Title: Didn’t See That Coming - Chapter 7 – Three Bears
Rating: Some parts might be R or NC-17
Pairing: surprise M/M
Summary: My take on the Xander as a baby thing. The Initiative did even more bad things than we knew.
Spoilers: Up to beginning of Season 5 of Buffy and for Replacement; Up through season 3 of NCIS
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
Gibbs and DiNozzo escorted Riley to the lobby and watched him leave.
"Everything's gonna be different now, isn't it, Boss?" DiNozzo asked.
"You have no idea," Gibbs said with a chuckle and a slap on Tony's back. "Just wait until you change your first diaper."
Tony stared at him in horror, making Gibbs laugh out loud.
Riley strolled along the sidewalk of Georgetown University with Xander secured snugly in his… well, Snuggli. He was a few minutes early, but the weather was not bad for a fall afternoon and Xander, having recently awoken from his nap and been duly fed, was in good spirits and seemed to enjoy this being outside thing. Riley soon found a bench near the building he wanted and sat down to wait and commune with his son.
His son. It seemed odd, but that is what Xander was to him. It didn’t matter that a couple months ago this most amazing specimen of babyhood had been Xander Harris, smart-aleck sidekick. This was his son. He supposed someone could say that his feelings were a direct result of the wish or leftover from his genuine like of the man Xander had been, but he would just say that it didn’t matter because this creature in his arms was his son and he loved him more than life itself.
Xander grinned up at the daddy man and then brought his hand to his mouth and tried to find his thumb again. That silly thing kept getting lost.
Riley returned his son’s grin and sighed in contentment, resisting the urge to place his son’s thumb in his mouth, knowing Xander received more satisfaction from finding the digit himself. Soon enough Riley’s patience was rewarded when Xander greeted his thumb with delighted slurping.
He was adjusting well to life in Washington, D.C., mostly. It hadn’t been all that difficult to decide to stay, especially when Tony had fallen head over heels in love with Xander and with fatherhood.
The team dinner was when everything seemed to fall into place. It had been an interesting evening, what with the team’s reaction to Tony’s new status as a father and the ‘reality’ of how the baby had come to be. After several minutes of shocked silence, Abby had stolen the baby right out of Riley’s arms and showed everyone how Xander liked to play with her pigtails and pet the spider web tattoo that graced the back of her neck.
From that moment on, Xander (and Riley) had been adopted into their ragtag little family. Ziva still perceived the baby as an oddity but could occasionally be caught making silly faces at the boy when she thought no one was looking. McGee thought Xander was adorable and knew the kid was brilliant because he obviously adored Abby already. The computer specialist had even helped Tony watch Xander once when Riley had needed a serious daddy break and DiNozzo hadn’t been entirely sure yet about being alone with the baby. Ducky decided that he was an honorary grandfather and now included his “grandson’s” antics in the numerous stories he told. Gibbs seemed to enjoy the baby too, as a father who had lost his child and was finding having a baby in his midst to be oddly healing.
Overall, Riley was happy with his decision to seek out Xander’s other father. The only thing left to do was find an apartment. He and the baby had been living in a hotel for far too long.
“Hey Jolly Green, you ready or what?” a familiar and annoying-in-the-way-only-sisters-can-be voice said from behind him. Xander of course squealed in excitement at the voice.
Riley sighed the sigh of put upon big brothers everywhere. He waited until his sister rounded the bench, not even flinching at her newly blue streaked hair, before saying, “Like I’ve told you, it’s not my fault Mom and Dad used up all the good DNA by the time they got to you, Princess Leftovers.”
Angie just rolled her eyes at the old family joke that she, the youngest of five kids, was also the shortest, being towered over by her brothers and sister by at least three inches and at most, in Riley’s case, over a foot. Despite the seven year age difference and the teasing, Riley was the sibling she was closest to and she was very glad that he was staying in D.C.
“Where to first?” Angie asked.
“I found a couple of places in the newspaper and on the internet and I’ve set up appointments starting with the farthest away and moving back in this direction, timing it so we could stop for dinner at that Chinese place you like,” Riley replied, pulling out his list and a map from his messenger bag and patting the baby, who was trying to twist around to see his auntie, on the back to try to get him to stay still.
Angie snickered at her brother, who couldn’t help but make plans, even for finding an apartment, like he was making battle plans and attack strategies. She took the list and immediately pulled a trademark purple pen out of her bag and crossed off a couple that were nearer campus from the list. At Riley’s raised eyebrow she explained, “I know a couple of people who live in this one and all they do is party and no way in he…heck,” she corrected with a glance at her completely adorable and beloved nephew, “am I letting you live near them with a baby. And this place, the landlord is a total creep and doesn’t really keep the place up like he says he will.”
Riley nodded in agreement at her reasoning, glad that he had asked her to help him find a place to live. Plus, it allowed them to spend some time together. They hadn’t had many chances to do that since he’d gotten here, what with her classes and studying. He was just grateful she’d managed to find time to do this with him.
Angie handed back the list and the map, then held out her arms expectantly. Riley stowed the items in his bag and gentle removed Xander from his chest carrier and handed the baby over as was silently demanded. Angie held the baby up to her face and brushed her nose across his, causing Xander to giggle and try to kiss her, i.e. slobber all over her nose and mouth. Angie giggled and adjusted her nephew so he was facing out with his head resting back against her chest.
Xander tilted his head to the side to look back up at the auntie lady. When she looked down he showed her his thumb that, despite its running off again, he had just recently rediscovered.
“Yes Xander that is a really nice thumb, even though it keeps disappearing on you. Good thing it has you to find it, huh?” Angie said with admiration for the wet and wrinkled digit.
“You ready?” Riley asked.
“Are you kidding? You so have to buy me an Iced White Chocolate Mocha, Venti, before I’ll be able to face this adventure,” Angie replied, nodding towards the Starbucks down the block.
Riley sighed and hung his head as he started walking towards the path that led to a hyper, bouncing sister and a dizzy baby. Although… it would serve her right if the bounciness caused Xander to spit up all over her.
Angie and Xander giggled at Riley as they followed him towards the land of sugar and caffeine.
******* Three hours later*****
Luckily Xander had fallen asleep in his car seat an hour ago and they didn’t have to worry about a cranky baby. Apparently watching his aunt bounce while supercharged on Starbucks hadn’t made him nauseous, just tired. It was pretty easy just to tote around the carrier, baby and all, when looking through the numerous apartments they had seen this afternoon. Some of the apartments had been definite no’s, some were okay, but none had been total yes’s. Riley was beginning to get discouraged.
“So you’re going to feed me before we go see the next one, right?” Angie asked. She definitely needed a recharge before she faced anymore of her brother’s Goldilocks impressions: ‘It’s too small, it’s too big, it’s too dark, it’s too bright.’ If only he would get to the, ‘It’s just right.’
“One more, and it’s on our way to the Chinese place, I swear,” Riley assured.
His sister just nodded in resignation.
It was perfect. Three bedrooms: one for him, one for Xander and one that could double as a guest room and an office. None of the bedrooms got too much light, but just enough. The living room had large windows. The kitchen wasn’t overly fancy, but had updated appliances and plenty of storage and counter space. The building only had a handful of apartments and had been recently refurbished with proof of inspections that stated it was up to code and everything was in working order. It had two open apartments, with this one being the larger one. The neighborhood was nice and near some little shops and a few restaurants. And there was an elementary school with an adjacent park that was within walking distance.
Angie hid her grin at the look on Riley’s face. He had been expressionless until the landlord had excused himself to go greet a potential renter for the apartment across the hall. The minute the man had stepped out the door, her brother had grinned this huge grin and gushed over how everything was just exactly what he wanted. The sap.
The door was ajar so they heard when the landlord went into the apartment across the hall, explaining the amenities and Riley schooled his expression back to one of placid disinterest in case the guy came back.
“It is pretty much perfect, Godzilla. I would even venture to say that it’s ‘just right’, wouldn’t you?” Angie said with a smirk.
Riley shot her a minor glare, having heard her whispering to Xander earlier about the Goldilocks thing. Frankly he was too pleased to put much heat into it.
They turned when the door opened and the landlord reentered, still talking to the other potential renter. Riley stopped still when he heard the familiar voice and saw the familiar face.
“What are you doing here?” Riley blurted out, not unkindly, just in surprise.
“Oh, you know Mr. DiNozzo?” the landlord asked.
Tony grinned. “You could say that.”
“I’m taking the place across the hall. What are you doing here?” Tony asked.
Angie shook her head and coughed into her hand, which sounded suspiciously like, “just right”, but Tony couldn’t be sure and could not figure out why she would be saying that.
“I’m taking this place. It’s pretty much exactly what I was looking for,” Riley admitted.
The landlord made a pleased noise and went to go get the leases for them to fill out and sign.
“So,” Riley said.
“So,” Tony said.
Angie groaned at the pure hopelessness of men. “Neighbors, you’re going to be neighbors. That is funny, right, and kinda weird. We’re all grown ups here, we can admit that it’s funny that you guys are going to be living across the hall from the father of your child.”
Both men looked at her with raised eyebrows.
“It will be easier to see the baby, not having to trek across town, just across the hall,” Riley offered.
Tony grinned. “And I’ll let you borrow from my movie collection anytime you want.”
“Really?” Riley asked with interest.
“Yep,” Tony assured.
Angie once again could only groan.
“So Ang, you movin’ in too?” Tony asked.
Angie cringed at the nickname that DiNozzo already knew she hated and shuddered in horror at the very thought of moving out of her totally private room on campus and into an apartment with her older brother. “That would be one huge NO.”
“What?” Riley asked in feigned hurt.
“He snore or something?” Tony asked.
“He’s my brother and he would completely put a damper on my social life and enjoy every awful minute of it,” Angie declared.
“What social life? Didn’t you say you didn’t have time for a social life with your classes and studying?” Riley asked suspiciously.
Angie quickly turned to Tony and said, “We’re going for Chinese after this, want to come with?”
Tony grinned at the total evasion and in response to the purely evil smirk Riley was aiming at his sister’s back. “Sure, I love Chinese food.”
Xander chose that moment to wake up and look around. When he saw that not only was the daddy guy and the auntie lady in the room, but also the other daddy guy, he squealed in pure joy and waved his little arms. He was very eager to show the other daddy guy his thumb… you know, if he could find the thing again.