Xander picked Miri up off the hospital bed, handing her off to Oz. "I don't know who did it, but I will find out," he promised the man lying there, kissing Giles' forehead. He looked at Oz, nodding at his chair. "I'm calling Wesley."


"Because, we need a better investigator than I am." He picked up the phone, dialing Angel's home number. "Cordy?" he asked in surprise. "Oh, okay, is he there? It's important. Tell him its work." There was a long pause in which Xander fidgeted, then he made a sour face. "Angel, I hate to do this, but we need your help." He looked at the man on the bed. "I'm not sure who did it, but Giles was shot two days ago." He started to get choked up so Oz took the phone from his hand, holding him tightly to his chest as he hung it up.

"He'll be fine," the slightly older man whispered, soothing him, keeping an eye on the baby as she sat on her other dad's chest to talk to him. "See, even Miri's calm now."

Xander nodded, wiping his eyes off. "Thanks." He gave him a gentle kiss, smoothing his hair back from his face. "Do you think it was the Council?"

"Quite possibly," came the quiet voice from the bed. "Or it could have just been general malice." Giles looked down at the baby, brushing through her hair. "Good morning, Miri love, how are we?" She smiled and crawled up his chest to slobber on his chin, ignoring his groans of pain. "Thank you. I needed that kiss, no matter who much it hurt," he said once he caught his breath. He smiled weakly at Xander. "May I have one from you also?" Both of the younger men bent down, kissing him softly. "Thanks." He closed his eyes. "Think it's time for a nap now."

Oz picked Miri up, quieting her fussing once he had pulled the chair over so she could be near him. He took a turn watching while Xander paced, watching them both.

It was about an hour after dark when Angel showed up, simply walking into the room. "Hey," he said quietly. "How is he?"

Willow looked up then out the window. "Gee, you made good time." She tossed over his chart, frowning. "He's woken up a few times but went back to sleep. Xander and Oz are napping at his place with Miri and Spike in case someone would show up again." She looked at the door as it opened, smiling at the nurse. "This is Angel, he's working for us to find out who did it."

She nodded. "As long as he doesn't disturb him." The nurse checked his vitals, taking back the chart. "Private information, thank you," she said, putting it back in its holder. "Just let him sleep, this is normal." She walked back out, making sure the door didn't slam.

Willow cleared her throat, handing over a few sheets of paper. "Everything that's happened recently." He nodded, taking the other seat and reading calmly. "Oh, except for one thing. They got paid from the city today. Not all of it but some."

Angel looked up, smiling just a little. "I'm sure Cordy will be happy to hear that."

Oz cleared his throat from the doorway. "Whatever man, we can probably afford it together." He walked in to sit on the side of the bed. "We deposited his part of the settlement today, had to argue with the bank to do it." He looked at Willow, silently telling her to leave, waiting until they were alone to say more. "There are a few things that may not be in there. Xander's mother stole a few of his books, used them to hurt Xan using Miri's power. Giles countered it somehow and Xander now has a restraining order against his family coming near them." He took a deep breath. "And it happened not forty minutes later. After he had taken his books back."

Angel sighed. "So that leaves two probable groups, the Council or Harris' parents. What about Buffy's new friends?"

"They've been helping her turn cruel and mean but otherwise we're all okay with it. Well, except your childe, who would kill them all if his head would just quit hurting." Angel nodded. "Buffy would have more reason to do this but she's been behaving recently."

"Since she got out of the hospital you mean?" Angel asked with a small smile.

"Yup, pretty muchly." Oz nodded, nodding at Willow as she handed him a cup of coffee. "Thanks, Will." He sipped carefully, watching Angel think.

"So, how?" she asked, sitting on the edge of the bed. Until she got kicked. "Sorry, Giles, she said, turning to look at him. "Hey, you're awake again," she said, moving up to hug him lightly. "Can you stay awake for a little while? Xander and Miri are at home trying to nap."

Oz shook his head. "He's sleeping. I knocked him out. Spikes' watching her." He nodded at the man on the bed. "Angel's here," he said quietly.

"Rupert," Angel said, getting up to move closer to him. "Did you get a look at the guy?" The former Watcher nodded. "Did you recognize him?"

"Cop," Giles said weakly. He squeezed Oz's hand. "Drink?"

Oz went into the bathroom, getting him some water.

"It was the person who tried to arrest Xander," he said quietly, not wanting Oz to know. "I saw him clearly. I'm not even sure if the police have filed a report yet."

Oz shook his head, helping him sit up so he could sip the liquid, wincing as he caught sight of the bandage on the firm shoulder. "No, they didn't even come in to ask questions as far as I know." He let Angel settle him back onto the newly fluffed pillows. "And for the record, I'm not going to tell him." He leaned in for a small kiss. "Or do something besides go yell at the cops." He snuggled into the firm body, resting his head on the uninjured shoulder. "We want you to get better and I refuse to let Xander go off on that guy again."

Angel smiled. "Oh, I'm sure that was a sight to behold." He looked around the room. "Let me go talk to a few people, see what's been done. One of us works at the station as a janitor." He nodded then walked out of the room.

"Not a word, Will, not to anyone. He called Angel but I'm not telling him who did it."

"Who did what?" Xander asked as he walked in, handing Miri off to Willow so he could take Oz's place when he got up. "Missed you," he whispered, clinging to him like he was going to be taken away. "Really missed you."

"I'll be home soon," Giles promised, stroking his hair, squeezing Oz's hand with his other hand. "Very soon. Even the nurse said so this time." He looked up at the older of his two lovers. "I have two shoulders," he said, wanting to ease the jealous look.

Xander got up, sliding off the bed. "Your turn," he said, grabbing Miri and sitting in the chair closest to the bed. "That should hold me for a few hours maybe." He looked down at his daughter, seeing her watch her reflection in the window. "Do you see you or another baby?" he asked.

"Another baby according to teachers," Willow told him. She sat down in the other chair, watching Miri watch the window. "Who's out there?" she asked quietly.

"We blocked it," Oz told her. "It was getting dangerous to let her keep playing with it. She's been drawn to magic books recently." She nodded, sighing in defeat. "Give her a few years and we'll release it." She nodded again, leaning back. Oz looked down, smiling at the sleeping face. "You rest, Rupe, we're not leaving."


Xander walked into the Police station, frowning at the man behind the desk. "I'd like to check on the status of my friend's case. Who do I talk to?"

"Which one?" he asked, very bored. "Robbery? Auto theft?" He flipped a few pages. "Looks like that's all we have open."

"Try shooting," he said, letting some of his anger flow out now. The officer looked at him. "Not three hundred feet from your doorstep? Sound familiar?"

The officer shook his head, motioning another officer over. She smiled at him. "What can I do for you?" she asked, leading him to her desk.

"My friend was shot about four days ago, outside your building. I wanted to check on the progress you've made."

She frowned, looking at the list she had on her desk. "We don't have a shooting. We have a stabbing but that was a domestic." She put the paper back down. "You said he was shot outside? Like right outside?"

"As in the street parking spaces." He calmed himself down. "Rupert Giles, ring a bell?" She nodded, holding up a finger and getting up to walk into an office. He was motioned in there by her. "Does anyone actually have an open case on the shooting?" he asked the man whose desk plaque said he was a Captain. "Or am I wasting my time."

The man waved at a chair. "I'm not sure. I sent her to check on it for you. Now, you said it happened outside? In our parking lot?"

"In the spaces on the street. Two of your officers helped us to stabilize him until the ambulance could come." He coughed lightly. "I had noticed that no one came to ask questions so I thought I should check."

"Yes, well," he said, pausing when the female officer came back in, whispering in his ear. "Thank you." He waited until the door was closed again. "It was written down as a drive by." Xander shook his head. "No?"

"Nope, sniper attack from a roof." He picked up a piece of paper and a pen, checking to make sure that nothing was written on it first, and sketched out the scene. "We were here," he said, pointing with the tip of the pen. "He was hit here," he pointed to his right shoulder, "and the bullet came from above because it grazed the car's roof." He handed it over.

The Captain nodded, looking at it. "You sure?"

"I was on the other side of the car from him. Almost directly across from him and it didn't hit me." He took a deep breath. "Why isn't this being investigated? Does it have something to do with those two officers that tried to get me on false charges?" The other man smiled, leaning back. "'Cause if it does, I gotta tell you, we have a friend who's a PI and I'll gladly call him."

The Captain nodded slowly. "If you're that unsure of us, you might want to do that."

"Listen, it's been *four* days," Xander said, standing up to pace, "and nothing has been done yet. What am I supposed to think?" He stopped to look at the other man, seeing his reflection in his forehead due to his receding hairline. "Give me a clue here, let me know what's going on." He sat back down. "Please."

"Son, this is just a paperwork screw up. We'll open a file immediately, talk to the two boys who helped you, and look at the evidence." He smiled kindly. "Don't worry about it, let us do our jobs." He sat back up. "Now, is there anything else?"

"No," Xander said, standing up, shaking his head. "Nothing." He walked out, heading out of the station and directly into Oz's hug. "They don't even have a file," he said, walking down the street with him. "Who's at the hospital now?"

"Wesley. And Miriam since she wanted to see him." He led him into the store, nodding at the person they had hired to help them. "Go take a nap and I'll go check on him." Xander headed up the stairs, slowly trudging. Oz waited until he heard the door close before going out to the register. "How's things?" he asked, pulling out the phone and dialing the hospital room. "Hey, me, what's going on?" He nodded a few times. "Okay, no, we're back at home." He hung up. "He's awake a little more now." He looked up as the store's door opened, frowning at the officers who walked in. "Yes?"

"Mr. Osbourne? We need to ask you a few questions about the incident you were involved in." He tried to turn Oz to cuff him but he found himself on the floor.

Xander walked down the stairs. "Gentlemen, we were both standing there when he got shot," he said coldly. "If you had talked to the two of you that helped us, you might know that." He looked at one of the officers that had harassed him almost six months earlier. "You, get out of my store, now."

"We have reason to question you both," he said, pulling out his handcuffs. "You know this drill, turn around."

"Not without an arrest warrant," Angel said from the doorway to the back room. He walked part of the way out, avoiding the few strips of sunlight. "You have no right to arrest or detain without probable cause and you have none." He crossed his arms. "Go now or I'm calling the State Police to investigate *you*."

The officers walked out, snarling threats at them all.

Xander smiled at Angel. "Thanks man." He looked at Oz. "You okay?"

"Yeah, I'm fine," he said, hugging him briefly. "I'm going to the hospital. Hold the fort."

Xander silently handed him the extra diaper bag, watching him walk out. "Why can't you let me help?" he asked his missing presence. He nodded at them, heading back up to his room. He had some planning to do.


Xander smiled at the man sitting across the lawyer's table with him. "I want them stopped." He shrugged. "Not too difficult a request." The Police Officer smiled. "And you have enough information now to do so. I have one question, are you going to do your job or do we have to suffer more from this city?"

The State Trooper, the local Division Commander actually, leaned back in his chair, tapping the top of the folder that had been handed to him. "You know we investigated them earlier this year and they refused to indict." He opened it, frowning at the witness description form inside. "He's reliable?"

"He was looking in that direction, he had his glasses on, so I'd say yes." Xander smiled sweetly. "I'm leaving this in your hands so I don't do something stupid against them. All I'm asking is that you try, that you start an investigation and deal with the guilty parties. No one in the local department has even tried to find out anything. No questions, no files. Nothing. And later on the day that I went in to check, the same officer that had harassed me showed up to try and arrest me and my business partner." He grimaced. "Said we did it because we were standing there. Fortunately, we have witnesses to the action."

The officer flipped a few more pages. "We should have enough here to bring him in for questioning." He closed the folder. "Mr. Harris, cops like him make me ill, physically sick, and I assure you, I want him gone as badly as you do for the discredit he does to the uniform. Let me handle this." He stood up, shaking his hand. "Thank you for doing all this work."

"Hey, I have a friend that's a PI and he did part of it too." The officer smiled, walking out. Xander turned to look at their lawyer. "So, now what?"

"Now, you wait. They tend to move fairly quickly and in this sort of case, they're always careful." He smiled, shaking the young man's hand. "If there's anything else? Maybe another suit against the city?"

Xander shrugged. "I'll let you know, gotta talk to Giles." He stood up, walking out. He smiled at Willow, taking Miri from her. "Did Giles make you come home?"

"He's at Oz's. They released him this morning." She patted the car. "Want a ride?" He nodded so she took the baby, buckling her into her car seat. "Come on, let's go," she said happily, driving them home.

Xander bounced up the stairs, knocking on Oz's door as he got his own open. "Hey, how's he doing?"

"Fine," Oz said. "What were you doing?"

"I was asking the State Police to get involved in the case. To take it over, actually." He felt the glare on his back so turned around. "I talked it over with Giles first and he said it would be all right." He handed Miri over for a kiss, which she got. "We're going to go nap and eat. Send him over if you want some privacy or whatever." He walked in, shutting his door calmly, leaning against it. "Oh, Miri, I think I screwed up," he whispered. "He's pissed at me." He walked her into her room, setting her in her crib, covering it with the netting and making sure it was pulled taut so it couldn't fall in while she slept. "Night baby," he whispered, heading back out to the kitchen. He found Oz sitting at his table so sat across from him. "Why are you mad at me?" he asked quietly. "I didn't do anything."

"I'm not," Oz told him. "But you're the second person whose said that." He looked up from his cookie. "Want one? I baked them for Giles." He pushed over the plate.

"No, I want to know what I did wrong," Xander said again. "I'm feeling the chill here and it hurts, Oz. What did I do wrong?" He looked up, seeing the small head shake. "So why the freezer treatment?"

"I'm not." He munched another cookie. "How you feeling? Your surgery and all?"

Xander stood up, walking over to the fridge to pull out some milk. "I'm fine. Have been. Little sore sometimes but he said to expect that." He turned around and Oz wasn't there. "Um, you leaving?" he asked the rooms at large. When he didn't get an answer, he walked back to watch his daughter sleep, slowly rocking himself in the rocking chair beside her bed.


Giles looked up as Oz walked into their bedroom, smiling at him. "Did you talk to him?"

"Yup, he's putting Miri down to nap." He sat on the side of the bed. "I'll invite him over later."

The older man sighed, rolling to lay against his lover's chest. "Oz, what's wrong?" he asked gently. "Did I, or did he, do something wrong? Something that upset you maybe?"

"No." But it was obviously a lie. "Just a little stress over the situation," he admitted after an intense staring contest. He pulled back. "You're happy with him, right?" Giles nodded. "What about with what we have? You two are *way* serious and I'm kinda the hanger-on now." The older man tried to pull him back down but he resisted. "No, I'm serious. I'm feeling like the third wheel here and it bothers me." He lay his head down on his pillow, closing his eyes. "I'm jealous," he admitted. "And that scares me."

Giles hugged him to his chest, letting him soak up the comfort he exuded. "I love you both, in different manners and for different reasons for sure, but I do love you both." He kissed the top of the younger man's head. "You never have to worry that you're not welcome beside me."

Oz nodded, cuddling closer. "I know. I don't know why I'm upset."


Xander looked out the window from the chair, frowning at the bright and sunny weather. "Miri, we should go for a few days, let them have some time," he said. He looked back at the crib, seeing her watching him. "A nice mini-vacation to tear the stress away. We could even invite them." He stood up, going to stand in front of the window. "Our being here isn't fair to them." He turned to see Willow standing in the doorway. "We were just discussing a small road trip. A few days off to let Oz and Giles have some time alone." She nodded, blocking the way out of the room. "I'll come back," he said. "And I won't even get into trouble." She snorted. "I won't, Will, I promise. Just a few days of near solitude." He walked over to her dresser, looking at the tidy drawer he pulled out. "We could do a weekend thing." She nodded again. "Why you here?" he asked, turning to look at her.

"I wanted to know if you three wanted some time alone." She shrugged. "But if you want a mini-vacation, I guess the answer is no." He nodded slowly. "So, go have fun. They can't blame you for that."

"Yeah they can. They blame me for other stuff." He pulled her into the room, shutting the door. "I know who it was, Will, I read the reports that Angel had Giles fill out before I handed a copy of them over to the State Police this morning. And I'm more than smart enough to know why he did it, why that day, what meaning it had for him. I just think that they need some time without me to remind them of it." He looked at the door as Oz slowly pushed it open. "I was thinking of taking a weekend away," he explained.

"Just a weekend?" he asked coldly. "Not going to run away for real this time?"

"Stop it," Willow hissed. "He wants to give you a few days alone with Giles and you get pissed."

Xander laid a hand on her arm. "Don't get in the middle, Will, its not where you belong. Take her over to see him and let us argue." He waited until they were alone. "Yeah, a weekend. As in three short days. I'm not due to work this weekend and you guys obviously don't want to see me for a few days so I was going to go do a mini trip with her. Maybe take her to see some sights." He turned but the older man was gone. "I wish he'd quit doing that," he muttered, going to the closet to pull out his map from his summer trip. "Where to go for three days?" he asked it, blinking back the tears.


Giles looked up as Oz walked into their apartment, frowning at his surly mood. "What happened?" he asked.

"He did it, he left. Again." He sat down then hopped back up to pace. "How could he just leave like that?"

"Because he didn't feel welcomed," Giles said quietly, stopping him on his next pass. "Did he take everything?" The younger man shook his head. "Then why worry that he won't come back?"

"Because he likes to run," Oz said, sitting down again. "And I know he would leave for good if he could."

"Xander's not leaving us," Giles told him. "He'll be back in three days." He stroked over the smooth cheek. "You know he loves us enough to come back. And Miri would make him." That got a small nod. "Do you know where he went?"

"He left the itinerary portion of his plane tickets on the table." He handed it over. "He went to D.C.." He walked over to his computer, logging on and going to a news server, calling up Washington news to read.

Giles went back to his book, sure that he was right this time.


Xander looked up as he walked back up the stairs, juggling Miri and their bags. "Hey," he told Oz, unlocking his door from much practice. He walked inside, putting everything, including the baby, onto his bed and sat down beside them. "How's he feeling?"

"Fine. Why didn't you call?"

"Because I figured that if you needed me, you would've called the hotel." He looked at his slumbering daughter. "Let's not do this in front of her, Oz, it's not healthy." He led the way into the living room, leaving the door open a crack so he could hear her. "You knew where we were and what we had planned. You had the number for emergencies. You needed the time to be a couple again. No big."

"You ran again," Oz hissed. "You left us without even saying goodbye."

"I knocked, you didn't answer," Xander countered. "We slipped a nice note under your door and it came back. Don't *even* say I didn't try 'cause we both did."

"Xander, I never pushed a note from under my door." He looked around then lowered his voice again. "Doesn't change the fact that you decided to run."

"It was a *vacation*, Oz, one of those things normal people do." He sat on the arm of the couch, looking at his friend. "Why do this to me when I get back? Why not call and bitch or even why at all?"

"You ran from us," Oz hissed, moving closer, glaring at him. "You just ran away when things got tough."

"No, I planned on coming back," Xander said quietly. "Runaways don't plan on that." He stood up, looking down at his friend. "I didn't run away, Oz, I gave you two some time alone and I gave myself some time to think. Miri and I did some museums and some of the Smithsonian and we toured the White House. While we were doing that, you were doing what I would have liked to have been doing, cuddling Giles until he pushed you away." He looked at the open door. "Shouldn't you be in bed?"

"Yes, but you both should be in there with me. Where's Miriam?" Giles asked.

"My bed," Xander said, pointing. "I was just telling Oz the difference between a small vacation and running away but he can't seem to get past that point."

"Our arguments are ours, leave him out of it," Oz said quietly.

"If it's over my supposed hogging of him then he has a right to know!" Xander backed away from his friend. "You know what? Why don't we split him up. I'll take Tuesdays and Sunday." He walked into the bathroom, slamming the door. Until Miri started to cry, then he went into the bedroom, slamming that door and laying on the bed beside her, holding her tightly.

Oz lifted his hand to knock on the door but shook his head. "I can't do this now. We'll argue some other time." He turned, walking back to his apartment, leaving the door open for Giles.

Giles looked at both doors and sighed, sitting down. "What happened?" he called, bringing both of them. He watched both of them avoid looking at the other, so physically turned Xander to look at Oz, stopping him before he could turn away. "You can't fight. It's not good for any of us." He looked at Xander. "You planned on coming back, right?" He got a small nod. "And Oz, you planned on smothering us both in attention, correct?" The other young man nodded. "Then why are you fighting?"

"He ran!" Oz said. "Instead of talking, he ran."

"I *tried* to talk, you left while I was turned around to think." Xander stood up. "I left Miri on the comforter, I'm going to go make sure she's not suffocating." He walked into the room, coming back with her, sitting with her in the chair across from them. "He's yours, Oz, always has been. I'll step aside if it makes you feel better," he whispered, looking down at his daughter, kissing her forehead. "You'll still be dads with me, just no sex between us."

"Give her to me," Giles said quietly, sliding down onto the couch to hold her. "I won't accept that, Xander, and I can't believe you would offer."

"Hey, he doesn't want me there so I'm doing the decent, sanity-saving thing. I never said I didn't love you both. I never said I wanted to leave. I said I would if that's what he wanted." He looked at Oz, then back down at Miri. "Is she hot?"

Giles checked her forehead and nodded. "A bit." He handed her back, watching her get fussy. "Would you like to sit down and talk this out? Or are you breaking it off for real?"

"I would rather talk but Oz..." He looked up. "See? He's gone again. I went through one day of that already, Giles, and I can't take that. I love you, *both*, but I can't take him being mad at me for it." He looked up as Oz walked back in. "Decided to come back?"

"Just went for the thermometer." He handed it over. "Whatever you want, Xander, this is your call."

"No, Oz, I know what I want, I want to work this out. What do *you* want?" He looked at the thermometer. "Hmm, one-oh-one." He looked down at her. "Did the big, nasty airplane make you sick, Miri?" he cooed, until she threw up on him. "Okay, I'd say it was bad tummies." He got up, walking her into the bathroom, laying her in the empty tub until he could take off his shirt then he picked her up, running some water in the sink to clean them both up. Xander didn't look up as someone walked in, just handed off the shirt. "Could you please dump that in the kitchen sink so I can wash it?" he asked quietly, watching her closely as he sponged her off. "Yeah, we needed this," he told her, wiping her chin off again as she threw up a little more. "I think we need to go to the hospital," he said, and looked up to find himself alone.

Xander took a deep breath and did what he had to do, ignoring his own pain. He walked into her room, pulling out another t-shirt for her, pulling it on quickly, then took her to his room, dialing a cab with the new phone he had just bought as he got a new shirt on himself. He grabbed his keys, walking downstairs, and out into the early evening, covering her as best he could.


Willow knocked on Xander's door again but there was still no answer so she tried Oz's. He answered in his boxers, raising an eyebrow at her. "Where'd he go? I wanted to ask him about D.C."

Oz shrugged, leaning in the doorway. "Haven't seen him in two days. Maybe he ran again."

Xander trudged up the stairs, unlocking his door and walking inside, slamming it before Willow could get in. He walked into the bathroom, stripping quickly so he could shower and change clothes. He wanted to get back to Miri's side as soon as possible. He stepped out to find Giles holding a towel for him so he nodded, drying off as he headed for his bedroom, not even glancing at the people on his couch. He pulled out a comfortable outfit, sliding into it and his sneakers and headed back out, closing the door solidly behind him.


Oz knocked on the hospital room door, walking in. "Hey," he said, touching Xander's shoulder. "What's going on?"

"Wasn't the flu. Her appendix burst somewhere between D.C. and here." He rubbed over his face. "She's really sick Oz, and I'm scared." He patted his daughter's hand, comforting her as she whimpered in her sleep. "They're fighting a major infection right now." He looked up as he saw another shadow walk into the room. "Her appendix," he explained.

Willow simply hugged him, holding him tightly while he let go for a few minutes. Then she eased him back down into the chair, kneeling beside him. "Let us watch for a while. Go get some sleep."

"I do, right here. I'll go home later." He looked up as their Pediatrician, Doctor Amri, walked in. "Hey, good or bad news?"

"Good actually," she said, rubbing the corner of one of her eyes. "Very good. Her white count is going back down. Her fever's going back down. The infection seems about ready to end." She smiled at Oz and Willow. "Why don't you get some sleep?"

"Because I know if I go home, something will happen," Xander told her, looking up into her slightly slanted eyes. "We both know she gets worse when I'm not here."

"Her other fathers are here," the doctor pointed out, waving a hand at Oz. "Just let us deal with this. Go take a short nap."

"I'll take that cot maybe," he said, standing up to stretch, "but I'm not leaving her side." He looked up as Wesley walked in, carrying coffee. "Thanks man, you're a saint." He sipped slowly. "I'm not leaving," he said.

The doctor nodded. "Then we'll get a cot in here for you." She turned, walking out.

Pretty soon, the nurses wheeled in a little foldaway cot and set it up for him. He smiled his thanks, climbing onto it. "Any change, I want to know," he told the others in the room.

Giles walked in an hour after Oz had left the apartment, smiling at the young man sleeping on the cot then at his other lover, who was crying silently while he watched the baby sleep. He walked over, simply hugging him.

Oz looked up. "He didn't tell us."

"Would you have?" Giles asked quietly. Oz shook his head. "We're here now, that's what matters." He patted the strong shoulder, going over to sit on the side of the cot.

"No, let him sleep. He hasn't in days, except in the chair." Oz got up, walking over. "You watch her, I want to hug him." Giles nodded, switching places with him, letting him curl up behind the younger man's still form. "I'm so sorry," Oz whispered, kissing the sleeping man's cheek.

"You don't cause bad tummies, that's a virus or something." Xander rolled over to look at him. "I actually forgot to tell you. I was a little preoccupied with her when I saw you guys last." That got a small nod and Xander noticed the tears. "She'll be fine," he soothed, hugging his friend. "Everyone says so."

"Not that," Oz admitted. "You didn't want us here. I messed us up that badly." He hugged the younger man. "I'm so sorry for starting that stupid fight."

Xander pulled back. "Oz, I wished every moment for you both to be here, but every time I picked up the phone to call, she whimpered. And when I went home, except for that one time, you weren't home. I *wanted* you here so bad, I craved it." He stole a quick kiss. "Giles, come lay down," he said, getting up.

"No, I'm fine, do stay there and talk to him though." He waved at them, looking down at her.

Oz pulled the younger man back down, snuggling into his chest. "If I had known, I would have been here."

"I know."

"And I would have taken turns napping with you so you could get some rest."

"I know that too."

"I was stupid when I got jealous," he admitted.

"Yeah, that I really know." Xander pulled his friend's head up. "But I meant it Oz, if you need me to step back so you feel more secure, then I will. I won't promise not to dream or to think, but I'll back off if that's what you need to feel like I'm not taking your place in his heart." Oz shook his head. "Sorry, need more words here."

"No, I want you to stay with us, Xander, I want it really badly." He hugged him tightly. "How you feeling?"

"Fine, little woozy. Lot scared. The nurses are nice though and Wesley's been in and out since someone told him." He looked over his shoulder at Giles. "Who told you guys?"

"We heard your phone ring so Oz walked over to answer it. He came back and got his keys and left." Giles frowned at him. "He didn't tell me what was going on either."

"I was scared," Oz told him. "The nurse thought he might be at home. Said Miri had just spiked another fever." He shuddered. "I didn't like that thought at all, and I was scared about what you not telling us meant."

"I told you, it's entirely in your hands," Xander said, sliding off the cot. "I have to go to the bathroom, be right back." He locked himself inside, squeezing his eyes shut as he brought himself back under control. "So sorry," he whispered, sliding to the floor.

Giles looked at the bathroom, then at Oz, who was listening at the door. "It's a normal stress reaction for him," he said.

"Not getting sick," Oz said, trying the doorknob. "Crying still." He pulled out his wallet, popping a card into the lock and sliding in to sit beside his friend. "Hey," he said, brushing through his hair. He instantly had a lap full of hurting parent, holding him as tightly as he could. "Shh, Xan, none of this is your fault. You didn't give her bad tummies either." He rubbed the younger man's back. "The whole fight was my fears and this is yours, but she's going to get better." Xander shook his head. "No? You know something I don't?"

"She's not responding to the meds. I heard a nurse talking to Amri and she said so." He sat back up, wiping his eyes. "Her fever hasn't gone down in days, not more than part of a degree, and she's not getting better." He leaned back into the strong body again. "I'm so scared, Oz, and I don't know how to do this. I can't lose any of you."

"Hey, you're not losing us. I refuse to let you go." He squeezed him again. "Why don't we let Giles give you a hug while I go call the doctor?" Xander shook his head. "No?"

"No," he said, checking his watch. "She does six am rounds and it's three." He stood up, walking over to the sink to wash his face. "I...I'm sorry about dumping that on you."

Oz stood up slowly, walking up behind him to hold him again. "Never be sorry for being afraid. It tells you your life is worth living if you have something you don't want to lose." He turned him around, taking a paper towel to wipe off the water. "Now, let's go sit and watch over her while Giles takes a short nap." Xander nodded and they walked out, directly into the back of a nurse. "What happened?" he asked, squeezing Xander's hand.

"We just came in to check," the usual nurse said. "These are students." They all turned to wave, as one.

Xander got that creepy feeling up his back again. "Okay, but, um, how many nurses does it take to check a pulse?" he asked, walking over to his daughter's side. He looked at Giles, who was napping again, then at the nurse, seeing the difference in her eyes. "I really need to be alone with her now," he said quietly.

The nurse smiled. "I'm sure," she said sweetly, standing up in front of him. "But you should have gone home."

Oz pulled a stake out of his pocket, tossing another to Xander. He staked the first 'student nurse', watching as she turned to dust. "Crossbow would be nice," he muttered.

Xander staked the nurse in front of him, waving sadly at her. He helped Oz fight off the other ones, not pursuing the last two into the hall. "Nice that the rooms are so small," he noted. He smiled at a guard. "I found those two nurses that are running hurting my child. Could you please check their badges?" The guard hissed at him so he showed off his stake. "Wanna try? I'm angry and need to take it out. And while you're not a decorating project, you'll do." The guard rushed him and he staked him, ducking under his lunge to get behind him.

"Nice move," Oz said. "Buffy?"

"Yeah, seen her do it a few times." He brushed off his pants, looking out into the hall. "Think we should lock the door and wake Giles up?"

"Yup," Oz said. "Want me to call Buffy?"

"Is her job," Xander said as he locked the door, leaning against it. "Have any more?"

"Nope," Oz said, pulling the curtains closed. "Think Wesley's out still?"

"He and Spike went hunting demons. He considered it good practice." He shrugged. "Not my thing, but I can page him." Oz shook his head. "Okay. So check her over then we'll deal."

Oz looked down into the wakeful eyes of their daughter, smiling. "Morning precious. You awake?"

She nodded, pulling her thumb up to suck. Then she batted the lamp with a smile. "Me!"

"Ah, so that's why Giles is asleep," Xander said, coming over to kiss her forehead. "Doctor will be in soon." He helped get Giles to the cot, letting Oz make him comfy while he sat to watch his daughter sleep.

Doctor Amri walked into Miri's room and smiled at her patient. "Oh, good, you're looking much better. You might be able to go home tomorrow, young lady." She looked around the room, then at the three men napping together. "Did you do that?" she asked.

The baby nodded with a large grin. "Me!" She laughed, hugging her doctor.