Old Demons Going Away Again.
Buffy walked into the store, frowning at the people standing there. "What did you want?" she asked, crossing her arms across her chest. She leaned into Anya's body for comfort. Oz cleared his throat, holding up the bag of pills he had gotten off of Blair. She went a little pale but nodded. "I'm not addicted."
"It's still dangerous," Giles told her, walking out to grab her shoulders, giving her his best Watcher impersonation. "Buffy, we're worried that the pills make you vulnerable. We wish you to stop, and will help you stop, but until such a time has passed, we cannot allow you around the group."
She bit her lip. "But it's an occasional thing."
"That's too much," Xander said, walking over to hug her. "I know you miss the rush of fighting, but you're following down Faith's path and you're going to end up doing the same things." He pulled back to look at her. "I don't want to see you bad, Buffy, let us help."
Her shoulder's slumped. "I was clean of them for almost four months when Faith gave me some liquid stuff in a glass of water, when she came in. Before I came to drag her away."
"And the drugs made you careless so you were captured," Giles finished. She nodded, looking down. "What if it had been a demon? Or a vampire? We really don't want to lose you any sooner than we have to." He pulled her in to hug her. "I'm sorry I didn't see it sooner, but it can't continue. Let us get you some help, Buffy."
She pulled back, her cheeks wet. Then she looked up and nodded. "Okay. I could use that. But I can't do residential. I can't do my job if I'm locked up for thirty days."
"There's a group on campus," Oz told her, handing her a pamphlet. "I talked to their group leader and he's looking for you to show up tonight." She looked at the cover. "You can't bring Anya with you but she can wait outside for you." He tipped her head up, kissing her nose. "Just go once, I think you'll find others who have done the same things if not for the same reason." She nodded. "Thanks."
"Can, I, um, come back to the group?"
"Once we see you're getting better," Willow told her gently, coming over to brush down the side of her face. "I'll show you my new place and everything once you're getting better." Buffy nodded, smiling a little. "Just try. We don't expect perfection, just a really good try."
"I'll try," Buffy agreed, hugging her friend. "Be safe," she whispered, glancing at Spike. "I'm still here for you when you need me." Willow nodded so she let her go, turning to look at Xander, holding out her hand. "I'm sorry I said those things," she admitted quietly. He pulled her into a hug, making her breath quicken and a few new tears flow. "Thanks. I'll be better."
"Yeah, you will," he said, pulling back to brush off her cheeks. "All you have to do is want it." She nodded, putting the pamphlet into her pocket. "We're still here if you need us for work but until you're getting better, we're not here for friend stuff."
"Hey, I can understand that." She patted his hand. "Did they call a new one?"
Giles nodded, frowning. "She'll be here in the morning. I expect you to warn her off this instead of pulling her into it as Faith did you." They shared a look and Buffy nodded.
"I'll be a good big sister," she said, taking Anya's hand and walking with her girlfriend out of the store.
Giles pulled Xander into his chest. "Thankfully, I'm certain she's interested in changing." He kissed the dark hair. "Who has Miriam?"
"Wes, he's upstairs clutching her since he has to leave tonight. Angel has something he'll need help with." He turned in the strong arms, kissing his lover. "I missed you."
Giles smiled. "I had hoped so." He patted the firm backside he held. "Now, we should be working not cuddling together."
"I have to leave again in two days," Xander reminded him.
Oz shook his head. "We."
"We," he said firmly, staring Giles down.
"We," Giles agreed. He passed Xander to him. "Here, I'll go unlock the doors, you keep control of him for a bit."
Oz smiled, brushing over Xander's jaw with his thumb. "I could do that."
"I might agree to that, but only if we could find a horizontal, snuggly surface to do it on."
"Please," Willow moaned, Spike making gagging noises behind her.
"Hey, cuddling is good," Xander told her with a frown. "It's not like you don't get cuddles and hugs from Dead-Boy Junior there."
Willow nodded. "Definitely." She pulled Spike down into the basement room he used when he was trapped at the store during the day time.
Oz pulled Xander with him toward the stairs, heading up to his apartment. They passed the hesitant hand-over of Miri and gave Wes hugs and Miri kisses, jogging up the last floor. They walked into the newly cleaned and redecorated apartment, courtesy of a worried Xander. "Have I told you yet that I like what you did with my walls?" Oz asked him. The younger man shook his head. "Well, I do. It matches my furniture and style very well."
"You know, if we ever move in together, we're going to have a problem. Our styles don't match," Xander said as he pulled them down onto the couch, him on the bottom. "My four-poster bed wouldn't go in here at all."
"We'd work it out somehow," Oz told him quietly. "We're still a ways away from that move."
"I know, it was a random thought I had last night." He petted down the older man's back. "Giles' stuff would be a worse fit."
"I guess it would depend on where we moved," Oz noted, pulling his head up to look at his lover. "Somewhere bigger, we could use his or yours, or my, stuff in just one room. Living room might be hard, but Giles and I both like both of our couches."
"Hmm, I could get mine recovered and it would be okay. I've been thinking about that anyway since I just took a couch that was there. I chose it for the napable factor, not the color. I like the fabric on this one though, well expect when I'm naked on it then it's gross feeling."
"What's wrong with my furry couch?" Oz asked with a small grin.
"It provides friction," Xander said with a grin. "You scoot me around on it and I get rug burns." He tweaked the butt he was holding. "I think we could compromise on a good fabric and get all three recovered." His eyes got a little naughty twinkle. "We'll just have to keep Giles from the tweed."
Oz snorted, leaning down to nip at his lover's lips. "I'm sure he wants something softer. He's said he wants something between yours and mine." They shared a kiss. "Any other concerns you have?"
"Yeah, one," Xander said, wiggling to get up. When Oz stood up, he walked over to his apartment, coming back with an envelope. "This came while I was in New York."
"Another summons?" Oz asked, his voice very calm even if his hands were shaking. Xander shook his head so he looked at the letter enclosed. "Who's this?"
"My mother's mother. She's disowned her." Xander's face looked like he was sucking on lemons. "She doesn't like me either. Actually told me I was someone else's." He shrugged at the hiss. "Was better than her poodle being sicced on me."
"True, but not by much," Oz told him, finishing his reading. "Why's she contacting you now?"
"Because she just found out she has a tumor." His lover winced. "Yup, and since Mom wasn't an only child but she's already disowned her other child, I'm the last heir." He curled up on himself. "I want to tell her to leap but I have to be nice and polite, it's how I was taught."
"Will she..." He made a motion between them.
"She disowned my Uncle for being a cross dresser." Oz shook his head. "Yeah, so I wasn't sure what to do."
"We'll need to talk to Giles."
"I think he'd freak her out."
"He still has to know."
"He does. He told me it was between us, that he was uncomfortable meeting people who had hurt me and not being able to do things to them." Xander shrugged at the small hurt look. "Sorry, I saw it and was opening it in his apartment. Called the place where she is from down there too."
"So he tossed it on me?" Xander nodded. "Okay, so what did you want to do?"
"I'm not going to be hypocritical. I'm claiming you and Miri. And Giles if he'd let me."
"What if she disowns you?"
"Then it's her loss. I don't like the woman anyway." Xander uncurled, moving closer to his lover again. "I don't need or want her approval or her stuff. As far as I'm concerned, she's not worth the stress."
"I told her I'd come talk to her in a few days. Tuesday."
"Okay, I can be there." Oz turned his head, sharing a kiss with his lover. "We bringing Miri?"
"Not a chance in Hell," Xander told him against his lips, stealing a short kiss and nip. "She'll see a picture."
"Okay, I can agree with that." Oz tossed the letter, pulling the younger man on top of him and laying back. "Let's stop with the depressing topics, okay?"
"Very okay." Xander pulled back to breath. "Want you in me."
"Well, not on the couch," he said with a grin, getting up and pulling his lover toward the bed. "Grab the lube," he told Oz, letting him go outside of the bathroom.
"Ah, back to normal?"
"Yup, very normal." Xander stripped, lying down on the bed, spreading out to tease his lover.
"Hmm," Oz groaned as he walked in, shirtless already and working on his belt.
Xander sat stiffly on the couch, glancing around the waiting area in his Grandmother's hospital room. He squeezed Oz's hand and got one in return, the simple contact easing his stress level back down. Finally the nurse walked an older woman out, sitting her wrinkled, frail, almost dead looking body into a comfortable chair. "You wanted to see me?" he asked calmly, or pretending to be anyway.
"Yes," she said, looking at the man beside him. "Who's he?"
"He's my lover. He's here to keep me from walking out."
"Ah, then he wants my stuff." She laughed. "I see the family has tainted you too, boy."
"No," Xander said, standing up. "I don't want anything of yours. I have everything I could ever want." He grabbed his jacket, pulling Oz up. "Bye."
"Wait," she said, picking up the cane beside her chair to block his path. "Don't go, you're the last of us."
"Yay," he said coldly. "You don't like me and you never have. What's suddenly changed? Well besides making the rest of the family run from you." He looked down at her, Oz subtly rubbing the small of his back.
"I didn't want to treat you like that, but you have to admit, he's not your father."
"I really don't care one way or the other. I've disowned them both after they continued to hurt me and you let them." He shrugged. "Anything else?"
"Yes, sit," she said, straightening up some to glare at him. "And your boy too."
"Actually, you've got it wrong," Oz told her. "I'm the older one." He looked at Xander. "Want to leave?"
"In a minute. I like seeing her this desperate, it feels good for some reason." He snapped his fingers. "Oh, yeah, I used to feel the same way when she sicced her dog on me." He pulled Oz's hand up, kissing the back of it gently. "I'll go in a minute, go start the car?" His lover nodded, leaving them alone. "What do you want?" he asked, glaring down at her. "You're not a *real* member of my family anymore, haven't been since I was five."
She laughed then started coughing. "Oh, I know I was right to make you stronger." She pointed her cane at the couch. "Sit."
"No," he shook his head. "Nothing you ever did made me stronger. It made me so weak I had to run to others for protection." He put on his jacket. "Last chance. I'm leaving and you can die in peace."
She frowned at him. "You're the only family I have left."
"Technically, you have a great-granddaughter but you're never seeing her."
"Yours?" she asked, interested.
"Yes, mine, but you're not seeing her." She waved a hand in the air. "Anything else?"
"Where's her mother?"
"Prison. Murder and kidnapping." He crossed his arms. "Why? You're not seeing her. I'm not letting you taint another generation."
"Alexander, I know... "
He shook his head. "That's not my name, hasn't been since I started school. Like I've said, you're not seeing her and I'm not caring here." He shrugged at the nurse's dirty look. "Yay, get over it. She was a mean and evil woman and I could care less about the woman who sicced her dog on me." He looked back down at her. "Anything else?"
"Well, you're definitely your father now," she said coldly.
"Not even. Though my therapy bill's getting a little high to make sure of that fact. Anything else? I'm leaving."
"No, I just wanted to see you one last time."
He leaned down, making sure not to touch her. "I'm happy, healthy, and loved, something I've never been. You can die less guilty." He walked out of the room, silently heading for the car and sliding into the passenger's seat. "Home?" he asked quietly.
"Tylenol's in the glove box," Oz told him. His lover nodded, leaning his head back and closing his eyes. "You gonna make it home?"
"Only if you get me away from this place now."
Oz grunted, putting the car in reverse, then stopped when he saw a man in white running out toward them. "Um, company," he said, tapping Xander on the arm to point him out.
Xander rolled down the window. "What?" he asked tiredly.
"You Grandmother just coded, they sent me out here to see if you'd come back in."
Oz pulled back into the space and turned off the car, undoing his seatbelt. "Come on, let's go see what they want." He followed Xander out of the car and back into the hospice facility. They were met by an administrator, who smiled sadly and patted Xander's arm.
"Save the sympathy, she was a bad human," Xander said. "How big a bill did she leave?"
The administrator nodded toward her office, letting them follow her. She sat down, smoothing out her bright blue flowered skirt. "Not much of one actually." She opened a folder. "The sale of her house paid for her spot here and her care. There are just a few little things not covered."
"Just under four hundred dollars, though you have a few months to pay for it." She smiled gently. "She did leave word that you were to make sure her arrangements were carried out."
Xander chuckled deadly. "Oh, I think I'm the wrong person for that. I could care less if she was cut up and used for bait." The woman looked alarmed. "She wasn't well liked by anyone and especially not me." Oz squeezed his arm and he relented after a small look. "Okay, what do I have to do?"
"She's had everything planned out. All you have to do is call a few people. Her will is all settled and it's going in your favor. All of her effects will go to you and your family."
Xander shook his head. "Why?" he asked, tipping his head back. Oz rubbed down his arm. "Why did she do this to me after being so mean to her?"
"Because you were the last one who might care," Oz reminded him calmly, leaning over to hug him. "We'll deal."
"I'll save it for Miri," he decided. He sat up again, kissing his lover gently. "I'm sorry, I'm just stressed." He looked over to see the embarrassed downward gaze of the administrator. "Anything else?"
"No, everything of her's was already settled. We just need you to sign some forms." She pushed across the folder. "This will release her to the funeral home and her effects to you." He nodded, signing. "The next one is a duplicate copy for you. The last one is an authorization to her attorney to act on her behalf."
Xander read it and frowned. "I'll call him. I doubt she'd like him to do this since she was such a penny pincher." He handed it back over after writing the name and address down of the attorney's office. "Anything else?"
"Well, we would like you to take her possessions out with you, as soon as possible."
"Forty-eight hours," Oz told her. "We'll have to rent something to carry them in."
"She had a storage building with us," she said, handing over a small card. "That's the number and the key is on the back. I'll call down there and tell them you'll be showing up." Xander nodded. "Otherwise, we're done." She put out a hand and they shook it, leaving.
Xander pulled out his cellphone as he slid into the car. "Angel?" he asked when the line was answered. "Do you know anything about an attorney named Lindsey..." He snorted, shaking his head. "No, he's representing my grandmother." He nodded and hung up. "We need to stop at Angel's. Seem's you were right and this place is filled with bad."
Oz shrugged. "Okay. Good to know." He started the car, pulling out of the space.
Angel smiled at the man across the table from them. "I'm only here to guard Mr. Harris' interests." He smiled at the guard. "I'm not here for you. This time."
Xander cleared his throat. "Why are you representing my grandmother?" he asked, leaning back in the chair.
"Would you like some tea," the secretary said.
"No, thank you," Xander told her. She nodded and left. "Now then, I knew she was evil but this is a bit odd."
The sandy-haired man smiled at them across the table. "Your grandmother had made certain... deals. It's up to us to make sure they were followed." He pulled open the folder. "Now I understand you're the only child of your generation?"
"Unless my maternal Uncle had one no one knows about, yes." He shifted. "Why?"
"Because she promised her first female grandchild to him." He looked up and smiled.
Angel shook his head. "Then the deal's invalidated."
"Not quite. There was a clause about great-grandchildren." He backed up as the knife embedded itself in between his hands.
"Not a chance in Hell," Xander said. "Faith couldn't have her and neither can you." He stared down the attorney before sitting back down. "You can tell him I was disowned too, there at the last moment. There are no children in this family for him. Let him take her daughter."
"She was over the age of consent when the deal was made," he said mock-sadly, and it was obvious. "You were about five."
"Then I suggest you call him. I'm not responsible for her debts and she used to tell me I wasn't her family anyway." That made the attorney frown. "Tough."
Angel cleared his throat. "I'd call the demon. You've invalidated the contract." He grabbed the folder, reading over the contract. Then he laughed. "Oh, he can't touch you, Harris, or her." He handed it over. "There's no way that would hold up, even in a demon court."
Xander read it and nodded. "Okay." He handed it back to Angel as he stood. "Anything else?"
"You're considered her only heir," the attorney pointed out.
"Correct me if I'm wrong, but heirs don't have to be relatives, right?" Xander said, tipping his head to the side. "They're just people who inherit. A corporation could be an heir, right?" He smiled and waved. "Come on, Angel, I need my lovers." He walked out, the vampire following closely behind him. He waited until they were down in the parking garage to look at the souled vampire. "How do I fight this?" he asked quietly.
"Let Giles, Wesley, and I handle it," he assured. "No one's taking Miri from you. Or you from Giles for that matter." He slid into the car, letting the human get in to drive.
Giles lit the last candle, stepping away the summoning diagram. "There," he said, "start Wesley."
Angel walked into the basement apartment and shook his head. "There are easier ways." He picked up the phone. "This one lives here in the city, he's a very worldly demon." He hit a few of the numbers, leaning against the pole the phone was attached to. "Yes, I do. No, about the Harris deal." He shook his head. "No. No. I'd think he wanted to handle this one personally." He hung up, turning to look at them. "Summoning him would really make him cranky, as Cordy keeps telling me." He shrugged and headed for the kitchen. "I'd undo it before he gets here."
About an hour later, someone knocked on the door of the office, walking in to see Xander cuddling his daughter. "Have you decided to give yourself willingly to me?" the demon asked as he came in.
"No," Xander said, not looking up, "and you're not having her either. My grandmother disowned me with her last breath."
He laughed lightly, leaning on the desk, nodding at Angel as he walked in with Giles. "Are you so sure of that?"
"No, but I'm not honoring her deals." He looked up, straight into the black eyes. "I'm not her heir, she continually tried to not claim me." He shrugged, handing the baby to Giles as he sat down beside him. "You're not taking my daughter or me." He stood up, moving over beside Angel, just as they had planned earlier. "I'm not her heir."
Angel smiled, patting Xander's hand. "You can't expect the kid to pay for the old woman's mistakes. Two generations is a stretch. And she's dead and gone before your gift could take effect."
The demon smiled at him. "So I've noticed, but her pain and rage were most invigorating." He looked from Xander to Miri and back to Angel. "Why can't I claim him? Or her?"
"Because," Angel said, holding him back. "He doesn't fit the clause and you can't take a third generation by your contract." He pulled it out of his pocket. "As a matter of fact, it's not real solid to take him."
"Hey, he can have my mother," Xander offered.
"She was over the age of consent at the time," the demon said with a small shrug. "Otherwise, I'd take her gladly."
"She's the only real heir my grandmother had."
The demon frowned then looked over Xander's body. "But you're forgetting what you truly are," he said with a small smirk. Xander choked. "Ah, then they did tell you."
"Yes, they did, but I was already born when you made the deal according to the contract." He smirked. "I seriously doubt you'd want Faith's daughter anyway."
The demon sat up straighter. "Faith? The former Slayer?" Angel nodded. "That's *her* daughter?" Angel nodded again, smiling. "Then you're right. I want no part of that child. There are too many things said about her." He stood back up. "Consider the contract null and void."
Oz cleared his throat from the doorway, blocking the only way out. "What things?"
"Things like she'll either be one of our greatest foes or will be a neutral woman. She'll either kill us all or she'll stay out of it."
Giles rubbed over his face. "That's entirely possible. I was going to have her fortune read." He looked at the demon in interest. "Why are you so scared of her?"
"It's self-fulfilling," Xander said slowly. "If he does anything to her, she'll hate him and the prophecy will be fulfilled." He smiled at the pat to his back from Oz. "Thanks." He looked at the demon. "That's really why the Council wants her, isn't it?"
The demon smiled, walking out of the office. "I don't know why they want her, but I'd be very careful of her. She has this way of touching demons." The door closed behind him.
Angel looked down at the child Giles was holding. "That would explain why Faith didn't hurt her."
"And why Spike wouldn't," Xander reminded them. Angel frowned at him. "Hey, think about it. Spike babysitting willingly? Asking for time with her?"
Angel shook his head. "Point, Harris." He looked back down at Giles. "I could call someone to read her future. I know a few that are excellent."
"I have one in mind. She's read all of our futures." He smiled at Xander, handing the sleeping baby over. "Here, you take her, she's getting heavy." He gave up his spot on the couch, standing toe to toe with the vampire. "You'll not harm her?"
"You have my word. I would never activate the prophecy, not even my other self is that wanton of the destruction she could cause."
Xander looked up. "How?"
"Her powers," Oz said. "I'd say that it has something to do with how she can make Wes nap in an instant. She's tamed Spike with Willow too. Given all that, I'd say it's as natural as her calling the demonology books to her."
Giles smiled at him. "It would also explain her enthusiasm for the subject."
Xander nodded. "Okay, then we'll be careful about her."
Cordelia walked in carrying coffee cups. "Here, grab before I drop and mess up my dress."
They all picked up a cup in celebration, drinking quietly while they looked at the little girl, considering her future.
Xander opened up the door, almost spitting his bagel across the officer standing there's chest. "Sorry," he said, waving him inside. "What can I do for you?"
"Your mother's recently come up missing," he said, taking a chair at the table, waving at Miri, who was slopping her oatmeal around. "Cute baby."
"Thanks. My mother's missing?"
"Yes, for the last three weeks."
"Hmm," Xander said quietly, sipping his milk. "I can't tell you anything. There's a restraining order for a reason. Do you have any ideas?"
"Just that maybe she ran away. There's no evidence that she was taken against her will." He pulled out his notepad, clicking open his pen. "Do you know where she might go?"
"No, not at all, but you could show up at my grandmother's funeral tomorrow and make sure she's not there." The officer nodded. "She's being buried in LA, two in the afternoon. Restridge." The officer nodded again, writing. "Has my father said anything?" he asked casually.
"No, he's been in shock. He's actually in the hospital. One of his neighbors found him passed out in the driveway."
"And they reported it?" he asked, mock-shock in evidence.
The officer smiled slowly. "Yes, for once they did. He's still in the hospital, babbling about people in vans."
"Hmm, not a clue." Xander shrugged. "If I hear from her, I'll gladly call you, just so you can enforce the restraining order."
"What about your father?"
"Put his butt in alchie rehab. He could use it." He picked up the spoon Miri had just thrown. "Here, eat, or no playing with Daddy Oz in a few hours." She stuffed a spoonful of oatmeal into her mouth, clapping while the spoon was still in her mouth. "Thank you, yes it was very good."
Oz knocked, walking in. "Ah, breakfast mess." He leaned down, kissing the top of Miri's head. "I demand the right to bathe her."
"Okay," Xander told him, waving at the officer. "My mother's missing."
Oz sat down and started to feed their daughter. "Oh, well."
Xander nodded. "My thoughts." He looked back at the officer. "She's not a favorite person in this household."
The officer closed the notepad and pulled out a card. "I've heard about her from the other officers that responded to recent calls. I don't blame you." He stood up. "I'll be at the funeral tomorrow in case she shows. Thank you for understanding."
"Hey, if she shows up, you may need to keep her away from me." He got up, letting the officer out, then leaned against the door. "You think he'll find her?" he asked, walking back to the table.
Oz shook his head. "Not likely." He pulled Miri from her chair, hugging her. "We're going to go splash in the tub." He lifted his face for a kiss and got a very good one, then stood up, carrying her across the hall. "Later."
"Sure, just yell when she's driving you nuts." Xander lay on the couch, closing his eyes to go back to his nap.