Xander walked into his apartment after almost two weeks and fell onto his sofa, clutching the baby tightly to his chest. He looked over his shoulder at where Willow, Buffy, and Oz were making snacks, holding her up so she could see. "See, they're happy you're home too." He smiled at Giles as he walked in, squeezing her one last time before handing her over. "Here, other dad."
Miri watched the party for her homecoming from this new perch, trying to grab the balloons Auntie Buffy had brought her. She finally captured a string but her daddies took it from her so she started to cry.
"Hey, meany," Buffy said, handing her the balloon itself.
"Babies suffocate on balloons," Willow told her. She came over and took it back, letting it go so it hit the ceiling. "Those are look-but-don't-touch stuff. Sorta like the computer."
Oz snorted. "She and I surf all the time." He walked out, sitting next to Xander to hug him. "Hey," he said quietly. "We okay?"
"Yup." He looked toward Giles. "Found out two things today. My insurance won't cover her being that sick for that long and the city offered him a wad of money so he wouldn't sue them again." He waved at his daughter. "My deductible's set too high," he explained to ease the growing frown. "And they don't cover experimental drugs, which she was on part of the time." He slumped into the welcoming arms. "So, there goes the rest of my hospital settlement I guess."
"And more, possibly," Buffy said. Everyone looked at her. "Hey, my last stay, the bills were like close to two grand for that one night in the ER." She shrugged. "I can only guess at what hers is going to be."
"I talked to someone there and they said close to sixteen grand." Giles winced. "Yeah, well, that's almost all of my hospital settlement that's in the free and clear account so I'll pay it that way." He leaned over to tweak her toes. "You're worth that much and so much more," he told her.
"Ahh," everyone said, the girls going back to the kitchen, talking quietly as they made food. Until that one thing Willow said- loudly.
"You're dating *Anya*!"
Xander looked over his shoulder, giving them his best dry look, a direct impersonation of a look Giles used to give him. "At least they'll match in the stamina department." He caught the onion she tossed at his head. "Why are you cutting onions?"
"Because I wanted some," Willow said. She walked out, taking it back. "Thank you. At least you didn't bruise it." She and Buffy brought out trays of food, setting them on the coffee table so everyone could get some, and turned on the tv, which fascinated Miri.
Xander opened up the bill from the hospital and almost died of shock. He blindly picked up Oz's phone, calling the number at the top. "This is Xander Harris," he said, getting comfortable. "No, I talked with someone in your department before I left and they said sixteen, not sixty." He winced, looking down the list of charges. "She didn't have these things. And she didn't have a private room, they just didn't put another patient in with her." He shook his head. "Not the point. You guys screwed up. Yeah, majorly. From *sixteen* to *sixty* is a hell of a jump, lady."
Oz came out, taking the bill and the phone from him. "Hi, no this is his partner. Yes, I am looking at the bill and I can tell you that she wasn't eating meals and neither was he." He sat down in the chair, looking at his lover. "No, that wasn't even her room number. She was in four-twelve." He rolled his eyes. "Yes, there is." He covered the mouthpiece. "That floor's apparently closed now." He uncovered it. "If you'd just check your records...." He sighed, tapping his foot as it hung over the arm of the plush chair. "Yes, four-twelve. Miriam Harris. Yes." His mouth fell open. "For what?" He looked at Xander. "She was on life support?"
"No, not that I remember. A few IV's, a monitor for her heart for a few hours after surgery." He took back the phone. "What now?" He listened. "No, that wasn't her. My daughter had a ruptured appendix. She had a long and messy surgery and ..." He shook his head. "Forget it, I'll be down there tomorrow." He hung up, frowning at the slightly older man. "Pains in my asses." He put the phone back in the charger, turning so he was resting with his feet up. "This sucks."
"Truly," Oz agreed. "Sunnydale getting us back for winning." He stood up. "Want to come see my cage?" Xander got helped up and they walked into the new combination office and cage area. "Don't pull on the bars yet, it's not welded."
Xander walked into the space, looking around at the comfy spots Oz had put in. "Nice, I could live here. Put in a potty and a shower." He walked back out, grinning. "So, what can I do to help?"
"Not a thing," Oz told him. "I have a buddy coming in to weld for me. He helped with my last cage. Thinks I write better music in there." Xander snorted, licking the side of his face. "Don't do that," he sighed, rolling his eyes. "I'm supposed to do that." He grabbed his lover, licking up the side of his face. "Come on, let's go fix this problem while he has Miri downstairs."
"Was kinda convenient to have had that space fixed for him and had all his stuff moved in when he got out of the hospital. And I don't think I'll ever forget the look on his face." Xander grabbed the bill off the couch, taking his keys from Oz's hand after checking both doors again.
Oz looked at the statement, shaking his head. "Nope, still not the right case." He looked up as someone else walked in. "Tell me you're the manager," he said quietly, handing back the wrong bill.
"Yes, actually I am. Is there some problem I can help you with? I'm Bob, by the way." He shook their hands.
"Seems my daughter's charge sheet got mixed up with someone else's," Xander said. "We've seen six so far and none of them are hers but they're all marked for that room."
"Well, we would have multiple patients from that room." He sat down behind the computer at the desk, making his worker get up. "What's her name?"
"Miriam Harris," Oz said. "Little girl, less than a year old. Had her appendix removed after it burst."
The man nodded, leaning back. "Well, it says here we have eighteen entries under that name." He looked back up. "And by the ages I know most of them aren't her." He called up some of them to look. "See, we've just switched computer systems and the old files weren't compatible so we had to manually switch over." He smiled, turning the screen around. "This one?"
Xander leaned forward. "Wrong year, right thing, only hers had burst before we came in."
The manager straightened his tie, going back to work, searching a different way. "Okay, little infant, ten months, burst appendix complicated by air travel?" He looked up to see the nods. "Okay, and this was when?"
"Um, two weeks ago," Xander said. He tossed over the false bill. "Everything listed on this was right except the charges. She wasn't on oxygen, she wasn't on life support. An IV, at one point two, but otherwise a lot of antibiotics."
The man read it, leaning back and frowning. "I know this isn't yours, I remember this case. And you shouldn't have gotten a bill until the end of the month when the system was checked." He held the paper up the to screen, typing in something else. Then he smiled. "Think I found it." He turned the screen back so they could see it. "That her?"
Xander read and nodded, smiling. "Yeah, that's the one that they showed me when I asked before we left. How much?"
"Well, I can print you out a bill, set up payment options," he said as he hit the print button. "And it looks like just under ten grand."
Xander pulled out his checkbook, writing it out. He handed the check over. "That enough?"
The man nodded, smiling. "Thank you sir, we'll put the thirty six dollars over into the new children's ward fund."
"Decorating still?" Oz asked. He had seen the article in the paper too.
"Actually, yes, we are." He grimaced. "But there's been some debate with the decorators."
Xander grinned, leaning back, after putting his checkbook up. "Have the parents do it. I did my whole house while recovering from surgery, which helped me work out my frustration and stuff." He took Oz's hand. "Got animal stencils and everything."
The man smiled, picking up the phone. "Not a bad idea. And I'm sure that the art department at the high school and college could use some extracurricular stuff to do." He held up a finger. "Mary, Bob. Yeah, actually, this is. One of the people down here straightening out his bill, suggested that we let the parents and others paint the nursery and rooms. Stencils and volunteers." He laughed lightly. "Well, the high school has that community project requirement. With stencils, anyone could do it." He nodded. "Just an idea, thought I'd check with you." He hung up. "She'll bring it up in the committee and I'll happily bring up this computer problem." He typed in something else. "Okay, it's marked paid and filed again. You're all set." He handed over the copy of the bill and the receipt that was just printing. "Thank you gentlemen, for both the payment and the suggestion."
Oz cleared his throat. "A template system would help the computer. Sort of like a database template. Then you could cross index by whatever criteria was selected and you couldn't input the same name unless you authorized it." He tore off part of the receipt and took the pen Xander had been using, writing down a name and phone number. "Tell him Oz sent you and the problem. He designs software so should be able to work with you to design a template." He handed them both over, standing up and following his friend out.
"Hmm, our good deed for the day," Xander said, wrapping an arm around his waist to give him a hug. "Thanks for helping me get that straightened out."
"Welcome," Oz said, looking down so his smile wasn't visible to anyone else. "Come on, want to play with Miri."
"Yeah, by now she's probably driven Giles insane trying to get into the resource room."
Giles looked up as the boys walked in, sighing in relief as he handed off Miri. "She is the most horrid thing right now," he explained. "Wandering all over the store, trying to pull things on her head, crying when the resource room door wouldn't open for her." He pushed the button, letting someone go back there.
Xander caught the book as it came flying out. "Did you need this one?" he asked. The woman shook her head, smiling. He handed the book off to Giles. "You figure out what's drawing her. We just got done dealing with a new computer screw up."
Oz nodded at the older man's small hurt look. "Hospital had eighteen bills in her name and room number. So we went to sort it out and pay that bill, and gave them helpful suggestions." He looked down at the person tugging on his leg. "Jordy," he said, picking him up to hug. "Hey, fella, how's it hangin'?"
Devon walked in. "Man, his mom dropped him off for the day at our house. She was really anxious, just handed him over to me." He waved at the little kids. "Oh, hey, they can play together."
Jordy looked down at Miri and stuck out his tongue. She burst out crying. So he laughed, until Uncle Oz tapped the side of his face. "We don't upset Miri, she's only been out of the hospital for two weeks."
"She a baby," Jordy said, dismissing her. "Me play you?"
Xander picked up his daughter again, hugging her. "Sure, you guys can play together." He looked at Oz. "What about your friend?"
"He'll be up tonight. It's the same friend that works at the porn store." He smirked at Giles' unpleased grunt. "You knew I had bad friends," he reminded him.
Devon snorted. "Man, he's not a bad guy, he just gets into some of the weirdest shit..." He covered his mouth. "Sorry," he said at the glares.
"That's all right," Oz told him, patting his arm. "Come help me take the little people upstairs." He watched as their communal daughter was taken by his best friend and they walked up the stairs, talking quietly. And neither paid any attention to the floating book.
Xander, on the other hand, leaned into Giles side and giggled, clinging for dear life.
Xander opened up the three letters from the hospital, fearing the worst. And that's what he got. One saying it was past due, one saying they were going to sue him. And one saying that he was wanted to help with the renovation of the pediatrics ward. He picked up the phone, dialing the hospital again. "Hello, yes please," he said cheerfully, silently thanking the operator for remembering his voice from the other six times this had happened. "Hello, this is Xander Harris. I'm *still* getting other people's bills." He shook his head. "But I paid mine." He stood up, walking over to get a soda from the fridge. "No, that wasn't her case. No, it wasn't. Hers was paid two weeks after she got out." He sat back down, popping it open. "What? No, I am not drinking alcohol, not that it's any of your business. Is Bob there? Your manager?" He frowned. "Lady, listen to me here. I've already gone through this with seven of your friends, over *other* bills you keep sending that aren't mine. Now, either you fix it or I'm going to sue your ass *again*!" He hung up, putting his head down to regain his calm state. He looked up as someone cleared their throat. "I want to take out the hospital," he told Giles. "I really do."
"Then do so," he said simply. "Bring the store's attorney down there and make them stop." He sat down across from him. "How are you feeling?" he asked, patting his hand. "I noticed last night that you didn't eat much."
"My stomach hurts and I was craving food," Xander admitted. "I have this really strong urge for nuts right now." He sipped his soda while the older man considered the new information. "I'm just waiting for the most recent blood work to come back so I can call and find out." He shrugged, leaning his head back on the table. "Midol is a great product, Giles, really, it is." He looked back up at the quiet snickering, glaring at Willow. "How do you deal with cravings?" he pleaded.
"I give in. It's a sign that my body needs something more at that time. Sorta like you craving steak when you were younger."
Xander's mouth started to salivate without his input. "Steak?" he said quietly. He looked at Giles. "We should go eat. I need steak."
Willow snickered, patting the back of his hand. "Sure, we'll go feed you steak and nuts." She helped him up, walking him down the stairs and outside. "So, you got money, right?"
He patted his pockets and headed for the bank.
Xander walked into the store, eating ice cream with nuts, holding out a spoonful so his daughter could have some. "Hi sweetie," he said, licking off the spoon. "How are we?"
Oz looked up from his inventory form. "Good. Little slow tonight. Getting ready for the order in two days." He sniffed, turning to face the younger man. "You had *steak*? And now you're eating ice cream." He nodded, just once, and pulled him into the hallway beside the door, away from the customers. "Are you pregnant?" he asked quietly.
Xander made a sour face. "If I am, you're in deep trouble, mister." He looked around and uttered the three little letters he hadn't even wanted to say in relation to himself. "PMS, man, got cravings." Oz stepped away from him. "Oh, come on! It's not contagious." Oz nodded, walking around him to go back to work.
Xander stomped up the stairs, slamming his door.
Giles looked in on his other lover, frowning at the man lying curled up on the bed. "How are you feeling?" he asked quietly, remembering quite well what a migraine felt like.
Xander opened an eye, glaring at him. "Why are you here? I thought you'd be hiding with Oz still."
"We weren't hiding," the older man said as he walked further into the room. "You just scared him a little when you announced that you had....what you have." He sat on the side of the bed. "Have you called your physician?" The younger man nodded. "And?" he asked after a few moments of quiet.
"He said it was normal to be this bad right now but that I would even out later. Sometime next year." He sat up, moaning and grabbing his head. "No period at least. He said it was physically impossible for me to do that." He clung to Giles' shoulder, sniffing him. "You smell good," he said, pulling them backwards. "Want to cure my headache?"
Giles looked down in alarm. "You can't be serious."
"Giles, I'm horny, you're hard and I'm *really* ready to rip clothes right about now. I'd strip if you ever want to wear that outfit again."
The older man got off the bed, looking down at him. "Xander, this is highly abnormal, even for this town." He backed away from the bed, shaking his head. "I'll see you later," he said as he shut the door, running out of the apartment.
"Damn," Xander whispered, "have to tie him down next time." He shrugged, getting up and heading into his bathroom. Since Miri was with Oz, he could play in the shower. He turned it on so it was steaming up the room and got in, sighing at the good feel of the water against his skin. He could even imagine that the water running down his back in sheets was actually his lover's hands.
He imagined it was Oz, his go all night little love bunny. His hands running down his back, his fingers playing with his cock, sliding back to play with more of him. He slid a finger into each of his holes, working them lightly for now, just letting the pleasure build. But his Oz was such an oral guy, he would probably lick. So it was Giles' fingers in him, teasing him. But Giles was a taster too. He leaned against the cool tile wall, sighing in frustration. "This was so much easier before," he whispered. His whole body tensed with excitement as the door opened and a body walked in to join him. "Hey," he said.
"Hi," Buffy whispered, hugging him.
"Buffy! What the hell are you doing!" he yelled, backing away from her, climbing out and quickly wrapping a towel around his waist. "What the hell are you doing in my shower?"
Oz walked in, looking from her to him and back. "Something you wanted to tell me?" he asked dryly.
"She climbed in, I didn't invite her," Xander stammered, turning toward him. "I really didn't, Oz, I wouldn't. You know that."
"Relax," Buffy said, climbing out. "I did. I saw what he was trying to do so wanted to teach him how to." She shrugged, pulling her clothes back on slowly. "I mean, we all know I know how."
Oz nodded slowly, getting out of her way so she could leave. "Ho," he whispered once she was gone. He turned, taking his lover into his arms to hold him. "I know you didn't want that," he whispered, soothing him by rubbing his back. "Why are you hard?" he asked, pulling back.
"Horny," he explained, diving in for a hard kiss, pushing Oz back against the doorframe. "I was in there to help myself because I frightened Giles," he said between kisses. "I just want it so *bad*, Oz, please," he begged.
Oz pulled away and headed out of the apartment, making the younger man pout and start after him. "Come on, I gotta work," he complained, making it out the door and shutting it between them.
"Definitely need stronger bonds," Xander whispered, going back to his shower to figure out how to do this himself.
Giles and Oz looked up in desperation at Xander's doctor, watching him hold in his laughter. "It wasn't funny," Giles told him. "He was ready to rip our clothes off and have his way with us."
Oz nodded. "He chased me across the apartment."
"Well, gentlemen," the doctor said, settling down again, leaning on his cluttered desk, "sexual drive is linked to testosterone, which he has more than enough of. Actually, he's running a little high again. But sexual desire is also linked to the time of the menstrual cycle in women. So you have a high hormone rate combined with a normal drive. I don't know a way to cure it for him, you'll just have to live through it until he evens out again."
"Can't you put him on hormones to even him out," Giles asked, about ready to fall to his knees and beg, and he would if they weren't so sore. "It took both of us to wear him out this morning and we're both quite sore now." The doctor smiled a little at that, covering it with his hand. "I don't know if I can live through a week of this."
Oz shook his head. "I know I won't. I've *never* been that bad." He looked out the window. "He's so hungry for it, everything has become sexualized."
"It only lasts for about five days, guys, take it easy. And don't damage him." They gave him incredulous looks. "Not going that way?"
"No, he has this innate need to dominate," Oz said. "He woke us up many times last night by rolling us onto our sides." He shivered. "Now I know what my ex's felt like when I did it to them. Only if it was once a night."
"I got five," Giles said, shifting uncomfortably. "Do you think that if we had some... role reversal, that it might help?"
"Could," the doctor admitted, looking at his calendar. "How long has this been going on?"
"A week!" Oz moaned, grabbing his head. "Started with cravings and headaches and jumped to sex."
The doctor looked at the calendar and nodded. "He should be out of it by tomorrow. If not, drag him down here and I'll give him some female hormones to balance him out again." He smiled at Giles. "Your suggestion to switch sides may be the easiest way though. Expect him to be frantic if you try. He may disagree until you touch him then he'll cling until you're worn out again."
Oz sighed. "We need to take vitamins. We sound like bitter people because we get too much sex." Giles patted his arm. "Okay, we can do that. One more thing though. Are you *sure* he can't get pregnant? Like could swear and not get struck down by God or natural disaster?"
The doctor nodded. "As far as medical science can tell, he's not able to get pregnant without some help."
Giles sighed, slumping in his chair. "Thank you. He's been craving some of the oddest combinations."
"Steak and ice cream for dessert, with nuts."
"Protein and sweets, normal," the Doctor responded.
Giles glared at him. "It is?"
"Many women crave protein during their cycle, and sugar is one of the most well known cravings. Chocolate especially."
Oz grimaced. "Wondered why he was sucking on a bottle of chocolate syrup last night."
"It's his first time guys, and it's scaring him as much as it does you. By next month, he'll have some control. Maybe increase his protein intake to compensate before it starts. Try and keep him away from the caffeine and the sugar, if possible, and just ride the rest of this one out. He'll live and so will you."
"Maybe," Giles said. He got up and they shook hands, going out to the car.
Oz looked out the front window, frowning. "Should we interrupt his and Cordy's food fest?"
"Do you really want to get between him and the Ben and Jerry's?" Giles countered.
Oz shook his head. "Not in this lifetime. Let's go see Wesley and Miri."
"Indeed. A sane presence would be more than happily acceptable."
Angel looked up as Giles walked into his apartment. "Hey, we're hiding from those two. What's up with him anyway?"
"He had a prior surgical mistake fixed," Giles said, sinking down onto the couch and accepting their daughter on his lap. "How are we, Miri? Hiding too?"
"Daddy!" she said, clapping.
Wesley looked around in fear. "Where?" Angel patted his shoulder. "Oh, good." He looked at Giles in desperation. "The boy is positively mad. Or possessed."
"Told you he wasn't," Angel said, hitting his helper on the shoulder. "Just hormonal." He looked at the other two men, seeing their scared look. "Hey, Harris," he said, following their eyes. "No, you may not use my apartment to jump them."
"Don't want to," he pouted, picking up his little girl, who licked the extra ice cream he had missed off his cheek. "Thank you. Would you like some? Auntie Cordy just went out for a sundae."
Wesley and Angel both shuddered. "No," the whined together. "Please, not now," Angel finished.
"Trade ya," Oz said, pulling Xander down into his lap. "We need to talk, babe, before you kill us both." His lover pouted, giving him big, begging puppy eyes. "No, not here. We just need you to slow down. You'll hate yourself in three days or so."
"Not really," Cordy said, stepping off the elevator and handing Miri her own cup of ice cream. She sat down with her own, smiling at the men in her life. "You two are pitiful, giving them bad ideas."
Xander nodded, resting on Oz's shoulder as he turned his pouting on Giles, and Angel, who was behind him. "Yup, mean to me. Telling me to leave you alone."
Giles took Miri into his lap, kissing the top of her head. "We discussed this with your physician and he said it should be ending sometime tomorrow probably." He cleared his throat. "He also said we should try to move some in the *other* direction." Xander frowned at him. "Just allow us to try it once we get home," he begged, taking the bite of ice cream Miri put up for him. "Thank you, love. You eat the rest now." He set her down, watching her walk over to Angel and sit in his lap, smiling up at him.
"Spike!" she said happily, offering him a bite.
"No thank you," he said, putting the spoon in her mouth. "And I'm Angel, not Spike. Please don't call me Spike."
"Hey, he's become a good pet," Xander told him, still a little pouty. Angel shuddered, turning away from him. "See, he's mean to me too."
"Don't you dare go on a 'men just don't understand rant'," Oz warned. "Or it's vegetables tonight for supper." He pinched the firm behind, which was pressing back into his hand.
"Guys, he's fine. This month is special," Cordy told them. "Next month he can have control but this time he's allowed to let himself go free and play." She finished off her sundae, putting the plastic cup on the table. "And when you get two people who have PMS together, it's a dangerous thing. They feed off each other, even if they don't like each other." She smiled sweetly at Angel. "Don't we?"
He nodded, getting up to get away from the scary people, handing Wesley the baby on the way to his bedroom, closing and locking the door after saying, "Gotta nap guys, night."
Wesley and Cordelia burst out laughing, Miri joining in once her mouth was empty.
Oz laid the tired young man on the bed, stripping down to lay next to him. "Xander," he said softly, stroking down his flesh. "I know you want more," he whispered, leaning down to kiss him.
The younger man rolled them over, kissing his lover hard, pushing his erection into the one below him. His breath caught as he felt a finger enter him, pulling back to look over his shoulder at Giles. "What're you doing?"
"I'm having my own fun," he explained, inserting another finger and playing lightly with the hole. Xander almost came off Oz, then melted into him, whimpering in pleasure. "Ah, I see we were right." He slid in gradually, going very gently with him. "Do you like this, precious? Will this take the place of the needs you have?"
Xander looked over his shoulder and nodded. "Please?" he asked quietly. "Now?" He got to his knees, letting Oz escape from under him as he was stroked in and out of, sighing at the intense pleasure this act gave him. "Yeah, like, more," he babbled, pushing back.
"No, we're only gentle with you," Giles reminded him, speeding up a little. He pulled out as Oz pulled out their new gift to the youngest man, turning it on. He smiled, playing it around the openings, watching him shudder in relief. "I take it you like the idea?"
"More?" Xander whined, falling down, too weak to hold himself up anymore.
Oz took possession of the vibrator, helping himself to his lover's body, licking up his back as he teased and played. He sent the younger man over the brink time and time again, watching the easing tension in his body after the third orgasm when he couldn't come any more, and the shudders that signaled others that he couldn't hold in. "How's that?" he asked after the batteries were dead and he had resorted to tasting and using his fingers.
"More?" Xander begged, barely able to turn his head to look at them. "Just once more? Please? So close."
Oz shook his head, getting up and slamming into him, riding him hard like he wanted, bringing them both off quickly. His lover finally passed out and he lay across his back, licking his neck to taste the sweat. "We'll be okay now," he told Giles, who had fallen asleep beside them to make up for the last two nights when he hadn't gotten any.