Xander yawned as he walked in, finding Bobby making cocoa. "Bad day?"
"Fairly. You're out of coffee."
"Got some in the truck." He put Izzy down. "Stay." She shook her head and pointed at Bobby. "Ask him, not me." He went to get the coffee and soda from the truck, coming back in and shutting the door. "John and the boys?"
"Fine. What were you doing in LA? We heard about it and most of us laughed."
"Wolfram and Hart are behind all the stress on Angel's crew. They're literally the lawyers for hell." Bobby nearly dropped his mug. "Break it and you replace it."
He put the mug down. "They're...."
Xander nodded. "Yeah, takeover bids and all. They had plans to open a portal in LA so a mass invasion would happen. Another one to bring eternal night." Bobby shuddered. "So, yeah, I snuck in there with some help from Gunn. I taped what I saw and had him send the feed to Epps, who decided to use chasing my breaking and entering as an excuse to follow me in. It's flimsy but the judge agreed that stuff found while chasing a criminal is allowed in court and that freeing me because I had done this to get the attention on them was fine with her. She said next time to leave an anonymous tip."
Bobby groaned, shaking his head. "You're insane, kid."
"Cable's off again."
"It's fixed now."
Xander beamed. "Thank you."
"Welcome, goofy. What's wrong with her?"
"I didn't let her listen to the station she wanted. She's getting spoiled. I'm not allowing it."
"She's not too bad."
"Yes she is. She tried to beat someone who wasn't paying attention to her when Dawn had her at the mall." Bobby laughed. "She's spoiled. I am not going to have that sort of a princessly daughter."
"Sure, I get that. How much stuff did Buck get writer's cramp from?"
"None. It was in LA so I told Epps. He was most happy to help get that stuff gone. Including the huge bomb we found under East LA. The artillery. The dealer selling junky artillery was taken down by his customers. A few others who sell crappy things got given over too. That way I don't have to play 'I want one that works, that thing is going to kill us all if we don't blow it up' again."
"I can see that." He patted the boy on the shoulder. "Put her down for a nap."
"She just got up and she can nap on the couch." He got her the bear from her bag, making her happier. "Cordy got her her first tiara."
"She's not that sort of princess."
"No but she wanted it bad enough to nearly shoplift the sparklies." Bobby laughed harder at that. "She did! Helped Cordy pick out a pair of shoes. Helped Dawn pick out a bathing suit." He shook his head. "They were trying to warp her into a girly little girl."
"She'll be the sort of girl she wants to be. Even if she does have spoiled moments." She was trying to get into her bag. "Trying to get her tiara?"
"Or the stuff I found in a nest but I think I gave Chris that stuff so he could check it for me in case it was stolen. He even let me keep the guns I found for Christmas presents after checking them for being stolen."
"That's nice of him. How did the parole hearings go?"
"Bad. They're mostly out but warned to stay away from us or else they can go back in. It's part of their probation instructions. Or parole ones, whatever they are. They're not to leave the state and if we're back there, there's a restraining order. I stopped to give the Sheriff the name list and Don's sending him an ID file since they're still insistent that she's a saint."
"She's adorable but not that way." He got the tiara out for her, letting her put it on with a grin. "You're cute." She beamed happier and gave him a hug. "Why don't you nap?" She pointed at the tv. He turned it on PBS for her and she laid down in her tiara, cuddling her bear to nap to Sesame Street. "She's going to be a nerve-wracking hellion soon."
"Too late," Xander snorted. "She learned how to walk while we were there. She followed Angel around the whole time. Whenever he was up she was his shadow, toddling behind him with her bear. She'd babble something to her bear and look up at him. It was like she was reporting on him to some hidden microphone." Bobby snickered, leaning on the nearest chair. "Exactly." He flopped down. "Cordy said thank you. It's helping a lot and she's looking into being tainted into a half-demon to cure the headaches."
"If it helps."
"I suggested a succuba so she could play with the pretty boys but she didn't like that idea."
"You need to date, Xander."
"There's no evil women around here."
Bobby looked at him. "Try a good girl for once."
"I did. She turned evil."
"I'm talking about Cordelia."
Bobby snorted, shaking his head. "No, a real good girl."
"I'd hit on Megan but it'd take away her geek snuggly."
"That's not good for him. They deserve it with what they do." He looked at her then got the boy some cocoa. "How were things otherwise?"
"Joyce is okay. She demanded the first visit when I called to tell her I was nearly in town. She babysat while I went to raid nests. I came back that night and she said I had been gone way too long but Gunn told her why when he came in. That's how I found out Dawn and Cordy took her to the mall." Bobby grinned. "So she let me off the spanking hook for that bit of babysitting. Spike finally go?"
"Few days ago. Kyle drove him off even if you did like him."
"He was my roomie for a while and I understand him. I'm not scared but I'm respectful of him. Though he won't be getting back in. I'll do an uninvite later." That got a smirk. "We all know how to do that thanks to Angelus. He did threaten to slip his soul and nibble on her once. Said she was the sort that Dru would've picked. He got smacked upside the head for it by Cordelia. She was mean too, she used Wes's cricket bat. He said she's still too adorable for words and he said he's telling his father that she's his only heir since he believes he'll have a demon spawn if he has one of his own. Fred made cookies and tacos with her, making her happy but fart and belch for the next two days. Including during the hearings."
That got a nod and a smile. "But they all agreed it was a good visit and they got driven nuts by my little girl. They all said it's good I'm still a bit sane. Hopefully. Though Cordy did say she'd send someone out here soon so I'd have a girl to drool on beyond my daughter when she climbs in with me at night." The phone rang so he reached back to grab it. "Yeah, it's me." He listened. "That's what I expected, Chris. Well, not many of them can *buy* the stuff. Sure, whatever's left please. Thank you. Tell them I found it or whatever." He hung up. "Some of the stuff I found was stolen. It's being returned."
"Will that get you in trouble?"
"Good." He looked out there then at him. "I came looking for research books and found weapons."
"That's the illusion I have for most of them. I need to take down Chris's camera before I expose them all. He knows I have some, but not what exactly."
"That's fine. Can we?" Xander nodded, going to do that. The camera got put into an envelope when Xander went out to get the other cases from the truck. Bobby moaned. Xander grinned and put them under the illusion too. "Any others real books?"
"Back room." He led him to it. They had filled in the bookcases with the real books while snowed in. "How's that?"
"Bigger than my collection."
"Wes said if he dies, I'm getting his." He grinned. "All sorts of watchery stuff."
"That'd be nice. You'll share?"
"Of course. Cordy says I share way too much." Bobby bopped him on the arm but let it go. He found what he wanted to look through. "What're we looking for?"
"A certain higher demon." He pulled out the description.
"That's D'Hoffryn. Over vengeance demons. Why?"
"He was seen in a town."
"Hey, Anya?" Xander called, looking up. She appeared, handing him something. "From?"
"That nice ATF agent who got annoyed when I shared what you're usually like."
"I'll call him later to tell him thanks. He thinks D'Hoffryn was cutting up in a town down here?"
"He was drunk and maudlin so he went to find someone who needed him." She looked over Bobby's shoulder, finding what he wanted. "There you go. I'll talk to him, Bobby." She pinched his cheek. "Maybe you should have Xander. It's been a while for both of you so he must be desperate and you do have a hunter's stamina."
"I'm a widow, Anya. Thank you for the help."
"Welcome." Xander held up the envelope. "Sure, I can do that. The young one wanted to hear more." She beamed and disappeared.
Xander put the package down, looking at him. "It's not mean," he said at the odd look he was getting.
"I'm sure they might see it differently."
"Maybe but it'll do JD good to hear more about what she does. Especially since one of them tried to get her to curse him for not going for her."
"Poor Buck and Chris."
"Poor Vin. She likes him to replace me." Bobby went to call him. "By the way, I found the fax machine," he called after him.
"Thanks, Xander." He dialed Buck's number. "You might wanna warn Vin that Anyanka likes him to replace Xander in her bed," he said quietly. "And she brought back Chris's cameras so she could talk to JD. Said he wanted to hear more about what she used to do. Xander said it wasn't mean to send her back to talk to him, just educational." He hung up on the swearing his old friend was doing. "Anything else on his class of demons, Xander?"
"Two or three." He came out with them. "Research away, Bobby. I've got to put our stuff up." He took the package into the back bedroom to hide then came out to grab the clothes to be put up. He had hit a laundromat in Denver before hitting the road.
"What was in the package?"
"The princess's crown jewels."
Bobby looked up. "What?"
"Common currency underground."
"Never mind. I don't need to know." He went back to researching, making notes when Xander handed him a few pens and a notebook. "Thanks, kid."
"I like being a library," he quipped. He checked on his daughter then went to start dinner. He was tired of potatoes so he decided on some steaks and corn instead. Maybe some tomatoes too. That'd work. Though he did give Bobby more cocoa since he was busy reading and hadn't realized he was out yet. He got a grin for it and then went back to puttering.
John woke up a few weeks later when he heard a car engine, getting up to see his son driving off into the early dawn light. "It's too early for him," he muttered, going to check their room. Sam was still there. "Sammy?" He shook him to wake up faster. "Sammy!"
Sam sat up rubbing his eyes. "What?"
"Why did Dean leave?"
"Probably for coffee." He looked around the room, noticing some things. "Never mind. He's going to visit his niece."
John looked around then at him. "How can you tell?"
"His bag's gone. Those are my weapons there." He pointed at the small pile. He looked up. "Should we call?"
"Give him a few days and then call. You can travel with me, son." He patted him on the head. "I know he didn't mean to really dump you."
Sam nodded. "I think the 'you should have stuck with him' lectures you tried to give me after we were sure she was mine stuck in him better, Dad."
"Dean does feel very strongly about his family," he agreed. He mentally sighed. "I'll call him later on."
"Give him a few days, Dad. He'll need it to figure out if this is what he really wants."
"I guess. Did he leave notes on the ghost?" Sam got up to look, waving them. John took them back to his room. "Since we're up, breakfast?"
"If you're buying. I'm broke."
"Fine. Get dressed, meet me outside in twenty minutes." Sam went to shower and dress. John went to do the same, mentally wondering at his son's sudden itch to have a male wife. That wasn't what Dean usually wanted.
Xander looked up when he heard the car, waving at Dean as he shoveled the newest snow off the front stairs. "Did I send you guys film of her walking?" he asked when Dean came up the stairs.
"You did. I thought it was cute she followed Angel around until he growled." He stared at him.
Xander looked at him. "No Sam?"
"No, no Sam."
"Well, if you want pity cuddles, she's down for a nap."
"That's fine. Thanks, Xander."
"You know I'm not going to say anything, Dean. Sometimes the job gets to you and you need a bit of cooing and petting to make it better." Dean gave him a weak grin but went in to check on his niece. Xander frowned at his back. That hadn't been the normal tired look Dean usually had when he got there. Huh. He went back to shoveling. It'd be spring soon. He was nearly counting down the days until spring. White was no longer a color he appreciated all that much. Even though the locals had said that most winters weren't this bad anymore; he was hoping the next one would be better. He finally got done and went inside to find Dean rocking her slowly and her napping on his shoulder. Xander took a picture and went to start on lunch. He was starved and Dean was a bottomless pit.
Dean stared outside while thinking. This was seriously not his usual thing but this was his family. He was not going to let his little princess be raised alone. Sammy might not be able to handle being a full time father. Most of the time when they left Sammy talked about her for a day and then trailed off to now and then mentions. Dean constantly wondered how she was doing. It was like she was his daughter. That had gotten him thinking during the broken leg. She even had the blonde hair still. Ellen was teasing him about faulty paternity tests again. She yawned and blinked up at him, smiling and giving him a baby kiss on the chin. "Hey, Izzy. How was your nap?"
"No what? You did nap. I saw you," he said with a grin.
"Me? Nah, I'm not going anywhere. This is my family and that's the man I am. You're not getting rid of me anytime soon." He shifted her some then got up to change her diaper, bringing her out to the kitchen. She let off a wail. "What?"
"She doesn't like the meat I'm cooking," Xander said, giving his daughter a look. She pouted. "It's not for you. It's for us. You can have the cheese." She got put into her high chair with the promised cheese and was happier. "She's already got teenage food mood swings," he joked.
"Sammy still has those too." He sat down, watching Xander cook. Xander gave him an odd look but went back to making them warm sandwiches. "How's the roof holding up?"
"No more leaks so far. This spring the rest is going to get replaced. We're still hearing rumors that Sunnydale's going under this spring's apocalypse. If so, the run to Cleveland begins." Dean nodded at that. "Faith doesn't want me there. She had better reasons than Buffy did. She didn't want to make Izzy an orphan."
"I can see that. You're her only real parent, Xander. The rest of us are like babysitters she likes a lot," he said at his odd look.
"I guess. They'll still need the help."
"Not necessarily. All the hunters are going to converge on Cleveland for the spring thing there." Xander nodded. "Faith and the military guys?"
"Sunnydale. Buffy too but Angel's crew is going to be handling the smaller issues going on in LA."
"Decent. If we had a safe sitter to put her with, we could go."
Xander looked at him. "Bobby's going?"
"Bobby and Dad both. Ellen's been organizing the trip and who gets what part of the city to lounge in for the build-up. They're getting nearer to the hellmouth. Sammy and I are backing them up." Xander nodded. "Unless you think Angel can handle her and their problem?"
"No. If Sunnydale sinks, everyone's going to run to LA. It's got the best hiding areas and the portals to other planes for escape." That got a nod. "I know the Devon coven is going to be watching and Willow's going to Cleveland to make sure it doesn't open."
"That's cool. Are they on the same day?"
"Moon dark and then the night of the full moon," Xander admitted. "So Faith and them might make it to Cleveland too. I'll have her call Ellen to go over that plan."
Dean grabbed the phone to do that. "Ellen, Dean. There's going to be a gap between Sunnydale's last stand and the one in Cleveland. About two weeks. Moon dark is when it falls?" Xander nodded. "Then Cleveland goes on the full moon. Willow's going to be on standby in case it's going to open. Angel's got a small something going on in LA that his team will handle. Xander's trying to figure out if he can get there too." He listened. "I can understand that. That may be fine. Xander, there's a few other hunters with kids who want to go."
"I might be able to babysit but I've never done it before with older kids."
"These kids know hunting so they'll probably pout that they were left out and stuff," he offered.
"Sure. If they want, I can let them have the huge bunker down there for a long sleepover."
Dean repeated that. "Yeah, Kyle's ghost showed him where it was. We have no idea what's holding him here." Xander pointed at the wall. "Really?"
"He tied his old protections to his blood."
"That makes more sense." He told her that, getting a 'that sounds like him' back. "I'm here with Xander. We need to get in touch with Faith to get her an assignment in case they can run that way. She's got those military guys too." He nodded, taking down the information. "I can do that. Thanks, Ellen." He hung up and called Faith's phone. "Faith, Dean Winchester. We know there's going to be a gap between Sunnydale going south and Cleveland lighting up?" He smiled. "One of ours is planning that. We're getting a mass of hunters in Cleveland beforehand. Dad and Bobby too. Willow's going to be on hand for the opening if it happens.
"That's what we were thinking. I can do that. Tell the military guys that they'll have an assigned area to cover if they make it there. If not, you and whoever can. It'll bridge between Dad's and another hunter's area. If not, Sammy will cover it. We're closer to the hellmouth because we've been to Sunnydale." He nodded, making note of that. "Ellen is. At the Roadhouse, yeah." He smiled. "That's fine, Faith. Sure, I can fax the map to Angel for you. You're going to be there tonight? Or when?" He made a note. "I can do that. Thanks, Faith. Good luck. Xander's agreed to babysit some of the others' kids if they want to go. Sure, call me and I'll come." He hung up, looking at him. "She likes that idea."
"I like that idea."
"The you babysitting idea. She didn't want Izzy anywhere near the hellmouth until it settled down again."
"That is a consideration and why she needs a stepmom pretty badly."
Dean nodded. "That's something to think about. A steady female influence." Which he wasn't so he wasn't sure Xander would accept him.
"I think I can give the steady female influence with all the ones I was surrounded by," Xander said dryly. "Just to have another parent there so I could go do what was necessary without dropping her off suddenly on someone."
"That too," Dean agreed. That was looking better for his plans. "Is there something around here?"
"A few demons have popped up on their way through. I took out one the other night. I'm going tomorrow to take out a nest of vamps that've decided to move in across the county line tomorrow. She's going to daycare tomorrow actually. She likes it," he said at Dean's odd look. "One of the nicer churches has one. They let her squeal, play, and interact with normal kids."
"Me?" she asked.
"Yes, you. You get to play at the church tomorrow, Izzy."
Dean smiled. "She seems to remember it fondly by the evil smirk she has."
"There's a set of twin girls with long blonde hair. She likes to play with it. Knots it all to hell too."
"Of course she does." He patted her on the head, getting a blown kiss. "Where did you learn that from?"
"Anya was over a few days back and taught her to blow kisses so she could do it at boys when she's older." They shared a grin. "I'd let her watch Izzy so I could get there but she said she refuses to babysit. It might infect her with the desire to have her own."
"She is cool that way. I know I've had that thought a few times too." Xander gave him another odd look. "Someday."
"I guess that's cool but don't tell Willow. I'm not sure I want to be pregnant again."
Dean laughed. "I can understand that." He looked at her. "Have you said my name yet, princess?"
"Not yet. I tried. She can almost get Sammy out. She called him Summy so far."
Dean grinned. "There's days I called him submarine when he was younger." Xander giggled, handing him a plate. She looked at it then made a pouty face. "You didn't want this stuff."
"Give her a piece, she'll still not want it," Xander quipped. He tried but she scowled at him. She took one from Dean. "Looks like she's playing favorites today too." He ate a bite of his pork chop sandwich. "When should I start to expect the kids?"
"We can get with them later." Xander nodded before taking another bite. Dean ate one and hummed. "Good job."
"Thanks." He grinned. "Sodas in the fridge."
Dean got one for each of them since he was closer then sat down to let Izzy steal another bite to gnaw into baby food. "If you like it, why did you fuss?"
"She's a girl," Xander said dryly. "What happens when Cleveland's closed again? She'll need me soon enough."
"We're seeing what's going to happen," Dean admitted. "Depending on how strong it is. You should ask Riley what his orders are."
"I did, he's checking. The Council wants to kill Faith momentarily so they can have a second living slayer too."
"Hmm. Might be easier but could crap out on them. Be some psycho." Xander nodded. "How does she feel about that?"
"She doesn't like the idea but she doesn't want to do it alone. Buffy pouted about not being counted as one anymore, but that's just her girl mood showing again." That got a nod. "So we'll see." He called Faith. "Hey, it's me. Are you coming here on your way to Cleveland?" He smiled. "It'll be late spring by then, Faith. I won't have the snow. There will be brown and green instead of white. Because I need to know what Riley's planning and all that. Because you might still need me, Faith. So I'll have to get to Cleveland after the danger's done with." He nodded.
"I know that, but it took years for Sunnydale to get that bad. Exactly. That's what I was thinking. No, tomorrow I'm taking out a nest because they moved close by. She'll be in daycare." He grinned at Dean. "Feeding her some of his pork chop, which she wailed about earlier. Yeah, that mood. We're here and I got the position of safety zone and babysitter. Thanks, Faith. Yeah, definitely keep me in the loop." He took a sip of soda. "If they're going to go with their plan, come here, Faith. We'll do it here. Because I'm the one who got Kendra activated and I'm feeling sentimental?" he suggested. "I seem to draw the dead," he offered sarcastically, making her laugh. "Thanks, Faith." He hung up. "She'll come here to do that attempt."
"That works for me," Dean agreed. "You did?"
"Gave Buffy CPR."
"I must've missed that episode of the show." Xander smirked at him. "I knew there were two but I must've missed that one. Will you need help with the nest?"
"Not really. You can nap tomorrow, Dean. I know you're tired."
"I can help."
"If I need it, I'll call. This way you can get a nap without the bedtime snuggly one there."
"You'll call if you need help?"
"Of course." He grinned. "That's why I'm going during the day."
"Good idea." He went back to eating, handing her another divot of meat. She beamed and nibbled on it. "She's weird."
"She's young. She'll grow into her version of strange soon enough." Dean cackled, nodding. "We all did. That's what makes us unique." He ate another bite, getting a look from his daughter. "Want some of mine now?" He held up a bite, letting her take it to taste then eat with a hum of pleasure. "Thanks, dear." He finished his lunch but Dean moved to do the dishes. "I can. Not like there's so much to do today."
"It's cool. I can help out." Xander nodded, taking her out to the living room to read to her. Dean went back to thinking. Xander wasn't the sort of person he was usually attracted to. But he was family. So was the baby. She walked in and gave his leg a hug, getting a smile back. "What's up? Want to help me do dishes?"
"I'll read to you when I'm done here. Go let Daddy do one?" She smiled and went back to Daddy's side for her story of the afternoon. "Too fucking adorable," he muttered, getting back to work on the few dishes.
Xander gave Dean another odd look but went back to reading to her. He agreed, she was too damn adorable but they'd teach her self defense so all the boys would leave her alone. Maybe they'd even make her scary so they'd run and hide from her. That was a plan he could get behind. "Hey, Dean, when we teach her self defense can we make her scary so the boys run and hide from her?"
Dean gave him an odd look. "It's that or a chastity belt," he agreed, cracking Xander up. "I know you don't want to be Grandpa before you're fifty."
"Or later," he agreed with a grin.
"Dad's not looking forward to that state either." He smiled, getting back to the dishes. That was a pretty good idea. "Too bad Sammy won't go for it."
"He will if you mention being a grandfather when she's the same age I was when she was born."
"There is that," he agreed. "Though Sammy might like that idea. He's strange that way."
Xander nodded. "He can be I guess." He went back to reading because she was poking him on the chest to make him go on. "Sorry, I was talking to Dean."
"Fine." He went back to reading to her. "JD got her some books on tape for the holidays. Including a few Ezra read to her."
"That's cool. That's a story without a book." He got done and came out to get the next one. She gladly wiggled into his lap to let him read to her. She liked his voice he guessed.It was kinda deep and a bit rough at times. All the girls liked his voice. He read her Pooh, because she seemed to like Pooh. She was even wearing Pooh today. So that was good for her.
Xander relaxed, letting him do some of the parent stuff for a bit. It was nice to have help. His daughter was a demanding little princess some days.
Dean waited until he knew Xander was asleep then snuck in there to look down at him. He stripped down and climbed in next to him. Xander snuffled then pinned him. One finger traced things on his stomach, making him wiggle a bit but it wasn't too bad. He stroked over his hair.
Xander woke up and realized what he was doing, looking up at Dean. "Did you sneak in for the nightmares? She does now and then."
"Nah. Been doing some thinking."
Xander sat up, blinking at him. "About?"
Dean sighed, sitting up to look at him. "This is my family, Xander. I'm not the sort of man who can walk away from my family. I nearly didn't make it out of Sunnydale that first trip to fight Glory with you guys." Xander's mouth fell open. He shrugged a bit. "To a Winchester, family is everything. Sammy should have stepped up but...." He stopped Xander from moving. "I'm not just doing it because of her. Because of her I've learned to appreciate you in a lot of ways." Xander relaxed again. "It's not just her. She's a reason but not the whole reason."
"I don't need pity."
"I'm not." He grinned. "If you had been a girl, Dad would've had a shotgun but he let Sammy get away with not jumping you. It feels...wrong to me to not be here for her."
"Then why are you in my bed?"
"Because you come with her and I wouldn't have it any other way?"
Xander blinked a few times. "That was fairly mushy for you."
"I know, she infected me with the mush she sucks out of others." Xander snickered. "Anyway, I, um, wanted to try to be her stepdaddy. That is if you could handle that?"
Xander shrugged. "I'm not against the idea of a stepdaddy but I have absolutely no experience in it." A book thumped onto the bed. "Gee, thanks, Kyle, but not right now please?" He looked at the book and held it up, making Dean snicker. "I think he wants it too."
"Probably. We're a lot alike, Xander. We do good together." Xander nodded. "I know it's weird and all that, but I made up my mind and if you'll let me I want to try."
Xander considered it. "Okay but I'm not sure how this is going to happen. I don't want it to get strange between us if we can't and I don't want you out of her life."
"Of course not. If it can't go then we'll be buddies."
"What about Sam?"
"Probably moping his butt off in Dad's truck." He gave him a look. "I kinda bailed at dawn one morning. He called to say he understood and it was cool with him. I saved the voicemail if you want to listen to it."
"No, I'm good with that. You're not expecting hearts and flowers, right?"
"Hell no. Shotgun shells now and then but no."
"Those can be nice," he said, laying down. He yawned.
"Rest, it's late." Xander nodded, curling up facing the other way. Dean watched him then hesitantly moved closer. "Um... Should I?"
"If you want. I don't mind."
"What were you drawing on my stomach anyway?"
"I was?" Xander asked, looking back at him.
"Yeah, in your sleep."
"Hmm. Maybe I am going back to that life when I was on the bride capturing team." He shrugged. "If so we'll see." Dean laughed, swatting him gently. "No boyfriend abuse, Dean."
"Of course not. Only playful swats. If we fight, we can go outside so she doesn't have to hear."
"I like that. I hated hearing mine fight."
"I can't remember Dad and Mom fighting." He laid down behind him, facing the other direction. It was comfortable, they were touching, but he didn't have to do any unmanly cuddling unless Xander got pushy. "This good?"
"You're really warm."
"You're a bit chilled anyway," Dean said, pulling up another blanket. Xander snuggled into the warmth and it was good. He laid there until Xander fell asleep then let himself relax too. At least Xander hadn't wanted to push for sex tonight. He knew the guy had to be desperate with only his hand since that succuba. They could work up to that. Before he could fully sleep, Xander flipped over and pinned him on his stomach to the bed. "Xander?" he whispered. Xander nuzzled his back and purred. "Sure, the hyena can love on me. I'm good with furry things loving me as long as they don't bite," he mumbled. The purring was actually pretty calming and he fell asleep that way.
Xander woke up and blinked. He was nearly on top of Dean. He flinched back but Dean's arm around his back stopped him. "Sorry."
"S'okay. I got purred to sleep. I got nuzzled a few times, but it's okay." He grinned. "Comfy?"
"Surprisingly you are," he joked weakly.
"It's all the muscles." He let Xander go, watching him nearly flee to the bathroom. "It's all right, Xander. I'm cool with it. I knew you cuddled the first time I slept in the trundle," he called after him. He got up and went to check on Izzy, who was staring out the window at the snow coming down. "Did we need to stock anything? It's nearly white out there."
"I'm starting to hate white."
"I know." He looked over their daughter's head. "That's nearly as bad as Willow's snow."
Xander came in and paused when he caught Dean squatting down in his boxers. He shook himself out of his dirty thought, coming over to check. "I'm not so sure that's not a Willow storm."
"They were predicting snow," Dean said with a grin.
"Is that why you showed up then?"
"Snowed in does mean we have to talk to each other," Dean admitted, "but no. The timing was a coincidence."
"Okay." He looked down at Izzy. "That looks like it might cancel daycare today."
"It's slowed," Dean offered. "The truck should be safe enough as long as you're quick."
Xander nodded. "I can do that. Can you get her dressed?" Dean nodded, moving to do that while Xander got himself cleaned up and dressed. He went to get his gear from the storage area, packing a backpack on the way to the truck. He came back freezing. "It's got a wind chill too."
"It'll be fine," Dean promised. "The radio said it's supposed to stop in a few hours."
Xander smiled. "That'll be handy. Maybe I won't have to dig them out." They ate breakfast and got Izzy ready to go out to daycare. Dean put on his stuff too. "I can do it."
"I can watch your back. It's safer to hunt as a team. Besides, I've never seen you hunt."
"It's a nest during the daytime. Not a lot of hunting going on."
"So?" He shrugged. They got Izzy into the truck and Xander got him a pack while he strapped her in. "Thanks."
"Welcome." He got in to drive, then looked around. "That's going to ice over, isn't it?"
"Chains then." He got out to put them on, the engine running so she wouldn't freeze to death. She was happy bopping to the radio he had left on too. They finally got in and drove her downtown to the daycare. Xander walked her and the diaper bag inside, smiling at the nice ladies. "Doing something for the sheriff today, ladies." He handed her over. "One squealy one. We had breakfast, she's had a bath."
"That's fine, Xander. Have a good time playing in the snow on orders." He smiled, going back to the truck. She stripped Izzy out of her snow suit. "The twins are in, Isabelle. Would you like to play with them?" She carried her into that room, letting her down when she wiggled. They had one girl's dog in so she went to stare at it while they taught her how to pet one.
Xander found the nest and parked, getting out with his pack, Dean following him to the entrance. They winced at the stink. "Definitely a nest," he said to himself quietly. That got a nod. "Okay, flashlights first. Stake too." He pulled them out and moved in carefully. The flashlight was pointed at the ground for now. The first vamp that woke up and yelled about him got it in the face, burning him to death. Then he dove into the fight with the others. He felt Dean join him and it was...nice to have a hunting partner again. They fought pretty well together. He staked and got happy with the vamps. It had been a while and he was getting out of shape. He had to go back to practicing.
Dean watched Xander as he staked, nodding at some of his moves. He was okay. Clearly out of practice but he could help him with that. He had seen him in Sunnydale way back when he was early in his pregnancy but he didn't seem to have lost too many of his usual skills or style. "Duck," he ordered, pulling a gun to shoot at the demon that came lumbering out. Xander tackled a vamp to get them both down so he could stake him. That gave Dean the perfect shot so he took it and winged another one coming their way until he could pull out his machete. Xander finally finished with that vamp and pulled his short sword and attacked it with Dean. They finished up with that one and looked around to make sure no one was hiding. "Not too bad," Dean admitted.
"Thanks for the help."
"It's safer." He grinned. "We're messy."
Xander looked at himself. "Yeah, we are. Fortunately I know how to get goo and ash out of clothes most of the time." He grinned. "Joyce taught me." Dean grinned back. "Let's clean up, make sure we don't need any groceries, then tell the sheriff before we pick up the princess?"
"Sure." He followed him back to the truck. "No looting?"
"The Sheriff is going to send someone to do that." He smirked. "He thinks they all have weapons. I didn't see any so it should be fine. Just some old clothes."
"Sure." They drove back to the compound to clean up then checked the cabinets and refrigerator. Xander made out a short list before grabbing money and heading out. He dropped Dean off at the office while he went to the store. "Hey," Dean said as he walked in.
"Came back to get snowed in?"
Dean shrugged a bit. "Needed to talk to Xander." He glanced at the other guy in there. "We did what you wanted."
"Thanks, Dean. Is it horrible?"
"Nah. A bit messy in places. The goo should freeze." That got a shudder. "Not too many. Xander said you wanted it first so do you need a map?"
"Nope, I told him where it was." He took him out to the car once he had his hat. "Let's go look."
"Sure." He let the Sheriff drive him that way, showing him how they got in. He found one scavenger sort of demon in there and shot it. "Sorry, parts hound."
"They happen I guess." He looked over the nest, coming up on something that made him wince. "That's going to cause a problem."
Dean looked at the pretty jewelry box. "Xander gave Chris the stuff like that he found in LA so it could be checked for being stolen."
"I can check on that," he decided, packing it up and looking at the other stuff. He found a few things. "Letters?"
Dean looked. "That's to a vamp Xander took out in LA from what I heard." He shrugged and pocketed them. "Won't hurt to mail." That got a smirk. "That way they know they died here." That got a nod and they kept going. They found a few more pieces of personal jewelry and called someone to come pick up the clothes so they could be donated along with the camping supplies. The Sheriff brought Dean back to town, finding Xander waiting on him with Isabelle in the office. "Hey."
"Hey. Anything good?"
"Few pieces of jewelry," the Sheriff said, getting a grin back. "Easy currency from a pawn shop?"
"And some of the higher ones only deal in gems instead of cash," Xander agreed. That got a nod because it sounded reasonable to him. "Can you tell him hi, Isabelle?"
"Hi!" she said with a grin and a wave.
"You are so bright," the Sheriff said, giving her a pat on the head. "Go get snowed in at your place, Harris."
"The guy at the hardware store said to tell you the propane truck is going to be late."
"That's fine. Needed some?"
"I'm down to half. I know it's February but I want to be careful to have some left in case of a late snow."
He nodded. "That makes sense. This new snow shouldn't be that bad." He patted the baby on the head again, getting a grin for it. "You go play with your tiara, princess."
"Don't encourage that," Xander said as he stood up. "She's already too much of the wrong sort of princess." The sheriff laughed. "She tried to bring it with her this morning too." He walked out with her to more laughs, Dean waving and following him. "Did I forget anything?"
"Need anything for the brownies?"
"No, we're good on that," he admitted. He put her into her seat then yawned.
"Let me drive?"
"Sure." He tossed over the keys and walked around to get in on the passenger's side. Dean got in to drive and they headed back to the compound with a quick stop to fill up the truck since it was nearly empty. Dean pulled the truck into the empty storage bay it usually sat in, getting Izzy out first to put her in her room for a few minutes so they could unload stuff. They carried, finding the house very warm. Xander turned down the thermostat but that was fine with him. It was nearly tropical in there at the moment. They finished up and stripped back down to indoor clothes, going to let the baby out and play with her for a bit. Dean smiled when the first thing she did was swat her father and pout. "Not like you could help us unload groceries," Xander told her.
"I am not." She pointed at her tiara so he handed it over with a sigh, making her happy. He saw the thermostat being moved. "Quit that, whichever of you is doing it. It's too warm and wasting propane." Kyle appeared and turned it back down so he didn't have to get up. "Which witch was it?" Kyle smirked. "Tara?" He shook his head. "Can you go haunt Willow and make her miserable?" He nodded, going to do that for a while.
"Maybe he'll be able to scare her straight," Dean said, sitting beside Xander on the couch. "Who gave you that?"
"Cordy and Dawn. She tried to shoplift it so they bought it for her. I told them she's not that sort of princess. They didn't listen."
Dean grinned. "She's a good princess but we won't let her get too spoiled." Xander looked at him. "I won't."
"I know you won't," he agreed quietly. Dean took a quick kiss then got up to make some coffee. Xander considered it. That hadn't been too bad. His daughter was giggling madly while playing with her bear. "You're just as strange as I am, only you're cuter."
"She's cute in a different way," Dean called. Xander blushed, shaking his head. Dean grinned. That was a good one. Xander was cute when he blushed.
Izzy looked up at him. "Coco?"
"You want to call Aunt Cordy? We can do that." He called out there. "Hey, Wes, my daughter wanted to check in with her semi-goddess of girldom. No, not Tara."
"T..t..t...t!" she stuttered happily.
He grinned. "Yes, she did. Tara does that so she does it to her name. Like how she smiles and waves whenever she says hi because everyone else does when they say hi." Wesley laughed at that. "Want to babble at Uncle Wesley while he gets up Aunt Cordy?" Wesley said something. "She okay?" He nodded, swallowing. "I knew it was going to come sometime."
Dean came out to pick her up. "Sorry, Xander."
"Not your fault. She's in the hospital for the migraines but not fully. Wes, we were told if she was tainted or turned into a half-demon it'd stop that." He grimaced. "So?" He smiled. "I know it's her choice, I just think someone needs to give her better options for what to turn into. I don't know, ask Spike what's doable. He's back that way. Or Angel." She cooed at that name. "Tell me what happens, Wes? Thanks, man. I'll hug her for all of you, yeah." He hung up. "They'll work on getting her to agree to a partial transformation." He took his daughter back to hug. "You're very comforting." She snuggled in, knowing he needed cuddled. Dean sat next to him, letting Xander slowly lean closer to him. "You're good at it too."
"I don't usually cuddle because it's not the macho thing to do, but I can be comforting anyway," he offered. Kyle's ghost appeared and shoved Dean into Xander then disappeared. "He's nosy."
"He is," Xander agreed with a grin. "But pretty nice."
"He was when we were younger, even if he was a bit strange and enjoyed scaring the crap out of us when we were playing." Xander grinned up at him. "We'll figure this stuff out, Xander."
"Sure." He looked down, noticing she was nearly asleep. "Aw, it's my favorite baby super power."
Dean grinned down at her. "Mine too. I never realized babies could be that active."
"She's lucky she's not hyperactive. Then we'd have some problems." He stroked over her hair, taking off the tiara. She fussed but he put it in her hands. She cuddled it around her bear's throat and it was good again. Xander started to drift off against Dean's arm but she shifted and woke him up. "We should put you down."
"You're both fine." Xander blinked up at him. "You are. I'm comfy." Xander gave him a small grin, letting himself go back to being comfortable for his nap too. Dean had to grab the phone when it rang. "What?" He smiled. "Hey, Buck. No, we still have some snow. It snowed earlier today too. Why?" He stared outside. "She thinks she set them all off. No, I came to talk to Xander. Why?" He nodded. "That's reasonable. We forgot one of his cameras? Sorry." He snickered at the 'Chris was not happy at what got uncovered' retort. "Then next time tell him not to be so nosy. Not like Xander's going to end up on your caseload, dude. Actually, we might need it for Cleveland or Sunnydale, not real sure yet. We'll know in a few months. Late April, early May." He laughed. "I'm sure they're hidden again, Buck, and he can always move them. Then next time tell him that if he doesn't want to know, he shouldn't stick his nose in places it doesn't belong."
Xander took the phone. "Buck, bite me. Tell him he's a nosy fuck and if he keeps nagging I'm going to treat him like I do the nagging girls in my life, by growling back." He hung up. "Tired of that even if I do like them personally."
"We should probably find all his little cameras and hide the rest of the stuff from him," Dean offered.
Xander nodded. "I can do that." He looked down then carefully put her down on the couch. He put the tiara onto the coffee table then took Dean down to help him move the weapons to the storage area underneath the garage-lik areas. He knew Chris hadn't been in them. He had only found them last night. Kyle had said he forgot about them. So they went in there and the swords got put into a safe stand so Izzy couldn't get hurt trying to play with one. The crossbows got put into a closet hanging up properly. Then Xander cleaned that storage area, putting the few books he found up in the library. "That's better," he said after Dean had checked and locked the last shotgun into the new cabinet Xander had bought but not filled yet.
Dean looked around. "Very clean." He grinned. "The Impala's in her usual bay. Your truck's in the other you raised the door on so it could fit." Xander nodded. "Any other tasks that have to be done to get it up to home inspection standards before the other hunters get here?"
"The wards around the windows aren't finished."
"Tara was doing small painted on symbols." He took him to look at them. "See?"
Dean nodded, finding the paint and the plans she had made in her former room. Then they got to work on the last few windows. By then it was lunch and Izzy was awake, watching them paint in that confused 'what do you do that for' way. They fed themselves and went to straighten up her room and then Xander's room. Xander looked in his closet and sighed. Dean looked over his shoulder. "You don't nearly fill it up."
"Which Buffy will probably complain about."
"Maybe but it's a guy thing." He patted him on the back. "Not like you need suits, formal wear, all that stuff. Jeans, sweaters, and t-shirts should do for you." He looked in the other closet, finding the sweaters and lighter jackets. "It'll go in there if you wanted."
Xander looked then at him. "Are you moving into my room?"
"If not, I can use a closet across the hall," he offered.
Xander blushed. "Let's make sure we can play that way first, Dean. I'm not sure I can play with a guy."
"Sure." He grinned. "Kinda new to me too, Xander. Only tried it the once while drunk." Xander gave him an odd look. "I was eighteen, it was a frat party."
"Ah. Never went to those."
"I went to get the spirit hunting one of the girls. She got me drunk and let her brother pounce me."
Xander laughed. "Was he nice about it?"
"Nope. He wasn't that good either." He winked. "I'm much better than he was. Even back then." He went to get his own clothes, going to unpack in his room. Izzy helped him with it by playing with his sneakers. "Those probably stink, sweetheart."
"She doesn't care. She likes shoelaces. Keep her from chewing on them?" Xander said from the doorway.
Dean took them, getting huffed at. He stared down at her then grinned, picking her up to sit in the suitcase. She liked that better, handing him the last few t-shirts from it. "You're very helpful, Izzy. Thank you." She beamed at her father, waving some.
"You are," Xander agreed. "The dish is out again. I'm going to go up and fiddle with it."
"Get the guy out?"
"We can't, he's got a sprained back from falling off the hospital's roof to do theirs." He went to get on his outdoor clothes and hike up to fiddle with the dish. He found it unconnected and sighed, redoing the connection. That's when he felt the hand touch his back. He looked back. "Let me guess, you're a disgruntled former cable guy?" He chanted quietly, not wanting to alarm Dean. The spirit howled and tried to knock him over but he had anchored the ladder well. He slid back down it and looked up. "Nyah, nyah," he said, sticking his tongue out. "Get over it, we can't run cable out here."
Dean opened the front door, looking up since Xander was. "I'll be damned."
"Disgruntled former cable guy."
Dean got something and shot at the ghost, making it dissipate. "I'll look him up so we can salt and burn him."
"The ground's way too frozen to dig," Xander told him.
"We'll figure it out, Xander." Xander went up to reattach the dish while Dean went to look at the online verison of the local newspaper. They had an obituary column so he could find him in there probably. The picture on the tv went out again. "Forgot to pay the bill?" Dean quipped.
"No, I paid it last month. It won't come for another two days." He went up there with a sigh to fix it again, taking the paint to paint the same marks around the dish. The ghost huffed and tried to knock him off again but oh well. Wasn't going to happen today. The ghost beat at the dish. "Dean?" he called. Dean came up to shoot the ghost again, making Xander grin. "Nice shot."
"Rock salt would only sting you." He came up to look. "Forgot a dot." Xander looked then put the dot on, handing him off the paint and brush. They went back inside but the picture was still down so Xander had to call in a service call while Dean finished finding the guy so they could force him from this plane. That was really annoying of him to do to them. Even Izzy was pouting because she couldn't watch the loud, bright stuff anymore. The service people came out to look. Xander shooed off the ghost again. The sheriff showed up so he told him why. The ghost came back to attack them but Dean got it this time since Xander was talking.
Izzy was playing in the snow watching them get irritated at the thing. She scowled. "Kyle!" she howled. They all looked at her. The ghost appeared. She pointed. "Mean! Bad!"
Kyle looked at the ghost. "Dave, don't make me kill you further." The other ghost fled. He grinned at the little girl. "Shouldn't you be inside being warm?"
"Yup," Dean agreed, picking her up. "Thanks, Kyle."
"Boy'll go more insane than I did out here without cable," he said dryly, giving him a look. Then at Xander then at him again. "Can't stop everything, boy."
"What did she do this time?"
"Not her. Someone liked the idea." He smirked and faded before Dean got him with the rock salt. It'd hurt like a bitch he was sure. Did when he was alive.
Dean looked at Xander, who was pale and a bit shaky. The sheriff was holding him up. "Xander?"
"I did *not* ask."
"I know you didn't," he agreed calmly. "I think we need to do some testing?" Xander shuddered but nodded. "We'll do that tonight, after they fix the line." They got back to work then fled the strange stuff. They wouldn't even charge them for the call because they didn't want to remember being there. Let the local guy do it once his back was better.
The Sheriff looked at them. "Does that mean what I think it means?"
"It means some demon or witch decided to piss off my father possibly," Dean told him. Xander shuddered. "Dad won't say a word, Xander. Not like you asked." He let him go inside for the truck keys. "I'll be here." Xander nodded, stomping to the truck. "Be careful on the road."
Dean looked at the sheriff. "See, we weren't shooting at the dish guys."
"No, you weren't. You were protecting them. Might wanna get her inside, Dean. She's a bit pink."
Dean looked down then took her inside. "Later, Sheriff."
"Let me know if we need to hide people from his temper."
"I will." Dean shut the door once Xander had driven off. That was not going to make anyone happy today. Especially not if it was a positive test.
Xander stomped in two hours later. "The doctor said I'm not."
"Good!" He grinned. "Excellent actually." He handed over the sniffling girl. "She's got the sniffles from earlier." Xander sat down to cuddle her. Dean gave him a shoulder nudge with a grin. "If it happens some day, I'll go hunt whoever down to kill them."
Xander relaxed. "Thanks for not sticking up for Willow's idea."
"I'm not against it but that should be your choice." Xander finished relaxing. He patted him on the arm. "She helped me put together a casserole for dinner."
Xander looked at him. "You can cook casseroles?"
"You put stuff into a baking dish and bake," he said dryly. "It's like a baked version of pot luck soup."
Xander grinned. "Thanks."
"Welcome." He patted him on the head. "The brownies showed up but said they'd come back later since I had no idea where the bread was."
"Freezer," he said with a moan, getting up to get some out and thaw it in the microwave. He found the other bowls in the fridge so he warned up the honey some too, taking it outside. One of the brownies he didn't usually see showed up to nose at it. "It's wheat rolls with a bit of cinnamon in it," he offered with a grin. "We're down to that and gummy white bread or the last two bagels which I can't guarantee are good."
An older female brownie appeared, sniffing at the rolls. "Those smell like dessert." He grinned so she grinned back. "Not a problem, young one. This winter has been hard, even if you do shop most of the time."
"If you guys want, we have flour and oats in some half full barrels inside," Xander offered. "I can get you some of the stuff so you can make your own if what I'm getting isn't good enough."
"No, it's fine. If we want to bake, we come take a bit and then leave again." She patted his knee. "You're a good human."
"Thank you. Have you guys heard anything about Sunnydale falling in for this apocalypse? I need to know if I need to send the slayer some stuff."
She considered it. "I hadn't but we have some kin that way. Have you?"
"We heard Sunnydale's about to close and Cleveland's opening. If so, and it doesn't destroy the town, I know the military guys backing up the slayer are planning on it." She grimaced. The young one looked horrified. "They're being practical. Everyone would be evacuated first, but I need to know if Faith might need something like higher weapons to fight whatever apocalypse it is this time."
She stared at him. "You do hunt, don't you?"
"I backed up the slayers Buffy, Kenda, and Faith before she went bad. Once Izzy's a bit older I'll be backing up whoever's in Cleveland."
She nodded. "I've heard about you. They say you're insane."
He grinned. "Only when you hurt my daughter." She cackled and nodded. "There was an unfortunate cult."
"I heard, young one. If I should hear, I'll let you know. Try to be safe for the young lady."
"I do try. That's why I'm sitting out this apocalypse. I can't find a good sitter." She nodded at that. "By the way, some other hunters may be sending their kids here so they can go help."
"I'll let the clan know," she promised. "And if I hear anything." She patted him again. "Go back inside. You're getting chilly."
"Thank you, ma'am. I like you guys. You're great neighbors and very nice." He walked back inside grinning.
"He's a bit strange for a human but fairly nice for a hunter," she told the young one, who nodded. "Did you get hungry? We weren't going to come up until tomorrow."
"We ran out of sweet stuff."
"Help me carry it back. The milk's that dried stuff but it's fairly decent and it keeps well." They carried the things back and she made a report. The head of the clan called their kin out that way to have them move now instead of later. Plus to see if the boy would have to give away some of those heavy boxes he petted when he couldn't sleep.
Xander sat down beside Dean again. "They'll warn their people that way and will tell us if Faith is going to need something huge again."
"That's cool. You're planning on going back to hunting full time?"
"Faith's going to need a steady backup, Dean."
"I know. When she's older?"
"Say hunting around here for a year then seeing if I can handle hellmouth duty again?"
"That's not a bad idea."
"Are you going to hunt with me around here?"
"Nearby but I might be coming and going a bit to handle a few farther flung things. Of course if we get together, you'd come with me if we can get Sammy or Dad to babysit."
"Cool," he said with a grin back.
"I know you're not helpless or the wife, Xander. I don't expect you to be." He smirked down at the baby. "Did you have to do something that smelly, Iz?"
"Apparently." He took her to change but Dean took her back, going to change her. Xander grinned. That was a good sign. Not just anyone could change her diapers and not complain. They had made Anya flee in terror and even Tara had left a few times to get away from them. Dawn too.
"Eww. What did you eat this time?"
"That happens about once a week."
"No more of those things for you, princess."
"They're good for her."
Xander laughed. "I think all butt output that way is."
"Can be, yeah. Mine's not orange though." He came back with her changed, giving her the bear back. "There, happier?" She smiled and waved. "Yes, hi. Want to get down and wander?" He put her onto her feet, watching her toddle off to look out the window. She grunted and pointed. "Visitors?" He went to look, opening the door. "Hey. Xander's on the couch. Xander, it's one of the brownies."
Xander got up to go out there. "What's up? Didn't like the rolls? You can have some of the gummy white bread if it's not bad."
"No, son, they're very nice. We like those." The boy beamed. "Might you know what's going on in Sunnydale?"
"I know the yearly spring apocalypse is going to be bad. The hellmouth's been fluxing and slowly building to a grand explosion level recently. I know that it'll probably shut down entirely and that Cleveland's been fluxing to look like it's going to open. They haven't been keeping me in the major part of the loop of information. That's why I asked if you guys had heard if the slayer out there needed bigger weapons."
"We haven't heard anything from the kin out there other than the bastards from the military are back."
"Only the hunting teams. Riley's team was filling in after Buffy got turned and before we could get Faith out of jail. Right now they're staying until the apocalypse to help her, then they're moving to Cleveland."
The old brownie nodded wisely. "We have heard they've been rough on the local community but not as bad as they were before."
"Riley learned Buffy's methods and Faith did too. Is she, or they, killing harmless ones?"
"A few from the military hunters. She's not. She seems a mite tired most of the time from what we've heard."
Xander nodded. "She probably is. She's been a slayer now for a long time and she's just recently out of jail. Plus apocalypses are tiring. They always did to me." That got a smile and a nod. "If you do hear, would you tell me if they're going to need something bigger? Riley gave me macho bullcrap about how he's military and they can use their own supplies."
"Of course I will, lad. I'll be warning our kin out there."
Xander nodded. "Please do. I don't want anyone who's not a bad thing to be hurt by this. The bad things, I'll cheer because it'll make it easier but guys like you and the harmless sorts? Not a problem. If Willie's still out there, he might be able to pass that onto other clans too. We're not sure if it does explode that it won't cause a small earthquake or something."
"I can pass that on too. That way he can tell the more harmless things to overload that blasted champion in LA."
Xander grinned. "He's not so bad now that he's gotten over his brooding over Buffy." The brownie gave him an odd look. "Seriously. I was there when they were dating. He was all brood, gloom, and doom."
"Maybe you should stay here. It seems to be more sane."
He grinned more brightly. "I thought that was the lack of a hellmouth." The brownie cackled, nodding. "Please do let me know and tell whoever you feel should know. Like I said, I want the harmless things out of the way."
"I'll do that then. Thank you, lad."
"I can warm up more of the rolls if you want more."
"No, we're good." He smiled and disappeared to talk to the head of all the brownie clans. Their council had to know about this. "I live near a hunter who said he helped the slayers Buffy, Kendra, and Faith before she went bad," he announced, sitting down in the visitor's chair. "He tithes us very well."
"Why is this important?" the head of the council demanded.
"Because he asked me to spread the news that the Sunnydale hellmouth might be closing and sucking in the area, possibly with a small earthquake, and it looks like Cleveland's opening." They all stared at him, one whimpering. He nodded. "He asked us to see if we had heard about it and if we had heard anything about the Slayer Faith needing higher weapons to help her before she goes to Cleveland to handle that one opening. She's got the hunters from the Initiative behind her to back her up, but the way he was talking the hellmouth's going to end the town or the military boys will if Cleveland opens."
That got a grim looking nod from them. "We'll pass that along. If we hear that they'll need more help from higher human weapons, we'll let you know so he has time to get her some."
"Please do. He also suggested that if I wanted to, we could talk to some of the harmless sorts out that way so they could flee in terror and not hit the next one too."
"Not a bad idea. It's kind of us to do," one of the other agreed, pushing back her hat. "Any idea how we'd get them word?"
"He said there's a bar called Willie's out there. It's apparently a demon bar." That got a nod. "He also said he wasn't sure if it was going to explode, his word, and possibly cause a small earthquake."
"We'll warn the kin up and down that coast," the head of the council agreed. "He tithes well?"
"He uses powdered milk because it's winter and they've had a hard one thanks to that blasted witch. Good honey, today he gave us some wheat and cinnamon rolls for bread." They all smiled at that. "All we have to do is ask and he lets us sneak in to take flour and stuff whenever we need some. He's a very nice hunter. His daughter's adorable and keeps trying to pet us. She thinks we're like squirrels."
The head of the council gave him an odd look. "The lock for the realm merge?" That one nodded. "That's where he went?"
"When the Slayer Buffy got turned they evacuated. One of Hunter Kyle's friends had the keys and gave them to him, probably for some of his weapons. They've settled in and painted a lot of the old place. Had to fix the roof a bit during a snow storm thanks to that witch. She was trying to make him pregnant again. So far we've blocked her spells that way."
"Good of you."
"He'd probably freak out and kill half of anyone in his way," he admitted.
"Very good of you then. We heard how bad the last one was. They said he had some very bad mood swings on the demons who came to talk to his daughter before she was born."
One of the other females looked at him. "I did when someone patted my stomach and spawn."
"We remember. You nearly caused a clan war," the head said dryly. "Any other good news?"
"Not at the moment. We will have some to foster out soon though."
"Good. Let us spread that news to our people so they can be safe." They broke to do that. Every clan everywhere in the world would be getting that warning. It'd be a good time to set up alignment marriages too, get some of the younger adult brownies out of the way of the packing and moving. Fostering some of the young would help them too. The one from the compound went back to tell his people, who went to call their own kin directly while he went to see Willie.
Faith looked around as she walked into Willie's that night. "You had one of the vamps come get me?" she asked.
Willie nodded. "That one wanted to ask you something without the commandos behind you."
"That's cool." She looked at it. "What are you? I've never seen anything like you before."
"I'm a brownie, Slayer Faith. Perfectly harmless." She nodded, sitting next to him. "I was given information that this hellmouth may be closing?"
"Looks like it," she agreed. "If your kind wanna help, I'm not sure how we're doing that yet."
"Actually, I'm here to get our associated clans out of the way and to warn some of the more harmless sorts so they can flee too."
"That's pretty nice of you."
"We don't want to see them damaged. I also came to pass on a message. The one who tithes us wanted to know if we had heard anything about you possibly needing some of his weapons? He said he got, and I quote, macho bullcrap from one of them when he asked them."
She snorted. "Figures. Riley's all macho about most things and isn't that good." He smiled. She smirked back. "You tell Xander that I might need some but I'll know more in a few days. Depending on what the new readings and the witches Rosenburg asked come up with for an idea of what's going on. No one's seen one close like this since before the demon wars."
"I can do that," he promised. "Oh, here." He handed her something and enlarged it. "We took a new picture of her. She's quite adorable."
"She's my favorite niece," she agreed with a smile. "Thank you. Tell him I'll call soon."
"I can do so. Do not worry about our kind. We stay out of your way since we're natural creatures."
"I'd like to hear more about that since I have no idea if the Watchers know about you guys."
"They do but many ignore us as fairy tales." He smirked. "They also have bad herds because of it. Oh, you might want to warn that witch if she's the same one that created the young one in the picture, to quit trying to make him have another one? We have protected him so far but she's made it a hard winter on us in many ways, including that one."
"I'll beat her ass if she does that to him."
"Thank you, lass." He patted her wrist. "Good hunts to you, Slayer. Let him know." He disappeared.
She looked at Willie. "I always thought brownies were just littler girl scouts."
"No, they're some of the little people. Very natural spirits," he offered. "That one apparently lives near Harris and his paranoid compound."
"Hey, I like his compound. It's quiet in a good way. Izzy loves snow too. Sneaks out to play all the time." Willie walked off shaking his head with a groan. Faith took the picture with her, handing it to Buffy. "X needs to know if we need higher weapons."
"Riley said he can get some from their stores."
Faith looked at her. "The right thing?"
"Maybe," she admitted. "How did we get a new Izzy picture? Xander's not back, right?"
"No, I met a brownie. Not a little girl scout but a little person brownie." Buffy gaped. "He thinks she's adorable too." Buffy giggled and Faith grinned. "He's telling all his associated kin what's going on so they move out. Some of the harmless ones too."
"That's going to be handy."
"Probably, yeah. He also said X got macho bullshit from Riley when he asked him."
"I'll whine at him later," Buffy promised, handing the picture back. "Any other good news?"
"They've been keeping X from getting knocked up again thanks to Red. She's made the winter hard on all of them in many ways according to him."
"Beyond the extra large snow storm to lock him and Dean in with six ATF agents, John, and Sam?" Faith nodded. "Huh. Interesting."
"Can't you bite her or something?"
"Yeah, I probably can. I wonder if witches taste good for more than a snack and if that's ethical."
"X is going to eat her for real if she knocks him up again."
"Good point." She went to find Riley and swat him. "Xander is very helpful and if we want to use his, we can." He sulked off, nodding slightly. "He can probably get us stuff he's got stored without having to fill out paperwork and the ATF agents who were taking the mines from his lawn might like that."
Riley gave her an odd look. "They're still doing that?"
"He had billions of mines on the lawn, Riley."
"Willow even snowed most of them in with the Winchesters trying to get Dean and Xander together."
He shuddered. "That's just...wrong."
"No, I'm going to bite her for the other wrong stuff. Like trying to knock Xander up again." She bounced off. She was kinda hungry and Willow had donated but now she was involved in some spell work. She found Tara and grinned. "The brownies have been keeping Xander from being pregnant and she's screwed up their winter *way* too much according to the one who talked to Faith."
Tara looked at her girlfriend. Then at Buffy. "I like the brownie clan that lives near him. They're very nice."
"So Faith said. One met her at Willie's. They're clearing out their people in case we go all 'splody."
"Good." She glared at Willow, making her shrink back. "I...." She sighed and controlled her temper. "I don't believe in beating people." She grabbed her sweater and left.
Faith stopped her. "It's cool, T. We'll keep you two apart." Tara gave her a sad smile and shook her head. "Wait to huff off, okay? We might need a good witch for the apocalypse."
"I'll be in Cleveland until then. I'll come back for it and then go back with you," she offered quietly.
"That'll work," she promised. "Don't worry, B wanted to eat her."
"I want to beat her," Tara admitted. "I don't believe in spousal abuse though." She smiled sadly. "Call, Faith." She left, going to find the other Winchesters. They were at Bobby's. She coughed to announce her presence when she appeared magically, getting a smile from Sam and Bobby. "Can I hitch a ride to Cleveland until Sunnydale goes off?"
"Sure, Tara," Bobby promised. "She piss you off again?"
"The brownies are saying Willow nearly hurt them this winter and they're still trying to stop her from making him pregnant." She sat down, pouting. "I don't trust myself not to hurt her. I don't want to, I know it's wrong, but I want to so bad."
"Me too," Sam promised, giving her a hug. "You can help me for a while. I'm without Dean." She smiled, nodding slightly. "Is he?"
"Not so far."
"Good!" John agreed. "After the apocalypse, maybe we'll be having another talk with her." Tara blushed, shrugging a bit.
Bobby got up. "Let me make up a bed for you, Tara."
"I can sleep on the couch," she promised.
"Good girls and ladies like you get the guest room," he said firmly. "Its only polite. Sammy can sleep on the couch because he's a guy." She blushed, but shrugged at Sam, who only gave her a squeeze and helped Bobby change sheets on the guest bed.
John called LA. "Angel, it's Winchester. Is Rosenburg there? Even the brownies are complaining about how she did them this winter and how often they've had to block the spell to knock back up Xander again." He listened. "Then I'm sure Buffy can eat her just fine for us after the apocalypse." He smirked. "She's here with us to go to Cleveland. She'll probably be back out for the apocalypse then travel back with us. Sure, I can tell her that. Have a better night."
"Tell him the brownies were warning the harmless demons and their kin to flee," Tara called.
"Heard that? Tara said the brownies near Xander were warning their kin and the harmless demons to flee." He nodded. "Happy it's not my town," he said dryly when Angel said he was too happy about that. "Good luck." He hung up. "He'll pass that around. Buffy will be dealing with her after the apocalypse, Tara."
Upstairs, Sam gave her a hug. "You could never be like your parents, Tara. You're not that sort and your soul is good. You know how bad it is to abuse your girlfriend. That's why you walked away," he promised, letting her cry on his shoulder. "You'd never turn into them. I know you won't." He sat down to let her cuddle.
Bobby left them alone. He knew she'd be embarrassed about that but it was needed. "She's crying on Sammy," he said quietly. "She was scared she'd go like her father."
"I doubt that'd happen. Tara's a good girl with a good soul," John said. "Though, do we know her family?"
Bobby shrugged. "Xander might."
"I'll write him to see if they're hunters." He did that from his son's phone and put it back down to finish charging. Sam came down a bit later to make the couch up for himself. "She asleep?" Sam nodded. "That's fine. She probably needs it."
"She wore herself out." He sat down again. "Can I beat her family too?"
"Sure," John agreed. "Go for it." His son gave him an evil smirk. "Let Xander help if you want."
"Buffy nearly did the last time they met from what I heard," he admitted. That got a nod from John because that cemented his opinion about them. "She'll be fine but we should introduce her to some nice girls. She could use a nice, calm, loving girlfriend who was supportive and liked to play with her kitty, Miss Kitty."
"Miss Kitty?" Bobby asked with a grin.
"Miss Kitty Fantastico. She's presently living with Fred until Tara can find her a solid place to stay."
"Girlish name but I suppose it suits her cat," he decided. "Let me turn in. John?" He nodded, heading to his own bed. Sam laid down on the couch, getting up to move a lamp before he kicked it by accident in the middle of the night.
Xander watched some of the snow melt a few weeks later, nearly whooping in pleasure. "Look, Izzy. It's brown and green!" he said, picking her up to show her. She pouted at the missing snow. "I know you like snow but you'll like dirt too. I promise you will. Probably mud too." He dressed them for outside and took her out to play in the fading snow. She enjoyed it and it'd have to last her until the next winter. If they were in Cleveland, they had snow there too. If not, they might be snowed in up there again. He saw a truck pull in that he didn't recognize. "Dean?" he called. He came out of the library, he had been looking up something for Bobby. "Do we know them?"
"Nope." He waited until they parked and got out. The African-American woman was well known to him. He'd hunted with her once "Never mind, yeah I do. Amanda." He walked down to shake her hand. "What's up?"
"Ellen said we could stash some of the kids here for the apocalypse in Cleveland?"
"Sure can," Xander agreed. He looked at his daughter, who beamed at him since more kids were coming out of the truck. "We can finish playing in the snow in a bit," he decided, picking her up. "I've got a few good spare spaces. We'll let the kids and parents decide where they're bunking." She nodded, following them inside with her two girls. "Will they need school stuff?"
"Nah, they're out for the year. I home schooled." She smiled at her girls. "I remember when you two were that little."
Dean grinned. "She's a good baby most of the time. Even if she did try to see if I wore diapers earlier by trying to get into my clothes."
"All babies do that," Amanda said wisely, pushing her shoulder-length brunette hair back behind her ear. Xander showed her the bunker area then the other two rooms down there, plus Tara's former room since it had room for a sleepover and was in a more girlish design. "This is nice."
"A friend was here until the quiet drove her nuts too," Xander said with a grin. That got a laugh and a nod. "They can camp here, or in the bunker area."
"I know a few people who'd like that for theirs but mine are pretty good about not being paranoid yet."
"That's fine," Xander agreed, looking at the girls. "Want to camp out in here while your mom's in Cleveland?"
"Aunt," she corrected.
Xander nodded. "Sorry."
"It's okay." She looked at the pouting baby. "We can go back outside, little one."
"Isabelle or Izzy," Xander said, holding her up better. "C'mon, you can have some more snow." She grinned because they headed back up there. "If we get that overloaded, there's a few extra beds up here. Ellen never said, how many do we think are coming?"
"Probably about six total." She looked at Dean. "Is that the one John was complaining about?"
"Yup. She's got him wrapped around her finger too. He's a very cooing, reading to her sort of grandfather." Amanda laughed. Xander gave him a look. "I'm sure Ellen told her."
"Yup. How did she come to be?"
"Magic," Xander admitted. "When the realms merged thanks to a wish demon, they needed a lock. So I got pregnant."
Amanda moaned. "No wonder John complained."
"Yup, a lot. I'm not exactly the daughter-in-law he wanted," he quipped back. She cackled, nodding. "We're pretty good though."
"How many of Kyle's mines are still up?" she asked.
"None as far as we know. We'll be making sure of that this spring. I put some new ones up around the fence since a cult was started to Izzy," he said dryly, giving her a look. She nodded at that, smiling a bit. "Most of them are now out of jail but now and then a deer steps on one to get some grass. Got one on Thanksgiving thanks to that." He put his daughter back down, letting her crawl over to the bigger snow pile. "Not too far."
"She's fine," Dean assured him. He pulled out a few of the porch chairs for the adults to sit on. "When are you hitting Cleveland?"
"Two days," she sighed. "My assigned area's on the other side of town, thankfully not that dangerous. I heard your family's got the prime spot?"
"All three of us and Bobby. The slayer when she gets there." She gave him an odd look. "He's *that* Xander. Willow was cleaning her hands and mumbling about how other hunters would understand her better," he finished dryly.
"Huh. Makes sense now. She end up going bad?"
"All winter long," Xander said dryly, giving her a look. "She decided her idea to fix us up was to strand us up here by snowing us in."
"Oooh. Yeah, Kyle used to say winters drove him nuts up here."
"With Buck's ATF team," Dean added. "Plus Dad and Sammy." She whimpered. "He likes Buck. They're the ones who came up to get the mines when Dad called. Izzy, no going farther," he ordered. She pouted but settled in her snow pile with the two girls. "We'll keep them as safe as we can. Kyle's still floating around here watching over us. Izzy's so brilliant she called on Kyle to get the ghost that was bothering the dish and trying to knock Xander off the ladder." She gaped, then swallowed. "He tied himself to the house. He's been pretty good about playing with her."
"Kyle always was a bit strange," she decided. "Why aren't you going to Cleveland, Xander?" He pointed at Izzy. "No one to watch her?"
"Not with Bobby and John there. I might try to rejoin the team this summer if we can step in during a quieter time so she's safe while I set up some precautions out there."
"That's a reasonable, parent thing to do," she agreed. "Frankly half of us would've had to send our kids to Ellen so we could've went. We're hoping it's not as bad as we think."
Xander got up to get the last fax from the Sunnydale/LA team, handing it over. "That's what we know for sure."
She read it over, whimpering some. "Damn. Does Buck or someone higher know?"
"We've told Buck so he can tell whoever out there might have a clue," Dean assured her. "We're pretty sure Sunnydale is going to turn into a hole in the ground after this."
"One way or another," Xander agreed. His daughter made begging noises, looking up at him and holding up her arms. "Usually you like snow." He came over to look at her, frowning. "That's not good. Dean, one of the brownies has blood on him I think. I'm seeing little bloody footprints."
"Huh." He came down to look. "That's not right. Can we call them?"
"I don't know. Hey, brownie elders?" he called. One appeared a few minutes later. "Izzy found footprints of one of you with some blood. Do we need stitching materials or something? I can stitch."
He looked then grimaced. "Not all little people are nice, lad. That's probably from one of them. You let us handle it."
"Is it safe to let her play?"
"They're night creatures," he assured him.
"Thank you. Let me know if I can help."
"Of course." He smiled and disappeared, going to send out his people to hunt that thing down. Before it returned the favor and killed his clan. "Harris found Blood Elf tracks," he announced. The hunters gathered their weapons and headed off to search their lands for it. The elder females took in all the kids to keep them safer. He went to watch the house. Evil was drawn to the boy. This one might not be any different.
Xander looked back at the stunned hunter. "We like the brownies. They're very good neighbors. They warned us a few times when someone tried to come over the fence to get Izzy."
"He tithes them all the time," Dean agreed. Kyle faded in. "Did you tithe the brownie clan?"
"Now and then when they needed something. Best to leave the harmless things alone." Amanda nodded at that. He looked at her with a grin. "Last time the boy gave them toaster strudels."
She giggled. "Those are nice for breakfast."
Xander grinned. "They said they liked them." He looked at his daughter, moving her away from the tracks. "There, play in clean snow, Izzy." The other two shifted with him. "Should I worry about setting up for another adult in the house too?"
"Ellen might be sending Jo to help or Jo might be handling the ones that'll be dropped off there," she said. "Don't know yet." Xander nodded. "I'll tell Ellen you're pretty well set up for them to start coming." She stood up and dusted off. "Kiss me then I'm gone," she ordered.
"You can stay tonight if you need to," Xander assured her.
"Not necessary. They've had to be sat by Ellen a few times." She patted him on the cheek. "You're a sweet boy, Xander." She hugged her nieces and then left to head to Ellen's. It was a good day's drive.
Xander looked at the girls. "When you're cold we'll go in and have cocoa then set you guys up to camp. All right?" They nodded, going back to playing with the baby. He sat down beside Dean, watching them play. "I guess your dad had to do the same thing?"
"Yup. We stayed with Kyle a few times, with Bobby a lot. With Ellen a few times too." He patted him on the arm. "It'll be okay, Xander. We can handle it." Xander grinned. "I'll head for Cleveland once Sunnydale falls in." That got a nod. "That way I'm there for that main event and you're not alone with a houseful of kids too early. And if Jo comes, let her change the nasty diapers." They smirked at that. Izzy pouted because her snow wasn't sticking like usual so they got the kids inside to clean up, get some cocoa, and make up Tara's former bed for the girls.
Sam looked up as his father opened the door to let Dean in. "Hey. How's Izzy?"
"She's good. Pouting because all her snow melted. The brownie clan is happier because they finally killed the blood elf that came to get them. They had hid their kids in the house for a few days to finish hunting it down. It tried to get in to see Izzy too; said she was adorable."
"Everyone thinks she's adorable," John said. "Any other good news?"
"Kiara dropped her heathens off on Jo," he said with an evil smirk. "He's got Amanda's, Dave's, and Charles' kids with Larry there at the moment."
"Not too many then," John said. "He okay with them?"
"They're being good. Amanda's nieces are treating Izzy like a huge doll to play with. Xander and I made bribery bags for good behavior while Charles was saying goodbye to his horde of little heathen future hunters. One wanted to salt and burn Kyle but Charles had to tell him about him. So he's cool with that. The rest are at the Roadhouse giving Jo a reason for birth control." John smirked at that. "Some are."
"You two were a few times too," he assured him. "Xander all right?"
"Fine. He sent Faith some emergency weapons through Tara the day Sunnydale went down. It's fully gone. We got pictures from the military guys." That got a nod. He handed over the disk from his bag. "Compressed video." Sam moved to his laptop to play it. "So we're cool. Buck was threatening to show up to check on the mines since the snow's all melted. She took the phone and demanded to have Ezra."
"Still?" John asked.
"Chanted his name until Buck handed him the phone so she could coo and ask him for a story," he said with a grin.
John laughed. "Good to know. Any other cheery news?"
"Willow evacuated Faith to the house. She's asleep in the car." He sat down, sighing a bit. "The hellmouth opened and it had to be closed. Buffy closed it by walking into it. Xander's kinda depressed. He spent the night we heard hugging Izzy so much she complained she was being smooshed but she knew he needed it so she only old him to let her breathe a few times."
"Full sentences?" Sam asked.
Sam grinned. "Good girl. The military guys get out?"
"Yeah. They had a vehicle waiting and ran for it when the hellmouth started to suck. Faith was too close so Willow blipped her to the compound. Angel's went off without too many issues from what Xander got from them. This sitting out is killing him."
"If it's safer here, he's more than welcome to come back," Sam said. He got up to look outside, waving since he saw Faith out of the car. He opened the door. "Faith, up here." She came up the stairs. "Dean was letting you finish your nap."
"I needed it." She patted him on the cheek. "How bad is it?" she asked.
"Very," John said, letting her see their scouting reports. "It's been visibly flashing most nights. I can show you it later on. Tara?"
"Here somewhere avoiding Red." That got a nod. "You heard about B?"
"I did. I'm sorry you lost her, Faith. I know having you both helped you both out."
"Yeah, well, now she's happier. No more having to figure out if she wants to wear vamp leather or her Buffy special clothes." She shrugged it off. "Red's torn up but I'd expect that."
"Xander tried to hug her but she nearly panicked and left," Dean admitted. That got a nod. "The kids are safe there. They all wanted to hear stories from Faith."
"Creeped me out," Faith admitted.
"They hear stories about hunting, like my boys did once they knew about it," John told her.
"I told them mild stuff. Xander told them about Angel." Dean snorted, shaking his head. "The edited version of course. None of the 'losing my soul for the sex' part." She sat down on the foot of a bed. "How long do we have?"
"Four days," Sam said. "Plenty of time for you to rest."
Dean nodded. "You can have the other bed in my room, Faith," he promised. "No strings."
"Thanks, Dean." She grinned at him. "Being a daddy is mellowing you pretty well."
"Nah. Dad raised us to be gentlemen. Most of the time." He smirked. She smirked back. "Let me get us a room and we'll go scouting?" She nodded at that. "Then dinner?"
"Sounds good. That hot pocket for lunch was a long time ago." He nodded, going to get them a room. "Izzy's treating all the other kids like an extended daycare." They smiled. "It's doing her good to play with the other kids. Keeps her from being a hair pulling heathen princess."
"You okay?" John asked.
"Sore, tired, and did I mention sore?" she asked. John smiled, nodding a bit. Sam got her something. She sniffed the moaned. "Straight on the muscles?"
"Yup, and this stuff you soak in," he offered, handing it over. "This place has semi-decenttubs."
"Thanks, Sammy." She gave his head a soft nudge then went to find their room's bathroom so she could soak away the aches and pains. Even a girl like her needed a bubble bath now and then. She helped Dean carry his stuff up to the room and let him use it before hogging it.
"I'll be with Dad and Sammy," he called. He headed over there, finding Bobby was in too. "Hey."
"Hey. How's he handling the little ones?"
"So far okay. He only scowled at one kid who wanted to rip up the books. She pouted and handed it back before toddling off to get Izzy to protect her from the mean scowl. Charles' littlest one," he said at the confused looks.
"Ah, yes. Larry's last spawn. I remember she had colic so bad it drove off a werewolf trying to attack them."
"Yup, her," Dean agreed. "She's a picky eater too. Only wanted corn and broccoli for some reason until she saw Izzy's plate. She snatched some then wanted it. Xander had to chastise her for snatching Izzy's plate but got her her own and it was better. His older ones have manners. I don't know what's wrong with her."
"Larry's wife used to teach the others," John said. "She left him when he started to sleep with his hunting partner."
"Ah, that reason. That's more reasonable," Dean decided. "How bad really, guys?"
"We're going to be lucky if we don't have to flee this one," John admitted, looking over the reports. He let Dean see them. "Faith in the tub?"
"Yeah. Used the little bottle of bubble bath too." He read them, groaning mentally. "Has anyone who's native to a hellmouth looked at these? It might be normal for one."
"I can't find Rupert to ask him," Bobby admitted.
"He's in LA getting stone drunk from losing Buffy," Dean admitted. That got a sigh and a nod. "He thinks of them like his kids, guys. Don't be too hard on him for that one. I know Willow's around here somewhere."
"She's been shunned a bit since Amanda told the others how Izzy came to be," Sam admitted. "Most of them want her to head to Devon and stay there."
"Might do her good anyway," Dean agreed. He called Xander. "If I send you the current scouting reports, can you apply some hellmouth logic to it?" He grinned, going to the office to do that. "Why is Izzy crying?" He winced. "Can it be fixed? If not, I'll pick her up one on the way home. I know they're cheap metal." He made a mental note of the name. "Sure, I can do that. Thanks, Xander." He hung up before walking in. "Hey. I need to fax these home please." The machine got pointed to. He paid for it and sent it over, then went back upstairs. "One of the kids accidentally broke her tiara."
John groaned. "She throwing a fit?"
"Fussing and crying," Dean admitted. "Xander's trying to fix it. If not, I'll pick her up a new one."
"That's sweet," Sam agreed. "We can put the original up so she can look at it." That got a nod. Dean's phone rang so he grabbed it. "It's Sam. Hey, Xander. Hi, Izzy. Are you all right, princess?" He grinned. "That's my good girl. I love you too and I'll see you in a few weeks. Okay?" He grinned. "After this, I think we're all heading there," Sam told him. "Anything?" He handed the phone to Bobby, who sat down at the small, ubiquitous motel room table to make notes. "I figure we can descend on the house to hand back the kids and then visit?" he asked his father since he was giving him an odd look. "Especially for recuperation time?"
"That'd work for me." Bobby hung up. "Normal, bad?"
"Fairly bad but he has an idea of what's hyping all that we've seen since he said most of them are in the same class according to Wesley and the books he has. If we can find one of these," he said, handing over his notes. "We can stop the problems." That got a nod and they went to hunt down that demon, telling the other hunters to be on the lookout for it.
Tara and Willow showed up later with one floating behind Willow. "One bad guy of the moment." She let it thump down in the warehouse the hunters were using as a staging area. "I broke his link to all the ones he's summoned here. Half have run."
Bobby smiled. "That's helpful, Willow. Thank you."
"Not a problem." She looked at the other reports, pointing at something. "We need to do a patrol that way. Is Faith in?"
"In the tub soaking some of the soreness away," Dean told her. "She's got the other bed in my room." A few of the hunters gave him an odd look. "She was just in Sunnydale, guys. Faith's the slayer."
"She's a pretty girl," one offered.
"Yeah but she's not interested." That got a nod and they got back to it. "We can run a staking vamp hunt," he offered, looking at Sam, who nodded he could go.
"Good," Willow said. "Take these two areas," she said with a point. "They've been coming up in that area. If you catch a nest....."
Dean held up a hand to interrupt her. "I have stuff from Xander, Willow." She huffed. "Including that nice dayglo grenade to throw into a nest if we need it and some garlic bombs."
"Okay. Call if you need more help. I can come float stakes with the best of them."
"We will," Sam assured her. She grinned at him. "Any other problem areas for tonight?"
"One. This diner has had a lot of bigger, meaning larger not more powerful, demons in there eating dinner and freaking out the waitresses recently. We might need to keep an eye on them and shoo them off or something."
"If they're bothering humans they can go," one of the hunters said.
"A few are harmless," she retorted. "They just look scary."
"I was at that diner. It's got a demon in the kitchen," John told them. "Fairly harmless sort. He babbled that he had three kids he had to take care of when he spotted me. Begged me not to end him because he was doing right by his kids and working like a good father, not bothering anyone."
"Then they might think it's the new demon hangout," Sam said. That got a few nods. "We can talk to them, Tara?" She nodded quickly. "Thanks. Bobby?"
"I can take her with me. Could use a good dinner anyway." She grinned. "So could you, young lady. You've lost weight. Xander's going to fuss."
"I'll gain it back by then," she promised quietly.
"Good. Izzy's already fussing because her crown broke."
She pouted. "Poor thing. We'll have to get her another one." Willow gave her an odd look. "Cordy and Dawnie bought it for her."
"She tried to shoplift it so they bought it for her," Dean added.
She rolled her eyes. "She's not that sort of princess."
"Now and then all girls are," John told her. "That's why I'm glad I have sons." They both smirked evilly at him. "He take her out on that vile holiday?"
"Yup," Dean agreed. "He said he was happy there wasn't any chaos sorcerers around."
Willow shuddered. "I'm so glad he lives in a null area."
"It was nice. He still has some of her candy hid from her," Sam said with a grin. "She went as a fairy princess this year." They all shook their heads when he pulled out a picture. Though they agreed, she was adorable.
They broke up to go on their patrols, Bobby taking Tara's arm to escort her out to his car. She smiled at him and they chatted quietly about research stuff on the way. She had a pretty good hand at it. She had even cleaned up his library area and reshelved his books on him when she couldn't sleep one night. Now he could find things again. It was sweet of her to do.
Willow pouted. "My witch."
Sam looked at her. "Don't make me hit you, Willow." She glared. He glared back, making her back away slowly. "I got to hold her while she cried over your last thing. She was so sure she was going to go bad like her family did," he hissed. "Do not make me protect her." She nodded, nearly fleeing from him. He grabbed some stakes. "My car or yours, Dean?"
"Mine's here. Is yours?"
"No." He went to take his usual spot in the Impala. "Are you and Xander working out okay?" he asked once Dean had gotten them moving.
"Slowly but it's been okay." That got a smile and a nod. "Kyle's pushed him into me a few times so apparently he likes the idea. She likes Kyle to come play with her. He's teaching her how to play in the mud." Sam laughed. "It was a mess the day we left. We had to help Xander give baths. Everyone looked like Pigpen."
"It's good she's happy." He shifted to look at his brother. "How about on the more...personal front?"
"Not there yet. Kyle gave him a book on gay sex the first night since we both said we hadn't really done a lot with the subject. So far he's snuck and read some of it but we're taking that slow and we couldn't do it with the kids in the house."
"I'm sure their parents would appreciate that."
"Charles told Xander to pounce me," he said dryly. "Their kids liked that idea." Sam groaned, shaking his head. "How's hunting going?"
"Okay for the moment. I've had Tara with me. She's a pretty good hunting partner. She scowled at one creature when it went after another she was healing and it ran off in fear."
"She's a good witch," Dean agreed.
"No, she was scowling and it was fierce. It begged her not to scowl at it again before I shot it." Dean laughed. "Six more days of this then the apocalypse is over."
"For about a year," Dean agreed. "Xander still wants to come back."
"I guess that'll depend on how bad the local area becomes."
"Buck said he told the locals here who know something about hunting and the strange stuff what's going on. With what's happened, they were talking about a mandatory evacuation around the hellmouth. A gas line break or something thanks to the lights."
"That could help but it can't last for six days."
"That's what they're working out now." That got a nod. "Did you see that film?"
"I did. It was horrifying watching it suck in the town." He shuddered. "Xander all right?"
"Really upset. They were friends."
"I know. I'll talk to him later tonight, after the kids are down." They got to their first cemetery and got out, going to patrol it. They ran into an officer, who also had a stake and was giving them a very odd look. "Souvenirs too?" he asked blandly.
"Boys, are you in town for the problems?" They nodded. "Helping?" he added.
"We're hunters," Dean told him. He sighed and relaxed. "There's a bunch of us in town right now, Officer. Any problems here?"
"Some. A few of us realize what's going on." He grimaced. "We don't know why."
"Did you ever see a show called Buffy?" Sam asked. That got a slow nod so Sam walked him off to tell him about the local hellmouth while Dean got the vampire coming up. They went on when he went to tell the others who were worried. They'd definitely be helping those agents who were going to find a way to protect the locals. Sam called John to let him know that and they went on. Staking as they went. Which wasn't that much fun. "No wonder they chatted and gossiped," Sam said finally.
"Thankfully we're not girls or in high school," Dean said dryly. "I don't think I ever *gossiped*, Sammy."
"Now and then I got some from the other kids." He shrugged and they walked on. They did follow one of the vamps back to a lair. Dean got weapons so they could take on the nest and it was better. More like hunting to him. They reported that and went to join Bobby at the diner with Tara. There were a few of the harmless demons there. The waitress looked a bit nervous. Dean stared at her. "We don't care if you're the harmful sort as long as you're not actively hunting," he told her bluntly. She gave him an odd look. "Like I haven't run into a succuba before," he snorted.
"Why are we having a build up?" she demanded.
"The hellmouth's getting ready to open," Sam told her. She groaned, walking off to get herself some pie. "Can we have some pie too?" he called after her. "And coffee?" They went to join Tara and Bobby. "One nest, sixteen other vamps, and one officer who had a clue because he was out to patrol too."
"Good," Bobby agreed. "I talked to Buck. He said they're going to pull an evac around the hellmouth the night before. That gives us some safety cushion." That got a nod from the boys. The waitress brought them their pie and left again, coming back with coffee cups. "Thanks, miss."
"Not a problem." She walked off to refill the other demons' cups too. Now that she knew they weren't going to bring hunters here, she was much more relaxed. She turned to look at them. "Where's Rosenburg, Harris, and Summers?"
"Buffy closed the Sunnydale hellmouth," Sam said quietly. "She had to walk into it to do it." That got a shudder. "That's what started the sucking."
"Faith's here," Dean told her. That got a relaxed waitress/succuba. "Rosenburg's here somewhere but we're not on friendly terms after some of her fuck ups recently. Xander's got his daughter in Montana guarding some of the other hunters' kids for safety reasons. If he can, he'll be here this summer."
She grimaced. "We could use him. He always seems to be able to make it slow down."
"His daughter's only fifteen months," Dean told her.
"Awww." Sam pulled out a picture. She grinned. "That's an adorable baby."
"Everyone says that," Sam said with a grin. She patted him on the head. "Hopefully we can take Xander's place this time."
"Hopefully," Tara agreed. "Xander has a rep?"
"For screwing things up so your side wins," she agreed. "He's screwed up so many prophecies."
"Is this one a prophecy situation?" Sam asked.
"Not that I've heard. If so, we might need him anyway. Hellmouth babies have strange ways of doing things. Especially since most don't hunt." She strolled off to the kitchen again.
Tara dug into her dinner. "The demon cooking does very well."
"It is good pie," Dean agreed, digging in again. "Think we'll need him?" he asked Bobby.
"There's other hellmouth babies and ones that can use magic," Tara said quietly. They stared at her.
"Geek trio," Dean said, snapping his fingers.
"Andrew," Sam agreed. He called someone to help them find him, in case they needed backup for Tara. Warren was already over the deep end but Andrew and Jonathan should be okay to work with. And they seemed to be good enough to be on the same side. Even if they did do things to make the world want to be owned by them on the show.
Willow appeared in the dingy motel room, looking at the three boys. "I don't know why they wanted you on the new hellmouth," she said dryly. "But they wanted to know if you wanted to help, Andrew and Jonathan."
Warren pouted. "Not me?"
"No. You have evil bastard written in your aura." He pouted worse. She looked at Andrew. "Like Cleveland?"
"It's a pretty enough city," he agreed. "Why?"
"That's where it's opening."
He swallowed. "Where's Xander?"
"Isabelle," she said dryly. "And a few other kids that belong to hunters."
"But you were born there too," Warren told him. Andrew nodded. "Jonathan was born just outside of town. You can be Neville to Xander's Harry."
"Exactly," Willow agreed. "We think a hellmouth born person might help. Therefore," she said dryly. "Pack. It's going off in six days." They scrambled. She wrote down an address. "I'm here. Come find me, boys." They nodded and she went back to report that she had found them, they weren't that far away and could make it in time.
"I want her spell book," Andrew pouted.
"Why? Do you want to knock Harris up with another baby?" Warren asked. "We all know she did."
"Eww," Jonathan said, shuddering. "That's just wrong on so many levels!"
"Very," Andrew agreed. "Thankfully he has the weapons skills or he'd have zeroed out his macho skill points." They nodded, hurrying out to their van to head to Cleveland. It meant they were recognized for the geniuses they were! It was so cool! Hunters wanted them! They *needed* them!
Dean was in his assigned spot when Andrew walked up to him. "Andrew."
"Weren't you on a show?"
"Realm merge, dude."
"Oh. That makes sense. What's going on?"
He pointed. "Back Tara up."
"Gladly." He went to talk to her. "Hi." She smiled shyly at him. "I'm Andrew. I grew up around Xander and Willow." She shook his hand. "What're we doing?"
"Backing up Willow," she said quietly. "In case it goes rogue."
"We can do that. My brother was a warlock so I learned some." She gave him a hug and he relaxed. "Thanks."
"Willow is too," she said quietly. "I love her even though she is." He beamed because she understood. She pointed. "It keeps doing that."
He watched it flare then pulse a few times before closing. "That can't be good. Ours never did that. We would've noticed it doing that in the library, even though we never went in there." She giggled. "We didn't. Mr. Giles didn't stock graphic novels so I never went." It pulsed and sent up another flare. "How long?"
"A few hours," she said quietly. "There'll be demons coming to try to open it fully. They have those," she said when he looked around. He nodded and they moved to a better watching spot. It pulsed another time, a longer pulse this time. Demons came rushing in. The hunters moved to take them out. Willow moved to contain the hellmouth. "Oh, no," she whispered, pointing. "Kraken tentacle. It's the guardian. It's open!" she called. "Oh, hellfire."
He took her hand because she was shaking. It was the nice guy thing to do. "How do we close it?" She found it in her pocket, letting him see it. They kept their hands together and chanted it, making it snap closed once Willow joined in. Willow's hair bleached. She slowly backed away. Andrew and Tara shared a look then ran closer to handle it since Willow apparently wasn't. They did it again and the thing snapped shut with a whirlwind and a shrieking noise. He panted, looking at her. "Wow."
"Very." She smiled. "You do that very well."
He grinned back. "It's nice to be appreciated." She gave him another hug.
"You two mix pretty well together," Bobby said, coming up behind them. They turned and Tara raised a hand, a glow starting on it. "Now, now, Tara. You know me."
"Bobby was wearing different clothes."
Andrew looked at her. "Okay." He joined in and they blasted the higher demon off. Then she ran off to find him. He followed, needing to protect her for some reason. She was cute too, even if she did like girls. She found Bobby and hugged him.
"Hey now. What's wrong?" he said, pushing her back.
"A demon pretended to be you."
"They do like to do that," he said dryly, smirking at her. She backed up. "Tara."
John looked over. "This is him post battle, kids." He looked at them. "You two do make a good pair it looks like. Some dark, some light, a bit tainted on both sides." They gaped at him. "Covens tend to go for a balance of skills, kids. You two seem to make a good team." They smiled and looked at each other but shrugged. "Good. It'll be good for the city to have you two helping it." They nodded, going to find Willow. He called Dean's phone. "Where are you?" He grimaced. "She okay?" He nodded. "Good idea." He followed the instructions with Bobby, finding Willow sobbing in a little ball. One of the senior witches from Devon came running. They couldn't help in the battle but they could take the fragile witch home with them. "I think it's a torment."
"One of the Furies," Dean said quietly. Sam groaned, walking off shaking his head. "I saw one of the ones from LA." The witch nodded, taking her off with Tara and Andrew's help. "We done?"
"Mostly," John said. "We need to watch for more coming to worship or try to reopen it." They looked at the small spot in the park then went back to guarding it for the night. It was a long night of slaying.
Xander heard the cars and nearly ran outside. "Guys, the blood elves are gone and the kids are all right. I made sure they didn't inhale any of the blood they sprayed in the safe room when they got in it while I was moving the kids," he babbled. "They're all fine and it's not going to hurt them. The brownies said it was deer blood."
John stared at him, getting out of the truck. "Deep breath, try that slower?" he ordered.
"Sounds like the blood elves came back," Dean said, getting out of his car. Xander had come right to his window to babble at him. That was definitely a good sign for their relationship. "The kids are fine?" Xander nodded quickly. "Are they all gone?"
"Mostly. The brownies said they made the others flee. I got the kids into the safe room but it was kinda dark down there and I didn't realize one had gotten in since I thought it had been sealed. Apparently they can travel on beams of darkness. So they splattered the roof with deer blood. When I got the generator started and saw that, I covered it with a tarp and cleaned the kids off. Told them not to lick it or swallow any. They agreed it would be gross."
"Yeah," Dean agreed, still deciphering the babbling. "So the kids are safe?"
Xander nodded. "Very safe. No one swallowed any. The brownies got most of them. They even used a few of the mines to do it. Buck and them got up here to help the last of them be hunted down. I gave him a spare UV flashlight and let him do it. He didn't understand until one burned in front of him when he hit it with the beam. They wanted to wipe out the local brownies but they didn't succeed. They were going to use human baby blood for that because apparently it's toxic to them, but no one's that hurt. A few of the kids have booboos from playing outside but nothing from them."
"Good job," John said, getting that part.
"But one's inside Izzy's bear and I can't get it out. I injected it with liquid silver so it's dead but I can't get it out without ruining her bear."
"Seam?" Dean suggested.
"On the feet." He ran inside to get it, turning to find them standing there. "Here. See, lump of former bad guy."
Dean looked then hummed. "There are no seams. Armpit should be easy to fix," he decided, pulling out a knife to make a tiny cut and pull the tiny corpse out. Then he went to find the stitching kit. "The kids?"
"I put them back down in the safe room. After turning on the lights because I didn't want another to get in. I didn't realize they traveled on darkness or I would've done that the first time and seen the deer blood."
"No one's going to blame you for that since the kids are fine," John said patiently.
"You would've thrown an unholy fit," Sam corrected. "Why are the kids down there?"
"The Sheriff said one of the cult members is in town. Just in case."
"That's fine. Are they all gone?"
"The brownies got most of them. Buck and Chris got a few too. Vin nearly got bitten by one but Chris saved his ankle." That got a grin. "I couldn't leave the kids alone to hunt them."
"No, that's the right thing to do," John told him. "Calm down." Dean came back with the fixed bear. "That's not a bad patching job."
"We can tell her one of the bad guys got it. Where's Kyle?" Dean asked.
"He helped by showing me the spare generator. The sheriff was not amused when he found out what set off the mines but they explained it so he's happier that they're gone before they overrun the town."
Ellen stomped in. "What happened to the yard, Harris?"
He looked then at her. "Kids."
"That's a good reason. So why are you looking antsy?"
"There was an attack of blood elves. The kids got hit with some deer blood but he got 'em cleaned up," Dean interpreted. "He had to stay with them so he let the brownies who live around here and then Buck and part of his team come up to hunt the little annoying suckers." He held up one. "In Izzy's bear."
"Interesting hiding spot."
"They can travel on darkness and I didn't realize that before I opened the safe room. The generator wasn't on and they got the ceiling with blood. I made sure none of the kids ingested any. I swear I did, Ellen."
"Chill, Xander. As long as they're fine and happy. Where are they?"
"Safe room taking a nap because the Sheriff said that one of Izzy's cult is in town."
"Let's go get them so we can check them over. Are the blood elves gone?"
"Buck and Chris got most of them, what the brownies didn't. I did another turn around with the UV flashlights but the brownies ran the rest off. They were going to hurt the kids to get baby blood so they could hurt the brownies and the naiads that live in the river. They're supposed to be harmless too so I said it's okay as long as they don't try to drown anyone."
Dean looked up. "Kyle, were they always there?"
Kyle's ghost appeared. "Sorry, watching the naked, frolicking things. Huh?"
"How long have they been here?" John asked him.
"Few weeks. They hibernate when the river freezes. Never saw them before but they're fairly nice and offered to help Xander catch fish if he'll wear shorts."
"I have spandex," Xander offered. Kyle grinned at that. "I was on the swim team."
"That much exposure might make them too hot, boy," Kyle told him. "The kids are fine. We made sure of it. I was off fighting the evil little bastards while he watched the kids."
"Good!" Ellen decided. "Let's get 'em out. Their parents are behind us somewhere." They went down to the safe room, getting the kids out. "There we are." She smiled at her godchild. "Were you okay while we were hiding you?"
"Izzy let her use her thumb," Xander told her. "I didn't bring the camera because it was cute, but I didn't think about it."
"That's not the thing you think about during an attack," she agreed. She picked her goddaughter up. "Did you suck the baby's thumb for her?" She smiled and nodded. "Did she taste good?" The little girl smiled and nodded again. "That's good then. The parents are showing up soon, guys. C'mon. Or else you'll have to be watched by Jo." They trooped up and right outside to play in the mud. Izzy grabbed her bear, scowling at it.
"One of the bad guys hurt it. Those are stitches to make the Tara Bear feel better," Sam told her, giving her a hug. "Dean fixed the booboos for you."
She smiled at Dean, giving him a hug with her and the bear, then went outside.
"No getting the bear in the mud," Xander called. "Put the Tarabear on the porch please." She carefully sat her bear down then went to get messy with the others. "Thanks, Ellen."
"Welcome, Xander. Is this the first time you babysat?"
"Did they eat?"
"A lot. More than even Dean does."
"Ah, you spoiled them." She patted him on the shoulder. "Let's go watch the little brats." He pouted. "They can be." He shrugged and went outside. "You guys do a sweep for more little buggers."
"Going," John agreed. "UV flashlights?"
"Hall closet," Dean said, going out to watch over the kids too. Sam was going on patrol and only two of them could fit in the attic at a time. He gave Bobby the silvered skeleton.
"Blood elf. It was hiding in Izzy's bear so I hit it with a tube of liquid silver," Xander called. "They had to figure out how to get it out without giving the bear another booboo."
"You have liquid silver?" Ellen asked.
"Willow put some in some pressurized tubes for when we had to have some on patrol." He got up to get one, coming out to hand it over. "See, snap the tube, then you've got about two minutes to inject it in them. Or if you let it solidify again, you just break the needle and use it that way because it does have a small point."
"Huh. Never seen that." She put it into her shirt pocket. She looked at him. "You okay?"
"No. Buffy died to close the hellmouth. She was still my friend."
"I meant about Willow." He stared at her. "She closed the hellmouth but a fury got her, Xander," she said gently.
"So she's paying?"
"Yup. She's with the coven in England. They said she'll come out of it once all the bad stuff has been punished. Might be a few years but she'll come out of it." Xander nodded, biting his lip.
Dean reached over to pat him on the head. "Tara and that Andrew guy are working together as a coven. His buddy Jonathan is threatening to make all sorts of geek toys to protect them but they work well together. He's the dark to her lighter nature." Xander grinned at that. "They reclosed it when it tried to reopen. Twice."
"She's very safe and both boys know our whole family is going to come jump down their throats if she's ever hurt by them. Since Sammy's scowl was enough to send Jonathan off in a screaming panic, I doubt they're going to do that."
"That's good for her then. Faith?"
"Bit more banged up. She was really tired after the last one. Spent most of the lead up in the tub soaking it away really." Xander nodded. "She's fine though. Jonathan is setting up a place for them near the hellmouth. Well, what's left of that area. It did knock down a few things and some of the demons did get some of the surrounding buildings but it's all right. No people got hurt outside a few of the hunters. Two got turned and Willow did the soul spell before any of us knew they had been turned. Another one got pretty banged up when a demon snuck up on him and used him to knock down a tree. He'll be here with his boy to pick up their kids later tonight. He had a long night in the ER."
"Some stitches, some bruises," Sam said as he joined them. "We couldn't find any, Xander. Neither could Kyle." He sat down outside of the muddy area. "Are you guys getting messy for your parents?" They all beamed and nodded. "Why?"
"It's fun," one said like it should be obvious.
"We took the opportunity to get in every mudhole at their ages too," Dean reminded him. Bobby nodded at that. "Their clothes all done?"
"Some are in the dryer."
"Sammy?" He went to do that. "That way the parents only have to pause to give baths." Xander laughed. "They'll need 'em. Izzy especially. How did the sleepover go?"
"Pretty well. They were nice. Izzy got to ask the older kids to read to her a lot. I got to stop her from bugging them sometimes. I put kiddy filters on the laptop and let the older two surf good kid sites while I watched. Oh, we do know one is trying to get onto magic and spells sites?" Ellen shook her head slowly. He pointed at one reading. "And that's a classification of magic manual." Bobby went to take it from the girl and talk to her.
"I'll talk to her parents for you, Xander. That way you don't get to hear them yelling at her."
"It could be that she wants to hunt," Dean offered. "I snuck plenty of info at that age."
"No, she's not," Xander said. "Nothing on hunting. Now, she could feel she has magic and she's doing that."
"No, she's a little snot," Ellen said. "She'd never be a white witch so her mom won't allow it. Actually, her mom hates witches." More cars and trucks pulled in, making the kids squeal and run over to pounce their parents. One set pouted. "Yours are going to be late. They had a flat tire last night." That got a nod and they went to hug the other parents. Izzy pouted at her. "You'll see 'em again, Izzy."
"Like daycare, they won't be there every day but you'll see them a lot," Xander told her. "Quit pouting and get Dean messy?"
She beamed and threw mud at Dean, making him huff and do it back. She cackled and got up to hug him since she was so messy. "That's my girl," Dean told her.
"Really?" Ellen asked with a grin.
"And her father...." Sammy waved his hand a bit. "You're okay with that?"
"I don't think I could handle it full time. Or being with Xander."
"Good point. Well, Dean, if he does it for you, I'm good with it," she decided. She got up and walked over. "There were a few blood elves that came to get them so they could take out the local brownie clan. Xander protected them from the deer blood they threw around and from them. They're all gone and the kids don't even have a scratch."
"I made sure that none of them tasted any of the blood," Xander promised, getting up to come over. "I swear I did. I didn't know they could travel on darkness so there were a few in the safe room before I opened the door. When I realized that, I took care of them and Buck's team came up to see why the brownies used some of the fence's mines to blow up the rest of them. They got the ones hiding in the attic and things so the kids were very safe. They liked the granola bars I had down there and we kept a pretty fair schedule. I even did laundry for you guys."
"Sounds like things that happen around hunters," one parent decided. "You have brownies around here?"
"Yeah, some live in the woods. They're very nice. We talk a lot of the time and they think Izzy is adorable too."
Dean nodded. "Though we'll have to start giving fresh milk again, Xander. Powdered milk is nasty."
"Okay." He glanced back then at them. "They said we have naiads in the river too."
"I think you're going the same sort of insane Kyle did," one said gently, patting him on the shoulder. "Let's get you cleaned up, guys." They trooped to the bathroom. The parents sorted out the newly washed clothes and repacked bags while their kids bathed, handing them new outfits. Xander let them wash them before they left too since it was nearly dinner time by the time the kids got done playing in the water. The parents took the good behavior bribery bags to regulate the sugar their kids would have later but that was a parent thing he guessed.
Dean waved as the last of the hunters and their kids left. "Thank god." He looked around. "No one took Izzy, right?" he called.
"She's down for the night," Sam called back. "Night, guys."
"Night," John agreed, shaking his head. Ellen giggled. "There's a few guest rooms, Ellen. Let me get you into Dean's ususal one since he probably won't be needing it?"
"My stuff's in the closet but not yet. He cuddles very well," Dean said blandly, making Xander blush. "You do. Even if you do draw on my stomach."
"What am I drawing?"
"I'll find some way to show you." He waved at the others. "Let me shower too." That got a nod and he went to do that before Ellen could get into his clothes and stuff. He came out to find everyone else had headed to bed but Xander. He was out in the living room. He settled beside him. "What's wrong?"
"I called Faith. She said it's much too dangerous. They had a huge demon down, one of the Highers, who was running late."
"Figures." Xander looked at him. "She's got the broomstick up their asses patrol, Xander. Plus Jonathan and Andrew making her geek toys. They did want to know how you made that light thing." Xander nodded. "Tara's there for her witchly needs, with Andrew that's stronger than Rosenburg ever was." Xander relaxed against him. "Besides, you'll do great being a semi-roving hunter with this as home base. We can repay Buck and Chris being nosy by going to take out their stuff."
"You don't mind?" he asked quietly.
"Nope. If I miss traveling that much I'll go hunt with the family for a bit. Sammy's going to drive Dad nuts for years."
Sam came out to sit across from them. "I'm going to help Faith actually." They stared at him. "She needs someone who can research since the watchers aren't showing up." Xander frowned at that. "Giles is still drunk in LA. Wes has his hands full there. He said that the watchers don't like Faith and think she's too dark. So we'll go work together. She needs another hunter and I can train Jonathan and Andrew both if I have to."
"Johno has some of the skills already. Andrew has some from ducking his black magic using older brother that used to be mean to everyone." That got a gape. Xander nodded. "Warren was a bit psycho so watch out for him."
"We will," Sam promised with a grin. "This way Faith is taken care of and has someone she can trust at her back, plus I can research for her. Giles said he'll send most of his books to her and the rest here to you so no one gets into the magic books." That got a nod. "So all you have to worry about is Izzy and the local demons."
"I can do that," he agreed. "Plus we can go take care of the one that's bugging Ezra? He's got one that's trying to stalk him."
"We can definitely do that," Dean agreed. "Do we know what it is?" Xander whispered in his ear, getting a laugh. "Figures. That guy finds more trouble than anyone but Sammy and you." He looked at Sam. "Dad knows?"
"He suggested it because it'd give me more normal guy time than full time hunting. I can even go back to school around the issues."
"That's hard to do," Xander warned.
"Not that hard," Sam said with a grin. "I can handle it." He stood up. "So don't worry and tell us before you come in to visit. That way we can make sure you guys have a good, safe place to squat with the baby." He went back to his room.
"Wow," Dean said. Xander smiled at him. "That works out pretty well. Dad'll travel between the two of us probably." Xander nodded, resting against his shoulder. "Let's hit the bed." Xander nodded, getting up and hauling him up too. Dean smirked because Xander was dragging him to bed. "Anxious?" he teased.
"Worried sick. You didn't call after it was done with."
"Sorry. Phone's dead." He closed their bedroom door and they stripped down to their boxers to climb into bed. Xander rested against him, which was a big step. Usually he saw Xander's back for the first hour of him being asleep. This time, Xander was nicely pressed against his side. Dean kissed him. Xander blinked up at him and took another one. "Think?"
"Don't know." He took another kiss. "If it happens it does." Dean nodded at that during the kiss, taking over a little bit since he had more experience than Xander did. They were down to groping when Izzy snuck in.
She climbed up onto the foot of the bed, scowling at them. "Mine," she complained. They broke off to look at her. "Mine!"
"Well, technically you're ours," Dean said, pulling her up to cuddle. She beamed at her daddy. So he kissed her on the head then her father. She giggled, giving him a hug until she wiggled down. "So we can make out now?" he asked as she toddled off. She left the door open so he got up to walk her back to bed. She ran cackling into her grandfather's room, letting Dean go back to his warmer bed. "I think she approves. She went to tell Grandpa that we're both hers."
"She's so spoiled," Xander moaned.
"Now and then, yeah." He locked the door then came back to bed, kissing his lover again. "Have we heard the hyena or anything protesting?"
"No. She likes you." Dean grinned. "Maybe that's what I'm drawing on you." He took another kiss, letting Dean lead him down the garden path to nakedness and then naked groping, and finally rubbing against each other. Which felt very good. Now he understood why gay guys had sex. He went limp across Dean's chest, yawning. "Thank you."
"Welcome." He let the boy cuddle, getting himself comfortable at the same time. That was good for him and it was happy making time in the morning again if he had his way.
John waited until the noise stopped to put Izzy back into bed since her room was closer to theirs. "They need more insulation." He went back to his own bed shaking his head about his sons and their strangeness. Ellen was giggling, he could hear her. Bobby was snoring so that was better. At least no one would pick on the boys in the morning.
Izzy looked up the next morning when her daddies came in. "Mine!" she begged, holding up her arms. Dean kissed her on the head and gave her a hug. Xander did the same. She beamed at Ellen. "Mine."
"Yes they're your daddies, sweetie."
"She decided we couldn't kiss until we gave her one last night," Dean said.
"We are so locking the bedroom door," Xander agreed, making her cackle. "Breakfast?" Bobby handed them both plates. "Thanks, Bobby. You cook as good as Dean does." He gave him a one-armed hug.
"I should since I taught him."
"Did you teach him that casserole stuff too?"
"Probably." He smirked. "No suggesting I teach more young hunters how to cook either, boy."
"I'm not. If I did, you'd be driven nuts by the kids I just watched." He nodded, laughing a bit. "So, who's going to Denver? Are Dean and I going? I might know the one after Ezra."
"EzEz?" Izzy asked.
"Yes, your favorite reading buddy," he agreed dryly.
"We'll see if you can go," Dean agreed. She beamed at her grandfather.
"You won't be able to leave her alone."
Dean shrugged. "I can probably talk someone into babysitting for an hour or so while we get the demon off him. Or she can sit out of the way since it's not a harmful thing."
"Not physically anyway," Xander agreed. He dug in, eating all he could.
"Busy night?" John teased with an evil smirk. Izzy scowled at him. "What?"
"I am not."
"Yeah you are," Dean told him. He ate another bite, watching Xander. "Did you not eat while the kids were here?"
"I kept trying but they needed stuff so it got interrupted and stolen by one of them."
Dean rolled his eyes. "The boys did that to me many times," John assured him. "She will too some day."
"She won't be eating like a teenage boy," Dean reminded him. That got an evil smirk. "She won't be."
"No, she'll be eating like a growing girl."
"Most of them get picky," Xander told him. "And fussy and want salads." She oohed at that. "Not yet you're not." He finished up and got up for seconds, coming back to finish it. She stole some of his toast but that was normal. "Eat yours first." She dove into her breakfast, making a mess but it mostly went into her mouth. Sam got her cleaned up and it was better. She got down, found her bear, and went to watch the wind blowing outside. Xander watched, shaking his head. "Sometimes she's a strange little girl."
"It the Sammy genes," Dean teased. Xander scowled at him. "He did all sorts of strange shit."
"I did," Sam agreed dryly. "Not that my big brother needs to give my daughter ideas."
"I won't be letting her try to lick the frogs like you did because you saw it on tv."
"Didn't find a pretty colors frog?" Xander asked.
"No. Unfortunately mine was a tree frog and I got hellishly sick." John gave him an odd look. "I had seen something on frogs that got licked for their hallucinogenic properties, Dad."
"Where was I?"
"We were in Arizona," Dean said.
"Oh, that month." He shuddered. "I remember coming in at the end of him being sick."
"Feel lucky, I had to call poison control to make sure it wasn't poisonous."
"That would've gotten us in trouble," John agreed. "Though I would've thought Sammy had more sense than that, even at that age."
"He did a lot of stuff you'd shake your head at," Dean quipped with an evil smirk.
"Don't teach them to Izzy?" Xander nearly begged.
"I'm not. I don't want to watch her throw up frog juice for a week." Sam shuddered. "I did whip his ass for you, Dad."
"Thanks, Dean." He glared at his younger son. "At least you learned."
"And when someone offered me one in high school I didn't go there," he shot back.
"You still came home high," Dean reminded him.
"Wasn't that bad to do," Xander admitted, looking up. "I had fun that night." They gaped at him. He stared back. "Not like I had a big brother to tell me no. All I had was Willow after Jesse died. He didn't say no to a whole lot of things."
Dean shook his head. "You still running that wild?"
"I haven't had the energy to run that wild since our first apocalypse."
"Good point." He patted him on the back. "If you want to share, I'll listen. I chewed Sammy a new one but since it's so far back I can just listen."
"We can make sure our daughter does not have any days like that."
"Definitely," Sam agreed.
"She's got parents who're hyper protective," John pointed out. "She won't be turning that way."
That got a nod and they relaxed. She would not be one of the kids who did a little bit of everything to try it out. They'd make her a good girl who was content to let boys worship her.
Xander found the right spot and got out, knocking on the front door. JD opened it so he handed over Izzy. "Hold her. It's going to get messy and nasty." He walked in and dropped his bag on the couch, opening it to take out something. "So, Ezra, liking my exes? That's two now." Ezra let out a soft moan. He grinned. "She's cute and fun while it lasts."
"He's been really tired," Buck told him.
"I know. There's two reasons. She's feeding off him or she's turning him. I'm guessing the turning since he's trying very hard to be cute today." He walked over so he could lay down wards around the chair he was handcuffed to. "She back?"
"She tried but Chris drove her off," Buck admitted. He looked at JD. "Take her outside, JD. She don't need to see this."
"Dean's coming; he had to finish chatting with his overprotective father who thinks I'm going to be evil around the baby again." He looked up. "John does like to underestimate me a lot." He looked back at JD. "She's not going to be happy. She won't hurt the baby. She didn't when I was pregnant and dating her but it's going to get nasty."
"I don't need to know about this stuff. I'll guard the door and the baby," he agreed.
Xander looked at Buck. "He's very sweet and nice."
"I catch one of them coming after him I'll beat her and then him," he assured him.
"Good." He grinned. "Wish I'd had you as a big brother. You might've kept me from dating Anya." He started the summoning. "Back up, guys. I'm calling her here." He looked down at Ezra. "Call her."
"Darlene?" he called quietly. She faded in.
Xander smiled and waved. "Hi."
"Xander!" she squealed, hugging him. "What are you doing here?"
"Freeing another buddy from you." She pouted at him. He stared back. "Izzy's outside."
"The baby? You named her Izzy?"
"Isabelle. Her uncle's outside too." He stared at her. "Let him go."
"You can. Let Ezra go, Darlene."
"I really can't. I'm stuck."
He sighed. "Try?"
"I'm trying," she begged. "Really I am. But he's so nice and sweet. Plus he does the nice things that I like."
"Go date Anya."
"She likes boys too."
"She likes tongues and toys, Darlene. The same as you do. Go date Anya and put an incubus between you now and then. Now, let Ezra go!"
"I'm trying! He's stuck." He sighed, pulling something out of his bag. He inserted the four needles in their spots and then dropped something into the main barrel, dropping in something else, which he had to take out and flip around. "Xander, please don't?" she begged.
"Then let him go."
"Buck, you'll wanna move about four feet to the right." Everyone got out of the way. "I can unstick him."
"That'll hurt a lot."
"Yay." He fired it and she flinched as the needles hit her, making her release her hold with a scream of pain. Ezra moaned in pain as the link let him go.
She disappeared in a pop. "I won't bother your friends again and I'll tell Anya you said hi," she called.
Xander looked down at Ezra, then at Buck. "Standard anti-succuba precautions."
"I can do that. Why did John think you'd be evil?"
"I was cackling at an idea earlier. Then again, he thinks I'm tragic, tainted, and strange all the time," he said dryly. "But he's not giving me 'you dirty whore' looks anymore like he did when I was pregnant."
Darlene reappeared, staring at his stomach. "Did she restart it?"
"Primed it but I'm told the brownies I live around have blocked it. Shoo!"
"I won't hurt him."
He stared at her, reaching to reload the gun. She squealed and disappeared. He put the gun back but Chris took it to look at. He handed Ezra a copied sheet. "Standard protections to be painted around your house. Around the doors, windows, bedroom especially since it's succuba that's bothering you. They can be in faintly off-colored paint if you want. You can turn them into a decorative border if you want. On the backside is the one I used for that around Izzy's bedroom. That's got more protections woven in and you can turn it into a template to paint over with an exacto blade and some clear plastic." That got a simple nod. "As long as they're not in the exact same shade, you'll be fine. Do the holy water thing and next time don't date the desperate ones."
"It was for an assignment," he said quietly.
Xander grinned. "I didn't know the succuba were running guns. Faith will probably be *very* amused at that." Chris shuddered. "Faith has Cleveland. Sammy's going to be her backup. Tara and Andrew, one of the guys from Sunnydale, are going to be her witchly support. They balance each other out and Andrew comes with a best friend Jonathan who is also a major geek. Between the two they built a Buffy robot that was so lifelike you couldn't always tell the difference. They tried to take over the world a few times but they're generally nice geeks. If I want to pray to a geek god, I prayed to their trio." That got a groan from Chris. "Sorry."
"She's in Cleveland with them. Technically she's Warren's but he's not wound too tightly. They've got him under watch because he's not real clear on the boundary between his world and our world."
"Good to know," Vin agreed. "Is he getting help?"
"His boys are there to do that and Tara will stop him if he does something too bad. Sam will if she can't and Sam has told them that if they hurt Tara, they're his. They should be fine and Sam's watching over their shoulders." That got a nod from everyone. "Though they are good enough to build proton packs and energy weapons if you wanted or needed them to," he finished with a grin. "Dean and I agreed that since Cleveland was still so bad and Faith makes a good team with Sammy that I'd cover the local area with him."
"That's fine," Chris agreed.
"I was wondering. Wasn't there an office closer to Montana?"
"Anything like hunters, they call the ones of us who know," Buck admitted. "Since John called us directly, we took the case."
"Ah. Good idea I guess. You guys aren't too bad." He grinned. Darlene faded back in and he threw something, making her foam up and splash everyone and everything with goo. "I told you no."
"Is that like ex-girlfriend abuse?" Vin asked, wiping at the nasty residue.
"Only if it's a human," Xander said dryly. "Or something harmless. Since she's not... no. And it only banished her form. Give her six months and she'll reform and go hit on Anya to let her have some fun." He took his gun back.
"Who makes that?" Chris asked, taking it back.
"I did." He pointed. "Those shoot holy water ampules in the needles. They're fairly easy to get. The main thrust power is the little ball and cap I put down there." He let him see the parts. "It's very handy and gets it across the room at succuba and other semi- corporeal and flimsy entities." He grinned. "Then again I can hit a few vamps at once with holy water with it to make them shriek in pain too. It has a good hundred yard range with the blasting caps I use."
"Huh," he said. "Interesting. Can I borrow this to test?"
Xander sighed. "Must you?"
"Just to test it, not to have it destroyed," Buck promised. Xander nodded, handing over the blasting caps, covers, and empty needle set. "Thanks. Which way?"
"Cap covers the blaster to keep most of the force in there but it's thin enough that it won't cause a misfire. Should fit over it like a cover so it gets blown out. Otherwise it bites you."
"I can do that," Chris agreed. "Any other neat toys with you? The boss wanted to see those light grenade things."
"Maybe in the car. I don't know if Dean used the one he took or not." He walked over and opened the door, smiling at JD. "She's gooey and gone. Dean, Chris wanted one of the light thingies," he called down. "Tell your dad to get off your ass, you're a big boy now." He took his daughter back. "Were you good?"
"EzEz?" She looked over his shoulder. "Eww!"
"That's a new word," he said, looking at her. "I know, it's gross. It comes off with soap and water." He carried her in, letting her dive down to pounce Ezra. "She loves those stories you read on tape for her. She even gave up snow and mud for them." Ezra smiled. "Dish detergent so you get anti-bacterial stuff, Ezra. It'll come off in the wash." That got a nod. "Don't let it set too long or it'll be cement."
"I can do that. Thank you, Xander."
"You're welcome. We're going to handle the thing downtown that's trying to eat a building again. Get one last kiss, Izzy."
"We can do that," Buck offered. "Give us time to shower?"
"That way we don't have to bust you for using artillery on it," Chris agreed. "We won't get in nearly as much trouble."
Xander looked at them. "I think I'm going to scare them more than use artillery, guys. Really." He looked at his daughter. "One last kiss." She smooched him loudly on the cheek and giggled, letting her daddy take her off. "Later, guys. Call if you have more issues." He waved, shutting the door behind him.
"If the hunting stuff turns you into him, I will gut you," Chris told Buck.
"Not a problem. Really, pard. Let me change and we'll follow him."
"I'll help Ezra clean," JD offered.
"That would be appreciated," Ezra agreed. He got up and went to change, letting them grab their spare bags to use his bathrooms. Thankfully he did have a guest bathroom at his condo. And a washer. He and JD got to work scrubbing up the other stuff. "I'm tempted to hire in someone to clean this mess up," he admitted after a few minutes of scrubbing.
"That's mean to the maid companies, Ez."
"Not that mean."
"Yes it is." They finished up and watched the news to see how the big demon had went down this time. JD giggled. "He made it swear and stomp off with how cute the baby is?"
"Apparently. She is adorable."
"Some day they'll be beating boys off her," JD agreed. "Probably boys like Buck." Ezra nodded at that. "Do we have to do another cleaning round?"
Ezra called his weekly cleaner. "I accidentally brought home a foam sample earlier and I've cleaned most of the goo off the walls. Might I have you over tomorrow to do another round of cleaning with dishwashing detergent? Thank you, my dear. No, I'll be at a motel tonight." He hung up and went to get things, letting JD follow him. On the way he called Buck. "I'm going to lounge in luxury where I don't need to scrub things. JD switched them to the dryer for you boys. Thank you." He hung up and changed directions. "Chris said to come camp at the ranch tonight."
"That's fine. It'll mean you won't be alone." They met up with the others there and settled in to get a bit more drunk. It was their usual reaction to demons in Denver.
Xander appeared next to Faith six weeks later, smiling at her shocked look. "What?"
"Sneaking up on you," he teased. He held up the baby.
"Awww, there's my niece. And with vamps around."
"Spike's here." She rolled her eyes. "He is." He smirked when he came out of the shadows. "Any of the vamps left?"
"Nope." He looked at the baby. "Hi, bit."
She beamed and waved. "Hi!"
Faith giggled. "She leaned that off the ladies that hit on the daddy, huh?"
"Sometimes. Though none recently." He put her in Spike's arms, then turned and threw a knife at something. "I told you to quit following the baby!" The demon faded back out. "Sorry, she thinks she's adorable too. Wants to claim her."
Faith rolled her eyes. "Need help with that?"
"No. It lets me practice my knife throwing skills," he said dryly. She cackled. "Beyond that, the house is being sprayed. Dean wanted to come smack his little brother around. I needed out of Montana. She needed to see a reasonable woman because the ones at daycare told her she was to get married early and have many kids to make me a grandfather. I nearly busted her ass for it but the sheriff got there in time to pull me away from the closet she was hiding in with another lady who agreed. The pastor agreed that was the wrong thing to tell my daughter, even if she is a princess." Spike cackled. "The sheriff suggested they join this century instead of two ago. It's been a long week."
"I guess it has been. Dean off pouncing Sammy for me? He's been a stick in the mud recently."
"I heard that." He grinned. "We can go if you can get Sammy to babysit."
"I think I can do that. She's his. He can be a daddy for a night."
"She even has the runs for him," he said proudly. "Payback for leaving me with her when they gave her the flu." She laughed, calling him to tell him to come watch the baby with Spike. She took Xander on a club hunt with her. Sammy couldn't or wouldn't help her bait. Xander knew how to bait and he was clearly going nuts. "No clubs in Montana?"
"Four hours away," he moaned. She laughed. "And it's a teen place. I've lost my tolerance for teenagers. I looked at one and told her to quit squealing. She pouted at the bouncer. He threw her out for her fake ID." She nodded, laughing some more. "Then he told me I was too old to be there. I told him it was my daughter's fault. We went vamp hunting at the gay club instead and got four who wanted to be her stepdaddies."
"You're so bad."
"Yeah, but I need to break into minor evil before I prank Dean," he said dryly. She shook her head. "I do." He took her out onto the floor once they got inside, taking her to bait all the vamps. Even he could tell the vamps were here in force. "Buffet?" he mouthed. She shook her head. "You sure?" She nodded. "Minor apocalypse?"
"Maybe," she agreed. They moved apart and he went to dance with one. That one snorted. He shrugged and pulled another girl closer to dance with him. She was alive. He could feel warm skin. He winked and she walked off with him. He told her about the gang members that the one he had taken her from was. That they were threatening the club and to go so they could arrest them, making believe he was an undercover cop. She fled with her buddies to a new place. The bouncer gave him an evil look. He grinned and went to dance with a vamp. She tried to bite him so she went woosh. The others went to game face. The remaining humans fled with screams of displeasure and a few 'that's disgusting's. The bouncer turned out to be human but he tried to call it in. Faith took the phone from him, shoving him out the door and closing it in his face. "Party time," she said.
"Haven't had fun like this in years," Xander agreed. The vamps hissed and a few rushed. They were dusted and the rest tried to get them. Xander stayed near Faith, it was safer that way for both of them. She gave him a shove farther away so he went but that was fine too. He felt one bite the back of his neck and reached back to swat it then turned to stake it then the ones in front of him. She moved back with a small shrug. "Not a problem," he called over the growling, panting some. "Man, I'm out of shape."
"Me too," she panted. Xander tossed her something. She caught it, glanced at it, then turned on the UV flashlights. They shrieked. They relaxed while the light held off the vamps. "Now what, sparky?"
Xander pulled something from his pants pocket, handing it to her. "Blink," he ordered, setting his off. Hers went off right after his. The vampires screamed as they burned up. He blinked to clear his vision. "Made them a bit too strong this time," he complained, rubbing at his eyes.
"Quit, you'll get ash in them," she complained. "But yeah, way too strong, boytoy." Someone pounded on the door. "It's clear," she said, looking around. Cops rushed in. She turned off the flashlight. "Hey."
"Hey," Xander agreed. He used his flashlight on one that had apparently ducked behind a chair. She went up with a scream of pain. He handed it to the cop. "UV flashlight."
He stared at him. "We don't usually see you handing these things, sir. We've seen her before."
"I helped handle it back in Sunnydale but I have an eighteen-month-old daughter."
"It's too dangerous for him and her to be here right now," Faith told them. "They're in for a visit."
"Sammy's a bit too uptight to club hunt with her and we heard there's been a buildup. Better to stake now than have to stake more later," he agreed.
"Are you guys insane?" one asked calmly.
"Matter of opinion," Xander quipped with a grin. The cops all moaned. "The club only had about twenty alive humans when we went into hunting mode," he offered. "They all fled."
One nodded. "We got a call from someone saying that the undercover officer was going to have problems."
"I just told her I was here to handle things in an undercover way. I never said I was a cop, just hinted I was an authority figure," Xander told him. He looked at Faith. "Want a soda?"
"Please. Or a float. It's hot tonight."
"We can do that on the way back there. If we can go?" Xander asked. "I've got another flashlight, you guys can have that one. Nighttime patrols have got to suck and it's better light when you're searching for someone. Expensive bulbs but worth it." He walked her out, taking her back to the car. "Home, float from a drivethru?"
"There's a good place up the street," she offered.
"Sure." He took her up there, letting her run inside to get them some floats and then the shared home. He walked in sipping his. "Andrew, you guys need to make more thermo-phosphorus grenades." He took another sip. "And I just gave an officer one of my UV flashlights."
"That's cool. How are you making those?"
"I sent Sammy all my stuff's plans." They squealed and went to beg Sammy to find it in his email. He grinned when Dean joined them. "Mass of vamps."
"We heard. They have a scanner set up in the kitchen." He held up the baby, who cooed at Daddy. "I told you he was okay."
"Why isn't Sammy watching her tonight?" Faith asked.
"He's being an ass."
"I need to get him laid." Dean snickered, nodding. "Think a succuba would have him?"
"Probably. Is Darlene back and dating Anya? I gave her a pointed hint to do that instead since she was trying to turn a federal agent into an incubus. Then again, he saw Anya for a few weeks too."
"Which is why Chris enrolled him in a speed dating club full of rich women," Dean assured him. Xander giggled. "Hey, bitch, your daughter wants a kiss," he called.
"Coming." He came down the stairs to hug and kiss her. "Such a good girl." She cackled and shook her head. "No? Why not?"
"That's her I need changed and you're gonna hate it look," Dean told him. "Have fun with it, Sammy. I did the last six."
"I told you to wake me up and I'd do them," Xander reminded him.
He looked at Faith. "Did you know he snored?"
"Never slept with him that way, Dean. How would I?" She smirked. "You let the daddy change that for you, pumpkin, and I'll let the geeks read to you." She beamed at Sammy, making him walk off to change her. "Not in the kitchen!" she complained.
"The diaper bag's in there," he retorted.
Faith looked at Dean. "Did he learn how to be an ass from your dad?"
"Had to since I'm not," he said dryly. He took Xander's drink to get a sip then smiled and handed it back. "Haven't had those in a while." He looked at her. "We did a small turn through the usual trouble route earlier while you guys were off getting dusty."
"I love you two." She gave them hugs. "Let me shower and change. You guys can use the bathroom down there." She looked at Xander. "He rubbed ash into his eyes."
"I can check, Faith. Thanks." She nodded, heading up there. He looked in Xander's eyes. "You okay?"
"Yeah, I made the flash part of the flash-bang too bright. I've already teared up the ash." He grinned, going to take a shower. Izzy squealed somewhere. "Hi, Tara!" he called. That squeal was only Tara's.
Dean grinned when she came down the stairs with the baby. "He's washing off the ash."
"It's dangerous here," she told him.
He shrugged. "We're in for a visit, Tara. We already did a turn around the problem areas while Sammy watched her." She relaxed. "Faith and Xander did a club hunt and everything."
"He's fine." Xander came out, to walk past them, kissing his daughter on the head. "What's that on your neck?"
"Small bite. I got it. Going for the holy water neosporin."
"Sit down." He went to get it for him. Then he went to see if Faith needed it too. She had a few bites of her own. He sat her down to gel them, making her hiss as the holy water in the gel got into the open areas. "Holy water laced neosporin, Faith."
"I was going to get mine."
He stared at her. "Dad would beat Sammy if he didn't do this and me too." He found one on her ankle and got it then let her go. "There you go. Let me get the one on Xander's neck." He went to check him over, finding that one and another one on his side. A few scratches got some too. "You two needed to do this sooner."
"It's fine, Dean," Xander told him. "I've had ones I didn't treat all night. Or at all." He took his daughter back. "Tell him he's fussing like a mommy?"
"Fussy," she agreed, nodding at him.
He grinned. "Another new word. I'm proud, Izzy." He nuzzled her head. "If I didn't fuss, he'd be hurt and have booboos." She 'ooh'ed at that. He smirked at Xander. "Then Grandpa would show up to beat us both."
"You got bitten?" Sam demanded when he saw Faith coming down the stairs. "Are you all right?"
"They were trying to make me not stake them, Sammy. Chill before I lock you in the chest freezer." She stared him down. "I don't need fussed over that way. You wanna fuss, do it over your daughter." She looked at Tara. "The cops were really nice and calm."
"Good." She looked at them. "You should be fine." She looked at Xander's neck. "If that was deeper you'd be in a lot of pain."
He looked at her. "Not really." She pressed on it. "I know but the stuff I put on the bruise there earlier thanks to the headrest in the Impala numbed the area." He grinned. "They don't have fangs long enough to go into my spinal column. I promise." He gave her a hug. "Fuss over the baby before we leave the day after tomorrow." She smiled, taking the baby to read to her. Sammy went to do the same thing. He looked at Dean, then at Faith. "They are fussy. He even fussed when the sink bit my knee."
"It was gushing," Dean said dryly. "It didn't stop for five minutes after I started to put pressure on it, Xander. You ignored it for a good four before then." Faith walked off laughing. "Even Kyle's ghost was fluttering about taking him to the ER," he called after her.
"It was a little scratch," Xander told him.
"Maybe X and I should trade Winchesters for a bit," Faith teased from the kitchen.
"Sammy wouldn't cuddle him the same way," Dean called.
"Better not. I'm not the Winchester family ride," he said dryly, giving Dean a look.
"Not that way, Xander. If he did that, I'd beat his ass," he said quietly, getting a grin back. "Any other injuries I should see?"
"No. I'm fine. Really." He went to watch her read to his daughter. "She loves you."
"I love her. She's a good girl most of the time."
"She nearly got two of the daycare's people killed," Xander told her. Tara glared at him. "They were telling her how she should marry early and have many babies. All sorts of anti strong girl messages. When they got to 'find a good boyfriend at fourteen so you can trap him by the time you're legal' I heard and they ran for a closet. The pastor agreed they were dumb and so did the sheriff when he pulled me away from the closet because I was going to go through the door."
"The sheriff suggested an EPT too," Dean said, coming in there to sit and watch. Xander nodded at that. "Though he agreed, they were stupid to say it around her."
"I'm guessing she's going to be a butch feminist?" Sam asked.
"With good gun and self defense skills even if she doesn't want to hunt," Xander agreed. "Cause I'll be damned if some little redneck boy is going to trap her in his pickup on one of the back roads some night in high school. She'll kick his butt and then stomp off to find someone nicer." Dean nodded at that. "Though it is nice that going after them made that fundamentalist group on the other edge of the county leave."
Dean hummed. "Really?" Xander nodded. He took his float to finish off for him since he wasn't drinking it and it was really good. "Good to know."
Xander looked at him. "I can go buy you one if you want."
"That's fine. Yours is plenty," he agreed with a grin. Sam moaned, shaking his head quickly. "She's been pouting at your picture again, Sammy. So you can even do bedtimes."
"Thanks, guys." He took his daughter back, realizing he had been being a butt earlier. She smiled and cuddled in to hug him. "I missed you too, Izzy." She beamed up at him, tweaking his nose. "Thanks." He did it back, making her giggle. "Did we get the one after Ezra?"
"Yeah, he picked up another of Xander's ex's and had to be saved," Dean said dryly.
Faith came out with a snack, giving him a dirty look. "Another one?"
"Anya dated him for a few weeks too," Xander said with a wicked grin. She whimpered. "She said he was very nice and polite. Too nice to help her get her powers back. Then Darlene, the succuba I dated during my second trimester, latched onto him. I suggested that they date each other since I had clearly warped them into wanting something spectacular that they weren't getting from normal guys. Maybe putting an incubus between them now and then when they needed men things."
"Dean, do you feel like you're going to turn into an evil girl?" Faith asked patiently.
"Not yet. If I do start to go flamingly femme, I'll let you guys come save me by taking me to a metal concert." They just nodded and grinned. "Seriously."
"'Tallica," Izzy cooed.
"That's my girl!" Dean agreed, smiling at her. "You know good music, don't you, sweetness?"
She beamed at Sammy. "You're such a good girl, even if he is warping you, Izzy." He took her up to the room she'd have while they were there, tucking her in before Dean could warp her some more.
Dean looked at Xander. "Tired?"
"A bit. I'm out of shape for club hunts."
"Uh-huh," he agreed, standing up and pulling him up. "We'll see you guys tomorrow." He walked Xander up to their room, kicking the door closed then pushing Xander against it. "You should've told me you got bit," he said quietly.
"I'm fine, Dean. It was a weak bite."
"It's not fine. Those things can infect and you don't know where their mouths have been or what they might have now thanks to the current blood they just drank." Xander shuddered. "Be a bit more careful?" He moved closer. "Tell me when you get hurt, Xander. I can't help or cover for an area if you're injured when I don't know."
"A bit stiff. The shower helped. I've done club hunts before, but not since I was about four months along and she kicked the snot out of me for it."
"She's got a kind soul." He looked in Xander's eyes, seeing the tiredness. "C'mon, I can spoil you rotten and work on your shoulders."
"Shut up," he said with a grin. "I did it for Sammy, I can do it for you."
"Were you and Sammy sharing that way?" he teased back. "Ellen warned me you two were close."
"Not that close. Hell no, I'd never sleep with Godzilla downstairs. He probably has no skills in bed. That's one thing I couldn't teach him and Jess seemed like the nice and fluffy sort." He pulled Xander over to the bed and took his shirt off him. "Down. Let me work on the stiffness."
"Is this a, um, seduction attempt?" he asked gently. "Because it's pretty good and I'll fall for it."
Dean smirked. "If I tell you that, it won't work right, huh?" He pushed him down, sitting on Xander's back to work on his shoulders and neck. They were very stiff. "You don't need a tetanus shot, right?"
"Good." He went back to working out the stiff muscles. Xander was making some happy noises under him. They were making him happy at least. He moved backward to do more of his back. Xander moaned and wiggled so he shifted back to sit on his butt. It was a well-padded seat for him. He worked on his lower back, making him go limp and gooey muscled on the bed. Dean got up and stripped down, pulling Xander's pants and boxers off him, looking at his naked back and the blush that was spreading. "Huh. Is that a bite scar on your left cheek?"
"Yeah." He looked back. "Anya."
"Obviously she thought you had good taste," he taunted with a smirk.
"She was asleep. I think she thought it was a roll. I had some more flab back then." He shrugged and shifted, letting his thighs spread some. "More backrubs?"
"Possibly." He moved back to teasing him. Xander was back to making happy noises. He was shifting to give himself room too so he saw how happy he was making him. He moved backward to work on the outer curve of his lower back and upper buttocks. Xander was getting very happy now. He stroked a hand down them, earning a shiver. "You think maybe you wanna try?"
Xander looked at him. "I'd rather do that at home," he said quietly. "That way we don't have your brother trying to listen or the geeks or Faith."
"I can understand that. "
"But I'm not against going farther." He pulled Dean around to make him lay down with him. "I'm all for second base or third base, or even on the slide home," he said, giving him a wicked smirk.
"I could definitely go for that action," he moaned, arching up when Xander's hand went down to grope him. "Think you could learn to like blow jobs?"
"I like getting them. Never gave one." Dean pushed his head so he went down to try. He licked first, tasting him. "Not too bad." He went down to do what he had liked when Anya had done it for him. Which made his jaw sore. He went back to teasing.
"Anything, Xander, please?" Dean begged. Xander hummed and played with the knob while his hand played with the rest, making Dean a happy boy. He thrust gently up, making Xander take a bit more of him. "Please?"
"Trying but my jaw hurts." He went back to it. Dean whimpered at one point. "Sorry about the scraping." He tried it again and it was better. Dean groaned and came, letting Xander lick it up for him. "Not too bad." He kissed him.
Dean smirked. "Not too bad for your first one." He moved to tease Xander, making him a happy boyfriend too. Xander groaned, letting it go for him. He got a bit loud but a kiss muffled him and Dean went back to showing him he was better at this act. Xander would get better, Dean could beg for a blowjob whenever the baby was down once they got home until Xander was excellent at it and he'd do it whenever he could so his boy wouldn't be disappointed in him. He did tease his hole, because Dean decided he wanted to be on top, and gently stroked it with a thumb until it slid inside a few times. Xander came at that with a swear, earning a laugh while Dean licked him clean. "Good?"
"Very good," he said with a grin. He pulled Dean up to kiss, handing him a baby wipe. "Why am I the wife?"
"I'm stronger and I can ride you into a coma," he said in his ear. "I nearly did it to one girlfriend." Xander shivered in his arms. "Even though you do have great stamina, the one on the bottom usually gets a lot more playing in with all the stretching stuff." Xander whimpered, making Dean stroke his stomach. "I think you'll like it. I didn't mind when I did it that once but I think you'll like it, Xander. It'll be good."
Xander kissed him. "I'll let you try but you'll be taking it sometimes."
"Of course I will." Dean grinned because Xander understood this future marriage was a partnership. He wasn't going to be greedy. He was going to take care of his family any way he could. He'd make sure his mate was as happy as he could make them because that's what real men did for their spouses. "Want to try that again in the morning?" he hissed.
Xander laughed. "Naughty but I might try it." Dean smirked back. "We'll see."
"Sure, we'll see." He took another kiss and let Xander cuddle against his shoulder again. He switched sides tonight but that was fine too. Dean wasn't picky about which side he wouldn't be able to feel for ten minutes in the morning. It wasn't his gun hand though so that was extra thoughtful in case they were attacked in the middle of the night. Xander was snoring into his neck. Dean stroked down his arm, letting himself fall asleep.
Faith snuck back downstairs. "They're very quiet. Xander was a screamer and a moaner the one time I had him." Sam blushed. "Way back when, Sammy. Back in high school." She flopped back down, looking at the baby that had refused to go to bed. "Why won't you sleep?"
"I can tell you a story but I'm not sure if we have Izzy books," Sam told her. Tara went to get one from her room, getting a grin. "Thanks, Tara." He settled in to read to her, making her a happy, sleepy baby who went to bed finally so the adults could talk and plan their next attack point.
Dean stopped the Impala beside the front door, watching the brownies on their porch argue for a minute before getting out. "Is there a problem? Xander's asleep in the car."
The new head of the clan looked at him. "We were worried you had abandoned us."
"No, we went to visit Faith and them." That got some smiles. "I know we have *no* good milk in the house and probably not any bread but we can go get some later on. Let me put Xander and Izzy into bed?" They nodded and disappeared. He walked around to get Xander, which woke him up. "We're home. Go to bed, Xander. I'll get the baby then go get some groceries." Xander yawned but nodded and went inside to nap on the couch. He put Izzy in her bed and headed out to get some supplies for their resident little people. It was the least they could do since they kept Xander from getting pregnant all winter. He came back and put things down for them, smiling when one of the females appeared. "Need anything else?"
"Fresh from the jug," he admitted. "We don't have a cow or a goat, sorry."
"No, it's not a problem, lad. It's still good enough for us." She smiled. "How is the baby?"
"Good. She got spoiled some by Sammy but he was wary of being a daddy for a few days. Faith doted on her to get rid of some mushiness that Izzy sucked out of her." The brownie laughed. "They went on a club hunt without me. It went fine."
"Good. Let me take this." He handed over the small carton of cream, getting a wicked smirk. "That's going to make for a happy night."
"You're welcome. I'm hoping I can give Xander a happy night."
"Aye, but his girl in there already loves you."
"I know, Izzy's really special."
"Her too." She winked and left with the food.
Dean considered it. "Must be the hyena. Yeah, I guess she would since he's not complaining." He shrugged and went inside to do the lone mushy thing of the year. He went to make the bed and make dinner. Xander woke up a bit when he walked past him. "I've got it. Finish napping."
"Don't know why I'm so tired," he mumbled. He fell back asleep while Dean put up food. He woke up again to a cooing in his ear and a wonderful smell. "Mm. That smells good, huh, Izzy?"
Dean looked out. "That's one of the brownies, Xander, not the daughter."
Xander blinked at it. It was one of the little brownies, one of the kids. "Hi."
"Hi." He hugged him. "Thank you for the cream. It was my birthday and it was very special." He beamed and left them alone. His mother yelled at him but he was being good and polite.
Xander grinned at Dean. "They like cream?"
"From the legends they do."
"That's cool." He got up with a stretch. "Izzy still napping?"
"She's staring out the windows in her room, watching the squirrels in the trees out there." Xander went to check on her then came into the kitchen to look over his shoulder. "Ravioli and garlic bread?"
"Damn, you can cook," Xander moaned. He took a kiss.
Dean grinned. "I try now and then." He put down plates. "Eat with the baby and then bathe her and put her down for our time?"
"Sounds like usual to me," he agreed. "Izzy, food?" She came running out and hugged him, babbling about the furry things. "Did you like the squirrels?" He got her into her high chair, letting Dean help her eat the messy food. He laughed when she snatched the spoon to feed herself, getting up to put plastic behind and around her to protect things from flying spaghetti sauce. It'd take forever to clean otherwise and he thought Dean might have other plans for them later on. They got her fed, then cleaned up and into bed with two stories since she was trying hard not to be tired. Then they went to clean up the kitchen together. Dean stopped him to give him a kiss. Xander grinned back. "I did something spectacular?" he teased.
"You managed to get her to stay in bed tonight." He took another kiss. "One of the little people brought up a point. Are any of your past possessions going to bother with this thing between us?"
"Not that they have," he said, thinking about it. "I haven't felt anything odd from the hyena, soldier, mermaid taint, or anything."
Dean grinned. "Good. I didn't want to wake up in the morning with you growling at me."
"Nah, she's not like that. She'd sniff and if she didn't like you, you probably wouldn't wake up."
"Good to know." He took another kiss. "Leave the dishes?"
"I can slack on that tonight. Shower?"
"I could like a shower. Or you can be softer and want a bath if you want."
"I like showers. The tub's tiny."
"I was thinking about the huge old tub downstairs, Xander." Xander gave him a confused look so he brought him down there. "See, this one has a huge water space."
"Oooh. I haven't tried this one. Is it hooked up?"
"I tried it earlier. It's comfy. Baths aren't my thing but I can see doing it if you wanted."
Xander looked at him. "How about I soak out the soreness tomorrow?" he offered with a shy grin.
Dean growled, pulling him closer. "I can definitely see that." He took him up to shower with him. He and Xander got to scrub each other all they wanted. It was good, soapy groping that was going to lead better places. He brought Xander back to the bedroom once they were dried off, laying him down. "How would you like to have it this time? Your choice."
"How do you usually take your girls?" he teased back, pulling him down to kiss him.
"Hard, fast, and half and half from behind or on top."
"Hmm. Whatever happens does, Dean. I don't need to plan this like an assault on my tight ass." Dean laughed, making Xander tickle him. Dean shrieked. Xander pounced, making Dean groan and play back. It was good to roll around, tease Xander, and all that. He finally got to the groping part again and Dean nearly moaned in pain from the teasing he was doing. "Are we doing this stuff tonight?"
"Oh, yeah." Xander leaned down to tease him. "Let me, Xander. That way I can prep you now too. So we don't have to be anxious later." He moved to get the lube and condom he had found, going to tease him with a pretty decent blow job while he fingered him open. Xander was relaxed so two fingers slid in pretty easily. "Never done this before?"
"Nope." He shifted, spreading his thighs further. Dean gave him a grin and went back to it, nearly making his eyes cross when he went down on him. "Oh, goddess, that's good, Dean."
"I aim to please," he quipped.
"I'm sure your gun down there will be very well aimed." Xander moaned and wiggled. "More, Dean? Please?" Dean swallowed him again and switched up to three fingers, making Xander hiss but it was still good. He found his prostate again and went back to teasing it with his fingertips while he opened him better. Finally he was done and Xander was panting and wiggling. Dean slid up to kiss him. "Want me now or later?" he asked quietly.
"Crawl in. Please crawl in, Dean."
"I like how you moan my name." He slid in slowly, keeping Xander's hips still. The boy naturally wrapped his legs around him so it was easier on him. He settled himself in, letting Xander have a few seconds to adjust to him. "There. That's in." Xander flipped him over to ride him for a bit. Which he liked. It was good to let him do all the work. When he wanted more, he flipped them back over, pinning Xander to the bed to get back to what he wanted. Xander didn't seem to mind, he was making more begging noises. Dean was really starting to like how noisy he was. He heard a door slam and groaned but kept going. If it was their resident ghost, he could blush and float off. If it was a relative, they'd go to their room or go visit the baby first. If it was a problem, he'd kill them. Repeatedly. He kept going until Xander swore and came, then Dean let himself slide over the edge, groaning as he released into his new mate's body. Xander went limp, panting up at him. Dean kissed him. "Hey."
"Probably can't escape you now, huh?" Xander asked with a slight grin.
"Nope. That's as good as a ring to me."
"Good." Xander pulled him down. "I feel sticky and nasty."
"Let me get a cloth." He got up and grabbed his robe, heading for the bathroom. He ran into his father. "Bad timing." He went back to clean him up. "Dad's here."
Dean grinned. "It'll be fine, Xander. He won't say a thing or I'll get him with rock salt. Again." He laid down. "Did I ever tell you about the time Dad was trying to be quiet and sneak in after being off on a hunt so I shot him in the ass with rock salt?"
Xander grinned. "No, you haven't."
"Hmm. I should do that tomorrow." He let his lover cuddle in. "That's nice."
"You're comfy to sleep on."
"Go to sleep, boys," John called. "You woke the baby up."
"Bite me, she'll go back to sleep," Xander called. He looked up at Dean, who shrugged. "We'll talk to him tomorrow." He snuggled in better and fell asleep. Yeah, he was a bit sore, but it had been pretty good. That little spot Dean had hit all those times was amazing. He had happy dreams all night of doing it again.
Dean got up in the morning, walking into the kitchen once he had his robe on. His father was in there sipping coffee. "Major emergency, dad?"
"Wondering how your vacation to Cleveland went." He looked at his son. "Did he swear at me?"
"He said to bite him, Dad. You have bad timing."
John snorted. "Not like you're trying for your own, son."
"Willow did try," he reminded him, getting a shudder. "Cleveland was all right. Sammy was pissy most of it. Xander and I showed up, let him have the baby for some visitation." Xander trudged out, getting some coffee to take down to the tub. "Want help?"
"I'm good. Sore but good." He took a kiss. "Thank you."
Dean grinned. "Like I said, I aim to please."
Xander moaned. "Later, when I'm not sore." He finished his trudge to a warm bath in deep water.
John blushed. "So I take it you two are now together?"
Dean nodded. "Yeah, we finally got down to that last night. What did Sammy tell you?"
"That Xander showed up to be pushy and show him up some with Faith."
"She said Sammy doesn't do very well on club hunts so he went on one with her while he and I did a patrol route." That got a nod. "I've gotta say, I don't think Sammy can flaunt it on the floor to entice the vamps into biting him, Dad. He's too uptight. And he took his bitchy mood out on Izzy the whole time. He pouted and didn't want to hold her all that often."
"He's sorry about that. He said to tell you. He said he's feeling like Xander's replacement part."
"No, if he was, Faith would pick on him more than she does."
"Good point. I got him straightened out with the fact that Faith needed someone who could do more research, which the boy isn't known for. He's not the same sort of hunter. Xander had to learn a lot more on his own and in a lot of different ways, mostly by stumbling into it. Also, that Chris had liked his injection shooting gun and Sammy didn't have the tinkering thing that you do."
"True. I like that gun too. Chris took it to test but he sent it back."
"I'd like to see it in action, son."
"We can do that later, Dad." That got a nod. "He used it on a succuba while I listened to you complain and JD got to hide from the demon by holding Izzy. Speaking of, where is she?"
"Still asleep I guess." They went to look. She wasn't in her room. "Crap. Izzy?" he called.
"She's outside," Xander called from downstairs. "I saw her underneath the squirrel nest when I got up."
"You let her?" John asked.
"Not like she's going to get hurt, John. There's no mines close to the house and she knows she can't wander. Plus it's too cold and she doesn't have on socks. She'll come beg for socks soon. She likes Dean to put on her socks for her."
"Fine." He'd complain about that later.
"We did make sure the acre around the house is safe, Dad." He walked out onto the porch. "Isabelle Belladonna Harris, get your ass inside now. You know better than to be outside without waking us up." She squealed, bounced, and pointed. He looked. "They're nice squirrels but you still should've told us. We would've gotten you dressed." She walked up, stepping on her pants legs so her feet weren't so cold. "Inside." She ran inside. He walked in shaking his head. "Bath time so we can get dressed." She squealed and ran that way to take a bath so she could get socks on. That way she could go back outside.
"You're spoiling her," John said. "She needs some rules, even at this age."
"She's got plenty and she usually listens, Dad." He went to give her a bath, then get her dressed. He made her eat breakfast, even though she did pout. Then he took her back out onto the porch. "Stay up here. You don't have shoes on." She pouted and pointed. "You can sit on the edge and watch the squirrels. They won't come down if you're right there." He sat with her, letting her have his lap so he could teach her about squirrels. He watched. "Dad, one's sick or something," he called. John came out to look then groaned. "Let's go inside to get Daddy a snack, Izzy." He carried her inside, letting John and his shotgun outside. "Muffle it, Dad."
"Fine." He put something on it to keep the shots quiet, shooting the whole nest of them in case that one was rabid. Then he got an empty box to put them into the back of his truck. He could take them into town later. Xander came out to look at him. "The squirrels were acting funny."
"Possibly. Better to be safe than sorry though."
"It is. The sheriff said there was a rabid deer a few months back." He went to call him. "It's Xander, Deputy Rich. John just got a squirrel he thought might be rabid. In the back of his truck. We're at home. Thanks." He hung up. "He'll come get them, John." He looked at his daughter. "There is a huge nest of birds out back." Dean grinned, taking her back there to teach her about birds too. She liked them, they talked back to her. Xander went out to meet the deputy. "Anything bad happen while we were gone?" he asked at the scowl.
"New sheriff. The old one fell and broke his hip so the council appointed Bill Dale."
"Do I know him?"
"The big guy who called you a gayboy."
"Ah, him." He nodded. "Let him try something." That got an evil smirk. "I'll be nice about it, but I'm not going to let myself or my family be bullied. Especially not by a half- demon."
"I'm pretty sure. Leave salt and silver laying around his desk area. See which one he reacts to." That got another evil smirk. "Izzy was still cooing over them probably. She snuck out this morning to look at them."
"That could cause problems. Two of the cult members are in town."
"There is a federal restraining order."
"I know. I'll remind him and why." He took the box to look at. "Nice shots, John. Yeah, that one's sick somehow." He put the box in his car. "Thanks. Let us know if you find more."
"Of course," Xander agreed. "That's dangerous." That got a nod and the deputy left. He looked at John. "Thank you."
"Welcome. You let her sneak out?"
"Most of the time she heads for the mud." He laughed at that. "She likes it just as much as she does snow." He went back inside to get dressed and start his day. Dean was trying to teach her to whistle at the birds so they'd talk back to her. He came out and whistled, making them shriek and fly off but land on another tree and tweet at each other. She clapped at that. "He said one was sick. We have a new sheriff." Dean looked up at him. "The one we both nearly slugged for calling me a gayboy and her gayboy spawn. Of course, I'm pretty sure he's a half demon." Dean snickered. "So we'll see." He beamed. "I don't let people pick on my family. Also, the alarm starts going on. We have *two* cult members in town now." He went inside to make some food for himself. "Anyone not eaten yet?"
"I could use some toast to share with her," Dean offered. Xander tossed out a bag of stale bread, letting him spread it around for the birds. That brought them closer for her to coo at. Kyle's ghost appeared sitting next to them, watching them feed too. "Any other sick ones?" he asked quietly.
"Just that new sheriff; the naiad got the little thing that was sick and bit the squirrel. I had her drown it and put a tag on it." That got a nod. "He's a good boy." He looked at Dean. "You'll treat him right?"
"Of course. You know how Winchesters are about family."
Kyle nodded. "Good." He grinned. "Boy might as well be my kid some days." He winked at Izzy and faded out. He went to lurk and watch the new sheriff. Moving something near him made him flinch and glare around. He laughed, fading into view. "What's wrong, Bill?"
"You," he sneered. "You and all those other hunters...."
"Xander only takes out those that're hurting others. He's that way from the start. You picked on his family and let two of the cult members into town. Remember what he did to them when they tried to take his daughter?" That got a moan from a person walking in. "Hey, Gladys."
"Kyle, how's the compound?"
"Good. That boy might as well be my heir some days. The little one's feeding the birds. Oh, tell the deputy that I had one of the naiads drown the other rabid thing I found. Don't want it near the baby."
"She special?" Gladys asked.
"Not a bit, just adorable."
"Very." She smiled. "Sheriff, those two strange people are setting up t-shirts of that adorable little one."
"They're from her cult," Kyle told her.
The deputy walked in. "Hey, Kyle. Any other rabid things?"
"I had a naiad drown it. Got a black ribbon on its neck."
"Good. Anything else?"
"Those two cult members are setting up t-shirts to Izzy," Gladys told him.
"Aw, crap. There's a federal restraining order from them getting near them."
"Remember what the boy did to them in Sunnydale when they tried to take her?" Kyle asked. "It was really pretty from what Dean and Tara told me. Pulled the whole front of their church off to walk in there and get her back." Both officers shuddered. "Restraining order, guys. Really."
"I'll try to keep them apart, even if I don't know what a boy like him would do beyond cry," the sheriff said.
Kyle put something on the desk. "The ATF liked his plans to keep the cult away from his girl. Keeps him in deer meat during the winter too. The brownies even used some when the last attack happened." He smirked. "He's *my* heir, Bill Dale. If he was my son I'd be heaven blessed."
The sheriff moaned. "Those ATF agents left some?"
"No, they let him put up new ones around the fence. We have a way to shut them off, the safe passage map, and he's pretty good about keeping us out of trouble with them," the deputy said dryly. "With the cult to her, the idiots who want him because he used to hunt in Sunnydale and now around here, and the ones who want her other side of the family for the same sort of things? They said it'd be reasonable for a few more years."
"That's illegal!" he complained.
"The agents said it's not," the deputy pointed out. "So did the mayor, who didn't want those sort of things to come here but he knew the boy would keep it quiet and out there. Frankly, Kyle's old place is probably the safest place for Izzy. Even if her uncle is her stepdaddy."
Kyle laughed. "Sammy didn't step up so Dean did. Family is everything to most Winchesters."
That got a nod. "I can see how that goes."
"That redhead who created that snowstorm wanted him to have one for Dean," Kyle offered. "Primed the spell again." Bill moaned at that. "Yeah, she did it to him with Izzy. That's why they consider her a saint."
The sheriff shuddered. "I don't like him."
"You'd like him more when he's off raiding nests?" the deputy asked. "He does pretty good doing that in LA now and then. Found a huge bomb under East LA from what I heard of his last trip. Did he raid in Cleveland?"
"Cleveland's too new to have many nests yet."
"Pity. He could use some more toys to keep him from pouting over what Larabee and his boys confiscated from your stash, Kyle."
"Boy kept most of it hidden for me. Handed over the stuff that was broken and things." Gladys moaned at that. He grinned. "He's good at it. He handled the end of the world a few times with his former team. Now one's being punished. One's dead and sealed the Sunnydale hellmouth with her body and soul. One's helping in Cleveland." That got a whine of noise. "Sammy's there too helping Faith."
"That's good to know. Any other happy news?"
"She has a new tiara since her last one got broken. Loves it just as much." She smiled, leaving to go watch those cult members. He looked at the sheriff. "No one said you had to take it, Bill."
"Someone needs to protect this town. That boy will hurt someone someday."
"Only if they come for his daughter," the deputy offered with a grin. "He's a nice, sweet boy otherwise. Blushing some at Dean earlier."
"They had a good night," Kyle told him. "Consummated things." That got a laugh and a nod. "Boy should still be sitting funny with what I heard." He faded out, going to talk to the mayor. He found him watching the two cult members with his sister. "They'll be a problem," he agreed. The mayor flinched. "They will be."
"There's a restraining order."
"I know that. They still took over a town so they could make it a shrine to her. No one says nuts are always wise and use sense."
"Good point. The boy's fence?"
"Mostly still guarded. A few were used for deer, the attack that the brownies stopped, those things."
"Have him replant them," the mayor said quietly.
"Your sheriff don't like that."
"He can leap," the mayor said, looking at Kyle. "Go have him replant today or this week."
"I can do that." He went back to the house. "Boys, those cult members are screwed in the head. They're making t-shirts to her."
"They're screwed if they try for her again," Xander told him.
"The mayor said to replant what went boom."
"I can do that." He grinned. "I have to give Chris new maps and find any that we missed anyway." He went to use the spell he had Tara prepare for him. It mapped the entire surface of the compound for him, including all the mines and guns hidden in the ground. It left the house alone. He smiled, marking all the dots that appeared so they were there permanently. Then he let Dean see. Dean pointed. "I know. That was one of the deer. We need to fax this to Chris for his approval."
"Buck's out of town on a case this week," John said. "Send it email to them."
"I can do that." He went to scan it in and email it to JD's email. He was their computer guy so he could get it almost immediately. Plus he had marked where he had to replace things and that the mayor and told him to, plus why. They'd see soon enough. Then Xander went back to his bath. He was still a bit sore. Dean gave his dad a smug look, getting a head shake back for the smugness. Like Dean was the first guy to make his new spouse sore.
JD opened his email, looking over at Chris. "Email from Xander. The mayor said he needs to replace some of those." Chris leaned over to look. "The cult members in town are making t-shirts and other trinkets to her again."
"Hell." He took the printed off map. "How did he do this?"
"No idea," JD said. "That shows we missed a few."
Chris nodded. "Apparently we did." He went over the proposed dots. "That'll take one of the safe paths from the west fence."
"You can still get through here," JD said with a point. "That's a good ten foot area and then dodge a bit I guess."
Chris nodded. "Probably could. Not the route I'd want." He studied it. "We have to go remove those other mines soon and check on that cult."
The agents working with them gave them an odd look. "Mines like landmines?"
Chris looked up. "One of the hunters from Sunnydale took over the former compound of another hunter. The old hunter had left some mines laying around so we went up to remove them. Since his nineteen-month-old daughter has a cult to her, he's got things that want him, and the other side of her family has things that want them, we gave him permission to lay a few of the booby trap variety around the fence only as long as we got the safe path and had a way to turn them off if we needed to."
"Who is this person?" that agent demanded.
"Harris, from Sunnydale." He typed that into the database, finding the order to let him have weapons. Chris looked. "Huh, the head of the FBI agreed to let him keep them. Nice of him for a change." He went back to studying it. "Any other news?"
"Nope. Nothing too personal since this is a work addy," JD told him.
Chris nodded. "She's an adorable little princess in the making." JD pulled out a picture to show them.
The agent smiled. "She is cute."
"That's why there's a cult to her," JD said dryly.
"That and how her daddy had her," Chris agreed. He handed it back. "Write back, tell him that looks fine but I'm worried about the west wall's safe path. One per wall." That got a nod and JD did that for him. Xander amended and he nodded. "That works but I want an inventory list of whatever he confiscated in Cleveland from the nests."
"I added that the last email to ask him if he had went raiding. He said he didn't find any good ones to raid but he'd be in LA early next month for Cordelia's funeral," he said quietly.
"Damn. Poor kid. First Buffy and then his ex. Thankfully not one Ez dated," he decided.
"She was nice and human," JD told him.
"Really? Doesn't seem his type."
"Well, nice is relative. She was mean and snarky he said."
"That's his type," Chris agreed dryly.
The agent looked confused. "Buffy?"
"Summers," Chris prompted. That got typed in and he got a fuller profile going that way. Chris read. "That's wrong. She finished dying to seal Sunnydale." He fixed that. "And the boy wasn't a tag-along. He's damn good at what he can do. He saved us a few problems." JD nodded then shuddered. "Angel's group in LA seems to like him to help. Cleveland's too dangerous from what he said last time we talked."
The agents stared at him. "That's not possible."
"Darlene?" JD called. She faded into view. "These nice agents don't believe in Xander and them. Can you get Anya to give them a primer since she knew him so well?"
She smiled. "You're so cute when you try to be evil, JD, because you're too good of a good boy to ever pull it off." She pinched him on the cheek. "I can do that. Ahn's been bored." She faded out again to let her girlfriend know that they needed the help.
She showed up to tell the agents *all* about the group and Xander. And Ezra since they had dated him too. By the end of the time, the agents put in a 'leave him alone' order on Xander's file. No one wanted to go near that boy anymore. He might turn them into begging, sex starved stalkers too. Maybe that's why Larabee's team was in such a good mood and how he had talked them into leaving him real weapons?
Two days later, Xander walked into the Sheriff's office with a carried person, dropping the sobbing lump of human on the floor in front of the desk. He walked out and dragged in the other two, putting them down too. "I'm not happy." He walked off again, going to get the brownies more cream and Dean more cookies to share with their daughter.
The sheriff looked at the tied up people. "What did you three do to piss him off?" he asked patiently.
"We only wanted to protect the baby from the abnormal things that go on out there," one wailed. "I'll even turn him in if I have to. My boss won't mind."
"Your boss is a full blooded demon, child. He'll mind and swear if he has to go near a hunter about their kids. Not that he'd find anything." He scowled because he had checked on the boy's background and records. "What else did you do?"
"They hug and pat her. She's a saint, she shouldn't be profaned by human's hands," another one sobbed. "Please don't let him do it anymore! It's wrong!"
He walked out to the sidewalk. "Harris!" he bellowed. A few of the towns people gave him odd looks but Xander came out of the hardware store. "You're doing what?"
"They think touching her to give her a bath, give her a hug, change her diaper, those normal parent things, are profaning her specialness, Sheriff. That's one of the reasons some of them tried to invade the LA FBI office to get her."
Xander gave him an odd look. "I beat the shit out of the last person I saw who touched their kids. Hell no!"
"Good to know. Here?"
"Across the county line. The old Sheriff mentioned he was a pedophile when I spotted him in town watching a kid. He tried to snatch another one and I got the kid back. He went to the prison sobbing in misery for his broken ribs and hands." He crossed his arms over his chest. "Any other questions?"
"One's a social worker who threatened to call her boss on you for doing normal parent things."
"Let her try," he said dryly. "They're not going to find anything. They'll probably say she's adorable too. Because the last one that got called because I'm a single *father* didn't find anything either. That was gender bias though."
"I heard about that." He looked back inside then at him. "Are they going to be able to press charges?"
"John found 'em, not me. I was still asleep when they broke into the house. Him beating the fuck out of them woke me up," he said honestly.
"Good to know." He smirked. "Want the ropes back?"
"If you wouldn't mind. Or I can buy more. This isn't the first one I've brought in to drop off. Oh, can you tell the Mc...whatever his name is up the road from me, to not go tease the naiads? It's not nice and the little bully's a pain in the ass."
"I can do that. Ever think about getting a dog?"
"Yeah but we should wait until Izzy's a bit older and we'd have to worry about trips to visit relatives and things. Speaking of, we'll be in LA next weekend."
"I'll mark it on the calendar to have someone drive that way to check your gate." Xander grinned and went back into the hardware store. He walked back into his office. "He said there was another social worker there and she found nothing. Just gender bias for being a male raising a kid alone." He sat down. "Deputy?" he called. He came out of the back. "Give Harris back his ropes after you read them their rights?"
"Sure, Sheriff." He hauled them up to log them into the system and then give Xander back his ropes. By then he was at the grocery store getting stuff. "Cream?"
"The brownies who live near me like it."
"That's good." He smiled. "That little brat?"
"Was picking on the nature creatures again," he sighed, shaking his head. "One of these days they're going to hurt the kid for it."
"I'm sure his parents will beat him to death for it this time." He handed over the rope. "Thanks. Any others?"
"Any other cult members in town yet?"
"Not yet. If there are, we'll warn you."
"They tried to take over Sunnydale to make her a perfect place for her shrine," he warned. "That was why I moved here after helping take them out."
"I'll tell the sheriff that," he agreed, going to do that. He looked it up online first then handed over the articles.
"Wonderful," he said dryly.
"And more may be coming."
"Do we have a list of them?" The deputy found it and handed it over. "Thank you. Be sure to check Harris' gate for him while he's gone?"
"Of course. If Winchester isn't guarding the house for him."
Kyle floated in with a sigh. "That stupid little boy nearly drowned this time." They stared at him. "The naiads got tired of him and tried to drown him. His mother showed up looking for him and caught them. She got him free, yelling at them that Harris was going to take them out. One of the brownies told her what he'd been doing so she tried to drown him instead. I broke 'em up but he's in pretty bad shape right now."
"I'll get the boy to the ambulance," the deputy agreed. "Right behind the back gate?"
"John's got him and heading to the front one. The mother's probably wailing on herself or going to tell her husband." He faded out, going to find Xander and tell him. He gave him an odd look. "He did it again but his mother tried to stop him from doing it for good."
"Nearly. John's getting him to the ambulance." That got a nod and a grimace. "You tried to warn him. She found them trying to drown him and complained. The brownies told her what he was doing and she nearly drowned him instead."
"Charming. I'll be back in a few minutes." That got a nod and Xander finished his shopping, heading out to the truck once he had paid. He headed right home, getting there about when the ambulance did. He looked at the mother. "Even if he's a little prick, you still can't kill him. If you do, your kid turns out just like me." She shuddered, edging away from him. "Got it?" She nodded. "Good!" He hauled her out, handing her to the deputy since he was done helping the boy into the ambulance. The boy was really heavy and a little brat. "They should've named him Dudley," he complained quietly, making the deputy crack a smile. "Remind the father I'm the poster child for why you don't try to kill your kid."
"I can do that, Harris. Any other good news?"
"Only if the judge didn't give those three earlier bail."
"He's not up yet." He dragged her off, taking her to the jail to check her in too. "Sheriff, might want to call the judge and tell him he's got a busy afternoon. Fair warning and all that."
He called. "Phil, Bill Dale. No, not a meeting, fair warning. We've got four here waiting on you. One that tried to drown her son behind the Harris place. Three that tried to break in and got John Winchester up their noses for it. The boy carried them in sobbing and begging. Yeah, the McMurphy kid. Again."
"Xander said they should've named the kid Dudley like the kid in the Harry Potter books," the deputy said from his desk.
"He is heavy set and a bully," he agreed. He smiled. "That's what he said, yeah. They're here waiting on you to get in for the day. The deputy figured you'd want a warning, sir. Thank you." He hung up and leaned back to look at them. "It's the judge's day off but he'll try to get at least one of you this morning and then he'll do the rest tomorrow right before lunch," he called. He went back to his forms for the mayor, handing them over when the man himself stomped in. "Which one are you pissed about?"
"Three of them broke into the Harris house?"
"He said John got 'em. He was still in bed. The beating woke him up."
"Damn it. We'd like this town to be safe."
"They're her cult," the deputy said, giving him a look. The mayor snorted. "They are. And the McMurphy mom too, sir."
"Tried to drown her son when she heard he was being a bully to the creatures that live by Harris."
"Even worse. Is Harris going to go hunting soon?"
"LA for a friend's funeral," the deputy said quietly.
"Thank you. It might calm it down." That got a nod and he went to talk to the greater gossips in town so they could find out if there were more cult members around here. He didn't like them. He liked that little girl too much to have such weird things like cults around her.
Xander came out of the Hyperion the day after Cordelia's funeral and memorial service to find a familiar face waiting on him. "I know LA is outside your jurisdiction," he said dryly.
Buck nodded. "Slightly but we're in town on a case, kid." He stood up, walking over. "You okay?"
"I'm fine. She went out still being stubborn." That got a nod. "What's wrong?"
"Six nests." He groaned. "Gunn's people told Epps about them and no one's had any time to look."
Xander walked back inside. "You couldn't just leave me a list?" he asked Gunn, getting a confused look. "Nests your guys turned into Epps?"
"One of my boys did that," he admitted, looking at Buck. "New to the LA office?"
"Actually, I'm one of the ATF agents who keeps taking Xander's toys."
Izzy pouted at him when she heard his voice. "No EzEz?"
"Not this time, princess." She gave him the most pitiful look. "If I could've brought him, I would've, but he's busy right now. He has to tell a judge why someone was a bad guy."
Xander looked at her. "Disarm the pout, Isabelle. You don't need to wrap him more around your finger. He can't take you home with him."
"Chris said the next time you two are in Denver, he's going to show her what a horse is."
"Gee, thanks. Then I'll get begged for one of those like I do squirrels and birds," Xander complained, but he was smiling, getting one back from Buck. "Gunn, can we go over the list?" He nodded when Buck pulled it out. "Did Don call you guys?"
"Yup. One's a major demonic weapons dealer."
"Oh, charming!" Gunn said, taking the list to look at. "Yeah, Hobla's on here."
Xander looked at him. "They didn't beat him enough?"
"He started to sell good, working stuff again," he admitted, handing the list over. "Need directions?"
"And a sitter apparently."
"We can do that," Gunn said.
Xander looked at his daughter then at him. "Don't feed her anything I can't cook at home? I'm only passable on beams, mexican food, and all that stuff."
"I can't swear but I'll see what Nana Richards is making." That got a grin and Xander went to raid their armory so he could go take out the demonic arms dealer for the local team. One less they had to do.
Angel came out of the back area. "Why was Harris in the armory?"
"My boys turned some weapons dealers into Epps. They called a hunter in the ATF because he's nearly in the middle of nowhere on a case." That got a slow nod. "The hunter guy came to Xander because he seems to like to raid nests. I promised not to let anyone feed the baby stuff he can't cook at home for her."
"That's fine. I guess. As long as she isn't following me around like a secret service agent again with her bear." He walked off shaking his head.
"Bobo?" she called after him. "Pwease?"
"Bobo? Bottle?" Gunn asked. She pouted and pointed at a magazine. "Oh, a book! Yeah, I can read to you. Angel might too if he's less cranky later." He sat down with her to read to her. "Does daddy let people sit you often?"
"Care," she said, smiling at him. "Hair."
"Oh, I know this one," Wesley said. "Now and then when they have to hunt in town or need to spray for bugs, something she can't be around, they send her to the town's daycare. There's a set of twin blonde girls there that she knots the hair of dreadfully. Have you been back since Xander ran off the nasty people who told you bad things?" he asked her.
"Huh?" Gunn asked.
"Some fundamentalists were trying to recruit early by telling her how much she'd enjoy her early marriage and childbirth. They wisely hid from Xander in the closet when he overheard them. The sheriff and the pastor said it was very wise and their group wisely moved on as well." He smiled. "The sheriff called them extremely dumb from what I was told by Dean."
"Yeah, that sounds like Harris. He is one of the most overprotective parents." He shook his head quickly, setting in to read to her. He had no idea an article wouldn't be enough and she'd want the whole magazine. Fortunately, Dawn came in and saved him. "Hey, short stuff."
"There's my future scary girl," she cooed, picking her up to hug.
"Bobo," she said with a point.
"I can read you all the fashion articles you want, princess." The girl beamed at her. "We'll help you figure out what colors are good colors before your daddy's shirts make you look bad." She took the magazine to read to her. "Your boys turn in more nests to Xander?"
"To Epps, who gave it to an ATF agent, who got Xander," he admitted. "Shouldn't be too long. Only six single demon nests." That got a nod. "Mostly light reactive too. He took a UV light."
"I do love those things," she said, going back to reading. "By the way, the scary minion vamp that broke into mom's basement? Squeaked in fear when it saw me and then begged for mercy until I lit it up because it was trying to bite while begging."
"Good girl, Dawn," Wesley praised. He walked off, letting her teach the baby girlish things. She would be quite the woman some day.
Dawn looked up at Gunn. "Xander asked mom if teaching her enough self defense to make her scary was wrong. That way no boys would hit on her."
Gunn walked off cackling at that while the baby poked and chanted 'bobo' until she went back to reading. "Yeah, she's going to be a scary girl sort." Wesley gave him an odd look. "Xander apparently wanted to teach her enough self defense to scare off the boys later."
"I fear it may not work with how pretty she'll be. But there is hope he won't be a grandfather in the next two decades."
"Or three. Because he's too young to be Grandpa Xander and warp the next generation," Dawn called over. Wesley and Gunn both cackled at that. Dawn went back to reading at the gentle pokes she was getting. "You're demanding today," she said. "That's a good strong woman trait. Just like my mommy is." She turned the page then again. "That's an ad for stuff you don't need yet." She nodded and got to a picture, describing it for the girl. That made her happy enough.
Chris looked up as Buck and Xander came off the elevator. "Done with LA again?"
"Yeah. It was okay but one of the nests was from a pack rat demon. I swear not even those people with that hoarding disease can pack a nest as full as that one did." He flopped down. "Buck has stuff for you to go swear at."
"Didn't drop it at LA's office?" Chris asked him.
"They had an agent eaten by a demon last week and they've now decided they don't want to know but they want a single agent who can work with the hunting stuff if they have to. Offered me a job until I said I was on your team." He smirked, getting an evil one back. "They offered Xander a job too if he'd go to college."
"I can see him doing that but he'd have to calm down." Xander shrugged at that. "Is Izzy with you?"
"Napping in the car," he said, holding up the walkie talkie. The other end was jammed open so he could hear if she was having problems. "I told the guard I'd be right back down after I gave you the inventory." He handed it over. "All yours, Chris."
"Want to show her horses?"
"She'll beg. You know she'll beg. She'll beg more than she does when she sees Ezra to get him to read to her."
Chris gave him the meanest smug look he could. "I know."
"Bastard," he muttered, walking off shaking his head. "Dean's making dinner if we make it home in time."
"Sure, kid. Thanks for the help."
"Always happy to grope weapons for my own pleasure and to let you swear. Buck, don't forget that stuff if it's not stolen?"
"Of course. That way she's got more pretty stuff to coo over." He waved a hand and Xander jogged off, heading back down to his car. The guard was cooing at the cuteness so that was fine with Xander. He thanked him and got in to go home. It was only a few hours of driving away. He'd make it by a really late midnight dinner. He even called Dean to tell him he was on his way home. Buck looked around. "He wasn't joking. That one packrat hoarding demon? Its nest was cubicle sized and it was bigger than me. I have no idea where it slept." That got a groan. But the others did follow him down to the truck he had taken from the office out there. Chris opened the back and did indeed swear.
"I do believe our erstwhile companion did judge his reaction quite well," Ezra said. He looked around. "Though I do miss being begged to open her fragile little mind. I should send her more books from the classics."
"Chris did say we could train her to take out spot," Buck said with a grin.
"I'm sure she'll do splendidly," Ezra agreed. "Once we make her quit bouncing like her father." They all laughed at that image. "What shiny things did he find this time?"
"They're in the front in the box." Ezra went to look and nearly moaned in pleasure. "Same hoarder thing." He looked at Chris. "Should we let another team log it in?"
"And have them try to figure out Harris?" Chris shot back. "Probably not going to happen, Buck."
"I'll get my laptop with the forms on it," JD said, jogging back inside.
"Drive it to the log-in area," Chris ordered. "We'll meet you there with coffee." They went to get something to keep them awake while logging in weapons and joined him down in the secure part of the garage. Their boss came down. "Buck got Harris to raid those nests the LA office called him about."
"That's nice of him. Wasn't he there for a funeral?"
Chris nodded. "I asked him the next day," Buck admitted. "He said he'd do it."
"As long as we didn't force him to. Anything we're not destroying?" Ezra held up the box. "Oh, dear lord," he muttered.
"A hoarding sort," Buck told him. "Mate to the one dealing most of the weapons. They had to be magic to get that much crap in a space this size," he told him. "And still sleep in there."
"I can see that. If they're not stolen?"
"His daughter gets more crown jewels for her kingdom," Vin said with a grin.
"I offered to show her a horse but her father thinks he'd have to put up with horsenapping or begging," Chris said smugly.
"Ezra didn't even have to read to her this time," Buck agreed. JD came off the elevator. "Problems?"
"The team up the hall from us wanted to know what was going on since we don't have a new case from what they've heard." He climbed into the truck. "Vin, come help me shift this first one out."
"Let me get you some grunts to heft and tote," AD Travis said, calling upstairs to do that. If anyone asked, he'd tell them about Harris and let them have this sort of headache too. "Did we straighten out the LA office?"
"They don't want to know," Buck said. "They had one eaten by a demon. They're looking for someone who can hunt to join there so the rest don't have to hear about it. They offered me a job until they heard I work for Chris."
"I'll get you later," Chris muttered.
Vin grinned. "I got the same offer from one of the offices in Texas until they heard I worked here," he agreed. "Apparently they think you're still scary. Even if Harris and his daughter do giggle when you scowl."
"With what he's seen and done, that's almost a relief," Travis said, walking off to tell the rookie agents what to do. "Unload the truck, help log things in." They nodded and got to work helping JD while the others did the more fussy checking to see if they needed disarmed, if anything was critical to be destroyed right away, and if anything could possibly blow up Denver if it was accidentally dropped. Travis looked at something that was held up. "Are the little globes biological?"
Buck leaned down to look. "Kinda. They're eggs and they can possess you." Chris put it back and shut that case, putting a biohazard sticker on it. The rookies took it off to the special safe just in case. Buck grinned. "You sure? I'm sure the young'nes are perfectly nice."
"I'm going to shoot you soon, Buck."
"Aww, shucks," he said with a wicked smirk. "Why?"
"Because you're an ass," he shot back. "Maybe Rosenburg will make you one some day so you can be Izzy's pet?"
"He'd have me turned back. He likes me." He patted JD on the back. "We'd have to watch this one though."
JD looked at him. "Please don't have me turned into an animal, Buck? I'll be neater around the apartment."
"Sure, you can do dishes and laundry tonight. Thanks, kid."
"It's mean to make him wash your sweaty drawers," Vin drawled with a smirk of his own.
"Not like I like it," JD complained. He went back to working on the weapons. "Um, guys, I don't think this one is biological." He held up a pretty blue stone. "Is it?"
Ezra took it to look at since he was handling the jewelry. "No, that's not a biological weapon by any means." He took that case to count and notate too. He was better with that stuff than the others. Their adopted princessly niece was going to have quite the crown jewels when she got old enough to wear them.
Xander put Izzy into bed then went to flop into his. Dean woke up with a snuffle. "We're back."
"How was LA?"
"Not bad. The memorial was nice. Tasteful. I almost thought she had preplanned but they did a good job," he said quietly. Dean nodded at that. "Ran into Buck since Epps had the local office call him because he was out of town on a case when Gunn's boys turned some nests in."
Dean blinked at him. "You went hunting?"
"I went nest robbing but Buck was with me."
"One tried really hard to scare me. Kinda worked." That got a nod and a physical look over. "Izzy's going to want the pretties we found in one hoarder demon's stuff."
Dean blinked, staring at him. "Excuse me?"
Xander nodded. "Underground currency, Dean."
"Yeah, but Chris is checking to make sure they're not stolen. Like he did the last batch." That got a nod but a displeased look. "It'll be fine. We can use it for emergency funds if we have to run to Mexico to get away from things. Like Willow or your dad." Dean smirked a bit, pulling him closer. "I didn't let Izzy visit when we dropped off the large U-Haul of weapons since Chris wanted to introduce her to horses and then we'd have to listen to her beg for *weeks* for one of her own."
"She's a good age for a small pet."
Dean looked at him. "Cats are more expensive and fussy than dogs, Xander."
"No they're not."
"Cats take litter and food. Dogs only take food and theirs is cheaper." Xander gave him an odd look. "Sammy tried to beg a few times for a dog." Xander hummed, snuggling in. "Bobby did say he'd see if he could find us one to train to protect her from boys and to help us hunt." He saw the smile. "You think she's ready?"
"Maybe by her next birthday?"
"That's a good age for a first pet," he agreed. "I'll talk to him tomorrow. It's hard to find a dog that has the temperament to be a family pet and a guard dog or to help hunt demons. Rumsfeld is a big puppy when Bobby lets him be, but he's also a huge dog."
"I saw. He was napping next to Izzy the last time I was there with her. Head on her foot in case she wiggled, staring at her like 'what the hell are you'."
Dean grinned. "He used to knock Sammy down all the time to lap him to death. We don't need something that big, right?"
"Nope. Maybe a collie sized dog?"
"I'll talk to Bobby sometime tomorrow." Xander grinned. "That way they can shoo off boys." Xander nodded faster at that. Dean grinned. "Anything else come from the trip?"
"I was good since it was mostly higher weapons and stuff I didn't need. Unless you want me to go back and get the ugly purple dayglo pleather outfits she had stored?"
"Um...no. Thanks, really. Unless they're Sammy's size?"
"Faith would make him change. She has taste."
"Good to know. She'll straighten out his sloppy ass." He took a kiss. "I left you food in the fridge."
"I'll eat it for breakfast," he said through a yawn. "I like this coming home to nice cuddles thing. It's very good for me." He drifted off on Dean's shoulder, letting Dean laugh all he wanted as he got them under the covers and arranged to sleep.
"My goofball," Dean said quietly, snuggling in better. Xander surrounded him and it was nice. It was definitely nice to come home to him after a hunt.
Dean looked at the huge presents that had been delivered with his Dad. "Are those all for Izzy?"
"Yup." He grinned. "The one in the blue paper is from the boys in Denver. The one in the truck is from Bobby and needs to be taken care of soon. The smaller ones are stuff he found in a nest?" Dean nodded he had heard that. "What did he find?"
"Oh." He handed that package over. "And there's another package from Ezra too. Probably more books on tape for her."
"Books?" she asked, popping out of nowhere it seemed at her favorite word.
"Later," Xander called. "You can open presents later, Izzy."
"Books!" she yelled back.
"Later. I got you books in a present."
She pouted but hugged her grandfather. "You books?"
"I did bring you presents," he agreed with a grin.
Dean looked in the shiny stuff, nearly gripping his chest. "Xander, where are we putting these?"
"The rest are in the crawl space in her room," Xander said, coming out of the bathroom. "There, I'm better now." He looked at his daughter. "You can have presents after dinner."
She pouted. "Now books?"
"Later books. Play with Grandpa." She took him outside to look at his truck, staring at the thing in the moving container then at him. Xander looked outside. "How big will it get?"
"Not that huge. Only half Rumsfeld's size," he offered with a grin.
"I did say you didn't want anything bigger than she was in a few years," Dean assured him, taking a kiss. "Are you all right?"
"I'm fine." Dean stared at him. "I am."
"Is this another fine that's going to get a panicked call to the local doctor?"
Dean winced. "You sure?"
"Pretty much, yeah."
"Take a test?"
"That's what I was doing. So yes, Willow's back."
"Huh. Let's hope this one isn't another lock?"
"I called Tara last night to have her check and she said it's not the same situation."
"Good!" He grinned. "So... mine?"
"Tara said you were trying too hard to have another snuggly one and it finally connected." He walked around him. "Let me finish her cake."
"Sure," he agreed, going outside. He looked at his father, who was giving him an odd look. He pointed at Izzy then looked inside. John gave him a dirty look. "Willow's better."
"It snapped fully?"
"She'll probably have a brother by her next birthday."
John moaned. "Son!"
"Tara said I worked too hard and made a connection between the two spots." John scowled. Izzy giggled. "What is the blue package?"
"I don't know but even JD was giving me smug looks when I picked it up." Dean groaned but he did come down to look at the dog. "He's a good puppy."
"He looks like it. Go inside, Izzy?" She pouted and pointed at the dog. "Inside. You can see your presents later." She went to help her father in the kitchen. Dean let the dog out so it could sniff around and water the bushes. "He's cute." It was a dark brown short hair with floppy ears and a thin tail going very fast. "Part hound?"
"Part blood hound, part basset, part Rumsfeld's last spawn," he said. He pointed at the crate. "Until later."
"We can let him have the backyard," Dean said. He took him around the house to show him the back yard and the tie out he had put up for him. "There, stay here until dinner time?" The dog lapped him when his face got close enough. "The other two will love you a lot because you're a happy dog." He walked in the back door, looking at Xander, who was staring out there. "Two parts hound, one part Rumsfeld's last pup."
"It's very cute. Any idea on names? That way we don't have a girly named dog? I don't think I could stand shouting for the dog if she named it Barbie or something."
"I don't know." He looked down then at him. "Close the back window?" he suggested quietly. Dean did that so he'd be a surprise then came to finish dinner with him.
John came in and Izzy pounced him to make him sit down and read to her. "What do you think they sent her?"
"Remember those stuffed animals that were kid sized?" Dean nodded slowly. "One of those."
"It's the right size. How much longer?" Xander grinned and held up a finger of frosting for him, getting a wicked smirk back. "Any of that going to be left?" Xander blushed but shrugged. "Try to keep some back for later," he said in his ear, going to distract his daughter. She was already in her terrible twos, though she wouldn't officially turn two until later that night. When Xander finally called dinner, they came in to eat, taking pictures of her birthday party for the others who couldn't be there. Sammy especially since he was laid up with a set of broken ribs and a collarbone. Bobby too. When she had squealed and blown out the candles on her cake, Dean went to get the presents for her. He saved the dog for last. It'd be hyper so it needed to be last. She squealed at each new present. The huge one was an animatronic horse that let her ride it around. It was already named. Dean looked at the tag. "Chaucer. Isn't that Ezra's horse?"
John nodded. "I think so." He helped her up onto it, letting it roll around with her. "Ready for your last present?" he asked. She cooed and petted the horse. Dean went out back to get the dog, bringing it in. "You have to learn to be gentle, Izzy. This is a present too."
She stared at the dog. Then she looked at her father. "Mine?"
"All of ours." She squealed loud enough to be heard in Denver, getting off the horse to hug the dog. "Aww."
"Very," Dean agreed, taking pictures. "Figure out a name yet?" he muttered.
Dean gave him an odd look. "Like the paper or the semi-talented people on the radio?"
"That's not bad. Izzy, want to name him Candle?"
She looked at him. "Shotgun!"
"Okay, he can be named Shotgun," Xander agreed. "Do you like that?" It sniffed him and lapped him too, jumping up on him. "Good boy, Shotgun." He pulled her up too, letting her be lapped clean. "You still need a bath tonight." She pouted. "He can sleep on your bed." She beamed and walked her horse that way with the dog's help. He groaned, shaking his head. "No more animals?"
"No, no more animals," Dean promised. "No more." John laughed. "What?"
"I think you've got enough creatures around here and the new baby won't be any better." He stood up, going to get Izzy ready for bed. She was showing the dog and horse the tub as it filled. He reached in to flip the drain switch for her. "Get naked so you can get clean." She did that and wiggled into the water. Somehow she managed to tip over the bubble bath so she had bubbles. And then the puppy decided he needed a bath so he jumped in. "No," he moaned.
Dean walked in. "Could use the camera," he called. Xander came in to take a picture of the horse being close enough to drink from the bubbles, the bubble covered dog that was bouncing around and her helping him. That got a video taken too and then he went to mail it to the others. "Can I put the horse in the bedroom for you, Izzy?"
"Chaucy thirsty," she said in a near whine. "My pony!"
"I know but we can put a water dish in your bedroom since bubbles aren't good for dogs or horses to drink." She pouted. "That way the horse can drink clean water." He went to get one to show her. It usually worked better that way. He put it in and walked the horse in there since the thing weighed a ton when he tried to pick it up. "Now, let's get Shotgun out of the tub so we can dry him off and get you clean?" She hugged the dog around the neck.
"One," Xander called. "Two...." The dog got out of the tub and headed to shake off in the hallway. "Thank you. You guys can play under the garden hose tomorrow." She squealed at that. He got the dog dried off and showed him where to nap, including where the food he put down was. Then he emailed the video of Dean talking her into moving the horse from the bathroom to JD. He'd appreciate that and it sounded like they were having a crappy week. Ezra was still picking up women he would've dated. JD had some succuba after him now because he was so innocent, and Chris had a cold so he was a surly bastard. But hey, it was family for them. They'd put up with each other -- or club Chris over the head until he was better.
Xander waddled into the bedroom they had set up as a surgical suite, looking at the doctor who had delivered his last one. "Hey, Doc."
"Xander. How are you feeling?"
"Fat and anxious. We have to get this done before Izzy comes back from the movies."
"I can try. You'll still be out."
"Yes I will," Xander agreed dryly. "But this time I've got Bobby and Dean here while Grandpa takes care of her." He laughed. "Okay, let me get down on the bed. Then you can do your worst."
"Boy, girl? Do we know?"
"Boy. Mark Jonathan. Dean said so and his father's still scowling about it. I wanted to honor Bobby but he said no faster."
"That's fine then." He drew out the medicine he'd need, putting the boy under. "There we go." He went to scrub up and came back to do the surgery. He looked at him. "Well, you're a fussy kid," he said at the first scream nearly as soon as he got him out. "That's a good thing though. Means even your sister will leave you alone sometimes. Come hold him so I can cut the cord."
Dean came in to do that, staring at his son. "Hey, Mark. Welcome to the family." He let the doctor cut the cord and walked him off to bathe him. Bobby was guarding outside the room. They had worked on the wards around the house for months. He felt something tugging on his pants leg and looked down. "Hey," he said, smiling at the child brownie. "What's up?"
"Is that a baby human?"
"A newborn one. He needs a bath. You can hop up and watch." It hopped up to watch what he was doing. "There we go, Mark. No more nasty stuff from inside the daddy."
"Do all daddies have babies? Our mommies do."
"Most of ours come from mommies too but Xander has a witch that likes him an awful lot that we'd like to spank again."
"Ooooh. You probably spank harder than our clan elder."
"I don't know, have him go spank my brother Sammy and you two can compare." The child grinned.
"This is certainly an unusual birthing room," the doctor said as he walked in. "I thought last time was since it looked like it was plastered with protection marks."
"We made this time's more subtle since we had time to lay them," Dean told him.
"Not a bad idea." He took the baby to look over. "That's a good set of lungs," he said when he got yelled at. He heard the door slam. "Not yet," he called. He finished up and handed him back. "Clothes, Dean."
"I know. You'll do the paternity test?"
"Of course. Just like last time." He patted him on the back. "Congratulations. Your daughter will fuss him to death." He checked on his patient then left to run the paternity tests John had demanded he do.
Izzy ran in, stopping when she saw her father back in bed, mumbling, and Dean beside him with the baby, the dog resting on daddy's legs, and his usual shotgun across his lap below the fussy bundle of blanket. "What's that?"
"Your baby brother Mark." She came in and Bobby picked her up. "Be careful. He's more gentle than the dog." She smiled and reached down to pet her dog then looked at the baby. "His name is Mark."
"Hi, Mark!" she said loudly, waving at him. The baby fussed at her. "He need food like Miss Tabitha's baby?"
"No, he can't feed him that way. Or you when you were this little. You can get a bottle from the fridge though." She went running to do that once Bobby put her down. She came running back with it. "Izzy, look at me." She stared at him. "Daddy has a booboo where Mark came out. You have to be very careful of his stomach until it's all gone. Got it?" She nodded, giving him her best serious look but she grinned eventually. "Shotgun, lay on Xander." The dog switched to lay on the other father while the baby got his lap to help him feed the baby. "Like we showed you on the doll."
"Babies are surrounded by water," Bobby told her. "Like a really long bath."
"Oh, like my toes and fingers?" He nodded. "Cool." She kissed him. "Hi, Mark," she cooed. "I teach you how to pet Shotgun and Chaucy and all that. Then we can show you to all the uncle and aunts." He snuffled but went back to sucking on the bottle.
John walked in. "You babble like your mother, Izzy." She scowled at him. "You do."
"Daddy and aunties think it's cute," she said, then stuck her tongue out and went back to cuddling and humming to her baby brother. "Him not play?"
"Not yet. Give him a few months to do more than lay around and be held." She pouted but that meant she had all the toys to herself for a while. Xander blinked up at them. "Say hi, Daddy, Mark." He let him see him.
"Very blond," Dean agreed.
"The doctor is running the test to make sure, Xander."
Xander blinked at John. "If you make her pout and cry I'm going to kick your ass. Stoned or not." He blinked at his daughter again. "Hi. Liking the baby brother?"
"When he play I like better."
"I can understand that." He patted down her hair. "Were you wet?"
"Grandpa take me fishy."
"Ah." He nodded, letting himself drift off petting her and the dog. Shotgun barked at Kyle when he appeared but that didn't quite wake him up.
Kyle looked down at the baby. "Quite a little demon spawn you've got there, Dean. He'll make one hell of a future hunter." Dean gave him an odd look. "He is. I can tell. And that Host guy said so too. He's kinda neat to hang around with."
"He's kinda weird," Dean told him.
He shrugged. "Weird is relative on this side." That got a nod of understanding. "But he said he'd end up hunting and she'd make her own future."
"We'll do what we can to make him a sane, safe hunter," Dean promised. "Or let him go work with his uncles in Denver so he hunts bad guys."
Kyle smirked. "That might be handy. Anyone take pictures?" John did and went to email them. "He's a fussy bastard, Dean, let him be."
"I am. Even if he is running a paternity test."
"He wants to make sure the witch didn't make you another brother or a nephew." Dean gave him an eyebrow quirked up look. "Nope, the blond is all on you this time."
Izzy looked up at him. "Then why am I blonde?"
"Your grandmother was," Dean told her. "If you ask Grandpa, he'll show you pictures." She went to do that since the baby was doing boring stuff by sleeping. He looked down then at Xander. "Well," he decided. "Too bad we can't make sure it doesn't happen again. Two's enough."
"Remembering diapers?" he taunted with an evil smirk before leaving.
"Yup, I am," Dean agreed. He shifted down, letting the baby lay on his stomach for now. He didn't seem to mind. John came back in. "Problems?"
"He is yours."
"I knew that," he said dryly. "Xander hasn't had another guy before or after me." John blushed. "Did you show her mom's picture?"
"I did. She's cooing at it." He smiled. "He's a strong looking boy."
"Hopefully he won't be the bully I was now and then." He looked down then at the dog. "Want to go outside?" The dog stayed there, staring at them. "What? We still love you." He petted the dog, making him happier. Xander felt it and patted him too, making the puppy much happier before he ran outside to mark some bushes. "We're going to go insane."
"Yup," John agreed. "I did with you two." He smirked. "Chris wants to know if he needs his own horse."
"Let him get to be two first. Then he can have hers."
"By then she'll want a real one, son."
"No horses. They take a lot of work."
Xander snuffled them. "Ride out to steal mates," he mumbled into Dean's arm, cuddling him.
"You already stole me, Xander. Steal Sammy and Bobby one some day soon."
"Hmm. Do that." He patted the baby, blinking at him. "Thought you were Izzy shrunk for a second." He let himself drift back off. "Nice drugs. No more babies, Dean."
"I agree. No more babies." Xander smiled in his sleep, content to be cuddled and have the baby not scream for now. Even if Izzy was whooping in the living room on her pony.
Tara appeared. "No more babies." He shook his head quickly. "He does make sure the realms won't ever come unglued." She leaned down to kiss him on the head. "So adorable too. You got that from your sister." She took him to walk him off.
"Tara, they need to bond and that stuff," Bobby said. "All the books say so."
"Hush. I'm getting him into real clothes instead of a blanket." She took him to dress and came back to fuss over them. The adorable one came in to help since she had learned how to fuss very well from her aunties and daddy. She even brought in her electronic pony to share with her baby brother. It was so cute even John cooed.
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