Family and it's Problems. By Voracity (warning: discussion of child abuse/molestation) NC-17

Xander looked out the patio windows, bouncing nervously. "Relax," Oz whispered as he walked behind him, running a gentle hand down his mate's back. "She'll love you. We all do and she'll have to, you're lovable." He gave him a sexy look but his husband only smiled sadly. "Hey, what's wrong?" He set down his bowl, wrapping his husband in his arms.

"What if she doesn't like me, not really. She could only be seeing me as a last resort for grandkids. Or...or as a last resort to carry on the family name."

Oz turned him around, kissing him hard. "Its normal to worry," he explained when they were both breathing again, "but you take it to whole new levels of strange. *No* one could resist loving you after they get to know you." He smiled, brushing his thumb along the swollen lips. "You look properly debauched, do you know that?"

Xander shook his head, smiling slightly now. "Nope, I gave up looking in the mirror when we married. Your eyes are all the reflection I need of myself." He nipped at the neck his mouth was resting against.

"Ahhh," Alex and Buffy said as they walked into the kitchen together. Alex snapped her fingers. "Why do all the good ones who say things like that like men instead of me?" She looked at her helper, who simply shrugged.

Oz looked over his shoulder at them. "Stop it. He's worried about Derek's mom liking him." He placed a kiss on the dark hair then let the younger man go. "I need to eat otherwise I'm going to not be able to keep up with you."

Xander stiffened as he heard the helicopter get nearer. "They're here," he whispered, walking out onto the back lawn, going down to the landing pad, almost getting run over by five little, pajama-clad bodies. "Freeze!" he yelled. They all stopped to look at him, Xandra starting to sniffle. "You do *not* run to meet the helicopter. You'll get hurt." He made it to where they were waiting on him. "Now then, aren't you guys supposed to be dressed?"

"Gran'ma!" Brandon said, jumping up and down a few times. "No clothes." He started to pull off his shirt but Derek, who had also heard Nick coming in for a landing, stopped him.

"No, stay dressed. I doubt she wants to be pounced by naked bodies." He smiled at Xander, patting his shoulder. "Go only to the steps, sit on them and wait there." The kids ran off, yelling again. "It will be fine," he told his son. "She can only love you. Otherwise she wouldn't have sent you anything except a card." He walked the young man down to the stairs, sitting down with the children to wait for Nick to turn off the rotors and the passengers to disembark.

Finally the rotors stopped and the first person stepped off, his mother as it happened, and all the kids hopped up to run over and jump around her with a chorus of, "Grandma! Grandma! Grandma!"

"My," Barbara Rayne said, her cultured voice cracking with pleasure. "I'm happy to see you," she paused to count quickly, "five too." She smiled at them, patting each one on the head. "But shouldn't you be dressed?"

"No time," Xandra said, grabbing her legs to hug, making sure she couldn't run away from them. "Want to see you."

"Get off her," Xander said, walking down with a small smile. "You can hug her later, she's going to be here for a few days at least." He looked down at the kids. "Go get dressed. Now please." They all pouted at him but he shook his head. The kids pouted their way slowly up to the house, heading inside. All except Timothy, who was smiling shyly up at William Sloan.

"Hello, my dear boy," William said, picking his favorite nephew up to hug. "Go get dressed, I'll see you in a few minutes." He set him down, watching him run after his siblings. "Derek," he said, shaking his hand.

"Mother," Derek said happily, kissing her cheek. "This is Xander," he said, pulling him in front of himself and putting his hands on the slightly trembling shoulders. "My son."

William gasped. "Derek! Tell me you didn't." He glared at his friend. "This isn't the seventies, my friend."

"Oh, shut up," Derek told him, laughing. "No, he asked me to allow him to call me father and I happily agreed." He gave the shoulders a gentle squeeze.

Barbara looked him over, smiling. "Well, you look enough like us anyway, young man." She kissed his cheek. "Welcome to the family. Hopefully my son isn't too cruel of a father." She took Xander's arm. "They're really all yours?"

"No, they're really my husband's." He held out his hand so she could see the rings she had sent them. "Thank you." He kissed her cheek.

She picked up the hand, looking at the ring. "A most interesting choice to fill those holes but I'm sure they fit you both." She wrapped the hand around her waist. "Now, take me to breakfast young man. I wish to meet your husband and talk with your children, make sure they know who I am." She smiled at him, wiping her lipstick off his cheek.

Derek held back William. "How are your plans coming along?"

"Very well," the London Precept said happily. "But we'll discuss that later." He looked at Nick as he walked around the helicopter to join them. "So, how has the house been in our absence?"

"Oh, good." Nick smiled at his boss. "We do okay when he's not here to whip us daily. Alex wields the power a little too well in his place." He waved toward the house. "Shall we?"

"Yes," Derek said. "We should go join the boys for breakfast." He laughed lightly. "I believe Xander was pacing all of last night."

"Listening were you?" William asked, raising an eyebrow. "Derek, by now you should know better." He laughed as his arm was hit.


Xander cut up Xandra's eggs for her, handing her the small, padded fork. "Eat, and try not to spill it on your shirt." She smiled as she munched happily on her favorite breakfast, smooshy eggs on toast. "So, what was Derek like as a kid?"

Barbara put down her teacup. "A most willful creature. Much like your own." She handed the baby a napkin. "Try to keep your mouth closed, dear, it allows you to swallow more and wear less." The baby nodded, wiping her mouth. "Such a delightful creature. Which one is she again?"

"This," he said, putting a hand on her head, "is Xandra. The one with the curls is Precious, the other is Serena. The two boys are Tim and Brandon. You can tell Tim because he talks, constantly, and will always be found in William's presence." He smiled at Precious as she walked in with stuff to do her hair. "Want pigtails, ponytail, or braids?" he asked as she turned around in front of him.

"Ringlets?" she asked, blinking her big grey eyes up at him. "Pwease?"

"I don't have the curling iron," he told her, combing out her hair with his fingers. "Want flat or curly hair?"

"Curly." She blew a kiss at Dominic, the butler. "Eggies? Pwease?"

"Of course, Miss Precious." He put a plate down in her usual seat.

"Ponytail pwease, dada," she told her father. She winced as he pulled her hair up tightly, then turned around to kiss his cheek. "Thank you." She gracefully climbed up into her seat and didn't fight the bib like her sister had. She smiled at her grandma. "Our birfday soon," she told her, taking her first bite.

"And how old will you be?" Oz asked her. She held up three fingers and he corrected it for her. "That's right, four." She beamed at him.

"And Dad will be how old?" Xander teased.

"Old?" Precious suggested, smiling at them. "Much older than ten." She nodded with her sister.

Oz clutched his chest. "Oh, no, I'm going to be ancient." He smiled at his mate. "How old will I be again? Nineteen?"

"No, twenty-five, which is not old, girls. It's very young still. Grandpa is old." He smiled at Barbara. "You, of course, are only twenty. It must have been a time portal that allowed you to have dad." She laughed lightly, patting the side of his face.

Brandon ran into the room, chased by his sister. "Me first!" he cheered, turning to let his father do his hair. "Me pretty?" he asked Xander.

Xander chuckled lightly. "Yes, I'll make you pretty." He quickly brushed his hair out, letting him go to his seat so he could focus on Serena's newly trimmed hair. "I like this style," he told her, combing it with his fingers. "It looks very good on you."

"Little wispy," Oz countered. "But still cute." He accepted his kisses, watching the kids climb up to eat their own food. "They're a handful," he explained to Barbara, "but we love them."

"Tons," Xander added. He smiled at Jonathan as he and Tim came in, one carrying the other, who still looked like he was almost asleep. "Hey," he said, taking his son onto his lap. "Do you need to go back to bed?"

"Belly bad," he said, cuddling down and looking at his other father. "Me have bad belly, daddy."

"Oooh," Oz said, getting up to come over and kiss him. "Would you like to go back to bed?" The little boy shook his head. "Well, if you're really sick you need to go to bed, but if not, I think you could lay on the couch again." Tim nodded, kissing his cheek. The man looked up at the nanny. "Flu?"

"Probably." He smiled at the other kids. "You guys feel okay?"

"Me swim!" Xandra yelled, throwing down her fork. She glared at her brother. "Me swim, no bad bellies." She pouted, crossing her arms across her chest.

"Yes, you can still swim," Xander told her. "You're not the sick one so you can still swim." She nodded, going back to her eating. "Sorry about that," he told his grandmother. "She can be a bit fussy first thing in the morning."

"Me no fussy," Precious said, smiling her full mouth at her grandmother.

"I'm sure you're not and I'm sure she just needs to wake up more," Barbara said diplomatically. She looked at the little boy, holding out her arms. He slid into her arms, snuggling down onto her shoulder and holding on tightly. "I'm sure your tummy will be better soon," she crooned, rubbing his back. "Why don't you go find William and hug him?" Tim pulled back to look at her. "He gives good hugs also." The baby nodded, sliding off her and heading for the hall the office was in, the most likely place to find him. Barbara smiled at the couple. "He's a darling little one too." She held out a hand to the nanny. "Barbara Rayne, Derek's mother."

"Jonathan, the nanny," he said, shaking it. "Oz, man, you got a call yesterday from your old friend?" He shrugged. "I caught Serena answering the phone again.

"I'll call Devon later," he said, looking at his daughter. "That's Dominic's job. Let him do it."

"Me like phones," she explained patiently, patting his hand. "We talk about it later." She looked back at her Grandmother, watching her.

Barbara laughed lightly. "Oh, my, I can see the family resemblance now. Derek used to say the same thing when I called him on something." She smiled at all the children. "Eat, dears, I'll be here a whole week."

Xander shook his head, smiling at Oz as he got back into his seat. "Don't tell them that, you'll never be alone." He reached over to tweak Brandon's nose, earning a small slap to his hand. "This one will even crawl into bed with you to demand a story."

"Well, as long as it's not at an inappropriate time, I'm sure we can deal with it." She patted her grandson's hand. "Do relax, Xander, I don't eat people. At least not usually, no matter what Derek has told you." She looked at the butler as he brought Jonathan his plate of food. "Do get my grandson some breakfast please, Dominic, I'm sure he could eat now that he's calmed down." She smiled sweetly at him. "I'm sure he's fidgeted off all his dinner by now."

"And then some," Oz said, smiling at his husband, who blushed cutely. "Ah, I love that look." He scraped his plate. "So, activity master, what do you have planned for them today?"

"Book shopping after their nap," Jonathan said, quickly swallowing. "I thought I'd start on the easy to read books." The kids booed. "Hey, you guys have to learn sometime and we'll still read to you."

"Yes, we will," Derek said, walking back in with William and Timothy. "But it is time for you to all start learning to read." He smiled at the other children. "What else is planned today?"

"Hmm," Jonathan said, pulling out his calendar. "I called the baby doctor for Tim and he's due in before we go book shopping. We need to get tickets to the Shakespeare festival so the kids can go to the matinees in two weeks, and I have to stop off and get something of my own." He looked at the brood. "Can't do that with you guys though."

"We can actually watch them," Xander offered with a small grin. "We don't do much of that anymore."

Jonathan laughed lightly. "I'm sure you can but I enjoy hogging their attention. I'll bring Buffy with me, make her watch them." The kids all frowned at him. "Hey, she needs fun too."

"Nope," Brandon said, shaking his head. "No sitters."

"I could go," William said. He looked at Tim. "Doctor's visits always take longer so you can drop us off there while you go do the shopping with them, then I'll take them so you can do your own errands for a while, maybe walk through the park, then we can bring them back."

"You sure you want to do that?" Oz asked. He weathered the glare easily. "That van's a little hard to handle," he warned. "And five hyper kids in the back makes it worse."

"We'll be fine," William said patiently, rolling his eyes. "Won't we?" he asked the baby he held.

Tim nodded, laying his head back down on the comfy shoulder, sucking his thumb.


Derek looked up as his mother walked into his office. "Mother," he said warmly, getting up to greet her, kissing her cheek before sitting her in a chair. "What can I do for you?"

She covered her mouth as she yawned. "Nothing really. They are delightful children, if a bit energetic." She smiled at her son. "Did you sic Willy on me?"

He gave her his best innocent look. "I just passed on your news." He sat beside her, taking her hand to pat the back of it. "Everything else he's done or said was all him."

She patted the side of his face. "You still can't lie very well, my son. What do you have against my fiancee?"

"Beside him being a sorcerer and having tortured Giles in the past?"

"Which was in the past, Derek. He's changed since then, dear. He's a good and kind man now."

"I'm sure he is, mother, but I still don't want him around those children or you." He smiled at her. "I would much prefer that you pick a different companion to spend your time with."

"Oh, is that why you sent William to me?" She raised an eyebrow at his choke. "You didn't?"

"Mother, we both know he's had a rampant crush on you since he met you. I only asked him to intervene since you would listen to him as a friend where you wouldn't listen to me as your son." He looked out the window, watching his son and Oz walk around the garden. "I want for you what they have. A love so blinding in its purity that it makes those around you weep." She sighed. "And I know he makes you happy but I cannot respect the man after what he's done of his own free will."

She nodded, patting the side of his face again. "We'll get you two together, son, you'll see what I do in him."

"Mother, I don't want that man in my house." He weathered the glare. "I'm sorry, but I cannot risk the house on someone so dangerous. I have proof, from Rupert and his former charges - including your grandson -, about his past activities. I cannot harbor him here."

"I understand. I'll have him join us in the city then." She stood up, walking over to the windows. "Derek, I'm happy. For the first time that I can remember, I'm truly happy with the main relationship in my life. I understand your concerns but I refuse to be miserable and lonely for you."

"Mother, I wish you only happiness and love, never loneliness. I just wish that you would choose someone else to be happy with." He stood up, hugging her from behind, laying his head on her shoulder. "I love you, Mother, and I only want your happiness. I simply doubt that you can find it with someone so evil on a long term basis." He let her go, smiling sadly. "We both know how relationships in this family go sour quickly. I wish you all the happiness in the world, just not with him."

She nodded slowly. "I understand. And it makes me very happy that you care enough to protest our union, but I won't give up happiness for you, son." She kissed his cheek. "He's changed, just give him a chance. That's all I ask."

"I'll do that," he agreed. "We'll have dinner some night."

"Good," Barbara said smiling. "That makes me a bit happier." She looked out the window at the obviously happy couple. "They share a love that we all wish for. Guard it well."

"As I pledged to them at their wedding," he told her. He walked over to the safe, pulling out a tape. "Did you see it yet?" She shook her head so he handed it over. "It's most moving, mother, their love radiates." She smiled, walking out of his office with the precious tape.

Derek sat down behind his desk again, turning to watch his son and his lover walk through the garden, talking.


Oz looked at Xander, smiling slightly. "You sure you want to do that?"

"Oz, I want to adopt them too." He wrapped an arm around his husband's shoulders. "More than anything, I want them to be my kids too."

"They are, in all but the eyes of the law." He stopped them, looking into the deep eyes. "They *are* your kids, our kids. No one can take them from us." He got a small nod. "You're still worried about Willow, right?" That got another small nod. "She signed custody over to us. We're filing the papers when we go into the city the next time." He squeezed his man's waist. "Only us from now on."

"Only us," Xander agreed, "but I still have to worry about things like them getting sick." He rested on his husband's shoulder. "I looked up stuff about gay couples for my paper..."

Oz snorted. "Wondered why we were doing separate papers." He pulled the younger man's face up, looking into it again. "We have custody, we'll do the adoption thing, you already have my power of attorney and I have yours. We have all the legalities we can possibly have. You don't have to worry. I'm not letting you go."

"But she could still screw us up. Especially if what Derek said was true." Oz gave him a confused look. "The baby could be biracial. As a matter of fact, according to the incidence reports that Alex 'accidentally'," he did the finger quotes, "left out, it's more than possible. It's mostly probable."

"Then we'll deal. The kids will still love the baby and so will we. Won't we?"

Xander nodded, smiling. "Of course I will. I'll love every child of ours, no matter what race, color, or gender they may be." He stole a kiss. "But I'm the worrier here, I'm doing what I'm supposed to."

"How do I cure it?" Oz asked, starting them on their stroll again. He felt the small shrug. "Baseless worries then, Xan. You need to worry about other stuff instead." He let a hand fall from the younger man's waist to his butt, using just his fingertips to stroke lightly over the firm, jeans covered flesh.

"Like what?" he asked breathlessly.

"Like being able to walk later," Oz told him quietly, "but a few other things too. We need to do the checkbook balancing tonight. You wanted a complete summary of all our funds so we could do some planning. Then we have to decide how to do the combining thing."

"I've got that planned out," Xander said happily, pushing his butt back into the tender fingers. "Got it all figured out and we'll be fine." He stopped them, giving his husband a long, deep, slow kiss. "We're fine. Very well off and still working. The kids are happy and healthy, for the most part, and we'll be okay. Even if she does get fussy."

"Xan, you were well off without me," Oz reminded him. "How you live without spending your check, I don't know. You're stingy even for an Accounting minor, which I used to wonder about why you chose."

"Hey, we have everything we could want here," he said, waving a hand around the garden. "The only thing I had to spend money on was you and the kids. And car insurance." He grinned, lapping his man's lips. "We should go hunt for another car while we're out."

"Yup, we should find us a good one." Oz nipped the end of his husband's nose. "Right after I make it hard for you to sit."

"I'm already having that problem," Xander admitted with a small blush. "You did me for a *long* time after breakfast, Oz," he complained with a small, sexy smile. "I think it's your turn."

"Hmm," the older man said, considering it. "Okay." He pulled the younger man's head closer, kissing him hard. "Now?"

"Quit it," Nick yelled out a window. "Some of us aren't getting any and you guys are mean to us!" He slammed the window to the sound of delighted laugher from the back porch.

"Some of us don't mind," Barbara called. "Your love is a delightful thing."

Oz nipped his husband again, steering them toward the younger man's grandmother. "Hey," he said, sitting on the steps in front of her. "What's up?"

"Nothing much. I'm enjoying the sunshine. We've not had a lot of it at home." She smiled down at them. "Grandson, I'm so happy that you found him. He makes you happy and that's the most important thing in the world."

"No," Xander told her, "he loves me unconditionally. *That's* the most important thing in the world. That and the fact that he's always there for me." He smiled at his mate, taking his hand. "He loves me so much, I want to do the cheesy musical thing and break out in song and dance whenever he smiles at me."

"Xander," Oz whispered, embarrassed and blushing. He shook his head, looking at the ground. "You're too much some days." He blindly reached out to give him a kiss, connecting with his chin. "Stop it," he told him. "You don't need to keep telling me things like that."

"Yes I do. Otherwise I forget." Xander stole a small kiss then smiled up at his grandmother. "He's a sweetie to me but he won't let me spoil him with things."

"Things aren't important," Oz told him. "Our special time together is more important." That brought out a small blush on his mate's face. "The time that you spend telling me about your dreams and your desires. Your plans and what you *really* want to see happen to us." He ran a thumb over the swollen lips. "The time we spend curled up together, our hearts communicating without us." He smiled at the younger man. "That's what is important to me, Xan, not the pretty things you buy me." He stole another kiss, brushing off the small tears flowing down the pinkened cheeks. "That's what I love, when we're together."

"Okay," Xander said, hugging him tightly, clinging to him. "I love those times too, Oz, never doubt that. Those are the things I look forward too."

William cleared his throat as he joined them. "Enough boys."

"Shut up, Willy," Barbara told him sharply. "Their love is a sight to behold and I'm enjoying it." She raised an eyebrow up at him. "We all should cherish that they found what we're all looking for."

He nodded, sighing, as he sat beside her on the swing. "I do, I'm just embarrassed by it." He watched them cling to the other, not even aware he had come out to be with them.

Xander stood up, holding a hand out to Oz. "Come on, want to cuddle with you among the flowers." His mate curled up into his side, walking in stride with him back out onto the paths.

Barbara stealthily wiped her cheeks off. "So beautiful," she whispered. She looked at her companion, seeing his own tears. "You missed that in your marriage, didn't you?" He nodded, wiping off his own cheeks. "As did I. Winston and I never had anything *near* that level of love." She smiled, wiping off a tear he missed. "We should cherish them for it."

"I do," he sighed, "but I also have to deal with Oz's former wife. Soon-to-be former wife," he corrected. "She's a bit cruel right now." He looked at her. "She's tried to turn the children against them and is trying to figure out how to get around the divorce agreement I had drawn up for them to get custody of the children."

Barbara clicked her tongue. "We'll just have to deal with her, won't we? Their marriage should not be interrupted for such pettiness."

"I'm glad to hear you approve, Mother," Derek said as he walked out to join them, handing off cups of tea. "I've schemed with William to keep her complacent but there is still so much that could go wrong." He sat on the stairs, watching the boys disappear around the corner of the house. "A spiteful judge could make the divorce difficult, even here." He sipped his coffee, looking out on the soothing sight.

"Then we'll just have to arrange things," William said simply. He smiled at the shocked look. "Oh, please, Derek. How often have you had private discussions with judges over the people you've helped? Why should they be any different?"

"Because I don't have any friends in the family courts," he sighed. "I know a few but their judge was just assigned. I just got off the phone with my attorney and it's not goot news. Their judge is most unkind to homosexual families." He sipped some more of his coffee, looking up at his mother. "I can only hope that he either sees sense or gets ill."

"We could still have a discussion with him," Barbara said. "I'm assuming he wouldn't be adverse to a lunch with us?"

"That would be inappropriate," William told her. "American judges can be real sticklers about propriety." He finished his tea, setting the cup on the small table. "We'll deal with it, Derek. Don't worry so much. You'll go even more gray, old man."

Derek laughed lightly. "It's not all about age, William. And I deserve every gray hair Nick gives me."

All three of them laughed at that, especially after Nick's 'not funny' floated down from an open window.


Xander squeezed Oz's hand as they waited on the judge to meet with them. "We'll be okay," he whispered.


"Sorry to be late, gentlemen," the Judge said, sitting down after taking off his robe. "I'm Judge Starren, and you would be?" He ran a hand through his mussed silver hair.

"I'm Daniel Osbourne," Oz said, leaning over to shake his hand. "This is my husband, the former third in mine and my ex-wife's relationship." The older man frowned at them then nodded. "Is this going to be a problem?"

"No, not with the agreement you have drawn up." He flipped through the pages. "Very thorough, although I do have a few qualms about some of the included items."

Xander cleared his throat. "We already have five children." The judge looked up in alarm. "One set of quads, one single, and she's pregnant now. We've decided to ask for custody of that child also since we have the info-structure available." He shifted some, crossing his feet. "We have a house where we all lived before, the nanny, many other inhabitants that have agreed to help us when we need it."

"And this is where you work?" the Judge asked. Both young men nodded so he made a note. "How does that work?"

"Derek, our boss, owns the house that holds the Luna Foundation and he's offered quarters to everyone who works there. We have a whole wing of the house to ourselves. The children have their nursery, in the European style so they're all together, and we have our room. The nanny lives across the hall from the nursery."

"In addition, Doctor Rayne is like a grandfather to our children," Oz put in. "They call him such and Xander has asked to call him father because he's had such a positive influence on our family. There's also Xander's half-brother, two of our friends from before we joined the Foundation, and Ms. Alex Moreau, who has been there for quite a while." He relaxed in his leather chair. "We feel that the agreement was stringent but fair to protect the children and us."

Xander nodded. "Ms. Rosenburg has been admitted to an alcohol treatment facility where she's living in London, at another branch of the Foundation. She has gotten pregnant again in a purely irresponsible manner, and we felt it was necessary to protect the children and ourselves. We have no plans to enforce some of those clauses, just to hold them over her if need be."

The Judge nodded slowly, looking up from his making notes. "I can understand that." He pulled out a folder. "I have here the Social Services folder. I noticed that there were two investigations, and nothing was found."

"My mother," Xander told him, "objected to my orientation, and called them. The other was recently because our son had been poisoned by Willow against us. He tried to tell people he wasn't ours. We've since worked that out." He leaned forward. "Listen, I want to be comfortable here, but I'm worried. I've researched your records on couples like us and I'd like to know if you have something against us because we're married."

"You're not, at least not in the eyes of the law."

Oz held up his rings. "We're joined in a manner that no laws can dispute. We have all the precautions taken and Xander plans to fully adopt the children." The judge stared at him. "Yes, we *three* were together but she got physically and emotionally abusive and we couldn't allow that around us or the children. It was my foolish mistake to marry her..." He looked at the hand on his arm. "It was, Xan, it was stupid. I was ignoring what she was doing to us and went with the peer pressure."

Xander leaned closer to his husband, talking in his ear. "It was a momentary aberration. I'm not upset that you didn't notice, it took me a long time to admit it myself." He kissed his cheek. "We okay on that?"

"Yup," Oz said, taking his hand and squeezing it. "We're fine. We both made mistakes where she was concerned and now we're paying for them." He looked into his husband's eyes and smiled, getting lost in the love they held. "I do love you, more than anything."

"And I love you. I'd do anything to be with you. Hot coals, fire, lava, lots of needles. Nothing is too much." He smiled shyly, breaking the eye contact at the cleared throat. "Sorry, we've just recently begun to work on our relationship again, fixing all that she had wrecked between us."

"So I can tell," the Judge said dryly. "Why is her lawyer not here?"

"I have no clue," Xander said. "We called her in London, as did her boss since he's over here for a meeting." He shrugged. "She may not have one still. William, her boss, helped us have the agreement drawn up and put it before her."

Judge Starren nodded slowly. "All right. I'll need to talk to either her or her lawyer before I can outright sign the decree."

"I can dial the London house," Oz offered. "She should be there."

"No, thank you. It's quite late in London." The Judge crossed his hands on top of the papers. "You have a right to be worried, young man. I do not consider you two married, but even I can see that you two are in love. For that, I will make allowances. I do *not* like how you've left her high and dry though."

"She makes more than we do," Oz pointed out. "She has a job with the same organization and we have the expense of the children."

"True, if I agree that this is an appropriate home." He held up a finger at the young men's mouth opening to protest. "I want to see this environment for myself or to send someone I trust out to check it out. This is a very strange case and I need to make sure what will be best for the children. Her history of problems will be noted also, but I will talk with your nanny and the other members of your house."

"They're having meetings today," Xander said. "But you can come out anytime this weekend or tomorrow." He pulled out his pocket calendar. "We have a meeting with our paper review board next Wednesday, with Doctor Rayne since he was overseeing us, but otherwise next week looks good also." He looked up, smiling. "Name a day, I'll make note."

"I'll check my calendar and get in touch with you tomorrow," the Judge said with a [faint] small smile. "I can tell by the way you reacted that you have nothing to hide."

"Nope," Xander said, smiling. "Nothing to hide and no reason to keep you from them. They're healthy, happy, and enthusiastic about us." He shrugged. "Our nanny's with them all the time, even when we have to go on the dig we're participating on in Florida. They have many people who think they're the most important things in the world. Why would we be worried?"

"Too much caffeine," Oz told him, squeezing his hand. "Calm down," he said quietly. "It's all okay still."

"Yeah, it is." Xander rested his head on the older man's shoulder, sighing. "I'm sorry, but I panic at the thought of someone trying to take my family from me. That's the biggest worry in my life." He sat back up, looking at his husband. "That I'll lose you and the kids."

Oz leaned over, licking his lips before kissing him lightly. "We're not abandoning you and we're not letting you leave us. It's baseless." His husband nodded. "I know that doesn't help ease it but we're not leaving. I'll spend my life proving that I'm not her and I won't leave you." He squeezed his captive hand again, turning back to the judge. "As you can see, we still have some issues between us."

"I think all couples have them," the older man said, smiling kindly at him. "Young man, even I can see that he's not leaving you." He flipped through his calendar. "I have an opening tomorrow of about three hours starting at two. Would that be acceptable?"

Xander nodded. "Sure. As far as I know, we'll all be there and the meetings will be over."

"They'll all be leaving after lunch," Oz told him. "Small luncheon for the participants." He looked at the judge. "What do we need to do?"

"Nothing as far as I can tell. I still need to talk to either her or her lawyer, preferably her lawyer, and then we'll all get together and do the final agreement." He smiled kindly. "Go home, be well. I'll call her house later today and ask about her representation." He looked up as his secretary walked in, handing him a paper. "What's this?"

"Pertinent to this. It was just filed." She smiled at the two young men then walked out.

"Hmm," he said, reading. "Mr. Harris, I see that you have some funds of your own?"

"My father, Derek, I asked him and all that, gave me a small something he got when he got married. It's in my name only right now, but I was given it after our union."

The Judge nodded slowly. "All right. What about joint funds?"

"Not yet," Oz told him. "We're working on joining our separate accounts and his investments since he didn't spend much of his check." He patted the still hand. "He's the money half, I do the artistic decisions in our lives."

The older man smiled up at them. "All right, that seems reasonable. Since he wasn't officially married to her, I can't include it in the settlement unless your name appears on it somewhere."

"First anniversary," Xander told him. Oz frowned at him. "What? That way we're fully together. You have what I have and I have everything you have except your music." He grinned. "Derek suggested it."

The older man chuckled, leaning back. "And a wise decision. This should long be over by then." He picked up the papers. "I also have here your summons to appear in Nevada? Something about testifying?" Xander looked really confused so he handed it over.

He read it quickly. "Oh, that. Gee, I wish they had told me. It's about being caught by that new anti-kidnapping law. My daughter went on vacation with me and they thought it looked funny." He made a sour face as he handed it back. "Not my most pleasant memory."

Judge Starren flipped pages, reading quickly. "I also asked for your financial records, Mr. Osbourne. There's a note here asking for a new number due to fraud?"

"Willow," he said simply. "She stole from both of us." The judge nodded, making a note. "All of our accounts, individual and the joint emergency one that she has since emptied."

Xander grunted. "That was a bad thing but with a little help it was fixed." He shrugged. "We do what we can."

"You two both make good money," he noted. "And you said she makes more?"

"About two grand more a year," Oz told him. "She has extra duties because of her extensive computer skills."

"Fine. And you own nothing else communally?"

"Nope, only a few vehicles," Xander said, pulling out a group of papers from his briefcase. "I drew up a listing and attempted values for everything we own and hold according to what the insurance company says they're worth." He reached into it and handed over something else. "A copy of our transcripts from the college."

"What else did you bring?"

"Just a few statements from our co-workers about our character and how good of parents we are." Oz reached into the briefcase, pulling out a folder to hand over. "It was our lawyer's suggestion."

"Yes, I had noticed that you're going it alone."

"We didn't think it was necessary to do this with counsel," Xander told him. "We're both relatively bright," he grunted at the small pinch to his hand, "okay, he's a genius, I'm relatively bright, but we thought we could go it alone this time since this was informal."

The Judge smiled, leaning back in his chair. "You're doing very well. Given a bit more away in the personal sense but otherwise fine." He put down the papers. "I'm signing the decree, temporarily until I can talk to her." He sat back up, shaking their hands. "I'll be out there tomorrow and I'll call her later."

Xander and Oz stood up, smiling and holding hands. "Thank you," they said together, walking out side by side.

The Judge watched them go, shaking his head. He looked at his secretary as she came in. "Those two make you wish you were in young love again." He handed off the papers. "Put this in their file and get me the London residence number from it, since that's where she is. I'm going out there during my long break tomorrow to check out the home." She nodded, walking back out.


Derek lifted his champagne glass, smiling at the Precepts around him. "May we have another goot year."

"Here, here," the gathering said.

"May it be safe," William added. "For all of us." He smiled at Derek.

"Please," Derek prayed, looking up. Everyone drank and slowly mingled in small groups. He smiled at Nick as he walked in, giving him a quizzical look at the frown. "What's happened?" he asked quietly, pulling him aside.

"The judge is early," the younger man told him. "He's upstairs now."

Derek nodded, handing him his glass. "Do this for me." He cleared his throat. "If you'll excuse me, I have a small legal matter to take care of."

"Legal?" Montreal's Precept asked, pushing her blonde hair behind her ear. "About?"

"Their divorce," he said, shaking his head. "The judge wanted to see the home environment." He sighed, walking out, closing the library's doors behind him. He headed for the stairs but Buffy crying in one of the sitting rooms drew him in there instead. "What's wrong?" he asked, patting her shoulder awkwardly, trying to be soothing.

"I'm losing it," she cried, turning to cling to his waist as she cried on him. "I can't fight, I'm not strong, nothing. I'm not me anymore!"

He stroked through her hair. "I'm having someone look through the Council's records about this. We'll work it out together. You're still wanted here." She nodded, pulling back to look up at him. "Never doubt that I kept you in the house just because of your calling, Buffy, you're here because I wanted you here. Otherwise, you'd be in a dorm." She nodded so he wiped off her cheeks. "Why don't you go take the afternoon off? There's nothing pending and you could use the personal time to contemplate your future." She nodded, hugging him again before getting up and walking out of the room.

Derek went back to his chosen task, heading up to the nursery. He smiled at Alex when he met her in the hall. "Buffy's taking some personal time," he told her quietly. "You might want to be ready to listen. She's losing her abilities." The woman nodded, wiping at the wet spot on his jacket. He looked down. "I let her cling to me for a few minutes." He shrugged, taking it off.

"As long as it was good for you," Alex said, taking the jacket. "He's still up in the nursery." She headed for the bedrooms to put his jacket away.

Derek jogged up the last flight of stairs, smiling as he saw Xander and Oz clinging to each other, relaxed seeming. "How's it going?" he asked them, patting their shoulders. "Judge Starren," he said, walking in, shaking his hand. "Derek Rayne."

"Oh, I know. I've been to a few of your Foundations' receptions." He smiled, looking out a window. "Quite a view."

"Yes, it is. We put them up here so they could have some privacy." Derek waved them out. "Where are the children, boys?"

"With Grandma," Xander said then covered his mouth. "Your mom," he corrected.

Derek patted the side of his face. "You allowed me the greatest gift when you asked to call me father, it's only fair to let him in on it." He waved at the stairs. "Did you want a tour of the rest of the house?"

"No, not really. I need to talk to your people more. Where is their nanny?"

"He's having an afternoon off," Xander said, frowning. "I forgot he wasn't going to be here. His girlfriend wanted to talk to him." He winced as the door at the bottom of the stairs slammed and someone walked up. "Didn't go well?" he asked the man walking up the stairs.

Jonathan shook his head. "Not at all. She said I was too wrapped up in this family to love her." He tossed his jacket into his room, turning to look at the man he didn't know. "Jonathan," he said, holding out his hand.

"Judge Starren," he said, trying hard not to stare at the bare chest. "Do you often run around like that?"

"Yup," he said, shrugging. "Personal belief. Probs?" The judge shook his head calmly. "Cool." He turned to look at his friends and bosses. "Where are the munchkins?"

"Grandma," Xander said, chewing on his lip. "You sure you want to deal with them now? I know it's hard to break up with your woman."

Jonathan snorted. "We weren't that together, man, don't stress it." He waved, heading down the stairs. "Later."

Derek wiped his brow. "He's an interesting man but he's the best person we found for the job."

"Kids love him," Oz told him. "He does the museums and fairs and plays with them. They're almost never here unless they're grounded or napping."

Xander bounced slightly on the balls of his feet. "Shakespeare next week, modern art show this weekend, Wiccan festival middle of the week." He shrugged. "Their mother's Wiccan too so we want them exposed to all walks of life and he's the best at it."

The Judge nodded. "I don't see a problem with that. Do they attend Church with you?"

"We're non-denominational," Oz told him. "We have a co-worker who is a Priest so they get that version of life from him." He took his husband's hand to calm him down again. "I tend more toward the Eastern philosophies and the nature religions myself."

"I'm nominally Episcopalian," Derek told the Judge. "We all feel that exposure is the right tactic for now with them, allowing them to make the decision about their faiths when they're older." He waved at the stairs again. "Come, let us take you down to meet the children."


The Judge looked up from his seat on the couch as the butler walked in. "They said there was another one, do you know where he went?"

"Tim with Unclie William," Serena said. "He tick." She nodded, looking up at Dominic. "Toda?"

"No," Dominic told her. "No soda until supper. You may have juice, water, or milk for your snack."

"Milk pwease," was the joint request.

"With cookies?" Brandon asked, smiling. He pulled on the Judge's sleeve. "Me make 'em with Dada."

"Yes, you did," Dominic told him, smiling. "Let me go assemble a tray for your snack. Would you like something as well, sir?"

"No, thank you. I'm quite fine." Judge Starren looked down at the children. "So, do any of you read yet?"

"We learn," Precious said, frowning. "Have to read now so we get stories." She pouted at the older man. "You read us?"

"I don't have time today, sweetheart, but the next time I come back I'll gladly read to you." The Judge smiled down at her. "Which one are you again?"


Brandon held up his hand. "Xandra nap."

"Yes, I saw that." The Judge looked up as someone walked in.

"Snacks," Buffy said. She set the tray on the table, getting out of their way as they ran for it. "Easy, guys, we feed you." She rubbed the top of Brandon's head, smiling at the Judge. "Hi, I'm Buffy, Xander's and Oz's high school friend." They shook hands. "Did you want to talk to me? I'm on my way out for personal time."

He shook his head. "Maybe some other time." He noticed the look in her eyes as she looked at the children. "Is there something you wanted to tell me?"

"Huh?" She looked at him again. "No, not at all. Just a little personal problem. Little sad time." She shrugged, pulling her jacket tighter. "Do I need to pick you guys up anything?"

"No," the kids said, together.

Buffy smiled as Xandra walked in, rubbing her eyes. "Hey you. Dominic forgot that you were going to get up. I'll tell him to bring you a glass of milk." She picked her up, kissing the side of her head. "You awake?"

"Me 'wake," she agreed, smiling. She looked at the stranger. "Who he?"

"He's the Judge that's going to say where you live." She sat the baby back down, getting down to talk to her. "He wanted to come talk to all of you guys to make sure you were okay."

"Me 'kay," Xandra told him. She took the glass of milk from Dominic. "Fank you." She smiled up at him before drinking. "Me cookie?" She took the cookies Brandon gave her and sat down in the middle of the floor, having her snack. "Where you go, Auntie?"

"I'm going to go to town. Did you need something?"

"Oooh," Xandra said, nodding. "Me need pretty stuff. Get pretty stuff?"

"Sure," she said, patting her head. "Grandma's in the kitchen, so are dads and Grandpa Derek." She smiled at the judge then walked out of the house. "Night guys."


The Judge smiled, watching the obviously normal children enjoy themselves.


Derek looked up as Judge Starren walked into his office. "Done?" He waved at a chair. "Do you have a concern?"

"No," the older man admitted. "I have no concerns about anything." He looked out the window as the kids ran by the window screaming, running away from Nick and his hose. "Not a single one. Except for their mother. I've not been able to reach her."

Derek frowned, dialing the phone and putting it on speaker. "This is Derek, is Willow there?"

"She's in bed," the woman on the other end of the line said. "Can I take a message?"

"The judge is here and he wishes to talk to her. Can you wake her?"

"No, sir. She's been sedated. She hurt her back and our doctor insisted that she stay in bed. He had her sedated earlier when she kept trying to get up. Sorry, sir."

"Do you know who her Counsel is?" the Judge asked. "I really could talk to him instead."

"She's not made a note of it," the woman admitted. "You might ask William."

"Thank you," Derek said, hanging up, dialing the Control room. "William, do you know who Willow's Counsel is?"

"Not really," he admitted. "She hasn't even talked to one as far as I know. She's not contesting so I think she's wasn't going to bother. Why, is it necessary?"

"I would like someone to be looking out for her interest," Judge Starren admitted. "Would you be willing to stand in that position if she doesn't get one?"

"Of course," William said. "Tim," he said, quieter, "what is that on your neck."

Derek moaned, hanging up. "Chicken pox," he sighed. "He got the vaccination but we were sure he was going to get it anyway." He leaned back. "Sometimes, it's like a soap opera here." He smiled brightly. "Not that I would change it for anything, mind you."

"Of course not. The children are delightful." The judge stood up. "I'll make an appointment to hand down my official decision sometime next week." They shook hands. "A very nice house you have here, Doctor Rayne. Thank you for letting me wander through it to make my own decision."

"Anything else would have been too obvious." They shared a smile before the older man left. "And it looks like everything will work out just the way we hoped." He leaned back in his chair, enjoying the sight of his friend playing with the children.


Xander looked up as Oz walked out of the Judge's office. "So?" he asked, hopping up to hug him when he saw he wasn't smiling.

"We got it!" Oz yelled, hugging his husband in joy. "Sorry, couldn't resist," he said against the younger man's neck. He looked up and grinned. "How should we celebrate?"

"Hmm, hard decision," Xander said, wrapping an arm around his waist as they walked out to Derek's Range Rover. "We could go out to eat, take a real 'gang' moment." Oz gave him a funny look. "You weren't told? Buffy's losing her powers. We should cheer her up."

"Tomorrow," Oz told him. "Much as I think that's a good idea, I think we need an 'us' moment."

Xander laughed lightly. "I think Derek may have other plans for us." He leaned across the space between the seats, kissing his mate's cheek. "I love you. Forever."

"Me too," Oz told him, turning to catch his lips. "And I'm not letting you get away, ever, so you might as well feel stuck." He touched the ring his husband wore. "Let's go home. I want to show you how stuck you are."

Xander shivered. "Okay," he said huskily. "I'm all for that."

They were walking in the house when life decided to interrupt them. Two of the kids, Serena and Xandra, ran out to see them, crying. Nick followed more slowly, shaking his head, handing over the mail to Xander, picking the girls up.

"What's this?"

"Summons to appear in Nevada."

"Hmm, yeah, Judge told me during our unofficial meeting that there was one." He opened it, frowning. "Okay, so why the crying and frowns. I just have to go answer questions." He looked at his kids. "What's wrong?"

"Oh, Tim's in bed and they were told that they can't go to the Shakespeare festival if he's not better, even if they don't get sick." Nick shrugged, putting the girls down. "How'd it go?"

"We got everything we asked for," Oz said, reading over his husband's shoulder. "I'm not letting you go back there alone." Xander turned his head, kissing him quickly. "Thanks. So, any other traumas?"

"Nope, small case but Giles and Alex have that one. Buffy's in the bathtub thinking. Derek, William, and his mother were going to go out to dinner with the kids but Tim's Chicken Pox have gotten worse so we're taking him to the doctors instead." He patted the girls' heads. "Then we'll all get take out and come back to eat with the kids."

Oz looked at his husband. "Still want to go out to dinner?"

"Could." Xander looked up, grinning. "I have to go back in three days so we could wait if you wanted."

"No," Derek said, walking out. "And I heartily agree with Oz, you're not going alone." Xander gave him a dirty look. "Sorry, I was on the phone in the hall.

"You were eavesdropping," he corrected. "Dad, want to make it a full house dinner?" Derek shook his head. "But we got it all."

"I know," he said, smiling at them. "We planned to do that tomorrow night so you two could have some time to yourselves." He gave Oz a pointed look. "There still appears to be a problem with sound carrying through the heat registers."

Nick choked, turning so they couldn't see his smile. "That was *them*?" he asked when he had it back under control.

"No, it was your brother," Oz said dryly, patting his husband's hand. "He's getting quieter though. It's a simple matter of waiting it out."

Buffy snorted as she came down the stairs. "I'm sure, but we need to soundproof your room." She smiled at Xander. "Thanks for offering to bring me along but I need some alone time to think."

"When you need us, just yell," Xander offered.

She nodded, walking away from them, heading toward the kitchen, dragging the kids with her. "Come on guys, let's go get drinks."

Xander watched part of his family disappear down the hall. "Guys, I'm not suddenly going to go back to that jail, well to visit maybe, but not as a resident." He smiled at his father. "I'll be fine."

"I know," Derek said patiently. "And you two with a few of the children will make sure of that." He smiled his best 'pleasing the natives' smile. "Then you can have a small vacation. Not at the cabin though, it's not well weatherproofed against the cold."

Oz shrugged. "Not that cold and I'd like to see the woods."

"I'm sure," Derek said, "but I've already called to arrange for a small house to be rented for a week. Longer if necessary." He patted Nick's shoulder. "I may even send him with you to make sure that you'll be fine." He headed down the hall. "Go get the children, Nick, I'm sure Mother could use the help."

"We've got it," William said, carrying Tim down the stairs, followed by Brandon and Precious. Derek's Mother followed serenely behind the parade. "Has the van been pulled around?"

Oz nodded. "We parked in front of it so you could get out." He waved at his son. "Still not feeling well?"

"Hey, Chicken Pox was a bad time," Xander told him. "All gross and itchy feeling, your skin wanting to come off you." He tweaked his son's nose. "I remember that time really well. Still have some scars where I scratched myself raw trying to make it stop itching." Tim nodded, not picking his head up from its resting place. Xander looked at William, frowning. "Will you be able to go back since you were exposed?"

"I've had them," he told them, "but that is a good point, I'll call Customs in the morning." He jiggled the boy to his other shoulder, smiling as the feeling came back to his arm. "Come on, guys, lets go round up the others."

"Buffy," Nick yelled. "Time to go." Derek and William both glared at him. "Told you we needed an intercom." He smiled sweetly at his boss before heading outside.

Xander waited until they were alone before turning to his husband to ask the all-important question. "Did I just sound like the mom?" His husband nodded, smiling slightly. "Thought so. Want to go watch sports so I can make up the manliness points?"

Oz shook his head, pulling his husband closer to kiss deeply, dipping him some to put him off balance. "You have enough manliness points." He looked around the empty hall. "What should we do?"

"Well," Xander said hesitantly, "I wanted to do something, not tonight, but just to talk about it." His mate nodded for him to go on. "I want to teach you my world." He saw the frown start. "You've tried to teach me music and I want to teach you self-defense and the security stuff. I want to share my world with you." He held out a hand, flinching a little as the seconds flew by and Oz didn't take it.

"Why?" his husband said finally, pulling him into a hug, their preferred method of discussion. "I know, vaguely, about guns already. Why should I need to know more?" He looked up into the deep eyes. "I don't mind learning but I wanted to hear your reasoning."

"We share everything else, love, and I wanted to share that part of myself with you. It's a big part and I want you to know that part of me." His husband nodded. "I can understand if you want to say no, I wouldn't want to force violence on you but I'd like to show you anyway."

Oz took a deep breath, considering as he rested his head against the firm shoulder. "I could use the lessons anyway. Derek said he wanted us all able to shoot if we had to." He blinked, shaking his head. "I want to share your life, same as you do mine, but that's just a really different part." He looked up. "No pressure?"

"Never pressure." Xander smiled, kissing the end of the older man's nose. "Just want to share that part of me." He smiled a little brighter. "I won't even show you the popping-out-people/swat course." Oz nodded. "Okay? Really?"

"Yup, that's a good reason. When?"

"Um, whenever."

"Tonight?" he asked, grinning. "You look awfully anxious to run out to the range." That got a small laugh. "We can if you want. We have some time alone."

Xander pulled him to the game room and the gun locker, pulling out his own pistol and a box of shells, dragging his husband into the firing range. "Proper protection is a must," he said, handing over a pair of earmuffs and safety glasses after putting on his own. He popped the clip out to check it, then handed it off with the box of shells, pulling his mate in front of him. He wrapped his arms around him, setting the things they'd need on the armrest. "Now, you need to load the clip." He pushed in the first bullet, unconsciously thrusting his hips just the tiniest fraction of an inch. He handed the clip and the bullets to Oz, resting his head on the willing shoulder, watching him do it, mimicking his own movements with each piece of metal slid into the holder, all the while holding him tightly against his front.

Oz was pushing back by the time the clip was full, sweating lightly. "Which way does it slide in?" he whispered, pushing back against his mate.

"Other way," Xander told him, turning the clip around to slide it in with a soft grunt as it locked into place. "Now, look out at your target, the round one. Forget the other exists; Nick forgot to remove it earlier I guess." He shifted his stance, pulling his husband's body with him. He steadied the gun as they held it, pressing in tightly to get the leverage he needed to hold the shaking hand steady. "It's just a round piece of paper, Oz, nothing to be afraid of," he whispered into an ear before covering it with the hearing protection, then his own. He adjusted his head, watching as the older man sighted down the barrel and fired.

"Yes," he whispered as the paper tore in a corner. "Just a little lower," he said, adjusting the gun and sighting down it. His husband pulled the trigger again, hitting the ring outside of the center. He pulled off the earmuffs, licking over the tender flesh. "See, not a bad thing to know." Oz nodded, swallowing hard. "What's wrong?" he asked, his voice showing worry. He turned him around, looking into his eyes. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to upset you," he whispered, hugging him hard. "So, so sorry."

Oz dropped the gun onto the armrest, hugging his mate to him as tightly as he could. "Shh, no, you didn't upset me. You thrilled me by showing me that way." He pushed against his husband's body, showing him what his touches had done to him. "Each time you moved, you brushed up against me." He stole a quick kiss. "You're so manly in here," he told him quietly, brushing over his soft cheek. "This is your area and you shared it with me." He smiled, leaning forward to nip at the thinning lips. "What's wrong babe?"

"Nothing," Xander said. "I just can't believe I got you horny showing you how to fire a gun." He smiled, pulling his husband in for a hard, penetrating kiss. "Want you," he said. "Now."


"Now!" Xander said again, kissing him harder. "You looked so yummy in my gear, wearing my shirt I might add." He unbuttoned the dress shirt, flinging it back so he could touch the bare chest underneath. "You wanted me for who I really am, not just as some sex kitten that you play with, but for what I could do." He fell to his knees, tearing open the dress pants in his hurry to reach bare skin. "You liked me for who I was and you enjoyed joining me in here." He shut up then, swallowing him whole, sucking hard.

"Xander!" Oz shouted, twining his fingers in the dark hair, slowing him down by force. He looked down, watching his mate pleasure him because he had shown himself to be interested. "Wow," he panted, "gonna do some more targets if I get this every time."

Xander nipped him, grunting his pleasure as his mouth was filled, the sound of Oz's yell of his name echoing around the soundproofed room.

Nick whimpered from the doorway, leaning hard against it. "Guys," he whined. "Not in here." His brother flipped him off, standing up to share a kiss with his mate, almost humping him where they stood. He watched his brother's husband smile at him then slowly go to his knees, silently giving him the same pleasure he had been given, with less urgency and more passion. He whimpered again as he felt a body walk up behind him, turning to it and holding on so he didn't have to watch, even as he couldn't help but listen to his brother's quiet words of love and longing. "Derek," he whispered, tucking his face into the dress shirt.

"Not quite," Philip told him, smiling down at his surprise. "Just a day early." He watched the two boys finish with a long, slow, love-filled kiss, slowly coming back to reality from the tastes of the other. "You two distressed Nick," he called when they started to look around in awareness.

Xander blushed, pulling Oz so he was cradled against his chest, hiding their bodies from the other men. "Don't you knock?" He looked up to see the pleased smile on Philip's face. "Gee, back early?"

"Privacy?" Oz begged. "Just a few minutes?"

Philip nodded, pulling Nick from the room, holding him tightly as he walked him out. He sat him on a nearby sofa, kissing him gently. "What disturbed ya, Nick?" He pulled the unresisting body against his own, his eyes wandering down the hard length of it. "Or were ya disturbed?"

"They did that in there," he protested. "I couldn't stop watching." He blinked up at the older man. "Why are you home? You're not supposed to be here for another few days." He sat up suddenly. "Tell me you're really here this time."

"I am. Just got done thinkin' a little early." He pulled the younger man over for a gentle kiss, tasting his desire. "What were ya thinkin'?" he whispered.

"How good they looked, how right it was for them to be doing that after Xander showing him how to shoot." Nick blinked, pulling back more than the fraction of an inch that he had been allowed. "I couldn't help it."

"Gee, you and dad both," Xander said, putting the gun up. He turned to smile at his husband as he walked past. "I'll be up in a sec, 'kay?" His mate nodded, giving him a little smile. He waited until he was sure they were alone before frowning at his brother. "Nick, you *watched* us!" He put his hands on his hips, frowning. "I was trying to show Oz my world."

"And a good job you did," Philip told him with a small smile, "I'm sure. Why the urgency?"

"Um, it appears I rubbed up against him as I showed him what to do." The young man blushed deeply, looking at the carpet. "I'm ... I'm going to go..." He fled the room, leaving those two alone.

Philip looked down at Nick. "I'm thinkin' he did the same thing you did to me. Stood behind him to show him, rubbin' up against his mate's behind and all." He stole another kiss then stood up, holding out a hand. "Come on, I'm sure you came back for a reason since I saw the van."

"Yeah," Nick cleared his throat, smiling at his friend. "We had to come back because Derek decided we should have a house dinner after all to celebrate Oz's divorce being final." He waved at the hallway, ignoring his own need. "You should come."

"Yes, I should," Philip whispered as he followed his friend and the man he wanted badly as a lover, shivering at the way his tight jeans hugged his fleshy rear. "Soon enough though. I can wait."

Derek ran into the boys outside their room, raising an eyebrow at the disheveled Oz that walked blindly past him. "Already?" he asked. He grinned at the soft smile he was given.

"Xan taught me to shoot," he said in explanation. "Ask Nick." He headed for his bed, pulling off his clothes as he went.

Xander hurried up the stairs, smiling at his father. "Hey, back so soon?" He pulled off his shirt as he shut the door. "Night, Dad, don't wait up."

Derek's mouth hung open as he walked down the stairs. He pulled himself together at the bottom of the stairs in the foyer, shaking his head. Then he saw an aroused Nick hurry past him with a hungry looking Philip trailing him. "Philip?" he asked, catching him to hold him. "It's goot to have you back." He gave him a small kiss. "Are you done thinking?" He got a small nod and a secret smile. "Goot, come to dinner with us." He looked out the door. "What happened? Nick was more aroused then I've ever seen him."

"Nick watched those two give hard, passionate blowjobs after your son teaching his husband to shoot, probably same as Nick did me." He smiled, stealing a small kiss. "And I'm sure you remember that night since it was our first. Come on, let's go eat. Nick has to satisfy himself someway."

Derek chuckled, walking his man out to the van and getting in beside Nick, who was still whimpering quietly while he tried to pull himself back into control. He reached over, taking his hand to squeeze. "You all right?" The younger man nodded frantically. "We'll understand if you excuse yourself for a few minutes," he whispered, leaning over to put their joined hands on the trembling leg. "Just ask."

Nick looked up in desperation, nodding again. He licked his lips, looking out at the scenery they were passing.


Derek looked up with a fond smile as Nick joined him in the living room, closing the door behind him and locking it. "You wanted to talk?" he guessed. The younger man nodded, sitting down on the other end of the couch to, looking at him. He let him have a few minutes to think before trying to start the conversation again. "Nick?" he asked quietly.

"Derek, I watched them." He got a small nod. "And I liked it. Lots." He coughed lightly. "I wanted in on that," he admitted. "Not with them, I know I have no chance in hell of taking one of them away, but I wanted so *bad* to have what they were having." He shifted, letting his legs spread a little. "And I don't think I'm ready for that yet," he admitted.

"Nick, only you can say if you're ready or not." Derek inched closer, watching the small amount of panic come back to the tired looking eyes. "I'll not do anything you wouldn't want."

"But I only want you, and Philip, if it's real. Not a try it once to see if I like it thing." Nick made a sour face. "I love you, as a friend and more, so I can't do that to you two."

Derek smiled gently at him. "You're not doing anything to us. Philip and I have agreed that it would be all right if you slept between us when you wanted to." He reached over and picked up a hand to rub. "Nick, I won't lie to you. Yes, I love you also, but Philip and I are together for right now. We'd like to add you to our lives, but only if that's what you want." The younger man nodded slowly, not looking at him. "I know what you feel for us, and we feel it back for you, but we also know you're not ready to commit yet. Not the way you think you want." He shifted closer, pulling the younger man into his arms. "I'd never take away your opportunity to experiment with your life, see where it leads you. It would only make you have doubts later." He placed a gentle kiss on the side of the younger man's head. "Not that we wouldn't be thrilled, because we would, but we can't keep you from wanting to know."

Nick sighed, relaxing into the hard body under his. "You're sure?" He felt the nod. "And I can come and go?"

"Whenever you want. We only ask that you not use us. Not as some sort of game and not as some sort of thrill. What we have could easily be disrupted by that. But, if you want to experiment, then by all means do so. Tell us, and we'll gladly help you figure things out, or let you go out to do so. We would ask that you be careful and use protection. That you think carefully before bedding anyone. But neither of us is willing to stifle your innate needs by chaining you to us."

Nick smiled up at his boss, kissing him hard. "You're sure?"

"Just talk to us, Nick, we're here for you."

"I want you to take it," he whispered. "Me, my first time. Tonight." He stood up, smiling down at his boss. "I read up on it, know what to expect, did what the book said. And I want it."

Derek stood up, pulling Nick to him, kissing him hard. "We'll see where the night takes us." He led the younger man out of the living room and up to his and Philip's room, locking their door so none of the children could sneak in. "Nick's come to a decision," he told his lover.

Philip looked up, smiling at them. His book went onto the side table and the sheet was pulled back to expose his nudity. "I know. Those two upstairs were the catalyst." He patted the bed beside him. "Come here, Nick, let us start your education." The young man stripped eagerly, crawling up the length of the bed, grinning the whole way while trying hard to give Derek a small show.

The oldest man moaned, stripping and climbing onto the bed. "You're wanton tonight," he remarked, pulling Nick under him and kissing him hard, possessing his mouth while his and Philip's hands wandered down his body.

Giles cleared his throat from the doorway. "Sorry to interrupt," he said quietly, "but I think we have a problem." Derek glared at him. "Your mother is missing, as is William."

Derek sat straight up, his mouth hanging open. "They didn't," he whispered. Nick laughed lightly so he turned to look at him. "What did you do?"

"Sloan asked to borrow my car. Said he wanted to drive fast and relive his youth." Nick shrugged. "I told him not to take it off the island."

Derek shook his head. "Oh, he didn't," he said, holding his forehead in one hand, pulling his knees up to cradle the now hurting part of his body. "That man."

Philip and Giles shared a look and the former Watcher left them alone. "Derek," Philip said softly. "I'm sure the man's not gonna do something to your ma." He got an incredulous look. "He won't. I know he won't. He's not like that."


"Barbara, all I'm saying is that he's a bad man," William said, leaning back on the hood, sipping a glass of wine from the third bottle he'd stolen to bring with them, the other two being empty on the grass with the impromptu picnic. "There are other men that would make you deliriously happy and would be better choices. You wouldn't have to worry about your life being in danger."

Barbara Rayne sighed, leaning back beside him. "You know, you and my son are both pushy." She looked at her old friend, smiling. "How do you know he's not changed?"

"Because I had a talk with the man," he said, his face clouding up. "There's a reason he's not here now." He finished off the glass, tossing it onto the grass of the small rise overlooking the bay. "Let me help you find a good man."

"Are you drunk, Willy," Barbara asked, raising one manicured eyebrow.

"Only slightly," he said, turning his head to smile at her. He plucked her glass from her dainty fingers and tossed it away too. "But I could make you much happier. We've shared so much history, so much of our past is entwined. Even your children like me." He stopped to lick his lips, tasting the wine there, and the scotch he had drank earlier in the evening. "I wanted to do this right, but I can't wait." He got to his knees, ignoring the sound of the metal bending under his weight.

"Barbara, marry me. Tonight. Now, in Vegas." Her mouth hung open and he pulled a small box out of his jacket pocket. "It was my mothers. Patricia never wore it. Our divorce is final at midnight and I've wanted to ask you this since I first saw you coming to yell at Derek for his drunken lechery in the dorm." He handed the box to her, leaning down to kiss her passionately, making his final bid for her attention.

"Willy," she breathed, when she could do so again, looking up into his eyes. "I don't know what to say." He simply slid the ring onto her finger, throwing the other one she had been wearing into the car. "Yes." She looked up, nodding.

William Sloan hopped off the hood, grabbing her to swing around. He hurried her back into the car and got in, heading for the one place he knew they could do this before they both chickened out.


Nick walked into Derek's office, glaring at his boss. "My car's missing," he said quietly. "I called the cops, they found it at the airport. In Long term parking. Marked sticker for yesterday. I'm guessing he left that night."

Derek blanched, hitting the speed-dial button for the Legacy's air carrier. "This is Derek Rayne," he said quietly. "Did William Sloan request service last night?" He looked up at his friend and shook his head. "Thank you." He hung up. "No, he didn't call them." He looked up the number for the airports, dialing the first one. "Hello, one of my friends seems to have disappeared and I was wondering if he had caught a plane?" He leaned back. "No, William Sloan." Long pause. "No? How about a middle aged man, medium-dark hair just starting to go silver at the temples, with a woman, middle aged, silver haired, cultured, sounded European?" He nodded, writing something down. "Thank you. We'll be there in a few minutes." He hung up and looked at Nick. "Someone matching their descriptions bought tickets last night but they won't give information out over the phone. Let's go." He stood up, following Nick out of his office.


William and Barbara looked up as their hotel room door burst inwards, staring at Derek and his enforcer, Nick- complete with drawn gun -, in shock.

Derek frowned at his old friend, patting Nick on the shoulder as he walked around him. "Mother," he said coldly, "is there something you'd like to tell me?" He arched one eyebrow up, in perfect timing with William's backing up in fear from the look on his face. "Or do I have to make an appointment for you at one of the local wedding chapels?"

She glared at her son. "Not when you enter a room that way. Do close the door, Nick, thank you." She slid out of the bed, putting on her bathrobe to cover her nudity. "Son, do close your mouth. I am a fully grown woman and what I do with my companions is none of your concern." She pulled him toward the small sitting area, pushing him onto the couch. "Yes, son, Willy and I ran away two nights ago and got married this morning. We were going to call you in a few hours to share the news so you wouldn't worry." She frowned at Nick. "I see now we both underestimated how late you sleep."

Nick coughed, pulling William up, after holstering his weapon, and handing him his robe. "Come on, they need to have a family talk and we need to have a discussion about the new dents in my car." He walked him out into the hall, leaving the mother and son alone.

"Derek, I refuse to be treated as a runaway child." She tapped her foot, then sat down across from him. "Son, yes, it was sudden, but we've been friends for quite some time. Since you were both in school together. And more to each other on too many occasions to name." He nodded, his mouth open but his eyes still frowning. "Quit giving me that look, Derek, you look altogether too much like Winston when you scowl."

He choked, shaking his head. "Mother! How could you? You didn't even give me a chance to protest." He tried to get up but she pushed him back down, hard.

"Son, you do *not* decide whom I marry." She gave him a very cutting, mean look, one that she had seen William use on her son many times. "Now then, if and when you're ready to talk about this like a normal person then I'll gladly tell you why I said yes." He nodded, relaxing for the first time since he had come into the hotel room. "Thank you. William is the one man in my life that I have always looked toward for inspiration and certainty. When I'm in trouble, he's there. And he makes me laugh, son, a very big thing as far as I'm concerned. He makes me feel alive again when we're together, the other big consideration in my life." She composed herself, settling the robe tighter around her. "Yes, it was a bit sudden, that alone almost kept me from saying yes, but then I looked into his eyes. So much love they held, all for me." She reached across the small space, taking his hand in hers to squeeze. "Be happy son, I am."

He shook his head. "I'm not calling him father," he said, squeezing her hand back. "And I'll need some time to adjust to this."

"Then you'll have it," William said, walking back in. He leaned down, kissing the top of Barbara's head. "Son, all I ask is that you're happy for your mother," he said with a large smile.

"William, never call me that again," Derek said coldly as he stood up. "Hurt her and I will make you wish you were back in Hell, then I'll send you there." He walked over to Nick. "I'm sorry to have disturbed you, Mother, call when you're ready to come back to the house and I'll send the plane." He tapped his friend on the shoulder and they left together.

Nick waited until Derek was very drunk and they were less than half an hour from landing to call the house. "Put my brother on, Buffy," he said quietly, watching a sloshed Derek drool on the couch as he slept it off. "Bro? Sit. No, we found her. In a honeymoon suite, but we found her." He chuckled. "No, they eloped. She seemed happy though. Derek's drunk so have Dominic call us a car for him. I'll drive the 'Stang back." He hung up, moving over to sit beside his best friend and boss. "It'll be all right, I promise, Derek," he whispered, brushing his hair around.

"No, Mother, not him," Derek whined in his sleep, reaching out a hand to her. "It's wrong to have shared lovers. We'll end up on those horrid American talk shows."

Nick blinked but just shrugged it off as a bad nightmare induced by the alcohol.


Philip walked out to meet Nick on the stairs, silently taking his lover's upper body to ease the load. He waited until the older man was in bed before looking at Nick. "Guess he didn't take it well," he said with a small smile.

Nick shook his head, sitting down in the chair for the desk. "He had me break in the door, Philip. He was drunk by the time we got on the plane and this is the most sober he's been the whole time, since he saw his mother naked, in bed with William Sloan." He made a gross face. "Man, that was strange."

Philip simply nodded. "I'm sure," he soothed. "Why don't you go get yourself some coffee, I'll watch him for a bit." He waited until he was alone before leaning down and kissing his mate's cheek. "What did you expect to happen when you set them up?"


Derek woke up and instantly regretted ever being born. He heard someone moving near him so turned his head toward the sound, grimacing at the nimbus of light around his son. "What?" he croaked.

"Derek," Xander said quietly. "You will *never* do that again. None of this." He stood up, looking down at his father. "Do you know how *ashamed* I was of you for getting loaded because your mother's happy?" He shook his head. "No, I refuse to do this now." He turned, walking toward the door. "I'll tell Nick you're up." He slammed the door after himself.

Derek winced, pulling himself up into a more reclining position. He watched the door, sure his son would come back soon and tell him he had been playing. Unfortunately, Nick came back first. With coffee and a light snack no less.

"What did he do?" Nick said, taking one look at Derek's face and knowing something was wrong. "Did he say it or what?"

"No, he was right to say what he did to me, I feel the same way about myself right now." He took the cup of strong coffee, gingerly drinking it. "What time is it?"

"It's almost supper. You can come down or not, Dominic's made you some soup." His friend nodded slowly. "Tell me what he said and I'll go yell at him," he offered.

"No, Nick, he was right to have said that." He picked up a piece of toast, nibbling quietly while he thought.

Xander walked directly into Oz's arms, clutching him tightly. "I shouldn't have said that," he whispered. His mate just rubbed his back for him. "Oh, God, Oz, I screwed up badly."

"Yeah, you did," Nick said as he walked in, glaring at Alex until she left them alone. "What did you say to him! The man was in enough pain as is!" He crossed his arms across his chest and looked his brother over. "After all he's helped you and you say *that* to him?"

Oz glared at Nick. "Shut up. You don't even know what he said." He pulled his mate's head up, looking into his husband's eyes. "Go talk to the man. Fix it." Xander nodded but didn't move. "Want me to walk you up?" He got another silent nod so they walked past the very pissed security chief, heading up to their boss's room.

Xander knocked lightly, walking in. "Philip, give me a minute alone with him please," he said quietly, not looking up.


"Because I need it," he yelled. "Out!" The Priest walked out, sidestepping around him and he walked over to the bed, sitting on the edge of it to look at the man still laying on it. "I was wrong to bitch at you about it. It's how you dealt and it's your thing. I'm sorry," he said, not looking up the entire time.

Derek pulled the young man's face up, looking into his eyes. "No, you were right about some things. I shouldn't have treated her like some criminal." He smiled gently, moving the bed tray to pull his son down into a hug. "I know how you feel about people getting drunk, Xander, and I'm sorry I upset you. I needed to lose control to deal with it though. It's not an ordinary occurrence for me to be intoxicated, at least since college, and it never will be. You never have to worry about what happened in your house happening here." He let the younger man sit back up, wiping off his cheeks. "I understand your concern and it makes me very happy that you care enough for me to not want me to turn into your father. But never yell at me like that again." He smiled gently. "I promise to talk it out with Nick if you promise to tell Oz about what he did." Xander shook his head. "No?"

"I can't talk about it. I get angry then I do stupid stuff." Xander looked back down at his hands, scooting up onto the bed more to pull his legs up too. "It hurts to remember and I refuse to do that to myself. I promised you I wouldn't vent my anger in a hurtful way and I won't."

Derek brushed over the younger man's face, gently comforting him. "That anger never leaves unless you let it out."

"But there's more under it."

"Then that has to come out too. Otherwise you'll end up pulling a Nick, driving down a dark highway with no lights to a stopwatch."

Xander looked up, his eyes twinkling. "That had better not be what happened to *my* car."

Derek laughed, pulling him back into his arms to kiss the side of his head and hug him. "No, brat, that wasn't what happened to your car. He tried to avoid a puppy." He kissed his son's head again then let him up. "I'm sorry I upset you, son, I'll try to not show you that level of desperation again to lose control."

Xander nodded, smiling. "Okay, I'll promise to let you talk to me instead, dad. Oh, and we should apologize to grandma too."

Derek smiled gently. "I'm sure we should." He looked at the door, seeing Nick standing in it. "Close the door, Nick, and come join us." He waited for his friend and almost lover to sit on the bed before looking at him. "Xander thought my drunkenness was going to turn into a pattern and it brought up some bad memories for him." He squeezed his son's hand. "I don't blame him for yelling at me, he had every right," he took his friend's hand to squeeze too, "same as you would have if you had yelled for my stupidity."

"Never do it again, Derek," Nick begged quietly. "You already drink a lot."

"Nick, I hardly ever drink." He frowned at his friend. "I maybe have one snifter of brandy a week."

"But you do it for the wrong reasons," Xander said. His father looked at him. "You do it when stressed or upset, like today. That's what leads to trouble." He squeezed Derek's hand back. "I just want you to be okay, not drunk or dead. Okay?" His eyes said all that he couldn't, shining with the love and concern he felt.

"I won't become your father," Derek promised them. "Although I will admit to needing another way to relieve my tension at times. Even I can see that." He kissed both of their cheeks. "We'll discuss this at some other time but you can both come to me when you think I'm starting to slip back into the problem."

Nick nodded. "You can come running with me," he offered. "Great way to work it out. And think."

"You could come shoot things with me," Xander counter-offered. "You kinda fall into your mind when you do it."

"*That's* a problem waiting to happen," Nick told his brother. He leaned over, turning his head toward him. "I thought we agreed no more destructive urges out of you?"

"It's not though. It's just a flowing with the moment thing. Not at all like what I did to myself in the pool." He grimaced. "It's not, Nick, I promise."

Derek smiled sweetly at them. "Ah, my family."

"Then that makes you two incestuous," Oz said from the doorway. "Xander, they moved back the hearing. Nick, your friend from town is calling. Derek, so's your mother. Line two." He closed the door, leaving them alone.

"I want to throw her a party," Xander said.

Derek nodded and Nick grinned. "Okay," they said together.

Nick and Xander got up, leaving Derek alone. They looked at each other in the hall, then silently went down to the older man's room, closing and locking the door behind them. "Was he that bad?" Nick asked quietly, sitting on the bed.

Xander paced around the room. "Yeah, he was. Remember when he got bit?" The older man nodded. "Well, that whoring with the young girls was just the beginning of his badness. Remember how I told you that he tried to share a few times, well..." He stopped to look out the window. "Nick, she wasn't much older looking than I was and I was twelve. I knew she was almost legal, had seen her in school a few years ahead of me, but still." He turned to look at his brother and took off his shirt, showing off the dim scars in the fading light. "I didn't tell anyone how I had gotten these." He touched one tenderly. "This was where they went in to fix a broken rib. It was two weeks after it had happened. I flinched when he went to hit me for being a whiner in gym class when I got hit with a softball." He looked back out the window. "The social worker was a very nice lady, Nick, but I knew, and she knew, that she wouldn't do anything." He felt the strong arms go around him, squeezing the clasped wrists. "So, I had one wired together for a few months and it got pulled and he got better because he was afraid someone was watching him. Until the month after that when he got drunk again. Then I came home to find him in my bed because I had thought that the change was permanent instead of a two-month thing." He turned, smiling sadly at his husband. "Hey, when did you get in?"

"When Nick let me in." He squeezed him again. "Want to tell me more?"

Xander shook his head. "No, not really. That was when the pain started to feel good. When I'd go run for hours on end to feel the burn in my muscles because it meant I wasn't being hurt by him."

"To tell you that you were alive?"

"No, I was never numb, just ... you've known people who said that they felt like their lives were part of a story and they had a slow, dyslexic reader?" His husband and Nick both nodded. "Well, that was my late teens." He turned back to the windows, looking back out on the bay and the woods. "I felt like I had some control when I did that, like I was the leader of everything about me."

"That's what you did in the pool all that time," Oz whispered, kissing the back of the younger man's neck, earning a small nod. "Because of Willow and everything that you had been building up?" That got another small nod. "So, why not talk?"

"With who? Willow was causing some of it. Actually, she was causing a lot of it." He turned around to face them. "Marcus knew," he said quietly. "He kept making hints about my talking to people, letting the pain out some other, more healthy, way. I told him I was fine, so he had a talk with Derek, who stopped me from swimming for a while, then a case would come up and I would worry about not being good enough to be here so I'd go think in the pool and it just happened. None of this was ever a conscious decision. I never planned on hurting myself so badly that sometimes I would need to be hospitalized. I just found this calm spot in me and headed there while I worked out."

"So the music helped or hurt that?" Oz asked, remembering the few times Xander had offered to listen while he was doing laps.

"Hurt that. I couldn't go under if my mind was focused on something." He squeezed his husband back, looking over Oz's shoulder at his brother. "Nick, what I do on the range has no comparison to what I did in the pool or in the gym. I don't go into that spot in my head, it's a different one, someplace where I work out the problems I have. You never have to worry about that." He looked past him at Derek as he walked in. "Eavesdropping again?" he asked lightly.

Derek nodded. "Long enough to have heard most of it." He closed the door behind himself, shutting out Philip. "If you're sure?" His son nodded. "All right, then I'll leave your range time alone and I'll watch for more injuries from your work outs." He held out his arms and his son walked into them, letting him hold him for a second, even letting him kiss the top of his head.

"Never worry that we won't understand. We all cope with pain in different ways and most of us do in unhealthy ones. Nick drives too fast and dangerously. I used to go out and sleep around. Oz probably got lost in his music the same way I substituted work when it got to be too dangerous." He let the younger man step back. "We do understand but you have to start sending out clues when you're hurting." Xander nodded, smiling up at him. "Goot, now let's go eat. I only have a few more days with you before you go back to that town." He shuddered. "I'm still sorry about not coming for you sooner, son."

"Dad, you're forgiven, chill." He looked over his shoulder at Oz, who had just cleared his throat. "What's up?"

"The hearing got pushed back. We'll be able to bring both boys with us." He walked over to them, hugging his husband from behind. "I'll play more music for you if you want to swim," he offered.

Xander shook his head. "Nah, it's time to eat. You can play for me later though, when we're in bed. After all, you did promise to play for me in Florida but you never even unpacked your guitar." He turned in his arms, squeezing him. "What did Devon want?"

"Don't know, wasn't home. Left a cute message." He wiggled his eyebrows. "Told him to come meet my husband and everything."

Xander kissed him. "I told you we should take out a full page ad."

"I thought we agreed on a party." Oz nipped his husband's collarbone. "Come on, you need to eat."

"If I ever get *that* in love over somebody, let us go together," Nick said quietly, hugging his friend, boss, and want-to-be lover.

Derek kissed the top of his head. "I will," he promised. "Now, lets go eat before Xander eats it all so he can keep up with Oz tonight."

Nick smiled up at him. "That's a nice problem to have though."


Xander and Oz looked at the announcements then up at the people around them, frowning. "Why did you do this?" Oz asked. "We were handling it."

Xander frowned. "And that's an old and kinda obviously altered picture, Nick." He frowned at his brother. "We were gonna have a party and announce it." He pouted slightly.

Buffy sighed. "Guys, this takes care of sending out all those cumbersome hand-written announcements that you never did yet." She smiled sweetly. "And we don't *have* a picture with you two alone."

"Hmm, have to fix that," Oz said, looking over his shoulder. Xander shook his head. "No?"

"No, I take crappy pictures."

"For me?" Oz whispered.


"Please?" The big, green pouty eyes came out of hiding.

"No," but it was weaker.

"Pleeeaaaasssssssseeeeeeeee?" was whined.

"no," Xander whimpered, hugging his husband, licking his cheek. "I look bad."

"But I want one for when we're more than three inches apart," Oz whined, pouting harder.

Alex looked at Derek. "Want to stop them before the couplize on the floor?" He raised an eyebrow. "Hey, we all picked up the lingo. You should hear Philip muttering to the books about their behavior."

"But Oz," Xander whined, ignoring everyone else, "they make me look ugly and gross and fat."

"You're not fat. You're not even close to fat. That five pounds it adds will just make you cuter." Derek cleared his throat at the smoldering look tossed between the two men on the couch in his office, but neither heard him. "And I want one to send to my mom and I want to send one out on our Christmas cards this year." He licked over the pouty lips. "Please?" he sighed.

Xander kissed him hard. "No," he whined. "Want one of you and the kids."

"You have one of those," Nick reminded them, to no avail.

Everyone looked to Giles in desperation, not wanting to watch another round of the honeymooning couple act. He cleared his throat, breaking into their deep, passionate kiss, raising an eyebrow at them. "You two shouldn't be doing that in front of us," he reminded them.

Oz jumped Xander, stopping his soft stroking of his fingers while the younger man had looked at their former mentor. "Mine," he whispered, kissing him harder, pinning him down on the couch to possess his mouth. "Now," he whispered.

"Go to your room," Derek shouted, still not breaking into their little world.

Xander wrapped his legs around his mate's waist, making moaning/whining noises of need as his mouth was plundered.

They never even noticed everyone leaving the office, shaking their heads in disgust.

Oz tore their clothes off, baring them as quickly as possible. He slid his body down that of his mate, readied from an earlier expression of their deep love, groaning as his husband filled him completely. He rode him hard, looking down into his eyes, hands clasped for balance, small feral grin on his face as he watched his mate whimper in satisfaction. He pulled off suddenly, sliding backwards and pulling his husband's thighs apart, sliding into the hole that the younger man had prepared for his use before breakfast, sighing as he slid into the loosened opening. He pounded hard into his lover, holding his legs far apart to get deeper, still watching his eyes, smiling at him as he begged for more with the little noises he made. He came with a yell of his husband's name, back arching, head thrown back, shouting it to the empty room.

Xander pulled off of his husband, frowning at his panting body. He pulled him on top of him, sliding back into his accessible hole, squeezing him with each thrust, nipping his ear or his jaw or his neck with each squeeze, whispering one word with each nip, "Mine." His cum shot deep into his mate's body, and he sighed in relief, just holding the other now, relaxing from their animal high of need and want.

"Got to do something about them," Xander said when he was recovered. "They don't seem happy for us in the least."

Oz looked up, shaking his head. "Babe, you know they are." He leaned down, nipping at the firm chest. "They just didn't want to embarrass us by being in here."

"Oh, I don't know, Derek and Nick seemed to have this watching problem."

"But, they're like that. Giles and Buffy and Alex were in here too." He licked over the spot he had been nibbling on.

"And Philip."

"Yeah, let's not forget the Priest, who is probably blushing right about now."

Xander laughed, cuddling Oz to his chest. "What were we discussing again?"

"Pictures. Your not being in any of them."

"Okay, I give then, we can get some joint ones done. But I want naughty ones of you done."

"Sure, if I can have one of you."



Xander looked around at the small town in Nevada, shaking his head. "Well, nothing's changed."

To Be Continued...