Try It Again, Giles.
Oz looked inside their new refrigerator to make sure it was running okay, and blinked a few times. "Xander, the grocery fairy came last night," he called.
Xander walked in and looked around him, resting his chin on his lover's shoulder. "Gee, and it's a healthy fairy too," he said, pointing at the lettuce.
"Healthy grocery fairies can be a good," Oz reminded him. "It's the pizza fairy that gets us in trouble," he said, reaching back to pat Xander's flat, muscled stomach. Xander kissed him on the side of the neck so he handed off the milk.
"That might not be good," Homer said from the doorway.
"Oh, look, it's the grocery fairy," Oz said, looking up at Xander, who grinned.
"Thanks, Homer, we were going to go after breakfast."
"We only got a few things, mostly for our lunch, so you still have to go. But Sileya said she's never bought a good thing of milk from that little packette store so you might want to test it."
Xander opened it and grimaced, turning to pour it down the sink. "Oh, yeah, she was right. Chunky already." He checked the date. "Still supposed to be good too."
Homer shrugged. "It happens some times." He waved at Miri, who had pushed past him. "How are you today?"
"Sleepy," she complained, climbing up to sit at the table. "Me cereal?" she called out pitifully.
"Only if you want to eat it dry," Oz called back in the same voice. She glared at him. "No milk. Homer, did you buy bread?"
"Yeah, and the peanut butter is still in the cabinet." He waved and walked away, going to help Sileya get ready for her fight practice. She was *still* packing her new bag for her locker.
Oz looked at Xander, who shrugged. "We have to see Blair this afternoon. We can send them after we eat lunch out." Xander picked up his wallet and took out some of the money he had gotten last night from his account. "Here, go pick up breakfast at McDonald's. You know what I want?"
"Yup, and I'll stop off and get us good coffee too." He walked over to give Miri a hug. "I'll go get us a good breakfast, okay?" She nodded. "Okay. Fifteen minutes." He walked out, coming back for the keys Xander was holding up. "Maybe I'll stop for coffee first," he noted as he walked back out.
Xander grinned as he pulled over their grocery list, adding more things to it.
Oz walked out of the daycare, all but dragging Xander with him. "They're fine," he reminded his lover, who was waving at the crying little person at the door. He looked back at Blair, who managed to get the door open and run out to them. "Honey, we talked about this," he reminded her, giving her a hug. He picked her up so they could hug her together. "I promise, it's only for a few hours."
"And they have books and stuff," Xander said, wiping off his own face. "I don't like daycare," he announced.
"I know," Oz told him, patting him. He looked down at Blair, who was hiding her face in his shoulder. "You're going to have to get used to it, Blair. Once we start school, there won't be anyone at home to take care of you."
"Chloe?" she asked quietly.
"No, she's got to go back to school too," Oz told her. He looked over at the worker, who was smiling. "See, she wants to play with you," he said, shifting Blair so she could see. "And there's Miri at the door. She and Tigger will play with you if no one else will."
Blair shook her head. "Tigger likes people."
"I know, you don't like to meet new people, but this isn't that bad. These guys have a lot of kids that will be coming through here, but it'll be the same kids," Xander told her. Oz gave him a grateful look. "You'll start seeing the same people all the time, just on different days." She sniffled, wiping her nose on the back of her hand. "Hey, no snotty hands around William," he reminded her, handing over a tissue. "Wouldn't you like to spend today reading in the corner? Maybe they'll even let you read to William for a lot of it, you know how much he likes that." He took her and walked back over to the daycare worker. "We don't really like new things or people," he explained. "Can she read to William? He's an attention hog."
"Of course she can. First off though, we've got a game to play with her and her sisters to see what they can do." She held out her arms. "I promise, you don't have to play with anyone you don't want to and after the game, you can go sit in a corner and read to your brother for a while."
She looked up at her father, who nodded, then nodded, allowing herself to be transferred over to the worker's arms. Blair waved as they left.
"See, it's not so bad," the daycare worker said as she carried the little girl in. "My name is Lisa," she said, giving her a smile. "You're Blair, right?"
Blair nodded, pulling her thumb up to suck.
Blair looked up as the guys walked into his office, looking at his watch. "I thought you guys were going to be late," he said dryly.
"Sorry, we had a problem at the daycare," Oz told him, leading Xander to a chair. "Little Blair didn't want to go in and stay."
"Ah. I heard that can be tough." Xander nodded, looking pathetic. "What else has happened? As you can see, Giles is missing too."
"He's outside checking his ribs," Oz told him.
"Our fridge gave out," Xander said quietly.
Blair got up and came over to give him a hug. "There, there," he soothed. "She'll be fine."
"But she looked so *miserable*," Xander complained. "She doesn't like people."
"Well, unless you're going to home school her, she's going to have to be around a lot of them in a few years," Blair reminded him. "Public school is like that."
"I remember," Xander said, looking up at him. "But she ran out to stop us and everything."
"Then you eased her fears and let her go back in, right?" Blair said, nodding, just like the boys did with the kids. Xander nodded too, giving him the same trusting look. He smiled. "So she'll be fine. They're professionals and they'll take good care of the kids. I bet Blair will even have met someone nice."
Oz's phone rang. "Yeah?" he answered. He held his now hurting forehead. "Put the phone next to her ear. Then toss it at her and tell her it's me." He looked up. "Someone made William cry and Miri went off," he told his lover.
"We've got to go back," Xander said, standing up. Blair pushed him back down.
"Not necessarily. Are they used to that sort of thing?"
Oz nodded. "Yup. Miri, stop it right now. They're not hurting William. What do you mean they had a needle? Why?" He glared at the carpet. "What about you three? No, you grab William and hold him. I'm calling Homer to come get you four. Yeah, I know. Don't worry about it." He hung up and dialed Homer's and Sileya's cellphone. "Hey, Sileya, it's me. No the kids are at daycare and they're massively upset. Can I impose?" He smiled. "Thanks. No, we'll be home in a few hours. Yes, I promise, we'll give you money to go out to dinner tonight." He chuckled. "Of course. Oh, check William over for needle marks." He hung up before she could say anything else. "One of the workers was going to give the diabetic baby next to William her shot and almost got William by accident. It's been cleared up but the daycare thought it might be good if they went home for the day." He coughed. "Miri tossed things around the room and Blair made everyone else start to cry."
Xander grunted. "In tandem or not?"
"In tandem, holding Miri's hand. Tigger firmly behind her with William."
"Crap," Xander sighed as the door opened. "The girls just proved that they're going to be a very formidable force." Sam smiled at him, letting Giles in. "Thanks. Want to hear what they did?"
"Not really, but I'm assuming it's bad," she said as they walked in.
"William almost got given another infant's shot. So Miri floated things and Blair made people sick. She was holding Miri's hand, and Tigger had William behind them."
Sam blinked. "Oh." She looked at Blair, then at Xander. "Are you training them?"
"Yup, but they're very overprotective of William," Xander reminded her. "I can't wait until his first day of kindergarten, can you?" he asked wryly.
"Maybe Doyle will let us put all of ours in his school," Oz suggested.
"Hopefully," Xander sighed, slumping a little. "I don't think Sunnydale's ready for the terror those three will bring to whoever hurts William."
"Not every kid is picked on," Sam reminded them.
"He has gay parents, he'll be picked on," Oz told her.
Xander nodded. "More importantly, he's our kid, so he'll be watched and picked on. Things like today will be held against him, even though it's his sisters doing it."
"That's how Sunnydale is," Oz agreed. He looked at Giles. "We've made a decision, so we can get on with today. You may come back."
"But only to the trailer," Xander finished. "We don't think that we're ready for fullness yet."
Giles smiled down at them. "Thank you, Xander, Oz, this means quite a lot to me. May I come back tonight?"
"Give it until tomorrow," Oz told him. "Let the kids get calmed down so we can tell them. We didn't want to give them too many shocks at once." Giles nodded, still smiling. "And we will continue to come see Blair, either individually, or together."
Blair nodded. "Okay. I can see the need for that. Once a week?"
"Every two weeks unless there's a problem," Xander told him. "This is wrecking our milage." He smiled. "You know how touchy Explorers are and how much gas they use."
Blair laughed. "Yeah, I do know. Okay, every two weeks it is. Giles, did you have something to say?"
"Yes, I..." He smiled at the boys again. "Thank you, both, I'm willing to help myself so that we can work toward getting back together."
Xander stood up. "Good. 'Cause we've got to go grocery shopping tonight. Anything you need?"
"I'll go on my own," he said, giving Xander a hug. "I have one of our bonus cards."
"Cool," Oz said, nodding, getting his own hug. "Tomorrow. And if you come up early enough, you can help us exercise Lover."
"How is she doing?" Sam asked. "And the dog."
"They're both fine, but I can see why they named the dog and the horse the same name. They're usually in trouble together," Oz told her, rolling his eyes. "I found the horse yesterday trying to take down part of the fence so she could go run in the woods with Warrior."
"I came back and got her on the second loop," Xander reminded him. "They really like to be together." He shrugged at Giles' incredulous look. "We're boarding them for a few more weeks. Lover's pregnant and their new daddy doesn't know a thing about horses. He won them in a card game."
"We still have the trailer too," Oz pointed out. "Maybe we should wash it really good so their feet don't have problems again."
"I'll do that tomorrow," Xander told him.
"Why not let the kids do it?" Sam suggested.
"Because scrubbing that thing with a broom is too hard for them," Oz told her. "But I'm sure they'll help."
"And help with washing the cars too," Xander pointed out. "We'll have the hose out anyway."
"Good point," Oz agreed. "I'll do the cars if you do the trailer?"
"Sure," Xander sighed. "Give me the light job."
Oz patted him on the arm. "Not with all the scrubbing you'll be doing." He looked up at Blair. "You're coming back *when* for Chloe?"
"Whenever she calls for us," Sam said with a slight smile. "She doesn't want to come back to her senior year yet."
"We can start treating her like the butler," Oz offered. "Maybe pay her what the nice immigrant ladies in town make?"
Sam shook her head. "That'll encourage her. Can you guys subtly pressure her back into school." Xander shook his head. "No?"
"I hated school, I sucked at it, Sam. I am not the person for this job."
"I might be," Oz suggested. "Maybe take her up to the college with me when I go to get my textbooks?"
Sam smiled. "Yeah, something like that. Show her that there's a reason to go to college."
"Boys," Xander told her. "Stress frat boys."
Sam laughed. "That's what got me there when I balked," she admitted. "Thanks, guys." She kissed Xander on the cheek and waved at Oz, leaving them alone.
Oz looked at Xander. "You got a kiss," he mock-pouted.
Blair sighed and pulled Oz over, kissing him on the cheek. "There, better?" Oz nodded, grinning at him. "You two are silly today."
"Comes from putting in a refrigerator at ten last night," Oz told him, helping Xander up. "Come on, let's go grocery shopping on the way home."
"How much are we paying Sileya and Homer for babysitting?"
"About fifty bucks. They want to spend tonight together outside of the house."
"Okay," Xander agreed, following him out. "Sometime tomorrow afternoon, Giles?"
"Of course," he called after them. He looked at Blair once they were alone. "They've created a very strong bond, haven't they?"
"Yes, and they're willing to let you back into it. I wouldn't mess up this time," Blair warned him. "Xander said this is your last chance and I believe him."
Giles nodded, sitting down. "Why am I such an ass to him?"
Blair sat across from him. "You're having an internal conflict. The father image that you tried so hard to cultivate versus the loving image that you've been trying to promote and make grow. It's all in your head, man."
Giles smiled at him. "I had no doubts about that fact, Blair. Why do I have the conflict?"
"Because you're not letting go of the image of Xander as a sixteen year old that needed you."
Oz slammed his door of the Explorer and caught Blair as she ran down to him. "How are you?" he asked, giving her a hug. "Is William okay?" She nodded, squeezing him as hard as she could. "Yes, dear, I love you too, but we're still going to have a talk tonight, aren't we?" She nodded, grinning up at him.
"The daycare people would like them back there tomorrow to try again," Homer said as he walked down. He took the cash Xander handed him with a smile. "Thanks, man. Oh, and they cleaned up their mess too. William's safely attached to Chloe's stomach. Sileya tried to give the girls a lecture, but they're too happy about being asked to come back because they're so 'special'." He looked at Xander. "Apparently they've seen that sort of behavior before, but they said that Blair's trick was new to them." He glanced around. "No Giles?"
"Tomorrow," Oz told him. "Can you help us with the groceries? Xander decided to stock the pantry again."
"Sure, man, anything for my favorite people. Fight class today was *boring*. I don't know when I'm going to need to do things in slow motion."
"That's all about control," Sileya told him as she walked down to help them. "The real proof of mastery isn't being able to do the moves, but to do them perfectly and delicately if you need to." She opened the back and took a few of the bags. "But the girls were good as gold as soon as we got them home. They spent the time cleaning their room and the playroom, and getting things ready for going tomorrow."
Blair nodded at her daddies. "They ask us," she said excitedly. "There a girl there that play with me. I no know her!"
"That's really great," Oz told her, shifting her. "Onto my back so I can get some of these things. Then you can help us put them up, okay?" She nodded, sliding around so she was riding on her father's back. "Thank you." He picked up one of the cases of soda and a few more bags, letting Xander get the last case and two bags. "Last one up has to eat the sprouts," he called as he started walking.
"I'm not touching those," Xander called after him. "And if you try, I'm doing something horrible tonight while you're asleep." Oz turned to look at him and he gave his lover his most innocent look. "What?" he asked.
"As long as it doesn't involve film," Oz said with a shrug, starting to walk again.
Xander grinned as he grabbed the last few things, starting up to the house. He had some ideas that he wanted to try out, and Oz *had* just given him permission...
Xander rolled off his lover and wiped his forehead off. "Wow," he whispered, glancing at the refurnished closet to make sure they hadn't woken William up.
Oz rolled to snuggle on Xander's stomach. "Are you happy with what you are?" he asked. Xander nodded. "Then why the hesitation to let me play?"
"Because I don't want to take that chance," Xander told him, reaching down to pet through the sweaty hair. "I don't want to have an accident, Oz."
"Okay, then I'll be very careful," Oz told him, kissing the flat stomach. "Have you been having strange dreams?"
"Yup. About a little boy named Aislin."
"That sounds like a girl's name."
"Maybe, but that's what I keep seeing."
"Huh. Me too." Oz shrugged and went back to his napping spot.
Xander looked down at him in shock. "You too?" Oz nodded. "You and Miri both?"
Oz looked up and nodded. "Yup, all three of us." He grinned. "What do you think it is?"
"I'm not sure, but I'm finding birth control," Xander told him, putting his head down on the pillow.
"That's fine," Oz told him. "Just remember, it may not work on you."
"Then what?" Xander asked quietly.
"Then, we deal," Oz told him firmly. "Same as we were prepared to do with William."
Xander shivered. "Oz, being pregnant was one of the strongest and strangest experiences in my life," he said softly. "I'm not sure I can handle going through it again."
"Hey, this time, no spinal injury," Oz reminded him.
"It wasn't that, though there was a part of me that was kinda almost glad to be in the hospital. I was scared, a lot, about what was going on."
"I know," Oz told him, giving him a one armed squeeze. "This time it'll be us though. You won't have to go through this one with just Spike."
Xander snorted. "He was a good handler. Whenever things started to get too surreal, he brought me back to earth really quick. He was really solid, but not very comforting if that makes sense."
"Yup. Makes a lot of sense." Oz rolled so he could look up at his lover's face. "What about now? Would the same things happen?"
"I don't know," Xander admitted. "I'm a little better prepared," he admitted, "but I'm not sure that my body would like it too much."
"Then we'll worry about it if it becomes an issue," Oz reminded him. "Can I still go see Doctor Adams with you when you go in?"
"Of course," Xander said, frowning up at the ceiling. "I thought you were coming with me anyway. We were going to drop the kids off with Cordy because she wants to see them. Seems Doyle's taken over care of the boys and she's feeling motherly."
"If not, we'll impose on Wes for an hour. He's got to be feeling better."
"His demon and his mind are still fighting," Xander told him. "Spike told me he's had to force Wes to eat, even pig's blood." Oz grunted. "Yeah, so maybe we should ease off on him. Not that Miri can't kick his butt."
"Or put him down for a nap," Oz joked.
"Yeah, that too," Xander said seriously. "How are we training them?"
"Very well so far," Oz said, lifting his head up to give Xander a kiss. "Quit worrying. It's all good and we need to sleep."
"Yeah, sleep would be nice," Xander sighed, pulling Oz into his arms to cuddle. William started to make fussy noises and they both groaned, getting up to go talk him back to sleep.
END, THIS STORY.