Merry Hell, To Those Who Deserve It.
Xander let Ray Vecchio drag her into the old club. "Are you sure this is a good idea, Raymondo?" she asked in a grating, high pitched, squeal of a voice. She bit her lip as she looked around. "I don't think this place is open or really friendly. Plus, Jigen said I was to be careful with you, that you were easily hurt."
He grinned at her. "Don't worry about it, Honey. It'll be fine. I know the person who owns the club and she said I could bring you over. You'll like Fujiko."
"Oh. Okay, I guess," she agreed, shrugging like the airhead she was pretending to be. She smiled when a woman walked out of the back room. "Hi. Raymondo said it'd be okay if he dragged me here and Jigen was kinda busy and needed to dump me off for a few hours. I hope it's okay."
"No, it's not a problem," Fujiko said happily, smiling at Ray. She gave him a hug. "Good job," she whispered. "So, you're Honey, right? Ray's told me some about you. I thought you were a blonde, not a redhead." She shook her hand while the other woman giggled.
"Lupin asked if I'd try being a redhead for a bit. He wanted me to be a bit more exotic now and then."
"You don't seem like the sort of girl Lupin would go for. I've known him for a while now."
"Wow, are you the one he learned that tongue trick on?" she asked happily. "I've wanted to thank that woman for a long time."
"No, that wasn't me," Fujiko admitted. "I never slept with the man." She sat down on a bar stool, letting Ray pour them drinks. "So, Honey, you go to Harvard? You don't seem like their usual sort."
"Well, Elle is my heroine," she admitted. Fujiko looked confused. "The movie? With the girl who wanted her man so badly she broke stereotype to go to Harvard Law? Well, anyway, I decided that if Elle could, then I could and I could study those fascinating things that make people do the things they do."
"You're into psychology?" Fujiko asked, looking shocked.
"No, silly, sociology and anthropology mostly. I like the Japanese culture. I met Goemon at a con and we just clicked right away. He's great about explaining how the ancient traditions are impacting the current world. My advisors were *so* stoked that I had such a willing mentor that they let me off for a year to study with him. And then, well, I met Lupin through him and his kids are *so* adorable," she said with a sigh. "Arsene is just a gem. I adore that girl. We shop you know," she seemingly confided. "And the big Arsene just is so sweet," she cooed. "He appreciates the hell outta me for my mind and my body, unlike most men who only see the body." She smiled sweetly at Ray. "It's men like him who make me feel like a princess because they see my mind instead of just the mammary organs. Goemon's the same way. He *never* stares at me, even when he caught me coming out of the shower the other day. He's such a sweetie, even when he's running around in his loincloth I still get a lot of respect from him and Jigen. Plus, Lupin is just so sweet to me. He got me a really pretty ring and some earrings, he even *bought* them to show how special I was to him," she said proudly.
Fujiko nodded and briefly thought about ending the annoying voice that was starting to give her a headache, but then decided it wasn't time yet. She could do that later and have fun doing it. She sipped the drink Ray made her, wincing at the taste. "A bit strong, Ray."
"That's okay." She smiled at Honey again. "So, what part of Japanese history do you like the most?"
"I really like the Imperial times. They set up the stage for so much of what's going on today. Besides, the fights between the modern and the old ways are really kinda interesting. I don't like their educational system or anything like that, but it's pretty neat." She sipped her soda. "Thank you, Raymondo."
"You're welcome, Honey," he said with a smile. This was really fun to watch. Xander had asked what set her off the most, so he had told her not to say Goemon's name in front of Fujiko. Now, each time she said it, the woman's eyebrow or cheek twitched. "How are the kids?"
"Oh, they're divine. The older ones are doing really well in school. Arsene's made a whole group of friends. Sierra and Savannah are cheerleaders right now. Lotus is doing her wiccan thing via distance learning with that big gloomy guy downstairs. Ishi's got a girlfriend and they're *adorable*," she shared, patting Fujiko on the wrist. "Goemon's always got this big smile whenever he sees Ishi and his lady. He treats her very gently and respectfully. He even turned her down when she wanted to do more than kiss. I'm so proud of my little guy." Fujiko cleared her throat. "I know they had another mother, but Lavelle was really nice and he introduced me to the kids so they all consider me the mom. It's great. The girls are so sweet and they help me tons with my studies. We go shopping and do manicures. I even helped Arsene with her tumbling recently. Plus, I've given Sierra and Savannah books on cheerleading for the holidays. They seemed to appreciate it a lot. Plus, the babies are *so* cute! Yu keeps trying to nurse and Goemon always blushes," she shared with a happy, brainless grin. "He's such a sweet baby though. If I was lactating, I'd gladly let him latch on so he'd be a healthy little baby. Fred and Sarah are wandering around and getting into everything of course. Fred tried to put on my makeup the other day and Lupin got a picture of it." She opened her purse, digging past everything to find the wallet with the pictures. "I think I've got one around here." She found it with a small squeal of delight and looked for the picture. "That's Yu, the baby, and that's Fred next to him with his makeup on. Isn't he adorable!"
"He is," Fujiko admitted, stomping on her warm, squishy feelings for her child. He was an adorable, smiling baby. She handed them back. "Where did Jigen have to go? I heard you say he had to drop you off for a while."
"Not a clue. They don't tell me things like that so I can't worry. It's sweet of him, but Lavelle said he'd train me to at least be able to shoot soon. That way I could protect me and the babies. Me and Bix both. Goemon and he got into it, he thought I should learn how to use a sword too since I'm so into Japanese culture. Goemon said I'd have to prove myself better capable than I was at the moment. But that's okay because Marcus helps me now and then when he's trying to duck out of practice or away from the pregnant people." She grinned and patted her again, something she knew Fujiko hated. "Marcus has some special gift with pregnant women. It's like they all want to have him rub their stomach or pat the babies. He's been doing a lot of that and hiding from them when he could. He's with Lavelle right now, hiding with the babies. They adore him because he reads to them."
"Are you going to have more kids with Lupin?" Ray asked. Her voice was grating but it was fun watching Fujiko's tick speed up. It was almost constant now.
"I offered. I told him I'm perfectly happy being the stepmom to the kids, but that if he ever wanted another one all he had to do was ask and we'd go at it like bunnies until it took and then he could tie me down and have his wicked way with me. But I'm sure you've heard how good he is before," she assured Fujiko, smirking at her. "We're really kinda happy with the kids as they are now. I mean, that old seer told Goemon he'd have a daughter of his own some day, one just like his mom was, but we're not sure when or by who. Ishi seemed really pretty happy about that but he and Lotus are sniping at each other again like brother and sister," she sighed, rolling her eyes. "Goemon's just so tolerant of the kids. Let's them climb all over him! Let's them snuggle whenever and wherever they want! If he could feed them I'm guessing he would. He's just such a great daddy to the horde. That's what we call them, the Golden Horde. He, I, and Lavelle are just there for the kids all the time. Bix complains because she doesn't have so much to do."
"Really?" Fujiko asked, reconsidering her use of force on that voice. Later was too long. Maybe sooner would be better, like now. Her glass was pushed into her hand so she looked at Ray, who gave her a long look. Fine, it would have to be later. "Did the seer find out who the child would be with?"
"No, she said it'd be a while, but that she'd be a traditional daughter and just what he had always wanted for Lotus. She's neat, but Goemon doesn't really get the whole wiccan thing. I have a friend who is so I caught the vibe, but he's not fully understanding that it's almost the same as he himself goes for." She laughed. "I set Lotus up with my buddy for chat sessions since she's so good at that whole herbal thing too. She's learning tons from both of them. So, what do you do? I know he's mentioned you but never if you were part of the team or anything." She noticed Ray's wince. "Problems with the liquor?"
"No, just hit a spot where I didn't mix too well," he offered quickly.
"I'm a thief myself," Fujiko admitted. "He never told you that?" Honey shook her head. "You're sure?"
"No, he mentioned you then gave Goemon a quick look and sighed. Why doesn't Goemon like to talk about you? Did you screw with a haul or whatever they call it?"
"Not recently," she admitted. "No, I'm Goemon's ex."
"Oh, so *you're* Lotus' mother! Wow. They said you were a special person. Even Jigen said so. I guess it's a good thing Raymondo drug me here, huh?" she asked with a grin for him. "You're so sweet!" She pinched him on the cheek, just like his mother would do. "You deserve a big, gooey, ooey pile of fudge for that. Fortunately I am a champion fudge maker. The county fair's judges said so," she said proudly. "Right before they named me Fair Queen because the other girls had gotten chunky while taste testing and making their own batches to try and rival mine. Which of course they couldn't."
"You're certainly prettier than this year's Miss America. Maybe you should go for the Mrs. title."
"Lupee said I'd be in danger," she sighed, rolling her eyes. "That big, nasty man Zeni...something or other, keeps trying to grab my breasts and you know how Lupee can be about what's his snuggly-wuggly things."
"He grabs your what?" Ray asked, looking amused.
"Either that or he misses each time he grabs my arm," she said with a shrug. "I know Lupin warned him off last time, told him to play with his wife's. He even insinuated that hers were fuller now because they were leaking milk, and that he may have tasted them. Man, did that inspector ever turn red and hop around!" She smirked at him. "He was not a happy person and one of his team had to shoot him with a tranquilizer dart in the airport."
"Gee, would that have been your boyfriend, Raymondo?"
"Probably," he admitted smugly. "You knew who I was dating."
"Yeah, but a cop?"
"A Mountie," he corrected. "He said he hasn't caught me yet and I'm not endangering Canada so I'm fine for the moment," he said smugly, smirking at her. "So, Honey, how was the last convention?"
"We went to one in Japan, it was so sweet of Lupee to take me, but it was busted up by some guys with guns. They were not happy campers. Lavelle's sister had to nearly kill some people."
"Lavelle's sister?" Fujiko asked. She was reaching for her gun when Ray's hand stopped her.
"Boss, did that rash come back?" he asked calmly.
"Probably," she admitted, removing her hand. Fine, so her second-in-command was a bit squeamish, she could handle that.
"Oh! I have the most *perfect* medicine for rashes," Honey said, digging in her purse again. She pulled out the small .22 she had in there. "Sorry, but Lupee said I had to carry it even though I can't use it yet. He said it'd scare off someone if they tried anything unless they were too big or bad and then they'd probably want to kidnap me anyway to annoy him, which of course he would destroy them for. Here it is," she said happily, handing over the tube of stuff she knew Fujiko was allergic to. "Try some of that. It's great on the ones I get from tanning in the garden. We've got some odd leaves back there that always make me itch."
Fujiko put a bit on her back, unsnapping her holster at the same time. Then she handed it back with a smile. "Thanks, Honey. So, what else were you going to do tonight?"
"Oh, we had planned on going out dancing but then Jigen, who was escorting me until my pookie bear could get there, had to leave. So I guess I've got to find the club by myself," she sighed.
"Hey, I can let Ray take you," Fujiko offered. Anything to get away from that voice! "Ray, you didn't have anything to do tonight, right?"
"No, boss, not a thing," he agreed happily. "Finish up, Honey, and I'll take you now."
"Sure, Raymondo. Thank you, you're such a sweetie." She kissed him on the cheek and gave him a light wink when she noticed he had reacted. "I think someone needs some time alone with his boyfriend," she teased, taking his arm to walk him out. "Night, Fujiko. It was nice meeting you and all. Have a happy night!" she called with a wave back at her.
Fujiko slumped, banging her head on the bartop as soon as the door had closed. It was the only thing that was going to remove that voice from her head. She was still hearing her from outside. She winced at the squeal, sitting up and reaching for her gun as the door opened and a new woman walked in, this time in a business suit, with her hair braided back. "Who're you?"
"Check the bulletin boards once in a while, Fujiko. I'm Lavelle's sister. You just fucked up badly. Lupin didn't want you near his lady." Fujiko slid off her bar stool and Sylvia backhanded her when she tried to move. "Do not try, Fujiko. I'm not the nicest bitch in the world. Lavelle trained me specially," she said smugly. She removed the gun from the other thief's hands, then tossed it away. "Piece of trash toss-away? You use those?" she said with a sneer. "No wonder Lupin let you go when Goemon showed an interest. Thankfully he's got better taste now. Leave the city of Paris, Fujiko, and the continent if you can. We don't like you being near the kids or Honey. Learn your place, bitch." Fujiko shrieked and came at her with her hands, so Sylvia punched her, knocking her out. Xander tied her to a few stools, spread eagled on her back, then waited, finishing the soda she hadn't finished earlier. "You know," she said at the first groan. "I should invite Gramps in here. He's been without for a while during his last chase and with Dawn having morning sickness."
Fujiko blinked up at her. "Xander," she hissed. "I remember now."
"Good," she sneered, shifting to cross her legs. "I like her with him, Fujiko, and you're fucking with *my* plans now. Jigen and I are still together and you're fucking with all our plans. So give it up before we cut you free from this mortal coil." She finished the soda then put it aside. "You just stay there and maybe I'll be nice enough to send Ray back to free you. After all, I sent them off." She pulled down her hair, shaking it out. Then she removed her jacket to show off her outfit. "Now, if you'll excuse me, Jigen's done with his job and I need to go dancing with my man. You have fun lying there, Fujiko. Those are the new plastic-steel mesh cuffs they're testing out. How do you like them?" she asked smugly, strolling away, leaving the door open.
"I'll kill you, Xander! You took what was mine!"
Xander came back to the door. "Fujiko, I never took what was yours. I'm not with Goemon. Not that I wouldn't love to cuddle the big sweetie when he needs it, but he's not mine. You fucked up all on your own by not helping out and being a spoiled brat. There's no room for crying in thieving either, Fujiko. Learn the lesson." She strolled off, smirking at the cops. "She's begging for a man by now," she told Ray, kissing him again. He moaned and went weak in the knees. "You looked like you needed it," she said smugly as she walked on. She straddled her bike and kicked it to life. "Nighties, Ray. Have fun. Join our group sometime." She zoomed off, leaving him leaning against the wall.
Ray looked up. "Like I need that!" he hissed. "Can't I have a real woman instead?"
Ray K coughed. "She did it to make you feel better," he pointed out. "He did it to me too. Made me totally forget what my name was. We've got enough on the tape. You wanna do this with us?"
"No. Just in case," he offered, going to the van to drive it away.
Zenigata came out of the shadows, dropping his cigarette and stomping on it. "Let's do this, men. I want this ended." He led the way into the bar, smirking when he noticed how she was tied down. "My, my, Fujiko, what would Goemon say about his wife offering it to the world that way?"
"Get me the fuck out of these and I'll give you Lavelle," she offered, struggling. She felt her skirt climbing as she wiggled but she didn't care. "Come on, Pops, get me out of these."
"Why? We're enjoying the free show," Ray K said lazily, smirking at her. "You're the one on your back and offering," he said when she shrieked. "Too bad I know Goemon will kill whoever touches you. Pity he's already taken out two of them." He looked at his boss. "Should we take pictures of the crime scene or arrest her first and then do it?"
"Arrest her first," Zenigata said, turning away. "I didn't need to see that much of her. Dawn's is prettier and softer." He went to remove the bug from the wall, showing it to her with a smirk. "You're mine, Fujiko Mine."
"Yeah, yeah. Lupin will save me."
"Lupin's presently playing with his lady," he said, sneering at her. "What makes you think he'll stop his romantic weekend for you?" She shrieked and struggled more, exposing herself fully. "That is much more than I wanted to see of your distended, gross body. Ray, cover the poor bitch." Ray dropped his jacket over her lower half, then worked on getting her free of the bar stools. "Can't you cut it?"
"Nope, tried that," Ray admitted. "There's some sort of key needed to get them free." He got one barstool free of the winding Xander did and stood up to move it out of his way. "You sure we can't just do her here and leave her as an unexplained body?"
"Sure," Zenigata agreed. Fujiko started to shriek and struggle. "Never mind, she'd bring trouble on our heads. Get her free but gag her before someone hears." Ray did that and worked on the other bar stools while Zenigata got the rest of the bugs that they weren't leaving. Just in case she came back here again.
"Gun," Ray said, taking it and handing it over. "Hey, she's got hives too," he said, wiping off his hands. "Eww. Did you pick up something when you were trolling on the docks?" He finally got her free and walked her out to their car, shoving her into the back so she could be buckled in. "There. Now let's leave her to Benny to do the paperwork?" he asked hopefully. "I got a date tonight," he said at the head shake.
"Do the arrest report, Ray, and then go," he agreed in his best fatherly impersonation. "If you want to you can even watch them do the body cavity search."
"No, thanks. Then I'd never be able to get it up tonight," he said with a shudder of revulsion. "Eww."
"Sorry. Any word on that other guy?"
"Vicious? Yeah. He does chemical analysis. We picked him up late last night. He was making a new fast acting poison as a chemical weapon. He was also making the collars for that country Lupin told us about. He's presently spilling his guts about that to avoid jail time."
"Good job, Ray," he praised, patting him on the back. "You can drive this time."
"Thanks, boss man." He got in to drive, letting his boss get in front. "You okay back there?" Fujiko yelled stuff through her gag, but he couldn't understand and he didn't really care anyway. "Good enough." He sped off, going into the night to deal with this new bust. He had been really shocked when Bix had asked him out, but he kinda liked her a lot already so it was all good to him. He wouldn't even ask her for information on Lupin or Lavelle. He had promised her.
"Who do you have the date with?" Zenigata asked. "I know that girl in the bakery around the corner's been hinting for weeks now."
"Just a girl, no one you'd know," Ray offered with a small grin as he took a corner sharply. Fujiko's shouting picked up but he continued to ignore it. This was how he drove. Just like the rest of the people in Paris did at rush hour.
Xander walked up to where her men were, smiling at them. "Done," she said proudly. "She's in custody, begging and pleading for any sort of a deal, and they're not listening." She smirked at Lupin, then winked. "Now, I promised her I was going out dancing." They pointed behind her and she grinned at the man standing there. "Yes, Goemon?"
"Did you harm her?"
"I slapped her once, punched her once, and gave her hives with a cream I gave her for a supposed rash when she wanted to shoot me. I inflicted mental damage instead." She gave him a hug. "Now it's all on you, big guy. You're decision totally." He nodded against her shoulder, relaxing in her arms. "Ooh, someone needs a nap."
"I'm not one of the children," he said tiredly.
"Yeah, but the kids have been keeping you up," she teased, pulling back to pinch him on the nose. "You should go to bed and get a lot of sleep tonight since we're kid-free. If you're a good samurai I might even take you out for breakfast tomorrow."
Goemon smirked at her. "I'm not your child, Xander."
"Then don't yawn like one when your head hits my shoulder," she said smugly. "I'm snuggly but not for you, dear." He laughed, shaking his head as he went to find a seat in the quiet club.
"That's the first time I've heard him laugh since Yu was born," Jigen offered. "Good job, Xan."
"I try," she said humbly. "So, we've got a kid-free night. We've got a...." Her phone rang and so did Lupin's. "Yeah?" she answered before he could. "Sure, Marcus. Need us?" She smirked. "No, that's fine. Of course she can take the night off. She deserves some 'her' time without all the kids begging and trailing after her. Where's she going so we don't interrupt by accident?" She bit her lip. "Really?" She smirked. "More power to her. I'm happy if she is and you can tell her I said that. Happy kid sitting. Watch out for Yu, he likes to suck on noses." She hung up. "Bix has a date."
"Our Bix? Nice, sweet, shy Bix?" Lupin asked.
"Bix, who never goes out anywhere, Bix?" Jigen asked.
"With who?" they asked in unison.
She gave them a smug look. "Ray." They gaped so she took a picture with her camera phone. "You two are so adorable! Should I tell Goemon?"
"Nah, let her go," Jigen suggested. "She's a big girl and we all trust Ray not to hurt her."
"Skinny, wears ugly NHI glasses, comic man, Ray?" Lupin asked, still in shock. "She goes for guys like that?"
Xander pinched him on the arm. "She didn't go for you," she reminded him smugly. "She likes Ray. He's sweet and nice. He can't cook but he's a great guy. I'm glad to see them both happy. Ray actually quit remembering his ex a few months back. It's time he moved on."
"Where is he moving to?" Goemon asked as he came back to them with drinks.
"He's on a date tonight," Jigen told him.
"With Bix," Lupin added. Jigen and Xander both pinched him.
"She could do worse," Goemon admitted. "He has honor. He has a good job. He has a loving nature that not even pets would help hold down. As long as he treats her appropriately and does not harm her, he has no fear from me."
"Yeah, but Ishi's still fierce in his protection of her," Jigen pointed out.
"I'll tell him," Xander said with a wink. "Can we still go dancing?"
Lupin looked at her outfit. "Only if you change." She rolled her eyes but did go to change dresses. This one was a bit too matronly for her anyway. His phone rang and he smiled when he saw the number that popped up. "Hey, empress. What's up?" He grinned at Goemon. "No, tell him she's fine. We like Ray. Have him watch." He blew a kiss. "Love you too, Melissa. Have a good night and prank Arsene for me." He smirked. "Good job, young lady. You make me proud. Want your dad?" He laughed. "Sure. Night." He hung up. "The bulletin board just noticed Ray being out with our nanny and put out a call to see if he was on a date or if he was using her. Melissa pointed out that he wouldn't do that but she wanted to make sure that she was correct in doing that."
"My daughter is wonderful," Jigen said proudly. He looked over and his ever-present cigarette fell out of his mouth, lighting his shoe on fire until Goemon plucked out an ice cube and dropped it on top of the smoking stick. "Xan?" he breathed.
Lupin looked and Goemon had to save his drink. "Xander?" he asked in awe.
She was wearing a dress that was held up by the collar around her neck, which had a few straps running down to the top, leaving open areas. The ones around her cleavage were most revealing and inflammatory. As she walked, they spread a bit. The skirt was short, mid-thigh. The dark purple dress highlighted every good thing about her body and left nothing to hide, but left some to the imagination. She hadn't changed her shoes, she was still wearing modest heels, but her stockings were barely peeking out as she walked.
Lupin pulled his tongue back inside his head when Jigen elbowed him. "Wow," he said finally. "Where did you find that?"
"The stripper shop," she said smugly. "You like it? It was on sale for a mere fifty Pounds." She turned for their benefit, showing that the back of the dress was mostly bare, the straps were moving down to her waist. She turned back around and Jigen swallowed, making her grin harder. "Good enough to go clubbing?"
"I feel overdressed," Lupin noted, poking Jigen this time. "Should we go dancing?"
"Yeah, we should," he agreed, taking her before Lupin could move. "Let's go. You can ride behind me on the bike."
"Sure, Jigen." She leaned against his arm, smirking up at him. "Are you feeling possessive?"
"Remember what happened when I saw you in the tube dress? Well, it's about to happen again. The only dancing you're gonna be doing is on the end of my body." He got onto the bike and helped her on, wincing as she wrapped her arms around his waist. "Ready?"
"Sure. Lupin's coming though."
"Probably in his pants," Jigen complained. "He'll get his." He sped off, taking her to a techno club he had heard of. The guard gave him an odd look but he paid him off. Xander was already moving before they moved inside and once on the floor she was heaven in his arms. By the time Lupin joined them, she was lost in the music and Jigen was ready to have her in the middle of the floor. Lupin came in and that changed, but not by much. Now he was in competition to get his woman alone tonight. Maybe he'd have to tie up Lupin. That was always fun.
Back at the first place, Goemon was shaking his head. "That is an outfit I would have liked to seen Fujiko in." He pulled out his phone to call his son. It always made him feel better. "Son. It's the father." He heard the panting his son was doing. "What are you doing with your girlfriend tonight, son?" He smirked at his answer of katas, not believing a word of it. "As long as that is all you do. You are too young for the other things. No, I wanted to talk to you. Bix is out on a date. Xander has just lured her men off with promises of worldly pleasure of flesh. No, they arrested her earlier. Xander helped of course. No, she didn't hurt her," he said gently. "Thank you, son, for asking that question." He smiled at his son's caring nature. "Are you going to the next convention? Of course I am," he agreed happily. "I will see you there and we shall chat then. I won't keep you from your katas any longer, son. Kiss your sister for me. Yes, you as well." He hung up and smiled at his phone. His son was wonderful, he always made him feel better.
Ishi stared down at the man on the bed until he woke up with a groan. "Up, now," he hissed. Ray K sat up fully, staring at him in shock. "Did you think I hadn't learned this lesson yet?" he asked smugly. He crossed his arms, scowling at him. "What are your intentions toward my cousin?"
"We're buddies. It was only one date!" He looked around, he was still home. The others could wake up any minute now and the kid would be hurt.
"They're asleep, I gassed them," he said, knowing what he was thinking. "The wolf is eating some canolis I left in the kitchen for him."
"Fraser will kill you, Ishi."
"Perhaps, but only after I've killed you if you hurt Bix." Ray looked stunned. "She's a sweet and innocent girl, Ray. One who doesn't really get the modern man's drives if you get my meaning. She came home on cloud nine because of you and I'd like her to stay that happy."
"I would too."
"Good, then we're in agreement, you'll continue dating her and treat her well, or else you'll be seeing me again like this. Only while I slice into you and start pulling out things so you can see what livers and gall bladders and intestines look like." Ray turned green, but he nodded quickly. "Excellent. With that agreement in place, I'm going to get Arsene some chocolates. She was feeling a bit desperate." He turned and walked out, going out the window.
"Ishi," Ray said, coming out of his room. "Last I knew you had a crush on her."
"More her type than her, and I have a woman, Ray. She'll be helping me as surgeon's assistant. She likes Bix a lot too." He disappeared, letting the window slam behind him.
Ray leaned against the wall, shaking his head. The wolf gave him a look so he shrugged. "He's protecting his pack. Your human's gonna crap if you eat all those." Dief whined but stole one more to eat in peace, leaving the remains of the two he had sucked the cream filling out of. He turned and went back to bed, deciding it was all a dream. It had to be a dream. Right?
In the morning, Fraser glared at him. "Why did you get Dief those horrible treats? You know how I feel about that, Ray."
"Then who was it if it wasn't us?" Vecchio asked.
"Ishi was here last night to talk to me." They looked stunned. "I went out with Bix last night. He warned me to keep her happy or else you'd be waking up to a biology lesson after he's treated me like a frog."
Fraser scowled at the door, then the window. "Didn't you try to stop him?"
"You try to stop him! He gassed you. He was going to kill me if I quit seeing her."
"Hold on, he wanted you to *keep* seeing her?" Vecchio asked. "Usually you get that when they don't want you to see their women-folk."
"No, he said Bix was happy and if she was happy he was happy and I was staying alive. He used ta have a crush on her but now he's got Amanda." He shrugged. "Whadda I know?"
"Good point," Vecchio agreed. "Fine. Keep seeing her if you want. She's a nice lady."
"She is. Very sweet. She likes my stories and my taste in comics," Ray said with a grin. "Don't tell Zenny. He'll try to use her."
"No he won't," Fraser noted. "He knows that she doesn't know anything." He looked at the remains of the treat, then sighed. "Diefenbaker, come along. Let's go for a run." His wolf whined from his comfortable spot on the couch. "Now."
Vecchio looked at him. "If you don't, he'll buy a treadmill and stick you on one in a harness so you can't get off." The wolf got up with a groan and followed him out the door. He rolled his eyes. "Okay, now that that's over with, you better now?"
"Some. He said he gassed you two. I don't know about anything else, Ray." He shrugged, looking helpless. "Do I report him?"
"Just to Zenny. He'll get a kick out of it probably," Vecchio offered. "I can if you want."
Ray K shrugged. "I can. Do you feel gassed?"
"No, but I had a really horrible taste in my mouth; like the one after my wedding reception." He snorted and went to fix a decent breakfast. "Call him now. It'll save him a bout of Dawn's cooking. I'll feed him too."
Ray K smirked at him. "Bored, Ray?"
"Much. Call." He pulled down a few pans and started on breakfast, listening while his partner exposed his sex life for his boss' pleasure.
"Hey, um, boss, we've got a small prob here," Ray K said quietly. "No, more of the Ishi sort. No, he warned me to keep seeing Bix, keep making her happy, or else I was gonna end up a biology lecture. Yeah, the kid. No, he said to keep dating her. Oh, Vecchio said he'd make breakfast if you wanted some." He smirked back at Ray. "He's on speaker and Dawn's sending a pout your way. We're invited up to eat with the kids."
"Not today," Vecchio complained. "I had a mega-dose of Lavelle last night, I need to recenter myself and make sure Fujiko's people won't be tracking me down."
Ray K repeated that and then laughed. "Fine, boss. We'll see you after lunch. Thanks, man." He hung up. "He said that since there's probably no evidence of him being here we can't really charge him with anything but that he'd be talking with the guards at the school to prove anything, even him sneaking out. He said he'd do it personally." He walked back to the breakfast bar and sat to watch his partner cook. "He also said Goemon announced that he was taking the kids back to Japan for a few weeks starting this weekend. Lavelle's smart-ass quip after that was to please help the samurai with the stroller because he
probably would need it now and then." He grinned at Ray's snort. "See, there's worse out there than Lavelle's sense of humor."
"Not much," Vecchio complained. "I'm sure he does one of those manly backpack thingies with them."
"At least with Yu. You're probably right," Ray agreed. "What's for food?"
"Slop. Learn to cook." His partner pouted at him. "Fine, frittatas. Good enough?"
"Yeah, fine with me," Ray K agreed happily, grinning at him. "See, and you thought our partnership was gonna be a bad thing."
"It is, kid. It really is. Otherwise me and Benny'd be normal people."
Xander heard her phone ring and went running for her purse to find out who it was. She was in her normal stocking shop, looking for something else to make Jigen groan and shake his head. The number on there wasn't one she was familiar with so he cautiously answered it. "Yeah?" He listened to the calm voice on the other end. "Whoa, hold on. Which kid?" He listened to a story that was this side of pissing him off. "I'll be right there. I want a reconstructionist there when I walk in in about ten minutes ready to give me options and a full list of what needs to be done. Yes, please, treat the boy." She hung up and took her purchases up to the register, letting her run them. Then she took the bag and sprinted for the car. One of her kids needed her and that was more important than anything but getting the person back who had put the incendiary device in front of her kid.
By the time she got to the hospital, there was a plastic surgeon in with the kid in question and the nurses were waiting for her. "How is he? Stable?" she asked as she stomped down the hallway.
"First, which parent are you?" a nurse asked.
"Step mother. You won't get much closer than me at the moment," she said grimly. "There's Godparents but they're in the country at the moment."
"The father would be?" another nurse asked.
"Japan with his other kids."
"Prison," she said grimly, grimacing in disgust. "Nasty whore." The nurses looked shocked so she looked at them. "Good enough?" They nodded and let her into the room where her stepson was resting. "Ishi," she whispered, moving closer to touch his unharmed cheek. "Baby, tell me what happened?" she pleaded.
"Mom?" he groaned, looking at her. "Someone challenged me."
"Shh, baby, let me handle that part. Tell mommy what happened." Ishi hissed out something in Japanese that made her start and frown at him. "Who?"
"Him," he agreed in French. "Do I need to stay?"
"Baby, your cheek is split open like someone hit a grape with a hammer. Plus you've got some interesting pit marks where you were burned. You're gonna be here for a few days I'm afraid." She looked at the other inhabitant of the room when he cleared his throat. "The plastic surgeon?" He nodded, clutching the folder to his chest. "How bad will it be?"
"We can rejoin most of his cheek to his face. It'll leave a scar where it joins but with how young he is it should fade mostly by the time he's a legal adult," he offered. "The small burns may well scar. Probably no worse than acne scars and that one where the three lines will join." She looked down at the boy and took his hand, then at him again. "I'll do the best I can, but he's going to have a few scars."
"A few scars is better than too many," she agreed. She looked down at Ishi. "I'm gonna be waiting, little man. I'm going to call in the family once you're nearly done so no one has to pace and wait. So you go with the good doctor and you get better." She looked at the doctor again. "Are you the best in the city or nearly?"
"I teach at the local medical school. I'm not the most artistic, but I'm conferencing with him while I do this one. We'll be taping it for the students later if you agree."
"That's up to him," she assured him. "I'll want any evidence you gather from him." The doctor nodded quickly and headed out to get a surgical suite ready. "Okay, Ishi. From the top. Benny did what?"
"He challenged me, mom. He said he was challenging me to a duel of honor. I got there and the building blew up as I opened the door. Fortunately I was having a semi-psychic moment because I ducked at the last moment. That's why I've got some burns and bruises on my upper back too. Please don't tell dad?" he begged.
"Honey, I'll have to tell him but he won't be mad at you. Trust me on this, he won't be mad at you." She stroked some of his hair back. "We'll do our best to minimize this for you, Ishi. You just try to heal and rest. You'll be coming home as soon as you're released, even if I have to beat the shit out of your father. Got it?" He nodded slowly. "Good boy." She kissed him on a bare spot on his forehead. "You be a good boy and I'll be waiting when you come out." He nodded, grabbing the rails as the orderlies walked in. "If he's harmed, I will be killing people," she warned the nurses walking in. "Got it?" They nodded, looking amused. "Perhaps I should introduce myself. I'm Sylvia, contract assassin. That's my stepson, Goemon Ishikawa the Fourteenth, a samurai and assassin in training. His father's in Japan right now with the others." They went pale. "So nothing had better happen to my stepson." She stomped off, going out to her car to cry in peace. It may not solve anything but it made her feel better for a bit. It let her be clear-headed enough to plan. She picked up the phone. "We need to talk. I'm calling a rare truce. Meet me in the park with the Mountie at six tonight. Yes, him. Ask him that question," she said coldly. "I'm sure it'll be enlightening." She got up and went to grab the pre- operation pictures, then call in a favor with someone who could make some splendid explosive devices.
Zenigata walked into the park alone. "I can't let you hurt him, Lavelle."
Xander stood up, looking him over. "Wonderful, but what makes you think he's not already hurt." She flipped over a picture, making him wince. "My stepson, who he called out. Who he tried to kill. He will be suffering just as much as my baby will be. Do we have a clear understanding?"
"Why? How is this his fault?"
"He's the one who issued the challenge. He's the one who set the bomb." She handed over two sealed envelopes. "Final statements from the people who helped him. They're being taken in by Vecchio. I called him personally. You deserve the right to know as his superior but they're his friends and they get stopping rights."
Zenigata looked at the picture again. "Is he okay?" he asked quietly. Xander handed over another picture, this one before the bandages were put on the boy. The cheek was brought together in three lines that joined just below the cheekbone. There were still some vivid small burn spots on his upper cheek, forehead, and left chin. "Xander, I want to punish him in-house. It's important that the other cops know they can't do these things."
"Zenny, he's a thief in training. How many other cops won't congratulate him," he said bitterly. "If you want him further, then get in line or get him before Goemon gets him. I still have to call him." She walked away, pulling out her phone. "Lupin, get your sisters. It's an emergency. No, Ishi. Conference in your dad if possible." She hummed at the new, happier voices on the line. "Guys, it's bad news. Don't be that fucking cheerful. Someone challenged Ishi to an honor duel and then tried to blow him up when he appeared for it. He's already had surgery. I wanted to bring better news. No, he'll be scarred, but not horribly so. Three on his cheek, small burn pits. Yeah, that's where he is. No, he had them call me. I dealt with the person partially. No, Lupin, let me call him. It'll be better coming from me. Just get your ass back to Paris right now so I can have cuddles and we can plan how to help him more."
She hung up and took a deep breath before dialing the last number she'd need. She got a baby babbling into the phone. "Hey, Yu, put the daddy on," she said tiredly. The baby handed the phone to his father. "Goemon, sit. Yes, that was an order. No, not dead. Injured." He grimaced at the sound of the thump. "Not quite that bad. Get into his email. There's a notice of a challenge. Someone blew up the site before it could go on. I had them seal the injuries so it'll scar but not as bad as it could have. Yeah, I've been with him most of the afternoon. No, he only came out an hour ago and he's napping. He knew I went to deal with the issue. No, I gave Gramps the right to deal with his own person before you did. He is just as badly injured, if not a bit worse. No, he had them call me, Goemon. I told them I was his stepmother. Goemon, his cheek was flayed open. I had them close it already. I wasn't going to leave your son in pain like that. I wouldn't do that to any of the kids. You know that," she promised. "Now get your ass back to Paris right the hell now. He'll need you to tell him he's not damaged, not ugly, and not ready to live in a bell tower." She hung up and walked back to her car, going back to the baby's side. He needed her more right now.
Lupin ran into the room and stopped when Xander caught him and pulled him down into her lap. He looked at the boy in the bed, wincing at the number of bandages. "How bad is he?" he asked quietly. She handed over a copy of the second picture she had given Zenigata. He winced again and shook his head. "Then we'll have him treated by the best, Xan. I promise. I made Goemon's reservations and he's on his way back with the kids." He turned and gave her a hug. "Good job," he whispered. "Just right and what I would have done."
Jigen walked in, looking around before coming next to the bed. "Private room?"
"He's considered a security risk since a cop did this," Xander said blandly. "He'll be fine. The guy who closed his cheek is one of the ones who teaches the future plastic surgeons. I asked Molly in Switzerland about him. She knew him because he did some of her training." They looked impressed at that. "Molly said she'd be seeing him in a week. That way some healing can happen but it won't be fully gone in case something else can be done. Our favorite doctor for massive injuries was quite upset at a certain Mountie." Jigen scowled. "You didn't hear?"
"I did. I can't believe he did it. He's usually such a good guy he starches his underwear."
"He might, but he admitted it to Zenny. That's when the bomb went off in his face," Xander said bitterly. "He should be just as badly injured as our baby is."
"He is, I filched his file from up the hall," Jigen admitted. "How bad was Ishi?" Xander handed over the 'before' picture, making Lupin get up and pace so he could swear and not wake up their kid with it. Jigen gave them both a critical look. "He's a bit worse but that should be good enough," he agreed. "For now."
"I warned Goemon that Gramps wanted him first," Xander admitted. "I'm sure they'll work that part out together." The sarcasm dripping from her voice made Jigen and Lupin shudder. "When should we expect the daddy?"
"Later tonight. He'll be coming right here from the airport," Lupin reported. "I've had Bix come into town to take the kids." He stroked her cheek. "Good job, Xander. Just what I would have done."
"Are we telling the bitch?" Jigen asked.
"I suppose we should," Lupin agreed bitterly, glancing at the bed, then back at Jigen. "You want to?"
"No, but I will if I have to," he offered.
"I sent in a letter with her lawyer," Xander told him. "In Arabic so not everyone can read it, but if they want to check I'm sure someone can. It laid it all out for her. She also has a picture of the after surgery scars." The older men looked at her. "I didn't want them to gloat," he said with a small shrug.
"Good job," Jigen agreed. "When can he come home?"
"Tomorrow night." She yawned. "If you want, I'll take a later watch."
"We can watch over him tonight, Xan. Go to the hotel and rest," Lupin said gently, pulling out a key card. "We had to get a private suite for us three and him when he comes out. The kids have one across the hall." She nodded and stood up, wobbling a bit before she caught her balance. "Are you sure you can drive?"
"No, but I figure I can make it to a nearby hotel."
"We're at the usual place. Let them call a cab," Jigen said gently. She nodded and gave them both hugs, then left them alone with their godson. Jigen stared at Ishi. "Was that enough for you? What she did?"
"No," Lupin snorted. "But I think Goemon has this one first. She got him back for Ishi, now the rest of us get a turn to play," he said coldly. He looked at his long-time partner. "When is Goemon's connection?"
"He's got an hour layover at Heathrow in about thirty minutes."
Goemon looked up as someone called out for 'Ishi the Thirteenth' to pick up a white courtesy phone, heading to the nearest one. "What?" he growled. He listened to the calm, detached voice recite what had already been done in his son's defense and how they were waiting for him. How Bix was going to be waiting to pick up the kids with Ray K and then he was coming directly to the hospital. How Xander had already gotten him back for Ishi and how now his turn to decide his punishment. He grunted and hung up, heading for his new gate with his small bag, baby carriers, and sword. The enchantment Marcus had laid on it was very useful. He noticed the check-in girl looking at it, then at him, so he growled. "My son was injured."
"Very well, sir. Connecting to Paris?" He nodded. "That's fine. We'll let you board first since you have children." She typed in something and checked on the plane's progress. "Do you have a carrier for the one in the snuggler?"
"No. He's fine."
"I'm sure he's quite comfortable, sir, but we really should have him in a carrier," she said gently. "It's safer."
"The plane will not crash," he said firmly. "My sons will be fine."
"Good enough," she decided, making a note in his file. She smiled at him. "Just don't open that other thing on board please." He nodded. "Thank you, sir. If you'll sit, it'll be a few more minutes. Or if you wanted to, you could change the one trying to reach into his diaper."
Goemon took everything into the bathroom to change his sons, just in case. His 'eww' floated out but no one did more than smile since it was obvious what he was doing. Yu was giggling merrily.
Ray K met him inside the gate, taking the carrier automatically. "Goemon, it wasn't us," he said quietly as he followed him. "I swear, Ray and I had nothin' ta do with this," he promised.
Goemon stopped to look at him then nodded. "I know. You wouldn't be here to help with the children if you had. You also would be in a hospital bed by now. Xander would have made sure of it." Ray relaxed some. "Bix?"
"In the waiting area. They wouldn't allow her in. We'll drop you at the hospital on the way to the hotel. Some guy threatened Arsene so we're keeping an eye on the building."
"Another officer?" Ray nodded slightly. "Very well then. I do not mind if you sit with her. She is very sweet and I will hurt you worse than Ishi promised if you harm her." He started to walk again, taking off the baby carrier once they got out to where Bix was. "They were both changed in London, but I fear Yu may need it again. He's been doing that evil laugh again." He rolled his eyes at her giggle. "Any news?"
"He came out of surgery just fine, Goemon. Xander didn't call until after that. She's back at the hotel resting while Lupin and Jigen take the night shift watching him. They're waiting on you." She gave him a gentle hug. "We'll do whatever we need to so he'll heal as perfect as he can be," she promised softly.
He nodded. "Thank you. Bring the children tomorrow during visiting hours. Let Xander sleep for as long as she wants to but bring her back with you." She nodded, hurrying in front of him to get the car.
Goemon walked in slowly, looking at his son's sleeping body. "Has he woken?"
"Not yet. They've got him drugged pretty well," Lupin said from his corner. "Jigen went to get a smoke. He's not fragile, Goemon. You can hug him."
Goemon walked in and hugged his son as hard as he dared, waking him. "Shh, son, it is the father," he whispered. "Rest, I will still be here tomorrow." Ishi mumbled something and went back to sleep. "I love you too, son," he whispered, pushing his hair around for him. He needed it trimmed, it was in his eyes. He looked at Lupin. "A plan is in place?"
"They gave him the option of resigning and going back to being a plain, old mountie so he took it," Lupin said calmly. "He and his wolf are going back to some rural hell that has maybe sixty people in it. If you want, we'll follow. That's his preferred environment."
Goemon's white hot rage popped back into being and this time his youngest son wasn't around to soothe him. "Then we should track him sometime soon."
"We're following your lead in this, Goemon. He's your son," Lupin assured him. Jigen came back in with two bottles of soda. "Thanks, man."
"Welcome, boss. Hey, Goemon. Xan said the doctor was nearly a genius. He's not going to be heavily scarred. She demanded the best and got a teacher from the medical school."
Goemon nodded, taking the soda Jigen held for himself, he needed liquid. "Grape?" he asked finally.
"The machine was out," Jigen said with a small shrug. "The nurses keep watching me as I move. Either they're fans or they know who Ishi is."
"They're safe from us as long as they treat Ishi properly," Lupin promised.
"I'm assuming Xander lost her temper and threatened someone while he was in surgery," Goemon noted. The other men nodded, that sounded like a Xander thing to do. "Where are the girls?"
"Coming in tomorrow," Lupin said with a smirk. "Arsene wants to kill someone."
"Ray said someone wanted to kill her," Goemon warned. "They're watching the hotel for him."
"Hmm, sounds like the cops decided this was a *good* idea," Jigen said bitterly. "Xander's there, she'll get him for it," he promised Lupin.
"I'm sure," Lupin agreed calmly. He knew the girls wouldn't be in before tomorrow, Lotus was making some sort of healing syrup for her brother and they were guarding her.
Back at the hotel, Xander finished teaching Fred, Sarah, and Kenji how to rewire an alarm on a window using a gum wrapper or two, plus the gum, and how to hang people out of the window they had just defeated. Then they left the nice tourist's room and went back to their own, letting the tourists sleep the sleep of the heavily drugged. It was on the side of the hotel, so no one would be finding him for a while.
Ishi woke up to being patted and groaned, forcing himself to sit up. "What?" he asked, blinking at his baby brother. "When did you get here?" he asked, taking him to cuddle. Kenji patted the bandages gently, for a toddler, and kissed him on the nose. "Yes, thank you those do hurt and I love you too, little guy." He hugged him again, looking around. "My father?"
"Went to the bathroom," Jigen told him. "Xander went to check on where the idiot was sent to. It took them six hours to find the other cop."
"What other cop?"
"The one who came after me," Arsene said from her father's seat. She smiled and waved. "Amanda said you'd better be okay or else she's going to kick him in the nuts for you. Which is really violent for your girl, Ishi."
He nodded. "It is. Tell her I'll see her in a few days or so."
"Try more like two weeks," Jigen offered.
"But that's okay because we've gotten all your homework for you and already done it," Melissa finished with a grin from her place on her father's lap. "Yu helped by making some pretty patterns on the edges of the paper. We did everything but your math homework."
"Thanks, guys," he said fondly, smiling sadly at them. "How bad is it?"
"The doc'll be changing bandages in a bit," Jigen offered. Goemon came back in carrying the missing baby. "See, I told you he went to the bathroom."
"Yes, and the baby went to terrorize the nurses with his new-found crawling ability." He set the baby on the bed, watching as he crawled up to pounce his big brother. "Where is Lotus?"
"Finishing the healing serum," Melissa told him. "That one bully will try to say you're weak because you didn't get your attacker back by yourself but the rest of them are already working on him. They know that you were ambushed and unable to at that time. As an added incentive, Melissa sent out an email to Teddy about what happened. He sent his sympathy to your inbox and a virtual card saying he'd hug you next convention you were both at."
Ishi nodded. "Thanks. Anything else I should know?"
"Yeah, Vecchio kicked him out of his family," Arsene said dryly. The adults nodded at that, it was only proper. "So he's going back friendless too."
"I still can't believe they let him go back," Melissa complained. "They punish him by sending him to a barren wasteland of a place, which is where he asked for?"
"It wouldn't be proper for them to give him a *good* post," Jigen offered, patting her on the back. "If Ishi had been a normal kid he'd have been punished, but punishing him for taking out an up-and-coming thief would have only made him a martyr for some people, sweetheart. More people would have tried. So he's officially being banished right back to where he came from, exiled from Interpol back to the Canadians, who hate him because he exposed a cop who killed another one."
"He's still being rewarded!"
"Shh, calm down, Melissa," Arsene soothed, standing up to give her a hug. "We're the punishment. Us, the dads, and the mom."
"They couldn't stick him someplace he'd hate, like Toronto or Montreal, that would be a prime placement that most Mounties would want. It'd send the wrong message," Jigen pointed out. "So they supposedly exiled him to the frozen north and he'll be staying up there until something ends his life or his career."
"Good, I hope like hell it's suicide," Ishi offered. Everyone nodded, that was possible. "Can I have more grown-up hugs?" His father moved to hug him, making him feel much better. "Thanks, dad."
"You're welcome, son." He played with a bit of his hair. "It's getting long again."
"It's going to be staying long too," Ishi warned dryly. "I'm going to want to hide these things for a bit."
"That's okay because the new headmistress said that you're getting shaved nearly bald when you get back," Arsene said with a smirk. "The same as she's ordered the barber not to cut my hair at all."
"When are we moving to finish driving her off?" Melissa asked.
"Next week." She smirked at Goemon. "She's a bit of a bitch, Uncle G. You'd want to hit her too."
"I'm feeling the itch to play some leapfrog with her," Melissa noted. Everyone stared at her in confusion. "Leap frog? Where you bounce over someone's back while shoving them into the ground, or in her case, hot tar?"
Arsene nodded. "I like that idea. I'll have to keep that in mind." She snuggled against Jigen's side. "We'd be pouncing you for a hug too but we figured you'd not want it."
"No, I don't need you to pounce me," he agreed, smirking at her, then holding a hand over his cheek. "When can I see the damage?"
"It should only be a few moments," Goemon offered. "I'll be in here with you while Jigen and the girls take the babies." Ishi nodded, that was fine with him. "Your sister will be up tonight with her potion."
"Okay. As long as it helps some," he agreed. "I ache, dad."
"As you should, son, you have a great many stitches in your cheek." He stroked gently over the back of the bandage. "We'll figure it out, son. You can hurt him with me if you want."
"Probably, yes," he agreed as a nurse stuck her head into the room. "Can I get up and pee before he changes the bandages?" She nodded, coming in to help him out of the bed and into the bathroom. Once he was resettled the doctor came in and everyone but his father disappeared. "I want to see how bad it is," he ordered.
The doctor nodded. "I figured you would. Boys your age are very conscious of how you look. Do you want him in here with you?"
"He's my father, of course I do," Ishi agreed. "He'll need to see how much therapy I'll need too."
The doctor nodded and brought the tray closer, picking up a pair of scissors to cut the lengths of gauze around his forehead. They were removed, then the bandages on his cheek and chin. Finally the doctor looked at him for a moment before handing over a mirror. "It's better than we had hoped for, Mr. Ishikawa."
"There's a raised spot," Ishi noted.
"Yes, we did that so the pieces would match exactly. There was some tissue loss around the center. If we had flattened it out you would have had two longer joining lines and one smaller one instead of three small ones. If it bothers you, you could have it removed."
"No, I like this just fine. I can see that cheekbone now," Ishi said, looking at his father. "Well, I'm not hideous," he said, his voice trembling. His father simply hugged him, letting him cry for a moment, then soothing him until he was feeling better. Ishi handed back the mirror. "How long and will I need more treatments?"
"We'll want you here tonight at least and you shouldn't unless you want that extra bump of skin removed. You could have the scars bleached once they're fully healed. There's laser resurfacing for that sort of thing." Ishi and his father both nodded. "It's much better than we had expected." He looked at the face critically. "I've sent pictures from last night to your doctor in Switzerland. I should take some more. It looks much better this morning." He took a camera off the tray and snapped a few. "There, I'll send these to Molly. I'll be releasing you into her care, young man. So follow it. No getting those wet. No sports for a good month after you've healed, just in case so you don't damage the cheek further, and get your eyes checked in case something was sent into them. I couldn't find anything and we did an eye wash before surgery but I'd still recommend that." Ishi nodded. "Anything else?"
"Not at the moment," Goemon offered. "I thank you for doing such an excellent job on my son."
"It's what I do, sir. Kids like your son are good to work on." He slathered some gel on his face then rebandaged it. "That's some neosporin-type gel to help encourage healing and to keep infection out. Leave it on there. The swelling should finish going down within a week so we'll have a final estimate of how scarred it'll be at that time." He nodded before leaving.
Jigen, Lupin, and Xander walked back in with all the kids. "How does it look?" Xander asked anxiously.
"Swollen, red, but better than it could be," Ishi said calmly. "Thank you for getting me treated so fast."
"I can't see you guys in misery," she promised, giving him a gentle hug. "Lay down." He did so she handed over a candy bar she had gotten him with a grin. "A treat."
"Thanks." He unwrapped it and bit a piece off, chewing slowly to savor it. "This is really good. A new company?"
"One who just hit me up for a donation," she said with a wink. She sat on the end of his bed. "I had Ethan look over Lotus' shoulder and he said she's gotten it perfect so far. Marcus agreed. Did it look okay? He said something about going for esthetically pleasing instead of absolutely proper."
"He did and the lines aren't as bad as they could be," Goemon promised. "He did a good job on my son."
"Um, dad, I kinda told them that mom was the stepmom," Ishi offered. He ate another bite of candybar.
"It's fine, son. It got you treated faster," he agreed. He looked at Xander. "Did you also tell his actual mother? I heard something about a letter."
"I did. I sent it in with her lawyer, along with an after picture," she admitted.
"Hey, there's orange pieces in here," Ishi said happily, taking another bite.
Xander grinned at him then looked at Goemon again. "She yelled for Gramps for hours until he came down to talk to her. Then she tried to kill him."
"Sounds reasonable to me," Jigen agreed. Lupin nodded. "Anything else of note?"
"Ishi needs to eat dinner with his candy," Melissa offered. Her father gave her an odd look. "I doubt he's eaten real food since yesterday, father, and I know what candy on an empty stomach can do to him. He'll run the nurses ragged."
"Fine," Xander agreed, smirking at her. "You missed it, Fred is quite helpful when hotwiring a window alarm. Nearly as good as you were, 'Lis."
"That's my boy," Lupin said proudly.
Jigen looked up. "Why me?" he mouthed, cracking up Goemon. "What?"
"Your daughters are just like you," Xander promised, giving him a long hug and a kiss. "There, feel better?"
Jigen smirked at her. "A little bit. Can I have more?"
She chuckled and kissed him again. "There. Now sit down and brood at the nurses so they go all mushy and coo at you again, dear." He sat down like the good boy he pretended to be for her. "You too, Lupin."
"Which one? I don't think I like nurses that much yet," Arsene offered. "I'm waiting to try women until I get bored with men."
"I do have a few pretty nurses," Ishi agreed.
"That tends to make the time go faster," Lupin offered with a smirk for him. "Should we smuggle out your girl for a few hours?"
"We've already called her mother and she said she'd allow her out this weekend," Melissa assured him. "That's in two days so Ishi should still be here then. Yes?" Ishi groaned. "For the chance of seeing her?"
"Then if I must, I'll stay," he sighed. "If not, I'll go meet her in the park with chaperones or something." He looked at Xander, who grinned. "Wanna go?"
"Gee, the last time she and her mother saw me I was dressed as some warrior queen. Think they'll be shocked at me in normal clothes?"
"One can only hope," Ishi said dryly. He nibbled another bite of candybar then grinned. "I like these people, mom. Can we fund them?"
"Sure, kiddo. They're small and exclusive so they've got some risk but we'll talk about it later, once everyone else is gone and I'm here guarding you."
"You don't have to," he offered.
"Fat chance, kiddo. We'll be guarding you in shifts," Jigen assured him with a smirk. "That way you can leer at the nurses at times and not at others."
"Hell, leer away. Pretty nurses are a wonderful thing," Xander agreed. The nurse stuck her head in. "He's fine."
"Yes, ma'am, but there's an officer here wanting to take a statement. Should I let him in?"
"Which one?" Arsene asked.
"An Inspector Vecchio?"
"Sure, we like Ray enough," Xander agreed. "He'll be safe with us." She nodded and left to bring him in. "Hey. You okay?"
"Stunned stupid that Benny would do this," he said bitterly. He looked at Ishi's bandages. "It coulda been worse, kid."
"I know. For some reason I ducked." He held out the candybar. "Want a piece? It's orange."
"Sure." He broke off a corner with a grin. "So, the official records needed a statement. Can you give one? I had Ray K break into your email when Benny admitted to sending the challenge that way. By the way, Amanda sent you a virtual card."
"You can use my laptop," Lupin promised. "Want us to leave, kiddo?"
"No, you're good," he assured them, looking at Ray. "I snuck out of the school. The matter of my honor is very important to me. My line may have thieves and assassins but we are honorable in our methods and means." Ray nodded, taking notes while his tape recorder ran. "I snuck out of the school through the pool area. There's an unguarded and unalarmed emergency door through the girls' locker room that I usually use. I ran into the woods and to the nearest town, where I used my train pass to get into Paris. I went to the address from the second email. Um, I may have accidentally deleted that one so you'll have to check my trash." Ray nodded, making another note of that while Lupin pulled out a laptop and plugged it into the wall to start it. "I went there, making sure I wasn't followed or being tailed by your kind. I got there, it was run-down and looked abandoned. I started to open the door and something told me to duck, so I did. I turned and ducked at the same time if I remember right. The next thing I know I'm being woken by someone poking at my cheek wearing an ambulance uniform."
"His bag of things had his wallet," Xander told him.
Ray raised an eyebrow. "So either someone called the ambulance fairly fast or no one dared to touch him?" Xander shrugged. "Fine. We can ask about that. Benny may have called them himself. He was like that." He scratched his forehead. "Okay, kiddo. What place did you get sent to? Do you remember it by description?"
"That place where Mom said she busted my mom," he said weakly.
"Interesting," Lupin agreed, turning his laptop around. "It's in his trash but I moved it back to the regular box, Ray."
"Thanks. Anything else to add?"
"He may live for a bit longer," Ishi offered. "I'm not promising though."
Ray nodded. "I'm not sure but I think he may want that, kid." He slumped a bit and popped his neck. "Benny turned himself in right after the explosion. He asked to be exiled. He asked that we tell you where so you could settle things 'your way' as he put it. So yeah, I think he's wanting it."
"It'll look bad if we don't," Lupin said calmly.
"His face looks worse," Ray offered. "He had to go with whatever doctor was on shift."
"Maybe, but that's not really making me feel great, ya know?" Ishi offered sourly. "We'll consider the implications of his actions."
"That's all I ask," Ray agreed, lightening up some. "Ray K wanted to know if you needed your comics forwarded. Or simply bought. He's found a new shop and we won't let him into it without a chaperone."
"Sure," Ishi agreed happily.
"I can send him a list later," Jigen offered. "I'm keeping track of both collections for the fanboys."
"Hey, I'm not the one who bought the ten thousand dollar comic," Ishi said smugly.
"It was a present," Jigen defended.
Lupin and Xander looked at each other. "I'm sensing a present," Xander said happily. "Since there's three fanboys and Lupin, who's a mild addict now, which one gets it, Jigen?"
"Whichever one gives me the best blow tonight," he said smugly.
"Which is unfair and mean, 'cause we all know my cheek won't stretch that way right now," Ishi offered dryly, pouting at him when Jigen looked his way. "Don't I get one?"
Xander kissed him on the forehead. "Of course you do. We'll find you a great prezzie, Ishi. Count on it, little man." She grinned at Ray. "Right?"
"Probably. My mom always cooked. My first graze, my ex and I didn't have to cook for a year."
"You were married?" Melissa asked. Ray nodded, looking smug. "Wow. You don't seem like you'd be that comfy living with someone in that manner. More like you're the wild and carefree bachelor."
"Bachelors are lonely," Ray advised. "Married men are only lonely if their wives don't pay attention to them due to their idiocy."
"Oh, I don't know," Lupin said smugly. "I kinda enjoyed it while it lasted. Then I got the ever-changing woman so now I'm more than happily settled down in near-domestic bliss."
Xander gave him a long look, then smirked at Jigen. "Think he means it?" Jigen shook his head, giving him a wise look. "Think he wants to climb into bed with a showgirl from the strip?"
Jigen nodded. "Oh, yeah. I caught him looking."
"Hell, you caught me looking," Arsene said dryly. "She had some massive hooters that couldn't be real."
"Some women are naturally that big," Lupin offered dryly.
"Not if they stand up at her age and at that size, plus they didn't bounce, they didn't move, and it was like they were set in concrete."
"Hmm, bad boob job," Melissa agreed. "Remind me to get a good doc to do mine when I get tired of sagging breasts."
Her father swatted her. "Not a chance. Not while I'm alive."
She kissed him on the cheek. "Yes, daddy. Then again, there's every chance you'll be dead before I finish puberty." He grimaced at her so she gave him her cutest look. "What? I could be a woman that Uncle Lupin would like if I wanted."
"You're too young for me," he sighed, almost making it to a defeated look.
"Okay, or the younger one," Melissa offered. Arsene leered at her. "Think I'd look good with big hooters?"
"Daughter," Xander warned. "You have more respect for your body than that. Live with what you have, before you end up with a set like mine." The girls shuddered and clung to their fathers. "Thank you." She looked at Ishi. "You, no picking up your uncle's bad habits and trying to feed each night."
"I don't like breasts. I like to snuggle so far," Ishi assured her with a small smirk. His father moaned. "Sorry, dad."
"No, I must come to terms with you growing older and having adult relationships." He settled himself in the corner. "One day soon you too shall want advice on how to train a son of your own. At that time I will laugh as you yank your hair out and learn that being peed on is the ultimate reason for fatherhood."
"Your father had a whole philosophy built on what he learned from changing your diaper," Xander agreed happily. "Some day you'll expand on it."
"If I live long enough to have kids," Ishi pointed out triumphantly. "I hate kids. I like babysitting, but I couldn't stand being a father full time."
"That's a depressing thought," Ray announced. Ishi gave him a hurt look. "You're looking forward to dying young?"
"No, I really want to retire to a nice beach with a mountain-side home and a few geishas to wait hand and foot on me," he told him. "I'd settle for that at least." He gave him a smug look. "I could do with a harem too."
"Don't worry, Ishi, we'll find you a willing harem," Arsene promised. "As long as you share some of them now and then." They shared smirks then smirked at Melissa, who sighed and rolled her eyes.
"Children," Melissa complained, looking at her father. "At least one of them *will* grow out of that, right?"
Jigen shook his head. "That sounds decent to me too."
"I'd mind," Xander pointed out dryly.
"We'd bring you so you could be the queen or king of it," Lupin offered smugly.
"If you did, I'd have to take them all from you," she said smugly. "Then what would you do?" She looked at Ishi again. "Don't worry, you'll have a son eventually. Even if we have to find a good mother and put you two together," she promised. "Then Lupin can be a grandpa and corrupt another generation."
"Speaking of the future of crime, where is the Fifth?" Jigen asked.
"With Amanda. She offered to watch him for me." Lupin looked at her cohorts. "My baby's lonely. I should find it a buddy. Maybe Lotus can turn the mountie into a ferret to play with him."
"Turn Kowalski, he'd make a better ferret," Vecchio said dryly. The door opened and Zenigata walked with a small potted plant. "Hey. I'm done with the statement if you need me."
"Not yet," he admitted, handing over the plant. "Here. From the wife. She's presently sobbing and threatening Fraser's life if she ever sees him again."
"Cranky pregnant women are fun," Lupin noted. "Remember Xan with the girls? Remember what happened when someone tried to take the ice cream truck down the street?"
Jigen snickered, tipping his hat down further. "Yup."
Xander frowned at them, hands now on her hips, one foot tapping. "I wasn't as bad as Dawn is," she said firmly. Her men shook their heads. "Was I?" They shook their heads again, still giving her smug looks. "Remember, Janus needs another child and he's seeming to like guys at the moment."
Jigen crossed his legs as tightly as he could. "He can have Lupin. I'm not one of his."
"We're all one of his now," Arsene noted. "Just because we help and work with ones who are."
"And those of us who begged and pleaded for him to help?" Melissa asked dryly.
"Hey, I never said some of us weren't more of his type than others," she defended. "Dad, Mom, and I are wholly his."
"Am not," Lupin defended. "He simply likes me," he said when everyone stared at him in disbelief. "I'm the one who keeps throwing his statue out the window."
"Yeah, and I keep getting heavier and heavier ones, dad. Gee, thanks. The next one will be solid gold and marble."
"Plus, probably about six feet tall," Ishi offered. "Then you can snuggle up to the rock- hard body of the God."
"Which would make some of us have nightmares." Xander looked at him. "Don't suggest such things. I don't want to walk into a museum some day and find her molesting the statues."
"Most artists make their statues tiny in to placate the narrow little puritan minds that seem to run museum boards," Arsene sniffed. "Besides, it's easier to buy good toys that feel real. Just like your collection, dad."
Lupin coughed. "Not mine."
Xander smirked at her. "Touch them again, find yourself in an ever-lasting chastity belt that's magically held in place." She shuddered and clutched her father's arm harder. "Good girl," she praised with mock-sweetness. "Remember, making us a grandmother will mean that you'll never get to steal anything ever again."
"I compromised, I got a ferret," she said patiently. "Now my baby needs a sibling."
"Only if we finally find out what sex it is and find one of the same sex," Jigen said firmly. "I'm not changing ferret diapers."
Lupin noticed Pops was looking thoughtful so he smirked at him. "If someone should help her with that desire and there comes a bunch of baby ferrets, that person would be gifted with the whole litter and the mother so they could take care of them," he said smartly. "They'd probably get along very well with his cats."
"Probably not," Zenigata said with a small shrug. "Dawn might like it and the boys definitely would." He looked at Ishi, who was napping now. "Poor kid. He okay?" Everyone nodded. "Good. Dawn wanted to know. Ray?" Vecchio waved and walked out, tucking his recorder and notebook away as he followed his boss out the door.
"Okay, let's set up a formal watch," Xander announced. "I call night." Everyone drew their spots and those who'd need sleep left. Xander sat down beside the bed, taking Ishi's hand to hold onto for as long as her stepson let her. He curled around it, making her grin at him. "We'll be fine. Even if I have to work on your image, little guy. She'll be stunned and amazed."
Fujiko looked up as her cell door opened and he nemesis walked in. "What do *you* want?" she sneered, curling up tighter in her bunk.
"To give you pictures of your son now that the swelling's going down," Jigen said, tossing a few polaroids at her. "There, for your collection. Xander's already working on his image and the docs said that they might fade mostly by the time he's an adult. If not, there's always resurfacing if necessary." He looked her over. "You sane?"
She growled. "I was before! She stole what was mine!"
"You gave it up, bitch. You gave up your kids, Goemon's affection, and all of it because you were too spoiled to share the attention. It was a good thing Xan was there to take up some of slack, huh? Otherwise those kids might have died of neglect by now." Fujiko shuddered and curled up against herself. "Maybe if you learn the meaning of unselfish behavior he might let you back, I doubt it but it might happen."
"No, Goemon. Lupin's decided to take the 'ex's strategy. Goemon's upset by you so therefore he hates you for hurting him." He shrugged and tossed over a pack of cigarettes. "Your daughter sent that." He walked out, heading back out to the car to head back to the hospital. He had no idea why Lotus had asked him to do that, but she had. It had felt good though.
Fujiko opened up the pack of cigarettes, expecting something like a wire saw. All she saw were cigarettes. She pulled one out and lit it, inhaling the smoke. She noticed the smoke was gathering and in it was a small black spot. She grabbed the smokes and pictures, standing up to look at it. Then she let out a scream as she disappeared into the hole.
"Now she'll know what aloneness is like," Lotus said smugly, letting her teacher go. "Thank you. Should I take you to Ethan or Dawn's? We did the last portal spell at his house."
"His if you wouldn't mind," he said calmly. It had been a small price to pay for getting her help. She really was quite powerful. He vowed to look up the witch that everyone compared her to when he got back to his own world. He grabbed his lone bag and took her hand, letting her set the traveling spell. He had learned quite a lot while teaching her what he knew. They landed in the back of an English garden and the lights inside the house came on. He nodded at the one man he knew. "Marcus."
"Come along. Ethan's in the altar room giving Rupert his next lesson in subservience in Janus' name," he said quietly. "Thank you, Lotus. Do you feel better now?" She nodded and disappeared again. "Come," he repeated, leading him inside. "You can put your things in here," he offered, opening a door. "It's usually mine but I've been with those two this whole trip. How is Ishi?"
"Doing much better. His sister sent him some healing elixir and it should help heal him greatly." He dropped his bag off and followed the young sorcerer back to where his host was using his toy brutally. "Ethan," he said respectfully.
"Want some of him, Severus? He's quite good."
"No, thank you. I have no desire for that sort of exercise." He walked in and sat down. "Can we really get me home?"
"Of course," he agreed happily. "I know just how to do so and I've already gotten it worked out. You'll be going around dawn and it'll be a longish trip so you may want to rest. Or do things that you'll never forget, yet no one will ever find out about," he suggested smugly. "Are you sure? Rupert's taken to his duties quite well."
Severus shook his head. "That's quite all right. I don't tend to defile or touch holy objects." He went back to his room to read the books he had confiscated.
Giles knelt in front of the altar. "Lord Janus," he whispered. "I'm sorry if my disbelief harmed you. I have truly learned my lesson. You are quite real, quite well endowed, and more than willing to have fun with my body. Have I served my penance yet? Please, Lord, I am sore and cannot sit."
The statue looked down at him. "It is time for Ethan to remember his early training as well," the head on the left offered gently.
"After he returns the wizard," the second head said firmly.
"Of course, Lord, I thank you and bless your name," Rupert said, standing up with a hiss of pain. "I believe he was a bit rough this time."
"I've drawn you a bath, Rupert," Marcus said from the doorway. "That should help most of it and I did mix in some of the healing bubble bath you like so much." He walked him up to the bathroom he had been using, helping him into the warm water so he could watch the pleasure. "Do you think I might have a go at it too?" he asked, plainly begging.
"Go ask," Rupert said tiredly. Marcus grinned and trotted out to do just that. "I will pay you back for that engorgement charm," he said bitterly. Yes, there would be merry hell to pay, all of it for Ethan while he danced on the end of his dick.
To Part 41