I'll Be Good, I Promise.
Xander looked up as Lupin's special cellphone rang, giving him a look as he came out to answer it. Xander knew he did not touch that phone, Lupin threw fits when he touched that phone. He had in the past.
"Hello," he answered happily.
"Come on, kids, let's go to Sea World without him," Xander called, standing up. They had talked them into coming back to do a few more theme parks before going home after the cruise.
"Sit," Lupin ordered, giving him a look. "Now." He listened to the voice on the other end. "Sure, I'll accept charges. Hey. Long time no hear. What's wrong?" He sat down to listen to the fuzzy voice. "How did that happen? I thought they gave you guys the right to exist again?" He grimaced. "Yeah, I know all about corrupt politicians. Sure. It'll take me a few days, but I can come back down, Lara. Anything you need, you know that." He grinned at Xander. "As a matter of fact, we've got some extra people in the crew now. I think you'll like Lavelle and Marcus. Sure. Early next week. See you then." He hung up. "Guys, we're going back to Morocco," he announced. "Lara and the Geltics need us."
"Again?" Jigen asked as he came out of his room. He had been washing finger paint off his tie and hat. Little Arsene was having a colorful day.
"Again. Corrupt politicians and the like are trying to take the remains of the treasure."
"Treasure?" Xander asked.
"Theirs, princess. We do not touch this one." Xander shrugged and nodded. "But yes, treasure. They had a whole bunch of diamonds, it let them start to buy politicians' support to regain their autonomy, and now they're trying to chip away at that with bribes." He stood up and winced. "And I'm definitely not twenty-five anymore."
"Can we help best by research or are we going to walk into a battle?" Xander asked. "If so, I'm sending the kids to Dawn or Fujiko."
"Fujiko once walked down the street in that purple outfit she's wearing in that one picture Goemon keeps turning over," Jigen told her.
"In an Islamic country?" Xander asked, deadpan.
Lupin nodded. "In Morocco, yeah. That's Fujiko for you though." He looked at Goemon as he came out. "Want to come to Morocco with us?"
"No. They do not need my skills. I'll be straightening out my overly spoiled children." He looked at Xander. "Did you teach my son how to shoplift?"
"No, I think Melissa did that," Xander admitted with a grin. "I taught your son how to steal candy and offer it to Marcus."
"Kids, whales," Jigen ordered, pointing at the doors. The actual children screamed and ran for the door while the people acting like them followed along behind them. "I'll ship some artillery, just in case," he noted as he followed them.
"We shouldn't need it," Xander offered. "If we do, then we're all in deep crap. I'm out of practice for an Alamo."
"You and me both, brat," Jigen agreed. Lupin looked back at him. "Like you said, we're not twenty-five anymore."
"We didn't get Xander until he was twenty-seven, and I didn't pick you up until you were nearly thirty," Lupin said dryly. "I was the only one who was twenty-five back then." He looked around the lobby. "Kids, appear, or no whales or dolphins." They came out of their hiding spots and mobbed him to suck up to him. "I knew that's what you wanted." He did a quick nose count and came up with one short. "Guys, where's Savanna?"
"I'll find her. Leave me a ticket or two," Xander said, waving as they left. Then he looked at the desk clerk who had went really pale. "Who?"
"That detective person." She pointed at a meeting room.
"Hmm." Xander walked in there and picked up his daughter. "Shame on you, Savanna."
"I wanted to know what his job was like," she defended cutely. "He does neat things."
"While he might, you do not stop officers from doing their jobs outside their jurisdictions," he said firmly, glaring at the cop. "Come near my daughter again, and die. I don't like you. I don't care that you are a cop, I've seen plenty of pedophiles among them too." He moved closer. "If you *ever* come near my daughter again, I will go on a rip through your town like the world has never seen."
"You know, threatening a police officer is a bad thing," Horatio Cane noted.
"Yay. As far as I'm concerned, you're expendable. She has an uncle who she can go to about being a cop. He's from Chicago. I'd never let my daughter go to a department where their whole aim was to fuck one over. Besides, even if she did go to you, she'd never be like you. She'd be like your blonde person, Cali. She loves her weapons." Savanna nodded.
Lupin walked in, smirking at them. "I didn't know Miami and Orlando were sharing departments."
"We're not," Cane told him, narrowing his eyes. "You've been up here stealing and we wanted to come talk to you about a recent job."
"Yawn," Xander noted. "We're on vacation. The only people who have stolen anything are the kids and we've made restitution each time they've been caught shoplifting. Besides, why would we want to pull something in your puny, whiny, overly tanned city anyway? There aren't any good targets down there that's worth our energy. Sorry, but whine. It wasn't us. Go find the real thieves." He walked out with his daughter. "Savanna, from now on, you do not go talk to anyone without our permission. I don't care if you know him, you don't go anywhere without us knowing. That could have been a very bad man who would try to hurt you and I don't want to lose you." She hugged him. "Thank you. Now, why were you talking to him?"
"He knows neat stuff."
"Then I'll send you to the nice lady in his department who deals with guns. I trust her not to harm you." Savanna smiled at him. "We'll sneak down there tonight." She nodded and gave him another hug. "Good girl." He got her locked into the back seat and climbed in to drive as Lupin came out. "You shoot him, dear?"
"Not yet." He climbed in, counting noses. "The other adults?"
"Took the car," Ishi told him. "And Lotus. She was making the flowers grow again, Uncle Lupin."
"Thank you. To Sea World, Xander."
"Yes, dear." He took off, bringing them all to the next theme park.
Later that night, Xander snuck his daughter into the woman's apartment and went back to the car to wait. He was stretched out across the seat reading a magazine when someone tapped on his window. He unrolled it and grinned. "My daughter's up talking to your coworker. She'll be down soon. I'm waiting."
"Aren't you one of those thieves that Horatio was complaining about?" Delco asked.
"Yeah, he came up and decided to talk to my daughter without my permission. It was borderline kidnaping actually," Xander said calmly. "Feel really lucky you still have a boss." The other man backed up. "But the daughter he was chatting with thinks she wants to be one of you. I like Cali, I understand her and her ways. So I sent her up to talk to her. Now shoo. I'm still on vacation and whatever heist it was wasn't me."
"How did you know there was one?"
"Cane said so when he was defending nearly kidnaping my child," he said bitterly. "Still not us. We came to Orlando on vacation." He turned the page, going back to his article on a convention he had missed. "What are you doing here?"
"Cali asked me to come talk to your daughter with her." He headed inside, letting her hear the conversation he had tape recorded. She smiled and shrugged. "You think?"
"I don't think actually. I think the kids have been shoplifting in Orlando and we have proof that they've been up there most of the time." They looked at the precocious little girl. "She's very knowledgeable. Do you think her father's serious?"
"My daddy has great respect for *good* cops," Savanna told them. "Cops like Uncle Ray and his friends back in Chicago. Cops like you, Mrs. Cali."
"Miss, sweetheart." She sat down across from her. "Why are you interested in weapons work?"
"Because it's in my blood. Daddy says so," she said proudly. "I'm one of the best shots of all us kids, except my twin sister. We're Jigen's."
"Ah." She grinned at her. "That's a very good reason." She reached over and tweaked her nose, making the little girl blush. "Sorry, just playing."
"That's okay. My Auntie Fujiko does that when she wants sex with Uncle Goemon." Both adults coughed a bit. "Sorry. Daddy says I'm really open. He wants the best for me and for me to be happy so he said I could talk to you about what you do. That way I could make a good decision and make myself happy and him proud."
"Well, I think that's a wonderful idea," she agreed. "Hold on, I've got a few basic texts," she said, going to get them. "Here you go. I've got the new set. Those are the beginning forensic textbooks. I think they're probably above you so far but as you get older you can look into them. You'll need to be very good in math and science as well."
"Daddy said I had to take calculus. Do I?"
"Probably, yeah," Delco agreed, giving her a smile. "Are you the only one going straight?"
"No, I have a step-sister, Sierra, who's going to go straight but she wants to be Uncle Ray. I like his job but he does a lot of traveling and you can't have pets when you travel like that," she said, looking and sounding perfectly seriously. It was a big consideration at her age. "Plus we think Lotus is going to be a good guy too. She's a witch and pretty strong, plus Morgan Zenigata likes her a lot and he'd never go bad. That and our new sister has a heart condition so she'll probably be a princess or an information person," she said cheerfully. "Sarah's really cool. She likes to slobber on me."
"I think that's great," Cali said with a smile. "Did your daddy say what academy he wanted you at?"
"He said he wanted me to train with Uncle Tackleberry. He's very good at guns and stuff and he works at one in the Midwest. Would I be able to still come work here? I like sunny spots."
"Yeah, the new rules let you go to one academy and then take a job in another department," Delco admitted. "Don't you want to work for Interpol?"
"I don't know," she admitted. "I might have to chase my sisters and Ishi, I wouldn't like that," she said, looking a little upset. "I love my sisters. I figure living in one spot and working there would be better. Plus, you're very good with weapons and I'd like to find someone I can talk to. Last month daddy taught us how to use all sorts of rifles. Someone tossed one over our gate and Ishi found it on his daily run so we had to be taught how not to hurt ourselves with it." Cali patted her on the hand. "Can we talk now and then?"
"Sure, princess. It's great to get kids interested in the life and off to a good start. When I retire, I want someone very knowledgeable taking my place and what better way than to help train them." Savanna grinned at her. "For now, you work on those."
"Okay. Oh, daddy said that in return for you helping me with any awkward police questions that they had to clean out the weapons cabinet since we had to leave the main house because of a nasty portal opening in Auntie Fujiko's bedroom. He wanted to know if you wanted any of them as examples. He didn't know if you got many European samples."
"I wouldn't mind picking through them," she admitted, smiling at her. "That's very generous."
"Daddy had a bad dreamie about you," she said cheerfully. "Uncle Ray was a vampire and came in to hurt him while he was talking to you. You were asking him all sorts of weapons questions. I think it bothered him that I wanted to meet you."
Cali grinned. "That's okay. I understand odd dreams like that. Is he downstairs?" She nodded. "Then let's get you downstairs. You read those books and you can email me with any questions you have about stuff you don't understand. It may take a few days but I'm sure we can answer anything your fathers can't." Savanna bounced over and gave her a hug then picked up the books and followed her out. Xander was still reading his magazine. "One daughter," she said happily.
He looked up at her and turned off the bug. "Thanks. We probably can tell her most everything." He hit a switch. "Big bag and box. Jigen and I both agreed that we find you worthy to give yard sale items to." He got up and let his daughter get in, buckling her into the back seat. "Put your books in your backpack," he ordered gently. Then he patted her on the head. "You've been very good."
"Does that mean you can make Arsene give back that woman's passport?"
"I think I can do one better," he said with a smile. He grabbed the small bag of stuff out of the glove box and got out, heading back to help her look. "The kids stole some stuff on the plane that's of a delicate nature. One person had the formula for an explosive liquid mix, one person's passport, a well-known woman's credit card. Things like that. Our flight number's in there if you wanted to search them out. That one explosive liquid looked a bit out of proportion to us but none of us are chemistry whizzes." He heaved a bag out with a grunt and put it beside the car, letting her have the box. "We collected in our many travels. If you don't want them, see if someone else of your caliber wants or needs them. I'd rather not have them go to a duffer or anyone like that."
She patted him on the cheek. "You're so nice for an assassin and thief. Thank you."
He grinned. "I wasn't always like this and people like you make the job worthwhile and fun. After all, people like you make us work harder. Oh, Lupin put the particulars of the heist you guys are having problems with, he thinks, in the box." He got in and started the car, backing out carefully so he wouldn't hit her or the box. Then he headed back to the hotel.
Cali looked at her coworker. "Help me get this inside."
"Sure." He grabbed the bag, letting her take the box and the little bag. "A passport?"
"The kids lifted it on the plane and it's inconvenient. He said one had the recipe for an explosive too." She called her boss. "I just got done talking to one of Lavelle's daughters. Yeah, that one. No, she was sweet. Wants to do my job. Told me about the kids that are going to go to our side out of it. Then he said they had to clean out their weapons lockers since they had to move. Something about a portal thing, I didn't understand that part. So he gave me a box and a bag of weapons to look through and keep, and if we don't want them he wants them to go to a good CSI department. Also, the kids lifted some stuff on the plane that he gave to us. Including a passport and someone's explosives formula. Yeah, Delco's here. We taped it too. Sure. I'll make coffee." She hung up and went to put on a pot of coffee, then sat down on the floor with the box. She squealed as she opened it, lifting out the first weapon. "A forty-eight!" she said happily. "These are specially made for certain assassins. It's a badge of honor to be gifted one." She looked at the tag. "Oooh, this is the second one Jigen was given. Never used." She put it aside and laid out the next one, smirking at it. "I've never seen one of these but we've had one used in the city. Wow. They've got a well-thought-out collection going." Her boss showed up and she waved him over. "We're looking over the weapons they gave us."
Delco waved. "I'm watching her be happy with them," he admitted. "It's amazing. Coffee's started." He handed over the bag he had been looking inside. "Stuff the kids lifted on the plane. One passport. One explosive's formula. One credit card from the person screeching on tv about it being stolen while on the plane. A very nice necklace that looks to have blood on it. Six earrings that do not match. And someone's child pornography, carefully covered with a post-it note. Along with the flight number and date."
Horatio Cane looked impressed. "They're very good. Crooks, but very good."
Cali held up a folder. "Lupin said this was probably about the heist you bothered his daughter about earlier. Lavelle said so."
He took it and hummed. "Not exactly. We just got this one today. It is a nice thing to know however. I'll thank him when I go run him off again."
Cali looked up at him. "The kid was really nice, Horatio. Very smart and very knowledgeable. She really wants to do the job. I gave her a few of my older beginning textbooks and my email address so I could answer questions for her and her sister. Or for Lotus, who's a witch?" Delco nodded. "I didn't know they existed."
"They don't," Horatio told them, but inside his head he was remembering a certain storm inside the port terminal. "How many are going good and where did he want to train them?"
"Some academy in the Midwest with a guy named Tackleberry."
"Eugene's another sweety. Pretty shy, but he loves his guns," Cali told him. "He came during the last convention. He was part of that rescue effort. The motorcycle cop guy with the forty-five."
"Oh, him," Delco said, nodding. "I remember him. He's teaching?"
"On and off. I know the academy she was talking about. It's a nice place. All of them either went there or teach there now." She pulled out the next one and moaned. "I have been wanting to see one of these," she announced. "These are the most excellent, softest pulling guns on the market. They're meant for people who creep around to do hits. They're supposed to be great guns, but they have absolutely no accurate range." She looked at the tag. "Used once, Brazil. Cop molesting a little boy?" she read, handing it off.
Horatio looked at the tag. "I see." He blinked a few times. "It seems their reputations are for real. We'll fingerprint these."
"They probably wiped them," Cali offered, grabbing a pair of gloves to put on. "Those will have mine."
"I understand. If we can't get anything at least we can write the department if we can find the case." They nodded, starting to catalog for real. He opened the bag and whistled. "Well. They really did clean out the closet. We have a musket in here," he said, lifting it out carefully. He looked at the tag. "Collector's piece, won't fire," he read. This one's handwriting was different. "All right." He shook his head and laid it aside. "We should take these back to the lab."
"Sure, H," Delco agreed, gathering up things in sandwich bags from the kitchen. He poured them all coffee into spillproof cups to take with them. He walked out behind Cali, noticing she was walking funny. "Need to change?" he teased.
She grinned at him. "Not yet." She beamed at him. "They handed me every gun geeks' dream."
"Lavelle's a fandom geek," Delco reminded her. "He probably understood."
She nodded. "Probably. Horatio, she was so well-thinking she said she didn't want to go to Interpol so she wouldn't have to chase her siblings and so she could have a pet."
He snorted, shaking his head. "I suppose you have to think that way in such situations. Back to the lab, kids." He watched as they drove off, sipping his coffee. It was going to be a long night. He'd have to watch over Cali and this young girl's interaction. Her father was still a thief. Both of them if the rumors were true.
Xander crawled into bed and Lupin pounced him for a cuddle. "She got given books and an email address for questions. We gave Cali the box and the bag. She nearly wet herself there. She was still squealing in happiness as we made it out of range of the bug." Lupin mumbled something against her skin. "Huh?"
"Taste good," he said more clearly. He licked her neck again. "Very good."
"Quit," Jigen complained. "Let the woman sleep."
"Shut up, Jigen, or go sleep with Goemon," Lupin ordered. "She's mine too." Jigen groaned and flipped over so Lupin smirked at her. "Ready for me?"
"Honestly, no." He handed her the choker. "Really?"
"Really," he purred. "Less prep work this way." She nodded and put it on, turning back into Sylvia. "Very nice." He went down to lick her, then looked up and kicked at Jigen. "You're in deep shit."
Jigen looked at him. "Why am I in trouble?"
"Her taste is off." Xander groaned and tried to remove the choker but it wasn't coming off. "Already?"
"Why not, Fujiko did," Goemon said from the doorway. "That would explain why she's glowed for the last few days as well. The girls are back?" Xander looked confused. "Lotus?"
"Didn't come with us, big guy."
"Very well. Then I believe she's snuck off."
Xander slid out of the bed and grabbed a dressing robe. "Let me go to the front desk. You check the snack machines. Lupin, the gardens. Jigen, the pool area." They nodded, getting dressed enough to do that. Xander made sure she had a key as she padded down to the elevator and took it to the lobby. She noticed the new woman at the desk and frowned. "Hi. One of our kids seems to have snuck out. Have you seen her? Japanese, about six, likes plants?"
"No, ma'am," she said quietly. "I'm sorry, I haven't seen any children yet tonight."
"Thanks." Xander looked at her name tag. "New, Cynthia?" She paused, then nodded. He nodded and went to the security office next. He tapped gently and the guard opened it. "Lotus is missing," he noted. This guy knew who they were, they'd had a talk over breakfast one morning. "Have you seen her?"
"No, I haven't, ma'am. I'll check the tapes. Did you try the front desk?"
"Yeah, and the woman there paused when I said her name," she noted. He slowly looked up. "Should I go find my men?"
"No, let us," he said, heading out there. "Hi," he said, smiling at her. "New? We weren't told we were getting a new desk clerk." She tried to run but Lavelle caught her and held her in a painful position.
"Where is Lotus?" she hissed. "I will kill you and there's nothing he can do to stop me. I am an assassin and you just fucked with one of the Lupin gang's kids." The woman cried out as he squeezed her arm. "Now!"
"She's out back with the others," she sobbed. "Please let me live."
"We'll see." She carefully handed the woman over. "Out back where?"
"Out back in the shed. Someone's supposed to come pick them up in an hour." She cried out as the guard drug her off.
Xander ran up the stairs, grabbing a gun and her set of universal keys. "Goemon!" she yelled as she came out of the door. He came jogging up the hall with Lupin. "Someone's stealing kids. They're in the back shed if the pickup person isn't early." He tossed over his keys and the smaller set of picks on there, Lupin would better use them. "Leading or following?"
"Go," Lupin ordered, following behind after putting on a pair of shoes. Goemon padded after her, making him wince. Someone was in for some major pain. He wasn't going to be able to stop either one of them. Xander *loathed* people who hurt children and Goemon was a father. And if he was truthful, he'd be doing the same thing for his. He followed them down to the back grounds, finding Jigen tying someone up. Goemon actually. "It's his daughter."
"I know, he was going to rip him to pieces. Xander's chasing him right now. We'll have to get Lotus cleaned up. He chopped off her hair and Goemon was ranting. I didn't think she needed ta hear it." He went to help the kids up, wincing as he heard the shot. "I thought she had the silencer."
"No, not on that gun," Lupin said, picking up Lotus to hug her. "You're all right."
She nodded. "I'm okay. Daddy? He's got to be upset."
"Sure, little one, we'll set you with daddy." He walked her out and sat her on her father's chest, going to look out the alley. Xander was dragging a body back with her. "Kill him?"
"Fuck no. Castrated him." She let him finish dragging the body and went to report to the doubled security force. "We found them, they're still here. The guy picking them up was cutting their hair and stuff when I interrupted him. I just castrated him with a forty-five bullet. He's in the bushes. Did you want to call the cops?"
"They're on their way. Thank you," the head guard said, giving her a long look. "Take yours upstairs if nothing's wrong with her."
"Thank you." He went out and whistled. "Guys, we're removing Lotus upstairs unless she needs medical attention. They don't want to note our presence."
Jigen looked at the kids. "The cops are coming to help you guys," he promised. "We'll be watching when they come in. They'll release you and make sure you're all okay." They nodded, giving him trusting looks, so he followed Lupin out to release Goemon and take them upstairs. "Sorry."
"It's understandable. I was out of control. I would have done the same thing." He gave Jigen a look. "At least she was released."
"Yeah, I knew that would calm you down fastest," he promised, patting him on the back. "Check her over good, Goemon. I'm going back down to help watch." He nodded and Lupin went into the room with them. He walked back downstairs, heading down to sit beside Xander. "You okay?"
"A bit tired," she admitted, yawning. "I'll nap tomorrow while you guys go swim."
"No, you're coming. The kids said you had to come. We'll let you nap later," he promised. He pulled out a bent cigarette and lit it, taking a deep draw. They watched as people ran out of the resort and headed for the shed. "They're cops?"
"Not," Xander said. She whistled and waved her gun. "Unless you're either a parent or a cop, get away from them." Most of them went very pale and backed off. "Thank you." One bold one pulled a gun and she aimed the gun at him casually. "I'm better," she warned.
"Sylvia," one of the resort's guards said as he came out. "Please."
He looked at them, then frowned. "No, and that's not even the town's uniforms. Good catch."
"Thanks. That many kids meant there had to be more than one person going at it." She looked at Jigen, frowning. "You okay?" He coughed and dropped his cigarette to bend down so he could breathe. "Shit." She patted him on the back. "Can we have an ambulance for him too? He's been off for a few days and wouldn't admit it." The guard nodded, radioing for one and reinforcements for the not-cops. The real cops ran out and gave her a horrified look for the gun. "I found the first one," she said, nodding at the guy she had shot. "He was cutting their hair and putting fake bronzing lotion on. Can't he please have an ambulance too?"
"It's on it's way, ma'am," one cop said, moving closer. "Who are you?"
"On vacation," she said dryly. "I'm Sylvia."
"Lupin's Sylvia?" he guessed. She nodded. "What's wrong with him?"
"I don't know. He's felt off for a few days. He's been achy, tired, and had a few cases of indigestion he swore up and down weren't chest pains. He just lit up and started to cough and heave."
"That's fine. The ambulance is coming. We'll send you separately and to a different facility."
She handed over her gun. "I castrated the first guy," she noted at his look.
He handed it back. "I understand. I'd do the same thing. You guys going to be in town for much longer?"
"We're due in Morocco next week but if he's sick Lupin may be going by himself." She stroked Jigen's back, catching him when he passed out. "Shit." She got him onto the ground, kneeling beside him to check his vitals. "Come on, if you die on me, I get to go destroy hell to get you back. You promised I could." He was still breathing and all that when the paramedics came. One set went to the kids and the other came to them. "I think he's been having chest pains. He's unconscious, his breathing is like it is when he's asleep. His pulse is pretty fast and heavy feeling. He was smoking right before then. He's been tired for the last few days and complaining of indigestion he *swore* to me wasn't chest pains."
"That's fine, ma'am. May we?" She got out of their way, watching as they worked on him, following when they took him off. "His wife?" they asked. She nodded, getting into the spouse's seat to hold his hand as they sped off. The paramedics took them into a trauma room and Xander was forced to go wait and call everyone else.
"Lupin?" Xander asked quietly from the payphone. "I'm at Memorial with Jigen. He collapsed after a long coughing fit. No, unconscious. They're working on him now. Bring me some clothes, please," he said before hanging up. A nurse was walking toward her. "How is he?"
"We're taking him to do an ultrasound now," she offered. "You can wait up there or down here. They'll be bringing him back."
"I'll wait down here. Our friends are coming with some clothes for me." She nodded and went to deal with the next set of patient's friends. Xander tapped her fingers, waiting until someone came to tell her something further or someone brought her some clothes. This robe was fairly thin and meant to show her body off, not to cover it.
Jigen woke up and groaned. "What happened?"
"You had a small bout of angina," Lupin said from beside him, putting down his book. "I had them sedate Xander and we took her back to the hotel. All the kids are fine, none were touched." He sat forward. "They said your blood pressure was astronomical. You'll have medicine for that. They also said to cut out the smoking if possible, and if not to at least cut down." Jigen groaned and closed his eyes again. "You scared the hell out of us, Jigen. We thought you were having a real heart attack." He looked at him again. "Don't do it again, okay? I don't want to lose you yet."
"Sure, Lupin. I'll try," he promised, seeing the naked fear in the dark eyes. "Are you okay?"
"It's tomorrow, Jigen. We've had you asleep for a day and a half. It's exhaustion. Now that you're awake I can let Xander come back and fuss."
"Fuss?" he asked, looking tentative.
"Fuss," he said firmly. "As in mother you. Like he did to Goemon on the ship. We didn't want her here if you crashed so we've had her at the hotel the whole time. While I'm in Morocco, you'll be resting."
"Take Xander with you if you don't take Goemon," Jigen said calmly. "She'll watch your back."
"I know she will, but she wants to watch yours. We'll work that out later. They said that if your blood pressure stays down you can go home tomorrow." He handed over his book. "You'll need it. The local cable is shitty."
"Thanks, boss," he sighed, settling in for a long wait. "Can't I pull a Xander and demand to be let free?"
"No, and she's doing the same thing you did the last time she tried that. She said that if you try to come out too soon she'll tie you to a bed and force feed you soup and stuff like that."
"Fine," he groaned. He shook his head. "She'll get too upset."
"Her blood pressure is fine. It's you we're all worried about." He grinned. "Even Fujiko. She wanted to know why you were having sympathetic pains for her pregnancy."
Jigen snorted. "I'm not. Really. You can tell her I said that."
"I will, buddy." The door opened and Goemon walked Xander in and released her from the handcuffs. "Who has the kids?"
"Marcus showed up finally," Xander said as she crawled up the bed and cuddled Jigen. "You'll get better or I'll kill you, take over Hell, and make you run the damn place as its administrator," she threatened. "Paperwork and all."
Jigen shuddered. That was a nasty thought. "I'll be good, Xander, I promise. Will you go to Morocco with Lupin so he won't get into trouble?" She gave him a long look. "There are people there who want him dead," he offered. "You can wear out all your fussing there on him."
"Fat chance," she told him, laying her head back down. "If you're too damn stubborn to admit you're sick or not feeling well then I'll have to teach you like you did me."
"Please, not chains," Jigen groaned. She nodded, hugging him harder. "I'll be fine."
"I know you will because your ass isn't getting out of our bed until I say you're fine. Speaking of, the doctor said you can't have sex, liquor, or excitement for six weeks at least." Jigen whimpered. She looked up at him. "Longer if you don't behave."
"I'm going to behave," he promised, holding up a hand. "I will behave, I will take my medicine, and you're going to Morocco to guard Lupin from his girlfriend there." She gave Lupin a look and Jigen smirked at him over her head.
"I left here there to find a real lover," Lupin noted. "We never slept together."
"You gave up treasure for her," Goemon reminded him.
"Oh, fuck no you're not going alone," Xander said warmly. "You're mine and that woman had better get used to that damn fast. Next time, I'm taking the kids to Harry Winston on your credit card, then Cartier, and the rest of Rodeo Drive." Lupin winced. "We'll even bring Dawn and Fujiko as fashion advisors." Lupin whimpered and grabbed his chest. "Do we understand me, Arsene Lupin the Third?"
"I won't cheat ever again," he said weakly. "I promise I won't, Xander. I'll never cheat on you again." He stood up and gave her a kiss. "Would you come to the desert with me?"
"You bet I am. Goemon and Fujiko can fuss well enough if Marcus doesn't. Then I'll come back and encourage Jigen to get better by teasing him," she said, giving him a small look. "Agreed?"
"By then I'll want it badly," he agreed, giving her a kiss. "You taste like chocolate."
"I had to wear out my worry somehow. We had pastries for breakfast."
Goemon shuddered. "Lotus has clung to her greatly since we got her back."
"We're heading back to France as soon as you can," Lupin told him. "Even if we're in Morocco, I want you to head back." Jigen nodded. "Find a house. Either that or go to Greece. It'll be just as relaxing for you."
"Sure, Lupin. I'll email which hideout we end up at." He looked at Goemon. "You're staying with me?"
"Yes, me, the children, and Marcus. Along with the wife. You're on similar restrictions."
"When I heard that, I quipped that maybe you should be the pregnant one. The doctors suggested I take drugs," Xander said with a silly grin. Her man was all right, she could relax again. She leaned down into his face. "Do you remember the mood swing the first time when you couldn't find me chocolate mints?" Jigen shuddered and whimpered. "If you do not take care of yourself, my fit will make that look like Mickey Mouse on sixty mils of valium."
He nodded, understanding what she was saying quite well. He would take care of this. He didn't want to see that sight. He never wanted to see that sight. He would do anything not to see that sight. "I'll take care of it, Xander. I won't die on you."
She kissed him. "You'd better not. This new one would miss not having you there. Besides, you said I could destroy half the world if you died."
"I won't die," he promised, stroking her back with the arm that didn't have the blood pressure finger cuff on it. "Are you?" She nodded. "For sure?"
"For sure. Lupin had them do a test last night before they drugged me. I am and it's probably yours."
"Huh." He gave her a gentle squeeze. "Then I'll definitely live to see this one graduate college. Deal?"
"Deal," she agreed, sniffling a little bit. Goemon sighed and handed over a hankie. "Thank you."
"I deal with many of those," he noted, sitting on the windowsill. He looked outside. "Ray and Emmajean are here. I can see his GTO." Ray always rented a GTO or shipped his.
"Joy," Lupin said dryly. "I've already gathered some information for Lara. We'll be leaving Monday night, Xander."
"Yes, boss." She stayed where she was. It was comforting her and Jigen wasn't in pain from it.
Ray tapped and walked in. "Hey. What happened?"
"Jigen's blood pressure sky rocketed," Lupin told him. "What brought you here?"
"An attempted kidnaping and you left the people alive?"
"I knew they'd get it," Xander told him. "We stayed to watch, that's when Jigen collapsed. Besides, they're all pleading for mercy by now," he said, giving Ray a look. "I made a random visit and asked about people who did such things as a reporter. I accidentally let it slip that they were getting some into the system. I'm sure they're quite sorry by now."
"Good," Emmajean agreed, smiling at him. "You're glowing."
"Jigen soothed my temper at Lupin," she said dryly, then she shrugged. "I was supposed to be infertile due to the shot I took to stop the bleeding after the twins."
"Apparently not," Jigen sighed, going back to stroking her back. "I'm fine."
"I can see that," Ray agreed. "Sierra called us to see if good guys were allowed to take revenge on people." He looked at Goemon. "Are you all right?"
"I too went to check on the cretins who dared touch my daughter. They are quite sorry. The other men in the yard decided to take him out for me."
Ray nodded. "I heard about that. Nice job. How did you tell them?"
"I didn't have to. He told them when he saw me and heard he had taken my daughter. He thought it better than facing me." He gave him a smug look. "Apparently that death was more pleasant in his mind. I would have chopped him into tiny pieces until he died a few days later."
"Plus, I'd get to burn each piece as it came off," Xander offered. Goemon nodded. "In front of him of course. Maybe even feed him a few choice pieces of himself."
Lupin shuddered. "I'm damn glad you're on our side, Xander. Goemon, isn't Lotus fine?"
"Perfectly fine. Clingy but I would expect that. She mourns her hair a little but she knows it will grow back. She used Jigen's cellphone to call Morgan in the middle of last night. I caught them during hour two." Jigen whimpered.
"We'll cover the bill, Jigen," Lupin promised. "If the kids haven't spent me poor yet." He looked at Xander. "I'm really sorry."
"For what?" Emmajean asked.
Lupin gave her a pitiful look. "I went to dinner with little Arsene's mother and we ended up in bed."
"So I took the kids and their credit cards and we came to do the resorts," Xander finished blandly, smirking at her. "Next time, I'm taking the kids, me, Fujiko, and Dawn to Rodeo Drive, starting with jewelry."
Jigen poked her. "Leave my cards out of that one, please," he begged.
"I will. I only charged the plane tickets to yours."
"I know. Thank you for that consideration." Ray was snickering. "Remember this lesson, man. Xander's not the most vindictive. There are worse punishments."
"Including Fujiko's sneak castration plans," Xander agreed, looking directly at Lupin. "That's for a third offense. I'd miss them after I cut them off," she said sweetly. He shuddered and leaned over to kiss her and calm her down again.
"Want some chocolate, Xan?" Ray asked. Everyone looked at him. "She's obviously mid- mood swing."
"Sure, I could use a soda too," Xander agreed, climbing off Jigen. "I'll be right back." They walked out, chatting on the way down to the gift shop. "I gave that nice Cali person our yard sale stuff. If your department wanted any of the weapons you might want to talk to her."
"The boss already has. They kept the tags. Some of the cases were really reasonable and mostly shoved under the carpet."
"Yeah, I doubt any department wants to admit that one of their people was caught with a kid." He paid for his soda and candy bar, answering his phone. "Yeah?" He smiled. "Hi, Murami. No, we're in Orlando again. No, Jigen's had a blood pressure spike, Lotus was nearly kidnaped and molested. I'm up again. We're headed to Morocco soon. No, that was me," she admitted as they headed back to the room. "No, he cheated on me so the kids and I took his cards to Disney and Universal Studios." She grinned at the wicked sounding cackle. "Next time I'll call and warn you; we're all going to Rodeo Drive with Fujiko and Dawn as fashion advisors. The time after that, I'm taking Fujiko's plans for sneak attack castration. He's *vowed* to never do it again." She beamed, leaning against the wall. "No, its Jigen's. No, just his blood pressure they said. He's on medicine now. Why?" She listened. "No, that wasn't us. You might call and ask Marcus if that was him. He's here with the kids. He might have taken them to see Shamoo again. When? No, he was here by then. I'll tell Lupin about it. Yeah, Security there knows all about us," she said fondly. "They came up to us after we passed the front gates and warned the girls not to shoplift. Thanks." She hung up and walked inside. "Someone took Jigen's third card back to Sea World," she announced. "Murami just called. Oh, Lupin, she said that if we do end up doing Rodeo Drive, that she's coming too, just so she can authorize the hidden accounts for use too." He whimpered and looked so pitiful she took pity on him and shared half her candy bar as she curled up next to the sleeping Jigen again. "He okay?"
"The nurse came back and gave him something to help him sleep," Emmajean said, smiling at her. "Sneak attack castration plans?"
"Fujiko drew them up in case she got pregnant after the first one."
"Is that why Goemon's here?" she asked him. He nodded. "Good idea. Wait until that nice second trimester point. It's supposed to be great."
"It is," Xander agreed. "I love that state. I don't get horrible morning sickness but my cravings have gotten out of hand in the past."
"Caviar from Russia along with nuts from Egypt and it had to be fresh," Lupin agreed.
"I met you halfway," she reminded him with a small smirk. "I went to Istanbul."
"You did," Lupin agreed, grinning at her. "I'm sorry, Xander."
"As long as you remember." He nodded, eyes wide. "Good. So, why am I going to Morocco?"
"Because I'll need someone there with me," he said, giving her a confident grin. "You'll like it, it's very pretty in the desert. The sand looks like gold at sunrise and sunset." She purred and got up to come sit in his lap. "Thanks." He gave her a gentle squeeze. "Are you going like this?"
"I don't know yet," she admitted. She gave him a kiss. "Are we sure he's fine? His blood pressure's really low."
"I'm sure he'll be fine," Lupin agreed, hitting the button for the nurse. He pointed at the monitor. "Is that normal?"
She checked the connection and once it was slid back onto his finger it went back up. "There we go," she said cheerfully. "Anything else?"
"Will we need to hire a nurse for him?" Xander asked. "We have a pregnant woman with similar problems."
"It might not hurt to have one who came up to check now and then," she offered. "Do you live here locally?"
"No, we live all over the world," she admitted. "How soon before he can fly?"
"Maybe a month," she admitted. "We want him to be perfectly stable and back to normal for at least three weeks since altitude can affect blood pressure in some people."
"He could boat back," Lupin offered.
"With the kids? Just him, Goemon, and Marcus and the kids?"
"That would probably stress him out more," Lupin agreed. "Fine, we'll talk about it after his nap." They all looked at the monitor as it gave a warning beep and the nurse adjusted his IV before going to report that to her shift supervisor and get the doctor up to check him. "If we have to, we can set him up in an apartment locally for a few weeks and we'll check on him," Lupin promised her.
"Okay," she agreed. "As long as he's safe." She looked at Emmajean. "Did you pass on my last message to your uncle?"
"I did and he said that next summer they're running a summer camp for kids who want to become cops. Yours are a bit too young but he said that they'd probably like it."
"Cool. I'll work on getting them over there for that," Xander agreed. "I think it'll cement their options and Gramps can send some of his too. Morgan would probably love it."
"He would," Ray agreed. He smiled at Emmajean and she blushed. "Xan, I know we're kinda friends even though we're on opposite sides of the law, but we're getting hitched this weekend in Vegas."
"I'm there. What did you need me to do? Help her find a dress? Go steal Eugene and that crew?"
Ray blushed. "Yeah, if you wouldn't mind."
"Sure. I'll escort her back and meet Lupin in Morocco or right before he leaves?" She looked at Lupin, who nodded. This was more important to her and he knew that. "Thanks." She kissed him then stood up. "Come on, honey. We'll fly up there today and steal Eugene first. That'll get the others running." She winked and led Emmajean out, taking a cab to the hotel to tell the kids and grab some stuff.
Xander strolled into the academy's office, nodding at the secretary. "Is Mahoney in?"
"Yes, sir. Are you a parent?"
"No, I'm a messenger," he admitted. He knocked then walked in at the 'come in'. He smirked at the gasp. "I'm a messenger from your 'niece' Emmajean. She's getting married this weekend in Vegas to Ray. I'm here to steal you, Eugene, and anyone else you can spare of her uncles and aunts. Of course, any of you who want can also help us search for her dress."
Mahoney grinned. "That's great. Are your kids coming next summer?" Xander nodded. "Will they be eight?"
"Seven. Knowledgeable and seven."
"That's fine. We'll say they're eight. I'm sure they've got a better idea than most cops kids." He ran his hands through his hair. "How are you?"
"Pregnant, tired, and one of my husbands just developed blood pressure problems. I spent the flight up in tears since I couldn't cry in front of the kids."
"I understand. Eugene's out on the range. I'll get the rest but he won't allow a phone out there."
"Not an issue," Xander said smugly. He strolled out, heading down to the range area. He saw the recruits trying to hit the targets and took a position, aiming at the targets over each one's shoulder. He hit each one as they shot.
Eugene saw the sudden improvement and grimaced. "Hold on," he called. They quit and the last gunshot was a bit off. "Okay, who's that?" he called. Xander strolled around the corner. "Figures. What's up?" He grinned. "Nice job."
"Thanks. I figured it'd get your attention." He waved at the recruits. "Yes, I'm him. I'm a messenger from his niece, who's Interpol." He looked at the stunned man. "You didn't know?"
"No, I knew; why did she send you?"
"She's getting married this weekend. I'm in charge of kidnaping." He gave him a smug look. "Ray thought I might know something on the subject."
Eugene burst out in snickers. "I bet you do, Lavelle. Fine. This weekend?" He nodded. "Where?"
Xander pulled an envelope out and looked inside, then put it back and pulled out another. "Our wedding present to Ray. We like my anime and fancon buddy." He waved at the recruits. "Be there or I will come take you out of bed and carry you off in your jammies." He strolled off again, heading to look at wedding gowns for the poor girl. She was twittering. He put an arm around her shoulders. "Lupin found mine after two weeks of searching," he told her. "Others have done it in a day. Now, do you want a wedding dress sort of wedding dress. Or would you like something thematic?"
"Fandom related, gothic, something like that?" She blushed and whispered in his ear. "I can do that. I know *just* the store for that," he promised with a grin. "You'll look so hot as the White Queen of the Marvel-verse." He strolled off with her, taking her to a shop he knew about. "She wants to be the White Queen for her wedding," he announced to the geek behind the counter. The girl smirked and led her back to the costume section, finding the one that would fit her. "Get her something a bit less slinky too, just in case she changes her mind," he ordered, laying down his unlimited card. Emmajean grinned at him and found the right dress for her if the other didn't make Ray drool.
Lupin looked up as Xander joined him in the chapel, patting her hand as she sat next to him. "Excited?"
"Very. She decided to stun our fandom buddy," he said smugly, kissing him on the cheek.
"Aww," Mahoney sighed. "True love?"
"One of my husbands," he said smugly. "Very well trained for my pleasure."
"Good to know," Eugene agreed as he joined them. "Was that her idea?"
"Yuppers," he said, grinning at him. "It's a comic thing, Tackleberry." He shifted over so he could sit next to him. There wasn't any room for attendants here. "So, are you anxious about getting kids next year?"
"I did good with you, Xander," he noted.
"Yeah, you did," Xander agreed, giving him a hug. "I'm sorry if I caused you any problems."
"Not a single one. You were younger then." The door opened and Ray walked in with his friends from Chicago. "Wow. They're pretty famous."
"They are," Xander agreed, smiling and waving at him. "It's a killer dress. Very Marvel."
Ray swallowed. "Xander," he groaned, swaying a bit.
"Face forward," Ray Vecchio ordered, turning him around before sitting down on Ray's side. He looked back at Xander, grimacing. "Do I know you?"
"Lavelle," he said, waving. "Ray gets to chase me all over fandom conventions. Since we're shunned, we're convention buddies."
"Oh." He grimaced. "Why?"
"I like Ray. He's a neat guy. He understands me."
"Which is really rare," Lupin agreed, weathering the elbow to the ribs. "Don't worry, detective, we don't taint him, just make his life less frustrated."
"Bet me," Ray snorted, looking back at them. Emmajean walked into the opening of the door and his words dried up as he squeaked. He fell to his knees and held out his arms. "My queen," he whispered.
She blushed and walked up to him, helping him up. "You like?"
"I adore. My white queen." He kissed her gently. "I adore you." He looked back as Zenigata, Dawn, and their family walked in with the rest of Lupin's. Then he smirked at his boss and walked her up to the minister. "Mine, make it so."
"Of course," she said, opening her book. She was dressed as The Phoenix entity so it was all good to her.
After the short ceremony, Lupin took them all to a club and had it closed for the party. He had arranged it in advance so it was fine. The kids got to get loud in a corner with Marcus and Dawn watching over them. Emmajean was leaning on Ray's arm, blushing hard as the cops teased her, and Zenigata was talking to Lupin about a new wannabe him. It was a nice night for all involved.
Xander walked off the plane in Morocco and winced at the brightness and heat. "Wow, I forgot how hot the Arabic world was," he complained, following his husband. A pretty blonde woman met them in the terminal and he watched as his husband walked up to her and kissed her on the cheek. He would not get jealous. Jigen had made him promise he would not get jealous. Instead he spent his jealousy on the person coming up behind them with a knife. It was a short, intense brawl and the other guy was moaning in pain. "Do not stab her or him. I get angry," he sneered down at his victim.
Lupin patted him on the back. "Remember your condition," he said quietly, giving her a grin. "You feel better?"
"No." He looked at the woman and nodded. "Lavelle."
"I'd heard he had helpers," she said, smiling at him. She looked at Lupin. "You're together?"
"Sometimes. It's a long story, Lara. Let's go to the hotel and talk, I've got some information you might not have yet." She nodded and they walked out, Xander walking after them. He would have to get Xander a pretty something for not killing Lara on sight. She had only gotten prettier with age.
To part 20
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