Xander looked up from signing something at the convention when a sudden hush went through the babble. He spotted the problem as he stood up. There went his happy, goofy, fun mood. "Clem," he said, staring at him and what was in his arms. "Why is Olivia covered in blood?" He was going to stay calm. Absolutely calm.
"There was a flash and it took everyone, Xander," he said, holding out the baby. "We have no idea what realm her parents are on."
Xander cuddled her. "Who is left? Anyone?" Clem shook his head. "All right, tell the ones left in Sunnydale, including Spike, that I have Olivia and I want info tonight. I'll call the Winchesters and Tara."
"I called Tara. She said to give you Olivia until she could get here and then they'd figure it out." He petted her. "She almost got taken by a furry mutt of a zombie."
Xander grimaced. "Eww. I think I knew him." He shrugged. "All right." He looked at her. "Diaper bag?"
"I didn't even think about grabbing it, Xander. Sorry."
Xander nodded, hugging the wrinkly demon. "You did what you could, Clem. Let me know the minute you hear anything."
"Of course." He petted the back of the baby's head with his flipper. "Such a pretty, calm little princess."
Xander smiled. "Only sometimes. You should've heard when she had colic." Clem laughed as he walked off. He looked at the staring people. "Guys, I need an hour to get her cleaned up and changed. Plus to get her some clothes. Can I do that and come back?" They all nodded. "Thanks." He grabbed his pen and soda, sticking his pen in his mouth. "One hour," he promised around the pen, smiling at them. "C'mon, precious. We'll go take a bath and get all clean," he cooed, walking off. Pooch joined him within ten feet of the table. He had been lurking. "I need clothes and diapers for her," he said once Pooch had taken the pen and put it into his shirt pocket.
"She need a doc?"
"No, she's awake and I can tell well enough, even if it was magical. Clem's a good guy." That got a nod and he peeled off for the store run. Xander got them back to the room. One of the hotel security guards brought up his phone. "Thanks, I didn't even think I left that. Can I get a crib sent up for her?" He nodded and called that in. "Thanks. I'm going to keep it very down low and out back when someone comes in, dude. I won't let it hurt the convention. I love my fans."
"Thank you, Mr. Harris," he said quietly, leaving him alone.
Xander looked at Olivia. "Hey, princess." She blinked at him. He smiled. "It's good you can sleep through nearly anything. You learned that from your mommy. She used to sleep through gym class and everything." He took her into the bathroom to bathe her, giving her the once-over for injuries. A few finger-shaped bruises on her arms. One spot where she was missing some hair on the back of her head. "Shh, let the uncle wash it, make sure it's going to be okay." Someone knocked and walked in at his yell.
"Can you grab the blue bag out of mine and hand it over? I can't leave her," he told the hotel person. He nodded, handing it over. "Thanks. Set the crib up wherever. She's not picky. I'll tip you in a few." He nodded, doing that. Xander dug out the change from his soda for lunch, tipping the kid with it. "Thanks." He dug out his special cream and put it on her scalp, earning a fuss. "I know," he soothed, giving her a hug. "But it'll make the booboo feel better. Your mommy made that stuff for me. Now Auntie Tara does." Pooch walked in with a bag from Walmart. "Thanks, man. Take it from my wallet?"
"I used your backup card." He held up a towel. "She ready?"
Xander nodded, lifting her out and undoing the drain plug while Pooch carried her out. He grabbed his medical kit and came out to look her over. He called someone. "Dean, Xander. Major 911. The LA team is now missing, transported off realms. I have Olivia. She's all that Clem said was left. Convention. LA, yeah. Tara knows. Thanks, man." He hung up. "We'll get some help soon." He petted her stomach, earning a giggle. He grinned. "I know you're ticklish." He tickled her, making her wiggle and kick but smile. "Such a good girl, Olivia. Your daddy would be so proud." He got her diapered and dressed, sitting down to cuddle her.
He snatched his phone and dialed another number. "I'm at the convention in LA. What the fuck!" he shouted. Someone babbled. "I do have Olivia. That doesn't explain things. That does," he admitted at the new babble. "Who?" He nodded once. "I'll kill the bitches. Thank you. Please. If anyone finds Daniel, especially Daniel, let me know. Thank you. Be subtle around the hotel? Decent." He hung up and looked at her. "No one is sure if your daddy is in town or not, princess." She cooed and put her head down. He kissed the top of her head, then cuddled her. "I know, it's been a long day. You had a zombie try to keep you and your mommy had a war with someone."
"She did?" Pooch asked.
"Apparently some of the coven that works with the Council decided that Willow was still a bad girl." Pooch moaned. "So they transported everyone on the team there. Now, from what I just heard it wasn't the main head of the coven, just a few younger members. The Watchers have been trying to kill Buffy for years. This is another moment of that." Pooch nodded, sitting down. "They won't come near me. The warehouse being mine means that they can't. And if they try to take it from me, it's protected. Even then they can't hurt the baby. The coven themselves protected her. Which is why she's missing some hair but nothing major." He shifted her to his other shoulder, letting her suck her favorite thumb. "I know, you're a leftie. That must come from Daddy too." He petted her hair back down. "I'm so going to kill whoever did this."
"Not your job," Pooch reminded him, pointing at the baby.
Xander looked at him. "Tara will cause an apocalypse," he said quietly. "She won't mean to. She'll just destroy them all." Xander looked at the door when someone knocked firmly. "Who is it?" he called.
Pooch got up to answer the door. "I'm his bodyguard." He let them in.
"Officer Frank," Xander said.
The guy smiled. "What happened?"
"Watchers Council convinced some of the younger, stupider members of their coven to send the whole team to another realm." That got a nod. "They protected the baby, the highest of the coven did, so she's all right. Clem, the guy who brought her to me, was in Sunnydale and was a good friend back then."
"Okay. What happened between that and when he got here? She was covered in blood?"
Xander nodded. "I got told a zombie we knew tried to claim her as his daughter to raise. That way he could take her power and make himself human again. Clem appropriately killed his ass." They nodded. "But he got her messy. Clem's not a warrior, guys. He's just a really nice guy who loves kitten poker."
"We won't bother him. Is she injured?"
"It yanked some hair. The zombie bruised her arms." He shrugged. "I've already alerted the ones who could help. Tara's on her way out. Oh, remember the dirtbag stalker?" The officer nodded with a smile. "He's in witness protection. He's already tried to get me in New York."
"Charming." He petted the baby on the head. "Such a pretty girl."
"Yeah, even if her mommy is addicted to her powers, Olivia's a good girl." He grinned. "Thank you for checking."
"Things like this we want to know. Will it cause a problem among the demons?"
"There's going to be some panicking. Some may even worry that I'm going to destroy a good bit of them. I probably won't tonight." He grinned. "Unless they start something."
"Good. Thank you." He stood up. "Let me make a report. How long are you here for?"
Pooch looked at the schedule. "We leave tomorrow afternoon for Portland."
"Crap," Xander muttered. "We're putting out the newest book that day too. So I might have to fly up and then come back." That got a nod. "By her will, Olivia comes to me or Tara anyway, Officer Frank. And you can tell any nosy social services person she'll be vanished into thin air before she goes into the system. Please?"
"I can do that. It'd protect her more."
"So would me going to blow up a few buildings in England." He smiled and grabbed his phone to call someone. "It's Xander Harris," he said in greeting. "Put your head puss sucker on please." He put it on speaker.
"Mr. Harris, who do you think...." the secretary started.
"I already know that someone in your ancient organization of idiocy had the Devon Coven relocate the whole LA team to another realm." She gasped. "I'm here in LA at the moment doing author things. Imagine my surprise when the baby is brought to me," he said dryly. "Now, imagine what'll happen when I call in all my poker credits."
"Mr. Travers did not," she told him.
"I don't give a fuck," he said bluntly. "Put him on the damn phone. Even if he's fucking someone."
"No, he's doing paperwork. Hold please." It was a semi-long hold but then a male voice came onto the phone. "Harris?"
"Yup, me, Travers. So, was it you or someone lower?"
"What happened exactly?"
"Some of the young and stupid in the Devon coven sent the whole LA team off-realm by what I've been told. I'm hoping they missed Joyce since she has chemo twice a week right now."
"That was not our doing."
"That's funny, the witch someone captured to ask said it was."
"Oh, dear," Travers sighed. "The baby? I know they were protecting her." Xander poked Oliva and she giggled. "Thank God," he muttered. "That was not our doing, Harris. Are you moving Lehane out from New York? You're basically her watcher, even though we do loathe you."
"She's on her way with the Winchesters and Tara."
"I'll find who did it and hand them to Miss Maclay. Or the Winchester family. Let me see if the higher ups can undo it."
"They may have some of her hair there. So they can track her protections."
"That will help."
"Willow had to undo a lot of her magic again as well," Xander said dryly.
"We heard. Was it fun?"
Xander snorted. "Not like it was my first orgy, Travers."
"I don't need to know." He hung up.
Xander leaned his head back and tossed the phone back onto the bed. "Okay," he said, looking at the officers.
"You're good for now, Harris. You'll need a carseat for her for traveling."
"And something to knock her out. She hates flying." The officers nodded and left. Xander tipped his head back, then kissed her on the head. "It's been a long few hours, princess. Want to come help Uncle Xander sign books?" She blinked up at him. "You can. You're very brilliant and some day you'll be the best reader ever," he assured her. She patted him with a grin. "I know, Willow and Daniel read to you all the time. We'll read in a few minutes. Uncle Xander has to proofread something anyway." He stood up, checking himself over. "Pen?" It was handed over.
Xander put his soda into his pocket, his wallet back, and shifted her some. "C'mon, we'll go stare at the nice fans." He walked out, Pooch following. His mind was screaming in rage but he had promised and he needed to get back to his fans. A few were still waiting around. He smiled as he sat down. "Say hi, Olivia?" She cooed and waved. "Such a smart girl!" He hugged her and smiled. "She's okay. People are coming to handle the emergency." He looked at Pooch. "Did you get my phone?" He nodded, holding it up. "Cool. If they call back, swear in my place." He smiled at the first fan in line. "Hi. Sorry about the wait."
"It's all right. She's more important. Is she okay?"
"She's fine. She can sleep through nearly anything, like her mommy used to in gym class." The fan smiled and laughed a bit. "We're all clean and the one booboo was creamed with stuff so she's fine." He took the book and shifted Olivia to his other knee to sign it. He grinned. "What's your name?"
"It's for Edith."
Xander signed that and grinned, handing it back. "I hope the rest of the convention is less wild in the bad ways and more in the good." She walked off happier. The next few stepped forward. "Don't worry, Olivia won't eat anyone. She'd think they taste like carrots and she hates carrots." They all smiled and relaxed again. He saw one looking very scared. "It's not an apocalypse. I promise. It was a stupid person with ideas of being Buffy. He's very sorry."
She relaxed and he signed her book. "I've played poker with him," he said, pointing at another book. "Rick Castle introduced us." She beamed at him and walked off happier. More of his fans came back but without the line like earlier. They were slowly trickling back. Olivia smiled and waved at each one, and most smiled back. She pouted at one until they patted her on the head. So it was a good thing.
Tara got everyone to the hotel in a flash of light. She smiled. "See, faster." She walked off. "Where's Alexian Harris hiding?" she asked a fan.
"He and the baby are signing autographs near the caf, Miss Maclay."
Tara smiled. "Thank you." She walked that way.
Dean nodded. "Thanks, dude." He followed. John and Sam followed her. Beth was watching the cats with Alexis. He popped his neck, spotting someone lurking. He walked over. "Clem."
"Dean!" he said, looking relieved. "Xander's in an awful temper but he's being so good to Olivia. I was making sure she was all right."
Tara smiled at him. "Everyone loves Olivia, Clem. Neither of us would mind." He relaxed and nodded, smiling at her. "Is she okay?" He nodded. "Good. Go calm down. We're here to help." He nodded and left the hotel. She took Dean's arm. "It's good that Travers told us who did it before I went to destroy them all for it."
He grinned at her. "I'm glad I didn't have to try to stop you, Tara. You'd look really bad being spanked." She pinched him, making him laugh. "You would. We know you're generally the nicest and goodest witch around so we wouldn't hurt you too much." He heard the squeal and looked. "Hey," he said with a grin and a nod for the teenage girl who had spotted them.
"Ohmygod, you're Dean Winchester!" she squealed, bouncing.
"I am," he agreed with a grin. "Dad and Sammy are behind me."
"Ooooh!" She bounced faster. "Sign my chest? Please!" she begged.
"Sure, I guess." He signed his name, making sure the line was broken so it couldn't be used b a demon if someone got it off her. She went pink and kissed him on the cheek then rushed back to gush at Sam and John. Sam ended up signing her arm. Dean looked at Tara. "We have fans."
"Xander loves his fans." She heard the baby babbling and looked, smiling at her. "There's my favorite niece." She took Olivia to cuddle. "Did Uncle Xander wash you in irish spring?" Xander nodded, signing a book for someone with a grin. She rolled her eyes. "That's not a girlish scent at all. We'll have to get you some soap." The baby patted her lips. She kissed the fingers, earning a giggle. "You're my favorite baby, Oliva."
She settled in beside Xander. The fans all smiled. "I kept Willow's magic from coming out during the birth," she said proudly. "That way she didn't brain the nurse for not giving her enough drugs." They laughed and the last few got signed. Xander paused and looked around. One more came over and he signed her book. She beamed and took a kiss before bouncing off. Xander cleaned up his mess and took them up to his room. Tara sat down in the chair, settling the baby in her lap. She was staring at John.
John squatted down. "Is she healthy? I took plenty of field medic classes."
"A zombie gave her some arm bruises. She's missing some hair," Xander said. "I already put stuff on it. Which she hated."
"So do I, it stings," Sam said. He took Olivia, letting his father stand up. "You've got raspberry marks," he said with a grin.
"Pooch got us a raspberry cookie bar to share," Xander said with a grin.
"We'll find her a better dinner," Tara said. "And you." He grinned back. "Let me and Sam go to the Hyperion to look it over." Xander nodded. "Can you handle her?"
"I'm an accomplished Olivia sitter, Tara," he reminded her. "I've sat her more than you have."
"Fine. Just making sure you weren't going to write." Xander shook his head. "Or go play poker for information." He shook his head again. "Good." She smiled and kissed the baby on the head. "Let me see if I can find your mommy and aunties."
"And daddy," Xander added. Tara moaned. Xander nodded. "Whatever happened, he was at work and the whole bar got blinded by the flash when he was taken. His boss swore a lot about the dropped mug of Killian's I'm told."
"Dirt." Tara nodded and took Sam with her. Dean and John got to work warding the room. Xander had done some but Olivia would need more of them.
Pooch watched. "Can you teach me that?" he asked.
John nodded. "Definitely." He smiled. "Have a baby?"
"Son. Just about to crawl." He smiled. "They're showing up at the cabin for a weekend."
"That's fine. We've spent the night at the cabin and did a lot of wards around it." Xander beamed at him. "The security system?"
"Yeah, and it took pictures. Thank you for the pretty door decorations as well." John looked confused. "The back door has Native American protections drawn on it."
"Huh. I didn't know that." Xander nodded. "But then again, two hunters have stopped in there to bandage and clean up after running into that thing at that old convent."
"It's name is Homer. We had a talk. He's really lonely and doesn't understand why people keep attacking him." John shook his head, rubbing his forehead. Dean grinned at him. "Sometimes it's handy being able to talk to spirits." Olivia patted him. "What's up, princess?" He smiled at her. She patted him again so he kissed her fingers. "Nap?" She pouted. "Book?" She beamed. He settled down to proofread with her. Pooch had the other bed in the room. Dean and John went to get themselves and Sam one, and Tara one.
"Sounds odd," Pooch told him.
Xander went back over the sentence, changing it around. Olivia was staring at him. He grinned. "We'll work it out. Rick said I need better grammar anyway." She laughed. He cuddled and read some more to her.
Pooch shook his head. She was too young to understand but the book sounded different. He wasn't much into fantasy novels. Xander tossed him one. "Thanks, kid."
"Rick wanted me to do a review thingy on the back. He had to talk me through it." He grinned. "So I got a free copy." He went back to reading.
Xander came off the plane in Portland, Pooch right behind him. He put on his sunglasses. "I smell lights." Pooch moaned. He walked off, Olivia in her new stomach carrier. Sure enough, flashbulbs went off. "Guys, let's not blind the baby?" he asked dryly, pushing down her hat to shield her eyes. "That's really bright," he told one, making her move the lights on top of her camera. "What's up?"
"Was that an attack?" the one with the camera asked.
"We have found out that the member of the Watchers Council who did it was not authorized. They turned him over to Tara and John Winchester to handle his punishment. He hated Buffy, hated that Willow helped her, and if he could have he would've gotten me too. As of this moment, LA is being covered by some of the Winchester type of hunters. New York's slayer is back in New York with Tara as of about an hour ago." They nodded. "LA is fully covered in case something happens. It's a few that're switching out as they get free so the whole town's covered. So even if someone decides to pull something stupid, they won't manage it." He smiled. "Relax, it wasn't an apocalypse by any means. It was a jealous asshole."
"Why was he jealous?" another reporter asked, staring at him.
"Apparently his niece is a slayer but she is being raised by the Council. Buffy was the first that they recorded having friends who helped. The Council hated that approach, even though we proved it worked. So they weren't going to allow any of their trained ones to do the same sort of thing. He was jealous on her behalf. And she's already called to chew him a new one." He checked on Olivia, but she was snoring. He grinned at her. "She can sleep through anything. Except take offs and landings." They giggled. "Anything else, guys? We've been up all night getting information."
"How soon before we can get them back?"
"Tara's not sure. She's talked with the rest of the coven out in Devon. It was a few of their junior members he talked into it. They're seeing if they can pinpoint it. If we're lucky it'll be days. If not, it could be years. There's over seventy billion realms and planes out there." They moaned. "They're working on it as hard as they can but it's not an immediate 'undo' command sort of spell. There's no reverse. And frankly, if someone tried it they'd probably kill everyone involved. Which means I'd kill them for it." He grinned. "Now, anything else?" They shook their heads. "Then have a nice day, people. I'll be at the bookstore at eight tomorrow."
"Nine," Pooch corrected patiently.
"Okay, nine," he said with a grin. They smiled and let him go grab their bags. Olivia's stuff from home had been packed. Her carseat was checked since she was content to sleep on Xander's lap. His bag was now full of baby stuff. His carry-on was a strange briefcase/diaper bag combination. But he could handle this. They got to the hotel and checked in. The check-in girl smiled at Olivia. The baby had woken up cranky and was scowling.
Xander tipped her face up. "Be nicer to the nice lady. It's a hard job. Uncle Xander did that job for a while." Olivia pulled up her thumb to suck on. "Good girl. We'll have nummies in a bit." He smiled and took their room keys, letting the valet take the cart of luggage. Once they got up there, he put her onto the bed and took off the harness. "How's that?" She squealed and kicked her feet. "That's cool." He checked the carpet then let her crawl.
Pooch watched her, closing the bathroom door before she got a bright idea. She went to play in the closet. He checked, nothing on the floor. He settled on his bed. "She's a good baby. Very quiet."
"She has her days but mostly yeah." He laid down with a sigh. "Tomorrow's flight to Denver is how long?"
"Remind me to see if we can upgrade to business or first class?"
Pooch smirked. "Gladly." The baby crawled back out, patting his leg on her way past to the window. She pulled herself up. "Xander," he said quietly, nodding.
Xander smiled. "She's walked a few times but she prefers crawling. We have no idea why."
"So she can walk?"
"Yeah, and run. She liked to wake Angel up and then run squealing from his room from what Gunn complained about." Pooch snickered. The rented crib showed up and he picked her up so they could put it up. She pouted at the worker. "It's not nap time yet, Olivia. That's for later, when we all sleep." He put her back down and she went back to the window. He tipped the bellhop and he left with a grin. Xander flopped back down. "When the kittens were born and Miss Kitty, their mom, was killed, I spent five weeks bottle feeding them with Tara. I fell asleep with them in my arms and lap many a night." Pooch laughed. "I can't do that with her."
"No, she'll wake you up by pouting at you." He called his wife, going into the bathroom to get some privacy. Xander sat up with a moan. "Stay," he called, closing the door again.
"I was going to order room service. Be damned if I'm up to taking her to a restaurant." He looked, no room service menu. He called the front desk. "Do we have room service?" He smiled. "Thanks." He hung up and groaned. "Damn."
Pooch came out. "No room service?" Xander shook his head. "Want me to run out?" Olivia squealed and pounded on the window.
"Leave the pigeons alone, Olivia," Xander said. "Even the nastiest of all birds have a place in nature." He got up and looked out the window. "There's no restaurants."
Pooch moaned, taking Xander's wallet. He knew what he'd eat and what the kid would eat and should eat. John had made sure to remind him that Xander had a bad diet before they left LA. He came back twenty minutes later with a salad for the baby and one with ham and all sorts of stuff for Xander, who scowled. "You need to set a good example for her."
"Fine." They settled down at the tiny table in the corner, and she beamed at them before eating a bite. Then she scowled. "Ranch dressing?" Pooch handed some over. Xander poured it on and she beamed and ate it. That helped. "Your Auntie Buffy gave you funny girl ideas," he said, giving her a hug. He did eat. He was starved. Olivia hadn't wanted to eat breakfast so he hadn't gotten to eat either.
Pooch texted someone and put his phone up. The kid was insane but good enough with the baby. They'd handle it.
Xander walked into the bookstore the next morning, Olivia was still grumpy but happy enough when people squealed. She squealed back and waved, making them smile and wave. "Morning, my fans." He smiled. He looked around, going to where the new display was. He looked then at the crowd. "Wow, that came out really fast." They laughed.
He picked up a copy of the first Chocolate Lords book and settled in to read it. The crowd liked that and so did the baby. She made happy noises and patted the book. Everyone smiled at her when he got down to the signing portion. When someone cleared their throat he smiled. "Olivia, this is Aunt Martha. I hang out with her son sometimes," he told the baby. Olivia smiled and waved. "Such a brilliant young girl."
Martha smiled. "You'll spoil her, Xander."
"I have been for years," he quipped, earning a few laughs. "You came to Portland to see me?"
"Rick insisted." He smiled and signed her book. "This is fairly fun."
Xander winked. "I try really hard to be a fun guy." She snickered all the way to the seating area she and her son were in. He was signing a few books of his own. The fans were very happy that both of them were there today. Finally everyone was gone and Xander got up, taking Olivia over. "Let me guess, ET told you?"
"Yup," Rick said, taking her to hold. "You're a good weight, Olivia." She smiled and he grinned back. "You're so adorable." She cuddled. "Ah, nap time."
"No, she wants to taste your shirt," Xander said, sitting down and putting up his feet. "She likes shirts for some reason." Rick snickered. "Did Tara have new news she didn't share?"
"Six months at the earliest, probably a year," Martha told him.
"Huh," Xander said, nodding. "Okay, I can handle that."
"She and Beth are talking," Rick said, looking at him. "Which is why she sent me."
"I'll share custody with them. I have no problem with that," Xander promised. He saw someone stomp in and grab a woman by the hair. He started to move but Pooch went to teach the idiot better manners for him. He settled in again.
"You can't do that with a baby around," Rick said.
"Not like she's not used to demons."
"You still can't," Martha said with a smile. "Are you sure you want to share custody, Xander?"
"Yup. Olivia's as close as I'll probably ever get. At least Tara and Beth can do the doctor thing." Rick nodded. He handed her back since she was snoring. "Thank you," he mouthed. "She is not a morning baby."
"Alexis was the morning baby of the universe. If it was light out, she was up," Rick said with a smile. "She used to tell me parking meters were the city's pets." Xander grinned. "Are you sure you can handle it? It'll mean adding some screen doors to the porch, getting some fences to put across the stairs. Teaching the cats not to lick her too often."
"They all know her. We've babysat before. I actually have baby gates and a corral version." Rick grinned. "When she had colic only Daniel and I got her to quit crying so Daniel and she spent a week on the couch. I've watched her other times." Rick nodded. "Other than that, Beth doesn't really want kids and Tara's going to be gushy but I have the most open schedule since Beth's starting work next week." He shifted. "I've been looking into that talk-and-type software to see if that'll work. For the most part it does and then I have to edit." Rick nodded. "I did the last one that way. My wrists have arthritis or something starting in them."
"Too much strain from your battle axe," Martha said. "Which means you'd have to make sure all those were put up as well."
"I try really hard to make sure of it. Homer likes to chew on the guns." He grinned. "One of the other ones managed to step on it just right to fire it into the couch. I had to get out of the pool to figure out who was trying to kill me this time."
Rick laughed. "I remember you calling about that and asking if Alexis wanted a cat again." Xander nodded. Olivia belched. "She's loud."
Xander nodded. "She likes being loud."
Pooch came over. "Sorry to interrupt but if he doesn't eat soon there's no way we can catch the flight to Denver later."
"Did we check out of the hotel?" Xander asked. "I don't remember packing anything."
"No, not yet." Xander nodded and he waved her hand.
"We'll be listening if you need advice," Rick said.
"You came all the way out here to make sure I'd be a good daddy?" Xander asked quietly.
Rick grinned. "And a meeting with my ex, but yeah."
"Tell her I said hi and about Olivia so she doesn't try to pounce and embarrass Pooch. He's a married guy." Martha laughed. "We'll be at the cabin in a week for the whole weekend." That got a nod. "Make sure the cats are being taken care of?"
"They are," Martha assured him. "Alexis is having vicarious pet ownership feelings." Xander grinned and got up, following Pooch out. She sighed, relaxing. "He's good with her. Better than you were that first week."
"He babysat, I hadn't really." She nodded she knew that. He stretched. "You know, she's probably here."
"I saw her walk in." She gave him a look. "I'm waiting for you to try to make a date with the one that's got your nose up now, Rick." She got up and went to find another book.
Rick's first ex-wife, and Xander's ex-girlfriend, sat down in Martha's vacant chair. "He has a daughter?"
"That's Olivia. She's Willow's but something happened."
"Pity. He clearly doesn't know how to make her a cute little girl like you did Alexis."
"I'm sure he will. Just not today because it's been a long night." She nodded. "He did want to introduce you."
"I can't handle being a stepmother any more than I could a mother, Rick." She smiled. "So, why else did you come out here?"
"Just to check on Xander and you." He grinned. She cooed and nearly pounced. "There's kids," he said firmly. She nodded and got up, hauling him up and behind her back to the hotel.
Martha shook her head with a sigh. "Why couldn't my son marry someone I liked? Or at least tolerated?" she muttered. Someone cleared their throat. She smiled. "Yes, dear?"
"You're Martha Rogers, aren't you?"
"I am. Are you an actress?"
"I want to be *so* badly," she said quietly. "But no one understands."
She patted her on the hand and pulled her closer to talk to her. It was good to mentor the actors of the future. That way they had a good idea of what it was really like without bursting her bubble.
Xander walked into the cabin and sat down with a sigh. "Oh, thank the Goddess," he moaned. Pooch laughed. "I'll get the luggage and stuff when she's asleep."
"I'll get it," Dean said from the kitchen.
Xander looked over his shoulder. "Hunt or checking on her?"
"Checking on you. You looked like you haven't been sleeping."
"She doesn't like to," Pooch said.
"Well, we do work at night when we're hunting," Dean said dryly. Pooch smiled and nodded he knew that. Dean got the bags and came back. "She's got three now?"
"Presents, her stuff from at home, and the diaper bag," Xander sighed. Dean smirked, taking her to cuddle. "Thank you!" He laid down on the couch and fell asleep there.
Pooch laughed. "She's a good little girl. A bit fussy and very cutesy. Is my wife...."
"In town, Pooch. With the baby. Go. I've got him and nothing's getting in here short of an angelic messenger." He nodded and dropped the other bag, heading down to see his wife at the small motel. Dean looked at her. "Help me cook, Olivia. It's time you learned a good thing in life. Even your uncle can kinda cook." She cooed and played with his hair.
He grinned. "You have a very pretty bow. Did your uncle do that?" He took her in to show her how to cook steaks. Xander clearly wasn't eating. He looked like he had lost weight. Sam came in with groceries. "Let him sleep," he mouthed. Sam nodded, coming in to take the baby to cuddle. Dean smirked, going back to dinner. Xander made an inquisitive sounding grunt. "Sammy has the baby, Xander." Xander fell back asleep. She squealed and Xander moaned.
Sam handed her back and helped Xander to his bed then came back to sit down and read to the squealing one. She liked that. Though she kept giving him funny looks. "I know, your daddy has an accent and I don't." She patted the book, staring at him. He smiled and turned the page, going back to it.
Dean smiled and took a picture then finished dinner. He listened but Xander was snoring. Dean put Xander's in the fridge for now. They settled in to eat, showing Olivia that she liked carrots when Dean made them. "Yeah, those are Sammy carrots. That's the only way he'd eat 'em too. Because I'm a fantastic uncle I made them for you." She beamed and ate another bite. "That's so good." Xander wandered out. "It's in the fridge, Xander." He nodded, finding his plate and putting it into the microwave that was hiding in a cabinet. Then he sat down. He saw the look. "Eat the carrots. Even Sammy ate those."
Xander sighed but ate some. Olivia squealed. He grinned at her. "Good girl to eat them for Uncle Dean." She beamed and ate another bite. "Bib?" he asked hopefully.
"Dude, we learned long ago how to get food stains out of clothes," Dean said dryly. Xander relaxed and ate. "After you eat, go back to sleep. We'll handle little miss squealy one here." Xander nodded and finished up, giving her a hug on the way to bed. She pouted. Dean fed her a bite of meat. She chewed and looked at it a few times. He grinned. "That's steak. You'll learn to like steaks." He winked and fed her another bite. She liked it a whole lot and then Sammy gave her a bath. She got real loud and happy with him.
Dean grinned. "Girl's got taste." He cleaned up their mess. He watched as she came squealing and crawling past him, a towel over her body. "That's so cute, Olivia. Did you escape?" She headed for the door. "No, you don't need to play in the mud tonight." He caught her and handed her back to Sammy, who seemed to be napping. Dean nudged him, making him jerk awake. "Did you need a nap?"
"I wasn't tired."
They stared at the baby, who only grinned. She wiggled so Dean got her in a diaper and let her down again. She took off running. "I think she's walking."
"Xander said she could but she hated to," Sam sighed, going to chase her down to put her in jammies. Which she hated but yay! He smirked at her. "I caught you." She pouted. "C'mon, let's put on jammies, then we'll sit on the porch." He picked her up and carried her off, no matter how much she wiggled. When she knocked Sam out again, Dean caught her and found a marker, drawing some pretty marks on her upper chest. She pouted but yay! Dean kicked Sam's ankle to wake him up. He yawned. "I think she wants to stay up."
"I guess so." They got her dressed and sat on the porch, letting her enjoy the night and coo at the trees moving in the wind. She liked that and when they heard some animals she got very wide-eyed and quiet but stared. Dean grinned at her. "You'll learn to like animals. That's what zoos are for. I'm sure the uncle will take you to the zoo." John's truck pulled up and she pouted at him. "Dad, you're blocking her trees."
"She should be in bed anyway," John said dryly. He picked her up to hold. She stared over his shoulder and started to coo again. They all looked. It was a forest sprite. "We're harmless if you are," he told it. It smiled at the baby. "She's harmless too."
"I'd hope so at her age," it whispered on the wind then disappeared.
She let out an awesome squeal and pointed, making begging noises. "You can see it tomorrow," John promised, taking her inside. "It's getting chilly. You need to be warm." She pouted. He stared at her. "That doesn't work on me, princess." He put her down and she fussed. He stared at her. "You can stay up tomorrow night. Sleep." He put on the nightlight and closed the door most of the way. Then he went back to the living room. "He asleep?"
"Yup, nearly slept through dinner," Dean said. He heard something scratching the door and looked. "I'm sure your mommy's kitty does that too, Olivia." He patted his lap. "Want a story?" She stared and patted the door. "No, come get a story." He patted his lap again. Sam waved a book. She pouted and patted the door. "Story." She started to sniffle. Sam got up to pick her up and toss her into the air. She made a startled squeak and stared at him. "Did the Sammy-zilla scare you?" he asked, taking her to cuddle. She pouted at him and pointed. "No, we're inside for the night. You're too young to hunt at night. You'll learn that when you're older." She scowled at him. "Sorry but no." She wiggled down and crawled off pouting. She found her uncle and climbed up with him, snuggling in.
John followed. "You need to sleep in your own bed, Olivia." She glared and growled. He stared at her. "Tough."
"Mommy sleeps with her," Xander mumbled. He patted until he found her then pulled her next to his chest, letting her snuggle in. "Sleep, 'Liv. It's time for sleepies. Uncle Xander needs a kitty nap." She yawned and settled in against him. He smiled at the first snore. "That's my good niece."
"Let me put her into her bed," John said quietly. Xander nodded and let him. "Sleep, kid. You look worn out." Xander nodded, flipping over to go back to sleep. John put her down on the twin-sized bed and went back to the living room. "Marks?"
"She knocked Sammy out twice," Dean said.
"Figures she's magically active with all that went on around her." He sat down with a sigh. "This is a really nice cabin. A lot of firewood handy, good road."
"He was chopping wood with a broken rib," Dean said with a grin.
"There's days I wanted to do that too," John admitted. He put his feet up on the coffee table. "You two go nap. I'll sit up for a while." They nodded, going to sleep. John checked all the marks he had put up when he had hidden here one weekend. The flu was nasty even to hunters and this place had running water plus it was cheap to stay at. He finally went to bed. A few hours later he was woken by some noise. He got up and went to look, finding both his sons staring at the baby trying to get out the door. Dean was checking his watch. "How long?"
"Beating Sammy's time to figure out the doorknob," Dean said. She finally got the door open and toddled outside with a coo. Xander hopped up and ran around them, getting her and walking back inside. "We were watching her to see if she could figure out doorknobs."
Xander looked at him. "She's very active with her magic, guys."
"We blocked that," Sam said with a grin and a point.
Xander snorted. "Willow used more than nature magic." They groaned. "Of course she can do doorknobs. She could float bottles at six months." He walked back to bed, tucking her in with him. That made her happy. "I know, but Pooch isn't here to chase you halfway down the hotel this time, 'Liv. Though it was really brilliant when you made it onto the elevator that time." She kicked her feet and grinned. "Let's nap. Uncle Xander still needs a nap." She pouted. "Oh, come on. Please?"
John walked in crushing up something in a bowl. "Let's try this." Xander looked at him oddly. "It's something that can help weed out chaos energy when people are hit with it. We've had to use in the field before. It won't hurt her but if I'm right, she was sucking off the taint her mother got in Sunnydale and now yours, which is apparently worse."
"Willow went back to look over the town a few times while she was pregnant. She was feeling nostalgic."
"That plus all the magic she did around and with the baby, plus the transporting? She's soaked up too much and it's what's giving her energy beyond what the normal toddler pulls out of their diapers." He poured the herbs into the bottle Xander had beside him and let him help her drink it.
"It won't hurt her?" Xander made sure.
"No, not in the least. They're all edible herbs." He sat on the foot of the bed. She finished her bottle of water and grinned at them. Then she yawned. "That's a good sign," John said calmly and quietly. "Would you like to go back to bed, Olivia?" She patted Xander's stomach and snuggled in. "Such a good girl." Xander yawned and nodded, laying down with her. Once they were both asleep he took the baby back to her bed. She snuggled in and it was good. He walked out, smirking at his boys. "She soaked up too much hellmouth taint."
Dean nodded. "That figures, yeah." They yawned and went to bed. "She's still broadcasting though."
"We'll have Tara help that." They all went to bed. John smiled at figuring that out. It was going to make her formative years easier.
Xander walked into the next hotel. Olivia was beaming and waving at people, who mostly smiled and waved back. Xander smirked. "Yes, I have her in girly things. She likes girly things," he told Tara when he ran into her.
"She's adorable but what's on her chest?"
"Blocking some of the Baby Rosenburg things."
"Crap," she muttered. Olivia giggled. She smiled and took her to cuddle. "We love you, Olivia. Are you going to come stay with the auntie?"
"We're sharing custody," he said. She glared. He stared back. "You can always go to a doc, Tara. I can't." She nodded, rolling her eyes. "Beyond that, Beth's going to start work and I can take time off writing. The muses will usually wait for nap time."
"I'm not against sharing."
"I can accept that I guess. Beth doesn't really like kids."
"I noticed." He took her back. "Let's check in."
"I already did. Paula's in her room waiting on you."
"Cool." He walked over to get his key and then up to his room. Pooch showed up a minute later. "Did I forget you in the car?" Xander asked.
"One of my teammates showed up with some information."
Xander nodded. "I'm kinda used to that style of work." He grinned. "By the way, the guy he's jonsing to kill? He's in Canada this week." Pooch stiffened. Xander stared at him. "Did you think I wouldn't ask someone? I mean, seriously? Though it's nice he's a fan of my books too. He sent me a nice email to the website." Pooch smirked and texted that to someone. He looked at Olivia. "You tell the silly unclie that he should tell his team and take a few days off. Yes he should." She laughed and waved at Pooch. "That's right. He should before the demons he's trying to incite to riot eat his ass."
"Xander!" Tara complained.
"He's trying to take over the world," he complained back.
"Not that," she said with a swat. Olivia swatted him too and grinned at her auntie. "The swearing." She took her back. "That's a very good girl thing to do, Olivia. You should make sure Uncle Xander does not swear." She adjusted her dress. "We'll work on the magic stuff too." She walked her off to the bathroom. "Let me do the right work on you to make sure that you quit enforcing your will."
Xander grinned. "Thanks, Tara. Get with John? He had some herby thing that helped with her hellmouth taint."
She gaped. Then looked at her. "I didn't even think about that." She called him while she got Olivia down to her diaper and ran the tub. She kept her in there so the guys could talk about guy things.
Xander pulled up the site, pointing. "Isn't that him?"
"That's him," he said, smirking at his 'boss'. "How did you know?"
"Anything that ruffles the world that much, I'll eventually hear. Just to make sure that it's not a demon apocalypse that Buffy will have to handle. She got a bit pissed off when sudden battles ruined her clothes." He grinned. "I'm also not real happy when people try to take over the world. It means I have to kill my babies that I won from poker games by killing people with them."
"I can see that," he agreed. "Let me tell them and get Robert here."
"Sure. We've got three weeks left." Pooch smiled. Xander shook his hand. "Good luck. Oh, and look at my dating history again." He walked off to the bathroom. "Tara, can I help?"
"No, we're having a girl bath together."
"Okay. Happy bubbles. I'm going to get a cheeseburger." He left with Pooch, who was calling someone. He came back with a file from a local demon and Pooch, who was told to stay there because one of his suitors was in the hotel. "Hey, Tara, LivLiv is here."
"Don't tell me that, I'll kill her," Tara called.
"I'm going to take my cheeseburger to visit her since you two are having a girl bath." He walked off.
Pooch followed reading the file until he heard a familiar voice. "What the hell?" he demanded quietly. He stared at the person. "What are you doing here?"
"I came to get a book signed for someone."
Xander smiled and took out his pen, signing it with a wink. "For you or your boss, Roque?"
Xander stared at him. "Do you think anyone's going to cause an apocalypse and someone in one of the hunting communities won't hear? They're still scared to death of Buffy having a clothing fit. Or me having to call in poker debts." He smiled. "For him?" Roque nodded slowly. "Cool." He signed it and kissed Roque hard and fast, making him moan. "You're not bad boy enough for me." He smirked. "Let my bodyguard go."
Xander smiled and moved something he had against his stomach. "Really?" Roque blinked, looking down. So did Pooch. "This is a hotel full of innocent people. Either be civil or take it outside. My niece is here. I'll kill *everyone* over her safety." He stared at him. "And have fun doing it."
"Got it," he said, backing off.
Xander smiled. "But you do taste good." He grinned. "Liv?" he called. She came out of her room. "There you are."
Roque gaped, pointing at Pooch once the door was shut with them inside it. "Does he know...."
"Yeah, he dates like that," he said dryly. "Why are you here?" He waved the book. "That's all?" Roque nodded. "Then scram. His niece is adorably crawling age. And he's seriously pissed off about what happened in LA."
"I can understand that. You know, you could...."
"If you say it I'm going to let Jolene kill your ass," Pooch said bluntly. Roque nodded and left. Pooch put his phone against his ear. "Roque says hi," he said then hung up on the sudden bout of swearing. He called his supervisor back to let him know that it had happened. He knew *everything* and let them take small contracts between bouts of trying to find the puss sucker. Though he did think Olivia was the cutest baby next to his son. He went to check on them. Tara was still in the tub. "Just me, Tara."
"Go save Xander from the skanky ho. Please?"
"Does he know what she used to do?" he demanded.
"Yup. Girls like that like Xander. Always have." She sighed. "Thankfully I'm a good girl and I like girls. We'll teach you to be a good girl too, 'Liv."
Pooch smiled. "You're a very good girl, Tara. I'd never expect you to go even a bit bad." Someone knocked and he opened it. "Ma'am, he's with an ex."
"You couldn't save him?" Paula sighed.
"Not yet," he admitted. "I'm about to switch out with Robert actually. He can save him." He smiled. "He could use some stress relief anyway."
"Good to know. The baby?" He pointed in the bathroom. "He locked her in there?"
"Tara and she are taking something called a girl bath."
"Oh! Okay." She nodded. "Make sure Xander comes to see me when he's done?"
"Yes, ma'am." She smiled and left. "Oh, he got that packet done," he said, digging it out and handing it over. "I think that's all of it."
She smiled. "Thank you. You've been very good." She walked off glancing at the corrections. He had made a lot of the changes but not all of them. She ran into him in the hallway. "If you tell me this actually happened like you did DCIS, I'm going to beat you to death."
"No, but I can't imagine I'd be too happy." He shrugged. "It's me, dear."
"I know that." She stared at him. "How are you going to write with a baby?"
"Rick managed it."
"He had his mother."
"Tara and I are sharing custody."
"Fine." She went to her room. "Get presentable. There's press in the hotel, Xander."
"Yes, ma'am." He went back to his former girlfriend's room to shower. "Tara and the baby are in mine." She laughed and let him shower, with a bit of help. Then he went to change into some nice silk shorts, a decent enough shirt, clean sneakers, and he even remembered the underwear. "I'm going to dinner," he called. "Want me to take her?" He didn't hear an answer so he listened. A snore. He considered it and then carefully popped the lock on the door, coming in to take the baby from her. He put a post it on the inside of the door and carefully shut it. She beamed at him. "Hi, 'Liv." He got her dressed up, even doing her hair for her, and then they went to dinner. He found Paula waiting and sat down with her. "Say hi to Paula? She's the one who pays the Unclie Xander to sit home and write stories you'll someday hopefully love."
Paula smiled. "She's pouting."
He looked down. "You can have Tara later. You'll learn to like Paula. She even likes the kitties. Can you say hi?" Olivia smiled and waved.
Paula smiled and waved back. "Hi, Olivia. You look very pretty." Xander grinned. "Are you sure you can handle her?"
"I've babysat her a lot."
"Fine, Xander. I won't nag unless something happens. No Tara?"
"Snoring in the tub. I left a note." Paula sighed and shook her head. "Anyway."
"How was your ex?"
"Very nice to me, like usual." He beamed. He heard a squeal and looked at her then around. "Other kids here?"
"I think that was a fangirl squeal," she said with a point. "Poker buddy of Rick's."
"Aww. Come on, let's say hi to him too. We'll be right back, Paula." He carried her that way, smiling at the fans who all cooed at the baby, who cooed back.
The other author turned, staring at his poker buddy and his...helper. "Did you adopt from some bad girl already or did one drop it off on her way to prison?"
"This is Olivia Rosenburg."
"Ah! I saw that on the news." He smiled at the baby. "It's nice to meet you, Olivia." She waved and stuck her tongue out. He laughed. "She's adorable, Harris."
"Yes she is. Oh, and she's sometimes walking, when she wants. Mostly she likes to crawl."
"I'll keep that in mind during poker games. Are you putting in screen doors?"
"Yup, and invisible walls up by the pool." He smiled at the nearest fan. "I read all his stuff when I was younger too." She grinned and patted the baby on the hand. "Say hi, Olivia?"
Olivia looked at her and made a funny face. She shook her head. "I'm not hitting on him, dear," the girl said. "I'm much too young and nice for Alexian Harris. " The baby laughed when Xander tickled her, making her happier. "She's adorable."
"We think it'll be six months before her mommy and daddy get back."
The other author shuddered. "That's bad."
"I'm sharing custody with Tara."
"Probably a good idea but maybe she'll help you pick up better bad girls."
"You never know. She has nice taste. She kept sucking on Sam's ear." He laughed. "Let me take her back to Paula so I can get reminded of girl things she'll need." He smiled and waved the baby's hand, getting scowled at. "You can coo at the fans later." She cooed at them. He grinned as he walked off. He sat down and sipped the water that appeared. "Did you ever find my last royalty check?" Tara stomped in. He looked at her. "Not like I looked!"
She huffed. "I could've kept her."
"You were asleep in the tub, Tara. No you couldn't."
"Fine." She held out her hands. "Want to sit in my lap?" The baby pouted. "Fine, you sit with Uncle Xander for now." The baby let out an awesome squeal so she looked around. "Oh, Dean's here." They waved. He smirked and waved back but headed in another direction. "I think he's working, 'Liv. We'll see Uncle Dean later." Paula moaned. "She loves them."
"She does. She keeps trying to eat Sam's ear and likes to play with Dean's hair." Paula shook her head. "Tara, can you get into my account to check the balance?"
"I had to move some into it from your investment account because your last two checks still haven't come in and the bodyguard is expensive," Tara admitted. She showed him and he gave her an odd look. "I have no clue where that other money went."
"I'm going to find me an ex and beat them to death if it was them." Olivia laughed. "I know, you got told that by your mommy but Uncle Xander can kick butt very well, niece." Tara and Paula both smiled. "That's over ten grand missing."
"The bodyguard was six," Paula reminded him.
"I had fifty in there."
"Crap." She took the phone to pull up the recent transactions. "What's this account, Xander?" She let him see it.
"That's... why am I paying slayer support?" Tara choked. "Huh. Well, I'll talk to Greggy when I get home about that."
"I'll talk to Greggy tonight," Tara promised, taking her phone back. She got up and walked off talking to him. He had it fixed within minutes. It was nice that the hacker the Council hired was actually a Sunnydale native and one of Oz's friends. It worked out well.
Xander looked at Paula. "At least I can afford dinner."
"Yes you can but I can expense account it." He beamed. "Will she eat real food?"
"If we give her real food." He smiled at the waiter. "Can she have a high chair please?" He nodded, getting them one. He looked at Paula, who ordered. "I'll have the mac n'cheese to split with her, the one with ham?" He nodded and wrote that down. "And an extra glass of non-ice water?"
"Yes, sir. Does she need a bib?"
"I'll make sure she's all right." He grinned. "We're getting pretty handy at that." The waiter smiled and walked off. He looked at her. "You be a good girl while we're down here and then I'll let you roam around the room later. All right?" She smiled and waved. He looked behind him. "Hi, Bob."
"Xander." He stared at the baby then at him. "Rosenburg might be upset."
"Her will gives me or Tara the baby so we're splitting custody. Beyond that, which realm are they on?"
"Paralax." Xander made that note on the napkin. He smiled at the baby. "Everyone says she's like her mom with the magic stuff."
"Willow went to remember Sunnydale a few times while she was pregnant." The demon moaned, shaking his head. "Yeah. John Winchester came up with the cure for that and Tara helped since she was sucking at my energy too."
"Wonderful news. So she's got magic?" Xander smiled and nodded. "You know, there's some people who would love the baby."
"Dude, watch me go through *everyone* over her," Xander said dryly, smirking at him. "I'm the most highly overprotective uncle ever seen. And if I should have kids by some miracle of science or magic, it'll get worse."
Bob nodded. "I can see that happening. She's making the bad face." He grimaced. "Have fun." He fled before it stunk.
Xander looked at her. "You're thinking too hard." She stuck her tongue out. "I know you're not pooping so quit." She pouted and relaxed. "Thank you for making the demon flee, dear." He kissed her on the head. Paula gaped in horror. "Mommy taught her that to drive Angel off when he was being annoying." Tara came back. "She just showed Bob that trick Mommy taught her."
She smiled and kissed her on the head. "She's very good at bluffing that way."
"That means when it's her turn she's going to be excellent at kitten poker." Xander grinned.
"Not until she's of age," Tara said patiently.
"Of course not." He snorted. "Paula, how do we want to introduce her to the social circle I'm running in?"
"You can have a party."
"I hate parties."
"I know." She smirked. "That would let some nicer reporters feel that you're not going to destroy them."
"They could've mentioned it at any time."
"I know. I feel the same way." She patted the baby on the hand. Their dinners were brought and Tara ordered a salad. Xander carefully tested a bite of dinner then let her have it to gum on. Olivia happily munched and ate until her aunt's salad appeared then she begged and whined her way into half of it. "No wonder you're losing weight," Paula said.
Xander nodded. "She has my twinkie habit too. If I wasn't sure she was Daniel's I'd wonder a lot." Tara bopped him on the arm. "I would!"
"You're the one who taught her about twinkies. That's why I taught her about salads." Paula snickered. "He did!"
"I'm sure he did." The baby patted her hand. "Yes, Olivia?" She smiled and the baby grunted and pointed. "No, that has bones. You can't have mine. Eat more of your uncle's." She started to fuss so Xander took some to flake off and feed her. She didn't like it but she quit begging too. "Like your cats, she hates fish," she said dryly.
"Which is surprising with how often I give oral sex," Xander muttered. Tara whapped him on the arm. He grinned. "It is!"
"Those ones need to bathe more," she said impatiently. Xander smiled and handed her some of his mac'n'cheese with ham. She sighed but dug in and so did the baby. "I should take her cute clothes shopping."
"She's Willow's daughter, not Cordelia's," Xander said dryly. "Willow never wore cute things. She used to wear overalls and fluffy, ugly sweaters."
"I remember." She dug in. Olivia was watching everyone looking confused. "It's all right, 'Liv. It's us and you're with us." Olivia smiled at her.
Xander looked where she was. "Small ghosty ghost," he said quietly. "Probably why Dean's here." He texted that to Dean one-handed. Dean came in and sat down, earning a squeal and a yawn. "Sure, we can nap." He grinned at her. "We love naps."
Dean snorted. "That's because she's keeping you up again. Have you seen the orange guy in the leisure suit?"
Dean shook his head. "Anything new?"
"Oh, the realm they're on according to Bob," he said, handing it to Tara.
"We looked there but we'll check again." She tucked it into her pocket. Olivia was starting to drift off. So was Xander. Tara smiled at Dean. "Bob's probably in the bar." He went to talk to him. "C'mon, Xander. We'll go take a nap with the baby." She put down money for dinner but Paula handed it back and put her corporate card down. Tara grinned and put down the tip, then helped the baby out of the chair and got Xander up and stumbling toward the elevator. She smiled at the people staring at them. "It's author and baby nap time," she told them. They grinned and let Xander go up to his room to rest. She got them onto the same bed, because Olivia hated cribs, and went to her own room to rest. She needed it to follow Olivia and Xander around tomorrow.
Xander looked at the informal party on his pool terrace. They had barely gotten home but Tara had arranged the casual dinner and greeting event. "People." They all stared. "We're here to introduce you to the reason I'm such a badass, overprotective uncle. This is Olivia Caitlyn Rosenburg." He picked her up out of her chair, making her pout. A few cooed and she cooed back and waved. "Yes, these are uncle and auntie friends, 'Liv. You can coo at them."
He grinned. "So, until her parents get back, Tara and I are splitting custody. Also, fair warning, she's a bit magically active. It helps her get doors open." They laughed. "She is walking and able to run but she prefers to crawl so she can sneak past you. So fair warning and all that," he finished with a grin. They moved closer to greet her and she sucked up the attention.
Beckett took her to hold. "You're a good weight, little one."
"She's a very good girl," Xander said with a grin. "Who woke me up this morning trying to get the cat out of the closet. Homer's still hiding from her trying to suck on his tail."
She laughed. "They do that. No crib?"
"She loathes cribs. She won't sleep in a crib, never has. That's her mom's thing though."
"That figures." She handed her back, getting a pout. "I need to get a new drink. Quit pouting?"
Alexis bounced over. "Hi, Olivia! Your daddy did a really good job on your hair tonight." Olivia babbled at her and patted her hand. "You're so cute." She took her to cuddle. "Babysitting is the proof for the reason of birth control," she quipped, walking her off.
"I'm sterile," Xander said with a small shrug. The officers laughed. "Anyway, that's the princess. Tara wants her to be a girly girl. I'm making sure she's getting self defense lessons and her daddy agreed with me. So I've got to find a happy medium in there."
"She'll be fine," Beckett assured him.
"As long as she doesn't turn into Cordelia, I hope so." He sipped his water. The baby let out a squeal. "No, leave the cat alone," he called. "She's still trying to eat tails and ears, Alexis." Alexis shrugged and let the cat pick its own need for attention. "I could've sworn I put them in the bedrooms."
"My fault," Sam called. "Sorry, Xander." He picked up the cat and carried it off, catching the others to put upstairs too. He came back down and accepted the baby. "So, what are we reading tonight? Should we read Dr. Seuss or should we read Ptolemy?" She patted him on the cheek and grinned. "I know but you need huge brains when you're older so you can do more than hunt." He walked her off talking to her about how she needed to go to college. He'd help her get into Stanford if he could.
Detectives Ryan and Esposito, and Ryan's girlfriend, smiled as Sam walked past them, taking the baby to talk to. She stared at him and then at his hair. He laughed and let her scrunch her fingers in it. It made her happy and his girlfriend got that gooey, sweet look on her face that meant he'd get laid later. So it was all good.
They could all make sure Xander had a clue and was doing all right while they made sure he didn't let her get too tough.
Even if Faith was going mushy over the baby and making silly faces at her. They could ignore that.
to next part
back to index