Oh, Sh*t!

Lupin knocked on the door but didn't get an answer.  He frowned, looking around for a spare key, until he heard someone hiss at him.  He looked to his left, then smiled. "Yes?"

"Are you the owner's former boyfriend?" she asked.  "That nice young lady said you might be coming by to help her.  She's in the back yard napping."

He smiled and nodded. "She said she used to do that.  Thank you.  Is there a gate?"  She pointed at the space between the houses, so he went that way.  "Thanks."

"Oh, you're welcome. You young things need to enjoy your youth."  She waved him on.  "I brought over casserole yesterday, it'll still be good."  She withdrew into her house, leaving him alone.

Lupin walked through the small gate, disabling the alarm easily. He found Xander asleep in the soft grass and smiled for a minute, taking a picture with his tieclip camera, then he bent down and smacked her on the ass.  "Don't fall asleep outside.  Didn't we teach you anything about self defense?"  She looked up at him and yawned, giving him a smile before putting her head back down.  He groaned and picked her up, taking her into the house.  He put her head in the sink and ran cold water onto it, making her shake and finish waking up.  "Good morning.  Have a good nap on the lawn?  Where anyone could have stabbed you or done something worse?"

Xander stretched and yawned again.  "Geneva's safer than Sunnydale was," she pointed out, making her shoulders pop.  Then she blinked at him.  "Why aren't you in Britain?"

"They're both on their cycles and you have the pretty things you got me," he told her smugly.  She frowned and padded out to where her bag was still sitting, pulling up her briefcase.  She came back, handing it over.  "Thanks.  How did you want to split this?"

"Three ways since Fujiko said she didn't care?"

"Fine with me."  He stole a kiss.  "Go shower."

"Come with me?" she asked. He smirked and followed her up the stairs, admiring the basics of the house.  Xander was really good at this stuff.  He paused in front of a door, opening it to peek inside.  Then he winced and closed it before the bouncing sunlight could get him.  "Your idea?"

"Former owners.  They had mirrors *everywhere*.  I think they were a little kinky.  How did you get into the yard?"

"The alarm was easily disable with a gum wrapper I found on the ground."  He led her into the bathroom, stripping her off.  "Ex boyfriend?"

"You wanted me to tell the nice woman that I change sexes and that you're one of my lovers and an internationally wanted thief?"

"Well, no," he admitted, liking her idea.  "Going with the open relationship?"  She nodded.  "That would explain most of us."  He gave her a kiss, making her lean against him.  "Does the hot water work?"

"Did the last time I was here."  She turned on the tap, getting steaming water.  "See?"  She worked on stripping him, letting him set the water temperature.  "I like wakeup sex," she said as she followed him into the shower.  He groaned and pushed her against the wall.  "I'll have to waterproof this thing," she noted between kisses.

"The tub is big enough to have sex in," Lupin said, admiring that quality in a tub.  "Is it original?"

"I think it's eighteenth century," she admitted.  "The heyday of cast iron tubs indoors."  She turned, letting him take down her hair.  "Wash my back?" she asked in her best seductive voice.  He spanked her again and inserted himself, making her squeak.  "Never mind, let's get sweaty first.  Should I go on my knees?"

"Grab the towel bar.  It looks sturdy," he told her, making her do that.  Then he went to work making her sweaty.  "Do not sleep outside, Xander.  Never again.  Promise me."

"Sorry, Arsene, I fell asleep watching the stars come out."  She groaned, biting her lip.  "Damn it, I need more."

"You're getting it," he promised, reaching up to play with her breasts.  She gasped, arching her back up, making it an easier target for him to lick and nibble on. "Better?" he panted.  She nodded, shifting and wiggling.  "Damn it, I need a bed to make you get off best."

"Fuck," she said, reaching past his hands to play with herself.  He batted her hand out of the way.  "Please?"

"From me or afterwards," he reminded her.  She groaned and nodded, trusting him to let her get off.  He groaned, going harder and faster. She could take it and she loved it like that.  She moaned and shifted, trying to get what she needed, but he knew this was the wrong angle for her.  He finished with a muted yell into in her back.  Then he turned her around, having her sit on the edge of the old tub so he could play with her.  She grabbed on, letting him do whatever he wanted to her.  He liked that about her, she trusted him.  He pinched her a little and she wailed, coming hard.  He caught her before she fell, holding her while the water hit them both.  "Soundproof the house," he told her.  She nodded, pulling back to give him a kiss. "Thanks.  Want help?"  Xander grinned.  "I do know how to pound in a nail."

"If you want.  It will go faster."  She gave him another kiss, then heaved them both up to get them clean.  She looked over her shoulder at him.  "Want to take down one of the mirrored rooms?" she asked with a grin.

"Just one?"

"I think I want to wait on the other," she said smugly.  "I'll turn that into a playroom later."

"I'm sure Ishi and Lotus will appreciate that."

She turned, holding him tightly so she could whisper in his ear.  "How about you and Jigen?" she asked.   He groaned and kissed her.  "See, good idea?"

"Very good idea.  Sound proof the house," he repeated, meaning it.  He watched while she cleaned the mass of hair she had in this form.  "Xan, can I ask something really strange?"  She nodded, mumbling something.  "I want to do a fertility test on you."  She stopped washing and looked at him from under the mass.  "There are ovulation test kits and I wanted to check."

"What's making you worry?" she asked, turning to rinse her hair.

"Your taste has changed.  Also, you've had some funny food cravings.  I'd like to, just in case.  Please?"

"Hell yes!  Did you bring one?  Can we do it right now?"

"We'll go pick one up," he promised, stroking her cheek.  "Can we also pick you up a morning after pill pack?"  She nodded, firmly liking that idea.  "Thank you."

"I love you, Arsene, but not that much."  He chuckled, pulling her closer to hold. "That would take one hell of a present to make me do that, and a nanny."  He nodded.  "Not that I'm even remotely thinking about it," she promised.

"You would look stunning.  You do when you hold Fujiko's kids.  You've got that same glow."

She sighed, shaking her head.  "Before, when I was with Anya and I found out, the doctor said there was hope if I ever wanted one some day.  That I could have some sperm aspirated out with a needle.  Then Wesley happened and I took all that cross-realm radiation. There's no way I could have kids."  She grinned.  "That's not counting all the mental problems I would have and give you."  He laughed, nodding.  "You'd be stealing stuff every month to soothe a craving.  You'd have to go and liberate a whole truckload of chocolate each month for me."  He nodded, giving her a look.  "Plus, you'd have to find me non-ugly maternity clothes, and I don't mean a kimono either. Those things are heavy!"  She turned, washing her chest area.  "Hand me the sponge please?"  He grabbed it and turned her, doing it for her.  "Thanks."  She kissed him.  "Plus, I would suddenly get grossly sweaty and you would worry about me doing my job.  How fair is that to you or Jigen?"

"I'm not sure he'd care.  He'd finally get to fuss over someone.  He takes those moods whenever someone's sick but he had to hold it back because it was Fujiko.  Sprain your back again, he'd like that."  She snorted, shaking her head.  "He would."  He kissed her gently.  "I'm not trying to talk you into it, Xander."  She nodded, giving him a little kiss.  "Not that it wouldn't be one hell of a child.  Your beauty and my brains?  Or my beauty and your brains?  The kid's bound to at least be as good as I am, if not as good as my grandfather."  He kissed her again, making her moan.  "So, what would happen if it was Jigen's?"

"Jigen would have my ass shot," she pointed out.  "He would walk away and not come back until I left."

"He'd go get drunk and come home yelling but he'd get over it in about a week.  Though you might find yourself alone with him and tied down once he took you away.  He's very possessive about some things."

"I noticed.  He wouldn't even let me shoot his favorite gun."  She pouted.  "He found me my own to teach me on."  Lupin laughed into her neck, nodding.  "We're going to run out of hot water in a while.  We have a motel-sized heater but there's got to be a limit."

"Then let's take a bath," he said, flipping the drain with his foot.  Xander wiggled free and plugged it with the stopper, bending over at a very nice angle.  He moved behind her and inserted himself again.  She would be taking the pill later.  He would worry about everything else after the test.  She grabbed onto the spout, letting him do what he wanted for now.  When the water was high enough, he sat them down, putting her on top of him.  He wanted her so badly.  She was making those pretty noises for him and he was loving it.  She'd be taking a pill pack later.  She wrapped her arms around his neck, giving her access to her sides and chest again. "You need to shave," he teased.

"I couldn't on the train," she defended.  "You didn't bring the electric razor."

"How many times have you used my razor, wench?" he asked, snorting happily.  "Sneaky thing.  I should steal you your own."

"You could, but I'd still probably use yours.  I've used it each time, but two.  Those two I used Jigen's because I had some *major* hedge trimming to do."  He laughed and she let him feel the soft, springy curls.  "They're not as thick as I thought."

"Shaving does that," he promised, working on getting her off again.  "I love the noises you make," he told her, teasing her.  She was making them again.  "You are the most responsive person I've ever met."  He pushed up into her, making her squeal.  "Even that one," he said happily.  "I like you each and every way I've had you to date."

"Wanna try the mirrored room later?" she panted, rocking back and forth on him.  She leaned forward and her clit found him again, making her moan and go spotty-eyed again.  "Damn, can't see."

"You probably can't breathe."  He turned off the water, watching as she braced herself.  "Turn around," he ordered.  She stood up and did so, splashing him but he didn't mind this time.  She seated herself again and he moaned this time.  She was already in her rhythm. He was going to have to catch up.  He was working hard, kissing her to swallow the noises she was making.  She pulled back to breathe, letting out more of them and he captured a few, making her arch up into his hands.  He had everything he could want at that moment.  Notoriety.  Money.  His house.  His friends.  A lover that was driving him insane.  Six new targets, each with a new plan going through his head.  She screamed, stiffening in his hands, and he shouted, coming inside her again.  Then she slowly laid on top of him, giving him little kisses to the throat.  "Thank you."  She nodded, eyes closed.  "You okay?"

"You wore me out," she said plainly, making him laugh.  "What is it with you two and wanting me unconscious?"

"It's the greatest compliment a lover can give," he told her.  She pulled back to look at him. "Didn't make anyone do that?"

"Twice, and I got yelled at for it.  Anya was not happy and neither was the pro."  He shook his head, but he was smiling so it was all right.  She kissed him for real.  "If I go nap on the lawn, will you do this again?"

"If I *ever* find you napping on the lawn *anywhere* that isn't Goemon's new house or the big house in France, I'm never sleeping with you again," he said seriously.  "You don't know who could have come and found you out there, Xan. You could have been killed or raped or even worse."  She hugged him, making him forget his next thought.  "Thanks."

"Yo!" Jigen yelled.  "You left stuff in the middle of the hall, Xander."

"Bring it up," Xander called back.  "We're in the bathroom!"

"Don't open the closed doors, you'll be blinded," Lupin called.  Jigen, of course, did so and came in wincing from the bright sunlight, carrying Xander's briefcase.  "Came in through the gate?"

"Yeah, it was open," he agreed.  He set the briefcase down and stole a kiss.  "Morning."

"Morning," she said with a smile.

"I bounced the alarm and walked in, finding this little naughty thing asleep in the yard," he told Jigen.

Jigen looked at Xander, scowling.  "Do it again, never have sex and I'll never let you fire another weapon."  She nodded, hanging her head.  "Thank you."

"I told her she could do it at the big house or in Goemon's yard."

"Those would be safe enough.  As long as Mark didn't sneak over to try and steal her."  He sat beside the tub, stroking down her back.  "You're chilled."

"We were getting clean and couldn't hold off," Lupin said smugly.  "Want to crawl in?  We could probably make room for you."

"No thanks," he said dryly.  "You know I have issues about your sperm floating around me."  He continued to stroke Xander's back, making her sleep.  "Came to help?"

"That and she kept the diamonds."  Jigen gave him a look.  "Okay, I came to have sex with people who like me.  Not into a dish.  They're on their cycles, I called the doctor monitoring them to see if today was a good time.  He wanted to do a warm sample."

"It would cause less problems," Jigen agreed.  "Who knows what might happen in the deep freeze.  You didn't like Alaska that time."

"True," he agreed dryly. He helped stroke the Xander's back.  "She said she'd take a pill pack."

"Probably a good idea," Jigen agreed.  "And a test?"

"And an ovulation test," he agreed.  "I was going to do that one first."

"It could be past it," Jigen pointed out.  "Pills then test."  Lupin nodded, liking that idea.  "Then we're going to be instituting a monthly pregnancy test.  Just in case."

"Definitely," he agreed.  "Xander said we'd have to steal her truckfulls of chocolate plus presents."

Jigen nodded.  "And psychiatric drugs for all three of us and Goemon."

Lupin laughed, nodding.  He couldn't see their friend dealing with that very well.  "I want to prank him just to see his face."

"Remember, he told her he'd kill her if she ever did because she asked," Jigen reminded him.

"She'll take it back," he vowed.  Jigen gave him a look.  "What?"

"Lupin, what are you thinking?  You've got two women waiting on that."

"Yeah, but they're not mine," he said.  "She is.  Ours," he corrected at the frown.

Jigen tipped his hat back, shaking his head.  "No.  If she does, I'm taking her from you.  It could kill her!" he hissed.

"It won't.  She's in perfect health and I'd never force it.  If it happens by accident, then we'd let her decide."

"She's not going to terminate and we both know that. She's said as much."  Lupin rested his head against the back of the tub.  "She said that after Ishi was born, back in the stateroom."  He considered it.  "Is this really a plan or just a wish?"

"A wish," he sighed, looking at his best friend.  "Think about how wonderful that one would be?" he asked quietly.  "Or even you and her."

Jigen nodded.  "It'd take a lot of magic.  The kid could end up like Lotus."

"Yeah, or it could end up like him or like the other father," he said gently.

"You wanted to do this natural way and it hasn't happened because he took Fujiko from you," Jigen said firmly.  "That's all this is.  You could start something with the mothers if you wanted."

"I can't see them putting up with my life," Lupin pointed out.  "Can you?  An accountant and a pediatric surgeon?"

"No, I can't," he admitted, losing his optimism.  "But Xander's not the answer."

"Then who is?"

"I don't know, Lupin.  We've got time though.  We've got time to do that with someone we love."

"You love her.  She's the first one you've ever thought about doing things for," Lupin reminded him quietly.  Xander shifted and he used a little neck pinch to put her out for now, wrapping his arms around her.  "How many of your other women would you have stayed with if they had wanted to share you with me?"  Jigen shook his head.  "Me either.  Think about this.  If Xander had to leave the life, would you stay?"

Jigen shrugged.  "I'd like to think so.  I like the life.  I might go and come back."

"Exactly.  We'd go back to our semi-retired state."  He waved a hand at her body.  "She's enough for me to want to do this full time again.  No more burn out.  You?"  He nodded, groaning, seeing where this was going.  "Now, you tell me where we're going to find this again?"

"We probably aren't, but I'm not willing to risk her, not even for that."

"Not even to be able to...."

Jigen covered his mouth.  "For no reason.  I'm not risking her.  End the topic, pick a new one."

Lupin nodded and the hand was removed.  "She wants to leave one of the mirrored rooms up to play in."

Jigen shivered.  "That would be interesting.  At least once or twice."  He smiled when he saw the fluttering eyes.  "Morning, princess."

She sat up, looking at Lupin, then she pinched him.  "Meanie."  She stole a kiss from Jigen.  "What was the topic I wasn't supposed to hear?"

"He's lamenting over not having anything special with the mothers," Jigen said honestly.

"I heard that part and the part where you both admitted that you love me."  She gave them a bland look.  "The problem with that is...?"

"Xander, think about it," Lupin told her.

She considered it. "You're feeling like you're doing asexual reproduction to get a child.  Got that part. You can't really start something with the mother.  Got that too."  Lupin sighed.  "Which makes me the ideal candidate."  They nodded.  "For both of you."  They nodded again.  "So you two are arguing about it?"

"I'm not going to let you get hurt that way," Jigen said firmly.  "Like sleeping on the lawn, this is something that could get you killed.  I won't have it."

"I don't want it," Lupin told her, "but the idea is seductive."

Xander paused, then got out of the tub, padding down to her library.  She came back with an old book, handing it over.  "Ethan sent it," he said before either one could ask.  "He remembered what Janus had done to me."  She climbed back in, adding some more hot water.  "Janus does this every two hundred years to get a new high priest or priestess.  Either because they run to him for help, or because they ask him for help to do this.  Since he's supposed to see more than one pathway in life, he can see alternatives.  Ethan said Janus asked him to produce his next high priest, but Ethan pointed out his age and said he couldn't.  Neither can Giles."

"The 'but' clause?" Jigen asked, opening it to look at the table of contents.

"The 'but' is that either it happens among his current priests, not devotees, but priests like Ethan.  Those who keep his ways all the time, not just now and then like Marcus.  Or it has to come from outside his devotees."  They both looked at him.

"You don't keep his ways," Jigen pointed out.

"And I'm not a devotee," Xander reminded him.  "He let me go. *That's* why he gave me the spell, as a boon to Lupin.  I'm pretty damn sure of it.  If I had Marcus' statue, I could call and ask him, see if he's willing to answer, but he might not."

"Then it could have already happened," Lupin said blandly.

Xander looked at him.  "It couldn't have, I haven't used the spell."

"You were mumbling something spell-like night before last," Jigen told her.  "We stopped you."  She went pale, thinking back.  She slowly shook her head.  "Yeah, you did."

"Night before last?" Lupin asked.

"Massive sex on the train?" Jigen reminded him.  "Me earlier in the day and then up her rear, you in her, making her pass out and scaring the cops?"  He looked up when he heard laughter.  "I've heard that before."

"Janus!" Xander snapped.  "Do not do this to me."

"I have not," the voice whispered.  "You have not asked me for it.  That incident got another of my favorites together."  It faded off with more laughter.

"Janus," Lupin called.  "Is that why you did it?"

"Perhaps," the voice admitted. "Perhaps not.  I know the desires all three of your souls hold.  Others have cried out similarly to me."

"So you picked me to bear the next high priest or priestess?" Xander asked flatly.

"Perhaps, perhaps not.  You are not the only one who it might happen to.  Nor are you my first choice.  The child must be raised away from you because you are very tainting to some of mine, boy.  You teach them love."

"Thank you, that was one hell of a compliment," Xander told him.

"It is true.  I do not make many false statements."

"Then why did you give it to him?" Jigen asked.

"Because deep down, he has wanted this since he was a child himself.  Ethan asked for him when he was younger that the boy he was be allowed to find a family that would keep and protect him, while giving him the nurture and love he needed.  He also prayed that the boy be allowed to pass that on to another generation, to teach them better."

"But I'm not that boy anymore," Xander pointed out.

"True.  Had I foreseen that, I would have had you killed.  No one deserved such from their friends.  Plus it would have solved the present imbalance."  His voice sighed.  "I will remove it if you want."

"Will it matter?" Xander asked dryly.

"Not really."

"Is she already?" Jigen asked.

"Not unless she chooses.  If she does, one will be a white knight, one to take her place."

"No!" Xander said firmly.  "I won't let my child be sacrificed to the powers!"  He got out of the tub, staring up at the ceiling.  "No, no way in hell, Janus.  No child of mine will take my former spot."

"Not your spot, *her* spot," he repeated.  "Your spot was closed when you left.  Yours will take the place of my favorite witch, she who died and could not be returned.  The catalyst that started your downfall.  It was not meant to do more than injure you, Alexander.  You were meant to live past the First and retire to start the next generation.  I had no idea they would keep you."  Xander slumped, starting to cry.  "If it does happen, one will take Tara's place.  One will take your present one, a true heir of the lines.  One will also be a true heir, but have your more innate and caring nature. She will be your true heir."

"The seer only saw me with three, two of them my students," Xander said bitterly.  "What happens to them?"

"Nothing.  I blocked her."  The voice sounded smug. "She did not need to forewarn you of some things.  Some things you should have to figure out for yourself."

"So he'll have how many *if* he does it?" Jigen asked.

"Two or three times," Janus said.  "Not even *I* know that one, young one.  Nor does that old woman or any others yet.  That is not my boon to him."

"The Powers," Xander said bitterly.

"In truth, yes.  In truth, not fully.  The one who harmed you asked them to heal you.  They told him they could not, but they could make sure you healed some day."

"I am healed.  I'm healed by them."

"You still desire that which was ailing before you were gifted, young man."

"Yay!  I'll get over it!" she said angrily, stomping her foot.  "You can't do this to me!"

"I have not.  The spell was a gift.  Their way is harder.  It hurts more.  Mine would guarantee you could take that choker off, for a few days at least."  Xander groaned, holding her head.  "I know, it is hard to understand, but too many have prayed to us to leave you be.  If one of yours is a true heir of you, it will be mine.  If one of yours is a true heir of their paternal line, they will not be mine, but I will gain amusement from them both.  If there are others, they will be yours and yours alone."

Xander felt something touch his face and closed his eyes.  "Why me?"

"Because you were a lynchpin.  You kept your people from dying.  You brought these three back into my service.  You brought Dawn back into my service and found her someone who would take care of her when I wasn't watching.  For that alone, you deserve an award.  She needs a keeper."  He faded, leaving them alone.

Xander looked at them.  "I'm having a sudden urge to take a pregnancy test," she admitted.  Both men shuddered.  "Now.  Let's find clothes and go find one.  Before I run screaming to Goemon to have him cut me into fish bait."  Jigen stood up, holding her tightly.  "It could just as easily be yours," she reminded him.

"If you are, we'll deal," he promised, looking at Lupin.

Lupin got out and came over, stealing Xander for his own hug.  "If it does, we'll do everything we can for you," he promised. "Everything will be given to you, wherever we hide you.  We'll even hide there for as long as we can."  She clutched his chest, hugging him tighter.

Jigen walked up behind her, taking that side to hold.  "No matter what, if it happens, we'll be there."

"You could die before then!" Xander reminded them, pulling away.  "I could die before then!"

"With him watching over you and those Powers?" Lupin asked.  Xander sat down, curling up in a little ball.  "We don't want it to, Xander, but we will deal with it.  Even if we have to take the choker away from you and get Jigen into gay sex, we will."

Xander looked at him.  "What makes you think that would stop them?"

"It probably won't," Jigen agreed.  He pulled her up to hold, calming her down.  He did it better.  "Take a real shower and we'll go buy the big box of tests and a morning after pill kit.  It's probably futile, but it might help."  Xander nodded against his shoulder.  "Let the water out and shower."  She nodded, doing that.  He dragged Lupin into the hall, slapping him.  "What now?" he hissed.

"Now, we do the test, we make a 'what if' plan, and we warn Dawn that Janus likes this outcome of hers," he said firmly.  "Let me find my bag."

"It's still in your car, dumbass.  You didn't bring it in."  He went down to the car, bringing back their bags and Xander's up the stairs.  "Where can we hide her that Pops won't find?"

"I don't know, but I'm sure we can find a spot."  He grabbed his other set of clothes, putting them on.

"This could be the thing that makes her retire," Jigen said quietly, staring at the wall opposite him.

"Or it could be the one thing that makes him work harder to eliminate the dangerous criminals who bother people," Lupin pointed out. "He could rip apart a good part of the drug trade for this."  Jigen grimaced but nodded, it could happen.  Xander came out and he hugged her.  "What do you want?"

"I want this morning to be a figment of my imagination?  That I'm still sleeping in the grass?"  She went into her bedroom, finding an outfit she liked of the stuff she had bought the last time she was in town. She slipped it on and came out, looking at them. "What?"  She looked at herself, walking into one of the mirrored rooms.  "I look good in this color," she defended.

"It wasn't that," Jigen said, walking in behind her. "Do you often glow?"  Xander nodded.  "Since when?"

"Since my bodywash has little crystal things that make me glow.  It's supposed to do that."

"Okay."  He gave her a hug.  "We'll be doing both tests, okay?"  She nodded, following them down the stairs.  He knew where the nearest pharmacy was, he shopped at it himself.  He walked them down the aisles, letting her pick up what she wanted.  He took the pregnancy test.  Lupin got the ovulation test, and Xander got the morning after pill pack, giving it a look and a sigh.

"I'm sorry the condom on the train broke," Lupin told her.

She gave him a look.  "Color me shocked," she said dryly.  "Been having a lot of those recently?"  He considered it then nodded, he had been.  She shook her head, picking up a soda and a big box of the good chocolate mints for herself.  They got a bag of chips and a few brochures for something.  She paid for it, giving the clerk a faint smile when she looked at the tests.  "Condom broke."

The woman winced.  "My second and sixth were because of that.  It's a bad problem all over the world."  She accepted the credit card, running it, letting her sign the slip.  "At least they're pretty," she shared when the men took the bags and walked out.  "Marry 'em, let 'em make you spoiled rotten for a while."

Xander grinned, forcing it all the way.  "Maybe."  She walked out, taking the left soda to drink on the way home.  She'd need it if she was going to pee into two little cups.  She got into the back seat, sitting between them.  "The clerk said I should marry you so you can spoil me rotten."

"Too late, you're already spoiled rotten," Jigen said, giving her a small grin. She smiled back.  "Need anything for the house?"

"Yeah, but it'll be delivered.  I only have to call."

"We can stop," Lupin decided, heading to where Xander had marked on his favorites on the map file.  "Where did you get this car?"

"Long term parking," he joked.  Lupin looked back at him. "I leased the little Fiat."

"It's nice," he noted.  "It suits you."

"Don't turn on the radio," Xander warned.  "I had it on country and really loud."

Lupin turned it down before turning it on, turning it to some soft Jazz.  "That okay with you?"

"Fine by me.  Pull in here," he said.  They stopped and Xander got out, going inside to pick up a layaway.  She came back, putting it into the trunk and got back in.  "Sorry, I had ordered something the last time I was in town.  Something for Sylvia."  She buckled back up, getting comfortable.  "Jazz always makes me sleepy."

"It does many people," Jigen agreed.  They continued on to the home place, and Xander was asleep by then so he went inside.  "Hey.  I've got an order for this place," he said, writing down the address.  "He said he's back in town tomorrow."

"We've got it in stock," the salesman said, checking his books.  "Everything but the materials for the second bathroom."  He looked him over.  "Are you his helper?"

"His girlfriend's out in the car, she's his helper.  We're friends of hers."

"That's fine.  We can deliver what we have today.  Tell him that the fixtures and special tub will take another week probably.  We're sorry for the delay but it's at the factory."

"That's fine, thanks."  He headed back to the car.  "They'll deliver everything but the downstairs bathroom today, that'll come next week." Lupin nodded, heading back to the house.  They woke Xander up and got her inside with her things and her soda.  She couldn't pee yet so she took her soda down to work on some of the walls while they destroyed one of the mirrored rooms, the one that they liked less.

Xander finally came up the stairs, going into the bathroom where the kits were waiting.  She took a few deep breaths before sitting down to pee.  This could really fuck up her life.  Finally, she had filled both containers and left them there, going back to her mudding the drywall. She heard the doorbell ring and went to answer it, smiling at the welcome diversion.  "Hey."  She signed the form in her other form's name, letting the guys carry the materials into her storage space.  "What's missing?"

"The bathroom for downstairs," one of the delivery people told her.  "That'll be in next week."

"That's fine.  I expected that sort of delay.  The tub was a special order."  She checked off the manifests, nodding as everything but some hardware was found.  They called the store, someone was going to be bringing it later.  It had been tucked back on a shelf.  "Thanks, guys," she called, waving as they drove away.  She shut the door and found her men on the stairs, and suddenly winced.  "Which one came up yes?"

"They both did," Jigen told her.

"Which is supposed to be impossible," Lupin added.   "Fortunately, they're multipacks.  Want to try again?"

"No."  She shook her head.  "I think I'll wait from a sign from God."  They gave her a look.  "What else would you call morning sickness?"

"What you normally eat for breakfast," Jigen pointed out.  He came down the stairs.  "We can have a professional do it, if you want," he offered.

"This is one time when I wish Fihad was here," Lupin agreed.  He looked up.  "If you're going to put her through this, can't we have a *real* healer?  With all the shit she's been through, she'll need it!"  A crack went off in the kitchen.

"Fine.  He is needed as well.  Thank you for reminding me," a different voice called.

Xander shuddered.  "You!"

"No, not me.  Never me."  It faded away.

"Fucking demons."  He walked into the kitchen, going to wake the healer up.  He didn't look injured.  "Hey, Fihad?" he called.  The healer looked up at him.  "Welcome back to the realm of humans."  She pulled him up, making him frown.  "It's Xander.  It's the choker.  And Janus."

"Oh.  I met him.  He likes you.  The Powers really like you."  He touched the side of her face, smiling.  "Congratulations."  She passed out, making him catch her, making both of them fall to the floor again.  "Oh, no.  Please don't do this.  Not now.  I'm not strong enough to carry you."

"We are," Lupin said, walking in to pick Xander up.  "Definitely?"  Fihad squinted at him.  "We'll get you back to Istanbul later, after she's not pregnant."

"That would be fine, Lupin."  He accepted the help up.  "That really is Xander?"  Both men nodded.  "Shit."  He checked her again, knowing what had felt wrong now.  He tested both of them, then shook his head. "I got brought back for this?" he called.

"Yes," the voice said patiently.  "Do so."

"Fine.  Thank you, my Lord.  Tell Allah I said hello."  He looked at them again. "Put her into her bed.  We have to talk."  They did so, then joined him in Xander's study.  "She is strong enough, both physically and mentally.  She is also marked for a horrible death by Goemon."

"He promised to kill her if she ever got knocked up," Jigen agreed.

"Why?  He's not usually like that."

"She asked him to," Lupin told him.  "Right after delivering Fujiko's first."  He gaped at them and both men nodded again.

"Damn them, how long was I gone?"

"A little over a year.  Ishi will be one in about two months?" Jigen asked.

Lupin nodded. "Two months.  You were gone when she was seven months along."

Fihad sat down, holding his head. "It is the will of Allah that all men persevere with what they are handed in life.  I have done so to date.  I will continue," he told himself.  He looked at them. "You will have to stop Goemon.  You will have to stop him today. Before someone tells him, like Dawn."  They blanched and went hunting for a phone of any sort.  "Then you will have to keep her calm," he called after them.  "Then they'll have to feed her since she has not eaten today and find her a real obstetrician since I am not."  Lupin came back, looking at him.  "I am not."

"You're who he trusts."

"He will not be a he for a very long time," Fihad pointed out.  "I'm still not skilled at women's problems."

"Read up on it," Lupin said.  The healer gave him a look.  "Do you know anyone else who could do this, or Dawn's?"

"She is?"  Lupin nodded.  "You know or you think?"

"I'm pretty sure she is," he admitted, finding the phone finally, tucked near where Xander had been working.  "Found it!"  He called Goemon's cellphone, waking him and one of the kids since they were screaming.  "I need you to hold off on a promise," he said in greeting.  Goemon grunted at him.  "I need you to hold off on your promise to kill Xander if something like her getting stuffed up happened.  Janus did fuck with her system."  He listened to the silence. "Goemon?"  Another long pause.  "Goemon, please don't do this to me."  He got an answer finally, from Ishi, who was babbling about 'dada'.  "Ishi, please give the phone to someone big.  Like mommy or Auntie Dawn."  He heard a familiar voice.  "You're in my house?"  The explanation made him laugh.  Dawn had tied him up and forced them all on a picnic.  "Are you at least sitting down?" he asked patiently.  "Good.  We had a small chat with Janus this morning. He likes you and Dawn, said she needed someone to watch over her.  He's also on a kick to get a new high priest or priestess, and he *really* likes Dawn."  He heard silence.  "Please don't have passed out," he pleaded.  Zenigata's voice came back.  "Yes, I'm sane, no I haven't taken anything nor have I eaten anything.  Do a pregnancy test and tell her Fihad is back and here.  She won't know where here is yet, but...."  A portal opened.  "Never mind then."  He hung up, walking through it.  It closed briefly, then it opened so Fujiko could pull Fihad there to look at Dawn and the kids. And her to make sure the pill was working.  She felt odd.


Jigen woke up Xander, smiling down at him.  "Hi."

"Don't grin."  She sat up, looking at him.  "Please?"

"Okay, I won't."  He sat down.  "You missed it.  Goemon passed out."

"He knows?"

"He knows and we let him out of his promise to kill you."  He gave her a kiss when he saw the panic brewing.  "Want to go back to sleep?"  Xander shook her head.  "How about cuddling then?"

"I'd rather go destroy something."

"We can do that too.  We won't let you into one of the mirrored rooms, Lupin broke one and it's all over everything.  The other's been locked from the inside by Dawn, who's doing something magical to ward the house.  We've agreed, you're staying here."  She opened her mouth. "I know.  At least until we can find a safer way to bring you to France.  Got it?"  She nodded, sliding out of the bed.  "You're only a few weeks along," he said quietly.  "Fihad can't tell if they're boys or not."

"They?  I'm carrying a they?  Am I having a fucking litter?"

Lupin walked in and closed the door.  "Fihad said twins, but for some animals that is a litter," he agreed, giving her a hug. "He also said I had to feed you."  Xander opened her mouth.  "We're not the only ones here.  The whole group, including Ishi and Lotus are downstairs," he admitted.  "They don't know where here is, they came with Dawn.  Yes, she is too by the way.  Zenigata and Goemon both passed out when they found out."  Xander smiled a little at that.  "So, let's go destroy stuff and then we can do some planning?  Before you walk outside and disappear on us?"

"The thought crossed my mind but that'd be one painful fucking delivery," Xander pointed out dryly.  Jigen got up to come over and squeeze her between them.  "Anything else I need to know before I start pouting?"

"Fujiko said your tastes were bland and old fashioned," Jigen told him.  "She said you gave her permission to redo the kitchen and she's going to go with some stainless steel stuff."

"Only if she's going to come and polish the shit," he said, walking down the stairs.  "White enamel," he told her.  "No polishing required and you can see the stains."  He walked past her, going to get a beer.  Or something. He found one with his name on it and took it, popping it open to go lay in his back yard.  "I knew I wanted a yard for some reason," he told himself as he laid down.  He heard squealing and looked up in time to avoid being pounced by Ishi.  "Hi, kiddo."  He pulled him closer to cuddle.  "Sit with the uncle, okay? You can chase the animals later."  Ishi cuddled against him, giving him a long hug.  "Thanks, baby Goemon."  He stroked what little hair he still had.  "It'll be okay."

Goemon came to the back doorway, then outside, sitting near them.  "I have heard you want out of your promise?" he asked.

"I'm so fucked up at the moment I don't know what I want.  Right this second, I want to run screaming into the hills and join a monastery."   He laughed, shaking his head.  "You think I'm kidding?"

"No."  He patted Xander on the stomach.  "We will take very good care of you, just like you did to my wife."

"Thanks, but if you're here, won't that draw attention to me?"  He looked down at her.  "Isn't that the plan?"

"I do not know," he admitted.  "If it is, then it is.  If it is not, we will all be checking on you frequently until you are past this and the baby is born."

He took another sip of his beer.  "Fihad said twins."

"Really?  Auspicious," he said fondly.  "I wish I could have done that.  Twin boys to start would have been a very good omen."

Xander snorted.  "We need to find me a pregnant female anime character so I can go to the next con.  Since I'm stuck in this form."

Goemon shook his head.  "The necklace can be removed up to the first stop, allowing you to change your identity."  He gave his stomach another fond pat.  "If they do not treat you right, you will tell me," he said firmly.  "I will have Marcus bother them."

"Thanks."  Xander grinned at him.  "I'll just mood swing on them, that'll teach 'em."  He patted Ishi, making him run off.  He had been wiggling anyway.  "Dawn really is?"  He nodded.  "Did Gramps look like a fish?"

"For many minutes.  He may still be staring at her in awe, as if she were the first one ever to do so."  He chuckled.  "I believe he is having his people force her to marry him, or else there will be a warrant put in for her arrest."  That got some lighter laughter.  "She is upstairs at the moment doing something in that mirrored room."  He looked at him.  "Was that supposed to be something fun?"

"The last owners did it.  They had mirrors on all the hallway ceilings.  It went with the stark primary colors and metal and glass decor."

Goemon gave a look back at the house, then at him.  "In there?"  He nodded.   "Bad taste is epidemic.  Fixing it should get you a reward."

"Apparently they are my reward."

"It is a heady reward," Goemon pointed out.  "To have something that depends and looks up to you for everything.  It is overwhelming and scary, but then your son pees on you and  you realize he will be another human being, just like you."  Xander laughed, giving him a hug.  "If you need more wise advice, simply ask.  I will be seeing you for more lessons in controlling your temper.  You'll need them."

"Will I be training with Marcus?"

"He wants to, I am not sure he is ready to have his focus split again.  When you had him collared, how did you train him?"

"Positive reinforcement.  Little punishments."

"I shall try that.  He seems to have blossomed but he is holding himself back."

Xander put a hand on his arm. "That's fear of backsliding.  I know that one very well.  Trust me, even if he can't see it, he's scared of disappointing you by backsliding or hurting someone."

"That was insightful.  This will be good for you.  Keep it up and you might even make it to wise."  He stood up, giving him a fond look.  "I will see you later.  Ishi, come.  Let us bother the mother some more.  It is nearly time for your sister to eat."  Ishi squealed and ran for the house.  "He seems to love her as much as we do.  He tries to pound her head in all the time."  He walked into the house to make his son quit patting his sister.  "Thank you."  He picked him up, taking him into the study to play.  Dawn was in there and he liked her.  She pulled him over, hugging him tightly.  "Do you need wise advice?"

"I need your sword to kill him," she told him.  "First time with him and this happens."

He nodded.  "It is that way for some people.  Do be forewarned, it is possible to get pregnant right after the last one."  He looked at his daughter as she was brought in by his student. "Thank you, Marcus.  Would you like to sit and hold her?"  He beamed and sat down, holding his future Mistress.  Hmm.  Xander was correct.


Lupin and Jigen came out once Dawn had stolen everyone again, sitting beside Xander to stare at the clouds.  "You better now?" Lupin asked.

"I'm still pregnant."

"That's true," Jigen agreed.  "Congratulations, you didn't stutter over that word this time."  Xander swatted him, scowling at him.  "Who made the casserole?"

"The nice lady next door."  Xander laid back down.  "Why me?"

"Because someone thought you'd make an excellent parent," Lupin said firmly.  "And you will. You can play all you want to and then let the nanny take them for the disgusting stuff since none of us will change a diaper."  Xander looked at him.  "Unless you want to retire.  I can see that."

"Fuck you," Xander said firmly.  "I'm not retiring."  Lupin gave him a smile and a gentle kiss.  "Thank you."  She settled in again.  "Did anyone tell Murami?"

"We did.  She was enthusiastic," Jigen agreed.  "Said 'I told you so' and everything."

Lupin coughed.  "Xander, would it bother you if I.... did the cup thing with the others, just in case this one isn't mine?"

"No.  The more the merrier," he said.  "Are we doubting?"

"Jigen has you more often that way," he pointed out.  "It's possible and there's every chance it won't be."

"Plus you have that damn clause so you have to make sure," Xander finished.  Lupin nodded, looking miserable.  "Go for it.  Maybe one of them will go to Gramps, make the world an unbalanced place again?"

Jigen laughed.  "Dawn suggested that and he got the most horrified look on his face."  Xander grinned at that.  "She agreed to marry him so Ray would let her out of the ropes. For some reason he ties people up very well."

"He was taught by a Mountie," Xander said.  "He said so at the con we met at.  Speaking of, I need a new costume.  If I'm going to be a fucking whale, I'll need to find a character I can go as."

"You're not going to be a whale," Lupin said firmly.

"I'm carrying twins."

"So?  Fujiko didn't get *that* big."

"She said she was the size of a mountain," Jigen told him.  "From what I understand, that's normal."

"Okay, I can accept that," Lupin agreed.  He went into the house and came out with a box of chocolates.  "Prepayment on the truckload I owe you.  Nuts and the whipped fruits you like."  He stroked Xander arm, then suddenly moved, flipping her over to work on her back for her.  "I didn't get to do this before."

Xander ate a chocolate, looking back at him.  "If you're really good, I'll let you hold my head while I puke."

"Deal," Lupin agreed. "That won't be for months yet."

"It had better not be. Fihad said I'm underweight," she said.  "He noted you two were too, but that I needed to weigh more for them."  She ate another chocolate, moaning in pleasure.  "Damn, this spoiling stuff is good."  Jigen leaned down, giving her a kiss to the back of the neck.  "And you are going to have to like getting blown more.  Remember, Fuji couldn't have sex in the third trimester."

Jigen shrugged.  "That's fine.  I'll take whatever you can give me."

"Hmm.  Even if I was in male form?" she asked, looking at him.  He paused, then looked indecisive.  "I'm not going back to this thing for a while after I give birth.  I'm going to miss my penis."

"Technically, with the choker on, you can change to your own self," Lupin offered, working on the knots in her shoulders.  "Just think of your normal form."  Xander moaned, making him happier. "I'm sorry, Xander."

"I'm not presently blaming you.  There's a certain two-headed God I want the nuts of right now, but not you yet.  Either of you."  He offered the chocolates to Jigen.  "Want one?"  He nodded and took one, nibbling on it.  Lupin leaned over, kissing the back of her head as he stole one too.  "What am I doing?"

"For now, you're going to finish the house," Jigen told her.  "That way you have somewhere to go when you're frustrated and wanting to run away."

"Then Dawn's camouflaged the driveway to the main house so it's only seen if you're really powerful or know it's there. She also wiped the knowledge of the house from everyone but Mark.  She couldn't.  It would have meant he would have rejected Pops.  Did you know she calls him 'Zenny'?" he said.

"She's like that," Xander agreed.  He got another kiss to the back of his head.  "Where are we going to hide the choker once I'm through this one?"

"In the main safe, which I'll teach you the combination to," Lupin promised.  Xander nodded, eating another one.  He slid off her back, laying beside her to give her a real kiss.  "I didn't want this to happen."

"Make sure it won't again or I'll get the sneak attack castration plans from Fujiko.  I know she's planned on how to do her man when she gets pregnant again."  She gave them each a look and they knew she meant it.  "Good.  Now that we've got that settled, I'll need a cover story."

"Write a book," Jigen suggested.  "A kid's book or something."  Xander looked at him.  "Seriously."

"I suck at it," Xander told him.  "I can't even keep a diary.  I sound dumb and like I'm the most undereducated person on the planet."  He ate another chocolate. "I'm guessing I'm not allowed to drink?"

"Not until after the birth, then we'll have a good beer waiting on you," Lupin promised.

"Maybe *one* now and then," Jigen admitted.  "Not the heavier drinking you're used to." Xander nodded, slumping a little more. "Fihad said it's almost counter-productive to make you give up caffeine," he offered.

"That's one plus.  I won't have to give up chocolate or soda."

"He did want you to regulate it," Lupin warned.  "Less than a two-liter a day if possible."

"Sure, I'll cut back."  She looked at him.  "What else?"

"No more high heels.  No dangerous stunts.  No being in a situation where you can be shot," Lupin told her.

"Which means I'm stuck babysitting," Xander said.  They shrugged.  "Can I at least go on jobs?"

"As long as they're something you would have let Fujiko go on while she was up the duff," Jigen offered.  "Nothing like Germany with Cummings."

"The Cairo job?"

"Is plausible."

"I had another nightmare last night," Xander told them.  They leaned closer.  "I was doing a solo job in Miami.  It was a sniper shot to assassinate."  They nodded, getting that.  "I was going out the window and it was going to have to be a bank shot.  The boss said it had to come from a certain room and all that.  So I'm doing it and I miss.  I hit an innocent bystander.  I try a second one and everyone's scattering.  The bullet bounces off the guy's shields.  So I pack up for a relocate and another try.  Maybe a closer range thing.  As I'm walking out, the cop that harassed you and his crew show up.  They see me, come over to question me since I'm carrying stuff.  This really pretty blonde that works with him is a ballistics expert. She finds my rifle, not the one I had been using, and checks it, then does a swab of my hands.  I tell her I do range practice nearly every day.  Everything of mine has gunpowder on it."  He ate another chocolate and swallowed.  "She confirms this with a few random pieces of clothing, then they ask me why I'm leaving.  My brilliant reasoning: hello, shooter, shooting on the street, who are you going to suspect first?"  His men laughed.

"The redhead tells me I'm right, then heads up to check the rooms while I finish moving out and tell one of them where I'm going.  Which is the truth but it's not where I'm planning to carry out the job.  I dump the rifle through a street broker, knowing it probably won't be traced back for months at least.  Then I head over there.  The blonde is waiting on me.  She starts asking me questions.  Apparently I'm a tame assassin on vacation and she hasn't found any warrants yet.  So I'm showing her my guns and she's really excited over a few of them.  She doesn't get to see many of the European versions.  She looks at my rifle again, then at me, asking if I don't wire brush it to change the rifling.  I tell her no, it fucks the accuracy and she nods, understanding that.  Then she gets personal.  Why did I do this.  How did I get started.  Are there really schools for this.  I was stumped on that one, had to admit I had a personal tutor, a very good one.  She waves it off and leaves me her card, in case I find anything new and neat she might like to see.  Just as a test case of course.  And I'm pretty impressed with her too so I call you guys and ask you to send me a bunch of the out-of-date stuff that we've decided we'll never use.  I tell you why and you guys laugh.  Jigen comes to town, I pick him up after doing that hit, then I take him to meet her at the motel.  He's really impressed with her and even bends enough to flirt."  Jigen shook his head, still laughing.  "She's going all squealy over the weapons.  Sounds like an orgasm in the making sort of thing.  We find some things she's never seen before, including those special .48's that some assassins use.  Apparently one of us had been gifted with one and figured out it wasn't worth making our own bullets."

"I have one," Lupin admitted.  "Gifted even.  You're right, it's not.  It's a pain in the ass to make bullets for it."

Xander nodded.  "I figured as much.  Anyway, we gift her with the stuff, calling it a yard sale charitable donation thing, then Zenigata shows up in town."  He shook his head.  "He busts in, tells her exactly who I am and tries to get her away from him. She tells him off, stating regional jurisdiction, lack of warrants, and the fact that we're giving her information on some weapons that will help her with her work.  I end up capping Pops in front of her in the knee.  Then I look at her and tell her he doesn't mind, it's usual between us.  That's the fourth or fifth time I've shot him, something like that.  His crew comes in and they're vampires."

"Vampire cops, that is a scary thought," Jigen admitted.  "Most crimes are done at night.  He'd have prime hunting."

"Been done on tv.  I've got the series at home," Xander told him.  "Cute guy too."  He shrugged and went back to his nightmare.  "Anyway, they rush in, turn her before I can stop them.  They try to turn Jigen but he resists because it means he'll have to join their team.  They try for me and I beat them off but I'm bleeding from one of their teeth.  Jigen captures Ray before he can leave and has him turn me, but keeps me.  He has to deprogram me heavily but manages it and now I'm like that - flying around during the night, using my nifty Dracula-like skills to help the team break into places, things like that."

"Can all vampires do that?" Lupin asked.

"Dracula could, but none of the others.  Spike can't.  Hey, can I go freak him out soon?"

"Sure," Jigen agreed.  "As long as he can't bite you and Zenigata at the same time and he's not in the house."  Xander grinned at him and he gave a little shrug.  "That one even scared me.  Thinking about him and sex for eternity was nasty."  He laid down on Xander's other side.  "We were thinking about other things."

"If you demand that I marry you, you're in for a battle."

"I wasn't thinking that actually," Lupin admitted.  "But I'll make a mental note of that."  Xander grinned at him.  "We were thinking about names.  If mine's a boy it'll have to be the fourth.  What about Jigen's?"

"I don't want a second, I told you that earlier."  He gave Xander a nudge.  "Only do that if I'm not here to see it and you know I'm not watching.  Give the kid a chance."

Xander nodded, looking sad.  "If you die, I'm going to have to kill half the world.  You know that right?  And if you both die the world's fully toast?"  They nodded, hugging him. "Good.  I'm not kidding either.  I know how Willow did the near-world ending."  She ate another chocolate in the stunned silence. "It'd take some work, but yeah.  Go pregnant woman anger."  He paused.  "Tell me this isn't one of them coming back," he said in disgust.

"Dawn talked to Ethan who of course prayed and begged until Janus got tired of his whining and told him no," Jigen told him, giving him a pat on the arm before stealing another chocolate.  Lupin took one too since Jigen hadn't been hit.  "Anything else we need to discuss?"

"Am I heading back to the house after I'm done here?"

"As soon as you're incapacitated or you're tired of being here," Lupin told him.  "We've got six jobs I got ideas for this morning in the tub."  Xander looked hopeful.  "I still want you protected."

"Fine," she agreed dryly.  "I'll stay here and heft and tote heavy stuff while I renovate my house."

"Do it now 'cause you won't be able to in four months," Jigen reminded him.

Xander nodded.  "Oh, I remember Fujiko falling asleep everywhere.  Can't wait for that part.  That and the constant puking."

"She had it bad and Fihad will be in touch with you every two weeks," Lupin promised.  "There may be something for that."  She sighed and nodded.  "I definitely want you back at the house once you feel comfortable traveling.  Go in disguise of course, but still."  Xander nodded.  "Good boy."  He gave her a real kiss, making her smile.  "I want to see you doing katas like that in another eight months," he told her, stroking her lower back.  "Goemon swears it's good for them.  That it makes the labor easier."

"Yoga makes the labor easier," he corrected.  "Possibly Tai Chi, not the more strenuous stuff."  He capped the box of chocolates and pushed them away.  "Before I make myself sick," he admitted.  They gave him a hug.  "I'm sorry, guys.  I know this has fucked up everything for at least a year."

"Actually, we could use you as backup on four of the jobs," Lupin admitted.  "That means you can sit in the hotel and read name books."  Xander snorted, shaking her head.  "No?"

"No.  No name books.  Not yet.  When are they?"

"Cairo is soonish.  The other four are right after that if what I have planned happens.  Then there's the two you can't do."

"You'll be waddling by then anyway," Jigen pointed out.

"So the bad thing would be Gramps or other assorted things, right?"  They nodded.  "Are we sure Janus won't fuck up to get me alone?"

"If he does, you have my permission to destroy the world," Jigen told him.  "Just save the kids, okay?"  Xander gave him a look.  "I know you would but grief is a funny thing."  He stroked down her arm.

Ethan appeared with a letter, sweaty and bleeding from a gash on his head.  Xander looked up at him and opened his mouth.  "Ripper's tossing a fit," he admitted, handing her the letter.  "He hates being possessed almost as much as you do."  He sat in front of her, placing a hand on her head and muttering something.  She briefly glowed in the darkening afternoon light.  "There, that should protect you a bit better. I've warded you fully.  Those who know see you as someone so protected you're worse than Fort Knox."

"Not that hard to get into," Lupin told him.

"It's a saying," he said patiently.  "To the demonic, you'll still be a consort.  They'll be able to see the real you.  Those who are half may nudge back and forth but not fully."  Xander nodded.  "Most of them have some skills so they should feel you as a bunker of protection. This means people might pull an Angel and come looking to you for help but it will keep away those who would want to kill you because you're like this."  Xander gave him a look. "Like Ripper, which caused the fit he was tossing," he admitted. "He's all for you terminating it because he's decided it's got to be evil.  He thinks you're too tainted to have anything else."

"Will the taint pass on?" Xander asked quietly.

"No, love, never."  He gave him a gentle kiss to the forehead.  "It will not pass on.  Even if you were carrying a clone, it would not pass on."  Xander nodded, looking a little relieved.

Lupin finished the letter, handing it over.  "Information from the heads himself."  He looked at Ethan.  "You will watch over him for us?"

"I'm doing it for many people.  Janus, you two, myself, Dawn, who threatened to kill me if this hurt him.  Try to protect him, all right? I don't feel like dying this month."  He stood up, dusting himself up.  "Xander, no naughty fixtures in the bathroom," he said with a small grin.  "I know you, young man.  Be safe and call on me at least once month for tea.  Otherwise I shall have to get pushy and whine."  He sighed.  "Back to Ripper and his fit. Maybe Janus won't mind if I hit him in the head a few times," he said thoughtfully, disappearing. By the time he made it home later that night, he had learned better. "Fine," he called. "I'll let him live.  You keep your end and I'll keep mine."  He sighed and did the complicated charm, making himself different, then walked into his bedroom to wake up Ripper the old fashioned way, by sucking him down.


Xander went back to work the next morning, unhappy with her existence but understanding more of it.  Unfortunately.  This whole thing stunk in her opinion and she was tired of it.  "I'm the perfect representation of Janus," she recited bitterly.  "Yeah, right.  And I'm also Helen of Troy and Ares' love child."  He hammered in a nail, wondering why this shit happened to him.  "I was a good kid, right?  I didn't steal to much candy, and Willow always made me feel guilty and go back to pay for it.  I did a good job helping Buffy.  Is that it?  I sent souls to Hell because they were vampires?"  No answer.  "Fine, I get it.  Because you like me is reason enough.  Like me less, 'kay?  I'd like to be liked less.  Except for by my men."  He looked up again.  "You could have just made one of them like me in male form," he informed whoever was listening.  "That would have solved this whole mess."

The person listening to it frowned and looked at his partner.  "What is he going on about now?" Ray asked Myron.

Myron shrugged.  "Not a clue.  Ask Dawn."  They looked back at where she was 'resting under orders' then shrugged and went back to listening.  The boy was incredibly pissed but it was amusing.  Especially when he hit his thumb.  Not that they knew where he was, but still.

The End.

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