Friends Needing Friends.
Oz stared at the officer standing on his porch through the screen door. "If you're here for any other reason than an apology for one of your officer's stupidity you can leave again," he warned.
"I just needed to clarify a few things," the man said with a small smile, "and to inform you of a few facts."
"How's this for facts," Oz said coldly. "Your officer almost killed my youngest child and my mate when he slammed into a parked car that was fully off the road hard enough to make it flip onto it's side. You will be held accountable, even if we have to take it to the Supreme Court."
"Who just ruled we aren't held accountable for property damage."
"Oh, I think this is different," Oz said, locking the door. "Get off our land before I shoot you for trespassing." He walked back into the house, watching from the shadows as the man left.
Xander looked up from his place in the living room. "I thought I was the mean one in the family."
"You are, but I'm mad now." Oz sat down beside him. "There's no way they should be able to avoid responsibility for hurting you that way. It was excessive and unreasonable."
"Law school," Xander told him, leaning on his shoulder. "Don't we have a dinner tonight?"
"Yeah, and Giles is cooking it right now." Oz rubbed over Xander's leg. "You okay now?"
"I've been okay, I just don't think I can drive for a while."
"Well, the Explorer's going to be in the shop for another few months anyway from the pictures they gave our insurance agent."
"Maybe longer than that," Xander said lightly.
Oz kissed the top of Xander's head. "You'll be okay. I'll ride with you the first few times," he offered quietly.
"Okay, but no comments about my radio stations."
"Not a one," Oz soothed, pulling Xander closer to cuddle. "I'm taking this semester off." He quickly put a hand over the younger man's mouth to stop the argument. "No, you can't handle Tigger's needs all by yourself. She's still got some problems and you've got a few again. I'm going to help."
"Oz, you need to go back to school."
"I told them why, they're giving me a reasonable excuse for a sabbatical and have agreed to talk to the people who have my loans. It's all going to be okay."
"Not if we sue the LAPD," Xander reminded him. "Everybody will suddenly come rushing at us with complaints and problems."
"Hey, I can ignore them," Oz told him, squeezing his lover as hard as he dared. "Come on, let's go watch Rupe cook. He's even wearing the apron that you got him."
Xander grinned, pushing himself up with a grunt. "Okay. But I get to sit and read." He grabbed his book. "I like this one."
"Me too, that's why I suggested it," Oz told him, walking toward the kitchen where the children were watching their oldest father cook too. He picked up the phone as it rang, grimacing. "Okay, Jim, thanks for telling us. If he shows up here, we'll call you." He hung up. "Blair and Sam are missing. The dinner's off."
Giles groaned as he looked at the meal he was preparing. "We'll have plenty of left-overs then," he said with a small smile. He kissed Xander then Oz. "We'll reschedule it as soon as they're ready."
"Yup, that's what Jim said too." Oz snuck in an extra kiss, heading over to watch the kids.
Xander snuggled for a second more then grabbed a soda, heading over to the table with his book. "Smells good," he noted as he sat down. "I'm sure it'll be great and it'll be something that you'll shamelessly withhold the recipe from me."
Giles laughed lightly. "I don't believe so. It's something that I've shown you how to make before." He turned back to the stove, stirring a pot. "We'll eat later."
"Whatever," Oz said quietly, helping Miri color. "We can wait."
Xander looked at the opened envelopes in disgust. "Told ya so," he told Oz, pushing over the pile of bills that had suddenly appeared so he could read them too. "The hospital, both of them, the furniture store, who says we got an extra chair, and a few other new ones."
Oz flipped through the bills, wincing at the hospital ones. "I think we could handle that easily enough. We'll have to make payments on the one for Tigger."
"'Lizabeth," Miri corrected, patting the baby's head since she was standing over them to help them rock the cradle. "Auntie say so."
"I know," Oz told her. "You're a very good big sister." She grinned and bounced. "Can you get me the phone?" She jogged over and grabbed it, coming back to hand it to him. "Thank you. Why don't you get a book and tell the babies a story?"
"'Kay!" Miri yelled, heading for the library.
Xander smiled at Oz. "You've got her well trained."
"She's a happy sister." Oz dialed Giles' new work number. "Hey, it's us. In the mail today was both hospital bills, something from the furniture store saying we got more than we bought, and a few bills from the power company for putting in our service even though we ran the wire and put up the poles. Would you like to talk to any of these people?" He snorted and hung up. "One of the college students just dropped something and they found out it was a fake."
"You take the furniture store, I'll take Elizabeth's bill, and the utilities we'll do together?" Xander suggested.
"Sounds reasonable. "I'll start." He dialed the number on the bill. "Hello, this is the Harris house. We just got a bill for furniture we supposedly didn't purchase?" He nodded, picking up a pen. "Okay, we thought we ordered a chair in that shade. Did you want it back." He groaned. "We're not the ones who sent it to us," he reminded. "As far as we knew, we just received the contents of our order." He smiled sweetly. "Thank you." He tapped the pen a few times. "Yes, this is he. Thanks, but we've just gotten this bill..." He shook his head and rolled his eyes. "I know, but that's not our fault. You guys delivered it to us. Yes, and we could either send it back or you could do something else."
Xander held out a hand for the phone. "Hi, this is Mr. Harris. No, that's my mate. What extra chair? I thought we ordered that. Are you sure? Have you *checked* the invoice yet? There were a few mix-ups with it if you remember." He nodded. "We look forward to that. Thank you." He hung up. "Someone will be calling us back, they have our number on their caller ID."
Oz grunted. "Okay." He got up, grabbing a bottle to hand over. "Here, your turn to feed Blair."
Xander picked up their son, holding him cradled against his chest as he hummed. "There, Blair, eat sweetie."
"You're incredible with him," Oz said in awe. "He doesn't want to eat from me even when I hum. He tried to toss it all back at Rupe last night." He reached over, touching Xander's cheek. "I want to be a daddy like you."
"I want to be a daddy like me," Xander said softly, not looking up. "I don't know how it happens, it just does. They're used to me I guess."
"Or it could be that you've got some sort of gift for dealing with children. You can never tell." He stroked down Xander's cheek again. "I'll deal with the utility companies while you feed him."
Giles walked into the house and fell onto a chair, looking up as someone walked toward him. "How did you day go?" Xander asked him, sitting down in his lap.
"Not that well. I've been telling them for weeks that some of the artifacts weren't what they thought they were but they never believed me until today when they brought in a teacher from the College. Who instantly blamed me because his students *couldn't* do something like that.."
Xander soothed him gently, giving him a gentle backrub while he hugged his older lover. "It'll be okay. I'm sure it will. Someone just stole. They can't fire you for that."
"Oh, they didn't. They're determined to pin it on me though." Giles rolled his head, wincing as his neck popped. "I think we should just lie around tonight, love, what about you?"
"I think that'd be great. We can nuke some chicken and relax on the porch." Xander stood up, pulling Giles with him. "We got some of it straightened out. We did get extra furniture, I checked the invoice, so we owe them about six hundred more because they decided we deserved a discount for spending so much. Oz straightened out the utilities by reminding them who had done the work, so that bill is gone. Elizabeth's hospital bill has been agreed to be paid in small sections and mine was handed over to the lawyer. Oh, and he said that we can get the LAPD, that it was gross negligence. He suggested Oz go to law school too."
"I don't want to," Oz said as they walked into the kitchen. "Why would I want to be a lawyer?"
"To save us fees?" Xander suggested with a grin.
"About that," Giles said, pushing Xander down onto a chair. "The story made the Las Angeles paper this morning, right under the disappearance of Blair and Sam. I got called at work for a comment so I told them we just wanted to make sure that it never happened again. Neither of the incidents."
Xander shuddered. "I'll be happy if it never happens to me again." He looked up. "Can I not leave the house again?"
"No," Oz said, walking over with sandwiches. "You'll have to leave again sometime."
Xander took a bite and smiled. He chewed and swallowed quickly, then cleared his throat. "Can I start to look for a job then?"
"If you can prove you're ready to drive," Oz reminded him.
"If it's part time," Giles added. "Though I could drive him if I had to."
"Okay." Xander took another bite. "I got a call from the radio station from where I had put in an application a few months back. I have an interview tomorrow morning at nine. Can I ride in with you?"
Giles nodded. "Of course. I called the garage today, they should have the Explorer fixed soon, maybe in a week or so."
Oz shook his head. "Only if we can afford it. The safety cushion is about gone." He looked at Xander, who nodded. "I talked to the school today. I'm going on sabbatical to take care of the kids." He took another bite of his sandwich before anyone could say anything.
"I think that's sensible," Giles said calmly, "but I thought we had discussed this."
"I want to," Oz said. "I have lots of stuff I need to sort out if I'm going to graduate soon."
"Law school?" Xander asked with an impish grin.
"Could," Oz agreed. "Would you mind? It's expensive."
"I wouldn't," Giles said quietly. "Though I imagine it's a lot of work."
"It is," Xander said, putting down his sandwich to look at his lover. "Are you sure?"
"Yeah, I had an epiphany while I was making us food. It's the perfect solution to most of our problems, and I could make enough to support us all probably."
"Then Rupe could retire," Xander said with another grin.
Giles groaned. "I could, but I'd like to keep working for a few years yet." He smiled at Oz. "Whatever you decide, I'll abide by it. I'm sure you could get grants and loans considering our present economic situation."
"I still have some, it's just invested," Xander pointed out quietly, "and my grandmother's inheritance that I really didn't feel like touching." He looked up. "If we have to, I could call in a favor to get a job."
"As long as it's not at that club," Oz said, glaring at him. "You go back out there and I'm going to beat everyone who looks at you."
Xander grinned. "Thanks, I needed to hear that." He blew a kiss and picked up his sandwich again. "Where are the kids?"
"Upstairs," Oz told them. "Miri's down taking a nap and the twins are both doing the same." He finished off his sandwich in one bite. "I'm looking at UC Hellmouth for their law program if it matters. My computer professor about crapped but I think it'll be okay."
"Computer crimes are going up," Xander pointed out. "You'd have an edge in that field."
"Good point, boys," Giles said with a fond smile for them both. "We'll figure it out eventually." He reached over to grab the ringing phone, smiling. "Yes?" He nodded and handed the phone to Xander. "For you, love."
Xander wiped off his mouth as he took the phone. "Hello? Yes, this is he." He listened then nodded. "Okay, I'll be there in two days." He hung up. "Family business."
"What is it with your family?" Oz asked. "They're either evil or shadowy."
"It's a national secret, Oz, just drop it." Xander stood up, carrying his plate over to the sink. "Is it my turn to do dishes?"
"Only if you explain that you were being sarcastic," Oz told him, getting up to hug him from behind. "What's going on?" he whispered.
Xander turned around, whispering in Oz's ear. "My Uncle, my mother's brother, turned in his boss, who is *family*. He's in protective custody. He wants to talk about my grandmother's will." He pulled back. "National secret."
"Okay," Oz said with a nod, heading back to the table. "Any other things like that in your family?"
"Yeah, but that's a discussion for another time." Xander ran some water in the sink, adding a little squirt of soap. "Any more dishes before I start?"
"We have a few in the library," Oz said, getting up to go grab them.
Once they were alone, Xander turned to look at his eldest lover. "My family's a little on the odd side, Giles, is that okay?"
"Odd as in what you have or another sort of odd?" the older man asked, turning to look at him. "I can easily accept most anything, but I'd like to know what's coming."
Xander turned off the water and came over to sit beside him. "Truth?" Giles nodded. "My maternal Uncle's in protective custody. That's who called. He ... *arranged* for my mother to marry someone else but she chose my father and moved here. So we don't talk, at all. I'm not allowed to. That's the first I've heard from him in years."
"And now he wants what?"
"To know about my grandmother." Xander looked down. "There's another something you should know. I do have an aunt, one who used to *know* about things."
"Like I know about things?" Giles asked softly, tilting the younger man's face back up. "Or like she made deals to know things?"
"I think both, but I'm not too sure anymore. When I first met Buffy, I thought about her. She always said I was special for some reason. That's one of the reasons why my father hated me, she liked me. She used to dote on me. She was the one who introduced me to chocolate."
"How is she these days?"
"That was the other reason he called. He wants to talk to me about her." He cleared his throat as Oz walked in. "I think that I want you guys to go with me but not to the meeting. Would that be okay?"
"One of us would have to anyway," Oz pointed out. "We don't have enough cars otherwise."
The phone rang so Oz picked it up. "Hey, John." He snorted. "Yeah, we just heard. Is it a problem?" He motioned Xander over, letting him hear the conversation too. "Really? Are you sure?" He nodded and hung up. "Your Uncle's in some major trouble and they think it's related to Sam and Blair."
"I thought that was just one of her serial killers," Xander said with a frown. "Why would they take Blair...." He shook his head. "They wouldn't." He picked up the phone and dialed, muttering under his breath so no one would hear him. "Uncle Philip? Yeah, what's going on? Does this have something to do with my missing counselor?" He hung up the phone and threw it. "I can't *believe* him." He turned, heading over to the sink to start the dishes. "Giles, you're coming. Oz, you're going to guard the kids, and Blair and Sam if they show up. And don't ask." He calmly wiped off a glass, putting it in the other sink to rinse in a minute.
Oz walked up behind him, hugging him. "If you want, I'll gladly guard our kids," he reminded quietly. "Just remember we're here for you when you need us."
"Oh, I won't need that sort of help this time. Maybe some from John, but I'll stop in to give him baby pictures tomorrow." He wiped his hands off as he dropped another glass into the second sink. "Want to rinse and dry?"
"Of course," Giles said, getting up and coming over to help. "We'll let you figure this one out."
Xander hopped off the hood of his car as another car pulled up. He smiled at the man who was an obvious agent, walking past him to get in back with his uncle. "You are in so deep," he warned. "I'm not covering if you stole Blair and Sam, I love them like I do my kids."
His Uncle laughed, a high-pitched, nasal sound. "Sorry, I didn't have anything to do with that, Xander." He reached over to pat his knee. "I'm sure they'll be found quickly. Have you discovered any of the family's strangeness yet?"
"Only the town's problem," he said, looking meaningfully toward his lap. "Which one of my step- children has." He tipped his head. "You called, why?"
"Your aunt's passed away, Xander. I'm supposed to deliver something to you but I'm sure you don't want it." He took out a necklace. "I'll give it to you but I won't put it on you." He handed it over, chain first. "Give it to your child that's talented."
Xander cleared his throat, looking at the pendant. "I touch things," he said softly. "Things just tell me what's wrong." The chain was put around his neck for him. "What's this?"
"It's to mark you as head of the family." He looked out the window. "You have a Watcher of your own?"
"He's my lover. Is this going to screw us up?"
"Not in forty-eight hours when you can take it back off." He reached into his jacket, pulling something out. "I've been keeping an eye on you and I've come up with something that you're going to hate me for." He handed over the envelope. "I'm getting you a steady job."
"I have to help take care of the twins, one's sick." Xander looked up. "And I just got one."
He shook his head. "Not that sort of job and not the sort that I had either. This is a fantasy job. You'll write them for others." He grinned, looking very much like his nephew. "Xander, you've always been the only real person in our family. Don't ever change. This is just to help you when you want and need it." He patted the envelope. "Inside is also how to contact me if you need me and a copy of her will. Anything you need, I'm here for you." He leaned closer, kissing his nephew's cheek. "I heard what my mother tried to pull," he whispered, "I'm glad that you fought back. If you hadn't, I wouldn't be here now." He sat back up. "Just be careful, there are still some very bad people around."
"Yeah, we've had a few run-ins with them. Most of them are LAPD though." Xander looked out the window. "What's really going on? You never even asked about her."
"I didn't want to, I knew she didn't leave me anything except a few thousand. I've taken it and put it into your children's trust fund. Same as you did with what she left you." He reached under the seat. "You really want the truth?" Xander nodded so he pulled up a case, opening it and making the young man gasp in surprise. "This is what I did. I worked on jewelry for people who stole it from really rich and disgusting people." He closed the case. "In there's the instructions of how I did everything and the last of my stash. The Feds don't want me to have it because they're putting me under deeper, I was found last month." He looked into the young man's eyes. "Now you have both of our gifts. Use them well, Xander, and don't become us."
"I won't," he promised, giving his Uncle a hug. "Thanks." He started to slide out of the car. "How did you know?"
"I've kept watch ever since you were in Junior High, and I've helped settle a few things recently for you also. Just relax and enjoy life, Xander, it's my last gift to you. Find something that you excel at and do it for eternity."
Xander nodded. "I will." He slid out of the car, nodding at the agent as he walked past him and back to his own car. He slid into the passenger's side, pulling the pendant that had slipped under his shirt out to show it off. "My Aunt died too," he said. "He knew what you were."
Giles looked at the pendant and sighed. "I had hoped that Miri's gifts had come from a different place." He started the car, backing out of the empty lot. "I'll explain it to you both at home."
"So then I'm special?"
"Very special. It's a matter of your birth. You're a Golden Child." He pulled out onto the road. "What else did he do?"
"He gave me a job when I'm desperate and told me he had fixed some things. I learned what he had done to get put into protective custody." He touched the top of the box. "This is really gonna sound strange but my Uncle used to cut up gemstones for thieves."
"Of course he did," Giles told himself. "I should have known with who your mother was." He pulled off to the side of the road. "Xander, put down the box of tools. You'll be able to use them soon enough." The box went under the seat. "There are certain children that are born to hold the balance, their whole existence is to prove that neither side will ever win. I knew that we were ready for one now but not that it was you. I had hoped it was Blair and that I had time to train him to live on both sides."
"But I know how to live on both sides," Xander reminded him. "My father made sure of it."
"Yes, but there are nicer ways than beating it into a child." He reached over, brushing down the side of Xander's face. "The whole point of your existence is to exist."
"So I have a destiny but it's a really simple one?"
"Yes, a very simple one. As long as you live then neither side can ever win, which is the best way as too much good is as bad as too much evil." Giles took a deep breath. "But it is why you've had so much hardship. A Golden Child's life is never easy."
Xander held up a hand, pulling off the wire he was wearing and tossing it into the glove box. "Forgot about that but it was just Jim was listening with John." Xander rubbed the pendant. "Will this mark me as something different? He said it'll come off in forty-eight hours."
"It will, but it won't mark you. It's more of a channel that's now open to you. Think of it as an interface to what you can naturally do."
"That's why Miri has a gift, it wasn't just Faith?"
"No, it wasn't just Faith, though the Hellmouth would make all magic users, and other forms of talents, stronger. Your touching thing, what Oz said you did at the car lot, is yours. Or possibly how you relate to children."
"Now I'm better at it?"
"Eventually you may be, with some training and practice." He touched the pendant. "I believe Blair and Sam will show up at the house by the time we're back there today," he said quietly, "and I believe Miri and Elizabeth will be well, Blair as well even though he wasn't sick. Actually, I think everything will work out well from now on."
"When we need it to?" Xander asked with a grin.
"No, just at all." Giles gave him a small kiss. "Come, let's go to our house." He reached over, opening the glove box. "Jim, we're going home and I believe Sam and Blair are going to be there. You might want to call and check." He shut the glove box and restarted the car, pulling back out onto the road.
Oz picked up the phone, handing it to Blair as he walked past to finish making the couple tea. "It's for you." He pulled a plate of deli meat out of the fridge and put it aside before pulling out the bag of salad mix. He turned to find Sam at the stove. "Sit." She smiled at him. "Now."
Miri hopped up and down as she ran in. "I well. No more itchies!" she yelled, grabbing Sam and hugging her. "'Lizabeth 'kay too," she told her father.
"Cool." Oz loaded down a few plates with food, bringing them over to the kitchen table to put in front of Blair. "Tell Jim I said hi."
Blair chuckled. "He said the same and that Xander and Giles were getting strange again. Something about destinies and Golden Children." Sam dropped her cup. "Jim, gotta go, no something just set Sam off. Yup, sure, come out tonight and bring the wives, we'll do the dinner thing." He hung up, looking at his wife. "You okay?"
"Place keepers," Blair told her, getting up. "Giles explained it to Xander, who was wearing a wire. They've destroyed the tape since there was nothing on it." He led her back over to the table. "Eat, dear, you need it."
Oz opened a closet, pulling out a broom. "You too, Blair. Now." He walked over to the mess, quickly cleaning it up. "There, all neat." He looked down at his daughter. "I think Daddy's going to come home happy."
"He should," Sam said, pushing her hair back behind her left ear. "His Uncle was one of the best jewel recutters in the business. His Aunt was someone that you could never understand unless you knew what she was talking to, which no one else could see." She took a sip of her tea. "His mother's family is very strange, Oz, and it's about to hit you."
"Figured that when he told me his Uncle was in protective custody." He walked over to sit beside them, pulling Miri up onto his lap when she came over with a glass of water from the dispenser on the front of the refrigerator. "We're used to weird, Sam, don't worry about it." He kissed the top of his daughter's head. "We do strange really well around here."
Blair snorted. "I'd hope so." He looked at Miri, who was grinning around her glass. "Would you like to show us the twins and your kitties later?" She nodded, sloshing some of the water out of her glass. "Okay, finish your water while we eat and we'll go look."
Oz looked down at her. "What do you want for a late birthday present since you missed yours?" He looked up at Sam. "She had chicken pox until a few hours ago so we withheld her birthday party until we were sure she could handle it."
"Pony?" she asked with a grin that reminded everyone of Xander's 'naughty' grin.
Oz shook his head. "No ponies. Even for your daddy, who really wanted one."
"You'd need to clear some of the grounds first," Sam said. "My family had some." She looked out the window. "The barn looks okay though."
"No," Oz said firmly. "We have enough animals around here."
Blair snickered, hiding it behind his sandwich. "I'd say. How about a puppy though?"
"No more animals," Oz reminded him. "We have a hamster."
"Piglet loose," she reminded him.
Sam looked at the floor, checking it for little furry bodies. "She is?"
"Yup," Oz said. "Ran right out the front door while we were building her habitrail." He looked down at his little girl. "No animals for a while, we're not sure if the twins are allergic or not."
"Me pony?" Miri pouted, giving him her big, begging eyes.
Oz groaned. "No, Miri." He put her down in her chair, looking at her. "Maybe when we can afford one and have some of the land cleared to put up a paddock." She turned up her pout.
"You need room for ponies to run," Sam told her. "I was raised around horses and they need lots of space to run and play in, same as you do, but since they're bigger they need more." The little girl frowned. "When your fathers can clear off some of the land to give them a place to play in maybe you could have a pony."
"We do that now?" Miri asked, quivering her bottom lip.
"That takes machines we don't have," Oz told her. "In a year or so maybe. When I'm back in school and the twins are older. You can wait that long," he said with a small pout back. "Please?"
She nodded. "I wait, maybe." She sipped some more of her water. "Hurry up. Me need kitties hugs."
Sam laughed and pushed her plate away, standing up. "Okay, let's go look at the kitties while the men talk." She took the child's hand, walking beside her out of the house.
Blair leaned back to cross his legs, looking across the table at Oz. "Why have you two been fighting this time?" he asked quietly.
"Xander's been having mommy feelings again. I'm taking the semester off to help with the twins to ease them, and so he could get a job part time, but I think he's still feeling the mommy feelings. He actually made snide comments about aprons and us making comparisons." Oz looked out the window at his favorite view. "We can't cure this one, Blair, and the twins needing so much care isn't helping. He actually tried to make us choose when Miri first got sick, telling us to take care of Blair and leave Miri to him."
"Sounds like a bad one again," Blair told him, "but he's got to realize that you're both trying to mitigate those bad feelings. The only thing I could suggest would be to take a lover-intensive time to show him that you still love him, no matter what may happen." He shifted to look out the window. "I think that if you really spoiled him for a while, he'd come out of it. He's sublimating everything that's hurting him into the feelings of being forced into the wife's role in your family."
"And Giles getting a job about the same time as I was supposed to start school probably didn't help." Blair shook his head and Oz sighed, leaning down to rest his head on his arms. "I'd like to take some time and spoil him, just the two of us or even just rotating groups, but I don't think we can do that with all three of the kids being so needy right now."
"Oz, trust me, it only takes one person to feed twins, even if they think otherwise. Just don't let them get in between you. One of the biggest things that couples with new kids do is forget that they're a couple. Rotate like you were thinking and have the one left out take care of the kids. It'll be good for the kids to get more used to all of you. Them depending only on Xander makes him feel more cut off from you because he can't share it with you. He doesn't feel like he's really a part of the family anymore, more like hired help."
"We need another common interest besides the kids?" Oz guessed.
"That would be perfect, if you could find one. Xander didn't think that there was much of anything like that between you outside of the store and Miri."
"I never knew he felt like that," Oz said quietly, looking up at the older man. "You're very smart."
"It comes from having to figure out Jim for five years." Blair stood up. "Come on, show me the kids. Jim got to see Elizabeth and I haven't." He stopped. "Blair?"
"Jonathan Blair," Oz corrected, "and Elizabeth Catherine, or Tigger. Miri wanted to name her Tigger because one of the kitties was named that." Oz led the way up the stairs, stopping to open his bedroom door, peeking in. "Sleeping, still," he said as he let their Counselor in to look at them.
Blair leaned down to look at the twins, smiling. He brushed over Elizabeth's face then looked up. "She's cold."
Oz walked over, testing her chest. "Her heart's beating and she's breathing." He picked her up, waking Blair up unfortunately, and wrapped her in a blanket. "There, there," he soothed, looking down at his son. "You'll be held in a minute. Your sister was just chilly."
Blair picked up his namesake, looking at him where he hung in the air. "Hi," he said softly, pulling him into his chest. "There, let's nap here instead," he whispered. "Why don't you have them separated?"
"Because they're quieter when they're together, though Miri swears Blair's quiet and doesn't cry."
Miri and Sam ran into the room, Miri climbing up on the bed to look at her baby brother. "You shh, you 'kay." She reached out to pat him but started to fall, grabbing Blair's belt to steady herself and to pull him closer. "Me pet."
"Sure," Blair said as he sat down on the bed. "You can pat him." Miri ran her hands over her brother's head. "Gently, Miri, he's still really fragile and delicate."
"He brother, not cup." She grinned up at him. "Blair twiet."
"So I noticed." Blair pulled the baby down into his arms so he could look down into his eyes. "So pretty," he told the infant, brushing over his face. "You're going to have a harem just like your Uncle Blair used to."
Sam snorted. "I'd hope not. I hate dealing with your old girlfriends when we run into them en masse." She looked at Tigger, wiggling her fingers at her. "Hi."
Elizabeth yawned and pulled her thumb up to suck. "She's been doing okay," Oz said, putting her back down and making sure she was covered. "Even the accident didn't seem to affect her that much. She's actually a lot like I envisioned my kids to be, really quiet and watching everything."
"Oh, all kids do that," Sam said with a pinch to Miri's nose. "She thinks that you're going to have another one soon."
"Not unless Xander...." He shook his head. "I don't think so." Oz looked over his shoulder as he heard footsteps outside, heading to the door to look out. "Yes?" he asked the man in the suit. "Problems?"
He strolled in. "I was sent to guard Doctors Waters and Sandburg."
"We're fine," Sam told him. "Go make yourself some coffee and grab a book in the library. We're staying for supper." She turned back to watch her husband holding the infant, giving his awed expression a sad look. "Blair, if I could..." He nodded, looking up at her. "We'll figure it out, okay?"
"Yeah," Blair said as he put his namesake down in the cradle, "we'll figure it out." He kissed his wife's cheek. "Maybe one day."
Oz snickered. "Willow has this spell..." he started but Miri tickled him. "Hey! Am I that mean to you?" He tickled her back, holding her against his chest so she couldn't reach him but he could get her good.
"Daddy bafroom!" she yelled eventually and he let her go, watching as she ran for her room.
Blair looked from the door to Oz and then down at the twins. "She does?"
"That's how all Xander's nasty scar tissue melted away, while she was working it on herself. Both people she's used it on had twins."
Sam shook her head. "I think we'll try more conventional methods first."
"It worked well," Oz offered. "Turkey baster method to get the twins after she cast. Not that many components to get, almost all are inexpensive." He flashed a grin. "If you want, just ask." He headed out of the room. "Remember to wash your hands," he called next to Miri's door as he headed back downstairs to start supper. "Fish or Barbeque?"
"We could do both," Blair offered. "I can help."
"Sure, just leave me to go cook," Sam said with a small smile and a kiss to his cheek. "Have fun. Remember, it's us, Jim and his wives, and John *plus* them."
"We may have to go shopping," Oz said from the bottom of the stairs. "I know we have cow and chicken but I forgot how many of us there are, we may not have enough of either. Want to head to SuperWalmart?"
"Oh, the bastion of consumer excess," Blair said, clapping his hands together. "Let's go. It's a good example of how America works in excess."
Oz nodded. "Pretty muchly, but it's cheaper than the regular store and they have a better selection usually." He picked up his keys. "Miri, we're going shopping. Will you stay here with Auntie Sam?"
Miri looked down the stairs. "Ice cream?"
"Sure, we'll get you some ice cream. Anything else?" She nodded. "What?"
"Pizza rolls?" She nodded and disappeared. "Okay, we'll get them. Sam, did you need anything?"
"I don't think so," she called down. "I'll just read to the kids and relax."
"Okay." Oz turned to look at Blair, who was staring down the agent that had come to guard them. "You can stay or come, but if you come, you're helping carry stuff." The agent turned and headed out the door. "Guess he's coming."
Blair nodded, grimacing. "Jim must have told him to overprotect me in his place." He wrapped an arm around Oz's shoulders. "So, are you going to get something to spoil Xander tonight?"
"Could. What I want to spoil him with isn't at Walmart though." Oz headed out with Blair, walking down to his car. "Like it? The van kept quitting."
"I thought Xander had a bigger one," Blair said, looking around.
"Yup, and it's in the shop because the LAPD slammed into it during a chase." Blair stopped to look at him. "No one told you?" He got a head shake. "I'll tell you on the way, or your Fed buddy can do that. I'm sure they know more than we do."
The agent cleared his throat. "The LAPD has recently agreed to settle for costs."
Oz snorted. "I seriously doubt that," he said as he got into the driver's seat. "They slammed into Xander hard enough to flip his Explorer onto it's side and smash it into a guardrail." Blair hissed. "Yeah, he was out for a few hours. Then they found Tigger's bracelet from where she had just been released and the other hospital told them she shouldn't have been discharged." Oz started the car, turning to look at Blair. "Buckle up."
Blair did so. "Did they arrest him?"
"No, they drugged him up in the Psych ward. Restrained and drugged." He squeezed the steering wheel hard enough to bend it. "Sorry, that whole incident is still really painful to me." He bent the two hand-marks back into shape as well as he could.
Blair patted his shoulder. "Why don't we let him drive?" Oz nodded and switched places with the agent, buckling himself into the center of the back seat. "Was it settled?"
"After Angel called in a favor to have a decent detective come investigate. Then we walked out." Oz took a small breath, putting his chin on the back of the front seat. "I really wanted to burn the building down, with the people who had done that to him inside."
"You've been protective of him for a long time," Blair reminded him. "He seems to need it."
"So do some others," the agent reminded Blair.
Blair glared at him. "I don't get into trouble on my own, I'm just a contributing factor to others getting into trouble around me."
"If you say so, sir."
"I do," Blair told him. He turned to look at Oz. "He okay?"
"I don't blame him. Are they going to fix the SUV?"
"It's in the shop now. It crumpled part of the passenger's cage but it didn't cave in much of it. More damage was done during the flip than the grinding into the guardrail." Oz shuddered, leaning back and wrapping his arms around his body. "I didn't know something that bad could happen and then the LAPD decided to claim that they didn't have to take responsibility."
"They're settling for costs," the agent reminded them.
"Then it'll happen again. I refuse to settle for the cost of fixing the Explorer and his hospital bills."
"I think it was just to fix the car."
"Bet me," Oz snorted. He grabbed the phone between the seats, dialing his lawyer. "Hey, it's Oz. I just heard a nasty rumor about you agreeing to settle with the LAPD for the cost of fixing the Explorer?" He hummed and relaxed. "Anything else?" He shook his head. "That's not enough. Them admitting that the officer was out of control isn't going to keep it from happening again." He glared at the floor as he listened. "You're sure? Give me a day to talk to them about it and to calm Xander down. No, he's going to go bomb them if I tell him that. I want to lock him in a room for a while before you agree." He hung up and tossed the phone back between the seats. "Cost of fixing the Explorer, their hospital bills, and an admittance in the news that they were wrong. He says that's all we can get."
Blair shook his head. "I wouldn't take it."
"Supreme Court apparently said that they can't be held responsible during chases."
Blair looked at the agent. "Who were they chasing?"
"A car thief in a Volkswagen."
"Uh-huh." Blair picked up the phone, hitting the redial button. "Hi, this is Federal Agent Blair Sandburg, I have something I think you should know about that Harris case."
"Um, sir... we have orders not to get involved."
"Bite me," Blair said sweetly. "Yes, did you know that they were chasing a car thief? Oh, they did? That's not what we've heard. We heard it was a car thief in a Volkswagen. How fast were they going anyway?" He smiled out the front window. "Gee, that's well above their own rules about chases except in cases where a life was in danger." He nodded and hung up. "He's going to call and ask them right now."
"Sir, we were ordered to stay out of it by Agent Malone himself."
"If Bailey wants my badge that badly for sticking up for my family then I'll go to Atlanta and pin it on his chest." Blair looked back at Oz. "There's no reason why they did that and they should be held accountable." The phone rang and Blair picked it up. "Hey, Sam. Sure, we can get some of those. Hold on." He pulled the phone from his mouth. "Sam needs *supplies*, are there any in the house?"
"Bathroom cabinet in our room. The white painted one." Oz leaned back. "Might want to give her a heads up. We stopped to give you guys one and got Jim instead."
Blair nodded, putting the phone back to his mouth. "Try the cabinet in the boy's bathroom, the white painted one, and call Jim to ask what's been going on in their life. No, it's something I can't stay out of, no matter what Bailey thinks." He smiled and hung up. "She'll call John in a minute and she said thanks. Though she said that she had heard something."
"VCTF's director said that you guys needed the LAPD's cooperation for your unit to run," the agent guarding them said quietly as he pulled out onto the main street in Sunnydale.
"I don't," Blair said simply.
"Turn right," Oz told him. "At the next stop sign actually. I have to stop and get a spoiling-type present so I can tell Xander what's going on." Oz hopped out of the car in front of a small building, buzzing to be let in. It took him about five minutes to come back out with a small, discrete paper bag and climb back into his seat.
"That's the first porn store that doesn't advertise outside of itself," Blair said, looking up at the building.
"It won't," Oz told him. "We, um, own it. Giles and Xander don't know, but I used part of my settlement from the city to buy it from my friend. We have four stores now." He cleared his throat at the shocked look. "My friend used to own it."
"Oh, okay," Blair said with a small smirk. "You're going to tell them, right?"
"I'm not telling Giles, not in this lifetime." Oz shook his head. "Not a chance. Turn around to head for Walmart. It's out by the Industrial park." The car didn't move. "What? Shocked?"
"No, I think we've just blown out his circuits for the rest of the day," Blair said, nudging their bodyguard. "You still in there?"
The agent nodded and started the car. "Sorry, lost in my own thoughts there for a second. You must have a lot of fun times."
"Not really," Oz said dryly. "We're actually in the middle of another series of fights." He tossed the bag to the seat beside him.
"I think there's some law that says that having new children means that you don't have sex anyway," Blair soothed. "You really own that?"
"Yup. But it's not in my name right now. Well, it is but it's not. It's in Willow's and my name. Her mother's not found out yet, otherwise she'd be hiding with us still."
Blair snorted. "I bet."
Blair and Oz strolled down the aisles in Walmart, each one considering what they had and occasionally tossing something into their cart. They ignored the agent walking behind them, just simply trying to figure out a spontaneous dinner for thirteen people. Blair stopped in front of the fresh fish, picking up some packages to smell them then tossing them back down when they didn't meet up to his expectations. "Is there a fishmonger around here?" he asked.
Oz shook his head. "And the other grocery store doesn't even have deli section. There's a butcher's though."
Blair nodded. "Okay, let's get some vegetables and we'll head over there." He shifted the cart over, letting Oz push for a while. "Ribs?"
"Not for the kids. Oh, and we still have to stop through the frozen foods so we can pick up Miri's ice cream and pizza rolls. And food for Xander, who hasn't really been eating because he's so stressed."
"Still. This whole business with the kids and everything. He's been eating a lot of cereal."
"You should pick some up then." Blair looked over his shoulder to make sure the agent was still there. "Let's head to frozen foods and see what they have." They wandered that way, stopping in front of the meat section. "Okay, maybe we don't need to go to the butcher's after all." He picked up a styrofoam platform of ribs to check it. "These look okay." He tossed them into the cart, picking up two more and checking them before dropping them in too. He moved down a little to check some of the other meat, picking up a few packages to toss into the cart. "Okay, chicken?"
Oz pulled out his wallet and looked into it. "Blair, go easy, we're getting short of funds."
"It's okay, I've got this one," he said quietly. "I'll just expect to take some of the leftovers for breakfast." He grinned and moved over to the chicken, picking up a package of legs and thighs, dropping them on. "Okay, frozen stuff and dressing?"
"Dressing's in the fridge, in about six flavors, and frozen stuff is back towards the doors." Oz handed him the cart. "Got to make a stop in personal items too."
"Go do that and I'll meet you in frozen foods." Oz nodded, jogging off and Blair turned to look at his bodyguard. "Is it all fixed? I saw you calling someone outside."
"It's been all fixed, the LAPD is going to give them restitution, as will the hospital, but it won't be much after fees and taxes."
"Just a few hundred thousand." Blair winced. "Unfortunately, that's about all that they can afford with their insurance and all the other lawsuits they've been getting."
Blair nodded. "Okay. How do you know?"
"Because Agent Malone is in town. When I called your team, he answered instead of Jim or John." He grimaced. "He also said he wanted to talk to you. Tonight."
"Then he can come out," Blair said simply. He started the cart moving towards the frozen food. "The hospital going to forgive them?"
"They're paying their own bills and just enough to pay off the little girl's bills."
"Why don't they have insurance?"
"They do, but it isn't covering surrogate mother's expenses. Even though..." He stopped to consider it. "I believe it could be arranged." He looked at Oz as he walked over to them. "Your insurance company may pay for Elizabeth's expenses if you prove that she is Mr. Giles' child."
"She is but our deductible's not been met recently. Actually, our twenty percent plus deductible is about sixty thousand because of all the special care she needed." Oz shrugged at Blair's hiss. "Ventilator, feeding tubes, and a CAT scan." He headed for the frozen foods. "At least she seems healthy now."
"Good point," Blair said, following him. He caught up with the younger man in front of the ice cream section. "Don't have the one you want?"
"I'm trying to get her to try new things so I'm getting her favorite and another kind." He grabbed a pint of rocky road and one of peppermint, tossing them into the cart. "Pizza rolls and frozen pizzas." Blair pointed down the aisle so they wandered that way, Oz stopping to pick up a few boxes and bags out of the freezers. "Done?"
"As long as you have corn of some kind."
"Canned but not creamed."
Oz looked the agent following them around. "You've been into our pantry?"
"While I was looking for coffee."
Blair grunted. "Just ignore him. It wasn't a pry. Was it?" he asked, glaring at the agent.
"No, sir, it was not meant to be an intrusion." He pointed towards the cashiers. "Should I go get us a place in line?"
"Please," Oz said. He waited until they were alone. "What's going on?"
"He must have checked the house to make sure there were no threats." Blair patted his shoulder, grabbing his wallet. "Let's go home and see the kids."
Oz walked into the kitchen, directly into a hug from Xander. "Hey," he whispered, dropping the bags onto the counter to hug him back. "You okay?" He got a nod so he squeezed the younger man before pulling back to look at him. "What happened?"
"My aunt died. The one that actually liked me." Xander pulled his mate closer, clinging to him. "I used to like her, she was nice to me."
"It's okay," Oz told him, rubbing down his back. "I'm sure she didn't want to leave you." He kissed his lover gently then pulled back to look at him again. "I got you a spoiling-type present for later." Xander looked over his shoulder at the people outside who were trying to get the grill together. "Yeah, they were waiting in the car while I went in to get it."
"Okay, as long as you know that the kids are going to start fussing if we get loud."
Giles walked into the kitchen carrying a few more bags, stopping to give them each a kiss. "I believe Blair was saying something about staying tonight and taking the children for a bit." He headed for the refrigerator, tossing the bags inside. "Oz, am I cooking with Blair or are you?"
"I could or we could all do it."
"I can't barbeque," Xander pointed out. "I suck at it."
"That's fine," Giles told him with another kiss added, "you can do other things instead." He took the brown paper bag from their daughter's hands, blushing a little. "I don't believe you need that, Miriam. Why don't you go help Aunt Sam and Uncle Blair?"
"Fine," she pouted. "Want to see present."
"It's not for you," Oz told her. "It's a daddy present."
"'Kay, but no giggles all night." She turned and ran off the porch, going over to help set up the grill.
"I don't even want to think about that statement," Xander said, shaking his head as he turned toward the refrigerator. "What can I do to help?"
"You can... sit and be cute," Oz told him, using the pause to give him a kiss. "Let us do all the work since you've had such a bad day." He headed out onto the porch. "We have tools," he called as he walked down the stairs.
Xander grinned as he watched his men and his friends interact, but the summons of the door broke his mood. He opened the front door to find an older man standing on the doorstep, his face lined with some pocked scars marks. He stopped at the serious look on his face, hand on the knob. "Yeah?" he asked softly. "Is there a problem?"
"Is Blair here?"
"Out back," Xander said as he opened the door. "This way." He led the way back to the kitchen, stopping to laugh and grin at his mate and Blair in a sauce fight. "Guys, serious time is back." He stepped out of the older man's way, walking over to lick the side of Oz's face to clear the sauce off. "This is the one with too much garlic."
Oz rolled his eyes, pulling Xander in to tickle. "It's not for you," he said in mock-exasperation. "It's for Blair and Sam. And Jim if he wants it. We've got your nice, mild sauce mixed up already." He looked at the man staring at Blair then at Blair. "Gee, work already? You just got here."
Blair nodded then he pulled his wallet out of his back pocket, taking something shiny from it. He walked over to the older man, pinning his badge on the man's chest. "I'm not choosing, they are like my family. Deal or I can leave." He turned back to the stove, stirring some herbs into the pot of sauce. "Xander, basil okay?"
"Light please. I'm not real fond of herbs other than garlic." Xander turned to look at the older man. "So you're Bailey, right? Sam's boss?" He held out a hand. "Xander. Blair's adopted trouble."
Blair snorted. "Not hardly. You don't look at all like Jim."
Sam walked in, smiling until she saw the badge on his chest. "Bailey, tell me you didn't pull Blair from the team because he stuck up for the kids."
"Hey," Giles complained. "I'm not that young." He shook his head. "What am I saying. Thank you for the dear compliment, most kind and sincere lady." He kissed her hand.
Blair looked over at Giles, waving his spoon. "Hands off my woman, Rupert, or I'll tell the two younger ones *all* about that fantasy..." He stopped when he saw him blanch. "I was thinking about the other one, the one that made you laugh so hard you almost wet my couch."
Giles smiled. "I think I'll tell them that one myself."
Xander looked over his shoulder. "Good one?" Giles nodded. "Then you're telling me tonight."
Bailey cleared his throat and handed Blair back his badge, stuffing it in his back pocket. "I didn't ask him for it, Sam, I was going to come warn you both to stay out of their troubles with the LAPD. Even though I know it's too late." He shot a glare at Blair, who shrugged.
"Tough," Blair said, not looking away from his sauce. "I'm not going to let them get away with it this time. They could have killed him but they were hiding behind their 'we're not responsible' routine. It was clearly negligence on the police officer's side. I mean, how fast do you have to be going to flip a parked Explorer on it's side and grind it into a guardrail?"
"At least ninety," Jim said dryly as he walked in. "Or don't you remember my *second* one, Chief?"
"Oh, I do, which is why I know how bad that wreck must have been; and he had Elizabeth in the car with him, Jim." He turned to look at his former partner and present team-member. "His was just as bad as ours and I was in the hospital for *weeks* after it. They're just lucky." He looked at Bailey, shrugging. "I'm not going to let those idiots get away with it. I'm sorry if it hurts all the people who are part time with them but I'm sure they wouldn't want them to get away with it either."
"Good point," Bailey said, his voice rough and smoky sounding, "but I did order your team to not get involved."
"He's their counselor," Sam pointed out. "He was already involved in the lawsuit because they would have come to find him to check Xander's mental state." She took the spoon from her husband's hand, tasting the sauce. "It's a little strong, maybe some wine vinegar?"
Blair tasted it and grimaced. "Yeah, that might help. Are you staying, Bailey? I bought enough for you if you want to. Just no work discussions."
Bailey took off his jacket. "As long as your hosts don't mind."
"Just no work," Xander said, reaching over to hug Sam. "Would you go check on Miri? I think she's about to show Blair frogs." She hurried out, going to stop the little girl. "This is neutral territory, Bailey, relax or we'll sic the kids on you." He turned and caught the bag John threw at him. "Man, some warning?" He handed it to Oz. "Especially with the day I had."
John smiled at him. "Had to break the tension." He walked over to look at the cabinets and run a hand down one. "Very nice work you guys. Hired someone?"
"I did some of it," Xander said proudly, "and I decorated the entire place." He looked around the kitchen. "I think we did a good job." Oz nodded. "You okay?" he whispered as he leaned over for a kiss.
"Fine," Oz said, wrapping an arm around his waist. "Wondering what's going to happen next."
"Hello?" Buffy called from the hallway.
"Um," Xander looked at the calendar. "Housewarming was today?" He looked over his shoulder. "I thought the house warming was next week." She nodded, tearing up, so he walked over to hug her. "Hey, what's wrong?" he asked, kissing the side of her head as he held her. "Tell me and I'll fix it."
"I think I pulled a Faith," she whispered. "I'm pregnant and I don't remember how." She looked up at him. "I really don't and I'm clean and everything." He nodded, leading her down the hall to his private room, closing the door behind them. "I don't know what happened," Buffy said after she had been put into a comfortable chair and her feet propped up on a table. "All I know is that I woke up this morning feeling really gross so I went to the health center. They told me..." She sniffled and launched herself into his arms. "I don't know how."
"Shh," he soothed. "We'll figure it out." He held her until she calmed down then put her back in the chair. "How far, did they say?"
"Few months. Not that long." She wiped her eyes. "I can't tell my mother."
"Hey, we're friends. We'll be beside you if we have to." He reached over to pat her hand. "Want me to call Giles in?" She shook her head. "You're going to have to tell them, even if you decide that you can't go through with it. He'll have to know just so he can arrange for the town to be covered." She shook her head. "No?"
"No, I can't do that." She used her free hand to rub over her stomach. "I really don't remember even being near a man, Xand, and I don't know what to do." She looked up, her blue eyes bigger because of the unshed tears. "What do I do now?"
"Well, we could do something to help you remember who. We'll have to tell people, especially Giles so he can get the other girl here to replace you for a while." He leaned back, considering it. "Do you have any blanked out evenings?"
"Yeah, a few, but I've been clean since Faith drugged me."
"Yeah, but I'm thinking that there are things that some people give that you wouldn't realize, even the next morning."
"Rohypnol?" She shook her head. "I haven't been anywhere but the Bronze and that was with Willow. She would have told me if I had left with someone." He nodded. "Not even a party. I've been good all semester." She sat up, looking out the window. "There was one night though, I was on patrol and I passed out. Or at least I think I passed out. I woke up in the hospital." She looked up at him. "You think?"
"It's possible." He stood up, letting her hand go. "Want me to go tell Rupe?"
"Would you?" He nodded. "Thanks, Xander. You're a great friend."
"I know." He kissed the top of her head and walked out into the hall, shutting the door so Oz, Giles, and Blair couldn't get in. "Blair, not a problem for you. Giles, I need to talk to you, now." He led the way into the living room, sitting down on the couch until his lovers sat down next to him. "Guys, we've got big probs now. Buffy's pregnant and she's not sure how." He stopped Giles from moving by grabbing his wrist. "She says she's been clean but that she passed out one night on patrol. This sounds suspicious to me but I'm going to believe that there are things that can do that."
Giles nodded. "Including some humans with tranquilizers." He pulled Xander in for a kiss. "I'll go talk to her. She can stay in Miri's room tonight if she feels the need to stay." He got free and headed back down the hall to go talk to his former charge.
Oz sucked on his bottom lip for a few seconds then released it. "Guess we'll have another one of her here soon."
"I'd hope so. She wants to have it." Oz winced. "She said she couldn't not have it but she didn't say anything about *keeping* it."
"We're not adopting," Oz told him.
"Not us, but Sam and Blair?"
"Could," Oz agreed, looking over his shoulder. "Hey, Sam," he greeted as she walked in. "She's fine. That's Buffy by the way."
"I figured." She sat down facing them from one of the chairs. "Pregnant?"
"Yup, and not real clear on the details that went along with it." Sam winced. "Yeah, but she feels she has to *have* it."
"Ah. I'm betting her mother wasn't told?"
"Not yet," Xander agreed. "I offered to play referee if she needed it."
Buffy walked out and hugged him. "You're just the tower of strength in the Scoobys." She looked over at Sam. "Hi, I'm Buffy, usually a lot more polite and things."
Sam smiled. "I'm Sam, Blair's wife." She looked confused. "Blair was their counselor when they were having problems."
"Oh, okay. That's cool." She looked behind her as a man walked in. "Hi," she said carefully, standing up.
"Relax, that's Jim," Xander said. "He works with Blair and Sam. He's another special person in our lives." She nodded, relaxing and holding out a hand. "Jim, shake her hand, she's been fixed for a while now."
He shook her hand, looking her over. "You're sure you're clean?" he asked bluntly.
"Jim," Sam said sharply.
"No, he's got a right to ask. Yeah, I'm sure. All I've had is what the nurse at the Student Health Center gave me to make me wake up when I passed out." She frowned, pulling back her hand. "Sorry." She looked at Giles over his shoulder. "I..."
"You can stay for supper," Oz offered. He looked over at Sam, giving her an expectant look until she smiled. "You can even sleep with Miri if you need to."
Giles wrapped an arm around her shoulders. "I just got off the phone with the Watcher in New York whose working with the other girl, Jenna. She'll be sent out here in a few days." He followed where her eyes went and shook his head. "Sam and Blair know and Blair keeps Jim's secret all the time. Actually, Oz's friend John told them about you."
"She's *that* person?" Jim asked, looking her over. Buffy nodded. "Okay. Yeah, we're all special here, except Bailey I think." He looked at Sam. "Blair's burning fish on the grill and wanted to talk to you."
She smiled as she stood up, walking past him with a pat to his arm. "Thank you, Jim. Where's the harem?"
"At home. Grace wasn't feeling well so they stayed with her. It was a mutual decision." He turned and followed her out of the living room.
Oz stood up, holding out a hand for Xander. "We're going to help Blair cook. Come back and meet everyone else when you're ready." He kissed Giles' cheek. "If we had to, she could probably rent the trailer." He walked Xander back to the kitchen.
Giles pulled her to the couch, sitting them both down. "I think we should tell your mother tonight. Get her into this predicament as soon as possible."
"Giles, you don't know her. She's become *way* upset over all the unmarried people having kids in the last few years. Even Willow didn't get approval from her for what she did for you guys." She rubbed her nose. "I don't want to be disowned."
"You won't be, Buffy. I'm sure that even if she's mad she'll come around once she finds out it wasn't something you had any control over." He picked up the phone, dialing from memory. "Joyce, it's Rupert. Yes, she is out here. No, there seems to be a problem with her and she desperately needs to talk to you. Can we come over for a bit?" He nodded and hung up. "She said after supper." He stood up, holding out a hand. "Oz was correct. If you needed to, you could rent the trailer from us." He led her back to the kitchen and onto the back porch. "We'll be heading into town after supper," he told Xander. "Did you want to be there?"
"If she wants me there," he replied, looking at her. "Buffy, go sit down and relax. Or go grab a book. There's a whole Xander section in the library." She smiled and looked down the hall. "The second door from the kitchen on the right. Oh, and watch out for the ghost. She likes it in there."
"That may have been her room when she was alive," Giles told him, wrapping his lover in his arms. "Xander, what shall we do with you? You never cease to amaze me."
"Good. I like being unpredictable.. It means you'll never get bored."
"Yes, and for that I am thankful," Giles told him, giving him a small kiss.