"We're not doing this the Sunnydale way," Throttle insisted. "We're not from Sunnydale, we're Biker Mice, we're doing it the Biker Mice way. Otherwise we'll go insane watching you work on this alone."
"In other words, Vinnie needs an outlet for his aggression since he can't have sex," Xander said dryly.
"Yeah, basically," Throttle agreed with a smirk. "That means we need...."
"Battle plans," Fred the alien butted in happily. He grinned at them. "Boris sent me with this for Xander," he said, handing over the envelope.
Xander backhanded the little masochist alien with a grin. "Thanks, Fred. What's going on?"
"Ooh, he said you had to read it. That there's an old friend in town for you. Since you always told them when they were in town, he thought it was only fair. Even though she was really mean to me. She staked Rod and wouldn't stake me. Said I was a pitiful creature," Fred complained.
"There's a slayer in town?" Xander asked, looking confused. "Why?"
Fred nodded, beaming at him. "Yup, sure is. He said she's an old friend of yours too, the mean one is. He said you had to read the letter too."
Xander glanced at it, then nodded. "Have her meet me in the park by the fountain at midnight."
"Why is there a slayer in town?" Throttle asked.
"I'm not sure yet," Xander admitted.
Vinnie and Modo came up the stairs and Modo popped up his arm cannon. "What's he doing here?"
"My former boss sent him with a message. I gave him to a vampire but the slayer in town staked his master."
"Why did you give Fred to a vampire?" Vinnie asked patiently, sounding confused.
"Because he asked me to," he retorted, staring him down. "He likes pain, it was a good match. Rod was a Dom."
"A dom?" Modo asked.
"Yeah, a dom, a Master, one of those people who beat others for a living? I don't know what the male form of dominatrix is," he admitted with a small shrug, "but the little midget vampire was one and Fred wanted someone to give him pain. They matched."
"Yeah, but then the mean lady staked him and wouldn't stake me," Fred said miserably. "But Boris took me in and now Megan and her girl get to play with me all the time," he finished more happily. "They like to torture me just because I'm almost a boy."
Vinnie shuddered and Modo shook his head. "I don't know nothin' about that stuff, don't want to know nothin' 'bout that stuff, my momma raised me to not play with that stuff," he said firmly, walking off shaking his head. "My momma didn't raise me to like pain."
"Hey, I'm impressed that the war didn't make you like pain," Xander said quietly, giving him a pat on the arm as he walked past him. "It did to a lot of people."
"Yeah, well, I've got enough as is," he said gently, getting a hug. "Is he staying?"
"No, Boris sent him with the message that there's a slayer in town." He looked at Fred. "Midnight in the big park by the lake beside the fountain. Got it, Fred?" Fred nodded so Xander hit him as hard as he could, making him hit the wall and coo. "Good, go pass it back and ask for a reward."
"Thank you, Xander. You're very nice," he said in a sated voice. "Ooh, I needed that. You hit harder than those girls and it's *niiiccee*." He wandered off unsteadily, heading back to the car and driver taking him on this errand. "Tell Boris he wants her at the big park by the lake beside the fountain at midnight for a talk."
"Sure, Fred," the driver agreed, moving them on. He called to make that report. One didn't argue with Xander about slayers, he tended to like to hit them as much as the vampires in the community did.
"So, who's going with me to meet Faith?" Xander asked happily.
"Faith's the one in town?" Vinnie asked. Xander nodded. "Why?"
"Giles sent her," he said fondly, smirking at him. "Wanna give me a ride?"
"No, you can go on your own," Vinnie said, patting him on the back. "I don't want to mess with a slayer who's having mind control problems. She might try to stake me." He headed for the kitchen after a quick peek at his napping son.
"You're not borrowing my bike to meet her either," Throttle told him. "I don't like this."
"Me either." He gave him a kiss. "Battle plans?" he cooed with a bright grin. "Please can I help?"
"Sure," he agreed, leading him into the study to work on them. Xander would know what they needed most this time and he had proven himself to be very good at this stuff.
Xander looked up as Faith stopped in front of where he was sitting and reading. "So, did Giles brainwash you, magic you, or bribe you?" he asked in greeting.
"None of the above, I think," she admitted. "What's going on? You had a vampire stop me?"
"No, I used to work for Boris at the construction company. Chicago's very peaceful, Faith. It's full of families of demons, not rampaging, murdering ones." He stood up, looking at her. "Why did he send you?"
"Because this is so very wrong! I was held hostage by a vampire family, Xander!"
"Did they hurt you?" he asked patiently. She shook her head. "Not at all?"
"The head vamp asked me if I wanted to sleep with his daughters, but no, they didn't hurt me. They fed me, they let me take a shower and a nap in a room with a lock I controlled. That's not right!"
"This isn't Sunnydale," Xander said with a smirk. "Chicago's a laid back city for demons and vamps. I never have to hunt unless I hear someone screaming 'help me, please God'." He brushed some of her hair off her cheek. "Most of the vampires around are like Boris. They've got a life. They don't need one of you guys here to make them not have a life. There'd be about sixteen thousand people out of work if you had staked Boris."
"Not all of them. Maybe a third," he admitted. "Not all demons are suited to construction or his electronics firm." He sat down again, pulling her to sit next to him on the edge of the fountain. "So, why else did Giles send you? To help him sacrifice me? Or didn't he tell you that I'm now a traitor to the cause because I'm furry and he needs a sacrifice?"
"What?" she demanded. He nodded, handing over what he had been reading. "What's this?"
"The apocalypse level demon we're dealing with this month." He stretched and grinned at a demon walking up the path. "Hey. How's it going?"
"Just fine, you?"
"You're a Christmas tree demon," Faith said in awe. "How did you get here?"
"With last year's Christmas tree," Xander said dryly. "He decided to stay and brought his whole family. They live here in the park in some of the fir trees." He looked at the demon again. "There's an apocalypse level demon in town who likes innocent young women."
"Then my daughter's going out on a date tonight and getting some," he said simply.
"Get her a lot, man. It'll only help her more," Xander said quietly.
"I understand. Any other details?"
"He travels by mirror."
"We don't have many of those in our tree," he said dryly. Xander pointed at the nearby, mirror-finish buildings and he groaned. "You're right, she'd be out in public and there are mirrors. Fine, I'll get her protected tonight. I thank you, Xander."
"You're welcome, Mortimer. Just protect your family. Any problems here in the park?"
"Not really. Not since you got that one guy help so he quit broadcasting. Though, my wife was very pleased with my performance and we're expecting our third. We might have to move to a bigger tree."
"Congrats, man," Xander said with a happy grin, shaking his hand. "Good luck and be safe."
"You as well. And you, Slayer Faith. You be safe as well." He walked off, going to tell the other park demons about this. It was a timely warning, both of the new demon and of her.
Xander looked at her. "That's more or less what I get a lot of."
"So you're like the town's Godfather in the demon community?" she asked.
He snickered and shook his head. "Not quite."
"Did you steal my bike?" Modo called over the radio in his helmet.
"No, you let me borrow her, big fella. You said it was okay," Xander called back.
"Oh. Sorry. I forgot."
"That's okay. She's fine, soaking up some moonlight here beside me. We just ran into Mortimer and warned him."
"Sure. Come back soon."
"Of course." He turned the radio off and gave her a small wink and a half-shrug. "He's a worried poppa bear about his baby."
"I'd be worried too," she agreed, giving him look. "You ride a bike?"
"I ride a bike very well," he said smugly. "I'm at the stage where I'm learning the fun stuff. Why?"
"That's one of those things I never saw you as, a biker," she admitted, shaking her head.
"Yeah, I've done all sorts of neat stuff on the bikes."
"Did you borrow Throttle's helmet?" Modo asked. "You're still broadcasting."
"Yeah, I did," he sighed. "He made me. Pinch him for me, Modo." He winked at Faith again. "Okay, let's head back to the lair."
"Sure. You know the way?" She nodded. "Then meet me there. Those are a copy of my notes so far. Willow found the ritual and all that."
"What was the old way?"
"Sacrificing either a watcher, a slayer, or a defender who wasn't a virgin by any definition."
"Which is why Giles turned on you," she finished. He nodded, holding in his sneer. She could see him fighting it. "He's in Barbados. Just don't sacrifice me, 'kay?"
"Not an issue. There's others in line ahead of you," he said happily, walking her back to where the bike was sitting. "Give you a lift back to your car?"
"No, I can walk. I won't stake anything." She looked at him. "That little mixed-up alien...um, demon creature...."
"You were right the first time. Karbunkle made him out of spare parts. His name's Fred. I sent him to that vampire because he likes pain and that vamp was a Dom."
"Okay. Things are much stranger here than in Sunnydale or Cleveland," she decided, shaking her head quickly. "Tell him I'm sorry."
"I already did, Faith. He knows you didn't know. He'll let you stake him later for fun." He grinned and started the bike. "See you back there."
"Sure." She watched him take off, noticing how good he was. Even though he seemed a bit off balance on the bike. "He really does ride," she said in awe. She jogged back to her car, following him up the street. She stopped beside him when he did, hearing the sounds of a struggle. "Fight?" she asked hopefully.
"I'm not sure. They're filming a horror movie around here," he said dryly. "I ran in to help the leading lady earlier."
"Yeah, me too," she admitted, following him to where they could make sure it was the movie people.
"Cut! Excellent, not even one helper!" the director shouted. "Great job!" He noticed the two who had crashed earlier. "Hey, you two didn't rush in, thank you."
"I thought I'd stop and check first," Xander said dryly, smirking at him. "Can you maybe put a notice in the paper about any other scenes like this?"
"We've only got two more, kid, and one's here and one's by that old tower they're tearing down. Today and tomorrow."
"Thanks. I'll stay away from there, just in case." He grinned and took off again, Faith following behind him. "Good to know it wasn't just me who did that." He made it home and parked in the garage, getting off and wiping any dust off the bike's body. "There you are, as pretty as your daddy made you earlier," he teased. She beeped and rolled over to plug herself in. Faith parked outside the garage on the end of the extension and followed him inside. "It's us!" he called.
"Are you guys housing a demon? What smells like sulphur?" Faith asked.
"A mineral spring."
"Oh, cool. Dawn pull it up?"
"No, I made it," Xander said proudly.
She stopped right there. "You do magic?" she asked blandly, staring at his back. "Why? You're not supposed to do magic. You never did magic before, Xander. When did you start doing magic?"
"Long story," he called back. "I had the construction crew put it in, Faith."
"Oh, good," she sighed, relaxing some. A Xander doing magic was just too freaky for her world and she would have been forced to do something to make sure he couldn't. She hated magic, and him doing it would mean she'd be turned into a bunny or something else cute and cuddly that would make the junior slayers coo over her.
Throttle looked at her. "A kitty," he said firmly, smirking at her. "So they could pet you and love you for *days*."
She shuddered. "I'm sorry. I never wanted to hurt him, I was out of control and stupid."
"Throttle, don't pick on Faith," Xander said patiently, leading her into the office. "Sit, give me details on what Giles planned and why he sent you. Did you talk to Fred?"
"I did, but she warned me things aren't what they seemed and to talk to you first." She sat down, looking at him, then at Dawn, who was strolling in wearing a nightie. "Um, Dawnie, cute jammies, but I'm still having prison sex scenes rushing through my head."
"I agree, no see-through nighties outside yours or Rimfire's room," Xander said firmly.
Rimfire came in and pulled off his t-shirt, putting it over Dawn's nightgown. "Better."
"Well, no one can say you're not being protected," Faith said dryly.
"Over-protected," Dawn agreed dryly, frowning at her boyfriend. "You could have just gotten me a robe."
"I like you in my shirt. You're cute in my clothes." He kissed her then sat her in his lap.
"Carbine picked on him while we were in DC for being so much like Throttle is with you, Xan," Dawn joked, teasing him with a grin.
"We have to, you two get into trouble," Throttle said dryly as he joined them. "Giles?"
"Barbados," Faith told him. "He sent me to take over Chicago and to help Xander since he was clearly out of his league. He said too many things were going on here and he wasn't seeing them, and he did hint that it was on purpose."
"Permission to go to Barbados?" Rimfire asked.
"Denied," Throttle said simply.
"Yeah, all of us get some of him," Vinnie reminded him. "You two get two swings."
"Then I'll take the killing blow," Xander said bitterly. "Faith, did you read that stuff?" She nodded. "And you realize what he was doing now?"
"Yeah, and it sucks, Xander. I've never seen so many peaceful demons or been the guest of a vampire who didn't want to kill me, just have me at his table. This town is mucho odd. This place is nowhere near five-by-five or any other geometric shape."
"We had more aliens but we drove them off," Dawn offered.
"Good job," Faith agreed, grinning at her. "Comfy?"
"Yeah, and we'll go back to having sex in a while, once you're settled in."
"He's still grounded," Xander reminded her. "No sex during groundings."
"His gray furred grandmomma would agree with that," Modo reminded them. Dawn sighed and tried to move but Rimfire kept his arm around her waist. "Rimfire."
"I'm not having sex at this moment, just providing a public service by freeing up a chair."
"You sound more and more like Vinnie every day," Throttle said with a head shake.
"Yeah, Throttle only claims his lap is cold or he's having a possessive day."
"You guys aren't sharing with each other, right?" Faith asked hesitantly. "B won't like that. She'll skin me alive before coming after you guys if she hears that."
"No, I'm not sharing with Dawn," Xander said patiently. "By biker tradition, we're married, Faith. I wouldn't even think about Rimfire anyway, he's too young for me."
"At least you didn't say I wasn't your type," Rimfire teased.
"Eww," Dawn said firmly. "Bad enough I have to watch the foursome in the making. I do not want to think about *my* man and Xander's butthole."
"Never going to happen unless you suddenly become a widow," Throttle assured her.
"Then we'd help you find a guy who wouldn't hit on Xander," Vinnie promised.
"She's to go to my other bros or Primer," Rimfire said firmly. "I want them to be her protectors on Mars. You guys would be too involved having sex in the sunset."
"When am I going to meet your sister?" Dawn asked, turning her head to look at him.
"Soon. She's still threatening to hold Grandmomma hostage and steal a ship to come down. Then again, she'd have to bring those spoiled twins of hers. Not that I don't want to see them, but Grandmomma said she's had to straighten them out a few times."
"We did you both," Modo assured him. "Your daddy spoiled you rotten before you could walk or talk. Momma spent weeks undoing his spoiling efforts so you didn't brag."
Rimfire smirked at his uncle. "It's not bragging if it's true."
"A real mouse don't need to speak his accomplishments, they speak for him," Modo countered. "My gray furred daddy was like that. Yours was most of the time, nephew."
"Yes, Uncle Modo. I'll try. She makes me want to brag though. I've got the best girl in the world, she enjoys and shares me life's work, and she adores me like I'm her favorite thing."
"Yeah, and everyone can see that, Rimfire," Throttle assured him. "I promise, they can."
"Even the Council did," Dawn said proudly.
"The Council was down here?" Vinnie asked. "Why?"
"Negotiations," Rimfire said quickly.
"From what I heard from the local demons, they also had a bit to do with Limburger leaving so suddenly," Xander offered. "They said something about twelve mice going in and about twenty coming out."
"The Council of Mars was here in the city and they didn't stop in?" Throttle asked.
Dawn nodded. "We headed right to DC after we threatened him and gave him the exit strategy, plus forty-eight hours to leave this and every other planet or else we were going quarantine Plutark," she said proudly. "It was Rimfire's plan."
"Bold, yet fairly subtle for a mouse," Throttle praised. "I like it. We'll start teaching you strategy soon, Rimfire. Provided we all live through this demon."
Vinnie heard a sniffle and got up, bringing back his son, who Dawn stole. "Awww, look at my cute widdle buddy mouse," she cooed. "You're dressed like your fur color and it's even fuzzy! Yes it is," she cooed, rubbing noses with him. "Aren't you so adorable!"
"Yes, he's a Van Wham child, he will be adorable for life," Vinnie said dryly, sitting down again. Vic had only wanted to be held apparently. Otherwise he'd still be wailing to be fed and he didn't smell like he needed changed. "We'll have him bragging on his first day of school and everything."
"Why brag? He'll be so adorable the teacher will ask him for his autograph," Dawn quipped. "Yes they will, Vic, they'll ask you to sign stuff and to restart Mars' entertainment industry. You'll be on all sorts of magazine covers."
"Don't wish that on us," Throttle complained. "We'd never get any peace if he becomes a star." He looked at his mate, who grinned. "You're not going to take him near a camera, Xander. He doesn't need that sort of attention and neither do we."
"But Vinnie would make such a good action star!" he complained. "Modo's got the sweetheart and tender, loving guy roles, and you're leading dramatic guy material, but Vinnie looks like an action star. Please? Just one screen test?"
"No," Vinnie said patiently. "If he wants to be famous as more than a Freedom Fighter, that's up to him to make that decision."
Dawn looked down at the baby and 'saw' him wiggling down and crawling off, then shook her head. She saw the demon and felt something was wrong with the planned assault but didn't understand what. She groaned and used one hand to grip her forehead. "Not good. Very not of the good." She had another flash of an older looking her and a very old looking Rimfire looking at their...grandchild? She looked up. "I'm not becoming a seer for you twits," she called. "I don't care! I'm not doing it! I'm not Cordy, I don't want it and I'm not seer material!"
"There's no Chosen Warrior here," Xander said tolerantly. "What did you see?"
"Vic wiggling out of my arms and crawling off, probably his first crawl. Something's wrong with the assault, there's a gap that's not covered. That and our grandkid far in the future."
Xander looked up. "Yo, Powers That Be? If you're listening, she's not demonic, we won't allow her to become demonic, and we don't really need a seer. Really. I promise. I'm not Angel, even though I do have his crap."
Throttle patted him on the arm. "It's not like Cordy used to see," he soothed.
"You'd let him fall?" Vinnie asked.
"He wiggled out of my arms and crawled off," she defended. "Not my idea of fun."
"Fine, just don't drop him or anything." He took his son back, settling him in his lap, earning happy baby noises.
"He's cute," Faith offered.
"He is," Xander agreed with a grin. "I got to help with his birth too." Charley walked in yawning. "You didn't have to get up. We could have done a bottle when he got insistent."
"No, I'm full," she promised, grabbing the son and landing in her mate's lap. "Vinnie," she sighed. "I'm still sore."
"Just cuddling, sweetheart, nothing more," he promised, wrapping his tail and one arm around her waist. "You deserve it for being so sore."
She gave him a look. "Suck up."
He grinned. "I know. Is it working? Can I at least have a kiss?"
"As long as you do anything further than a kiss to Throttle or Xander until I'm not sore." He nodded so she gave him a light kiss, making him moan and grab her head for a deeper one. She pulled back panting and shook her head. "No, Vinnie, still sore."
"Fine, sorry." He gave her a gentler kiss. "I just wanted to worship your amazing body."
"Soon," she promised.
"Um," Xander said, looking at Vinnie.
Vinnie handed Charley and the baby to Throttle, pulling Xander away to the window to talk with him in private. "What?"
"Vinnie, I'm still feeling really weirded out," he said quietly, leaning forward to show him so no one else had to hear it.
Vinnie connected antennas with him, seeing what the real problem was. He pulled back and looked at Throttle. "Does me cuddling him bother you?" Throttle shook his head, letting Charley have Vinnie's seat as he came over to get into a three-way conference.
Throttle pulled back after a minute and grabbed his man to kiss him stupider. "Xan, it'd never happen," he reminded him. "Like I said, nothing's sending you away. Not even a naughty like for others. I'm thrilled that it's less than your like for me, but I don't mind you cuddling with him now and then. You two give me the naughtiest thrill yet because you two could be twins." Xander blushed and Vinnie chuckled. "Now, kiss and make up."
Xander kissed Vinnie gently, then shoved Throttle against the wall, stealing a good one from him. "Sorry, babe, priorities."
"Not an issue," Vinnie agreed with a grin. He looked at Charley, who shook her head and got comfortable. "Throttle, can I have your lap too?"
"Sure. Make me feel like one of those ancient rulers who used to collect twins for sex." He sat down, letting Xander have one thigh and Vinnie the other, putting his feet up so they'd be comfortable and stable. "Better?" Vinnie nodded and Xander curled against his chest, one hand teasing Vinnie's arm. "Sorry, Faith, but it's been a long week. We're keeping Vinnie busy while his wife heals."
"Not my issue," she assured him. "I'm only in for a visit. If you three wanna go at it in the middle of the living room, I'd only ask if we had popcorn."
"Me too," Rimfire said with a smirk. "They are nearly like twins and those are really rare on Mars."
"Why?" Faith asked him.
Dawn shrugged. "Not a clue. There's only three sets at the moment out of nearly seven hundred thousand people."
"One's my nieces," Rimfire said proudly.
"Congrats, I hope they like you a lot," Faith offered gently. She looked at the pair of white mice. "They are very cute together."
"You should see them on a hyper kick," Dawn snorted. "Bungee jumping, parachuting together. Flying an ultralight together."
"Rodeo camp," Modo reminded her as he joined them with Staff. "Meeting?"
"Not really," Throttle offered. "Why? Did we wake you?"
"Not really," he admitted with a grin. "We were up to raid the fridge."
Staff looked at the two white mice and grinned. "They're very cute together," she assured them all. "They looked like a matched set of bookends. The before and after."
Vinnie snickered and nudged Xander, waking him back up fully. "She thinks we look like a before and after."
"You must be the before and I'm the after, like after you fixed all those skinny arm muscles," Xander teased sleepily. "Sorry," he said, letting out a yawn. "I don't know what this is."
"That's called needing a nap," Faith said, standing up. "Can I borrow a couch? We'll go over the plan tomorrow to see how I can help."
"Sure," Throttle agreed. "Or we do have a spare room. There's one downstairs and two in the new addition."
"Thanks. Let me get my bag from the car as soon as I'm told where." She grinned at the yawning Xander mouse. "He's adorable like that. Much more so than he was as a human."
"I thought he was very cute as a human," Throttle told her. "I'm glad he got to keep the one human eye, I think it's very pretty."
"Then you appreciated him more than ninety-eight percent of the people who knew him before," Faith said gently. She stood up. "You gotta take D and her crush into account." She grinned at the girl napping in her boy's arms. "Let me find that room."
"I'll show you," Modo offered. She nodded, waving before following him out.
Throttle looked at Rimfire and Dawn, who were both napping. "He'll have a sore neck." Vinnie nodded. He pinched Vinnie, making him get up. "Grab Dawn, we'll put her back in her bed, then take this one downstairs. Charley girl?"
"We're good. We're going to nap on the couch while he eats." She stood up with a small moan and some help from Vinnie and Throttle. "Sorry, guys."
"Hey, every woman gets to be sore now and then," Xander said sleepily. "It's a good thing in our book." He yawned and Vinnie kissed him during it, making him moan and grab his ear. "Sleepy, not an invitation."
"A guy's gotta try," he said with a wicked smirk. He led his lady off to the couch, getting her a can of rootbeer too in case she wanted one, then he came back to grab Dawn, which woke Rimfire and made him reach for the blaster he wasn't wearing. "Bed."
"Alone," Throttle reminded him.
"I can't get cuddles?"
"No," Vinnie snorted.
"Fine." He carried Dawn down to her room, tucking her in with a gentle kiss to the head, then went to his own to rest. He really did need to sleep. He'd have to help tomorrow with the demon.
Throttle got Xander up, then picked him up and carried him down to their bed, Vinnie following like the obedient mouse he pretended to be. They got Xander between them and snuggled in. He was very comfortable to use as a pillow.
"Can't breathe," he whined, pushing at their heavy heads. "Move!"
They shifted, letting Xander get comfortable, then went back to cuddling him. At least until he wiggled free and laid on top of Throttle's chest, biting him hard for making him the pillow. Then Vinnie got his lower back and all was well for them to nap.
Faith opened her cellphone once she had showered and come back to her present bed. "Fred?" she asked when the geeky watcher answered. "What weren't you telling me? Yeah, I'm in one of their guest rooms. Fred, don't babble at me. I can't understand you and I'll make you babysit Cara when I get home. Yes, by yourself, Fred. Now, what's going on that you *didn't* tell me? Besides the fact that Giles wanted to sacrifice Xander." She listened to her tell about the new ritual, not traditional for this demon, and how they weren't sure it was going to work. "Who designed it? Willow?" She shuddered. "Okay. I'll go over it with them tomorrow. Can't you guys stop her?" Wesley's assertion that before they had been able to swat her but now she was out of their jurisdiction. "Okay, so what's the what on my assignment this time, Wes?" She listened. "Why?" She slumped.
"Yeah, I know, he's that sort. So why am I stopping him if it'll all go to hell...." She sighed. "No, having Dawn as the town's protector would be worse. Then who?" She shook her head. "I'm not making that choice for you, Wes. Wes! Fred, slap him really hard, 'kay?" She did so and he yelped. "Good! I'm not making that decision! No, I'm not. Tough." She hung up, laying back. Now she knew. She couldn't let Xander or Dawn do the sacrificing. She wasn't going to choose one of the others to lose their lives. Well, that left one other handy, dandy sacrifice available. "Oh, well, it's nicer than some demon icking me to death," she sighed. "Or being turned, or being pounced to death by Cara. Or any number of ways." She got up and went to make sure she had some letters drawn up, just in case. With a battle plan drawn up by Willow, there were bound to be mistakes.
Dawn listened to Faith's conversation and groaned, rubbing her face. "Why me, Goddess?" she whispered. "Rimfire, there's something wrong with the plan," she said quietly. She knew he could hear her. He had big ears and they did this whenever they had to sleep in separate rooms. "Willow planned it and I don't know what's wrong. Look it over for us?"
Rimfire came to the door a few minutes later, tapping before entering. "It's perfect, I don't know what's wrong with it."
"Perfect?" He nodded. "As in no backup?"
He nodded. "Definitely. Should we have one? Magic's always so precise."
"Yeah, but it's still a battle and demons are odd and tricky things." She sat up, pushing her hair back. "Come sit, let's find the backup." He nodded, bringing the ritual over so they could look it over together. He was pretty decent at planning and she was excellent at magic. They both heard the ship land and headed up to the landing pad on top of the buildings, her stopping to grab a robe on the way. "Hey," she said, nodding at the mouse she didn't know. "Probs back on Mars?"
"No, ma'am, I'm on a mission to Micah with some papers and stuff. I have a few letters and some treats for you guys," he said with a smile for Rimfire. "Bored yet, Rimfire?"
"Not really. Thruster, this is Dawn, my lady." He let him shake her hand but growled when he tried to kiss the back of it. "Notice the ring, man. Not happenin'." He took the bag with letters and packages, noticing it was pretty heavy. "What's in here?"
"I don't know, man. I picked it up from Stoker directly." He shrugged and winked at Dawn. "You know, there are more handsome mice on Mars."
"Yeah, but he's probably better in bed than all of them combined," she said dryly. Thruster burst out laughing and clapped her on the back. "Thanks. Any good news?"
"Yeah, Spike said his first word, 'shit'," he said with a smirk for them. "Stoker said it's Xander's fault."
"Probably," the couple agreed, grinning back.
"Anything else good?"
"Yeah, we talked Primer out of bringing her little brats down this trip," he said dryly. "She didn't think it'd be that dangerous to have them here."
"Bet me, we're doing an assault in two days on a major demon," Dawn complained. She looked at her mate. "Isn't your sister as smart as you?"
"Not really," he admitted with a grin. "We all had hopes though."
"Man, your grandmother would swat you if she heard you say that," Thruster joked. "Anyway, hand those to the cute duo. There's a few in there for you and one for Dawn, which made me wonder who she was. Bring her home with you on your next leave, Rimfire. The others of the training class should get to meet your lady and mate." He winked at Dawn again before getting back in his ship. "Laters, all."
"Later, dude," Dawn said, waving at him. She thought she saw something behind the ship but it turned out to just be a shadow. "If you're one of the cats, he's got to lift off, you'd better move before you become toasty." They hurried back into the safety of the building, waving as Thruster took off again. "He seemed nice."
"He's a dickhead," Rimfire said fondly. "Brags more than Vinnie with less reason and less skills. Stoker probably wanted him out of his hair. The good thing is that his father is a Councilman so he's got some diplomacy. He's perfect for courier." He walked her back inside, checking on Charley on their way past her. Dawn carefully slipped Vic from her hands while he covered her, then they sat down to look in the bag. Rimfire stopped once he opened it, staring in shock. "Spike?" he hissed.
"Shit!" the white mouse said happily, smirking at them.
"Yeah, that about sums it up." She groaned and went to call Stoker first. "Hey," she said once she got Switch and Carbine on the monitor. "We have Spike. He was in the bag of stuff Stoker sent. You know we're about to get attacked by a major demon, right?"
"Do you have Anya too?" Switch pleaded. "They both disappeared and their signals aren't on Mars."
"I thought I saw someone. Let me check the library. That's the other entrance to the landing pad." She sighed and hung up, going to check. "Anya?" she called from the doorway. "Your mother's going to whip your tail until it's bruised for this stunt!"
"What!" Throttle yelled. He came up the ramp, staring at the little mouse helping Rimfire sort mail. "How did you get here?" he asked calmly.
"Stoker sent Thruster with some stuff for Micah and he dropped off the mail. Spike was in the bag and I'm assuming Anya just snuck on, Dawnie?" She nodded, picking up the chuckling toddler. "Wonderful," he drawled, looking at Throttle.
Throttle muttered something that made Spike giggle and clap. "Thanks, kid, really." He went to call the worried parents back. "We're going to be dead in two days, possibly, and your kids are here. You might wanna call Thruster and have him pick them up."
Switch sniffled. "Xander can't protect you?"
"He's going to try, Switch, but this thing kills people for kicks and needs a sacrifice to stop it. I'm not sure we won't have to go back to the standby."
"If so, Faith was muttering about it being her," Dawn said from the doorway. "We've got to evacuate Charley and Vic anyway," she pointed out. "They can all go together with the worried daddy."
Throttle looked at her. "You mean you and Rimfire?"
"You'll need a second person able to cast."
"Vinnie has the spells. He's been practicing them. We were going to tell you tomorrow to get him up to speed."
"Bet me," she snorted. "You need me."
"No, we need you to go on. Shut up and do as ordered, Dawn, even if it does nibble your tail," he said firmly, staring her down. "That's the way the chain of command goes."
"Fine," she said, letting it go with a groan. "I'll teach the white menace to cast the four spells he'll need, and we'll go with the kids and Charley."
"And Staff," Modo said as he joined them, patting the kids on the head. "Did you sneak?" he asked with a grin. They beamed at him. "Good job, kids."
"Too good, spank them for us, Modo," Switch begged. "They can't go sneaking off like that."
Stoker strode in, not looking happy. "I take it our kids came to visit Xander?"
Throttle nodded. "Two days before we take on a major demon."
Stoker groaned. "I'll call Thruster."
"Good idea." He shook his head. "We'll do our best to protect them."
"Just try really hard, I trust you guys," Stoker assured him. "You'll be protecting Vic anyway." They shared a look. "That new plan any good?"
"We can't be sure until it goes off," Throttle admitted. "Willow created it and I'm sensing a but somewhere."
"The but was that she didn't provide a backup plan," Dawn told him. "I'm pretty sure I know what can plug that gap."
"Pretty sure?" Modo asked.
"Magic isn't science and there's no sureties in battles against demons. Some of them do have brains and occasionally use them. Pretty sure is as good as you're getting and it'll be good enough to plug most possibilities." She looked at him. "Got it?" He nodded. "Good, then why don't you go with Charley and the kids when they've got to be hidden?"
"I'm needed here."
"Dawn, not open for negotiations," Throttle said firmly. "Xander said you're going, you're going. We're sending Rimfire because you'd cry on the rest of us if something happened to him. Get over it." She sighed and nodded, stomping off. Throttle looked at Stoker again. "Can't you keep them in the house?"
"We tried, Anya's sneaky and Spike likes to break stuff and crawl out a broken window."
"He was in the bag with the letters and stuff," Rimfire called.
"What?" Stoker asked.
Throttle smirked at him. "Rimfire said he was delivered with the mail. Only Anya snuck into the ship."
"Shows he's got the brains to lead the next generation of Freedom Fighters," Stoker admitted. Switch hit him, making him wince and grab his now injured upper arm. "I didn't say it was a good idea," he protested, "just that it showed brains."
"Throttle, if my baby is hurt, I'm going to kill something," Switch vowed. "You think you've seen Carbine on a hormonal rip but you ain't see me on one. Got me here?"
He gave her a tolerant smirk. "Sure, we'll even put bells on 'em." He hung up and turned to look at Modo. "We follow the plans. I agree, Rimfire's going with them to guard them."
"Me too," he agreed. "Staff too. Faith?"
"Was muttering about doing the sacrificing herself," Dawn said from the doorway. "Of herself."
Throttle nodded. "Thanks." She shrugged and went to make some calls. It wasn't that late and some of the vamp suppliers were still open. Maybe they'd have what she needed. He looked at Modo. "You're sending Staff?" He nodded so Throttle grinned. "I take it you're serious about her?"
"Yeah, bro, I'm dead serious about her," he said quietly, glancing behind him. "I, um, could use some help picking out some stuff actually. When this is done with."
"We'll do it tomorrow," Throttle promised. "It'll be a great stress break for us." Modo grinned and punched him on the arm, making Throttle wince. Modo chuckled and went back to the shared room, which Throttle noticed.
"Interesting." He went into the kitchen, spying to make sure Modo was going where he thought he was, and getting himself a drink. Dawn came in and grabbed her own then held out her hand. "What?"
"On the dresser. With yours."
She nodded, going to get it, phone still to her ear.
Throttle shook his head, not sure he shouldn't be worried more about Dawn's version of a backup plan.
Dawn waited until the next morning to go pick up the new item, walking out to grab her bike. "Hey, babes," she greeted as she walked into their garage. Rimfire's bike beeped excitedly and unplugged. "Whoa, he's not coming with me. I'm taking mine to the shop, making one stop, then coming back. He's not even up yet, love." His bike got in her way. "What? You're *his* bike, babe. I can't ride you without him being on you. That's not right. That's why I've got my own." His bike shook her front wheel and blocked her again. "I still can't take you without his permission and he barely got to sleep an hour ago. He needs his rest. Besides, I can ride by myself for a few minutes. It's not that far even. I've done longer when I went to Cleveland." Rimfire's bike revved up and slammed into her bike, then came back to her side, beeping contentedly. "What did you do!" she shrieked. "How jealous are you! Modo! I think Rimfire's bike is insane! She just slammed into mine because I was going to go on my own and not take her!"
Modo walked into the garage, looking at the bikes. "That wasn't nice," he chided. The bike slumped a bit, but beeped at him. "I don't care. You're *his* bike, girl, not hers. She can't take you without his permission and him being on it. Even if he does let her drive you now and then so he can cuddle." He came over to stroke her handlebars. "You can't be this jealous. Look at Throttle's. It doesn't get jealous when Xander drives his car."
The bike revved again and Dawn got in the way this time. "Do not even think about ramming Xander's car, bike," she said firmly. "He'd strip you down for parts and then paint you fuschia and gold." The bike shivered and leaned against her. "I love you too, but I'm not your rider. Rimfire is." It popped up a picture of both of them. "No, we can't share. There's times when we've got to ride alone. I like to drive too much to give that up." It showed a picture of her driving. "I thought he told you erase that film," she said dryly. The bike beeped and showed others. "That's wonderful, girl," she soothed, stroking her, "but I've got to be able to ride on my own sometimes. I like to ride on my own sometimes. Besides, Rimfire likes to chase me when I ride on my own. It's a fun game we both enjoy." The bike made another move toward her bike and she tried to get in the way but the bike only ran over her foot. "OW! Shit!"
"What's up?" Xander asked as he walked in. "Stand down!" he shouted and the bike leaned against Dawn again. "Jealous?"
"Yeah, of my bike. I'm trying to point out why we can't share his bike, but she's not getting it."
"Sharing isn't unheard of," Modo offered.
"I like to drive and do it alone sometimes, plus there's going to be times when we'll have to head off in separate directions!" she defended.
"I'm not against you having your own bike," Modo said patiently.
"I know," she sighed, hurting foot suspended a bit in the air. "It just sucks. I haven't even had that bike very long and now she needs some serious work. I've still got to go pick up the backup plan." Xander tossed over his keys and the bike tried to catch them but Dawn had to dive to do so and the bike couldn't quite whip out its antenna that far. "Thanks. Can we handle this?"
"Sure," Xander agreed. "Go, pick it up, then come explain why you took my credit card."
"Backup plan," she said dryly. "Willow created the plan for a perfect situation." He shuddered. "Exactly." She turned and limped toward the car but Rimfire's bike bumped into her, sending her crashing into Vinnie's bike, who gently helped her stand up again by leaning in the right direction. "Thanks, beautiful." She glared at Rimfire's bike. "You need help. There's no drugs for bikes, but you're clearly obsessed and need help. I'm going to drive his car. I'll be back in about two hours and I want you to be here and waiting on me." The bike slumped again, going to curl up in a corner. Dawn followed it, getting down to hug it, stroking it and talking quietly to her. "No more jealousy," she said at the end. "Got it?" It beeped pitifully. "Of course I love you. I still love you and your rider, but you're being bad, girl. You wrecked my bike badly." The bike took off and got her bike again and Dawn growled, so Rimfire's bike took off. "Get back here!" she shouted. "Now!" It slunk back and ran through the house, going to find her rider to get his help. "Rimfire, your bike needs drugs!" she shouted before stomping off.
"I've never seen a bike that jealous," Modo said, watching Dawn disappear. The bike zipped back. "No!" He shut the doors and used the remote to get the others, including in Charley's garage.
"Hey!" she shouted. "You nearly got me!"
"Sorry, Charley ma'am, but Rimfire's bike is going insane!" he called back.
Throttle and Vinnie came to the doorway. "Whoa," Throttle said, staring at Dawn's bike. "What did Dawn do to her?"
"Rimfire's bike did it to Dawn's," Xander said grimly. "She's jealous." Rimfire's bike shot off a cannon at Dawn's bike, blowing off a few shiny parts. "See." He walked over and stood in front of the handlebars, gripping them firmly. "Stop it, girl. Just because she wants to ride the inferior human bike every now and then doesn't mean she doesn't love you. She does love you and Rimfire. She'll be staying with you and Rimfire, but that was a present to her and it's only fair that she get to use it now and then."
Charley came in and looked at Dawn's bike, then at the one they were all staring at. "Rimfire's bike did this why?"
"Jealousy," Throttle said. "I've never seen one that bad. Yeah, minor attacks, like scratching and knocking over, but usually that's during a divorce. His bike is going psycho." He took a sip of his soda and looked at Xander. "She'll shoot you."
"She won't or Rimfire won't be able to drive her for *months*." The bike beeped pitifully. "Tough! You hurt stuff! You shouldn't hurt stuff! You know better! Staff!" She came jogging out, tucking in her shirt. "Didn't you used to work with them?"
She nodded, looking at the wreckage of Dawn's bike, then at Rimfire's. "She's got a bad case of the green eyed monster." She walked in and the bike backed away from her. "I'm not going to hurt you, just flip you off and then on, see if it clears the memory bank."
"No," Rimfire said, joining them. "Let me." He walked out and took his bike from Xander, walking her back into the house to shut them in a room to talk to her. "What were you thinking?" His bike leaned against him, showing him the pictures she had shown Dawn. "I like those but sometimes I like her riding on her own. I like to chase her. It's a fun *game*, babe. It's a great thing to share with her, but sometimes we've got to be apart. We can't go on scouting missions and assignments as doubles most of the time. The pleasure stuff, yeah. She's ours. She's staying ours. Even if I have to handcuff her to you and kidnap her back to Mars, she's ours for the less serious stuff, but while doing the serious scouting, hunting, and attacking, she can't be with us and that leaves her without a ride. You've got to let her ride by herself now and then. Otherwise they'll keep us from the field too. You because you're unsuitable and me because I won't have a ride."
He stroked her front fender. "I don't want that and neither do you. I promise, once this is finished, we'll be going for a long ride. We might even take a mini-roadtrip, but you can't attack her bike. It's not cool and it's not right. You know better. Throttle's bike doesn't attack Xander's car because he drives her. You can't attack Dawn's bike because she rides her now and then. After all, she spends most of the time on you." The bike nodded, beeping unhappily. "Thank you. Now, go help Charley fix Dawn's bike." She backed up and headed back to the garage, going to help Charley pick up the little pieces. Rimfire walked back into the garage, taking Throttle's soda to drink. "Man. I thought I was jealous when people admired Dawn." He killed the can and walked over to help. "Here, it's only right that I help you fix her as pretty as new."
"You should probably take pictures for the insurance people," Charley admitted. "They'll pay to fix it."
"Then her premiums will go up," Rimfire sighed. "She's already complaining about those."
"I pay those," Xander said dryly.
"Yeah, and she saw how much you pay too," Rimfire assured him. "It was not making her happy." He picked up a few armfuls of parts and carried them over to the garage, going to lay them in the open bay. He nodded at the customer. "One of the bikes just got pounced and hurt, she's helping me bring her over here. Give us about ten minutes."
"Sure, kid. Do you know where I might find a Dawn Summers?"
"I'm her fiance. She's out on an errand." The man stared at him. "What?" he demanded. "Don't think I'm good enough for her?"
"So does she."
"Oh." He grimaced then looked at the letter in his hand. "This was something entrusted in our care." He handed it over. "Make sure she gets it."
"Sure. Thank you." The man nodded and left. Rimfire put it on Charley's desk, noticing that her computer monitor started to wobble like there was an EMF flux going near it. He picked it up and sniffed it then tossed it outside, watching as it hit a rock and exploded. "Holy Mother of the Gods," he said in awe. "XANDER!"
He came over with the phone already to his ear. "What sort of bomb was it?"
"Some guy just dropped off a letter for Dawnie." He looked outside, finding the guy staring at the letter. He whistled and his bike came over. "He tried to blow up Dawnie. Let's get him, girl." They sped off together, going to stop that man and his car. Rimfire drug him back by his collar, dragging him on the ground beside him. "Here," he told the cop getting out of his car. "He delivered the letter to me. I'm Dawn's finance."
The cop looked at the man, then at him. "Protective, aren't you?" he asked with a small grin. Rimfire smirked and nodded, handing him over. "Thanks, kid. Any idea what this was about?"
"Not a clue," Xander said coolly. "But I know someone who has some answers." The man started to babble about how they had been handed that letter earlier in the day and told to deliver it. He had nothing to do with this and he didn't know a thing. All he knew was the guy who had handed it to him. Some big headed guy with really tight goggles on.
"He's dead," Rimfire said, looking confused.
"Sir, threats aren't good," the cop said mildly.
"No, I'm pretty sure he was killed a few weeks back," Rimfire corrected. "Though if I see him, there's not going to be enough parts to identify him, but I'm pretty sure he's dead."
"Maybe he has a clone," the cop joked, leading their witness/suspect to his car to hitch him in.
"Or maybe he was the original and we've only seen the clones for the last little while," Xander said coldly. Rimfire smirked at him and shrugged, but it was a very good idea. "Rimfire, when you and Dawn go to protect the kids, be on the lookout for that evil bastard. If you see him, I'd like to talk to him if I live through tomorrow." He walked off, going home to tell the others. "Dawn got a letter bomb," he announced. "From a big headed guy with very tight goggles."
"He's dead," Throttle pointed out dryly.
"Another clone?" Vinnie asked.
"Or the original," Xander offered coolly. "Rimfire dragged the delivery guy back, up the street, by his collar."
"I'm sure someone can pick the gravel outta his back and butt," Vinnie said placidly. He looked at the kids. "Spike, don't suck on Vic." Spike growled and settled in to nap on his little pillow.
"Did the little vampire mouse need a nap?" Xander teased, smirking at him. Spike growled in a whole different key at him, more menacing this time. "Ooh, sounds like upset tummy problems. Maybe he needs some medicine too? Or a bath?" Spike narrowed his eyes and his growls got meaner. Xander smirked at him. "Get off the baby, Spike." Spike moved and glared but he was still growling.
"He's got the widest range of growls I've ever heard in a mouse," Vinnie said, grinning at him. "You really do growl very well, nearly as well as your sister talks." Spike snorted and made a rude gesture. "Awww, and he's got his daddy's sign language too."
"Bros, making me ill," Throttle warned. "Spike, behave, or spend allll week with Anya."
The baby mouse settled down on Modo's thigh to take a nap. It was nearly as comfortable as the baby's back. He pulled his tail up to suck his thumb around, staring at the adults, especially Xander. He knew how bad he could be, he should be more scared. Even as a baby he wouldn't be safe from his retribution for making him be reborn as a mouse. Especially not as a baby mouse. How humiliating for the baddest of the bad vampires.
Xander gave him a sideways look. "Remember, I didn't ask for it. I just named you," he said cheerfully. "Someone else made that decision." Spike let out a snort and another, dissatisfied, sounding growl, but closed his eyes. He was still a baby after all.
"He's so cute but I'm so glad Vic is normal," Vinnie said, shaking his head. "Okay, what am I doing today?"
"Waiting until Dawn gets back then learning the magic and how to draw the symbol," Xander told him. "It's got to be done in a specific way."
"That bites," he scoffed.
"Yeah, but if you don't do it right, it means something else and the demon may end up in someone's butt instead," Xander said dryly.
"With your nature, it'll be yours," Throttle joked.
"With my luck it'll be mine," Xander said sarcastically. "Nothing about my nature leads them to want to climb up my tail, Throttle. That's not why they like me."
"I don't see why not, it's a cute tail," Vinnie said, pinching it. Xander hit him with it, making him chuckle. "Oooh, did you need a fight?" He almost pounced him but Throttle coughed and shook his head.
"No time for playing games, boys. Work now, play after the demon's gone back to whatever hell it needs to be in."
"Yes, dad," they sighed.
"Daddy, can I have a lollipop?" Xander asked with a wicked grin.
"No sugar, Xander. There's mirrors around and it was a pain finding twelve silver backed mirrors the first time." Xander and Vinnie both snickered at that.
"Let's get serious, boys, before more of the family shows up." Modo looked up from his letter. "Primer said if we don't come home for a quick vacation, then she's going to come down and bring the twins."
"Are they old enough to take to Six Flags?" Xander asked.
"Nope, not yet," Modo sighed.
"Pity. Throttle, can we go this weekend if we live?"
"Sure, babe. We'll go play on the coasters and stuff this weekend if we live." Xander bounced over to hug him, getting squeezed really hard. "Settle down and work. That way we make sure we live."
"It's all set up. All we need to do is mark the mirrors, set them up later, and call the stupid thing." He looked around, then at Anya, who was drawing on paper at the table. "Please let that not be the ritual," he moaned, going over to check on it. "Oh, good, grocery list."
Anya smiled up at him. "Me help pretty," she praised, holding up the drawing.
"Yes, that's very pretty and you're being very helpful by drawing instead of helping," Xander praised. "Very good work, Anya. You deserve a treat later, when Auntie Dawn and Uncle Rimfire take you off somewhere."
"I suggest they go to Enamel," Vinnie offered. He glanced at Modo. "Staff's still got some stitches in and they could probably be looked at."
"A few are looking infected," Modo agreed quietly. "I'd agree to that."
"Sure, plus he can look over the kids. And hey, Shell's in so that gives him some help," Xander said with a grin. "Someone call him and warn him about the mirrors and stuff."
Throttle picked up the phone, dialing out. "Hey, Shell, it's us. No, we're using you as a safe house tonight and tomorrow. Yeah, it's an emergency. No, not babysitting, like major demon. Sure, put 'im on," he agreed, smirking at Xander. He handed over the phone. "Here."
"Hey," Xander said, walking off with the phone. "No, big major demon who likes to eat innocent girls for every meal and make 'em cry in pain. Yeah, coming here. Because either we kill it or one of us is going to end up dead to contain it, Enamel. That means we've got to get the kids out of here with guards and you're the best secondary spot we've got at the moment. So, today, you need to take down or cover every single mirror in your place. And I do mean every one. Even down to the compacts, dental mirrors, all that. Because it travels through them. No, I'm sane, I didn't get hit on the head," he sighed. "Enamel, what do you think I did back in Sunnydale?" he asked dryly. "You know vampires are real and they're demons too," he said patiently. "Because Staff's got an infection in her stitches and we're sending her, all three kids, plus Rimfire and Dawn to you. So deal with it. Because otherwise I get to stab myself in the heart, fall across a really pretty, shiny globe, and trap the demon for another hundred years. Sure, bedtime is a good time for us. It should be tonight or early tomorrow. Whoever's alive after it's gone will call and tell you it's okay. Sure. Thanks, man. Laters." He hung up. "He's convinced I need drugs, but he said he'd take care of everyone." He put the phone back and went back to his puttering.
Vinnie and Throttle shared a look, then looked at Modo, who shook his head. No one was letting Xander do that, they agreed on that part.
Dawn walked up the stairs carrying the last mirror. "Okay, I'm back," she announced. Everyone stared at her and the mirror. "Yeah, it's the backup plan. Unfortunately this thing is kinda heavy so it's going to leave a few of you older guys out."
"No way," Xander said, shaking his head. He got it, he really did, but there was no way she was talking them into keeping Rimfire here.
"Hey, not everyone can play catcher's mitt with a twenty pound mirror," she offered.
"Okay, the plan is?" Throttle asked, looking confused.
"The mirrors are going to be trapping the demon, not letting it back into the broader pathway it usually travels," Xander explained. "They're all being spelled to lead back to the globe, where it'll be trapped." Throttle nodded once. "The problem becomes it getting out of the containment circle we're going to be putting up. Which is why we have a thirteenth mirror, or a catcher's mitt as Dawn put it."
"Which means someone's got to be able to dive and catch flying demons. Which a few of you guys can't," Dawn told them. She looked at Xander. "I'd say the best two or three."
"Whoa, nope," Vinnie said, holding up a hand. "Shouldn't happen."
"That's why it's a backup plan," she said impatiently. "And you can't catch." He frowned at her. "Hey, Spike, c'mere," she called, bringing the little running mouse her way. She whispered in his ear, getting an evil chuckle. "The best two or three catching him get to stay."
Spike looked at the big mice and ran toward Vinnie, then zigged off in another direction and then changed direction and headed for Throttle, who nearly caught him but he dove between his legs at the last minute. He continued to run around, nearly getting caught by Modo, who had to dive for him, and then Throttle did catch him but let him go with a pat on the head. He ran off heading for Vinnie again. Dawn had said he couldn't catch him. She was right it seemed.
Modo shook his head and caught the baby mouse this time, giving him a hug. "Is it really going to be that bad?"
"Yeah, demons are worse than most toddlers, so he'll run more than Anya would. This was a mild display." She beamed at Vinnie. "Rimfire!" He came trotting up the ramp. "Let Spike go, let's make sure he can catch him."
"We still need Vinnie here," Xander said patiently. "Just in case the demon takes me out."
Rimfire watched the baby, then smirked and dove to intercept him, rolling around with him to tickle him, getting shrieked at by a happy baby mouse. "What's up?" he asked once he was done.
"The backup plan is a catcher's mitt," she said, hefting the mirror. "Sorry, the handle was the best I could make it." She handed it to Throttle, who gripped it.
"A bit small, I can only fit one hand under here." He handed it to Modo, who nodded that he could handle that. "Good idea, Dawn, but you're still heading off, which means we'll need Vinnie here."
"Or another caster, who doesn't have to be Vinnie. There's other magic people in town." She looked at Xander. "Bait?"
"Shit," he groaned, shaking his head. "She forgot that part too."
"I realized that on the way back. I called one of my buds from school. She's a virgin witch, sworn virgin until she finds someone the Goddess wants her with and proves that she's wanted with, and she's on her way over after dinner. I explained that she's being the bait for something nasty but she'll be safe."
"Fine, thanks, Dawn. Can she cast?" Throttle asked.
Dawn shrugged. "I've worked with her but she's fairly low key in the power department. I'm not sure she could."
"Since the demon stabbed Ethan I'm sure it's not against it," Xander said patiently. "That means we need a secondary caster just in case. Which is not you, Dawn Summers."
"Fine," she sighed. "Just trying to help."
"You do it very well," Xander assured her with a grin. "Nearly as good as I do."
She beamed back. "Thanks. I'm gonna go bug Charley about my bike, see how bad it's going to gouge my trust fund." She headed off, letting them argue about it in private.
Rimfire looked at the group. "I'm not going with the kids. I'm the better catcher and I'm needed here. For that matter, um, I can kinda cast." Modo stared him down. "I picked it up from Dawn," he sighed. "I've been working with her for a while now, Uncle Modo. Nothing bad."
"You're telling that to your grandmother," he said firmly.
"She already knew. We're the ones who blessed her ship with safety on the trip back since it needed a wire replaced in the steering console." Everyone shuddered at that. "So, yeah, if we have to, Vinnie can go off with the kids and I'll stay." He looked at Vinnie. "You do great in football, man, but not baseball, not as the outfielder catching pop balls."
"I already know the spells," Vinnie said firmly.
"Good, so do I."
Xander considered it, then sighed. "Fine. Vinnie, you'll be on the outer edge, in case we need you to cast. Or in case the demon gets past the others and you can catch it." Vinnie nodded. "Rimfire, you can take catching by the ramp. If you roll off, I'll laugh my ass off."
"Yes, sir." He grinned at Spike. "You're gonna go see Shell and Enamel tonight." Spike grunted and kicked him on the leg. "Ow, mean brat."
"Don't have kids, Rimfire, they're all like that," Faith said as she joined them. She looked at the extra mirror. "Playing ball?"
"If necessary," he agreed. "Willow made the battle plans for a perfect situation."
"Oooh," she winced, shuddering. "Okay, so that's our backup?" He nodded. "Good deal." She looked around. "Dawnie?"
"Next door checking on her bike. Rimfire's got jealous and tried to kill it," Xander offered. "You can go over and chat."
"Thanks, man." She went to steal a soda then head over there. She looked at the car up on the lift. "Ooh, poor ride. What happened?"
"Apple up the tailpipe made the exhaust back up and explode," Dawn said with a small shrug. "This is my ride, even though Rimfire's bike didn't like her." She patted her bike on the side. "We'll be fixing her for quite a while."
"So I can see." She sipped her soda. "You okay with heading off tonight?" Dawn shook her head. "You should be."
"I'm not helpless."
"No, but you've got a future ahead of you, something that Xander didn't at his age," she said wisely. "He wants you to be a Vulcan."
"Live long and prosper?" Charley joked.
"Basically, yeah," Faith agreed with a smirk for her. "You're pretty cool, Charley." She looked at Dawn. "If something happens and I bite it, Cara's mother's on life support so I have custody. Make sure your boy doesn't play too rough with her, got it?" Dawn gaped at her. "I'm serious, D."
"I know you are, but man! They're just barely getting Vic started!"
"Cara will love him, he's got a tail," she said dryly, smirking at Charley. "The kid's dad is a bastard of the lowest order. Not even high enough to do it properly, the sort to send his daughter a dead mouse through the mail. The post office found it first and called the cops, that's how we knew about it." Charley shuddered. "She's got a grandma, but it's the dirtbag's mom and I don't think she'll help very much for all her fussing and whining. So if I bite it here then she comes to Xander and you guys. Treat her like you did Dawnie. She'll be a normal kid at the very least. She's not a slayer."
"That's fine, Faith, if something happens, we'll raise her with Vic," Charley promised. Faith smiled at that. "You shouldn't have to though."
"Yeah, well, the thought of Willow doing the magic stuff creeps me out to this day. I'd like to live, ya know? She's kinda still dangerous. Even on Mars."
"The Seal likes to pretend to be her too," Dawn said dryly, nodding at the Willow-shaped person coming through a wall. "Hey, how's Mars, Seal?"
"Fairly decent. Very low powered. There's something wrong in the core that's sucking the energy from the planet. I'm not sure what yet." She looked at Faith. "If you follow the instructions, all will be well. If not, then I'll welcome you in my temple with Willow." She smiled. "Anything else?"
"No, not yet," Faith admitted.
"Did you have fun on Plutark?" Dawn asked. "No one could figure out why you liked the slimy, stinky, fish people so much."
"They reminded me of those I keep back, and they were quite tasty," she said happily. "Some people like caviar and some people like fish sticks. I find I like fish sticks." She smiled. "But yes, I did. There's still some bikes and things up there. Willow has told the one called Carbine but she's ignoring her existence."
"She won't when Throttle toasts her tail over it," Dawn promised. "Any remaining mice?"
"Six or seven. They still taste bad to us. Give us indigestion. You should probably get them soon before we decide belching is easy enough."
"I'll go use the pointy stick of encouragement," Dawn promised. "How long?"
"Maybe three days," she offered. Dawn nodded. "I thank you, Key."
"You're welcome, Seal. Be at peace and protect Mars so I can join you some day." That got a small smile and the Seal vanished. Dawn waved and headed back over there. "Throttle, call your ex and use the pointy stick of encouragement on her. There's bikes and a few mice left on Plutark and the Bringers can put up with indigestion soon. Like in three or four days," she said as she came up the ramp. "The Seal said so." He headed into the office. "Xan, the Seal said that if you follow orders, it'll be fine. Oh, if Faith bites it sometime in the near future before her mother comes off life support, then we get Caroline."
"She'll love all the tails around here," Modo said dryly, smirking at her. "You're sure?"
"Faith said so and she's got custody of her while her mom's on life support." Modo nodded at that. "The Seal said that you guys gave bringers indigestion. But that the Plutarkians were like fish sticks."
"Eww," Vinnie said with a shudder. "Another food I'm not going to eat." He shuddered again and Xander hugged him, making him calm down. "Thanks, bro."
"Welcome, big brother. Dawn."
"Just reporting," she defended, going to help Throttle. "Hey, old guy. The Seal said you've got about three more days before the bringers get hungry enough to belch really loud when they ate the last few mice on Plutark."
"Three, four days at the most."
"We've got ships there, we'll call them. Any bikes?" She nodded. "Decent, Dawn. Thanks and be careful tonight."
"I'm being sent off with Vic and Staff."
"I can fight," Staff called.
Modo gave her a long stare. "I know you can, you're going to be guarding the things that are most important to us, the kids, Charley, and Dawn." She slumped. "Besides, you're going to see Enamel so he can check those stitches." He gave her a gentle kiss, making her go limp against him. "I don't want you in danger," he said quietly.
Vinnie and Xander shared a look. Then smirked. "Hey, Modo, if you fall she can have our spare rooms with any of your kids if your momma can't take her in," Xander promised with a grin. "We'll treat her just like a little sister, man."
"Yeah, she can have our spare room too," Vinnie promised with a bright grin. "Anytime and anywhere."
"Aww, shucks, bros," he said, blushing as brightly as he could, the same as she was. "You're sure?"
Throttle came to the door. "Yeah, bro, she's yours and she can have our spare room. She'll be a sis to us." Modo grinned at him and kissed her again, pushing her against the wall to kiss her. That was as far as he was going, but it was enough. His bros knew he wouldn't show off in front of them. He walked her off to their room. Throttle smirked at Xander. "Soon?"
"As soon as we get the mirrors set up and keep Anya from helping draw on them like she has the last two."
"Let me take the kids to the garage," Vinnie said, gathering up Anya, Spike, and Vic to take over there. Charley could watch them for a bit while they got set up.
Xander settled in to draw the symbols on the back of the mirrors. Someone had to.
The time came when everyone had to leave to hide. Dawn and Rimfire were saying their goodbyes. She had his bike and Spike was on her back. She grinned and gave him one last kiss, whispering something in his ear. He nodded, watching her take off. Charley had Vic on her back and Anya was strapped into the baby seat on the back of her bike. Vinnie was kissing her as hard as he could. One of his hands was moving and she moaned but he kept going. "Please," he whispered into her lips and she moaned again. She couldn't resist him. "It's in, right?" he demanded, pulling her up and handing off the baby blindly. No one was going to let him fall. Someone took him and he got her against the wall, doing everything he could to make her beg for him to do more. She whimpered when he undid her pants. "It doesn't matter to me, sweetheart, I may not lick it today but I'm more than happy to do other things." He freed himself and nailed her right there, not caring when someone threw a sheet over their heads. He shoved into her gently, being as gentle as he could, but it felt like he hadn't had any in years instead of days. He filled her as deep as he could without her wincing and worked himself quickly but not as hard as he wanted. If he had his way, he'd be turning her around and taking her much harder, but he couldn't do that yet. Soon but not yet. He shot off on that thought, kissing her breathless as he felt himself empty what felt like gallons of seed into her body. "Mine?" he pleaded.
"Yours, hot shot," she promised, kissing him again. "Now I'm really sore."
"You can soak when we get done tonight," he promised. "I'll wait hand and tail on you." He grinned at her, kissing her again as he pulled back. He got her redresssed and then himself, uncovering them so he could get her back on her bike. Dawn's friend handed back the baby carrier and he helped her into it, giving his son a stroke across the antennas before she took off. Staff took off after her. Vinnie looked at the others. "What?" he asked defensively. "Rimfire and Dawn did too!"
"It's natural to want to have great sex if the world's ending. Apocalypse sex is the best sex," Xander agreed dryly. "Even better than makeup sex." He clapped Modo on the arm. "At least you found someone who makes you happy enough to have some, big guy." He blushed and Xander grinned. "She wasn't sore?"
"A man doesn't tell such facts."
"You're right, that was crude of me," Xander agreed, patting him on the arm. "We all ready?" Everyone nodded. "Okay. Jess, we need you in the center of the containment circle once I check to make sure Anya didn't help by drawing on the pretty pictures again." She smiled and nodded, moving into position. Xander walked the circle, closing it once he was inside. "Places, people." He nodded at Modo to uncover the single mirror he had put up. "Okay, Jess, think tasty, pure, ready to scream vibes." She nodded, closing her eyes, concentrating on calling the demon to her. She felt Xander flinch and opened her eyes, staring in horror at the thing. "Jess," Xander urged, giving her a nudge. She was frozen and the demon was smirking. He glanced at Vinnie, who lifted her out with his tail, leaving them together in the circle. He also felt Dawn come back but that was fine. He'd toast her tail later. He looked at the demon. "You're trapped," he said calmly. "The only one here is me. You can't use me. You can't kill me. I can kill you." He started the chant, ducking under the demon's talon when it lunged. He continued, and the demon screamed, but then so did Xander when it got him in the side.
Vinnie felt someone take his hand and he started the chant instead of Xander. Dawn's smooth, alto voice added to his and the demon shivered, knocking at the containment circle. He heard Xander pick it up and start too, and the demon dove for a mirror, knocking it off the stand it was on. That got it free of the circle and it headed for the other one, but Modo broke that one. Rimfire was ready with the mirror and they were chasing it down, Rimfire tossing it to Throttle when he ducked that way. Modo picked up one of the extra mirrors while Vinnie and Dawn continued to chant with Xander. Rimfire got a mirror of his own, and the demon was trapped between them. Xander stood up, lifting up the globe just in case. The demon looked around, looking terrified and lunged at Vinnie and Dawn. He pushed Dawn and grabbed Throttle's mirror, jumping up to catch it when it tried to go over his head. "Yeah, white mice can jump!" he said happily when it went into his mirror.
Xander sat down with the globe, shaking it hard to break the two vials of blood in there. He felt the explosion and counted to two, then opened the stopper for a second. The explosion had ripped the interior compartment, opening a spot of void, which started to free the demon, but by reopening the stopper, it remade the interior compartment with the demon half-trapped in the void so it would never be getting out. "It won't stick," Xander said frantically. "Get me the soldering iron!"
Faith passed it over, holding the stopper in the right spot as he worked on it. He got it sealed with pure silver solder and she gave it a gentle tug to make sure it was seated. Xander added more around the bead he had done, sealing it well. She held up the globe with a smile. "It's in there."
Dawn cheered, hugging her. "Good job, guys!"
"You're in so deep," Throttle promised tiredly, sitting down in a nearby chair. "Xander?"
"Tired," he moaned. He sat up and hissed, looking at Dawn. "Grounded," he said slowly and clearly. "Six weeks, no sex, no rides, nothing." She snorted and sat down, hissing too. "Tough."
"Fine," she complained. She looked at Jess, who was still frozen. "Hey, um, Jess?" Jess shook herself. "It's captured."
"Oh, good," she said weakly. "What was that?"
"A higher level demon," Xander told her simply. "An apocalypse level one, kid. Never turn to chaos magic. That's what calls them and what they love to play with." She nodded and burst out in tears, hugging them all before heading back to her car. "Hopefully she's scared on the straight and narrow," he said, pushing himself up and going to flop down on the couch with a hiss of his own. "Ow."
"Up the butt sex?" Dawn asked sympathetically.
"Oh, yeah," she agreed, shifting some. "Desperate times call for desperate times sex." She looked at him. "You needed me."
"I don't care," he sighed. "You're still grounded. Unless you're going to elope and then I'm telling your sister and Micah and Lorne and Max."
"Sure, not an issue. I doubt he's getting it for a few weeks anyway."
"Was he rough with you?" Modo demanded. He glared at his nephew.
"No," she snorted, looking up at him. "But he's gotten a taste for hair yanking since that stupid succubus showed up and anal sex is sore making if you're as big as he is." He blushed bright red and went to hide in the bathroom. "Sorry, Modo."
"Add another week for that," Throttle said tiredly. He looked at Vinnie. "You could call them to come back."
"Nah, he needs to look at Staff's back. She's got a few infected spots in her stitches." He sat down next to Xander, cuddling into him. "You're comfy," he said with a small yawn.
"That's why we took the time to take a nap before the main event," Xander said, patting him on the back. "Was it good?"
"Very," he said with a small grin. "I'm going to be back in my own bed tonight. I can almost guarantee it. Sorry, Throttle."
"Not an issue," he said with a wave of his tail. "Modo, you okay?"
"Yeah." He came out and looked at his nephew. "Do we have to have a talk about you being gentle with her?"
"No, sir," he said, looking embarrassed. "I'll quit pulling her hair. I like her hair, it's soft and scrunchy at the right times. She doesn't have a tail I can grab to tease."
"Grab the headboard," Xander suggested. "Works when Throttle tries to pull hair. Or let her tie you down."
"Um, too late," he said, taking off running before his uncle could stop him.
Modo moaned, shaking his head. "Dawn, no more kinky sex with my nephew until you two move out together."
"I offered to get a place for college and everyone vetoed it," she defended weakly. She looked at Xander. "By the way, I broke one of the stretchy red velvet ties. I'll replace them tomorrow."
"Yes, you will," he agreed firmly.
"If you guys are all like this, can you find me a mouse too?" Faith asked, pouting a bit. "It sounds like more fun than I get at home." Her phone rang and she answered it. "Yeah, Wes, it's trapped. No sacrifice needed. No, they played ball as a backup position." She smirked. "No, the usual wind-down, talking about the apocalypse sex. Sure. Yeah, tell Buffy she needs to send Dawnie money to replace some of Xander's straps since she broke one. No, just some Preparation H for when too much butt sex turns into hemorrhoids."
"No, that's pregnancy," Vinnie told her smugly. "Just ask Charley or Switch when she comes down."
"Okay, I was corrected, that's pregnancy and Dawnie doesn't have to worry about that. She's on the IUD. Sure. Laters." She hung up. "I'm being recalled to Cleveland since Wesley said I obviously needed drugs and a nap," she said happily. "Need me for anything?"
"No, not really," Xander promised. "Go, have fun. Jump Wes if he isn't doing Fred. Or jump Buffy, have prison sex in the showers. She seemed like she could use it."
Faith smirked and leered a bit. "I can do that, can't I?" she asked happily. "Let me go pack my crap and I'll go. What about the globe? Wes wanted to know."
"I know someone here who can handle it. I met him when I was refilling my holy water squirt gun. He's got friends who do the same thing and have a storehouse."
"Cool beans. Legacy?" Xander nodded. "Even better. I'll report that and that Dawn and you are sore from anal sex, then I'll jump Buffy." She waved and headed off.
"When did you meet him?" Throttle asked.
"A few weeks back, the day I came home looking confused with my squirt guns. He's a priest." He reached over with his tail, snagging his cellphone and the number he had put into it. "Hey, howareya?" he asked dryly. "Is Father Philip in? No, it's a fairly serious semi-world ending emergency that's been handled but kinda still needs a bit of a cleanup. No, no exorcism involved, thankfully. Yet." He grinned, looking at Rimfire as he came back. "Don't yank hair, Rimfire, it's impolite." He listened to the cheerful accented voice on the other side. "Hey, Father Philip, it's Xander. Yeah, squirt gun guy. Would your buddies like a trapped demon in the globe that traps it, sealed in there and swearing up a storm? Sure, we can even give you the book with the old way and the new rite too. Yeah, come on over. No, silver globe, some emeralds. Neat stuff really. Yeah, the reason all those girls were brutalized. Nope, handled and contained. Now needing buried. Thanks." He hung up. "Look for a Catholic priest in about ten minutes. He had that 'worried/may have to save them too/souls in danger' tone to his voice." He looked at Vinnie, who was napping on his chest. He used his tail tip to tease him awake and grinned. "Needed a nap that badly? I'm surprised you were able to jump."
"I had adrenaline and magic then," he yawned. "Magic always wipes me out. That's why I'd never take it up for real." He closed his eyes and got comfortable against Xander's side.
"Maybe he should have butt sex with her," Dawn quipped tiredly.
"Dawn!" Modo and Throttle yelled together.
"Sorry, just a suggestion. She can't get pregnant from it. It feels really good too."
"Dawn, out!" Modo yelled, pointing. "Don't come back until you can talk about another subject."
"Okay," she said weakly, giving him a hug on the way out the door. She waited until she was outside to cackle in glee. She saw the person knocking impatiently on the garage's door and coughed to startle them. "Hey, Charley's visiting a friend with the kid for a few hours. It an emergency? Vinnie's next door."
"Who are you?" the twenty-something female asked, well demanded.
"Charley's near little sister. I live next door and come over to help her and the baby all the time. You?"
"I'm her cousin," she sneered.
"Cool beans. She'll be back in a few hours." She whistled and Rimfire came riding up, handing over her helmet. "Otherwise her mate's next door at my place. He may be able to reach her sooner if it's a family emergency." She climbed on the back of his bike and took off with him. "Modo said I can't come back until I can talk about something other than great sex," she called.
"I'm sure I can help you find another subject," he said with a leer in the mirror. "She's going next door."
"Fuck her. She's a bitch."
"I'd rather not. She seems like the sort who can't get any without paying for it."
"You're so bad, Rimmy," she cooed, giving him a squeeze. "Clubbing?"
"Sure, why not. Since we'll be grounded soon and all." He sped up to get through a green light and headed for their favorite club to tease at.
Modo was up so he got waved at to get the door when someone pounded on it. "Yes, miss?" he asked politely. "Did you need something?"
"I'm Charley's cousin. Where is she?"
"She's visiting a friend with her son tonight. She's due back in a few hours. Her husband's upstairs if you wanted to talk to him."
"Husband? There wasn't a wedding," she said coldly. "Her family will not accept that."
"Oh, shut up," Xander yelled. "Modo, slam the door in her face. Charley said she could wait if she had PMS. She'll be back in an hour."
"Who was that?" she sneered.
"Xander, the guy who owns this house. As he said she'll be back in an hour. With her son." He smiled and shut the door in her face while she spluttered. He was polite but even he had his limits. He headed back up to collapse again, stretching out in his usual chair. "We need to cook dinner."
"Go fire up the grill?" Throttle suggested.
"Sure." Modo got up with a groan and went to start the grill with his arm cannon.
Throttle stood up and helped get Vinnie up and to his feet, walking him down there too. Then he came back for the semi-napping Xander.
To Part 36