Title: Disappearing From View
Series: Assistance Series.
Author/pseudonym: Voracity
Email address: voracitys@hotmail.com
Rating: NC-17, but no actual sex
Pairings: Xover: Xander/Ares
Disclaimers: I own neither of these men or any of the other people in their universes. I make no claim on the actual owners, all of whom wear suits, nor do I make any money from doing this.

Summary: Xander leaves Sunnydale and runs into some trouble, someone saves him and demands his assistance for it.

Warnings: Just take this one and the next one on face value, the third one starts to explain things, this is basically a 'setting the story lines up' story.

Disappearing From View

Xander ran out of Giles' apartment, slamming the door behind him. "Bitch," he said softly as he disappeared into the night.

Giles looked at his Slayer and shook his head. "That was most uncalled for, Buffy. He didn't deserve that from you." He started to walk out after him but her strong hand kept him there. "I need to go stop him."

"No, you need to let him leave. We don't need him." She glared at him. "He was letting another man *play* with him, Giles, and he looked like he was enjoying it." She let him go, crossing her
arms. "We don't need that here."

"Shut up!" Willow yelled. "If you could see beyond the bridge of your little button nose then you would have seen this sooner and you might have even figured out that he wasn't a different guy."
She stormed out the door. "Xander!" she yelled, looking around for him.

There was no answer.


Xander nodded at the bartender, smiling at her. "Thanks." He drank the beer quickly, putting his money on the bar right after the empty glass. He walked out into the night air, breathing deeply.

"Boy, what you doin' here?" a deep, male voice said from the night. An older man, maybe forty, with a small beer gut, stepped out of the shadows created by the bar's sign. "We don't like your kind 'round here." Beside him appeared two more people that looked a lot like him.

"I'm just passing through. No harm, no foul." He headed for his car, pulling his keys out. He was tensed for the fight he knew was coming and he managed to get a few good swings in before they dragged him into the alley to beat him thoroughly. "Damn it, leave me alone." He hit one of the men, managing to knock him back a few feet but another took his place. He fought as well as he could, drawing on everything he had ever learned at Giles' side, praying silently that anyone,
even a demon, would save him.

Ares looked at the assembled people, frowning. "Oh, come on, we have to intervene," he told his
brothers and sisters. "There's no way this kid can handle them." His father glared at him. "Fine,
you sit there and pretend to not exist. I'm going to go help the kid. If for no other reason than to
get into a fight." He concentrated, appearing behind the combatants. He pulled his sword,
capturing one of the men and holding it against his throat. "Do you really want me to prove how
good I am with this?" The man shook his head, making a small begging noise which caught the
other's attention.

Xander wasted no time, picking up a board and knocking the two other men out. He turned to
look at his savior, frowning at him. "A sword? And I thought my friend was bad." He smiled.
"Thanks though."

Ares dropped the man, wiping sweat and the small amount of blood off the gleaming blade. "Oh,
you're very welcome. I've wanted to get into a good fight for a few years now. Even though this
really doesn't qualify as one, it's still good." He looked over the young mortal. "What's your
name, kid?"


"Ah, Alexander Harris." He held out a hand. "Ares, God of War." And he smiled, blinding his
newest minion.

Xander looked around the room he found himself in. "Um, yeah, okay. What is this place?"

"Well, you said you'd do anything in exchange for being saved and I'm running low on people to
worship me." He made a small cup of water appear, handing it over, watching the young man
carefully sniff it before drinking. "I think you have what it takes." He brought a chair over from
across the room, sitting gracefully, pretending not to notice as the mortal watched the leather
covering his body stretch. "Sit, we have much to talk about." He waved another chair over.

"I, um..." Xander finished his water and the glass disappeared. "Handy trick. Why me?"

"Because you offered and because I've been watching over your whole little group." He waved a
hand, creating a portal to show the last fight he had participated in at Buffy's side. "You see, I
need people like you. Energetic people. Dedicated people."

"Insane people?"

Ares laughed, a deep, rich, warm sound. "Now I know I made the right choice. My boy, you are
going to be a credit to my name." Xander shook his head and found himself staring at the God,
up close and personal as he appeared on his lap. "Ah, but you promised, Xander. 'I'd do anything
if someone would save me' I believe is what you offered. You even would have welcomed one of
your greatest foes then, wouldn't you have?" He got a small timid nod. "Good. Now then, let's
finalize this deal."

"What..." Xander cleared his throat. "What do you want me to do?"

"Well, I need an assistant. My last one decided Tartarus had a better atmosphere so he left." He
ran a finger along the strong jaw, just brushing it really. "I would expect you to *worship* me."
He smiled slightly. "I'm going to keep you, no matter what, so you might as well agree."

"If I refuse?"

"As far as the mortals are concerned, you're not one of them anymore. You can't go back, you've
had some of our food." He made the cup appear, much to the dismay of the young man.
"Thought that was only in my Uncle's domain?" He got a small nod. "Not really. It applies up
here, when we want it to."

"And you want it to?" Xander squeaked. Ares laughed again, waving a hand at his shirt and
making it disappear. "Hey, I may bow at your toes, if you want, but I'm not easy." He glared,
getting up, breaking away from that mesmerizing gaze. "Not only am I not easy, I'm not a
possession. I'd rather be undead." He turned to glare at him again as the laughter came back.

"Oh, Xander, you're more than worth the wait." Ares stood up, walking over to stand next to
him. "I saw him, that other man, and what he did to force himself on you. I'm not like that. I
wouldn't force you, well unless you really wanted me to, but this is all of your own free will." He
smiled kindly. "I have a room ready for you, bit cold and breezy, but otherwise fine." He waved
and a door appeared, showing him a spacious bedroom. "Like I said, I need an assistant who can
keep up and help me with things. If you're game, you're it. If not, you're dead and it doesn't
matter." He shrugged. "Your call."

"That's all I have to do?"

"For now. Unless there's a war or something." He scratched his head. "See, my last assistant, he
gave me some bad information about the participants. I ended up backing the wrong side for too
many years." He frowned. "Made a lot of enemies that way."

"World War Two," Xander breathed, shocked. He took off his shoe, tossing at the God. "You
*shit*! You absolute piece of garbage! Do you know how bad you hurt everyone?" he yelled.
Ares simply looked at him, shocked. "Not only did you screw up all of Europe, but you backed a
man that wanted to kill everyone but his ideal, and even he didn't fit his ideal!" Xander started to
pace. "You could have gotten the whole world destroyed and all you can be is *embarrassed*?"
He stopped to glare some more. "I *know* people who were there, who suffered at the hands of
your chosen one and I am *not* impressed. No way in Hell am I letting you do that to the world
again. I'll be dead, thank you."

Ares glared at him, picking up the shoe to toss back. "If you had been listening, you would know
that I regretted backing him with every particle of my body. It was bad information. Once I got
the right stuff, I backed the Allies. Hell, I even got personally involved in some of the fights to
even things out so the good guys would win that time." He glared at his newest assistant. "Now
I'm sure I made the right choice. It's *your* job to make sure I never do that again." He smiled
wickedly. "Now, go to bed, young man, and think about the consequences of offering blindly."
He snapped his fingers and Xander floated into his bedroom, the door slamming shut in front of
him. "Yes," he said, patting himself on the back. "Just the right one." He smiled at his sister as
she popped in. "Good choice, Dite?"

"Oh, I suppose," she said calmly. "Very fiery, you two should be a great team, but the kid can't

He waved her off. "He's good enough and I can train him for that." He smiled, pulling her closer
to kiss her hard. "So, why are you showing up?"

"Because your son has another crush and his wife kicked his sorry butt out." She popped out of
his arms, leaving behind some glitter and a small trail of laughter.

Xander walked back out, slamming his bedroom door. "Let's get one thing straight. I will be
your assistant, just to make sure that something like that never happens again. You will *not* try
to get into my pants, and you will let me work in my own way. I'm not a slave and you don't own

"Fine," Ares said happily. "Whatever, as sis would say."

"No, not whatever. Whatever may come later but I refuse to be pushed into anything again." He
got a small nod. "Good, when do I start?"

"After you get some sleep." He shrugged. "Then we'll work out your training and work
schedules." He got a confused look. "I'm the God of *War* remember? You need to be able to
fight better and I need a new sparring partner so you're that too." He smirked, looking his
assistant over. "Then we've got to get you dressed like you belong here."

"I dress fine," he said stiffly. "If you'd please get my three bags from my car?" They appeared at
his feet. "Thank you. What about the box? I have something in there I want to keep with me."

"Sure," Ares said. It appeared on his bed. "Now, go rest, Xander, and we'll work on things in the

"It's light," he pointed out.

"So shut the shades. You'll get used to it. It's always light and breezy here." He waved,
watching as the young mortal walked back into his room with his things. "We are going to have
so much fun," he whispered, sending himself to his own room. "Son," he said, smiling at the man
on his bed. "Unless you're willing to fill in for my new pet, I'd move." He waved his clothes
away, sliding onto his blood red silk sheets.

"Not really," Cupid said dryly. He rolled to face his father. "Do I need to hit him with something
to make him want you?"

"No," Ares said patiently. "He'll come willingly. I'll have my assistant's position fully filled soon
enough." His son popped out and he closed his eyes. "Yes, very soon, my pet, you will be


Xander woke up, looking down at his stomach with disgust. "Don't you ever sleep?" he asked the
offending organ, which just grumbled louder. He threw off the blanket he had found in the closet,
looking around the room. He looked down in his bags, but knew it was hopeless, there wasn't
any food in there.

He wandered out to the living room, looking at the small cupboards. He tried to be as quiet as
possible as he walked over to look in them, but again, they were bare. "Mother Hubbard," he
said, shaking his head. "He may not need to eat but I do." He turned slowly, looking around the
open area, and his eyes caught on a sight that hadn't been there before.

A bowl shined in the soft light, as if a spotlight had been put on it. He walked over to the table it
was sitting on, looking down at the strange fruits. Some things he recognized, they were the right
colors and shapes, but others were metallic looking or funny shaped. He picked up a normal
looking banana and a silver apple, carrying them back into his room so he could eat without
waking the cranky person he was going to be calling 'boss'.

He ate the banana quickly, hungry enough to savor it, and bit into the apple, surprised when it
tasted just like a normal apple. "Hmm, have to remember this," he said, savoring the slightly
tangy taste, leaning back against his pillows while he ate, watching the flags outside his window
blow in the continuous winds.

When he was done, he tossed the bare core and the peel toward trash, too tired to care if they
made it or not as he went quickly back to sleep.


Ares frowned at his assistant as he walked out to the sitting area, looking him over. "You're
going to have to compromise on your personal style, pet." He waved the baggy jeans away,
replacing them with leather pants like his own. "Better. I like that look on you."

Xander looked at his lower half in disgust. "I look like Angelus." He glared at his boss. "I
looked fine. Deal with it." The God shook his head. "Put them back."

"Wear leather like everyone else in the household or go bottomless," Ares countered. "You're not
above the dress code."

"I'd rather be dead," he said, crossing his arms and being belligerent.

"Not a difficult request." Ares looked over his shoulder. "Deal with it and move on, Xander,
they're in your closet." The mortal started for his room. "If you go change back into them, they'll
disappear permanently. The things that were in your pockets are in those ones now. You didn't
lose their pictures." He flipped the page of the book he was looking at. "So, how's your

"Good enough against one person."

"Uh-huh. I'm sure it is. We'll start with that later." He looked up. "Sit. Talk." The boy sat,
looking at him. "Do you know how lonely I've been? Everyone else has a job that they can travel
back and forth to the mortal plane with but I've been stuck up here for quite some time." He
shook his head, closing the book. "Enough of this. I bet you want to call your older friend, tell
him you're not coming back?" Xander nodded so a phone appeared. "It'll ring directly into his

Xander picked it up, walking a little ways away to talk in more privacy. "Giles?" he said softly.
"No, I'm fine. Yeah, well, I've been given a job as an assistant to a...powerful man." Ares
beamed another smile at him. "No, more a blackmail situation. Um, if you want my car, it's in
Texas. You can go get it. No, I'm fine. Living, I think, and he assures me I'll be happy." He
snorted. "No, I made that very clear to him that I wouldn't." The phone line shortened, making
him walk backwards if he wanted to hang onto it. He shot a small glare at his boss. "What? No,
just a goodbye of sorts. No, I'm not sure when I can get home again but it won't be soon and I
know the Hellmouth." He nodded. "I'll be safe. You too. I want to be able to come back and
see you, not your headstone." He smiled, hanging up. "Thanks. I needed to talk to him."

"I know. You'll be able to talk to him and watch over him more often as you get accustomed to
your job." He patted the sofa, putting the phone back. "So, tell me about yourself?"

"I thought you'd been watching."

"I have but that doesn't let me know what you're thinking." He waved a hand around the room.
"The air up here only does that when it relates to me or our work."

"I'm curious. Giles taught me that was the greatest gift of education, to make me want to
discover the why's and how's." His boss nodded. "I'm an okay fighter, I do well enough to save
myself most of the time, as long as it's one on one." That got a small nod. "I don't know what
you want me to say here."

"I want to know you better. If I'm going to be working this closely with you, I need to get a
better feel for who you are." The mortal nodded. "Do you desire power, wealth, fame? What
weaknesses do you have that might endanger me? That sort of thing."

"I don't want any of that. I want a nice simple life where I don't have to fight every day and I
have what I need to live." He shrugged. "Power means responsibilities. Wealth means the same
but it comes attached with decisions and more people. Fame is the same thing as wealth as far as
I'm concerned. Lots of people who want things from you." He yawned, stretching. "I'm not sure
about weaknesses. I've never really considered myself as an enemy. What do you see?"

"Besides one that says that you care about people? Not many weaknesses. I'd say you were
pretty incorruptible. Money's nice but it's only good up to a certain point, when it stops being
fun. Power, real power, would be about the same thing. Small things that are easily countered if
someone would try something against me by using you." Ares patted his hand. "Now then, your
job is research. I need to know what the sides stand for, why they're fighting, and I need an
objective view of which side to pick. Can you handle that?"

"You should know I hate wars."

"Good, then you won't get me involved in too many worthless battles." He pulled the mortal
over, hugging him. "Relax, you're safe here. You're exactly what I want in an assistant.
Otherwise I wouldn't have helped you. You're wanted here for yourself. Got it?" He let him go,
seeing the small nod. "Now then, we have to figure out a training schedule. You need some
work, pet."

"I have a name."

"Yes, you do, and expect to hear it whenever I'm angry or want your attention." Ares raised an
eyebrow. "I'm sure you won't object for too long."

"I won't answer to anything but my name," Xander told him. "I told you I wouldn't be intimidated
into bed again." He grimaced, looking down at the leather pants. "He forced me, using my
secrets against me. I won't allow that to happen again."

"So I won't try. I know you're a bright boy. When you want me, and I'm sure you will sometime,
my room is open to you. On your terms."

"Fine," Xander said, looking him in his dark, almost black, eyes, "but don't hold your breath."

"Don't need to do that here." Ares got up, stretching, letting the leather of his outfit show off his
body to its best advantage. "Shall we go browse through time so you can see my greatest

"Why?" Xander frowned up at him. "Stop that, I'm beyond shameless ploys."

"Because, I want that extra time with you and you need to know the history of the office. And
what better way to train than with my best assistant ever." He held out a hand. "Come on, let's
go." He concentrated on sending them back to Ancient Greece, where his best assistant to date
had been at his best, before he had went insane and headed for his Uncle.

Xander took the hand and the room faded out.


Xander looked at this new room, frowning. "You didn't redecorate for centuries?"

"Millennium. I'm comfortable with the way it looks." He looked at the bland, almost colorless
furniture and walls. "What's wrong with it, it's soothing."

"It's vanilla," Xander countered. "You're a God of War, shouldn't you have more... exotic
tastes?" He looked around, frowning. "My ex would be so happy to fix this place up. It'd
suddenly have color and light and my room wouldn't be a wind tunnel. Which, by the way, won't
get me into your bed faster." He looked at his boss again, seeing him staring in open-mouthed
shock. "Hey, you watched me, you know I'm opinionated. Speaking of which, aren't you usually
crankier? I always heard that you were a pissy God, one that thought revenge was fun and
games, and that human torture was like wet dreams to you."

"Yeah, I knew, that's not it." Ares touched the young man's shoulder, flinching at the new spark
that hit him. "What happened to you? What did you eat?"

"Well, there was this bowl of apples, oranges, and bananas - some normal looking and some shiny
and pretty. I ate one of the pretty silver apples and a banana. It drew me like a lure."

Ares sat down, in the middle of the floor, his mouth still open. "You ate an apple from the Tree
of Life?" He looked up at his helper. "Do you realize what you did?"

"No, was it bad?" he asked hesitantly, sitting on the anti-colored couch. "Did I do something
wrong already? 'Cause if I did, I'm sorry."

Ares shook his head, patting a trembling knee as he stood. "No, nothing wrong. You were given
a gift, one you didn't want."

"Which one? Decorating skills?"

"No, immortality."

"You mean like the heads-chopping-off, wake-up-healed, nothing-can-hurt me sort?"" Xander
asked, confused. "Like on that show?"

Ares gave him a confused look. "Show?"

"Television? One of the greatest inventions of the Twentieth Century? Hello, an important thing
in life?"

"Sorry, don't do that up here." He saw the young man's face fall. "But I'm sure we can find one
for you," he amended, not wanting to make him that unhappy. He *never* wanted to get that
look again for some reason.

"Okay," Xander said, nodding. He leaned back on the couch. "Now what? Do I have to learn
how to fight with a sword so I can hurt people?"

"Yes, I need a sparring partner." Ares popped them to his private gym to start.


Xander pulled the waistband of his leather pants out, letting the breeze flow down to his
extremely sweaty flesh. "Leather sucks. Especially after four hours of dealing with you and a

Ares shook his head. "If I have to listen to one more whine out of you," he warned. "You don't
want to know what I'll do."

"Yes I do, but that thought's really pleasant right about now. At least then I wouldn't be ready to
swim in my clothes. Haven't you guys heard of spandex? Or lycra? Or even cotton? That
should have been around when you still had a daily job." He dropped his sword, lying down on
the practice mat. "Wake me when it's freezing so I can get comfortable." He closed his eyes,

"Pet," Ares said, tempting him with his voice, his face a mask of anger. When he didn't get an
answer, he kicked the young man's foot, repeated it. "Pet!" This time he got flipped off and the
boy rolled onto his side away from him. "Xander!"

"Ah, shut up," he whined. "I'm finally not sweating so much that I'm going to dehydrate and you
whine." He flipped back over, knocking the God off his feet and onto his ass. "There, now take a
break. *You* don't have a reason to work today." He closed his eyes again, sighing in comfort
as a breeze started in the room. "Thanks. Needed that."

A light, female laugh sounded through the room, floating on the breeze. "Well, Ares, he's more
than a match for you," she said, appearing in front of the new assistant.

He opened an eye, then both, then raked them down her barely covered body. "Gee, and I
thought Buffy wore too few clothes. Let me guess, you're the Goddess of Strippers?" She
frowned at him. "Sorry, just the outfit, ya know." He closed his eye, waving a hand in the
air. "Xander, tired human."

"Aphrodite," she said calmly. She had been watching him as well.

"Gee, then I have a few bones to pick with you then, huh," he said, sitting up to glare at her.
"Why did you insist on wrecking my love life? Cordy? Anya? Hello, you let me date the
nympho demoness." She tapped her manicured fingernails on her bare waist. "Oh, don't you even
get pissed at me for ruining *my* sex life." He flopped back down. "Try to be nicer to teenage
guys, huh? We need love too."

Ares burst out laughing, rolling around on the mat. "Oh, 'Dite's met her match this time."

Xander turned his head to look at his boss. "I'd shut up. Or do I really have to mention a certain
warrior Princess?" He raised an eyebrow at the absolute quiet that fell at his statement. "Didn't
think so. But maybe you should yell at her for that." He closed his eyes again, going back to his

Aphrodite smiled sweetly at her brother. "If you don't want him, I do."

"Not for sale," Xander told them.

Ares reached out to hit his assistant but instead found himself before his father, brought there by
his sister. "That was cruel," he told her.

Zeus laughed, grabbing his sides. "Good, I like this one." He looked at his son. "You treat him
well or I will punish you." His fingers curled and sparkled with energy. "That mortal is the most
fun we've had up here in a while and we like him." He looked at his wife, who simply nodded.
"You'll treat the boy right, Ares."

Ares mumbled something, popping back to his gym. "Get up," he said. He got a quiet snore in
response. "XANDER!" he yelled, shaking the building.

"Shh, mom. Trying to nap," the teen said. All around them the air burst out in pleased laughter,
waking the boy up. "Privacy is apparently an overrated occurrence up here," he said, sitting up
and rubbing his eyes. "Did you want something?"

"Get up," Ares said sharply. "Your education has too many holes for you to be napping." He
pushed over the sword with his foot, staring until the boy picked it up and faced him. "Good,
now let's work." He lunged and Xander sidestepped him, using the flat of the sword to hit him on
the ass. "Hey! You're supposed to be fighting, not playing." He faced him again, ears smoking

"I am, most of what I know is turning them away so you can stake them with as little risk as
possible." Xander tossed the sword aside. "I'm bored. You should have more modern weapons.
No one uses a *sword* anymore." He looked around the room, thinking. "Hmm, how about
laser tag? Good introduction and you shouldn't suck too bad at that."

"Laser tag?" Ares said, moving his head while he spoke. He rolled his eyes. "Boy, pick up the
sword. This is still a basic."

"No, a basic was a staff. At least that's what Giles said." He shrugged, walking over to the wall
of weapons to pick one up. "Helped Buff spar a few times, not great but decent." He tossed one
over his shoulder, knowing his boss would catch it. He turned, and lunged at the God, catching
him off guard. Ares was on his butt, looking up at him in shock. "Are you sure you're the God of


Ares looked at his assistant in alarm. "No, don't pout. Please don't do that." He backed away
from him. "Whatever you want, just don't pout." He held his hands up in front of him to ward off
the big eyes. "Please, anything but that. You *promised*." They had only been back in their
right time for two days and already he knew more than enough to know he hated to be pouted at
by his assistant.

Xander flopped down on the couch. "But I'm *bored*," he whined. "I'm hot and sticky and your
shower sucks." He turned his liquid chocolate eyes on his boss, begging. "Can't we go shopping
for other stuff? Please? I'll show you all sorts of things about the modern world and you can pick
up some new toys." He got up to stand in front of the God, about six inches away from him.
"We don't have to buy stuff, just look." He blinked, just once, and it was enough.

They appeared in the middle of a big mall, Xander running happily for the toy store. "Come on,
laser tag," he called.

The God reluctantly followed him, pulling out his mortal identity's wallet, complete with platinum
cards. He found the boy knee deep in the toys, a cart already filling up with things he wanted.
"Go easy on the funds. I know I can make more but you're going to be carrying it."

Xander looked at him and scowled. "No, this is necessary. I'm giving you the gift of violent
children. Video games, complete with realistic blood." He handed over the one he held, smirking
as the God's breath caught. "So, necessary or not, oh fussy one?"

"Okay, sure," Ares said, tossing it into the cart. "What else would you suggest?" He looked over
the small boxes. "What about these?" He held up a hunting game.

"Sure, if you need target practice with the pistol. You're buyin'," Xander said happily, tossing the
gun controller into the shopping cart. "Laser tag stuff is already in there. So's paintball stuff.
They were both on sale out front." He turned, looking at his boss. "All we'll need now is a tv to
play them on." Ares rolled his eyes, waving the boy on. "You don't have one? Not even cable
for porn?" He got a small head shake. "That's okay, we can go buy one of those too. There
must be a big chain store here somewhere," he said as he walked toward the checkout line.

"Penney's is at the other end of the mall," the sales clerk told him. "Did you find everything?"

"Not really," Xander admitted. "I really wanted a few more laser tag targets so the big guy here
could practice before I taught him how to play." She nodded, going out to find him a few while
he put the stuff in the cart up so she could make them pay.

Ares looked at the selection of tv's, snorting at all the little screens. "You can't see anything on
those." He pointed at the big one in the center of the room. "We need that one."

"That one takes setting up and I'm not the most technical person," Xander warned.

"Hey, I'm a God, I can just snap and it's together." The boy nodded slowly, looking around.
"They don't hear things like that," he said quietly, moving closer to his assistant. "I have a privacy
shield up. They can't even see our lips moving."

Xander sighed in relief, smiling up at his boss. "Okay. You sure you can't get cable up there?
I'm sure you'd find something to watch."

"I'm sure I could if I wanted to, but why would I?"

"Because I'll not push for another field trip for a whole few days," the new immortal said quietly.
He looked into the dark eyes, smiling slightly. "A tv would keep me occupied when I was

Ares nodded. "All right." He broke the privacy shield, calling a salesman over. "We want the big
one," he said, pointing.

"Yes sir," the man said respectfully, smiling happily. "Would you like it delivered or are you
going to take it today?"

"Today," Ares said confidently.

"It has an instruction booklet, right?" Xander asked.

"Yes, sir, it does," the salesman said, pulling a book of receipts out of his pocket. "How would
you like to pay?" Ares handed over a Platinum card, smirking at the mortal's entranced smile.
"Good enough, give me a second to ring you up and you can take that model right now."

"See," Xander said, "I told you being nice is a good way to get things faster and easier." He
smirked at the God. "You still owe me dinner."

"I'll buy you some food," Ares said patiently. "Can't have you passing out before you show me
how to work all this stuff." Xander nodded happily, leaning against a shelving unit.


Ares swore at the tv in Ancient Greek, pulling a foot back to kick the machine. "Why won't it
work?" he asked when Xander stopped him.

"Because you forgot to give it juice," the immortal explained patiently. He picked up the cord,
handing it off. "Put electricity through that, just like a wall socket back in the mortal realm. Not
too much either or you'll break it and we'll have to get a new one and start all this over again."
He walked back to the couch, pushing it to a new spot so they'd be able to see the tv easier. He
spread the warm throw over the back of it, tossing the new throw pillows onto the cushions
before sitting down and watching his boss try to figure modern life out. "Just look back at my
room and check the outlets," he suggested after ten minutes of eating bonbons, which he had
gotten as a reward.

Ares growled and did as the kid said, then pushed some power around the plug, bringing the
machine to life. He smiled over his shoulder, then made a face at the newly decorated space.
"When did we get that?"

"While you were buying me food," Xander said after swallowing. He smiled, patting the end of
the couch with a foot. "Come sit, I put the hunting game and gun into the Nintendo." He ate
another bonbon, smirking as his boss turned the unfamiliar equipment on hesitantly. "It only bites
when you make it," he reminded him. "No life unless you give it."

"Gee, just like you," Ares said, glaring at the boy.

"Yup, but I'll happily go somewhere where there isn't leather everything and there's color
everywhere. Oh," he snapped his fingers, "speaking of colors everywhere. Your Uncle showed
up while I was buying the lava lamp. Said he'd see you tonight." That got him glared at again.
"Hades seemed pretty cool, same as your sister did. Said if I couldn't stand you anymore that I
could have a job with him any time." He smiled sweetly at the can of cold soda, courtesy of his
new refrigerator, that appeared in his hand. "Thanks, boss. Now point the gun at the screen and
click on two players."

Xander sighed in frustration. "No, you have to *aim*." He took the gun, pointing it at the screen
and firing to cancel that round. Then he pulled the God of War in front of him, showing him how
to use a gun. "You'd think that these things had been around long enough to capture your
attention," he sighed, sitting behind Ares as he showed him how to use the instrument to shoot at
the ducks. "See? Just look down the top and use the little upstanding thing there to aim it." He
sighted down the barrel and fired quickly, killing the duck as it flew across the screen. "Not so
hard, even for the anti-technology guy." He moved back up onto the sofa, watching his boss
work the gun to kill all the birds. "Hey, great job," he said with a small pat to the tense shoulder.
"Take my rounds to practice, I need a nap."

"You're just getting use to the time difference," Ares told him as he worked the gun to shoot all
the little ducks. "Hey, this is fun."

"Then wait until I get you into Tomb Raider and the Bond ones." Xander leaned back on a nice
crimson throw pillow, falling into a gentle sleep.

Ares looked over his shoulder, tugging the throw down over the fragile body of his assistant
before going back to his lessons in modern warfare.


"Hey, Giles," Xander said. "Nah, I'm okay, how about you?" He smiled, sitting on the arm of the
sofa. "What's new there?" He nodded. "So far so good then." He shook his head at the offered
plate of food. "What? She didn't," he said, grinning and falling backwards, accidentally running
into his boss, who was eating something that looked like orange Jell-O. "So, how did you
conquer it?" He nodded happily, accepting the piece of meat that was handed to him in a bread
pocket. "Really? Gee, that's an interesting combination. Would have liked to have seen that."
He smirked. "Knew that would come in handy."

Ares tugged on the shirt the young man wore. "Need to talk to you, get off the line."

"Giles, got to go, the boss needs something." He frowned. "No, he's pretty decent after I
educated him to modern life. Even let me get cable." He smiled gently. "You too, man. I'll try
to call sooner. Night." He hung up, turning around to face his boss. "What's up?"

"We're going to have a problem soon, during this time, but not until the future." The immortal
looked confused. "Some of us can see the future, a small amount of it if it's related to our jobs,
and it's going to happen around now but is going to be caused by a problem in the future. I'm not
the only one who can move us back and forth through time at will," he explained with a small
smirk. "We're only supposed to go back and look, but we can travel to cure boredom and relive

"So, what do we do?" Xander pulled a foot up under him, frowning at his boss. "And why do I
need to know?"

"Because it'll be your duty to work with the people I have to select. Well, you have to select.
See, GodWars is going on right now. It's a game to see who the best God is, mostly for bragging
rights, but it's held using our minions. So I need you to go see the man you were just talking to,
to tell him something, so in the future we can come back and steal his student."

"You want me to train *Buffy*?" Xander asked, in shock. "Na-uh." Ares nodded. "No, I meant
no way in Hell. She's the reason I'm here."

"*I'm* the reason you're here," he reminded him.

"If she hadn't overreacted to seeing me blackmailed, I wouldn't have run and you wouldn't have an
assistant. Hers was the prime cause." He looked down at himself. "If I'm going to go visit, you'll
need to get me some other clothes. Leather me would freak Giles really badly."

"Well, you'll be going to visit, but in his dreams. No fancy outfits needed." Ares smiled at him.
"We'll work on it later, we have time."

Xander nodded, handing over the controller. "You start the game, I'll watch and think about what
you'll need in helpers."

"Want talented people. Individuals or small groups that can work well on their own but can take
orders." He brought a folder over from the table, handing it to his assistant. "Weed down these
three hundred or so into sixteen."


"The most I can use. We'll start off with five or six and work up." He started the game, moving
his man through the sewer, shooting at people while his assistant ate and read profiles.


Xander faced his old mentor, smiling gently. "Don't worry about why it's me, I'm just a
messenger." He sat down on the multi-colored plain that was this dream. "Giles, got to tell you
something and you're not going to like it, 'kay?"

The older man sat across from him. "What is it, Xander, tell me." He smiled gently at his former
student. "Are you in some sort of trouble? Do you need my, or Buffy's, help?"

Xander shook his head. "No, but she's the reason I'm here. Have you heard of the phrase
GodWar?" The older man blanched. "Yeah, well, she's been picked to be a participant, and it'll
be happening soon in your time," he explained. "See, I was picked too. I'm going to be helping
her." He looked up into the eyes he had thought held all the knowledge in the world. "No
matter what, I'll try to bring her home safe."

Giles nodded, moving closer to touch the side of the young man's face. "I know you will. We all
miss you terribly, my boy. Be safe." He leaned in to give him a kiss, feeling the lips for barely a
second before he was alone.

Xander woke up, staring at his boss. "You had to wake me then?" He sat up. "That man is the
one person I wouldn't mind sleeping with, and you had to wake me for an innocent kiss?"

Ares shook his head. "Wasn't that, time was up." He sat beside his assistant. "I'm not that
jealous." The immortal snorted. "Don't do that. I'm not." He smiled gently. "Don't worry, I
won't hurt him because he wants you, same as I won't stop you from wanting him." He cleared
his throat. "I've even put in a request for him to join you here when he dies so you two can stay
together, how's that?" The God of War found himself with his arms filled with the man he
wanted, crying hard over the thought of the man he cared for dying. "Shh," he soothed, very
unfamiliar with the role of comforter. He patted the boy's shoulder awkwardly.

Xander pulled back, brushing his face to clear the tear streaks. "Sorry, but that's a thought I'd
rather not have." He blinked, suddenly alone in the room. "Ares?"

Ares landed on Giles' sofa, staring at him. "I want to talk to you, mortal," he said, showing
himself after a few minutes of watching the man write something in a notebook.

The human started, turning to look at him. "Who in God's name are you?"

"Your student's benefactor." He glared. "Do you know that he loves you?" The mortal came
over to sit next to him, staring at him in shock. "He loves you enough to give up all that I could
offer him." He frowned down at himself. "I don't want that," he admitted. "So I'm asking you
for your help."

"If we're talking about a certain dark-haired former student of mine, I refuse to step aside." He
cleared his throat. "Who are you anyway?"

"All you need to know is that I'm powerful enough to give you anything if you'd do that. To
refuse him."

Giles shook his head. "I think you'd better leave. I'll not have you hurt that boy and I'll not step
out of his life." He stood up, going back to his book.

Ares popped out, looking at his assistant where he slept. He started to erase his memories of the
mortal man he'd just been talking to but stopped, remembering how much the human had taught
his precious pet. "I'll just have to live with it," he told himself, frowning at the immortal, "but I
won't let him have you."

"You pop into my bedroom for a reason?" Xander asked, sitting up to glare at him. "And next
time, don't forget and leave the mirror on that I use to check on him." He waved at the device on
his wall as he stood up, standing toe to toe with the God. "You harm one hair on his head and I
will use everything I have in my power to destroy you. Do we have a clear picture of how much
that man means to me?" Ares' eyes narrowed. "Don't even try. You hurt Giles and I will go to
the other Gods and tell them what you have planned. How you plan to take back dominance over
the mortal realm and how your plans for GodWar actually are going to work." He glared back,
giving as good as he got. "You fuck with that man and you will regret ever *meeting* me, Ares,
I promise."

The God nodded slowly. "Okay then. He's yours." He walked out of the room, slamming the
door behind himself. He had just laid down on his bed when his door crashed open, showing an
irate uncle. "Did he come to you already?"

"No, he was pissed enough to broadcast." Hades walked in, frowning at his nephew. "You will
leave that boy alone. He's worth it to all of us to take you on." Ares frowned up at him. "See,
nephew, you don't see you as we do. He's *civilized* you, and we're all very appreciative. Not
to mention the fact that he's helped so many of us that we're all in his debt." He smiled sweetly,
lying next to the younger God. "You can't take out your frustrations on him, Ares, we won't let
you. None of us," he reminded him slowly, running a soft hand down the tight leather-covered
stomach. "Get over your fixation with having his virginal ass. It's not yours."

Ares pulled the hand off him, dropping it into the older God's lap. "Get off me. I can lust after
whomever I want. I'm an adult."

"Then act like it," Xander said, leaning against the doorway. "Hades, leave me and the idiot here
alone please. You can molest him later." Hades popped out and the immortal frowned at his
boss. "You worthless waste of your mother's time," he spat. "What did you do to him?"

"I only took back the knowledge I had given him," Ares said soothingly, never having seen that
cold, deadly look in his assistant's eyes before. "I didn't hurt him, only blanked out those few
minutes." He sat up, moving back against his headboard. "Why?"

"Because, I told you, you hurt him and I will hurt you back. I don't need Hind's blood to kill you,
and yes, I do know where that knife is." He slammed the door, heading back to his own room.
Ares caught him in the living room, stopping him about a foot from his door.

"Hold it, Xander, that is not something that you joke about." He turned the younger man around,
seeing from the cold certainty in his eyes that the kid didn't make idle threats and that it wasn't a
joke. "I promise not to hurt him, pet, but you have to work with me here. Don't threaten to kill
me, not if you want to live."

"Without him, I don't."

Ares blanched. "You love him that much?" The immortal nodded slowly. "Then I'll leave you
alone about him." He let the boy go. "What did you mean? The threat?"

"There's plenty of talk if you're listening, oh Great God of War, and I do." He tapped him in the
middle of his chest. "Just leave Giles alone and you'll remain an unhappy God." He walked into
his room, slamming the door in his boss's face.

Hades clapped from the couch. "Good boy," he called. He looked at his nephew. "He's right,
you know, there are more ways to kill us. My assistant knows that too." He shrugged. "I'd not
hurt that man again."

"Hades," Ares said, walking over to him and sitting next to him. "Help me here. I *need* him."
He cleared his throat. "I haven't felt this bad since she-who-shall-remain-unnamed. I want him so
bad I ache with it. I'd do anything to help that kid. Hell, I even went back and talked to Xena to
try and make amends because he suggested it." He grimaced, looking at the hand on his leg. "I
don't know how to keep him."

"You're trying too hard," came floating out from the bedroom, making Hades burst out laughing.

"Oh, the kid's got a point. You do try too hard to please him. If he comes to care for you, great,
if not, well then, you're out of luck." He smiled kindly. "Just let him get used to you and if he
decides that he wants you then he's yours. If not, then hopefully it will be a long time until his
friend joins him, so you have the time to work on him and so he doesn't think you did it. You
never know, maybe he'll forget tonight."

"I *doubt* it."

Ares frowned over his shoulder at the door. "Thanks, Unc. Did you need something?"

"Just wanted to soothe you before my brother got into the fight." He leaned over, kissing his
nephew hard. "Just be good to him, Ares, he's already yours." He popped out, during another

Ares got up, walking into the young man's bedroom. "I'm sorry," he said, watching him watch
Giles pace. "Did he forget everything you told him?" Xander reached over, turning up the

"Should I warn her? If I don't then she won't be prepared at all, even with Xander looking out for
her." He stopped to look up, sighing. "But if I do then something bad might happen when she
has the knowledge and it will negate the choice. Then I'd not have a lot to live for. No him, no
her. No reason to stay here at all." He looked around his apartment, seeing the hominess he had
created over the years but no one to share it with. "I do wish he'd come back soon."

Xander picked up the phone from the living room, turning down the volume as the one on the
other side of the portal rang on his way back to the living room. "Hey, Giles," Xander said,
smiling as he talked to him, relaxing on the couch. "How long has it been?" Long pause. "A
year? Gee, I thought it seemed like forever." He mentally calculated the Olympus day to the
mortal realm day ratio, seeing that it had been a few more weeks than the older man had let on.
He checked the handy switch on the wall, seeing that it was set on two days to one year and
smiled at his boss in thanks, whom he had gotten a much more playful relationship with over the
last few centuries of their time trip, once he had found his childish side. Even if they were
fighting right now. This call wouldn't be possible without Ares willing it. "So, what's new?" He
frowned. "She did? When?" He nodded. "Hmm, did she leave a clue?" He shook his head,
looking at his boss.

"Florida," Ares told him, rolling his eyes, porting them all to the living room, taking the phone
with them. "Orlando. She's doing a computer thing at a big card and comic book store." He
flopped down on the couch, watching the young man talk to his friend from life.

"She's at that big comic book store in Orlando." Xander snorted. "No, I asked my boss, who
looked her up. Hey, Will's always been on-line and he knows about that stuff." He twirled the
cord around his finger, kicking his boss when it started to withdraw and tighten on the digit. "No,
I'm fine. We're getting along much better now that we've had some time to iron out the
differences. He really needed a guy like me to be a buffer between him and the rest of his staff
and the world." He smiled sweetly at his boss. "I'll tell him but I can't guarantee a vacation
anytime soon. No, I'd love to see you too. Just to hear you lecture, but it may not be possible."

"We'll see," Ares said. He looked at the dish that appeared on his table, smiling up at the air.
"Thank you," he said quietly, using a technique Xander had taught him.

"No, Giles, honestly, he said he'd see if he can spare me. No, I've done the making myself
indispensable thing pretty well." He smiled. "Me too, I'll try to get back soon. Night." He hung
up, turning to look at his boss. "I would like to go see him. It's been a year his time and twelve
hundred, almost, in our trip since I even talked to him last by phone if you count the back and
forth thing we've been doing."

"I'll let you go back soon," Ares promised, slurping up a piece of nectar. "Go eat. I know you
want to."

"Why do you eat orange Jell-O all the time?" Xander asked, curling a leg up to look at him better.

"Because it's nectar and I need it. It's the food of the Gods." His assistant nodded slowly. "It's
all I can eat."

"So if I cooked a killer meal, it'd be that literally for you?"

"Maybe not, but I don't need to eat mortal food. You, on the other hand, do." He patted the now
trim and well-muscled stomach of the boy. "Go eat. I need you strong. It looks like the Middle
East is going to go up again." He decided to ignore all the hostility that they had created, going
back to their normal routine.

Xander rolled his eyes as he got up, hearing his thoughts and going with the plan. "When aren't
they? Why can't they figure out they worship the same God and get it over with?"

"Because religion is one of the biggest factors in my line of work," Ares reminded him. "Don't
knock it."

"I hate wars. Especially since it's never just the soldiers that get hurt." He pulled a bowl of ham
out of the refrigerator, a present from his boss on his third day. "Kids and women get hurt, Ares,
not the soldiers fighting. They harm innocents for the giggle factor." He leaned on the table,
munching the little cubes of meat happily. "Why can't you stop that?"

"Because I can pick sides but I can't tell the individuals what to do." He got up, walking over to
stand behind his assistant, the one thing he was allowed was hugging privileges. "I don't make
them do those things, pet, and I can't stop them from doing them. It's all in their minds,
something would make them do it even if they weren't fighting because they think the people they
hurt deserve it for whatever reason." He let the immortal go. "We can't stop them, make them
play nice. If we do, we're out of a job." He brushed some of the dark hair around. "Now, why
don't you go rest?"

"Because this time of day, the winds are worse."

"So go sleep on my bed. I'll figure out a way to get you home for a few days." He took the bowl
of food, putting it back, watching the firm, leather-clad rear walk away from him. "Why do I do
this to myself?" he whispered, cleaning up the mess.

"Because you're a masochist," Xander yelled from the master bedroom.

Ares laughed, leaning on the counter. "You may be right," he called back, "but you're worth
every minute of the torture." The young man walked back out, frowning at him. "What? You
are." He smiled, walking back to the research already gathered to look it over. He felt the living
body sit behind him on the arm of the couch, smiling secretly. "Shouldn't you be napping?"

"I thought you agreed to give up the high pressure sales pitch?" He took the paperwork, tossing
it away. "No, focus on me here please." He looked up at him. "Thanks. Now, why is the sales
pitch starting again, Ares?"

"I'm feeling lonely."

"I'm still here."

"Not that sort of lonely." He turned around, looking at the young immortal. "Xander, we fit so
well, almost perfectly. It's boring getting one of the other Gods to go to bed with me, I've had
them all before. I've sworn off mortals since Xena burned me so badly. Is it wrong to want

"No," Xander said slowly, "it's not wrong, but it's not fair either. I'm sort of a captive audience
here. I mean, would you be saying these things if you didn't know about my past?" Ares nodded.
"You would?"

"Oh, hell yeah. You're just the one I want. You're feisty and energetic, and I bet a great person
to have under me. I know you want to come cuddle my bod, so admit it." He gave his most
winning smile, one that had won him countless lovers and enemies both.

"I'll consider it," Xander said, getting back up. "I'm going to go nap." He headed into his room,
closing the door quietly.

"Hey, it's a start," Ares told himself, smiling. "A very promising one at that." He summoned the
papers back to his lap, picking them up one at a time.


Ares looked at the door of the apartment and sighed. "You sure you can handle the
requirements?" His assistant nodded. "Fine, go have fun." He gave him a card. "It'll ring to
wherever I am. Call and I'll come pick you up." He disappeared, leaving Xander on his mentor's

"Giles," Xander called, knocking hard. One never knew how bad some people's hearing could
get. He smiled at the man opening the door, blinking in surprise at how much he had aged.
"Hey," he said, walking in. "What's up?"

Giles hugged the young man tightly, rocking them slowly. "Oh, Xander, you've returned." He let
him pull back, looking at his former student. "You look the same."

"Can't say the same," Xander said, touching the gray highlights. "How long has it been?" The
older man gave him a funny look. "Oh, come on, there are plenty of days when I'm not sure what
month it is." He grinned, stepping back some more, bumping into the door and closing it. "Hmm,
same place, same books, same smell. I'd say everything's normal then."

Giles led him to the couch. "Most usually." He sat down next to him, taking his hand. "I worry
about you," he confessed. "You hardly ever call, usually on or for my birthday, and you never
know what day it is. Is there something you'd like to tell me?" He gave a pointed look at the
un-Xander-like clothes, especially the leather pants.

"Nope, boss's dress code," the younger man explained with a shrug. "He buys, I wear, I still don't
sleep with him." He snorted. "Not for lack of trying though." The older man nodded slowly.
"So, how are you?"

"Xander, one question at a time. Who do you work for? The government? Some secret
agency?" He looked at the leather bomber jacket and leather pants, and the black t-shirt tucked
into them. "Vampires?"

"No, not even close. But I can't tell you because he's *fanatical* about his personal security." He
leaned closer. "Very powerful, very rich, very cute, but quite the ego." He sat back up, still
smiling. "So, back to my question. How are you?"

"I'm fine. Tolerable most days and some days are truly splendid." He smiled back. "I do wish
you had told me that you were coming. I would have put linens on the guest bed." He looked
around the apartment. "So, you're an assistant?"

"Yeah, I research mostly. All those long nights in the library have really paid off." Xander patted
his shoulder. "Don't try so hard, Giles, I'm not going to run away screaming." The older man
laughed. "I do research for the man because he sometimes supports certain...rebel causes. I
research areas and the why's of the wars for him." The older man quit smiling. "And I use my
power to make sure he stays out of as many of them as possible because his participation would
only make it go longer. He picked me because I was staunchly anti-war." He shrugged. "He
needed a balancing force with a strong opinion."

"Something you've always had," Giles said seriously. "Are you..." He cleared his throat. "Are
you in any danger?"

"No, one of the first things he did was to teach me safety stuff. Hand-to-hand, some martial arts.
Good fighting stuff in case anyone snatched me." He grunted, shifting a little. "He saved me,
Giles, took out the three guys trying to beat my ass."

The older man took a long look at the younger man, ending up staring into his eyes. "Xander,
please tell me I'm mistaken about who your boss is." He took the younger man's hands, still
looking into his eyes. "Please, my dear boy, tell me it's not a God of some sort." Xander stayed
mute. "You can't tell me?"


"Well then, let me guess," he said dryly. "He's a God of War, you've already given me enough
hints about that. He's got you researching wars to pick his side or to stay out of it, which you
keep him from entering most of the time. He prefers leather, a very nice-looking man who would
like to dominate you? I'd say Ares, but you might have to correct me." He gave his protegee a
deep look, sighing when there wasn't an answer. "I'm right then." His shoulders slumped. "I had
hoped that none of you would ever have to meet them."

Ares popped in, glaring at his assistant, who tossed a couch pillow at him without looking. "Go
ahead, you all but told him." He put his hands on his hips, looking down at them. "Secret,
remember that word? It went with the ones about it being for his own safety?" He got flipped
off. "Oh, no, I'm not letting you get away with that today. Tell the man, ruin his life."

"Do shut up now, thank you," Giles said stiffly. "I believe this was a private conversation, My
Lord, and I would like to continue it in that manner." He raised an eyebrow.

Ares grunted, popping back out.

Xander held up a finger. "Eavesdroppers have to deal with a cranky me," he called. Ares
reappeared, glaring at him again. "They do. Giles and I need this time to reconnect. Go bother
some poor natives into a righteous uprising." His boss tapped his fingers on his hips. "I could
call your Uncle again. You know I have that option," he reminded him and suddenly it was just
the two of them in the room. "Sorry about that. He can be a bit fussy sometimes. So, yes, I do
work for him. I keep him from working actually." He smiled slightly, looking down. "Giles, it
really was an accident." His head was tipped back up and turned to look at the older man. "I was
given a choice after he saved me, work for him or die. I made a silent plea to be saved and he
answered." The older man nodded, sighing hard. "I'm sorry if I disappointed you."

"No, Xander, you didn't disappoint me. He did, but not you." He smiled gently, brushing some
of the now longer hair off the young man's brow. "Why haven't you changed?"

"Because I, um, accidentally ate this really shiny silver apple." He had started to inch away at the
slight hesitation. "And it, ah, changed me kinda?" He hopped up, just getting away from the
grabbing hands of his boss. "Hey, no one told me what it was," he told Ares. "Even you didn't
realize until you tried to cop a cheap feel." They exchanged dirty looks. "See, Giles, I can't get
him to take the word no on a long-term basis. He thinks it means 'maybe later'." He nodded at
his boss. "The man just won't take 'I want respect' as an answer."

"You have respect! All the respect you want. All of the other Gods like you a *hell* of a lot
more than me." Ares lunged, grabbing him by his arm and pulling him into his chest. "All I ask is
some of your time."

"I haven't been sharing my time and you won't treat me as an equal. Until I get respect from
*you*, you're outta luck." He grinned, stepping out of the heated embrace. "No respect, no me.
That's been the rule since day one." He walked over to Giles, kissing his cheek. "I'll miss you,"
he said softly. "Come see me when you get in. We'll be closer than we are now." He smiled one
last time at him then backed up. "Hades! I'm taking my option. I can't take your nephew
anymore," he called.

"What did he do this time," Hades said from behind the young man's right shoulder. Xander
jumped then turned to frown at him. "Well?"

"I can't put up with the stress he keeps putting on me," Xander said simply. "Want an assistant?"

Hades laughed lightly. "Actually, yes, I do." He smirked at his nephew. "And I'm sure not even
my wife can complain about you."

"Then it worked?" Xander asked, very pleased by his smile. "I'm glad, you guys needed the time

"Oh, whine," Ares said, in perfect imitation of Xander in one of his cranky moods. "He's mine,
you can't have him."

"*I* have that decision, Ares, not you," Xander reminded him. "Let me get one last hug then
we'll go." He walked over to Giles' still form, hugging him tightly. "I'll see you in a few years,
and I mean my old ones, where two days is one of your years." He stepped back, smiling slightly,
wiping off the tears. "I had to see you one last time," he whispered. "Tell them I said hi." He
turned, nodding at Hades.

Then they were in Hell.

Xander sat down in the cushy office, behind the desk, and looked at the file structure. "Just a
simple database?" Hades nodded. "Okay, I can do this." He looked up. "I can have those three
when and if?" He nodded again, disappearing. "Thanks man, whole bunches." He took off his
jacket, opening up the first pending file, reading the contents to classify the soul to its rightful


Ares growled in frustration as the last person on his staff quit, popping into Giles' house. He
landed on the couch next to him, grounding out one phrase; "How do I get him back?"

"I dare say that you won't. Xander equates trust and respect with life. Without them, it's not
worth it." He smiled gently. This was the third time he'd had this discussion. "Your lack of
respect for his person and his feelings means that he won't come back. When the boy leaves, it's
for good I'm afraid." He calmly sipped his tea, no longer bothered by these visits.

Ares got up to pace, growling at the furniture and books that looked like a home to his former
assistant. "See, that's what I don't get. I gave him respect. The other Gods gave him respect.
We all respected him so much it wasn't funny, but he still chose to die rather than live with me.
Me! Ares, God of War." He stopped, glaring at the older man. "You've got to help me get him
back. My last staff member just quit because they wanted to deal with him. I'm alone now in my
main temple on Olympus. I *need* him."

"But not the way he needs to be needed," Giles told him. "Being needed is good but being
respected and liked is something entirely different." He put down cup. "The boy lives to be
social. He makes friends, craves attention, but only on terms he approves of. He's honest and
caring, gentle most of the time. I really don't see how you managed to hold onto him for this
long." He curled up some, smiling slightly. "He's the only person I know that still believes in the
honor principle. You have to apply yourself to giving him what he needs to continue to work
with you."

Ares nodded, popping out, heading to his Uncle's office. "Xander," he said, popping into a chair
across the desk. "I want you to come back." The young man shook his head. "Why not?"

"Because I don't have your respect." He pushed one last key, smiling at the machine. "Yes, done
for another while longer. Hades? Done," he called. The God popped in, looking over his
shoulder. "All classified, those I had qualms or made judgement calls on are flagged for your
approval, complete with the reasons for my choices, and I'm going to go have fun for a few
minutes if that's okay."

"Sure, go see your friend." He sent the young man to Giles, giving his nephew a calm look.
"He's a genius at this. He updated my templates for modern crimes and added humane concerns.
The boy is the perfect helper." Ares growled at him. "You sound like my dog when he has a
stomachache. What's wrong?"

"I want him back."

"He chose death over you," Hades reminded him. "Not a bad decision as far as I'm concerned."
He smiled sweetly. "I can't give him back, he's already classified himself." He waved a hand at
the new computer. The one the boy had arranged for him to get and have programmed for his
specific duties.

Ares stood up, leaning across the desk. "What do you want in return?"

"That's up to him. You need to listen, nephew." The elder God sat down in his chair, still
smiling. "I've heard what his friend told you and what the kid told you. You should have listened
to all of it." He shrugged. "Sorry, I'm not giving him up. I even authorized a staff for him." He
crossed his hands on his stomach. "Any other complaints?"

"Hades, either I get him back or I'm going to start a war so bad, you'll never catch up."

"And what will Xander think of that?" Hades waved at him, sending him home with the advice,
"Quit being so selfish. Think of him for a change."

Ares sat down on his couch, covering his eyes at the wad of paperwork waiting on him. Things
he didn't even know existed until his staff had quit on him. "I'll give him one last chance," he
muttered, standing up.

"No, you won't," Xander said from behind him, making the God jump in surprise, "because I
won't take one from you. I want *nothing* from you." He patted his pocket. "Had to get one
last thing, sorry." He started to walk toward the portal.

"Freeze," Ares commanded but the immortal kept walking, not even tensing up. "Xander," he
whined. "Come back here. Let me try to convince you one last time."

"Ares, you're not worth the stress." He shut the portal behind himself.

"Damn!" Ares got up, pacing around his temple. "Stupid kid, doesn't know what he's missing."

Discord popped into his path, smiling. "Finally got rid of him?" She grunted as she was pushed
through a wall. "Ares, just because he won't play doesn't mean you can't," she reminded him.

"I'm not in the mood to play with you. Leave me."

"Huh." She glared at him. "Now I know why he left. You need something stronger to fix your
disposition." She popped out right before the fireball hit her.

"Stupid brat, sorry I ever let her give birth to you now," he muttered, pacing still. "I gave him
everything, what else could he want? He had anything he said he wanted and I know he didn't
want Godhood. Tried to give it to him as a reward and he about killed me." He shook his head.
"Brats, both of them. Better off without him." The echoes of his words started to come back to
him, making him wince. "Damn, I'll go insane if I'm here alone."


Ares turned on the portal in his former assistant's bedroom, watching him joke and play with his
friend. He briefly considered doing something so the man had a heart attack but knew if he did,
he would be dead not long after at the hands of the man he loved. He sighed in frustration,
watching them talk, not caring what they were saying.

Xander smirked at his former mentor. "Giles, you wouldn't believe the old system in Hell. So old
it must have been the original. So many files, all on sheepskin, and all out of order. So I pulled a
Willow, got him a computer system when he asked me for my advice a few years back. Nice
shiny machines that can store as much as he wanted. Even went with him when he came to buy
them." He snuggled into the offered side. "I miss this," he said quietly. "This comfortable thing."

"Didn't you have that with him?"

"Up until he threatened you, yeah." He felt the fear coming off him. "I told him to do it and die."
He looked up. "That was before the last time I was here."

"Ah, I had wondered why you chose then to call since it was out of synch for your usual pattern."
He stroked through the dark hair. "Xander, I know you protect me, I figured that out a long time
ago when you saved me from Angelus, but you don't have to protect me from your former boss.
He won't hurt me. He's actually came to me for answers a time or two." The young man looked
up in alarm. "Don't give me that look, he was trying to figure your complicated mind out." He
tweaked the end of the boy's nose with a small smile. "So I told him all about you. How kind
and loving you are. How you're special and should be protected." He gasped, grabbing his chest.

"Giles!" Xander yelled, hopping up and helping him lay down. "Ares, this had better not be you,"
he called, then fell to his knees, doing what he could to help while he dialed the phone
one-handed. Which promptly went dead as his former boss popped in. "He needs an ambulance!"

"I didn't do this, Xander," Ares said quietly, walking up behind him, "but I can fix him." He held
up a shiny apple, just like the one the young man had eaten his first night on Olympus. "One slice
of this and he's healed."

"Whatever you want," Xander said, looking into Giles' eyes, seeing the pain there. "Just help
him." He laid his head on the firm chest, not watching as his boss fed him a small piece of the
silver apple. "Please, Giles, don't leave me yet," he whispered. When the older man was no
longer panting, and was actually asleep, he looked up at the God. "What do you want in return?
There's always a price with you."

"I want you to come back," Ares said. "You can still help Hades so he can learn the program, but
I want you back. I *need* you back so I don't make a mistake that ends up costing the world
again." He knelt down next to him. "I'll give you anything, if you'd just come back."

"Oh, God," Giles moaned, opening his eyes and looking around. "I'm not dead?"

"And you won't be," Xander said, hugging him hard. They shared a look then they both looked at
Ares. "I have to go back to him."

"I would rather have died," Giles said softly, tousling the dark hair of his favorite student. "But
do as you must. Just come back to see me more often."

"Daily, my time," Xander promised, giving him a small peck to his lips. "Stay safe, G-man, don't
want you to become my assistant too soon." He grinned down at the man then stood up, facing
his boss. "Let's go," he said coldly. He closed his eyes, traveling this way always made him
nauseous if he watched. He looked around the God's dwelling, frowning. "Where's everything?"

"Its in storage," Ares told him, moving to stand in front of him again. "Xander, I don't want to
seem unreasonable. I just want your help." He smiled hopefully but didn't get a response. "Is
some of your old enthusiasm too much to ask?" The immortal nodded. "Hell, I'm sorry!" he
yelled. "I didn't do that though." He looked into the dark eyes. "I didn't harm him, wouldn't
harm him. I know how much he means to you."

Hades popped onto the couch, slurping up a piece of nectar. "He didn't," he said. "It was stress.
Your blonde friend has been driving him nuts." He looked at Xander. "You okay with this?" He
got a small, pitiful nod. "Okay then, I'll yell when I need some help." He shared a look with his
nephew. "Hurt him and deal with me," he promised quietly.

Xander ran over to Hades before he could disappear, hugging him hard. "Thank you," he
whispered, stepping back. He waited until they were alone to look at his boss. "What was so
important that you had to resort to blackmail?"

"I need you, pet," Ares said, moving over and sitting the immortal on the couch, sitting beside
him. "I need you beside me. Without you, this place is very windy and has many echoes."

Xander looked around. "I noticed the lack of staff."

"Hey, I can get staff, but I can't get another you." He smiled pitifully. "Please, just stay because
you want to be here. I'll let you go back to help Unc if you really want, but I *need* you. More
than he does."

Xander sighed, slumping in on himself. "The old rules apply," he said quietly. "I'm not your pet
or your toy and I deserve respect."

"You deserve Godhood," Ares countered. The young immortal glared at him. "Well, you do!
Don't give me that look, I know you'd refuse it. But for what you've done for me alone you
deserve it. Not to mention what you've done for Dite and Uncle Hades, and even Mom." He
smiled, sighing as he caught sight of the small, pleased smile. "Mom actually suggested I go
petition Unc to let you come back to me," he said quietly. "That I was a much happier and better
God with you around."

Xander smiled. "Thanks man, I needed to hear that." He looked toward his room, seeing his stuff
in there. "But I have to go do something in Hell first. I was running a search."

"You rang?" Oz asked dryly, popping in, holding out a paper. "Just as I was going to go on stage
with the band too." He frowned at the man that suddenly clung to his stomach, crying. "Hey,
what's up, Xan?" he asked.

"Oh, God, Oz," he cried, holding on. "Man, I didn't know," he whispered. He stood up, wiping
his tears away. "Welcome home," he said, holding out his hand. "This is the boss, Ares."

Oz shook the hand and nodded at the other man. "Want to explain here? Maybe in words of five
syllables or less?"

"Um, Oz, man, you died. About six years ago, mortal plane time," Xander said quietly, catching
him as the shock hit. "Hey, steady there." He set him back onto his feet. "The van went off the
road while you were touring. Someone had cut the brakes, a skanky thing that Devon had
dumped." He grimaced. "Who was later caught because she boasted all over the internet." He
cleared his throat, looking at the God, who disappeared. "You're up here because I need a helper
to research. When Giles dies, he'll join us." That got a small nod. "The rest of the band can be
brought up since the boss lost the rest of the staff to bad manners."

Oz sat down on the couch. "But I feel real." He looked up. "Are you dead?"

"No, I made a desperate plea for help, which Ares heard, and saved my non-fighting butt. I'm his
assistant. I make sure he doesn't work." That got a rare smile. "You're going to be helping me."

Oz stood back up. "Okay, but only if the others can come up too."

"Hey, done," Ares said, walking back in and handing Oz his instrument from the Elysian Fields.
"Not only are they here but they all have very cushy jobs and you can hang with them most of the
time." He smiled warmly. "Welcome to my temple."

Oz nodded, looking back at his friend. "You okay?"

"Fine," Xander said, grinning for the first time in a long time anywhere near that room. "And now
I can have intelligent conversations too."

Oz snorted. "Yup, sure." He looked around. "Where's the guys?"

"Downstairs," Ares said, pointing at the now visible stairway. "Same place as Xander's office."
He smiled at his assistant, getting a small one in return. "The boy is a genius sometimes."

"Common sense," Xander said slowly, which made Oz laugh as he headed down to be with his
friends again.

Ares smiled at him, holding out his arms. "Can I have a hug?"

"Can I rip your hands off if they wander?"

"Sure," Ares agreed readily. So he got a nice hug.


Ares lay on his bed, pleasuring himself. He didn't bother to hold back or shield his emotions, he
wanted his assistant to know he wanted him this badly. He called his name, startled as the door
flew open, admitting a very pissed-looking Xander into his room. He sat up, looking at him.
"Something wrong, pet?"

"Yeah, you." Xander walked to the foot of the bed. "Do you *have* to broadcast that at me?
It's bad enough I haven't gotten any in millennium, but you have to send me *pictures* of us
supposedly doing things?" He frowned, looking at the cock, his mouth hanging open. "Oh, wow,
you're like that?"

Ares looked down at his cock then back at his assistant. "When I want to be. I can be bigger or
smaller but this is my normal size." He patted the bed beside him. "Come on, I know you want
it. No strings, just a little pleasure." He saw the indecision. "I can wipe it from your mind, insert
a moment of self-pleasuring if you want," he offered, doing a little bit of tampering with his head,
making big pouty eyes at him, just like he had been subjected to when the immortal had first
gotten there.

He considered his options, taking in the state of his body and found another night of masturbating
to be more than he could handle. "Fine," Xander said, crawling onto the huge bed. "What do you
want?" He found himself on his back, looking up at a very sex-starved God. "You do know I'm
a..." He blushed.

"Yeah, but that just makes you more wantable." Ares smiled, taking the first all-important kiss,
showing his hunger plainly as he devoured his bedmate. "Just ask and it's yours," he told him.

"Blowjob," Xander panted, pushing up against him. He had been hard since the first feeling had
come across, that's why he had made his decision to come to his boss. "But no nookie in the

"Pet, if I want to toss you onto my big, hard desk," he licked over the swollen lips after devouring
them again, "I will and you'll still be screaming for more." He slid down the willing body, having
heard his thoughts. "What else would you want since I'm not going to do that?"


"No, I only top. You want blown, you have to do me too." He waved a hand down his body.

Xander started to slide out of the bed. "You're just not going to be able to give me what I want,"
he said sadly, walking back to his own room. He lay down, closing his eyes, ignoring his own
need so he could get some sleep. It was about half an hour later that he was woken by a gentle
touch to his cock. "You'd better be prepared to give me what I need, and that's not what you
were offering." He opened an eye to see the look of longing on Ares face. "Don't even think
about it."

"Xander," Ares purred. "I want you. All of you."

"No, you have a thing about pleasuring those that aren't Gods. I want equality. No fit there." He
wiggled away from the finger trying to tease him. "I said no." He curled up on his side, pulling
the blanket tightly around his body. "Go back to bed, Ares, until I'm good enough for you." He
shivered as he felt the blankets pulled away from his body, the perpetual wind caressing his
warmed flesh. "No, give them back." He looked at his boss as his head came nearer to his. "Not
a chance." He flipped over suddenly, avoiding the kiss. "I'm not a plaything. I told you that
before. Good night."

Ares flopped down to the bed, drawing the blankets over both of them, pulling the immortal
against his body. "Night, pet." He didn't get an answer. "Night, Xander," he tried again.

"Keep your hands to yourself," Xander said, removing one from his waist before it could wander.
"Night." He wiggled to get comfortable, falling quickly back into his rest.

Ares watched him for a few minutes then fell asleep himself, his arm firmly around the younger
man's waist so he couldn't get away again.


Ares looked up in alarm as his office door opened, admitting a very pissed assistant to his
assistant. "Oz," he said carefully. He ducked the thrown knife. "Whoa!" The young man
walked closer to him, glaring, an abnormal event in itself. "What?" he asked. But even he knew
what this was about. "I apologized."

"Not enough." Oz caught the God as he tried to move around the desk to get away from him,
pulling him down the hall. "How many times have I told you to not hurt him?" he asked quietly,
dragging him into the very basement of the temple. "Do you listen? No." He pulled open a rusty
door in the old dungeon, tossing the God inside and shutting the door, which automatically
locked. "Not only have you disrespected him, you dishonored your whole staff." He turned his
back on the God, leaving him in the cell he had once constructed to hold a fellow God hostage.

Oz walked into his friend's office, sitting on the edge of the desk. "Hey," he said quietly. Xander
looked up, grinning. "What's up?"

"Hmm? Oh, this? This is a listing of who's going to be dying soon. I'm looking for certain
people." He shrugged. "GodWar participants." The dead man nodded. "So, what's up with
you? Besides protecting my honor by chaining up my boss?" He leaned back, wiggling his
eyebrows. "Which I enjoyed by the way."

Oz nodded slowly. "You really do know everything then." He got up, walking around the desk
to face his friend. "How's Giles?"

"He was fine when I checked on my little mirror. It's on my wall if you want to watch him."

"Nah, did that earlier." He looked over his shoulder as Hades walked in. "Probs?"

"Yeah, a few. Xander, that database says it's full. What do I do?"

Oz stood up. "Let me at it. I'm a computer person." He looked at his friend then back at the
God. "I want equal perks."

"Hey, done," Hades said happily. "And if you're anything like him, you can even have trips back
to the mortal plane."

Oz nodded slowly. "Can I go today?"

"If you can fix that problem and get those forty souls catalogued, then I see no reason why you
shouldn't be able to." He waved a hand, and they both disappeared. And the music from down
the hall stopped too.

Xander smiled, getting up to go torment his boss. "Oh, Ares," he sing-songed as he walked into
the dungeon. "Hey, what's up?" he asked the unhappy God, leaning against the bars. "Why'd you
lock yourself in here?"

"I didn't," Ares spat. "Your *friend* did in defense of your honor." He hit the bars with a power
bolt, which didn't even rattle them. "Let me out, pet, please?" Xander just stood there, looking at
him. "Please, Xander," he sighed in frustration, "let me out. I promise to be good."

Oz popped back in, shrugging. "Let him out but make demands first." He handed over a list of
names. "Hades said this was the updated version." He coughed mildly. "We work well. And
Hades has a dog." He looked at the God of War. "Don't make me come back up here," he
warned calmly. "I will bring help next time." He leaned closer to Xander, talking quietly.
"Willow's on there, man, and I'm not sure if you asked for her or not."

"Not," Xander said sadly. "I was only allowed two."

"I'll give you her," Ares offered. Both men glared at him. "Okay, or not."

Oz looked into his friend's eyes. "I'm not taking her either." Xander simply nodded so he

The immortal turned to look at the God, frowning. "I am so pissed at you it defies words." He
paced outside of the cell. "What you did to me last night was unthinkable, Ares, and I refuse to
let it happen again." He stopped to look at the older man. "Never do that to me again. *If* I
want to join you in your room, it will be on *my* terms, not yours, and I will decide if and when
I come. I want to hear no more of your lechery, no more visions of what we could be, and I
refuse to, if I ever show up, be treated like some subservient being. I won't join you unless you
figure out that I'm an equal and that you have the responsibility to pleasure me same as I would
you. For the same reason I might add. And that I'm not a lesser creature to be used." He opened
the bars. "Your call."

"I can live with that," the God said softly, hugging his assistant. "I'm sorry if it seemed like that."

Xander pulled back, frowning. "Seemed? Ares you all but told me I wasn't worth pleasuring
because I wasn't on par with you." He turned around, walking away. "I'm going to Giles', deal
with it." He stopped long enough to drop papers off on his desk then concentrated on the small
amount of power Ares had given him, ending up on Giles' couch behind him. He slipped his arms
around the trim waist, hugging him hard. "Hi," he said quietly.

"Xander," Giles sighed, relaxing into him. "Did you hear?" he whispered.

"About Will? Yeah. She's in line to pay for her sins right now." He loosened his grasp, letting
the older man turn to look at him. "Giles, I found Oz too. He took my old job as Hades'
assistant." The mortal nodded sadly. "But I still want you to come help me when it's time."

"Xander, I may have a long list of crimes to atone for," he said quietly. "I'm responsible." His
student hugged him, held onto him as he cried. "She found the spell in my books, but I told her to
never cast it. She did and the demon ate her." The young man simply nodded, stroking over his
back. "I'm so sorry," he whispered.

"Giles, wasn't your fault. You didn't make her cast it. It was entirely her fault." He pulled the
older man up, smiling gently at him. "I'm sorry you had to know this, but she's going to be there
for a long time for many things. That spell was just the tip of the iceberg. She was using Chaos
magic." He wiped away the tears. "Never doubt that you're not responsible for what she did. It
was her choice and she made it." The mortal nodded, leaning on his student's shoulder again,
taking the comfort offered.


Ares looked at his assistant. "Hey, we need to go back a few years and fix an anomaly," he said
as he lounged in the office doorway. "You up for some travel?"

"Only if my stomach quits hurting," Xander said, rubbing it.

Ares hurried over, helping him up and popping them upstairs, setting the young man in the
bathtub, which was instantly filled with warm water. "What happened?"

"Don't know," Xander moaned, doubling over in pain, clutching at Oz as he walked in to see what
was wrong, they'd gotten really close since the older man had died.

"I'm calling a healer." He turned around, letting his friend deal with this while he talked to the
other Gods.

The God Aesculapius stepped back from the tub, frowning at the God of War. "You knew this
would happen if you let him not eat," he reminded him.

"I eat," Xander moaned, clinging to Oz's arm now. "Every day."

"On mortal plane time or ours?" the healer asked gently. "You see, it's been too long since you
ate. Your natural rhythms have adjusted to our time but your body hasn't." He moved Hades'
assistant out of the way so he could talk directly to his patient. "Your body seals itself off if you
don't use the parts. Your intestines haven't felt needed so they've sealed, young man." He smiled
gently. "I can open them again but it will not feel good and it will be intrusive."

The hurting immortal nodded, clenching his friend's hand hard. "Just do it," he groaned, doubling
over again.

Aesculapius brought them both to his temple, laying the young man on the altar. "I have to go
into your intestines, get my power as close to the first closure as possible." He oiled up a finger,
waving away the young man's clothes at the same time, nodding at his friend to talk to him.

"Shh," Oz said softly, "it won't hurt. He's only working with one finger and you can take that."
Xander nodded, tensing up as he felt himself entered. "Relax," the dead man crooned, "imagine
it's Giles or Ares." That got him a hurt stare. "Hey, I watched you worship him for two years,
remember? And your boss's desire for you is becoming legendary."

"Doesn't respect me," Xander panted, turning his head to the side so he didn't have to watch the
healer work on his body. "Talk to me," he whispered. "Need it now."

"Thought I was," Oz told him with a small smile. "Did you know that Giles liked you that way
before?" He got a small head shake and some more panting. "Well, he did. He didn't feel free to
act on it though. He wasn't blind to you either, my friend."

"Damn," Xander shouted, looking down at his stomach as it started to glow. "What's that? Feels

Oz chuckled lightly. "You look like ET."

Xander started to laugh, burying his head in his friend's shoulder as laughter turned to tears. "I
wish he had," he whispered. "So much wish he had, Oz. Wanted it so bad. Do still." His friend
nodded, rubbing over his back while the energy worked. "Hate this," he sighed.

"Me too, Xan," Oz whispered back. "I hate seeing you sick or hurt." He got a surprised look.
"Not as much as Giles, but you're my friend and I missed you while I was gone." He brushed
some of the dark hair around. "Why'd you leave?"

"There was this guy," the young immortal said quietly. "He blackmailed me into bed with him.
Didn't use me *that* way, but he did others. Buffy caught him and outed me to the group. I ran
that night." He winced as his stomach got hotter. "Ares saved me from being beaten too badly."
He started to heave, trying to roll away from the bad feeling. "Make it stop," he begged.

"Just a few more seconds," Aesculapius said quietly. He removed his finger, waving his hand in a
cutting motion over the injured man's stomach. He sent Xander directly to the bathroom, looking
at his friend. "I removed the block, he'll be fine, but he either needs to eat almost constantly or
consent to being turned into one of us." Oz nodded slowly. "He's already immortal, Aphrodite
and Hera arranged for it," he winced as Ares screamed in outrage, "so he will become one of us."
He smiled as his patient walked out, making a gross face. "I take it it all came out?"

"Ha, ha, very funny," Xander said softly, giving him a small hug. "Thanks. Owe you."

"Just keep Ares as calm as you do and we'll all gladly consider this a debt paid." He shared a
look with Oz then popped them back to the bathroom they had started in.

"So, you're immortal?" Oz asked gently.

Xander nodded. "Yeah, that's me. Ate a shiny apple, got immortality forced on me." He
shrugged. "No big, I don't even pay attention to it most days." His friend stared at him in
open-mouthed shock. "What? It's not like it's got bonuses or something. I don't get to pop
willingly anytime I want to or any of that stuff."

Oz cleared his throat. "Um, Xan, I was given your instructions for healing. You're to either eat
constantly or to start eating nectar." He got a confused look. "That orange Jell-O stuff."

"Why would I want to start eating that? Its probably really gross tasting." He made a face then
shrugged. "I'll eat more often." He walked out of the bathroom, looking around to see where his
boss was. "Wonder if he went back without me."

"No, he went to yell at his mom." Oz watched the young man fix himself a sandwich. "So, you
get to travel in time?"

"Yeah, there's some sort of goof so I have to go help fix it. Should be back in a few days." He
took his first bite, nodding at Hades as he popped in. "Boss send you for me or you looking for
your own?" he asked with his mouth full.

"Just wanting to make sure you were all right," the God of the Underworld said gently, patting
the young man on the shoulder. "You do know that if you change things, then you may come
back to a vastly different future?" Xander nodded, his mouth full. "Just making sure." He
tugged on Oz's arm. "Say goodbye for a while."

"Be safe," Oz said, hugging him. "Come back so I can talk to you. Dev gets tiresome after a few
days of this." He and his boss popped out, just before Ares popped in, ragingly pissed.

"How dare they meddle that way!" he fumed, pacing around the main room. "They meddle with
*my* assistant then expect me to not get upset?" He stopped, looking at said assistant. "You
okay?" he said gently, going over to hug him tightly. "Please tell me you're going to be fine."

"I'm fine," Xander said, his mouth still full. "Need to eat more," he said after he swallowed.

"Yeah, I forgot about that." He looked around the apartment. "Come on, we need to fix
something." He waved his hand and they popped back in time by about four years. And they
were separated, the anomaly acting on them.


Ares turned around at the feel of power coming his way, wondering who was bothering him in his
misery. The anomaly had separated them and he couldn't find Xander anywhere. Hades popped
in, in full uniform. "Oh, no," he said, his heart sinking. His Uncle only wore that outfit and that
expression when he had to go personally gather souls to him. "What did he do?"

"Remember how you saved him? Well, one of his attackers died. He turned himself in after
asking to have his immortality removed." He sent the fireball shooting in another direction. "I
didn't know he was going to do it, Ares, I'm sorry. Not even I can stop this now." He created a
portal. "The way mortal time runs, you have about six weeks, their time, to stop him."

"How did the other Gods take it?" Ares asked, going to look at his former assistant.

"He was given immortality against his will," his Uncle reminded him. "He went to Aphrodite to
get it removed." Hades patted the slumping back. "He can stop it, if he wills it so, but otherwise,
he's mine for good." He left him alone with his misery.

Ares walked through the portal, frowning at his assistant. "Why are you doing this to me?"

"Not," Xander said simply, uncurling from his meditation stance. "Go home." He turned around,
moving into another yoga form in his cell.

The God hit the bars, rattling them. "Talk to me here, Xander, let me fix this." He looked at the
renewed mortal man across the bars, in prison because one of his attackers died, because he had
defended himself too well.

"My crime. I pay the price." The thin shoulders shrugged. "Go home."

"No! I'm not leaving."

"Then you'll be bored."

"Xander, at least look at me. You owe me that much." The mortal shook his head. "Please," he
said finally, wincing at the dead look in the normally expressive eyes when they turned to look at
him. "It wasn't your fault."

"I hit them after they were down, it's my fault he died." He shrugged again, closing his eyes and
restarting his quiet chant.

"Let me fix this, pet, please." He didn't get an answer. "Xander, please, let me fix it." He got a
small head shake. "Please?"

"Nope. My crime, my payment." He didn't open his eyes, uncurling to lie on his bed. "Go home,
Ares, ignore me."

"I don't want to," the God admitted. "Please don't make me."

Aphrodite popped in behind him. "I'm sorry, bro, but he's right. Much as I love the guy, he has
to pay for what he did."

"He has," Ares spat out. "He's put up with me." He turned back to the man in the cell. "Xander,
please, pet, let me make this go away before you're gone for good."

"No," the mortal whispered. "I don't want your help."

Ares hit the bars again, turning to look at his sister. "After all he's done for you? You allow this
to happen."

"Hey," she said, fluffing her hair. "I love the guy, okay. He gave me a new lease on my job. He
gave me a reason to make love prevail against you but the rules are the rules. He's returned to the
world and he has to atone for what he's done in the past." She left them alone.

"This is *not* over."

"I don't want you here," Xander whispered. "Go home." He flipped onto his stomach, pulling on
his headphones.

Ares popped to Giles' house, glaring at him and the young woman with him. "You did this," he
accused the older mortal.

"I did nothing of the sort." Giles finished packing things into the box and handed it off. "Do go
talk to him though, get him to change his mind." He looked into the dead eyes, shaking his head.
"You should have listened to him." He turned away, heading for his kitchen. "We'll need to
bring that cast iron pot with us, can't expect them to have one." The female nodded, pulling it out
of a cabinet and putting it into a box. "I'll tell him you said hello when I see him tomorrow.
Good day, Ares."

The God of War grew frustrated, popping back to the cellblock where his man was. "Xander, tell
me what you did."

"I told the truth." He looked up from his book. "The very simple truth. And I asked for my
friends to fix my last meal for me, it's a tradition." He turned a page, going back to his reading.
"Bye," he said, waving.

"I have weeks!"

"You have days, you forgot about the time difference." Xander looked up as the guard walked
by, smiling at him. "Nice guy, very decent to me." He went back to his book.

Ares knelt in front of the bars. "Xander, please? Let me help?" he asked quietly, his heart about
to rip open in his chest. "I want to help you out of here. Please?" He got a small head shake.
"At least look at me, tell me what I did wrong."

"I have," Xander said with a small sigh. "So many times you should be able to recite it in your
sleep, Ares." He looked directly at the God. "Go home," he said gently. "You shouldn't have to
see this." He broke eye contact, picking back up his book. "I don't want you there. Or here."

Ares watched him, watched the man he'd wanted so bad he had *schemed* to get him. "I'm
sorry, pet," he said, standing up, "but I'm not leaving you." He walked through the bars, sitting
beside him on the bed. "Please, just tell me once more. I promise to listen this time."

"No, you won't. You're feeling guilty and afraid. Well, join the club," Xander said, looking up
again, his eyes filled with anger now. "We're all scared of something and this is mine." He
waved a hand around. "You want to know what you did wrong? Make sure no one can hear
me." The God waved a hand at the bars. "Thank you. You *never* respected me. Not as your
helper, not as your friend, not as an independent being. All I got was orders, never compliments,
never nice things, just complaints when I was a little behind and whines when I wouldn't sleep
with you. Well, now I've made my choice and I'm dying with it. Deal, I have." He turned away
from him, closing his eyes. "Go 'way," he added when the bed undented, leaving him alone.

Hades looked at his nephew, shaking his head as he entered his office. "What a shock that was,
huh?" he asked. "I really don't know how he put up with you for as long as you were together.
What was it? Six millennia, counting all that training time you did out of our present time? And
to be repaid like this." Ares glared at him, too upset even to throw something at him. "Ares," he
said, gentling his sarcasm with caring and concern. "Only he can stop it. Your father gave him
that right. He has to feel what he needs to feel in order to do so. You have about a day and half
left." The God of War looked at him in alarm. "Time difference," he reminded him.

Ares popped back to the jail, looking at the meal set before the man he wanted more than his life.
"Xander," he said quietly, putting a hand on his shoulder. "I know I was mean, and stubborn, and
even cruel at times, but to do this?" He gave the thin shoulders a little squeeze. "Please, stop
this. I know you can. I'll do whatever you need to feel respected."

"You still haven't figured it out?" Xander looked over his shoulder. "Ares, I'm really sorry for
you then." He turned back around, shrugging the hands off him. "Go away. I don't want you

"But I *need* to be here, pet." He turned the young man around, pulling him close to hug him.
"They can't see us," he said softly, "I put up an image of you eating." He looked up into the big
brown eyes, not seeing the man that had been there before, and that scared him, sparking a
memory of him begging Xena to let him help her, which scared him more. Xander wasn't her, he
was more important. Suddenly he understood. "Please stop this. Anything, whatever you want
and need, I'm your man. Respect? I can do that, you're going to have to show me how but I can
do that." He smiled hopefully. "Please?" he begged. "Just one last chance."

"You've had six, why will this one be different?"

"Because I care." He hugged him again, holding him tightly, listening to his mortal heart beat out
his final day. "I care, on some level that I'm not even sure really exists. Some depth of feeling
that ‘Dite and Cupid can't give with their arrows. And yeah, it scares me, but you leaving scares
me more." He looked up and got a small nod to continue. "I know I have problems but I'm
willing to listen from now on when you need me to. I'll do my best to be there for you and to help
you." He kissed him gently, just a brush across his lips. "I want you to come home. It's barren
and empty without you there. The staff just made it more so, but the walls were closing in once
you left." He gave him another kiss. "I know you have feelings. Feelings I want to share with
you, something you'll have to name for me because I didn't think I was able to feel it." He buried
his head against the soft, fleshy chest. "I miss you, pet, and I want you to come home. I need
you more than I do my powers."

"Ares, that was pretty, and closer," Xander admitted, kissing the top of his head, "but it wasn't
what I want. I need to be loved for myself, not needed, not wanted, desired. I *need* this more
than I need life. I need someone who gives a damn if I live or die. Who wants me to share their
life and home with. Can you honestly give me that?" Ares nodded, staying silent, listening to
him. "Are you suddenly going to do a one-eighty once we get back to the temple?"

"Home," Ares corrected him. "It's a home when you're there. There's life there then." He looked
up. "I can only try. You can yell when I don't and I will try my *hardest* to be better to you.
Hey, I'm your man." He smiled weakly.

Xander brushed off the single tear. "You're crying?"

"Yeah, stupid huh?" Ares brushed at the moisture trail.

"No, babe, that was what I wanted." He kissed him, pressing something into his hand. "Home,
Ares, I need to talk to you."

Ares set off the little charm, ending the simulation. They were sitting on Giles' couch, Xander
curled up against his friend, asleep, fully healed to what he had been before they had switched
time. "Guess I deserved that," he said quietly. "He could always read me like a book." He
looked at the formerly older man, seeing him to be now almost ten years younger, not two years
after Xander had come to him. They had gone back further than he thought.

"We all can," Giles pointed out. "Your desires are easily read, it's your heart he has trouble with.
He needs the words, the actions." He passed his former charge over, smiling slightly. "I expect
you to take better care of him this time. I will be checking up on him."

"I'll talk to Hades. You'll be joining the house as an assistant to him." He stroked down the
refirmed young man's back, feeling the spark of immortality within him. "Thank you, Rupert, but
don't join us too soon. I'll have him call in the morning, our time." The mortal smiled, waving
them away.

Ares landed on his bed, holding onto his precious one as tight as he could. "What do you want
me to do?" he asked quietly.

"Letting me nap without a breeze would be nice." Xander looked up, wiping his drool trail off the
leather vest. "Thank you." He leaned in for a small kiss.

"Your happiness is my goal," the God told him. "Hungry?"

"Nope, not right now." He lay back down, closing his eyes. "Wake me when it's time to call him.
I need to sleep the energy off." He snuggled down into the welcoming chest. "Night."

"Night, pet."

"Don't call me that."

"Night, Xander," Ares said patiently. "But I like calling you that. It denotes cherishing and
caring to me."

Xander sat back up, frowning. "It denotes feeding and leashing to me. Pets are something that
you take care *of*, not that you care *for*. Not the way I need." He started to get up but the
God pulled him back down. "Ares," he sighed, "don't start this already."

"I'm not, I just wanted to hold you." He rolled them onto their sides. "You comfortable?"

"Very comfy, thanks." Xander closed his eyes. "Night, babe."

"Night, precious." He dropped a kiss on the exposed forehead, smiling gently down at his lover
while he slept.


Ares sighed in frustration as his assistant looked at him strangely for the third time in an hour.
"What?" he said tiredly.

"I feel strange," Xander admitted. "Like I'm missing something."

Ares looked him over. "I don't see anything wrong. Oh, and eat something. You really don't
want a closed intestine."

The young man rolled his eyes. "I just got done eating, Ares, drop it. You act like it happens a

"Only to you," he said quietly. He felt the warm body slide next to him on the couch and put the
game controller down, turning to hold him. "I'm sorry, but we know it can happen and it's not
pleasant." The immortal nodded patiently for him to go on. "You've had it happen before."

"I think I would remember that. It sounds really painful."

"Not really," Ares said. "You see, we had to come back to fix a paradox and this is earlier than it
was when that happened, but any of the other Gods would remember." Xander gave him a funny
look. "Sorry, had to tell you. I think that's what you're missing."

"No," Hades said as he popped in, "it's something else. Something you didn't do last night." He
smiled at his nephew, opening a portal to show just him them making love, complete with food
participation. Ares winced as he saw the young man slurp nectar, of his own will, then kiss him.
"See, that was supposed to have fixed it. He was included in GodWar." He shrugged, and
popped out, the immortal never having known he was there.

Ares sighed deeply, popping them back to last night, putting them in their bodies again. "Xander,"
he said with a small smile. He made the dish appear. "Want to play, okay?" The young man
nodded, his fists clenched in the sheets, his head thrown back in absolute pleasure from the
sucking that had been going on. He ran a small piece of nectar up the hard cock, watching as it
throbbed with the chilliness of it. "Shh, pet, precious," he corrected, "just having some fun with
dinner." He slid the spongy piece of nectar into his mouth, chewing it for a second before going
down on his man again, letting the little bits of nectar swish around him as it dissolved in the heat
of his mouth.

Xander sat up, panting now, watching him do him. "Yes, Ares, please," he sighed. He picked up
a piece of the nectar, wrapping it around his cock as his lover's head went up, laughing at the nip
to his fingers when the God sucked them in too. He pulled Ares off him, smiling at him, holding
up another piece of nectar before breaking it up to scatter up his stomach to his mouth.

The God followed the bits, ending up with the piece that his lover was holding in his mouth,
kissing him hard. He pulled back, watching his man lick his lips then pick up a piece of nectar to
eat for himself, silently cheering. He reached a hand down, sliding his suddenly slick finger into
the virginal hole, smiling at the tightness. "Want to finish this?"

"Nope," Xander said, swallowing. "Not bad." He picked up another piece, eating it as he
watched his lover try to figure out what he meant. He pulled him back down for a small kiss.
"Suck me, babe, do me good. You can have that part of me later, when I'm ready."

Ares growled at him, smiling the whole time, but went willing back to his task. He could feel the
power building in the now God, smiling internally at how strong he would become when he was
done with his transition time. "Eat some more," he encouraged. "I want to share this with you."

Xander slipped another piece of nectar into his mouth, making slurping noises as he sucked. That
only got him swallowed whole, which made him choke.

"Damn," Ares said, moving up to help the young God sit up, patting his back gently. "Got to
watch that, even now, precious." He kissed the flushed temple, content to be holding him now.
"Want more?"

"Want to breathe," Xander panted. He finally got settled down, snuggling down into the warm
and comforting arms. "Sorry about that. Just took me by surprise."

"Happens to the best of us, pet, don't stress it." He closed his eyes, feeling the newly created
Godly aura as he worked his soon-to-be former assistant off with his hand. Xander came with a
small sigh, falling quickly asleep on his shoulder, not even offering to help him out.

Aphrodite popped in, smiling madly at them. "It worked," she cried, then covered her mouth.
"Can't do that around him anymore, forgot." Xander opened an eye to look at her, scowling.
"Give me one sec to talk to my bro and he's *all* yours." She and Ares popped into the living
room. She handed him two apples. "For his two assistants," she said quietly. "He'll need them,
they're better versed in his area." She leaned closer. "Mom's picking his calling out, she locked
Dad in a closet again so he couldn't go chase mortals." She popped out, after getting a small kiss.

Ares turned around to find Xander looking at him, expressionlessly, on the couch. "Don't you
need to sleep?"

"No, I need to find out why I'm supposed to feed my two assistants Tree of Life fruit." He
crossed his arms, then undid them and pulled his feet up instead, letting his nether regions almost
show. "What's up? Did I make a big boo-boo again?"

The God of War sat down beside him, putting the apples down to pull his lover into his arms.
"No, pet, you didn't. I had to do something to fix a paradox that was created and you're going to
hate me."

"Does it have something to do with the nectar?" He felt the timid nod run through the solid chest.
"Were the rumors true?" he sighed. He felt the nod again and looked up, shooting his lover a
glare. "You *used* me," he accused. "You gave me something I didn't want!" He stood up,
frowning down at him. "How could you, after what we just went through?" He headed for his
bedroom, slamming the door. In there, he found Aphrodite lounging on his bed. "Go 'way," he
sniffled. "Hate you too right now."

She smiled sadly, pulling him down to rest on her shoulder. "I know you do, precious Xander,
but I have to tell you why we did it." He looked up at her, blinking his big, wet eyes. And she
promptly lost all will to hurt him. "Oh, Xander, honey," she sighed, stoking through his hair.
"You had to be given it in a way that you couldn't refute was your own choice. Your being a God
was the paradox Ares and you had to fix. Well, the main one," she admitted. "You fixed the
other one when you came to me." She kissed his forehead. "You were signed up for GodWar
and we couldn't take your name back."

"Hey," Ares said, popping into the bedroom. "Hands off my man." He put his hands on his hips,
glaring at his sister. "Go find your own man."

"Shut up," Xander yelled. "Both of you go away, I need time to think." And he promptly
disappeared from the bedroom. He ended up in the main chamber of the Gods, looking around in
awe. "Wow. Things are much more shiny now." He turned at the cleared throat then noticed he
was still naked. He laughed nervously. "Sorry," he said, covering himself with his hands. "Um,
Hera, right?"

She nodded. "Yes, Xander, and yes, I do know who you are. One God can read another,
especially one as young and innocent as you are." She smiled at him, leading him over to a chair
and settling him into it. "Now then, do you know *when* you are?"

He glanced at the reflecting pool, seeing it dark and empty. "Well, if I had to take a wild guess,
I'm in deep right about now." She nodded, sitting next to him, stroking over his shoulder. "Um,
nice and all, but not yours."

"Oh, I know, you're my son's. But he's not even been thought of yet so you're safe. He can't
come here without some help."

"So how did I? I'm tons younger than he is. Was." He moved away from her some more.
"Please don't," he said softly. "I'm not into you."

She stood up. "So I can tell." She smiled, snapping her fingers, and a small tunic fell into his lap.
"As for the how, you're here because your new powers misfired. It's been known to happen to
newly made Gods." She handed over a glass of mulled wine, watching as he drank it, after
getting dressed. "Good boy," she said, smiling at him and waving at the chair again. "You need
only think a desire now and it's yours," she said seductively. "Anything you want."

"Um, think I want my own clothes and my room," he said quickly, popping out just before she
kissed him. "Man," he told Hades, who was on his bed, "Ares *Mom* hit on me." He pulled
clothes out of his closet, putting them on. And they were his clothes, not what Ares had given
him. He turned to look at the God of the Underworld. "Please tell me I didn't hurt you," he

"No," Hades said, shaking himself. "It's just that a new God is such a rarity that we're all...
attracted to them," he said with a small smile.

"Out!" Ares yelled, popping in, glaring at his Uncle. "Go home before I tell your wife you were
hitting on him." Hades glared at him but left quickly. "Here," he said, handing over a glass of
mulled wine. "Where'd you go?"

"Um, back before you were thought of," Xander said, looking down at the wine. "Why this? I
just had a glass of it."

"No, you had a glass of it *then*, which stayed back then. You need to drink now so it stays
here." He waited until the new God had drank before looking down at his clothes. "I'd hope we
weren't going to get into this argument." Xander shook his head silently. "You know, you could
chose your own wardrobe now, your own dress code for your followers."

"What sort would they be? Am I one of your underlings or someone else's?"

"Mine," Athena said, popping in. She smiled at him, silently telling him she wouldn't be ignoring
him anymore. "Most comfortable I bet," she said, handing him over a book. "Come to the
meeting area. You've got to be conferred with your title and pick your assistants." She took his
hand, smiling sweetly at her brother before popping her and her underling out. "Here we are," she
said, showing him to his new seat at her side.

Zeus cleared his throat. "Xander, I know this is all new," he said kindly, "but welcome to the
family." Everyone clapped. "Now, for your duties." He paused and a scroll appeared in front of
him. "My wife chose these for you since she had requested the duty, and she checked on your
background to do so. You are to be the God of the Paranormal." He rolled the scroll up, passing
it to a cherub, who flew over to hand it to Xander. "Congratulations."

Xander read the scroll, smiling. "So, I rule over demons and the people who research and fight?
Including Slayers?" Everyone nodded and he smiled wickedly. "Oh, then I have the perfect
assistant in mind." He and Ares shared a look across the reflecting pool. "Be back later, babe,
don't wait up." In his hand appeared the two apples. "Why two?"

"All you get to start with," Athena said, kissing his cheek. "But I heartily approve of your initial

Xander started to pop out, then looked down at himself. He concentrated and his clothes
changed, becoming a silk shirt, velvet vest, and the leather pants Ares had given him. He blew a
kiss across the seats and popped to Giles' house. "I'm home, sweetie," he called.

The older man walked out, his eyebrows going up at the unorthodox, and un-Xander-like clothes.
"Xander, what on earth," he said, then he stopped to really look at him. "Oh, my God," he
whispered, sitting down suddenly in a chair. "He turned you?"

Xander checked his watch and shook his head at the correct date. "No, I'm in the right time this
time." He looked back up at his mentor. "Turned me? No, babe, I'm not a vamp. But you were
right the first time."

"I meant your boss," Giles said patiently, rolling his eyes. "You're one of them now." He started,
hearing the last words. "You are?"

Xander produced the scroll with a flourish, handing it over with a huge, bright grin. "Yup." He
sat down on the couch, wiggling his eyebrows when Giles looked up at him. "Three wishes?"

"No, Xander, certainly not," Giles said, bending over to hand it back. "I couldn't accept a
position as your helper. We both know I'm needed here."

"Hey, no one said you couldn't stay," he argued, tossing over an apple. "You're not the only one,
but I only get two and I know who the other one goes to." He tapped his fingers on his thigh as
he watched the older man look at it. "Hey, I'm the God of Slayers and Watchers now too," he
pointed out. "What better person to help me than you?"

Giles sighed, taking the first bite. "I know I'll regret this," he said, taking another quickly. "Who
gets the other? Willow?"


"Why?" Giles asked between bites.

"Because he's already a minion and I think he'd do good up there. No sudden ego trips or
anything." He shrugged, leaning back, watching him eat. "Oh, and something else. Can I spell a
certain vamp for you so his alter-ego doesn't come back?"

Giles nodded, smiling as he finished the last little bit of the apple. "That would be most pleasant
since I'm not sure the spell was permanent after all." He handed over the apple core. "Enough?"

Xander examined it critically then popped it into the trash. "Should be. If not, I'll get you some
more." He got comfortable. "So, assistant mine. I would like some sort of classification thingy
since Athena, my Over-Goddess, doesn't have one yet."

"What about Ares?"

"Stud-boy? Well, let's just say he'd better beware. I'm more than likely to wear his
leather-covered ass out now." He smiled sweetly. "Especially since he's listening."

Ares popped in, leaning across his mate's shoulder. "You'd better," he whispered loud enough for
Giles to hear and blush. "And yes, sleeping with your assistants is normal." He smiled at Giles,
licking his lips. "But I won't force that issue on you."

Xander reached back and patted his face. "I'm sure you won't because you'll go without again."
He tipped his head back to smile up at the elder God. "Now, go be a good God of War and find a
new assistant."

Ares popped out, frowning. "But no one does the job you do," he pouted as he disappeared.

Giles smiled, shaking his head. "You two are quite the couple." He looked at the date on the
wall. "Shouldn't you be getting to Oz? I know what date the Soul Reader said was his final one."

Xander concentrated on his friend's body, popping up in the crowd in front of him, smiling up at
his Guitar-godliness. He mouthed the words, "find me" when he caught his attention, heading off
the dance floor to a small table in a corner.

Oz walked slowly up to the table, looking his friend over. "You just appeared," he said slowly.
"What happened?"

Xander handed over the apple. "Eat and be merry with me forever," he said, handing over the
scroll, which he pulled out of thin air in front of him, at his frown. He leaned closer. "That stuff
does have its advantages."

"Why me?" Oz asked, handing the scroll back.

"Because I want you to be my assistant. You and Giles," he amended. "And I've already seen
him." He smiled at the girls walking by. "I need your super brain. Not a now thing but when
you're ready to leave here," he waved a hand around the club.

"Life or this place," Oz asked turning the apple around to look at it.

"Life," Xander whispered, leaning closer. "Oz, man, I *need* you. I remember things now from
before we had to fix a paradox and you were the second best assistant on the plane."



"Oh." Oz looked down at it. "Real tempting."

"I can fix the wolf," Xander offered. "Not sure how yet but I can. I'm over that too."

Oz took the first bite, nodding at his band mates. "What about them?"

"Don't drive anywhere tonight," he warned. "Trust me on this. Giles had your future read and it's
real short at this point due to a van accident." He took back the empty core, handing it back so
he could eat the last little bite. "All of it, man, or it won't work."

Oz took the last bite, handing the core off to a passing waitress. "What now?"

"Now, I suggest you and the band go hole up for the night. If you go right now, and walk, none
of you should end up down there." His friend started to get up. "Call on me, man, I'll try to be
listening. Once I get a better way, I'll come find you again."

"What's your third act?" Oz sat back down, checking for other people. "Who you gonna fix?"

"Angel," Xander hissed. "Fully into him next; his other side will fall away." He smiled and
popped out, hearing the quiet "huh" all the way to LA. "Angel," he said happily, landing in front
of his desk. He shut the door before anyone could walk in from the outer office. "Time to fix
your slimy ass." He concentrated on the image of Angelus behind a large iron gate with wooden
stakes every few millimeters, making his will work it to be so in the vampire's mind. "Ah, better,"
he said when he felt it happen.

Angel turned to look at him. "What did you do?" he asked softly. He glanced at the door then
walked over to where the young God sat, recoiling when he felt the power. "Harris?" he asked in
surprise. "Who are you?"

"Oh, I'm me, but not me." He shrugged, standing up. "And now you're you but not him." He
wiggled his fingers in salutation and popped out, straight onto Ares' lap. "Hi," he said, stealing a
kiss. "Not too bad for a few minutes work."

"No, not too bad," he said quietly, diving in for a kiss. "Want to be my consort now?"

"Is that like married?"

"No, that's like dating for eternity." Ares pulled back, looking down his man's stomach. "You've
got to resolve your fashion issues. This is too much."

"I know, I'm testing it out." He shrugged, snuggling down. "I'll go ask my ever-fashionable ex to
help me in the morning."

"We need to set you up an mortal identity."

"I have one, just need the perks you have."

"Then let me get them for you." Ares smiled, bringing his mate back to Angel's office, frowning
around it. "You fixed him well. His other half should never come out."

"As long as it was *Angelus* I locked up insteada *Angel*," Xander said tiredly, yawning. "I
need to build a power reserve too."

Angel ducked back into his office, wincing at the people he saw there. "You give me the worst
headache of my life then pop out?" he asked hotly. Cordelia hit him across the back of his head.
"No, not even you could give me that big of a headache," he told her.

"Oh, shut up, can't you see he's about to crash." She knelt facing her ex. "Hey, Xander, why'd
you come back? You did the good."

"I know, need some fashion advice," he yawned, covering his mouth with Ares hand. "Sorry, new
to this, little tired. Leather boy here thinks my outfit is too much and I have to decide on a
house's image. Help?"

She looked at his outfit. "Well, I like the leather on you." She licked her lips. "But I think I turn
toward the comfy fabrics. Let me think for a few days?"

"Sure, coupla hours our time," he said. He turned to look at Angel again. "Yes, I am what you're
thinking. Yours."

Ares laughed, popping them back to his bed. "Precious Xander," he sighed, removing both of
their clothes instantly. "You fixed every paradox but one. You forgot to find Giles a worthy
woman. Who will remain mortal I might add."

"Tomorrow," Xander sighed, curling up against the firm body, almost asleep. "Right after I take
your too uptight ass and stretch it for you." Ares started to shake his head but the finger that
slipped into him made him change his mind, silently begging. "Gee," Xander said, sitting up to
look at him. "Are you *new* this side?" he asked with a huge grin. Ares nodded frantically,
moving on the finger now, trying to get more of it.

Xander was sending just the tiniest bit of energy into him with each thrust of his digit, hitting the
vulnerable prostate at each small movement. The God of War had never felt anything this good,
which he told his consort by thought, as he came.

Xander petted his mate's head, letting him curl up on his chest and nap it off. "Shh, babe," he
whispered. "I'm sure you'll enjoy two more." He yawned himself, falling back into his nap state
with his new love slave happily curled around him, dreaming of being taken loud enough for the
both of them.

To Be Continued...

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