Xander stared at the silver coffin, frowning at the pageantry his grandmother had scheduled for herself and shuddering as yet another bunch of flowers were brought up to the casket. He squeezed Giles' hand since he was holding it, leaning closer. "Think it's compensation?"
Giles looked down at him and his eyes showed amusement though he kept his face neutral. "Clearly." He squeezed the hand he held. "Just a few hours more of this then we can go to your doctor's appointment." The younger man nodded. They both followed Oz on his way back to them, having just changed Miri in their car, both of them reaching out for her.
Oz frowned at them, clutching her tightly to his chest. "Mine," he said softly, letting her kiss each of them. "Are we lunching after this? She wanted to know if she could have Jell-O."
Xander nodded. "Sure." He turned back around as he felt the glare from the minister officiating. "What? She's not two yet."
The minister shook his head, opening his book to start the service.
Xander looked over at his doctor, frowning at him. "What?"
"I said we could possibly open your cervix if you wanted." He took off his gloves, smiling. "It appears that the scar tissue isn't quite as thick as we thought at first." He looked toward the door. "Do you want me to tell your men?"
"No, just a second," Xander said, sitting up. "What precautions do I have to take?"
"I'd say the normal condom one would be enough. It's still fully scarred over but there's a small chance of sperm making it through." He looked interested. "Is this a for or against moment?"
"Giles has been thinking about children and I'm wondering at the timing." The doctor smiled, shaking his head. "Well, it is convenient."
"Very good point, but I'm sure he didn't *spell* you or something." He stood up, patting his patient on the shoulder. "You've been evening out nicely so it looks like there's no problem."
"Would you, um, tell them that?"
"Are you still having bad hormonal swings?"
"Yup," Xander said, nodding hard. "But now, instead of rampaging, I just want to curl up and be held by one of them, preferably in the middle of their chests."
Oz knocked on the door, sticking his head around. "We're back, is it safe?"
"Yes and no," Xander said, looking at his doctor. "Where's Giles? He should hear this too."
Oz walked in, holding the door open for Giles and Miri, who was sleeping in her backpack carrier. They pulled out chairs, facing the man on the table and his doctor. The doctor cleared his throat, pulling out a few condoms. "The scar tissue isn't as thick as we had originally thought." Giles blanched. "Nothing's happened yet, but it might be a good idea if you start using caution and protection when you use that part of him." He handed the pack of condoms over to Oz.
Giles looked up at Xander and frowned. "Tell me you weren't planning..." Xander glared back. "Thank you. I used to have nightmares about that topic."
Xander slid off the bed, heading to where his clothes were folded on the counter. "I'm not going to go through that, not even for you," he called from behind the changing screen. He came back out, tucking in his t-shirt. "I love you, but that's it. I'm not using that hole for anything other than we already use it for."
Oz swallowed, looking down at the condoms. "Um, okay." He looked up at the doctor. "Anything else we should know?"
"It's a slim chance at best. I wouldn't worry if you forget one night. This is one of those cases where his scarring is as good as a diaphragm. Combined with the condoms it should be foolproof."
Xander hopped back up on the examination table, looking at his lovers. "I thought you should know first."
Oz nodded. "Good idea." He nudged Giles, who's mouth was still open. "We don't have to worry yet, right?"
Xander's doctor shook his head. "I have today's bloodwork right here and there's nothing on it that might suggest anything is going on. His hormones seemed to have leveled off at the non-harmful level. Truthfully he'd need hormones, in my opinion, to get pregnant, but one can never tell. The town where you live is most extraordinary."
"You have no idea," Xander said quietly.
Giles shook himself. "Thank you for the warning," he said, looking up at Xander. "I dare say this is a shock to all of us."
"Then I'll let you three go home for the day and discuss this." The doctor walked out, closing the door behind him.
Xander looked at Giles. "I won't, I promise."
"I know, it's just a...a shock to me." He shuddered. "We'll discuss this at home." He stood up, looking over his shoulder as the fist in his hair got a new handful. "Come, she could use her bed and I could use mine."
Oz patted Xander's back as they walked out together. "We'll figure it out," he reminded him quietly.
Giles looked at the men across the table from him. "This is a bit of coincidence, the timing and all," he explained at the confused looks he got. Oz simply nodded, patting Xander on the back when he started to choke.
"That's what I was telling the doctor," Xander said when he could breathe again, putting down his glass and wiping off his cheeks. "I suddenly got this picture of a big, shiny hand coming down and it's index finger pointing at my stomach, the glow transferring."
Giles smiled. "I doubt this was a holy miracle, Xander."
"Who said it was a bright glow," Xander countered. Giles looked thoughtful. "Think about it, my mom disappears right after the demon tries to take me, making note of what I had. How coincidental is that?"
Giles shook his head. "Put that way, not very, but I'm sure he wouldn't have..." He stopped as the door started to open, admitting Willow. He looked at his lovers, who nodded. "Willow," he said, "do come in."
She sat down, sniffling. "I'm bad," she said quietly. Xander patted her shoulder. "No, really bad. Someone I know, another witch, asked me to do a fertility spell with her and she's *really* pregnant now. I just got a call from her telling me I need to hold back the power next time."
Xander hissed. "Um, Willow, I hate to ask this, but you...you haven't been thinking of me in those terms, right?"
"No," she said, looking up, her eyes very wide and her head shaking. "No, not at all. Why? Is ... Are?" She glanced meaningfully at his stomach.
"No," Oz said, sighing. "We just had some news today that was a little strange and we were looking for reasons right before you came in." He patted Miri's head when she finally picked up the piece of meatloaf with her fingers to eat it after ten minutes of frustrated chasing with her spoon.
She shuddered. "No, I wouldn't do that to you, Xander, really. I know better than to meddle like that." He nodded, smiling at her. "And...and if I were going to do something like that, it'd be on Spike." Giles dropped his fork, holding his suddenly throbbing head. "What? I don't want to go through labor and he could handle the pain." She grinned at Oz. "Do you know what it's like to push a watermelon out of a grapefruit? That's what labor feels like, or so my mother told me."
"Enough," Giles whispered. He looked up at his student. "Willow, promise me to never mention this to me again. And to never work that spell."
She nodded, holding up three fingers. "I won't, I promise."
"When were you a Girl Scout?" Oz asked.
She crossed her heart. "I promise. Witch's honor."
Giles nodded. "Thank you. Would you like some dinner?"
She looked at the contents of the table then shook her head. "Nope, I wanted someone to pout with." She smiled at Xander, who shook his head. "Can we?"
"Sure, go get movies."
"Popcorn," Oz added.
Giles smiled at them. "Does that mean I get the honor of taking care of Miri tonight?"
"Yup," Willow said. "Unless you want to shanghai Spike. He's at the club." The former Watcher shook his head. "Okay. I'm going out for movies. And I promise, no chick movies." She got out and ran out of the apartment before they could change their mind.
Xander looked at Oz. "You sure you're comfy?"
"Yes," Oz said. "We're fine."
Willow looked around Oz, who she was leaning on, as the movie hit a dull part. "Can you really?" she asked Xander, who shuddered. "Okay, I'll stop asking."
Oz petted her head. "Shh."
Xander looked around Oz to look at his oldest friend. "They just told me that the scarring wasn't that deep."
"Shh," Oz reminded them, just a little louder.
Willow frowned. "Really?" Oz got up, picking her up and putting her next to Xander and taking her bowl of popcorn from her to eat himself, sitting where she had been. She smiled at him then looked at Xander again. "Is it possible?" she whispered.
"Maybe. They're thinkin' hormones."
"Something of that nature." Xander reached around her, rubbing Oz's tense shoulder. "It was kinda a shock. Giles has been thinkin' about bloodlines and the like."
Oz choked. "Private," he reminded his lover.
"Sorry," Willow said. She leaned over, kissing her ex-boyfriend's cheek. She leaned against him again, stealing some popcorn and going back to the movie.
Xander sat in his corner of the couch, wondering about how the Hellmouth had affected the rest of his friends.
Giles walked into Xander's apartment carrying a very sleepy Miri, who he handed over for kisses. He went to put her in her crib, then came out to join them, putting the monitor next to Oz since the volume was down, his sensitive hearing would pick up the first sniffle she made. He pulled Xander into his body, letting him snuggle down as they watched some action movie.
They stayed like that for almost twenty minutes before Xander looked up at him and smiled sweetly. "I want you to have one," he whispered.
Giles patted his hair. "I'm still considering the option," he reminded him. "If it appears right, then I'll gladly bring it to our grouping." Willow cleared her throat, looking at them. Giles frowned at her but she smiled, looking down at herself. He shook his head but she nodded. His eyes narrowed and she shrugged, going back to stealing Oz's snack for herself.
Xander yawned, rubbing the side of his head on Giles' chest. "If that's what you want," he whispered.
"No," Oz said. "That would be bad."
"Not really." Willow sat up and stopped the tape. "It's actually the perfect solution. I don't want to be a mom anytime soon but I want to be a mom, or at least experience it." Oz's mouth hung open. "Sorry, were you talking about something else?" She smiled sweetly at him.
Oz looked at Giles, who was shaking his head. "Is this actually an idea?"
"She just offered," Xander said, not lifting his head. "She did the whole looking down at her womb meaningfully thing." He looked at his oldest friend. "That would be strange. And what about when you wanted to be a mom?"
"Then I'd have the problems down pat and I'd still be Auntie Willow." Giles groaned. "I promise, not much different than what you guys do with Miri, you guys are the parents, I'm just an aunt."
Giles rocked as Oz punched his arm. "Stop her before she goes all maternal."
"Willow, I don't think," Giles started then stopped. He looked at Oz. "I can see her point. If we could be assured it would stay at that level, it might be the perfect answer."
"No high surrogate fees," she promised. "Half my housing and my medical bills." She leaned back into Oz's body, kissing his cheek. "I know you're freaked but this one would truly be a group child."
"We'll see," Oz said. He looked around her at Giles, who nodded. "We'll talk about it later." He picked up the remote with his foot, tossing it so he could catch it and restart the tape. "Now, shh."
She snuggled back into him, stealing a handful of candy for herself.
Xander looked across the bed at Oz. "Was freak-worthy there for a second." The slightly older man nodded. "You have an opinion?"
"It's my ex."
"Point, but also my best friend." He shrugged at the dirty look. "Hey, you and Buffy had a thing too."
"She and Willow had a thing, I just joined in sometimes," Oz corrected. "And I doubt we want a Buffy child around here."
Giles snorted as he walked in from the bathroom. "Please don't even suggest that. Slayers who get pregnant have the life expectancy of a fruit fly." He lay down on the bed between them. "Are we discussing her offer now?"
"I'm freaked," Oz said, rolling to look at him, "but I'll deal."
"I can deal," Xander agreed. "But that leaves..." A hand was placed over his mouth.
"We'd have to do it by artificial insemination," Giles said simply. "I refuse to sleep with her."
Oz nodded. "Thanks. That actually reduces my freakiness."
Xander considered them. "You know that'd be the same thing..." he pointed at his stomach. Giles nodded, rubbing his arm. "That's many shots of hormones that make you cranky and weird."
Oz sighed, closing his eyes. "We'll figure that part out later. Right now it's a do we or don't we decision."
"We could put her in the category of consideration," Giles told him, "same as we did adopting."
"I thought you wanted one of your own," Xander said, looking at them.
"I do," Giles said, pulling the youngest man in to hold him tightly. "I also had to consider that we may not have that option so we've been looking into private adoptions."
"So no little baby Giles?" Xander pouted up at him. "I wanted to see him wearing tweed."
Giles laughed, squeezing his lover harder. "I know you did, but it may not be practical."
"That would make Willow the number one candidate," Oz noted. "It'd be the last resort of getting one though." He shifted closer, lying on Giles' shoulder. "I could accept with time."
"My doctor does fertility and he sees her too. That's who the state sent all of us to when we started to show up."
"When did this start to happen?" Giles asked, gently brushing over the extra opening the man in his arms had. "Was it recent?"
"Um, sixties. His practice started handling it in the seventies and when he came in during the early eighties, he got given all of us."
"So he would know the case and we would all be better off," Giles said slowly. "He may even have a way to check before the child is born to see if it was hereditary." Xander stiffened in his arms. "Not that I would do anything about the information but it might be a consideration for her and for us." He looked down into the dark eyes, kissing the end of the pert little nose. "I wouldn't mind having a child with the same problem you have, or Willow's, but it would end up being a consideration for her. She may not want to perpetuate the problem."
Oz cleared his throat. "She's miscarried once. That summer after high school." He looked up at the small shocked looks. "Sorry, but she did. She's been wondering since then. I think she'll not have a problem but that's why I'm sure that I'm not having one."
"Was it wolfy?" Xander asked.
"The theory went that it was mutated somehow, too extreme for her body to let it continue. She wasn't more than a few months along, she didn't even realize it until she went to the doctors after an unusual period." He sat up, hugging them both. "I think that the normal problems that abound around here would be fine though. I could handle a baby with both sides."
Xander nodded. "Okay. I could handle that. It might be hard though." He looked down, plucking at the shirt Giles was wearing still. "I was told all the time it was bad to have it. I wouldn't want them to have that problem."
Giles hugged him tightly, then grabbed Oz to hug him also. "We'll have to see what happens. I'm sure that you would support the child once they were old enough to know about any specialness of that sort." He lay back, closing his eyes. "May we move onto more pleasurable discussions?"
"The records for the store came in earlier," Oz told them, settling on his side of Giles' body. "We made a good profit again this month, though we have an outstanding check still."
"To?" Xander asked.
"We've not had a shipment from him either," Giles said quietly. "I'll call him in the morning to see if there's a problem." He looked down at Oz's head. "Did they cut our checks?"
"Yup. They're down under the cash drawer." Oz looked over at Xander, squeezing his hand. "We have to leave for New York in a few."
"Two days," he reminded them. "Do we have arrangements?" Oz nodded. "Okay."
"Let's hope he takes a plea," Giles said calmly, clutching Xander tightly.
"I'm fine," Xander soothed. "Even if he did, I may have to show up for sentencing."
"Then we'll roadtrip together. Take in some museums." Oz looked over at his younger lover, one eyebrow going up. "We're taking the little body, right?"
"Of course," Xander scoffed. "I wouldn't think of leaving her here."
"Wes said he wouldn't mind a weekend away from LA and Angel," Giles told them. "We'd have the hotel to ourselves."
"She'd miss us," Oz told him. "She'd never sleep for Wesley and he'd have to be monitored in case she knocked him out again."
"Angel could come up with him," Xander suggested through his yawn. "I'm sure he'd like to not work for a few days."
"Okay," Oz said, closing his eyes. "I could go for a weekend of debauchery."
"And sights," Xander mumbled, almost asleep himself.
Giles smiled down at his men, falling asleep while watching them take comfort from his body.
Giles looked across the table at Willow. "I'd like to talk to you in more depth about your offer." She nodded, sipping her soda. "You know that we would insist that you still be around?" She smiled. "And that you'd still be an important part in their life?"
She patted his hand. "Giles, I'll be happy to be an aunt. I'm not going to suddenly jump up when the baby's six and say 'guess what, I'm your mother'. I'm not a Springerite."
He smiled at that, squeezing her hand. "I know, I just wanted to make that part clear. We also had a concern about ...how to affect the pregnancy."
"Well, as much as I'd like a night with you, I think Spike would get very pissed." She grinned. "He's a cranky and possessive guy. Even worse than Oz was." That made him smile. "I was thinking turkey baster. Not any of our men would object to that."
"Do you know how to do that?"
"Yup, there are tests to tell you when you're ovulating and you just squirt some in there, sorta like the way nature does it without the contact." She blushed lightly. "I'm more than able to handle that."
"What about IVF?"
"No, no shots," she said, frowning at him. "It's expensive, it's not real foolproof, and they tend to insert litters into the women to make sure she gets at least one to grow. I'd rather stick with the turkey baster. We could even make it a small party here. You do your thing with your men, they catch it and bring it to Spike, and he wields the squirter." She finished off her soda, putting the can aside. "Or if that makes you uncomfy, we could do it in different apartments. You guys in one and us two in the other."
Giles leaned back, looking her over. "You've really thought this out well, haven't you?"
"Since I saw you looking at Miri with a lot of sadness when she was playing in the park a few weeks ago." She cleared her throat. "What about the Hellmouth problems?"
"We'd be more than ready to accept a child with either problem. It wouldn't be a problem, Xander could heal some from what he was told while supporting the child if it came to that."
"So it'd be okay?"
"Very much so. We would love the child, no matter what it's deformity is." Miri frowned at the door from where she was playing on the floor by the couch, making it open for her. Giles cleared his throat and she smiled at him, coming over for a hug. "Didn't we tell you not to do that?"
"Me park?" she asked, tugging on his hand.
"Later," Willow said, smiling at her. "I'll take you after I get done talking to Daddy Giles." Miri nodded, going back to her favorite blocks. "What about her?"
"She'll be a big sister. I'm sure she'll love the child dearly."
"Baby?" Miri asked, looking up.
"Yes, love, Willow's thinking about having one. Would you like to be a big sister?" He picked her up. "Would you like to have a baby in the house to love with us?" She patted his face so he kissed her hand. "I don't think there would be a problem here," Giles told Willow.
She smiled, then stood up, holding out her arms. "Okay. Just give me some warning when you decide." She picked up the baby, carrying her out of the apartment.
Oz walked out of the bedroom, hugging Giles. "It'd be okay with us if we did that. It's a good plan," he whispered, then headed down to help Xander in the store.
"Now to figure out if that's what I truly want," Giles told the empty apartment.