To Finish What Was Started.
"Oh, momma, it is one big joke," Xander muttered, then stopped himself to bop himself on the forehead. "I'll kill them," he muttered, walking inside to call Dean's phone. "Are you anywhere near the geek trio? If so, do you have a belt on you?" He listened to him cautiously say he did have a belt and he was within beating their ass distance. Why did he need him to? "Because they're pulling a Halloween. I know we all like graphic novels, but I didn't need the memories of that particular hero. You can tell them I said that while you beat their asses. Thank you, Dean." He hung up and went to get some milk. He really didn't need that. The guy was a bit...stringent about killing people sometimes. Not that he always minded....
Dean hung up and went inside the house Giles and Buffy were using. He undid his belt, earning a few odd looks from Buffy. "Xander asked me to fix whoever was pulling a Halloween and gave him the memories of some super hero from a graphic novel?"
"Ummmmmmm....." She trailed off then nodded. "Andrew's upstairs."
"Thank you, Buffy." He walked up that way, kicking the door in to interrupt him. "Xander said he didn't want that one's memories, dickhead."
"He could use it! He's been in more wars than nearly everyone! Not like I could pull the really powerful one's essence but he died so it's easier!" he defended, scooting back. He knew what a belt was for when it was off and in someone's hand. "Please don't beat me for trying to help?" he begged.
"Cancel. It," Dean snarled. Andrew did that. Dean pulled him up then took him to the bathroom to beat his ass for him. Apparently someone needed to beat sense into the boys. "Next time, ask first!" He stomped off. "Fixed," he told her.
She smiled. "I like you being so tough so I don't have to have flashbacks to being a seventeenth-century airhead."
He gave her a long stare then decided to be blunt. "As opposed to the one you pretend to be now and then?"
"Well, yeah. She fainted at vamps. I can't do that. And worried way more about her hair and shoes than I do."
"Uh-huh." He walked off putting his belt back on. "He canceled the spell that gave Xander memories from some guy in a graphic novel."
"But he's been in a lot of wars, he's got a lot of tactics and weapons knowledge, even if he was a bit psycho it could help," Andrew called down the stairs. "I was trying to help."
"Grounded," Dean yelled. "Damn didn't I sound like Dad," he complained.
Sam grinned and nodded. "Acted a lot like him too, Dean." He gave him a thumb's up sign and hurried off before Dean could get his belt off again. "We can check to see if he's possessing you or anything."
Dean watched his little brother flee him. "Don't give me any ideas. I'll suggest that they use that as part of their punishment," he called after him.
Buffy shrugged. "Would he mind?"
"Maybe not," Dean admitted with a sigh. "I need a drink. Sammy, hit the car. You're the DD," he called as he walked. "Be back in the morning, Buffy."
"Sure, Dean. Have fun. Then we'll coordinate for the last battle?" He waved a hand as he walked. She got an ice pack and went up there with it. "Even if you were trying to help, you should ask, Andrew. We know Xander kept a lot of memories from the first soldier. That's how he got me that nice rocket for the Judge in the mall."
He pouted. "I was trying to help."
"I know. Next time ask."
"I guess I can do that. I can see if I can pull one with more superpowers. He'll need it to survive the last battle I think."
"No, I'll be there. It won't take him out." She patted him on the head. "Sit on the ice pack. Dean was a bit harsh on you. You did deserve punished but not that badly. And boy, now I sound like my mother. Maybe we're channeling parents around here. Did you do that too?"
"Nope, and isn't yours alive?"
"Well, yeah." She walked off to call her. She wanted some mother wisdom. The boys seemed to need someone with sense sometimes.
Andrew sat on his ice pack and plotted how to help the last battle. He couldn't let the world fall. If it did, they couldn't rule it as a geek paradise and make Hollywood quit making so many girly movies of doom. He'd never get to rule Asia or South America if it ended. They were redistributing again based on how much Willow was going to demand. They had no idea girls were that scary when they turned into lesbians. It must be the lacking of boy-sex. Even Warren had decided that was what was wrong with Buffy, she needed more boy-sex but wouldn't take him up on it. Pity for them. She'd make a good bikini maiden and minion when they ruled the world.
Charlie called Xander out to the fence, smiling at him. "I have an idea."
"Is it a good one?" He took the milkshake. "Thanks, Charlie." He slurped and grinned. "Good consistency." The young vampire beamed at him. "What thought did you have?"
"If you apply a lot of force to the hellmouth at the right moment, it'll snap it shut for good."
"How would I do that?"
"I was thinking it'd have to be a lot of power output into a small area." He let him see what he had been working on, including the diagram. "See, if we can apply it at that point, before the battle, then it will close it almost fully. That would negate the impact of this hellmouth on whatever's coming. It couldn't draw power from it. We'd get a spume of power here, but nothing like that should carry through."
Xander studied it. "How much of a payload would you need? Are we talking like a bomb or a piece of artillery?"
"I figured out the mass ratio." He pointed at that. "You need that much power per square foot."
"Which is easy enough to do with a bomb." He made out a list. "Get that for me please?" Charlie tucked it into his pocket with a smile. "Thanks, man." He put the diagrams into his own. "And for the milkshake. I was missing young guy food."
"What's going to happen after this one's closed?" he asked quietly.
"With any luck, I'll be unstuck if this one's closed permanently." He grinned, giving him a hug. "Go tell Dru to talk to her stars about shutting up for a bit so she can have a real rest. She clearly has been annoying you to unsleep again."
"Well, yeah. She and Tara are fighting." He grinned and walked off. "Be safe, Xander."
"You too, you're in the more dangerous area, Charlie." He walked off drinking his milkshake. For a vampire, he made some really good ones. And he had come up with a good, working plan. Clearly not a minion.
Xander had everything set then checked it a second time. He looked around before stepping into the hellmouth. He had sent the flame thrower, the heavy caliber machine gun, and a cigar that he couldn't ignore the urge for any longer ahead to Bobby's trunk. He started his travel and set the bomb off; he felt the power rush up behind him, pushing him out of the dent. He smiled when he stumbled on his exit, looking back at the power stream. He could kind of see it right now. "Sorry I'm a bit late," he said when he realized they were staring at him. He got his things out, still trying to ignore the cigar. He didn't want to start smoking no matter what those damn memories wanted him to do. The same as he didn't really want to brawl with Buffy to get her hot right now. Faith... now that was a woman he could play with, but not her. She'd have hyena flashbacks instead of having nasty, hard fun. He shook off those thoughts too. He didn't need them right before a battle.
"What did you do?" Buffy asked.
"Cleared Sunnydale out finally. I almost totally closed the hellmouth just now too." He walked over to them. "Who put a cemetery near an evil dent of power?" he asked Bobby.
"No clue but it figures with some of the ones buried here." He clapped him on the back. "You ready for this?"
"Yup, sure am." He looked at Giles and Buffy. "The mouth is screaming its last song," he mouthed. Giles gave him a horrified look. "It's nearly or fully closed."
"That changes things a lot."
"Yes, but Gibralter has had some mild aftershocks today from a small earthquake on the other side of the globe," Buffy pointed out. "The news guy said that they can move through the earth's core or something to spread sometimes. They thought it was that."
"But if it's birthing something, that's a major earthquake, not mild tremors," Xander pointed out, moving closer. He started to feel pain so he moved back. "Too far from the evil dent." He smiled at her. "She's nearly mute. The child is being misborn. Like in Wes's prophecy."
Giles smiled. "That's good news."
"Maybe," Bobby admitted. "She's still supposed to be hell on earth."
"Then let's get ready for her to come up. Does anyone have any idea when this'll happen? I've only got six pain pills with me."
Giles concentrated. "Cleveland is growing."
Niagra's monitor nodded. "So's mine."
Xander smiled. "Good. We affect yours. Tell me if you have a sudden shift." The guy nodded quickly at that. Xander looked at Bobby. "This time, be a second line?" he suggested quietly. "Something's not like the prophecy wanted. It said she could still be born but without being freed, meaning killed or taken out of the equation."
"So we might be looking at something lesser?"
"Possibly. We negated a few of the battles by stepping in sooner. The hellmouths aren't the same as they are in the prophecy with mine shut." He felt power building, nodding. "Time," he announced. He popped his first pain pill. The battle would be surreal but oh well. He couldn't fight while in that much pain. Giles and the guardian over Niagra both winced as theirs went off. Giles reacted first, letting Buffy tell Willow to close theirs. She worked the spell and Giles relaxed as the first evil things showed up. All around a grave. They lunged in to fight them. Including a few of the evil flying angels.
"Look, demonic pigeons," he said dryly. "Buffy, shoot 'em down. Aim for the wings." He lunged to take out his first demon of the day. That flame thrower was really handy and his new memories had left him the plans for it. Plus a lot more artillery. Yeah, shooting the demons was more fun than staking or stabbing any day. Though he was still ignoring the urge to smoke. He didn't like smoking. He hated cigars more than cigarettes but those new memories were pushy.
She took that shot with her crossbow and one came plummeting down, nearly on top of her. "Eww, gross," she complained. "You stink!" She got the others joining in. Xander burned them so they couldn't get back up. "Why here?" she called. Dean looked amused but let it go. Bobby and Sam too. Giles gave Xander a horrified look but she shrugged. She had looked up who they had given him the memories of this time. She was not amused with Andrew thanks to that.
"It wants to nurse," Bobby called. "This would be about the chest area on the diagram if the hand in Niagra is on her lower chest/stomach area." She gave him a disgusted look. "All babies come out needing to nurse, girl. Some day you'll find that out."
"No thanks! Really!" She got back into it. Another wave of demons showed up. The hunters stepped in to back them up, working well together.
"This is not making me happy," Sam complained, shooting the next one that was trying to eat Dean. "Leave him alone!"
Dean shot him a grin. "They think I'm a tasty hunter too, Sammy. Can't be all wrong even if they are all evil." He shot one and moved on. This line had more demons.
Xander noticed the power building and winced, holding his own chest. Giles and the other guardian were doing the same. "Guys, fall back!" he shouted. The last few evil things came rushing at them. This third wave went down quickly enough. Xander had to pop another pain pill. The pressure finally snapped. He looked around, checking on everyone. Especially the females with them.
"Dean," Sam shouted, grabbing him by the wrist. "Look!" He pointed at a set of graves that were bubbling. "We're not supposed to have walking spirits, right?"
Xander shook his head. "No, we're not." They moved slowly closer, coming over to find that the demon's blood had been spilled on the grave. The ones that had spilled it were now gone. He looked around. "The other bodies are gone," he realized.
Buffy looked then at him. "Willow moved them?" she asked hopefully.
"No magic allowed during the battle," Bobby told her. She slumped. "So...."
"It needed a blood sacrifice to finish it," Giles realized. "That's why it sent them.... Oh, dear."
Xander looked at the bubbling ground then smirked. "It's not as evil as we think, guys. Powerful, but not fully evil." He slung the guns around to his back, reaching down to help pull the rest of the body out of the ground. He held it up. "She's loud," he said at the first scream.
Buffy came closer. "She's not setting off any of my slayer senses."
Giles came over to do a sensing. "She's powerful. She's as powerful as any of the hellmouths."
"If the mouth had been able to scream, she'd have been born an adult, already knowing that she'd have to take over," Xander said, his voice changing and his eyes going pure white. "If she is evil is up to those who guard. The power within us is in her now. She is our scion and our conscience." Xander nearly passed out as the power left him. Buffy caught the baby. Dean caught Xander.
Giles and Bobby looked the baby over. "She looks healthy."
Bobby nodded. "Seems it. Not tainted. She didn't react to holy water."
"Hellmouths are evil," the military guy that had moved to be Niagra's guardian pointed out.
"No, they're a dent like the one Xander came out of," Buffy corrected. "They've just gathered over a thin spot between hell dimensions."
"Not all gathering places of power are evil," Sam agreed. "Look at places where healing miracles happen more often. They're often power collecting areas."
Buffy nodded. "Like that one with the healing springs in Spain or wherever. We saw it on the Discovery channel. Giles said that power collects there but there's nothing there to warp it."
"So she's got power, but not a predetermined path?" one of the female hunters asked as she came over. She handed over her outer shirt. "Cover her, she's cold." They did that, and the baby cooed at them. She took her to look over. "If she's the conscience of the powers, then we've got to make sure she sees that good has to win."
"Or that power can corrupt and that she can't use it for everything," Buffy pointed out. She looked at Xander. "Sam, is he all right?"
"Weak, but not great," he admitted.
"We need to get him to a power point," Giles realized. They carried him back to the one where they were. It made him a bit less gray looking but he stayed asleep. They gathered around the baby. "What are we doing with her?"
"We'll need to find her a good family who'll temper the power with the goodness," Sam said, eyes starting to fade out. Dean glared at him. "The power is not evil, as the young, mouthy one says. It's where it gathers and how it's used. The same as it is for everyone." He passed out too.
Buffy looked up. "Talk through the kid, not through the hunters. They don't need brain damage. He's too cute to be a carrot in a hospital bed."
The baby yawned then fell asleep in Bobby's hands. "I'd warp her," Bobby said quietly. He glanced at the hunters of his kind.
The head female shook her head. "I can't. I'll prejudice her against hunting."
"We understand why, Ellen." He looked at the two boys then at Dean, who quickly shook his head. "You be a tight uncle, boy?"
"Yeah, I can do that since she came out of dad's grave." He stared at her. "We need to see if that made her a Winchester or if there was some other reason it had to come out here."
"Because here is where one who used the power to their own ends and then was sacrificed to it for the good of all is resting," the voice in Xander's body said. "As he was joined with us once to save others, now we can use him."
"Why him and not some other hunter or even a possessed person?" Dean demanded. "Why my family?"
"Who better to keep the one which is already under a curse cleaner by cleansing the taint? Her raising is in your hands, be she good or evil depends on her family. Though you are family, not fully hers." He blinked at Dean. "He made his choice and offered himself. It bought him his way out of his last bargain." The boy went limp again.
"You know, we're going to have a pain in the butt getting that out of Xander with the way possessions stick in him," Buffy told Giles. He nodded.
"We can do an exorcism," Bobby assured her. He looked at the girl. "Dean?"
"I'll be a great big brother but I'm no one's daddy and I'd screw up worse than dad did with us. She'd be some butch hunter babe with a shotgun before she was ten. We'd never let her use magic."
"I know." He looked at Giles. "Your sort?"
"They will know that we averted the end of days at the hands of a rampaging vessel of the hellmouths' power. Not that she's adorably tiny."
"That way Travers can't be a bigger asshole than he is to us slayers," Buffy added. "Can we make her the way the geek trio has to atone?"
"They'd warp her," Dean pointed out. "Use her powers for their own end. Do you really want to be a bikini clad warrior woman in strappy sandals? That's what Johno was designing for their warrior women to wear."
"Um, no thanks. Way too much shaving all the time." She walked off shuddering. "I'll make Willow stop them."
"Well?" Bobby asked Dean. "You've got about as much say as anyone since she came from your daddy's bones. Or loins, wherever."
"That's not a thought I want," Dean complained. "I'll be a big brother, but not like that."
"Fine." He looked at the two passed out boys then at him again. "You think?"
Dean considered it. They had all been worried about Xander's 'the next day might not come, oh well, but I'll go out fighting' attitude since he had taken over guardian duties. "It'd give him something to keep going for now that the rest of it's done but he has to stay by that hellmouth. Which I think is in ruins."
"Could be," he admitted. He shifted the baby, making her blink at him in a confused way. "We're trying to figure out who your pappa is, sweetheart. Go back to sleep." The female hunter took her to hold, sticking a finger in her mouth. The baby sucked and fell back asleep. "Thanks." He looked at Dean. "Can we get him back there quickly?"
"I'm not a witch," he pointed out dryly. "I can't do that thing that Rosenburg can, or possibly Tara can. Or maybe even Ethan can."
"That's an idea." He called him. He was in LA with Spike for today's battle in case Angel needed back up. "We're done. It's not the horrible apocalypse it had been predicted to be."
"Only for the parent," the female said dryly.
"Well, yeah. No, she's adorably tiny," he said dryly. "Can't destroy anything but diapers and eardrums at the moment. That's what we were thinking but he's passed out and possessed here." He looked over as the twinkling started and both boys disappeared. "Thanks. You might wanna unpossess them both too, Rayne. The hellmouth was speaking through them or something." He hung up. "He's got him back there."
"Gee, just leave me to travel to Sunnydale with a baby. It's been two decades since I took care of one." Bobby gave him a dirty look. "How would I know? Not like Sammy was a girl!"
"Fine. We'll make sure you'll be fine, Dean." He took the baby back, making her wiggle some but she was fine. "Let's clean up the remaining mess." Willow appeared, looking over his arm. "Hey."
"Hi." She smiled. "Such a cute new dawn to the magical age." She stroked down some of the baby's hair since it was moving in the breeze. "I can't find Xander. Did he fall?"
"Saying it with a smile is probably not a good thing," Dean said dryly. "He's passed out but he's back at home with Sammy."
"Fine. I didn't mean to, she's making me happy."
"Yay." He took the baby away from her, getting a scowl. "She'll be protected." Willow opened her mouth. "The hellmouth said how she's raised would determine if she's an apocalypse or not. Get over it."
"Fine. Can I have my witch back yet?"
"Don't you have a year in a government program first?" he shot back. She scowled. He glared. "Don't make me pull off my belt again, Rosenburg. What went for the boys can go for you." She disappeared. He looked at the amused looking older hunters. "The geek boy Andrew decided that he should redo what was done on Halloween to give Xander some new memories. He called up asking me if I had a belt."
"Fortunately you did?" she asked hopefully.
"Oh, yeah. He needed an ice pack." He looked at his parents' graves. "Yes, I did it just like dad would have. Quit laughing, Mom." He looked at Bobby then glared at the graves again. "I don't need to talk to the dead. Go coo at Sammy?" He put the baby down on her grave when the cooing continued. Then he walked off shaking his head. It stopped after a few more feet. "Good, now I know how far away I have to be."
Bobby gave him a dirty look. "It'll go away."
"Please?" he begged. "I don't want to be on the psychic friend's network like Sammy is."
"We'll figure it out, Dean." He walked over to pick up the baby. "Let your boys know if you don't like that one boy raising her," he said quietly. He walked her back and Dean took her back with a sigh. "We can get you set up. It'll take a few days."
"That's fine." He walked back with them. The other hunters but the military guy had already faded. He was making a report to his superiors in Homeland or wherever. They'd probably be amused in about ten years when the girl decided to 'bop' someone magically or something. Whatever she was going to do.
Ethan found them in the place Xander had set up with supplies, frowning. "This will not do, young man." Tara stomped in. "Tara, love, calm down."
"No!" She got to work on the exorcism Bobby had sent her a few months back. Xander moaned and swatted so she swatted him back. He stopped and she finished. He went limp and his eyes went back to their normal chocolate brown instead of pure white. She moved to do Sam's too. His faded sooner but she still finished it. "There." She looked up. "What're they going to do now? Can Xander leave?"
"Probably not." He helped her up. "He's got it set up so he can stay down here. Including cable for the tv he pilfered." He pointed. "And an internet and phone line it looks like." She rolled her eyes. "It's not suitable to his reward though."
Don walked in carefully. "When the kid builds bombs to take down a town, he really did mean to take down the whole thing. Only that one building's remained standing." He looked at the two bodies. "They good?"
"Banged up. I did an exorcism for them," she said quietly. He patted her on the back. "Don, now what?"
"The apocalypse was altered by Xander's tampering," Ethan said.
"Not a really big shock with the ones he's tampered with before," she pointed out. He gave her a confused look. "He's why there's two slayers and Buffy didn't die as predicted during the Harvest. He made sure we won at graduation from what I'm told. That was partially in thanks to you I heard."
Ethan sighed. "Such strength will be needed to make sure the Lady's child stays good."
"I felt her being born," she agreed with a smile.
"Huh?" Don asked. "Already lost me."
"If Xander hadn't warped it some, the Sleeping Lady's daughter would be born today," Tara said, moving her hair back behind her ears again. "It would've been someone who could destroy everyone."
Ethan nodded. "Because he warped it and had stepped in to warp some of the power-raising battles, she wasn't born an adult, but an innocent child. She's being given to that one to raise so she's not going to be an apocalypse in eighteen years."
"Then he can't stay here. Charlie will fuss. If he won't, Dad'll end the world with his."
"That's what I was thinking," Tara admitted. "It's gloomy. She'll need sunlight and some fresh air. She'll need a washer and dryer, which he doesn't have." Ethan smirked at that. "Babies take a lot of laundry. Or my brother's child seems to." She looked at Don again. "How do we fix it?"
"Can he be removed from the town?" She checked then sighed and shook her head. "At all?"
"It's a longer tether with the power spread out. He can get farther now," Ethan told him. "But still has to stay here."
"Then my boss said that we need a guardian to live here to make sure nothing else tries this evil mud puddle of power." She beamed at that. "Check that building to make sure they can live there. If not, maybe he can fix it up now and then while she's napping. Then he can finish demolishing the town. By the time she's eighteen it might be plain ground again."
"I'm not sure that building would be suitable since it's the former City Hall. Clearly the Mayor warded it from the hellmouth's influence."
"He didn't want any taint but his own in there," Tara said. She went to check it out. No, it wouldn't do. But part of the college was still standing and there were a few houses out that way. She called Ethan. "Found it." He and Don joined her about ten minutes later. She pointed. "The old president's house. Plenty of lawn and room for her to roam."
Don beamed. "That's still well within the boundaries." They went to make sure it was sound. Don called his team to move the two boys there since there were beds. That way it'd look more like Xander was finishing the demolition of the town for them while guarding it. If anyone asked, it was classified he decided. Even if Xander had wanted Bobby to send him scotch and a few cigars if he survived this. He had no idea why and he wasn't sure he wanted to know.
Bobby and Ellen looked at the supplies they had been able to gather together. "Looks like she's mostly set."
"We forgot a pacifier," Dean said from his seat looking at the little baby. She was adorable but clearly going to cause trouble in a few decades. He hoped xander did a good job with her. "And to name her."
Ellen and Bobby shared a look then nodded. "Rosenburg called her a new dawn for magic," Ellen said.
"She did," Bobby agreed. "Dawn Mary, Dean?"
He shrugged. "Mom might be pleased." He looked at her. "You like that name?" he asked her. She burped up part of her last bottle. He cleaned her mouth with the t-shirt she was wearing. It was faded and shrunk from someone. "I guess she likes it enough. She puked."
Bobby and Ellen came over to look at her. Ellen burped her, getting more crud coming up but it made the baby happier. "There you go, Dawn," she soothed, putting her back into the carseat. She looked at Bobby. "I can get a home birth certificate."
"That'll work," Bobby agreed. "I'll find her a pacifier tonight. Before she starts being cranky. They seem to keep kids from throwing fits."
"It did with my Jo many times," she agreed, going to her car so she could hit the town.
Bobby looked at him. "You'll be okay with her for ten minutes?"
"So far we have been." He smirked and walked off. Dean looked at her. "You'll be a good girl because Uncle Bobby spanks harder than even our dad did," he told her sleeping body. "You don't want that." He straightened out her shirt for her since it was scrunched up around her throat. "That's better. You sleep all you want. I won't mind."
Dean showed up ten days later to find a military guard on the gate. He rolled down his window, staring at him. "The army took it over?"
"Just the gate, sir. Former resident?"
"Harris' daughter." He pointed at the cooing thing next to him.
The soldier smiled. "She's adorable. He's at the new command post for local events." He handed him a map. "Be careful. Some of the streets are really torn up."
"I can do that. Thank you." He drove through the gate, following the map. He found a nice, large house with a lot of lawn. "Huh. Good reward." He parked and saw his brother in the doorway. "Are you stranded here too?"
"Nope, but helping Xander dump some of the magic has taken the last four days. Even with an exorcism or three." He smiled. "What's going on?"
"We're big brothers to Dawn. He's her daddy though."
"That's kind of cool," he decided, coming out to look at her. She was fussing because she was in the car, still, but Dean wasn't. "Awww, who's cute then," he cooed. She cooed back at the noise. "She's adorable. We'll need our shotguns some year soon."
"Sixteen of them, Sammy, just like I did with you. Xander!" he yelled.
"Headache," came from one of the windows. He trudged out, staring at him. "We won, right?" Dean nodded. "Are you sure we won?" Dean nodded again, smirking. "Then why do I have a headache?"
"It's to let you know that you've got one for the next eighteen years."
"Huh?" He came over, looking at the baby. "Hi. Who're you?"
"The one who bubbled up."
"Oh." He opened the door and undid her, pulling her out. She sucked the magic out of him and he sighed in pleasure. "Thank you, sweetheart. I needed less magic today."
"All that magic makes her diapers extra specially gross," Dean warned. "Take her inside. We'll carry the stuff in, Xander." He walked her inside, smiling and chatting with her. He and Sam unloaded the backseat and the trunk of baby things that they had found for her. Sam clearly had been warned since one room was cleared for them to set up things like the crib in. Dean went down to set up the playpen, then put her into it. She made unhappy noises so he gave her the pacifier that had been left in there the last time. That made her happier while she drifted off again. "Help us put together her stuff."
"Why do I get her?" Xander asked, but he did follow.
"Because the hellmouths liked you so much, dude." Dean smirked. "We all decided that she's our little sister but you're her daddy."
"Which makes some bad thoughts start," Sam admitted, "but I can handle that."
"I've been blocking them out," Dean assured him. He grinned at Xander. "Not like you can leave. She needs magic and needs to know about magic."
"I don't do magic beyond the few things Ethan taught me."
"Yes, but you can be ethical and teach her not to mess up like Rosenburg did her first day of boot camp." Xander's confused look came back. "She didn't like being ordered to do dawn PT so they have a new guard dog on base."
"Yeah, she's a bit fussy about that."
"This way you can teach her what magic is, does, and should be so she won't be an apocalypse. You'll be preventing it from going on."
"At least until she gets mad at her first boyfriend," Sam offered with a grin.
Xander nodded once. "But I can't get her things."
"You're getting your own food, Xander. It's not that hard to make her food and get her formula and stuff."
"Huh?" he asked.
"Don worked it out," Sam reminded him. "I think it rattled his brain again," he told Dean. Xander swatted him for that with a scowl. "Either that or we really need to finish a new exorcism." Xander tried to get away. Dean and Sam got him down and worked it out of him. Downstairs the baby was giggling at something. "Glad she approves."
"Clearly fun for her," Dean agreed. They did it a second time to make sure the other hunter was cured. Dawn finally screamed for attention so Sam went to check on her. Dean looked down at Xander, who was staring at him. "You all by yourself in there?"
"No more than the ones I had before the hellmouth went wonky." Dean sighed and picked up the bottle of holy water again. "Don't bother, you can't remove them." He sat up. "You're sitting on me, Dean."
"You're comfy that way and don't have a lot of furniture," he quipped but got up. He helped Xander up. "Let's finish this before her highness down there gets too cranky. Sammy, can I have the other tools?" he called.
"Because the demon dog is sniffing around the car's tires. I don't have a gun."
Dean walked down and shot it. It tried to hide behind Xander, who only stared at it. "Don't touch their car. They'll be mean and shoot you again," he told it. It huffed but left. He walked off shaking his head. "They like Willow and for some reason they like Charlie. I think Dru sicced one on him to make him have a pet so he'd quit doing math. The pointy numbers are still hurting her stars." He looked at the baby, who smiled at him. "That's cute."
"That's gas at her age," Sam admitted, handing her over. She did belch. "See?" He grinned, going to help Dean put together things.
"She loves music," Dean said as he walked past the doorway.
"Okay," Xander said weakly. He turned on the radio he had in there. She squealed and wiggled. He smiled. "We'll teach you about good music, sweetheart." Dean came in to change stations off the country station, then walked off shaking his head. "Hey!"
"She likes metal better."
Xander rolled his eyes. "We'll teach you to be less picky than that." She was still wiggling. "Come help us put together your crib and stuff?" She let herself be carried up there. "What can we do to help?"
"Put together the dresser," Dean said with a point at the box. Xander put her down carefully then came over to work on that. Finally the crib went together. And promptly fell apart when Sam tested it. Dean huffed. "Sammy!"
"Not my fault!"
Xander came over to let them have the dresser while he fixed the crib. It was sturdy when Sam tested it this time. She went into it and pouted. "Nap time." She pouted at him again. He sighed, staring at her. "I don't know what you want, dear."
"Dawn likes her pacie," Dean admitted, finding one and handing it over. She let out a squeal and let herself drift off. "She's loud. Sorry."
"Some girls are." He came over to help finish up everything else. Someone pounded on the door so he went down to get it. "Hi, Don. We're all here."
"I heard." He waved at the guys in the truck. "Into the kitchen. Back that way." He pointed. "Tara and Charlie made up the grocery list, including formula and diapers." The military guys carried things for him. "That way you can have a garden too," he said at the plants that were being carried past. "Fresh vegetables for the squealing one."
"How am I supposed to pay for this?"
"It's your salary for protecting and guarding the former evil dent."
"I guess that works."
"You also get to finish destroying and razing the town. Water, phone, cable, and all that stuff is coming from this end so destroy that end when you can't sleep from the colic."
"Tara included a book, Xander."
"Oh, good." He nodded, leading him upstairs. She was so cute even he grinned at her. "We're putting things together."
"That's fine." He pulled down the shades. "Got it, Chuck," he yelled. Charlie ran up and into the safety of the dark room. "He can coo for Dad and Tara today while we finish putting things together."
"She's adorable!" he cooed.
"Wake her up and you get to change her," Dean warned.
"I can do that. I read up on it recently." He cooed at her while the guys finished putting things up. "Tara found some other baby clothes too, guys."
"Thankfully she's got a closet," Sam joked. They went to separate that out, finding the military guys had put them in the living room. "Thanks, guys."
"Not a problem, sir. We'll be back next month with the food order." He walked off to check the truck then left the very strange guardians alone. This was looking like the strangest, most boring posting ever. Unless they got more of those flying demons he guessed since he had seen film of them. The agents had kept good notes and tapes of what had gone on in town while they were dealing with the problems. No wonder that guy had sent off his daughter to be safe.
Dean flopped down next to Xander later that night, looking at him. "Think you can handle her?"
"Maybe. Can we stay for a few days?" He gave him the puppy eyes.
"She gave me that look when she woke up hungry last night," Dean said dryly. "A few days, not for good, Xander. There's more evil bitches to hunt down."
"That's cool but I'll be really insane just talking to her all the time."
"She'll be able to answer back soon," Sam reminded him. "Then you'll get to start teaching her stuff."
"Sam, I'm dumb. I barely graduated high school. I can't teach her anything."
"There's home schooling stuff and she can probably be bussed to the next town for real school," Dean pointed out. "If you have to, you can learn it with her." Xander slumped but nodded. "Not like we won't help. Sammy loved books more than anything but my candy stash as a child."
Sam grinned. "You always huffed so nicely when I took some of it too."
"I had to start getting him library books to keep any of it for myself. It's why I'm so sweets deprived now." Xander grinned at that. "You'll figure it out like every other parent would."
"But I would watch out for some nosy idiots to show up," Charlie offered, coming in to sit down across from them. "Riley Finn's people were against her being given to you as a foster parent, Xander. He said it'd make her dangerous because you were."
"I'll teach her how to defend herself but she'll know good from bad. Unlike him, who clearly didn't learn it until after he found out torture was fun."
"He didn't think you'd not teach her to use her gifts."
"It's the only way to make her realize what ethics are," Sam told him. "Even the ones who make demonic deals start out doing some good usually. Even Rosenburg probably."
"She did, until college," Xander admitted. "But she was also going toward a magic addiction according to Tara."
"I've introduced Tara to some very nice girls on the campus I work at, Xander. She's very safe there." Xander grinned. "Because everyone knows my big brother is FBI and he'll kill them if they hurt her. The one bigot who said something to her nearly got my foot up his nose and got told that."
"That's cool. She can visit, right? So I don't go insane?"
"Of course. She can also help with her training so she's got good, ethical, firm conduct rules for witches."
"I might like that more than Ethan. Though, can you have him start to write to Andrew?"
"Already did," Dean promised. "Ethan thought it was cute that he decided to redo his old spell to give you new memories for the battles. Especially when he told him about that Comedian guy."
Xander groaned, shaking his head. "I'm still fighting the urge to start smoking a cigar," he muttered. Sam patted him on the back. "What about the dating stuff?"
"You date evil girls according to Buffy," Charlie pointed out. "They'll be drawn here anyway."
"Good point I guess. Maybe." He shrugged. "Fine. Thank you, guys." They all smirked at him. "I'm going to go insane and make her just as insane."
"We'll be around to make sure the little sister is fine," Dean promised.
Charlie got up. "I'll let you guys sleep. I've got some math to do. That way we can make sure she can get to college and do great things for humanity." He went up to get a hug from her and change her diaper since it stunk to his enhanced senses, then went to find his brother at the gate. Don didn't want him driving until he was sure he wouldn't pick up a hitchhiker for a quick snack.
Sam and Dean went outside to get their bags from the car. Dean went to check on the flag for the mailbox since it was up. He realized he couldn't get that far. "Hey, Sammy?" he called. Sam tried to move past him when he ran into the barrier again. Sam couldn't do it either. They sighed and went to talk to the baby so she'd let them go. It was cute that she loved them this way.
Dawn was playing in the yard when a mean rock bit her knee, making her fuss and hold it. "Daddy!" she yelled. "Booboo!"
Xander came out with the first aid box. "What happened?"
She patted the rock with a bloody hand. Then she stared because the rock sprouted flowers. "Fwower!" she squealed, bouncing and pointing.
He looked and sighed. Then he stared at her. "No making flowers. We plant flowers so they can grow because the Sun Goddess likes it that way. We don't make flowers with our blood, Dawn." She pouted but nodded. "If you call Auntie Tara you can ask her for some flower seeds from her garden." She let him clean up her knee and hands, plus put on a cute band-aid. Then she ran inside to call her.
Xander looked at the flowered rock then went to call Dean to let him know. He missed the guys but he knew she'd be pulling them back within months. He had to break her of that bad habit. Last time she had pulled Sam from the shower. She had spent the next hour laughing about bubbles too, even after he was redressed. Dean had to drive out the last few days but she had trapped them for over a month then. "Guys, she just found out she can bleed and make flowers," he said quietly. "She's talking to Tara. Thanks." He hung up. "Sam will send you some flower seeds tomorrow, Dawn. Let Auntie Tara study."
She stuck her tongue out at him. "She not busy, she say so!"
"Corner," he said with a point. "You don't stick your tongue out at me, young lady." She pouted but said bye, hung up, and went to her corner. "Thank you." He walked off shaking his head. "No making more flowers, Dawn. Plant them and then do what Auntie Tara taught you to take care of them."
"Like baby brother?" she called.
"You can't have siblings."
"Yes, can!" she said firmly.
He glared at her. "There's no mommy, Dawn. It takes a mommy to make a sibling. No mommy, no baby. And don't you dare call one like you did Sam last time. We'll talk about a sibling when you're older, like in school."
"Fine. Want baby," she complained into her corner. She crossed her arms over her chest. "Auntie Buffy have baby?" she called.
"We can call and ask later." He rolled his eyes, going back to making lunch. He let her out when he was done. "Come eat." She ran in to climb into her usual chair so she could eat her sandwich. He loved his little girl but sometimes it seemed to be her duty to drive him nuts. It was her 'someone has to do it' problem apparently.
The End. End of Series.