Sam opened the door to the Magic Box, getting out of the way with a grin for the girls.
Xander walked in, followed by Dean and John, who had shotguns on them. "May I present to you Isabelle Belladonna Harris?"
"You named her finally?" Willow squealed, coming over to bounce and look at the baby. "Hi, baby!"
"Calm down," John ordered. "You can't bounce a baby."
"Bounce, shake, or otherwise make them have baby concussions," Sam agreed. She pouted. "Tough, it can kill them or cause brain damage." She sat down and Xander handed over the baby.
Buffy leaned closer. "Hand over my niece." Willow pouted but handed her over. "Hi, Isabelle." The baby greeted her by sucking her aunt's finger for her. Tara leaned on Buffy's arm, smiling at the baby. "She's adorable, guys." Xander nodded, sitting down with a wince. "You okay?" Buffy asked.
"Stomach's still a bit sore."
"She didn't come out naturally, Buffy," he told her. She blushed. "It was surgery."
"And four demons, not just one, that wanted her," Dean said.
John nodded. "We had a witch we know cast some protections on her. Had her baptized too."
Buffy nodded. "Good. Should we have to add more protections?"
"Nope," Xander said. "I made sure." She nodded but Willow pouted at him. "She was an older witch that had been doing this stuff for decades, Willow. She warded a few other hunters' kids too." She nodded, accepting that. "Angel had heard of her."
"That's fine then. I guess." She took the baby but Tara carefully snatched her. "Hey! My turn."
Tara looked at her. "You're vibrating," she whispered. "It's not good for her." She smiled at the baby. "Hello, niece."
Xander yawned. The girls all looked at him. "Sam had on sleepy music in the car."
"He's still too sore to drive," Sam offered, sitting down too. "You guys could relax."
Spike stomped in and slammed the door.
"Hey!" Xander shouted. "You wake her up, you walk the floor with her."
Spike stopped to stare. "She's out?"
"Yeah, they do that," Xander said dryly. "Come meet Isabelle."
"Classical name," he muttered, coming over to look over Tara's shoulder. "She's scrunched up."
"She was in a mine month bath," John told him. "Give her another week." Spike nodded at that. "What happened?"
"Willie raised his prices again."
Buffy looked at him. "Sorry."
"S'fine. She okay?"
"She's fine," Sam promised.
Spike looked at him. "I take it you know?"
"Considering how many demons came to bow at his stomach, yeah," Dean said dryly.
John swatted him on the arm. "At least we know most of them are now scared of touching her."
"Yeah, there is that," he agreed. "Should we ward the baby's room anyway?"
"I have to find a new place," Xander reminded them. "And start work again soon."
"There's a good daycare by the Catholic church on third," Buffy said. "Mom talked to them." Xander grinned and nodded. "As for places." She reached back and got the paper, handing it over. "Seven new ones that have two bedrooms." She beamed. "Including a very nice garage apartment that's owned by someone Spike knows."
"Harmful?" Sam asked him. Spike shook his head. "Demonic?"
"Lover to one."
"I'll look at it. How much is the rent?"
"About what you were paying for your one bedroom but it's all utilities included."
"That's decent," he agreed. "Can I have her number?" Spike handed it over. "Thanks, Spike."
"Can't have her living on the beach." He walked off before he made an ass of himself cooing over the little girl. His rep was already bad enough.
"He's being mushy," Buffy said, taking the baby back. "My turn." She smiled. "Hi, Isa. I'm your Auntie Buffy." She watched her make sucky faces. "Is she hungry?"
"Could be. It's been about an hour," Dean admitted.
"Every two," Sam said. Echoed by his father. He reached over and stuck her thumb in her mouth, making her a happier baby.
"It's easier to break a pacifier habit than a thumb habit," Willow told them. "My parents have research that said so."
Xander looked at her. "Your parents are screwed up, Willow," he said gently. "I don't want to be a parent like yours or mine."
"I can understand that. They're not that great; just stating some research."
"She can show a preference for a pacie or her thumb later on," John told her. "Mary took away Dean's pacifier and he switched to his thumb until she put him in mittens for six weeks straight to stop him."
"Dad!" Dean complained. Sam laughed. "Don't even. You used to be fussy if you didn't have this special brand of pacifier, Sammy. Orange flavored with a special tip."
"Your mother liked it," John told him. "She refuse to let him try different ones until he only accepted that one." He sat down. "There's a carrier in the car, ladies. Go get it so she can sleep."
"She's fine where she is," Buffy protested with a pout. "I can hold her."
"Your arms are getting tired," Dean said, going to get it. She got put onto the table so they could all stare at her together.
Willow watched her make puppy noises in her sleep. "Does she already have nightmares?"
"That's normal," John said.
"So's some groaning," Sam said. Xander nodded. "Xander checked her twice for being a zombie."
"With the stuff that comes out of her diapers and the groaning it was a reasonable conclusion," Xander defended.
"They are gross," Sam agreed.
Dean nodded. "Since she's not mine I get to miss them unless I'm babysitting."
"You can babysit anytime you want, Dean," Sam quipped.
"I don't mind. She's sweet. Even with the diapers."
"Hey, there's people who have eight kids," Xander said. "All born at once."
"If you want to have another one," Sam offered. "We'll figure it out."
Xander shuddered, shaking his head. "No thanks."
"If he had more than two we'd have to complain and make him move somewhere safe," Buffy told them. "Like Utah."
"There's some safe areas but no, there's safer places for him to live with her."
"Bobby said we can't move me near him because he'd never get anything done with her around to coo at him," Xander reminded him. He looked around. "Did we eat Dawn?"
"She's with Mom," Buffy said, calling home. "I'm looking at Isabelle Belladonna Harris." She hung up on the squeal. "Mom's happy."
"Willow smiled. "That's good." She tickled the baby's stomach. "You're adorable." She sniffed then grimaced. "Eww." She scooted her chair back. "Did you have to do that?"
"Yes, she does," Sam said, going out to grab the diaper bag with a sigh. He came back with Dawn and Joyce, who picked up the baby and sniffed. "I was going to change that."
"Let me." She took the bag to the bathroom with the baby, coming out a few minutes later. "There we go, ladies. One clean butt. Isabelle?"
"Isabelle Belladonna Harris," Xander agreed.
Tara gave him an odd look. "You named her after a deadly herb?"
"Yeah. She'll be beautifully deadly some year soon."
"We'll give her all sorts of help on how to pick up *good* boys," Buffy promised.
"You could use those tips first, dear," her mother said.
Her daughter sighed. "Not like I can find good guys who know what I do and aren't freaks, Mom. Unless you want me to hit on Dean or Sam? Or John?"
"No thanks," they said in unison. She scowled at them. The younger Winchesters smiled at her.
"Fine. Any cute young hunters recently?"
"I did tell one mutual hunter contact, and she's passing it onto the boys she knows," John promised.
"Thank you, John."
"Welcome." He patted Xander on the head. "The birth went well. The demons that came were stopped." He pulled out the gun, handing it back to Giles. "He had a mood swing on a nun," he said quietly. "We didn't think it was safe anymore."
"Why?" Giles demanded, glaring at Xander.
"Because she told me I was unnatural for holding my daughter. She didn't even know I had carried her. I was sitting in the park holding her and telling her about trees. She berated me for spending time with her instead of making money for her future clothes shopping. So I kinda had a late mood swing in Modesto."
Giles sighed, shaking his head. "I suppose she did deserve it."
"Yup," Dean agreed. "The cops agreed she needed drugs. They decided Xander pulling a gun to protect them from her was a good idea since she was so deranged. They told Dad she was only pretending to be a nun too."
"Oh, dear lord," he sighed, looking at the gun. "Is that safe?" John unloaded it for him and put it into the case Giles pointed at. "Was it helpful?"
"Killed ten demons including the ones coming for her," Dean told him. Giles smiled. "The sight's a bit off if you talk to their armory person. The grip's a bit loose too."
"I can send that note back with it." He went to make the note and ship the box back. Before the gun tainted things around them. He came out and found a few vampires at the door and Buffy armed with two stakes. "What is going on?"
"We wanted to see the scion's daughter," one said, sounding awed.
"I'm not the scion," Sam said impatiently. "I'm not going to lead a demon army or any other army unless aliens invade and then I'll lead a resistance unit. Other than that, leave Xander's daughter alone!" he finished with a bellow. They sniffled. He stared. "She is Xander's daughter. Am I clear?" They nodded and pouted. "You have three seconds before you're history." They ran from the store. He rolled his eyes.
"That's why we wanted him somewhere safer in his last few months," Buffy said. She sat down. "We let them leave, Sam?"
"They'll be gotten later once they tell others to quit bothering her," he assured her with a grin. She smirked back. "We can hunt once we have everyone set up in the motel."
"It's a dirty, nasty place," Buffy said. "Not very safe either."
"We'll be together," Dean promised. "Not the motor lodge but just outside of town." She nodded at that. "By the mall."
"That's better." She smiled. "We should go hunt those idiots down. You guys go check in and we'll see you in the morning." They nodded, going to do that with the baby. No matter how much Tara tried to hide the baby so she could get more cuddles. "Just go with them, Tara. I'm sure she could use girl influences already." Tara beamed, going with them. She snuck into John's truck, getting an amused look. "Isabelle needs girl power lessons already," Buffy called as she walked past the truck. "And protections on the room."
"Fine," he agreed, but he was smiling. The shy young witch was very sweet and gentle, plus she had sense so he liked her. She'd be a good female role model for his granddaughter. He followed the other cars to the better motel. They were checked in under Xander's name and found they had connecting rooms. Xander and Sam, him and Dean. And Tara was apparently going to be on the boys' couch. They put the baby down after giving her a bath with Tara's help. Well, they put her into her aunt's arms and she sang and cooed to her until she drifted to sleep. Dean and John smirked at each other, going to find dinner for them. They came back and found Tara unconscious, Sam missing, and Xander with a new bloody lip and black eye. "What happened?" John demanded once he got Xander up.
Sam strolled in. "They're very sorry. That one demon tracked us." He handed her to Dean then went back outside once he had taken Dean's shotgun. The demon screamed in pain right after the sound of a shot. "That way you can't have any of your own!" he shouted after him. He came back inside, slamming the door. The baby woke up. "Shh, I'm sorry," he promised, taking her back. The shotgun got dropped onto the bed and Sam sat down with her to coo at and calm her. "Xander?"
"Present," he said, wobbling some.
John checked his eyes. "Looks like a small concussion, Xander."
"Oops. Only in town for a few hours too. The girls are going to pick on me."
"I'll beat 'em if they do," Dean promised. He looked at her, sticking his finger in her mouth. It made her quit crying so it was good. "Dad, check Tara?" He came over to do that, nodding a bit. "Here, let's get you down to sleep," he said, taking her to the motel crib to put her down. "There, you nap." She snuffled a few times so he stuck her thumb in her mouth. She sucked on it and was content, slightly. "I think it's food time."
"I can't breastfeed," Xander complained.
All three guys stared at him. "Bottle, Xander," Sam told him, moving to fix one. He handed it to Dean, who stuck it into the moving hole. She was much happier then. Tara woke up with a mewl of sound. "You're okay, Tara. It was the demon."
"Is she okay?"
"She's fine," Dean promised. "Here, feed her so we can start the warding lines." She came over to do that. They laid down salt lines and she took over from there, making sure nothing was getting into that room.
John smiled at the suddenly hyper young witch. "Calm down, Tara." She scowled then went back to it while holding the baby to feed. John took the baby for now. "I'll do this. You finish being a good aunt." She beamed and did it on the other room too then came back to take the baby to feed.
Xander blinked at her. "Aww. She's trying to breastfeed off Auntie Tara." Tara looked down with a blush, putting the bottle back into her mouth. "If you want to you can."
"You need to rest," Dean said, pushing him backward. "Sorry, the demon knocked him out too." She nodded, looking down to watch the baby eating. Sam sat beside her to help. She swatted him. "Let him help," he said in her ear. She looked at him. "You'll get her a lot. He won't unless I leave him here."
She let Sam have him with a shy grin. "We'll share."
"With Xander," John reminded her.
She nodded. "With Xander. But he works a lot and has patrol."
"He might not be going back to construction," Sam said quietly. "Because it's such hard work and a lot of hours."
She nodded. "I can see that. I know he won't ask for help." They all shook their heads. "So we'll do what we can."
Xander blinked, looking over at them. "Huh?"
"Rest, Xander. She's nearly asleep," Sam told him. That got a grunt and a nod, with Xander flipping onto his side. He was snoring a few minutes later. He grinned at Tara. "I have to steal her too." She bopped him on the knee and took the baby back to put into her crib. "There. Need brought back to the dorm?"
"Please." Dean nodded and took her out to the car, bringing her home for the night. "You'll protect them?"
"Of course," he said. She patted him on the cheek then jogged inside. He smiled, grabbing some extra food on the way back to the room. He found Sam giving Xander 'he's adorable' looks. "If you wanna stay for a while, he won't be ready for patrol for at least a few weeks," Dean said quietly. Sam blinked at him. "Seriously."
He looked at his daughter then at him. "Then I might not be able to leave. I don't blame him for the reasons he has but it's really hard, Dean."
"Of course it is." He smirked. "That's those damn mushy girl feelings of yours." Sam grinned back. "If you want, we can. Or just do a job nearby."
"We should do that anyway. He's going to be sore for a few more weeks."
Dean nodded. "Probably." That got a nod and they went to their beds to think and nibble while watching tv. Sam was watching it on closed captioning so he didn't wake anyone but that was just how he was. He had a lot to think about.
Dean walked up to where Buffy was strolling the next morning. "Sammy's torn."
"I figured he would be." She shrugged. "Mom said she didn't think he could walk off either."
"It's hard, but I know why Xander wanted to keep her a Harris."
"Yeah, so all the demons don't want her."
"I know. He knows. It's still hard on him."
"I have no doubt it is. She's so sweet I almost didn't give her back last night. Were you there for the birth?"
"Dad and Bobby were. We were sent on a short hunt just outside of town."
"Ah. Less fussing fathers."
"Probably, yeah. It took him nearly three days to decide on Isabelle. He almost named her after Faith."
"She might like that," she said with a small smile. "We'd have to check."
"He wants to visit her this weekend."
"I'll write a letter to pass on," she said, smiling at him. "So, how long are you three in town for?"
"At least until he can drive and finds a place. Probably a job too."
"His boss wanted him back."
"Construction's hard work and a lot of hours of her being in daycare."
"Good point." She frowned. "Maybe he's got an office job." She shrugged. "We'll have to see." She walked him off to the coffee place. "What else is new?"
"Not much. Beasts and ghosts and bad guys, oh my," he quipped sarcastically.
"Same here except for the ghosts. We don't get many of those here," she said.
"Really? That's strange. With all the deaths you'd expect a lot more. None?"
"A few incidences in five years."
"We should look into that. That's really unnatural." He frowned then let it clear up. "I'll tell Sammy. It'll give him something to read to the baby."
"No hunting," she told him.
"Xander said he'd paddle her if she was under eighteen."
"Me and mom too," she agreed. He grinned, nodding a bit. "Good." She linked her arms through his and walked him off again. "Now, what does the baby still need? Mom got him a nice gift certificate to the mall for baby stuff."
"Let him set up a place first, then outfit it." She nodded and held open the door for him. "Thanks, Buffy."
"Welcome, Dean." They walked in and up to the counter. The girl gave Dean a horrified look. "Yes, he's back. Xander too."
The shop girl swallowed. "How is she?"
"Perfect except for the diaper thing," Dean said with a smirk. "Sammy said he's not the leader you guys think and she'll never hunt until she's eighteen. Xander's going to make sure of it."
"And Xander said she's just his," Buffy added.
She nodded quickly. "She's still an amazing thing. Many of us are in awe over her being born." She got them coffees and waved off the money. "Is Xander showing her off yet?"
"Soon. We barely got to hold her last night," Buffy told her. That got a nod and they left. The girl went to dial her pastor to tell him the good news.
Dean glanced back inside, taking a sip of his coffee then at her. "Think there's a cult of pregnant Xander with her as an idol?"
"Yeah but they're on the edge of town."
He shook his head. "You don't mind that?"
"Xander will destroy them if they touch his daughter."
"Good point." They walked off to the Magic Box. "Giles, any idea why there's no ghosts in town?" John's head came up from his newspaper reading. "Buffy said there wasn't."
"We ran into spirits maybe three times in town," she told him. "And Xander got sick from one of them."
"That's unusual," John agreed. "Rupert?"
"I've never really thought about it."
"With the amount of death around here, I'm surprised we don't have a lot of unhappy spirits," John said. "We should look into that."
"Will it cause problems?" Buffy asked. "More spirits attacking and vamps?"
"Hopefully not," John offered.
"You won't destroy the reason without finding out?"
"I won't. I don't want to make your calling any harder," John assured her. Dean nodded, taking a sip of his coffee.
"Then find out all you want. And remember, we can put Sam up on a couch somewhere whenever he needs a vacation." She walked off happier. "Giles, there were almost no unscared vampires last night. And they all asked about Izzy."
He rolled his eyes. "Spike said they're scared Xander's going to scream at them again," he said patiently.
"Mood swing?" Dean asked with a grin. He'd seen one of those when some redneck had made a comment about Xander's 'beergut' moving and him having an alien inside. The guy wailing in misery had been very pretty since he had been an ass to Sammy earlier.
"Indeed," he sighed. "A very loud one that echoed. He scared an incredible amount of demons threatening that he was going to blow up the whole town if another creature or person came near his stomach or bowed."
"Which is a thought," Dean told him.
"Yes, but not a good one. With Xander's skills, he might manage it."
"Good point." He sat down. "Anything else going on, Dad?"
"Not really. I talked to Cordelia. She wanted pictures. She was going to get the baby something couture but I told her how messy babies are and to get something washable instead. She promised she'd send it up in a few days."
"That'll help. Buffy said her mom got him a gift certificate to the mall."
"That'll definitely help him outfit the nursery and his place."
"He's looking at the daycare and that apartment today with Sam driving."
"Why can't he drive?" Giles asked.
"He can't get fully comfortable with the stitches," John said. "It's usual for new mothers to have stomach pains for a few weeks afterward."
"Oh, I see. How long before he can patrol?"
"At least a week," Buffy called. "And my mom wants to babysit tonight."
Dean called. "Sam, me. Joyce wants to babysit during patrol tonight. I know he can't but she still wants the baby. Oh, the cult to the baby heard she's been born." He hung up.
Sam looked at his phone then stuck it back in his pocket. "There's a cult to Isabelle?"
"Yeah, some people saw her as a godly miracle." They shared a look. "They're on the outer edge of town."
"Dean said they heard she's been born."
"As long as they don't try something. Because I will make a mess if some cult tries to take her to worship." Sam gave him a shoulder squeeze. "I know, it's the end of the hormones. I'd be nice and let Buffy help in case there were any demons. Maybe Tara to take the baby so she didn't have to see that."
"I can see that," Sam promised. "I can definitely see Dad going in with you for some reason."
Xander snorted. "Your dad thinks I'm selfish and spoiled."
"He thinks the same thing about me but I think you just confuse him, Xander." Xander shrugged. "You're cool with me and Dean and that's what's important, right?"
"I guess." He looked up at him. "I know I'm not being that fair to you with her."
"I understand the reasons but if you try to block my access to her, we will have a war." He could definitely get Dean to help him kidnap his daughter if that happened and then they'd let Bobby work on Xander by thumping him on the head with a book until he gave in and let them have her for a good, long time while Xander got visitation.
"I know. I don't want to but she's gotten a lot of attention from the ones who want you."
"I saw. Which is the only reason I'm cool with this. Otherwise you'd have an extra tall roommate all of a sudden and one very nosy uncle most of the time." Xander nodded, grinning a bit. "How's things with Anya?"
"She hasn't come to see the baby yet. Before I left she was pouting about breaking us up."
"Do you think she'll come back?"
"Don't know. I'm not even sure if she left town or not."
"Good point." He ruffled Xander's hair, making him duck and grimace. He grinned. "You needed messed up. They'll think it anyway."
"That's true, they so will. Which is why the cult might try to claim her." Sam shook his head. "You don't think it's possible?"
"I don't think they want to go that far. Even your cops would have to step in. If not, maybe the FBI."
"Maybe." He gave him a nudge, getting a grin. "The place is nice."
"I like the apartment a lot more than I liked the daycare."
"Yeah, me too. But I can't bring her to the site with me."
"I understand that. Is there another one in town?"
"Not unless I pay someone private. There's a few of those." He shrugged. "I know I'm not going on welfare to raise her."
"I didn't expect you to but they might have a better daycare list at the local help referral agencies."
"I hadn't thought of that."
"We can ask later." Xander nodded. "And they might have a good place to start looking for cheaper furniture too."
"They might." He walked him over to that building. There was a short wait but not too long. "Hi, I don't need a referral or anything but I'm hoping you have a few lists. Or know who would," he told the worker.
"Sure, what sort of lists? Baby stuff?"
"Basically cheap used furniture places, daycares?" Sam asked. "He has some money saved up and he'll be getting some help when we can. He'll probably be looking for a job soon too."
Xander nodded. "I was working construction and I wouldn't mind going back but I'd need competent help for her."
"I can see that. Let's see what we have." She got into her computer, finding a few things she printed. "Let's see." She went to get it then came back. "This is the local helper agency for baby gear. Since you don't want to dip into their stocks, they should have a list of where you can get things the cheapest." She handed over that referral. "That's to get them to talk to you. This one is the names of some free sample give-aways for things like diapers, formula, that stuff, and that's a list of who we have that does daycare. Now, the state does have a daycare sponsoring program for those who work but don't make a lot. We can do that paperwork here if you need us to." She handed them over with a smile.
"Thank you," Xander said. "Say thank you, Izzy?" The baby yawned. "Thank you." They shook her hand and left. "That was a good stop, huh, Izzy. Are you hungry? Wet?"
"She doesn't fuss about being wet so we should probably check her diaper." They went to find a flat spot in the nearer park. Someone made a disgusted face when they caught them removing her diaper. "She has to be changed," Sam shot back. "I'm not going to let her sit around wet."
"Feel lucky I'm not a nudist with her," Xander said with a grin for the old biddy. She huffed off to complain. Xander folded up the diaper changing pad and put it away. A cop strolled their way. "There was a pad under her."
"I know there was." He looked at the baby. "She's cute, Harris. She seen your parents?"
"Good." He looked at Sam then at him. "Don't cause us any problems."
"If that cult to her tries for her, will you guys actually answer?" Xander asked.
The cop wobbled. "We'd try."
"I'd do, not try," Xander said. "Or we'll let you guys clean it up."
"I can understand that. It's a parent thing." He patted them on the back. "She's adorable but making that bad face."
"I noticed," Sam admitted. "Thank you, Officer."
"Not a problem, boys. Oh, Miss Miller who does daycare? Just...don't. She's under investigation by the ATF."
"Guns?" Xander asked.
"Sure." He walked off. "That's good to know." They waited until she fussed about her diaper being filled to change her. That way she was done. They both grimaced too but oh well. "That better, Izzy?"
"Apparently." He grabbed stuff to make a bottle, settling in to feed her while Xander cleaned up the pad and put it away in the bag. "Where's your stuff in storage?"
"Across town. I was going to have one of Spike's buddies move it for me. Then have Tara ward the house."
Sam looked at him. "Not Willow?"
Xander looked around then at him. "I'm not sure she's better and I don't want to encourage her to use it unless necessary," he said quietly.
"I can agree with that. It's a good plan." He looked down. "Still sleepy? It's a bit warm so it's good sleeping weather." He looked at Xander. "Will it cost you a lot to have them move your stuff?"
"No. They owe Spike favors. We pay at least half of Spike's blood bill." That got a nod. "If he won't ask them I'll make him change diapers." Sam burst out laughing. "It'd make me do things."
"Me too." He looked down again with a smile. "How's that, Izzy? Still hungry?" She was asleep so he put her back into the carrier. The bottle went into the bag and it was time to go back to the Magic Box. They strolled that way, letting a few more people come up to coo at the baby. They made it inside during one of the cooing incidences. "We're back," Sam called. "People like to coo over the baby."
"She's adorable; of course they do," Buffy agreed. "How's the apartment?"
"We have keys," Sam said. "And a list of other daycares since that one was kinda...."
"Strange in many ways and not demonic strange," Xander said. "It had teletubbies on the wall in compromising positions. Including one in that stripper 'look at my crotch' position."
She shuddered, walking off shaking her head. "That's got to be evil."
"Yeah. Sam called the state on 'em," Xander agreed. They sat down and let the baby sit on the table. "There we are, Izzy."
Tara drifted over and stole the baby then walked off again. Both guys smiled at her back. "She was just changed twice and fed," Sam called after her. He looked at his brother. "Dad?"
"Library. For some reason there's almost no spirits around here."
"Really?" he asked Xander. Xander nodded. "That's really strange."
"I figured it was how they died or the hellmouth," he admitted.
"Could be." Sam stretched. "Okay, what's on the list this afternoon?"
"Moving out of the motel to the apartment? It's got two guest rooms and I'll have a couch later."
"It is a three bedroom. I can camp in the baby's room," Sam promised. "Dean?"
"Good for me. Stuff to be moved?"
"Spike?" Xander called. He came up from the basement to the doorway. "Think those same demons can move my stuff back for me?"
"So I don't have to haul the couch a week post surgery?" He grinned. "Or you can watch Izzy and change her stinky, gross diapers while we move it."
Tara made a horrified noise. "I'll watch her."
Xander grinned. "It's an incentive."
"Give me twenty bucks and they'll do it."
Dean tossed over a few bills. "Tonight?"
"Few hours. Take the garage?" Xander nodded. "Got keys?" Xander tossed them over. "Fine. You owe me."
"I won't tell anyone you cooed," he said dryly with a grin. "Especially since one of the demons earlier was muttering about Dru being localish because they'd have to protect Izzy from her."
Spike shuddered. "That's a good warning." He went to talk to the demons. The twenty was his pay, they'd do it to cancel their kitten poker debts to him. Within two hours Xander's stuff was in his apartment. They got to spend the afternoon getting baby stuff at the mall and going to talk to the ladies about cheap furniture places. That got a short shopping raid too. It was good and by that night they all collapsed. Dean had even moved John's truck to the street where the apartment was. Joyce came over with a casserole and switched it for the baby. Dean laughed but went to help Buffy on patrol. Sam followed.
John finally showed up, frowning at Xander. "You already moved in?"
"Yup and you can have the couch. Dean's got a cot." That got a nod. "They're on patrol for the night. Joyce has the baby. I'm doing baby laundry of the new stuff."
"I can join the boys on patrol. You'll be fine?"
"Yeah, I'm fine. My stomach doesn't hurt that much." He nodded, going to do that. Xander went to finish the laundry and make plans with Wes about how to get Izzy to visit her other new aunt.
Xander looked up from the small table in the jail's visitor center, smiling at the young woman being led his way. "Faith."
"X?" She stopped next to the table, staring at him. "You don't usually visit."
"I am today. I'm sharing good news."
"Found God?" she taunted with an evil smirk. He put the carrier on the table. She stared. "You knocked a girl up?"
"Not quite." She sat down hard, looking at him. "Did you notice we had a small merging issue?"
"Yeah, I had."
"She's the lock."
"Oh." She looked. "So which scooby had her?"
She stared, mouth slightly open. "Really?" He nodded. "Damn."
"Yup. She was insane; hated twinkies, pork rinds, anything she thought was artificial. Drove me nuts."
"I'm sure she did," she said weakly. She uncovered the carrier to look at the baby. "You're adorable."
"I almost named her after you but we weren't sure you'd mind." Faith gave him an odd look. "That way there's a Faith that has a lot of fussy, loving aunts. Tara's stealing her all the time."
"Willow's girlfriend. She switched after Oz left for control of his inner beast."
"Oh. That kinda sucks."
"Tara's a sweet girl."
"The blonde?" Xander nodded, sliding over an envelope. "Who?"
"Willow and Buffy."
"Thanks. I never hear news."
"I'm not sure if there's news news or just personal stuff. I didn't read them." He shrugged. "So, this is Isabelle Belladonna Harris."
"Sammmmmm," she drew out.
"Winchester," he said very quietly. She gaped. He nodded. She shook her head. He nodded. "That's where we merged thanks to Willow. She was muttering about him when she made the accidental wish."
She shuddered. "That's just a freaky image." She looked at the baby again. "She looks more like her uncle." She smirked. "Some of the ladies had a hard-on for the show."
"He said that too but the tests came out." He shrugged. "They've been good. They understood why she's a Harris and staying that way."
"I get that. The same as B's child will someday have her daddy's name." Xander nodded. "Did you at least get to try him out?"
"No." He gave her an odd look. "I just broke up with Anya when we found out."
She grimaced. "The one you took to the prom?"
"You have better taste if you went after me."
He smiled. "You were definitely deadly enough for my tastes but we never stuck together because you weren't meant to be evil."
She gave him a look. "You sure about that?"
"Yup." He nodded. "If you were, she'd be crying. She does that at bad guys. All but Spike." She gave him another odd look. "That's probably in Willow's letter. Long story. Including a bad former Buffy boyfriend. Temporary because she's only in it for the pouncing."
"Uh-huh." She smiled. "Things are still insane I take it?"
"Yup. Like always."
"Good to know." She smiled at the baby. "You're so fucking adorable, little girl. You will not end up like me."
"She's perfectly normal," he said quietly. "No mole, nothing." She beamed at that. "If she follows me into the field, she'd better be at least eighteen too. We wouldn't mind if she went into a normal person field but if she wants she'd better be over the legal age, preferably able to drink too."
"I can see that." She stroked a finger down the baby's nose, making her flinch and wake up. "Sorry, sweetie."
"We're calling her Izzy."
"Hi, Izzy. I'm your daddy's friend Faith."
"You're an aunt, Faith. Get over it. When you get out, we'll even let you babysit and change diapers."
She gave him an odd look. "You'd trust me that much?"
"Yeah. Wes said you've changed a lot in here." He patted her wrist, getting a cough from a guard. "Sorry, they said no touching."
"I know." She smiled. "I have."
"I know." He grinned back. "That's why I'd trust you with what's important to me."
"Welcome, Faith. So, isn't she too adorable for words?"
"She's very adorable. She's going to break hearts, and not in the slutty way I did."
Xander snorted. "I don't care if she enjoys it, Faith. That's all on her; as long as she's not charging for it I'm happy." That got a look. "I don't want her to be the easy chick in the high school but as long as she's not a ho."
"That's a good plan. Kinda realistic."
"I am me," he said dryly. He looked at his daughter. "That's a bad face, daughter. And they confiscated the diaper bag." He looked at the guard. "Can I have the diaper bag long enough to change her?"
"I can get you a diaper and cleaning cloths," he offered.
"Please. That's the really bad look. There's a pad in there too, please." The guard nodded, radioing back and going to get it for him. Xander got her stripped down once the pad was down, changing her quickly. "Toss that please, Faith?" he asked, handing her the sealed dirty one. She tossed it into a can. He cleaned her up and got her rediapered. "There, snap that." He went to toss those out, using the last one to clean his own hands and tossing it out too. He came back. "Better, Izzy?"
"Apparently. She's cooing," Faith said, smiling as she teased the baby's stomach. "She's a bit pudgy."
"Babies are like that. They need it to make them grow bigger than Buffy is." She giggled. "I don't want her to be that short. She'll feel like a dwarf next to Sam."
"Good point." The baby yawned and started to fuss.
"It's not time for food yet. Stick her thumb in there, Faith." She did that. The baby was happier but not totally. "I'll feed you when we get outside." The guard got her a bottle too. "Thanks, man." He let Faith feed her. "Sam spent the last few days feeding her before they had to get back on the road."
"He'll be back soon?"
"As often as he can talk Dean into it," he agreed. She smiled. "They're promising to come bug Buffy as often as they can. All three."
"Yeah, they hadn't gotten to Chicago yet."
"Ah. That's good."
"They helped with the last big thing."
"Very cool." She looked at the baby again. "She's something I've never seen me having but she's pretty neat."
"That's because she's sleepy. She spent all last night up to play." She giggled. She put the bottle aside and picked the baby up to burp her. Izzy did and got put back into the carrier. "There you go, Izzy. Feel better?" The baby fell asleep slowly. "That's so sweet of you." He grinned. "My number's on the back of the envelope if you want to talk or ask for pictures, Faith."
She looked around at the leaving families. "Damn, it nearly is over."
"We'll be back in about a month or so, pending illness and cranky babies."
"Because Buffy's still the princess her mom made her. Even with all the reality we see, Buffy likes her princess fantasies. Willow's... well, she's got a magic addiction." Faith gaped. He nodded. "It happens. She's gotten help but I'm not sure I want to encourage her with Izzy. Beyond that, I'm a realistic person. You're a realistic person. Her other parent is too. I don't mind her being spoiled but she's not a princess if she's my daughter."
"Sometimes you have to have the fantasy to get past the reality."
"Yup, but not retreating into it." He sighed, leaning on the table. "She's tired, Faith. We all realize that." She nodded. "Dawn's not bad for her but she's still young. Tara too. I'm not sure she'll have an Aunt Buffy in a few more years. Or an Aunt Willow if she dips back into the darkside again."
"Heading there. Using it for everything, all that." Faith grimaced. "Yeah, so I'm not sure about that stuff with her. Especially not with the baby. If it was just me, I'd be supportive and helpy, but I can't risk Izzy."
"I understand that."
"Which is why you're an aunt," he told her. She smiled and nodded. "So we'll be back in a few weeks or so. Depending on if she's sick, fussy, or her other parent is in. Call me to let me know when a good time is. Or if you just want to talk, Faith."
"I can do that. Thanks, X."
"Not an issue. In there's a calling card too." He winked and stood up, grabbing the bottle. "Get a hug." She hugged the baby and he left with her.
Faith settled in to read the letters, smiling at the stamps and calling card inside the envelope. The guard came to get her, taking her back to her cell. It was a good visit. She needed it to keep her sane and on a good path. She had a new reason to be a good girl again too, because Izzy would not be in a cell like hers if she had any say in it. There was no way his daughter was going to join her here. She settled back to reread the letters. B was a bit light and lacking real news but Willow had babbled about everything, including Izzy. It was good to hear.
Xander walked into the Magic Box. "Faith looks good. She looks healthy. She looked kinda depressed."
"Hopefully the letters will help," Buffy said, waving at Izzy. "Hi. That's smelly."
"She laid it on the way off the interstate." He took the baby and diaper bag into the bathroom then came back. "What's going on?"
"Great vamp debate," Willow said. She looked at the baby. "Which means you've got to go home with daddy soon."
"I'm mostly healed," Xander told them. "Joyce said she'd watch her during patrols." Willow grimaced. He stared her down. "Don't even try."
"Enough," Buffy said tiredly. "Xander, until you're fully healed, no. You just barely got able to drive again. There's no way I want them to kick you or hit you on the stomach yet. So until you're no longer sore, no patrolling unless it's an emergency. But please, go make my mom happy with the baby." She smiled. "Give it a few weeks. We're only in vamp heaven and I can take that."
"Whatever," he muttered.
"It sucks but I'd take time off if I was that sore."
"Good!" She smiled. "Did she give you a letter back?"
"She read it after we left."
"I guess it'll give her something to do at night," Willow said.
"She wanted to know if Sam and I had tried to make her a sibling."
Buffy gaped, then blushed, shaking her head. "Yeah, Faith's gonna be okay." She walked off after grabbing a few stakes. "We'll be back later. Mom's pouting."
"Sure." He looked at his daughter. "C'mon, we'll go see Grandma Joyce." He walked her that way, knocking before walking in ten minutes later. "Buffy said you're pouting."
"I am not." He grinned. "She wouldn't let you go?"
"She had a point. I'm still a bit sore. I'll be back on patrol in a few weeks."
"That's fine, Xander." She looked at the baby. "You're still adorable. How was Faith?"
"She looked a bit depressed. She liked being an aunt. Got to feed her for a few minutes and get burped on." Joyce smiled. "She's going to be a good aunt."
"Good. I added to Buffy's letter."
"I figured you did." He grinned and she smirked back. "She could use a mothering person too." He settled down on the couch. "Treatments going okay?"
"I... Well, I'm doing good but they're tiring and making me a bit sick. Which worries the girls."
"I'm guessing it's normal?"
"It is," she agreed. "The doctors have given me something for it. It's still worrying the girls."
"Of course it is. They're your daughters."
She smiled. "I did raise some fussy daughters."
"Just a few," he agreed dryly, cracking her up. "Go putter. We can watch over you while you do the necessary stuff."
"So you're here to watch over me?"
"I'm totally surprised she hasn't had Willow mine the house with cameras so she can watch you in class," he said dryly, pointing at one. Joyce looked then sighed, shaking her head. He grinned. "They do worry about you."
"I know." She walked off to the kitchen. "Want some toast, Xander?"
"Sure." He carried the baby in there, glancing outside. "Aw, crap," he muttered. "Joyce, take the baby to your safe area," he ordered. Joyce gave him an odd look but looked outside when he pointed. She took the baby and diaperbag with her. Xander called the police. "Hi, I'm at the Summers house on Bridge. There's a lot of people on the lawn staring at the house. I don't know why but I'm here with Mrs. Summers, who's a bit ill, and my baby daughter. Yes, this is him. Please." He hung up and waited. Then he called the cops personally.
"Officer Tim, it's Xander Harris. I'm at Buffy Summers' house and there's a lot of people on the lawn staring at the house. Her mom's sick and my daughter's here. I did, about five minutes ago. There's been no answer." He went to find the weapons cache. "Yeah, I've got a crossbow and a sword." He smiled. "Thanks, Officer Tim." He hung up. "This is not going to be pretty." Officer Tim showed up to talk to them. They started to chant 'give us the saint', making Xander wince. "Not good." A few tried to rush the house. The officer called in for backup. It was early evening so he got some. Not a lot. They were overrun pretty quickly.
Xander came out with the crossbow cocked. "You're not getting my daughter." They stopped. "No one is touching my daughter. Because I am going to destroy anyone who gets near her." They backed off at that. "Keep going. Joyce is sick and I'm not going to let you harm her or my daughter. Ever." He saw Buffy jogging his way. "I'd leave. Now." They started to chant again. He sighed, looking at the officers. Who shrugged. "Rioting?" he suggested. "Can we arrest them?"
"We can," the officers agreed. They got the people down and cuffed. Buffy helped when she got there. They got other cars to come pick them up. "Is she all right?"
"Joyce has her," he said quietly.
The officers nodded. They got them cleaned up. "Maybe you should lock yourselves in," one said.
Xander nodded. "We had it planned before they showed up." That got a nod. "Can you ask the judge that gives them bail to give us a restraining order?"
"We can suggest it," the officer agreed, taking them off.
Buffy looked at Xander. "Mom?"
"With the baby in her safe room." She relaxed. "I saw them gathering and sent her, then called."
"Good!" She gave the retreating cars a bad look then him. "So?"
"Cult of Izzy."
"She's cute, but really." She walked off to tell Giles then go back on patrol.
Xander went back inside. "They're gone, Joyce." He came to hug his daughter and her. "They arrested them. I asked for a restraining order."
"Good." She patted his cheek. "Are you all right?"
"A bit freaked out."
"Me too." They went back to making toast for the adults, and Xander let her suck on a piece of heavily buttered toast so she could join in their nibbling. Joyce smiled at that.
"It's good for her."
"Uh-huh." She looked outside. "Are those vampires?"
Xander walked out. "I'm going to stake you all," he shouted.
"You don't have hormone swings anymore," one shot back.
Xander looked at him. "Why would that matter to me staking you guys?" They fled. He went back inside and called Buffy. "Three vamps on the back lawn who wanted Izzy too." He hung up and nibbled on his toast. "Want to come to my place? It's more defensible."
"We probably should." They left in the cars, heading to his place. It only had one entry and a few windows. So unless they started a fire they were fine. Since they wanted the baby they wouldn't be starting a fire.
Xander kicked open his weapons trunk and got what he wanted out of it, putting it aside. Then he went to watch Joyce put her down for the night in her crib. "She loves that mobile you guys made her."
"It was a good family project." She started it moving, watching the little girl watch it. "She does like it."
"Yup. She'll fuss when it stops if she's not asleep." They shared a smile. "Dawn?"
He went to call. "It's Xander. Is Dawn still there?" He smiled. "Thanks." He called home. "Come to my place. They wanted the baby so your mom is here." He hung up. "She'll run over. She had Spike walk her. I heard him rooting for stuff in the kitchen." She nodded at that. "That is uber freaky."
"Yeah, it was."
He shook his head, sitting on the couch to watch the street. He went to let Dawn and Spike in then went back to his post. "Good night?" he asked Dawn.
"Not bad." She went to check on the fragile ones, then came back to root in the fridge. "Xander, why do you have baby formula and no food?"
"I need to shop tomorrow."
She rolled her eyes, but went to help her mother.
"Makes sense to me," Spike told him. "What happened?"
"Cult of Izzy humans and three vamps on Buffy's back lawn," Xander said quietly. "They told me I didn't have mood swings anymore so I wouldn't stake them." They shared a look. Spike snorted, going to hunt those three down for their stupidity. "You two settle in for a few hours. Take the spare cot." They had to deal with it for now. Someone would make them stop or Xander would go blow up their shrine to Izzy. Quickly.
Spike ran into Buffy in one of the cemeteries. "Got the three who made them move to whelp's house with the bint and your mother." He took a drag of his cigarette. "Little Bit's there too."
"Good. What happened?"
"Three vamps trying the same thing. Told whelp he didn't have mood swings so he wouldn't stake 'em."
She snorted. "They're lucky he didn't shoot first and then quip."
"They're dust now."
"Good." She walked off with him. "Any ideas on how to stop that group of people?"
"No clue," he admitted. She sighed, slumping some. "Might wanna warn the father, just in case they come to him."
"I thought it was bad when the demons came to bow to her." She called. "Dean, it's Buffy. No, just a head's up. The cult of Izzy here tried to surround Mom's house. If there's members elsewhere they might try to bow to Sam too. Who knows. No, the cops got them from the house for standing on the lawn and chanting. Actually, I'm really surprised Xander didn't open fire on them. He's more paranoid than Tara is about her safety." She smiled. "It's handled so far but I thought you should be warned in case they came after Sam to make him a saint's father." She smiled. "Patrol. He's with my mom. Thanks." He hung up. "He'll warn the family."
"Good. That's a bit freaky."
"Just a bit," she agreed. They went back to patrol. "They sounded like they were in LA."
"Could be. They've only been gone a few days." He finished his cig and stomped it out, then pulled a stake. "Fledges helping a friend out."
They went to stop the vampires digging a stuck fledgling out. It was the most fun they had all night.
Dean hung up. "That cult to Izzy tried to get visiting rights by storming the Summers house," he announced. John gave him a dirty look. "They were arrested. Buffy called in a head's up in case they came to bow at Sammy."
"Should we head back or offer to babysit for a while?" Sam asked.
"If he needs it, he'll call. She said the cops arrested them," Dean said. "But I'm not getting that far away until this is settled."
Sam nodded. "Agreed."
"I could head back," John offered.
Dean shook his head. "We'll call Xander in a while, make sure it's solved."
Sam pulled out his phone to text Dawn's phone, getting back one two minutes later. "Xander typed out that they're fine and he's asking for a restraining order and going to talk to a higher authority tomorrow about them."
"Who handles cults?" Dean asked.
"FBI," John said quietly. "I wish him luck."
Sam smirked. "He's more stubborn than both of us, Dad. Combined." John smiled at that, nodding a bit. The boy had proven it a time or to when John tried to get pushy and Sam had stuck up for the sensible idea of the moment. "It'll get fixed or he might end up blowing up their temple to her."
"That could happen too," Dean agreed. "You never know with Xander." They all smirked and got back to dinner. It was going to be a long week but LA had plenty of ghosts for them to deal with for a few hunts.
That way Sam wasn't that far away from his daughter while he decided if he wanted to run back and be a daddy or not.
Dean wouldn't feel abandoned for that as long as they let him fuss over his niece whenever he was in range. Since Xander readily handed her over whenever either of them were close enough to hand her off, that was still fine.
Xander smiled as he got off the elevator, heading for an agent he had seen on tv. Apparently they had been in the other realm too. "Agent Epps?" he asked quietly. The guy looked back then turned to look at him. "Can I talk to you about a cult that's started to my daughter?"
"Why did they start one to your daughter?"
"Because my best friend and girlfriend's areas got together to make me give birth to her."
Don grimaced. "How?"
"No idea. I woke up in the hospital with a nurse telling me that the ER decided I was delusional because their machines said I was pregnant. The problem is that there's now a cult to my daughter and we had to have some of them arrested last night at a friend's mother's house."
"Sure, let's see if we can help with that. Are the locals handling it?"
"They arrested them but I'm in Sunnydale."
He winced. "Never mind. You guys don't have an effective department."
"I'm impressed three officers came out last night to stop the chanting on her lawn." He handed over the reports from them and the restraining order that the judge had granted. "That's what they got from them." He handed over an envelope. "That's their temple, where it is, their interior plans, and where the shrine to my daughter is."
Xander stopped him. "I was at graduation and helped get people out of the way," he said quietly.
The guy stared at him. "I know what really happened, kid."
"I'm Xander Harris. I led the defensive action," he said quietly. That got a nod. "Now they want my daughter and my first instinct isn't good for the public view."
"I can understand that." He took him to a room with a table to talk over. "What have they done so far?" Xander pointed at the envelope. He got into the information to look over. It was fairly comprehensive. "That's probably not good."
"No, it's not and there were sixteen on the Summers' lawn last night." He leaned forward. "I don't want to have to deal with them. I'd rather someone could stop them non- violently, maybe convince them; but if I have to, I'm going to protect my daughter."
"I understand that," he agreed. He gave him a reassuring smile. "I'd do the same thing. Where is she today?"
"Do we know if they're part of it?"
"Not as far as I know. We did check."
"Good." He got into it again. It was fairly bad. "Technically cults are state issues unless this goes across state lines or includes some other area we handle.."
"I gave birth out of state due to the threat they and others posed to me and her. I went to find some friends who'd protect us during it."
"I can see why." He went back to it. "Let me take this to our profilers. See if it is something we can nudge the state on maybe." He went to talk to the local profiler office, knocking before walking in upstairs. "Guys, got a cult."
"To which god?"
"A newborn little girl." He handed over the information. "Her ...father is downstairs."
"You paused, why?" the head profiler asked.
The lesser one waved the first sheet. "Because he gave birth?"
"He said he's not sure of the method but he did give birth to her," Don admitted. "They arrested them last night. They're in Sunnydale. He was involved in that graduation problem a few years back."
"Eww," one said, shuddering. "I went up to debrief the survivors."
Don nodded. "So, can we do anything other than nudge the state boys?"
The head profiler nodded. "We can. He marked a weapons room on the plans." They groaned, moving to look at them. "How did he get these?"
"He scouted. He's in one of our interrogation rooms."
"Sure," they agreed, coming down to work with him.
Xander looked up as more people came in. "Geek squad?"
"Profilers," one said with a grin.
"Mr. Harris," the one who knew Sunnydale said.
Xander stood up and moved his jeans and shirt out of the way, showing the incision. "C-Section."
"Willow and my girlfriend Anya decided to get together to wish I knew what women went through." The lead profiler gave him an odd look. "I deal with strange things."
"I remember you as a show," he mouthed.
"And that's why," he agreed. That got a nod and they settled in to deal with it.
"What type of weapons?" Don asked. "Any idea?"
"A few swords in the temple around the shrine to defend her. A few guns in that room but they looked like it was growing." That got a nod. They weren't happy but it was fine. They decided to set up some surveillance to watch over their methods for now. It was the best they could do until they did something bad.
Xander was back the next day with the baby. "Okay, now what're we doing since I had to stop one from breaking in to get her?" he asked.
"The locals didn't say that."
"They never showed up. I dropped them on their desks after I beat the shit out of them."
Don nodded. "Sure, I can understand that. Let's call and see what's going on."
"They're sulking since I took her with me today."
"Let us make the major moves, Harris." He had him sit down, smiling at the sleeping baby. "She's cute."
"Everyone says that," he said with a grin. "She'll scream and fuss if they're bad people."
"How good is her judgement?"
"Eeeh. She thinks pork rinds are artificial and didn't like me eating them or twinkies, but she liked fried chicken."
"Yeah. Kicked the snot out of me when I did it. Recently, she's been pretty cool about it."
"Good to know." He made that note and called Sunnydale's PD to see what had happened. He got a concise report then hung up on the complaining period. "They said they want to arrest you but they can't."
Xander nodded. "Because they didn't answer the 911 call."
"True." He went over it. "What're they doing today?"
"I think a few are in town. I'm not real sure."
"We can check." He made another call and then brought the boy to a safer room. "Stay in here. One's here." He went to get the profiler so they could question the guy. The building's guards were nice enough to arrest the guy waiting on them to come out and escort him forcefully up to an interrogation room. Don walked in with the profiler. "So, a cult to a baby?"
"She's the savior of us."
"She's a newborn. She can't save anyone," Don said, sitting across from him. "No matter how she came to be, she's not a saint. No baby is born a saint."
"She was created by God to lead us. That heathen who has her should not!" he said firmly.
"He's the one who gave birth to her," the profiler said. "Like Mary gave birth to Jesus."
The guy shrugged. "We'll accept him for that much but he *touches* her."
Xander walked in without the baby. "Of course I touch her. I rock her to sleep, I hold her while I feed her, and I change her diapers and clothes. I give her baths. You can't not touch a baby even if you could manage all that without touching one. They grow up wrong."
"She'll be fine when we have her. She'll be raised right; to save us from the ungodly ones. Like those around you."
Xander leaned down to get into his face. "I doubt that seriously."
"Harris," Don ordered. Xander backed up. "Where is she?"
"The one agent is cooing over her. Dark hair, dark skin?"
"David. Okay. He's on my team."
"So I heard. That's why I came to you." He looked at him. "I don't want to have to hurt you for touching my daughter." He left, going to check on her.
Don looked at him again. "I'm pretty sure he can do it too."
"He still is wrong to touch her that way. He pats her and treats her like less than a saint. He may have given birth to her but he is not the sainted one's real parent. God is."
The profiler shook his head. "I've seen the surgical scar. I've gotten his records from his doctor. He carried and gave birth to her."
"He did not push her out?" the cultist asked.
"No, she was born via C-section," the profiler told him. "Whatever they did only created a uterus."
"Then that proves that he is not meant to have her. He's not a true mother. That's a sign of the apocalypse. She'll save us while you other ones burn."
Don looked at the profiler. "You wait in here while we go translate what you're saying to Harris." He left with him. "So?" he asked once they were alone.
"He's cracked mentally." Don nodded at that. "We need to find what we can bust them on." They heard the alarms and ran out to see a few other cult members coming off the elevator to try to snatch the baby or free their friend, one of the two. Xander got one on the head. "Where's the baby?" he called.
"Safe." He looked over then grabbed a fallen agent's gun, shooting at the ceiling. "I said stop it!" he bellowed. They stopped. The agents edged their hands toward their weapons. "You do not disrespect these agents this way or my daughter!" He handed the gun off and pulled his daughter out of a desk drawer. "You're endangering her and I will not allow it. And I do know how to cure these problems so she *never* has to deal with your kind again. You won't have to worry about God's love. Am I clear?" he snarled at one of them. She burst out crying. "Back on your knees like you're praying." The baby sniffled. He looked down.
"I know she's bad. Calm down." They fell to their knees, staring at her. He looked at Don. "Go ahead." One reached up but the baby wailed when her hand came near her foot. "What did I tell you?" he sneered. "Down. Now." She whimpered, laying down and putting her hands out to the sides like the agent was telling her. He rocked the baby, shh-ing her until she calmed down. "I know. They're meanies. They won't come near you again, Izzy. I promise. It'll be okay. Daddy will make it okay." He kissed her on the head, earning a few heated looks.
He walked off to get her a bottle from the bag, feeding it to her. "There, you have nummies." He dialed a number. "They raided the FBI." He hung up. "Shh. It'll be okay." He sat down in Don's chair, settling her in his lap so he could feed her comfortably. "There, that's better, right? I'm sorry about the loud noise, Izzy. It won't happen again. They won't be coming back." She burped and went back to sucking, staring at him. "Daddy will make it all okay," he said quietly.
Don leaned on his wall. "She okay?"
"Just fine. That's why I put her in the drawer when the alarm went off." They shared a look. "They'll be arrested for breaking the restraining order?"
"And for invading a federal building with weapons." He walked off to make sure of it. He came back. "Don't shoot at the ceilings. That's cheezy movie stuff, kid."
"Nearly got you shot too."
Xander looked at him. "He was already down. It kept others from being hurt too." He went back to talking to her to keep her calm. "See, he's a nice guy. Some year he'll have one of you and it'll be good for the future. Huh?" She burped and seemed to smile. "Is that gas or a real grin? I don't know yet. We'll have to wait and see." The nearest cult member being walked off tried to kick at him. He grabbed her ankle and yanked, knocking her down. "Don't you dare bring violence near my daughter," he sneered without looking at her. "I will make sure nothing touches her." He looked over. "Like I have other times when necessary." The woman crawled back to the agent, letting him help her up and into a cell.
He smiled at his daughter. "She was pretty dumb, huh? You'll have brains like your other family. That way you go on to do great, mundane things for the world." She let out a large belch with regurged milk. "Eww." He used his t-shirt to wipe her mouth off. "Better?" She cooed. "Good girl." He grinned and put the bottle on the desk, picking her up to burp her again. She let out another one and more milk. "I take it you're full?" he teased. She sucked on his neck. "No, you're not Uncle Spike. You can't suck on necks unless you're a vampire, sweetie. Speaking of, we should go show you to Cordy and Angel. Yes we should." He wiped her mouth off with his t-shirt again and let her go back to her nap. He grinned at the watching agents. "Sorry about the gun thing but I thought it might solve it sooner."
"Don't do it again, sir." They went to check on their new inmates.
Xander went to look at the crying cult member, sitting down across from him with her on his shoulder. "You should have realized what happens around town by now," he said quietly.
"That is unholiness. Quit touching her!"
"I'm keeping her calm so she doesn't scream and wail about you." Don walked in and took the baby. "Thanks." He looked at him again. "You know very well what goes on in town." The man grimaced. "And that I'm on the *protection* squad." The man whimpered. "Do you really think if you come near her I won't react?"
"She is holy! A saint sent to bring us to redemption!"
"She's not a saint or she wouldn't scream at three am to have her diaper changed." The man snarled and lunged but Xander blocked his hit and shoved his head down into the table. "Don't try. Just, do yourself a favor." He let him go and leaned back. "Babies might be born pure but that's because they need it when they annoy people to no end. Which you're doing to me. Unfortunately you're not that pure so you don't have the same protection." He stood up. "My daughter is mine. Izzy is never going to be your saint."
"That's not her name."
"Her name is Isabelle Belladonna Harris," he said firmly. "I can call her cute nicknames if I want since I gave birth to her." He walked off at the yelling 'why do you have that baby'. "Chill, that's her uncle. Dean, diaper bag?"
"Got some in the car still. She okay?"
"She was in a drawer. Take her to see her Aunt Cordy and have her Uncle Angel tell her why she shouldn't suck on necks yet?"
Dean smirked. "Sure, Xander." He left.
Xander calmed himself again. "That's her Uncle Dean. I'd rather have her far away from the violence they want to bring near her."
"He touched her back!" one of the cultists shouted. "He's evil!"
Xander turned to look at him. "How do you expect to do things like change diapers without touching them? Or giving them a bath?"
"It can be done."
"No it can't. Obviously you've never bathed anyone. She can't move on her own yet. She has no bowel control. That means she needs to be helped to do those things. Even if you don't like it."
"If necessary, respectful touching would be allowed. With gloves so we did not taint her with anything unworthy still in us," one woman said. "And I do have children."
"Not for long when the state gets them," Megan quipped. She looked at Xander. "That's her uncle?"
"Yeah." He looked at the woman. "And then what? Who's going to read to her? Make her happy? You won't."
"The Lord will tell her stories."
"Don't you think he's a bit busy with all the other crap on his plate? Everyone from soldiers to athletes are trying to get his attention all the time. He's got multiple wars and people dying every second. He doesn't have time to tell anyone any bedtime stories. Much less burp the baby so she doesn't get colic. I feel sorry for your kids if you treated them like that. Worse than mine were." She glared at that, starting to growl. "What? You think you're better than two alcoholics? Clearly not. Not even they could mess up this big." He looked at Megan. "Can't I just hit them a few times?"
"No, Mr. Harris."
"If I can't, you can't," Don told him.
"Damn. Pity." He stared at one until she tried to hide behind the others. He looked at Megan. "Shouldn't women be mad that they made me have her and took something special away from women?"
"I'm upset but not that mad. Anyone who wants to have kids and who can afford them, go for it." She frowned. "Hold on, you were pregnant?" He pulled up his shirt to show the scar. "Wow. Hurt a lot?"
"I demanded and received drugs. I was in hiding thanks to people like that."
"Probably a good idea."
"She had the worst thing about kicking whenever I wanted a twinkie or chip." She smiled at that. "She did. She had a freaky thing about chicken too."
She nodded. "Food cravings are common from what my friends said."
"Oh, yeah. She had a thing with french dressing and I don't like the stuff. She wanted it on apples."
"One of my friends wanted frogs legs. Living, uncooked ones a few times."
"Eww. Worse than mine." She nodded. "Did hers kick the snot out of her insides every time she ate something the baby didn't like?"
"No, her baby just kicked randomly. She did?"
"Every time I wasn't eating to suit her. I swear she bruised my lungs once because I didn't dip things in nutella."
She laughed. "That's bad."
"Who's the other parent?"
"We're keeping that hidden because people want him for different reasons."
"Us? Some state?"
He leaned down. "Do I look familiar?" he asked quietly.
"I saw that show a few times," she hissed back.
"He's another hunter."
"Oh. Reasonable." He nodded, straightening up again. "You should probably rinse the baby spitup out."
Xander looked at his t-shirt. "It'll wash later." She nodded at that. "Do we need me more? I still wanna hit them. Repeatedly."
"Go," she ordered. "We have your cell number?" He wrote it down for her. "Go hug her. She needs her mom."
"Dad, please. She has two dads." He skipped off, handing in his visitor's badge on the way out.
Megan went to interrupt Don, handing over the phone number. "He's off controlling his violent instincts against them by getting a hug."
"That's reasonable. I want to too." She smiled, leaving them alone. "Now, let's talk about the little one." He knew Colby was listening and when they got to weapons, Colby was calling the ATF. They could share this bust. This time. Sunnydale was too strange to go in with just one team. The last time half of the team hadn't made it home alive. And those that weren't alive had went for their teammates.
Xander walked into the Hyperion, stealing his daughter to hug. "You are a saint to me, sweetie. You're controlling my temper so I don't go blow up their church." She sucked on his cheek. He smiled. "Such a good girl to make Daddy calm down." He kissed her on the head, then handed her back. "There, talk to him about why sucking on people isn't good for you yet and how you're not Unclie Spike, Izzy."
Wesley smirked. "She does?" Xander showed off his most recent baby hickey. "Missing her thumb or pacifier?"
"Thumb," Sam agreed. "Again?"
"Fell asleep sucking on my neck last night." He sat down. "The FBI is going to make them stop. Though they all agreed she was very adorable."
"Everyone does," Sam agreed. "We did make a very pretty baby."
"Now all you have to worry about are the demons," Dean said as he came out with water bottles for them and her. "Here, Wes." He took it to feed her.
"I just fed her forty minutes ago."
"She didn't want her thumb," Dean said. He shrugged. "Who knows." He sat down on Sam's other side. "You good?"
"She's keeping my temper intact because I know she doesn't want to visit me like she does her Aunt Faith," he said calmly.
"Good," Dean agreed. "Who shot the ceiling?"
"I did. It stopped them from beating the agents."
"Ah." Dean took a sip. "You in trouble?"
"Not that they said," he offered. Sam snorted, shaking his head. "Anyway. Can I have my girl yet, Wes? Has Cordy seen her?"
"She's not up yet. Gunn went to get her coffee and wake her up." The baby let out a fart and all three men sighed. Sam handed Dean the diaper bag.
"Why is it my job?"
"You get her cleaner."
"Just because you never learned the proper stroke to clean guns, don't blame me or make me change her." He handed it back. "She's your spawn." She belched water and former milk on Wesley's shirt. "See, clearly yours. You used to do that all the time, Sammy."
"All babies do that, jerk." He took the baby to change while Wesley went to change his shirt.
Xander looked at Dean. "Nicely played."
"Her diapers are disgusting, dude. No thanks. I've seen prettier zombies."
Xander nodded. "Me too." He took the diaper upstairs. "Get up and come worship my daughter's cuteness or I'm putting this nasty diaper on your bed," he shouted.
"That's a bit too evil," Gunn complained as he came out of his room. "The princess is getting pretty."
"Izzy's already pretty," he said with a grin. "Trash?"
"Her room's right there," he said with a point. "Angel's is on the other end of the hall."
Xander weighed it then went to put it in Angel's room's trash can. Gunn laughed. Xander came down with Cordelia to find Gunn cooing at the baby and her cooing back. "Yes, she's adorable."
"Very," Wesley agreed.
"Some day she'll be the next me," Cordelia said with a smirk for Xander.
Xander shrugged. "I don't care as long as she doesn't want to really become a princess, Cordy. She can't be unless she marries well." He smirked. "Fake tiaras only."
"Fine." She went back to cooing over the baby. Gunn went to get something to drink. "Bring me another cup of coffee," she ordered.
"Sure, Cordy." He went into the kitchen shaking his head. How pitiful was it that a cute baby made them all coo? It wasn't a guy thing to coo. He came back and found Dean holding his niece and everyone else missing. "Demon?"
"Yup." He looked up. "Big one who wanted Izzy to bow to too."
"Charming. How long before that stops?"
"That depends on how soon Sammy and Xander can scare the demon underground."
"Probably not long then." He sat down, letting Dean have the extra cup of coffee. He could hear Cordelia shrieking about the demon ruining her clothes. She wouldn't need it to wake up.
"I *said* she's my daughter and you had better pray to the slayers and every god there is that I never catch any demon near my daughter again or even they won't be able to keep me from destroying everything!" Xander said hotly. There was a loud thump. "I don't hear begging!"
"Xander, he can't hurt her. He's headless," Cordelia was saying. "Really. He's gone. I promise. Only the cute and nice humans will get near her." She walked him inside. "Have you been not sleeping again? We can probably talk someone into watching her for a night so you can get some."
"I'm fine on sleep. I nap when she does at night."
"Good!" She smiled. "Sit down and hold her while we clean up the mess." She walked off muttering to herself about hormones and how she thought hers were bad and how she never wanted kids.
Sam smiled. "Could've been twins." She shuddered. So did Wesley. He finished spraying the remains with lighter fluid then tossed down a match. "There, cheery bonfire." He walked inside. "We're out of lighter fluid, Dean."
"We can pick up more later." He let him have his spot, going to check on the others. "Is there some sort of warding spell to make sure I can't get knocked up. Ever?" Dean asked.
"I'll look into that," Wesley said.
"Good. Because Rosenburg seemed to like him being a mom. I don't want her to try me next. I'd be scarier than Xander."
"I'm not sure that's possible unless you burst out crying from it," Cordelia told him. He batted her on the arm. "We won't ruin your macho image by telling anyone that you were telling her about elephants and Sammy riding one once."
"Welcome." She batted him on the arm. "It'll even out once she's not in danger."
"Hell may be gone," Gunn said. "But it'll even out when she's not in danger anymore."
Dean considered it. "Is that a bad or a good thing?"
"I don't know. I'm having that same ethical debate," Cordy said, cracking him up.
Angel came down the stairs avoiding the sunlight. "What stinks in my room?"
"Xander probably tossed out the last nasty diaper up there," Dean said.
"You should see it from the source," Dean quipped.
"That one demon Lorne called Barney is gone. It came near Izzy," Gunn said. Angel gave him an odd look. He pointed at the baby. "Izzy."
"Isabelle," Sam offered. "Izzy's what she's going to be hearing a lot of." The vampire just nodded at that. "The demon wanted to come coo at her and we don't let any demons near her, even the really harmless ones."
"Sunnydale can drive those sort insane," Angel admitted.
"Since some of the higher ones want me, we don't think it's safe," Sam countered.
"Good point." He looked around. "Where did Harris go?" Cordelia pointed at the kitchen. "Drink?" She nodded. "That's fine. What else is going on?"
"The human cult to Izzy is being busted by the FBI," Dean told him. "They just tried to break into their building to steal her."
Angel shuddered. "Must come from her mother."
"That is true. Every bad thing wants Xander."
"Nah, some of them want Sammy," Dean told her.
"So, she's the spawn of two demon magnets?" Gunn asked, looking amused.
Cordelia moaned. "Yeah, she is." Sam gave her a dirty look. Xander came out with one too. "She is!"
"Not cute," Xander told her. "I might be looking for a new job soon." Sam gave him an interested look. "My boss was one of the ones in the building assault. I just realized that." He sat down with his ice water. "Want the carrier, Dean?"
"I've got it." He put her down carefully, letting her sleep. "Is it normal for babies to suck on your throat? Xander's got a hickey from her."
"She likes her Uncle Spike since he sneaks in sometimes to stare at her and promise he won't let her turn into Dru," Xander said dryly. Angel let out a full body shudder. "Exactly. So can you talk to her about how sucking on necks is bad for her, Angel?"
Angel looked at him. "When she's older. I'm sure she was just wanting her thumb or something." He fled back to his room, going to toss that stinky thing somewhere else. Xander always gave him a headache these days.
Xander grinned at Cordy. "Her Aunt Faith thought she was very cute too."
"She is. She's adorable; you should put her in commercials or something."
"No thanks." He looked over. "She doesn't need fame applied."
"Good point. That would mess things up," Dean agreed. "Did Willow get into our records?"
"Yup. Said she couldn't have the baby's daddy being in jail." Dean grinned. "It'll be fine I'm sure. She's not going to put anything bad in there."
"That'd be nice."
Wesley came out of the office looking pissed. "Problems?" Cordelia asked.
"Travers just called. Rupert told him you were in town today. He wanted to look at the child. I did tell him I had checked, she was perfectly normal and not a future slayer or witch. He was insisting that he get to look at her."
"If he tries, I get to mug him for his wallet, right?" he asked Dean. "Then beat his ass for being such a pain in ours?"
"He'll be here in a few hours."
Xander called Buffy's phone. "Travers wants to see Izzy. He'll be in LA in a few hours." He hung up on her shriek of complaint. "Guess her teacher's not happy." Cordelia smirked. "She wanted to beat him again. I'm going to support that."
Wesley shook his head. "He wasn't making any threatening notes."
"Good point. I wouldn't trust this situation either."
Dean called his father. "Hey, Dad, it's us. We're at the Hyperion and the head of the Watchers Council wants to see Izzy. I don't know why and neither does anyone else. He just told Wesley. Exactly, Dad. Sure, we're here." He hung up. "He'll be over in about an hour. He does think he knows why there's no spirits on the Hellmouth."
Wesley frowned. "I assumed the hellmouth banished them."
Dean shrugged. "Dad said he found a mention." They settled in to wait. John got there first since he was local. "It'll be a few hours."
"That's fine. We can do this here?" he asked Wesley.
"He'll probably try to get a hotel room to deal with issues from," he admitted.
"We'll see," John said. That got a nod and they went to set things up for this interesting interview.
Xander walked into the hotel room with Sam. "Why do you want to see my daughter and you do know Buffy's going to kick your ass for being in this country again?"
"She's not in town, young man."
"She's outside the door. She's one of Izzy's favorite aunts."
"That's good." He looked at the girl. "May I?" Xander stared at him, shaking his head. "I'm not going to harm her."
"Do I give a damn or trust you?"
"Why do I worry you?"
Xander smirked. "I do work with Buffy, Travers. In case you forgot, I'm the one who helps her hunt." That got a grimace but a nod. "I know *exactly* how you feel about the girls and your version of the duty. You're not getting any closer to my daughter." One of the council's thugs moved closer to them. Sam pulled out his gun. The guard swallowed hard and moved back. "Thank you." He looked at Travers again. "Why did you want to see my daughter?"
"To make sure she's not a slayer chosen."
"She's not. I had a seer look when I was pregnant. She's perfectly normal."
"She's also the focus of a prophecy about a leader of hell's armies."
Sam groaned. "I'm not going to lead anything unless there's an invasion. Just because the demon decided he wanted me doesn't mean I gave in." Travers gaped. Sam smirked back. "Hi, Sam Winchester."
"Oh, yeah." He smirked happier. "It could be worse. Dad and Dean are with Buffy." He sat down, putting the baby between his and Xander's chairs. "I have no intention of doing what the demon wanted and he's dead now. The merging that happened let us know what they knew about our future, the same as we told them what we knew about theirs. By the way, you're welcome for stopping the First." Travers groaned, shifting some. "We got the demon that wanted me so much. Azazel is gone."
"Is that why you needed our weapon?"
"No, that was because half of all the demons think the same thing you do," Xander said dryly. "I had to go hide from some of them for the birth since I'm a hellmouth baby and they decided she could be useful as a newborn sacrifice. Thank you for that. We killed ten fairly powerful demons with it."
"Not a problem. Best that they're gone. So, the prophecy...."
"Hinges on me taking over the army for some unknown reason, which I'm not going to do, and me having her tainted, which I'd never do," Sam told him.
"Good." Travers smirked at the tiny bit of sound she was making. "You're sure there's no marks on her?"
Xander sighed, picking her up to take off her shirt to show him. "See, no funky mole."
"Families that know often have a higher chance of having a slayer born," he told him.
"That's nice but I can't get pregnant again as far as we know." He put the shirt back on her. "There, Izzy." He kissed her on the head then put her back into the carrier. The guardian that moved closer to look down at her got stabbed on the leg, making him yelp. Buffy kicked in the door. "Hey, Buffy." He looked at Travers. "Anything else?"
"As long as the prophecy would not happen."
"Only if I feel royally fucked by the side of good," Sam said dryly, staring him down.
"And you'd better worry about me before him," Xander reminded him. "After all, I'm on the hellmouth and more likely to be turned." Travers went very pale at that. "So, yeah, not the prophecy you have to worry about, Travers. I'm the bigger bitch between the two of us and I already don't like the council for the way it treated the slayers I know." He stood up. "Stay away from my daughter." He handed Sam the carrier. "After you, Sam." They walked out, John and Dean following them. "Buffy, need a ride?" he called.
"Give me a few minutes," she called after him. She glared at Travers, kicking the door shut. "If you come near Izzy again, you won't have to worry about Xander's temper. Or even the witches' tempers. You'll have to deal with mine." She moved closer to show him why hers was the worst since she *knew* what sort of asshole he was.
Xander strolled into the Magic Box that night with the baby. "Travers said hi, Giles, or I'm sure he would have if his jaw wasn't wired shut." Giles gaped in horror at him. "Not me, Buffy. He said something smartass to her."
Buffy bounced in. "Travers is very sorry he's such a goober to us, Giles." She beamed. "Or at least that's what he mumbled."
"You attacked him?"
"He made my life a living hell," she retorted. "He was trying for the baby too because of the funky prophecy that Sam defeated."
"That's good to know," he said quietly.
"Unless I have to so everyone's butt is saved or the side of good royally cheeses me off, it won't be happening," Sam said from behind Buffy. "Can I have the baby, Xander?"
"Sure." He handed her over. "I also pointed out it wasn't that prophecy he had to worry about. It was my temper and the possibility of me being turned," he told Giles. "Because then I would make sure Buffy would be pleased with how badly he screamed his apologies for the way he treated her." He smiled sweetly. "Did the ATF and FBI have fun today?"
"They did raid the warehouse you borrow from."
"I know. The cult told them."
"The mayor's secretary was one of them." Giles walked off cleaning his glasses and moaning. He shrugged, looking down at his very comfy daughter. "You good?" She sucked on her thumb, eyes drifting shut. "I think you have the touch, Sam. We should get a nap before she wakes up needing fed or changed."
Sam smiled. "Go ahead, Xander. I've got her for now." Xander nodded, going to the couch to take a nap. He looked at Buffy. "She should be all right if you wanted to patrol."
"I never want to patrol, Sam. I have to patrol." She gathered her stuff then left. The other Winchesters were pulling up out front. "Xander's napping. Sam's doing daddy duty. Giles walked off muttering swears in some long forgotten language again. It's patrol time," she finished more cheerfully. John grabbed stuff and went with her while Dean went to worship a the altar of cuteness that was his niece. "Is Dean always good with babies?"
"Dean's not really a baby kind of guy. He's good with younger kids, gets them to talk to him and all that, but babies aren't his thing. I'm guessing that's all because she's his niece."
"Cordy wanted to put her in commercials."
"She is cute but that would bring publicity."
She nodded. "I'm pretty sure they discouraged her." They went back to hunting down the vampires of the night. "How long do you think it'll take for Sam to break and come back full-time?"
"I'm surprised he could leave the first time. He's more stubborn than I am since he managed it." She nodded at that. "I'm sure it'll happen soon. Dean'll have to drift back this way when he does. Those two are too close sometimes."
"Willow still thinks they're doing the nasty."
"I'd beat their asses," he assured her. "How's her thing going?"
"Good, but not perfect. She keeps having to stop herself from using the magic. Is that why Xander didn't let her work on the wards around the new apartment?"
"He didn't want to tempt her back toward her clear path to the darkside. It was more not tempting her with using it for a bit."
"I can understand that. She was getting a little scary and from what you guys saw, she was going to get really scary." He nodded. "The Feds are still here?" They ran into one in the park. "Did you get eaten already?"
Don Epps smirked. "No, Miss Summers. None of us got eaten or turned this time. We're very thankful about that." She smiled. "The baby?"
"Magic Box with both dads and Giles."
"Good. The weapons we found?"
"Well, now and then Xander had to dip into it, but not ours for real."
"I can understand that. Where is his stash?" She shrugged. "You don't know?"
"I don't like guns." She nodded her head at John. "That's their sort of hunter's thing. Slayers use swords and stakes. Artillery is an apocalypse toy to pet and coo over."
"Do you think Mr. Harris would tell us if we got his stash or not?"
"Can I pet the pretty artillery if you do confiscate it?"
"We'll see. Where's the Magic Box?" She pointed. "Thank you. Be safe tonight."
"We'll lurk near you guys so you're not eaten." He nodded, smiling as he walked off. "Wow, a Fed who understands."
"That's really rare," John agreed, frowning some. "I hope they don't arrest the boy for it."
"They shouldn't need to. Xander finds a way to turn in anything too bad." He nodded at that. "Probably just some guns he was playing with. Maybe one piece of artillery in case I needed it for some apocalypse or something."
"Maybe," John agreed. They kept going, coming back to watch the agents finish clearing out the warehouse. "Who had that stuff? It's all older crap."
"That's the old mayor's stash. The one from graduation." He shuddered. "He thought he might need it. We raided a few times. Unfortunately we found it after the Judge happened." Epps came back with Xander and Dean. "Sam must be guarding her."
"Dean's the weapons nut, not Sammy." They followed when Dean spotted them. They walked in and let Xander find the hidden spots he had taken from before. "What's his like?" he whispered in his son's ear, getting a shrug back. Xander looked back with a smirk.
"Xander, how many more warehouses do they have to do?" Buffy asked. "So I know how late it's going to be tonight."
"They only had a few stashes around town but three major areas." Don gave him an odd look. "The mayor's stuff. The demons had one that isn't really touched and Angelus was starting to build one too."
"Can we see those?" Don asked.
"Where have you already hit?" The list was handed over Xander hummed. "I didn't know someone was taking things out of the apocalypse demon's vault but apparently so since some of it was missing." He turned the page. "Yeah, there it is."
"We found one looting and followed it." He handed over a picture. "Dangerous?"
He shook his head. "Resellers." He handed it to Buffy.
"Hey, the guys who gave us the nice deal on the new crossbows."
"Yup." He handed it back. "There's probably two or three more small stashes in town."
"Can you show us?" Don asked.
"Sure. Less chance they have of using it on us."
"And yours?" Don asked.
"Nope. I need mine."
"If they don't have it...."
"Then something else can still need it to be killed," Xander told him. "I don't have anything truly huge. I tend to find a way to turn those in. Which then goes into the storehouse on third, which was supposedly police confiscated materials."
Don smirked evilly. "Good to know." They went to look at the others. "Can I do a gun check, even if I don't confiscate?"
"I can have Dean do one."
"That's not really official. We should know if there's other stuff up here. In case of a gas explosion or something. A real one."
Xander looked back at Dean, who shrugged. "I'd really rather it stayed with hunters, Agent Epps. I understand your reasoning but I don't want to have to break into anywhere ever again when we need something suddenly."
"I can see that, kid. Can I see in an unofficial manner? Just to see how high it goes?" Xander looked at Dean, then at John, both of whom shrugged. "I won't turn you in, Xander. I know what you do is important."
"Go ahead," Buffy ordered. "Maybe he can help if we need something in the future, Xander."
"Fine. But there's one place we have to go to. Willie stopped us on the way over to tell me to look somewhere. He only does that when it's weapons." They nodded. Xander let him into the other stashes. The agents with them confiscated things that even Dean couldn't identify. "Speaking of the strange weapons, I need a new ID manual."
"I'll see if I can get you last year's copy since those are slightly classified, kid," Don promised. They went to look at the site Xander had been told to look at. "What're those?" he asked quietly. There were demons standing guard over the abandoned house.
"Shit, I need steel," Buffy muttered. "Dean?"
He called back to the Magic Box. "Sammy, me. We need steel on the east side of town by the high school's construction zone. There, yeah. Dad'll bring it to us. Just have it dropped off. Swords, Buffy?"
"I don't care. They're killed by steel to the stomach." They nodded and Dean repeated that before hanging up. She frowned, patting herself down. Then Xander. He looked at her. "Knife, anything?"
"Oh." She took it to look at. "It's small." He extended the blade, making her happier. "How do you lock it?" He did it for her. "Thanks, Xander."
"I should've been a boy scout," he teased. Sammy pulled up in his car, getting out. Xander went to get into his trunk once Sam handed out swords. He pulled his second favorite weapon, hefting it. "Heavy but worthwhile. They're apocalypse demons, Sam. Go guard the baby?"
"Tara has her."
"Okay." He handed over something else. "As long as stainless steel works, we're good." He nodded and they shut the trunk, heading to handle the situation. Buffy snuck closer, moving to attack. Xander was right behind her, like usual. John and his boys were behind them. The agents were standing back to wait. The first one screamed and brought more. Buffy was swinging her sword very well. Someone had taught her. Xander was holding his own. Sam and Dean weren't familiar with anything that long but they were doing pretty well. John was shooting them since he had some steel rounds. It worked just as well as a sword. Another wave came out and Xander threw something toward the ground, making them trip. "Marbles," he said with a grin for Buffy.
She rolled her eyes. "We'll kick them out of the way later." They finished and it was good. "Messy," she complained, looking around.
"Lighter fluid cures all," Dean quipped.
"Let's see why Willie sent us here first," Xander ordered. "The last time I was taking apart a bomb." Don gave him an odd look. "Yes, I had to learn." They walked inside and he paused. "I can't disarm that. We need an official disarmer." Don looked then called from outside. Xander went to scout around. "You're going to need a free truck," he called. He came out with a gun. "This is the smallest thing in there." Dean moaned. Xander nodded. "Exactly. There's another bomb that's ready to be moved but doesn't have a lit timer." The bomb squad people had apparently been waiting outside town. They hurried in and Xander showed them the other one too. They got the first stopped and then them both moved. The ATF agents moved in to clear out the rest. While they were busy, Xander took Don to his hidey hole of weapons.
Don looked around the place. It looked like a construction workshop in a you-store-itplace. "Guns too?"
"Yup." He opened up a cabinet on a wall to show the guns. "See?"
Don looked then at him. "That's all of them?"
Xander grinned. "Yes."
Don snorted. "Cute lie, kid. I'm not going to turn you in." Xander gave him a look. "I'm not. You do things so I don't have to. Or my little brother doesn't have to." Xander sighed and got out of the way. Don searched the place, finding the few opening into the floors. Nothing. "Robbed?"
"Sold to other hunters for the baby funds."
"All of it?"
"No. Just the major stuff we shouldn't need for a few months at the least." That got a nod. "Had to make the money somehow to support us while I couldn't work."
"I understand that. These hunters good guys?"
"No terrorists, I made sure it'd only go to hunters, Agent Epps. Maybe into an apocalypse vault here or there, but all to hunters."
"Okay, that works for me. What else do you have stored?" Xander pointed at a concealed doorway. It was behind a workbench. Don found the switch to release it and walked into the next storage area, moaning in pain. Xander followed. "What did you sell if these are lighter?"
Xander looked. "Huh. The resellers got my order to replace a few things." He shrugged. "I didn't have the blue cases before."
Don looked at him. "What did you sell, kid?" Xander got his inventory list, letting him see his last notes. Don moaned at what was on it.
Xander grinned. "I don't like you that way, sorry. Though you do appreciate my pretties and former babies, I can't do what Spike would and take advantage of you."
Don smirked back. "Smartass." He went to look in the cases. "This one's not what's listed."
Xander came over to look. "That's holy. It's been modified so it's blessed and fires off holy or blessed rounds." He pointed at the symbol. "Blessed."
Don nodded, going over the other cases. He finally looked at the boy. "This is way too much."
"We handle at least one apocalypse a year, Agent Epps. This year's would've been a hell goddess if the Winchesters hadn't helped us."
Don shuddered. "I get that. Still a bit too much firepower."
"There's still an upcoming spring issue. Even with Glory out of the way, we've probably got a reason for the build-up of vamps." His phone rang. "It's me." He listened. "Hi, Mr. Singer. Sure, Bobby. They're watching the ATF and other FBI guys weed out some of the demon's stashes around town. No, the agent that was helping with the cult to Izzy wanted to look at my stash but promised me and John he wouldn't turn it in. He understands how important it is. And hey, no more breaking onto the reserve base."
Don whimpered. "Yeah, that was him. A few blessed things, some others. You know, I sold the others through Caleb. John gave me his number." He smiled. "That stuff used to be mine, yeah. He's another that wanted to pat the tummy of doom but kept himself from doing more than staring at her as she moved." He laughed. "We're all in Sunnydale since her cult wanted to keep her and raided the FBI building in LA to get her back. I can do that. Sure. Let us know if we can help. We've got a build-up of vamps but we should be free for the summer soonish. Sure, if we can help, let us know. Blessed iron? Um...."
He looked around. "Canisters that throw shrapnel. Two iron spear tips that need new shafts. One sword somewhere with Giles." He heard a moan in the other area. "I think Dean just came in. Want him?" He grinned. "Dean, it's Bobby." Dean came in and let out a whimper but fell to his knees at the gear in there. He handed down his phone with a grin at the agent. "He's a gun guy too."
"I can tell." He helped Dean up. "How big is the hunter's weapons network?" Xander shrugged. "You only have the one contact?"
"That and a few demonic ones that hunt other species or who sell things that they find or can confiscate somehow."
"Good. Are they dangerous?"
"Only if you piss them off. They're like shopkeepers. Pawnshop brokers and the like. A few hunting clans that trade for specific weapons they need."
Dean looked around. "Canisters that throw shrapnel?" he asked. Xander leaned over a stack and grabbed one to hand him. "Oh, shit, dude, this is a shrapnel grenade!"
"Duh. And it's blessed," he said, pointing at the marks. "Catholic priest blessed." He grinned. "It works very well in nests."
"I'd imagine it would," Dean agreed. He walked outside, handing his father the canister. He noticed the Feds. "Hey, Agent Epps?" He came out and talked to the head guy, who decided to leave this one alone for the right reasons. Though they would want an inventory. Don went to get one from Xander. They talked for a minute then the ATF guys left. Don went back inside while Dean figured out the problem Bobby was having come his way.
Dean came in a few minutes later, handing back the phone. "Can Bobby have this?"
"Sure. I can make more." Don gave him an odd look. "I found the plans online, guys." He grinned. "Not that hard." He looked at Dean. "Does Bobby need help? I still owe him for helping with the delivery problem."
"No, he's mostly got it. He needed another experienced guy at his back. A newbie was banishing a demon and ended up summoning another one." Xander shuddered. "Yeah, basically. I told Dad. He's heading."
"If you guys have to go, go. I can send pictures through the email and you guys can stop in whenever you want. You know that."
"I know. Sammy's already back being mushy over her. If you were a girl, there'd have been a shotgun wedding already, Xander."
"I know," he said with a blush. "He's nice and sweet too. He'd be a good husband to someone."
"Swinging to boys maybe?" Dean teased with a grin.
Xander shrugged, but blushed. "I don't know anymore. During the horny phase of my second trimester I nearly lost my mind and humped Spike." Dean cackled. "I didn't intend to but my body demanded I get some. He nicely went to get a succuba to tease me." He grinned. "She loved the belly of doom too."
"She didn't taint you?" Dean asked.
"No. Anya told her what I liked by pouting about what she was missing. I don't know if she knew who Izzy is or not, but she was very nice. No tainting, no feeding off me, nothing like that."
"Huh. Never met one who didn't." He went to tell John that fact, watching him throw a fit and tell Sam. Who checked, but the baby wasn't tainted by anyone yet. Xander had some very strange tastes. Though, he had heard a pregnant woman got desperate around the same time of their pregnancy. He'd read many complaints by husbands who couldn't keep up.
Xander came back with Don, handing John a spear tip. "It needs a new shaft but he said he might need something pure iron. That's as cold iron as you can get. Barely forged."
John looked at it. "Thanks, kid." He looked at him. "Succubus?"
"Didn't Mary have a second trimester?" John blushed, clearing his throat. "Exactly. It was that or go pounce Anya or go pounce Spike. Vamps are still dead so therefore disgusting to sleep with. Anya didn't want to be a stepmommy and I'm not going to be more than friends with her. I asked Cordy but she refused on the grounds she might turn evil again." He shrugged. "It was good."
"At least the baby's not tainted."
"No, she didn't even try to feed off me."
John nodded, patting him on the shoulder. "You need sanity, Xander."
"It's where I'm napping when she does. She was up all last night."
"If you say so." He went to finish his packing, putting that into a bag. If something happened to Xander, he had already made sure they had paperwork giving the baby to Sammy or Dean. With the way that boy attracted trouble, it was bound to bite him sometime. He went up to say goodbye to Sam and Izzy, smiling at his sleeping family. Sam was conked out on the couch with her on his stomach, sucking on his chest. He carefully moved her, moving Sam's gun out of his face. "I'm putting her in her crib," he said quietly. "Go back to sleep, Sammy." He put her down, covering her with the sheet, then he left. Sam was as overprotective as he was. God help that kid when it tried to date. Hopefully she wouldn't have her dad's luck in that area. Or as many as Dean had. He shook his head quickly, getting into the truck after a hug for Dean.
"Be safe so Izzy can make you a great-grandparent, Dad." Dean walked off with a smirk.
"Smartass," John muttered, starting the truck and driving off.
Xander looked at Dean. "No grandkids. I refuse to be Grandpa Xander for at least twenty years. I'm only twenty-two."
Dean grinned. "Let's hope she doesn't have the same pregnancy scare Sammy did in tenth grade then."
"He's really potent. Hopefully he doesn't knock me up again by looking at me," Xander said dryly.
Dean cackled. "Dad still thinks Sammy didn't date until he was seventeen."
"Not funny," Sam called. "I'm not that potent. And if I can do it that way, Xander, we're both getting fixed."
Xander cackled all the way to his room. "Night, guys."
"Night," they called, going to their beds. Sammy in Izzy's room. Dean in the other room. It had been a pretty good night.
Two weeks later, Xander fired the shot into the front of the church. He tied the metal strings to the trailer hitch on his car and nodded at Buffy. "Put it on D and go forward until it caves."
She tried but it went into reverse. "Oops." She put it into drive and drove off with the wires attached to the iron spikes that were now stuck in the wall thanks to the thing Xander had fired off. The whole front of the church pulled off. Xander walked in there, hearing his baby screaming. "Someone's going to die," she muttered, calling Don Epps. "We're really sorry if Xander creates a bloodbath from that cult, Agent Epps. No, we just pulled the front off the church. He walked in over the rubble. He went for impressive." The crying stopped. "Ooh, good, she's not crying. But anyway, we're really sorry if Xander kills them for stealing his daughter from daycare." She hung up.
Xander came strolling out with his daughter, smile firmly fixed in place. "Take her to your mom please?"
"Agent Epps said you can't kill them unless the judicial system failed. He's calling the people watching over them. Because kidnaping is wrong." Xander turned and punched a person coming up behind him. "Whoa, nearly slayer strength," she said, backing off with the baby. "Maybe you should calm down?"
"Untie the wires and take her to your mother, Buffy," he said slowly and clearly. She did that and sped off. She'd drive extra carefully so the baby didn't get hurt. Xander turned to look up at the cross on top of the church. "You wanted them in hell that badly? Couldn't you just send a demon instead of sending my daughter?" Cars with sirens pulled up. He looked back at them. "I left them living. I'm proud of myself."
One got out of the car. "What happened, Mr. Harris?" Megan asked.
"They took Izzy from daycare. They put her on their nice altar and let her cry for the last two hours. I don't know why it took the daycare an hour and a half to tell me, but I'm going to find out when I'm calmer." He stared at the local cops.
"We're happy, you didn't blow them up."
"Over too soon," he growled.
"Sure, we get that. Is the baby okay?" one asked, backing up and pulling his partner with him.
"Buffy's taking her to Joyce."
"Good!" that one agreed, nodding quickly. "We can give you a ride, Harris. Please?"
Xander turned and looked up at the cross. "Make them leave her alone or next time, I can't promise I won't have a temper," he whispered. He got into the police car, letting them take him to Joyce's so they could take a statement for the Feds.
Megan looked at the remaining cops. "Go arrest them so they don't commit suicide." They ran in there to do that. She looked up at the cross. "You needed more fanatics?" she asked it. They were huddled around the altar, crying for the most part, and staring at the shiny, clean knife on it. "Did Harris leave that?"
The head minister looked at her. "It is our only option since we are unworthy to keep her. If he could take her back and he's unworthy then we definitely are."
She pulled him up to cuff him. "You don't get to get off that easily." She handed him off. A few rushed for the knife. A thin, sharp wire came up and nearly gutted one before she reached the knife. She wailed, collapsing to hold her stomach. "That looks like Harris' work." One of the cops nodded, looking away as he hauled her up to cuff her too. "See, even he thinks you're unworthy to die." They got the rest and Megan got confiscate their guns. They had some very nice ones. Their lab techs were going to coo for days over them before they got put in for destruction. Pity but they shouldn't have touched that baby.
Xander walked up to where Bobby was waiting, handing over the baby at his odd look. "I was requested to take a vacation away from California so the cultists would quit trying to commit suicide before they were given deals for prison times."
"To Izzy. They decided she's a sign of the apocalypse and a saint sent here to guard the faithful."
"Ah. What did they do?"
"They took her from daycare. I stopped myself and the FBI got there very quickly."
"Good!" he decided, looking down at the baby. "Thanks for the spear."
"Not an issue."
"John said something about the ATF and FBI raiding Sunnydale."
"They wanted to confiscate what the demons were running for weapons."
"One of the agents respects what I do and only wanted an inventory list in case something seriously went wrong. I even updated it after I talked to Caleb last time."
"You sold some of it?"
"I didn't need that much artillery. I hope." He frowned but let it clear up. "So we're taking a short roadtrip for my temper and so they can quit trying to cut their wrists so God can have them back."
Bobby smiled. "How bad was it?"
"I fired this nice missile that imbedded tiny metal spikes into the front of their church, tied it to the back of my car, and let Buffy drive off with the front of their church."
"Ah." He handed the baby back. "Here, she probably calms you down."
"More often then not." Bobby smiled. "So we're traveling. Sam wanted me to stop in at the Roadhouse but I have no idea where that is." He grinned. "Look, she's smiling and it's not gas. She likes you, Uncle Bobby."
Bobby smiled back. "She's a happy, good girl."
"Most of the time. She still cries when bad guys get near her. That's how we found out the demon was pretending to be Dean the last time."
"Good!" He shook his head. "Anyone else know you're traveling?"
"I emailed Dean and Sam."
"Makes sense to me." He brushed down some of her hair. "Anything else you think you should see?"
Xander shrugged. "Don't know."
"We'll tell Ellen you're coming."
"Tomorrow. We've got a short traveling time with her. We're at the motel locally for the night."
"That's fine, kid." He smiled. "I'll let her know anyway." He winked and stood up. "Any big problems out there?"
"Not at the moment. A lot of vamps for some reason. We think there's a few new masters in town but Buffy says she has it."
"She said she was. I made sure enough times that I pissed her off."
"That's fine then, Xander. Go ahead to the motel, let the little one sleep. I'll call Ellen. Why didn't you show up at the house?"
"I have no idea where it is."
Bobby laughed. "We'll fix that oversight." Xander grinned. "Go ahead. I'll bring dinner in a bit. Still want chicken?" Xander shuddered. "Figures," he teased.
"We have one place." Xander handed over money then went to the car. Bobby smiled. That boy did seem to pull his own weight but he wondered why the girls had sent him away this time. Master vamps sounded like something they'd need help with. On the way to the Mexican place he called out there. "Buffy, Bobby Singer. You sure you don't need Xander for a bit?" He heard her complain about how she wasn't getting any patrols in because things were slowing down for the summer. "You certain? He came to get introduced to a few hunters Sam wanted to have him meet. Yes, with her. She smiled earlier." She cooed at that. "You sure you're okay?" He laughed at her fussing. "Fine. I'll let you get back to your homework and stuff."
He hung up and walked over to his car, heading to get them dinner. Though he did call John. "Buffy banished Xander for a while. Said there wasn't anything to do and the FBI wanted him out of the cult's way so they'd quit trying to kill themselves to get away from him." He laughed at the complaint. "Apparently the boy made them sorry for touching her again." He listened to the report John had gotten from a contact. "I'm impressed he stopped them. Here. Motel. Sammy wanted him to meet Ellen." He smirked. "He didn't know where it was. She smiled earlier too." He hung up and decided Mexican was a good idea for dinner. He needed some spices now and then to cheer up his drab, bad guy laden world.
Xander stepped into the bar and looked around. "This is nice, huh, Izzy?" She yawned at him. "I know, you're tired. Sorry." He smiled at the curious woman behind the bar. "Hi. Sammy said I should come meet Ellen."
"Sam Winchester?" she asked, looking confused. He nodded. "Why do you look familiar?"
"Because he's the reason the worlds merged," a drunk male voice complained.
"That was Willow. It was an accidental wish."
"You had the lock pin."
"Yeah and if I hadn't, my world could've been destroyed while I was still here." The guy shut up. He shifted the baby some. "Are you Ellen?"
"Sam said I'd probably meet you too." She smirked a little bit at that. "This is Izzy."
"You named your daughter Izzy?" an older woman asked as she came out to join them.
Ellen smiled. "Bobby said you'd be coming, Xander. Go ahead and sit at the bar. She'll be safe here. So will you."
"I know I will. I'm not sure she'll like the booze smells."
"It's all right." She got them settled and looked at the little girl. "Jo was your size once, Izzy." The baby made a fist a few times. "Why're you off the hellmouth?"
"Buffy said so."
Ellen laughed. "That bad?"
"The FBI wanted the cult to quit trying to kill themselves and Buffy said all it is is master vamps so she'd go with their plan." Ellen looked confused. "Izzy has a cult to her. They decided she's a saint since I gave birth to her."
"No baby's a saint unless they're sleeping," the drunk guy said.
"She tries really hard," Xander said, looking over. "You're a watcher. Aren't you?" He nodded, looking smug. "Travers' jaw still wired shut?" The guy gaped. "He made rude comments to Buffy." He turned back around. "Anyway, Sam said I should come meet you since we're off on a short road trip."
"It's nice to meet you in person." She shook his hand and patted the baby on the foot, getting a few more scrunched up fists being made. "She is cute."
"Everyone says that," he said with a grin. "Cordy wanted to put her in ads."
"She'd make some money but it'd be soul sucking for her."
"No, I want her to be normal. If she starts hunting before eighteen I get to spank." Ellen laughed. "I started just before sixteen. I don't want her to do the same things I did."
"I can understand that. I didn't want my daughter to start hunting either." She gave him a look. "You know she'll see you doing it and wonder."
"By the time she's old enough to understand I'll have explained it to her without making her want to try it. I might even try to make her a bit paranoid."
"That'll mean she'll worry about you."
"I worry about me," he admitted. "But I'll emphasize it's training that makes it safer."
"Good. It's a good plan. Might not work."
"That's why she can't start before she's eighteen, or old enough to drink."
"That's definitely been a help to many of us." The door opened and Dean stomped in. "No pretty girls to hit on?" she taunted with a smirk.
"Sammy's got the flu." He sat down next to Xander. "Hey, princess." She smiled. "Gas?"
"No, she's old enough to actually smile now." Dean beamed at that. "Flu?"
"Yeah, puked nasty crap earlier. I nearly shoved him out of the car so he didn't puke in her."
"I'm sorry he's sick." He punched him on the arm. "The cult is slitting their wrists so they can meet God and get corrected."
"Figured he had a spy already," he sighed. "Spike?"
"Yup." They shared a smirk. "That date go okay?"
"She didn't try to kill me afterward."
"That's new," Dean taunted.
"Buffy said that's because my evil drawing powers are what gives her the sense to cry when they come near her."
"Buffy?" Ellen asked.
"Izzy. She'll throw a fit if something bad comes near her." That got a smile and a pat on the baby's foot. "Can I have a rootbeer, Ellen? Please?"
"Sure, Xander. Dean, you driving later?"
"Sometime later." She handed him a bottle of beer. Xander got his rootbeer and paid. "How she doing otherwise?"
"Not too bad. The diaper issue is better, but not great yet. She got the upset belly last week."
"I'm about to run a tube from Sammy's ass out the window and past the end of the car." Xander cackled. "Four stops in under an hour, I swear."
"Bad mexican food?" Xander asked.
"I don't know. I don't care. I just want it to stop." Sam walked in yawning. "About time you got up, bitch."
"Shut up, jerk. I'm sick."
"Then don't come near the baby. She had it last week," Xander told him. Sam beamed. "The Feds wanted me away from the cult so they'd quit trying to commit suicide."
"If I were them, I'd pray to God to get right with him before I pissed him off that way," Sam said dryly, sitting on Xander's other side. "Hi, Izzy." She fussed. "I'm sick, sweetie, I can't pick you up. I don't want you to be sick." He pulled her closer to smell. "Why do you smell like Irish Spring?"
"I forgot her soap," Xander admitted. "She likes it and it's not hurting her any." He took a sip. "If she starts to puke or run like you've been, you're babysitting until she's well."
"I will. I'm trying not to give it to her, Xander." He smiled at her. "How's the princess? Are you having a happy day?" She smiled. "Real smile?" Xander nodded. "That's so cool!" he breathed. "That's a big step, Izzy. We should have pictures of that. Do it again for me?" He snapped a few with his phone. "There, that'll go on the computer so we can send it to Dad."
"Don't forget Caleb." He looked at Xander. "He said she's the cutest little evil creature ever."
"Does he think all kids are?" Ellen nodded. "Then that's fine." The watcher got up to come over. "Dude, no alcohol near the baby," Xander warned. "Especially not from a watcher."
"They'll take her like any slayer," he sneered.
"That's funny since she's not one," Xander shot back. "Even Travers knows that." The guy looked stunned. "She's fully normal. Thank you for asking. Now get away from my daughter." He made a grab for her foot but Xander's elbow and the guy's throat met. The guy was gasping on the floor before he could do anything else.
Dean looked down. "Be thankful it's not hormone swings. They were worse."
"Not cute," Xander warned.
"Yes I am. All the girls say so," Dean shot back with a grin.
Xander shrugged. "If I knew a thing about gay sex I'd tell you if you were a gayboy fantasy or not, Dean, but all I know about it is what Anya told me about some of her demon playmates and former jobs."
Sam shuddered. "I can't even imagine how unpretty those stories were."
"Probably not unless you heard them too. Oh, she's getting her powers back soon. She's dating some dirtbag who's cheating on her. On purpose."
"He that bad?" Dean asked.
"He's got three babies he's never seen and one baby's momma that he's ignoring because she took him to the state for support; so he quit his job so he didn't have to pay."
"So this time she's going to be over outraged women instead of scorned women?" Ellen asked. Xander grinned but nodded. "Sounds like a plan if she wants it back."
"She said she does." He shrugged. "She misses the old days sometimes."
"Don't we all," Dean sighed, shaking his head. "I was even more adorable then." Sammy got up and headed for the bathroom. "I'm so attaching that hose to his ass."
Xander cackled. "Remember, superglue and body parts don't mix, Dean."
"It'd come off eventually."
"Then he couldn't run, hunt, or play beside you," Ellen pointed out.
Dean considered it. "He could stay in the car until he figured out how to wind it up when it's not in use."
Jo grimaced at the noise coming from the bathroom. "Sounds more like the revenge of the bad chinese food to me."
"Or Mexican water," Xander agreed. Ellen and Dean both shuddered at that. "Oh, Dean. Willow said if you piss her off again she's going to put your record back."
"What'd I do this time?"
"You're male and you don't think she'll fully get over the magic addiction." He took another drink. "I told her if she did that, me, you guys, the weapons, and the baby were all moving to Mexico. Tara about pouted her to death for it."
Dean grinned. "I like Tara, she has sense."
"So do I. Because Willow did try the memory thing the other day. They had a fight about Willow wanting to try little spells again." They shared a look. "So, east, west coast of Mexico? In the middle?"
"I hear Brazil's full of babes," Sam said as he joined them again. "Hi, Izzy. Sorry I abandoned you for the bathroom. Some year soon you'll understand about the bathroom stuff." He sat down again. "Willow?"
"Yup," Xander agreed. "We got onto her when we learned what she had done. Giles nearly spanked her before calling her mentor." He finished his rootbeer, putting the glass bottle into the trash behind the bar with a neat toss. "Now if only I could do that with tissues."
"They don't fly very well," Dean pointed out. He finished his beer but Jo took the bottle before he could toss it. "Thanks, Jo."
"Welcome, Dean. Didn't want to clean up the broken glass."
"I'm a good shot," he complained. Xander put his wrist on Dean's head. "Xander, you're not my mommy too."
"You're still running a fever, Dean." Dean groaned, shaking off his hand. "I've got Immodium in the car's first aid kit."
"I'll be fine."
"You're going to need the hose you want to put on Sammy's butt," Jo teased.
Sam gave her an odd look then Dean one. "I don't need an enema and I'm not your type, Dean."
"I was going to stick one up there so you didn't need so many pit stops, Sammy."
"You do and I'm kicking your ass."
"You and what army, bitch?" he taunted. Sam pointed at Xander. "He's not an army."
Xander gave him a look. "Are you sure about that?" Dean cackled, shaking his head. Izzy let out a wail and all three were attending to her. "I'm sorry, were we ignoring you?" Xander taunted. She sniffled. He sniffed. "Yeah, that's a good reason." He got the diaper bag on his shoulder then took her from the patting hands. "Is there a good place to change her, Ellen?"
"Back porch?" she asked hopefully. "With the barrel out there?" He shrugged so she led him back there. He changed her and made her happier. The stink was outside so Ellen was happy too. They came back to find a few other hunters now in the bar getting beers. "Boys, play nice tonight. Xander's got his daughter in with him."
One looked at her. "You're tiny."
Xander nodded. "Very. But she's got a strong kick on her." They all laughed and went to their table. He sat down, letting the boys steal his daughter again.
"I thought you weren't a baby kissing kind of guy?" Jo taunted.
"Xander's might as well be family," Dean told her.
"Why?" Ellen asked.
Xander gave him a look then looked at Izzy then at her. "She was the lock."
"Oh," she moaned, shaking her head.
"We're not letting anyone know outside of family," Xander said quietly. "Too many want her other daddy."
"I can agree to that. So, Dean, enjoying it?"
"I'm a great uncle and I'll spoil her rotten while teaching her necessary things," he said.
"As long as she can't hunt demons before she's eighteen," Xander reminded him. "But by all means, teach her to shoot the idiot boys she'll draw before then." Dean cackled, nodding a bit. "By the way, you do know John said that he hopes she's not as free as you are with your attentions?"
Dean looked at him. "I'm not the slut everyone thinks I am."
"Willow still thinks you're doing Sam."
Sam moaned, shaking his head. "Not my type."
"Or else you might be having one the natural way," Dean taunted quietly.
Xander shook his head. "There's no connection to any other part of my body. That would take another mean witch who wanted me to suffer and be kicked."
"You mean you had her?" Jo asked. Xander nodded. "Why?"
"Had to. Otherwise my whole world could've been destroyed, Jo. Not that I don't love her anyway. I do. It just took me some time to get there. The first thing I knew, I was waking up in the hospital with a nurse telling me I was delusional because the ER said I was pregnant and Dean was coming in to ask me questions in Fed disguise."
"I've heard he does that pretty well," Ellen said, giving Dean a dirty look.
"I learned it off Dad," he defended.
"I have no doubt of that." She looked at the baby then at Sam. "If you're that sick, you should be in bed."
"I know," Sam sighed, smiling at the baby. "We can hit the same motel you guys are. That way we can spend some Izzy time."
"Remember, if she gets that sick, you're babysitting her," Xander warned.
"I will." He picked her up to hug. "Such a nice girl." She sucked on his throat. "Thanks, princess. That's a good benediction for me." He handed her over. She pouted. "Awww." He took a picture of that face too, showing it to Xander since he couldn't see it.
"That's her 'you quit spoiling me' face," Xander said. "She gives it to Tara a lot when she has to go to class."
"It's adorable," Sam cooed. He let Dean see.
Dean shook his head. "Not even six whole months old and you're already wrapping guys around your fingers," he said, taking her to hold. "C'mere, let's get you away from sick Uncle Sammy. Before someone has to implant a hose in you too."
"Don't even think about it," Sam said, stealing her back. "C'mon, let's get back to the motel so I can take a nap and get better so we can play before you have to go back home."
"We're up the road," Xander said with a point.
"That's a rough place," Jo complained.
Xander looked at her. "Yeah, but it's cheap and I can handle a bit of roughness, Jo. Not like I don't patrol out in Sunnydale most every night."
She stared. "Ghosts?"
"Vamps, lower demons, nasty stuff that has a lot of slime and goo usually." She shuddered, whimpering as she walked off. "You can come hunt vamps in our town if your mom lets you," he called after her.
"Not a chance," Ellen called from where she was talking to someone.
"Okay. We're going to put the uncles to bed. Before they infect her."
"Sure, kid. Tomorrow?" she asked.
Xander grinned. "Okay." He took his daughter back. "Hey, precious." She pouted at him. "Not like they have a baby seat in the back of the Impala. Your Uncle Dean said the car is too cool to have one of those ever again." He walked off with her, coming back for her diaper bag once he remembered it. Dean and Sam followed, giving them a very strange honor guard all the way back. Even if Sam did rush into the bathroom as soon as they got there. Dean took over their bathroom since Sammy wasn't out in time. Xander shook his head, looking at his little girl. "Let's hope you don't get that too, Izzy. It's really nasty and it smells worse than your diapers." He reached in to flip on the fan without looking at Dean, then closed the door and went back to playing with the baby. She cooed at him, smiling and playing with his fingers. "That's a good job, Izzy."
Dean came out after washing his hands. "That's better."
Xander looked at him. "Smells worse than her diapers, Dean."
"Sorry. Can't help that." He shrugged, coming over to give her a hug. Then he went to bed when Xander stole her back. He knew it made good sense. Even if he was pouting. Not that he'd admit it, and if caught he could say he was really sick.
Five days later Xander opened the door, looking at the cop standing there while he tried to get Izzy to calm down. "I'm sorry she's wailing, but her uncles gave her the flu," he said over the crying. "I've called our doc and she's got medicine but she feels miserable."
The officer stepped in, looking at her. "You could take her to the ER."
"I have medicine." He pointed at one of the bags on the table. He put her down and gave her a pacifier. "Try that for a minute, okay?" He dug into the bag, finding the instructions. "This is what our pediatrician said to give her."
The officer nodded. "I can understand that." He looked around at the slight mess. Xander grimaced and cleaned. "I know you haven't had a chance recently, sir."
Xander looked at him after tossing out an empty bag. "I should be heading home but I can't travel with her like this."
"I understand." The baby spit out her pacifier and set up another wail. "She's loud."
"Very loud." He picked her up. "Shh, I'm trying," he whispered. "I'm really trying." He kissed her forehead. "What time is it?"
The officer checked his watch then looked at him. "Seven."
"It's time for more tylenol. Can you...." He smiled and took the baby, letting the young man draw out the medicine for her. "Here, it's nasty," he cooed, smiling at her. She made a grossed out face but drank it. "There, that should help." He kissed her on the forehead, then put the bottle down once it was resealed. He took her back. "Thank you."
"You're welcome. Her uncles had it?"
"Both uncles had it and I warned them they'd have to babysit but they had a family emergency and had to run off once their runs stopped." He bounced a bit but held her head still. "I'm not shaking her."
"I know. You're doing fine, kid. Your first?" Xander nodded, looking pitiful. "It'll be fine. I've got three. They all go through this sometime."
"I have to go through it again?" he asked, looking horrified.
The officer laughed. "You never know, kid." He looked at her. "She's adorable."
"She went through forty-eight diapers in just over a day. I rigged up a way for her to sit on the potty. It was easier."
"That takes some brains." Xander grinned. "I'll tell them why."
"I did. I'm sorry I'm keeping people up. I'd head home but I can't travel with her like this."
"I know, kid. Don't worry about it. I'll make sure you're good." He left, going to talk to the owner of the motel. "The kid has the flu really badly. They've talked to her normal doctor. They have medicine. She'll probably be over it in a few days."
"Those two uncles of hers ran off," he complained.
"The kid said it was a family emergency. Or else he told them if they gave it to her, they'd be babysitting." That got an evil smirk. The boy came out to get a soda, standing outside the door to get some air. He leaned out. "She okay?"
"Still fussing. I need an air break. She can't hurt herself laying on her back on the bed." He took another drink. "I hate her being sick."
The owner leaned out. "She can't roll over?"
Xander shook his head. "She's been trying but she can't yet."
"Good. Don't do anything rash."
"Her fever spikes any higher and we'll be hitting the ER," he promised. "Our pediatrician said so." That got a nod from the cop. Xander looked at the guy sneaking toward his door. "Do not try it," he snarled. The man stopped. "Back away from my daughter. Now!" he shouted when he didn't. The guy stayed frozen, giving him a horrified look. "Right the hell now," he snarled, moving closer. The man ran back to the car, hiding inside it. He took another drink of his soda, looking at the stunned officer. He pulled out the card. "This is the FBI agent who arrested the cult to my daughter." He handed it over. "If and when you talk to him, tell him she got the flu from her Uncle Sammy?"
"Sure." He nodded slowly. "Cult?" Xander lifted his shirt to show the surgical marks. The officer swallowed. "I heard about that."
Xander put down his shirt. "Yeah. He's one. I think he's on probation." He pulled the officer's gun and turned around, pointing it at him. "Get away from my daughter!" he shouted. The man froze, then stared at him, laughing nervously. "Back. Now. Before I have to get mean. You know very well I can and will." The man backed off slowly. "Further." The man ran for the room. Xander tossed the cop his gun and put down his soda before blindsiding the guy. He beat him a few times then looked down at him. "Did you not learn how to listen to orders?"
"You're fouling her! She's not good with you! You're tainting her!" he wailed.
Xander slugged him again, knocking him out. "Yeah, right," he snarled. He got off him and picked up his soda, going back to his daughter. "It's all right, baby. The nasty cult member won't be coming back." She burped and he knew, just knew. He took her outside, letting her puke into a bush. "Thank you." The owner made a horrified noise. "I'll cover it with some sand," he offered. "I didn't want to clean up the carpet." The owner walked off shuddering. "Sorry." He let her finish with some back pats to keep her calm and help her. "There you go." He took her inside to clean up.
The officer did the smart thing since this was clearly a federal matter. He called the agent on the card. "Sir, Mr. Harris said that the baby's Uncle Sammy gave her the flu. That was right before someone he identified as a cult member tried to get in to help the crying little thing. Flu, yes, sir. I can send you that, sir, but it'll take a few hours for him to wake up. No, Mr. Harris took care of him after grabbing my gun."
Xander came out to get into his trunk, getting some sand he used as a counterweight. He poured it over the mess. "Sorry but I was faster. Tell Don I said hi." He waved a hand and finished covering the mess. "If she does that again, we're going to the ER." He put the rest of the sand back then went back into the room, walking over the body.
"Sir, is he normal?" the officer asked the agent. He heard his opinion. "Okay then. Sure. I can do that once he wakes up and gives us his information. Knocked him out, yes, sir." He laughed. "We can do that. No, she's fairly ill. He's called his normal doctor but she's had it bad." Xander came out with his keys and the baby under one arm. "Lock the door; I'll take you," he promised. He said something quietly then hung up, calling his partner over the radio to come get the guy while he took him and the baby to the ER. "Carseat?" Xander got his out of the back of his car and installed it quickly and away they went. He walked him into the ER personally. "Flu," he told the nurse.
Xander handed over the bag of medicine and the instructions. "This is what my doc said but she's still got a fever and she's started puking. Nasty, icky crap. She just had some tylenol but it's possible she puked it too."
"Okay," the nurse agreed. "Pedialyte?"
"Of course. And some thinned down pediasure too," he said with a slight grin. "Izzy likes it." She puked again and he managed to point her at a plant after the first few mouthfuls. "Sorry," he said sheepishly.
"We have people to clean that up," she promised. "C'mon. How long has she been sick?"
"Three days. Her favorite uncles gave it to her; they knew they were supposed to babysit her if she got sick but they had a family emergency and left me with the sick baby."
"I know how that is," she soothed, putting them into a room. "Let's get the paperwork." She got the forms and told the doctor. She came back with the doctor. "Go ahead and put her down on the bed, sir."
"How long since you slept?" the doctor asked gently.
"Two days. She ended up sitting on the potty because she blew through diapers as soon as I put them on her. She went through forty-eight."
"I understand, sir. What's your doctor's name?" Xander got into his phone to get her name and number. "Let me call her. Okay?" Xander nodded. "Why don't you sit and let the nurses watch her. We promise we won't move her from here."
"Her cult," he groaned.
The nurse looked at him. "I've heard about that. She's adorable but clearly not sent by God." Xander relaxed, nodding and sitting beside the table. She smiled at the girl. "You have a very fussy daddy." He nodded, cracking her up. "You try to rest for a few minutes. If we have to admit her, we'll put her in a room where you can have a cot." She moved to check the baby over. He relaxed some but didn't fall asleep. The doctor came back with the faxed records and it was good. "He was doing as ordered?"
"He was. Sometimes the babies get sicker than you expect." She worked on getting some blood. Xander whimpered but they ignored him since she only fussed. She puked again and the nurse managed it for him. She even swatted him when he tried to help. He pouted but they ignored that too.
Xander woke up in the morning, looking at his daughter. "You look so much better. Did you sleep too?"
The nurse leaned in then came in with a cup of coffee for him. "We gave her a baby sized dose of anti-flu medicine. She's done much better all night. Her fever's gone." Xander beamed, pulling her down to give her a hug. "You're welcome. Go back to the motel. She should be able to travel tomorrow, Mr. Harris."
"I love you guys. Thank you. Papers?"
"Let the doctor check her one last time." He nodded, letting her go. She smiled at the happier baby, going to get the doctor up. They came back and found him changing her diaper. "Still a bit loose."
"It usually is," he admitted with a grimace. "This is looser than normal but still disgusting."
"It happens," the doctor agreed. "Keep up the pedialyte." Xander nodded. "Otherwise, let me check her over. Finish your coffee." Xander let her have the baby while he gulped the strong, black coffee. She handed her over and he beamed. "She'll be fine. Give it a day or two and then travel." He nodded. "Good boy." She patted him on the head, handing him a lollipop, getting a shy smile for it. "You yell at those uncles of hers." She went to get the papers for him.
He signed them out and went back to the motel to clean up their mess from when he couldn't sleep and they went to bed. He laid down on the bed, her carefully under his arm, no sheet or anything over them. That way if she had problems he'd know.
Xander drove onto the salvage yard, getting out and opening the back door of the car, handing him Izzy and her diaperbag. "Sunnydale's on the news. There's been multiple fires and it looks like her cult," he said quietly. "Can you call John or them?"
"Not a problem," he promised. "I watched Sammy at this age too, Xander." Xander relaxed, nodding slightly. "You sure you can handle it?"
"Hopefully. Shouldn't be more than a week." He called, leaning on his hood. "Dawn, it's Xander," he said once she answered on the speaker. "I saw the news. What the fuck, young lady?"
"Xander, thank god. We weren't sure where you are. Is Izzy there?"
"Yup," he assured her. "Where's everyone else? I'm on my way back. She's got a sitter."
"Buffy's missing, Willow and Tara guarded our stuff. We have no idea but we think it's the cult reacting to being on bail." Xander groaned. "All we know is they tried to burn city hall last night. It's really nasty."
"Okay. You relax. I'm coming. It'll be a few days. I'm in North Dakota at the moment."
"Three days?" she asked, sounding a bit wobbly.
"It's all interstate so maybe less time," he promised.
"Thanks. The teacher's giving me dirty looks. Gotta go." She hung up.
Xander called Willow's phone, getting Giles. "It's me. Give me some sort of affirmative or negative response. Are they there with you?"
"Oh, dear," he sighed. "Yes, that was something I had feared, Amber."
Xander grimaced. "Did they get my stuff?"
"No, lord no."
"Even better. I'll be back in a few days. If they ask, tell them it'll be four days, Giles. I'm in North Dakota." He hung up when someone grabbed the phone from him. He looked at Bobby.
"Go," he said calmly. "I've got her. I can get John or Dean and Sam back within a day. We'll be fine."
Xander pointed at the bag. "Her tylenol and instructions are in there. Give her a lot of pedialyte. She likes the pediasure when you cut it in half with cold water. She's better and mostly over the flu but it's still messy diapers." Bobby grimaced but nodded. "She was fine, the hospital got her back to healthy after the nice officer drove us there because she didn't quit crying for two days. She was so bad I had to rig up a way to sit her on the toilet, Bobby."
"From Sam and Dean. So smack them for me?" He looked at her, running a finger down her nose. "Daddy will be back very soon. You be safe with Uncle Bobby until Grandpa or someone gets here to help him with your fussy nature. Oh, reading? Loves it." He smiled. "You sure?"
"You can't bring her. It's sounding bad, kid. Go." Xander nodded, sliding into the car and driving off. He looked down at her. "He's one fussy mother," he told her. She smiled. "It's good you agree with me." He dropped the diaper bag so he could dig out his phone, shuffling her to the other arm to hold since it was in his other pocket. "Xander just dropped Izzy off on me because Sunnydale's on the news. Her cult's started to burn parts of Sunnydale and they're holding Giles hostage. We're fine. She's over the flu the boys gave her. I was warned you're going to have many nasty diapers to change too, John." He hung up. She cooed at him. He grinned back. "C'mon, it's too bright out here for you." He grabbed the bag, bringing her inside the house. "Hasn't been too many girls in here. Sorry about al the guy stuff." She was still happy so he was. At least until the first diaper.
Xander stepped off the plane, finding someone waiting on him, trying to be subtle apparently. He pounced him into the wall, staring at him. "Graham. Is this your doing?"
"We're coming in to solve it. No one knows where Buffy is."
"Dawn said that." He let him up, staring at him. "Did they get my place?" Graham shook his head. "Then you can follow me."
"We're military, Harris."
"And I know that town better than every one of you. Beyond that, they want my daughter. Thankfully, she's got an understanding other side of the family."
"You dumped Anya?"
"She dumped me when she found out I was pregnant. Let's go." Graham got up and followed him. Xander had rented a car online from the other end of his trip. So all he had to do was sign and head out. Graham followed him. Xander found the area he wanted to start in, pulling in and parking. He got out, whistling quietly then nodding. Graham called the others while Xander opened the underground portal.
"Why the sewer?" Riley asked when he joined them.
"You guys clearly never went into them. The old mayor created them as walkways for when you couldn't be above ground." He sild down the ladder, landing on the pathway. He looked up. "C'mon." He walked off, heading toward his usual haunts. "Have they gotten into my storage area?" he asked quietly.
"Not yet," Riley said. "Are we?"
"I have the trap door locked with a single key slot deadlock. Unless we can get a telekinetic demon, no." That got a groan. "That doesn't mean there's not others nearby. Or Willie's." He led them to Willie's and up, pointing at two. They followed him up and he snuck out, pulling Willie into the back while covering his mouth. He stared at him. "I want a sit rep, Willie. Now."
The demon bartender licked his lips. "I don't know what you want to hear, Harris."
"Bull. Where are they? Who else is in town? And where is Buffy?"
"The new mayor's people have her somewhere. They knocked her out with a dart and tied her up, then drove her off. No one's sure where." Xander nodded slowly. "They're mostly downtown. They're arguing with the mayor but she's using it to her advantage." Xander nodded more quickly. "The witches have guarded your things and the FBI is trying to sneak in too."
"Good. Do we have any TK demons?" Willie shook his head. "That's fine." He moved closer. "You did not see me, hear me, talk to me, Willie. At all. Am I clear?" he said coldly.
"Clear," he agreed, backing up a step, licking his lips again. "You're not here."
"I told them I'd be here in three days." That got a fast nod. "Go. Someone just came in." They disappeared back into the sewers and Xander led them to the area where his storage area was. He came up one of the empty areas, looking around before waving them up. "I'm there," he said quietly with a point. "There's at least one Fed there." They could hear them calling for him. They nodded. "Free the Feds or secure the area and let me free them."
"Secure the area and we'll move in," Riley said. They checked outside then snuck out to secure the town.
Xander checked then snuck over to his secured area. He found Don Epps in there. "Hiding?" he hissed. Don nodded quickly. "Any of yours? I came up with Finn."
"They've got Colby around here somewhere."
Xander took his phone to text him about the area near him. He got back a 'found the door' and smiled. He ordered him to grab a gun. He handed it back. "Tell him Finn's guys are military. Make a distraction and move somewhere safer." Don did that. Xander got what he wanted and handed Don something. "Looking kinda weak. Those are tranqs." He put something into his pocket. "They have Buffy somewhere."
"Not your fault." He shrugged. The cult members were getting upset in the next area. Xander found a gas canister and slid it over there, setting it off. They choked and ran out. He and Don escaped under cover of the smoke. They came up on some of the cult. Xander sneered. "Don't try." They tried and Xander tranqed them. They went down. It was pretty to him. They ran off and he sent Don to help his guy. He ran into Riley. "I need a doll or baby demon," he said in his ear, getting an odd look. Riley nodded finally. They headed to get one from Willie. They came back with a wrapped baby and the parent of the baby demon. It whispered something to Xander. "Perfect. Thank you. I'll make sure he's safe." The demon nodded and they faded into the night. They let themselves be caught closer to town. They all stared at the baby in his arms. One demanded he hand her over. So he shot him. They went down and the rest escorted him to the new headquarters.
"Give us our saint," the leader sneered. "That way she's not fouled by your touch any more." Xander whispered at the baby, putting it down. It disappeared. The leader and others gasped, then started to fight.
Xander punched the one that came at him. "Proves you're not worthy, huh?" He heard his rescue. "Now!" he shouted. Riley's guys rushed in with the FBI behind them. Xander got the few he could down. The others got the rest. Xander looked around, wiping the blood off his mouth. Then he looked at Riley. "We have to find Buffy," he said quietly. One of them moaned at that name so he hauled them up to get into their face. "Where is she?" he snarled, inches from his face. "Tell me now or tell her ex, the commando."
"The mayor took her to Regent Street," he whimpered, trying to back away.
Xander blinked. "Regent Street? The nest?" He shuddered so Xander let him fall. "We'll need some strong stomachs," he said, walking past Riley's guys. "That's a nest." They shuddered but followed. "Someone find me Spike!" he shouted, breaking into a jog. He knew something was wrong now. He found the nest easily enough. It was the largest in the city and Buffy had been planning on taking it out while he was gone. He stopped to watch, frowning. He heard someone gasp and looked back at Spike. "The mayor's people dropped her in there." He held up something, getting a nod. "Second wave, and you take her to Angel," he ordered quietly.
Xander pointed. "She's tied up, Spike." Spike shuddered. "If anyone can make her sane, it's Angel. If we have to, Willow can soul her later." Spike nodded briefly, putting out his cigarette. Xander turned and bounced the canister in his hand a few times before whistling then throwing the canister into the nest. The vampires screamed as the lights came out. They walked in to dust the rest. Buffy was still tied up on the bed. Her arms were bound behind her. Her ankles were bound too. He stared down at her. "Someone will get them for you," he told her.
She yawned. "What's going on, Xander?"
Xander handed her to Spike. "Right to Angel. No stopping."
"Agreed." He grimaced. "It's not going to be pretty later."
Xander looked around. "Don't worry about it. I'll call Wes to warn him." That got a nod and Spike carried her out.
"I'm not a sack of clothes," she complained. "Hi, Graham."
"Hey, Buffy." He stared at her vamped face. She gave him a confused look. He pointed at her forehead. Xander came out to run his finger over the ridges. She shuddered, flinching away. "He'll help you," Graham said.
Xander nodded. "He will. If we have to, we'll have Willow soul you too," he said quietly. She burst out crying. "We'll watch your mom and Dawn, Buffy. Go with Spike." She nodded, letting him carry her off. He looked at Graham. "Not the first friend we've had to see vamped."
"Which is why you're insane to stay in the business, Harris."
Xander nodded. "Sometimes." He went to clean up the nest, taking their stuff to drop off at Goodwill then heading back to his area. He ran into Willow and Tara outside the Magic Box. "We need to call inside." He walked in and grabbed the phone, dialing out while Giles protested. "Wes, Xander. Bad news." He listened. "I'm sorry you guys have had a shitty night but the cult to Izzy tried to take over the town and the mayor's people used it to sedate and kidnap Buffy. They dropped her into a nest bound." He looked at Giles. "I have Spike bringing her to Angel. She didn't realize she woke up that way." Giles shuddered. "If we have to, Willow can soul spell her. Right now, it's not safe and we'll need Faith out of jail. I know she's in real jail instead of Council custody. I'm sure someone can try. I don't know but she's still bound unless he released her. Thanks." He hung up, looking at Giles, then at the witches. "Riley."
"We can hold the town until Faith gets here. Is she sane?"
"She's healed a lot of stuff in prison." He looked at Giles. "She wasn't aware she was turned, Giles. That's why I had her sent to Angel. He can make sure she's sane and see if she needs the soul spell."
"I can get the stuff and be there by tomorrow," Willow promised, moving to get the stuff she'd need.
Xander looked at Giles. Then at Riley. "How bad is it?"
"There's nearly a riot across town. Our guys showed up and they got attacked."
Tara shuddered. Xander looked at her then at Riley. "Okay, I'm going to call a bold move. Willow, sedate the town." She gasped. "I know very well you can. You studied it before we went into the base. It's just a larger area." She nodded, finding that spell and pulling Tara to help her. He leaned into the working area when he thought of something. "The Feds are all blessed. They've been splashed with holy water." She nodded, using that to leave them alone. Xander waited until it went into effect, looking at Giles. "Can we hold the town until they get Faith out?"
He shook his head. "I don't think we can. She's been fighting with the new masters that recently moved in to try to take over."
Xander looked at Tara, who was shaking and pale. Then at Willow. "Then we'll evacuate." Willow gasped. "Until it's safe I can't bring Izzy back and I can't keep her with Bobby and John." She slumped. "So we'll go." He looked at Giles. "Now." He went to pack. He looked at Tara then at the agent stomping in. "There's another slayer."
"I remember that show too."
"She's in the women's jail outside LA."
"Good to know."
"We're not sure it's going to be safe. For now, people are out."
"Agreed. Skip," he ordered. Xander nodded, going to get a truck. "How long will the spell last?" Don asked calmly.
"A few days at most but it should last longer on the vamps and demons," Willow said. Tara looked at her. "That's how it's made."
"Okay," he agreed. "Go help that Angel guy with Buffy then hide, girls. When things are ready for you to come back, they'll find you." They nodded, going to pack their rooms. He looked at the military guys. "Can you hold it until they can get Faith out?"
"Of course," Riley agreed. "We'll probably be a bit more harsh than Buffy was but we're military."
"Orders?" Riley nodded. "Good. I'm here," he said, handing over his card. "I want to know immediately if things change, you guys get reassigned, or if she gets here."
"Yes, sir," Riley agreed. Don left and Riley deployed his guys to go help Joyce pack. They didn't want to see Buffy go after her family.
Xander knocked on Joyce's door before walking in, staring at her. "You'll want to put it down."
"You found her?" Dawn asked. She put down her and her mom's mugs.
Xander pulled her into a hug, looking at Joyce. Joyce sat down hard, staring at him. "The mayor's people darted her on patrol, Joyce." Dawn got free to stare at him. "They dropped her tied up into a nest." Joyce started to sob. "She's on her way to Angel and Willow can resoul her if necessary," he finished quietly. He gave her a hug. "I'm sorry."
She looked up. "Now what?"
"Now, I've got to warn Faith that they'll be coming to bring her back here. The rest of us are evacuating until Faith can make it safe again. We can't hold the town without Willow going all spelly again." She swallowed and nodded. "Spike took her to Angel. She didn't even realize she had been turned."
"Okay," she said, pulling herself back together for Dawn. "We'll do what we have to do."
"Which is move until Faith can make the town safe," Xander told her. "Because they'll come for you now. Without Buffy being around to drive them off, you two are open targets," he said very quietly. She nodded. "I can help you." Someone knocked. "That's one of Riley's guys." Dawn went to let him in. "What's up?"
"Riley sent us to help them move, Mr. Harris."
He looked at Joyce, kissing her on the forehead. "I'm moving closer to Bobby and the midwest until it's safe. You guys can gladly come join me."
"We might. Let's see what the dawn brings," Joyce said. Xander nodded. "Soldier, it'll take at least a day to pack here and the gallery."
"If you need it, we can help, ma'am. Captain Finn was very certain something would come for you when they wake up. Rosenburg said we have two days."
Xander nodded. "Good. We'll need it to clean the Magic Box." He looked at her.
He nodded. "Call me and I'll bring Izzy back." He headed to clean out his place and then his storage area. On the way he called Caleb. "Can you meet me somewhere? Because Sunnydale just went to hell, Caleb. It's not safe for me to keep Izzy here. Or even be here." He stopped walking. "Buffy's been turned, Caleb. She's on her way to Angel and Willow will probably end up souling her tomorrow if she doesn't stake herself. Sunnydale's not safe." He listened. "That seems pretty fair. I have two days to clear out. Everyone's down until then. No, Willow's spell. Because Buffy's got a mom and a little sister, Caleb. Plus now they're going to come after us."
He sighed. "No, the new mayor's people came after her. They darted her on patrol and then tied her up before tossing her into the biggest vamp nest in town." Caleb shuddered, he could hear it. "So I need to evac. It's not safe for Izzy. Really? How far from Bobby is that?" He grinned. "She does like him. She smiled at him first. Plus he's got her right now so I could come back and help stop that cult. I can do that, man. Thanks. Yeah, more than easily with what I can find around town. Thanks." He hung up and changed his battle plans. He still went to pack his apartment and his storage area, then he went to hunt down the sleeping bad things so he could rob their nests, caves, lairs, and storage areas. That way Caleb could have a good selection of what he wanted for that area he knew about.
Xander was let into the warden's office. "I know it's an odd situation but I need to speak to her quickly, sir."
"Is it a family emergency?"
"The woman who was seriously injured is like her sister. They shared a life at one time." That got a nod. "I can promise you can stay. It'll only take me a minute and then she'll probably be crying for a bit."
"I suppose I can grant it. I know a few others have asked to see her."
"I'm the forward scout of bad news in this case." That got a nod and Faith was brought in. He stood up, looking at her. "It's bad."
"How bad, X?"
"Buffy's been hurt."
"Like I was?"
"Like Spike was. He took her to Angel to heal with some help from Willow and her magical fingers." She stiffened. He nodded. He moved closer, glancing at the warden, who shrugged. He gave her a hug, whispering in her ear. "Willow knocked them out. The new mayor's people had her tied up and dropped into a nest." He pulled back to look at her. "We're evacing until you and Riley's people can make it safe. I can't have Izzy in that much danger. Joyce and Dawn would be in too much danger too."
She nodded. "I understand that. Red and her witchy poo?"
"After they visit her, they'll be hiding from it too. We're very aware we can't hold it. The cult to Izzy burned down half the town. It was bad enough that it made national news. I was off on a roadtrip and there's no way we can hold it. Though, I did handle some of the issue for you so I could clean up some of their mess. The cult's mostly gone."
She sighed because that would be some help to her. "Who else is coming?"
"Wes. I told him first. He's making calls."
She nodded, considering it. "Tweedy?"
"With Buffy. She'll need him." He stroked her cheek. "When you're ready for us to come, you'll call." He handed over a piece of paper from his pocket. "That's where I'll be and my phone number." She looked then smiled at him. "A friend of a friend found it for me. We traded some supplies for it until it's safe again. When you're ready, you call."
"I can do that. Riley?"
"Finn. Initiative guy. They got orders to deal with the town until you or someone like you is back."
She sighed, but nodded. "Thanks for the head's up."
"You'd expect to hear it from me anyway, Faith. It's bad, I won't lie. Buffy's spastic and screaming in anger. Something about why didn't this happen to one of the ones who went happily to the job instead of her since she never wanted it."
Faith snorted. "So she becomes the best ever?"
He smirked. "None of the others had backup. When you're ready for backup, you'll call and we'll come."
She gave him a fast hug. "I can agree to that. Thanks for letting me know she's that bad."
"Not an issue. Call even if you just wanna talk or hear Izzy babble and coo, Faith. I'm there when you need me."
"Agreed. Now go guard my niece. How long?"
"Tomorrow on Willow's thing. Riley's guys are there to cover for you."
The warden coughed. "Someone British did inform us of why she was not the normal prisoner in case someone unwisely tried to attack her."
Xander looked at him. "The other slayer was killed." He shuddered. "So they'll be working on her parole or however." He looked at her again. "Oh, strangeness."
"Stranger than Sunnyhell?" she joked.
"FBI agent who has a clue, respected me for what I did, and agreed I needed stuff to do it."
She gaped. "Way strange. He five-by-five with us?"
"Yeah. His cell's below mine." He smirked. "He's making Riley update him."
"Cool with me." She kissed him. "Go guard my niece. She's more important."
"Agreed. When you're ready to be an aunt, you'll call."
"I'll call." He smiled and gave her another hug then left. She let herself slowly relax. "Thank you."
"There's been three others who have asked to speak to you, Miss Lehane."
"Wesley I'd expect."
"Him and two British sorts."
"Wesley I'll talk to. Them, they can have him translate. Their Council can blow me."
"Fine, I'll let that be known. Would you like to talk to the shrink?"
"No, I'm good. I could use some heavy bag time though."
"I'll have you taken to the gym." He summoned the guards again. "Miss Lehane just got bad family news. She needs some stressing out time in the gym."
He walked her down there, closing her in. They had seen her working out in the past and it was a thing of beauty. Today they just wanted out of the way with the look on her face. With the shrieking she was doing as she hit the bag, they were right to be worried.
to part 3