As a reminder:
Goemon and Fujiko: Ishi & Lotus
Lupin and other mothers: The Fourth and Sierra (good guy)
Jigen and Xander/Sylvia: Melissa and Savanna (good guy)
Lupin woke up and noticed he was hitched to the bed by both arms, and immediately frowned at Jigen. "I would have shared."
"Lupin, I didn't need your help this time," Jigen said seriously. He put out his cigarette and lit another one immediately. Lupin gave him a long look. "I'm willing to let her try."
"Really?" he asked, licking his lips. "So you needed to tie me down why?"
"So you couldn't help," he said dryly. "I'm doing this for her then you can have her when she changes again." Lupin nodded, that seemed fair enough. "Just stay there or I'll have to take her into another room."
"I promise I won't help," Lupin swore. "Thieves honor. If you want her to pop you that way, that's good enough for me, buddy."
Jigen grinned. "Thanks, boss." He waved a hand at the cuffs. "They're still staying on so I can tease her by myself. I'll let her tease you for now." Xander yawned and stretched between them, looking up at them. "Morning. Feel different?"
He beamed. "Not yet." He sat up and kissed him gently. "You tied him up for me?"
"No, I tied him up so I could have you myself," he admitted, putting out that cigarette. "I want you to do to me what I did to you in Paris." Her mouth opened and she breathed hard. "Yeah, I wanna try it this once."
Xander launched himself at him, kissing him hard. "Anything you want. I'll do it all for you, Jigen." He got him stripped and then himself, sitting on his lap to kiss and grope him. He was used to this, but this time Xander wasn't going to stop. "Anything in particular you want to make this special?" he asked once he knew Jigen's head was swimming.
"Not on my back."
"Sure, precious, anything you want," Xander promised, getting him lying down again. That way he could play all he wanted before he was ready to dive in and start the real prep work. He worked his way down to play with the hard cock, making Jigen moan and grab the sheets. "Anything you want, you just tell me," he ordered. Jigen thrashed around a bit, then got him off and flipped over. "Already?"
"I did some stuff earlier," he admitted, looking back at him. He felt the gentle finger enter him and then smirked at the surprised looked. "I have watched you two go at it all the time."
"True." Xander grabbed the bottle of lube, adding some to himself. Then he went back to playing with Jigen's back. He didn't want him able to think when he entered him. He'd lose some of his lust for a few moments and he wanted enough there to compensate. Jigen shivered under his fingers and he slowly moved into position. He nipped him and Jigen grabbed a pillow. "No," Xander said, taking it from him. "I need to hear. The same way you do." Jigen looked back at him. "I want you mindless, but loud." He smirked and played with the hard cock, making Jigen push back against his hips. "Ready?"
"Hell yes! Now!"
"Cool." Xander started the slow slide in. Jigen had done very well preparing himself. He was well stretched, he was well lubed, and he was so damn tight! "Relax, it's just me," Xander soothed, stroking up his back. "I'll stop if you want." Jigen shook his head but Xander paused for a few seconds, then went back to pushing inside. He finally made it and rested against the tense back, hugging him. "Shh, it's just me," he soothed, shifting a bit. Jigen pushed back and he pulled back, holding him while he went for it. He decided to switch their positions, getting them onto their sides without doing more than flopping sideways. Jigen grunted but Xander was making him feel good. He was hard again. He was starting to sweat. Xander went a little harder, back and forth slowly. Jigen wiggled so he got a bit faster, making his lover pant and clasp at Lupin's bound arm. "Let him go," he whispered. "Let him suck you."
Jigen got one of the handcuffs undone and Lupin got himself free, coming over to help. Lupin took a long kiss first before moving down to tease the leaking cock. "More, Xander, he's waiting for me."
"I'm always gentle the first time. The second time is for back-ripping rides." Jigen laughed and took his hand to hold. "Or I could go a bit faster."
"Go as fast as you want."
Xander shrugged and sped up to his usual speed, earning a loud, beautiful shout. "Prostate," he whispered in the blushing ear. He did it again and again and again until Jigen's mind evaporated and he was just in it for the pleasure. Xander nudged Lupin with his foot and mouthed, 'get me too', then nodded at the bottle of lube. Lupin smirked and nodded, doing that for him while he was working on keeping Jigen satisfied. Jigen was howling now as he sped up even more, taking what was now his. This was how he had imagined it. Hearts and flowers were for other people, with Jigen it was always about long, fast, and hard. Jigen finally came and Xander couldn't resist going over, coming with his own shout of passion into the twitching body. He soothed himself by stroking Jigen's chest. "Whenever you're ready," he promised.
Jigen laid there for a bit until the hardness inside him slid out. Then he looked back at Xander. "Wow."
Xander grinned. "That's a compliment." He kissed him. "Give me a minute, there are things we can do to make the ache ease some."
Xander opened their drawer and pulled out a small plug. "It'll let you shrink down to an intermediate stage, then finish in the bath," he promised.
"I'm fine," Jigen repeated, taking it and tossing it off the side of the bed. "I don't mind. It means I really did that." He pulled Xander on top of him, kissing him again. "Thank you."
"Welcome. Anytime you want, I'm so there," he promised with a wicked grin. "Even if it's in a closet during a job."
Lupin spanked him. "That's my thing, not his." He grinned at Jigen. "Welcome to our side of the fence. Did you want to do the same thing to him now or should I just change him back to female and have him now?"
"Give me a few minutes. I'm fricken' old, Lupin."
"Not that old," Xander teased, nipping him on the nose, then on the chin. "Really old guys can't get it up that way."
Jigen shivered and he moved backwards, letting Lupin suck him now while he worked on getting Jigen hard again. Jigen groaned and grabbed the headboard, not caring what they did, it was feeling pretty good. Finally he couldn't take it anymore and pushed Xander off him, flipping him over and taking him harder than he usually did. "It's only fair."
"It is," Xander agreed, grabbing onto the edge of the bed so he wouldn't go crashing into the wall. "More? Please?"
"You'll get more," he promised, moving faster now. He felt a gentle finger touching and looked at Lupin. "What?"
"I just wanna play. I wouldn't dare take without permission." He slid a finger in and Jigen winced but he found the prostate and it was all good again. Jigen went back to playing with Xander and Lupin was reopening him for his own purposes. When he finally got Jigen up to where he wanted him, he kissed him. "Can I?"
"Lupin," he groaned.
"Just for a few minutes. I've always wanted to, you know that."
"Fine. Make it quick." Jigen held still while Lupin stuck himself inside, wincing a bit, but then he moved and it was it was earlier. It was good, it was hot, and it was making him want to fuck Xander harder. He went back to pounding his Xander into the mattress, taking and giving at the same time. Now he knew why Xander liked being in the middle. Xander whimpered then shouted when he finally got stroked again, coming hard underneath him. Xander pulled off and flipped over, pulling him down to kiss and touch him while Lupin finished him off from the inside. It was like they were connected through his body. He couldn't really find his breath. His head was swimming. His vision was narrowing. He felt Lupin speeding up just a bit more and knew what was coming. He pulled back to breathe, letting Xander stroke him now. Lupin came with a shout, and Jigen came from that and Xander's hand, and both of them collapsed on top of their princess. "Get off," Jigen complained as soon as he could speak.
Lupin flopped onto his side, holding them both but stroking Jigen's back. "You're damn good."
Jigen looked at him. "Thanks. This is still going to be rare."
"Hell, we'll take it whenever we can get it," Xander promised, kissing him gently. "Anytime, anywhere, any way you want, Jigen. You're ours now. You can't escape." He grinned lasciviously. "Just like I'm yours, now you're mine."
Jigen kissed him. "Shut up," he said fondly. "This isn't a cult."
"No, it's a marriage, it's about the same," Lupin offered, grinning at him.
Xander nudged Jigen. "Next we gotta get him that way."
"Oh, no," Lupin protested. "You know I only top." Xander pouted at him, making him feel miserable. "Once. Maybe."
"Tonight?" Jigen asked.
"Fine," Lupin sighed, nodding that he'd do it. Xander kissed him and he lost his train of thought. "Are you sure you're not an incubus?"
"Yup, very," Xander said happily. She wiggled underneath Jigen. "We should get this one into a warm bath so he won't ache."
"I'm fine," Jigen said patiently. "I believe we were gonna solve the problem of that potion last night?"
"Let me get hard again," Lupin promised. "We can bathe and then do that." They each got kissed and Xander went to run a bath, coming out in his alter-ego, Sylvia. They headed in there to bathe with her, teasing and tempting her to do whatever they wanted her to do. Xander was the best at this stuff and they adored her doing whatever they wanted. It was like magic how willing she was. She sucked, she licked, she didn't bite, and she did anything they could dream up. And now they were going to pop the cherry Ethan and Marcus had given her back. Well, Lupin was. Jigen was too damn tired to do much more than sit there and watch, and hold her when it was time so she was resting on him.
Xander looked up as the kids came to pounce him where he was laying on the grass a few weeks later, giving them all a hug. "What's up, guys?" He put aside his book to pay attention to them. "I thought you guys were gonna go play with Lotus and Ishi."
"Unclie pay attention to the auntie," one of his twins said seriously. "They say to come bother the daddies."
Xander beamed and patted her on the head. "We don't mind when you want to play with us. What should we play today?" He sat up, looking at all four girls. "We could play hide and seek, or tag, or we could read some more," he offered when they didn't say anything.
"Hide and seek," the Fourth said cheerfully. The other girls nodded and they took off, making him 'it' by default. He always found them.
Xander grinned, closing his eyes to make it legal. The kids were pretty predictable. They always hid near the same spots. He slowly counted to twenty then heaved himself up and headed after the one he could hear giggling. He found his twins really fast, one was behind a tree and one was under a bush. The other two he couldn't find for the life of him. Instead of panicking, he looked down at the twins. "Where did the other two go?"
His darker haired daughter grinned. "Their daddy find them first," she said happily. "He play with them."
He smoothed some of her hair down. "You two could do the same thing. Your dad's probably bored too." They headed off, running inside. Xander went back to his blanket and his reading, sighing in defeat. He never got to play with the kids or his lovers. It was like the kids saw him but his new husbands never did anymore. He forced himself to go back to his reading. It was an interesting subject. He had met some of the local demons during his time back in time. They had been pretty neat but he'd never really known anything about them until now. He gritted his teeth at the squeal of one of his daughters saying she had been bored, then forced himself to relax again. He tried to read but it wasn't happening. It was like he was invisible. So he'd go be invisible somewhere he could satisfy his curiosity. He had an open invitation to find the kitsune he had met back then. They had become friends when it had shown up to see why he was stealing a daughter of the clan back from someone. He went into the house, changing his look and his clothes. The local demon hierarchy was much more formal and stiff about some things. He'd be better accepted as a female who looked Japanese. He dressed for a formal meeting, including the sandals that hurt his feet because they were so stiff, then headed off. It wasn't that hard to find a portal nearby. He'd found it back then and it hadn't shifted any. He walked through, smiling at the guardian as he produced his invitation.
Lupin looked around the dinner table, then at Jigen. "Where's Xander?"
"We come to play you," Ishi told him. "He went off 'cause we no play with him."
"He did what?" his father asked.
Ishi looked at him. "The girls come to play with him and then they go play with their daddies. Uncle Xan-Xan go visiting in formal clothes." He shrugged. "We think he went to play and find a neat new score."
Goemon looked at the other two adults. "Have you been ignoring him?"
Jigen looked confused. "I didn't think so. We saw him this morning."
"No, we woke up the kids for that hike this morning," Lupin corrected, starting to frown. "He was in bed last night but he was asleep when we got in there."
Goemon groaned, shaking his head. "Aren't you two supposed to be better at dealing with women?" He looked at the children. "I suppose you're all staying with me for a few days."
"Why?" Lupin asked. "He probably went shopping. Ishi, did he have a bag?"
"Him had a backpack," Lotus said, looking very serious. "Wearing pretty red kimono she comed home in." She smiled suddenly. "She head for mountains."
"There, I knew it, he's just in Iga," Lupin noted, shrugging at Goemon's look. "He'll be fine."
Goemon shook his head. "If he believes he's being ignored, I'd be surprised if it didn't take a few days for him to come home. Do you not remember your vows?"
"To love, honor, and spoil," Jigen noted. "We have been. We gave him something pretty the other night."
Sierra, one of the mini-Lupins, shook her head. "Last week, daddies. He showed us."
"We haven't spoiled her in a week?" Lupin asked, looking at Goemon, who shook his head, giving them a smug look from behind the glass he was drinking out of. "I thought we had. There was that chocolate."
"Plus the necklace," Jigen agreed.
"That was week before last," Savanna, the twin with the silver streak in her dark hair, noted. "He show us those too, let us have some chocolates."
"Huh," Jigen said, looking at Lupin. "Do you feel like we should probably hunt her down and drag her back? Before another convention chase?"
"If she went off with only a backpack and heading for the mountains, I doubt she's heading for the US and some convention or another," Lupin offered. "She's probably going shopping."
Goemon shook his head, looking at his children. "Did she head up the road?"
Lotus shook her head. "No. She head into mountains."
"Into the mountains?" Goemon asked his daughter. She nodded, beaming at him. "You'll show us tomorrow."
"She got to the pass," Ishi told him. "Then went left. I was watching while you and mommy talked."
"Thank you," Lupin said, smiling at him. He looked at Goemon. "Isn't that woods?"
"It is," he agreed. "There's no way he's heading for town that way."
Jigen wiped his mouth. "Which handcuffs are we bringing this time?"
"The blue set," Lupin told him. "They're soft and fashionable." Goemon snorted. "If I remember right, there wasn't anything in that direction but a few cliffs."
"She found something back there back in time," Goemon offered. "I don't know what. She disappeared for a few days and came back much happier."
Lupin put down his fork. "You let her go off on her own?"
"She was perfectly safe," Goemon countered. "Xander is not helpless, even as a female."
"Why would she go in a formal kimono into the woods?" Jigen asked. He didn't understand her like for kimonos in the first place, but one didn't usually wear formal ones into the woods. The one Lotus had mentioned was good enough to meet royalty in. This didn't add up. He looked at Lupin. "She's been fine, right? Not depressed?"
"No, not that I've seen," Lupin admitted, looking at the kids. "Did Xander tell you guys where he was going?"
They all shook their heads.
"She carry a small box," Ishi offered.
"Who's up there that she could be visiting?" Lupin asked.
"There's supposedly a mystic that's moved in somewhere in the mountains," Goemon offered. They relaxed, Xander got on well with mystics. Xander often liked to talk to mystics and other magic users, said it kept him in the field. "We could ask Marcus."
"We could, but we can wait for a few days. She obviously wanted to be left alone," Lupin said firmly. "Otherwise she would have told us."
"She left after you guys went for ice cream," Ishi told him.
"I guess that answers who was in the bathroom," Jigen noted, taking another bite of dinner.
"True," Lupin agreed with a small smirk. "We'll pounce her when she gets back."
"I'll watch the children while you go look for her in a few days," Goemon told them.
"You don't think she'll be back tomorrow?" Lupin asked.
"No," he said simply.
Marcus appeared and smiled at them. "Hello, all." He hugged and kissed each of the kids. "I'm back for a bit. Ethan's back to being stable and happy so he doesn't need my mothering." He sat down next to his master. "If you want, I can teach lessons in the morning."
"We'll work with all the children tomorrow," he noted. "Lupin and Jigen will be chasing Xander. She left for the woods."
"There is that mystic up there," Marcus noted. He poured himself some water. Lupin lifted up the bowl of noodles. "No thank you, I ate with Ethan." He looked at them. "I can do a tracking charm, make sure she's still nearby."
"She wear pretty red kimono she comed home in," Lotus told him.
"Came," Marcus instructed gently, smiling at her.
"Came," she said proudly. He patted her on the head. "Still wearing it though."
"That is a very pretty one," he agreed. "Very formal." He looked at them. "I'll do a tracking charm," he said with a small smile. "There's no telling where she is. She could have teleported off."
Jigen and Lupin both groaned. Then they nodded and ate more. They'd probably need it if Xander was in trouble.
Marcus came in off the back porch and looked at them. "Well, one came up that she's fine and happy. The other came up unknown. She's apparently celebrating something off this plane."
Goemon looked at them. "She did meet a kitsune back then. She told me about it."
"So she's playing with Japanese demons now?" Jigen asked. "She doesn't like demons."
"These aren't like the ones who tortured her," Marcus reminded him. "These aren't the hosts of hell, these are simply more elemental beings. She's never had a prejudice against them." He sat down next to Goemon. "The children are all asleep. I checked on them while I was out there, but your son is probably going to sleepwalk again tonight." He nodded. "Should I find a way to their hold for you?"
"No, she'll come back," Lupin said firmly.
"Eventually," Goemon agreed. "She's probably not going to be back for a while."
"Thank you for that oh-so-helpful opinion, Goemon. Stick it back where it came from," Lupin said bitterly.
"We'll go this weekend if she's not back," Jigen told him.
Lupin snorted. "We're leaving her with thieving demons for most of a week? Who knows what sort of problems that could cause."
"She'll be fine. They wouldn't hurt her," Marcus pointed out. "They're usually gentle creatures. She'd get along fine with them, she does Goemon."
"True," Lupin agreed dryly, "but she still slips up. Her playful nature will come out sometime."
"They're fox spirits," Goemon told him. "They'd understand that. She might as well be one herself some days." He looked at Marcus. "When you were in her room, was the sword she got from my family in there?"
"No, Master," he said respectfully. "I didn't see it in its holder."
"Then it's probably with her," he sighed. "I had hoped she would hand it to Lotus eventually."
"She will, when Lotus figures out how to use one," Jigen told him.
"Your family gave her a sword," Lupin said flatly, glaring at him. "Why did *your* family give her a sword?"
"Because they liked her, she stuck up for them, and she rescued a kidnaped daughter," Goemon told him, giving him a look. "Nothing further than that. "They thought she was a good enough warrior for being female."
Lupin got up and went into his bedroom, going to pack a bag. He came out and handed Jigen his gun. "Come on, we're going to find her right now."
"It's dark," Jigen pointed out. "We'd never find her in the dark. We don't even know how to get to their plane."
"There are many portals. I'd assume she took one," Marcus offered. "She's not strong enough to teleport there. I'll work on a locating charm in the morning, Lupin." Lupin gave him a look. "We probably can't find it unless they want us to," he noted. "They're very crafty. You were often compared to one when you were younger locally."
"I ...." He sat down, pouting now. "This isn't fair. We were paying attention to her."
"No, we weren't. We took the kids from her today while they were playing," Jigen told him.
"They wanted to come play with us."
"Yeah, but we didn't even tell her that we had 'em," Jigen said.
"She had that look that said she was feeling ignored yesterday when she brought Lotus back from shopping with the girls," Goemon offered. "That's why she came up for the extra practice and to help me with Ishi." He looked at Marcus. "I believe it's time for you to teach Lotus how to shield herself. We found a plant demon underneath their window last night giving her adoring looks."
"Of course, Master," Marcus answered immediately. "They're harmless but if she's emanating it could cause many problems." Goemon nodded so Marcus went to pull down the book with that so he could reread the section on it before going after her.
Lupin snorted. "A plant demon?"
"Some sort of flower," Goemon told him. "It looked harmless enough but it was about six feet tall and giving her that look like she was its personal Goddess."
"Wonderful," Jigen noted. "Next she'll start talking to tree nymphs."
"We have one of those. It lives in the treehouse," he said dryly, getting up. "I'll go home. Send the children down before you leave tomorrow." He left them there to stew in their own misery. They deserved it. Married not even a month and already ignoring their husband. It was pitiful. He hadn't let Fujiko out of his sight for that first month. That thought brought up another, darker one but he repressed it and ignored it. He didn't want to think on that anger. He was working through it and this was not the time for that.
Lupin looked at Jigen. "Dawn?"
"Ten," he noted. "I'm not young enough to get up at dawn anymore." He stretched and stood up. "But I am gonna take a shower. See you in bed." He headed that way, going to think by himself. He decided against a shower and ran a bath with Xander's bubbles and her rubber duck. Lupin and he had gotten it a few months back as a tease and she had liked it a lot. It made him feel closer to her.
Lupin stared out at the stars, mentally fuming at their husband. He was in such trouble when they finally found him.
Xander looked across the celebration, smiling down at her host. "This is a very nice castle."
"Thank you. We try," he admitted, leading her outside. "You promised to tell me why you ran away," he noted once they were alone.
"They were ignoring me." She shrugged lightly and sipped her wine. It was like nothing they'd ever had before on Earth. "It was like I was invisible. So I went to be not-invisible somewhere else. I remembered promising to visit once we were back in this time and thought now would be perfect. Then I'd go home in a few days, and hopefully they'd have missed me this time. And if they didn't, then I'd go on a rip around the world to make them chase me again." She smirked. "That is one thing, Lupin hates it when I do solo jobs without his approval."
"You're good enough to do so, I suppose you constitute a rival."
Xander shook her head. "Not even. I'm not that good of a thief. The breaking and entering isn't really my strength. Now, just breaking, that I'm good at," she quipped.
The fox spirit laughed and shook his head. "I've noticed that about you." He patted her on the hand and glanced back inside. "Hmm. Elf."
Xander looked inside, then down at him. "They are as skinny and arrogant as you read in the books." She sipped her wine again. "Do we have to greet and be nice?"
"It would be proper," he agreed, leading her inside. He bowed to the male elf, a cordial, yet very careful and not overly respectful move. "Welcome to our celebration, Lord Armish. What do we owe the honor of your presence?"
"That one," he said, nodding at the woman. "It was said she was demonic."
"A consort against my will, nothing further," Xander noted, giving him a cold look. "I'm as human as you're not." He scowled. She smiled sweetly. "That's what happens when you're gifted against your will and without your permission." She moved on, going to find someone to dance with. She had missed dancing with Jigen. She saw another elf and nodded at it, then moved on to one of her host's retainers. His eyes widened. "I wish to dance and you're closer to my size. Would that be appropriate?" she asked.
He smiled and nodded, taking her out onto the floor. "Of course, Lady Xander. I thank you for choosing me." They moved very carefully. He was stiff, but an excellent dancer. It made up for her lack of skills in this art. "You don't take lessons?"
"I've taken a few ballroom lessons with one of my husbands but nothing further," she noted, smiling at him. "It was for a heist."
"Ah." He nodded, switching his rhythm so she could better keep up, and earned another beautiful smile from her for it. "Let me pick out your next one?"
"As long as I get to dance with someone from each faction or family or clan, however you guys do that up here. I don't want to start a power play. I hate politics."
"That's fine, Lady Xander. I'd never use you to offend someone. Though, our new guest does appear to be miffed."
"He's an elf."
"That is their natural state," he chuckled. "Very witty."
"Thanks." She wrinkled her nose at him, then grinned a wicked grin. "He doesn't like me because I was used to untip the balance."
"We had thought that was you." He looked at the elf again. "They don't like us much either. Ignore him, most of us do. Only my Lord has to pay attention to him unless he's talking to one of us directly." She nodded, letting him escort her to her next partner. "This is the Lady Xander. She's willing to take gentle instruction in dancing," he noted to the woman he had chosen.
"Very well. She wasn't too bad." She took Xander's hand and led her back to the floor. "I hear you change gender?" She nodded and grinned slightly. "Your choker?" Xander nodded again. "Interesting. What do you look like as a male?"
"Much the same. Only American."
"Ah. Silver hair?"
"Radiation from being gifted against my will."
"Then you are him," she said, smirking at him. "Now I know where I've seen you before." Xander nodded. "Relax, we are nothing like them."
"I know, that's why I know I can trust you not to kill me." She laughed and nodded, moving them further away from the Elf Lord. "Thank you. He's still scowling at me."
"He'll probably try something. Are you armed, Lady Xander?"
"Not presently. I brought a sword with me but I left it in my room as a show of respect. All I have is a small dagger." She looked over the elf. "I could probably beat him with it though."
"They are quick."
"Yes, but so am I." She smirked at the shocked look. "I am trained enough to use a sword. I don't fence, but I am quite good."
"Good. Excellent in fact. Would you like to attend the archery classes with me tomorrow? If I remember correctly you do know how to use a bow."
"I use a crossbow but sure. Come get me up?"
"I'll send a page," she promised, stepping back as the dance ended. "Very nicely done. With some practice you'll be better than average." She led her back to her next dance partner. "I had noticed that you weren't picking a side among us so I'll leave you with him." She bowed and went to get some punch and gossip.
Xander blushed at the strong, virile demon. It was an incubus and it was flexing its power. "Dance?" she asked.
"I'll calm it down around you," he promised, leading her out to the floor. "I do know of you, Xander Harris. Our class learned of your plight and who you were. We were told that you were a great hunter."
"Not unless I'm forced to be. For nearly ten years there weren't any slayers in Europe." The demon nodded, looking wise. "So Dawn and I both subbed in now and then. Now there's a few so we don't have to. I'd never kill one who wasn't causing problems."
"I thank you, Xander. You are quite graceful for what you've been through."
"I've healed and moved on."
"Good. That is always best." He smiled down at her and noticed her blush. "How are your husbands?"
"I could go torment them."
"It wouldn't help any." She smiled up at him. "I'll go back in a few days and they'll either realize I was gone or I'll go on a rip and rampage around the world with this new one."
"I felt her."
"It's supposed to be a boy. Or possibly boys."
"Boy and girl," he noted, touching her stomach. "Very strong already. One will be just like you." He pulled his hand back and put it back on her back. "The daughter will have a few health problems but she should be fine."
"Being up here?"
"No, that's actually helping them. Her line wasn't long but it wasn't a death in childhood. Nor was it work related," he noted. Xander nodded, looking sad. "It happens to all beings, even my kind."
"I know, but it's a depressing thought."
"Then forget it," he said, taking it from her. She relaxed again and he soothed her back into her happier mood. He handed her off to another partner and went to report to his Lord. "We must talk," he noted, breaking into the staring contest. The elf sneered at him. He gave him a look back. "Unless you wish me to visit your wife while you're here, I'd quit. I am beyond this petty politicking." He drew his Lord aside and shared what he had felt off Xander with him. They'd have to take the daughter up here some day to keep her alive. It was the only way she'd last.
Lupin looked at the rock that held the portal, then at Marcus, who had come up to help them. "She's where?"
"The doorway is closed on their side," he noted carefully. Lupin was having a fit. He had even yelled at Jigen earlier. "We can only request that they open it."
"Why?" Jigen asked tiredly. It had been one hell of a hike up here at the pace Lupin set.
"If we forced it open, it could start to rip their plane apart and with her there it could well kill her and the twins."
"Fine," Lupin agreed. "How do we ring the bell or knock or whatever?"
"We wait until dusk. Most demons are active then." He sat down and started a small fire. It was chilly up here. Jigen gave him a grateful look as he sat next to it. Lupin paced around, keeping warm with his irritation and anger. "It's only noon," Marcus said quietly, making Lupin stop. "You could relax, Lupin. She's fine. They would never harm her. If they allowed her up to their world, then they consider her worthy of respect and admiration. A friend possibly. They would never harm her."
"Still! She's not supposed to be there! She's supposed to be here! With us!"
"She was until we didn't pay any attention to her," Jigen noted, staring at the fire. "Then she did what she did last time, went looking for some excitement." Lupin flopped down beside him. "It's not that hard to understand why. The kids wouldn't play with her, we wouldn't play with her, and even Goemon couldn't hold her attention by getting her to help him with the kids. We saw her like we see our passports. Useful things to have around."
Lupin grimaced. "I don't see Xander that way. I never have. Most of the time I see her as a clever little helper."
"She's not one of Santa's elves," Marcus noted with a grin. "She's a thief in her own right, Lupin."
"Yeah, see her like you used to see Fujiko," Jigen offered. "She's a thief in her own right but she never tries to fuck us over."
"That too may change if she's not soothed this time," Marcus warned. "She didn't share any of her hauls last time outside of the one that went to Goemon." Lupin looked hurt. "He didn't quit paying attention to her."
"I wasn't ignoring her, I was working!" he defended.
"You had locked yourself in your office," Jigen said firmly. "I was stuck in bed with my neck and you were behind a thick door. So she went to find some excitement and some neat hauls. What did she pull? I thought she only pulled the Vegas job," Jigen asked Marcus.
Marcus smirked. "He did a few others. A small jewelry heist, which went to help a group of nuns who helped him when his car broke down one night on the way to Dallas. A small heist in San Diego that allowed some hackers access to a major mainframe to stop an evil businessman. One in New York after that convention. She pissed off one of the local families that day because a piece had been part of a wedding set for a daughter. That got sent back with a note of apology from what I heard through Ethan's contacts. Then there was the fight in LA."
"Fight?" Jigen asked.
"LA?" Lupin asked.
Marcus nodded, taking a sip from his water bottle. "One of the Princes who helped torture him appeared and demanded to see him. He captured Angel and his people as bait. I was informed after Xander was and I met him there after he had already walked in and nearly killed the thing by hitting it repeatedly. He worked out a lot of anger and only got a few cuts from a claw. It was impressive, I've never seen Xander brawl before." Lupin looked even more pissed. "I got there after he had the thing on the ground and he was working on destroying its ribcage with his fists and feet. I beheaded it and he calmed himself down again. Then he left and went back to that small academy's town. There was that trial and the judge demanded he appear." He smirked. "He had been in Lucern until then, but he left to deal with the demon. It apparently sent a note directly, we had to get our information through other sources. He was rather impressive though." He took another sip.
Lupin shook his head. "He didn't even tell us about that," he said miserably.
"Why would he have? It was handled by his standards," Jigen noted. "I'm more worried that he didn't tell us about any of those jobs."
"I did tell him he didn't have to share them," Lupin reminded him.
"Yeah, but I never heard a thing about them from anyone," Jigen told him. "Neither of us did."
"They weren't exactly major heists."
"Yes, but that thing in New York should have come back to us," Jigen pointed out. "It means we're really out of the loop, not just looked at oddly. We're not respected any more."
"This new head of the ICPO can't last forever," Marcus said philosophically. "The next one may reinstate our warrants. I know I get looked on in pity now. Like I'm sort of demented creature."
"We got that last month," Lupin sighed, looking defeated. "It's like they think we do this to show off or something. Like we're in it for the publicity."
"Then we go back to our former ways," Jigen noted. "We go and take down the other crime families until we're the top of the heap."
Lupin gave him a long look. "I was offered the second position in Europe's Dark Syndicate."
Jigen shuddered. "Thank you for turning that down. Did you shoot the messenger and send his body back as a statement?"
"No," Lupin said with a small smirk. "I tied him up and brought him back, then ranted at the person who offered it. He said he understood. Said he'd keep me in mind for a higher position after he died." Jigen shuddered harder. "By then we'll be eighty," he noted.
"Still, it's a bad thought, Lupin."
"We could look over the kids' shoulders," Lupin offered.
"Maybe," Jigen admitted bitterly. "If they go our way."
"Some of them will," Marcus promised. "Xander's said he's only seen two of the children who are going to go good. One of the twins and one of Lupin's."
"The Fourth?" Lupin asked, looking alarmed. Marcus shook his head and Lupin relaxed. "Thank God. I'd hate to have to change their names around."
"Which of the twins?" Jigen asked.
"Wonderful," he said dryly. "I'm sure she'll make a great boss after Zenigata and Ray."
"You want our kids to have to chase their brothers and sisters?" Lupin asked.
Jigen looked at him. "Do you think Pop will let them go to just *any* department?"
"No," he agreed, starting to grin. "I think he'll snatch them straight from the academy and right into his hands. That is, if Xander hasn't arranged for him to do it anyway. I guess it'll be a switch when his youngest daughter starts to follow ours around. She loves jewels."
"Yes, but Dawn's teaching her about jewelry creating," Jigen reminded him, patting him on the shoulder. "If she went bad, Pops would die."
Lupin sighed. "It's true. He'd have a heart attack as soon as he heard. We'd have to give him a nice eulogy."
"Perhaps we should write one now, in case," Marcus noted. The older men looked at him. "One never knows if we'll go before or after him. That way you can give one, even if you're not that. Tape it and have it played or some such."
Lupin cackled. "I love that idea! I'll have to work on that after we carry Xander home. Maybe in shackles and a gag."
"Your revenge fantasy obsession is showing again," Jigen quipped. Lupin frowned at him. "It is and it's still scary."
"Fine. I'll hog her to myself then," he said smugly. "Since I'm willing to spank him for this, I'll get his tight ass and his mouth."
"Yeah, because he won't get free and leave again," Jigen noted. "If you tie the boy down, he'll go again and he'll be pissed at us. We'll have to steal really pretty stuff for an apology. We might have to hit the quarterly gem sale in Brussels."
Lupin frowned at him. "I don't want to think about that. Xander would never make us do something like that." Jigen and Marcus both gave him a look. "We could apologize by finding him and taking him to the ocean again. Then we could tie him up and make him scream in pleasure."
Jigen patted him on the knee. "You keep thinking that, Lupin," he said, talking down to him. "I'm sure Xander or Goemon will correct you sometime." Lupin scowled at him. "He did threaten to take him from us if we didn't treat him right or if Xander asked."
"He'd better not try or we'll have many pieces of samurai laying around and his son will get to hold his sword much sooner than he had wanted," Lupin said coolly. "Xander is ours and Goemon had better not ever touch her again!"
Marcus burst out in giggles. "You can't honestly think those two would have an affair together, do you? They'd never suit each other and Goemon would *never* cheat on Fujiko. It wouldn't be honorable. That is insanity, Lupin."
"Marcus, go away," Lupin ordered. He pointed toward the house. "I mean it."
"Sure, I'll not stay here and help you open the portal," he said dryly, glaring at him. "My master would never dishonor his family or his name by doing something so stupid as taking your wife from you. Even if she came to him and pleaded for it to save her life he wouldn't. It is not honorable. His code of conduct would force him to commit suicide afterwards. Since it hasn't happened I doubt it would. They did spend time alone back then and nothing happened. You of all people should know that about him!"
"It's one of those obsession things. Xander is his," Jigen explained. "Lupin stole her because she's precious."
"He didn't steal her."
"He stole her from me," Jigen said with a small smirk for him. "Even though I'm still there, Xander is a treasure that he's protecting." Lupin got up and stomped off. "Hence his attitude and getting stuck on that dumbass thought."
"He should know that Xander would never do such things. Goemon would never do such things either, but he should be sure that his own spouse wouldn't."
"Look at who he had an obsession over before," Jigen offered. "Fujiko would have."
"Yes, but Xander's not Fujiko. He's much more stable, well-liked, more skilled, and has better sense than to live possessed for over two years. She may be a decent enough thief, but Xander can probably match her and doesn't have to flaunt his body to do so. Lupin has nothing to worry about. Xander may be a slut but he's not like that."
"Yeah, well, Lupin can't see that. He sees it as Xander being his treasure and only his treasure. He's guarding his treasure from other thieves. If he had his way, Xander would be in a very nice house that was tighter than the main hideout's safes. It's the same thing that makes him keep putting tracking devices on her." He pulled out his flask and took a sip. "Dusk?"
"Probably. I could set up a small magical test against it, see if they'll answer."
"If they're shielding Xander and she did run away because we weren't paying attention, will they hold it against us?" Lupin asked as he came back. Marcus nodded. "Then try that. We'll see if she's still there."
Xander looked at the archery range, then at the bowmaster. He smiled and took the bow that was being held out. "This isn't really my weapon of choice," he admitted, aiming for a target down the field. He had changed back this morning at the behest of his chaperone. He let the arrow fly, watching as it hit the edge of the center of the target. "Pretty good for a stationary target. I'm used to moving ones." He handed it back, bowing at the clapping he received.
"Moving targets?" the bowmaster asked.
"I was trained with a crossbow against vampires."
"Ah." He smirked and handed over a crossbow. "It pulls to the right."
Xander felt it and made a small adjustment to the tension of the line. Then he sighted and let a test fly. He took another arrow and hit the center of the target, a little to the right. The crowd clapped again. "No vampires?" he teased lightly.
"Not today. The only ones here are envoys," he said dryly, taking the crossbow back. "Good job for a human."
"Thank you." He got out of the way, watching as the students went to it. He frowned at one who was miserable and walked over, straightening him up by running a hand up his back before he could be noticed. The boy jumped and fired from a straighter position. "Now aim down the shaft," he ordered. "Don't flinch up when you release either." He helped the younger boy do it better and got a smile in return. "There, how's that?"
"Much better," the bowmaster agreed happily. "Had that problem?"
"I slouch, that's how my teacher corrected mine with a long bow." He shrugged and grinned. "Goemon's ancestor was fierce about those sort of things."
"Back then arrows were harder to come by," the bowmaster pointed out.
"Yeah, but I still killed, just not as cleanly." He shrugged. "I put down three deers."
"Congratulations. I'm sure you were a good provider for their table. Any foxes?"
"Only a normal one that was in the chickens. It had killed two of the five hens."
"Again, understandable." He nodded at the boy to try it again. He did so and it was another good shot. "You'll never be a marksman with it but you'll be able to hit a target soon," he offered, moving on to help the more beginning students.
Xander went back to his seat and took the glass of water. "Thanks."
"You really killed a regular fox?"
"They only had five hens and it had killed two of them. It was a clean shot, I used my gun. It never felt anything," he offered. "But they'd be without some food without those chickens."
"Then that is understandable."
"What are chickens?" one young girl asked. "I've never been on the human realm."
Xander created a picture of a chicken, and not a great one. He grimaced. "That's not the best picture but they roughly look like that. They lay eggs and they provide meat." He let it dissolve as the elf looked their way. "Humans find them important for base-level living. Eggs are nutritious and chickens are used for that until they're too old to lay. Then they're able to be made into soup, stews, and meat."
"Do they eat the unborn?"
Xander grinned. "Eggs may or may not be fertilized, but you gather them *long* before they could become a chicken. They're liquid when they're gathered, even if they were fertilized." Her mother looked at him. "I don't know how to explain this one. My kids know what chickens are and all about eggs."
Her mother leaned down and looked at her daughter. "Eggs are like those things that go into cakes. The yellow things." Her daughter nodded. "Only the humans get them from chickens and we create them. They're taken at that same stage so you can't tell if they were to become baby chickens or not." Her daughter smiled and nodded at both of them. The mother looked at him. "You have kits?"
Xander pulled out his wallet to let her see the pictures. "The blonde and dark-haired one with the silver streak are my twins. The other two are my step-daughters. I'm married to their fathers."
"Interesting. And now you're to have more kits?" Xander nodded. "Why?"
"Technically, these two kits weren't planned," Xander admitted with a small grin. "But I don't mind. I like kits. They're nice. They play with me and I get to teach them neat stuff. The older ones are almost always with their fathers these days so this way I have a kit for myself again."
She nodded. "Many women feel thus. Is the spell to make you fertile hard?"
Xander shrugged. "I don't know. I've never consciously used it. It was used on me as a method of reparation for the reason I have silver hair. Janus and the Powers both cast their own."
"Ah." She nodded wisely. "I had heard. At least you still feel joy."
"My husbands helped me heal a lot, both physically and mentally. I'm nearly back to normal now but I don't tend to be friendly to that sort of demon." She nodded wisely. "Elemental spirits and spirits like you and our gracious host and his people I have no quarrel with. They're necessary and needed. The others can all go take a flying leap onto the Sears Tower for fun and pleasure." The mother snorted, looking amused at that reference. "Sorry, but they can."
"It is understandable," she agreed. "We are not like them."
"No, not in the least. The one who hurt me was a Prince." Her eyes widened. "Yes, of there," he said gently. "Like I said, I have no problems being around you guys and other elemental spirits. I've had some wonderful talks with the tree nymph outside a friend's house. She's still pretty young and she likes to know about other places and their trees." The little girl giggled so he smiled down at her. "You are so cute! Nearly as cute as my own kids." She blushed and went to go play. "Sorry."
"It's all right. You are very proper with children. I'm sure your own are very cute."
"They try very hard. I had one who stole a necklace the other day," he said proudly.
"Congratulations, Xander." She patted him on the arm. "I'd best find her before she gets her tail all knotted." She headed off, going to do that.
Xander's friend leaned forward. "Don't worry, you didn't embarrass or upset her," he said quietly. Xander grinned back at him. "That child is rather troublesome. Much like your Savanna and the Fourth." He sat back again, clapping as one child hit the target. "Good job," he congratulated.
Xander smiled at her when she looked back. "I agree, good job. Next time aim just a fingertip lower." She nodded and did it again. The first one went into the ground so she aimed a little higher with her third and got it into the center of the target. Then she bounced around and cheered. Xander gave her a gentle pat on the back. "Good job!" She ran off to get a hug from her father then went back to do it again. "I've got to start my kids on this stuff," he decided. "It's time they learned some stuff from me and Goemon." His friend patted him on the back, his tails swishing happily.
Lupin looked over as the portal finally opened. "We'd like to see our wife," he said firmly. "She ran away to one of your courts."
Marcus looked at the demon, then smirked. "We wish to see the consort Xander. Her spouses are worried sick about her again."
"She is fine. There is a celebration tonight and she will be back in a few days." He walked back inside and closed the portal again.
Lupin looked stunned. "They can't do that!" He walked over and pounded on the stone but it was only a stone again.
Jigen sat down again, looking determined. "I'm sure they'll send her home soon. How long can she stay with kitsune? She's not a spirit and not a fox."
"There are limited human retainers," Marcus noted dryly. "It won't harm her to be there. The only thing that might happen is that the ones she's carrying now may become accustomed to the energy flows there and make her delivery a harder one and make them rather fussy until they readapt."
"No! They'll give her to us now!" Lupin said hotly. He stomped back over. "Open it again," he ordered.
"And risk Xander's life?" he asked gently, looking up at his boss. "If it rips, it could kill Xander first. She's not anchored to the power up there, Lupin. They'll be opening it again in a few hours. We can try again then. Sit and rest. Think up a smooth and convincing way to get to them." Lupin glared. "I won't risk Xander's life. I would miss him if he died." Lupin flopped down, looking miserable. "You're known for being smooth and suave, pull it out now. These are fox spirits. Use that in your favor. Plan this like you would a heist."
Jigen looked at him. "That is a good idea. Use that slick tongue to get us into there. We can kidnap her back later."
Lupin nodded, thinking hard about what could be done to get them through that guardian.
Xander walked into the meeting hall after dinner that night, noticing that the usual incubus envoy was missing and that a new one had taken his place. He walked up to his friend and gave him a gentle nudge and a nod at the new envoy. "What happened to the nice one last night?" he asked quietly.
"He was recalled home for a few days," he said gently. "This one is taking his place until he's back. I don't know of him, Xander."
"Then I won't let myself be alone with him." He smiled. "Thank you for the pretty kimono. It's very flattering."
"I thought you'd look good in it," he agreed happily. "It wouldn't fit most of us and it does suit you. I'll send you another tomorrow if you're staying."
"I'll probably go back the day after," she sighed, looking miserable. "Four days should be enough for them to have realized I'm not there."
"They're at the gateway," he shared, taking her to a place where she could look at them. "That one, he is quite upset. He was jumping around and shouting earlier. Looked like Zenigata really." Xander cackled. "What?" he asked innocently.
"I'll have to share that one. He'll hate it." She stroked his crest, making him hum in pleasure. "You're a great friend."
"I try, Xander. You're delightful to have around." He led her back to the meeting hall. "Should we let them in?"
"Let's see what they do in the morning. I'm feeling vindictive."
"That's fine. You should feel like that. It is your female nature coming to the fore." He led her out onto the floor in a dance. "You do much better."
"Thank you. I had some wonderful instructors last night," he said with a smile. When it ended, someone came to get his friend to take care of a problem. Xander found himself being approached by the incubus. He glanced around but no one else he knew was around. He sighed and firmed his resolve. "Yes?" he asked dryly. "You needed something?"
"Just to talk, Consort." He bowed respectfully. "There is news you probably should have."
"I want no news of there," she said firmly.
"Even that one or two are finding you their ideal consort?" he asked.
"Even that. They can't come near me without me killing them." He stiffened up and crossed his arms. "Please leave me alone. I am not comfortable around you."
"Fine. I'm sorry, Consort. I had no intention to offend, merely to gossip with you," he said smoothly, heading off to the other side of the room.
Xander headed out onto the balcony again, taking in some fresh air from the garden. He really hated those things. Last night's had been polite and nice. This one was slimy and a politician. He could feel it. Something was going to happen because of this. This was no coincidence. Maybe he should leave sooner. He looked around as he heard a gunshot. He walked back inside and found the captain of the guards. "I heard a gunshot," he said quietly. "In the garden." The man nodded and headed that way at once with six of his best men. Human guns never came up onto their realm. Xander stepped back into a corner to watch what was going on. Someone didn't want someone to live and he knew he was a prime suspect. Not that he had a gun up here, but he was one. He frowned as he saw a healer be pulled away and take off running once she was in the halls, heading to help with that. If it was his friend, or a child, he wouldn't allow them to suffer. He found them and pulled up what energy he could, touching the healer gently on the shoulder. "Take mine."
"Thank you, Consort." She worked on healing his friend's pierced stomach by sucking at his energy. "Do you know what could have done this?"
"I'd need to see the bullet." It was handed to him and he looked at it in the moonlight. "It's a thirty-eight. Not uncommon but not as common as the type I use most of the time." He handed it over. "It should have a resonance from whoever loaded it if I took the law of contagion right."
The guard looked impressed. "You practice?"
"Very little and only against people like the incubus' envoy." The guard nodded and went to do that. Xander went back to feeding her energy. "I didn't even bring one up with me," he told her. Then he hit himself on the head. "Never mind, there was a derringer in the backpack but it's a twenty-two." She shrugged and went back to healing the grave wound. "Will he be okay?"
"He should be, Consort." She looked at him. "They did this to frame you."
"I have no doubt of that," he noted. "But that bullet won't even fit into the gun I accidentally brought up."
The guard behind him coughed. "We took it from your room when we felt it, Consort. It's locked up and will be handed back when you return. We knew it was accidental. It's not your usual sort." Xander shook his head. "Then don't worry. What would the one that shot him look like?"
"Probably a revolver. Like what my husband Jigen carries. Are they still outside the portal?" The guard nodded. "Then you might ask him."
"We will do so." He went to check and see who went through the portal recently. One young one had and was summoned. The gun was found in his things and he was taken for questioning but let go quickly when another gun was found in the bushes. That one did have the user's taint on it and it was clear who it was. The young one went to put the gun he had stolen back and then went to collapse and tell the tale.
Xander looked up from brushing his female form's hair when his door opened and a guard walked in. "What's happened now?"
"There was an intrusion. We were sent to guard you," he noted. He looked her over, then frowned. "You might wish to dress. Just in case."
She stood up and put back on the robe she had been wearing. "Better?"
"Much. Thank you. Do you often change forms at night?"
"No, but my hair needed some brushing. It'll come back tangled if I don't." She shrugged and sat down to do that some more. It really had needed it. He was working on a knot when he felt something hit the back of his neck. "He...." He collapsed.
"I do not want to do this, but they are making me," the guard explained. He picked up the limp body and touched the amulet locked around his neck. It opened a small portal and the incubus' ambassador came out to get her. "She is very gentle," he said. The incubus shrugged and walked off. The guard felt the amulet release and went to tell on himself. Someone had to fix this before it got out of hand. He ran into his superior, who was searching for the source of the spell. "It was me," he admitted, going rigid. "I was forced." He started to choke and shake as the poison released by the amulet started to work through his body. "Demons, incubus!" he gasped, grabbing him as he fell.
"Find the human!" the head guard ordered, pointing. "Tell the Lord. Get him help!" His people ran off while he took care of his officer. "If you had told me, I would have protected you." The guard died, looking relieved. He got up and went to find someone to rip into pieces.
Xander woke up in a familiar looking room and glared at the demon across from him. He made a mental note of his body, he hadn't been touched. He quickly changed his form so he had no sexual organs. His bowels could back up for all he cared. It'd be a more pleasant death. The demon chuckled. "You'll die for this."
"I may, but I will not harm you. I wish to talk."
"You wish to die by kidnaping me," Xander corrected, standing up and moving away from him. "I do not wish to talk to you or any of your kind. I've killed more like you in the past."
"That may be, consort, but you are very powerful. On you are things that would kill me. We found that out when we checked you over." He stood up, towering over Xander's frailer form. "I only wish to speak for right now. You have no fear of me touching you."
"I have great fear of you touching me," Xander said bitterly. "Being raped repeatedly does that to one." He moved farther away. "Release me. I'm not going along with whatever plan you had in mind." His eyes narrowed when the demon stepped closer and he called power to him. "Stop, or else."
The demon chuckled. "I can defeat you down here."
"Not really. Anger is a wonderful tool. I'll die before I go anywhere near you," she spat.
"That's fine, I only wished to speak. I can do it from across the room." He went back to his seat and smiled. "See, I can be gentle and understanding." Xander didn't move. "You could sit."
"I could also fly, it doesn't mean I'm about to."
"True." He smiled. "I have in mind an alliance. You are a problem Hell has not yet had to face. I am looking to move up the ranks of my kind. You have on your body the means of my success and I have in my power the ability to give you anything you want. You'd no longer have to steal to have jewels. Nor would you have to sleep with two humans to find pleasure. I can give you everything and anything you need or want. All I ask is that you walk into a meeting naked and kill as many of the higher-ups as you can, including the biggest one."
Xander snorted, shaking her head. "While it might suit my desires to kill you all, why would I do such a thing to please you? You have nothing I can't buy and I like sleeping with both my humans. I don't need something like you to please me. You only make me ill."
"Consort, please. You enjoyed it," he said smugly.
"I didn't. Nor do I appreciate being reminded of being gifted against my will." He stepped closer. "I will kill you. I will make it a horrible experience so no one else tries something this stupid. I'll make you an example of exactly why none of you come near me ever the hell again." The demon chortled and Xander glared. "You think I'm kidding?" he asked in his most scary voice. "I know ways of torturing you that you don't. You forget, part of my *rape* was the forced knowledge being shoved into my head when some of the higher ones took me *against* my will."
"You enjoyed it."
"Screams don't mean pleasure. Not to humans." She loosened the top of her robe and found she was covered underneath by black paint. "Hey, not an issue." She pulled out her dagger and played with it. "What shall come off first?"
"Consort, I can give you anything you could ever want. All the pretty jewels in the world could be yours. I can make you a woman that all men want and desire."
"Who said I need that sort of stress!" she shouted. "I do not want to be here! I am not going along with your plans! I will kill you!" She lunged but he waved a hand and she was back on the pillows, arranged to suit his particular tastes. She felt her children, then relaxed. "You'd better not come near me. You make me miscarry, the world stays unbalanced."
"It's unbalanced in our favor."
"Hmm, and killing all of you would fix that, wouldn't it?" she sneered. She ignored the extra hair she now had and the jewels woven into the tangled mess. She ignored the heels, the lighter body, and all of it as she stood up again. "I will kill you. You are a dead demon. Prince or not, you will die." She lunged forward and stabbed him in the eye, making him roar. Other demons came running and she pulled out the knife, facing off with them. "This is not where I wanted to be. You will send me home, now. Or else I will unleash everything that was ever carved into my skin to destroy all of you and rebalance the world. Paint doesn't cover their effectiveness."
"Kill her!" her captor yelled, standing up.
Xander turned and pulled up more power, throwing an attack at him. He growled and she got out of his way as he lunged for her, watching as he took out most of his own minions. She snorted in derision and got him in the spine. These guys were built like extra-large humans. They had the same weaknesses. The dagger didn't do much against him but it was enough to open the skin over his spinal cord and dig between two vertebrae before he could turn and get her. He fell with a bellow of pain and she pulled it out, then jabbed it back into the injury. Then she started to work on his parts, making him decorated and pretty like she was underneath the paint. She knew what the marks looked like very well. At the end she cut off his nuts and penis, using them on him. Then she glared at the remaining demons. "Next?" she asked. They scattered. She drug the being out of the room and down the hall. She knew this hallway. She walked into the meeting hall through the portal and tossed him at the Lord's feet. "Yours I believe." She glared at him. "Stupid idiot took me from the kitsune. Send me back or I'm turning him over. He's *exactly* like me." He looked stunned so she turned him over. The closest demons looked and found themselves either in pain or dying. He looked at the highest demon, sneering at him. "Send me home. I had no desire to be here this time either!"
"Fine!" he shouted, creating a portal. "Go!"
She bowed and walked through, directly onto Goemon's lawn. She fell down to her knees and got sick, heaving heavily. She felt a hand touch her and shrugged it off. "Don't!" she gasped. "Get Goemon! Now!" The kid, whichever it was, ran off to get him. Goemon came out, squatting beside him. Xander looked up at him and he winced. "They had me again," he said quietly. "I need to be contained and helped out of this stuff."
"Then we will. The children can be watched by Dawn." He went to send them off while Xander lay on the lawn. Dawn appeared and a portal opened. "You heard?"
"I felt. He just took out one whole branch of Hell's royalty. Kids? Come play with mine," she called. All of them but Lotus came. She picked up Lotus and carried her with her. "You especially can't stay." She looked at Goemon. "Wash her, trim off the nasty mess. Take the jewels. We can clean them later of whatever taint they carry. Don't tell Lupin, he'll go insane." She closed the portal.
Goemon turned and found his son in the doorway of the hallway. "What are you still doing here?"
"I'm going to help."
"You're not. Dawn, you missed one." She came back and grabbed him, taking him with her by force, no matter how much he was kicking and struggling. "You'll understand later, son." Goemon grabbed a hose and attached it to his sink, taking it outside through a window. Then he went to get some scissors and other necessities he'd need. He walked out into the yard again, noticing how Xander was dressed. "That is pretty. Did you buy that one?"
"My buddy stole it," Xander moaned, looking up at him. "Just get me out of it, I'll scrub myself. I'll let you cut off my hair."
"That's fine, Xander. They're probably still in the mountains looking for you." He handed her the hose and went to turn it on. He came out and found her stripped and washing the paint off her body. He winced at the ugly scars but moved in to help her. It was a tangled mess. Her hair was longer than it ever had been, down to her knees, and it was tangled and interwoven with gem stands and things. He tried to cut it but the scissors wouldn't go through any of it. He finally gave up and moved away, waiting until Xander had finished washing off the paint and any remaining slime or whatever. He noticed her body wasn't quite correct and looked at her. "You made sure they couldn't touch you?"
"First thing," she admitted. "I woke up painted but they hadn't touched me otherwise." She tossed the hose aside and skimmed her hands over her body. "Good enough for now. What about my hair?"
"The scissors wouldn't cut it. I'll need you to lay very still so I can cut it off." She nodded and went to find a good spot for that, perching her head on top of a large stone that Goemon liked to sit on and watch the sunset. Her hair was put across the other side and she looked away. "Relax and do not move." He pulled his sword and cut, breaking the stone and the hair. He put it up and kicked away the mess of hair, watching as she went inside. "Use Fujiko's shower."
"I'll use the room I used to use's," she promised. "Fuji would hate that." She went inside, going to do that. It had harsher soap in there because he was usually dirty from fixing something for them.
Goemon looked at the mess of hair then grimaced. "That is sickening." He went to get a lighter to light the hair on fire. The gems and gold should survive well enough. The whole mass went up quickly and just as quickly burnt itself out. It left the remains of the hair underneath the gems and gemmed hairpins. He put on a pair of work gloves and moved the treasures into a shoebox he had found. The rest he buried in the ground and the glove was tossed away. Then he went to check on Xander, finding her using that pumice soap on her whole body. "It will be fine," he soothed.
"It won't. It really won't." She opened the curtain to look at him. "Does Fuji still keep her stash of drugs?" He nodded. "Can you find me a sleeping pill?" He shook his head. "Why not?"
"The children you carry."
"Damn it." She closed the curtain, going back to her scrubbing. "I'll figure that out later then."
"That would be fine. Would you like to talk?"
"If you want, I would listen. You have done that for me enough times."
"I know, but I don't think I'll need to. I just have some flashbacks for a few days or so."
"If you say so. If you want to speak of this, I'll be outside. There is probably something around here you could wear." He walked off, going to find her something to wear. He ran into Lupin and Jigen coming in. "He's fine."
"Lupin, calm down," Jigen ordered. "They said she'd been taken. She's here?"
"In the shower in her bathroom. One of the demons wanted to have her help him gain status from what little I know. She said she was not touched." Lupin relaxed slightly and went back there. "Jigen, we must work on cleaning the things she came home in," he said quietly. "I've burned the hair and the jewels are contained but I don't want to touch them personally." He went to turn off the hose then go outside to gather up the clothes. They'd need cleaned. He found more jewels inside her clothes and carefully picked them out, tossing them into the shoebox as well. Then he bundled it up. That would need to be cleaned.
Lupin came out of the house to watch him. "That's pretty."
"She came back wearing it."
"She said her friend found it for her," he said tiredly, leaning on the railing. "She seems fine." Goemon looked at him. "I know she'll need some soothing and calming down. We can do that. Did you give her anything?"
"No. I didn't have anything I could trust not to hurt her or the children she's carrying." He handed over the box. "Dawn said we'd have to clean these."
"Marcus was with us but he went to tell Ethan. Marcus?" Lupin called. Marcus appeared, looking grim. "Ethan have a relapse?"
"No, just a migraine." He took the shoebox and walked outside with it, going to clean it. "How did you get them free?"
"Fire. It was tangled in her hair. I burned it and then buried it," Goemon told him.
Marcus smiled at him. "Very well done. I'll salt it later with lye." He sat down to start the cleaning process, calling the alcohol and water, along with a small burner to burn off any nastiness left behind. The amber and jade must have looked fantastic on her but this was not what she needed in her life. He looked up as a major demon appeared. "Lupin!" he shouted, standing up and getting ready to fight if necessary.
"Stand down, boy." He looked over as Goemon came out. "The person who did this is very dead. She killed him. All that was his is hers if she wants it."
"She wants you to leave her the hell alone," Jigen said as he came out with Lupin. "Never come near my wife again or you'll be seeing my face again."
Marcus moved closer. "I know the reasons for her latest capture. That one wanted her to take over Hell," he said. "She won't. You can go back home now."
"I wish I could but my own Prince said I must come to her and offer our apologies. Is she all right?"
"Not that you'll get near her but she's fine," Jigen said firmly. "Last chance to leave whole."
"I will go," he agreed, nodding. "What he did was not allowed. We have all been told to leave her alone. That one was going against that order to touch her. We have no desire to see her among us. She will kill us all to rebalance the world and we all know that." He backed away, bowing to Goemon. "You protect her very well, she will be fine." He disappeared.
"We should have made him pay," Marcus muttered, going back to his cleaning.
Jigen looked at Goemon. "She can take over Hell?"
"With those marks, she might be able to," he agreed. "She has said some of them are death to them on sight."
"So she could walk through hell and kill all," Lupin said as he joined them. "I told her. She's throwing a massive fit. Wants to summon that one back to hurt him." He looked down at Marcus. Then at Goemon. "What's that?"
"The stuff that was tangled in her hair," he said grimly. "I had to chop it off with my sword and burn the hair."
Lupin nodded. "That's fine. We'll sell it." He headed back into the bathroom to help her get all of her back. She had changed forms and was now scrubbing that one. "Shh," he said as he joined her again, back in his boxers. "I'm here and they're not taking you. No matter how scared they are of you." She looked at him and he kissed her on the tip of the nose. "He noted that you could take over Hell."
"I could. I could kill them all," she agreed. "That's why he had me painted."
"I scrubbed it off outside." She handed him the soap. "Please?" He nodded and worked on her back for her. "Thank you."
"You're welcome." He kissed the back of her head. "You know we don't mind helping you after things like this happen." She gave him a look. "Okay, we sometimes do mind, but never for very long," he admitted, giving her a small smile. "Most of that is how you end up having nightmares for weeks and don't let us sleep during a job." He kissed the back of her head again. "When we're done, would you like to lie down and take a nap?"
"No, I'm pretty good," she admitted. "They drugged me so I took one then." He scowled at the wall. "They should be fine."
"I'm not worried about the future kids, I'm worried about you, Xander. You're more precious to me." She sniffled. He dropped the soap and held her. "Shh, you have a mood swing if you need to."
She pinched him. "Don't say mushy stuff then ruin it!"
He chuckled and gave her a squeeze. "Okay, I won't." They stayed there like that until the water got cold. "Come on, you can bathe again later. I can't see anything nasty on you and I want to hold you. I can even steal you from Jigen again."
"Sure. If it'll make you feel better." She let him help her out and dry her off, then get her into some pajamas. "I seem to spend a lot of time here in jammies," she noted, letting him curl up with her on the couch.
"I'm not commenting on that," he said firmly. She pinched him. "OW!"
"Quit that. You know damn well I'd never sleep with Goemon. Never, ever. The only time I could see that happening was if you guys had all died and we had to get together for the kids' sake. Then it'd still take *years*. So quit that thought before it gets worse and you start to have another headache. Only I get to have migraines. I'm the woman part of the time."
"Yes, dear," he said sheepishly. She was right, and it was getting out of hand. He snuggled up against her side, holding her tightly.
"You know, we saw you hopping around when they wouldn't let you in," she offered quietly. "I was watching. My buddy said you hopped around like Zenigata."
Lupin grunted, scowling at her hair. "I do not."
"You did," Jigen said from the doorway, giving him a smug look. "Hand over the wife."
"Fat chance." Xander wiggled and he pulled her into his lap. "Ha! You're mine, I stole you!"
"You haven't stolen me from anywhere yet," she pointed out, grinning at him. Then she kissed him. "Until you do, you can't claim to have stolen me. Seduced me, comforted me, kept me around, yeah, but not stolen."
"I stole you out of a jail cell last year," Lupin defended.
She grinned and shook her head. "That wasn't what you were talking about. That's rescuing, that makes you a big hero, not a thief."
"Hmm. I should let you go again so I really can steal you then," he noted dryly, holding her tighter. There wasn't any way she was getting out of his sight again. Jigen came over to flop down beside them, close enough to touch Xander if Lupin would let him. "Mine," he growled.
"You sound like you're possessed," Jigen teased, taking Xander from Lupin by tickling him. He settled her between them. "Forgive him, he's jealous."
"No, of someone else who stole you." He kissed the side of her head. "Did you want to see what they put on you?" She looked up at him. "The crap in your hair. It's all amber, jade, and gold."
"Some. Some very pretty braiding strands. We've cleaned them and Goemon burned them the first time."
"Sure, I wouldn't care. It's not like they touched me this time." He helped her up and out onto the porch, where they found Marcus buried underneath some things. "Huh. I didn't know I had that much on me. Goemon?" He turned and she pointed. "Where did that come from?"
"I don't know," he admitted, coming over to unbury Marcus. "Are you all right?"
"Fine, Master," he said dreamily. "I think I just saw the inside of their vaults."
"Hmm, I could go for that," Xander admitted, grabbing the pole to slide down there. She looked at the portal. "Yeah, that is." She helped him widen it a bit then went to get a shovel. After a few good ones, Lupin and Jigen came down to take her away from it so they could help. It was some very pretty crystals and stones. Not many diamonds, but maybe the other things were helpful.
"Why would they have so many common crystals?" Goemon asked.
"They serve their purposes," Xander offered. "My choker could be made out of them but they wouldn't hold the charge as well." She shrugged. "I know that some people use them for simple, short term spells." She looked at the portal. "We need Lotus for this."
Goemon shook his head. "No. No exposing the child to such powers."
"Someone on the other side just complained," Jigen noted.
Xander and Marcus looked at each other, then smirked and cast 'pulling' charms on the other side of the portal. It created a vacuum, which sucked the gems to them without much more work. It gave them both headaches, but it was worth it. There was a really pretty emerald Xander picked up as his own. One last one flew through then Marcus closed the portal. Xander grinned at Marcus. "I'm guessing someone offered?"
"Yes, in return for you not going back there tonight to kill them all." He stood up, dusting himself off. "I didn't think you'd want to go tonight."
"No, not tonight," Xander admitted. She looked up. "It's still going to take more than some minor jewels to make me unpissed!" she called. A few more stones appeared on the ground and she smirked. "Nice start!" She took her new emerald friend into the house to polish and look at with a jeweler's glass.
Jigen picked up the ornate necklace made of black jade and jet, looking it over. He held it up. "Someone has ornate taste."
"It's probably someone's tithe to them," Goemon said dryly. He picked a ruby and picked it up when nothing came out of it. "This is rather pretty. For the wife?"
"Diamond," Lupin instructed. "Fujiko loves diamonds." He picked up one and looked at it in the sunlight, then tossed it over. "That." He looked at all the crystals. "What are we doing with these?"
"We can give them to Ethan if they're not worth anything," Marcus suggested. "He can give them to someone who might need them." He went to find the wheelbarrow they used in the garden, coming back to put the crystals into it while the real stones went into a pile of their own. When wheelbarrow was full he sent all of it to Ethan's with him wheeling it into his work room. "Here. One of Hell's vaults opened to pay off Xander for not killing them all." He smiled. "We have no use for crystals." He gave Ethan a short kiss then went back to help them. He held up a long string of sapphires. "Interesting. What would this be for? It's not got the clip for braiding into hair."
Ethan appeared, looking confused. He looked at the small pile of stones, then at the thing his student was holding up. "It's not a necklace?" Marcus shook his head. "You remember those strings of pearls and how you wondered what they were for?" Marcus blushed and nodded. "That's for that." He walked into the house, hugging Xander and his new pretty thing. "All you had to do was ask. I could have opened the portal to the main vault, not that one."
Xander looked at him. "They're trying to keep me from taking over Hell."
"If you do, be sure to save me a spot, dear one." He gave him a gentle kiss then left them there to play. He looked at the very full wheelbarrow. "What am I going to do with you? I don't do much with you things." He frowned and picked up his address book and the phone, calling a local herb and book shop he used. "My student just presented me with a wheelbarrow full of crystals. Do you have need of any?" He looked at them again. "No, I'm not kidding. Come get them, I don't use them." He hung up and wheeled the thing out to the entryway so they could deal with them however. At least she would pay him for them.
Xander looked up as her bath was interrupted by one of the kids sniffling. "What's wrong?" She wiped off the little tears. "Was your daddy mean, little Fourth?" She nodded and sat down next to the tub, hugging Xander's arm. "What did he say?"
"That I couldn't learn how to fight."
"Bet me," he snorted. "You and the others are going to start taking lessons very soon. I'm gonna go pounce Ishi's daddy tomorrow to get you guys more lessons more often, then you and I are gonna go find some targets to teach you how to use a bow and arrow, a crossbow, and a gun. Got it?" She smiled and looked very hopeful. "Then your daddy can teach everyone how to pick locks. Even Savanna and Sierra will need to know about that. It's a necessary skill when you're a good guy."
"Really?" Xander nodded. "Thanks, mommy." She kissed him on the cheek and headed out to tell her father off. "Daddy, mommy said that I am too gonna take lessons. She's gonna pounce Ishi's daddy to get him to teach us how to do stuff and she's gonna teach us how to shoot stuff, and then you're gonna teach us all how to pick locks because even good guys need those skills."
"Xander, what am I teaching the children?" Goemon called from the kitchen.
"Self defense! Let's face it, someone will want them because they're *our* kids."
"Fine. I'll start working with them once a week. It can reinforce my own children's skills." He smiled at Savanna. "Even you will need those to be a good guy." She beamed and nodded. "Good girl."
"Who's teaching them to shoot?" Jigen called.
"I'll teach crossbow and regular bow, you can teach guns," she offered, getting out of the bath and wrapping herself in a towel to come to the doorway. She managed to catch it when it slid off her bubble-covered body but the people screamed in pain and clapped their hands over their eyes. "Huh." She looked up smugly. "I don't think you managed to send me home," she called. The room switched and she was in front of a throne. "Morning." He found himself back in a suit and tie, his usual working outfit. "You wanted to parlay?"
"No, I didn't, but we haven't been able to send you home yet," the demon noted. "Sorry."
Xander smirked. "You're gonna be." He loosened his tie and the demon moaned, looking like he was begging. "Home, the real home. Now. Or else."
"It's protected from us touching there," he explained.
"Then send me back to the kitsune."
"We cannot do that either."
"Then send my fucking ass to Paris!" he said angrily. "I can head home from there. Or anywhere!"
The demon looked upset. "We're locked in here. The portals will not open. We have not touched you inappropriately. We would not do that to you, Consort. That one young one was very dumb."
"So are you," Xander said, frowning at him. "Can't open the one in Sunnydale?"
"There is the guardian."
"Yay. How about Cleveland?"
"That we can do. That one's partially open, that's why the others can't be opened. I could send you back there, but your friend is there."
"Yay." He finished loosening his tie and tucked it into his pants pocket. "Now. And you still owe my ass for kidnaping me and keeping me here."
"Yes, Consort. We are sorry, Consort."
Xander looked at him. "You're not that nice."
"You know the Great One's real name?" he whispered. Xander nodded. "We were told that. We were ordered by him to be nicer to you so you do not take us all over and kill us."
"I'm still considering it." He found himself outside a portal and took off his shirt, waving at the girls fighting on the other side. The demons around him screamed and held their bleeding eyes as soon as he got it off, so he walked out unmolested. He glanced at the wizard casting for them without seeing who it was. "Close it now," he suggested. "Demara, come," he called, bringing her out. She and the other girl came out, dragging the injured one between them. The hole was closed and Xander put back on his shirt, heading up through the hole. "Demara, got your cell from your dad on you?"
"No, Xander. Thank you for the help," she called, smiling at his back. Buffy gave her a horrified look. "He's married to my father."
"Oh, yeah," she said bitterly, glaring at his back. "Xander, your help wasn't needed."
He turned to look at her. "Buffy, they took me from among some natural spirits in Japan to try and have me take over Hell for them. That wasn't a planned trip on my part, but they couldn't send me home because this one was open and sucking all the others closed. This was the only way I was getting out of there this time and I'll be damned if I'm putting up with you. Have a nice day," he said with a grin, turning and nearly running into Wesley. "What?"
"Nothing," he said, looking down. "They wanted you to take over Hell?"
"Yeah, they wanted me to show all those nasty little marks they carved on my body to kill all the demons in Hell so I could take over. Well, they wanted me to take over for one of them but they knew they'd be dying too so they didn't really consider it too long. Toodles and all that." He wandered off, heading to find a way home. He ran into a familiar spirit and grinned. "I'd hug you but I'm probably still tainted."
"Just a bit, Xander," the kitsune said dryly. "Come with me?"
"Sure. I don't have my passport on me anyway." He took his hand and they disappeared into the fog of the night, heading back to their world to help Xander change, shave, and clean up, then they went to do more fun things. Formal dinners were great sometimes but their natures were calling out to them to steal many pretty things. Xander was back in Melody form when they landed in a house. He looked at the kitsune, who grinned viciously and headed for the stuff he had always wanted to touch but hadn't dared. They had gotten most of them when the lights came on.
Tokyo's Don looked at them, then shook his head. "A real kitsune. I didn't believe my men when they said you'd been visiting. And you." She smirked at him. "Lavelle. How pleasant to see you. Over for a long visit?"
Xander skipped over and kissed him on the cheek. "That's my buddy. We're having fun. Lupin's ignoring me. Toodles." She and the fox spirit went off again with their treasures, and one other they stopped upstairs to get.
The Don went to his office and picked up the phone, hitting the speed dial on it for Goemon's house. His wife had put it on there and he hadn't understood why at the time. Now he did. "Why is your husband going around with a kitsune?" he asked when Jigen answered. "No, my house!" The phone was handed to Lupin. "Quit ignoring your wife! She and her kitsune friend just broke into my house!" He slammed the phone down and went back to bed. His wife would comfort him and he could always get it back from Lupin. Lupin would give it back or he'd have to take the children until he did. He heard a laugh and then a kiss on his forehead. "What?" he demanded of the woman beside the bed.
"You touch my kids, I destroy your whole empire," Lavelle said sweetly, smiling happily at him. "You ever think about touching my kids again except for to offer to babysit for a few hours and you'll get to see why Geneva's Lord and Master crawled into the police station on his knees and begged, crying, to be taken into custody. He only thought about taking our little Fourth for his own. Got it?" He nodded, looking scared now. She smiled brighter and kissed him for real. "This is just to annoy you, dear. Trust me. If we had wanted to take something, we'd have gotten into the vault where you're keeping all that stuff you stole off Kyoto's head and then conveniently plant a few pieces here and there. Or we could have gotten into your half of the haul from the diamond show last year. Now you be a *good* boy and I'll take my kitsune buddy and we'll go pick on Don Irani." He disappeared, going back to helping his kitsune friend do just that. That one had some very pretty things in his safes.
Tokyo's Don shook his head, holding his wife tightly. "Maybe I should retire," he noted out loud.
"Just don't threaten his family again. Lavelle was only being an annoyance this time. Next time, he'll do more than that. I have no desire of dying this year, husband."
He kissed her gently. "You won't. We're going to retire and go back to running things from behind our chosen successor. That means you'll have a prettier garden." She smiled against his chest. "I wonder what else they stole."
"That necklace you found me last month," she said with a yawn. "I heard them. Lavelle was very nice, he even patted my stomach for me when the baby kicked. His own must be going well." She closed her eyes and fell asleep with that smile.
The Don shuddered gently. "I don't want to know," he decided. "Lavelle wins this game." He held her tighter, sure he could protect her from worse things happening.
Lupin hung up the phone and looked at Jigen. "She broke into his house with a kitsune." Jigen nodded, he had gotten that too. "He told me to quit ignoring her."
"Well, she does go do things when we do. I wonder where she's been for the last week," Jigen offered.
"Hell," Marcus said as he appeared. "I just got back." He cleared his throat when Lupin spluttered. "One of them tried to take him to have him take over Hell with the marks on his body. He fought and won, killing that one and marking him, then taking his body to kill the rest of that branch of the family tree. They couldn't send him home because Cleveland's was slightly open and there can only be one open one at a time if it's a major portal like a hellmouth. Xander walked out it without his shirt on and killed or injured most of them. They all ran back inside and I finished closing it with my father's help. Then he and his friend with the few tails took off to go play." He shrugged at the pissed looks. "I'm simply the messenger."
"There's a long tradition of killing messengers," Lupin growled and Marcus squeaked before disappearing. "She was in Hell?"
"Apparently," Jigen said, frowning at the doorway. "Xander!" She didn't appear. "Fuck. Why doesn't that work with her?"
"Because she's not in the mood to appear," Goemon said from behind them. "You woke Lotus as well," he noted when they looked at him. "It is obvious that she's off having fun. Allow it. Either track her or set up a trap." He turned and went back to bed. Now they knew she was fine, it would be a quieter day tomorrow.
"Trap?" Lupin suggested.
"It won't. She's working with a kitsune. They're not exactly morons."
"Still, this is Xander. Chocolate factory?"
"They could be listening right now," Goemon called. Something told him someone was.
"Xander!" Lupin called quietly. "Please come back! Please! I'll buy you nice chocolates."
"Buy?" Jigen asked.
"She always buys the important presents," Lupin reminded him. "I'm willing to spring for good chocolates this time." A piece of paper floated down and he picked it up. "Hmm." He handed it over. "She'll be home in a few days and expects a wonderful homecoming or she'll leave immediately and take the kids and our credit cards with her."
"I knew we shouldn't have let Fujiko teach her how to be a woman," Jigen grumped, sitting down to stare out at the night. "We should probably sleep. We've got to plan this very well."
Lupin gave him a smug look. "No we don't. She'll be satisfied with whatever we do if we're paying attention to her and having sex."
"I think she probably wants more than sex," Jigen noted. "She's our wife, not our geisha."
Lupin shrugged. "Then we'll figure it out and ask her."
"I'll find the stuff for dinner. You find the presents," Jigen noted, getting up and heading down to bed. He found Xander stretched out on their bed and leaned down to kiss her. "I'm sorry I ignored you." She pulled him down and let him cuddle. "No presents needed?"
"Talking to me like I'm there would be nice. Simply talking to me at all would be great actually."
Jigen smirked. "I think we can do that. Expect another golden cage moment from Lupin." He wrapped her tighter in his arms. This was his time to pay attention to her. They'd have to work this out. "The kids are at Goemon's. You okay?"
"I'm good. They didn't touch me. Even when they made it seem like I came home they didn't touch me more than helping me clean off what the other thing had done." Jigen pulled back to look at her. "He painted over the marks so I wouldn't hurt him. Didn't save him any, but he did. Speaking of, we might be getting a shipment of jewels. They owe my ass for taking me this time." A large thing plopped at the end of the bed. "Cool. The crystals?"
"No, those went to Ethan. We didn't need them," a voice called. "Please stay on that plane, Consort. We adore you and would love to have you back, but we don't want to die this week either. We did send that emerald you liked so much as well." The voice disappeared.
Xander looked up at Jigen, who was stunned. "Thought I was kidding?"
"How would you take over Hell?"
"You know those marks?" Jigen nodded slowly. "Some of them are pain or killing glyphs. If any demon sees them they're injured or killed by them."
"So you could pull a Godiva through Hell and kill them all?"
"Or at least a great many," Xander agreed. "That and I know the big guy's name." Jigen looked impressed at that. "He whispered it in my ear once while he was having his spot of fun." Jigen crushed her against his chest, holding on. "I'm fine."
"Shh," she soothed, patting him gently. "You're loved and wanted. Why would I want some slimy, nasty demon with a huge cock when I have you and all you give me." He chuckled and shook his head, letting her go some. "Sorry, but it's the truth. I don't want or need them. I both want and need you and Lupin. You're like a drug to me. I'm fully addicted and you're not only my drug of choice but my pusher." She grinned at him. "You make me feel high and giddy, and Lupin makes me feel high and naughty." She nipped him on the bottom lip. "You could come in, Lupin, I can hear you out there." He pushed open the door looking very miserable. "You don't like being the drug that makes me high and naughty? I can find something else to put with you."
Lupin grinned. "I didn't hear that part." He walked in and looked at the bag. "What's that?"
"We'll look at it in the morning," Lupin promised, climbing in behind her. "Thank you for coming home."
"You're welcome. I've still got one more stop to make tonight but I can make it quick. I'll do it after you're both asleep."
"We could help," Jigen offered.
"Not where I'm going you can't," she promised. "Don't worry, it'll be fine." She kissed him then Lupin. "Cuddles?" They cuddled her hard and she got comfortable. This was her Jigen and Lupin. "I said hi for you to Demara when I saw her."
"Good. Why was she in Cleveland?"
"They called in most of them for this one."
"Ah. Okay then." Lupin held her tighter. She wasn't getting away from him. He stroked her stomach gently, making her chuckle. "I was worried about you. And about them, but mostly about you."
"I'm glad. I'll take that into account when you make dinner tomorrow and spoil me horribly."
"Sure." He smirked at Jigen. "I knew she'd come back."
"Lupin, you need drugs," Jigen retorted. "You were the one who was sure she was off moving into that palace."
"It's really bright up there," Xander told him. "It kinda glows. Very hard to sleep in."
Lupin gave him a squeeze. "Good. I won't have Goemon kill them all the next time we see them."
Xander chuckled. "I doubt he could, but I'm sure they'd appreciate not having to get around him." As soon as they were asleep, her friend showed back up. "Good plan," she admitted, letting him help her out of the bed so they could pull their last job for the night. There was something she really wanted and her buddy knew how to get her it. They disappeared, heading into a lavish palace. Her new pet was in there.
Lupin came out of the bedroom and frowned at the thing curled up on the couch with the kids. He turned around and went back into the bedroom, giving Xander a gentle nudge. "Xander, why is there something that looks like a big snake on the couch?"
She yawned and stretched. "That's my new pet, Inasi." She flipped over onto her side and snuggled into Jigen's chest again, going back to sleep.
"Pet?" Jigen asked. "Scales? I thought you wanted something furry." Xander snored so he let it go, looking up at Lupin. "Python?"
"No, not really." He got Jigen untangled and held out his robe. "You've got to see this one. Bring the camera." They walked out together, pausing to look at the dragon on the couch. "It's a dragon."
Jigen took a few pictures, then shrugged. "I'm guessing it goes with the bird you like to ignore." He went to get some coffee and take it into the bathroom with him. He paused when he noticed there were two bags and a box now on their bedroom floor, looking inside them. "Found the Don's vases," he called, heading in to take a shower.
Lupin came in and looked inside the bag and box that hadn't been there. Then he shook his head and carted it off to the car so they could return it later. He didn't need that sort of stress in his life. He had Xander for that.
To part 17
To Main Index