Sierra Lupin looked at the adults staring at her while she was trying to eat. "It's totally my fault," she said finally, carefully putting down her silverware. "I screwed up and I'm sorry I drug Morgan with me."
"No, I had just as much to do with that as you did," Morgan said quietly. He glared at his uncle. "Do not say another word," he warned.
"I haven't said anything yet."
"No, but I know what you're thinking," he said, his eyes narrowing. "Would you rather I had been having fun with Lotus?"
"Lotus would have killed you," Dawn said smartly.
"I doubt it," Sierra snorted. "She's innocent but she's no different than the rest of us girls."
"You'd be surprised," Zenigata said bitterly. "Eat, children. We've still got to work on the school issue since I know your father chucked you out of the house for this."
"Actually," Dawn said, sipping her water and putting the glass down. "Lupin and I came to an agreement over this. The girls are under penalty of political marriage if she doesn't marry Morgan. Which would mean that some crook would have a tighter link to Lupin, even though he's ready to retire for a bit."
"He's not old enough."
"Yes he is, with parental permission," she snapped. "Which he has from me. He will be facing up to his mistakes and they will be marrying, and if there's a baby on the way I'm going to kick someone's ass." She glared at Sierra. "Are we clear?"
"Yes, Dawn," she said quietly. "I'm on the patch."
"Good," Morgan said, nodding his head. "I like that idea. Keep on it please. I'm not ready to be a father yet."
"There had better not be *any* children," Zenigata growled, glaring at his wife. "He's too young."
"He's not. He fucked up, he's going to pay for it. Either he marries her or else I'm going to kick his ass out of the house. Your choice of course, Morgan."
"We're marrying," he said calmly. "I've already agreed tot that."
"You're too young," Zenigata said firmly.
"Uncle Zenny, shut up," he snapped. "Just shut up." He stood up. "She's mine. I'm here, I'm marrying her. She'll be going to the Academy with me when I go. We'll be attending the same school. If you don't like it, I'm sorry. We can probably be set up by Lupin in one of his old safehouses."
"Sit," Dawn snapped. Morgan sat down. "I agree, he's getting married, and he's *my* nephew. Be thankful I'm not having him castrated at the same damn time." Zenigata got up and stomped off. "And if you don't like it, you're really going to hate the wedding since everyone's showing up!" she yelled after him. She glared at the kids. "Do not set him up further," she warned. "It'll only get worse until afterwards. Everything's set up. Yes, Morgan, your mother knows. Someone in the lawyer's office told her."
"What about my sister?" Sierra asked quietly.
"Vecchio will have her back in time," Dawn said firmly. "And hopefully he'll have her attitude fixed before then."
"Maybe Vecchio's introducing her to some of her natal family," Morgan offered. Sierra looked at her. "Isn't her father from there?"
"I doubt he'd know any of them," Dawn told him. "Eat." They dug back in. "Sierra, did you want to go to the Academy?"
"If I can," she said quietly, staring at her plate. "I know it's not the ideal, Auntie Dawn. I'm sorry."
"You'll survive, many women have. With any luck your career won't be shotputted by having kids. By the way, I'd better at least be ten years older or else there'll be a real fit."
"I can't imagine my natural mother's reaction to a grandchild," Morgan said with a mean smirk. Dawn snickered at that. "Do we need to do anything before the ceremony?"
"No. We've got it all set. It'll be a civil ceremony. There'll be a reception with everyone there but it'll be in two rooms so the crooks can have their own room and not corrupt the cops." The kids nodded. "Then Savannah will have hers and we'll do a joint cutting the cake thing and dancing for those who want to." They nodded again. "If there's a hitch, it'll be done anyway and the party will change."
"Yes, Auntie Dawn," Sierra said quietly, digging back into her dinner. "What about Buffy?"
"She's been told and invited since she called earlier to accuse me of forcing you to do this. She may not come but I can't be sure. If so, you don't have to associate."
"Thanks," Sierra said. "I would have made a mess of this and Daddy would have made it a horribly showy thing."
"Actually, you'd probably have been married in Vegas," Zenigata said as he came back. "Which is still an option," he offered.
"Then Buffy would get a chance to throw a worse fit," she said firmly. "All that's left are the dresses and things. Lavelle said he's sending those."
"Why is daddy buying our dresses?"
"Because he's got decent taste in what your sisters wear," Zenigata admitted bitterly. "We got pictures of the others at the Academy's formal function this summer. Speaking of which, I just got a call. There was a small vampire attack at Ethan's. So Marcus is bringing him?"
"That's fine," she agreed. "I like them together. What did Ripper do this time?"
"He apparently sent the vampires. They attacked Lavelle."
"Is mom okay?" Sierra asked quietly.
"He said slightly injured but living. Apparently your father's new boyfriend won't be coming with them. He's obviously smarter than the thieves are."
"Xander said his boyfriend didn't like weddings so he's not coming," Dawn said patiently.
"Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa whoa," Sierra demanded, holding up a hand. "Since when did *mom* start going out with someone other than my *dad*?"
"Since he started to ignore him," Zenigata said smugly. "He fucked himself over grandly so your *mother* is dating a comedian and is happy from what I've heard."
Ray Kowalski walked in and pulled out a chair. "Vecchio's back at his hotel room. Savannah behaved, mostly. She did flirt with his nephew, but his nephew was getting married so he got to slap her once or twice." He grinned at Dawn, who handed over the meatloaf. "Thanks, Dawn."
"Welcome, Ray. Do you know anything about Alan?"
"I've seen some of his shows and some of the movies he's been in," he admitted. "He's a funny guy. He's not afraid to be seen in public with Xander. Xan said he hates weddings so he's not coming. Also, he said that Alan had to keep himself from babying Xander over his new holes in his neck. Also, there'll be a long doctor's visit while they're in town. Xander's knees are getting worse."
"Worse?" Zenigata asked happily.
"He's threatened us to make sure that we can't chase the kids," Ray warned. "He said we'd be able to retire with a good pension and all that, but that he couldn't let us hurt the kids. He did say that we're not in any danger until we try them again."
"That's something to look forward to," Dawn said bitterly. "I'm guessing that you're going to be fine?"
"Yeah, he said we'd all live, just not be able to chase after crooks ever again. He thinks our 'shot in the line of duty' pensions will be enough to retire on."
"I've got retirement accounts," Dawn admitted.
"I've got a trust fund," Sierra put in. "From Grandfather and Great-Grandfather. They made it in case one of the offspring wanted to go straight." She picked up her water to take a sip. "Savannah might have one. I'm not sure what mom set up for her." She took another drink and sat back, looking at the Ray. "Are we anticipating trouble?"
"No, we've called a truce for it. Just in case so we don't all die," Kowalski admitted. "It's safer and the Commissioner agreed that it'd be fine since they're not on the Most Wanted list at the moment. Any idea what they're doing yet?"
"There's two ideas," Sierra admitted. "I've been on the bulletin boards recently to talk to Arsene. They said that it's either going to be a multi-tier offensive on different days, or that they'll be in one city and daddy and them will be in another."
"I'll be watching for a letter," Zenigata said bitterly.
"No, you'll be watching for two," Morgan reminded him. "Arsene will announce herself. She's too much like her father to do otherwise."
"She's not a gentleman thief."
"No, but she's a Lupin," he pointed out firmly. "She'll announce it, if only to prove that they're just as good, if not better. Any idea on the younger kids?"
"Oh, there's some news," Sierra said bitterly. "Do you know why Uncle Jigen nearly had a heart attack?" she asked Zenigata. He shuddered and shook his head. "Fred tried to nurse off Melissa. It took daddy and Ishi to pull him off. Then he protested that she had pretty breasts and that she'd make a good mommy for him. That's what set it off."
Zenigata and Dawn both shuddered at that thought. Kowalski shook his head. "Well, he's a Lupin," he snorted. "I'm sure he'll be chasing girls soon."
"Too late," Sierra told him with a smug look. "At that nice little meeting they had at the school last year for parents, he and Kenji both went chasing chicks. Fred got more but Kenji wasn't caught for longer."
"I'm sure his father was unimpressed."
"They're working on him now. Fred's apparently incurable," Kowalski told them. "Xander was worrying about Melissa killing him for it." Dawn stared at him. "She's got a wicked temper. She gets that from her mother," he offered.
"Yeah, but she's got her father's aim," Zenigata said, rubbing his thigh.
"She's not that good," Dawn assured him.
"Bullshit," Kowalski snorted. She smacked him. "She is! She hates the sight of blood but that hasn't stopped her yet. She'll shoot and she shoots well, but she'll shoot to wound. She's got the skills to do the job."
"She might but she's mean as anything," Zenigata told him. "Watch out for her."
"What did you expect?" Kowalski asked dryly. "You caught her on the worst day of her life, when her father's possibly dying, and she's emotional. You're lucky she didn't kill you." Zenigata glared at him. "Consider it, boss. What would you have done?"
"I probably would have done something to someone," he admitted finally.
"Um, I decided to give the thieves something to deal with besides us," Dawn put in to break up the morbid thoughts her husband was having. "I invited someone extra. She'll be of interest to them so maybe they'll leave us alone." Sierra's fork dropped to her plate. "What?"
"You invited Fujiko?" Sierra demanded. "Are you *insane*! Even I know better than that!"
"Yeah, there's some problems with that," Ray agreed. "Like she tried to sell Xander to some white slavery guys."
"He's a thief, he should expect the others to turn on him," Zenigata offered.
"She also tried to give Lotus away," Ray told him. "Some of the guys from Athens had to save her. Then she and Xander had a face off and Xander almost killed her but someone suggested she get a chance at life, so he tossed her in the harbor while tied up. This is a bad idea, Dawnie."
"I can't uninvite her," she whined. "She's already heading this way."
"Who's telling daddy?" Sierra asked. Everyone stared at her. "Who wants to see her guts decorating the cake?" she asked patiently. Zenigata raised his hand. "Really?"
"Really," he agreed with a smirk. "That'd make me happy."
"And I'm sure Uncle Goemon would *love* to do that for you," she reminded him. He groaned. "If you can't do it, I will."
"Let him know when he gets here, it'll be fun watching him try to control himself."
Sierra sighed. "And we want mom to be *more* unhappy? Isn't he in enough pain from the stupid people like my father and Uncle Jigen?" She got up. "If you won't, I will. That's cruel." She walked off, going to email her father, muttering the whole way. By the time she had logged in, she had changed her mind and emailed her sisters. They'd handle it with more couth and control.
Arsene screamed in outrage, bringing her Uncle running. He was the only adult in the house. He slammed open her door and she pointed at the screen. "Death is warranted!" she demanded, stomping a foot.
"What happened?" Jigen asked calmly, walking in to read the message. He groaned and held his head. "Oh, damn." He hugged Arsene. "Calm down, it'll be fine. We'll deal with it."
"Do you want the cement or the bullets?" she demanded, still hot enough to want to jump up and down and scream. "How *dare* she!"
"What's wrong!" Ishi yelled.
"No, stay out! It's a wedding fucking tragedy!" she yelled, reaching over to slam the door before he could come in. She looked at her uncle, arms crossed over her chest, one foot tapping. "Well?"
It was moments like these that she looked exactly like an enraged Lupin, the same facial expression, the same foot tapping, all of it. "We've got to warn them," he agreed. "I'm not sure *how* but we've got to tell them."
"What about when daddy decides to drool over her again?"
"He wouldn't. He hasn't in years."
"He had mom then."
"Good point," he sighed. "Okay. We'll make a small plan. Tell Lotus, just because she'll take it worse. We'll tell the others when we get into town. It'll cause the least hell then." She scowled at him. "It'll make it easier, Arsene, trust me."
"Fine. On your head be it when she dies."
He shrugged. "I'd help, that's your father who's concerned with her life."
"Good point. Okay, I'll write her back to tell her that we'll handle this. That you'll tell Lotus." He grimaced but nodded. "Good. Go deal with that." She bent over to type in a message, letting her sister know that she had gotten the message and that they'd handle the rest of the family for her.
Jigen walked out of her room. "Nothing major," he told Ishi. "We'll tell you later. Just wedding stuff." He grabbed Lotus and walked her down to the library, closing them in there. "Lotus, sit," he said calmly.
"Someone was insane enough to invite my mother, wasn't she?" she asked dryly.
"I see you take after your father in other ways," he said dryly, smirking at her. "The telepathic gene came too."
"Well, yeah, because Melissa and Ar have their own special language sometimes. Otherwise I wouldn't have to read minds." She waved her hand around. "Other than that, which stupid brat did it?"
"Dawn herself. She thought it'd give us something to do besides bother the cops."
"So, are you shooting her or are you creating some special cement shoes for her?"
"We haven't decided yet," Jigen admitted. "We're not telling anyone else until we get there."
"Sure. So we're letting Mom kill her?"
"We're not sure yet," Jigen repeated, staring her down.
"Of course. I won't tell the others or daddy. Let him have some happy days remaining." She walked out, going to make herself stay calm. Otherwise she might be doing something stupid soon. She found Brad out where she wanted to work out. "Melissa's not inside?"
"No, she was, but she's having a girlie day. She wanted to suntan and do her nails."
"It's part of the whole 'my sister's getting married thing," Lotus assured him. "She'll go back to normal after it. Or possibly during it depending on the threats presented."
"Threat?" he asked, perking up at that.
"Threat," she sighed. She stepped closer. "My mother's been invited. You need to watch us. She tried to sell me in the past."
He gave her a gentle hug. "She gets you and the younger kids over her dead body," he promised, patting her on the back. He saw his girlfriend coming out and stepped away quickly. "I wasn't groping."
"I know. Lotus isn't like that," she said with a shrug. "What happened?"
Lotus looked at her. "A surprise addition to the wedding."
"A baby?" she asked with a shudder of revulsion.
"Not that I know of. No, some guest surprises. I was warning him to watch out for the kids."
"Yeah, it'd be bad if we sicced Kenji and Fred on them," Melissa said bitterly.
"It's not a bad idea," Lotus offered.
"We'd get into major trouble."
"Yeah, but it'd be funny," Lotus suggested with a grin. "During the reception?"
"Maybe," Melissa allowed. "He'll probably get into more trouble. He hasn't tried to hit on the maid or us in days. Not since Bix spanked him."
"Yeah, it's been a nice change," Lotus agreed.
"Now, what is this really about?"
"I promised to let your father tell you."
"Ah. Let me guess....someone tried to be sneaky....Fujiko?" Lotus shuddered. "Fine, make me wait." She winked at her boyfriend. "So, how do you like the family?"
"They're very interesting," he admitted.
She grinned at him. "You can be impolite, we won't complain."
"Okay, your fathers are insane, they're hurting your mother, and I kinda feel sorry for your mother in a lot of ways."
Melissa nodded. "Me too."
Lotus shrugged. "I almost wished he'd kicked their asses once and then kept them hostage for a while."
"That thought was put around, but then again I've also seen the thought from Uncle Lupin that he'd be willing to kidnap mom and stick her in the choker for life and make her deal with it."
"We would have killed him," Melissa reminded her boyfriend. "Besides, Uncle Lupin knows better. He's usually more sensitive than that."
"Maybe seeing young love would kick him in the ass," Lotus snorted. "He needs it." She walked off, going to find a new spot to be calm in. Hopefully everyone would leave her alone for a while. She ran into the boys and frowned at them. "What are you doing?"
"We watching bugs," Kenji said, grinning at her. "You can help."
"She's a sissy," Fred whined.
"Girls can watch bugs," she told him, laying down between them. They curled up against her side and cuddled in with her, making her calm down. "Thanks, guys."
"Welcome," Kenji agreed, grinning at her. "You needed to watch bugs."
"You like bugs?" Fred asked.
"No, but I like being calm with you guys." She kissed them both on the head and let them snuggle back in. They were the best drugs she could want, and the best birth control. Then again, Fred only pinched her once so maybe he was learning better.
Xander walked into the hall, handing over the two dress bags to Dawn. "Here you go," he said happily, a forced happiness but his daughters didn't need to know that. "Simple, elegant, by the people who do formal dresses for people like me and did a great number of mine. They may need some length taken up or they can wear heels."
"If not, I can hem," Dawn admitted. "Hey, um, Xander, have you seen any of the other guests that got invited?"
He smirked at her. "Yes, I did see her. I'm presently keeping myself from killing her. Who invited the bitch?" Dawn shrugged. "Fine. Thanks. We're keeping it from Goemon and Lupin so far. We'll be telling them tonight. Need help with anything else?"
"No, we've got the hotel doing the decorating, they're doing the catering. The place is going to be an office so that's not a problem. This was the last thing missing."
"Good. Lupin brought special champagne for them to toast with."
"Decent. I'll get that from him later if he doesn't send it directly to the hotel." He nodded. "Then we're good?"
"Yeah, but I'm still going to kick your ass for inviting her," he said sweetly. "Send Kowalski over to bug us if you get tired of him helping." He strolled off, heading out to ignore Buffy once again since she was lurking in the hallway. This time he wasn't able to, she grabbed him by the arm. "Yes?" he asked patiently.
"Tell me you don't support this!" she demanded.
"I'm the one who made the rule stating that if they got caught before they were sixteen, they were getting married. Besides, she wants to be a cop, that'll make it easier on her." He got free. "So yes, I am supporting this wedding and I'm going to kick his ass if he doesn't go through with it and then force him to. Up to him of course," he finished with a gentle smile. She shuddered and walked off. "Good idea." He went back to the hotel, finding Lupin pacing and Jigen staring out the window. "Problems?"
"I take it you've seen our additional guest?" Lupin asked.
"Which one? Buffy?"
Lupin shuddered. "No, though I'll gladly shoot her if you need us to, Xan," he admitted. "I was talking about the other one."
Ishi walked in and slammed the door. "Are we talking about my mother being here!" he demanded.
"Yup," Jigen admitted. "Dawn did it."
"Can we do to her what she tried to do to mom and Lotus?"
"Nope," Lupin admitted. "I don't know anyone bad enough."
"I do," Xander admitted smugly. "But I leave that up to Goemon."
"Hmm." Xander headed for Goemon's room, tapping gently before breaking the lock and walking inside to sit next to him. "Hey."
"Did you want to kill her?"
"Yeah, I was wondering if you wanted to slice her open or if you'd like me to torture her before she was killed." Goemon gave him a harsh look. "I was thinking like your son, doing what she did, only in reverse."
"No." He closed his eyes again. "We are still married."
"Goemon, that hasn't stopped her and we both know that," he said gently. "That makes her unfaithful and a legal target."
"I knew she could not remain faithful," he admitted quietly. "I had my doubts she did not try Lupin while we were together."
"If he did, then I'd be kicking his ass about that," Xander snorted. "But I'm in pain." He stood up and winced. "Ow." He slowly shifted. "Ah, better now, I can feel my feet again."
"When is your appointment?"
"Tomorrow morning, before the wedding. Then we'll be doing any of the scans the next day and going back after that."
"Fine. Thank you for being honest with me."
"Uh, not totally. Dawnie invited her."
"Of course she did," he sighed. "It was probably a diversion tactic."
"Which it is," Jigen agreed from the doorway. "Lupin wanted to know if you wanted her killed or just in misery."
"He would not be able to do so," Goemon reminded him.
"True, but I can," Jigen pointed out helpfully. "Xander can, the kids can, hell, even Brad's offered if she tries for the kids."
"Or I've got a nice place to put her just like she tried to do to me," Xander suggested.
"I will handle it," Goemon said firmly.
"Thank you. Please leave."
"Going," Xander agreed, walking out. "I've got to take a dose, be right back." He headed for his own room, finding Lupin in there. "Problems?"
"No," he admitted. "Just needed the quiet. Want your bed back?"
"Please. I've got to take some medicine and I need a nap." He dug in his bags, coming up with his pouch for his medicines, pulling out his two bottles. Lupin got up and opened a soda, handing it over. "Thank you." He gulped them both then went to lay down on the bed. "I'm sorry I'm in such a bad mood, but I ache."
"Of course you do," Lupin agreed. "Want a backrub?" Xander sighed and shook his head. "No strings, Xan, just a backrub. I know it can help some."
"No, I'm okay," he said tiredly. "Go have fun with your thoughts." He looked up when Lupin hadn't moved. "It can't be that fun watching me."
"It's not really but it is what I was thinking about." He laid back down, facing his former lover. "I want us to try again," he said boldly.
Lupin frowned for a moment. "I'm serious. I want to try again. I want to pay attention to you. I want to be there when your knees are replaced. I want to do all of it, Xander."
"Lupin, you've already overran your limit of 'do over's. You do this and then in a few weeks something comes up and you drift off, and then you need me so you come back, then you drift off, then you come back because you need me for a job, then you drift off until you get super horny again, then you come back. I can't take that. I'm not a yo-yo. I need someone who's there. Solidly there, all the time there. I can't take it when you've got to go plan for six months and then suddenly you realize you're frustrated because you're horny and come to me. I'm not a receptacle. If you want one of those, hire a working girl like I used to." He flipped over. "I'm not going there."
Lupin moved closer, cuddling up to his back. "Since we're slowing down, we won't have all the jobs to pull. I won't be able to go plan anything."
"I bet," Xander snorted. "You'll be giving your daughter ideas for years to come and helping Melissa plan them. Get off!"
"No. The warmth'll do some good for you," he countered, putting an arm around his former lover's waist. He could see the desire to stab him and tsk'd gently. "If you try to hurt me, I'll move my hand and you'll stab yourself." Xander grabbed his hand and bent his finger back as he moved it, making Lupin wince. "C'mon, Xander. I'm not trying anything. All I want to do is hold you and make you feel better."
"Lupin, you never *just* want to cuddle," he said bitterly. "Nor do you usually want to cuddle at all. Did Ethan get you?"
"No, but I did see Willow."
"Yeah, Buffy invited her to help her stop this. Jigen's already had a talk with her and she remembers him. She's not going to help Buffy stop it but she did say she wanted to apologize to you."
"Whine, I'm not going there either." He removed the hand again. "I'm not yours to cuddle anymore."
"Fine." He stayed next to his body however, getting comfortable. "We're still going tomorrow, right?"
"Yup. I'm hoping he's got something for me."
"Me too, Xander. I hope he's got a lot of stuff for you to help you." He switched tactics, stroking his arm. "I promise, I won't try to grope if you want a backrub."
"Sorry." He gave him a small smile. "I'm trying, Xander."
"Lupin, it's too late to try. So just give up already. You ignored me for too long and I left." He flipped over, glaring at his former mentor. "We're over, Lupin. I'm not taking you back. You fucked up too many times. You ignored me for far too long. Even Ethan said I should have done this the last time you ignored me for months on end. I'm not a teddy bear to be put down when you're not having nightmares."
"I know you're not." He reached up a hand to brush some of the silver hair off Xander's face. "I never thought you were. The life got in the way. We were always together."
"Yeah, but you don't talk to me when we're working. You give me an order and a target."
"I did more than that. I explained plans to you."
"Only to give me an order and to tell me who to take out."
"Oh." He considered it. He had been doing that for the past few years. "Can I have one last chance?" he pleaded.
"Why? I'm not coming back to the life, Lupin! I want little bit of mobility I have left to be doing things I enjoy the hell out of. Maybe I'll even go surfing again. Maybe some swimming. Maybe other stuff, but I've got to do it before my knees die for good. I don't think replacements are going to be as good and I doubt they're going to make me feel the same way."
"Probably not," he agreed sadly. "I'm sorry, Xander."
"So am I, Lupin, but I tried to get you to notice me. That's why I went back into the choker for that convention. It's pitiful that you want to be with me but you only paid attention to me when I had tits, and even then you ignored me a lot toward the end. I deserve more than that, you told me so."
"I did," Lupin agreed wryly. He had made his own bed by making Xander stronger. "Fine. Can I at least hang out with you while we're here? Jigen's gotten morbid again."
"He nearly died for real this time, Lupin. Of course he was."
"I know." He gave Xander a gentle hug. "I'm sorry for what it's worth."
"So am I." He flipped back over. "Now can I take a nap?"
"I still think a backrub would help you some."
"There's masseuse's all over the city."
"But why pay for it when you've got a master of it at hand," he teased. "I promise, no funny stuff, Xander. You can keep on briefs and everything so I don't touch you where you don't want."
"Fine." Xander got up and stripped down to his thong, then climbed back onto the bed, letting Lupin find some oil to work on him. He tensed up as the warm hands touched his shoulders. "I don't ache there."
"No, but I'm being a full service masseuse," Lupin teased lightly. "Now, *relax*!" He worked harder, making Xander relax against his will. He didn't do anything funny, didn't try to touch him anywhere that would make Xander flinch and undo his work. By the end, Xander was nearly purring and he was half-asleep. "Want me to do the front?" he whispered. Xander shook his head. "Okay. I'll let you nap. I'll get you up for dinner." He snuck out, closing the door gently. "He's asleep."
"Did you two talk?" Melissa asked archly.
"We did and I was giving him a backrub." He grabbed a towel out of the bathroom to wipe his hands off. He tossed it back once he had sat down beside his daughter. "What are we wearing tomorrow?"
"Clothes," Melissa snorted.
"Ladies," Lupin warned. "You can't wear jeans and sneakers to your sisters' wedding. Now, for real, what are we wearing?"
"You're wearing your working clothes, Jigen's wearing his," Arsene said dryly. "I'm wearing my usual and so's Melissa. Ishi, are you being a hitter or a samurai tomorrow?"
"Cool beans, so we've all got clothes," Melissa said. "I'm wearing my blue outfit."
"We should probably try to dress up a bit," Jigen offered. "Maybe a skirt suit?"
"Eww, pantyhose." All three girls shuddered.
"Then look nice for Brad," Lupin suggested with a smirk for Melissa, who blushed. "Ahhhh, what are you wearing?"
"Something that'll make me look prettier than my stupid twin," Melissa told him. "Made for me by the same person who did my formal gown, and it's still got pants."
"If I have to wear a dress, all I've got is stockings and a short skirt and maybe a t-shirt. I'll look like every teenager in every mall in America," Arsene complained.
"You have a card and there's a shopping mall not three blocks from here," Lupin said dryly.
"Are you sure you want to let her out alone?" Lotus asked.
"Yes, I can shop without finding something trashy," she shot back, glaring at her buddy. "Though, I do still need to buy sis a wedding present. Is lingerie appropriate for this one since she's a ho?"
"No," Lupin said patiently. "Get her a nice gift card or something. That way they can decorate whatever hell Pops will be sticking them in."
"Sure. From where?"
"Um," Jigen offered. "Books for Savannah?"
"Music, or a hope chest of linens," Lupin offered.
"Okay, I'll find something," she decided, standing up. "Anyone else who needs to go?" No one said anything. "Fine, I'll be back." She grabbed her purse and headed out of the hotel room. "Hey, Brad. She's in there lounging with the 'rents. I'm going shopping. Any ideas of what I should get her?"
"I was thinking sheets with straps."
Brad smirked as she walked on, shaking his head. "Lupin the Fourth is one of a kind," he said in awe. He tapped on the door then walked in. "Hey. I'm back. My mother warned me not to pick up any bad habits." He grinned at Melissa. "Did you want to head to the mall too?"
"Sure," she agreed, glancing at her father, who nodded her off. "Thanks, daddy." She kissed him on the cheek and grabbed her wallet, then headed out with him. She took his arm as they walked down the halls, grinning up at him. "What are we shopping for?"
"Well, you'll need something pretty to wear with that blue outfit and you won't be able to wear anything that we've stolen...so I was thinking a new necklace?"
"Sounds good to me," she agreed happily.
Dawn looked at the doorway as someone walked through it, nodding politely at Lupin. "Are we ready?"
"We are." They walked up to the window and pushed forward both sets of forms. "I've got written permission of the other father," he offered, handing it over. "He's in bed right now, just out of the hospital. We got it notarized."
The clerk read over the forms, looking at Dawn first. "Your sons?"
"My nephews, but I have custody." She dug out the custody paperwork and handed it over. "Here you go. He fucked up very badly this time," she said with a gentle smile.
"And both of us told the girls they'd be marrying whoever they broke in if they were too young by our standards," Lupin said grimly. The clerk looked at him so he grinned. "Yes, it's me. They're my *good* daughters too." She shuddered and stamped the forms, then handed them back. "When's a good time?"
"We've got an appointment in two hours," Dawn told him. "Meet us back here after getting a snack and getting the others up." She went off, going to get the girls and boys ready.
Lupin strolled out, nodding politely at the cop who was ferrying Dawn around. "Morning."
"Morning," he agreed grimly. "Are we being polite today?"
"Always," he said happily. He went out to his rental car and hopped in, heading to the hotel. He pulled up outside, letting the valet take it for now. On his way up, he stopped to order pastries and coffee. At the very least his daughter and Xander would need them. From the corner of his eye, he could see someone trying to sneak up on him and glared at her. "Fujiko," he said coldly.
"Don't be that way, Lupin," she cooed, trying to lean on him but he sidestepped away. "Lupin, what's wrong?"
"You're a slut," he said dryly. He nodded at the receptionist. "How long?"
"Maybe twenty minutes, sir. Anything else?"
"Add a few plates of scrambled eggs," he ordered. "Goemon will need his strength when he threatens the boys."
"Sir, were you aware that someone already made an order for your rooms?" the receptionist asked, typing it into her system. "No coffee, some bacon, some bagels, and some juice."
"Then add those to it," he ordered. "Thank you." He walked off, ignoring that Fujiko existed.
"You can't ignore me, Lupin. I don't go away that easy."
"No, you were one of those who only went on your back for diamonds," he called back, waving his middle finger back at her. "Go away, Fujiko, before I let Lotus have you." He trotted up the stairs, tapping on the door before walking in. "Did we check for poisons?"
"We did, daddy," Arsene said patiently. "Did she try to grab you?"
"Yup, sure did," he said bitterly, closing and locking the door. "I ordered coffee, pastries, and eggs."
"That'll go nicely with our breakfast," Melissa assured him with a grin. "Uncle Goemon refuses to get up. Lotus tried and now she's pouting in her room. Daddy Xander can't wake up either."
"I'll deal with Goemon," he promised, heading that way. He tapped gently then walked in and slammed the door. "Your wife just tried to jump me. She's staying here." Goemon grunted. "C'mon, you've got to get up."
"I do not feel well."
"Tough crap, Goemon. You've gotten up to wander around with food poisoning for no reason than to prove you were strong enough to do so. You can get up to play your part of honor guard to make sure we don't kill our daughters." Goemon glared at him. "Now, Goemon."
"I do not feel well," he said more firmly.
"Were you poisoned?"
"Then get up." He leaned down. "If you don't, who'll keep Xan from torturing your wife?"
"He has honor."
"He's also got great anger and rage about that woman and what she did to him and to your daughter. Now, if you don't get up, she'll be *alllll* alone with your sons and daughter."
"Fine," he complained, sitting up. "Are you happier now?"
"No, my daughter's getting married to the son of my greatest enemy. Why would I be happy!" he asked hotly. "My daughter, the good daughter, went against everything I'd ever taught her, everything that *Xander* had ever taught her, and took her pleasure long before she was supposed to and did it disrespectfully. I'm pissed. I need you there so I don't kill her." He calmed himself. "That's why *you're* playing honor guard and making sure she says I do."
"Yes, Lupin," Goemon said tiredly. "I will guard them for you, if you'll keep Fujiko from me and my offspring."
"Deal," Lupin agreed, hauling him up. "Shower, get dressed, we've ordered breakfast." He walked out, going to wake up the other sleeping body. He nudged Xander gently, then leaned down next to his ear. "Get up."
"No, it's me, Xander," Lupin said, trying to keep from showing his pain. The last time he knew Xander was still calling *his* name, even when it was Jigen waking him up. "You've got to get up for the wedding. It's time to get ready." Xander stretched and shifted, then gave him a half-lidded frown. "You've got to get up. Fujiko's in the hotel and she's already made a grab for me. I need you to guard me and the kids. Please?" he pleaded.
"Sure," he agreed, then he yawned. "Let's go." He held up a hand and Lupin helped pull him up. "Doctor's?"
"In about forty minutes," Lupin admitted.
"Sure." Xander wandered toward the bathroom, wincing every few steps. He closed the door and Lupin slumped, heading back out to the living room.
"Xander's up," he announced. "He's showering. Jigen, doctor's?"
"Yeah, Lupin." He wiped his mouth and poured some coffee. "When's the wedding?"
"That's cutting it close."
"Yeah, but we can reschedule if we must," he offered. He sat down to get his own breakfast, noticing that someone had left just enough food for the two of them. "Thanks, guys."
"Welcome, daddy," Arsene said with a grin. "Are we guarding here?"
"Yeah, you do that," he agreed. "Melissa, make sure they all get there."
"I'll do that, just in case she starts to create or read," Ishi promised. "It'll take Lotus that long to get her hair perfect anyway."
"That's the beauty of short hair," Arsene quipped.
"I don't have that problem, I'm simply bunning mine," Melissa chided smugly.
"I'm doing something nice and classical. It'll take me very little time," Lotus chided her brother. "It'll take you longer to shave. Oh, that's right, you only have to do that twice a week."
"That's more often than you do your legs," Ishi smarted back.
"Children," Melissa sighed.
"He's sorry," Lotus agreed.
"Kids," Jigen warned.
"Sorry," they told him, all grinning at him.
"If you can't behave, we're taking you all to the doctor's with us," Lupin agreed. They rushed to their rooms to get ready.
Xander came out and looked around. "No kids?" he asked as he sat down.
"They're getting ready," Jigen told him. "You okay?"
"No drugs yet." He poured some coffee and added sugar and milk, then sipped it gently. He plopped his pills down on a clean plate and took them one at a time, then added food to the plate to nibble on. "Who's coming with us?"
"I was going to drive you," Lupin offered.
"That leaves Goemon here with the kids," Xander reminded him. "Two girls trying to do their hair isn't what he needs this morning."
"We'll be fine," Melissa offered as she came out in her pantsuit. It was well-tailored and fit her curves. The medium blue silk looked great against her skin and hair, and her hair was pulled back behind her ears with combs. "I decided a bun made me look too old."
"I like it," Lupin assured her.
"Thanks. Lupin!" Arsene came out tugging her skirt down. Her father's mouth fell open and he blinked a few times. "Jacket?" she reminded her.
"Oops." She walked back into her room, grabbing her jacket to put on over the lace tank top. "There, better?"
"Much," Lupin squeaked.
Jigen coughed. "Lupin, he's having Fujiko flashbacks. Do you really like this outfit?"
"Yes," she said patiently. "I look cute. The boys all gaped."
"That's because your tits are showing through the shirt," Xander told her. "Bras are a neat invention, Arsene."
She looked down her shirt, then at him. "I'm wearing one. It's skin colored." She took off her jacket to show off the strap. "See?" She put it back on. "There, better?"
"Much," her father admitted, starting to cough. "Daughter, you're scary. You look like a real woman."
"Thanks," she said sweetly, grinning at him. "Want to check for panties too? Or how about that my thigh-highs go all the way up?"
"Stockings?" Xander spluttered, dropping his coffee cup.
"I'm not wearing pantyhose. They're nasty and they trap in moisture."
"More than we wanted to know!" Jigen said loudly. "No more information!"
"Sorry," Lupin said, totally unrepentant. "Daddy, what are you wearing now?"
"My black one probably," he said bitterly, getting up to change. "Someone pour me more coffee." He slammed his room's door.
Lupin poured him the last of the coffee and carried it to him, leaving it on his dresser. "More coffee, Xander." He left him there, closing the door again. Everyone was staring at him. "What?"
"No trying to hit on him?" Lupin the Fourth asked.
"No suggestive comments?" Jigen asked.
"No touching?" Jigen the second asked.
"No helping him with his jacket or shirt?" Goemon the Fourteenth asked.
"Congrats, Uncle," Lotus said with a smile as she came out of her room, fussing with her obi.
"Yes, congratulations, Lupin, you are growing up. You can take no for an answer," Goemon the Thirteenth told him.
"Fuck off," he sneered. "Xander said he didn't want me. I can't force myself on him."
"That's very true," Xander said from behind him. "Thank you for that courtesy." He glared at the kids. "Behave or sit in the waiting room while Jigen and I go in."
"Yes, mom," they said in unison. Ishi snuck off to get dressed, which woke Brad and sent him out to forage for food.
"Sorry we forgot about you, kid," Jigen offered, handing over the rest of his confiscated pastries.
"That's okay, it won't take me long to get dressed." He brought two of the pastries into the bathroom with him to take a quick shower.
Lupin pulled Xander down into a chair and fixed his tie. "It's crooked." He sat down in his own chair and poured himself some juice. "Need anything else?"
"No, if I get hungry I can wait until the reception. Dawn will make sure there's food there. She's a traditionalist that way." He sipped his coffee. "How soon?"
"Twenty minutes," Lupin said, checking her watch. "Or sooner if you must."
"Goemon, do you feel confident staying with the kids?"
"I'll be fine."
"Are you sure?" Jigen asked quietly. "With *her* in the same hotel?"
"Then maybe I'll go with you," he admitted.
"Father, can you tie this tighter for me?" Lotus asked, breaking into his sulking. She turned around so he could tie her obi tighter and so he could look her over. "Do I look suitable?"
"You do," he agreed gently. "You look quite lovely in that, Lotus." He fixed her obi for her and pushed a pin deeper into her hair. "There, that's better." He patted her on the back. "No makeup?"
"I'm not doing kabuki, dad. I'm doing a wedding." She sat down again. "Ishi, aren't you done yet?" she called.
"Yes," he said as he came out, smoothing out the sides of his gi. "Father?"
"Quite handsome, son. Nearly as good as your sister." Ishi raised an eyebrow. "No, not in a girly sense, son."
"I didn't doubt that, dad. I look nothing at all like a woman." He sat down, nodding at his sister. "You look nice."
"Thank you. You look respectable. No sword?"
"It'll be in my hand."
"Good. Father, should I carry one?"
"No. A dagger would be more than appropriate if you wished," Goemon said patiently. "You can hide one up your sleeve."
Lupin the Fourth pulled a dagger out of her back beltline and tossed it over. "Here. With sheath."
Lotus strapped it to her wrist and adjusted her sleeve to cover it. "There, proper?"
"Very proper," Goemon said with a smile. "Does that leave you unarmed, Arsene?"
"No, Uncle G. I've got a bodice dagger, a small derringer in my stocking-top and we still have to find me a gun, Uncle Jigen and Daddy."
"We'll work on that later," Xander promised her. "Stiletto shoes?"
"I've got those," Melissa told him. She lifted a foot up to show him. "See?"
Arsene stood up and walked around the table to show off her modest ankle boots that matched her stockings and did have stiletto heels, just not a stiletto blade that came out of them. "Still deadly," she said with a grin.
"Very good, dear," Xander agreed, kissing her on the cheek. "Now go brush your teeth and do your makeup." She nodded, going to do that. "And gel your hair now!"
"She looks like some mafia mistress," Jigen said, shaking his head quickly.
"Yes, but she looks good," Xander reminded him. "They won't outshine the brides, but then again I picked out their dresses." He looked over at Lotus. "Lip gloss?" She got up to do that. "Ishi, hair?" He got up to fix it so it was tied back. "Goemon, getting dressed?" he asked. Goemon got up to do that. "Lupin, are you dressed?"
"All but my shoes."
"All done, Xander. It'll be fine. Hurry up so we can go."
Brad came out of his room and looked at Melissa, giving her a bright smile. "You look delicious." He picked up her hand to kiss the back of it. "Are we going to the doctor's with you?"
"We probably should, so we aren't late," Xander told him. "I know you'll be bored but sorry."
"No, it's not a problem. We'll bring cards or something." He grinned at his girlfriend. "You cleaned up very well."
"I did, but I still can't pull jobs in it."
"Yeah, but a wedding is a special...." He trailed off when he saw Lotus and Arsene walk out. "Wow. Speaking of cleaning up well. Lotus, is that traditional?"
"It is," she said happily.
"Do I look good?" Arsene teased.
"Yeah. Very nice. You look very grown up and womanly." He looked at Melissa again. "You guys are really great at this stuff." He squeezed Melissa's hand again. "You look just as stunning."
"I know, I don't worry about competing with her. She's a Lupin, so therefore a drama queen. I'm a Jigen, so therefore more subtle but still very deadly."
"She backs up my flash with stubbornness," Arsene assured him.
"You're both stubborn. Xander, let's go."
"I'm driving," Lupin said before anyone could get any ideas. "Goemon?" They trooped out together, heading down to the entrance to get the cars. "Who's riding with us?"
"I will, daddy, I need some big, strong protectors," she said with a grin for her uncles. "Otherwise someone might snatch me."
"Are you sure you're not the one getting married today for sleeping around?" a snide voice said from behind them.
Arsene looked back and sneered at her former aunt. "I'm still very pure. Wanna check?" she snapped. "Besides, why would I need to dirty myself with someone so base as Morgan Zenigata? I've got *much* better prospects lining up and begging." She got into the back seat since the door was being held open. "Can't we just shoot her and put her out of Uncle G's misery?"
"No," Jigen said patiently. "He said we can't." Xander mumbled something so he looked at him. "Something to add?"
"No," he said innocently. "Not at all."
"I want in," Jigen and Arsene told him.
He smirked at them. "It's not a problem. Don't worry about it." He schooled his features as Lupin walked around the front of the car to get in. "You okay?" he asked pleasantly.
"Fine, Xander. I had to snap at her over her comments. I think you look much better than she ever would have in that sort of outfit and much better than she ever did, daughter. You do my line proud."
"Daddy," she said with a small blush. "Don't embarrass me."
"I'm not. You're a very beautiful young lady and you'll be a stunning woman who'll do more than live off your body and what it can net you."
"Eww, dad. I'm not some pro to sell it."
"How do you think Fujiko used to get her pretty presents?" Xander asked.
"By sleeping with them, and she was stupid for only doing that. If that's your life's ambition, then by all means, sleep with someone who can keep you in a style you mean to acquire and keep yourself ready for whatever they want."
"Which isn't what you want to do, right?" Jigen pressed.
"Hell no! If I want jewels, I'll either steal them or buy them. Unless my boytoy of the moment wants to give it to me," she admitted.
"It wouldn't be the first treasure given to a Lupin for sex," Lupin the Third agreed dryly. Xander muttered something. "What?"
"Nothing, muttering about my knees."
Lupin pulled up outside the hospital complex and found a parking spot, pulling in and stopping the car. He got out, letting them get out, but he stopped Xander from moving away from the car. "It wouldn't have helped, Xander. I was a stupid bastard," he said quietly. "You gave me what you should have and I should have given things to you. None of what happened was your fault, that's why I want another chance, to do it right." He let him go. "Are your meds working or do you need help inside?"
"You're so full of it," Xander said, rolling his eyes as he walked off. "Aren't you coming?"
"Nearly," he complained, following him. They found the others waiting on them and shrugged when Jigen gave him a quizzical look. "Third floor." They walked up the elevators and headed up the stairs, Arsene leaning on her father's arm as they came off to sign in. He sat her down and sat beside her, watching as the boys were taken back to the receptionist who checked their insurance cards and did the forms, then they joined them. "We almost done?" he asked, checking his watch. "We've got an hour and a half."
"Mr. Jigen?" the nurse called. He got up and followed her into the room.
Lupin looked at Xander. "I had your doctor send a report to this one, I told him we were going to be over here for a few months. I hope you didn't mind."
"No, that's a good idea," Xander agreed quietly.
"Mr. Harris?" a nurse called.
He got up with a wince and followed her back to the room, leaving father and daughter to chat.
Lupin looked at his daughter. "That is a bit extreme."
"Just one more thing I can shove in my sister's face for being dumb," she told him simply. "I'm the worse one in neediness and she broke first?"
"She was doing other stuff first," Lupin reminded her.
"Which was just as dumb. Being the blow hole for half of the lacrosse team wasn't what she needed either. That's why she kept getting more and more extreme. The drugs, the suck parties in the gym. I doubt Morgan was her first."
"No, that was Savannah," he said bitterly. "I'm surprised Jigen's blood pressure didn't spike too high that day. I thought we were going to lose him when he exploded."
"He didn't do more than shout. I would have kicked her ass," she reminded him.
"That thought had crossed my mind. For both of them."
"Don't worry, daddy, we learned better because of them and their problems. I don't need to know what drugs are like, I got to watch her."
"Good. I still wish this hadn't been necessary."
"Us too. It's not as fun to shove their noses in it when they can't retaliate."
"Just don't catch the bouquet," he pleaded. "I'm not ready for that yet."
"Me either, daddy. I'll have a great number of boytoys before I get ready to settle down with one person." She leaned closer. "We support you getting with mom again, dad, but if you hurt him again, Ishi and Melissa have mentioned gutting as the most pleasant thing that will happen."
He gave her a hug. "I know. I'd like to have him back but Alan makes him so happy."
"Yeah but I doubt he'll ever really understand mom. He can't understand the torture he's been through. He couldn't understand the life. He can't understand what made mom like he is now."
"Yeah, but he makes him happy."
"You made him happy, you just forgot for long periods of time until you got too horny again. You did the same thing to Daddy Jigen. We hated it when you did that. We couldn't do anything about it then but I'm more than willing to do so now." She stared into his eyes. "And by the way, help Uncle Jigen too, daddy. He sucks and he's making him feel worse."
"I know, but that's his thing."
"And you're his best friend. You can help him with this."
"He won't let me help him with that, empress. You know how stubborn he can be."
"I've never seen anything more stubborn than a Lupin in love. That's a direct quote about Great-Grandfather." She got up and went over to the water fountain to get a drink, getting a few whistles. "I'm only fifteen," she said as she passed by the whistler. She saw his interest and sneered. "Trust me, you don't want to mess with my daddy," she said, waving at Lupin. "He's not exactly the nicest of all people."
"Hey, isn't he that thief?" the man demanded.
She smirked at him. "That's right, so guess who that makes me?" He shuddered and she walked on, sitting next to him again. "Moron," she muttered. He looked down at her and nodded. "How much longer do we have?"
"An hour," he said after glancing at his watch. He looked over as Xander walked out, storming past them. "Xan?" he called. Xander glared at him. "What?" He stood up to track him down, trapping him next to the bathroom. "What happened?"
"He told me that I couldn't have that much pain because I'm not old enough."
"Mr. Harris?" a nurse called.
"What?" he asked blandly. She walked over to where they were. "More bullshit?"
"No, sir, the resident's director wants to see you, sir." He raised an eyebrow. "He knows your present doctor, sir, he trained him."
"Sure." He followed her back into the office area, nodding at Jigen. "It's going to be a few more minutes."
"You two know each other?" the nurse asked.
"We work together," Xander told her. "It's partially occupational injuries."
She leaned closer to him. "I do know who you are," she said quietly.
"Good," he said with a grin. "I was in pain before then."
"I'm sorry to hear that, sir. Pain is a horrible thing. That's why I became a nurse, to help those in pain." She let him into another exam room. "In here please, sir."
"Yes, dear." He hopped up on the table, watching as she walked away.
Jigen joined Lupin out at the waiting area. "He just got called back."
"I was with him. The head guy wanted to talk to him, seems he trained his usual doctor," Lupin said bitterly, crossing her legs. "Are we going to make it on time?"
"Of course." He timed it, Xander came back out about ten minutes later and he looked much happier. "Better news?"
"Better drugs," Xander told him. "He agreed, I don't need to be on heavy narcotics. He also said that there's some things that may be able to be done. So I'm staying here for a few extra days after the wedding."
"Sure, Xan. We can stay," Jigen agreed. Xander gave him a sideways look. "We're staying in case you need surgery. You came when I was in the hospital."
"Speaking of, any new news?" Arsene asked.
"I'm fine. My wrists are shot but they're not the worst they can be. I've got some suggestions and some new pills of my own. Shall we?"
"We shall," Lupin agreed, standing up and letting Xander take their daughter this time. "Should we stop at the pharmacy on the way?"
"We'll never get there on time," Xander pointed out. "Dawn will try something to keep us from being there."
They headed down to the car and got in, speeding off for the courthouse. It was the only time a Lupin would ever *rush* to court.
Xander pushed open the courthouse door, nodding at the people up there. "Are we late?" he asked calmly.
"No, we're next," Sierra told him, frowning at her sister. She snorted and turned away. "Isn't it nearly time, Auntie?"
"It is," she agreed, looking at Xander. "You okay? You look really tired."
"It's called joint pain. I'm sure your husband can tell you what that is if you don't have any of you own."
"Unfortunately," Zenigata complained. "Sit."
Lupin looked at Goemon, who nodded slightly. Then he looked at his daughter, pulling her a bit away. "You know you've got an inheritance coming because you decided to not join the life. Do you want me to turn it over to Pops?"
"You can have Auntie Murami do it," she told him quietly, glancing around. "How much is it? Do I have to worry about school fees? Or housing after school? Or even Academy costs?"
"No," he said, pulling out a sealed envelope. "Here. This is your copy, I had her fax it over last night. Savannah?" She looked back at him so he waved her over. "We set this up when you were still a baby," he said, handing her a copy of her inheritance paperwork. "Murami has it right now. Do you want me to have her transfer it to Pops for you?"
"No, that's fine. I like Aunt Murami," she told him. She glanced inside, then gaped at him. He grinned and shrugged. "Thank you, daddy." She hugged him then went to talk to her natural father, sitting between her parents. "I'm sorry."
"It's not a problem. He'll make sure you get where you want to go," Xander reminded her. "Just treat him well and be good to him, daughter. That's all that you'll need to know."
"I know," she agreed. "Thank you for helping him set this up." She hugged him then her own father. "Hi, daddy."
"Hi." He kissed her on the forehead. "You're sure about this?"
"Those were the rules, father."
He tipped her face up. "You're a Jigen," he reminded her. "We break laws."
She smiled at him. "We can't this time, daddy. I like him. It'll work out."
"If it doesn't, you're coming back home. Got me here?" She nodded and snuggled into his side. "Then I'll let you go, knowing that you're coming back sometime."
"Zenigata," the judge called.
"That's you," Xander said, standing up to walk her to the aisle. He looked at Jigen. "I think that's your job?" Jigen smirked and got up to walk her up to her spot. He and Lupin stood behind their girls.
The judge looked at the couples. "You're very young."
"We agreed to this," Sierra told him.
"It's the right thing to do," Savannah agreed.
"Their parents agree as well," Lupin told him.
"No dissenting parents?"
"No. My daughter has no mother and Jigen's has one but she's already agreed and sent her brother to watch the wedding since she's incapacitated."
"Fine. Are the boys' parents here?"
"Here," Dawn told her. "I'm their legal guardian."
"In a snit," she admitted. "Custody was taken because she wasn't fit." She handed over the paperwork she carried. "We're redebating it but the other judge knows and approved."
"Fine." He glanced them over then handed them back. "Let's get on with this then. Which one first?"
"I will," Sierra told him. She and Morgan stepped forward.
"Do you take this young man to be your lawfully wedded husband?"
"I do," she said, clutching his hand as tightly as she could.
"Do you, young man, take this young lady to be your lawfully wedded wife?"
"I do," he said calmly.
"Then I now pronounce you man and wife." He signed their license and handed it to them. "Now for the other couple. Do you, young lady, take this young man to be your lawfully wedded husband?"
"Do you take this young woman as your lawfully wedded wife?" the judge asked.
"I do." He grinned at Savannah. "We'll be happy together. We understand each other."
"Very well. I wish both couples the best of luck and a long life together." He signed the second form and handed it over. "Register that on the way out to your reception, young men." They nodded and walked out. "Inspector." He stopped and looked at him. "Your doing?"
"The fathers of the brides. Not my most happy moment."
The judge nodded. "Are you going to be the custodial parent?"
"Then I wish you the best of luck, Inspector."
"Both girls can support themselves," Lupin assured him. He looked at Zenigata. "You ready?"
"If I must. You've got your own room, stay over there."
"Fine." He led his remaining daughter out of the courtroom, Jigen and Xander behind him. "Go to the car." He waited while the rest of the group passed by then grabbed Xander, kissing him gently. "I was having flashbacks," he said with a small grin, letting him go so he could stride off. "Coming?"
Xander groaned and shook his head as he walked off. He smacked Lupin on the arm as he walked past him. "Bastard," he hissed.
"Love you too, Lavelle." Xander flipped him off. "I'm driving!"
Jigen got out of his way. "You usually drive." He walked around after helping Arsene into the back seat, letting Xander in first. Then he slid into his usual seat, buckling up. "We ready?"
"Melissa's driving the others," Lupin told them. "We'll follow them to make sure they don't make stops."
"Okay but my gift's in the trunk," Arsene told him. "Think we'll have a dance floor?"
"Probably," Lupin agreed. "If so, you can probably borrow Brad or Ishi."
"Ray likes to dance," Xander told him.
"Which Ray?" Jigen asked.
"Really? I never woulda figured him for it." He slumped down some. "Let's stop at the pharmacy on the way there, Lupin."
"Sure, Jigen." He pulled through the first drug store's drive-thru, letting them fill the drugs. It took a few moments but they were very efficient. By the time they got to the reception, everyone was there but the couples. So they took their seats to wait. The rooms were presently opened so they could all see the grand entrance. They found themselves seated with Vecchio. "Hey," Lupin said with a grin. "Having a good day?"
"Want my candy bag?" Xander asked, holding it up. "She filled with stuff I don't like."
"No, thanks." They stood up and clapped as the girls were walked in by their new husbands. Then they sat down and waited for the meal to start.
Xander looked around, finding Ethan and Marcus behind them. He pulled something out of his pocket and tossed it at Ethan, making it expand. He winked. "Read the marked spot. I want to figure out how to do that."
Ethan gave him an odd look. "How's your neck?"
"You could move back there," Jigen offered.
Xander grinned. "Okay." He got up and headed back there to sit with them since no one else was. "I don't have the math to figure out if we could do that, but think about all the chaos that could be sewn and all the money we could make doing that."
"I'm not holding my breath since this is a fantasy novel," Ethan noted calmly, reading the section Xander had copied for him. He finally frowned at him. "I don't think it's possible, Xander. I don't know anything that can selectively remove a body part and then put it back, while storing it in a small hidden area between dimensions."
"Are we talking absolutely not possible or no one's figured it out yet?"
"Well, certainly no one's figured it out yet," Ethan offered. "Of course some of the demonic may take issue since their bailiwick is granting wishes and the like for profit."
"No one says they've got a monopoly and I'd be behind it," Xander said with a grin. "So, we need a math oriented witch?"
"You'd definitely need one to figure out if this was possible," Ethan agreed lightly. "Of course, we have one here at the moment." He looked at Willow, then back at Xander, smirking at him. "You could ask her."
"I could, huh?" Xander agreed with a grin. "Okay, let's go do that later. Do you think if we could, that I might get some new knees?"
"Most definitely," he agreed. "Or you could use a wish demon for that."
"No thanks. I'd rather not mess in that world, thanks."
"Good point. There's always a catch, even for you." He looked at Willow again. "I'll take that up with her later if you'd like."
"Please. If anyone can take on the impossible and make it work it's her."
He looked at Xander again. "The Watchers think she's of no further use to them. Since she's no longer eighteen she's not as powerful."
"Willow was very powerful at eighteen, she just nearly caused the world to end when she was twenty."
"Good point. I'd forgotten about that. The world's nearly ended so many times it's not funny."
"Hey, I've got the daughter safely stored away. No one coming from that."
"Good. I'm damn glad that the child won't be the next problem." Ethan waited for dinner to be over with and the obligatory cake cutting to be done with as well before sidling up to Willow while the others were milling around, smirking at her grimace. "An idea was brought to me, Miss Rosenburg. Since you're much better at the theoretical physics and maths than I am, I wanted to know if you knew any valid counters or prohibitions."
"And not a trace of smugness, I'm impressed," Buffy said bitterly from behind them. "While you're still alive and breathing would you like to explain why I ache at my age? Since I heard you were behind that potion and all."
"That was them messing with it," Ethan assured her. "Xander is much the same way." He walked Willow away. "The idea brought to my sounds fantastic but as far as I can tell it is sound."
"The idea is?" He handed over the pages, letting her read them. "Which fantasy novel from Xander's collection did this come from?" she asked dryly.
"It's not from his but he has heard others wondering about it," he admitted.
"Plastic surgery by magic would be difficult. At least to set up the transfers and to create the pool of spare parts. Then you'd have to make sure you had what you needed."
"But it is possible?" he pressed.
"Possible but difficult."
"Yes, but the person Xander overheard was a wish demon."
"That would be a bit different. They could base it off the souls down there, make copies basically." She shrugged. "I guess they could do that."
"Do you think it'd be a profitable investment?" Xander asked as he joined them.
"If you'd put it in Beverly Hills you and the demon would be able to retire within a year. Especially if you brought the youth potion with you. How does that work anyway?"
"Oh." Willow grimaced. "No second tries?"
"You'll age double your original age," Ethan explained. "That's not what most people take it for."
"Definitely, especially when your body was going sour due to injuries," Xander quipped.
Lupin walked over and smoothly stole Xander, taking him onto the dance floor. "A bold new plan?" he asked quietly.
"No, wondering if a concept was doable."
"Hmm. Sounds interesting."
Xander sighed, knowing he'd be nagged until he gave in and told him. "We were looking at an idea to do magical plastic surgery via replacements." Lupin smirked. "The best way would be with a wish demon."
"Would you be first?"
"If only so I could fix my knees." Lupin dipped him, making him squeak. "Lupin!"
"What?" he asked with a grin. "We're going for ice cream after this. Wanna come?"
"Sure, I'm up for ice cream." He looked around. "Gramps is soused," he said quietly.
"I cut Jigen off about thirty minutes ago," Lupin admitted. "He won't be able to walk soon." He spun his partner around then caught him again. "We need more chances to have fun."
"The girls still want to hit Disney."
"I said fun, not torture."
"I like Disney."
"Why?" Lupin asked, looking clueless.
"Because it's full of happy people."
"If you say so. We were thinking about going to a theme park over here. Any preferences?" A shrill cellphone ring made everyone quiet down and Xander rush back to his seat.
"Yeah?" He sighed. "Yes, this is he. This had better not be a telemarketer." He listened for a moment then nodded. "Take them to Goemon's house. We'll be there tonight. Have someone respectable with them." He hung up and looked at the inquisitive people then grinned at his buddy. "Remember our trip? They decided to reciprocate." Goemon groaned. "'Lis, book a trip to Japan, ASAP."
"Sure, mom. How many?"
"All of us," Lupin told her. He smiled at the leaving daughters. "You guys behave and we'll call in a week."
"We left presents on the table," Arsene offered as she gathered their jackets.
"We've got two choices," Melissa announced. "Six or nine PM?"
"Nine. We need to pack," Lupin ordered as he grabbed Xander to walk him out. "Love you guys, behave."
"We'll call tomorrow to see if you need anything," Jigen added as he followed them.
"Have fun with the ancestors," Savannah called, smiling at their backs. She noticed everyone staring. "Ask Auntie Dawn, not me." She grabbed her husband and drug him onto the floor. They were cute together. It was enough for now.