(GRAPHIC DEATH OF ORIGINAL CHARACTER) NC-17
Xander woke up on the floor and looked around in confusion. He mentally checked himself, and upon finding himself whole, checked the outside of his body. When he felt the familiar weight on his chest, he looked down to see his husband's head on it, grinning madly at the missed feeling of being held. Since his hand itched, he held it up, grimacing at the scar on it. Then the flashes of memory came back.
Oz handing back his ring.
Derek as he punched him
Oz cutting his hand.
He shuddered, trying to move out from under his husband's body.
"Easy, just let the rest flow back," Nick said from the bed. He watched his brother as he tried to figure things out. The same way he had done for Oz almost an hour earlier.
Xander closed his eyes, pulling up the rest of the memories from last night. The first fight came back, and then the one in here. Other parts started to be filled in slowly, ending with the part where Oz had promised not to leave him and to take Willow's place in his life. He looked down at his hand, blinking at the scar in confusion. He picked up Oz's hand, looking at the scar on his palm. "Damn, hope he can still play," he whispered, kissing the scar. "Thank you."
"Welcome," Oz said, rolling to his side to look at his husband's face. "Do you remember all of it now?" His husband nodded. "Nick, some privacy please?" he asked, just loud enough to be heard. His brother-in-law got off the bed, walking out but leaving the door open. "Come on, want to lay on the bed with you." He stood up, helping Xander up and leading him over to it. "I don't know how they healed but yes, it looks like I can still play." He brushed through the dark hair, kissing his lips lightly. "Mouthwash is in the drawer," he said, waving at it. "Give me the bottle when you're done." They both rinsed out their mouths, swallowing instead of getting up. "Do you remember the vows we made?" Xander nodded. "And do you realize what must have happened?"
"Most likely." Oz curled up on the firm shoulder. "I think we should do some major talking today."
"No time for that right yet," Giles said, walking in. "I need to talk to you both." He sat beside Oz' s foot, making them turn their heads to look at him. "Your child was possessed by the demon that we dug up. *He* healed you." Xander winced. "Ah, I see you do know what that means. May I ask how?"
"I got really bored in our senior year so I started sneaking books home to read. It was the only way I felt more connected to the gang when I did the bad thing." Giles nodded, smiling slightly. "You don't mind?"
"Why should I? You've just proven what I've known all along, you're a genius when you want to be." He patted the still legs. "Now then, back to business. The demon left your child, went into hiding really. Whatever talisman Xander put on Junior seemed to bind it somehow." He saw the questioning look. "I don't know but you said the demon's name and put it on him."
"You think?" Oz asked, looking at his husband. Xander nodded. "Do you still feel it?" That got a small head shake. "So it was an apology?"
"Or she had to wait until she was strong enough," Xander suggested.
"Who?" Derek said from the doorway.
"Willow," they said together. "She didn't want us eaten so she used the family bond she created with my pet to make it leave," Oz finished.
"It wouldn't work like that," Giles told him.
"It might," Oz told him. "One never knows how the aliens changed him. After all, he can tell when one of us is in trouble." Giles gave him a questioning look. "Later, long story."
"I'm sure it is," Giles said calmly. "But there are a few more possibilities on hand to have helped. Jonathan for one, though I'm not sure how."
Xander looked at his hand. "What's the bottom line here guys? We getting kicked out? Are we tainted?"
"No," Derek said softly, coming in to sit beside his son on the bed. "I'm never letting you go, son, not ever." He leaned down, kissing his forehead. "Get used to it, I'm not letting either of you out of the house again. Not even after you've worked it all out."
"Which you will have to," Giles told them. "Your vows are now binding. If you don't keep them, you will become deathly ill then eventually die if there's no resolution to the problem." Oz blanched. "No, you still have some time to work this one out. Just please do so today." The boys both nodded. "Good. Now then, we'll be out in the work room, talking to home and dealing with Junior."
"I, um, need..." Derek nodded, smiling. "You really are okay with that?" His father nodded again. "Can I, um, maybe go back to calling you dad?" he asked quietly, giving him his best hopeful look.
"Of course you may. I'm considering last night to be a desperate plea, brought on by fear, to push me away, and it didn't work. You are still my son. Same as Oz will always be your mate." He kissed both of their foreheads. "Now talk. That's an order. Let us deal with this."
"Don't hurt him, dad," Oz whispered. "Please don't hurt him."
"We won't," Giles assured him, stroking over the tense leg. "We would never intentionally hurt any of the children." He stood up, following Derek out, closing the door partway to give them some privacy.
"So," Oz whispered, "what's first?"
"I need it more, Oz, I've listened for the past three days."
"Hey, I'll listen." He snuggled back down onto the firm shoulder after getting a small kiss. "Pain?"
"Yeah, tons. She was my sister..."
Derek looked up from his diaper changing as the monitor beeped. "Philip," he said, giving the other man a warm smile. "Goot, I need your advice."
"Derek, I can't do an exorcism. I'm not a priest anymore," Philip told him calmly.
"I like to see it as a matter of belief," Derek told him, leaning back in his chair. He looked down at Junior, quickly fastening his diaper before he could give his best impression of a fountain with a cherub as a centerpiece. "If you believe strongly enough that Got had called you to this duty, you can still do it."
"No," Philip said, shaking his head. "It's no longer my privilege."
"If it were just that, then I wouldn't be able to do one, which I can, just not as well as you can." He got another head shake. "But Philip..."
"Derek, I know ya know the meaning of the word no." He frowned at his lover. "Now, I said I can't. Accept it and move on." He held up the box. "You're right, it's empty. His name is carved on the side. Andres?" Derek nodded, frowning. "I see, it was him?" When he got another nod, Philip held up a diskette. "I'm sending you some information. How are the boys?"
"Fine," Giles said as he walked in with Nick. "Much better actually. They seem to understand the other's pain so much better now." He looked down at the baby. "And what shall we do with you?" he asked, undoing the adhesive straps on the diaper and rearranging it into a proper position so the baby's tiny penis wasn't sticking out. "There, much more comfortable I'd say." He looked up at the screen. "Philip, would you consent to look at the child, maybe see if we needed to go to an outside source for help since you can no longer perform the duties?" Philip nodded. "Good, we'll all be home in three days time. I'll bring the boys and the baby back in two. We should be able to monitor him for strange activity for that long."
Xander walked in, pulling off his shirt. "I...can I take him for a few minutes?" Derek pulled out a chair. "In here?" he squeaked.
"Yes, I see no reason to hide this miracle from Philip or the rest of the house."
Xander sighed, suppressing his freak feelings as he sat down, leaning back into Giles' body when he moved in behind him to help support him. "Okay, if you're sure." He blinked up at the screen. "Um, did Derek tell you..." Philip nodded. "Okay then." He looked down at his son, letting him latch onto a nipple.
"Holy God," Philip swore lightly. "You said he was *producing* not *feedin'* him! An ... Derek, this is the problem. That's not a natural source of food and it's taintin' the child further."
"Did it harm any of the others, Philip?" Derek asked calmly, moving an arm around his son's shaking shoulders. "This is simply a blessing and we shall accept it as such."
Philip got up, leaving the camera's range. Pretty soon, Alex and Buffy showed up, the older woman looking at the father with a confused expression. "How are you doing that?" Alex asked, staying calm at least.
"I don't know," Xander admitted. "It's been going on since Serena was about four months old though." He grinned at Buffy. "Yeah, it happened with all three of my little ones."
"Ours," Oz said as he walked in, leaning down to kiss the baby where he was happily snacking. He sat on his husband's lap, kissing him next. "Hi," he said quietly. He waved over his shoulder. "Hi ladies."
"Hey, Oz," Buffy asked, "are you okay with that?"
"Yeah, I just wish he'd have told me sooner, I'd like to have taken part in this part of their lives together." He let his head fall to the comfy shoulder, closing his eyes as he turned the chair around so Xander could still see his father. "We're better now by the way."
"So I noticed," Buffy said. She turned her head as someone walked in. "Hey, Philip, you calm again?"
He was nodding as he sat back down. "I will test the child to make sure none'o the demon remains," he said, frowning at his lover. "But you will tell them what's in this book." He waved it in front of the camera. "And I'll be checkin' the girls later."
Xander frowned at Philip, making his displeasure clearly known. "Philip, if you can't accept that I can do this for the kids because my body feels they need it, then I'm sorry for you but I won't let you harm my children over this. I will come back there and pull a Nick on your ass, much better and meaner than he does." His eyes made the threat very clear.
Philip nodded. "Good." He stood back up. "It won't hurt them, just looking at their aura's for contamination, same as I did you once." He walked back out of camera range.
"What was he talking about?" Xander asked.
"In some of the older books, being fed from an unnatural source was cited as a way to make a child more open to possession by a demon," Derek explained calmly. "It was most often mentioned in relation to certain supposedly unholy animals. No one's ever proved that one though."
Giles cleared his throat, looking down at his former student. "This was not your fault. The demon that had him was the same one that we came down here to dig up before it got loose. Philip found the box empty when he examined it before calling and the name matched what you called the demon last night."
Someone cleared their throat from the doorway. "Am I interrupting something?" Martin asked as he walked in. "My editor capitulated so I'm back a day early." He looked at the couple in the chair, head tipping to the side. "Please tell me you're not doing what I think you're doing," he pleaded quietly.
"One of the quad started it," Oz explained. "But it cured his stomach problems."
Derek looked around his family at his friend. "Martin, it's a very long story best told over snifters of brandy."
The house's owner nodded frantically. "I'm sure it is but I'm not so sure I want to know." He waved a hand. "I'll be in my office. Go back to... whatever." He hurried out.
Giles looked at Derek then went after their friend. Derek sighed, rubbing a tired hand over his face. "This was the epitome of bad timing," he muttered. He looked up at the faces on the screen, flinching at the two new ones. "We really do have to fix that glitch, Nick," he said quietly to the man next to him. "William, mother," he said warmly. "What can I do for you?"
"You could start by telling me what's been going on down there," William said with mock sweetness. "I get this most panicked call this morning from Philip when he heard that the child was possessed and now he's laying there gurgling happily between his fathers."
"Who we heard were fighting," Derek's mother, Barbara, added. "Though they look normal to me now."
Derek signaled his house to leave them alone for a few minutes. "Mother, William, would you believe me if I told you that all that was true and then some?" Nick patted his shoulder in sympathy.
Giles cornered Martin in his office, pulling him down to the couch and taking the bottle of scotch from him. "Martin, listen to me," he said, sitting down beside him. "What you saw in there was most wondrous." The other man nodded, eyes still very wide open. "What Xander was doing was a pure gift of love that started back when the quad was born and their mother was trying to breastfeed all of them at once. When her production became inadequate, Xander started to lactate also because one of the children kept latching onto him. He did the same for his single daughter."
"And now he's feeding his son?" Martin asked. Giles nodded with a small smile. "Is your life *ever* normal? It was vampires back then and now men feeding their children from their own milk? Why does this happen to you and Rayne?"
"Because it's our destiny," Giles said gently, rubbing over a tense arm. "Come, let me put you to bed. I'm sure you could use a rest." He got them up and moving toward the door when they were stopped by Martin's balking.
"Is there anything else you want to warn me about now?"
"Well, we've removed the demon from the infant, or so we believe at the moment, and the full moon's in a few days time but I'm not sure if I should warn you about that or not." Martin passed out in his arms, forcing Giles to the floor to catch him. "Oh, dear," he muttered, making him comfortable, then kissing his lips lightly. "Maybe I should have said no instead."
Barbara smiled sweetly at her son. "Derek, if I didn't know better, I'd say you were lying." She looked at the couple, who was holding up their scarred hands to the camera, which made her gasp. "Never mind, son, I'm sure you'll be most able to deal with this. I will see you both at our announcement reception, won't I?"
Oz nodded. "It's set for two nights after my last change." Barbara looked confused and William frowned. "Like I asked my nephew to bite me and make me a werewolf."
Barbara looked at her new husband, still very calm. "I do believe I'm going to go lay down for a bit, Willy. I'll see you in a while." She kissed his cheek before leaving London's control room.
"Derek, you scared her," William said, shaking his head. "Now she won't know what to do with you, son."
"Hey, granddad," Xander asked, "can I have you car since you don't need it anymore? I'd like to restore it and save it for the kids."
William growled slightly. "Alexander, *never* call me that again."
"Well, if he's my father then you'd have to be my step-grandfather and that is a little bit of a mouthful."
William signed off with a glare at Derek, who was smiling. "Ah, son," Derek said, hugging him and kissing the side of his head. "Thank you. I do believe you just cured him of that problem." He smiled up at Nick. "Maybe you should go check on Rupert, he's been gone a good while."
Giles walked in, wiping his forehead off. "Sorry, had to put Martin to bed. He passed out." Derek looked alarmed. "Well, he did know about my future in college so asked me what else was going to happen so I told him about the unpossessed state of the child and that I wasn't sure if I should warn him about Oz or not."
Oz growled at the older man. "Giles, secrets are good," he said calmly. The former Watcher simply patted his shoulder in apology.
Derek smiled at him. "We sent my mother to bed also. It seems that the last few days was too much for her delicate constitution." He smiled at his son. "And Xander showed him how annoying titles can be."
"Yeah, Granddad was not pleased."
Giles choked. "I should say not. His own grandchildren call him uncle. And he had a child about your age, illegitimate of course but still about your age. He makes them all call him Uncle so he won't feel as old and decaying."
Derek's sigh was one of fond remembrance. "Do you remember the party when she first showed up?" That made Giles smile also. "Do you ever miss those days?"
"Quite but I'm sure we couldn't replicate them now. We aren't that young or foolish, and the world is much less tolerant of what we were doing back then." He smiled up at the screen as it beeped and their house came back on. "Just remembering days past," he told Philip to ease his frown.
"Both'o the tykes are fine," he said darkly. "They've all been thoroughly warded at various times." He looked at Xander, his frown easing. "I'm sorry abou' what I said ta ya. Ya didn't deserve it."
Xander nodded. "Okay, I can understand how freaky this must seem to you. It scared the hell out of me when it first started to happen." He shrugged at the small grin on the other man's face. "We'll just have to ward him too."
Derek nodded, stretching. "Yes, we will. Giles, Philip, and I will do it the afternoon of the reception."
"I'd include Jonathan," Oz suggested. "I know he's a magic user of some kind. Not Wiccan but something similar. And he's closer to the kids than we are most of the time." He turned his head to look up at the screen. "No bad tummies from us doing this?"
"If I do I'll keep them quiet so I don't have to take Junior's cure," Philip said with his usual dry wit, making his lover smile. "Come home soon, William just called to complain about you two." He hung up quickly, looking over his shoulder.
Nick picked up the normal phone, dialing the control room. He smiled at Philip's voice coming across it. "You okay?" he asked. He nodded and hung up. "Precious just pulled Jonathan into the control room," he explained with a small grin. "Bypassed the security system by freezing it."
"Got save me from talented infants," Derek muttered, looking up. He looked at the people gathered around them. "Go find something else to do," he ordered but with a smile.
"All right," Martin said, walking back in, "who gave birth in the guest bathroom?"
Oz raised his hand. "It was us, we were going to clean it up after we got done with snacking baby time."
Martin grabbed the doorjamb. "Fine, please, but don't tell me the details. Please?" He looked at Giles. "Please don't tell me the details."
Derek stood up, helping Giles get his old friend back to his bed.
Derek smiled at his family at the early dinner they were sharing since Oz had to change that night. "Everything is back as it should be," he said in appreciation, watching Oz lean against his mate's shoulder while they ate. He glanced at Martin and Giles, who were sitting rather close, even for the quiet tones they were talking in. He looked at Nick, who was groaning at Xander and Oz's most recent kiss. "I propose a toast," he said as he got up, wandering in to inspect the available wines. He pulled one out, bringing it back to the table. "You can have your juice, Xander," he said with a small smile. "We don't need to feed Junior alcohol yet." He uncorked the bottle, taking the empty water goblets and filling them half way with the red wine, raising his own glass. "To family," he said with a smile, "something that is never boring around here." Martin lightly slapped his arm. "And to people who might as well be family," he amended. "May we *all* remain healthy."
"And happy," Oz noted. He sipped slowly, turning to kiss his husband so he could taste the wine with him. "Very happy?"
"Very and permanently happy," Xander agreed. "No more fighting from us?"
"No, no more fighting, not until we have to." He turned to kiss the neck he was leaning next to. "Now then, eat so you can feed our son nummies."
Derek shook his head. "I'm sure he does just fine in that department." He glanced around the tree in the center of the table at Nick, the only one truly not with someone in the group. "Nick," he asked gently, "your thoughts seem to be weighted down, would you like to share them?"
Nick shook his head, grinning as usual. "Nah, just some deep thoughts about life and stuff." He ate a bite of food, looking at his brother. "When can I drive your car again?"
"When Hell freezes and no one we know does it," Oz told him. "Especially not with my kids in the car."
"Ours," Xander reminded him quietly.
"Our kids in the car." Oz looked up into the deep brown eyes of his mate, seeing the worry still in them. "I think we should talk some more, love," he whispered, "it seems we still have some issues of yours to deal with." Xander nodded, dropping a kiss on his forehead. "Thank you, now eat so you can handle me tonight." He picked up a rib, taking a small nibble and holding it up for his husband to take a bite. "Come on, eat for me, babe, grow stronger so we can all lean on you again."
"I'm sure he's not weak," Derek said. "Possibly a little troubled," he amended at both of their nods.
"No, Oz was right, I do still have some issues to deal with. Both from our time together and earlier in my life. And I'm not going to be totally all right if I don't do that soon. Both of us realized that earlier this morning." He looked his father in the eyes. "Let's face it, Derek, I'm not the strong one emotionally in my relationships, and I may never be, but I do need to be on a better footing with my mate so our marriage works."
Derek nodded solemnly. "I believe that would be for the best, son, and I'll still listen if you want or need me to. Same as I know the rest of us here, excluding Martin of course because he's not known you for that long, would."
Martin snorted. "Derek, can't get much closer to the guy than watching him breastfeed his son."
Giles patted the side of Martin's face, brushing the white hair off the leathery, sun damaged skin. "He's always had trust issues, it wasn't a slur against you, Marty."
Derek shuddered. "Let's not get back into Hall names, shall we?" he asked/pleaded.
"Of course not, Rainbow," Martin said with a wicked little grin. "You and Ripper, and a priest? I think you broke the record you set back then." He patted Derek's hand. "But we understand, it's just the way you are."
Derek shook his head, gulping the last of the wine. "Marty, don't make me mention your fondness for..." He stopped when his mouth was covered, smiling under it and nipping at the palm. "Now be goot," he said after he removed the hand, "or I shall have to tell my son all about our college years."
Giles gave his old friend and boss a panicked look. "Please don't do that. I don't think they'd ever respect me again."
Oz made a buzzer noise. "So wrong," Xander added. "We could never *not* respect you, G-man."
"I had asked you not to call me that," Giles sighed, "but I believe it's better at the moment than some things."
Nick shook his head, leaning back. "Guys, what is up with you?"
"Well," Derek said, smiling at his best friend, "way back when, we were all in school together. William, as you know, was our Hall monitor. Rupert and Martin both lived down the hall from us, Rupert actually lived in the next room down from mine, on the other side of the storage room, and Martin lived on the other side of William."
"Yes," Giles sighed. "We were the Hall's worst trouble makers."
"In the existence of Oxford," Martin added with a small smile. "They used to monitor us very harshly. Now, the three of us were the idle rich but Ripper was a working class stiff and he taught us much about the joys of life. And in turn, we corrupted him to our lifestyles." He grabbed Derek's hand. "Not a week went by without our little group of four, or the hardy hangers-on, tossing a party that got the whole building fined."
Derek laughed lightly, squeezing his friend's hand. "Yes, it was most outrageous to fund the dorm that way. Do you remember our third year? When the dorm administrator actually came to us and asked us to throw a party large enough to fund the renovations?" Giles and Derek both laughed.
"Oh, and did we ever," Giles said, kissing Martin's cheek. "Poor little Marty was so lost in the crowd. Then someone brought in the..." He trailed off, looking at the amused younger men around them. "I think that's a story best not shared with innocents," he said quietly, winking at Martin.
"Us?" Oz asked, one eyebrow raised. "We're not innocent."
"Not usually, but you are of this sort of madness," Derek said. "I thoroughly agree, that part is best not shared, Ripper."
Nick shook his head. "Want me to leave so you party people can talk?" Derek frowned at him. "Okay."
"Stay seated, Nick," Derek said quietly. "We can turn ourselves back to more inclusive subjects."
"Yes, do tell me about what'll happen tonight," Martin asked, looking from Derek to Oz and back. "Will I need to lock my door?"
"No, he's a big, fuzzy puppy now that Derek fixed him," Xander said, bringing a hand up behind his lover to play with his hair. "He shouldn't even leave our room tonight." He looked down when he felt Oz nodding. "We okay with the usual plan tonight?"
"Sure. You can be a wolf body pillow and I'll be the wolf." He looked up at the small tug on his hair. "What?" he asked quietly, smiling at the smile he got. "Is that so hard to imagine? That things are nearly normal?"
"We don't have a normal yet," Xander whispered, kissing his husband, deeply probing his mouth.
"Boys," Giles sighed. "As much as we love to see you happy again, some of us don't need to see you doing that." Martin slapped his arm. "Well, it is most ... unsettling to those of us who aren't mated presently."
"Shh," Xander said, pulling back from the kiss. He dived back in for another one.
Derek shook his head, getting up and bringing his dishes into the kitchen. "Someone should break them up before they end up on the table this time and I end up replacing it too."
Nick choked on his water. "You really replaced that couch?"
"I couldn't stand to sit on it," the older man admitted, coming over to pour him some more water. "Every time I did, all I could see was those two. My sight went off many times that first day alone."
"Porn of the mind?" Oz asked, stopping the kiss to breathe. "Wow. Bed?"
"Bed," Xander agreed, pulling his husband up and dragging him to their room.
"Well, all seems mostly right in their world," Giles noted, holding out his glass. "May I have some water also?"
"Are they always like that?" Martin squeaked, clearing his throat to return it to a normal pitch.
Everyone around him nodded, smiling.
Xander pushed Oz down onto the bed, smiling at him. "So, you wanted me?" he asked, tugging off his shirt and then his pants, laying down beside his mate, pulling him on top of his body. "You're just going to have to get it then."
Oz kissed his mate deeply, holding his head still so he had control of the kiss. "Not yet," he whispered, diving back in, "morning."
"Hmm, making you feel human?" Oz nodded, looking up into his eyes. "Okay. But does that mean I can't have you now?"
"No, want to top," Xander pouted. His lip even started to tremble. "Please?"
Oz rolled off his husband's body, looking at him. "Is this a thing? You feeling femme again?"
"Yeah, kinda," Xander admitted. "And I know I'm not but I still feel it." He shivered as a warm hand stroked down his chest.
"You're not you know. Not even close to being feminine. No femaleness in you. Even with you lactating." He pinched a nipple, bringing the drop of milk up to lick it off his fingertip. "Hmm, sweeter than hers was."
"Must be all the sugar I eat," Xander said, starting to pant.
"You're not going to be the female one in our relationship. I don't think either of us will. I think we'll become pretty equal partners." Oz leaned down, licking across the fluttering stomach. "So very pretty but so obviously male." He grabbed the upstanding cock, wrapping his hand delicately around it. "Even if you didn't have this and grew breasts, I'd know you were male."
"You sure?" Xander panted, pushing up his hips to get some movement and friction going.
"Yeah, I'd know. Your voice and the way you talk and act all scream 'man' to me. Even if I do pound into your tight," a small lick to the side of the younger man's neck, "willing hole every chance I get. Even if I do call you pretty, because you are. You're still male, Xan, a very potent, sexy male that I love with all of my heart." He kissed his husband, showing him in that single kiss what he felt for him. "Want in you," he whispered against the lips. "Need in you to reassure me. Let me in?" he asked as he stroked the cock he held lightly
"Anything," Xander panted, looking up into his mate's eyes, seeing the wildness coming into them. "Be quick, babe, not much time."
"Are you ready for me?" Oz whispered, letting go of his husband and standing up to strip slowly for his mate's pleasure. "Are you cleaned like I like you?" Xander bit his lip, nodding frantically. "And are you stretched for me?"
"Yes," Xander groaned, watching the nimble hands undo the tight jeans his lover wore. "Please," he begged.
"If you're sure," Oz told him, lying back down on top of his husband's body. "Where's the lube?"
"No, I checked earlier." Oz pushed himself back up. "I won't take you without some."
"Oil?" Xander breathed, looking up into the incredible eyes, seeing so many things in there.
"Could since I refuse to allow any barrier between us." Oz rolled suddenly, grabbing the bottle of unscented massage oil they'd left on the bedside table from their earlier talk while they worked on each other's body. He flipped up the cap, pouring a little out into his hands. He went back to his side, reaching one finger he had dipped in the little pool in his hand down to the waiting hole. "I should make you do this," he said, cupping the younger man's hand and spreading the oil on it. "Prepare yourself for me, babe, let me claim you as a sacrifice to our love."
Xander shivered, reaching behind himself to prepare his hole for his mate's pleasure, both of their pleasures. He worked a second one in, slicking Oz's cock up with his other hand, and decided he was lose enough, getting up to straddle his lover's body, sliding onto the hardness he held in place.
"Deep breath," Oz whispered, pushing up as Xander worked his way down. He almost winced at the tightness. "You should have waited, I would be patient."
"Couldn't," Xander admitted, wincing a little as his hole burned with both pleasure and pain as he slid down farther. He sighed as he hit bottom, leaning down to rest on the warm, heaving chest. "Just give me a second."
"God, you feel virginal again," Oz whispered reverently. "Just like that first time."
"Our wedding night, in this bed," Xander said with a smile as he sat back up, shifting up only to come back down slowly. "I loved that night, Oz, and most of the ones since then." He joined their hands. "The only ones I didn't like was when we were fighting."
"Shh, that's the past, I want to go into the future with you." Oz thrust up, closing his eyes as the muscles clenched around him. "On your back," he whispered, pulling Xander off with the strength of the upcoming change, rolling with him to push back into his mate's body. "Mine?" he whispered.
"Yours," Xander said, smiling. "So very nice," he sighed, pushing up, gasping as his legs were pulled up and off the bed, leaving him helpless as his husband rode him, the wildness starting to infect his mind now. "Oz," he said, looking into the grey eyes staring down at him. "Yours," he said more firmly. "Only yours."
Oz threw his head back and howled as he came from that simple declaration. He pulled himself out of his husband's body, lying panting beside him on the bed. "I'm sorry," he whispered.
"Why? You needed to claim me," Xander whispered, rolling to lie on the trembling shoulder. "I loved it and do you. Everything's fine. I actually expected a harder and longer ride."
"Can't," Oz said, catching his breath. "No time," he grunted, his whole body arching up as the change started. He held out his hand, letting his mate take his ring to put on, taking off his pendants with his other hand quickly before they could be torn up.
Xander got up, pulling back on his bike shorts, watching it happen. When the wolf was aware enough to stare at him, he approached the bed carefully, aware that Derek's conditioning could have broken from their fighting. He moaned in protest as he was grabbed, pulled down onto the bed, his leg hitting the edge of the bedframe and almost getting stuck for a second. He went limp in the big paws, letting his mate sniff him. "Shh," he whispered, stroking across his furry head. "We'll be fine." Junior started to fuss. "Want to meet our cub?" he asked, sliding out when the wolf went still at the small sniffle. He walked over, picking Junior up and turning around, looking into the yellow eyes when he found Oz right behind him. "Shh, cub. Our cub," he said, unwrapping the blanket he'd picked the baby up in. "Ours, Oz, our cub." He picked up a paw, stroking it down the soft baby skin of their son's bare stomach. "Yes, our cub," he said, still looking into the eyes.
Oz looked down at what he was rubbing, bending down to sniff the baby. He finally grunted and licked the baby's face, all at once. Xander grinned, heading back to the bed. "Come on, fuzzy, we'll let you nap off your orgasm." He laid down on the bed, his earlier erection giving him some trouble now but he willed it to go down before Oz caught scent of it. He snuggled the baby to his chest, not realizing that he'd latch on again. "Hey!" He removed the mouth, shaking his head. "Not time for you to do that." Oz grunted, pushing on the back of his head. "What?" he asked, looking up. "I'm not being mean to him." That got him pushed again so he let the baby's head go, helping him reattach. "Okay, have a snack then back to bed you go." He winced as Oz crawled over him, barely missing his throbbing cock with his knee. He concentrated on making it go down, disengaging his outer thoughts to work on the inner ones, picturing all sorts of things to make himself less hard. The picture of Giles and Buffy finally did it, making him shudder really as he released. "Okay," he whimpered at the lick to his face, "not what I wanted but okay." "I'm fine." He looked up into the yellow eyes, seeing the remains of his mate still in them. "I'm fine, it's not your fault the wolf took you like that." He brushed down the snout then took the paw in his hand, looking down at their child. "He's so pretty, Oz, isn't he?" he asked, using their joined hands to brush down the dark skin of their son. "So very pretty and he'll grow into an amazing man." He yawned, blinking hard, trying to stay awake. "So very ours."
He felt the small lick to his shoulder and started, not even realizing he had drifted off while feeding his son. "Huh?" he looked at the clock, noting the half-hour he'd slept then looked around for the baby. Oz had him cradled in his arms, sniffing and licking his stomach. "Is he okay?" he asked, scooting over to look at their son. "Hi, Junior, are we okay?" he brushed down a downy cheek, smiling at the baby smile that came out. "Yes, you're getting a bath, aren't you?" He looked at his husband, seeing him watching him. "Hi," he said, laying on his back and opening his arms. "Let me have him. You can bathe both of us." He gently took the baby, smiling at the small growl, and put Junior on his stomach, not impeding his other father's way to him. Then he laughed as Oz went back to tickling their son with his tongue.
Derek closed the door silently, backing away from it, running into Martin's body. He smiled, pulling his friend into the workroom. "They're fine," he whispered. "That's all very normal. Oz used to lick the other kids that way when he got loose."
"Are they going to be okay together?" Martin asked with a glance over his shoulder at the hall. "Shouldn't we take the baby just in case?"
"No," Derek said, still smiling. "He loves the children, even like this. He'll actually fight us if you or I tried to take Junior away from him. Xander knows how to handle him." It was in the hall that the problem arose. Giles was leading a panting young woman, one of his graduate students, into the bathroom. "What's wrong?" he asked, walking up to help them. He grabbed her other side, leading her in to sit her in the tub Nick was drawing. "I thought you said you were four months along," he asked, frowning.
"I lied!" she yelled, her face contorted in pain. She let the men strip her, allowing herself to be put into the water. "I'm sorry, teach, but I wanted to be here so bad." She grabbed Derek's hand, seeing the understanding in them. "So sorry," she said, passing out.
"Nick, call for an ambulance, Giles, take Martin back to his bedroom. There's not room enough in here for all of us." He stroked his student's forehead. "Have someone down there go through her things to find her husband's phone number, or better yet, go through my files to find it. Have someone pack her things up so they can go to the hospital with her."
"No," she whined softly. "Please don't kick me off the dig," she begged.
"Dear, you can't participate with a newborn. It'd be impossible."
"She can stay here," Martin said from the doorway. "Nick said the ambulance would be here in half an hour because the helicopter was on a car crash on Key West. What do you need? Boiled water, towels?"
"One of Junior's blankets for when this one is born," Derek told him, turning around. "Don't worry, we've done this before."
"Not you," Giles said, returning with the cup of tea he'd made her. "Shh, relax and drink this, it will calm you both and allow the pains to flow more naturally without making you fight them." He looked at Derek. "You know we'll have to bring him out here if she progresses much farther. You and I were both in the other room when Willow gave birth and weren't there for Xandra's." Derek raised an eyebrow. "Do you want me to go tell him?"
"Tell who what?" Xander asked from the doorway. "I left Junior giggling at Oz." He walked over, clothed again in a pair of jeans, pushing both older men out of his way. "Hi, Marigold," he said quietly, stroking over his forehead. "I've only done this once before but she's my daughter and she's fine, okay?" The other woman nodded. "Okay, we're going to let Giles put up your pretty golden hair so it doesn't get pulled out and I'm going to stay with you until the ambulance comes." He turned his head, taking the hair scrunchie and pulling her waist-length hair back into an improvised bun. "Guys, get her some sort of sheet for modesty." He smiled down at her, reassuring her with his calm manner. "I know it hurts, but this is natural. Scoot up a little more, brace your feet on the bottom of the tub if you need to." He let her grab her hand as another contraction started. "How far apart are they?"
"Five minutes," she moaned, closing her eyes. "God, I want this to stop. Please?"
"I know, Marigold, I know. My ex went through this twice, once with quads. It was a water birth too, but in a bigger tub." She nodded, the contraction stopping, the pain lessening. "Derek, go check on Oz, let me handle this."
"Can't he stay? I know him."
"In a minute. We just have to make sure Oz is fine. He's having a little trouble right now and he's got the baby." She nodded, squeezing his hand gently. "Good girl, now take a deep cleansing breath." She did so, blowing it out. "You couldn't wait until the next dig?" he asked, grinning slightly.
"He might not be there and I like working with teach," she said, blinking. "Why are there spots in the lights?"
"I don't know. Why don't we turn them down some." As soon as he said it, the lights were dimmed by Martin, who had the dimmer switch beside him. "Does your husband know?" She shook her head. "About the pregnancy or any of it?" She shook her head again.
"I'll go stop Nick from calling him then," Giles said, walking out.
Derek walked back in, smiling slightly. "Junior's down and Oz is staying on the bed." He kneeled between the tub and toilet. "Marigold, tell me. I need to know to know how to best protect you."
"We broke up, he was cruel to me," she said, starting to pant again. She screamed as the pain got worse, digging her ragged nails into her helper's hand. "Please make it stop?" she begged as she came down.
"I don't know how but the paramedics will be here soon," Derek soothed, taking her other hand. "You came on the dig to escape him?" She nodded, biting her lip. "My dear, I wish you had told me, I would have protected you. You know that." She nodded again, her eyes tearing up.
"Shh, that doesn't matter now. All that matters right now is getting this child out healthily. She focused on him. "That's right, we want you both to be healthy. Just relax and let nature take its course."
"What a man," Nick said from the doorway. "Want to take the catching position so she can claw my arm up?"
"In a few if it's necessary," Xander said, still very calm. "Dad, change places with me." He had noticed the blood starting to discolor the water. "Marigold, I've got to look, are you okay with the concept?" She nodded, clutching Derek's hand when he came in range again. He lifted the sheet, looking down at the blood oozing out of her. "Nick, call them back, they need to hurry, she's bleeding." Nick held the phone to his brother's ear after dialing it. "Hi, I'm with the Luna Foundation dig and we called about a woman in labor? No, she's still in it but she's bleeding. Yes, I know that, I delivered one of my own, I mean *really* bleeding. No, we have her in water. Because that's what my ex did." He nodded, turning to cough. "And how do I do that?" He nodded at Nick to take it. "Give me a sec to look." He turned back to the mother-to-be. "I'm going to have to look again. The paramedic they connected me to said that it may just be a sign that the baby's coming." She nodded so he lifted the sheet again, helping her put her feet up a little higher on the tub wall. "One finger," he warned, sliding it in like he'd been ordered to do.
He pulled back, helping her legs back down and taking the phone from his brother, heading out into the hall. "Hey, I'm back. No, I can't even feel the head. She's five minutes apart, and I could feel stitches." He winced. "I don't know, she didn't say. No, not that I'm aware of." Xander turned to look toward the bathroom. "What do you want me to do?" he asked. "What?" he asked, clutching the wall. He closed his eyes. "I'm not sure. Derek, need you here," he called. He covered the mouthpiece, leaning closer to his father's ear. "I felt some sort of stitches, so they said she probably needs a c-section and they're still twenty minutes away at the least." The older man looked panicked so he handed off the phone.
"Hello? Yes, I'm the head of the dig. No, she told us she was only a few months along." Derek closed his eyes, leaning against the wall. "No, I'm not sure. He nodded, handing the phone back. "They think she's bleeding internally, not a goot thing in the least. Can you steady her if I have to cut?" His son nodded. "Goot, give me the phone, you go explain it to her. I'll get Martin to get me what I'll need in case." He took the phone back, turning away from his son.
Xander walked back in, nodding Martin into the hall. "Marigold, do you want the Disney truth or the real stuff?" he asked quietly.
"The real truth," she whispered. "I'm hurting here, aren't I?" He nodded. "How bad?"
"If you were in a hospital, they'd be taking you right now for a c-section." She wrapped a protective arm around her stomach. "And if the paramedics don't get here soon, Derek may have to anyway. They're connecting him with the local hospital." He took her hand as another contraction started, letting his other hand stroke her forehead to sooth her. "Breathe," he whispered, "both of you need oxygen. I know it hurts but you have to." She started to cry around the peak of the pain and he leaned over, letting her head rest against his shoulder. "Shh, you'll both be fine, we'll make sure of it." He felt her nod so pulled back. "Have an understanding here," he said, looking into her light green eyes, very clouded with pain, "Derek and I will not let you go if we can help it. You and the baby will be fine or we will die trying." She nodded, just staring up at him. "I won't let this child go motherless. Not by any stretch of the imagination." She nodded, looking behind him. "Dad?"
"No, me," Nick said. He knelt behind his brother to look over his shoulder. "Marigold, none of us are willing to see you in pain or hurt because of this. Derek won't yell because you didn't tell him and we're not upset. We will take care of you. No matter what." She nodded, starting to cry again. "Derek's on the phone with the hospital right now," he said, reaching over to brush her bangs off her forehead. He wiggled his way into the small space between Xander and the wall. "We're here for you, Marigold, just relax and let it happen however."
She screamed, her back arching, and passed out. Xander searched for a pulse, checking the wrist holding his then her neck. "DEREK!" He reached over, checking her chest while he listened for breath sounds. "She's gone," he said, starting CPR.
"Easy bro, she had a 'do not resuscitate' order in her medical file," Nick said, pulling him back. He looked at Derek, who was silently crying against the wall. "Let me do it," he said. He got a nod so took the phone. "Hi, no. No, Seal actually." He nodded, taking the knife from Derek's hand. "Where?"
Xander turned around, walking into Derek's arms to be comforted, shuddering. "Why?" he asked quietly.
"They think her uterus ripped," Derek whispered, clutching his son to him as hard as he could. He watched Nick do the truly hard task, getting the child out so that it might live.
"Boy," he said, handing him off to Giles. "Let me cut the cord," he muttered, bunching it up and slicing through it with the carving knife. "Done." He nodded, hanging up. "They'll be here in ten minutes," he said quietly, tossing the phone at the door, "and so will the cops."
Oz chose that moment to walk in, right past his husband, who had his closed eyes hiding against his father's chest. Derek had his head down, focused on his son, but the werewolf had smelled the blood from his room. He pushed Nick out of his way, knocking him into the wall, taking the baby to lick.
"Oz!" Giles yelled, backing away from him once he'd realized what happened. "Xander!"
Xander spun around then walked the two steps to take the child from his mate. "Not ours," he whispered, taking him and sitting on the toilet. He wiped the rest of the blood off with a towel he snagged off the rack, quickly cleaning him. Oz growled at him. "No, he's not ours," he explained.
Derek tried to take the infant but Oz batted him away, knocking him into a wall.
Giles climbed behind Xander, the werewolf focused on his mate so he would be safe to do this. He made a quick decision, walking into their bedroom and pinched Junior, who yelled at his rough treatment and break in his peaceful nap.
Oz howled, scrambling up to go in and defend his cub, Xander right behind him. "NO!" he yelled, stopping his mate before he could tear into their mentor. "No, he's not hurting him." He sat down in front of the cradle, laying the newborn in his lap as he was handed Junior. He laid them together in his lap, tickling his son until he laughed. "See, no pain," he explained, holding Junior out to Oz so he could check him over. "You can have him," he said quietly. "Our cub." The werewolf snatched the baby, sniffing and patting him to make sure he was okay, ending with a lick to his forehead. "Good boy," Xander whispered, turning his attention back to the little person in his lap, picking him up to hold him against his shoulder. "How are we?" he asked, patting him gently. The baby started to cry for the first time and everyone breathed a sigh of relief. "Yeah, we'll be fine," he whispered. He handed the baby off to Derek, getting up to take Junior as he heard the helicopter approach. He led his mate into the bathroom, handing him the baby and shutting the door. Letting official people know about Oz would be a disaster. He turned as the cops walked in. "Hi," he said quietly.
Derek handed him the crying child. "He seems to like you best," he said with a faint smile. He led the officers out, closing the door behind him.
Xander opened the bathroom door, sitting in it so his mate couldn't get out. "Hi," he said weakly at the small lick to his cheek. "Love you too, I'll talk to you when you're awake again," he whispered. He clutched the baby tighter. "Please go to a good home," he said, rubbing his back.
Derek walked into the police station, smiling wanly at the officer that was handling the case as he handed over Marigold's pack. "Here are her things," he said quietly. He sat down in the waved at chair. "Do you know what will happen to the child?"
"His father's being sought," the officer said, leaning back and brushing through his dark brown hair. "Could you help us with that?"
Derek handed over the folder from his pocket. "She told me that she was escaping from his cruelty, that's why she lied about how far along she was." The officer hissed. "I know, but I'm sure my family would like the child to go to a goot home."
The officer shook his head, putting down the folder. "No," he said, handing over a paper, a wanted fugitive's list. "He's on there."
Derek scanned it quickly, shaking his head as he handed it back. "So now what?"
"Now, she has a half-brother according to your files. We can get in touch with him."
"Let me," Derek said quietly. "I feel responsible for the child." The officer looked up at him, nodding. "I promised her to take care of it." He was handed a slip of paper. "Can we take the child home until her brother can come for it?" The officer nodded. "Thank you. I'll stop at the hospital tonight if there's not a problem."
"No, no problem. As far as we can tell, the kid's a little quiet but I'd expect that." He picked up the phone. "I'll call down there. Let me know what the brother says." Derek nodded, getting up and heading out to his car. He picked up his cellphone, putting the top up with a push of the button, and looked down at the paper in his hand. He dialed slowly, frowning the whole time. "Hello, this is Derek Rayne, I need to talk to a Stanley Kowalski please? Yes, this is important. No, it's about his sister." He leaned back in the seat, waiting. "Hello, this is Derek Rayne, Mr. Kowalski. Sorry, Detective. Your sister was on a dig with the Luna Foundation and there's been a tragedy. No, I'm sorry, Detective, she's not. Her child was saved but she died of complications during the labor while we were waiting on the ambulance." He swallowed hard. "No, I promised her to take care of the child and I'm going to help you come down here." He smiled sadly. "Yes, Marigold was an amazing young woman. Oh, I know that wasn't her real name but that's what she told me to call her." He nodded. "I'll arrange for you to take a flight tomorrow. No, we'll pay. I'll talk with you then." He hung up, leaning forward to rest his forehead on the steering wheel. "Please let him be a decent man," he whispered, praying to whichever God could hear him.
Oz woke up, looking down at the body clinging to him. "Bad night?" he whispered. His husband nodded. "Xan?" he asked, alarmed when he smelled the blood. He looked toward the cradle but his husband pulled himself up to look at him. "Junior?"
"Not him," Xander whispered. "Marigold, one of the grad students." Oz nodded for him to go on. "She went into labor last night. She lied about how far along she was to get away from her husband. She..." He choked up, falling limply back down to cling again. "You tried to claim the baby," he whispered.
Oz swallowed hard. "Is the baby all right?" He felt the nod so let out his breath. "Her?" His eyes started to tear up when he felt the head shake. "What happened," he whispered, stroking through the dark hair. "Do they know?"
"She had a small tear where the placenta came loose at the wrong spot or something like that. Giles called and found out. Derek's arranging for her brother to come down to get him."
"The baby was a boy?" Xander nodded on his stomach. "What about everything else?"
"Giles stopped you from cleaning the baby by coming in and pinching Junior's foot. When he yelled, you came running to protect him." They both looked at the door as it opened.
"Are you both all right?" Giles asked as he carried in a tray with a small plate and two cups. "I know your first inclination isn't to eat but maybe it would help you both if you tried." He put the tray on the table beside the bed. "I have some news from Derek. Marigold's brother is a Detective in Chicago. He'll be down tomorrow. He asked if either of you would go pick him up."
"Depends on the timing," Oz said. He stroked down the hurting back. "We'll figure that out. Is everything fine?"
"Yes, your slobbering on the infant didn't hurt him," Giles said with a faint smile. "You were quite the parent though." He saw the youngest man's small frown. "I'm sorry, only trying to make you both feel better. The people who figured out what happened said that nothing you did was wrong. It may have actually prolonged her life when you had her calmed down, slowing down the flow of blood as her panic lessened and her blood pressure dropped. There was nothing that could have been done." He patted his former student's shoulder gently. "The doctors said that even in the hospital it would have been touchy if she lived."
Oz nodded. "Thanks, Giles." The older man nodded, getting up and walking out. He waited until they were alone. "Xan, you okay?" The younger man shook his head. "Talk?"
"I'm just upset. Grief, guilt." Xander sat up, looking down at his husband as he crossed his legs. He looked at the tray. "I can't eat," he whispered, handing it over. "You eat, you'll need it."
"Why are you guilty? Everyone said you did as well as you could." He saw the small flinch of pain. "You're guilty because it wasn't Xandra?" he guessed. His husband nodded so he put the tray on the floor, sitting up to hug him. "She had problems, Xander, this wasn't your bad. It's natural to be glad that it wasn't your child, that everything came out fine the last time you delivered. I feel the same way right now." He sighed as the strong arms came up around him again, clutching him tightly. "I understand, but we did the best we could. Even me, I know I was only trying to help."
"You were being the big, bad daddy monster," Xander said with a weak smile as he pulled back. "Junior was safe and you knew something was wrong because of the blood so you came to help. When you saw the baby, you snatched him from Giles and started to lick him clean, trying to make the cub be okay." He brushed his fingers through the light red hair. "I love you," he whispered.
"And I love you, Xan." Oz brushed down the small tear tracks. "Talk to the kids yet?" He nodded. "Okay, so come help me talk to them," he said quietly. They got out of bed, heading for the workroom. "Hi," he told Nick, who was looking at the camera. "William," he said with a small nod. "We were going to call the kids." He sat down in the extra chair, pulling Xander down onto his lap. "What's up?"
"Nothing," William sighed, rubbing over his face. "Barbara was upset when she heard and she wanted me to check on Derek."
"Giles talked to him last," Xander offered. He smiled weakly as his grandmother came into view. "Hi."
"Hello, grandson," she said, sitting down beside her husband. "How is the child doing?"
"He's fine from what dad told Giles." Xander shrugged. "I've only got second-hand info. I could go find him if you want." She waved him off. "Okay. He did say that Derek found his uncle and that he's coming down tomorrow."
William nodded slowly. "Then he's going to turn it over?"
"I'm guessing yes," Nick said casually. "Unless he finds out the man is a bastard or something." He looked blandly at the people on the screen. "He swore to protect the child, William. I'm sure he'll do what he feels is right."
Oz and Nick shared a look, the younger man nodding slightly. "We'll go pick him up tomorrow," he said. "Or Xander will if it's going to be too late." He waved at them. "Derek should be home in a few hours, grandma, and we'll have him call." She smiled at him. "Hey, I call Derek dad too. Father-in-law is too long." He felt the small nip to his neck. "Well, I do," he defended, patting his husband's back. "We'll call you later, I need to talk to my kids."
"Using Legacy..." William started, until Nick cut the link off in mid-rant.
"Gee, he looked pissed," Nick said innocently. "Wonder why?" He dialed the office at their house, smiling at Alex as she answered. "The munchkins around?"
"Yup," she said, getting out of the chair and letting the horde of laughing people hop up in her seat.
"HI!" Precious said, waving. "How you?"
"We're fine," Oz said quietly. "How are you guys?"
"We good. How baby?"
"He's fine too," Xander said with a small smile. "Let me go get him." He slid off his husband, going out to where Giles and Martin were feeding him in the living room. "Kids want to see him," he said, leaning over the back of the couch. He accepted his sleeping child with a small smile, carrying him back into the workroom. He took Nick's chair, shoving him out of it by pushing hard on a shoulder. "Thanks, bro," he said, turning the baby so his face could be seen. "See, Junior's fine. He's napping." He looked up as his sons came into view. "Hey guys."
"Baby," Brandon sighed. "Pretty little guy."
"Yes he is," Oz said. "How are you two?"
"We 'tay," Timmy said, grinning. "How you? Any big scary storms?"
"No, no more storms since the last one." He waved as Timmy got down. "Brandon, what's wrong?" he asked, seeing the small frown his son was giving his brother's back.
"Timmy say you two have baby."
"No, we didn't have another baby. Someone down here did last night." He clutched his husband's hand. "Why? How did he know?"
"Precious tell him we have new baby in house and new guy too." He grinned up above the camera. "Really?" He nodded. "Okay." He looked back at the camera again. "I have to give up to Xanny but I go make you brownies for when you come back." His fathers both smiled at him so he slid out of the chair, helping his baby sister up into it by pushing on her butt, all shown at the bottom of the screen since someone had moved it for them.
"Hi," Xandra said, waving. "Baby 'tay?" She looked at her baby brother. "He nap lots."
"Yeah, but so did you," Xander reminded her with a faint smile. "He's very cuddly, just like you were."
Precious popped up into the chair. "You feed him too?" she asked, smiling at the yawn her brother gave. "Hi, baby!"
"We call him Junior," Oz told her.
"Junior?" Precious' face wrinkled up. "Why?"
"Because mommy named him after grandpa Derek so it'd get confusing if we called him by his real name." She nodded, pulling a curl around to suck her thumb with, the sign that she was upset. "What's wrong," Oz asked her.
"Me see baby be borned," she said quietly. "His unclie brought him here. He come here too," she said with a nod. "We all be happy with him. He good story teller."
Jonathan walked into the camera's view. "Man, she's got the sight thing going good," he said. He squinted at the baby's just opening eyes. "Sleepy little guy, huh?"
"Very but it's understandable. He met the other side of daddy last night then was cuddled nearly to death after that," Xander said, not looking up.
"What happen to baby," Xandra said, her eyes very big and her voice dripping concern. "He really 'tay?"
Oz nodded. "Yeah, he's fine. But the baby that was born last night had a hard time coming out so they were hugging Junior after the other baby was gone."
"Oh, okay," Xandra said. She nodded, then looked at her sister. "See, told you we no have new baby." Her sister hit her. "No, meany!" She slid down, crying as she ran away.
"Apologize," Xander said calmly. "I will *not* allow you to hurt your brothers and sisters for any reason." His daughter nodded, sliding down and heading after her.
Jonathan took their place. "So what happened?"
"Mother died," Xander whispered. "She was in the middle of a contraction and... and..." He held the baby tighter, getting choked up again.
"Shh," Oz whispered, moving to his side to comfort him. "You did everything you could. I know you and you wouldn't let her be harmed while you were there unless you couldn't stop it," he whispered into an ear. He turned to the man on the screen. "It was a medical thing, a rip or something. She hemorrhaged while Xander was coaching. There wasn't anything that could have been done." Xander nodded, leaning against his shoulder so he pulled the younger man's chair around to hug him fully. "We just needed to talk to the kids."
"Hey, you and everyone else. Even great-grandma called." Jonathan waved. "Later. Go cuddle him harder."
Alex took his place, smiling at them. "You two okay," she asked, watching Xander break down. "Go be with him," she said, severing the link.
"Let's take you back to bed, babe," Oz told his husband, getting up then helping him up, walking them into the bedroom and shutting the door. "We'll be okay," he promised as he lay them all down to cuddle.
Xander looked up as a man approached him. "Hi," he said, putting down his sign. "Xander," he said, holding out a hand.
"Stanley, but I prefer Ray." He looked the younger man over. "I know you're not Derek."
"No, I'm his kinda adopted son and underling. Come on, car's out in short term." They walked out into the blinding sun, Xander handing over his sunglasses when he saw the other man squint. "Not got a lot of this at home either." He led him to the sports car, turning off the alarm from the keychain as he unlocked the doors and popped the trunk. He got into the driver's seat, starting the car as the man got in beside him. "Comfy? It's going to be a few hours."
"Can we stop and get something to eat? I didn't..." He stopped at the gentle pat to his shoulder.
"None of us have been able to eat since it happened either." He shut off the engine, looking at the other man. "I was beside her," he said quietly, feeling a need to confess. "I was coaching her through the contractions. She was in a lot of pain but the ambulance was on its way and we all thought there'd be enough time. That's when I noticed the blood. I talked with a paramedic, who had me check her, then Derek took the phone when the doctor started to talk about doing an emergency c-section 'cause she was bleeding that badly."
"Why was she there?" Ray asked, very quietly. "She was term and three weeks."
Xander nodded. "She said she lied about how far along she was to escape her husband." Ray punched the dashboard with a growl. "We've heard he's a fugitive." The other man nodded. "My half-brother cut your nephew out, after she died. They were still giving Derek instructions when her heart stopped in the middle of a contraction. She was clamped onto my wrist like it was her lifeline and ..." he got himself back under control, "and she had a 'do not resuscitate' order so I couldn't bring her back." He felt the squeeze to his hand and looked down. "Thanks," he said softly. He squeezed back. "We'll take you out to the Key tonight and get you settled in. Derek has the baby back by now." He turned back to the front. "We tried, man, I really did."
"I know," Ray said. "I can see that. Relax about it." He buckled himself in as the car restarted. "How long of a trip is this?"
"Few hours. Then a ferry ride."
"Big boat, no cars. Don't worry about it though."
Xander walked into the house, about a half-hour after dark fell and was pounced on by his husband. "Hey, easy," he said, leading him quickly back down the hall to hold him. "I'm okay," he said after closing the door. He saw Derek on his bed with the as-of-yet-unnamed child. "Hey, we're back. Nick's greeting Stanley, or Ray as he prefers." He kissed the tops of Oz's head, leading him over to the bed. "He's an okay guy," he said quietly, lying down beside him. He snuggled back into the warmth that pushed its way behind him. "I take it he missed me?"
"Yes," Derek said, looking up at him. "He kept sniffing everyone then howling because they weren't you." He smiled weakly. "He knows you love him." He stood up, careful not to wake the baby. "Junior's out there so I guess I should make an appearance." He saw the small worry. "Son, I know what your daughter said. I leave it up to you to expose your lives or not." He walked out of the room, closing the door behind him.
Xander rolled to hug his husband. "He's a good man," he said quietly. "His gun's in his bag so you should be safe."
Ray cleared his throat from the doorway, clutching the door actually, very pale at the moment. "Me?" he asked. He walked inside, closing the door behind him. "That guy, Nick, um, he said to come in here and talk ta you about how ta take care of him." Xander nodded, letting Oz go, only to be pushed back to the bed and covered. "Ah, will it sound weird if I ask what's going on? I mean, I've heard stories and all, but this...this is weird."
"No, this is my husband, my mate. He's like this sometimes." Xander patted the end of the bed with his foot. "He was worried when I wasn't here after he changed. No big." He looked at the door as it opened. "We're fine."
"Some coffee," Giles said, walking in. "And a plate of dinner since you need to eat."
"Yeah, yeah, whatever. Set it down." He petted the scratchy hair on his husband's back. "He missed me," he explained. Giles simply nodded, leaving them alone. "Our life can be a bit tense at times but it's a real love." He managed to pull himself up into a sitting position, letting Oz rest against his stomach. "What did you need to know?"
"Well, they... uh, is he dangerous? I'm used to regular wolves, not the extra-big and cuddly version he seems to be."
"Only if he doesn't like you, in which case you'd already be pieces, or if you threaten his cubs or me." Ray nodded, reaching out a hand. "Go *real* slow."
Ray slowly reached over, petting the furry creature's arm gently, looking away from the eyes staring at him. He shuddered and tensed as the werewolf howled.
"Hey, napping cubs," Xander said, tapping the side of the open snout. "You wake up Junior, you're going to be playing with him all night again." He grinned as the yellow eyes focused on him. "Yes, you. Now behave. He's here for the other baby."
"Do come out to the living room," Martin said. He walked in to watch the werewolf settle down on his husband's stomach. "Well, at least it makes sense. You two cuddle the rest of the time." He shrugged. "Derek said to come out and join the rest of the world since Nick sent this guy in here." He picked up the tray. "And you will eat, young man, or else no playing with the kids for you."
Xander raised an eyebrow. "Gee, coulda sworn he was mine." Oz nipped his thigh. "Ours. Sorry, Oz." He petted him for a second then wiggled out from under him. "Come on, let's go torment the family." He walked out, grunting as Oz landed on his back. "Gee, weigh much?"
Ray laughed, following him out, the first sound of joy in the house for days.
Derek leaned back in his chair, watching Ray hold his nephew. It was only him, the Detective, and the couple up with the children now. "How will you manage when you go back?" he asked quietly.
"My partner's mother has agreed to help me. She's an Italian widow with a great yearning for more grandchildren and her son asked her to help. She was so happy she kissed me." He looked up in alarm. "It was kinda strange."
Xander nodded. "I can see that." He absently scratched his mate's stomach since it was facing up; Oz was laying face up on his stomach again. "What's being a detective like?"
"Lots of paperwork. Many stupid people." Ray put on his glasses, looking down at the little form in his hands. "You're so little."
"And he needs a name," Xander reminded him. "We weren't going to presume." Ray nodded, still watching the baby.
"You're probably tired," Derek said, getting up. "I'll show you to your room. The cradle's in there, Junior can sleep with his parents tonight." He held the baby while the younger man stood up, gently steering him toward the spare bedroom that Giles had given up. Much to his own benefit since he would be surrounded by he and Nick that night.
"Come on, fuzzy, time to take Derek Junior and go to bed too." He tried to get up but was headbutted for his troubles. "Hey, you love me, let me sleep in a bed tonight." He slid out from under his mate's heavy body, looking down at him where his head had just hit the floor. "I'm going to go sleep on the soft sleeping place," he whispered. "You can come with me." He picked up the baby, walking toward their room. "Oz," he grunted as the werewolf landed on his back. "I promise not to steal me or Junior, just get off."
Stanley stopped cold when he caught sight of the man that had met him breastfeeding. "Okay," he said, walking slowly out. "This is strange and weird, even after last night."
"Hmm?" Xander said, looking up from his nest on Oz's chest in the lounger beside the pool. "One of our quad started it and I've been feeding him to cure his bad bellies." He handed his son off to the other man. "Here, practice burping." He watched as the older man sat down on a lounger beside them carefully, gently patting the baby's back. "He's a great guy."
"Yeah, he is," Oz said, licking over his husband's neck. "And Junior seems to love him too."
"Who named him that?" Stanley asked.
"Our ex," Xander said, linking his and Oz's hands. "She had him overseas and we got custody though this big, long, winding tale you probably don't want to hear."
"I miss long stories," Stanley said quietly. "One of my old partners used ta tell them but he went home."
"Home?" Oz asked.
"Oh. Not that far away," Xander noted.
"He doesn't want to see me. We had this huge-type fight and I left." He looked up. "You've got a great family, guys," he said, handing back the baby, watching as he was simply placed on his father's chest to nap. "And they're real tight."
"Yup, a real wall," Oz said.
"Or a pillar," Xander joked. He looked over his shoulder, grinning. "They are," he said at the frown. "They've held us up plenty of times." Oz shook his head, leaning it back and closing his eyes. "You nap, we're going to play in the water later."
"Not without help," Oz muttered. He looked at Stanley. "Do you have people like him around?"
Stanley leaned back. "Nope, not even close. My partner, Ray, he's a little on the uptight side. His family's real tight but kinda loud."
"Gee, ours is only loud when the kids are rampaging around the house," Xander noted. "And loud doesn't always mean happy."
"No, but they seem to be." Stanley looked over at the young couple. "How do you guys do it? Raise kids, work, live together all the time?"
"Practice," Xander said. "But it's also determination. I'd lose myself if I ever lost Oz." He smiled gently as the strong arms wound around his stomach, cuddling him and baby tightly to the firm body below him. "Some of it's wanting to make it work bad enough to argue about things. Some of it's been a necessity. Giles had been taking care of a bunch of us, me and Oz included, and when he disappeared, he left a letter telling us to go to Derek. Since then, we've had to adapt some but we've found our niches and happiness."
"So you're doing something that makes you happy so the rest follows?"
"Not quite. Oz and I have had some *major* fights." He held up their hands to show the scar on the palms. "We vowed to actually talk to the other, and since we started that, we're much more secure. We were happy before, so happy it nauseated some people, but we weren't secure in that happiness. I wasn't secure in it."
"Me either," Oz said quietly. "That's why we were so nauseating, we were covering the cracks up so no one would see them."
"Hmm, interesting theory. Gonna put it to the test?"
"You happier now or then?"
"Now," Xander said, snuggling his body backward. "Very much now."
"Case closed." Oz opened his eyes, turning his head to look at the younger man. "Find someone that makes you happy enough to change the annoying and bad habits and be happy with them after the fighting and changing is over."
"I haven't changed that much," Xander said, looking up at his mate.
"Yes you have. You're much less clingy and insecure about the fact that I love you. You're not trying to push me away to feel safe. You've managed to find safety in me instead of alone and that's a major change. So is the feeling safe enough to let me see the weak side of you when you need me to."
"Gee and I thought it was just the non-talking thing on your side, Oz," Nick said as he walked out. "Let me have him." He held out his hands.
"Gee, bro, I love you but it's like a brother," Xander said, not handing over the baby. "I wouldn't leave Oz for you, sorry man."
Oz shook his head, lifting their son up so Nick could take him. "He didn't get much sleep last night, Junior's feeling colicky."
"Fussy bellies," Xander corrected.
"Whatever," Nick said, walking back inside. "You two need a nap."
"Gee, we do?" Xander asked.
Stanley nodded. "Yup, you're soundin' like a cop after two days straight of work." He stood up. "I'll see ya later." He walked back inside.
Xander flipped over, looking down into his husband's eyes. "If I need a nap and you need a nap does that mean that we've halved the need to nap or is it exponential?"
"Exponential," Oz said, pulling his husband down on top of his chest. "Sleep, babe, I'm right here."
"And there you will stay or I'll hunt you down and pierce you too."
Oz tugged on the small emerald his husband wore. "Okay, but it has to be cute."
"Take a nap boys," Derek's voice floated from a window.
Stanley walked back inside, looking at his nephew as he was passed around to someone else. "Here, let me," he said, taking him and sitting down with him. He looked down into the deep blue eyes, seeing such openness in them. "Such a pretty little guy," he whispered, leaning back to cuddle his new son. "Yeah, we'll be fine together. I'll make Ray leave ya alone even. How's that? But the puppy can play with you since I noticed you liked Oz when he was furry." He heard the small burp so looked down at his newly stained shirt. "Gee, maybe you shouldn't do that."
"Spit-up is a natural part of life," Giles said with a rather large smile. "Trust me, Junior did it since the day he was born. Feeding him goat's milk seemed to cure most of it."
"Or Xander did," Nick said.
"I'd rather not think about that," Giles reminded him. He patted the younger man's arm. "I'm still very wary of that whole situation."
Nick nodded. "Yeah, so was I but then I accepted it as part of protecting his pack, almost like hunting to feed them." He shrugged, looking at Stanley. "Anxious to go back to reality?"
"Not really," he admitted. "I haven't had to slam anyone to the ground in days and it feels kinda good." He watched Derek walk outside with a plain sheet. "But I do have your number if life starts to get too hard. And I promised the big guy that just went outside that I'd stop by to show this guy off."
"What's his name?" Nick asked, leaning closer to hand over the burping cloth. "Here, he's about to blow again." He watched as Stanley wiped up the previous mess and covered his shirt. "The boys have something to take the stains out."
Stanley nodded. "I'm naming him Benny. Actually Benton Fraser Kowalski. My partner may crap bricks for a week or so but I know he'll get over it." He looked down at his son. "Won't he, Benny?" In response, the baby spit-up some more. "Maybe we should have you checked out, milk and you might not like each other. My sister was like that."
"Most milk allergy cases scream their heads off," Derek said as he walked in. He headed into the kitchen, opening the can of formula the boys had been recommended and fixed a bottle. "Here, try this," he said as he brought it back out, screwing on the nipple, he hadn't put the nipple on before the bottle went into the microwave. "Smaller pieces of protein so he should digest it easier." He sat down beside Nick, patting his leg. "They're finally asleep." His colleagues and friends cheered quietly. They all looked at where Junior slept in a chair then back at Stanley.
The baby was drinking happily, kicking and wiggling the whole time.
TO BE CONTINUED...