AN: At this point, Sasami is about 14, maybe 15.
Once the girls left him alone long enough to get changed into civvies again, Xander did so, though he did pause long enough to take a look in the mirror – he’d put on some bulk in the past few months, but more than anything he’d lost a lot of his baby fat. Of course, boot camp, where the days started off before daylight and ended just before dark, during which you walked, ran, climbed, swam, fought, thought, bluffed, shot and cussed more in six hours than most people did in a week.
His training class had started out with nearly 500 people from various worlds within the Jurian Empire, and while about fifty of the people had been dropped for medical reasons, the rest of them had toughed it out. Of course, the drill instructors had gone to great lengths to push them as far as they could be pushed before pushing just a little bit more, but that was expected – how else were civilians to be turned into the soldiers needed to keep the peace in the Empire?
Still, Xander surmised, things had gone just as well as he had feared – any non-Jurian had been treated as a second-class citizen and more had been demanded of them, but in a touch of delicious irony, the fifty whom had all quit had all been Jurian citizens. Still, Xander hadn’t expected any kind of special treatment as he had not told anyone what his job was, though he had to admit that it had gotten a little lonely with only his own voice in his head.
‘Aw, can’t you just feel the love? I feel so missed.”
Xander rolled his eyes, asking himself if it was a good or bad thing that the Goddess was starting to emulate his sense of humor, ‘Hello, Tsunami, and yes, I did miss you.’
‘Even all of the constant nagging, the occasional arguing, and even the times I laughed at you?’
Xander snorted, ‘Yes, even all of that. Thank you for letting me do this on my own.’
‘Think nothing of it, Xander,’ Tsunami said before she shifted from his mind to the mirror he was looking into. “Still, I have to admit that you came through this better than I thought you would.”
He shrugged and pulled on his heavy duster, the one that Washu had made as a ‘stand by’ mode for his armor, “It needed doing. I learned a lot, things I couldn’t have learned from any of the books.”
Tsunami smiled a little, but then quickly vanished back to the interior of his mind as he heard the door open to the communal bathroom, “Are you talking to yourssself, Harrisss?”
Xander turned and grinned at the speaker, “Didn’t you know I was insane, Hisser?”
The speaker stood about six feet tall, was bald, had skin made of scales like those of a snake, and she was a mottled brown color. Her race were called the Ilkis, from a hot, dry planet near the outer edges of the Jurian Empire, and while her name was Hissoria, everyone called her ‘Hisser’, which annoyed the hell out of her. “Watch it, human, or we’ll find if my bark is worsssse than my bite.”
Hisser had become his best friend not long after Boot had started, and they had a grudging respect for each other, though it was more to the fact that Xander didn’t want to see if her three-inch fangs could inject poisons into him like the race was reputed to, “I don’t know, Hisser, I might like that.”
The snake woman hissed in laughter, her forked tongue tasting the air slightly as she did, “You humansss, you’re all in-ssssane.” She then paused and tasted the air again, “New scentsss? Who are they? They are… familiar.”
“My employer and two friends,” Xander said evenly, if cryptically.
Hissoria arched a hairless brow ridge, “Employer? You are military, yesss?”
Xander shook his head, “No, actually I’m not.” Hissoria gave a hiss of confusion and he went on as he made sure he had everything, “I’m a bodyguard for Princess Sasami, and for me to do the job right, I needed to come here and go through Basic to familiarize myself with weapons, tactics, and stuff like that.”
Hissoria narrowed her eyes as she slid into a fighting stance, “Ssso, you lied to usss?”
Xander shrugged, getting ready for an attack, “What is a lie, except the absence of the complete truth? We all have our secrets, Hisser, and that’s one of mine.”
The serpentine woman hissed at him dangerously for several seconds before she stopped, straightened and nodded, “Underssstood.”
Xander sighed, internally – crisis avoided, for now, “Good. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get to the Princess – something tells me I’m going to have a lot of explaining to do very soon.” Hissoria arched an eyebrow and he shrugged, “In my experience with females, even if I tell them everything, they are going to want more, and if I don’t give, they’ll take.”
‘Oh, is that so?’ Xander, under normal circumstances, would have probably missed the slightly irritated tone in the voice of a female who had asked the question, but as the only female who could speak to his mind happened to be a Goddess, thus able to really pound him, and she had said it in such a way that it sent ice down his spine, Xander didn’t miss it.
‘Um… I plead the Fifth?’
‘You’re in the middle of Jurian space, Xander – there IS no Fifth Amendment.’
“So, let me get this straight – I don’t have to fear Dawn anymore?”
Sasami smiled as Xander asked the question for the tenth time, “Yes, Xander, you are safe from Dawn. She’s set her sights on a young noble from a neighboring system and they are getting along very well.”
Xander just nodded, “Has anyone given him ‘the talk’?”
“He’s had sexual education classes, Xander, I’m sure of it,” Kiyone chipped in as she and Mihoshi walked into the room, now out of their GP uniforms and into civilian clothing.
Sasami saw the amused, yet irritated look in Xander’s eyes as he snorted, “No, not THAT talk, Kiyone, I’m talking about THE TALK, the one that entails what will happens to him if Dawn’s heart gets broken. Personally, I say death by shovel, it’s a useful tool that lets you bludgeon, dismember and hide the body, though there is something to be said about subjecting him to Ayeka’s or Ryoko’s cooking.”
It was Sasami’s turn to snort as she scooted a little closer to Xander, “I thought that fell under the clauses of ‘no torture’ and ‘cruel and unusual’, Xander.”
Xander put an arm around her shoulders and pulled her into his side in a hug, a very familiar and friendly act that brought a blush to her cheeks but also got a snicker out of both of the GP officers, “Under normal circumstances, I’d say yes, but Dawn’s kinda grown on me.”
Seeing an opportunity that she couldn’t pass us, Sasami asked, “Like a fungus?”
“Do not call your sister a ‘fungus’, Sasami,” Misaki said as she entered the cabin, also having changed out of her formal robes and into something more casual. Sorta, anyway, in Xander’s mind as she was still wearing the robes, but it was more along the lines of a nightgown now, with a bathrobe over it, or the Jurian version of it. “She just has a way of attaching to somebody and growing on them, something that she’s gotten better at now that she’s finally started to take to the Royal Training.”
Sasami snorted, “She’s already gone through four tutors in seven months, Mom, not even Ryoko or Ayeka went through THAT many at their worst.”
Misaki snorted and plopped down on Xander’s other side, “You’re overstating things, daughter. Yes, both Ryoko and Ayeka did go through that many tutors, but not in that time span, and they both had some level of practical training where decorum was involved. Dawn, on the other hand, grew up in a rather rough-and-tumble sort of place and, well, has more than a few rough edges that need time and patience to polish off.” With that, she wedged herself under Xander’s other arm and looked at her daughter over the expanse of his chest, “You’re right, it is comfortable under here.”
Xander looked down at a blushing Sasami, “Telling tales out of school, Sam?”
She spun a little and looked up at him, an innocent look on her face, “Who, me?”
“Don’t give me the innocent look, Sam, we both know you’re as devious as your oldest sister and Ryoko combined, but also twice as clever.”
Sasami blushed as the other ladies chuckled at that, “Well, okay, so I have been. Still, it’s nice to snuggle on occasion, especially with Ryo-ohki with Ryoko all of the time.”
“Why not ask Washu to make you your own cabbit?” They all looked up at Mihoshi, who was sipping her tea, “After all, she did create the first ones, right?”
Sasami nodded, “Yeah, but when I asked her about it, she said the carrot industry wouldn’t survive, but she’d get back to me.” She reached over and grabbed a pillow, putting it in Xander’s lap before she laid her head down on it with a yawn, “Now quiet, mommy and I need our beauty sleep.”
“Never,” Xander proclaimed, remembering what he’d said about beauty sleep to Tsunami a while back. “You’ll never need to sleep, you or your mother both.”
Kiyone and Mihoshi snorted a little at the cheesy line, but Misaki squealed and hugged him for all of her considerable worth, “So CUTE!”
A muffled, “ACK,” was all that was heard from Xander.
Misaki instantly loosened her grip on Xander, swearing that she’d heard a few things pop, “Sorry,” before she gave him a lighter, friendlier hug. Honestly, how long did it take for someone to build up a resistance to her hugs? It had only taken her children a few years and her husband a decade…
Xander, from his position with his face pressed between Misaki’s breasts, was feverishly wishing for death even as Tsunami laughed her ass off at him inside of his head. Life just really wasn’t fair.
AN: Alright, another one in the can, in hopes that it’s getting closer to the end of the story. Reviews, please.