They slept in the fast room, ten amazing hours of solid sleep in half an hour. Then soak in the tub . . . a leisurely “breakfast” then, bringing Exzy out for baby cuteness, crawling at top speed and, as predicted, hard to keep track of.
“Mumum! Ow!” A demanding finger pointing at the sliding glass door to the back yard.
“Oh, owwwwt! Outside. Certainly.”
Where he pointed up. “Ni! Dah!” And a frowning search. “Moo?”
Rael grinned. “So you’re taking up science already. It is night, and it is dark. Let’s see, if we come over here and get the house out of the way . . . there’s the Moon.”
“Yes. I think tomorrow it will be full, all the way round. Then it’ll start shrinking again.” Real looked back at Xen. “He’s going to get horribly confused about how long weeks and months are if I try to explain, but we keep speeding and slowing the poor kid.”
“Umm, maybe we need to balance them a little better. Any time now. The light fixtures, switches, and outlets go in tomorrow, the new breaker box Monday, then the inspectors come . . . whenever they deign, and we’ll be in business. Find a nanny and all that.” Xen paused . . . “Your Mother called. I explained about the state of the house, but invited them to come spend time with their youngest grandchild.”
Rael snorted. “It’s only been two weeks since they last saw him . . . umm, yeah, I guess they should come often, since it’s been two months or so for Exzy.”
“I suggested Friday, and that they should stay the weekend.”
Rael bounced out for the morning run. Getting my energy back! Taught her first six. The juniors were catching on fast, and had already shed the “I’m no good” slump to their shoulders.
And they had a great deal of fun with the Yawn and Cough spells. She sent then out, one at a time, to test the range of their telepathy, handed out boost and sent them off to their next class.
And managed to catch Joke before class. “So how’s the first week going?”
“Very well.” She grinned. “Not that I have the audience you’re pulling for your two. Which, by the way includes me.”
“And me.” Lenny stepped into the small lecture room. “And the rumors about the Magic Duel. And your ‘practicum.’ Did Xen Wolfson make that amazing dome for you overnight?”
“Yep.” Rael glanced at the students hovering in the doorway. “I have popped in to check on your classes, you’re obviously doing well, experienced lecturers that you are. But I thought I’d better ask, just in case.”
They both looked pleased. Sheesh! Is this whole place anti-praise?
“And now I’d better let you get on with it.”
Lenny followed her back to her office. “Mind you, we’re not officially signed up for either of your classes. So we could TA. You could bring it up at the meeting tonight.”
“Meeting? Tonight?” Rael blinked.
“Didn’t you get the memo? Six pm. Department meeting in room twenty. Every week, same as always.” Lenny looked around her office with a grin. “If Xen gets bored, Joke and I could use some extra elbow room.”
In Martial Arts, Ikku agreed that the first half of the semester, she’d teach magic to the seniors for half an hour every Monday. Then she’d teach mixed the second half of the semester.
Then Urfa asked her to come to lunch, where she found Xen, former president Orde, and Urfa heads together over a document on the table.
Qayg and Purr were cooing at Exzy at the other end of the table.
“Hey you guys get too gooey, you’ll scare your assigned targets.”
Qayg made a rude gesture and Rael joined the crowd.
“Oh, you’ve got an actual Concord in writing?”
Orde straightened. “At least in draft form. It’s out to all the worlds for comments. One only knows if we’ll be able to agree on a final form. It’s pretty weak, as it is.”
Xen shook his head. “It’s just taking all those arguments in the Disco Forum and shifting them to a new venue. One that doesn’t involve ‘if Xen will let us.’ It’s all the worlds agreeing to talk in a civilized fashion.”
Orde chuckled. “More like, ‘If Xen will let us, but still come kick ass if someone needs it.’ Really, people kept telling me that just your name made people squirm. It’s interesting to see it in person.”
“I’m really quite easy to get along with. And I really haven’t slapped all that many worlds around. And I’m kicking back and taking it easy, now.”
“Heh.” Orde shook his head. “It’s how very through you are when you slap them around. Oh, yes, Eldon’s world killer was a shocker, but the Helios were beaten, even without it. Earth . . . well . . . periodic isolation hasn’t changed them much.”
Xen nodded. “And really, even Whirlpool Earth caught on really quickly, after that first incident.”
Urfa grinned. “I think it was all the grinning spectators pulling out their vid recorders as you walked up to the tanks in the plaza that convinced them that maybe they ought to rethink things.”
Xen cleared his throat. “I did happen to have rather a lot of invisible backup, all over the place.”
Rael giggled. “Yes, we analyzed rather a lot of those vids. Eighteen blurs, plus Ra’d with his Embassy Guard buddies forming up to shield our whole embassy, and just happening to spread it so the hospital on one side and the Arrival on the other was covered.”
“Very handy, only having to worry about the other half of their possible targets. Not that I intended to let them get a shot off, but it never hurts to hedge your bets.”
“And of course getting half killed and kidnapped, marooned, and coming back without a weapon in hand to send the bad guys away in a panic.” Urfa shook his head. “I’m sure you were having fun, but I found it amazingly frustrating to be out of the loop like that.”
Xen snorted. “Well, it ended moderately well. And diplomacy might start happening any time now. And I found homes for a batch of Hell Hound puppies.”
Rael eyed him. “Purebreds?”
“No, these would be one-eighth sheep dog, courtesy of Pig.”
“So very smart . . . What does Hunter think of them? Wait, did you take Pig and Barracuda there?”
“Just Pig. Once Hunter realized Pig was the boss, they got along great. The meat is being supplied regularly and the puppies . . . well, they’re still at the cute fluffy stage, but they’ve adopted people and bark warning. They’ll start being assets in a few months.” Xen shrugged. “I think Pig’s having fun roughing it.”
Orde nodded. “Ebsa and Ra’d don’t actually report to me, but they do stop by and chat. So I’m . . . aware of what’s going on.”
Xen nodded. “I’ll go check again next week.” He flashed a grin at Rael. “Since there was only one brief magic duel. And you beat up the Teamers.”