Chapter One – Craptastic
Title: Didn’t See That Coming - Chapter 1 – Craptastic
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.
Note: Spike is slightly more part of the gang than he was in canon at this point.
“Undo!” Willow said with a wave of her hand at the two Xanders. There was a bright flash of light that temporarily blinded everyone in the room. When they stopped seeing spots, they looked to where the Xanders had been standing, hoping to see just one Xander… and they did. Sort of.
“Willow!” Buffy yelled.
“What the bloody hell did you do, Red?” Spike shouted.
“Willow!” Tara growled, yes, growled.
“Oh dear!” Giles exclaimed.
“What did you do to my Xander?” Anya screamed.
“Uhm, oops?” Willow said meekly, not understanding what had gone wrong. Maybe she used a little too much magic when she did the spell?
Riley just stared in disbelief.
The yelling and screaming apparently frightened Xander and he started crying. Everyone froze in fear, except for one person.
“Oh, for crying out loud. You can’t just let him lay there crying,” Riley said when nobody moved, so he stepped forward and picked up the infant who was their friend Xander. “It’s like none of you have ever seen a baby before.”
Riley cradled the tiny babe in his arms. He wrapped him securely in the bright shirt that still engulfed the baby and gently maneuvered him to his shoulder, while supporting his head, and rubbing the little heaving back gently while whispering words of comfort into the tiny ear. Eventually, the baby settled down, content that he was safe and glad that those loud, scary people had stopped shouting.
“Is that really Xander?” Buffy asked.
“Yes, how do we know that Xander’s not… gone and this baby is something or someone else?” Anya asked.
“H-h-he looks just like X-x-xander’s baby pictures that Willow sh-sh-showed me,” Tara offered quietly.
“She’s right, he does. And Xander has a birth mark on his thigh, we could check that?” Willow admitted. Anya nodded.
Riley carefully walked over to the table and gently laid the tiny baby down and unwrapped him, careful to keep something covering the boy’s privates as he knew babies and there could be a surprise attack of the pee, but he also knew Xander wouldn’t want anyone ogling his baby genitals. Willow and Anya came over to inspect his leg, tears welled up in their eyes as they saw the familiar mark on the small leg.
“It’s him,” Anya said in disbelief.
“How do we fix it?” Buffy asked.
“Uh, well, you see…” Willow hedged.
“Willow, what did you do?” Tara asked firmly.
“I didn’t want Xander to split up again! So I might have used a little extra magic to make sure the undo spell stuck… and maybe, possibly have had an intention for it to be permanent,” Willow defended lamely.
“Bloody hell, woman, will you never learn?” Spike and Giles shouted at the same time, then they both turned to eye each other suspiciously.
“Tara, is there any way to check to see if this is indeed Xander and if the spell is permanent?” Riley asked, trying to gain some control of the conversation and to hurry this along because a baby without a diaper was an accident waiting to happen, literally.
“Y-y-yes, I think Giles has a book in his office. A-a-and we should have the ingredients here in the Magic Box to do it,” Tara said as she hurried off to gather the appropriate items.
Several minutes later Tara sighed. With an uncharacteristically steady voice (her anger and disappointment lending her confidence), she said, “It is Xander. And it is permanent. Willow, we’ve talked about this. You can’t go around messing with spells and changing them just because you can. Magic is very serious and very dangerous when not used properly or when abused. You can’t keep doing this. You’re going to have to face the fact that you don’t always know best or know everything. There are consequences when you use magic and this time Xander has to pay, permanently, for your ego and mistakes.”
Willow began to weep in earnest, but if she was looking for sympathy and comfort, she didn’t find it in the room.
Riley once again took charge of the situation. “Okay, now that we’ve established that there isn’t anything we can do to ‘fix’ this, we need to move on. First of all, Buffy, call your mother, tell her what’s going on and have her meet you at Wal-mart. We’re going to need diapers for a baby approximately…”
“Three weeks old,” Tara offered, having found that out with her spell.
“Thanks Tara. So, approximately three weeks old and I would say, about 9 pounds. We’ll also need several changes of clothes and some formula and a carseat. Five point restraint and suitable for a newborn. I’m pretty sure she’ll know what all to get. Take Xander’s debit card, pretend you’re Anya. I’m sure you know his PIN already, but if you buy anything that’s not for the baby, you’ll be sorry. Willow, Tara, Giles, do we need some sort of protection or something for the baby, especially considering we’re on the Hellmouth?”
Giles and the witches looked at each other. Giles cleared his throat. “Er, I do believe we can come up with something and it would be a good idea, especially if Xander has retained the qualities that attracted the… supernatural to him in his other… incarnation.”
The three went to work on coming up with something, Tara and Giles agreeing that they would be the ones to do the actual magic, but not denying that Willow had a skill for finding the right spell, if only she would use it correctly.
Anya and Spike turned to Riley as the soldier turned towards them, speaking at the same time “What’s my job?” “Whot do I do?”
“We need to figure out where we are going to stay tonight. Xander’s new place doesn’t have stuff in it yet, and his parents’ basement is a definite no. My place barely has room for me. Do you think Buffy’s mom or Giles will let Xander stay there? I’ll stay with him if no one has any objections, since someone will need to care for the baby and I’m the only one, besides Buffy’s mom, who seems to have any idea what to do… at least until we can make other arrangements?” Riley asked.
Nobody made any objections, so Riley just shrugged.
Buffy, who was on the phone with her mother, said, “Riley, how do you know what to do with a baby?”
“I’m the oldest of five kids. I helped out a lot growing up, so I picked up a thing or two,” the former soldier said dryly.
Buffy passed the info onto her mother, then said, “Mom says if you don’t come stay at our house with the baby, she’ll kick your butt.”
The Slayer quickly hung up and bullied Giles into giving Willow the keys to his car so the witch could drive the Slayer to the store, knowing he wouldn’t hand over the keys if she was driving and also knowing that it would keep Willow from trying to get involved in the actual casting of baby Xander’s protection spell.
Riley grinned, not doubting Mrs. Summers for a minute. “Okay, that’s one problem solved.”
“And the other problem?” Spike asked.
“Spike, it’s almost dusk. You and Anya are in charge of planning and executing a safe route to the Summers’ residence with me carrying a baby and you playing guard, you willing to do that?” Riley asked seriously.
Anya was already pulling out the map they used to plan patrol, while Spike stared at Riley.
“Ya trust me ta get you and the tyke home safely?” Spike questioned.
“Spike, I have watched you and your interaction with the group over these past several months. I know your secret,” Riley said quietly.
“Whot rot is this? I don’t got a secret,” Spike denied hotly, but quietly.
Riley grinned slightly, lightly rocking the baby in his arms. “Your secret is that you actually like these guys most of the time, They’ve grown on you. And you like Xander, ‘cause he makes you laugh and he’ll snark with you. I know you’ll protect him, especially now that he’s completely defenseless, and you’ll protect me because I’ve got him.”
Spike looked away, moving quickly to where Anya had laid out the map. “Best way is to avoid cemetery road. It’s longer, but less of a temptation for the fledges if we don’t walk right by ‘em. Anya should come too, cover the back, she’s a good hand with the small axe. And maybe Glinda, to offer a little magic support. You stay in the middle and keep your eyes opened and the baby quiet.”
“Sounds like a solid plan. As soon as Giles and Tara do their thing, we’re off,” Riley agreed.
An hour later, they stepped through the Summers’ front door and the humans in the party breathed a sigh of relief.
“Good job, guys. And good plan, Spike, and well executed. Anya, Tara, you did a great job of fending off that one vamp. This little guy didn’t even wake up for it,” Riley praised.
“Whot is that smell!?”
“Looks like our luck didn’t hold out until the shoppers returned with supplies. Oh well, at least it’ll be a good excuse to destroy the ugly shirt. Tara, do you think you could see if Mrs. Summers has an old towel or something we could use as a diaper until we can get a real one on him and meet me in the bathroom with it?” Riley said as he hurried to the bathroom with the wet and dirty baby.
“He is so adorable and sweet,” Dawn cooed at Xander. The baby seemed to stare at her in awe.
Joyce nodded in agreement, shifting the cuddly baby in her arms. “He certainly is. Now that we’ve got him appropriately attired, why don’t we try and figure out what happens next.”
The group settled into the living room and looked at each other.
“He can’t go back to his parents,” Tara said, her tone leaving no room for argument. The others who weren’t Willow and Anya were left to wonder exactly how bad it had been in that house.
“I really don’t want to raise a baby while having, essentially, two teenagers in the house. And I can’t afford to take time off from the gallery to care for him,” Joyce stated sadly but firmly, passing the baby to Riley when he began to fuss, amazed at how the large man could so gently and easily comfort the tiny child.
“I’m too young to raise a baby,” Buffy said, “plus, with college and evil fighting, I don’t think I could manage it all,” Willow and Tara nodded in agreement.
“I wouldn’t know where to begin,” Giles said.
“I will admit that I would not be an appropriate parent,” Anya said resignedly, knowing her weaknesses in knowledge of human behavior could be bad for a baby.
“I don’t think the whelp should even be on Hellmouth. Too dangerous, ‘specially for an innocent like him,” Spike offered seriously.
Dawn watched her sister’s boyfriend tenderly sooth her Xander with his voice and touch, smiling when the baby stared at him in wonder and something akin to adoration. She innocently whispered, “I wish Xander could have parents like Riley who would love him and keep him safe.”
The others in the room smiled lightly, thinking nothing of the girl’s use of the ‘W’ word until a voice said breezily, “Granted.”