A month and a half later, Xander walked into the airport with the team following him. They got through the check in, security, all that until Customs. Xander presented their passports.
The agent looked at him. "You have to give the baby to his father, sir."
"I am his father."
"No, his natural father," he sneered.
Xander lifted his t-shirt to show off the scar. "I gave birth to him, he's mine." He glared at the man. He pulled out his other ID. "They did to me first." The man stepped back, looking alarmed. "So may my son and I go see the rest of the Council now? They have to meet him."
"Yes, sir," he said, stamping them both so they could go on before he tainted him by being in the same area. He took a break to go pray.
"Mood swing," Jensen said in a sing-song manner.
"At least the Pooch didn't have to watch too many of those," Pooch said dryly. "Though the baby is clearly as touchy as the Pooch is because he just made a funny face at his daddy for that."
Xander looked down. "You need changed now, really?" he complained, taking him to the bathroom to do that. Of course the male bathrooms didn't have a changing area so he had to improvise. He came out when they called boarding, handing over all the forms.
"No mother traveling with him today?" the gate girl asked with a smile.
"I am the mother."
"Oh!" She nodded once. "That's sweet of you, sir." She handed back their ticket stubs, letting them get on. She knew better than to argue with the passengers.
Xander sat down next to Jensen. They had planned it that way. Cougar was across the aisle with Pooch. Roque and Clay were in front of them. The baby was in a stomach carrier so he didn't need his own seat. Though he and Jensen had bought the extra seat in their row so they had room to put him down if necessary. The stewardess smiled at him as she walked past.
Jensen and Xander prepared for takeoff, Xander feeding the baby a bottle of water as soon as the door was closed. That would help with the ear popping problem he might have. Jolene had suggested it. It seemed to work, he slept through the first four hours of the very long flight. The check-in at LAX to change to the flight to Cleveland wasn't as peaceful. The baby was up and fussy. The Customs agent sneered. Xander held up his Council ID. The guy backed down and nodded, not looking at him.
"You know, it's funny since I'm natively from up the road," he said dryly, smirking as he took their passports back.
"We had an incident the other day," the agent admitted.
"Yeah, I heard he got arrested for being orange and flying to see his sister lay her first egg. There are peaceful demons. We can provide you guys with a manual for identifying them if you want."
"We've since requested one. The local slayer laid into us for that, sir."
Xander grinned. "I trained her well and Buffy taught her to whine." He walked off. "C'mon, son, let's change that stinky thing you're laying and then we can go to Cleveland so all the girls can stare at you oddly." The baby laid an extra large diaper for that threat. Cougar was nice enough to take the baby to change though. He wasn't sure why but hey, if he wanted to change him.... No one was going to complain. Pooch had to make it across the airport for his flight to get back to his wife and son. Jensen was getting clingy. Xander stared at him. He got grinned at. "Relax. I'm the uptight one, Jake."
"Fine." He took his nephew back when Cougar came back with him. "You had to change clothes? Was he messy changing you?"
"He has the runs," Cougar said dryly, sitting down on Jensen's other side. The baby was liking him. He was always staring at his hat with a look like his father had before coffee.
Xander walked out of the secure section in Cleveland's airport, looking around. "Did we misplace Clay?"
"He went to the rental car desk," Roque said.
"Cool beans. I rented us an extra-large SUV that can fit seven. That way we all fit." He smirked. Jake pulled out the baby seat from the checked luggage and they went to wait on Clay to pull up. Xander put in the car seat efficiently and got the baby settled, sitting beside him. Cougar got the baby's other side. Jensen got the back seat all to himself since Roque was driving and Clay was nagivating. Xander handed over directions. They drove off, the baby falling asleep on the drive. "I know, it's been a long day and the aunties will all squeal for hours," he soothed, rubbing a finger over his frown line. His son was much too serious sometimes. It took nearly forty-five minutes to get to the slayer compound.
"Bigger than I expected," Clay admitted.
"We're going to the main building. The big, red brick one." Roque nodded, putting in the code that was on the directions. The gate opened for them and they drove in to find a place to park. "Left." Roque went left, finding the parking lot full of not-well-parked cars. Xander looked. "Zara, Tallie, and Kiko are in. Cool. Some of my girls." He got out and took the baby, walking that way with his bags. He walked into the main building, nothing. No sound. He closed his eyes and listened harder. "Giles is in the office." He went that way, taking the baby with him. Giles didn't even look up when his door opened, not until the baby was put in front of him.
"Oh, my, he's very large." He smiled at Xander. "What did you name him?" Xander handed over the new slayer paperwork. "That's efficient, thank you."
"I know how much you hate paperwork," he said dryly. "Xadrian, this is your uncle Giles." He took him out so Giles could hold him.
"He's got a good bit of height and weight to him. Healthy?"
"Very and he eats like I do," Xander said with a smirk.
"Are you breastfeeding?"
"Do I look like a girl?"
"Well, no." He smiled at the baby. "Your father must be tired from the trip."
"Yes, but I figured I'd get the squealing out of the way then sleep."
"That might be handy, yes." He put him back into the carrier. "We'll see him for official training when he's next imbued."
"Why? It hasn't left him yet," Xander said, sitting down.
"It usually leaves within a week and a half."
"He's over a month old, Giles." Giles stared at the birth certificate then at the baby. "He's fully active at the moment. That's why we had a small fire last night when Mommy had to clear out the demon with a flame thrower. Which his daddy did not like." He pointed behind him. "I brought them too."
"Your brother and his father are of course welcome here and I'm sure the girls will have questions and attempts to talk the others into arm wrestling contests and things." He smiled at them. "Which is which?"
"I'm Jake, his twin," Jensen said with a grin. "This is Cougar, the baby's father. This is my team leader Clay, our demo expert Roque, and Pooch is at home with his wife and son."
"Wonderful. Thank you for guarding one of our most precious things and Xander."
"Plenty of us consider Xander to be precious on his own," Jensen said with a grin. Giles gave him a funny look but let it drop. "Should we go announce him?"
"You can. They're in the dorms having a movie night, boys." He looked at Xander. "Buffy is in a foul mood once again."
"Buffy needs laid, Giles. That's the usual cause of the foul mood. If she'd quit dating stakeable, disposable guys it might help." He stood up. "C'mon, Xadrian, let's go let the others squeal. Dawn?"
"Up. She helped with dinner."
"Cool." He carried the baby over, listening to the arguing going on as they got closer to the dorm. "Shit," he muttered, handing the baby to Cougar. He walked in first. "I taught your asses better than that, ladies. You're creating a bad impression in front of guests."
"Xander!" one of the girls squealed, pouncing him to cuddle. "No baby!"
"With his daddy." He pointed. "That is Xadrian Yahil Alvarez. His daddy wanted him to have his last name." He grinned. "Sit," he ordered. "We will not pounce the baby. You'll hurt him." Cougar put the baby down on the table so the girls could crowd around him.
"What does Xadrian mean?" one of the younger girls asked as she climbed up another one to see him. That girl swatted at her. "Not my fault you're a giant," she complained.
"It's a stupid made up name, both of them are," Buffy said.
"Actually, Yahil is a Spanish name," Jake said. "To honor his father's heritage." She glared at him. "Need some chocolate, dear?"
"No, she needs to quit staking the boyfriends," Xander said, glaring at her.
"Whatever! Is he going to be a slayer?"
"Yeah, he's still a slayer. The essence hasn't left him yet." He smirked at her. "He does have the unknown line and he has a lot of them." The girls beamed at that. "Plus he has the essence line from the weapons side. Which makes sense since his daddy's a gun guy and I'm still me." He grinned.
"It'll make up for you tripping?" Buffy asked. Xander popped her on the head. "Ow! Bitch!"
"Yes you are," Dawn agreed. "Go find a toy or something, Buffy. Your bitchiness is growing again." She stomped off. "Sorry," she told them. "She needs laid really badly and can't find a date."
"I know a few people who'd offer to buy her as a wife," Clay offered.
Xander grinned at him. "We should compare lists." The other girls laughed. "So anyway, that is the son. He is one of you. He's making that face again so I'll have to change him in a minute."
"We're in for six days," Jensen told them. "That way everyone can get a good coo in." The girls all smiled, taking them to their suite of rooms and Xander's room for him and the baby. They pulled in a cot for Jake or Cougar to have and let Xander change the baby. They had seen many gross things but diapers were worse. Xander came back out without the baby and they let him sit with them to watch movies. Jake and Cougar came out with the sleeping baby and he got passed around. Even Buffy slunk back and took her turn holding him.
"Don't worry, I'll teach you how to shop, little guy. That way you dress better than your father."
"If you put him in pink I'm so beating you to death," Xander said dryly. "He's going to mostly be a normal boy." The girls all beamed at him and tried to get the baby back. Xander watched Buffy and finally texted someone. He knew someone who had a crush on her. She was ignoring it though. That one showed up and knelt beside her, stroking over her hair, earning a funny look.
"I think you are the most wonderful thing ever," he said with a smile. "I would be honored if you would consent to date me, Buffy. Not as a slayer but as a woman. I have admired you for years, even before you were chosen." She gaped, making squeaky noises. He smiled. "Come, we have horses and I'm told girls like horses." He took her with him.
"Aww," Dawn said, grinning at the girls. "Twu wuv does happen." They all grinned back.
"He's the biggest collection of everything about Buffy. He's had a crush on her since she was a kid," Xander said with a grin. "I figured it was time for him to make his move." He took his son back, smiling since he was awake. "Did the cooing wake you? Want a bottle?" He got handed one by Jake. "Thank you." They stole him back to feed him. "Make sure he burps about every two ounces, ladies." He looked around. "I figured some of you would be pouncing the guys to talk to them and challenge them." A few of the older girls went to do that with a smirk of evilness between them.
"Remember to play nicely, ladies, they're normal," Dawn called after them, cracking Cougar up. "Slay hard, play hard," she quipped, getting a bunch of nods.
The youngest one took the baby to hold. "I'm not old enough for that. I just admire prettiness at my age. Xander, your twin is very pretty."
"And smart. He's a hacker too." He pointed. "Those three and the short stuff there are all IT slayers." Jensen moved to talk to them about hacking stuff. Cougar got settled and the girls asked him about weapons. They loved weapons. It let the guys relax and Cougar see how insane some of his friends were.
Buffy showed up a few hours later looking pink cheeked and happy but slugged Xander on the arm. "Next time, just set up a blind date, Xander." She walked around the baby. "Those things are contagious, ladies."
"Plenty of us want one some day anyway," Dawn quipped. The girls mostly nodded and smiled. "Those that don't are getting in a vicarious thrill and their baby cooing time for the year." The others laughed and nodded at that.
"Diapers are the reason for birth control," one agreed dryly, handing him to his daddy, who took him to change him. "Aww, a father who changes diapers! How cool!"
"Most good ones would," Jensen assured her with a smile. "If he won't, you definitely don't want him."
"Yeah but they're nice in bed while it lasts." That got a mass giggle.
Cougar drove his little family to his home. Jensen and the baby were in the back seat. Xander was napping beside him. He paused before turning off to wake Xander up. "We're nearly there."
"They'll squeal just as much as the slayers did," Jensen assured him. He checked the baby. "We're damp. Let me change him, Cougar." He pulled off so Jensen could do that. Not like Cougar's sisters or mother would let the baby go for hours. He buckled him back in and nodded. They drove up the road to the house, staring at the waiting people on the porch. Jake got out first, grinning. "Hi."
"Jensen," Mama squealed, coming over to hug him. "You came too?"
"Xander is my twin brother." He gave her a hug. "We just changed him." Xander got out and got the baby out, holding him so the others could see him - resting against his chest, one hand under his butt, letting him stare at all the cooing blurs of people. Jensen let her hug her son and walked her around. "Mama Alvarez, this is Xadrian Yahir Alvarez."
"Oh, how adorable," she cooed as she took him from Xander. "You come right inside and sit down, Xander. You must be tired."
"He's been good today. The flight wasn't too long and we only had one fussy moment that some pacing cured." He followed beside Cougar. "Hi," he said with a polite nod. "I'm Xander." The girls all smiled and their husbands scowled. He glared at one who was glaring at him. He backed down. "He ate an hour ago," he called, following his son. "But he'll probably still burp on you if you do that." The sister patting him shrugged and settled in to cuddle the nephew none of them had dreamed would come into being. Xander shot Cougar a look, getting a smirk back. He got sat down by Jake and they got to watch the whole family coo over him.
"Who will raise him?" Mama asked. Xander raised his hand. "You're a man."
"I know that. He's my son." He smiled. "He'll be perfectly safe with me. He'll be protected, loved on, all that. I'll even keep most of the slayers from teaching him how to shop."
"You work with them?" the husband that had glared asked semi-politely.
"Yes, I'm the roving trainer and still currently second-in-command." He looked at Jensen. "Weren't we going to clear up that issue with Giles?"
"I asked, he said it was keeping Willow out of there. Or Buffy." Xander nodded that made sense. "So you're partially retired." He grinned, giving him a shoulder nudge. "You know, he's sweet enough to encourage cousins. He nearly got some semi-cousins from the slayers."
Xander nodded. "Two of them cooed so hard they forgot to use condoms. Thankfully their boyfriends had sense."
"I thought it was cute Dawn was the one who complained at them about that," Jensen said.
"That was a universal Summers woman needs a boyfriend batsignal. Apparently her school in Brazil isn't full of cute guys like she wanted."
"Is she Brazilian?" Mama asked.
"No, she just wanted to get away from her sister and all the other complaining ones. Brazil's slayer house has the girls she hangs out with most of the time so she went there."
"Her mother doesn't mind?"
"Her mother's been dead for a few years," Xander said quietly. "She died before Sunnydale fell in of a brain tumor."
"That poor thing."
"Which one is Dawn?" one of the younger ones asked.
"The brunette fashionable one that's not a slayer. One of our head researchers. Her sister is Buffy, one of the two senior girls."
"Oh, the cute one!" she said with a smile.
Jensen smiled and nodded. "She is very cute, and a genius with languages. She speaks six?" he asked Xander, who nodded. "Fluently and she's twenty-one or so."
"Twenty-three and she reads another ten, including four demon languages. She's working on a special project translating and taking down native languages of tribes in the rain forest." He smiled. "We're all very proud of Dawnie. I've known her since she was a teenager."
"You are retired from all that?" one of the husbands asked.
"Slightly," Xander admitted. "Instead of roaming to train the girls I'll be getting some sent to me to train them. Some of the ones who reached that final calling stage early and those who weren't found until they officially broke out. Plus any guys that're called since I'll have the most experience in their training."
"I thought only girls were chosen," Mama said suspiciously.
"Until him," Xander corrected. "The ones who mystically got me pregnant made sure he'd be a slayer so he's not going to turn into a threat against the girls. That opened the way for later boys to be called."
"That's dangerous," Mama said.
"He'll be getting more training than most of the girls since we know about him younger than we did about them," Xander assured her. "He'll be getting all the theory I can give him and taking lessons when I can, all that. I'm going to make him as safe as he can be if he decides to go to a slayer house for a few years."
"You would make him go?" one of his sisters asked.
"No, that would be up to him, the same as it is for every slayer when they turn seventeen. Before then every slayer, even those who won't want to go to a house, train with the other girls or with private tutors if their family demands. Then they spend their last year with us learning more about their areas, meeting the girls down there, doing the more intense, area-specific training. I won't say we haven't overruled some who really wanted to go that weren't ready or suited to that sort of hunting, but we'd never force anyone to do anything.
"The slayer essence may push a bit but some have retired after training to as normal of a life as they can manage. They fall back to massive apocalypse battles and self protection or protect their areas. Some of the girls in more rural areas across the world stay with their villages because they're important to them, they do the majority of hunting and protecting mostly. By the time he's seventeen I'll be ancient and he may decide to take over my roaming training job. No one can tell until he's of age."
"That's still dangerous. What if something attacks you because of an apocalypse?"
"Then I'll be able to handle it and once he's old enough to start learning, the first thing he's learning is how to hide himself should something happen. Even as an active slayer, which he is, almost no one attacks me."
Xander shook his head. "I know before them most of the time since I'm one of the main seers at the Council, Mrs. Alvarez." She gasped, staring at him in horror. "I'm also a prophecy negator. There's a lot of higher powers who respect me for the way I've made things go the way they should for the slayers and how I've averted other things by negotiating peace treaties between clans that would've spilled their civil war down here."
He stared at her. "My son will be the safest he can be with me and if it's a matter of a battle where I have to help, he'll have a reasonably safe sitter with all the protections I can put around them." She relaxed and nodded. "If his father isn't off on a mission it'll probably be him or his teammates since he's going to be faster than the average baby."
"All babies are fast," one sister snorted.
"No, active slayers have the speed, stamina, and grace of a professional athlete when they're teenagers," Xander told her. "We have fourteen-year-old girls who can do under a four minute mile if they're pushing themselves. Slayers are stronger, faster, have more stamina, and instinctively know fighting styles. Which is why he won't be allowed in any team sports or anything where he has to compete against normal kids when he's in school. Maybe a martial arts competition but I'm not sure if that'd be ethical either."
"So when he's called he'll get all this downloaded into him?" Mama asked.
"Most slayers are called in their early teens, as they hit their last growth spurt or just before it. He's been active since before he was born. Some of the younger slayers are, that's usually because the area they're in will need them to be able to use the demon sensing abilities or something to protect themselves. It doesn't take into account that mommy or daddy may be able to protect them," he said at the opening mouth. "The three girls we have who have demon hunting parents were also activated very young because daddy or mommy has to hunt them. One who has a mother that works in a demon bank activated young too because mommy was surrounded by demons all the time. Even if there's peaceful ones around."
"There's peaceful ones?" Mama asked.
"There's a greater majority of them than there are any other sort. You didn't know that?" She shook her head. "Yeah. Less than seventy percent of all demon species are considered inherently evil. We're actually taking a look at those numbers since some of it was biased by ancient Watchers who thought redheads were evil and things. Two clans of Scottish demons were considered evil because they're Scottish." He shrugged. "The Council was made up of British white guys who weren't always nice."
She made a disapproving sound. "They needed better guidance from God."
"They're long dead so hopefully they got some sort of instruction." She smiled and took the baby to cuddle. He glanced at Cougar, who looked really relaxed but it was his family so Xander guessed he should.
"Are you planning on more children?" one of the sisters asked.
"No," Xander said. "I didn't plan on that one," he admitted, shifting to cross his feet at the ankle. "I didn't think I'd have kids and there's days I think it's downright selfish of me to do so." She gaped. "We knew before he got put into me that any child I had would have a very high chance of being a slayer. That plus my duty to help my girls, any real girlfriend I would have would have to be involved in the life or be very tolerant. Especially since I've spent the last four years traveling six different continents." She whimpered. "Yeah, I thought kids were mystical beings. And he proves it every single time I try to sleep, which makes him scream."
One of the younger nieces looked at him. "Are you going to marry Uncle Carlos?" she asked.
"I'm leaving that up to him, munchkin." He grinned. "If he wants to work out so he just has visitation then that's all up to him."
"That's not how a family works," Mama said.
"And again, he's gone nine months of the year doing his thing and I'm going to be overseas at the compound Giles gave me." He stared at her. "You can have as much visitation as you want, Mrs. Alvarez, but I will be making sure that nothing will touch your house." She smiled at him for that, going back to fussing over the baby. He handed the nearest husband the diaper bag. "He's making that face." He passed it down to his wife, who took the baby to change. Her mother followed. Xander was being stared at and he hated it. But he guessed this was part of the 'outsider to the group' thing.
"What happened to your eye?" that niece asked.
"Before Sunnydale fell in, a minion of the bad guy decided I needed to see differently." He touched the patch to make sure it covered the hole then looked at her again. "It set off the visions I have."
"Does it always work that way?" she asked.
"No. There's all sorts of different ways to get visions. One of the people we worked with in high school got hers gifted from a higher power. I think you guys met Cordelia." They all nodded and looked away. "I used to date Cordelia," he sighed. "It was very tough at times." One of the husbands snickered. "Seriously, we were either sniping at each other or in a closet at the school." He shrugged. "I won't say it was a healthy relationship but it was one of my first."
Jensen looked at him. "I didn't know you dated the Queen of the town."
"Yeah, and then Willow panicked about being a big girl and things changing, so we ended up kissing. Which got Cordelia hurt, which made her accidentally give Anya permission to create a wish universe and got me to cast a botched love spell. It was so soap opera back then, Jake."
"Anya, like your ex?" Cougar asked, looking confused.
"Yeah, her answering a wish for Cordelia was how her power center got broken," he said dryly. "Which is why I took her to the prom and later nearly married her." Cougar shook his head quickly. "She was my longest term relationship," he said dryly. "It nearly happened and would have if I hadn't been shown how miserable she'd be." He shrugged. "Love can make you do the wacky."
"Definitely and I'm so glad I haven't had anyone that bad yet," Jake sighed, making Cougar swat him. "What? I'm starting to wonder if we're related to Clay or not."
"I did some searching back. About seven generations our cousins became in-laws but nothing closer that I could find," Xander told him with a grin.
"Interesting." He looked at the family again, realizing that Xander was nervous for a reason. The women came back out without the baby. "Did the bedroom eat him?" he asked with a grin.
"No, the poor dear is down for a nap. I pulled down the family crib."
Xander smiled. "I haven't even thought about what I want for a nursery because I wasn't sure I'd be staying over there. Right now his room has pale cream walls that need to be washed again probably and a cobweb up next to the ceiling. He's been in a playpen beside my bed."
"Most babies do live in a cradle in their parents room," Mama assured him. "Are you going to decorate?"
"Probably at least paint and things. Clean the walls again. That stuff. Think about buying a sturdier crib for the next month because I'm not sure what I'm doing about that yet."
She frowned. "You can have his here."
"No, that's a family heirloom and I'm sure there's going to be many more grandchildren," he said, looking at one daughter, who nodded, holding her stomach. "I had morning sickness for *eight months*," he told her. "I hope yours is nicer to your insides."
"So do I." Her husband stared at her. "I was going to announce it at dinner?" He hugged her with a groan. "I'm still going to work."
"Of course you are," he agreed.
"You make good money, she could stay home, as is proper," Mama said, glaring at her daughter.
"Then we can't make the house payment, Mama. Quit. Modern women can work and have kids."
Xander nodded. "Mine's going to go to work with me," he quipped, cracking Jensen up. "All the slayers cooed at him until he probably thinks that's his native language." The women laughed at that. "He'd never learn to walk around them because they never let him sleep. They hold him more than Jake does."
"I thought it was nice most of the ones you trained overseas showed up," Jake offered with a grin.
"It was nice. Though I might have to go yell at Mel's husband again. He's being a di...jerk about things."
"One of the slayers is pregnant?" the younger niece asked.
"Yup, the one in Saudi is pregnant. She's late first trimester I think. Her husband's being...weird about things. Especially since half the coven doesn't like him. They went over as a large group to protect her." He smirked. "She's well guarded because she has backup from her government as well. There's a whole military unit she works with and has brokered a lot of peace treaties with some desert tribes and things like that. She doesn't have the hardest job so she'll probably be fine but we're still worried because that means she's a bit vulnerable. Can't really defend yourself when you're carrying an extra thirty pounds."
"No, you can't," Mama agreed. "Have others?"
"Some. Not a whole lot since the mass calling. Some of them got attacked, some had car accidents, some had boyfriend accidents, but the ones who got to give birth are healthy little kids. One brought her son over to chew on his fingers for him. He thought he was sweet, even after a diaper change."
"He is very sweet," Mama assured him. "And quite large."
Xander nodded. "Very huge. I'm very glad he came out via my stomach instead."
"Was it the ...gifting of him to you that started off that other man ability to have one?" one of the husbands asked.
"Not quite. That was someone who had decided it was too dangerous to have me around the center while pregnant and had me forcibly retired having a crackhead moment and deciding I could come back if others had that gift. I had to blow a favor owed to make sure it couldn't happen accidentally since we couldn't undo her wish to cause chaos. So now you have to realize it, want it, all that stuff."
"It would be better if people had children that way anyway," Mama agreed, smiling at him. "That one should not be on the news."
"If you look at it one way, it's practical and telling others that it can happen. From what I understand he was just wanting a family of his own. He and his spouse were working on plans to adopt a child." She shuddered. "I have no problem with gay people, Mrs. Alvarez, nor will I ever." He stared at her. "You'll never hear my son badmouthing them either. Xadrian is going to learn to be very tolerant because I don't discriminate against anyone but those who hurt people for fun and bigots."
"I can see that point even though it is not my way," she assured him. He smiled. "He has been baptized?"
"The priest I talked to did one as well as a few other faiths baptizing him," Cougar told his mother. "That way he's accepted by all."
"He will be raised Catholic?"
"No, because I'm not," Xander told her. "He'll be raised to make that decision after trying it out for himself. Slayers are non-denominational. We have people of every faith just about. I tend to lean more towards the Jedi code personally. Some of the slayers are Hindu, some are Christian, some are Wicca or other nature faiths, a few are Muslim. We have one from Jamaica who is a great believer in Voodun. I know there's higher powers, my ex works for one and some have gotten really mad at me in the past for being somewhere they hadn't expected," he finished dryly. "He'll learn to ask questions of people of other faiths to learn more about them and make his own choice. Even from his father."
"Like on that James Bond movie?" one of the husbands asked, looking confused.
"The religion side and there's more than that to the religion," Xander offered with a grin. "I have a great resource in my library about different faiths and I can send you the title if you want."
"No thanks, that might warp the way I see the world."
"It is a lot wider when you get out of where you've always been," Xander said. "I had no idea there were still cannibal tribes in Africa until I ran into them twice."
Jake leaned over to look at him. "You can't go back there or Russia," he said bluntly, cracking Cougar up.
Xander stared at him. "They won't eat me. They got convinced not to the first time when I shot one and then did first aid to make sure he didn't die. They treat me respectfully now."
"Fine. You still can't go back there."
Xander rolled his eyes. "Sure, and neither can you, Jake."
"Sure, I'm for that," he agreed. "They might think Roque would make a good stew. He is kinda tough and stringy so he'd take a lot of cooking," he said when everyone looked at him. Cougar swatted him on the head. "Ow!"
Cougar shook his head, looking up to pray for sanity. "You can tell Clay you made that bet," Xander offered with a grin. Cougar stared at him then swatted him too. "Hey!"
"Please behave?" he asked quietly.
"We are," Jake agreed, texting that to Roque's phone. Somewhere in Atlanta, Roque got the text message and went to get a bottle to take that image out of his head. He showed it to Clay, who took the bottle from him and drank half of it. Jake smiled and put up his phone. "Just checking in to make sure they know we're still all right," he chirped.
"You three must be tired," Mama said, getting up. "Let me get you rooms." They shrugged and followed her. Xander got the baby and the other two moved the crib. She watched, giving them a funny look. "Of course he'll sleep in your room, Xander." Xander beamed and waved the sleeping baby's hand for him. She watched them settle in and Xander rest with the baby. She went back downstairs to talk to her family.
Cougar was listening and came down to stop the idea again. Not that he didn't love his mother.... but no. She was not going to take custody of the baby. He did not want to see demons invade the family home over the baby at all. They argued for a good hour until they heard the baby fuss and get up. Cougar glared at his siblings, who looked away.
Two days later Xander got another vision and held his head while it came. He took a few deep breaths, shrugging off the hand on his back. "Jake ,we have to go see our sister soon. If we're not there, she's going to have a car accident and get really injured. So our niece will have to stay with one of us."
"Sure," he agreed. He looked at Cougar, who nodded he'd come. "Cool. Sorry, family, but looks like we gotta go save our sister from the mean cars."
"A drunk driver idiot," Xander said. He took the baby from Cougar. "Let the other daddy eat," he soothed, sticking the bottle in his mouth. "Then we'll be on the big plane tonight so we can save your auntie tomorrow. Yes we will." The baby cooed back so he smiled. "That's such a big boy. Finish the baba so we can clean you up." He finished dinner and took him upstairs to bathe him and get him changed and dressed for the trip. Cougar came in to stare over his shoulder, making him look up at him. Cougar rolled his eyes, he knew what Xander had seen. "You sure you want to come?"
Cougar nodded, going to tell Jake that. Jake was making reservations.
Xander stepped into the body scanner with the baby. As ordered. He got out and the guard waved him over. "What?"
"We have to search him, sir. There was something metal reported on him."
Xander looked then held up the protection amulet he wore on his wrist. "That?" The guard scowled at him. "It doesn't come off. I told the guy back there that."
"Why not? It looks like it ties." Xander held up his Council ID, getting a glare. "Oh, you're one of them."
"Yes, and this is my son, who if you grope I'll kick your ass." He smiled. "Orange eyes, really?" The man stepped back, looking alarmed. "Where did the metal seem to come from?"
"From the area you were holding by."
Xander looked at his arm, then held it up. "Not my watch, it's all plastic and ceramic." The hand wand came over to beep on them. He looked where it beeped and frowned, handing Cougar the baby to hold while he patted him down himself. "Ah, your brother with the job he wouldn't mention," he said, holding up the bug.
"They are overprotective," he admitted. He checked the rest of the baby, handing them the bug.
"Sir, can I see your Green Card please?" the guard sneered.
Carlos held up his dogtags. Then his military ID. The guy backed down at the look in his eyes.
"Fuck it, I'm tired," Xander said. He glared at the guard. "You wanna try a third attempt?"
Jake walked past, taking the baby to coo at. "C'mon, we'll get your daddy some soda so he calms down," he cooed. "Yes we will."
A supervisor came stomping over. "That amulet...."
"Will not be removed," Xander said, holding up his Council ID. The man stepped back. "You know very well we do not have to remove protection marks." He pointed at the bug. "That I did not know about or I would have left it in the rental car. I'm sorry his uncle got a bit paranoid about things. Now, is there anything else?"
"I believe your friend needed to show his Green Card." Cougar held up his military ID. He glared. "Really?"
"Really." He smirked. He pointed at clean cut guy in fatigues, waving him over. "Is this the proper ID?"
He looked. "Looks like mine only mine's in Florida and I'm in the Navy, Sergeant." He handed it back. He smiled at the guards. "They gave me grief over mine too. Did you guys not get briefed on what military ID looks like?" He walked off. "Have a good flight, sir."
"You too, Corporal," Xander called. "Thank you." The guy grinned at him. He looked at the guards. Then at Cougar. "Navy wearing BDU's?" he asked.
"I've seen it," Jake said as he walked back. "Yeah, he is." He handed back the baby and the soda, letting Cougar take the baby. "Is there more of a problem with your racist profiling because his family were Mexican? If not, we have a flight to catch and I've already grabbed their gear so it's not bothered." He smiled.
"No, no problem," the supervisor said.
"Don't worry, we'll never come through this dinky airport ever again," Xander assured him. "There's a bigger one fifty miles away." He walked off with them, taking his bag back. He put on the stomach carrier system and put the baby into it. Cougar took the baby back so he handed over the carrier system. That worked and Cougar was happy with that. So was the baby. Xander refilled a bottle with some juice for him for the take off and they waited. Xander spotted someone watching them and waved. "Yes, Officer?"
"Sir, who is that child's mother?" Xander pulled up his shirt to show the c-section scar. "Oh. So...."
"Mother, father," Xander said with a point. "Higher power made him. Why? His mom trying something?"
"She said she's supposed to have legal custody?"
"No, she doesn't even have the formal right of visitation right now," Xander said dryly. "There is no paperwork saying otherwise unless she forged it." He pulled out his birth certificate.
He read it, sending that back to that officer there, who said she didn't know the baby's birthday, didn't have a copy, and the paperwork was a bit handwritten. "A non-binding one even?"
"No," Cougar said. "My mother is mad," he said in Spanish. "She wanted to keep the baby. We would not let her."
"I can understand that, sir. Thank you for your patience."
Xander smiled. "I knew she was going to try something. The vision I had showed it." He smirked at Cougar. "You might want to talk to your middle sister about what she tells her child to say." Cougar called home to talk to her, making her start to shout. The baby jumped, starting to fuss so Xander took him to get him back to sleep. Cougar walked off with the officer talking to his sister. He got them into a corner and put her on speaking so the officer could hear what their mother had told her to teach her daughter to say.
They all said they were trying to protect the baby but Carlos told them why they weren't. Why he wasn't going to let them see him at all if they kept this up, and that yes, the baby was going to be with them exclusively. He hung up and looked at the officer, who patted him on the shoulder as he walked off. Cougar stared at Xander. "Yeah, that's the vision I had at the table," he said quietly.
Cougar nodded. "Tell me next time so I can spank."
"Okay. I can do that if there's a next time." Cougar smiled and nodded. Their boarding was called and they got on the plane. "Did we get the extra seat, Jensen?"
"No, there wasn't any open."
"Shoot. Are we together?"
"Slightly. I'm behind you, Coug's across the aisle." They settled in.
The stewardess looked at him. "Shouldn't he be in a car seat, sir?"
"No, he's just fine," he said with a smile. "This way he'll sleep most of it."
"If we have an emergency...."
"The car seat wouldn't protect him either," he assured her. "He's fine." She nodded and walked off. He looked down at the napping baby. As soon as they were taxiing he stuck the bottle back into his mouth. He sucked by reflex, but still fussed because the change in pressure hurt his ears. His seatmates were glaring. Xander glared back. They decided to mind their own business. Cougar handed over the diaper bag, letting Xander dig for something for his own ears. The baby settled back into his nap and it was better. When he woke up again, Xander let Cougar have him, carrier and all. That made Xadrian happy and Cougar got to change a diaper. Which the stewardess glared at him for. But yay. They were never flying this airline again.
Xander sent up his own prayers that things would be stopped before he had a fit and lost his temper. That helped a lot of things stop bothering them.
Jake let them into the house. It was two in the morning. All the lights were off. He let the other two proceed him in and then turned to close the door and turned back on the alarm system. He pointed at the couch, getting a nod from Cougar. Xander got Cougar's usual guest room and Jake went to his own bed. It had been a very long night.
Xander felt someone staring at him so blinked at them. "Yes?" he asked dryly.
The girl stared at him. "Who're you?"
"Jake?" he called.
Jake leaned in. "Elizabeth, this is my other sibling, Xander, and the baby is his son. Elizabeth was staying over last night."
"Nice to meet you, Elizabeth. Who has the baby?"
"Cougar took him on his run," Jake said with a grin. "C'mon, I'm making pancakes."
"You don't want to miss those," Xander told her. She ran out. He shook his head quickly, getting up to put on more than sweats. He even put on socks because he wasn't sure how fussy his sister was about bare feet in the house. He sat down next to the girl he had seen a few times. "Hi."
"Uncle Xander?" she asked, staring in awe. He nodded. She squealed and hugged him. "Oh! Mommy said you were coming next week!"
"We were but we needed to let Cougar's mommy rest," Xander said, patting her on the back with a grin. "Speaking of, he has your cousin."
"Cool!" She ran around the house to find him, then opened the door. "Uncle Cougar, I want to see my cousin now please!" she shouted.
"Quit being so loud before you wake the neighbors," Jake called, shooting Xander a look. Xander shrugged slightly, ducking his head.
"Close the door. You're letting all the heat out and heat is expensive," a female voice called.
"Uncle Cougar has my cousin and I want him now!" she shouted back. She walked outside, looking around. There he was. She ran over to where he was in the park. She didn't care if she was only wearing socks and pajamas. He caught her, keeping her off the baby. "That's my cousin," she said happily.
"Si." He carried her back to the house, putting her down once she was inside. "You're chilled. Go change." She ran off to do that while he closed the door. "Sorry," he told Jess quietly. She hugged him and kissed the baby on the head. "My mother tried to claim the baby."
"He's very sweet." She walked him back there. She stared at Xander then hugged him as hard as she could. "Dickhead, I missed you."
He stared at her. "Uh-huh." She swatted him but he hugged her back. She relaxed again. She sat down, letting Jake make pancakes. "He spoiled me rotten with them."
"Good!" She took the baby once he was out of the carrier, sitting him in her lap. "Aren't you so precious?" she cooed. Her daughter came back and made Cougar shift down a seat. "Apologize."
"Sorry, Uncle Cougar, but I really want to cuddle my cousin." He nodded that was fine, taking his pancake from Jensen.
"Elizabeth, did you want strawberry syrup, blueberry syrup, or regular syrup?" Jake asked.
"Please no fruit. It makes me have a rash."
"That's cool. We can make sure you don't get any," he promised with a smile, handing her a plain one with just margarine and regular syrup. Jess got her favorite one and he offered the other girl the can of whipped cream. She loaded hers up and handed it back. Jake sat down on the stool he had pulled in. "Jess, tip his head up?" She looked and shifted so he was more cradled against her chest.
"There's days he seems to want to lay in a little ball," Xander told her. He spotted Huffy and waved for it to disappear for a few minutes. "Let me check for the paper. For some reason I swear I heard it hit the back porch." He got up and went out there, closing the door firmly behind him. The hellhound reappeared. He petted him. The thing was whimpering.
"I'll take care of it," he promised. "If she's alive, protect her. Take her if you must, give her to Giles." The hellhound nodded, leaving with the orders he had given. He walked in and grabbed his phone from his room, speaking in Arabic on the way back to the table. "What happened? I just saw her friendly mutt. What?" He listened. "No, she leaves. Now. I don't care what her husband wants. Do I need to come get her?" He smirked.
"Bet me." He walked outside again, looking up to say something in another language. "There, it's not a problem." He hung up and called Giles. "Mel's coming your way and probably needs the infirmary. Apparently his needs counteracted her duty." He hung up. He caught control of his temper before he walked back inside. "Sorry. Someone I work with is having an issue with her husband." He sat down again, his phone going on the counter behind him. "She'll be fine. Giles will have her in a few minutes. But no paper. I must've heard wrong." The girls quit staring at him and ate. He dug in himself.
"Need a sitter while you go check on her?" Jensen asked quietly.
"No, Huffy is going to get her somewhere else." He smiled. "I love that mutt for how protective he is."
"Yeah, I can agree he is," Jensen agreed. "Eat, you're still underweight."
"Nag," he teased with a grin. "Does he nag you too, Jess?"
"Not that often but I eat breakfast most every morning."
He looked at her. "He wouldn't let me."
"I heard." She patted his arm. Xander ate and it was better. When a text message came in she handed over the phone. "Looks like she's safely in the infirmary?"
"Apparently it's a good decision for her." He sent a message to another number. "I'm telling her father that so he won't worry." He sent it and put his phone back. "Hopefully that's the only crisis this week."
"We all hope so," Jess agreed. She looked at him. He leaned over to tell her enough that she quit worrying. She nodded and dug in again. "Jake, you still have the touch with pancakes."
"Yes I do," he agreed. "Do we need to drive Elizabeth home?"
"No, her parents will be here about ten for her. The girls can play with the baby for a bit."
"He's my cousin," she told Elizabeth with a grin. "He's very tiny."
"He's not quite two months old yet," Xander agreed. "So you have to be pretty gentle with him, got it?" Both girls nodded and smiled. "Cool. You guys can play with him in the living room." Jess put the baby out there for them, letting them cuddle him and tell him stories. Xander could see and so could Cougar. So it'd be fine and the adults could finish the really good breakfast. Xander took the whipped cream to use too.
"Good, you're much too skinny," Jess said. She heard the fuss and looked. "What's wrong?"
"He didn't want to wiggle and we put down his shirt, mommy."
"Okay. Just be very gentle." They smiled at her.
Cougar waved his fork while he chewed. He was watching them. The girls were being very nice and reading to him at the moment about princesses. His poor son was surrounded by girls. It would warp him horribly.
When Elizabeth's parents showed up, Jess went out to talk to them. "I haven't gotten her packed yet. My brothers showed up a week early with one's new son," she said with a smile. "Elizabeth has been helping play with him all morning."
"We can come in for a few minutes," the mother assured her, following her inside. "Aww, he's adorable."
Xander looked up from his reading. "Thank you," he said with a smile. "The girls demanded playing rights."
"That's fine. It's a good lesson for them." She smiled at her daughter. "Your father's waiting." She ran to get her bag and pillow. She came bouncing back out grinning and happy.
"Mommy, can we have one of those?"
"No, dear. Your father only wanted you. That made you more special." Elizabeth beamed at her for that. She looked at the watching father. "You're planning on more?"
"No. I didn't really plan on him," he said dryly. "He just kinda appeared out of the blue." He waved a hand. She gaped. He smiled. "I recognize you from somewhere."
She swallowed. "You came to talk to my sister, Michelle."
"Ah." He nodded. "How is she doing?"
"Fairly good now that she's back home and settled in again. Things are fairly quiet and her daughter is getting scrutinized."
"Unless she has the mole there's no need to worry. Also, check the boys." He nodded at his son. "He's the one that allowed that to happen." The mother gaped. Xander nodded.
"Oh, dear. She has a son, we can check. That same mole?"
"Yup. And if she needs the testing solution, let me know and I'll get her some."
"I can do that. Thank you, Mr. Harris."
"Not a problem. We want all of them to have healthy, happy lives for as long as possible."
She smiled and nodded. "We do hope so." She hugged her daughter. "I'm so glad you weren't born with one." She walked her out to the car, taking her home to call her sister. Her husband hated to hear about such things but oh well. That's why they only had the one child.
Xander shrugged when Jess stared at him. "I was back for all of three days when I ran into her sister being attacked in DC."
"You're retired, right?"
"Fallen back to training," he said dryly. "At the compound."
"Fine." She took the baby to hold, making her daughter pout. "It's my turn. It's not like Uncle Jake has one I can spoil and love on."
"Uncle Jake, when are you going to give me cousins?" their niece demanded, scowling at him. "I need more cousins so I'm normal."
He shrugged. "Whenever I find someone I consider good enough to make babies with."
She pouted. "You can do like that guy on tv and have one."
"I know but I haven't slept with a guy that way."
"Oh. You mean guys having babies take two guys?" she demanded. Her mother nodded. "But when mommies do it, it only takes one daddy and a mommy."
"Yeah but for men to have babies certain things have to happen and mommies can't actually do that," Xander told her. "You'll find that out when you're older."
"Is that about why boys and girls are different?" she demanded of her Uncle Jake. He was really smart and knew everything.
"Well, shoot." She sat down to cuddle the baby. "So, Uncle Xander, did you have fun with Uncle Cougar?"
"Mine was done by a witch, sweetie. Sorry."
She shrugged and stole the baby to cuddle, climbing into her mother's lap. "Now we can both cuddle him." She smiled and nodded, cuddling them both. "I'll make sure you learn about good kid things. I don't think Uncle Jake knows much about them even though he knows everything."
"It's been a while since we were kids," Xander agreed with a smile. "You are so much like your mommy when she was little." The girl beamed at him.
"She is, yeah," Jake agreed with a smirk. The baby fussed. "What's wrong?" he asked, tipping his head to look at him. "Are we ignoring you, Xadrian?"
She sniffed and handed the baby back. "He's pooping," their niece declared.
"You know, some day you'll have one and have to change all the diapers," Jake teased, taking him to change, but Cougar took him instead. "Okay. Thanks."
"Thanks," Xander agreed, looking confused. Jake shrugged.
"Where is the compound?" Jess asked.
"There's none closer?" she complained.
"No. Not with a private beach, all sorts of equipment, a lot of privacy, mostly safe," Xander said with a small shrug.
"Shit." She hugged her daughter. "We'll have to get you a passport so we can visit."
Cougar came back with the baby. "He may be able to travel some for leave times," he said quietly, handing her the baby again. The baby let out a squeal, making all of them stare at him.
"Are you happy, son?" Xander asked with a grin, taking him back. "Did your Auntie Dawn possess you?" He cuddled him. "You sounded just like her."
"Is Dawn a literal auntie or a virtual auntie?" their niece asked her mom.
Jess shook her head. "I think she's one of Xander's coworkers. She's an aunt like Cougar's an uncle, dear."
"I thought he was an uncle by marriage," she said, scowling at him. Cougar shook his head. "Get to marrying the uncles then!" she demanded. "That way you're not a computer life uncle!"
Jake snickered, shaking his head as he took her to cuddle. "Sorry, sweetheart, we're not like that."
Xander snickered. "She's so a little you, Jess."
"Yes she is." She looked at Cougar. "We wouldn't mind in the least if you wanted one of them." He shook his head slowly. "Pity. It'd be good for them." She took the baby back, getting another squeal. "I love you too, Xadrian. You're a good boy." He beamed at her and patted her on the cheek. "I take it you're not sleepy anymore?"
"I think he's possessed," Xander said. "He's never been that active before." He got up to get something from his bag, bringing it back to sprinkle on him. Yup, the baby fussed. "Huh." He took him to the bathroom to put into the tub and do the exorcism. "Jake, it was Willow," he called. "She's OOB."
"I'll kill her myself this time," Cougar said in Spanish.
"Get in line," Xander called. The baby was back to normal so he handed him back to his niece. "Carefully and gently please." She nodded, walking him back out there so she could share him with her mother. Xander called Giles. "It's Xander. I just got Willow out of my son's body. No, she was out of hers. I don't care why, Giles. I just had to do an exorcism on my son, who is only a month and a half." He smirked. "That's why I'm calling you instead of finding my passport. Yes. Speaking of passports, how's Mel?" He listened. "You know what? We can stop there on the way home. Thank you." He hung up and walked out there. "We're going home via the long way through Qatar."
"Did they give her asylum?" Jensen asked.
"I have no damn clue," Xander admitted, sitting down. He looked through his phonebook. "Huh." He called someone. "Peter, Xander. I know, she's in Cleveland in the infirmary. Tell her husband I'm going to kill his ass.
"Xander!" Jess complained.
"Sorry. Anyway, Peter, Willow's in Qatar. I just pushed her out of my infant son's body. She was possessing him. No, no good reason," he said dryly. "And frankly I don't really care." He smirked. "Thank you. I don't know but if you get her somewhere more accessible I can handle it. Yeah but I haven't been to Qatar since Zara died in that car crash. That would be *wonderful* thank you. Yeah, tell her father they're both fine. Giles said she's doing good, but she's complaining about things. Thanks." He hung up. "Mel's overseer in Saudi will tell someone where Willow is to go home."
"No violence in front of the kids," Jess ordered, staring at him.
"That wasn't. I'm just having her expelled from where she's hiding." He smiled. "Mel's husband needs to learn manners and if I have to spank him so be it."
"Still, less violent thought around the kids."
"That's right," the baby said. Xander sighed but Cougar growled. The baby went 'eep', stiffened, then started to coo happily and wave his fist.
"I think you scared him, Uncle Cougar."
He smiled, taking the baby. "Hopefully." He sat down with his son, who was very happy to be up and played with.
Jake sat down next to Xander on the back step that night, taking his nephew. "What're we going to do about the split continent living plan we have?" Xander shrugged. "It's going to be hard to visit on leave since leave can be canceled within days."
"We can see if Dawn can put up an emergency portal or something," he offered. "We have a few of those at the houses that lead back to Cleveland but I'm not sure how stable they'd be."
"That's a good choice. We'd have to have a set place to put it from."
"I technically have an apartment in Houston," Xander admitted. "It's something I bought when I went to Africa so I had a peaceful place away from everyone."
"That's good to know. Where?" Xander shrugged. "You don't know?"
"I know the address, I have no idea where in the city it is."
"Huh. We can work on that," he decided, going to tell Cougar that. He could talk to Dawn about things and get it set up for their leaves. Or maybe one from Jolene and Pooch's house. That might be handy. Dawn answered the email pretty quickly and said she had already started those being built. They'd have to put the things that held the portals somewhere in the houses. Though she did know where his apartment was and sent him a link. He had one set up from Cleveland. Jensen brought the computer to Cougar to let him know.
"Doable," he decided.
Jake grinned. "It is. Plus she said she can set one up for Jolene and Pooch too."
"Handy," he agreed. Jensen nodded, bouncing off to tell Xander she had already started and it was going well. He agreed that was his apartment's address so that was good and Jensen could find it on a map. It was in a semi-decent neighborhood and they could check on it before they reported for their next assignment. Clay agreed he and Roque could check it out for them. Cougar agreed with that and so did Xander when they told him. Apparently the baby starting to sleep longer was doing wonders for his mood.
Clay walked up to the doorman. "I have a letter from a tenant," he said, handing over the faxed letter.
"We've never seen him. We know he bought one of the condos and pays things but I don't think it even has furniture."
"He's been working overseas and is getting ready to split his time between here and the office in Malaysia." Roque walked in. "So we're taking pictures for him and checking things. He said he left the keys in the kitchen cabinet above the sink?"
"I can let you guys up there after I call him." They had a voiceprint on the computer system from him because he had said he'd be out of the country for the most part for years on end. "Was he military?"
"Council," Roque said quietly. "Training the slayers."
"Poor guy. That's a rough job." He called up that voiceprint and called him. "Mr. Harris?" The phone got handed over. "Mr. Harris, this is Phil, the doorman in your condo's building." He listened, comparing the two. "That's fine, we can handle that, sir. Thank you for letting us know. Should we expect anyone else?" He nodded, making that note. "I'll be sure to let her in for you, sir. Thank you." He hung up. "He's also expecting a coven member to look at things."
"That way the protections can be put up," Roque agreed. The doorman nodded at that and walked them up to the elevator to let them in.
Clay looked around. "This place is tiny," he said. "No room for the squirt."
The doorman looked at him. "He has a son?"
"Just under two months old," Clay said with a smile. "A little boy."
"Aww. Though, you might tell him this building is supposedly only for singles."
"It's too small anyway, only the one bedroom," Clay said. "We'll help him look for a new one." The doorman nodded and left them alone. They sent pictures up to Xander, who said he had a bigger one with a south facing view. He sent all the saved down files he had and Clay took them to the doorman because that wasn't the number on the apartment they had been let into.
That 'mistake' got management called and they winced at it. So they had to refund his purchase price and fees because they had sold that apartment. Apparently they thought he wouldn't mind too much since he never visited. That got arranged within twenty minutes because Pooch played a lawyer when Roque called him. So they had funds to look for a new one. Fortunately, housing prices were down even in Houston.
Jensen and Xander both sent two different addresses. Xander's was in the middle of nowhere. Jensen's was in the middle of a neighborhood like this one, decreasing in value. They suggested looking near Jolene and Xander countered with LA. And why. That was a bigger reason and would let Jolene have a safer place to escape to in the US. Or the guys to have a place to camp in a major city.
In the end, they decided on Las Vegas. A good vacation spot. Strange things were shrugged off there. A semi-peaceful demon community. A lot of foreclosed properties so they could get something cheap. The area was warm enough for Cougar to enjoy, and the other guys could play all they wanted. It was within six hours of Cougar's family home if they broke the speed limit a little bit, or three by plane. Jolene had a safety exit built in to the house.
The exit to the compound was easily set up into the nice, tidy, modern condo with the faux brick walls. It was left open like another doorway in the house, or like adjoining motel rooms. Xander and the son came back there to put in beds, tear down the faux brick and put up local stonework, some iron work, and some pretty bronze things. And a fountain on the tiny veranda. The quad condo building had been a steal and theirs was on the ground floor so they had a tiny sliver of yard.
The others were all owned by reasonable people who had this as their 'play homes'. The fountain was pretty and soothing. The baby loved it. The one neighbor in residence was happy to meet them and hear that Xander's friends had use of the place when they were in town. It had been empty for a while. The three bedrooms were quickly set up and the kitchen as well.
Xander got some shopping done for the compound and sent it over. Including some new clothes that fit both him and the baby. The baby had hated the malls. He had screamed most of the trip until Cougar had taken him to the rented car. Xander finished shopping on his own. Which meant everything was a size too big but he'd grow into it. He stocked up on diapers too. Then they got dinner and went home.
For formal things, Xander had to fly back but that was fine. He could leave the baby with the guys for the few hours so he wasn't horrified by the flight. If anyone asked, he could say the baby had been too sick to fly so he had asked a favor from his coworkers. So when he finally got home, after the nosy people at the airport had been horrified by him being who he was and stating he was moving here most of the time, he was tired. He flopped down on a couch, shooting the small lizard he had startled into trying to run off.
Jake came over with the baby and diaper bag. "You have great timing. Clay's taking a call right now from our bosses."
Xander took his son, smiling at him. "Did you have a good afternoon with the unclies?" He let the baby rest on him. "Thanks, Jake. Be safe."
"We will." He kissed the baby on the head and went back through so they could leave.
Xander looked at the baby. "I have no idea what we'll do all by ourselves for the next six months but we'll work it out, son." The baby beamed at him. Xander got up to run the cable through the doorway. They had it designed so it could stay open all the time. Las Vegas got better cable than the satellite dish got in Malaysia. The son loved that bit of noise and fun colors. Xander got up to unpack their bags and fix dinner. It was nice that dinner was going to be so much smaller tonight without the stomachs of doom the other guys had. Xander knew he was still underweight but he'd work on that over the next few months.
Jolene stepped through the opening. "Xander?"
"Outside on the porch," he called. She walked out. "Problems?"
"Slightly. The guys are out of contact and I'm not sure why."
Xander texted his brother, who didn't answer. "Hmm. The health reading on Jensen is in the kitchen attached to the cabinet." She got it and brought it out. He activated it, frowning. "He's injured and pissed off. So apparently something went wrong." He logged onto the laptop beside him to look. "Which country are they in this time?"
"Columbia? I think." She sat down. "Where's the baby?" He pointed in the banana plant beside him. "Why?"
"He wanted to play with the dirt and I wouldn't let him get down into it so we're compromising. He's got some dirt that doesn't have spiders or mice and I can watch him make faces chewing on the totally edible leaves." He went back to typing. He informed someone of something and they said they'd let them go. "The demon warlord down there is really not happy."
"Why?" she asked quietly.
"He thought they were going to interrupt his daughter's upcoming wedding by Jensen proving he had the family lineage. So he took the others hostage to make sure he wouldn't. I told him very simply they weren't there for that and if he didn't leave them alone and make sure they were nicely healthy his daughter's wedding was going to turn into a massacre because I was still having hormone swings." He smiled sweetly.
She laughed. "For about six months afterward," she assured him. She cuddled the baby. "You're adorable like my own son is, Xadrian."
Xander looked at her. "He's got the runs, he's been cranky all day long, and he's hating baths to ease his sore butt."
"They do that."
"Usually he loves baths. I'm not sure why he hates it right now." He put the laptop aside and called someone down there. "What the hell were they doing?" He listened. Then he rolled his eyes. "Tell my brother that they're being handed back and they had better be in good shape or I'll be making that wedding worse than he ever thought might happen." He smirked. "No, Jensen isn't the baby's father. He's my brother, Rubio. Cougar is the baby's daddy. Exactly. Actually, I'm shocked you haven't seen Dawn yet."
He smirked at Jolene. "Thanks, Rubio. No, we're still talking. Laters." He hung up. "Dawn had already interrupted things because of that issue. Jensen is seriously pissed at her. They're being handed back and had better be in excellent shape." She handed the baby back, kissing him on the cheek. "You could've brought yours to play."
"He hates to fly." She got up and went back home. Her mother was watching the baby today. She had to get back to him before her mother warped her poor son into begging.
Xander looked at his son. "Let's go wash that butt problem of yours." The baby fussed. "It'll make you feel better, son." He put the laptop inside and came back to get him, bringing him back inside to bathe him. His son wailed but yay!
"Why are you making him stroke out?" a female voice yelled as she walked toward them.
"He's hating the diaper rash from having the craps and that the bath is helping it." He looked back at her. "Hey, Faith. Long way from home?"
"Brought you a new girl," she said with a smug look.
"Cool. Wanna help?"
"Fine." She knelt beside him. The baby sniffled at her, holding up his arms. "I like you too, kiddo, but you need to take the bath. Girls don't like boys with dirty butts."
He let her hold him while he bathed the area. "He's got to go to the doc's soon," he decided. "Even with the cream it's bad." She looked and grimaced. "Yup. We need to have that looked at." He looked out the door. "Which of the girls?"
"Cinderella's biggest fan," she said dryly.
"Hey, Sym," Xander called. She came to the doorway. He looked at her. "You grew!"
"Unfortunately. That means I'm tripping and things too."
He nodded. "I did the same thing. Buffy used to pick on me about it." Faith cackled, nodding. "So we'll work on it." She grinned. "But first, I need to take him to the baby doc for the butt rash."
She grimaced. "That does look painful."
"It does, yeah." He got up, taking the baby to put the rash cream on and then diaper, then redress. "We're going back to Vegas."
"That's cool," Sym agreed. "That means I can shop?"
"Only if you're paying for it," Xander said dryly. "There's a slayer shopping fund, talk to Giles about it."
"Fine," she sighed, making Faith laugh. They walked through and Xander got them into a cab to the baby doctor's office. He had picked a nice one that was an older, friendly guy. He came in smiling. "Hi, Doc," Sym quipped.
"You're not a patient, young lady."
"This is Sym and Faith, I'm training Sym," Xander told him. He undressed him and took off the back of the diaper, making the doctor grimace. "He's screaming at the water. I've washed it every single time he does anything. I've been using the cream. It only seems to be getting worse. I have no idea what the hell caused the runs."
"Babies get that all the time, Xander." He came over to look at the rash. "I can see a good coating of the cream."
"He's just out of the bath," Xander told him. "I've been trying."
"I know. Washcloth when you clean him?"
"Most of the time. I switched to a thicker, more soft wipe when the rash started. We've used it before so I know he's not allergic. Unless he's allergic to the rice cereal I've started to add to his bottle?"
"No, that's why we say to start with rice cereal. Do you have any with you?" Xander dug into the diaper bag, finding the bag and letting him see it. "Hmm, it could be the additives." He let him see. "His body may not be ready for that yet."
"Sorry, that's the only rice cereal I found where we live most of the time."
"I understand that. While you're here, pick up some that has no additives." Xander nodded. "Does he cry after eating it?"
"He's been nothing but gas and crying at the water. Which I really don't get."
"It might be that it's burning the sores a bit. Are you going with overly warm?"
"No, body temperature. After the first time I made sure it wasn't too hot or cold. And cold washclothes versus warm when cleaning him doesn't seem to matter."
"Let's clean off that cream so I can look at it easier, Xander." He nodded, pulling out some wipes to clean him off. The baby peed on the diaper he had left cover his front. "That looks normal," he said, looking at the diaper.
"About the same amount as usual and it's not irritating him there," Xander admitted. "But here's the poo." He cleaned that off too. The doctor took the wipe to look over. "I've kept him out of the dirt, no matter how much he wants to play with it, and all sorts of things. Earlier I let him sit in a potted banana plant because he really wanted in the dirt and I know they're edible leaves."
"They mostly are." He shrugged, tossing that out. He looked at the rash, making the baby fuss. "That has to hurt him."
"That's why I went to this one, because it has some lidocaine in it," Xander admitted, showing him the cream. "There's no difference between that and desitin beyond that."
"I can agree with that reasoning. I'd guess it probably hurt him too." He put some cream on, watching as the skin soaked it in and nothing happened. "All right, let's move to a prescription cream. Let's try a more bland and more natural rice cereal."
"I'm about to start feeding him the stuff the mothers used in Africa. It was specially ground grains that's boiled really thick."
"As pure as you can and as bland as you can." Xander nodded. "Is this the only problem he's had?"
"Yeah. I've been fighting this now for four days. It only got this bad earlier."
"That's fine. If that rice cereal doesn't work, try him with the other major grains?" Xander nodded. "It's not celiac disease, that's only with wheat. That's bad and I'm hoping the runs stop." Xander found the bottle of stuff, holding it up. "Definitely," he agreed with a smile.
"Since yesterday and I started him on extra apple juice too."
"Good idea. How is his drinking?"
"He's slurping gallons."
"Good. You said once you have a house by the ocean?" Xander nodded. "Is it possible he drank some seawater?"
"We go sit in the surf sometimes but that's only up to his waist. He sits on my lap usually."
"All right. Does he scream at that?"
"No, which is really weird."
"Test your water. Make sure it's clean?" Xander nodded. "I know you live overseas half the time."
"Local filtered well."
"You may need to change the filter."
"I'll check that."
"Good boy. And smart to have me look at that." He made notes, wrote the prescription. "See us in a week if it's not better or sooner if it breaks open, starts to bleed, or anything else really worrying starts."
"I can do that."
"Good boy, Xander." He handed over the papers and left him to see the next patient.
Xander bundled everything back up. "We can do two things at once," he decided, looking at Faith. "Can you do the pharmacy run?"
"Of course." They walked out and Xander paid his copay so they could leave. He and Sym went to a whole foods store to find what he wanted and then a few 'natural' food stores. They met with Faith at the apartment. They went back through, finding Jensen waiting. "How did you get back so fast?"
"Dawn." He smirked. "What's wrong?"
"Diaper rash from hell." He put the baby on the couch, putting up the groceries. Then he grabbed the holy water and splashed Jensen, making him shriek and change forms. "So how is my brother?"
"He's fine," the demon said, glaring at him. "You're pushy."
"I can have another mood swing," Xander offered dryly. "You got paranoid for no reason."
"Fine." He glared. "They were in the area and it was reasonable."
"Tell that to them."
"I did. They're not very nice."
Xander stared at him. "Are any of us who handle problems *really* nice?"
"Well, no," he admitted. He looked at the staring slayers. "His brother's team was in the area right before my daughter's wedding. I wanted to make sure someone like their father wouldn't interfere."
"We're nothing like the sperm donor."
"Well, you *are* chaos incarnate sometimes," the demon said dryly. He looked at the fussing baby. "Diaper rash that bad?"
"Yeah, we're not sure why," Xander admitted.
"Switch to cloth diapers," the demon said dryly. "My daughter had some that were too rough."
"He has the runs. I'm going back to native food with him."
"That's reasonable. I'm not mean to them," he offered. Xander stared at him. "Can you make them leave the area?"
"I don't make their assignments and I don't know why they were in the area. Talk to Jensen."
"Fine." He looked at the baby. "Is he ill?"
"I don't think so," Xander admitted. "We'll have to see." The demon nodded and disappeared. He looked at Faith, who smirked at him. "I have cloth diapers in the closet. Can you grab some?" She went to do that. "Sym, pick a room down the second hallway," he said quietly with a point. "We'll start on the training stuff tomorrow." She nodded, doing that. He got the baby receamed since he had just peed and was fussing at it.
He put on a cloth diaper and settled in to work some of the whole grains he had gotten to mash them to the right size. That being boiled stunk a bit but that was fine. He had smelled it often enough. The baby liked it and whatever was causing the problem might just be eased. Xander even went to milk the goat he had for the lawn. That way the baby had fresh, natural milk. Faith watched but she and Sym went to look over all the training equipment Xander had fixed up. Some of it had been in pieces due to age.
Cougar walked into the portal and through, staring at the fussing thing. "Problem?" he asked quietly. Sym jumped.
"Who're you?" she demanded.
Xander leaned over from his spot on the couch. "That's Cougar, he's the baby's daddy. I so go clean that before it gets infected, Sym."
"Yes, oh great one," she complained, stomping to her bathroom.
Cougar walked out, finding his fussy son. "Is he sick?"
"He's still got the diaper rash from hell. I'm starting to wonder if it's a demon curse." He handed him over. "We've done everything to try to get it down."
Cougar let the baby snuggle him and patted him on the back. "What's that?" he asked, feeling something.
Xander looked and grimaced. "A spider bite. I need to check his room again. I did last night but apparently I missed one." He got up with a groan to go check.
Cougar stopped him, checking his baby mama's forehead. "You're sick too?"
"Possibly." He went to check. The spider got stomped on. The bug netting got checked, no holes. "Must've crawled under," he decided, letting more down once he had checked the bed area. It was still bug free. He wobbled, grabbing onto the crib.
"Xander?" Sym asked.
"Hush," Cougar ordered. He called Jensen, who told him what to do to check him for it being mystical instead of physical. That was the easiest to check and the young slayer could help him.
She grimaced at the baby. "I'm not mommy material, Xadrian. Don't get that happy." Cougar glared at her and she shrank down onto the couch. "We can have Dawn check."
"Fuck it, I can have someone on that side check," he said, finding something and burning it with a lighter. A tiny demon stared at him as it appeared. "Is mine and the baby's illness mystical?"
"Are you turning into Rosenburg?"
"Hell no. Why?"
"You feel much like her." The demon went to look at the baby, nodding. "He has your hellmouth taint?"
"Probably got some during the pregnancy?" Xander guessed.
"Quite possibly. Huh." He did something and the baby suddenly got happier. "Quit feeding him rice all together, Xander." He looked at him. "Have someone stop the witch. She's too powerful for me to work against." Cougar called someone to tell them that. "Where is she?"
"Hiding," Xander said bluntly. "She's still in Qatar, Cougar."
"She moved to Pakistan last night," he corrected. He finished the short conversation and hung up, coming over. "I can watch them."
The demon smiled. "That's always a good thing. He could use some sleep too. That's what half of this is. Half of the diaper rash is the inability to eat rice without it causing stomach problems. Whatever else you've been feeding him is fine." He smiled and disappeared. That was an easy repayment of that debt.
Xander looked at him. "Want to sit tonight?" he asked quietly.
"That is why I came," he said in Spanish. "Go rest." He nodded, going that way. He looked at the staring young woman. "Go do girl things." She grinned and headed back to Las Vegas for a bit. He rolled his eyes. He did not understand teenage American girls. He took the baby to bathe him, wincing when he didn't like the water. So instead he took him down to the waterfront to wash him in the ocean. He liked that a lot. He'd add some salt to the bath water later, see if that helped. Sometimes it was the little things that the baby fussed at.
Jensen and Clay walked through the portal. "We heard there was a huge problem," Jensen said. Cougar nodded. "What sort?"
Jensen grimaced. "Why?"
"Jealous, mean, stupid," he said, waving a hand. "All of the above."
Jensen nodded. "Where might she be?"
"Pakistan. With Clara." He smirked. Clay snickered at that. "Disconnect the filter." Clay went to do that. The water coming out of the tap looked orange and smelled like sulphur so they changed the filter and put on a better one for Xander since he was still asleep. Jensen went to draw protections around the bed for him. That eased his sleep some.
Then they settled in to watch the baby enjoy his first bath for the last week. Sym walked in with a new nose piercing, making Jensen 'talk' with her. Then he got Clay onto her. He showed her why it wasn't a good idea when he sparred with her. So the nose ring got changed to something smaller and more subtle. Clay worked on her hand-to-hand. Xander napped. Jensen worried, and the baby got happier and healthier.
"Rice cereal?" Jensen asked, looking in the cabinets.
"No," Cougar ordered. "It caused the rash." Jensen gave him a funny look. "Use the thing in the jar." Jensen found it and the directions on it, making some for the baby. They got to sit down and feed him, which made him a happy little guy. Xander slept all the way through the morning and he looked a lot healthier when he finally got up.
Cougar stared at Xander the next morning over breakfast. "Someone handled her," Jensen told him quietly. "Cougar arranged it."
"Thanks," Xander told him. Cougar gave a one-sided shrug. Clay walked out with the happy baby cooing at him. Xander took the baby from him. "Are you feeling better?"
"Your filter was too strict. We let it keep some of the minerals. We added some salt to his bath water and he enjoyed the hell out of it," Jensen said with a grin. Xander hugged him and Cougar for that. "What is that jar of stuff?"
"Naturally boiled down grains. I need to make some more."
"I saw the bag of them under the sink," Clay told him, sitting down once he had some coffee. He looked around. "The slayer?"
"Sym's probably still in bed," Xander admitted. "Slayers are supposed to work late at night." That got a nod from them all. "Yeah, I've been mashing them myself and boiling them down. He seems to like that when I make it with fresh goat's milk." Jensen grimaced and Cougar shuddered. "It's better for him and if he has even the hint of a milk allergy it'll help. Besides, having it means I don't have to mow."
"That's definitely a benefit," Jensen agreed with a smile. "Did we get baby goats?"
"Newly weaned but we kept milking her. I'll let her have another one when she's in heat." That got a nod and they ate breakfast. The baby fussed but his bottle of goats milk made him happy. It made them all happy they were feeling better.
Cougar had been ordered to come home by his mother so on his next leave he went home for a few days. He walked in and his mother hugged him. He smiled at her. "Hola, Mama."
Cougar shook his head. "I saw him last leave." He sat down when she made him. "We know now that he has a dislike of rice. It upsets his stomach. He has no other allergies that we know of."
"You always start babies on rice flour," she said with a scowl. He shrugged. "Why?"
"Gave him gas and the runs. Xander switched to native grains and it's better."
"Fine. I suppose. I have not gotten pictures, Carlos. That boy is keeping him from me."
Cougar stared at her. "Do you wonder why?" he asked. His mother scowled. He stared back. She huffed off into the kitchen saying he was too skinny. Cougar wrote that text message to Xander, who said she could see him if Cougar had him with him. He had to help Sym handle something soon anyway. Cougar said that'd work and Xander said he'd send him later that night.
His mother came back with a sandwich. "Xander will let me watch him here while something happens." She beamed. He ate because he knew not to argue on that topic. They talked a bit until Dawn showed up with the baby, two bags, and a small jar hanging off one. "Hola, Dawn, Xadrian." He took his son.
Dawn smiled. "Hi, Mrs. Alvarez. Dawn Summers. Xander had me bring him over for him since he's got a huge battle coming up." She put down the bags. "The blue is his diaper bag, has spare cloth diapers since he's got a bit of a rash again. Just the normal stuff and the cream's in there. He's also got some clothes in both bags. The jar is the goat's milk," she said, handing it over with a smile.
"It's been helping his stomach a lot. The jar of oatmeal stuff is in the red bag. It's got directions on the card on it." She kissed the baby on the head. "You be a good boy for Daddy Carlos, sweetheart, and we'll see you in two whole days. Once we make the bad demon trying to sacrifice virgins no more." She disappeared from the spot.
Cougar looked at his son. "She is bouncy like your mother," he said quietly, making the baby squeal and pat him. Cougar smiled back, letting the baby cuddle him. "It is good to see you too." He looked at his mother.
"Goat's milk? That's what you feed babies with a milk allergy."
"Xander has one for lawn duty."
"Oh. So it's fresh goats milk," she said, taking it to the fridge. She dug out the 'oatmeal' to look over. Simple directions. Already boiled down. "I gave you corn when you were that young." He shrugged. "Does it bother him?"
"No idea," he admitted. He texted that and Xander sent one back. He let her read it. Xander hadn't been able to find any but he had fed him some thinly mixed masa mixture and that had gone over well.
"Good," she decided, taking that into the kitchen as well. "Is he old enough for real baby food yet?"
"Few months," he said. He looked at his son, who was napping and smiling. Which meant he had probably just crapped himself again. Cougar checked, carefully changing him so he wouldn't wake the baby. His mother set up the crib for him and it was nice. His son sighed in pleasure when he got laid down. He found his thumb, curled up onto his side, and napped.
"You do make a beautiful baby," she told him with a smile and a pat on the arm. He grinned back. "Are you and Xander working on an arrangement?" He shook his head. "You should. That way I get more grandchildren." He shook his head more quickly this time. "Yes I will."
He shook his head. "Not likely."
"You should. I need more grandchildren," she said in Spanish.
"Unless I carry them...." She shuddered, walking off crossing herself. He shrugged and checked the bags for what Xander had packed. He had a good four days worth of gear. That was good. He settled in to let his mother nag him some more. She seemed to enjoy it and her being happy kept her younger and more healthy. So he'd put up with the nagging. One of his sisters came over with her kids. Who were sick. "No," he told her. She flinched, staring at him.
"Is Xadrian here?" she asked. He nodded. "Shit. The kids have chicken pox." Cougar shook his head. "I'll keep them apart. Don't go near the baby," she told her kids. Cougar ordered it and they listened to him. They stared from afar at the baby. Cougar could handle this. He really could. He hoped.
Xander showed up five days later limping, looking like hell. Cougar's mom opened the door. "I'm fine," he said at her gasp. "Really. An extra demon showed up to nag." He walked in, looking at his son and baby daddy. "He's sleepy again?"
"He has been," Carlos offered. "Battle go badly?"
Xander snorted. "Don't ask. We had an extra one show up to taunt and help." He sat down beside him, which made the baby wake up. "Hi, Xadrian." The baby cooed and patted him, making him wince. "I know, those are booboos you'll hopefully never have to have." He took him to hold. "Did you have a good visit with the daddy and grandmother?" The baby cooed and snuggled. Xander patted him gently, getting burped on for that. But that was fine.
"Xander, you need more time to heal," Cougar's mom ordered.
He stared at her. "No I don't. I got discharged earlier. I'm fine. I had worse than this when I was first pregnant with him." She glared. He stared back. She backed down. "Anyway," he said, looking down. "Is that a rash on your scalp?"
"He got dusted," Mama admitted. "I didn't see Carlos when I was spraying dusting spray."
He nodded. "I've done that once or twice." He cuddled the baby, letting him get comfy and go back to sleep. "I know, it's a good day to be sleepy. It's warm and bright and you've got snuggly people." He patted him again. "So," he told Cougar. "Clay called, said he was coming to find you tomorrow." Cougar muttered a swear word in Spanish. "Basically, yeah." He grinned. "Did you want him to find you here or in Vegas? I know he's in Seattle right now for some reason."
"Here is fine," he decided, taking his son back. "Rest."
"I'm fine. All stitched up and things." He stared at him. Then at the nervous looking woman. "Problems?"
"You'd never let us sit him alone, would you?"
"After what you tried our last visit? Hell no." He stared at her. "I'd never let anyone or anything hurt my son." She nodded. "Why do you look so nervous?"
"Your padre showed up last night," Cougar said quietly, looking at him.
"Is everyone all right? Is someone possessed?" he asked, pulling out his phone to warn his brother and sister. Jake was up with Jess and their niece.
"He only wanted to see his only grandson," she said.
Xander stared at her. "My paternal unit isn't really a *nice* person, Mrs. Alvarez. He's a chaos sorcerer." She shivered. "He took my twin brother and little sister with him when he abandoned me at the ripe old age of six. He told them I was dead. He's also the reason I've been possessed and why I had him."
"He said that was so you'd survive," Cougar told him.
Xander shook his head. "Yay?" He shrugged. "I don't want Ethan anywhere near my son. I don't give a damn if he'll stop an apocalypse because of it. There's no way in hell I want him anywhere near my son to fuck up his life like he did mine. He's done enough damage to this family."
"He's coming to dinner tonight because Carlos kept the baby in the crib last night," Mrs. Alvarez said. "Should I worry about setting a place for your mother?"
"She refused to evacuate Sunnydale before it fell in and I didn't have the time or the energy before battle to work up the emotion to care," Xander told her bluntly, making her gasp. "I've seen some wonderful parents but mine aren't it. My stepfather died at the same time so why don't you make a nice, tiny dinner tonight? I'll be sure to drive my paternal donor off and it'll be okay. Before he decides to hurt someone." He looked at Cougar. "Thank you."
"I know how you feel about him," he said in Spanish, getting a nod. "He sees Jess?"
"If so she's a lot more tolerant than I am."
Cougar shook his head. "He said if he had not left you there, then you would have been harmed. Doing so led to great things."
Xander snorted. "Yeah, right," he said dryly. "Unfortunately I'm the only seer in the entire family history. He had no idea who I was when he showed up with his halloween stunt to get us possessed by our costumes and I barely recognized him after the fact because the soldier brought forth the memories I had tried to push down. He still didn't recognize me when we showed up to stop his plans *helping* the Mayor so he could sacrifice babies for his ascension bid." He stared at him. "He doesn't get near our son."
"Maybe he wants to make amends," Mama offered.
"No, he's not like that. This will further some plan of his. He has no real desire to see my son otherwise. He made himself very plain when he left me there to die. He actually made a deal with the former Mayor to leave me there to be sacrificed if he could save the other two, more important children. I saw the contract my senior year." Cougar shuddered. "So no, he's not going to be anywhere near my son." He took him back. "Let's go to Vegas, little guy. Your daddy can beat up on Ethan for me and Unclie Jake," he said.
"Maybe if you talk to him you'll be a happier parent," Mama said, staring at him. "He does not leave this house, Xander."
He stared at her. "Who says I'm unhappy, Mrs. Alvarez? I'm very content and happy with my current life. It may not be where I thought I'd be but I'm perfectly content."
"If you were, you'd do the honorable thing and let my son propose."
"I left that up to your son," he said bluntly. "Beyond that, I'm not the sort who'd make myself miserable that way. Cougar barely knows me. He's clearly not ready for that step, if he'll ever want it. That's all up to him."
"You wouldn't accept if I did," Cougar told him.
"That's because it'd make us both miserable. You're gone most of the year. I'm going to be training the girls for now and then later on traveling all over the world myself. That's not really a marriage."
"No, it's not," he agreed. "Which is why I didn't."
"And I totally respect you for that. A lot of guys would do it out of duty and make themselves and their kids miserable. If I wanted to be miserable I could go back to Cleveland." He got up. "Let me get his things." Cougar nodded, helping him gather them. Mama threw something on them that the boy's father had given her. She had to rescue the baby and took him back to the kitchen to coo at him.
Xander woke up ten minutes later and nudged Cougar, who snapped awake. He stared at him. "That was magical," he said dryly. "Not just the sleeping beside you part either." They got up and Cougar finished packing things for him while he went to get his child back. He walked off with him under his arm, listening to him squeal. "I'm happy you're good too, son. C'mon, we'll go home. That way you can suck up to the goat again. I'm sure she'd like to play again." Cougar looked at him. "He's trying to crawl after her."
"I'm sure he'll make it soon." They heard a car and Xander grimaced. He handed over the baby and walked out there, staring at his father as he got out of the car. "I could've sworn you weren't this stupid, Ethan."
"Not even a hello? A thank you for saving my life?" He smiled.
Xander waved him on. "Come closer. I don't feel like limping after you again." Ethan gave him a horrified look. Xander limped after him anyway and beat the crap out of him. Cougar came out to pull him off him, handing him the baby so he could take over. "I'm sorry you had to see that, son. I didn't want you to know people like that existed for years yet." He went inside to get the two bags and the carrier, coming out putting the carrier on. "There we go. Let's go home. Let the daddy talk to his mommy about things and see if a priest can check her for magic." He smiled at Cougar. "Thank you."
"He deserves the best." He patted his son on the head. "I will see you soon."
Xander grabbed his head, holding it. "No. You won't. Don't go to Bolivia, Cougar. Any of you. It's a trap. Come to the compound and I'll fix that shit." He walked off, using his mini portal to get back to Vegas and then home. He walked in and found Willow waiting and sneering. So he punched her. "Let me guess, you and my father joined forces?" He called Giles once she was tied up.
"I beat the shit out of Ethan for both of us when he showed up at Cougar's mother's house," he said dryly. "And I knocked out Willow since she was here and sneering. No, I'm going to roast her ass." He hung up. If someone didn't pick her up in a few minutes, he'd have a cheery witch bonfire. He checked, undoing what she had been doing. The poisoned food got put aside as well. Giles came out of the portal so he held it up. "Hemlock for the baby?"
"That is unnecessary."
"She did it, not me."
"Oh, dear." He took it to look over. "That is hemlock, yes. Your father?"
"With Cougar, his daddy. I managed a pretty impressive showing before he pulled me off Ethan." He stared at her. "Is she back in junkie phase or is she in league with him?"
"I do not know." He bent down to wake her up. "Willow, what were you thinking?"
"That baby will destroy the slayers!"she shouted.
"I think that's why he is one," Xander said dryly. He nicked the baby's thumb, getting a fuss. "I'm sorry. You can suck it in a minute." He smeared some of the blood on some gauze then put the slayer testing solution on it, showing her. "See?" She shuddered. The baby was sucking on his thumb, scowling at them.
Giles smiled. "He does look quite like you when you're mad."
Xander looked in a mirror, smiling. "Good scowl, son. Very good scowl." He looked at Giles again. "I'm about at the bonfire stage."
"I can see why," he admitted. "She is still Willow."
"She hasn't been Willow since she started to kill with her magic, Giles." She was chanting and trying to teleport off so he kicked her on the temple, knocking her back out. "No more. I can't let this endanger my son." He shrugged. "I'll do it if I have to. I knew I'd have to take her out some day."
Giles shook his head. "There's ways we can block her, Xander."
"So she'll take up hacking instead?" he asked dryly. "Or she'll suck at the hellmouths?" Giles shuddered. "She's still connected to Sunnydale, Giles. There's no way." She mumbled a fire spell and he shot her, just once. That's all it took. He took a deep breath, fighting down the nausea. "I.... I can't let her hurt him."
"No, you can't," he agreed. "We'll have her buried in the Council's cemetery with the fallen slayers, Xander." He patted him on the shoulder. "You did the right thing."
"She's already made both of us sick once. She was trying to kill him this time. I can't. I simply can't."
"No, you cannot." He called the coven to pick her up and bring her home while he got Xander calmed down and able to process what he had done. "You were right, none of us could have," he said quietly. "Like on that cliff."
He nodded. "I knew before then that Buffy would never be able to handle it if it was one of us."
"I believe that's the only good reason that the Council wanted the girls not to have friends," he admitted. He left, going home to handle things. Xander could clean up the small mess she had made. Buffy was sobbing. "She was trying to poison Xander and Xadrian," he told everyone staring at the body. "She had put hemlock in his food and in some of Xander's food." Buffy stared at him. "He wrote a report when she made him and the baby sick magically the last time."
"But this is Willow..." She choked down a sob.
"Yes, and she had her problems but now she's at peace." He stared at her. "We were going to confine her but she was a danger to everyone, Buffy. She was still linked to the hellmouth as well. Possibly both of them."
"Yeah, she is," Dawn admitted, stepping forward to sever those links. She sighed, looking at Giles as she pulled something hidden off Willow's side. "Hart's blood?" He blanched, taking it to look over. "I know she was looking it up and I warned the head researcher."
"I thought she was going after whatever chaos sorcerer sort was trying to taint her," he defended.
"No, she went after Xander. Who suspiciously had his father show up to try to take control of his son." Buffy shuddered. "He beat him. With her he was kinder." He looked at her. "We'll bury her as part of the Council. She was until she slipped again." She nodded, walking off. Dawn smiled at him but followed her sister to help her. "Someone test the girls to make sure they're all right." The other watchers nodded, going to do that.
Buffy got sent to where Xander was with the baby. "I understand why you did it," she said, sitting next to him.
He looked at her. "Because she was going to kill me and my son. I couldn't let him be hurt, Buffy."
"I know." She patted him on the arm. "We decided we don't hate you for that. None of us do, even me." He gave her a weak smile. "Why are we in the jungle?"
"Someone's setting up his daddy to die."
"Shit," she muttered.
"Basically, yeah. I have the feeling that Ethan's involved somehow since it was awfully coincidental that he showed up now." He looked at the compound then at her. "Cougar's going to be here in an hour."
"That's fine." She took the baby to cuddle. He cooed and loved on her shoulder. It was soothing. "Now what're you going to do?"
"I'm going to do what I do best, Buffy. I'm going to solve a problem. And then we're going to go home." She nodded. "I'm sorry I had to."
"No, you had to. She was involved. We found a diary from her that said she was helping Ethan get the baby as a powerful sacrifice to keep the slayers all strong."
"Yeah, I found the deal he made with the mayor to leave me in Sunnydale to have me killed as a sacrifice so he could save the other two." He stood up. "Let me handle this. Can you handle him for an hour?"
"Of course. You sure?"
"Yeah. I'd rather have this done before they get here. No need for them to see this. They think I'm nice most of the time." He left, sneaking down to the compound. He had done this sort of thing before to rescue his girls. Not much different this time only he was saving in advance. He finished up and left, leaving a direct link modem in the computer's drive for Jensen and leaving a window open for them to sneak in and get the files. He walked back, taking the time to clean up in a fountain. He found Jake watching. "I left his system on and plugged in. The filing cabinets are next to the open window."
"Thanks. You didn't have to."
"Yeah I did. Somehow this was all involved and I'm not sure why. I'm going to find out why." He walked around him, finding Roque cooing at the baby. He smiled. "He's a good soul's ease for the bad days."
"You left him with Buffy?" Clay asked.
"Hey!" Buffy complained. "I needed the cuddle. He had to take out Willow too." Xander gave her a hug, making her relax. "They're really sneaky."
"It's part of their job," he agreed with a grin. Jensen was already logging in and finding what he had left on. "He had two extra hard drives in a filing cabinet, Jake." He nodded, letting Roque and Clay go get them for him. He watched Buffy and Cougar with his son, sitting on a tree stump. He needed to calm himself and get himself right again. He finally put the knife up and Cougar looked at him. "I keep expecting snakes down here."
"There are way too many of them," Jake said dryly. He listened to the comm. "There's a guard shift change but they have it."
"I mined the road. The thing's on the gateway," Xander admitted. They heard it go off and he shrugged. "Pretty work when you need to do it." He looked at the horrified look Buffy had. "Who do think snuck into compounds to rescue the girls when they were taken?" She stuttered. "Someone had to."
"But you're goofy and normal and ...."
He shook his head. "I'm as much a soldier as they are, Buffy, just in a different war. I was the dirty little secret fixer anytime we needed one. This was like my sixth time doing that down here and I had another four in Africa and one in the Middle East." She shuddered, clutching the baby. "Not everything that wants slayers dead are demons. Some would really like to take advantage of the gifts for other reasons. Speaking of, there's a pre-slayer in the local village."
"I'll pop through there," she promised quietly, handing him back. "Are you going to keep doing that?"
"Only if I have to."
"Thank you." He shrugged but nodded. "I didn't know but... thank you for handling stuff and making us safer." She hugged him.
Xander's phone went off. "Huh. Send Dawn to my place to stun the fuckers, Buffy." He let Jensen have it to look at the video feed. "That's the head minion." Jensen nodded, typing that into the system and telling Clay and Roque. "No Pooch?"
"Base camp," Cougar said. He took the baby back. "Finish calming down." Xander shrugged. "We will handle them."
Xander smiled. "It all depends on what he wants." He used his emergency beacon to get home, staring at them. "You needed something with my baby's clothes?" he asked dryly. The man smirked at him. Xander shot him in the chest. He knew he had body armor on. Two more minions ran in so he killed them. "Pity you brought minions. I hate minions."
"Young man. You are not what we expected," the leader said as he strolled in.
"Hmm, I never am. What did you want, Max?"
"I'm told you're a seer. Is that how you know who I am?"
"Yeah, you tried to fuck with my twin brother."
"Hmm, yes, he's in an ...inconvenient spot."
"Pity that plan's stopped. That drug dealer kinda...croaked." The head minion laughed at that. Xander stared at him. "I know your type, dude. I killed a few of you in Africa." He looked at the other one again. "Make your offer and then die, dude. You're boring the hell out of me."
"I want you to work for me," he said smugly. "We can do great things for humanity."
"Hmm. No." He said something, then let loose with all the stuff he held in, making the head minion gape in horror as he glowed. "I don't think so." He let it loose on them, making them scream. The demon he had asked to come eat them showed up now that they were nicely cooking for him. Xander locked it back down. "Find out what he's doing with my father?"
"New world order shit, Xander."
"Can you tell me where their headquarters are so we can raid it?"
"For a favor I can have your brother told," he said smugly.
Xander kissed him on the cheek. "You still owe me majorly."
"I've already had to kill some people today," he said with a grin. "He sent people to fuck with my family."
The demon shuddered. "That was horribly stupid. Where's the slayer you're training?"
"Las Vegas again," he said dryly. "Take them and let me know?"
"I can do that." He put balls on their heads and handed them over once they were full then left with his snacks. He did adore Xander.
Xander took the balls back to his son, handing them to Jensen. "Rememberalls."
"Huh." He put them into the special case. "Thanks, Xander."
"Welcome." He took his son back. He spotted Clay coming his way. "Max is no more. He stupidly wanted me to work on his side." Buffy snickered. "You're a seer, we can do great things," he mimicked. "Fucking idiots." He walked off, taking his son. "If I find out more about him, I'll let you know. Watch out for his daughter."
"Already got a picture of her," Jensen quipped. "Why?"
"She and Clay were fighting and a hotel caught on fire." They disappeared.
"I think he's a bit pissed off," Jensen quipped.
"Clearly," Cougar agreed.
"Whenever I get in that mood, he sets me up on a blind date so I get laid," she said, staring pointedly at Cougar. "Cordelia said that might be a good idea."
"She's cracked mentally too," Jensen quipped. "Since she wanted Cougar to take both of us in."
"Well, you two aren't close twins," she said with a grimace. "But still twincest so eww, don't tell us those details. I'd have to take the baby and be a mommy, which would horrify the demons."
Jensen stared at her. "I don't think I'd ever screw my twin brother unless the world was going to end, Buffy."
"So, this spring, next spring," she offered with an evil smirk. "It's always apocalypse season in the spring." She strolled off. "Which way to the local village?"
"West," Roque said with a point. She changed directions, heading for the road. He shook his head. "I did not want that mental image."
"Me either," Jensen said as he typed. "My big brother is a bit tough for his own good."
"It'd be like taming a wild cat," Cougar said. He looked around. "When are we due to call?"
"Six hours. All the files are loaded into the truck Pooch brought for the higher ups." That got a nod. "This Max guy?"
"World domination sort," Jensen said with a smirk. "What I'm finding is that he's an arms dealer who wants to redraw the borders everywhere so the US is the world leader again."
"We'll get into him soon," Clay decided.
"He's dead," Jensen said, pointing at the balls. "That should be their memories."
"How do we use them?" Roque asked, not touching them.
"That I'm not totally sure of. It'll take me a bit to look over. Did you get those two drives?" Clay nodded, handing it over. "Did we loot his compound?" He looked at him. "Xander sent me an IM telling us to loot it in case we might need the extra money for things. He had another vision and the realization that since Max sent us on this, someone wants us out the way." Clay smirked and they went to loot things, including weapons. They could always use more weapons and Jensen had a spanking new Council ID if he ever needed one. Cougar had one as a 'parent of a slayer'. That would help a lot.
Xander got called back to the US and went with a complaining son. Not like he had a sitter and Sym was back in Cleveland complaining he was mean again since she had broken her ankle by stumbling and falling during a jog. He had told her to quit talking on her phone while she ran. He drove them to the airport and headed to the headache that was security. He held up his Council ID. "Got a meeting, guys."
"Weapons, Harris?" one asked.
Xander handed over the baby. "I totally forgot. It's habit." He put everything into the box to have it shipped. They did that with the slayers worn weapons as well, just like they did with agents and officers. He took the baby back with a grin. The guard closed it and sealed it, writing his name on it. They hand-wanded him. "Thank God you guys aren't Customs this time," he said dryly.
"He have problems?" the guard asked.
"Yeah, he has his daddy's last name." The guard shuddered. "No, witches did it to me," he said at the curious look. "They let others do it because they wanted me to be normal again. We lost her recently."
"Thank you, God," the guard mumbled. "Figured there was a witch involved in that."
Xander nodded. "How is he doing?"
"He's fine and his baby was on tv this morning. They had tape of the c-section online and things." Xander grinned. "How did he...."
"Same way," Xander said. "Middle of the night." The guard smiled and passed him through. "Make sure that's going to DC."
"I am." He made sure the flight time and tag were on it. He hoped something bad wasn't going to happen in DC. There were probably too many demons there already.
Xander walked into the White House, the son in his stomach snuggly carrier. He was getting a bit big for it. He let the guard hand wand him and the baby. "I have a meeting in twenty minutes or so," he announced at the visitor's desk. He handed over the letter he had been sent.
"Yes, Mr. Harris. Do you have ID?" He held up his Council ID since this was official business. "Oh, one of those meetings."
"Probably, yeah." He smiled. "Who else is coming to it?"
"I haven't seen anyone yet, sir." They checked the diaper bag but let him go to the room the meeting was going to be held in. The baby was a bit cranky but he settled in with a bottle. The check-in guard radioed that he was there.
Xander looked up when people finally showed up an hour later. He knew the higher ups were busy but really! "Sirs," he said, nodding at the head of the army. He looked at his son then at him. "Problems we can help you with?" The president walked in. The baby stared at him. "That's the president, Xadrian. Be polite." The baby cooed and waved, getting a smile and a wave back.
"Thank you. He's trying really hard since he pissed off most of the plane on the way over."
"Long way from Malaysia," he said dryly.
"Long way from the place where I have an escape portal set," Xander quipped. Then he smiled. "We have problems, sir?"
"I'm told that you interfered in a team's mission?" the head of the army asked.
Xander stared at him. "I had a very nice vision of the head arms dealer trying to screw with my twin brother and his team. It was in repayment for watching me while I was pregnant. Especially since it led Willow and my father to team up to try to kill my son and Max to actually show up at my house." The president muttered. "By the way, I called in a favor and he's dead with his head minion Wade." He smiled. "And I helped with that situation down there since it was going to get them declared dead." He looked at the president. "Was there a problem with stopping a major weapons dealer, sir?"
"No, Mr. Harris, not really on my end. They're a bit mad that they found some people in his employ."
"Hmm, yeah, some people will always have a bad idea for easy money." He shrugged. "Among the slayers, I spank them out when they need me to."
"How did you know how to take down his compound?" the head of the army asked.
Xander smirked. "Beyond the memories I got one halloween? Sir, what do you think I did in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East while training and helping the slayers for the last four years?" He gaped. "Do you think he was the first one I had to break into? Because the first one was someone who was taking villagers hostage as slave labor. That was within six months of me getting to Africa the first time."
"Why doesn't anyone know that about you?" he demanded.
"Plenty of people know that about me, sir. Jensen found it fairly easily when he went looking in the underground spots. He found a whole bunch of shit that no one's ever taken notice of. Hell, he found whole apocalypse battles the girls didn't realize were fought."
The president coughed. "I knew the Council liked to ignore you."
Xander grinned at him. "They all think I'm really normal, sir."
"Not in my book, Harris." Xander grinned. The baby squealed. "No sitter?"
"No. His daddy's busy." He picked him up to put him in his lap. "Are you happy?" The baby beamed. "You only do that when Dawn checks on you, son." He looked at the president. "I'm down to only training until he's older and we can travel again."
"Wonderful," he decided. "That guy on tv?" the president asked.
"Willow decided it'd be safer for me with my mystically induced one if it was more normal. I couldn't undo it but I did counter wish it so it couldn't be an accident."
"Thank you for that small mercy," the head of the Army said dryly.
Xander shrugged. "I couldn't undo it."
"Where is she?"
Xander stared at him. "She was trying to poison my son so my father could sacrifice him. Where do you think she was buried?"
"Oh, dear," the president said. "So no undoing it?"
"Actually we may be able to undo it in a few years. We have one of the covens we work with looking at the spell she created to see if it can be undone. It might take *all* the world's witches since she powered it using both hellmouths, but they're looking."
"Thankfully." He stared at him and the baby. "You know you're not supposed to interfere with military ops?"
"I got there long before the military did, sir. They were over an hour behind me."
"Oh." They shared a look. "Your brother's team tends to ... get into trouble."
"I believe that's why you put them together," he said dryly. "Made them a team."
"Good point," the head of the army sighed.
"Basically they're your version of what I am to the Council," Xander told him. "And hey, this kept them from being declared dead, having to go after Max themselves, getting tangled in some CIA crap, and my brother nearly getting dead. It also kept a small yield nuclear device from being bought by Max. He had a lot of very bad ideas going."
"How detailed was this vision?" the head of the army asked.
"Enough to know who, what, and what I needed to do to stop the progression. Then I looked him up through some contacts."
"What happened to his body?" the president asked.
"I let a contact I know eat him," Xander said with a smile. "Him and his head minion. I even nicely leaked hellmouth radiation on them first. I don't think he's ever going to come after my son again."
"I know most parents are rabidly protective," the president said dryly.
"I've just got more means, sir." He smiled. "Though it was mean of my brother's team to partially disarm my apocalypse stash."
"We heard," the head of the army said dryly. "Gibbs is keeping it safe for your coworkers."
"That's what I heard too. They didn't want me to mood swing and blow someone up." He shrugged. "That's okay, the baby got a few for baby presents." He grinned. "They were so nice to me."
The president looked at him. "Are you retired from the Council, Harris?"
"Not really. We decided I'm training in our compound. When he's older we'll start traveling to train the girls and boys again. With him being male that means boys can be called." They both moaned. "Thank my father for that," he quipped. "He nearly made him mine and my brother's son instead."
"Who is his father?" the head of the army asked.
"Cougar. The witches who helped break that chose him."
"That's good. You and Jensen's child together would be fairly scary."
Xander beamed. "Thank you. My twin will enjoy that."
"You're twins?" the president asked.
"Oh," he said, looking at the head of the military then back at him. "You could...teach some of the newer soldiers to do the same things you have."
"Are you going to give the Council some people to help with training, sir? We could probably use a few but we'd have to make sure they could handle bouncy, hyper teenage girls."
"We were more thinking about putting you in the military."
Xander smirked. "You can't do that, sir. Not with my eye being gone." The president grimaced. "Also, you don't want to do that because the intake physical will discover that I've been exposed to some fairly dangerous diseases that we don't want anyone to know about." He grinned at the head of the army. "Beyond that, I'd ruin people. Quickly." He smirked. "And I'm too old." He looked at the president again. "My present job suits me, keeps me from being bored, and gives me plenty of time to train my son, the slayer. Why would I want to change, sir?"
"You still interfered in a military op," the head of the army said. Xander sighed and pulled out a hand-held computer, typing into it and showing him the entry. The head of the army whimpered. "How?"
"I was there. It's my job to fix bigger mistakes like that. That's why I get the visions. I may not always be so direct, but I do fix things. That's my real job within the Council, that and training the girls in out-of-the-way spots." He stood up, grabbing his diaper bag. "Is there anything else I need to hear beyond don't get caught doing it again, sirs? I'm sorry I lacked such subtlety the last time. I'll be more subtle in the future. Last time I was only a few days post apocalypse battle."
"No, Xander, good work," the president said, staring at him. "Think about retiring?"
"Then I'd get bored, sir." He gave him a look. "Mr. Giles would not like that."
"No, probably not," he decided. "Your weapons?"
"All safely hidden like they were before." He smiled. "I'm very good at all that."
"Also, I saw the report of someone in my house, sir. They're presently not real happy with the sedative darts that got used automatically on them." He stared at him. The head of the army gaped. "I know you're mad I saved my brother, but really. If you're in his employ, we'll find you too." He smiled. "Don't fuck with me and my family, sir. It's not real nice and then I get to be not real nice." He smiled at the president. "Aren't you so glad they won't find your name sir? After all, my twin does have all his files by now." He left. He smiled at the guards stomping his way. "What's up, guys?"
"Sir, you're armed."
Xander pulled out his ID to hold up. One shuddered and backed off. "Yes, I usually have at least a stake and a knife on me. Just in case. I didn't use them or anything. They're in the diaper bag because I was being a nice guy. The head of the army just tried to chew on me for exposing a wannabe world dominator arms dealer sort."
"Eww," the agent muttered, walking him off. "Let me escort you to the cab stand, sir."
"Gladly. The baby's happy and all that." He looked. "I think I left a bottle in there. It's just goats milk and you can toss it."
"Thank you." He watched him leave and went to find that bottle. It was goats milk and did get tossed. "Sir, he's on his way home," he reported.
The president looked at him. "Thank you, Agent DiNozzo. What are you doing here?"
He smiled. "Abby got a head's up, sir. We wanted to make sure nothing untoward might be tracking the child. Especially since one of them gave the baby a Patriot system recently."
The president grimaced. "That's not good. How did a demon get one?"
"No clue, but it's been put into the storage area of things that he's not supposed to have access to but the Council might need some day."
"Even better." He sipped his milk. "He's a bit too tough."
"Sir, consider him like a younger version of Gibbs," Tony told him. "Only self trained. I believe that's why you gave him a medal of honor."
"I did," he agreed. "Fine. What do you know about him otherwise?"
"Enough to respect him. Most of us in the government do, sir."
"I suppose that's reasonable." He finished his glass of milk. "Is he heading home?"
"Probably with a stopover somewhere. I know he has tickets later tonight to go back to Las Vegas."
"Why? He's in Malaysia."
"He has an apartment there. That's also where he flew in from this morning."
"Interesting. You think he side-stepped Customs?"
"Sir, I think they'd give him hell for the baby," he said dryly. "Like they did the last time."
"Probably, yes." He stared at him. "Thank you, Agent DiNozzo."
"Just protecting those who protect us all, sir. Especially since we have another battle in two weeks in LA." He gave him a pointed look.
"Shit," he muttered. "I forgot that briefing."
"Yup." He grinned and walked out. He went to tell Gibbs what had happened. The kid had kept himself from being conscripted. Barely. But the baby was adorable.
Xander undarted the commando team leader, staring at him. "Hi. What are you doing in my house?"
"You have weapons," he said, slowly sitting up.
"Yeah, I keep them hidden from my brother's army team." He grinned, holding up his ID. "I need them more than you guys do."
"Yeah, basically." He handed him the short and sweet version of the report on Max. "There were higher ups sucking his cock. They're a bit mad."
"We were told to take you and your son into custody, sir." He looked up then at his people. "My missing person?"
"He's still on the porch. I didn't feel like dragging people today." He stared at him. "You trying to take us into custody would've gotten your whole team dead. Quickly." The soldier shrugged. "I know you have to follow orders, but you might want to check to see if they got rescinded. If so, I'll let you guys wake up and head back. If not, I'll send you guys somewhere and let you make your way back. I'm in a great mood. My son just learned how to crawl."
"Wonderful of him, Harris." He tapped his comm. "It's dead."
"Yeah, that probably happened at the same time my security system darted you." He handed over his cellphone and went to the kitchen. "Want some water? Non drugged or anything. Bottled spring water even since the local well water tastes gross."
"Please," he said, looking uneasy. He called the main number for the teams in trouble, giving his code.
"Tell Gretchen I said hi."
He did that and blinked a few times. "She said hi back, sir, and she wanted a new picture of him."
"It's on the slayer server." He handed over a bottle of water and went check on the baby. He was napping. Xander changed from a dress shirt into a t-shirt and got comfy in the living room. The soldier clearly got orders he didn't like. He was scowling. "They tell you to try to take me into custody?"
Xander shook his head. "No thanks." He used the house phone to call someone. "It's me. I have visitors the system got." He hung up. Then he smiled. "They'll be nice but they'll deport you."
"Thank you, sir." He hung up and checked his people. The guy wasn't trying to hurt him or anything.
Clay walked through the portal with the rest of their team. "The Goddamn army wants us to retire," he complained.
"They're trying to conscript me," Xander said, pointing at the team leader. "Pulling the darts alone won't work. You need the anti-paralytic applied as well," he called. He looked at Cougar. "Xadrian learned how to crawl today."
"Wonderful." He went to check on the baby.
Jesnen leaned outside, grinning. "Why did you get sent to bother my big brother?"
"Yup." He beamed.
"They watned him in custody so he could be given new orders."
"He's not military. He's not able to sign up thanks to his eye."
"I realize that but it's our mission."
Clay walked out, shaking his head. "Someone higher up is sucking the wrong dick, Hendricks." He smirked. "They just tried to retire us."
"He gave me an intel file on an arms dealer."
"Yeah, he came after my twin too," Jensen said with a grin. He looked inside. "What was that?" He listened. Then he smirked evilly. "Mr. Giles said if you guys were that mean to his people he'd move the main Council back to England and the military could handle Cleveland and any battles here in the US, like in two weeks in LA."
"We know nothing about killing demons."
"I think in that one you'll be able to behead them," Jensen offered. "If we were local we might've had to show up to make sure Xander didn't."
"It takes your whole team to replace him?" Clay nodded. "Damn it!"
"Yup. And with this problem.... Have fun in LA. Or if you get sent to Cleveland, wear neck protection." He walked back inside since the gate was opening. "Did you call someone?"
"The guy who came to pick up the bomb." He smiled. "You guys don't have to go to LA. It's going to be less than the last one was."
"Uh-huh," he said dryly. "They could've used it and this way the girls are backed up with competent help." He patted him on the head. "Take a nap, kid. Clearly you're tired again."
"Yeah, well, under attack," he muttered.
"Nap anyway," Clay ordered. Xander curled up on the couch since Cougar had the baby to hold. "He good?"
"Keep him in here. We don't want him to bite that other team." He went out to talk to the guy. "They might need to be in LA for that battle in two weeks."
"We can deport them by then. The US has no reason to send teams here," he said with a smile. "Even if they are mad that Xander handled something for them." They put the guys into the back of his truck. "Xander, the usual paralytic?"
"No, the spider one," he called.
"Thank you." He searched, finding one last one in the baby's room. Apparently they had just walked over him a few times. He got tossed in and his commander was put into the back as well then he drove them off to his bosses to talk to.
Jensen turned on CNN. They could watch to see which higher up was embarrassed and retiring suddenly. The head of the Army as it turned out and the president apparently knew. So he was being given the special prosecutor treatment. He'd be retiring in a few days due to his health. He had been giving a speech so the heart attack caused by the demon popping in had been well seen. The Vice President shot the demon and had the local slayer deal with it. He also got to retire when the demon outed him as the person who had summoned him. You had to love live tv. Fortunately there was an election within six months. Things would go back to normal fairly quickly.
The assault team got to the airport in LA the same day as the battle was supposed to happen. They knew it was planned that way and they were sent to help the girls. Harris had given them advice before their trip. The NCIS guys who held the apocalypse supplies were there and they took over that duty as well. They weren't used to standing battles but they handled it pretty well and were given to the Council because of it. Though the head guy wasn't really thrilled. The new president made himself very clear that nothing was to harm those slayers and Harris was to stay as retired as possible. Fortunately that meant that they got to travel to the out-of-the-way slayers to work on their training. It was much more sane than patrols in Cleveland with a bunch of teenage girls.
Clay reported back to the Pentagon a month after the battle. They finally had picked someone who could give them orders. He saluted and stood at attention.
"As you were, Colonel," the new head guy sighed, staring at him. "Are you enjoying your vacation?"
"No, sir, we're going batshit crazy," he said dryly. "Jensen's happy that he's gotten to hang out with both his siblings and their children. Pooch is adoring being at home, though Jolene wishes he'd go away again. Cougar is having a lot of fun watching the baby try to get into things." He shrugged. "Roque and I have been working with the slayers again."
"That's a good use of the downtime." He looked at him. "We need the rest of the information on Max and his people." Clay handed over the hard drive. "All of it?"
"All his files, his financials, his personnel and paid name lists. His contacts files. Jensen pulled it together for you, sir."
"Are there any other higher ups implicated?"
"Three or four within the service and the CIA."
"Two Marine higher ups, one Army, one Navy. Sixteen CIA spooks. A few links to NSA ghouls who may be walking undead for all we know. A bunch of companies he's compromised and things."
"Charming." He put it down. "Does your team want to go back into the field?"
"We'd appreciate still having a job, sir."
"I know, Colonel. The current president said that you're in a touchy spot."
"Harris isn't really that mean."
"No, I know that, he knows that, but they want him to fully calm down. They know new parents are often over-reacting and jumpy."
"We handle that pretty well and Cougar is an excellent father."
"The witches picked him. Thankfully. They might've picked me, and then I'd have to be horrified."
He nodded. "You could have a family."
"No thanks," he said with a smirk. "Not ready to settle down with some crazy bitch yet, sir."
"Fine. Though I know a few female officers who wanted children and were looking for sperm donors." He shrugged. "Just an option so your line doesn't die." He stared at him. "The president wants you on stand down until this whole Max thing blows over in the press."
"I figured that's why we've had a month."
"You have. After that, I'm not sure what you'll be doing. I haven't gone psychic and talked to the probable winner or anything."
Clay nodded. "Xander's not foreseeing but he thinks the democrat will win."
"Okay, I'll take that under advisement." He smirked. "Any problems you've noted among the Council?"
"Half of them have no sense. The girls go out in skirts, sometimes in heels. That's Summers' influence. The researchers are in the library and never come out. Mr. Giles is one of those half the time. That's why Xander's the second-in-command."
"That's something we like. He has the field experience to know what needs to be done without coddling the girls."
"They're very much teenagers, sir. There's two camps. There's the Cleveland group, which is military ordered, and his girls, who are more like a sorority."
"Interesting. Which way works better?"
"Depends on the girl."
"Good to know. The battle in LA?"
"Mostly the Cleveland girls. Most of his are the ones still in their native environments."
"Even better. Can you help them with plans?"
"I can and have since Hendricks volunteered to go overseas to train some of them."
"A few foreign militaries are wary of that but he did give them the same training."
"So did Harris. Or agents if they asked."
"Wonderful plans." He smiled. "An army is always better than a few young women." Clay nodded. "Will they go military?" He shook his head. "I suppose I can understand that. Anything you want noted?"
"How long are we on leave for?"
"The election unless there's a massive issue. You can use the time to solve some minor leaks that Harris might find among his contacts."
"I'll ask him if he has any. Any other orders, sir?"
"No, Colonel. For right now you're doing just fine." He smiled. "Consider it a vacation for doing a lot of very good, quiet work."
"Yes, sir, but we're going insane."
"I know but we need the Max thing to blow over. There's some that wanted to send your team on a suicide mission because you outed that problem." He smirked. "Protect each other."
"I will, sir." He saluted.
"One last question. The Las Vegas thing?"
"He has an emergency evacuation portal there."
"Huh. Good to know. Good idea as well."
"Pooch's wife has access to one as well."
"Even better. I respect your team, Colonel, even if some others are nervous."
"Shitbags should be gone, sir. That's why you have us."
"Yup, we do." He smiled. "Go do something, Colonel, and get a tan. You look pale." Clay nodded, leaving him. The general looked at the video link on his screen. The future president smiled. "Well?"
"He sounds like a good leader and a good man. We'll make sure this does blow over. How is that team given to the Council?"
"Happily teaching African military people how to handle demon emergencies and teaching them the Council way. The girls are well trained and only needed a bit of support. They report it's fairly easy and a lot more sane than Cleveland."
"Even better. We'll keep with that plan for teams who're too slow to be in the field. Clay's team.... We'll put them back in the field once all that blows over. Until then, let them be daddies and uncles. All of Harris' contacts are worried about what might happen if he gets upset at someone trying for his son again."
"It was probably lack of sleep that was making him that unsubtle, sir. Or pain leftover from that battle before then."
"Probably," he agreed. "It's nice he likes me more." He smiled as he hung up.
"He probably thinks you have the higher demon in your pocket and they'll force their voters down here to vote for you," he said once he made sure it was off. There were millions of demons who voted. Especially in LA.
Cougar was antsy and nearly pacing, which was unusual for him. The others had left them alone. Jake had the baby for a bit because Jess wanted to see him. The baby would be back in two days. With the others. Clay had been giving Cougar looks before they left so he clearly knew something needed to have a 'parenthood' talk.
Xander was outside repairing some of the equipment when Cougar came out. He walked across the narrow beam. Xander grinned. "You're supposed to do it blindfolded while fighting."
"That's hard to do." He sat down, watching him work. "We should talk."
Xander stared at him. "You've been giving me looks like the girls on diets give to donuts, Carlos."
"Si." He stared at him. "He is my son."
"I think that's kinda clear. He has your hair." He smiled. "I've never doubted he was yours."
"Not the point."
"Oh!" Xander nodded. "Is your mother getting pushy?" He hauled himself up next to him.
"Si but not the point." He stared at him. Xander blinked a few times. "How do you feel... About this?"
Xander shrugged. "It doesn't bother me if that's what you're asking. I've slept with a few guys in the past and some women. I took the time to take a road trip after graduation that turned into a version of 'what happens when I do this'." He shrugged. "I'm not going to make you do anything. It's not good for you or for any relationship."
"True." He considered it. Xander wasn't telling him he wouldn't. He was saying it had to be a good relationship for him and their son. Which he understood. He only wanted the best for his son but the very thought of Xander even going on a date with someone else was going to make him angry again. Strangely enough he had the same problem whenever Jake dated. He sighed. "I do not know what is going on."
Xander patted him on the arm. "We'll figure it out. I know you and Jake are close."
"Si," he agreed.
"Is Cordelia's idea taking root?" he teased with a grin. Cougar nodded, looking at him. Xander gaped. "Um... I was teasing?"
"I know." He kissed him. Xander moaned. It had been much too long for Xander. He could taste the desperateness. He pulled back. "We will figure this out?"
"If that's what you want, we'll figure this out," Xander assured him, grinning at him. "But I'm still not sleeping with Jake."
Cougar shrugged. "It will work out however." He slid down and helped Xander down. They got back to fixing the equipment. He was due to get another two slayers for training in a few days. Two younger ones who hadn't reached the final calling stage yet. This was their summer vacations.
Xander cooked dinner and brought out plates, handing one to Cougar before sitting down beside him. "How's Jake doing? I heard the text message."
"His sister thinks he is very smart and sassy."
"He can be, yeah." He smiled, digging in. "I tried for the native taste but I didn't have the right sauce."
Cougar ate and nodded. "Tastes good anyway." He ate, liking this. It was comfortable. Though the baby being there to take their attention might be nice. He was nervous. Xander was nervous too though. His phone rang with a text message, letting him look at it. He smirked, showing it to Xander.
"No, she can't keep the baby as a show-and-tell device," he said dryly. "Not that he isn't amazing but his teacher might get very mad at that since he'd have to be there all day."
"Probably." They finished eating and relaxed, letting Xander tell him about what the baby had been doing. It was good to relax and talk.
The next afternoon, Xander got summoned to where his son was. Jake was laughing hysterically. He walked into the classroom, staring at his niece. "Did you steal my son?"
"Yes, Uncle Xander." She waved the baby's hand for him with a grin. "For show and tell. Uncle Jake was supposed to come pick him up so I could brag on him too."
He took the baby back, earning a happy squeal. "Hi, son. Did your cousin do good with you today?" he asked. "Where is your Uncle Jake?"
"He had a flat tire," the teacher sighed, smiling at him. "I called them right away, sir."
Xander grinned at her. "She's a very careful cousin and we know she loves him a whole lot."
"She even showed the whole class how to change diapers," the teacher agreed with a smile.
"Yeah, that's how we convinced her he was going to be an only child." The teacher snickered. "C'mon, Xadrian. Let's go home." He stared at her. Jake rushed in. "You're that late?"
"She had him hidden in her backpack," the teacher told them with a smile. "I had no idea she had a baby in there until math when he woke up and decided to squeal."
"That meant Dawn was checking on him. She's the one who called me first. I was getting dressed when you called." He looked at his niece, who was trying to look cute and harmless. "At least he didn't get hurt." He looked at one kid, who was trying hard to slink down. "Hi, David."
"Hi, Mr. Harris. How's my sister?"
"The last I heard she's still in Brazil but she's due some leave time in about a month and then she's switching to Cleveland for a six month stint." The boy beamed. "I'll tell her you said hi." He looked at his niece. "No more," he said quietly.
"Yes, Uncle Xander. He was a very good boy for us and the other girls really liked him too. He was so much better than a doll."
He shook his head. "We'll talk later."
"Are you staying?"
"For dinner so I can talk to your other uncle to see how you snuck him out." He walked out. "Thank you, Mrs. Granger."
"Thank you, Mrs. Granger. I stupidly slept in today so she took the bus," Jensen said, hurrying after his brother. He looked at him. "Are you really mad at her?"
"I'm amazed she managed it and I'm going to have her tested for magic later," Xander said, smiling at him. "Did she bring the diaper bag?"
"No, I think she packed a bottle and a few diapers." He pointed. "I have the carseat and diaper bag."
"Even better." He spotted an older woman jogging their way. "I'm guessing she's the principal."
"Yeah. Hi, Ms. Standards."
"Mr. Jensen. Mr. Harris?" He smiled and nodded. "I have a student you need to look at. I think she's a slayer."
"Okay, we can do that." He walked after her, finding the girl locked in the gym and a mess around her. "Hey." He sat down, letting the son sin in his lap. She blinked at him. "What happened?"
"I just got mad and things happened," she whispered. "I don't know why."
"There's a few good reasons for that. C'mon out of the corner. I won't hurt you. I'm from the Council and my niece goes here."
"You work with slayers?"
"I train some of the slayers actually." He smiled. "C'mere." She came closer and Xander took her hand, holding it palm out. Jake got him the tiny zip bag from the diaperbag, letting him drop something on her palm. "Hmm, not a slayer but..." He smiled. "I know why. We'll talk to your mommy and you after school, all right?" She nodded, wiping her hand off. I know, it itches." He patted her on the head. "It'll be okay. For today, I want you to stay calm, go hide in the office or whatever the principal wants you to do. All right?" She nodded slightly.
He let her cuddle the baby. He was more than happy to make new friends and she was cuddly. It'll be okay. I promise it'll be okay." She nodded and let him have the baby back. "Ms. Standards?" She came in. "She's not a slayer but she does have some minor magical gifts. I'm going to talk to her mommy and then we'll talk with her tonight. Do we have a way for her to stay calm and non-emotional today?"
"I dare say she's going to be in the office until her mother shows up."
"That's fine. We can use your office." He smiled. "It's all good. I can help her learn what she needs to know to lock it down. It's mostly meditation." She smiled and nodded. Xander walked with her, Jake following them. "Hi. Xander Harris, from the Council," he said, shaking the mother's hand. "Let's chat first. Can you sit out here with my little brother?" he asked her. She nodded, sitting down with Jake and the baby. She took him to cuddle, pouting some when her mother stared at her oddly. Xander led her into the office. The principal got nodded out so they could have some privacy. He stared at her. "Her father was a halfie?" he asked finally.
"I was... I was really drunk at a party," she admitted quietly, glancing at the door. "He was?"
"He was. She's just had a coming out of the natal gifts of her daddy's species. They're not a bad thing. W e can help her control them with some meditation techniques but she does need to learn some better emotional control. If you ever saw the movie _Firstarter_? She's just like Drew Barrymore."
"Oh, dear. Will she start fires?"
"Not unless she's terrified probably. Today I'm guessing it was some picking and she lost her temper. Started to yell."
"Probably." She sat down. "How hard is it?"
"Not at all. Basically if she's getting into the focused meditation she'll be fine. I'll see if there's some around here so you can introduce her and make sure they'll accept her as a part of his line. That'll mean they have to help if she's in trouble. Because if she's ever hurt by someone, everyone will probably know."
"That's actually a relief. I can talk with her. Was that your son?"
"My brother had him to visit our sister and our niece was so brilliant she snuck him out of the house for show and tell." She giggled. "She apparently gave some very good lessons in how to change diapers and things too because he had a flat tire." He grinned. "Relax, it's not a bad thing. I've seen six or seven that're half or a quarter. The full ones tend to be telepaths and that sucks majorly. It's always a headache, even with shields."
"That's good to know. Thank you."
"Not a problem. We even have some of them online." He grinned. "You letting it be known...."
"I don't think so. She's a bit against all of you guys."
"Yeah, I know some are." He opened the door. "Jake, we'll need your laptop to look something up. The beginning exercises are all online." He took his son back, letting the principal come in with him and the child. Jake got his laptop and came in to find it for him. "All right," he said, looking at her. He put her into a chair so she was comfy. "What you did earlier came from your daddy's family."
"I don't know him."
"I do know of his family. So I'll be talking to some of them later. What you'll need to do to make sure that doesn't happen again, unless you need it to so you're protecting yourself," he said, staring at her, "is some exercises like meditation stuff." She nodded, smiling at that. "That's what my brother's looking up for you. It should be in the other section," he said in Jake's ear. He got a nod and he found it. "Yup, those." He pulled a chair over to go over with her. He got her through the first one. Her mother helped.
"All right. I need you to start doing those daily. I need you to stay in control of your temper, which this will help. If you feel yourself slipping, I want you to go back and start doing them. Once you're comfy with this one, you do this one then add on the second one." She nodded. "By the time you start next year, you should be able to do the third, which is kinda hard to visualize and keep sometimes but it's very handy and once you get it down good, it'll snap into place and it'll help a lot more with the temper stuff." He petted her on the head. "The only permissible time to use something like that is to protect yourself or someone else who needs it."
"I understand," she told him.
"Good." He smiled at the principal. "I'll let some of his family know so they can track wherever her father is so they can talk." He looked at the mother. "If you need us, you call us," he told the mother. "Or my sister because she'll have whatever number I'm using at the time to get hold of me." She nodded, smiling at him. "You have a better day. Work really hard at it because in a few years you're going to be pissed off at the world most of the time and we want you in control by then." He smiled.
"I won't be one of those teenagers, Mr. Harris."
"Good girl. Call me if you need to. You or your mommy." She nodded. He looked at the principal. "Let me find that?"
"Not a problem. Sometimes family gifts come out. I saw one last year in China that had a family heritage of magic show up against after eight generations of being dormant and then had to keep her from military control. Something like this is all emotional control and it should be easy enough for her to manage." He waved the baby's hand. "Thank you for handling this calmly. You wouldn't believe how some people freak out." He and Jake left with the baby. "Demon bar?" he asked in the car.
"Downtown." They drove that way. "Think it'll be open?"
"Probably. If not, there'll be a store nearby that'll cater to the community." The bar wasn't open but the door was unlocked. Xander walked in with the baby. "Hola."
The bartender flinched. "We don't have non-peaceful here, Harris."
"I know that. We just had a quarter Frola break out at the school."
"Yup. She got a bit emo. Tossed stuff telekintetically. I got her started but someone needs to talk to her mommy. She's about eight I think."
"That's about the right age to break out. Any idea who the halfie parent was?"
"Ah. I'll pass it along to the matriarch."
"Please tell her the girl wants to control it so she doesn't freak like the one in Hartford last year?"
"She killed her for that." He smiled. "We have six vampires in town." Xander patted the baby on the head. "Get us a girl?"
"Yeah, I can do that." He got into his phone, finding a number. "Helga, Xander. The town where my sister lives has about six vamps coming up if you can have a weekend off college?" He grinned. "Yup, there. Thanks, dear." He hung up. "She's got finals this weekend but she'll pause on her way back home for the summer."
"Thank you. We want to stay peaceful."
"Peaceful is nice and keeps everyone out of trouble," Xander agreed. "Because the President pushed some military guys on the Council to do some of my job."
"Charming of them. Your niece?"
"We're so testing her later," he said dryly. "I now she's not a slayer." The bartender grinned. "What did you see her doing?"
"She's real convincing when she's whining."
Jake groaned, nodding. "She did it to me last night after I said no to more ice cream."
"We can stop that," Xander promised. "The same as I stopped mine." He grinned. "Let us know." He left, taking Jake back to the car so they could head back to Jess's house. They searched their niece's room, finding the neo-pagan book written by wannabes. It had just enough to lead her to meditative mind magics. Xander put it on the desk. Jake found the other two in the set and put them in the same spot. Then they called Jess to get her opinion.
Xander looked over as his niece walked in. "C'mere." She walked over, looking scared. He sighed, staring at her. "We gotta talk about some things, sprout. Including your grandfather."
"Because you're starting to walk down his path." He put her on the couch and stood up so he could pace while he they talked. Well, he talked. She listened, growing more and more scared looking. By the end he looked at her. "Which is why you're going to learn some things this summer." She swallowed, shaking her head.
"You have to have it in control. Otherwise it comes out and can hurt someone," he said quietly. "Therefore you're going to learn how to shield the correct way. Because you are much too young to do anything else." He stared at her. "That will protect you and those around you." She nodded once.
"When you're a teenager, you can get back into the Craft. In whichever form you choose to learn. Until then, you are seven. You are not old enough." He stared her down. "That was dangerous. He could've been hurt a whole lot today. He could've suffocated in your backpack. He could've gotten a concussion if you weren't careful." She slumped, nodding, biting her lip.
"I still love you but it will not happen again," he said calmly. "We'll help make sure it won't." He got into the printouts Jake had made for him, sitting beside her. "This is your new meditation. This is to put up shields so no one can sense you and you can't be touched by something that could come for you because of it. None of us want to see that."
"Is that like things come for slayers?" she asked quietly.
"Yup, and they're a lot less nice when they come for kids with gifts, Bethie. Also, if you *ever* see your grandfather, I want you to scream and yell. I'll be talking to your mom about that later." He smiled.
"No he's not. He tried to have Xadrian killed."
"Oh," she said, starting to pout. "Why is he a bad guy?"
Xander leaned closer, pulling him next to him. "Because he chose to be. He could have used his gift for good things, the same as you can, but he decided not to. It was a bad decision on his part." She looked up at him. "Giles, the head of the Council, used to play with magic stuff with him until he figured out he was going too evil. Then he quit. Your grandfather chose to stay bad. Like a bank robber."
"Oh." She sighed, nodding some. "So I have to make that choice?"
"When you're older. Right now we just need to make sure you're protected. That way nothing can come for you while you learn how to shield yourself. Your Uncle Jake is getting some henna stuff so we can draw protections on your back after dinner. Your mom will have to redo them every few weeks but that's fine." He stroked over her hair. "We'll work on it and it'll be okay. I need to do the same thing for Xadrian because he got both gifts."
"Is it really a gift?" she asked quietly.
"That depends on what you use it for. If you use it with ethics, to help people, yes. If you don't and you go like your grandfather did, no. Even if unintended gifts come of it, it's not one if you use it for bad things. Like being super strong, like slayers are. It can be used to help or used to hurt. I paddled the hell out of one of them last year for being a bully."
"I guess I can understand that." She looked at him. "A few of my friends talked me into trying it."
"If they have gifts, I want you to tell them the same thing about gifts. Teach them the shielding meditations." She nodded. "You don't have to scare them straight but if you find them going wrong, you have to tell one of us. Even your mommy so she can talk to their parents. Because you can do a lot of harm and that goes against the first rule."
"Do as ye will but first do no harm," she recited. He nodded. "I get it."
"Good. Start on that. I'm betting you're probably grounded like hell, niece."
"Yes, Uncle Xander." She slid to the floor to start on the first meditation. She needed to be safe to protect her mother and her cousin. Her uncle was right about that.
Xander watched her, looking up when Jess walked in. "We had a good talk."
"Did she cry?"
"No. I told her about her grandfather too." He stared at her. She nodded that was fine. "She has shielding meditations to go over. We'll be doing henna protections tonight. Which means you'll have to redo them now and then. She's not old enough for a tattoo."
"Good. I can handle that." She came in to get her daughter and talk to her. This was a mother's job and she had things to talk to her daughter about beyond what Xander had told her. Jake and the baby showed up and Xander took his son. Cougar followed. "Hey. Sorry."
"This is a problem," he assured him. "You must handle it."
"Bethie?" Jensen asked.
"Bedroom with her mom. I told her about Dad. We had a good talk about gifts and being good with things."
"Good." He went to help his sister talk to her daughter while they did the henna marks on her. Xander had the pattern already set up online for anyone who needed it.
Cougar sat beside Xander, letting him rest his head on his shoulder. "It will be fine. She will not turn that way."
"Chaos is sexy and easy," he said quietly. "It's real easy to slip."
"She has a lot of strength behind her." Xander nodded that was true. Cougar smiled, letting Xander take comfort with him. It was very nice in a lot of ways. He could learn to enjoy this sensation. He saw Jensen come out and pause, then turn around and walk off. "Jake." He came back. "Sit." Jake sat down hesitantly. He realized Xander was asleep. "Perhaps the nosy one had a point," he said quietly.
Cougar smiled and pulled him closer. "We will work it out."
"Sure." He relaxed. He was very soothing. Very comforting. He napped on his shoulder too.
Jess and Beth came out, pausing to stare at them. "Huh," Jess said quietly, taking the baby from Cougar, who smiled at her. "We'll be talking." He nodded. They went into the kitchen to do the henna in there. It was easier to clean up than her bed or carpet. Then she and her daughter both worked on the shielding meditations until someone ordered pizza for dinner.
Cougar and the baby both went home with Xander that night. He was exhausted and nearly slept through dinner. They weren't sure why but he was. The house had more protections on it so they were safer there. Xander perked up some once they got home but not very much. Jake put the baby down for the night. Cougar pulled them both into Xander's room.
"Um, Cougs, I'm not really into sleeping with my brother. We're not that sort of twins." He grinned to take the uneasiness away.
Cougar stared at him. "I would never ask but we must work this out."
Xander blinked at him. "Does that mean Jake's your on-duty husband and I'm the off-duty one?"
"That's a filthy thought," Jake complained, sitting on the other end of the bed. "Really, truly nasty, Xander."
Xander shrugged. "Looks like it."
Cougar sighed, looking up to mutter a prayer then stared at them. "They will push soon."
Xander groaned. "They won't. They really won't."
"Bet me," Cordelia said, looking smug as she faded into view. "Good choice, Carlos." She beamed. "It'll keep your mother off your back too." She smirked at Xander. "The higher ups are looking to replace Willow."
"Her name is Jessica Benelevia. She's in lower France," he said dryly. "I spanked her last year for fascinating a whole eatery to get free pastries."
"Huh. I'll look at her and point her out." She beamed. "Yes. You must. The higher ups, every single one, even Janus, like this idea to keep your son safe with you."
"My son will be safe no matter what," he said dryly.
"Na-uh. Not totally, dear." She blew a kiss at Jake. "They don't care if you sleep with Xander or not. Or if you and Carlos are madly in love. If you are then that'll work for you and you're his harem. If not, then you're still his harem and you can work that out. Your team leader already knows. Janus appeared to them at the other one's house." Xander growled. "Down, puppy. He didn't try anything."
She smiled at Cougar. "You have two choices. You can protect both of them, at which point in time your son's going to be pretty safe and will end up taking over Xander's job of training, or you'll have to retire to be a full time daddy in about three years when Xander gets killed in a battle." She smirked. "And then you'll lose Jake because they relinked them by fixing what Ethan broke. By the way, Janus said he's *real* sorry about Ethan being an idiot, Xander. He apparently thought Jake had the magic gifts." Jake coughed and lit up a ball. "Well, damn."
"I never use it and I've kept it sealed up for *years*," he admitted with a grin. "What if I don't want to be a harem mate with my brother?"
"Yay?" She shrugged. "You'll both die when he does. This will give Xander a reason to calm down and retire slightly more, back to protecting you four and his slayers. No more massive battles," she said slowly and clearly, staring at him.
"Fuck off," he said, making her cackle. "If they need me I'll be there."
"Why? That's their job now. The president considers it nice. His mother wrote him a nice letter about having her poor son's unit moved to help the Council so he could see his son more often. The prototype group is working out so well that they like that idea. Since you're all getting older...." She smirked at Cougar. "This is your new base camp, baby. The others can move here if they want." She faded off, but popped back. "Xander, what did you do?"
He smirked. "I don't like that idea, dear. I don't really consider having to fuck my brother a reward and isn't there a rule against incest?"
"Yeah but you're exempt because of all the crazy shit you do. Now, can I go?"
"No." He smiled. "Not in the least." She glared, one foot tapping in midair. "I've seen scarier cuddly things. The son scowls better."
A male voice sighed as he appeared. The two heads made it obvious who it was. The scowling head kept scowling but the smiling head talked. "Though this is not ideal, it will keep you three safest. The baby, you, and Cougar are very important in a future battle, Harris. Your twin is very important in other areas and for other reasons, though he'll have a broken leg for that battle. I'm sure it won't be the first you'll have." Jensen nodded once at that, still not looking pleased. "Unfortunately this is the only way we can keep problems from happening. Because if you're not mated and the baby doesn't grow up well, he'll have to become Buffy instead of you."
"Why would he?" Jake asked.
"We never want him to get to the point where he looks at a battle and thinks 'maybe I'll go back today, it's a good day for it'." He looked at Xander again. "We don't want to tempt *anyone* to have to pull him back from his first death."
"He'd better not die," Xander said dryly.
"It would be after you did," Janus assured him. "He'll have people to cling to but not as much because that one would be overseas on a regular mission that could get him dead. With his uncle. His aunt is going to get a bit strange about then because she might *finally* find someone of her own who is worthy of her. Which may mean you end up with both children if they fight like expected." He looked at Jake. "You know her taste."
"Unfortunately. I'd run off anyone like that."
"You'd have been overseas for the whole thing. He'd be the one to kill your twin. That would leave those two alone and struggling to be a fully active slayer at twelve. On the streets." Jake growled. "Do we see why we want to stop that?"
"I do," he agreed firmly. "I still don't want to share a husband with my brother."
"No one says you have to sleep with him, Jake. Though your father expects it of you two. That's why he was so frantic to keep you two apart."
"The sperm donor reads the wrong porn," Xander said dryly. "You know, you guys keep underestimating me and my skill set."
"No one survives a head shot," Janus said. "Even with accidental magic helping." Xander consciously flexed that. "Interesting but it won't be enough to protect you and your son." He stared at him. "If you accept this and don't fight it, your son will be protected and so will you. He'll have a lot more time with his father. You might even wish to have another one some year. Who probably won't be a slayer." Xander snorted. "The Powers removed that recently when they realized if you bore another slayer she'd be the standard bearer who would fight against their wishes." He stared at him. "It's your choice."
"Deal or no deal?" Cordelia quipped. "And let me go, Xander!"
"Bite me, Cordy." He stared at Janus. "Why are they so interested in the son and me?"
"For me, you're both mine. You father promised me his first born." He smiled.
"No wonder I survived Somalia," both twins muttered, then glared at each other.
"Actually," he told Jake. "That's why *he* survived Somalia." He pointed at Cougar. "You survived by the same sort of hellmouth taint Xander has more of." He smirked. "Xander survived it because the same person wanted that hellmouth taint and he nearly created a whole new one there letting them have it."
"It worked, and it works to cook some people so demons can eat them," Xander quipped.
"Eww," Cordelia complained. "Even that psycho, eww."
Xander shrugged. "It's safer now."
"Yeah, a lot." She smirked. Then at Janus. He sent her home with a wave of his hand. "Thank you! I saw plenty of him naked in the past."
Janus rolled his eyes. "Yes, that's why you dated her. Your father thought she was a nice, steady influence." Xander quirked an eyebrow up. "He felt it after the costume incident." He grinned. "He didn't recognize you. He still didn't until well after Sunnydale fell. Then he threw a damn fit at me for it." He patted him on the head then Jake. He patted Cougar on the cheek. "All the chaos gods adore these two and if you don't treat them well, we'll show up to play with you." Both heads smiled as he disappeared.
Xander and Jake shared a look then huffed. "I hate the higher powers messing in destiny."
"Ditto." They looked at Cougar. "You can still run," Jake assured him. "We know you'd be there for him and find him as soon as humanly possible with me so they'd both be protected."
Cougar took off his hat, putting it on the bedknob. "Destiny has a place in the faithful."
"Yeah but we're not really faithful," Xander said, looking nervous.
Cougar petted him and smiled at Jake. "We will work it out." Jake pouted. "Tough. It is better for bambino." He sat on the bed. "We will talk." He stared at Jake, who talked more than his brother did.
"I'm still being creeped out by being your harem with my twin."
"In the old days I'm sure it was considered a powerful thing to own," Xander said dryly.
"Probably. Twin chaos mage potentials?" He looked at Cougar. "Which would make you a Pasha everyone would want to be."
Cougar smirked. "Many already do."
The twins shared another look and hit Cougar with pillows. They settled in to talk to him. He was taking this better than they were. It might come down to an on-duty and an off-duty wife situation. Because Jake did not want to sleep with his twin. Xander was touchy and not into the same level of fun. He was more intense and more 'pleasure whore' Xander than Jake was. Or so he had heard.
Clay made it to Malaysia, walking through the portal from Las Vegas. He caught them all sleeping and the baby in his bed looking confused as he complained. He got the baby out, letting him crawl off. "Find the parents," he said quietly. The baby went for the daddy's room so he followed. Sure enough, asleep on top of Cougar. "At least they worked it out." Cougar blinked at him, shaking his head. "You sure?" he asked dryly. Cougar nodded. "Why not?"
"The twin thing," Jake muttered, waking up with a yawn. "Damn it." Cougar smiled at him. Jake got up with a groan, stepping over the baby. "Let me pee then I'll change where you did, Xadrian. Xander?" he called loudly, getting batted at. "I think someone's getting sick again."
"Your sister thinks it's PMS," Clay said dryly. He put the fussing baby on the bed, watching as he crawled up Cougar to nap on his chest, smiling at the scowl the baby gave him before sticking his thumb in his mouth and putting his head down to nap. "He has more personality than some kids in basic."
Cougar nodded. "Very." He patted the baby's back gently, earning a coo.
Xander blinked at the baby next to his face. "Morning, Xadrian. How did you get out of your baby jail?" He pulled him closer to cuddle. "Daddy's good boy." The baby snored. He smiled. "That's very talented, son."
"He snores like my mother," Cougar said in Spanish, cracking Clay up. "We should change him." Xander got up with a moan, taking the baby to change him.
Jake came out of the bathroom to kiss the baby on the head. "Cereal, Xander?"
"Yup. Please." He got the baby changed, cleaned up, and dressed in real people clothes, bringing him out to his high chair. He was scowling again until Daddy and his hat came out to feed him. Xander smiled. Cougar was a good father. The higher ups had picked well for his son. Jake and Xander made breakfast for everyone else. They sat down once it was on the table. "So, we saw Janus," Xander said dryly.
"So did we. Freaked Jolene out." He sipped his coffee. "We heard why too." He looked at the trio, who all shrugged. "How are you going to work this out?"
"They are my harem," Cougar said simply. "That way they don't have to touch."
"Fine." He looked at Xander. "I'm also told that his mother got us loaned out semi-permanently to your people."
"Yeah, he told us that too," he said dryly. "I'm wondering if anyone's told Giles yet."
"We called him earlier. He said that was very nice of the president, trying to keep your family together, and he set us up in the main building for now dealing with the training while Jake helps the IT department and picks on your slayers for you. His words."
"Giles does think differently than I do about the slayers." He stuffed his mouth, watching his son stare at his father. "You don't have to miss him so much, Xadrian."
The baby babbled and cooed at him. Then went back to staring at the daddy with the spoon. Cougar smiled and fed him a bite of egg as well. He didn't know what to make of that so he demanded more. He got more and that was nicer. He could learn to like that stuff. It went well with his cereal too. His Uncle nicely even gave him a piece of toast to gum on too. That was tasty and slimy, which made it even better. So he had a good breakfast. When he was done, Daddy cleaned him up and put him down. He went to investigate the new uncle and then mommy, who let him sit in his lap while he finished his food. That let him steal a piece of ham. Which was harder to suck on but it tasted nice enough he supposed.
"That's right, son. Learn to like meat. You can't be a vegan, you'll be a weak slayer." He hugged him and finished up quickly, taking him to the porch to get some sun. The baby enjoyed that and the goat came over to bleat at him.
"His best friend is a goat?" Jake asked, sitting beside him to pet the thing.
"He won't let me buy him a stuffed one. I tried and he threw an unholy fit." He glanced inside but Clay was talking to Cougar. They went back to letting the son coo and fuss at the goat. Xander remembered to call someone to breed the goat and that was nicer. They could handle that he guessed. The baby would like having smaller playthings to coo at too. The goat wandered off, going back to her grazing. Xander moved her to a new spot that was getting a bit high while Jake kept the baby from crawling to the driveway after him. "He likes the dirt."
"I noticed." The baby went to a potted plant and crawled into it, cackling as he petted the leaves. "Um...."
Xander came back to look. "That's baby safe. The only one that isn't is the fern." He went back to pounding in the goat's tether and milking her. That went inside and he came back out to sit in the sun on the hammock. The baby was staring at him. "Have Uncle Jake get me a book and we can read, Xadrian." Jake got one and the baby stared in awe at him. Xander took it and the baby crawled over, letting them put him up with the mommy. He loved books. Even the older books that Daddy sometimes read in that funny language stuff.
Cougar came out to stare at him. "Why are you reading to him in Latin?" he asked.
"He's got to learn it. He'll be naturally multi-lingual this way. Yours, mine, Latin, and the local language."
Cougar nodded, going back inside. He came out with books in Spanish. Xander grinned, getting into them to read to the baby. And his brother, who was watching. "I can," Jake said quietly, taking one of the English ones. Xadrian watched him, letting him pick him up to put him in his lap to read to him. Jensen ended up in the hammock by Xander's feet, stretching out so the baby could switch between them easier. His crawling didn't make it swing too much. He liked it and they were happy to help him.
Cougar came out with lunch for them, making the baby squeal and lunge to hug him. "Easy," he soothed. "We will feed you." He brought out a stool to sit on so he could feed the baby and they didn't have to move.
Clay joined them with his own stool. The baby stared at him, mouth open, making begging sounds until Clay handed over a piece of bread. The baby grimaced but gummed on it. "You'll like mayo when you're older." He finished up and watched the boys fall asleep while eating. Cougar put the baby into bed. Then he got their plates inside so the twins could rest. Cougar had plans to make. There needed to be some sort of acknowledgment about their joining, not just some paperwork.
The base commander at Fort Bragg, where the boys were usually stationed, stared at Clay. "What the hell, Colonel?" he demanded, holding up some forms. "You're gone for over a year and come back with a stack of paperwork that's bigger than most teams do in a decade?"
Clay coughed. "Harris is the guy from the Council that got pregnant, sir."
"The higher ups who helped make the baby made him Alvarez's baby."
"That explains why I have paperwork saying that he has a dependent, even though it looks a bit odd," he said, putting that aside. "I have other things that I didn't know we have forms for?"
Cordelia phased in. "I *am* the Messenger for the Powers That Be," she said firmly. "We who oversee the slayer lines say that if Xadrian Alvarez isn't in a loving, *tight* relationship, even if it's not the daddy's natural way of doing things in bed, the slayer line will die with him." She stared at him. "Also, it will protect the twins." She smirked. "So therefore, you can't overrule us, buddy."
"That's general," Clay noted. "They heard that recently, sir, and had to make plans."
"That explains the forms I didn't think we had. Who made them?"
"Figures. Are they official?" Clay handed over the letter from the president. The general gave him a horrified look. "Why?"
"Because we've relinked the twins. If one dies, the other dies. Therefore Carlos gets a sweet little harem. An on-duty wife and an off-duty wife." She smirked. "It's a reward for being the baby's daddy. We almost named him Clay's but that would've had problems. Someone might've sacrificed him." She shrugged and faded out.
Clay nodded. "Not even an ex-girlfriend," he said dryly. "For some reason someone thinks I'll do something really important with the slayer line."
The general stared at him. "I know your unit gives me headaches usually, but did you have to create one *this* big, Colonel?"
"Not my doing, sir. You can't really argue with someone like Cordelia or her bosses. Or at least we can't."
"I see." He stared at him. "This is very strange."
"I'm told we'll be on permanent loan to the Council soon anyway, so we might as well get used to the strange."
"Yes, that's probably putting it mildly," he said dryly. "Where is Hendrick's team?"
"Last I heard, Africa working with some local military people and the slayer local to that region."
"Interesting. All right, I suppose I can't override the president."
Clay shrugged a bit. "Cougar's mother asked him, sir. Not Harris, Jensen, none of the rest of us."
"Figures. She probably wants her grandson closer." Clay nodded. "Fine. Are you moving to a base up there?"
"No clue. We haven't gotten official orders yet."
"I'll see where they are. What about Pooch's house?"
"No clue," he admitted. "Or Jensen's sister."
"Interesting. All right, do what you can today. I'll check on that paperwork and file all these. Do the other higher ups know?"
"No clue, sir. I'm supposing they got told." He shrugged. "Not my job."
"Point. Thank you for the ulcer, Colonel," he said with a smirk.
"Imagine mine, sir," he said dryly. He saluted and left, going to talk to the major gossips on base. That way everyone was rabidly overprotective if they ran into Xander on the job. Especially if he had the baby with him. He walked into the mess and sat down with the other colonels and captains. Roque was already in there being given dirty looks. "What did you tell them?"
"We're being reassigned."
"To the Council," Clay said dryly. "Some mystical force of the Higher Beings made Harris's son Cougar's." A few guys choked. "It was me or him, guys. I'm glad it's him." He smirked. "Cougar's mother demanded the president put us with the Council for a bit."
"At least you'll get less stressful travel," one of the captains offered.
"Not likely," Clay said dryly. "We've spent the last two months learning demon classifications and things to help if we have to train one. Even Jensen begged for mercy." They all groaned.
"The same higher ups wanted Cougar to be a daddy instead of a baby daddy," Roque told them with a smirk. "They forced things."
"They've got an understanding going about women," Clay admitted. "But yeah, they mystically did the paperwork and everything. The base commander found that *charming*." That got another groan and most of them having to drink something to keep down the gag reflex.
"Especially since they gave him both twins," Roque added, eating a bite of meatloaf.
"What twins?" one asked quietly, glancing around.
"Jensen and Harris are twins," Roque said dryly. "We didn't know that; Jensen thought he was dead thanks to his shitbag father."
"Harris. The guy from the Council who is kinda odd?" one of the guys asked. Clay and Roque both nodded. "Figures."
"Imagine our surprise when Harris shows up three months pregnant and the Secret fucking Service tells us it's our job to make sure he carries successfully," Clay agreed with a smirk. "We've mostly been in Malaysia for the last year."
"A few times we got leave," Roque admitted. "Then when we left, Harris went into a battle while Cougar watched the son. Xadrian's a cute little sucker, scowls just like his father."
Jensen sat down and pulled out his phone to pull up the pictures. "That's my nephew," he said happily. "Xadrian Alvarez, the first male slayer. Never, ever piss off chaos sorcerers."
They looked. One laughed. "He does scowl just like his father when you threaten to take his hat."
"The baby's the only one that gets to steal the hat," Jensen said dryly. "Xander's already reading to him in Spanish and Latin."
"So he's going to be a genius slayer?" the top colonel asked as he sat down.
"Yup," Jensen said with a grin. "He's a good boy most of the time but he really wants to get in the dirt and likes Xander's lawn service and milk goat. Thinks she's the best pet ever."
"Do you guys not do anything that's normal?" one of the other people at another table asked.
"Hell no! We're exceptional," Jake said with a grin for him. "That's why I got an email earlier from the Joint Chiefs Chairman telling me to breed." He pulled that up for Clay to read over.
"He did." He glared at him. "You'd better knock up someone else, Jensen. I won't put up with you being knocked up and moodier than usual." He handed the phone back, shaking his head quickly.
"How did that happen?" the top colonel asked quietly.
"Rosenburg," they said in unison.
"She's dead now," Jensen said dryly. "She tried to poison my nephew and Xander shot her before their plan to sacrifice my nephew came into being."
"Damn," the table agreed.
"I didn't think Harris was that tough," one said quietly, glancing around. "He seems goofy and nice whenever someone mentions him on tv. Made a really bad joke when he got his medal."
"Yeah, he does that," Clay said dryly. "Our last mission before the hiatus, Harris found out that some uppity drug dealer and an arms dealer who wanted to control the world powers from behind the curtain were conspiring. The arms dealer pulled strings to get us sent to end the drug dealer. Xander cleared him out, got the arms dealer too, and then cooed at the baby." He smirked. "The kid insists he's Batman."
Jensen nodded. "I'd rather be the Green Lantern or something, it's cooler. Maybe Captain America... though he doesn't have cool powers." He stuffed his mouth. "Eww, what is that?" He looked. "Is that supposed to be meatloaf? It doesn't match up with Jolene's."
"I doubt it ever could," Pooch said as he seat down. "I take it they told you we're being sent to no man's land in Cleveland?" They all nodded, giving him pity looks. "Jolene does not want to move there."
"Have her move to Vegas near Xander?" Jensen suggested. "Or near Jess?"
"I might do that." He dug in, shaking his head. "I am one spoiled husband."
"Did you get a memo email too?" Jensen asked.
"Yup, and I let Jolene answer him back. 'Cause a smart man lets his non-enlisted wife yell at his bosses for telling him to have babies." He stuffed his mouth again with a smug look. "Cougar?" he asked once he had swallowed.
Jensen got into his email, nodding. "Yup, they ordered him to have a few more. Should I check your email for you, Clay?"
"Please," he said dryly. "Since you're already in it anyway, Jensen." He got a grin and the email being held up. "Oh, charming, he wants me to have daughters."
Roque got into his own, shaking his head. "Not mine." Jensen found it in a folder and he groaned. "They want me to raise some slayer support staff."
"They'd all need demo and knife training," Clay said dryly. He ate a bite. "This does suck next to Jolene's."
Cougar walked over and sat down at the end of the table, so he could see everyone. Jensen held up the memo, getting a nod and an eye roll. "If you want to, let me know and I'll clear out," Jensen said dryly. Cougar shook his head. He ate, grimacing but it was food. No one joined the military for the food.
The base commander came over. "Colonel, good news. There's a house on campus for your team and the other one being assigned this time." He stared at them. That captain whimpered, shaking his head. "Afraid so."
"On the way up, Captain, your tech boy is taking over their armory so stop in to see Gibbs at NCIS. He got given most of Xander's," Clay told him. "It makes more sense that you'll be given that side instead of the traveling to train. Their armory master is a dimwit half the time. Tried to give the wrong size bullet for a gun."
"I nearly ripped him a new one," Roque agreed. "He used to be FBI."
"Their tracking and IT department is half slayer, half agent," Jensen told him. "Most of them are decent enough and the one that isn't makes reports and does things efficiently around the office. I helped with an upgrade recently."
"Fair warning, the girls pinch," Roque said dryly. "They don't get to meet too many guys who know what to do with a strong woman."
"They're in awe of muscles," Clay added. "When we were guarding Harris during his trip to introduce the son, they all kept challenging us to arm wrestling competitions. They even threw a few so we could win." He smiled.
"Dating's hard when you've got a duty like that I guess," the base commander said. Jake showed him that memo. "I heard," he said dryly. "There's even been special provisions made for those who did it in a lab so they didn't have to go gay to follow it." He smirked.
"Sir, the same higher ups that knocked up my twin wanted us both to be watched over by Cougar," Jensen said. "It might get a bit hard if I'm knocked up."
"That way both his niece and nephew are protected," Clay said dryly at the horrified looks they were getting. "Janus ordered because it was one of his that had knocked up Harris."
"He's still swearing up and down that he was trying to protect Xander," Jensen said dryly. "I'm damn lucky it didn't hit us both through the twin bond. I got *plenty* of feeling from kicks and puking and all that great stuff." He stuffed his mouth again.
"Your niece would love a new cousin," Roque taunted with a smirk.
"Oh my God, don't get her started," Jensen complained. "She's already written Cougar to tell him he had to give her more cousins. She wanted six or seven from each of us and him to go help her get a sibling too." Cougar burst out laughing, smirking at him. "Jess's answer was 'I could use more nieces and nephews to spoil, but she's not getting any siblings'." Jensen ate a bite. "This is why you never piss off a chaos sorcerer, guys. Rosenburg used chaos magic to make it so every guy could get knocked up, not just my twin. Now it's resonating down so innocent kids are being warped and my poor twin brother is going to go nuts. I mean, seriously, what will six or seven kids do to my wonderful physique and abs? I'll look like Al Bundy by the time I'm done with her request."
"You'd better not or I'll have to find a new tech and comm guy," Clay told him.
"Tell her that!" he complained.
"I'll write her later." Jensen found that email and handed it over. Clay answered her and gave her some good reasons why he couldn't give her more cousins at the moment, including that the army said no. And so did he. He handed back the PDA. "Have fun taking our team's spot, guys." The other team leaders all whined. That meant they were going to be the next by the strange things or really bad missions. That whole team smirked at them.
"We'll look you guys up for apocalypse battles," Jensen quipped.
"He said the next one's in France," Cougar told him. All the other commanders at the table sent up a quick prayer of thanks.
"But LA might have problems or New York," Jensen added with a grin. "There's been a few visions about that." Hopefully the higher ups liked their prayers to keep most of them overseas. They finished up and walked off to pack up anything that had been left in their bunks. "Are we driving or flying?" Jensen called. "If we're flying, we need to ship stuff ahead."
"Driving," Pooch said. "Be damned if I want to have to ship things to Cleveland and they'd hate to take the weapons." He looked over. "If we have to, we can rent an RV." Jensen nodded. "How many boxes are you going to have?"
"Three. Two of gear, one not." He went back to packing. "Cougar, I've got some extra room if you need some." Cougar handed him a few extra small things to be packed. "We'll get you cold weather stuff," Jensen offered. Cougar nodded and they finished. Clay came in with orders. "Pooch said we're driving."
"We are. We're taking a troop transport." He handed Pooch that order. "Arrange things to sleep in the back. You and their transpo expert can flip for driving duties while we nap." They all nodded. "Jensen, they wanted to know how much gear you'd need."
Jensen smirked. "Don't tempt me."
Clay shrugged. "They asked." Jensen went to get some new toys to play with. Most of the things they offered him were crap but he did have a sweet wish list. And they could order him two for his playtime use. They decided not to argue and got it for him from the warehouses in DC. They gave him the form to pick it up there. Jensen gave it to Pooch so they could plan that into their trip.
Giles walked out when he heard the heavy truck, frowning at them. "Colonel," he said, smiling as he shook his hand. "What's all this?"
Clay handed him the orders. "You have new trainers and other people."
"I told the president we didn't need them," he said, looking them over. "Oh, dear, this is in Military."
Jensen walked over to point at the right area. "Cougar's mom said you needed us." He grinned. "The higher ups said that you could use a second team as well. We'll be switching out with the one in Africa right now as needed."
"That's reasonable I suppose. We should talk to Cougar and you later," he said with a smile.
"We got ordered by Cordelia."
"I heard. She told us at the same time." He patted him on the arm. "Well, I suppose that's why I got asked to find some spare rooms with locking doors so the girls couldn't pounce." He smiled. "This way, gentlemen. Let me give you the tour." He paused when he saw a very pregnant looking slayer walk out. "Mel, dear, shouldn't you be in bed?"
"No. Xander didn't have to and his was worse than mine." She smiled. "Xander said you were his brother."
"I am, we're twins but he's older," Jensen said with a smile. "We have a little sister too." He looked at her stomach then at her. "I know he was worried sick about you."
"My idiot husband," she sighed.
"We saw your pet too." She smiled. "Need help?"
"No, I just needed out of the building. The girls are being gushy teenage girls." She shuddered. "I had more sense. Can I give them the tour, Giles?"
"Of course, if you wish, Mel. They're in the Green building. On the fourth floor." She nodded, taking Jensen's arm to walk him off. The others followed. Pooch found the parking lot closer and parked there so they could move their stuff. Giles smiled because it was good to see her happier.
Clay met the man at the gate, staring at him. They'd been there a month and were settling in well. "Mel said that her husband was local to whine." He glared at him. "You will not upset her. I do not want to see anyone in labor tonight."
"Who are you...." Clay growled and he flinched, moving back.
One of the younger girls walked out, staring at them. She looked at Clay and asked something in Arabic. He nodded. She sneered at him and insulted him then walked off after making sure she had ruined his happiness.
Clay smirked. "Don't piss off the girls. Women are vengeful. They get you back." He let him in. "Pooch, walk her to Mel."
"Mel's talking to my wife about labor so she knows what it's like." He looked over. "They'll be done in a few minutes." He looked the man over, then snorted. "Her father should've picked better. *My* wife never had to run from my temper and I'm Special Ops trained." The man shuddered.
Mel walked out with the cellphone. "Thank you, Pooch. It was good to hear that it's not as bad as some of the young ones think and the tapes say."
"You hope," he said with a smile. "Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't. We saw one that delivered within thirty minutes. Jensen's sister went in forty hours."
"I like the thirty minute idea better." She looked at her husband. "His son is just under a year old." She smiled. "Jolene is very sweet to answer questions for me since I can't get hold of my mother this week. Did you want some tea?"
"I want you home, where you belong. They kidnaped you."
She stared at him. "No, I left with them for a reason. Because I needed medical attention." She walked off. "The baby wishes tea so we'll be in the kitchen for a moment if you wish to join us." She smiled at Buffy when she ran into her. "My husband is here."
She looked over her shoulder. "I can tell. He's scowling." She looked at her. "Want me to ask Xander to show up?"
"I would love to see Xadrian. He is so sweet." She grinned. "The baby wishes orange tea." She walked around her, heading for the kitchen. As Xander walked past her, he handed her the baby, letting her coo. "Come, Xadrian, we'll have tea and you can tell my daughter how nice being out is."
Xander looked at the husband, then grabbed him by the throat and pushed him against a wall to get into his face. "A real man does not need to threaten women or those who're weaker than him. I will make an exception to teach you things your father did not," he said in Arabic. "If I *ever* hear of you threatening your wife again I will make sure you don't have long to regret it and what little time you have will be something Allah begs for mercy for you. Am I clear?"
"She is my wife."
Xander smirked. "Not if her father changes his mind." He let him go, looking down at him. "Do not upset her." He walked around him, looking at the people at the gates. He let them in, smiling. "Good day."
"Are you Alexander Harris?" one of them asked.
"I am. I had my slayer removed from your country because she was pregnant and needed medical attention thanks to her husband."
The guard nodded. "How did you remove her?"
"Huffy?" he called. The hellhound appeared, sitting beside him. He smiled, petting him. "My slayer is well liked by him. She fed him candy and he has a sweet tooth. He's always guarded her." He petted the beast. "She's in the kitchen with my son." The hellhound trotted off. He smiled at the guards. "Our infirmary has records if you need to see them."
"I would," the head guard agreed. "Her father wishes her back."
Xander called him with a frown. "Good morning, Mel's father." The man on the speaker sounded happy. "I am here with Mel at the main compound. She's very close. Her husband is here. So are some of the consulate guards?" He let them have the phone to talk to him.
"She is my wife!" the husband shouted. Xander threw a knife at him, making him whimper and duck, holding his dick. "I will not let you take my wife!"
"I like your wife as a sister, not as a girlfriend. I don't need a girlfriend." He looked at the guards.
"He said he was not aware of a beast?"
"Huffy brought her," Xander called.
"Yes, Huffy. He is very odd but very friendly. He has protected my daughter since she was thirteen."
"I will divorce her," her husband shouted. "That will make that child illegitimate."
Xander shrugged, looking at him. "She's giving birth to a slayer. She'll have a beautiful daughter within a few weeks." He smirked. The man glared at him, getting up to pounce him. Xander kicked him around until he was crying then handed him over, taking his phone back. The head nurse came out. "Do you have Mel's records?"
"I do." She handed over the copies. "She allowed the consulate guards to have them so they could help her press charges."
Xander heard an unhappy squeal. "I think the son's upset." She ran inside, him following. They found Mel in labor. "Aww." He picked her up, taking her to the infirmary. "Buffy, her husband's being a dick outside. Get the guards in here so they can note some things." She nodded, jogging off to do that while one of the other slayers got Xadrian. "Here we go, Mel." The guards were let in. "Please guard her." They nodded, pulling screens around. He patted her on the hand. "Want me to leave?" She nodded. "Okay. I saw Faith. Faith!" he bellowed. She came strolling in with some ice water. "Thanks."
"Welcome." She sat beside her, letting her have the ice water. "It'll be okay. Women did this for centuries without pain killers. You're lucky and you'll get some if you want 'em."
"Yes, please! She kicks!"
The nurse gave her something as soon as she started the IV. "That should ease it. Let me check." She draped the area and checked her. "You're within a few hours." She smiled, calling the doctor to update her. They probably had two hours. She gave the guards a chair and let them sit. One called to update their boss but that was fine. Her husband tried to come in but the hellhound growled and snapped at him. He ran off, going back outside. The nurse smiled at her. "That's very nice of Huffy. He's very over-protective." She checked her again. "You're going very fast." She smiled. "Within two hours probably." She started a chart for the baby.
Xander walked his son into the infirmary, smiling at the sleeping mom. "Look, Xadrian, that's a baby slayer, just like you," he said quietly, making his son coo and wave. "That's very sweet of you. You're going to be a good friend to her and the other young ones." He kissed him on the back of the head. The nurse smiled. "He's still active."
"So is she. The hellhound probably prompted it. He's been very protective of the baby as well."
"We love Huffy for that." He let the baby coo at the new one. "Some day you two will be good friends and train together. She might even make you shop like your aunties do me." He looked at the consulate guard coming in. "Is there just cause to remove her?"
"No." He smiled at the child then at him. "Thank you for telling us before you did it."
"The hellhound told me first." He shrugged. "This is my son Xadrian. He's the first male slayer. Now more can be called."
"I'll make sure they know that. Her father pressed charges." Xander grinned. "Thank you, Mr. Harris."
"You know the girls are like my sister." He shook his hand. "Have a good trip."
"I will." He walked off, taking their prisoner back. Xander smiled at his son, taking him to look at the gardens. Where the other daddy just happened to be waiting. Cougar took the squealing monster from him. "We said hi to Mel's baby."
"It's good to know your future teammates." He cuddled the baby, getting cuddled back and a baby grin. "He is being good."
"He's trying really hard because he kept trying to breastfeed off Buffy." Cougar smirked at him. "I have no idea why. He tried it with Faith too I think." He sat down on the grass, letting Cougar do the same. "So you're here. There's a portal to the compound. That way you can just pop around."
"We still must talk."
"I know. We'll work that out by the time he's three." Cougar shook his head. "That'll give you a lot of time to think about things." Cougar kissed him and shifted the baby, who waved at the mommy. "Hi, Xadrian. Are you comfy?" He yawned, snuggling into the daddy's lap. "Such a good, smart boy." He frowned, looking around. "What the hell is that magic spike?" he muttered. Jake came jogging out looking around too. Jake grabbed his hand, putting up a shield around them. The magic feeling washed over them but didn't touch them. "Giles!" Xander bellowed. Giles came out to look at things. "What was it?"
"That's an interesting shield." He tested things. "It's from the Powers I believe. It feels like one of theirs."
"If I end up pregnant again, it'd better be because I participated," he said dryly.
"I'd hope so," Giles agreed. He tested it again. "Lower the shield, it's safe." They did that. "Thank you." He nodded. "I believe we'll have a few others who will be finding a reason to retire." He went to check on the girls. "Stay, Xander. Guard the baby." He relaxed again. He went to check the girls, finding a few glowing. "Thankfully it wasn't Ethan this time," he muttered. The nurse got told who was glowing and she could test them in the morning. That meant six girls needed maternity leave. So the military boys would get some work after all.
Xander walked out of the bedroom glaring at Cougar. Jensen followed him glaring too. Cougar stared at them. Jensen punched him on the arm. "Fucking bond," Xander muttered, sitting down with a pout. Xadrian looked over from his coloring, coming over to hug him. "Hi, baby."
"Me and Uncle Jake thanks to them liking us being linked." He hugged him. "But you'll get a cousin."
"Is the link making you sick or is it real?" Cougar asked quietly. Xander glared at him. "We'll figure it out." He sat down, cuddling his son. "We will call someone later?"
Jensen snorted. "I think I should call Clay first. He's going to throw a fucking fit."
"No swearing!" Xadrian said loudly.
"Sorry, nephew." He sat down and called Clay's phone. "Roque, I don't want to know why you're answering his phone," he said dryly. "Xander and I need to see the compound's doc. Today." He listened. "One of us is. Remember that situation in Nicaragua?" he asked dryly. They had been drugged and forced together by a demon. "Yup," he said mock-cheerfully. "So yeah, we need them today." The slayers Xander were working on came in to give them strange looks. "We're going back to the main compound soon, ladies."
"Cool!" they said. "Shopping!" They ran to shower and change clothes.
Jensen moaned. "What if one of us is carrying twins?"
"What if we're *both* carrying twins?" Xander countered. Cougar gave him a horrified look and squeezed the baby.
"I'll protect you from the cousins, Daddy."
Jensen hung up. "Roque heard and he's giggling madly. He'll tell Clay." He relaxed and they waited until the girls were done. Then they went back. The nurse was waiting on them. "Stupid ass demon," he told her. "'Fuck your husband to consummate the marriage or die'," he mimicked. "Everyone is very disappointed that it hasn't been."
"I think they conspired with mi madre," Cougar said. He was hoping the baby would save him. Xander hit him on the arm anyway. "Ow." He scowled. So did his son.
"We need to get him a hat," Clay said as he walked toward them. "The damn demon in Nicaragua?" They nodded. "We sure?"
"You've had him in another country since then," Xander said dryly. "I'm a fantastic lover and built kinda huge but I can't really do anything from halfway across the world. I don't stretch *that* far."
The nurse walked them off. "Let's make sure, boys." They pouted, but nodded.
Cougar looked at Clay. "Do I get protection?"
"I think it's a bit late for that," he quipped back.
"Not that sort."
"Yeah, they start having mood swings and we'll protect you. The same as we do Pooch from Jolene's." He took the baby. "You look so much like your father sometimes." He walked him off. "C'mon, we'll go wait and duck the thrown things." He let Xadrian wiggle his way down to go play with Safra in the play area. He was safe here. Cougar... might have to go into witness protection to get away from the hormones.
"God fucking damn it!" Jensen shouted.
"Ditto!" Xander complained. "At least we'll get backrubs?"
"All we need to do is ask," Jensen complained. "Are you certain it's both of us?" The nurse nodded. "Not mystically being shared?"
"No, sorry," she said. "Let us do the ultrasound, boys." They took off their shirts. They might not look alike but they acted like identical twins all too often. The doctor came in from her snack to do the ultrasounds.
"Cougar, I'd fucking run!" Jensen shouted. "Right the hell now!" Xander whimpered so Jensen hugged him. "It'll be okay. I promise it'll be okay. We'll neuter him and all that but it'll be okay. Think about how happy Bethie is going to be." Xander gave him the strangest look. "She will be."
"I know. Me either." They heard the high pitched scream outside and moved to find the kids and protect them.
"Damn it, I don't care if Xander is pregnant, you don't start screaming about it in the middle of the quad!" Faith shouted. "We don't get up this fucking early!" The demon squeaked and disappeared.
"We'll make sure you're both safe," Clay said dryly. He called someone. "Nicaragua wasn't safe enough," he said in greeting. "Both. Already nearly attacked." He got orders. "That's what I was assuming. We'll be at the compound. C'mon, squirt."
Xadrian patted their stomachs with a grin. "I'll be the bestest big brother slayer ever! They'll never be able to date without Daddy saying so and they'll be cute little princesses like Bethie is." He beamed. "Thank you, Mommy and Unclie Jake." He hugged them both then ran off giggling to get the other uncles to tell them. They'd be all back together again and he'd become the best big brother ever!
Even if Mommy did groan about it.
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