New Additions and States.
Xander looked at the furniture the sales woman had called him down to see, frowning at it. "This isn't what we ordered. It's the wrong everything." She nodded. "This stuff isn't even the same style."
"I know, but they're saying that's what you ordered."
Xander shook his head. "No, get them back on the phone and demand our furniture. That wasn't what we ordered." He followed her over to the order desk, leaning on it while she made the call.
"Hello, yes, this is she. Thank you." She rolled her eyes. "Hello, yes, this is Ms. Simpson again. Yes, about that order. No, the gentleman who ordered it is here and he's most displeased that you screwed the order up. No, as in royally. Its' the wrong style, fabric, and color. Yes, that order." She handed the phone over to Xander. "Your turn."
He smiled sweetly. "Hi, this is Xander Harris. Yes, I did place an order, for about ten rooms of furniture. No, they were supposed to be overstuffed, soft fabric. All one style, multiple colors. Then I would check your order because what we have here isn't that." Long pause. "No, that wasn't my order. My order was for..." He growled and tapped his nails on the counter. "Yes, I am still here. No, that's not my order either. Yes, *that* was my order." He frowned. "I doubt that, we ordered it almost three weeks ago. I don't care where it is, if it's not here in 48 hours, I'm going to demand a refund, get it, and go somewhere else to shop. And yes, I can do that. It's obvious that you're having problems filling your orders. We were *promised* two weeks and it's been three and we still don't have it. You have two days or we will do something about it." He handed her the phone. "I want it delivered still," he said sweetly. "Please."
She nodded. "If it shows up we will have it delivered." She looked around. "I really have tried..."
"I know, it's not your fault that they screwed up." He patted her hand. "We'll hurt them, not you."
"Ever thought of becoming a lawyer?" Oz asked as he walked up behind him. "Found it," he said quietly, rubbing down Xander's back. "Both of them."
"That's good, because we still don't have furniture. They either sent it somewhere else or it's in the warehouse being worked on right now." He turned to look at his lover. "I gave them two days or I'm going to demand a refund, from them not the store, and we'll go through another company." The saleswoman sighed. "Don't worry dear, I like your store." She smiled. "You have our number, if it actually shows up sometime soon, call before you start to deliver, we'll have to have someone waiting down by the road since it's not marked." He wrapped an arm around Oz's waist, leading him outside. "So, you found it?"
"Yup, found you a car and me a truck."
"I thought I got the truck."
"You wanted a truck?"
"No, I thought you wanted something smaller this time." Oz rolled his eyes. "Want to share the truck?"
"Unless you want a second truck? Actually the 'truck' is sort of a Blazer instead." Xander frowned. "Don't like them?"
"There are better ones in the same category."
"More 'spensive," Oz reminded him.
"We'll see what else they have." He patted his back. "But I do like the car I was shown. It looked good from the outside."
"Then you can have the car and I'll get the truck."
Oz nudged him, opening the door so the younger man could get into Giles' car. "Maybe." He went around and got in, starting the car and pulling away from the curb. "What's up with the furniture?"
"They sent the wrong order. This stuff was all high-end, snooty furniture. All dark red and black."
"Oh, that stuff. How soon will ours be in?"
"If we're lucky two days, if not, sometime within a month."
Oz snorted. "Giles will kill you, he's looking forward to having a reading chair again."
"I know," Xander said, reaching over to rub his thigh. "I was too."
Xander looked at the car lot and shook his head. "Oz, some of these are worse than my car."
Oz patted his arm. "That's why I was being picky. I do have another place to look if we can't find it here." He led the way into the office, nodding at the man sitting behind the plexiglass, who came running out. "He's here to look too."
"Please," the salesman said, rubbing through his dark, greasy hair. "This way." He showed them around to the side of the building, leading them to a car and a Blazer pulled off by themselves. "These two beauties are what caught his eye."
Xander walked over to the car, popping the hood. He let it drop and walked away. "Oz," he called. His lover caught up with him next to their car. "I saw sand in the engine," he said quietly. "No way in hell are we buying here."
Oz nodded, getting into the car to drive. "Okay. Let's go to the other place." They headed off across the city, stopping at a small, tidy car lot with gleaming cars. "This is where I got my van. They were good then."
Xander unbuckled, getting out and heading over to the trucks. He ran his hand down the side of one, then walked to another, touching it. He stopped at the third, a dark purple, late model pickup, tipping his head to look at it. "I like this one," he said finally. He turned to find Oz standing behind him. "I like this one."
"No, it feels right."
Oz simply nodded, heading over toward the other cars, knowing Xander was following him. He stopped in front of a small sedan, looking at it. "I like that one." Xander did his touching thing and shook his head. "No?"
"No, doesn't feel like an Oz car." He looked toward the back, heading that way. "Come on, they always stash the great stuff where it's kinda out of the way in case something happens." He stopped in front of a black sedan, backing up to look at a platinum one. He ran his hand down that one, then nodded at Oz to get inside. "Get the hood," he explained.
Oz did so, coming around to look at the inside of the engine. "Good?"
"Looks okay to me. Not that I know cars." Oz patted him on the shoulder. "I don't. I know things like the wiggling thing. You touch here when this doesn't work and you touch there when that doesn't work or it sounds funny."
Oz hugged him. "Okay. Want me to get..." A salesman started over toward them. "Here comes someone."
"Good, how many miles did it have?
Oz walked back around to look at it. "Says twelve thousand." Xander looked appreciative. "Hi," Oz said. "We're both looking for cars. He likes the purple truck and he thinks I need this one."
"Well, this one is a good car. We use it when we run errands. It's former owner got a divorce and ended up selling it to pay off some debts." He touched the upraised hood. "I heard him say he doesn't know cars, we could recommend a mechanic to come over and look at it for you to make sure you like it."
Oz closed the door. "Knew this was the right place." Xander grinned at him. "I got my van here a few years back and it's becoming more broken down every day. How much?"
"Well, we have it listed for nine and a half, but we could be dealt down some."
Xander closed the hood. "Eight?"
"That's very low," he said with a laugh.
"Cash, today. For both vehicles we'll be taking."
"Let me go talk to my manager. Oh, and that purple truck actually belongs to our other salesman, but we do have something in a similar class if you're set on that one."
Xander shrugged. "We'll see what else you have." He followed him toward the building, wrapping an arm around Oz's waist. "See, dealing."
"Good dealing," Oz said. He squeezed his lover gently. "I'd kiss you but the price would go up."
Xander shook his head. "No it won't." He kissed Oz's cheek, shrugging at the salesman. "He puts up with my things."
The salesman smiled. "I had a couple say the same thing earlier today. Of course, they've been married for almost thirty years now, but my parents are a wonderful couple." He pointed at the side lot. "Over there, third row, sixth over is the one I would recommend. It's in almost perfect shape, it's got about twenty-five thousand miles, and it's black, but we could be talked into repainting it." He headed into the office.
Xander headed for the truck he mentioned, stopping in front of the quad-door Ford Explorer. He walked around it, opening each of the doors to look inside, then sat in the driver's seat. He ran a hand over the dash, closing his eyes as the leather filled his senses. "I like this one," he purred. He opened his eyes to see Oz smiling. "I'll let you drive it."
"What is with your touching them?"
"Not sure. But I know it's not for me if I touch it and it doesn't feel right." He ran a hand over the dash again. "What does the sticker say?"
Oz looked at the sticker on the window. "Sixteen."
"So maybe fourteen?"
"Or it could be sixteen," the salesman said. "We're firm on this one."
Xander hopped down. "I love this one," he said, shutting the door. He looked at Oz. "I think we ought to sell my old car for scrap."
"No, let's go drop it off at the last place, it looked like they could use a good car." Xander frowned at that. "Joke, sorry."
"S'okay." Xander pulled out his checkbook. "Want me to go to the bank now or will you take a check?"
"We'd take a check but if you're going to pay at once, we'd rather have a cashier's check or cash."
Xander nodded. "Acceptable. And the car?"
"He said that he'd let you have that one for eight but not to deal this one down."
Xander nodded, holding out a hand. "Where's the nearest National Bank?"
"Three blocks over." The salesman pointed out the direction.
Xander headed towards their car, Oz in tow. "Giles is going to yell about you using your own money," Oz warned as he slid in to drive.
"He put money in my account so we could car shop today," Xander said with a smirk. "I'll only be spending a couple hundred more than he planned on." He wrote out the check. "Sixteen and eight is twenty-four, right?"
"Make it twenty five to cover taxes and registration and things."
Oz got out of his car, looking at the big delivery truck standing in their driveway. "Think they found it that fast?" he asked Xander as he slid out of his truck, and Willow, who they had brought into LA for a doctor's appointment got out of Giles' car.
Giles walked out of the house, frowning at Xander. "I know you usually have excellent taste, but that is not what I was led to believe our new furniture was going to be, and it clashes with everything."
Xander jogged inside, dodging past the deliverymen. "Oh, no," he said, stopping one. "This wasn't what we ordered." He was handed the delivery form and Giles handed him the invoice. "This is our stuff," he said, showing it to him. "This stuff isn't ours and it had better get back on your truck faster than it came off."
"Hey, we only deliver what we're told to. Call the store. We'll wait to unload the rest."
Xander took Oz's cellphone, their regular phone not hooked up in the house yet, heading out to the porch with the invoice. "Hi, this is Xander Harris. Yes, I did visit today because our furniture was still not here. No, this stuff that you sent us wasn't ours. Ours is in soft, sky colors, not the uncomfortable goth crap you sent us. That's not even our invoice number. Ours is 8845. The one on the delivery slip is 8830. There' s been a major mixup and I'm sure you're going to be getting another unhappy call in a few hours." He sat down on the edge of the porch. "No, that's not ours. Ours is 8845. Yes, Harris." He nodded. "Yeah, that one. So tell your men to reload this stuff and take it somewhere else because this goth crap isn't ours," he said slowly. One of the deliverymen laughed behind him, making Xander smile. "Not your fault guys, they put someone else in charge who does things by numbers and he's gotten them mixed up. But this isn't our stuff." He put the phone back to his ear. "Huh? No, we don't want this stuff instead. We want the furniture we ordered through you. It'll be here or I'm going to sue you!" He took a deep breath. "Put the saleswoman on. She seemed to be able to understand English." He bounced his feet off the porch. "Hi, yes, it's us. No, they sent us that goth stuff. No, if it's not out of here, I'm going to send it back as kindling." He smiled. "Yeah, that stuff. Where's our stuff?" He nodded and handed the phone off to the deliveryman standing there. "Here." He went looking for Giles, who was gulping a beer in the kitchen. He took the can from him, finishing it off. "Thanks. Needed that." He crumpled the can and threw it in the recycling bin. "At least we managed to get the cars."
"So I had noticed. How much did you end up spending?"
"About seven hundred more than you expected." He shrugged. "Two very good deals. Mine was sixteen and Oz's was eight thousand. Both have low mileage and are in great condition."
Giles patted his shoulder. "I'm sure you did a good job."
"Yup," Oz said as he walked in, reaching around Giles to get into the refrigerator. "He had this funny touching thing he did."
Xander smiled then looked at the deliveryman coming in. "Get it fixed?" he asked, taking back the phone.
"Yup, they found your stuff and we'll have it out here tomorrow." Xander smiled. "And yours is going to be heavier."
"Why? It's nicely overstuffed but it shouldn't be that much heavier."
"Overstuffed? They said it was pure wood."
"Not," Xander said, shaking his head and hitting the redial button. "Hi, I just want to check our order again. It's overstuffed furniture in light colors, right?" He groaned, holding his head. "No, that's not ours either. Ours is overstuffed pieces from somewhere in North Carolina in light colors and soft fabrics. Yes, *that* sort of stuff. Now, where is it?" He growled. "We'll have it when?" he asked. He nodded and hung up. "They're playing 'it's not here yet' again."
Oz held a hand out for his phone. "Let me." He hit the redial button. "Hi, I represent the Harris family. Yes, he has retained me in this matter. It's called fraud, sir." Long pause. "How long? Yes, tomorrow would be fine. Thank you." He hung up. "Had to go back to the old Xander days." He looked at the deliverymen. "Guys, get the gross stuff out, please."
They all ran for the furniture they had delivered, quickly reloading it into their truck and leaving them alone.
Giles smiled "That's one way to get what we're due."
Xander woke up to someone pounding on the front door, so he wandered down that way, opening it to the deliverymen from yesterday. "Hi guys," he yawned. "They get it right?"
The man in front nodded. "From what you were yelling, yeah. Can we set up?"
"Sure. There's a diagram on the fireplace of where everything goes." Xander headed for the kitchen, not paying attention to the words behind him. He started coffee before going back upstairs. "Guys, help yourself to the coffee," he called. One of the workmen stared at his stomach so he looked down, blushing when he saw the blood staining his sweatpants. "Surgery," he explained, walking away, "had to remove a mole." He hurried up the stairs, running into their room and shutting the door, leaning against it. Oz lifted his head and blinked at him. "Furniture's here. Coffee's started. Embarrassed myself totally." He grabbed some clothes, heading into the bathroom.
Oz looked over at Giles, who was awake too. "Did you get that?" He got a head shake. "Wonder if he knows he bled through again?" When all he got was a shrug, he headed down the stairs. "Hey," he said, waving. He noted that it was in fact their furniture, that Xander had matched the paint very well from memory, and that all the deliverymen were looking at him. "What?"
"Your, um, friend, is," a cleared throat, "he okay?"
Oz nodded. "It's a surgical thing. It's been dripping sometimes." He shrugged. "Nothing else." He looked at the maroon chair. "That goes in another room," he told them, pointing down the hall. "Third door on the left." The deliveryman behind the chair nodded, picking it up with a grunt and heading that way. He looked at the apparent supervisor. "Was a surgical thing, no matter what else it looked like."
The man nodded. "Not our business anyway. He said he put coffee on."
"Yeah, he told me that too, right before he went to change the bandages." Oz headed for the kitchen, pulling down a big cup and pouring himself some coffee, leaning against the counter to watch the activity in the hall. When he was awake enough, he pulled a box out of the freezer, tossing it onto the counter to thaw a little for later, and pulled a bag of bagels off the door, tossing them toward the toaster, following it after grabbing some butter and a plate, coming back for a knife and the peanut butter. He was fixing his bagel when Xander walked in wearing his tightest jeans and a tight t-shirt. "Proving something?" he asked, taking a bite.
Xander nodded. "Felt I had to." He grabbed a toasted bagel, buttering it. "Giles is in the shower now. Miri's still napping and I'm horribly embarrassed."
Oz leaned closer. "You'll never have to look at these men again, don't worry about it."
Giles walked into the kitchen, smiling at them. "Good morning, boys." He picked up a plain bagel, and a clean knife, buttering his and taking a bite. "Thank you for drawing out that plan last night so they could tell what went where and, Xander, you did an excellent job with the house."
Xander nodded, grinning a little. "Thanks."
Oz nodded for the deliveryman to come in. "Problem?" he asked, taking another bite of his bagel.
"We can't get one door open to put the small chair and bookcase up there."
Xander nodded. "She probably locked it after I was in there." He took his plate with him as he started down the hall. "Come on." Xander headed up the stairs, eating on the way. "Miri," he called as he hit the top of the stairs. "Your reading chair is here." Her door opened. "Can the guys put it in your room?" She opened the door further. "Oh, my, what a mess," he said, then grimaced. "I sounded like Giles. Clean it up, or shove it to one side for now. You can clean it up once you have places to put things." He patted her head. "When they've got it where you want it, come down and we'll eat." She hugged his legs. "Welcome." He looked at the deliverymen. "It's her room, ask her, but I would say the chair's going to end up in this corner," he said, pointing as he walked past. "We'll be downstairs," he called to his daughter.
"'Tay!" Miri called, giggling at the men. "Me?"
"Yes, dear, yours," the workman said. "Can we put it down?"
Xander walked back into the kitchen, leaning against Giles' back. "I just sounded like you with our kid." He walked over to the new table and sat down, patting the wood. "Nice choice, Oz."
"Thanks." Oz waved his cup. "Giles, get us some more please?"
Giles walked over with the pot, pouring them some coffee. "I'll start another pot since your cups each take a third of it." He walked back over, pouring out the last couple of sips and starting over to make a new pot of coffee. One of the deliverymen popped his head in. "Yes?" he asked.
"We have one table that's not marked on here and a chair. We need to know where to put it."
Xander stood up, following him out, looking at the orphan pieces of furniture. "Gee, I don't remember ordering that, but okay." He looked around. "That color would go best in my space, but I think I have a chair in there."
Oz walked out, looking at it. "Put it in the library, we could use another comfy chair in there." Xander smiled at him. "It'll match."
"Yup, will coordinate well." He nodded at Oz. "What he said, but put the table in my work space please." The deliveryman nodded, picking up the chair and carrying it toward the room with all the books. Xander turned to look at Oz. "Gee, you're good at that."
"Yeah, but we just assumed you were better." He held an arm out. "Want to come help me help Miri clean her room?"
The deliveryman cleared his throat. "It's pretty clean now," he said, looking directly at Xander. "Everything sort of ... floated into place."
Xander's face scrunched up so Oz answered. "Haunted."
The deliveryman nodded slowly. "If you say so." He headed out, coming back with a form. "Here, to say that you accepted delivery, this time," he added as an afterthought.
Xander looked over the form and signed it. "And it's even marked paid, that's nice of them." He handed the pen back. "Okay?" He got a nod so walked away. "Oh, Giles, come see our new furniture and yell at our ghost."
"Ghost?" Giles asked, coming out of the kitchen. "When did we get one of those?"
"When she started to clean Miri's room all by herself. With no human intervention."
Giles shook his head. "I'll go have a word with her." He jogged up the stairs, leaving them alone.
Xander looked around their hallway, seeing all the doors open but one. He walked into the dining room, admiring the solid wood table and chairs, then walked back out, shutting the door behind himself. It was when he heard it lock that scared him. He jogged up to meet Giles, looking at their daughter. "Did you just lock the dining room?" She frowned and shook her head. "Then I think we may be haunted. It just locked without anyone being in there after I left the room."
Giles sighed. "I'll check it out later." He patted Xander's shoulder. "I'm sure it'll be fine and it was just the wind or something."
Xander looked up as the dish he had just put down floated over to the empty seat at the table then turned to give Giles a dry look. "Just the wind?" he suggested.
Oz cleared his throat. "So far it's harmless, let's not do anything to change that."
Xander nodded. "Okay, I like that idea." He looked at the empty seat. "We won't try and drive you out if you're going to be nice to us," he told the air. "That's all we ask, is that you don't hurt us." He didn't flinch as a figure started to show up in the spare chair. "Hi, who're you?"
"Mommy," she hissed/blew. "Daddy?"
"Well, I don't think he's here," Xander said calmly. "But Miri's all of ours." Oz patted the top of her head.
Miri looked at the ghost then at her fathers. "Wheee?"
"Something like that," Oz agreed. "Eat, princess." She picked up a pizza roll, shoving it in her mouth. "Thank you. Try the cucumbers, I think you'll like them." He watched as she picked one full of ranch dressing up and licked it. "No, eat it. Take a bite from the side."
She did and made a face, putting it back down. "No." She looked at her daddy. "No," she said, shaking her head. She looked at the ghost and held out her cucumber. "Whee?"
The ghost laughed. "No," she said, becoming a little more clear.
Xander shrugged. "Okay. Yes, you have to eat all three pieces or no ice cream." He stared his daughter down. "I mean it. You'll like them, even I do."
Miri hissed but finished her cucumber, frowning at her father. "Meany," she said as she picked up the next one, eating it. By the third, her frown was gone and she happily reached for a pizza roll to eat those again. "Me?" she asked, pushing her plate away.
"You done?" Oz asked, looking at the three half chewed bites left on her plate. "Eat those too or no ice cream."
"Grumpy," she said, pouting, but pulled her plate back over and ate those three. "Chilly."
"Ice cream," Xander said, getting up and coming back with a small bowl. He handed it over, watching as she ate quietly. "Ready for bed?" She nodded, blinking at him. "Okay, who do you want to tuck you in?" She pointed at the ghost. "I'm not sure she can do that, but she could help if she wants."
Miri nodded and got down out of her new booster seat, sliding down under the table and sitting in front of where the ghost sat. "Me?" she asked, reaching out to touch it, frowning when there was nothing there. "No?" she asked, then crawled over to her father, tugging on his pants leg, pointing at the chair. "No," she said, shaking her head.
"Yeah, I know, you can't touch her. She's supposed to be like that." Miri shook her head. "Yeah, she is."
"She's like Casper, remember you saw that movie a few weeks ago," Oz told her, looking under the table at her.
Miri thought for a second then nodded. "Bed?" she asked the ghost, who disappeared. Miri ran upstairs towards her room, her feet loud in the otherwise silent house.
"She seems okay," Xander said, breaking the quiet. Giles nodded. "We leaving her alone?"
"Until she hurts someone," Oz told him, pushing his chair back. "I'll go make sure she's down." He headed upstairs.
Xander looked over at Giles. "Staying or going?" he asked quietly.
"I believe we decided the ghost should stay," Giles gently reminded.
"You," the young man said, staring at his elder lover, his hands tearing his napkin into little pieces. "You haven't touched me except when you had to since the store burned. Almost six weeks now." He looked down, gathering up all the little pieces of paper. "I'm getting kinda worried."
Giles sighed and pushed his chair back. "I'm sorry, Xander, the store was a dream of mine for a long time and..."
"And when you lost it, it hurt. I know that. Why are you taking the pain out on us though?" He shook his head and got up. "Never mind, I'm sure you'll heal and we'll be allowed cuddles and stuff again." He headed up to their room, going into their bathroom to run himself a bath. He stripped and slid down into the warm water, reaching over to turn on the cd player so he could hear something besides silence. He didn't look up as another body joined him in the tub, just cuddled against it, expecting it to be Oz. The kiss he got on the top of his head made him look up, and pull away from Giles. "I didn't mean to push you."
"You didn't, you merely showed me the other reason for my continued unhappiness." He leaned down and gave another, small, tender kiss. "I had missed spending time with both of you since that happened, my thoughts had weighed so much that I had forgotten the balancing factor in my life." He pulled Xander back against his body, holding him. "I had no desire to shut you out, Xander, nor was it planned. It just happened. I got too wrapped up in my contemplation of my life and I forgot about a major part of it." He squeezed him. "It's good that you reminded me."
Oz cleared his throat. "Can I get some of that too?"
"Of course, I'm always willing to share Xander with you," Giles told him with a smile.
"I meant you," Oz told them as he stripped. He climbed in, kneeling between their spread legs to give both his men a kiss. "Thanks."
Xander rubbed down the side of Oz's face, teasing his lips with his thumb. "Anytime, you know that." He shifted, sitting on one of Giles' legs and making room for his lover to get comfortable with them. "Sharing?"
"Sure," Oz said, sitting down so he could be cuddled too. "Sharing is good." They cuddled for a few minutes before Oz's mind regained control. "Housewarming?"
"Soon," Xander agreed, snuggling harder. "We'll deal later."
"We need to start planning at least," Giles reminded them. "Give ourselves two weeks or so?"
"I'll make the invitations on the computer," Xander offered.
"I don't have software for that," Oz said.
Xander looked over at him. "You have that cute clip-art stuff, I can do it with that."
"Cartoony, but okay," Oz agreed. "Guest list?"
"We've promised Spike, Willow, Cordy, Buffy, Buffy's mom, and Wes when we can find him."
"That's a manageable group," Giles said as he considered. "How many may bring dates?
"Spike and Willow are a couple, Cordy may bring one, not sure if Wes dates or not, and Buffy'll bring Anya if she can stand her for that long," Oz offered.
"Wesley does date, just not often," Giles said, squeezing him in reprimand.
"You're sure?" Xander asked, giving him a mischievous grin. "You've seen the event happen?"
"Yes, I have seen Wesley dating someone, a very nice someone." Giles shifted. "Boys, I can no longer feel my feet, can we switch positions a bit?"
"I get between his legs," Oz said, shifting over and plopping down between them while Xander moved to the other end of the tub, which was just far enough away to accommodate him. "Kinda missing the old tub?" Oz asked him.
Xander nodded. "Muchly. It was bigger. Wish we had been able to get another one."
"But we couldn't find one," Oz reminded him. "This one's not that much smaller."
"But it's still smaller."
"Smaller means we can touch you when you're over there," Giles reminded him, picking up one of Xander's feet to rub. "This is much nicer, if a little more cramped." Someone knocked on the door downstairs and everyone groaned. "I'll get it," Giles said, pushing himself up behind Oz. "Keep him warm for me." He grabbed his robe and headed out of the bathroom.
Oz looked at Xander, looking over his spread out body. "He did say to keep you warm," he said as he moved over to lay across the still body. "You okay with this?"
"Yup, very." Xander wrapped the slightly older man in his arms tight enough that he couldn't get away, even if he had wanted to.
Giles tied his robe as he answered the door, smiling at the man on the other side. "Wesley," he said, waving him inside. "You're welcome here, as always. How are you? We were just thinking about you."
Wesley nodded. "So I heard," he said lightly.
Giles frowned. "I corrected them," he said, pulling the other former Watcher into a hug. "They didn't mean anything by it," he whispered into an ear. "They have no idea that we used to go out."
"Or what you did for me," Wesley said, giving him a small smile. "I had heard that you had to move so I thought I'd drop in to make sure you were all well."
Giles smiled, shutting the door. "Of course we are. Now," he amended. "There's been some changes since the last time you showed up." He pointed down the hall. "Go to the kitchen and fix yourself something to eat while I put on clothes and I'll show you around."
Wesley shook his head. "We can catch up in the morning," he said, giving Giles' chest a pat. "If you'd loan me a couch..."
"No," Giles said firmly, "we have six bedrooms in this house, you can have one." He led the way up the stairs. "Do you need anything out of your vehicle?" Wesley shook his head. "Are you sure?"
"Yes, I left most everything back in LA. I felt I had to come up here." He followed Giles down the hall to a small bedroom, letting him inside it.
"There you go, yours for the night."
"I doubt our discussion will take longer," Wesley said, pulling Giles in with him. He sat the man on the bed. "There have been some... changes since I last saw you," he said, staring at him.
"Wesley, I knew you were a vampire when I let you in," Giles said calmly. He got a shocked look. "Yes, some of us have been in the business that long." He stood back up. "Are you resouled or not?"
"I am but Angel somehow managed to bollix it up." He sighed, rubbing a hand over his face. "I don't feel guilt over the ones I've fed on and I have this extraordinary ability to not feel guilty when I go berserk on someone and harm them."
Xander knocked on the door. "It could just be your soul. Remember the problem Spike had when Willow gave him that one from a Priest?" Giles nodded, grimacing. "So maybe his is just a little more sociopathic."
Giles glanced down the young man's body, then back up at him. "Don't you think you should put on some clothes?" he asked dryly.
Xander looked down at his bare body. "Why? The kid's in bed, I'm happy right now because I've almost stopped, and Oz said I could run down here and help like this but I only had five minutes to get back there." He grinned and waved, heading back to their bedroom. "Just don't eat us, Wes, our ghost'll kill you."
Wesley looked at Giles and shook his head. "You should go take care of them. I've not been sleeping during the day. We can talk later."
"He did have a valid point," Giles offered. "Spike was in almost physical pain from the Priest's soul." He headed for the door. "See if you can't find it and find out about it." Wesley nodded. "Good. I'll see you when you get up then." He walked out, closing the door behind him, meeting Oz in the hall, looking down his nude body. "What is it with you two and exposing yourselves tonight?" he asked, leading him back to their room and locking the door.
"I'm escaping from the wicked Xander fingers of preparation." Xander grinned from his position on the bed. "I was letting him get me ready for you but he became a tease."
Giles chuckled as he pulled off his robe. "Then we'll have to punish him later by teasing him back." He pulled Oz over to the bed, settling his lover gently on the old quilt Xander had found them a few days earlier, leaning down to kiss them both. "Ah, everything's back to normal." He had just laid down next to Oz, kissing him gently as his hand had started to wander, when the phone rang.
Xander jumped up, jogging over to the dresser to get the cordless before it could wake everyone else. "Yeah?" He stopped, turning to look at the bed. "Willow, where are you?" He nodded, looking at the clock. "Okay, we can be there in a few hours. Try to hold on that long." He hung up, putting the phone in the charger and pulling open his underwear drawer. "Willow's in early labor, they just admitted her."
Oz jumped up, knocking Giles off the bed as he went for his dresser and some clothes. "Where is she?"
"She's in LA, the local hospital was nice and actually transferred her when she complained," Xander said as he finished pulling on a shirt. He unlocked and opened the door, heading down the hall. "Wes?" he called as he knocked. The young vampire opened the door almost immediately, looking at him in shock. "Can you watch Miri? Will just went into early labor and she needs us."
"Of course. You know I wouldn't harm her."
"Not the issue, Wes," Xander said with a small grin. "We'll be back sometime in the day and this house has a *lot* of windows. And she likes to play outside."
"We'll be fine," he said calmly, smiling back. "I'm sure I can suitably entertain her until you get back."
Xander nodded. "We'll call when we hear something. Tell her the baby came early." He turned, jogging down to the kitchen to grab his keys, then out to warm up his car, having heard Giles and Oz still getting ready. He honked the horn a few minutes later, tapping nervously on the steering wheel until they came out.
Oz opened the driver's side door, pushing Xander over. "I'm driving. You need to panic." He slid up into the seat, automatically checking the gauges as he switched stations on the radio. He put the car in gear as Giles got into the back, not even waiting for him to close the door before he started down the driveway.
Willow looked up as the three men burst into her room, giving them a sleepy-drugged up smile. "Little late," she sighed, blinking hard to stay awake. "He's down in the nursery." She pulled herself up, with a little help from Spike, who had been sitting beside her bed. "And he made the lights blink when they did the emergency c-section."
Giles walked over, hugging her. "Are you okay?" he asked quietly, kissing the top of her head. She nodded. "I'm glad then." He looked down at her. "A boy? The test said female, unless I remember wrong." Xander cleared his throat. "Oh, yes, that may be the case." Spike nodded, giving him a dry look. "It is?"
"And it's a powerful bit of person too," he said dryly. "Almost killed the nurse and the lights." Willow slapped his hand. "Well, it did."
"Will," Oz said, walking over to sit on the end of her bed. "What about the other thing..." She shook her head. "Wasn't twins?"
"Was twins. That's what the problem was." She sniffled. "She's not real healthy."
Xander walked over, shifting her up a little more to sit behind her and hug her. "We'll be fine, all of us. I promise, okay?" She nodded, sinking back into his chest. "Go see the babies," he said quietly, looking up at Giles.
Giles nodded, grabbing Oz's hand as he headed for the door.
Spike cleared his throat. "This isn't a surprise?"
"No, it was too much to ask for. With all the time we spent almost directly over the Hellmouth? And with Giles and Willow being able to do what they can? I figured that the child was going to be strong. Miri is." He shrugged, kissing the top of Willow's head as she started to snore. "Won't be much different."
The nurse walked in, smiling at him. "Are you the man she was surrogating for?"
Xander shook his head. "I'm her best friend. He's down at the nursery with his lover." He squeezed Willow lightly and slid out from under her, tucking her back in. "Is she okay?" he asked her, walking closer.
"She's fine. Doctor Adams was most pleased with how well she went through it all." She patted the side of his face. "Go be with them. She told us."
Xander grinned. "Thanks. Spike, you gonna be okay up here?"
"I'll just keep the curtains closed," he said gruffly. He picked up his pack of cigarettes but the nurse growled at him. "What? A bloke's gotta do somethin' while he waits."
"Then you can go do it on the smoking lounge. It's at the east end of the hall, the sunporch." She frowned. "Smoking is not a healthy habit and especially not around someone who's just come out of surgery."
Xander patted her arm. "Spike," he said, pulling out his wallet and handing over some money. "Here, go get a motel room for the day. We'll watch over her." The vampire started to growl but Xander just grinned. "And call Miri, Wes is watching her and he's now a lot like you. You two need to have a discussion about holy pains."
The vampire snatched the money. "Fine," he spat, standing up and walking away. "I'll go be *good* and talk to the pouf."
"No," Xander corrected. "Go find a nice Ramada Inn or something. Spend the day somewhere pleasant and call. We'll be here."
Spike grinned. "Can I have some more so I can celebrate?"
"No," Xander said dryly. "You can't. But call Miri at least."
"Fine," he sighed, walking out. "I'll call and let them know where I am."
Xander looked at the nurse. "He's allergic to sunlight, got very sensitive eyes. I'm going to go see the babies, feel free to send someone screaming down the halls for us if you need one of us before we get back." He started for the door then stopped. "Where is the nursery?"
She smiled and pointed to the right. "End of the hall then left. About half-way down the hall." He nodded and jogged out. "Boys," she sighed. "At least he's happy to be a parent." She fluffed Willow's pillows and blankets, making sure she was comfortable before heading back out to the desk.
Xander stopped behind Oz, resting his head on the shoulder. "Which one is baby Giles?"
"The one in the purple hat," he said, pointing. "The other one is at the back of the room. They're only letting Giles back there." He turned, giving his lover a hug. "Did you get Spike settled?"
"I gave him money for a motel room and told him to call and let us know where." He squeezed Oz then looked over his shoulder. "I wonder if Miri was that wrinkly."
"All babies are," the nurse said as she popped out. "Are you two the other fathers of the Giles' children?" They nodded. "Okay, just checkin'." She started to pull back in but came out, shutting the door and walking over to them. "I have a question. Who's got the hormonal problem? We were all wonderin' about the kid."
Xander flushed lightly. "It's part of the town where we live. About a third of the child have extra parts."
"Oh, she's from *Sunnydale*," she said with a nod. "That explains it."
"Yeah, her mom has an extra ovary." Xander pulled away, keeping one arm around Oz's shoulders. "I'm one of the both cases myself. Will and I have been friends since we were young kids."
She reached out to pat his shoulder. "At least ya won't traumatize the kid over it." She headed for the door. "You two can hold the healthy little one in a few minutes, just as soon as we get clearance from the docs." She walked in and shut the door behind her.
Oz wrapped an arm around Xander's waist. "That was brave."
"Yeah, but it's got to be known." They turned to look at the baby again. "She's so tiny."
"That's the one that's both," Oz told him quietly. "She's the one that's not real healthy."
Giles walked out, smiling gently at his men. "They're both precious." He gave them each hugs. "I'm so happy."
"Us too," Xander told him. "And I made sure Spike was going to be okay too."
Giles' smile grew. "Thank you. He can be quite protective of her." He looked down at the infant in front of them. "She's so tiny."
"Are we declaring her a she?" Oz asked.
"I'm not sure," Giles admitted. "I think I'll leave that up to Doctor Adams." He hugged them each again. "I'm going to go back to Willow's room. He's due in shortly. Call me when he gets here."
"She was sleeping," Xander told him.
"That's fine, I wasn't going to bother her, just thank her and give her a hug." Giles walked down the hall, goofy grin still in place.
Oz looked up at Xander, blinking. "You okay?"
"Yeah, but this is going to be a little strange." He rubbed down Oz's back. "I'm not ready for them to come home yet."
"Neither are they probably," Oz told him gently. "She's almost three weeks early." He looked back at the infants in the nursery. "Though, she or he, is almost the same size as the other kids so maybe that one can go home and the other can come home soon." He felt Xander shift in his arms so looked up at the doctor walking through the nursery, waving at him.
Doctor Adams came out, rubbing his expanding forehead with the side of his hand. "Where's your other part?"
"He's down thanking Willow," Xander said. "So?"
"The one's healthy, the other one seems to be having a small respiratory problem. We'll know more later today." He walked over to look down at the one in the purple hat. "How do you want to categorize him?" he asked quietly.
"We were going to leave that up to you," Oz said, looking at him. "Is he more of one?"
"He's fully both, same as Xander is. Actually, he could almost be Xander's twin with the way everything looked on the ultrasound." He looked at the young men. "You could easily consider him a him and he'd never know the difference."
"We may not be closing him," Xander said, looking down at their child. "We're not sure yet."
"I know," Doctor Adams said, patting his shoulder. "Just think about the confusion."
"I would have rather known," Xander said, looking at him. "Finding out when you're twenty is a lot harder then accepting it naturally as part of yourself."
The doctor nodded. "I can see that. Whatever you decide, I can do." He looked back down at the children. "So, do I mark him down as a male?"
"Yeah," Xander said, nodding. "At least for now. Don't do it officially until we've talked to Giles." He shivered, pushing himself into Oz's body. "I think I just had a flashback to what my father must have felt."
"Disgust?" Oz asked.
Xander shook his head. "Confusion, and I live with the problem." He kissed Oz's cheek then walked away. "I'm going to get Giles," he called back.
"This is confusing for him," Doctor Adams assured Oz, "but he does have a point."
"That's Giles' decision to make," Oz said quietly. "I'll abide by it." He stepped closer. "Is he supposed to match his hat?"
"Only when he's screaming," Doctor Adams said with a smile as he headed for the nursery door. A pitiful scream flowed out of the room once the door was open. "Want to hold him?"
Oz nodded, following him inside.