Inheritances and Invitations.
Xander sat down with Sileya at the dining room table and handed over the forms the lawyers had given him a few days earlier. "He understood about you not being able to come," he said quietly, "so he asked me to explain a few things to you." She nodded. "Ethan left us both a trust, it'll make monthly payments to us. Other than that, everything's being held for whatever kids we have. Miri has an inheritance besides that because Ethan thought she could use his magic stuff." She nodded again. "Other than that, everything else was in trust for the kids."
"And if I don't have any?"
"Then it'll all go to my four."
"Okay. What else was there?"
"There was some jewelry that was his mother's that's now yours, with the exception of one piece which is going to Miri. I'm figuring it's probably filled with something." She nodded. "Any other questions?"
"What about his family?"
"We got an invitation today to go visit with them sometime in the next few months. That means we'd have to go to England to do that."
"I'm not sure I want to do that," Sileya said calmly.
"Hey, we wouldn't send you alone. You'd be going with Homer at the least and possibly either Giles or Wesley."
"Oh." She nodded. "Okay. What about you?"
"I'm not really up to making a trip like that and I wouldn't leave the kids alone that long." He shrugged. "Sorry, but I really don't want to know. Ethan was the black sheep of his family but they weren't exactly my sort of people."
She smirked. "Oh, so you leave me with the duties to the upper class?"
"Yup." He reached over and gave her a hug. "How about it? You up to going?"
"Definitely. What about plane tickets? Is that up to me or them?"
"You. You'll need to send them a warning note about when you're coming. And if I know the Watchers, you'll be invited to their home swamp too, so they can look you over."
She shrugged. "I'll deal with it then. Should I take Wesley or Giles with me?"
"I'd say take Wesley since Giles and Ethan had a lot of problems together."
She stood up. "All right then, I'll call Wesley and I'll let him make the arrangements for me."
"Cool." He handed her the papers. "If you wanted, you could ask Oz to go over this for you part by part, I'm sure he'd be happy to translate for you."
She smiled. "I might, he seems a bit down today." She took the papers and left the dining room.
Xander put his head down on the table and thought about what Miri had inherited.
Xander looked at the pile of books in the library and sat down on the floor to look through the first of the boxes.
"I said I'd do that," Giles said from the doorway.
"Yeah, but I want to know what books we each got left." Xander looked up at him. "I'm not sure how I feel about Ethan leaving me all this stuff. He didn't leave Sileya much of anything."
"Well, he left her his money, but he knew that she was already well taken care of." Giles came in and sat in one of the comfortable chairs. "May I help? Some of those books probably aren't something that we want in the house."
"I know. Let me look through them first, okay? It's my duty."
Giles nodded. "Of course. When you're ready for me to help you, then I will." He started to stand up, but Xander put a hand on his leg. "I'm not upset," he said, smiling down at him.
"I'm sorry you're not feeling needed, Rupe, but this is my duty. He was my father."
Giles nodded as his smile fell away. "I know. I'm just glad that you're not going to follow his path."
"Nope, not going there." Xander smiled. "But I like the ideas in the book he gave me. I feel like there's a spot that still needs filled. I want to find out what it is."
"Then I'm sure I could help you there. May I read it?"
Xander nodded and pointed at the book. "Don't lose my place though. I keep getting a feeling that it's somewhere near there."
"I won't." Giles gave him another smile and walked out of the house, going back to the trailer with the book.
Xander sighed as he pulled the box toward him and opened it. He looked at the old books laying inside it, shaking his head at the ripped covers on the top three. He pulled a pad of paper and a pen over, writing down the title and author when he could find them.
Giles walked into the house, the book he was reading open in his hands. "Xander, I believe I found it for you," he called. Oz looked up from the couch. "Oh, hello. I thought you had classes."
"Not for another hour. What's up?" He looked at the book. "You found his area?"
"Possibly. There's two possibilities in this section." He sat on the end of the couch. "The first is that some of these are in very bad condition and might need repaired or remade." Oz nodded. "The second is that there's a theory in here but no one's ever managed to build using it. Everyone who's tried has died before they could find it as they came to this much later than Xander has."
"So, can he do either of those?"
"Possibly," Giles said, putting the book aside. "It's possible for him to do something with the theory definitely, if he wants to get more into the mental side of this subject."
"Cool. They got invited to go to England."
Giles lost his good humor. "They did? Sileya and Xander both?" Oz nodded. "Are they going?"
"Sileya is," Xander said as he walked into the room. "What's up?"
"Did you see the theory in here?" Giles asked him. Xander nodded. "That's the thing that you may have been missing. No one's been able to use it because they find it well after their primes are over."
"Oh." Xander sat down in a chair and put his feet up. "So, what does that mean? I remember that it was something about a box that stored souls like the orb thingy we use in the soul restoration spell."
"Basically, it is," Giles agreed, "but it would store the whole of the demon, not a soul."
"Thinking about those stories with things stuck in the books and like?"
"Yes, but these would be in boxes and the like. Maybe in statues made of natural objects."
"Hmm," Xander said. Then he shrugged. "I'll think about that, but it still doesn't feel right. I kept getting twinges about the woman they kept talking about in there. Every time her name was mentioned."
"Yes, well, you do share some characteristics with her."
Oz looked at Xander, who nodded, then went back to staring at Giles. "You can quit pretending now, Rupert. We'd like you back, not this nice person that you're pretending to be."
Giles sighed. "I'm trying, boys." Xander growled at him. "Sorry, I don't mean it that way. I don't know what to call you when you're together."
"How about by our names?" Xander suggested.
"Yes, I could do that," Giles told him, "but I've always used a group name when it's the both of you."
"You could do what I do and just leave off the names," Oz noted. "But I'm not a boy anymore. Same as you're not."
"I see the point, Oz, but I'm not sure how to fix it."
"Then we see Blair again," Xander said calmly.
"I think he should start on his own for now," Oz said, looking over his shoulder at him. "He's got a lot of stuff to work out on his own before he brings us in. Same as you did when you first went to Blair."
"Yeah, but does he want to see Blair," Xander pointed out. "He thought he wanted to start seeing someone else at first."
"I did," Giles said. "Blair's attitudes about our relationship have been a bit flippant recently."
"That's because he's seen this from the start. How did you do when it was just you two?"
"We were going along well," Giles admitted. "I'm not sure we can keep doing that though."
"Well, what did the other guy say?" Oz asked. "Is he going to help you or hurt you?"
Giles grimaced and leaned back, crossing his legs. "He wasn't very helpful. As a matter of fact, he was most disturbed about our relationship."
"Which Blair isn't," Oz pointed out.
"I'll start seeing him again," Giles sighed. "Is there anything else? Some other condition you want to put on our relationship?"
"Well," Xander said, shifting to get comfortable. "Yeah, there is one. Other than wanting you to work out whatever's wrong, I want you to start to think about us. About what the three of us had. I want this to be a happy house, something that it's never really been. No more harping on me about what I do, no more treating me like the wife, no more of any of the problems that we've had up to this point. We'll work it out or we won't. This is the last time I'm doing this."
Giles nodded. "I understand." He looked at Xander. "I'm willing to try, Xander. That's all I can promise."
"Good, I'm willing as long as I'm not the only one trying." Oz cleared his throat. "We've worked most everything else out. I don't have any problems with Oz."
"Except for the not wanting me to help you thing," Oz told him.
"Yeah, well, I don't want to get used to it," Xander said quietly. "I want to be independent again, not liking you doing everything for me. If I let you start doing a lot of things for me, then I'll never get around to doing it for myself."
Oz reached over and touched the foot on the table. "Trust me, I won't let you become dependent on me. I wouldn't put up with it. For right now though, I'm willing to help. All you have to do is ask."
"I will," Xander told him, giving him a smile. "Or at least I'll think about it more often."
Oz snorted. "Good. I'll take that." He looked down at Giles. "This really is your thing right now. We're willing to work on it with you, but you've got to start working it out yourself."
"I will try," Giles told him, standing up. "I'm going to go back to the trailer."
"Want supper?" Xander asked. "I'm cooking." Oz looked at him. "It's my night and it's not that hard. I can sit on the counter if I start to hurt too much."
"Okay," Oz agreed. "What's for food?"
"Veggies in sauce with meat. One of the bag things."
"Cool." Oz looked at Giles. "You could stay and eat with us. We wouldn't mind."
"I'll come back up for dinner. Send Miri down to get me." Giles walked out of the house.
Oz looked at Xander. "When did you buy that stuff?"
"Last time I went shopping. I figured you'd be having finals soon and I'm not always strong enough to stand up and cook a complicated meal. They're supposed to be good."
"Okay. Want me to grab the wok since it's above the plates?"
"Please," Xander said with a grin. "I'm not supposed to be climbing on the counters."
"Okay. Give me a few minutes to rest." Oz laid his head back down on the pillows and closed his eyes.
Xander smiled as Oz fell asleep within minutes. Then he went back to cataloging his books. At least he learned something in high school.
Xander wandered out to where he heard the happy yelling and stopped to watch Blair being tackled by Tigger. "Hey," he called, walking down the stairs. "What's going on?"
"Football!" Tigger yelled, getting up to jump up and down. "We play!"
"But you don't have a ball," Xander said, sitting down near them and holding out his arms. Both the twins ran over and hopped into his lap to hug him. "Oh, maybe you should go find a ball, okay?"
"I get it," Miri called, running into the house. She came back with the big beachball. She rolled it toward her father, laughing as the twins scrambled off him to get it. Until she saw him grabbing his leg, then she started to cry and ran into the house.
"Miri, no, it's okay," Xander called, trying to get to his feet.
"I've got her," Giles called, walking out carrying her, giving her a hug. "See, you didn't hurt him that badly. It wasn't your fault," he said, walking down to hand her off.
"Shh, baby," Xander cooed as he took her, "you didn't hurt me. They didn't hurt me either. It was just that they stepped on a sore spot. You didn't do anything bad." He pushed her back some. "I promise, you didn't make them hurt me." He wiped off her face and gave her a kiss on the forehead. "Okay?"
Miri nodded but she still didn't look happy. "You really okay?"
"Yup, I'm fine." He put her down and grabbed his cane, getting up as smoothly as he could. "See?" She nodded. "Now go play with the twins and don't worry about it. Hugging you guys is worth all the stepped on ankles I could get." She smiled and ran off to play with them. "Inside," Xander groaned quietly to Giles. "Now. Please?"
Giles helped Xander into the house, watching as he fell to the floor in pain. "Should I check your leg again?"
"No, they stepped on the one spot on my leg that I have pain feelings in." He rubbed across his calf. "Oh, okay, we're calming down. It's all good. We'll be fine."
Giles reached down a hand. "Come, let's get you onto the couch." He helped Xander up and led him into the living room, helping him get settled comfortably on the couch. "Now then, may I check it for you?"
"Just a twinge now," Xander told him, but he didn't resist when the older man bent down to examine the muscles closer. "Yeah, there," he muttered, gritting his teeth.
"I think it's going to become a splendid looking bruise," Giles said as he stood up. "I don't feel any damage though." He turned and saw Miri standing in the hall listening to them. "Love, come in here. You didn't hurt him."
She walked in and looked at her father's leg. "I really not hurt you?"
Xander held out his arms so she crawled up to give him a hug. "I promise you, if you ever hurt me, I'll tell you. Okay?" She nodded. "Good. Yes, the twins stepped on a sore spot but it's nothing that a few tylenol won't fix. I promise, you didn't make them hurt me this time." He pulled her in for a tighter hug. "I promise, Miri, you're a good girl and you didn't hurt me."
She nodded and slid down, going outside to play with the twins.
Xander sighed and looked around the room. "Where's William?"
"Sleeping where you left him, in the library. Shall I go get him for you?"
"Please." Xander got comfortable, waiting until he got his son.
Xander slid into bed beside Oz, sighing as he felt the soft mattress sink under his body. "Oh, nice," he purred, rolling to curl up to his reading lover. "I've got sores on my butt."
"I know. How's your leg?" Oz looked down at him, smiling when he saw the look of total pleasure on his lover's face. "Giles told me he kept you on the couch today. How did you do with William?"
"Good." Xander opened his eyes and looked up. "We did okay. I've been bringing down a diaper bag every morning. It helps a lot. I've also been making bottles at meals so I'm already in the kitchen. I've figured it out. Unless he suddenly needs tons of diapers or more than two outfits a day, we're okay."
"Congrats. That's something I wouldn't have thought of." He reached down to stroke through the damp hair. "Took a shower?"
"Walked in on a squirt gun fight."
"Miri and Blair."
"Blair tried to steal one of Miri's pretty stones so Miri soaked her. Blair picked up her squirt gun and went after her sister. Miri had to change her bed and open her window to dry out the carpet." Oz snorted. "Oh, and Arwynn is presently prowling the hallways. I almost tripped over her."
"Huh." Oz put his book aside and rolled to hold his lover. "When is your next appointment?"
"With Mary? In two days."
"I meant in LA."
"In three days."
"Damn, during finals."
"Yup. You don't have to come with me. Willow's mom has already said she'd sit all of them for us. She's looking forward to spending more time with the twins."
"What about Miri?"
"She accepts Miri but she doesn't pay a lot of attention to her. Treats her like she was some mistake."
"Hmm. We should talk with her about that."
"I tried, she didn't want to listen to me."
"I will then. Let me drop them off. She'll listen to me, she never saw me in diapers."
"Good point," Xander said with a smile. "What do you feel like?"
"Well, I'm warm and I'm being snuggled," Oz said, then he had to stop when he got tickled. "Not what you meant?"
"No. Not what I meant." He lifted his head up. "I meant about the whole Ethan leaving me stuff thing."
"I'm fine with it. I know you're not going to follow in his footsteps. I'm also confident that Miri will make the most of her gifts when it's time for her to choose."
"Is paranoid. He thinks Ethan's blood will tell in you and her." Oz kissed the tip of Xander's nose. "Give up trying to figure it out. Giles will relax about it, eventually. You'll put up the magic books so Miri can't get into them before she's ready, and we'll all be happy again."
"Okay. Where are we going to put them though?"
"That I haven't figured out yet," Oz admitted through a yawn. "We'll figure that out tomorrow, okay?"
"We could build an addition to the library," Xander said, running a finger down Oz's chest and stomach. "I could even arrange it so the Voc school could come do the work."
Oz kissed him again. "Tomorrow, babe. When I have brains that aren't leaking into my balls."
"Hmm, bally brains. Can I do something to help that?"
"Ohhh, yeah," Oz sighed, pushing Xander's head down, closing his eyes as he was blown.
"Tell me I get my way on this and I'll do even more," Xander whispered.
"Do that some more and I'll give you everything you've ever wanted," Oz told him.
Xander grinned and licked up the bottom side of Oz's cock. "Really?"
"Less talking, more licking," Oz murmured, grabbing his cock to hold it still. "Please quit teasing."
"Shh, let me do it," Xander whispered, taking control of the cock and sucking it down, just like Oz had taught him.
Blair looked down the hall from where she was petting her sister's cat. "You noisy," she complained, then looked toward Sileya's room where she was being noisy too. "Me trying to sleep!" she called out. "No noisy!"
All she heard was groans so she went back to petting the Arwynn cat.
Xander walked into the kitchen and smiled at the sight of his whole family together. "Oz," he said, grinning at him. "Can I call them?"
"Sure," Oz sighed. "But you're paying for it." Xander pouted. "I won't have money for a few more months, but I'll pay you back for my part of it."
"What are we talking about?" Giles asked, looking from one to the other.
"Xander wants to add an addition on to the library."
"Oh. Well, we certainly could use the space."
"Yeah, that's what I was thinking," Xander said, coming over to sit down next to Oz. "With the new books from Ethan, and all the ones that we didn't have room for when we got the stuff back from the store, we really could use a small addition. What I was thinking," he said, pulling over a piece of paper and the pen out of Oz's pocket, quickly sketching it out, "was to knock out the outer wall and add on a new section. Maybe half the size of the original room."
Giles looked at it then shook his head. "That won't give us any room to grow, Xander."
"I have an alternate idea," Oz said, taking his pen back and putting it back where it belonged. "What we really need is a place for all the magic books to go and Xander needs a work space. Why don't we add a two story addition onto the house, somewhere that it won't look funny."
"Oz, this is a square house. Anyplace that we add a room will look a little funny."
"Point. What I was thinking was we add a space off the kitchen or the living room. Cant it off at an angle, but that we make it two story."
"We should put it toward the open side of the house," Giles recommended. "The front is full with the trailer and the cage."
"Not to mention the barn," Xander added. "Could we use the trailer to add on the space? Attach it to the house somehow?"
"Maybe," Oz agreed, "but it's handy to have."
"True," Xander agreed, some of his happiness falling away.
"I still have the decorating and floorplanning program on my laptop," Oz said, patting Xander's thigh. "You can play with it tonight if you want."
"Can I talk to my teacher today?"
"That would be an excellent idea," Oz said, nodding. "Want me to come home between finals?"
"I will be here for most of the day," Giles reminded them.
Xander smiled at him. "I have no doubt of that, but you also have an appointment with Blair this afternoon." He smiled at Homer as he walked into the kitchen, his light brown hair sticking up everywhere. "You okay this morning?"
"Yeah, just a little disgruntled. Did you get yelled at last night for making noise?"
Xander blushed. "Yes, and I'm wondering which twin it was." He looked over at them and Blair was looking away. "Ah, now I see who it was. Blair, you should have been in bed."
"Dear, you shouldn't yell at us about the noise," Oz tacked on. "It's okay when we make noise."
"Or when Sileya and Homer make noise," Xander told her. "You shouldn't ever yell because we made noise."
She nodded. "Okay." She looked at Homer. "Sorry."
"It's okay," he said, giving her a hug. "Don't do it again, all right?" She nodded. He looked at everyone else. "What's the dt?"
"Where to put an addition and put the library," Xander told him.
"Um, where it is now and just tack on something to the side of the house?"
"We could do that," Oz said, "but it might look really funny."
"Not if you use the whole side of the house," Homer suggested with a grin.
Xander looked at Oz, who nodded. "Homer, you deserve a treat."
"Cool. I'll get back to you about that." He walked back over to the refrigerator and grabbed two glasses of juice, carrying them upstairs with him.
Xander looked at Giles, who nodded. "It'd give us more room in the rooms too," Xander suggested.
"What about your workshop?" Oz asked.
"I was thinking that when it became necessary, I could put it onto the barn somehow."
"Um, loud saws and horses aren't good together."
"We have close to thirty acres," Giles said to break up the argument. "I'm sure we could put a work space reasonably close to the house, maybe even in the big field beside the house."
Xander nodded. "That'd work for me." He looked at Oz. "What about the garage issue?"
"Yeah, we could use one of those," Oz decided. "How much is this going to set us back though."
"I can figure that part out." Xander looked at his drawing, stealing Oz's pen to modify it. "How about we do the whole windows thing across the dining room? Or some sort of sun porch?"
"We could," Oz agreed. "What about in front of the family room?"
"That's got a chimney there, that's going to be a little harder," Xander noted. "We could just leave it blank. Or we could make it into a downstairs playroom. Put a doorway where the built- in cabinets between the fireplace and the stairs are?"
"I like those," Oz protested.
"Well, we could give it an entrance off the library," Giles suggested. "Make it a glassed in room also? Maybe with those blinds that are between the panes of glass? That would also give us some extra room when people came over."
"Yeah, it could," Xander said, "but I'd still like an entrance from the family room."
"Me too," Oz said, considering the living room wall. "What about off the landing to the stairs? We could make it a little larger and put the doorway off to the side there. A sliding door of some sort maybe, beside the built-in bookcase."
"Yeah, we could do that," Xander agreed. He looked up at Giles, who nodded. "Then we're in agreement?"
"Sure," Oz said, nodding. "I want an estimate before they start work though."
"Cool. I'll go out and talk to Mr. Kendricks today. He runs classes over the summer, maybe he'll pull some of those guys in. Maybe Duke would even come work on the house too." Xander slid off the seat and went to get the phone, dialing as he came back. "Hey, teach, how would your class like a job over the summer?" He grinned. "You're sure? It'll be working on the side of my house." He nodded. "Okay, I can understand that. Who should I go to?" He wrote down a number. "That's the people who originally fixed my house. What about the crew...." He nodded again. "Okay. Yeah, it sucks that they're from out of town. Okay, I'll give him a call. Oh, if he agrees to hire any of the students...." He grinned. "Coolness." He hung up and dialed the number, humming until it was answered. "Hi, this is Xander Harris. Oh, you remember us. Wow. No, we wanted to add onto the house. No, the library side. No, an extension to the library, a wall of windows to the dining room, and a glassed in playroom on the family room's side." He made a note. "Yeah, that'd be fine. I'll be here if no one else will be. Yeah, that'd be great. I'll have what we want drawn up for you by then." He hung up. "He'll come out this afternoon and look it over. We should have a good estimate within a day and there's not much that'll need to be planned. Except one thing, do we want built-in bookcases in the new part?"
"It might be for the best," Giles said, giving him a smile. "Making it look like it was all done at the same time. What about the second floor?"
"I was thinking that we didn't need to expand it up there yet," Xander said, looking over at Oz.
"We could make it into a sunporch," Oz suggested. "Put an awning up. Maybe using the spare room?"
"Too many problems," Xander reminded him. "That means we couldn't use that room most of the time."
"Not really," Oz said. "We could make it like the sun room we're planning on for the family room. Put the doorway in one of the spare rooms between ours and the one on the end."
"Or put it in the end room," Giles suggested. "And another door in ours if we wanted to. That shouldn't be that hard."
"It'll block the view," Xander reminded them.
"Not really. Not if we only get awnings. We could get ones that roll up or whatever. Put the doorway on your side of the bed, near the closets. Do it on the bare wall in the last spare room. Make sure that they lock. It should be okay."
"Okay, I'll see what he thinks," Xander said, making a few notes. "What about the garage issue?"
"Not right now," Oz decided. "We don't need it yet."
"Okay." Xander stood up, taking the phone with him. "I'm going into the dining room so I can spread out and draw this. Want to come look over my shoulder in about twenty minutes?"
Oz shrugged. "Works for me." He watched Xander go, then turned to look at Giles. "This won't ruin the look of the house, right?"
"Not particularly. It might make it more Californian instead of a Ranch house but it should be fine. From the driveway, you won't be able to see anything unusual. The front will show the sun room. The only thing I'm worried about is the porch."
"If we have to, we can just make it a sloped roof," Xander called. "Like the rest of the house."
"I want a sun porch," Oz called back. "I miss laying out."
Oz wiggled his eyebrows. "The porch was what I was worried about."
"It should look fine, Oz, especially if we put a simple railing like we have on the other porches around it."
"True." Oz finished off his milk and got up. "Want some more?" he asked.
"Milk please," Miri called. "This warm."
"Drink that first," Oz told her, bringing the milk jug back with him.
Xander looked over at the contractor, who was trying hard not to stare at his cane. "Yeah, I finally found a good thing and a ceiling fell on me," he quipped. He moved closer. "So?"
"Won't be that hard to do, especially not with these plans." He looked at them. "This is really good work."
"Thanks," Xander said, looking up at the side of the house. "Oz was worried about what the porch would look like."
"It should look fine. More of an updated Ranch look." He looked at the plans again. "How far did you get in your program?"
"Almost done. I had a few months left." Xander moved closer. "I'm starting again in the fall. The teacher fixed my nailing problem but not even he could figure out my measuring problem."
The contractor chuckled. "I can imagine. You must have given him fits."
"All the time," Xander noted. He grinned. "So? How much am I going to be spending?"
"Depends on the options, same as always."
"Well, the only unusual thing we had planned was.... Do you know about those windows that have the blinds sandwiched between the planes?" The contractor nodded. "We want those in the playroom."
"Hmm. Not that expensive. I'm guessing that you want the library to look like it belonged originally?" Xander nodded. "I'm going to say maybe five grand at the most."
"Sounds great to me," Xander said, pulling out his checkbook to check on the balance. "I can give you about a quarter of it today."
"That won't be necessary," he said, waving it off. "Wait until we get the permits." He looked him over. "You want to help?"
"If I can, I will. As long as I can sit, we're all good."
"There won't be much you can do then."
"I'll do what I can," Xander told him. "How soon?"
"If we can get the permits started today, then maybe we can start next week?" He looked at the house. "Would that be okay with you guys?"
"Sure. As long as you don't drive us out with the work."
"No, it should be okay. We shouldn't have to do anything inside the house for more than a day, day and a half at the most." He took the check and looked at it. "This is good?"
"Unless I forgot to write down a check," Xander said with a grin. "I'll go make sure of it today. I'll have the rest for you halfway through." He walked back toward the house. "Want something to drink?"
"No, thanks. I'm going to go start those permits." He headed back to his truck, getting in and driving away.
Xander walked into the house and ran into Oz. "Hi," he said, giving him a hug. "What's wrong?"
"You paid him already? I thought we were looking for an estimate first."
"Five grand at the most," Xander told him.
"Oh." Oz led the way into the living room, sitting both of them on the couch. "What happens if they do what the first crew on the house you were working with happens here?"
"Then we sue him," Xander told him. He cuddled into the warm body. "How were your tests, and don't you have one in a few minutes?"
"I'm giving up for the day. The president kicked my butt out for complaining about him. They won't let me finish the year."
"Oh." Xander looked up at him. "That's cruel."
"I've talked to our lawyer about this and he's talking to the University for us."
"Cool." Xander rested against him. "I get my first payment from my trust today."
"Six grand a month." Xander shifted. "I was going to use it to put the addition on and to get some new clothes for me and the kids."
"Okay. Want help shopping with them?"
"Sure." Xander yawned. "Can we do this for a few minutes? I'm kinda tired."
"Of course." Oz held up an envelope. "This came from the rehab hospital today."
"Go ahead and open it," Xander mumbled.
Oz opened it and smiled. "Ethan paid too much." He didn't get an answer, only a yawn. "We'll fix that tomorrow," Oz said, tossing it down onto the coffeetable so he could hold his lover.
Xander picked up the mess on the coffeetable and looked at the thing in his hand. "Oz, why do we have a check on the table?" he asked.
"It came yesterday," Oz called from his office. He came out and looked at it. "I was going to deposit it in your account for you today."
"Okay." Xander frowned at it. "There was that much overpaid on my account?"
"Apparently," Oz told him. "Want to come to town with me since your check came today? Sileya's spending the day shopping too."
"Sure." Xander looked down at himself. "I need to change."
"Nope. We won't have time to get to the bank if you do that." He tugged on Xander's arm. "C'mon. I'll buy you something cute at Wallyworld. Giles has the kids," he said at the worried look. "We only have William."
"Okay." Xander walked into his office and grabbed the baby carrier, the diaper bag, and the baby, letting Oz take them all. "Should we yell at him?"
"I'll do it. You head for the SUV. We'll do groceries too." Oz walked out onto the front porch. "Giles, we're going to Wallyworld!" he called. He got a wave in response so he walked back through the house, following Xander down to the SUV. He got in to drive, letting Xander put William into his carseat. "Have your check?" Xander muttered and looked toward the house. "Where is it?"
"In the kitchen, on the fridge board."
Oz slid out and jogged up to the house, coming back about ten minutes later with the check. "Got it," he said, sliding back in, but in the passenger's seat. "You're driving?"
"I can do that," Xander reminded him, starting the engine. "Wasn't it on the fridge?"
"Under a few finger painted things." Oz slit open the envelope, one eyebrow going up. "We have Sileya's."
"She's still at school. Go drop off my re-hab check while I go in and get her?"
"Sure." Oz buckled up as Xander pulled out, checking the mirrors to make sure no one was following them.
Xander walked through the school, smiling at a teacher he knew. "Where's the office?"
"You should have come in the other door, Mr. Harris," she said, not looking up. "End of this hall and to the right." She looked up at the funny sound he was making, frowning when she saw his cane. "What did that boy do to himself now?" she muttered as she headed for the stairs to go up to the library.
Xander walked into the office and smiled at the secretary, the same one that had been there when he had been. "Hi, Ms. Romans. I need to talk to my sister. I have her check and I think she has mine."
"I'll call her down," she said, grabbing the microphone and a flip list of absences. "She missed another class today."
Xander frowned. "Which one? I thought she only had one usual class, gym."
"Yes, but she's been missing it."
He leaned on the counter. "I thought she wasn't supposed to be going anymore. We got it cleared through the School Board because she's got a private teacher in town."
"Maybe, but her teacher's been turning her in. I'm sure you'll get it straightened out." She pushed a button on the microphone and turned it on. "Sileya Rayne-Giles, please report to the office and bring your things." She turned it off and looked up at him. "Why does she have the private physical coach?"
"Because she's got a muscular problem in one leg," Xander lied, using the lie they had told to the School Board. "We thought it would be best to have a professional deal with it." He looked over his shoulder as she and Homer walked in. "Hey," he said, handing over the envelope. "I got your check."
She pulled out the envelope she hadn't opened yet and handed that check and the letter that was inside, over. "Thank you. Was there anything else?"
"Yeah, what's up with your gym teacher?"
"He's an ass," Homer said succinctly. "He's been an ass and he's probably going to stay an ass." He looked at the secretary, who was frowning. "Sorry, Madeline. But he is."
"I know," she said. "If Mr. Harris has time, the Guidance Counselor wanted to have a word with him."
"I'll call and schedule it," Xander said, reading the letter. "Huh. Sileya, did you read this?" He handed it over, checking her envelope for one.
"I thought both of ours were monthly instalments," Sileya complained. "Did I get one too?"
"Nope, just me," he said, handing it back. "Okay. Oh, we're getting an addition put on the house, on the library side. Fair warning." He waved and walked out. "We're going shopping, Giles has the kids. Be home for supper."
"Yes, sir," she called after him. She smiled at the secretary. "Was there anything else?"
"No, dear, just that. Are you getting a trust from your father?"
"Yes, ma'am. He's recently died."
She nodded. "I know. We have your excuses here." She waved and they left.
The Principal stepped out of his office. "Was that *Harris*?"
"Yes, sir," the secretary said. "A ceiling fell on him. He's doing extremely well though. Especially with four children besides his sister and Ms. Rosenburg's cousin."
"Oh." He shuddered. "Better him than me." He walked back into his office.
Xander put down the phone and shook his head. "They sent me the letter by mistake. It was supposed to go out to Miri's account manager, which is listed as Giles. Her payments are being decreased due to a loss in the account that holds it."
"Really?" Oz asked, one arm on the window. "Ready to go in?"
Xander nodded. "Yeah, really." He held up the baby carrier. "You want it or me?"
"You. He spit up on me earlier. It's your turn."
"Okay." Xander opened his door and slid out, steadying himself on the side of the Explorer as he put the carrier on. He felt hands clip the back together for him and smiled at the woman behind him. "Hi, thanks." He grabbed his cane and shut the door, opening up William's instead. He pulled the baby out and tucked him into the carrier, bringing the straps together to clip him in securely.
Oz walked around and took the diaper bag, staring at the woman until she left. "That was odd," he noted quietly. He walked behind Xander, making sure he was all right on the way inside. "We could use one of the motorized carts."
"I don't need one," Xander said quietly. He took the cart and put his cane into it, then leaned on it. "We can do this. It's like a big walker."
"Okay. Tell me if you get tired though. We'll have lunch at McDonald's." He walked ahead, heading for the clothes. "What should we look at first?"
Xander felt his bad leg give out and grabbed the cart harder. "Um, sitting would be good," he said.
Oz came back and led him over to a bench, sitting him down. He looked at Xander, who was rubbing down his leg. "It okay?"
"Yeah, it just gave suddenly." He looked up. "Go get the cart?"
"Sure, on one condition. I want William." He saw the hurt look. "If it happens again, I don't want you to fall on top of him."
Xander nodded. "You go get the cart, I'll take him off and give him to you." He waited until Oz had left to start taking off the carrier, lifting William up to kiss. "Yeah, I know he means well, but I don't want to feel handicapped anymore."
Oz leaned down to kiss William's cheek. "Then I'd start going to therapy again."
"Mary's got pneumonia." Xander let Oz take the carrier from him and took his cane back.
"So, motorized cart?" Oz suggested as he got the baby settled.
Xander looked down at his leg. "Yeah, maybe I should," he said quietly.
"Good, and then we'll go get everything that we need to continue your therapy at home." Oz snorted at the surprised look. "It's not like I'm doing anything right now, Xand. We'll work on it at home, as much as I can. Okay?"
"Yeah," Xander said, grinning at him. "Thanks. Can I try the cart again?"
"Sure. Go for it." Oz got out of his way, watching as Xander grabbed the handle and started walking. He followed him to the pharmacy section, remembering to pull out the prescriptions that they needed filled.
"Homer!" Oz yelled as he got out of the Explorer.
"They're probably still shopping," Xander told him. He clung to the side of the SUV as he walked around to the back. He looked around. "Where's Giles?"
"Probably got a shrieking kid next to his ear," Oz said dryly as he grabbed the majority of the bags. "Can you get the rest?"
"Sure." Xander grabbed the last six bags and walked up to the house, slowly because his leg was aching. He stopped when he saw William in his carrier on the table, going over to check on him because he looked like he was uncomfortable at that angle.
Oz jogged back into the kitchen. "They're not here." He grabbed the phone and dialed. "Blair, it's me. Is Giles there?" He sighed, grabbing the counter. "Were the kids with him?" He shook his head. "Thanks. No, I'll pick them up. No, he didn't call and tell us." He hung up. "Willow's mom has them." He took the keys Xander held out, running out to get into the SUV and go get the kids.
"Well, William," Xander told him, earning baby waves. "What should we do for supper?" He pulled out his wallet, looking at the inside of it. "We could order pizza." He smiled. "Yeah, let's order pizza." He picked up the phone and dialed from memory. "Hi, this is the Harris farm. Yup, us. We need three large supremes and two orders of breadsticks. Oh, and a two liter of Dr. Pepper too." He checked his wallet. "Um, make sure he has change for a fifty, that's all I have. Sure, I can do that. Add on another pizza? No, cheese is good. Better yet, sausage. It'll be breakfast." He nodded and hung up. "Okay," he said, smiling at the baby. "Supper's on it's way." He picked up the phone as it rang. "Hi," he said cheerfully. "Oz, what's wrong?" He looked at the clock on the wall. "You got there fast." He frowned. "Really? Why? No, bring them home. I ordered supper. No, I'll talk to her in the morning," Xander said coldly. "She knows better." He hung up and turned to look at his son. "I think we're going to have to find another babysitter," he told him, walking over to sit next to him. "Yes, the daddies will. We'll have to find someone else to watch you guys when we have to go out." He looked over his shoulder as the door opened, opening his arms so Miri could crawl into them. "What mean things did she say to you?" he cooed.
"She said I wasn't supposed to come to her because I'm not one of the twins," she sniffled. "She said I was the product of a bad girl."
"Well, your mother was bad," Xander admitted, "but you're a good girl. I wouldn't worry about it. You're never going to go back there again. Or the twins. If she wants to see them, she can come here." He looked over at Oz, who was holding the twins. "We need a sitter."
"Yeah, we need a sitter," Oz agreed. "And a housekeeper."
"True," Xander agreed with a grin. "Want to do the looking for us?"
"Sure. Or we could get someone not so strange. Chloe is looking for something to do this summer."
"Which wouldn't be fair to someone so young," Xander pointed out. He heard someone driving up the driveway. "Get a fifty out of my wallet and go get us supper."
"Okay." Oz put the twins down, watching as they ran over for hugs too. He grabbed the wallet and walked out to meet whomever it was, coming back in with Sileya and Homer. "It's them."
"We're having pizza for supper," Xander told them.
"We're going out," Homer said with a saucy grin.
"Okay." Xander shrugged. "There should be leftovers tonight when you get home if you're still hungry." He watched them go, snorting as Tigger got down to stalk them and grab a hug, laughing when he heard Sileya scream. "She get you again?" he called.
"Yes. And she's cold!"
Xander just snickered. He accepted his daughter back into his lap when she came running back in, giving her a hug. He watched as Oz walked outside to get their supper, continuing to hug his girls.
Xander tapped on Willow's mother's door, walking in when she opened it. "Hi, Mrs. Rosenburg, I think we need to have a discussion," he said quietly, sitting down on the couch to look at her. She sat down across from him. "Mrs. Rosenburg, I got a disturbing report from my oldest daughter yesterday and I'd like to hear your side of it," he started calmly. "And before you say anything, I'm here so that Oz doesn't lose his temper and start yelling."
She leaned back. "Xander, I've known you for a long time. Why do you have her still? She may be your daughter, but she's bad, same as her mother is. Blood will tell."
Xander shook his head. "Mrs. Rosenburg, do you know what *your* daughter did to the semi- human people in this town?" She went pale. "Faith may have been bad, but she's gotten better. She doesn't see her daughter and Miri is the most loving child in the world." He stood up. "Since you feel that way about my children, you'll be allowed to see the twins, but only at the farm when one of us is around." He nodded once to say goodbye and walked away, heading out to Oz's car. He was shaking when he got in, but it was for the best this way. He started the car and decided to meet Oz at the lawyers. Giles had the kids and he wanted lunch with his lover.
As he pulled up beside the SUV, he rolled down the window and tapped on the horn. "Lunch?" he suggested when Oz lifted his head and rolled down his window. "I'll treat."
Oz nodded. "Please. Where?"
"Sure. You can even have ice cream," Xander said with a grin.
Oz nodded. "Good, I could use it." He rolled up his window so Xander drove off, heading to the only decent restaurant Sunnydale had. He pulled into one of the parking spots, not the handicapped one, and got out to wait on Oz. He frowned at his lover as he parked in the handicapped spot, walking over to him. "Why am I driving that thing home?"
"Because your levers confuse me," Oz told him, taking his arm to walk inside with him. "Two," he told the hostess. "Somewhere quiet so we can talk?" She nodded and led them to the back room, letting them sit in the back corner. "Thanks." Oz sat down with his back against the wall, letting Xander get the other side. "How did your talk go?"
"I tried to be reasonable but she came out with 'the blood tells'." He sighed. "I said she could visit at the farm but only if another adult was there."
Oz relaxed. "It's for the best." He picked up his menu as the waitress came over. "Do you really want food?"
"Yup. I have therapy this afternoon, if Mary's back."
"Cool. You treating?"
"Get whatever you want," Xander told him, looking at him over top of the menu. "Even dessert if you want."
"I want a huge sundae," Oz told the waitress. "Two spoons please?"
"Anything to drink, sir?"
"Okay. And for you?"
"Um, the steak fajita special and a coke, fries with that," Xander said, putting his menu aside.
She took the menus and left them alone.
Xander leaned closer to him. "How was your meeting?"
"Good. I can get the university for their crap." Oz looked at the couple being guided to a table. "Um, can I come with you today?"
"Sure. I'd love to have you there more often. I miss my cheerleader." Xander gave him a gentle smile. "Oz, I'm probably doing the bars again today. Want to cheer or help?"
"I'd like to do both," Oz told him, reaching over to touch his hand. "How's your leg feel?"
"Better after having rested for a few days. I saw the contractor today, he's got the permits and they'll start work next week."
"Cool. How long will it take them?"
"My class could do in a few weeks. It's not that complicated."
"Very cool," Oz said, trying hard to ignore the dirty looks they were getting from the other couple. "Stay," he whispered, standing up to kiss him.
The waitress sighed as she walked back in. "It's good to see people who love each other," she told them, putting down their drinks. "Sir, the fajitas you ordered will take a while, all the steak's still frozen."
"Can I change it to chicken instead?"
She smiled. "Of course. I'll tell them as soon as I get back there." She walked over to the other couple, who got up and left to go to another table.
Oz shrugged. "I don't like people who can't stand me."
Xander smiled. "Me either." He flipped his hand to hold Oz's. "What are we going to do with the rest of this time's payment? I know you had a few plans."
"I did. We'll have to pay property taxes out of the next one. We need to make sure all the cars have been checked."
"They could probably use oil changes," Xander told him, "but yours sounds fine otherwise."
"Good." Oz squeezed the hand he held. "Some of it has to go to the construction crew. After that, I think we'll need to get our offices organized."
"Yeah, we could use some of that," Xander agreed. "We can stop off today and get stuff to do that with. Those plastic bins aren't that expensive."
"True. You need stuff for your candles too."
"I have a shipment coming," Xander told him. "It should be in any day now."
"Can I help?" Oz asked quietly. "I've never seen you make candles."
"Sure." Xander backed away from the table as the waitress brought Oz his sundae and Xander a salad. "It comes with one of these?" he asked.
She nodded. "Yup. Said so at the top of that section." She patted him on the top of the head. "How you doing, Xander?"
"Okay, Merilee. Do you remember Oz? He used to date Willow."
She nodded. "Yup, I used to sit next to him in Chemistry class." She smiled at him. "How are you guys doing out on the farm? I heard you're boarding horses now."
"Only one," Xander told her. "She's a beautiful filly. Just about two years old. Our kids like her too."
She smiled. "I'm glad. You sound happy." She nodded at his cane. "We all heard about what happened to you. Most of us in town were even sorry to hear that you got hurt."
He reached over and patted her on the arm. "It's okay, I can handle it. I'm getting better."
"We heard you might have been paralyzed."
"He might have been," Oz agreed. "He had a lot of spinal swelling. Fortunately, he got better for me."
Xander grinned at him. "Yeah, I had to get better. I couldn't stand living in a wheelchair for a minute longer. Even the nurses hated it when I had to wheel myself around."
Oz looked up at their waitress. "He terrorized the staff," he said dryly.
She giggled. "I'm sure he was mostly good while he was in the hospital." She waved. "Your lunch should be ready soon." She left them alone, going to deal with her other customers.
"It's good to know that we're remembered fondly by some people," Oz said, stealing a piece of Xander's tomato.
"Hey!" Xander stole a fingerfull of whipped cream. He started to lick it but held it out for Oz, letting him lick it off.
"Eww, what were you doing?" Oz asked, licking his lips to get rid of the bad taste.
Xander licked his own finger. "That's from your steering wheel I guess. I've been good all day." He reached for his phone as it started to ring. "Yeah?" He smiled. "Hi, Rupert. What's wrong?" He nodded. "I thought that was next week. But okay, I can deal with that. Yeah, we'll be home soon. Huh?" He shook his head. "Put him on. What are you doing?" He snorted. "Other side of the house, Merk. Yeah, that side. I drew up plans. Why not?" He shook his head. "Okay. I'll be home in an hour, can you guys sit around that long? Yeah. Yeah. That'll be good. Don't worry about it, I'll be there in an hour." He hung up. "They were chalking the wrong side of the house."
Oz shook his head. "We can get it to go."
"Yeah, we probably should." Xander looked over his shoulder and waved Merilee over. "Emergency at home, can we get this to go?"
"Oh, what happened?"
"The construction crew that's going to expand a few rooms is trying to work on the wrong side of the house." He pointed at his sundae. "Can I have a box for this?"
"Of course. I'll be right back." She walked away quickly, coming back with two boxes and two styrofoam cups. "Here we go," she said, handing them over. "Xander, you might need to microwave that for a few minutes. The cook said it was done but he was checking it."
He nodded. "Thanks, Merilee." He got free of Oz's hand and pulled out his wallet, handing over a bill. "Take two bucks for yourself."
She smiled. "Thanks. A forty percent tip!" She walked away, letting them get everything together.
"Want me to drive my car?" Xander asked as he poured his soda into his cup and put on the lid.
"Please. I don't like the hand levers. They confuse me."
"Okay." Xander stood up, balancing his drink on top of his food, using his cane with his other hand. "I'll see you at home?"
"Sure. Want me to stop at Walmart?"
"Oh, yeah. Need money?"
"Yup." Oz took Xander's wallet out of his pocket and took a few of the larger bills out, tucking the wallet back into his pocket. "Later." He took his things and walked out after Xander, making sure he could make it to the Explorer by himself. He stopped to watch him get in. "Mary?"
"I'll call and check and if she's there, I'll call you on your cell." Oz nodded and walked over to his car, getting in and purring away to go get stuff to organize with.
Xander shut his door and started the engine, pulling on his seat belt. He noticed something sticking to his windshield and got out to get it, frowning at the message. He crumpled it up and got back in, tossing it on the floor. "Stupid idiots," he muttered, backing out to head home.
Oz walked out to get his backpack from Xander's car, and stopped as he saw the balled up paper. He uncrumpled it and read it, his head starting to hurt. He grabbed his bag and carried it inside. "Xander, what's this?" he asked, waving the paper.
"Stupid idiots way of plastering the town," Xander replied, not looking up. "Toss it out before the kids see it."
"Where did you get it?"
"On the windshield as I came out of the steak place." He looked up. "Did you get enough organizer stuff for my office too? I've got papers spread everywhere."
"Sure. I also got us some drawers to store files in." Oz pointed the pile of stuff just inside the family room. "Want to pick out which set you want?"
"Sure." Xander got up and walked over to look at the stuff. "I want the mismatched set. It'll help me figure out where things might be without searching."
"That's what I figured." Oz pulled out the set of organizational stuff he had bought for Xander and carried it into the very cluttered office. He came back for the set of drawers, carrying them in to put them in the only clear space. "How many years is this going to take?"
"Not many if you bought file folders." They were pointed to. "Then it'll only take me a few hours." He grinned up at his lover. "Did you throw that paper out?"
"Not yet. I will." Oz walked out, leaving the door open so the kids could come in and bother him when they got up again.
Xander looked at his piles, then at the stack of folders, shaking his head. "I can do this," he told himself, pulling out the first folder to write the contents on, then he stuffed it full and put it in the drawer. "I'll need more hangy things soon," he told himself, making a note on a pad on his desk which was already half full. He went back to his filing, filling up the drawers quickly. "Oz, I'm going to need another one of these," he called.
"Yeah, me too," Oz said as he walked over. He looked at the full bookshelves and shook his head. "You need more than that, Xander. You need something to put the candles in and store them somewhere else."
"I'm getting that soon," Xander told him, stuffing his last folder full and putting it into the drawer. He turned his chair around to look at his lover. "We might need to go back tonight."
"We can do that. Homer's home."
"Cool. Want to ask him and we'll go?"
"Are you tired?"
"Not yet. I've been sitting down." Xander stood up and gave him a hug. "Give it up, Oz, I'm still stubborn."
"I know, and I love you for it," Oz told him, patting him on the back. "Homer?" he called. The teen came out of the family room and looked at them. "We need to make a quick trip to Wallyworld. Can you...."
Homer waved. "Sure. Have fun. Bring me some coke?"
"Definitely," Xander told him. "Anything else?"
"Of course." Xander walked over to him and gave him a hug. "I promise, we'll work on the kid situation soon. We need a person to watch them most of the time."
Homer nodded. "Please, before we get summer vacation. Sileya and I won't be here for three weeks."
"Point," Oz said. "We might be getting Blair's step-daughter, Chloe. I talked to Sam and she thought it'd be okay."
"We're getting the Chloe this summer?" Xander asked. Oz nodded. "And she knows she's going to be doing babysitting?"
"Yup. I talked with her after I talked to Sam. Apparently, something's coming back to bite Jim and Blair on the butt and they want her safe."
"Oh, and we're safe?"
"Yup. John's going to be working beside them so she can't go to his compound. You don't mind, right?" Xander shook his head. "Good. She'll be up here tomorrow."
"Coolness." Xander walked toward the back of the house. "It shouldn't take us that long, we have to get drawers and boxes and stuff," he called. "Oz!"
"Coming." Oz hurried after him, flipping on the porch light so neither of them would slip and fall.
Homer looked over his shoulder as Oz and Xander struggled in under the burden of bags and boxes of stuff and got up to help them. "Did you guys buy out the store?"
"Yup, and if you want your treats, you're going to have to get it from the Explorer," Oz sighed as he sat down. He accepted Xander into his lap and cuddled him. "And please make sure the trunk closes this time."
Homer rolled his eyes but went out to get the rest of the stuff, coming back after two trips. "More shelves, guys?" he asked as he strolled in opening his bag of pistachios. "Thanks for these."
"Welcome," Xander murmured, almost asleep on the fully asleep Oz's chest.
Homer shook his head and headed up to his room. They'd wake up soon enough, Xander was an active sleeper and he'd fall on the floor. He snickered as he heard the pained grunt. Yup, they were up now. He listened as he heard the slow steps up the stairs, hiding in his room before Xander could find him listening.