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Wesley considered Xander's refusal to allow anyone to help him. In the week since the baby had been born... hatched... he had tried to do it all himself. Today Wesley was determined to make Xander accept some help with the baby for his own good as well as the baby's.
Wesley walked up the stairs to Xander's room and could hear the baby crying. The door was standing open so Wesley walked in. "Alexander, the baby is crying, what should I do?" he asked.
"How does the baby look? Human or demon?" Xander asked tiredly from the bed where he had obviously been sleeping.
"Human, but angry." Wesley answered.
"Check his diaper." Xander said from the bed.
"It's dry." Wesley yelled over the wailing of the child.
"Then we need to put a wet one on him. I'll take care of it..." Xander said through his exhaustion.
"I can change a diaper." Wesley replied indignantly. "Though this seems the reverse of the way I'm used to."
"I know. But Willie needs to stay wet. He's twice as cranky when he's dry." Xander said in an exhausted haze.
Wesley began changing the diaper and said, "Alexander, you are going to make yourself sick if you don't let someone help you. Would you allow me to take William for the afternoon so you can get some sleep?"
"Okay Wesley, you win. Just remember to take a few bags of blood with you. Warm the blood, not too hot, then put a towel into a plastic bag and dump the blood into the towel. Cut the corner out of the bag so that some of the towel hangs out and Willie will do the rest. He drinks about a bag at each feeding and feeds about every four hours." Xander said tiredly.
"And he goes into his demon visage when he is ready to feed?" Wesley inquired.
"Yes, and remember to keep away from his face about a half an hour before his feeding time or he WILL try to help himself. Fred probably should have gotten stitches and I'm glad that I heal fast."
"I'll remember that, anything else I should know?" Wesley asked, beginning to wonder if this was such a good idea. But one look at Xander, laying exhausted on the bed and he had no doubts.
"Yeah, it's natural to cradle a baby on your chest. Don't do it, he'll go right for your throat. And when he goes into game face, watch out for his dorsal fin. I think the spines are poisonous." Xander nearly mumbled.
"When was the last time William was fed?" Wesley asked, becoming more concerned at Xander's inability to stay awake.
Xander looked at the clock. "It's been about two hours, he should be okay for a while. If he starts getting really fussy, sit him in the shower and rinse him off, he loves that. The diaper bag is by the door and the blood is in the refrigerator downstairs. Thank you for doing this Wesley." Xander mumbled before falling asleep.
In the three days since Wesley had started taking care of Willie in the afternoons, Xander began to feel like himself again. He decided that today he was going to fulfill a promise that he had made in New Mexico. He walked up to Angel's open office door and asked, "Angel, do you mind if I use the computer to send a few emails?"
As expected, Angel didn't even look up, he just mumbled "Okay." And continued with his work.
Xander sat at the computer and signed in. As he was about to hit 'compose' he noticed that he had 162 messages so he went to his inbox to do some housekeeping. After deleting some junk mail, he had a total of 37 that were from actual people. Among those messages were some from Willow and Faith and one from Buffy.
He considered the best way to proceed and decided to go in the order that they were received. The story that he pieced together from the combined emails was that Cleveland was everything they expected it to be. Life on the hellmouth of Cleveland was as fast and furious as Sunnydale had ever been. Willow was mourning Kennedy's death and Faith was busy nursing Robin back to health. Buffy and Willow had both asked when he expected to arrive in Cleveland.
Xander had no desire to go to Cleveland, even if he weren't considering Willie's safety, it would feel like a step back. He had been the slayer's sidekick for seven years, and now he was done. This was a new chapter, and a new Xander... Alexander. He was a father who had friends that he respected and that respected him. Although he hadn't talked to Lorn about getting a job yet, he knew that he would.
He couldn't say that he had everything that he wanted in his life, but he felt that he was where he was supposed to be. So with that in mind he wrote his email. He had nothing to hide so he carbon copied the message to Buffy, Faith and Willow.
I won't be joining you in Cleveland. I am now
a father and I have to consider the safety of my
child. See Buffy, I told you my stomach wasn't
from twinkies. That's right. I gave birth.
How? Think about all the things that happened
to me in Sunnydale. Something changed me. It
doesn't matter what. The child is mine and
Spikes. No Buffy, he wasn't with you at the time.
Yes Wil, you were right, I switched teams. And
No Faith, no details.
The baby's name is William Jesse Harris. He has
Spike's eyes. And he is part demon. So I have a
new way to fight the things that go bump in the
night. I will raise my son to be a good person.
He will know that Spike was his father and gave
his (un)life to protect us all.
Please be happy for me. My thoughts are with
Xander sent his email and shut down the computer as Wesley walked in with Willie in tow.
"So how was he?" Alexander asked.
"A perfect gentleman, as always." Wesley said with a smile.
Alexander couldn't understand why but Willie didn't seem to give Wesley any problems. He thought that he might be doing something wrong, and began to worry that maybe he wasn't a good father.
"Alexander? What's wrong?" Wesley asked.
"Wesley, I don't know what I'm doing wrong. Willie always behaves for you and always seems so happy..."
Wesley frowned at the statement and decided to tell Alexander the truth. "I haven't been completely honest with you. William screams and cries as much for me as he does for you. I just make sure to wash him thoroughly and put him in a fresh wet diaper before I bring him back to you. That way when you see him, he's happy. I was only trying to make it so you wouldn't be concerned about my watching him."
Alexander smiled and said, "Thank you Wesley, I was worried that I wasn't being a good father. Willie is the most important thing in my life right now."
"No worries there, you are a better father for William than I could ever be. I wouldn't have thought of half the things you do to make him happy. You have the instincts of what's right to do for him as well as the will to keep trying new things to improve what you can." Wesley said as a statement of fact.
"Thank you Wesley. I can't even begin to tell you how much all you've done has helped. I've been thinking about something that I'd like to discuss with you while Willie's quiet."
"What would that be?" Wesley asked curiously.
"Well, since Willie was born here, he doesn't 'officially' exist. If something were to happen to me, I don't know what would become of him, I mean legally. I've fought demons, a god, and the source of all evil but I've got to tell you... the California court system scares the hell out of me. Somehow between the legal system and the demon community I want to be sure that if something ever happens to me that you would get custody of Willie... I mean, if you would be willing to be his god-father... or is it devil-father in this case... anyway, you know what I mean."
"Yes, I do. And yes, I would be honored to be his guardian in the event that the unforeseen happens to you. As to the legalities of this situation, I believe that we should discuss this matter with Angel and Lorn. Amongst all of us, we should be able to sort out the best way to protect William's interests." Wesley said seriously.
"Good, I'll talk to Angel later and we can find a good time for all of us to..." Alexander sniffed the air.
"Wesley, take Willie upstairs and keep him quiet. HIDE!" Alexander screamed as he ran for the weapon cabinet.
Wesley was stunned for a moment then grabbed the stroller and diaper bag and ran up the stairs, taking them two at a time.
Alexander was facing the door with a battleaxe in his hand as the front door opened.
A lone figure walked in and said, "Xander"
Without expression Alexander replied, "Riley."