Notes: Starting the move here, I did a time jump. Magnet is Vinnie's daughter. Punch is Modo's daughter. Carbine is happy with Thrust - finally. Things have settled down and Micah only has to deal with Cleveland and Wolfram and Hart. And a new president eventually. <G>
Xander looked at the trial pieces, then sighed and nodded. It was almost time to go up and do the house. He had been approached by Wolfram and Hart and asked if he would mind if they made the Plutarkians leave - they had honestly stated that they didn't want to fight two enemies at once, especially one that evil and Xander was an easier fight. He had sent them to Throttle and sat back to laugh while they negotiated how it would be done. Throttle had insisted none of them would be anywhere in this solar system and if they died he didn't care, but he didn't really like the idea of them being sent to hell as minions forever and ever or eaten as a sacrifice either. The lawyers didn't like it but oh well. They both got what they wanted. As it happened, a demon went to Siberia and cut the gas and power lines to their colony, making them freeze or flee. They had decided to flee. Mars had been warned and there was a battalion of ships waiting on them just in case they decided to stay. The elder Limburger had perished in the brief scuffle but the younger one was still ruling them and had headed back toward another galaxy.
Now it was time to make the final plans and start the final preparations. He looked up and grinned. The trial pieces had been warped and destabilized. Therefore they were switching to his original plan that no one liked. A bit of chaos magic now and then never hurt anyone really. "Fine, we'll do this the other way," he noted, sending up a quick prayer. He concentrated on the spell he had memorized, lighting the things around him to burn in honor of the spell. He felt his Goddess answer and smiled, sending up his second formal prayer to her, giving her a good reason to help. He felt her accept and work to help him. He sent the new samples back and then had them sent back by Wrench. He checked them over. They were perfect. He smiled and asked the Goddess, who agreed and they moved the things he already had. He felt Wrench's surprise and made sure nothing landed on top of the one before. The construction elements were up there within minutes. He said another prayer of thanks and promised the next one was not for months. He hurried out to sit on the last one, landing on Mars a few minutes later with a smirk for his cousin. "Hey."
"How did you do that?" he demanded, stamping a foot.
"Loyalty and begging." Wrench scowled so he beamed. "I prayed really hard?" He hopped down, landing beside him. "Okay, we've got all the construction stuff in the blue ones. We've got non-perishable food stuffs in the green one. We've got other stuff in the red one for the houses and ourselves. The lone pink one is other stuff entirely, including the rest of the filtration system so we can put up the larger version." He yawned. "And I'm now wiped for the next day. The tarp's in the pink one so that none of these overheat, especially not the food."
Wrench sighed and got the tarp, pulling it over everything with the help of his bike, watching as Stoker rode up. "The first load's here."
"I can see that. When are you getting started, Xander?" His answer was a snore. He sighed and looked at Wrench. "When?"
"Um, probably the day after tomorrow. After he unloads a bunch of stuff with some help. How many people are coming out?"
"About fifteen and whoever of your clan wants to."
"That's fine. I'll get the clan to come help move stuff tomorrow. He should be up by then." He noticed Stoker flinched and looked behind him, blinking at the tarp floating down. "Seal!"
"Sorry, all put away in the caves and the building stuff is in the right areas," Willow called, fading in with a cheery grin and a wave. "Xander needed it. The Lady said so. She said he was a very cute mouse and that we should help since Xander will be helping you with training stuff." She looked at the form under the tarp. "That's the only thing I wasn't sure of." She looked at Stoker and beamed. "I think it's for Vic."
He walked over and under the tarp, finding the small bike. It beeped plaintively and he stroked it. "It's all right, dear. You're on Mars. Your little mouse will be able to ride you soon." She whined and popped out a gun, wiggling it a bit. "You have weapons?" He heard Wrench groan. "Okay, let's walk you out and we can tighten that." He walked the bike out, taking the tool from Wrench to tighten the gun up. "There, how's that?" The bike beeped happily and zoomed around a bit, parking on top of the tarp and settling in for a sunbath apparently. Stoker walked over and kicked Xander on the leg. "No weapons on kiddie bikes," he said firmly when the eyes opened. "It's against the law to give little kids weapons on their bikes."
"Because there's still bullies on Mars," Stoker said sarcastically. "That and they're prone to doing stupid shit, like Spike trying to run over his new teacher for fun. No weapons on the kiddie bikes."
"Then I'll put them on Racer's."
"That'd still be considered a child's bike, Xander," Wrench said, smirking at him. "Did Vinnie say that was okay?"
"No, but it was going to be a surprise," he offered, sounding pathetic. "I'm sorry, Stoker."
"I'm sure you are. You'll be taking down the weapons tomorrow, mini punk. Everything else is fine. It's a good looking bike and the weapons seem to fit."
"He's only got my marble cannon and one tiny beam laser," he offered with a smile.
"Fat. Chance." Stoker stared down at him. "I mean it."
"Yes, sir. Bike, weapons off. It's not legal up here." She made a pouting noise. "I know, but soon, dear. Soon. After all, we've got to teach him somehow." Wrench snickered. "He's going to as good a shot as I am," he said firmly. "I don't care what anyone says, he is."
"Fine," Wrench agreed. "Where's your bike?"
"Probably coming through the transporter soon," Willow offered. "Are we taking him home with us?" Wrench nodded. "Cool. I'll tell Exhaust to send his bike our way." She faded out.
Xander yawned again. "Some of that food was for the clan and the mommas," he offered. "One of the green ones had tied bags and taped boxes of stuff for the clan and the families."
"They're still together," Willow called. "I put them in a cave. I know how your mind works, Xander."
"Sure. Thanks." He licked his lips and stood up. "Where did she put the containers?"
"Near the places they needed to go." Wrench nodded at his bike. "Let's head to my place, cousin. We'll come out tomorrow and sort everything out." Xander nodded. So he looked at the bike. "You're going to be out here all alone tonight. Think you can handle it?" The bike beeped happily.
"Weapons back on when I'm not here," Xander ordered. The bike beeped and turned them back on. "Good boy." He grinned at Stoker. "It's for Vic's next birthday."
"I can tell. You'll still be in trouble if he gets on that bike and it's got weapons."
"Meg programmed it so they shut off if he's by himself, unless there's a danger to him."
"Fine," Stoker sighed, heading back to his bike. "How long will the construction last?"
"Not a clue," Xander admitted. "That depends on how hard we work."
"Uh-huh. When do you think you'll have it done, Xander?"
"The end of October. I'll be able to get back for halloween." Stoker nodded at that and headed off to report to the Council that construction had begun and that strange stuff was already going on out here. Xander grinned at Wrench. "Busy for the next month?"
"Vinnie said I had to help you," he teased, smirking at him. "Come on. Let's head to my place."
"I've got a bag of Micky D's somewhere," he offered.
"Okay, we can go find that instead," he offered, heading out to the caves with Xander. He found the 'family' cave and the bag on top of a lot of stuff. He looked around and whistled. "Wow. How much is mine?"
"The boxes are the clan's stuff. The white bags are for Modo's family if I remember right and the blue ones are for Momma's."
"Damn," Wrench said in awe. He walked his bike out, calling his favorite uncle. "Hey, Grease, it's me. Xander's just come up with a whole *ton* of crap for the families. So we need to gather, sort, and ship tomorrow. Tell Modo and Throttle's mommas too please. They've got stuff too." He smiled. "We're talking crates of stuff." His uncle looked pleased at that.
"Vinnie said the old family home needed some stocking," he offered with a shy grin. "Plus, your kitchen is bare. There's a few other kids whose mothers and fathers aren't coping that well with the extra mouths to feed, this way it'll tide 'em over during the bad parts." Wrench smiled at him. "Sue me, I'm mushy now and then. That's when I go cuddle Vinnie and his daughter."
"How is Magnet?"
"Doing well. She's an adorable little white mouse with white hair. Vinnie thinks her tail is too small but we think it suits her personality. She chased off a lawyer last month." He pulled out his picture to show him. "Just a few more months and she'll be up here."
"Good," Grease said. "I take it you got us stuff we can store for years?"
"Soups, bullion, dried stuff," Xander agreed. "Just keep it sealed, cool, and dry. There's some flour and stuff too that you should probably plan on using fairly quickly, things like sugar." Grease grinned at that, there wasn't a member of the clan who didn't like sweet stuff. "We're going to Wrench's tonight and I'm going to be back early in the morning. Then I'll figure out which bags are which and then we can ship, sort, and figure out who's going to be taught how to build stuff." He grinned and waved, then hung up on him. "Come on, let's go, I'm hungry."
"Sure, I'll make you feel spoiled tonight," Wrench agreed, giving him a one-armed hug. "You're a very special mouse, Xander."
"Yeah, and most people mean that the wrong way when they say it," he joked, getting on the back of Wrench's bike. "I hope my bike remembers my helmet."
"I'm sure it will." He took off, heading for his home. He even beeped at the guard-bike, knowing it'd be lonely tonight but okay. Spike and Racer would probably come out to snoop soon enough. "Any news on your mother-in-law and the club?"
"I haven't gotten to talk to her yet, I was going to do it tomorrow, that way she thinks I'm bribing her." Wrench laughed at that, shaking his head as he turned onto the road. "We have a real road?"
"Yup, you sure do," he called. "Exhaust had a bunch of idiots who needed something to do. So they built a road out here. Once you show them how, they'll be working on building the new university and other schools."
"Cool with me." He held on as Wrench sped up, whooping a bit. Vinnie drove like this and it was always fun. He felt the laugh and gave him a squeeze. "You're my favorite cousin so far."
"What about Repel?" he called.
"She's my second favorite cousin. She tries to pick on me." Wrench snickered and sped up some more, heading through the market to his place. A few people smiled and one pointed and yelled at one of the cops to stop them, but they were home before anyone caught them. The cop got there just as he was opening the door. Xander grinned back at him. "I came up with the stuff and forgot my helmet, officer. I'm hoping my bike brings it here tonight."
"You were also going a bit fast," he said tolerantly, smiling at them.
"I was only holding on and having fun," Xander offered with a shy grin.
"Highest, we've had a talk with you before about speeding around town?"
Wrench just beamed. "I had to show Xander the new stuff and dinner was getting cold," he offered, holding up the bag. "I'll start racing out by them once their place is built."
"Fine. Thank you, Highest." He shook his head and walked off, reporting it to his boss before anyone else could.
Wrench nudged Xander and took him inside. "His boss is my other sister. He can't say much to me but 'slow down' and 'don't hit anyone'." He took the bag back to the office area, letting Xander curl up on his couch. "So, what're you missing already?"
"Fall and winter. Our DVD collection has grown astronomically recently so I won't miss TV so much. So has our CD collection." He grinned at him. "I'll miss snow the most. I didn't have it most of my life but I liked it a lot once I got to Chicago and learned how to deal with it."
"Willow's still trying to make it snow on Mars," he offered.
"Wonderful. I hope some day she makes it." He ate a bite of his fries. "So, I know you've been tasting the filtered water for us. How is it?"
"Nearly as good as the pure stuff we get on rations," he admitted. "Adding that third level of filtering solved most of the taste issues, now it's mostly tasteless. When the filters need cleaned you know it, but otherwise it's good."
"Good! I bought the Martian rights to it off the guy who tweaked it for me. Meg's got the earth rights. She bought it outright and I split it with her. It was fairly cheap too, a desperate college student did it for Meg. One of her paranoid network buddies."
"So he already knew about Mars?"
"Yeah, but he believes Mars Attacks was the real Mars, not you guys. He thinks Sarah's having drug dreams or just wet dreams and she likes 'em furry." He grinned before unwrapping his burger and taking a bite. "How's the output flow?"
"Really great, Xander. I took the family out there and bathed all the bikes. Six hoses on that one line and it worked wonders. You did need a secondary air hole and we got that fixed for you too." Xander nodded at that. "How deep is that well?"
"It's tapped into the river, not just a well." Wrench moaned and Xander grinned. "The other spot had the same benefits but we'd have ended up living in the cliffs."
Wrench shuddered. "No thanks." He dug in, kicking back and relaxing as he ate. "Seal, has Throttle or Xander's bike come up yet?"
"Throttle came up and asked where his mate was. They told him he came up with some of the stuff and to send your bike here. Exhaust wanted to know how he did it."
"A bit of luck, a prayer or three, and some strong faith," Xander said happily. "Did I already send up stuff for the temple?" Wrench nodded, giving him a small grin. "Good! She could use a new one that's cleaned now and then." He dug in, eating heartily. He was still tired but he could sleep soon enough. Food was not to be wasted because he was going to be working hard over the next few weeks.
Xander looked at his crew of trainees, then grinned. "Hi, guys. I'm a Xander mouse. I'm going to be teaching you guys construction while we work on our compound out here."
"Why are you living all the way out here?" one young woman demanded. "It's insane! What if there's another attack!"
"That's one of the reasons why we're out here," he said patiently. "To tell you if there's going to be another attack." She blanched and he looked at her. "Let's face it, we've all been on earth for a while now, some of us are from there. I needed room to roam, room to help train the kids in the family, and room to work on my weapons designs." He grinned at her. "Besides, we'll have five or six families out here together. We mostly live together down there too. Except for Stan and Chassis." They all looked horrified at that thought. He shrugged. "I need room to roam and wander while I think. I'm used to it. Besides, this way I can spoil my mate and he can't run away to hide with his mother." That got some snickers. "So, we're going to go over the plans today, let you see what we're doing. Then we're going to work on the basic framing of the main house. Once we get the main house done, I'll split you into groups and we'll do the auxiliary buildings and houses. By then you should know what you're doing and it'll be fine." He grinned at them. "Any other questions?"
"Where did this stuff come from?"
"Home Depot, Chicago, Illinois." They just stared. "That way we don't have to stretch any local resources to get things set up. Anything extra will be donated, of course, and then we'll work on moving furniture." He grinned at the groans. "It's all coming up the same way, in big cargo containers." He waved them closer, putting the plans down on the bench he had already put up. "Okay, this is a blue print. It tells you measurements and what you're doing. Can everyone see it?" Someone shifted closer to him and he looked down. "Hey, Racer, aren't you supposed to be in school?"
"Screw school," he muttered.
"Hold on. Someone look at these and see if you can figure it out." He walked Racer off, ruffling his hair. "Talk to me, little guy. You can't be a doc if you don't stay in school." He tipped the boy's face up and winced at the bruise. "Suspended?"
"No, I walked off before I killed him." He touched the bruise, then looked at him. "I need help and I can't get Uncle Modo on the comm."
"Punch has been having colic, he hasn't been sleeping." Racer groaned. "So head down there if you can get permission."
"The Council's chambers are closed today."
Xander snorted and shook his head. "Fine. Why are they picking on you?"
"I pointed out that some people were tortured because they were born, like the kids who came home half Plutarkian or who were born as experiments." Xander nodded. "One of the kids decided I was a sissy little punk with delusions because no one came home like that. And since it's Exhaust's brother's kid...." He shrugged. "I stopped. I'm thankful I stopped."
"Why are you so angry?"
Racer groaned and rubbed his face. "I don't know anymore. It just seems to be growing and I can't get rid of it. I talked to Momma Cell when she was home and she said it's natural and I'd get over it. It's just wrong and I know that and I can't...." He groaned and held his head. "And then I get headaches."
"Okay, have you taken any other steps? Like maybe talking to Wrench?" Racer shook his head. "He used to have the same sort of problems, little man."
"I can't. I don't know what's causing it and I don't share his faith."
"So? Neither do I really but I've went to him before. Part of being who he is includes being a counselor." He tipped Racer's face up to look at him. "Or you could go talk to Shell." He nodded, accepting that idea. "Now, you still have to call your mother. I'm not worried about taking heat for you being out here, but if they tell her first, she won't listen as hard to you. She'll make a judgement from what she hears from them and then listen to you." Racer moaned and Xander hugged him. "If I have to, I can, but you're going to see Wrench today. Got it? I think he can help you find the root. He's good at letting people just babble at him, that's what a good counselor does." Racer nodded against his chest. "Now, you head there and you can come back this afternoon. I already know you can hammer in nails right." He grinned at him. "Good enough?" He nodded. "Then I'll call your mother and you head there." He stroked gently over the bruise. "He'll have something to put on that too."
"Yes, Uncle Xander. You won't tell Uncle Modo, right?"
"No, baby, I won't tell him until you're ready to talk to him. You can go back with me this weekend if you want." He nodded and headed back to his bike. He looked at his crew. "Give me a few more," he offered. "He needs some help." He went to his bike and grabbed his helmet, putting it on. "Modo's Momma or Cell, either of you on?"
"I am," Primer called back. "Where is that brat?"
"Primer, I need to talk to one of the adults."
"Primer!" he snapped. "The kid's having problems. Get me one of them or make one of them come out here, now!" He took off his helmet when she relented and looked at the kids. Then he pulled out the radio he had in his pocket. It worked better. "Wrench?"
"Racer needs an ear."
"I've got two."
"He said: I stopped. And that's a quote."
"Whoa. Okay. Gotcha. He needs a big ear. I'm there for him. I figured it'd be sooner instead of later. Gotta go."
He canceled the line and Momma came on. "Momma, is there a secure line? I doubt everyone on Mars needs to hear this one."
"Go to channel T, baby." Xander switched over and she sighed. "What happened? I just got told Racer left school?"
"A kid there hated that he had an opinion and tried him for it," he admitted. "He thought that there were people who had it worse than those who were tortured."
"I agree with him."
"Me too," he admitted. "But the kid tried him for that opinion. The problem is what Racer said afterwards. He said, I stopped."
"What?" she asked flatly.
"Momma, your youngest boy's got an anger problem. I don't know if it's his parents. I don't know if it's the other kids. I don't know and neither does he, but he admitted to me he could have killed that other kid. I told him he needed to talk to someone. I sent him to Wrench today. I told him when I went home he was more than welcome to come with me to talk to Modo since he'd been trying and said he couldn't reach him. The boy needs someone though."
"I understand, baby. I've seen it and I've seen him grab his head in pain."
"He's having headaches, momma. It's getting worse. He's tense. He was like a string about to break earlier. I told him he could come back today and I told him I'd call you so he didn't get into trouble for not calling. He didn't think he could."
"That boy can always talk to me!"
"Yeah, but some things you gotta have another guy and you gotta have someone who understands where you've been, momma. It's going to take someone who's been there to help him I think. I suggested he might even talk to Shell."
"It's a good idea, baby. You're right. I'll bring lunch over and give him my support. Then I'll send him to earth myself if I have to."
"He said the council's off today."
"They are. Doesn't mean I can't pick locks. Thank you, baby. I'll help my poor boy."
"Anything at all I can do to help him I will. He needs at least a shoulder though."
"Sure. I'll bring 'em lunch since Wrench still can't cook. Thank you, baby. Momma out."
"Later, momma." He hung up and concentrated, touching Throttle's mind. He got back a warm, fuzzy feeling that made him smile. Apparently he was being cuddled by Magnet and Vinnie. He sent the basics to him and got a feeling of support and that he'd be sending Modo himself soon. He sent back a spot of love and affection then went back to the table. "Sorry about that. Some kid didn't like that he had opinions."
"About what?" one of the younger people asked.
"That's for him to tell you." He grinned at her. "I may narc to family, but he's Modo's family."
"Sure, I understand. I saw the rage. You sent him to Wrench?"
"For starters. I have a feeling Modo's coming home for a few hours at the least." He grinned at her. "Okay, who understood the plans?" One guy raised his hands. "Good! Then you can help me oversee the practical stuff, like this is how you nail." That got a grin from them. "I'll start back at the beginning, that way no one has to admit they can't pound a nail in straight. For that matter, I have days like that too and I've worked in construction now for a few years. That's why someone made nail guns," he said with a touch of glee. "Let's start with the basics of framing. We're going to be working on the center section first. Fortunately, Wrench was nice enough to lay the pipes we'll need already so we don't have to dig trenches today." They nodded. "Come on, guys, let's go play with the wood." They followed, his enthusiasm was catching. "Bike, how about some tunes?" he called. A pop station came up. "Not those. Working tunes. Motown." The bike switched tracks. Having that I-Pod hooked into the AI was a very good idea.
Wrench opened his door when he heard the bike, nodding Racer inside. "Come on, little guy. I'm making cookies so Willow won't have to." He put an arm around the kid's shoulders, walking him back there. "What's up? Xander said you're angry and I can see the tension. Is it the other kids or other stuff?"
"I don't know," he said miserably. "I'm..." He groaned and held his head. "I want them to stop."
"The only way to get that to stop is to release it," he offered. "And there's a comm in the study if you wanted to talk to a master about that."
"Someone got Uncle Modo up?"
"No, but Enamel's home today." Racer looked up at him. "Seriously. He'd understand. I'm sure he was plenty pissed at the world in general when he was banished." He gave him a hug. "You know what I think?" Racer shook his head. "I think this is grief." The boy looked confused. "You're seeing all the others moving on around you and their families are being rebuilt, and you lost everyone. I think it's starting to hit you. This is the age where a mouse and his momma or daddy would be tightest as they taught him. But remember, you've got a family, just not the original one. The whole clan likes you. Modo's family loves you too. We're all here for you, no matter what you need." Racer nodded and sniffled. "Let it out, little mouse. It's a good thing to let it out." He started to cry and Wrench just pulled him closer, holding him while he let go. It was more than time to let go for the boy. He hadn't cried since that time in the hospital. He walked him back to the kitchen once he was done, checking on the cookies. "They're a bit burned, but they're still good," he offered with a wink. "Feel better?" Racer shook his head. "Ready to talk?"
"Maybe," he said weakly. "I hate that kid."
"Yeah, well, there's always kids like that. Stoker used to be one from what I understand." Racer cracked a smile at that and someone pounded on the door. "It's open!" he shouted. Enamel walked in. "Couldn't wake Modo up?"
"I needed to be here more I think." He picked Racer up and hugged him. "Come on, we'll talk in the office. That way no snoopy ghosts can come help."
"Isn't snoopy a dog?"
Enamel looked at him. "That's a defense mechanism you learned off Xander," he said dryly, carrying him that way. There was a nice couch in the office and the boy needed to cuddle someone. "I heard. Are you okay?" He shook his head. "Still having that anger stuff, huh?" Racer looked up at him. "It's kinda clear why, kiddo. You feel alone. There's no one like you around. No understanding relatives who've been there. No family to share stuff with. No siblings to remember your parents with you. You're dealing with idiots whose only hope of a future is to find the most menial and mindless job because they couldn't think well enough to spell their name before they were eight." Racer smirked a bit at that. "Not to mention the Councilor's nephew, who's an idiot of a higher class and a bully." He stroked over his head. "We saw it growing, Racer, and we should have tried to make you let it go sooner but we thought you were letting it go."
"I try so hard, but every now and then I get this urge to kill and destroy and hurt people."
"Are we sure no one screwed with you when you were younger?" Racer nodded. "Absolutely certain?"
"You said so."
"And I'm usually right," he admitted.
"Don't forget modest too," Wrench called. "There's a good batch of cookies made whenever he wants one."
"How is he making cookies?" Enamel asked.
"Xander brought up so much food the clan thought he was bribing them to make him leader instead of Vinnie," Racer joked. "Momma pointed out he'd done that to her for years and then she pounced Throttle's momma about an idea that made her groan and whimper." He got up to get some cookies, bringing a plate back with some milk. "Thanks, Wrench." He closed the door again.
"Not a problem. Chocolate chip cookies seem to ease a lot of problems. That's why I like to keep some around the temple." He headed into the actual temple, leaving a plate on the altar. Then he picked up a book from Xander's collection and started to read. They'd come get him when he was needed or it was time for lunch. Willow snuck in and stole a cookie. "There's more on the rack but you and the Seal leave Racer and Enamel alone."
"Sure. Thanks." She floated into the kitchen to get the warmer, just out of the oven cookies, then took a few to the Seal as well. Living on the astral plane had more perks than she had thought. They were watching Xander work shirtlesss and be sweaty.
"We're going to have to talk to Wrench and Enamel soon," the Seal said, taking her cookies to nibble.
"Is it time?"
The Seal shook her head. "No, but I'm sure Wolfram and Hart screwed it up somehow. There's three pregnant slayers at the moment and I've got a bad feeling that the cards have changed since the last time I saw our snarky cheerleader bitch."
Willow nodded. "I can understand that. Xander did some chaos magic to get the stuff up here." Xander looked over at her and gave her a long stare. She blushed. "He's still one sexy mouse."
"He is," the Seal agreed. "That's why we've got to talk to Wrench first." She looked at Willow. "He'll need to verify if it's a girl and if the Powers have touched it. If either of those has changed, then this isn't the daughter he's supposed to have."
Willow nodded. "You or me, Seal?"
"I should," she admitted. "He'll yell at you." She faded out, going back to the temple. She found Wrench kicked back reading. "You might want to put that down before you try to hit me with it," she offered. He looked up over the top edge, giving her a long, cool stare. "Seriously." He put down the book, using a string to mark his spot. "You remember hearing about why Xander moved to Chicago, right?"
"The slayer twats as he called them. Why?" He sat up, leaning on the seat in front of his. "What are they doing and is it going to attack us?"
She hissed and shrugged. "I don't know yet." She sat down in that seat, turned to look at him. "You know Xander's going to have a daughter some day, right?" He nodded slowly. "Well, one of the slayer twats took some of his fur from the last Thanksgiving they had there." He moaned. "She wanted his baby, she still thinks he'll come back to her if she has it." She put a hand on his arm. "It's not the worst. It's nearly time. The baby's due around Samhain." She licked her lips nervously. "She let Wolfram and Hart make the baby. I'm sensing some complications and I'm not sure why. We knew the baby would be female and untouched by the Powers. We also knew that she'd not be the one pregnant. For some reason Wolfram and Hart would implant the wrong mother." She licked her lips again. "There's three pregnant slayers," she said quietly. "I feel something has gone wrong," she offered, staring him in the eyes. "I don't know what. I couldn't stop it because the kid would make him so happy but somehow they've managed to do something. I'm not sure what they've done and what went wrong, but something is wrong," she finished firmly. "We need you to go check on the baby. We need to see which mother is carrying it."
"Who's the natal mother?"
"That bitch?" She nodded quickly. "Why didn't you tell me sooner?"
"Because I couldn't stop this one. The Lady granted him a daughter to follow him. I have a feeling this isn't her. Again, I'm not sure why. I did have Throttle told," she offered gently. "He's got a clue that there's a sudden baby coming sometime this fall."
"To a house near you," he finished bitterly. "And? The bad is?"
"If the baby's in the right mother, it's been touched by the Powers," she said quietly. "It'll have to always live up here. A short visit might be okay but nothing longer than that. Fortunately that'll be taken care of soon." He nodded, looking calm but she could tell he wanted to be jumping and screaming at the moment. "If the baby's a boy, then he's probably touched by the Powers as well."
"I want to kill those Powers," he said coldly.
"You and me both, toots." She pinched him on the nose. "We need you to check the baby for us. See what's going on. I have the feeling that you're going to need Enamel sooner instead of later. Today's not a good day though."
He nodded. "Ya think?" he asked sarcastically. "What's the time frame?"
"Soon. Like today soon. The Council can't stop you if you go today." He nodded, standing up and heading to change into his formal robes. "Be careful, Highest. Remember the nature of the beast you're dealing with. She's done this to others before." She faded out with that advice.
"Always gotta end on the cryptic," he sighed, heading in to change. At least his robes weren't that bad. Bright blue, so they went well with his fur. They were comfortable and he'd had them fitted. The pants he wore underneath weren't really regulation but they were comfortable for him. He wasn't a guy who wore dresses and without the pants it looked like he was. He tapped and walked into the study. "Sorry, gotta go be official. Enamel, I'll need you to keep an ear out for me later, dude."
He looked at him. "There's been a boon granted to one who never asks for one. A daughter. We think she's being born of a manipulative slayer and we think something's gone wrong with the plan The Lady set in place." Enamel shivered. "Therefore, I may need you in a hurry later." He found his wand and his dagger, strapping them on as he walked out, putting on his sandals at the door.
"Can I come to Cleveland with you?" Racer asked. "Just to guard you?"
"No, kiddo. They won't attack me. One Watcher always knows another," he offered with a small grin. He headed out, taking his bike to the Main Office building. If he had to break the locks, he would. The guard saw him and shivered. "Official business with Cleveland," he said firmly. "Let me pass or I'm going to blow the damn doors in." The guard opened it and turned on the transporter for him, and he grinned as Modo came off alone. "He's in my office with Enamel. He looks a bit better, but he could probably use a big brother."
"That's why I'm here. What is it?"
"Grief, a few other things. Enamel thought he felt like he was alone."
"He's got the whole family!"
"Your family, Modo. His family's gone," Wrench said quietly. Modo shivered at that. "It's great and all but can't always be the same. Plus he's around some diode heads who have not a clue who they're messing with." He put a hand on his arm. "Xander said Racer told him he stopped," he whispered. "Barely. He broke but it's still close." Modo nodded so he let him go. "Have a long ride. Xander got everyone started today." He reprogrammed it for Cleveland, landing outside the house. He got off his bike and looked at her. "Shock anyone rude, dear. If they want to pet and stroke you that's fine." He walked up to the door and knocked, looking at Wesley. "Official business, Watcher."
"Come in, Watcher." He let him inside. "What's happened? A new demon?"
"No, a boon granted to one who never asks. Where's the child and which mother is it in?" Wesley looked stunned. "The Seal thought something had gone wrong with it."
"This way. We've got three girls pregnant, all with leave mostly. Who is the mother as you know it?"
"The Seal said Wolfram and Hart should have put it in someone other than the natal mother. That would protect it from the Powers," he said quietly as they walked. "If the Powers have touched it or if it's a boy, then it's not the daughter he was granted." Wesley opened the door and he looked at the women in there. He walked up to one heavily pregnant young woman and put a hand on her stomach. "Human," he noted. He looked at another one, testing it. He looked at her and she smiled and nodded. "Not fully human," he offered dryly.
"I know. He's a halfie and I still love him. Sandy's in her room."
"Crap," he muttered, heading that way with Fred walking behind him. He knocked and walked in, ducking the thrown statue. "I take it you know why I'm here?" he demanded.
"Yes! The stupid technician said it's not human!" she shrieked.
"Hey, you took mouse fur, what did you expect?" He caught her when she rushed him and restrained her, putting her down onto the bed while he sensed her stomach. Then he took a calming breath and looked down at her. "You've damned your child to serve the Powers, slayer. You messed with the boon of grace you were given and it's now harming more than you."
"He'll come back to me!" she hissed.
"He'll never know you had her," he retorted. "Wesley, I need Enamel, I think the child's ill. It's definitely been touched by the Powers." Fred gasped and he looked at her. "She took Xander's fur last Thanksgiving and had Wolfram and Hart make the baby and put it in her."
"It was supposed to go into Caridad, but she got sick," she complained. "I hate you and all your kind, I hope you all die of starvation and disease! You took Xander from me!"
He backhanded her. "Shut up, bitch. You drove Xander off long before he became a mouse. He almost couldn't bond with Throttle because of the way you and Buffy and Willow treated him." She sneered and he knocked her out this time. Then he turned to find Buffy watching him. "She's carrying Xander's child against his will, slayer."
"I heard. She deserves whatever punishment you guys come up with."
"She'll never know the child," he told her. "The only way to save it from an early death is to bring it home to Mars. It's been touched by the Powers." She nodded at that. "I need Enamel and I need him now, I think it's sick beyond that."
"We already called," she promised, coming in to look down at the moving stomach. "Why did she do this?" she asked quietly.
"The Lady, our saint and the one who watches the watchers and slayers on Mars, granted Xander a boon of grace, a daughter untouched by that which tainted him," he said quietly. She sniffled and nodded, staring up at him. "This isn't the one. It's male." She shivered. "It was meant to be a daughter, a pure little girl. Someone for him to love and heal with," he said gently. She nodded and hugged him and he swallowed the lump. "I know he'll still have her, and he'll love this son with everything in him," he assured her. "The child will be part of the clan and will be loved and adored by us. He'll be safe up there as well. Most of our demons were killed by the Plutarkians. They liked to kill anything that moved." She nodded, letting him go. He patted her on the back. "I'm not telling Xander how he came into being unless I have to. If so, I suggest you evacuate the city."
"Oh, if he hears, I'm doing more than that. I'm evacuating the East Coast and telling Micah why." He nodded, understanding that very well. "Either that or we'll ship her up there to let her be hurt if we have to."
He shook his head. "That would just get messy and make Dawn start her job as ambassador early."
"She is?" He nodded. "Why?"
"Because the next prez is not looking very good for them so they're all moving. She'll be coming up once she's finished her degree. She'll be the US ambassador to Mars." He looked over as Enamel walked in, scowl already in place. "I don't know what's wrong but the baby feels sick and worn out to me. Her slayer healing is keeping her healthy."
"It's more than possible," he admitted, kneeling beside the bed to put the disc on her and check it out. "Aw, shit," he said after a second. "She took it while he had measles and it transmitted!" He tapped a few more screens, then sighed and shook his head. "Buffy, we're going to have to take the baby now. Right now. It can transmit to her and hasn't yet. The baby does have full-blown measles. I'm not sure why it hasn't worn out yet, but we need to get the baby into quarantine before something else happens."
"What about her?"
"She shouldn't, I can't find it," Enamel offered. He looked at Wrench. "You're helping me cut it out, then you're heading back to get the infirmary opened for him." He nodded, rolling up his sleeves. Enamel took out a laser. "Get some alcohol and some towels, Buffy. She needs to go to the hospital as soon as she's free. I can't stay to close her, the baby could die." She nodded, going to do that and to tell Fred to call an ambulance. He made the first cut, wiping at the blood pooling with the first towel he was handed by Faith. "Take her out and let her work out her rage on Wolfram and Hart," he growled. "They kept the baby with measles somehow." She let out her own cold, evil growl and Enamel continued, freeing the baby after a few minutes. Wrench held him while he cut the cord, then hurried off. Enamel sat down to make sure the baby would live, then wrapped him in another towel, heading out to his bike. The transporter glow was already around it. He came out and found most of the council sitting there. "The baby's sick, don't come near me," he ordered. "I need a clear path to the ER and then to isolation."
"Guards, escort him!" Stoker yelled. "What is it?"
"Half human, half mouse. Somehow Wolfram and Hart made sure the father's measles were contained and carried within the child." He walked out with the guard running ahead to clear the halls, finding two docs waiting on him. "Measles. Somehow the baby was already sick in the womb. There's a huge one next to the umbilicus." He put the baby into the isolation chamber so they could work on him. "I just took him and left," he admitted, making notes on the chart. "The mother fucked with the wrong person and they were taking her to the hospital. I heard Buffy tell someone she had miscarried and they had to remove the baby before she bled to death." He looked over at the docs. "The mother contrived to have the child without the father's approval to steal him back from Throttle." They both gasped and he nodded. "The people who created the baby in the lab and implanted it managed to keep the measles with it. The father has no idea. The Highest of the M'dreth was told first."
"Shit," Mayflower muttered, soothing the baby. "He's a strong boy, Enamel."
"He is," he agreed. He looked back as younger, lighter footsteps came running up the hall. "Stay! I got exposed to measles."
"How?" Racer demanded. "How did the baby come to be at all!"
"As Xander calls them, the slayer twat." Racer glared at him and he nodded. "She had him created without his approval. I'm heading to get him now."
"Let me," Modo offered. "You work on the baby. I'll tell my bro too."
"I'll tell Throttle," Wrench promised. "You go get Xander. He's going to throw a fit and I can't duck that fast today." Modo nodded, heading that way. He looked at Racer. "Not one word."
"Of course not. Not even to the family. Confidentiality is a doctor's first tool." That got a nod and a hug. "Thank you for earlier, Wrench."
"Not an issue, mouse cadet. You can come see me to talk anytime. You may not be of the clan but you're definitely family." He smiled at him. "Enamel, go clean up. I'll watch. Why is he pink?" They got to work clearing out his lungs again. "Racer, sit and watch while I tell Throttle."
"Sure." He sat down on a chair in the corner, watching what they were doing. He did a lot of that down here so the doctors were used to him by now.
"What happened to your face?"
"Exhaust's nephew, the idiot monger."
"Ah." Mayflower nodded at that. "Need an ice pack?"
"No I'm good. I didn't kill him." He got up to come over. "I've had measles," he promised. He looked down at the baby. "Why is he having problems breathing?"
"Martian measles create a build up in the lungs," the other doctor told him. "In one this young it's very hard to cure. We'll have to do a lot of work on him."
"I'll do whatever I can, but remember his daddy's going to jump in sometime, even if he's in quarantine. I got them off him by the way. Right before the holidays last year."
"Wonderful," Mayflower admitted. "How did she do this?"
"Wolfram and Hart from what I overheard," Racer offered. "Apparently they made the baby in the lab somehow?"
"Huh?" the other doctor asked.
"I don't know. I'm guessing it's like how the Plutarkians made me to experiment on." That got him hugged. "I'm not the only one. That's what the fight was over earlier. I think there's more tragic things than being tortured, like being born for that purpose or like those kids who're half Plutarkian."
"I think you're right but others feel that they're more injured because they were tortured," Mayflower offered. "He probably saw it up close and personal."
"No. He told me that no one in his family was ever captured. Exhaust was for a bit but he managed to get free before he was worked on." She glared and he nodded. "He was bragging on it. That's when I pointed out the difference and he took a lucky swing. I nearly caved his head in." He took a deep breath. "And I still walked away."
"I'm proud of you, Racer. I really am," Mayflower assured him. "It takes a big mouse to know when he's got a problem and to walk away so he doesn't hurt others with it." She patted him on the back. "Run and get me a bottle from the nursery, okay?" He nodded, going to do that. She looked at the other doctor. "Not a word."
"I knew the brat had issues," he admitted. "I'm telling Exhaust what happened. I'm sure he already knows but someone's got to get our nephew right in the head sooner or later. Racer will kill him sometime if not and we need more like Racer."
Modo walked onto the site and frowned at Xander. "Got a minute?"
"Did something bad happen to Racer because he walked away from school!" he demanded, hand on his hip, hammer swinging in the other one.
"No, something worse, bro." He led him back to his bike and sat him on Lil' Hoss. "Wrench got called to Cleveland to look at one of the girls."
"Buffy?" he asked quietly.
Modo shook his head. "Sandy. She was pregnant. Enamel had to go running to save the baby. It had measles, like his daddy did when the fur was collected last Thanksgiving."
"She took some from which of us?" he demanded, standing up again. Modo just stared him down. "That f...!" He let out a scream. "I'm going to kill her."
"From what I heard, she may already be dead. Enamel didn't stay around to stitch her up after taking the baby since it was sick. Somehow it has measles already." Xander slumped. "Now, you've got a son in the local hospital. Are you going?"
Xander swallowed. "It's a chosen?" Modo shrugged. "Fuck!" He stomped over to his bike. "Watch them!" He headed to the hospital, getting there about the same time as Throttle did. He looked at Wrench. "Chosen?"
"Fully. That's why he's never living off Mars, Xander. Not for more than a few weeks. Make him yours, man. He is anyway." Xander nodded, stomping that way. He looked at Throttle. "Someone screwed with his boon of grace. I'm not sure if he's getting another one or not." That got a nod. "Got a handy name?"
Throttle shook his head. "No." He walked that way, going to hold his boy. "We need to name him."
"Most guys would be throwing a fit," Xander admitted.
"I'm doing it mentally. I'm going to kill that girl if she's still alive." He gave him a squeeze and turned him around. "I can't hold it against the baby, Xander. You know I'm not like that, babe."
"I know," he agreed quietly, hugging him as hard as he could. "I'm scared."
"Sure, it's a great moment for it," Throttle agreed quietly, stroking his back. "I'm petrified. I have no idea if this kid is going to be worse than Vic." Xander nodded. "He is?"
"Remember Connor? He was a Chosen. I was a Chosen." He looked up. "He's got to stay up here permanently, except for short visits."
"That's fine. We're moving in another three months anyway." He looked over at the baby. "Is it supposed to be that pink?" Xander turned and rushed in, making the doctors groan.
"I warned you," Racer said dryly, looking over at Throttle. "They said measles can make your lungs get gunky. They're working on it now." He looked at Xander again. "They're probably going to have to clear him of any chance of transmission."
"Damn, I could use a cuddle," Throttle admitted. Racer hugged him so he hugged him back. "Thanks, big mouse." Racer looked up at him. "You're obviously not a little kid anymore." He shrugged. "You okay? You look like you need an ice pack. I've got to work with you on your fighting skills, little bro." Racer snuggled in again. "Whenever you're ready." Vinnie came running in. "He went in there, he's in quarantine too." Vinnie gaped, just staring. "I want to know what happened." Racer handed over the letter the Seal had given him. He opened it, reading it slowly, then handed it to Vinnie. "Is she dead?" he asked Enamel as he came back.
"I didn't stitch her closed and they told her the baby was stillborn from the measles," he admitted. "She's not dead yet but she hopped out of the bed once she was closed and limped off to help Faith kill something. So I'm guessing soon." He looked in there. "He rushed in?" Throttle nodded. "That's a very Xander thing to do." That got another nod. He shrugged. "It's got measles. I won't lie, it's bad. It's going to be a few weeks of bad probably. Also, he needs a name. It's Xander's right to name him."
"You're sure it's his?" Vinnie demanded. Enamel nodded. "Absolutely positive?"
"Fully, and he's got his daddy's eyes." He led him closer. "Hold him up, Xander," he called. Xander held the baby closer so they could see. He could see Vinnie melting. "You should inform some people."
"Wrench already called and briefed the gossips in the family. There'll be a meeting tonight." He looked at Throttle. "Are you claiming him with him or as a step kid?"
"I don't have step kids. They're all my kids," he said calmly. "The future daughter will love him. They'll hopefully be like normal twins instead of Primer and Rimfire." Modo chuckled at that from behind him so he turned to look. "Hey, momma." He held up an arm and his mother rushed forward. "An unorthodox grandkid. You mind?"
"No, son. I like him already. What's his name?" He shrugged. "You'd better decide quickly, son. We'll have to bless him today!"
"Xan, got any ideas about a name?" Throttle called. Xander shook his head. "Anything you want?"
"Short, sweet, and won't get confused when people mention common objects."
"We all get that sometime," Momma promised him. She looked up. "Name him however you want, baby."
Throttle considered the baby. "Tag? Or Nitro?"
"Tag's nice," Xander admitted. "It'll get him those confusing sentences though. Put your name tag on, Tag." He sighed, looking down at him. "Do you want to be named after a wrestler, baby boy?" He grinned. "Tag's good, babe."
"Tag it is," he agreed, looking at Enamel, who was writing it on the chart.
"Last name?" Enamel asked. They both snorted. "We need some sort of last name."
"Xander swears he can't spell or pronounce mine and I don't want the kids named after his family since they were such bastards."
"Don't swear, baby," Momma ordered gently.
"I don't care, don't swear."
"Yes, momma." He looked at Enamel. "Babe, my last name?"
"You're going to have to teach me how to spell it," he called back, turning to put the baby back down when the nurse came in. "Sorry, but he was struggling."
"I understand. You'll have to stay in here until we can clear you from being able to transmit it. We'll put up curtains for a few days." She checked the baby over and injected him with a bit more medicine. "That should help. Does he have a name yet?"
"That's a fine name," she promised, smiling at him. "I know it's bit sudden but are you going to be his daddy?"
"I'll love all my kids, even if they are the product of someone doing it without my permission." He looked out at Throttle, who just sent back love and reassurance to him. "He thinks he will too."
"I'm sure he will. After all, he's loved you for how long no matter how much you fuss about it?" She smiled and walked out, going to tell the others the good news once she took off the contamination gear. That was going to be one spoiled mouse.
Vinnie looked out at his clan as they sat around the bonfire roasting the hotdogs he had brought up. "So," he said, looking around again. "Anyone who's got something against Tag, get it out now."
"How did they do that?"
"The bitch had a doctor make the baby in a dish and implant it in her," Wrench told Chassis. Who just shivered and curled up in Stan's arms. "Wolfram and Hart did the making."
"I'd hate to be them when the Xander Appreciation Society gets word," Stan offered dryly. Chassis gave him an odd look. "Boris, the vampire Xander, all the demons he's worked with and helped... possibly Ray and his Ma too," he offered. "If his Ma gets into it, there won't be enough left for the vamps or demons. Or even Micah and them guys."
Chassis smirked at her leader. "Can we, elder?"
"Call me that again, dear, and I'm spanking you," Vinnie said sweetly, grinning back at her. "Especially since you're older, brat."
"You're the clan's leader, that makes you elder," she teased back.
"Kids, play later," Wrench ordered, but he was smirking a bit. "I want to maim and destroy with extreme prejudice. Can't we go do that?"
"Sure, but the Council said we can't use the transporter tonight," Vinnie noted. "They wanted us to calm down first."
"We need to go to Plutark and loot the damn planet," Chassis complained. "That way there's enough for nearly everyone to have one. Can we at least call Micah?"
"I have to go home sometime tonight," Stan pointed out. "I've got a shift tomorrow." She stroked his thigh since it was next to hers, making him grin. "Maybe I'll tell Stella, just for fun. She's still mad at how they were tryin' ta use her."
"Gods, that's mean; have I mentioned I love it when you're slightly evil?" Chassis teased, leaning back against his chest.
"You didn't, but you can watch me go beat up thugs tomorrow if ya want," he offered with a grin and a kiss on her antenna.
"Sex later, Stan, destruction now ," Vinnie said firmly.
"Have sex to celebrate the destruction, it's almost a family trait," a young tan mouse said from behind his book.
"Really?" Vinnie asked dryly. "When am I meeting your lady, Cousin Torque? Wrench, take your son's book from him." The book was snatched. "You'd know this how?"
"Watching my stepmother have another one of us after their house got eaten by a meteor." He took his book back with a smirk. "She said she learned it off the your generation, cousin." Vic toddled over and climbed in his lap. "Hi, Vic."
"You read me?"
"No, you're not a book. Would you like me yo read *to* you?" Vic smiled and nodded. "Then say it properly."
"You read to me?" he begged.
"Sure." He hugged him. "Did you bring a book? Mine's boring. Can you say please, like a mannerly little mouse?"
"Now!" he demanded with a grin.
"Yeah, you're definitely family," Vinnie said dryly. "Son, say please. Like your momma taught you."
"Pwease?" he asked with the most cheesy grin he could muster at his age.
The tan mouse hugged him. "Sure, I'll gladly read to you. Want the boring book?" His cousin shrugged and settled in to listen to him read. He loved being read to. Xander did that a lot for him. "When do the cousins get out of quarantine?"
"Xander will probably get free within a few days but I doubt he's leaving the baby there." He heard a bike and looked back, waving Throttle over. "Come on, you married into the clan."
Throttle plopped down next to him and the sleeping Charley, taking her to cuddle. "They won't let me go near him."
"Of course not, if he's contaminated, he could make you a carrier too," Wrench said dryly. "How long before we can corrupt the baby?"
"Enamel thinks about six days so a week for Xander, just in case." He gave Charley a squeeze. "My mother was scaring me," he told Vinnie. "She was throwing things in anger. I haven't seen that since my daddy died." Vinnie gave him a hug. "Scarier still, Modo's momma was there and throwing the same fit! Sorry to intrude."
"Nah, it's all good, you married into the clan, you can come to clan picnics," Vinnie promised. He looked at one of his cousins. "You've got a kid named Overthruster, right?"
She laughed and nodded. "Oh, yes, she's a dear, sweet, troublesome little tan mouse, but we love her. I agree, she could almost be one of the clan. Her mother didn't seem too fond of the idea, but I'll try to bring her to the next fun event. The poor child would definitely be throwing things beside the mommas if she heard about this one. Oh, she wants Xander to sit on Council too....elder."
"I know, you guys have been waiting to tease me for years," he sighed, shaking his head. "Okay, we've got a plan for tonight and if anything's left, we can gladly go on the destruction tomorrow. Throttle, you want in?"
"Only if we're going to Cleveland."
"Nope, and no one knew that the baby was Xander's. Wrench went back to talk to Buffy and Wesley, who begged for everyone else's lives." Wrench nodded behind his current hotdog. He was even holding one out to Vic. "His momma said he's got to eat real food now and then and don't try to feed him onions, Wrench."
"So he eats like Xander?" Chassis joked.
"More or less," Vinnie agreed with a grin back. He grinned at Throttle. "We're also planning a raid on the old homeworld of the stinkfishes to bring back the useful stuff. Wanna help plan?"
"I could use something to do," he admitted.
"Cool. The rest of the clan and everyone else is stepping in to build the houses," one of the older mice at the fire offered. "It'd be a shame to not be able to bring the baby home when he's free." He looked at Vinnie. "How about those students, elder?" he asked with a grin.
Vinnie groaned and held his head. "Not you too!"
"Once a punk white mouse, always a punk white mouse," he joked.
"Not true, I turned into an admirable, barely punk white mouse," Wrench joked back.
"Yes, nephew, but you found a lady who changed you and sent you two spirits to vex you."
"Only now and then," he offered. "Willow promised she'd come chat with anyone who wanted to talk to the girl." They all shook their heads and he grinned at Vinnie. "Including you."
"I think we get enough of her influence through Spike," he assured him. "Now there's a recently hyper white mouse." He sat up straighter. "We never told them not to tell Spike. Racer was already there at the hospital helping. Aw, crap!"
"What's so special about Spike?" Chassis asked.
"He's like Tara," Throttle offered. "He's *Spike*."
"Oh. And that means....."
Vinnie coughed. "Go ask Willow tomorrow, cousin. He's from there." Willow faded in and gave him an odd look. "What? We don't keep secrets from the clan."
"Not looking at you funny for that. You're more worried about what Spike will do?"
"He's been mentored by Xander," Throttle pointed out. "He kinda looks at him a lot like a big brother now. I'm expecting him to raise all kinds of hell to get to Cleveland and hurt the bitch." Vinnie shifted away. "Sorry, Vin."
"Not a problem, bro. I've called her a lot of names so far today too." He looked at her. "Is she alive?"
"Faith saved her. She was told the baby was stillborn but she might have heard it cry as Enamel was walking out with him. What's his name? Buffy and Wes wanted to know for the official records."
"Tag," Throttle told her. "He's a white mouse with Xander's eyes."
She smiled and came down to hug him. "He's not the boon gone wrong," she whispered. "That'll be in a few years." She faded out, heading down to tell her that.
Wrench looked up then at Vinnie. "The Seal wanted to know if we were going to charge the mother up here for doing this."
"I'm not sure we can," he admitted. "Or that we should as more than a clan."
"If we charge her as the clan, she's going to be ripped into little pieces," Chassis vowed. They had done it to one other person before, a clan member who had turned on them all. "Vin, man, we're sorry about Carbine and that whole death warrant thing."
"You were played by the Plutarkians," Throttle told her quietly. "It's not your fault. Hell, Carbine was willing to kill me a few times at the same time she wanted our kid." They all shivered at that. "We don't blame you guys for that at all." That got some nods and he looked at Vinnie. "They were going to try you in front of the clan?" He nodded. "I'm sorry."
"It had to happen. I had to prove it to them," he pointed out. "I can't have my clan seeing me as a bad guy, not even for a minute." Throttle pulled him over to hug him too. "Thanks, bro, still feeling mushy?"
"Yeah, I'm still feeling odd about being a daddy already. Where's Repel?"
"There. She went to help and talk to Xander." Vinnie grinned at him. "She basically ate, told us to kill the brat the most horrible way possible for misusing this gift of motherhood, then left to go help him. We'll be helping you by rotating out now and then." Throttle nodded at that. "C'mere," he ordered, pulling him closer to hold him. "Now, about Tag's future. Want him to be a biker?"
"I can almost see him being the badass Xander can be when he's in one of those moods," Throttle offered with a grin. "Challenging his daddy over some stupid rule like a curfew. His daddy having to whip his tail to prove he's the high priest and the know-it-all." Vinnie chuckled at that. "We blessed him to Othra earlier. We already know he was touched by the Powers."
"Hey, we can babysit now and then too if and when you've got to head back to Earth for a few days," Vinnie promised. "Not an issue."
"My momma said that you're not babysitting, she is," he said, grinning at him. "I have the feeling we're going to have to give her something else to do or that baby will be a spoiled white mouse."
"That's okay, the mother yelled at me that the baby wasn't human," Wrench said. "I kindly had to point out that's what happened when you took Martian fur."
"Why did she do it?" Throttle asked him.
"She wanted him. She thought he'd leave you for her if she was having his baby. I about killed her then and there, but that would've hurt the new cuz." He shrugged and looked at the sleepy baby mouse next to him. "You ready for a nap?" Vic shook his head. "You should be." He looked at Vinnie. "By the way, his kiddie bike is guarding the site again tonight. It's a very sweet job."
"It is," Throttle agreed. "We did a good job on Vic's kiddie bike."
"Especially on the weapons," Wrench offered.
Vinnie groaned. "He gave the baby weapons?" He looked at Throttle. "Couldn't wear him out that day, bro?"
"No. Otherwise I wouldn't be able to sit."
Wrench chuckled. "They'll only come on when he's alone if he's in danger. If it's alone they're on, if there's an adult around and say so they're on. He's guarding the new house."
Vic yawned and looked at his daddy. "Is little baby brover?" he asked.
"No, sweetheart, your cousin," Vinnie said back. "It's Uncle Xander's baby. Xander's your uncle so that makes Tag your cousin. Like Wrench is your cousin."
"Oh." He looked at him. "Are you brover?"
"To many here," he said happily, patting him on the head. "But to you I'm your cousin, little mouse. Take a nap and we'll try to explain that again tomorrow." Vic pouted but settled in to nap on his cousin. "So I take it everyone's a brother or a sister?"
"Yeah, and apparently my momma was very busy because she had Micah and Max and Lorne too," Vinnie joked. "Not to mention Oz, Meg, and their baby."
"Your momma was just pushin' out babies every day then, wasn't she?" Stan joked. "Was I there? Because I can't say as I like the thought of incest with this one," he joked, squeezing Chassis.
She pinched him. "Trust me, Stan, you're close but not quite one of us yet. You'd need bigger ears and a tail."
"Tails can be fun," he whispered in her ear. "What time is it down there?" He looked at his watch. "Crap, it's four." He got up with a groan. "Take me back, dear?"
"Take Charley with you," Vinnie ordered. Chassis gave him a look. "She's got her bike and Vic can stay but she's got an early customer coming in." He nudged his wife, making her blink up at him. "It's four in the morning, you should head back to the garage." She nodded, getting up with a yawn and heading for her bike.
Stan looked at the guard on the doorway. "I've still got to get back to work, man. I can't be that late."
"And I've got someone coming at seven-thirty to pick up their car," Charley stated. "Unless you're going to make up what I'll lose....." The guard let them through and they both rode through the transporter to the house in Chicago. She turned it off and looked at him. "Which one do you want?"
"I'll take the vampire bar. It's on my way home." He grinned. "Have fun waking Micah up. He seems like the grumpy sort."
"Oh, you have no idea," she admitted. They headed for their respective tasks.
Stan stopped in at the vampire bar Xander had shown him and Ray, getting out of his car to look at the bouncer. "Do you turn into a statue during the day?"
"No, but Xander claims I live in the wall behind me. Is there a problem, Detective?"
"Actually, I just wanted to pass on some information. Is Boris in?" He nodded. "May I?"
"Go ahead." He opened the door. "Straight back. He's on the floor somewhere."
"Thanks." He grinned and walked in, hands in his pockets. He found the Fred alien first and looked at him. "Go get your daddy. I need to pass on some information."
"Oooh, did something happen to a site?"
"No, ta Xander and his baby boy." Fred's eyes went wide and he ran out to get his daddy from the floor, dragging him back. He nodded at Boris, taking the seat pointed at and the rootbeer he was handed by the waitress. "Thanks." He looked at him. "Chassis and I got home to a message today from the bros here." He took a drink. "It seems one of the slayers decided to have a baby with Xander without tellin' him." Boris's face went rigid and he vamped out. Stan held up a hand. "She had Wolfram and Hart do it. If it had been implanted in anyone but her, it'd have been the daughter who wouldn't be touched by the Powers. It's a son. Xander had measles when she took the fur from him and they made sure it stayed with the baby this long. They're both in quarantine at the moment on Mars. He's got to stay up there from now on to stay away from them." He finished his drink and put it down. "The VanWham clan thought you should know and they're not allowed down here until tomorrow."
"Is she living?"
"Willow said she is," he admitted. "I don't know how. I do know that she was told the baby was stillborn." Boris nodded at that. "It's the same girl who put the drugs in Dawn's cars many years back."
"Oh, really?" he asked dryly. "Well...we know that slayer very well," he said smugly. "Thank you, detective. Is his son all right?"
"Tag's got measles. He had them in her so Enamel took him a bit early. Xander ran into quarantine to help his baby boy. Throttle is a good daddy already and he loves his boys. Repel, the mother of his kids, is loving the little guy too." He grinned. "He's a good boy already. Loves his daddy to cuddle him. He breathes better when he's being held. The nurses are prying him from Xander's arms to check on him." That got a smile and a nod. "Thought you should know." He looked at Fred. "If I asked, would you draw us a map so we could go loot Plutark?"
"Sure! I can make the doc draw one," he said fondly. "I haven't gotten to play with him in weeks."
Boris patted him on the head. "Yes you may, Fred. We'll do that tomorrow night. It'll be an acceptable welcoming present for the baby." He grinned at him. "Who else is being told?"
"Micah. I'm tellin' Ray in the morning."
"Thank you, detective. Some of us only needed a reason." He got up and snapped his fingers, making his children follow him out.
Stan grinned at the waitress, who was calling someone. "I'm heading home." He walked out to his car whistling, and called Ray on his way. "Hey, it's me. Nope, but I'm waking you before anyone else can. Just got back from Mars and Xander's new son is still good, even though he's got measles. No, one of the slayer twats stole his seed and had him made by Wolfram and Hart. He had measles inside her. Well, I did just tell his former boss," he offered dryly. "I'm expecting there's going to be a massing and you're on call for that tonight." He chuckled. "Nah, he's a cute baby mouse. Next time I can I'll take a picture." He hung up. Vecchio would go help them destroy stuff and make sure his Ma wasn't caught by the cops or anything.
Micah woke up to someone calling him, his least favorite method. He growled as he batted the phone off the hook. "Someone had better be dying." He sat up, listening to the words she was saying. "What kid?" He listened to the whole story. "Oh, they're so very much in trouble," he promised. "Give me ten minutes to change and then transport me and my bike there. I may also have Lorne and Max to come." He hung up and went to get some of the nice black jeans and t-shirts he had found, dialing Max on the way. "I'll either be late or you're going to Cleveland to kill someone." He listened to her sleepy complaints. "One of the brats took fur off Xander to have his kid without telling him." That got her awake and apparently Lorne too since he could hear him in the background. It was about time. "No, I'm headed to Chicago. I'll try to be back in time for that meeting with the president. If not, call and tell him before he leaves the White House." He growled. "I may be under arrest for homicide by then, dear. Just do it. Also, our next target to break and make leave is Wolfram and Hart. Start on that if you don't go to Cleveland to kill Sandy." He hung up and headed down to the garage with his sidearm, looking at Hendrix since he was leaning against his baby. "You're coming to help destroy too?"
"No, I had to stop Miss Summers from making you pay for office repairs. I wanted to know what was going on. She was incoherent."
"One of the slayers used some of Xander's fur to have a kid without his permission. Wolfram and Hart made the baby and it had measles." He shivered and got out of the way as the transporter glow started. "I may be back in time for my meeting with the president. I've already told London and Cash." He got onto his bike and disappeared.
Hendrix shivered, holding himself. He hadn't seen Micah Simms that angry since the NID tried to kill him. He went back to his office to make sure they had no dealings with that law firm and to stop any agency that did.
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