Xander put his foot down when everyone
tried to follow him back to his apartment. It was usually cramped with just him, the kids, and the three women he was sleeping with. He was pretty sure the number of people they had living in there was against code or something but until Timothy, a newly trained Watcher, finished packing up his house, there wasn’t anywhere else on the grounds for Xander to go and with his kids being as special as they were, he wasn’t about to move somewhere without wards up the ying-yang.
Giles, thankfully, could be counted on to foresee problems like that and had a couple of apartments near Xander’s cleared out and ready for use. Angel and his former crew took one. Joyce and Jenny had towed Anya, Cassie, Amanda, and Kendra into another one, Buffy and Dawn joining their mother for the night, loath to be parted from her. Jesse had wavered until Willow had practically hauled him off of his feet into her room, Tara following after with a small smile. Giles had sighed and pulled Jonathon along behind him to his apartments when he and Andrew just stared at one another with wide, wounded eyes. Spike and Faith had disappeared off to their own apartments for the night and Mary and Prue had followed Xander and his gaggle of kids to his.
Xander watched, as bemused as always, as Jocey declared bedtime and everyone but Mason automatically went to their sleeping mats. Mason tucked Jaden into his blankets and then had a little stare-down with Jocey before glancing at Xander and the two resurrected women and lying down. Jocey nodded and happily tucked herself in to go to sleep.
Xander led Mary and Prue into his bedroom and said, closing his door, “I’ll sleep on the couch but I figured you’d want to talk, first.”
Mary, swaying with Joy in her arms, said, “I did it to save my John. I didn’t realize…I mean, I was sure I would have time to fix
it. But then, Sam was born and it wasn’t long before the demon came calling.” She was quiet before she whispered, “He bled in my baby’s mouth, then pinned me to the ceiling and bled me as he set me on fire. I don’t really remember anything.”
Xander nodded, jaw clenching. “So, how do we fix it?”
“There’s a potion,” Prue started, jiggling Patience lightly. “To strip the demon part out of someone that’s part human. Sam started out fully human, though, so I’m not sure how it’s going to affect him. Mary says he’ll take the chance, though.”
Mary nodded, eyes squeezed shut. “After I died, John raised my boys to be hunters. He knew
I didn’t want them raised that way but…I was dead and a demon killed me and that’s all he could see. He needed vengeance and to protect Dean, at the very least. Because he knows the demon did something to Sammy. So my boys understand sacrificing their lives for the greater good. Plus, Sam just lost his girl like he lost me, so he’s in the frame of mind to do what needs to be done.”
Xander pursed his lips. “How are we supposed to find them? And how sure are you that this potion will work? Because I get the feeling something more important than just Mary’s sons are at risk, here.”
Prue shrugged. “I’m in a different dimension without my sisters. We can try it before we move on to, er, other things.”
Xander narrowed his eye at her. “Other things. You don’t actually think it’s going to work, do you?”
She sighed. “I don’t know. I hope it will. But I just…I don’t know. There’s a strong possibility we’ll have to try something else.”
Xander rocked Mercy before nodding. “I might have an idea for that.”
Someone was knocking rather insistently on his door and Xander handed Mercy to Mary before hurrying to get it before the other kids woke up. “What
?” he said as he yanked open the door.
“Where’s Doyle?” Cordelia demanded. Xander just blinked at her. She let out an annoyed sound and pushed past him into the apartment. She stilled at seeing the kids sleeping on the floor. She said more quietly, “He was supposed to come back, too. Except he’s not here.”
Xander frowned, running his hand over his face. “Maybe the doorway shut too fast?”
“No,” Mary said from behind him. “No, it’s our fault. He let us come in his place, agreed to wait until a later time so that we might do this.” She grinned. “He’s a hero to his very core.”
Cordelia gave a disgusted noise. “Of course he is. Who here isn’t?” She spun on Xander. “You have enough stuff to do another spell, right?”
He nodded. “We’ve got enough stuff for several more spells. Stop worrying about it. Next full moon, we’ll have Willow open a doorway and pull his ass out here so you can kick it.”
She nodded swiftly, shifting to pull Mercy out of Mary’s overburdened arms. “Good. And not just for not coming through the doorway. Oh, no. I’m kicking his ass for telling his big secret right before going all kamikaze on me. And the visions
. He’s so getting his ass kicked.”
“Right after you smoother him in kisses,” Xander nodded.
She nodded stoutly before frowning and kicking out at him. “Hey! I didn’t say that.”
Xander stilled, so her kick actually connected, and frowned. “The spells are supposed to pull people from their moment of death. How did you…?”
Mary looked guilty. “We…tampered with it, just a little bit.”
Xander caught the back of Cordelia’s shirt as she moved towards them. “Hey, hey, now. They asked
before they took his place, at least. When was the last time somebody or something asked before it hijacked our lives?” He frowned. “I’m pretty sure the answer to that’s never, by the way.”
Cordelia shifted back until he could wrap his arms around her. She pointed one pointy-nailed finger at them. “We’d better be able to get him back or else I’m gonna call in some favors owed to me and you two are going to feel a lot of pain.”
Prue’s eyebrows went up as Xander winced, and Mary’s eyes widened. “What kind of favors could you have owed that will reach us once we’re gone?”
Cordelia smiled grimly. “I was ascended when my body died. I know how to make deals as well as anyone else.”
The two other women winced.
“And on that note,” Xander said and started to steer Cordelia towards his door. “We’re going to call this a night.” He took Mercy from Cordy and didn’t quite shove her out the door but it was a close thing.