so, let's hope it doesn't spread to us," Dean said dryly. "I don't think I could take Sammy puking and getting fat."
"Why him?" Cordelia asked with a mean smirk.
"Strange shit only happens to Sammy. I don't have near the level of strange shit he does."
"Gee thanks," Sam said dryly.
"No wishing," Angel said before he could retort. "We have enough of that problem. Harris, Anya's on her way down?"
"She's a former wish demon. Who else would know all the ins and outs of what happened
and what we can do about it?"
"True, she was a vengeance demon," Cordelia agreed. "I didn't tell you about my wish verse?"
Angel gave her an odd look. "Eaten by shoes?"
"No, I had wished Buffy hadn't shown up. It was nice; Xander was the Master's right hand, torturing you, all that good stuff. That's how we got skanky leather Willow too." Angel let out a soft whimper. She just grinned. "Could be worse, could still be going on."
Xander snorted. "No thanks. I'm happier this way than I ever was when I tortured Angel." He looked at the vampire. "Though it is nice that you lightened up some."
"Had to. I was getting depressed. I even told him bad jokes like you told me," Cordelia said dryly. She dug into the bag until she found hers. "Regular?"
"Mayo. I wasn't sure if you were having an anti mayo day so you can scrape if off if you are."
"That's fine." She took it back to go back to her research. She could have her presents later. Xander wouldn't forget her birthday.
Xander looked up as Anya stomped in. "Hey." She paused then looked at the Winchesters. "We think somehow Willow merged the two realms."
"Uh-huh. Then why call me?"
"You know about this stuff since you used to create them too," he pointed out. "Did you bring Spike?"
"He's been lurking all day," Wesley said as he came out. He got his own food and smiled at her. "Can you explain how things like this are anchored if it was a wish?"
"Probably. I'm not sure if we can undo it or not though. We'd have to find the anchor."
"Yeah, about that," Xander said, chewing his present bite of burger. "I'm apparently carrying the anchor."
"It's on you?"
"It's in me."
She blinked. "That much energy would warp a body."
"I'm guessing that's why they found a uterus," he said dryly. "And a lump."
She stared, then pulled him up to look at him. She huffed. "Where is she?"
"Find out what happened first," he said calmly. "Then you and Cordy can help me torture her." She walked off and he sat down then got up to look at his chair. "I think that's my other one." He took it out to check then nodded and ate it. Dean gave him an odd look. "Not like smooshing is going to matter."
"No, probably not. You're going to let them torture her for you?"
"My women of snark can warm her up for me," he said dryly. "Then I can make evil Angelus look pleasant." Angel shuddered. "You would be too."
"Yes I would be," he admitted. "Connor?"
"With Darla," Sam agreed. "They brought her back."
He shook his head. "I don't want kids." He walked off to help find the Willow mouse. He wanted this strangeness stopped. It was too much for him to handle anymore. Xander always brought the strangest things to make his head hurt.
Xander grinned at the boys. "They have good ideas?"
"Many," Sam promised with a grin. "So, how do we know whose it is? I mean, is it Willow's? Is it whoever she was thinking of? The demon's?"
"I don't know. Hey, Anya, who's the baby's parents?" he called.
She came out of the office. "I can check when I ask D'Hoffryn what happened." She stared at him. "I'm not happy, Xander. I don't want to be a stepmother."
He shrugged. "We'll see what's going on," he said bluntly.
"Fine." She went to find the stuff she needed to summon her former boss. He wasn't going to be happy about it but oh well -- she had a pregnant boyfriend!
Anya reappeared in a dim flash of light. "D'Hoffryn is very unhappy with the demon that did this."
"Can they undo it?" Xander asked. "Since it wasn't a real wish or through some loophole?"
"Possibly if they were still alive but D'Hoffryn threw a fit on them." She sat down, staring at Xander. "It's whoever she was thinking about at the time and yours."
"Okay," he said a bit too calmly. "Anything else we can do?"
"He suggested we do something to the hunters to make them retire since the higher ups are demanding that they be stopped."
"Fat chance," Dean told her.
"I wouldn't do that anyway," Xander told him. He stared at her. "And? You're not glowy?"
"He said that this being done to you isn't me being scorned. It's you getting assaulted basically and if I'm that shallow he has no idea how I did my job for centuries." She sniffed. "Though I still don't want to be a stepmommy."
"Then we'll work that out," Xander assured her. She nodded, walking off to tell Wesley and the others. He looked at them. "We'll find that out from Willow."
"Go rant at God and her," Dean told him. "You're about to snap and I don't need to see the breakdown. Hate to embarrass you, dude."
Xander nodded. "Thanks, guys. See you in the morning."
"You can all have rooms too," Angel promised. "Third floor, Xander. It's more private." Xander nodded, heading that way.
"Thanks, Angel. Cheaper than the usual," Sam said with a small grin. "Anything we can do to help right now?"
"Then we've got to find our father and call him." He and Dean went out to the car to sit inside for some privacy. Sam tried first. "Dad, it's Sam. We have credible, relevant information on the demon. We're in LA but it's not out here. Call us in person immediately please?" he said into the voicemail. "Before you set foot in Chicago since his daughter's up there." He hung up and handed the phone back, finding his external speaker system. Dean gave him an odd look. "It'll send it through the car's speakers. That way we can both hear and you don't have to translate."
"Fine. This time. Still woosy."
"Whatever." The phone rang. Sam pushed the button. "It's us."
"Boys?" Bobby asked.
"Hands-free set, Bobby. Is Dad near you?"
"Missouri actually. She called earlier and said she'd get him immediately and have him call you two. That's why I was expecting your call earlier." He groaned a bit.
"You okay?" Dean asked.
"Bit bruised. Had a transmission fall on my leg earlier."
"Ow," Dean agreed. "Any luck on the other stuff?"
"Ash does know where it is. He and Ellen are going to look it over tonight. Hopefully they can destroy it."
"Hopefully," Sam agreed quietly. "If not, we might need help with the apocalypse."
Dean nodded. "Definitely." They heard a door slam in the background. "That Dad?"
Bobby's voice faded away from the phone. "About time we found you. I've got the boys on. You check your voicemail?"
"That's why I stopped in here," he said, coming closer. He apparently took the phone. "Boys?"
"We're both on Sammy's hands-free set, Dad," Dean said.
"How did you find this information?"
"We were coming back from dropping something off for Caleb. The DJ on the radio said 'shit, you're a demon' then went to station break so we were local looking at that when I saw a guy who looked a lot like the guy on that Buffy show being taken by ambulance from the hotel where they filmed the Hyperion for Angel's show."
"And since we know there's no spinoffs or anything being done," Sam said. "We figured it might be relevant."
"I went up to question him. Turns out he is Xander Harris, the two worlds are merged and we're just as much a show to them as they are to us. So we have what happened there and so far it's proven to be right."
"In their timeline of the show, we've already killed the demon and lost you, and are on the way to losing Dean," Sam finished. "So we're working on that. They're just pre-Glory. We just found Joyce's brain tumor by telling them."
John let out a sigh. "How bad?"
"Let's see, his daughter attacked us after nearly killing me," Dean said dryly. "You made a deal with the thing to save my ass when I was stuck in a coma thanks to a Reaper," Dean said.
They could hear the shudder. "They know what the demon is?"
"I know it's name and all that," Sam agreed. "Dawn and the ladies watched the show before patrol. Dawn's got major fangirl stuff and Willow was doing 'net writing about the show so she had some stuff saved down for easy reference."
"Interesting. How did this happen?"
"Wish," Dean sighed, rubbing his face. "We've already sent Anya to ask her boss to see if they can undo it and they can't."
"All right then," John said. "Where is the demon?"
"Gathering people in Cold Oak," Sam told him. "He's weeding down those he touched so he can have a champion that'll open a devil's gate for him."
"Devil's gate?" Bobby said something; they could barely hear him. "That's good to know. I'll check with Ellen if she doesn't show up here." He licked his lips or did something wet sounding. "Now what?"
"Now, we don't go to Chicago since his daughter's up there and we need the Colt," Dean told him. "If we have it, we can kill him and her, Dad."
"Good. Are you two okay?"
"A bit freaked out but I'm really glad Sammy's not the switch's anchor since the poor guy who is is now pregnant."
"That's bad," John said. "They can't....."
"Doing that would unmerge the worlds and still probably leave him here," Sam said. "It's in Xander."
"At least it's not your freaky luck," John decided.
"He's ranting at God right now," Dean agreed. "Stayed calm all evening, I'm impressed."
"Me too. The witch?"
"We told them all we remembered so they can get her help," Dean said. "She was muttering about stuff over the sink while cleaning up from cleaning a few scrapes on Dawn's arm."
"Instant wish demon fodder," John groaned.
"Yup," the boys said together.
"Anyway, they're going to stop her once they find where she's hiding as a mouse," Sam added. "For right now we're merged and the government does know about hunters since they have the Initiative's files running around somewhere in the system. I'm going to talk to Willow about how to reduce our files maybe."
"That'll be good," John decided. "Anything else I need briefed on?"
"Not yet," Dean said. "We were gonna stay here through at least tomorrow to see if we can help. We know Sunnydale came with them. We think it's a full merge, Dad."
"Good to know. I'll work on getting that colt. Then we'll see about Cold Oak, boys."
"Let us know," Sam said. "After all, he wants to keep me, Dad."
"Why?" Dean asked.
Sam sighed. "The night he killed mom, he dropped a few drops of blood into my mouth. He's done it to a lot of talented kids born the same year I was." Dean gave him an odd look. "He did. There's at least ten of us but some of us are already dead thanks to his weeding out. That's why I'm getting the visions."
Dean nodded slowly. "Uh-huh. Can we baptize this out of you or something?"
"No," John said. "I figured he had done something but not what."
"And the show we were had a few complications like Ruby and a few other hunters," Sam told him.
"I've heard about Ruby," John admitted.
"She's demonic," Sam told him. John moaned. "Trying to work on our side, maybe. I'm not sure why she's being a hunter, Dad. So let's just be careful about her since the show was saying that she had an idea about how I was going to save Dean from *his* deal."
"His?" John demanded.
"You made one with Azazel to save him. He made one with a crossroads demon to bring me back to life after I got killed at Cold Oak." Dean shuddered. "In the timeline of the show, we were working on that."
"So it's important that you don't go face down Meg alone," Dean ordered. "Since she's his daughter."
"Hold on, we have a name?" John demanded.
"Azazel," Sam said. "He needs a champion to open the gateway and lead Hell's armies."
"Shit," John said.
"Basically," Sam agreed.
"You need to go rant at him later," Dean ordered.
"Already started. Feel lucky no one's a telepath inside," Sam said dryly. "Though, Cordy and I did talk about having visions." Dean rolled his eyes. "Hers are killing her, Dean."
"Hers come from a different source than yours though, right?" Dean asked.
"We think so. We're working on that." That got a nod. Then another shudder. "So we'll see. Where do you want us to meet you in a few days, Dad?"
"Stay close to that area, boys. If Rosenburg did this, they're going to need help if we can't undo it. We don't know what sort of differences there are."
"That's what we had planned," Dean agreed. "At least for a few days and to see if they wanted help with Glory since Buffy didn't want to set off the First Evil stuff."
"If she dies, we'll have to hide the body," Sam told him. That got a nod from Dean. "And then make sure Willow's getting help."
"Definitely," Dean agreed. "You'll be safe and take Bobby, Dad?"
"Sure, boys. I can do that. Thanks for the info. Be careful. Sunnydale seemed to be nastier than New Orleans or New York."
"Of course we are," Dean agreed. "If Sammy gets turned, he's getting a soul restoration spell immediately," Dean said dryly. Sam punched him on the arm. "It's your freaky luck, Sammy, not mine. See you soon, Dad."
"Love you too, boys." He hung up and turned to look at Bobby. "That's so screwed up."
Bobby nodded. "Definitely but it's good to know. So far everything we've known ahead about the other people's timeline has proven correct."
John sat down, considering it. "Do we have anything on this demon? Sammy got the name so we can look it up."
"What's the name?"
"Azazel. He wants Sammy to lead his armies when he opens the gates."
"Charming but Sammy's too nice. Dean I could see, but not Sammy." He found the books he needed and handed one over. "The colt's coming." John relaxed. "Dean told me what happened to him so he's running it this way. Ellen and Ash are looking at the devil's gate. We'll know soon, John." He nodded, relaxing again. They got to work researching over a beer to keep themselves calm. "Think one of the boys will fall for Buffy? If I remember right, Sammy crushed in the first season."
"Sammy said Dean needed a girl like that," John admitted. "I'm not sure if even Dean's tough enough for her usual thing though. Still don't see how she slept with Spike. Or Angel."
"Who knows," Bobby said with a small smile. "They said earlier Dawn was fangirl over the show, she nearly drooled on Sam." John smiled at that. "She was a good girl."
"She's still too young. How long before Glory are they?"
"At least a month. They just told them about the brain tumor so they took her to the hospital today to have it checked." John nodded. "So we'll see." They shared a look and got back to work. John made notes of what had been said, handing them over. "Cold Oak. Haven't heard anything about that place in a while."
"He's bringing other kids he tainted like Sammy there to weed them down to one."
"Then we've got a good area to stop him in," Bobby decided. He went to get books on that subject while John took the other ones to go over. It was his family's curse to deal with. Bobby was just the backup this time.
Angel looked at Xander the next morning. "Go down to the basement. It's shielded and quiet," he said calmly. "That way you won't keep anyone up or worry about them hearing you."
"Human," he told him. "We found her about three."
"Who was she thinking of?"
"I don't know yet," he admitted. "I'll ask her."
"Do I smell off?"
Angel sniffed then shrugged. "I don't remember your scent that much. Spike?" He came out of hiding. He had heard most everything already. "Does he smell off to you?"
Spike sniffed then nodded. "Smells fruity and ...." He sniffed again. "Bloody hell how did that happen!" he demanded, backing up.
"Willow. Can you tell if the father's scent is on it yet?"
"Not yet," he admitted. "When it's older."
"That's fine," Xander agreed. "Just wondering." That got a nod. "I'm going to the basement. I didn't get to scream and throw a hissy so I didn't wake anyone up." He went to do that. He had to get it out of his system. He didn't have time to be angsting over this problem with Glory going on.
Angel looked at Spike. "We have no idea what we're doing yet."
Spike snorted. "Could rip the realms apart if the thing's touched."
"I should get Lorne to see if he can sense anything about it since it's the anchor," Angel decided. "Buffy will be heading home tonight, Spike. Go home." He walked off.
"Sure I will," he said dryly, heading down into the tunnels to hit a few friends' places in LA. Some owed him money, some he wanted to see about the stupid chip in his head. Before the witch did something else wrong and he ended up really married to Buffy this time instead of nearly there with the will spell.
Lorne walked in, looking at Xander. "You look like crap, sugar plum."
"I know," Xander agreed. "Feel like it too." He looked at him. "You're Lorne, right? Cordy wrote about you."
He nodded. "I am. Angel told me what's going on. I know he said you can't sing." Xander snorted, shaking his head. "Hum for me? He's worried it'll be an apocalypse in the making." Xander hummed and he frowned. "Two ways it goes," he said. Xander quit humming. "If something happens to her, you're stuck here. She'll never win against her next real battle. What they saw for Buffy will happen and Willow won't be able to bring her back. The rest of the lines are gone through like tissue for another few centuries."
"If I do keep her? It's a girl?" Xander asked. The green skinned demon nodded. "Did you see a name?"
"No. Sorry, sweetcheeks." He smiled. "She's a little hellion. Cute little thing but totally normal. No magic, no sucking in like you do. Has Spike wrapped around her finger and all that." Xander grinned a bit, ducking his head. "And Buffy doesn't die. Sam Winchester doesn't die. Their apocalypse is stopped too. She'll have it a bit rough. You're a target thanks to what you do so she will be." Xander nodded once at that, toughening up again. "It'll happen a few times but nothing major."
"No slayer mole?"
"No. No slayer mole. Terribly normal. I only saw a few years into the future. Didn't look all the way."
"No, that's good to know. Did I have to have her cut out?" The Host nodded at that, giving him a look. "Making sure since somehow I grew a funky uterus."
"Probably couldn't happen without it. By the way, the Powers are *pissed*."
"Not in their game?" Angel asked.
"Not an idea on their board," he told him. "We're talking hair standing on ends, mumbling, and pacing pissed. Pissed like a fourteen-year-old girl before the major dance of the year with a huge zit she can't pop or cover up for anything and a dress that makes her look fat and sweaty pissed."
"Not our fault she made an accidental wish," Xander pointed out. "Though I'm still going to beat her for it."
Lorne laughed. "I'd do it too." He patted the boy on the head. "While you're pregnant, any skills you have could come out," he said quietly. "More than just sucking in spirits." He looked at Angel. "I've got to open the bar. See what else is being said."
"Please. Thank you."
"Thank you," Xander agreed. "No idea on the father?"
"It's the one she was thinking of when it happened." He left.
Xander went to find where they had chained Willow up. "When you accidentally made the wish, who were you thinking about?" She gave him a dirty look. "I ask because it's my daughter's father."
"No one." She looked at him. "We can snap it back."
"Then I'd be staying here, Buffy will die with Glory, and you won't be bringing her back," Xander said. Willow slumped. "Beyond that, it's nice to have people you can talk to when the hunting wears on your sleep." He made her look at him. "It may've been an accident but I'm seriously pissed at you, Willow. What were you mumbling about?"
"About how it was unfair that we girls had to do a lot more of the work."
"You try working full time and then slaying," he said dryly. She slumped again. "Not like you do more than go to four classes a week and half the time you call off those. I work every day for at least eight hours and then come to listen to you girls complain about your lives being hard and then go patrol with you. You should try it." She shook her head, looking down again. "What else were you thinking?"
"Why does it matter?"
He leaned down. "Why merge us with their realm?" he asked calmly. She went pale. "Now, who were you thinking about?"
"I said it'd be nice to have some other hunters on the hellmouth, people who could help us with the big stuff." She moaned. "That's why we're here."
Xander nodded. "That's what I thought you'd say." He went to find Wesley in the library. "Are there two lines holding an anchor or only one?"
"Two," he said without thinking then gaped. "The other parent?" Xander nodded. "Do we know who?" He looked outside at the car then at him. "You're sure?"
"She had been complaining about needing more hunters on the hellmouth because she needed a day off and we needed more help. She was thinking it was unfair how much of the work they had to do since I'm working full time."
He snorted, shaking his head. "She's a bit spoiled."
"How do we cure her magic addiction, Wes? I'd ask Giles but I think he's got a bit of experience with it from somewhere. I'm not sure he won't give her sympathy instead of a kick in the ass."
Wesley looked at him. "You give her a mentor to start. You make sure the mentor can weed out her excess magic. How did they do it on the show?"
"The Devon coven."
"I know of them. I can send them an inquiry." Xander nodded at that. "Are you going to be all right?"
"I'm still wanting to beat her to death," he admitted. "I'll handle it. Thanks, Wes. We'll get out of your hair tonight or tomorrow."
"In this case, it's not an issue. We needed to know and having you here did cheer Cordelia up immeasurably."
He grinned. "She can go shopping to match the earrings I got her. She said so." He left, going to check on his family. "Wesley knows the coven the show used to help her with her magic addiction," he told Buffy in her ear. She looked at him and nodded. "Did we hear back?"
"We've already called for an appointment. They take new patients in on Friday. She's going in at three."
"That's fine. I was going to head back home tonight or tomorrow. Gotta hit work." She grimaced. "I have to pay my bills somehow, Buffy."
"Good point. Well, if you and Anya broke up, at least you'll be able to save for when you have to hide."
"Her. It's a her."
She smiled. "Slayer?"
"No. The Host, a demon Angel knows, said she's perfectly normal. Even more normal than I am. No sucking in or anything. He did say if I had any powers, they're coming out during this." She grimaced. "More than just being possessed from what he said."
"We'll watch out for freaky Xander behavior," she decided. He nodded at that. "So you're going to...." She waved a hand at his stomach.
"Have to or you'll be there without me. It'll happen like they said through Glory and then change when she can't bring you back." She shuddered. He nodded. "And it could rip one of the realms apart. I can't have that on my conscience when I'm here."
"Good point," she agreed. "Thanks, Xander." He nodded, giving her a hug. "And for being pushy with mom."
"I don't want to have to adopt you and Dawn." She smiled, batting him on the arm. "We're cool. I'll head back tonight or early tomorrow." She nodded and he went to call his boss since he hadn't called off yet. "Hey, boss, big shock but I can't get in today. No, I was unconscious. No, not drunk, boss. Like they took me to the ER yesterday and I'm barely awake. Funky machines that said I'm pregnant." His boss snickered at that. "So I'll find out soon. I'll be in tomorrow, hopefully on time since I'm still in LA at the moment. Thanks, man." He hung up. "That way if something happens on site, he knows enough to tell the paramedics," he muttered as he walked off. He did have to start making plans on how to support himself when he couldn't work. There was no way he could continue to work up to his due date. Not in construction. Too much lifting.
John saw the Impala park a few days later, nodding at his boys, giving them a hug when they got closer. "You two okay?"
"Still a bit freaked out by Xander," Dean admitted. "He's down to planning what they're going to do about his pregnant times." John shuddered. "If not, it could rip the realms and Buffy would definitely die. I can't do that to another hunter and neither could he."
"That's fine. Any other good news?"
"The Devon coven is very upset with Willow," Sam said with a mean grin. "They've sent one out to work with her. Since they know Glory will go after Tara, they're leaving her in LA for a few weeks. We're going back to help with that."
"We can all go," he promised. That got a nod from his boys. "Do they have it until then?"
"We hope," Dean agreed. That got a nod. "We have it?" John opened the case to show them. "That's a beautiful weapon." He ran a finger down it. "Is he in there?"
"We're pretty sure he is," John said. He nodded at Bobby, letting them hug him too. "We a go?"
"We're good," Bobby agreed. The Winchester clan snuck into the ghost town, going to free the prisoners and then deal with the demon. It felt Sam enter the town and came for him. Dean had to save Sam and their dad shot it. Yup, they had been right, the demon died. Dean spit on the remains then looked at his brother. "You okay?"
"I'm fine," he promised calmly. Bobby splashed him with holy water. Nothing. "See? You worry more than the brooding vampire did." He walked off to help his father talk to the people there in the town. He did get him away from the one bad guy there. She was going to cause problems since she wanted to be the chosen one. They got her tied up and the others freed by the time Meg got there. Meg let out a scream and went for Dean. Sam took the gun and shot her too. She died and it was over. They looked around the town because it was nearly night. They decided not to risk it and went back to the cars and the local motel. It was time to celebrate a few things.
Xander came in from work a few weeks later, finding Anya still huffy in the store. He gave her a look. "Have you figured out yet if you're staying or not? I'm too tired to be anything but blunt."
"You didn't patrol last night," she reminded him. "And we didn't have orgasms."
"No, I'm working a second job now and then to save money for when I'm going to pop," he told her. "Not like I can keep working construction when I'm too big."
She grimaced. "Oh. No presents?"
"Not until after she's out."
"Lorne, a demon Angel knows, told me it's a girl. Totally normal girl." He leaned his hands on the counter, staring at her. "If you're not staying, I've got to move to save money."
She nodded. "I can understand that. It's cheaper if I stay."
"That's fine. That's up to you but you have to start paying your share of the rent." She grimaced. "Tough. I can't afford it anymore, Anya."
"Fine. We'll talk about it later." He nodded, going to get a bottle of water from the back room. She considered it. It hurt to have Xander so close yet in the other bedroom. Since she had broken it off, he had every right to expect her to move. If she had broken up with him, she'd expect him to move out. Though the lack of spoiling would make her pout for a good, long time. She went to talk to her friend Hallie. She'd know what to do. She had charmed more men through the years than Anya had. That's how she found out what Xander's second job was. She showed up later that night at the store, giving him an odd look. "You're stripping?"
"I make decent enough money," he said dryly. "More than I do working construction. I can do it until I start to show."
"No one there knows, Anya."
"Fine." She pouted. "Hallie thinks I should move out."
"That's up to you but you still have to pay your half of things." She slumped. "I can't afford to keep you."
"You could loot some of the nests we take down," she offered.
He gave her a look. "I'm already doing that," he said dryly. She nodded at that. "So, anything else?"
"No. I'll... I'll move out this month."
"If that's what you want."
She looked at him. "It's just too painful to see you every morning over your eggos."
He gave her a kiss on the cheek. "It was your decision, Ahn, not mine." He walked off, heading to go on patrol.
"The first time you get hurt, Mister, you're off patrol," Buffy said firmly.
He looked at her. "Not like it'll save me from them coming for me," he said dryly. She squeaked. "I got offered a few nights at the demon club stripping for money. They think I smell good." He strolled off with a smirk. Buffy was shuddering and mumbling about needing a big brush and some soap. Score!
"Eww!" she said finally with a full-body shudder. "That's disgusting, Xander!"
"Yay. Gotta make money somehow, Buffy."
"Still gross." He grinned back at her. She sighed, catching up to him. Maybe she'd ask Spike how Xander could make some extra cash. After all, babies took things. A lot of things. Things she'd have to find a job to pay for so Xander didn't strip at the demon club if they didn't find another way to fund the baby's needed stuff. Like adorable outfits and stuffed animals.
"Wanna help me move when I find a cheaper place?"
"I can do that. Slayer muscles are very handy for moving," she said dryly. "Why are you moving?"
"Less expenses if I do."
"Oh. Anya moving out?"
"Yup. She didn't want to pay half."
"I guess that makes sense." She moved up to walk beside him. "Where's Willow?"
"England." He gave her a look. "The Devon witch threw an unholy fit with Giles." She snickered. "Oh, she so tore him a new one," he assured her. "Then she ripped into Willow. I was listening to the phone and you could hear crying and screaming."
"Good. Maybe it won't happen again?"
"Can't happen again unless she pulls another world into this one."
"What would happen if you didn't.... you know?"
"I'd be there, whatever Dean told you would happen without me being there."
She shuddered. "No thanks. That sounded really bad. Especially the pulling me back from a few months of death this time thing." He gave her a one-armedhug around the neck. "Mom's going to be okay?"
"You're sending her to the best in the city," he reminded her. "If not, we can go swear at the Powers together." She smiled slightly. "And I'll watch out for you two."
"Good. Because I'll be kinda out of it if something happens."
"Of course you will. That's normal." She nodded, giving him a squeeze back. "It'll be okay."
"Can I be an auntie?"
"Sure." He smirked. She laughed. "You can change all the diapers you want too and even help me burp her."
"Lorne, the Host, said that it's a girl," he reminded her.
"Did he see a name?"
"Nope. Pity because I know I'll screw it up somehow." She swatted him but spotted a vampire so they went to stake and go on. It was just another patrol night.
Dean drove into Sunnydale Thursday, calling the new phone number he had. "Hey, Buffy, Dean and Sam. Where should we hit to meet you about five minutes from now?" He smirked. "Where's that? Never been here before." He nodded, turning that way. "Pink?" She said something and he rolled his eyes. "Sure, we can do that. See you in five or so." He hung up. "They're at the Bronze."
"I think it's the only club in town," Sam said. "You tell her Dad was coming?"
"I will when I see her. He won't be here until tomorrow." He shrugged but found a good parking spot and got out. He saw a demon with drool. "Do *not* think about drooling on my car, dude. I will shoot your ass."
Sam looked at him. Then at the people watching them. "Dean's a bit possessive about his car." The demon stared. Sam grinned and wiggled his fingers. "Rosenburg." The demon ran off screaming something in his native language. A lot of demons ran for the city limits. Sam grinned at Dean. "Need a better shower, Dean. Obviously you stink."
"Shut up, Sammy. You're the one with ugly hair and no muscles on your oversized, ugly body." They walked toward the club. The bouncer gave them an odd look. "Cover's how much?"
"Um.... Weren't you on a show?" he asked quietly.
"Our fault," a male voice called.
"Crap. Five each." Dean paid and they went inside. He went to find a church. Sunnydale had forty-three, he could find one that had open doors he was sure.
Dean strolled up to get a beer from the bar and found where Buffy was dancing and Xander was lounging at a table with high chairs. "Hey."
"Hey." He smiled at Sam. "Go save her from the incubus? She wouldn't let me help."
"Sure." He went to save the slayer from the dirty sex demon she was taunting. "Hey."
"Hi, Sam." She moved closer to him. "How do you do them?" she hissed in his ear. He smirked at the demon and winked. She smiled at him. The demon huffed off. Sam threw something on it and it screamed and leapt off, running out of the building. "Holy water?"
"Yup." He led her back to the table. "So, what's going on with your insanity situation?"
"The coven was not happy with Willow. They screamed at Giles."
"Good!" Sam said. He got his own beer and came back. "What's up with the other one?"
"She's holed up changing her clothes," Buffy said. Dean gave her an odd look.
"Unfortunately she's got minions that go steal Gucci for her," Xander agreed. "She changes clothes more than a teenage girl with an unlimited credit card." They groaned. "She spent all day dealing with wardrobe issues. Finding the perfect outfit to suck her world onto ours."
"Some girls are all about the fashion," Buffy agreed. "I like to look cute when I hunt too."
"We go for easily washed," Dean told her.
"Mom can get goo and slime out of nearly anything," she assured him. "Do we have any idea how to do things with her?"
Dean nodded. "We know how it worked the last time."
"Good! Then maybe we can do it sooner."
"We can only hope," Xander agreed. He belched. "Sorry. Dinner."
"It happens," Buffy assured them. "He ate on the run before patrol." They nodded at that. "Of course, he'll have to stop patrolling soon." She stared at Xander.
"Yeah, when I'm too slow to stake."
"When there's a chance of baby lock in there getting hurt," she countered.
"We can ask a few of the females we know who hunt when a good time to stop is," Sam assured her. "They should know when the best time is."
"That'll work for me," Xander agreed. "Unless there's an emergency."
"That's a good point," Dean agreed. "Emergencies are different and I'm sure you can find a safe way because I know you're a stubborn bastard, Xander."
Buffy looked at him. "You have *no* idea."
Dean smirked. "Yeah, I kinda do." She laughed. "What's up for tonight?"
"Finishing patrol. Going home. Mom's got her appointment tomorrow."
"Go," Xander said. "They can have my couch and stuff." She nodded, heading home. He looked at them. "Anya probably won't be home tonight. She decided to move out. She's probably off sulking with Hallie."
"That's cool," Dean assured him. "Two couches?"
"Or I can take the couch if you guys wanna share my king sized bed."
"We'll figure it out," Sam promised. That got a nod. Xander led them back to their car and showed them the way to the his place. Sam walked in and smiled at Anya since she was in the kitchen. "Xander said we can crash for a bit."
"That's fine," she agreed. "It's his place now." She nodded at Dean. "You too?"
"Where you see one Winchester, you usually see the others," he said dryly.
She snorted. "I'm not happy with this."
"Yell at Willow," he said dryly. "Make sure she's not going to end me, but go ahead and yell at her."
"I did before they stole her." She grimaced. "Need my room already?"
"They can have my bed tonight," Xander promised. She smiled. "Have a good night, Ahn."
"You too. Where are you going if you're not staying here?"
He shrugged. "I'll start looking tomorrow." She nodded, going to her room. Dean gave him a look. "Gotta save some money for when I can't work."
"Didn't think about that."
"Should've seen Buffy's face when I said I got offered a spot at the demon strip club." Sam gaped. Dean laughed. "Yeah, it was kinda like Sam's face." He got his pillow and blanket then settled in on the couch. "Alarm clock." He went to get it too. "There you go. Bathroom's on the other side of the kitchen." They nodded, going to call their father and settle in for the night. Xander had to work in the morning. The guys could learn the town tomorrow. Hopefully Buffy could get some hunters in to help her with patrol when he was incapacitated. Or maybe their father if he was at loose ends. Though he might rub her the wrong way and they'd get slayer fits. He let himself sleep because he was exhausted. This baby was going to kill him.
Later on, when Sam woke him up by moving, Dean got to kick him. It was always a fun game when they had to share a bed as kids.
Dean met his father at the coffee shop the next day. "Welcome to Sunnydale, Dad."
"It's a charming little town." He looked around.
"It is. Xander's at work. Buffy and her mom are at the doctor's for the first appointment. Giles is going to open the Magic Box in about an hour. Sammy's getting food; we're going to eat in the local park with a map."
"That'll work." He went inside to get his own coffee and followed Dean to the park. "It's a pretty little area," John said as they walked.
"If you didn't know it's got thirteen or fourteen cemeteries and a hellhole under the former school," Sam agreed as he joined them. He handed his father food. "I figured you'd be here."
"Psychic friend's hotline?" Dean asked.
"Heard one go running screaming 'they're all three here'," he said dryly, sitting down on the bench. John laughed. "It's not bad looking food." He opened his to sniff then ate a bite. "Pretty decent." Dean dug into his breakfast too. "What's up for today?"
"Scouting her headquarters," Dean said. That got a nod. "Waiting for everyone to gather again after that."
"Where is it?" John asked. Dean pointed across the street. John looked. "What are those?"
"They're ugly little things." He dug into his breakfast. "Who's the blonde?"
"Glory," Sam said, glaring when she stared in his direction. "Remember, watch her fingers. She can suck sanity." A car came around the corner and hit her, making her shriek at them but the person fled smoking. "Huh."
"Very," Dean agreed. He ate another bite. That had annoyed her more than they ever could. When they got finished with breakfast they broke to take separate watching spots to watch what was going on. They needed a good plan to deal with her.
Dean walked into the Magic Box later that afternoon. "Xander, we've heard you can find bigger things around here. How true is that?"
"The Mayor had a stash we can borrow from if we have to. Why?"
"Not horribly so."
"Less or more than the mall?"
"Less. Barely less. Next class down."
"Damn. Okay. Then I need to hit some contacts."
Giles gave him an odd look. "Why are we on this subject?"
"Glory. Have to get her back to her host's body and then do it," Dean told him, looking around.
"Two of the college's witches are in the back by the herbs," Xander said. He held up his magazine. Sam took it to flip through until they were alone again. John walked in. "How was your day?"
"Not bad. Not much excitement. Who hit her?"
Xander shrugged. "Haven't heard anything about that yet. Spike or Clem can find that out later." That got a nod. The witches checked out and they were alone. "Are we thinking about blowing her to hell and back?" Dean nodded. "Could work." He shrugged. "I'll have to check the warehouse. They might've moved it and it'll take someone a few hours or so to find it again if it's still in town."
"That could work," John decided. "How plugged in are you?"
"Spike's more plugged in but a lot of the locals respect Buffy and by proxy us." That got a nod. He winced and shifted. "I'm not liking this."
"I don't blame you," Sam said. "Pain?"
"Yeah. Shifting pain." He winced. "It's not a happy feeling."
"You're sick?" John asked. "Should we plan on not having help from you?"
"If you stick two realms together, something's got to be the pin holding in place," Dean told him. "It stuck in him."
"So he's sick," John said.
"No, I'm pregnant," Xander said. John gaped. The boys had told him but he thought it would've been solved by now! "Just barely pregnant. And I'm not happy. She's not happy."
"How?" John asked.
"The magic did it," Xander said dryly. "If we fix it, then I'll be stuck in your realm and ours can be destroyed. So yeah, I'm pregnant. It's a girl according to a source of Angel's. The doc said it was just a little lump so far."
John shuddered, then turned and kicked the wall. "I'm sorry, kid. Any idea who the kid belongs to?"
"It's mine and either Willow's or whoever she was thinking about at the time. No idea which until around my fifth month. Spike said he might be able to tell the scent but probably not until after she's born." Because he wasn't wanting to face down a furious new grandfather today. It was already a bad day.
"What's the other option?" Dean asked.
"Whoever she was thinking about when she was mumbling over the sink and made the accidental wish," Xander said, looking at him. "No clue, Dean. If so, I have a daughter. If not, I have a daughter." He stared him down. Dean glared. "It's probably hers. We'll know in about five months." He wouldn't be saying anything else about it because he didn't want to crimp their lives or obligate anyone to deal with his f-ed up life.
"Fine. If so, we wanna know." John gave him an odd look. "Why merge *our* realms, Dad?" John glared at the boy. "Not his doing. He nearly smacked a nurse for telling him he was pregnant."
"It's magical backlash," Xander said. "Not like I pounced them into bed. Right now I'm leaning toward it being hers since she makes a lot of mistakes. Anya was too and she's nearly an expert on these things."
"If so, I want to know too," John told him.
"Uh-huh. The other parent first." John nodded at that. "But if and when it's time, it's going to take surgery. Just in case you're around then." John nodded once. "Thanks." He looked over as Dawn came in. "How was school?"
"Sucky. How was your day?" She gave him a hug. "They're at the doc's."
"I know." He let her cuddle. "She'll be fine."
"She'll be fine because she knows I'll turn you into a tough, biker, Faith-like chick if I have to adopt you." She grinned and went into the office to help Giles. "Her mom's got her first oncologist appointment today." That got a nod. He checked the clock then leaned back. "Did you skip?"
"Yes. I'm too scattered to be in class. The teacher sent me to the principal and she agreed."
"Fine. You tell your mom, not me." He put his feet up again. "Okay, we're due for another attempt at her trying to find it. Sam, now." He looked outside then ran to the office to get Dawn and head off with her in John's truck.
Glory stomped in by blowing in the door. "Where is my key!" she demanded. She hauled Xander up to get into his face. "Where is it!" she shouted.
"Let me down," he snarled. "Before you upset my baby." She gaped then burst out laughing. So he kicked her and got free. "Thank you! Morning sickness is already hell." He grabbed something and threw it at her. "You've wrecked the store three times. You haven't found it yet. Where do you think it is?"
"Where's that slayer brat?"
"Her mother's at the doctor's. She'll be back tomorrow." He smirked. "It's still not here." She shoved him and he hit the wall with a groan.
"Hey!" Dean shouted, opening fire on her. She shrieked and lunged for him but he ducked and got out of the way. John got her next.
"How dare you ruin my clothes, you upstart little humans!" she shrieked. She went for him. Xander hit her with something solid across the back of the head. She shoved him into the wall again, knocking him out this time. She sneered and went for Dean. Dean pulled up something and she looked. "What's that? Prayer beads? They won't help you."
"Plastic explosives, bitch. More than enough to blow your ass back to your host." She backed up, then ran from the store. "Dad?"
"Going. Get him." He followed her to make sure where she headed.
Dean checked Xander over. "Fully out of it." He slapped his face a few times. "Hey, you in there?" he asked at the groan.
"Must I be?" he whined. He got helped up. "Where did she go?"
"She didn't like plastic explosives." He helped him to standing. "Can you get something now?"
He stared at him. "If you tell Buffy I'm dead." Dean shrugged. Xander went into the basement and came up with a wooden box. "C'mon." They walked out together. Xander handed John the box and opened it with something in his pocket, then sighed and pulled something out, handing it over.
"Not in your condition, kid," John said. He let Dean take the heavy weapon while he plucked out another one. "How do we do this?" It grew in his hand. It was a nice way to store weapons.
"She goes back to her host or not," Dean said. "If she does, she's vulnerable." Xander dropped the box and took off jogging to stop the cops. Dean and John moved out of sight and John fired on the building. She came out of the wreckage and came for them. Dean fired his and got another one when it only made her pause.
"I'm a goddess, don't you get it?" she sneered.
Dean blew a missile into her at close range, sending them flying and her flying. Sam got her when she was down. "What are you doing here?" Dean groaned.
"I got her somewhere she said was safe." John came over to take the machete and finish the job. Sam couldn't kill anyone, he could. "Eww." He walked over to check over Dean. "You okay?"
"I'm good," he said, checking himself over. "Dad?"
"Sore but I'm fine." He looked at the boy, who was babbling at the cop. "What is he saying?"
"That Willow and Anya prayed and made him pregnant. He's sharing the good news." They walked over to get Xander. "Hey," Dean told the cop. "It's not his fault his girl was a pain." He walked Xander off to check him over. "You okay?"
"I'm fine. I wasn't doing anything dangerous."
"Good point." He closed the box and handed it back. "There's a few left."
"Thanks." He tucked it under his arm. "Let's go hide. She still here?"
"Nope. We think she's gone." That got a nod and they went back to the store. "Dawn?"
"At her friend's house hiding. I'll get her."
"Sarah or Sandy?" Xander asked.
"Sandy was there. She squealed her name."
Xander found his phone and called. "We think it's safe. Bring cookies or something?" He hung up and flopped down in his seat. "We think it's good," he told Giles. Giles gaped. Xander stared back then pointed at the Winchesters. That got a smile from him.
"Where did that box come from?" Giles asked.
"Because shit happens around here," Xander reminded him. "Sometimes it comes in handy and the local reserve base is now closed." Giles walked off shaking his head. Xander shrugged. "He doesn't like any weapons beyond swords."
"It happens," John said. "We all have our favored weapons." He sat down. "Ice packs?"
"Kitchen's back that way," he said with a point. "Ready-packs are in the freezer." He and Dean went to get some. Xander relaxed, looking at his stomach. "We'll have to see what happens." Someone walked in and stared at him. "What?" The guy stared then bowed slowly before leaving. "Thanks," he called, looking confused but he did wave. "Huh?"
"Maybe that rant you gave to the cop got around," Sam told him.
"Maybe. I doubt any kid of mine would be a saint though. I'm definitely not."
"Well, girls do say being pregnant is a religious experience," John said as he came back out. "Was that someone who bowed?" Xander and Sam nodded. "Interesting. Are you sure you want the whole town to know?"
"If I'm collapsed on the ground I want the paramedics and cops to know before the local ER does something stupid to me."
"Fine." He sat down. "They could target you." Xander shook his head. "They might, kid."
"No they won't. They all know I know how to blow things up." John flinched. He stared back. Then he grinned. "Last month we got to take down the remains of the school. Wasn't as pretty the second time," he finished quietly. Giles made a horrified noise. "She wreck something major this time, Giles?"
"No. Did they know, Xander?"
"Some of the survivors do still live in town," Xander reminded him. Giles walked off moaning and shaking his head. Again. "Not my fault! The boss asked!" He got comfortable again. Dawn came in with brownies. "Thanks."
"I called Buffy. She said it's good that she's probably gone." She sat down next to him, then gave the Winchesters a hug. "You deserve brownies. And dinner. Can I make you three dinner?"
"It's fine, Dawn," Dean said with a small grin. "We don't need medals."
She swatted him on the shoulder. "You should have some. I don't care if you don't usually get them. How often do you go up against something like her?" She stomped off. "We're having pork chops tonight. Xander, make sure they get to the house by dinner time."
Xander waved a hand with a grin. "She will pull you there by your ears if you try to stop her from fussing. She learned it from her mother." Sam snickered. "She did. And she will. Trust me."
"White house?" Dean asked. Xander nodded. "We can find it in a few hours."
"Good." His phone rang. "Harris." He listened. "That's good news though, right?" He nodded. "That's even better news. No, Dawn just announced she's making them dinner even if they don't want her to," he said dryly. "Pork chops. Sure, I'll have her save you a plate. Let me know when she's out of surgery, Buffy. Well, we went 'splody for it and they handled it since they decided I'm too delicate too." John glared at him. He stared back. "Then they got her point blank range and Sam and John got her host. Yeah, so we're fairly certain but I can have Spike check after dusk. Let me know how it goes. Sure, you can see if you can crash on Cordy's couch. I'm sure she won't mind since it's about your mom. Let me know what I can do to help, Buffy. I can do that. Thanks, dear. No, not at my place but I'll go stay at yours since I'm putting up the clan. Thanks." He hung up and called their house. "Dawn, I'm staying over tonight and Buffy said to put her a plate in the fridge for tomorrow. No, she's going to immediate surgery. They found a bubble place from what she said and it'd cause more problems. Then they'll start outpatient treatments for the tumor. She'll try to camp on Cordy's couch tonight. Sure, I'll be there after dinner. That's fine. I'll see you then." He hung up. "If you don't like cabbage or broccoli, let her know now."
"We're decent on those," Dean said, shaking his head some. "It's nice to get thanks."
"It is," John agreed. "But a bit strange too."
"Her sister's involved in the same field, guys. She has to watch what her sister goes through every night on patrol." That got a nod from them. "So clean up and head over. I'll have Spike check the wreckage later. Maybe we can save some of the fancy clothes for Buffy." They smiled and went to do that. "Spike!" he bellowed. The vampire came up from the basement. "Once it's dark enough, make sure Glory's dead." He nodded at that. "Buffy's staying with her mom tonight. They took Joyce to immediate surgery for a weak spot bubbling up on her vein."
"I can do that. What'll you be doing?"
"Looking for a new place to live," he said dryly. Spike just walked off shaking his head. "The extra money's got to come from somewhere. It's this or stripping at the demon club."
"It's a bits and pieces place, whelp. You'd have to show it all."
Xander shrugged. "Not the first time, Spike." Spike gave him a horrified look. He shrugged a bit. "When you're broken down....." Spike walked off shuddering. Xander went to get the paper to look through. All the deaths meant that Sunnydale had a good bit of cheap apartments ready to rent if you'd put up with the blood stains or cleaned them up for the owners. He could clean blood very well. That wasn't a problem. "Hmm, stairs," he said as he looked. "Am I going to be able to do stairs?"
"Probably," Anya called from the office. "Most pregnant women have balance problems but not that bad from what the website said."
Xander went to look at those. He apparently needed to know these things now. Better to find out this way instead of bugging or creeping out new mothers.
Xander walked onto his job site the next morning yawning. "What is wrong with you?" his boss demanded.
Xander looked at him. "I was kept up helping Dawn cry. Her mom's in a hospital in LA with a weak vein and a brain tumor."
"They did surgery last night and now they're going to do outpatient treatment. Buffy's with her so I'm watching Dawn."
"I can put you on part time this week, Xander."
Xander shook his head. "I need the money and I get off right after she gets out of school so it'll be okay."
"I'm fine. Really."
"Why do you need the money?"
Xander stared at him. "You don't want that headache."
Xander snorted. "No, we broke up because the ER's machines were right." The guy blinked. "Someone prayed really hard that I'd understand them better." He gave him a look. "So, in about six months, I'm going to go on temporary leave."
"You shouldn't be here now. Too much lifting."
"It's not even tadpole sized," he promised. "When I'm ordered to, I'll quit." That got a nod. "I've got a doc in LA that found the lump."
"Good. At least you're seeing someone. You really are?" Xander nodded. "Aren't you freaked out?"
"Incredibly but my two day rant at God and her Goddess left me being practical. I know I'm going to have a few months off in there. That's why I'm moonlighting at a second job at the moment." That got a nod of understanding. "And why I can't afford part time now, boss."
"That's fine but the first issue you have, I need to know. I'm not going to let you be hurt. How's it coming out?"
"Surgery with drugs." The guy grinned. "So I'm keeping it a bit quiet but I kinda went hysterical on someone yesterday. Someone bowed to me." He grinned. "Let me check my crew in." He went to do that. "Morning, guys."
One looked at him. "Is the rumor I heard true?"
"Someone wished I'd understand them better."
The guy shuddered. "You good?"
"For now. Give me six months." That got an understanding pat on the back. "I'm fine for now. When I'm not, I'll go watch daytime tv." That guy smiled. "Okay, where are we today, guys?" They pointed. "Is that wire in right?" He went to get the plans and came back. "Box is in upside down or wired upside down." He let them see and they got to work correcting it then went on with the job. Xander put the plans back and got to work beside them. A few gave him sideways looks. "I'm fine."
"If you're sure."
"You see me collapse, I've got a doc in LA. Do not let Willow or Anya have me treated."
"Fine," the ones who had heard agreed. Mentally they were shuddering. He was *way* too calm about all this.
Xander grinned at one. "It's not so bad. I'll get a long vacation."
"And no sleep for months on end."
"I'm moonlighting right now. What's the difference?" They groaned and got back to work.
John looked at his boys. "We should stay for a few days," he decided. "Cover while Buffy's gone and Xander's down." They nodded at that, giving him 'duh' looks. "You were going to?"
"Yup," Dean agreed. "And be back here in five months too."
"It's probably not," John told him.
"Better safe than to have a midnight phone call," Sam told him. John rolled his eyes. "Tough, Dad. By then he'll probably need someone to talk to who's not female and hormonal. Plus it'll let us check on them."
"Fine." He walked off shaking his head. "Where is Xander?"
"Construction site of the new high school," Dean told him. John shuddered. "Exactly." He saw a shy blonde girl and smiled. "Morning, Tara." She flinched and stared around until she spotted him. He waved her over. "If it's all right with you guys, we'll be staying for a few days to cover while Buffy's gone. That way things don't get out of hand. That good with you guys you think?" She nodded quickly, looking down. He tipped her face up. "Dad's that mean, not me, Tara." He grinned. "Don't worry about it. Worry about Xander and his nighttime job."
"Wh...why?" she stuttered.
"Because he's making extra money for when he can't work," Sam told her. "Moonlighting at the Phoenix Club." She blushed bright red. "Exactly. You have them call us if there's problems, okay?" She nodded quickly. "We'll be hanging out here in the sunlight. You go play. It's not that often you get weeks without homework in college."
"The local one is for shit," Dawn said as she joined them.
John stared at her. "You're cutting classes?"
"No," he said. "Your mother would be pissed, young lady."
She stared at him. "I'm not yours, Winchester. You can't pull daddy duty on me."
Dean called Xander's phone. "It's me. Can Dawn skip today?" He handed the phone to her, watching as Xander chewed her a new one. He winked at Tara. "Go play. Sammy's right, you need to play since your apocalypse was stopped." She nodded, grabbing Dawn and walking her back to school first. She gave Dean back his phone on the way to the Magic Box, going to report to Giles for the day. "If she had more confidence she'd be a woman like Missouri."
"Yes she would be," Sam agreed. John snorted. "She would be. She's very forceful when she needs to be."
"Uh-huh. Why is she that shy?"
"Her parents need to be test subjects to see how bad medieval torture really was," Sam said dryly, staring at him. John shuddered. "I'd gladly volunteer for that."
Dean looked at him. "Do you have PMS, Sammy? You're not usually this violent unless you do."
"I'm still a guy, Dean. I don't get that. No matter how many times you tried to convince me that I'd have a period some day when I grew up, I don't." He walked off shaking his head.
Dean shrugged but his father swatted him, hard. "What?"
"Quit picking on your brother, Dean," he sighed, going to find some coffee. It was a nice little town if you discounted all the demons. Though the one at the coffee place had a good touch with the creamer apparently. Sam was chatting her up about something when he got there.
Joyce came home to find the house messy. "Dawn?" she called.
"Dawn, can't you pick things up?" Buffy complained. "Mom doesn't need to clean up after you."
"I'm sorting laundry. Shut up, Buffy." She hopped down the stairs. "This way nothing turns pink that's not supposed to be pink." She gave her mom a hug. "Give me another hour and it'll all be done, Mom." She bounced into the kitchen, coming back with a microwaved mug of tea and some toast. "Here, you nibble while I work on the laundry. Tara and Xander went grocery shopping last night for me so I can help with dinner too." She bounced off again.
"I thought only Xander bounced that way," Buffy said with a frown. Her mother snorted but looked happier. "You want me to make the couch up, Mom, or would you rather I help you up to bed?"
"I'm fine, dear."
"Bullsnot!" Dawn called from the kitchen.
Joyce laughed. "She's very hyper today." She sipped her tea. "Did you add honey?"
"You needed a bit of sugar for extra energy," Dawn said as she came out to get the next load of wash.
"Why are you only doing three things at a time?" Buffy asked. "The washer is bigger than that."
"It's your gooey clothes."
"Welcome. John's at the Magic Box waiting on you. They stuck around to cover for you for a few days." Buffy nodded. "I can invite them to dinner if you want."
"That'd be too much for tonight. Once Mom's in bed I'll go check in that way. How's Xander?"
"Way too calm but he told people that Anya or someone had wished him pregnant so he'd understand women better. Some of the demons have bowed to him. He's freaking out majorly but not letting it show in public. He's at work right now." She bounced off again. "Buffy, your plate's still in the fridge. I defended it from the walking stomach, Dean."
"Thanks, Dawnie." She went to get it and heat it up for herself and make sure her mother ate something at the same time. Someone knocked so she answered the door on the way back. "Hi, Mrs. Simmons. Is there a problem?"
"I was wondering if you knew that Dawn was entertaining a few older men, dear."
"They were helping watch her while Mom was in the hospital in LA."
"Oh. That explains that so much better." She smiled. "Is your mom all right?"
"No but she'll get there." She let her in and went to eat on the couch, then got up to make her mother a nest on the couch and put her into it, tucking her in even, then taking the chair to eat in. Their neighbor smiled but was giving a glowing report on how good Dawn had been. "Xander said he'd stay over."
"He did, all but last night."
"Last night Xander was off handling something and couldn't get here before I went to bed," Dawn said as she rejoined them. "Mom, the green and purple is the blue box, right?" Joyce nodded. "Just making sure." She smiled. "I'm so not running a brothel, Mrs. Simmons. I'm not that sort of girl." That got a smile and a pat on the cheek. "The guys are a dad and his two sons who know my sister through a former job." That got a nod. "Xander had them checking on me when he couldn't be here."
"That's fine then. Just making sure that your mother knew, dear. You can't be too careful about some teenagers. Not that I think you have that little sense but you never know."
"I know," Joyce agreed. "Thank you for telling me, Gail." That got a smile. "I'll be fine. Some running back and forth for treatments but otherwise I'll be just fine."
"Good." She stood up. "I'll let you recover and tell the others that it's all right." She left, going to spread the new gossip.
Xander came in the back door, shaking his head. "At least they don't think that Dawn offed you anymore so she could throw wild parties and make money the old fashioned way." He gave Joyce a hug. "Need more tea?"
"I'm fine, Xander."
He stared at her. "If you're not fine, I have to adopt your girls. They'd be very warped and into anime within weeks." He grinned sweetly. "Then Buffy wouldn't get to wear the slutty clothes and Dawn would never date and all that neat stuff."
She sipped her tea. "It'll be all right. Calm down." He grinned. "How are you feeling?"
"Still creeped out by the people who came to bow at my stomach." He settled in next to Buffy's feet, stealing a bite of pork chop. She swatted at him. He grinned. "The town's calm. They saw John and Dean and ran for the hills. The cops are ignoring them totally too. Sixteen vamps came up while you were gone but we handled patrol very well. John said to get her settled and he'd brief you later when you were ready to let Dawn fuss for a while since she fussed terribly over them."
"Made them all sorts of dinner, cookies, and stuff," Dawn agreed.
"Skipped school twice and John tried to dad her but it didn't work," Xander agreed. "Tara and I handled it."
"Mom, he threatened to spank me," Dawn said.
"You skip school again and I will spank you," she promised, staring at her younger daughter.
"I was too worried to concentrate."
Buffy looked at her. "You can only skip school if you're going to hunt bad things, Dawn. Otherwise you end up working on Xander's construction crew for life."
"Fine. I still managed my homework. I'm actually ahead since I've got that paper due next week done."
"Good," Joyce agreed. Dawn gave her a hug then went to check on the laundry. "She's clearly had too much chocolate."
"We're so bouncy to wear you out so you have to nap," Xander told her. She smiled at that. "Because you have to nap or you won't get better. Or so my grandmother told me when I got sick."
"I'm going to rest soon," she promised. She nibbled on her toast and tea, settling into her makeshift bed for now. She let herself drift off, not feeling Xander taking the mug and plate for her. She was really tired. Surgery did that to her.
Xander nodded for Buffy to go while he lifted her up and put her onto her bed. Dawn came up to tuck her in and then he took her out to wear out her bounciness. Buffy got a shower and changed clothes then went to the Magic Box to talk to John while he finished making Dawn calm down in the backyard. By the time he was done, they all needed naps but that was fine too. Joyce would appreciate that later on when she needed them.
Buffy walked into the Magic Box. "Xander's got Dawn to calm her down. Mom's in bed. What happened? That's way too many vamps for this time of year."
"A new master moved in and was making guards," Sam told her, handing over his notes. "We got them all for you." She beamed at that, giving him a pat on the shoulder. "We did a good patrol through all the cemeteries while you were gone. Dean's off winning a herd of cats at the moment with Spike and Clem. Clem's kinda odd and he creeps Dad out but that happens I guess."
She smiled. "Clem's a nice guy who has a deep love for kitten poker."
"So he showed us." He smiled. "How is she?"
"Doing okay. They got all the nasty stuff out and fixed the weak vein area. She'll start going to treatment later this week twice a week for chemo to make sure it doesn't come back." He nodded at that. "Xander was right, they're really good and pushy about getting her treated immediately. Mom's insurance loves them too so it's all good for us right now."
"Good. I'm glad your mom'll be okay, Buffy."
She smiled. "How bad was Dawn?"
"She fussed *so* badly," he offered with a grin. "But she was worried. The night Glory got destroyed, she made us dinner and threatened to pull us there by our ears if we didn't show up on time." Buffy grinned at that. "She was okay. Worried and stressed but okay."
"Good. She's hyper right now but I guess that's normal." She looked around. "Any word on Willow yet?"
"Not that anyone's told us."
"Damn." She went to find Giles in the basement. "Any word on Willow yet?"
"Not yet. How is your mother?"
"Better. Twice a week she's got treatments but otherwise she'll be okay they said." He smiled and nodded, giving her a hug. "Is Glory really gone?"
"Yup, sure is," Dean agreed as he came up through the sewer entrance. "Spike even looted for you so you have some new things. Or he's keeping them for himself but he'd look really sucky in that shade of pink."
She gave him such a horrified look. "That's a bad mental image I didn't need, Dean. Eww!" He laughed and patted her on the arm. "Thanks."
"Not an issue." They walked upstairs together. "Xander better? He was bouncy earlier."
"He's wearing Dawn out so she quits bouncing."
"Figures," Dean agreed. "Maybe she'll make him quit wearing such loud shirts."
She shook her head. "We've all tried."
"I don't know, I think I look good in some of them," Xander said as he came in through the back entry.
She frowned at him. "That's not Xander. Xander feels funny to me now but he feels even more funny," she hissed to Dean.
He nodded once. "Some of those shirts are really gross, Xander."
"Well, yeah, but they're cheap slime fodder." He shrugged. "You do what you gotta do."
Sam frowned. "You're not Xander."
"I am so."
"Are you pregnant too?" Dean asked.
"Then you're not Xander, dude," Dean assured him.
"He's pregnant? I don't want to be in anyone's skin who's that freaky!" he complained, starting to peel himself off. "That's disgusting. That did not come through in his mind."
Dean found something and stabbed the demon. "Shape changer," he told Buffy. "We need to get the skin off him before they think Xander's dead too." Sam peeled it off for him and Dean got the hands. The cop that came in to look at the body gave them odd looks. "Dead, loose skin."
"What're you doing with it?"
"Presenting it to the real Xander," Buffy said with a grin. "He'll feel proud." She called. "There's a not-you here." She hung up. "He'll be right down."
"You guys deal in more strange stuff than even we do," Dean told her.
"It's the town." The cop saw Xander walk in and gave the body an odd look.
Xander looked too. "That's not one of my shirts. I don't have that pattern." The cop shuddered and stomped out. "Think you wanna take the not-me with you?" he called after him. "Before I have to get sick or something?" The cop came back with people to take the body then they left. He shook his head. "She's napping on the couch, Buffy." He yawned. "Spike said he saved you some of her clothes so you didn't have to shop for a while."
"Shopping is good stress relief," she complained.
He looked at her. "You need a new boyfriend."
"Duh." She batted him on the arm. "Maybe Dean and Sam know some cute hunters?"
"Not that many," Dean admitted. "Dad might. He knows more people than we do."
"We can ask Bobby to put it around too," Sam agreed. Buffy smiled at that. "Hopefully we'll find someone better than Riley was on the show."
"Yeah, he was a douche," Xander agreed. She glared at him. He stared back. "He was."
"Fine, he was," she muttered, shaking herself out of it. "But then again, we could talk about your former taste in women."
"Not like it'll happen anytime soon," he said dryly. "Most women aren't going to want a pregnant guy. So unless I turn gay and start crossdressing...." She whimpered and walked out shaking her head.
"That's a *horrible* mental image, dude," Dean complained.
"She needed a nap too," Xander said with a grin. Sam cackled. He looked at Giles, who was studiously polishing his glasses and trying not to look at the boy. "Most women wouldn't want me to be like this."
"Go home, Xander," Giles ordered, sounding tired. "Please?"
"Fine. Dean, need a key?"
"I'm fine. Sammy will let me in." Xander nodded and went back to the apartment. Dean looked at Giles. "That was a bad image."
"The sad thing is, he might be able to pull it off." Dean walked off shaking his head. Giles went to get a drink and come back to finish his inventory. Before that image stuck in his head. Outside, Dean was shaking like a wet dog to get the image out of his head. Fortunately a female vampire came to help him so he got to stake her. That helped some.
A few months later, Xander flopped down at a picnic table. "Hey, guys." They stared at him. "Not an issue. Buffy said there's a problem and she wanted me out of town."
"That's fine," Dean agreed. "She need help?"
"No, someone wanted to open the hellmouth and she thinks the radiation will hurt her." He looked at his stomach then at them. "So, how's tricks?"
"Same old, same old," Dean said with a slight smile. "Why track us down? News we should hear?"
"I didn't track you two down. I tracked Mr. Singer down." He looked at Bobby. "Hi, I'm Xander."
"Figured as much." He shook his hand. "Why track me down?"
"Wesley and Giles think they found a prophecy saying someone's going to take my daughter right after her birth as a sacrifice to hold open the hellmouth permanently. You always seemed to know the most wards of anyone on the show. I wanted to either pick your brain or get you to ward wherever I'm delivering."
"I can do that. What do you have planned for that?"
Xander shrugged. "No clue at the moment. My doc was attacked by vamps the other night. I got them back but he's still gone. His partner said he'd still deliver me but he's wary. He wasn't sure they didn't attack the doc because of me."
"I think it was more looking for an easy target and he was on a roof drunk and thinking about his upcoming divorce. But I could be wrong." That got a nod. "So I'm open to suggestions about where as long as they have sedatives and good surgeons who won't make me bleed to death."
"I can work on that," he decided. "Any idea who the threat is?" Xander pulled a piece of folded paper out of his back pocket and handed it over. He read it, then smiled. "I'm pretty sure we can handle it. She going to be special?"
"Nope. Totally normal according to the sources we asked. No magic, no skills, nothing."
"Any word on the father?" Sam asked.
Xander nodded. "Yup, someone filled me in with that without me needing to have the huge needle inserted near my bellybutton."
"And?" Dean asked.
Xander looked at them. "I'm not going to answer that. Because even if it was, there's no way you two would be comfortable settling down in Sunnydale for the rest of your lives." They gaped. "So she's mine. You guys are godparents." He stared at Dean. "You can be an uncle, not a problem."
"We'd still help," Sam said.
"How?" Bobby asked. "You can't settle down and quit hunting, either of you. You can't support a kid without a full time job these days. He's right about that."
Xander nodded. "Which is why you two are both uncles."
"So it's a baby Winchester," Sam said. Xander nodded. "You're sure?"
"Yup. It was made very clear to me which one of you it was." Bobby groaned. "But she's still going to be perfectly normal. If I catch her hunting vamps before she's eighteen, I'm kicking her ass." They snickered at that. "I am. I started at fifteen. She's not."
"Agreed," Dean said. "You sure?"
"Be a favorite uncle. Spoil her rotten. Consider her a daughter if you want. I don't mind, but I'm not going to make it official because she'd be enough of a target just because of what I do. Not to mention what you guys do too."
Dean nodded. "I can understand that. She'll be a Harris?" Xander nodded. "Got a good name yet?"
"No clue. Got any you like? Buffy suggested your mom's name but I didn't think your dad would like that."
"He didn't say anything but he might," Bobby agreed. "You've got time to figure that out."
"As long as we can be very fussy uncles," Dean said firmly.
Xander nodded. "I'm not going to block contact or anything, Dean. I'm just not going to make it official because it'll end up putting her into more danger."
"So which one's is it?" Bobby asked. Xander pointed at the person walking toward them. "What's...." The guy stopped and bowed at the lump of Xander's stomach then kissed it before giving him a shy grin and leaving. "That's strange."
"It's Sammy's," Dean said quietly. He stared at Xander until he nodded. "So they think he'll have her tainted so she can take over the army they want him to run?"
"Yup. I've shot back a few times about how she'll be my daughter and a lot like me. A few didn't recognize me until I had a mood swing on them." He grinned sweetly. "They wanted to come crying to Sam to get him to calm me down. Buffy stopped them before they bothered you."
Sam snorted. "No way is any demon getting near her."
"Lorne said that she'd have Spike wrapped around her pinky."
"He's not one I'd mind babysitting," Sam decided. "As long as he's chipped."
"There's no way I'd let him near either of us otherwise. Though she does like to kick at his voice."
"Is she active?" Sam asked.
"Very. And fussy already." He looked down then reached for one of Dean's pork rinds. "Please?" he begged before taking a bite, then he groaned and grabbed his stomach. "Come on, it's pig, it's real food." He finished it and she kicked him again, making him sigh. "She's a bit fussy," he said, sounding out of breath. "She believes in intestinal bruising being corrective. Won't let me eat twinkies either. She has a thing about chicken. I can eat as much as I want of that. Even fried, but she hates anything artificial."
Bobby grinned. "They say it's the baby that makes you have the strange food cravings."
"Not so many of those. Except for caramel."
"That's artificial," Dean said.
"No, the food channel said you can make it by burning sugar," Xander said. He snatched another one, eating it even though she kicked. Sam reached over, hand hovering just over his stomach. "Go ahead. You guys can pat her all you want. Maybe she'll calm down for you two. Or you, Mr. Singer."
"No thanks. I'm not into that stuff."
"She's amazing," Sam said, beaming at Xander. "She kicked me."
"She does that a lot," Xander promised. Dean pushed over the bag. He looked at it. Then he sighed and ate another one. She kicked up a storm, making him nearly double over to make her stop. "I need those parts, dear. Please?"
Dean shifted over to help too, blowing on and rubbing his hands to warm them before touching her. She calmed down. "Yeah, you know your favorite uncle, sweetheart. Good girl. We'll make him eat some chicken soon." She gave one last good kick then settled down. He and Sammy grinned. "We can have a real picnic."
Xander nodded. "Thanks, guys. Buffy tried that and she got my lungs the last time." He slowly straightened up and shifted so they could pat the tummy all they wanted. He looked at the bag, giving it a wistful look. She gave a small kick, making Sam laugh. Sam gave him a granola bar out of his bag. "Thanks, Sam." He nibbled on it and she liked it apparently. "You're strange, daughter. Pretty soon you'll start to appreciate tofu and I'm not that sort of guy," he said, looking down. Bobby chuckled. "We'll be fine. Once she can eat I'll show her the beauty of twinkies and things. Even if her Aunt Tara does want her to be a vegan." He nibbled another bite. "So, anything going on that I can go handle?"
"Sitting on your butt so you don't get hurt?" Bobby suggested.
"I'll go nuts."
"I can understand that but you probably shouldn't be getting into fights."
"I know but she's protected by a big sack of water. So I'm fine if I get into a little fight but nothing too big."
"No, sorry," Sam said, smiling at him. "You'd worry us horribly."
"I'm not dating you, Sam."
"I'm sure we can make sure he's safe enough but not too bored," Dean said. "Because I gotta agree, Xander. No getting hurt. We'd worry ourselves sick."
"I won't," he sighed, shaking his head. "I'm not a fragile girl."
"Doesn't matter," Bobby told him. "John'll be worse."
"Do we have to tell him? He's going to give me dirty looks like I did it on purpose. Again."
"Again?" Dean asked.
"He was in town a few weeks back."
"Ah," Sam said. "Did you tell him?"
"Nope. Because I don't want to have that 'whore' look ever given to me again."
"We'll talk to him first," Dean promised. A purple demon ran up with a squeal of noise, going to his knees beside Xander's chair. "What are you doing?"
"The inheritor of the army," he said in awe. "May I, Mother?"
Xander snarled. "Do you know who I am?"
"The mother of our future savior."
Xander got up and pulled the demon up. "Do I look the least bit familiar? Maybe because I might be a hunter myself?" The demon swallowed, whimpering some. He moved the demon back, giving his chest a push. "For your information, I work with slayers." The demon burst out crying. "I'm The Knight," he snarled. "The only army she's going to be over is *mine*. Spread that around because she's going to be perfectly *normal*."
"You won't have her tainted?"
"Hell no!" he shouted. "My daughter!" The demon burst out in bigger tears, sobbing as he walked off. "Let the others know," he shouted after him. "The White Knight is no one's momma."
"Calm down, Xander. It'll be okay," Dean said calmly. "It's just a mood swing, dude." He made Xander sit down and got him another granola bar. The baby gave a little flutter. "Are you underweight? I've never seen a baby that clearly. Not that I've seen too many but even in movies they aren't that clear."
"Low water and a little underweight. The doc said he expected these sort of things since I'm not built for this naturally," he complained, picking at it. "By the way, that's how I found out who the father is."
Sam glared at the direction the demon went then grinned at him. "If they come back, I'll help kick their ass and so will Dean."
"That's right. My niece is going to be a bit more girly of a girl."
Xander gave him an odd look. "She's going to be able to kick ass like Faith but be more stable and loved. Maybe she'll even get the motorcycle I used to want."
"Do we have plans for school?" Bobby asked.
"I'd like her to have inherited her father's brains instead of mine. I wouldn't mind at all if she went to college to do something mundane. It'd be fine with me."
Sam nodded. "I could like that. Maybe an accountant or something?"
"If she wants."
"No, something more exciting than that," Dean complained. "Not an accountant. She'll be bored."
"Maybe she'll take what you three've done and write horror stories," Bobby offered.
"Could," Xander agreed with a grin. "Thanks."
"Welcome." He looked toward the parking lot. "John's here."
"I should go," Xander said, groaning as he stood up.
"Sit down," Dean ordered. His father got out and came over. "I mean it, Xander, sit. Dad can be civilized for a few hours." Bobby laughed. "Can't you, Dad?"
"I can. Do we know whose it is yet?"
"Mine," Xander said.
"It can't be a clone, boy." A walking, squealing plant came rushing out and babbled at him, patting his stomach before rushing off again. "That answers that question."
"She'll be a Harris because I don't want anyone coming after her to get her father," Xander said firmly, staring him down. "Dean and Sam are going to be close, spoiling uncles." John glared back. Xander stared him down. "There's already one that wants her shortly after birth. That's why I tracked down Mr. Singer."
"And why Sammy had a vision saying we should come have a picnic with him," Dean agreed. Sam nodded. Xander gave him an odd look. Sam nodded again. "Yeah, last night," Dean told him.
"Sorry," Xander told him.
"We were traveling to find a new job anyway," Sam assured him. The plant came back babbling, waving its limbs around. "What's wrong?" It babbled. "Xander, do you understand that?"
"No, I don't." He pulled out his phone, calling one he had left in town. "Spike, translate this for me please?" He held it up. "Repeat that so we can get it translated," he ordered. It did it again, the whole sequence including waving limbs. He listened. "What's going on?" He groaned, holding his forehead. He didn't like visions anymore. "Bear maybe?" He nodded. "We can deal with it. Thanks." He hung up then stood up. "We'll handle it. Go be safe," he said slowly and clearly. He pointed. "Shoo, let us get it." It ran off. "Demonic bears anyone?" He pointed. "That way. Snuffling around her nest."
"You sit," John ordered.
"Shut up. You're not my father either." He walked that way, shaking his head. "Sam, get into my trunk," he ordered, tossing his keys. "Black zip case in the blue bag of gear." He jogged off to get it for him. They went to look at the bear, him and Dean squatting down to watch it nose around the nest. Sam handed it to Bobby since he was between them. "How do we unpossess a bear?"
"The same way we do humans," Bobby said.
"I wouldn't know," Xander told him quietly. "It never works on me." He unzipped the case and pulled out the blow gun then the dart, blowing it at the bear. It yelped but went down. "That's werewolf strength. Should last a half hour." Bobby and John went to do the exorcism ritual. Xander came over to look. "Male or female?"
Bobby looked. "Those're boy parts, kid."
"Huh. We should call someone." He found his phone and called the local 911 number. "Hi, I'm in the park by the highway and we were having a picnic when a person went running past us screaming about a bear. Um, since I'm a hunter, I darted it with a tranq dart. Male, huge, brown. No idea otherwise. Doesn't have any gray but it's a good seven feet long it looks like. There, yes, ma'am. Just past the picnic area with the black pickup truck. About a quarter mile back towards the woods. It should last a few more minutes. Thank you, ma'am." He hung up. "She'll call animal control. They'll be here soon."
Bobby finally got the demon to float off. "Good. That should do it." They backed off. "You carry werewolf tranquilizers?"
"Yeah. I have a friend who is. He kept getting out of his cage. It came in handy." He grinned. "I carry a good first aid kit too."
"That's never a bad idea," John told him. He heard running. "Over here," he called. Two guys in DNR uniforms ran their way. "He darted it."
Xander held up a dart. "It's pretty mild. I've had to use it on a rabid dog in the past. It should wear off a few minutes after it's removed or in a half-hour total."
"That's fine, sir."
"I didn't want to kill him."
"That's a good idea. Go ahead back to your picnic," the lead officer said with a smile. "We'll move him so he's safe." They nodded and left. He looked over the bear. "Not injured, a bit damp. Get the tagging kit and another dart, just in case." His partner went to do that. "Bring the tarp to move him on too." He checked the bear over. Eyes looked normal. There was no reason for it to be this close to the highway so it had wandered in search of food probably. They got it tagged on the ear and redarted when it started to wake up then put it carefully onto the tarp so they could carry it to the truck and then off to the deeper woods.
Xander flopped back down in his seat, sneaking another pork rind. The baby kicked and he grimaced. "Sorry but I want to nibble this. You can complain later." He finished it.
Dean shook his head. "She likes fried chicken?"
"She doesn't care how it's cooked as long as it's cooked fully and chicken. I usually get to dip it when it's dry or baked but yeah, she has a thing for chicken." He snuck another one and she kicked the snot out of him again. He ended up doubled over, leaning his head on the table while he held the aching parts.
"What's wrong?" John asked.
"She hates him eating pork rinds," Bobby said. "Again?" Xander nodded. "She's got their stubborn nature and yours, kid. You need to realize that."
Xander looked at him, his eyes damp. "I'm still going to eat what I want, even if she doesn't like it. It's my body. Even if she is a little alien possessing it."
"Fine," Bobby said, nudging the granola bar closer to him. Xander groaned but went back to eating it. She calmed down once Dean and Sam were patting her back again. "You've only got a bit left."
Xander nodded. "Thankfully. I couldn't go like an elephant and carry for two years."
Sam grinned. "Thankfully we don't have to. Or lay eggs."
"I don't care how she comes out as long as I have drugs. For all I care, I can crap her out or whatever, as long as I'm not aware of it."
Dean laughed. "That'd be my feeling too." Another demon ran over. "Do not try it," he snarled. It squealed and bowed to him then Xander's stomach, reaching toward it. "Ah!" The demon wet itself then ran off. "Damn, dude."
"Very," Xander agreed. "It did make Cordelia laugh when they invaded the Hyperion to come bow to my stomach. Pissed Gunn and Angel off, but amused Cordelia." John snorted. He looked down. "You done again?" She kicked him again, making him wince. "Apparently not. Take a nap, please?" he begged.
"She'll nap soon," Sam soothed. "Shift positions so I can work on your back. You're too tense." Xander shifted, letting him do whatever he wanted. He got a few good moans and Xander slowly fell asleep. "Go ahead and nap, Xander. If you do, she will," he said in his ear. Xander nodded, putting his head down on the table to nap. He smiled. The baby gave one last kick then stretched and seemed to wiggle for a few seconds before going quiet again. "Good girl." He gave her a pat then went back to his seat. "So."
John gave him an odd look. "You do that pretty well."
"I took a massage class for stress relief my freshman year. I figured it'd come in handy with a girlfriend or with muscle cramps."
Dean nodded. "You did pretty well when my arm cramped." Sam grinned. "So, what's for dinner besides chicken?" John gave him an odd look. "She likes chicken and I'm spoiling the newest little Harris."
"You're going with his plan?"
"Considering we've seen four demons who've come to bow at her and one who said she'd lead the army I'm supposed to lead after I was done?" Sam asked. John slumped. "I don't mind and he's not going to stop us from seeing her, Dad. Just not going to give her our name and not put us on her birth certificate." Dean nodded at that. "I'd rather be a real father but he had a point. I'd have to settle down in Sunnydale and get a full-timejob."
John nodded. "That's a good point," he agreed quietly. He stared at Xander. "She is yours?"
"He never said for sure but everything seems to think so. That's how he said he found out," Sam told him. Dean nodded. "If not, there's something we didn't know about Dean."
"Not hardly," Dean quipped back. "That's all your freaky thing, Sammy." Xander shifted. "Shh," he said, patting him on the head. "You're safe. We'll protect you both, Xander." Xander nodded, staying asleep. "Should Buffy get help?"
"She told me she didn't need it," John told him. Sam snorted. "I know, but she's confident." He looked at the boy again then at his sons. "At least he came to tell you."
"No, Sammy had a vision that said we had to be here," Dean said dryly. "He came to find Bobby since someone wants to take the baby once she's born as a sacrifice her to keep open the hellmouth forever."
"He needed me to do wards," Bobby said, handing over the information.
John scowled. "That doesn't sound good."
"No, it doesn't," Bobby agreed. "They got his doc too so wherever I can set it up is good as long as there's drugs and a competent doc."
"I can help," John agreed.
"You can go help Buffy, Dad, and let us do it," Dean offered.
"We can all guard him and her," Bobby said. "That way you two can pace and fuss and we can watch out for higher demons who want her."
"Farmhouse?" John offered.
"Too much bad has happened in there. We'll find a more neutral place or a good-tingedplace for it," he said.
Dean nodded. "Want in California? Or anywhere else specific?"
"I'll ask around."
Xander sat up panting, looking around.
"It's cool, Xander," Sam soothed, patting him. Xander stared at him. "It's just a nightmare. We're cool."
"Thanks." He nibbled on the granola bar. "I don't know why I want these."
"It's a pretty good snack," Sam said. Xander grinned back. "Do you want to deliver anywhere in particular?"
"Nope. As long as there's drugs and a decent doc. I'd even be good with a demonic healer as long as he can knock me out."
"I don't think we need to look that far," John said. "We should be able to find a normal doctor to deliver her. There's a few who handle hunters."
"Would they be comfortable delivering her? My doc's partner wasn't really."
"I'll ask," John promised. That got a nod. "Anything we should know?"
"She hates twinkies. It's not natural."
"You're a pregnant guy, Xander. I'm pretty sure unnatural comes under that definition somewhere," Dean pointed out.
"The sad thing was, I can eat nutella on my twinkies. I can dip it in them and she likes it." Dean gave him an odd look.
"That's a different type of nut butter," Sam told him. "How did you thin it out?"
"Heat and then a bit of milk. It works. I can eat nearly anything with it. I even got to freak Spike out like he did when he put blood into my cereal so he could have it." He grinned. "He walked off shuddering like I did."
"Congrats," Dean said dryly. "We can stop and get you some. Are you staying in the motel near us?"
He shrugged. "No idea. I thought I'd let you pick." They nodded and packed up. "What's for dinner?"
"Chicken," Sam said with a grin.
"That'll work, or Chinese," Dean said. Xander nearly moaned at that. "There was a buffet place in the next town." Xander nearly raced for the car. Dean grinned and Sam beamed, following in the Impala.
"They're going to go nuts with a newborn in the house," John said, shaking his head.
"Yeah, they probably will," Bobby agreed. "But they're young, they can pace the floors. Let's hope she doesn't get colic more than once."
"Amen," John agreed. He shuddered. "Dean's was horrible. I nearly screamed back at him."
Bobby snickered. "I figure it was." They packed up everything and went to follow the boys to the chinese place. Then to the motel for the night. It was a pretty good night. The boys played cards and giggled through most of it. Dean subtly kept Xander from drinking any of his beer without him realizing it. John kept his too. They were pretty good. Xander finally curled up on his bed and drifted off. The boys went back to their room. John and Bobby went to theirs. It wasn't too bad of a day.
Bobby found a good spot and gave Xander the newspaper he had been looking in. "Go there until it's time. The local library has a good collection from a hunter that donated after his death. It's cheap to live there. They've got one of those 'already furnished' places for students at the Ag college in the next town." Xander nodded. "They also don't really seem to notice the strange stuff all that often. Hunters have been in and out of that town for years to look at the library for stuff and they never seemed to care."
"Jobs? So I don't have to break my savings?"
"Probably some, but not higher end. Maybe things like fast food, store clerk, things that'd make you stand all day."
Xander nodded. "I can do that. I have special insoles in my sneakers." He grinned. "Thanks, Bobby."
"Welcome. Least I can do. We need you somewhere stable in case there's a problem. That's about four hours from me so I can check up on you for the three fussy assholes in the Winchester clan." Xander blushed a bit but nodded. "John will fuss you to death if you have problems," he warned. "She's his only grandchild and he's come to accept her as that. So expect him to drop in being nosy now and then too."
"I can handle that and need a sudden nap if he gets too irritating," Xander agreed with a grin.
"Good boy. Also, say hi to Megan at the diner for me. She makes some *excellent* pot roast. Anytime I'm that way I stop in to have some. She's an older lady, but she's kind and got a mouth on her that makes Dean blush."
Xander beamed. "I can do that too." He gave him a hug. "Sorry, girl warping from Willow," he said at the odd look he got. He shrugged a bit and rushed off. "Thank you!"
"Welcome," he called after him with a wave. "Yeah, those girls warped him badly." He went to call Megan to talk to her. "Megan, Bobby Singer. Yes, me. I know it's been a while. I'm sending a new young thing into your town. A hunter, yes. Bit of a strange situation but I told him to check out that furnished apartment place and to come say hi to you for me. I think he could use someone to subtly watch out for him. You'll see when you see him," he said with a grin. "He just left so if you have some pot roast made today or tomorrow, I recommended it." He laughed and hung up so she could get back to work. She'd fuss and watch over the boy for the Winchester clan very well. It didn't hurt that both her sons were hunters he had trained either.
He sent an email to Dean and Sam telling him that he had put Xander under Megan's tender care. They knew her and she'd watch over him for them all. She might even fuss so Sammy didn't have to as often.
Xander found the apartment and signed up for it after a few minutes of looking around one. It was basically a motel room with a small, but full kitchen. It was furnished. It even had a kitchen table. The shower worked well enough. He had more than enough saved for the deposit and first month, plus if he could find a gentle part-time job it'd help him a lot. Nothing too strenuous but something that gave him something to do and money for expenses. He hefted up his bags of gear then went to find the diner. He walked in and sniffed, moaning. The waitress gave him an odd look. "My friend's mother's kitchen smelled like this when she was home and in a cooking mood." He sat down at the counter. "Are you Megan?"
"She's in the back." She went to get her. The young ones who asked for her usually had a reason. "Megan, there's a young guy out there who wanted to talk to you."
She came out wiping off her hands. "Bobby said I might be seeing a young one."
"I'm Xander. He said to say hi and nearly gushed over your pot roast."
She smiled, looking him over. "That's good to know. Son, how did that happen?" she asked.
He looked then at her, then glanced around. "We had a small realm merging problem. A witch made an accidental wish. That's why I'm here instead of a show to you guys."
"My best friend Buffy is not amused by her either at the moment. We're coming up on a Halloween thing again."
Megan looked at him. "That's just strange."
"Yeah but she's a fussy eater too. Likes fried chicken but I'm really tired of chicken. She wouldn't even let me have cookies last night, not even if I did dunk them in the funny nut butter stuff she likes."
Megan smiled at the boy. This one clearly needed a mother figure. "Let's see how she likes pot roast then. I just pulled one out." He beamed and nodded. "Why are you in town?"
"Had to hide somewhere from the bad stuff. Bobby's kinda helping me with how she's coming out."
He nodded. "Little hellion in the making," he agreed dryly, cracking her up. He leaned on the counter. "Are there any good jobs around here? Just part-time, enough to pay the rent sort of jobs?"
"A few. What can you do?"
"I'm on leave from being a crew lead on my construction project. I've worked fast food, gas-n-go places, was an ice cream man for a few weeks. I delivered pizzas there for a bit. Stripped when my car broke down and to make extra money to cover this time when I couldn't work construction. Worked in the kitchen there too for a bit."
She considered it. "There's a few you can probably do. You be all right to stand?"
"Probably. I have been at work all along."
"Good. Then we'll see. Can you do plumbing?"
"Yeah, I'm pretty good at it and interior work," he agreed. "I can do wiring too."
"Then there's a good crew in town that I can introduce you to tomorrow." She pinched his cheek. "Let me get you some pot roast and milk." He beamed and nodded, wiggling some. She got him some food and came out to talk to him some more. When she found out her sons were hunters he opened up more about what had happened. She didn't understand but she was sure her boys would want to go burn that witch too. Because doing that to a guy was wrong.
Buffy looked around then at Giles. "Xander's still gone? Dawn wanted to have a birthday party for him."
"He found the boys and Mr. Singer. He talked to them about warding the birthing area. They're finding a good place to have it done since no one thinks it'll be safe to do locally."
"That's fine. I'll let her know." She went to call her. "Bad news, Dawnie. He's finding a good spot to have the baby. Yeah, the warding stuff. I'm sure we'll see her a few days after she's born. I know it's in storage. It's cheaper than rent." She smiled. "Sure. You be safe tonight at the dance. Want me to chaperone?" Her sister snorted and hung up on her. "Fine," she said, hanging up her end. "I'll just trail you to make sure you don't even look at a boy in that special way." She jogged out to go find something more subtle to wear then headed to track her sister to her school dance.
Giles shook his head. She was in hyper-protective overdrive again. Dawn would scream at her later and Joyce would have to get into the middle. He called Joyce so it didn't end up in a fight. "Joyce, it's Rupert. Buffy's tracking Dawn on her way to the dance. Yes, indeed. Vowed not to let her near a boy again. You might, yes. She's on her way to change." He smiled. "No, he's still out of town. He found the Winchester clan and they've agreed to guard him while he's vulnerable. I'm sure it'll be soon. Have a better night." He hung up since he had heard Buffy burst in through the door. Joyce could find something necessary for her daughter to do for a few hours. Dawn did have to grow up sometime, even if she didn't want to think about her seeing a boy.
Xander looked at the room Bobby had readied, then nodded. "That's a lot of painting. Will I need to help you repaint it?"
"It's temporary. Don't worry about it. I know the owner. She said it was fine, kid." Xander nodded. "The bed's comfy and clean. We can burn or bury it later if you want." Xander nodded at that, pushing on it. "The doctor will be here in a few hours. It's a few days early but it'll be fine." Xander nodded. "Go shower and stuff." Xander dropped his bag and went to do that, coming out in a clean pair of boxers. Bobby got him into the bed and checked all the marks to make sure nothing had smudged. He fixed the one that had. "There." He smiled at the boy. "Nervous?"
"Yeah. I'm shaking."
"I can understand that. Few hours and it's all done with. She'll be born. She won't let you sleep for ages." Xander grinned. "Just try to relax. Do the breathing exercises. That stuff."
"Not like I went to lamaze class."
"Point. That would've freaked out some of the women." He gave him a pat on the head. "Just a bit longer." He heard a knock and went to answer the door. "Hey. Upstairs. We've got a clean room set up and one with him in it." He let John and the doctor inside, following them back up. "Calm down, Xander."
"Good boy," John said. He patted him on the head. "This is the doctor. He's a surgeon usually, an ER guy." Xander nodded, shaking his hand.
"How did this happen? I remember watching the show you're on."
"The worlds merged thanks to Willow. This is the pin holding them together. She's a girl."
"That's fine. Anything special?"
"Fully normal," Xander told him. "Even the ones who see can't tell anything different about her."
"Good." He waved him back down. "Let me check her positioning." Xander laid back, pushing down his boxers so he could feel his stomach. "How close are you?"
"Few days off my due date."
"Good." He checked, taking out a marker to make a spot. "There's her head. This is her foot," he said, making another, but different, mark. "It looks like we can do a standard lower incision to get her out." Xander nodded, swallowing some. "I heard you want to be knocked out?"
"Please, God. Just don't let me remember? I'm still freaked."
"I'd be too," he promised with a smile. "Any allergies?"
"Good." He put the marker back then pulled out a needle and vial. "Okay, this'll sting but you'll be out. That way we don't need gas." Xander nodded. "Want to move to the clean room?" Xander shrugged. "Let's do that." They got him into the clean room. He knocked Xander out and Bobby put him into place. John strapped down his feet. "Thank you, gentlemen. Bathroom?" They pointed. He went to scrub up then came back to scrub down Xander's stomach once John had moved the boxers out of his way. He draped the area, then got his sterile tools. He looked at them. "No guns or germs near the incision, boys." They backed off some but both had shotguns ready. "Is there a risk?"
"Something wants to take her as a sacrifice of blood," Bobby admitted. "That's why the other room has wards. We figure it'll be in a few hours, but you never know."
"Good to know. Don't make me stitch them up too, guys." He said a silent prayer and bent to open the young man's stomach skin. John had to look away first. It wasn't pretty. Bobby looked away once it was more open. It was disgusting looking. "Ah, there we are," he said with a smile. "One uterus. Is he going to keep it?"
"Never asked," Bobby admitted. "Can't be done the natural way from the ultrasound he had saved down for Sammy."
"Good!" He pierced it and then the water sack, pulling it out to get the baby free. Everything came out around them. "Bit of a mess. Sorry."
"It happens. It's probably worse the natural way. I remember Mary made a holy mess." He glanced then shuddered and turned back toward the window.
The doctor smiled. "She's cute, guys. Looks like dark blonde hair."
"Blonde?" John asked. "From Sammy's kid?"
"Your wife was a blonde and babies darken up," the doctor assured him.
"With the way they bowed to him, has to be Sammy's kid, John," Bobby agreed. "If we have to, we can test the blood." John nodded. The baby wailed when the doctor cut the cord. "Healthy, doc?" He glanced back. "She's wiggly."
"With the way she played soccer with his guts, I'm not surprised," John said, glancing back. "Should he be open like that?"
"Yes," the doctor said dryly. "It's fine, boys. Someone hold her." He handed her over once he noted the time mentally. Then he got to work cleaning the poor parent up. "I'll weigh and measure her in a minute. Go wipe her down in the bathroom."
"Works for me," Bobby agreed, taking the baby to do that. John followed.
The doctor smiled. Grandparents. Typical. He finished stitching him up, going to check on the baby. "He's set to be wiped down and put to bed." He took the baby while they moved the father, shaking his head. "Poor guy." He smiled at the little girl. "At least you're not one of us, dear." He checked and measured her, then wrote it down for the birth certificate. "There we are." He turned and found John there. "There you go, Grandpa."
"Thank you. Healthy?"
"Very. Good weight and height too." She let out a sniffle. "A bit chilly. Do we have diapers and clothes?"
"In the boy's bag," Bobby said, coming in to look over John's shoulder. "She' s cute."
"Very cute. The hair is still an issue."
"We can test the prenatal tissue," the doctor said patiently.
"Sure, take a sample. I've got the boys' samples in my bag," Bobby said. "Then we'll burn the rest." That got a nod and they went to dress the baby. He took the samples and bagged up the rest. John came in to get it and the mattress to clean up. He checked on his patient, still napping peacefully while Bobby guarded the baby. "He should wake up in a few hours."
"Good. When should she want food and stuff?"
"Few hours, probably not too long. See if he can nurse for at least a bit. It'll be better for her." He smiled. "I'm headed to file this one. What's her name?" Bobby shrugged. "He didn't have one?"
"He's wobbling. We can file the birth certificate when he finally decides."
"Sure." He put it onto the dresser. "If you need me, call. Take the normal post surgical precautions. Remember to support her head. She'll let you know when she wants something. She's got good lungs." He grabbed his bag and left, nodding at John at the burn barrel. "Need help with the mattress?"
"I can cut it into chunks or flame it there."
"Sure." He smiled. "Good luck." He got into his car and headed home to clean up and make notes in his private journal. No one would believe this one. The samples got dropped at the local hospital he had privileges with so they could do the normal tests.
John came up once the things were burned. "She okay?"
"Not fussy. Content to be held so far." Xander snuffled. "He's been doing that."
"Wasn't he possessed by a primal spirit on the show?"
"Hyena," Bobby said, then groaned and put the baby next to him. Xander snuffled. "That's your baby, Xander. Yours all yours." He snuffled the baby and pulled her closer. "Ah! Not under the sheet!" He moved the sheet. "Be careful. She's a fragile cub." He sat down again. "Where did you send the boys?"
"To handle a ghost in the next town's library." He smirked. "We didn't need them being that fussy. They can come take the night shift and walk the floor with her." He looked down at her. "She's adorable."
"Yeah, she is. Want me to go mop the floor?"
"I can do it." He went to do that. On the way he called Dean. "For some reason Sammy's daughter's a dark blonde, son. Something you wanted to tell me?" He laughed. "Perfectly healthy. Dad's snuffling her right now because he's still out from the drugs. Burned it all and it's good. In the final clean up. That's where we are. Sure." He hung up and finished up with the clean mop water then went to hold his granddaughter. "Give her over."
Bobby handed her over and vacated the chair. He checked the boy then went to make some coffee. Sam ran inside and right up the stairs. "Good." He smirked. "Dean, we'll have bloodwork done soon."
"Sure, that's fine with me." He took some coffee. "It go okay?"
"So far. He snuffled her a few times. I'm guessing that's the hyena."
"Probably. The last time I saw him knocked out he did the same thing." He went upstairs to look at her. "Hey, Baby Harris. How are we?"
"Until she craps down your arm," John said dryly. "Help him figure out a name?" He let them have the chair. He went to get his own coffee. "The doc said to see if he can breastfeed."
"Eww," Dean said, walking off shaking his head.
Sam grinned. "We'll figure it out," he told her. "Bloodwork?"
"On the way to being done," John said. "The doc has samples."
"Good." He put his feet up on the bed, putting her in his lap. "There, you nap there. It's a good, comfy spot because Dean says I have fat thighs."
"Your brother's just picking on you," he said, walking off shaking his head. "Fat thighs?" he asked his older son.
Dean shrugged. "He was complaining his pants were tight." He heard a yelp and went up to check on them. "She try to feed off you?"
"Xander tried to bite my foot." He glared at the man on the bed. "You could finish waking up, Xander."
"He got drugged," Dean reminded him. "Xander!" He flinched and woke up, sitting up to look around, one hand going to his aching stomach. "Morning. Don't try to eat Sammy. We'd have to complain and take the niece." Xander stared at him, looking very confused. He pointed with a grin. "She's not kicking you anymore."
Xander looked at himself. "Doesn't hurt anymore," he said, sounding drugged. "Huh." He grinned at Sam. "Hi, Sammy!"
"Go back to sleep, Xander. We've got her," he said with a grin. "Just don't bite me again."
"They wanted to know if you could breastfeed her," Dean said.
"Huh?" Xander asked.
"Later," Sam told him. "We'll talk about it later, Xander. I have her." He held her up. "See, there she is. What's her name?"
"Belladonna?" He grinned a goofy grin.
"Not a good first name but maybe as a middle one," Sam said with a grin back. "We'll talk about it when you wake up." Xander nodded, laying back down. "Sleep." Xander yawned and went to sleep. "Belladonna?" he asked Dean.
"She's beautiful and will be deadly some year," Dean offered. He went to tell his father that. "He wanted Belladonna."
John gave him a confused look. "That's got to come from being Californian."
"No, Seattle and San Francisco are the cities of screwed up names as far as I know," Dean quipped back with a grin. Bobby joined them. "Belladonna?"
"Some year she may be deadly," Bobby said. "We'll see what he's thinking when he's thinking straight."
Dean nodded. "Hopefully soon." He went to answer the ringing phone inside. "Yeah, John's phone." He listened. "It's certain?" He smiled. "Good to know, Doc. Thanks." He hung up. "She's yours, Sammy." He went outside. "That was the doc. So far the tests are coming out just fine and she's Sammy's."
"A blonde?" John asked.
Dean played with his dark blonde/sandy brown hair. "I got it from Mom, she could've too."
"True," Bobby agreed.
"Fine." They went back inside to find Sam making gooey baby faces at the baby. "Sam," Dean complained.
"Shut up, jerk."
"Don't do that, you'll make her dumb, bt...brat," Dean complained, taking her to hold. "Hey, niece. You good? Need food, changed, Grandpa to change you?" he offered.
"I don't think it'll be that way," John said, looking down at his grandchild. "Hi. How are you?" The baby blinked at them. "You'll be fine, dear. Your dad's a bit fussy but it'll be fine."
"I'm not fussy," Sam complained.
"Bull," Dean told him.
Bobby snickered, coming in to take the baby. "Let's get you out of the testosterone sucking zone the Winchesters create, little one." He walked her off. "We'll go outside for a few minutes. Let the air clear from the macho posturing."
"Like you don't," Dean called after him. But he was grinning.
"No, I'm secure in my manhood, Dean. I don't need to posture or prove it every now and then with any woman available." He took her outside, shaking his head. "You'll get used to them. I promise you will. And your mom's habit of doing dumb yet good stuff." Someone clapped so he looked up. "You're not Spike. The scar's on the wrong side."
The demon changed shape. "What's wrong, Bobby? Problems?"
John came out and Sam handed the baby to Dean, coming out to stand with them. "Did you need something?" Sam asked the demon.
"What are you doing here?"
"She's mine." He smirked. "Rosenburg was drooling over me when the worlds merged." The demon shuddered and faded then changed again. "Won't be happening. You might as well give up and go home." Dean came out. "You left her with him?"
"The room's warded so heavily *I* nearly couldn't go in." He pulled his gun to check then looked at the demon. "Needed something?"
"Her blood contains power. We need the power."
"No, you want the power. Big difference, dude," Sam said.
"We need it to save everyone."
Sam shook his head. "No. Not real." He looked him over then went back inside. "Have fun."
John looked at Dean, who shrugged. "No idea," he admitted. "Hormone transfer?"
"Could be," Bobby admitted. "Stranger things and all that."
John cocked his shotgun. "I need a nap so we can get up at two." He fired at the demon. It faded out and reappeared closer. Dean shot. Sam came out and shot him with a different gun. The demon screamed and died. John looked. "That's not the colt."
"No, it's Xander's." He let Dean have it and went back inside. "He's less goofy and awake."
"Try to get him to eat some soup," Bobby called. He snatched the gun to look at. "What's this?" He frowned. "That's not right," he muttered, holding it up. It looked like it had an engraved cross on the top. "Holy relic?"
John took it back, then nodded. "It's a relic. It's old. Not made by Colt."
Sam leaned out. "Xander said you're thinking too loud about his gun. He said Giles borrowed it from the Watchers Council for him. He has to give it back."
"Know anything on it?" Dean asked.
"Kills anything unnatural. On either side of the spectrum." He smirked. "He's thinking about naming her after Faith. Belladonna Faith Harris?"
"Faith, the other slayer?" John asked.
Sam nodded. "He wanted to give her a better chance."
"She's gone?" Bobby asked.
"No. But he thinks it'll make her happier." He shrugged. They all shook their heads. "Okay, I'll tell him."
"Kendra maybe?" Dean suggested. "Belladonna as a middle name?"
"I'll tell him." He went back up there. "Dean likes Belladonna as a middle name." He sat on the bed beside her and his baby's momma...or whatever he was to him. "They didn't like Faith."
"I heard. They're still thinking too loud."
Sam gave him a look. "Why are you telepathic?"
"I don't know but it's bugging the crap out of me. Your dad has some really nasty thoughts."
"Not my fault. Make him quit thinking about how he wanted to pounce your mom after you two were born for being so womanly."
"Dad, he can hear you thinking about the night after we were born!" Sam yelled. The baby jumped and looked around then let out a wail. "Sorry, sweetie." He picked her up to hold. "I'm sorry I yelled. Calm down. The doctor wanted to know if you could breastfeed. Give her some immunity boosters."
Xander gave him an odd look. "No breasts, Sam."
"Want to try?"
"Okay." He grinned at the baby. "We need to get you a bottle then." Bobby came in with one. "Thanks."
"Heaven?" Bobby suggested.
"Then it'll make someone want to send her there. I believe in the rule of names."
"So you wanted to name her after Faith?" he asked.
"Because it'd give her a chance at a better life later on. Someone who cares more than she got."
"Well yes it would," Sam agreed. "But I'm not sure she'd be happy. We should check first."
"I'll ask Wes to ask her if she'd mind."
"Okay," Sam agreed. Xander called and mumbled into the phone then hung up. Sam smiled, patting him on the head. "Go back to sleep. I can feed her."
"You'll be feeding her plenty, Xander. Give me this time while you nap off the rest of the drugs." Xander nodded at that, curling up beside the baby to nap. Sam plugged the little hole and watched the baby figure out how the sucking reflex worked. "That's good, right?" he asked her.
"Use your knees to support her head, Sammy," Bobby ordered. Sam shifted so she was on his thighs again and well-supported. "Better." He went down to talk to them. "Any good name choices? He's asking Faith if she'd mind."
Dean considered it. "Not after me or Dad, not after any old gods, and not after anyone living?" he suggested.
"Saints all right?" Sam called.
"If he wants."
"That telepathy freakiness is too much," John decided. He looked at Bobby. "The drugs?"
"I haven't heard of that side effect."
Sam came jogging out, heading for the Impala. "It's Willow. She just cooed at the baby through him. She wanted Isis."
Bobby groaned, moving to help him uncast that spell. Before it annoyed them all.
"No old gods, just in case it's somehow used to call one back," Dean called. He shook his head quickly. "No, that's just wrong."
"She suggested naming her Goddess too," Sam said, coming over with the stuff. "We need another caster." Dean followed, John following to guard them. Sam took the phone back from Xander and got the spell, writing it down. "Thanks, Giles." He hung up and gave it to Dean and Bobby. They worked it over the bed. Willow faded and Xander was back to himself again. "So, any other ideas about names for her?" Xander looked up from feeding her, shaking his head. "Maria?"
"Sound of Music," Xander said. "I don't want her to be a failed nun who sings songs that won't leave you alone for days on end."
John smiled. "Don't name her Artemis or anything, Xander."
"I should name her after Janus."
Sam shuddered. "No, please don't."
"She won't be causing chaos for that reason," John told him. "Even my boys didn't." Sam gave him a dirty look. "You and Dean gave your share of hell raising. There were plenty of teachers who wanted to know which chaos god you two were hyping when you picked on each other."
Xander looked at his daughter. "We should call Ethan somehow to make him pray for sanity. Yes we should." She sucked harder. He called Giles. "You should tell Ethan about my daughter; watch him pray to Janus for sanity." He hung up. "Tara and Joyce wanted girly girl names. Madeline, Marissa, Abigail, Destiny."
"Until you're a star you can't get away with two awkward names," Sam pointed out.
"What do you want it to mean?" Dean asked.
Xander shrugged. "Beauty or honor or strength?"
"Strength meanings are usually with male names," Sam admitted, pointing at his bag. "Laptop, Bobby?"
"No wifi here," he pointed out.
"I downloaded a baby name list." He got into it, letting Xander browse it. He took the baby. "You should be napping, young lady."
"She's used to darkness. Let her get used to all the fussy people and the light," Bobby offered. Xander nodded, settling her in his lap with a yawn. "You can rest again if you want. She'll be up plenty of times tonight."
"Here, let me," John ordered, taking the baby from him. "You rest. You've got to heal that incision soon." Xander nodded, yawning again. Sam helped him lay back down and John sat down in the chair to feed his grandchild. "Take the laptop and give him a few good suggestions, guys." They went to do that on the porch. He looked at her. "You're something I never thought would come into being," he said quietly. "I'll be less of a hardass about you, I promise." She drifted off. "Even if you can't date any boys like your uncle. Or else I'll have a lot of corpses to salt and burn, precious. Since I don't know too many private places to bury all the ones who'll want you, let's go easy like Sammy did, okay? Just like your daddy. Don't date until you're seventeen."
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