Girl Problems

Xander walked all the girls into the doctor's office about a month later, nodding at the receptionist. They were skirting the system a bit, but this wasn't going on the government's health care plan, it was through private insurance and they were all willing to pay for the girls to go on birth control so no one could really say much to her about it.  "Harris?"  She nodded, marking that they were there and gave each girl a clipboard to fill out.  Xander sighed and ended up filling them out for them, it asked things that the girls didn't know.  Lotus, the last to start her cycle, had started last week and had just stopped.  The doctor said it was fine to bring her too.  The sooner started the sooner they could find any problems.  The fathers had shuddered in horror and went to find a bar while she was here with the girls.

The nurse came out and took them all back to the first exam room to do the preliminaries first and together to put them at ease.  "You are sisters?"

"The fathers live together - two are my step daughters, two are my daughters, and Lotus lives with us," Xander told her.  "It's easier and more calming to do it together."

"That seems reasonable," the nurse agreed, pulling out her stethoscope.  "I'm assuming they've been in the doctor's before?"

"We have a private doctor for most things," Xander admitted.  "Just not for this.  He doesn't do female problems."

"Ah."  She pulled Melissa over first since she was closet, checking her vitals, her heart sounds, taking three vials of blood, and starting her chart.   "When was your last cycle?"

"Last month, about thirteen days ago," she said, thinking back.

Arsene coughed and pulled out her calendar, handing it over.  "I keep track of this shit, it keeps me sane when I don't have to deal with you while you have PMS."

"That is a myth," the nurse told them.

"Then explain the mood swings, the slightly homicidal tendencies I get, and the cramps," Melissa offered.  The nurse gave her a look so she shrugged.  "I do.  I also get migraines some months."

"Very well."  She made note of that on the girl's chart, looking at the calendar to mark down all the dates of the last cycles.  "You next," she ordered to Arsene.  She moved up, letting Melissa have her seat while she got poked, prodded, and blood drawn.   Then Lotus got hers done.   "You are new to this?" she asked.

Lotus nodded.  "I just finished my first one."

"You are older?"

"And of a much different bloodline," Xander pointed out.  "She's mostly Japanese and I'm told they usually start later."

"Fine," the nurse agreed. She got Lotus done and moved to the other two.  "You two are sisters?"

"No, we're just friends.  I'm Arsene's twin," Sierra told her.

"I'm Melissa's," Savannah noted. "We don't share their interests."

The nurse nodded and got them done quickly, then went to talk to the doctor.

"Guys, we're doing your eye exams after this," Xander said.  "Just in case.  I don't want anyone not being able to see on the job, or even in classes."

"Yes, mother," they all groaned.

The doctor walked in, a smallish woman that Xander had liked while she was delivering Fred and Sarah.  "Hello," she said with a grin for the family.  "You are all here for your first checkups.  Are we putting them all on birth control?"   The mother nodded.  "Are they all going on the pill?"

"Nope.  Arsene can't remember to feed her pet everyday, I don't trust her to remember a pill.  Lotus could do a pill.  Melissa can get lost in projects with Arsene.  The other two I'd rather have on something stronger and semi-permanent."

"Mother, we agreed to leave off on the boys," Savannah said tiredly.


The doctor nodded, making notes of that.  "That is fine.  There are many options.  Including a new monthly shot, a weekly patch, the depo shot, which works for three months.  There are also inter-vaginal hormonal rings that act like a pill, the IUD, diaphragms - though I do not recommend those last two often, the sponge, vaginal film - which is not something I would suggest except as a backup to a condom as I would a sponge.  There is also norplant, which are slim rods placed under the skin on the arm for up to five years, though I usually recommend three.  I have pamphlets on all those that the girls can look over before they're done."

Xander nodded.  "That's probably a good thing.  We do a lot of traveling as a family, including through Islamic countries and to Japan.  They're also in boarding school and we know that the school does not like it's girls to be on birth control."

"I've seen sponges before," Savannah offered.  "One of the older girls explained it to me when I asked."

"They depend on them being placed correctly, young lady.  They have a high failure rate if not placed exactly," the doctor warned. "That is also why I do not recommend diaphragms or cervical caps.  Especially not to those who could still be growing."  She looked at the mother.  "I'll get the pamphlets, then take the first one in for her exam.  Are you coming in?"

"If they want," Xander agreed.  "I leave that up to them."

"That's very sensible, mother.  Some of us would be rather embarrassed," Savannah said dryly.

"That's fine, then you can have a nurse in there with you," the doctor agreed.  She left and came back with the group of pamphlets, putting them on the counter.  "Who's first?"

"I'll go first," Arsene offered.  "I tend to lead the family at this level."  The doctor smiled and walked her out.  "Is PMS really a myth?  Because Melissa has it horribly and I'd rather not have to deal with it again.  She gets odd, moody, and occasionally homicidal.  Plus she cries for no reason!"

"Hormones are often odd things," the doctor noted.  "PMS is one of those things that most women understand and most men in the medical field believe is a mental hallucination.  That's why they made a drug that is mostly prozac for those who suffer horribly."

"No, she doesn't need that.  I'd rather have her be normal than be on drugs.  Though the school's shrink wants to put us all on drugs because we don't want to be society wives and simpering idiots."

The doctor let her into an exam room.  "It is often that way when you go to the higher priced boarding schools.  Strip off everything, put on the gown, and lay on the bed.  I'll be right back with a nurse."

"Yes, ma'am."  She waited until the door had closed, then stripped off down to her socks and got onto the bed with the paper gown on with the opening in front.  It made more sense that way.

Xander waylaid the doctor in the hall.  "We're having a problem with two of the girls," she said quietly.  "We know that they're active with boys.  Can you tell me if they're still virgins?  If not, we need to take some harsher steps on this matter."

The doctor looked at her.  "They are under the age where they can make their own choices medically.  I can tell you if they are or not.  Do they ride horses?"

"Arsene and Melissa do.  I'm not sure about the other two.  I do know that Sierra had a bad fall off a bike in her youth.  We think she was pierced at that time, but the doctor didn't do more than hint about it.  We were in an Islamic country at the time."

"That's fine.  There are other indicators that it's not riding or injury related."  She got the next one, Melissa, and stuck her in her own room to get ready while she went back to Arsene to do her exam.  "Do you have any idea of which form of birth control you wanted to talk about?"

"I'd like something long lasting, I know I have little self control for some things.  I know I can't remember to take a pill every day, mom was right about that, but I wouldn't mind something that would take away the period if possible."

"The shot can but it doesn't always."  The doctor moved up to feel for lumps in her breasts.  "Do you have a boyfriend?"

"No, but I know I'm curious.  I nearly made a major mistake and followed a guy into a bathroom at a rave.  Mom about killed him for it, even though he was only sixteen."

"Good.  You're much too young for that."  She switched sides, then made a note on the chart.  "All right, this will hurt some.  It should be pressure.  It will not feel good."  She pulled over a stool and opened a speculum.  "Deep breath please."


The doctor walked into the office where Xander was waiting alone.  "All right.  All the girls are on suitable methods of birth control.  Arsene is on the patch.  Melissa has opted for the monthly shot for now, but may be changing because she thinks that hormones may end up driving her insane.  She thinks she's low on estrogen and very masculine.  Those can be gotten most everywhere but probably not in the Islamic countries."

"What about at school?"

"I have talked to her school's nurse and she will administer it since the girl is on it to help control those mood swings," she said smugly.  Xander grinned at that.  "As for Lotus, I have put her on the pill.  She agreed that she could take the pill each and every day.  She and Arsene have a six-month supply.  You can have your regular doctor write a prescription for them."  She opened the folder with a sigh.  "As for the other two."  She noticed the mother was gripping her hands together.  "One is not virginal.  She's actually fairly open at the moment.  She admitted she had been having some personal fun late last night.  The other is still virginal, but we had a long discussion about what she was doing and she is not safe.  I filled in her knowledge of safe sex in all it's forms.  We gave both of them condom packs.  We put both girls on the patch.  I would put them on norplant but I'm not sure of it's use in girls that young."

"We're going to have a problem?"

"Yes, you will," she agreed.  She closed the chart.  "You already have one in Savannah."

"Then we'll be dealing with that.  Nothing extreme like sewing her shut, but perhaps a all- girl's convent school.  What is she on?  The patch?"  The doctor nodded.  "She has a supply?"

"Yes, though her sister Melissa has taken them all for her and the other one, promising to make sure they use them."

Xander sighed and nodded.  "Thank you.  We'll be having a long chat tonight with her and her father."

"Are there more children?"

"I've had a number of accidents," Xander said dryly.  "The others are older toddlers and younger toddlers."

"Very well."  She handed over the sheet she had printed up with the instructions for the different methods.  "Keep that as a reference and for your doctor to write the other prescriptions.  They'll still have to be examined each year.  Hopefully you can stop that one."

"Oh, she will be one way or another," Xander agreed dryly, shaking her head.  "Her father will put her ass in a chastity belt if he has to.  He's promised to in the past."  She stood up, tucking the paper into her purse.  "So, condoms for them all, right?"

"Definitely.  Most of them aren't going to break the rules you set.  Sixteen isn't a bad age to start having sex, and with most of them being impatient you probably won't get past that.  It was a reasonable expectation."

"Arsene is too much like her father," she noted with a smirk.  "Thank you, Doctor."  She shook her hand.  "Expect them next year."  She walked out, paying the receptionist for the visit with the credit card she had stolen off Lupin again.  "Car," she ordered.  They headed out with their paper bags clutched to their chests, some of them not looking very happy.  "We'll get tylenol on the way to the eye doctor's," she offered.  "I remember that pain, ladies."  She got in to drive, making Arsene move.  "We'll get milk shakes too."  She drove them away, heading to the nearest drive-thru to get some milk shakes and then to a drug store to get pain killers.  Then they headed to the eye doctor's, making him smile.  "No injuries here, just normal kids so far."

"That's always a good thing," he promised, taking them back to waiting room.  Melissa went back first, then they were off and running to find her glasses.  She and Sierra were the only ones who needed them, and Sierra decided on contacts, against the doctor's orders.  But she called her father and he agreed that she could try them and get a pair of glasses as backup.

By the time they met up with everyone at the hotel for the night, Xander was exhausted.  She flopped down in a chair and put her feet up, letting Lupin take her heels off.  "We need to talk," she told them once the kids were in their own rooms.  "We've got a problem according to the first doctor today."

Jigen winced. "Arsene?"


"Excuse me?" Lupin asked.  "Savannah?"

"What!" she yelled.

"Get your ass out here, daughter!" Jigen yelled.  "Right the fucking hell now!"  She locked her door and he glared at it.  "Boys?"

"We can't be sure.  Toys we're sure of," Xander told him.  "She was still dilated.  Sierra's close but not gone over that edge yet.  All the doctor would say is that they had to have a talk about all forms of safe sex but that she was still virginal.  The others are okay.  Arsene, and both good girls got patches.  Which Melissa confiscated to make sure they use them.  Lotus is on the pill and Melissa is on the monthly shot.  The doc thinks that might help with her hormonal problems.  They've got six months supplies except for Melissa. And she can be switched back to the patch or the pill if we have to for a month.  It's about the same."

"Decent enough," Lupin agreed.  "Want me to get Goemon to cut open the door?"

"She's not in there now," Arsene said as she came out.  "I just saw her sneaking out onto the fire escape a moment ago.  So, she's a ho too?"

"We're not sure.  It's your job to make sure it doesn't happen again," Xander told her.  Arsene saluted and went back to her room.  "Thank you."

"Where might she be going?"

"Clubbing," Xander said dryly.  "She's a girl who thinks she knows best and likes cute guys.  She's going to the mall or going clubbing."  She pulled out her phone and called another parent with a kid at the school, an older friend of hers.  "Hey, it's me.  Savannah just snuck out to find herself a boy.  If you see her, I want to know.  Yeah, her.  Yes, I know how old she is.  That hasn't quite made it through her pointy little head yet.  Melissa got all the brains sometimes.  Thanks, man."  She hung up.  "The Don is going to send out an alert to drag her ass back here."

"That's fine, I'm going to search for her," Jigen announced, heading out with Ishi following him.

"Also, Sierra really shouldn't have her contacts.  Her eyes are still growing, she's in the middle of a growth spurt.  Hers and Melissa's glasses will be done tomorrow."

"Melissa too?"  Xander nodded.  "That bad?"

"More of computer eyesight.  It's not horrible but she was slightly fuzzy.  Sierra's was worse but correctable and nowhere near Ishi's."

Lotus came out and sat down on the couch, looking at them.  "Sierra is cowering in her room.  She didn't think the doctor would tell you anything that she shared."

"I only asked to be told if they weren't virgins, dear.  Nothing else.  I let the doctor deal with the rest."

Lotus nodded.  "Which will put her at ease.  Did she share anything about me?"


"Thank you.  I may need reminded my first few days to take my pill."

"Cool.  Which meal?"

"Dinner.  I'm usually more aware at that time."

"Sure," Lupin agreed.  "As long as you use them," he promised.

She snorted.  "I can see my father turning some boy who dared touch my cheek or hand into fish bait.  I'd hate to see him with a boy I had sex with."  She stood up.  "I'll tell her you said that, mother.  Are we doing anything else?"


"Thank you.  Can we do some shopping tomorrow?  I'm growing again."

"Sure, kiddo," Lupin promised, kissing her on the forehead.  "If your mother gives me back my credit card."  Xander tossed it back with a smirk.  "I should make you pay for everything, dear."

Lotus scurried off to Sierra's room to talk to her, coming out shocked.  She hadn't expected things like that to be the big secret.  She looked at the parents, then shuddered and headed to talk to her father.  He would give her good advice.  She found Melissa in there explaining how the pill worked.  "Father, Melissa, I need advice."  She closed the door and sat across from them.  "If I learned something that was not...proper or healthy and it was told to me in confidence, should I tell?"

"Are we talking about Sierra and her pot smoking?" Melissa asked.  "I know she tried it once."

"Um...."  Lotus whispered in her ear. "That's what she was scared of mother learning."

Melissa sighed.  "That needs to be known by her father.  Mom will throw a bloody fit, but her dad might not kill her for it."

"May I know?"

"You'd tie her down and beat her," Melissa assured him.  Lotus whispered more in her ear.  "Oh, Gods."  She rubbed her forehead.  "She's got to own up to that, Lotus.  I didn't want to know that."

"Yeah, but I think the parents should know."

"They probably should," Goemon agreed. "You usually have good instincts."

"Yes, but only two people could have told the parents, father.  Me or the doctor and Xander said she wasn't told. I told her that myself."

"Fuck," Melissa sighed.  "Okay. I'm going in there."  She got up and went to talk to Sierra.  She tapped on the door before walking in. "You scared the hell out of Lotus.  You told her things that she should tell the parents.  You've got two choices: stop it all or tell the parents."  Sierra glared at her.  "Or I will make Lotus do it."

"You can't do that!"

"Stop, now," Melissa ordered coldly.  "I'm not letting you destroy your stupid ass by doing this.  Or your father and mother.  You have a day to decide and I will be watching."  She turned and walked out, slamming the door.  Lupin looked over at her.  "Tomorrow.  She has the chance to stop first."

"Stop what?" Xander asked casually.

"Tomorrow, mother."  She went back to Goemon's side.  "She has until tomorrow to either confess or quit totally.  At which time I will be making you tell the parents," she told Lotus.  Lotus nodded and cuddled up to her father.  "Good."

"What is going on?" Goemon asked.

"If I told you, you'd put her out of her misery."  Melissa looked around.  "I'm going to go surf the 'net.  You two meditate or talk."  She walked back to her room, closing the door quietly.  She turned and squeaked, finding her Uncle sitting on her bed.  "I promised she'd have a day."

He looked at her.  "Yeah, but I don't play that game."  He waved her closer, settling her on his thigh. "Drugs, sex, or other things?"

She looked at him.  "I promised, Uncle.  I gave her a day."

He gave her a squeeze.  "I love your loyalty, 'Lis, but it has to be told.  She won't stop, she'll hide it from you.  She's too much like me for my own good.  I know she told Lotus and she told you."

"She told the doctor and the doctor gave her advice," she offered.

He gave her another squeeze.  "I know this makes you and Lotus uncomfortable.  It still has to come out.  I'd expect them to nark on you if you were getting high all the time."

"Both," she said quietly.  "I know she did pot once.  I climbed on her case about that.  Apparently she's had a few other times with other things. And other people."

He hugged her. "Thank you. That's enough for me.  I don't need details, I'd get sick."  She rested her head against his shoulder, getting comforted.  "I need to know about these things.  Xander would jump her and put her into a hospital, but we'll work with her.  I'll give her that day."  He let her go after patting her on the back.  "Should I ask Lotus?"

"She probably knows details. She only mentioned a few things to me.  You, um, might want to break into the shrink's files.  Or the Headmistress' files."

He nodded.  "I'll do that tonight."  He kissed her on the cheek.  "If you need to change methods, just tell us, 'Lis.  We want you to be comfy enough to use those things."

"Uncle, I don't think it'll be necessary for a few years.  I can agree with mom's rules.  They're set down for my own good and I agree with them.  Besides, there's a bunch of stupid, ugly boys around us right now.  You can't be hot if you brag or if you don't seem to be able to bathe on a regular basis."

He grinned.  "Good girl.  Hopefully Arsene will pick up that attitude."

"She's more curious, not looking for a boyfriend.  She just wants to know."

"That's fine, I was the same way.  The problem is that sex is addictive.  Once you start you don't really want to stop."  He put her onto the bed with a grin.  "Thank you, 'Lis.  What do your glasses look like?"

"I look cute and smart.  About what I am," she admitted with a grin.  "Thank you, Uncle."
"That's what parents are for.  If yours wasn't off chasing your twin, he'd tell you the same thing."  He went back to cuddle Xander.  It must have been traumatic to take them all to their first pelvic exams and eye exams.  He found her stretched out on the couch so laid on top of her.  "You okay?"

"Yup, just fine.  Just tired."  She cuddled him closer.  "Are we done for the night or should we check on Jigen?"

"Either he's found her or he's with the local guys looking for her."

"I'm sure he's found her.  She couldn't have gotten that far and he's good at searching her out.  Especially since he planted a tracking device under her hair on the back of her neck."

Lupin snickered.  "We should do that for the rest of them."

"She's the trial."  She kissed him.  "Can we take a nap now?"

"Of course.  You want the bed or here?"

"Here.  That way we make sure Jigen comes back."  She yawned and rubbed her nose on his shoulder.  "I like this shirt, it's soft."  She yawned again and closed her eyes, falling asleep being held.  She liked being held.

He kissed her on the forehead and let her nap.  When she was fully asleep he got up and moved her so she was on top of him.  It was more comfortable and he could watch the door this way.  Xander snuggled into his chest and he turned on the tv to watch the news, just in case something new was coming into the country.  He needed a new job.  "Hey, 'Lis," he called quietly.  "Find me a target!"

"Sure, Uncle Lupin.  Art, jewels, or stupid people?"

"Jewels or stupid people."

"On it."

Lupin watched tv while he waited for one of the Jigens to come up with something he could do.  Jigen finally came back a few hours later, hat pulled low and Savannah trudging in front of him. "You okay?"

"Hell no."  He sat at the end of the couch.  "We had a long talk however and she's going to stop before I kill her."  He sprawled out, looking at Xander.  "She taking a nap?"  Xander shifted so he held out an arm.  "Pass her here, I need a teddy bear."

Lupin shifted her closer, letting Jigen hold their comfort snuggle for now.  "Boys?"

"Yuppers.  And she said some things about Sierra too."

"As I found out.  Lotus is having a bout of conscience about telling us what she found out."

Jigen gave him a long look.  "Was that about the party in the hall where the shrink broke them up?"

"No, but I was going to go steal the shrink's records anyway.  I want to see what he's saying about my baby."

"Is this rebellion?" Jigen asked.

"Hmm," Xander moaned, shifting on his lap.  "Yeah, sure is."  She kissed him on the neck.  "Can I nap?"

"Sure, babe.  You nap."  He patted her on the butt, shifting some so she could get comfortable.  She moaned and kissed him again, then put her head on his shoulder.  "If this is rebellion, how do we stop it?" he asked quietly.

"We've got to.  I'm not grandfather material yet," Lupin said dryly.  He shifted, and Jigen took his place lying down to be Xander's pillow.  "A new school might help.  The kids at the Academy won't play that way."

"Yes they will, they're horny teenagers who think they're tough guys.  They might be worse."

"Short of a convent school, I'm not sure what to do then," Lupin said with a shrug.  "They wouldn't let them be on birth control in case they snuck out."

Melissa came out with a few pieces of paper, including one for a remote Swiss all-girl's school. "Just like on Bond. They'd deserve it."  She looked at her mother.  "Is he comfy, mom?  You could be in a bed, we wouldn't mind.  We'd even wake you up for dinner so Ishi didn't eat yours too."

"Let her nap, 'Lis.  She needs it.  It's traumatic watching your kids go for their first paps," Lupin offered, pulling her back against his side.  "What did you find, princess of perfect planning?"

"I found a stupid idiot who has a wonderful gem collection who thinks that his world is airtight and not able to be picked.  It's all-but a challenge."  She smirked up at him.  "He really is arrogant and he likes to date rich teenage girls."

"Interesting."  He read the guy's bio, nodding at the various points.  He was a dirtbag of extreme proportions.  He was nearly eighty, liked to tap the fountain of youth in young girls of good breeding.  Was supposed to have fathered at least one child with one of them.  He had a good gem collection.  Nothing stunning but a few good pieces.  "Very interesting.  Yes, we could definitely do this as a family."  He handed it up to Jigen to let him read it.

"This dirtbag's asking for it," he decided.  "Winter break's nearly over."

"We could do that instead of going back," Ishi offered from his doorway.  He had snuck back in after getting some candy  "I wouldn't mind.  Amanda's been withdrawn by her mother because of the 'antics' going on in the school.  Apparently the Headmistress is also auctioning off some girls at their parent's behest."  He took the papers, reading them over.  "Hmm.  Arsene could play that old.  So could Melissa."  He shrugged and handed it back.  "I'm good, and there's a convention near there soon."

"Con?" Xander mumbled.

"Shh, discussing a job near one," Jigen whispered, stroking down her back.  She nodded and wrapped her arms around his chest, getting more comfortable to go back to sleep.

"When's dinner?" Ishi asked.  "I'm starved."

"Yup, you're a teenager," Lupin said with a touch of humor.  "Soon, kiddo. We'll order up."

"No, we can go down," Jigen promised.  "I'll be making sure those two are tagged."

Melissa heard a beep and got up, heading into her room to check for a new email.  She smirked at the answer to her question from a friend at school, printing off the lists.  Which she presented to the uncles.  "The best all-girl schools based on prestige.  The top three are in the middle of nowhere."

Goemon walked in.  "The cops are here."


"Again," he agreed.  "Not looking for us however."

"That's good, it's a nice change," Melissa decided.  "Any idea why they're here?"

"A drug dealer who resides here."  He looked at the list.  "I believe my son would stand out in those schools," he taunted.

"It's for Sierra and Savannah," Lupin told him.  "I'm liking the sound of this one in Brittany.  Jigen, check it out.  Second most prestigious.  Academically sound and centered.  Good music and art program, good science program.  Nearest town is sixty miles away and they get to go in monthly.  Small student body of 200 or so.  Exclusive, must gain admission from the committee.  Usually takes two years.  Most of the girls go onto business and law fields."

"That sounds ideal for the two non-thieves," Goemon offered.  "Lotus as well."

"I'm coming with you guys," Lotus said as she walked out of her room.  "The drug dealer is apparently right below my room.  I can hear the cops shouting 'get down or I'll shoot you' in German."  She sat on the arm of the chair so she could look at the list.  "That second one is nice and all, but it's gloomy.  The fifth on the list is supposed to be pretty.  I know girls who tried to get into there."

"Hmm."  Lupin looked at that one.  "Academically sound, geared toward those who will be working in the family businesses, usually money people.  Switzerland.  Lots of activities and a nearby town but they have guards on the grounds.  It's on the way to the next job."  He looked at Jigen.  "You think?"

"I do think," he agreed.  "We'll set up a meeting," he offered.

"I can do that," Melissa told him.  "They've all got email these days, dad."  She went to get her laptop, tapping on the link to that school to write them an email, telling them she was Lupin the Third and that they had some daughters who did not want to join the family business but who needed and education in a safe environment with teachers who would be on the lookout for them to revert to a similar lifestyle he lived.  She sent the girls' specifics and how they were able to slack off on their present grades due to some unfortunate teachers in the school not paying any attention to them.  She sent the email asking for an interview and a tour, and gave her email and her uncle's cellphone number.  Then she carried her laptop out to the living room and retook her seat against her uncle's side.  "I asked for an interview and tour, gave them your cell and my email."

"Good girl, 'Lis," Ishi praised.  "They need that sort of school.  Tell me, do the nuns hit hard?"  All the adults looked at him.  "Guys gossip too, people, especially about certain debutantes who do naughty things in the gym after hours."

"I hadn't heard that one yet," Lotus admitted.

"Hmm, probably don't want to either.  It's fairly disgusting what Martinale and her group do.  Along with most of the cheerleaders."  He looked at the sleeping person.  "Should we order up and some of us just get a lot?"

"Son, you eat more and more each day.  You will soon be fat," Goemon chided gently.

"Dad, I'm a teenage boy.  I'm a bottomless pit.  You probably were too if you thought back."

"I tried very hard to control those urges."

"Well, I can't concentrate with the feeling of my stomach folding in on itself or trying to eat the ribs or spine around it.  Sorry, it must be a flaw from the genetic mother."

Goemon snorted and patted his son on the head.  "If you say so.  We'll feed you soon, even though you just ate a few hours back."

"It's been hours?  Are you sick, Ishi?  You've done nothing but nibble for the last few months," Melissa teased.

"Funny.  Watch me eat my dinner and yours, Melissa."  He looked at his uncles.  "If dinner isn't soon, can I have some cash to get a snack from downstairs?"  Lupin handed over his wallet.  "Thanks, uncle."  He blew a kiss and jogged out before anyone could ask him to share or get them anything.

"All boys are like that, Goemon, and he gets plenty of exercise," Jigen reminded him.  "He'll be fine."

"Yeah, I lost a great bit of weight during a few of my growth spurts," Lupin agreed.  "Give him a year or so and he'll be normal.  He might be seven feet tall by then," he joked, "but it'll even out eventually."

"That's what I'm afraid of.  A seven-foot samurai can not hide very well," Goemon noted.  He looked over as his son came back in with a large paper bag.  "Were you that starved, son?"

"Yeah, I am, sorry."  He went into his room to snack on the food and candy.  He pulled out the burger first, scarfing it within a few bites.  Then he moved onto the candybar he had bought.  Someone knocked on his door.  "Enter and possibly be eaten," he called.

"Do you know how naughty that sounds?" Arsene said as she opened the door.  "Got any more chocolates?"   He tossed over a chocolate bar.  "Thanks, Ishi.  Next time you go out, I need tampons."

"Fat chance, Arsene.  I do not buy things like that for any girl."  He ate another bite, finishing that candy bar and moved to the next thing, a piece of fruit.

"Gods, you're disgusting," she complained, heading to eat her chocolate in peace.  "Daddy, the next time one of us gets near a pharmacy I need tampons."

"That's a girl thing, dear, we don't touch those," Jigen told her.

"Not even for Xander," Lupin said proudly.

"If I need some, you'd better be hauling your ass out to get me some, *dear*, or I'm going to take out my pissedness on you and Jigen while I have to spend the whole time in a bathtub.  Or don't you remember the last time I had a cycle?" Xander asked from her comfy spot.  "We'll be heading out to do that tonight.  Is this a necessity *right now*?"

"Nope, not yet.  I'm figuring I've probably got a week with the way I feel and how much I want chips and chocolate."  She broke open her candy bar and nibbled on a piece.  "When's dinner?  Watching Ishi make a pig of himself reminded me to eat too."

"How about in an hour?" Jigen suggested.  "We'll head down, get some food, you girls can come back up here."

"And you'll be doing what with Ishi?" Melissa teased.

"Nothing.  He'll probably be coming back up here too.  One thing about guys in growth spurts is their ability to nap all the time.  He'll probably come back and nap.  Ishi?"  No answer.  "Yup, probably a nap."

"I do remember that stage," Goemon admitted.  "I never ate like that however."

"Goemon, at the time you were in training.  They were probably trying to starve you to make you tougher," Lupin told him.

"Well, actually...."  His son's door was locked, making everyone look that way. "Hmm.  Son?"

"Busy!" he yelled.

"Ah, the other part of puberty," Jigen said happily.

"The permanently horny stage?" Xander asked.  She looked toward the door, then smirked.  "Ishi, should we come check on you, baby?"

"If yo do, I'm cutting your ass open with a sword!" he yelled.  "I'm not doing...that.  I'm changing clothes!"  He came out a few minutes later.  "See, just changing clothes!"  He looked at his father.  "I'm still not sure about these jeans."

"That's because they make your ass look hot," Arsene assured him.   "You hate being hot and looked at."  She looked at his shirt, then ran a hand down it.  "Hmm, silk.  Nice," she purred, smirking at him.  "Where might Amanda be tonight?"

"Down on the Rue St. Maria," he sighed.  "Can we eat down that way?"

"No," Lupin told him.  "But you may go to a movie with a chaperone."

Ishi smirked and grabbed Melissa's laptop to write his girlfriend.  She wrote back immediately that she'd meet him at a certain fountain in front of a certain mall in about two hours.  He showed the message to Lupin, who shrugged and nodded.  "Who's chaperoning?"

"I will with Xander," Lupin told him.

"The point of chaperoning is not to get caught making out by the children," Goemon reminded him dryly.

"You're supposed to watching them, not having sex in the seats behind them," Jigen agreed.  "I'd better go."

"Fine, I'll go by myself," he sighed.  "It won't be nearly as fun.  What are we watching?"

"I figured I'd let her pick," Ishi offered.

"Son, that usually means you'll be watching something girly," Lupin advised patiently.

"Actually she likes action movies," he told his uncle.   "We'll probably be watching the latest shoot-em-up."  He checked himself.  "Should I change?"

"Let's eat first, that way you can spill stuff first," Jigen offered.  He watched as Goemon pulled Xander up.  "Go change, princess, and we'll see if we can't get into trouble tonight while he's watching the kids."

"Wear the dress you wore the last time we went clubbing, mom," Ishi requested.  "You looked hot and pretty."

"Sure, kiddo.  I've even brought that one."  She headed into their room and found the dress, and the shoes that went with it, putting those and some stockings on.  She walked back out, watching her men's reactions.  Jigen blinked and Lupin panted so she smiled.  "You like?  I found it while I was dressing Ishi up."

"I do," Lupin agreed, coming over to steal a kiss.  His hands wandered down her butt and he purred.  "Stockings.  Thigh highs," he moaned, starting to salivate.  "God, I want to let Goemon chaperone now."

Jigen walked over to steal his woman, smirking down at her.  He found the small bug and plucked it off, handing it to Lupin.  "Here, for you.  Have some fun with the cops tonight while you're frustrated."  He walked Xander off, letting Ishi lead the way.  "Let's get a seat to show off the pretty people, kid."

Ishi snickered.  "You two are so bad when you're fighting over who gets her that night."

"Hmm, yeah, but I win more often," Jigen said smugly.  She pinched him so he kissed her on the cheek.  "I do."

"That's because Lupin's not trying very hard."  They walked down the stairs to the main floor of the hotel, walking through the lobby to the in-house restaurant.  On the way, they heard a tarzanish yell and Lupin swung down, grabbing her on his way past.  Then he cackled and took off running with her.

"That's so cheezy," Jigen complained. He tilted his hat back to look up at the balcony, but those two weren't nearby.  "Lupin!  She's not a party favor to be had in the halls."  He heard the trademark giggle again and sighed, shaking his head.  "We'll save you two seats!"  He walked the rest of the group into the dining room.  "All us plus two more and smoking.  Otherwise I'll get sick on the smugness of Lupin."

"Certamente, sir," the host said immediately, leading them back to a central table.  He knew who they were, who hadn't seen the wanted posters?  This way the cops wouldn't have to disturb anyone else if they came rushing in and the others could see the hot things with them, their children. That one boy was simply adorable.   The other two came strolling in a few minutes later and he noticed how swollen their lips were and how she looked a bit rumpled and he smelled like sex.  It was rather obvious what they had been doing.  He showed them back to the same table, noticing that the others had separated the cute duo.  Perhaps there was more going on in that group than it seemed?  Hmm, the gunman in the hat had just kissed the woman on Lupin's arm.  Very odd indeed.  He got to finish that thought before the person in the mask with the gun burst into the room and shot him.  "Ah!"

Jigen, Xander, and Ishi's first instinct was to pull a weapon and point it at the stupid human.  "Dumbass," Ishi snorted, hitting him in the kneecap.

"Nice shot, son," his father praised.

"Hmm, not good enough though.  He's ruining my afterglow," Xander said snidely, hitting the guy rolling around in the nuts.  All the men not cowered under a table flinched and went 'oowww' in sympathy.  She strolled over, her heels clicking on the floor.  She kicked him onto his back, staring down at him.  "Do you know who I am?" she asked calmly.  He shook his head.  "I'm Sylvia."  He started to cry.  "You just interrupted my family having dinner and my afterglow from some quick nookie in the hallway.  Now, apologize and crawl your filthy ass out of this hotel, and never do another job again," she said patiently, sounding like she was talking down to a kindergartner.  "Or else my stepson, Ishi, will have to finish you off."  He cried harder but did try to get to his knees and crawl.  She noticed his backup was running their way and shot them in quick order, wounding them seriously but not killing them.  "Do not fuck with my family while they're trying to eat!" she said coldly.  "It only gets you dead.  I suggest you retire, before I have to let the boss come help."

"Who are you?" one of the clerks behind the desk asked in a near-whisper.

"Sylvia."  The injured people screamed and tried to move but they weren't going anywhere.  "Call someone to pick up this trash.  Ineffective.  Stupid.  They have bad plans, no backup to help them, and they expected to do what?  Rob the whole hotel with five people?  Do you think you're as good as Lupin, little boys?  You're not even as good as his good daughter, the one who doesn't steal."

"Sylvia, calm down," Jigen called, coming out to gather her up and bring her back to the table. "They'll be picked up.  We'll get to eat in peace and quiet, and Ishi will still make his date."  He helped her into her seat then sat down next to her. "Very nicely shot, darling."  He picked up her hand and kissed the back of it.  "Very pretty.  You are a testament to my excellent training.  You and Ishi both."

"You're being sappy," Goemon pointed out.  "Where's the waiter?"

"Probably still hiding," Lupin said dryly, smirking at Ishi.  "Very nice.  Even better than at the convention."

He shrugged.  "They'd keep me away from my date tonight, Uncle Lupin.  My woman is worth more than they are."

"Good point," he agreed, smirking at him.  "I feel the same way.  Speaking of, Jigen, may I have her back now?"

"Hell no," he said dryly. "She's mine now. You debauched her in the hallway.  Besides, you're going with Ishi on his date, remember?"

"What the hell is going on here?" one woman yelled.

"We just saved your ass," Arsene told her.  "Otherwise you would have been robbed and shot."

"And gee, they didn't even die from those wounds.  Very nicely done you two."  Melissa patted Ishi on the arm.  "I enjoy the hell out of watching you work since I'm a terrible markswoman."

"Thanks, Melissa."  He waved a waiter peeking out of the kitchen to come over.  "Hey, we need food.  I'm a growing boy and I've got a date in about an hour."

The man nodded and hurried back to get whatever was back there.  They probably wouldn't be too picky. A lot of the customers would wait while their orders were recooked.  He was just as shocked when they not only paid the bill, without getting the check, but left a thirty percent tip.  He had a new hero.  Damn, they were good and hot!


Ishi walked up to the fountain, smirking at his girlfriend checking her watch.  "Miss me?" he asked quietly, making her spin then gape in awe.  "Mom had her wicked way with my hair and wardrobe."  He stepped closer and kissed her gently.  "Sorry about the glasses."

"No, you look adorable in them," she breathed, smiling up at him.  "What are we going to see?"

"I don't care as long as I can sit next to you and touch your hand.  Pick something."  He smirked at her.  "I even cleaned off the gunpowder residue."  She grimaced at him, looking pissed.  "They tried to rob us over dinner.  I only got one guy in the kneecap.  Mom got the rest."

"Fine.  Don't keep me waiting next time."  She pinched him and nodded politely at his chaperone, who was someone she didn't know.  "No parents?"

He looked back.  "Well, Uncle Lupin had been back there.  Hi, Uncle Ray.  Wanna be our chaperone tonight?"  He walked his girlfriend off, holding her hand all the way up to the movies.  He found his Uncle waiting on him holding three tickets.  "I said she could pick."

"I picked something she might like," he whined back, holding out the tickets for her approval.  She squealed and hugged him. "Now, let's go watch the Incredibles and then we'll go for a milkshake or something sweet and innocent like that.  Your mother's waiting inside."

"Fine."  Amanda led him inside, letting the man taking tickets take them all.  Ishi got them popcorn, candy, and drinks, then only let her carry her own soda.  It was so very sweet of him.  They headed back to the theater, finding her mother saving most of a row for them.  It was a small theater, very intimate. "He finally showed up."

"I told her about the trouble over dinner already," Lupin admitted.  "Either sit between us or right in front of us, kids."

Ishi sat her beside her mother then took the seat next to her, handing over a small popcorn to her mother.  "It's only fair that I buy you munchies since it's such short notice.  Thank you for allowing her to come out with me again."

"Just be on your best behavior, young man."

He nodded.  "Of course.  I'd never think about doing anything wrong with her.  The Mother figure set down rules.  Because I was already dating I'm still allowed but if I do more than gently kiss her for less than a few minutes before we're both sixteen she's going to marry me off to some horrible man who'll have me night after night as a political marriage because I was too young.  She said sixteen."

Lupin nodded. "She did. I know someone who's perfect too.  He'd *love* you, Ishi."

"Yes, sir.  I'm not going to be improper with her.  That would be disrespecting her and I would never do that to my lady.  That's not how an honorable man treats his woman."

"As long as you remember that always, Ishi, I won't have to take you apart as only a surgeon can," Amanda's mother reminded him.  She nodded politely at Lupin.  "Thank you for picking something we could all stand to watch."

"You're welcome."  He stole his popcorn and watched as the music stopped and the previews stared.  He glanced at Ishi now and then, noticing they were holding hands and he'd occasionally kiss the back of hers.  Now and then he'd lean over and whisper in her ear, making her giggle and pinch him too.  He was happy, it was all good and he was being very proper.  Ishi certainly wasn't a Lupin.


"What do you mean a Goemon was shooting?" Zenigata demanded of the cops who had gotten here first.  "He's not a shooter!"

Ray K cleared his throat.  "You keep forgetting Ishi, sir.  Remember, he might as well be the love child of Goemon and Sylvia."

"Hmm."  He looked around.  "I didn't think he was that good."

"Oh, he is," Arsene said from the balcony, grinning and waving down at them.  "Unfortunately he's out right now.  Yes, Ishi is that good.  Mom taught him everything he knows, then handed him to Uncle Jigen.  Who's also busy at the moment. Did you need any questions answered, Gramps?  Oh, we're switching schools.  Mom said so."

Zenigata growled and started for the stairs but Ray held him back.  "Let me go!  She needs arrested!"

"I'm being good!" she snorted, looking hurt.  "And you're one of my favorite straight people too.  I should put up a protest that you're mean.  Or subject you to Lotus' mom."

"What happened to her?" Ray asked.

"Lotus," she said simply.  "The whoring bitch went far, far away.  Hopefully to a galaxy far, far away.  I've been wondering. Do you think Leia had to service the Hutt?"

Ray shuddered.  "If she did, I hope she got to take a long, hot, anti-bacterial bath.  That's disgusting, Arsene."

"Yeah, but you know how my mind is."  She shrugged.  "What can I say?  I'm like that."  She winked at Zenigata.  "Needed more of a statement?"

"You're going to go to jail, you little thief!" he yelled, still trying to get to her.

"Hmm, maybe.  But I'll definitely bring at least half of you down with me.  Or wouldn't your boss like his *secret* *personal* files back?" she asked in her best sultry look, then she cackled and ran off.  "I'll tell 'Lis you said hi!"

"Let go," Zenigata growled.  Ray let him go.  "Why did you stop me?"

"Because she's up to something.  This is the second time in two months that they've been in Paris.  What job are they pulling?"  Zenigata's eyes lit up.  "Exactly. It's got to be something to do with the jeweled egg exhibit.  Knowing that they're here in town gives us a head's up.  Besides, you wouldn't catch the little kid.  She runs cross country."

The Inspector frowned.  "Good point.  Don't grab me the next time."

"Sure, I'll tell your nearly popping wife that you died of a heart attack chasing Lupin the Fourth down a hallway in a hotel.  Get real, boss.  I'm not that fast, I couldn't duck her if she changed me into something again."

"Fine. Next time you get her."

"They're staying here," one of the receptionists offered.  "Up on three."

The cops looked at each other, then ran up the stairs together.  The door was open and everyone was gone but a few things had been left.  Zenigata found the notes left around but couldn't understand what they meant.  Movies in race cars?  Since when did race cars have built in dvd players?  Schools for the stupid?  Weren't they all? He held them up to his coworker.  "Do these make sense?  You know them better."

"Hmm.  School?  Didn't Arsene say that they were switching schools?"  He looked at the first one. "Movies and car races?  Hmm, a connection hit you?"

"Unless they're going back to Monte Carlo, no," he said slowly.  "But that would be dumb, they're banned from the country."  He heard whistling and snuck to the door, finding a startled Lupin and Ishi standing there.  "Aha, I gotcha!"  He pulled out some handcuffs but Ishi did a very pretty move and the next thing he saw was a nurse wiping off his aching head.  "What happened?" he groaned, trying to sit up but she wouldn't let him.

"Your coworker said that the young boy knocked you out.  Something about a feather through a brick wall in a finger?  I did not understand that part," she admitted, giving him a gentle smile.  "That one has left and another, who looks nearly as bad as you do, limped in a while ago.  He said he wasn't up to the chase so he's getting you something to drink."  She finished cleaning him up.  "I will tell him you are awake.  Should we call anyone?"

"Only if he didn't call my wife," he complained, settling himself into his pillows.  Moving his head hurt.  That brat had done something to his mind, he'd just have to wait and see what had happened. "What happened to the guy I was with?"

"The limping one can tell you that.  He found him he said."  She went to find him, smiling at the man on the deck.  "Inspector, he is awake and thinking this time," she offered with a smile.  "You may go back in."

"Thanks.  He okay?"

"He still has a headache.  As is expected."  She hurried off to check the other patients, letting him limp his way into that room.

"What happened to you?" Zenigata complained.

"Goemon found me listening to the bug I planted on Xander and knocked me out, then had my car go off a drop-off and hit a tree fifty feet later."  He sat down with a moan.  "Ray's off chasing them at the moment.  Once I got him free of that bridge and redressed, he was pretty pissed at the world."


"Lupin, sir."


Ray could only nod at that.  "He had him naked, hanging off the edge of a bridge, head down, and had drawn on his back that he was a bad man who was going after his daughter.  No mention of it being sexual or not."

"Technically the truth," Zenigata admitted tiredly.  "Any idea where they went?"

"Actually, we do," Ray admitted, shifting a bit.  "The clues were fairly helpful, that and they were looking at lists of schools.  Ray tracked them down and asked which one they were going to visit.  He's headed for there.   I'm assuming he's going to kick their asses before he drags them to jail.  He was a bit embarrassed."

"I have no idea why," Zenigata said dryly.  "Did you call Dawn?"

"Sure did, boss, and she was not happy.  She started to swear, then burst out crying because she couldn't curse Xander for hurting Ray. Something about it hurting the baby?  I don't even pretend to understand that stuff."  His phone rang and he checked the number, then answered it with a grunt.  "Fine, thank you.  Would you like to turn yourself in now, Xander?"  He snorted.  "Fine."  He hung up.  "She said she was at the museum with the eggs and a few were already missing when she got there.  It wasn't them fully."

"I wouldn't bet on that," Zenigata said dryly.

"There's one way to find out.  I can always go over there and check on their security.  Hey, weren't those the property of a suspected mafia kingpin from the old Sicilian lines?"  Zenigata nodded, looking smug.  "Any connection?"

"He said something unflattering about Arsene and Melissa."

"Hmm.  Revenge.  I'm sure he'll enjoy not getting the thing back. I'm off to check that out.  Get better, boss."  He wandered out, heading to his car.  He stopped when he saw an ambulance coming in, some sixth sense telling him to wait.  Sure enough, Dawn was being offloaded and she was screaming about wanting drugs and to get the kid out.  He followed, waving his badge at the startled nurses.  "She's my boss's wife.  He's upstairs, Zenigata."  He walked in there, pushing the doctor aside.  "Hey, Dawn.  You're in the right place, your guy's upstairs."

"Good, go castrate him for me!" she screamed, grabbing his arm to squeeze.  "I'm going to kill the mother fucker who stuffed my ass up!  He won't have to worry about sex because I'm cutting off his mother fucking dick and making him fucking well eat it!"

Ray looked at the doctor.  "Epidural not laid yet?"

"I have a nurse measuring one out," he said calmly.  "If you'd just open your knees a bit further we could check on the progress of your newest one, madam."  She kicked him, knocking him out.

"Huh."  Ray stuck his head out of the cubicle.  "She just kicked the doctor in the head and knocked him cold.  Do we have drugs for her yet?"  The nurses rushed off to get another OB to handle her and get her the drugs before they were next.   He went back to her side.  "It's okay, princess.  I'll stay until your man gets down here."

"He'd better be wearing armor!  I'll kill the bastard!" she screamed.  She squealed and grabbed onto him, making him groan in pain.  "Make it stop!"

A nurse rushed in with another doctor, who gave her the pain medicine first thing.  That would spare the children further down the ward listening to her.  She led Ray out, checking him over before sending him on his way.  Zenigata had been rolled down there and she was in good hands.  By the time Ray got to the museum there were some angry looking security guards.  "Sorry, I had to report to my boss, who's now conscious, and stay with his wife until they could get him downstairs.  She's in the middle of labor and had knocked out the doctor."  He flashed his badge.  "Do we have the security footage?  I got a tip from Sylvia that some of them were missing when she got here."  They looked stunned but led the way to the office, letting him have the comfortable chair while they did a video search.  They found who had stolen most of the eggs, then watched as Jigen and Xander stepped up to look and the eggs were reduced by another one. The problem was that he couldn't tell how it had been done.  He replayed it a few times, then looked at them.  "Did you catch how the first guy did it?"

"No," one of them said miserably.  "We've failed."

"These people are good.  You could have had someone standing beside it and still lost them.  The second theft was retaliation.  They said mean things about a few of her kids from what I've heard."  The guards looked skeptical so he backed up the tape to show the well- dressed couple. "That's Jigen and Sylvia.  Lupin's two hitters."  They looked stunned.  "They're the ones who told me that the main theft wasn't them and I still can't figure out how they did it."  He stood up with a moan, wobbling a bit.

"What happened, Inspector?"

"I was getting close to finding one of their lairs and the older Goemon knocked me out and made my car go off a small cliff and into a tree," he said bitterly.  "And Sylvia likes me."  They shuddered.  "Okay, let's go look at the spot.  Maybe we can at least figure out how they did it."  He wandered out, and his sixth sense told him to backtrack and look into a room, frowning at the child staring at the painting.  Lotus.  He walked in there and grabbed her, spinning her around.  "Still in town, Lotus?"

"My father's behind you," she said calmly, and he let her go, but she didn't move away from him.  "Thank you.  Yes, they were here to retaliate against the idiot who called Arsene and Melissa no-good whores who were no better than monkeys imitating their fathers.  Then again, he pissed Mom off for many reasons, Uncle Ray.  You'd be surprised what that man has in store for him.  As for the first theft, have you considered it was an inside job?"  She looked at the painting.  "That's very interesting but it's disturbing.  There's an open portal to the void in it and someone could pull my mother out."  She looked at him and smiled sweetly.  "Do you need something for the pain?  I'm very good at pain killers."

"No, thanks, kid.  Leave the museum and don't come back.  I can't charge you with anything but being the daughter of a thief.  Yet."  She bowed and left, taking her father's arm as soon as she met up with him.  "Goemon, I owe you one," he called after them.  "I'd run faster."

Goemon turned and bowed.  "Whenever you feel you are well enough to challenge me, I will accept.  Until then, rest and heal, you'll need it, Inspector.  If only for grabbing my daughter that way just now."  He walked his daughter off, taking her to the car.  "I found her staring at a painting."

"Kinda D&D, big portal?" Xander asked from the driver's seat.  Lotus nodded as she climbed into the back.  "That belongs to Ethan the last I knew.  It's got a great open portal but I'm not sure where it's going to.  Be careful with that one."  She drove off, taking them to the airport.  There weren't any Interpol people around to hassle them so they could take a leisurely drive.  They picked up Ishi, Melissa, and Sierra at the eye doctor's, then continued on their way.  "We should have a picnic.  It's a pretty day today."

"It is, but we can do that in Cairo," Jigen offered.

"Sure."  She tooted as she zipped past one of her favorite restaurants, heading out the freeway.  "Should we drive instead?"

"Nah, let's fly. It'll be faster," Ishi offered.

Goemon leaned closer to his daughter.  "What did you do to your mother?" he demanded quietly.  She tried to give him an innocent look but he snorted and shook his head.  "What?  I will not get mad."

"I sent her into the void," she told him quietly, glancing at the others.  "With my last teacher's help.  I won't allow her to hurt you again, father, nor us."  She shifted away from him.  "She can be retrieved.  She's presently immortal.  There is nothing but time and darkness there."  He scowled at her.  "You would have rather I did it with a potion? I could easily have done so."

"No.  I wish you had not had to do that much."

"Tough.  I refuse to let her harm you or us ever again, daddy.   She's an evil bitch and she's been sentenced to live the life that she should have lived earlier."  She gave him a defiant look.  "I'm not pulling her out without a damn good reason, like one of us dying and needing her organs harvested."

"I understand the reasoning but the execution and manner of the plan was not something that I think you should be doing for being a good witch, daughter.  That is not how ethical witches on the side of good react."

"One bobble won't change me, father.  I saw the dark in my teacher.  I'm not following him into the dark sea of power.  I will not allow someone like that to get off lightly however.  She deserved so much more for hurting the children, for hurting Ishi and I, and for hurting you."

"No more of such actions."

"Yes, father."  She leaned against his side.  "Are you mad?"

"No, I expected you to react after this latest bout of her childishness.  I simply wish you hadn't done anything that drastic."  He stroked over her hair, soothing and calming her until she was napping against him.

"With all respect, father, it was going to be one of us," Ishi noted, turning the page on his manga book.  "If she hadn't, I might have."  He glanced at his father, seeing the shocked look.  "Seriously.  We both have the same feelings on the matter.  She needed to be far away from the younger children and you, just in case you had a relapse of whatever addicted you to her."  He went back to his reading, only grimacing when his father kissed the side of his head.  "Thanks, father."

"You're welcome, son."  He looked toward the couple in the front, noticing Xander glancing back at him.  "We're fine."

"I'm checking the person following us.  She looks like a reporter."

Goemon glanced back, then nodded and turned around.  "She may be.  She does have a press pass in her window."

"Just what we need," Jigen complained.  "Lotus, where is the bitch?"

"You know that painting that's got the portal in it that I nearly took in Cleveland?" Xander asked.  Jigen nodded.  "She's inside that portal.  Lotus sent her to the void.  So she's immortal and immersed in nothingness."

"Huh.  Suitable since that's her speed anyway."  Jigen slid down.  "You could speed up before we're pounced by the reporter, Xan."

"I could but that would draw attention and there's already two cop cars on the road with us."

Jigen looked back, then snorted.  "Floor it anyway.  We're gonna be late otherwise."  She sped up, taking an unexpected exit and heading up the backroads to the airport.  They came out at the private terminals and ran inside to find a ride to Cairo.


Lupin walked his troublesome brats into this new school, smiling and shaking the woman meeting them's hand.  "Hello.  I believe we chatted last night?"

"Yes, we did."  She shook the hands of each of the girls.  "I believe you'll love it here, girls.  We may be an all-girls' school but we do have many activities and very high academic standards."  She led them through the main entryway.  "In this school we don't go by houses, as some other schools do, we mostly go by floors.  We encourage cooperation and moderation.  We also happen to encourage study groups if you're bored with our activities.  Then again, once a week we have a night where we do facials, pedicures, and the like on each other.  You'll find that someone on your floor is excellent in anything you may need beauty wise.  We have a wonderful science program.  Two of the ICPO's top forensic people have come out of our academy in the last ten years," she shared, still smiling.  "Now, we usually do put the girls in with an older student for their first year, but next year you could request to room together.  This year I've got two seniors who need roommates and I think they'd do wonderful.  One of them is on our equestrian team and headed for international competition and the other is actually the head of our Chess club.  She's also the one who organizes all of our school dances and parties."

She opened a door.  "This is our dining hall.  I figured we could fill out the paperwork in here since there's a good bit of it."  Lupin shrugged and let his daughter walk in first.  "I have heard that your last school was, to put it mildly, unsuitable now.  We have heard many distressing things about them recently.  You'll find that a few of your former classmates have applied here and may be starting next year.  We don't take many students once the term has started, but I read over what your father sent and it was most impressive.  You both seem to have good goals, are quite intelligent, and beyond reproach most of the time.  We do understand how being in such a bad environment can taint you toward the looser ways in life.  But do not worry, we will make sure that you reach your full potential."  She noticed the girls grimacing.  "Ladies, think of this as a fresh start.  No matter what foibles you gained at that last, horrible institution you do not have to continue them here.  This is a new start and a new way for you to move on.  We expect nothing more than for you to try your best.  Do you understand?"  They nodded. "Good."  She patted them both on the back.  "Then sit down and fill out the forms.  We took your grades from the other school and their tests to place you.  You'll be coming in as second years.  There may be some overlap with what you did at home, but I can't be sure.  If so, do feel free to tell your teacher that and hand them any papers you did for your parents."

"Thanks," Sierra said, sitting down to start on the forms.  "Are we going to be forced to be debutantes or act like society daughters?"

"You'll be expected to have manners, but we would never dream of forcing that sort of life onto you unless you wanted it," she promised calmly.  "There are many daughters of society families here however."

"Hey, that's fine, just as long as we don't have to waltz again," Savannah noted quietly.  "I hated those lessons."

"Tough.  I had to have them too," Lupin noted.  He looked at his watch, then at his daughters.  "You know, if something goes horribly wrong, Xander is actually a Lady.  She could name any of you her heirs."  They both shuddered.  "Good point?"  They nodded and got down to fill out the paperwork.  "By now they should be on the plane or else I'd let you call them."

"That's okay, dad," Sierra said, looking at him, then at the Headmistress.  "Our mother just put us on birth control.  Do you have a clinic here to continue that?"

"We do," the Headmistress agreed.  "We encourage it actually.  We do take a realistic view of the world, much to many parent's chagrin.  There is a town close enough to sneak into and some of the older girls have been known to.  Usually they're found and brought back by the local police.  I'm sure we won't have problems of that nature with girls of your age."  They shook their heads and bent back over the forms.  She smiled at Lupin.  "Did you need to run off already?"

"No, I'm free for a bit longer.  I'll be meeting the others later tonight.  That gives me enough time to take them uniform shopping in case they need blazers or anything."

"They would and there is a shop in town that does sell them," she agreed.  "Or you could let them do that on their own."

Lupin shook his head.  "Nope, not yet.  Not until they've proven they're over their little problems."

"I understand.  We have many parents who have done similar things to their daughters, though usually they go somewhere like St. Ives', which is on top of a mountain."

"We considered that one, that's their next step," he said dryly, smirking at her.  "We set up their education fees in a single draw acct."  He pulled out the paperwork.  "That will also hold their allowances.  We've given them those nice refillable debit cards. They're refilled once a month with about a hundred dollars.  The extra in there is for emergencies.  It's also got an alternate contact number if you can't reach us."  She nodded, that was reasonable.  "That's to our financial manager and she keeps track of us."

"That's fine.  I would expect such with what you do for a living.  Where did you finish your education?"

"Well, I did do a lot of it at that academy but I did a stint at the Assassin's Academy in Italy.  The other children may be going there.  These two have no interest in such matters so they're staying in a normal school.  Though, Sierra is a very good shot, as is Savannah."

"Unlike my twin," Savannah agreed dryly.

"Excellent!" the headmistress agreed excitedly.  "We have a marksmanship club and we hold competitions with another school.  We haven't won in years.  I'll introduce you to the head over the club later, ladies.  He'll be excited to meet you if you'd agree to join."

"Plus, they've got horses, a pool, and flying lessons when you're older," Lupin offered.

"You had us read the brochure, father," Sierra noted, changing forms.  "Am I allergic to anything?"

Lupin grimaced, then shrugged.  He pulled out his phone, using the text messaging feature to write Xander, who emailed back the list of allergies.  "Yes.  You're allergic to caffeine, you have very strong reactions to it.  You're also not to have sudafed ever again after the last time you reacted so badly.  Savannah, your mother said to put down that you have strong nausea to most antibiotics and that your medical records would be forwarded from Istanbul."  He checked the rest of the message then closed it and smiled at the text message.  "Also, Jigen said he'd forward guns to you two if you're joining the rifle team."

"Can I have mom's assault rifle?" Sierra asked.

"No.  We use single action rifles here, ladies."

"Hmm.  Then we'll need a good rifle with a scope, father.  Pick us something decent enough?"

"Of course."  He kissed her on the side of the head and reached over to tickle the other one, making her frown and swat at him, but she relented when he smiled.  "That's my baby girls.  I remember when you two were crawling around in just diapers."

"Which you never really changed," Sierra reminded him.  "You used to be so proud of that fact, dad."

"I still don't change diapers.  I'm going to be thankful when Yu's toilet trained too.  No more kids."

"Unless Janus wills," Savannah taunted.

"No, Arsene's not having any either," he said smugly.  "Maybe never."

"Then how would there ever be a Lupin the Fifth?" Sierra teased.


"You're going to have to step in to figure out which grandchild is going to be Lupin the Fifth, dad," Savannah reminded him.  "Otherwise there'll be a Lupin the Fifth from one and a Lupin the Sixth from another."

"Hopefully they'll be working together, girls.  Just like most of you will be."

"The younger set will have to prove themselves against the older set, dad," Sierra reminded him.  "Arsene would never put up with her baby brother stealing her attention."

"By then, she might be ready to slow down," he pointed out.  "Of course, if Fred wants to solo he can.  Remember, Sarah's going to go play with the fuzzy things and Alex is going to be a good guy, um girl, too."  He smirked at them.  "Then again, the other kids may be doing a turn at the Assassin's Academy for the rest of this year.  Not that I think they can teach them much.  Except maybe Melissa how to shoot better."  He shrugged.  "We'll see."

"I can see it now.  Fred's going to walk into one of those situations where they think they have Arsene and Ishi pinned and pick off some of the guys pinning them down, then Arsene will squeal 'Fred' and run over to hug him while Ishi takes out the rest.  He'll look just like you, think just like you, and dress like Uncle Jigen."  She noticed her father had a dopey look on his face and sighed.  "He'd still steal Arsene's thunder, dad."

"So?"  He ruffled her hair.  "Sierra, I just want you kids to be happy.  If Fred's a mini me, that's great with me. If he wants to be the new Lord at Xander's manor, then that's great too.  He'll decide his own fate, though I will be trying to warp my son to our family business," he admitted with a smirk.  "Two Lupins, a Jigen, and a Goemon will definitely take over the world."

"Yes, then promptly fuck them all to death," Savannah reminded him, smirking back at him.  "Your daughter will have a harem by then."

"So?  That's a sure sign she's a Lupin," he said proudly.  "As long as she's over sixteen when she starts and I approve of the ones she brings home, and she's careful, I won't mind too much."

"I'm telling her you said that," Sierra warned.

"She already knows, dear."  He patted her hair again.  "Finish filling those out so we can take a tour.  That way I can figure out how to sneak in to visit some nights."  They nodded, going back to their forms.

"You could use the front door," the Headmistress chided gently.

"Where's the fun in that?" the three people across from her said in unison.

"Fine, we'll make allowances."


Xander looked up as the woman who ran the Assassin's Academy joined her at her table.  "Morning."  She pushed over the pot of coffee.  "Espresso?"

"Please."  She poured herself a cup.  "They're already very well trained, Sylvia."

"I know," she agreed smugly.  "They still have things they can learn however."

"They do.  Ishi could very well learn another form.  He put our teacher in the hospital because the man pushed him to hurt him," she sighed.  "Melissa does need to know how to shoot better. It's like she's scared of guns."

"I hadn't thought of it that way.  I tried to teach her, so did Jigen."

"That's fine. It may be curable, especially now that she has glasses.  Arsene is a card," she admitted with a bright smile.  "She's smarter than the teachers who teach the students how to plan heists.  She's a smart mouth and most of the teachers aren't looking forward to having her, but then again most of them can't really teach her anything. She's far beyond what most of the teachers are already.  Her training and history is very strong."

"So you're turning them down?"

"We really couldn't do anything for most of them that would go beyond a year's worth of training.  Most of that would be letting them meet the other people in the field."

Jigen strolled over and took a seat facing the door.  "They're that good?" he guessed.

"They're beyond most of our graduates," the headmistress noted.  "Ishi's opponent forced him to hurt him.  Your daughter is wonderful, Mr. Jigen, and perfect in many ways but she still seems to be scared of the gun.  Arsene is far beyond what we could teach her.  Most of it for her would be making contacts.  Ishi could learn another form.  Our marksmanship teacher was very impressed with him.  He suggested that he forget the sword until he saw him working out with it against our teacher and his father.  His father had to step in to make sure he didn't finish off his opponent at one point."

"That's not like Ishi," Xander noted calmly.

"He insulted his sister.  He was defending her honor."

"Ah.  Then I'm impressed that Goemon stepped in."  She sipped her coffee.  "So, a year for connection's sake or are you going to pass them over?"

"I'd love to have them," she offered.  "Or you could go higher.  There is a higher training academy for such matters.  It's very harsh however."

Jigen shook his head.  "I've seen them.  I don't want my girl to be tortured to learn how to increase her pain tolerance."  The teacher nodded at that.  "What about the higher skills you teach?"

"Ishi already has most of those.  Arsene has many of them.  Melissa needs the most training at the moment, but she's a planner.  I don't expect her to be in the field all the time."

"We do," Xander assured her.

"Very well.  If you agree, we can take them for a year."  She heard the squeal of brakes and looked around, smirking at the other parent came in.  "Lupin," she said, holding out a hand. "I was reporting on the children's progress."

"Too good?" he teased lightly, sitting on Xander's other side.

"Very much so.  They may have a year's worth of lessons with us.  They've already done their field work.  Melissa needs help getting over her fear of guns.  Ishi could learn some advanced skills or another form.  Lotus is a darling and our teacher of herbology and poisons loves her.  Arsene basically came in so cocksure that the teachers knew which one she was without her having to say a word.  They decided they have almost nothing to teach her except stealth maneuvers."

"That's my girl," he said proudly.  "Oh, Jigen, the girls are on their rifle team.  They need good single action rifles, no scopes.  Their first match is in two weeks."

"I'll find 'em something tonight and send 'em on," he agreed, lighting a new cigarette.  "They like it?"

"They do.  Savannah was waylaid on the tour by the horses.  Sierra and her roommate hit it off immediately."  He smirked at Xander. "You'd like it and their uniforms are cute too."

"I'm sure they'll love staying there then," she agreed calmly.  "Are we putting the kids in this year?"

"We'd rather they started next year," the headmistress offered.  "Starting in the middle of the year can be stressful on children.  All the alliances are already formed."

"Our kids are a pack anyway," Xander reminded her. "They're already a working team."

"Good point."  She took another sip of her coffee.  "If you wanted, they could start this next term.  That's in four days."  Lupin straightened up.  "That's up to you however."

"It's solve a lot of problems for Lupin the Fourth if she had someone besides us who said she's good," Jigen noted quietly.

Lupin nodded.  "I agree.  We'll talk with the kids tonight and tell you tomorrow?"

"That's fine, Lupin.   Jigen, may we work on your daughter's fear?"

"Please," he agreed.

"I'm guessing it has something to do with the kidnaping," Xander said, looking at Jigen too.  He nodded, that made sense.  "The girls, well, they're kinda in an odd spot."

"Lotus explained it to me when I asked," she admitted.  "Was the kidnaping long ago?"

"A few years.  Ishi took his first life at that time," Xander said quietly.  She nodded.  "We've got him to the point where he has the choice to wound and usually takes it."

"I saw.  He's very good.  We all agreed on that," she said with a small smirk.  "All the children are wonderful.  There's just little points that need hammered down.  Lupin the Fourth is very loud.  Ishi has a temper if he doesn't learn to control it.  Lotus needs to make her decision.  Melissa needs to work on that fear of guns.  Otherwise, they're ready to start work on their own."

"We'd like for them to wait before fully working.  Have some kid moments still," Xander told her.

"Of course!" the headmistress agreed.  "They do need to loosen up sometimes.  Arsene sat in on the planning class and told the teacher how she'd do it, and he checked the drawing, which she said was wrong anyway.  Melissa had the plans already drawn up and hooked into the projector to send them up there, where Arsene got up to show her route, which she said she'd scoped out a few times.  The Louvre is very lax in their security."

"She was keeping in practice by going for after-hour visits," Lupin admitted dryly.  He poured himself some coffee.  "Thank you for making an exception."

"You're welcome.  They're going to be the ones who kick the other students in the ass with reality, Lupin.  Most of my students still see this as hypothetical until their first field exercise.  Your kids have field experience.  They may be leading teams on field excursions because they're so experienced."

"Even when we tried to stop them," Jigen noted dryly.

"Yes, Arsene asked that I not tell you her whole resume."  She smiled at Xander.  "I believe the decision will come down to you."

She nodded.  "It may, but I think it'd do them good to play with other kids sometimes.  Even if it is a vocationally-oriented school."   She smiled.  "Please teach Arsene to cook while you're at it or she'll die of fast food poisoning."

The Headmistress laughed.  "Of course, Sylvia.  I look forward to hearing from you tomorrow."  She nodded and left, heading back to her car.  These kids would be a credit to her academy.

Xander glanced around.  "Goemon?" she called.  He came over from the table he had been hiding at, taking the free seat.  "Do you have an objections?"

"Not in the least.  They will be able to be children there and the teachers do have things to teach them yet."

"Guys?" she asked.  They shrugged.  "Then we'll tell the kids tonight?"

"We could go find them now and tell them," Lupin offered.

"They wanted to go look at a museum," Goemon offered.  "They got away from me."

"I'll check the jails, you check the museum," Xander offered, finishing her coffee.  She put down money and wandered off, letting the guys do it however.

Jigen and Lupin finished off their coffees before started off to look for their problem children.  If they were in jail they were definitely going to go to school immediately.  Fortunately they were being trailed by the cops, but they hadn't been arrested yet.  It was easy enough to catch Melissa's eye and give her the sign.  They peeled off and Jigen called Xander, then headed for the car.  Ishi was the last to appear then they were off once he told them Lotus was shopping.


The man watching the open-air market was staring at a young woman up the pathway from him, then checking the photo in his hand.  "That's not her, it can't be," he muttered, moving closer.  The little girl wasn't unaware of him, he could tell she was scanning the crowd, but she wasn't reacting to him so she didn't know him and didn't know what sort of danger she was in.  He walked past her, glancing at her face.  Well, she looked like Goemon.  Maybe it was her?  He continued on, but was stopped by the sudden ache in his head, which made him scream and fall over clutching the sides of his skull.  It felt like his brain was going to explode soon.  "Aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh!"

Lotus calmly walked through the crowd and found the nerves in his neck, knocking him out with a hard finger jab into them. Then she looked around.  "Someone should probably call the poor beast a doctor," she noted, going back to her shopping for herbs.  She saw a new person standing there, and nodded.  Somehow she knew he was the cause of the headache.  "You are?"

"From Athens."

"I've heard of your group.  I'm not joining. I'm not like that," she said calmly, staring up at his stormy grey eyes.  They were like thunderclouds and seemed to move like the winds were trying to banish them.  He smiled and held out a hand, so she shook it.  "Lotus."

"I know.  You're in danger.  Someone overheard your admission of where you put the dirty laundry and has decided to take it to the cleaners."  She stiffened, and took a forced deep breath.  "You are of an age to be used, Lotus Goemon.  Remember today and what he was going to do to you."  He brushed a hand across her brow, making her shiver at his cold touch.  "Do not fear me.  Fear him and his kind who would have you be a servant and a pawn."

"Over their dead bodies."

"Ah, but they don't know that.  Your mother never watched you with your brother."  He smirked and gave a slightly lop-sided bow/nod to the side move.  "Peace, sister.  Tell your other teacher that she does have the right to have one of us."  He touched her forehead again then moved away.

She stood there, calming herself down, then purchased what she wanted and headed for a cab.  She really wanted an adult around now.  She found an older looking man driving an open cab, like the bike cabs they had in Tokyo and bowed to him. "I am buying headache medicine for my mother.  How much to get back to our hotel?" she asked in Arabic.  Xander had taught her last year.

"Which hotel? You are fairly light."

"The Ambassador."

"You're a tourist?"

"My mother is native, we're visiting," she explained.  "We moved to France."

"Ah!"  He nodded.  "Ten dollars, American."

"That's fairly steep," she complained but handed it over willingly.  "Go straight there please.  Someone just tried to grope me."  He grimaced and nodded, taking off with her as quickly as he dared.   She was much too young for that sort of thing to happen to her.  She got out at the hotel and kissed him on the cheek before heading inside and right up to the desk.  "Sir, may I call my mother?" she asked once the driver was gone.  "I'm lost.  I thought she was in this hotel."

"Where is she?"

"Um," she dug out her key and held it up, and he smirked and nodded. "Please?"

"Of course.  Let me dial over there.  You can wait in the coffee shop if you want."

"No thank you.  I'd rather be where she could see me.  Someone just tried to approach me in the market."  He grimaced at that.  "Can I sit next to the fountain?"

"Go ahead, young lady."

"Thank you."  She skipped that way, sitting down to watch the fishies swim around and around, and sometime get sucked into the jets to be shot out and back down so they could change levels.

The concierge dialed the other hotel, having a quiet chat with the manager over there.  He'd tell the girls' parents and they'd better be there soon.  He hung up and it was less than ten minutes before a young man walked in.

"Lotus!"  She looked up and sighed, looking more relaxed.  "What the hell happened to you?"

"Some grungy guy came up and looked at me and tried to cop a feel," she complained.

"Did you kill him?"

"No, he had a sudden headache from someone else."

"Good.  Get your things and we'll go.  Uncle's outside in the car."  She gathered up everything, laying a protection on the fountain before she left, walking with her big brother.  "Here she is," he announced, glancing around.

"One of the guys from Athens saved my ass," she said as she got in, hugging Jigen.  "He said someone overheard where Mom is.  She's out, but she's trying to use me as a dealer's chip."

"Fuck if she's going to get a chance," Ishi promised.  "Go, Uncle Jigen."

"Fine.  I wanna hear more about this."

"I'll report when we get back there.  I'm just seriously creeped at the moment."  He nodded, driving off.  "I wonder if Mother can find out who that guy is."

"Maybe. She still has ties with them."

"They said she deserved one of her own."

"Interesting," Jigen agreed.  He pulled into the parking garage of their hotel and guarded the kids' back while they walked upstairs.  "No more going out alone for any of you," he ordered Arsene and Melissa.

"They don't want us, they wanted Lotus," Melissa noted. "Your mother?"

She flopped down, taking off the scarf that had been covering her hair.  "The way the story goes is this.  Creepy dude was staring, I felt him staring.  I scanned, caught sight of him without him catching me looking.  He walked past, glancing at a picture, saw my face.  He had a sudden and extreme headache.  I did a nerve pinch and knocked his skanky ass out.  I went back to the stall I had been at, and was introduced to the person who did it.  Who had the oddest gray eyes.  They were like thunder clouds.  They even seemed to shift some."

"I know him," Xander admitted.  "He's very fierce in some things, but fairly mercenary."

"Then he must think I'm worth a lot because he gave me a warning, touched my head with his really cold hand twice.  Warned me that someone had overheard where the bitch is and that she's trying to turn me into a dealer's chip and a pawn.  But that she didn't know what I was capable of.  His words were that she had never watched me with my brother.  Also, he said that Xander's now able to have a helper of her own from them."

Xander coughed something that sounded like 'too late', which made Lupin give her a long look.  She shrugged and grinned a dopey grin at him.  "We'll talk about that part later, Xander."  He looked at Lotus.  "Are you all right?"

"That guy barely grazed me with his hand, and the second guy had really cold hands when he touched my forehead.  I don't feel dirty or anything."

"That's good," Goemon agreed.  "From now on you go armed, daughter."

"Yes, father.  Thank you for giving me permission for what I was going to do anyway," she agreed, smirking at him.  "I think we've got bigger problems though."

"You'll be in school and safe," Ishi reminded her.  "We all will.  Not even she can take down the Assassin's Academy."

"Very good point," Lupin agreed. "I'll make sure the headmistress knows Fujiko's not allowed near you guys, no matter what."

"Thanks, Uncle Lupin."  Lotus got up and hugged him, earning a squeeze.  Then she went to hug her father.  "I wish you had feelings for someone nicer, someone like Ishi's lady or Bix, father.  You deserve better than the egg donor."  She took her herbs into her room, going to put them up in her things before running a long, hot bath to relax in.  She needed it now.  Besides, they were going to be planning and she didn't need to be in the way for that.

Ishi waited until the door closed before looking at the adults.  "I want this person dead," he announced.  "Even if I have to do it."

"Son, I realize and share your temper and it's reasons.  It is reasonable and just.  It is not doable at this time. Not until we find the root of the problem that your maternal unit is feeding off from."

"If we could find the guy, we could ask him," Jigen offered.

"If he's got a mind left," Xander pointed out calmly.  "Ishi, sit.  You can't have him without me and your dad there at least."  He pouted but he did sit next to her.  "Okay.  Who has contacts?"  Lupin and Goemon both raised their hands. "Good.  I'm calling Athens."  The guys looked at her.  "It's another route to the same source.  Maybe the guy who wiped him learned something more."  She stood up and went to find her laptop, using the camera on it. She never used a phone anymore, they were too insecure.  By the time she had it set up, Ishi was beside her watching what she was doing.  "You'll learn this in school, son."

"Of course.  You're still more comforting than Lupin and Jigen. Lupin's about ready to hop around in anger."   He smiled at the person on the other side of the connection.  "Hi."

Xander looked then smirked.  "Morning.  Where's Tomas?"

"He's there."

"I need to know what he found out when he wiped that idiot going after my stepdaughter."

"He didn't wipe him, Xander.  He didn't want to expose Lotus to that level of fear and anger.  He only gave him a great migraine whenever he thinks about her."

"Did he find out who sent him?"

"Hmm.  I'll ask, hold on."   In the background you could hear him yelling for Tomas.  He came back a moment later.  "A swamp monster he said."  He shrugged.  "I do not pretend to understand.  I'm a teacher of reactions and laws in science, not a telepath."

"Hmm.  Swamp monster?  It's a start," Xander agreed.

"Tell him that I owe him for protecting my daughter," Goemon said from the doorway.

"I will hold him to that," the teacher of physics agreed, before signing off.

Xander stood up and headed into the living room.  "Tomas, the guy who caused the headache, said he got a swamp monster image from the guy for his boss."

"So it's Gambit?" Lupin teased.

"Or Swamp Thing," Xander agreed lightly, smirking at him.  "Or a big Crocodile guy."

"I didn't think he was part of the underworld," Jigen noted.

"Oh, please," Melissa sighed.  "How about that idiot who likes to feed his pets with people?"

"I think that was a Bond movie, dear," Arsene said, patting her on the hand.  "Could he be from a swamp?  Maybe Cajun or something?  Or maybe he just acts like it or he wear a lot of croc leather stuff?"

"Hmm, Pierson," Jigen said grimly.  Lupin and Xander both looked at him, making him flinch at the look in their eyes.  "He's perfect for what Fujiko would want, which is to make us suffer.  He'd love little Lotus blossom."

"She hates it when you call her that," Arsene reminded him.  "She says she's not a delicate flower and she's not the symbol of reincarnation."

Jigen swatted her.  "Fine, ferret girl."  She beamed at him.  "Where is your baby?"

"Fred demanded to keep her.  Bix agreed and she'll send it when she's tired of feeding her."

"As long as someone is," Lupin said, smirking at his daughter.  "Don't like carrying a pet around?"

"Yes, I do.  Fred just wouldn't let go of him and he was going to hurt him so I left him there for a few days.  I'm more than willing to take one of the cats instead.  That would calm down Uncle Jigen for a while too."

"No traveling with cats," Goemon reminded her.  "You can't hide a cat under your baseball cap the way yo do your ferret."

"Fine.  Spoil my fun."  She looked at the adults. "Should we ask who it might be?"

"No, that'll let someone know that we know.  We'd rather blindside them," Lupin assured his baby girl.  "Melissa, any ideas?"

"If it's not Pierson, it may be Couplerson or whatever his name is.  He about lives in a swamp.  Keeps gators or crocs, can't remember which.  He's also the guy who asked if Arsene wanted to become his *personal* assistant one day during a chat on your boards, Uncle Lupin.  Emphasis and highlighting on personal.   When someone else on the board reminded him that, at that time, she was eight, he said it didn't matter to him.  It'd give him enough time to train her properly.  Unless Goemon was already."

"I sent someone to blow up his house for suggesting Goemon touches you kids," Xander said casually.  Everyone stared at her.  "He deserved it."  She looked at her daughters.  "He is still alive however.  He just switched to his backup house in Italy somewhere."

"Beaches?" Lupin asked.  She shook her head.  "Near the Academy?"

"A few hours drive away, he's in the top, up near the Swiss border."  Xander shifted in her seat.  "Hey, Lupin, since you're pacing, get me a soda?"  He smirked but got it for her.  "Thanks."  She blew a kiss.  "If it's him, I want to hurt him for real this time.  Last time I had the person wake him and give him a message, leaving a ticking bomb next to his bed with him tied on it.  Unfortunately he got out."

"You know, I used to wonder why people thought you were the scarier person, Mom, now I know," Melissa said in awe.  She got grinned at for it.

"Is that why everyone thinks that you're actually leading the family?" Arsene asked.

"Mostly it's you guys," she reminded her stepdaughter.  "They don't often see you doing training with your father, they see you training with me and Goemon, and they see me nagging him sometimes so they think that."  She popped open the bottle and took a sip.  "Hmm, sweet.  I keep forgetting that."  She took another drink.  It was caffeine and she was already too warm for coffee.  "We need to trace that guy back to see which one he works for or if there's a new player."

"I'll ask some of my local contacts," Lupin agreed, heading for the phone.  He looked outside, grimacing at the person standing there.  "Didn't the convention buddy say he was refusing to go to any more Islamic countries that had sand after his last case in Iran?"

"Yeah, why?" Jigen asked.

"He's downstairs staring up at our window."

"Huh.  Maybe we shouldn't have hung him off the bridge and painted pretty things on his back," Xander said before taking another sip.  "Arsene, plan twelve.  We'll tie him up in here."

"Sure, mom," she agreed with a wicked smirk.  She and Melissa headed out together with Ishi casually trailing them.

"Plan twelve?" Jigen asked.

"Arsene will lead, Melissa will hypo and knock him out, and Ishi will tie him up, then they'll carry him back up here, tie him to a chair, and we'll deal with him while we plan.  He can babysit Lotus if we have to leave for a few hours."  She smiled as her girls walked in, letting Ishi carry the heavier person.  Melissa got a semi-comfy straight-backed chair and tied him to it, letting her father watch.  Jigen gave a tug on the ropes, then hugged her.  "Good job, kids.  You deserve a treat."

"I deserve ice cream?" Arsene asked with a bright grin.

"If you can find some," Xander agreed.  "As long as you don't leave the hotel and all three of you go together."

"Yes, mom," they agreed, frisking Lupin as a group to take money off him and leaving in a whirlwind.

"Just think, they're barely teenagers and don't like to shop yet," Jigen said dryly as Lupin patted himself down.  "Missing more than your wallet, man?"  He lit another cigarette and puffed contentedly.

"Yeah, I am.  How did she do that?"  Xander and Jigen both gave him odd looks.  "One of them snatched my thong off by snapping it.  I can feel the bruise where it snapped.  They also got my watch and my sunglasses, plus my passport."

Xander snickered.  "Yeah, we taught the kids very well."  Ray started to moan so everyone paused while he woke up.  "Morning, baby boy," she said lightly, smirking at him.  "We'd let you go, but you got here at just the wrong moment.  Someone tried to pick up Lotus in the market to hurt her.  Sorry.  So get comfy, we'll let you up regularly to use the potty and all that good stuff.  Maybe Ishi'll be nice and bring you back some ice cream.  Want a soda?"

"No," he said bitterly.  "You can't keep me hostage.  They won't negotiate for me."

"Who says we want to?" Jigen asked.  "We just don't want to have to deal with you while we figure out who it was that wanted Lotus grabbed and used as a sex toy."

Ray slumped.  "Fine.  That's more important."

"Hey, we won't tell you anything that you can't overhear," Lupin promised.  "Maybe it'll help you later.  We like you, or else you'd be dead.  Remember that."

"You show it odd ways.  Who was it that hung me off that bridge?"  Xander raised her hand so he gave her a hurt look. "How could you?"

"Easy.  I was only picking on you.   We could have done many horrible things to you instead.  We probably should have.  You know very well if you were any other cop you'd be in deep shit and wouldn't have survived the last few years."

"Good point," he agreed miserably.

"Think about it as a way to study the best of the best," Lupin said with a shrug. "I'll call my local contact."  He grabbed the phone and dialed, looking at Ray.  "Pops coming too?"

"He's in the hospital thanks to you two.  The other Ray is up there too but he's fairly injured.  Dawn just gave birth to a little girl."

"Good," Xander said happily.  "Another person to drive her nuts."

Ray did snicker at that.  "I heard about her birth.  She kicked a doctor and made him pass out.  She swore so much the nurses had to give her drugs to keep her from teaching the kids down the ER some new words.  She was a bad patient this time."

"Eh, when I had Fred and Sarah, it was almost as bad," Xander noted.  "Kids hurt to have.  They're big and they're coming out of little holes."  Lupin hung up and shook his head.  "He's a freelance?"

"Yeah.  Totally freelance.  He accepts blind orders too.  Likes to pick up people."

"Well, this time he picked up the wrong person," Xander said sweetly.  "Any chance he'd know?"

"No," Lupin said.  "He likes blind orders."

"Then we've got to ask the bulletin boards," Jigen decided.

"We can put it subtly.  That Lotus noticed someone watching her who had a picture in his hand," Xander offered.  "We'd like to meet the person with such an interest in one of our kids."  She smiled sweetly.  "Or I would."

"We'll flip you for it," Lupin assured her, taking Melissa's laptop to log on and ask what he needed to ask.  He got a few answers of 'oh, shit, am hiding now' that made him smirk and one tentative question about the guy with the headache.  "Okay, here's the story I'm laying," he announced as he typed.  "The guy with the headache may or may not be the only person but a friend of Lavelle's warned her just after she knocked that guy out that she was being watched. She thought she saw her picture in headache guy's hand.  We need to know who he's working for, how many more there are, and what they wanted her for."

"Good idea," Ray agreed. Everyone looked at him.  "That'll get more information without exposing her skills if they don't already know.  We have to think like that when we're guarding people."

"Good point," Xander agreed, shrugging at Jigen's look. "He's right.  Think about bodyguarding for a minute."


Arsene stuck her head in the room.  "Hey, Dad, if you'd sign something for me I could make some major cash from it.  There's a woman who wants your panties really badly."

Her father looked over at her, then groaned and shook his head, going back to his typing.  "Forget it, daughter."

Xander sat down next to him, hugging him around the arm.  "Hey, it shows that you're still the prince at stealing hearts."  He flashed a grin at her.  "Honey, can't your forge your dad's signature by now?"

"Well, yeah, but she's got other signed stuff and she wanted to see him sign it."

"Fine," Jigen agreed.  "Let Xander do the boards, Lupin.  That way you can go be naughty without making Xan pissed."

"Fine."  He kissed Xander then walked his daughter down the stairs, kissing the woman she pointed out until she nearly swooned, then signing them for her.  He headed back up once he got a drink from the small bar, going back to see if anyone knew anything yet.  He found Xander typing into her own chat room, reading over her shoulder.  "Tell Homer I said hi."

"Already did."  She paused, reading a new message.  "Hey, Lupin, are you feeling okay?"

"Yeah, why?"

"They weren't sure that her lipstick wasn't knockout formula," she said with a shrug, typing in that he was still fine, so far. The kids trooped in and she took the bowl Ishi held out with an absent grin.  "Get something for Ray?"

"Yup, he's got some cheese sticks coming up," Arsene admitted.  She sat down to read over her mother's shoulder, stealing a finger of ice cream.  Xander quickly finished it so her daughter wouldn't snatch it from her hands, making both Lupins and Ishi grin at that move.  "Who's down there?  I didn't see anybody."


"Who's he?" Melissa asked.  "I've never met him."

Xander typed in something and got a laugh as an answer.  "I'll introduce you later when I go down to meet him for dinner."  She typed in something else, then switched back to Lupin's, typing in a sorry, had to chat with some of her people.  Someone gave her a virtual awed look so she responded with a cheek pinch and the guys told her everything she needed to know.  She typed in her thanks, logged out of her chat room, then gave the laptop back to Lupin.  "Here you go."  She headed into Lotus' bathroom, tapping first.  "Baby girl, I've got to go out tonight with a few guys.  I do not want you to worry about this, we're handling it for you."  She looked up and smiled.  So Xander leaned down to kiss her on the head.  "Good girl.  You rest and relax.  Gather your strength.  You guys start school in four days."  She strolled out to her bags, pulling out something for dinner, and something for later.  By the time she was ready, it was nearly time so she pulled a scarf over her hair and headed out, only stopping to kiss her men silly on the way through. "Ishi, stay, guard the other girls in case."  She palmed the key and strolled out, heading down the stairs.  She heard little feet running and smiled at her girls.  "You're supposed to have your heads covered."

Melissa pulled out two scarves so the girls could cover their hair, then they walked downstairs with her.   Xander found her target at the salad bar and smiled at him, going to the seat he pointed out.  He walked over with a bright smile.  "Girls, this is Peter.  He's a guy I do a lot of work through.  Peter, this is Arsene, Lupin the Fourth, and Melissa, my daughter with Jigen."

He shook their hands, smiling at them.  "Good evening, ladies. Are you helping tonight?" he asked in the most charming Aussie accent.

"They're not allowed.  They're our final position on Lotus tonight.  They just had to meet you though," she admitted with a grin for him.  "They're starting the Academy in Italy in four days."

"Congrats, ladies.  That's very good work.  Most of the kids there don't really have a clue until they're sixteen and you're what?  Thirteen?  Hell, that plan of yours last year at the Royalty Ball was inspired."

"Almost," Melissa admitted, blushing slightly.  "Thank you for that compliment."

He beamed at her.  "I'm a safe guy to have a crush on, ducks, I don't go for little girls.  I like my women older than me."  He winked at Xander, who snorted and kicked him under the table.  "Aww, now, when're you gonna dump your man for me, love?"

"When shit flies without help."

"Hmph.  Bet you could do that if you wanted," he teased.

"Probably.  But wouldn't that be help?" she taunted back.

Arsene swallowed, then looked at Melissa.  "Mom, are you sure you don't need our help tonight?"  She didn't want to leave her mother with this guy.  She was flirting with him and it was wrong!  She should only flirt with their fathers!  "We're still very good."

"No, dear.  I want you two guarding Lotus.  No matter what.  Just in case."

"Yes, mom," Melissa agreed, kissing her on the cheek.  "It was nice meeting you, Peter.  I hope to work with you myself when we've graduated from our training."  She shook his hand and nudged Arsene, who did the same, then they headed back up the stairs.  "Do you feel odd leaving them together?" she hissed once they were on the stairs.

Arsene scowled, looking every bit like her father, or her Uncle Goemon when he was scowling at his students.  "He's flirting with Mom and making her giggle like one of us.  Hell yes I feel odd about it.  Old friends or not."

"Then should we tell the dads?"

"We can't do that until after he helps mom, otherwise one of our fathers might kill him."  They walked into their suite and went to sit next to their fathers, curling up.

"Hmm, looks like Xander's helper tonight is charming, suave, and disturbing in some way," Goemon noted dryly.

"He was making mom giggle and he flirted," Arsene told him.

"But you can't kill him until after he helps Mom," Melissa reminded her dad before he could move.

He hugged her.  "I know Peter, sweetheart.  He's a nice guy who only likes older ladies.  He likes rich, older ladies who he can screw to death.  Your mom's not quite that old yet."

Arsene relaxed.  "Okay, that's good to know.  He flirted with us too."

"Peter is who?" Lupin asked calmly.

"That Australian guy we saw her with the last time."

"He's not wearing that Athens' mark like the people usually do," Melissa pointed out.

"No, he's not.  He's a hitter.  Old school lech but he's not after Xander.  He was at the Ball, Lupin.  Saw the girls in action."

"He said I had an excellent plan," Melissa offered with a light blush.

"He also said you could crush on him all you wanted because you were too young," Arsene reminded her smugly.  Melissa picked up a bottle of soda and pitched it at her, hitting her on the head. "Ow!  Shrew!"

"Girls," Goemon said quietly, making them stop.  "I doubt he would ever touch Xander, Lupin."

"No, I have no doubt of that either.  She said shit would have to fly without help before she left you for him, daddy."

Lupin nodded, typing a question into the chatroom he was in, getting all the information he wanted on that guy downstairs.  "That's a good thing to know, princess.  Any idea what the plan is for tonight?"

"Mom said we're the last defense for Lotus," Melissa offered.  "I think she's going out."

"She must be.  She pulled out that whole outfit, the one with the eyeslits only to show skin," Arsene agreed.  She looked around.  "Where's Ishi?"

"Probably with her," Lupin said dryly.  "He likes to follow her around."

"Hopefully she takes him into account," Lotus said from her doorway.  "There's no plan yet?"

"Xan's out getting something," Ray told her.  "Meeting with some hustler named Peter."

"Hmm, I think I know him.  I danced with him at the Royalty Ball."  She came out and curled up next to her father.  "When did you get here, Uncle Ray?"

"When your cohorts snatched me and tied me up here."

"Melissa did the knots," Jigen said proudly.

"They're good too," Ray agreed.  "If you wanted to, Melissa, you could join our team."

"Then I'd still have to break and enter for fun, Uncle Ray.  Sorry, my path lies in keeping Lupin the Fourth on the straight-enough and narrow path to fame."  Arsene snickered.  "Otherwise there's no telling what she'd get into."

"I still wanna go see Area 51's archives," Arsene told her.  "I think it'd be pretty neat."

Her father patted her on the head.  "When you're old enough," he promised, pulling her closer for a hug and a cuddle.  "That can be your graduation test."


Lotus snickered from her father's side.  "I don't think the rest of us want to go there.  Maybe the space museum?"

"But I wanna see the aliens," Arsene whined.

"If there's any there," Melissa reminded her.

"It's fairly arrogant to decide that we're the only intelligent beings in the universe, no matter what religions say," Arsene retorted.  "There's got to be other intelligent life out there and they've got to be looking at most of the humans on this planet and hoping that they'd find real intelligence soon.  Or at least taste and sense.  I mean, seriously!  What sort of person decorates in both zebra hides and leopard skins in the same room?"

"Um, that place we visited last month?" Melissa reminded her.

"Yes, and I got a *major* fashion headache from it," Arsene reminded her with a smirk.  "It was right of us to fix his room for him."

"So five queer men have nothing on you, dear?" Lupin asked, smirking down at his daughter.

"Oops.  You hadn't heard about that one, daddy?"

He shook his head. "No, but now that you've spilled it, do tell us about the makeover you did, dear."

Goemon looked at his daughter.  "Did you treat the remains with respect?"

"Of course, father.  I'm the one who packed them up and put them into the closet.  We left him some throw pillows and things."

He patted her on the head.  "Thank you.  It is good that you respect remains."

Jigen looked at his daughter, then poked her.  "Where?"

"Um, Amsterdam.  We did a weekend off of school."

"Gee, you don't look sixteen," Jigen said dryly.

"We didn't steal!  We only redecorated.  We got caught up in fixing the fashion tragedy."

"And I believe that too," Lupin said smugly.  "What was it?"

"Pretty ruby jewelry?" she offered hesitantly.  He gave her a long look.  "Okay, so it was a lot of pretty ruby jewelry and a few jade pieces.  Mostly ruby stuff.  There's a really neat band that Lotus has for the end of her braid."

Goemon looked at his daughter, who held up the end of her present braid to show him.  He shook his head and kissed her on the forehead.  "You are very good, daughter, but you should not flaunt such things."

"They're not custom, we checked first, Uncle Goemon," Melissa offered.  "They're commercially available.  No one but Uncle Ray knows that we didn't buy them."  Ray pretended to snore.  "Won't work, you're not that loud," she pointed out.

"That's okay, there's no proof we did it but that," Arsene offered, smirking at Ray. "And if he ever turns us in for what he hears here, then we'll know where it came from and we'll not only take away his raise and hazard pay, but we'll also make sure his life's a living hell for the short time he has left.  Auntie EmmaJean's applying right now, Uncle Ray."  He swallowed, he remembered her.  "And you're with Bix."

"She'd like the other Ray better anyway," he pointed out.  "He's less soft.  She always said I wasn't hard enough on some cases."

"Sure.  We'll even help you with that and not tell Auntie Bix, Uncle Ray.  We might even be nice enough to set you up in front of a video chat," Melissa agreed.  "But if you tell on us then we'll only get in trouble with Mom.  Gramps won't find us.  He can't catch us.  We're faster and we'll make it so he has to stay home and be a full-time daddy if he tries.  Ishi's already volunteered."  Goemon looked at her.  "He has.  Nothing fatal...just painful, each and every day sort of painful."

"He already has arthritis," Lupin warned.

"Yeah, and he's gonna hate it when Ishi takes out one of his knees for him, and then cracks a vertebrae so he can't chase after us.  Doing so correctly is hard, but not that hard."  She looked at her 'Uncle'.  "He couldn't chase us then, right?"  Ray shook his head quickly.  "See, and it would make the doctors replace the creaky knee that pops each time he stands up.  Which would probably help him in the long run.  A mixed blessing as they say."

"I do not like my son's idea," Goemon butted in.

"Talk to your son.  I was all for taking one of those new pen lasers and taking out one of his hamstrings," Melissa offered.  "He may not ever be in running shape again.  He'll be on desk duty or retirement."

"That's mean to a guy like him," Jigen said, stroking down her back.  "He lives for his job and taking that away from him will kill his spirit."

"Better his spirit than dying on the job," Arsene pointed out.  "We've been pulling our punches with them, Uncle Jigen.  I nearly shot him the last time because he startled me."

"Jishad House?" Ray asked.  She nodded. "He knows.  He said to thank you for not shooting him point blank in the chest, and sent up a very large prayer that he was wearing his vest that day.  Though the doctor said that if the bullet had went through it would have missed everything vital.  It may have hit a loop of intestine but nothing near a vein or something he can't have cut out if necessary."

Lupin the Third gave his daughter an awed look.  "I'm not sure if I should spank you for shooting him anyway or hug you for being such a good shot," he said in shock.

"Shooting him was reflex.  We were being shot at by the owner of the house, who had it on automatic for anything bigger than his cat, and his cat got shot too.   We got it disabled before going more than three steps into the house, but the poor pussy got it before then.  We were jumpy and he appeared in the safe room.  I reacted, dad.  I'm sorry."

"No, it's good that your reactions went for incapacitation once you realized who you were shooting at," Jigen offered.  "That means that the training's fully took.  You can't and won't indiscriminately shoot at people.  What were you three after?"

"Some maps," Melissa told him.  "Nothing of wonderful value."  Lupin the Third and Fourth both looked at her with a grimace.  "Sorry, they're treasure maps," she sighed.

Lupin the Fourth grinned at her.  "I figured it'd be the first thing we did on our first summer break."

Lupin the Third pulled his daughter into his lap, giving her the tightest hug he could.  "You are so much my heir," he said in her ear.  "I love you, baby."

"Me too, daddy, but you're going to crush my lungs."  He laughed and let her go slightly, but was still holding her.

Goemon looked at his daughter.  "Were you there?"

"No, I was doing my homework for chemistry.  I was back at the hotel guarding the rendevous point."

"That's even better," he agreed, giving her a rare smile and a pat on the back.  "I do not want you harmed by their antics."

"Dad, I trained with them, we're a team," she reminded him gently.  "I'll be fine even if I do bounce back and forth all the time."  She gave him a hug, then looked at Melissa.  "I still need to find a non-flawed ruby for that summoning spell.  Just in case."

"There's two in the safe," Lupin offered.

"I checked, dad, they've got small flaws on an outer edge and she needs something either oval or fully spherical."

"Hmm.  I know of one," Jigen told them.  "It's in Istanbul though."

"I thought about that one but it's got massive security," Arsene told him.  "We checked it out via hacking into their system.  Speaking of which, dad, I spent all my allowance on my hacker buddy's fee of a hooker and a bottle of chocolate sauce.  Can I have some more?"

He snickered, giving her a squeeze.  "Sure, daughter.  You can have some more.  If you asked, we do have hackers that owe us favors."

"That's cool, but he was in school with us and Ishi wouldn't bend over and take it from him.  It wasn't that hard to find him a newbie by bribing another student he liked with two hundred bucks and help in Math and English.  We even got to tape it."

"It was very interesting," Lotus agreed calmly.  "I still don't understand why anyone would make those sort of noises though."

"You'll find out some day," her father reminded her.  "Hopefully with someone who means enough to you to marry, but at least with someone who means something to you."

"Yes, daddy.  You know I'm not going to go clubbing and grab the closest dick at hand to have him in the bathroom."  Her father squeaked and blushed bright red.  "Sorry, dad, didn't meant to embarrass you."  She hugged his side again, allowing him time to calm back down.

"You are not like that," he agreed quietly.  "I must remember that.  Even when you start to date, you will not be out playing around like your uncle."

"Maybe you should meditate on that thought, father, learn it by heart?" his daughter teased, grinning up at him.  "I do have taste and I'm very picky."

"I did not need to know that much, daughter.  I would rather only meet the boys you are serious about so I can threaten them.  I'll leave the others to your brother."  She giggled and hugged him again.  "Thank you, dear.  Perhaps we should meditate on the subject of you growing up."

"Hey, Goemon, remember, she's not her mother," Jigen offered dryly.

"True, she is not Fujiko," he agreed. "Another good thought to keep in mind," he noted calmly, getting up to sit on their small balcony to meditate in the sunshine.  It was time he came to grips with his daughter getting older.  She had breasts.  She had her womanly cycle.  She was going to need a bra soon by what was rubbing against his arm.  He got up and went back inside, whispering in Lupin's ear, then went back outside.

Lupin winced and looked at Jigen.  "It was just suggested that we'll have to take the girls' underwear shopping before they go to school."

"There's no way I'm going into Victoria's Secret," Jigen said firmly.  "I won't do it for Xander and I'm not doing it with my baby girl."

"Daddy, I need a bra," Melissa told him calmly, patting him on the hand.  "We have to go sometime soon or gravity will hit them and make them bigger."

"Too late on Lotus'," Arsene said dryly.

Lotus blushed.  "My mother had the rack of an elk, it's not my fault."  She crossed her arms over her chest.  "When's Mom getting back?  I don't want to discuss this with you guys."

"Xan'll be back later," Lupin said calmly.  "There's no way in hell I'm taking you three bra shopping.  I'd have to drink myself into a coma that night."   His daughter snickered.  "I'd do it if you were guys, but I can't handle first bra shopping.  The only time I go with Xander, we end up having sex in the shop.  I won't be doing that with you and it'll bring up icky memories."

"That's okay, mom was shopping the other day and the saleswoman asked if she needed to see the special undergarments for those who were recently circumcised," Arsene said with a shudder, burrowing back into the protective arms.

"Mom was very calm when she told her that her daughters would not be tortured that way and that she didn't believe in it.  The saleswoman didn't seem to be phased by it, she just shrugged and said to yell if they needed any help," Melissa added.  "I had to look that up.  I didn't know women could be tortured like that."

Jigen gave her a squeeze.  "You'll never be done that way, daughter, or I'll kill someone horribly," he promised. "Even if I have to come back from the dead to do it."  She relaxed and nodded against his chest.  "Good girl.  Lotus, you want one?"

"No, I'm okay.  I would kill whoever was trying, and if not then Ishi would.  He said so.  He said only he gets to make me miserable."

"Then you're going to be a very young widow," Arsene taunted.

"Bet me.  If and when I get married he'll be far away from any marital spats."  She got up and went to sit next to Lupin since he was on the bigger sitting surface.  "Uncle Lupin, what're we going to be bringing with us?"

"Whatever you want," he promised. "There's no uniform, though most people do seem to wear black and grey exclusively."

"Should I bring some formal clothes?"

"You could," he suggested.   "We had dinners in my time; the other kids needed to learn social graces."  He patted her on the back of the head.  "Bring a few kimonos if you want and some other comfy clothes."

"We need to go back to the main house to pack some stuff then," Arsene offered.  "I only brought working clothes."

"That's fine, maybe Lotus can pop each of you home at a time," Jigen offered.

Lotus shrugged.  "Maybe.  Not yet though."

"We'll run you home before we take you there if possible," Lupin promised.  "If not, I'll take you regular clothes shopping."

"We do have to go through most of Italy," Jigen pointed out.

"Hmm, Italian lingerie," Melissa said, sounding happy with the idea.

"I'm still not walking into a lingerie store," Jigen said firmly.  "Especially not with you girls."

"Fine, we'll have to go on our own," Arsene said smugly.  "Imagine what we'll find then."

"You'd better not take after your mother and seduce the salespeople," her father said darkly.

"Dad, I'm not quite that old yet," she pointed out dryly.

"I wonder what Ishi's doing," Lotus sighed.  "He always gets to do the fun things."

"Hey, for summer break, we should go back to Disney," Arsene said with a smirk.  "It'll be great fun," she whined at the groans.  "Just think of all the fun we can have."

"The rest of us still have flashbacks from the last trip," Jigen said quietly, looking at his little girl. "You know that was his fault, right?"

"Of course, daddy.  You'd never sleep around on mom without her permission.  She'd kill you horribly and cackle while she peed on your remains."

He patted her on the back.  "You're probably right."

Lupin checked his bulletin board, typing in a message to see if anyone was watching his girl at dinner.  He got back the simple message of 'we lost them' and grimaced.  "They snuck off without anyone seeing where they went.  No one saw Ishi at all."

"Peter knows he's not going to be able to touch her," Ray pointed out firmly.  "She's not gonna cheat on you two."

"Actually, she told the fathers that they could cheat, but only if they got permission," Arsene told him.  "Otherwise she was going to practice her chopping skills she got from her cooking lessons off Food Network."

"Watching Iron Chef is very interesting," Lotus agreed.  "Hopefully someone will take our cooking lessons into hand at the school."

"Xan made sure of it," Ray told her.  Everyone gaped at him so he smirked.  "What?  You think you're the only one with contacts?  She said you're going to have some kid moments, some classes, and told the headmistress to teach Arsene how to cook before she got fast food poisoning."

"She did," Lupin agreed with some appreciation for his opponent.  Ray smirked at him.

"Just remember, Uncle Ray.  While we're in school, they're going to be free to roam anywhere they want."

"Hmm-uh," Jigen agreed smugly, smirking at Arsene.  "And we'll get to do all sorts of things that you can only dream of."

"As long as it's not getting shot, I'll accept that and do one better when I'm older," she shot back.  "Just don't die and everything will be fine."

"Maybe Mom'll name the other two her heirs for the estate," Melissa offered.

"Estate?" Ray asked.

"A few years back, some woman in England offered her estate to whoever could give her orgasms.  Mom, who was a guy back then, gave her so many she died in bed between bouts.  So she's technically a Lady and needs an heir."

"You know, if we piss her off, that's probably where she'll be," Lupin told Jigen, who grunted in annoyance.  "At least we can find her there.  Not like the time she ended up back in Imperial Japan."

"I think that's her fallback position, Uncle.  We'll all go be society brats until we're eighteen then she'll lead us on our first job and let us go free while she goes back to retirement with whoever's left and the younger kids," Melissa offered.

"Interesting," Ray said quietly, considering it.  "If none of you had warrants, she could probably do that.  Then again, knowing her we'd never find her house."

"Gramps knows where it is, he tried to raid there when we came back," Arsene offered.  "I'm not sure if he got to keep that knowledge or not," she admitted at his happy look, having to burst that bubble.  "Besides, the kitsune use the portal in the house more often than any of us use it."

"We'll figure that out after you're in school," Lupin promised.  The laptop beeped so he picked it up to look at the new message, frowning.  "Hmm.  Xander was spotted going into a strange house.   She's in full gear, so they might know who she is, but they're in for it.  I don't know that family.  Hamid Rahjons, Jigen?"

"Hmm.  Not a clue," he admitted.  "Doesn't ring a bell at all."

"He's a local cop," Ray said quietly, staring at Lupin.  "Getting outside help?" he suggested.

"Oh, probably not," Melissa said with a glare toward the door.  "Hmm.  I'm sure we can do something with that."  She looked at her Lupin.  "Try for it," she suggested.

Arsene took the laptop and logged into a little-used chatroom on her mother's webpage, watching as more people appeared suddenly.  She typed in a query, then forced herself to stay calm.  "Yeah, he's part of that.  Someone thinks they saw Fujiko there," she announced.  She looked up as her father started to move, pushing him back down.  "You can't, father.  He's one of the bigshots in the local law enforcement industry.  Let mom since she's already there with Peter."

"Sick people like that deserve whatever we can give them," Goemon reminded her.

"Yeah, but they're having a police ball tonight," Arsene told him.  The fathers stared at her.  "She's going to try a True Lies move, dad."

"She'll never pass for Arabic," Jigen noted.  Lupin gave him a long look.  "She's not exactly the effeminate little submissive woman, Lupin.  If someone says something to her there she'll probably talk back to them."

"She'll be fine," Lupin reminded him.  "She's done it before."  Jigen groaned and shifted some, shaking his head.  "Not exactly as this role but she's damn good at them."  He looked at his computer, watching for updates.  "Hmm.  There was a fire up the street.  I wonder why."

"Are they breaking up?" Ray asked.

"No," Lupin said absently, typing again.  His daughter took the laptop and wrote a message, stunning a few of the crooks.  "Daughter," he said patiently.

"What?  I want to know where Ishi is.  He's my crew, dad."

"That's fine, but that'll get him more noticed."

"Dad, no one's seen him yet.  Can you imagine Ishi really *disappearing*?" she asked.  He grimaced, then shook his head.  "Then where would he be?  Could this plan extend to him as well?"

"No," Lupin said, shaking his head.  "She knows Ishi's well trained."

"No, she knows he's in *training*," Melissa reminded him.  "She's never watched either of them train before."  He looked stunned.  "If she's out to get Lotus, that's one thing.  If she's out to get Goemon, then that's another.  His daughter is precious to him but Ishi is the first born son."

Lupin growled, looking at Jigen, who nodded.  "She knows he's somewhat trained.  That means that he's a harder target," Lupin reminded her.

"Dad, if they think he's just a little kid with some training then they may try for him," Arsene said gently.  "No one really believes any of us are that well trained.  Let's face it, most everyone thinks that you're still doing field training with us, not that we've pulled our own stuff yet.  Almost no one knows that...unless they were listening during our interviews for the Academy."

"No one but the teachers and Uncle Goemon were allowed to watch," Melissa agreed.

"We had a source of information but then again they knew that we knew," Ray offered from his spot.  "Can I go to the bathroom?"

"Sure," Jigen agreed, nudging his daughter to untie him and take him in there.  She grimaced and he snickered.  "He's your hostage. You've got to take care of him."

"Good point.  I'm not watching you pee but if you fuck up, I'm feeding Arsene chocolate and setting her onto your ass," she warned, coming over to untie him.  She walked him back to Lotus' room to use the bathroom.  There wasn't a fire escape in that room.  If he got past her he'd have to deal with all the adults.  He patted her on the head and she kicked him on the shin.  "I'm not a puppy, don't pat me on the head like I am," she complained.

"Sure," he agreed, grinning at her.  "You're good, kid, but not all there yet.  You do realize I can knock you out?"

"If you do, there's no fire escape from this room so you'd have to get past the rest of them to get out of this suite," she said coolly.  "And yes, I am all that."  She pulled a remote out of her pocket and held it up with a smirk, then pushed the button, snickering when he flinched.  "Do we get it now, Uncle Ray?  I'm not the nice one, that's actually Lotus."

"Fine," he grumbled, closing the door so he could do whatever he needed to in private.  He checked himself but he didn't have any of his gear on him.  They had left him a pack of gum but nothing else, and there was a piece missing.   "Damn they're good," he complained quietly, hurrying up before she zapped him again.  That had hurt!  He used his free hand to pat that spot, trying to pull off whatever she had stuck on his skin.  He found a small lump and groaned.  She had injected it into his shoulder.  Fine, he could behave for now.  It would give him a lot of time to study the group and the kids.  He finished up and flushed, then washed his hands and dried them off before opening the door.  "Thank you."

"You're welcome."  She walked him back out to his chair, tying him up again. Then she went back to cuddling her father.  "He was very good."

"Good," Jigen said, smiling at him.  "Why?"

"Because I planted a zappy thing on his shoulder," she said sweetly, smirking up at him.  "That way he won't be upsetting me."

"Hey, um, 'Lis?" Arsene asked.  "Would you like me to go get you some chocolate and tampons maybe?" she offered gently, trying to be nice.  Melissa scowled at her so she quickly backpedaled.  "Sorry, just wondering if it was an immediate need or not.  You seem kinda violent today, that's all I was thinking," she said quickly, nodding to show how serious she was.

Jigen nudged his daughter.  "You've got to let us know if you need stuff like that, Melissa."

"Oh, please!" she sighed.  "A woman can be cranky without having PMS!"

"Sure," Lotus agreed.  "But you're not usually one of them, Melissa.  Arsene, since you should probably check on the room service order, don't you think you could get us some cocoa or chocolate milk or something?"

"Sure, Lotus."  She picked up the phone and called downstairs, speaking quickly in Arabic, then sighed and handed the phone to her father.  "They won't take orders from me."

He took the phone.  "They want it, give it to them," he ordered, handing it back while he read an update.  "Xander and Peter aren't there anymore.  Interesting."

"The party was in their way?" Lotus asked, looking over his bicep to read the screen herself.  "Hmm.  And no sightings of my brother still.  I didn't think he was that good yet at sneaky maneuvers."

"I'm wondering if Mom knows he's there," Melissa pointed out.

"If we call her, it'll be the one time she forgot to turn off her phone," Jigen offered.  "It'll be at full volume and have that jazz ringtone again."

Lupin snorted.  "No thanks.  I'm not busting her cover that way."  They all looked over as the door opened and Ishi walked in, looking calm and centered.  "Where were you?"

"Beating the shit out of someone," he said honestly, going out onto the deck to sit with his father.  "Someone tried for me, father.  They're very sorry puddles of goo."  His father looked over at him.  "They are," he repeated calmly.  "The officer that came to see what had happened escorted me back into the hotel after I told him someone had tried my sister earlier.  That I had acted in self defense and used my martial arts training to keep from being kidnaped."

"That's fine, son.  I'm glad you're fine."  He pulled him closer to hold him, taking comfort that his son had come back and looked to be fine.  "Did they hurt you?"

"One tried to gas me, one tried to grab my arm.  The one with the gas canister ended up with it up his nose and the one who grabbed me ended up with many broken bones in that arm," he admitted. "I'm fine, father."  He took a deep breath.  "I'm fine."

"Good. I'm glad you're fine, son," he said quietly.  He gave him a squeeze and a pat on the back.  "I know you hate hurting people.  You should not have to.  No more going out alone, son.  We thought you might have followed Xander."

"I started to.  They were waiting at the corner for me."

"Ah."  He nodded and got up, helping his son up and into the suite.  "Someone tried for him.  He defended himself.  Officers answered the scene."

"Fuck," Arsene sighed.  "Are you okay?"

"Fine," he agreed calmly.  "In control.  I want to scream however."

"Of course you do," Jigen agreed, pulling him closer to give him a hug.  "It'll be okay, kiddo.  We'll have this fixed long before you need to go to school."

Ishi looked at his Uncle Lupin.  "She was talking about going visiting, Uncle Lupin.  Something about the locals."

Lupin groaned, one hand drifting up to his forehead.  "He hates us."

"I'm not so sure he's going to be living after this," Ishi noted.  "She was not a happy camper.  Sorta like 'Lis on the rag sorta not happy."

Melissa smacked him hard. "Get off that subject!" she growled.

"Okay."  He quickly backed up against his father.  "Sure.  I won't mention it again," he promised quickly.  "Should I go steal you a candybar?"

"There's chocolate milk that's supposed to be on it's way up," Arsene offered with a small shrug.  "I thought it might be necessary too.  She's about to rip our heads off though."

Melissa let out a credible growl, stunning the adults.  "I'm going to kill you both.  Drop the mother fucking subject!"

"Calm down," Jigen said, patting her on the back.  She got up and stomped off, going to be around normal people downstairs.  "Melissa?" he called.  "You shouldn't be going out alone."

"I'll go after her," Lupin offered.  "Watch this for me, Jigen."  He walked out after his niece, making sure she'd have everything she needed.  Not even Xander got PMS this bad.   It was almost scary, and Melissa was one of the nice and usually good kids.  When he got down there he found her kicking someone's ass.  "Melissa!" he snapped.  "Leave him alone. You don't know where he's been."

"He asked me if I could deliver a message to Ishi about how his mother wanted to talk to him," she said, flipping her hair back over her shoulder.  "I'm sending back a 'hell no'."  She kicked him in the stomach then spit on him and walked up to the desk, smiling sweetly at them.  "Where's the room service order for our room?  I really would like some chocolate milk."

He smiled and went to get her some, before she did it to someone else, telling the manager what had happened on the way past his office.   That one was clearly on the cusp of womanhood and it was always a hard time for them.  Then again, she was only going to get odder as she finished growing into a woman.  That's why Allah made them separate beings.
Lupin hugged Melissa, kissing her on the top of the head. "I'm very proud of you, 'Lis.  You barely broke a sweat.  Go ahead and drag him upstairs.  I'd like to know why the evil bitch wants her kids enough to snatch them from their father, who actually gives a damn about them."  Someone coughed and he spun around, grinning at the other Ray.  "Hi.  Fujiko's free and trying to kidnap her children."

He looked at the body, then back at Lupin and nodded.  "That's reasonable for why you kicked his ass."

"No, *I* kicked his ass," Melissa said, scowling at him. "Get it right, Vecchio."  She took the tray with a nod and let her Uncle sign for it while heading up the stairs.  "You might as well plan twelve him too, Uncle."

"Hmm, maybe we should," Lupin agreed.  "Do me a favor, Ray.  Would you help me carry him off so we can ...question him?"

Ray snorted.  "No!"

"Fine, it'll be the hard way then."  He flicked his wrist and Ray went down in a heap after only getting out a shocked look.  "Hmm, I like that new spring release holster for hypos.  It's really efficient.  Much better than my old one."  He reached over the desk and dialed upstairs.  "Goemon, I could use some help hefting the guy who Melissa just beat the shit out of and the other Ray."  He hung up and patted them both down, pocketing anything questionable on them.  Jigen and Goemon came down, taking the idiot so he got Ray up to their room.  "Send up some coffee, would you please," he requested on his way past the desk.  The receptionist only nodded, looking very confused.  "Don't worry.  We're going to figure out why people want our children."   He let his daughter tie this one up, checking her knots.  "A little loose on his hands, dear."

"He's got carpal tunnel, dad.  If I don't he won't have feeling and then we'll have to help him go to the bathroom," she pointed out.

Melissa looked up from her ice cream and chocolate milk, nodding.  "It's true, he does.  He's not as experienced as the other Uncle Ray at getting out of ropes though.  Want the zapper hypo, Uncle?"

"No, honey, I've got what we need."  He slapped the thief's face until he woke up, smirking at him.  "If you do not tell me everything about this plan to steal the children, I'm handing you back to Ishi and Melissa.  My daughter will do her impersonation of an Iron Chef on you as well."  Arsene let out a cackle, making the thief shiver and try to curl up around his stomach but he had to stop when the pain hit.  "Your choice."

"Their mother wants them back," he said.  "That is all I know."

"Their mother never gave one bit of a damn about them in the past, why would she want them back?" Lotus asked him.  He looked at her so she smiled and wiggled her finger. "By the way, I'm the dangerous one.  I'm Lotus."  He swallowed and shook his head.  So she snapped her fingers and he howled as the thing she had called from her bag bit him on the thigh.  "You were saying?"

"Where did that come from?" her father asked, scowling again.

"My bag."

"That's fine then," he decided.  He stared down at the thief.  "If you do not tell us, I will help the children.  I would like to see my wife again."

"Who're you?" he asked.


The thief swallowed, noticing who else was in the room.  "You're Jigen," he said, looking at him. Jigen smirked and nodded.  "Then you're Lupin the Third?" he asked Lupin.  Who nodded, looking very smug.  "Why me, Allah?" he asked, looking up at the ceiling.

"Hey, that's not the Lupin or Jigen, or even Goemon, to worry about," Arsene reminded him.  "After all, 'Lis and I are much more mean.  Our mother taught us."  He started to cry.  "Your choice.  Tell the fathers or tell us after we've had"  He shrieked as Lotus' little charmed set of joke teeth bit him again, starting to cry and babble at them all about everything he knew.  Arsene grabbed some paper, sitting down to take notes for future reference.  Not that the locals would be surviving after her mother got done with them, but it was still something she might need someday.


Xander walked into the meeting room alone, smirking at them.  "Good evening, Gentlemen.  I will be speaking with your boss now."

"Go away, woman.  This is not a room for your sort."

She sighed and hit him across the throat, then looked down at him and grinned.  "What makes you think I'm not already in this life, little boy?"

"Who are you?" a man coming out of the back of the warehouse asked.


"Sylvia? No last name?" he sneered.

"As in Lupin the Third's gunman and sister to Lavelle, Sylvia," she said with a sneer.  "Obviously someone does not keep up with the who's who lists for thieves and assassins."  Before anyone could move she had her gun out and had shot the guys at the table.   She looked at the newcomer.  "You are?"

"Third in command in the city," he said, looking a bit pale.  "Who are you really?"

"As I said, I'm Sylvia.  Lupin the Third's second gunman and mother to Lupin the Fourth, stepmother to the Goemon children."  His eyes opened very wide.  "As you can tell, I will be speaking with your boss.  Where might he be?"

"In the back," he said, backing away from her.

"No funny shit.  I'm two days away from my cycle and I'm feeling a *tad bit* violent," she warned.  He nodded and turned, running away.  She looked at her handiwork. "You'll all live.  Good.  You're all a waste of bullets."  She looked up as someone came out of the back wearing a suit.  "I know of you. You're not the Don."

He shook his head.  "No, but he sent me to deal with you."  He pulled a gun since he didn't see hers. "Put it away, woman."

She snickered and flicked a finger at him, sending the thing she had called up earlier at him.  He screamed in horror as the little thing burrowed into his stomach.  "Nice try.  I applaud your balls in facing me down.  Too bad I'm not in the mood to be nice.  Never, ever, fuck with my kids.  This is a lesson you should take to heart if you live."  She headed into the back, pushing past two guards.  She walked in without knocking.  "Morning."

"You are?"


He looked up at her, frowning.  "Sylvia?"

"Yes, as in sister to Lavelle, second gunman to Lupin the Third while he's on vacation, and mother to Lupin the Fourth.  Also stepmother to the Goemon children since Fujiko wouldn't even change a diaper.  I'm sure you're seeing the conflict now."

He gaped then shook his head. "We have nothing to do with that."

"Bullshit.  Two of your hitters tried for the kids tonight."  He looked stunned.  "See, we have one of them in custody at the moment since he just tried for my daughter Melissa Jigen.  The other one I believe Lotus knocked out after his extreme headache?"  He whimpered and backed away as she moved closer.  "Now, we're going to settle this.  Before I finish losing my temper."

"Your temper always was a bad thing, Xander," Fujiko said from behind her.  "Ah!" she said when she started to turn.  "Don't try it.  I know what you're capable of."

"Really?" she asked, turning to look at her.  "Are you sure of that?"  Fujiko grimaced. "You have no idea what I can do, Fujiko.  The same as you have no idea what your kids can do since you never took an interest in them or their education.  Unfortunately you've already lost."

"Why?  Bring the cops?" she sneered.

"No, I left Kowalski tied up."   Fujiko looked stunned for a second, then sneered again.  "I don't know what game you're playing, Fujiko, but you're not getting the kids.  They're going to go to school.  They're going to finish their training.  Your daughter will make her choice someday.  Your other sons will make theirs.  There will be no political marriages unless they decide to break the rules we set down for sexual encounters and waiting until they're older."  She crossed her arms.  "For that matter, you'd have to actually take care of the kids if you got them.  Considering you once let your baby scream for eight hours straight because you were too lazy to make a bottle or change a diaper?  I don't think so."  The don coughed.  "Stay out of this or die," she warned.  She noticed Fujiko shifting her stance and shrugged. "Try, babe.  Let's see where it gets you to try and shoot me."

"Fine."  She raised the gun.  "Nice knowing you, Xander."  She pulled the trigger, but Xander wasn't there.  She moved and found herself in a headlock with a foot around one of hers.  Then she found herself unconscious.

"Huh.  You forgot a lot, Fujiko."  She looked at the Don.  "You were saying about not being involved?"  He shook his head quickly, backing away from her.  "This is a lesson you should take to heart.  Never, ever mess with a woman's children.  We get deadly.  Remember, I'm not the nice one.  By the way, the explosives should be going off in about a minute."  She picked Fujiko up and carried her out, setting off the explosives she had laid as she walked out the door.  She got her into the trunk of Peter's car and tied her hands loosely behind her back.  "Morning, thank you for waiting."  She climbed in and grinned at him.  "I liked letting go again."  He snorted and shook his head, starting the car.  "Let's go.  I'll decide if I'm killing her on the way or not."

"Sure, Sylvia."  He started the car, driving them toward the harbor.

She pulled out her phone.  "Death sentence or not?" she asked Jigen's voice once it came on the line.  "No.  Fine.  Yes or no."  She listened to the quick debate. "You've got about another block of driving."  Lupin made a decision.  "Fine, I'll let her live."  They pulled up next to the dock so she got out and pulled Fujiko out of the trunk, slapping her when she tried to struggle.  "Stop it, bitch. You hurt my kids, you'll have the chance to live."  She pushed her off the dock, then waved as she sunk.   She got back into the car.  "I hate people who fuck with my kids."

"I understand fully," Peter agreed, driving off once the door was closed.  On the way he set off the small switch under his clutch.   The gas was odorless and clear.  She never even knew what was going on before she fell asleep.  He rolled down the window, airing out the car as he headed for the desert.  There were some people who wanted this one and they paid very well.


Arsene looked up as the laptop beeped, then at her father.  "Doublecross!" she yelled, waking the napping adults.  Lupin hurried over with Jigen right behind him to read the new message.  "Oh, someone is so dead," she told Ishi, who was scowling just like his father.

He nodded. "Very dead.  Pity about that.  The mother?"

"She tied her hands and feet and dumped her into the sea," Jigen said as he read.  "She has the chance of living."

"Fairly restrained for mom," Melissa noted.  "Wow, I'm impressed."

"Me too," Arsene agreed.

Lotus shook her head.  "They said to give her a chance at living," she reminded them.

"Pity about that," Jigen muttered.  "Are we going?"

"Yeah, pack.  We'll leave the cops here," Lupin ordered.  Her father looked at her, giving her an odd look.  "We've got to rescue her.  Who knows what they want her for?  They could want her to awaken some nasty demon or something, or even want to kill her."

"Or worse, want to keep her as a sex slave," Ishi noted bitterly.  "If so, then we're going to destroy them horribly, correct?"

Lupin the Third nodded.  "Definitely.  Go pack.  We'll pick you up on the way back through."  The kids glared at him.  "No!"

"Dad, some of her own network turned on her," Arsene reminded him.  "This means you'll need backup."

"Yay.  Go pack," Jigen ordered.  "Or no shopping at all."  They sighed and went to do that.

"We're not that inexperienced, dad," Melissa reminded him gently.

"Yay.  This is an adult thing.  When you're eighteen then you can start going on high-risk missions," Lupin told her.  "Go pack, pack for us too."  She rolled her eyes but did so.  "You as well, Ishi."

"Fuck you, I'm going," he stated.  His father gaped at him.  "I am the best trained and Arsene was right. You will need backup.  It's not like I haven't been in combat before."

"When?" Goemon squeaked.

His son looked at him.  "Father, has it escaped you that I have shot the officers sitting in this very room in the past?  Or that I've been the one to shoot their way out of trouble in the past when the girls got stuck?"  His father looked stunned, mouth open and arms limply hanging at his side.  "Therefore I'm going.   Or I'll simply follow you and I won't be able to keep the girls out of it."

Lupin looked at Goemon, it was his decision.  "Goemon?" he asked.

"He can stay if he wants," Ishi said cockily.  He took the extra gun off his uncle's back waistline.  "Come on, let's go.  He's got a full clip."  He checked just in case, then grabbed a jacket as he walked out the door, taking a set of keys with him.  They always took a set of keys whenever they stayed at a new place.

Jigen looked at Goemon.  "We can gas him," he offered.

Goemon took a calming breath.  "I do not want him to come with us, but if he has done what he's said and hinted at, then he is probably capable."

"He has," Melissa said from her doorway.  "Ishi's a damn good backup."  She closed her door again.

"Remember to take spare ammo," Arsene yelled from her room.  "It's in the green bag."

Jigen grabbed the whole bag and headed out after the kid.  Goemon had to make the decision.  It was his kid.  Even if he didn't agree with it.  He took the cop's gun and handed him one of Xander's spares, watching as the kid reloaded it and checked it over fully before taking some spare ammo and clips for it.  The kid was good.  He had been trained well.  He guessed he could have a field trial after all.  He took his usual seat, waiting on the others.  Lupin came jogging out and hopped into the driver's seat, starting the engine as Goemon came trotting out and jumped into the back.  "We set?"

"We're set," Goemon agreed, nudging his son and handing over the second sword he had paused to get for him.  "Yours."

Ishi looked it over.  It was the one that had been given to Xander back in Imperial Japan.  He nodded, smiling slightly at his father.  "Thank you.  I'll guard it well."

"See that you do, and that you take care of it while you are at school, my son."  He cupped his cheek.  "Are you sure?"

"It's not the first time, dad.  I may get sick afterward if it's that bad, but I've had to rescue Arsene before from some guards.   It's not the first time.  Mom knew that, she relented when I begged her not to tell you."

"Another thing Xander will be sharing with us," Lupin said as they headed out of town, following the directions he had been given.

"Where are these people?  In a fricken tent?" Jigen complained.

"Yeah, they are," Lupin said dryly.  "A sheik, boys.  He wants our girl."

"Why?" Ishi asked.

"To be his newest wife."

"Hmm.  Hopefully she'll have killed the guards or him by then," Ishi offered.

"Hopefully he won't have hurt her," Jigen amended.  "If she's unconscious, then they may try something."

"Then they'll die," Lupin said firmly. "No one touches what's mine."  He sped up as they hit the main thoroughfare, he wanted to meet this person in person.

The End?

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