Murami, the wonderful woman who took care of everyone's finances, walked into the manor house and went back to the sitting room she could hear voices in. "Hello," she said, smiling at Jigen, the only adult in the room. "I came to talk to Lupin."
"He's in his study with Xander napping on his couch. She's been really tired recently."
"That's fine. I'll be right back." She walked back there, tapping gently before walking in. She smiled at the picture he made while feeding his son. "No camera?"
"I snapped one from the room's," he admitted, smiling at her. "Come on in. What's happened?"
"There was a clause in the will you forgot about."
"Don't tell me I have too many kids," he said bitterly. That would be just like his grandfather. He had thought two was enough for any person.
"No, not in the least, Lupin." She sat down and handed over the file she was carrying. "There was a special provision for a male heir."
"Am I going to have to change names around?"
"No, it doesn't state he has to be a fourth, as long as there is a fourth of some sort. Arsene fits it perfectly." He heaved a sigh of relief. "This one is a special education fund."
"We've been teaching the kids ourselves," he said, using the bottle to flip open the folder. His son complained. "Sorry, Fred." He stuck it back in the open mouth. Xander lifted her head and waved. "Go back to sleep, Xan. It's a clause in my grandfather's will."
"Cool. Want me to feed him?"
"No, we're good," he said with a smile. "Aren't we, Fred?"
"Let me, I haven't gotten to hold him yet," Murami suggested. "How are you feeling, Xander?"
"Tired. I don't remember being this tired last time."
"You didn't end up in hell twice or with the kitsune the last time," Lupin reminded her. "That's got to take something out of you." Murami gave him a look. "Really." He picked up the folder once she had his son, reading over the clause. "Hey. I can teach him how to pick locks." He looked up and frowned. "My father couldn't pick a lock, I can."
"I know you can, that's just a suggestion. You don't *have* to find the baby a teacher."
"This one'll be a little me," Xander said, forcing herself to sit up and come over slowly. "Hey, Fred. Hungry again?" He belched and then started to suck again. "I knew you'd pick up on my bad habits, but at least excuse yourself, son." He wiped off his son's mouth and handed over the drip cloth. "Here, you'll need it." She plopped her butt into the other chair. "What else does it say?"
"That we now have a fund to hire the kids a good teacher." He looked up, giving Xander a look. "My father was more gentleman than thief. He was a lothario and my grandfather expected me to follow him in many ways. He wrote this with my father in mind."
"Actually, that was a later addition to the will," Murami offered. "It says later in that one that he thought you might not spend a lot of time with your child due to being on the run at such an early age. This would provide for them to go to someone like Goemon, who would teach them all they needed to know."
"We have that well in hand," Xander whined. "I'm teaching the kids."
Murami patted her on the arm. "I know you are, Xander, but his grandfather never got to meet you."
"Oh, yeah." She yawned. "Sorry, still sleepy."
"It's all right. Babies do that from what I hear." Xander and Lupin both nodded and Xander went back to the couch. "She wasn't that tired last time."
"I still think it was all the traveling she did." He finished reading this part of the will, making sure the other clauses in the folder didn't hold any surprises. Then he handed it back. "Well, at least it's a nice thing. I'm sure we can use it to teach all the kids."
"You probably could," she agreed with a small smile. "How are their lessons? There's a bonus if any of them become thieves."
"Two of the girls are looking to become thieves. Arsene is and so is Melissa. Lotus and Zenigata's step-son Morgan seem to be attached at the hand sometimes. Ishi is probably going to follow in his father's footsteps. We're hoping Fred will. Sarah's got a weak heart so we're not going to force her to do more than be smart. The kitsune have volunteered to train her."
"They don't exist."
"They do," he said, handing over a picture. "The other is the Imperial Dragon, Inasi. He decided Lotus was a good playmate for the princess."
Murami looked horrified. "Tell me Goemon didn't let her."
"He didn't have much choice. He could have killed the guards who came to gather them but he didn't. That would have caused a lot of problems. They played for an afternoon and both parents said it'd have to be kept very rare. Apparently there's not many suitable playmates in Japan for our princess."
"Lupin, that's dangerous. The current commissioner could die at any time and leave you with many warrants."
"I'm assuming if that happened then the offer to come back would be withdrawn," he said with a small smirk. "Goemon protested strongly to the dragon but he was very firm about it. Besides, I doubt Lotus will do much thieving in her day. She's too gentle and nice."
"Too much like Dawn," she said. He nodded. "Then I guess Morgan Zenigata would be good for her. It'd be him and her the next generation or something." She looked at the picture again. "That's really a kitsune?"
"It's really a kitsune. It's really Xander's friend I might add. She went up to visit because we were ignoring her."
She handed back the picture. "If that's real, what else is? Magic, demons? Religion?"
"Probably all three," he noted. "I've seen Xander and Marcus do some things. Unfortunately we've seen some demons too. They like Xander." She shuddered. "One of them gave her a few billion euros of jewelry and a kitten to welcome the new set."
Murami looked sickened. "I'm sorry."
"It's nothing too bad. It was a former friend of hers. The cat is keeping Lotus company most days while she's in the garden." He shrugged. "It happens around here."
"Then I wish you the best of luck raising non-tainted children."
"They won't be," he promised with a small smirk. "They like Xander, she doesn't like them. They're the reason she has silver hair." Her mouth opened. "In return for that sickening gift of being given against her will, she goes out of her way to kill as many of them as she can."
Murami's mouth opened more as the door opened and Ethan walked in, vamping out at the sight of her. She pointed and squeaked. "Vampire?"
"Yes, that's the Ethan vampire," he said dryly. "What did you want now, Rayne?"
"I wanted to see the babies." He took the boy from her hands, looking down at him as he went back to human. "Hello, dear one. What's your name?"
"Frederick Oliver," Lupin said, leaning back. "Don't worry, Murami. He knows better than to hurt anyone in my house, or else I let Xander take him out taking as long as she wants to do so."
"I'd never touch her children," Ethan said bitterly. "They could have been mine." He stroked the baby's head gently. "Such a precious one." Fred yawned at him and gripped his finger. "Thank you, Fred." He handed him back to Lupin. Then he looked at Murami. "Ethan Rayne," he said happily, shaking her hand. "Former chaos mage." He nodded at Lupin. "Can I look at the other?"
"Ask Jigen, it's his daughter."
"Thank you. I left a potion with Marcus in the kitchen to help both Xander and her daughter. It should strengthen them back up. It probably was the cross-realmal strain in some fashion. Perhaps an adjustment. The idea to apprentice her to the kitsune is a good one." He left, going to peek in on that one. "Hello, dear. What's your name?"
"Sarah Emile." Jigen looked up at him. "Let her sleep."
"I am. Give her one tablespoon of the potion I left each day for five days at exactly the same time each day. Then feed the rest of it to Xander. They should both be fine by then." Jigen grinned at him. "I do love the silver lunatic. I always have. She's as special to me as my Ripper ever was." He straightened up as the woman came in again. "Needed to see this one was well?"
"I did," she admitted, looking down at the baby. "She is adorable, Jigen."
"Thanks, we like Sarah. She's definitely a delicate little darling one." He reached over to smooth down some hair. "Has her mother's hair too."
Ethan chuckled. "She does indeed." He looked at Murami. "I've known Xander since he was in high school and got sucked into the life of the obtuse, odd, and supernatural. He used to be mine," he sighed. "Then I lost him when Marcus' father took him and gave him away." He looked at Jigen. "He got him after that."
"Lupin had him first, I never touched men," Jigen told him. Ethan smirked at him. "You, shut it or never see the kids again." Ethan lost his smirk and nodded. "Thank you." He looked at Murami. "We've been like this for years, Murami. Even before we met Xander we were partially like this. Xander simply protects us from things like this more often."
"Fortunately. I'd hate to see a Lupin vampire."
"She used to have dreams about a Zenigata and a Ray vampire," Jigen offered.
"That's worse," she agreed, smirking at him. "You okay?"
"Just fine. How are things looking?"
"Just fine, Jigen. Don't worry, you'll leave her with a good trust fund. I've already got it set up." She gave the baby one last pet then stepped back. "I'll expect pictures."
"Xander's had some made just for you. You should have gotten them today."
"Then they're probably waiting on me. I'm going back to my office. You guys have fun with the babies." She left, going back to her office to think. By the time she got there, she had herself convinced it had been one of Xander's fandom friends and nothing more. "Another Lupin practical joke," she told herself as she parked. She said a quick prayer to his grandfather to still love the boy for being a lunatic.
Lupin frowned as he woke up. Something wasn't right in the house. He slid out of the bed, checking on the kids before heading down to the nursery. He found out why once he was there. "Grandfather," he said quietly. The ghost turned to look at him. "Let's get out of the nursery." The ghost nodded and followed him to Xander's old room. He could sit on the bed and the ghost would appreciate the room. "Why did you come back?"
"I came to see your son," he admitted quietly, glancing around. "Who is the mother?"
"The one in our bed with Jigen."
"She's not a woman, son."
"Well, he kinda is part of the time," he admitted. "Um, how to put this." He frowned. Then he decided on the truth, surely someone who was a ghost had gotten the same gossip the demons had. "That's Xander Harris." The ghost looked shocked. "That's also our second gunman, Lavelle." He sighed and nodded, accepting that. "It was a payment for her having been given. She bore the twins in the nursery and the two in our room. She's also our wife."
"I saw." He grinned. "She is a beautiful woman when she is one."
"Thanks, Granddad. So, why else did you come?"
"I came to check on the Fourth. A girl?"
"She was born first. The doctor said I was only shooting girls."
"That's fine then. Is she any good?"
"Very good. She's a great shot so far and she's taking to her lockpicking lessons beautifully. She and the other kids all train together with Goemon's kids."
"I remember a man by that name. A samurai?" Lupin nodded. "Wonderful. You work with him?"
"Yeah, we do," he agreed. "Fujiko married him. The boy and the other girl are theirs."
"Excellent. So she'll have a support network that she trusts when she's old enough. Good job, grandson."
"Thanks, granddad. Why else did you come?"
"I can't look in on you now and then?"
"You never have before."
"True, I never have before. I have watched from afar. I've watched very carefully actually. Are you enjoying retirement?" Lupin nodded. "Are you going to teach more?"
"I could," Lupin admitted. "We haven't decided yet. Goemon likes that idea better than me taking on a job over some syndicate. Frankly so do I. We did a good job with Xander and Marcus."
"I saw that one. He's much better now. More focused." He floated closer. "Apparently I haven't seen things in a bit. Tell me?"
"Sure, what did you want to hear about?"
"How about everything?"
Lupin grinned and nodded, getting up to do a quick search for bugs and tossing the one he found out the window. Then he came back to talk to his mentor.
Jigen woke up and frowned at the empty side of the bed. Lupin was never up first. He grabbed his bathrobe and headed down the stairs, finding him drinking in his office. "A little early for that, isn't it?"
"My grandfather was here last night," Lupin told him simply, taking another drink.
Jigen closed the door and moved closer, looking down at him. "So? What'd he say?"
Lupin looked at him. "He's very impressed with the Fourth. Said she'll probably be as great as him." He took another drink and poured more into his glass, adding another ice cube. "He also said he never expected me to be as great as I am. He thought I'd be more like my father than him. Gave me credit for being so good though."
"You're drinking because he gave you a compliment?"
"Partially. More thinking." He looked at his best friend. "He also said he approves of Xander and you, said that we're not known for working with those outside the family but that you obviously lived up to his high standards. He said that our son will probably become a thief as well." He took another gulp. "He suggested we stay retired permanently."
"One last hurrah?"
"Nope, just stay this way. He said any last hurrah will probably take me out of my comfortable existence of fatherhood and teaching. He said we're doing very well for our age, and that it was nice that we had deaged ten years but that we were still too old to do the job really well anymore." He put down his glass and looked at Jigen fully. "He explained it as the usual life span of a thief is about thirty-five years, or prison by then." Jigen nodded, understanding that. "We're both near fifty legally. Xander's almost forty. He said we've lived more than long enough to retire and focus on the kid's training. He said that if we went after one last job it would definitely give us grief, either by killing one of us or by reactivating an old warrant or three and making us go on the run again."
"And since everyone now knows where we live, we'd never be safe," Jigen finished. Lupin nodded. "What about Xan's stuff?"
"He said he likes those sort of things and he can see us doing that. We can use them to train the kids. Said it's dangerous and really a young man's game but that he can see us using it now and again to keep our hands in and for training purposes. He also said that if I was going to take over Europe's syndicate, he wanted me to do it only at the top spot."
Jigen shuddered. "That's still a disgusting idea." He poured himself a drink too, sitting on the couch. "Any other pearls of wisdom?"
"He wanted me to find my sister," Lupin sighed.
"You have a sister?"
"I have two sisters, and possibly a brother but he was never sure about that one. I also apparently have a few cousins. One of them is Zenigata." Jigen choked without having taken a drink and put his drink down. Lupin smirked at him. "Apparently some cousin on my mother's side married into someone on his father's side. We're in-laws," he said smugly. "I'll have to find a way to break that to him." He grimaced. "He said one of my sister's kids was going to get into trouble without some training. Said he's not great but passable enough. Said we could definitely make him a tool of the administration." He grimaced. "I came down to look her up online. One of my sisters died without me realizing it and one of them is in Bristol, England. Her son is presently on probation for shoplifting." He grimaced again. "The kid got caught sneaking out a computer box."
"How do you shoplift a computer?" Jigen asked.
"I do not know, but apparently not successfully," Lupin admitted. Xander walked in, looking confused. "We got visited by my grandfather last night. He said hi, and that he likes you, and that you're more than worthy to be my wife." Xander nodded, still looking confused. "He wanted me to find my sister and take her son in hand."
"Scare him straight or teach him?"
"Whichever we can do. He wasn't that picky. Said the kid won't ever be great." He shrugged and patted his lap. "Want a cuddle?"
"Sure." She walked in and curled up in his lap. "Tell me when I get too heavy."
"You're fine, Xander. I don't mind holding you." She nodded, closing her eyes again. "Also, he said that we really should set up to teach limited students. We should pick them out young and basically run a thief's college."
"That's a thought to make you drink this early," Xander said dryly. "I'm more than satisfied just teaching our kids, thank you."
Jigen cracked a smile. "It's a scary thought. Running a school for thieves?"
"Complete with classes, homework, and teachings on the better things in life," Lupin told him. "He wanted us to set up some sort of academy situation."
"Whoa!" Xander said, lifting her head. "A summer camp I can see, but we can't do a six- month academy and send out half-trained kids. I'm sorry, but that's not fair to them or to our reputations. I can't see that working unless we picked up kids who already knew the job and just refined their skills, and even then I can't see it taking less than six months."
Lupin nodded. "That was my objection too. That and a lack of qualified students. Plus problems with Interpol and other cops. So he suggested we take at least a few more students in and teach them while we taught ours."
"Does he know many other pediatric thieves?" Xander asked.
Lupin chuckled and gave her a hug. "Calm down. I pointed out the problems with the logic of that statement too. He decided I was right, it wouldn't be fair to our own kids. So we're to train our kids the best we can and to see what we can do about doing training lessons. A tape series or something." Xander relaxed and nodded. "Some things you can't teach that way but others you can. You couldn't teach how to shoot and aim via tape but you could teach debugging, jewelry appraisal, and things like that with them." Xander relaxed further. "So we're thinking about that idea while we go find my nephew to give him a good, strong view of the real world and the skills he'd need, and I get to break the news to Zenigata that we're cousins without killing him."
She grinned. "My kitsune friend said you were jumping around outside their doorway like him," she said innocently. He tickled her until she screamed. "Quit that!"
"Lupin, please," Jigen said, shaking his head. "The kids are only a couple of weeks old."
"Yeah, and I'm still gushing so we can't do anything yet," she said firmly.
Lupin leered at her. "That's what condoms are for, Xander. Or even anal sex."
"I'm still sore."
Marcus walked in carrying the flask of potion. "Here, Xander, take all of this."
"Ethan said five days worth for the baby," Jigen pointed out.
"It has been," Marcus told him. Lupin shook his head. "Yes it has, I fed it to her myself. She's in the study with me right now."
"No, Ethan was here yesterday," Xander said, frowning, looking at Jigen. "Did I sleep through some days?"
"A few days were you so tired you basically got up, took a shower, and went back to bed, but otherwise, no." He looked at Marcus. "Why are they in the study? They were in our room just a few minutes ago."
Marcus looked at his watch, then frowned greatly. "That is odd."
"Have you been doing magic in the house?" Lupin asked. Marcus looked offended. "Have you?"
"No! I'm not going back to my old ways at all! I haven't done a thing magically since the twins were born!"
"Has Lotus been doing magic in the house?" Jigen asked.
"This is well beyond what Lotus will ever be capable of," Marcus defended. "Besides the fact that temporal magic is a thing of myth."
Lupin sat up, making Xander sit up. "Xander, is there a hellmouth in Paris?"
"No. Not that I'm aware of. Why?"
"Because it's odd that my grandfather would suddenly show up to chat last night. Why last night? Why not when we brought Fred and Sarah home, or even little Arsene?"
"Hmm, it could also explain why Xander is so tired," Marcus agreed. "Drink the potion, she has had five doses." Xander gulped it down, then poured a bit of the liquor and drank it to kill the taste. "Should we evacuate the house?"
"Yeah, maybe we should," Lupin agreed. "I'm getting that crawling feeling again." He pushed Xander to his feet. "Go pack everything, and I do mean everything. Jigen, we'll need a van, I'll pack for you." Jigen nodded, hurrying to get dressed. "Marcus, pack the nursery immediately. Then yourself." Marcus nodded, going to do that. "Use magic if it's safe, it'll go faster," he yelled after him.
Xander looked at him, a bit more energetic now. "What do you think is going on?"
"I think one of those jewels they gave you is an opening portal. It would account for why we've got a time difference in some parts of the house. Go, I'm calling Demara and then I'll hurry up to help. Use magic if you feel it's safe."
Xander nodded, going to do that. Most of her stuff was packed and in Geneva or storage anyway. As soon as he was done, he came down the stairs with his suitcases and the trunk floating until it reached the entryway. Then it thumped down. He set his stuff on top of it, carrying one on his back. Then he went to help Marcus with the kids and wake up the Goemon's. He found them packing as well. "Did you guys get the orders?"
"What orders?" Fujiko asked.
"We seem to have a time distortion in the house. We're evacuating."
"Good to know. When was this given?"
"About an hour ago," Xander admitted, looking out their window. "Lupin, it's afternoon in here."
"They're above the study," Lupin said from behind them. "Pack everything. This shit is scaring the hell out of me. Jigen's back, Xander, are you strong enough to help haul?"
"Sure. I won't be much good later, but yeah." He jogged down the stairs to go help, starting on the books that Marcus had already loaded up. "Kids?"
"Ishi is watching them in the den since it seemed to be normal."
"Cool." He looked over as the door opened and Tara and Demara walked in together. "Hey, guys. What time is it out there?"
"Nearly nighttime," Tara said, giving him a hug. She was Willow's first child and a slayer, who was working alongside Lupin's first child Demara. "What time is it in here?"
"It varies by what part of the house you're in," Xander said. "Help us move some stuff first. There's got to be some artifacts in here that could get in your way." They shrugged and waded in to help move everything into the truck. The safes were all emptied and added last, including the big basement one. Then the family left, waiting outside the gates while the girls looked things over. They finally came out and jogged to where everyone was. "What's going on?"
"Well, you were right, there is a new hellmouth opening. Someone did send something with one of the jewelry strands. It was in a large emerald." Demara handed over the rest. "It doesn't even reek of magic so we cleared it."
Tara looked at Lupin. "I can't move the emerald, sir. It's locked on a bedroom floor. The one nearest the stairs."
"I took it to look at," Fujiko admitted. "I was going to put it back later after I practiced my value judging." Xander looked at her. "I didn't touch the rest of your collection, just that one."
"Also, we found a young boy in the house, we sent him back through the gardens," Demara noted. "You might want to tell Dawn that her son is doing risky shit." Lupin grimaced and nodded. "Good. So, you're officially without this house. We can't break the emerald. We can't close the emerald. We'll have to have someone much more powerful do it and Ethan's off somewhere." She waved a hand.
Marcus looked up. "Ethan? Ripper?" Ethan appeared, looking confused at the house. "They found a portal in a stone that was given to Xander. It's warping the house."
"Then the best thing would be to destroy the emerald."
"We can't," Demara told him, shrugging when he looked at her. "I tried." She looked at Xander. "You apparently missed a sword. I used it, it's back in the back of my car right now. I kinda dented it."
"Ivory handle?" She nodded. "Then that's a normal katana."
"I couldn't chip that one with Goemon's," Fujiko admitted. "I tried when I saw that strange extra point on one side."
"So what do we do?" Lupin asked.
"Move," Demara said firmly. "Move far, far away, father. Forget you ever had this house if you must." He grimaced and looked hurt. "Hey, it's just a house."
"I grew up in there," he said with a grimace.
"And with any luck, you'll be able to move back to it," she assured him. "Once the portal has been closed."
"For now, take a year in Greece," Ethan suggested. "Or Japan, somewhere else. We'll see what we can do." Lupin slumped and nodded. "It's not as bad as all that," he said, smirking at him. "It could be much worse. You could have been sucked into hell." He looked at Marcus. "Watch them for any odd symptoms. Get them settled into a hotel for the night. We'll work on it together." Marcus nodded and Ethan disappeared to pass on this news.
"I agree, father. Go shack up for the night in Paris," Demara offered. "Let us work on this."
He nodded, still looking miserable. "Fine. I want to know the moment we can move back in."
"Of course. I've always wanted to live here," she said with a small grin. "Go teach the kids how to thieve from Zenigata's house. Take Morgan back with you while you're at it."
"The bike," Xander groaned.
"I moved it, Uncle Xander. I'll take it to your storage place. The cars were also pulled out of the garage and up this way some."
"I'll take the SUV," Marcus offered. "That should fit most of the children and Goemon."
"I'll take the two-seater," Jigen said. "I can take Goemon or someone."
"I'll go with Marcus so he's not tormented," Goemon offered. "Or Fujiko can go."
"I'll go with Marcus," she noted. "You go with Jigen. Lupin, get the four-seater. Xander, get the bike or your Fiat."
"I'll get his bike," Tara offered. "He can take his Fiat. It'll keep up better and since he's tired I'd rather it go that way."
Xander nodded, and they split up to take the cars to the hidden storage place nearby. Then they came back for the truck and all drove in together in the remaining ones to find a hotel for the next week or so. Once they had found a hotel with an open suite, they all piled in and settled in for a few days. Morgan was dropped off the next morning by Lupin, who was faking cheer as Dawn opened the door. "Our house was invaded by a portal opening through an emerald. He had snuck over the fence again to check on us." He patted Morgan on the head. "Is my cousin not here?"
"Cousin?" she asked. "Did you hit your head?"
He kissed her on the cheek. "Not yet. It's looking like a good idea though." He headed up to where he knew the bedrooms were, tapping on the main one. He had cased Dawn's house years ago, long before letting any of the kids come over.
"What?" Zenigata called, sounding cranky.
Lupin opened the door and leaned in. "We're in Paris for at least a week. Your son was nearly portaled to hell when one opened in our house. Oh, did you know that we're cousins?" He grinned again and shut the door, heading down to take Xander's car back to the hotel.
"Hold it, you crook!" Zenigata called as he opened his bedroom door. "What does that mean!"
Lupin looked up at him. "Apparently one of my mother's cousins married into your father's family. We're related." He grinned brighter. "Welcome to the family. Sad to say the family home was recently evacuated due to a portal opening in Fujiko's bedroom. Your son was nearly caught in that by the way."
Zenigata whimpered and shook his head, going back to bed with a slammed bedroom door. This was too much. First he couldn't arrest the crook and now he was related to him? "Was I really that bad in my last life?" he asked his pillow as he laid down, putting it over his head. "Was I a Nazi or a crook or something? Something that horrible?"
Dawn came in to soothe him. "You're in-laws at best," she promised, stroking him gently. "It's all right, you don't have to get along with him. His blood is not in your veins. I promise you're not related for real." He gave her a look, then hugged her tightly. "Morgan's all right too, I checked him over before calling Demara and Tara. One of the demons who had Xander for a bit earlier in her pregnancy gave it to her in reparation for trying to take her again. She never realized."
"Fucking hell," he muttered, holding her tighter. "Is she all right?"
"Yeah, they only wanted her to take over Hell and name another one Lord and Master." He looked at her. "Those scars are glyphs. They're deadly."
"Poor kid," he groaned, pulling her closer. "Did they remember the kitten?"
"I'm sure Lotus carried it out with her," she soothed. He relaxed under her careful touches and soon fell back to sleep to dream of throttling Lupin. She had a few of those herself now. He shouldn't have upset her man that way, he was fragile!
Lupin found his sister's house and stepped out of the car, walking up the carefully manicured stepping stone path to the cheery front door. He rang the bell, schooling his features as the door opened. "Morning, princess." She gaped at him. "Grandfather sent me to deal with your errant son."
"I doubt he needs your sort of help!" she said firmly. "He's trying to go straight."
He shrugged. "I can help with that too. Who better to break any illusions?" he asked with a grin. "I even brought you a present of baby pictures of my horde." She pursed her lips but let him inside. "Thanks. Is he here?"
"He'll be back from school in about an hour. Go to the sitting room." He nodded, going to where she pointed while she went to make some tea and have a shot to calm herself. She finally joined him, noticing the pictures he had laid out. "They're all yours? Going for Father's record?"
"No," he said, giving her a small smug look. "This one is the Fourth. She's from a mother here locally. An accountant. You might know her." She looked stunned and he grinned. "It was a condition of the will that I have one. Or else the hideout in France was going to be sold on us." He tapped the next picture. "That one is Sierra. Her mother was a pediatric surgeon in London. She's a sweet girl but she'll go straight we think. The next one is Jigen's twins. He's my gunman."
"I've seen the wanted posters," she admitted, looking at them. "They're twins?"
"They are. They're his and Sylvia's twins. They're like my own and they're being raised with mine and Goemon's kids. The next two are his. The fourteenth and Lotus. She deals in the strange and he's very much like his father. The last one are my new one and Jigen's newest one, both with Sylvia. He's Frederick Oliver and she's Sarah Emile." She smiled at that, it was close to her name of Emily. "She's got a small heart condition so she'll be a fragile little princess her whole life." He poured tea for them. "How are yours? You're up to three too, right?"
"Four," she said happily, pointing at the family portrait from the holidays last year. "My daughter had an accident and we adopted him."
"Yeah, Fred's one of those too," he admitted, smiling at her. "We had no plans of that, but we do like sharing Sylvia as our wife."
"You share her? She allows this?"
"We couldn't make her choose," he pointed out. "It would have split the group and she liked both of us. We were married together about six weeks after she conceived."
"Ah." She nodded. "Interesting." She sipped her tea. "What happened in France? I've heard that something did."
"Yeah, our other gunman, Lavelle, he has strange things happen around him. One of them happened in the house and it started to stretch things out of proportion. We thought it best to evacuate for now and let professionals deal with it."
"I heard it was a portal." He looked stunned. "I also know some Watchers, brother. It comes in handy around here. We have a few families that have joined them from here."
"That's good," he said happily. "Lavelle's Buffy's former second, Xander." Her face lit up, apparently she had heard of him. "When one of the higher demons took him to try and force Xander to help him take over hell, he destroyed a whole branch of the ruling lineage and came back with many pieces of hush jewelry. One of them had the portal in it. We checked but it was apparently better done than Marcus could."
"Wesley's son?" He nodded. "I've heard of him but I didn't know it was the same one. I know his sister. She's quite unimpressed with her brother you know." She took another sip while he chuckled. "She is."
"Marcus said she was jealous because he managed to escape." He sipped his own tea. "Anyway, Xander keeps us from running into too many demonic things and Marcus tends to handle them for us when we do. Xander's also made friends with a kitsune and the Imperial Dragon, Inasi."
"Wonderful," she said dryly. The door slammed. "Get in here," she called. Her oldest son strolled in, smirking at her. She looked from him to her brother and back. "You can see the family resemblance of course," she said snidely.
"Just like father," Lupin sighed. He took another sip of his tea and put it down. "Sit, kid. We've got to talk." The boy sneered at him. "I said, sit. Now. If you're going to be a thief in this family, you've got a long tradition to live up to and you've flunked so far. That's why I'm here."
"Who are you?" he asked, sitting beside his mother.
"I'm your uncle, Arsene Lupin the Third."
"Oh, shit," he whispered, looking stunned. "You're infamous."
"No shit," Lupin agreed dryly. "How does one plan on shoplifting a computer?"
"It was a laptop."
"First, shoplifting should be saved for necessities or for things that can fit into a pocket of some sort. I don't think a laptop fits. Second, you went during a down time from the report. Always go during crowded times, kid." The boy looked hurt. "That's why I'm here. I'm here to either scare you straight or to get you on the correct path in the thieving business. If you're going to be a thief in this family, you're going to have to live up to the family's expectations. Admittedly, those are very high, but there is another set for those who want to work for a syndicate. If that's what you want, I can help you do that."
"I'm a decent enough thief," he defended.
Lupin picked up his tea cup and took a sip, looking his nephew over. "To be blunt, you're not. You're not trained, you have no skills outside of shoplifting. That's partially because we didn't know you'd go that way, but not totally. I pulled my first job at nine. Grandfather pulled his at seven. Father, well, he pulled his later in life and he was a bit of a duffer. That's why Grandfather raised me and your mother's mother raised her." She nodded, smirking at him. "Now, if you're going to be any good, you'll have to take lessons. To be a real thief means knowing a lot of things. Including languages, lock picking, shooting, self defense, some minor accounting, jewel appraisal, and strategy. Those are if you're a normal thief and you don't specialize. In today's world you also have to know a bit about computers and hacking as well, it helps," he admitted. "We have Marcus and Lavelle for that now." He waved a hand around. "If you truly want to try, we are willing to take you in and let you learn with our young children. We're starting them at the age of five. I've already got two kids who can shoplift as well as you and they've been in training for about a year."
He finally closed his mouth. "You're serious?" Lupin nodded, finishing his tea and pouring some more for both adults. "You have to know all that?"
"To get beyond the basics of stealing candy and makeup, yeah," Lupin told him. "When I was working full time, I pulled seven to fifteen jobs a year in about six different countries, or more," he told him. "Between my crew and myself, we've amassed about sixty billion euros. That's not counting the inheritance I got from Grandfather. That's just from what we've pulled in our careers and without counting what Lavelle has shared with us of his or the odd present now and then." His nephew whimpered. "Out of that, I've probably spent a good seventy percent on the life. You have to look the part to mingle with the players who have the money you want to steal. Granted, my crew is one of the best in the business. That's why the ICPO decided to shun us, so we couldn't get any attention and we wouldn't want to steal any longer. It hasn't fully worked, but we stick to the irritants in our lives anymore. Mostly anti-syndicate actions these days." He took a long drink. "If you want to join the life, we will teach you with our own children. In about three years I could see you going out on your own. That would get you past all your growth spurts and all that good stuff. I can't see you being a thief like me, but I could see you being a syndicate thief. They do minor hauls and nothing like the Vatican." He smirked. "That was rather a heavy job anyway. Those paintings weigh a ton in bulk."
His nephew swallowed. "I was mainly doing it for kicks, Uncle." He looked at his mother. "You called him to teach me?"
"No, he said the ghost of our Grandfather called him to teach you," she admitted dryly. "They do deal in the strange, like Marta." She put down her cup and patted her son on the knee. "If that is what you truly want, I will let you go. I know it's in the blood. It was in mine when I was shoplifting back in my youth."
"Fortunately you stuck with the candy," Lupin agreed. "By the time I was the same age as her when she was doing that, I had already been picked up by the European syndicate to finish my training and I had a mentor. I was on my own by your age, kid. I had beautiful women and men panting after me, a long list of targets I wanted, and about ten warrants for my arrest. Two of which were dead or alive I might add."
"The downside?" the mother prompted.
"One of the potential death penalty cases was in Texas in the US, the other was in Saudi Arabia. Two of my warrants were in France, one was in Japan. Two were African. My mentor was slowly sliding out of the life, you never knew who you could trust. I had to team up to find people I trusted and one of them was supposed to kill me. He's still promising to kill me to this day. He's one of my best friends, and one of Lavelle's most trusted friends, but he still will have to kill me some day to keep his honor intact." His nephew looked sickened. "Welcome to the world of theft, kid. Like I said, if you want, we can teach you along with the kids. We have two who we think will be cops but that leaves five who won't be."
"No," he said, shaking his head. "I...." He slumped in on himself. "I'm sorry, mum."
"You're fine, son, but I allowed this because I wanted you to know the truth. The life you seemed to want to lead would land you worse than him. He's got special gifts, been trained from a young age. You haven't."
"Neither was Lavelle but he is very gifted," Lupin admitted. "So was Marcus." He shrugged at his nephew. "The offer stands. Your mother can always find me." He looked at her. "I heard Cynthia died."
"I thought about writing you but I didn't have an address for any of the hideouts."
He grinned. "You should have sent it to the ICPO. Zenigata would have yelled it at me to get me to slow down during a chase. What did her daughter become?"
"Wonderful," he said dryly. "Simply marvelous actually." He looked at his nephew. "It is in your blood. It's your heritage. If you can't commit fully though, you don't belong in the life. That was Father's mistake and why he died so young and left us to other parents."
His nephew looked at him. "I seem to have a like for gold, what can I do with that?"
"It depends on what else you can do," Lupin suggested. "There's mining for it, refining it, making it into things, working with monetary exchanges. Those are off the top of my head. Fortunately you don't carry the family name so you won't have that much trouble unless someone does a very detailed background check. Your mother carries her mother's name, not our Father's."
"Someone found out about him during my last one," Emily admitted. "I had to explain how I hadn't seen him since I was very young and he died when I was six"
"That's what you get for going into money," he agreed, smirking at her. "I prefer spending it instead of counting it, unless it's just after a haul." He stood up. "If you ever need me, Lavelle has a groupie group and they have a personal email address. Make sure the subject line says it's from my sister and I'll tell him to watch for anything and hand it over. Keep the pictures. I'm very proud of my horde." He winked at his nephew. "You be more careful. If you want a laptop, con one out of someone who's selling theirs." He nodded at his sister and left, heading back to their hotel for the night. He walked in and hugged Jigen. "My nephew wanted to be one of those who shoplifted cute things for fun and pleasure," he said tiredly.
"It's okay. You discouraged him so he wouldn't die from it," he soothed, leading him to the couch. Everyone else was in Greece but them and the cat that had snuck into the car. The cat hopped up to sit in Lupin's lap, snuggling in for a long pet. "See, even it agrees."
"Yeah, I do feel better." He leaned against Jigen's side. He understood these things very well. "You feel up to a round of sex?"
"Fuck no," Jigen snorted. "I'm still in the anti-invasion underwear." Lupin sighed, sounding depressed. "That won't get you any either."
Lupin smirked up at him. "Hey, I had to try."
"I know you did," Jigen agreed, patting him on the head. "Pet the pussy. It's the closest you're getting until we make it to Greece."
"Actually, I want to stay for a few days. My sister knows Marcus' sister and my other niece went to be her assistant. I'm thinking one of them might know who was dating Marcus."
"Interesting," Jigen agreed. "Isn't little Arsene's mother in this town too?"
"Yup, sure is. I was gonna pop around on her tomorrow and hand over pictures and the video we shot. Hopefully her father won't be there."
"Yeah, he was a fierce bastard when he made her give us the baby."
"Yeah, he was," Lupin agreed. He loved his daughter but he had liked going to visit more than he really liked constant fatherhood. "You sure you don't want to have sex?"
"Yes," Jigen said patiently. "I'm sure."
"It is, that's why it doesn't like to be invaded."
"I could settle for just some sucking," he offered. "Going both ways even."
"Yeah, sure you will," Jigen said dryly. "That's what you said last time too and I spent the next day wincing each time I sat down."
"Sorry about that, I was desperate."
"Yeah, but you didn't have to go quite that hard, Lupin. Really." He gave him a light shove to get free of him and got up, heading for the bar. "Should we invite the baby's momma out to dinner tonight?"
"We could," he agreed, happier now. "That would get her away from her father." He picked up the phone and the local phone book, finding her office number. He smirked as she answered. "Hello, precious. Want to go to dinner and talk about our daughter?" She laughed and agreed immediately. "Good. Where shall we go?"
"Leave me here with some takeout," Jigen offered.
Lupin smirked at him. "Sure thing, Jigen. Anything you want." He listened to her. "No, he just offered to stay in tonight. No, I was in town to see my nephew and scare him straight actually. Emily's my older sister." He chuckled. "Yes, her. By the way, you wouldn't happen to know who Marta's brother was dating, would you?" He listened in shock. "How very interesting. Yes, please. We'll switch pictures. I know he wanted to know. He was quite confused when she ran off. Sure, anywhere you want. I've got a car with me and everything. Good. Six is fine. Office?" He smiled. "Deal. Have a good day." He hung up. "She not only is her assistant but she ran away from Marcus to take up with his sister. They're raising the baby together."
Jigen shook his head. "Our life is too like Springer some days," he said bitterly. "You want me to tell him?"
"Tell Xan, let him tell him." He got up and headed into the bedroom to pull out a clean outfit and change for the night.
Xander hung up the phone and looked over Goemon's sleeping body at Marcus. "Yo." Marcus looked at him. "It's a boy. He's being raised by her and her girlfriend, who is your sister."
"Dear God, that bitch," Marcus sighed, shaking his head. "And Marta's still a Watcher too. If she had told me, I would have done it willingly. I should probably go yell at her."
"You probably should, but the kid's like your dad."
"I was a nerd in my own right when I was that age," he said dryly, frowning at his friend. "Can you do this without me?" Xander nodded. "Thank you. I shall be back in a few days." He got up and headed inside to pack a small bag and grab his wallet, just in case. Then he teleported to Ethan's house and his car he kept there. He knew exactly where his sister lived and worked. It was only a short drive away really. He got out and walked into the Watcher's Council's building, stunning the receptionist as he walked past her. She didn't even try to call security on him as he trotted up the stairs. He boldly strode into his sister's office, giving her, and his ex, a long look before slamming the door. "If you had requested and been honest with me, I would have provided a sample for you both," he noted bitterly. His sister opened his mouth. "Shut it, Marta, now." She shut her mouth and stood up. "You have in your possession my son. My only child to date. I am not appreciating this double-cross."
His ex stood up and smoothed down her skirt. "I'm sorry, Marcus. I didn't plan on coming to her, but she found me." She looked at him. "You can see him if you want, but I'll fight you taking him anywhere, even for visitation. With your life it's not healthy."
He crossed his arms and glared at her. "Oh, really? What makes you think he won't be exactly like me? My father and I are both gifted. There's every chance the child will be as well and you know that our gifts run toward chaos magic when trained." Marta swallowed. "Do sit," he sneered. "Before I slap you for this." He looked at his ex again. "For that matter, what of the male's violent streak that seems to run through us, or even the possession I've suffered from since I was sixteen and my father blessed me so? Did you think to test him to see if it had passed over?"
"It did," Marta told him. "You'll be seeing him when he's older. I'm sure I can help him with the rest."
Marcus looked at her. Then he backhanded her. "This is my son, not your son. You may be helping her raise him, but I am not appreciating the irony, sister. You are too much like our father for your own good in this matter. If I have to, I will go to Ripper Giles and have him take the child from you and hand it to me."
Someone tapped on the door and walked in, a guard. "Is there a problem? I heard shouting."
"I haven't shouted yet so you were obviously listening at the door," Marcus said dryly. "Leave. My ex and I are talking about the son I just found out I had." He blanched. "Where is he? You brought him here! With all of the things that go on here!"
"He's in Ripper's office," she said weakly.
"Good. If you're very lucky, we won't decide to take him from you." He stormed out, heading up to Ripper's inner office. He found his son cooing at him from his bouncing chair. "Is he all right?"
"Perfectly fine, Marcus. Do sit." He looked at the boy. "That was an order." Marcus sat, giving him a stern look. "Your son is fine. The touch of possession is on him, but he'll be fine. That's why I've been watching over him for you. As soon as I saw him I knew he was one of your family's." He smiled gently. "He'll be fine with her and your sister."
"She ran and didn't tell me."
"Yes, I remember you going on and on about it. Another very good reason for us to have searched her out and brought them here," he said smugly. "I will tell the boy about you but your life is already full of running and traveling. Babies need a more stable environment and I'd rather he stayed here. This way his grandfather can't get near him and nothing of your skills could harm him." Marcus looked hurt, nearly pouting. "I do understand. He'll be safe. We'll let him know all about you and when he's of an age to talk intelligently we'll be inviting you back to talk to him. At such a time, he'll be able to start making decision as well. If he shows the desire to go toward your lifestyle then we'll send him to you immediately. If not, it's best he's far away from Wesley. Do you not concur?"
"I do," Marcus admitted bitterly, walking over to look at his son. "Hello there." His son smiled and batted at him. "Yes, you are adorable," he murmured, touching his son's wheat-colored hair. "You look just like my baby pictures." He stroked over the fine hair and looked back at Ripper. "You're *personally* looking him over?"
"I'm personally watching over him, Marcus. I do not want another of us to go through what you did. Even if you had only provided a sample for them I'd still be watching over the child. Your family's gifts are quite strong and rather erratic from what I've seen. Wesley didn't come into his until his twenties and they forced yours open early. There's no telling when his could manifest." He stood up and walked over, pulling Marcus up. "He'll be trained with some of the girls," he said gently. "In self-defense, the sword, plus his regular education. I will demand that he is taught all your skills except the thieving. If he decides at a reasonable age that he wants to follow you into that life then you can teach him that. Until then, let's try to raise him to be a gentle, decent man with a good sense of self and a happy childhood." Marcus nodded, going limp in his arms. "Good boy. Now, how would you like to do visitation?"
"Whenever you have him, call on me and I'll pop around," he decided, looking at Ripper. "Thank you."
"If I had known back in the day about some of what would happen, I would have taken Xander from his parents to raise him right, treated your father more gently and helped him find himself, and gone back to Ethan sooner," he noted. "Then we would have bombed this place ourselves." Marcus grinned at that. "Now, head home. Leave your car here, I ran in late last night." Marcus nodded and touched his son again, taking a few pictures before leaving for Greece. "That poor boy," he sighed, picking up the baby. "How are you, Spike? Doing well enough?" The baby scowled at him and then hit him on the nose. "That's what I thought." He sat down to read to him out of the new manual. It helped him proofread it.
Marcus landed back in the house in Greece, walking out to where his master was lounging in the sun. "I hit my sister," he admitted, sitting by his feet. "She deserved it, but I still hit her."
"It happens that sometimes you must hit a girl. How is your son?"
"Under Ripper's direct supervision," he admitted. "His mother's still a twat but Ripper's said he'll take him now and again so I can see him there. He'll have him trained alongside some of the girls so he can make his own choices."
"Excellent." Goemon patted him on the head like a dog. "Very good, Marcus. Now go wear out that anger before you blow the house up." Marcus nodded and took off his clothes, heading down to swim in the ocean. "That poor boy. I might have killed Fujiko if she took off with my children." Xander chuckled from behind him as he reappeared. "How are you feeling?"
"The doctor did have the shot and did give it to me. He was impressed at how I've managed to regain my figure already. I told him about the many situps I've been doing in addition to my usual workout." He curled up on the lounger next to him. "So by the time the guys get back I'll have stopped and all that good stuff."
"Very good. Now go play."
"I don't wanna play," Xander admitted. Their new nanny had the kids for their nap. He yawned. "I think I'll nap."
"You do that," Goemon agreed, watching as he fell asleep in the sun like their new cat. He shook his head and picked up his book to read. It was a good name book. They would find a decent one for his next son and his wife would not be allowed to name him without his input, like she had their daughter.
Xander looked up as his email warning beeped, opening it. It was from Lupin, and it started with the heading 'I'm sorry'. He opened it with a frown, reading the short message. She even replied to it, then she picked up the things she would need and packed a bag, heading to get the kids. "Come on, guys. Let's go to Orlando," he said cheerfully. She was sure Lupin would learn this lesson very quickly. He did not cheat on her. Ever. Or he'd be sorry. The kids cheered and packed their bags as well, grabbing passports and all that good stuff. As soon as they had everything, she got them into the SUV and called the airport on the way over. "Hi, I need one adult and eight child fares to Orlando, Florida. No, it's not an emergency. My husband just cheated on me. The kids and I are leaving before we kill him," she told the ticket agent, listening to the shocked voice on the other side of her headset. "I'm sure. He'll be damn sorry by the time the kids and I come back." He grinned. "Great. We're on our way in right now. We should be in within a half-hour. Passports and all. Thanks." She hung up and called the house, getting Fujiko. "I've taken the liberty of liberating the kids from their lessons for a few weeks." Then he hung up and looked back at the kids. "Okay, guys. We're going to Orlando by ourselves. Your fathers won't be with us for at least a week. If you guys don't give me any real problems and we learn to get along well enough then we'll see all the stuff we can buy. Got it?" They cheered. "Good. Sierra, put the binky back into Fred's mouth before he starts to wail." She turned onto the access road to the airport, heading to check them in.
Oh, yes, Lupin was in for a big surprise when he got home. She charged the tickets to Jigen's backup card. They never thought about checking it for charges when they went searching for him.
Jigen's phone rang and he opened it. "Yeah?" He listened to the customer service rep on the other side. "No, that's my wife. She's authorized. It's cool. She's taking our kids and our friend's kids. Where? Sure, thanks. I'll sneak down and surprise them instead of going home." He hung up and threw the phone at Lupin's head. "You dumb shit. She took our credit cards and the kids to Orlando. They're going to visit all the resorts on our money."
Lupin slowly went pale. "All of them?"
"All of them. All nine resorts, all eight kids. By herself." Lupin's phone rang and Jigen smirked at him. "Fifty on it being Fujiko?"
"I'm going to be too broke for that soon," he said miserably, answering it. "Yeah?" He grinned at Jigen. "Hey, Goemon. Yes, I know. I had a small...accident and slept with little Arsene's mother. No, like any well trained sla...I mean, husband, I told her about it. Did she take your cards too?" He shook his head. "No, we'll get her on the way back. Yeah, Orlando. You know, home of Disney, Universal Studios, and their assorted and many theme parks? Yeah, there. I'm sure the kids will cooperate for her. They like her more." He shook his head again. "That's fine. Should we pick you up on the way? Or should we meet you at Heathrow?" He grinned. "That's fine. No, I trust you not to sleep with her, even if she does want to get revenge on me." Goemon groaned and hung up. "He's heading down there immediately to take his son back. Ishi will miss lessons with him."
"We're gonna be lucky if she doesn't do a Bobbit on you, man. You knew better than to tell her in an email."
"I could have text messaged her," Lupin suggested.
"Then she really would have castrated you and me for not stopping you. Next time, show up with gifts and tell her. Then make sure she knew it wasn't as good as she was."
"Learn that one from experience?"
"No, just from watching you be a dumbass. It's been very instructional."
"Gee, thanks," Lupin said dryly. "The role I always wanted, to be your teacher." He laid down, covering his eyes with his arm. "Where should we start looking?"
"Their rooms," Jigen said firmly. "We'd never find them inside one of the parks even if we had picked the right one."
"Good point. Thank you for your helpful advice. Want to go soften her up for me?"
"There's no fricken' way, man. I'm not going near her until you've apologized. Goemon is safe, she's not sleeping with him. We're not that safe. We're in deep shit because of you."
"She was so pretty," Lupin sighed. "I didn't mean to."
"Yeah, well, you did, and then you admitted to it. Next time, lie."
"If I had done that, she'd end up pregnant and it'd be mine. Then Xander really would kill me. At least this way it's only a bit of torture."
"I hope," he agreed.
Goemon hung up and looked at his wife. "Xander has taken the children to Orlando in retaliation for Lupin sleeping with the Fourth's mother." Her mouth fell open. "I'm going to calm her down. Will you be all right with only Marcus?" She nodded, giving him a hug. "What was that for?"
"In case you die. Xander's not going to take this well."
"She took a leaf from your book and took their credit cards with her," he said dryly, going to pack a small bag and grab his passport. "Are you sure? I could bring you with me."
"The doctor said he wanted me to continue resting. I don't think Disney World is considered resting with all the screaming kids in there."
He hummed as he added a bottle of excedrin into his bag. He'd probably need it. He gave her a kiss. "Expect us within a few weeks." Then he left here there, going to call a cab to the airport. If he was lucky, he'd be on the same flight and be able to start soothing her sooner. If not, he'd follow her to her room and wait in there on her.
Xander looked up as the seat next to him was taken. "I don't think you're my seat mate, Goemon. It's usually some woman with a dog."
"This time I bribed them to switch me around," he said quietly. He tipped Xander's face toward him. "This is childish."
"So is his cheating."
"True, but you are supposed to be the adult." She grimaced and got her chin free. "They'll probably give you a few days."
"They'll have to catch us first," she noted. She went back to looking at her magazine, watching the seats across the aisle since the youngest two were there. "Do you think Sarah will be okay?"
"She should be. Her doctor said she was fine to fly to Greece." He shrugged. "It is a multi-stop flight. If the worst happens, we get off in Paris and take a boat. It would be relaxing and there might even be a Disney cruise ship." Xander grinned at that. "We could do that anyway."
"We could," she agreed. "Hey, kids, would we like to take a boat part of the way?"
"Will it have other kids?" Arsene asked.
"Probably," Xander agreed. "It's the start of tourist season and Disney did just branch out into Europe. They'd have a special kid's area just for you guys."
Savanna looked at him. "It take longer?" He nodded. "Then we fly. Lotus watch Sarah." She turned back around when the stewardess walked past her, tightening her seat belt.
"Okay, we'll take one afterwards," he decided. The kids cheered and they took off, holding each other's hands just in case. Some of them hadn't really flown before, not in a big plane like this one. "Maybe we should buy a plane," he noted.
"We have one," Goemon told her. "Calm down."
"Fine. Sorry. It'd be nicer though."
"Possibly but small planes seem to crash more often." He gripped Xander's arm as they hit a patch of rough air. "I loathe turbulence." Xander gave him a pat and went back to his reading. "Where are we going first?"
"I was going to leave that up to the kids," Xander admitted. "We'll sit down with the visitor's guide and all that when we get there. I've already made reservations."
"Thank you. I'd hate to have to try to fit all of us into a standard room."
"Two three-room suites actually. Adjoining."
"Very well. We can handle that." He looked at Xander. "I hesitate to mention it, but weapon?"
"Being shipped to the hotel. Sword?"
"Cool." Xander turned the page, looking at the kids again. Sarah was sucking her thumb. "They're so damn adorable. Too bad their fathers aren't."
"It was not Jigen's fault."
"No, it wasn't. He can't stop Lupin most of the time," he agreed. "That's why I'm only using his for airfare. Lupin's is going to go with us to the resorts." He smirked at him. "No Fujiko?"
"I offered but the doctor told her to rest so she is. Marcus is there to watch over her."
"Good. He's still probably stressed. We'll have to buy him a stuffed animal and some mouse ears." She put her magazine away and pulled out her laptop once the light went off, logging onto their satellite uplink. He waved at the stewardess. "I've got a sat connection. Will that bother the plane any?"
"No, we're shielded for that," she promised. "Thank you for asking though."
"I don't want to crash with the kids," he told her honestly.
She gave him a pat. "It's very rare. Are they all yours?"
"Mine, my step-kids, and his kids," he said, nodding at Goemon. "He came to make me quit being pissed at my spouse for cheating." She nodded, looking like she understood. "We're going to Disney with his credit card because of it." She laughed and gave him another pat, going to get the drink cart. "Guys, one soda each," he said. "At least until we hit Paris. Then you can have another one."
"We have Sprite," the stewardess offered, grinning at Ishi. "Or water."
"Doesn't matter, they'll trip up and down the plane to the bathroom if you give them too many. They can have as many nuts as you'll give 'em though."
"That's fine. She gave them each what they wanted, then gave both fathers some soda and liquor. "Because I wouldn't even try to herd that many children through an airport," she shared. She moved back, going to get the next set of seats.
"I find bribery works," Xander admitted as he mixed his drink. He looked up as one of the kids snuck past him. "Back in your seat, Melissa."
"Yes, daddy," she said a bit too cheerfully as she sat back down. She and little Arsene shared a look. Their contest was on! She had seen a few very pretty things on her aborted trip.
Xander walked the kids into their hotel room, looking down at the two thieves. "Empty your pockets and purses," he ordered, pointing at the table. He had known what they were doing. One of the stewardesses had mentioned that Melissa had been sucking up to someone wearing diamond earrings. "Now."
They sighed and emptied their treasures, each making their own pile. "Who won?" Arsene asked cutely.
"I had wondered how that woman had lost her passport on the plane," Goemon noted as he looked at the piles. "I think Melissa won actually."
Xander came over to look at them. "Definitely on daring. How did you remove the rhinestone collar off the dog you were petting?"
"Easy, I was petting him," she said happily.
"I stoled from purses," Arsene said with a small pout.
"I can see that. The fact that you got that passport was very ingenious. I'd call it a tie. Melissa got more but you got harder stuff." The girls looked satisfied with that and went to pick out their beds. Xander looked at Goemon. "Looking forward to tomorrow?" he asked.
"No." Goemon went to find himself a bed so he could lay down. He had jet lag and the girls had been giggly the whole flight. There would be thousands of giggling children tomorrow and for the next week. He'd need a vacation after this jaunt. Especially if the kids kept up their contest.
Savanna walked out with Sierra, both of them frowning. "We have to give it back, daddy."
"We will, princess," Xander promised, giving each of them a hug. "We'll let the daddies figure out how."
They beamed and nodded, going back to their rooms now that they knew the pretty things would be given back. Their daddies were smart, they'd figure out how to get everything back to their owners.
Xander flopped down into a chair, smirking at the sight out the window. The monorail had just gone past. He liked Disney. It was easy to get around and they had a lot of stuff to do there.
Xander walked back to the security office to get the missing kid. He looked at Arsene, frowning. "What did you do?"
"She shoplifted some stuff," the officer said with a smile for him. "I'm sure it's nothing."
"No, she did it on the plane too. Kept trying to bring the dog she was petting with us." He smiled at the guard. "She's very sorry and going to get sorrier for being caught doing this stuff."
"You'll make restitution?"
"Sure." He handed over a credit card and the guard looked at it in shock. "Her father said to take his card and take his kids to Disney. I'm one of his mothers. It was a condition of the will," she shared, leaning closer. "This is actually the Fourth."
"Well," he said, giving the girl a long look. "In the future, try to keep her closer at hand?"
"Sure. Her dad will be here soon." He looked tired all of a sudden. "You didn't see his retirement letter?"
"No, I hadn't known he wrote one," he admitted, running the card. It went through and he handed it back. "Are all of them his?"
"No, three of them are his, three of them are Jigen's. Two of them are the guy in the kimono's, and do you know where he's hiding from us with his son?"
"He's eating an ice cream on Main Street," he offered. "He was noticed because he stood out and his son wasn't bouncing."
"Yeah, Ishi's a very calm little guy. Thank you. Don't worry, her father will be having a discussion with her and I'll keep a better eye on her." He took the card back and went out to gather up the rest of the kids, who had waited for them while looking at the boats going past. "Guys, quit shoplifting, it's making me look bad," he announced. They sighed and nodded. "Thank you. Where were we going? I know we have to stop on Main Street to get Goemon and Ishi again."
"Tomorrowland," Lotus said seriously. "It's next." They had sat down and worked out where they were going so everyone got to ride each of the rides they could and they all stayed together.
"Good, that's on the way." He walked them off, heading to force Goemon back into action again. He could eat an ice cream and walk if Xander could herd the girls. The hotel had a daycare and they had the babies so they wouldn't have to be in the sun all day. He gave Goemon a look and the samurai, big, tough guy that he was, sighed and looked very whipped as he got up and followed them to the next set of rides with his son. "Arsene got caught shoplifting."
"I'm sure her father will have words with her for being caught."
Xander looked back. "She had nearly five hundred bucks worth of stuff before she was caught. Not bad for someone her age."
"No, not in the least," Goemon agreed, giving the girl a faint smile. "Next time, do better." She nodded, bouncing along happily. "Not today however or we can't come back tomorrow." All the kids nodded, they could wait until the last day. That way they could see all the neat stuff.
Lupin picked the suite's door and walked inside, followed by Jigen. They snuck into Xander's bedroom, following the snoring, and smiled at her. Then they went to check on the kids, noticing the piles on the tables with each kid's name in front of them. "Wow," he said, pointing at his daughter's. "She's good."
Goemon came out of his bedroom, giving them a look. "You're late."
"The plane was delayed by two ministers who scared people by praying," Jigen said. He pointed at the piles. "Shoplifted?"
"Arsene's would be bigger, but she got caught two days ago," he noted. Lupin sighed in defeat. "She had nearly five hundred dollars worth of things however." Lupin brightened up at that. "She also managed to steal a passport. You'll want to do something about that." He went back to his room. They'd be looking in on their children and then pouncing their mate if she let them.
"I wondered what that big charge was for," Lupin said as he went to check the other rooms. The kids were sleeping two to a full-sized bed, all but Ishi, who was sharing a room with twin beds with his sister. He patted each one before going to pounce Xander. Literally. "I'm sorry," he said when she swatted at him. "I was dumb, it was a mistake, and I never meant for it to happen."
"Doesn't excuse it."
"No, it doesn't, but I didn't want to." She looked at him. "No, she didn't attack me, it was a momentary slip. It won't happen again. I vow. Thief's honor."
"Thieves have honor?" she snorted, going back to her pillow. "You're still in deep."
"I know. I'm so sorry, Xan. I never meant to hurt you and I never meant to sleep with her. Please forgive me and quit spending me poor?"
She shook her head. "Nope, we've got five more resorts to do."
He winced. "Ow. My poor bank account." He hugged her tightly against his chest. "I'm sorry, Xan. I really am. I know I deserve to be flogged, but I'm trying to make up for it. I didn't even mind when you paid off the guards."
"They asked us to make restitution since they caught Arsene with a few extra pairs of mouse ears."
"That's what Goemon said," he told her, giving her a squeeze. Xander moaned and he kissed the back of her neck. "I'm so sorry, Xander. Please forgive me. It was a mistake and an accident. Not something I meant to happen."
"We'll see." She looked back at him. "For all the times you thought I was cheating with Goemon and I never did, I didn't suspect you'd cheat on me."
"I really didn't mean it," Lupin promised, starting to look miserable. This was karma for all those times he had accused her apparently. "I'll stop and all that. I'll wear a male chastity belt if I have to. I will not cheat again."
"You'd better not," she warned. "Next time I will be mean and evil and vicious."
"Yes, precious." He gave her a kiss. "Jigen, where are you lurking?"
He walked in, taking off his tie. "I was giving you a chance to apologize," he told him. "The girls have good taste. How did you get Savanna to participate?"
"Ishi used her bags I think." She smiled at him. "Come snuggle me?"
"Sure, brat." He stripped down and laid in front of her, letting her have whatever she wanted. She pounced him and he growled about it but she was apparently needy and still punishing Lupin. He waved him closer and Lupin came up to please her so she'd relent and let him have some too.
Two days later, Zenigata opened his email and looked at the picture. Then he snorted. "They're at it again," he noted. He responded as soon as he had saved the picture down. The kids were waving at a security camera and the park's guards wanted to know who they were. He answered by last names and asked how large the haul had been. The answer surprised him, it was pretty low. Must have just been the kids stealing then. Dawn came to check on him. "Xander took the kids to Orlando. I got asked to identify them since they were seen in the company of Jigen and Goemon." He turned the picture so she could see. "They only stole about six or seven thousand total all week. Now they're on a Disney cruise ship."
She smiled at the happy family. "I'm glad they had fun." She kissed him on the nose. "Want anything?"
"You," he said, grabbing her and pulling her down. "I'm tired of being careful. You're my sneaky thief and it's about time I proved that again." She purred against him as he worked on her buttons. He finally gave up and ripped it, tossing it off the bed. Morgan walked past and closed their door, going to talk to his brother about the important things. Things like girls. He had already given Jerry the cards and answered a lot of questions that he had, it was a nice thing their uncle had done.
Goemon looked up as his lap was invaded by his son, giving him a pat. "Didn't like the children's area, son?"
"No, they're playing dress up," he admitted. "Can I learn something else? I know there's not much room on the ship but would could do it in our room."
"If you want. Or we could do it while the others nap. You're old enough to skip your nap." His son beamed at him and nodded. Goemon settled in to rest and relax. There were almost no screaming children around now. It was very nice. It was even nicer that Lupin, Jigen, and Xander were on the other side of the ship from him. Yes, quite relaxing.
To Part 19
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