A Short Joining Piece.

Xander walked out onto the porch and looked at the cops rushing up to them. "What's up, guys?"

"We have reports that there's been a homicide here, sir," the officer that made it to the porch said, pushing him out of the way.

"Unless you have a warrant," Oz said from the doorway, but he was pushed aside also.

Blair pulled out his ID and showed it off. "I'd like to know what's going on here, gentlemen," he said. "I just got here and haven't seen a body yet."

The officer checked his ID. "Sir, it was your wife that called us." He looked around the kitchen. "Not in the house, but we're to secure the house until she gets here with your team."

"And who's supposed to die?"

"All we know is it's supposed to happen around the house, sir," he said, standing at attention as the Sheriff walked in. "Sir, it's not happened yet."

"I know. She said within the hour. Relax." He nodded at Blair, bringing him out to the porch. "Listen, this is strange to us, but we've got to take this seriously. All we know is that someone's going to be coming out of the woods and they're going to die."

"Okay. Where's Xander?"

"Um, I think he's presently fuming in his husband's arms," the Sheriff said tactfully. "One of the officers got a little butch."

"I'd put him somewhere where Oz can't find him then," Blair said, going out to talk to the boys.

"I'm going to kill him," Oz mumbled, glaring at Blair. "Where is he?"

"He's fine," Xander said. "It's okay. I'm not harmed. He won't do it again, or I'll beat him myself."

Oz mumbled something and went into the house. Then there was a crash and an officer came running out. "You man's crazy," he yelled as he ran down toward where the cop cars were parked.

"Oz," Xander sighed, walking into the house to stop him from taking a swing at another cop. "They didn't hurt me and I'm sure the idiot who pushed me won't do it again." He looked at the Sheriff. "Right?"

"Very true. If he tries, I'll have him out writing nighttime parking tickets."

"Didn't want to get him killed," Oz grumbled, putting the frying pan back on the stove and turning to look in the refrigerator. "Xander, you hungry?"

"Very. Want to make something wonderful for me?"

"Let me. You two could use some time alone," Blair said, taking the eggs from Oz's hand. "Scrambled, fried, or otherwise?"

"I was going to make fried rice with the left-over rice from our last Chinese attack," Oz told him.

"Um, I tossed that out. It was fuzzy."

"Rice gets fuzzy?" the officer walking in asked.

"Only when it's been in the refrigerator for over a month," Blair told him. "Okay, so what else can I make you?"

"A little more private?" Oz suggested dryly, glaring at the cops.

"Sorry, I talked to his wife," the Sheriff said quietly. "I can't let this go, no matter how she's getting her information, boys. I really didn't want to descend on you like this, but it's been a long time since anything exciting happened in our department."

"Go apply in town," Xander told the cop. "There's *plenty* of excitement over there."

The officer shook his head. "No, way. They get dead quickly." He walked out onto the porch, going to walk around the house and check out as far as he could.

Blair patted Oz on the back. "Go relax in your office, or with Xander. Or hey, go clean the barn if you really want to be alone," he said with a smile as Oz shook his head.

"Already did that," Oz noted, going to his office. "Xander, come tell me a story?" he called.

"Sure." Xander grinned at Blair then walked after his lover, going to keep him calm until the calvary could show up.


Oz looked up from his trimming Xander's toenails for him when he heard the squeal and pounding of many feet running. "Hey!" he yelled, getting up to go yell at the cops. "Oh, okay. Xander, dead person coming out of the trees."

"Wow," Xander said, resting his chin on Oz's shoulder. "She was right."

"Of course she was," Blair said as he walked past them. "Hey, look, wild animal gorings."

"Human claws, not animal," Oz judged, then shook his head. "Never mind. Probably a local forest spirit."

"Nah," Xander said, kissing the side of his honey's neck. "Human, pissed off person though. Pure rage." Blair looked at him. "What? I've been that pissed a few times. Kaiya, where's the kids?"

"I just moved them," she called down the stairs. "I also called Homer's pager and left those two a message not to come home yet."

"Cool, thanks," Oz called, walking Xander out to go look at the body. "Hey, I know him. He works for me at the porn store outside of town." All the cops looked at him. "What? He's an employee. He shows up on time. He's there whenever I go in to hand out checks." He shrugged. "You get to know the guy when you hand him his paycheck every two weeks." He looked down at the body again. "Bummer. Hey, Xander, gonna put in another application?"

"I thought I was still on the list," he said, looking confused. "You promised."

"Point. Okay, you're on the list. I'll talk to the manager tomorrow." He led Xander back up to the house, narrowly missing Sam, who was looking a little heavy, and Jim as they ran down the hallway. "Hey," he called after them, waving.

"Funny," Blair sighed, rolling his eyes.

"Hey, Blair, has Sam gained some weight?" Xander asked. "And she's kinda very glowing."

"She's pregnant, Xander," he said. "You remember that state, right?"

"Yup, so stick with the glowing and ignore the weight," Oz advised, leading him back into his office. "I'm taking care of claw boy's toes. We'll be in here if anyone needs us." He shut the door and groaned, leaning against it. "Just what we need. Another person with claws."

"It could be worse," Xander pointed out. "It could be someone we know going off."

"Point. At least it's not that," Oz agreed, sitting down to finish clipping Xander's toenails for him.

On the back porch, someone tapped on the door, smiling at the young woman who answered it. "Excuse me, is Kaiya here?" she asked Sileya.

"She's out back, watching the cops work," Sileya said, smiling back. It was nice when someone smiled at you instead of trying to kill you. "I can get her for you."

"Please. Tell her her mother's here."

Sileya opened the door and let her in. "Come on. We're *real* happy to have your daughter here. And she's a very neat person." She led the way to the front porch. "Kaiya, your mom's here," she called from the hallway.

Kaiya burst through the door, giving her mother a panicked look. "Mom?"