Charley smiled at Enamel as he joined them in the garage.  "Hey."

"Hey.  What's going on?  Demons?"

"Yeah, unfortunately," she admitted, getting off her bike and undoing Anya, but keeping a hand in hers.  "They snuck down," she said at his odd look.  "Spike was in the mail."  She looked over as Staff pulled in and parked, getting off with Spike on her back. It's not like she had expected Dawn to stay. "So, let's head upstairs.  You got all the mirrors covered, right?"

"All but one, and it's a pillar."

"That's easy, you tape paper over it," Staff said simply. "We can do that."  She winced when he touched her back.  "Don't do that."

"I'll look at it once we fix that last mirrored column," he said quietly, leading them up to his place.  He let them walk in first, making sure Anya did and smiling at Vic and the scent on Charley.  "Nearly a week, I'm impressed with his control."

"He broke when we were leaving," she admitted with a small blush.  "That thing's in, right?"  He nodded. "Good.  I love my little mouse but one's enough."  He grinned and nodded, getting them settled in while Staff covered the pillar with some paper and tape, tying it around the middle to make sure it was sealed off.  "Go ahead and check on her first."

"Sure."  He led her into the office, where Shell was, and closed them in.  "Hand her baby Spike."

"Spike's down?" Shell asked, taking the baby.  Sure enough it was a sleepy baby mouse.  "How?  Where's Switch?"

"He snuck into the mail while Anya just hopped the ship," she said with a small blush, taking off her shirt and turning to face Enamel so he could look at the stitches that crisscrossed her back.  "They hurt and Modo said a few were infected when he was cleaning them for me," she said softly.

Shell grinned at her.  "He needs a girl like you in his life," she admitted.  "Are you happy?"  Staff grinned and nodded.  "Good.  Then you deserve each other."  She got up to look, wincing a bit.  "Oooh."

"Yeah, they're infected," Enamel admitted, moving over to grab some alcohol and pads.  "It's going to sting when I clean them," he warned.

"Do you have to?"

"Yes," he said patiently.  "Remember, I used to do Vinnie's tail, I'll be as gentle as I can."  She nodded, letting Shell hold her too while he worked.  She hissed a few times and he knew he hurt her.  If those had been on him, he'd have swatted whoever was cleaning them but she only grit her teeth and endured.  Clearly Modo had one hell of a girl in her.  When he was done, he spread some antibiotic ointment on them and recovered them.  "No more getting them wet, Staff.  Take sponge baths if you smell."

"He wanted to bathe," she said quietly, blushing a lot.

"Which is great, have him help you cover those then," Shell said with a smile.  "The big guy should know what a waterproof bandage is and how to apply one properly.  Let him do that before you shower, and let him take it off afterwards.  Maybe he'll give you a neck rub."  Staff blushed more at that, making her grin.  "If he makes you that happy, I'm happy for you, sweetie."

"Thank you," she offered, putting back on her shirt.  She looked back at Enamel.  "Anything else?"

"I'll work on getting you some antibiotics," he offered.  "I need privileges at one of the local hospitals.  It would make all this *so* much easier."

"So do medical school down here," Shell said dryly.  "Or have Micah get you some."

"I've thought about asking but I'm technically still under a life sentence for being a bastard in the Ukraine."  Shell grimaced and Staff gave him an odd look.  "I was protecting an orphanage, a group of troops had been firing on us all day.  I didn't realize that the new ones coming up weren't the same ones so I defended the kids."

"It's what I'd do too," Staff agreed.  "Were the kids all right when you left?"

"Yeah, just fine.   I hope they stay that way too."  He patted her on the back of the head.  "Okay, let's go look at the kids. I know Shell wants to continue to cuddle Spike."  That got a growl and the baby mouse snuggling into her very comfortable chest.  "Don't get too comfy, Spike.  Those are mine, not your mother's."  Shell blushed at that.  "You mean they're not?  I'll have to go pout on Modo and make him have a talk with you."

"You missed it," Staff giggled.  "Rimfire and Dawn have been pushing all day to stay and help.  I'm guessing Dawn went back after handing me Spike, but she was walking so funny earlier.  Then, Vinnie jumped Charley right before she left, made her nearly beg him to keep going."  Enamel smiled at that, giving her a squeeze around the shoulders.  "It doesn't hurt!"

"It shouldn't hurt.  I did pop one that was pulling.  Hopefully that'll help some."  He led her back to the main room, finding Anya coloring on the paper covering the mirrored column.  "Well, at least she's decorative," he said dryly.  Charley giggled at that, nodding.  "She's not in trouble either.  I'm amazed."

"I took the knife off the breadboard," Charley told him.  "She was using it for sword practice."

"It was a big knife," Shell agreed as she came out.  "How are you feeling, Charley?"

"Fine.  Still kinda sore, and then Vinnie was very gentle earlier, but I'm still sore."

Staff looked up at Enamel and whispered in his ear.  "I want to know," she said quietly.  "I can't if I can't have any.  He deserves better."

"Even if you can't, there's got to be something we can do to fix it," he promised quietly, staring down at her.  "He won't mind, Staff.  He's got nephews and nieces.  Plus Rimfire will have some some day soon."

"Yeah, but he deserves better," she said gently.

"Staff, Modo's said repeatedly that he'd be more than happy to adopt a whole orphanage and leave it there if the woman who suited and liked him couldn't have any," Charley told her, looking over at her.  "Vinnie asked him what would happen if he couldn't have any of his own and that was his answer.  He seemed really happy with the thought of raising every one of those orphans on Mars by himself."

"He still deserves better," she said quietly.

"Honey, Modo's scared that he'll hurt a little kid.  That's why he froze when Vic was handed to him the first time.  It's gonna be a while before you have to worry about that.  Even though you may not be fertile, I don't think he'll care.  He'll have plenty of kids.  There's tons of orphans like Racer on Mars for him to love and help raise.  That's what he wants to do anyway."

"You're sure?"  She nodded.  "He said he'd love a whole houseful of kids."

"So would Vinnie, but realism hath stuck," she said dryly.  Staff chuckled and nodded.  "So relax.  See if it's something fixable, and if not, he'll still love you.  Because if you run away, the bros will find you and bring you back to him.  The same way they do Xander when he tries to run from Throttle and his scary bondage thoughts."

"Bondage?" Shell asked.  "Xander?"

"No, he likes it, but sometimes Throttle gets a bit intense and Xander has a momentary freakout and strolls off for the night."

"Yeah, or he makes rules about stupid stuff that won't happen," Staff agreed with a snort.  "He actually made a 'no drugs' rule."

"Xander doesn't do drugs," Enamel said, looking confused.

"Exactly," Charley agreed dryly.  "He has dabbled in the past though and Throttle saw that during the life review and made the rule even though it wasn't necessary."

"Which made him pissed and he went for a long walk without anyone else," Staff finished.  "Or so I heard."

"No, you heard right.  That was the night he beat the snot out of Karbunkle and took the dip in the lake.  Right before Throttle had to tell him that he wasn't going to let him go, ever."

"No, that boy's not possessive at all," Enamel said sarcastically.  "I thought the food thing was bad."

"It is," Shell admitted, "but Throttle needs that sort of confirmation now and then.  Look at who he used to date, honey."

"I know," he agreed patiently.  "Xander and Carbine are nothing alike, he needs to make sure of that.  Still, it's a bit over-possessive in my book.  I'm waiting for Xander to smack him for it some morning."

"Why?" Staff asked.  "Xander needs that to know he's loved now and then.  His former friends used to use him horribly from what I've heard around and he's still healing from them thinking he was a slave to use and toss away."  Charley nodded, agreeing with that.

"It would prove to Xander that he's got a spot and that he's wanted, but I'm worried about Throttle going too far some day," Shell said delicately.

Charley snorted, shaking her head.  "Won't happen, Shell.  Throttle's not that sort of guy.  Possessive of what's his, but not that sort of guy.  Besides, I'm pretty sure Xander could take him in that sort of situation. Plus, Vinnie and Modo would step in and stop it too.  Vinnie tried to step in when he saw rope burns on Xander's wrists one morning.  He glared at Throttle all day for hurting him, even though Xander had said it was his choice to be tied down and Throttle had done really good to him, that's why he had struggled.  Remember, Vinnie loves Xander just as much as he loves me."

"You still don't need to be in a foursome," Enamel told her.  "Not yet anyway.  Give yourself time to heal, Charley."

"What's a foursome?" Anya asked.

"Ask your father when he comes down to spank you for sneaking off Mars that way," Charley retorted, glaring at her.  She 'eeped' and decided it would be a good idea to lay down on her bedroll now.   That way she could hide under her blankets.  Spike wiggled down and stalked her, pouncing her with an evil cackle.  "Good job, Spike."

"Very good job, Spike," Shell agreed, smiling at him.  "I'm guessing he just started to walk?"

"He just said his first word too, shit," Staff said with a grin for her.

"I'm betting Stoker and Switch *love* that," Enamel said, shaking his head.

"Stoker keeps saying how Spike will be just like him," she shared with a grin.  "Got any sodas?"

"Yeah, we stocked up," he offered, letting her go so she could raid the fridge.  He took Vic to look over, getting sleepy baby complaints.  "Oh, hush, little guy.  I'm not going to hurt you.  I used to watch your daddy's peeling tail problem."  He checked him over, then smiled and handed him back.  "Good so far.  You'll need to watch his fur.  He's starting to get ingrown hairs.  Just gently bathe the area and don't pop them if you can help it."  She nodded, settling him on her shoulder.  "Go ahead and take that couch.  Staff can either crash with the kids or in the chair."  He got his own drink and their sandwiches, taking them back to their room.  "Have a nice night, you guys."

"You too," Charley agreed.  She heard her cellphone ring and the bedroom door opened as she answered it.  "Yeah?"  She listened to Xander.  "Cousin?  Okay.  Is it done with?"  She heard his comment to the others and smirked.  "Are you done?  Is everyone alive?"  She smirked and nodded, making Enamel relax.  "Fine, we'll be back within an hour.  Yes, one hour," she said patiently.  She hung up and looked at him. "It went off within a half-hour.  No one had to be sacrificed."  Staff relaxed at that.  "No injuries at all."

"Good," Enamel agreed, grinning at her. "Need help down to the bikes?"

"Please.  Get Anya."

"Sure."  He helped them gather up the few things they had brought up, taking them and the baby mice down to the bikes so they could get back on and head home.  Shell had to bring down Spike's carrier but otherwise it only took a few minutes.  "We dodged another emergency," he said happily, giving her a kiss.  "Come on, I want to celebrate that."  She chuckled but he was going to be celebrating for a while tonight.


Charley pulled up in front of the garage, looking at her cousin as Staff rode past.  "Hold on, Marissa, I've got to drop Anya next door."  She headed over to park in the lair's garage, letting Modo take Anya from the back of her bike.  "I'll be over there.  Have Vinnie come over when he's awake."  He grinned and nodded, taking the baby mouse off to find them a place to sleep.  She went back to the garage, turning off the security system and letting her cousin inside.  "What's wrong?"

"What's wrong?" she asked in a near shriek.  "You're married and you didn't invite the family?  You're breaking your father's will by selling some of the land under the garage?  You're married to a freakin' alien, Charley!  That's what's fucking well wrong!"

"Shut up," she complained, going to put Vic in his crib.  She turned around and her cousin was standing there.  "Victor.  My son.  You will lower your voice around him," she said firmly.  Her cousin stared in shock.  Horrified shock.  "Yes, I had him with Vinnie.  He wasn't planned but he's a great little guy who already likes engines.  They make him happy," she said, walking her cousin out.  "As for me breaking the will.  I seriously doubt *my* father would care about me selling a mere hundred feet to Vinnie's family to put up their house.  I live over there half the time anyway!"

"Your father would shit in his grave if he knew you were with that...thing!" she spat.

"Dad would have grilled him to make sure he treated me well, he probably would have had a problem with how all the guys protect me so much, but they're the ones who made sure I kept the garage and kept it open, Marissa.  They're the ones who helped me fight to keep it from Limburger time and time again.  Dad would probably be very proud of me and Vinnie.  Vinnie treats me like the Goddess he thinks I am.  He spoils me, he cares for me, he helps me in the garage when he can.  He and the others take care of me.  So, no, my father wouldn't be upset with me for selling a hundred feet for the corner of their house.  Frankly, the owner of that house bought all the land around the garage so no one could buy it and threaten us.  Now, if you don't calm yourself down and quit shrieking around my son, I'm going to kick you out.  Why are in Chicago? You hate the city."

"I'm here because you broke the will.  That means the garage is to be dissolved among the rest of the heirs."

"There's no other heirs, Marissa.  You're not entitled to anything."

"I was mentioned in the will, that makes me an heir," she sneered.  "My mom and dad happen to agree with that."

"Your mom and dad will end up bailing you out of jail if you don't get out of here," she retorted. "Now!"  She pointed and her cousin stomped off.  Charley turned back on the security system on her way down to the office, going to call their friendly lawyer buddy Bob.   At home - something she never did.  "Bob?" she asked calmly.  "I know you did my dad's will.  My cousin just threatened the garage because I let Xander have a hundred feet for the corner of his house.  I need help now."  She nodded, sitting down to listen to his suggestions.  "I can't afford that," she complained.  She sighed and nodded.  "Thanks, Bob.  I wish you could help this time too."  She hung up and called the lair.  "Guys, we've got a problem.  Can we have a family meeting? Here?  Because I'm not leaving the garage for a very long time.  My cousin just threatened it."  She hung up and called her cousin.  Marissa's dad was actually her first cousin, Marissa was just an unexpected treasure of hell.

"Kyle, I'm going to kill your sister," she said when he answered in a cheerful voice.  He was their oldest, adopted son.  "She just threatened the Last Chance.  No, I sold a hundred feet to Vinnie's little brother so he could put up his house.  The corner's on there.  I love him like my own family.  He's married to one of Vinnie's bros.  We're a great big family.  Dad would probably be really fond of the owner if he was alive, but your sister just threatened to take the garage away from me and give it to herself.  No, I'm hiring a lawyer.  She was screeching in front of my son, Kyle!  I don't know where you went wrong with that one, but can you please beat her so I don't end up in jail for homicide?"  Her cousin calmed her down and she took a deep breath.  "Fine.  Discourage her.  I'm not losing the Last Chance to her when I fought for so long and hard to keep her away from Limburger. I nearly lost my life a few times during that fight, your sister's blood will nicely join mine on the floors."  She took another calming breath, as ordered.  "I don't care, just stop her, Kyle. I won't lose the garage to her.  She'll ruin her.  I swear to you I won't be losing her to your sister."  She hung up and calmed herself down, listening to her son fuss.  Someone was up there with him but it sounded like Modo so she didn't jump up to go beat someone.

Throttle pushed in the door.  "Family meeting time?"  She nodded.  "What's wrong, Charley girl?"

"My cousin is claiming I broke dad's will by selling Xander that hundred feet and that the garage is now hers."

"Your cousin lives where?" Xander asked, sticking his head under Throttle's arm.  "I'm sure I can go dissuade her easily enough." he offered with a charming smile.

"You can't.  She's going to go legal.  She claims she's already got a lawyer.  Her parents aren't backing her on this but it's going to be tight.  I don't know a good inheritance lawyer."

"Then let me call Gunn, see if he does," Xander offered, going to do that.  He was taking his bar in Cleveland, he may know someone or know someone who knew someone.  He walked into the kitchen to call Cleveland, getting Fred.  "Hey, put Gunn on.  I know he's napping and that it's late, Fred.  We've got a will situation here.  No, as in someone's trying to steal the garage.  So?"  She sighed and went to hand the phone to Gunn, who was fairly sleepy sounding.  "I know it's late.  I'm sorry, I'm having to put shit in motion fast though.  You know the garage and Charley?  Her cousin claims it's now hers because I bought a hundred feet of land from her.  No, out here.  Someone to make the girl piss herself.  I've got money," he pointed out.  "This is a better waste of it than many things I could do."  He grinned. "Yeah, someone like that, only who deals with wills," he agreed.  "Please.  By tomorrow?  Thanks, man.  I owe you. Want piccies of Charley's baby?"  He grinned.  "Sure.  Happy nap."  He hung up and went back to the office.  "Gunn's going to ask some colleagues out there.  They should know someone around here."  She nodded, relaxing a bit.  "Charley, I don't care if I suddenly have to go broke over this," he said calmly.  "I'll take out a loan if I have to when I do go broke.  You're not losing the garage.  Even if she wins and we have to appeal and build you a new one on the land I do own, then you connect them when you get it back, not an issue.  This is so much better than letting Dawn shop herself to death."  That got a small smile and a nod.  "So let's not worry totally yet.  We can work this out."

"What's going on?" Modo asked from behind them.

Charley came out of the office, looking around.  "Vinnie?"

"Bathroom," Throttle offered calmly, pulling Xander closer to kiss him.  "Love you."

He grinned.  "Ditto."

Charley waited until Vinnie came out.  "I'm sure you all heard my cousin Marissa shrieking earlier.  She came up to claim she now owns the garage because I sold that small bit to Xander."

"I can sell it back to you at a reduced rate if it'll help," Xander offered.  "Just don't make me move the house."

She shook her head. "I don't think it'll be necessary."  She looked at Vinnie.  "She's got a lawyer and her parents supposedly aren't helping her with this."

"Then we'll whip her tail and make her cry," he said firmly, pulling her into his arms.   "You're not losing your dad's garage."

"We could do a seance and call him back," Xander offered quietly.  "Let him go scare the shit outta the bitch."

"That would be mean to my father," Charley said firmly.  "Not unless there's no other way."  He nodded, letting that idea go.  "But I love you for suggesting it."

"Not an issue.  Whatever I can do, I'm doing.  Even if I have to remove that hundred feet and move a bookcase when we slice off that corner."  She smiled at that.  "Hey, I can do that," he reminded her smugly.  "I can also go make her car explode."

"No, Xander.  No violence this time," Throttle said patiently.  "We can't just shoot this one."

"You two need to go have really good sex to calm him down," Vinnie offered.

"No, no sex.  I'm too sore for sex again tonight," Xander said, backing away from Throttle's side.  "Sorry, babe, but I'm still sore."

"Yeah, me too," he agreed lightly. "I never knew my thighs were that strong before."

"I'll fix the wall tomorrow, while I worry," Xander said grimly, going to answer the garage's phone.  "Yeah?  What do you mean where's Faith?"  He listened. "How did she not get off the plane?" he asked impatiently.  "She never got on the plane?  Then where is she?  She left us and headed for the airport."  He groaned, rubbing his forehead. "Fine, I'll go look for Faith around here.  You guys look for her that way. She was kinda distracted."   He hung up.  "Bad news, I've got to go look for Faith."

"She never checked in?" Charley asked.

"Or got on the plane according to Wes," he admitted.  "So I'm headed out, I'm taking the car, just in case. We need to find her before they ship Caroline this way."  He gave Charley a hug, kissing her on the cheek.  "Let me know what my part is and I'll gladly do it.  Even acting straight again," he teased with a small grin.  He headed to the lair's garage, going to get his car and head off for the local vampire bars.  If anyone knew where a slayer was, they would.

Charley looked at the others.  "I don't know what we're doing yet.  Bob said he couldn't handle it, he doesn't do that sort of law really.  He read the will but nothing more.  I don't know who does.  I don't even know who she's got at the moment."

Vinnie sat down in her desk chair, settling her in his lap.  "Sweetheart, we're here and nothing's taking this garage away from you.  If they try, I'm going to turn a rabid Dawn on them.  Got it?" he asked, giving her a squeeze.  She smiled at that image.  "We'll do whatever we can to help you this time too."

"She called you an alien and Vic a thing."

"She's just used her last strike with me," Throttle noted quietly.  "If she comes back, I'm considering her a goon."  He shook his head. "I don't care that she's related to you.  There's bad patches of blood in every family, Charley girl.  She's not your kin in my book."

"Mine either," Modo agreed.  "My gray furred momma would have her hide for this stunt."

"Thanks, guys.  You guys are so great."  She sniffled.  "I hate mood swings."

They piled on, hugging her until she stopped.  It was the only decent thing they could do until something else happened.


Xander pulled up in front of the usual vampire club and before he could do more than unroll the window, the bouncer was shaking his head.  "I'm here on official business.  There's a missing slayer and I'm supposed to be returning her to Cleveland."

"I'd love to help, but no one's in tonight. There's some sort of strange mojo going on over at the warehouses on the other side of town and everyone's over there tonight, Xander.  Which slayer is missing?"

"Faith.  She was in town to help with the apocalypse level demon we had earlier," he said tiredly.  "Got the address?"

"Yeah, let me write it down for you.  If she's anywhere she should be there."  He went into the club and came out with a small slip of paper.  "Here you go.  I know your former boss was supposed to be over there tonight too."

"Let's hope someone's found her and has her tied up, or else I get another kid."  He waved and drove off, memorizing the address.  It was in the warehouse part of the city and he knew that area fairly well but not excellently.  Then again, that many demons should draw him too.  He paused and went with his feelings instead of the address, heading to where he could feel a lot of demons.  Plus Faith.  He heard the chanting of 'more, make her take more' and groaned.  He parked and got out, heading to the door of the warehouse, being stopped by his former boss.  "I'm under orders to return her to Cleveland."

"She busted in here just as we were enacting the ritual.  She offered herself as our vessel when asked.  She's ours by right, Xander."

"I don't care.  She's still a slayer and they'll all come here if she's too injured."

"She won't be injured.  She joined into the orgy without prompting.  She didn't have to you know."  He grinned.

"What sort of ritual are you doing?" he asked patiently.

"There's a prophecy that three mothers can restart some lines," he said with a beautiful smile.  "She volunteered, man."

Xander whimpered and shook his head.  "They're going to kill you all, kill her, then kill me!"

"They won't.  Those witchly watchers should know about it too, Xander," he said patiently.  "Give us an hour.  She's not harmed.  We're not turning her.  It'd negate the prophecy to have her turned.  To us she's being an eternally giving womb."

"I'm so dead if they hear about this," he moaned, heading back to his car to find his phone.  He called Fred.  "Prophecy about restarting some vampire lines?" he demanded. "No, that's where she is though.  Yeah, in the middle of the orgy.  With the vampires, yeah.  They said they're not turning her.  Okay, Fred, how am I supposed to go break up a vampire orgy by myself, without any weapons, and save Faith at the same time?" he asked dryly.  He heard her and looked at the phone, then put it back to his ear.  "You know I'm married, right?" he asked dryly.  "That Throttle will kill you when I tell him this part of this conversation?"   He smirked.  "That's what I thought you said," he agreed dryly.  He hung up on her, calling Throttle instead.  He got him at the garage.  "We need to go kick Fred's ass.  She just suggested I go put myself in Faith's place at the vampire orgy she's in the middle of."  He smirked at the growl.  "I have no idea how to break this one up. It's a prophecy to restart some lines by having her donate her womb. I don't know."  He stared at a shadowy figure against a nearby warehouse.  "I really don't know.  Call ya later, babe."  He hung up and walked over, having to run to catch the little creep who was spying on them.  He drug him back by the thin hair on his pointy, egg-shaped head.  "Got room for another and a wish demon?" he asked, holding Karbunkle up.  "He sent Dawn a letter bomb and he's still a bad guy."

"I can make sure she carries the ones you choose," Karbunkle said, struggling to get free.  "She can carry more than one and I have something to make her release more eggs as well!  Just save me from this freak!"

"That's a thought worthy of a master vampire," Boris, Xander's former boss, said happily, smirking at his former employee.  "Want to be turned?"

"No, but I did have to listen to Spike make plans all the time.  Now he's a baby mouse."  He smirked at him.  "You can be next."  He handed him over.  "Here, make him dinner or make him a bitch.  Better yet, let me get some mouse DNA so he can be useful to the planet he helped nearly destroy."


"Gods, Xander, I love this mean streak of yours," Boris said with a cruel smirk.  "If you weren't taken and your mate so scary, I'd have you bent over right here and now and made into my heir and childe."

"Throttle would definitely be upset if I got turned," he said, backing away a bit.  "Besides, you're cute and all, but too evil for me, Boris.  But I'll gladly give you this one and you can even exchange him for Faith.  Or hey, a runaway you take in and help.  There's an idea."

"We already have one of those, but Faith was our second.  We were waiting for the Third, who was due to be a magically changed creature."  Xander backed up another step.  "You are?"

"Willow magic.  From the Seal."

"No wonder I find you so alluring tonight."

"Yeah, but if you touch me, my mouse will destroy the city on you."

"More work for the company," he quipped, leading Karbunkle inside and to the Wish demon who was overseeing this event.  "Xander said he's a guy who raped and pillaged a few planets.  He's the one who hurt Xander's mate and the others," he said over the moaning.  "Xander suggested he be turned and used."

The demon looked the pitiful being over, then waved his clothes away, exposing his undeveloped penis and balls.  "If you wish for those to be normal size, I can do so," he said smoothly in Karbunkle's ear.  "It comes with a price though and all the sex you could ever want."

Boris helped by letting Karbunkle see the orgy going on in the middle of the room.  "You could be out there soon," he offered in the other ear.  "Just wish."

"I wish to be out there and working," he said, his tongue hanging out.

"Wish granted," the demon purred, fixing his undeveloped status and adding some extra parts.  Namely a working uterus and vagina.  He shoved him into the crowd.  "The third one!" he called.  He looked at Boris.  "Have your sample ready?"  He nodded, going over to pick his up.  "It's time for the second one to be anointed!" he called.  He heard Karbunkle's plan and made it so, liking that idea better.  "She will bear more than one!  Anoint her with the chosen seeds!"

A few vampires ran to get the seeds they had stored.  Boris had started the idea of storing your sperm just before you were turned or in the first shot after you were turned so you still got some living sperm.  There were six vials going into Faith's body, each of them hoping to be taken so their lines would continue. She shivered as the still-cold samples were injected, but she was having too much fun playing with the incubus to let it go now.  She felt him get off and drank it down, letting him go, panting for the next one, but she was so tired now.  She fell asleep right there, letting them finish off the ritual by sealing her shut for the next month.  A month after the child/children took hold of her, her vagina would reappear and it would be too late to do anything about it.  All she would remember was that she had a wild night.

"Hey, this one's pure!" one of the demons yelled.  "Who wants to break him in!"

"No, I don't need it," Karbunkle said, but the incubus came over and spread some of his tainted seed around the man's holes and he was more than wanting and willing, he was begging the largest of the large to take him then and there.

"No, let someone smaller have him first or else we'll only get a stretched out hole," one vampire complained.  "That's no fair or fun to some of us."

"Fine," Boris called, pointing at a few eager ones who looked like they hadn't gotten any yet.  "You two, break him in thoroughly then pass him on."  The crowd cheered and those two moved in to take the now-wanting creature.   He looked at the wish demon.  "Will his disappear?"

"No, not with the magical nature of the change.  You'll have to plug it."  He smirked at Faith as she was taken outside to rest.  Or be saved most likely.  "They'll start to crave the fathers soon.  We'll have to make sure the winners get to Cleveland."  He nodded as the incubus cop came over.  "Having fun?"

"Lots," he agreed happily.  "Boris, I thank you for having that Xander guy help me.  His books showed me how to block my senses, but also how to access my natural power.  Is there anything I can do for you?"

Boris smirked.  "Well, I do have an ex-wife who could use a bit of your obsession touch."  He walked him off to tell him about the local vampire mistress they called the Ice Queen. The incubus could make her obsessed with him again and all would be perfect in his world.  If only he could get Xander back.  But that was going to take a different plan to do.


Xander gathered Faith up when the vampires brought her out, wincing at her stench.  He got her into his car, putting down the top and both windows to try and keep it from sticking to his seats.  Then he headed for a cheap motel.  He didn't want this around the kids.  Once he got her checked in and in bed, he called Wesley to tell him where she was and what he had seen.  That way she could be gathered or brought home when she woke up.  He locked the door behind him, using a touch of magic to get the chain too, then headed home.  Throttle took one sniff of his shirt and grimaced, glaring at him.  "Faith was in the middle of a vampire orgy.  Apparently there's a prophecy stating that a willing applicant could bring back a few dead lines.  She's a willing applicant.  I put her into a cheap motel and locked her in."

"Go shower before I bathe you," Throttle ordered.  Xander nodded, going to do that for him. When he came back ten minutes later it still wasn't enough so he brought him back to the shower to scrub him this time.  He would not allow that stench on his mate. He found the smaller, hand sized brush and went to work on his mate's back.  Xander was hissing and wincing as he worked, but that stench was still on him.  He let him rinse off and started on the back of his head, but he could still smell it.  "Who touched you?" he demanded.

"No one!  I only took Faith from the vampire and carried her off.  She was the one who was in the middle of the pile on the floor!"  That got a low growl.  "She consented," he said firmly.  "If she regrets it in the morning then that's on her but they said she consented and I'm thinking that Boris wouldn't be lying about that part of the ritual.  Now, it could have been coerced and I'll be telling Wesley that when I call him back, but I can't tell if she did or didn't.  She was asleep."  He yelped when the brush hit a sore spot, turning to take it from his man's hand and toss it out of the shower.  "Don't do that!"

"You still smell like you were there."

"Well, I wasn't.  I'm sorry that I smell.  I can't really help that.  You don't need to take off my fur with a hard brush though."  Throttle relaxed and nodded.  Xander stole a kiss.  "Now, can we maybe find a gentler way of taking this stench off me?"

"Bubbles," Modo called from the doorway.

"I'm not a Powerpuff Girl, even though I would look cute as one," Xander quipped.

"I meant using bubbles to cut the reeking odor of sex on you, Xander.  Besides, you'd have to be Princess, you're too evil."  He slammed the door.  "By the way, we can smell it too."

"Wonderful.  Go toss those pajamas in the wash for me, on soak?"  Modo came in to do that and Xander flipped the switch on the tub, adding bubbles to the water.  Then he made Throttle climb in with him.  "At least this way you'll reek just as much."

"Yeah, but I still want to scrub you clean," Throttle said, eyeing the brush.  He could probably reach it by whipping out his tail.....

"If that hard brush comes back to rip off more of my fur, I'm going to shave you bald," Xander warned.

"Sorry."  Throttle looked at his back, it was showing spots where he had scrubbed too hard.  He smoothed down the soft fur, then decided to cuddle in with his mate.

"Ewww, what's that stench?" Dawn yelled.

"Man, did someone die in the middle of sex?" Rimfire asked, sounding disgusted.

"No, we had to remove someone from the middle of a vampire orgy," Xander called.  "It's me.  We're trying."

"I'm sleeping over at the garage," Dawn called.  "With Rimfire."

"You're still grounded," Xander yelled back.

"Yeah, but you're about to make me hurl, Xander," Rimfire said, sticking his head in.  "What happened?"

"I'm guessing some of it got in the car too," Xander said, looking back at Throttle.

"I'll help you clean it tomorrow. There's no way that stench is staying."  He sniffed Xander and reached for a sponge, wetting it down with a liberal amount of soap to start working on him again.  "You're still grounded, Rimfire."

"Fine."  He closed the door and headed next door with his bike and his lady, so neither one would pick up the stink.  Vinnie still came down the stairs sniffing.  "Xander had to rescue someone from the middle of a vamp orgy.  The house reeks," Rimfire told him.  "They're in a bath trying to get him clean again."

"Eww," Vinnie noted, shuddering.  "He okay?  Any new bites?"

"Not that I'm aware of but I wasn't looking that closely," Rimfire offered.  "Let us shower.  We can't stand the stench.  It's like Plutarkians in heat over there."  They went to the various showers, knowing where they'd be sleeping that night.  Dawn would get the couch and Rimfire would have the chair or the floor.  Vinnie would honor the grounding and it would only earn them extra time away from each other if they didn't behave.

Vinnie went back to the lair and sniffed the car, opening the door to push it outside.  He wasn't getting into it, he just wanted it outside.  Then he closed the door.

"That helped, thank you," Modo called.

"His car's outside."  He sniffed.  "Cheese, it does reek like Plutarkians in heat in here."  He went to check the house, finding all the cats were fine.  All his fish were fine.  The babies were sniffling and fussy so he brought Anya and Spike back with him so they wouldn't have to reek too.  Modo and Staff came over to sleep in the garage a few minutes later, leaving Throttle and Xander all alone in the house with the stink.  Vinnie let Spike crawl in with Dawn, he'd howl if Rimfire climbed in too, then stuck Anya next to Vic and went back to bed.  "Xander came home stinking badly," he explained at her confused look.  "Everyone else is over here but him and Throttle."


"Dawn said he had to rescue someone from the middle of a vampire orgy."

"Okay.  Bad stink."  She nodded and put her head back down.  "He can handle it."  She yawned and got comfortable on his chest.  "Night."

"Night, sweetheart.  Sleep sweet."

"You too."  She yawned again and drifted off, just about as Vic woke up.  Of course he woke up Anya, who started to cry too.  Rimfire presented Vic to Vinnie and went back to soothing the other little kid.  Vinnie let Vic curl up with them, smiling as he latched onto mommy by instinct. "Fine, you eat," Charley grumbled, shifting to give him the space he needed.


Faith stormed into Boris's hideout, slamming the door behind her, making the vampire jump.  "What did you do to me!  I have missing body parts!"

"Calm down," he said, pulling her closer to hold her.  "It's not what you think.  What do you remember?"

"I saw you guys massing, I got out of the car to make sure it wasn't a buffet event, you told me it was some major vampire magic, and then I wake up this morning missing my hole."

He nodded, smiling down at her.  "Yes, you did interrupt our fertility ritual."  She pulled back to stare at him.  "Faith, I told you what we were doing last night; that we were enacting a prophecy to give a few of us the children we always wanted from our human lines.  You took one sniff of the orgy going on, then went to watch and eventually jumped in."  He got her a bottle of water, then led her to a nearby settee to sit down with her.  "You give us the greatest gift," he said gently, touching her stomach.  "The magic covering your nether regions will end in about a month.  It's to make sure nothing could harm the children."

"Children?  I'm having a litter?"

He smiled and gently kissed her, making her shudder and pull away.  "The magic reacted very strongly in you, Faith.  You have a few in there, but not near a litter," he said gently.  "Though it is true that the fathers will do anything in their power to protect you and to please you."  He stroked her arm, then her cheek.  "As you can see, you do carry one for me."

"I can't, I'm a slayer!  This is not right!"  She got up but he pulled her back down.  "Let me go."  He let her go and she got up again, staring down at him.  "They'll kill me for this and then they'll come clean out Chicago.  Starting with you."

"They won't," he said gently.  "You consented by joining in, Faith.  You're not the only one.  There were three mothers, including one who was changed into a mother as punishment.  We've just installed him in the back room as a matter of fact."  He smiled up at her, handing her the bottle of water.  "We can protect you as well.  We can put up a house on the outskirts of town.  That way you won't have to worry about Xander.  Though I doubt he'd be more than pissed at us for it."  She gaped and then groaned and shook her head, stomping off.  "Remember, we will be drawn to our children, Faith.  If we're staked, then you aren't as well defended and others may well try to harm you."

"Yeah, nothing new there," she said bitterly.  She stopped to stare at him.  "We need to tell Wes.  He'll know what to do."

"Use my phone, but my sources say he landed about an hour ago and he's on his way here.  Come, sit.  Relax.  You must be sore after last night."  She blushed and he smiled.  "You were a thing of beauty in the middle of us and I don't smell any bites either."  She sat down, letting him pull her close to cuddle again.  "It will be fine, Faith.  While you carry and care for our children, you are sacred to the fathers.  We will always protect you."  She looked up at him.  "Even from yourself," he promised gently, taking another kiss.

"I'm not usually into vamps."

"I know.  That was your fellow senior's thing, not yours," he admitted with a small smile.  "You still jumped in, mouth open, shirt already undone."  She blushed at that.  "Your nature to be impulsive may have given you the greatest gift of all.  We will take care of you.  You won't be turned unless you ask.  You will be taken care of and protected."  He stroked her stomach until someone kicked the door in.  "At least I own a construction company and can have someone come fix that," he said dryly, smirking at Wesley and his crossbow.  "Shooting me is stupid, I'm one of the ones who would protect her, Watcher."

"She was at the ritual?" he demanded.

"Yeah, and I woke up this morning missing a hole," Faith said grimly.  "How?"

"Xander came for you.  You were in the middle of the infusion so we handed you over once we saw it had taken."  He stroked her cheek again.  "He took you to a hotel, where he locked you in for the night and went home to be scrubbed.  He's still probably being scrubbed.  He did smell a bit off when he carried you out of there."

"What the bloody hell is going on?" Wesley shouted, firming his grip on the crossbow.  "Give me the girl."

"Of course.  Though, you should know that the fathers will be drawn to her and she may desire us closer," he said, sipping his own drink.  "Not that it'd be a chore or anything.  She's a beautiful young woman.  She's sacred to us, Watcher."

"She's still a slayer."

"Yes, but that's why her opening will be gone for the next month, until it's fully in place."  He stood up, tipping the crossbow away from his chest.  "I'm not evil.  She jumped in.  I told her it was a fertility rite and she jumped into the orgy.  We would have carried her back here had Xander not stepped in to meddle," he finished with a gentle smile.  "She is sacred to those of us she carries for.  We can and will protect her.  You can use one of my rooms to examine her if you want.  I can't smell any bite marks."  He handed Faith her water then coughed, bringing Fred.  "Show them to a private room where he can examine his slayer in detail."

"Yes, sir.  Did Megan tell you that I work?" Fred asked happily.  "I started to work last night, Father Boris.  It was so nice when my boy parts started to work."

"Congratulations, Fred.  I'm very happy for you.  Now remember, you cannot harm your former master, but if you want you can go do that sort of thing all over him to humiliate him."  Fred clapped and led Faith and Wesley off to a room.

"The guy who hurt you's here?" Faith asked him.

"Doctor Karbunkle was turned into a of those that's a bothie," he said happily.   "He was the third one, the created creature.  Now he'll have pretty babies like he made some mice have."  He grinned at her.  "And he'll have to take care of them because otherwise he'll have more later."

"Cool.  How did you guys capture him?"

"Xander saw him peeking.  He was being a naughty boy," Fred said excitedly.  "Then a wish demon got him.  Ooooh, some day I hope one gets me.  They're very strong and mean."

"They are," Wesley said, frowning at him.

"He likes pain.  That Karbunkle guy who hurt Vinnie and them made him," Faith told him, opening the door of the room.  She peeked inside.  "Not this one, Fred, it's got people crashed."

"Ooh, here, mother, use our room," one of them called, getting the other up and vacating for her.  "As you need, just ask," he said, smiling and patting her tummy.  "You have one of mine and I'd do anything for you."  He kissed her, then smirked at Wesley.  "Even do him if you asked."  He hurried off to give them some privacy.

Wesley walked her in there and flipped on the lights, then closed the door.  "Xander gave them a victim?" he demanded.

"Wes, he's a bad guy who raped and pillaged a few planet's worth of people.  He's the guy who hurt Vinnie and them so much."  He went pale at that.  "Xander probably suggested he have mouse babies to give something back to Mars since he helped take so much from them.  He's literally a guy who experimented on half their population!  I'm not feeling sorry for the bad guy.  Bad guys get bad things happening to him.  He didn't learn when Xander sent him to hell, he's learning now."  She paused.  "How did I know that?"

"It's part of the spell," he said grimly, coming over to lay a hand on her stomach, closing his eyes.  "Six."

"That's a litter," she complained, opening the door.  "I thought you said no litter!"

"I didn't think you did, dear," Boris said from beside the doorway.

"Six kids is a litter!  How am I going to take care of them!"

"With some help, precious one," he purred, kissing her again.  "The fathers will be there and we will be helping.  You can even have a nanny and wet nurse if it'll help."

"You mean I'm breastfeeding?"

"It's best for the children," he said mildly, kissing her again.  She went limp and moaned so he pushed her back some.  "Later, precious one.  When you're ready and not sore."  He looked at Wesley.  "We would have brought her home but Xander stuck her in a motel last night."

"I see.  By herself?"

"He locked her in."

"Fine.  Where is he?"

"Probably still being scrubbed.  He stunk when we saw him last night."


"I have no earthly idea," he admitted.  Then he shrugged.  "If you wish, we can take care of her here.  Set her up in a nice house on the edge of town so Xander can visit or not as she chooses.  We'll all be watching over her.  She will be well protected by the fathers and we will be drawn to her side very often."

"The other?  Since I know there were supposed to be three," Wesley said grimly.

"A street child, a runaway who consented.  We made sure she hadn't been hooked on drugs and was still clean.  In return, she'll be getting a very good education and will have a job waiting on her, as will this one."  He stroked the edge of Faith's chin.  "I'm sure I can find something sedate for her to do when she starts to show."

"Fine," Wesley decided.  "Faith?  Do you wish to come back?"

She looked down at herself, then at him. "This'll cause problems."

"You'd be staying in the guest house," he assured her. "The girls would be ordered not to stake any of the fathers, but all the rest would be fair game.  They'd probably even help you raise them."

"Four are sons," Boris said with a smile, patting her on the stomach. "Including mine.  I'm quite amazed and impressed, Faith.  Thank you."  He kissed her and she leaned into his touch, and he knew the magic was now binding them.  He wanted to have her right then, but that would probably hurt her.  He heard Wesley sigh and stomp back to the main areas, so he took her into that conveniently empty room to have his way with her.  It may not be perfect doing it anally, but it was close enough for him at this moment and she was most pleased with his skills.


Throttle woke up to cold water and a still stinking mate.  "I'm thinking this is more than that demon orgy," he said grimly, using his tail to grab the phone Dawn had left in there.  Fortunately it still had *some* charge so he called Enamel.  "What would make Xander stink like a Plutarkian in heat?" he greeted the voice on the other end of the line.  "Dismas fever?  Isn't that a...  Oh, no.  Which one had it?"  He groaned and held his head.  "He was holding Vic.  He is too young?  Oh, that's good at least.  Sure, come on over."  He hung up and called the garage.  "Okay, who had Dismas fever as a kid?" he greeted.  Charley asked that to the group and he could hear Staff moan.  "Enamel thinks he's got it."  He nodded at Staff's wise words.  "Sure.  Of course.  Yeah, we'll do what we can to keep the stink down."  He hung up and tossed the phone toward the door so he'd remember to put it back on the charger, then let out some of the water to run hot into their bath.

Xander woke up, yawning and nuzzling his neck. "I don't feel good."

"I can smell that.  It's a kiddie fever.  You should be fine in a few days."

"Nasty medicine?" he asked sleepily, pulling his head up to look at him. "Hi."

"Hi."  He stole a kiss then grimaced.  "Yeah, your taste is off too. Enamel's on his way over, he'll have medicine."

"Okay," he said quietly, putting his head back down.  "Swish the water.  We've got cold spots."

Throttle swished the water around to mix it again, turning it off when it got too high and the overflow started to catch water.  Then he settled in to wait and stink some more.   "We've got to get you those vaccines," he said unhappily.

"No shots.  Shots bad."

"Hush, Xander.  Rest for now."  He heard Enamel's bike about twenty minutes later and searched around but there wasn't anything nearby to cover themselves with.  He shrugged it off, Enamel was a doctor he'd seen it all on someone sometime.  "Come," he called at the gentle knocking, shrugging at the doctor's grimace.  "Since last night. I thought it had to do with the vampire orgy he went to take Faith from."

"No, but there's an interesting story going around about that," he said with a smirk.  "Guess who found one of the Karbunkle family there?"

"It wasn't him?" Xander asked sleepily.

"It was him, we're just not sure if it was another clone or not.  He's now a hermaphrodite and pregnant thanks to the magic going on.  So is Faith."

"Six babies," he said happily.  "I get to be an uncle."

"You need kids of your own some day, kid," Enamel sighed, shaking his head.  "The stench, it's Dismas.  I'm guessing Anya just got her shot and it's still a live vaccine.  I'll talk to Stoker about getting him the full workup of shots."  Throttle nodded and Xander moaned, shaking his head.  "I'll make 'em not hurt," he promised, patting the back of Xander's head.  "For now, rest, quiet, dark.  It's a lesser version of their measles."

"How long before he doesn't stink?"

"The stink is the fever so if we can reduce it, it'll be fine."  He looked Xander's chest over, finding the small stab wound from last night.  "Didn't bandage it?"

"Didn't realize it was there.  He never said anything."

"That could have been the fever," he admitted.  "Once it goes down, he'll stink less.  You'll have to clean the car too and I'll have to tell his former boss that he has it so we can innoculate Faith and Karbunkle against it."  He patted Xander on the head again. "Tylenol.  Juice.  Long, cool baths.  Not too cold."  Throttle nodded and Xander whimpered.  "Tough."


"If you don't puke it up," Vinnie said from the doorway.  "Dismas?"  He nodded, glancing back at him.  "Okay.  How long and how do we clear the stink?"

"It'll wipe off.  It's from his sweat."

"Cool.  Then let's air out the house."

"I'm going to use the computer to call Stoker," Enamel said gently.  "Vincent, get him some tylenol and juice."


"He doesn't feel hot."

"We don't.  Test his eartip."  Throttle did and winced.  "That's how you test for fever in a mouse.  Let me make this call."  He headed up to the computer, logging on under his own ID since he now had one.  He called Mars, getting the Council chamber since that's where Carbine and Stoker were.  "Anya just got her Dismas shot, right?"  He groaned and nodded.  "Xander picked it up off her.  We'll need a full course of vaccines."  He settled in, getting comfortable. "Also, Xander found a Karbunkle clone or the original, one of the two, last night and handed him over to some vamps for a fertility rite.  He's now having vampire babies but I hear he suggested he have some for Mars to give back.  He'll be able to have more once he's had these.  It's now a permanent change," he said smugly.

"Xander turned him into a girl?" Carbine asked.

"Half.  But no, a wish demon did it from what my sources reported to me last night.  Well, bragging was more actual.  Seems they had a rite to make a few mothers pregnant from their remaining human seed and took it.  Faith was one, Karbunkle was one once he was turned, and there's another somewhere."   He gave him a smug look.  "I can't think of a nicer fate.  Can you?"

Stoker smirked.  "Not really.  He could do that surrogating thing you mentioned."

"He could," Enamel agreed.

"That's evil," Vinnie called from the doorway.  "Hey, Stoker, is Anya going to get sick?"

"No.  She just got the vaccine.  I'll see about getting two sets, one for Vic and one for Xander," he offered.  "How are my little brats?"

"Well, Spike decided he was hungry and tried to take Vic's breakfast," he said dryly.  "Charley was not happy when she woke up to him suckling and I'm now bruised because of your son," he said dryly, getting some laughs.  "Otherwise, they're fine."

"Good.  We'll be down soon to pick them up.  Stay safe.  I'll check on that, Enamel."

"Thanks.  Before he gets something worse, like Teriadon."

Stoker shuddered.  "I'll do what I can.  Mars out."  He hung up and looked at Carbine, who shrugged. "Who do we ask?"

"The Medical Board," she said with a small shrug.  "I don't know who else could."

"Fine."  He went up the hall to talk to them, tapping before walking in.  The doctors in there stopped arguing long enough to look at him.  "My daughter transferred Dismas after her vaccine to an earth mouse."

"One of the small pet mice?"

"No, Throttle's pet boy."

"Oooh," one said, shuddering.

"So the doc down there's asked for two sets of vaccines, Vic's got to have some too."


"Vinnie VanWham's son.  Newborn.  Just a few weeks old now."

"Ah.  And the other?"

"Xander?  He's a changed one.  He's the one that doctor sent up the sealed records about.  I think he's about ten at the moment if I'm not mistaken, but his human age before he started to mouse out was about twenty-four.  He's slowly growing into it."

One doctor found that file and opened it, reading through it quickly.  "If we have spares, I'll send them down with instructions," he said finally, looking at him. "He's still an adult?"  Stoker nodded.  "Then we'd like to examine him some day."

"Throttle's really possessive about his boy," he warned.  "Xander hates doctors too."

"Be that as it may, he'll still need seen," he said wisely.

"Enamel's down there," he admitted.  "He's actually serving a life sentence by taking care of them."

"Interesting.  What did he do this time?"

"He was defending an orphanage and didn't pay attention to who he was shooting at.  He got a few from a second military unit who were there to help."

"Ah," he said, nodding.  "That happens in wars.  At least he's got a silken prison."

"I haven't seen a cell yet," Stoker admitted.  "He rides around when he wants, the kids have him over all the time for more than medical reasons, and Shell's down there constantly too.  Not your average, normal human prison."

"At least he's doing good for others," one of the other doctors sighed.  "His equipment?"

"The stuff he wants back soon and had better be in working order?  Yeah," Stoker agreed.

"Fine, we'll work faster on replicating it."  He smiled at him.  "How are your two?"

"Down there," he said dryly.  "Spike snuck into the mail sack going down and Anya crawled onto the ship somehow."  They laughed at that.  "They're fairly well protected, but I'm sure the stench is driving them insane at the moment."

"That's easily treated," the doctor said wisely.

One in the corner cleared her throat.  "Who do we talk to about negotiating for medicine and possibly getting some made for us?"

"You can talk to me, or to me and Micah.  You can come down on the next trip if you want."

"Please.  We have a list of things, including antibiotics, that we need.  Do you think we could set up a manufacturing agreement?"

"That's mostly done in a trade situation," he admitted.  "You'd have to ask Micah and have him talk to some of his people down there.  I don't know."

"Sure," she agreed, smiling at him.  "Shell seems happy with him."

"She is from what I've seen."  He grinned at her.  "Vinnie's baby with Charley girl is very cute.  Just like he was."  She chuckled at that.  "They're coming up for a short vacation soon so we could probably head down then or when we take them back if you wanted."

"Please.  We'll start looking at the list in terms of trade," the head of this board agreed.  "Thank you, Stoker."

"I'm told I live to serve," he quipped, walking out, his tail swishing gently behind him.  It was a better meeting than the upcoming Council one was going to be.


On a space ship far, far away from the shared solar system of Mars and Earth, Marshall Limburger was pacing back and forth.  "We could go back, now that the danger's over with," he was telling the remaining members of the council.  "I do still have holdings in Chicago.  There's so few of us that we could slip in unnoticed among the earthers and go back to living high off the hog, as it were," he offered.  "A slow, subtle takeover as they kill each other off wouldn't be too hard.  There's still some relatively uninhabited parts for the hatchery to go up as well."  He stopped to look at them as someone walked in.  "What is it?" he asked tolerantly.

"Sir, we've found that we did carry one of Lord Camembert's tadpoles," the guard reported.

"That's fine, when I'm old and gray, he can take over my spot," he said genially.  "I lived through this, it's going to take a lot to kill me now."  He looked at the other council.  "Does anyone have any other plans?"

"They said they'd extradite us to Mars," one of the councilmen noted.

"That requires them finding us, catching us, and then doing so.  Besides, we'll have to pass by Mars and we do still have a few of those planetary bombs left," he said smugly.  "It wouldn't be *that* hard to bomb them back into their caves, would it?"  That got a round of head shakes.  "Then we're agreed?"  They all considered it, then nodded.  It was the only chance for their survival.  They had been turned away from every other world they had passed by, including some of the uninhabited ones by natural disasters.  "Then let's set a new course, back through Andromeda.  We'll take the back way in so the mining stations on Pluto don't pick us up.  I'm sure the Martians have learned how to plug into those."  That got another round of nods.  So he looked at the guard again.  "Yes?"

"Did you want that tadpole killed, sir?"

"No, he'll grow up and learn his place.  As I said, someday someone will have to take over for me.  We might need a more militant person at that time."  The guard nodded and went to tell the others to leave that one alone.  "Helm," Marshall called.  "Change course.  We're heading to Earth at medium speed.  Stop to see if any planets along the curved path we'll be taking have anything for us."

"Take the back way, sir?"

"Yes, take the back way, Helm.  We can sneak back and set up before the humans even realize we're there."

"Yes, Lord High Chairman."


"Why does he stink?" Dawn asked Rimfire, curling up next to him in the garage.

"Dismas is a fever that kids get.  Primer had it once, right before she was due to get inoculated against it I guess, and she stunk up the house for nearly a week because they couldn't get her fever down."  He grinned at her.  "That's how I learned how to camp."  She chuckled and hugged his arm.  "You know, Dawn, there's a way around all this grounding stuff," he said quietly, glancing around.

"I won't be eighteen for a few more weeks," she reminded him, giving the inside of his arm a little pinch.  "It won't be legal until then," she said, grinning up at him.  "Besides, at our age, a few weeks is nothing," she reminded him.

"What if there's another apocalypse?"

"Then I'm all for breaking the grounding stuff for world-ending sex," she said with a grin. He grinned back.  "Just a few more weeks, Rimfire."  She looked over as the door opened and Micah walked in.  "Hey.  I've got the report on the demon but it's on the lair's computer and Xander's fever is creating a stench."

"Demon?" he asked.

"World ending sort of demon."

"Fine.  Whenever you can," he said tolerantly.  "Xander is sick?"

"Dismas fever.  It's a kiddie fever.  Makes you stink," Rimfire told him.

"Oh, good.  Charley?"

"Sleeping."  She smiled as Spike wandered over to where they were sitting.  "Hey, little mouse.  What's wrong?"

"Firsty," he whispered.

"Then let's go see if we've got any bottles made up for you," Dawn cooed, letting Rimfire go so she could stand up and carry Spike into the kitchen, getting him a bottle from the fridge and coming back out to cuddle up and feed him.  "There," she said, letting him have it.  "A good bottle for the baby mouse."  He smirked but sucked. "Just don't try to eat off Charley again, Spike.  That wasn't nice."

"Hungry," he complained.

"We'll make you some cereal once we find some," Rimfire promised.  Spike nodded, going back to his bottle.  "So, boss, why else are you in?  To help Charley keep the garage and to kick her evil cousin's tail?  To see the kids since they snuck down?  To pat Xander on the back for saving the world again?"

"I don't have reports on any of that yet," he complained.

"Just started a few days back," Dawn told him.  "Vanquished the demon last night.  Met the idiot cousin right afterward, then Xander got to save Faith from the vampire orgy and started to stink during it.  The demon got handed to a guy from another covert Watchery organization and he said he was going to put warnings on it in Latin, English, French, Spanish, Hebrew, Arabic, and Linear A and B when I called to confirm what was going on for you and the reports."

"Where were Oz and Meg during this?"

"Not needed this time," she admitted, grinning down at Spike, who was poking her.  "What?"  He growled and shifted, then took the bottle back.  "Sorry, was I crimping your tail?"  He nodded, nestling into her chest to get comfy.  "It's a good thing you're a baby now.  The vampire you would have gotten smacked for trying that."

"Yeah, by me," Rimfire said firmly, staring at the mouse.  Spike smirked and nuzzled her but continued to suck.  "You could go take a nap in the crib with Vic."  Spike growled but he did stop teasing Dawn.  "Thanks.  My future motherish person."

"Weren't you supposed to work on that jealousy issue?" Micah asked dryly.

"Yeah, but only I get to nuzzle her there until we have kids, then I'll let them help me."

"Far, far in the future," Dawn agreed.  She had that flash again and looked up.  "What?  Grandkids are fine, some decade far from now!"  The scene pulled back and she realized she was still pretty young and so was Rimfire, he was just tired looking.  Why they had gray hair she didn't know.  "Um, an explanation?" she called.

Willow appeared and grinned at her.  "Trying to heal Mars will turn you a bit older looking but that's a christening," she said happily.  "Hi, Spike."  She teased the baby mouse's belly, getting a flick from a tail.  "Aren't you adorable?" she cooed.

"His dad said he couldn't come play with you," Rimfire told her.

"Pfft, like I care.  He'll come play chess with me and the seal someday soon."  She grinned at Dawn.  "That power drain will affect you too, young lady. We're working on it but if you help, you'll end up just like that within a few years."

"What did you see?" Micah asked patiently.  "When did you start seeing?"

"The Seal granted her three visions.  One of Vic's crawling, one of the problem I had in the plans and one of their first child's christening on Mars."

"Dawn, please, not yet," Micah pleaded.

"Nope, not time yet," she said firmly.  "Not for many, many years.  Unless Rimfire wants to give birth to one."

"Not exactly in my plans for my future," he offered, giving her a look.  "You'll look much better pregnant than I would."

Modo moaned from the doorway.  "No, not yet."

"No, not yet.  That was the third vision," Dawn assured him.  "We both looked way older."

"Thank you.  I don't think I could take another one yet."  Dawn yelped and Spike let out an evil chuckle before going back to his bottle.

"For that, you get to nap in the crib," Rimfire said, taking him and standing up to carry him upstairs.  Vinnie gave him an odd look as he walked past him with Spike held out.  "He tried to eat off Dawn.  They don't work that way yet, little guy, so you need a nap."  He put him down, handing him back the bottle, then left him there to sleep.

Spike let out a wail of outrage.  How dare they do this to him!


To Part 37

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