Xander Comes Clean, Or At Least A Bit More

Lupin listened to his contact in LA's underground carefully.  There hadn't been any news on Xander since he had escaped.  That had been over a week ago. He had landed in LA two days earlier and no one had heard from him since his landing.  He had stayed that night in LA since it had been so late, it had taken some work to find him but he had spent the night at the same motel he and Jigen had first talked in.  Then he had disappeared the next morning.  By now they should have been told something.  This was Xander after all, a six- foot-two man with silver hair that made demons pant in fear and longing and who was a wanted criminal.  Not even the guards had noticed him and reported him to the State Police.  He grunted and hung up, turning to look at the others.  "He made it to LA safely.  Stayed the night in the same place he and Jigen started at, then left.  No one's heard about him since then."

Jigen stretched and stood up.  "He can hide, Lupin."

"This is LA, Jigen.  The scene of some of his biggest problems.  Including Angel, Marcus' father, other demons, psycho's who want him to go good again.  Starting to sound familiar?"

"He'll be fine," Goemon assured him.  "We have all trained Xander to the best of our abilities."  He stood up as well.  "When are we leaving?"

"Two hours.  Hopefully one of you remember the way to Sunnydale?"

"I got it off Mapquest," Arsene said as she walked in, handing over the papers she carried.  She whistled.  "It's safe!"  The others rushed in.

"Before anyone says anything, Lotus said we had to come," Melissa offered the stunned parents.

"Lotus, explain," Goemon ordered.

She looked at him, then at Jigen.  "There's supposed to be a new cult in Sunnydale.  They're magical beings who want to get higher in the hierarchy.  They've just found their prophesied leader, Jetta."

Marcus groaned from his corner.  "Where did you hear that?" Lupin demanded.  "My contacts didn't say anything about that."

"The witches network.  Someone told Ethan, Ripper told me I had to go.  They'd need a nature witch on site.  Otherwise they may try reopening the Hellmouth."  Marcus groaned louder.  "Need something for that?"

"No, I've heard about them but I didn't think they were in Sunnydale.  I'm stupid for not thinking of them.  Of course they'd want Xander, he's a Prince of Hell.  He can grant them higher titles or give them for training purposes."

"Ah, but there is a kicker attached," Arsene told them all with a bright grin.  "Their new leader, Jetta, had to undergo some sort of purification and regeneration ritual.  Supposedly he argued that he was a demon hunter but they made sure he knew who he really was with the help of a vampire that they've helped come back to his true self."

"Angel?" Marcus asked hopefully.

"Spike," Lotus told him.  She shrugged.  "Ripper said we'd need people who could stake and who could slice heads off.  He said I had to be there to stop the Hellmouth and that you, Ishi, and Dad had to be doing the Uncle Xander job.  That Uncle Lupin could fill in the cute quips job and that Uncle Jigen could probably handle a crossbow if we couldn't."

"I've used one but I suck at it," Jigen admitted.  "They aim funny and fire off-center."

"Fortunately, Mom trained us *all* in how to use one," Melissa assured him with a bright grin.  "So the Headmistress said we're due back in a week, that this could be an excused absence."

Ishi nodded. "Rescues always are."  He looked at his father.  "I need more powder.  Mine was stolen and I can't be sure they didn't put other stuff into it."

"We'll get some in LA, son," Goemon promised.  "Shall we go?"

"Good thing we've got a chartered flight so we can take the car," Jigen agreed.

Lupin glared at his daughter.  "No."

"Tough," she said calmly.   "Sis and Tara are meeting us there."  Her father sat down, staring at her.  "Sorry, Daddy, but Demara is a slayer and Ripper ordered them to meet us there.  They're going on British Airways. They'll be there in about ten hours."  She patted him on the cheek.  "I promise, we'll flank the edges to guard your backs, but we have to go.  We were ordered."

"I'm not liking the timing of this," Marcus complained.

"Apparently we don't have a choice," Jigen reminded him.

"We do so.  The kids aren't coming," Lupin announced, standing up.  "We'll have Marcus there and Xan once we get him free.  We won't need Lotus, Goemon can slice heads off and so can Marcus, and...."

"And nothing, Uncle," Lotus said firmly.  "I was ordered.  The two of them together can't keep the Hellmouth closed.  So unless you're going to be picking up Marcus' father then you're screwed.  Deal with it.  We don't like it either.  It sounds like a trap to us."

"It is a trap.  They want to make him tieless," Ishi offered quietly.  Everyone stared at him.  "Think about it.  We could break whatever they've done to him."

"Janus has a sense of humor," Melissa assured them.  "Either that or he needs a priestess there to help," she said, pointing at Arsene's back.

"Oh, he's pissed," Arsene agreed dryly.  "He had thought that Mom might like another one of us."  She stared her father down.  "Fortunately the choker is uncharged until he prays for it to be recharged."

Lupin shivered.  "It was a momentary thing when I realized how old you were all getting," he defended.  "Not a real desire."  He looked at the other parents, who were all frowning but not shaking their heads.  "Fine.  But you're staying in the background.  You'll get nowhere near the real fighting, guys."

"Sure, dad," Arsene agreed with a grin for him.  "Let's go.  Plane's waiting and we need a plan."

"They're set up in the park according to Ripper," Lotus offered as she curled up against her father's side.  "Sorry, dad, but I can't stay out of it this time."

"Then your brother shall guard you," he ordered, staring his son down.

"Of course," he agreed.  "Only I get to hurt them."  He followed the girls out the door, letting the adults groan in misery over this problem.

"We can always rent them a room in LA and lock them inside," Jigen offered quietly.

"If we need someone with Lotus' powers to close the Hellmouth then we're screwed," Marcus told him.  "She's right, I'm not as powerful as she is, nor is Xander. Xander's magic would be opposite to the effect wanted.  That brings up another problem.  If they're linked into the Hellmouth then he's more powerful now and the spell holding him could be linked directly to the powerflows."

"What makes you think it's a spell?" Goemon asked.

"Because I doubt they could do it again with just trauma.  The last group had to use drugs."

"I'd like to crack him across the skull a few times," Lupin muttered.  "Let's go, before they steal the car."

"How did they get here?" Jigen asked.  "We don't all fit in the car."

"They'll be fine," Lupin promised.  "You drive the kids with Marcus.  I'll take Melissa and Ishi with me and Goemon."  They nodded and went down to deal with that issue.   Ishi handed over the keys and went where told, showing that they were taking this seriously.  The parents could catch up on the plane.


Xander looked up as the guards led Lupin into the tent he was staying in.  "Oh, good, you're here," he said in a calm, happy, ditzy voice.  "Save me before they give me another alcohol and peyote enema."

Lupin nodded.  "Sure, Lavelle. Walk out with me, see the kids?"

"No!  He must help us ascend!" a woman shouted, hurrying out to stop them.  "He must!  We need him."

Lupin looked at her.  "You do realize I can kill you?"

"Won't your child or friend mind?"

"Considering he's an assassin and I'm Lupin the Third?  I doubt it," he said with an evil smirk.  "Anything else you needed?"

"We must have him call the Great Ones to take us!" she said urgently, stepping forward to grab his arm.  "If not, then we will be stuck when the world ends next year!"

"Oh, yeah, I've got to help make sure that doesn't happen, Lupee," Xander said, nodding a lot.  He fell off his seat.  "Ow."

Lupin looked at his lover, then at the woman.  "What did you give him?"

"It's a special blend."

"Can I get some of that?  I've got a few cops I wanna give it to."

"It's a holy mixture," she said, looking horrified.

"We've got two priests of Janus with us," he offered.

"Fine," she agreed, going to get it for him.  "We still need him to call one of the Great Ones."  She carried out a jug that looked like a covered vase, handing it over carefully.  "Don't spill it."  He nodded and whistled, bringing Jigen and Goemon, with Lotus behind them.  The woman screamed and backed away from Lotus, pointing at her.

"The Great Ones no longer call this city home," Lotus told her calmly.  "They now go to LA, to the ones called Wesley and Angel."

"Wesley and Angel," the woman repeated, staring at Lotus.  "Who are they?"

"Wesley is like Lavelle.  He is forsaken by his actions.   He is the one who gave Lavelle against his will.  Angel is Spike's sire."

"Then we will go to them," the woman said, bowing to Lotus.  "I thank you, Great One.  Please, pray for us to get our goals.  This is what we truly desire.  In reward, I gift you with the demon who we have helped to show our worth."  She clapped her hands, bringing a guard.  "Bring the vampire to them.  He is going with them.  We are going to LA to the ones called Wesley and Angel."  He nodded, bowing to them before leaving.  "Go in peace, brethren.  May the Great Ones be protected among you."  She watched as Jigen and Goemon picked up Xander, followed by Lotus then by Lupin.

"In, we're heading," Lupin ordered.  He handed the jar to Ishi.  "Guard that, it's what they used on him."  They got into the cars, Ishi taking the jar to Xander's car to drive.  Lupin got in to drive, looking back at the trio in the backseat.  "Who's driving the other car?"  His daughter beeped as she drove past him.  "Okay then.  We'll stop that eventually and let someone else drive the car if Melissa doesn't kill her."  He started his car and sped off, following his daughter, who wasn't a half-bad driver.

"She drives like you," Goemon noted.

"Remember that problem you had with mind reading?  You're doing it again," Jigen noted dryly.

"Remember, us normal people find that freaky, Goemon.  Is he okay? He asked to be saved, he knew who I was.  He described it as an alcohol and peyote enema."

"No wonder he's snoring," Jigen said, grimacing.  "Sounds like someone gets to detox."

"Did we manage to escape without the vampire?" Goemon asked.

"No, he was snuck into the Jetta," Lupin said grimly.  "We'll deal with him when we're safer.  Someone call Melissa, tell her we're heading for the house in Mexico."

Jigen dialed his daughter's cell.  "We're going south of the border."  He paused then looked at Lupin.  "Our place or Xander's?"

"Do we know where his is?"  Jigen shrugged.  "If we do then that's fine."

"Do you know where it is?" Jigen asked.  He nodded.  "Fine, lead the way."  He hung up.  "They do.  Xander gave them a crash course in places to hide."  He put the phone away, which woke Xander, who mumbled into his chest, then licked him before snoring again.

"He's an adorable kitten," Goemon joked.
"Goemon, remember how Data had to have his emotion chip taken away?  I'm inches from snatching yours and destroying it," Lupin warned.  "We need Xander back, not another furry monster who sits in Jigen's lap all day."  He saw a raindrop fall and put the top up.  "We did talk to the kids about driving in weather conditions, right, Jigen?"

"Definitely.  If it gets too bad, she'll pull over at the first motel."

About an hour later Arsene signaled and pulled off the road at a cheap motel, letting the others pull in as well.  Jigen got out to get them rooms and everyone else piled in once they had a spot.  The vampire came last and Lupin stared at him.  "What?" Spike asked.  "It's cold out there."  He looked at Xander.  "I sniffed the stuff, it's not addictive but he's a pissy bitch when he comes down.  Done it twice now.  Let 'im sleep it off."  He flopped down in a chair and stole a cigarette off Jigen, lighting it quickly.  "Ahhhhhh," he sighed.  "Been too long.  Stupid wannabes wouldn't let me smoke, said it was bad for me."  He stared Lupin down.  "He'll be fine."

"He's been given it how many times?" Goemon asked.   Spike held up 3 fingers. "You're sure it's not addictive?"

"Reasonably.  They did it to themselves plenty of times.  The guards did it every few days to keep their devotion intact."  He took another large inhale and sighed in pleasure again.  "Missed this.  Peach's'll get you for sending the fruits to them."

"That's why we're heading to Mexico," Lupin told him.

"Ewww!" Melissa shouted from the next room.

Jigen opened the connecting door, picking the other one to get in there.  He slowly backed out and ran into Goemon, turning and shaking his head. "No, you don't want to go in there."

Lupin peeked since Jigen looked so horrified.  He shuddered and walked in there to stop them.  "Get off him!"  He pulled his daughter off Ishi, who looked dazed but whimpered in misery.  "Quit that!"

"We were trying to shock you, daddy," she said sweetly.  "Are you okay, Ishi?"

He ran to the bathroom to get sick, kicking the door shut when his sister tried to go help him.

"I think you've done enough, daughter, go torment the vampire," Lupin ordered, pointing in there.  "You're going to be around the adults for the rest of this rescue.  Goemon, your son is getting sick."

Goemon glared at the children as he went to take care of his son.  "Arsene!!" he yelled.

"Shit!" she screamed, hiding behind her father.  "Sorry, we were going for shock!  Don't kill me!"

Goemon grabbed her and spanked her until she wiggled away and went to hide in that bathroom.  "Get out here!"

"I'm sorry, Uncle Goemon!  I was going for shock value!"

"Stick to tormenting the vampire, Arsene," Jigen called.  "Get out here.  He won't get you again."

Lupin looked at Goemon.  "Feel better, buddy?" he asked with a grin.

"Not yet.  I shall stay with the children.  So no more further incidences happen."   He went in to sit with the children, making sure his son came out of the bathroom and that everything would be normal again.

Arsene stuck her head out of the bathroom.   "Is he calm again?"

"Mostly," Jigen agreed, glaring at her.  "Too much shock."

"I'll be better from now on."  She came out and went to talk to the vampire.  "So, you're Spike.  Do you enjoy killing people or is that just a nifty and neat hobby for you?"

"You guys are just walkin' happy meals to me," he assured her with a smirk.  "Care to try it out?"

"Make my daughter a vampire and I will take great pleasure of staking you in a few places before I attempt your heart, and I can promise to miss at least twice," Lupin growled.

"You don't think I'd make a good vampire, daddy?"

"Jigen, where are her pills," Lupin demanded.  Jigen pulled a small tin out of his pocket and handed one over.  He walked over and forced his daughter's mouth open, popping it inside.  He took the water Jigen had poured and poured it in afterwards, forcing her to swallow or drown.  "She'll be asleep soon," he promised, going back to staring at his lover's limp body.  "What is in that mixture?"

"Not a clue," Spike said with a big grin.  This was better than the tele any day.  "Not a chemist, am I?"

"Fine, we've got a few of those in the farther reaches of the group."  Lupin pulled out his phone book and phone, dialing a number from it.  "Fihad, it's Lupin.  Xander was just dose with something that he described as a peyote and alcohol enema.  This is his third exposure to it.  He's come down before.  No, we've got some of the serum.  No, a cult," he sighed.  "They wanted him to call Satan so they could ascend or something."  He nodded.  "Yeah, a whole jar of it.  I wanted to give some to Pop and the cops, but that may be a bit meaner than I usually am to him."  He smirked.  "They were in the way and the bitch was threatening my daughter."

"You killed someone over me, daddy?" Arsene asked, starting to sound doped up herself.

"Yes, dear, I did.  She wanted to hurt you a lot then kill you," he said patiently.  "Then I shot some idiots who were in my way."  He listened to the phone again.  "Sure, Fihad.  How would we do that?"  He hung up as Marcus stood up.  "Fine.  Take the jug to Fihad and have him siphon off at least six vials for me." Marcus nodded and went to do that for him, anything to get away from the vampire.  "And no stopping for sex with Ethan and Ripper," he called after him.

"Yes, dad."  Marcus disappeared before any more helpful advice could come his way.  He smiled at the receptionist.  "Hi.  Lupin sent me."

"The doctor is in the back," she said with a smile for him.  "What happened this time?"

"Xander got taken by a cult who used this mixture on him," he said, patting the vase.  "He described it as an alcohol and peyote mix before he passed out.  They wanted him to call Satan so they could find demons to train them."  She burst out laughing, shaking her head.  "Truth, unfortunately.  That and we've been blessed with a vampire and Arsene together."

"Ooh, you poor thing," she said, standing up to kiss him on the cheek.  "I'm so sorry for you, Marcus."

"Thank you, my dear."  He smiled at Fihad and handed over the jug.   "Lupin said to get him about six vials if you wouldn't mind.  I'm escaping from Arsene and the vampire talking."

"Did she take a pill?"

"Oh, yes.  This would be after she decided to go for shock value and kissed Ishi so the parents would catch them.  Ishi's presently getting ill.  Then she walked up to Spike and asked if he liked to kill people or was it just a nifty hobby."

Fihad burst out laughing, shaking his head as he walked back to his office.  "Follow, Marcus."

"You're much more sane and fun, anything I can help with?"

"You can tell me what someone wrote on a patient's back if you wouldn't mind."

"Of course.  Always happy to help."  He tapped on the pointed-to door, walking in.  "Hello," he said in Arabic.  "I was asked to translate what was written on you?"  The woman turned her head away and lowered her shirt.  "Hmm."  He lightly ran a finger over the words.  "Hmm.  Interesting. It's nothing horrible.  Mostly a few curses and some bad words that he's calling you. No literal curses or anything."  She burst out crying and hugged him.  "It's all right," he soothed, patting her on the back.  "You can clean it off with no problem.  Now, that tattoo on your arm is another matter but it should still be fine overall as long as that's the only one."  He gave her one last pat on the back then left, heading to the office.   "She'll be fine.  The words are mostly insults.  The tattoo on her arm is troubling but it's also backwards so not a real problem."

Fihad grinned at him.  "Good.  I figured that about the paintings. What do you think it was done in?"

"Did you get some of that on you?" Marcus asked tolerantly.

"No, I had one of those little monsters earlier that remind you of a Pokemon."

"Ah, they can make you stupid with contact.  Want me to measure that out for you?"  Fihad waved a hand for him to do it.  "The vials?"

"In the rack waiting," he said happily.  He got out from behind his desk, letting him measure out the serum with a suction bulb.  "You're very good at that."

"Thank you.  Ethan's been working on my potion skills."  He measured out the six vials then corked them all.  "There we are.  The rest is yours.  Xander's been given it three times now and he's coming down from the last.  The vampire said he became a cranky bastard each time he came down.  The guards of the cult apparently did it regularly to show their devotion.  The vampire said it's not addictive but it's apparently very strong.  Xander basically asked Lupin to save him and passed out."

"Interesting," Fihad agreed, nodding.  "I'm sure I can figure out what is in it and make some more."

"If not, perhaps Xander could get someone to tell him the recipe.  It could be handy," Marcus noted smugly.  He picked up the rack of tubes.  "I'll be off now."  He searched for the car, it was quite distinctive and easy enough to find since he had done quite a bit of magic in it while practicing.  He landed behind it and walked inside, handing the rack to Lupin.  "Fihad had dealt with something that made him stunned stupid for a few hours so I measured them out.  Is that enough?"

"Perfect," Lupin said smugly.  He put them aside.  "I'm going to have someone use a few of those for us."   Xander moaned so he stroked his stomach.  "I'm right here, it's okay."

"I don't feel so good."

"Bathroom is behind me but Jigen's in there.  Fortunately there's an extra sink."  Xander got up and raced over there to get sick.  Lupin got up to stroke his back, making him feel better.  Then he rinsed out the sink and led Xander back to the bed, tucking him in.  "There, that's better, right?"  Xander nodded and curled up on his chest, burrowing under the blankets to hide.

Jigen came out of the bathroom wiping off his hands.  "Sorry about that."

"That's fine.  Rinse out the sink."

"Sure, Lupin.  She...he okay?"

"He's fine, Jigen.  Just a bit of an upset tummy."  He stroked the top of the lump.  "We'll let him rest tonight and head to Mexico tomorrow."

"That's fine," Marcus agreed.  "I'm sure we can find him a doctor down there if we need to."  He glanced at the other bed, then at Lupin, who shrugged and nodded.  "Thank you.  No vampire?"

"He left," Jigen noted, crawling in on Xander's free side.  "Hey, you can cuddle up to me too.  Just don't kiss me."  Xander wiggled until his butt was nestled against Jigen's side.  "That's fine.  My leg's there for your butt too."  He patted the top of the blankets.  "Kids?"

"Goemon enforced a bedtime," Lupin said smugly.  "I'm sending a vial back with them for the teachers there to look over."

"Good idea.  It could be really helpful in some cases.  When are they going back?"

"Tomorrow night, once we're safe."  He was thankful it hadn't been a real fight this time.  The kids didn't need to see that stuff yet.  Someone pounded on the door.  "Marcus, kill them."

Marcus got up with a sigh and headed to the doorway, then grabbed his sword, opening the door to show one enraged vampire.   "Did you want to exchange witty banter with him before I kill him or after?" he asked dryly.

"Where is Harris?" Angel growled as he pushed past Marcus.  Who grabbed a stake and startled to whistle.  "What are you doing?"

"I'm being as annoying as you are.  Xander was heavily drugged earlier by those same people who wanted him to call Satan."

"We figured that you were on such good basis with him that you could help them better," Lupin said dryly.

Xander lifted his head out.  "Either eat me to put me out of my misery or go away, Deadboy."  He burrowed back in, getting comfortable until he started to feel sick again.  Then he ran into the bathroom and immediately turned on the fan.  Jigen must have been eating Mexican food again.

Angel stared at them.  "What did you do to him this time?"

"We didn't.  The cult we sent your way did," Jigen told him.  "Now go away before we let Marcus stake you."

Marcus tapped him on the back with the stake.  "Now, let's see, right about there?"  Angel stomped off.  "Thank you."  He closed the door, then opened it and went to pick up the child heading out of the parking lot after him and carry her back.  He put Melissa down next to her father and closed and locked the door, then went to check on the other children.  They were all still in bed.

"You were doing what?" Jigen asked.

"Going to hunt him down and stake him?" she suggested hopefully.

"Denied, that's our fun," Lupin told her.  "Bed. Now."

"Yes, sir."  She trudged back to her spot next to Lotus, curling up beside her.  "We can't stake the stupid vampire," she muttered.  "Uncle said that was his fun."

"That's fine, there's others there who need special attention," Lotus soothed, patting her on the head.  "Sleep now.  It's a long drive to Mexico."  Melissa nodded and settled down to nap.

Goemon looked at his daughter and shook his head.  "That is our job, daughter, not yours.  Do not worry about them, they will suffer greatly someday."  He closed his eyes again, going back to sleep.   He got up to slam the connecting door shut when he heard Marcus moan.

"Marcus, you had better be getting ready to call our names or be having a nightmare," Lupin joked.

"Sore back," he complained, flipping onto his side.  "It wasn't that sort of moan, Lupin.  Besides, you're taken and Xander would kill me in bed."

"Just don't call Goemon's name this time; Arsene would use it to pick on you," Xander muttered from his hiding spot.

Jigen rubbed his back.  "Sleep, Xander. You need it to come down."  The lump shifted, curling up on his chest instead and he let the boy fall asleep like that.  "How soon should we know if this will cause damage?" he asked quietly.

"Fihad will tell us tomorrow probably," Lupin promised.  He shifted closer, curling up behind Xander's lax body.  "Nap, it'll be a long trip tomorrow with the kids.  Each of us will take a car."  Jigen nodded, closing his eyes.

"The Jetta is Xander's inhuman baby," Marcus warned.  "He's picky about it.  He said I can't drive it."

"We'll figure it out in the morning, Marcus.  Rest for now."

"We need to get into Xander's investments again too," Lupin said quietly.

"His laptop's in the bag," Jigen agreed.  "We don't have the password."

"It's Melissa's initials and Arsene's birthday with Ishi's year," Marcus offered.

"Sleep, Marcus," Lupin ordered.  "You're going to be driving the kids."  Marcus shifted with a small moan but went silent again.  Lupin smirked at Jigen, who shrugged.  "It's good someone knows."  He put an arm around both of them then closed his eyes.

Jigen settled in for the night, content to be the bodypillow this time.


Lupin looked around the Jetta's dashboard, noticing there were extra switches and buttons on a wood-inlay panel in the middle of the dash, plus an extra two buttons in front of the automatic's gear shift.  "Interesting," he said dryly, flipping the one marked 'monitor'.  The passenger's side of the windshield popped up with an illusion of the rear-view camera along with a reading of what the other switches were for.  He started it with the special key, it had an anti-theft key system, and now he knew why.  "Who does he get to do these things?" he muttered as he backed out using the monitor.  He saw Marcus reach back to smack one of the kids and snickered, knowing it was Arsene again.  He picked up the phone to call his cell.  "What happened?  No, he's got a rear view camera."  He listened as he flipped off the monitor and headed off with Jigen in the lead.  "Feed her another pill and she'll nap for most of the trip. You'll take lead once we get across the border."  He hung up, speeding up as they headed up on the on-ramp.

This car accelerated smoothly and it was a nice ride.  Xander had good taste, even if he did know some oddballs who could customize things.

He didn't want to know why one of the switches had been marked 'missile' on the screen.


Jigen looked at the house as they pulled up outside it, nodding at the simpleness of the cliff- top home.  Nothing showy, nothing like the London building.  Just a simple house with a good view apparently.  He stopped the car and turned it off, unlocking the doors so the kids could get out and run inside to the bathroom.  Ishi got the doorcode on the second try and raced ahead.  By the time Jigen got in there he could hear doors slamming and a mechanical hum from beneath them.  "A generator?  There were power lines," he said as Lupin came in.  The hum stopped and they stared at each other.

"Another Xander creation?" Lupin asked.

Jigen nodded. "Probably but we'll have time to explore it.  How was the car?"

"Bondish.  It has a missile system.  It has a rear-view camera that takes over the passenger's side of the windshield."  He grinned.  "It's a great car otherwise."  They got out of the way as Goemon and Marcus carried in Xander, finding a couch to plant him on.  "There."  They grunted as they put him down, then those two went to find the children while Jigen and Lupin took off to explore.  Lupin found the office first and whistled, bringing Jigen.  "Maybe it's got plans.  He usually leaves something."  He typed the passcode that worked on the laptop into the computer, frowning.  "Huh, it won't work."

"Try 'J' for her middle initial."  Lupin changed it and it worked.  "He wanted to name her Joyce, after Buffy's mother.  She was good to him," he explained at the shocked look.

"Interesting."  Lupin found the security company's overlay and the one for the house they were in, bringing it up.  Everything looked normal but one thing.  There was a security door in the middle of the kitchen hallway that didn't seem to go anywhere.  They looked at each other, then headed that way before the kids could find it.  They found the red door easily enough, it stood out in the dim hallway.  They also found the DNA/handprint reader.  Lupin tried his and waited.

"Lupin the Third.  Admittance granted," the computer chimed.  "DNA matched and handprint registered.  Other guest?"  Jigen switched his hand for Lupin's.  "Jigen Diasuke.  Admittance granted.  DNA matched and handprint registered."

The door swung open, closing once they were inside the closet-shaped space and the lights came on.  The elevator took them down a level, directly to a garage.  "Holy Mother of God," Jigen breathed, looking around at the equipment.  He walked over to the car, one of Xander's little Fiat's, and opened the door.  He looked at the insides, then carefully at the dash.  He found the place where a knob should go and opened the panel, breathing in.  "He's got another one," he called.  He got out, leaning on the roof.  "This one's got oil, stun gun, missile, and thumbtacks listed on the switches."

Lupin was looking at the workbenches.  "This is fantastic," he said, holding up a small cube.  "What is this?"  He felt it, it was slightly squishy, and that activated a beam of light.  He pointed it at a screen, watching as a picture played.  "It's a video player and probably a recorder too."  He squeezed it again in the same spot and it turned off.  He looked at Jigen.  "When did he start doing this?"

"You don't think he's letting someone else use the house?" Jigen asked.

"No, I don't," Lupin said honestly.  "He's way too security conscious about some things.  When he's working in my lab at the main house I'm not allowed to come in and help.  I doubt this is anyone's space."  They both turned as the elevator moved away, waiting while it came back down and Melissa stepped out.  "You kids are allowed down here?"

"No, I'm allowed down here.  Let's hope you didn't erase that."  She took the cube and looked inside the single hole as she pressed it in a certain sequence.  "Good."  She scratched a spot then plugged a cord into it.   "Sorry, we hadn't downloaded that one yet," she said calmly, looking at her father.  "Welcome to the South of France, daddy," she said with a grin.  Jigen's cigarette fell out of his mouth.  "Don't burn the car, he'll pout."  He picked up the butt and stuck it back into his mouth, then walked over to look down at his daughter.

"How long have you been doing this, Melissa?" Lupin asked, sounding smug but still looking a bit stunned.

"Since he taught us how to make the mice tail and the little robots he sometimes uses," Melissa admitted as she hopped up to sit on the workbench.  "There's seats under the metal table."  Jigen went to get them.  "There's champagne chilling in the minibar fridge too," she offered to her Uncle, smirking at him.  "Daddy said I showed a real flair for it when I helped him create a new robot design.  We worked on it together."

"I remember that," Jigen admitted, handing Lupin his seat.  He sat down facing his daughter.  "All this though?"

"Is some his, some mine, and some stuff that we've gotten plans for and built," she admitted.  "Neither of us are super geniuses or anything like that, but we can easily steal plans."

"So, all those times you two went to the South of France with Ishi, you were here?" Lupin asked.  She nodded.  "What about Ishi?"

"He's not great at this but Daddy was teaching him how to hack with one of his people.  So he's got a classroom set up upstairs.  Daddy does enough to be dangerous but Ishi and I both are learning more so we're even more useful to the group.  Ishi got bored and asked to learn something new but the fine little details you have when you work on robotics isn't for him.  Xander handed him his computer book and Ishi decided that was pretty interesting."

"So you're doing this for the group?" Lupin asked.

"Kinda, but also for ourselves in case we need something to fall back on if we're seriously injured.  Arsene's been taking extra lessons with Uncle Goemon.  Lotus has a fallback spot in case something horrible happens to her.  Uncle Marcus doesn't have a clue and Bix has seen us with textbooks but she apparently thought it was part of our studies."  Both fathers nodded.  "So, we've taken a small skill and used other's genius to turn it for our own benefit.  Daddy also funds some guys who are making lasers practical weapons and portable, someone who's working on the ideas of battle armor and battle robots for military use, and people who do neat things like teach us to cook over the computer. Which is a really handy class to take, and pretty easy.  As long as you try and it's edible it's all good."  She grinned and shrugged.  "So, welcome to my workshop, daddy and uncle.  What do you think of the car?  We can't find the right sort of knob to go in the dash.  I want something that looks a bit flashier but daddy thought a simple wooden knot would do best."

"This is amazing," Jigen told her, still looking like he had been hit in the head with a board.  "That's only been two years."

"If you can read a diagram with a circuit design then you're able to build it," she reminded him.  "We simply depend on others to design stuff for us.  He's got a few guys out of Cal Tech who design stuff and we routinely go surfing at the electronic shows.  He tempted one guy into making pretty designs for him and pays him handsomely for that.  Auntie Murami was impressed when Xander brought her the contract so she could start paying him.  He's paid like the genius he is."

"She mentioned Xander had hired another helper, but I thought it was for his collections," Lupin admitted.  He looked around again.  Then back at his niece.  "Wow.  I'm damn impressed, Melissa.  Arsene's learning what?"

"Extraction techniques.  She's learning how to escape from places right now."

Jigen shook his head quickly.  "Baby girl, I had no idea.  I'm stunned, but damn impressed with you."

"And you still love us, right?" she asked, sounding hopeful.

"I'd love you without this so this only adds to it," he promised, getting up to give her a hug.  He noticed the chair had retreated under the table and chuckled.  "He got tired of tripping over it?"

"Yup.  It's got a return to the home base code built into it."  She snuggled back into his arms.  "I wasn't really worried but I didn't want you to look at me like I'm some weirdo."

"You're not," Lupin promised.  "You're very good at a lot of things.  That makes you a greater asset in the field, 'Lis.  You two can work in the lab at home.  I wouldn't mind."

"You know how daddy is about being shy and not wanting to look stupid?  Well, I've inherited that too," she admitted gently.  "We hate to look stupid in front of the rest of the group.  Only Ishi knows about this room.  Oh, the doors are closed again.  Technically there's a swimming area down in the bottom of the cliff, but the doors close at low tide.  The fish'll be able to get out once tide comes back."

"That one robot that wouldn't work, was that you guys?" Lupin asked.

"Yup.  Did you like the design modifications?  Daddy sent it to his pet designer and got it modified and souped up for you."

"I thought it was great once we got the controller working again," Lupin said dryly.

"Daddy switched them out when you gave it to him to fiddle with."

"Obviously," Jigen agreed, still slightly in shock.  "Wow."  He gave her an extra squeeze.  "You're so much like your mom that I'm ...stunned, 'Lis."

"Daddy, I am like you too.  Only I've got his technical bent as well. Oohh, the shrink at the new school found the place where I was blocking myself from using a gun and we're working on it so can I spend some time with you in the range?"

"Sure," he agreed, smiling at her.  His daughter was just like Xander.

She kissed him on the cheek.  "I'd take after you but I'd look dumb in the hat and I hate smoking, daddy," she whispered.  He chuckled and gave her an extra squeeze before letting her go.  "I'm the best of both of you.  I have your flair for the quiet dramatics and mom's skills with a soldering iron and a circuit board.  Oh, the missile system does work but it's a single use only.  None of the reservoirs on the Fiat are filled and we can't get the stun gun setting to work right.  It's too powerful.  It'll electrocute the car instead of just shorting out the engine.  It worked well enough on the plane, but not on this one."

"Plane?" Lupin asked, his eyes lighting up.

"A small little crop duster, Uncle, not something we can take back and forth across the Channel."

"Pity.  We could use a plane," Lupin admitted.  He looked at Jigen.  "Do I want to swat him and pout at him for keeping this from us?"

"He was building it for the kids," Jigen said mildly.  "He sneaks it into our stuff now and then when he thinks he can get away with it."

"Daddy said he thought you'd think it was dumb so he didn't tell you," Melissa told them.  "He's like that in case you hadn't realized."  She hopped down.  "Come on, let's go wake up Daddy.  Before he pounces Uncle Marcus and growls at him again.  We can let Uncle G fish for dinner."

"You're going to give us the tour, right?" Lupin prompted.  He wouldn't let her hide like her mother did.  He refused to let her think that they'd be ashamed or repulsed by her being smart.

She grinned at him.  "It's not my place to do so.  It's Daddy's.  The house he ceded to us is the one in London."  She opened the elevator door, letting them inside first.  "Lights off, go to static mode," she ordered.  "Finish downloading security updates and that video."  She got on and the door closed.  "The design guy's addition," she explained.  They came out of the closet and she closed the door, tapping a code into the side of the handprint scanner.  It retreated and she headed back to the kitchen, finding Arsene and Goemon back there.  "Hey, there's a swimming spot and it should have fish," she offered.  Arsene grinned at her.  "It's got doors that close at low tide."

"None of us brought suits," Goemon reminded them mildly, frowning at Melissa.  "There are fish?"

"It comes out of the ocean, Uncle G.  There's almost always fish.  We can check if you want dinner tonight."

"I call helper," Arsene said quickly.  "I have no idea how to do fish besides grilling it."  She hopped up from the stool she had been sitting on.  "What's that door in the hallway?"

"It leads to Daddy's workspace here."

"Oh.  Never mind.  That's more you and Ishi than me.  How do we get down there?"

Melissa opened the back door and walked out onto the porch, then down the stairs and to the doors on the small spot of grass. It looked like a root cellar, but she opened it to show stone stairs.  "This was already here, it's in case of earthquake. It leads down to a natural cavern."  She led the way down, flicking on the battery-operated lights.  "Close the door," she ordered.  The stairs spiraled for a few minutes of walking and finally they heard water and a splashing.  She frowned, looking down in the pool.  Then she looked out the window at the water.  "Well, it's nearly high enough," she decided, opening the doors to let the dolphin out.  "Have a nice day, Flipper."  She shut the doors once it had jumped out, checking the water to make sure there weren't any more trapped in there, then pointed.  "That end's shallow enough to stand up in, Uncle G.  There's a spear on the wall behind you."   She grinned at her parents and Arsene.  "Pretty neat, huh?"

"Very neat," Arsene agreed, taking off her shirt and shorts so she could dive in, coming up holding a fish.  "It swam up to me."

"It didn't know any better," Lupin said with a grin.  He got down to his boxers and climbed in.  "Jigen, one of you find a bowl or something to hold them."

"There's a basket behind the spear," Melissa offered, handing the wire fish trap over.  Arsene put her catch into there, letting it rest in the water for now. It couldn't get out so it'd be fine.  She grinned at her dad, winking at him.  "There's a pretty fishie in the side pool.  It's warmer over there."  He walked that way with her, looking down at the huge fish that looked like a catfish.  "Daddy's been trying to figure out what to do with her."

Lupin swam over to the other side of the main pool to peer at the other pool.  "Is that fresh water?"

"Yeah, it comes from the well that feeds the house," Melissa told him.  "It's a catfish who got in here through the well somehow.  We found it here the first time we came down here."  She reached in, petting it gently.  "It's friendly."

Goemon caught a few more fish, putting them in the basket.  "This should be enough," he decided.  "That one should be released back into the wild."

"We couldn't figure out how to get it somewhere without hurting it," Melissa told him.  "It's too big for a bag and it'd die if we put it into the ocean. Here it gets other fish and fresh water as the tides lessen and refill the basin. Plus it's got some funny little caves down there to hide in."

Jigen stripped down to get in there with it, checking the caves.  He came up with a few waterproof latex bags, tossing them off to the side.  He checked one last one then got out, taking one of the small fish Goemon had caught to feed the poor guardian.  "It was hiding stuff," Jigen announced after opening the first bag.  He looked around, he could feel a breeze from behind him.  "Where does the tunnel lead, Melissa?"

"The beach further down.  There's no real beach out front but that one comes out about six miles away.  Daddy thought some of it might have collapsed and he said it was a tight fit for him when he tried it the first time.  He bought this one first."  She walked around to help Arsene out of the water, then Goemon.  Her father climbed out with Jigen's help and they all got partially redressed before heading up the stairs.  Melissa checked the light panel, then flipped off the lights, which released the doors for the tide, switching out the fish.  "You can't swim when the doors are open.  The pool with the catfish seals itself before the other doors open but otherwise that last twist of the stairs is submerged."  She let them out the top and relocked the doors, letting Arsene troop with their dinner into the kitchen.

"Did Daddy Xander rob some pirates to get their treasures?" Arsene asked as she cut into the first fish under her father's watchful gaze.  "Sorry, I don't fillet very well."

"I'll do that, you clean them," Goemon ordered.  She nodded, turning to gut the next one in line.  "Grilled or baked?"

"Baked," Lupin suggested.  "Find some veggies to go with it."

"Cans are in the cabinet you'd expect to hold plates and the plates are in the airlocked cabinet since this place had bugs when he first bought it.  Since then, the mice have taken over and eaten the bugs."  She headed off to find Ishi and Lotus, who were in the classroom.  "Hey, we're having fish for dinner."

"The pool?"

"Yeah, and Uncle Jigen found the catfish hiding stuff," she said with a smirk.

"Hmm.  Interesting."  He typed in something and looked back at her.  "Are we explaining things?"

"I already did since Daddy's still asleep.  Where's Uncle Marcus?"

"The roof watching the sunset," Lotus said with a grin for her.   "Fish?"

"Fresh fish.  They were alive before we brought them up," Melissa told her.

Downstairs, Jigen went to wake up Xander, nudging him gently.  "Hey."

"If you found the bag with the ruby that has to go back downstairs. It's cursed if it's put into the light."  He yawned and flipped onto his side.  "The doors close automatically when you turn on the lights.  Watch out for dolphins."   He yawned again.  "Night, Jigen."

"Night, Xander."  He walked back into the kitchen, finding the bag easily enough.  He took it with him to put it back.  It was a small dive down from the stairs but he didn't mind.  When he came up, he swam over to hit the switch to let out the dolphins, watching as they swam out. He climbed back up onto the stairs and headed up them, flicking off the lights.  He heard the motors partially close the doors then reopen them, nodding at the efficiency of the system.  Xander had done very well.  He walked out, relocking the doors before heading back into the kitchen.  "Any other shocks, brat?"

"Not really.  There's a dish for tv.  There's phone lines and power, with a backup generator.  There's a sterile suite upstairs from the last owner.  The classroom's pretty normal but smaller."  The Lord of the Kitsune appeared.  "They've got a portal in the entryway," she offered with a grin for him.  "Hi again."

"Hello to you too, dear.  How is your mother?"

"Male again," Lupin said smugly.  "Morning to you too.  What's up?"

"One of the kits wanted to see Xander.  Kori has a bit of hero worship for him it seems."  He smirked at them.  "Have a nice swim?"

"A very nice one," Jigen agreed smugly.  "Who's treasure?"

"The last owner's.  He was a political thief."  He walked off, heading to where he could hear someone snoring.  "Xander?"  Xander batted at him.  "Xander, it is I.  Kori would like you to read to him tonight if you'd like to come up for a bit."

"Can't, sick," he muttered.  "Stupid cult got me."  He sniffed.  "Fishies?"


"Hmm.  Have to get up for that."  He snuggled into the couch, only opening an eye when a smaller paw poked at him.  "Hey, Kori.  Would you like to nap with me?"

"Where she?" Kori asked, looking pitiful.

"Sniff me, kid, I'm the same only a guy again."

Kori sniffed him, then gave his Lord a very confused look.  "Him her?  Him smell like her and he sound like her, but not a her."

"We can do that as well," the Kitsune assured him, patting him on the head.  "That's still Xander, Kori.  You know who he is."

Kori pouted, then crossed his arms to pout harder.  "Him not her!"

Arsene bounced out to hug him.  "You know how big foxes can change into other things?"  Kori grinned and nodded.  "Well, Daddy Xander did the same thing with the help of a very special artifact.  The choker that helped him finally came back so now he's a daddy again instead of a mommy."

"Okay," Kori said, climbing up to sit on Xander's side.  "Read me, Xanner?"

Xander patted him on the back.  "How about we nap now and I can read to you later?"  Kori pouted at him.  "I'm sorry, little guy, but those nasty cult members gave me bad drugs and I've got a headache."

"Did you hurt 'em back?" he asked, sounding quite convinced that Xander could do that.

"We let 'em go so they could go torture a vampire," Lupin told him.  "That way they're more sorry by the time they end."

"I guess that's okay then.  As long as someone yells at them for hurting Xanner," Kori said, still pouting.  "I guard him?" he asked his Lord.

"If you'd like and Xander doesn't mind," he said tolerantly, looking at Lupin.  "Is he all right?"

"It was like sherry and peyote as an enema," Xander said.  "C'mere, Kori.  You make a very good napping buddy."  The baby curled up in his arms, being his teddy bear since he was so fluffy.  "You're such a good protector, Kori."  He gave him a gentle squeeze.  "Wanna see what I've been working on later?"

"Yes, I'd like that," Lupin said with a smirk.  "I'd love to see what you're working on and be impressed by all of it, Xander, like I already am."  He gave him a kiss on the forehead then walked the Kitsune lord back to the kitchen.  "Kori is helping him nap.  He's a very good protector.  And later Xander is going to show us his latest project."

"About time," Jigen agreed.  He looked at the head of Kitsune.  "Should we get another fish for you?"

"No, that's all right.  Make sure Kori doesn't choke on any bones if he's staying for dinner.  I'll tell his mother that he's down here."  He grinned and disappeared.

"See, dad, you don't need more kids, you've got Kori already," Arsene joked.

"As Ishi pointed out I'll have grandchildren some day."

"Not from my ass," she snorted.

"Babies don't come from that orifice," Goemon told her.

"Yes, I'm well aware of that after seeing your last son being born.  That and our Practical Education class did have those nice films recently. Most of the boys looked really sickened but Ishi laughed and said she had it easy compared to Alex's birth.  The other guys looked at him like he was a God for saying he had helped deliver two babies."

"It looked like some slime covered alien coming in through a doggy door," Melissa agreed.

"More like a watermelon out of a grapefruit from having it described," Goemon offered.  "Fujiko said it was like having a tractor trailer truck drive through a window.  Especially without the pain killers."

"Ishi wasn't that big when he was born," Lupin said dryly.  "Yu was bigger."

"Yes, but by then she was stretched out," Melissa said dryly.  "I'm imagining it's a lot like sex that way, the first time is always the most painful because you're never stretched those muscles before."

"Not to blatantly change the subject, but when are field trials?" Jigen asked.

"They're not telling us, that way we can't tell our parents so they can't come help," Arsene told him.

"But there is news," Melissa said proudly.  "We'll be leading a group while the teachers get the other group."

"Congratulations," Lupin said happily, hugging her.  "I'm so damn impressed!"  He hugged his own daughter, then went to find the other two and hug them.  It was impressive, he hadn't even gotten to do that while he had been there.  He had been excused from them but he hadn't gotten to be a student leader.  "I just heard, congrats, guys," he said, hugging them both when he found them together.  He looked at the monitor they were looking at.  "Why are you two watching porn?"

"Because someone sent it to mom," Ishi told him honestly.

"I'm trying to see what the big deal is," Lotus told him.  She grinned at him. "Is that about us leading a group on the field exercises?"

"Yup, not even *I* got to do that," he said proudly.  "I was excused but I was never allowed to be a student leader."  He gave them another squeeze.  "Dinner's nearly ready. That's really pitiful porn too."  He looked closer.  "Hey, I know her.  Shit!  Jigen!"  Jigen came jogging up the stairs.  "Look familiar?" he asked, getting out of the way.

Jigen looked, then groaned.  "Who in the hell taped that?" he complained. "I want names."

Ishi looked at him, then at the monitor, then at him.  "Who is she?"

"Your mom in another...."  He and Lupin looked at each other.  "That was Melody."

"It was," Lupin agreed.  "That's from the other time."  Ishi downloaded it and burned it onto a dvd, handing it to them.  "Thanks.  Let's go downstairs.  Get cleaned up.  We'll celebrate tonight if 'Lis'll go get the champagne from downstairs."

"We've got some in the fridge," Ishi offered, walking them downstairs.  "Hey, dad, Uncle Lupin said we could have some champagne.  Is there any in the fridge?"

"There is," he agreed, handing it over.  "Glasses are beside the sink.  Dinner should be ready soon."  He handed over the plates.  "Set the table."

"Yes, sir," Arsene said, taking the plates to find the table with them.  "Hey, there's no dining room.  Mom?"

"Left at the hallway.  Blue door," floated in from the living room.  "Then push the button."  Xander walked back with Kori in his arms.  "He's staying, is there enough?"

"Of course."  Goemon petted the baby on the back.  "How are you tonight?"

"I happy," he said with a grin.  "I be read to later."

"Good.  Hearing stories makes you smarter.  That's why Melissa's so smart," Arsene said as she came back.  She took the baby.  "Come on, let's see if we can find you a booster seat since you're too big for a high chair."

"Yes, I'm a big fox now!"

Xander grinned.  "So, who is Marcus doing now?"

"Not a clue," Lupin admitted.  "I haven't seen him since we got you inside."

"He snuck out a few minutes after that," Goemon offered.  "What were my children doing?"

"Someone sent Xander a taped version of Melody."  Goemon dropped the spoon he had been using, staring at them in horror. "In porn format.  Your daughter was trying to see what the big deal was and Ishi was trying to figure out why this person sent it."

"Who would have had that?" Xander asked.

"Not a clue," Jigen admitted.  "We kept all those out of sight."  He looked at Lupin, who shrugged.  "None got out?"

"No, not a one.  They were all in the safe back at the house and I had Murami take them a few months back.  Then again, I don't remember that room."

"Since I didn't see it, where was it?" Xander asked.  Lupin handed over the DVD so he took it up to the office to run it.  He frowned as he came back.  "That was New Orleans about six years from now.  Before the wedding but after the train trip.  It was a mark I was teasing."  He leaned on the counter, watching Goemon pull out dinner.  "No veggies for the kids?"

"In the pot on the stove," he noted.  "It's potatoes."   He looked at Xander.  "Who would have had that?"

"No one.  I was in a hotel room.  I made sure there weren't any cameras so unless someone got us from across the street...."  He trailed off as Arsene and Kori came back.  "Did they find you a booster seat?" he asked with a grin.

Kori nodded.  "Yup, sure did," he agreed, hugging him.  "Can I sit next to you?"

"If the men don't mind."

"No, that's fine, Xander," Lupin assured him.  "As long as Jigen doesn't mind."

"No, I don't have a problem with Kori hogging her...him.  Sorry, Xander."

"Not an issue.  I'm still doing the same thing.  I nearly shaved my legs when I showered this morning.  After a year, I'd expect some slippage.  We confused poor Kori all to hell by me not being female."

"Hell coming for me?" Kori asked.  "Why?  Amb's'dor like me."

"Not like that, little one.  I was telling them how it confused you that I wasn't a female."

"Yeah, you not a mommy person," he agreed sadly.  "Liked you as a mommy person. You cuddly and soft."

"We liked him like that too but he's supposed to be a guy," Jigen pointed out, patting the baby fox spirit on the head.   "Maybe some day he'll change back for a while."

"Okay," he sighed.  "Dinner ready?"

"Nearly," Goemon assured him.   "Have you washed your paws yet?"

"I not a 'coon!" he said, starting to pout.

"But you've still got to wash your paws, that way you don't have dirt and things that can get on the food and make it taste nasty," Arsene told him.   "Even we have to wash our paws."

Ishi nodded.  "We've still got to do that.  You can help us."  He took the baby into the bathroom with him and Lotus, getting cleaned up for dinner.  They made sure the baby's fur was dried off and smoothed back down so he didn't have to fuss with it while he ate.  They came back and found food being carried to the table so followed it like the walking stomachs they were.  He looked at his father, who gave him a long look.  "Fine, I'll stick with just one fish."

"I can go make a quick salad if that'd help," Lotus offered.

"We weren't mean to the fish, Lotus," Arsene sighed.  "You can eat it.  Fish don't have big brains and don't really have a lot of emotions for you to feel."

"I'd still rather give it to Ishi and get a salad," she sighed.  "It's just simpler."

"Salad icky," Kori said very seriously from beside Xander.

"I like salad."
Lupin grinned at him.  "She's a girl," he said with a wink.  "They're all strange.  If you can find it, go for it and bring some for everyone else but the baby fox."  She nodded, getting up to do that.  She came back a few minutes later with a spinach and nut salad with cheese, taking a lot and handing it down to the others.

"Dressing?" Arsene asked hopefully.

"It's on there.  Vinegar and oil."

Kori let Xander put some on his plate, taking a hesitant bite.   He grimaced and shook his head.  "Cheese nasty."

"It's strong," Lupin agreed.  "Eat the spinach without it."  Kori nibbled on the greens, wiping it off on his bread, which he ate later.  It was apparently better that way.

Xander looked at Lupin.  "Who sent it?"

"I'm not sure.  Ishi found it."  They looked at Ishi, who shrugged because his mouth was full.  "No sender's address?"

Ishi took a drink of water so he could clear his mouth.   "It had one but it wasn't familiar," he admitted.  "I didn't delete the message."

"Thanks, I'll look at it later," Xander said with a small shrug when Lotus looked at her.  "I want to know who else remembered and had that."

"It would be strange if it was someone like Emmajean," Lotus agreed.  She dug back into her salad.  "Dad, did you carry memories of that other time?"

"Not before you children appeared," he admitted quietly.

Kori patted Xander on the arm.  "Are they talking about big people things?"

"No, not really.  Just oddness."  He kissed the baby on the side of the muzzle.  "Eat up so I can read to you."  He dug in, smiling happily at her as he chewed.  "Good boy.  Lips together."  Kori concentrated to make sure he was eating properly, leaning against Xander's arm.  "Good boy, Kori."  The baby grinned up at him between bites then dug back into his fish again.

"Check for bones," Goemon instructed.  "We don't want you to choke."  Kori slowed down and made sure there weren't any bones in his present bite, then went on eating.

Lupin grinned at Goemon.  "Looking forward to grandchildren?"

"Hopefully not for many years.  I do not want to think about my children, who are still infants, having their own," he said firmly.

"We're not exactly babies, dad," Ishi said dryly, smirking at him.

"You will always be an infant to your parent," Jigen advised.  "We'll always see you learning to walk just days after learning to crawl so you could chase after the Lotus stomach."  Lotus blushed.

"He did.  You used to kick all the time, Lotus," Lupin agreed with a big smirk.  "You used to keep your mother up for *days*, not allowing her to rest or eat without you kicking.  So she'd sit Ishi in her lap and let you kick him and he'd kick you back.  He used to stalk you around to make sure you weren't going to kick her anymore so he could beat you up for it."

She chuckled.  "Was I *really* that bad, daddy?"

"Yes," he agreed, smiling at her.  "You were horrible to carry but delightful once you were born.  We knew your brother was going to be a thief, he was always breaking out of his room."

"He ended up on our bed a few weeks after learning how to walk," Lupin told her.  "He got out of his crib somehow, came looking for his human slaves, and climbed up our bags to get onto the bed."

"Where he gave us this pouty, furious look because we weren't paying attention to his royal self," Jigen added.

"Ishi always had this look like he was an emperor and we were his human slaves," her father agreed.  "We tried very hard to break that attitude."

"And succeeded sometimes," Lupin teased.

Ishi glared at him.  "Keep it up, I do still need to practice while we're here.  I haven't practiced against you in *years*."

"That would be mean, son."

"But, dad!"


"Sorry, dad."  He glared at Lupin, who only smirked. "Just remember, some day you'll have grandchildren and I'll probably be helping raise them since Arsene would forget during jobs."

"They'll love us greatly.  We'll spoil them before giving them back," Xander said with a grin.  "Just wait until you have some to carry on the family name."

"Adoption," Ishi said slowly and clearly.  "Or sending it with the mother and me visiting."

"Doing so would disrespect your offspring and they would not turn out worthy of the family name," Goemon instructed.  "You must take care with them, the same as I did with you."  He smiled.  "You will do wonderfully and have learned much from all of us.  When the time comes, far in the future, you will do fine, my son."

"Glad you think so, dad, but I don't like kids that much," Ishi said dryly.  "I've got brothers for that."

"Who will most likely be following in your footsteps," Xander reminded him.  "If they don't go fully good guy on us."  He looked at Goemon.  "You know that the odds of that happening are increasing with three sons, right?"

"I do," he sighed.  "And I will send them to one of the Rays should that happen and they desire to turn against our lives."

"We'll be doing the same thing with the other two if they survive that long unmarried," Xander said dryly, smirking at him.  "And hey, we've still got Fred, Alex, and both your boys to go.  Plus Sarah could have some mild instruction."

Jigen nodded.  "She should have some self defense.  When's her next appointment?"

"Next month."  Xander ate a bite of fish, taking the bone out and putting it onto his plate.  "Good job, Goemon.  It's a good dinner."  He checked on Kori, who was starting to nod off.  "Looks like someone's ready for his bedtime story."

"I not sleepy!" he complained, rubbing the back of his eyes.

"Then let me get a book and we'll read to you until someone comes down for you, okay?"  The baby nodded, letting him pick him up and take him into the living room.  He could nap out there for now.

"Dad, I didn't want to mention it, but Morgan Zenigata's been writing me again," Lotus said calmly.  "He doesn't want to be a cop like his Uncle."

"Interesting," Lupin agreed.  "And?"

"And I like the little dweeb but he doesn't have a clue," she reminded him.  "And neither does his uncle.  I think he's going to try to do something on his own soon."

"If that happens, are you going to take him into the group?" Goemon asked.

"No," Arsene snorted.  "He's doing it as a rebellion.  He'd die in the life.  He's a lot like Auntie Dawn.  She's tough and smart and strong, she can do the work, but it'd kill her emotionally after a few years.  I think he's doing it to get closer to Lotus personally."

"I'm not ruling it out," Lotus agreed. "I also don't want him to get killed for it."

"Hey, we'll watch out for the little geek," Arsene agreed.  "He can't do anything right now.  His mom's at home and oh.... his real mother is trying to get custody again from what Uncle Ripper was saying when Ethan called us.  He was chatting in the background with someone, hopefully Dawn."

"Tell that to your other father, that's his thing," Jigen told her.

"We weren't invited into that mess but I will stand up for them being with Dawn.  Buffy was a twat," Lupin said dryly. "Did she finally find a man?"

"Yuppers," his daughter said happily.  "I checked on the flight over and sent it to Dawn.  He's a dirtbag too.  Cop, a lot like Myron, tough, unhappy. "

"So her sort of man?" Xander asked as he came back.  "Kori's napping on the couch."  He sat down again, picking back up his fork to take Kori's remaining fish from his plate.  "Why is this necessary conversation?"

"Uncle Ripper was talking in the background while Uncle Ethan called us," Lotus told him.  "We had him on speaker in the Headmistress' office.  She's going to try for custody of her boys again."

"Interesting," Xander deadpanned.  "Dawn knows?"

"I emailed her information on the new hubby," Lupin the Fourth offered.  "I'm hoping she either makes the connection or already knew."

"Then I may need a few sudden days off," Xander told Lupin, who nodded.  "Thanks, bossman.  Jigen, aren't you hungry?"

"Not really.  Just watching you."  He leaned back, blatantly watching now.  "You're so different in the different forms."

"I'd have to be.  I didn't have that much testosterone in that other form," he said dryly, smirking at him.  "Wanna find out how that changes things?" he asked with a leer.

"I'm not ready for that step yet, Xan," Jigen said quietly.

Xander put down his fork and took a drink.  "How many times did you say that it wouldn't change anything?"

"It doesn't, just that one thing that I'm not comfortable with right now," Jigen retorted.  "It doesn't change anything else."

"And on that note, we're going to go do...stuff," Melissa noted, taking her plate with her as the kids scurried from the room.

"I'm sorry, Xander."

"No, I understand but it's still bothering me," he admitted.  He took another sip of water, then looked at Lupin.  "You?"

"Not yet," he admitted.  "I'll probably get all my explorations out of the way the next time I'm on top of you though," he said honestly.

"I'm not going back in that thing again unless the world is ending," Xander announced, staring Jigen down.  "Sorry, but I like my male things.  The dangly things are better for my mental health."  He picked up his fork and started to eat again, noting the silence.  "So, the kids go back when?"

"Tomorrow afternoon," Lupin offered.  "Want to head back to the main house?"

"Sure.  We don't have another job planned do we?"

"No, we don't," Lupin sighed.  "If you were still female we could pull one more off but since you've already changed back we can't.  It'll take a cute girl to do it."

"Some of us are cute girls," Lotus said as she walked back in to gather dishes.  "I'm doing dishes tonight.  Melissa wanted to know if you wanted to work on the taser setting tonight."

"Maybe.  You guys are heading back to school tomorrow."

"Fine, the emergency is over with," Lotus agreed, gathering things and taking them back to the kitchen.  She was working on the dishes when her father came in to help her, giving her a hug.  "Thanks, dad."

"You're welcome.  Though it was Melissa's night to do them."

"She's in the lab already and it's a bad idea to interrupt her.  You'll get her coming out with her hair a mess and her eyes wide with thoughts she can't get to stop.  Then she loses stuff and she gets pissed at herself for not writing them down, then she'll be cranky for weeks.  It's easier this way," she shared with a grin.

He nodded, patting her on the back.  "As long as you don't mind then she can take one of your nights."

"She owes me about six by now," Lotus said dryly.  "Some weeks she's all ideas and frustration."

"Your uncle has moments like that but he's learned how to deal with them.  I'll mention the problem to him to see if he can help her."  They both looked over as Melissa came back up from the lab, her hair standing up in places and messily out of place, definitely not her usual look.  "Are you all right?" he asked quietly.

"Hell no!"  She walked out onto the back porch and let out a shriek of rage.

Jigen came rushing in with Lupin.  "What happened now?" he asked.

"She's frustrated with her ideas," Lotus said calmly, very much like her father would be.  "She's got her mother's idea problem."

"The same sort Lupin used to have," Goemon added for good measure.

"Let me handle this one then," he noted, heading out to talk to the poor thing.  "Hey, 'Lis.  What's wrong?  Is it not working or are you stuck?"

"I'm stuck!  I've got this idea that's *inches* from the front of my mind and I can't bring it up.  I can feel it, I have hints of it, but I can't get it to come out and I definitely can't get it to come out my fingers so I can write it down!"  She started to pace.  "This is a fucking curse. I know it's a fucking curse because it's going to drive my puny ass insane.  It's not bad enough that mom doesn't get them this badly, but she doesn't *forget* them when she's not thinking about them!  Hello, this is so fucking unfair!" she yelled to the night sky.  "I hate you!"

"Calm down," Lupin soothed, pulling her into his arms for a hug.  "We all have those moments.  I get them too.  Usually, the idea will come back, just mutated so it's more practical."

"No!" she said frantically, pulling back to glare at him. "If I lose it, it's lost.  Truly, fricken lost!  I don't get them back, they don't conveniently pop back around when they could do some good again, they're *LOST*, Uncle."  She ran her hands through her hair.  "I hate being smart and creative.  Why can't I be a slut like my sister?  It'd be *so* much easier!"

"Calm down," Jigen said from the doorway.  She glared at him.  "I mean it.  It won't come if you're frantic.  So calm down and relax.  Meditate if you have to.  Let them come, don't force them, baby girl."  He pulled her closer to hug her.  "It'll come," he promised quietly.

"It's not coming," she complained, starting to cry.  "It's like I'm blocked and there's tons of ideas but they won't come out and I'm stuck and I hate it.  It's like a sinus infection in my brain and it's giving me headaches and I hate it, daddy."  She sobbed into his chest.

"Shh, we'll work it out, 'Lis.  Jigen can work with Arsene tonight and I'll help you," Lupin promised, coming up to hug her from the other side.  "C'mon.  Maybe we can get your mom to help us."

"She suggested I carry around some paper and a pen all the time, or a tape recorder or something."  She wiped her eyes off then weakly swiped at her father's chest.  "Sorry, dad."

"It's not a problem, 'Lis," he promised, tipping her chin up.  "Don't force it.  Let it come.  If it won't come, then work on something else.  They were probably bad ideas and your mind's trying to filter out the unrealistic things."  She nodded, giving him another hug.  "But your mom was probably right, bring a little diary or something with you.  Write it down, write down the dreams you have in frustration too," he added with a small smirk for her.  She'd had those for years now.  She nodded, letting her uncle walk her inside.  "Arsene," Jigen called.  She came trotting out.  "Since we're switching kids I've got you tonight.  What're you up to now?"

"Escaping chains and bags in water," she admitted, grinning at him.  "I'm a regular Houdini at times."

"I can chain you up if you want," he offered.  She grinned and pulled him back to the room she had been playing in, letting him tie her up and time her.  He checked her time.  "Not the fastest ever but decent enough.  Two minutes to get out of really tight ropes."  He showed her the stopwatch, making her beam. "How's your marksmanship?"

"Still good as ever," she admitted dryly.  "Melissa can now hit the target.  She's going to be excellent," she assured him, patting him on the arms.  "Can we go again?  I need to be faster."

"Sure, kiddo."  He tied her up again and this time suspended her from a hook in the ceiling.  She wiggled and struggled, getting free quicker this time.  "Good job, one-forty."

"Cool.  Do you think that's fast enough?"

"Probably.  Unless you're being hung."

She shuddered. "Icky thoughts, Uncle Jigen.  No more of those.  No one's capturing me for *ages*."  She dragged over some chains and presented them with a bright grin.  "I know you always wanted to chain me to something."

He choked, then shook his head with a groan.  "Only when you went into hyper and annoying mode," he promised, tying her to the hook again.


Lotus looked around the airport as they disembarked, trying to find one of the teachers.  No one from the school was there.  "Our ride isn't here yet," she noted as the others came off.

Ishi got away from a stewardess and put his arm around Arsene's shoulders, grinning tightly at her.  "Pretend," he hissed in German.  She grinned up at him.  "No ride back to school?"

"Not that I've seen."

Melissa pulled out her phone, sitting down on a nearby seat to call the school.  "Good afternoon, Headmistress.  We're back in Italy and there's no one here to meet us?"  She glanced around.  "No, I haven't seen him yet.  What's he look like?  Cool, thanks."  She hung up.  "The Experimental Class's teacher is coming to pick us up.  Look for a guy who's dark and has an eyepatch.  Like a darker version of dad."   They all sat down, watching for their ride.  Finally, Melissa stood up.  "Let's get our bags and get lunch.  I'm hungry."  They nodded and followed her down to the baggage claim area.  She kept glancing behind them.  "Yo, Lupe."  Arsene looked over at her so she gave a subtle look backwards.  "What's your bag look like again?  Pink?"  Pink was code for 'we're being followed'.

"Blue."  She stopped to tie her shoe, letting the others go on without her.  She saw the person following them and growled, getting up in his face.  "And you are?" she demanded in a deathly cold voice.  He backed away.  "Stay away from my sisters, bub, or die."  She jogged to catch up to the others, finding them staring at their ride.  He was six-foot-five, had an eye patch, black hair, black clothes, and looked like the poster child for 'bad boy's anonymous'.  "Oooh, a new person to fawn over," she said with a smirk.  "Here for us?"

"Grab your gear, and let's go."

"Sure, just keep the asshole checking out our asses out of my way," she quipped.  She grabbed her two bags, handing Lotus hers and Melissa's went by her feet.  Ishi grabbed his and his sword was already on his back so they were set.  "Okay, we can go."

"Before we do," Melissa said, pulling a letter out.  "My mom said I was to find whoever did the electronic's class and hand this to them.  Is that you?"  He nodded, taking it to put inside his jacket.  "I've had ideas and they're getting stuck."

"Can you solder a circuit board?"

"Definitely.  Oh, Mom's new Fiat is coming up since we've got it fixed so you can help me with one part.  The taser setting is too high."  He blinked a few times, then frowned at her so she shrugged and grinned in a 'who me' look.  "I'm okay and I've been helping mom.  Remember, we use some little robotics."

"Yeah, especially in the mouse tails," Lotus joked.  "Let's go already.  Before the creepy guy tries to get closer."  She felt a hand brush her ass and turned, grabbing the person and flipping him onto his back.  "My ass is private property.  Do not touch it again," she growled.  "I do not care if it's cute, hot, or otherwise attracting, it's not *yours* to touch."

"I think it might be a good idea to get her some chocolate on the way back to school," Ishi offered quietly.  "C'mon, Lotus."

"Fine," she growled, taking her bags and stomping off toward the exit.

Ishi looked at their future teacher.  "Yes, she's having one of those *girl* moments."  He grabbed his things and one of Melissa's, her laptop, taking off after his sister.  "Lotus, slow down," he complained.

The teacher looked at Arsene and Melissa.  "Not following?"

"Oh, we are, we're just being more cautious," Arsene assured him, walking out beside him.  "Lotus doesn't like being thought of as a sex object.  It upsets her."

"Her mother depended on it and she's nothing like her mother so she abhors being thought of being anything like the bitch," Melissa agreed.

"You shouldn't use those words," he chastised.

"Ever met Fujiko?" Melissa asked.  He nodded. "Then you know why we use it about her."  She smirked and hurried ahead to save her laptop from the overzealous airport cop trying to get him to log onto it.  "Is there a problem with my cousin taking my laptop for me while I talked to our teacher?" she demanded.  He backed off, babbling at her.  "I don't care if he does look like a legendary thief."

"Fucking yay," Arsene agreed as she joined them.  "We're leaving, going back to school.  Touch us inappropriately again and I'm *sure* we can find your superior."  The guard let them go, not wanting to be accused of doing improper things.  "'Lis, what's on your computer this time?"

"Plans for the car. Other ideas I've had."

"I shall look at those with you," the teacher offered.  He got them out to the car, stopping a moment to read the letter.  It made mention of her skills and it was his area to test those things.  He climbed in, noticing one of the children had taken the wheel.  "You know how to drive?"

"Everyone but me and Lotus," Melissa offered.  "And while I do, I've never had the formal lessons so Dad and Uncle Lupin won't let me drive the getaway car.  I'm hoping to take my formal lessons at the school."

"Her dad gave Arsene and I lessons in Roman traffic, Parisian traffic, and then on country roads around the main hideout," Ishi offered.  "He's certified us."

"He drives like a Roman in Roman traffic too," Arsene agreed dryly as she checked behind them, then pulled out of the parking space and out of the garage, paying at the gate.   She looked at the traffic, then headed out into it, acting just like every other driver around them.

"You're going too fast," the teacher noted.

"I'm going the same speed as everyone else," she retorted, but she did slow down a bit.   "Which exit?"

"The next one."  She nodded, signaling and getting into the right lane, taking the exit at the right time.  She slowed down to merge with the other traffic, seamlessly acting like the cars around her.  At least until the lights come on.  "Huh.  Ishi, did you pack our licenses?"

"You've got a training one," the teacher assured her.  "Pull over."

She pulled over and turned off the engine, giving the cop that came up to her an interested look.  "Yes?  Was I going too fast?  I thought I was at the right speed limit."

"No, you're too young to be driving."

The teacher pulled out the training license and his license.  "They're taking lessons from me on the way back to school," he said calmly.  "Was she breaking laws?"

"No, she didn't look right to be driving."  He checked the licenses, then handed them back.  "Very well, since you're in the car.  We've had some problems with young drivers recently."

Ishi leaned forward.  "Some of us *do* have our licenses."

"Yes, but she's still not old enough."

"I'm nearly there," she protested.  "It's not *my* fault my mother looked like she was twelve until she was nineteen!"  She started the car.  "Anything else?" she asked in her best 'insulted' voice.

"No, go."  He watched as she pulled back into traffic, even using her signals.  "Kids," he complained as he got back into his car.  He called his dispatch to report the contact but nothing was made of it.

Arsene snorted.  "Idiot," she said as she put back up the windows.  "I hate stupid cops.  Why can't they all be good cops?"

"Because that would make our job tons harder," Melissa reminded her patiently. "The fact that only ten percent of cops match up to our brilliance is something that makes it easier on us and keeps the lesser idiots out of the field."

"You're that good?" the teacher asked dryly.

"Yeah," Arsene said patiently.  "Or haven't you seen our resume?"

"Not yet," he admitted.  "How extensive was it?"

"We pulled our first job at eight," Melissa told him.  "Our dads were at a convention and we locked up the other ones to hit a jewelry show."  He turned to look at her so she smirked.  "Driving is Lupin the Fourth.  I'm Melissa Jigen, this is Goemon Ishikawa the Fourteenth, and our wonderful backup Lotus Goemon.  We're already fairly well experienced."

"Uh-huh."  He called someone.  "I've got the students.  Yes, all four of them.  Why?"  He listened, then looked back at Ishi.  "No, he's fine.  That was his sister."  He nodded and hung up.  "They've heard about one of you putting that visiting cop on his back.  She sends her congratulations."  He put the phone back in his pocket.  "The next left is the one we need."  Arsene grunted and checked the surrounding lanes, then sighed and cut someone off to make it.  "Good job."

"Thanks.  I like driving the getaway car.  Just like my dad."

He snorted.  "Yes, you do drive just like your father."  He settled himself down.  "Melissa, should I look at your ideas?"

"Sure, why not," she suggested, handing over her laptop.  He logged in and she found the projects file for him, logging him into it.  He flipped through them, nodding.

"Adventurous.  Daring.  Creative."  He came to the car's modifications.  "Bondish."  He gave her a long look.  "Your idea?"

"The second dad's," she admitted with a grin.  "Daddy Lavelle is a big geek and I'm a lot like him."

"You have two fathers?" he asked.  "Since when was Jigen gay?"

"Since mom and Sylvia are kinda the same person," Ishi noted.  "Not that it's a secret or something, but yeah."

"And she had you while she was a her?" the teacher asked.   Melissa nodded.  "When?"

"That's a long and classified story," Arsene said firmly.

"Fine," he agreed.  "Some mystery about your pasts usually works in your favor in the field."

Ishi snorted. "Most people in the field already know about us," Lotus offered to stop her brother's temper.

"We've acted against those who didn't believe we were worthy," Melissa agreed calmly.  He turned to look at her.  "Someone called us talentless whores who were aping our fathers."

"Which is *so* not true," Arsene agreed.  "I'm not the drama queen my father is, nor do I need to brag the way he does."

"Rrrrriiiiiiiggggggggghhhhhhhhhttttttt," the teacher drawled, giving her a long look.  "Are you *sure* about that?"

"Yeah," she agreed.  "Mom's a much more flamboyant than dad.  I'm somewhere just below him with a definite flair for the dramatic and obtuse but not quite his grade and definitely not mom's."

"Nor do you like to dress up as anime characters," Lotus said dryly.

"No, that's my job in the group," Ishi said with a smirk for his sister.

"You go to those conventions?" the teacher asked in a dead voice.  Ishi nodded.  "Okay then.  Arsene, when you come to the next rest area, pull over so we can stretch. It's a long trip to the school."

"Sure, boss."  She glanced back at Melissa, who had her laptop back now and was supposedly checking her email.  "Anything from dad?"  Usual code for 'got any ideas'.

"Yeah.  A 'do good this year' from him and mom."  She typed something else in, sending the email to their Headmistress.  She got back an answer just after they had stopped and looked at it, then at Lupin.  "Yours," she noted calmly.

She smiled and then grinned at the teacher before knocking him out and putting him into the trunk.  "Who is he?"

"Not quite the teacher.  Ours is dark but not quite *that* dark.  We're to bring him back for verification."

"Deal," Ishi agreed.  "My turn?"  Arsene nodded.  "Got directions?"

"Yeah, she sent them," Melissa offered, handing him the laptop.  He nodded, handing it back.  "In," she called, bringing Lotus from the soda machines.  "Thanks, love."  She got into the back seat with Lotus, letting the others get the front since they drove.  "When do we get driver's ed?"

"Probably as soon as we get back," Arsene said, pulling out of the parking lot.  She saw the cop and groaned, slinking down some.  She heard Lotus chanting something quietly and grinned.  "Good job, Lotus."

"Thanks.  Have a headache now.  Sleeping."  She capped her soda and laid against Melissa's arm.  "Slap me if I drool."

"Sure, Lotus."  She stroked her friend's hair, letting her nap on her.  "Lupin, the last exit was ours."

"Why tell me, I'm not driving," she snorted.  "Ishi?"

"Huh?  Sorry.  Pretty girl in a bikini top in front of us."  He pulled off the next exit and got them going back in the opposite direction, taking the proper exit.  "Next turn is when?"

"About sixty miles up the mountain," Melissa noted, glancing at her laptop.  "Do you think I'll do okay with this too?"

"Sure, 'Lis.  You've got the most patience of any of us," Arsene noted.

"And if you do it at the school, your dad won't have to freak while teaching you how to drive," Ishi agreed.  "I didn't think he was going to unclench the doorhandle while he was teaching me."

"With me he took me out in the roadster since he said it'd be mine some day," Arsene said proudly.  "I could tell he wanted a brake pedal on his side a few times on those back roads."

Melissa smiled and wrote her father an email at her uncle's address, asking if he wanted her to learn at school or to wait for him to teach her.  She got back an instant answer of 'spare his nerves, let him teach you high-speed driving instead of the basics'.  She laughed and showed Lupin.  "Your dad's drunk on the flight again."

"Makes sense to me.  Mom's fine, dad's just had a great shock about mom, again, and your dad's probably napping.  I'd be drunk too if I were heading back to start on Fred's training."

"We are teaching Alex, right?" Ishi asked.  Everyone nodded.  "Good.  What's the turn look like?"

"A restaurant on the driver's side of the road and we turn on the right."

"Sure," Ishi agreed.  He sped up a bit since they were starting to go up the hill.  He watched the cop passing them slow down and snorted.  "Try it," he hissed.  "I've got a license."  The cop decided not to stop them and continued on.  Ishi continued on his way, enjoying this pleasurable drive.

"I've got a question," Arsene said since they were alone.  "Do we petition to stay for an extra year next year?  The 'rents need the time alone and we are having fun at the school."

"It could be helpful," Melissa agreed.  "There's got to be stuff we can learn and we're the queens of the school right now."

"Then seniors on the boys side think that they're watching us to see if we're going to be a challenge to them," Ishi offered.  "They think that we're rich kids playing around so far."

"Huh, they're going to get a shock when we're running their field tests, huh?" Arsene said dryly.

"Half of them will be on ours probably," Ishi agreed. "That restaurant?"

"Um, no.  This one's described as a diner."

"Okay."  He spotted it ahead and sped up a bit more, taking the turn onto the even more rural road.


Arsene got out from behind the wheel as they pulled into the school, smirking at the Headmistress and her guards.  "We're back!"

"So I can see," she said with a smirk.  "Let's see this person who claimed to be one of ours."  She smiled at the others as they got out.  "Have a good rescue?"

"Yes, and we brought you something," Lotus offered, handing the vial to her herbology and poisons teacher.  "Mom described it as a combination of peyote and sherry enema when they gave it to her.  It made her higher than hell but left her with her memories intact this time.  She was also really cranky when she came back down."

"Fujiko?" the Headmistress asked, looking stunned.  They hated their mother.

"We call Sylvia the mother," Ishi told her.  "All of us."  He popped open the trunk, exposing the idiot to them.  "He said he was there to pick us up.  He seemed like your description."

"He does," she agreed.  "He's Venice's top detective however."

"Hi," Lupin said, leaning on the edge of the trunk.  "I'm Lupin the Fourth.  You've met my partners, Goemon the Fourteenth, Melissa Jigen, and Lotus Goemon.  Impressed yet?"

"Very," he complained, letting the guards pull him out.  "What is this place?"

"School," Lupin snorted.  "We're too young to be in the field all the time."  She got out of the way, letting Ishi get the bags since he was stronger than her.  "Okay, let's go check back in, ladies and Ishi."

"I've got to let the electronics teacher look at my designs," Melissa told the Headmistress.  "I gave him the letter from my mother and let him see them, including the new car, that's coming our way so I can work on the taser setting."

The Headmistress nodded once.  "Letter?" she requested.  The detective was patted down and it was handed over with his badge and gun.  "Thank you."  She read it, then smiled at Melissa.  "Fine.  As long as you do not drive it."

"Can I take driver's ed this year?" Melissa asked.  "The other two can already drive.  Uncle Lupin said to let Dad teach me high-speed driving but you could do the basics."

"Yes, we can work that into your schedule, as long as your father agrees," she promised.  "Come to my office in an hour and I'll have that teacher up there."

"Is he a good cop?" Arsene asked.

The headmistress considered him then nodded.  "Very.  He's on par with Vecchio and Kowalski.  Why?"

"Our family tries to protect the best of the best because they make us better and more creative.  Wasting him would only let the lesser idiots overrun the field."

The Headmistress considered it.  "I'll take that under advisement," she offered.  They nodded, they couldn't change her mind if she was set on killing him but maybe that had been enough to open her to the possibilities.  "Go to your rooms for now.  Melissa, come to me in an hour.  Arsene, I've got a message for you as well."

"Sure.  Was it from the idiot?"

"Yes, dear," she said tolerantly as the children hiked off.  She looked at the cop, then the guards.  "He is dangerous."

"But we do have the option of simply wounding him and making sure he can't remember us," the poisons teacher offered quietly.  "They were right, their family does tend to protect the best of the best because they get more ideas from them."  He tipped the man's face up.  "He would be hard to kill but altering him would be easier."  He let him go.  "I am at your disposal if you need me."  He walked the precious new formula off, knowing that Lotus would tell him more when asked.  It was an intriguing idea.  He would have to ask Lupin for more details of the prior uses as well.

The Headmistress nodded at the guards.  "Cell him for now.  I'll decide on his fate later."

"You can't kill me."

She stepped closer to him.  "This is the Assassin's Academy.  Most of the students here can kill you," she said quietly.  "You are only a cop to us.  Lupin has always been odd in that regard."   She stepped away again.  "Take him to the cells."  The guards drug him off and she watched as one took the car to the garages.  She would have to consider this one carefully.  He would draw attention to them.  If he disappeared there would be even more attention.  It was a difficult position the detective had put her in by taking those children.  She'd have to report this to Lupin and get his input as well.


Marcus walked up to the nurse's station dressed in scrubs, walking three IV poles with bags.  "I was told to give them enemas before they were checked for intestinal injuries?" he asked the head nurse of the ward.  She frowned and checked the charts of her only three patients, then nodded.  "Thank you.  Which room?"

"They're all in the ward," she said, pointing at the door.  "In there."

"Thank you.  "I'll do each one in the bathroom then bring them back to the bed."  He walked the poles that way, smiling as he walked inside.  The cops were quickly quieted and the guards didn't care what they did to the cops they were guarding, it'd make them quit complaining.  He helped Vecchio out of the bed and into the bathroom.  "Now just relax, detective. This won't hurt a thing," he promised gently, whispering in his ear as he administered the first enhanced enema.  Lupin was pissed at them and he agreed.  Trying to harm children was a bad thing and Xander was technically still very young.  Fortunately his spell kept them from complaining or calling for anyone.  Once that one was done and had eliminated, he brought him back to bed and took Gramps to the bathroom to do him as well.  He saved the most fun for last.  He had always liked Ray Kowalski and now he would get to play with him.


To Part 46
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