Notes: Thanks to Loyde for helping me with the beer idea
Lupin Family Plans
Lupin looked up as Marcus strolled into the office. "Yes? How did it go?" The younger man broke out in a wicked smirk. "That good?"
"Oh, yes. Inspector Kowalski was mot unhappy to be seeing me as haloed and angelic." He sat down. "Now then, what's next on the list?"
"Fred, Sarah, Alex, and Kenji. Yu's still a bit too young for anyone but Goemon."
"Fred and Sarah are both old enough to start their self-defense work. They're reading. They've got the basic movements down from Bix and myself. Fred's old enough for the weapons lectures to start as well. He's the same age you started those with the girls."
"Good point," Lupin agreed happily. "I kinda do wish we had another baby in the house...sometimes, but I'm glad that they're getting older too."
"They always get older and you can always adopt," Marcus noted as he stood up. "Should I get Xander up to start on the weapons lectures while I prepare to run them through their katas?"
"Please. I'd like to watch today," Lupin agreed. "Let's see where their skills lie." He stood up. "Go get the kids. We'll let Xander sleep in. Jigen can run the weapons safety lectures this time."
He nodded, going to get the children from Bix. "Come, children. Lupin wants to watch you do your katas today." The older kids cheered and ran for their rooms to change and head down to the backyard. Alex smiled at him. "You as well, dear. There's more lessons for you to learn as well." She grinned and went to change as well. "Bix, would you like to bring Yu outside to watch?"
"Goemon has him," she said with a smile. "I'm going to take a long, hot bath if that's fine."
"That's fine, we should have them most of the day." He went to gather the children, starting them off on the first moves when Lupin and Jigen came out to watch. "No showing off," he ordered Sarah, who sweetly grinned at him and ran over to give her daddy a hug before going back to her spot in the line and joining in.
Lupin watched his son carefully. He wasn't the most graceful. He didn't have Xander or Goemon's grace, or even Lotus'. He nudged Jigen. "You're doing the weapons lectures today. Let's see how they start off," he said quietly.
"Sure," he agreed, watching his sick little baby girl. Sarah had a small heart and it showed in how weak she could get. "We've confirmed her next appointment?"
"Yeah, did that on the way back. Oh, I told Melissa that the school could teach her the basics and you'd teach her the more advanced high-speed stuff."
Jigen nodded. "Reasonable. Saves my nerves." He shifted and pulled out a cigarette to smoke while watching the kids. "Damn, Kenji's good. He's nearly as good as Ishi was at that age."
"He is," Lupin agreed. "He'll probably have a different style. I doubt he's going to be the water style that Ishi and Xander are. More like his dad's more stiff version."
"Are we worried about him turning sides?"
"No," Lupin snorted. "It can happen but I'm not worried. That's for the kids to worry about." He crossed his feet, clapping when they got done with the first one and Marcus started them on the next one. "Hey, Marcus. Shouldn't Kenji be learning the more solid style that Goemon uses instead of the fluid one Xander does?"
"At this point it's much the same," he offered. "I've had that thought as well. I was going to get Goemon to watch him later today since he's off in the woods practicing by himself with Yu apparently."
"That's fine," Lupin agreed with a smirk. He watched as Sarah stumbled. "You okay, princess?"
"Just fine, Unclie," she said happily, pushing her hair back off her forehead. "I need a haircut."
"You need to pull that mop back," Jigen corrected with a grin. "C'mere." She trotted over, letting him tie back her hair for her. Then she went back after taking a short rest. "Sarah, sit out." She frowned at him. "For now." She sighed but sat down where she was standing, watching the other kids. "You're going in for another checkup soon, we'll ask then."
"Yes, daddy," she sighed, sounding disappointed.
"You'll be fine but we don't want you to be hurt," Lupin reminded her. "We'll let the doctor tell us what you can and can't do." She nodded, still looking disappointed. "You'll be fine," he repeated firmly. "Some day you'll be able to play like the others."
Fred broke ranks and ran over to hug him. "She's fine," he insisted. "She plays all the time."
"I'm sure she does, but we don't want her to get hurt," Lupin explained. "Remember, she's got a heart problem."
Fred nodded. "Yup, but she still plays." He jogged back to his sister, pulling her up. "C'mon, you're fine." She grinned and did it with him.
"Rest when you get tired," Jigen ordered quietly. She looked at him and nodded, continuing on.
Lupin looked at Jigen. "Are we overprotective?"
"Yup," Jigen agreed with a grin for him. "But I think it's good sometimes." He went back to watching the kids. Kenji was lost in his movements and it showed. He nudged Lupin and pointed. "Look at Goemon Jr."
"Very promising," Lupin agreed with a grin for the kid. "He'll be great when he's trained."
"True. I'm not going to start comparing him and his big brother though, that'll drive him nuts," Jigen reminded him.
"I agree. We'll stop doing that." He grinned at Fred as he jumped up and down because he got something wrong. "Quit that. It's fine. You're still learning."
"But I suck at this!" he whined.
"And later on, we'll be learning weapons," Jigen noted. "You've still got to learn this though."
"Fine." He calmed himself and started again, sighing in defeat. He would never get this stuff. Kenji was way too good at it for him to ever get the attention for that. He looked up as his father squatted down in front of him. "I suck."
"You don't suck," Lupin said gently. "You can't be good at everything. I'm not great at this but I want you to learn because it'll help things when you're following in my footsteps. You've got to know some to help your balance and stuff." Fred nodded, pouting at him. "It doesn't matter how bad your big sister is at it, or how good your twin is at it, or even how good Ishi and Kenji are at it. I want you to learn this because it'll help you when you're a great thief." He tapped him on the nose, giving him a smile. "Okay?"
Fred nodded. "Yes, daddy. I'll try but I still suck at it."
"Then maybe you'll be a wonderful lockpick like I am and a great shot too. We'll be looking at that stuff soon."
"Okay." He grinned and hugged him, kissing him on the cheek. He watched where the others were and started off, following his sister and Kenji.
Lupin went back to his seat, looking at Jigen with a grin. "He thought he sucked."
"He's not Ishi, but then again neither are any of them. None of them are Goemon Sr. either. Kenji's great in his own ways." He shrugged. "We'll move onto weapons next." They both looked over as Goemon walked out of the garden. "Come watch."
"I have been. Kenji." His son looked at him. "You will be working with me from now on, son. It is time you learned more." His son grinned at him. "You will be learning the traditional family styles, unlike your brother, who learned a different one." His son bounced over to hug him, bouncing around until he was picked up. "Thank you, son." He gave him a hug and put him back down. "Go help Uncle Marcus." He bounded back to his spot and got back into it with a more determined look. He sat on Lupin's other side. "Sarah is learning?"
"She is until we hear otherwise," Jigen agreed. "Fred thinks he sucks."
"The path of the sword is not his way," Goemon agreed. "The path of the gun probably is."
"I'm thinking so too. He's got perfect fingers for doing lockpicking," Lupin said proudly. "We're doing the weapon safety lectures after this."
"That's fine. I would prefer this son not have his focus split yet, Jigen."
"Not an issue, Goemon. He still flinches or sneers whenever he sees a gun but he drools whenever he sees your sword." He looked around Lupin at his friend. "Kenji looks like a mini you. We'll try to keep Yu on the straight path too."
"That would be nice, but I can't be sure he'll not turn out like Ishi."
"Ishi turned out that way because of the kidnaping," Lupin said quietly. "These kids won't have that stimulus. Therefore Yu isn't Ishi, no matter how time turned back on itself." Goemon nodded at that wisdom. "If he shows any talent, then we'll train it until he's the best he can be, then hand him back to you to finish off your way, Goemon."
"Thank you. I would appreciate one of my sons following only in my footsteps instead of Xander's."
"Eh, Ishi's got your quiet nature and Xander's flair. No one really minds," Lupin teased.
"No, I do not mind, but I do wish my son were only my son sometimes. He is the namesake of the family and we are not known as shooters."
"No, and he's not either. He'll shoot if something's unworthy of his blade or if there's no space or time to pull a sword. If it's easier. Not because that's all he knows. I've heard about him going after a few people with his sword and he does prefer it most of the time. Unless it's Pops apparently."
Marcus smirked at them. "They were quite happy with their enemas this morning," he promised. "Quite happy afterwards." He turned back to the children. "Fred, move your front foot a bit more forward and straighten it out please." The child did as ordered.
"Put it back in its original position but straighten it out, that throws his hips out of alignment," Goemon ordered. Kenji did as he said and grinned at him. "Very good, son." He gave Marcus a half-shrug. "Mostly correct," he offered tolerantly. "We will work on the forms for those who are most serious."
"Have you started Yu on the beginning stuff?" Jigen asked.
"Some. He is going well now. Much as his brother was." He sighed. "I do not want to make the comparisons."
"Neither do we," Jigen agreed.
"It may be inevitable but I'm sure he won't grow up exactly the same way."
"Yeah, no Fujiko influence," Jigen said dryly.
Xander padded out and sat on the end of Jigen's seat, then cooed at Kenji, getting up to hug him. "Ohh, you're gonna be such a samurai!" he said happily. He let him go and sat down in front of Fred and Sarah. "Guys, let's try something a bit different." He pulled Fred closer, showing him a new way of moving. Fred grinned and tried it, letting Sarah mimic him. "Very good." He grinned at Marcus. "My turn?"
"Sure, why not," he agreed, sitting down to let Xander run the next lesson.
"Okay, guys, let's learn how to duck and block!" he said excitedly, bouncing a bit. "This is *really* important because it'll keep the other kids from picking on you and allow you to duck Arsene when she comes back." They cheered at that, Arsene loved to prank them. "Okay, let's work on blocking!" He pulled Kenji over to kneel in front of him. "Okay, when I do this," he said, slowly moving his fist toward him, "you do this," he said, moving the boy's hand to block him. "Got it?" Kenji nodded. "Okay, now do it on your own." Kenji did it when Xander did it again. "Good boy!" He hugged him. "Now, let's go *faster*," he said with a demonic look in his eyes. He tried again, going faster and faster until the boy finally had to duck. "And that's a duck! Excellent, Kenji! Just perfect!"
Lupin leaned closer to Jigen. "Go make some coffee, quick. Before he drives us insane."
Jigen nodded, getting up to do that. Xander without caffeine was a horrible thing on normal people. He got it brewed and carried out a cup, nudging Xander to take his. "Here, you need it."
"I do not!"
"You do, you're scary," Goemon assured him. "Drink two, before you scare me too."
"No, if he drinks too much, he'll get scary in a whole new direction," Lupin said softly. "Xan, drink the coffee and then play with the kids."
"Fine." He drank the coffee, then went back to bouncing about with the kids.
"How many have you had?" Jigen asked.
"Six now," he said proudly. "Nearly a *whole* pot!" He grinned at the kids. "Let's blow this, guys, and play *tag*!" They screamed and chased after him around the garden. He picked up Sarah and ran with her since she couldn't chase with the others. "Get me! Get me!"
"Shit," Jigen sighed, flopping down again. "I guess we'll get the kids back later." He looked at Lupin. "So, which weapon first?"
"The standard gun. Crossbows are a later lesson," Lupin said firmly. "Crossbows are only effective in Xander's life. Not in ours."
"True, we don't often run into demons," Goemon agreed. He winced as the kids screamed and Xander ran past them through the house, making something crash within minutes. "That sounded expensive."
"If that was Grandfather's vase, you're going to fix that," Lupin yelled, getting up to chase after the horde. He found them on the front lawn tormenting a gardener. "Xander, heel!" he ordered, pointing at the ground. "Don't mess with him, he'll cut the bushes funny!"
He cackled and took off with Sarah again, putting her on the stairs as she ran out the back door. "Can't get me! I'm the best and you can't get me!"
"Damn it," Jigen sighed, standing up.
Goemon stood up and put a hand on his arm, then pulled something out of his robe, swinging it around a few times before throwing it at where Xander was running. The bolo knocked him to the ground. He sat down again. "There, I feel much better now."
Jigen snickered as he walked off to help Xander, shaking his head. "Xander, you're being naughty," Jigen warned. He took the bolo once it was free. "Calm down before we're forced to tie you to the bed."
"No! I don't get to play all that often. Meany." He raced off, heading deeper into the woods.
"We're not chasing you!" Jigen called after him. "Come back when you're sane and normal!" He went back to his seat, handing the bolo over. "He went to play in the woods."
A few minutes later the Kitsune lord brought Xander back, tied up in ropes from his armpits to his ankles. "Who fed him too much caffeine?"
"It's not our fault," Lupin said as he came back. "We gave her one cup thinking it was the normal morning bounciness." He sat down and pulled Xander into his lap, swatting him for wiggling. "Stop that."
"Keep him like that until he's calm, then release him." The Kitsune lord disappeared shaking his head.
"Can I please go free now?" Xander asked pitifully.
"Hell no," Lupin snorted. "If you're that jumpy you're dangerous."
"I am not!"
"You are," Jigen agreed.
"I'm not," he protested, starting to pout. "Yu will play with me."
"Bix said Goemon had him," Marcus interrupted.
Goemon looked at him. "I did?" He got up with a sigh and went looking for his son, who liked to hide. "Son?" Kenji came running. "Yu is hiding."
"Okay." He raced up the stairs, taking his father to where his brother was hiding. "Here he is!" He bounced a bit until his father patted him on the head. "I did good? I get reward?"
"Yes, what would you like?" he asked as he extracted his son from the pile of dirty laundry he was sleeping in.
"Teach me more?"
Goemon hugged his son. "Of course, all you have to do is ask, son. I love to teach you," he said quietly.
"Can I have chocolate as well?" he asked with an impish grin.
"We'll see. There may not be any in the house." He walked his sons down the stairs, taking them to the backyard. Yu was put into the grass since he was waking up and he worked with Kenji, teaching him more of the blocking and ducking techniques. His son was still bouncy but it wasn't keeping him from doing things properly so he couldn't reprimand him for it.
Lupin scooped up Yu when he toddled over to where he and Jigen were sitting, putting him in his lap. He sniffed the baby, then snickered. "Were you hiding in Xander's dirty laundry?"
"Yes. He was sleeping on top of her underwear," Goemon said with a blush. "I do not need my son to pick up that habit either, Lupin."
"It was Ishi who used to help his mother fold the laundry so he could snuggle up to her bras," Jigen reminded him with a smirk. Goemon grunted in annoyance and went back to helping his middle son.
"It's okay. Your big brother is a big hit with the ladies and you'll be a sweet little guy too," Lupin promised, kissing him on the head. "We should go steal some of the laundry for keepsakes." He and Jigen looked at each other, then hurried back up the stairs, letting Yu wander around again as they went to save some of the dirty laundry to keep Xander's female scent for their memories. They came back down after hiding their treasures, finding Goemon being pounced by his giggling youngest son. Lupin took a few pictures and smirked at Jigen. "We need a new job."
"You leave us again?" Kenji asked, starting to pout and tear up. "We just got you back!" He started to wail, batting at his father when he tried to comfort him. "No! You no leave!" He ran for the pond still crying.
Goemon got up and handed off his youngest son to run after him before he got hurt or fell into the pond. He finally caught up to him and grabbed him, holding him tightly. "Son, I'm not leaving yet," he soothed, patting him on the back while holding him. "There is no reason for such fussing." He walked him back to the others, soothing him on the way. "We're not leaving yet?"
"Not yet," Lupin agreed, looking at the sobbing boy. "He okay?"
"He'll be fine," Goemon assured him. He walked his sons inside, taking them to sit with them. He found a good spot in the television room and flopped down on the couch, letting Yu crawl up beside him and his other son sit in his lap. "I am not leaving for a while and soon you will be old enough to come with us," he promised, stroking his son's backs. "Then we will not have to be apart but right now you are too young to come with us all the time."
"No!" Yu said, scowling at him.
Goemon gave him a long look and his son grinned. "Thank you, son. Someday we will have to have this talk too." He looked at his middle son. "Kenji, you know that your brother did not travel with us all the time until he was nearly ten."
"You're never home," he complained weakly. "I never see you."
"He sounds like some of my exes," Lupin said as he walked in with a tray of glasses of milk. "Here, have some, it's good for them." He grinned at Kenji. "I tell you what. If we can, we'll take you on our next job."
"Not the next one. Not until after we've dealt with those cops again," Goemon ordered calmly.
"I was planning on that at a convention," Lupin said with a wink. "Either that or letting the bouncing Xander go play with them."
"Not a bad idea," Goemon offered. "It would give her...him something to do."
"Not a bad idea but he's gotten free and ran off," Lupin admitted with a smirk. "Maybe he went to play with the Rays. One never knows about Xander." He tweaked Yu's ear. "Are you a good boy?"
"No," he said, smirking at him.
"That's my godson," Lupin said proudly, patting him on the head. "Have fun with the milk. Need a video?"
"No, we're fine," Goemon assured him. He waited until the door had closed, then shuddered. Those poor cops. Not even they deserved that.
Xander walked up to the nurse's station at the hospital, smiling brightly at the older woman. "Bonjour!" he said happily, nearly singing. "I'm here to therapize those poor men who're in protective custody."
"I didn't know they were up for therapy," she said, looking him over. He was nearly vibrating with happiness. "Why do they need therapy?"
"Because they did get shot by someone very famous and very mean," he said, grinning at her. "You know how odd people can get after severe traumas. They might have total personality changes!"
"Well, they have been singing and happy today," she admitted. "Go ahead. I guess it's fine."
Xander blew a kiss and skipped that way, making the nurse shake her head at his oddness. He pushed through the ward's doors, grinning at the poor officers watching them. "It's time for therapy!" They shuddered and vacated the room. "Hi, guys," he said with a smirk. "Lupin sent me away because he said I'm bouncy so I came to help you through the trauma of nearly getting me and Lupin the Fourth killed. So, how are you feeling today?"
Vecchio groaned and pushed the button frantically on his bed. "That's Lavelle!" he shouted when the nurse came in.
Xander grinned. "It's the trauma," he said sweetly. "Do I *look* like a world-renowned gunman with odd tastes and a never-ending libido?"
The nurse looked at him, then shook her head. "Probably not." She checked the three men then left them alone.
Xander grinned and sat on Ray Vecchio's bed. "Nice try, gotta give you points for that one." He blew a kiss at Zenigata. "Hi, Gramps. How's the new baby?"
"I haven't been home recently," he said bitterly.
"You know, if you give up for once and for all, I can make sure you get home tomorrow," Lavelle offered with a smirk. "After all, you've got to have trauma leave. It's very trying dealing with Lupin when he's in a snit. Trust me," he said with a nod.
Vecchio kicked at him. "Get off my bed, thief."
Xander leaned down and kissed him deeply, making him whimper and finally pull back. "Shut up, Ray." He grinned at the other Ray. "Hi. Are you coming to the next con? Ishi wanted to know if you'd be there. He wanted to trade cards with you."
"Can't you torture someone else?" Zenigata complained, fluffing his blanket. "We're in pain and still feeling odd from Marcus."
"But I'm sure he had fun. Did you like what they gave me when the cult took me so they could ascend?" Everyone stared at him and Kowalski whimpered. "Really."
"No wonder. Are you still high?" Kowalski demanded.
"No, I've come down. I've just had six cups of espresso and one of real, Jigen-made coffee." He smirked. "Goemon's got the kids. Lupin's being a daddy and Jigen's playing with his princess and doing the weapons lectures. So I'm free!" He threw out his arms and cackled.
"Hey, Xan, why don't you go bother the Commissioner," Kowalski suggested. The other cops glared at him. "He can't do anything to us."
"I came to cheer you up." He pulled his shirt up and tossed something to him. "From my stash. I'm sure they'll love it too. Oooh, someone had porn from the other time and sent it to me. It was from about a year before the switch. New Orleans." Kowalski groaned. "Yeah, I don't know who did that yet. I'm still looking. Do you think the Commissioner would like me?"
"No," Zenigata said bitterly. "He'd try to shoot you."
Xander leaned closer and hissed something close to his ear, making him shudder. "Got the point?"
"I doubt you could. He's straight, boy."
"You'd be surprised, he wouldn't be the first cherry I turned," Xander said proudly. "Now, how can I make you guys feel better? Should I call down something funny? Should I dress you better?" He said something under his breath and made their bedgowns turn polka dotted and pink with frills. "There, that's better!"
"Lavelle," Vecchio growled. "I will kill you." Xander kissed him again, making him push him away. "Stop that, you pervert!"
Xander cackled. "You naughty boy. I know what you're thinking." He wiggled against Ray's hip, making him growl louder. He got up and strolled over, kissing Ray K as well, softly making him moan and arch up. Then he smirked at Gramps. "Still think I can't? Watch the tape, Stan. You'll like it." He swished out, leaving more confusion and awe behind him. He paused to listen.
"Wipe that damn smirk off your face, Kowalski. Vecchio, dismiss the stiffie before I take offense and have you babysit for the kids. All of them."
Xander grinned at the nurses. "Mission accomplished. They're happier and more like their normal selves. Feel free to keep the gowns for someone who needs it." He strolled out and sent himself to Paris, strolling up to the ICPO headquarters. He grinned at the receptionist. "I'm here for the Commissioner. He needs some cheering up so Zenigata sent me to him. Is he in?"
He leaned down to whisper in his ear. "The person who knows Lavelle best," he whispered with a smug smirk for her. "He can't keep dates. I'm pissed."
She smiled at him. "Very good, sir. Let me call up there to see who's dealing with it."
"Zenigata said to talk to only the Commissioner because only he would be able to handle the strangeness. I mean, seriously, honey. Lavelle's loved his way across six continents already and is ready to take on the seventh if he gets a chance, or in space if he can find a way onto some sort of shuttle." She swallowed and he licked his lips. "And he was so mean to me. Made me want him when I used to go for nice little girls, like librarians. He took me away from my last one and made me want him. It's like it's magic or something."
"Let me call up there," she offered, calling up to the main office. "Commissioner, I have Lavelle's ex here. He wants to give testimony. Inspector Zenigata sent him to you." She nodded. "Thank you." She hung up. "His secretary is clearing a spot for you. Go to the blue elevator and take it to the top." He nodded, blowing a kiss before walking on, coming back to straighten out her hair for her then heading off. She smoothed down her hair, checking it in a nearby mirrored column, then checked out his ass. He was one fine man, too bad he was gay now.
Xander came off the elevator, smiling at the secretary. "Is he ready for me?"
"He is," she said, looking him over. "You were Lavelle's lover?"
"He took me away from girls and made me want him. It was like magic, but the man can't keep a date. He's pissed me off for the last time."
"Go ahead on in," she said with a smile.
He walked in and shut the door behind him, leaning against it. "Hi," he said, acting nervous now. "Zenny sent me to you. Dawnie said that he would listen and help me but he's injured now because of that meany Lupin." He looked in the corner of the room at the cleared throat, then smiled and froze her. "Poor thing. Must be tired from all that baby making." He walked forward, smirking at the man behind the desk. "Zenny sent me to you. He was such a sweet guy. He listened to me bitch about the idiot who can't keep dates."
"Do you know what he does when he's on the job?" the Commissioner asked.
Xander leaned on his desk, leaning forward. "Very well. I've watched him before. He was mean to those poor women, teasing them into giving him their jewels. He was such a naughty stripper that job." The commissioner swallowed. "He was being a stripper. He was such a bad boy. All wicked hips and nasty touches to himself." He licked his lips, seemingly lost in the memories. "Then he went all the way and the women gasped and it was like they'd never seen one before, but his is *so* much bigger," he moaned. "I had no idea what men were like before him. I was dating librarians and scientists and he came onto me, making me moan and groan in pleasure and *beg* before he'd give in," he finished with a shiver. "He was mean and then he left me to go work with that *bastard* who keeps him from me."
"So, if you could, you'd take him back?"
Xander let out a whimpering moan. "Yes," he admitted. "He's just so ...so...wonderful to me. I can't keep him from teasing all the people he does, it'd kill him, but I'd gladly keep him from killing things. Can't you help me? Zenny said you could."
"How did you meet Inspector Zenigata?" he asked, starting to sweat.
"Lavelle introduced us," he said with a pout. "He was taunting him. I thought that was mean and told him so. So Lavelle kissed me and left them alone for a while and the Inspector *growled*. I thought he was being very mean." His bottom lip stuck out slightly, he knew it was. "He grilled me for *hours* about Lavelle and Lupee. Then he stomped off, leaving me with those two nice Inspectors underneath his careful, masculine control." He gave a little shrug. "They were fairly nice to me but they were distracted by my Lavelle snuggly."
The phone rang and the Commissioner grabbed it quickly, before he could help that pout. "Yes?" He grimaced, then held the phone out. "It's for you."
Xander took it, leaning on the edge of the desk. "Yes? And how did you get this number?"
"Stop it, Lavelle," Lupin hissed in his ear. "I know what you're doing, stop it."
"But Zenny said I had to come talk to him."
"No! Get your ass home now!"
"No!" He smiled at the Commissioner. "He's a very nice man and he's listening to me about you, Lavelle. He's being very solicitous." He twined the cord around his index finger. "I'm being good."
"You're being very good," the Commissioner agreed quickly. "Who is that?"
"Lavelle," he sighed, hanging up on Lupin's newest protest. "Did you know he had your office bugged?" The Commissioner looked stunned. "I'm hoping he's not being mean to you, I *like* you. You listen and you pay attention to me. Unlike him." The Commissioner gave in and kissed that pout away. "Would you let me have Lavelle?"
"The only way I could do that would be to take them off the list, and I can't really do that." Xander's pout got worse, making him think very hard. "I could....lessen them on the list. Or maybe I could ban them for a year? I've heard that they've pretty muchly retired to raise the kids."
"Lavelle left me to go be a daddy with Goemon, who likes to scowl at me." He pouted worse. "They're mean to me. They think he's only playing with me. Lupin actually laughed at me, called me a drama queen. I'm only what Lavelle made me."
"I'm sure you're perfectly nice," he promised. He stole another kiss and Xander released all his skills into that one contact, making him go weak kneed and moan as he pulled back. "How about I ban them from the lists for a year?" he panted, giving him a long look. "That way you could change him and it would give Zenigata and his team time to recover and chase some other bastards we need to be caught. Would that help you any?"
"Oh, it would," he moaned, arching his hips up slightly. "Thank you." He blew a kiss, charming him before turning and walking away. He headed back to the house, clearing his throat at the glaring men. "We're off the lists for a year. That means we've got to do something *spectacular* to get the attention back. Think you can do that?" he asked with a smirk for Lupin. "Or I could." He strolled off, going to deal with his wardrobe issues. "Why am I out of underwear this time?" he called.
"Ishi stole some," Jigen called up the stairs, looking at Lupin. "Did he just challenge us?"
"Yes," he said, still scowling. "He walked into the Commissioner's office and charmed him into removing us for a year from the Most Wanted list. He told him I had a bug in there too. Said Zenigata sent him there."
"He probably did," Goemon agreed. Lupin scowled at him. "He couldn't torture the Inspectors enough to make himself happy so therefore he took their suggestion to deal with the Commissioner, who has been vexing Zenigata again."
"He has," Jigen agreed. "What should we do?"
"Simultaneous things," Lupin decided. "With the kids. Let them have a formal coming out party." He smirked at Jigen. "Good for you?"
"Fine with me. Goemon?"
"They're well enough trained," he agreed. "We'll need excellent targets."
"Oh, I'm sure we can find something," Lupin said smartly. He glared up the stairs again. "I should spank him for that."
"Why? He's livening up our lives," Jigen said, shifting to get more comfortable. "No kids?"
"They're pouncing Marcus," Goemon said with a shrug. "Weapons?"
"After their naps."
They all shivered when they heard Xander cackle and the kids cheer.
"Shit," Lupin sighed, shaking his head. "Do I want to know?"
"No," Goemon said, shaking his head. "You don't."
Jigen shuddered as the kids cheered again and Marcus screamed. "I'm not going out there, man. He's on his own."
"Definitely," Goemon agreed.
Lupin got up and went to the door but Marcus wailed again and he decided he'd need a drink before going out there.
Melissa came out of her math class and found the Headmistress waiting on her with an email. "Bad news?" she asked hesitantly, not touching the held-out envelope.
"No, more odd."
Melissa took it and opened it, then gasped. "Mom did what!" Arsene turned and backtracked, taking the letter to look at. "Am I hallucinating?"
"No," Arsene said with a smirk. "That's a challenge, you know that. We'll have to do something spectacular to get our position back. Maybe even a higher one." She smirked at the Headmistress. "Got any favorite targets? We're looking for a few good targets."
"Are there any shows around that time?" Melissa asked.
"We'll have to look tonight."
"Ask the teacher who teaches planning, girls."
Arsene grinned and hugged her. "I like you." She trotted off. "'Lis, PE."
"Coming." She hugged her too. "I like you too. Think we could stay for an extra year maybe?" She jogged off too.
The Headmistress shook her head, but she was smiling. The second Lupin crew was very interesting and very fun to be around. She went back to her office, leaving it with the children. They could handle that.
Melissa looked at the wall in front of her, then at the other students, then at the teacher. "No grappling hooks?"
"What are you going to do if you forget them or run out?"
"Get Ishi up the wall first since he can rock climb, have him let down a rope and climb up that or find another way in," she said seriously. "There's almost always another way when you're frustrated by one way."
He nodded. "That's a good point, but you still have to do it." He waved at the wall. "Go up and over."
Melissa sighed and backed up, taking a running leap at it. She got halfway up and there was a handgrip up there. She used it to boost herself up to the top, then sat on the top, clapping her hands. "Lupin?" Arsene jumped up, using the same handhold then taking Melissa's hand and going up and over, letting her come off the other side. They looked at the rest of the obstacle course. "Weren't we excused from this too?" she complained.
"I loathe mud," Arsene sighed. But they headed for the bars, swinging across the sweaty surface. Arsene started to slip so pulled herself up on top of them, then helped her sister up so they could walk off them. They grabbed the rope at the end, swinging over the next pit, landing in the trees. "No elf jokes."
"Fuck elves. Daddy never had to do this," Melissa complained. She climbed up and hit the buzzer. "We're done!" Arsene hit it too. They swung down and landed, headed back to the teacher. "Can we go do more important things?"
"Like our field trial plans?" Arsene suggested.
Ishi looked at the boy's section of the wall then calmly pulled his sword and cut it open. Then he calmly walked through the hole he had created and went around the bars and cut down the tree to hit the buzzer. "Where are we heading on the field trials?" he asked as he strolled back. The teacher gaped so he shrugged. "I'm a Goemon. I'm bored. Walls are nasty. They're pointless. You can always make them explode." He walked the girls away. "Did we get a target suggestion? I heard about the note."
"No, Mom decided to go woo the Commissioner to get their names off the list for a year. So now we've got to do something spectacular to come out," Arsene told him.
"Dad said that Gramps suggested he go bother the Commissioner," Melissa added. "I called while I was in the bathroom. He said we're going to do a simultaneous job to come out officially."
"Interesting," Ishi agreed. "Just like Mom. Was she bored?"
"I pity the cops," Ishi said seriously. He nodded at the range teacher as he sauntered over. "Need Melissa?"
"If she's not got another class."
"Like I care," she snorted. "I'd rather be on the range getting better than doing dumb exercises. Let the little guys do those. We do katas and run and jump and babysit." The teacher snickered, looking at the PE teacher. "Isn't that enough exercise? It's not like we're getting fat or we need to learn how to do the scaling thing."
"You still must take these classes," he said firmly. "Everyone must."
"Dude, we already break and enter into places," Arsene said dryly. "Ishi and I got tumbling lessons. Melissa can walk a tightrope when she's not distracted. Ishi's a Master at his form of martial arts. I'm damn good enough at the katas. Melissa's better than I am and sometimes has better balance because she's quit growing for a while. If you're going to help us, do balance stuff. I need it." She looked at the range teacher. "Can I come blow holes in things to blow off steam and think?"
"As long as you keep yourself calm and the bullets on the range." She nodded, walking Melissa that way. "Ishi, could you help a hopeless case?"
"If I can't, Lupin can," he pointed out.
"Yes, but I want someone calm who won't provoke the kid to mass homicide." Ishi raised an eyebrow. "You won't. You don't show that side of yourself often."
"Fine. As long as Lupin can help. I know who you're thinking of and he needs to let go." He walked toward the range, waving his sword's scabbard. "Later. We'll be doing katas later. You can come watch."
The PE teacher looked at the range teacher. "Are they that good?"
He nodded. "They've trained very hard since they were children."
"They're still children."
"Since they were infants. Goemon had them doing katas as infants. The girls joined in when they were five or six. Lavelle had them doing balance work and a lot of odd things. Ishi can mimic Yoda very well. He's into anime and they both learned from it. Ishi is a lot like Lavelle and Goemon had a kid. Arsene is all her dad's little girl. Melissa is Jigen's daughter fully, but she's got her mother's planning skills. Sylvia is definitely showing her influence in the girls' lives. They're a tight team already. Lotus could use some conditioning but I doubt you'll have much success this week." He smirked. "Watch them as they work. They shouldn't be in the junior class. They need advanced, individual instruction to correct faults. They're teenagers going through puberty. They need balance work and they like to sneak out to do it on their own." He walked off, going to overlook his mentor's daughter. She was good, when she could get past her foibles. He owed it to Jigen to train his daughter to the best of his abilities. He walked into the range and found Arsene helping her sister and Ishi helping the young boy that was the gopher and suckass to the older boys. "Good. Let's work on accuracy."
"He needs aiming work," Ishi noted. "He still flinches."
"He's sound shy. He's not a shooter, he needs to know how, not be perfect."
"Cool," Melissa agreed. "C'mere, kiddo. We'll help you as a group while we help me." He nodded, coming over to help her. He was much younger, only twelve, and was pretty shy. "Are you a planner or a money guy?"
"Money," he said weakly, looking at the talented group around him. Ishi never tried to make him do anything and the girls were legendary already. "Do I really have to?"
"Yes, because people will want to kidnap you and guards can be killed or lost," Arsene reminded him. She put her arm around his shoulders. "Just stick with us, kid, and it'll be fine. We'll even keep the older boys from picking on you."
"I don't mind. I know I'm not the thief that DeMarllion is."
"He's not the thief he thinks he is," Melissa said dryly. "C'mere." She pulled him closer. "Okay, this is a revolver. My dad swears by them. They don't jam, they're easy enough to reload, and the drawback is that they only hold six shots. Mom swears by auto's, but she's very careful with what she picks. I think she's only had one jam and it wasn't at a fatal moment." He nodded eagerly. "Okay, let's work on loading." She opened the revolving part, letting him see how she did it. "Now, take out the bullets and put in new ones." He unloaded it by tipping it back, then slowly slid in new bullets.
"They can't explode unless you're applying a lot of pressure to the explosive cap," Ishi said dryly. "I can throw them at the wall and it'll probably not go off." The boy nodded and went a bit faster and rougher. "Good. Now close that." He did so. "Aim it at the target." The boy did so but his arms were shaking. "Now, squeeze the trigger gently."
Their new student took a deep breath and fired, hitting the target.
"Good," Arsene agreed. She took the gun and used the rest of the rounds. "Now, you need to be able to do at least that good," she ordered.
He looked at her target, which now had no face. He had only clipped the corner. "All that?"
"Yup," Melissa agreed. "You and me both."
He nodded and took back the revolver, reloading it and trying again. It was a bit better so everyone smiled and clapped him on the back. He tried a third round and it was much better. He was doing good with the positive reinforcement.
The teacher nodded at Melissa and smirked. "You're next. No slouching."
"Yes, sir." After the next grouping by their new student, she took the gun and reloaded it. She aimed and shot the first few rounds. She was doing better.
"Stop!" Ishi yelled, stopping her. He stepped up behind her and put his arms around hers, helping her aim. "Your glasses may be needed," he said quietly. "Now, aim down the spike. There's no breeze so it should be fine." She nodded, trying it again. This time she got it better but she still wasn't hitting it perfectly. "Put on your glasses. Let's try it again." She pulled out her glasses and put them on, trying it again for him, but sighing in defeat. She sucked at this.
"Better," Arsene noted. "Not good enough but better than you used to do."
"I hate guns."
"'Lis, you don't suck at this. You used to be perfect. It was the stupid humans who tried to snatch us way back when and the fact that you saw me kill one of them. Now, you're going to be in the field and you may have to kill someone. It'll be messy and bloody but it may have to happen."
"I know that," she said angrily, pushing him away. "I've seen you do it more than once! I know what a dead person looks like! I'm not scared of that!"
"Bull," Arsene said dryly. "I need you to be the best you can be in the field, Melissa. That means you're going to have to get over it. There's no whining in crime, unless it helps on a job."
"We'll work on it," Ishi reminded her. "She'll be fine by the next time we're in the field."
"I'm fine now," she said coldly.
"Melissa, if this were in the field, you'd probably have to shoot someone. Can you do that?" the teacher asked.
She glared at him. "What makes you think I haven't?" She stomped off, only coming back to throw the gun and stomp off again.
"When?" Arsene called after her second retreat.
"Go find her," Ishi said quietly.
Arsene gave him a look like he was insane. "Do I look suicidal?"
"Fine, I'll go. You work with the student." He jogged out, catching up to her and following her subtly.
"Go the hell away, Ishi, before I hurt you."
He caught up to her, turning her around and giving her a hug. "Those people who were hurt that I didn't?" he asked. She shrugged out of his arms and kicked him in the shin, stomping off again. "You can't run, Melissa. I know where you sleep. We'll have to talk about this." She flipped him off so he jogged to catch up and drug her into the woods, leaning her against a tree. "Melissa. Tell me what happened," he ordered quietly. "It's obviously affecting you and I don't want you to freak out. It hurts when you're hurting."
"You sound like my mother."
"Well, she did have the most hand in raising us," he said dryly, frowning at her. "Not the point, but good try in redirection." He pushed her tighter against the tree. "What did you kill?"
"I hate blood, all right? I hate the sight of blood spurting out and staining things and making them dirty!"
"What was it, Melissa?" he asked, relentless.
"It was an animal."
"Which is fine. Was it threatening us?" She shook her head. "No?"
"No. I went hunting," she complained, trying to get away from him. "Get off."
"No." He moved a bit closer, hugging her again. "Having to shoot to save yourself isn't hunting. Hunting unless you're feeding people is a waste. It's wrong from what we've been taught. Of course it disgusts you."
"No, it's the blood!" she said, shuddering.
He pulled her closer, cuddling her. "Okay. Blood is nasty. I agree. I hate blood. That's one of the reasons I can wound and usually do it in a spot that won't spray it everywhere. Look at the last few ones I did. They dripped, they didn't spew." She gagged. "Sorry." He gave her a squeeze. "We love you, even if you can't get past the blood nastiness. How do you stand being a girl and having girl problems?"
"I don't like it," she reminded him. "I hate it. I want it to stop."
He shrugged. "Not until you're around fifty or so. Unless you wanna become a guy?"
"Eww. Why would I want a penis? They're nasty. They spew worse."
He smirked. "But they're kinda fun to have."
"And probably easier, but they're still nasty and you guys don't clean those things when you're in the bathroom." She shuddered again. "Nasty crap." He chuckled in her ear so she pinched him. "Let me go."
"Hell no. You're never escaping us, 'Lis. We'd be miserable and lonely without you. Or insane from Arsene's pranks." She chuckled and swatted him. "I found a piece of fudge on top of my sword this morning."
"Wasn't me," Arsene said sweetly from behind him.
"Then who snuck into my room without waking me?"
"DeMarllion was claiming he did but he had a flunky do it," Arsene said. She looked at Melissa. "It's the blood?" She nodded. "Can we maybe hypnotize you against that stuff?" Melissa shook her head. "Take you on a tour of a butchering plant?"
"I'd get sick and taint the meat."
"Fine. How about this? I ask your dad? He doesn't like blood," Ishi offered. "My dad grew up with regular harvesting of the farm animals for food. Arsene's dad grew up fairly wealthy but surrounded by crooks and thieves. Maybe your dad has an idea."
"My dad probably didn't see blood until he was older," Melissa agreed. "My grandfather was a money guy apparently."
Ishi nudged her. "So we'll call."
"Yeah, maybe, but it makes me feel like a baby to have to call Dad for advice."
"That's why he's a parent. To give allowances and to give advice," Arsene reminded her. "It's not like he changed diapers or breastfed you."
Melissa nodded. "Fine." She handed over her cell. "Here you can call him. I don't want to embarrass myself horribly." She looked around. "Who else is out here?"
"Someone who's going to be dead," Arsene said simply, meaning it probably. She dialed the house. "Hey, dad. We need Uncle Jigen. Can you toss him the phone and go away?" She snorted. "Yes, you. Because. It's a Melissa thing." She sighed. "No, dad. You can't help this time most likely. Because. It's a girl thing, all right? No, we don't want mom. We want Uncle Jigen. Because it's his little girl. Daddy, did you eat all mom's chocolates again? You're acting odd and being a bastard. Just put him on!" He chuckled and tossed the phone over. "Kick him in the ass for me. He's being annoying again." Her father yelped. "Thanks. Did you know that Melissa went hunting when she was younger? That she hates the sight of blood?" She looked at his daughter, then nodded. "Yeah, I'm talking about your little girl." She heard Marcus yelp for Jigen. "Bastard. Don't do that to us! Ah, that was mom first. Good, then kick her again for us. She was being naughty earlier. Hi, Uncle Jigen. Kick Marcus yet?" She grinned at the new yelp. "Thanks. Did you know that your daughter had went hunting when she was younger? That she doesn't like the sight of blood?"
She leaned against her own tree. "Yeah, that one. That's the problem." She nodded a few times. "She said she'd get sick." She hummed, then sighed and shook her head. "Maybe, but it'll still make her sick. Yeah, that's doable. No, it's the spurting and spilling and nastiness. No, we suggested hypnosis. She didn't like that idea. No, we're all here but Lotus. She's working in herbology today, all day." She tipped her head off to the side. "It might. I don't know. Yeah, that might be for the best anyway. We've got an open house/desperately clean our rooms and hide the contraband session coming up soon. No, one of your devotees is here teaching marksmanship. Yeah, him." She grinned at Melissa. "I'll tell her you said that. Sure. Love you too." She hung up and handed the phone back. "Your daddy is coming up to give lessons," she said proudly. "They were called earlier today to come up and give lectures on the reality of the life. Mom's going to play 'stump the professors'."
"Hopefully they bring good treats," Ishi offered. "My father?"
"Is coming up to test the martial arts classes. They'll be staying for a few days after the parent's night."
"Of course. Think we could get one of the cops up here to lecture on what the average criminals do wrong?"
"That's a wicked idea," Arsene said with a glint in her eyes. "We'll have to ask about that." She turned and ran back to the school, going to pounce the Headmistress and suggest it. It'd freak out some parents and it would be helpful. She ran into her going to dinner, stopping herself by hugging her. "Hi, I just got an idea that'll freak people out but it'll be helpful and neat and really good for some of the idiots who think this is a playground." The older woman nodded slowly. "If our captive is still here, why can't he teach what awaits them and the common fuck-ups that we all have to teach us better?"
She blinked a few times, then patted Arsene on the head. "Well, that's imaginative."
"Think about how many stupid mistakes rookies make. Think about how many things we could get straightened out, like what prison is *really* like. Think about the problems we could solve before we do them. And that'll help weed out the posers faster."
"I'll consider it, Arsene. Thank you for the suggestion," the Headmistress said, patting her on the shoulder. "How are your groups? Have you talked to your father yet?"
"We did, we're talking about Melissa's gun problems." She let her go. "You'll really think about it?"
"I'll consider it," she promised. "We have a staff meeting tonight and I'll bring it up then." She smiled. "Any other ideas?"
"I haven't had one yet. Have you announced our targets for field trials?"
"We'll be discussing that tonight, dear." She patted her again and walked on. "It's dinner. You should eat."
"I will. I'm not hungry now. I'm going to go think. I've got a great idea brewing and it's not coming out yet. It's like Melissa and her idea constipation only nicer." She headed up to her room to get her notebook and things to take out to her new thinking spot, passing the others on their way in. "Dinner."
Ishi grabbed her and hauled her along. "You have to eat too. Otherwise you'll turn into a tiny, wafer thin, unrealistic girl who will be horribly malnourished and my father will scowl worse at me."
"He hasn't scowled at you since you snuck out of your punishment to go to that con," Melissa said dryly, helping haul Arsene along. "We can go think later. I've still got odd ideas floating around."
"Sure. I'll eat for now," she agreed, letting herself be drug into the dining hall. "Just a snack though. I don't need a lot of food right now."
"You'll eat a real meal or I'll spank you myself," Lotus said from her seat. "Sit and eat, Arsene. Don't make me the mother of the group."
Lupin stuck her tongue out but sat down and pulled over a pork chop to nibble on while she stared out the window. "I wonder what mean things mom did to the cops."
"She'd had six cups of espresso and a regular cup of dad's coffee. I'm sure one was about ready to cry by the time they convinced her to bother the commissioner," Melissa said dryly.
"Probably," Ishi agreed loyally.
"Eat now," Lotus growled.
They knew that sound, they dug in quickly. A frustrated Lotus was a dangerous Lotus with a desire to push her frustration out on your skin. It was always wiser to humor those urges.
Xander strolled up to the gate, nodding at the guards. "Hi. The Headmistress called for a delivery boy?" he asked with a grin.
The guard dropped his clipboard and looked around. "No others?"
"Later tomorrow. I'm here early to deliver chocolates, clothes, and assorted comics, anime, and gossip. Oh, and the delivery the Headmistress asked me for." He nodded back at his car. "That good with you?"
"Sure, let me call her," he agreed, calling up to the office. "Mistress, Lavelle is here," he reported. "He has a delivery for you?" His eyes widened and he nodded. "Yes, ma'am." He saluted Lavelle and hung up. "How?"
"Easily," he said with a smirk. He winked. "Not that hard at all when you're *good*," he purred, walking back to his car so he could drive inside the manor's walls. He parked near the school and got out, tapping on the trunk before opening it. "Hi again." He wiggled his fingers. "Up!" The dark-haired man with the eyepatch climbed out, glaring already. "Whine."
"Why am I here?"
"To teach. It's saving your life." He walked him to the office's entrance, handing him to one of the teacher's waiting there. "As requested, m'lady. One very good cop with too much knowledge. Stripped, redressed. Everything but body cavity searched." He saluted her. "Where might my babies be?"
"They might be in PE but I doubt it," the teacher said dryly. "They never seem to be."
"That'll stop," Xander said with a smirk. "I'll go deliver presents. The others'll be up tomorrow night." He strolled back out, going to get the bags from the car and take them to find the kids. He found one boy staring out at his car. "Hey. Where's Lupin the Fourth?"
"Hiding. She has a zit and she's off her patch." He looked up and gaped. "You're...."
Xander smirked and winked. "Sure am, little guy. Her dad's coming up tomorrow. Where's she hiding?"
"Her room. Do you need to know the way?"
"No, I know it. Thank you." He handed over a candybar and headed that way, whistling casually. By the time he got up there, Arsene was in her doorway, scowling at him. He handed over two of the bags. "Chocolate, your next six months of patches, and the new underwear you needed." He kissed her on the top of the head. "Melissa?"
"She supposedly went to class." She broke open the first box of candy and nibbled on a piece. "Daddy?"
"Good, that means I have time to clean." She blew a kiss and went back inside, putting a patch on immediately. It'd make her feel better.
Xander walked up to his daughter's room and put her bags on her bed, then to Lotus' and put her bag on her bed, then down to the main hall area since the bell had just rang. He caught Ishi and handed over his bag personally. "From the last con."
"Thanks, Mom," he said, giving him a hug. "I missed Uncle Ray."
"Uncle Ray was still growling then," Xander said proudly. "He came as a scowly good guy."
"He came as Uncle Zenny?"
"No, Gramps came as Gramps this time. Ray came as a different scowly good guy. Vecchio tried to kick my ass for what I did to him in the hospital but he gave up after I kept swatting him back for it. He was trying really hard but I was in the mood to play. He gave up and stomped off so Ray filled in Vecchio's spot and scowled at us all until Misty put him into a better mood and Bix showed up just then. She said she didn't mind, that Ray had to smile at her so his scowling had better stop right that instant. She kissed him and he lightened up like someone had filled him with incandescent lightbulbs and a few good batteries." He chuckled. "Someone asked her if she'd ever give us up and marry Ray. She said when Yu didn't need her she'd be free of her promise and she would if he wanted her at that time. Goemon overheard and said that if she wanted to leave their service she could go and he'd give her half of the family's money. She scowled at him and told him that if she did that, the boys would be starved within two weeks if Marcus and I weren't there. Ray got to kick Lupin for scowling at her for saying that." Ishi giggled, leaning against him. The bell rang. "Which class?"
"Math," he said pitifully.
"Then you'd better go. I'll see you later." He dropped a kiss on his cheek and headed off again to find Lotus. He found her stomping up and down on something in the garden. "I left you stuff on your bed."
"Yes!" She ran over to hug him, pulling him back to her spot. "Kill this thing for me. I can't even dig it up."
He looked at the plant, then at her. "Have you tried salt and lye?"
"Then I can't plant something else here."
"True." Xander got down and then smiled, taking the shovel to dig a *big* hole for her. He handed over the plant by the stem, proudly grinning at her. "I killed another plant!"
"Thank you, Uncle." She went to put that nasty weed somewhere else and plant her own things. The teacher walked past her and started to say something. "It's in the compost heap. I had to have Uncle Lavelle dig it up for me."
"That's fine, Lotus. Thank you." He went to share that news with the others. Lavelle was there. It was good gossip.
The Marksmanship teacher looked up as whistling started behind him, dropping the gun he was cleaning. "You're...you're..."
"Melissa's mother actually," he admitted with a grin. "And yes, I am." He smirked at him. "How's my baby doing?"
"Better. On targets she's great. She's gotten to the point where she can hit targets perfectly, unless it bleeds."
"Which is a bad problem, but possibly something fixable. That's why I'm here early, to work with her before Jigen gets here." He nodded. "Where might she be?"
"Doing nature studies. She's in the wood somewhere."
"Coolness." He looked outside, then concentrated very hard on his little girl, shocking her lightly. He heard her yelp and let out a bird call, leading her back. "Hey." He put an arm around her and walked her inside the range, closing and locking the door. "Okay, let's work on this. I'm officially already gone. I got the Fiat in the courtyard for you." He kissed her on the forehead. "And now for some mom and kid time." He tipped her chin up. "Trust me, I don't like the sight of blood either. But let me do what I did to your aunt once, okay?" She nodded and he put his hands on her temple, concentrating on the vision he wanted to show her, changing it from him and Jigen to her and the others. They were pinned down in courtyard of some sort. There were people firing from all angles. Ishi was shot in the arm and holding it. Arsene was shooting frantically. Lotus was on the ground. Melissa was standing there looking at her gun. "What're you going to do, baby girl?" he whispered.
Melissa whimpered and started to shoot the people trying to kill her and her family. She slumped, clutching him around the chest. "I'm sorry, daddy. I don't want to let you down."
"You're not," he promised, patting her on the back. He gave her a squeeze. "This is something we've got to work on." He tipped her face up. "Sometimes it's necessary. You've got to be willing to harm someone to save yourself and the others. If you can't do that then you should not be in the field. That's what drove Dawn out."
She nodded, hugging him again. "I get it, daddy. I know. I just wanna...." She shook her head, not sure what she wanted to say. "Daddy, how did you get past that?"
"My first one was to save your father. I was three days back from Hell and not in my right mind. The next one was harder, but he was a bad guy and I was saving my own ass that time. Your dad got *mad* at me," he sighed. "He wasn't in that bathroom with that attempted rapist and drug dealer. After that, it was like they were vampires for a bit and then it was necessary again." She nodded at that wisdom. "Now, the real question is your destiny. Do you just want to be a planner or do you want to be with the others in the field?"
"I want to be in the field." She pulled back. "So if I have to I can juxtapose them for the vampires?"
"If you must but you'll have to deal with it sometime," he reminded her.
She nodded. "I'll try, daddy."
"That's my girl. That's all I ask. That and you do not go into the field if you can't handle the job. Lupin'll need someone doing plans for her and being a homebase."
She nodded. "Sure. Thanks, Daddy." She gave him another squeeze. "What did you bring me?"
"Some chocolates, your new pills since you said you're having problems getting the shot here. These are the ones that can stop your period for up to three months at a time."
"Cool. I hate those things," she agreed with a grin. "Anything else?"
"I got Ishi some new comics and stuff. You girls all got some chocolate but I got Lupin more because she's been pouting recently. That and I brought the new teacher up."
"New teacher?" she asked.
"Lupin's idea," the marksmanship teacher said bitterly. "To teach the kids the common mistakes, the common ways to get caught, and what prison is really like."
"A cop?" she asked in shock.
Xander nodded. "Yup, another wacky Lupin the Fourth idea," he agreed with a grin.
She groaned and shook her head. "Why me, Goddess?" she muttered.
He patted her on the head. "Think about her genetic donors. It'll make sense some day, when she's not having wacky PMS ideas."
Melissa looked stunned. "She does only think of these things when she's having her cycle!" She smacked herself on the head. "Fucking hell. We've got to stop those for her." She looked up but her father had snuck out. "Dad!"
"He'll be back for parent's night tomorrow," the teacher said quietly, making her jump. "Think you can work on that now?"
"I think so," she admitted. "I'm going to think. Thank you." She walked out, going to think and see if she could work her mind around that stuff. And figure out how to get Lupin's periods stopped for good, and hopefully hers too.
The teacher shook his head. He loved kids like these. They were what made the field fun. Or very frustrating when you had to deal with their oddness, but mostly fun.
Lupin strolled through the gates, smirking at the guards. "Have the kids snuck out yet?"
"Not yet. They've been working very hard."
"On your patience or to destroy things?" Jigen asked as he followed.
The guard snickered. "No, I've actually caught them doing homework. The other parents are in the dining hall."
"Thanks," Lupin said, heading that way with the others. Goemon grunted as he walked past the guard. "Forgive him, the babies pounced him *really* early this morning."
Marcus walked past with the older kids behind him. "They're visiting their siblings." Yu waved from his back and the others smirked at him.
"Two more Goemons and a baby Lavelle?" the guard asked. He looked at the two girls. "And two baby Sylvia's?" he asked hopefully.
"Unfortunately both the girls have higher callings," Marcus admitted. "Two baby Goemons and a baby Lupin, who will probably be quite a lot like Lavelle," he agreed with a wink. "They wanted to pounce their big sisters and brother." He walked the children on, taking them to find their siblings.
"Sissy!" Fred shrieked, running and pouncing her, cackling when she screamed. "Hi, sissy." He nuzzled her neck. "Missed you."
"Fred!" She pulled him around to hug him. "I missed you too, little guy." She kissed him on the forehead. "I take it everyone's here?"
"But Bix, she had a date," he said with a grin. "We sent her with pretty presents."
"I'm impressed." She smiled at her parents. "Fred found me."
"I can see that. He's supposed to not get away from Marcus."
"Bullshit!" Fred said proudly. "My sissy." He hugged her, snuggling up to her. "Other sissies?"
"They're upstairs fluffing out their hair and putting on clothes. I was about to change too. You can come with me if you want." He nodded. "Be back in a minute, daddy." She looked around. "Mom?"
"Running late," Jigen noted, patting her on the back. "Hurry back." She nodded, jogging off with Fred attached to her. He looked down at the sound of sniffling. "She'll be right back and play with you then, Sarah. She just needed to change clothes."
"Otay," she said pitifully.
"She's gone to get 'Lis and Lotus," Lupin offered.
"'Tay," she said again, looking pitiful.
"And Ishi too," he promised. She beamed at that.
Melissa came out of the hallway, tying her hair back. "Actually, Ishi should be at dinner," she noted. She hugged the parents, then picked up Sarah and Alex. "C'mon, guys, let's go pounce the Ishi and Lotus monsters." They cheered and let her walk them off. "Hi, Yu!" she called, grinning at him. "C'mon, Kenji. We're going to see Ishi." He trotted after her, looking around at everything as they walked. The parents were following. She walked in and deposited the kids on Ishi's lap before sitting down and picking up Kenji, letting him wave at his big brother. "Lupin went to change with Fred."
"Cool beans," he agreed, grinning at Kenji, who was pouting. "I'll hug you when Lotus steals one of the girls." Lotus came in and squealed, taking Alex to hug. "See?" Kenji scrambled up and across the table, plopping himself down in his big brother's lap. "How have you guys been?"
"We learn new stuff," Sarah said proudly. "Even me."
"Congratulations," Ishi said happily. He grinned at his father and Yu. "Hi, other brother." Yu squealed and bounced in his backpack. "I'd hug you but I've got a full lap."
Jigen sat down and stole Sarah. "There. Now you can fit Yu so he quits torturing Marcus' back." He patted his baby girl on the back. "They've missed you."
"I've missed being pounced awake in the mornings," Ishi noted. "It's much harder to wake up to an alarm clock. They have snooze buttons."
Melissa snickered. "We had to go wake him up this morning. The monitor was most shocked when he came running naked out of his room and headed for the showers. I have no idea what his sister told him but it worked well."
"He had drool on his chest," Lotus said with a small shrug. She smiled at her father. "Hi, dad."
"Hello, Lotus." He kissed her on the head. "Hello, son." He kissed him on the head as well. He took his seat on the other side of Lotus. "Arsene is taking a long time."
"Fred's probably playing with her bras again," Melissa offered.
Lupin the Fourth came back with Lavelle, who was dressed nicely in a 'working' suit and had his hair pulled back. "Look at who I found looking up at the stars."
"Are they talking to you now, dad?" Melissa teased, grinning at him.
"No, I was waiting for a message from God that the next apocalypse is happening. I'm supposed to be called back into service against my will," he said dryly, sitting between the two girls. "Hey, guys."
"Hi," Lotus said happily. "We can give you a tour later."
He winked. "I already got one." She giggled. "So, my darling little ones, how have we been?"
"Busy," Ishi offered.
"The gym teacher finally relented and sent us to the advanced classes," Arsene offered. "I'm doing a lot of gymnastics right now for balance."
"Her and me both," Ishi agreed.
Melissa shuddered. "I'm doing yoga." Her father gave her a long look. "Daddy, I'm very good on targets," she offered.
"So I've heard, baby girl," he praised. "I'm proud of you." He looked around, noticing one kid staring at them in awe and longing. "Who's the gaping boy? Boyfriend?"
"We've taken him under our wing to help him," Ishi said. "He's a money person so he's having problems with the more practical classes for thieves. We had to work on his marksmanship and his PE stuff."
Lupin caught the boy's eyes and nodded him over. The boy got up and brought his plate over, sitting down in a free spot. "Hi. So I hear you're their friend?"
"They protect me from the other boys. They thought I should be a gopher. Sir," he added as an afterthought.
"See, that's shortsighted. A good money person can make or break your life. Because if you don't have the funds camouflaged then the cops can find them and freeze them. Plus, you know, they pay the bills when you're busy and deal with the retirement accounts," Lavelle offered. The boy beamed at him. "You doing college?"
"I don't know yet, sir."
"Kid, don't sir me. I'm not a knight," Lavelle said with a grin. "I'm a Lavelle."
"Yes, si...Lavelle. Thank you, Lavelle."
"Your parents military?" Jigen asked.
"My father works for Chicago's underground network," he admitted.
"Then you'd be Herman's boy," Jigen said. The boy nodded. "Tell him Jigen said hi." He smirked at him. "He'll throw a fit. Feel free to lie and tell him you're dating my daughter too. That should save you a lot of problems from him."
The boy broke out in quiet giggles. "I'll write and tell him that tonight. Thank you, sir."
"Loosen up, Wyatt. It's fine," Lupin assured him. "We like the kid's friends. We even put up with Lotus's friendship with one of Zenigata's nephews."
"I like Morgan, he's a neat guy," Lotus reminded him.
"Who's about to have his world busted open," Jigen told her. "His mom's trying to file to get custody back."
"I'll write him tonight," she promised. "Thank you, Uncle Jigen."
"Welcome, little one. So, how are classes? I've heard you skipped out on a couple."
"We try to go," Ishi offered. "The PE teacher wasn't that impressed with us until we showed our butts in class."
"We destroyed most of his course over that month we were in there," Arsene agreed. "He wasn't happy with us, but it showed we were better than most of the kids our age."
"You've been playing and training in the life since you were six, guys, of course you are," Lavelle agreed. "I worked very hard to make you guys the best ever."
"As did I and Marcus and the rest," Goemon agreed.
"No, he's got a right to be proud," Lupin admitted. "He did more than Jigen and I together with the girls."
"Speaking of feeding us, can I please have the ham?" Arsene asked with a grin for her father. "Any idea of targets?"
"Not yet," he admitted. He frowned at Xander. "He created such problems."
"Hey, Gramps told me to go bother the Commissioner. I went to torture him. He also asked me out on a date when I slipped him my email address." He grinned at the choking sounds. "What?" he asked innocently.
"Lavelle, you only take orders from me," Lupin growled. "Not from the cops. From *me*. You're *my* gunman."
"Yes, boss." He grinned at the girls. "So, I'm supposing you got the stuff I shipped up recently? The comics, the Fiat? All that stuff?" The others didn't know he had shown up yesterday and he wanted to keep it that way.
"We did, thank you, Uncle," Lotus said, handing him down the potatoes. "Here you go."
"Thanks, Lotus." He hugged her. "It's so boring around the house with just me and Marcus for fun."
"I'm sure the kids'll be helping you have fun soon," Lupin offered.
"Fred's gonna be such a good thief and gunman," Arsene cooed, grinning at the baby in her lap. "You're going to come help us on jobs and you're gonna be Melissa and Ishi's backup. We'll whore our way through the world once you're old enough and everything'll be a lot fun." He tweaked her and giggled. "If you're like your mommy, it'll only be better for us. That way we can have our own version of Lavelle."
"If you recharge that choker and put it on him, I'd have to spank you," Xander said dryly. He heard a squeal and looked around, frowning at the woman pointing at them. "Yes?" he asked impatiently. "I'm talking with our kids. You're interrupting."
"You're...you're Lavelle," she said, looking stunned.
"Sure am, babe. And?"
"You're...." She looked at the kids, swallowing hard. "The second Lupin generation," she said in awe. She found her daughter and pulled her over. "This is my daughter, Mr. Lupin. May I present Amatrice LeBlac, a wonderful gunwoman in her own right."
"Actually, she's a better lockpick and hacker," Lupin the Fourth told her. "We've used her recently for something outside the school." The mother gave her a tight smile. "Hey, Amme, wanna sit with us?"
"No, that's okay, I can sit with my parents," she said with a smile for her. "If your daughter ever needs me, all she has to do is ask," Amatrice offered.
"That's good to know. Little Lupin the Fourth does a good job choosing her helpers. If we decide to run another camp, we'll invite you." She smiled and led her mother away. "Good hacker?"
"Yeah, excellent at it. She apparently took to it once she got here. She's a decent gunwoman but she's more sniper quality than assassin type. She's an *excellent* hacker though. She broke into Vecchio's computer and sent the bunny stuff."
Xander broke out in giggles. "That was so cute! He growled at me for it and I had to tell him it wasn't me. I don't hack."
Melissa grinned. "It was her design."
"Interesting. Things like that deserve attention," Lupin agreed, smiling at the girl. "I'll keep her in mind. You do the same, Lupin."
"I do, daddy."
"Good girl, Empress."
"She's an empress?" Wyatt asked.
"Of my empire," Lupin said smugly.
"Whereas Melissa's my crown princess," Lavelle added with a wicked smirk. "When do you get to do an internship?"
"Next year. I have a few people that I correspond with for professional courtesy and advice."
"I'll see what I can do to get you guys a special guest lecturer. Murami's been looking for a helper and replacement for when she retires," he told Jigen when he got looked at. "Where better to find someone?"
"Good point," Lupin agreed. "I'll talk to her about it."
"I can do that."
"You're going to be busy making up to me for being naughty," Lupin assured him. Xander cackled. "You will be."
"Only if the apocalypse doesn't happen first."
"Oh, don't you worry about that," Lupin assured him.
Lavelle blew a kiss. "If the world ends, I'd have to go take my spot in Hell's bar."
"Quit guys," Jigen ordered. "We'll figure it out later."
"Where were you, daddy?" Melissa asked. Wyatt choked again. "I'll explain later, Wyatt."
"Sure," he squeaked.
"I was busy doing something," he said with a wink. "Nothing major."
"We'll be hearing *all* about it later I'm sure," Lupin promised.
"You wanted to hear about me going underwear shopping? It's not usually the exciting thing you like to hear about." Lupin gave him a long look so Xander smirked sweetly at him. "Yes?"
"I'm going to paddle you later."
"Doggy paddle or just regular swimming?"
"Kids, quit," Jigen ordered.
"Yes, daddy Jigen," Xander said sweetly, smirking at Goemon. "So, how's Bix?"
"Fine. She's got a date tonight with Ray."
"Cool. They're probably going to be late. The last time I saw Ray's car he was slowly getting a flat tire."
"That's fine. As long as he is proper with her," Goemon noted.
"Ishi, you've been quiet, are you okay?" Xander asked.
"Amanda said that doing the long-distance dating thing was too hard," he pouted.
"We'll help you look for someone nicer and who'll stick to you like glue," Xander promised. "Someone nice and sweet and around."
"Just as long as it's not one of the daughters," Marcus said dryly. "That would be a bit icky, Lavelle."
"Um, eww," Lupin the Fourth noted. "Ishi's like my brother. I may have peeked a few times to see what the big deal about boys is, but that's just nasty. That'd be like me sleeping with Melissa, Uncle Marcus."
"I'd be hell in bed and you'd never keep up," Melissa said dryly, smirking at her. "Besides, you two would drive each other insane."
"Not to mention us," Lupin the Third agreed sarcastically.
"The grandkids would be demonic," Jigen agreed. "We'd never babysit."
"Me either. I'd stand there and laugh and point, but I wouldn't sit," Lotus offered sweetly.
"Not an option," Ishi said firmly. He frowned at Marcus. "I'd never sleep with her! She's not the sort of girl I like, Uncle Marcus. She's bouncy and adventurous. I like calm women, women who live for my pleasure and let me pleasure them in return."
"So, you want a geisha?" Marcus asked.
"Not really. I'd prefer one that was only mine."
"I'll see what I can do," Xander promised.
"He can find his own girls," Goemon said firmly.
"Sure, I'll just screen out applicants," Xander promised with a grin for him. He smirked at his nephew. "So, how's math and history?"
"Son, you must try in your classes," Goemon ordered patiently.
"I do, I still suck at it," he snorted.
"As long as you're trying we can't say too much," Jigen offered.
"It's not like you're going to college," Lupin agreed.
"I would still prefer he got decent grades," Goemon reminded them.
"He's getting B's," Xander told him. "He's simply a perfectionist about some things. He gets that from you, big guy."
Goemon looked at his son. "Truly?" Ishi nodded. "Then I will not complain. Try as best you can and accept that."
"Daddy, I got an 'A' in herbology and poisons," Lotus said happily.
"Good girl," he praised with a smile. "You do me proud, daughter."
"Thank you, daddy. Uncle, when am I being called to Japan?"
"This summer sometime."
"Where are we going for spring break?" Arsene asked.
"Not to Disney," Lupin the Third told her firmly, frowning at her mischievous look. "You wanna go hit Disney Paris, you go alone. I'm not subjecting my team to torture for the fun of yours, daughter."
"Sure, daddy. Should we bring you back some mouse ears?"
"Bring Goemon back some," Jigen said with a smile for his little girl.
"She'll need practice shoplifting again," Melissa offered. "She's out of practice."
"I'm sure she can get that here," Goemon reminded her. "How are your studies?"
"The usual. Boring. The PE class is okay enough now that we're not doing the obstacle courses. History and Math are the same, and we've done the current section so I'm moving ahead. Accounting is kinda interesting. Practical Education is about the same as we've been doing. We're doing checkbooks and stuff now." She shrugged. "Stuff I've been doing for the group since we started doing stuff."
"We're moving onto cooking next," Arsene offered.
"True, we are," she agreed. "That'll add some spice when some of the kids poison themselves and others."
"If you need special stuff, tell us," Marcus reminded her. "I can make an excellent quiche and will send the recipe if you want."
"That's okay, Uncle Marcus. We're starting out simple. This is how you boil water and how you fry an egg. Then we're moving onto some more complicated things, like scrambling eggs and baking chickens," Arsene told him.
"Don't worry, we'll be hyping that skill this summer," Lupin promised his baby. Fred pinched him so he grinned at him. "Yes, Fred? Did you want to cuddle me now?"
"No! Pinch!" He did it again.
"Yes, that was," Lupin agreed, pinching him back. "No more pinching me." His son cackled just like him.
"Too late for him to go straight," Lupin the Fourth joked. "He's got the wicked cackle down."
"So did you," Jigen reminded her with a grin. "Yu likes to hide in dirty laundry too."
"I remember doing that," Ishi said fondly, smiling at his baby brother. "Did you hide in mine or in Mommy's?"
"Mamamamama!" Yu said happily, pounding on the table.
"He hide in Mommy's nasty stuff," Kenji said, tugging on his sleeve. "He hide in undies."
"Ooh, that had to be cute," Ishi said, grinning down at him. "Wanna take a walk with me later, little guy?"
"Otay!" He bounced some. "We walk now?"
"Eat first, son," Goemon ordered. Kenji grabbed some of food, picking up a piece of ham to nibble on. Ishi ate as well. He looked at the girls. "You look well."
"We're much happier now that our supplies were replenished," Arsene told him. "Thank you to whoever had the patches and pills sent."
"I didn't get mine," Lotus noted.
"I'll have her call in a prescription for you," Xander promised, patting her on the back. "I'll mail 'em."
"Thank you, uncle." She cut into her meat, eating heartily. "We have midnight training in the woods," she reminded them.
"I remember," Lupin agreed, digging in. Melissa ate as well. "She's been doing well on her idea problem, Uncle Jigen."
"Good. I know it was frustrating her still."
"Yeah, but the teacher here helped some. They're not backed up and he's helping me by coaxing them out by suggesting things," Melissa told him. "He's probably still drooling over the Fiat."
"It's a wonderful design. I'd be doing it too," the elder Lupin agreed. "I can't wait to get you in the workshop with me this summer, 'Lis. I've already got an idea I want you to help me with." She beamed at him.
The older group looked at each other then sighed in unison. "There is news about the Mother," Goemon said quietly. They all dropped their forks. "She's in London."
"She's still aching to get her hands on you guys," Xander told them. "So be damn careful kids. Make sure she can't get Wyatt too."
"Yes, Lavelle," Arsene agreed for her group. She noticed Ishi's squeezing fist had bent his fork and nodded at it. "It'll be fine, Ishi. She gets near you two over my dead damn body."
Ishi calmed himself by hugging his baby brother. "I know. I'm sorry."
"No, it's understandable," Xander soothed, patting him on the back. "I'm pissed at her too. I'm inches from dealing with her myself." Ishi looked up at him, staring him in the eyes. "It'll be fine, Ishi," he repeated. The boy took comfort and nodded, giving Kenji another squeeze. "Eat, guys. You're losing weight."
"Bull. My favorite jeans are tight," Melissa snorted.
"That's because you grew again," Lupin the Third reminded her. "You're becoming quite a pretty young woman, Melissa."
"Thank you, Uncle. It's all BS of course, but thanks for making me feel better."
"You're all very pretty girls," Goemon agreed.
"Hell, if you weren't my kids, I'd take you in an instant when you're older," Xander said dryly. Lupin the Fourth looked at him in awe. "If you weren't my kids," he reminded her.
"I know, but you really think we're that pretty? You only sleep with pretty people, Uncle Lavelle."
"I know," he agreed smugly, "and I do think so. You're all stunning children. Even this gangly little guy over here who is apparently in the middle of another growth spurt." He ruffled Ishi's hair. "We need to get you a trim. I'll steal you some weekend to do the shopping and hair stuff."
"Spring Break's in another month," Lupin offered. "He probably needs to go to the eye doctor anyway."
"He does," Xander agreed. "I've already made an appointment for that on your second day home. I didn't think the 'rents would be doing anything that day."
"Probably not," Lupin agreed. She looked at her cohort. "That good with you or do you need to go sooner?"
"No, I'm good," he promised. He groaned as another student approached them. "Shit. Moron alert," he told Lupin.
She wiped off her fork and stabbed the boy in the thigh, making him howl. "Go away. We're talking with our parents."
"You're going to be doing dishes tomorrow night for that, Lupin," the Headmistress called down from her seat. "Apologize."
"Sorry you're being a prick and interrupting," she sneered.
"I only came over to give my respects to your father," he sneered back.
"Chad DeMarllion," Lupin the Third said, looking him over. "Put some pressure on that, it'll stop bleeding soon. She didn't put much weight behind the fork." The boy stood up, no longer holding it. "Good to see that you're all right. Are you enjoying the classes?"
"I am, sir. My father said I was to pay my respects when you showed up next time. Your daughter is my only rival here."
"And what am I? Chopped liver?" Ishi asked snidely. "By the way, thanks for the fudge. How did you know I was having a chocolate moment?" The boy looked stunned so he smirked. "Speaking of, did you need Wyatt tonight? I was going to work on his hand-to- hand after the parents left."
"No, that's fine," he said calmly, looking at Lupin. "Your daughter is very good, sir."
"I know," he agreed with a smile. "She's been doing jobs since she was eight. These four have always made me very proud of their skills. Give my regards to your father. Hopefully you'll be as good, if not better, than he is." The boy nodded and limped off. "Buttfucker," he muttered as soon as the boy was gone.
"Daddy," Arsene said, smirking at him. "I'm sure he can't be worse than some of his distant uncles."
"It happens in all families, daughter. Remember, you do have a twin," he said wisely.
"Yeah, but she wants to be a good guy."
"True. She's doing very well at her new school. She loves it up there. They won the team marksmanship championship this year for their school. Savannah's doing a lot of riding recently."
"Have they straightened out?" Xander asked.
"They have and they're happier there," Lupin assured him. "They said they want to go back next year."
"Good deal. I'm all for that," Xander agreed. "Breaks and summer?"
"They want to go to a teen's police camp this summer," Jigen offered.
"That's only four weeks and they'd hate it," Xander pointed out.
"I know but they want to try. After that, we'll sit out while they're home," Lupin assured him. "Or we'll take the girls and do something while Marcus goes with them to do wholesome things."
"They could go on a cruise or on a trip around Europe," Marcus offered.
"They're much too young for that," Goemon disagreed. "They're only fourteen."
"I'd chaperone them, Master."
"They're still too young and prone to trouble," Goemon reminded him.
"They wouldn't get as much as they would when they're eighteen," Jigen agreed. "This summer we'll sit out for a bit. Next summer we may send them on a trip around Greece or something."
"Um, Uncle Lupin, I've had a note from Morgan recently," Lotus said hesitantly. "He's acting like he wants to switch sides. He was bragging that he got a new laptop for free."
Lupin the Third sighed. "If he turns, I'll offer to teach him. He's probably got some skills from his aunt and mother. I doubt he'd stay though."
"Yeah, well, Uncle Zenny doesn't know that he does that yet," she offered. "It'll kill him if he finds out. He's too good to be in crime, too nice. He's a lot like his aunt, only nicer and more innocent of reality sometimes."
"A lot like his uncle," Jigen agreed. "We'll talk to the boy, Lotus."
"Thanks, Uncle Jigen. That's what I wanted."
"Hey, not an issue. I've got a nephew who needed the same talk," Lupin promised.
"We have cousins?" Arsene asked.
"Yeah, I've got a half-sister and she's got four kids," he offered. "They're in England."
"Can we go to the manor this year for the summer?" Lupin the Fourth asked. "I've never really been there and it'd be good for the good girls."
"We'll see," he promised with a grin. "It's an interesting idea." He looked at Goemon. "You?"
"I'd like to head home for a bit this summer. I need to see some people in Japan."
"Should we plan on going with you, father?" Ishi asked.
"If you'd like," he offered. "Your sister may have to go for a bit, but you may travel with me if you wish."
"Me go?" Kenji asked.
"We'll see, son," he promised. "It will be a long trip with a lot of walking." His middle son nodded. "If you behave, I'll consider it." His son nodded more fiercely.
"Would we be taking a flat for the summer?" Ishi asked.
"I had thought about that as well," Goemon agreed. "I do have a small house."
"Plus the old school," Lupin reminded him. "They could go there."
"True. That is more preferable and we could do some intense training there."
"So could I," Lotus agreed. "It is in a wooded area, it's near my group, and it's pretty up there."
"Then we'll go this summer," Goemon decided. "We'll bring Yu as well. Bix can handle Fred and Sarah."
"Yes, father," they agreed.
"If you need us, just yell," Lupin reminded him.
"Good. Now that your summer's settled," Jigen said dryly, smirking at the girls. "Did you guys have any plans for this summer?"
"We should be working on our plans for the coming back jobs," Melissa told him. He nodded, that sounded reasonable.
"We'll need good targets," Lupin pointed out.
"I've been looking but there's not many left," Melissa offered. "Unless we want to hit some royal collections. There's a wonderful Saudi collection of art and jewels."
"That's fairly well-guarded," Lupin reminded her.
"Not really. It's going on show in a few years." She leaned her elbows on the table. "I'll send you what I've been looking at."
"Sure, 'Lis. You've got good taste in targets," Lupin assured her. He grinned at his goddaughter. "Any other ideas? Like for field trials?"
"They're giving us targets," Arsene said in disgust. "They were discussing them recently."
"In my day we got to pick but we also had at least two students shot a year because they got a bit too adventurous," Lupin offered. "They'll pick something safe, but a bit challenging."
"Hopefully. I don't want to do baby stuff."
The Headmistress caught her eye and smiled, standing up. "Attention!" she called, quieting the crowd. "I've heard a few of you talking about the field trials." She looked at the teachers, who nodded, but one, who shrugged. "We have picked targets. This year's group will be the last two year's students, including the Lupin group." That got some awed looks because they were younger. "Also, since this is such a large group, there will be different groups going. There will be four teacher led groups." She glanced around and everyone nodded. "And one student led group; led by Lupin the Fourth and her team." A few parents' mouths fell open at that one. "Since they do have more monitors they will have six students for theirs. The teachers will have five each. The lists will be posted tomorrow so you will need to talk to your teacher to get information and start your research on the targets. You may pick your own target of what you take from there. It must be provable that it came from there however. This year's targets are Venice, which is Lupin the Fourth's target with group A. Professor Magretes, the marksmanship professor, will be handling students in Geneva and group B. Professor Dillion, who teaches Planning and Organizations, will be taking Paris and group C. Professor Tylis, who teaches History of Theft, will be taking Rome and group D. I will be taking the last group since our usual teacher, Professor Ilanin is out on maternity leave, and group E will be taking on Amsterdam." She clapped her hands. "Lists will be up tomorrow. I will expect excellence." She sat down, smiling at her students. "You may return your conversations."
Lupin grinned at her group. "Okay, six students," she said happily. "Venice. What targets are in Venice?"
"A few holy artifacts."
"A shopping area," Lupin offered to his little girl.
"Some great old houses," Jigen reminded them.
"A few museums," Marcus offered. "There's a few palaces turned museum, a few real museums, some church museums, one started by Napoleon. There's a costume and textiles museum. That might be fun."
"I'm worried about doing art depending on who we're taking," Melissa noted. "Some of them probably couldn't shoplift successfully." She nibbled on her bottom lip. "We'll do a general search tonight and get the list tomorrow. We'll talk to our group, see if we're doing one heist or one each and supporting them."
"The rules usually go that each student has to steal their own things," Lupin the Third warned. "Monitors are there to make sure that they don't die, get arrested, that sort of thing. Everything else is up to the students."
Lupin got up and went up to the head table. "Are we supposed to sit back and watch or be backup support for our students? Do you want them to do one together or one each?"
"One each and they can offer support but each student must pull their own theft," she instructed gently. "This is to be their plan, their target, their ideas, their theft. The most you can do is watch and take notes so we can grade them."
"If there's trouble, we're backup?"
"Definitely," she agreed. "We've had some students who have gotten into a lot of trouble but you shouldn't have many of those. I'm giving you some experienced students."
"Give us Wyatt. He's a money guy and we know how he works best." She nodded that she had done that. "Okay. Can we suggest targets? Like draw up a list? Some of the kids can't sneak a painting out to save their lives."
"It can be small," she promised. "Something smaller is usually more easily done."
"So the costume's museum is an open target and we could take a mask?" she suggested.
"Definitely. Then everything is sent back if it makes it through in good shape."
"Cool. Thanks." She went back to her seat, grinning at Melissa. "We're there to be backup in case of emergencies, take notes for grading purposes. Everything else is theirs and it can be small things. Like taking a mask from the costume museum."
"Each of you have to do one as well," Lupin reminded her. "On your own."
"The only problem with that would be Lotus."
"Not really. There's a magical academy there," she said smugly. "They've got a museum. Besides, I think I can do a small thing like that on my own as long as someone else can drive a getaway car?"
"Sure," Melissa agreed. "We'll work it out so we all go at the same time. Staggering maybe. Each student does something and we pick them up at a set rendevous point or on the way past their sites. The driver can do theirs earlier in the day."
"I like that idea," Lupin agreed. "Okay, let's draw up a list of targets off the Travel channel and other tourism sites. That way the kids can have a list of things to pick from. If they come up with an idea otherwise we don't have to do anything as long as they've got an idea of what they can take and it can be proved it came from there."
"Decent enough," Melissa agreed. "Ishi?"
"I'm fine with that," he agreed. "When are we going?" he asked loudly.
"You go three weeks after you come back from Spring Break," one teacher called back. "You're sent out with a single suitcase."
"Hmm," Lotus noted. "I'll have to pack carefully. I'll want to bring an emergency pack too."
"That can be a backpack," Arsene assured her. "Ishi, I'll let you handle any weapons issues. Melissa can do our research. I'll help everyone look over their plans and pass them back to Melissa if they need a lot of help. Lotus, I'll let you do the checking in and making sure they can prove it came from there." She nodded that was a good idea. "Wyatt, you're in our group." He dropped his fork, shaking his head. "Yup, sure are, buddy. You're allowed to ask for suggestions but we can't do it for you. So think really hard and plan for something small and not usually missed."
"Or you could do a home invasion thingy with one of the rich people," Melissa asked.
He swallowed. "I'm not ready for that yet. I suck at that stuff."
"That's why you make plans," Arsene reminded him. "You can do this, Wyatt. You'll do fine. We'll be watching your back to make sure you don't get shot or arrested." He nodded, still looking fairly pale. "This is going to be kinda fun."
"It is," Melissa agreed. "What are you doing?"
"I like jewels. I've never hidden that. Maybe something pretty from a personal collection. I don't have many pins."
"You have to send it back, daughter," Lupin reminded her smugly.
She stuck her tongue out at him. "That doesn't mean I can't take it back once I've got it."
"True," he agreed, Jigen and Goemon nodding to support him. "We'll stay out of the way but we may pop around to watch you work. We don't get much chance for that."
"Please don't," Wyatt begged. "I'm going to be nervous enough without you guys watching us."
"We won't interfere, kid," Jigen assured him. "Just making sure Pop and his cops don't show up for them. They would interfere." He nodded, still looking down. "You'll do fine. It's not that hard. Just plan carefully and remember that things can happen so make plans for them."
"What happens if the kids don't get something?" Marcus asked.
"They're held back," Lupin said honestly. "You get three years to get something. If the sixth years get something and can prove it came from their site, then they pass it and don't have to do it again. The seventh years went last year and the remaining ones this year didn't get anything. If they don't get something this year, then they'll be held back a year. If they don't get something next year they can't graduate."
"Wow," Lupin said in awe. "Well, we're getting something this year. Next year we'll only have to monitor."
"Next year?" Goemon asked.
She looked at him. "We don't mind being here. We're not sixteen yet and daddy wanted us out of the limelight until we were sixteen. It's good for us to be here. We can be smug bitches without doing more than helping most of the time. Besides, we can graduate next year with a real diploma. That might not mean much to everyone but some people will look at that."
Lupin nodded. "I agree. We'll see."
She nodded. "That's fine. I'm just hoping that I can herd the kids and get my own target. That'd be embarrassing."
"Not really. I was given the choice but I decided to do it anyway. I had to save two of my classmates my first time," Lupin said dryly. "A cop found us casing something and tried to shoot us all. Including the Headmistress. I went back later and handed it in Monday instead of Sunday night. They had me redo it properly the next year."
She nodded. "That's what I'm worried about."
"Be afraid, daughter," Lavelle agreed. "Rookies make mistakes. They make odd, strange, unexpected mistakes. Be the mother you were as the babysitter." The girls nodded at that. "Good girls. One of us will have to go bother Fujiko to make sure she doesn't show up either," he pointed out. "I'll go kill her if we want." Goemon gave him a dirty look. "Sorry, big guy."
"No, it is a necessary thought," he agreed quietly.
"But that doesn't mean it doesn't hurt," Ishi agreed. "I have that same feeling sometimes." He got up and went to talk to the marksmanship teacher. "Should I go armed?"
"Probably. You've got a couple of kids who're bad screwballs and will probably have to do it again next year. If your boss comes out like her dad did, then we'd probably accept a late submission." He nodded. "No more than your sword and one gun each and none for the students."
"Yes, sir. I'll handle the weapons, Lotus is handling the emergency pack with bandages and things. Who'll be doing the driving or can we?"
"You can," he offered. "You'll have to plan that as part of the outing. That, hotel or hostel, food, arrangements for casing places. Cameras are always handy too. That's a sure way of proving something came from a spot. You'll have to present it as a project, pictures, report, everything. The first part should be your plans. Your research and your proof should come next. The report on how it went, in detail, and you can add your notes later if you must. Pictures of the item and all of that."
"So we'll need something too?" he asked. The teacher nodded. "Fine. What about kids like Lotus?"
"That's off limits. We don't want them to get in trouble with their own people. They'll have to go to a mundane target."
"What if the kids want to do something at the same place?"
"Then they can plan to use the same entrance and exit strategy but they've got to show an individual way of getting their targets. What were you thinking?"
"Uncle Marcus mentioned a costume museum. Lotus and Wyatt could easily do that together but get separate things. If she had my sword she could cut something free. No magic?" He shook his head. "Fine. I'll tell her. Any other instructions?"
"Don't do the Doge's palace. It's heavily guarded that time of year. A few students have died doing it in the past," he ordered quietly.
"Yes, sir, I'll tell Lupin that." He nodded and went back to his seat. "Okay, this is going in project format. Pre-plans, research, post plans and problems. Pictures. Lotus, no magic. If they want to do the same target, they can share entrance and exit plans but they've got to do it individually and in a different manner. One gun for each of us and we'll need cameras or video cameras. We're responsible for planning lodging, food, car rental, and times to case things." Melissa and Lupin nodded. "Do not allow the Doge's palace. It's heavily guarded and people have died in the past."
"What do the kids in the assassin's program do?" Lotus asked.
"They have a target," Lupin told her. "They've got to be graded on doing their jobs, sweetheart." She shuddered but nodded. "And in the past," he said, looking at his daughter, "a few students have chosen targets inside the school." She raised an eyebrow. Then she nodded once. "Okay. We'll be in Venice. Marcus, go harass Fujiko. You won't kill her but you can make her miserable at that time." He nodded. "We'll watch out for Pops and his cops."
"There's a convention near then," Xander offered. "It's in Venice."
"That's fine. We'll keep them away from the kids," Jigen agreed. "I'll do Vecchio, Lupin you do Pops. Lavelle, you do Kowalski."
"On it," he agreed. "Should we take notes of problems if the kids can't?"
"If we find out something we'll make sure to send it back. It's a parent's duty," Lupin promised with a grin. "It's a good way of screwing over someone else's kid in favor of your own."
"That's cool. I don't want to have to dodge Gramps and his two Rays while bird-dogging students and pulling my own heist," Melissa agreed.
"When's the convention?"
"The next weekend I think," Xander told him. "If you do well, I'll try to get you sprung for a day."
"Thanks, Uncle." He gave him a gentle nudge. "Is Kenji with you?"
"No, he's pulled a neat baby Xander trick and went to snuggle up to some tits," Xander said, pointing him out to the big brother. "Yu's presently trying to nurse on another girl, and Alex is playing with Jigen's hair while Fred is stalking a couple of his own and Sarah is cooing at the Headmistress while patting her shoes because they have furry tops."
Lupin stood up. "Kids," he called. Fred pouted at him. "You're too young to pick up chicks, son. Get back here. You as well, Kenji. Whoever has Yu, he's weaned, give him back please." He sat down.
"Sarah," Jigen called. "You can pet the cats when we get home." She pouted at him. "Tough. Now." She pouted all the way back to his side.
Kenji found his baby brother and walked him back, then pouted at his father. "She pretty!"
"Tough, son. You do not disrespect women like that." He patted his son on the back. "Someday you will have a nice girl of your own. Until then you can wait."
Xander coughed. "Fred's presently crotch diving and her boyfriend is trying to pull him up since he supposedly slipped while climbing up into her lap."
Lupin groaned and got up to get his son. Fred was definitely a Lupin by birth. He walked over and cleared his throat. "Son." Fred finally managed to climb up her to snuggle up to her tits. "No, son. You're too young to pick up women."
"He's not being a bother, Mr. Lupin," the girl said sweetly.
"Yes he is. He's undoing your bra for you," he said dryly, smirking when she checked and squealed, swatting at Fred for doing that. "Can I have the baby Lupin back?" She handed him off. "He's sorry. He's five." He walked him back, sitting him in his lap. "Son, no going after women. No lap diving. No undoing bras until you understand what they're for."
"They for food," he said happily.
"Not for you. You eat real people food, not milk," Xander said dryly. He frowned at his son, who scowled back. "Tough, Fred. You've got to wait to get tits again."
"Fine," he said, pouting now, arms crossed over his chest and bottom lip stuck out.
"Damn and I thought I was the horny Lupin heir," Arsene said dryly, cracking her father up and making him shake his head. "Hey, Fred, wanna come sit in my lap?"
"No. You sissy, not girl."
"Girls are sisters," she assured him.
"No, you sissy, not a girl," he said, pouting worse. He managed to get down beside his father's chair and checked. Lupin was eating again. He started to move away again.
"Fred, one more step and I'm calling the baby leash here and putting you in it," Xander warned. "No girls, no boys, and no pretty things so go give back the earrings you stole." Fred sat down, crying loudly at the unfair treatment he was getting. "Now." He sniffled as he walked off, going to hand back the earrings of the first girl he had snuggled up to.
"That's mean, daddy," Arsene said with a grin. "You let us steal on that plane to Orlando at that age."
"You were a bit older and we still had to send stuff back since you got someone's passport."
"Not to mention a formula for a new liquid explosive," Melissa agreed dryly, smirking at him.
"That's true, you did," he agreed with a grin for her. "Then you guys almost stole a dolphin."
"A dolphin?" Wyatt asked.
"Yeah, Arsene nearly brought one home with her. She had the plan in place, including blackmailing a worker at Sea World. We stopped her before she could try it out. Melissa had arranged transport for the poor, sick thing - according to her story. They've been thieves now for a *long* time, kiddo." Wyatt grinned. "Hell, when you write your parents, tell him you're dating both of them if it'd help freak him out."
"Nah, he hates me, Lavelle," Jigen put in. "It'll cause him to choke and scream in rage."
"We need a new product to go to the Inventor's Showcase and Exhibition this year," Lupin the Third announced. "That way we can case all the ideas so 'Lis and Lavelle have things to work on.
"Beer with viagra added?" his daughter suggested. Marcus spluttered and choked on his present drink of water. "Budweiser has one that has caffeine and herbal supplements," she reminded him when Lupin gave her a funny look.
"Beer goggles and viagra," Xander said with a shudder. "Oh, Gods, that's a bad thought. Just think of the kids that could come to be!"
"The slogan could be something like 'don't let a night with the boys keep you from a night with the ladies'," Melissa suggested with a grin for him.
Both Lupin and Jigen shuddered at that thought. "Ewww," Jigen decided.
"But it'd sell," Lotus said. "Lots of guys would buy it."
"We could use an herbal viagra," Jigen said. "That way it's not trademark infringement."
"We don't know how strong we'd need to make it to counteract the alcohol," Lupin said, trying to quash the idea. In his fertile mind he could just see the results. Beer goggles were bad enough but adding viagra to it?
"That's easy, we use Marcus as a test subject," Jigen said with a shrug. "He's got a low alcohol tolerance and people who can wear it out afterwards."
"Most people don't drink just a single beer," Marcus put in. "That means you could probably get on with a tenth strength dose. It would have a cumulative effect."
"It'd be easy enough to calculate, ask a few bartenders the average of beers their customers get a night. They should be able to do that for the quieter nights," Ishi offered.
"We could do all the research within a few days," Jigen agreed.
"I'm still having horrible visions of the product at work," Lupin protested.
"Think about all those virgins who drink for courage," Lupin the fourth offered.
"Eww, daughter, and you had better not be one of them."
"Hell, no, daddy, I'm going to go pounce someone and use them, then leave them limp and lying around." She ate a bite of dinner, patting Fred on the back when he came over to get a hug. "Hi, Fred."
"Hug you." He grinned then went back to his father's side, hugging him too. "Wuv you, daddy."
"I love you too, Fred," he said, grinning down at him. "Be a good boy and we'll get you a treat later." Fred beamed and nodded, sitting down to work on his shoelaces. He hadn't quite gotten the bows part of tying them. He could do good knots though.
"Let's talk of happier things," Lupin announced. "Before I can't eat dinner."
"Sure, daddy. We're still growing so we may need to do some bra shopping during break."
Lupin spluttered, groaning as he wiped off his mouth. "I'm not the person to talk to that about. Change the subject again."
"Sure, daddy. We've got a formal coming up and we'll need help choosing for it too. I was thinking about red since it looks so stunning on us. It'll make me stand out among all the black gowns. I saw a hot little number in Rome. It was a bit low-cut but I'd look great in it. It's get me admired and wanted by everyone there."
Lupin groaned. Why did he have a daughter first and why was he cursed with a daughter who thought like him?
Arsene looked at the people who were gathered in the library. "Okay, we pulled up some travel information to give you a partial list of possible targets. If you have something you want to do, we'll agree as long as it's not the Doge's Palace. We were told they'd be heavily guarded and that's how the school loses a few students each year."
DeMarllion sneered at her. "Scared of a few guards?"
"No, but you're not allowed to go armed." He paused at that but shrugged and went back to sneering. "So if you're *that* set on that target, you've got to get permission from the Headmistress for it, not from us." She looked at the groups. "I'm assuming you were all told that this was to be handed in as a project? Including research, preliminary plans and all that?" They all nodded. "Good. Okay, the way we've figured this out is this. I'm going to be the one you come to for plan help. I can't do more than advise where I see problems. Melissa can help you find research sources. Ishi's going to handle the weapons that the monitors will be bringing while we're tailing you and taking notes. Lotus will have an emergency pack in case something horrible happens. We were told that if you picked the same targets you could go in and come out together but you had to have different approaches to the actual theft." Everyone nodded. "So, have the list," she said, handing them out. "We used the Travel Channel, which the address is up at the top of the page, and a few other travel sites. We've never been more than through Venice. Closer to the time we'll be setting up hotel, car rental, all that stuff. We'll ask your suggestions on hotels and try to make it close to the targets to give you plenty of time to case things." They all nodded. "Any questions?"
"Do you still have to pull one?" Wyatt asked.
Melissa nodded from her kicked-back position. "Yeah, we each have to pull one separately. One of the others will take notes for us while we go out. We'll probably go out that first night and do it while you guys case, then you guys can do it the next day and we'll figure out pickup schedules when we've got a timetable down." They nodded. "We're tentatively planning on being let out early that Friday. That means Friday night in Venice, parts of Friday and Saturday to case and choose your actual target. Saturday or Sunday to steal it. Then we'll head back here. That a problem for anyone?"
Lotus raised a hand. "I checked our calendars. We've got a test that Monday in History."
"Pity," Lupin told her with a grin. "If we're all done early we'll come back early." She looked at the group. "There are two complications that have arisen. There's a fandom convention in Venice the weekend after that, we think. It may be the weekend of."
"Your parents are going to be there?" DeMarllion sneered.
"Only to keep Zenigata and his two Rays off our backs," Ishi told him. "They're already after us, guys. The 'rents are going to be distraction and watching out for them to come after us. They may also watch over your shoulders but you shouldn't ever see them."
"The second one is that this will add even more people to the streets of Venice," Melissa noted. "That convention is supposed to usually have about 200 attendees. It's downtown so right near where we'll be." They groaned. "That can help or hinder you. It's also right in the middle of spring tourist season."
"I wish we could have gone during Carnival," Lupin sighed, leaning on the table. "There were lots of pretty things on display then."
"We made a deal with an old Doge not to go," Ishi reminded her. "Due to the religious significance of the festival we agreed not to make it a target."
"I know but it'd have been a lot easier." She looked at them. "Any questions?"
"Home invasion?" one young woman asked.
"Hasn't been ruled out," Lupin told her. "Can be dangerous but then again you're a thief. How would you prove it came from that spot though?"
"Good point. Running a tape?"
"If you can do that discretely," Melissa agreed. "That can easily be part of your project. The cameras we used to use only held about twenty minutes of film and they were relatively light and easy to use. I can call to see if we can borrow some if necessary."
The young woman nodded, looking at her list. "Most of these are museums."
"Yeah. They're actually easier than hitting somewhere like a major jewelry house. It's also easier to prove that something came from there," Lupin pointed out quietly, looking at the librarian's helper as he walked closer. "Not in this year's group?"
"No, I have a few classes to do before I join them," he said with a bright grin. "But I did summer in Venice a few years back," he offered. "I can help with maps and stuff if you need it." Everyone nodded at that. "The Headmistress has sent something." He handed it over to Melissa. You never handed Lupin stuff or Ishi messages, they always went to either Melissa or Lotus.
Melissa opened it and hummed. "Okay, home invasions are not off the list, but you've got to have a good reason for not hitting a better target. The Doge's Palace is officially off the list." She looked at DeMarllion. "There's some sort of business conference at that time and they'll be using the Palace." She handed it to Lupin. "Those who want to do a home invasion, you'll need to know what you're getting. That could mean news clippings of jewelry. There's also a costume museum on there for those who want to do something smaller and easier. It probably won't have high-tech security like the Guggenheim."
"That's in New York," the library helper pointed out.
"Their niece or sister or something has her former residence set up as a museum in town," Lupin told him. "I checked on that when I saw it. Some nice modern art." She looked at their group. "Any other points that need discussed?"
"Is Ishi bringing his sword?" DeMarllion asked.
"I asked last night and was told I could bring it," he agreed. "I've earned the right to use it. I probably won't be using it for my heist. Guys, do we want a weekly session to look over plans and things, starting in two weeks?" They all shrugged. "Okay, come find us if you need us." They wandered off. He looked at Lupin. "I'm doing art, probably a small statue."
Melissa sighed. "I'm doing art, but there's a good Church museum that has some pretty sketches. It's got light security so I thought I'd do that place."
"I still like jewels so I thought I'd do something like that," Lupin offered. They all looked at Lotus, who was reading. "You, Lotus?"
"The costume museum seems to be good enough for me," she promised. "Unless we find another good target." She looked up at them. "Hate to mention this, but two of us will be on our cycles during that weekend."
"My new pills take care of that for up to four months at a time," Melissa assured her.
"That's easy, you don't take your 'free' week," Lupin told her. "I asked the doctor about that. You keep going to the next month instead." Lotus grinned at that. "Pretty neat, huh?"
"Very. Much better than our ancestors." She went back to her reading. "This costume thing is pretty neat. I should be able to find something easily."
"Good. Does Carnival have anything like Mardi Gras or Carnival in Rio? With special costumes and things? Things like the samba costumes, not the general ones?"
"No, not really. Unlike Mardi Gras I couldn't find a 'king and queen' section of the reports either. Outside of the Doge. Lotus?"
"Have you seen anything like a king and queen of Carnival?"
"Nope." She put down her book. "I'm thinking if I don't do costume stuff I'll do a Church thing."
"Just don't get something with something extra stuffed inside," Lupin said dryly. "That's all we'd need, a Slayer showing up during it to save our butts."
"Not an issue. I can deal with that sort of thing," Lotus reminded her. "No Slayers needed."
"Good, but that'll get priests on our asses," Melissa told her. "Nothing demonic."
"That brings up a point. Is there a demon court there?" Arsene asked. "I don't want to get Mom in trouble."
"It shouldn't get him in trouble," Melissa pointed out. "Most of them don't put us and him together. They put Mom and us together but they don't really put them together either." She put her chair back down so all four feet were on the floor and sat up straight. "Okay. I'm doing a sketch. You're a church thing, Lotus?"
"Probably," she agreed. "Lupin?"
"Not sure yet. Let me go through the newspapers before I make a decision." They nodded and looked at Ishi, who shrugged. "No idea?"
"Not yet. I'm thinking a small statue sort of thing, which means a museum." He shrugged again as he stood up. "I'm heading up to shower. Behave, ladies. I'll see you at dinner." He strolled off.
"Think he's going to toss off in the shower?" Lupin asked, just loud enough for Ishi to hear since the back of his neck turned bright red. Having his hair up showed that quite well.
Lotus giggled, shaking her head. "You're so bad. He's got a private room, why would he need a shower."
Ishi hurried out faster.
"Ladies, that was mean," Melissa chastised, then burst out in giggles. "Gods, that was bad. Congrats, girls." They broke up, heading to do their research.
Lupin caught up with Xander the next day and grabbed him, pushing him against the wall. He moved closer, hissing in his ear. "I need to paddle your ass until you behave," he growled. "You are mine, Xander. You go torture people because *I* ask, not because Pops asks. You only torture people for *me*. Do you understand?"
"What about Jigen?"
"He can fuck off. You're mine. I had you first. You're mine. My gunman. My student. Mine." He pressed against him. "I'm going to paddle you so hard you're going to scream and beg for me to stop."
"And if you try that, I'm going to get free and walk away and you'll never see me again," Xander reminded him.
"Then I guess I'll have to prove it to you some other way. Go upstairs."
Xander looked back at him, giving him a smug look. "Upstairs? Why would I want to hide up there? I was going to work with Fred."
Lupin growled again, deciding he'd had enough. He undid his belt. He pushed down his pants. He undid Xander's pants, and spit on his hand. That was all the preparation he was going to give. Xander howled and pushed himself against the wall. "Shut up," he ordered, pushing in harder. He slammed into him then pulled back and did it again. "You're mine. Repeat that." Xander whimpered. "Mine, Xander. Not Pop's. You don't torture people on his orders. Only on *mine*. Say it!"
"Y...yours!" he panted.
"Mine!" he howled and smashed his lover against the wall, going off inside him. He bit Xander on the neck, shaking his head slightly. "Mine," he repeated when he let him go. He pulled off, sliding down the wall he had been smashing his lover into. "Shit."
Xander flopped down, head on Lupin's thigh. "I'm sorry."
Lupin patted him on the head. "Just remember that so I don't have to do it again." He glanced around the hall, noticing Kenji and Fred staring at him. "Out!"
They ran out screaming, bringing Goemon and Jigen running. "Daddy beat up Daddy!" Fred yelled, pouting and jumping up and down.
Jigen glanced at Goemon. "Keep 'em out here." It could only be two things. Either an actual fight or sex. He walked back that carefully, hand on his pistol. Just in case he was wrong. He found them in the hallway and relaxed. "You scared the kids."
"He's mine," Lupin said firmly, hand tangling in Xander's hair to give it a gentle tug. "All mine."
Jigen nodded. "Uh-huh. Okay. Maybe you should go up and clean up?" Lupin growled at him. "Xander?"
"Sore," he said weakly.
"Upstairs," Goemon said as he joined them. "Preferably after you put on your pants again." He was scowling now.
"Sore," Xander repeated, sounding more weak.
Jigen leaned down, removing Lupin's hand and pulling him up. He noticed the spots of blood. "Xander, are you all right?" Xander blinked at him. "Go up to the bathroom and wait on me, man." Goemon took Xander up there since he didn't seem to be firing on all cylinders. Jigen looked at Lupin then kicked him on the thigh, making him shake his head and wake up again. "You ripped him." Lupin got up and ran up the stairs, pulling up his pants on the way. Jigen walked up after him, going to check on Xander if Lupin wasn't begging and pleading for forgiveness. He found Lupin checking him over and Goemon running a bath. "He okay?"
"He'll be fine. It's a minor thing," Lupin said calmly.
"Good." Jigen pulled Lupin up then punched him, knocking him onto his ass. "Don't do it again." He walked Xander into the bathroom. "Xan, are you all right?" Xander nodded, swallowing hard. "I can shoot him for you."
"No, I'm fine," he said quietly, stripping off and climbing into the warm water, wincing a bit. "Warm."
"It's all right, Xander," Goemon said quietly, handing him a sponge. "Relax and recuperate." He walked out, finding Lupin curled up on the floor. "Do you feel better now?"
"Not yet," he admitted. He got up and headed in there, shoving Jigen out and locking the door. "Xander?" Xander looked at him. "I'm sorry." He knelt beside him. "I didn't mean to hurt you or bring back bad memories or things. I'm sorry." He stroked his hair gently. "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine," he said tiredly. He gave him a kiss. "If you *ever* do that again, I'm going to kick your ass, piss on your broken body, and then laugh my ass off."
Lupin nodded. "Sure. I'll lay there and let you do it, Xander." He gave him a gentle kiss. "Want help?"
"I could use someone to do my back."
Lupin grinned and took the sponge, shifting so he could get the poor thing's back. "I'll steal you something pretty later."
"Sure. Or we could go torture the Commissioner together."
Lupin smirked at him. "You're so bad." He tweaked him on the nose. "We'll see."
Xander patted him on the head. "You be a good boy and I'll let you give me a backrub too."
"Don't push it, Xander. I'm feeling sorry, not mushy."
"Sure, be that way then. Watch me read tonight."
"Fine, we'll go torture the cops later this week." Lupin went back to scrubbing his lover's back for him. The door opened and he looked back at Jigen. "I locked that."
"Like I can't pick locks," he snorted. "You okay, Xander?"
"Fine now. Thanks, Jigen."
"You're welcome. We'll explain it to Kenji and Fred that you weren't trying to kill each other." He glared at Lupin and held up a finger. Then he walked away.
Lupin hugged Xander gently. "I'm sorry. He'll kick my ass for you later." He handed back the sponge. "Want something to drink?"
"I wouldn't mind. I think I'll be up here for a while."
"Sure." He got up and headed downstairs to get some juice and snacks. He came back up the stairs and found Goemon back in there. "I can help him."
"I'm keeping myself from hitting you," Goemon said coolly. "You exposed my son to violence."
"Goemon, he wasn't there when I started," Lupin told him. He handed over the tray, watching as Xander set it across the lip of the tub, then he looked at his friend. "I'm sorry. I got possessive, I got stupid, I got neanderthal, and I acted. I'm sorry, I've already apologized to Xander, who I hurt." Goemon glared at him now. "Your son wasn't there when we started."
"He probably came in when I groaned," Xander agreed. "Goemon, he already knows it's not like that. He's walked in on us before. If I have to, I'll talk to him."
"No, you'll sit there," Goemon ordered firmly.
"I'm the one he hurt and I'm not that hurt. I'm just not going to be sitting on any hard chairs for a while. Get off the subject. If Kenji has a problem, I'll help you with that. Now, drop it." He and Goemon glared at each other and Goemon backed down.
"Fine. I'll let you explain it to the boys when you get out. I'll lay out some pajamas for you." He got up and walked out, going to pull out some soft pajamas and lay them on the bed. He walked out and headed down the stairs to talk to the boys. Hopefully he could explain it without warping them. Fred ran over to hug him. "Boys. We should talk."
"Daddy okay?" Kenji asked.
"Yes, he's fine, son," Goemon agreed. He sat down, pulling them both into his lap. "They were not really fighting. Lupin lost control. That is not normally how things happen when people are intimate with each other." He struggled for a moment with what he wanted to say. "Lupin did not really hurt Xander, nor did he mean to hurt him. It was not a fight."
"Were they wrestling?" Fred asked. Goemon nodded quickly, that was close enough. "Then why did Daddy have his dick up him?"
Goemon groaned. "Xander will explain it to you later," he promised. He pushed them off. "Go play until them." The boys ran off chasing each other. He saw Kenji pulling on his belt. "Son!" His son stopped, looking shocked because his father had yelled at him. "Leave your clothes on. You do not need to get naked right now. It is not bath time."
Jigen came out. "C'mere, Kenji. I'll get you in a minute, Fred." He walked the boy aside and talked quietly for a moment, then Kenji nodded and ran off, sending Fred over. He talked to Fred for a bit longer, mostly because Fred asked a question that made Jigen grimace. Then Fred ran off and bopped Kenji upside the head, making his friend chase him. Jigen walked over and sat down, looking at Goemon. "I explained that they were arguing but that they weren't being mean to each other. That they made up and had sex. Kenji said that cuddling after a fight was a good thing and Fred wanted to know if that was why his daddy had his dick out." He got up. "Want a drink?"
"Please," Goemon agreed. He got comfortable, watching the boys play and tease Sarah. Fortunately Alex tripped them both and sat on their backs, making them howl in outrage. "Boys," he called. "Quit picking on the girls."
Jigen came out with two large water glasses, handing one over. "If Alex pounced you, you weren't fast enough and you deserved it," he called. He sat down to sip his whisky. "Another day gone, another problem gone past."
"Fortunately." Goemon sipped his drink. "Hopefully no more will come of this."
To Part 47