Consequences, Choices, and Confessions: Epilogue
Six Transgenics, Two Vigilantes, a Physical Therapist, and a Penthouse Full of Babies
by pari106

Disclaimer, etc., in chapter 1.

Author's note: I said there was only 14 chapters, didn't I? Well…this epilogue came
along from somewhere so here it is. I warn you, though…it's a lot of sap. That's pretty
much all…100% sappiness. And just for fun. But if you read it anyways tell me what
you think (of course! :)

Oh, and if you haven't read the first part of the story…that's okay. This stands alone
pretty well.

Epilogue…



It was decidedly the most perilous situation Asha Copeland…or Barlow, or whatever
other alias she decided to use…had ever happened upon in her short, little life.

Surveying the wreckage that was once Logan Cale's pristine penthouse apartment, she
almost felt tempted to pull her gun. But…that would hardly do her any good in this
circumstance.

Instead she just grinned, leaning against the doorframe of the guest bedroom when she
came to it, and crossing her arms. Watching the three men inside carrying on without
having even noticed her.

To say they were not at their best would be a kind understatement.

Logan's usually disheveled hair was even more disheveled than usual. Asha didn't know
where his glasses had gone to, and his clothes were covered with a white, powdery
substance that had also, somehow, ended up in his hair. Zack wasn't even wearing a
shirt, and he had the most panicked expression on his face that Asha could imagine
belonging to someone who was usually so stoic.

"I can't hold this much longer, Zane, so if you don't do something fast…I'm letting go,"
he was saying, seriously.

"No!" That came from Logan, while Zane, intent on his mission, expression intense,
didn't even look up from his work. He seemed rather haggard himself, but his tone of
voice was hopeful.

"Just give me a minute," he mumbled. And then, grinning, "There…if that doesn't do it,
nothing will."

The men stepped back, and Zane held up their masterpiece… One baby, double
diapered. The diapers were reinforced by a combination of duct tape and industrial
strength masking tape. And the infant in Zane's hands just stared at him, blankly. Then
she cooed.

Logan sighed and Zack shook his head. "If *this* diaper comes off…that's it. We're
taking it back." Meaning the baby. Logan and Zane smiled, and Asha burst into
laughter, catching the men's attention once and for all.

"I don't think Metro Medical has a return policy, Zack," she quipped.

"Asha!"

When Logan saw her, his eyes lit up and his posture relaxed. Asha just smiled. She'd
been an associate of Eyes Only's, and a friend of Logan's, for a couple of years now. But
they'd only recently begun working together on more regular terms, since Max had had
to take a sort of maternity leave from her work with the informant net. Which meant that
Asha had recently begun spending an awful lot of time with Logan, both on and off the
job. Now she wondered what it would be like to see his eyes light up like that for her for
reasons that had nothing to do with wanting to get away from his troublesome infant
guests.

'Don't go there, honey,' she thought then.

Meanwhile, Zane and Zack seemed to have similar reactions to her arrival, as well, and
Zane turned, offering the baby to her.

"Asha! You showed up just in time."

'Just in time to save my ass,' he was thinking. When he signed up for this whole "Uncle
Zay" business, he didn't realize that there was so much manual labor involved. He was a
nervous wreck. And three men and a baby…even if two of those men are transgenic…do
not for a peaceful afternoon make.

But Asha just took two steps back, raising her hands and shaking her head with a laugh.

"Oh, no…uh-uh…what makes you think I'm any good with children?"

"You've gotta be better than us," Zack mumbled, crossing his arms. Logan came to her
side, and he was so frazzled he actually reached out and grabbed her by the forearms.

"I'm begging you, Asha…help us, please."

Asha laughed again. Then something occurred to her, and her expression changed just as
a hand flew to cover her nose and mouth.

"Oh, God!"

The men immediately tensed.

"Asha, what is it?"

Beneath her hand, Asha's nose wrinkled but her lips curved.

"Logan…I never thought I'd say this, but…you smell *bad*."

Silence. And then laughter.

Logan looked sheepish, but he smiled, too.

Zane shifted the baby girl in his arms, and patted Logan on the back.

"Yeah, 'ha ha'," Logan drolled.

Zack grinned. "Transgenic reflexes," he explained, walking over to Zane and rubbing his
daughter's belly. "You should never mess with a transgenic if you don't have them.
Even a little transgenic."

Looks were exchanged behind Zack's back at the sight of the tough soldier rubbing a
baby's stomach. The pride in his gaze when he looked at the child was unmistakable.

Neither was the odor that, obviously, didn't belong only to Logan.

"Uh, Zack…I hate to say this," Asha began, wondering where she found the courage to
talk this way with the intimidating X5, but not being able to resist, "But you don't smell
so hot, either."

Logan raised an eyebrow with a knowing smile. "Yeah, Zack, what was that about
transgenic reflexes?"

Zack didn't dignify the comment with a response, but his look was disapproving. Zane
leaned over and whispered in Asha's ear.

"I think we're going to have to burn the shirt he was wearing earlier."

Then Logan intervened, patting Zack on the back. "Come on, "daddy". I'll let you use
the shower first. You need it."

Zack scowled, but the two men left the room. Asha laughed as she watched them go.

"Hard to believe one little baby can make such a big mess," Zane was musing. And Asha
raised a brow.

"That was just from one of them?" she asked. Then she realized there weren't any other
babies in the room. "Where are the others?"

Just then, Logan's door crashed open.

"Zack! You son-of-a…"

Suddenly Asha was left wondering which sight was funnier… The one that had greeted
her when she found Zack, Zane, and Logan… Or the sight of Krit, stumbling through the
front door, one baby strapped to his chest, and the other to his back… Bags of diapers
and formula clutched in each hand, practically bursting at the bottoms.

Zack and Logan came running back into the main room, hearing the commotion. They
stopped when they realized it was only "Uncle Krit", back from shopping with one of his
nieces and one of his nephews.

Zane frowned, glancing back at the closed door to Logan's bedroom.

"Shhh, man. You're gonna wake up the other two."

Krit was not concerned. He let the groceries fall where they may, and strode over to
Zack, glaring daggers along the way. Zack and Logan were desperately trying to hide
smiles behind not-at-all-convincingly-innocent expressions.

"Zack, I'm gonna kick your…"

Zack scowled. "Not in front of my kids, Krit."

Looking miffed, Krit glanced down at the infants looking up at him from their holsters,
and reconsidered.

"…toush," he finished.

Logan gave him a grin. "Did you just say… 'toush'?" But, then, valuing his mortality,
he realized this was an unwise remark. So with a look at Asha, he retreated to the
bathroom. Zane went to check on the others.

"You told me babies were easy, Zack," Krit accused "You told me they were quiet. How
the hell can something so small get so loud when it wants a bottle?"

Zack exchanged a look with Asha.

"And the shopping?" Krit continued to rant. "Do you know how many brands of diapers
there are, Zack? And sizes. And formula? Who the hell needs seventeen different kinds
of formula? You told me 'buy diapers and milk.' Was that some kind of joke?"

Zack laughed. "What's wrong, Krit? Can't handle a couple of little babies?"

Krit scowled. But then his brow furrowed and his nose wrinkled. "Hey…what's that
smell?"

Asha bit her lip to keep quiet as she began removing a baby boy from the harness on
Krit's back. "Shut up," she heard Zack mumble. Then he left to find that shower Logan
mentioned.

Krit turned to Asha. "What did I say?" She just smiled.



**** ****



A couple of hours later, Bling called from Metro Medical. The doctor had given the final
go-ahead to Max's release, and he, Syl, and Jondy were bringing "mommy" home to her
babies. Zack had gotten them their own place on the outside of the city, but Logan had
offered to let the family stay with him for the first week or so. That way they'd be closer
to Max's doctor, and it would be easier for him, Asha, and Bling to help out until Max
had recovered from the delivery.

When Max got back to Foggle Towers, the men were finally decent…the penthouse was
somewhat in order once again. The children were napping, and the X5s had ordered out a
pizza and were in the kitchen with Asha and Logan. They all rushed to make a fuss over
her when Max walked in. They had been ever since the doctor had told her, during her
pregnancy, that she was actually having five babies instead of one. The wonders of
Manticore genetics. Max couldn't decide who'd been more shocked by the news…her or
Zack.

'Definitely Zack,' she thought then, with a smile, seeing the look on her mate's face
when the sound of a baby's cry reached the kitchen. Everyone in the vicinity stilled.

And Max thought back to the day after the babies' birth. Zack had been there with her
the entire time. He wouldn't even let the doctor talk him into going home to sleep at
night, he just camped out in a chair there next to her bed. She'd spent the entire night
that the babies had been born, even as exhausted as she was, staring at their five,
beautiful faces, twirling the engagement band on her ring finger, and gazing lovingly at
the man unconscious at her bedside. He'd been even more exhausted by the children's
birth, Max imagined, than she had been. So, although he'd stayed in her room with the
intention of keeping watch…a sentiment Max had to roll her eyes at, with practically a
whole army of X5s on hand since her brothers and sisters had shown up…he'd fallen
asleep before she had.

The next morning she'd caught him trying to order one of the babies to go to sleep and
stop crying before it woke the other four up.

The nurses had made him go home after that. A fact for which Max was simultaneously
disappointed and relieved. She loved having Zack by her side… But she was getting a
little tired of the looks those nurses had been giving her babies' father. And Zack had
looked so frazzled… Max didn't think he could have survived another hour around the
newborns without some time to recoup and seek nutritional sustenance.

A year ago, who would have thought that the two of them would be parents? And now
they had five children in their family. Max was just glad they had so much help nearby.
It was going to take them all a while to adjust to the family life.

Logan saw the look on Zack's face, too, and sighed with a smile.

"Don't get up," he told the X5, slapping him on the shoulder. "I'll check it out."

A year ago, things were very different for him, as well. Who would have thought that he
would ever consider himself a friend of Zack's? But his and Max's friendship had meant
too much to the both of them for them to just drift apart because she was with Zack
instead of him. And both the X5s had benefited from Logan's help and friendship since
then. Now Logan supposed they were all a part of the same family. A family he was
happy to be a part of. And one he'd realized could never have been between himself and
Max as a couple.

Asha stood, too, when Logan rose to go after the babies. "I'll go with," she offered.
Logan smiled.

And then he surprised the hell out of her by leaning over and kissing her on the cheek.
"Thanks," he said simply, his voice a little lower and his eyes a little more intent when he
looked at her than a simple 'thanks' required.

Then he left the room. Finally, Asha left, too, with her mouth practically hanging open.
Behind them, looks were being exchanged, and Max smiled to herself.

'It's about time those two start figuring things out,' she thought.

Jondy chuckled, but changed the subject. She knew the guys, who had hit it off with
Logan right away, ribbed the man enough about the petite blonde everybody could see
was crazy about him. She wouldn't have them picking on him now that he was finally
thinking about making his move. He was a great guy…and Jondy really respected him
for all the unnecessary help he'd given them all, especially considering the history he had
with Max. She hoped he and Asha could make a go of things.

"I guess the kiddos are through with their nap," she said.

"Guess so," Max agreed with a sigh. She loved each and every one of her squirmy,
wiggly little children. But if she'd thought she'd known intimidation before, she'd
known nothing. Even Manticore was no match for an armful of fussy babies, who looked
too fragile to be real, but cried too loud to be that fragile.

"Yeah, but Max isn't," Zack piped in then. "Why don't you get some rest, Maxie?" he
suggested. He was getting very good at that…suggesting rather than ordering. Or, at
least, he was trying to get good at it. At least where Max and the babies were concerned.
He figured it would be a wise move. If he ever tried ordering any one of them around, he
was certain he would only be ignored.

Max had to laugh, and she shook her head as Syl and Jondy exchanged knowing smiles.
Big brother and his protective instincts were so predictable.

"I just got out of the hospital, Zack. I've done nothing but rest all this time. The nurses
wouldn't even let me lift a juice cup on my own."

The friends and family members seated around the table had to laugh.

"You mean those little bitty things?" Krit asked, referring to the nurses on call during
Max's stay. "You let them push you around? You could have taken them, Maxie," he
teased.

Max rolled her eyes, but she laughed, too. Syl slapped Krit on the shoulder.

"They were just doing their job, Krit," Zane told him, earning smirks from his siblings.
Yeah, they were doing their jobs. When they weren't flirting with him or his brothers.
No one was fooled as to the reason Zane was coming to their defense now, even if it was
just in the name of fun.

"And so am I," Zack said then, standing up. He gave Max a look and she sighed. The
other X5s tried not to giggle.

"Alright, alright," Max finally relented, letting Zack pull her to her feet.

At least it gave her the chance to hold Zack's hand as he escorted her to the guestroom.
They'd had way too few opportunities to touch over the past week. She maintained the
charade of being irritated by Zack's overprotective tendencies, but secretly she enjoyed
the chance to be alone with him for the time being.

It was a sentiment Zack shared.

When they got to the guestroom, and Max laid down, Zack laid down next to her.

"Glad to see you're finally starting to listen to me," he teased, mostly just to fill the
comfortable silence that had fallen upon them. So that it couldn't get *too* comfortable.
Max had just gotten home from the hospital, after all. And they were in Logan's
penthouse.

"Hey!" Max protested the comment as Zack spooned her body against his, even as she
snuggled into his embrace. "Maybe I would have listened more often if you'd been as
good at asking instead of ordering as you are now."

"Maybe I would have asked more often if I wasn't sure that your answer would always be
no," Zack argued, even as he kissed Max on the top of her head. Their voices were soft
and laughing and each of them smiled.

Then Max's eyes narrowed. "You better watch it. You mess with this Mommy, you
suffer the consequences."

Zack laughed. And nuzzled Max's neck. "I'll choose to ignore that warning…since I
tend to like the consequences of messing with you." Max rolled her eyes, but laughed,
too. She thought of their children, their newfound relationship, and her smile became
serious.

"I have to confess…you do have a point."

"Don't I always?"

That comment earned Zack a pillow in the face, but other than that the two new parents
had a nice nap as their brothers, their sisters, and their friends played with their children
in the penthouse living room.