Needs of the Family vs. Needs of the Masses.
Xander walked out of the hospital room and down to his car. He was jittery, he was anxious. He was furious and going to kill someone but he had to be calm. He was going to have to beg someone for something important. Very important. He slid into his car and locked the doors, grabbing his cellphone from the little shelf below the radio. He stared at it for a minute then called the member of his family that he had talked to in the last ten years unwillingly. "Uncle, it's Xander," he said quietly. He took a deep breath at the complaining. "That's wonderful, but my daughter's in the hospital." His uncle gasped and started to yell something else.
"I would have but you decided to bitch me out about stuff that wasn't my fault," he said bluntly. "Which is why I told the rest to fuck off. Unfortunately, my daughter is in the ICU unit." He swallowed. "That's a pretty long story. Yeah, I could. No, not money," he said, sneering at the phone then putting it back against his ear. "You know what, can you just spread the news? I'm a bit stressed out and pissed off. Thank you." He hung up and put his head against the steering wheel. He really had to calm down and figure things out.
Xander looked up from his daughter's pale form when one of his cousins stomped in. "Morning," he said, looking at her again. "Didn't expect to see you."
"I was closest so I'm reporting for the ones you told to fuck off. What happened to your eye?"
"Lost it right before a battle a few years back," he quipped. He shifted to look at his cousin again. "You weren't even there when they decided to blame me for the stains in their underwear."
"I heard though." He looked at the little girl. "She's beautiful."
"She's in desperate need of a few things, including a tiny bit of someone's liver and a lot of blood I can't give her," he said. "They may be able to find the liver section but not the blood."
"Why can't you?" his cousin asked, leaning against the wall.
"Because of stuff that happened when I was younger, I'm no longer a good genetic match," he said quietly. "Which is why the nice agents decided to poison her." His cousin shuddered. "There's an agent around here somewhere to make sure I don't run away."
"Okay," he said. "Start there."
Xander looked at him. "None of us want to hear about anything like that, Xander, and if you're doing that you might as well leave the family," he mimicked. His cousin scowled. Xander gave him a pointed look. "I wouldn't have called now if it wasn't so damn important. Before this, I couldn't have cared less what you guys thought any longer, especially after those last few family run-ins."
"We.... We still don't want to know about this stuff," he said blatantly. "But none of us are big enough bastards to let your daughter suffer." He looked at the nurse that came in to check her machines then left again. "So, an agent poisoned her?"
"Yeah. On the third attempt. With an agent guarding us." He shifted to pat her on the arm. "Go back to sleep." She shifted and fussed a bit but drifted off again.
"How did you have a daughter that's nearly ten?" he asked. "We would've heard if you had been with someone seriously at that time."
Xander looked at him. "I doubt you want to hear that either. It's covered under the stuff that no one wants to hear."
"You could be nicer," he said dryly.
Xander looked at him. "Probably. Then again, you guys didn't have to be jackasses." He shrugged. "I think it pretty well evens out in the end, don't you?"
"Probably," he admitted. "Just blood?" Xander nodded. "Nothing else?"
"She could probably use some bone marrow but that's about screwed," Xander said bluntly. An alarm went off on a machine and he looked before turning it off. "Her IV is dry," he called.
"I've sent for the next one," the nurse said from the desk. "Where's your shadow?"
"No idea," Xander admitted. "I haven't seen him all day. Which probably means the same people that poisoned her got him." He rubbed his arm and then got out of the way so the nurse could change out the IV because it had just gotten sent up. His daughter moaned but she fell back asleep once the nurse injected the medicine. "Thank you," Xander said quietly.
"I hope one of your relatives is a good blood match." She looked at the one presently there. "What's your blood type?"
"Crap," she sighed, walking off.
"I'm a universal donor."
"Won't work on her," Xander said. "Too many complications." His cousin nodded. "Can you tell the others in the family? That way maybe one of them will give up a bit of blood?"
"I can. Are you all right?" Xander gave him a pointed look. "Fine, I'll tell them that the feud hasn't ended."
Xander snorted. "Have any of them decided that I'm not some fruitcake with violence issues?"
"No." He walked off calling the others. "His daughter is eight. She got poisoned by an agent for some reason." He listened to the complaining going on. "No, she needs some pretty specific blood and possibly some bone marrow. He said she could use a slice of liver but they can find a transplant probably." He paused, leaning against the lobby wall. "He said he can't. He's no longer a pure genetic match but the reason for that is covered under 'things we didn't want to hear about'. As was her conception."
He nodded at what they were saying. "He said they poisoned her on the third attempt." He heard an alarm and winced, looking around. That wasn't a machine alarm or a fire alarm. That was a 'summon help' sort of alarm. He headed back up to ICU. "Let me see if that's her." He hung up. He got off the elevator and heard the bad, gunshot sounding noises.
"Mother fucker, I said to remove that gun from near my daughter," Xander said firmly and coldly. Then there was a scream. Xander was panting and holding his side but the guy that had just stabbed him with the large needle was on the ground dead. Xander pulled out the needle and dropped it. "Can we see what that was?" he asked. The nurses nodded, sending it with a guard. Xander fell back into his seat, holding his side. He spotted his cousin. "I'm fine. I've had worse than that. Even if that was a new poison or something." He checked, making sure his little girl was all right.
"What was that?" he demanded. This was not the Xander he remembered. Not the teenager that had loved comic books, had friends that he talked about, and had played pranks. This was someone strange... this wasn't Xander and this stranger was a bit scary to him.
Xander pointed. "That was the agent that was supposed to be watching over us." He got up and washed his hands then put another blanket over her. "It's chilly in here tonight. We want you nicely warm, Bethie." She smiled in her sleep.
"You need a bandage," his cousin ordered.
Xander looked at him. "I've. Had. Worse." His cousin flinched. "I'm not leaving her side. I'll grab a stitching kit from some closet later on. Once they tell me if it was poisonous or not."
His cousin looked at the nurse. "Can you make him go to the ER?"
"No. Not unless he's dying." She smiled. "I wouldn't leave my kid's side either. I've sent for a few bandages and a resident to stitch him."
"Thank you," Xander called. "Though I can stitch myself."
"Not in our hospital," she shot back.
"Sure. Thanks." He patted his daughter's hand. "Rest, Bethie. The bad people are gone again." She curled her fingers around his and he calmed himself. It was helping her not fight the sedatives.
His cousin stomped off calling the others on the way. Clearly something had to be done soon before they both died. They'd never get answers if they died.
Xander looked at the doorway, looking exhausted. The man in the doorway stared at him. "Want me to stay while you nap?" he asked. Things had clearly went downhill since his semi-uncle had reported to the family about Xander's little girl's health issues the day before.
"No. Even if you are one of the few cousins I've talked to I'm not trusting anyone near my little girl right now."
"Well, because ... Remember Paul?"
"Emily's husband. I met them at a reunion I didn't want to go to but got nagged into attending."
"Yeah, him. She's already called up yelling at me for having to snap his neck for trying to kill me."
His cousin's mouth opened then he closed it and nodded. "I wouldn't yell. I'd kick his corpses's ass."
Xander smiled. "That's not a logical reaction according to Emily and Uncle Douggie."
"Makes me see we're related to the wrong family." He came in and sat down across from the very tired looking father. "You never told me about her. You've told me all about all the other insane shit you've had to do but not her."
"She was protected. No one knew about her."
"Not your friends?"
"Nope. If I had told them they would've drawn attention to her."
"That's a bad thing I take it?" Xander nodded. "Okay. What about her other parent?"
"No clue where they are."
"That sucks." He patted him on the arm. "Rest. I'll be sitting right here and you know I'm military. If someone busts in here I'll kill them for you." Xander shook his head, shifting. "You need a rest, Xander."
"I'm fine, John. I've went longer. I had a short nap earlier."
"Why aren't your friends here?"
"Because I got lectured about it being my own stupid fault that she got attacked. Apparently I shouldn't have had her."
"I can't see how that would've made anything better in your life." He looked at her. "She's being sedated?"
"Your liver dying slowly is really painful," Xander said quietly. "I couldn't let her go through that."
"No, I wouldn't either." He looked at his phone and then called someone. "It's me. Find me later tonight. It's important." He hung up and put his phone back. Xander gave him an odd look. "I work with a few excellent docs."
"She's got a few really good ones." He rubbed his face. "She needs some blood."
"I have a peculiar genetic anomaly now. Will that matter?" Xander nodded. "That's why you can't donate, right?" Xander nodded again, looking at him. "Then we'll see what we can do." His phone rang. "Let me talk to them, see if they can help." He walked off. "Sheppard." He listened. He decided to talk in the stairwell. "Sir, I'm with my cousin and his daughter, who got poisoned by an agent. I'm fairly certain there's some people in common. His name? Alexander Harris." The general looked it up and started to shout.
"We're cousins, sir." He hung up and called his ultimate boss. "I just set Landry off screaming about my cousin," he said in greeting. "That one, yes, sir. No, sir, she's on heavy sedation in the ICU as her liver kills itself thanks to an agent poisoning her." He listened. "That's where I am, yeah." The official reports got read to him. "That was actually the husband of a second cousin. She's called to bitch that Xander protected himself." He frowned. "No, that wasn't what happened. I can guarantee it wasn't. Even without asking."
He smirked. "Though it figures it came from that source. Sir, what would you do for your eight-year-old child?" he asked bluntly, hearing the shudder. "Also, I'm very certain that file's wrong since I know what he's done. We're some of the few outcasts in the family because we protect others. That's what favor I'm asking, yes. Thank you." He hung up and went back in there. "Buffy said you did it to her."
Xander looked at his phone then dialed someone. "It's me. Can you please beat the crap out of my former friends for spreading bullshit about my little girl? Thank you." He hung up. "They'll have a talk with her," he said bitterly. He looked at him. "How did yours happen?"
Xander nodded. "Better than sauna damage." He leaned back again. He spotted someone coming off the elevator. "John, get the nurse, get my daughter moved please." John glanced and hurried to find a nurse. Xander walked out there to stare at the woman stomping his way. "I'd back the fuck off." She flinched and stopped. Xander grabbed the one trying to move around him by the throat. "I will destroy each and every single one of you," he told him, staring him down. "I'll have shitloads of fun doing it." He shoved him back and looked at the other one. "Morning, sparky." He looked at the woman again. "Didn't you figure out that poisoning my daughter was wrong the first time we talked?"
"We did not poison her, Mr. Harris. We may have a treatment that will help her."
"Hell. No. Because I know your group." She glared. He stared back. Then he turned and shot the two going near the room. He looked at her again, reholstering his weapon. "Sickos who torture are still sick bastards. Never come near my family again."
"I can get a court order and have your custody severed," she said with a smile.
Xander nodded. "Yeah, but then again I can have you all eaten." She backed up looking scared. "I'm willing to destroy the whole goddamn earth to protect my little girl. I will become an apocalypse battle that the slayers will never win," he said quietly. "All because you keep trying to get my daughter. Who has not a bit of the problems I do." He walked off. "Have a nice life." He looked at the nurse. "We're moving her."
"She's in a very fragile condition," the nurse said.
"Yeah but they'll hurt the other patients." She nodded, getting orders. The doctors knew why and were arranging where to send her. The FBI was complaining about him shooting people. Finally they got things arranged with a transport ambulance. John went with them as protection. The nurse said a quiet prayer as the ambulance pulled off. That baby needed less stress, not more.
Especially when the scary lady showed back up with more agents with larger guns. The local police couldn't handle that sort of threat. By the time the FBI got there, the torturing agents were trying to disappear.
Xander looked up as the new doctor walked in. "Any good news?"
"The transport didn't hurt her any."
"That's actually great news," Xander said. "Are we doing anything different?"
"No. Though you need to rest."
"Doctor, did you hear why she's here?" he asked.
"I have. We're pulling a reclining chair in here for you." He stared at him. "We will watch her for a few hours. You aren't going to do her any good if you collapse or die."
"I know. I've caught a nap each day."
"It's clearly not enough." He got out of the way of the orderlies. Xander stared at one. "Do we know him?"
"Yeah, I do." The guy lunged at Xander and Xander got his elbow up to hit his chin as the knife slid into his side. "That sucks," Xander said, holding the wound. The guy was on the ground. His neck was snapped but he was still living.
The doctor called for help from security and some bandages. The other orderly ran. "I'm calling someone to see if there's a very secure hospital." He looked at the knife. "I hope that's not coated."
"They tried to inject me with spider venom the other day," Xander quipped. "It's burning so it's got something but I'm hopefully still immune."
"Let's get a toxin test," he told the nurse, who moved to pull some blood for him. Security stayed in the room while he got Xander into the bathroom to clean the wound out and then stitch it. "The other looks infected," he said quietly.
"I know. I cleaned it but I haven't really been diligent about the whole showering thing," Xander said. "It's kinda not as important right now."
John walked in with dinner. "What happened?" He looked at the body on the floor. "I know him." He took his picture with his camera phone and sent it to the generals. One called. "Sheppard." He listened to the ass chewing. "Then he probably shouldn't have attacked my cousin, General." He hung up.
Xander looked at him. "I thought it was just me who was surrounded by bitches."
"No, not just you. Mine have a higher rank so I can't offer them midol on the bad days." He sat down, looking at her. She had pretty greenish eyes. "Hey, Bethie. Daddy's in the bathroom. I'm your cousin John. Your grandfather and my father were brothers." She nodded. He patted her hand, letting her hold his. "It'll be okay. We're working really hard to make it all good again." He petted over her hair, giving her a bit of water to sip. "That's a good girl. Want to hear a story?" She nodded, blinking at him. He smiled and leaned closer to tell her a story about one of his teammates. She drifted off again with a happy smile. He relaxed, looking at his cousin.
The toxin report came back and they stuck Xander with three needles before leaving them alone. Xander sat down with a sound like he had deflated. "Damn."
"Where's your fall back?" John asked quietly.
"With agents, I'm not sure it's safe. If she was healthy we could disappear."
"What about her mother?"
Xander looked at him. "I am her mother."
John winced. "I don't want to know how that happened. Yet. The father?"
"I called a few times. Nothing."
"Wonderful. Then we'll figure it out." He patted him on the arm. "Eat. I got you two burgers." Xander nodded, settling in to eat and watch his little girl sleep. "We'll figure it out, Xander, and stop the stupidity."
"I've got to stop the Council people. I really don't want to have to but I need to. That one could've only come from them."
"Then we'll do that." He called someone. "Call me when you have an hour to talk." He hung up and relaxed. "I'll see what I can do to help."
"Welcome. And if we have to hold down a few members of the family to get some blood, so be it." Xander smiled. It was probably the first one in days. "What started all this?"
"Buffy found out why she came into being."
Xander looked at him. "I wanted so damn hard to protect her and the others that I asked someone for a favor. Bearing her was the price for it."
"And Buffy got mad why?"
"Because she's a dumbass. Who would've been dead by six months after I revived her if I hadn't."
"How did you meet them?"
"A wish demon invited me to a ball. It's a very special one and there were all sorts of people there that needed special favors."
"Okay," John said. "And somehow during that you got pregnant." Xander nodded. "How did you hide that?"
"It took a whole day."
"One of the others there needed a reason to get away from her old life. She moved about twenty minutes from town and I got to see Bethie all the time. I paid her support and Bethie's always known. She asked. She's a smart little girl." He stared at her again. "If something else happens you're going to have to stop me," he said quietly. "Because I'm not sure I can stop myself."
"If they come again I'll handle it. For now, get into the recliner and rest. I'll stay right here. Not even a bathroom break." Xander nodded, moving over to curl up for a bit. John considered what he now knew and realized his cousin was going to snap and kill everyone. Which was what his generals were clearly thinking. They really had to stop the Council people's BS spreading before the fields they had fertilized came back to haunt them.
Xander walked around the room in the third hospital she had been to since she had been poisoned. John had found someone excellent and had arranged for her to be moved here quietly. It was close to Cleveland. A bit too close to Cleveland, but they'd manage it. Not like the Council idiots spreading rumors would dare step outside the town anymore. Even the higher demons had decided that the upper levels had to go. Faith was about the only one who wasn't mad at him, though she hated how Bethie had come to be - what she knew about it. So now they were in New Jersey. He paused when a doctor walked in with two others behind him. "You're not her doctors," he said bluntly. "So who the fuck are you?"
"We are her new doctors," the one in the lead said.
Xander looked at the chart then at him. "No, you're not listed. And I'm a bit paranoid after the last few places got us attacked." They stepped back.
"We're the fellows who are helping one of the local senior doctors," the female one said.
Xander shrugged. "And that means that you're student docs. Great," he said dryly. "My daughter's presently dying because some stupid whores decided I'm evil and spread lies about my daughter so much that agents attacked both of us to kill us, dear. I doubt there's much a student doc can do. So unless her doctor of record tells me so, no."
"I understand," the lead one agreed. "We'll get him to come conference us in. He's the one who called us." They left to call him. That parent clearly needed some help. The child's doctor showed up and told them what had happened and he agreed the father should be extremely paranoid. He mentioned that the two demons on the lawn care staff were paranoid about him being this close to them because of what had happened. He went in to talk to Xander, who was wired a bit too tightly but he agreed that if a consult could help he'd let them, even student doctors if he had to. The main doctor smiled and called in the head guy.
Xander looked at the limping guy coming in and sneered. "It's great that you stuck up for the bitches. Are you happier? No, I don't want my uncle anywhere near my child."
The older doctor glared at him. "I had nothing to do with it."
"You also did nothing to stop it. So suck me."
"I can let your daughter die," he offered.
"Well, since I know how fucking awful you are as a human being, that doesn't really surprise me any." The senior doctor flinched. "Hell, maybe if you had stepped up like a reasonable adult way back when you should've started to turn people into CPS, none of us would be here now." His uncle glared at him. He stared back. "Do your voodoo and go. I'm not in the mood for any of you judgmental bitches. I have enough problems with the other set of them in my life."
"How did she come to be?" his uncle demanded.
"The old fashioned way." He sneered at him. "It's a bit too late to care now, don't you think? You gave up that right when I was five and you decided me being in a body cast was my own damn fault." His uncle flinched back. "So just do your shit and go."
"Chart." It was handed over. He looked at it. "Why haven't they given her some of your blood?"
"Genetic incompatibilities. I've had that problem since eleventh grade," he said sarcastically. His uncle glared at him. He stared back. His uncle backed down and his student doctors were horrified. "Since they can't weed out the three things that now make me too different, they said it could kill her. Same with John's."
"Your cousin John was here?" he asked.
"Yes. He helped us get away from some people the Council sent to kill her."
"Damn it," he muttered. "Why did you stay with them?"
"Well, they're the only family I had that I could rely on," he said bitterly. "That and kinda wanted to keep living most of the time. Why do you stay with yours?"
The main doctor cleared his throat. "You two can yell later. Can we weed whatever problem he has out to get a clean blood sample, House?"
"Not by what they've found. How did you do that?"
"Who said I did it on purpose?"
His uncle stared at him. "Did someone sell you to medical experimenters?"
"No, I joined a swim team," he said sarcastically. His uncle snorted and glared. "Seriously. I was the least affected by what the coach did." His uncle was now horrified. "Can't we find an untainted sample from someone else?"
"With your blood type, there's only four of us in the family and with the drugs I'm on I can't donate either," House said. "The only other choice would be your mother."
"Who died when the town fell in."
"Town, boom splat, sinkhole?" Xander suggested, waving a hand around. "Sounding familiar? About three years ago now?"
"Yeah," House said carefully.
"Sunnydale. Home of Xander," he said dryly. "Drunk bitch you're related to, not wanting to evacuate."
"Eww, I'm not into incest and you're beneath my standards because I don't date bitches." He sat down.
His uncle stared at him. "That'd be a new policy."
"So would you suddenly giving a damn. Can we do anything to help her or should I just take her and hide until I decide to destroy everyone because she's dead?"
"No, she stays here. You need a nap," House said.
"No way in hell. There's no way I'm going to trust *anyone* to protect my daughter since everyone in my life has now turned on us. So take your student docs and go."
"I'll look to see if there's anything we can do to stop the poison from spreading," one of the student docs said, fleeing the area.
The main doctor nodded. "I was hoping you had some idea to help, House, not to irritate him."
"That's about all he's good for," Xander said dryly. "He couldn't even put on a bandaid right when I was five."
"You were covered in mud and who know what," House defended.
"That's because you had just watched me have to live in the backyard for six days for wanting help with my damn homework. Because apparently I shouldn't have been going to school at all; it was inconvenient for my mother to show me that not everyone was a worthless addict."
"And now you do what?" House sneered.
"Well, let's see. Up until about six weeks ago, I was in Africa training slayers." His uncle flinched. "Then someone told Buffy how Bethie came to be and Buffy lost her fucking last brain cell. Which led to my daughter and I being attacked. It took three of them before they managed to get her and it was because they turned the agent helping guard us. Incidentally one of Rachel's many sons." House looked horrified. "Since then we've been attacked a few other times too. Gee, it's a good thing that the genetic instability means that I'm immune from most poisons." He got up and went into the bathroom, leaving the door open. He came out with a cool compress and put it over her forehead. "You look a bit warm," he told her, checking and then pulling a blanket down to her feet. She curled up and he let her hold his hand again. "You rest, Bethie. It'll be okay."
"Not if we can't fix things," House said.
"She's eight," Xander said coldly, glaring at him. "Does she really need to hear that shit?"
"No, probably not. I need to pull some of your blood to see if we can find a way to weed it out."
"Doctor Morgans out at UCLA has been working on it now for a year."
House wrote down that name. "One of your many dates?"
"No. She respects me for how I've helped protect people."
"Good. I'd like to hear about that." Xander snorted and want back to fussing over his daughter. "You've talked to anyone on that side of your family beyond John?"
"Nope. The only reason John knew is I talked to one of the more distant cousins and he spread it. He got mad that I defeated the attack by one of his cousin's husband's. Who was FBI."
"Where's her mother?"
Xander looked at him. "No one can find her other parent. Believe me, I've tried."
"Fine." He made that note as well. "Who can you trust so you get some sleep?"
"No one. Not in the least. John's generals tried to have him kill me." House stared at him. "None of you are worthy of talking to outside of helping her. I'll manage. I have in the past." House glared. He glared back. House ended up backing down. "Thank you for your time, Doctor House."
"Fine." He stomped off already calling their mutual relatives.
The doctor looked at Xander. "He's the guy that we go to for the strange and odd diseases."
"I know. I know exactly what he does," Xander said dryly. "Doesn't mean I want him to treat her like he treated me. I'm sure there are serial killers that might like me more."
"Let me pull a clean blood sample, Mr. Harris." Xander nodded, letting him do that. "Try to rest. You both need you to calm down and get some sleep, even if you're in here."
"I have." The doctor nodded and left. Xander sat down, smoothing down her hair. "We need to wash and detangle that mess, Bethie. We'll do that later."
Xander finally got hold of Bethie's daddy that night, going outside long enough to talk to him. "Finally," he sneered.
"I gave you what you wanted," the father sneered back.
"Yeah, until you took back your word."
"We warned you not to let her spend even a single day in Sunnydale."
"She's never spent any time in Sunnydale."
"During the evacuation, she was there overnight," he said.
"No she wasn't. She wasn't anywhere near the evacuation. She was over twenty miles away and would've evacuated in the other direction. You might want to check again. I would've known if she had been closer. The hyena knows when she's within thirty miles of me."
The young looking powerful being sneered. "I am not wrong. Gods aren't wrong."
Xander smacked him on the side of the head, ignoring the God drawing power to hit him with. "Wanna bet, Loki? I know damn well you're wrong. Check again." Loki glared but did that. Then he glared harder. "Was she?"
"No. I was misled," he ground out.
"And now our daughter is dying because someone decided to poison her. And tried pretty hard with me too."
"It's a natural...." Xander snorted and shook his head. He checked his little girl and glared at him. "Who did that?"
"You're the god, tell me," Xander said bluntly. "That way I can start the destruction of the world with them."
Loki laughed. "You cannot do that, Xander."
"Bull fucking shit. You have no idea what I'm capable of. Especially over her. Now, can we maybe do something to help? Something to help her liver heal? Anything? If not, we have about a week to wait."
"I will check into it." He disappeared.
Xander calmed himself and looked up then nodded. Someone had asked him what he wanted to do. "So be it." A glow started around him and he let it come. "They'll pay for hurting her." He walked off once it was done. He had plans to make. Starting with some long-distance assassination plots.
Two days later Loki showed up with a vial. "This will help heal her sickness. It will dilute the poison in her liver."
"Do I make her drink it?" Xander asked quietly from beside her.
"Yes." Xander nodded and took it to let her sip it. She could still swallow. Someone came in to stop them but Loki managed to get it down her while Xander beat them fairly badly. Someone new came stomping their way. "Great," he muttered.
Xander sneered at the new person. "I'd move, Goldilocks. You don't get near my daughter ever the hell again."
"My brother is not fit to be around your child."
"Unlike you, I know he'd never hurt our daughter." The man flinched back, glaring at him. "Unfortunately you've proven yourself to be on the wrong side this time already. Twice. Because I saw your buddy stomping this way once this week."
"He'll kill her," the blond man said.
"Your friends have already tried really hard to do that. Nearly succeeded so far. I trust him not to make her worse. Unlike you. Now please remove yourself from my daughter's vicinity before I have to finish losing what little grasp I have on my temper? And take your agents with you."
"We wouldn't harm her, Mr. Harris," the agent said.
"I've killed seven of you that thought the same damn thing," he said sarcastically. "Make me make it eight." The agent stepped back. "To quote someone, take your pimp shoes and *go*."
Loki came out. "It's helped strengthen her but she's still doing poorly," he admitted. "I'll see if another dose could help her, or even someone who understands healing more than I do." He patted Xander on the arm then stared at him. "How did you do that?"
Xander looked at him. "Someone owed me. Thank you." He went back in there and shut the door.
The blond sneered. "Why are you helping that child? A new plan, Brother?"
"I would not see my daughter harmed by your sort," he said bluntly. "At all."
"How did she come into being?" the blond demanded. "Some favor owed?"
"The ball." He smirked. Then he disappeared.
The blond man stomped off. The agents followed, leaving one at the hospital to watch over the tiny family. He'd do it subtly from the parking lot so he had more life expectancy than the average fruit fly.
Xander looked up as the room's door opened then went back to slowly drizzling some water down her throat. "She's still here," he said bluntly.
"She's getting fluids through the NG tube, Xander."
"Doesn't help the dryness in her mouth and throat."
"No, it probably doesn't." He came in and shut the door. "How are you doing?" Xander gave him a dirty look. "You need to sleep. We'll watch over her."
"No you won't. Earlier I had to run off two people who wanted to be *merciful*."
House winced. "They got arrested for it too."
"I knew that. I'm the one who called the cops."
House nodded. "Good!" He checked her wrist then looked at him. "We're trying."
"I've seen that."
"Some of us might want to help if you'd let us."
Xander snorted. "Why? They made their positions very well known. The ones who could help her can't because we've all been too sick. It could kill her if she got some of our blood. The others are going 'you poor thing, we'd help if we could' and then going back to their meaningless, bitchy lives."
"Some of us don't fall into either of those categories," House said.
Xander stared at him. "Unlike some people, I know how to read chart notations." House slumped and nodded. "Is there any hope?"
"Whatever that freak did helped a lot," House said. "Can he do it again?"
"Her father's checking."
House stared. "How are you the mother?"
"Long ass story you don't want to hear anyway," Xander said bluntly. "Ask John. He actually wanted to know."
"Okay," House said. "If I had known....."
"What part of a full body cast wasn't that specific? Or how you saw me living outside."
"You were a kid. They all live outside sometimes."
"You saw me not going inside at all for six damn days. Not camping out, playing, nothing like that. Hell, you caught me shoplifting food!" he said hotly. "That wasn't 'I didn't know'. That was 'I don't want to know'. You seem to major in it."
"At that time, I couldn't believe that my stepsister's child was that bad," House said. "Since then I've seen a lot more shitbags of society."
"Yeah, well, I know plenty in that club. Including you."
"I've never hurt a child."
Xander stared at him. "You don't exactly help 'em either, do you?" House huffed and stomped off. Xander relaxed and drizzled some more water into her mouth. He turned on the tv. LA should start to have problems sometime soon. "Hmm. Wildfires. Nice start." He watched while holding her hand.
A female form faded into view. "No one ever really watched how nasty you were," she said in greeting. "Which is why the bosses are horrified now."
"They're not my bosses. If they're yours, that's your choice," he said quietly.
"Not exactly." She moved closer. "Are you going to pull a Rosenburg?"
"Yup. Any time something I've done which has helped protect people is now undone. All the protections I helped lay. All the beings I helped destroy. All of it. Because they killed my daughter. I hope the bitches have fun with that."
"It could destroy a lot of humanity, Xander."
Xander looked at her then nodded. "They made it happen." He shifted and looked at Bethie then at his former girlfriend. "Any other wise advice?"
"Make her better."
Cordelia gaped. "We can't undo this."
"Your bosses started it. I'm considering myself the enforcer of the Rule of 3 - whatever you do, good or evil, comes back upon you three times." She shivered. "They created the problem. If they were that interested in saving their asses, they should fix the problem."
"I think that's why they were trying to have you killed."
He nodded. "Probably. Pity it isn't going to work either." He gave a weak smile. "Any cheery news?"
"I heard from Joyce. She's beyond pissed at you."
"Her daughter helped. She should be pissed off at her."
"She's more pissed that you had Beth."
"If I hadn't agreed to have her, then Buffy and all of us would've died before graduation. I can go back and undo it."
Cordelia looked up at the screaming her bosses were doing about that idea. "Wow, never heard them use that sort of language. They sound like dockworkers." She looked at him. "I don't think they liked that idea."
"Bluntly, fuck them."
"Eww, no." She moved closer. "If I could heal her, I would."
"I know. You'd do it to protect the others."
"Dumbass." She hit him on the side of the head. "I would've done it for you."
He looked at her. "Cordelia, just... Thank you." She frowned. "Have a good night, dear." She floated off. He settled in again, checking her. The news was going on about a tiny town that no longer existed being the epicenter of a small earthquake. He nodded. "I remember that protection too." He got comfortable. He could sit here and watch the world start to end. It was a nicely comfortable chair the nurses had gotten him.
Cordelia faded into another house, looking at the bitches she was there to chew on. "Congratulations. You wanted to be dead *so* much that you're going to get your wish." The blonde growled. She smirked. "I checked. If that protection hadn't gone onto all of us, you would've died when Ford was there. We all would've died by graduation, Buffy. Every. Last. One. Of. Us." She stared her down. "Now, you've made Xander withdraw his protections from everything except his daughter. So you have fun when you have to go back and fight things again."
"I don't have to do anything like that," Buffy sneered. "She's unnatural."
"So's your hair color." Cordelia smirked. "Her other daddy is a God, Buffy. They can do that without going to demons, spells, or other things." She pointed at the tv. The channel changed and the slayers watched the disturbance going on out in what used to be Sunnydale. "You have fun with that." Buffy gaped. "Anything he helped stop is now back."
"That should be very few things," Buffy snorted.
"You mean like the Mayor?" Cordelia asked. "Or... Glorificus?" Buffy gaped, looking horrified. "Or, hey, any of the others you fought? Xander protected you and the group with his sacrifice of blood and of his innocence by having her. All the protections he helped lay around LA when he was there, all the ones in Africa when he was there. All the battles he helped you fight, you get to fight now without him. I can guarantee you if his little girl dies, the Powers are going to give up this plane because they know he's going to destroy it. Just like someone else tried to do, only without the magical assist," she said, looking at Willow.
"It's not the same," Willow ground out.
"Yeah, you didn't love Tara for her being your little girl." Willow flinched. "So kiss your asses goodbye, ladies. There's no way to undo him removing his protections. There's plenty of higher beings on both sides that think he'll suddenly explode in rage when she does die and that'll be the final battle. We can't stop it and neither can you."
"They can take him out," Buffy said.
"No, they've tried that and it just made him more and more angry. It's also gotten you notice from others that shouldn't notice you. Including the ones that poisoned her. We can't rescue the slayers they've captured for their fun and games. We don't have anyone to do that." Buffy went pale, shaking her head. "Yeah, and I didn't know your mother knew what the word 'fuck' meant or so many variations." She faded out. "See you when you cross over. If they don't rip your soul up. A few can do that."
Buffy looked at Willow. "We have to stop him."
"No, we have to stop the problems that came up because he stopped protecting your dumb ass," Faith said. "You created your last apocalypse. You happy now?" She walked off to gather the minis. They were going to have to sort out who could be sacrificed and see if any could be saved. This was not the duty she wanted to have.
Buffy and Willow called around to their allies to see what they needed to handle. They'd deal with Xander between battles.
Xander looked up as emergency alarms started, tucking another blanket around his daughter's body. "She's chilled. Can I have a hot water bottle?" he asked quietly and politely to the nurse. She nodded, getting him one before rushing off to help. Xander tucked it in with her, testing her vitals. She was still fighting. She was a lot like him in that respect. He felt the hospital shake and then nothing. No alarms, no fight, nothing. It all ...stopped. He looked out there. Loki had stopped the battle and had them move it somewhere else. "Thank you." He hugged her. "I'm still here. You rest. It's all okay." Her heartrate picked up slightly. He smiled. "We'll fight it together, princess." He sat on the bed beside her, letting her curl up against his side for the extra warmth.
A nurse came in. "You shouldn't be on the bed, sir."
The nurse paused then checked her vitals, sighing in relief. "We can add more hot water bottles."
"Her heartrate picked up when I cuddled."
"That's fine. Not too long on there." He nodded. She made notes and left him alone.
Xander looked up as the blond man from a few days ago stomped in. "What?"
"We can make it so she will not suffer."
Xander shot him, making him fall down and scream. "You harm my daughter and I will end every single one of your people," he said quietly. He put the gun back. "Your unclie is stupid, Bethie. He really is. He doesn't know what sort of fighters we are." She snuggled in and he smiled. "That's a good girl, princess. Warm back up for me." Nurses rushed in to get Thor off the floor and down to the ER. "Thanks. He wanted her to not suffer." The nurses scowled at him but nodded.
The nursing staff decided that banning all visitors to her room was a good idea. It'd keep the father calm and from having to make them more work.
John finally found the person he'd been looking for. It'd only taken him a week to find his teammate thanks to his generals. "Rodney." McKay looked at him. "I need a huge favor."
"I got warned by the generals I was not to help you."
"My niece is dying. Someone decided to tell the generals to attack her and her father."
McKay glared. "Excuse me?"
"Yeah." He licked his lips and looked around then at him. "Please? You're the only one I know that has clean blood in the right type."
"What do our doctors say?"
"Nothing. Both generals have been told to eliminate him, her, and me if I try to help them. Apparently him helping save all our asses a few times was a bad thing to them."
"Fuck," Rodney muttered, following him. They ran into a glowy woman in the elevator. "An ascended too?" he asked dryly.
"Kinda but not quite." She smiled at John. "Meet us there." She touched Rodney, taking him and John with her. She put them into the hospital. "She's in the same room, John."
"Thank you. Which one are you?"
"Cordelia." She smirked. "It's purely self interest. I don't want to deal with Buffy for eternity either. Or him when he destroys the world." She faded out.
"She dated my cousin back in high school."
Rodney shook his head. "Not important. What's going on?" John told them on the way up to the baby's room. The nurses were glaring at them. "He's allowed to visit."
"No he's not!"
"I'm John," he said. "I'm the one that got them here." She relaxed. "I'd never hurt Xander or my niece. Unlike some of the family," he said, glaring at the man limping up the hallway. He knocked then opened the door. "Xander, your uncle Gregory is coming."
Xander flinched awake, checking her vitals. "No," he moaned, checking in a different spot. He relaxed when he found them. "She's good."
John let Rodney in and shut the door, locking it. "This is Doctor Rodney McKay. Not a medical doctor but he handles things that might be able to help."
Xander looked at them. "Your bosses have decided I'm the antichrist instead of them. They'll probably try to throw your ass in jail."
"No they won't. If they try, I'm Canadian." He came over to look at the chart. "Why can't you donate?"
"What?" Rodney demanded.
Xander told him the story, which made John shudder. "I thought mine was bad," John muttered.
Rodney looked at John. "Shut up. It was that bad." He looked at Xander again, seeing a hint of a smile. "I serve on the same field team he does."
"That's cool. I know what you guys do. I'm the one who rescued Rebecca before your bosses could have her killed trying to figure out why she suddenly got stronger and faster."
"That makes more sense," Rodney admitted. He looked at the chart. "We have a few healing devices. They can't get into the open. They might only help some of it. I'm not certain."
"Fuck, I'll try voodoo if I have to," Xander said. "Even scientific voodoo."
Rodney smirked and pulled out the two things he had snatched on their way out. He let John handle it and it lit up nicely. She grunted in pain. "It burns a bit but it's healing." He watched the medical display. "John, it went down two percent just now," he said while it was working. "Was that one you warned about a doctor?"
"And a jackass that makes you look like Mary Poppins," John said.
"Go get him." John nodded, handing over the hand unit before walking out. Rodney heard the bad noise of someone hitting the floor.
Xander looked out there then walked out and shot the two people waiting. "What did I say about getting near my daughter?" He smiled. "Don't worry, you'll pay for your part in this too," he told the remaining standing person. He helped John up and dragged him into the room then locked the door again. House had snuck in and was going over the diagnostic reading. John got put into the visitor's chair. Then Xander kissed her on the forehead and walked out to deal with them. People started to scream and run.
"That's not right," House said. "Not even I make them scream that much." He walked out there. "Are you irradiated?" he demanded.
Xander shook his head. "No. I've just had enough of all the people who decided they wanted to die so they attacked my daughter. There are easier and less messy ways to commit suicide. They should have picked them." He stared down that general, who was in a corner looking scared. "Have fun with all the shit you started," he said quietly. "I'm done. Totally done. If and when she's better, we're moving realms away from all of you so you can do it on your own like you wanted." He went back in there. House shut the door, locking it but opening the curtains slightly so they could see the next attack happening. Xander looked at his daughter. "Why is she grey?"
"She needs some more blood," House said.
"Well, gee," Xander said dryly. "How is that going?"
"It's not, Xander. As you very well know. How did you do that?"
Xander looked at him. "I had no idea what was going on when it was happening. All I knew was I was trying to find the reason it was happening."
"I'm the same blood type," Rodney noted calmly.
House nodded, calling out for a transfusion kit. They got some of Rodney's drawn and put her on a dialysis machine to infuse her while it ran. Another pint of blood got started in a drip in the other arm. Nurses brought up two extra bags from the blood bank and they got started once the first was done. Now it was time to wait and see if the machine healed her enough.
Loki stomped up to Xander that night where he was waiting outside. "You removed your protections?"
"Yup. They didn't want them. Therefore they don't get them. It was like they demanded I remove them when they hurt Beth." He looked at him. "She's gotten a bit better. Moved back to where she was two weeks ago."
"That's good news. Might you quit and put some of the protections back on?"
"No. No I'm not." He walked off. "If you wanted to see her, she's still sedated but a bit more healthy."
"I checked on her before coming out here." He looked at him. "You shot my brother?"
"Yeah, and a general." He grinned. "Felt pretty damn good actually." He walked off again. "If you want to visit, you may. I know you won't hurt her."
"Thank you." He looked up then at his aunt when she appeared. "He is very upset."
"Usually that's a mother's job." Loki stared at her. "Ah, it's that one who's causing all the problems."
"With just cause."
"He shot your brother."
"My brother offered to end her suffering."
"Then I would have shot him as well," she decided. She patted him on the cheek. "We will do as we must." She disappeared.
Loki knew that he should be closer to Xander. He could help control some of the chaos he was creating. Or steal power from him when it wasn't critical that Xander destroy people. He changed his clothes to look more mortal and then went inside to take a bit sitting with the power of chaos. And her father.
Xander looked up as an agent walked into his daughter's room. "If you're here to try to kill one of us, could you wait? I've got to finish her bed bath." He went back to cleaning her stomach.
"I'm here to arrest you for endangering thousands of lives, sir."
Xander glanced at him. "Do you have any kids?"
"Then let me put it in a simple way even a childless person can understand. They tried to kill my daughter. If they had not tried to kill her, I would not have acted. At all." He dried that area and moved to her arms. "Since all I did was remove my part of any protections I had done, that's their own fault. They shouldn't have said 'we don't want you to protect us' by trying to kill my little girl. And trust me, once she's stronger we're moving realms."
"Sir, I have to take you into custody."
Xander looked at him. "You and what army is removing me from my daughter's hospital room when she's still very close to death?"
"Um... Let me call that part in, sir."
"Have fun with that. No cellphones on this floor." The agent nodded and walked off. Not like the guy was going to run from being captured. He talked to his boss, who understood what he was saying. He came back. "Could her mother sit with her?"
"I am her mother."
"Oh-kay." He updated that.
"They said no texting either."
"Fine." He went back to the area by the elevators to send that. He got back another order from another source and called his boss to see. The nurses scowled. "I have to do my job, ladies."
"Not with that cellphone you don't." He moved back closer to the elevators. She went to check on Xander. "How soon do you think you'll be back out on bail?"
Xander looked at her. "They'll try to kill me once I'm in custody and then her. They remove me from her room with a strike team or more." He finished with her body and moved to do her hair. "Can I have the conditioner too please?" She handed it over and he made sure her hair was soft and pretty. Then he rinsed it a few times and helped braid it. It kept her from sweating too much.
The agent came back. "The judge still wants to arraign you."
Xander looked at him. "Then he'd better come here."
"I suggested that. He said they'd set up video conferencing and we could keep an agent here to keep you in custody."
"The last one that did that tried to kill me," Xander quipped. "His bosses weren't happy that I didn't react to the spider venom."
Xander got his notes and handed them over. "Why you're missing a few." He helped the nurse change her into a hospital gown. Her pajamas were all dirty at the moment.
The agent walked off calling his boss and the judge to let them know that. It was a lot more charges but the guy was clearly protecting himself. When his boss checked, those agents were no longer listed in the system as ever having been employed. Clearly a cover up. He got switched for an agent that knew about families. One that seemed non-threatening. Maybe it would calm him down some.
Xander looked up as the new agent walked into his room. "Yes?"
"No, thank you."
"You need to eat something, Harris." He handed over the cup. "Just sugar. Didn't know if you liked milk."
"I'm immune to most poisons."
"I'm not one of those sort. I'm here because I'm calm, I can handle things, and I'm used to dealing with crafty people."
Xander rolled his eyes. "Once she's better, we're moving anyway." He sipped the coffee and put it aside.
"When was the last time you ate?"
"The nurses got me something for lunch."
"Good." He pulled a chair over. "I'm Agent Burke. The upper reaches of the suspender patrol have heard. They're pissed off at you and at the source of this problem. You because you clearly are causing harm now. Them because they started you causing harm."
"Then they shouldn't have participated."
"Every agency has its bad people," the agent said.
"Yeah but I've seen more of those than not." He yawned. "Sedative?"
"No. If I'm going to drug you, I'll stick you with something. I don't work like that. That's why they sent me. It's called not sleeping." He finished his own coffee. "How is she?"
"Iffish but better than before."
"How would you move realms? I'm told you don't use magic."
"No, I don't. I am owed a few favors though and it would definitely get me out of the way, which they would like. One of them offered me some mythical healing elixir he doesn't have access to if I went to snipe superheros for a bit."
"One of them might be able to help."
"They consider me evil for helping without powers too," Xander quipped. "And frankly, I don't want any of them near her anyway. They might try to take her out on purpose now that they know who her other father is."
"Most of the good ones wouldn't play that way."
"Most of them aren't really good. They're acting in their own self-interests to soothe their mental hurts. The same as any vigilante is. Been there, done that, got her for it."
The agent nodded. "I can see how that happens. The president is very upset I'm told."
"He can bite me too."
"I can't tell him that."
"I can and have when he sent a Secret Service guy to kill me. I called him and told him to blow me after I had to take him out by throwing him out a window. I came out of the bathroom and found him over my daughter with a needle."
"I'll make sure no one else does that, Mr. Harris." Xander stared at him. "Even if they ordered, had my wife hostage, they could not make me hurt your daughter." Xander relaxed and nodded. "I know I should ask you if you want a lawyer, but can I get a statement on what's happened?" Xander handed him the notes. "I got these. Tell me." He put them aside.
Xander stared at him. "Why?"
"So I know in case they show up?"
Xander shifted and shrugged, telling him what had been going on. From going to the ball and being told this was how his friends and family would be able to survive everything to being pregnant in the accelerated way to what happened when she was born. He told him about watching her grow up whenever he could get a few hours with her. How he had her evacuated first. How someone had convinced her father that he had broken the pact and that's why she was sick, even though he hadn't. All through Africa, Asia, coming home when Beth's stepmother called and said they were attacked, all of it. The agent nodded, making his own notes for his report. He now had a lot of people he wanted to investigate and end.
Finally he got the kid to rest while he waited and watched. This assignment sucked. He was clearly on the wrong side this time.
Xander looked up as someone new walked in and glared. They paused and held up their hands, showing they were empty. "He's at his hotel room getting changed."
"That's fine. Are you all right?"
"No, I'm having a pretty sucky day," he admitted. "But she's getting stronger so that's the good thing."
"The judge had me bring in a video conferencing system." He put it on the table. "There."
Xander looked at the picture. "You wanted to talk to me?"
"I'd be more polite, Harris," the judge warned. "I can have you thrown in jail and your daughter put into foster care."
"Which would mean she'd die and so would all of you," Xander pointed out, sounding reasonable. "And then I'd move realms." The judge shuddered.
"I can put your bond as your own recognizance if you agree to undo whatever you did."
"No. They don't want it, I'm not going to force myself or them to be protected by me in the least little bit. They made themselves very clear. Even before they knew about my daughter they made themselves very clear. It's not like I helped out to be popular and liked."
"No, I don't suppose you do. Can you undo whatever ended your part of the battles?"
"No. Once those are broken they're broken for good. Unless I go back in time and redo my helping, not possible. Sorry but they didn't want me there. They said they'd rather die than have my help and if they had known then they would've let me be killed."
"That's harsh," Neal muttered.
"They're mostly girls," Xander told him. "And the bitches aren't exactly good friends to have." He looked at the judge again. "Personally I don't really care. Once she's better, you guys can do whatever you want. I'll follow the very clear clues I've been handed. I'm not quite that dumb."
"You're going to be on charges, Mr. Harris."
"Sure, and you can find me on that other realm to come get me," Xander quipped back with a small smirk. "Because I'm not dealing with them or it." He looked. "Did you send the strike team?"
"No," the judge said.
"Then your boy here might want to take the camera and move."
"I don't like guns," Neal complained, picking up the small laptop and moving out of harm's way into the bathroom area. He set up the laptop so it could see the doorway.
Xander looked at the one stomping in. "Did you need something?"
"Harris, you're coming with us."
"No, I'm not."
"You are," he said, reaching for him.
Xander activated something and suddenly everything electric in the room reset, including their gear and the laptop. Neal got it back up and running within seconds. Xander was already up and attacking the disoriented people. One of the nurses slipped around to check the machines, giving him a dirty look. Xander got two of them because only one person could walk in at a time. The other three tried to shoot him but Xander shot one in the arm, one in the forehead, and then got grazed and a decent shot into the thigh. From behind, that one went down and the one with the graze got a good second one from another direction. Xander moaned and leaned down, holding his thigh. "Ow." He looked at the nurse.
"She's fine. No damage. All the machines are working. Her vitals are good, Xander."
"Thank you." He looked at his leg. "Can I have a bandage or two please?"
"How about the ER?"
"No. Not with this sort of danger." She nodded, getting him some bandages and some alcohol pads. He got out of his pants, thankfully his boxers were long enough to be shorts, and settled in to clean and bandage his wound.
The FBI agent from earlier walked over a body. "Kid, ER."
"It's too easy to slip someone in down there," he said quietly. "And I'm not leaving her."
"I'll go with you."
Xander looked at him. "No. If I need to, I can stitch it. Not the first one I've done." He finished tying the bandage and put back on the pants. "That's better." He looked at her then at the bathroom. "You still good?"
"Caffery, what are you doing here?" he demanded.
"The judge told me to bring you the video conferencing software." He handed over the laptop. "He can watch her. He won't hurt her."
Xander looked at him. "Do you know how easy it is to slip an assassin into an ER?"
"No. That's not really my field of expertise."
"Mine either but it's not real hard." John came jogging off the elevator. "Are they from your whiny ass generals?" he asked.
John knelt beside one to check his dogtags, shaking his head. "Army."
"So NID again. Great." He shifted and winced but got comfortable. He looked at the staring, pale and shaky looking Asian judge. "What?" he said dryly. "You expected me to cry?"
"No," the judge said, closing his mouth. "You need to go to the ER."
"No I don't. If I have to I can stitch it myself. There's too much room for danger down there. Thanks though. Any other commands you want to try to pass over?"
"No," he said. "You're released to stay there as long as there is a good agent overlooking your daughter's care." He hung up.
Xander shrugged. "Whatever." He looked at his daughter. She was slightly awake. "John's here, Bethie. Want him to tell you a story?" She curled up toward where John was standing, letting him tell her a story. Xander relaxed and checked his gun, putting it back. "I'll need more bullets sometime soon."
"How are you going to get them?" John asked. "I can't get any."
Xander smirked. "I'm not as helpless as these people think I am." He watched the elevators. "Agent guy, I'd go stop the bitch. Please."
The agent looked then went to stop her. "I'm sorry but we're not accepting visitors on this ward, Ma'am."
She glared. "That abomination in there," she started.
Xander got up and came to the door. "Sure, next time you can die within hours of when I resurrected you, Buffy. Have fun with that." Buffy glared and moved. "Do try."
"You're still *normal*," she sneered.
"Yeah, I'm normal and a marksman." She gasped and backed up. "Buffy, have you realized yet all that I've done? Including getting you arms when you needed them?" She took another step back. "And by the way, graduation." He turned around. "My daughter and I wish you much luck living through Glory coming back. And the Mayor. I've already been told they're both there."
"You did it to attack us."
He snorted, shaking his head. "No, I did it because you're a bitch who wants to hurt my child. Maybe you should ask what your mom would've done to keep you safe." She tried to stomp his way but he pulled out his favorite worry stone, bouncing it in his hand. Her eyes went wide and she slowly backed up. "I've had it with all you bitches. You never appreciated me. You sure as hell don't appreciate all that I've done to help you. I'm not going to let anyone hurt my daughter. If you don't fall into that category you'll be fine. Pity you shelved yourself there. Now, anything else?" he asked in his most calm and peaceful voice. "Because I don't care anymore. I have one priority and that's my little girl." Buffy stomped off in a huff. "Good. Have a nice life." He turned around.
John plucked the worry stone to look at it. "What is it?"
"The calling stone I earned after being tortured for the bitches." He took it back. "It'd call help down but they can't help with this sort of thing." He sat down again. He heard the clap of displaced air and looked. "Go the fuck away."
"Mate, you're in deep," the woman said.
Xander snorted and pointed. "My daughter."
"I'm going to let them all destroy themselves for it. Because that's what they deserve. Can you do healing spells?"
"Not really. I can ask one of the healers locally to look at her, see if we can help. Not like we don't owe you a shitload." She looked at the girl then smiled at him. "She looks a lot like you."
Xander grinned. "She should. She's my female clone."
"I look forward to her tripping and accidentally killing the bad guy then."
Xander shook his head. "Once she's well enough, we're hiking, Tonks."
She stared at him. "That's going to be a problem."
"No it won't." He smiled. "I'm not letting anyone near her ever the hell again. Showed what I got for trusting people, ya know?"
"Yeah, I know. Let me check on some healers for her." She walked off scowling. Xander sat back down and got comfortable. One quick trip to the US Ministry and she had the name to ask. Someone there was slapping himself for not realizing that they could've offered to help before now. It might've kept some of the problems down.
"You tripped over a bad guy and killed him?" John asked, because someone had to.
"Yeah. I was drinking a really nasty latte and I tripped into him, which caused him to hit the street and go splat into a Volvo." He grinned. "I found out later it killed a bad guy. I thought I had killed someone useful or decent." Someone came running toward the door. "Oh hell no," he told her. She stopped at the doorway. "No. What do you want?"
"I want to see if I can help," she said.
"No. You can't. You've helped plenty, thank you." He got up and went to the bathroom. He did have to pee.
The agent looked at her. "I don't think he's going to let anyone who's not his family near the baby, miss."
"He won't let most of the family near her," John said bluntly. "Half of them decided to pick on him for doing what he had to do. He told them all to fuck off. He waited as long as he could before asking us for help and even then half the family thought it was a good punishment for what he used to do." He looked at his phone and frowned, calling someone. "It's John. Xander and his daughter are in a hospital in New Jersey. I just remembered that you were the same blood type." He grinned. "Probably could, yeah. You had what?" He frowned. "That would hurt her, yeah. Thanks, Tony." He hung up. "I don't know what sort of plan this was to take out half of everyone but it sucks."
Xander opened the door to look at him. "Tony?" John nodded. "Had the plague. I thought of him first since you were fucked off somewhere." He closed the door again.
"Even I have to do what the Air Force says," John quipped. He leaned down to smooth down her hair and then adjust her blankets. He looked at the young woman in the doorway. "Please, let's give the family some privacy." She huffed but stomped off. "Thanks." He rolled his eyes and settled in to tell her another story. It seemed to help her.
Xander finally came out and laid down with her. "You're chilly again, Bethie. It's not good if you're chilly. I might have to put you in Dru clothes." She snuggled in and he covered them both up.
"I'll be sitting right outside," the agent said, taking his other wanted man with him. John settled down by the window to check his email on his phone. The local department finally got there to remove the bodies. That would make the nurses calm back down. Then hopefully the father would. Though yeah, he'd be doing the same thing. He looked at his ankle weight/helper. "Any other reason you're up here?"
"Your wife said you went somewhere really dangerous by yourself. She suggested to your boss that I should bring it up."
"Thanks. Go get me a coffee but stay within the hospital." Neal rolled his eyes but did that. The agent got comfortable, listening in there. It was nice the kid had some family who cared about his little girl. The rest, he wasn't sure what their problem was. He'd be thrilled to have a guy that had protected everyone for years as a cousin or whatever. Maybe it was whatever made people hate having agents as relatives.
Xander looked up from giving his daughter some liquid yucky stuff through her tube when his uncle came in. "New news?"
"She's not backsliding," he said. "She's not getting much better either though."
"Transplanting that tiny slice of liver that'll grow?"
"We have to clear the poison out first or it'll kill it." He looked at her then at him. "We can go in and do an organ flush. It'll mean a bit on life support until it takes back over. If it takes back over."
Xander considered it. "Is that a viable thing or a last resort thing?"
"Last resort unless she gets worse again."
"Okay, I'll keep that in mind. Any good ideas for right now? You guys have tried every single medicine in the hospital, including a few I know aren't for what she has."
"I got those stopped as soon as I heard. Any hope of getting whatever helped her?"
"Ask her dad if you can find him. I can't right now. He and his brother are fighting. Last I heard they were tearing up New York." His uncle gave him an odd look. Xander shrugged. "If I wanted to go blow off stress I'd go beat both of them to death."
"That could help," he decided. "You could use less stress. Your blood pressure is through the ceiling. You're not eating. You're going to end up having a heart attack when she needs you most, kid."
"Gee, and you wonder why?" Xander asked dryly.
"No, I know why. I'm trying to help you avoid it."
Xander shrugged. "It'll happen as it does, Uncle Greg. Any other cheery news?"
"No. Want to go to the convenience house?"
"No. They'll come back for her again."
"They won't. There was a government wide memo saying to leave you two alone."
"And yet earlier I took out a British agent." House slumped, shaking his head. "That's where the FBI guy is. He's taking him to be chewed on."
"Whatever. Can you please try to sleep?"
"I catch some when I nap with her. It helps her stay warm."
House came over to check. "That's probably anemia and her kidneys going bad. Let me order a bit more blood work."
"She just had blood drawn earlier."
"I'll check on that first." He left, going to the nurse's desk to get her chart's details. The nurse scowled. "Blood work to see why she's so cold?"
"Because she's not a very healthy baby and those who had death's shadow panting over them are usually chilled," she said bluntly. But she did hand it over.
House added some for the morning and let her have them back. "Up her nutrient sludge. She's a bit anemic." He walked off thinking. They needed that non-medical version of him back soon. And maybe a few others. There was one in the family that hadn't been told. Though he hated Xander with every bone in his body.
Loki appeared in the cell, releasing the arm cuffs. He had seen this unjust action against the one protecting his daughter. No one was going to keep threatening her if he could prevent it. "This is not how your people should reward you for saving my daughter's life." He took him back to the hospital.
"Please don't hurt them," John said quietly. "Not my people."
Loki stared at him. "Even if they were responsible for some of this?"
"There's a cause and you can have them. The majority of the people on the base are good people who help protect us all, just like Xander does."
"Fine. Whatever." He disappeared again. He did not understand that sort but taking out the head of the snake would be a good place to start and he could enjoy the chaos of them figuring out how to do things now.
John went into Beth's room, getting a look from Xander. "Her dad just rescued me," he said.
"Shower's free," Xander said.
"Thanks, Xander." He went in to shower. He needed the calming down time. He also needed to start throwing fits with people so it would never happen again.
The president walked into his office and found someone waiting. "What do you want this time, Fury?" He sat behind his desk.
Nick Fury looked at him. "Right now I want to protect a young guy who all the supposed heros hate for being normal but the evil ones are helping." The president winced. "Including some of your other groups torturing their own people over him wanting to protect his niece."
Fury handed over the folder. "Loki handed it to Stark."
The president read it. Then he sighed. "So that's where it started?"
"No, that's a side effect. It started with Summers and Rosenburg. Apparently being a father isn't normal in their eyes."
The president leaned back. "I've had words with them about their stupidity. They insist that baby is abnormal."
"Why? Because Gods can get it done with a guy?" Fury shot back. "Mother fucker sold himself to protect them by having Loki's spawn. The girl's an adorable little kitten lover. Not at all like either of her parents. I don't know what infected them but the others are more than willing to take on some of their jobs."
"With what's going on in Sunnydale, it might help," the president said. He handed over that folder. "I was going to assign your people to go handle it since Summers is battling every other bad thing in the universe that used to be dead."
Fury grimaced. "That sucks. How did they do it the first time?"
"Report's in there."
Fury read it and nodded once. "Boy should've quit helping and supporting the bitches long ago. Too bad a guy like him can't just walk away." He left. By the time he got back to his hell carrier, the Avengers were gathered. He tossed the file onto the table. "Handle Sunnydale. That's the three main issues. All used to be dead."
Stark took them to look over, feeding them into the system so they could be projected so they weren't sharing the single copy. "How did a group of teenagers do this?" Stark demanded.
"They had to."
Thor grimaced. "The hell goddess Glorificus is not an easy opponent. You must destroy her enough that she retreats to her mortal form. The last time she appeared it cost many warriors their lives."
"The mayor you have to destroy somehow," Fury told them. They nodded. "Maybe both can be done with weapons. Just get it done this week before more bad things come back thanks to all this shit storming down on a baby's head." They left, going to make battle plans while they looked over the available weapons.
Xander looked up as Loki walked in with a vial. "More of the same stuff?"
"So my aunt assured me." He smiled at his daughter. His sweet, evil little girl. The vial in his hand tingled so he put it down. It changed colors. He tested it. "No, it was not."
Xander nodded. "Can I talk to her too?"
Loki looked at him. "You are in no shape to go against a God, Xander."
"I'll be fine as long as she is."
"She will be fine." He hoped. Or else all his plots and plans for power were useless since he'd have no realm to lord over. "I have others looking into the issues and with your genetics."
"It is not a problem." He patted her on the foot and went to talk to his aunt. She had some explaining to do.
Xander shifted closer to check her then went back to his reading. He'd handle that aunt with the others.
Xander woke up a few days later to fighting. Not in the hospital thankfully but outside. He looked out there and then sighed, looking at John. John was blatantly hiding from his own people even though several people knew where he was. He pointed. John nodded. Xander walked outside, willing more bullets of a specific type into his pistol. He came out into the argument and looked at a few people. "You're going to wake the baby. They're keeping her sedated because she needs less pain medicine that way. Do you fucking mind?"
The supposed good guy flinched and backed away. "I was trying to keep these evil ones from bothering you."
Xander stared at him. "I know I can trust him more than you. I know his motivations. I know he's not suddenly going to try to kill us both because he's not going to try to take the supposed moral high ground like you would. So please, just concern yourself with others who want you to protect them." He looked at the other one. "Why the fight?"
"I may have a way to weed out your genomic contamination."
"Wonderful. How long will it take and will it change anything else? Because right now I don't read as her parent due to that."
"It should not."
"Can we do it today?"
"I need some to test. I've tested it with other types of contamination."
Xander nodded. "Just that test? "
The villain sneered. "I'm not into chemical weapons, boy. If I want to destroy humanity I have many more satisfying ways that wouldn't require people to whine at me."
Xander grinned. "That's always a better plan but you never know." He held out his arm. "Go for it." The evil one took some blood and skin scrapings. "How long?"
"I'll know by tomorrow morning at the latest if it will work." Xander nodded, backing off some. "We may need access to her medical records. They've removed them from where my hackers could reach them."
"I can get you a copy," Xander promised. The villain smiled at him. "Thank you for trying to help her." That got a nod and Xander walked off. He paused at the nurse's desk to let her know. She made the call to medical records. John looked at him. "Even if it was Satan wanting to help, that's all good to me right now," he said quietly.
"To most parents probably," he agreed. "Then what?"
"We're moving. Permanently moving. This world can handle itself without my help. They don't want it anyway. You and your teammates, and whoever's decent, can join us if you want."
John shrugged. "I've still got a few battles I need to finish."
"I remember that feeling. That's why I went to Africa." He sat down and picked up the book to read to her. She liked the book a lot. Her heartrate always sped up some when he or John were reading it to her.
The agent watching over Xander came in with some coffee. "I heard you had a super villain in here to help?"
"Yeah. He thinks he can weed out the strange genetic issue."
"That's handy." Xander sipped the coffee he had gotten him. "Any other good news?"
"Few things. She's not getting worse. Her liver functions are stabilized but still really horrible. We need to feed her more often too." The agent nodded. Xander sighed and looked outside when the fighting started again. Then suddenly it stopped with a large, explosive noise. "Sounds like someone got pissed off." He sipped his coffee, shaking his head. "How's the rest of the world doing?"
"Crappy," he said, sitting down. "The Avengers got sent to handle Sunnydale."
"I wish them luck. I really do. I'm sure there's people there who'll want their protection more than they wanted mine. I hope like hell they can live up to their standards." He finished his coffee and put the cup aside. Beth was making grimacing faces so he checked her over. "Oh, hey, you peed," he said happily. "That's great news, Bethie." He looked out at the desk. "She peed."
"That's wonderful news. I'll have someone bring up some sheets." She smiled and made that note to the doctor in charge. It was a great sign. It also meant a catheter or a big-kid diaper but she was sure the father could handle it.
House came limping and stomping in. "She finally got some function back?"
"Enough to pee."
"We can drop a catheter to drain it." Xander looked at him. "Then leave it at a diaper for now. It'll cause her less stress." Xander nodded. House got someone to do that for him and then they got her into a real bath. It was necessary. Bed baths never got you clean enough. When the bed was changed she got put back into it and tucked back in. She snuggled in and got comfy, her father laying next to her so cuddle her. She was making pouty, sucky faces in her sleep, which made the father and agent very happy. It meant she might be getting better.
Rodney walked into the hospital room with a new device. "Let's see if this can help ease the problem a bit more. It's a cell regeneration unit," he said quietly. Xander nodded. He glanced at the agent. "You don't see me doing this."
"Like him, I wouldn't care if you were Satan as long as the kid there is better."
Rodney smirked. "I'm not this week. Ask me later." He used the scanner, smiling at the results. "That's actually a good sign." House came back and took over control from him. "I'm not sure if you can run it or not."
"I had someone look up your mystical machines and had myself checked. Yes, I have that ATA gene. Weakly but I have it." He checked. "This might not work well enough."
"It's for cell regeneration. Usually we use it for fairly deep injuries, like gunshot wounds."
"I'm not sure if it'll help the liver or not." He tested it on a section that was in the worst shape. "No." He let him see the readout. "It's probably not supposed to do that."
"No it's not." He considered it, fiddling with the menus. It finally came up with an option for organs and they tried it again. Little benefit on the worst sections but the rest was trying to heal some more. Loki walked in and gave Xander a vial to feed her then took the machine to fix it and handed it back. Xander got her to drink the nasty potion and the machine read it and helped heal some more of the damage in the least affected sections. House relaxed. "It's better than it was." Xander grinned.
Loki tested her. "She's still ill and needs the purer air of somewhere mystical to draw energy from."
"She's not like Willow," Xander pointed out.
"She is half-mine," Loki said dryly, staring at him. "It could help her."
Xander smirked. "Let me get her able to travel and we'll see if a few days at your house helps." Loki nodded, smirking some. "Though I will shoot your brother again."
"Good. It keeps me from doing so." He walked off happier.
Xander looked at Rodney, holding out his hand. "Thank you," he said quietly.
"I'd never want an innocent child to suffer, especially for someone else's stupidity," he said bluntly. He stared at him. "There are others suffering."
"All I did was remove my part of the protections. If they were serious about keeping them intact, Willow could've upped her section since supposedly mine wasn't that important to them."
Rodney groaned and shook his head. "This is what happens when you make it so teenagers have to save the world instead of experienced soldiers and scientists who have more knowledge and experience."
"Hell, I would've adored having someone with experience there. We had Giles."
"No, I said experience," Rodney said dryly. "I'll let that be known." He left, going to give John the good news. He could use it after chewing on some generals with his family's support. Including telling the ones over their project that they could've stopped some of it but never even considered that option.
"Now what?" the agent asked Xander.
"We wait until she's much better or if there's another attack, then we vacation with her daddy's family." That got a nod. "Then we'll settle somewhere nice and calm." He picked up the new book he had gotten off the library cart. She scowled in her sleep so he went back to her book on princesses. In the back of his mind he was planning on what he'd need to make sure they'd be okay when they left this world to the fussy ones.
Xander appeared with Beth in his arms. Loki hopped up from the main table and came down to get her. "There was another attack," he said quietly.
"We can guard her and hopefully the native energies will help." He led them back to his rooms. Xander curled around her and they both got tucked in. Then Loki went back to the official dinner.
Thor looked at him. "Your daughter looked more robust."
"She has gotten better but not fully yet. I was hoping being up here would sponsor her Asgardian ancestry to help heal her more."
Odin looked at him. "Why would she have ancestry from my line?"
"She's my daughter, Father. You demanded we must have heirs so I had one with him. Her birth protected the hellmouth from killing humanity and gave her mother what he needed to be complete." He sipped his wine. "Then the humans he protected got stupid." Thor shuddered and rubbed the healing wound on his shoulder. Loki smirked at him. "How is your war wound, brother?"
"Not great but it is healing nicely," Thor mumbled. He stuffed his mouth.
Odin cleared his throat. "I do not like half-breeds here, son."
Loki stared at him. "Unless you wanted me to fuck my own brother for my heir, was there a choice?" Odin glared. "I am not into any of my family members in that way. Sorry if that disappoints you as well."
"She should go back to Midgard," Odin ordered.
Xander walked in and stuck a sword in the floor, muttering something loudly in Norse. The hall flashed and then suddenly everyone was outside. He walked out to the doorway, staring at the shocked looking Gods. "I nearly destroyed humanity for people trying to harm my daughter, Odin. I may not be one of you but I am more than willing to kill everyone to protect her." Odin backed down a bit. Xander huffed. "Thank you. Have a good dinner." He left the door open and went back to gather her. Their hidden realm was nearly finished. He heard Odin send a curse that she be unable to rule until she was a healthy adult. Xander protected her from most of it. He moved them as it was going to hit. It knocked him out and her too.
He got to miss Loki taking over as her regent by right of being her parent and kicking everyone out of Valhalla until he was no longer pissed off. He also missed Thor apologizing on the spot and leaving to go back to earth for a bit.
Xander woke up with the world's worst hangover. He sat up holding his head, looking around. He was in a bed. In a palatial looking suite. He looked around then started to get up. A floating sign appeared above him. "She's in her own room," he read. "We have her in stasis until the curse bleeds off some. She's in a system that will move her joints to make sure she doesn't have any problems." Xander slumped back, still holding his head. Very light, weak tea appeared beside him with some flatbread that had something oily on it. He drank and nibbled slowly. When the world quit spinning he got up and went to take a real shower. Then he went to check on her.
The frame on the bed surrounded her and it was indeed working each joint and muscle group for her. The NG tube was being fed from a small pump of stuff that looked like purple ensure shakes. She had a catheter now. Thankfully they had said she was stasis since she was still beyond what the machine was doing. "How long?" he asked.
The demon who had helped him appeared. "The stasis will wear out in a year's time." Xander grimaced. "By then the curse will have bled off and it will give her body time to heal without worrying about the support she needs." He smiled. "She's going to be one very strong young woman." Xander nodded. "You'll do fine, Xander."
"I know. Thank you."
"You're quite welcome." He patted him on the back. "Everything is set."
"Can her father get in?"
"There is a door that will appear in Loki's main palace once a year. I will tell him of such." He left and the realm sealed itself.
Xander sat down to watch his daughter. It was ingrained habit now to watch her sleep, even if she wasn't really sleeping.
Loki had waited for the full year for the door to appear. He walked through it as soon as it faded into view. He looked around. "My house is not this grand," he said. "I should redecorate." He walked around, finding the kitchen and the helpful creatures. "Are you house elves?" he asked. That movie had confused him greatly but he could see the appeal of a slave like a house elf.
"No, but we are modeled on them," one said. "Master and mistress are in her room. He is carving on her bed again."
"Thank you." He walked up the stairs, finding many rooms. One was clearly a door to the inner family rooms. He walked through and found three rooms around a central living area. "Xander?" He walked in there, finding him carving ornate birds on her bedposts. He sighed. "She is alive?"
"In stasis for another six weeks," he said, looking at him. "Has it been a year?"
"Yes." Xander nodded, putting down his tools and flopping into his usual chair. "Is she well?"
"She's doing better than we had expected. The stasis has kept your father's curse from being too strong." Loki nodded, looking pleased. "The machines keep her moving so she won't have any problems when she finally wakes up."
Loki nodded, moving closer. "She's a beautiful little girl."
"Yeah, she is." He smiled weakly at him. "Sorry about your family home and all that."
Loki shrugged. "I will rule it in her stead until she is of age." He smirked. Xander grinned back. "Does she need anything?"
"She could use some bigger clothes but I haven't figured out how to weave cloth yet."
Loki waved a hand and a wardrobe appeared. Inside were outfits for her. All dresses like she would be wearing at his house. "I heard you reading her favorite princess story to her repeatedly." Xander smiled and nodded. "Aught else you need?"
"Is there a way that John and his friends can show up if they need a sanctuary?"
"I can see if one can be made." He patted the young mortal on the head. "How about for yourself? You look thin."
"I haven't been paying much attention to eating," Xander admitted.
Loki looked at the ornately carved bed then at him. Most of the four poster bed and canopy supports were carved with animals and crowns. "You need to quit that. She needs you healthy and whole, not under the weather." Xander looked up at him. The look in his eyes, his thin, beautiful face, was the same as it was the night they had met. Loki took a kiss. "You need rest."
"I'll do that later."
"You'll do that now." He pulled him to what was clearly his bedroom. It was more masculine, had nothing carved on it, and clearly hadn't been slept in recently. He stripped Xander down and put him in there then went to spend time with his daughter. She read as healthier than before. He modified the stasis spell to be better for her. Then he sat down to wait. Xander would wake up soon. The boy never slept long enough. When he heard him, he went back in there. Xander was stripping down to take a shower. He was much too thin and almost looked stringy instead of well-muscled. For some reason, Loki liked it though. He stripped with a thought and followed Xander into the shower. There were many forms of sleep encouragement and stress relief.
Even if the doorway did pull him back abruptly when his time was up. It wasn't the first time he had wandered the halls of Valhalla naked. Now he had plans to make and plots to meticulously employ.
Loki appeared the next year as soon as he could and took up where he had been forced to leave off last year. Thankfully Xander needed the stress relief. A lot. It was a long, satisfying session. Then he went to check on his little girl. His sweet little future evil one had grown so much in that year. He made sure the wardrobe would let the clothes grow with her. He also tested the stasis spell and added some helpful power to it, plus let her mind be taken for a while so she wouldn't be eight when she woke up. It was the least he could do until his baby evil one was ready to rejoin him at his side as a future plan maker and participant.
Xander had made it through the birth, which amused the 'house elves' the demon had created to help him. Thankfully they knew how to handle those nasty things. So now he was staring at his son. Who looked so innocent, even if he was a hell raising little loud thing. He took him into his daughter's room and sat down with Eric in his lap. "Eric, this is your sister Beth. It's very important that a brother always protects his sister," he told the baby, kissing him on the head.
"She's a bit sick but we're protecting her the best we can. Some day she'll be a princess like in the stories and then she'll pout at us for protecting her but she'll still need it. It's always a good idea for a brother to protect his sister. It makes them very close and it makes the brother grow up strong and right." He shifted the baby some and let him coo at her. "Beth, this is your brother Eric. Yeah, we're both going to overprotect you but can you blame us?" He showed Eric all the animals he had carved on her bed then let him nap in a chair while he finished the one he had been working on.
Xander looked up when John and his people showed up a few years later. "Hey," he said. He gave John a hug. "Are you guys all right?"
"No. Shit just hit the fans of the universe."
"I know that feeling. I remember it well actually." He looked at the staring people. "There's rooms on the second floor, guys."
"Where is this?" Rodney demanded, looking around.
"The realm I moved us to. She's in a modified stasis, basically Sleeping Beauty's curse, until she's healed. But she is getting better." A young boy ran in and paused at the strangers, staring in awe. "Hey, Eric."
"Daddy." He hugged him then looked at the people around him. "Who are they?"
"This is your cousin John. He's one of the few in the family I trust and like. These are the people he was working with and protecting."
Eric smiled and waved. "Welcome to our fairytale castle. Sissy would love the castle but she's napping." He looked up at his father. "I'll tell the elves?"
"Sure. Thank you." Eric ran off to do that. He smiled at John. "He's a wonderful little brother."
"How....." John asked with a point.
"Basically the same way."
"Oh." He nodded then shuddered. "Sorry, imagining Rodney that way," he said at the dirty look from his cousin.
Rodney glared at him. "I'd be fantastic at it." He looked at Xander. "She's still down?"
"Odin threw a curse at her." He smirked. "He can't get into his house but he did try really hard."
Rodney rolled his eyes. "Wonderful. Can we clean up and rest?"
"Gladly." The 'house elves' showed up to bring them to their rooms. The few that needed medical attention got supplies to do that.
Eric walked into John's room with a glass of tea. "Here, because you look thirsty."
"Thank you, Eric." He took it to sip. "That's really good."
"You aren't going to hurt Sissy, are you?"
"No. I helped protect her when others wanted to hurt her."
Eric grimaced. "Daddy said some people were stupid and didn't like Sissy but not why."
"I think he'll explain it better when you're older. That's not my place to tell you."
Eric nodded. "That makes sense. But you can help me make Sissy pretty later?"
"Sure. I can do a pretty good braid." Eric beamed and ran out. "He's so much like his father," he said quietly. He went in to take a shower and came out to find Loki stomping up the hallway. "You can get here too?"
Loki backtracked to look at him. "Once a year. How did you get up here?"
"The demon that created it gave us a way off Atlantis when it was about to be destroyed."
Loki grimaced. "Charming!" He huffed but walked off. "Eric, let us fix up your sister's hair." Eric ran to help him, pouncing him for a hug. He patted him with a smile. "It's good that you help your father make her pretty."
"Sissy should always be pretty. She's the princess type."
"Yes, I hope she will be." Loki and he got her fixed up prettily and then left her to her healing sleep. She was getting stronger by the day. She was now eleven and it was a very good sign. "Some day we'll have to introduce her to a few princes."
Eric grimaced and shook his head. "No. Sissy doesn't need a prince. I don't need cousins since most of mine are dumbasses."
Loki smiled. "Some of yours from my side of the family as well." He patted him on the head. "Where is your father?"
"In his room wondering why the suite grew I think." He ran off to spy on the new people. He was not going to let them near his sister if they were going to be mean people. He'd protect her if he had to.
Loki walked into Xander's room, finding him looking out the window. "At least you'll have some company for a bit."
Xander looked at him. "John loves his city more than he could anyone else; he'll want to go back sometime."
"If you were still on the mortal realm, you could have helped with that but the outcome probably would have been the same. The battle they fight is against an overwhelming force."
Xander nodded. "I remember those." He turned to look at Loki. "How is she?"
"She's doing much better. Her liver is still healing but there's no trace of the poison and there's no trace in any other organ. She'll wake around eighteen."
"Then I'll have to help her bridge the gap to her present age."
"I've made sure that she's living like a normal girl her age would in Asgard," Loki said. Xander smiled and gave him a hug. Loki stiffened but he knew Xander wouldn't be attacking this way. If Xander wanted to attack him, he'd attack not hug. Loki hugged back. "Our son said that the suite expanded?"
"A tiny bit. Looks like a closet."
Loki went to look then came back with a blanket. "I do not believe that is a closet." Xander stared at the blanket, blinking. Loki smirked. "Did you wish that into being?"
"No but... Eric would hit the roof."
"Yes, he will be." He stripped them both and moved closer. Xander was drawn to him as he was to Xander. The merging of their chaos bodies and beings was a powerful one. It kept Loki sane most of the time. It also kept him from attacking humanity half the time. And since they were doing it so early in the day of visiting he even got to see some of it going on. He hadn't gotten to see Eric or Beth's gestation.
John walked in with a tray for dinner, pausing at the doorway. "So that's how it happened," he said dryly. Xander flinched. "No, you're good. Just don't do it to Rodney. That would give me nightmares for *years*." He handed over the tray. "Eric said you never ate with him when the daddy was here." He looked at Loki. "You know I will destroy you for hurting him?"
"We are drawn to each other as chaos beings."
"Doesn't matter. You hurt him and I'm killing you."
Loki smirked. "You are more than welcome to try." He tested him. "Why do you feel like an Ancient?"
"Kinda," John said with a smirk. "You should see Rodney." He looked at Xander. "Eat."
Xander nibbled, looking at his stomach then at his cousin. "Are you freaked out?"
"No." He kissed him on the forehead. "There's some things that only one of us can do, Xander. After you told me you had Beth, I accepted it." He grinned. "What's this one going to be?"
Loki ran a hand over the bare stomach. "A girl." Xander looked at him. "Probably a strong, mouthy sort." He looked at John.
"Spend some time with your son."
"I spend one day with him and one day with his father."
"Good." He left them alone. "Xander's not eating with us," he said when he walked into the dining hall.
"Daddy always has him today," Eric said with a grin. "I see him tomorrow."
"Yes you will. And possibly a baby sister." Eric squealed and ran out to pounce his parents.
"I remember doing much the same when I heard about sisters," Rodney said, passing on the plate of meat. "Beef?"
"Thank you." He took some and ate a bite, moaning in pleasure. It was perfectly cooked roast beef. "Anyone find anything amusing yet?" he asked between bites.
One nodded. "Found the tv room but it doesn't get a single news station."
"Probably by design," Rodney agreed. "Anything else?"
"It looks like we're on a huge farm. There's a small moat around the castle, and the rest is all farmland."
"The kids must love that," another of the soldiers said.
"My cousin's oldest is in a stasis-like state," John said. "She's been sleeping since she was eight due to being poisoned by someone attacking her father. Which is why they moved here." John ate another bite of the roast beef.
Eric walked back in pouting slightly. "Daddy's so silly. Of course sister can have pretty clothes and we'll make her pretty together. That way she's a princess too."
John smiled. "Sometimes princesses can kick butt."
"Really?" Eric demanded, staring at him, hands on his hips.
John smiled. "I remember your father giving me that same look, Eric." Eric grinned shyly and ducked his head. "And yeah, princesses can kick butt. They have to so they can fight off the bad princes who want to marry them when they're not worthy."
"Huh." He sat down beside his cousin, letting him fill his plate. He looked at the meat then at him. "I shouldn't cut things. I break the knives." John smiled and cut up his meat for him. "Thank you."
"You're welcome." The others were smiling at him. It was cute how Eric liked his cousin. Probably because the kid had no one to play with him but it was still cute.
Loki accidentally walked out the door that John's people used, looking around. "This sucks," he decided, pulling up power. He ignored that he had just used a Xander phrase and he was doing something Xander would be doing. The city lit up and started to frantically search. "They're with my mate and his children," he told the AI. He blasted the beings trying to attack the city and more of them that were nearby. "Stupid bug people. I should let Xander work out his mood swings on you." He walked back through the doorway and then got sucked home. He landed on his butt, as usual, and stood up, noticing a few of the relatives he had let in were staring at him. "At least I have on clothes this time," he said dryly. They shuddered and he went to consider who he could introduce to his insanely overprotective son. Some day Eric would need a true mate.
Thor showed up scowling. "The world requires your mate," he said quietly.
"He cannot go do anything at the moment as my second princess is about six months along," Loki drawled with an evil smirk. "My son is ecstatic and bouncing off the walls."
"Is that why you came back dressed this time?" one of his aunts teased with a smirk of her own.
"Indeed. That and the realm allowed Xander's cousin to bring his people there when their city was falling." He looked at Thor again. "Why would you have need of my children's mother?"
"The remaining slayers need a rallying point."
"They would wish to harm the family. I cannot allow that any more than he would. Go become their mascot so they see how *heros* live," he said, staring at him.
"We have. They want Xander to show up like Angelus did."
"He has nothing to atone for." Thor scowled. "What would you have done if she were yours?"
"I would have turned into you as well," Thor said bitterly. "They wish to see the baby."
"I may send Eric as an emissary some year." Thor gaped, making squeaky noises. Loki smirked. "Eric is adorably innocent but still my son. He even has my eyes. He's entirely certain that his sister is a princess of the realm. So perhaps seeing women who are stronger and more durable would help him some."
Thor swallowed. "You have more than one?"
"You clearly were not listening. Xander is having my second princess soon." He smiled.
"I would foster your son so he learns how to fight to protect his sisters and their honor," Thor offered.
"We'll see. He's only five. Thankfully that year in full stasis meant that Beth did not age that year so they're close in age." He shifted, putting a foot over the arm of his throne. "Right now he is enjoying his cousin John and his people there to ask questions to."
"The one who was on Atlantis?" Thor asked. Loki nodded. "Interesting. Mayhap one of them could do it?"
"Ask them yourself."
"How would I do that since he moved realms?" Thor asked. Loki pointed at the doorway. Thor went to look and ask it politely. It opened and he walked through.
Eric came rushing at the doorway, scowling. "Who're you! You'll be mean to my Sissy and I'll stab you!"
Thor smiled at him. "I am your uncle and came to ask your cousin for a favor, Eric. It is a pleasure to meet you." He held out a hand.
Eric stared at him then shook it. "If you're mean to Sissy I'll still stab you."
"Good. I would expect you to be as fierce as your mother." Eric beamed and nodded. "Would you please get your cousin John?" He ran off to do that. Thor looked around. The demon who had created the house had done a beautiful job. It was classically elegant but yet a bit sterile. There weren't enough children laughing and playing. Yet since Xander was waddling. "Brother-in-law."
Xander paused to stare at him. "Don't make me shoot you again."
"I will not. The slayers wanted a rallying point that they could look up to." Xander snorted, shaking his head as he walked off. "Not you, though they did wish you to come back like Angelus did."
"I don't have to atone for anything," Xander said firmly.
"As I know. You were right to stop me before." Xander smirked. "Do you think your cousin's people could help them?"
"I don't know. Ask John. John?"
John and Rodney came out. Rodney gave Xander a long stare, including the wiggling mass. "Go sit down," Rodney ordered with a point. Xander sighed but finished his trek to the kitchen. "I said sit down."
"I will once I get some pudding." The other soldiers were staring. He shrugged and grinned. "It was pretty damn good." He walked into the kitchen. They had pudding for him already so he got to go sit down in the dining hall. Eric came in to sit next to him and stare at his stomach. "You can help me with the new sister tomorrow," he said quietly.
"Okay!" He beamed. "I'll be a great big brother! I'll 'tect her, and help her wear pretty clothes! We'll talk about how to be a princess like Sissy is!"
Xander kissed him on the head. "I know you'll be the best big brother ever, Eric." Eric beamed and nodded. "Get me some chips?" Eric got them and brought them back. "Thanks, little man. Why don't you ask the others what they were doing on the city? I'm sure they'd like to tell you about their jobs so you can decide if I'm sending you to college somewhere when you're old enough."
Eric looked at the others. "You do things besides protect your Sissy and Dad?"
They all smiled and nodded and one patted the empty seat next to him. "I am scientist," he said with a grin. "We can talk about science."
"What's science?" Eric asked, looking at his dad.
"That stuff that I screwed up teaching you the other day." Xander ate a chip and some pudding.
"Oh! That looked interesting. It had tiny explosions and neat stuff."
"It has many neat things. It makes the rules that all things live by."
"Daddy breaks rules all the time. He said that's what Chaos does."
"It does that as well." The scientists settled in to tell him about chaos and science. It made him a happy little boy. Xander grinned because his son was so smart, like John was. It was adorable.
Thor showed up back at the Avenger's house, staring at the slayers that had been moved there for their own protection and training. The two people with him were moved forward. "Both of these two are soldiers who just served on the mythical city of Atlantis saving humanity," he told them. "They are in the middle of restoring the city and going back to fight again later." The girls smiled at them. "They have fought many things that would be like what you have fought. They are both team leaders and both know the ways of training." The girls nodded, taking them to talk to them. He looked at Stark, who had been put in charge of the slayers by Fury - who had gotten pissed off at Stark and made him responsible for a bunch of teenage girls to punish him. "Loki has said that his mate cannot come," he said quietly.
"Apparently the inherent chaos has called to the nature of the other. Loki has announced he is having a second daughter and his son may some day foster with myself."
"Wow. How did that happen?" Stark asked.
"Xander." He shook his head quickly.
Stark smirked. "So the girl he fought back over is all right?"
"That I have not heard. I have the feeling my father's Curse for her being half-blooded still stands."
Loki appeared, brushing down his jacket. "She's in a semi-stasis spell to help her heal without problems. She will awaken at eighteen. My son is insane. He was babbling about science." He looked at the slayers, pointing at one. "You." She flinched. Then she glared at him. He smirked. "I know your mother. Why are you on Midgard?"
"I'm supposed to be here," she sneered. "I'm a slayer."
Thor looked then groaned. "She is a gifted slayer as well as being a hidden child of our dwarves." He rubbed his forehead. "She does a credit to their warrior heritage."
"Fine. Have her tell her mother as she came to see if we had heard of her whereabouts."
"I'll write my mother," she muttered, turning her back on him.
Loki looked up then at Thor. "My son is insane."
"His family has many smart people," Stark said. "Perhaps he'll take after that side of the family."
Loki grimaced. "Some day he'll give me grandchildren for that." He disappeared.
Thor shook his head. "His mother would not allow him used as a pawn. He would fight my brother."
"That's a fight I'd like to see," Faith said quietly as she moved closer. "Xander good?"
"Fairly well. He's expecting a daughter soon," Thor said with a grin.
She shuddered. "I don't wanna know." She walked off. "Thor saw Xander." The girls pounced him to ask him. Most of them remembered Xander and a lot of them missed him.
The next day, John was woken by a moan of pain. It nearly levitated him off the bed. He ran for Xander's room, finding Rodney already in there. "Is it time?"
Xander nodded, biting his lip. "Sure as hell is," he panted. "Mimsy!" One of the 'house elves' in the kitchen showed up with a vial. "Thank you, Goddess Discord." He swallowed it while Rodney spluttered about it being harmful. Then suddenly there was a pop. Xander's stomach deflated. There was now a baby in Mimsy's arms. Xander sighed and relaxed, going limp. "Damn."
John carefully took her. "That's a really neat trick. Welcome to the family, little one." Eric ran in. "Hold up." Eric stopped climbing on the bed. "Xander, is he going to be too heavy to cuddle?"
"He can have my side." He held up an arm, which was about all he could lift right now. Eric cuddled and peered at the slimy bundle. "Bath," Xander said with a yawn. "I'll get up in a few minutes. The potion always knocks me out." He was snoring a second later.
Rodney and John stared at the baby then at the demonic construct that worked in the house. "Is there a bath run?"
"There is a suitable sink. Master Eric was bathed there," Mimsy said quietly. Eric climbed down and opened the bathroom door. They walked her in there and Rodney, who had helped bathe his niece at least once, set the water temperature. Eric climbed up on the counter to sit and watch them bathe his new sister. She fussed but they cleaned her and Mimsy brought in a diaper and an outfit. Once she was dressed, Eric escorted her in to rest with the Dad, then he ran off to tell his other sister. She'd want to hear those things.
John watched him go. "Eric, be gentle."
"Of course. She's my Sissy! I'd never hurt Sissy."
"Okay." Mimsy brought them a bottle and some breakfast. "Thank you," John said. Rodney was still staring at her. "Want to feed her?" he asked.
Rodney shook himself from his thoughts. "I want to know what's in that potion."
"I know a lot of women who'd like it," John agreed. He carefully fed her the first bottle.
"Head up," Rodney ordered. John shifted. Rodney helped across Xander's body. He settled in to eat, checking on Xander's vitals. "He seems fine."
"He should be," John agreed, looking at him. He nudged Xander with his foot. Xander snorted and blinked sleepily at him. "Does she have a name?"
"Don't know. Loki hated that I named him Eric instead of after someone in his family." He shifted with a wince, looking at her. "Hey, daughter." She slurped and let her eyes close. "I know, it's a huge day." He took her to hold, curling on his side. "Eric?" He came running in and climbed up to sit at her feet and help. "Were you telling Bethie?" Eric smiled and nodded. "Good boy." He kissed him on the head then winced and leaned back. "We'll be better by lunch." Eric cooed and leaned over to kiss his new sister. "What should we name her?"
"Gladriel!" he said with a smile.
"No," Loki's voice called.
Xander and Eric both looked up. "Daddy?" Eric asked.
"Arwen?" John suggested.
"I will destroy more of your city's enemies if you do not attempt to name my child after an elf," Loki's voice said.
"Daddy, come visit," Eric pouted. "See sissy!"
"Later," Loki said. "Before bedtime." Eric cheered and bounced. Rodney caught him before he bounced into Xander or his sister. "A classical Norse name please."
"Alva?" John asked. "Its masculine form means 'elf' if I remember right."
Rodney gave him the strangest look. "How do you know that?"
"I got bored and played with a random name generator one day. The masculine is Alf."
"Astrid," Loki ordered.
"Astrid isn't bad," Xander decided. "I thought about naming her after Anya."
"Even I think your former fiancée is a bit...strong willed," Loki's voice said. "Please don't."
"Fine." He looked at her. Astrid Wilimina Larissa."
"Go with Mina instead of Wilimina," John said quietly.
"Okay. Astrid Mina Larissa Harris-Odinson."
Eric pouted. "She has more names than me."
"Your full name is Eric Loran Alexander Harris-Odinson," Xander said. Eric beamed and hugged his sister. "Gently. She's really fragile." He let her go and gave her back the bottle. They let them rest and eat for now.
Loki walked in and looked at her. "I wish to present her."
Xander looked at him. "I can't leave," he said quietly.
"I know. I will bring them back." He looked at Eric. "Go change. You have to talk to important people." Eric cheered and ran. He made a dress for Astrid. Xander dressed her and carefully let her go. "I will be back in an hour." He and Eric walked the baby back to Valhalla, where he had called a meeting of his relatives. Including his father and mother. He smiled as he stepped up in front of his throne. "Today I present two of my heirs. This is my son, Eric Loran Alexander Odinson." His mother gasped. Eric beamed and waved. "This is my second daughter, Astrid Mina Larissa Odinson." He held her up. "She was just born today."
"She's my sissy and a future princess like my older one," Eric said. He noticed someone looked sad and looked up then at them. "You don't like my sissy?"
"I have not met her," he said.
"Yes you did, Father," Loki said. "You were not polite in the least to her however." Odin flinched and moaned, shaking his head. "My heirs." The others in Valhalla came forward to greet the children.
Thor paused. "The slayers would like pictures." Loki shook his head. "Is he going to his education?"
"We are working on that and he may go to college, when he's able to protect himself," Xander said from the doorway. Eric smiled and waved. "Maybe we should name her Arwen."
"We are not elves," Loki said with a smirk.
Xander smirked back. "You are a bit fey and thin. Eric, he clearly forgot to eat lunch. You should make sure he does that while I work on your sister's room."
Eric carefully carried his sister over, watched by everyone. "She needs a good princess room, Daddy." He ran back and pounced his father, getting a smirk and a pat back. "Daddy is right. You're skinny! You eat! Or else you'll fall down and not be able to hold sissy."
"I'll eat lunch with you," he promised.
Eric beamed and got down, going to talk to the other ones. "Do you know what science is?" he asked an auntie.
"Slightly. It is not my field of choice. I am Frigg. I'm over marriages."
Eric grimaced. "Marriages are for girls in books."
"Some day you can be married."
Eric shook his head quickly. "Yuck. No marriage." He bounced off to talk to others. His uncle with all the blond hair was watching him so he stared back. "You look at me like I look at biscuits."
"No, I do not wish to eat you." He squatted down. "I work with those who your mother worked with."
"Because I help protect people."
Eric looked at his father, who nodded. He looked at his uncle again. "Would they like me and the sissies?"
"They wanted to meet you. Those who wouldn't like you have been lost protecting others." Loki glared. "The others would like to know you when you are older. They would like to teach you to protect others."
"We'll see," Loki said. He picked Eric up. "He may not be the protector his father is."
"I 'tect Sissy," Eric reminded him.
Loki nodded. "You do it very well, my son, but this is a different thing."
Eric put his head on his father's shoulder. "We talk about it later?"
"Yes we will." He patted him and put him down. "Go ask the pretty young women for lunch for us." He ran off to meet them too. One squealed. "No pinching," he called.
"Didn't. She thinks I'm scary." He cackled.
Thor stood up. "He is very much your son as well."
"He will not be turned into his father for those brats," Loki said firmly.
"I would not allow it either. Nor Stark."
"We shall see where his talents lie." Thor nodded. "Then we will see if he wants to be the warrior his father was."
Thor smiled. "I welcome training him." He smiled at the Valkyrie walking toward them with Eric. "This is a Valkyrie. Not only do they serve the warriors, they gather the fallen ones who were in honorable battles."
Eric looked at her. "Is that hard?"
"Very," she said. "You must have good judgement and good warrior skills."
Eric looked at his father. "Can I do that?"
"They're jobs for women, my son. Not for my son. You can do something as a warrior but gathering them is for the girls."
"My sissy is not to get hurt," he said firmly, stomping a foot. "Neither one!"
"They will not. If they choose to become a Valkyrie I will have them trained." Eric pouted. "They may marry."
"Yuck. They have *boys*!"
"That means they could give you nieces and nephews."
"So?" He stomped off to talk to others. When it was lunch time he was sat next to his father. He noticed he had a sandwich and his father had vegetables and meat. He traded their plates and nibbled. Odin laughed but Eric shrugged. He was hungry.
Loki ate his sandwich. His son was very strong of will. The family would not make the mistakes they had with his own upbringing.
Loki appeared in the hospital he had met his daughter in, frowning at the foul machines and stink of death. Clearly Earth had not profited by the loss of his mate. He located his mate's uncle and stomped off to find him. A few of the nurses glared but he didn't really care. He stomped into his office. "Your new niece requires your attention."
"She's still alive?" House asked. "That's good."
"Not that one. Her new sister." He took him with him and shoved him through the door. House stumbled but John caught him and took him up to the nursery. "Is she still making that noise?"
"She's got the hiccups and won't stop," John explained. "He's panicking. We've tried some water but it hasn't helped yet."
House nodded. "I'm not really a baby doctor but I can see if it's something simple." He got pushed into the nursery by Loki and walked over to the crib. Xander was leaning over one of the rails holding a bottle of water. "Hiccups?"
"She won't stop but it only seems to be pissing her off," Xander said, looking at him then at Loki. Who scowled. Xander rolled his eyes. He wasn't the fussy father.
House picked her up and patted her, making her belch. "Gas pains," he told her. "That's colic in the making, kid." He burped her a few more times and she quit hiccuping for a few minutes. Xander gave her the rest of the water.
"Daddy, she'll have to pee if you feed her that much," Eric complained.
"She's supposed to pee, just like you are," Xander said patiently.
"Oh. Is that why she wears diapers?"
"Okay." He hugged Loki then John. "Who's he?"
John picked him up. "Eric, this your daddy Xander's mother's brother Gregory. We just call him Uncle Greg. He's a doctor."
"What's that?" Eric asked.
"That means I tell people why they're sick." Greg looked at him then at Xander. He pointed. "How?"
"Same way." He smirked and took his baby girl back. "She's fine but her daddy got worried."
"She'll be fine."
Loki snorted. "She's making that purple face again."
"That means she's taking a dump," Eric said. Loki scowled at him. "Babies poop a lot!"
"They do," Greg agreed. "What's your name?"
"Eric." He grinned. "I'm a good protector of my sissies."
"I'm sure you are. Where is she?" House asked, looking around.
"Sissy sleeping in bed. We get to carve more of it tomorrow. We added new poles to carve for her." He wiggled down and led his new uncle over there. "There she is."
House checked her. She looked healthier than the last time he had seen her. Older too. Wearing a dress that would look good on a romance novel cover. Though it looked good on her. He straightened up and looked at the parents. "Her liver?"
"Heals more every week," Loki said. "There is no more poison."
"Excellent." He looked at Xander. "The rest of the family owes you a few apologies." Xander nodded. So did John. "Can they give you one?"
"I can't really leave." John glared at him. "If I go somewhere unconnected it can close this realm for good."
Loki shrugged. "It was part of the deal he made to move them." He walked off. "Eric, let us get your sister something to eat. She's skinny."
"Skinny is bad," Eric agreed, bounding off after his father. "Daddy needs food too. You're both too skinny."
"I have had more problems," Loki admitted. "We will all eat while your sister ingests her food."
Greg looked at Xander. "You are a bit skinny."
"She's only four days old."
"Whatever. Eat more." Xander nodded, walking off shaking his head. He looked at John. "People are worried that you got killed."
"I'll talk to them later if I can. A few of my guys went to the slayers."
"I'll let others know." He walked back to attend to the fussing. The baby was kicking up a fit so he picked her up and burped her again. She threw up all over him. "Thankfully I know that's normal for kids or else I'd have to do tests on you."
John laughed. "Rodney said the same thing." He got him a washcloth. House cleaned them both up and burped her again. She quit fussing and went back down. They walked down to make sure Xander was eating. "She threw up and went back down," John told him.
"She does a lot of that. So did Eric. So did Bethie." He ate a bite of salad.
"We have a lot of salads," Eric offered.
"I noticed all the planting stuff outside," John said, patting him on the head. "You need them to grow big and strong."
"Wow. Do I need to be big and strong?"
Xander looked down at him and nodded. "Yup. I am." Eric beamed and dug in, getting seconds. He smiled at John for that bit of help. "Lunch, Uncle Greg?"
"Please. It's better than what the hospital will feed us today." He sat down and got his own salad. "Are we planning more children?" Xander shrugged. "Did we plan these ones?"
"No but I love 'em." He patted Eric on the head. "Chew with your mouth closed," he said quietly. Eric nodded and hummed, stuffing in more and closing his mouth this time.
John looked at him. "Take more bites so you don't have huge cheeks full of chewed on food. You might choke and then your daddies would be really upset." Xander swatted him. "You would be."
"I know CPR."
"I know," John said. He smiled. "That's how I was taught."
Xander shrugged. "I got nagged about manners from Willow's mother." He stuffed his mouth again.
"Mouth closed," Eric ordered. Xander smiled and made sure his mouth closed all the way.
"Good job," John praised.
Eric looked at him. "Good enough for muffins?"
"I don't know if we have any but I don't see why you can't have a muffin."
"Share with Sissy?"
"I'm not sure if either one of them can eat muffins yet." Xander shook his head. "But if they have some you can have some and show me the gardens."
"I can do that," Eric agreed. He hopped up and got a muffin for both of them and waited until John finished then handed him his and led him out so they could see the gardens.
Xander swallowed and yawned. "Sorry, still tired." He finished up and went to bed.
Greg watched then looked at the nearest smartass. "McKay, is he really fine?"
"I'm not a practioner of voodoo like you are but I think he's just tired from the birth. The potion that let the baby teleport out wore him out."
"Potion that let the baby teleport out?" House demanded.
"Yes." He smirked. "Shocked us but it was better than watching him give birth." A few of the soldiers shuddered. "I thought I might have to witness it myself and was nearly horrified."
"Colonel Sheppard is still having thoughts of you being knocked up," one of the soldiers joked. Rodney shuddered, walking off to get some more coffee on his way outside.
"I'm hoping that being related means I can't do it too," House complained.
Loki walked past the doorway. "Only if someone like me decided to take you in. I can ask around if you want," he threatened. He went to check on Xander. He was sick. It was pretty clear to him that he was sick. Loki summoned Xander's uncle and pointed. "He's ill as well."
House finished chewing the bite in his mouth and bent to check him over. "He's got a blood infection I think. I need to do bloodwork to tell for sure." He looked up. "Will that potion leave him with any remains from the afterbirth?" Loki slowly shook his head. "You're sure?"
"I developed it and it didn't."
"Aren't there healing gods?" Loki nodded and summoned one, making her squeal as she flew backwards into the room. "We think it's the afterbirth."
She got up and swatted her nephew. "Next time, *ask*."
"Yes, Aunt. He's sick."
"I will forgive it this time since it's clear he's your mate." She bent over to check him, smiling. "It is the afterbirth. It is his blood sickness." She ran a hand over his head and he glowed. Then he groaned and rolled onto his side. She waved a hand and handed House the tub of flesh. "That should help." She patted him on the head then Loki. "There. Unless you're drawn to have a second son or a third daughter, he should be just fine." She pinched Loki on the cheek. "Next time, be on the bottom, nephew. Save his body for at least a year." She disappeared to tell the others.
House looked at the uterus and then put the tub aside. "Him not having any more for a while is probably a great idea." Loki glared at him. "Can he regrow that?"
"Usually he does with each time," Loki admitted, looking at his mate. Who was still drawing to him. He fought the urge. He took a deep breath. "Let me take Eric home for a bit."
"I'd like to get to know my nephew," Greg said firmly. "I'm not sure your family is all that safe for him when you're an asshole."
Loki smirked. "Are we sharing names?"
House smirked more evilly. "No, I'm not an asshole. I have plenty of other names." He walked over to the balcony. "I know he feels like a princess with this." He heard the giggling and looked down. "Kid, your father had to be helped so he's napping for a while."
"He needs a bedtime story?" Eric asked, staring at him.
"Nah, he's good." He smiled. "Wanna come with me and John for a bit?"
Eric looked at John, who shrugged and nodded. "We can do that," he agreed. Eric cheered and John brought him up to change his clothes and pack a small bag. John walked into the dining hall. "I'm going back with my uncle for a few hours. I'm going to make contact with the generals. Get new orders. I'll be back as soon as I can." They all nodded. He left with Eric and House. The hospital was a lot brighter than the castle was. "Wow," John said. "Been a while since I've been in a hospital." He rubbed his eyes. He looked at House. "Your office?"
"Best place for now." They walked the boy that way. There were curious nurses and a few doctors who scowled. "He's my nephew's son," House noted. That got the gossip started. By the time they got to his office everyone there knew. They walked in. "John, use my desk phone. I'm sure some of it's classified." John nodded, going to do that. House put Eric on the table, earning a scowl. "What?"
"Boys do not stand on tables. It's only heathens."
"You're right and you can get down in a minute. People, this is my nephew's son. My nephew just had a child and he's exhausted so we're getting to know Eric."
Eric smiled and waved then got down and went to look outside. "No garden? How do you grow your salads?"
"We have big farms in other spots for that," House told him. "We can't do that here at the hospital."
"What's a hospital?"
"It's where you treat people who are sick."
"Oh! We do that in bed. Daddy's in bed since he had sissy." He went back to looking, asking questions about what things were. He'd never seen cars or motorcycles. They were kinda cool looking.
John came out after hanging up. "My generals are swearing again."
House snorted. "They're not very creative are they?"
"No. Same ones I've heard a few times before." He came over to explain things to Eric, who decided he might like cars. John took him to look at House's motorcycle.
"Anything I have to handle today?" House demanded. The fellows shook their heads. "Good." He grabbed a few things and followed John and Eric. Eric could get a good look at cabs tonight.
John saluted his general. "Sir."
"Sheppard, where are your people?"
"With my cousin. We took refuge. Actually we were kinda sucked through a portal to protect those of us that were still alive." Eric stared at him. "There was a huge battle."
"Like Daddy said happens with giants? They came last year so he had to leave early."
"Yup, a lot like that only the ones we were fighting against had a bad habit of eating us." Eric shuddered. "Which is why I was fighting them, Eric." Eric hugged him and went back to coloring. John looked at the general, who looked confused. "He's Xander's son, sir."
"How did he have a son?"
"The same way he had two daughters. He's resting from the second's birth. Which is why we're watching Eric."
"How did anyone get wherever?" the general demanded.
"Daddy's a God," Eric told him, scowling at him. "He can do that." The general flinched. "You don't like my mommy, do you?"
"I don't like what happened because of him," he said.
"That wasn't his fault, sir. If people had left him alone, none of that would've happened." His general glared at him. John shrugged. "Truth. They started it. Any parent would've finished it. I would've been more evil."
"I get that. I probably would've done the same thing." He looked him over. "They feed you well there?"
"Xander's castle has a huge garden. It stretches pretty well all the way as far as you can see."
"That's nice. Can you get back to the city?"
"The door's covered but open. The city's protected. We've been keeping a watch on the doorway for when it opens." Eric pouted. "Once she's safe, we can come back to visit you and your sisters." Eric smiled and nodded. He looked at the general again then at House since he was walking into the office. "Problems?"
"Battle in New York. The slayers are all getting bitchy." He looked at the general. Then at his great-nephew. "We should have lunch."
"Lunchies?" he asked with a grin. "Salad?"
"I have no idea what the hospital's serving today. Let's go find out, Eric." Eric cheered and carefully put up his crayons before taking House's hand to walk off with him.
John looked at the general. "We're waiting on orders and the doorway to reopen, sir."
"Good. Let's work that out." They sat down to talk and make plans.
Xander looked up from brushing Beth's hair with Astrid's 'help' when the demon that had made them the safe spot showed up. "Which one did what?"
"I can release you three times to go handle things as long as you are on a connected area."
"Why?" Xander asked, putting down the brush.
"There are those that require your son to help them in the future."
Xander nodded, getting up. "C'mon, Astrid. Let's go see Daddy." He looked at the demon. Who nodded. "Thanks." He walked out the doorway to Valhalla, interrupting the Council meeting and bitching session to hand Loki his daughter. "Let me handle something."
"You can get free?" Loki asked casually.
"Three times. Someone decided they wanted to train Eric for me." He found the Rainbow Bridge and sent it to Earth, calling weapons from the armory in Valhalla. Loki had confiscated all his weapons when he had left Earth for good. He stepped to the end of the bridge, appearing to the people around his son. His tied up son. He chambered a round into the shotgun and stared at the people. They slowly backed away. "Do you think I'd do less to protect my son than I did my eldest daughter?" he asked a bit coolly. "Eric, you can break those. Like I showed you." Eric glowed and the ropes disappeared. "Onto the bridge, Sprout. Your father has your baby sister." He ran. "Wait on the other side for me."
Xander stared at the supposed heros, who weren't slayers. They weren't the ones that were teaching the slayers either. He looked around. "Piss me off again, people." They backed up and a few ran. One rushed him with a knife. Xander shot him. A high powered armor piercing bullet to the chest killed even superheros and super villains. Xander looked around. "It won't happen again." He walked up the bridge, making it disappear and go back to Asgard. At the other end Loki was glaring at him. He took his daughter back, smiling at her.
"C'mon. We'll talk about weapons, kids. You'll like weapons. Bethie did when I told her about them." He took a kiss and smiled. "The idiot patrol of the middle line are all educated in not touching my kids." He walked them back and the doorway sealed again. "We'll start simple with staff weapons." He took them to the armory to show them weapons. Eric already loved swords and staffs. He told his older sister stories while acting out spots for her dreaming pleasure.
Loki looked at the gathered host of Asgard, shaking his head. "Apparently I need to finish the education he left hanging."
"Nay," Tyr ordered. "We will do so for you, Brother. You have much to arrange." He and the other Gods went to ...talk to those who had taken the heir of Valhalla from his relatives. Loki losing his temper on the people of earth would be a horrible tragedy for humanity when it all died. The ones who had been watching him had been rescued and were trying to rescue Eric. They were pleased that his mother had done so for them. Even if a few of them had been very amazed that Xander knew how to use such weapons. Clearly someone had messed up explaining a few things to those sort. Including that Loki had a temper when you screwed with his only son.
Xander stood in the doorway, silently watching how Eric was fussing over his baby sister. It was sweet.
Eric was tucking her in after brushing her little bit of hair. "Some day you'll get to be a princess like Bethie but we'll make sure you're the sort that can kick butt like Cousin John told me about." He smoothed down her blankets and grinned. "We won't even let you marry anyone yucky, because sometimes princes are yucky, but Bethie will be protected by Daddy and I'll 'tect you from the yucky ones when it's your turn to be a big princess." He kissed her on the head and smiled. "Have happy dreams of horsies and other princess things, Astrid. I'll see you tomorrow." He turned and found his father watching, giving him a shy grin. "Tomorrow can Astrid help us braid Bethie's hair?"
"I think that's a great idea. You did it a lot of times when you were her age." He picked Eric up and hugged him. "You're a great brother." Eric grinned at him. Xander kissed him on the forehead. "Time for bed for you too."
"Yup. Bedtime story about ninjas?"
"Which one of them told you about ninjas?" he asked with a smile.
"That's cool." Xander called a book from the library on ninjas and settled Eric in bed to read him a bedtime story. Eric got happy dreams of sneaking around to kick butt. Xander checked on Astrid and went to read the same story to Beth. She might like to learn how to kick butt when she was able to. Then he went to sit on his balcony and think about things. Wherever those idiots had Eric had looked like a war zone. It depressed him but he knew he was right to pull away from all that to protect his babies. Because he would have destroyed everyone if Beth had died. He felt someone touch his shoulder and looked back at whoever it was. "How in the hell did you get here?" he asked dryly.
"I came to check on you." She smiled.
"The last I knew, you were still kinda dead."
"Well, yeah," she admitted. She smirked. "But I got a bit better for this visit."
"And I'm kinda sorta taken."
"Yeah but I got kids out of it."
She grimaced. "I heard." She wavered and then sighed. "It's not fair to anyone to keep them here, Xander."
Xander stared at his former fiancee. "Yes it is. Because they were going to kill them."
"That happens in your life."
"Which is why I left it."
"Haven't enough of them paid for trying to kill your daughter?"
"Probably but I'm not going to lose everything to go reset those when Willow could've." He was mentally swearing for a bit of backup because right now he could feel that rage coming back. He didn't want to hate Anya or beat the crap out of her spirit, but whoever was using her was going to get it.
Loki looked up from his meeting. "What is he mad at?" he muttered. He moved himself to the house and found a spirit nagging Xander. He cleared his throat, making her shriek and attack. So he sent her to his aunt Hel. "Xander?"
"Anya. I have no idea who sent her."
"I'll find out." He rested a hand on Xander's head to drain some of the rage from him. "Go to sleep," he ordered, heading off. He went to Hel's domain, finding her staring at the new spirit. "Who sent her?"
"They're already among the dead mostly." Hel looked at him. "Who is she? Beyond one of ours here a bit late?"
"Xander's former fiancee. She was just nagging him and trying to get him to give up and go back to earth."
"Ah. Well, it's dumb of her." She sent the shade where it belonged, no matter how much Anya screamed. Loki followed to question her. It amused all of Asgard when Loki turned into an overprotective father. Especially when he went to save her some work. She heard a few other shades start to scream in fear and smiled in appreciation of his style. He didn't have to do much more than suggest might be happening to them. Nice work of his. Then he went back to sit with his children so that was precious. It let Hel gather some of her siblings to bring back into their proper spots. Loki was a bit uptight and tended to snap on anyone he caught screwing with his ideas or plans.
Thor looked at the halls and winced mentally. "This is not a good day," he told one of his uncles. "Xander had to rescue their son from some humans." His uncle sneered. "I do not like Loki's rule either but it will get messy."
"Quickly," John said from the doorway to Xander's realm. He smirked. "By the way, Xander took all his armory back." Thor looked horrified as he ran off to check.
Xander walked up behind them and stared at Odin. "Morning."
"Your child is still unhealthy?" he sneered.
"No, not really. She's not totally healthy but she's pretty damn good. Right now she's catching up to her age thanks to your curse. Which does mean that you have new enemies." He smiled and waved a hand. Suddenly, demons appeared in Valhalla. "I believe that they're fucking with my child's rightful spot." The demons smiled as they advanced on the Gods.
"No," Loki ordered, banishing them. He stared at Xander. "You need to rest. Your earlier anger is making you mean and evil again."
Xander smiled. "Good. Let them fuck with my kids again." Loki shuddered. So did Thor from the armory. He looked over his shoulder then at him. "Can she wake up?"
"Yes. Though she's still young enough to need a regent." He looked toward Beth's room then at him. "She'll wake in the morning."
"Then they'll have night," Hel offered.
Xander stared at her. "We like nighttime. It comes from the hunting, Hel." She looked scared. "See, if you didn't make the same mistakes that the humans did, there wouldn't be a problem." He looked back over his shoulder. "Eric, go wake your sister up please." They all heard the squeal. Xander grinned at Loki, who was looking a bit scared as well. Xander walked off and came back an hour later to a fight between everyone. He smiled at his eldest. "You are a Harris," he reminded her quietly. She nodded and walked into Valhalla, which made the halls shudder and then settle in her command.
"Enough," Beth Harris-Odinson said. Everyone stopped because she had ordered them frozen. She walked around the fighting parties and curtseyed at her father and grandfather. Then she sat down and sighed. "I need a pillow." She called one and sat on it. "Better, even if I can't reach the ground." She unfroze everyone and stared at them, repeating her vows to the halls in the native language. Everyone shivered. "I am very much my mother's daughter," she said quietly. She looked at Odin. "While I may still be a bit young and sick, at least I don't have plans to destroy my family or create an apocalypse to destroy everyone," she told her father. "Mom would be very upset." Eric squealed and ran out to hug her. "Eric." She kissed him on the cheek. "You are my favorite brother."
"Only brother," he teased with a grin.
"But you're a great brother and you protected me very well. I heard you, you know. I felt it when you helped Mom take care of us and all that stuff." Eric beamed at his father. "I love you." She cuddled him and let him sit beside her since the throne was so big. "So we'll figure it out, kiddo." She looked at her relatives. "I thought my human relations were evil shits." A few flinched. "Clearly some of the humans have nothing on the Norse Gods." She looked at her father again. "I love you but you have a dragon up your butt, Dad. It's real tense up there." Loki was choking. "Mom said so." She looked at the others, staring at Thor, who was staring at the floor. "I don't remember much of you. Mom said you learned a lot since you tried to kill me." Thor nodded, still looking down. She whispered in Eric's ear. He cackled and then went to tackle that uncle. "Make it up to us by giving us cousins that are raised right and will help us reform the Council as it should be." Thor was confused but yay. "Start soon, so I'm not doing it alone." She looked at her father. "Until the dragon climbs outta your butt, Mom and I think that you need a vacation." Loki sneered. She stared back. "Or else Mom said you're getting your ass kicked."
"I am your father, Beth."
She nodded and grinned, manifesting power. "I kinda realize that, Dad." She smiled since he was giving her such a horrified look. "I learned a lot in those dreams. Thank you." She looked at the others. "Though a bit ill I may be, and a bit young, I am more than able to handle this job." Odin started to splutter so she sent him from the Hall with her father. "Until you learn not to play favorites, and my father learns not to hoard dragons up his butt, you can stay out." She looked at the others. "That goes for the rest of you." They all got sent out. "Thor." He got summoned back, which dumped him on the floor. "There will be a new Council. Make sure of it." He nodded, staring at her. "I don't care how you give us cousins to play and learn with." She smiled. "Astrid will definitely need some."
"I can and will, niece," he said.
"Good." She smiled. "Now go do the spanking stuff on Grandpa? He's giving me a headache and I don't need that." She walked off. "C'mon, Eric. Let's pick an auntie to do things for Daddy while he takes a vacation."
"I would suggest her," Thor said with a point at the women folk who had stayed out of the fighting. "She is not partial to anyone, hates most of us, and is a wonderful warrior who has proved her worth many times."
She looked at the Valkyrie then nodded. "We can try if you agree."
"I will rule justly in your stead."
Beth squealed and hugged her. "We can come and go but I'll still be a bit tired for the next little while. I'll be back once a week to talk to you." She walked Eric off. "Someone's going to attack."
"I believe that may be your father," the Valkyrie said.
Eric stomped that way, glaring at his father. "You hurt Sissy and I'll make you sorrier than I would Cousin John when I stab him." Loki gaped at his son. "I do 'tect both sissies. Go see Mommy!" He pointed and manifested some powers to send him that way. He grinned at the others. "Mommy can spank really hard." They just nodded. He skipped back to the portal with his sister.
"Mayhap Ragnarok has changed," one of the minor Goddesses muttered. "It comes on a babe's feet and words." She rubbed her forehead, staring at Thor when he came out. "What did she announce?"
"That she and her cousins would reform the Council as it was meant to be." Odin opened his mouth. "Father, she controls things. Even with a regent, it is tied up in her health." He sighed. "I must give warriors and daughters to help her and Astrid." He walked off contemplating how to do that.
Odin huffed and started to complain but all the snow on the roof of the main hall fell onto him. It made him even more huffy but he couldn't walk into his hall. Nor could the others. They removed themselves to their 'vacation homes' and made plans and plots.
Xander smiled at his three kids. Beth was holding Astrid and telling her a bedtime story. Eric was listening, half asleep next to his sister. When Beth started to yawn too, he took Astrid to put down then got Eric. He came back to hug Beth.
"It's all right, Daddy, I'm better now."
"I know, baby, and that's all that's important to me." She grinned and climbed into bed, letting him tuck her in.
"Daddy, do I need more bed supports?"
He grinned. "Eric and I loved to carve them for you but we'll see." He tweaked her ear. "Nap, princess." He kissed her on the forehead and walked off to check on Loki. Who happened to be tied to his bed. Xander lounged in the doorway, looking at his fuming mate. "What did you think I'd do if you hurt them?" he asked quietly. "Clap and cheer like Cordy used to at games?"
Loki groaned. "I had no intention of harming the children."
"Uh-huh." He went to shower. Then he came out to nap. Loki was going to stay tied up until Xander decided he wasn't going to hurt their children with his newest plot.
"Who rules in my stead?"
"One of her aunts."
"Fine. Are we sure she will not have plots?"
"Thor suggested her. I was listening." Loki nodded then grimaced, laying there thinking about things. He had gotten out of worse bondage predicaments but Xander somehow had powers that were equal to his. Maybe that was what had drawn them together. He looked at his mate when he started to snore, deciding that perhaps he needed a proper wife instead of a male one. One who was not his equal but who would suit his nature. He knew the consequences of that action but it would create less problems for him in the long run.
Loki finally got loose and went to look at the doorway back to Valhalla. It was closed. He went to look in the armory since Xander said he had taken everything back. Apparently he had taken more than what Loki had taken from him. The few bombs in holding proved that. "How did he get those?" he muttered. He saw a new door and looked in there then groaned. He was sure John could use them on his mythical city. They probably had many uses for dozens of nuclear warheads. Loki decided to sneak home and deal with things.
Xander looked at the empty spot next to him when he woke up and decided that Loki had made his choice. So therefore Xander got to make a few of his own. Not like he was a stranger to break-ups. He had a few in his life. He went to tell Eric the bad news and then Beth, who was napping very deeply. Xander checked her pulse as a matter of habit but sighed mentally in pleasure when he found it strong, deep, and going well. He and Eric made them all breakfast, him going to get Astrid when she fussed. The 'house elves' had made it so he could hear her fussing anywhere in the castle. They had done the same for Eric so he could putter in the garden or in Beth's room carving on her bed. It was sweet of them.
One was giving him a strange look. "If he left that's his decision," he said in Latin since he hadn't taught it to Eric yet but the demons knew it. "Which means he doesn't have the right to more than visitation if I feel like it." That one nodded, moving to the doorway. "Beth still needs to be able to get there." That got a nod and the demon-created being left the doorway alone after shutting it. Eric gave him a strange look then up at his mommy. Mommy always knew what to do. "Your daddy decided to be bad and go home for a bit. You can see him sometime soon, Eric." Eric grinned and got more juice. Then he and Beth could sit down and learn the important stuff together.
Xander settled in to teach reading and math. The higher level things, the demon-created 'house elves' could teach. The demon had been nice enough to prove him with surrogates who could cover what Xander himself didn't understand.
Thor looked at the closed doorway then at his brother. "Your mate is upset with you?" he asked politely.
"Perhaps. We'll be speaking later. Why does that concern you?"
"Because the door is sealed from opening on this side and I would not have your son grow up without a father's influence. He might turn out worse than you."
Loki sneered. "It is nothing. A momentary tiff."
"If you are sure." He nodded at the Goddesses gathered around. "Is there new news?"
"My daughter has returned her regent's gift to me," Loki announced.
The goddess who held it shook her head. "No she has not." She proved it by kicking Loki out of the hall. She stared around. "I'd have none hurt the girl or her siblings in case they turn into their father instead of their mother." She smiled as she walked off.
Thor snickered, shaking his head. "We do have many strong female relations," he said when Odin stared at him.
"You support that child?"
"You caused it yourself, All Father. If you had not reacted as the humans did about her birth then nothing like this would be happening."
Beth walked out of the doorway doing her hair into a braid. Eric was following holding her hair things. "Good morning, Family." She sat down on the throne and put Eric next to her. "My chosen regent said that there are issues?" Her father stomped back in. She stared at him. "I know not why my mother asked me to tell you that you were deported by your own hand but it does not make us children happy to have to witness fights between you two." She settled in and let Eric finish off her braid. "You're very good at that, Eric. You got excellent at it while I was napping."
Eric hugged her. "You needed it to feel better." He looked at the staring people. "Daddy showed me how to take care of sissy while she was napping." Frigg smiled at him.
"I remember him coming in to read to me and to help do my hair," Beth agreed with a smile for the elder goddess. "Plus he and Dad carved all over my bed to make it pretty for me." She grinned at the others. "Are there problems?"
"You are too young," Odin said firmly.
She stared at him. "Unlike some who are too set in their ways, I do have freedom to change my mind." Odin groaned. "I know I'm young. That's why I have people I can ask for advice." She pointed at her regent. "I'm sure I'll gather more as I see who has bad ideas in their hearts." She looked at her father. "By the way, Mother said that you left something." She produced the note and handed it over. She squealed and got up, jogging back to the door to get Astrid since Xander was there. "Thanks, Mom."
"Welcome. Make sure you protect her head." Beth nodded, carefully carrying her back to the throne and settling in again. Xander stared at Loki. Then tossed him something. "Your actions speak loudly, Loki." He closed the door part-way so he could still hear if the kids were in trouble.
Loki looked at the necklace he had given Beth on her tenth birthday and mentally signed his death warrant. He was not going to put up with things.
Beth looked at him and smiled. "Though visitation is a common issue in divorces, there will be no playing the children, Father," she said in Latin. She smiled. "Mom taught me," she said at the odd looks the others were giving her. "When I was Eric's age." She looked at her father. "We are not pawns," she assured him in Latin. "Should it come to pass that someone tries, I will turn into my mother." Loki nodded, backing away. She smiled at Astrid, who was cooing at Eric. "He's a good brother, Astrid. It's great you know that already." She let Eric hold her. "Head up like Mom said." He nodded and settled back in the seat to hold her.
Odin stared at the baby. "She is healthy?"
Beth smiled and nodded. "Quite. She had some colic from what Mom and Eric said but otherwise she's just as healthy as I was before humanity lost their minds." Odin stared at her. She stared back. "I have no idea why humanity decided to commit suicide by trying to kill me. Some day I may understand the reasons. I may not. Time will tell if that sort of understanding comes to me." She glanced at Astrid and looked at her relatives. "As I am restarting the Council, are there other cousins who are supposed to sit with us to discuss things?"
"I have one," Tyr said, calling his son to come to him. He ran in and paused, grinning at his father. "Son, these are your cousins Beth, Eric, and Astrid. May I present my son Tiberion?"
"A classic name for a classic warrior," Beth said, smiling at him. She increased the size of the throne. "Come sit with us, Tiberion. You can coo over Astrid too." He climbed up and sat between her and her brother. "Astrid's very young but she's already very smart." She smiled. Her cousin grinned back. "We'll work things out together and Valhalla will be the anti-angst showpiece it was before." Tyr looked at her. "We could all do with less drama."
The God of War for the Norse pantheon nodded. "Aye," Tyr said happily. "You'll protect him?"
"I am ever my mother's daughter," she assured him. Tyr smiled and nodded. "Is he taking lessons? Mom is teaching us most mornings."
"He is. His mother is very wise and is doing the same." Beth grinned at him. "We'll see if we can hold them together so you all get the same level of education." She nodded.
Eric looked at him. "More books?"
"More books," Tyr agreed.
"Cool!" He grinned at Astrid, babbling at her about stories and books. She'd like books when she was older.
Thor smiled at the children as he walked in. "You will have another cousin from my lines," he promised. "In a few years at the latest."
Beth smiled. "I hope they're a strong cousin and healthy, Uncle."
"Thank you, Beth." He tipped his head to look at Astrid. "Why is she purple faced?"
"It means she's pooping," Eric said. "Mommy?" A crossbow bolt twanged next to them with the diaper bag attached. "Cool! Crossbows, Bethie! We get to learn them later!"
"I'm sure we will. Crossbows make me less sweaty than staffs or swords."
Eric looked at her. "That's because you're a princesses and they don't sweat unless they have to beat up a mean, bad prince." He got the diaper bag. One of his aunts held out her hands. "I can."
"You can help me." Eric looked at Beth, who nodded. "I will not harm either of you, Eric. I want no sort of harm to come to any child. I am the Goddess of Youth and Children." He grinned and let her have the baby, carrying the diaperbag with them. She brought them back a few minutes later, letting Beth take Astrid while she picked up Eric and put him back into place. "He is very charming."
Beth smiled. "That's because he's like Mom too."
"I can tell." She winked and walked off. She was not getting anywhere near the future feud. No matter who asked her.
Beth smiled at her grandfather. "Are there other cousins who should join us?"
"Not many," he admitted. "The one who rules Valhalla must be wise and just."
She smiled. "I'll grow into wise with the advice I'll be getting from people without plots in their hearts and minds. Just I am because I consider everyone equal until they prove they're not."
Odin grimaced but nodded once. "We shall see."
She smiled and pulled one of the weapons Xander had made pretty, putting it in a corner. "Mom made us a statue."
Everyone looked at it, then Thor stared at her. "Know you what that is?" he asked quietly.
Eric beamed and nodded. "It's a bomby bomb statue. Mom said every big building with huge problems should have one in case bad things come for them."
Thor nodded. "Quite." He walked off. "We have allies, Niece. Shall I ask if they would speak to you?"
"Please, Uncle. We ever want peace and quiet." Thor nodded, smiling slightly at the look on Loki's face. He was still staring at the bomb. "Your former mate made it quite pretty for us, Brother."
Loki looked at him. "He did," he agreed, sounding sarcastic. The door to the house was sealed to him, even if the children could get through it. He would talk to Xander the next time he appeared. That way he could diffuse some of the anger.
Odin stared at the bomb until Tyr moved into his view. "What is that, Tyr?"
"That is a nuclear weapon, All Father. He painted it very well to highlight the dangerous beauty of such a weapon of mass destruction."
Odin walked off. Perhaps he did not want to upset the children or their mother. Clearly Loki had driven this spouse insane as well. Or humanity had when they had threatened his daughter. Odin could learn from other's mistakes.
Beth grinned at her cousin and brother, then at Astrid. "Is there a bottle?" Eric found one and handed it over. "Here you go, Astrid. You're making sucky faces so you must be hungry." They settled in to get to know this cousin and let him learn to fuss over Astrid too.
Epilogue: Seven Years Later.
Loki knocked politely on the door to Xander's realm. His former mate opened the door to stare at him. "We need to discuss the alignment marriage that my eldest daughter is now eligible for," he said calmly.
Xander shook his head. "No. She'll find her own spouse. She knows what she wants and she knows that she won't get it from an alignment marriage."
"It is the way things are done here," Loki said.
Xander shrugged. "She's still my little girl too." He looked back at the kids yelling up the hallway. "Eric, where's Beth?"
"Primping like the princess she is."
"Beth!" Xander bellowed. She came jogging down the stairs pulling her hair back into a ponytail. "Your father wants to suggest that you're old enough to get married."
She looked at him and shook her head. "No I'm not. Thank you anyway, Father." She walked off. "Daddy, is Eric going to talk to Uncle Thor?"
"Later this week."
"Cool." She smiled. "I might go with him to see about college? It can only make me smarter and therefore wiser."
Xander shrugged. "I don't know how we'd work that since we taught you up here. I'll consider it." She nodded. "His too." She grinned. "I might think about a fostering position, it might be easier."
"As long as I don't end up the virgin sacrifice to some *plan*," she said sarcastically, ignoring her father's heated look. "Astrid, let's get you changed with Eric. We're going to see Uncle Thor." Those two ran up the stairs. Beth went up to finish getting dressed. She could turn the ponytail into a bun and put on better clothes. It'd keep them all out of the semi-marital spat that their parents were having.
Xander looked at Loki, shrugging a bit. "She's very smart."
"It is still how it is done, Xander," Loki said more firmly. "She's of age."
"She's got a long life ahead of her, Loki. Why make her miserable already?" He shut the door and walked off. He went back to let their cousin Tiberion in. "Are you going visiting too?"
"Astrid needs a bodyguard. Bad things want her," Tiberion said patiently. He had been amazed the first two times things happened. After that, his father had told him that being resigned about such things was normal. Especially when her playing with a frost giant's dog nearly resulted in a war until Xander opened the door to glare at the huffy dog owner. Weird things like that just happened around Astrid.
Xander grinned. "She gets it from me. They're getting dressed." Tiberion nodded, going up to help Eric pick out something other than a loud, sloppy, wrinkled t-shirt and jeans. That's about all he wore about Valhalla unless it was a celebration and Tiberion's mother suggested something better in that stern, fond voice of hers that always meant she got her way. Xander hugged and kissed each one. "Call me if you get into trouble and I'll go blow your uncle up." They smiled and nodded, calling Thor to come pick them up. Thor nodded at Xander and walked them to the Rainbow Bridge.
Loki looked at him. "You only have two more times out of there."
Xander smiled sweetly at him. "If you force me to use them to save the kids, I'm going to blow up the dragon that Eric insists is in your ass. Maybe even with another statue bomb." Loki shuddered. "Our daughters and son will marry when they see fit," he ordered. "You can plot and introduce people to them, but you know they'll see through it and probably reject them totally." He shut the door again, leaving it open a crack so he could get out to help the kids if they needed it. It was their first time back on earth since Eric had been taken that time. Xander wasn't really *paranoid* about it but he was going to spend some time petting his artillery babies.
Loki stomped off, making plots about his daughter's future spouse. She needed someone who would treat her well but rein in her plans for their unity.
Eric walked off the bridge first, looking around to make sure no one was going to bother them. He helped Astrid off, then Tiberion and Beth. They followed their uncle, who for some reason looked upset. "Is there a problem?" Eric asked.
"One appears trying to start," he admitted. "We will get you somewhere safe."
"Nay, we will watch," Astrid said. She stared at him and grinned when he looked so confused. She loved confusing her uncles. They moved to the troubled area and Astrid cleared her throat, using a touch of her powers. "Behold, the Ruling Council of Valhalla approaches," she announced. Tiberion looked at her. She grinned.
The demons were staring, a few looking awed. Most of them bowed and backed away, disappearing.
Beth smiled. "Mom won't be *that* mad. Today." She grinned at one still staring at her.
"Which parent do you take after?" the demon asked.
"Our mother," Eric said with a grin, calling some of the armory to them. The rest of the demons fled. "Hey, I can be like Mom."
"You are a mini-Mom," Astrid agreed, giving him a hug. She grinned at her uncle, who was less confused and now slightly amused. "Father was talking about marrying Bethie off."
"It is traditional for her to get married shortly after she reaches majority so her family can be started early and for the benefit of the larger family," Thor admitted. Beth and Astrid both snorted.
"I'm going to have a harem," Eric said with a grin. "Mom should've."
Thor looked at him. "That does not come from either side of the family, nephew. I would hope you would not dishonor the women that way?"
Eric shrugged. "I'll be good to them."
"We'll talk of what a man and a warrior's role in life is later," Thor decided. "With your mother." He looked at the staring Avengers and remaining slayers. "My nephew is down to look into fostering with me to learn the ways of being a true warrior." He grinned. "He is already well trained."
"Who's the other one that doesn't look like Xander?" one of the slayers asked quietly.
"This is Tiberion. He's Tyr's son," Beth said. She grinned at him then at the slayers. "We're not mean unless you attack us. We promise."
Iron Man walked over, staring at them. "I remember Eric being about eight the last time he was down here."
"I was," Eric agreed happily. "See, my sister got better, Daddy gave us Astrid to spoil, and Uncle Tyr gave us Tiberion to talk to."
"I can tell. It's good that you have cousins to help you guys. Let's go home." They all got beamed back to the slayer compound. All the power and energy meters on the hellmouth they had set up over the years suddenly went quiet. "Huh," he said, looking at the kids. Beth pointed at Astrid behind her back. "Ladies, go get settled in. Kids, let's go talk about what you were thinking about fostering since we horribly abuse your uncle some weeks."
"Sure," Eric agreed, bounding after him. "Why aren't you wearing your suit?"
"It won't fit over the cast I'm wearing."
"We should gift them a statue like we have," Tiberion said quietly to his uncle.
Thor smiled and nodded. "I have thought of that before, just in case we are overrun." Stark stared at him. "Their mother painted a very pretty, dangerous bomb for a statue in the main hall."
"I'm going to detonate it in the dragon inside Father's ass if he tries to marry me off against my will," Beth muttered. "Mom can probably get us new ones."
Tony Stark, staunch super hero who was too stressed to do much of anything fun anymore, burst out laughing and had to grab the wall to keep himself from falling over a chair. Thor patted her on the arm. "There have been many days that some of us wanted to do the same, Niece. Aye, many would like that show." She grinned. So did Astrid. "Do remember how powerful it is and what it would do to the others though."
"He's with his giant friends," Eric offered.
"That would start another round of conflicts," Tiberion said firmly. "We won't ever have peace with them but starting it will lead to attacks again."
Beth nodded at that wisdom. "If they attack, they're toasty. If we attack, it's an invitation to a war. If Father attacks, he's going to *suffer*!" The other three kids nodded in agreement. Thor smiled at them for being so smart. "Mother and I are talking about college, Uncle. That way I learn more about the world and people mayhap?"
"I think it could be useful," Stark agreed. "How did you do in your primary education?"
"My mother is very smart," Tiberion said firmly.
"I'm sure she is. We can pull up some tests to see if you're able to get into college," Tony offered. Beth grinned and nodded. "We can do that after dinner. You guys talk with your uncle about fostering and training stuff while I find some." He went to make a report to Nick Fury and the president while finding those tests online. It would probably calm things down if Xander's children came back to help defend the realm they had left to die. It would help the slayers at the very least.
Later that night, Beth woke up tied up, gagged, and wearing the world's most uncomfortable dress. She struggled but someone knew their knots very well. She huffed and mentally called out for their guardian spirits. She was mostly blocked but not totally. She was clearly back in Asgard. She could feel the glow of Valhalla.
Her father walked in smiling and happy. "I'm sure your husband will suit you, daughter." She shook her head. "Yes, he will." She shook her head again. "I say he will." She tried to shrug and shook her head again. "No matter. You are a daughter and under my will until I hand you off." He had her carried out to the dining hall. The children never went into this part of Valhalla. They kept to the meeting rooms and sometimes the kitchens or their favorite aunts' private chambers. The hall was decked out in glorious banners and colors. Everything was shined. His father was happy with his choice. His mother as well. Xander..... He'd find out eventually. Her honor guard put Beth down and pulled swords. The cleric and Odin did the ceremony, even though the other Gods were frowning.
Beth was let free once she was formally hitched so he could kiss her. She ducked it and grabbed one of the warrior's swords, stabbing her new husband. "I said I'm not a virgin to sacrifice to some plot," she said coolly. She looked at her honor guards. "Begone from my hall. Now," she warned. They fled. She looked around. "You forgot to invite my mother?" she asked dryly, smirking at her father. He was looking stunned at the dead groom. "Mom!"
A version of Xander walked out with a weapon. It wasn't exactly her mother. He felt...wrong somehow, slightly lesser. He stabbed the groom to make sure he was dead then smiled at Beth. "Go change out of that fugly dress, daughter."
She tested him again. "You're not demonic."
She smiled. "Did I ever tell you about Toth?" She shuddered and ran off. Xander smirked at the watching gods and former warriors. "If you're a true warrior, I'd run because escaping means a longer afterlife," he announced. They fled. He stared at the Gods again. "I warned you," he told Loki.
"It is my right...." he started. Then Xander punched him and knocked him into a wall. "How dare you," he said, pulling up power. "I will not tolerate that, even from you."
Xander smiled and tapped into the power of the realm. There, he was the only God. He pulled the power from Loki's fireball and made them sparkle in the air. Then he grinned. "I love fireworks. Thanks." He threw one back and Loki hit the wall again, this time smoking from the small fires around his body.
"Enough," Odin said.
Xander looked at him. "Why? Did you have part of this plan to inconvenience my daughter?"
"It is the father's right to marry her off," Odin sneered.
"Maybe way back when but here in the twenty-first century, women can decide who they marry, screw, and have kids with. All by themselves usually." Odin glared and pulled power.
Beth came back and shot him. "No, I think not. Though it is nice that now I'm a widow and therefore exempt from all the foolish, girlish rules." The Goddesses all gasped and backed away from her. She smiled and waved. "Get out of my hall. If you did not protest, then you're on Father's side and damned if I see you again. Even Hel won't take you when I'm done with you."
"Damn it, you didn't save me any!" Eric complained as he and the others showed up with Thor. "Why not?"
"I didn't need the help." She looked around then at Tiberion. "Your parents were thankfully absent." He smiled and relaxed. "The rest, they are known as the damned." A few of them fled.
Astrid pulled up power. "I can do that." She cast a curse at all of them.
Thor cleared his throat. "Niece, how do you come by your powers?" he asked politely.
She smiled. "Did you remember my blessing day?"
He thought back and nodded slowly. "I do."
"What did Hel bless me with?"
"The untapped potential that your maternal unit had never gotten a chance to use," Xander said.
Thor looked at Xander, really looked at him. He tested his powers and shuddered, bowing slightly. "How?"
"The realm. I'm the only god there." He smirked at the kids. Who were staring at him. "Remember the story about Toth?" Astrid moaned. "We'll deal with there being two of us later." He winked at her. "Though it's nice that you were gifted with the powers of regency for your father's other realms he holds when you hit your last birthday."
Thor looked at Astrid then at Xander. "She was?"
"Yeah. The elves had the scrolls in storage and gave them to her with the blessing that she would be their heir in the absence of a sane, logical ruler." He pointed at the smoking pile of moaning chaos god.
Astrid blushed. "I think that one elven prince is sweet on me, Mom."
"I think he's sweet on you too and I'll talk to him when you're of age." She bounced and hugged him, then Eric.
He patted her on the shoulder. "We'll make sure he'll never hurt you in any manner or I'm going to turn him into elven library paste." Xander snickered.
"Sometimes people fight," Beth said patiently. "We've seen a few marriages with fights."
Eric looked at her. "Hers won't and neither will yours." He smirked meanly. "Or else I'll turn into Mom on 'em."
"I'm sure you'll do a fine job," Xander agreed. He smiled at his eldest little girl. Then at Thor. "She killed him after the official stuff and before he kissed her. Does that have any known problems like prophecies?"
"No, not that I am aware." He looked at the statues of his relatives. There were many missing, including one who would know the answer to that question. He called her to come and answer that question. "Aunt."
"Thor. Alexander. Beth, Astrid, Eric, Tiberion." She looked at the former Gods, then at Loki and the body he had fallen next to. "I see. I heard a rumor he was going to try something."
Beth cleaned off the sword and handed it to her little sister. Astrid was better with swords than Eric, who loved machines and higher weapons. "I got him after I was finally freed. Before he kissed me. Is there a prophecy? Everyone looked horrified."
"A young unmarried girl may not really hold a powerful seat or job," the aunt said. "A married one would be holding it in her husband's stead and for the honor of her family. A widowed one has no such restrictions or on her mannerisms and dress, Niece." Beth cackled and rubbed her hands together.
"Remember, you're still a princess so we expect big, poufy, non-showing dresses," Eric told her.
"I was going to wear my motorcycle outfit," she said innocently.
Tiberion whimpered. "Please do not, Beth. I do not want thoughts of you in that outfit. You are my cousin and they are not appropriate," he said when Xander looked at him.
"I like you, Tiberion. You have sense. I look forward to seeing the great things you'll do." He patted him on the head. Then he hugged Beth. "I'm sorry I took so long."
"I'm not. I needed to prove myself." She grinned. "Please become one Mom before you somehow make us a new sibling between your two parts?"
"That would be really weird and when did you talk to Anya?"
"Father introduced us so we knew what not to date," Astrid said. Xander walked off shaking his head. Astrid squealed and hugged Beth. "I'm so happy and we can still have cake!"
"Aye," Thor agreed. "Let me call Stark to let him know it will be a few days and that the problem is mostly over with." He walked off to do that. Somehow he got cellphone reception when he was standing on the bridge. It was sad when Earth was less headache inducing than his natal realm. Though it was usually somehow Xander's fault.
The kids moved the statues to ring the room and then got the cake and let the warriors back in to celebrate with them.
Astrid looked at Loki when he groaned too loudly, snapping her fingers. He ended up tied up on a light fixture's chain. No light fixture below him. With a glow coming out of his butt. "The dragon's blowing fire," she said with an evil grin.
The other kids looked up and snickered. Loki's butt was now a huge candle. Maybe it'd help him find his head up there.
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