Seeing his love standing at the kitchen door smiling, Daniel ignored all the others and simply fell into her arms, kissing the buxom Mikaela passionately, and easing them both back into the lounge and away from the group for a ‘private’ greeting.
Willow moved to give Xander and Spike a sisterly hug, and the rather bewildered Robbie a happy smile.
“Hey I’m Willow… You’re Robbie yeah??”
The tall neighbor simply nodded, still rather dumbstruck. His mother had been a ‘white witch’ and their family had hosted demons in the wake of the Initiative sweeps, but the whole ‘arrive by magic’ was a little more than he was used to!
Samuel had already shaken Robbie’s hand, and was currently ‘covered’ in children, who not only remembered him, but were already referring to him as ‘Mum’ and ‘Da’ with equal frequency, and then fell upon Missy with equal enthusiasm. Eddie and Jon were seated on the floor of the kitchen along side Sam and his loyal canine ready to rescue their aged benefactor or his lovely dog should either need it.
Samuel leant over and touched Jonothon, smiling in wonder, “Your teeth… how?”
“After the implant went… then Spike… well… Sire… ummm, he….” Jonothon looked pleased and embarrassed, so Eddie jumped in.
“Spike fed him, while we were in the shelter. Seems that he needed rest *and* Sire’s blood… Isn’t he beautiful Sam?… Just look… Sam isn’t he??”
Eddie’s unadulterated adoration gave them all cause to smile. The children also seemed to pick up on the emotion, shifting their attention to their parents and returning to Eddie and Jon for a loving
Samuel’s visions were still troubling but at least were no longer life threatening. The coven had provided him with an amulet that protected him from the pain of the visions and relayed their content direct to two of their most powerful seers. The dissipation of the message seemed to ease Samuel’s distress and certainly gave the coven an ‘early warning’ system, and where possible, rescue opportunities. The wiccan group had been reluctant to let him return to the farm until the amulet was confirmed to be effective. Samuel was desperate to rejoin his family though acknowledged the need to depart again quickly if things ‘heated up’. His visions were valuable and would not be risked.
He smiled as he watched ‘his boys’ interact again. It seemed the weeks in the shelter had done them no harm. If anything they seemed even more of a unit than before. Daniel had been good for them and their contact with Robbie seemed to have given them a little more confidence. Samuel was reluctant to be ‘devil’s advocate’ but would continue to worry and protect. The Initiative had not finished with the magical community.
As they wandered the farm Willow and Mikaela spoke to Daniel at length regarding Xander’s ‘condition’. They were only able to stay five more days at most. Willow resolved to speak to Xander and Spike that evening.
They were sitting comfortably on the porch after a very adequate dinner of fluffy omelets, fresh spinach salad and Spike’s home made bread.
Willow took her life long friend’s hand and kissed it. “Daniel told me the full story… about your changes I mean…”
Xander suddenly looked ashamed and a little worried, “Ohhh?”
“Is Daniel right… I mean … Oh God Xan … this is hard but… it seems like…?... Would you and Spike?… I mean… I’m happy to… you know donate… eggs that is, if you can… “ She paused and looked directly into Xander’s good eye that was fast filling with tears, “Do you want us to try for you and Spike?… to have kids I mean?… It’ll probably be a one off so … we might be able to… you know an only child or twins…” She paused as the brunette gave her an unreadable look, then gave an uncharacteristic giggle, and finally began to spill silent tears but still said nothing.
“Oh sweetie!!! I didn’t mean to!!!... Oh Xan I’m sorry… I’m sorry…” Spike was at their side instantly and enveloped his partner in a tight hug, all but growling at the white haired witch. Amongst his emotional tears there were a few words, all of them absolving Willow of any blame. It was everything Xander had hoped for, but simply could not ‘bring up’.
Barely a half hour later, Daniel, Mikaela and Willow were in serious discussion with the two regards the practicalities of an attempt at impregnation. Xander’s own sperm could be used it seemed, and Willow would donate the eggs, possibly two or three. The DNA of the egg could be replaced by Spike’s but there were no guarantees. They suspected that magical intervention would be necessary to create the zygote and enhance the chances of fertilization. Mikaela offered to monitor the impregnation and assist Xander through the first few days, provided they did it… immediately.
Despite the Initiative risks, Xander did not hesitate, nor did Spike. Willow, the egg donor and without a doubt, most powerful witch on the planet, was also Xander’s lifelong friend. Her DNA would be replaced by Spike’s, but if that failed, both Spike and Xander agreed, having children with Willow as the ‘mother’ was more than acceptable.
Time was of the essence. Eddie and Jon kissed their friends, then retreated to the shelter with their own family in arms as the procedure began. A day on, Samuel was still exhausted from his ‘trip’ through the ether with the wiccans, the consequent reunion and occasional upsetting vision. He excused himself and went to bed.
The fire was stoked and Xander settled on the couch while other arrangements were made ready. Daniel and Mikaela were medically trained and quickly set up a lab type arrangement in the kitchen. It was not as sterile as either of them would have liked but they were all aware of the competence and confidence of the team, so relaxed a little.
Spike offered and Xander accepted. His partner slicked him lovingly as Xander fitted a condom ready for ‘collection’. Unlike his Initiative humiliation, the experience was a joyous one. Spike penetrated his partner with a very lubed finger and found Xander’s prostate. He stroked the gland in time with the rhythmic pumping of Xander’s painfully hard erection. The only bizarre part of Xander’s ‘coming’ was Spike tasting a hint of human milk as he sucked his partner’s aroused nipples. It was almost as though Xander’s body knew the reason for the stimulation.
Spike quickly brought himself to completion and delivered both ‘samples’, one warm and one cool, to the team in the next room.
Willow had done her part. There were four magically induced, perfectly healthy eggs waiting.
Two hours later, the efforts of the Initiative were being tested. Sadly, only one of three eggs treated had been viable after the DNA had been replaced and the same fertilized. They decided to fertilize the fourth without treatment. Now, as far as they could tell, Xander carried one of Spike’s offspring and one of Willow’s, but both were ‘his’. There was still a high chance that the pregnancy would not proceed but Mikaela did her best.
Xander had been magically anesthetized for the implantation and was still asleep some thirty hours after the procedure. Spike keeping a vigil at his side, hardly looking up to accept blood or acknowledge the others. Only when Willow hugged him on the second day, did he break down. Fear of losing Xander was simply more than he could deal with.
By the fifth day, as the wiccans all prepared to depart, Xander was awake and functioning again, though some odd dizzy spells and unusual fatigue signaled some of his body’s changes. Daniel confirmed the flow of blood and nutrients to the extra organ in Xander’s body, and blood tests revealed the extreme hike in Xander’s hormone levels. His tiny breasts were beginning to return, this time he knew why and rejoiced. In Daniel’s absence, Jon would monitor Xander’s blood pressure and they were to watch for signs of diabetes and kidney problems.
Mikaela and Daniel promised regular ‘checkups’, but the visits, by necessity, would be fleeting. The coven headquarters was on the move again. The work of the Initiative in Britain had apparently ‘ramped up’ after the storms, despite the fact that the government had already wiped out the entire demon and magical population in and around London as part of the final solution. There was talk of a short term shift to Denmark for the covern.
Spike’s number one priority was keeping them all safe. Xander had another thirty nine or so weeks to go, and goodness knew what that time might hold.
They kissed the wiccans farewell, the little folks expressing what they all felt, as the little figures sobbed inconsolably and reached for Daniel as he disappeared with Mikaela. Willow stayed for a moment longer, unwilling to let go her friend and soon to be father of her child… their child… Spike and Xander and Willow’s child… she was still coming to terms with it. The whispered “Please stay safe.” was not for the unborne children though, it was for her existing friends. They all knew… Gaia may have struck back but it was the beginning of a very long and bitter battle for balance.
On the day of Samuel’s arrival, Robbie had departed quite late having met and greeted, and rejoiced. He drove up his own driveway singing loudly and quite out of tune to Frank Sinatra’s “That’s Amore”.
Samuel began convulsing only minutes later… it was too local to be of coven interest… yet the message was clear but came too late.
As Robbie’s old truck approached the house, military spotlights were suddenly switched on and he was faced with what he recognized as twelve M16A4s aimed at his upper body.
He departed the old Landrover hands aloft, and knelt on the ground, faced his vehicle and placed his hands carefully behind his head, waiting for the final shot. His last thought before blackness was that he hoped his mother was not watching. But instead of a shot, the rifle butt to the back of his head lead to unconsciousness allowing his transport. His mother had been hospitalized earlier in the evening with apparent heart palpitations (a by product of five hours of interrogation and some decent ‘drugging’.)
Robbie’s mother was close to eighty five, but it was apparent that harboring an alleged sympathizer, lead to an utter lack of respect or clemency regardless. Kathleen learned of the ‘arrest’ of her elderly friend by the end of the week and incensed, went directly to the pastor of their church, the state member for their region and the Mayor… collecting twelve other ladies from the fundraising committee of the church and seventeen other influential members of the community (including the principal of the local high school) along the way. Mavis (Robbie’s mother) was a fine upstanding citizen, her son a decorated military man, and now they were apparently being subject to persecution courtesy of ‘bad blood’ between the McPhersons and the rest of the county?! Outrageous!
The Mayor became involved, really not wanting to take sides but forced to do so as the upstanding nature of the individual arrested was revealed, and the very ‘untimeliness of the error’ on the military’s part risked his own reelection (with polling less than a month away). Mavis was released within a day of his appeal and when National television was threatened, Robbie was released also (with a warning) as apparently any evidence against him had been hearsay or non existent.
The mayor’s approval rating spiked to an all time high and the many locals who had stepped forward in his defense were given civic awards. The American way had been upheld even if only in their small enclave. The crowning glory was Robbie being feted at their county fair within a week of his release. He was finally the ‘returning war hero’ (three years late, but Mavis and Kathleen still cried… as did the boys, but that was from relief not pride… )
When the boys on Sam’s farm heard Xander and Spike went very quiet. They thought of Jason… and Neil… and knew intuitively… Robbie also would not have survived the Initiative’s attentions… Xander cried Spike held him… the both endured.
Robbie checked in infrequently for three months after that, but eventually regained confidence.
Four weeks after Robbie’s arrest, the day the family had all dreaded arrived. The McPhersons reported Samuel for a second time. This time they were given warning by the local church, and several ladies arrived ahead of the local constabulary. It was not a long wait, but the rather formidable line of women at Samuel’s gate left the police with a very difficult dilemma. Three of the men on the police vehicles were facing their (rather annoyed looking) mothers. Others saw aunts or friends of their mothers’. The captain a rather gentle Captain Richard Macey, sized up the situation and finally stepped down from their ‘response truck’ to chat to Mavis and Kathleen.
He was rather taken aback by their forthright attitude and more than a little intimidated by the fact that he could see his wife in the back of the group.
“Now don’t you *dare* tell me that your Daddy would have countenanced this Nazi rubbish… How long are you going to torment this poor lad? Because so help me Richard Macey, I will stand on your daddy’s grave and tell him… and if that won’t do it well I’ll … I’ll …. I’ll tell the papers… And how about your wife and your children! I’m sure Rhonda would be less than thrilled… Rhonda??” The woman in question stepped forward, arms folded across her ample chest, glaring. Richard did not fancy the next few weeks being fed in his ‘shed’ and treated to silence from his lovely partner as his children were ushered from his side with the excuse, ‘Your Daddy has chosen other things over us.’
Richard and his fellow officers were saved from the embarrassment of ‘stepping down’ when the Mayor arrived, asked them to leave, then went inside (with film crew and ‘ladies’ in tow), to have coffee with their ‘good neighbor’ Samuel.
There were always more powerful things than the gun it seemed.
After The Fall: 22