Xandra and Timmy looked at each other, then around the house. They were so bored. Their internships were done, they had free time, and they couldn't leave the island due to a small strike with the ferry people. They looked at each other again. "Game?" she suggested.
"Boring," Timmy reminded her. "Been there, done that."
"Run in the woods?"
"Nope, no thanks. I think I'd rather get lice."
"Okay then," Brandon said as he got up off the couch, staring down at them. "You two are odd and need help. Go ask Uncle Nick to fly you to the mainland."
"We did," Timmy told him.
"He won't," Xandra added.
"So short of us stealing the boat, we're stuck here," Timmy finished.
"Then go steal the boat before you drive *me* insane." He walked off to get a snack.
"We could scuba to the mainland," Xandra suggested. Timmy gave her a look that clearly stated he thought she was mental. "Well, it'd take a few hours but we could do that."
"No," Timmy said, shaking his head. He groaned as he popped his neck. "I wish we could get to the techie convention tomorrow."
"Why don't you go," Precious asked as she came out of her room and headed into the bathroom.
"Because of the ferry strike and Uncle Nick refuses to let us fly over," Xandra told her.
Precious stopped to look at her. "So you beg me nicely to create a portal. And?" She walked into the bathroom and closed the door, locking it so no one could bother her.
Timmy looked at his sister, who looked much happier. "Stress-free flying."
"Very, and no worries about landing spots," she agreed. They headed to their rooms, gathering an overnight bag, their wallets, and everything they would need, including their cellphones. Xandra wrote out a message - took the Precious travel agency to the mainland for techie fair, be back by Thursday if not sooner, have phones - then they lurked in wait for the quad sister. She opened the door and found them there. "Now?" Xandra offered.
"And I get what in return?"
"Us gone until Wednesday or Thursday," Timmy told her. "That means no one can nark on you and the hottie in the woods."
Xandra nodded. "Plus, you can hog the parents."
Precious considered it and decided that moving them to the mainland would be much easier than having them here. "Let me get everything ready. I've got to take you or you'll end up in the middle of the bay."
Brandon stuck his head in. "Yes, they will," he agreed. "Aim for the park, not the ferry docks. And hurry, the dads are strolling through the gardens." He ducked back out.
Precious grabbed everything she would need for a few hours off and took them to the portal ring she had stolen off a wizard who had come for her last year. They were off, landing in the middle of the empty playground of their school. "There, go," she said, giving them a nudge. They ran for the nearest bus stop and she rolled her eyes, moving herself downtown for a few minutes of shopping. She needed some supplies and hadn't put them on the shopping list. Besides, she really wanted a good cheeseburger.
Xander walked into the nursery and found the note, picking it up to read it. "Oz?" he called, handing it over when his husband came in. "Precious?"
"She'll be back soon," their youngest son, Junior, called from Timmy's room. He walked out and carefully shut the door. "Sorry, I was browsing his movies," he said with a blush and a blatant run for his room.
"Looks like Timmy's found porn," Oz said as he put the note into his pocket. "I'm letting Nick deal with them." He took his husband's hand, taking him out to the kitchen to call the main house. "It's us. Precious took the tech-deprived ones to the mainland. Supposedly by Thursday. Precious might be back soon." He saw his daughter walk in the back door. "Never mind, she's here." He hung up and pulled out a diet soda, handing it to Xander. "Philip's on his way down."
Xander chortled. "Good," he said meanly. "Brandon, Serena?" They popped down from the library and workroom upstairs. "We were going to fly over tonight and get food. Want something?"
"Gee, Timmy and Xandra are going to be really put out," Brandon pointed out dryly.
"They're going to be even more disappointed because I haven't paid allowances yet," Xander told him.
Serena shook her head. "I doubt that's a problem. She inherited your ability to save money too." She walked down to grab her own soda. "When are we leaving and where are we taking everyone?"
"We were going to the cultural festival in Chinatown," Oz told her. "The whole house."
"Deal," Brandon agreed happily, heading back up to clean up his mess. He came down and went to shower and change. His sister may still be unsweaty but he wasn't.
Xandra checked her bank balance and sniffled. "He hasn't paid our allowances yet," she told him.
Timmy looked at the number and whistled. "You've got money."
"I was saving up for a new laptop," she reminded him. "Oh well." She pulled some of the money out and inserted a card her fathers didn't know she had. That one registered being fully open so it was all good. "Come on." He withdrew some of his meager savings as well and they hiked to the tech convention's hotel to check in. They had called ahead and found they still had a few rooms available, so he had booked them a double.
The receptionist smiled at them. "Where are your parents?"
"Computer illiterate," Timmy told her. "We're old enough. This is my sister, Xandra." The receptionist looked her over and Xandra smile. "I know, we look really young. I promise, I only want to chat with some of my fellow programers about my new game. Then we'll go out for dinner and retire for an early night, not partaking of any of the usual con nonsense."
"Let me check with the manager. Usually anyone under eighteen has to have a parent with them," she pointed out. "We require a credit card to book a room."
Xandra pulled hers out and put it onto the desk. The woman looked at her. "I'm my father's daughter. Alexandra Harris-Osbourne."
"Ah." She picked up the phone and called for a manager, getting him to come check them in. She wasn't losing her job for two rich kids.
He smiled at them. "Hello. Where are your parents?"
"Probably regretting letting us come by ourselves," Timmy told him. "We're here for the con."
"Ah." He noticed the card and looked at the girl, then the name on the card. She flipped open her wallet so he could see her school ID. "How did you get this?"
"Easy, I earn a salary and it's a part of a push to get the younger generation in debt. You can check it, it's valid."
He swiped it and it was indeed valid and had a nice balance on it. He checked them in. "I see you've got a double room?"
"We're brother and sister, dude, I don't think of her that way," Timmy said, shuddering a bit. "I'd never go for a techie like her. I'd need a normal person who remembered to do things like get up on time."
The manager nodded, letting that one slide. He handed them two room keys and gave Xandra back her card. "The convention starts tonight."
"Is Genderality here?" Timmy asked.
"They're setting up tonight as well, young man."
"Thanks. We promise not to be a pain." He took their bags up and then grabbed his prepared jewel case, taking it down to the convention room. He found the booth he wanted and coughed politely. They looked at him. "Hi, I'm Timmy Harris-Osbourne. I was told to meet Thomas Kincaid here?"
"I'm Mr. Kincaid," the man standing in the booth directing said, looking him over. "You're very young."
"Yes, but I learned at the knees of my father. He's the head programmer for the Luna Foundation." He shook his hand. "When did you want to meet?"
"You're sure this game is that good?"
"I've been practicing with it and I've found a single bug, but it's an easy pass through to a new level so totally exploitable if you know games."
The man looked impressed. "Do you have a copy?"
Timmy handed it over. "It's set to give you a three day trial. As soon as you load it, the time starts. Then it renders itself unusable. That way I can't be jacked of it by someone like my dad's former hacker buddies."
"Your father was a hacker?" one of the guys doing the setting up asked.
"Former tense. Back in high school. Nothing major but then again he never aspired to be an outlaw. He wanted to know things so he hacked library collections under strict security."
"Your father is Oz?" Mr. Kincaid asked. Timmy nodded. "Shit, kid. Which one are you again?"
"Timmy, one of the quads. Which also means I'm Tree Girl's son too," he said with a smile. "We're upstairs if you needed to talk to me. I never hack and my dad gave it up a long time ago, all the statues of limitations are over and past." He walked away to find his sister, who was hanging off some of the techie gunk at an Army booth. "Eww," he told her. "Can't you get away from the security stuff? Be a techie with me."
"I like my gadgets," Xandra reminded him. She took off the goggles to look at him. "They've managed to put a zoom feature into the infrared goggles that automatically corrects correctly without giving you a headache."
"Cool. We'll have to tell Nick." He patted her on the back. "I'm for dinner. You?"
"Sure. We'll be back tomorrow," she said, handing them over.
"Would you like to sign our registry?" the officer asked hopefully.
"I'm gay," Xandra told him. "My daddy does private security for the Luna Foundation."
"Oh, then Nick trained you," he said, smiling at her. "You must be Xandra?" She nodded and shook his hand. "It's nice to meet you. He's said a lot about you in the past."
"Yeah, he's yelled a lot about me in the past too," she agreed dryly, making him laugh. "I'll be back tomorrow, when you've got everything set up.
"Timmy," Mr. Kincaid said, waving the cd. "I don't think this is the one you wanted to give me. It's got naked pictures on it."
Timmy blushed. "Come upstairs with me and I'll get my other copy. I made three of them," he said, shaking his head. "Sorry about that. I'm at that age, you know." He and Xandra led him upstairs, where he fired up his laptop to make sure he had the correct disk this time. He handed it over with a small smile. "Sorry about that."
"That's fine. I was your age once." He looked around the double room. "Isn't she your girlfriend?"
"Bratty little sister," Xandra told him. "I do the gear thing while he does the programming."
"Oh." He shook her hand. "We're having a small meet-and-greet tonight for the corporate folks in my suite. Why don't you come up after the banquet?"
"We're not going to the banquet but we might be able to come up for a bit," Timmy told him. "Play it first. Try it out, then we'll talk. You can even pimp us around to the higher- ups." Mr. Kincaid laughed and left them there. So he looked at his sister. "Food?"
"Food. I'm starved. There's a chinese place around the corner."
"Deal," he agreed, grabbing his wallet and their keys, handing hers to her. "Got your wallet?"
"Everywhere I go," she quipped, shoving it down her bra. Except for the two twenties that went into her pocket. "Remind me to pick up soap and stuff. I forgot to grab any."
"Yeah, me too," he admitted, following her out of the room. "Next time we'll steal daddy's packing list first."
Derek looked up as everyone joined him in the driveway. "How long will the other two be?"
"They're at the tech convention," Oz told him, giving him a look, then glancing at Precious. Derek glared at her. "She's already been grounded and verbally slapped."
"Good," Nick agreed. "There are all sorts of creeps at those things." He got in to drive the van, letting everyone else pick their spots. He was driving them down to the boat dock and then they'd take the launch over. They would even be nice enough to bring back food for the housekeeper.
Timmy tapped on the door, nodding at the person answered it. "Mr. Kincaid wanted us to come up tonight," he informed him. "Timmy Harris-Osbourne and sister."
"He told me," he said, giving them looks of disgust. Xandra was back in her comfy, yet looser, pair of leather pants. Timmy had cleaned up a bit, he was wearing a pair of slacks instead of jeans. He let them inside and went to tell his boss they were there. These were the two hotshot kids who were going to make that joint military project work? Kids?
Timmy waved at someone he knew, dragging his sister over. "I haven't seen you online in ages," he said, shaking his hand.
"Your hair's grown, Timmy. Going hippy?" the older hacker asked with a smile. "And who's the lovely dish?"
"This is my little sister, Xandra. She's a gear-head. Specializing in security and robotics."
"Wow." He kissed the back of her hand. "The future of the tech world is in wonderful hands."
She laughed. "That's because you don't know me yet," she quipped with an innocent grin. It only made him laugh more. "Where is the host?"
"Locked in the study testing all the prototypes he got given today. I hear he's invited a few of you guys up. Did you finally figure out what you wanted after that wall?"
"Yeah, I took a cue from D&D and put a jello cube back there."
The hacker snorted and patted him on the side of the head. "You're an odd little kid, Timmy. Hey, Alicia," he called, making one older woman look up. "Come meet Timmy and Xandra. He's a chat buddy of mine and she's into your area."
Alicia walked over, her uniform crisp and obviously starched. "Hello." She shook their hands. "Timmy. Didn't you have a game?" He nodded, grinning at her. "Big Lucas there told me about it. And gear?"
"We're both working with our family at the Luna Foundation," Xandra told her. "I started in security training and shifted to include distance viewing." For some reason, this woman was putting her metaphorical hackles up. "We're only allowed up for a day for this stuff." Timmy looked at her. "I have no doubt dad or uncle Nick are on their way now."
"Good point," he agreed. She was looking really tense. "Is Mr. Kincaid busy? I was gonna pop down and play a few more rounds of my game if he needed more time. I had no idea I put so many twists and turns into it."
"Let me get him," Alicia told him, heading for the study. She tapped on the door and walked in. "Two kids are here. Timmy and Xandra? Is she the one who did the Secret Service training?"
Timmy looked at his sister, who leaned against him subtly. It was their cue to leave. They had both heard her comments. Timmy smiled as their host came out. "If you don't have anything ready, that's cool. It's been a long day and we were gonna head down to nap for a bit."
"No, I got into your game. I made it to level three in about ten minutes," he told him. "Then I ran into this jello cube. How did you kill it?"
"With the hidden chest of weapons back on level one," Xandra told him. "Part of the fun is the hunting. I helped him test it with a few of our associates."
"You mean your grandfather?" Alicia asked.
Timmy shook his head, still smiling. "No a few friends of Uncle Nick's who game. They were really confused about the revolving door back on one, which is another hidden area. If you ran into the jello cube, you hit a dead end. It's not a straight shot."
"Interesting," Mr. Kincaid agreed. "Are you sending it to anyone else?"
"I was thinking about talking to someone, but I heard they're not real friendly about taking copies to try," he said with a shrug. "We were mostly going to browse and make new friends." He yawned for show. "We'd better head down."
"Are you sure? We've got a wonderful buffet set up," Lucas offered.
Xandra smiled at him. "No thanks. We just had chinese and it's only been half an hour." She took her brother's arm. "We'll see you tomorrow?" They nodded. "Then have a nice party, gentlemen." She led her brother away, taking him and locking them into their room. She even put their portable alarm system across the door, just in case, before looking at her brother. "Are we in deep?"
"Yeah, we probably are," Timmy admitted. "They're working together. What did you get from her?"
"I got that touch of sadism that makes good commanders hell to serve under." She flopped down onto her bed. "We should probably email the house and warn them. Just in case."
"Good point," he agreed, hooking up his laptop. He quickly cleaned off the virus he had gotten earlier from the odd cd he had pulled out of his case. It was a pathetic thing. Once he was sure his machine was clean, he isolated his email account and sent off a quick message, following it up with a text message from his phone to be careful while checking the email. "We've got viral twats around. One slipped a cd into my case."
"Joyous expectations of light," Xandra said dryly. "Let's go out, Timmy. Pack up." He nodded, frowning at her and she nodded at the door. He quickly nodded, packing an emergency bag with their gear, some clothes, and their wallets. Then she picked the lock on the adjoining room, startling the geek in the next room. "Sorry, but someone was trying to break into ours," she explained. "We're sneaking out before we're kidnaped." They checked the hall but his room was around a corner so they made it to the stairwell before anyone could figure out they had left. She heard her alarm go off and winced as they went down a floor. "Ooops."
"I'm sure hotel security will be most impressed," he told her as he skipped down a few more. "I really want to come back tomorrow."
"So we will," she agreed. "Should we check in somewhere else?"
"If we use the cards, we'll get caught."
"So we'll go down the block to the cheaper places," Xandra told him. "Or we'll bus around to hit a different ATM." He nodded and they did stop at the front desk. "Hi. We had someone try to break into our room so we snuck out," she told him honestly. "That was my door alarm. I don't know who, but they're trying to sabotage us. We're going shopping at the nerd store. If our relatives show up, tell them that." It was their code for in trouble but safe. They would know to track them wherever they went.
The night receptionist made a note of that and their room number, then watched as they skipped out. "I'm sure their parents are going to get a surprise when they come in tonight," he told himself as he logged in the incident for their records.
Timmy signed them in under their mother's name at the cheap motel, and helped her set up the defensive equipment he had packed. "You're sure we can go back?"
"I'm very sure," she said patiently. "There's going to be thousands of people there tomorrow. Besides, that's why I bought the temporary dye." She got him out of his shirt and into the bathroom, where she dyed his hair black and hers pink. Though it came out pretty weak. They even had different outfits for tomorrow. It would be fine. Their passes didn't have identification or numbers on them. "Why would the military be working on something that they think we could help them with?"
"Small combat robots?" Timmy suggested. "Or how about maneuverable weapons consoles. Something like a gun on wheels? After all, if they're willing to kill dolphins they're more than willing to use us." He looked at himself after rinsing out his hair. "I look like a goth kid."
"Yes, you do," she agreed, laying down on the bed. She looked at him. "Which one do you want?"
"I'd rather have you near the door. You've got the only weapon." He laid down on the bed next to her, giving her a hug. "Thanks for watching out for me, Xanny."
"It's what sisters do," she reminded him, patting him on the back. They fell asleep like that. Much to the amusement of the maid who came to wake them up in the morning and tripped their alarm. "Sorry," Xandra mumbled as she got up to disable it. "We're paranoid." She went in to take her shower, letting Timmy have it next. She got dressed and repacked everything, including the disks that Timmy had taken out last night. "Do you need to check copies?"
"I'll make one on the bus while we go to eat," Timmy said as he shaved. He only had a few hairs but he religiously shaved every morning. He came out and unpacked the virus disk, tossing it into the trash after bending it. "Okay." He checked the bag and found his wallet and watch, and her wallet, then they left, checking out and apologizing for the noise they had created. They rode on the busses to get some fast food, then back to the hotel. He waved at the receptionist as the walked past, even though his sister nudged him. "What? I'm being polite and she was watching us." As soon as they were out of sight, he changed shirts again, it was the most recognizable thing he had on. There were at least six other goth kids in here in loose jeans and t-shirts.
Oz finished debugging their email then looked at the message. "I see some things aren't inherited," he noted, handing the printed copy to the sleepy Xander.
"Why did we get the virus?" Xander asked.
"Because sometimes cons turn into a game of my product is better than yours," Oz explained.
Xander looked at it, then at him. "Military?" Oz nodded. "Joyous. Should we go look for them?"
"Probably," Oz agreed. "I don't know how though. Derek thinks they should be able to handle this little outing on their own."
"I'm about to throw a fit at my father for saying so," Xander told him. "They're still too young to foil a kidnaping attempt on their own."
"I agree," Oz offered. "We could steal the boat but Derek has the keys."
"Nick's got the 'copter keys and I let my license lapse," Xander said thoughtfully. His phone went off, showing a text message. "Okay, here's another update." He handed it over so Oz could interpret the lingo.
"They'll update every four hours for now, the military is still hunting them, and they're at the con in disguise," Oz read, handing it back. Xander looked at the string of numbers, then at his husband. "Binary," Oz told him. "Safe, four, military, disguise." He picked up the phone and hit the speed dial for the office. "Nick, tell hubby number one that we're really not pleased that he's allowing our beloved offspring to be hunted by your former employers. No, they're doing an update every four hours. In disguise. Yay. How are they supposed to run for safety?" He smirked. "He didn't think of that, did he?" he asked smugly. "Ferry strike, neither one has an operators for boats. There's no handy water taxis here either. Would he like to give you some idea of what the plan might be?" He listened while Nick relayed it and Derek groaned on the other end. "That's what I thought. Should I call them and tell them we're on our way or not?" He grimaced. "That's another day that they're over there with little money and not able to use the room they booked." He sighed. "Fine, send Adam then. At least they'll recognize him." He hung up and looked at his mate. "Since Adam so generously decided to stay in town last night, it's going to be his duty to find the kids." He picked up Xander's cellphone, his was broken again, and sent the message back, 'teacher coming. Wait and come home.'
"We need to do an updated talk with the kids about personal safety," Xander said into the running and screaming that was going on downstairs. Apparently Junior had taken Serena's diary again. "Xandra only brought her pocket knife, the one she uses to strip wires."
"She probably figured they'd get confiscated or get them locked up," Oz offered as he sat down next to Xander. "Junior, give it back!" he shouted. The shouting from downstairs stopped. Him yelling often had that effect on the kids.
Serena came up the stairs and looked at them. "The two techies?"
"Being chased by the military," Xander told her. "Weaponless and without a secure way back for the next twenty-four hours."
"Are they sure they're going to start running ferries then?" Brandon asked as he hopped up the stairs. He handed Serena her diary. "Junior said he's very sorry, he wanted to know about girls. Apparently he's getting his first crush."
"As far as we know, the strike is going to be called off for two days," Oz told him, giving him a small smirk. "Crush?"
"The twat that keeps picking on him," Brandon told him. Xander glared because of his use of language. "Sorry, but she is." He looked at his other quad sister. "We could get Precious to find them."
"Does anyone else find it funny that only the ferries went on strike, and they did it over fifty-cents an hour?" Xander asked.
"You're being paranoid again," Oz told him. "The military did not cause the ferry strike to get our kids, Xander."
"No, but they could have nudged it along so the kids wouldn't have a way to escape. How many budding geniuses are going to be there?" he countered. "Ours are just younger."
Oz shook his head and pointed at their bedroom. "Your medicine is in the bathroom cabinet over my sink," he ordered. "Go take two."
"He only takes one," Serena said, frowning at him.
"He needs the double dosage," Oz said firmly. Xander huffed but got up to take his anti- anxiety medicine. He'd probably need it before the day was out. He heard his phone ring and backtracked, looking over Oz's shoulder. "They're fine. Using our credit card," Oz told him, answering back the right number. "They're checking into a different place for the night. The manager found them and gave Xandra back her door alarm, suggesting that she had been correct to use it but they couldn't watch them closely enough."
Brandon glanced at the screen. "So what does it really say, dad?" he asked dryly.
"The MasterCard number, yes, new digs, have alarms, no gear," Oz told him.
"I wish Marcus wasn't on vacation," Xander grumped, going to take his medicine now. This was going to upset him horribly soon. "Maybe we should rent a boat?" he called.
"Derek's frozen our usual card. The kids are using the backup." The phone rang and Oz gave them a different number, one he knew that Derek didn't know about. The returning message said it was accepted and how much it had been. The house's phone rang and he picked it up. "Derek, quit freezing the cards. The kids don't have any money and they've had to do another hotel switch because the military idiots chased them through part of the convention." He hung up. "He's sorry."
"He's going to be if they're hurt," Xander called back.
Xandra liked this room much better than the rent-by-the-hour place they had stayed at last night. This one was not only clean, but it had a separate sitting area. It was even nicer than their first room had been because this one had room service if they wanted to pay the twenty-one percent gratuity. She flopped down onto the couch after making sure everything was locked up. This one was a three star hotel, had very good security, and they had leveled with the manager who had checked them in. The woman had even been nice enough to call their grandfather and tell him where they were. No skanky military idiots were getting to them today. She looked over at her brother, who was frowning at his computer. "Didn't get the virus?"
"No, I've got a strange email and I'm not sure if I want to open it or not. It's an html file and the virus scanner is saying it can't read it." He looked at her. "If I do, it could wipe my harddrive."
"Then do a backup first," she suggested. "You can always wipe and reinstall. Even if it damages your boot sector I'm sure we can buy you another harddrive easier than anything else."
"Maybe mom'll give us new laptops for our birthdays," he suggested lightly. He did do the backup before going back to his email. He decided to leave it and forwarded the message to his father to have him check it for him. The Legacy anti-virus was much more thorough than the one he carried on his laptop. He checked the rest of his mail, surfing his multiple accounts. "Hey, the Amsterdam specialty house is buying a whole new system. They're auctioning off their old equipment."
"Hmm." She shrugged. "Anything worthy of our begging?"
"Oh, yeah," he said, nearly drooling. "They're selling off their old network system, all of it. Including the sixty linked harddrives they had put together." He looked up to see her stunned face and looked toward the window. "Huh, I thought guys who climbed the outside of buildings picked higher places," he noted, using the remote to close the curtains. His sister frowned at him. "What? Were you staring at his package in his tight spandex?"
"Well, yeah," she told him. She came over to read over her shoulder. "That is mega- expensive."
"Yeah, but I'm wondering if Daddy Oz knows," he smirked. "We could use that." She patted him on the back and he sent a text message that they were fine and to check the sale notice for the network systems. Then he put down his phone. "We still need dinner."
"I'm down to my credit card and my allowance card," she reminded him. "Pizza?"
"Nah. Had that last week," he pointed out. "African?"
"Sorry. Irish? There's that new pub in town. Uncle Philip said he liked it a lot."
"Nah, I only like stew during the colder times." She curled up on the couch again. "Are they liquidating their personal pc's?"
"Yup, all their laptops, but they're about what you've got now."
"Eh. I need something with more storage." She called the phone book over with her telekinetic power, flipping to the yellow page listing of restaurants. "Okay, we've got pizza...Chinese, Japanese, Russian, African, Tex-Mex, real Mexican run by actual immigrants. Italian run by Koreans." She ran her finger down the page. "Since when has there been a Legacy Cafe?"
"There is?" he asked, looking over at her. "Where?"
"The other side of the city. We'll have to tell Grandfather about that." She went back to her browsing. "More pizza. More sports bars."
"Wings," Timmy said quickly. "Chicken?"
"I could go for some fried chicken," she agreed. "KFC doesn't deliver though and we promised we were going to stay in."
"Yeah," he sighed, putting his head back down. "What about the sports bars?"
"I loathe barbeque," she reminded him but she did check. "Ah, soul food," she said happily. "They deliver. They've got to have barbeque." Timmy made a happy noise as he browsed another message, this time asking for help with a virus. She listened to him type. "It's further downtown though."
"Call, see if they'll deliver and if they have menus," Timmy told her. "Daddy Oz has been missing good barbeque too."
"Okay." She called over the room's phone and dialed the number. "Hi. Do you guys deliver to the Hyatt?" She gave her older brother a thumb's up. "Okay, do you guys do fried chicken? Great," she said happily. "Can you run a card over the phone?" She frowned. "Fine, I can hit the ATM in the lobby while I wait. No, we're in town for the techie convention." She laughed. "Yup, sure are. Okay, I want a big thing of fried chicken, breasts and legs? Corn is great, and so are sourdough rolls. Sure, I could go for desserts too. Timmy, you wanted wings?"
"Wings or something reasonably barbeque if it's not too hot."
She repeated that. "They've got a game day special, thirty wings plus sides." He grinned at her, still typing his answer. "Okay, one of those. Yeah, he'll want chocolate cake. Cool. Thanks. Yeah, room 1567. Yup, that's us. How much?" She winced but it would be worth it. "Cool. How long?" She checked her watch. "Decent. Can you bring a menu as well?" she agreed happily and hung up. "About forty-five minutes."
"I can wait that long. Give me a sec and I'll escort you down to the ATM." He handed over his phone. "Make sure we've got a card that works."
"My cards do work," she pointed out.
"They'll be tracking us."
"If they come here, I'm doing a last stand," she told him, but she called home. "Daddy, we're getting dinner out. Is my allowance card unfrozen?" She smiled. "Thanks. No, we're still at the new place. Nope, we found a soul food place and they're bringing me fried chicken." She checked her watch. "Sure, we can do that. Should I use my allowance card?" She smirked. "Of course you will. For all *reasonable* expenses. How much? Um, expensive but not totally. Thirty bucks." Timmy winced. "I've got it, but dinner is reasonable, right? Sure, daddy, we'll split that one. Thanks." She hung up and handed him back his phone. "What's up?"
"Cairo has a demonic virus in their system." He sent the message and stood up, grabbing their room key as he followed his sister down to the front desk. The receptionist watched them. "We're having dinner delivered," he told her as they headed for the ATM.
"It's broken, kids," she called. They frowned and walked over. "Let me call the manager, there's got to be another one close but I'm not sure where." She dialed the phone, getting her manager. "Hi, it's Millie. The kids were heading for our ATM for dinner expenses. No, they ordered out." She took Xandra's card and ran it. "Sure, I can do that." She hung up. "I'm allowed to do this once, since you're such a special case. How much did you need off it?"
They looked at each other. "Would two hundred be unreasonable?" Xandra asked. "It'll kill my hopes of a new laptop this year, but it should be okay."
The receptionist checked her drawer. "Yeah, I can do that," she told them, running the charge for them. She filled out a slip for the drawer so the auditor wouldn't complain and have her fired, then handed over the money. "Where are you guys getting fed from?"
"From a little soul food place further downtown," Xandra told her, tucking the cash into her bra. "Thanks for that."
"It's all right. Hopefully everything will be settled soon." She gave them warm smiles. "You two are very calm about this whole thing."
"We've been kidnaped before," Timmy told her, then he gave a little shrug. "It happens sometimes." He watched as his sister pulled out the cash and counted out forty dollars, putting it into an envelope. "You're going to let them pick it up?"
"No, this way I don't have to hunt for it," Xandra told him, tucking the free cash back into her bra and the envelope into her back pocket. She grinned. "I missed having fried chicken."
The receptionist chuckled. "If anyone can do fried chicken, it's a mother from the South." She watched as they went back upstairs. They were really nice kids, if a little strange. She hoped more kids weren't being picked up at that tech convention. Why would the military want little kids. Those two couldn't have been over seventeen.
Someone who was trying to be Adam Pierson, or Methos to his closest friends, walked into the Hyatt hotel, looking around. He walked up to the reception desk. "I was sent to pick up two youngsters, the Harris-Osbournes, and guard them until I can get them home tomorrow?" he said quietly.
"They're upstairs, let me call them," she said, dialing the phone. "Xandra? I've got someone down here who's supposed to be guarding you?" She handed over the phone.
He listened to the careful greeting. "Hello, Precious." There was a click and he frowned at the phone. "She hung up." He handed it back and looked at the elevators. He heard a phone ringing at the switchboard but that was a normal sound. He didn't realize they had tipped off security directly until someone tapped on his shoulder before grabbing him and hauling him off. "I'm here to get them!" he complained. "They know me!"
"I'm sure they do," the guard moving him said in disgust.
Timmy came off the elevator and looked around. Then he jogged over and handed over a picture, then headed back upstairs to his wings. The receptionist looked at it and smiled. What a nice looking family and their friends. She put it where she could check it whenever the next person tried to get to them. What had those kids done that had gotten them this sort of attention?
The real Methos walked in around eleven and the receptionist lifted a picture, looking from it to him and back. "I cut my hair since then," he told her dryly. "Are they still here?"
"They're probably still eating their dinners," she said, handing him the picture. "They called out for soul food." He groaned and shook his head. "We were very careful about taking it for them."
"Good. At least my protégé wasn't being dumb about this. Unlike her use of her personal cards."
"I don't think she had the choice," she shared. "They had a card failure earlier and had to call to get a different number."
"Really?" he asked gently and softly. He would have to yell at Derek for further endangering their lives tomorrow. "What room?"
"Let me call up there," she told him, needing that last check. She called up there and got a busy signal. "Busy." She walked back to the switchboard, having them call, and it was still busy. She paged one of the guards. "Please take him up to the Harris-Osbourne's room. Their phone is busy and he matched their photo."
"That's good," the guard agreed. "Did they really escape?"
"They really did. Timothy had a new game he was shifting around to the various people. I'm assuming that's what got them noticed. That or Alexandra's fascination with weaponry." He grimaced as he followed the man.
"Is she any good?"
"She's already taken and passed the first four levels of security training available to outsiders from the Secret Service," Methos shared on the elevator. "She decided to come unarmed so less questions would be asked." The guard looked impressed. "She's also a gear person. I'm assuming it's a nasty little weapon they need people to work on." They exited and strolled down the hall, him knocking on the waved-at door. Timmy opened it. "Your phone is busy."
"Xanny's been thrashing in her sleep," Timmy said quietly, smiling and nodding at the guard. "He's our teacher. Thank you."
"You're welcome, kids. Call down tomorrow so we can check on the ferries for you before you check out." He walked off, going to report that they had their own guardian now.
Methos walked in and closed the door behind him, making sure it was locked. "Why is she having nightmares?"
"They tried again earlier. They sent someone who said they were you." He led the way into the little sitting area. "She's having nightmares about being forced to work for them, or else."
Methos nodded. He'd had a few of those in his day. "That's a good one to have," he agreed. "What's going on?"
"All I know is I talked with the guy from Genderality about my new game. I had set up an appointment to give him a trial disc anyway. Xanny was surfing the Army table while they set up. Mr. Kincaid, the guy I was supposed to be talking with, invited us up to his meet- and-greet party. We got there, I ran into a hacker buddy I had video chatted with a few months back. We were chatting, he called over some military chick. She went to talk to Kincaid and knew Xanny had that Secret Service training. Xanny pinged her first so we left. We set up the alarm system across the door and someone tried to break in. We left through the next room, heading down and out, then went to a rent-a-pro hotel for last night. We did some minor cosmetic changing," he said, pointing at his unnaturally dark hair, "then we went back so we could look at everything else. I had a few others I wanted to talk to and Xanny thought they'd have picked out more targets by then. We got there, we got pinged in the crowd about two hours after we entered. We were chased all over the exhibits and finally lost them in a self-help-for-the-photo-clueless-and-helpless multi-booth exhibit. We ran out, got on a bus, and I did a quick net search for a good hotel. We landed here," he said, waving a hand around, "and we leveled with the manager when we got here."
"I see," Methos said, proud of his proteges. "You did very well, Timmy. You and Xandra both did very well with limited resources and funds." He patted the boy on the head, giving him a smile. "I'm sure you'll only be grounded for a few days when we get back."
"We had to come," Timmy pointed out. "This could be the beginnings of a profitable side- career for me, Adam. Please don't be mad?"
"I'm not," he assured the boy, giving him another pat. "You both did excellently and it shows how well I trained you. Even though I would have demanded that you not go back."
"Uncle Adam, you have *no* idea the contacts we made. Xandra picked up some brochures of stuff that could really help the family business. She met a lot of other gear- heads who understand her. She even flirted with a few of the cuter boys. I met so many people who really liked the sound of my game and two people who wanted to try it out. I could possibly sell the thing for a lot of money and insure that I had a good college fund and a new laptop." He patted his old, faithful model. "Or that I could buy the Amsterdam house's old network system from their auction." He grinned self-consciously. "One of them called earlier wanting to know how to get past the jello cube I put in so I had to explain the game and they sounded really excited."
"I'm glad you made the contacts, Timmy. It's important to your future, but we didn't want to lose you over them," he pointed out gently. "You should probably expect a fit from one father and an unrelenting hug from the other."
"Yeah, I expect Daddy Oz to throw a massive fit too," he agreed, getting comfortable. "We've got food left from dinner if you want some. I got barbeque wings and Xanny got a *huge* fried chicken meal. I don't even think the Clumps could eat all that food." He stood up at the knock on the door and went to look outside. Then he undid everything and opened it, stunning his guardian. "Hi, Uncle Ray."
Methos gave him a look. "Who sent you?"
"The police department." He walked in and shut the door, watching as Timmy rearmed the alarm and redid all the locks. "Good job, kid." He gave him a hair ruffle. "It seems," he said with a shit-eating grin, "that the schmucks reported you two as run aways." Timmy snickered, leaning against his side for a hug. "So, being you two and all, we called the house and your grandfather explained that while you had escaped they knew where you were and what was going on. So I graciously got ordered ta come sit with you two tonight." He looked over at where Xandra was yawning and peering at him from under the blankets. "Good morning to you too, princess."
"Morning, Uncle Ray. We have extra food if you want some. Save me a chicken breast please, they were really good." She yawned again and laid back down. "I'm gonna go back to sleep."
Timmy walked over and put the phone back on the hook, then moved it further away. "You've knocked it off the hook a few times," he said at her look.
"Yay me," she said tiredly. "Hug?" Her brother and her uncles all gave her hugs. "Nighters." She closed her eyes and was soon back asleep.
Ray grinned at Methos. "Which one sent you?"
"Their parents." He led the way into the sitting room, examining the food. "You weren't kidding. Where is this place?"
"Menu's under my computer," Timmy told him, taking off his shirt. "Since you guys are here, I'm gonna head to the land of snores myself. Have fun. Don't run up the pay-per- view bill please." He tucked himself in and turned off his bedside light, but Xandra turned it back on for him. "Night, sis."
"Lights," she mumbled.
"We're here," Ray soothed, walking over to smooth back her hair. It always worked with his kid. "You don't need the lights, we've got 'em." She nodded and they turned off again. "Good night, special one." He went back, closing the door partially. "Wow."
"They managed to survive two days on the run with cards that Derek tried to cut off and with limited funds and weapons. She's got a pocket knife on her." Ray looked impressed. "The hair color was all their idea."
"Good job," Ray agreed. He stole a piece of fried chicken and sat down, picking at it. "This is really good. Hand me the menu." It was handed over and he wrote down the address and phone number. "Shit, I've got to remember this place. It's expensive, but I'm all for good food for shift dinner." He put it back onto the table and glanced around again. "Who paid for this?"
"Their fathers' credit card," Methos said smugly. "She's got one of her own but she's being sparing with it because she wants a new laptop."
"Eh, she's good with money. She taught my son Benny how to make a budget the last time they hung together." He ate more of the chicken, smiling at the flavor soaked into it. "This is really good." He finished it off quickly and settled into his chair to guard them. "So, bugged phones?"
"I suppose so since there had been a fake me here earlier," Methos agreed dryly, giving him a look.
"Oh, kiss already," Timmy called quietly. "You two would make an amusing couple."
"Eww, kid," Ray called back. "That's a nasty thought. He don't have the type'a chest I like."
"We've seen the denziens of a world where you and I were together, I'm assuming that's where it's coming from," Methos shared. Ray looked interested. "A daughter got bored and decided to travel a bit."
"Is that from all the Xander's together?" Methos nodded. "I remember hearin' about that. Better you than me. I don't think I could stand a slinky Xander and a tough Xander along with the one I'm used ta." He put his feet up on the coffee table. "Are the ferries running tomorrow?"
"If not, we'll have to rent a boat," Methos told him. "We might even have to do some shopping for them."
"Yay. A mass stocking run for the family."
Methos smirked. "Come on, you know you want to help carry eighty pounds of meat."
Ray shook his head. "Not unless it comes under blonde hair and a pair of 46-B's," he quipped. They shared a laugh. This was how it was supposed to be, Timmy's fertile imagination or not.
Methos walked the children around the grocery store. They had been asked to do the household shopping and a list had been faxed over, along with a statement for Xander's bank for the kids. So here they were doing a stocking run. Xander had stated that he wanted the kids to 'stock the lair' so they were buying in bulk today. Fortunately they had been able to rent a boat for a few days. He had one cart and Timmy, Ray had the other cart and Xandra in produce. After this, they'd visit a meat market, a fish market, and someplace to get take out so they wouldn't have to cook any of this tonight. The Legacy's list had already been bought and was in the trunk of the car. Timmy was chatting with someone who had called him about his game, some professor. So that meant he got to pick out the pasta selection himself. Fortunately, he was a good cook and knew the family's tastes. Timmy added a few of the largest boxes of penne but that was his only contribution. They met up with Ray in front of the meat aisle, picking out some frozen meats for the family, then to the dairy case.
"Maybe they should shop at Costco," Ray quipped as he helped load gallons of milk. "Isn't six enough?"
"Daddy Xander drinks milk by the quart," Xandra told him, adding two more.
"Why did you get powdered milk?" Timmy asked as he hung up. "That was a Prof from Cal Tech. He liked my game a lot too." Xandra squealed and hugged him as hard as she could. "Thanks, sissy." He patted her on the back and grinned at Methos. "I was invited up to look around the campus."
"That is so cool! Can I come too?" Xandra asked. "They've got a nice robotics program."
"I thought you wanted ta go ta the hippie school up the road," Ray told her.
"Well, I do like it, but Berkeley has a massive student body and I don't want to get lost among them. Let's face it, when your freshman english class has over a thousand students, you're only a number."
"Good point," Ray admitted, giving her a pat on the back. "Will this place be much better?"
"It's a smaller school and only a few hours away," Timmy told him, continuing their trek to the cheese department. "Ah, cheddar, the snack that pleases the *whole* family." He looked at the cutter. "May I have a small bit to try for flavor?" A small bit was cut off and handed to him. He handed half of it to Xandra. "A bit heavy today."
"The mild's good," the cutter told them.
"That's cool. We'll take ten pounds, in large slices, of the mild, three of this, and sixteen of the sharp white New York cheddar," Xandra told him. He blinked and she shrugged. "Stocking run."
"Yeah, having to rent a boat is really screwing with our diet," Timmy agreed. The cutter nodded and went to get that for them. "What's left?"
"Specialty stores," Methos said patiently. "We'll even stop so you can buy your father some sugar-free chocolate." The kids grinned at him but Ray tapped him on the arm.
"We've got *more* to buy?"
Xandra gave him a hug. "The first time daddy did a stocking run, we ended up with a storage closet full of toilet paper and filling the main house's freezer."
"You with the Luna Foundation?" the cutter asked. They all nodded. "Okay, we'll add this to the rest of their order. Someone called in for some special stuff." He handed stuff over and then went to get the special imported cheeses for them, handing them off as well.
"Now we'll need freezer bags," Timmy said, heading that way with their cart. It weighed less.
Ray groaned. "I'm so glad I don't have this problem," he said as he followed everyone else, letting Xandra push their cart. It'd be her weight training for the day. He heard the cheese cutter laughing as they left, but let it go. He'd laugh if he hadn't been part of it too.
Nick met the boat with a golf cart towing two carts, then helped them load the bags onto them. When they had finished with the Legacy house's order, he called Xander and Oz to get them to bring down something to carry their own stuff. "We'll take the boat back later," he called as he drove off.
Xander and Oz showed up with the Hummer version of the cart Nick had been using and they loaded it full and made two trips. They were even very careful not to crush the grass too much because they were scared of the gardeners cursing them for doing it after the last time. Once everything was inside and the special stuff was all put up, Xander and Oz each picked a kid and hugged as hard as they could.
"No fighting?" Timmy asked.
"Only at your grandfather," Xander admitted. "He's very sorry he cut off those cards by the way." They switched kids and he got his daughter, holding her as tightly as he could. "Pink?"
"It was on sale," she said with as much of a shrug as she could do.
"You did better than I had expected," Xander admitted. "I expected at least one panicked phone call." He dropped a kiss onto her forehead. "You're both grounded until the end of school."
"Daddy, school doesn't start until next month," Timmy pointed out.
"We know," Oz agreed. "We're not buying Amsterdam's trash, son. We're getting our own as soon as I can finish the requisitions." Timmy dragged him to the office to help him with that piece of necessary paperwork.
Xander looked at his little girl. "I am very impressed," he told his daughter.
"Daddy, did you take your medicine?" He smiled and nodded. "Okay, I understand. I'll wait for the screaming to start after you're not high." She gave him another hug. "I was kinda scared during the chase through the convention but I managed."
"Which is probably what's going to keep me from screaming," he admitted, giving her another squeeze before letting her go. "Did you remember your sister's supplies? I didn't see them."
"Yeah, I did," she told him. "They're here somewhere," she said, looking at all the bags they still had to unpack. "Come help or we can't grill," she yelled. Brandon and Junior both came to help them put things away.
Xander smiled when he came to the case of toilet paper. "That's my girl," he said proudly, smirking at her.
She smirked back. "Now we'll have to put it somewhere so it can fall over on top of daddy Oz," she agreed. They shared a laugh.
Junior looked at his big brother. "Are they insane?"
Brandon shook his head. "It's a similar thought pattern," he explained. "She might as well be a younger him with grace." He helped Junior load in the meat, leaving out a few large racks for dinner that night.
"I take it we're having ribs?" Xander asked dryly.
"Oooh," Xandra said, grabbing her backpack to pull out the menu. "This is where we ordered from and it was *excellent*," she told him as she gave it to him. "The fried chicken was so good, it was still nearly perfect after having sat on a table all night when I finished it for breakfast and their sides are *huge*," she told him.
Timmy came down the stairs. "Not only were they huge, but the barbeque sauce was great. Just the right sort that daddy and I like, and they had options. The delivery guy was this nice old man who told us to eat our desserts first. If he had posed, he'd look like Uncle Ben's picture on the rice. He even spoke Creole."
"We'll have to mark this as a favorite then," Xander said, putting it on top of the menus tacked to the board. "Is your father done yet?"
"He's feeding the requisition through the fax now."
"Good, go tell him to warm up the grill," Xander said. "I'll do the marinade. Xandra, do the dry seasonings. When you get back, Timmy, you can start shucking some of the corn with your younger brother. Brandon, start some rolls and tell the girls they can come help make dessert." The rest of the food was quickly put away and the toilet paper hidden for Oz's surprise. The kitchen was spotless by the time Oz came back down the stairs. "Hi. We're grilling."
"So I heard," he noted, stealing a kiss. He looked at the new menu, nodding and putting it back on top of his usual favorite chinese place. "Good enough." He headed for the bathroom to clean up and was ambushed by falling toilet paper packages as he opened the outer door. "Not again!" he said in disgust. "Xander! Xandra!"
The kids all laughed and went to unbury him, putting the attacking paper products back into their proper place.
When Derek came down, he had packages in hand. He handed each of the boys one, then each of the children one. "These are the emergency cards," he instructed. "No more using the Legacy ones for that purpose."
"It's the only number I could remember," Xandra told him.
"Now you've got one in addition to the one you already had," he told her. He looked at the parents, who looked clueless. "She's got her own."
"And I'm very responsible with it," Xandra reminded him. She looked at her parents, noticing Xander still looked confused. "It's through the school." She went to turn the ribs, getting out of yelling range.
Derek pulled out another, larger, envelope. "It was time to change your numbers anyway," he told them, handing that over before he went to see if the food was ready yet.
"Hey, Granddad, are we affiliated with the Legacy Cafe?" Timmy asked.
Derek chuckled. "No, grandson, that is the attempt by someone to get our attention. We're frustrating him by ignoring him." He patted him on the back of the head. "You both did very goot."
"Yes, for not having hardly any ready cash, no weapons, a single alarm because I'm paranoid already, and being chased by Army Rangers, we did very good," Xandra told him. Derek looked stunned. "Their little gizmo got broken," she told him. She turned back to work on the food some more. "It's a good thing Uncle Adam trained us how to live off our wits, huh?"
Derek coughed, looking very embarrassed. "I thought you had pulled more out," he offered.
Timmy looked at him. "Granddad, we're teens. Rooms in town are expensive, especially when you don't book ahead. Our first one was more than a hundred."
"Their third was close to a hundred-fifty," Xander agreed. Derek looked stunned. "Inflation strikes again."
"It's tourist season," Xandra reminded him.
"Then you did better than I had ever dreamed," Derek congratulated. "I didn't want to hinder your safety any."
Xandra looked at him. "Then you're *really* lucky Uncle Adam taught us to live off our wits and be paranoid."
"Yes, I am," he agreed, giving her another hug. He saw Xander's look and shrugged. "I didn't know."
Ray came out of the house with his son and Jesus. "Stick with that story, Xander won't be pissed at ya in a few weeks." He handed over the freshly changed baby. "There, all yours."
"Dad, can we come live with them?" Benny asked.
"No," Ray said patiently.
Oz winked at him. "Whenever your dad's tired of working for the cops, you're more than welcome."
"Or you if you show a great skill," Xander offered. He cleared his throat and his family looked at him. "I got news today." Everyone looked interested. "Sister Mary Catherine is starting to work her way back to the States. She's going to take over the planning for any new research or special study houses." Derek smiled because of that, she was a talented woman. "She's also planning on starting a secondary house within our own. So that we're not only the lead house, but we go back to our research callings." Philip looked incredibly pleased at that. "Philip, she nominated you to run that side of things while Derek runs the cases and other houses. Kids, you're going to work for Philip if you join." Everyone, including Oz, looked stunned. "You proved you were a bit too good," Xander told them.
"That's at least seven years in the future," Ray pointed out.
"Yes, but it'll be a traveling house," Xander told him. "She's decided they're going to be the troubleshooters and the on-call helpers." He looked at his father. "As such, she wanted to know if you'd build another house here on the island for them."
"While we're on the subject of building," Brandon added quickly. "We need more than one bathroom, fathers. With three girls who all like to take hours, me liking my soaks, and Junior liking to play in the bath still, it's a struggle just to use the toilet some days."
"Yes, I caught someone peeing off the back porch the other day," Nick said, looking at Junior.
"Precious had the door locked, the dads were in theirs and Jon's door was locked too," Junior defended. "I couldn't hold it long enough to get up to the main house."
"If we do, can I have a larger closet?" Precious asked.
Derek looked at them. "I could give them your house and you two build a new one. It's been ten years."
"By the time they need it, we might have been able to pack up everything," Oz admitted. "That also means that you can retire down here when you're ready to chuck it to me."
Derek laughed. "That is a goot point," he agreed, looking at his lovers. "We wouldn't have to do too much renovation, outside of adding bathrooms and work spaces."
"But I don't want ta be a Precept," Philip said, blatantly pouting.
"You won't be," Serena said, giving him a gentle hug.
"That's right, we'll have the equivalent of Santa's Workshop out here for the house," Brandon agreed.
"I've got an invitation to go browse through Cal Tech," Timmy told his father Oz. "One of the prof's was at the con. He adored the fifth level."
Oz gave him a smile and a hug. "I'll go with you," he promised. "You'll be able to add networking skills by then." Timmy grinned and rushed over to grab some food before Junior could eat it all. He looked at his husband. "Would you like to start planning our second house then?"
"By then, we could move into the big house and cede this one to Derek," Xander pointed out. Derek and Nick both looked at him. "In eight years, Derek might be ready to retire, or at least slow down. We'll take our old wing and redo it for our current bachelor status." Jesus started to fuss so he took the baby to hold, bouncing him slightly while he let him suck on finger he had dipped in the rib sauce. The baby seemed to like it a lot so everyone only gave him funny looks for it. "The kids can redo this one so it's workshops and rooms, one for each one of them, and Derek can move into our old room."
"I like that idea," Oz agreed, giving him a kiss before stealing the baby. "He's too young to understand the taste complexities of barbeque." He looked at his children, silently counting the heads of who would be staying. "Will it hurt?"
"Nah, we'll be able to visit our old tub and kick dad out of it to have sex in it again," Xander said with a grin. Oz snickered and Philip gave them a dirty look, so he smirked at his step-father. "We could."
"One of these days, you two will need viagra," Nick taunted.
"Not likely," Oz told him. "Dad doesn't yet and it doesn't run in my family. My dad sired a child at the age of seventy-five." He smirked at his stunned brother-in-law. "Now you on the other hand...."
"Don't worry, by then it'll be cheaper," Buffy offered, grinning at her former boyfriend. He hit at her arm, making her laugh. "Keep it up, we'll set a bad example for the kids."
"Would that be the backless top I confiscated from Precious' laundry?" Xander asked.
"Exactly," Oz agreed, nodding as he walked the baby over to get them some food too. "Would you like to try and gum some corn, Jesus?" The baby squealed because his feet were warm from the grill so Oz quickly grabbed food and went to sit with him.
Xandra walked up to her father and hugged him. "Have another," she said quietly. Then she joined her pack to eat.
Xander beamed and shrugged. "Okay. Dear, we've gotten permission." Oz looked up and smiled at him, licking the sauce off his lips. "Hey, that's my job," he pouted as he came over to lick those lips clean himself.
"If you'd eat, you could do it for each other," Alex said, offering a plate. Xander gave her a naughty grin and took it, eating a rib as messily as possible so Oz could lick him clean later.
Derek shook his head. "Children," he said in disgust, albeit quietly. Of course, they all grinned at him for it.