Title: Stupidity Rules!
Email address: email@example.com
Pairings: Derek/Philip, Willow/Oz/Xander, Nick/Buffy
Fandom: P:TL/BTVS xover
Status: new; complete
Archive: Sure, if you really want to.
Archive author: Voracity
Archive email address: firstname.lastname@example.org Or above
Other website: (being worked on)
Disclaimers: Not mine (sigh). I gain nothing but pleasure from writing. No copyright infringment intended. Yes, writing is therapy for me.
Summary: part 13: Giles end up married and the house has to deal with it.
Warnings: M/M (not that this should have to be a warning), death of two minor characters not usually in this series.
Stupidity Rules! by Voracity
Derek walked into the morning meeting, looking around at the quiet members of his house. "Goot morning," he said, taking his seat. He looked at Willow, trying to figure out why she looked different. "How long are you back for?"
"Just long enough to get that paperwork you promised him." She smiled, holding Oz's hand. "I'm booked on the three o'clock flight." She kissed Oz's cheek. "Can we be excused to take a walk?" He nodded so they left.
Derek looked at Xander and Buffy. "How goes your projects?"
"Paper's getting there. The artifact is Georgian, of the Russian sort, and I've narrowed it down to a few decades." She smiled. "Not an artist or where it was yet."
The Precept nodded. "All right, that's fine. You've only had it now for three days." He looked at Xander. "And yours?"
"Hmm, paper's mostly done and on my artifact I have an artist and title so I'm running a search right now." He played with his morning cup of cocoa. "That thing was hard."
"The artifact or the paper?" Derek asked gently.
"The paper," he said frowning. "We have a draft for you to look at if you want. Needs to be spell checked but it should be okay for a draft."
Derek nodded. "I'll look at it later, after Oz's back." He looked at Nick. "Any word on who sent them?" His security chief shook his head. "None?"
"No address on the box, no records of it being shipped. It just appeared at the gates." He looked at Alex. "Didn't you see anyone?"
She shook her head. "Nope, when I pulled up, the gate guards were bending over to look at it." She shrugged. "Not a thing."
Derek nodded. "All right, that should be our top priority." He looked up as Oz walked back in. "Done already?"
He shook his head, sitting back down. "No, but I want to talk to William." Derek nodded so he went into the control room. Everyone resisted the urge to follow him, not wanting to intrude on this most private conversation. When he came back out, he bent down to whisper something in Derek's ear, making him frown, then left.
Derek looked around the table. "Well, that's interesting." He cleared his throat. "But not a house matter." He smiled reassuringly. "Where do we stand on the updates anyway?"
Xander turned his attention back from the door. "Huh? Oh, the updates are going. It's being processed." He looked at the door again.
"Go," Derek told him. He watched as he left in a hurry, grateful for it. He turned to Buffy. "It's not anything you need to concern yourself with, just a personal matter." She nodded, biting her lip. "Really," he said, patting her hand. He looked at Alex. "I want you to help her with her artifact, you have the history she doesn't." The older woman nodded. "All right, only one other piece of business. Rachel Corrigan," he had to stop and frown at Nick, who had scowled at the mention of the name, "has handed in her termination letter."
Alex ran a hand over her forehead, rubbing it. "Why? Did she say?"
"Lack of confidence in her skills and opinion was mentioned," he said. The older woman nodded. "Also, a desire to spend more time at home. It seems Katherine has manifested her gifts fully in the last few days but doesn't have use of them yet, which is a goot thing."
Alex looked concerned, staring at him. "I'm going over tonight."
Derek shook his head. "She's coming here. I've already arranged it. She'll be in the room between your's and Nick's." Both of them nodded. "I don't have to tell you what sort of problems she'll have Alex, you know the list as well as I do."
Nick grinned. "Is Rachel coming with her?" Derek shook his head. "Okay, I'll play dad/big brother and you play mom/big sis." He turned to look at Alex. "Okay?"
She nodded. "That's what she'll need." She stood up. "Anything else?" Derek shook his head. "Okay, Buffy, I'll meet you in the lab after I get the particulars from Rachel for later." She walked out, still distressed by the straightness of her back.
Nick looked at Derek. "Well, this is interesting."
The Precept nodded. "Quite, but not as much as their problems are." He watched Buffy head out to the garden where the three teens were, leaving them alone. "She's pregnant and she's not had sex recently."
Nick frowned. "Please tell me it wasn't the alien."
Derek nodded. "That's why she came back. It's his, but it must have happened the last time she was home. By her estimate she's almost five months, by the doctor's two." He scratched idly at his shoulder. "Not what I would have wished for them."
Nick shook his head. "Probably not what she would have either." He stood up. "Why'd Xan go?"
"They've been best friends since they were young." He smiled. "Not to mention the growing relationship between him and Oz." He stood up, walking out beside Nick. "How do you think they'll resolve that part?"
Xander sat down beside her on the bench. "Hey, want to talk?" She shook her head, sniffling so he pulled her into a hug. "Just figured it out?"
She looked up at him in surprise. "How?"
"Oz hasn't reacted to you like normal for a while. No period gripes, no sniffing around you when you bleed." He grinned. "Besides, you haven't snarled at anyone in three months." He rubbed her shoulders. "Can I be a godfather?"
She laughed, hugging him. "Yeah, you can do that." She pulled back to look up at her boyfriend. "He figured it out."
Oz nodded, sitting down in front of them. "Now what?"
"Now, we accept it or not. I'm having it." She stood up, walking past him. "I'm going for a walk, London doesn't have a garden."
Oz watched her go then turned to look at his friend. "How did you know?"
"You never realized she wasn't having them?" He shook his head. "Oz, she was over every night for that first month. *Every* night." Oz nodded, getting up to go after her. "Love her," he called. "She needs it, she's upset." He looked over as Buffy walked out the backdoor. "Hey Buff, we're down here."
The blonde walked calmly over to them. "What's going on?"
He waved at them. "They gotta tell you, not my secret." He grinned. "Nothing really bad though."
The blonde rested against his side, laying her head on his shoulder. "Pregnant and finally figured it out?" He nodded, still smiling. "Wondered how long it would take her to realize she hadn't had one in months." She looked up at him. "You too?"
He nodded. "She was over the whole and entire first month we were down there." He wrapped an arm around her shoulders. "We should throw them a party."
"Wedding," Alex said, coming up behind them. She handed the phone to Buffy. "Giles."
Buffy sat up, taking the phone. "Yeah, Giles, what's up?" She smiled. "Really? That's great, I'll tell Dominick...." She frowned. "Really?" She frowned some more, waving at the couple to come back. "I want to meet this woman," she said, then snorted. "I'll be damned." She hung up, looking at Alex. "Seems he woke up in Vegas this morning." She cleared her throat. "Married to a vamp. Dru."
Xander started laughing, falling off the bench. "Yeah, that's not a good thing," he said inbetween giggles.
Willow frowned down at him. "Is he okay?" Buffy nodded. "Giles is married to *Dru*, as in Spike's Dru?" She nodded again, starting to giggle herself.
"Not funny," Oz said. He shook his head. "Could be dangerous."
Buffy shook her head. "He checked, she didn't bite him." She snorted, still ready to crack up. "Matter of fact she didn't even know what happened when she woke, screamed "you" at him and backed away when she realized." She burst out laughing. "Too much."
Willow took the phone from her friend's hands, handing it back to Alex, shaking her head the whole time. "Yeah that is pretty funny." She grinned. "Wonder if he's bringing her back?"
Buffy started giggling again from her place on the ground, nodding. "Had to," she gasped, "He bound them."
Oz shook his head, walking his girlfriend back toward the house. "We'll start the research you guys," he called back at them. "Pull yourselves together. You can't laugh at him."
Willow took his hand. "Was pretty funny," she said quietly.
"Yeah," he admitted, "but we still can't laugh when he walks in." He let her walk in first. "Now, what am I gonna do with you?"
"Give me many backrubs?" she suggested, grinning at him.
He walked over to the overflowing fruit bowl, handing her a few pieces. "Eat, make me happy." He wrapped an arm around her waist, walking her toward the office. "Derek has to know too."
The Precept smiled at them. "Congratulations." He smiled at Willow. "I'm sure your room is big enough but if you need us to, we'll switch you to another."
She shook her head. "Nope, plenty of room and a great view." She took Oz's hand. "We like it up there." She looked at him, seeing his indecision. "Well, there was something else too. Giles just called. Seem's he woke up married today in Vegas." Their Precept frowned. "To one of the vamps we used to hunt." She burst out giggling. "Sorry, you'd just have to meet Dru and Spike to understand."
Oz nodded. "Really would." A thought occurred to him. "Where *was* Spike when this happened?"
Willow sobered quickly. "I don't know, Buffy never said." She squeezed his hand. "We'll deal. We have reinforcements now."
Derek nodded, not really understanding. "Quite." He waited until they were looking at him. "I would like to read the notes you have on those two."
Nick spoke up for the first time. "I've seen some on each of them." He looked out the window. "Wonder how this happened?"
"Drunk," Oz suggested, getting more comfortable. "He's not that dumb usually though."
Willow shook her head. "*That* anniversary was last night." She looked at her boyfriend. "I'm surprised Buffy didn't go hide and call him."
Oz nodded, understanding. "Yeah, that would push him to drink." He stood up, pulling her with him. "She's not going back to London. William agreed with me after a few seconds." He walked out, heading both of them toward the control room.
Nick waited until they were alone. "Yeah, they do bring the interesting stuff." He grinned. "Ready for Grandpa-hood?"
Derek shook his head. "Not really, but I'll be able to cope, as will you." He smiled gently. "I wonder what other changes they'll make."
"Not that," Nick said. "He won't do it because of this." He stood up. "They'll be boyfriend/girlfriend with a kid forever until he's cured and she's ready." He walked out. "I'll go help them research this couple." He moved aside so Xander could get in.
"Hey, Boss, can I talk to you?" Derek nodded, setting down his cup of tea. "Like in perpetual aloneness?"
Derek reached over, locking the door. "Better?"
Xander sat down in a chair, facing him. "Yeah, much." He cleared his throat. "She wants us all to be together and I need a friendly ear."
The older man smiled. "I see." He leaned back. "I'd heard..." He heard a giggle from outside so closed his windows too. "Sorry about that. As I was saying, Nick mentioned your growing relationship." A good time for a lie. "What did you want to know? Or are you trying to figure this out?"
"Me? No. I've been thinking about this. This is like a dream come true for me." He looked up, seeing the gentle, fatherly concern, something he wasn't used to at all. "He's not too sure of this and her being pregnant just made it worse."
Derek smiled. "Maybe, but he'll need support now more than ever." He leaned forward. "He won't stop to think about the hard questions for a while. What if it's turned also?"
Xander blanched. "Can we test for that?" The older man nodded and he sighed. "I'll bring that up later." He stood up, pacing in the spacious room. "So, it won't be a problem? Not for the house or anybody?"
He grimaced slightly. "Philip might have a few things to say." He cleared his throat. "He's not conservative but he is a traditionalist with a profound fear of love." His grimace got worse. "He thinks all love will end in tragedy."
The younger man shook his head. "Not a good." He stopped to look down at him. "He won't lecture, complain, make fun of?" Derek shook his head. "Thanks." He leaned over to touch the tense hand. "Want to talk?" he asked, guessing. "I can listen."
Derek looked up, eyes sad. "Yes, but you're not the one I need to have the conversation with." He smiled, almost, and nodded at the door. "You should go help them research." He unlocked the door. "Send Nick back in if you see him please."
Xander nodded, walking out.
Buffy smiled as she held the door open for Giles. "Hey," she said. She didn't invite him in through the respelled portal, not knowing if he'd been turned. After all, it was after dark.
Rupert walked in, smiling at her. "I'm fine," he said, watching as she closed the door. "I fear I may be partially turned but not fully." He looked up to see the rest of his former helpers running down to greet him. "Hello," he said. He focused on Willow, knowing something was different but not knowing why. "What's wrong?" he asked her.
She stepped back. "That's scary." She patted his arm. "I'm pregnant."
He nodded. "With the way you two are, I'm not surprised." He frowned at Oz. "Didn't someone have that talk with you?"
"Hey, two methods and it still happened," he said, backing up. He wrapped an arm around her waist. "We're accepting it."
Giles nodded. "At least that's a sensible alternative." He rubbed his aching head. "I'm sorry, I'm not feeling well. I shouldn't have said that." He looked at Buffy. "We need to get me into a holy water bath fairly quickly."
Derek came down the stairs. "Rupert." He looked him over, standing close by just in case he did something. "I agree." He looked at Buffy. "Did you ready one?" She nodded. "Then take him up, Nick will be sent to help you." He stopped Xander from walking up after them. "Go out and find her. I don't want her here without our knowing."
The younger man nodded, patting his pockets for his keys as he walked out the door.
Derek turned to the butler. "Dominick, would you please fix him something. He appears to have had a run in with a vampire and probably could use the protein." He thought for a second. "Just don't make it too rare." He walked up the stairs, heading up to his room.
Giles prowled the downstairs, waiting for his last protégée to come home. He heard the growl of an engine outside, walking to the front door to meet him. "Did you find them?" he asked once the door was opened.
Xander nodded, his jacket done up tightly. "Oh, yeah. I need to go talk to Derek. You rest here." He ran up the stairs, going up to the living quarters. "Boss, it's me," he said as he knocked.
Derek threw open the door. "What happened?" He pulled him inside, shutting the door before they could be disturbed. "Why is your jacket done up like that?"
Xander undid it, handing over the envelope and bag. "They have Philip." He pulled his collar aside. "And Spike found me." He sat down in a chair. "Got him good, but didn't kill him. Dru has Philip, don't know why. Spike tossed that at me when he found my wallet with the last house picture in it." He shuddered. "He didn't take much, but it needs to be bathed in Holy Water." He took a deep breath. "He was most pissed that Giles took his woman from him, he's looking for her too."
Derek sat down on the edge of the bed at the first mention of his lover's name. He looked up at the end of the recital. "We'll fix your bite in a few minutes. We have to find her first."
"She and Philip are in the Regency. Penthouse no less." He grimaced, looking down at his hands. "The bell boy thought she was way strange too."
Derek nodded, mute. "Go get ready, get Buffy, get Nick. Have her bathe and wrap your wound then get your things. We've got to stop her before he finds him." He stood up, seeing the younger man sitting there. "What?" he asked, hesitant.
"Philip wasn't resisting much. The bellboy said they looked married. The happily sort of type."
Derek nodded. "I'll deal with it." He walked out of his room, followed by Xander, who ran upstairs.
"Guys," he called once he was in his wing. Buffy and Willow stuck their head out. "Buffy, Oz, get dressed. Willow, go take care of Giles." He waited until his friend was back in her room to pull Buffy aside. "She has Philip. Spike's in town, you need to bathe my neck."
Oz walked out, pulling on his jacket. "I'll do it, you go get ready to fight." He pulled him down to the library, pulling out the basin they'd used earlier. "Sit," he said. He waited until he had a cloth wet with Holy Water before saying anything else. "She or him?"
"Spike." He frowned, hissing as the water hit the bite mark. "He found me while I was looking for them. Handed me a bag of stuff to give Derek." He winced as it was applied again. "He's looking for her too."
Oz nodded, wiping one last time, not seeing any pained reaction this time. "Clean." He backed up, setting the bowl aside. "We going?"
"I have to go get a gun or two." He looked at the older man. "I want you behind me." He walked out, going to gear up.
Oz shook his head. "Too protective." He followed him, picking up a compact crossbow. He loaded it, watching his friend load the first gun he'd touched since the shooting. He could see the hands shaking, but he knew he had to face this himself.
They all loaded into the Range Rover, Nick driving. By the time they'd gotten there, Xander had himself under control, Buffy was psyched mentally, and Oz was ready to deal with it, whatever might happen.
Nick burst through the door, kicking it in, followed closely by Derek and Xander. He moved over to the bed, waking Philip, putting a hand over his mouth.
Xander checked the other rooms, finding them in the other bedroom. He waited until he could feel a warm body behind him, then walked in. "Hi," he said quietly. "Remember us?"
Spike growled, backing away from them. "Well now, come for your friend?" He snarled as Buffy walked in. "Not tonight love. Just reclaiming what's mine." He broke the window with his elbow, jumping out.
Dru ran across the room but Xander shot her in the leg, blowing out her knee. "Don't," he warned her. She laid on the carpet, mewling pitifully. He guarded her as Buffy walked up to her. "We could use her to trap him," he suggested. "We know he'd do anything for her."
Buffy nodded, knocking the injured vampire out. She turned to face her friend. "Nice shot." She used the handcuffs she'd pulled out of the armory, locking Dru to the bed then walked over to look out the window. "Didn't know he could fly."
Xander walked further in. "Not even close, but he probably hit the other roof and swam across to the ladder." He pointed at the lower rooftop pool. He turned to see Derek staring down at her. "We can use her to trap Spike, he's more dangerous." The Precept nodded but didn't move, just stood there, moving the stake through his fingers. Xander walked over, pulling him away. "Philip's still alive?" Derek nodded, not able to speak yet. "Then he'll be fine." He walked him out, handing him off to Oz. "He's shell shocked. Get him downstairs and watch out for Spike. He got away." He nodded at Buffy as she walked out with their captive. "Car, now. Shot might bring someone." He waited until he was alone to start shaking.
Derek looked at the small tent in the middle of the garden, frowning at it. "Will he come?"
Buffy nodded. "He'd do anything for her." She stood up to close the blind, making him look at her. "Go see him."
"He won't. He's refusing me entry."
"Tough, he needs you." She walked him away from the window, pushing him out of the office. "Philip needs you as much as you need him." She let the door close behind him then walked over to the desk, dialing William and activating the teleconferencer. "Hey," she said softly. "Has anyone called you recently?"
He put down his book, shaking his head. "What happened now and does it have anything to do with Philip disappearing from Italy and Giles from New York?"
She sat back, nodding. "Yeah, muchly." She looked around then locked the door. "Philip's here, he's been bitten by the vampire Giles ended up married to who is the girlfriend of the vampire I hate most." She took a deep breath. "He's refusing Derek entry to talk to him, he's moody and withdrawn, and Nick's pretty well running things." She raised the blinds, turning the camera so he could see the staked out vampire in the garden. "That's her, the protagonist of the whole thing. We're using her as bait."
Nick walked in, waving his key. He reached across the desk, relocking the door. "Next time ask before tattling." He pulled her up from the chair, looking at the screen. "Derek could use you but we're fine."
William nodded. "I'm sure. It sounds like you have it well in hand. Check in tonight." He smiled at Buffy. "Thank you for telling me, they have a nasty habit of keeping such things from us." He hung up.
Nick turned to look at her. "You shouldn't have told him, he'll send someone tonight."
"Derek needs him."
"He's got it covered." He stood up, taking her into his arms. "Don't do that again. We protect our own here."
"I'm not good enough to face Spike." She pulled back. "He's beaten me every other time or we've been interrupted." She looked out the window. "Willow and Xander can't fight him right now and you need to be here for Philip. What did you want me to do?"
Nick turned her to face him. "We've got it covered. Xander's fine and your two friends will be behind you tonight. I'll do the house and so will Derek and Alex. Rupert and Willow will be locked in their rooms so they won't be harmed." She nodded, still about ready to cry. "He won't beat you this time. You have too many reasons to win." He gave her one last hug. "I'll put the reprimand in your file. You can sign it tomorrow." He walked out, leaving her alone to watch Dru.
Looking back at the events of the night before, Nick wondered if Buffy hadn't been right to call William and her mother.
Rupert had proved again that he could pick locks, escaping at dusk to go to Druscila. He'd found them just after dark cuddled up together, neither wanting it but both compelled to be together.
Buffy and Alex had gotten into it, the younger one having to knock out the older one when her vampire remnants had kicked in.
Derek hadn't been able to move from Philip's bedside the whole night. Once he'd gotten in there, he'd spent most of the night holding his hand mutely and ready to cry at the abuse of his love.
Xander and Oz had ended up taking Spike on, and that thought brought him back to the present, looking over the two men in the hospital beds. Buffy had been too busy with Alex to go after him so he'd had to do it, seeing the two younger men beat him out the garden where the Watcher and the vampire were cuddled up.
"Who knew they felt love like that," he muttered, rubbing his air-casted arm.
Spike had flown into a rage once he saw his woman and Rupert together. He'd pulled up the stake she'd been attached to, beating both of them soundly before staking her, screaming about her betrayal of his love. Rupert missed seeing Xander jump on the enraged vampire's back to save him, but he might have felt it when his limp body hit him.
Nick shook his head, looking at the clock. "Hope William gets here soon," he told it and the silent room.
Oz had tried to defend Xander, even getting a shot off from his crossbow. Unfortunately, Spike had been faster and it had gone through the younger man's arm before hitting him in the stomach. That's when his shaken body had hit Rupert's unconscious one. Oz had actually fared pretty well for a few minutes, almost managing to kill him. Of course he now had three broken ribs and a concussion, but he'd almost gotten him.
Philip had been the one with the crossbow that had gotten Spike eventually. From the back porch. He hadn't even known that his chosen brother could fire one, let alone was that accurate.
Nick looked over his shoulder as someone walked in. "You should be at home resting," he told the redhead. "The stress can't be good for you."
She frowned at him before crawling in beside Oz. "Hey," she told her boyfriend quietly, running her fingers through his hair. "Want to talk to you, wake up."
He grunted, holding her tightly to his chest. "Sleep, too early."
She smiled, rubbing over his face. "Nope, it's afternoon and William's on his way up. You gotta get up."
Oz opened his eyes, looking around. "Hospital?" She nodded. "What's broken?"
"Ribs and almost your head." She kissed his cheek. "Love you."
He turned his head, taking possession of her lips. When he pulled back, holding his head, he licked the end of her nose. "Worth the spinning to do that." He turned his head to look at the other bed. "What happened to him?" He shook his head, still holding onto it. "Never mind, remember now." He picked up his call signal, tossing at the younger man. "Stupid."
Xander grunted as something hit him on the arm. "Wha'?" he asked, looking around. "Morning guys."
"*You* don't jump on vampires, *Buffy* does that," Oz said. He looked over to see Nick. "Oh, hey, guards too. Did we get bitten?"
Nick shook his head. "Nope, Philip got him." He cleared his throat, sitting up a little straighter. "Rupert's in ICU."
Willow nodded. "But he's cured. Dru's death freed him from whatever she'd done to him." She kissed Oz's cheek again. "Why did you fight him? That's just as bad as what he did."
Xander groaned, "We're dead," as William and Derek walked in. He turned his head, looking at the couple. "It's been nice knowing you." He blew air kisses.
William smiled sweetly as he sat down on the foot of Xander's bed. "How much do you want to bet I won't have you tortured in Hell if you die?" he asked, again sweetly.
Nick got up, hurrying from the room and pulling Derek with him. To protect him.
William watched the door close after them with fond tolerance. "At least we're alone now." He frowned at Willow but she refused to move. "If you two *ever* do something that stupid again, I'll send you to Hell myself." He patted the younger man's ankle. "As good of a sentiment as it was, neither of you was capable of taking him on." He looked over at Oz. "You did better than he did at least."
Oz snorted. "Doesn't feel like it." He looked at Willow. "Maybe you ought to go, he might yell and make you cry." He brushed over her cheek. "I'd hate to kill him for it."
She smiled, taking one last kiss before going over to hug Xander then leave. She turned to look at William from the door. "Hurt them and deal with me," she promised then let the door close behind her.
Oz looked over at Xander. "Have I mentioned how much I love her today?" He shook his head. "Remind me later, okay?"
Xander grinned. "Sure, if they let me stay awake." He looked down at William. "What did you want us to do? Let him die too?"
The London Precept shook his head. "Just be better prepared next time. Jumping on his back wasn't the wisest plan."
"Wasn't planned, improvised," he said with a yawn. "Now go ‘way, you're upsetting us and we'll tell on you." He closed his eyes, tossing Oz's call button back to him. "Don't throw crap at me, I'll retaliate later."
William walked out of the room shaking his head. "They're not even scared of me," he told Derek. "Didn't you train them right?"
Buffy walked up to him. "Would you be more scared of you or Spike?" She raised an eyebrow but he didn't answer so she walked into their room, coming back out quickly once she saw they were asleep. "Napping. We should leave them alone."
Willow smiled. "I'm staying. I have his car." She walked back in, closing the door while frowning at William. "Go home."
William looked over at Derek. "Old friend, we need to teach them to fear my authority."
Derek shook his head. "I don't so why should they." He handed his keys to Nick. "Could you please drive me back. I need to check on Philip and he won't come to the phone." They walked out together, leaving a frustrated older man there.
Derek knocked on Philip's door, walking in when he didn't hear an answer. "Philip?" he said softly. He ducked the book and the pillow, but the coffee cup hit him. He shut the door, rubbing his forehead. "That hurt," he said as he knelt beside the bed. "Would you talk to me now?"
"No." He rolled away. "Go away."
Derek climbed up onto the bed, pulling him into a hug. "I'm sorry, I know I should have stopped you from doing that and did it myself," he said quietly. He didn't let the warm body go when it tried to get away. "I'm sorry," he said again, holding him tightly. "You shouldn't have had to fire that shot."
Philip turned around, looking at his lover. "Why'd ya le' me?" He slapped the firm shoulder. "Ya shoulda stopped me."
Derek nodded. "I know, but I was too old and slow." He buried his head in the shoulder that had always welcomed him. "I'm sorry."
"Bein' sorry won' keep me from bein' a killer."
Derek looked up in alarm. "You're not. He was dead a long time ago. Almost a hundred and thirty years." He pulled Philip closer. "You did nothing wrong except protect those three men."
"Yeah, Derek," he said, pushing him back. "I did. I *killed* a man." He shook his head sadly. "Doesn' matter tha' he was dead already. He was still a person."
Buffy knocked gently, carrying in a tray of soup. "I heard," she said, sitting it on the bedside table. "He wasn't human father. He was a killer when he was alive. That's why my ex turned him. He saw the evil in him that matched his own." She handed Derek the envelope William had given her. "The fussy one said so and Nick said to eat his soup." She walked back out, closing the door behind them.
Derek let go long enough to open the note, frowning at it. "William had decided to meddle again." He handed it to Philip. "You're on sabbatical."
The Priest shook his head. "I nee' it, bu' I'm no' stayin'." He stood up, heading for the closet and his barely unpacked bag. "I gotta go thin'," he said roughly, pulling it out and the rest of his things.
"Philip, we need you here for a few more days," Derek said. "I need you to cleanse Rupert and Xander. They were both bit."
"I can'," he said softly, "I shouldn' be able ta." He tossed his things in the bag, going to the drawers and taking his things from there. "I'll call someone ta do it." He closed the bag with a snap of the lock. "I'll call," he said. He opened the door and William sprayed something in his face before carrying him back inside to lay him on the bed.
"Fix your house Derek, don't make me do it." He handed over the spray and walked out, shutting the door soundly behind him.
Derek looked down at the knock-out gas, smiling for the first time in two days. Sometimes William's meddling wasn't that bad.
Xander parked his car in the garage, shutting it off to look at the older man. "Home, Oz."
"I know." He looked at the pristine back wall of the enclosure. "But is it?"
"For me," the younger man said, turning in his seat. He laid a hand on the older man's arm. "I belong here. Only you can say the same." He started to open his door but the hand on his arm stopped him.
"I'm sorry," Oz said quietly. "I said I'd watch your back and I couldn't."
Xander leaned across the small space, hugging him as hard as he could and not hurt him. "You didn't make me jump on Spike's back. That was my stupidity." He let him go, pulling back to brush some of the disarranged hair off the wrinkled brow. "I couldn't let him hurt either of you."
Oz stopped him from letting go. "You jumped on him to save me?" He got an embarrassed nod in response. "Then it was stupid. I'm not going to allow you to be hurt again." He pulled the aching head over, kissing him soundly. "Get it?"
Xander nodded, small grin showing. "Yeah, I know you care. Same as I do for you." He got out and came around to help him out. "Come on, I'll go put you in bed."
"Only if you curl up with us."
"Willow's in town," Xander reminded him.
"Then it'll be just us for a while." He let a stronger arm be wrapped around his waist, letting himself be led inside.
Buffy jumped them in the foyer, happy that they were home. "Hi," she said, bouncing happily.
Oz looked at the younger man, having to look up some. "This is what you look like on a sugar high. This is why we prevent you from having them." He wrapped his free arm around her shoulders, hugging her to his shoulder. "Hi," he said.
She pulled back, looking at them. "You two need a nap," she said, putting her hands on her hips. "Go to bed and I'll wake you for supper." She tapped her foot until they started up the stairs. "We'll be talking later guys." They just waved her off.
Xander laid Oz out on Willow's bed, helping him get settled since he was still having trouble moving. "There, comfy?" He squeaked as he was pulled down to lay down too. "Oz, we shouldn't."
"Shut up," he said, cranky in his pain. "Just lay there and be a good pillow." He shoved him into the position he wanted, laying on his uninjured side to rest his head on the still chest. "Now sleep, we need it." He paused to yawn. "I'll yell at you later for trying to escape."
Xander shook his head, running his fingers through the soft hair to soothe him into sleep. "Night Oz," he said softly, closing his eyes.
Buffy frowned as she walked out of Willow's room, backing out before they could see her. She bumped into someone, looking very embarrassed when it turned out to be Willow herself. "Um, hi, let's go talk in my room," she said quickly, not wanting her to have to see that.
Willow sighed, pushing open the older woman's door. "In." She walked in behind her, shutting it. "Do you have a problem with that? ‘Cause I don't." She put her hands on her expanding hips. "That's what I want in life."
Buffy sat down in shock. "Will?" She saw the determined look and swallowed hard. "It's just kinda gonna take some getting used to."
Willow sat down beside her, grunting as she did so. "Yeah, I know. Oz still is."
"Right now, he's curled up on top of Xan." She blushed. "Sorry."
Willow patted her arm. "Don't be. I'm not and they're mine." She got a little more comfortable. "Want to ask questions?"
Buffy shook her head. "Need major processing time before that." She looked around her room. "Is that really what you want?"
"Yup," Willow said happily. "Both my guys." She stood up, bracing on the bed. "And I'm a little farther along than I thought." She stopped to catch her breath. "Wanna coach? I want Oz to catch it."
Buffy grinned. "You sure? Hospitals have drugs and things."
Willow nodded. "I know, but I'd gladly suffer for them." She walked around her friend. "We'll talk when you're ready," she promised, walking down to her room. She pushed open the door, trying to sneak inside so she wouldn't wake them. When she saw them both still sleeping, she stripped down to her undies and crawled in next to them. She smiled as Buffy closed her door but otherwise just worked at getting between them.
Derek knocked on Willow's door, half expecting one of the young men in the house to answer him. When no one did, he opened it slightly to look in. What he saw took his breath away. They were still sleeping, each of the men laying with their heads on her stomach. He backed out before he could wake them up, closing the door gently.
He met William on the stairs. "Still sleeping," he said. He turned his friend around, not wanting him to disturb them either.
William shook his head. "I can't understand that. Oz's pain must be atrocious by now."
Derek shook his head. "His werewolf side helps him heal faster." He stopped down on their floor. "Leave them alone, they need it apparently." He watched as the London Precept walked down the stairs before going into his and Philip's room. "Morning," he said softly from the door.
Philip looked up. "Release me Derek."
"Not until you agree not to leave." He fingered the spray attached to his belt. "I could knock you back out if it pleases you," he said, laying down next to him. He saw his lover's body tense, the younger features getting a tight and pinched look. "Relax, I only want to talk."
Philip shook his head. "No' gonna happen." He looked around. "No Rachel?"
"She quit after they removed the aliens from the injured pair upstairs." He laid his head on the pillow next to the younger man's head. "Want to talk? I'm sure I could understand."
Philip shook his head, rolling over. "I doub' it."
Derek waited until he thought he was asleep to pull him back into his arms. "I'm sorry, I should have taken it from you. This is all my fault."
Philip's eyes started to water, wishing that that had happened.
William waited until he heard Derek's door close before heading back up the stairs. There was something funny going on and he would find out yet. He opened Willow's door softly, not knocking and looked in, using the mirror on the dresser to see the bed. What he saw made him catch his breath and back out.
Unfortunately, he ran into Buffy. A very pissed Slayer at the moment. "Voyeur much?" she asked, crossing her arms on her chest. "Their lives are *private*," she said it slowly, hoping he'd get it. "We don't watch people here."
He nodded, backing away from her. "I know, I was just trying..." She shook her head before he could get the excuse out.
"You were being nosy because no one would tell you." She grabbed his arm, pulling him to the edge of the stairs. "Here's the privacy line, get it?" She pushed him toward them. "Cross it again without a good reason and I'll deal with you next time."
Nick walked up, hissing at her. "Don't."
She scowled at him. "I don't like peepers. Especially when the peepees don't know about the peeper." She frowned at William. "I catch you looking in on them again like that and I'll practice on you. Get it?" She raised an eyebrow, waiting for his assent.
Nick shook his head. "You looked in someone's room?" He walked up beside his girlfriend. "You should know better."
William shook his head. "It wasn't like that. I was going to check on them."
Xander walked out, standing behind the couple. "Out, all of you. Willow needs her sleep." He walked around Buffy, looking down at William. "Not the first but it will be the last. None of us like to be watched while sleeping. Do it again and *she*," he pointed at Buffy, "won't be the one dealing with you." He growled the last word, walking back to Willow's room and closing the door. Everyone present heard the lock click into place.
Nick looked down at Buffy. "Who else?"
"Derek probably. I looked out of my room and it looked like his back walking down." She looked down the stairs, not seeing the London Precept. "He needs to go home. I'm sure his house is a much funner place without him." She turned to look at her guy, smiling. "Want me to work on your shoulder?"
He smiled, shaking his head. "Nope, came to tell you your mother's here."
Her shriek woke the whole house.
TO BE CONTINUED.