Finding Family


Part Thirty-One

Everyone in the room stood still, frantically trying to think of another solution. ANY other solution. Their worst fear had been being separated from each other and the terror of finding Willow like they had only strengthened that fear. Finally Xander stopped pacing and spun around. "The cell phones! We got mutha' fuckin' cell phones!"

Willow hung her head sheepishly. "They don't work out here. I tried to use mine as soon as we got here and it's a no go." There was no way she was going to further prickle her brother by putting Teak's name in the conversation but, by the disgusted look on his face, she didn't have to.

With his frustration reaching peak levels, Xander threw his arms up and faced Will. "You leave the electric on year round but not the phones? What the fuck sense does that make?"

Standing his ground, Will refused to be intimidated. "It makes a lot of fucking sense. If you don't keep electric on you don't have heat, then the place gets damp and moldy. Also, how can the caretakers take care if there is no lights or power?" His angry little face shot off a serious "so there" look and he knew he had won. His feeling of victory was, however, short lived when the reality of their situation came flooding back with Xander's shocking confession.

"You're right. I'm sorry Baby. I'm just scared."

Will and Willow were both silent. Neither had ever thought anything scared Xander. At least nothing he would admit.

"O.k. So that brings us back to the fact that someone needs to go for help."

Will's eyes lit up with hope. "I think we should all go. We can go to the caretakers and use their phone. The village is only a few miles up the road. They will be here in no time."

Everyone in the room knew what the answer to that was before Xander even opened his mouth.

"I can't do that. I'm pretty sure Billy is done playing and if I don't find Deena soon it may be too late. Right now he's probably busy securing her somewhere so we need to make our move fast before he realizes one of us is gone. No more discussion. Will, you know the way in the dark so I need you to take Willow and get there as fast as you can. I'll try to find them and hold off whatever stupidity he has planned. If you hurry and I can buy enough time, we might just do this."

Will opened and closed his mouth several times trying and failing to come up with any other ideas.

There were none.

Willow, too, wanted to protest but after her run in with Will's cousin she was ashamed to admit she wanted as far away from him as possible. "I think Xander's right, Honey. You know the way and I'm a fast runner. I can keep up. Let's go before he knows what's up."

Will turned to Xander wild eyed and terrified. "Don't you get hurt, damn you. You said yourself you would not sacrifice one of us for her. Well that goes for you too." Throwing himself into Xander's arms Will whispered through desperate tears. "I love you so much. Please don't leave me. Don't do anything to get yourself hurt. I promise I'll bring help fast. Wait on it. Promise?"

Xander very gently pried Will away and cupping his face in his hands, kissed Will lightly on the lips. "I promise to be careful. I love you too Will. I love you best."

He kissed him once more then gave him a gentle push toward the door. "Now I need you two to go. Take the side road so he can't see you from out the windows, and most of all BE CAREFUL."

Will pulled himself up to his full height of 5'6" and put a stern look on his face. He snapped his heels together and gave a sharp military salute. "Eye eye Captain. Sergeant Willow and I will go immediately. We shall return with the calvary post haste. Hold the fort till we get back and we shall not fail you."

Xander groaned but held his tongue. He knew retreating into his stories was Will's way of coping and what ever got him through was all right with him.

Grabbing Willow's hand Will turned and dashed from the room leaving Xander alone in the silence of the imposing, threatening mansion. Xander checked his watch. He gave them five minutes then made his move. He started at the bottom of the stairs near the entry hall. Briefly pausing to gaze at the closed front doors, he prayed they got away safely.

He then immediately switched his focus to the problem at hand. He really didn't think Billy would be using one of the main rooms off the left side. That was too well lit through the glass french doors and too visible from the outside.

No, he was more likely to be on the main floor in one of the small rooms. Considering Deena's condition forcing her up and down the steps would be just too much trouble.

The right of the stairway had a hallway connecting a dim office room next to a large open receiving parlor followed in the rear by a secluded butlers room. That seemed to be the logical conclusion so Xander decided to start there.

He crept quietly keeping his back flat against the side inclining wall of the staircase. His eyes darted around wildly for any movement, shadow, or item out of place. All seemed normal. That made it even more terrifying. No sound other than his own heartbeat and rapid breathing reached his ears.

Unlike Will, Xander had not bothered to put on any shoes and his bare feet felt every single irregularity and notch in the hardwood floors. A sensation made even more noticable by his adrenalin sharpened senses.

Reaching the end of the hall, Xander stood outside the closed door. He took a minute to try to calm his hammering heart before it exploded in his chest. This was the part of the movie where he should be taking a shower and waiting on a hockey masked serial killer with a 14" O.J. knife. He was glad now that he had taken it upon himself to do a quick look around while the others were out shopping earlier. It at least gave him a general idea of the layout of the house.

Laying his ear to the door he strained to detect any sound from within. There was nothing. Just as he was about to conclude that he had made a mistake and move on,  his ears picked up a sound. A muffled voice? An animal outside? It was too vague and low to be identified, but it was there.

Wrapping his hand around the cold metal of the door handle,  Xander turned and pushed it open.

The room was small and dim. There was no overhead ceiling lighting in here only two or three table lamps. This was not a room anyone spent a lot of time in. It was a servants room. A room in which to wait till the masters of the estate again called upon your service.

One of the lamps in the far corner was lit giving off just enough light to make the contents of the room discernable.
Everything was the same as when he peeked in earlier. All with one big exception.

Now, sitting tied to a large wing back chair, in the center of the room, and facing the doorway Xander was standing in, was Deena. Her hands were stretched around the back of the chair and several ropes had her bound up tightly. There was a large piece of tape over her mouth but other than that she appeared to be unharmed. Her eyes darted wildly and in a split second Xander knew what that meant.

Even though Will hated scary movies, Xander had seen enough of them to recognize the "he's right behind you" signal.

He had just enough time to wonder if he was flexable enough to flip his leg back and kick himself in the ass before he let out an "Oh shit" and the lamp crashed down on his head. All the lights went out.

Part Thirty-Two

Warning: Implied Torture

"Come on Xander. You know you promised if I didn't buy the sail boat you would play jacks with me. I even brought a new red ball. Look how high it bounces."

Xander looked down at himself and wondered briefly why he was wearing plaid golf pants and a bowling shirt. Immediately though, his attention was drawn back to Will.

He was absolutly stunning. He sat cross legged on the sidewalk and smiled up at him. His golden hair glowed in the bright morning light and his laugh was like the tinkling of windchimes as he bounced the ball again and again. Each time picking up more and more jacks.

He didn't seem to notice or mind that every time he scooped up a handful of the star shaped metal pieces there were more, rather than less of them, left in the chalk circle. It was hypnotic.

Xander's gaze was locked on the repetition of the bounce-scoop bounce-scoop. It seemed like there was something urgent that he wanted to talk to Will about but his brain couldn't remember what it was.

Nothing mattered past the fact that twosies followed onesies.

Just as he was about to ask if he could take a turn his body reacted violently to the shock of the cold water thrown into his face. Gasping for air he was jerked back to consciousness and an ugly reality he would have gladly traded for the mismatched colors of the dream clothes he had just been wearing.

He tried for an instant inventory and came up with the following: His hands were bound behind his back. His feet, too, were tied tightly together. His head felt like a bomb had exploded inside which may have been a possibility due to the feel of dried blood that caked the side of his face. That also gave some indication that he had been out for a while.

"Well it's about fuckin' time. Thought maybe you were brain damaged or sumtin'"

Xander squinted his suffering eyes. A move that shot daggers through his already five aspirin headache. Aiming his face in the direction of the voice, he tried again. This time he was able to clear his vision enough to see Billy looming directly over him.

Obviously when they flushed out the bums from the library earlier they had not taken all the coke with them because Billy was as hopped up as any druggie he had ever seen. Twitching, jumping, and rubbing his hands over his face, Xander could almost see the imaginary bugs crawling over Billy's skin.

Xander hoped to God help was on the way. He didn't know how long he and Deena..........DEENA!  Xander's head snapped around to where she had been sitting when he first came in to the room.

His blood froze when he saw her.

She was still sitting in exactly the same spot but Billy had been very busy during the time Xander was unconscious. Deena's face was battered, bloody, bruised and she was slumped over. He was only slightly encouraged by the moan that left her lips.

Billy was now wildly pacing back and forth between them alternatingly wringing his hands and scratching various parts of his body. "See I tried talking to her but as usual she wanted to play stupid. Which granted isn't a far stretch for an ignorant bitch like her, maybe you can help us all out here." Billy stopped moving and loomed over Xander's bound body. "Where. Is. William? Simple question. He is the one that has caused my life to become the fuckin' mess you see before you. He is the one who should pay, and God knows he has the cash to pay with."

Billy laughed loudly at his own pun then just as quickly turned angry again. "I know he is in this fuckin' house. Probably hiding out, the fucking queer coward homo."

Billy began stomping his feet and pounding his own fists against his thighs. "Where the fuck is he? WIIIILIAM!!!"

Billy threw his head back and continued to bellow Will's name. The thought that Billy still believed Will to be in the house brought Xander some relief. It meant they had a little more time on the table.

In a flash Billy's head snapped down and he quit yelling. A slow grin spread over his lips as he sauntered toward Xander. "Did you find my little present? Left it all tied up for you just the way you seem to like. That's a sweet little piece of pussy you got there. Too bad it's going to waste with you two. Just like that fuckin' cousin of mine. No idea what to do with all the riches that drop into his lap. Well I appreciated the fuck out of it." Billy waited for Xander's reaction only to be disapointed.

Gritting his teeth Xander refused to give him the satisfaction. Besides, he was pretty confident that Billy hadn't done anything to Willow beyond touching and tying. Both of which he would pay for, but, no Willow would have said if anything else had happened. Even if she didn't say it, he would know.

Refusing to let Xander's silence distract him Billy went on with his fussing, moving and long winded yammering. "He really should appreciate what I'm about to do. After all he killed to get what he wanted. Why shouldn't I? So that's how it stands my friend. You tell me where I can find your little poop shoot buddy or you and darlin' Deena there die in his place. Simple plan don't you think?"

Deena, who must have been more aware that Xander realized, whimpered and tried to lift her injured face.

Xander thought he was just about as scared as he had ever been in his life.

He was wrong.

To emphasize his point Billy reached into his pants pocket and brought out a large carved ivory handle. Xander knew instantly what it was. To make sure there was no doubt Billy's thumb tripped the button and the 7" blade of the switch knife snapped out.

Immediately Deena began struggling against the ropes that restrained her. Her huge swollen belly protruded from between the bindings and a fresh stream of silent tears rolled down her cheeks.

Calmly Billy began cleaning underneath his dirty fingernail with the tip of the knife. "So what's it gonna be? You or him?"

Xander opened his mouth to speak, but something stopped him. Something caught his attention. A new sound. A far off noise that resembled hope.

He knew his best chance was to keep Billy disatracted. If Xander was right. If he was hearing what he thought he was hearing they might just live to see tomorrow after all. "O.k. I'm willing to make a deal, but I want to discuss terms first."

Billy's confidence and knife both slipped in the confusion of the statement and he nicked the tip of his forefinger causing a trickle to drip down and splatter on the floor. Quickly Billy stuck the finger in his mouth tasting the coppery tang of blood. "Terms? What fuckin' terms? You tell me where he is or die. That's the bloody terms."

Xander appeared to think it over. "Well what guarantee do I have that you will let Deena and I both go if I turn him over to you? I mean I know where he is, but I want to be positive that I can trust you first."

Billy's eyes bulged and spit flew from his lips. "Are you fuckin' insane? I'll tell you what.........."

Deena froze. Her straining against the ropes stopped and her eyes snapped around to the outside window.

Xander shook his head frantically trying to signal to her to stop, but it was too late. Catching her reaction, Billy stopped talking and heard it too. The wail of sirens speeding closer and closer.

Everyone in the room knew they would be here in minutes.

Realization seemed to settle in Billy's face as he calmly conceded defeat. "So the fuckin' little weasel won again. Well, looks like it's time to move on. Didn't much like living here anyway. Oh just one thing before I go. Loose ends and all."

Billy turned to Deena and tossed his knife straight up in the air, then with one fluid move that seemed to play out in slow motion, he caught the sharp tip in his fingers and snapped his wrist forward.

"NNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!" With no control over his thoughts or body, Xander was shocked to realize the voice screaming was his.

Flying through the air, it found it's mark. The blade of the knife embedded itself deep in Deena's chest.

Xander was stunned. His eyes locked with Deena's till something else led both them to focus down. They looked at the growing stain on her pajama top.

When he was able to tear his eyes away he was dismayed to see the small smile and look of resignation on her face. There was no surprise in her eyes just the arrival of the inevitable.

Turning back he received the next big shock.

Laughing, Billy jerked the door open to leave but stopped.

Staring at the unknown sight in the hallway, he had only a second to sort out the confusion of what he saw before the blast knocked him back, up off his feet, ripping a hole through his body and splattering the room in his blood.

Part Thirty-Three

Xander wondered if he was in shock. He stared emotionless at the scattered mess that was strewn out on the floor, walls and ceiling in front of him and found he couldn't get upset.

It was as if he was standing on the outside watching the whole thing play out like a movie on the big screen. An old fashioned drive-in where you sit in your car, apart from everyone else and watch the story, huge and in full color, blast through the darkness.

His ears rang with the eardrum vibration that apparently occurs when an explosion goes off in such a small space. He knew his face and body were splattered with Billy's blood because he could still feel its wet warmth dripping off the end of his nose. With all the unbelievable elements to this situation, oddly enough, all Xander could focus his thoughts on were  'If the sirens were just now arriving, who the fuck fired the shot?'

The answer to that came the second the large shadowy figure stepped into the room, smoking shot gun still in his hand.
Tossing the gun aside he rushed to Deena's side and Xander finally got a clear look at his rescuer.


Teak was frantically trying to get the ropes free from Deena's limp body. When he did he carefully lowered her to the floor and checked her for pulse and breathing. "Yeah, it's me. Boy, Willow comes with a certain amount of baggage doesn't she.?"

Xander snorted, nodded toward Deena and asked cautiously "Is she...?"

Teak jerked a sheet off one of the side chairs, ripped a piece off and quickly began pressing it around the bleeding wound of the unconscious woman.

"She's still alive. Just. I can't remove the knife. It's punctured her lung for sure but if I leave it in it will cause less damage than pulling it out. The ambulance and cops are right behind me. If we get her to the hospital fast, well, maybe."

Any other thoughts were cut off as the chaotic sound of the front door being kicked open preceded the shouting of voices.

"Down here!'


"Get the gurney!"

"Clear the crime scene!"

"Holy Fuck! What a mess!"

William shoved his way through the pack of uniforms to make his way to Xander and untied him from the chair. Throwing his arms around Xander's neck he clutched and held on like a drowning man reaching for a life line.

Xander tried his best to return the hug but his arms protested. Deprived of blood for the better part of an hour they screamed as the pins and needles of recirculation rushed back in.

Willow was off in a corner showing Teak just how much she appreciated her hero. Teak was appreciating her appreciation.

Xander nodded in their direction. "I told you I liked that guy." Will laughed till sobbing tears of relief overwhelmed him. He rocked in himself in Xander's arms receiving comfort from the feel of his lover's safe body. Together they watched as Deena was loaded onto a table, fitted with an oxygen mask, covered with a warm blanket and quickly whisked away. The paramedics were working fantically.

Two DI's in suits were taking statements from Willow, Teak and taking pictures of the body on the floor. What was left of it.

Xander finally had to ask. "Where the hell did he come from?"

Pulling himself together Will wiped his eyes with the back of his hand and sniffed. "When Willow and I got to the caretaker's he was just sitting there big as life, drinking tea and eating cookies. When we told him what was happening, Mr.Canters gave him his hunting gun and I pointed him in the right direction. I wanted to come too but someone had to call, wait on the help to arrive, and show them the way. I kept Miss Willow with me. I knew you trusted me to keep her safe and I did."

Pulling him tight into his arms Xander held Will so close he could happily hardly breath. "Thank you Will. I knew she was safe with you. You helped to save us all. My sweet hero."

Xander covered Will's face with kisses. Eyes, nose, lips. He couldn't care less how it looked. They were alive and that's all that mattered.

By now the inspectors were heading in their direction, pens and paper in hand. The photographer continued to snap his camera from every angle and Xander wondered how many pictures you could take of a splattered dead body.

"Good morning Gentlemen, I'm DI Phillips. I just need to ask a few questions. I think I pretty much have the whole picture and I know you want to get to the hospital to check on the condition of your friend so I'll try to be quick."

In turn, Xander and Will each told their end of the same story and, satisfied that it matched Willow's, Teaks, and the evidence smeared around the room, they finished in very little time.

"There will be the formality of a coroner's inquest but I don't see any problems. We will notify you when it will be held. Probably in a week or so. You don't plan on leaving the country before that do you?"

Xander shook his head and winced at the pain. "No, we won't go anywhere till this is all cleared up."

Taking a closer look at Xander's scalp, the inspector ordered pictures taken of that too, then suggested, "You need to have that looked at when you get to the hospital. Might need a stitch or two."

Xander and Will thanked the inspectors and hurried over to where Willow and Teak were talking animatedly. "Will and I are going to the hospital to check on Deena. Teak seems to think she can make it all right, the baby too, so we want to make sure. You coming?"

Willow looked to Teak who nodded and grinned. "Hell yeah. I was thinking a movie or bowling but this is turning out to be a much more interesting first date."

Then more seriously he looked around the room and all the humor disappeared from his voice.  "It must have been my Military training, but when I opened the door and saw her with the knife in her chest I just pulled the trigger. It scares the hell out of me to think I may have shot the wrong person."

Willow immediately stopped him before he could beat himself up with what ifs. "You didn't! You saved my brother's life and probably Deena's. I will never be able to thank you enough for that."

Xander grabbed her away and pulled Teak into a bear hug of his own. "I can't thank you enough either and I promise our next date will be much better."

Everyone laughed nervously and the tension was greatly eased despite the fact that they all had to step over the smear of body parts to get out of the room.

The police were already settling in. They planned on being there for a long time.

Xander pulled Will back so they could talk privately. "You o.k, Baby? I mean even if he was an ass he was still your family."

Grabbing Xander's hand, he squeezed. "No he wasn't. Not any more. You and Miss Willow are my family and I thank God and Teak that we are all unharmed. Now let's go check on Deena. She is going to need all our support."

Xander's hand squeezed back and they hustled to catch up with the other two.

Part Thirty-Four

Warning: Character death

The adrenalin level inside the rental car was through the roof. All four occupants talking over each other, babbling, questioning and answering. It was a conversation peppered with "Oh My God's, Did you see's, Did you ever thinks, and I can't believes".

It was the survivors rush that fueled them and kept them sailing despite the lack of sleep and the terror of the last two days. A body rush that everyone knew would end with a crash that could wipe them out for hours. Possibly days.

But none of that mattered now because they had survived. Despite the odds of being trapped by an armed and vicious drug crazed maniac, they had all survived. The Gods had looked out for them, or maybe Grandda as Will believed.

Either way, Xander was overwhelmingly relieved. His family was safe. If any of them had died he would have surely died with them. The thought of returning back to California with fewer than he arrived with stirred that knot in his stomach that made him want to cry. With his emotions off the scale he hugged Will closer and kissed the top of his head.

Willow was positively buzzing with the excitement. The horror of what Billy had done to her was at least for now tucked into the back of her mind. She knew it would have to be dealt with later, but she was intact, alive, and nestled happily beside her hero.

A man who had jumped right in and played the part of Superman. Without the cape. Or the snug body suit - unfortunately.

Most men in that position would have just walked - no run - away and never looked back. Yup, he was a keeper. She turned to face him as he drove expertly on the wrong side of the road, and smiled.

Will was nearly sitting in Xander's lap in the back seat. He had used the hem of his shirt to clean most of Billy's blood off Xander's face and hadn't stopped fussing over the cut on his head since the inspector pointed it out. He was anxious to check on Deena, but Xander was his priority. When everything was said and done and stitched up he figured they would sit down and decide what to do about Deena and the baby.

He really did want them to stay on the estate. There was no reason not to. They certainly had the room and he could afford to take care of them financially. Maybe even set up a college fund for the baby. But all that could be settled later, right now Xander had a boo boo that needed tending.

They arrived at the hospital within minutes and rushed toward the admittance desk. Xander approached the nurse on duty and tried to shout to be heard over the giggling and babbling of the other three behind him. "Hi. A friend of ours was just brought in here and we wanted to know how she was doing."

The nurse frowned and looked from one to the others. She had been told by the Inspectors to expect them but their bubbly giddy mood surprised her. "Miss Lane? Is that who you are asking about?"

Xander looked temporarily confused. He hadn't realized till just now that none of them knew Deena's last name. "Deena Lane?"

The nurse answered him with a nod and checked her records. "Miss Lane is still in surgery. I have instructions to have your head checked and stitched. When that is finished you can go up to the third floor family waiting room and the doctor will speak to you there as soon as she comes out."

The four circled up for a quicky confab and decided Willow and Teak would wait here while Xander and Will went with the doctor to have Xander patched up. Afterward they could all go upstairs, find a coffee machine and settle in.

Xander grumbled and Will snickered as a large patch of Xander's luxurious brown hair was shaved off. The bald patch was cleaned, numbed, and finally stitched up.

After what seemed like hours they rejoined the other two and went in search of the elevators. In the time it took to patch up the gash left by the broken lamp, Willow and Teak had calmed down considerably as their body's chemical balance returned to normal.

Leaning against Teak, Willow yawned. "I hope they have comfy seats up there. I wouldn't say 'no' to a quick nap while we wait.

Teak leaned down and whispered in her ear. "Do we know each other well enough to sleep together?" Willow giggled and elbowed him in the side.

Xander groaned. This guy was a real comedian. Arriving on the third floor the doors slid open facing a nurses station at the end of a short hallway. Taking the lead, Xander again asked about the condition of their friend.

They were sent to a small waiting room and told the doctor would be right with them. Willow was delighted to find that the couches were indeed soft, plush, and a great place to settle in for a few winks, which she proceeded to do. Kicking off her shoes she tucked her feet up under her and curled up leaning her head against Teak's shoulder.

Xander fished around in his pockets and dug out a few coins hoping to find a coffee machine nearby. "You want to come with me?"

Will nodded. He hadn't left Xander's side since finding him tied up and probably wouldn't for quite a while. A situation Xander was very comfortable with.

"You two want anything?" Xander's question went unanswered as Willow's eyes were already shut and Teaks attention and face were turned toward the soft red hair he was affectionately petting.

Will grabbed him by the arm before he could snark and tugged him in the direction of the hallway. "Don't even say it. I think they're cute."

Before Xander had the chance to peal off a scathing retort the doorway was blocked by the white coated figure of the doctor they were told to expect. Xander was delighted that he was here so quickly. "Wow that was fast. Everything go all right?"

The doctor stepped into the room and closed the door behind him. "Which one of you is William Barton?"

Will stepped forward warily and spoke up. Clearly the good mood in the room had just gone cold. Teak gently shook Willow awake.

"I am. Why?"

Stepping forward the doctor placed his hand on Will's shoulder. "I'm sorry Son but she didn't make it. There was just too much internal damage and she had lost too much blood."

Willow immediately sat up and slapped both hands over her mouth trying to block out the gasp and sob. Teak pulled her close.

Will was stunned and upset. He was devastated but also somewhat confused as to why he was singled out and how the doctor knew his name. The answers proved to be just another shock in an already shocking evening.

"Miss Lane was conscious when she was brought in and was able to give us a statement about what happened. We will of course sign a legal affidavit to the facts. We will also, naturally, file the paperwork that her final statement was that William Barton was the father of her baby. Oh dear, I guess I forgot to tell you. The baby is fine. A little underweight and we will want to keep her here for a few days observation, but after that you are free to take her home."

Will fainted.

Part Thirty-Five

When Will came to it was with an acrid smelling stick being waved under his nose and all his companions clustered around the couch he was stretched out on.

The tears streaking Willow's face and the grief in Xander's eyes reminded him instantly of what had happened.

As he pulled himself into a sitting position the nurse tending to him stepped back. "I am so dreadfully sorry for your loss Mr.Barton. I understand you were not aware of the seriousness of Miss Lane's condition when she was brought in. You must have loved her very much. But at least the baby is fine. You have a beautiful baby girl. Just wait till you see her. She looks just like you." The nurse smiled encouragingly.

Will immediately jumped to his feet. He had to stop this before it went any further.


Quickly shoving him back Xander stepped between Will and the nurse. "I'm sorry, Maam. My friend is still in shock over the tragic news. Could we please have a few minutes in private?"

The nurse quickly collected together the cool damp cloth and broken ammonia stick she had used to revive him and headed for the door, anxious to leave the grieving young man to the condolences of his friends. "Of course. If there is anything you need, please just let us know."

Xander gently pushed Will encouraging him to drop back down to the couch. "Willow, why don't you take Teak and go find that coffee? Give us a little time and then we can head back to the estate."

Willow nodded knowingly. She had a pretty good idea where her brother's emotions lay and even though she would support any decision they made, she sure knew what she wanted.

Taking Teak by the arm she led him out. As they walked away Xander could hear the confusion in Teak's voice. "Will's baby huh? Gosh was I wrong. I kinda thought Will and your brother know."

Willow just laughed sadly. " Life is just full of unexpected surprises. Come on maybe we can find some pastries to go with that coffee."

Alone at last, Xander closed the door and returned to where Will sat frowning on the couch, his hands clasped between his knees and his eyes locked on his lover.

Xander crouched down in front of him, took both Will's hands in his and made sure Will was looking him in the face before he started.

"Look, Will, the way I see it there are two ways this can play out. One, we go out there and tell them the truth. We explain the name confusion and after a blood test we prove you are not the father and we walk away. We can go back to our life in California and put all this behind us. Back to our life the way it was before. I loved our life the way it
was before. Social services will put the baby in a foster home till she can be adopted and I'm sure they will find her a really good home. Or..."

Will sat up straight and stared Xander in the eye. He didn't want any misunderstandings in this Very slowly he asked...
"Orrrrr what?"

Xander dropped his head, took a deep breath then made eye contact again. "Or we walk down to the nursery and claim our daughter. You sign the birth certificate, we give her a name, and we take her home. All done legally and proper.
Listen to me Will, when we moved in together I was not just playing house. I knew right away you were it for me. The one I wanted forever with. I know we've never talked about starting a family but I've thought about it a million times. I just wasn't sure how to bring up the subject. Now it's here. Being handed to us. And she is family, your cousin. She could be our family. Our daughter. To name and raise and love. I know responsibility scares you, but you won't be alone. Bungy will help and Willow, and me. Please Will. I really want this. I want this for us. We couldn't save Deena,
but we can do this for her. For all of us."

Will tipped his head to the side and studied the face of the man in front of him. It never failed to amaze him how well Xander could verbalize everything Will felt in his heart.

With his voice quiet and trying to keep his hopes in check, he asked. "Do you really think we can pull it off? They won't make us prove it? Don't we have to...."

Anything else he wanted to ask was cut off as the air was squeezed out of him with the bear hug Xander pulled him into.

Once released the excited thrill kicked in. "No, they won't ask. The doctor already signed off that it was the Mother's legal dying statement that you are the father. You said yourself that Billy had no other living relatives and none of those
coke heads he was hanging with will know or say anything. Deena was all alone in this world too. The hospital will be just as glad to avoid the paperwork and legal problems involved with an abandoned infant. We can give the baby something neither of her parents had. We can give her a wonderful life with security and the love of a complete family. We just trot in there and sign the birth certificate. Oh My God"

Will went tense. "What? What did we forget? What's wrong?"

Xander kissed him and with tears in his eyes reminded Will, "She has to have a name. When you sign, you have to give her a name."

Will jumped to his feet and started to pace with his hands behind his back. "I don't know. I need to think about it for a while. By the time we get to the paperwork something will come to me. Oh my God! Oh my God! Are we really going to do this?"

Xander stood tall and did his best to straighten his bloody, torn clothes. The nurse had given him a pair of patient slippers for his feet and he scratched idly at the bald spot on the top of his head. "Do I look all right to go to Social Services?"

Will snickered. He knew Xander had no idea how really bad he looked. His face was still bruised from the earlier fight and his whole body had been put through the wringer during the last, but to Will, he looked like Prince Charming. "You look fantastic. Even if you didn't, I think everyone in the hospital knows about our situation so they won't be shocked."

Xander claimed one last deep tongue tangling kiss and headed for the door. When he stopped he was surprised to see Will was not beside him. Looking back he saw Will standing by the couch, eyes closed,  hands up, palms out repeating
"Hmmmmmmmmmmm Hmmmmmmmmmm"

"What the fuck are you doing? Let's go!"

Will turned and opened his eyes. Clearly annoyed at Xander's stupidity he patiently explained. "I'm preparing for my part. I'm playing the grieving widower right? Maybe just a touch of shock thrown in. I'm thinking Jimmy Stewart in "It's a Wonderful Life." What do you think?"

Xander just shook his head. "I think we're in a lot of trouble.

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