Giles looked at the baby in the cradle, smiling down at him. "I think we made the right decision, leaving him open." He looked up to find himself alone in the room. "Boys?"
"Not here," Miri said as she walked in. "Baby?"
Giles picked her up, holding her so she could look down into the cradle. "Yes, that's your brother." He looked at her. "Why do you insist on not talking in sentences when we all know you can."
"No," she said with a grin. "Not fun."
"Ah. Okay then." He let her down, ruffling her hair. "Where's your fathers?"
"They swing." She giggled and went up on her tip toes to look down at her baby brother. "He strong."
"I know, and he'll only get stronger as he ages, same as you will." He pointed at the door. "Come on, let's go watch your fathers swing." They headed down the stairs, going out to sit on the porch and watch the old bench-swing that Xander had put up. Oz was pushing Xander on it, just gently moving him in the light afternoon breeze. Miri snuggled up into his side, sucking her thumb as she watched them play. "They look so happy," Giles told his daughter. "I wish that for you, love, to find someone that makes you that happy."
Miri looked up. "Boys gross."
Giles laughed lightly. "I'm sure you'll figure out that not all boys are gross and that not all girls are nice soon enough." He kissed the top of her head. "How do you like the baby."
"He twiet," she said, sucking her thumb as she thought about it. "Where other?"
"She'll be home soon," Oz called. "Rupe, baby monitor?"
Giles got up, heading into the library, and came back out with the monitor and a book, setting them down beside Miri. "Thank you," he called back. He looked down at their daughter. "Can you listen for him to cry for us?"
She nodded. "He no cry," she said, looking up at him. "He twiet."
"I know he's quiet, but if he needs us, he'll cry." Giles picked up his book, opening it to the bookmark. "Relax, Miri," he reminded her. "Everything's going to be fine."
She shook her head. "Nope. Unclie naughty." She got up and ran inside, heading up the stairs. "I come," she called.
Giles got up, following her up to find her looking down at the baby, who had lost his pacifier. "Thank you, Miri," he said, replacing it. "That was very good."
Xander stopped in the doorway, smiling. "Why don't you bring him down and put him in the playpen? Then you could read and you wouldn't get so much exercise." Miri nodded. "See, she agrees with me. Miri, would you like to help me and Daddy Oz fix supper?"
"Yeah, she can help us too, but remember, she's going to make you eat vegetables." Miri made a gross face. "We were going to attempt fried chicken."
"Chickie," she said happily. "Me help." She walked over, patting her father's leg. "Come on."
Giles smiled at Xander. "I do believe that's an excellent idea, love. Thank you."
"Welcome." Xander turned, walking beside his daughter down the stairs. "We'll call when it's time. Go read."
Giles picked his son up, carrying him back down to the porch, where he took off his shirt to let the baby lie on it before he picked up his book and went back to his reading.
Xander looked out, smiling as he saw Giles slide a little further down in his chair, his book forgotten across his stomach. He walked out onto the porch, silently picking up their son and carrying him back inside to put him in the playpen that was now located in the dining room. "He's sleeping," he told Oz as he passed.
Oz snorted. "Blair did keep him up last night." He looked over at their son, wiggling his fingers. "Hey, Blair."
"He nap," Miri said from her seat. "Me go get daddy." She hopped down, running out to the door, her yell of "Daddy!" echoing down the hall.
Giles walked in a few minutes later carrying their daughter. "Sorry, I guess I was tired." He sat her back down in her booster seat before he took his own, looking at the food on the table. "It looks like you did good."
"Especially after we put it in the microwave," Oz said dryly. "We had the heat too high so the crust cooked but not the chicken." Xander groaned. "And it wasn't his fault."
"Nope, not mine." He picked up a piece, cutting into it to make sure it was okay, then handed it off to Miri. "Watch out, it might still be hot."
She picked up the thigh and bit into it, then smiled at them. "Nummy."
"Thanks," Oz said, passing over the bowl of mashed potatoes. "We did better with these." He looked down the table at his family. "We have to talk tonight," he started calmly. Xander dropped his fork. "I'm sorry, but it's almost time for me to start school again."
Giles smiled at Oz. "At least you've got something figured out for this semester. Xander and I are still at loose ends." He dished some of the potatoes out onto Miri's plate. "There, I think you'll like those, you usually do."
"Yeah, clouds," Xander said. He looked over at Oz. "I've been looking at the want ads but there's almost nothing in them. Unless..."
"If you say that the club is looking, I'll throw something," Giles warned. "You're not going back there."
"It's a job," he reminded them. "Our funds are going to start running short soon."
"We're fine on that end," Oz said quietly. "At least you are." He reached over, taking Xander's hand to squeeze. "I'd say come with me but you're going to end up paying all your own tuition and fees."
"There's nothing I want to do there anyway," Xander said, looking down at his bare plate. "I'm not a school person."
"And we'll support you in that," Giles said gently, reaching across the table to touch his hand also. "We'll support you in anything you want to do unless it's that stripping job." Xander nodded. "Thank you."
"I just have to find something."
"What've you been doing in your room?" Oz asked, letting him go to pick up some food for himself. "You've been in there a lot recently."
"I've been reading mostly. A little bit of drawing."
"Oh, of what?" Giles asked, sounding interested. He looked over at Oz. "Xander, we think we may have found something for you," he said when there was no answer. "You like to decorate, and you're good at it. There's a two-year degree for decorating if you'd like to consider it."
Xander shuddered. "That means I'll have to take things not even related."
"Just a few," Oz said calmly. "A few requirements like a computer class and an English class. No big ones. Two-years are like long voc school programs really."
"I have a catalog upstairs if you'd like to look it over," Giles said gently.
"I'll do it after supper," Xander said, picking at the food that appeared on his plate. "Miri, don't do that."
"Sorry," she said with a grin. "You eat too."
He looked up and smiled at her. "I will, but you don't play with other people's food. It's impolite. Sorta like touching it for them."
"But he needed to eat," Oz told her, "so it was okay this time. Just don't do it again without asking." She nodded. "Thank you."
"Welcome." She bit into her chicken again, humming. "Where whee?"
"She's not here tonight I guess," Xander said, picking up a fork full of mashed potatoes. "You did really well with them," he told Oz, who smiled at him. "Do we have everything for the housewarming?"
"Except paper plates so we don't have to wash anything," Oz agreed. "Did you send the invitations?"
"Yesterday when I got into town." He looked over at Giles. "Will she be home then? It's only two days but it'd be nice to show them both off."
"I believe we should be able to do that," Giles said with a fond smile toward his son. "Possibly that day they think."
"Cool," Oz said. "Housewarming and introduction to the family." He nibbled on his piece of chicken. "Xander, what are you going to do while I'm in school and Giles is playing mommy."
"He no mommy," Miri sighed. "He daddy."
"We know, it was a joke," Giles told her with a pat. "Hopefully he'll be helping me until I get a rhythm established and the children start to show a pattern of needs."
"Ah, the schedule myth," Xander said fondly, looking up. "They're going to have a new one each week, just because they feel like it. And they'll suddenly start sleeping all the time even when you want them to get up so you can do things." He looked over at his daughter. "You were really tough to get on a schedule. You decided to sleep when you were usually up and want baths when you were supposed to have been napping."
She giggled. "Me special."
"Yeah, you're really special," Xander told her, blowing a kiss. "Our special little one." He looked over at Giles, who was looking worried. "I'm sure they'll be either a lot better or a lot worse."
"Let's hope a lot better," Oz said. "Miri used to drive you insane when she suddenly switched schedules."
"Oh, yeah," Xander said with great emotion. "I remember those days and nights. I was either so tired I fell asleep holding her or so awake that I couldn't sleep. So you would tell me bedtime stories."
"You liked them," Oz pointed out, "and so did Miri."
"Later," Oz told her. "Eat."
She dug into her 'clouds', rearranging them. "Me no eat," she said, pushing back from the table. "Me nighties." She slid out of her chair and crawled under the table, heading up to her room.
Xander got up, walking after her, catching up to her on the stairs. He sat down with her, testing her forehead with his lips. "You're not warm. What's wrong?" She shook her head, laying it on his shoulder. "You really don't feel good?"
"No bad tummies," she said, looking up at him from his shoulder. "Me itchies."
Xander sat her up, checking behind her ears. Then he groaned and stood up, carrying her back into the dining room. "Guess who has chicken pox," he said.
"She got the shot," Oz said, dropping his fork. "Give her here." Miri was handed to him and he looked her over, grimacing when he looked behind her ear. "Guess that's what it is."
Giles held his arms out and she was put into them. "Let's see this rash," he said lightly, looking behind her ears. "It does appear to be chicken pox. Are you sure she had the vaccination?"
"She was supposed to have," Xander said, turning around to get into the cabinets under the highboy holding the good dishes. He came back up with her shot record, looking at it. "Says she doesn't have it."
"No shots," she said, shaking her head. "Baby shots." The baby started to cry so she stood up on her Daddy Giles' lap to peer down into his playpen. "You twiet, you need shots."
Xander snickered. "Not for another few months, about the same time you will." She pouted. "Sorry, but you have to have them."
"You can have ice cream after you get them," Oz offered.
"Me?" They all nodded. "Otay, but no ouchies." Her father nodded so she turned around to look at her baby brother again. "You get ouchies."
Giles sighed, pulling her off his leg to turn her around. "I'm sure you'll both feel a little pain but it'll be over with soon." He kissed the top of her head. "We should call the pediatrician and ask about keeping her and the twins apart. I can't believe getting chicken pox at his age would be healthy."
"Um, housewarming?" Oz asked. "If we have an itchy person we probably shouldn't have it." Miri shook her head. "No, we can just put it off for a few weeks."
"We should," Xander said quietly, looking at his daughter. "We'll need to take care of her. Chicken pox was horrible." He looked around the room. "I'll call Joyce and tell her, then Wills to tell her." He got up, heading for the phone. "Two weeks?"
"Make it three," Oz called, "I start school in two."
"Okay," Xander called back as he picked up the phone, opening their phone book to Joyce's number and dialing. "Hey," he said cheerfully. "You did? Well, that's sorta why we're calling. No, Miri's just got chicken pox." He snorted, turning to lean against the counter. "Yeah, we're going to put it off for three weeks. Friday of that week okay?" He nodded and wrote it on the calendar next to his hand. "Cool, thanks for understanding." He smiled. "Oh, baby Blair is doing okay, and his sister should be home in a few days. Yeah, we're going to talk to the baby doctor in the morning. She's out of town tonight." He stole a piece of chicken from the plate Oz was walking to the refrigerator, grinning at him. "Really? That's great. Thanks for the info." He nodded. "We will. And we'll call Willow tonight and tell her you said so. Night." He hung up. "Joyce said that there's a small group of women in town that have surrogated and are in a support group for when they start to want their children. She told me what night it was so I could tell Willow."
"Good, I think she'll like it there. Don't forget to call Cordy and Wes."
"Yup, on it." Xander redialed the phone, humming as Willow's answering machine picked up. "Hey, Wills, us. Miri's just developed chicken pox so we're moving the housewarming party back three weeks on that Friday. If you need more info, yell my way. Oh, and Joyce said that there's a support group for surrogate mothers here in town if you wanted to go. She said it's on Thursday night at eight at the new high school. They talk about wanting the kids and all that." He made a beeping noise and hung up, laughing as Oz shook his head. "She expects it, the first time I did that it confused her and she called back. Now it's gotten to be a tradition."
"Call your ex," Oz sighed, walking out of the kitchen.
Xander reached over to grab a piece of uncooked pasta to munch on while he dialed the phone again. "Hey, Cordy, it's us. Um, forget the date you got on the invitation for our housewarming, we have chicken pox in the house. We're moving it to three weeks from that date on that Friday. I and Giles should be here if this is confusing. Later. Tell Wes for us." He hung up, heading out to sit down at the table. "Okay, all called. Joyce will tell Buffy and Anya. Willow's got the message on her machine and so's Cordy, and I told her to tell Wes since we only have Angel's number for him."
"We should have a dinner for Blair and Jim and all those guys," Oz said, looking down at baby Blair. "We could show off the kids and the house."
"I invited them for the night after the housewarming," Xander admitted sheepishly, "for dinner. All the wives, husbands, etc. And John."
"Thanks," Oz said, reaching over to pat his hand. "Now what about keeping the kids apart?"
"Joyce suggested that it may be too late already but to definitely try. Especially since someone's so little." He wiggled his fingers at the baby, who was yawning. "And that we should be calling our pediatrician as soon as she was up in the morning, just to make sure."
Giles nodded, shifting Miri so she was laying on his other shoulder. "I think that's sensible. I'll call when I get up for his morning feeding. That should be just before I have to go to LA to visit his sister."
"We really have got to name her," Oz noted, smiling at Giles. "Blair was unanimous but she can't keep going without a name."
"Names are important to many peoples around the world," Xander added. "Some even have secret names that only the person knows so that no one can get power over them."
"I doubt we need to be that inclusive," Giles said with a small smile. "I've suggested naming her after Samantha."
"Nope, but maybe as a middle name," Xander said, shaking his head. "They'll get confused when Jonathan Blair and she meet Sam and Blair."
Oz shook his head, once, and went back to watching Giles. "What happened to the list you were considering from the name books?"
"Willow didn't like any of them," Giles said with a faint smile. "I wanted something classical and traditional and she wanted her child to have a flower child name."
"Harmony," Xander said, ducking away from Oz's napkin, then from Oz when he chased after him down to tickle him. "Hey! It was just a suggestion!"
Giles looked down at Miri, smiling at her. "What do you think we should name your sister?"
"As in Winnie the?" She nodded. "I don't think that's an appropriate name for a girl, Winnie's a boy."
She pouted for a second then smiled. "Tigger." Her father shook his head. "It pretty. Named kitty Tigger."
"Did you?" She nodded. "How many are still out there?"
"All but one," Oz said as he walked back in dragging Xander. "He's reconsidered his suggestion and is withdrawing it."
"Thinking of law school?" Xander asked, then fell to the floor to avoid the tickling fingers. "Hey! You sounded like one!"
Oz straightened up after Xander was breathless and squirming. "I think he's been taught his lesson. How about... Magenta."
"I seriously doubt we're naming our daughter after a character in such a horrid movie." Giles rolled his eyes. "I want a nice, classical name for her, something that the other children won't make fun of her for."
"Like her's?" Oz asked, pointing at Miri.
Giles nodded. "It's not a common name over here and I'm afraid of what sort of trauma the other children may subject her to."
"Wills always liked the name Elizabeth," Xander put out. "How would that be?"
"We've had a few Queens of that name," Giles said with a small smile. "Catherine?"
"I don't think she'd mind it," Xander said, shrugging. "I got her machine earlier but you could try again." He smiled at Miri. "How would you like a sister named Catherine?"
"Tigger," Miri said, pouting at her fathers. "Sissy named Tigger."
"We can call her Tigger," Oz told her, "sort of like we call you Miri even though you're a Miriam."
Miri thought about it then nodded. "Me call her Tigger." She nodded, then looked up at the father holding her. "Me nighties?"
"Of course you may go to bed, love, we'll go tuck you in right now." Giles stood up, carrying her out of the room. "I'll be back down in a moment," he said as he walked out.
Xander looked at Oz. "Tigger? I think Will'd like that."
"Me too." He shook his head. "We'll keep it as a nickname." He leaned his chair back. "You know, we're probably cursing her to a life of hyperactivity."
"Yeah, but I can handle that. I know that problem *real* well."
"Your turning into super dad again," Oz told him gently. "Don't worry so much, it'll happen and everything will be fine."
Giles walked back into the dining room, smiling at his men. "She's asleep, almost as soon as I had her dressed in her nightgown." He sat back down in his seat, looking at the tow younger men. "What went on while I was gone?"
"Xander's went back into super dad mode again," Oz told him, reaching over to pat Xander's arm. "He's worried so he's going hyper about it."
"I think it's normal to worry," Giles said gently, "after all, the other baby is still in the hospital and twins will have to be different than Miri by herself was. Added to that, we didn't get to see Miri in her first month."
"Does that mean I should worry?" Oz asked. Xander shook his head. "Thanks." He leaned over, getting a kiss. "You're a good father, quit worrying so much. You won't screw them up."
"Yeah, but it's so easy to do that when they're this young and have problems," Xander said, putting his head down on his arms to look across the table at the playpen. "I could so easily pass on all the crap I learned from my family about the problem we both have."
Giles leaned back, shaking his head. "I doubt that, and we would be here to stop you, Xander." He looked over at Oz, who nodded. "We're not going to let you 'screw up' the children, as you so plainly put it. You're a wonderful father and I feel that we'll do fine together. We make up the deficiencies we each have." The phone rang so he got up to get it, coming back after a few minutes. "That was the curator of the small museum in town, they want me to come in and talk with them in the morning," he said happily as he walked back in. "They're adding artifacts and the students that they've hired don't know how to manage them." He took his seat after hugging each of his men, his smile falling away when he saw Xander's small frown. "What's wrong? Aren't you happy for me?"
"Nope, very happy for you. Wondering what color apron I'd look best in." Xander pushed himself up to look at his men. "Does that mean I'm doing child care exclusively again?"
"For a while I'm still going to be here," Oz pointed out. "And I'll arrange my classes so I have some off time."
"Oz, truth, it takes twenty minutes to get here from town. Any breaks you have won't be that long." Xander pushed his chair back, standing up. "Guess we'll figure that out too. Once we've all got schedules again." He headed for their room, slamming the door behind him and retreating to their bathroom.
Oz looked at Giles. "I'm happy," he said quietly.
"As am I, but this is going to be difficult, especially since he's going to be virtually stranded out here most of the time with the children."
"We'll deal, we always have," Oz said, getting up. "I'm going to go talk him out of the tub. Everything else is put away." He walked out of the dining room, heading up to their room. He tapped on the bathroom door before walking in, pulling the headphones off Xander's ears. "That was a little childish. Just because you don't have something to do doesn't mean you should put down the one thing that Rupe loves."
"I didn't mean to," Xander said, sinking lower in the water. "I just don't want to be the mommy again. I miss having things to do too."
"You could have started school with me," Oz reminded him.
"And done what?"
"We told you what."
"Oz, do you *remember* high school? How some of us only graduated because we begged for 'D's?" Oz shook his head. "I do. I can't go back to school, I don't do well in it." He splashed the water around his drawn up legs, closing his eyes as he leaned his head back. "I'm sorry if I sounded snarky, but welcome to my life."
Oz patted the top of Xander's head and stood up. "We've been here before. There are things you could be doing."
"And *you're* going to stay home and watch the kids?" Xander opened his eyes to look up with him. "Are you going to give up school to stay home?" Oz shook his head. "Then I guess it's my job, huh." He rolled onto his side. "I'll talk later, leave me alone."
Oz pulled the headphones out of the CD player, letting the music flow around him. "Whatever," he said as he walked out. He ran into his other lover on their bed, gravitating into his body to be held. "He's feeling sorry for himself again."
"He does have a point," Giles pointed out. "If he did get a job, who would take care of the children?"
Oz sat up. "You're taking his side on this?"
"No, I think Xander should have something to do that's not confined to the house. I think he's a wonderful father but he needs more in his life." He pulled Oz back down. "I'll just have to arrange my schedule to be home more often."
"And mine," Oz said sourly.
"No, a college education is important. You'll go full time until you're done." He kissed the top of Oz's head. "I'm not going to make you choose and neither will he." He looked toward the bathroom, then closed his eyes. "I think we just need to find some middle ground again. We had it once, it's just a matter of scheduling it now."
"So we have to find him a job and get a nanny?"
Giles snorted. "No, just give him something other than the children to take care of. He needs to do things, even when he's affluent he feels the need to do more than sit around and watch TV. If he didn't, he wouldn't be Xander."
"So he needs a hobby?" Oz suggested. "Something like knitting?"
"I think that would be the wrong suggestion to make," Giles said with a small smile. "Maybe something like a home employment position. Or possibly something that interests him. He seems to get along well with animals."
"I think one hamster and the two of us are more than enough," Oz said dryly. "We don't need more animals. Even if this used to be a farm."
"He could groom animals, with a little training."
"Which would mean he's going to be gone from the house for hours on end."
"Oz, you have to choose. Do we do what's best for Xander and make him happy, or do we have him rot here at the house?"
"Point," Oz conceded. "I don't like him when he's feeling wifely." Oz pulled himself up to look over at the cradle. "Where's Blair?"
Giles jumped up, heading over to look down in there. "There you are," he said, brushing over the baby's forehead. "Hiding behind Miri's first teddy bear. I wonder how that got in here?" He picked it up, putting it on the shelf beside the bed so the baby could look at it but not be smothered by it. "There we are," he said softly as he walked back to the bed. "All set for the night again."
Oz snuggled back into Giles' body, closing his eyes. "What do we do about Xander?"
"I'd think the best thing would be to encourage him to get a life outside of the children, the way he used to have with the store. Though I'm not sure how that would work at the moment."
"Finals is going to be a bitch," Oz noted quietly.
"I'm sure he'll understand. Even if he wasn't thrilled about the subjects he took, he used to have final exams also."
"True, but college ones are different."
Giles pulled himself up to look down at his lover. "Not that much different, Oz. They're still massive tests at the end of a term. The material covered may be a bit different but almost all final exams are the same and cause the same stress reaction."
"Stop it," Xander said from the doorway of the bathroom. "No arguing in bed, we agreed." He walked out, untucking the towel from around his hips as he pulled clothes out of his dresser to sleep in. He turned to find both his lovers looking at him. "We did."
"Yes, we did," Giles said, holding out a hand. "We were just discussing interesting ways to get you employed without making all of us run to Sunnydale and back."
"So I get to work from home while I take care of the kids?" Xander stayed where he was, looking at them. "I tell ya what, I'm going to go get a job that I can do and you guys can stay with the kids." He shook his head, heading for the door. "Anyone else want a snack since I'm heading that way?"
Oz hopped up out of the bed, catching Xander before he could open the door. "There's no reason to be snarly about this, Xander. We're just trying to help."
"No, you're just trying to find a way to prove to yourselves that you're better because you have lots of skills and I don't." He pulled his wrist from Oz's grasp, looking at him. "Funny thing, sound does carry over music, Oz. And yeah, finals may be a bitch but hopefully you'll still be able to pass, like always, while I sit around and drink and smoke and become my parents." He walked out of the room, heading down to the kitchen.
Oz looked at Giles and shrugged. "Where did that come from?"
"From the same place all this insecurity came from," the older man said as he got out of the bed to pull on his robe. "I'll go to talk to him. You stay here." He walked down to the kitchen, finding Xander making himself a sandwich, his keys on the counter beside him. "Going somewhere?" he asked lightly, touching the keys. Xander nodded, taking a bite. "Would you like to tell me where?"
Giles sighed and turned the younger man around so he could look at him, taking the sandwich from him. "You're not your parents nor would I allow you to become them. Soon enough we'll all have jobs and a way to manage child care on top of it." He pulled his lover into a hug, holding him tightly. "We never meant to imply that we were better or that you were somehow inferior to us because you're not in school. We only wanted to help you find something to make you happy."
"Giles," Xander said, looking up at him. "My happiness isn't coming first, and it never has." He pulled back to look directly into the older man's eyes. "If you think about it, you'll realize that it's true."
"No it's not," Oz said from the doorway. "If it was, we would have left you a long time ago." He walked over, pushing the younger man against the counter. "We're trying to be nice and help but you're not helping yourself here, Xander. You're being bitchy."
"Gee, thanks." Xander moved to get away from him. "How long do I have to put up with the female comments this time?"
"What?" Oz shook his head. "Way out in left field again, Xander. What's gotten into you?"
"I think I know," Giles said softly, pulling Xander into his arms. "You're not female. No matter how much some parts of you may resemble one, there is nothing female about you. You're not their mother, no matter how much you feel like it, and you're not their nanny." He pulled back to look down into the deep brown eyes. "I know that this is a strain on you, Xander, I realize fully what we're asking of you again, but it has to be done. We can't change the past."
Xander shook his head. "We could, but it's a hard spell." He got free. "Nice speech, next time try it with feeling. I'm going to go feed Blair." He grabbed a bottle from the warmer on the counter, heading around them with a wide berth.
Oz looked at Giles. "Okay, explain that to me."
"He feels like their mother. It's the same discussion new mothers have when they first have their children, to work or not and what skills they really have." Giles sighed. "I had no idea that my desire for offspring would lead to this level of discontent."
"Too late now," Oz said, looking at him. "Everything was fine until tonight."
"Tonight, when Xander figured out that he was once again the mother of all the children."
Oz's shoulders slumped. "We're doing it to him again?" he asked quietly.
"Same as we did during the construction. You'd think by now we'd know what would set him off."
"I'll go part time," Oz said after a few seconds thought. "It won't take me much longer to finish things."
Xander walked in and tossed a dirty, wet cloth at the back of Oz's head. "No, you're going to school so that you can get a degree and sit at home when they're two so *I* can go back to work." He walked out into the laundry room, coming back after a few seconds with an armful of towels. "Miri's spiking a temperature, I'm going to give her a bath. Blair's back down again." He walked out of the kitchen, heading back up the stairs.
"I could do that," Giles suggested, heading after him.
"I'm competent enough to give her a bath on my own," Xander called back from the top of the stairs. Pretty soon, there was a slammed door.
Giles watched Oz as he walked out from the kitchen. "I believe we've hurt his self-esteem too greatly in the last year."
"We can't afford to keep sending him to Blair," Oz said quietly. "We're going to have to get over this ourselves. I'll go part time and he can find a job. It's really simple."
"Doing what?" Giles asked quietly, almost whispering. "Most everything needs a degree these days."
"He proved he could work construction so maybe that." Oz shrugged. "He'll figure it out." He headed up the stairs, going back to their room. "Xan? You sure you don't need help dealing with her?" He winced as he heard something hit the door. "Okay. If you want a break, come wake me up. I don't have to get up in the morning." He headed into their bedroom, leaving the door open.
Xander looked at the baby in the incubator, then up at the nurse. "What's with the feeding tube?" he asked her, keeping his voice quiet so that he wouldn't wake Giles' daughter up.
"She quit eating last night, wouldn't swallow milk, so we dropped one in this morning." She patted his arm as she opened the top of the machine keeping the premature infant warm and safe. "You can hold her if you want." She looked around. "Where's the other one at?"
"Job interview. I'm going to be doing most of the childcare so I had better get her used to me." He picked her up, sitting down in the rocking chair next to her berth. "Hey, princess," he whispered. "How are we this morning?" He looked up as the nurse connected some tubing under his arm. "What's that?"
"Ventilator hose. She's still not breathing regularly." She smiled sadly. "She could make it and go home if she'd start breathing on her own."
Xander looked down at her. "When will she come home? Will we need special equipment or training?"
"We can give you all that here," she said, patting the top of the baby's head gently. "As for when? No one's sure. She's still too small, still underweight, and she'll need to be breathing on her own." She tipped her head off to the side. "I think she likes you. She cries for the other guy." She walked toward another baby. "Yell if you need something."
Xander looked down at the child he held, feeling his throat close. "Hey, I know you're in there and can hear me, Tigger. If you'd just get better, we'd take you home so you could see Blair and your other parents." He looked up as someone walked in front of him. "Hey, Doc," he said, smiling lightly. "Coming to see us?"
"Yes," Doctor Amri, their pediatrician, said as she pulled over a chair. "How's Miri doing?"
"Ouch, and with her twin at home too." Xander nodded. "I couldn't have her released while Miri's sick, she wouldn't make it if she got exposed." Xander nodded again. "You're awfully calm today. Is everything all right at home?"
"Mostly. We're fighting over my becoming the mother." He looked back down at their daughter, concerned. "Um, is she supposed to be turning blue?"
The pediatrician took her from his hands, putting her back in the incubator and rehooking her ventilator tubing. "I think that did it," she said softly, looking down at her frail body. She looked over at Xander, nodding him outside. "Come on, we've got to talk." He followed her down to a small waiting lounge, both of them sitting facing each other in the semi-comfortable chairs. "I don't think she's really all there," she said quietly. "I'd like permission to do a CAT scan on her."
Xander looked at her. "You think she has brain damage?"
"It's possible, probable actually when you consider how much trouble breathing she's had and that she stopped breathing, that's why they did the c-section in the first place."
Xander shook his head. "I'm not sure our insurance would cover it but I'd go for it. I can call Giles and tell him to call you and okay it since she's his child."
"I thought she was Miri's sister."
"No, Giles wanted a child so we managed to convince one of our friends to surrogate. I'm just doing all the child care because Oz is going back to school and Giles just got a job today."
"Oh, I see." She relaxed. "How's that affecting the other two?"
"Miri's too sick right now to notice, but Oz has her today. Blair's just a clueless little infant that already knows me better." He shrugged, trying to keep his tone and body posture light. "That's what I get for not growing skills at an early age."
"I'm sure you're good at a lot of things. I know you're a good father, I've seen how well you've done with Miri, who's not been the easiest child to deal with." That got a small smile from him. "And I'm sure that once things settle down again that everything will go back to normal."
"I hope so, but I'm not too sure of it." He frowned as her pager went off. "Miri?" he guessed when she groaned.
"Just got taken to the hospital for a fever of a hundred and two."
"She's broken out in chicken pox, started them last night. We bathed her all night."
"You or them?"
"Me," he admitted. "I'm going to go back there, are you coming?"
"Of course. I just have to fill out one more form. I'll call the Emergency Room there and tell them about you three. Your paperwork should be on file so Oz can have her treated."
Xander gave her a quick hug. "Thanks." He jogged back to the nursery, sticking his head in. "I've got to go, my child's just been admitted to the ER back in Sunnydale for a fever." The nurse that had been helping him nodded, giving him a smile. "I'll come see her again tomorrow if I can." He ducked back out, heading for the nearest elevator and the parking garage.
Xander walked in to find Oz fighting with the nurse. "Why are you fighting with the person who has permission to treat my child when I'm not here while she's lying in a bed?" he asked with just a hint of frost in his voice. She blinked at him. "Yes, dear, you. And where's my child?" She pointed at a curtain and picked up the phone. He walked into the curtained off area, bending down to kiss her forehead. "Hey," he whispered. "You're all splotchy."
"Sir," a man said as he walked in. "May I ask who you are?"
"Her biological father. Who're you? And why weren't my orders followed regarding who could authorize treatment?"
He held up a hand. "We just found the paper but he didn't have any identification on him. I'm the ER doctor on shift. I'm sorry for the mix-up."
"That's okay, I can understand that. She started to spot up last night, we gave her baths all night to counter what little fever she's had, and we have an infant at home."
"He's with Rupe," Oz said as he walked through the curtain. "Can I be in here now?"
The doctor nodded. "I'm sorry about the mix-up, we just found the paperwork you were yelling about." He looked over the little girl. "Your own doctor will be in shortly, we've given her some tylenol to bring it down. We'll see what Amri has to say. Okay?" Xander nodded. "Thank you for not ripping my head off," he said as he walked out the curtain.
"Amri was just in LA with me," Xander told Oz. "She was looking in on Tigger."
"Tigger?" Miri asked sleepily, blinking up at them. "Nap?"
"Yeah, she was napping, same as you should be." He rubbed down the bridge of her nose, the site of one of the worst chicken pox she had grown so far. "You can see Tigger soon."
"She's okay?" Oz asked casually.
"Besides them having put her on a feeding tube and Amri wanting to do a CAT? I'd guess. We got her ventilator hose kinked earlier but that was easily fixed."
Oz shook his head. "I thought she'd be getting better."
"She is, she's just not making lots of headway." Xander looked up as the curtain opened, nodding at the nurse. "She's really okay?"
"As far as we can tell, it's a nice, normal bout of chicken pox. Her fever's going back down again and she should be able to go home as soon as your own doctor gets here." She smiled at Oz. "I am sorry, sir, but we needed ID."
"We wish you could put pictures in with the orders," Xander said quietly. "Frantic parents sometimes forget things like wallets."
"We've started doing that. We can take his picture anytime he's ready to do it." She waved outside. "If you wouldn't mind?"
"I'll be back in a sec," he told Xander, hugging him cheek to cheek. "Watch her for me." His lover nodded so he followed the nurse out into the corridor. He frowned at the policemen standing there. "What's going on?"
"They were called when we couldn't identify you," she said soothingly.
"Oh, we know him," the cop said smugly. "He's who he says he is. Where's the child?"
Xander stepped out, standing in the way of the curtain. "Why? More problems with us? Gonna burn down the hospital now?" he asked snidely. The nurse winced. "Now then, I'd like to know *exactly* what is going on," he stated calmly, after taking a deep breath, "and I will be told now or else I'm going to cause such a fuss that everyone in town will know what's going on too."
"I don't think that's necessary," Giles said as he walked down the hall. "Gentlemen," he said with a small nod. "Is Miri in there?"
"Yeah," Xander said, stepping out of his way, "and she's real itchy. It's time for more calamine lotion." He crossed his arms, looking at the cops and the nurse. "More problems or not?"
"Not with me, honey," the nurse said, smiling at him. "I know you're here to take care of her and your men." She smiled at Oz, waving at a counter. "If you please? That way we'll know who you are next time." Oz followed her over, leaving Xander to deal with the cops.
"We're just doing our job, sir," the second cop said, stepping in front of his partner before he could do something more stupid. "We have to investigate if it's a supposed kidnapping, it's the law."
Xander nodded and shrugged. "By now you should know us all on sight and by description." He turned back to the curtains. "I can understand the panic but not the application of force," he said as he disappeared back into the room. He leaned down, kissing Miri's forehead. "Hey, I saw Tigger, got to hold her and everything," he told her. She smiled at him, scratching her nose. "No, don't do that. You'll have a big scab if you do." She whimpered. "I know it itches but you can't scratch. I promise, it'll get better soon." Giles cleared his throat and Xander looked up. "Where's Blair?"
"With Joyce. She agreed to watch him for a bit so he wouldn't have to be exposed to her germs. How was the baby?"
"On a feeding tube and on the ventilator still. Amri needs to talk to you about doing a CAT scan."
Giles shuddered. "I had no idea she was so ill."
"She's doing better, I think this was a precaution. Sort of like how she's breathing is dangerous or something. She's on her way here so you can ask her then." He looked down, smiling at his daughter again. "Hey, Miri? Think we should get Tigger a stuffed Pooh? Just so she's not lonely?" The little girl laughed.
When Doctor Amri walked in almost an hour later, she smiled at the child on the bed. "Been scratching, haven't you?" she asked, leaning down to touch her forehead and look into her eyes. "You're looking better."
"Daddies give huggies," she said happily. "Me itchies. An' got baby Tigger."
"I know, I've seen your sister. Did you name her Tigger?"
"We call her that," Xander said from the chair. "Long form?"
"You probably sped," she said lightly, looking around. "Where are they?"
"Picking up the baby. The woman watching him called and asked them to." He stood up, taking the step to stand beside the bed with his daughter. "So?"
"I think she could go home, just continue the Tylenol and what you've been doing. It's looking okay." She smiled. "Like I told you earlier, you're a good parent. Just be extra gentle with her for a while, give her the extra attention, and keep Blair away from her as much as possible. Please wash your hands after dealing with her. He's going to get it from the puss if anything."
"Okay," Xander said, nodding. "They can take care of Blair and I'll do Miri."
"Daddies take me?" Miri asked, pouting at her Daddy Oz as he walked up behind her daddy.
Xander looked down at her. "Of course they'll help take care of you, but we can't give what you have to the baby or he's going to get really sick and have to join Tigger in the hospital."
"Tay," she said with a small yawn. "Home? Got itchies."
"Sure," Xander said quietly, picking her up to hug. "Home?"
"Would be a good place to be," Doctor Amri said with another smile. "If you see Giles soon, tell him I'm here and I'd like to talk to him."
Oz cleared his throat. "He's out in the car. I'm driving his car home with Blair since it has the carrier." He looked at Xander, holding out his hands for Miri. "Want me to go strap her in? I can get her comfy while you do paperwork."
Xander kissed Miri's head then handed her over. "Thanks, Oz."
"That's what alternate fathers do." He held Miri, looking up at his lover. "I want to talk when we get home, can we?"
"Yeah, we can do that," Xander said quietly, walking past him. "I'll see you both at home."
Oz looked over at Doctor Amri, giving her a grimace. "It's been hard on us since the store burned." He took their daughter, walking out of the hospital.
Oz looked across the kitchen table at Xander, who was quietly eating a bowl of cereal. "How's Miri feeling?"
"Itchy. We just got another dose of calamine lotion." Xander put his spoon down. "How's Blair?"
"He's a sweetie but he knows we're not you." Xander shrugged. "It says something to me that the kids all know the difference, mostly that I'm doing something that they don't like," Oz confessed in that same quiet tone. "I just don't know what it is."
"It's probably just your smell. Babies can use that to tell people apart. Even one as young as Blair." Xander linked his fingers around his bowl, looking up. "This isn't making me feel less like the mommy here, Oz."
"I know, it wasn't what I meant to do, I wanted you to know that all the kids love you. Maybe more than they do us."
"I've done most of the childcare so far, they just know me better. Same as Tigger will when she gets home," Xander said calmly. "You're doing the traditional 'dad' things so you're not there as much." He shrugged. "No big right now."
"No," Oz said, reaching over to take one of Xander's hands to hold. "It is. It's a very big right now. You shouldn't have to do all the childcare yourself, I agree with you on that part, I just don't see another way right now."
"I know," Xander said, looking at where their hands were joined, "but it sucks for me. You guys get to leave the house and go have a life and I don't. I'm only twenty-two, I should have a life. I know I should."
"You do," Oz said. "It's just been narrowed for a little while because of the kids. Once they're old enough to go to daycare and stuff, you can go back to having a life again." He squeezed the limp hand. "I'll go take care of Miri, you go watch Blair refuse to eat for Giles."
"You've got to hum to him to get him to eat, he's used to the nurses doing it. Likes anything just so long as it's noise and it's closer to him than the radio."
"He can hear it vibrating in your chest?" Oz guessed.
"Probably. All I know is that it's soothing to him." Xander took back his hand. "Thanks, Oz, but I still wish there was another way."
"Me too, I'd like to stay home and watch them." He got up, leaving him alone with his cereal.
Xander poked the cold loops of supposed fruit, then got up, tossing it all down the garbage disposal so he could head upstairs.
Xander walked into the nursery, frowning at the back of the Priest standing over his child. "Um, hate to say it, but we're not baptizing them in any faith until they're old enough to decide for themselves."
The Priest, a young man with kind, understanding blue eyes and a quick smile, turned to look at him. "I hear'. It's jus' a blessin' to carry her home." He stood up, holding out a hand. "Father Philip."
"Xander," he said, shaking it. "Actually, her mother's Jewish."
"I hear' Wiccan."
"That too, but we're kinda keeping that secret away from guys like you. The last one harassed her for months until she threatened to curse him with a very *public* private life."
Father Philip smiled. "I'm no' like him. I accep' all ways." They turned to look at the little girl. "They're sayin' she can go home tomorrow."
"Cool. Her brother's missed her." Xander bent down to touch her arm through the holes on the side of the machine. "Hey, Tigger. Blair's fussy because you're not there yet."
"Tigger?" Philip asked with a big smile.
"That's what our daughter has decided she's going to be called and since we're still fighting over names, we're using it."
The nurse walked over, giving him a small smile. "Father Philip visits all the children. He was meant to be a father."
"I am," Philip said, touching his collar, "jus' no' ta lots a little ones." He patted Xander on the back. "I'm here today if ya need me." He headed out of the nursery, making sure that the door didn't slam behind him.
"If all members of the Church were like him, I'd convert," the nurse said. "She had a good night and the ventilator was taken from her. She's been breathing on her own since about midnight." She opened the incubator, handing Tigger to him. "There ya go, just sit down and we'll be fine."
Xander sat in the rocking chair, humming to her as he held her.
Xander carefully loaded Giles' daughter into the back of his SUV, closing the door and hurrying to get in. She was sniffling by the time he turned on the radio, but quickly quieted down once she heard the noise. He buckled up then visually checked her seat to make sure it was in right before starting his Explorer. He backed out carefully, heading for home with his most precious cargo. They were doing fine until they hit the interstate and wound up in the middle of a high speed chase. Xander pulled off to the side of the road, looking in his mirrors to see when it would be safe. He had just glanced to check on Tigger when a cop car slammed into his Explorer and rammed him into the guardrail, after flipping it on it's side.
The doctor looked down at his patient and shook his head. "We've checked for bleeding, I can't find it," he told the nurse.
Another nurse jogged in with a big smile on her face. "I checked with the hospital that the infant had it's bracelet from. They're from *Sunnydale*."
The other nurse smiled, lifting up Xander's penis and ball sac to look under. "That's where the bleeding's coming from." She looked at the doctor, a young resident. "Sunnydale has a reputation for growing herms. It's one of those things that you accept when you're close by." She looked at the other nurse. "Do we have contact numbers?"
"Three of them and I've called them all. I've also called the child's doctor and his doctor when she told me who it was." The head nurse nodded. "His doc's in town. He'll be here soon." She shrugged and left the curtained off area, leaving them alone.
"They really come naturally like that?"
"Yup," the nurse told him. "About a third or so from what I've heard. That's one thing that you have to check because Sunnydale General forwards to here." She walked out of the curtained off area. "He's fine, he's just got to wake up, I'll have one of the nurses come watch so we can ask him about the baby."
Xander lifted his head with a groan, looking around the hospital room. "Tigger," he called, sitting up suddenly and setting off alarms. A older woman in white scrubs ran in to push him back down. "Tigger? The baby?"
"She's fine. Your husband's downstairs," she said gently, trying to soothe him with her voice. "You have to relax. You had a nasty accident."
"What happened? All I remember is pulling off to the side to get away from the police chase."
"One of the cops slammed into you," she said calmly, pulling his blanket back up and grabbing his wrist to take his pulse. "Your Explorer's saveable from what I hear."
Xander shook his head. "Doesn't matter. She does."
"She's fine, just bounced a little. You had her in her carseat *real* well and she's fine." She put his wrist back under the sheet and patted the top of his head. "We'll bring her up in a few minutes." She picked up his chart. "Do you want everything like it was on your driver's license?"
He groaned. "They found it," he guessed.
"They were looking for a source of bleeding."
"I'm male, I just have extra parts."
She wrote something on his chart. "Okay then. Everything's fine and your husband's downstairs."
"Nice man, dark hair? I think he said his name was Angel?"
"Oh, hell no, he's not mine. Get him away from Tigger."
She leaned over, pushing him back down. "She's in the nursery, he's not able to get near her. Are you saying he's not the father?"
"No, Rupert Giles is. Did you call him?"
"We tried," she said, sitting on the end of his bed, "but this is the only number we got an answer at." Xander shuddered. "Is he really that bad?"
"Friend that I don't like anymore," he explained. "I don't want him anywhere near her. He tried to get her mother to harm herself."
"Okay, I'll make a note to not let him near her." She stood up. "If you'd like, you could try to call them yourself, just dial eight first."
"Can you? I really don't want to listen to the lecture."
"Of course," she said softly, patting his leg. "Just lay there and relax. We'll bring your step- daughter up to you. She is, right?"
"Yeah, her father and I are together. My daughter's with him right now. She's got chicken pox but she's getting better."
The nurse nodded and walked out, heading out to the desk. She stopped beside the sign that said 'Psychiatric Ward' and picked up the phone, dialing. "He's awake and the first thing he asked about was the child. But we have the father's name now."
Giles ran into the nursery, panting and looking around. He picked up his daughter, holding her against his chest. "Tigger," he sighed.
"May I see some identification please?" a nurse asked formally. He pulled out his wallet and tossed it at her. She looked from his license to him and back. "Thank you. We just wanted to make sure that you were her father. The man that had her wasn't supposed to have taken her from the other hospital." She handed it back.
"She was supposed to be allowed to come home today," he said in confusion. "Didn't Xander have her? Xander Harris?" She nodded, biting her lip. "Where is he? Is he all right?"
"He's being held upstairs as a dangerous patient," she said softly. "She's really his and yours?"
"Yes," he said cooly. "Is she in any danger?" The nurse shook her head. "Then I'm taking her up to see her other father."
"We can't allow that," another nurse said.
"Unless you're prepared to do something to me for taking control of my own daughter, who I was just told is not in any medical risk, then I would seriously get out of my way." He headed for the door, walking out it and heading for the nearest elevator. He smiled at a nurse as she walked past him. "Which way to Psychiatric?" he asked her.
"Fifth floor." She waved at the baby. "Let me guess, he wasn't kidnapping her?"
"No, we had permission to take her home. Who do I speak to about getting him free?"
"I think that would be the admitting doctor." She waved toward the elevator. "Go up and demand to talk to him. He should be right near the desk, that's where they put people like who they thought he was."
Giles nodded his thanks and headed for the elevator, getting on after a short wait and pushing the button for five. When he walked off, security was waiting on him. "I'd move," he said coolly. "I'm not in the mood to play with creatures such as yourself." He brushed past them, heading for the desk. "Where is my mate?" he demanded. "And whose *brilliant* idea was it to put him up here for bringing our daughter home?"
The nurse picked up a phone and pushed a button. "I think the Harris case's husband is here," she said and hung up. Pretty soon a young woman walked out to stand beside them. "Dr. Lawrence, he's asking about the Harris case."
"Yes, he was *supposed* to be bringing our daughter home but for *some* reason he's interred up here."
She waved toward the sitting area. "Maybe we should take this out of the hallway." She strolled that way, sitting down and facing him. "All we knew was what the other hospital told us. That she wasn't supposed to be released yet and someone who wasn't her father took her out of there." She swallowed when she saw his eyes turn icy. "I'm sorry, but until we hear from them and the police I can't release him."
"If you don't release him now, I'm going to turn this hospital on it's ear and play Beethoven in it," he warned. "There was no cause for your actions." He walked back down the hall. "I'm going to see my *mate*. If you have a problem with our relationship then I suggest you say something now." He walked through the door that had his name beside it, choking as he caught site of the restraints tying Xander to the bed. "How dare they?" he whispered, putting Tigger down to undo him. "Xander," he said, patting the side of his face. "Come on, love, wake up."
Xander blinked at him, then shook his head. "They're bad, Giles, take Tigger far from here." He looked down at the lump on his legs, smiling at her. "Hey, Tigger. You okay?"
"She's fine, what about you?"
"I'd be fine if they'd quit giving me drugs," Xander said softly. "They think I'm a bad guy."
"I know you're not," Giles said softly, kissing his forehead. "I'm going to get you out of here." He turned as someone else walked into the room. "Tell me you're someone who can fix this before I tear this floor apart," he demanded.
The frail-looking blonde nodded. "Yeah, I'm a detective. Actually, I was asked to investigate. What's going on?"
"I was told I could take her home," Xander said, blinking hard to stay awake. "Then one of you guys slammed into me on the interstate and the next thing I knew I was up here."
"They thought he had kidnapped our daughter, who we had been informed we could take home, and was classified as dangerous."
She hummed and walked closer. "What's her name?"
"We're still deciding, but we've been calling her Tigger for now, it's what her older sister wanted to name her." The detective smiled. "She's two."
"Ah. Okay. Let me get in touch with the other hospital and with the actual detective on the case. We'll see what we can't do about this. As for who slammed into you? He's downstairs in surgery."
"I was pulled off to the side, completely," Xander complained. "I don't care if he's dead, he shouldn't have hit me."
She shrugged. "That's a later matter." She walked out and a nurse walked in with a needle. "I wouldn't," she called over her shoulder.
Giles glared at her. "If you touch him with that medicine, I will personally sue you." She flinched but looked very sorry.
"No!" Xander said, trying to fight her.
"Calm down or have the restraints again," she warned.
Giles took the needle from her hand, tossing it at the window. "He doesn't need it and I'd thank you not to give it to him again."
"We have orders..."
"Which aren't worth the paper they're written on," Giles said coldly. "Get out of here, now." She hurried out of the room, and he turned to look at Xander. "What's wrong, love?"
"Angel was here earlier," he said, looking toward the window. "It's been a day?"
"No, I think he had someone bring him. Once he was inside he should have been able to manage." He stroked through the dark, sweaty hair. "Would you like to hold Tigger?"
He nodded so the baby was handed over, Xander giving her a small grin. "We've already got trouble and you're not that old. You've beaten Miri's record." He blinked then looked up at Giles. "I was pulled off. They hit me and I was off the interstate."
"I know," Giles said gently, leaning down to kiss him. "No one will ever do it again, Xander, I promise." They both looked up as the door opened, bringing Dr. Lawrence, the nurse from earlier, and a very large man. "If you try to drug him again, I will make sure it is noted when we sue you," he warned. "I don't care who you think you are."
The doctor waved at him and the other man walked over to restrain him. "I don't think that it'll mater that much where you'll be going," she said cruelly. "People like you shouldn't have children."
"And neither should you," the detective said as she walked back in. "Let them go." She waved the man behind her in. "Tell them now," she said, slapping him across the back of his head.
"He didn't kidnap her, it's his daughter." He looked at the man on the bed. "Why weren't you farther off the road?"
"I was fully off," Xander complained, pulling himself up to sit. "Why couldn't your cop control his car? Considering the way we flipped, I'd say he must have been going over a hundred." He took Giles' hand in his. "We'll figure that part out in court," he said coldly. "I'm going home."
"You can't discharge yourself," the nurse told him.
"Watch me," he said, handing Tigger back as he got out of the bed. "I didn't get put in here." He grabbed the bed when he started to get dizzy. "I'd leave and get my paperwork to sign before I call someone to escort me out."
"You're leaving," Angel said as he walked in. "No need to call someone else." He glared at Xander. "And I can come look at the kids."
"Bitch," Xander growled. "Stay away from my children." He looked at Giles. "Please find my clothes, or something that I can wear that doesn't leave me exposed."
"Oz is downstairs with our lawyer as we speak and you have a bag in the car." He helped his mate from the room and to the elevator, escorted by Angel and the two detectives. "I'll expect to hear something about this soon," he said to the female detective. "This action was most uncalled for, as was the accident."
"The law says we're not responsible for property damage," she said quietly. "I'm not sure about bills."
"Do I look like I care?" Xander asked, getting off the elevator, followed closely behind by Angel. "Oz," he called, bringing his other lover over. "Clothes, please?" he begged.
"In the car." He handed Angel the keys, checking the dark. "It's on the first floor of the parking garage. Near the exit ramp."
Angel nodded. "I'll escort him out to it and make sure he's not kidnapped or anything." He walked Xander away, heading out of the door.
Oz turned to look at the man who had been the store's attorney. "Do something about this," he said before jogging after Giles, who had followed Xander.
The lawyer smiled at the man walking toward them. "Bill, I do believe you've met the impossible object this time." They shook hands. "I'm representing the Harris family."
The other man winced. "I just heard. Is he gone?"
"Now. Do you think you're that lucky?"
"No," he sighed, waving down the hall. "Come on, let's go discuss before he turns this into a court case."
Oz pulled up in front of the FBI building, looking over his shoulder. "You sure you want to drag Blair into this?"
"No, but I wanted to let him know he's probably going to be bothered over something." He slid out of the car, picking up the carrier from the carseat base. "We'll be right back." He shut the door and jogged inside so the wind wouldn't get him as badly. He smiled at the receptionist. "I'm here to see Blair Sandburg or Samantha Waters? It's not an emergency," he added. "Just an FYI."
She smiled back and dialed the phone, talking into the headset she wore. "Visitor for Doctor Sandburg or Waters?" She groaned and hung up. "They're not up here but Agent Ellison will be right down."
Xander nodded, leaning against the counter. He smiled at Jim as he walked out. "Just a heads up," he said to ease the frown. "I think they're going to be calling on Blair to tell them I am a psycho after all."
Jim shook his head. "That was you?"
"If by 'you' you mean that guy that got run over by the cops during a chase then accused of stealing his daughter from the hospital then yes. If it's some other guy, no." He shrugged at the groan. "Sorry, wasn't even my doing this time."
Jim patted him on the shoulder. "When I see him, I'll warn him lawyers will come looking for him shortly. Sue them for us too." He looked down in the carrier. "My, you're tiny."
"She was a little early but she's okay now. They released her to me then told the other hospital after the wreck that I shouldn't have her."
Jim nodded. "We heard. One of the contact numbers was Blair, remember?"
Xander gave him a guilty smile. "Sorry."
"He didn't mind. Actually, he was amazed that you remembered him." Jim patted Xander's head. "Just go home and relax. I'm sure it's all settled now."
"Nope, the lawyers have it. They classified me as a dangerous person, Jim, put me in psychiatric care and strapped my drugged-up butt down!" Xander took a deep breath, just like Blair had taught him. "Sorry. Needed to get that out. We're going home now. You have the number?"
"And we'll be out in a few days for dinner. With John, even if we have to drag him away from the phone."
Xander grinned. "Good, Oz wanted to show him what we did with the house." He picked up the carrier. "Tell him you've seen her and Tigger's pretty cool and okay."
"Tigger?" Jim asked with a small smile.
"It was Miri's idea, we still haven't settled on a name yet." He shrugged, heading back out to the car.
Jim looked at the receptionist. "Any word from their team yet?"
"None yet, I'm sorry Agent Ellison."
He shook his head. "Not your fault, it was Blair's. I know it was." He wandered toward the elevator, muttering to himself.
Xander got into the car, hitching Tigger securely back into her carseat base. "I talked to Jim, he's still coming out for dinner and he'll drag John with him." He hitched himself up and closed the door. "He'll warn Blair about the lawyers."
"Cool," Oz said, putting the car in drive. "Nap if you want to, we'll be quiet."
"Thanks. Those drugs are killer." He closed his eyes, leaning his head back. "Can you turn on the radio?"
"Sure," Oz said, tuning the radio to the oldies station.