Xander came out the next morning in a sarong and a loose t-shirt. He sat down with a grimace. Roque was looking confused. "My pants no longer fit."
"That happens," he agreed. He sipped his juice. "Is that really the manliest fashion statement though?"
"Local guys wear it."
"Fine. If you're comfy." He finished his breakfast, letting Xander finish his toast and marmalade by himself. Jensen was already off climbing trees for PT. Clay was exercising on the beach. "He's showing," he reported when he made it next to Clay. "He said his pants don't fit."
Clay nodded. "That happens to all mothers. He taking it okay?"
"He's wearing a skirt."
"Sarong," Cougar corrected as he walked around him.
"Local guys do," Clay said, accepting that choice. "It's probably more comfortable for him." He finished up his PT and stretched. Xander came down to play listlessly in the water. "You could go back to bed, kid."
"My stomach's aching like hell again," he complained quietly. "Apparently she's growing again." He grimaced and played in the water. Jensen came down to help him splash around. He grinned. "What do you think about Alexia?"
He considered that name. "I don't know," he admitted. "Jess kept with the whole 'J' thing they had going on for Bethie's middle name. That'll go well with yours." He shrugged and smiled. "Do you like it?"
"Maybe. I don't know. I know Buffy threw a fit about me thinking about naming her after Joyce. Said her mother would hate that. I'm wondering how hard it really is to bring her mom down for a chat and a long spanking session since I hadn't really thought about names until I got her email."
Jensen gave him a nudge. "At least it's not twins."
"Thank Janus," he said dryly, cracking Jensen up. "Where's Pooch?"
"His wife's starting labor pains so he's at home."
"That means he can tell you guys what to do then, huh?" he said dryly. He splashed his brother, getting it back. They got back to their splashing contest. Then Xander fell down gripping his stomach. "Ow. Stop it, dear, before I come in there and kick your ass," he muttered through gritted teeth.
Jensen helped Xander up, letting Clay help him get Xander into the house so he could lay down. Jensen called the doc, who said it was probably an expansion pain if he wasn't showing anything else for a symptom. Jensen was in high babble mode about things. The doctor promised he'd be out there that weekend for the ultrasound. Jensen hung up and got Xander a heating pad for his stomach then curled up behind him to fuss over him. Xander tried to push him away but yay. He was the prototype for the overprotective big brother boob robot.
Rupert Giles frowned at his phone when it rang, putting it on speaker absently. "Giles."
"Is it a bad thing if we find a mole on her during the ultrasound?" Xander's voice asked.
"No, not in the least. That is the most desirable outcome since it means the lines will be protected as long as she's born alive."
"What about a mole and a penis?"
"Are you sure it's the same mole?" he demanded.
"I identified how many of them?" he shot back sarcastically.
"Good point. There was that one though."
"She had the spirit but it hadn't stayed due to her health; they later found lymphoma."
"Ah, that's the entry you made next to her name." He considered it. "I haven't heard a prophecy but I shall ask and beat your father quite severely for you."
"Jensen and I are going to commit patricide so leave some for us." He groaned and moved. "Sorry, he's growing."
"I'd assume that's something all of you pregnant people would do, Xander." Faith leaned in, looking pointedly at him. "The first ultrasound did show the slayer mole but it's a boy."
Faith considered it. "So is that an Ethan issue or does that mean that there's equal chance for boys to be called now?"
"I don't know," he admitted. "I'll have to research that."
"If you need anything I have, let Jensen know. Oh, and please swat the bottle blonde for not only panicking that I might recognize Joyce somewhere in her name, but also for telling Dru where I am. Dru cooed over my stomach for hours before someone finally got free of where she had tied them up. My brother was all for staking her but she mind fucked him for a bit and danced off up the coast."
"I'll make note of where she is and have Spike become noticeable."
"She said he's going to take the spot that Spike might've or Robin might've if they had been called."
"Oh, dear. I'll be talking to your father later."
"Let me know how that goes for ya," Xander said dryly. "Here, talk to my brother." He handed it off and went to curl up again because the pains were back.
"Sorry, Mr. Giles, but Xander's having a lot of expansion pains. So we'll be doing what we do best. Any idea on how to deal with the insane vampiress who thinks my twin's a kitten? Because none of us can really see him as the fluffy, cuddly, kitten sort."
"Not a lot. Mostly we hand her to Spike or Angel to deal with. She's a bit...problematic since she's a seer as well."
"Yeah, we've seen a few visions out of Xander."
"He's still having them?" Giles demanded.
"Two since we hooked up."
"Oh, dear. Most pregnant slayers don't get slayer dreams and most seers' gifts leave them. It's thought to be dangerous for them to have them while pregnant."
"It's the reason I have them," Xander called faintly.
"That's fine then. I'll research that as well and call in a few days. He does have his phone?"
"Yes, he does. This is his."
"Then I'll talk to him in a few days. Do take care of him. We worry quite a lot." He hung up and got up, heading for the library, calling all the other research watchers in. "The child Xander is carrying does have a mole as well as a penis." One of them groaned and got a book. "Dru said something about him being the same sort that Spike or Robin could've been."
"I know that one," another one said, handing that book over. "It's not actually a bad omen. It means that boys may be called at times if they're exceptionally strong on one of the needed gifts. It might complicate some training issues but unless the child is a clone it should be fine. I can't see him being a slayer."
"He's done the job often enough," Faith said as she sat down to stare at them. "Any chance someone will think this is a horrible thing and try to hunt him down?"
"No," they said almost unanimously.
"There's one," one of the oldest left alive noted then sighed. "It's been discounted." He got that book and brought it back, reading it off.
"So basically a male slayer would have more trouble controlling the slayer urges," Giles said, looking at the senior slayer.
"So did I," she admitted.
"We believe that the girls who have that problem have a genetic XXY issue. We had some geneticists staring at that problem so we could predict future girls with problems."
"So it's something that a strong upbringing and training could overcome but ... Well I doubt Xander's son will be anything but strong willed," he said dryly, cracking Faith up. "If he inherits his father's issues of drawing demons.... That could be fairly helpful." Faith nodded, starting to giggle again. "But it doesn't sound like something horrible."
"No, but it is a possible issue, but again they all discounted a male one would ever be born," he said. "We thought that since Robin Woods wasn't born one then there was little hope. Apparently it took Janus."
"Actually, it could've just taken Xander," Dawn said as she walked in. "He is hellmouth born."
"Many are," that old one said, staring at her. She got a book and found her idea, handing it over. He read it and gave her a horrified look. Giles took it to read.
"Well, it appears Xander was foretold," he said dryly. "I'll have to see if that's what caused his father to be so disastrous to his son when I kill him later on." He looked up. "Again, nothing horrible."
"No, not in the least but that would make more sense with the male slayer being born finally," the old one said. "You really can find a prophecy on nearly everyone."
"Speaking of, X said he's still having visions," Faith said. "Why is that dangerous?"
Dawn swallowed. "For the same reason Cordy died," she said quietly. "He's more vulnerable now."
"Then again, Xander's aren't sent by the Powers," Giles said. Faith nodded. "We have no idea which higher power gave him his visions or activated the latent talent."
"I have the feeling we know now," Faith said dryly. Giles gave her a confused look. "Daddy's friend?"
"Oh, dear, I hadn't thought about that. It's possible it was one of those." He looked at his phone. "How do you send those text message things that you use, Dawn?" She took it to send one to him. She got back one a minute later. Giles took it and smiled. "That's a good thing. It was not Janus who activated it but it was one of the other higher powers. Apparently they had a talk once during the one that sent him to the ER with a seizure." He smiled. "He said that the hellmouth had held it down and with the loss of his eye, his energy rebalanced suddenly and let that talent surface. Whatever Caleb was doing or casting helped with that."
"Is that why now he gets dangerous women but not deadly ones?" Dawn asked.
"Quite possibly. Aren't you supposed to be in Brazil?"
"Yeah, in about an hour," she said dryly. "Buffy called up frantic and now I can't find her. I don't know why."
"Buffy!" Giles shouted, tipping his head toward the door. She walked in scowling. "You panicked enough to need Dawn? Can I help? Or Faith?"
"Xander is going to put *Mom*'s name in his little spawn's!" she shouted.
"Calm yourself. She did impact his life quite a lot by being his first true mother." He stared at her. "Beyond that, he said he hadn't thought about it until you mentioned it."
Dawn looked at her sister. "Are you possessed? You're suddenly the wicked stepsister sort and it's creepy. Don't make me find a way to call Mom back to bitch your ass out, Buffy." Buffy gaped at her. Dawn just stared. "How petty can you be? Really? Mom would be honored and cry on him. She'd be all over him to help him, make sure he ate, all that. I don't know why *some* of his *friends* are panicking so much. It's dumb."
"What if the child isn't a slayer?" she demanded.
"They did an ultrasound today and spotted the mole," Giles said with a smile. "Though they have spotted something irregular, but we were making sure it wasn't a problem."
"It's sick? Can we beat Ethan now and get Xander back?"
"No, the future slayer will be a male," Dawn said with a grin. "We have the mole spotted firmly. Jensen sent back that they had used a tiny camera when they did the amnio draw. So they have it on camera."
Buffy swallowed. "Oh. So he's not coming back? What are the girls going to do without him? More of them like him than us."
"That's because he gets out there, treats the girls like his sisters," Faith said. "You complain. You shop. You do some of the training but he gets into their lives and sees where the slayer gifts are going to screw things up." She stared at her sister slayer. "Beyond that, you'd hate to have a baby underfoot all the time."
"It would be dangerous."
"Can't have it both ways," Dawn said.
"He doesn't have to raise it," Buffy said. Dawn hauled off and knocked her down, and out when her head hit the wall.
"Really?" Dawn asked. "You just said that? I'm *so* calling Mom back. You clearly need your ass straightened out." She did the summoning, pointing at her sister. "She needs a mommy talk."
"Do you?" Joyce asked dryly.
"She's been being a panicky bitch about Xander being pregnant."
Joyce cooed. "We've been watching over him. Xander is so cute like that. And his brother is so protective over him. I know he missed his brother. Though they're not getting him calmed down, he's just taking a vacation." Dawn texted that to Xander's phone, including that Joyce said that. Jensen sent back a 'thank you, he's napping'. Joyce smiled at her daughter. "I'm proud you're standing by him and helping him. Remember, mood swings are worse than PMS because then he'll cry on you."
"If I was closer he could but...." She waved a hand around. "I'm in Brazil right now." She disappeared. "Thanks, Mommy," floated back.
Joyce sighed, looking at her older daughter. "Is she possessed or just freaked out?" she asked her old friend.
"I can check," he promised. He got the things to do that, letting Faith leave to take a nap before patrol that night.
The team was on the beach, talking about ideas to help Xander's battle fatigue and other issues. Roque said that it was really up to the kid. Jensen said that he knew that Xander was clinging to his old life instead of moving to reserve status. Cougar was staring at the house. Clay finally got fed up. "Cougar?" he snapped. "Do you have any good ideas?"
"The garage door is up." They looked and headed up there.
Xander was picking weapons. "Hand me that box of bullets please?" he asked calmly.
"Why?" Clay demanded.
"Because I had a vision of a horrible attack in the country, a few islands over, and I have to handle it," he said, looking at him.
"You can't do that," Clay told him. "It can kill you both."
"Not like I can mystically create an army."
"We can help," Jensen said.
"You're not my army," Xander snapped. "You're not trained for this. There's really not a lot of chance that it'll be able to be shot but I'm packing in case. If you guys want to come, you can. I might like someone making sure that no one else joins in." He finished packing and grabbed some stuff to change into. He walked out of his bedroom in jeans and a loose t-shirt. He grabbed his bag and headed out. "I'll be back in two days I hope."
"We," Clay said firmly. "We may not be your private army but it's our job to protect you."
Xander looked at him. "If I'm right, I'll need my axe. Can you use a sword?"
"Why can't we shoot it or blow it up?" Roque demanded.
"Because some things take steel or silver. And need beheaded." He shrugged. "It's the wacky world of demon hunting. Half the time you can't shoot anything unless you're making some really special bullets, like wood and silver, and some with silver shot but blessed. I can usually make a few but not enough for a full scale battle, which this might be." He walked around them. "I'm driving."
"Fat chance," Cougar ordered.
"Not with your cramps."
"Hush," Jensen ordered. "Let us pack a few things. Will it be a full battle?" Xander shrugged. "Odds?"
"What I saw, if we can stop the lesser five demons they can't summon the bigger one, which can destroy most of the island by sneezing. That one will be able to be shot with lead. Which I packed. The lesser ones, the only thing they're not immune to is stone. Specifically granite and quartz. Which I haven't figured out how to make into bullets. If you can, I'll learn from you. I can behead them though." He looked at Cougar then at Roque. "You guys don't have to. Demons freak most normal people out. It's not what you guys are trained for."
He looked earnest, like he was giving them good reasons. Jensen stared at him. "At the very least we can get normals out of the way," he said dryly. "And our job is to guard your ass. So therefore if you go, we go." He smirked. "And beyond that, I do kinda know how to use a sword. I took lessons in high school for SCA." Xander hugged him. They got their travel bags and headed off with Xander. Clay activated the security system they had put up. Roque drove. Xander was meditating in the back seat. "Where specifically?" Jensen asked.
Xander drew out a map. "I called a boat owner I know so we can use it over. Then we'd have to find a way back. I never think to make return plans in advance. Because I know some day I won't need them and half the time I have to head off in another direction entirely."
"Well, this time we don't," Jensen said, making those plans. "We can ship the weapons on the way back." He finished the plans, saving them down. "Clay, we need to hit the boat docks in the next town to the east." Roque nodded. "How big is the boat?"
"Who owns it?" Clay asked.
"One of the fathers of a former slayer. She died during the First's issues. Her little sister is a passed over slayer."
"So he knows and understands," Clay said, nodding slightly. "That's good." They readied themselves for the trip and the upcoming battle.
Xander looked at the demons, sizing them up. "Bigger than I saw. They've fed recently." He got stopped by Jensen's hand on his arm. He looked at his brother.
"Be careful, don't let it hit you in the stomach or the head. If it hurts you I'm killing it and then yelling at you." He kissed him on the forehead. "Don't get dead or hurt."
Xander smiled. "I haven't heard that in years. Thank you," he said quietly. He got free and snuck over. He noticed one staring at him. "I'm just a tourist," he quipped with an evil smirk.
"I sense a blessed object so you brought that cursed axe of yours that we all like to make fun of?" he sneered. Xander threw it, beheading him.
"Why, yes, I did," he sneered back. He grabbed it on the way past, attacking the other demons before they could do more than stare. He got another one injured before they tried to hit him.
"This will be a pleasure," one sneered. "We can sacrifice you and play with the others."
Xander snickered. "Hasn't happened yet." He killed that one and moved on.
"People, this isn't a sideshow!" Clay shouted. They ran. They dove in to get the others at least injured. Cougar was praying hard. Roque was growling in pleasure since he got to stab things. Clay was thinking about things he needed to learn how to do. He saw the kid fall to one knee but he beat the crap out of the demon before getting up and killing it. That left two.
"Jensen," Xander shouted, tossing his axe. He pulled a large knife and went after it. Jensen had caught the axe and was using it fairly well. "It's a staff with a blade," he shouted. Jensen nodded, shifting his hands and helping his brother. Xander and Roque killed another one but it was trying to groan. Jensen blocked a fist to his chest and swung the axe, letting it roll in his hand so the blade hit him. He kicked it back to get them on firmer ground that wasn't slippery with blood.
They followed. Roque got knocked down. Cougar got knocked across the road. Clay got hit but stayed standing and they attacked again. The demon tried to get Xander's stomach with a claw, scratching him but Xander grabbed the axe back, ducking down and spinning, taking out the demon's knee as Xander slid onto his. Then he popped up and beheaded it with two swings. Xander looked at him then at the altar. "Free the hostages, get them help," he said quietly. "They're probably drugged and possibly poisoned. I have to clean up this mess." He pulled something out and pulled the pin, tossing it onto the bodies. It went up suddenly and with the sound of popping popcorn. Then the demons dissolved. Xander hit the others with the same thing, watching them dissolve.
"Halt," someone shouted. "Put down the weapons."
Xander stared at him, pulling out his ID. "Watchers Council." The officer paled, stepping back. "We're going to fade. Check the victims for poisons and drugs. Check them for torture as well," he said firmly. He grabbed his bag, using a cloth inside to wipe his blade clean. They walked off. "We're going back on vacation, Officer. All yours now."
"My superiors will want a report, sir."
Xander grinned. "I had a vision. You can tell him that killing them kept them from summoning the one that would have destroyed the island simply by peeing or sneezing. I only heard earlier. Sorry about the lack of warning."
"Are they Council?"
"They're trying really hard to help me retire." He smiled. "Before my family's started." That got a nod and the officer backed off. "Have a better life, Officer. I hope no more come into your life that aren't peaceful or helpful." He walked off with the team watching him. They got into the car and Xander slumped, closing his eyes and moving his neck. "Are we sure I can't drink?" he asked as they drove off.
"No more than two beers a month," Jensen said. He shifted to look at him in the back of the minivan. "Pain?"
"Slight scratch. No poison on the claws," he reported. "A bit of fatigue since I'm not in the same sort of shape I was months ago." He yawned. "I need a nap but that's usual after a battle." He yawned again, making Cougar do the same thing. "I'm sorry I dragged you into that stuff."
"Shut up, kid," Clay ordered. He rolled his eyes. "We volunteered, get it right." Roque snorted. "That was more messy than I thought it would be." He shifted but the minivan was comfortable. "Jensen, the weapons?"
"They need to be cleaned. They're going back as a personal collection." They nodded, pulling over to clean all the weapons. They went to the airport, dropping the minivan off before they moved to the UPS stand.
Xander held up a hand when the man started to babble about weapons. He held up his Council ID. "I'm going to my new post."
The man looked, then gave him an awed look. "Of course. Where is it going, sir?" Xander and Jensen filled the forms out while the man reverently helped Cougar pack the weapons. "Thank you for thinking of us."
Xander smiled. "I liked you guys in the past too. You guys didn't even lose my special, blessed axe on the way to Africa, finding me in the middle of nowhere to deliver it to me." He smiled. "Thank you." The man beamed and nodded. The box got put in for processing and they went to check in and fly the puddle jumper plane back to the other island. While they waited to board, Jensen checked Xander's stomach in the bathroom. It was just a scratch but Jensen was keeping himself from freaking out.
Jensen looked up at him. "All the scars?" he asked quietly.
"About two-thirds," he admitted. "I learned how to fight by jumping in."
Jensen hugged him. Someone in there glared at him. "He's my brother." The man left. He looked at Xander. "Please retire?" he begged. "I'd hate to miss you again."
Xander sniffled. "Don't make me mood swing, Jake. I hate crying." They walked out together, seeing the disgusted look. "He's my twin brother," he said in the native language. "He was checking on an injury for me and is worried sick since I'm Council." The guards nodded, backing away. "I'm sorry if that person got the wrong idea. He wasn't hugging me for other reasons. I'm not into him."
"Thank you for clearing that up, sir." He walked off.
Xander and Jensen got back to the seating area, watching as Cougar stood up. "We on?" Jensen asked. Cougar nodded so they boarded and got settled. It was only a twenty minute flight. Xander settled in to nap. Cougar tipped Xander's head in the other direction, letting it rest on Jensen's shoulder instead. Jensen stared at him. Cougar shrugged and let himself rest as well. Jensen wrote his sister an email about the fight. He'd hack some footage later to include. He looked back at Clay and Roque, who were talking. He raised an eyebrow. Clay smiled but shook his head. Jensen went back to his observations about Xander.
His sister was going to have a fit.
Jensen was keeping his inside before he made his brother cry again.
Three hours later in New Hampshire, Jess Jensen opened her email. "One from your uncles." She got into it. "Um, dear, this has adult stuff in it so don't read it and go to your room please?" she asked calmly. She heard her daughter walk off. She got back into the video. She didn't hear her daughter come back. "Oh, shit," she muttered, watching it. "No one told me my brother was Iolaus and Thor's love child."
"Mommy, is that Uncle Xander fighting those icky demons?" she asked. Her mother flinched, glaring at her. She smiled. "The teacher told us about the invasion that let us know about demons and slayers the other day. That way we know why they're important and why not all of them are bad people, just the bad guys among them."
She hugged her daughter. "Your uncle is actually on the Council but he's newly retired because of your future cousin," she explained. "But something happened and Xander had to help with a small fight. Which is what your Uncle Jake sent. They're both just fine."
"Of course they are, Mommy. I did a research project on Uncle Xander. He's been hunting since he was sixteen and only is missing an eye. He's been in every battle but about three known ones because he was off training some of the slayers that didn't get hurt by that First Evil poopy head. He's one of the people on the senior board."
"Can I see that report?" She nodded, jogging off to get it and bring it back. "An A+, I'm very proud, dear." She hugged her and settled in to read the report. Apparently they needed to handcuff Xander to Jake for a while. That way he didn't get hurt again. She sent her daughter off so she could rewatch the video. "My missing brother is an insane idiot," she decided. "Who really needs to retire. Before we end up mourning him again."
Jensen answered the phone. "Yup?" He listened. "Hi, Doc Witherspoon. What's wrong?" He listened to the results, taking notes on what the doctor was saying. "A question was raised, who's the daddy?" He heard that. "Okay, please do if you find out. I'll let him know. Thanks, Doc."
He hung up and walked out to where Clay and Xander were talking about how you retired when you had to retire from combat without slipping casually back into it. He flopped down next to Xander. "That was the doctor." Xander looked at him. "The amnio results are back. It's all good. He's healthy, he's developing normally. He's already active as a slayer." Xander flinched, giving him a horrified look. "That little drop test you put on their hands or blood? It came up positive."
"I'm not sure if that's normal or not. We've only had two pregnant slayers who survived."
"I can check," Clay told him. Xander beamed at him for that. "Any other news?"
"He's testing parental donors." Xander hugged him. Jensen cuddled back with a grin. "That way we know. Maybe it's someone you'd like to date." He grinned. "The only anomaly it has is the XYX genome, which means they have an extra X chromosome. It won't do him any harm but he's going to be low testosterone probably when he gets older."
Xander grinned. "So not really tough?"
"He can be tough but he won't be horribly tough and badass unless we make them. He won't look like Roque. He'll probably be more skinny like we are."
"That's good to know."
"And he'll call with the parentage even if he does have to ask someone to run it."
"Welcome." He grinned. "Jess said you looked like Iolaus." Xander cackled, shaking his head. "She said our niece saw it and asked some questions because her teacher had told them about the LA invasion so she had done a book report on you." He grinned. "She still says you're neat."
"I don't want to dirty her, Jensen. If she knows she'll never be innocent."
Jensen nudged him with his shoulder. "She doesn't really know what I do either, Xander. She knows we're in the army and we do important missions that occasionally get dangerous. She found out you're one of the top people in the Council, that you've been in most of the major battles, but Jess said she knew that there's a difference between the peaceful sorts and the rest."
"That's good." He winced and gripped his stomach. "Ow. Don't kick, son."
Jensen squealed, stroking his stomach. "Just one more, nephew, then let Daddy rest?"
"Ow," Xander muttered when Jensen got kicked. Jensen hugged him. "Hey!" he complained weakly.
"If I die, he's yours."
"Of course he is." He cuddled his brother, smiling at Clay. "He kicked."
"I'm told they do that a lot until you push them out." He watched Xander struggle against Jensen being clingy but not hard enough to upset Jensen. Jensen even got to nag him into eating something and taking a nap. So clearly Xander was feeling good with his brother again. That would help the kid a lot.
"Alexavier?" Xander offered.
Jensen hummed and looked up from his present hacking. "What?"
"The kids might pick on him," Jensen said with a grimace. "It's cute though I guess."
"What's with the 'Lex' names?" Roque asked.
"Once he's out I'm turning into Lex Luthor," Xander said dryly. "That way I can beat the asses of Wolfram and Hart for good."
Roque gave him an odd look. "Wasn't he the bad guy?"
"Kinda, but I can be that bad to the side of evil." He grinned. "I'm good at it. I'll start a research firm or something. Maybe some training for swords or people who want to hunt with the slayers."
Jensen grinned, getting into another window. "I've been meaning to get into those fuckers. Let's see where you can go against them easiest, Xander." Xander hugged him, letting him pat his nephew. "We'll figure out the name too. That way he's not picked on too much like Pooch probably was."
"Pooch has a real name?" Xander asked.
"No, I'd never do that to my son. I like the guy, but the jocks can be mean."
Roque nodded. "Yes they can be. Have we made out primary documents? In case you're in the hospital after the birth?" he pressed when Xander gave him a confused look.
Xander pointed at Jensen. "He gets the baby and my money. My stored stuff goes to the kid, not my friends. Dawn gets my pictures and the comic collection goes to Andrew."
"Put it in writing, that way none of your friends can protest."
"I probably should." He opened his computer up to get into the programs. "Ah, here we go, the legal paperwork maker." Jensen looked confused, pushing his glasses back up. "Sometimes we needed some for the girls."
He nodded, that made more sense.
Xander got into the will maker to use the template. It wasn't that hard. He had filled out paperwork for Power of Attorney, custody, and other things in the past for some of his girls. "Do I fill it out for US courts or other courts?"
"Depends on where you're going to keep your primary residency," Jensen said absently. "If you're keeping US citizenship, yes. Though the baby's citizenship might be in question depending on who the daddy is."
"If I have to, I can have someone magic his files in," Xander admitted. "That's how Mom got the shitbag to change my birth certificate so she wouldn't have to pay for the formal adoption stuff."
Jensen's head came up slowly. "She did what?" Xander went into his room and came out with a document. Jensen read it over. "That's not a legal switch, it wasn't refiled," he said dryly. "She's in so much trouble."
"She died when Sunnydale fell in, Jake. They refused to leave."
"Damn, have to wait for a few years to thump her."
Xander stared at him. "If one of us end up in a hell realm, we're honor and duty bound to try to take over and make it better."
"Wouldn't that be a lot of work?" Roque asked.
"Yeah but you'd be bored otherwise. Or tortured. This way you can torment others and not be tormented."
A largeish, human looking demon with wings appeared, staring at him. "Please don't make that vow. We'd have to protest and make you immortal, which would mean watching everyone around you die." Jensen and Roque had guns out within a heartbeat of him showing up. Cougar had his trained on him from the trees.
Xander grinned. "If I end up in hell after everything I've done to save humanity, I'm *so* taking over. I may not vow it but I will." He beamed. "We'll have such *fun*! I'll make it efficient, I'll make it more fun because clearly heaven's cranked somewhere if me or the slayers end up there, and I'll make it so those that shouldn't be tormented aren't. I'll redo the whole judgement process so it's fair and actually realistic."
The demon shuddered. "You'd ruin us."
"Perhaps but I'd rebuild it so it was better."
"What is it doing here?" Clay growled as he came out of his room.
"He's trying to convince Xander not to take over hell if he ends up down there."
"The problem is that he's doing unnatural things," the demon said dryly.
"Not my choice," Xander chirped with an evil smirk. "I tried to not have it but then I got forced because of what's going on. If you didn't want me having this child, you should've had Wolfram and Hart sacrifice me properly or just not take me." He beamed. "And if he confines me to hell, I'll start with the road trip demons I saw. They're all sorts of fun and we can even start a labor union with them in the lead."
The demon whimpered. "You'll destroy everything that makes hell wonderful, Harris."
"I'll make it so it's better and people might actually want to join us." He smirked. "Like in that Anthony book."
"I read that series," he said dryly.
"I'd even have better lawyers look over the soul contracts so they're harder to get out of and easier to get people to sign than Wolfram and Hart's version." The demon moaned, shaking his head with a small whimper of pain. "We love some of you guys. Some of you are very nice to me. I got a great baby present the other day from Astri." The demon gave him a horrified look; even his wings were slumped now. "Can you take the thank you note?" He went to get it and came back to hand it over, giving him a hug. "Don't worry, when I'm there you guys can give me advice. I listen to advice. I learned how to lead really well." He patted him between the wings. "We'll have *fun*. Look forward to all the fun."
The demon started to cry, taking the thank you note back to hell. His boss looked concerned until he showed him why. That higher up took the thank you note and went to tell the other higher ups the bad news. They needed to redo the judging process to exclude Harris. When he found out there was a Harris brother and sister, they got added. Just in case.
Roque looked at Xander. "You... you made a high level demon cry."
"Well, yeah. He wasn't going to hurt me or the baby." He grinned. "A lot of them respect and like me more than my friends do. I met a lot of them through Anya." He grinned. "Some of them have really great senses of humor too. Most of the higher ups really don't want to take over humanity and won't really stand in the way of hunting. It was really nice when they showed up to complain how dumb their bosses were. And the other bosses too. They even all agreed, them being sith or jedi would be more cool and more reasonable. We had a three day talk and decided that over beers and chips."
Clay gave Xander a look then Jensen. "Don't look at me," Jensen said, holding up both hands and leaning back in his chair. "This is from him being left in Sunnydale. This is not a Rayne family trait. I'm much more normal than that." Xander scowled. "You're kinda warped sometimes, Xander. Most of us would've sent demons away."
"I've known and worked with plenty of demons."
"I know but still, those sort are probably dangerous. Really, really dangerous."
"He was doing a nice thing. Otherwise I wouldn't be able to get that thank you note back to the sender of that really pretty baby blanket with protections on it."
"Go take a nap," Roque ordered, pointing toward the bedrooms.
"I'm not tired."
"Now," Clay ordered. "Jensen. Now." Jensen got up and helped Xander up and into the bedroom. "Cougar, go watch them," he called. Cougar came in and went to sit next to Jensen to make sure he wasn't tainted by any more demonic contact. Clay looked at Roque. "We can't both be drunk tonight."
"Pooch is coming back in a week."
"Sure, you can wait a week to get drunk."
"I call now, I'll get up and have a hangover for patrol tonight," Roque said. "That way I'll be hyper sensitive to sounds. You take tonight for tomorrow morning's patrol?"
"Sounds good. Do we have liquor?"
"We're in a mostly Islamic country," Xander called. "Check the boxes."
They went to the garage, finding some really old scotch and some newer stuff. They decided to save the really old stuff for a special occasion. For just getting drunk, the newer stuff worked just as well and was easier to be replaced.
Xander looked at his baby naming site. "Did you know someone totally misspelled my name by spelling it 'Alexzander'?" he asked.
Cougar looked at him. "Why?"
"I have no idea," Xander admitted. "Probably part of that 'unique' spelling movement to take popular names and change the spelling. They always seem to end up with a lot of 'y's."
Cougar shook his head quickly. "I am glad I don't have to do that."
"Suggest away, please. I might find one I like instead of this." Jensen walked behind him and reached around him to type in another site. "Bad baby names?" he read. He giggled. "Yeah, that's what I want to avoid. The dreaded disease of 'y'."
"Huh?" Roque asked as he walked through the room.
"Sinclair," Xander said, reading off the original site. "Synclayre."
"Not even I spell that badly," he said. "Or Cougar and English is his second language."
"It's popular to do that," Jensen said dryly. "This site is actually hilarious though. So many bad baby names mixed with sarcasm."
"Sarcasm is always appreciated," Xander quipped. "It's a humor I get." Jensen stared at Xander's stomach. His sarong was tied below the baby lump. "I'm not fat."
"You've lost weight in other areas so no you're not," Cougar said. "My sisters would complain."
Xander looked at him. "All women complain about something. Some nag, some complain, and some whine 'why me' but for some reason every single woman I've ever met, even on the bus, complained to me about something. That was one good thing about hiding in the middle of the wildness in Africa. Less women to complain." Cougar walked off shaking his head. He sat down behind Jensen's computer to email someone.
Xander looked at Jensen. "Do they do that to you?"
"Not usually. Sometimes they avoid me totally because I'm too cute for them to handle." He grinned. Xander winced and grabbed his stomach. "Relax. You know it hurts more when you fight it," he soothed, sitting beside him to rub his stomach and lower back. "That's not a kick. Clay, that's not a kick," he called. Clay came jogging out to check him with Cougar.
"Practice contraction," Cougar said. Xander glared at him. "Happens."
Jensen cooed, hugging his stomach. "It'll be okay. It means it's getting closer to time."
"That means he needs to get baby stuff," Clay noted. "Diapers, those things."
Xander looked at him. "Can't I order them?"
"Probably. Why are you suddenly scared of stores?" Xander pointed at his very obvious stomach. "Wear sweats."
"They don't fit either. So unless I go in drag...."
"I don't want that mental image," Clay said, walking off. "I'm calling Doctor Witherspoon."
"Tell him to make them stop," Xander called after him. He slumped, looking at his stomach. "Just... don't kill me for those, okay?"
"You're fine," Jensen soothed. Xander scowled at him. "You are."
"I know." He grinned. He finished cooing at his nephew. "This is my first time seeing this too."
Xander slumped. Jensen was taking a lot of pleasure at all this. He couldn't ruin his brother's happies. Even if he was freaked out again.
Cougar was watching him. "Go bathe. It helps." Xander nodded, putting his computer aside to do that. He looked at Jensen. "He's scared," he said quietly.
Jensen nodded. "So am I." He started to get up but Cougar pushed him back down, shaking his head. Jensen nodded, relaxing and getting back to what he was doing. "I need to order diapers." He found a site, staring at it. "They're really expensive. How much does it cost to raise a baby?" He searched that and found the high six figures. "And that's before college?" he muttered.
"There's no way Xander can handle that." He considered it then went back to destroying Wolfram and Hart. By the time he was done they wouldn't need their funds anyway. Apparently the agents he was feeding information to weren't the sort to care so he sent it to a different one about different matters. That got more attention but they got stopped later in the day. "The president likes Wolfram and Hart," he said dryly. "Charming!"
He fixed that problem as well. Interpol wasn't like that. Interpol hated people who killed people in pagan rites and the Council stopping them. They'd do about anything to make sure the Council was unneeded outside of battles - which would hopefully happen in the US instead of Europe. He got back a thank you note from that agent and told him that he was happily destroying them for what they had done to his brother.
The agent said he understood how it was when they sacrificed a family member. So Jensen told him why. He'd apparently heard and was shuddering but he wanted him to take whatever he could so they were hampered. Called it a baby present even. Jensen said 'thank you' and told him about the other agent's involvement and how he got stopped. The agent sounded smug when he said he wasn't going to let that happen to him. Jensen opened up everything for him and stole all the money, including the hidden accounts.
"Turn on the tv," Clay ordered after getting a phone call.
Jensen looked, watching as Interpol agents raided one of the local offices an hour later. He finished opening up all their hidden files for Interpol. For being an evil law firm bent on world domination they had really crappy security on their computer files. It was almost something he could've done back in sixth grade. Definitely by eighth. "The side of evil really does suck," he announced. "They haven't even tempted hackers onto their side apparently. They keep information on their plans on their computers. Hell, they even threaten and sexually harass by email!" Clay shook his head, watching the thing going on. "Xander?" Xander woke up and came out, rubbing his eyes and one hand holding his stomach. "They're taking down Wolfram and Hart."
"Yay good guys," Xander said, flopping down next to him. "What're you working on?"
"Them. They're so bad at protecting their ideas." He gave him a hug. "I ordered some diapers and a few cute onesies."
"What's a onesie?" Jensen showed him and babbled about all the cute baby stuff he could wear. They could even get him baby leather pants. Xander sniffled and hugged him. "Thank you."
"You're welcome." He wouldn't say a word about the mood swing because he was feeling sniffly himself. Everyone else was pointedly ignoring them. Pooch walked in with his wife and the baby. "Hi, Jolene. Hey, baby Pooch." He grinned, nudging Xander awake again. "That's Pooch's baby."
Xander stared, head tipped. "I have no idea how to even hold one of you," he realized.
"That's why I brought my beautiful wife and son with me," Pooch said smugly. "That way we could make sure you can change diapers."
"Cool." He carefully took him to hold.
"Head up a bit," Pooch ordered. Xander shifted the baby so it was sitting in his lap against his chest. "That's not a bad position." The baby was still asleep. "We'll teach you to change, feed, and hold one of those." He helped his wife sit then sat beside her. "What's going on?"
"Jensen helped Interpol," Clay said.
"Good." He took his son back. Something had woken him.
She stared at him. "Being kicked?" He nodded, rubbing his stomach with a pouty look. "They all do that."
"He's lost some weight," Jensen said. "He needs to gain it back before he gets sick."
Xander looked at him. "I thought you were my brother, not my sister." Clay cracked, snickering.
"You are too skinny," Jolene agreed. "Can you cook at all?"
Xander nodded. "A little bit. I learned when I was training some of the slayers."
"We can work on that. I know they have huge stomachs." He turned green. "Ah, that's the reason. Anything that soothes that?" Xander shook his head and got up to go puke. He waddled as fast as he could. Jensen was looking worried. "You can go help him," she said quietly.
"No I can't. He said so."
"Yeah, some of you boys are like that. Like what Clay would be like knocked up."
Clay stared at her then looked at Pooch. "Is that hormone damage or did you just fail making your wife happy so she's got bad thoughts?"
She swatted him. "You'd make a decent enough daddy."
Roque shuddered. "I can't see Clay in a sarong with that stomach of doom." He went to get a drink. "Kid, you good?"
"Hell no. Go away!"
"Sure, we'll stay out here." He stared at Jensen.
"Last time he tried to hit me."
"Fine." He sat down with his laced coffee. Cougar's mind was still stuck by the look on his face so he nudged him, making him shudder hard enough his hat came off. Jensen giggled. "At least it's not you, Jensen. We'd have to freak out if it was you."
Jensen stared at him. "I'd be just a beautiful as my brother is," he said firmly, glaring at Roque. "And if something happens to him, you guys can be really spoiling uncles." Clay opened his mouth. Jensen glared at him too.
"Jess would help," Clay offered. Jensen stared at him. Then he got up and walked off shaking his head. "Damn."
"That's one translation of that family's name," Cougar said quietly. He watched Jensen and Xander go into the garage, wincing when the car started. "I think they're going shopping."
Clay hopped up but the boys were gone by the time he got out there. "I hate mood swings."
Jolene swatted him. "That was you insulting the boys. Not a mood swing. A mood swing means he would've taken your head off. Considering what I've seen online of some of his fights, he might do it." She stared at him. "If you insulted me that way I would've taken your balls off, Clay." He nodded, calling Jensen's phone, which rang in the bedroom. "You'd better fix that before you lose Jensen."
He nodded, going to follow the twins to wherever they were going. They had trackers on all the team right now. He found them in the local market with the locals all liking him. None of them seemed to realize he was pregnant. He shadowed them, finding the boys stocking up on things that would make them sick if they ate them. "Clams aren't local," he said, walking up to them. "That means they had be shipped."
"These are dried," Xander said, pointing. "They're still cold."
Clay sniffed them, shaking his head. "No. Let's not get food poisoning. It could kill you. Or us." He looked at the younger men, who shrugged and bought something else. He walked off with them. They stopped to look at baby things. "Are we planning on a crib?" he asked quietly.
"That's not really easily moved," Xander admitted. He did pick up a baby carrier system. The woman selling it smiled and showed him how to adjust it and how to put it on. Jensen watched too just in case he needed to know. They kept going, finding a few more neat things for the house. Then Clay walked them over to where he had seen someone they knew. "Hi, Doc," Xander said, giving him a quick hug. "You look like you had a bad day."
"I did," he admitted, staring at him. "That's cute." He smirked. "Feeling all right?"
"I'm okay. I'm hating a few things," he said quietly, glancing around. "I don't know if I can put up with these practice things for very long."
The doctor smiled. "You only have two to three more months of being sick."
"Yeah but that sucks."
"Yeah, it does," the doctor agreed. "I'll see you this weekend. Then we'll start seeing you more often until it's time to be better."
"Sure. But I'm not sure I can handle those."
"I know. It'll be okay. We'll talk this weekend."
"Doc, any new precautions?" Clay asked.
"Not yet." He looked in the bags. "Don't eat those onions, you'll probably regret it, even if they're cooked, Xander. Like eggs." Xander turned green. "Hmm. Still?" Xander nodded, swallowing hard. Jensen handed over his bottle of water. "We'll see." He patted him on the arm. "Let me find my wife something nice." He walked around them. "I'll be out Saturday afternoon."
"Sure," Clay agreed. He walked the boys off. "Calm it down, Xander." He nodded, sipping the water. Even Jensen was looking a bit green. Clay got them away from people and strong smells, letting them calm themselves on the way to the cars. Xander managed to hold it off until they made it onto the road home then Jensen and he both had to stop and puke. Clay timed it. That was a long episode. That had to be fixed.
Jolene watched Xander pick at dinner. "You need to eat. He'll take it from you even if you don't and if you get weak, you'll end up sick."
"I got sick an hour ago," he said quietly, putting down his fork. "I'm not really ready to eat. I'll eat it later." He went back to his room.
She looked at Clay. "Ten minutes of it," he told her.
She frowned. "That's not normal."
"We ran into the doctor when they were shopping, he'll be out Saturday." He ate a bite. "It's a bit spicy. I know eggs don't go well. The mention was why they got sick." Jensen ran to get sick. "And he's mirroring it," he finished dryly. "Shut the damn door!" he shouted. It got kicked shut. Clay ate another bite, then grinned at her. "Thanks for cooking, Jolene."
"I know you can't," she said dryly, cracking Roque up.
Jolene watched as a glow went over all the men, including her man. "What is that?" Cougar asked.
Xander came out, staring at them then up. "Bitch," he called. "I'm coming back there to stop your damn magic addiction once and for all!" They heard a squeak and the glow stopped. Xander picked up a few candles and a dagger. "Let me go talk to someone." He headed for the door.
"What was that?" Clay demanded.
"That was Willow."
"For?" Roque asked.
"I have no idea. That's why I'm going to call on something higher to ask what the hell she just did." He went outside. He used the dagger to draw in the hard-packed dirt at the end of the driveway. He had to get a few more candles then came back out to light them and stepped into the protection circle. He dropped a few drips of blood next to his feet. "D'Hoffryn?" he called. "I know Willow did something." Nothing. He intoned the formal summoning and watched as the demon huffed when he appeared. "What did Willow do?" he asked dryly.
"You summoned me? Won't that bother the future infant?" He waved a hand at his stomach.
Xander stared at him. Then he smirked. "It's that bad?" The higher demon nodded. "Can I kill her ass?"
"There's a fight over who gets her. This is probably a bad idea."
Xander stared at him. "What was it? Because I am owed those curses."
He coughed and muttered something in Latin since someone was watching.
"Excuse me?" Jensen demanded. "She made men fertile?"
Xander sighed. "Can I undo it?"
"No. She put the full power of the hellmouths behind it. That way you weren't so rare and could come home."
Xander stared at them. Then at the demon. "Can I change it with the curse?"
"Yes. We'd all dearly love that since the higher ups are using this as a new way to prove dominance."
"Then I intone the curse I am owed by Da'Travetlina." D'Hoffryn shuddered. That demon appeared outside the summoning circle. "As I can not *yet * undo what Willow Rosenburg hath wrought, I do use the owed curse to counter her so any man who would use that gift does it with full knowledge and desire. That it could not happen accidentally. That it could not happen without intent. That it could not happen without them knowing it was possible." He looked at D'Hoffryn. "And that finally the same conditions apply to demons who were affected because they did not have that gift naturally."
The demon nodded. "That's a nice counter, thank you. We were going to prompt you later, but it's bad for it."
Xander looked at him. "My own hellmouth taint protects him, Da'T."
"Good point. We keep underestimating you."
"Hmm," Xander agreed. He looked at his brother then smirked. "I use my second curse, which is also owed to me by Da'Travetlina. The entity known as Wolfram and Hart, and all their other various names that they may work under, shall hereby be known to work for the Angels and the Powers That Be *both*, that way both sides have to agree on their future greater and lesser works." The demons gaped, staring at him. "And that the demon lords in charge of the entity are now turned back to the level of a Higher instead of their Demon Lord status. All their earned status is to be removed to the child that they made come into being against the parents' wills." Both demons moaned. "And finally that this child shall not be touched harmfully by any Demon Lord or Higher Demon."
D'Hoffryn smirked. "So it can be a slayer but not touched by the higher demons as part of a plot?"
"Exactly." He looked at the other one.
He whimpered. "That would keep all plots and plans down about the child." He considered it, staring at his fellow demon, who was nodding. "Fine." Xander grinned. "The other one?"
"We'll see." He kicked over a line, smirking. "Have a nice night, guys. Oh, D'Hoffryn, any idea on the father?"
"Your father was warped."
"I knew that."
The demon lord stared at him then smirked. He and the other one disappeared.
Xander sat down, looking at his twin, who shuddered. "You think?"
"I know," he sighed. He went to call Abby to ask her check against his DNA. She already knew the answer though. He came out. "Yup." Xander got up with some help from Pooch. "Any idea where he is?"
Xander stared at him. "We can summon his skanky ass."
"I don't want him to know where you are," Jensen pointed out.
"What?" Clay demanded calmly.
"Abby did the DNA searching," Jensen said. "It's ours. Our dad's a fucking moron."
"Well, we're not identical twins so it's not a clone."
"It's still to related and we'll have health issues," Jensen said. He was building up some good anger, which brought a young woman to stare at him oddly. He looked at Xander, who nodded. "Are you over something that could help me get back at my father?"
"Yes. Why?" she asked casually.
"Our father made Xander's baby ours."
She blinked then at him. "You're Xander's twin?" He grinned and nodded. "I didn't think Ethan was that sick."
"Your anger is very impressive."
"Usually I'd kill a lot of people." She hugged him. He hugged her back. "Can I wish that the child have a different paternal donor who would make it just as strong as we both are as well as my father being tormented because of this?"
She considered it. "It's not two wishes when you put it that way." She glanced at Xander.
"I *so* wish that the father of Xander's child was someone else who could make the boy as strong as we both are while my father suffers for his manipulation in the worst way possible, by making him the main person who has to run a social work group home."
"That's so evil," Xander said, beaming at his twin. "I thought I was the evil one."
"Not hardly," Pooch said dryly. "Will he hurt those kids?"
"Nope," she said smugly. She cackled. "I adore you two so much." She pinched Jensen on the cheek, looking around. "That's fine, we can change the parentage." She winked at Clay. "Not yours. Quit stressing." She disappeared.
"We'll do a new DNA test," Jensen said, walking closer. Xander nodded, hugging him. "We'll kill him later."
"Good." He was surrounded by a silver glow so he looked up. "Thank you."
"Welcome," a male voice called. "It will be a good father. Even if he would disagree." It faded out.
Xander nodded. "Okay. Let me go get a drink."
"No alcohol," Jolene ordered.
"Doc said I could have two glasses a month," he countered.
She stared at him. "Yay. Still not good for him."
He grimaced. "After this revelation, I really need a drink." He walked around her, going for a beer. "I'll stick with very light alcohol." He went to his room to throw a fit. They watched him come out to get his phone and walked back in there before slamming the door and starting to scream at someone.
Jensen shrugged. "It's not a mood swing. If you're yelling at Dad, I want some," he called.
"I'm not. I'm talking quite reasonably with Buffy and Giles." He was quiet for a minute then started to yell again.
Clay and the others shared a look. "Better them than us. I would've killed her," Clay decided.
Roque nodded. "If I become a daddy somehow, I'll kill her myself and it'll be messy in a way I'll fucking enjoy."
"You?" Jolene snorted. "That girl needs the hell beaten out of her by all the women who just got their special gifts taken away!" She walked off. "Xander, where is that menace to humanity?"
"Hiding from me before I find a way back there to kill her dumb ass. Even the coven won't hide her this time."
Jensen went to look for her. It was something he could easily do. Not like she was used to covering her tracks. They had left anything like that to Xander to handle. "She's in London."
"London," Roque said, looking at Clay.
"I love London," he agreed. They went to pack a bag. "Tell us if someone gets her first," he called as they headed out to the car.
"No, no one else knows yet," Jensen said dryly. "Remember to tell them what Dad's doing so they can't interrupt it," he called.
"Already did," Xander called back.
Pooch looked at Cougar. "We're missing out on the ass kicking."
Cougar nodded. "We're needed here."
"True, they'll kick her for us too." He went to check on the baby. His son was sucking on his thumb and looked happy. "I hope you never have to deal with this issue, son." He picked him up and walked him out. Maybe he'd fall back asleep when he couldn't hear Xander quite as clearly.
"I warned Abby the old results weren't reliable any more," Jensen said. "She'll be expecting another sample. She was worried there'd be damage done too." Jensen felt something and looked up. "Xander, Clay and Roque are going to find her."
"Can't I beat her?"
"No, the rest of us want some and you'd kill her too quickly," Pooch said dryly.
"I'm not certain it'd be fast," Xander quipped. "It's Willow's research that led to them deciding to take me." He walked off outside, going toward the beach. Cougar stalked him.
Pooch looked at his wife. "I'd kill her."
"I'll kill her if I ever see her," she assured him. "How dare she!"
Jensen looked up at her. "Willow has a magic addiction, basically it blinds her to what she wants isn't always right. She's feening to use it for something she considers a good idea. Now and then it may be. Sometimes though she thinks she has the right to take the Goddess' place. This is one of those because she thinks that he'd get to come back if it was more normal. Not thinking about the child being in danger or anything, which is why they made him retire, including her." She shuddered.
"I'm pretty certain that Clay and Roque are going to make Scotland Yard look horrified." He got back to it. "The Wolfram and Hart stuff is finished. Interpol's agent who was working against them is cackling in glee. I told him about the curse and he's very happy that the baby will have a good school fund." He got back to searching around. "I didn't know that was them," he said, smiling. "It ruined all sorts of evil plans. I'm so proud of my big brother."
"He was born first?" Pooch asked.
"By about six hours. I was stubborn." He looked up. "They about got to the point where they were going to cut mom to get me out. Xander kinda slid out unexpectedly. Fortunately we had our own placentas and water sacs." He got back to what he was working on. An email popped up. "We don't have to redo the amnio. It changed." He read that and sighed, taking his computer outside. "Cougar?" He walked back up to join him. He let him see the email. "It changed so Abby reran it," he said quietly.
"Why?" he demanded calmly.
"It was it's choice but I was hoping it wasn't one of the team. I was silently begging it wasn't one of the team."
The vengeance demon appeared with a smile. "Because if it's not someone that he trusts absolutely, the child could die when he has to go handle something and he doesn't have a sitter. Because we all know that even retired, something's going to happen around him. That meant it was one of you and my personal thing wouldn't let me make the really violent one be the daddy. You're a good balance against his nature. It'd be a good idea." She smiled. "It doesn't mean you have to do anything."
"Real men would."
She nodded. "He could use one of those. And hey, you're dangerous enough for him but nice enough to be a good guy. And you can have both twins." She smiled and disappeared again. "It'll save the world. Otherwise someone will try to take the child to sacrifice it if it's Clay's."
"Excuse me?" Xander called. She reappeared. "Someone else wants the baby?"
"A lot of people want the baby, Xander."
"I knew that," he growled.
"Aww, a mood swing." He was glaring now. "If I had made the baby Clay's, someone is going to sacrifice him. If I had made it the daddy in there's, it'd be a huge problem for his son. Who will someday do something good for the world on the normal side. If I made it the ultra-violent one's, the kid would be like your hyena times." Xander shuddered. "Therefore we needed it to be someone you'd let babysit during apocalypses. Someone you could trust. Someone you could even come to love because you deserve it and Anya did wish that if someone enacted a wish against you that would let you find a true mate you would. Right before she died." Xander sniffled. "So, yeah. You can share him with your brother."
"I'm not boinking Cougar," Jensen said dryly.
She looked at him. "Dumbass." She smiled. "I can get a higher to officiate."
"Don't you dare," Xander ordered. One appeared and Xander pulled his dagger again. "No. That's his choice."
Cougar glared at him. "What?" he asked in Spanish. Xander explained what was going on in Spanish and he nodded, then shot both the demons. They left. Cougar took a deep breath.
Xander shook his head. "He's my son no matter who the daddy may or may not be," he said calmly. "I'm not going to make anyone help me. I didn't plan on it anyway." He walked off again to go back to pacing on the beach.
Jensen watched him go then looked at Cougar. "That was a 'it's your choice and you'll have to make me agree'."
Cougar walked off to talk to him. Apparently he wasn't going to be able to avoid the young man any more.
"Cougar, give him time to think," Jensen called quietly. "He'll snap and bite." Cougar looked back at him. "Let him process."
Cougar shook his head. He walked down to watch him, getting in his way when he came back. "It is strange," he said in Spanish. "I'm still bothered by the very thought."
Xander looked at him. "I noticed you were still treating me like I'm contagious." He gave him a look. "I'm not going to expect anything."
Xander snorted. "I wouldn't know, Cougar. I became the man I am today because I did a shitty job raising myself." Cougar glared. Xander stared back. "Not like I had a role model or anything." He walked around him. "I'm not talking about this right now. I need to yell and scream and throw things. Or kill a few things but I can't fight with him being so damn huge. So therefore I have to yell and scream and throw things. I'm in no way ready to deal with a daddy or a sperm donor, whichever you decide to be. It's going to be *days* until I'm ready to deal with that thought."
Cougar nodded, sitting down to watch him pace. He texted Clay to let him know. He had no idea how to calm Xander down. Jensen finally came down and got Xander into the water, watching him swim back and forth between the cliffs instead. "He'll wear himself out," he said quietly.
Jensen shook his head. "He loves the water." He sat down. "Like I said, give him a few days before you offer to do anything or tell him how much you want involved," he said quietly. "He will probably leave that to you. Dawn said he probably would. He probably wasn't planning on telling whoever the father was. He's not going to level any expectations or needs on you. That's going to be up to you." He stared at him. "I'm going to try to get him to move near my sister though."
Cougar nodded, thinking about that. "I don't know yet."
"I know." He gave him a shoulder nudge with a grin. "It'll be a pretty baby and clearly is going to be a badass mother fucker."
Cougar nodded. "Yes." He considered what he could do and what he wanted to do. What he had been taught to do because men were always responsible. "She hinted at something?"
Jensen shrugged. "The demon community thinks we'd calm each other down but it's not my thing, Cougar."
"Thank you." Jensen grinned at him. They watched Xander pause.
"Want help out?" Jensen called.
"Practice thing again." He got back to swimming.
They settled in to watch. Pooch, Jolene, and the baby came out to sit with them. "Should he be wearing himself out?" she asked quietly.
"He'll be screaming and ranting if he doesn't," Jensen said quietly. "Let him work it out of his system. He knows when he's tired." He looked at her. "You would've beaned us if we had said something like that to you."
"Good point." She watched. "Xander, don't wear yourself out."
"If I don't, you guys won't get any sleep tonight while I pace and rant," he called.
She smiled. "He gets up every two hours. We aren't getting any anyway." Xander paused to stare up at them. "Really." He groaned. Jensen hurried out there to help him. "Braxton-Hicks already?" she asked. Jensen nodded, letting Cougar help him get Xander up to his shower to rinse off and then into bed. She looked at Pooch.
"I was with you."
"True. We can help."
"I don't think I can rub his tummy like I did yours," he said dryly, kissing her. "It'd be a bit weird."
"He might not let you anyway." She got up and took the baby up there. He was hungry and trying to gnaw through her top. Pooch followed, brushing the sand off her butt for her. She smiled. "You're still not getting any yet. I'm still sore." He grinned, putting an arm around her shoulders.
Jensen made a list and walked out to hand it to Pooch. "Things that'll make him puke or not eat," he said quietly. "Take her with you. We can babysit." He grinned at her opening mouth. "Not like I'm not a bit experienced thanks to my niece."
"Good point," she said. She kissed him on the cheek. "He should sleep for the next hour. Let him." He nodded. "Thank you."
"Welcome." He waited until they were gone then went to find Cougar, climbing up the tree to sit next to him. He pointed. "There is an ancient Catholic church about twenty miles that way. It's had people from all over the world visit. It has two priests that have fought demons in the past," he said quietly, looking at his best friend. "They could help you work things out."
Cougar nodded. "That would leave you two alone."
"We've got the sprout and I'm going to give Xander some baby care lessons where he can't be embarrassed. We have all the artillery we let him keep too so nothing is going to happen. Go talk to someone who can help you work out your thoughts." Cougar nodded, pulling the motorcycle out of the garage and heading off. Jensen climbed down, going to find Xander. He was staring at the baby, who was awake. "He needs changed."
"I'm terrified of that problem."
"I know, Xander." He patted him. "Pick up the baby, put him on the padding." He got what they needed to change him. He showed him how to undo the outfit, getting a nod. "Now, see how it's hitched?" Xander frowned but nodded, making the baby fuss. "Quit, Junior. It's all good." He opened the diaper. "You want it to be really snug or it'll fall off." He switched off with Xander so he could mentor and let Xander change his first one.
"Now, when they're older, it's said that they aim for your head. I'm told if you drop a wipe over their tiny dicks they won't." Xander nodded more quickly, cleaning up the mess. "Good job. Powder." Xander sprinkled some. "A bit more is okay. You want a good coat but not too much." Xander put the clean diaper under his butt and hitched it. Jensen checked. "That's a good enough job for the first time." He grinned at him, getting one back. "Put him back down and we'll work on the bottle stuff in a bit since I doubt you're breastfeeding." Xander shuddered, walking off nearly crying. "I know." He smiled at the baby. "Sleep, little Pooch."
Xander was stretching on the living room floor so Jensen moved to help him. "Can we cut him out now?"
"No, not yet. Few more months." He smiled. Xander slumped. "Kicking?"
"Doc will be here in a few days. We'll see what he says." Xander nodded, working on his other side. "Are you doing yoga?"
"No, not quite. Just the stuff I usually do to keep flexible and mostly in patrol shape."
"If you have to push him out...." Jensen started.
Xander shook his head violently. "He's coming out with a knife, no matter what. If I grow a...one of those it had better go away again!"
Jensen grinned. "I understand fully. I wouldn't want one either." He watched Xander's form waver then firmly go back to what it was. He called Roque's phone. "Someone just tried to change him into a girl."
"Us," Xander corrected. "You got glowy too, Jensen." He stretched forward and moaned, holding his stomach. "Damn it, stop it, son!"
Jensen hung up. "Shh." He helped him flip onto his side and rubbed his stomach. The baby fussed so he got up and brought him back to cuddle the new one. It seemed to help. Xander slowly calmed down. "I have you. You're all right. Was that another contraction?" Xander shook his head. "Kick?"
"No," he moaned. "That was spell related. I'm going to kill her."
"Roque said that's his job." He continued to soothe him. "Calm down. It's all good." He smiled at the cooing baby. "Isn't it?" he asked him. Xander pulled him up to hug him. "That's good for him. We'll figure it out." He kept with the rubbing because it was helping.
Xander looked at the baby. "I should probably change that, huh?" He got up to his knees with a groan, letting Jensen help him up fully. He changed the baby, letting Jensen check his work. The baby and Xander went to the couch to watch some tv while he cuddled him. Jensen sat down as close as he could while writing emails to their sister and Dawn. That way she could make sure the spell didn't damage them.
Dawn appeared in Willow's motel room, sighing at the mess. "Guys, I need some of her blood," she announced, making them stare at her. "She just tried to fix the whole daddy issue the hard way."
"It'd help him," Willow croaked weakly.
Clay handed her a cup from the bathroom. "That'll work," she agreed, taking some and leaving again. She did not want to know. Though she did call the cops so they'd have to leave her living.
Clay and Roque finished up quickly, having to leave her living when they heard sirens. They were back on the plane within three hours. If she lived, she'd clearly remember their little chat.
Dawn popped in, making Jolene flinch. "Easy, lady. I'm like Xander's little sister." She handed him a vial. "Drink. It'll block anyone from magicing you for the next six months." She handed another one to Jensen. They both drank them. "Good boys." She smiled and patted his belly. "Do we have names? I was going to get him something cute like a hoodie with his name on it."
"Not yet," he admitted. "Soon maybe."
She kissed him on the head. "Keep me informed, Xander. I want pictures of him being slimy and wiggly." She disappeared after patting the baby on the head.
"Dawn, Buffy's little sister," Xander explained.
Pooch nodded. "It's good some of them aren't the bitches we thought."
"Dawn will destroy someone a whole lot if she thinks it's necessary."
Jensen grinned. "Good." He took the baby to cuddle since he was fussing. "The Xander can't feed you like the mommy can." He handed him over. "We'll have to teach him how to bottle feed, Jolene."
"Yes we will. I can pump some. Unless you think he's going to be breastfeeding?" Xander shuddered and curled around his stomach when the baby kicked. "I'll pump some later." She let Jensen work on his stomach. "Not too hard and not there, Jensen. You could start off labor." He nodded, changing what he was doing. She went to the bedroom to feed her son. "Pooch, teach him what you learned in lamaze."
"Yes, dear." He came over to teach the boys what he had learned. It'd help over the next few months.
On his second day there, a priest sat next to Cougar. "My son," he sighed. "I believe your mental language is going to upset God." He looked at him. "Would you like to talk instead of mentally swear?"
Cougar shook his head. "Not yet."
"All right." He stared at him. "Someone in the parish noted that they had seen you recently a few islands over." Cougar nodded. "Is that your...lifestyle?"
"I am troubled, Father, but it is truly strange."
"Hmm, yes, I figured it was when you were spotted with a member of the Council. All the priesthood was warned if he showed up, we were to help him get holy water and talk to any girls he had to train." He shifted. "So why are you troubled?" Cougar crossed himself and told him Spanish. He blinked a few times. "I can honestly say that I have never heard that problem before. That has never happened to me before."
He smiled. "But I have talked to young men who had a woman do it to them." Cougar told him about the curse that Rosenburg tried and how Xander countered it because he couldn't stop it. "Oh, dear." He considered that. "I would like to note that for the Vatican." He sighed. "Come to my office? I have some nice tea. I have some coffee," he said at the head shake. Cougar shook his head again, looking down. He considered the predicament. "My son, if it was a woman who had done it without telling you, you'd be angry."
"That is one problem, I'm not. The demon changed it without telling him." He looked at the priest. "I can't blame him," he said in Spanish. "He is bothered as well."
"I figured he'd be very bothered," he agreed. "I'd be freaked out and God would have to come down to tell me to quit swearing." Cougar smiled slightly. "Especially in that situation." He sighed, looking at him. "It is up to you. God would not be mad if you did nothing more than acknowledge the child. You did not make him, the mother, for lack of a better word, did not want him to come into being. He was tortured by it and probably isn't sure about raising it." Cougar shook his head.
"Then he's a very strong man. Stronger than many have been. It's a hard decision to make for those who have been assaulted." Cougar stiffened. "Though the father was not involved, it is up to you to decide if you want to be a father or merely another victim that was used." He stood up. "I will be back in an hour if you wanted to talk again. It can only do you good." He walked off to write down that information and send it over. Titling the cover sheet 'council messed up' would get it to the right department. Then he went to clean the altar area while he waited for that poor man to need to talk again. It was a tough thing.
At the Vatican, one of the lesser bureaucratic priests got the fax and frowned, taking it to a tiny office down by the catacombs. "Father?" He looked up. "From Malaysia." He handed it over then fled. Half of the priests thought that dealing with the Council would taint their souls.
The Father read the missive, frowning. "How did that happen?" He had a contact there and called them. "Paul, Father Westbrook. What curse?" He listened to him talk about Rosenburg. "The same one that did all those high powered magic things?" He nodded once. "And it was changed?" He smiled. "That is very kind of him since he could not end it. Why was he involved?" He heard and shuddered. "That poor man. Well, yes, I would expect someone like him to draw people like Ethan Rayne to him," he said dryly.
"His son? Really? That makes him even worse to have abandoned them that way. It's good his family is helping him though. I can bring this up but I would like an official account of each of them for our records if possible. Is there any way to undo her wish?" He grimaced. "Then I suppose the counter curse was the best we could do. Thank him for me. Yes, if he needs the child blessed, there's two who are exorcists near where the information came from. Please do. Thank you. That's the main number and I can lurk near there to freak out the younger priests who are scared. Thank you, Paul."
He hung up and went to wait by the fax machine. When it came out he checked he had it all on his way to the upper offices. He bypassed the officials between him and the upper offices. One scowled at him and tried to get in his way. "Someone at the Council has done something serious that will cause problems," he said quietly. "He must know." The other man tried to complain that there were ways of passing up information to the Pope. "It is not going to be able this time. It will have to be hidden information." He walked around him, knocking on the office before walking in. "Sire," he said, bowing to him.
"Which one are you?" the Pope asked, putting down his pen.
"Father Westbrook, Your Excellence. I have information that is very bad news from the Council."
"Is there an apocalypse battle?"
"Their head witch has lost her mind again. That magic addiction she has fought with won her mind for a while the other night." He handed over the two accounts. "They could not undo it. That's why I brought this directly to you."
He read them, sighing. "This is real?"
"Yes, sir. Xander Harris is also carrying one who will someday save the slayer line. It was him who had to counter curse it."
The pope looked at him. "Why?" He handed over that report that had also been sent. He read it, nodding. "So against his will?" Father Westbroook nodded. "It could not be ended?"
"He said they all checked and it could not. Mr. Harris's curse broke what he could of it and made it kinder."
"I saw." He considered that information. "That must be hidden."
"It will come into the news some day."
"I know. It will cause a large panic when it does."
"Yes, Your Excellence. That's why I bypassed people to bring this directly to you."
"That is wise. Are they going to announce it?"
"I don't know. You'd have to talk to Mr. Giles. My former college roommate said that so far they had no way of undoing the original curse and the counter did leave an out for if they could cancel it." The pope nodded, looking happier at that. "But they have also been known to be open with the knowledge that things like magic addictions do happen to some witches. So it would not come as a great shock that a supposed hero did something stupid."
"Is she locked away?"
"Paul said he heard some commandos who were guarding Harris went to talk to her in London. She was in the ICU with over a thousand stitches."
"Then I'm sure God has allowed her to be cured of that demonic taint of hers." He stared at him. "You would have us hide this?"
"At least until someone else comes out with the information. Then we could lay down a statement of whatever. Because there are couples who would stoop to this because the wife was not fertile."
"There is also those who would be homosexual."
"Also true, but they have always existed, Your Excellence. Nothing stops them from having one from their prior life before they decided to come out. I'm told many try a normal life and find themselves miserable."
"So I have heard." He grimaced. "I will think on what we will do about this."
"It does have to be done with full knowledge of the mother and they must want it. It can't be done accidentally, no teenage pregnancies sort of issue."
"Then that is at least reasonable of him. I will decide where we stand on this. Where do they stand on this?"
"Mostly freaking out from what Paul said." He smiled. "I told my former roommate which priests were near Harris in case he wishes to bless the child. We have some former exorcists over where he is hiding."
"Why is he hiding?"
"If the child is not born healthy and does not get touched by the slayer spirit, the slayer line dies and humanity is in danger."
"That is why he did not terminate it when he was tortured and magiced. Or when his own father changed it so he was not bearing a monster who would destroy the line instead, making him hunt his own offspring."
"That is kind of his father though I would worry about what else that sort would do."
"The high priest of Janus?" he asked dryly. "I'm told he's just started a group home for runaway children and those who need to flee their homes." He smiled. "It was said to be another curse thanks to him doing that to his own son."
"Were my father responsible for my torture and unnatural ...issue I would be mad as well." He smirked. "It seems more fitting as long as he does not hurt those children." The priest nodded. "Do we think Harris will convert?"
"The priest who sent that information to me from Malaysia said that the demon chose a suitable father who had no knowledge of that life before having to guard the boy." He pushed back his hair. "He is in turmoil considering what is appropriate for him as the father and asked for advice?"
The pope considered it. "No one would blame a man for not taking responsibility in that case, but a good Catholic would honor any child he fathered at least by acknowledging it and making sure the mother or whoever was a suitable caregiver, even if it was not financial support."
"I will tell him. Thank you, Sire." He bowed and left.
The pope looked out his window. "The Council does bring such trouble," he sighed. His aide came in. "Read those," he said.
He read them. "Rosenburg, Sire?"
"Yes. She is presently in the hospital for the torture someone gave her."
"Good!" He put them down on the desk again. "It will not be long before someone discovers this. Perhaps within six months." The pope nodded. "Was there other troubling things?"
"Father Westbrook told me that one, Harris, was tortured and made to carry a child that would save the slayer line from dying," he said quietly, looking at him.
That priest shuddered. "I do not wish to know how bad his mood swings are." The pope cracked a smile. "I wish him much luck. The ones he have trained have been like family to him so I'm sure he'll treat this new one the same."
"Probably. I would expect that," the pope agreed, smiling now. "We must make a statement when they do about the ethical uses of this cursed gift." He nodded. "Father Westbrook pointed out this could help those couples that could not conceive in a natural way."
"Quite possibly." He sat down to draft out something. "What do you want it to say, Father?"
Cougar came back late the third night, feeling lighter. The priest had given him good advice and helped him work out what he had wanted to do. Including telling his mother everything. His mother's screaming in joy and anger had brought everyone else in the family. He had to explain it twice more before they quit being mad at Xander and him. It had stopped his mother's desire for a wedding as well. Now he had to tell Xander, who was still awake. He could hear him moving in his room. He tapped and walked in, finding him packing. "Trip?" he asked quietly.
"Putting up stuff I won't be able to wear for a while," he sighed, sitting down again. "Want to go to Cleveland with Jensen and me?"
"Why?" He sat down on the foot of the bed facing the younger man.
"Because Giles was upset that I wasn't going to automatically start some torrid romance with you and make the baby legitimate since the father was now known. He actually told me it was teaching the younger slayers bad morals."
Cougar smirked. "Very traditional of him."
"Yeah, especially since I had to point out the baby didn't come to be the natural method. He cleaned his glasses for a bit and said it might be good for me and him. So I told him it was originally my twin brother's and he freaked out until I assured him *four times* that it had been changed. He was having _Deliverance_ flashbacks. So he wants to meet Jensen. He wanted to meet you as well if you wanted to show up and be threatened by all the slayers. He was even going to try to get most of my girls in."
"Before or after?"
"After. I put my foot down that I did not want the girls to see me fat and bloated this way. Some of them might cry and then I would too. Which might mean we'd be invaded by some demons who respect me. He decided that would be bad so I had to bring the little dear back to be looked over and squealed at sometime after the birth."
Cougar nodded. "I can. Depending on missions."
"Giles threatened to have Jensen recruited to the Council but I let him argue with him. Jensen went to bed with a headache and so did Giles after agreeing that wouldn't happen. Even if Buffy did want it. And I still have no name. She was still grumpy that I might honor her mom. Giles was vowing to punish me if I added his. I have no idea. He's going to be nameless for *years*." He grinned. "The nameless horror that all demons fear to feed twinkies. Just in case he has my hyperactivity."
"Baby name site?" Cougar offered.
"Yeah, Jensen found me one that had Spanish names in case you wanted to do that." Cougar nodded that would be fine with him. He showed him the list. "There's a whole lot of warrior names and I'm not sure I want to test the rule of names that way. He might *have* to be a slayer but I'm not sure naming him a warrior before we have to will be good for him."
Cougar looked at the list. He knew the meanings for most but a few were more obscure names. It was alphabetized because Jensen had copied and pasted from the babynames.com site. There were a lot of warrior names and a few that were more endearments. "Incenio?" he asked dryly.
"I like the meaning but it'll sound like I'm casting a spell. So I'm kinda ignoring that one and Ignacio. Unless...." Cougar shook his head with a smile. "Besides, calling him fiery means he'll have a temper. A lot of temper."
"Yahir, or Ruben?"
"Ruben would definitely fit since it means 'behold, a son'. Ruben Mystic?" Cougar shook his head. "Yahir was...."
"Handsome." He smirked.
"Hopefully he'll look more like you than me." Cougar stared at him. "What?" he said, backing down some. Cougar sighed. "I know what I look like. I'm not a model. Even before I was missing the eye I wasn't a model. I was a bulky, bad haired construction worker with a really nasty after work habit." Cougar countered him quietly in Spanish, glaring at him. Xander slumped down. "You need glasses."
"No, his vision is perfect," Jensen said as he walked in. "You can't see it because there's people I need to kill for teaching you that." He kissed him on the head and handed him the cup of tea. "With honey," he assured him when Xander opened his mouth. "Less caffeine but still some. Sweet, herbal stuff that should help with the cramps." Xander sipped it. Jensen grinned. "I got it ordered from some very nice Druids in England and they said it was safe for pregnant people." He hugged him, grinning at Cougar. "Did you like any of them?"
"With all the traveling I've done, it kinda sounds like one I could've picked up anywhere," Xander admitted.
Jensen sat on the bed, looking at them. "You should've seen the 'American' search results. Broox." He spelled it. Cougar shook his head quickly. "Yeah, that's why I stuck with Spanish, African, and I glanced at Aztec ones. Oh, Daemyn," he said, spelling it. "They said it meant constant and loyal."
"Sounds like an official demon title to me," Xander quipped. He sat down with a sigh. "We have to go to a real store soon."
"Why?" Jensen asked.
"The new underwear doesn't fit anymore either. My butt's huge. I'm Buttzilla."
"You are not. You'll be too skinny when she's born because you keep forgetting to eat." Jensen gave him a light punch on the arm. "Speaking of, want a snack?" Xander shook his head quickly, covering his mouth.
Cougar stared at him. "My mother had an idea," he said, getting up to look at things in the kitchen. He came back with a slight sandwich. Xander stared then at him. "It's things you have wanted to eat but it also has a pickle on the side. My mother said she needed pickles when she had me but not the girls," he explained in Spanish. Xander tried it, and ate a bigger bite. Jensen beamed at Cougar.
"Marmalade, peanut butter, and bacon," Xander told Jensen with a grin. "He's great."
"He is a great friend." He hugged his brother. "Eat and then we'll look at the underwear issue." Xander nodded, eating the pickle too. That went really well together. Jensen didn't watch him eat. Cougar handed over something he had reserved, making Xander moan at the green, slimy looking sauce. That went really well with the sweet pickle. "Rhubarb?" Jensen guessed. Xander beamed and nodded. "Sure. It's good for both of you." He looked at Cougar. "Got any opinions on the names?"
Cougar went over the names, shrugging. "Chakotay? Indian?"
"Star Trek Voyager," the brothers said and grinned at each other.
"Is not Dru a female name when a 'u' is used?" he asked quietly.
"Not always," Xander admitted. "Though, go ahead and strike that off. I don't want anyone to think I'm naming him after her."
Jensen shuddered, finishing by shaking his head. "She comes back we have *got* to stake her."
"Argue with Spike," Xander said dryly.
"Who would name their son 'Dude'?" Cougar asked.
"Jesse," Jensen said quietly. Xander nodded, looking sad. "I found Gattaca as a name," he told Xander.
"So someone really liked that stupid movie?" Xander asked.
"I did not," Cougar said. Roque walked in scowling. "Names?"
"It's not mine; I don't have to name it."
"You scowl at my nephew and I'll have you giving oral sex to your knives," Jensen assured him plainly, staring at him. "Even if I do have to talk someone like Dawn into helping." Roque walked off shuddering. Cougar swatted him on the head. "I would!"
"That's a bad thought," Xander said. "That'd really have to hurt with the type of knives with the serrated side. Or the one he took of mine." He shrugged. "There's a few I'd like to do that to."
Cougar shuddered, shaking his head. "Not pleasant." He went back to the names. It was a good sign that Xander as asking for his opinion. "Jase?"
"After the drag queen triplet in _Hercules_?" Jensen asked, looking at his brother. Who shook his head. "Better than Pooh. That was a suggestion on the list."
"I don't need drugs quite that much," Xander said dryly. "As much as I like Pooh, no." Cougar shook his head quickly.
"Shrek was also on the list," Jensen said dryly.
"My kid's going to be enough of an ogre without naming him one."
"I found Spike and Ryker on the list too," Jensen offered. Xander considered those then shook his head. "Studs?" Jensen teased with a grin.
"He will be more than I am," Xander quipped back. Jensen gave him another nudge.
Clay walked in. "Boys, you should be in bed."
"What do you think of the name Tavorian?" Jensen asked with a grin.
"I think the kid's going to be stuck up and confused about spelling it. Bed. All of you need to rest. You can find more names tomorrow."
Xander spotted one. "Xadrian."
"It says 'created name'," Cougar said, turning the laptop so he could see. "Xadrian Yahir?"
Xander considered it, writing that down. "Harris?"
"Alvarez," Cougar said firmly, staring at him.
"Settle this tomorrow," Clay ordered.
Xander stared at Cougar. "I'm not marrying you. I barely know you."
Cougar nodded. "Fair enough." He smirked. "He will carry my last name."
"Hyphenated?" Jensen suggested. "Harris-Alvarez or Alvarez-Harris?" Cougar shook his head. Xander was grimacing. "We'll talk about this tomorrow." Cougar nodded, getting up and taking the plate back.
"Thank you for making me a snack, Cougar." He smiled and nodded before leaving. Xander moved the laptop and laid down, letting Jensen fuss at him. "I'm okay," he said finally.
"Good!" He walked off, Clay following. Pooch was up with Jolene, walking the baby. Jensen took him to hold, cooing in his ear. "Such a good boy." He rocked with him, making him a happier baby. "Xadrian Yahir."
"It's pretty," Jolene said with a smile. She took her son back. "Thank you, Jensen." She walked him back to bed, putting him back down.
"Yahir?" Pooch asked quietly.
"It means handsome in Spanish," Jensen said with a grin.
"Oh!" he nodded. "Any decision on the last name?"
"Working on it now."
"Remember, he may have to justify the baby having a different last name," Pooch said quietly. "People like Customs agents would give him funny looks."
"Talk to Cougar. He wanted the baby to have his." He walked around him with a grin. "It's getting so close and I'm really getting excited."
"Are we doing a nursery?"
"He's not sure yet. He might still want to do some traveling." Jensen looked back and shrugged. "He'll be really bored here most of the time and it'll be a few years before he can start training the sprout."
"What he does is dangerous," Pooch reminded him.
"He knows. He's not sure yet." He went to his room, watching Cougar get ready to bed. "I'm going to be a nosy little brother. Do I need to prepare myself for some serious wooing?" Cougar gave him an odd look. Jensen stared back. "If it was your sister?"
"I'd have killed him if he didn't propose," he admitted. He laid on his bed, staring at the ceiling. "I am still thinking on that."
"That's what I wanted to hear. Because Anya was probably the more normal and happiest relationship he's ever had," he said more quietly. "And I'd hate to torture you horribly before I kill you in a way that would mean no identification if you hurt him." Cougar smiled at him. "Not kidding."
"I know." He went back to staring at the ceiling. He had a plan to put into motion. He needed to know if Xander wanted him closer or not. If he wanted a proposal or would turn one down. He didn't even know what Xander's middle name was. Or if Xander knew what his proper name was. They had a few months to work that out though. Jake would help him because he wanted his brother happy.
A young brunette woman showed up the next morning, staring at the men at breakfast. "Have to step in here to give a 411."
"Cordelia?" Jensen asked. He grinned when she nodded. "Xander said you two had dated and you helped with all the slaying stuff. Did you die?"
"Yup, from the visions. Thankfully his are given by a different source," she said when Jensen opened his mouth. "You know, I always thought Xander was going to be the bigger geek. Proved me wrong." She looked at Cougar. "The 411 concerns you. If you take one, you take them both." Jensen and Clay both started to protest so she held up a hand.
"I am the *Messenger* for the Powers That Be," she said firmly, staring at Jensen, who shuddered. "Yeah, major suckage. Your daddy only took a day to realize the lesson you wanted him taught by making him run a group home." Jensen smirked evilly. "So he got sneaky and asked a different higher up, one who adores Xander, to make sure *both* his boys were happy.
"If he takes one of you and not the other, that one will be dead," she finished slowly and clearly, staring at Jensen, then at Cougar. "They're twins, even fraternal twins are linked somewhat from all that sharing of space. Even these two. Maybe especially these two. So, Jake Jeremiah Jensen, Deal or No Deal?" She faded out.
Cougar sipped his coffee. His mind was running like a dog chasing his tail and there was no way for him to stop it without more information. "What could he have done?"
"It's gotta be a curse," Jensen said. "Can it be undone?" he called. No answer. He pulled a laptop over to write Dawn. She'd know. "I'm asking Dawn since she knows more about magic than most people think and she's a great researcher." He looked at Cougar. "I have no clue yet," he admitted. Cougar nodded at that honesty. "If it was our father, the patricide will take *months*."
Xander came out yawning. "I thought I heard Cordy."
"You did," Clay said, looking at him.
"He did it again," Jensen said. Xander stopped scratching and rubbing his stomach to stare down the table at him. "Apparently we're both to be happy or whichever one isn't will die."
"I'll kill the fucker," he muttered.
"Not in front of the baby," Jolene said.
"Sorry, baby," he said, looking at his stomach. "I'll try to stop swearing as much." Pooch snickered, shaking his head. Jolene pointed at her son. "Oh, I didn't see him. Sorry, baby Pooch." He poured himself some tea that Jensen handed down. "Same stuff?"
"Yup," he promised with a grin. Cougar handed down the honey and the other things he had put on the table, making Xander moan and fix his Jake Pancakes with the good stuff his baby liked.
"What is your middle name?" Cougar asked.
"Lavelle. I found out later the donor named me after one of his first teachers, who was very creepy and died because some father caught him teaching his son chaos magic in bed. Lavelle Portier." He rolled his eyes. "Personally, I hated the name even before I knew that."
"Do the others know that?" Jensen asked.
"I can't swear that Willow remembers my middle name."
"Huh." He nodded and they got to eat. "Still like the name?"
"Yup." He smiled at Cougar. "Thank you for spoiling me."
"No, it's huge to me. Thank you." Cougar smiled and nodded. Xander dug in, inhaling his food for the first time in months.
Jensen's phone rang. "Yuppers," he answered. He listened. "Xadrian Yahir We're-arguing-over-the-last-name, Dawn. Yeah, spelled like that. It's Spanish. Any idea on that curse?" He listened to her babble, grimacing. "You're absolutely sure? And who agreed?" He nodded once. "Thank you. No, he's eating, finally. No, he's too thin but the baby's been making him sick. Thanks, Dawn, and I'll pass on that hug." Xander waved his fork since his mouth was full. "He sent one back by fork sign language." He grinned. "You too." He hung up. "Dad actually went to a Higher *good* power."
"The Powers That Be?" Xander asked between bites.
Jensen, being the nicer twin, waited until he had swallowed. "A fallen angel who took it to his coworkers." Xander choked a bit anyway and Cougar helped him. "Yeah, basically," he agreed dryly. "That also works well with Hell's plans to keep us from taking over. Apparently the Fallen One agreed it wasn't as nice of a future and they'd have to adapt more, which might cause problems.
"They're already causing fussing over tech toys and those sort of things. They threatened to throw everyone with a computer out of heaven." He smiled. "So we'd definitely have to take over then. But if we're happy there's a side-step they can use to put us somewhere nice and pleasant with the family so we can't get either side for causing problems."
Xander considered that. "That's going to suck majorly. What if we don't have the same tastes in dates? I mean, you'd probably hate my dangerous woman addiction."
Cougar stared at him. "She came to talk to me, Xander."
Xander gave him an odd look. "Huh?" Jolene pushed the tea closer so he sipped it to hopefully clear his head. He got up to get some soda and came back, sipping it while staring at him. "Am I totally missing a clue here?"
"Yes, you damn well are," Cordelia yelled. She reappeared, smirking at him. "They said if you ever even *think* about taking over hell again, that single will suddenly become twins and one may be reborn hell spawn."
"Sure, make me go let out some rage," he said with a sweet smile, making her shudder. "Anything else they wanted to try?"
"No. Just that and it wasn't us."
"I didn't hear them protesting."
"They're not. They think you two doing that one will be good for humanity and you guys. Kinda like a built in reward for everyone." She smiled and tried to fade but he stopped her. "How are you doing that?" she asked casually.
"How do you think Willow suddenly got supercharged?" he countered. She looked up to find that out then gave him the most horrified look ever. "Apparently it's a brunette thing," he said bitterly. "I've kept it blocked for *years* until the hormone swings." He sipped his soda. "It is up to him to see if he wants one or both of us, and us to agree. He might not be able to put up with my insane life. Or the baby being fussy and bouncy. Beyond that, that would probably screw up Jensen's team's dynamic."
"Um, maybe, but the higher ups were thinking about giving them to the Council since you're still second-in-command."
"Then you'd think they'd pay my ass," he said dryly. She laughed nervously. "What was it that Caleb said before he popped my eyeball? Oh, yeah, he who sees everything sees too much because no one else sees anything." He stared at her. "I do have that curse left. I am at the creative moment in my present mood swing." He smiled sweetly. "Take off the damn curse before I come up there."
"That would endanger the baby," she said, sounding nervous.
"He's viable now. They can take him out, put him in a NICU unit, all that. He'll be just fine and I'm pretty damn sure his daddy, who had no choice in the matter, can train him pretty well to kick ass. I already even have a will drawn out," he said dryly, finishing his soda. He stared at her.
"Let me talk to them, Xander." She rubbed her forehead. "Hey, those are easier now."
"There's days I'd like that," he said dryly.
"No can do. Yours come from a completely different source." She looked at him. "It's up to him to make that choice. If he doesn't take in both of you... Then you'll live but you're both going to be miserable. Better?" She tried to disappear. Xander smirked. "Oh, come on!"
"I can put you in a little capturing thing," he offered. "I know I have one somewhere."
"Eww! It's probably dusty and had a succuba in it the last time. That way you could train the girls in what they were and you could have cheap, tawdry sex."
"I never slept with a succuba, that's a rumor," he quipped. He was still smirking and staring at her.
She slumped, sending that up to them. "Fine, there's a few other choices. Even outside his team. Okay? Good enough? You won't curse everyone to death or anything?"
Xander stared at her. "So I can still curse them all to feel my expansion and practice contractions?" She shuddered. "I think that's fitting."
"I think you need a nap," Cougar said.
"That's a really good idea," she assured him with a manic grin. "Please? Like right now?"
Jensen coughed, shaking his head. "Hell no you're not getting free while that curse is going on, woman. Do we look dumb?"
"Do you really want me to comment on the ugly shirt and the bad haircut? That's how I knew you two were twins the first time I saw you." Xander growled. "Oh, no! You leave her inside, Xander Harris!" She backed away. He got up to sniff at her, making her shiver. "Please?" she whimpered.
Xander pulled her back against his chest, sniffing her neck again. "Hmm. Used to be part of the pack." He sniffed her again. "Still scent marked but the dead penis apparently tried too." She let out another nervous laugh. "We can go talk to them."
"No way in hell. They'll kill my pretty ass and that's a waste of beauty." She looked back at him. "Let go."
He smirked and nibbled on the spot behind her ear. "My pack."
She whimpered. "Jensen, help?"
"You pissed him off," he reminded her. She went limp when he went back to nibbling and scent marking her neck. "Xander, please let the dangerous thing go so she can negotiate that curse so it's solved," he said, sounding polite. "You have to talk to Cougar about pack stuff." Xander gave her one hard bite, making her shiver and moan, leaning against his chest. He licked over it then let her go, walking over to sniff at Cougar's hat before sitting down.
"No sedatives," Clay warned. "They're bad for the baby." Cordelia had disappeared to warn the higher ups. Clay was watching what Xander did. He did sniff breakfast then Cougar then breakfast again before eating. When he was done, Jensen got up and walked over, taking Xander with him to nap in the sun outside. He apparently liked that idea. "What the fuck?" he demanded quietly. Jolene swatted him too. "He's too young to recognize words," he said dryly.
Cougar shrugged. "No clue," he said in Spanish.
Clay scowled. "I don't like that idea." Cougar shook his head.
Jensen leaned in. "She just called my phone. The higher ups will relent as long as Xander gives up his last owed major curse. Before everyone has to suffer or he becomes Rosenburg." He went back to the hammock they had found in a closet and put up. Xander was napping again. Jensen curled up next to him, considering things. "You'd think angels would be against incest," he said when he heard someone come out.
"You'd think, yeah," Roque said dryly. "Maybe they're kinky that way or there's a twin exemption." He stared at him. "She said it's undone but still the preferable one. I think he cast out that curse so they'd have to leave the baby and the rest of your insane family alone."
"They can get Dad for all we care," Jensen said dryly. "We will be." Roque smirked. "It's so going to make cops puke and cry by the time I get done and then Xander can have him."
"I'm meaner," Xander muttered. "And better at knife work."
"Whatever. Nap, Xander." Xander shifted to face the other direction and slightly drifted off again, just dozing. Roque left them alone so the kid could sleep. "I can't sleep with him lurking either," Jensen said quietly, patting Xander's shoulder. He saw something appear on the road and got up to look at it. "Xander?" he called. "Roque, we need one of you who can do things." Roque came hurrying out.
Xander woke up with a yawn, walking over to look at the bomb. He cut two wires and yanked another out with the power source. He handed that off and went back to his hammock and nap. "I'll kill the fucker later."
"Sure," Jensen agreed, nodding quickly.
"This is too huge and it'll have to be disposed of," Roque muttered. "That's a dirty bomb."
Xander sighed and went to get his phone, calling someone. "Ashelle, Xander. Yes, I'm still okay. Someone decided to send the baby a running bomb for a baby present. Dirty. Malaysia, yeah. Thank you." He hung up. "She'll get someone she trusts locally to do that." He laid back down, his phone going beside his head.
Jensen came up to get it. "I'll take it if she calls back, Xander." He leaned in. "The bomb's disarmed."
"What bomb?" Clay demanded. He followed him out. "What the fuck?"
Roque looked up. "A very nasty baby present." He held up the card. "He thought Xander would turn it off and shrink it."
"Mother fucker needs to be shot," Clay muttered. "Is it disarmed?"
"As far as we can tell. It's not running and Xander did it," Jensen said.
"Good!" He walked back inside. "Pooch, take Jolene and the baby and go shopping until we can get that bomb cleared out of here." She nodded, taking her husband to do that. He looked at Cougar, who still looked calm. "Trying to think?"
"It's not working." He shook his head. "My madre will yell," he muttered. Little did he know that Cordelia had already went to talk to his mother. Who had indeed screamed until she heard why. She liked Jake. She'd probably like Xander too she decided.
An hour or so later, Roque looked up as the gates opened and someone in a pickup truck drove in. "Did someone call you?" he asked politely.
"Yes, the little slayer in Libya called," he said dryly. "My sister is unreasonably dumb. People don't send Xander bombs, they hand them to him when he kills them." Roque held up the card. "Stupid prick, wasn't he?" He got out. "Where is Xander? I heard he's hiding out here."
"Xander?" Clay called from the porch. Xander snorted and woke up, getting up carefully and walking over there.
The man from the truck stared at him, mouth slightly open. "How in the hell?" he demanded.
"Wolfram and Hart," he sighed. "Two more months!" he said with a mock cheerful grin. "I disarmed it the easy way."
"I can see that." He was still staring at the moving stomach. "Does my sister know?"
"They all know." He grinned. "They're going to see him once he's born."
"Him? I heard there was a problem baby...."
"No, he's a slayer." The other guy's mouth flopped open. "Basically. The line's protected as long as he's touched by the spirit and he's already active. That's why he keeps bruising me." He rubbed the moving lump. "Stop it, son. You don't need to show off." The guy hesitantly reached out to pat him, getting kicked. He whimpered. "Which is why I was forcibly retired to here."
He looked at him. "You hid all the weapons, right?"
"We took two-thirds of them away from him," Clay said, walking over. "We left him things he might need and the rest is being kept by some agents who know about the Council and won't interfere."
"Even better! My mother's mood swings nearly got us all killed by a baseball bat."
Xander snickered. "I'm going pouty but not that mean. Well, except for on Cordelia earlier."
"Oh. Poor thing." He looked at the bomb. "Anything else you conveniently found?"
"No I think the rest of the stuff we've found are baby presents," Xander admitted with a grin. He shuddered. "Think how I feel, man."
"I can only imagine. All right, let me get this back to the office." Roque handed over the note. "Did you need to know who to kill for sending a running bomb?"
"No, it was Jacob." Roque nodded that was the name on the bomb.
"Who is Jacob?" Clay asked.
"A former playmate out of Russia. He's just recently finished his operation to change over from being Jannie." He grinned. "He's a nice guy. He knows now and then I need a huge bomb."
The other guy nodded. "Yeah but not if you're retired." He and Roque got the bomb into the truck and they let him drive back to the office. He walked in to look at his boss. "That slayer gifted child we heard about? Xander Harris is carrying it himself." His boss whimpered. "The bomb was a baby present from a friend." He smiled. "He's got two more months left."
"How is a man pregnant?"
"Witches like Rosenburg." His boss shuddered again. "Anyway, we have a dirty bomb made by a Russian transexual that recently finished his operations."
"Is Harris no longer a normal man?"
"I have no idea but the baby was quite active and he said it's already a slayer."
"Poor thing. How is it getting out?"
"He has a commando team with him to protect him."
"Good!" He shook his head. "Let's get that bomb. Is it fully disarmed?"
"Xander ripped some of it out."
"Even better." They went to get the bomb. They hadn't seen one of that particular design before so they made good notes and diagrams from it. "Do we know the maker?"
"Xander called him Jacob, but he used to be Jannie?"
He looked that name up. "Jannie Malask. Huh." He put that down and they destroyed what they could. "His other supplies?"
"The commandos took them and gave them to the US government."
"That's reasonable I suppose." He went to get drunk, taking his favorite worker with him because he clearly needed the mind numbing effects as well.
Cougar looked over as Xander's phone rang. He answered it. "Xander's phone." He blinked a few times. "How did you get his number?" he demanded. He leaned back, listening to his sister tell him what had happened that day. He swallowed. "We are working to cancel that curse," he said quietly in Spanish. He nodded. "That does surprise me, yes. Mama would normally scream and swat." He looked confused, he felt confused, but Jolene was grinning at him. "My sister looked up Xander's number." He went back to listening to her complain and plot. "We do not know yet," he said firmly. "No plotting."
Jensen snatched the phone. "Hi, Maria." He walked off chatting with her about his big brother. Xander was on the beach taking a walk while complaining at his stomach with Pooch watching him so they could do this behind his back. He heard what Cordelia had told them. "No, it's been lessened at the least." He kept walking, listening to her. "I know. He just found out what his middle name was this morning, Maria."
He grinned at Cougar. "Your mother said there already should've been a wedding?" Cougar nodded, tipping his hat down some. "We're seeing if they can be more than tolerable to each other, Maria. Though he was sweet enough to finally find a way to get Xander eating again. Yes, I'm certain it'll be fine. We have to bring the baby to Cleveland about a month after he's born, we can stop in so your mother can see the baby too." Cougar gave him a strange look.
"She demanded, Cougs." He grinned. "That'll work. No, right now we're working on thank you notes for baby presents. No, some of them will take secret mail pathways since he knows some arms dealers and people like that. One of them sent the baby a bomb for a present so Xander could use it later for the Council." He grinned at Cougar. "Your mother said an appropriate present was a blanket or clothes, not a bomb." He went back to chatting with her. He was diffusing some of the female anger issues going on because that they hadn't done the 'proper' thing yet. This way none of them would be bitched at.
Jolene took the phone to talk to her. She and Maria had conspired in the past to get the boys' leave time. She told her about Xander, who she did like after getting to know him. They'd probably like the boy too.
Pooch walked in with him. "He's got weird cravings and I'm not sure why."
"I told you it was a blood clot from a bloody nose earlier, not snot," Xander complained. "It wouldn't come out any other way."
"Then you wipe it off, kid."
"If it's blood, it's no different than sucking on a paper cut," Jensen told him. "It's recycling it into the body again." Pooch shuddered. "When did you have a bloody nose earlier?"
"Shower. I blew my nose." He sat down, looking at his phone. "One of the girls?"
"My sister looked up your number to nag at me," Cougar said dryly. Xander patted him on the arm. He looked at him. "Cordelia visited."
Xander grimaced. "I'm sorry they got sucked into the freaky stuff, Cougar." He shrugged and shifted on the couch. Jolene finally hung up. "Are they okay? Did she scare them?"
"No. She said Cordelia made you sound sweet and geeky, dear." He smirked. "They want to meet you and him when you go back to Cleveland to show him off."
"We can pop around there if Cougar wants," he said, looking at his baby daddy.
Cougar nodded. "Mama will kill me if I don't," he said in Spanish. Clay snickered, nodding at him.
Roque was staring outside. "Guys, we have people at the gate that aren't coming in."
Xander went to the garage. He handed over spare guns and clips, loading his own. "Not like there's not people against the Council." He waited inside, with Jolene and Pooch. The baby was carefully hidden with her to keep him quiet. Xander heard the gunshot and winced. "That wasn't one of yours. It was too low caliber." Pooch moved but someone tried to storm the house. Xander shot them. And then a head shot because of the body armor. "Fat chance, dude."
"Someone wants to talk to you to see how you did that," the guy behind him said smugly.
Xander shot him. "Willow made sure he can do it on his own now. Tell him he has to want it." He smirked and shot the others. One made it in there and tried to take him hostage. He wasn't moving as smoothly as before. They managed to grab him around the throat and put a gun to his head.
"I'll kill him," he warned.
Xander struggled. "Damn extra weight," he muttered.
"Quit or you're both dead," he sneered. "Our boss wants to know how you did that."
"Rosenburg made sure he can do it on his own now. She cursed all men able to do it." He shifted and threw the guy finally then stomped on him. His hitting was weaker than usual but he got his point across when he made the guy sorry to be alive. He took the gun and disarmed it, tossing it on the couch. "You'd better not have hurt my brother, mother fucker. I can and will do things that will make your life so fucked up angels will fucking beg for mercy and so will demons."
He kicked him then grabbed a knife off Roque before leaning down. That made him dizzy so he knelt on the guy's chest, making him try to breathe and fail. "Who sent you?" The man gasped. He shifted his weight and started to draw pretty abstract patterns with the knife. He pressed in really hard just once. "I can do this for fucking hours and the baby likes it, he's making happy kicks and wiggles." He smirked. "Who sent you?" He didn't get an answer so he moved up to the neck. The guy started to shout but Xander kept going. "You might wanna tell me, dickhead."
"They'll save me," he shouted.
"Not from where I can send you," he assured him smugly, staring into his eyes. "Who sent you?" He kept going. The man screamed when it reached his face. He kept screaming until he finally spit out a name. Xander called something out and poured it over him. The scars glowed in the ink, making him scream and writhe because it burned. "Never touch me, my girls, or my family ever again," Xander said, making the man stare at him. "Next time I start lower. Am I clear?" He nodded, gulping air.
"I will make demons beg for your treatment's pain to end," Xander murmured, leaning closer. "Rosenburg made him able to do it too. It has to be intentional, it has to be with full knowledge, and he has to take it up the ass. Unlike the spell that caused mine. If you can escape to tell him that, you share that information." He got helped up by Cougar. "Thank you." He looked at himself. "I should clean up before Jolene sees. I'll mop that part of the floor in a minute. Clay, want him to run and tell mommy or not?"
He looked. "Letting him be a messenger is suitable but we'd need to see who it was." Xander shrugged, heading to clean up in his room. He looked at Jensen, who was scowling at his brother's back. "How?" he mouthed. Jensen shrugged. "Roque, let's give him a lift back."
Roque nodded, hauling him up to walk him out. All the scars were sealed and now blackened. It looked like it had hurt a lot. "He's not too bad. I would've started lower and moved up. More fun."
"This way's more noticeable," Clay said. "You can see it even when he doesn't have a shirt on. Thankfully facial tattoos aren't all that uncommon today. I wonder if we open one will the stuff come out." He cut one and no, blood came out. "Pity." He got him into their car, taking him back home. Roque followed in theirs. The guy was shaking and weak in the trunk for now. He'd make a great message.
Jensen went to find Xander in the shower. "Are you okay?"
"Yeah, I'm fine. Thank you for asking." He scrubbed off his back with the brush.
"How did you learn to do that?"
"Spike told some *great* stories, which I then used in Africa when I lost my temper. I'm sorry you guys had to see that."
"Been there, done that, Xander," Jensen said quietly, earning a dirty look. He gave him a hug, getting swatted weakly for it. "Hush." He kissed him on the forehead. "It's all good." He cuddled him. Xander got free and went back to his shower. Jake grinned. "You didn't scare us. We were wondering. You usually seem like the nice sort."
Xander looked at him. "I'm sure they felt the same way about you when you broke out in badass that once."
"Yeah, a whole lot actually." He watched Xander finish up and then dry off, rubbing the moving lump of baby. "Calm down. I know it was a lot of adrenaline but still. Please?" The baby kicked really hard and he rubbed the area, making him calm down.
"Thank you," Xander murmured, resting his forehead against his twin's shoulder.
"That's what brothers do, Xander." He gave him a hug. "Go get dressed. You're too skinny and it shows. Mama Alvarez is going to feed you to death if she sees you like that." He snorted but went to put on shorts and a t-shirt. "No underwear?"
"Even if you put the band under the belly of doom?"
"Then they fall off. I don't have any of my old strippers thongs so no, no panties."
"You wore a thong?"
"Yeah, I stripped on my roadtrip and then a few times afterward for some extra cash," Xander said with a smirk.
"Huh." He shrugged. "Cool. Teach me?"
"Maybe." He walked out with him, going to find the mop but Cougar had it. "It's my mess, I can do that."
"Sit," he ordered. Jensen tried to take it but he glared. "Sit." They sat down, Jensen cuddling but Xander looking relaxed. Cougar watched. Jake was still trying to force his way closer again and Xander was ...almost comfortable but still a bit tense. Pooch was calming Jolene down. They'd handle this. Even if he did have to go through Xander's entire book of contacts to warn them off the mother of his son. Clay and Roque had looked like they'd agree to help him convince the ones that didn't need shot. He glanced at the brothers again. Xander was sitting in a position that didn't leave Jensen much cuddling ability but he looked casually sprawled. Cougar put up the mop once he was done and came out to take Xander's other side. Jensen shot him a quick grin because it made Xander shift away from him and back toward his brother.
Xander finally looked at him. "Are you sick?"
"I cuddle when I'm not sick."
Jensen hugged him. "That's okay. I'll remind you how to relax too, Xander." Xander slowly shook his head. "Yes it will."
"No it won't. That's why I can't sleep with people."
"Breaking that will help your retiring thing," Jensen said.
Xander snorted. "I doubt I'll ever fully retire. Things will still happen around me that need to be handled. There's always going to be girls who need training somewhere rural that the senior girls couldn't handle. Hell, half of them can't figure out how to get to another country, even if it's just driving to Canada. We've had a few that got stopped by Customs for being idiots. Like valley girl idiots. One of them told the Customs guy that she was going overseas to destroy an evil despot intent on world domination. Then showed him her hidden weapons." Jensen winced at that, shaking his head. "Yeah. Which is why I've been on six continents since Sunnydale fell in. We haven't found one in Antarctica yet."
Jensen gave him a nudge with his shoulder, smirking. "Even then, you can't jump in like you used to. You're going to have to be more of a general and less of a foot soldier." Xander grimaced. "Unless you're giving him up for adoption?"
"No," he said weakly. "But there's no one else who can do that. Hell, Buffy didn't even want to hear about an upcoming apocalypse battle because it was at a bad time for her."
Jensen grinned. "Then you train someone to take your place. We can start talking to some of our buddies who want to retire. Special Ops should be good enough base training, right? Then learning demons?"
"Yeah. But they'd still need to know blades."
"I know. You can train them in that." Xander relaxed, liking that idea.
"You said once you'd be starting a firm for research and training," Cougar agreed. He could see both sides and knew that Xander was not ready to retire and having to constrain himself was going to upset him a lot of the time.
"Good point. We need to train the new Watchers too. Because they suck."
"All people suck when they first start out," Pooch said as he walked past them. "It's training that fixes that."
"No, half of them are genocidal because that was the official line for years," Xander told him. Pooch shuddered. "The present Council is not. If they would actually learn from things or experiences, they might agree but they don't. The other day on the bulletin boards, one was complaining, actually complaining, that a demon saved his life by healing a life threatening injury." Pooch and Cougar both shook their heads. "I wisely pointed out he should have thanked him for saving him, since he was going to die, and if he ever disrespected another peaceful being, especially one helping him, I was going to jump so far down his throat he was going to be pissing my feet for *months* on end. Buffy was on there and agreed but reminded me I was retired." He smirked.
"Your slayer needs sense," Jensen said dryly. "A lot of sense."
"She's not my slayer," he said dryly. "Most of *my* slayers have sense, common and otherwise. Buffy lost hers somewhere in a mall apparently."
Jensen snickered. "She can't be that bad."
"She has her serious days and she has her seriously braindead and airhead days," Xander told him. "Sometimes she forgets that the airhead is an act to throw off the demons."
"I think everyone has those days," Jensen said with a grin. "Even us."
"Yeah, but she takes it a bit too far. All the way to asking if she could wear a certain outfit during a battle because the demons were going sickened by humans having sex, their reason for attacking us, and she agreed that was a good plan."
"Who wears a skirt into a battle outside the Scots?" Pooch asked, looking confused.
"Buffy's slayers," Xander told him with a small shrug. "Mine all wear practical things. Sometimes native dress, which might mean a skirt, but it's one they can hunt, climb, and fight in. Buffy's made wearing fashionable clothes into a battle an artform. I had to assure more than half of my girls they weren't expected to dress like her. That reminds me, I need to check on the one I trained in Saudi. Buffy nearly cried over what she considered appropriate clothes."
"Full veil set and outer robe?" Pooch guessed. Xander grinned and nodded. "Yeah, that might be hard to fight in."
"We had hers tailored so she could move easier and conceal more weapons. We had a lot of long talks with her family's mosque, her family, all that. Took a while to get them to accept things. Mostly because a demon showed up to propose to her and horrified half of them." He grabbed his phone off the table and put it on speaker. The screen was a bit icky. "Is Mel there please?"
"Who are you to call my wife such an informal name?" the sneering voice that answered demanded.
"I'm her trainer. Now please put Mel on the phone."
"I do not want you to call again," he sneered. "My wife does not need you." He hung up.
Xander smirked, calling back. "Let me reintroduce myself, I'm Council Member Harris, her slayer trainer," he said at the 'hello'. "You will put my slayer on this damn phone within thirty seconds or I will show up to prove her father made a very bad choice when I blow up your whole family, down to the pets, the goats you fuck, and your cousins. Am I clear?" he asked more firmly.
"Xander!" a female voice shouted and came closer. "My husband is sorry, Xander. He is not perfectly comfortable with my duty and destiny."
"I can see if Artuk's still available," he offered with a grin for the phone.
"Please don't. My father nearly died of the stress. Are you all right? We heard you had partially retired."
"I'm okay. Have you been on the bulletin boards recently?"
"No. Our internet is off in the Kingdom. Why?"
"You heard about the child that would make sure the slayers stayed strong?"
"I did. Dawn sent out a notice that you were with the mother."
"I am the mother," he said dryly. "Chaos sorcerers and Wolfram and Hart."
"Isn't that against Allah's laws?" she asked, sounding confused.
"Hey, talk to Willow, dear. She did something so *all* men can join me."
"Oh, dear. Is she to be hunted? I heard she was in Qatar on a business trip."
"I'm surprised she's out of the ICU already," Xander said dryly. "Some of my brother's team went to have a talk with her."
"Should I hunt her down?"
"I don't know what Giles is going to do but I'm hoping for retired forcefully the same way I was when this happened to me." He glanced down then back at the phone. "Not that I won't come running if you girls need me, but I'd be accompanied by the little sprout and have to find a sitter for battles."
She laughed. "I can see you doing so. Did the chaos sorcerer get hunted?"
"Actually, he was undoing the thing that would make the child the end of the slayer line," Jensen told her. "Hi, I'm his brother Jensen. Xander's a great big brother to me."
She giggled. "To all of us girls as well. Xander, where are you supposedly retired at?"
"Malaysia at the former training camp here."
"So it's nice?"
"Very pretty. I have a private beach, a lot of gym equipment in the trees, Giles gave it to me." He smirked. "I've gotten all sorts of baby presents from some of the clans we dealt with. Including the one in the desert that wanted you to move closer because something bigger was threatening them. I might send that thank you note to you to deliver."
"I don't get out there much," she admitted.
"It is not seemly for a woman to do such," her husband complained.
"I'll see if we can get you some backup, Mel."
"Thank you, Xander. It's good most of the time."
"I know but your people know and understand the calling, Mel. They can hopefully give you some backup, especially if you ever have kids."
"I haven't even wanted to think about such matters. We're not secure enough yet for children," she said, sounding like she turned her head.
"If so, you'll definitely need some backup," Xander said dryly. "I gained thirty pounds so far and lost about five more."
"Poor baby. You need to eat," she assured him. "Do the other girls know?"
"The ones in Cleveland do, the ones on the bulletin board have heard me complaining about pre-labor pains and pointy toes of doom. I was thinking about you earlier when I was telling them about Buffy's reaction to your traveling outfit." She cackled. "So I thought I'd check in."
"It's good to hear from you and we all will want baby pictures, Xander. You be safe."
"Jensen's very cuddly and won't let me do anything dangerous."
"Good. That's an excellent thing. You behave. I have to cook lunch for my husband."
"You be safe and you let me know if you need any sort of help, young lady."
"Of course. Or else I'll ask Faith to come talk to my spouse again." He snickered. "Good day, Xander."
"You too, Mel." He hung up and called someone else, holding up a finger. He smiled. "Hamad!"
"Xander? I heard you retired."
"Yeah, almost kinda. What else is going around about me?"
"That you're about to be a father?"
"Within two months. Have you guys heard about Willow's curse on men?"
"Oh, yes, which is why we do not want to talk to others right now."
"Sorry to hear that, dude. A different chaos sorcerer did it to me."
"Oh, dear. Are you healthy?"
"A bit thin. Nothing too bad." He grinned. "I actually have a reason for calling."
"I figured you did. Do we have more weapons running demons?"
"I haven't heard. I've been kinda retired in Malaysia."
"Should everyone know that?" Pooch asked quietly.
"Yeah, this is the Council's liaison in Saudi and the UAE. Did you go to Mel's wedding?"
"She's married?" he asked dryly.
"Yes, and her husband got jealous when I called her Mel. He said her calling isn't seemly."
"For a normal woman it wouldn't be but those with a destiny are different, Xander. Sir," he said, sounding respectful. "Xander Harris is checking on the local slayer and updating me to what he has heard."
"Was that *witch* hunted yet?" he demanded loudly enough to be heard.
"Mel heard she's in Qatar. Some commandos went after her but they got turned into Scotland Yard." Hamad repeated that. "I was wondering if we could talk about getting Mel some help in case her husband has a brain fart or she ends up pregnant."
"That would be bad for her child," he agreed. He told his boss that, getting an agreeing noise. "The boss said we can help with that. There is a female military unit and we can assign them that way. That would mean her husband would have to put up with her new friends."
"Friends are always good and if he's that big of an asshole, I have a crossbow for that."
Hamad cackled. "I remember you telling a Prince that when he tried to keep you from hurting someone who needed it."
"I'm thinking that might be another case."
"I'll check on Mel for you. How retired are you?"
"I'm going to be training the son. And anyone else who needs it," he admitted. "I'll be jumping in if I absolutely must or my slayers need me. I can find a sitter I'm sure."
"Excellent news. I'll be talking to my boss about helping her."
"You know, we had to tailor her robes and veil for fighting if it would help that unit."
"I remember. It's very decorous but easier to move. I'll offer that as well."
"Thank you. I'll send her the thank you note I need to send that way so she can deliver it for me."
"That would be wonderful. How soon?"
"Within two months. And he's a male slayer. Already active," he said with a wince. "With really pointy toes. Have a good day," he said, sounding pained.
"My wife lived in a tub with our last one, Xander. Do the same." He hung up.
Xander dropped his phone, curling up around his stomach, his head on Jensen's shoulder. Jensen rubbed the tension out until he could relax again. "Ow," he whimpered. "Can't we take him out now?"
"Soon," Jensen soothed, rubbing his shoulders. "Really soon, Xander. Then we'll be able to cuddle him when he wants to kick." Xander let out a snort. "Shh, just relax, let it go and flow out of you." The phone rang and he grabbed it, tossing it at Cougar since the area code was Texas.
"Hello?" he answered. "No, this is Xander's phone. He's having a practice contraction." He blinked, smirking at the confused sounding woman. "What did you need?"
"Who is it?" Xander grunted.
Xander took the phone, putting it against his ear. "I. Ache." He listened to her. "That sucks major donkey balls, Beth. Why are you there? You're assigned to Brazil." He rolled his eyes. "Who was handling there? Ah! That explains that but put one of the tiny ones on. Yeah, that'll work." He spat something when the demon said a cautious 'hello' in his own language. "I'm having practice contractions, I ache like fuck, and she is still one of my slayers, Hermet. I know she's supposed to be in Brazil. Buffy rearranged people after Sana died in Paris. I have no idea why the slayer from Morocco was in Paris.... No....ow owowowowow, son!" he complained.
Jensen took the phone. "Sorry, man, practice contraction." He went back to rubbing. Cougar helped, getting a grin. "I can tell him that but it'll be a few hours probably. Is there a huge problem? Well, ask her that." The demon handed the phone back. "Is it a huge problem? No, he's having another one. No, practice ones only."
"Don't tempt me," Xander groaned. "Damn, whoever has such good fingers, I adore you right now. He likes you."
"He should like me," Cougar assured him quietly. "Relax. The more you tense, the more it hurts." Xander forced himself to go limp. Cougar went back to working out the tension.
Jensen listened. "Xander, the demon clan came to find her to get protection from a Sapharelle?"
"Fucking warrior clan of demons who like to pretend they're so high. Sapharelle are allergic to sugar," he panted. "Ow, not there!" he begged. Cougar moved where he was working. Xander moaned. "That's nice. Thank you." He leaned back to give him a hug around the throat, taking the phone back, even though he sounded exhausted. "Beth... Hermet, they're allergic to sugar. Personally, I'd mine their house with a sugar grenade. But that's because I'm in pain and it's making me mean.
"No, something like a twinkie is too diluted. Throw rock candy at them or something like sugar cubes. Hit skin and they'll bubble, scream, and flee. Oh, without it? Grenade and she can make one. That won't blow them up, just blow sugar throughout the house. Yeah, I'll let her do that. Beth, go ahead and help them. They need to go home. If they're going to be assholes, they don't belong in the US. Have them go back to Malta, where they come from. Thanks. No, baby hurts," he sighed. "Thanks, Beth. Two more months unless I find a knife." He hung up with a moan, curling up again. "Son, you're evil and mean," he told his stomach, squeezing his eyes shut.
"Are those real ones?" Pooch asked calmly.
Cougar shook his head. "The baby kicks and starts a cramp." He and Jensen got back to work on him. Pooch went to run him a warm bath. They helped him in there and into the tub, leaving him to sulk and talk to his son in peace.
Xander looked at his mountain of stomach. "Son, keep that up and come out sooner than you expected," he hissed. "Quit pissing your father off."
Jensen brought him a cup of tea with a grin. "It's not his fault. All he knows is that it's squeezing him and it's not as comfy as usual, Xander. Don't threaten him for things he can't control." He patted him on the head. "Though Jess did a lot of that too. She nearly got hospitalized."
"Then I'd get good drugs for the delivery, right?"
"Probably when they put you in a psych ward, yeah."
Jensen grinned. "Just under two months and the doctor said you'd probably be going early."
"Yay." He gave him a frantic look. "I have no idea what to do."
"Neither does any other first time parent, Xander. Relax. It'll come mostly naturally. It did when I started to babysit. Plus, hey, we can ask Pooch and Jolene questions. Or Cougar, he's got siblings who have kids." Xander slumped down, sipping his tea. "Are you going to give him a chance?"
"Would he actually like me if it wasn't for the mountain of whine in there?"
"He and I are best friends," Jensen offered.
"Yeah, but you're smart and trained and all that stuff. I'm fairly violent and have bad habits and have people who hate me enough to want to kill me in some horrible manner and there's all sorts of drama in my life thanks to the slayers and all that. Anya couldn't handle it sometimes and she was in Sunnydale and a former demon."
Jensen stared at him. "Cougar's not going to do anything about all this until you're both sure. So calm down. Get to know him."
"I'm trying," he said quietly.
"I know. So far you've done some really good things." He grinned. "Just relax. That'll help the cramps too. Everything's going to be okay. You're owed majorly by karma."
"Things never work out for those of us who were in Sunnydale," he muttered.
Jensen snorted. "I was born there too, Xander, and mostly mine's been okay. It's not all Sunnydale or our father or anything like that. You're scared, and I get that because it's normal. It's probably the most normal thing you've ever done." He stared at him. "Just... relax. Give him a chance to get to know you. Other people like you once they get to know you." Xander shook his head. "The slayers don't?"
"Some but hell, Willow hates my ass and we were best friends."
"Yeah, well, addicts," he said dryly. "Buffy doesn't." Xander gave him a pointed look. "I'll update everyone that you're okay, just having some cramping." He left him there to think and worry. Cougar was making himself a sandwich so he went to talk to him first. "You know that Xander's got basement level self esteem, right?" he asked quietly. Cougar nodded, not looking up from his spreading of peanut butter. "And that he thinks you only like him because of the baby?" Cougar nodded. "Can we find a way to help him relax some? He's getting over being screwed by his best friend and all that." Cougar gave him a confused look. "Willow and us, well until I got removed, have been friends since kindergarten. With her thing... and her recent rants about him being so unnatural because of our father, he's depressing himself. I'd like to see him happier. And I know that he's worried and all but I know that you're not that sort of guy."
"I know. I'd worry more if Clay was the baby's father." He grinned. "Just... Can you maybe date or something?"
"Won't help," Cougar said, taking the sandwiches into the bathroom in Xander's room. He sat down beside the tub, handing him one. "Yours."
"Thank you. You're spoiling me rotten." Cougar shook his head, grinning some beneath his hat. "Yes you are. No one else gets me food."
"No, she wasn't really into using the kitchen most of the time. She kinda hated the kitchen actually. I did a lot of the cooking. She could make simple stuff and I hardly ever had time to eat a real dinner anyway between work and patrols and her wanting sex all the time." Cougar stared at him. "She was making up for lost time." He nodded. "I'm not used to that anymore." He shrugged and ate a bite. "Thank you."
"Welcome." He watched him eat, handing him half of his but Xander shook his head. He stared at him, getting another head shake. Cougar ate his own food and let the boy relax again. "Did you date while you traveled?"
"Now and then. Nothing that lasted very long. I think the longest was about four weeks or so. Anya and I could measure things in almost years."
"Was she sweet?"
Xander shook his head. "No, not really. She used to tell me about her job and what she had done to various guys, then asked for sex. She had a really bad habit of talking about *everything* we did in public, no matter who could listen. Then she picked up money as just as interesting. She was working in the Magic Box. It was always 'let me help you buy something' with her."
He grinned, shrugging slightly. "She was real blunt most of the time. If she didn't like something, everyone knew it. Usually all over town within hours because the demon network in town watched us pretty carefully to see who was going after what. And what problems were going on so they knew to get out of the way. Once the network found out what the problem was, they never told them. Every now and then someone would slip something but mostly it wasn't told to them.
"And of course whenever we went to threaten the local demon bar's bartender, everyone knew." He gave a one-sided shrug and rubbed the newly kicked spot. "It was symbiotic in a lot of ways. They respected and supported us because we kept the bad things out of their hair and kept them from being noticed by the normals, which would've been bad. So they liked us for that. And some learned to respect us because we were fair to them and treated them the same as we do everyone else. Even if they were being asses and some do still owe me kittens."
"Kittens?" Cougar asked.
"Kitten poker. One of the best sources of gossip and information there is in the demon world." Cougar grimaced, shuddering at the thought. "Yeah but it's good points too. You learn a lot playing kitten poker with demons. You learn about them, their habits, their attitudes. You learn how many vamps there are on any given night who followed Buffy around to get flashed but not get staked. You found out that she had three stalkers who all wanted to take her former vampire boyfriend's place. I dusted them quickly because they sucked ass. A lot. And not in the way she would've liked."
"She still does. She and Spike have a now and then thing." Cougar shuddered. "Yeah, I feel about the same way. I don't think I could sleep with anyone who was room temperature. It was bad enough when we had to camp before an apocalypse and we were the only two guys there so we had to share a tent." Cougar was staring at him oddly. "Yeah, things like that happen to us too," he said dryly, then winced. "Ow. Owowowowowowo!"
"Relax," Cougar reminded as he got to his knees to help him. It was another practice contraction. "Focus on something else."
"Lamaze is shit!" Cougar laughed, shaking his head. "It is," he panted but it wasn't doing any good. He was trying hard not to moan. Moaning would bring Jensen running and it'd be embarrassing. Cougar tapped his bottom lip since he was biting on it. He ended up removing it from his teeth and getting bitten instead. Finally it ended and Xander went limp. "Sorry I bit you," he said quietly. Cougar smiled at him. "We can take the baby out now, right?" He shook his head. "Why not?"
"Not time yet."
"Why not?" Cougar stared at him. "I know I'm whining but I'm starting to feel girlish again and I hate that about myself. That and mood swings that make me sniffly and morbid." Cougar gave the stomach another pet, making him wince and shift. "I think he likes you."
"He should." He sat down again. "Relax."
"I'm trying." He pouted at his stomach. "Take a nap, son? Please?" Cougar chuckled, getting up to get him more tea, which Jensen had ready. Xander stared at his stomach. "Quit showing off. Pretty please, Xadrian?" He rubbed his stomach. And since he was alone he took the opportunity to clean himself quickly. He was getting a sweat rash and it felt gross.
He paused while cleaning, considering what he was feeling. The washcloth went up when he heard Cougar coming, because he was making enough noise to be Jensen. He'd consider that vile topic later. Because he had not felt an adaptment growing. No he had not. He would refuse to have one grow or acknowledge anything that might grow down there unless it was his penis. Because hey, at least then he'd feel manly again. Cougar walked in and handed him some tea. "Thank you."
"Welcome." He sat down again. He stared at him. "You look upset?"
"I'm getting a sweat rash because I can't wear underwear anymore. Sorry if that was TMI." Cougar shook his head, grinning slightly. Xander shifted onto his side, sipping his tea before leaning on the edge of the tub. "Tell me about your family?" Cougar nodded, telling him simple things about them in Spanish. "Will they be really weirded out?"
"Mama yelled at Cordelia and me. She's accepted it now." Xander nodded, relaxing a bit. "She still hopes for more."
"I guess good moms would. I would if it was my daughter. Or, well, I guess son now too thanks to Willow." Cougar patted him on the arm. "Are you really freaked out?"
Cougar stared at him. "I was."
Xander smiled. "I know I'm really weird and I'm not the sort you expected to have little baby Cougar's with some day."
"Wasn't going to."
"Really?" Cougar nodded. "Huh. Me either. I expected to be dead by now from a battle."
Clay knocked and walked in. "Jensen said you've been having more cramps and practice contractions?" Xander nodded. "Have we called anyone?"
"He's out of the country for the next week," Xander said and shrugged slightly. "It's still in the practice part and they're not really more frequent, they just seem to last longer."
"He had three extra today," Cougar said. "But stress too."
"Okay, so he knows?" Xander nodded. "Do we have any plans set up that I should know about?"
"I got some contacts to send up some meds in case?" Xander offered. "They should be in the post office box tomorrow."
"Good to know. Any other plans?"
"Nope, though I am keeping the stuff from my med kit wrapped so it's mostly sterilized." He shifted with a grimace. "I'm trying really hard to be practical."
"Good. That's always better than panicking."
"Clay, I don't give a damn if you cut me open without drugs if I need it. I'm pretty sure I've had worse pain as long as the knife is sharp and I'm sure Roque would make sure of it."
"Yeah, probably." He stared at him. "Any other issues?"
"Sweat rash?" he offered dryly.
"Anything else? Like we were supposed to watch for?"
"I don't give a damn if I do grow a vagina, it's being cut out," Xander said bluntly, cracking Clay up. "And if I should grow one, no one else is ever going to know, even if I have to be celibate for life!"
"Calm down," Cougar ordered. He scowled at Clay, who walked off smirking. "It would shut again."
"Not a guarantee."
"I hope." Cougar stared at him. "Let's change the subject. Please?"
"That misty gray/blue/purplish color as the sun comes up. It means we made it through another night and another battle. You?"
Cougar considered it. "Blue." Xander grinned. He shrugged a bit. He realized Xander and Jensen babbled. They talked a lot more than anyone but a teenage girl on her cellphone. They realized Cougar didn't and that was all right. The longer he got to know Xander the more he resembled Jensen, only darker. In most manners of speaking really. "Are you?"
Xander looked at him. "No comment. Even if you wanted to find out, I'm fat, gross, sweaty, and I have a gas problem until the baby's born. So no touching even if you wanted to." He was trying hard not to pout. "The doctor even said no masturbation, which sucks grandly."
"I thought you couldn't," Pooch said as he leaned in. "Need anything?"
"Some of the hormones are down," he said dryly. "I finally managed to get hard the other day for the first time in nearly ten months and I can't do anything with it or I could set off contractions."
"No pouting," Pooch ordered with an evil smirk.
Xander flipped him off. "Let's see you go from sex with at least your hand nightly to none for ten months," he said dryly. "Hell, I nearly killed two girlfriends in Africa, Pooch. This is seriously killing my stamina."
Pooch walked off shaking his head. "TMI, Xander." He found his wife talking to a ghost, and nearly crying. "Who's this?" he asked calmly. He had no idea how to deal with spirits.
"Anya. Xander's former fiancee," she said, sniffling some. "It's just so tragic, baby."
He gave her a cuddle, glaring at the ghost. "He's in the tub."
"I know but I can't get near the other one," she said, pouting at him. "I can manifest for a night or so."
"He can't get off, Anya, it can start early labor," he said.
"I didn't have that restriction," Jolene complained. "I would've killed you if I had."
He kissed her, grinning at his most precious gift that drove him nuts. "You had a more normal pregnancy. They're not even sure if he'll grow a vagina or not, baby."
"If he does, maybe he'll let me try it out for him? It's been a while since I gave a blow job or did lesbian things." She faded out, going to where Xander was. "Xander, are you growing a vagina?"
"Hell no, and even if I was, no one's touching me for months, Anya. And if I should and it doesn't close it'll be never again."
"Shoot, I was going to manifest for a few hours because I haven't given a blow job in years and I haven't done lesbian things in nearly three centuries. Hallie and I got really drunk on mead," she said at Cougar's odd look. "So, are you going to sex Xander up? He'd look very good underneath you. All sweaty and needing to be held down so he's not taking control." She shifted, crossing her legs.
"I can see him starting to shine from the sweat, maybe even starting to make the sheets dark from it because he's being ridden so hard and long." She shivered. "Maybe you had some toy sex first. That was always one of my favorites, and oral sex once Xander showed me what it was." She stared off into space with a smile. "I can definitely see that happening and it'd be very pretty. Very hot too. Then you can have a good school fund for him and all that stuff. Buy him pretty clothes so Buffy doesn't have to shop."
"Remember the rule, Anya. No talking about Buffy and sex in the same sentence," Xander said dryly. "And what makes you think I'd be on the bottom?"
She smirked. "I saw you in Prague."
"Did you also see me shoot the fucker because he wanted to sacrifice me and that was his goal because he thought I was a virgin?"
"Well, you did put out tasty virgin signs in the club to draw him, Xander. What did you expect?"
He stared at her. "Not the point."
"Fine." She stared at Cougar. "You really should put him in a comfortable position so his tummy is propped up on a pillow while you ride him a lot. Then he'd quit worrying." She gave Xander a pointed look, getting flipped off. "You said you can't."
"I can't. Still not cool, Anya."
"Cordy told me to paint the clue bus bright pink, Xander. Apparently you ignored it."
"Ya know what?" he said dryly, shifting so he could get out. He stared at her. "You and Cordy and the other higher powers and all their bitches go the fuck away. If he wants me for something more than being the mother of his child, so be it. He doesn't need the pressure and I sure as *hell* don't need more in my life. I'm fucked up enough right now as is!" She floated backwards, looking confused, upset, and a bit scared. "I don't give a damn which higher power wants to win their bet by hooking us up, but I'm pretty damn sure he has a life and while the baby may be part of it, he's not really gotten to know me enough to know if he wants to hang out with me for a movie night, much less sex or a better relationship. So take the hormones to the whore patrol and tell them to fuck each other instead."
"But..." she started. "They want you to be happy."
"How is forcing someone to be with me making me happy?" he demanded.
"Well, they're seeing it like an arranged marriage."
"Uh-huh. And he's supposed to give up his career for it?"
"Well.... no one's said that."
"So when he's out of the country doing important things for the army for ten months out of the year, I'm supposed to do what? That's not going to make me happy, that's going to make me miserable. It's going to make me do nothing but be the mommy. So if we work it out so we're together, that's all on us. We got the hint. Tell Cordy to drive her clue bus up someone else's ass."
"Fine." She pouted. "I hate your hormones nearly as much as I hated mine."
"Don't tempt me to start projecting." She gave him a funny look. "Yeah, I had it blocked, Anya Bunny." She squeaked and fled. He glared at Cougar. "I'm still leaving it up to you," he said more calmly. "Though I'm very realistic. They might think it's a reward but their version of a reward is often sucky. So if you want that, you can get to know me all you need to and want to until I do something to drive you off like I did the rest of them." He walked out. "Thank you for making me dinner and sitting with me tonight."
Cougar looked at him. "They're insistent."
"That's because half of them are bitches," Xander said dryly. "They're playing games trying to one up the other higher powers and it's really tiring when you're in their sights. I think they included you as an afterthought so if you want to run, you can run. I'll fully understand. We'll work out visitation and things." He went to bed to lay down, covering himself up.
Cougar let out the water and came out to turn on the overhead fan since his room was so warm. "I'll decide that someday."
"I know." He didn't watch him leave and he refused to get sniffly again. He really wasn't going to. He hated being sniffy and he hated the hormones and right about then he really didn't like being pregnant either. The baby kicked so he swatted his stomach. "Stop that and go to sleep, son." He heard someone in the hall and got up to lock the door, going back to bed. He didn't want to deal with people. He seriously hated most people right now.
Jensen listened to him fuss and shift and mutter until he heard Xander snore, then he broke in and went to lay down beside him. Cougar was confused so something had happened. Cougar wouldn't talk to him so he'd wait for Xander to have a nightmare. It would probably tell him what was going on in his twin's pointy, darkened head.
Pooch and Jensen were checking the house's perimeter after a long rain storm. "Why is it that your brother will defend all of us to make both the spirits who've shown up leave us alone but not himself until he loses his temper?" he asked quietly.
Jensen snorted. "Xander always tried to protect me too, even when I was protecting him. He protected Willow and Jesse, though Jesse always helped me protect him. I'm not sure if it's something fucked up about being us, because I do the same thing half the time."
"I remember us breaking you of that bad habit after it nearly got you killed," Pooch admitted.
"Probably for the same reason. Which means his kid will be overprotected for years."
"I'd hate to see it if his kid is bullied."
"We both were. There were a lot of rougher kids in the neighborhood who thought us being twins was cute."
"So you didn't only get it in high school," Pooch said dryly.
"Think he ever got to the point of those kids who shot at theirs?"
"I don't know. He could've put all that into the hunting stuff."
"I guess. That had to have messed up some things in him."
"Some. It did teach him to work alone a lot, to trust his own instincts and himself more than others. The girls taught him that girls were bitches half the time unless they needed something." He shook his head. "I know this morning's fit at Cordelia was because she was taunting him that Buffy could really use him right now and here he was. So he snapped and went off on why he was there and how it wasn't his plan, it was her boss's plans. That if she didn't like him being stuck in semi-retirement she should go back and make sure he wasn't taken or just simply killed. I don't know why that made her cry but I think it was all the reminding her of the shit they've put him through over the years."
"Did Cougar hear?"
"I think everyone but you heard because you and Jolene were shopping with the baby. I heard and I was down by the beach. Cougar was only up a tree checking the road. And to think, those two dated for a while," he finished dryly.
"You think Cougar's going to start something?"
"I'm not sure if Xander's in the right frame of mind to accept it. Right now he's mentally swearing at himself half the time for being too weak and getting captured. He's trying really hard to accept that the baby won't be like his friends. A whole bunch of stuff that I'd help with if he'd let me."
"He won't let you that close?"
"He'll let me closer but not into his pointy head of darkness. He's still having nightmares and they're not battle nightmares or anything like that. I don't know about what. He won't tell me. He's been isolated for years and I'm not sure if we can break that or not," he said more quietly because they were near one of the cameras. "If I could, I'd help him with whatever."
"I know you would. I think Roque's getting fed up with his pity party."
"Xander's not having one. He's never once had a 'poor me' thought. He's had a 'I'll deal with it and the fucked up things it brings because it will' but not a lot of 'why me' thoughts."
"You sure?" Jensen nodded. "You talk to Roque?"
"Nope. He's been staying away from me for some reason. I'm guessing he has Tough Guy PMS and I'm setting it off again." He rolled his eyes.
"Maybe. He does do that now and then." They checked that camera and kept going.
Roque watched Xander meditating and growled. "What? Think it'll make everything go away?" he sneered.
Xander looked back at him. "Fuck off. I'm trying to bring my blood pressure back down so we don't have to take him out today. And quit lurking." He closed his eyes and went back to it.
"Do you think anyone's going to actually come after that child?" he sneered.
"You mean besides half the governments in the world?" he asked dryly, not opening his eyes. "The oldline Watchers who want to stop him being born because it might mean the line changes a lot? The people who have a six million dollar contract on my life if they can get me before I deliver him or ten afterward? Without him included. If he's born, the contract said they can hand him to his father."
"Excuse me?" Clay demanded from the porch, walking in. He glared at Roque. "Where did you hear that?"
"Jacob sent me an email. Russian mob thing." He shrugged and took a deep breath. "I need to get my blood pressure down." He got up and went to sit on the beach and meditate there.
Clay got into the boy's email, finding the mention. "Shit," he muttered, searching in some of their areas for that information. "JENSEN!" He came jogging in. "Find this." He sat down to read the email and look it up. He found a few of them. "Shit, no wonder people wanted him guarded. Why didn't you find these before?"
"They weren't in the system until recently. The oldest is only two months old." He looked at those two. He found another site he had been tracking. "The old timers in the Council, the ones that were from before the explosion." He let them see it. "Giles has told them that he's not carrying that one but oh well."
"That would change things and they're freaked out," Roque said.
"They've tried for years to make sure it didn't happen because it was easier to control and get control of girls," Jensen said dryly. "And they did get the girls from the parents at the earliest opportunity. They raised them as soon as they identified them if they could."
Clay grimaced. "That sucks."
"Yes it did. They changed that a lot. Now the girls that Cleveland trains are more like a military unit. A lot of them were slayers who were found before the First's purge. They had years of not being attached to anyone but their watcher. The no shopping, no fun, just learning and someday it'll be your turn to fight and die. No dating either," he told Roque when he opened his mouth.
"Xander's are more like a sisterhood. Or maybe a sorority of chosen girls who have a destiny to do great things. They know the rules, they occasionally break them but get back in line when he scowls. They know what they have to do, what they need to do, and how to do it. They're friendlier with each other. They know that sometimes the higher ups are idiots and not all Watchers are created equal, as opposed to the ones in Cleveland who are chain-of-command about that issue.
"Xander's girls die a lot less often and more of things that are outside their control. One has HIV. A few died of rebel attacks near their homes. A few had bad boyfriends. The ones in Cleveland tend to die in battles. They get more fun and they're slowly getting the girls used to normal things. They could really use some mothering sometimes."
"How many have died since the First?" Clay asked.
"Ten, twelve." He found that site on the Council's website. "Fifteen in battles, twelve from other issues. There's a new name," he sighed. "Xander?" He came hurrying in a minute later. "I was checking. There's a new name." He let him see.
Xander tried hard not to sniffle, logging in to look at that page. His log-in didn't work so he forced it with his administrative one. He would not cry, he wouldn't. He absolutely wouldn't. He got out and walked off to be alone so he wouldn't cry.
Jensen undid the log-out to look. "Another boyfriend of dirtbagness." He wrote Buffy an email. And Dawn because he wasn't sure if Buffy would answer one. Jolene came out to look over his shoulder. "Another one of the girls, but one of the Cleveland girls," he said quietly. He got back an email from Buffy telling him not to tell Xander. He had pushed her to come to Cleveland because it was safer and it'd upset him, which he probably didn't need right now.
And gave him a link asking if that was something Xander could use for the baby. He looked at it and gave his opinion that it probably wasn't but gave her a better idea, which she thanked him for. He got up and went to find his brother. "Buffy had stopped her boyfriend when he complained about an upcoming battle taking his time with her," he said when he found him. He sat beside him. "She didn't want you to know."
"Of course not."
"She thought it might hurt you. That you didn't need the stress."
Xander looked at him. "Is he in jail?"
"Buffy said she beat the shit out of him and the cops had to pull her off him. Even Giles couldn't pull her off him and Faith wasn't going to. The cops took about seven of them to pull her off." Xander smirked a bit, nodding slightly. "They were in the house. One of the girls tried to stop him but he knocked her out and sneered. Which was when Buffy jumped him but they didn't realize she had a punctured lung from a broken rib. I'm sorry."
"It's not your fault." He looked out at the water again.
Jensen shifted closer. "I'm still sorry you lost a girl who was like a cousin, Xander." He got a shrug. "You know, you could talk to me. I know we have years of stuff to catch up on but I'd like to be there when you need me."
Xander looked at him. "I don't talk about those things at all, Jake. I never have," he said bluntly.
"You can. I'd listen. That'd get it outside your head." He stared at him. "It's not good to keep it inside, Xander."
"I'm fine, Jake. If it's a big thing I will, but ... We all know that slayers don't live to be ancient women with grandkids," he said quietly. "Even the ones who never got called before never lived to be grandparents. That's not in their cards."
"That sucks majorly."
"Yeah, well, we all get old, get slow, get weak. It happens. Some day all of us won't be fast enough. You and your team, me and mine."
Jensen considered that. "Yeah but it sucks when it's a kid we're talking about."
Xander looked at him. "Buffy got called at fifteen. She died within nine months and I'm the reason she's still alive. And then died again at twenty-one, but Willow pulled her out of heaven."
"Are you worried what he'll go through?"
Xander shook his head. "No, I'll make sure he'll live even if I have to be with him every single minute that he's hunting. Some of the non-associated hunters live to be forty or maybe early fifties if they're good and lucky."
Jensen patted him on the arm. "It's something I don't want to think about."
"I know. Sorry."
"Maybe he'll live to be a grandparent."
"Only if he makes me one when he's real young."
"No, that might not be a good idea," Jensen decided. He leaned his head on Xander's shoulder, comforting them both. That was a horrible thought. It was a curse on a future child. "We'll train him to be the biggest badass ever," he said quietly. "All of us on the team will make sure of it." Xander relaxed and nodded. "Baby martial arts?"
"Yup. Especially since he's already active. They could come for him at any time. Giles is conveniently ignoring that issue. That's why they put me here instead of any of the closer houses. So the girls wouldn't have to see that happen to us."
Jensen sat up, staring at him. "Excuse me?"
Xander looked at him. "Demons come to me to beat my ass, Jensen. They can feel slayers and those who want to end the slayer line don't start with the hard ones. Giles was being practical and trying to be good to the girls so they wouldn't have to see it if it happened while I was too vulnerable." He stared at him. "He did start to thank all the higher powers when someone with sense realized that and had you guys show up to protect me." Jensen opened his mouth. "Those baby presents could have just as easily been a demon to take me out. Taking me out would hurt the girls a lot. Taking him out would end the slayer line."
Jensen swallowed. "I didn't even think about that."
Xander nodded. "That got pointed out to me when I was seventeen by Angelus when he lost his soul and was taunting me. How it would hurt Buffy." He shrugged slightly. "I know I've got a huge ass target on us. That's why I'm not really into decorating a nursery. I'm not sure if we'll have to move to protect ourselves."
"That I think we all figured out." He made himself relax. "Are we still on to bring the baby to Cleveland and then Cougar's family?"
"Yeah. I'll have Dawn shield him so the demons can't find him while we're in Cleveland. That way they can't risk Cougar's family."
"I have some now and then," he said dryly. "It's usually not listened to but I have plenty." He grinned. "Relax, Jake. There's enough who respect me that they won't attack this year. This year's apocalypses aren't interested in doing more than taking over. They consider the slayers a fun challenge and a game. There's not going to be one who'll want the slayers gone for maybe three years. There's actually a cycle of them. Which means I'll have to be active again by then to keep up my respect."
"Why?" he asked.
"Because... Think of it like underground contacts. After six months what happens?"
"They tend to disappear oh," he said, realizing it. Xander nodded. "So how long are you giving you two?"
"A year so he can travel easier and then I'll go check on my girls. He'll be old enough for the shots he'll need to get to Africa and the Middle East. We'll start out mild with the ones in more civilized areas. I call all of them every six weeks and I always have. Giles may not have figured that out yet. Then again I'm still listed as second-in-command at the Council because everyone would die if Buffy had to run something." He grimaced, shrugging a bit. "I guess it's given me at least another year that's almost certain. Who knows what I'd have gotten up to during this time and what I might've handled that could've gotten me dead."
"I'd have seriously missed you if you were really dead," Jensen said quietly. "I think I would've felt it. The shrink they sent me to said that if my twin was dead I would've felt it." Xander smiled and gave him a shoulder nudge. "Can you maybe do something more protective like train?"
"That won't save my girls or him."
"It'll save him because you'll be in a more controlled, safer spot if something happens. Plus you'll have people around to help him. And some of your girls could come here."
Xander shrugged. "I don't know."
"If you do, I'm sure they'd like the time off."
"Some of them are the major food hunters for their people."
"I get that," he agreed. "Switch some of the spoiled ones out there to give them experience?"
"I tried that once and it was a huge failure. She felt like one because she couldn't do the same things the native one was and it nearly got her dead. Giles said we couldn't do that. I have been known to slip them to other houses so they could get experience in other areas, like jungle tracking. Or desert tracking. Especially the younger ones."
"What if you use this as a training center since there won't be anyone who can travel to the slayers while you're regaining your stamina? The younger ones are sent here to train them in all that they need to know. We're close enough to some jungle for a few weekend trips that way. This area's lower activity. There's probably not going to be an apocalypse battle here so they'd be safer. Then you could hand them to a house to get them used to desert and urban hunting methods if you can't find some in a local city. Your girls could help when they needed some time off from their posts."
"If you get too many of them together, things are drawn to them harder," Xander said.
"How many new slayers are activated every year?"
"Depends on how many died but seven or eight usually. About a house's worth. This year there's been twelve. We've only lost eight girls though so this year's battle is probably going to be huge. Our years begin on the summer equinox."
"Do we get a party?"
"Yup. And the next day is usually spent with a hangover for some of the girls," he said dryly. "It gives us a few quiet weeks after whatever and a quiet month to build back up the usual level of issues once colleges start." Jensen looked confused. "Easier hunting in college clubs for vampires."
"I guess I can understand that. You can't always rely on a homeless person to come by."
"Some of them are protected. They tend to know each other and figure out if one's gone pretty fast. Plus there's religious sorts who go down to hand out food and watch over them somewhat too. It's easier to get campers and hikers for some of them but that makes some thin months out of the year and you have to keep switching areas."
"They don't like to?"
"Think of it like any other sort of hunting. Wouldn't you rather have an area you knew where things were?"
"Well, yeah. And for vampires that would be knowing where the vulnerable were. Too drunk or too stoned, friends who didn't pay attention to you." Xander nodded. "We don't hardly see any vampire kills these days."
"A lot of them have learned subtlety because a vampire kill brings a slayer. A vampire feeding requires her going to the ER and the cops calling Giles, which brings a slayer slower. The older they are the wiser. The younger fledges are all the brutal ones." He winced, curling around his stomach. "Son, stop it, now," he ordered, trying to stay calm. "Or else you're coming out today."
Jensen shifted to rub his stomach. "Calm down, Xadrian. You can come play with me very soon, sweetheart." He grinned. "We're only gone about eight months out of the year. We get breaks between them for healing."
"Don't tell me that."
"Fine. I'm not usually the injured one?"
Xander stared at him. "What would Jolene say if you said that in front of her?"
"She's threatened to make him quit before whenever Pooch got too injured." He rolled his eyes.
"The same way you feel about me hunting I feel about you getting shot at," Xander said dryly. Jensen hugged him and walked off happier. Xander looked down at his stomach. "Apparently he got all the mushiness as well as all the brains in the family. Don't worry, you'll be smart like him. He's infected you already, kiddo. That way you can go on to do great things for as long as you can." He went back to meditating. He needed to bring his blood pressure back down. It was too high and he had enough medic training to know that wasn't good for either of them.
He had no idea Cougar had heard all that. He didn't want him to know that stuff. It was depressing.
Cougar had talked to that priest and decided some things. Now he had questions. He went to talk to Xander. It was late at night but the baby was being happy and kicking so he was awake. He settled next to him on the bed, facing him, leaning down to stroke over the moving stomach. The baby settled down. "You worry so he worries," he said quietly.
"Probably yeah. I've been trying to reduce my stress levels." He stared at him. "You look upset. Bad news from home?"
"Do slayers have to fight?"
"We have some who don't. We have a few who got too injured and retired. But the thing is that they're still active slayers so they can be attacked. Or their families."
Cougar nodded. "As I thought. Will he be trained?"
"Yup, everything I can do and if you want to help with that I'd welcome it."
"I will be." He stared at him. "Risks to those around him?"
"It's only every few years that things want to try to wipe out all the slayers. I'm already looking at ways to make sure the uncalled and the inactive ones won't be found. Dawn is as well. Willow supposedly was."
"But you said he's active."
"There's active and then there's imbued with the slayer essence. See, the way the originators of the Council created the slayer line, they merged a girl with the essence of a few demons who had gifts that could help her hunt. The faster healing, the better stamina, all that." Cougar shuddered. "Yeah, we talked to her once to bring down the Initiative. She wasn't a happy camper by any means and I confused her to hell because even back then it was supposedly a girl alone fighting. I broke that mold forever more."
He looked at his stomach then at him. "Originally, when a slayer died, the essence passed on with all her memories and skills. So each level actually got stronger. There's a thought that it got too strong and that's what helped snap Faith and a few others. They weren't strong enough to take the millennia of essence built up without it breaking them so they went dark because the essence teaches you how to hunt, how to kill."
"Makes sense," he agreed.
"But Faith went dark, partially because of her upbringing and partially not. She even said that the instincts were calling out to her and liked the killing a lot. That she wasn't always strong enough to filter it down. So in a way breaking the single line into the multiple lines has helped a lot. We now have seven acknowledged lines by the essence that they got given. Multiple girls called on each line but only seven lines.
"Then we have six, soon to be seven, oddball slayers that don't have that same sort of essence. We can tell because of the psychic imprint, like a possession," he explained at the confused look. "The essence split into various slayers going into each line. There's one that's got the really good defenders. The last line of defense ones. The slayers that split into that were the best at that.
"There's a line that contains most of the hunters. Buffy's essence is in that one as well since she had died to create Faith after Kendra died. A lot of the slayers that worked in native areas were in that one. We have one line that's excellent at weapons work and I've done a lot of their training because that's my area too. I suck at bare-handed fighting but give me a weapon and I'm better."
"They got the stragglers, the ones that weren't really fit into any group. The ones that were pretty equally split between groups or the few research nerd slayers. They don't always get a full line's worth, maybe just a few that they'd need to help them. We had one that used to knit. She taught the current one how to knit. I've worked with all of them. Actually I found all but one of them. She survived the first and showed up." He smiled. "I'm fairly certain he'll be one of those. Almost positive. I can hear the spirit in him. The slayer essence likes me since Sineya, the First Slayer, did."
"So he's fully active and imbued?"
"Yes. But, we know this now, that's how they found future slayers. All slayers are imbued before birth, and then the spirit leaves them until they're old enough. That makes sure the baby is strong enough to handle the gifts and there's no physical deformities or things that could make them a weak slayer. That fact is what the Council used to use to find the upcoming girls."
"So it will leave?"
"Probably. One we know that it didn't got attacked very young by the First. It helped her get away at the ripe old age of seven." Cougar shuddered. "Exactly. Then it left her and she's still not called because it won't come to her until she's reached mostly full maturity. That mystical spot where gymnasts are at their best and so are warriors in training basically." He nodded. "Each girl hits it a bit differently. And then they get training until they're at least seventeen. Unless it's an all-hands situation they aren't even allowed in apocalypse battles. We've had a few of those but those girls were put in the rear, most guarded spot because we had no choice."
Cougar nodded. "Reasonable. Him?"
"He'll be one of them. I'm hoping I can give and get him enough training to survive all that and possibly get him to retire after that. Probably back to training with me. By then Giles will be ancient if he's alive and I'll be ancient for a hunter by then."
"Do any go military?"
Xander shook his head. "A few wanted to and Riley Fucking Finn talked them out of it because it was a risk to their unit. One went against orders and joined but was killed by a half demon already in the service for profaning her gift. See, slayers are apolitical. We don't care who runs a country, we have our duty. If they joined a program like on that tv show, then maybe but not the regular military."
"We take down evil sorts," Cougar told him.
"That's a definition," he said dryly. "Sometimes not but mostly that's decided by the higher ups. And what happens if an apocalypse comes while she's on a mission?"
Cougar winced. That would be a bad thing. Not even Clay was liberal enough to handle that popping up.
"So they're highly discouraged. We still train, fight, and die for our people but it's the wider world instead of a country." He grinned. "Though we do have a few who learned hacking somewhere and other things. Our armory and tech support people are half slayers, half former agents."
"There's been a few commanders who wanted to take over. Even tried to take some of the girls into custody for the good of the US. They really hated it when I led six girls and took down their precious base. Both times. Then the President told the commanders to stop it because it was needlessly wasting military lives. He made them go to the next battle to prove to them why the US didn't want them in the military. Because things like that came for the girls. The last I heard that commander had spent six months in a monastery contemplating the true definition of evil and then went back to his command a better and saner commander."
"I heard about him," he admitted. He shook his head quickly. Xander grinned. "Normal lives?"
"The girls who are over the legal age are encouraged to go to college, get a career they like, all that. Some manage it and some don't. Some manage to get married and become parents and some think it's too risky. Originally I suggested we put up a sanctuary on holy ground for any pregnant slayers so they'd be safer. I got voted down. They take extra precautions, have someone in the covens we work with ward their houses and them for safety reasons, all that, instead."
"Has wards. Dawn made sure of it. Also I have you guys. It's probably stopped a few problems. See, everyone apparently knew who Jensen's father is. They never knew about me being his twin. Mostly because of how they dumped me when I was six."
"Jensen would not."
"I know. Jess either. Right now she's reacting like most parents who realize they have a connection to the Council. She's worried it's dangerous." Cougar nodded he was too. "It's understandable. It's also the ruin of a lot of in-laws liking the new daughter-in-law." He grinned. "It's why I'd never push you for anything, Cougar. I've seen some of them react to the point of forcing a divorce immediately when they found out. Or forcing the idea of children coming quickly so he'd have something of her left when she was killed by something."
"Are you thinking of such things?" he asked quietly.
Xander shook his head. "There's an almost perfect certainty that any child I have will be a slayer. Or magically inclined since it's active in me thanks to the hellmouth taint. I've kept it locked down for years because of things getting too complicated and I didn't want to deal with Willow pouting or hear what would happen if they found out who my father actually was after that Halloween when he had us all possessed by our costumes.
"He and Giles apparently used to be in the same black magic coven and possibly used to fuck each other." Cougar shuddered. "Yeah. So to say that they're not friends now.... Giles turned him over to Pooch's former unit because Ethan turned him into a demon for a day. After the halloween thing, Giles beat the shit out of him. Unfortunately he left before I could add to it. He was too well guarded for us to have a *chat* when we captured him to hand him over."
"Then I would've probably stopped, maybe. Especially if someone tried to pull me off him. Now.... I'm not sure."
Cougar nodded at that. "What about visitation?"
"If you want to see him, you let me know. You can bring him home to the parents and they can call. If it's not safe, I'll let them know that and arrange it to be safer or plan one in the future, after an apocalypse. For the minor ones I might let your family have him during battles."
Cougar nodded. "Mama would."
"Most mothers would." He smiled. "Joyce would have. She'd have spoiled him rotten. She probably would've taught him to shop like a Summers too." He looked out at the flash of light. "Who are you?" he called quietly. He heard the growl and pulled the knife from under his pillow, creeping out there. He saw the large demon dog.
"Huffy?" he asked, looking at it. It sniffed and barked, wagging his tail, tongue hanging out. "Did Mel send you with a message, dear?" He put the knife up and petted him. The dog sniffed his stomach and growled so he bopped him on the head. "Leave my son alone, Huffy. Is Mel in trouble?" The demon dog rolled over for belly scratches. "Cougar, can I have my phone?" He went to get it, keeping an eye on the dog.
He called while he petted him. "Hi, Mel's husband. It's Xander. Is there a reason the demon dog that adores your wife's cooking came to find me?" He listened to him complain but check on his wife. "Hmm, sick? Look kinda pale but shiny?" he asked dryly. "Yeah, that means she's pregnant. Trust me on that."
He rolled his eyes. "Tell her to update Giles and Dawn, tell her to talk to the people who help her so they can get her covered. One of the coven will be over in a few days to ward the house so nothing attacks her while she's injured or weak. Yeah they will. We've even had some where I am and I have a whole military unit around me."
He listened to him complain it wasn't part of their religion. "Listen, dude. The only way your wife and child are going to survive is if we take precautions. Any pregnant person can't fight. They won't attack a slayer that's not sick but there's always someone looking to take advantage of such things. Exactly. Beyond that, even the King knows that sometimes we deal in things that take mystical knowledge. Including your local mosque. We talked with her natal one when she got found. Yes, him.
"No, we can make it subtle. Paint around the doorways as part of a border is the most subtle we usually do. It's very pretty, we can change some of the patterns so they're not flowery looking since that's against Islamic decorating codes. Yeah, we can do that. We did it in Serbia for one of the slayers there. No, she died when someone blew up a car in front of her work." The husband shuddered.
"So for right now, let's just relax, have her talk to those people who help her. Have her get a prenatal checkup because kids are hard on a body. Remind her to take extra calcium because she'll need it for strong bones. That all-female military unit should be able to make certain she's protected and give her any ideas she might need about staying in good shape while she's pregnant. That way she doesn't lose anything."
He listened to the question. "That depends on the child. Of the seventeen slayers that have been pregnant, four have managed to give birth, which is why we're so strict on that protecting thing. Half of them were before the First and the mass calling but the others... not all were demons but enough to worry about. Of the four that were born alive, it was evenly split boy/girl. The girls, only one was a slayer.
"So right now we're not sure. I'd say possibly with a leaning toward not totally likely. We can look for the mole and do a test on the amniotic fluid to make sure if it is or not. Slayers all have certain characteristics before they're born. If we spot the mole and the test comes out negative that means that there's a health issue that would cause the child not to be called. Also, thanks to one being carried there is now the chance that males can be called if they're exceptionally gifted in that sort of area.
"So make sure she has an amnio done and the best ultrasound possible. Yeah, we can test the fluid without the ultrasound if it's a problem. They'll have to do one when they stick the big needle in her stomach to pull out some of the fluid around the baby for safety reasons." He listened. "They give a local but it's creepy feeling. No, it's not dangerous to the child. It can tell the sex, any big health issues, all that. They won't have to tell you if you don't want them to. Though it does make decorating easier."
He smiled. "Tell her I said congrats and Huffy's here. Yes, that dog. It's a hellhound actually. It thinks she's sweet because she threw tootsie rolls at it when it first appeared to try to drive him off. He's got a huge sweet tooth because of it. He likes to show up when she's in trouble. He showed up the day I got there and growled at me until he realized who I was. That's why I'm giving him belly scratches." He smiled at the dog. "Mel said thank you for telling me."
He listened to her. "Yeah, he's fine, Mel. Came to get some pets in. Hates my stomach. Yup. Amnio. We can test for the slayer essence with the amnio. Well, my doc used a tiny camera inserted at the same time to do an up close investigation. We spotted the mole that way. Kinda, yeah. Definitely have the amnio so we can test it. Because if you are, we'll have to add some extra protections around you probably. Exactly. No, I'm hoping it's soon. He's kicking up a storm whenever Huffy looks at him and growls."
Cougar knelt to rub his stomach, making him moan. "Thank you, Cougar." He grinned at him. "Mel said she wanted to meet you. Yeah, Xadrian's baby daddy, Mel. He's on my twin brother's team. The higher ups decided on him instead of Jensen. Yup, no fraternal. Thanks and be safe. Email me later. Tell them tomorrow once you have it confirmed. That way they can make plans. I'll tell Giles so he can get the coven to come paint your doorways for you. Thanks, dear. Be safe and healthy. Talk to me in a few weeks." He hung up and smiled at the dog. "Mel's just fine, Huffy. She's having a puppy." He barked and disappeared, going back there. Xander went limp. "I was hoping it was something small."
"Married women often get pregnant. It is the cycle of life," Clay said as he walked out. "What was that?"
"Hell hound. His name's Huffy. He guards my slayer in Saudi." He let Cougar help him up, grabbing his back. "He weighs a ton."
"You've lost too much weight," Jensen countered. "That's why he seems to weigh more than usual." He stared at his twin. "C'mon. We can talk to Giles tomorrow." Xander nodded, letting them help him back to bed. "I'll call Giles and tell him the good news." He kissed him on the forehead once he had him tucked in. He glanced at Cougar, giving him a subtle smirk and left them alone.
Cougar sat on the bed beside him. "I will wait until Jake is done." Xander nodded, yawning and curling up on his side. It was progress that Xander was facing him this time instead of away.
A few days later, Xander walked out with a knife. "He's coming out soon," he said, looking grim.
"Contraction?" Roque asked, taking the knife from the scary guy with the mood swings.
"Just more pain than usual." He sat down then winced. "I'll sleep here," he muttered.
Roque helped him back up and watched him walk back to his bathroom while he called the doctor. "It's Roque. Xander handed me a knife and said it's nearly time, the baby's causing a lot more pain tonight." He listened to the orders. "I can have Cougar check and call." He hung up and went to wake up Cougar. He woke up when he opened the door. "Go check Xander for obstructions. He's in a lot of pain and the doc wanted to make sure it's not a full contraction."
Cougar nodded, getting up and padding that way to check on him. He found him curled up on his side looking miserable. "He said to check you."
"Yay," he said weakly. "Can't we take him out now?"
"We'll see." He did what the books had said to do, finding the stomach harder than usual. He checked his back, finding the same thing. "Relax?"
Cougar nodded, helping him to shift onto his back. He did it again and it was easier but not much. Xander was making whimpering noises. "What?"
"I need to pee and can't pee when I'm standing up."
"Still in the wrong spot."
"If you must, use the tub and rinse it out," he offered. Xander snorted, shaking his head. "Bend over from the waist. It should shift him up." He looked. "Should I ask about other matters?"
"I'm not letting you check to see if he's on my colon, Cougar. I don't know you well enough to let you finger fuck me."
Cougar swatted him with a scowl, walking out to call the doctor back and tell him. He got clear orders and nodded, going back in there with the phone. "He wanted to know if anything new has grown since he hasn't seen you in two weeks."
"I'm not having a contraction and he's coming out with a knife. Even if I have to do it myself," Xander said firmly. "I can do that."
"Calm down." He listened to the doctor. "He wants me to check anyway, Xander." The boy groaned and shuddered. He closed the door and locked it then came over to feel underneath the sheet. It wasn't that hard to find. The boy was gritting his teeth as he probed gently. "No plug," he reported, pulling out to go wash his hands off. "A bit damp however." He listened. "Thank you."
He hung up. "He said you can go any time now. To make sure the room was ready." Xander nodded, going to clean it. "I will not tell anyone," he promised. Xander relaxed and smiled, nodding slightly. He went to tell the others. "It's soon." Clay nodded at that, going to check over Xander's shoulder on what they might need. Pooch got the textbook they had found on OB surgical procedures down to reread and Cougar took it from him. He was the backup but he knew he'd be anxious. It was his son being born.
Jensen levitated out of the bed and ran to Xander's room before he could scream. "It's time!" he shouted. He got Xander up and into the shower to clean him off. He was sweating and he had to be clean for the surgery.
"Just give me a damn knife," Xander moaned, clutching onto his brother's shoulder. "Please?"
"Pooch is going to do it, Xander. Calm down. Let's finish cleaning up." He got them out and dried off, walking him up the hall and then going to change into dry clothes. He came back to help. Cougar was taking Xander's attention by holding his hand and talking to him in Spanish. Xander was panting through a bad pain. They cleaned the area, draped it, and Pooch said a silent prayer before cutting. Then deeper. It took him six cuts to get to the sac.
"Yank it out?" Pooch asked.
Pooch smiled, taking the sac out to free the baby and cut it out. The doctor got there before they were done. He took over once he was cleaned up and the baby was quickly handed to Pooch and Jensen to get breathing. He was slimy, he was a bit purple, but he was all right. He screamed a minute later and went pink under the white and red slime. "It's a boy," he announced.
"We had hoped so," the doctor quipped. He cleaned up the area and closed him. "Nice cutting, Pooch." He finished with Xander, who had passed out. He took the baby to look over, checking everything while filling out the birth certificate. Jensen was busy taking pictures for everyone. The doctor smiled. "Here, hold him," he ordered, taking his phone to take a picture too. "There. Get him his first bath and dressed, boys." They nodded, taking him to do that. He checked on Xander. He was starting to come around. "He's just fine, Xander."
"Test the fluid," he murmured, passing back out.
"I will in a few days. It takes a few days for the essence to leave him." He petted his hair. "Get him back to bed, Cougar." He nodded, picking him up and taking him that way. "And make him eat tomorrow."
"I will." He tucked Xander in and went to find his son. He was screaming at his uncles. "Let me." Jensen grinned, letting him into his spot to help the clean up. That stuff was sticky. They finally got him cleaned up and put a diaper on him, then a cute onesie Jensen had found. He got brought back to Xander's room and settled into the playpen. Unfortunately Jolene and their baby had gone home almost a month earlier. So they were on their own with the baby. And the father who was still out. He looked like he was dreaming. Jensen watched for a minute then nudged him awake. "Hi. Who's complaining?"
"Cordelia called me a drama queen." He looked at the baby. "You're bigger than you should be."
"Doc said nearly eleven pounds," Jensen agreed. "He probably couldn't have come out the normal way anyway." He took him to hold. "I took lots and lots of pictures. Did you still want that name?" Xander nodded. Cougar nodded as well. "Okay, I'll fill it out."
"I almost considered Ruben but people would assume I liked American Idol," Xander said dryly.
Jensen grinned. "Not my taste either." He let Xander cuddle him. "Head up." Xander shifted him some. "Do you feel like you're going to lactate?" Xander whimpered, shuddering slightly. "Then we'll make him a bottle in a bit." He stroked over the damp hair. "He's beautiful, Xander."
"He is." He looked at Cougar, who was smiling. "Did you take one for your mother?" He nodded. "Cool." He yawned. "I'm sore. I didn't push him out so I have no idea why my butt is sore but it is."
Jensen took the baby back. "Help him go to the bathroom, Cougar." He nodded, helping Xander in there. He cooed and pulled Xander's laptop over to call their sister. "Hi," he said when she answered. She gaped. "Twenty-two and a half inches, ten pounds, 9 oz. Born about two hours ago."
"Awww." She stared. "What's his name?"
"He's so sweet looking. How is Xander?"
"In the bathroom."
"That's usual. I did too." She leaned closer to the monitor. "He's adorably squished." Jensen tipped him better. "I want to hold him soon."
"He can't fly for a month," Jensen reminded him.
"I know. So?"
"We're going to be introducing him to the people in Cleveland and Cougar's family in a little over a month. We can pop up there too." He smirked and hung up. Roque was coming. "Jess has cooed and pronounced him handsome."
"He is," Cougar agreed, taking the baby back to hold. He was making a scrunchy face. "Is that hungry?"
"Probably," Roque said dryly, holding up a bottle. "Clay mixed four, they're in the fridge so they can be warmed up. The kid need more help?"
"A colon cleanse," Xander called. "And a long, hot bath."
"Jess said she had the same problem, Xander." Jensen leaned in there. "It was him backing it up. It'll all come out over the next few hours."
"Yay," he said weakly.
Jensen grinned. "At least it was quick."
"Thankfully. Can I be alone?" Jensen shut the bathroom door for him. Xander slumped and went back to cleaning his body out of the stuff it had been holding back while the baby squished his intestine partially shut. Then he'd get a bath. Once he was in the warm bath, he looked at the door. "Can I have him back so we can bond?" he called.
Cougar opened the door, walking in with the sipping baby. He got him down to his diaper and let the daddy hold him for now. "He is sweet."
"For now. Until he wakes up every few hours."
"That is normal." He sat down, watching them bond and Xander feed him for the first time. "You'll be a good father," he said quietly.
"I hope so. At the least he'll be a bit less screwed up than Jake and I are. I'm just thankful he's not twins. That might drive me nuts."
"Possibly but you'd handle it." Cougar stared at him. "When did you want to go back?"
"I planned it for the 16th of January. That way he was healthy enough and we had time to get him the passport he'd need." Cougar nodded that was something they hadn't thought of. "All the plane tickets are already bought and you guys have a room waiting in Cleveland then too if you wanted to stick around to protect him from being cooed at. I figured you'd get with Jake to arrange for him to go see your family."
"Did you not want to come?"
"I probably should but they might not like me. Families don't usually like it when baby mama show up." A thought came to him. "What did we put down for the last name?"
"Will nosy officials mind that?"
He shrugged. "Why should it matter?"
"We'll make sure on the trip back. I don't want to make it any harder than it has to be."
Jensen leaned in with a grin. "A guy in San Francisco just started to crow on tv about being pregnant. They even did an ultrasound on the Today show to try to disprove him. The doctor was amazed and blamed it on you guys." He beamed. "How is he?"
"Sucking hard," Xander said, looking at him. "So now everyone knows?"
"I'm not sure how Giles is going to explain it." He leaned in the doorway. "When are we going to see Jess? Before or after Cougar's family?"
"After," Xander said, rubbing his forehead. "Because they're going to try something to keep the baby and it's not going to go over well." Cougar grimaced, going to call his mother and stop that plan cold. He and his twin shared a look. "Can I hit her just once?"
"As long as neither baby can see and realize," he promised. "I would." He came in and sat down, watching Xander let him suck at the bottle. "He's hungry."
"He's getting used to it," Xander said with a small shrug. He winced. "That's going to suck for those stitches."
"At least the tub's not deep enough to bother them." He made grabby hands. "Can I?" Xander let him hold him, watching him coo and make goofy faces at the baby. "I missed your cousin's first few weeks because I was in Pakistan. I'm not missing yours, Xadrian. Yes, the uncles all love you." He rubbed noses with the baby. The baby burped on him for that gift. "Aww, eww." He got up to clean them both up, letting Xander have him back. He sat down again, looking at Cougar when he came in. "Your mother get stopped?" He nodded, sitting down again. "Good." He looked at his twin. "Want me to put him down in the playpen?"
"Maybe." He let Jensen take him back to do that. "Burp him again?"
"Yup." He covered his shoulder with a dishtowel and did that, getting puked on but that was what babies did. "Your cousin did the same thing the first time I burped her," he assured the baby. "There's no reason to be self conscious about it, Xadrian. It happens to all of us and you won't ever have an eating disorder." He put him down and covered him with a sheet before leaving those two to talk. Xander and Cougar needed to work out some fine details. Including things like how he'd get visitation when they were on different continents.
to part 3
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