Games People Play
Lupin looked up as someone knocked on his office door, standing up as the petite woman walked in, already smiling. "Murami," he said, giving her a hug. She was their financial manager and a very important woman in his life. He had saved her from being killed by the people her husband had worked for but she couldn't escape totally. She was the best person he had ever found. He handed over Xander's accounting problem. "I don't know how he did it, but he lost five cents and neither of us can find it."
She took the pen he held out, circling the two different amounts. "He juxtaposed," she said, handing it back with a smile. "If he's gotten that far, it's an amazing thing." She sat down. "Let's start with your accounts since it'll take the longest and you don't like to tell people what your grandfather left you." He nodded. "Did you know there was a missing clause in his will?"
"I did," Lupin said bitterly. "But as you can see, I have deaged."
"Not legally," she reminded him. He groaned, hanging his head. "Keep it in mind, okay? It'll be a nightmare to give all that away, including this house and the other two houses." Lupin nodded. "Good boy." She opened her briefcase, laying it on the chair next to her. She pulled out a large ledger book, handing it over. "The last page has my most recent check of the accounts." He flipped back, looking at it. Then he looked at her. "More or less?"
"Less. What happened?" He handed it back.
"That whole prison thing. The shipping costs for the Benz and things," she admitted. She flipped to the right page, letting him see it. "I didn't think you had known about that so I made sure it was complete." He nodded as he looked it over. "Marcus was very worried about you, Lupin. He was panicking when he called me for help. I had to get him to check on Xander and Goemon. Oh, I also paid a bribe to get Goemon out sooner," she admitted. "I couldn't really do a thing for Xander, but I hear he managed an earthquake." He nodded, giving her a small grimace. "It was necessary. They were going to hurt Xander. The person I paid the bribe to said it would go to cashier out someone who had wanted to harm him. They had a habit of harming the young and pretty and Xander was just odd enough that he coveted him. Xander had good instincts in that situation. He kicked the guy's ass in front of his friends. The Commander was not a happy person when he was asked to retire."
Lupin leaned back, putting his arms behind his head. "Really? Xander never said he got predator vibes off him."
"He might not have realized it. He probably reminded him of someone he knew on some level." She shrugged, crossing her feet. "Anyway, he saved a lot of other little boys some pain and tragedy. His friend wasn't touched, I checked on him when Xander ran. Oz is a very nice young man. Much too nice to have anything happen to him like that."
"Do you like this Oz?" he teased.
She shook her head. "He is Xander's age." Lupin smirked. "Unlike you, I like my men suave and older." She smirked at him. "If only you hadn't deaged."
"Yeah, but I've got my nose up Xander's skirts most of the time," he admitted.
"I had noticed some fairly unusual charges to his card. Women's clothes?" Lupin nodded. "Is he like that? He doesn't seem like the sort."
Lupin burst out in giggles, pressing the intercom button. Jigen came, and Lupin waved a hand at her. "She wanted to know why Xander was buying women's clothes," he gasped, continuing to laugh.
"I didn't think he was the sort," she explained, pulling out his folder and handing it over. "He doesn't seem like the sort to wear panties."
Jigen gave her a light hug. "He's not. We've had an interesting artifact fall into our laps." He sat on the couch to look through it. "It changes gender. Xander makes a stunning woman." He smirked up at her when she went silent, nodding. "That one Pops was going on about in Cleveland? That was Xander."
She snorted, then shook her head. "Poor guy. With his nose too." Lupin continued to laugh so she frowned at him. "Keep it up and I'll tell them about the clause." That made him quit.
"What clause?" Jigen asked.
Lupin groaned. "Within the next two years, a Fourth has to appear."
Jigen looked at him. "How were you planning on that?"
"Technically, I have one somewhere from way back when but she's straight." Lupin shrugged. "A quickie in a bathroom?" Jigen glared at him. "Sorry. I planned on finding a very nice woman who wanted a child without complications and making a deal with her. Complete with sperm selection if she'd allow it." Jigen looked thoughtful. "Never have heirs. It's horrible on them."
Jigen nodded. "True. Have you thought what might happen if your kid and Goemon's kids like each other ...that way?" he asked in a perfect deadpan. Lupin's eyes widened comically, making both of them laugh. "Gotcha."
"I'll get you back for that," Lupin warned him. "After all, how many people realize Sylvia is your woman?"
Jigen shrugged. "Like I care. She can take care of herself and I will protect her."
"Sylvia?" Murami asked. She pushed her black hair over her shoulder. The low ponytail she wore it in was full of static and not behaving. Her delicate features frowned at him. "Who is this woman? Should I get my legal counterpart to start working on a prenup?"
"Whoa!" Jigen said, holding up a hand. "Sylvia is Xander's other form. We're not even sure the choker can be fixed, much less needing something that drastic." She gave him a smile and he calmed down. "Am I poor yet?" he asked, returning to the forms.
"Far from it, Jigen. It's amazing how much you've saved not smoking four packs a day." She smiled at him. "Is she a proper woman?"
"Mostly," he said with a grin. "But she's got that same naughty streak that makes Xander such a handful sometimes. She got me pirate treasure for my birthday."
"He took right to it," Lupin agreed. "Trains as it and everything. She's very handy to have around. Speaking of, Jigen. We'll have to have a talk with Goemon. The next target I want to hit, we'll need a woman who'll put out." Jigen looked upset, then shook his head. "I know. He'll feel the same way. We really need an unattached woman for this job."
"We'll talk about it later," Jigen promised. "Just the three of us. Did they send you baby pictures of Ishi?"
"I did get a few, yes," she admitted. "Taken through someone's tieclip camera and on a disposable I had to get developed. He's a very pretty baby in that kimono."
"Xander," the two men said in unison.
She laughed. "It's perfect for the baby. He obviously enjoys giving well-thought out gifts. Where is the happy family?"
"In the dining room waiting on you," Lupin promised. "Along with everyone else." He stood up, handing back the book. "I'll work on that clause," he promised. "I'd hate to lose the house."
"We'd lose the house?" Jigen asked.
"You'd lose almost all of the major assets except the Benz," Murami told him. "Everything would be put on hold for six months just in case he could suddenly produce an heir or have one started, then it would be given to charity and they're not supposed to allow him to buy them back."
Jigen looked at Lupin. "Ask Dawn if she knows anyone."
Lupin shook his head. "I was going to go through a surrogate. I've got it planned." He put a hand on Murami's back, leading her to the dining room. "Here she is, the money lady."
Marcus smiled at her. "Did you get the paperwork from my check?" he asked.
She nodded. "I did. It was very smart of you to explain it as your inheritance." She sat down and opened her briefcase again, handing him a thin folder. Fujiko got another thin folder and Goemon got a larger one than Jigen had. Xander bounced and shifted in his seat so she smiled at him. "Have you been a good boy, Xander?" He nodded happily. "Are you sure?" He nodded harder. "Then I guess this is yours." She handed his very thick one over, then took his homework and handed it over. "You did a number switch," she explained. "I circled it." He nodded, grinning at her. "You've managed to spend all the allowance that you've wanted, but I've allowed you to take more out," she told him. "I still think that's a really small allowance. How about if I up it to five hundred a week? You don't have to use it."
He frowned. "I'd like to have stuff for when I'm old and cranky," he told her.
"Xander, you just sent me a check to put up for you that was a million and a half."
"A half?" Jigen asked. "I think mine was only about a quarter."
"The half came from a separate check," she told him. "Directly from a casino."
"It was my table winnings," Xander admitted. "I still suck at craps." He looked over his forms, holding up a finger. "Ten?"
"You overflowed the overflow accounts past what the insurance companies will guarantee," she told him. "I didn't think you'd want that."
"No, I didn't," he admitted. "Thanks, Murami. Did you get the flowers and candy?"
"I did, and they made my day, Xander. Thank you. You are so sweet."
"Sucking up to her won't get you better interest," Fujiko told him, smirking at him.
He stuck his tongue out at her. "Because of that whole Hong Kong thing, I had to switch out three of my cards. She got me new ones for all my accounts. Speaking of, I didn't throw out my old ones. Do you have a list of numbers you can send me?" She nodded and dug into her briefcase, handing it over. He pulled out his wallet, flipping through his cards. Six of them were laid out then the rest were put back. "Check me, my dear?" He handed them over.
She looked at the cards, then at the list. Then she noticed the date and dug out the most current list. "No, these are the good ones. Sorry, Xander," she said when he sighed, handing over the wallet. She got them sorted out with the list she had run off the other day, handing the current ones back. "Where are the others?"
"In my room. These are the ones I like to carry with me. Oh, bosses? Can I please go to the convention in Paris in two weeks or will we be gone?"
"Convention?" Goemon asked.
"It's a fandom, anime, and comic con," Xander told him, giving him a grin. "I'm still a geek." He went back to his reading, stroking his wallet. "Has anyone heard anything from Ethan?"
"Not yet," Lupin admitted, watching him. "Xander, go get the rest of your cards, just in case," he ordered. He nodded and got up, heading that way. Lupin waited until he was gone. "Give me that," he said, pointing at his folder. Goemon shook his head and Murami gave him a look. "Please?" he tried. Xander came jogging back down the stairs, handing over his stack of cards. "What are those? That's way more than ten."
"Gift cards," Xander told him. "Totally untraceable. No electronic fingerprints." He grinned at him. "Did you want to see this, boss?" Lupin nodded so he slid the folder down, letting him catch it. "Can I still go to the con?"
"If we're here," Lupin agreed. "If we leave suddenly, you'll need your phone so we can pick you up." Xander nodded when he glanced up. "Speaking of, do you have a phone now?"
"Prepaid tossaway," Xander admitted. "Nothing special."
"Let's fix that for everyone tomorrow," Lupin decided. "And I mean everyone, Goemon."
"Thank you. You never know when you'll want to call and check on the baby." He looked up. "Speaking of, where is he?"
Fujiko turned up the baby monitor so he could hear the baby snoring. "Napping for once this week."
Murami smiled at Xander. "That was a very pretty kimono in the pictures you sent me. Was that the one Lupin said you got him?" Goemon nodded. "That was very appropriate."
"I asked," Xander admitted. "I looked up someone online and talked to them about it. All I told them about the parents was that they were very honorable and believing in the old ways and that he was going to be the latest in a long line of special sons." Goemon gave him a gentle pat. "I've got his email addy if you wanted to talk to him."
"I may. Thank you, Xander."
"Welcome. Or hey, maybe someone else could use one as a present for bearing a second heir?" he suggested. Fujiko growled as she glared at him. "I only spoil pregnant people and my lovers," he pointed out.
Lupin looked at Jigen. "He spoils you? I haven't gotten any of that yet."
"They only have to ask and they get my slavish attention," Xander said dryly, grinning at him.
"Both of them," Murami squeaked. She cleared her throat. "Forgive me, sometimes I forget how sheltered my rural upbringing really was."
"Had they been doing this in Japan, someone would be dead by now," Goemon agreed. "It is rather cute however. He's made Lupin blush." As he was doing at that moment. His son fussed and Xander bounded up before anyone else could. "See if he will go back to sleep," he called after him. "It is horrible how he spoils my son."
Lupin looked at Xander's accounts, smirking. "He really did buy that bracelet." Jigen groaned and shook his head.
"It was a very distinctive piece," Murami pointed out. "Besides, it's sweet that he buys the important things so the recipients don't have to worry about using them." Fujiko gave her a confused look. "He sent me a picture of it as well. He thought it was something someone should have a picture of in the safe, in case someone decided to get, and I quote, smart assed about it and try to steal it from you." She smirked. "It is very pretty."
"It is," Fujiko admitted. "It stopped a mood swing too." Murami chuckled. "Lupin, if you have to have one, ask her."
"Murami?" Lupin asked, grinning at her.
"I'd have to sleep with you and it might ruin me for other men," she pointed out dryly. She loved her late husband and she would not go forward with another man. She felt it would disrespect his memory and Lupin knew this about her.
"I am told there are ways around that," Goemon pointed out, looking at her. "It is not dishonorable to want something for yourself," he reminded her gently. She shrugged. "Besides, who else could raise a child that would live in this life so well, yet have honor? Besides myself," he joked.
She laughed, shaking her head. "You are so bad, Goemon. Just for that, I should keep the present I brought for you and the baby." Fujiko gave her a pout. "The baby's is for you as well," she promised gently. "They're in the back of my car." Fujiko hurried out, she loved presents.
Xander brought the baby in, trying to calm him down. "I think he's hungry and there's no bottle up there," he said, sitting down beside Murami. "Say hi to the auntie," he said. "She's the nice one who gives me money so I can spoil you. When you get older, you can tease her by calling her the allowance lady until your daddy gets onto you."
Murami laughed. "I wouldn't mind at all. Hopefully he won't need my skills for a very long time," she told him, taking the baby to hold. The baby quit fussing, giving her a startled look. "How dare I, huh?" she asked, cuddling him close. He snuffled her then sucked on her pearls. "He's definitely got good taste already," she noted.
"He's sucked a diamond out of a setting," Jigen told her. "Nearly broke Xander's special choker."
"Perhaps we should not see if he can break a strand of pearls," Marcus said, taking him to put him onto the table in his carrier. "There you are, now you can be worshiped by the whole group, as you deserve," he said firmly.
"You are adorable," she sighed. "Still not enough to encourage me to have one of my own though." She touched his hand, making him grab her finger and squeeze. "Quite a good grip," she told the father.
"Especially in hair," Xander said dryly. "He likes silver by the way, Goemon. My hair, my necklace, my shirt. All of it." Goemon shook his head. "Maybe you should teach him about the precious and shiny gold stuff instead?"
"Pull your hair back," Marcus told him. "The rest of us don't have that problem."
"Marcus, you've only got four inches of hair," Lupin reminded him. "He's gotten my hair a number of times."
"He keeps trying to get my hat off," Jigen admitted, touching the brim of the hat he always wore. "He's going for the hair underneath."
"Maybe he'll be a DNA expert," Xander joked. "Oh, expect something funny to come from the US about my DNA. I left a small contribution last night. I'm going to be shocked if it doesn't come out with me looking like someone built along the likes of a certain Parisian bellringer from the Disney movie."
"I'll keep an eye out for that," Lupin told him.
"Most men don't call that a small contribution," Marcus told him. "They make up sayings about gushing like rivers and the like."
"Yeah, well, I've got scarred tubes, Marcus. I have for a very long time, even before I was with Anya."
"Why?" Jigen asked.
"The doctor said it looked like I had gotten a really bad hit to the area in my youth and they had grown together since I wasn't using them to keep them open. It was probably one of any number of bicycle accidents in my youth. I got myself good a few times on the crossbar." The men winced and Lupin bent down slightly. "I was a kid, you guys, it was just a big ouchie to me then." He grinned at Marcus. "The doctor said I'm lucky if I'm putting out one little swimmer in each load. Most of them are dying of frustration and that one is probably now demented and changed due to what I went through. Want to ask any other questions about my balls?"
Marcus blushed and shook his head. "I'm sorry I got so personal, Xander."
"Not an issue, Marcus. That was well before I found out about hell personally." He went back to playing with the baby. "Hi, little guy. When it's time will you help me go pick out a kid to steal and raise right? Hmm? I'm sure you'll pick someone very nice who needs my special insight into low self esteem." Goemon snorted, shaking his head. "Hey, I'll get to prevent a kid from growing up like me. I see no harm in that," he said firmly.
Murami gave him a pat on the shoulder. "It's all right, Xander. I can never be with another man after my late husband," she said quietly. He gave her a hug, making her squeak for air. She patted him on the back. "We all have problems we can help others overcome." He nodded, letting her go.
Fujiko came back with the two presents. "Only the two?" she asked, giving their financial manager a pitiful look.
"I'm sure you all but tore the trunk apart," she said, smirking at her. "You'll like the one for you and the baby. Goemon may well blush at mine for him." She watched as Fujiko looked at the tags, handing Goemon his.
Hers and the baby's turned out to be a wonderfully soft and fluffy chenille blanket. "I love this," she gushed, grinning at the other woman. "He'll adore this. It'll be his favorite thing next to the heartbeat bear Xander found for him." She rubbed it against her son's bare foot, making him squirm and giggle. "Murami gave you this," she told him. "We'll have to take very good care of it." The baby kicked and gooed at them.
Goemon opened his, looking at the strange device in there. "I do not think I need these," he noted, holding them up. The fake breasts with nipples on the end were connected by a strap that would go around a neck.
"They're meant for fathers so they understand the closeness mothers get when they feed their children."
"I'm not breastfeeding," Fujiko told her. "They'd stretch out of shape horribly. I'd have to buy a whole new wardrobe."
"Still, you hold him in a similar position. This way he can understand that too."
Goemon nodded, smiling at her. "Thank you. I shall try them out tonight." The other older men smirked at him. "As should they."
"I tried on Xander's choker," Lupin smirked. "I looked just like my daughter, it was scary."
Jigen looked at him. "You're sick. I bet you stood in front of the mirror and touched yourself too." Lupin nodded, grinning at him. Jigen shook his head. "You're awful."
Xander cleared his throat. "Murami, did you get our medical records?"
"I did. I also got your book collection," she told him, tossing him a key. "I was wondering when you were going to say something about that. I rented you a storage space." She looked down at Lupin, who was about to say something. "You wouldn't believe it. It looks like he bought out a college bookstore." Xander blushed and mumbled something. "Between that and a few things that I'm not sure I want to know about, I stuck them in storage. Xander, why did you have a spandex superhero costume?"
He grinned. "I like the cons."
"Ah." She nodded. "I'm hoping you're talking about fandom conventions and not walking into a prison dressed like that?" He laughed and nodded. "Good. Excellent in fact. Iceman suits you with your hair." She gave him an understanding pat. "You missed it earlier, I asked them why you were buying women's clothes. I didn't think you were the sort to wear panties and stockings."
He shuddered. "Panties are annoying," he told her. "It's nicer to not wear them at all." She nodded, giving him a look. "I had to learn, but I don't like thongs. They cut into you and it's like wearing butt floss."
"I told you to get the right size," Fujiko pointed out.
Ethan appeared to muted applause he had brought with him. He leaned down, kissing Xander on the top of the head as he put the choker on him. He leaned down. "Think of your usual form," he whispered. Xander locked it around his neck. "Is that the same?"
Xander looked down at her chest, then shook her head. "They're smaller." Ethan groaned so he took it off, handing it back. "It's also weaker feeling."
"It is. It will take some charging to work at full strength. That may take me up to a week, dear." He smiled at him, nodding his chin at the folder. "I should charge you for this."
Xander stood up, giving him a look, pouting at him. "Please, Ethan?" he pleaded, stroking up his chest. Ethan shivered. "I won't bother you at all for *months* and you can put that wig on Faith again," he teased. "I won't mind at all." Ethan swallowed. "I'll even keep protecting you from the person who wants you dead for double crossing them." Ethan whimpered and nodded. "Good boy, Ethan. Now get my necklace back for me and I'll send you," he leaned in closer to lick up his lips, "pictures. Maybe of me in a bikini?" Ethan broke out in a sweat. "Or maybe even dirty pictures?" she said, looking up at him from under her bangs. He shivered and nodded, disappearing to do that for him. Xander sat down, looking at his boss. "Who wants to take the pictures?"
"I will," Jigen said. "We'll make sure they're tasteful."
Ethan reappeared with the real necklace, putting it on Xander's neck and letting him get the clasps. She turned back into Sylvia. "How's that? The other was a copy." Xander stood up and pressed him against the wall, kissing him so hard that he went limp and gripped the wall to steady himself when he was let go. "Pictures," he moaned. "Please."
Xander nodded, tossing her hair back over her shoulder. "Of course. In any particular form?"
"Redhead. You. Modest looking," he requested.
"Athena. Of course." Ethan groaned so he called down the photo album of looks and aliases he had worked out, finding the picture for him. Ethan pointed at two of them then swallowed. "I didn't know you had a thing for Buffy." Ethan frowned. "Thinking about asking Ripper for a three-way?" she teased. "She has been rather needy and Cleveland is *so* boring," she purred, moving closer to him again. He whimpered and accepted his kiss. "Thank you, Ethan. Ask me if you need anything," she whispered. He nodded and disappeared, going to put Faith into that silver wig Xander had left with him. He was going to get some use out of it and her tonight. Xander sat down, properly feminine in her carriage, and smirked at Lupin. He tossed down the book. "Those are the ones I've worked out looks and back stories for."
Murami looked at him. "You're nearly there," she noted. "There's something a little off about you, Xander. Maybe it's how your features have stayed. Try rolling your shoulders back." She did so, making her t-shirt stretch across her impressive chest. "That's it. You're acting like they're hurting you."
"They do. They're fucking huge," he told her, making her laugh. "I don't know how those women with implants and natural size G's do it, but C's hurt me." She nodded, giving him a pat on the wrist. "Do I pass otherwise?" She nodded. Xander grinned. "Thank you, Murami." She looked at her bosses, licking her lips. "Didn't someone promise me ice cream with chocolate sauce?" Lupin raised his head, looking at her. She stared back. He swallowed and nodded. "Good. How about a snack later? Just a scoop?" She looked at Jigen. "Or two?"
He nodded. "I could use some ice cream." He noticed Lupin was busy staring at the book. "May I?" It was handed over, showing him the picture he had locked on. "Hey, that one looks like Fujiko as a blonde."
"That's what I was going for," Xander agreed. He saw Fujiko lean over, then give him an impressed look. She buffed her nails on her shirt, smirking at Murami. "See, we're more fun than a stuffy office."
Murami smiled and nodded. "You are. I'll need copies of your usual aliases to put them onto your cards and things." Xander presented it to her out of the back of his book. "There's a lot here."
"In order of use," Xander said. "Usually I use Sylvia. She's the one Zenigata likes so much."
Lupin growled. "He what?"
"While he was drunk, he said he liked me with my silver hair as a woman, followed by me as a redhead. He doesn't seem to like me as a blonde or a brunette. Though he didn't seem to mind it so much in Cleveland. Did you know he blushes?" he asked Lupin.
Lupin stood up, grabbing Xander and pulling her up. "We'll be right back, after we talk about this," he announced, carrying her off. He locked them in his study, kissing her hotly. "You aren't his."
"I know I'm not his. No matter how much he wants he'll have to go with Dawn," she agreed, plucking at his shirt.
"He wanted you?"
"He got hard when he looked over my shoulder," she admitted, smiling up at him. He took her mouth again, robbing her of her breath. "Lupin," she moaned, leaning against his chest.
Jigen opened the door, waving the old credit card of Xander's. "It's not polite to run out of a meeting for nookie." He kissed Xander himself, making her moan and arch toward him. "Hush, later," he ordered. She nodded, licking her lips. "Then we'll talk about those pictures." He took her by the hand, leading her back to the dining room. "He's sorry about that."
"I'm sure he won't have her in front of me," Murami said, giving Lupin a look. "At least he carried her off."
"I had to," Lupin defended.
Goemon handed Xander his son, watching as his precious one was cuddled gently against the soft chest. "That is the picture you should send Ethan. So he knows you are taken."
"He knows I'm taken," she promised him. "Ethan Rayne never appreciated me like this until he lost me." She stroked the baby's hair, making him nuzzle her. "No, I'm still not a food source." The baby let out a disgusted sounding sigh. "I know, it sucks to be you sometimes," he agreed, staring down at him. "Poor Ishi."
Murami gave her a gentle smile. "You do look like a natural at that, Xander," she assured him. "You've got that 'motherhood' glow around you."
"He'd better not," Lupin and Jigen said in unison.
"Not that one. Fujiko has that one," Murami told him, rolling her eyes. "The one that shows how comfortable she is with the baby in her arms. It's clear she's very comfortable in the nurturing and protective roles." She pulled something from her briefcase. "I nearly forgot that. From someone. It showed up in my mail without having gone anywhere else." She touched Ishi's hair as she stood up and locked her briefcase. "Here ends your fiscal year. Xander, storage building?"
"Go ahead and keep it in there," he agreed quietly. "Thank you for the raise too, Murami. I'm sure it'll come in handy." She nodded, giving him a kiss on the cheek. "Should I send stuff that's not poppies next time?"
"No, I like poppies. We used to have some near our house." She shook everyone else's hand. "If you need me, yell again," she told them. She let Lupin show her out, leaning against his side. "Have her do it," she said quietly.
"She can't." He shrugged. "It panicked her when she saw Ishi born. She asked Goemon to kill her."
"I'm sure he won't if she changes her mind." She gave him a pinch on the chest. "Think about it. It would be perfect. It would suit you both and Jigen might be tempted into having one of his own." Lupin shook his head, giving her a kiss on the cheek. "Fine. Tell me when you've got one so I can do the paternity test and set up a trust."
"Of course. Thank you, Murami." She nodded, getting in and driving off. He waved, smiling after her. Then he went inside, going to kiss Xander again. "She suggested you bear the heir to the Lupin name."
Xander shook her head. "Not unless you want to bury us when Goemon splits me in half."
"I told her that. She said you'd be a natural."
"I'll steal a kid like me some day and raise them right," she repeated, getting comfortable. "I think someone's asleep again."
"Thankfully," Fujiko sighed. She put her head down. "I'm tired. I think I'll go take a nap."
"I was heading to the store," Jigen admitted. He stood up, handing Lupin his folder. "Put that away for me, okay?" He got a nod. "Anyone need anything?"
"I need a sucker, one of the herbal ones," Xander ordered. "I had sniffles this morning for a few minutes."
"Fine. Anything else?" No one said anything. "Good. I'm off to make the liquor run. Behave while I'm gone." He walked out, heading to the store.
Goemon stood up and picked up his wife. "I believe I will put her into bed." He walked her up the stairs to their rooms, laying her down and watching her. Something was definitely going on in her body.
Lupin looked at Xander. "You two want to play here or do something else?"
"I need to do more research on my sword," Marcus offered. "Xander?"
"I'm satisfied where I am." Lupin nodded. "Go run around with Jigen." Lupin smirked and ran off to catch him before he could leave the grounds. Xander looked at Marcus. "I can handle him, go have fun." Marcus smiled and headed for his favorite spot, the library. He even had a phone in there now, in case someone needed him. Xander got comfortable, putting her feet up onto the chair next to hers. "You sleep, baby. We'll be comfy together." He heard something through the registers and smirked. The guys should be in the store soon. Once she was sure they were, she picked up the left cellphone and called Lupin's. "Hey, maybe you should bring home an 'opps' test just in case." She grinned. "Go down the aisle with the female stuff in it. You there? Look around for a box that says EPT." He chuckled and hung up. "She is getting sick. I think you're going to get a little sister, Ishi. Won't that be great?" he cooed softly. The baby made sucky faces at him so Xander stuck his thumb into his mouth. "There you go, use that instead of me."
Lupin knocked on Goemon and Fujiko's door, finding her alone like he had planned. He walked in, pushing her back. "We need to talk," he announced. She looked clueless. He had watched her for the last week, he was sure the test was necessary. He grabbed her by the arm, making her made frightened noises. "You're not acting like yourself," he told her, walking her into the bathroom with the bag from the store. He handed it over. "Either you use this or I'm tying you down and using your blood." She opened her mouth, looking hurt. "I can't plan for you being able to do things if you're puking your guts up. Now, do it."
He swatted her gently. "Now!" he ordered. She looked scared of him. "I mean it, Fujiko. If we have to, we'll need to get you somewhere safer sooner this time. So take the stupid test. If it is, then we'll have some planning to do. If not, then we're getting you back on the pill." She looked hurt but still looked stubborn. "I'll be outside the door," he said, stepping out and closing the door. He heard something break but she did pee into something. He walked back in, putting the tester into the cup, frowning as it turned to a small plus sign. He looked at her, noticing she was really pale. He managed to catch her before she hit the ground, carrying her out and putting her back into her bed. Then he went to cap the test strip and carry it off to the study. He tossed it at Goemon, giving Xander a look. Goemon made a startled noise. "I put her back in bed when she passed out. Be gentle with her," he ordered. The samurai looked at him. "What?"
"I have not touched her without protection."
"Sometimes they can have micro breaks," Xander offered. "There are plenty of babies born from the condom breaking. Do you want her to wake up alone?" Goemon shook his head, heading up to talk to his wife. "I'm not delivering this one," Xander said once they were alone.
Lupin chuckled. "I hope not." He gave his young man a light kiss. "Are you going to be so solicitous when I have to have one?" Xander nodded. "Thanks, kid."
"Welcome, boss. So, how are we going to do this new one? I'm not sure I could sleep with someone for the job. She's stuffed up so I doubt Goemon will let her out of his sight for a while."
Fujiko yelled from upstairs and something crashed. "I'd say she's not pleased," Lupin noted.
"I doubt she'll be pleased with the little girl," he said wisely, going back to his game of solitaire.
"Girl?" Jigen asked from his corner.
"Girl. I had a fortune teller read mine for kids I would interact with. If she carries this one through and it's female, look for it to be needing an Ethan sort of teacher." He grinned at the shocked looks. "There are real seers. She said Fujiko might not make it through this one, but there would be another one in about five years." He moved another card. "Oh, Lupin, third one will be a boy." He checked his spares and laid down something, getting another stack free. "Kinda unexpected, but very welcome at the time." He moved a King down, then picked it up and put down one from the other color since that would suit his purposes better. "Jigen, strangely enough she didn't say anything about you." He looked up. "Said yours was blocked from her." He shrugged and went back to his game.
"And yours?" Lupin asked.
"That's how I'm sure I'm going to be stealing or adopting one some day. She saw me training two students. One when I'm really old and I have white hair instead of silver. He'll carry on the group when the kids get tired and retire. The other is the girl in Russia. The only little kid she saw was a girl. Fairly powerful. That's all she could see. Her future was blocked off as well."
"Hmm." Lupin sat beside him, helping him with a match. "When did you have this done?"
"Before I got onto the train," Xander admitted. "She called on me." He stole a kiss, then looked over as Fujiko stormed in. "It'll be a girl if you manage not to miscarry," he told her, grinning slightly. "I'm very sure of it." She looked hurt. "You're the one who's been napping nonstop for the last week and all that other good stuff."
She shook her head, walking out to go shriek in the range, shooting off a clip before she loaded one and shot her husband.
Xander pulled something out from under the couch, handing it to Lupin. "For her. It'll help."
Lupin stood up, shaking his head as he headed down that way. "Fuji, Xander got you some chocolates," he said from the doorway. She glared at him. "We already knew," he said gently.
"How did he know?"
"Because Xander is very observant. He's noticed the same things."
"And the part about the girl?"
"He called on a seer apparently," he said dryly, handing her the box of chocolates. "Whoever it was saw some troubles for this one being born."
She put down the gun, looking at him fully. "I'm not leaving the group."
"As long as you know you're in danger," he told her. She nodded. "Then I'll accept it and I won't tell Goemon." She nodded, losing the stiffness to her back. "Enjoy it while possible, princess. We only want the best for you and him." He left her there, going back to the study. Xander was hugging Goemon. He looked at him and Xander shook his head. "Congratulations, Goemon, but this does cause a small problem." Xander sat Goemon down. "We'll have to have someone sleep with the next target," he told him. Goemon's eyes narrowed. "That's the problem."
"I'm not sure Xander can fake it well enough to make it convincing," Jigen offered. Xander nodded, giving him a wry look. "Now Fujiko can't."
Goemon relaxed. "I do not want to be jealous."
"I'm doing it," Fujiko said, lounging in the door. "Then I'll go hide." Her husband looked at her. "Jigen's right, for once. Xander can't act well enough to fake it that way. She enjoys it way too much to ever settle for anything lesser. You guys ruined her for that part of the job." She strolled in, patting Xander on the head. "Thanks for the chocolates. Scoot." He got away from her husband. "Thank you." She sat between them, crossing her legs. "How long will this one last?"
"Up to a month," Lupin winced. "Which means you might start showing," he told her.
"In that case, I probably should do it," Xander offered. Jigen gave him a look. "I knew it might come up when I put the choker on."
"Yes, but the choker will become noticeable," Jigen pointed out. "Usually no one would care, but someone who doesn't know and watches you never take it off will probably start to wonder."
"Which leaves it up to me for long term stuff," Fujiko pointed out. "Unless we can talk someone into it."
"I don't know anyone who I can talk into it," Xander admitted. "Lupin?" He shook his head. "Then can't we ignore this target?"
"It was a request," he told them. Everyone groaned. "From the current head of the European Syndicate, Dolune's son-in-law." Jigen shook his head and slumped down. "Which brings us back to our next problem. Fujiko's pregnancy. Otherwise I'd have no problem sending her in if she agreed." Goemon gave him a look. "Only if she agreed," he offered.
"You've got sucky timing," Jigen noted.
"It's not like I planned this," she said harshly.
"Of course not. He's been very careful with you," Jigen reminded her. "How would that have happened?"
"Sometimes condoms break," Xander reminded him. "I've had that scare myself. That's why I ended up at the doctors and found out about the scarring. I had an accident with Anya and only realized it afterwards."
Jigen nodded reluctantly. "Those do happen. I've had a few of those myself."
"Enough. It does not matter how it happened or that it did," Goemon said firmly. "Now is the time to lessen the risk to whichever female goes. If this man is dangerous, I do not want him near either female."
"Unfortunately not an option," Lupin sighed, sitting down. "The bastard has Dolune's signet ring." Everyone but Xander winced. "He's been trying to use it to gain and claim power."
"Which can cause a major rift and cause us problems?" Xander asked.
Lupin nodded. "That and Dolune was more or less my mentor when I was first starting out. I owe the old man and his family. I wish it was a simple matter of snatching the ring, but it's not. He never brings it out unless he's showing it off. No one can get a meeting with the guy. No one has seen him with the ring unless they've been in his employ. The person they were getting information back from is now dead. He was found last night. He's trying to consolidate his power."
"Would it look bad if I hunted around for information?" Xander asked. "You said yourself that people expected me to move for power."
"He loathes the whole group, Xander. We're in his way," Lupin told him. "We're loyal to Dolune and the rightful heir. That's going to get us killed if he's not stopped."
"Can't we take him out and let the ring resurface?" Fujiko asked. She didn't like this now that she knew. "Is it Cummings?"
Lupin nodded. "It is. I have no idea where he is. I know he likes you. He's wary of Sylvia; he may have found out the secret. I haven't heard how he feels about Lavelle yet." He shifted in his chair. "He's the former second-in-command to the present title holder and it wasn't enough for him. He's not been the nicest to the underlings so most of them don't support him. Most of the freelancers won't support him unless it's in their better interests. But if he has the ring, he can claim Dolune actually chose him."
"Which creates the friction," Xander said, seeing it now. "So, how do we play this since a straight out assassination won't work?"
"First, we get Fujiko away from us," Lupin said miserably. "That's the part I don't like." Goemon grunted, not liking it either. "He likes her. He wanted her in the past. She's about the only person who's ever told him no and not ended up dead."
"He's rough on his women," Jigen put in. "I've seen a body come out of his house the last time we were up against him."
"That was his housekeeper," Lupin assured him. "Most of his women are treated like gold, until he's bored with them or he loses his temper." He looked at Xander. "I would be much happier if it were you, but she's right. We have spoiled you. You can't fake it and he's got no style to speak of."
Xander shrugged. "I can still try. It's not like I can't kill him."
"We still need the ring. Whoever has it holds the power," Lupin reminded him.
"What about the non-human element?" Goemon asked. "There are some exquisite creatures among them."
"Cummings is a little bit xenophobic. If it isn't African, he doesn't want it, with the exception of certain blondes," Jigen told him. "He had his accountant fired because he found out he was Carribean, not African." Goemon winced. "How many others are on this?"
"There's a general call for the ring. No one else has specifically been set up." Lupin shrugged. "I'm stumped."
"I don't know enough," Xander offered. "But I will be watching her so her husband and you guys don't have to." Lupin gave him a grateful look. "Consider me the intermediary if you have to. Or, like I said, I could try to set up a meeting on my own. For some reason, that stupid rumor has persisted and there's no telling what he's heard."
"Can the choker be camouflaged?" Jigen asked.
Xander shook his head. "No. It'll react against the magic it's using. It'd be like covering a plug in plastic wrap before plugging it in." Jigen groaned. "Dawn?"
"It's not that bad yet," Lupin told him. "Leave her where she is. I like her there. There's every chance that this may be one of those times when Zenigata will end up being the rescue party. He has in the past during times like these."
"I remember when Dolune died," Jigen agreed. "That was a mess."
"We have the opportunity to stop this one from becoming a power struggle. We need to take it, if for no other reason than we all owe Dolune." Everyone nodded. "That leaves Marcus here with the baby."
"No, not here," Xander said firmly. Lupin looked at him. "Not alone, not here. Somewhere safer and more hidden. People do know where we are."
"People always have," Lupin reminded him.
"Yeah, but if we're in their way...." He trailed off. "I'm all for sending him and Ishi to LA at the moment. At least this creature wouldn't be able to get the baby there. Angel would protect the baby, if not Marcus."
"He can go to the hideout in Japan," Jigen said firmly, not liking that plan. He wanted to have a talk with the vampire some day. "I agree. Cummings is animal enough to try and take out Ishi to hurt us." Goemon nodded briefly, he could agree with that. "Marcus isn't exactly the warrior we need though."
"Then send the father and him with him," Xander offered. "Short of us having to slice our way in there, won't guns be more efficient this time? That will give us them as a backup and it would look reasonable for him to show up to reclaim his wife." He frowned and held out a hand, muttering something. He held it up to show Lupin. "Yours?"
"No, not mine," he said, taking it. "Can you erase it?"
Xander took it back, feeding magic back through it to the receiver. He felt someone die and winced, then nodded, tossing it away. "Whoever was listening is gone. Their mind was fried." Lupin looked at him. "I can't tell otherwise, boss."
"It's a risk we'll have to take," he decided. "It was closer to you so he probably got more of you anyway." Lupin stood up. "All right. I need you all packed and ready to go soon. Xander, I'll need you to carry both. Put everything else into storage," he said, looking at them. They all nodded, heading to do that. Lupin stopped Xander from leaving. "I'd let you go," he promised.
"I know. It's the job and business is different from pleasure. I'll work on my acting skills." He shrugged. "I can't fake it worth a damn though. I already know that. I've had to do it in the past." He walked out, heading to pack. He opened his closet marked 'Lavelle's clothes' and stared at the serious suits. Six of them went onto the bed with coordinating shirts already included. Sylvia's traveling wardrobe was already packed. He added a few things to that, then put that inside his other bag. He hung the bag on the door and started packing, putting everything into the trunks he had. Those things were just too handy not to have. Besides, they packed and stored nicely. He left one suit out for himself and his weapon's bags. They were packed last and everything else was put away. Loaded with a single clip just in case he needed to grab one. He heard the knock and got up, heading over to open the door. "Hey. Nearly done. Let me put away the cds and then change." He walked over to his dresser, ejecting his cd's from his player, then tossed them into their cases and into the last weapons trunk. He slammed it closed and looked around the room. "Done, let me dress." Jigen pulled him close, giving him a hug. "Thanks." He looked up him, giving him a gentle kiss. "You be careful. I'm not losing you to some slimebag." Jigen smirked and went to finish his own packing. Xander picked up his favorite suit and hung it up, going to shower and do his hair. Lavelle was pissed and his other half wanted out to play.
Xander walked into the hotel he would be staying at, nodding at the desk clerk. "Room under Smith?" he asked. She looked at him. "Don't bother trying to identify me for whichever agency you work for," he said quietly. "I'm in town for a bunch of meetings, not to cause trouble."
"Yes, sir," she said, handing over the form. "Is your first name really Luger?"
He grinned, making her blush. "No, but it's useful." He signed the form in the name he was using. This hotel was a known mafia hangout. "Which room, babe?"
She blushed brighter. "Room 1120, like you asked, sir," she said, handing over the key. "Do you need help with your bags?"
"Nah, I've got 'em," he promised, heading that way to put down his suit bag so he could get his weapons stash up there too. He was only wearing the one and it made him nervous. Lupin had also entrusted the listening equipment to him. He found someone in his room and nodded. "And you are?" he asked dryly. "I know I didn't call for a guest and you're not like who I usually get for bootie calls." He put down his suitbag and looked at the man. "Who are you? Speak now or live in pieces of bloody tissue."
"Lavelle," the man said quietly. "Close the door."
"No, thanks though." He crossed his arms. "You've got five seconds, I don't know you."
The man nodded, standing up. "I am not him, Lavelle. I am on the side of your boss for the most part." He gave him a small smile. "I am the one who sent for you to come here, to this tiny burg in Germany. Now do you believe me?" Xander shook his head. "Then call Lupin."
"You call Lupin," he said smartly. The man glared at him. "The only people I trust would have his cell number. If you don't, then I don't know you and that makes you a legal target in my book. I don't care if you *the* Godfather. Or Al Pacino," he said with a small smirk. "Got it?" The man nodded, starting to smile again. "Good. Now out if you wouldn't mind. If you want to speak with me, then you go through the regular channels."
"Of course. I understand. You are loyal to your lovers."
"I'm loyal to my bosses," Xander told him. "Nothing more, nothing less."
"If you say so, but others have noted otherwise."
"Yeah, well, people have all sorts of funny ideas about me," he said with a deathly calm in his voice. "Ta-ta."
"I'm going. Expect a lunch invitation soon." He walked out, heading down to call Lupin from his car. He smirked when it was answered by Jigen. "Your boy is quite the firecracker. Doesn't trust anyone, does he?" he said in greeting. He laughed. "Yes, this is he, young man. Hand the phone to Lupin. I wish to speak with Lavelle on a more personal level and he said I had to go through your boss." The phone was handed over. "Ah, Lupin the Third," he said with a fond sigh. "Your boy is dancing a dangerous game. He refused to talk to me." He laughed at the disrespectful comment. "I see. Quite a job you've done raising him. He said I had to go through you to talk to him. He is very loyal." He smirked at the comment. "Good. I like that. I would like to meet him on a less hostile field of play. Invite him to lunch for me next week." He raised an eyebrow. "What do you mean no?" He listened to the reasoning. "I see. Yes, that does come first. That's fine. Sometime soon then. Bring him around for lunch or tea." He hung up, looking up as the boy came out to his car, grabbing two hard-sided cases and a large duffle bag. "Hmm. Quite the bit of packing he's doing." He started his car and pulled away from the curb, looking in the trunk as he passed by. There was another bag. Nothing that would get stolen there however. He drove on, heading back to his fortress. That little encounter had made him more anxious than ever to talk to the boy. Loyal people were hard to find these days. A few ...quirks could be overlooked for the right person.
Xander set up on his windowsill, looking at the house up the street. Clear line of sight. Perfectly clear to three of the six downstairs windows. There were people moving around. He couldn't see them that clearly, he needed a higher powered scope on this rifle, but he could see people and Fujiko had only brought bright colors with her. The others were all dark blobs. He saw her walk up to the door, then knock. That was a trashy outfit he hadn't seen yet. He glanced back, grabbing his other scope, but turned in time to catch the person opening the door. "Megalomaniac," he hissed. "You never answer your own door. It's dangerous. People like me are watching." He put on his headset, listening to Fujiko stammer convincingly. He'd almost think she was scared shitless instead of just nervous. Then again, maybe she was. He listened to Cummings fawn over her, not believing a word of it. "Bullshit," he muttered, grabbing a piece of jerky to chew on. He checked the settings, just to make sure he wasn't broadcasting. They had gone silent all of a sudden. He smirked as another body walked up to them, a little kid. "Really? Maybe I'll find him a good home."
Fujiko said something flattering about the kid and pulled out her own pictures of Ishi. He asked why she had left her safe spot and she explained how she didn't want to be a baby factory. Yes, maybe another some day, but she wasn't ready to fully leave life yet. He led her into a sitting room that he couldn't see into so he changed his scope, smirking when he got some pictures off the tv in one of the rooms he could see. "Much better." Fujiko was drinking something now. Hopefully she had taste-tested it first. She made the bold move, saying how she wanted to check which side was going to win. They had only had the one conversation and she wasn't sure if she wanted to leave Europe alone totally or if she wanted to stay around for this one. He laughed and came over. Xander could hear him touching her, the drag of his skin on hers was audible. "Yeah, of course she'll want to stick around for this," he muttered. His receiver squealed. She explained it as a pendant her husband had given her upon the birth of their son. He seemed to accept it. He didn't break the antenna, the chain, so it was still on her. He could hear her moving. She said something about needing a break from married life and asked him if he had anything that needed her skills. He seemed to be smirking as he said he had one thing. She said something smart and he laughed. Then he heard kissing. He put down his jerky and nearly took off the headphones but he was her only backup in this situation and he had to be listening. Even if it was sickening and he was sure she'd be taking a long, hot, scrubbing shower later.
It had been three days and Xander was still alone, listening. Four hours of sleep a night was enough for him but he was emotionally worn. That guy had more sex than him. It was really disgusting; some of the things he said during it were not only filthy but perverse and should be eliminated from the English language. His cellphone rang and he picked it up. "Yeah?" He smiled. "Hey, yourself. Anything good?" He smirked. "Really?" He laughed. "Good. Fine with me. Have someone come take my spot." He hung up, waiting until someone came up to take over. He apparently had been called in for a meeting with the dirty bastard. Jigen walked into his room and he waved. "They're having lunch."
"Good." He came over, taking the headphones from him. "How bad is it?"
"Bad. That guy is disgusting. She'll need to soak off the filth later." He went into the bathroom, taking a shower. He had to be presentable when meeting with potential mafia bosses. He came out and found a suit laid out for him and Lupin pacing. "Thanks, boss." He stopped him, giving him a hug. "It'll be okay. She's not caving yet. She's only had one hitch and it was over Ishi. Since he's got a kid in there with him, he said he understood how hard it must be for her to leave her son in the hands of that, and I quote, abnormal thing you married." Lupin grimaced. He gave him a pat. "I've recorded everything but the sex so far. You don't want to hear it." He got dressed and stepped into his loafers. He grabbed his wallet and his pistol. "I'll be back." He waved his room key. "Leave me a message if something happens." Lupin handed him his phone. "You're sure?" He nodded. "Okay. Your call." He headed out, heading to the restaurant that he had been ordered to show up at. He sat in the booth that had been reserved, sipping his beer gently. By his third one, he was fairly upset. The guy was really late. He started to stand up but the waiter came back and urged him to patience. "Lavelle waits for no one," he said calmly. "Especially not arrogant people who call meetings and then don't show up." His target walked in through the kitchen and he gave him a look and a snort. "Car break down?" he asked. The dark-skinned man with the long braids and the fit body did not impress him. He looked like he was posing as he walked.
"Sit, young man." Xander gave him a look. "Please." Xander sat, getting comfortable. "Lavelle. Some say you're very good."
"So I hear," he agreed. "So my teacher says. It's your quarter. Speak. Preferably now before I lose what little patience I had."
"Would you treat other bosses this way?"
Xander nodded. "If they had kept me waiting that way, yeah, I would," he said honestly. "It's apparent you don't respect me so why should I respect you?" A ring was shown to him and he shrugged. "Yay, it's a ring. It's an ugly ring at that. Is that a swan?"
"It's a loon," the man said, looking into his eyes. "What they said was true. One's not quite right." Xander reached over, squeezing his windpipe. "Never mind." He was let go of.
"And that concludes our session. I don't deal with rude people. I have more than enough talent to get anyone on this planet to hire me if I want to go solo for a bit. You have no one thing I might want."
"Including Fujiko Mine-Ishikawa?" he asked smugly.
"While I like Fujiko and I adore her son, this is her thing."
"That's fine, then how about this. I've got the keys to the Sicilian family vaults."
Xander laughed. "And get my ass killed by every wannabe cappo in the world?"
The man grimaced. "You're not likeable, young man."
"As I said, why should I respect you if you can't show respect enough to be on time to your own meeting? Your problem, not mine. The train is leaving and the people are waving and sobbing as their dear ones are departing. Got anything else? I really would like a cheeseburger today."
"Why are you in town?"
"Because I'm tracking Fujiko for her husband as a favor. And yes, I do know where she is," he said dryly. "It was very apparent when I followed her up to your front door. That was a really loud jacket she had on, wasn't it?" The man swallowed. "Anything else?" His phone rang. "Hold on." He answered it, weathering the gasps from the other people. "Yeah? Fine." He hung up. "My boss has something that he needs retrieved. You've got fifty seconds." He pasted on his 'interested' face.
"Fine. I have something that I need you to shoot. Someone actually." Xander shrugged. "It would get you free of whatever they have over you, kid. You could be so much more. More than what they've let you become." Xander quirked up an eyebrow. Lupin had reminded him he was supposed to be interested. "I can give you anything you want. Even your freedom from the life."
"And I trust you why?" Xander asked.
"Because I keep my promises. This ring means that I'm in charge of the European syndicate." He tapped it a few times. "I know you don't play our politics. You're too American for that. Speaking of, what part are you from?"
"Which year?" he asked dryly.
"I heard outside LA all your life."
"Hmm. Got Gramp's files on me?"
The other man laughed. "Yes, actually, I did have someone hack in there. Did you know your file is now larger than Lupin's for him?"
Xander shrugged. "Gramps likes me. He's on some redemption kick. And? Did you find it interesting?"
"Fairly. He had some stuff in there that was told to him, clearly rumors. He also had some stuff that no earthly being can do." Xander shrugged. "You're not concerned?"
"Why should I be?"
"Then why don't you tell me how you turn into your alter ego?" he said, leaning closer. "I noticed that you're always wearing the same necklace."
"She's my sister."
"You don't have a sister, Mr. Harris."
"No one said she had to be a sister of blood. She's a sister in misfortune. We served together in the trenches." He stood up. "Lay it out now, please. Who, when, and how much so I know how long to debate and get back with you?"
"Who? Your bosses. All of them. Including that nasty little stodgy person who's training under her husband. You can have the son if you want to raise him." He crossed his arms, looking at the young man. "When? Within the next month. I know you're one of the few who could take your teacher. How much? Name it." He waved a hand. "Within two days please. Here."
"Fine." Xander walked away, heading back to his hotel after getting a burger. He knew he was being tailed, the stop at the newspaper shop had shown that. Not that he wanted a paper, but they came in handy sometimes. He continued back to his hotel, taking the message up to his room before reading it. Lupin knew. He said to pretend to take the job. He called him. "No." He hung up. He turned off the ringer. He sat down to watch some more. This was getting worse and worse by the moment. That was not part of the plan. He could not shoot Jigen. Nor could he shoot Lupin. There were days when the thought of shooting Marcus and Goemon had crossed his mind, this was not one of them and he was not going to be the one to raise Ishi alone. Someone knocked on his door so he walked over, disabling his trap and letting his boss in. "No. I can't shoot you. I'm sorry, but I am not qualified to do that," he told Jigen. "Not even with something nice." Jigen put a hand to his lips, nodding around the room. Xander picked up and waved the scrambler, making him frown. "Yeah, stole that too." He grinned. "Smart, huh?"
"It doesn't always work."
"It does in here. The room's too small for anything else." He waved it around, getting a single beep near his jacket. He had expected that. He walked it around, not finding any other devices. This was the latest technology from the CIA, stolen and sold on the black market. Not even they had things that could get past it. "No." He sat down, going back to his watching. "Can't I just shoot him now? He had the ugly ring on."
"No. Lupin said we've got to wait. Lure him into the open. He doesn't like Fujiko being in there alone or the kid. He thinks something's off about him." He walked over, touching him on the back of the head. "Sometimes the job calls for hard decisions."
"No. I can't shoot you. There may be a fine line between business and pleasure, but you are my mentor. You've taught me everything I know. I'm not hurting you. Nor am I hurting the only other person in the fucking world who understands me." He looked up, seeing the stunned look. "Think about it, could you have shot your mentor?" Jigen shook his head. "Then don't try to make me do it. I'm not as tough as you are on some things." He heard a shriek through the line and looked over there, frowning. "He's not a happy camper. Teach you to be on time next time." He laughed. "She said the same thing." He glanced up but Jigen was gone again and the door was closed. He paid more attention to the feed, listening for sounds that she was in immediate danger. He heard a shot, but her voice came immediately afterwards, reminding him of the child. Then she took the child out of the room so he didn't have to see more of that. She locked him in his nursery and then locked herself in their room. "Another life you'll owe for," he muttered. "No more destroying innocence for you." Someone else knocked. "No habla German," he yelled. Someone knocked a second time. He took off the headphones and covered everything, walking over to answer it. "Yes?" he asked the maid. She handed over an envelope and bowed and nodded a few times before backing away from him. He closed and locked the door, going back to his post while he read it. Listening would be enough for now. She was crying and he groaned. "Fuji, talk," he ordered quietly. The message was a long one in Arabic.
Someone was warning him he was in danger.
Too late, but very sweet of them.
Xander looked up as his breakfast space was invaded, glancing around to see how many heavy hitters had come with the man this time. The last time, the whole restaurant had been full of them and it was obvious. This time, there was only one and he was wearing a familiar pendant. He looked at his uninvited guest. "I didn't make myself plain enough by not answering?"
"You did. I understand why you can't shoot your teacher. I was loathe to do it too, you get a nasty reputation."
Xander nodded. "True, plus I have more I could learn from them. I still suck at locks." He ate a bite of his Egg McMuffin. "Want one?" he asked.
"No, thank you. That's bad for you."
"Yeah, but as an American I find myself missing fast food now and then. It's not the same in Paris. Or even here, but it's closer here." He took a sip of his juice. "So why are we meeting again?"
"Because you're the only one who can get to them." Xander shrugged. "You're also the only one who can set up a meeting between us."
"I'm still loyal."
"I know. That's why I won't ask you to betray him." Xander chuckled. "I have a new reason in my possession." He pulled out his phone and showed him the picture of the little redheaded girl on the screen. "Look familiar? Named Tara I believe."
Xander sipped his juice. "What about her?"
"I've got her. She'll be safe."
"Like your son is?" The man's jaw ticked. "I heard the gunshot and then heard Fujiko screaming. Hiding outside your house is really easy sometimes." The man's tick got worse. "Now then, I'm still not going to harm my bosses for you. Not even for a sweet and innocent little girl like Tara. And if you've harmed her, then you've got bigger problems than me."
"Oh, that Summers woman?" He snorted. "Taken out easily. She does have children."
"Which one?" Xander taunted. He looked confused. "Ah. You really don't know. Is she a blonde or a brunette?"
Xander burst out in giggles. "You're going to get past all of her bosses to get her?" The man scowled. "Oh, I wanna see you try that. Gramps is not gonna be happy with you, but maybe you'll get him another promotion out of the field. Dawn would like that," he said smugly. The man started to glare at him. "You have no idea what you just touched," he sneered. "If you release Tara now and send her to Dawn, she might spare your life. If not, I'm not betting on you living out a year. I wouldn't touch her if it were me and I *know* Dawn. I have since she showed up." The man grimaced but he was still trying to glare. "Really. Fair warning. Tara is protected by some pretty strong people. The least of which is Dawn. That's not counting Faith and Ethan. That's not counting Ripper. Or Buffy. Or even me. I'd let her go now were I you." He finished his juice and took another bite of his sandwich and chewed. "Your life of course," he said before took his next one. "And even if I did set up a meeting, it'd be at a very steep price."
"Like I said, I've got access to the family vaults," he told him.
"And is that going to be worth more to you than your life?" The man looked stunned. "I can almost guarantee that a meeting between you and Lupin is going to raise your blood pressure at least twice as much as I do." He took another bite, looking interested. "But I'll pass it on," he promised. "For a high fee. Tara is sent back to Dawn and you pay me six million."
"For setting up the meeting?"
"Yup. Baby care is so expensive these days. They need all sorts of shit like you wouldn't believe." A few of the patrons were looking at them. "Again, train, station, waving bye- bye."
"Two," he growled.
"Tomorrow night. I'll send a note to your hotel." He stood up, stalking out. Xander nodded at the second, sending him a quiet thought to leave town before he got caught up in it. The man slumped but followed after his boss. He watched as the fancy German car pulled away, waving with a cheerful smile like they were old friends. Then he finished his breakfast. "At least that will pay for Fuji's care if she or the baby needs it," he noted, picking up his tray and tossing everything away. He went to his car and noticed his alarm was off. He looked in the back, then shook his head, deciding to walk instead. The engine started and he let himself be pulled over in an alley, getting in to ride instead. "I wasn't sure it was you."
"I noticed. Nice check." Jigen parked, turning off the motor and handing over the keys. "Lupin said to quit pissing him off."
"I'm naturally aggravating. Or doesn't he remember?" Jigen frowned at him. "There's now a meeting, tomorrow night sometime. I'll be getting a note later." Jigen nodded, closing his eyes briefly. "That's as far as I'm going." Jigen looked at him. "I mean it." Jigen nodded. "I don't act, I'm me. Remember that." He got out, tossing back the keys. "Here, you take it. I need to call Dawn anyway." He went to the nearest payphone, calling her ICPO office. "Hey, Gramps," he said happily. "Put Dawnie on. Because one of her nieces was kidnaped and I've arranged to have her shipped back to you two. Now. Yes, right now." He tapped his foot. "Remind me to shoot him the next time I see him," he told her. "Tara's here. No, I can't tell you. Because I can't. We're solving this time, okay? Just be on the lookout for her." He hung up, going up to his room. He found the note on his bed, smirking at the terse handwriting. "Well, what did you expect?" he said. "Me to play nice? The guy would expect something to be up. I'm not known for nice. Or for sweet, gentle, or innocent." He crumpled it up, going back to his post.
It had been too long and Fujiko was way too exposed now. He was hating this more by the second. He heard the gunshot and winced. Her voice came on, complaining that she was trying to sleep. She went to check on the kids first, easing his mind. The little boy had apparently been picking on Tara because Fujiko snapped at him about it. The boy sneered and said something nasty to her about being his father's whore. So she did what any good mother would do, she turned him over her knee and paddled his ass in front of the guards. "Way to go, girl," he said in appreciation. She was made to let him go by someone grabbing her but the boy was sobbing pitifully and she said something to him. Apparently she was taking Tara with her. She slammed the door in the guy's face, making him yell. "Honey, watch those hormones," he whispered.
He winced as the door was kicked in, letting out a little growl as Tara screamed. Fujiko yelled at him about his son being a little fucking monster and terrorizing this younger, innocent girl. The guy sneered at her and she gave it back. Then he slapped her. "That's your only gimme," Xander warned. Tara screamed and the guy yelled, so she must have bitten him. Fujiko picked her up, her sobbing became clearer as the adult told him to leave her alone. He told her he was shipping her back and Fujiko said maybe she should go with the girl, make sure she made it there alive. The man sneered at her about going soft. She spat acid at him, that tongue of hers could get sharp when she was on a rip about kids. He stomped off and Fujiko sat down and talked the girl out of her panic. The psychic guard came in and told her to give the child to him. Fujiko demanded to know why. He stepped closer and whispered in her ear, a message for Xander. She relented and told Tara he was going to take her to her auntie now. That she had to be very good for him. Then she wrote out a phone number and gave the girl some change, telling her to call that when she was back in Paris so her aunt could pick her up. The girl nodded, taking it with her. Fujiko threatened the man and he said something too quietly to be heard. Then they left together. Fujiko took out her frustration by throwing something. Something that went crash very satisfyingly.
Xander sat on the hood of his car, blowing a bubble in his gum. The idiot Cummings was walking up to where he was. "You wanted to meet here?" he asked. Cummings nodded. "Good, then they're in there," he said, pointing inside a warehouse. "They're not dumb." He blew another bubble. "And I'm staying out here to deal with any...discrepancies with the plan." Cummings sneered and Xander put his gun on the hood, making him back away. "Lose it or lose it for good," he warned. "I don't put up with little boys without a clue." He pointed at the door. "In there."
"I'm older than you," he sneered.
"I'm thirty-one, you're twenty-eight, and I've been in war zones. You wanna debate further?" The man backed away from him. "Last chance. We can all leave and do this fun exercise in stupidity again if you want, as long as you pay me again." Cummings stomped that way, slamming the door behind him. Xander dialed his cell, getting Dawn immediately. "Is she there yet?" He smirked. "Good. Keep her. Tell Faith to stay." He hung up, stuffing the phone back into his pocket. "Excellent in fact." He looked up, grabbing his gun and sighting on the sniper trying to get him. He was in the shadows. The guy was overhead and leaning out. "Amateur," he called, hitting his rifle. The man yelped and jumped. Xander stood up, doing the walk-through course, the live version. Seven bullets, six targets. No civilian casualties among the homeless making their residence here. He walked into the meeting area, swinging his gun around and whistling. "I'm sorry to say I found a sniper, boss," he reported. "It's handled."
Lupin looked at him and nodded. "Thank you." He looked at Cummings again. "You tried to take my man."
"I *own* you, Lupin."
Lupin laughed. "The only person who *owns* me is my Grandfather and he's dead. By what right do you claim ownership?"
The ring was flashed. "You have to obey it."
"No, I took orders from Don Dolune because I liked the old guy. We worked well together and he mentored me. I owe Dolune's chosen successor, which isn't you. I was there when he gave the ring over." Cummings sneered. "He passed you over then and he still would if he were here today." Jigen grunted, nodding. "So, either give it up and run, or else."
"Or else what? I've got your girlfriend."
Xander felt something nudge the back of his neck and he ducked, hitting the guy in the abs. "Did I miss you?" he taunted, kicking him in the jaw. The man moaned and he looked at him again. "Do I look like a girl?"
"Today, no. But we all know you're really Sylvia."
"No, not even close. Sorry. Her choker was much the same as some of my scars. A gift from an unkind keeper." Cumming's eyes widened so he looked behind him. "Out."
"No," Zenigata said, shaking his head. "I'm here to arrest you all."
Xander sighed, pulling up his gun. "Don't make me, I'll never hear the end of it."
"She'll kill you, boy."
"Only if I kill you." He lowered it, shooting him on the side. The cop fell, clutching it and moaning in pain. "I warned you, just like I did the guys in LA. Fortunately, you'll live if you leave now." He looked back at his boss. "Call a cease fire?" he suggested bitterly.
"For now," Lupin agreed. "Tomorrow, and I'll pick," he said, walking away with Jigen.
"Not following?" Cummings sneered.
"Not this time. Next time." He strolled off, blowing more bubbles. He was even nice enough to drag Zenigata outside and leave him lying there with his homing beacon on. "Next time, listen," he ordered, getting into his car to drive off. Cops were converging on there anyway. He'd be fine. He picked up his cell, dialing Lupin's. No answer. He left a voice mail. "Sorry. I didn't see him, I didn't know, my fault fully. I left him with his homing beacon on. It was a shallow wound." He hung up and headed back to pack up and move to his secondary target. It was closer. He wanted to be closer now.
This was the most dangerous time yet.
The guy didn't realize he didn't have the ring anymore.
Xander walked up to the idiot's front door the next morning, nodding at the guards. "I'm here with a message for Fujiko. Now if you wouldn't mind. I hate wasting my valuable time." One of the guards called inside and she came to the door. "Hey. New message from the spouse." He handed over his cellphone. "Play the video and keep it." He grinned, watching as she smiled at the baby flipping over. Cummings came to the door. "Sorry, messenger boy today. Her baby flipped over by himself. Very advanced of him at his age." Cummings snorted and tried to take the phone, but she closed it and glared at him. "Let her keep it. It's the only comfort she's got since she fucked up this time." He bowed and backed off. "Lupin said 3, 66th street. You'll know where." He walked off, going back to the main sidewalk. He kept an eye on the proceedings as he walked away. He didn't like this. He saw Cummings backhand her then go for an abdomen shot and pulled his gun, firing over the guy's shoulder. He walked back, nodding at all the guards. "Sorry, she's mine now. Lupin promised me I could have her when you tossed her." He looked into her eyes over the top of his sunglasses. "Come on, babe. You're my bitch now." He walked her off by hauling on her arm. His car was only a few feet outside the gates. He got her into the front. "Emergency room?" he asked.
"Please. I'm not feeling good," she admitted, holding her stomach.
"Did he manage to hit you?" he asked as he started the engine.
"I woke up in pain this morning. I don't know what he did while I was asleep. He said I was getting fat," she said, starting to cry.
"Shh, princess, it's over now. He touches you over my dead body." He got them moving, taking her to the only hospital in town. He parked in front of the ER doors, getting out to lead her inside. A nurse said something to him. "She's pregnant," he said in rapid French. It should get some attention. Another nurse came running. "She is pregnant. Her kidnaper tried to hurt her. Her husband is on his way now. She is about four months along we think and in great pain in her stomach." The nurse nodded, leading her away. Xander walked over to the payphone, dialing Lupin's. No answer. Jigen's. No answer. He tried Goemon's. No answer. Marcus' then. That got a smart answer. "He hurt Fujiko, she's in the hospital. There's only one in town and Gramps is here too. They're not answering, I scared the bastard. She woke up like this," he sighed, hanging up. Then he went back to stand with her, putting a hand on her stomach. "It'll be okay, princess. Even if this one isn't meant to be, it'll be okay." She looked up and removed his sunglasses, making him lean down to kiss her on the forehead. "I'll stay until someone else gets here."
"Thank you," she whispered, clutching his hand as the nurse came back with a needle. "Is that good for pregnant women?" she asked. The nurse nodded, sticking it into her IV. Then the nurse said something about him moving his car. He looked at her and she nodded so he went to do that, coming right back in. He found someone in there with a wheelchair. "Hey. Move." He got him out of the way, touching her stomach again, willing it to be okay. "Shh, I'm here," he promised. She nodded, taking his hand to hold again. "What did you want, Zenigata?"
"I wanted to see how she was doing. That was fucking dumb!"
Xander glared at him. "You had a better idea? None of us liked this one." He shook his head. "Then go back to your room before you cause more problems." He opened his mouth. "I don't even know where they are, so move."
"Fine. I'll be getting out tomorrow. I can take her back to Paris."
"No. No, you can't," Xander told him. "I'm taking her wherever she needs to go to get to her husband. Period, end of comment." The inspector looked at him. "I am a fierce bitch when it comes to my family. If I could have, I would have been there instead and we both know it. Now go away before I lose my temper on the defenseless." The inspector snorted but rolled himself off.
Fujiko squeezed his hand. "I'm the one who's supposed to have the mood swings."
He nodded. "I know, but sometimes you just gotta do it." She nodded, closing her eyes. He went back to stroking her stomach, hoping he was helping. Where was the doctor?
Lupin looked up as their new hotel door opened, letting Jigen in. "Anything new?"
"Xander's not in his room. Where are our cells?"
"I left mine in the car. Why?" Jigen sighed and went down to find it. He came back a few minutes later with both of them, handing them over since they said they had five messages. He listened to his, wincing. The second one made him sit up and growl. The third made him hang up and call the hospital. "The man with the silver hair who brought in the woman. How is she?" The phone was handed over. "Xander?" He heard the relief. "Yeah, they're coming. How is she?" He covered his eyes. "No, you did the right thing. It's plausible. It's believable. Pops wasn't your fault." He listened, looking stunned. "He did?" He looked at Jigen. "Pops offered to take Fujiko to somewhere safe." He shrugged, sitting down to wait. He would be told soon. "Yeah, you did good. Just right. No, stick with the plan. I want you there. They'll be here by then. Yeah, he's already called. No, I forgot it in the car last night." He sighed and hung up. "Zenigata said this wasn't our brightest plan yet."
"I knew Xander only grazed him."
"Took out some of the love handle on one side actually," he admitted. "He said so. Fujiko may or may not be fine. The doctor finally got there and couldn't tell what had been done to her so far. He was letting Xander stay because he glares very well and told him he had rescued her from a kidnaper for her husband . That he was a private security guard. He's staying with her. He took her when he hit her the second time, said I had given her to him to be his bitch now. Goemon's on his way already." Jigen nodded. "That leaves us down someone today. You ready?"
"Yeah. I wouldn't mind Xander's stash though."
"He's in the Ramada up the street. Room sixteen something. Checked in under Luger Smith." Jigen smirked, going to find his room. Lupin called Marcus back. "I just talked to Xander." The phone was handed over immediately. "Calm down. The doctor said there's a chance everything will be fine. Xander's staying with her." He sighed in relief. "We could use one of you. Can you get here by three, local time?" He looked at the clock. "It's nine-twenty now." He waited while the phone was handed over. "Hi. I'm one of the guards who was sent to retrieve his wife from some kidnapers. She's just been rescued, she's in bad shape. She's going into surgery at two. Can you find him a way to get here? Oh, and the sword, it's for the child she's carrying, it's a traditional birthing gift in his family. No, not the emperor's, another noble family that intermixed a long time ago." He smiled. "Thank you. Yes, both of them. The Brit is his guard. We're a team. Thank you. If he doesn't have it on him, have him call me right back, I've got a copy of his credit card." He hung up, groaning and holding his head. "It's times like these that make me want to retire," he complained.
"At least the ring is gone," Jigen said as he walked back in. "The clerk found him. Did you want anything?"
"Something for my head."
"Got it. When are they getting here?"
"Two. And I'm not sure which is going to be worse," Lupin admitted. "Goemon almost cut up the ticketing agent." He looked at him. "They'll be flying in, due to get here at quarter to two. Xander's staying with her. Both of them are out for blood." Someone knocked on the door. "What?" he demanded.
"Special delivery," Xander called. Jigen opened the door so he walked in with his bags. "She's in surgery. He cut into her cervix last night." He sat down. "I replayed the tape, there's nothing." He handed over the cd he had burned of it. "For future reference. His guards have now tripled and are carrying automatics. His psychic second stayed in Paris." Lupin looked at him. "I couldn't stand to pace there anymore. I was going to start smoking. A nice nurse offered me one." He stood up when he heard footsteps outside the door. "Fuck me. Cops?" he asked. "Who ordered an assault team?" He opened the door. "What?" he demanded. The cops backed away from the one hobbling up to them. "You wanted what?"
"I'm paying back you saving my life in that fucking quake," he said bitterly. "You're crooks, but you're not presently wanted so I guess it's all right for now."
"Go back to bed and live to chase us another day then," Xander told him.
"Sit, boy," Jigen ordered. He patted him on the back.
"I'd rather you were watching Fujiko," Lupin told him.
"So would I but the hospital said only he," he said, pointing at Xander, "could be there because someone faxed over medical power of attorney in his name."
"Then I guess I'm headed back." Xander opened his bag and took out three handguns, checking the clips. The other cops looked nervous. "Boss, instructions?"
"Protect her first, hospital second," Lupin ordered. "If she's out of surgery, I want you to tell whichever one of them is coming and then hurry to help us." He nodded, walking out again. "This is really not your fight."
"This man killed six cops in the last month. It is my fight," Zenigata told him. The other cops grumbled. "Even if I do have to work with a crook who's managed to disable his file in the database." Jigen snorted and shook his head. "When and where?"
"Subtlety is important. Can they?"
"They can be. They're local."
Lupin looked at them. "We'll be on 66th Street at three." They nodded heading off. He looked at Zenigata. "Pops, you look horrible."
"He only winged me, I'll be fine." He smirked. "I'm sure your little helper will try to pamper me horribly. If not, that Faith girl might." He smirked. "Now, give. So I don't have this embarrassing debt hanging over my head."
"He saved you?" Jigen asked.
"We were upstairs, the ceiling collapsed. My rookie was unconscious from Xander's boot. He got us out of there and outside." He looked at Lupin again. "Got anything brilliant?"
"Actually, I am having a brain storm. Jigen, I still need that aspirin." He nodded, heading to do that. "Are you even armed?" he demanded.
"No. Give me something."
Lupin looked in the bag, pulling out a lightweight pistol, checking it for him. "Here." He shook his head. "You white lighters, always jumping in."
Zenigata snorted. "And what do you call that boy?"
"The older one. Xander. Former white knight?"
"Former," Jigen said as he returned. He handed over the packet. "We set?"
"Nearly. Let me finish my plan." He leaned back, closing his eyes to think. "Stare at each other, not me."
Zenigata looked at Jigen. "Doesn't it bother you that he fucked my nephew?"
"He told us about it." He shrugged. "He said he left him for you as a present. Thought you might be grouchy less often."
The Inspector laughed. "Sure he did. He's still got that spark of niceness in him that not even you two can take away."
"Yeah, but he likes taking down the other bad guys," Jigen smirked. "It's fun to him most of the time." The inspector rolled his eyes. "What's wrong, Pops? Worried we'll *corrupt* him?"
"No, I'm worried that he clung to you out of gratitude. He was a good kid."
"Yeah, and then he turned into a good man, and then he was used by his friends. Then he came to save me, not the other way around," Jigen told him. Zenigata looked impressed. "I had to keep him after that. He was just too damn sweet to leave there."
"Have a lot of fun with him?"
"Not when he's male."
Zenigata blinked at him, whimpering. "He does that for you?"
"Yeah, only Lupin really loves him when he's a guy. I can't swing that way." He shrugged, sitting down to check the other guns. "You gonna stand there and stare?"
"No. Give me a bag." He sat on the other bed to work on his own bag, loading what needed bullets.
Goemon walked into the Wolf's Head Cafe and nodded at his friends. "Where is the creature who dared hurt my wife?" he demanded.
"Whoa, man, calm down, big guy," Jigen said, backing away from him. Goemon's hair was sticking up on end. He wasn't sure if it was static or if Marcus had hit him with some power, but he looked bigger, stronger, and more pissed than anytime in the past. "Lupin, small problem," he called.
Lupin looked back at him. "He'll be here soon. Sit, Goemon." Goemon looked at him. "If you want him before I get him, then you'll calm down and sit for a few minutes. You're early." Goemon nodded, taking a seat in the empty diner. "Is Marcus with her?"
"He is," he agreed shortly. "The doctor was not optimistic at the moment. Xander was doing something to her stomach and Marcus joined in. Hopefully it will help my future daughter." He stood up as the door opened, admitting a few people. "Him?" he demanded.
"No, Cummings. Dark-skinned guy with a weave," Jigen told him, patting him on the back. "They're minor players." Goemon gave them a hard stare, making them shudder. "Where's your boss? Scared?"
"You're not Lavelle either," Lupin said as he stood up. "Where is he?"
"Coming. He's running late."
"That seems to be a habit of his," Lupin pointed out, lighting up. "Jigen, shot?"
"I'm fine for now," he said. He looked at the two minor players. "I'd leave. You hurt his wife," he said, nodding at Goemon. He heard the sword click loose and they ran. He laughed. "Good job."
"What does this cretin drive?"
"Dark blue mercedes. He sits in the back." Goemon walked outside and soon there was screeching. "Ow. A car engine again?"
Lupin shrugged. "Apparently it's working for him." He walked over to stand closer to the door, watching as the people ran to get away from him. "Yup, he's pissed." Jigen nodded, taking the cigarette to take a few puffs. "Good job," he encouraged. "Soon you'll be up to a whole one a day."
"I'm not going any higher than a pack," Jigen said firmly. "Should we stop him before he kills Cummings for us?" Xander appeared outside.
"I think that's our cue," Lupin said, heading out to get behind him. "Have a nice jump?"
"Teleported," Xander said, glaring at the man backing away from him. "Hold it, Goemon. There's a higher authority at work now." The samurai looked back at him. "No, there is. He's hurt more than Fuji." He lifted his chin. "Who called upon me to judge this man!" he yelled. Something big and slimy came out of the shadows. "Why did you call upon me as a consort?" he demanded.
The demon hissed. "Because he has tried to exterminate us. As he is under death sentence anyway, let us have him." It hissed again. "He has much to pay for. He has slaughtered our children as mutant humans."
"You are," Cummings snorted, raising his pistol.
"Bad idea," Xander said, stepping forward. "Have you ever seen hell?" he asked conversationally. The man looked at him like he was insane. "I have. Been there, done that, did it for nearly nine months actually." He crossed his arms, looking at him. "Not only was I there, I think you'll like it." Cummings laughed. "Oh, don't worry, you won't be there for the same reason I was. You'll be there so you can be paid back for every child you've hurt, including Goemon's. If you're lucky, they'll count that as a half since she's technically still alive at the moment." Cumming's mouth dropped as a portal opened behind him. "By the way, say hi to the things that like to come lay on you and whisper to you about what you'll be going through. I'm sure you'll enjoy them as much as I did. Not only that, but the higher things, they just *love* newbies. It's like prison, only worse. I sentence you to atone. Goemon, the honor of first cut is yours. Then the others get him." He stared the man down, daring him to make a move. He tried to shoot him so he blew off his hand, making him moan and hold the remains of his wrist. "Now, before it sucks him in, Goemon."
Goemon walked up, then suddenly pulled his sword and opened the man's pants for him, making him scream. "Now you will not touch another wife or child." He looked at the demon. "I hope you find peace from this."
"As I hope you do as well," the demon agreed. "May your child live since mine didn't." He walked the man through the portal and it snapped shut behind him.
Xander slumped. "Ow." He stood up, holding his back. "Okay, I want a really good backrub," he demanded. He patted Goemon on the shoulder. "He's paying like not even you, I, and Ethan together can make him," he promised. "There are things in there that will beg to eat at the cut you made." Goemon looked sick. "Sorry. TMI." He hobbled back to Lupin's side. "They've got her stabilized. Marcus is doing major magic to help support them. I'm going to pass out now," he announced, doing just that.
Faith hopped down, handing Jigen the pendant. "Destroy that, 'kay? Otherwise he can be brought back. It flashes out, not up." She bent to look at Xander. "Hey, bright boy. Wakey-wakey." He weakly swatted at her and she grinned. "Yeah, big girly-man. Get up." He winced. "What?"
"Pain," he told her. "Ow. Bad things. Sounding familiar?"
She nodded. "Yeah, I've had a few of those myself." She hauled him up, lifting up the back of his shirt to look at his back. "A few of the old injuries reopened. You should be mostly pain free by tonight, Xander." She gave him a hug. "Wicked justice, buddy. Encore?"
"Nap," he said firmly. "Then I'll help Marcus taint the little girl some more. That way she loves me best," he said firmly, looking at the father. "If she lives, she's going to need an Ethan sort of teacher."
"That is fine. There are many mystics in Japan and whole schools of magic."
"Cool beans. I gotta take Dawn's man back to her. She said so. Oh, she's not *really* pissed at you because you shot him. She figured you were savin' him and all, but she said to expect a frog with warts in the mail." Faith strolled off, picking up Zenigata and carrying him off. "Sorry, boys, you can't play with him anymore. His girlfriend wants him back and she is *the* fierce bitch. She makes me look normal and nice. He's the only thing that tames her into a normal chick." That stopped all the laughter. If he could tame a woman like that, the man deserved their respect, no matter how he left the scene.
Lupin lifted Xander's shirt for himself. "How did that happen?"
"I opened the portal," Xander said with a wince. "Can you not do that!" He swatted at him. "Ow." He frowned at him. "Be nicer to me." He walked away, shaking his head. He looked at one of the cops. "He's abusing me." He continued on.
The cop looked at his boss. "Was that an assault report, sir?"
"Usually, no, but since these are the people who have managed to erase *most* of their warrants around the world, I'd accept that. Get them." He turned but the thieves were gone. "Shit, find them!" he ordered. "First man who does gets the reward and the smallest is a thousand Euros!" All the cops went running, chasing after them. Marcus changed shape, laughing as he strolled off. He met up with his comrades back at the hospital, siccing a nurse on Xander. "He was hurt saving her," he told her. "He's refusing to let us look at him. Would you please help him?"
She nodded, and being a big, strong German nurse, picked him up and carried him off to force her attentions on him.
"Meanie!" Xander yelled. "See what I get you for your birthday, Marcus!" He yelped as she sat him down and pulled off his jacket and shirt over his head, making him look at her. "Please don't hurt me," he whimpered. "I don't like women that much."
She laughed, clouting him on the shoulder. "That is a good one," she said, turning him to look at his back. "What did they do to you!"
"I don't know. It was some funny energy weapon," Xander lied. "I'm fine. Really. Just slap some neosporin and a bandage on it and I'm good to go."
She laughed. "Another good one. Jah?" He sighed and nodded, letting her tend to his back. "You are famous, jah?" He nodded. "Who are you?"
"Lavelle," he said, grinning up at her. "World renowned gunman."
"You came for her?" she asked as she pulled out some cotton and some alcohol. "On the table." He groaned but did as she said. "What else is bleeding!" He had left a puddle in the chair.
"Nothing," he said quickly, covering his ass. "I promise, it's not something you can heal." She gave his head a shove and called for a doctor, making him groan pathetically. "I've had worse, really," he promised.
She snorted. "Men." She liberally doused the cotton ball and attacked the marks on his back while they were waiting for the doctor. "Babies, all of you."
"Jigen, help!" Xander called pitifully.
"Next time, let us work on them," Lupin called. He walked in, looking at the chair. "What else did you hurt?"
He looked at him. "It's an old injury, thank you."
Lupin leaned down, kissing him gently. "Let the nice nurse take care of you," he said in Arabic, "or we're bringing her home with us to take care of you." Xander quit whining right then. "Thank you." The nurse looked at him. "You understand me?" he asked in Arabic. She nodded. "Good." He smirked and walked off, going to check on Fujiko. "Another old injury seems to have opened. I'll have to be gentle on him tonight when I lay him out for me." Jigen frowned at him. "I called it first."
"I haven't had any in longer."
"That's your fault," Lupin smirked. "Maybe when I'm done you can soothe Lavelle into a long cuddle or a bath." Jigen frowned at him so he moved into the room. "How is she?" he asked, patting Goemon on the back.
"She will be fine. They will release her tomorrow so she can go home and rest." He looked at him. "We left the baby with Dawn."
"I'm sure she's fussing over him greatly." He gave him a gentle squeeze to the arm. "Why don't you take her home with Ishi? To your home." Goemon looked startled. "I'm not up to anything. Xander's injured again. Jigen's starting to smoke again. At least until she's healed. The nearest hospital is closer there than it is at my house. You can get her to the hospital from your place within minutes, running with her on your back."
Goemon nodded. That made sense to him. "I will do so. Are you coming over?"
"You want us to?"
"At least to the hideout over there? The technology fair is next month," he reminded him.
"I wouldn't mind that and Xander does need a reward." He smirked. "Think he'd like to break into some of the big anime producers and look at their private files?" Goemon laughed, shaking his head. "So we'll be there in time for the technology fair. By then, you should be ready to scold her. Xander should be healed. I should have Marcus shaved by then." He looked at the scruffy young man. "I didn't know you were old enough to grow a beard." The boy blushed. "You're how old again?"
"I just turned eighteen," he admitted quietly. "I'm sorry I lied about my age, but I felt it was necessary. I won't go back to that house."
"Fine. Good. At least you didn't get us arrested for traveling with a runaway. I'm good with that. I was on my own by your age." He gave him a gentle squeeze. "Did you want him to go with you, Goemon, or stay with us?"
"Let him stay with you for a while. I wish him to learn more of this magic. It is dangerous when he is upset." He looked at his wife's hair, it was now sticking up in odd ways. She would hate it if she had been awake to see it. His own had finally calmed down when his anger had dissipated.
"Sure," Lupin agreed. "I want Xander to know more too. They can be study buddies again." He nodded Marcus outside. "You can hug her stomach later, but Xander's already claimed that this one will love him the most." He walked Marcus out to Goemon's laughter and Fujiko's complaining. Then she shrieked something about her hair, making Goemon shut her up. "That okay with you?"
"Of course. I would love to raid Ethan Rayne's library," he said, drooling. "It holds some of the most powerful books known to mankind."
"We can probably do that," Jigen agreed as they joined him. "The doctor found a small tear. So I guess you're not getting anything tonight," he said smugly. Lupin held up the choker, making him groan and try to grab it. "That's my treat."
"It can be mine too," Lupin defended. "She's not nearly the blushing virgin everyone thinks she is. At least not anymore." He strolled in, kissing Xander on the head. "Behave and I'll give you back your favorite toy before we go raid Ethan's library for you." Xander looked up and grinned, nodding at the thing in his hand. "Do you trust us?" Xander nodded. "Then either Jigen or I will put it on you this time." Xander grinned again, loopy on the pain killers. "Did you remember to tell them you can't have opiates?" Xander nodded, giving him a patient, yet happily stoned look. The doctor looked at him, silently asking what he was doing in there. "He's my friend," he explained. "That's an old injury, it broke open while he was fighting with someone earlier." The doctor nodded, going back to his work.
Ethan Rayne opened his bedroom door and walked down to his library, smirking at the men browsing and the one hugging a bookcase. "Did you need something?" he asked dryly.
Lupin looked at him, then hauled Xander up, finished locking the choker on him, then shoved him at Ethan. "Hold my boy." He went back to browsing. "We're training him and Marcus."
"Then the bookcase Marcus is hugging would be the best choice," he noted. He looked down at the stunning redhead in his arms, salivating over her. She looked so adorable asleep that way. "Ah, precious," he purred. He started to remove him but a warm hand on his shoulder stopped him. "Oh, the other one," he said bitterly.
"You can look, but you can't touch," he said, holding up a tape. "Her, in Vegas." He strolled over. "I found the herb stash and the crystals. What did you want out of it?" Marcus gave him that same worshipful look.
"Looking at her is not payment enough for stealing all my things," Ethan complained. Xander murmured into his skin and nuzzled his neck, making him ache as he got harder than he had been in a while. "This is mean, Mr. Lupin."
"Yeah, isn't it though?" Jigen smirked. "And tonight, I'm going to take him to bed and fuck the memory of you out of his head. Little girls like her should be more pure."
"I have a spell to do that," Ethan offered quickly. "If you'll let me tape it."
"It does what else?" Marcus asked, glancing at him. "Dear Lord, put some real pants on that boy." He looked up. "Why me? I am not a nudist and I seem to be surrounded by them and forced to participate in their strangeness."
"Call unto Janus," Ethan told him smugly.
"We've got a statue in the basement locker," Lupin told him. "It came when Xander called. It talked to me."
Jigen looked at him. "That statue talked to you?" Lupin looked smug as he browsed another book. "What did it say?"
"That I was one of his too, but that we had to protect Xander for him or else." He smirked at Ethan. "I guess that's your reward for clean living?"
"Janus, why do you do this to me?" Ethan demanded, looking toward his work room.
"Because you lost me my second favorite priest," Xander said in a deeper than usual voice. "Retrieve him and all that you want will be yours."
"Even the boy?" Ethan asked.
Janus laughed and shook his head. "The boy is promised already. He is my balance. I like him," he purred, leaning up to kiss Ethan. "Retrieve my lost one for me, Ethan, and the world is yours. Lose him again or make him turn from me totally and I will give you away to my next high priest as a toy. He will be it," he said, pointing at Lupin.
"As interesting as that offer is, I don't want it. I'm a little too busy stealing things," Lupin pointed out. "It's a little hard to offer libations to a statue when you're on the run."
Janus made Xander's lips pout. "Fine, I will name another. You are amusing though and the boy makes it more so. The things I have seen have been very arousing." He looked at Jigen. "Perhaps you should let him redo the virginity spell. It would make him much happier. You can make his first time special this time instead of something odd at a convention with people pretending to be important to the world."
"Perhaps," Lupin agreed. "That would do what to him?"
"It would make him forget certain events, as I willed it," he admitted. "This body should always be under another, never topping unless demanded to. He likes that. It is his best and favorite position. You are both strong and he likes that." He saw the other boy blushing and laughed. "Though your father was not one of mine, boy, you are adorable. Will you become mine? I could train you to take over Ethan's place when he finally succumbs to stupidity."
"I am a warrior," he said firmly. "I may only keep a small shrine to your honor, Janus."
"You do my magic, give me the credit and I will aid you."
Marcus whimpered, looking at his bosses. "It's your decision," Jigen reminded him. "I don't tell anyone who to pray to."
Marcus pulled out his cellphone, calling his master. "Master, Janus is possessing Xander, asking me to perform his magic and pray to him. What should I tell him?" He listened to the wise advice, then hung up. His phone rang almost immediately and he had to listen to the rest of the tirade. "Yes, Master. Thank you, Master." He hung up again. "He said I may, in the practice of magic, but not in daily life because your way is not exactly the way of the pure warrior. Would that suit you?"
"It would," Janus admitted. "I can see the other spirit inside of you." He walked the body over, kissing Marcus firmly on the lips. "So are you marked as one of mine, my boy. Take my statue in the basement and set up a small altar. I shall have Ethan instruct you personally." The boy swallowed. "That is a later lesson," he promised. He walked the boy back to Jigen and Lupin, making it hug them both. "He meant it, he is yours." He walked the boy back to Ethan. "Go to him now, Ethan, bring him back here. He is ready. He has asked for a boon. Do not mess this up or else." Ethan gently handed the boy to Jigen before using his demonic teleporting spell to get Ripper and bring him home. "Ah, symmetry. It is beautiful. I gain one, I regain one. I lose one and I lose one permanently. He is no longer mine, he will call you his God now," he told the boys lovers. "His magic is there, and he may pray to me for it for I will always desire him, but he is not one of mine. Never more shall he be one of mine. Though, I will be watching now and then to make sure you treat him right."
"During sex?" Lupin asked.
Janus laughed. "Then as well. I find it very amusing. His body is well trained. It is also now healed permanently. Even the old ones will not come back."
Xander suddenly went limp and Jigen had to catch him, sitting him down again. "That was amusing," Jigen said, looking at his best friend.
"Very," Lupin agreed smugly. "Marcus, find your first ten books then let's go," he ordered. "Before Xander has to deal with Rupert again."
Marcus began pulling the books that called to him off the shelves, ending up with four stacks of them piled ten high. "How many of these, sir?"
"Twenty-four will fit in a box," Jigen said, handing it over. Marcus went over each of them, then reached up to a higher shelf for another book, creating a small spot of extra space for the extra books from it. That one went into the box as well. Jigen smirked at him. "Herbs and stuff?"
"Yes, I should go pull those," he agreed, following him to the work area. His stocking run was quickly done. Ethan had meticulously ordered his work area. They came back and found Lupin kissing Xander softly while he sat in his lap. "Must you do that in front of me?" Marcus asked, embarrassed enough to be blushing. Ethan came back with his war prize, leading him back to the bedroom. "I did not take much and I will send back the books once I am done," he called out. "Thank you, high priest." He looked over as a portal was created. "Hello to you too, Dawn. Fujiko will be fine this time." He walked through, anchoring it at the other side.
Jigen stole Xander. "My woman." He carried her through and up to their room, wanting her for himself for now. He locked them inside, using the new chain someone had installed in this room. So what if they were in Lupin's room, he wouldn't care. As long as he left a limp and sated Xander on the bed for him to enjoy later. He woke her up with another long kiss, making her hum. "If you wake up, I'll screw you until someone kicks in the door," he offered.
"Well, that's romantic," Fujiko said as she came through the hidden passageway in the closet to her old room. Lupin had it installed for her.
"It's enough for some of us," Xander said. "Go lay down, dear."
She laughed. "Sure I will." She laid down beside him. "Here good for you?" she asked with bright grin.
Marcus came out of a hidden pathway in the bathroom, smirking at them. "Cuddling, I love cuddling," he said, climbing in on their other side.
"Has it occurred to either of you that I could care less that you're in here?" Xander asked. They shook their heads, grinning at him and Jigen groaned. "Let me guess, you're going to be shy?" He nodded. "Damn it, what does a woman have to do to get laid around here!"
"Lupin," Fujiko said, snuggling closer. "Where's my spoiling?"
"In your bedroom with your husband," Xander told her. "You know, that big, buff samurai dude who lives to carry you around while you're stuffed up?" She laughed. "It's not like I get spoiled. It's my turn to get spoiled," she pouted.
"You've got seven people who are willing to spoil you, I've only got you, Xander," she pouted back.
"I beg to differ," Goemon noted from the pathway his wife had used. "I do spoil you horribly. Hence your current attitude problem." He looked at Xander. "You do have more people to spoil you than she does however."
"Who!" he demanded.
"Lupin and Jigen," Fujiko told him. "Pops, Dawn, Marcus, us two, Dominick, Ethan, and a few others I don't know the name of but they send you neat things like candy and cards that Lupin hides from you." Jigen glared at her. "And from you too of course."
"Dominick only likes the guy he thinks he knows," Xander said tiredly. "That's not really me. That's someone flirting. That's all that is and he knows that because he knows he's not getting anywhere with me. Ethan does not spoil me anymore, that's not my position in his life. While he may beg and do odd things for me, he doesn't spoil me and neither does Zenigata. That's him on a redemption kick, nothing else." He glared at Fujiko. "If this is your idea of spoiling, you need to look it up in the dictionary, all you're doing is spoiling my lusty nature, dear," he said impatiently. "I haven't had hardly any at all since Jigen's birthday."
"That night on the boat," Goemon reminded him.
"Yeah, and the night you gave birth. Ishi's how old?" She blushed. "Go away. Before I turn you over my knee and spank you while your husband watches me turn your pretty ass into a bright red warm thing for him." She blushed more and looked back at her husband, who seemed to look...interested. She got up and slid past him, heading back to her room so she could hide from him, before he got any ideas. "Marcus," Xander said patiently. "How many times have I not stopped you from wanking in the bathroom to Goemon's name?"
"I'm going," he said, hurrying out.
"He does?" Jigen asked. Xander nodded. "That is a disturbing thought."
"Hey, it wasn't mine originally," Xander pointed out. "It was his, he only wakes me up with it since his bathroom is on the other side of my closet." He lifted his head, searching for compatible lips but they were denied to him. "I can't have a kiss?"
"I'm trying to wipe that image out of my head," Jigen admitted. Xander heaved them over until he was on the bottom. "You wanted on top tonight?"
"No, I want some attention," Xander said firmly. "You're still stuck in perverse samurai thoughts. I should pout," he pointed out.
"I'm not the one who just threatened to warm Fujiko's ass for her."
"True, and I'm sure she'd enjoy it nearly as much as he would, but I want some attention, not them. Please?" he begged. Jigen pulled her down, kissing her gently. "Thank you. I needed that. I had to have all sorts of nasty stuff today. I was possessed again and now I'm a redhead, and I had to face down an old lover who probably wanted to possess me again too." Jigen kissed her again, making her quit complaining. "And then Janus left the words to the fertility spell in my mind. Which is really sickening when you think about it." Jigen nodded. "So if I start babbling ....I think it's Latin, shut me up *really* quickly, okay?"
"Fine," Jigen agreed, shutting him up again. Xander moaned and let him flip her over again. He liked his women underneath him. Besides, Xander liked to be underneath him. She moaned as he removed her shirt and tossed it aside, then he had to get away from her lips to finish stripping them. This was the one place where ties and dress shirts became bothersome. He tossed his tie over his shoulder.
"Hey!" Lupin complained as he came out of the bathroom. "You already ran them off?" Xander nodded. "No fair. I thought we could do some group bonding activities," he said with a small smirk.
"Only if your hand, your penis, and some super glue want to become meaningfully involved," Xander said smartly, arching her hips up so someone would get off the tight spandex pants. "What day is it?"
"The convention starts tomorrow," Lupin promised. "You can go." Xander grinned, letting him kiss her.
"My wench," Jigen protested.
"I only kissed her." He laid down next to her, stroking her bare stomach while Jigen ripped off his clothes. "I can't keep her occupied while you're fighting with your undershirt?"
"No," Jigen told him. "Go play with the baby or something."
"Dawn's not back yet," he said happily. "That means this one can be noisy!" He pinched her gently on the breast, making her gasp and arch up, whimpering. "See, I did learn," he promised. "Later tonight I'll show you all the new things I've categorized about Xander's body." She nodded, smiling up at Jigen.
"Does that mean you'll go away now? I don't need a critic."
"I'm not. I learn a lot from you," Lupin said smugly. Jigen glared at him. "Fine, I'll go bother Marcus. Maybe I can get him to squeak my name instead of Goemon's."
Jigen groaned, shaking his head. "You had to bring back that mental image?" Xander demanded. He pulled Jigen down, climbing on top of him again to kiss him senseless. "There, there, I'll protect you from the big, nasty mental image." Jigen laughed at that so she nipped him right above his beard. "That's right, the Xander is here and nothing can go wrong again." He chuckled some more and she squealed when she felt the tongue on her back. "Lupin!"
"Sorry. I can't resist. I've never seen you on top."
"I like being on the bottom." She flopped onto her back. "If I give into you, pretty boy, will you go play?" He nodded, smirking down at her. "Jigen, should we humor him?"
"If we don't, he'll turn into a raving maniac at dinner. You'll be forced to help him eat from under the table."
"It wouldn't be the first time, but this time there won't be parents involved." She sighed, spreading out. "Fine, have me." He gave an evil and salacious chuckle as he moved in to kiss her. Jigen groaned, making both of them look at him. "Did you like that?" she asked. He nodded, encouraging her to do more. She shrugged and went back to her molesting the wicked mouth. When she pulled back finally, she panted at him. "Do you give good oral sex?"
Lupin laughed. "Should I audition now or later?"
"Soon," she decided. "Do it soon. Otherwise I might have to get upset and flip you over." Lupin looked stunned so she did so, pinning him to the bed. "See?" She slid her wet center over him, making him wiggle. "Should I go shave?"
"No, no shaving," Jigen said firmly. "That'll take forever. Even with an electric razor."
"Besides, you'll get bumps again," Lupin reminded her. "Let us do that for you later." She giggled nervously, so he teased her nipples, making her wiggle a little. Not the most sensitive area on her body but he enjoyed them. He did remember his earlier mistakes and got into her quickly, making her go off once before going into an in-depth playing with them. By then they were standing up nicely and she was begging for anything. He flipped her underneath him again, playing as he stroked in and out of her. Jigen was still watching them. "What?"
"Waiting for her to wear your tired butt out," he said fondly. "Like last time." Lupin gave him a shove, knocking him off the bed. "I should take her to my room for that. There aren't any hidden passageways in there."
"Bet me," Lupin said smugly. "Grandfather had many hidden passageways built so we could play with the guests." He kissed Xander, muffling her mewling noises. He had sworn he had heard someone downstairs. He shrugged it off and went back to doing what he wanted, making sure she was kept up and ready to go again anytime. She tried to push him up again to take control so he knew his playtime was over. He gave her a long, sucking kiss and she responded beautifully, moaning into his mouth. It was all he could have wanted. It was about all he could stand though and she was still running hot. "Should I audition now?" he suggested. She nodded, pushing at his shoulders to make him go down there. She whined and made sucking noises while pushing up into his face. He found her clit and it was a full meal of its own. He liked doing this to women, driving them insane. He heard a few unfamiliar words and Jigen scrambled up, shutting her up by kissing her. "What was that?" he asked.
"She said Janus left the words to the fertility spell in her head," Jigen said. "Go back to what you were doing." Lupin shrugged and went back to his fun. She was like the ocean above him, moving and shifting, her stomach going in waves as he teased her.
"Bite once or twice, she likes it a little rough," Jigen instructed. Lupin looked at him. "I am a master of her body."
"Good point." He went back to it, nipping her gently. She screamed and came in his mouth, making him lap it up before he was covered in her fluid. She had another mini- orgasm and was running fully hot now. He slid back into her, licking off his face, letting her lick off whatever he couldn't. "Should I go on?" he asked her.
She growled. "You had better," she warned. He smirked and started to move again, putting her in the right position to have her clit bouncing and rubbing through his pubic hair. It was obviously turning her on more so he let it go, putting her legs over his shoulders. She moaned and arched up into him, making him grunt in surprise as she squeezed. "Easy, princess," he soothed. "I'm not leaving." She squeezed again and he had to slide backwards. "Xander, if you push me out, I can't do this," he pointed out gently. She went limp and he dove back in, using everything he had to leave her too limp for Jigen to have a go right then. How dare he steal his fun! He could feel the muscle quakes coming and sped up so he wouldn't go much after her. It wasn't as loud as the one on the boat, but he still appreciated it because she was. She only gave the good screams to Jigen. He started to work her clit with his thumb and she screamed. "That's the secret," he said happily, doing it some more. Now he had the key!
"Arch up, her g-spot is well loved," Jigen said helpfully, stroking Xander's arms and neck. "Leave me some, okay?"
"Sure, if it happens," he agreed, taking his time to make sure it wouldn't. She shrieked again and again, coming hard while he was still in her. He panted, resting for a moment. "Xander? Want more?" he asked. She babbled at him so he continued, making him a happy man. Especially when she forced Jigen to let her suck him at the same time. Yes, she loved her cock. She was the perfect lover for them. Talented, pretty, flexible, and desperate. He was loving every minute of this now. Jigen got off with a muffled groan and Lupin got off from the sight of Xander licking him off her lips and chin. She pouted at him. "I tried," he panted, totally spent now.
Jigen teased her, making her arch up and scream, writhing under his talented fingers. "Move, Lupin."
"Damn it, you're still going?" he complained, laying down beside her. He craned up to look at where he was playing with her. "You're going in after me?" Jigen nodded, doing more. She was still screaming and shrieking in pleasure, making both old guys hornier than hell.
Jigen looked at him. "Gag?"
"Hell no, they're pretty. What is that?"
"She's got a small nerve bundle just above it," he said, showing it off.
She glared at them. "Not...a...saf...ecracking...lesson," she complained.
Lupin kissed her. "A woman's body is the prettiest safe of all," he assured her. "Now lay there and let us play, pretty one."
"Do you let her get away with that pretty boy crack?" Fujiko asked from the closet.
"It means she's in a playful mood and I'm going to get ridden to the edge of death," he told her. "Out. Now, before you embarrass her." Fujiko shrugged and left them alone again. He sighed and leaned down, licking up the extra juices. Jigen swatted at him. "What?"
"My taste and you're in my way."
"I was going to," he complained. "Now your spit's in the way."
Xander moved her own fingers down there while they fought, making herself insane. They could watch this time. One loud moan made them look at her, giving her hurt looks. "You weren't." They attached themselves to parts of her body, sucking and nibbling like she needed. She came again, a full out, should-blow-out-my-back-when-I-arch-into-it orgasm. Then she went very limp.
"She hasn't passed out in a while," Jigen said in appreciation. "Why do you need help when I don't?"
"You've had her more times," Lupin reminded him, taking one side of her body while he got the other.
Dawn walked the blindfolded man into the house. He had refused to let her go alone so she had called ahead and warned Goemon, asking him for advice. He figured he owed him something so he had relented and said to blindfold and handcuff him in the car so he didn't know anything. She took off the blindfold. "Shh," she told him, holding up a finger. "Let me give back the baby and then I'll drive you to your cousin's house." She headed up the stairs, shaking her head. He was such a worrywart. She knocked on the couple's door, handing over the baby. "I left him in the foyer," she said quietly.
"Good," Fujiko agreed. "Why couldn't you slip past him?"
"He had the car keys," she told him. "The new smart keys for my new car." Fujiko nodded, understanding that. You couldn't even hotwire those babies. "I swear, he stuck them down his pants, then *giggled* when I tried to get them." Fujiko chuckled, shaking her head. She walked in to help put the baby to bed. "He ate about an hour ago. He's been changed on the way up twice. He's got a bit of a running problem but nothing that should require an ER visit. His butt's a little chapped because I couldn't find the desitin. A good bath should help that." She shrugged. "He's been a great little guy since I got him and Morgan was thrilled with him. He wanted to know when I was gonna have one." Goemon chuckled and shook his head. "Zenny told him it'd take a few years," she said. He laughed harder. "I am so not wanting children," she complained, shaking her head. "Where's Xan? I wanted to check on him. Before someone finds grumpy guy downstairs. He's still handcuffed."
"They were just making a lot of noise," Fujiko offered. "They're in Lupin's room."
"Goodie. I haven't been in there in a while." She hugged them both. "Have you read the letter yet?" she asked, heading to check on her bestest buddy. She found the door open and glanced inside but no one was in there. "Shit." She hurried down the stairs already calling. "He was insistent but I blindfolded him. Goemon said I could do it that way."
Xander walked down off the bottom stair, very naked but carrying a towel. They were going to the sauna. He froze when he saw the man leaning in the corner. "You're here?" he asked. He nodded, giving his nude body a look. "Oh, shit," he said as he ran to get sick.
"That's the second time that's happened," Zenigata told Lupin. "What was that nightmare about?"
"Vampire turning you both to be playmates forever," Jigen told him, shaking his head. He heard Dawn. "Oh, you forced her?" He nodded. "Blindfolded?" He nodded again, looking a little more smug.
"Dawn, you'll have to erase this trip from him," Lupin said. They threw rock/paper/ scissors to see who was going to help Xander this time, Jigen losing. "Have fun, I think he's in my study. Open a window, okay?" Jigen nodded, heading that way. Lupin looked at Dawn. "Why?"
"Smart key and he stuck them down his pants," she said dryly. "He *giggled* when I tried to get them and pretended to be a shy virgin. You know I like my guys more experienced than that."
Lupin nodded. "I remember." He shook his head. "Block the memories. We'll try to keep Xander from getting sick each time he sees him." He heard a meow and looked around. "What was that?"
"I think that would be the blonde and midnight black cat sitting behind you," Zenigata said, pointing at it with his cuffed hands. "What is this place?"
"My grandfather's," he said smugly. "Dawn."
"Okay," she agreed. "It's a pretty kitty. Did you finally get Xander a kitty?"
"Oh, great," Jigen said, leading Xander out. "When did we get a cat?"
"Her name's Marmalade, she lives in my aunt's house. So therefore you should live nearby."
Dawn shook her head. "Not necessarily. She could have crawled in my car when I came to save you from Mark and his stud libido." She looked back at Jigen. "You wouldn't believe what I had to do to save the poor guy. Oh, Xander, that sample, they said it was *way* mutated and they think you've had chemo and rad treatments for years, that's why you've got the silver hair." She grinned and waved a hand over his face.
"Won't work," Xander croaked. He picked up the cat to cuddle. "Morning, sweetie, did you sneak into the Dawnie's car?" The cat meowed and headbutted him, licking his chin for him. "Thank you. Did I miss a spot?"
Lupin took the cat. "The cat is not a surrogate device and she should go back to her owner." He walked Xander off. "Fix this, Dawn."
"Yes, Lupin," she said, smiling smugly at him. "Even if you know, you won't be able to tell, indicate, or even come here again," she whispered, sealing the spell with a kiss. His face went blank and she led him outside and into the car like that.
"Where is this place?" he asked, looking at the front of the house. "It's really nice."
"I was thinking about it for the head of my new criminal empire," Dawn told him, putting the car in gear. "What do you think?" He looked at her and she grinned. "What?" she said innocently. "I have to keep my skills somehow."
"Just take me to my aunt's," he complained.
"Sure thing, Zenny. It's just up the road. That's the best part of the evil empire being here." He growled and she giggled. "That's so cute. Do you need belly rubs?"
"Who lives here now?" he asked, looking back at the house.
"No one. It was furnished for a recent movie production. One of those chick flicks with the big dresses that you couldn't sit down in." She shifted up again as they exited the gates, and she felt the memory spell hit him square on, then felt it hit her too. "No fair," she muttered. She only remembered that they were in this town and that she had to call first.
Goemon patted Marcus on the back. "Nice job," he praised. "Go play elsewhere. I wish to play with my wife and son." His apprentice bounced out, going to be happy somewhere else with his accomplishment. He laid down beside his wife, kissing her tender stomach. She moaned and pulled his head up, kissing him. "I will have to control my desires to have you for now," he reminded her. "The doctor said nothing for two weeks and I do not want to endanger either of you." She gave him a sleepy smile and let him curl himself around her. It would be hard but he would have to control his lust again. He wanted a daughter, it would be pleasing to have one, even if she was like Xander, only secure in being loved.
Jigen floated in the hot tub, letting Xander snuggle on his chest. "You okay?" he asked. She nodded. "You're sure?"
"I'm fine. I even rinsed to my mouth and used the mouthwash." She leaned up and kissed him. "It was the shock of seeing him standing there so smugly and arrogantly." She shifted so she was straddling his body, making him make appreciative noises. "Can I?" she asked, touching his chest gently.
"If you think you can tempt me that much, go ahead," he agreed. She smirked and played with his body, getting him ready for her possession again. The best thing was there was no Lupin in sight. He held still while she slid onto him, letting her do all the work this time. She moaned as she rode him, but he knew it wouldn't be enough. He moved one of his hands down, giving her clit a little twitch. She groaned, sucking a spot onto his neck. "Easy with that," he scolded. She had given him a few fantastic hickeys. Marcus came running in and stopped, staring at them. "What?"
"What is it with you people and my poor mental condition," he complained. "All I ask for is to not see naked bodies and people having sex. I do not like the male form."
"Goemon," Xander moaned.
"Did you just moan his name?" Jigen asked, tipping her chin up. She shook her head. "It sounded like it."
"I was reminding him of his exploits where he moans it," she said firmly. "Not moaning it myself. He is much too uptight for my tastes." She swatted him, heading back to her side of the tub. "Marcus, you do like the male form as shown by how many times you've been in the bathroom to moan over your mentor. If you don't leave us alone to have sex in here, I'm going to tell your master about it."
Goemon opened the door. She had sent him for some chips for her. "I heard myself mentioned?" he asked. Marcus looked stricken. "What?" he asked patiently.
Xander looked back at him. "Marcus, he asked you a question. Don't you have to answer him?" he teased.
"I have the right to personal information I don't share," he defended.
"That is up to your sensei," Goemon reminded him. "At this point, I wish to know of this problem." He looked sternly at his apprentice and knew immediately what it was by the noise he made. "I see you have found that crush still ongoing. I fear we will have to cure that." He grabbed his student's arm, tipping his face up. "The spirit is still too strong within you. We should have it removed."
"They don't get private thoughts?" Jigen asked.
Goemon looked at him and shook his head. "Not unless the sensei wishes. It is considered a breeding ground for impure and unworthy thoughts. My own master was not totally like that but around certain ages I was forced to say everything that came to my mind. It is usual for students to form a crush on their masters. We work them very hard, see them sweaty and partially naked, and they spend most of their formative years with us. Personally, I believe if you had instituted a similar requirement with Xander he would not have had so many problems adjusting to being liked." He drug the boy off, taking him to Lupin's office, where he could call Dawn to help them. "It is a crush, Marcus, nothing further. I myself had one on my own sensei, even though he was not attractive. He was available."
Jigen looked at Xander. "That might help you," he agreed. Xander shook her head. "It would."
"Nope, sorry. Not necessary."
"But if it would help," Jigen pointed out.
"Because you won't drop this and do me until I can't see, I'm going to play in my toybox. They don't complain or give bad ideas." She climbed out of the hottub, heading up the stairs. Marcus ran past and Goemon had to chase him. "I guess that's one way of dealing with the sexual frustration of not having your wife," he said bitterly.
Goemon looked at him. "In some schools, men such as yourself would have been fixed as a youth. That would have taken care of those urges of yours."
Xander shuddered. "They castrate them?"
"In some schools. Not in my own." He shrugged. "It does control their actions, their tempers, and the unclean desires that they have, while lowering the bouncing factor. My own sensei thought that was unnecessary, that hard physical labor cured most of those. I believe he was right."
"Was that what happened to that guy we met up with in Morocco?" Lupin asked as he came down the stairs dragging Marcus. Goemon blushed and nodded. "Wow. No wonder he sounded gay."
"It was done before he came to my master to train," Goemon told him. "His former master died and he came to mine. My master never would have stood for it, but many would have done that to ones like Xander who have problems focusing. Many good lines have been stopped by such practices against teenagers."
"You mean there are castrated ninjas running around out there?" Marcus demanded. Goemon nodded. "That's sickening."
Xander shuddered as he walked past them. "Thank you for replacing the old nightmare, Goemon."
"Where is he going?" Lupin asked, staring after him.
"I believe he was headed up to put together his next lego set," Goemon informed him. "He said he was going up to play in his toybox." He grabbed his student. "We should try to remove more of the spirit within him. He is getting defiant again and it is distressing."
"Fine, call Dawn," Lupin agreed. "Have her meet you at a hotel." He walked up the stairs, tapping on Xander's door. He smirked when he saw the open toybox. "Goemon thought you'd be playing with your legos again." He came in and sat down. "What happened?"
"Get away from him. It's finally my turn," Jigen said as he walked in and slammed the door after pushing Lupin out. Xander gave him a hurt look. "You wanted him?"
"No, I wanted you, but you had bad thoughts."
Jigen came over and picked up the toy on top, looking at it. "That's fricken' huge, kid." He tossed it down again and pushed Xander onto her back, climbing on top of her. "Did you want someone that big?"
Xander shook her head. "No. I'm a bad judge of size." She wrapped her arms around his neck. "Are we ready now? Mentally there and all that?"
"Sure." Jigen kissed him, making him wiggle. He let go. "What?" Xander pointed at the cat. "How did you get in here? Shoo!" Xander made a sucking noise and stuck out her fingers, getting them sniffed and batted at by the car. "No, no cats in bed with me. Pick, me or the fluffy thing."
"Lupin, come get the cat," Xander yelled. "I can't suck off cat hair." She took possession of Jigen's mouth for him, making him groan and press down into her.
Lupin came through the passageway, grabbing the cat. "Were you trying to help?" he asked. "We should have a Blowfeld moment. Yes we should." He slapped Jigen on the ass, making him arch down into Xander's body and her squeal in pleasure. "Come on, Marmalade. I know he named you, we'll have to think of a better one."
"Brownie," Xander panted. "Like the double cake brownies." She tipped Jigen's head up, kissing and sucking on his neck. "Finally. Now, master of my body, you gonna prove that claim?"
"Oh, yeah," he agreed, smirking down at her. He kissed her, making her moan and arch up, then he moved down her, taking his time. He wanted her to appreciate foreplay, it would give him another level on Lupin, who didn't like more than tits it seemed. She groaned, pushing on his head. "In a minute," he grumbled. "Enjoy it now."
"I'll enjoy it later," she complained, still pushing. "My breasts don't do much for me." He bit a nipple and she winced, arching up to ease the pulling. "Fine, play." She went limp, making him laugh and go further down. "Sorry, but I guess I didn't grow extra nerves in them. They've never been that sensitive." She winced and groaned as he found a new spot on her stomach, shivering. "Jigen," she pleaded.
He flipped her onto her side, stretching her legs around his and taking her that way. "Better?" he asked. She nodded, reaching down. "Nope, not yet," he said, capturing her hands to hold against her stomach. She moaned, urging him on. "My playtime, you said so." She nodded, letting him touch her instead. He got her moving toward his favorite time, her begging and pleading, and kept her there, not letting her go over. She was whimpering and shifting. "Give it up, Xan. I'm in control." She nodded, arching back against him. He heard an annoying whistle and groaned, looking toward the secret passageway but another one opened, admitting Lupin. "Two of them in this room?"
"My grandfather's lover used to live in here," he defended, coming over to lie in front of Xander, kissing her gently. "What's wrong? I haven't heard any noise."
"He won't let me get off."
"I'm enjoying teaching the big tease," Jigen defended. "I can do this on my own."
"Of course you can." Lupin smirked at him. "We are all alone in the house. That means we could take this down to the study or any other room she wanted to play in." Xander blinked at her. "No happy thoughts about any other rooms?" Xander blushed and shook her head.
"I see a blush," Jigen noted. "Where?" She didn't answer so he gave her clit a few extra twitches of his fingers. She took a quick breath and tightened her back. "Where?"
"The range," she admitted. "But as a guy." She looked down, stroking Jigen's arms once she got a hand free. "It's a dirty and smutty thought."
"It is," Jigen agreed, pushing harder into her. "Kind of arousing though. Just a quick grope?" Xander nodded. "Maybe some day, kid." He kissed the back of her neck, sucking a little. She moaned and tipped her head off to the side.
Lupin stood up. "Let's bring this to my room, guys. I've got stuff set up to tie her down." Jigen looked at him. "Really. That's what I've been doing and it is the bigger bed. That way you two can have fun and I can have mine later. Otherwise, I'll have to lurk here." Jigen sighed and nodded, letting him pull Xander up to hold her. He followed them back through the hidden passage, noting it was heated. "My grandfather put this in when he brought me back," he admitted. "My nanny was his lover." He let Xander into his room and laid her onto the bed, hitching her wrists down. "Feel okay?" She nodded. "Good. I'm going to be in my sitting area reading." He walked away, finding his porn in there. He also clicked the remote for the hidden cameras so he could have something later.
Jigen looked at him. "I heard that."
"I wasn't trying to hide it."
Jigen snorted, laying down beside her again. "Ready for more?" Her eyes were bright and her lips were wet from where she had been sucking on them. He gently teased her mouth with his, making her open her mouth immediately. He dove in, unable to resist her playful nature. "I think he wants an early birthday present," he told her.
She grinned. "I was planning on making him something special for his birthday," she admitted in a whisper. "That's why I was playing in the toy box." Jigen groaned, attacking her mouth harder this time. She whimpered into his mouth, the rest of her body wiggling. He shifted to lie on top of her, making her push up into him desperately. He was having a lazy day so he looked down at her, smirking. "I should let you get on top."
"I will," she promised. "Just do more quickly," she pleaded. "Please?"
He stroked her gently and slowly, making her insane. It was better than their first time. He hadn't taken her slowly before but apparently she was liking it. Her clit was soon reacting and he had that to play with too. She was dripping long before he was ready to do more than stroke her. She was making those happy little pleading noises. She was going to make him break his lazy mood soon. Maybe this time he wouldn't be enough; Lupin might actually get some too. She latched onto his chin, moving down as he let her. She was sucking and biting on him to muffle her cries. "Let it out. We like to hear you." She let go of his neck, letting them float out. He could feel her tensing but it was a gentler, less urgent one than usual. She wiggled, trying to get his fingers to do more but he was keeping that same soft, gentle, slow rhythm. She finally came with a gasp, going limp. He looked down at her. "No mini ones this time?" She gave him an amazed look, shaking her head. He smiled and bent down, suckling on a more sensitive nipple now. She arched up, pressing her breasts together by moving he shoulders inward. "Shh, let me play," he ordered. "It'll be good."
"It's already good," she panted. She looked over his shoulder, catching Lupin looking at her. "What?"
"No." She went back to enjoying him as soon as he chuckled against her skin. Jigen was having fun licking her stomach, then he suddenly bit that new spot he had found earlier, making her shriek. "I'm paying attention."
"Good." He looked up at her as he moved back farther, making her spread her legs. "Should I play some down here too?" She nodded quickly, making him use his fingers to enter her.
"Shit, Jigen, please!" she moaned. "Please! Daisuke!"
He paused. "When did you learn my first name?"
She grinned. "A while back, and I'll keep screaming it if you keep it up," she promised. He smirked and shook his head, going back to what he had been doing. She turned his name into a long string of babble, turning him on. He relented and finally went back to finding her clit, making her happier. "Thank you!"
"All you had to do was ask," he said gently.
"In me, please!" she pleaded.
"I said ask, not beg," he retorted. "I'm not ready to have you begging yet." He winked at her. "Want to try that again?" She politely asked him to enter her, in Japanese. He laughed, doing as she had asked since it had been so polite. "Your accent does stink but I'm sure we can fix that soon enough," he promised, settling into a slow, teasing rhythm. She was whining about it but he was having fun. "Not everything has to be long, hard, and fast. You need to appreciate the gentle things too, woman."
She arched up, catching his neck with her teeth so she could nip him. "I am appreciating it, but I'm going to be mindless soon. Please? I'll beg better."
"You're already begging very prettily," Lupin told her. "Do it more."
Xander gave a little squeal as Jigen bumped her clit with a harder thrust. "Pay attention to me, not the watching slut."
"Am," she agreed, nodding. "All the time. No more bad thoughts from me. Shit, I'll let you fucking collar me and crawl behind you if I have to," she babbled. "Please, just more. I *need* more. I'm an addict and my skin is crawling toward you to get more of you."
Jigen snorted. "That was graphic. I'll think about the collar thing." He gave her a few good thrusts and she screamed, getting closer before he slowed down again. "Whose are you?"
"Yours!" she screamed, finding the place she could rub against him. He let her, making her very happy. "Damnit, these full ones aren't near as much fun! They're fucking frustrating and I want my usual ones!" she sobbed. He let her get off again, making her go limp. "Please?" she begged. "I'll do anything."
"I'm sure we can work out a deal for that later," Jigen promised, teasing her again with a wicked grin. She moaned and tightened around him, making his breath catch. "Keep it up and I should find out what being on top of you is really like." She nodded, giving him a wide-eyed look. "You wouldn't care?"
"I'd love it," she promised. She lunged up to catch his lips, kissing him hard. "Anytime you're ready." He looked thoughtful. "Anything you want," she promised him. "Anything and everything. Just give me more! I want to feel you go off!"
He leaned down, kissing her gently. "Desperate?" She nodded frantically, her breath speeding up as he sped up a little more. "Am I being mean?" She nodded harder. So he smirked and sped up to his usual speed, making her shiver and shake under him. "Good. I like being mean sometimes."
"I'm getting you a riding crop," she warned. He laughed and bit her on the neck, making her scream and clamp around him, coming harder. He couldn't resist it either and came as well, flooding her cavity with himself. He collapsed on top of her, holding her down. "Wow," she whispered. He laughed in her ear. "Release me so I can cuddle?"
"Not yet," he promised. "Give me a few and then you can cuddle." She nodded, giving him the most trusting look. "You make some incredible demands."
"Sorry," she said with a blush.
"I don't mind, Xander. The fact that you want me to collar you so I can have you crawling behind me is something I'll have to think about."
"I've got a job we could use that during," Lupin offered from his seat. Xander spit at him, making him laugh. "Seriously. A fetishist who owns a beautiful colored diamond collection. He's having a party next month. She was invited."
Jigen looked down at her. "You up for that?" She purred and went limp under him. "You'd probably have to take both of us." Her smile got bigger. "Would you like that?" She nodded, smirking up at him. "Then we'll consider it." He gave her a gentle kiss, then teased her with his beard, making her giggle. "You good for more? I think he'll get impatient soon."
"You first," she promised, stretching her arms up.
"You just wore me out," he assured her, letting her feel how limp he was now. She gave him a sated smile. "You're sure?" She nodded so he moved off to the side. "She's in that fuzzy, everything's okay in her world, state," he offered. "For once I'm done."
Lupin stood up, stalking over to the bed. "Really?" He looked down at Xander's sweaty, limp body. "Let's get her into the shower." Jigen looked at him. "I could lick her clean but I figured it'd bother you." Jigen shrugged, flopping out of the way to recover. Lupin smirked at her, starting at her forehead and licking down her to clean up the excessive sweat. "Was it fun?" She purred for him. "I'm glad. Does this mean I'm not getting something special for my birthday?"
"I won't reveal presents before they're due," she retorted, shifting for him. She eeped when he nipped the bite mark on her throat. "Create your own," she ordered. He chuckled against her skin, creating his own mark. She spread out under him, giving him free access. He moved down, licking across her nipples, he would be coming back to them later. He wanted to hear her scream those pretty noises for him. He went further back, cleaning her up for his use. She shivered and gave him the most adoring look, making him stop and look up at her. "I like," she promised. He smirked and went back to what he had been doing, cleaning up the mess the prior occupant had left.
Jigen shook his head. "That's nasty." Lupin lunged over, kissing him then letting him go. He wiped off his mouth. "Eww."
"Get used to it. If we're sharing her then I'm going to be doing this more often." He gave her a deep lick, tongue-fucking her. She squeaked and pushed back, helping him get as deep as he wanted. Her walls were wiggling around him and his tongue had found a nice spot to tease while his finger was playing with her clit. She screamed and locked her legs around his neck, holding him in place. He chuckled into her, making her shiver and go off. That was what he had been wanting. He got himself free and came up to kiss her. "Should I take the choker off?" he teased.
"Later," she panted hoarsely. "Please, later?"
"Of course." He shifted into her, making her squirm and writhe on him. "Calm down." She went limp again. "Good girl." He started to move, teasing her gently. This is what he had wanted. She was making those noises for him, and it was gratifying to hear them. He suddenly flipped her onto her side, going with her so she was wrapped around him. "Jigen," he whispered. Jigen looked at him, noticing the position she was in. "It's only fair and you wanted to know." He groaned. "In the drawer on your side." He opened it, going with the simple request. He had wondered. "Slick her up good and stretch her some," he instructed. She started to make whole new noises when he stuck a slick finger into her. She sounded like she was hooting and cooing in his ear. "Come on, you can do it," he promised. Xander shifted her hips more open, letting him sink in deeper. Jigen swallowed and coated himself. "Slowly," he ordered. He hadn't stretched her very well. "She's very tight."
Jigen nodded, slowly pushing into her. She was biting her lip and moaning into it. "Shh," he said. "Tell me and I'll quit."
"If you quit, I'm doing this to you in your sleep," she growled, pushing back onto him. He was startled to say the least. She sighed in contentment. "This is wonderful," she purred, squeezing both of them. "Even better than the other way." Lupin chuckled and moved gently. Jigen had to move because her body moved and he pushed back in as soon as he got a good distance out. She moaned louder, right into Lupin's ear. She latched onto Lupin's neck, making him wince and moan in pain.
"Easy," Jigen warned. "Or else I'll stop." She clamped around him, making him hold her tighter. "Relax. Let us play. We like to play with you."
"Play away," she panted.
Lupin looked at him. "I think we've hit on a major kink for him," he said in amazement. "She's going to go just by us being this way." He gave one little shift and she howled, arching up and shivering for them. "Mini quake."
"Real one," Xander told him. "More," she begged. "Damn it, more! Now!" she sobbed when they didn't move. "Please!" They took pity on her and moved for her benefit, making her lay still and take it. Damn, they were good to her. She felt someone pinch her clit and winced but let it go this time. The next time it was a lighter flick and she enjoyed that more. It was like she was overly full and overflowing. Like the dam inside her was going to burst soon and everything was going to come flooding out. She had to have this, she craved that release. She knew it was going to be spectacular. She had nothing to do with it but it would be better than any high she had ever heard about. She started to keen, making loud, beautiful noises for them in her pleasure. She was getting so close. She knew she was babbling and screaming in pleasure for them to let her go and they were looking at her, but she didn't care. She felt someone touch the back of her neck and knew it was Jigen this time. She didn't feel an arm over her face. One of the stimuli was taken away and she tried to grab it but it wasn't happening. She felt herself turning back and two male voices groaned into her ears. The front stimulus came back and he let out a loud wail of pleasure, coming so hard he was in pain. He passed out, losing it totally. Better than any drug, was his last thought.
Lupin looked down at Xander's body, then at Jigen. "I think he burst some of the scarring." He grabbed the baby wipes from his side of the bed, cleaning Xander up. "There's definite matter in it." Jigen came down, looking at him. "Did you hear him? He called us better than any drug."
"Huh." Jigen shook his head but he couldn't move. Lupin lit a cigarette and handed it over. He grunted, taking a few good puffs before hitting himself with his allergy shot. "Damn it," he slurred.
Lupin nodded. "Yeah." He finished it off, laying there to hold Xander. He would need it when he woke up. "She might need an ice pack if I'm right." Jigen gave him a look like he was insane. He grinned. "Can't move?"
"No!" That single word wore him out, he let his head flop back onto the sweaty pillow, closing his eyes. "I missed that?"
"You missed that by not liking guys," Lupin agreed.
"Huh." He let himself drift off, considering it in his sleep. Maybe it wasn't as nasty as he had thought. But he still liked her female form better.
Lupin got up, calling downstairs to see if anyone was around. No one answered there so he tried the nursery and still no answer. He looked at the baby wipe, then shrugged, calling to make Xander an appointment with the doctor who lived up the road. He agreed to come over. He laid back down, he could release the gates from up here. He checked, Xander was still breathing and Jigen hadn't died yet either.
Xander woke up in a warm bath, blinking around the large bathroom blearily. He had been in here once before. He started to move but winced. "What happened now?" he muttered, looking down at himself.
Lupin brought in a glass of juice, smoking again. "You ripped out some of the scar tissue. We think Janus weakened it on you."
Xander gulped the juice, sighing in relief. "The pain?" Lupin nodded. He took the cigarette and put it out. Lupin chuckled, blowing out his last puff before bending down to give him a kiss. "Am I remembering funny?" Lupin shook his head. "Wow. Is he okay?"
"He had a small blood pressure problem according to the doctor. His allergy shot was done too soon after such a massive expenditure of energy." He sat on the side of the tub, stroking through the silver hair. "The doctor said for you to stay in here and that we should pamper your ass tonight."
"Diapers would make me look funny," Xander told him, looking serious.
Lupin groaned and shook his head. "Not that way. What did you want for dinner?" His breath caught as Xander touched him. "Not that. I'm under orders not to stress your system."
"Shit." Xander gave him a pitiful look. "Not even as a woman?" He shook his head. "Did we tell the doctor?" He nodded. "Oh." He grimaced. "Okay. How long am I celibate for this time?"
"Until you quit hurting, plus a day," Jigen said from the doorway. "Was his first question about me?"
"Second," Lupin admitted. "The pain was the first one, as it should have been." He kissed Xander again. "Dinner?"
"Something. I don't care. You're a really good cook."
"Thank you. I was making quiche."
"And that is?"
"Eggs and cream with stuff. It's like a custard pie with stuff," Jigen told him.
"Spinach and feta. But I'll make you one with ham and cheddar if you want."
"Will I have to taste the spinach and feta?" Lupin gave him a look. "Fine. I'll eat that one. If I don't like it, I know where the peanut butter jar is." Lupin started to open his mouth so Xander pulled him closer to kiss him silent. "It's not fair to make you work after the work you did earlier. It's not like you guys let me do it all."
Lupin gave him a short, gentle kiss. "We didn't mind in the least. As long as none of us die, we should be able to do it again within a week." Xander beamed at him. "If you're really good, I'll consider calling out for the pizza you like." Xander gave him a pleading look, complete with drooling from the corner of his mouth. He wiped it off. "Fine. Pizza it is." He stood up. "I'll leave Jigen here with you." He gave him one last hair ruffle. "This means you'll have to invest in condoms if you're with others." He strolled out, heading for the phone to call the pizza place.
Jigen sat down with a little moan. "You made me feel my age," he noted with a small smile for the concerned look. "I have never done anything like that." He gave him a gentle kiss. "This has opened whole new horizons for me." He gave him another kiss, making him moan. "But I still like you better as a girl."
"That's fine," Xander agreed happily. "I kinda like being a girl for you most of the time." Jigen smirked at him and moved some of his hair out of the way. "I need a trim. My bangs are making me look like my forehead has a bulge."
"I noticed that you've got a few strands coming in black at the bottom. Plus, your beard has a bigger black streak in it too." He touched the rough chin hair.
"It happens, then it goes away again," Xander said with a shrug. "I asked Ethan when it happened the first time, he said it'll probably never turn back fully to black." He stole a quick kiss. "But you're okay with what he did?"
"I did. I'm the one who took off the necklace. I wanted to know." He stroked over the strong cheek. "It was neat, but not exactly something I'm going to rush out to do again."
"That's fine, whenever you want me that way, just ask," Xander promised. Jigen gave him a small smile. "You nearly died?"
"My blood pressure dropped some. The good thing is, my allergy seems to be going away."
"Good. I'm happy for you. I still think tobacco is nasty but I can learn to like it on your breath." Jigen laughed, giving him a nudge to the shoulder. "Thanks. Is Lupin fine too?"
"Just fine. He was awake all afternoon. Ishi's back. They let the doc into the house." He touched Xander's lips. "Did you mean it?"
"That we're better than any drug?"
"Hell yes," he said firmly, smirking at him. "I was floating somewhere I haven't before. Not even when I died did I get that fluffy, weightless, floating feeling." Jigen gave him a short nod. "Of course, no price is too high to get it again sometime this year," he said with a grin. Jigen laughed, shaking his head. "What's wrong?"
"You really died?"
"Twice. Then he brought me back. I didn't have time for a life replay either time. He got a little rough and pissed at himself because he had lost his playmate." Jigen frowned. "Truth." He raised a hand. "Total truth."
"I'm sorry, kid." He gave him another kiss. "You rest. I'll have to get the pizzas soon. Want anything?"
"Maybe some more juice or some water?" he asked. "I seem to be really dry for some reason."
"You soaked the bed with sweat, the sheet was see-through where you were laying," Jigen told him. "The doctor ordered us to pamper you anyway. Anything else?"
"Just a cuddle later," he said sweetly.
"Sure. We'll curl up and watch the big tv later. Laugh at Cops." He winked and got up, heading to get him some juice. "Where is everyone else?"
"Fujiko had the doctor check the baby. He's been napping all day," he said with a shrug as he worked on the plans. "Are we a go for that one job?"
"Sure. German fetishists are fine with me," he agreed. "Why was he invited?"
Lupin shrugged. "I don't know, it didn't say why." He looked up. "What did he want?"
"Some juice." Lupin handed over the pitcher. "Thanks. How long before I have to get the pizza?"
"About another ten minutes." Lupin smirked at him. "Will I have to flip you for going in with him?"
"I don't know. We'll work that out after he comes back from the convention's last day." He went back in to hand over the juice. "If you can walk, you can go to the last two days of the convention." Xander gave him a worshipful look. "You behave. I'll be right back." Xander nodded. Jigen walked out after grabbing Lupin's wallet and keys.
Xander coughed. "Lupin, are you busy?"
"Nope." He put down his pencil and walked inside. "What's up?" He sat down beside the tub, recognizing that look. "Have another nightmare?"
"The night that Fuji gave birth," he admitted. "While I was out." He reached over, touching him on the face. "I was wearing the choker for a job and you had put it on me. Both of you." Lupin nodded for him to go on. "You two didn't make it." He winced. "I ended up having to do a needle thingie to get some live sperm and take it to Ethan so I could bear twins so I could get out of it eventually."
"It won't happen," he promised. "We'd never put that on you anywhere but in the house. Outside the house and on the job, only you can put it on, Xan." Xander nodded, giving him a smile. "Twins?" Xander nodded, grimacing. "Did Goemon kill you?"
"He was in shock and hurt. He went back to some cave somewhere and took the baby with him. Fujiko fell too. Marcus wasn't there."
"Ah." He gave him a kiss. "Won't happen, Xander. I promise. I only turn you into Sylvia. Only Lavelle can turn himself." Xander relaxed. "Is that why you had that bout of panic?" He nodded. "Thank you for telling me. I promise, it won't happen." That got him kissed soundly and the juice spilled. "Hey, behave. That's the last of that flavor until we going shopping." Xander pulled him closer, kissing him harder. He moaned and pulled back, wincing. "He said you'd be in pain if you got hard."
"Now I know," he winced. "Any local left?"
"Nope, sorry." He gave him a smile. "If you're really good, I'll give you some of the pain killers from when you hurt your back later and let you suck me off." Xander gave him an adoring look. "If we go after the diamonds, who did you want to go with you?"
"Can you really control me?" Xander asked him.
"Good point," he admitted with a grin. "Then we should send Goemon with you."
"I don't think he'd like the sexual subtext."
"Also a good point," Goemon said from the doorway. Lupin looked at him and he held out the baby. "He won't sleep."
"Hand him over," Xander said, moving the glass out of the water. He took the baby to hold, giving him a light squeeze. "What's wrong, little man? Are you tired of napping? Did you want to play in the water with the unclie?" The baby squealed and kicked at the water, making the adults happy. He looked over. "We'll be okay."
"I would expect nothing less," Goemon assured him. "I know you would not harm him." He looked at Lupin. "The next job?"
"Is a German fetishist," Lupin said dryly. "Xander got invited to show up, but the invitation didn't say who he was to bring with him."
"Unfortunately, I'm a sub so someone will have to come with me," Xander told him, watching the baby splash. "Are you liking the oil in the water?"
"It's lavender. It's supposed to promote healing and calm feelings," Lupin told him. He tried to take the baby but Ishi started to fuss. "Fine. Play with the uncle. We'll go play in the bigger tub later. All of us while we discuss the next job." Goemon quirked up an eyebrow. "Colored diamonds."
"I believe the wife and I will be back in Japan at the time," he noted. "Is that before or after the technology fair?"
"A week after," Lupin admitted, smirking at him. "So we'll come over and visit you then." He looked over, taking the baby from the napping adult, making him squirm. "I'll give you a real bath," he promised. "We'll go play in the big pool later. Let the Uncle Xander sleep. He's in some pain."
"What happened to him this time?"
"The pressure built up behind his scarring and it ripped some of it free." Goemon winced. "That was my feeling too," he admitted. "So we'll be spending a long time soaking. Join us later?"
"Of course." He took his son back, making him fuss. "Hush." The baby quit, looking up at him and pouting. "Do not pick up that habit from your uncle as well," he told him, shaking his head. "I had no ideas babies were so expressive at his age." He walked away, shaking his head.
"We're having pizza for supper," Lupin called after him. He turned on the heater for the water, heading back to his plans. He'd have to tell Jigen about that nightmare later. It explained a lot of Xander's anxiety about babies.
They sat around the larger hottub, passing the baby back and forth in the cool water. They couldn't have it too hot or Fujiko and the baby would both be hurt. "The next month's itinerary is set," Lupin announced. Everyone looked at him. "Xander, bad news. Can you play a top?" Xander nodded. "Good. That's how you were invited."
"Then I'm voting Marcus to go in with me. He could use some field experience and this is the sort of situation where a sword would be better."
"As what?" Marcus asked.
Jigen coughed, smirking at them. "First, the happy couple is going to Japan finally."
Lupin nodded. "Xander's going to the convention tomorrow so he can drive them to the airport. Then he'll be there until it's time for us to join them. There's another one in Austria right after that." Xander beamed. "I've already booked you in for the full package with your credit card." Xander blew a kiss. "Then we'll be going to Japan for the tech fair. That way Xander can look at the new weapons and I can look at the new spy gear, and...."
"Xander can see anime in its natural environment," Xander said happily. "I'll need to buy somewhere to store it all."
"You've got a storage building," Lupin reminded him. "Warn Murami before you ship back boxes of stuff so she can arrange for it to be taken there immediately." He nodded. "Then we'll be coming back to Germany with a quick stop in San Francisco for their tech fair." Jigen looked impressed, they usually missed that one. "There's some new software I wanted to look at," he admitted. "Then the German job. It's a German fetishist with a taste for colored diamonds. He's invited Xander, but he thinks Lavelle's a top."
"Lavelle is my dominant side," Xander admitted. "He can top, the real me likes the bottom."
Marcus looked stricken. "And I'm to go in on that job?" Lupin looked at him and nodded. "As what?"
Xander gave him a slimy grin, worthy of Lavelle finding a new prey. "As my sub, dear," he said sweetly. "Don't worry, I'll put you into something sweet and make sure your collar is very soft. I'll take *good* care of you," he purred. Marcus swallowed, looking panicked. "I won't even let you be traded off for an hour because you're still in training. You can watch." Marcus whimpered, looking at Jigen for support.
"Either you or me, kid, and I can't do that," Jigen told him. "I'm known to be dominant, if laconic."
"Me too," Lupin agreed, grinning at him. "Don't worry, we'll work with you on that. You'll make a wonderful sub, Marcus." Marcus slumped.
His mentor smirked. "That is a better idea than sending Xander in as a sub with me holding his leash, as was suggested earlier."
"You can control him," Jigen pointed out.
"You need a firmer hand with him," Goemon told him. "I find that giving him a short leash works best. Setting firm limits. As such, my own son will be started out that way and then given more freedom as he grows into his skills." Fujiko looked at him. "My son will not become some wild little heathen."
"You're going to put a leash on him?" she asked.
"Figurative leash, Fujiko," Lupin promised. "Go back to your nap." She nodded, letting herself drift off against her husband's side. There was a scramble for the baby but Xander won, helping the baby learn how to float on his back. "Good job."
"I'm an excellent swimmer," Xander said, watching as the baby fell asleep. "I think this one will be too." He handed him over once he was sucking on his thumb, letting Marcus put him on the bench beside them. "We should find his outfit soon so he can get used to it," he suggested. "Leather's better when you get to break it in."
"Anyplace you like for leather?" Jigen asked.
Xander shook his head. "I don't have a preference. Dawn kept promising me to take me to England to buy me some leather pants since I healed so well."
"I know of a good place to find leather armor," Marcus offered. "It's for recreationists and the like. I have no idea where people would go to buy leather clothing for pleasure."
"Vegas," Xander said, shrugging. "There was some."
"Too dangerous. They've got to be on the watchout for you to come back," Jigen reminded him. He looked at Xander's roots. "Most of the dark stuff is gone," he said, looking confused.
"I told you it does that," he said with a small grin. "The part in my beard will be gone in a few days." He looked at Marcus. "Then the silver will get really shiny again probably so we'll be fine. What do I want to put you into?" Marcus gave him a pathetic look. "Definitely a collar. Some pants and light boots. T-shirts too I think," he decided. "Easy enough to remove and to move around in when you need it." Marcus nodded, looking down. "Good boy," he praised, reaching over to touch the back of his neck. "Very good boy. You'll learn quickly." Marcus gave him a sour look. "Give me that on the job and I'll have to punish you." Marcus nodded, looking miserable. "It'll only be for a little while. I promise."
"Fine," he sighed. "It had better be worth it."
"It will be," Jigen promised. "I've seen pictures of the collection, they're very pretty." He looked at Lupin. "How about you? Any idea on leather?"
"Paris has a few fetish shops," he admitted. "I've only been there once or twice." Everyone looked at him. "Once was a present and once was something Fujiko wanted me to pick up and bring to her," he explained.
Goemon gave his wife a look. "I have not seen any leather in her closet. I will have to look and confiscate it.." Everyone laughed.
A month later, Xander walked up to the door, his invitation held out. His silver hair was slicked back, making it shine slightly in the dusk lighting. "Lavelle," he announced, "and my new boy." The guard nodded, passing him inside. Xander walked in, Marcus following a step behind him and off to his right. He bowed to his host. "Thank you for inviting me. Who are you?"
The man laughed, clapping him on the shoulder. "I'm Morganilith. This is my house." He smirked at Marcus. "How new is he?"
"Barely a month in training and he takes to it *beautifully*," Xander purred. Marcus blushed. "He is still shy. This is his first outing." Morganilith laughed as he walked around him. "What is the purpose of this get together? Your invitation never said."
The host looked at him. "Mostly to play. Do you swap? I know some won't."
"Not while he's that new," Xander explained. "It could break the fragile bond we've created in his training."
"For a month, he's learned some lessons very well. He's very still," he praised. "Very quiet. Very nicely conformed. Where did you find him?"
"In Japan. He was studying the martial arts and his master thought it would do him some good to cross-train. Before he had him put in for castration." Marcus shuddered and hunched in some. "If you learn well, it will not happen," he reminded the young man. Someone who Goemon had trained with had suggested Marcus be fixed as well. He looked at the host again. "It's too new. If this had happened in six months, perhaps I would have given him out willingly." He snapped his fingers when Marcus shifted. "Stillness," he snapped. Marcus went still, schooling his features. "Good boy." He walked over, kissing him gently. "Good boy." Marcus gave him a look, then lowered his eyes again. "Very good." He turned back. "What else are we doing?"
"We've got a small fashion show planned and I thought you might like to know some of the others in the local group. I know what you do and I know my house is tempting, but I figure you're like your master."
Lavelle grinned. "I am actually. My mentor would kill me if I didn't at least *try* for your antiques." The man laughed. "What?" he asked with a small smirk. "An added challenge?"
"Indeed. Come, meet the others. Most of the submissives are stripped."
"Marc, shirt," he ordered. He held out a hand and the young man stripped it off and handed it over. "Is there a shoes rule?"
"I would prefer them. Nothing tinier?"
"In our things. I left the bag in the car. I was going to ask because I never go anywhere without a weapon."
"I assure you it won't be necessary in here. You can leave it in your bag."
Xander nodded, snapping his fingers and Marcus went to get it. He brought it back and Xander put his sidearm into it, letting him keep the bag. "Thank you for understanding."
"Many powerful people will be here this weekend. Some good, some not." He led the way, noticing the way the young boy kept to his spot. "He is doing beautifully with his training."
"I believe in positive reinforcement," Xander told him. "I only punish for extreme infractions of my rules." He nodded to the others as they walked into the meeting area. "Hello." One person caught his attention and he looked at him. "Spike. I thought you were dead," he said firmly.
The blond vampire looked up at him and smirked. "I'm a punishment for Peaches. The Powers said so." He stood up, coming over to sniff him. "Harris?" he said in amazement.
Xander bowed. "Lavelle. Assassin and gunman for Lupin the Third." Spike's jaw dropped. "This is my boy, Marc. You probably recognize him as his father's." Spike looked at him and whimpered, so Xander pushed him back into his chair gently. "No sub?"
"One. She's off powdering her nose. She said I had to come," he said, looking at Xander's hair. "What happened to you?"
"If I showed you, it could kill you, Spike." He shrugged so Xander lifted up his shirt slightly. The vampire shuddered and turned away. "It's symmetry. His father did it to me and his son is learning better from me." Spike gave him a look of awe. "Have you been to Cleveland yet?" He sat down and Marc kneeled beside his feet, still to his right. "Marc, this is Spike. He's an old friend from home." Marc nodded respectfully but didn't look at him. "Good boy." He stroked through the dark hair, making his boy purr. He smirked at the others. "Sorry, I haven't seen Spike in nearly forever."
"It just seems that way I'm sure," Spike said dryly. He lit up and their host took it from him. "Fine. I'll do it outside, mate," he agreed.
Xander shook hands with the master next to him. "Lavelle."
"I heard. Assassin? Formally?"
"Only when my skills are called upon," he said with a gentle smile. "Jigen quickly found out I was a bit more ruthless than he was in certain situations. It saves him for the bigger and better things."
"Ah. I'm a big fan of your boss's exploits. Will he be coming here?"
"No, but he did tell me I was to try and steal at least one antique, I would be putting the group to shame otherwise," he said with a small smirk. The other masters laughed and shook their heads. "I have to try and keep up the family pride after all." He smiled at their host, taking the glass of soda he was holding out. "Thank you." He let Marc sip it first, then had some of it, handing it back to him. "You deserve a reward."
Marc gave him a look then sipped it, going back to his job.
"Will you be swapping with us?" a Mistress asked.
Xander shook his head, stroking through his boy's hair. "Marc's only been mine now for a month. He's not ready for that yet. Unless he does something very good and asks for that as a boon." She nodded. "I believe in positive reinforcement mostly. It also happens to aid his martial arts training. His sensei handed him to me for a while because he felt he was a bit wild and unfocused still. One of his sensei's friends offered his services to castrate him but his sensei happens to want him to stay whole."
"That is tough," she agreed. "I didn't know they still did that."
"Only some of the very old hardliners I'm told. His sensei thinks it's unnecessary. Though he has threatened me with it on occasion." That got some laughs. "So, are we waiting on anyone else?"
"No," the host said, lowering the lights. He handed Xander a second soda. "Here, for you as well."
"Thank you." He took a longer sip then put it in his lap. "What were we planning for tonight?"
"A few 'get to know you' exercises," their host promised. "Nothing salacious if you don't want it to be." He pulled out the board games and a few people groaned. "How else would we get to know the newer members? I do so want to get to know some of them." He looked at Marc, making him blush.
"He's still very innocent," the Master next to Xander noted.
Xander sighed. "He's very uptight. I've only started to stretch him recently. A female would have gotten here faster but he might not have listened to her." Marcus made a protesting noise so he looked at him. "Was that a noise?" he asked. Marcus hung his head. "Pushups," he ordered, pointing at the corner. "Twenty, now." Marcus nodded, putting his soda aside to do as his master had asked. He did more than this before bed most days. "Sorry about that, he is still so new," he explained.
"That's fine, we understand," their host agreed. "Usually I do something more rigid but with his initial training I suppose he must stay in physical shape?"
Xander nodded. "As a matter of fact, he'll be doing his workout tomorrow morning as soon as we get up. Do you have a large lawn?"
"We have a formal garden and a very nice picnicking glade. He can borrow that." Xander inclined his head. "Do you workout with him?"
"I try but I've only had some limited martial arts training. His sensei is mine as well. I'm only six katas into the style he found to suit my personality because of recent...problems." Everyone nodded. "As Spike can tell you, I am not much of a physical brawler."
Spike nodded. "Damn true. Can't throw a punch to save his life, but with a weapon he's all right." He stared at Xander, giving him an insolent look. "Maybe we should catch up tonight?"
"Sure," Xander agreed, sipping his soda. Marcus came back, taking up his spot. "You will sit there unless you are spoken to. Drink your soda." Marcus nodded, doing so. "Good boy." He gave him a gentle pat. "What sort of games? The last game I got subjected to was scrabble." The host burst out in chuckles. "By him and a guy about his age." That got more laughter.
"The first one is an ice breaking game. Simple questions that shouldn't even bother those in secretive fields," he offered. "We'll do each Master, then a round with the subs." Everyone nodded, shifting closer.
To part 9
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