Xander stretched out on the floor in the lounge, Dawn watching him critically. "Am I not doing it right?"
"No, you're doing good," she admitted, pushing his back down. "Do more of that." She sat down across from him to stretch. She was going to be teaching and doing yoga with Xander. "Did you need to have any stitches removed? I know it's been three weeks."
"No, they all got yanked the other day," he admitted. "That's why I was wandering around limping a few days back." He stretched up. "Are we sure this is good for me? I already ache."
"Yup, it's great. You need the flexibility. After all, Vinnie can tuck and roll much faster and easier than you can and he's a lot older."
"I heard that!" Vinnie yelled from downstairs. All the of the mice were giving Xander some space so he wouldn't be embarrassed.
"You are," Xander called down. "I'm only twenty-three. Or hey, I could claim to be eighteen for a very long time."
She grinned and nodded, standing up and helping him up. "Okay, we're going to turn on the tapes. Do what we do," she ordered, flipping on the vcr with the remote, then tossing the remote aside. The tape came on and she assumed the first position.
He stared at her in awe, and tried, but he wasn't that flexible. "Ow!"
"Lower your knee," she instructed patiently, getting out of position to pause the tape. She helped him get into the right position, then smiled. "Deep breath, in and out, and calm," she said quietly, stroking his back. He nodded, closing his eyes while he held it. "Any idea when your human muscles are going to give over to mouse muscles?"
"Nope. Enamel said he didn't know. It might not happen."
She snorted. "Yeah, right. Maybe you two should go back there."
"It's possible the change started earlier, it just took the intense sex to get it going for real," Xander said calmly. He shook himself out of position and shook his hands. "Ow."
"Listen, just follow the tape for now. I want to look up something," she said seriously. "There's something that's been nagging me for the past few days."
"It can't wait?" he whined.
She considered it then nodded. "Sure. Maybe it'll help me focus my thoughts." The doorbell rang. "Someone get that!" she yelled, restarting the tape. She assumed the position, he got really close. "Good job," she praised. "That's an alternate if you can't do it the full way." She slowly moved into the next pose and he followed along, watching her instead of the tape. She flipped off the tape and turned on an instrumental CD, going into her normal routine. He followed along, doing it as best he could.
Throttle walked into the library, looking over Dawn's shoulder as she typed at someone. "Who's that?"
"Bad guy chaos person, I had a thought that Xander had been cursed by him and I'm wondering if it's him. So I'm someone just starting out and asking his advice on transformation spells." She typed in her next response after reading, then smirked and typed in a totally braindead question that made him type in a shudder. He typed in her name and she typed in a chuckle and told him who she was working on. It got his attention and he instantly offered her a list of books. He also stated that anything that made that boy miserable was good with him. Fur and a tail? He'd happily help her finish the transformation. He even offered to pay his own airfare. He promised he'd be up by the end of the week, to have someone pick him up. Then he closed the session and disappeared off the instant messaging system. "Yes!" she said happily. She got up and hugged him. "That's so wicked." She went to call Meg and Oz, getting their help. The mice would scare him. Meg might scare him but she wouldn't care.
"Meggy, it's Dawn. Nope, I'm getting Xander some help with the transformation stuff. No, actually, look at Oz and say the name Ethan Rayne."
"Why are you talking with that sick, twisted bastard?" Xander yelled.
"Because he can fix that remaining non-conformity and he said he'd do it for free just to torment your ass," she called back. She grinned at the giggling. "He'll be in shortly, by the end of the week, and he'll need picked up. Nope, we'll need to take him to a hotel and bring Xander there. I can do that part. I need you to pick him up. Honey, if he saw one of the bros, he'd know something was going on with Xander and that he might like it. Then we'd have to *make* him help." She smirked at Throttle. "Sure. I'll let you know. It won't be on that short of notice." She looked up, sensing the magic and smirked. "Sure, later, Meggy. Pet the Oz for me." She hung up and went down to talk to Xander, and felt the magic snap. "I've got to put better shields on this place. We're taking a night off, even if I have to go kidnap Ethan and bring him back."
"Tell Enamel, he'll do it," Vinnie said dryly. "He likes Xander and he wants him to be a true mouse too."
"He's under house arrest," Dawn reminded him. She looked at Xander. "He said there's a way to tell why you changed and that he'll gladly finish making you furry and have a tail just to make you miserable."
He hugged her. "I knew I had raised you Slytherin enough," he said proudly, sniffling. "I'm so proud!" A cat meowed. "Sorry, Joyce, but sometimes it takes some sneakiness with the bad guys. She's normally much nicer."
Joyce rubbed against her daughter's leg, but she wasn't that upset. She was more hungry and her daughter took her to spoil her rotten. She got more treats than most of the cats combined from Vinnie.
Throttle looked around the pet store Dawn had talked him into bringing her to. Then he looked at her. "One fish was too much."
She smiled and grabbed him by the waistband, dragging him to the prettier fish. She smiled at the man who was working in that section. "I want one of those," she said, pointing at the case. "But you'll have to deliver it."
"For the bigger cases, we can do that," he assured her happily. "Were you thinking exotic, fresh water, or just regular home fish?"
"Something to sit and stare at but easy to take care of. I'm the least active person in the house and I'm a senior."
He nodded. "I think we can do that. What's your criteria besides easy to take care of?"
"Pretty. We have people who'll sit and stare at it for days on end. Oh, and it's got to have a nightlight thingy. It's going in a corner and the main fish person will lay there and stare at it instead of sleep."
"I understand," he agreed, leading her to a new display. "Very pretty and easy to take care of. If you add a few sucker fish to clean the tank it'll help ease the maintenance." Throttle looked at him. "It's a great thing, mine have those. My cats like to watch them the best. You can also get a few crabs too."
"Deal," she said, handing over Xander's credit card. "He's at home in bed. You can call." She smiled and nudged Throttle, who groaned and nodded, handing over his card too. "Thanks, daddy."
"Welcome, brat," he said dryly. "I'm going to wander. See what other distracting things the cats can have." He walked off, shaking his head. Why fish? Weren't the cats enough? He picked up a brochure on fixing the cats, just for reference. Because they were not having more after this new litter was born. He found the cat toy section and stopped to look at all the things in the row. He let out a small whimper. One of the store's workers smiled at him. "We've got ten very spoiled cats and three others like me. We're getting fish too."
"Do you mind jingly balls?" She held up a set and jingled it. He looked horrified. "I'll take that as a no on balls," she said with a small smile for him, putting those back. She loaded him up on treats and toys. She also included collars and a brush. He stopped to look at the flea stuff and she looked up at him, then patted his arm, nodding. "It'd be a good idea unless you want them too, sir," she said gently. "Fleas are nasty and hard to get rid of once you get them. They're like roaches only they bite." He shuddered, dropping a few toys. She picked them up and picked up the stuff for him. "This is professional grade stuff. Proven to work and very safe. It's great. You said ten?" He nodded slowly. "Are they all between five and ten pounds?" He nodded. "Wonderful." She pulled down a box of those. "This should last you all summer. They come in packs of three."
"I'm having that mother cat fixed," he whimpered.
She patted him on the arm. "I understand, it happens when you least expect it." She walked him up front to get a basket then led him back to where Dawn was pointing at the fish. "Fish too?" she asked happily.
Dawn looked in the basket, taking the box of flea medicine. "Thank you," she said with a gentle smile. "I hadn't wanted to worry about those nasties." The woman smiled and walked off. Dawn grinned at him. "You're a softy."
"Maybe, but nothing jingles."
"That's mean, Vinnie would like jingly balls."
"If I could find one in his size, I'd get it," he said dryly. He looked at the list of fish. "We're getting how many?"
"Just a few. It's a big enough tank. We'll have a few crabs, some of the cleaning fish, and some very pretty things." She smiled at the man, who added a few things and winked, not adding them to the list. "When can you deliver it?"
"How about later today?"
"Sure!" she agreed happily. "Let's go check out." She winked and took the list, blowing a kiss at him. He blushed and got busy picking out the things she'd need. She walked Throttle up to the register. "Do you have a jingly ball for someone about his size?" she asked, nodding at Throttle. "It'd amuse our friend."
The salesgirl looked at Throttle, blinked a few times, then smiled and nodded. "I do," she agreed, going to get it for her. She came back with flea collars. "Those little drops won't help him."
"We've got cats," she told her.
"Oh, good job, miss. It's houses like you that are so great. If you need anything else, remember us, please." She rang them up and took the card, looking at the picture, then at them. "This is?"
"My husband," he said.
"Oh, that's so *great*," she cooed, reaching over to stroke his arm. "That's even better." She ran the card and got him to sign it, then bagged everything up. "Can I get your phone number for the delivery?" Dawn wrote it down and her cellphone number, handing it back with a grin, taking the bags. "Thank you and you have a nice day." She smiled at their backs. "I want to know where I can get one of them," she told her coworker. "Well built, polite, house trained, and trained to shop." Her friend chuckled and shook her head. "He was, and he was soft! I bet you wouldn't have to worry about no-pet clauses with that one." She smiled at the fish guy, handing him the address and phone number. "Here you go."
"Thanks." He went to tell the manager and do the delivery himself. They'd need help setting the fish up.
Throttle took the ball from Dawn and tossed it up the ramp, watching as Vinnie stared at it, tracking it across the room. He took careful aim and shot at the edge of it, making it roll some more. Vinnie pounced it with a whoop. "I guess I can stand that," he admitted, letting Dawn go gather up the cats. They'd have to do the flea stuff later. He walked up the ramp, smirking at Vinnie. "You've got a very big birthday present coming. If I hear one whine from you in the next year about how much we don't love you, I'm giving them to an orphanage along with your new ball." He looked at Modo. "Did you know they made flea collars in our size?"
"No, I hadn't," he admitted, watching Vinnie play with his ball. He grinned at Throttle. "Good job, bro." He chuckled and got up to get the door when someone rang the doorbell. He saw the delivery truck. "Around back. There's a ramp." The driver nodded and got in to pull around, and Modo went up to move Vinnie by taking his ball and rolling it into the study. He ran after it to play some more. "We need to get one of those for Charley." He got out of the way of the man carrying the frame for the case. "What's that for?"
"Fish tank," he said, putting it down in a corner. He had to move a few things, but it fit nicely in the corner. He moved the potted tree next to it to hide the cords since he saw cat toys. It'd keep them from chewing the cords. He went back down, helping the fish guy carry up the tank. It was a huge tank, and the kid had brought water too. The fish were carried up in two trips, the last with the water buckets. The boy was plugging everything in and settling the rocks in the bottom, then they got everything into the tank and watched as the fish settled in and the crabs floated down, and a few other toys were sent down. The little glowing thing was very nice and battery operated. "Anything else, kid?"
"No, that's it," he said with a grin. He saw Dawn. "Hi again. I promised today."
"You did and it's so great. Just like you promised." She kissed him and he blushed but hurried back to the truck. She smiled at the driver. "Want a tip?"
"You're too young for me," he assured her. He walked away chuckling. He heard a large jingling ball and found a white animal coming back with it. Then he stopped when he saw the fish and ran over there to stare at it in awe. So that's why they needed such a big tank. He saw another white blur coming up the ramp and got out of the way, watching as he plopped himself in front of the tank too. "Those are some odd pets," he said in awe. "But apparently very loved." He went back to the truck, watching the boy check the back of the truck. He had to carry up one more bag of fish then came back blushing more deeply. "Get in, Casanova. It's time to head for the store."
"Sure," he said happily. "She's wonderful," he sighed. "We go to the same high school. She rides a motorcycle." He climbed into the truck and closed the door, making sure there weren't any cats or other pets in the way. They saw another woman and he grinned, waving at her as they pulled off.
Charley snatched the cat. "Are you suicidal?" She checked and grabbed the Tara cat, taking them inside and closing the door, locking it. "No sneaking under trucks." She carried them up the stairs and Tara got down, going to stare at the fish. The other climbed the fake tree and stared at the fish moving around like they were God. "Why do we have a lot of fish?" Throttle pointed at Dawn. "Uh-huh. The reason the young delivery guy was blushing and swooning?" Modo pointed at Dawn. "I see." She saw the large jingly ball and nudged it with a foot, making Vinnie pounce it and bring it back to help him watch the fish. She laughed and walked off shaking her head. "I don't know how she did it," she laughed, finding Oz trying to get in. "The cats keep sneaking out. They have fish. Dawn made the delivery guy swoon." She heard the jingle and then Vinnie shouted at Xander to give his ball back. She burst out in giggles, leaning on Oz's shoulder. "Oh, God, that's so bad," she laughed, heading back to the garage. She'd have to get one of those to distract Vinnie when he tried to destroy her apartment. She got on her bike and headed for the store, walking in with a bright grin. "Hi, you just found a big jingly ball for a young woman. Would you have any more of those?"
"We have two more, ma'am," the salesgirl said happily. "The tan one was very nice." She went to retrieve it for her, coming back with a brush. "Here, the tan one needed some brushing, he looked a bit rumpled," she shared.
"Thanks, I'll give it to his husband." She paid for them. "Any big catnip toys? They're mice."
"No, but I may have something else." She went to search in the things, coming back with a large treat stick for pet mice and a large squishy catnip ball. "How about these?"
"I like those," she decided, paying for them too. She took them back to the garage and unpacked them, leaving the treat stick on the table and the other toys upstairs. Then she got back to work.
Vinnie poked his head into the kitchen, taking a sniff. "What's that?"
"It's a treat stick for pet mice," Throttle said, staring at it. He had kept Xander from picking at it. He swatted Xander's hand again. "No."
Vinnie picked it up to sniff. "It's got honey."
"Yeah, it does," Xander agreed. "Plus some seeds and nuts." He finally got to pick off a piece. He ate it and grinned. "That's pretty good."
"It is," Vinnie agreed, picking off some of it. He nibbled and nodded. "I like this. We should get some of these as treats."
"You know they keep pet mice in cages with habitrails and running wheels, right?" Meg teased, hugging Vinnie. "Your fish are very pretty."
"Thanks," he said with a grin. "Sweetheart, we're here for dinner!"
"I heard, I'm busy."
"Fine." He nibbled another bite. Then he put it down and went to help Charley. He stopped at the bottom of the stairs and sniffed. "What's that?"
Oz took a sniff. "Catnip."
"But we're mice."
"Catnip!" Xander shouted, going up to play with it. "Ooh, a giant catnip ball!" he squealed, playing with it.
"If I come home some day and find a giant treadwheel, I'm going to bash antennas into skulls," Throttle said patiently. That treat stick did smell nice. Maybe some trail mix later instead.
"I'd only do that as an April Fool's joke," Charley called back. "Is Xander stealing Vinnie's catnip ball?"
"Yup," Vinnie said, hurrying up there to play with the jingle ball she had gotten him. "I love you!" he called a few minutes later.
Charley came to the bottom of the stairs. "Me or Xander?" she called back, smirking at Throttle and Modo since he was coming in. "Cats." Modo scooped them up and took them all back to the lair, locking them inside. He counted noses, but the last one was staring at the fish. Tara really liked those fish. He walked out the other door, closing and locking it behind him. He checked the garage door, walking in to close it for Charley. "There you go, Charley ma'am." He grinned at her. "No wheels, right?"
"Only as a joke," she promised, punching him on the arm. She grinned at him and went back to her job. "Xander's playing with a catnip ball and Vinnie's got another ball."
Modo shook his head with a small moan. "My gray furred momma would laugh her tail off about those two." He went to shake his head at the two white mice, chuckling since they were struggling over the catnip toy. "Boys." It did smell good, but he could ignore it. He was a big mouse, he wouldn't pounce either ball. He went back downstairs, sniffing the treat stick. He picked off a piece and nodded, smiling. "I like that. We should get some trail mix."
"We should," Throttle agreed dryly. "It's way too quiet."
"They're struggling over the catnip ball."
"Ah." He nodded and got up there to reclaim his boy. He found Xander under Vinnie, curled around the ball, and Vinnie trying hard not to pounce him so he wouldn't hurt him. "Let him have it, Xander," he said patiently. "I'll brush your back if you do." Xander let the ball go and pounced him to kiss him, fortunately running him into the wall instead of making them fall down the stairs. He moaned into his mate's mouth, getting a grin from Xander. "We got a new brush."
"Good. I could use brushed. I'm fluffing out again." He patted his arm, which was fluffier than usual. He stole another kiss then grabbed both balls and tossed them down the stairs, making Vinnie pout. "More room in the garage." He beamed and ran down the stairs to play in the garage.
"Vinnie!" Charley yelled. "I'm trying to work!"
"If you turn into that mouse, I'm going to have to take you on a retreat and make you fish," Throttle warned. Xander pouted. "You can play every now and then, not all the time."
"Sure, Throttle. Can I still be brushed?" Throttle nodded and stole another kiss, running a hand up Xander's side. Xander moaned and pounced him onto the floor, going to have what was his. It had been more than three weeks, he was desperate. He was so desperate he had Throttle stripped within moments and was burying himself as gently as he could once he had opened the tight hole. Throttle was gripping the wall, putting new finger dents into it. Xander finally got all the way in and moaned, pausing for a moment. Then he pulled out and did it again, staying slow. He slowly worked up to where he was pounding Throttle. It was so good! He was so desperate! Throttle was moaning and his tail was stroking his and it was good! He let out a howl and went harder and faster.
Downstairs, Meg looked up, smirking at her boyfriend. "They're finally having fun again. He must be healed."
"Probably," Oz agreed. He gave her a kiss. "Later, Meg."
"Sure, Oz," she said sweetly. Throttle let out a howl of his own, then Xander let out a scream of pleasure and then there was a thump.
Charley came back to stare up the stairs, seeing the feet sticking out. "There had better be no mess on my floor, boys. And I mean *no* mess," she said patiently.
"Yes, Charley," Xander said weakly. "I needed that." He collapsed on top of his man and let out a sigh of content. "Still brush me and I'll brush you?"
"Sure, Xander," Throttle said quietly, stroking his back. That had been gooooooooddddd. He hadn't had that good in a while. "Oh, cheese, I'm sore," he moaned, shifting a bit, but Xander gave him a squeeze. "I liked it," he promised. "I needed it too." He kissed him on the antenna. "We should clean up."
Xander nodded, but he wasn't moving.
Throttle chuckled and patted him on the back. "If you let me up, I'll help you clean up and then lay on the couch." Xander let out a whimper. "I know. Let's try." Xander slowly withdrew from him and stood up, and Throttle got up, walking them into the bathroom. Xander was cleaned up and put into the couch. He checked the floor but there weren't any deposits. So Throttle went to clean himself up. He was a mess. It had been good, so good. He had needed that. They both had. He guessed Xander was ready to do more later, he decided, smirking as he came down the stairs.
Charley gave him a look, then got him the cushion from her desk chair. He shook his head, but he did hiss as he sat down. "I take it he's better now?"
"In many ways," Throttle agreed smugly. "He's napping on the couch."
"That's fine." She ruffled his hair and went back to cooking. In the garage, the jingling continued. She noticed Modo was gripping his hands together and checked the clock. It only took him ten minutes to go in there and take the ball from Vinnie, then drag him back and plant him at the table. "Sorry, don't like bells?"
"No," he said flatly. "I don't."
"There's the catnip ball," Vinnie offered. "Where's Xander?" Throttle let out a tired sounding chuckle and Vinnie stared at him. "Isn't he still injured!"
"He jumped me, Vinnie," Throttle said patiently. "He's napping on the couch."
"Then why aren't you? Wasn't it good or are you just too old for him?" Vinnie asked with a smirk. Throttle growled and Vinnie laughed. Throttle pounced him, knocking him to the ground to pound him.
Meg dove in to roll around with them, getting them both. They eventually pinned her to the ground and tickled her until she shrieked and had to be saved by a shriek-intolerant Modo. She ran to the bathroom and Modo shook his head. "Bros," he whined.
"Have a headache?" Vinnie taunted. "We've got tylenol."
Modo pounced him and got him good this time.
"Boys," Charley said patiently. "No wrecking the kitchen. Meg, are you okay?"
"Fine," she called, coming back. "I was testing the catnip ball."
"Don't even think about it," Oz said plainly. "We're not buying wolf toys."
Xander came down the stairs, yawning as he stepped over Modo and Vinnie, plopping himself down in Throttle's lap. He let out another yawn and snuggled in under his chin, nuzzling him gently before closing his eyes again.
"Feel funny." Xander nuzzled him again then yawned and slowly fell asleep while everyone watched.
Dawn came in with a big smirk on her face. "He should be more mouse-like in a few hours. Ethan was *convinced* to help me even though he didn't want him to be happy." She stepped over Vinnie and found herself being grabbed by a tail and pulled down to be sniffed. "Yeah, he's a chaos person." Vinnie stared at her and she blushed. "Not a word," she hissed, her eyes narrowing. "It was needed to help him." He let her go. She got up and smoothed down her school uniform. "Besides, it wasn't what you think. I would have killed him if he had tried." She looked at Xander, then at Throttle, who was staring her down. "He wanted some blood for a spell against Giles. They're old playtime buddies. I made sure it wasn't harmful and I called Giles to warn him too." She sat down and looked at Xander. "He said it wasn't the demon, it was Willow, and she only integrated him halfway. So he upped the demon taint and made it finish the strengthen the spouse's taint. They're a lot like you guys in the muscular and skeletal systems. So his muscles are shifting as close to *yours* as they can. Apparently his payment when he was warding the tower was access to some skin and fur samples." She smirked at him. "So it'll be a few hours and then he'll be a lot more mouse." She got up and got a soda, coming back to sit down. "Are we having dinner?"
"We are," Charley agreed. "What did you pay him with?"
"A vial of blood and a flash of my tits." She opened the soda and took a sip. "It worked. He was too stunned stupid to do anything wrong."
"You know that was dangerous, right?" Charley pressed. Dawn pulled out something and put it on the table, a very ancient dagger. "Special skills?"
"No, just mine," she offered, taking another drink. "He would have given up a lot more if I had offered him my virginity, Charley. He would have had to, or else I would have kicked his ass for suggesting it. In magic, that's a very powerful and pricey thing to gather for your own use."
"It is?" Modo asked. She nodded. "Why?"
"Purity is always more powerful," Dawn reminded him. "The same as the most innocent people in the world can do some of the most amazing things. Look at all the miracles. None of them were sluts."
"Good point," Vinnie admitted. He gave her a hug. "If you try that ever again, I'm going to beat your tail and send you to a convent."
She leaned back and kissed him on the cheek. "I know. I was teasing but it was for a good cause and he deserves it." She grinned up at him. "Besides which, when I left, Giles was on his way in to have a talk with him in person," she said smugly. He chuckled. "I don't like Ethan but sometimes he's necessary. Sometimes he's very necessary. Sometimes chaos is the only option and you've got to play by their rules to get them to cooperate, which I did. Let's be thankful that I'm not playing on their team permanently, guys. I don't do chaos magic. I do some creative magic, I do some nature magic, I don't do chaos magic and anything demonic falls under that in the majority of cases. Since Xander's been tainted, he falls under the chaos theories too." She stared into Throttle. "He also said that the aging *should* automatically stop when his age evens out." She smirked at him. "So it was useful. A bit of blood, after drinking some holy water, and a flash of my tits is nothing to see him feeling better and happier."
"It was still wrong and dangerous," Charley told her.
Dawn looked up at her. "Not really. Ethan can't get it up for anything not Giles or demonic. Willow made sure of it," she said sarcastically. Charley stared at her in horror. "Willow went bad for a few months. Magic addiction, playing with things better left alone, like demons, and tried to destroy the world."
"I remember seeing that," Throttle admitted. "It was still dangerous and wrong. It wasn't that desperate."
She looked at him. "It wouldn't have happened, which is affecting his health. If he didn't integrate, he'd be stuck like this when the ageing stopped. It was starting to slow down from what he felt. As much as Ethan detests Xander because he's such a good guy, he still respects him for being such a good guy. Giles gets that because he's a former playmate who went straight and narrow. Xander gets it because of how stubborn he is." She took another drink. "Xander was used as his fun one night, during a Halloween. No one else kept *anything* from it. But Xander," she said smugly. He nodded. "He's been fascinated by Xander for quite a while and when he saw me I came in next on his list of obsessions. There's stuff you don't know about me that make him *wet* and he becomes stupid. He can't take it back. He stuck it. Now, let's move onto happier discussion topics."
"I'm seeing your future on a pole," Charley noted.
"I'm not. Do you think female agents don't have to do this stuff?" she asked dryly. "Have you noticed you've never seen an *ugly* female agent?" Charley looked stunned. "I'm realistic. It happens and sometimes it's necessary. Flashing him wasn't anything, I needed to change shirts anyway. The fact that he panted and drooled from across the room wasn't a bother to me. I'm not using it as a weapon most of the time. I flirt, I tease, I may have found a nice guy to date because I go to school with the guy who did the fish." She finished the can and got up to get another one. She looked at Charley. "When you were my age, and this was your choice, what would you have done? Let him suffer?"
Charley gave her a hug. "No, sweetie, I wouldn't let him suffer, but I would have taken someone with me to guard me. That's a dangerous time. Just because he can't rape you himself doesn't mean he can't knock you out and use something."
"Actually, knowing Ethan, he'd have called a demon to do it for him," she said dryly, patting her on the back. She pulled back and grinned at her. "You'd be surprised. Besides, he doesn't want me. He wants the innocence and the power I hold. He can't use my power and he can't access my power. My innocense is fairly well protected. What I am makes it so most demons can't do more than pant after me. That's why I don't go to the demon clubs."
"What are you?" Modo asked.
She looked at Throttle. "You can show them. I trust them." Throttle nodded, sharing with them, then back at Charley. "You too, I don't mind."
"Thanks." She moved closer and Throttle showed her. She pulled back and stared at the girl. "No wonder you seem so old sometimes!"
Dawn nodded. "Definitely." She grinned. "Besides I'd never really use my sexuality as a weapon, I'd turn into Anya."
"The baby?" Modo asked.
"Her namesake," Dawn said with a smirk. "You should show them that so they can smirk at Stoker too."
"She'll learn better this time," Throttle promised, smirking at his bros. "She was quite a... strong woman."
"Okay, I gotta see," Vinnie demanded. Throttle patted Xander's back. "He won't mind."
Dawn squatted down, stroking Xander's chin. "Can we show them Anya?" He yawned and nodded. "How do you feel?"
"Better," he admitted. "What did you do to Ethan?"
"I gave him a vial of blood after drinking holy water a few hours earlier and flashed him a bit."
He smacked her on the head. "Bad, Dawn!"
"Ow!" She rubbed her head. "I was careful."
"You're also grounded for the next month," he said firmly. "I don't care how careful you were, I'll kick your tail if you do it ever again." She nodded. "I didn't need it."
She kissed him. "You did, you weren't becoming enough of a mouse, just enough of one to crimp your immune system." She stood up. "He didn't get anywhere nearby and Giles was on his way in to have a talk with him," she said with a wink. "Can they see Anya?" He nodded. "Thanks. This way we can help Stoker make her calmer this time."
"If you turn into her, I'm having you sewn shut and sent to a distant monastery on somewhere farther than Mars."
"Sure, Xander. You know I'd never do it if it wasn't important. So give it a few hours, then try the yoga tape again."
"Okay, I've got to see and Xander needs practice showing things," Vinnie decided, getting up and coming over to share with him. "Lower your shields," he instructed quietly. Xander nodded and concentrated, then his antenna started to glow. He and Vinnie touched antenna and Vinnie suddenly smirked and whooped, then giggled and backed off shaking his head. "I so hope Stoker's Anya lives up to her name."
"He'll calm her down and make sure she doesn't need all of Mars to please her," Throttle said dryly. He stroked Xander's back and he could feel the difference. He could tell that Xander wasn't a mouse before, there was something off in his feel and scent. Now he could feel the right muscles in his back in the right groupings, and his scent was so much closer. It was making him hard. Xander nuzzled him again and Throttle tipped his head up to look into his eyes. "I hope they don't change. I like your eyes."
"Thanks." He stole a kiss and grinned. He nuzzled in again and closed his eyes. "I feel better."
"His scent's changed," Modo said suddenly, sitting up.
"I told you it'd only take a few hours," Dawn reminded him. "Then he'll go back to aging a bit more rapidly. So therefore he'll have to start doing his yoga tonight and you'll need to tell Merle that you can go back to work." She smirked at Xander, catching his eyes. "You okay?"
"I'm wonderful and I love you, but you're still grounded for the next two weeks." She nodded, sipping her new soda before washing her hands and helping with dinner. "What's for food, Charley?" he asked casually. He heard a jingle and his ears perked up. "Hmm." He got up and went to look at it, then walked around it to see what was moving it. Then he pounced it to play with the beach-ball sized ball. Vinnie cackled and came to play with him.
"No," Modo moaned. "No more bells."
Throttle reached over to pat him on the head when he put it on the table. "It'll be fine. They'll get bored and go watch the fish again."
"Later," Vinnie called. He grinned at Xander. "You know mice are multi-orgasmic, right?"
"I was before, no big change there," Xander bragged. He batted the ball and Vinnie pounced it to send it back, making him shift to pounce it. "We're playing like kittens."
"Yeah, well, it's fun," Vinnie decided, batting it back once Xander sent it his way. Xander grinned and batted it harder so he sent it back harder.
"Enough!" Charley yelled. "Or you're sleeping over there tonight, Vincent. Xander, you'll be tied to the bed and left alone while I lock Throttle in a closet." She came to the door. "I'm getting you guys a human-sized hamster wheel."
"You do and I'm going to pout and whine for weeks," Vinnie said dryly, smirking at her. "That means you can't go with me when I head for the holidays."
"We're not staying?"
"The week of, but most of the week between I figured you'd want another break since it's traditionally dead." He smirked at her. "Your choice."
"I want to stay in and be with everyone for the holidays."
"Fine, we can do that," Vinnie agreed happily. "A nice night out?"
"Sure," she agreed going back to dinner. She nudged Dawn, giving her a look. "It was still dangerous," she said quietly. The duo came back to their seats. Then Meg and Oz had snuck off to have a moment in the bathroom together.
Dawn kissed her on the cheek. "You're a great mom," she assured her. "Nearly as good as Xander does." Charley smirked at that. "So maybe I should hide your pills?" Charley blushed and went back to stirring the pasta in the water.
"That's mean, Dawn," Xander said quietly. "That's a decision only they can make. If she wants to hide those, that's her job to hand them to Vinnie to hide."
"No, I'm not ready to hide those at this moment," Vinnie announced. "As cute as it would be, I'd drive you guys nuts."
Dawn gave him a hug. "You'd be a great dad and would wear the kids out all the time." She kissed him on the cheek. "Xander, can I earn back the dance next week? Phil's taking me."
Xander looked at her, then smirked. "If I suddenly get a message from God saying that you can go, then you can go. If not, don't whine me to death." Dawn's phone rang and she checked it before handing it over. He looked at the number. "You're not God," he answered. "God-like, but not quite the one and only." He listened. "I know but it's not suitable for a girl her age.... Micah, she's seventeen. I don't want her to be a stripper. I don't want her to be a tease either. She's already got that down pat, unfortunately. No, she's grounded for the next two weeks and if she whines, I'm adding another month to it. Hard grounding. No tv, no computer except for homework and only supervised then, and no dating. She screwed up, even though it was for a good reason. Yay!" He listened to the calm voice. "No. She's grounded."
"All I want is the dance," she offered. "I'll bring Phil over for dinner."
Xander glared at her and shook his head. "No. No dance."
"I'll be *really* good," she whined. "Please? Just the dance? Please, Xander?" She gave him a hug. "That's all I want. You liked Phil and you said I should date him. He's smart, he's helping me in physics, and he didn't even look down my shirt when my button popped off earlier." He gave her a look. "He's not gay and he still didn't look. He blushed and dug out a safety pin. Please?" she begged. "Pretty please? I'll switch that night for a full Saturday."
"Fine, you'll be switching the four hours around the dance for the next Saturday."
"Um, the dance is four hours, that leaves no time for traveling," she pointed out. "Six?"
"And let you have time to go play in the park? I doubt it," he snorted.
She hit him on the arm. "I'm not like that! That is not how I want my first time, thank you very much." She frowned at him. "Six hours, that way we can have a coffee on the way back for a full Saturday." Xander stared her down. "I won't do more than kiss him and maybe snuggle on the dance floor. You can have outfit approval and I'll bring him over for dinner. He realizes that none of you are right so he's fine with the whole fuzzy thing." She crossed her arms, staring at him. "I'll wear boots."
"You'll wear pants."
"I can't wear pants, it's against the dress code for dances. I won't wear anything a short as my school skirt or my red plaid one."
Xander raised an eyebrow. "Either plaid one and I get full outfit approval. Down to no thongs and no pushup bras."
"I don't wear pushup bras anymore," she said dryly. She considered it. "Gold top, black sweater, black velvet skirt, heels."
"Corset?" he squeaked. "Hell no!"
"It'll still be cold," Throttle told her.
"I like that outfit," Charley offered. "It can be subtle." Dawn gave Xander a triumphant smirk. "Or the red dress."
"Absolutely not!" Xander shouted. "No red dress! No way in hell I'm letting her out in that red dress! I've seen her in that red dress, it's not exactly what I'd want a teenager to wear!" Micah shouted and he hung up on him. He glared at her. "You're giving her that red dress."
"Not *that* dress," Dawn said in disgust. "The new velvet one. Gods, Xander, I know I look like a ho in it, Anya bought it for me!" He glared at her. "She did. She said it was so I could get laid like she did."
"Have we seen this red dress?" Throttle asked. "You have to get past all of us if you're going out." He patted Xander on the back, stroking him. "That good with you? Modo's more conservative."
"As long as she's wearing an outfit his mother would wear."
Modo coughed. "My momma liked that red shiny dress. She thought it was adorable."
"Yeah, and I tried it on for her," Dawn said smugly. "Momma said I was as pretty as a pinup." She looked at Charley. "Can you come and do the preview of the outfits?"
"Sure," she agreed. "After dinner. If not, maybe he'll let you go shopping for something demure." She pulled the hamburger off the stove and drained it, putting it aside. She put the hotdogs on instead and fixed everything else. She started to put dishes on the table, finishing off with the hotdogs since most of the guys would want those instead. They settled in to nibble, especially Xander since he was apparently starved. He even forced himself to eat a hotdog but he was grimacing and shuddering. "Make yourself a sandwich," she said patiently. She followed Dawn over to her room, making sure none of the cats got out. She sat on the bed, watching as Dawn organized her wardrobe. She finally pulled out the special red dress, putting it on first. Charley blinked, the girl was hot in that one. She held up a finger and went to get the instant camera. She came back and took a picture, then put it aside. "Go ahead, go to the next one. The ones I like best I'll show to Vinnie and if he likes 'em, we'll do the full fashion show."
Dawn squealed and got into the other outfits, letting her take pictures. A few were just different tops. Most of her skirts weren't that short. Which was probably good for the dress code at the school. She ended up on the black and gold outfit, then the red velvet dress. That got another look; so that's why Xander didn't like that outfit. She took another picture of that one and stood up. "Can I borrow that one?" Dawn took it off and handed it over. "Thanks. Let me show these to Vinnie. Be prepared for the fashion show." She went up to the lounge, nudging Vinnie, the red dress folded across her lap. "You get first approval and then the guys get to look at the final choices."
Vinnie looked at the red dress picture, then up at her. "Why do I get to do this?"
"Because you have great taste in women," she said smugly. "I'm borrowing the red velvet one for our next dinner out."
"Sweetheart, if you look anywhere near as good as she did in it, we might not make it out," he said smugly. She swatted him. He went back to the pictures, sorting them into 'boner inducing' and 'I can see my sister in that'. The second pile wasn't that big. He went back through the first and added a few more back into it. He handed her that stack and kept the other one while she tucked those into her shirt pocket. "Borrow these sometime too," he requested, handing them over. She blushed and went to tell Dawn which ones she had to show off. She didn't like one of the choices and added in one of her favorite outfits. Then she went to gather the guys. Vinnie had already done that. She sat next to Vinnie, snuggling into his side.
Dawn walked up the ramp and held out her arms. Throttle spluttered. Modo moaned. Xander groaned and shook his head. "No?"
"No!" they shouted.
She sighed and went back down the stairs to try again. She was doing them in reverse order of her favorite choices. That way her favorite one was last and it had a better chance. Her next two got instant nos as well. She came back down to look at the remaining two outfits. She chose the black and gold one, sliding into it and the proper shoes, heading up the stairs.
Vinnie moaned. "I didn't put that in that pile." Charley looked up and grinned at him. "Never mind."
Xander looked over at him. "Now you know why I object." He looked at Throttle, who was staring, mouth slightly open. He nudged him. "No, hand that outfit to Charley too."
"Fine," she sighed, going down to put on the other outfit. It was slightly more demure in cut, but it was more showy in color and how it draped. She walked back down the stairs, holding out her arms. "Well?"
This time, Throttle's jaw and Vinnie's jaw dropped. Modo blinked at her. Charley beamed and gave her the thumb's up. "Guys?" she said patiently. She put her hands on her hips, which shifted her top some. "Guys," she said patiently. She tapped her foot. "A ruling?"
"You look less hot in leather pants and that tank top," Throttle said finally, staying quiet. "You're a very pretty girl, but you can't do that to the poor guy, Dawn."
"I look good in this!" she defended.
"That's half the problem, Dawn," Throttle reminded her.
"I'm not ashamed of my body, Throttle. I like how I look. I work hard to be this good looking and cute. I'm going to show it off a bit. Sorry, but not getting me into a burkha."
"Burkha?" Vinnie asked.
"All covering outfit that certain Islamic countries demand their women wear. You can't see anything, not even their eyes," Xander told him.
"Oh, them. That's a really good idea," he said happily. He looked at his girl. "Can you borrow that one too?"
"It won't fit me," Charley told him.
"Oh." He looked at Dawn again. Then shook his head. "The pink knit?"
"That one was *way* too tight," Xander protested.
Throttle kissed him gently, making Xander look at him. "Babe, she's not a kid. She has a body, she's entitled to show it off now and then," he said gently. "There's worse outfits." Charley dug out the pictures and found the one in the older red dress, handing it over. "Yeah, that's worse," he decided, handing it back. He kissed Xander again. "Let her be pretty and feminine. Let her show off a little bit. Not that much, but maybe the last outfit?"
"I'll take her shopping," Xander decided. "We'll go somewhere that they sell cute clothes and she'll be able to get something cute without being slutty. Because, honey, you look like your sister in her backless shirts in that."
"She bought it for me," Dawn admitted.
"Dawn, go downstairs, put on your absolute favorite outfit for clubbing," Xander instructed. "Then adjust it so it'll fit in the dress code." She squealed and headed down the stairs, finding a shorter, flared skirt and a shimmery top that dipped a bit low but not 'asking money for it' low and was tightly molded to her stomach. She slipped on her new heels and then grabbed the black sweater from the corset outfit, looking at herself. Then she nodded and went back upstairs, holding out her arms. "Better!" Xander decided, nodding. "I like that. Skirt's a bit short, but I like that."
Throttle considered it. "The skirt is short, but it suits your legs. I'd look at a bike you were leaning against. What's it look like without the sweater?" She took it off and he whistled. "Wear the sweater."
Modo smiled at her. "Can you dance in those shoes?"
"I have before," she offered, pulling him up to dance with him. He grinned at her and nodded, eventually letting her go. "So?"
"I like that," Charley admitted.
"Those are easy access clothes," Vinnie said darkly. Everyone stared at him. "That's the clothes you wear when you want to have fun in the club and that includes someone getting under that skirt."
She snorted. "I doubt it," Dawn said sarcastically. "No one touches my ass without my express permission, a hell of a lot of dating, and a very good bit of play beforehand." She crossed her arms and looked at Xander. "Well?"
"Can we change the skirt?"
"If I wear the black and blue plaid," she said dryly.
"You can't sit in that one without it showing underwear. Be reasonable, Dawn," he complained.
"The other one?"
"Is maybe an inch longer," he said dryly. "What about that skirt you wear with the gold corset?"
He considered it. "The other black skirt?" She shook her head. "The black velvet dress?"
"Makes me look like Dru," she said patiently, smirking at him.
"She did look really old fashioned in that black velvet dress," Charley admitted.
"Well, I do have one I haven't shown. I went shopping earlier today before hitting Ethan's hotel room. Me and Syria went to the store before you ask. It made her squeal and I liked it too, but I don't think you'd like either outfit I found for clubbing." Xander waved her on. She went down and pulled out the bag, unfolding the outfits. She wiggled out of that outfit and put on the first one. It was a black leather corset with velvet strips down the sides. It came with a short, straight velvet skirt. She'd need to find some sort of jacket to go with it. She changed back into the heels she liked for this outfit, the higher ones, and checked her hair, heading back up the stairs.
"You look like a Martian biker on the prowl," Throttle said finally, staring at her in awe. "You can't ride in that."
"I can so, I'll be riding on the back, he'll block anything inappropriate." She looked at Xander, who was sniffling. "I know, it's too old for me, but I look nice in it. I need help tightening the corset though." She walked over to Charley, letting her help her. Then Vinnie swatted Charley and did it for her, getting it just tight enough to barely squeeze her body. He tied it off and she smiled at him, walking back to let the others look.
"Now you definitely look like a Martian biker out on the prowl," Modo said in awe. "You'd look so good as a gray or a tan mouse."
"She would," Throttle agreed. He liked her in that one, but it was giving him ideas that he'd have to take out on Xander later. "You'd have to wear a jacket for the dance."
"Which is the problem, I don't have one. Unless I'm allowed to get that suede one I found? Soft black suede?" Xander whimpered. "Okay, let me try on the other one." She went down to change, only undoing the bottom and top strings but leaving the middle. She could get someone to tighten them again. She slid into the other dress, which was velvet as well. She liked velvet, it was soft and looked good on her. She looked in the mirror, changed to a lesser heels, but not much less, and ran her fingers through her hair to push it back slightly. She walked up and let Charley zip her in. She ran her hands down her sides, letting them look at the strapless dress. It ran down to about two inches above her knee. It skimmed her body gently, the stretch velvet was wonderful. It was black and fit very well, clinging to her chest and then gently skimming her figure. "I'd still need a jacket."
Xander nodded. "I like that one," he admitted. "It's demure. Tasteful. You look like a hot babe but I can accept that." He looked at Throttle. "You?"
"She'll need a sweater but I like that on her," he admitted. "It's in good taste but a bit flirty and teasing. Modo?"
"I liked the last one," he said with a smile for her. "This one's safer though. I like this one for dating. The other is for teasing in the clubs."
She nodded. "That's what I planned it for. Charley?"
"Demure and tasteful but not too demure or tasteful. Vinnie?"
"I like it, but it doesn't show you off very well. Sweetheart, your body is incredible in some of those outfits. This one only hints at it."
"Which is probably safer at a high school dance," she pointed out dryly. He nodded. "This won't get me tossed out either. As long as I can find a jacket."
"In my closet, in the *blue* bag, is something I was getting you for Christmas," Xander said dryly. She squealed and went down to find it, coming back in the velvet duster-style overcoat in midnight blue. "Does that go for you?"
"I could wear this with the last outfit," she offered.
"Fat chance," everyone said in unison.
"That other outfit deserves to be worn alone with stockings and heels," Throttle told her.
She beamed and looked at herself in the nearest mirror, nodding that she liked it. The coat's velvet was a bit more plush and it set off the dress very well. She nodded. "I can wear this. The shoes?"
"Looks good," Xander admitted. "Joyce? Tara?" The two cats snuck out and sat, staring at Dawn. "That okay for a school dance and date?"
Tara meowed and went back to watch the fish. Joyce looked at her daughter and sighed. She swished her tail. Dawn gave her a hug and took off the jacket, earning a silent meow. "You'd like him, mommy. He's smart, he's sweet, and he thinks Vinnie needs mental help." Joyce nudged her daughter then went to watch the fish. "Thanks, mommy." She looked at Xander. "Six hours?"
"For a *full* Saturday."
"Fine, agreed," Dawn agreed, heading to put that outfit away and make sure it would be fine. She even put it in plastic so she wouldn't have to lintroll it or have to deal with kitty claws.
Xander looked at Throttle. "She needs a jacket for that velvet and leather outfit."
"She needs one anyway," Charley told him. "She does bike. It's only suitable."
Xander looked at her. "She wanted to know if you were looking to upgrade."
"I hadn't thought about it and I like my bike. We'll see." Dawn came up in pajama pants and a tank-top, sitting next to Vinnie and snuggling in. "We'll see if we can find you your own bike for graduation." She beamed at her. "As long as you don't pull any more stunts like earlier."
"Not an issue. Wasn't planned. I'd rather have bribed him another way." She patted Vinnie on the stomach. "I need to go clubbing when I'm ungrounded so I can try out that outfit." He smirked at her. "Hey, it's either you or Xander. Throttle doesn't really club, Modo doesn't club. Charley would have to come with us."
"Sure, we'll go on a group outing," Vinnie said with a grin. He looked at Charley. "You can wear something hot and we'll head out."
"I want to take a picture of that leather and velvet number and send it to Micah," Xander said with a grin. "Since he said you weren't old enough to get into real trouble."
"Sure, we'll send the pictures of her in the red dresses and that one," Charley agreed. She looked at Dawn. "Go change back into it. I've got some film left." She got up and went to get back into the outfit, coming up to let Vinnie tighten it for her again. He got it a bit tighter on top, but left the last one a little looser. She went back to change shoes and came back in full makeup and her hair brushed and fixed. She smirked in the camera and Charley took the picture, then she flipped her hair and leaned against the wall, one shoe flat on the wall. That meant her thighs were just barely parted, just enough to hint that she had something between them. She shook her hair again and crossed her arms over her stomach. She changed it and put her hands on her hips. Charley shook her head. So Dawn put her arms above her head, hands clasped. Charley smirked and took that one.
"Now *that*'s a look that should be on a bike to sell it," Modo said.
"More than happily," she said happily. She smirked Vinnie. "When can we go out?"
"Not until you're ungrounded. Otherwise you'd be in deep trouble." Someone rang the doorbell. "Since one of you are up," he said dryly.
Dawn snorted and headed down to the stairs, opening the door. "Faith. Morning. We're discussing clothes for a dance. Get back here," she shouted at the cat, who cowered. Faith grabbed her and handed her back. "Thanks. Come on in, we're upstairs." She checked and snapped her fingers and the two sneaking out ran back in and one tried run for the car. She floated the cat up and looked at her, then back inside. She shut the door and let the cat down, watching as it ran off. "Come on. We just got new fish." She strolled off, letting Faith follow. "It's Faith," she yelled. She grinned at the bros as she came up, and Modo nodded at Vinnie so she went to lounge beside him, taking his free side once she slid down onto the beanbag chair. She crossed her legs and poked him with a grin. "I still think we should break the rules," she whispered. "Have a bit of fun."
"Tempting, sweetheart, but fat chance," he said with a grin. "We're making very good role models for you and little Anya."
Faith watched them, then looked at Xander, who was curled up between Throttle's thighs with Throttle's arms around his waist, covering the obvious bulge in his jeans. She could only guess what Throttle was sporting. She looked at Modo, who grinned and wiggled his fingers. They'd armwrestled over the holidays and he had won, a first for her. "Okay then. I'm not telling B what you're wearing," she told Dawn. "Or that you're poaching."
"Nah, Vinnie's like a big, cuddly kid but he's dating Charley here," she said, nodding at Charley. "I simply look good against him. It's my new clubbing outfit."
"You look tasty and ready to be eaten by some wolf," Faith assured her. She looked at Xander. "There's no way I'm telling B about that outfit," she said smugly. "We need to know if you kept any records on where you found all the slayers. Giles said there's got to be more."
"I found infant ones. I found two who refused and I told him that. There's one in lower Africa I didn't get to, but I doubt you'll be going to get her. She'll probably be protective. I'd send Kalara." She nodded. "Why?"
"Um, well," she admitted. "We're getting hints of trouble. Giles went to rip Ethan a new one with a really scary grin on his face. We also want to know if you'd agree to take in Caroline if something happens to her mom. Her father's presently in jail for assault."
"Her mother?" Vinnie asked flatly.
"No, thankfully not. He beat the snot out of Sandy for blocking his way into the house."
"Hmm, I can't say she didn't deserve it, but pity he won't end up in real prison," Dawn noted. "I'm sure he'd have *fun* in there."
"Yeah, well, no one's bailing him out this time," she promised. She stared at the girl again. Then sighed. "Please change? Before I get thoughts that'd make me have to defend myself?"
"I'm not, Dawnie. I'm having serious prison scene thoughts."
Dawn smirked as she stood up smoothly, walking past her to kiss her. "Fat chance. If I'm going for women, I'm going for one like Charley. She's nice, sweet, honest, and caring." She kissed her again then left, leaving Faith panting and eyes closed, nearly moaning. Yes! She was good!
Vinnie looked over at Modo. "Are you having sudden lesbian scenes running through your head?" Modo nodded. He looked at Charley. "If I fall and those two fall so they can't protect you, I'll be happy if you go for Dawn. That way you can't compare any other man against my superb manliness and find them lacking."
"You are so modest," she taunted. He beamed and nodded. "Sure, if I feel like going for women, I'll pick Dawn. She's cute." She looked over as Dawn came back up, only this time she was in a pair of skimpy pajama shorts and that same tank top. She flopped down against Modo this time, curling up against him. "Thought he looked lonely?"
"He is lonely. His momma went home and she hasn't sent him a good woman yet." She teased his furry stomach, making him swat her hand. "Sorry, but you guys look cute with marks and trails in your fur. It's like a design that always changes."
He patted her hand. "Momma said I can't have you unless you turn into a mouse too. Then I'd be encouraged to date you or stalk you."
She smirked up at him. "Sure, if I turn into a mouse and if the other two chuckleheads don't lock me in a closet for being a stunning example of female mouseness, then you can take me out to have fun, Modo. Your bike's very sweet and she loves me."
"She does. All the bikes do," he agreed, patting her on the back. He pulled her closer. "You're chilly."
"Thanks." She looked at Faith. "So, we're to get Caroline?" Faith nodded. "Cool. Like the pretty fish? I picked them out today."
Faith looked, then gave them an impressed look. "Nice setup, D. Anything you guys need while we're on a layover?"
"No, we're good," Throttle assured her, stroking Xander's stomach fur gently.
"Not unless you want to grab a video camera so we have a permanent record of the next time he claims me."
"I wouldn't mind watching but I doubt he'd want it." Throttle shook his head, gently nuzzling Xander's ear. "You two really....." She waved a hand. "You and guys, Xander?"
"Well, the only women who like me are evil. Besides, I like him. His fur's *very* soft," he purred. He leaned his head back and Throttle took the opportunity to kiss his neck. "How could I not, Faith? He's a fantastic lover who puts up with my Anya-given stamina and gives me all sorts of ...*naughty* ideas," he finished with a very smug look in her direction. "Much more than thirty seconds, even if we don't even unzip all the way." He shifted back against Throttle's chest, spreading his thighs a bit so Throttle's hand moved closer to his crotch. "So much better than women, and plus, he *loves* oral sex. None of my women ever did."
"I never gave you the chance," she admitted bitterly. "I should have. You showed promise and I missed it totally, Xander. I'm damn sorry for attacking you." She looked at Dawn, then at Modo, then at Vinnie and Charley. "You treat Dawnie very well or you'll be seeing me again in your nightmares, people." She walked out, making sure the cats don't sneak out before she slammed the door behind her. She went to her car and cried. She had missed so much and screwed up so bad. He would never forgive her. She started the car, heading to the hotel to pick up Giles so they could head home. He climbed in, clean and impeccably dressed, staring at her. "I fucked up, Giles. I fucked up so bad when I tossed over Xander. He had such potential and he would have kept me sane."
Giles patted her on the shoulder. "We've all messed up where Xander is concerned. I'm glad that he's finally met someone who will care for him and protect him, but I'm drastically worried about the boy at times. Now, let's go. We can talk on the way." She nodded and he buckled up. She pulled out and headed for the airport. "Faith, we had many mistakes in our past. You've atoned for a great many of yours. Even if he won't forgive you, you didn't know what you were doing."
"Giles, I nearly raped him the first time and the second time he came to me to help, like a friend would, I rode him while strangling him," she said flatly. "He would have been a victim if not for Angel. He wasn't even thrashing when Angel backhanded me. He was getting ready for that final orgasm. I wasn't not in control. I sucked and it was my fault and I'm the one who probably turned him off women. I was his first."
"Faith, Xander has had both. That boy is not the innocent the other girls believe. I know very well he did some drugs and had quite a lot of sex while on his roadtrip after graduation. I'd be surprised if he wasn't having fun in the bathroom at the Bronze. The fact that he has a man now is not your fault. He's simply like that and we must accept it. They are a permanent item and we must accept him and his new body fur."
"He looked better when I saw him."
"He should, Ethan fixed the transformation spell. Dawn traded a vial of holy water tainted blood and a flash of her tits."
"Giles, when I walked in, they were discussing her latest clubbing outfit. It was a leather and velvet corset and a little velvet skirt. She had on stockings and heels. She looked like a hot little girl ready to go out and get some. I never looked that hot. Buffy never looked that hot, and she was curled up against those really studly and well-hung mice like they were her personal pillows."
"She was teasing you. She's still a virgin. That's why Ethan didn't suggest sex for the magic," he said blandly. "She's a master at teasing, but she doesn't follow through yet. She's very much like Xander and I'm glad he's taken her under his wing. That way she wouldn't have that sort of roadtrip when she graduates. He took her under his wing well before her mother died and he's always been there for her. He taught her how to hunt, how to dance and play at the clubs, how to cook, how to fight, how to fire a gun, and how to dress. They are a lot alike and I'm not upset about that. Buffy is very uptight at times and Dawn is much freer. Personally I believe working for Mr. Simms will be good for her. He'll help her learn the control she'll need in her personal life and he'll let her go out and do wild things, within reason." He patted her on the cheek. "Don't worry so much, Xander is an excellent parent. If you ever get pregnant, I'd hope I could talk him into taking yours as well as Caroline."
"You're most welcome, Faith. You missed the exit."
"The next one is more direct," she offered, taking it. That put things into perspective. Xander and Dawn were very alike. She even teased like he did. "They got a huge fish tank today. It's really pretty."
"Good, Xander could use the calming influence of a tank of fish," Giles decided. He smiled as they headed for the airport. "Ethan has decided to crawl back under his rock."
"Good going, Giles." She changed lanes and took the left turn, heading to the main entrance.
Three days later, Micah opened up an envelope, pulling out the note first. "Since you're so concerned about her being able to date, you can see the other reason she shouldn't go out," he read, pulling out the pictures. He flipped through them, pausing a few times. The last two of the black outfit were enough to nearly make him drool, until he remembered she was seventeen and Xander would try to kill him. "Lorne? Max?" he called. They hurried up the stairs. "They sent pictures of Dawn. I butted into an argument after she teased someone for help." He handed them over. "Put those into her file."
Max whimpered at the red velvet dress. "That's so bad. I don't look like that."
"She's seventeen, just wait," Micah said dryly. He knew the exact moment Lorne flipped to the black corset outfit. He let out a moan and Micah smirked at him. "That's my thought too. She's a great tease from what I've heard."
"That comes in handy," Max said dryly. "Most of our jobs require some of it. I swear, there's no ugly female agents."
"It's only been in the last ten years that women were sent out as something more than secretaries, hookers, receptionists, or girlfriends," Lorne told her. "It used to be a requirement to be a female agent. She'll make a good one." He looked at Micah, who was pulling out a folder. "A new assignment?"
"Policy changes," he said, taking the pictures back. "I'll upload them later when I'm bored. Read that and sign it, then hand it back."
Lorne flipped it open. "What? Xander Harris is on the list to lead ECHO? Micah, have you lost your mind?"
"He's got an Omega Seven clearance, Lorne. Until I got the rules changed, he would have been next in line. Now he's fourth."
Max took it to look over. "Naming successors instead of whoever has the highest clearance is a good idea," she admitted. "I don't want it though."
"Yay. Sign it anyway." He handed over a pen and she finished reading it, then signed it. "Thank you. Lorne, you too." He groaned but read it over then signed it. "Thank you. You're getting a security raise by the way. The president didn't like the fact that our strongest defense against aliens was a gay man who's becoming a mouse. Before you ask, he hated the gay part more, so we got it pushed through fairly easily. So think who you want after him if something happens. Got it?" Lorne nodded. "Good. I'll start teaching you the paperwork and codes soon."
"Micah Simms," a fond-sounding voice said as he walked up the stairs. "We gotcha. You let unrecognized beings without a security clearance into this covert agency and then endangered the president with said alien."
"Oh, shut up. She's a general. She's working with our people in Chicago. She does have a security clearance. Besides, the president needed proof. He didn't want pictures, how else was I supposed to do it?" He smirked at him. "If you try anything, the new rules don't go into effect for one year from the last signature, which is mine and I haven't yet," he said slyly. "So that means if you try to take me away, they get Xander Harris to run this agency by the present rules."
"Xander Harris, twenty-three, undergoing metamorphic changes into a Martian mouse, like his husband, violent reactions to threats to himself or his family, likes to blow things up and hurt things," Max recited. The internal affairs guy looked non-plussed. "Ah, I see you haven't met him yet. I also take it you don't care if we're run by one of the gayest of the gay fighters?"
"I don't think he could. What's his clearance?"
"Omega Seven," Micah said dryly.
"How! I don't know this man!"
"How's not important. Why's not important," Lorne said calmly. "The important thing is that his usual strike force mentality will cause problems because certain government officials are standing in the way and threatening his happiness with his family." He looked at Micah. "Can we do this the Xander way?"
"Sure," he agreed.
Lorne turned and punched the agent out, then waved his hand to ease the ache in his knuckles. "Lock him in the closet, strap a bomb to his dick so if he gets hard it'll go off."
Max gaped at him. "You do Xander nearly as well as Meg," she said in awe. She grabbed the agent's arms and drug him down to a closet. She couldn't get a bomb, but she did put a mousetrap on his penis so it would go off when he jerked awake. She locked him in there and went back up to the office. "Sign that, please," she said, smiling at him. "Before we all turn into Xander. Or Dawn, which might be worse."
Micah signed the forms then put them into his desk drawer, smiling at them. "Better?"
"Yes," Lorne said, nodding. "You're going to actually upload those pictures?"
"Yeah," he agreed. "We don't have a good one of her in there." They groaned and walked away. He pulled out his favorite one, of that red velvet dress, and set it on his desk to look at. He'd have to give her another learning assignment soon.
To part 17