(Contains spoilers for the Xover) Moving on with life.
Xander opened the morning newspaper and promptly spit his milk across his lover. Oz took the paper and scanned it. "Just wanted to spit milk all over me?" Oz asked dryly, wiping off his bare chest.
Xander pointed at the small article near the bottom. "No, that one."
"Man gruesomely attacked in hospital room," Oz read. "Oh, it was Giles. How nice." He looked at Xander. "Did someone else decide to do him in for you?"
"No," Xander grunted and took the paper back to read it to him. "A man with a golf club, according to the patient, appeared on his bed and swung at him. According to the nurses, Mr. Giles was sedated partially and strapped down, his injuries needing complete rest, but they never saw the assailant, or any man with a golf club, though they are unable to account for Mr. Giles' horrible injuries. One nurse did say that she heard someone yell 'fore' but could not confirm who had said it." Xander blanched and handed the paper back. "Daddy got him," he whispered hoarsely, one hand falling unconsciously down to make sure his own balls were fine. Reading things like that made his balls hurt in sympathy.
Oz read the rest, his eyes going very wide, and his hand imitated that of his lover. "Oh, um...." He tossed the paper away. "We can have Sileya check that one out."
"Check what out?" Sileya sighed from next to the fridge, where she and Homer were making themselves their lunches.
"Um, someone jumped up on Giles' bed and used a golf club on him," Oz told her, giving Homer a helpless look.
Homer just groaned and grabbed his own balls. "Oh, man. That was just *mean*!"
"Maybe Daddy sent us an email," Sileya said cheerfully, putting jelly on a slice of bread. "You think that the demon who's got control of him would allow that?"
"Maybe," Xander said. "You can check before you head out." Sileya walked out, letting Homer finish fixing their lunch.
"I should make liverwurst," Homer muttered. "And Oz, please, no more of that story. We'll go see him after school and before patrol so you guys can have a report."
"Thanks. You'll make a nice brother-in-law," Xander said with a grin.
"Yeah, not gonna happen, no matter what the prophecies state," Homer said calmly. "Drunken vampire or not. And it'd better not be Spike either."
Sileya walked into the room and hugged her brother hard. "We got one. He sent it to us both. He's safe, he's semi-happy. He's not sick any more. And his demon understood about needing to come and cave in certain parts of Giles for you." She glanced at Homer, who was looking from the knife in his hand to her. "Sorry, Homie."
"Call me that again," Homer warned, but then he sighed and shook his head. "Never mind, fighting the tide with a teaspoon." He packed their lunch and put the bag aside. "What else did your dad say?"
"Just that, oh, and that he *really* wanted Xander to work on his wood skills." She shrugged and kissed Oz on the side of the head. "So, white silk?"
"Not with how you two go at it," Oz told her.
Homer snickered. "It's a sign of wealth, not of chastity; that was a bad Christian misinterpretation," he reminded them. He looked at his girlfriend. "Still not happening."
"Just no kids yet please," Xander said, picking up the rest of the paper to read, wisely leaving that page there. He carefully laid another page aside so someone could black out that story for him too and went back to reading the classified. "Hey, someone in here needs playground equipment makers."
"You've done that recently," Homer said in encouragement.
"Yup, I have," Xander said proudly. "But it takes a lot of standing."
"You can do that as long as you can have breaks," Oz reminded him. "At least you can call and check on the opening. See if they're willing to accommodate you."
"True," Xander agreed, folding the paper to that page so he would do that in a few minutes. He finished his breakfast and went in to read his email before he called these people.
An hour later, Xander walked out to the living room and sat down in Oz's lap. "You know," he said quietly, "I've been thinking that working for myself is the best thing I could do."
"Starting a business takes a lot of work," Oz reminded him.
"True," Xander admitted quietly, "but it's better than being made fun of." Oz looked up at him, trying to look shocked. He kissed his lover for his attempt. "I told them about my knee and the cane and they laughed and said I should stay on disability."
"Ah. Oh, well, their loss," Oz told him, hugging his lover. "You'll find a job you love and we'll be happy." He stole another kiss. "We still need to pay Blair back."
"Why didn't you take money out of the sugar canister?"
"What sugar canister?"
Xander smacked himself on the forehead. "I forgot to tell you." Xander scooted backwards until he could stand up and then held out a hand. "Come on, I hate going to the bank for the little things." He led the way into the kitchen and went to the cabinet with all the food in it, pulling down a small jar that said sugar and handing it over. "I decided to keep enough of my checks here that I wouldn't need to go the bank, except for big things, for months at a time." He gave Oz a shy grin. "I thought I had told you about that."
"No, but that does make a lot of sense," Oz said, staring down into the pile of folded up cash. "So, how much is in here?"
"Last I knew about five grand."
"And we're keeping this in here?" Oz asked. He pulled it out and walked over to the table, counting it out. "We're eight hundred short," he announced after he was done.
"I'll talk with Homer tonight," Xander said grimly.
"It may not be them," Oz noted.
"Or it might be. Their combined allowance is about fifty a week."
"Which sixteen weeks we haven't paid them?" Oz asked. "I paid them this week."
"So did I." Xander shrugged and sat down. "We'll figure it out later." He leaned over and grabbed a kiss. "But we can pay Blair back out of this if you want." He groaned as the phone rang. "You get it?"
"Yup." Oz got up to answer it, bringing the handset back to the table. "Really?" he asked after a second. "Yeah, we saw the article. Any idea who...." He snorted. "As long as the judge doesn't think we did it, that's fine." He chuckled. "Good to know. Yeah, two days, ten am." He hung up. "Giles has decided to amend his requests because of what's recently happened to him," he announced. "And the judge wants a sworn affidavit saying that we didn't do this."
"From Spike too?"
"No. Just from us. I do have to swear that I didn't know either attack was going to happen, but that I did try to stop it once I found out and called the ambulance." He took Xander's hand to squeeze. "One of the you's here called them another time."
"Hey, I can do that," Xander noted.
"No, you'll have to tell the truth. If we have to, we can bring some other people into this and have them say it was your cousin or whatever."
Oz snorted. "Possibly. The judge might actually be relieved to hear that. At least it's a practical reason, not like interdimensional travel is."
"But we can prove that," Xander noted.
"True, but this will be in court records, Xander."
"Ahhh," he said wisely, nodding. "Got it. No saying stuff that you might not want to be read." Oz nodded. "Okay. When do we have to make the statements?"
"The morning before our court appointment. Ten in the lawyer's office."
"Which is where?"
"Over by the courthouse. It's that small building we've been wondering about."
"Cool. I'll remember to wear real clothes that day." He stood up, grinning down at his mate. "Now what should we do?"
"Go pay Blair back?"
"Okay. Can we stop on the way and get ice cream?"
"Sure." Oz frowned and looked around. "The kids?"
"Will be gone for a while and Wes is upstairs if they come back early. Kaiya's with them."
"You're starting to trust her," Oz said, sounding and looking pleased.
"Yeah, she's pretty good with the kids. Not that I trust her for more than a few hours, but that's okay." Xander walked over to the board on the refrigerator and wrote out a big note, then picked up his and Oz's cellphones from the chargers. He noted that they had them and that the numbers for them were on the list beside the phone, and they walked out together, going to pay back their therapist.
Xander gave Blair a hug. "I showed him our sugar canister," he said as he accepted the waved-at seat. "And Giles is amending his requests."
Oz handed Blair a wad of cash as he hugged him then sat down beside his mate. "Apparently there is fun after death, at least for Ethan. He took a golf club to Giles' this morning." Blair raised an eyebrow. "His nuts," Oz supplied.
Blair winced. "Ouch," he muttered, sitting behind his desk. "How are you two doing?"
"Seeing our other selves and getting ideas from them has helped us quite a lot," Oz told him, gently squeezing Xander's hand. "I got quite a lesson in what my Xander could be like."
"I'm not usually as tough as a few of those Xander's were either," Xander said, staying nice. He really wasn't like Dancing Xander, now matter how much Oz might be really happy for him to be.
"I know," Oz sighed, kissing him on the cheek. "But I figured out what *my* problem was and am working on it. Good?"
"Very good," Xander agreed, relaxing again. He really wanted to have a good relationship. It was time for him to be happy again. If Oz could use that time to help him get over his problems with touching him, then he had everything he might have ever wanted in life. "How's Chloe?"
"Sixth boyfriend in five weeks," Blair said simply. "Her parents being Feds is ruining her for friendships right now. How about you guys? Is this change a long-term one, Oz?"
"I hope so," Oz sighed, crossing his legs and slouching down a little more. "I don't want to go back to how bad I was before."
"You were good before," Xander argued, "but you never *touched* me. On the friendship level, we were great before."
"And I want to keep that," Oz said, looking at him. "I want to keep what we had before, just add more frequent sex to it. Deal?"
"Sure," Xander said, grinning. "I'd like that too."
"Good," Blair said, clapping his hands to break up their staring at each other. "Was there another reason to come visit me today?"
"Just to pay you back and to invite you out for dinner soon. Oh, and to see if you can't help Xander find a job," Oz added on, looking at his lover. "They laughed at him this morning."
"That sucks," Blair said, frowning. "Who?"
"The guys who make playground equipment in town," Xander sighed, relaxing when Oz squeezed his hand again. "I also called the cabinet guys, and they said that there's no way they could accommodate me. They have stuff for wheelchair bound people, but it's things like cutting out hinges."
"Which sucks even worse," Blair agreed. "Now what, Xander?"
"I'm still looking," Xander defended. He hated to feel like he was dependant on anyone, that's why he always wanted to be working, it made him feel like he was a man, not a useless waste of money-sucking space. That was one of the things that Giles had never understood about him. Hopefully Oz wouldn't pressure him any.
"I was thinking that the rehab people might have a list of places like employment agencies," Oz said gently. "Whenever you're ready, you could call and check. After all, they have guidance counselors, why not a list of agencies that hire people too."
"I'll check with them this week," Xander said, smiling at his lover. He did understand. "I want something near the house though, somewhere I can run home if the kids need us."
"Me too," Oz agreed. "I have no trouble admitting that the kids come to you first when there's a problem. I'd rather have you working in town than here in LA." Xander's smile got brighter. "Same as I know that if you start working full time, I'm going to end up cooking a lot more often."
"Good, it sounds like you're being realistic," Blair said, sounding proud. "What else did you two need me to be here for?"
"Well, there was one thing," Xander said, shifting so he could look at his lover. "Oz, I know you'd really rather have an exciting lover, someone like Dancing Xander is, but I can't be like that all the time."
Oz relaxed and grinned. "Good. I'd never do anything but jump you if you were." He leaned over and gave his lover a kiss. "Xander, I like you how you are, faults and all. I should have told you this earlier, back when all this started, but your strength is what draws me to you. It's the part that I want to worship, the part that I'm in awe of." He got his hand free and brought it up to pat the side of Xander's face. "I don't want you to be like those other Xanders, babe, I want you to be you and only you. That strong, stubborn, sensual, nice guy that I wanted to be in a relationship with. I don't want you to *change*, I want you to go back to the man you were in the hospital."
Xander smiled. "Okay. I liked that me."
"I loved that you. You were just so *there*, even when I was away, all I could think about was you and what you were doing and how strong you had to be to come back to me. That's what I want to wake up to every morning, the you that's *honest*."
"I'll do my best, Oz."
"Good." He stole a kiss, then looked at Blair, who was beaming like a proud father. "What?"
"I'm so *happy*," he sighed, then he pulled out a camera and took their picture. "You go up on the wall now."
Oz shook his head. "We've still got some things to work out, Blair."
"Yes, but right now, you're the closest you've been since I met you to a healthy relationship, and no, Xander, it wasn't because there were three of you. It's because of who the third one was and how much Oz had to realize what he liked about you." He looked at Oz. "Now that you know, you can build on what you have and keep growing closer." He clapped his hands once. "Need anymore cheerleading?"
"No, I think we've got it," Oz told him.
Xander grinned. "But we'll be back. After all, I'll still need more support for therapy. And I still need friends outside of my Oz."
"True," Blair agreed, smiling at them, "but I believe I can fall back to that 'friends' position without having to resort to being your therapist." Xander looked stunned. "You don't think that you're ready to leave therapy?"
"He's been in it so long that you're like his best friend," Oz told him.
"And I still will be, that's not going to change," Blair told them both. "I hate losing friends, even ones that I started out saving from themselves, but I don't think that I need to be your therapist anymore."
Xander swallowed. "Okay. But we'll still be friends?"
"Of course. There's nothing that's going to make me lose you as a friend, Xander. I simply think it's time for you to move on from needing me as a therapist and/or crutch."
Xander nodded, starting to relax again. "Okay. I'd like that, as long as...."
Oz leaned over and gave him a hug. "It's okay. He's not dumping us, we're not going to come see him anymore in a professional manner. From now on, it'll be because we want to see him, not because we're having problems."
Xander nodded. "Okay. I can accept that. But it's gonna be really strange not coming to see him every two weeks."
"Strange we can deal with," Oz reminded him lightly. Xander punched him on the arm. "Better?"
"Much. Okay, I'll accept that, Blair, but you'll have to come out more regularly for dinner."
"Deal," Blair agreed, smiling at them. He got up and gave them hugs. "Go home and we'll call tonight and set up a time for us to come out for dinner, okay?" he asked.
Oz nodded. "Cool. Saturday's good for us as far as we can tell. Sunday's cool too, but then you'll have to travel back that night." Blair gave him an extra squeeze as he stood up. "Thanks, man. For everything."
"Hey, that's what I do. Xander?" he asked, holding out his arms.
"I'll miss coming and talking to you," Xander sighed, standing up and giving him a hug. "But come out Saturday, we'll grill or something." He kissed Blair on the cheek. "Thanks, for all of it, Blair. You're one of the original goods." He limped after Oz, heading home with him.
Blair wiped off a tear and headed over to get a hug from his wife and tell her about the invitation. Sam looked up as he walked in and simply opened her arms, giving him the comfort he needed.
Xander looked over at the Judge, this time they were in his office by order, less chance for him to do something odd and endanger the town again, the judge's phrase, not his. "Actually, I didn't have a thing to do with any of it, your honor," he said quietly. "I was out of town for part of that time."
"But the 911 tapes," the other lawyer said, looking mildly outraged, and fairly disgusted.
"Was his cousin," their lawyer said, handing over the affidavits they had signed that morning. "Not only did Mr. Harris not ask for anyone to take revenge on Mr. Giles' body, but he was not here when it was done. The paramedics who answered the call said that they saw someone who *looked* like Xander, but he was wearing leather pants, not my client's usual sort of fashion statement, and did not use a cane." He leaned back in his chair. "Also, I know you've seen the hospital report. Mr. Harris was at home that night, all night. We can state this clearly because we know that no one from that household entered the hospital, or any other store that has a surveillance camera. I searched."
"I see," the judge said thoughtfully, looking at Giles. "Are you amending your requests because of what's happened to you or are you really not that interested in what they could give you?"
"A bit of both," Giles said, his normally husky voice a little higher still. "But I do know that the boys are better off without me." He cleared his throat. "I've even gotten a courtesy call from their therapist saying that he was no longer treating the family so I was not considered his patient anymore."
"I see," the judge repeated. "What exactly do you want, Mr. Giles?"
"I would still like to be able to see the children once a month or so," he said, looking at Xander, "and I will still accept Xander's stipulation that I not take them out of this town." He looked at the Judge again. "I've found myself a job, so I have no need of anything from Oz, or Xander, in a financial sense. Though I do still object to them having those books out in the open."
"They're in locked bookcases," Oz countered. "Miri can't get to them and Xander's only researching, not learning the things in them." He looked at the judge. "We wouldn't mind what he's suggesting but I think there's a big 'but' hanging around still."
"Yes, well, I would like to be kept on as Miriam's custodian for her first trust."
"No," Xander said, sitting up.
The judge shook his head. "I've talked with the people over there, they've decided to take it out of your hands and put it into someone named Wesley..." He lifted a paper up to read the name. "Wesley Wyndham-Pryce?"
"Wes?" Xander asked, looking confused. "Why?"
"They said something about her heritage and needing to know a few things. Also, they pointed out, that it would be for the best if something happened to you to have someone outside the family guarding the children's assets."
"We've recently redone our wills, Wesley and our friend Spike were named as potential parents."
"As was our friend and former therapist Blair and his wife," Xander added quickly. He knew that the judge had probably seen the first complaint against Spike from when Giles had first been taken to the hospital. Oz grabbed his hand to hold and he calmed back down. "We've been working on getting everything very stable. The only thing we have left is Willow's signature problem."
"Signature problem?" Giles asked, looking around his lawyer at them. "What signature problem? She signed the children over to us."
"She sighed them over to *me*," Xander said, not looking at him, "but she only signed her first name."
"Has she made any contests against the adoption?" the Judge asked.
"Not yet," Oz noted. "We've cut off contact with her for something she's done."
"We've also noticed her hanging around the house again," Xander said grimly.
"Xander, if it comes down to Willow, call upon me and I will come help you," Giles said gently. "You are not able to deal with someone with her abilities."
"I know," Xander said, finally looking at him. "For that, we were willing to call on you."
Giles nodded. "Thank you. I wouldn't want those children harmed. Not by *any*one."
Oz nodded. "Good to know. Did you have any other desires from this split?"
"I would like to keep the option for the house on the other side of the property and I would also like to have my stated visitation request." He looked at the judge again. "I'd also like to ask for one other thing. I want the children to go to Doyle's school or be home schooled. I have no desire to see my...their children ruined by a public school education."
"Going to be done anyway," Oz noted.
"Good. Other than that, I would like to reiterate that I am here for the family if they need my...special skills. If only to keep Xander from trying to work his own will."
"Not going to happen," Xander noted. "And Homer's been picking up on it too. He's got Willow's and Tara's stuff still."
Giles sighed. "Fine. You may send him to me if you need to also."
"Actually, we've recently found out that Wesley knows a lot more than he's let on," Oz told him. "How much magic was included in your training?"
"True," Giles agreed. "Maybe that will comfort him in his old age. How is he anyway?"
"Fine. The two Spike's got him to feed voluntarily and we've found a type of blood that draws him pretty quick," Xander told him. "Kaiya seems all right with it."
"Kaiya?" Giles asked.
"The nanny," Oz told him. "The one Spike found for us," he said when the older man looked confused.
"*Spike* found you a nanny? What is she?"
"Oh." Giles blinked a few times. "That's fine. They're fairly trustworthy. Very gentle with their own cubs."
"Speaking of other species," Oz asked. "Have you been having a lot of problems with your stomach?"
Giles went pale. "Yes, and I do know the reason. Thank you for sending that note to remind me, though I didn't need it. She and I have been having a long discussion and have come to an agreement recently also." He turned back around and looked at the judge. "I think that's all I need from them."
"No monetary reimbursement?" the judge asked, ignoring the prior conversation lest he have to think about what they had said. Giles shook his head. "Nothing that you're entitled to from the palimony agreement?" Giles shook his head again. "All right," he sighed, grabbing a pen. "My earlier warnings still stand and I will be watching for news articles about the children," he said as he signed the agreement Giles' lawyer had put in front of him. He stopped to read one clause. "We never discussed this." He looked at the remaining couple. "He wanted to stipulate any children that he might have and need to ...hand off should go to you."
Xander squeezed Oz's hand hard. "I'm not sure about that," he admitted. "I won't hold it against the child, but..."
"We'll do it," Oz said, looking at Giles. "First off?"
"It's an 'in case' clause," Giles said gently. "Not a 'when it happens' sort."
Xander nodded. "Then if you need us to take care of any children, we will." He took their copy of the agreement and handed it to Oz. "Is that all?"
"Yes," the judge said, giving him a smile. "You're now officially broken up in the eyes of the law."
Oz folded the paper and put it into his briefcase. "Thank you. Giles, if you need us, call on us," he said as he stood up, helping Xander stand and get his balance before they left the office.
The judge looked at Giles. "Why didn't you want it?"
"Because they'll need it," Giles said with a sad smile. "What Xander is was a blessing, not the curse I made it out to be. One of my assailants made sure I knew the truth." He stood up and shuffled out, going back to his new apartment to rest.
William wobbled after the girls and the Arwynn cat, cooing at the cat. He *really* liked to play with tails, his friend Strife had shown him how fun they could be, so he was wandering around trying to get a tail to play with. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a longer tail, a wiggling tail. And he grabbed it, with both hands, sitting down to suck on the tip.
Kaiya let out an animalistic scream and sunk her claws into the floor, cursing in every language she knew before she turned to look at the young boy. She turned to glare at the boy. "Let go," she hissed.
"What happened?" Xander asked, coming into the room as fast as he could. He saw William, he saw Kaiya. He saw how Kaiya had nailed herself to the floor instead of turning around and smacking his son. And he felt better about her. If she hadn't hurt him then, then she probably wouldn't, no matter what sort of demon she was. "Hey, William," he said, picking up his son and removing the tail from his mouth and hands. "Maybe you shouldn't play with the Auntie Kaiya's tail. Okay?" The baby babbled at him. He looked at their nanny. "You okay? Not, um, sprained or anything?"
"No, just yanked," she sighed, turning back into a human, rubbing her backside. "William, *never* pull my tail," she said, poking him on the stomach. "My tail is not a playtoy."
The baby smiled and babbled at her, waving his hands.
Xander shook his head. "I don't think he understands yet. He's still a little young for all that higher reasoning." He handed his son over, watching as Kaiya held him. "You guys okay?" he asked, some doubt coming back from how cold she seemed to him.
"Yeah, fine," she sighed, cuddling the little boy. "But Spike and I are gonna have a *talk* tonight," she said, glaring down at him. "Never grab my tail, William, it's not very good."
"Dear heavens," Wesley said as he ran down the stairs, still buttoning his shirt. "Are you all right, Kaiya?"
"Yeah, the munchkin here decided to play with my tail." She handed the baby back to Xander. "I'm going to go hit a tree," she said softly, walking out of the house to wear out her stress.
Xander hugged his son to his chest, shushing him so he wouldn't fuss. "She didn't hurt him," he told the vampire.
"Of course not. It was unexpected and might have hurt, but Kaiya would never harm the boy." Xander pointed at the claw marks in the floor. "Yes, but those are easier to sand out than it would have been coming out of his face."
"True," Xander said, smiling over his son's head. "Where's Oz?"
"Porch. We were talking, me lying on your bed." He blushed. "Xander, if I may say, you do smell rather good when you... well, um, when you....."
"He thinks you smell good when we get it on," Oz said as he walked down the stairs. "Kaiya okay?"
"Fine. She's out beating up a tree so she didn't take it out on him." He handed William over for a kiss from his other father. "He grabbed her tail."
"Ah. Yeah, that's gotta hurt," Oz agreed, cradling his infant son. "Don't grab the Kaiya, William. Never grab the Kaiya." He looked up and saw how comfortable Xander was, then nodded. "You like her now?"
"I respect her now," Xander corrected. "She didn't hurt him. That took a lot of caring about him." He reached over to touch his son's head. "He's fine, so's she."
"Xander, about what that one person, Methos, promised me....." He glanced outside. "Do you think it'd be a problem? Me finding someone like him and keeping him?"
"Probably not," Oz said, shrugging. "You can't keep him here, but hey, it's your cash." Wesley looked at him. "We don't want to show the children slavery, Wes. If it was a voluntary relationship then we wouldn't mind at all. We could make them the housekeeper," he said, grinning at Xander. Who just shook his head and walked away. Oz shrugged and went back upstairs, he and Wesley had been having a very interesting conversation about the differences in body scents related to mood swings.