(NC-17, G/O/X, Finally!)

Starting It Out Right

Xander took a break from his writing to get up and stretch, closing his eyes for a few seconds so the blurry spots would go away. He opened them to find his boss looking at him. "Hey," he said, "am I being noisy?"

Liberty shook her head, pushing him toward the bedding laid out against one wall. "No, but I want to know why you don't ever go home." She tightened up her ponytail, the red hair shining under the bare bulb. "Is there some problem between you and Giles? Something you need help with?"

He shook his head. "No, but I'm not with Giles, not in that sense." He shrugged at her amused expression. "The topic's come up but he's being resistant to my numerable charms."

She laughed, bending down to kiss the top of his head. "Xander, honey, the man isn't immune to you, he's just not sure you're ready. Now be a good boy and go home tonight. You've spent the last three nights here and that's too much for anyone." She turned, walking out, closing the door behind her.

"But I have to get his present done," he called. He got up, heading back to the table and the last three pages he needed to write. "Just a few more minutes and I'll go," he promised himself. Until the light went out, then he said a few words and a nearby candle lit all by itself. "Thanks," he called. "Just three more pages."


Xander handed Giles his present, grinning as he moved into the apartment. "Sorry I'm late, I was waiting on the ink to dry." He hung up his jacket, looking around the room at the rest of the people gathered there, who were all staring at him. He looked down at himself to make sure but he was still dressed so this wasn't a dream. "What?" he asked.

"Just wondering how you managed to stay dry when it's raining on a Noah level," Buffy said. "I didn't see an umbrella."

"And you won't either. It was just a simple little thing Giles has made me practice for the last three days straight that I never canceled after our last session." He dodged the swat from his teacher. "Hey, you never told me to turn it off."

"I'll be more specific next time," Giles said, smiling at him. "May I open it?"

"Yup, it's yours." Xander sat down at the table, watching as Giles walked over to his usual seat and began peeling at the tape. "And it's a practical gift too."

"Too big to be a gift certificate," Buffy said as she eyed the plain brown wrapping. "Homemade or bought?"

"I did them," he said proudly. "And I checked them for accuracy, though some of the words were getting faint."

Giles finished opening the last piece of tape and smiled at the books inside. "Xander, thank you." He looked at the titles. "Ah, a copy of the ones we use commonly so I don't ruin my originals." He smiled up at his student. "Thank you, I love them." He picked up the last book, a smaller one, and laughed. "The Xander to Giles translation," he said, holding it up.

Willow shook her head. "It's probably needed a lot," she said, smiling weakly at Xander. "But it's a good thing."

"Thanks, Will," he said gently. He looked back at his teacher. "I checked the books over to make sure so I'm pretty sure it's an accurate translation, but you'll probably read over them to make sure." Giles nodded, still smiling. "And that is the first edition of the Translation Dictionary, with plenty of room to put in things that I forgot in case we need to do a second edition."

Buffy smiled at Xander, shaking her head. "I want to look that over so I can add my own."

"I already put in a lot of them," he told her, patting her hand. "I made sure to include a special appendix for Buffy-isms." She smiled and kissed his cheek. "Thank you. Now then, if you'd like, for Christmas, I can do a few more of them, save some of the wear and tear of the originals."

Giles looked up from his reading, nodding. "Please, I'll show you which ones I'd appreciate copies of later." He looked at the kitchen. "You missed the cake but there's still ice cream if you'd like or some other things in the refrigerator since I'm sure you've forgotten to eat again." He watched his student for a few more minutes then went back to examining the newest additions to his library.

Xander curled up on the sofa across from Giles, smiling at how engrossed he still was. "So, did I do okay?"

"Huh?" Giles looked up and smiled. "Yes, you did a very good job. Even the tracings of the diagrams and the pictures was done very well."

"Color copier," Xander said, shrugging. "I glued those pictures in. The diagrams and symbols were traced. Oh, and I found a strange symbol at the front so I'm going to work on it next since it looks like a cross between regular magic and my other work."

"If you would like," Giles agreed. He watched the younger man finish off the ice cream with a smile of satisfaction. "I don't believe this day could have gotten any better."

"Well, I can ruin it somewhat." That got the first frown of the evening. "Liberty thought the reason I never went home was because something was wrong between us." He took the last solid bite of the sweet treat and tipped the bowl up to drink the melted parts.

Giles sighed. "I'll tell her in the morning."

"I told her that you've so far resisted my charms and that it was mean of you. She said you weren't immune but you were being hesitant."

"Ah, I see. Did she have any other comment?"

"Just to turn off the breaker to my workroom so I had to go home, but I lit a candle instead."

"Yes, she told me about that and not being able to put it out for a full five minutes." He nudged the now blushing young man's leg with his foot. "We're going back to the normal spells for a bit until you have those problems under control. It's really the usual method for learning magic."

"Yeah, I know, but I'm an extraordinary case." He grinned slightly, looking down at his leg. "So, what else did you get?"

"A nice sweater from Willow, though it's a bit younger of a style than I would normally choose. Buffy gave me a gift certificate for the music store down by your work, saying I could pick something out I liked so she didn't have to choose for me." He put the book aside, shifting closer to his student. "I do appreciate your gift most though. It's a most timely and useful set of materials to have and I did need to get new copies of them."

"I know, that's why I wrote them up. Well, those and two others that I couldn't get done in time. I'll get those to you in the next few weeks if it's okay." He put down his bowl, shifting closer too. "Um, Giles, have you been having weird dreams?" The older man shifted back, but Xander reached over and pulled him closer again. "No, this is a serious discussion. I've been having dreams about us going after our teaching bond and I think you've been having the same. The usual you's in my dreams don't sound quite the same as you do but in these you have sounded just like you." His teacher nodded for him to go on. "See, I keep seeing you walking into the store, taking me to the back, asking really. But I have to wait for a few minutes, until Elizabeth gets back. In that time, Oz walks in and you have him go prepare my workroom. When she gets there, I walk back but the lights are off, Oz lit all the candles he could find. I close the door, get a kiss from him, and then you tell me that you two have made a decision, that I'm both of yours. That Oz will come and go but that you and I are going to fully realize our bond." Giles smiled at him, brushing over his jaw. "Tell me you've been having it?"

"You have to ask me," Giles quoted, "not the other way around. You are mine but I may be yours." Xander's mouth hung open but he nodded slowly. "Yes, I've had the same dreams. I'm not sure of their source but if it's truly the same, you do have the words right."

"If I asked, would you send me packing?"

"No, Xander, I told you I won't fight it. You're becoming an incredible man and I do think I could care for you in that sort of way. Though you would have to do something about Anya."

"And you about Olivia?"

"Yes, well, she's a touchy subject to deal with at the moment. I couldn't just break up with her right now."

"So, I'd have to share you with her?" Xander bit his lip. "Would you tell her?"

"I couldn't, she wouldn't understand. She's not a magic-user or even familiar with the rituals."

"That's not real fair," Xander protested, standing up. "It wouldn't be right to me." Giles nodded. "I can wait until you're ready then. Even if I'm sure Oz is going to be leaving here soon."

"Yes, I'm sure he is also." Giles pulled the younger man back down beside him, patting the side of his face. "When you get to be my age, things are just a little more complicated. I'm sorry."

"Hey, no big." Xander looked out the window. "Guess the rain stopped, huh?"

"Xander, wait," Giles said quietly, hugging him. "I know I've hurt you terribly, but it's the only way I can be. I'm sorry if you're disappointed but I can't do that to her." He pulled back, seeing the understanding in the dark eyes. "It will all work out eventually." He kissed his forehead, letting the younger man get away from him.

"Yeah, it'll all be okay," Xander said, leaving. He walked down the street, silently watching his feet move as he headed for his house on autopilot. He walked in the back door, slamming it just to hear a noise in the silent building. "Maybe," he said as he grabbed a soda on the way down to his basement, "I'll get lucky and everything will be just the way I want it in the morning when I get up." He sipped the cold liquid slowly, stripping as he checked his doors. When the can was in the trash, he slid naked into his bed, closing his eyes. "But that would be bad and I will not use my powers to manipulate others. Then I become Willow," he told himself. "Something I will never become is bad." He rolled over, clutching his blanket to him, and fell asleep.


It was an hour before dawn when the man snuck into Xander's house, looking around the living room with his flashlight before following the smell of power to the basement. He smiled wickedly as he spotted his target on the bed, putting up his flashlight and taking out his magically-enhanced rope to bind him before he could wake up, slipping him deeper into his dreams with a simple sleep spell.

"You'll never tell her no again," he said quietly, tightening the last knot. "Her way is the only real way." He walked to the side door, letting his helper in. "He's ready, take him back to the store."


Giles shifted in his sleep, coming fully awake in a blind panic. He looked at his clock, which read just past dawn, and shuddered. "What happened this time?" he asked, sliding out of bed and down to his living room. He picked up his phone, dialing Xander's first, sure it was something about him. He hadn't had their dream last night and he wasn't sure if that was a bad sign or not, but he was sure that the younger man was now in trouble. He hung up after the twenty-second ring, running back up his stairs to get dressed.

He made it to Xander's house in time to see the sun rise over the back of the roof, wincing at the blood-red color of it. He walked around to the back door, knocking before using his key to go inside and headed down through the doorway in the kitchen, sighing when he found the room empty. He picked up the phone, dialing the younger man's work. "Elizabeth, Giles. No, is he there?" He looked around the room, starting a quick spell to read the magic in the area. "No, he's not at home either. I daresay he probably won't be in today." He hung up, going over to the bed, the only place in the room where he could see another magical signature. He made note of it, heading back up the stairs and out of the house, heading down to the Magic Shop to look over the young man's effects there for a similar trace.

Liberty met him at the door, frowning. "What happened?" she asked, walking with him back to the small workroom Xander had confiscated for his own use. "Is he missing?"

"Yes, and the last time I saw a similar trace was when his parents disappeared." He looked over the room and shook his head. "Take his glyph notebook and hide it. And all of his other work also, just in case. We've still not identified the demon that took his parents." He ran out of the store, heading toward the nearby college, rushing into the girl's dorm. "Buffy," he yelled as he pounded, ignoring the yelled complaint from next door. "Willow?"

Buffy opened the door, giving him a look that spoke of killing him horribly. "Better be good, not even seven yet." She let him in, frowning at the hallway. "No Xander too?"

"No, I'm afraid he's missing and it's connected to the disappearance of his parents." That got his Slayer awake, and she headed for her closet.

"Go get Oz up. Willow's over there again." She turned when he didn't move. "Shoo, I need to dress. I'm not going outside in teddybear slippers and fruit jammies."

He walked out, heading for the house Oz lived in, knocking politely on the door. Willow walked out, frowning at him. "Xander's missing," he said. She let him in and they went back to where Oz was staring at the ceiling "Oz, can you still feel him?" The guitarist nodded absently. "Is it the same demon?"

"Yeah, or his protégée. And he doesn't like Xander, thinks he should remember him." Oz sat up. "But I don't know where he is. I can get a general feeling but it's real shaky and hard to narrow down to under a block unless I've been there before." He got out of his bed, standing up in front of Giles. "Can't you do a location thing?"

"No, I don't know of any spells like that. It would give a general area but again, it's only accurate to within a mile." He patted the young man's shoulder. "I know it's tied to his parents but nothing else. Would that help?"

"Not really. We don't know who did that."

"But we know where it was done," Willow said. "We could start searching there and do a triangulation when Oz felt a direction was closer than not." He shook his head. "No?"

"Won't work like that. I can tell he's in a block or two but not on which side of me and not if he's up floors or anything." He shrugged at the hurt look. "I'm sorry, but it doesn't work like that. Not my fault."

Giles sat down on the bed. "I do believe we'd best do what we can and soon. I think they're going to use him to call back the demon or something similar. I have no other clue why they'd take him otherwise."

Willow frowned at him. "Gee, maybe his other works, like the glyphs and stuff," she reminded him. Giles blanched completely white. "Sorry."

Oz patted her arm. "Don't, he's just too worried. Go start the van and I'll be out in a few. Even narrowing it down to a few blocks might help." She nodded, jogging out of the room. "Giles," he said sharply. "Snap out of it. Xander needs you and you're going to be there." The older man looked at him. "Funny thing about our bond, it allows me to see his dreams. Even when you don't allow them to happen. Now get up and let's go."

"I stopped him from acting on it last night. If I hadn't he might not have went home."

"Or he still could have so he would have time to think before binding himself to you, now let's go." Giles nodded, following him out the door and into the van.

The four of them drove around the city, Buffy casually hunting through downtown, while Oz looked for his bondmate. "Stop," he said. Willow pulled over. "No, back a few feet." She backed up. "Okay, I can feel a twinge here, but it's a far away sort."

Giles looked at the area around them. "Warehouses. He's in two blocks or so in any direction?" Oz nodded so he bent down to the map in his lap, marking off a small circle. "That leaves a few possibilities. Could we maybe go around the district, take a side street perhaps and see if it becomes oriented closer?"

Oz nodded, getting Willow out of the driver's seat and turning around. It was almost two hours later, eleven in the morning when Oz stopped again. "This direction," he said.

Giles frowned. "Either they're moving him or he's in one of about three buildings." He held up the map so the younger man could see it.

Oz shook his head, pointing at another block. "I want to head there for some reason."

"Then we should."

Xander woke up and struggled with his bonds, again. He flinched as the man walked over to him but he wasn't punched this time, he was zapped. His whole body arched as the current went through him, closing his eyes as he willed the pain away. When he was breathing normally again, he opened his eyes to see Hila and Malcolm, the man who had taken him and had reminded him about who he was, looking at him. "What? That hurt."

"Not as much as your short future will," Malcolm snarled, but he was held back by the woman that had gifted them both with their powers. "We should have used you the first time, then my dark lord would be here now."

Hila patted his arm. "I know you want him back but if you hurt the offering, he can't show up, there won't be enough energy from his sacrifice."

"Gee, or we could let me go and ask me nicely about what I can do," Xander said, "not that I would help you bring another demon back into the world, but I'm not the pitiful creature you thought I was."

"I know," Hila said patiently. "You've found a dark path and now you're more powerful than ever."

"Nope, not me. Maybe a neutral one but I'm not on the dark's side." He sneered as she laughed. "Gee, and I thought Giles was wrong about you."

Hila's head slowly came up. "So he is teaching you, huh? Too bad he didn't do what he was supposed to so you'd be protected. If he only took better care of his toys, you'd be home snuggling down with him right now." She laughed and Malcolm joined in.

"Gee, and I thought symbolic magic was hard to get," Xander sneered. "Your sense of humor need work, both of yours." His mouth shut with a 'click' as the current ripped through his body again, but this time it was accompanied by a punch to knock him out.

Giles caught Oz as he jerked, letting Willow catch the wheel. "Oz?" he asked.

"Stun gun," he muttered. "And Hila. Heard him talking to her. But he's still not raised the shields between us."

"Can't you do it for him?" Willow asked.

"Not while they're down," he said patiently. "And I wouldn't know how. *He* studied that stuff, not me." He looked toward one of the steel buildings, just like all the other ones. "He's somewhere else. They're not calling the demon that took his parents back from there."

"We can send Buffy there to wait," Giles said.

"No, they'll just use her as a sacrifice too." Oz looked around. "Hila's not at her store?"

"No, and her assistant is one of her people so I'm sure the part about her going to the doctor's was wrong," Willow said since she had talked to Buffy last.

Oz looked at Giles then slid out of the van, walking around it. He followed where his feelings told him to go, almost closing his eyes as he walked so he could touch Xander's mind more easily.

"Willow," Giles said quietly, "go back to my place and find the spell we used last time to banish him. Twelve pages after that is a spell to banish the demon when the sacrifice is more powerful than most. Copy that down and bring it to us. We'll call in an hour or so and meet you somewhere." He handed her the keys to his apartment, watching as she got out and ran in the direction of his house.


Hila tied the last bond around their sacrifice's wrist and stepped back to look him over. Malcolm was pacing next to her, his dark hair standing up where he had run his fingers through it so many times. "Relax, my student, I'll send you back to your love. You and he will be together again shortly." He nodded but didn't stop. "Relax," she soothed, trying to get him to calm down. "You need to be calm to summon him to you."

He spun, knocking her out. "Yeah, but we needed another sacrifice too. Now I have the man he wanted instead of me and a true offering." He tied her up under Xander's feet, walking back to where all his materials were. "All I have to do is call my dark love and make him see I'm much more worthy than Xander Harris." He spit the name, the one his demonic lover had taunted him with during their time together, the one he had grown to hate being weaker and less destined than, the one he was a second choice to.


Buffy eased into the warehouse, pausing at the feeling of déjà vu. She headed directly out into the lit area, not wanting to spend too much time and lose her friend the way she had lost his parents. "Hey," she said, tossing a stake at him. "You're stupid and dead." He snarled, continuing chanting, oblivious to her taunts. So she punched him but he simply rocked back into place. "Yeah, right," she sighed, "Giles!"

Giles ran in, frowning at his student. "I thought you were going to take him out."

"He took a punch and just moved a little instead of falling down."

Giles shook his head, tossing some powdered herbs into the other magic-user's pot of ingredients, chanting against his spell. He let Buffy and Willow guard him while he fought with the younger caster, his own magic going against that of the demon Malcolm was tied to.

"Get me down," Xander yelled, struggling. "The demon's coming, I can tell." Oz cut him down and they clung for a second but then they turned together, the wall separating their minds disappearing, their minds merging and focusing on sending their teacher and friend some help.

Giles' formerly slumping form straightened and Malcolm's voice rose in a shriek as the portal started to open. But instead of letting the demon out, it started to suck him in. The pot of herbs went first, Giles' voice rising above the storm of blowing papers and plant pieces. He tried to catch his adversary, stop him from being sucked into Hell, but it was no use, the demon's pull was stronger.

Malcolm disappeared with an insane smile, along with Hila who had been sucked down earlier since she wasn't tied to anything. The portal closed with just the cessation of the wind, no extra noise. No sound at all in the warehouse.

Xander slumped against his bondmate, letting Oz help him over to where Giles was now laying on the floor not moving. "Hey," he said, nudging him with his foot. "If you die, can I have your place and all your books?"

Giles opened one eye to glare at him. "Only if you promise not to use them until you understand them." He let Buffy help him up, looking around the room. "Do confiscate anything magical you may find in here, I'm sure they won't be needing it again and we should dispose of it before someone finds it."

"Freeze," a female voice shouted. The officer in charge of Xander's parent's disappearance walked into the light. "What the *hell* is going on here?"

"Magic," Xander sighed, losing more of his fight against gravity. "Demon took my parents, the two that helped just got sucked into Hell, why?" She frowned at him. "What? Think I'm kidding?"

"Xander, no," Giles said, patting his arm. "He's been ill recently. Though the people that had taken his parents apparently took him also but they seem to be gone now."

"Yup, saw Hila running out as we busted in," Buffy added. She looked around the room. "We should get him home, he looks wiped." She wrapped an arm around Giles' middle, helping him past the officer. "We're going home unless you have a problem with that idea?"

"Just stay there, I'll be there later. I'm not sure if you're suspects or witnesses but I know where you live." She took her radio out of her belt as they walked out, talking into it.

Giles sighed as his exhausted body hit his couch, turning his head to look at Xander, who had been put into the leather reading chair. "Are you still living?" he asked, not too sure he was since he couldn't see the firm chest moving.

"Yup, just hurting a little." Xander shifted, lifting his head for a second then letting it fall. "God, that hurts," he muttered, making his teacher laugh. "Glad you think it's funny. Oh, and I'm working on normal spells for a while."

"I can appreciate that." He looked toward the door as Buffy walked in. "Any sign of his parents?"

"Um, do ghosts count?" she asked, leaning against the stair-rail. "'Cause I saw two and they looked a lot like Xander's parents but no physical bodies."

"Yay," Xander said listlessly. "*Just* what I needed." He tried to get up and gave up the effort when his arms didn't seem to be strong enough to lever him out of the chair. "I'm gonna die here, bury me if I start to smell." He leaned his head back, closing his eyes.

"Sure we will," Buffy said. She looked over her shoulder as Oz walked down the stairs. "Want to help me put them to bed?" He nodded, going for Xander, but she snorted. "Sure, leave me the heavy one."

"He's not as light as he looks," Oz grunted, picking Xander up and carrying him up to the bed. "Gotta stop doing this," he muttered, dropping his load onto the newly pulled back sheet. "Stay there and don't light the bed on fire," he told the silent man.

Buffy shook her head, kicking the back of Oz's leg to get him to move. "Only these guys," she said, dropping Giles, partially on top of Xander as it happened. "Want to make them comfy since I'm a girl and they're not?"

"Fine. Go let the cop in." She jogged down the stairs as he started on the men's clothing. "You two need keepers," he said, stepping back when they were both naked. "I'm not dealing with putting you into clothes, get over it." He turned, walking down the stairs to stare at the cop. "They're sleeping," he said.

Buffy smirked at the cop, brushing her hair over her shoulder. "See, I told you we didn't have anything to do with it. And Giles has lots of books on strange things, doesn't mean he practices them." She pulled out a nearby one, flipping through the pages. "See, Summerian funeral rituals. Eww." She put it back with a small shudder. "Didn't want to know that. He's a History guy, he's got a Master's in it or something like that. He used to work at a museum in London around all sorts of dead and strange things."

"Hey, he was the Librarian at the High School the year it blew up," Oz added.

The officer handed over a form. "Tell me you don't know about this," she said, smirking.

"Huh, he has part of a Ph.D. in strange stuff." He handed it back. "Yay. And?"

Buffy shook her head. "Just because he's the only guy with the reference book for that thing doesn't mean he's part of it. It was Hila, has been her. She tried to entice Xander over to her ways and he refused, that's why she kidnapped him earlier today. Go find her and deal with the bad guys."

"We'll be back," the officer promised, walking out. "Just because I don't have enough evidence to arrest them doesn't mean I won't be watching." She slammed the door.

"No you won't," Willow said quietly from the corner she had been hiding in. Everyone looked at her. "Well, she won't, I'm sure she'll focus on Hila eventually." Buffy frowned at her. "What?"

"Don't, Will," Oz said quietly. "Or at least don't tell us." He headed back up the stairs. "I'll watch, you guys go nap." He waited until he was alone to strip and climb in with them, cuddling against Xander's back as usual so he didn't get bitten during the night.


Giles opened his eyes, trying to figure out why it felt like he had a head on his chest, and looked down. "Oh," he said, nodding, putting his head back onto the pillow. "That explains it then." He nudged his bedmate. "Xander, get off me."

"Shh, kitty, bad you," the younger man said, nipping him. "Meany. I nap."

"Shh!" an Oz-like voice said.

Giles looked over and cringed when he saw Oz frowning at him. "Sorry."

"Quiet." Oz got out of the bed, pulling the sheet from between the other two men's bodies. "Get over it." He grabbed his clothes, heading down to the bathroom.

Giles eased out from under the clinging man, grabbing his robe and following him down. "Oz," he said quietly, stopping him before he could leave. "The dream was truly what would happen. We would include you if you so chose. I'd not force you, and I'm sure he wouldn't, but we wouldn't mind if you joined us when the mood struck you. I'm not stealing Xander from you, I couldn't even if I wanted to."

They shared a long look then Oz leaned closer, kissing Giles gently. "We'll see. You two have to work it out first. I'm going to go get breakfast."

"Get coffee," Xander called. "Decent coffee please. Flavored if you can." Xander leaned around the end of the wall to the loft bedroom. "And take my wallet, I have a twenty or something in it so you can get lots of food." He disappeared back into the bedroom and the door closed behind him.

"Fix it," Oz said quietly. "I can't join in if there's nothing to hop between."

Giles smiled, heading back up to his room. He found Xander pulling on his jeans from yesterday. "You could borrow a clean pair," he offered. "I have enough."

"No thanks. I should be going to get ready for work." He turned, running into Giles' chest. "Um, move?" he suggested.

"No, I don't think so. I'm not letting you run out this time. Sit down and let's talk, shall we?" Xander shook his head. "That wasn't a question. Sit." He followed the younger man to the bed, looking over his partially bare body. "Xander, about the dreams..." he started but was cut off by a hand going up.

"Hey, you explained it, I'm not angry." Xander stood back up. "Anything else?"

"Yes, sit," Giles said harshly. "I just talked with Oz, and we had a short discussion yesterday also. He's been getting them too and he feels that they were the way things should be." He leaned forward, touching the younger man's leg. "It is something I want, more than most things at the moment, but I can't just let go."

"You've said that, I accepted, let's move on, huh?" Xander said, moving away from him. "I'll go fixate on Oz for a while and you'll do ... whatever." He stood up but was pulled back down. "What? Why are you tormenting me like this? This stuff hurts me enough as is without this trauma added to it repeatedly."

Giles lost all color in his face at that, looking down at the carpet. "I'm not, or at least not trying to. There aren't many things I'd like better than to start something with you but I can't, not yet." He looked up, seeing the understanding. "What Olivia and I have is a difficult thing to talk about, but it's about need mostly. I need her, something in her needs me, and I don't think we could find that in another person. Though I'd think you'd give me enough of what I needed, even if it wasn't so equal the other way."

"Giles, do you think you know what I need?" The older man nodded. "You're sure?" He saw the nod but it was more hesitant this time. "Then I guess you're wrong. You and Oz both really. What I need is somebody to be there. That's why I have Anya. She's clingy, but she's there. Not that she pays attention, but she's physically present most of the time. I need that. I don't need flowers or nice dinners. I need something deeper."

"Gee, what a shock," Oz said as he walked back in, handing over a cup of coffee. "Irish Creme, with sugar." Xander nodded, sipping. "Yeah, I know that much. You also need someone that gives a damn about what you do," he reminded his bondmate. "Someone to pat you on the back when you get something right or soothe you when you crash a spell." He handed over a biscuit after checking it. "Egg and Canadian Bacon."

"Yeah, I do," Xander agreed, putting down his half-empty cup. "But I need other things and being afraid to be seen with me is not one of them. I got enough of that from Cordy to last for my entire lifetime." He shrugged, standing up and grabbing his cup after putting on his shirt. "Deal with it, it's me." He walked out of the room and the apartment, heading home to see what sort of damage he had to clean up now.

Giles looked at Oz and shrugged. "I don't know how to deal with him most of the time."

"I do but he's real careful about letting people get that close." Oz finished his own biscuit sandwich. "Want to go check his ghosts? That's what Buffy said they were."

Giles nodded, getting up. "Give me a moment to dress and I'll meet you downstairs." He looked around his room, grabbing the first pair of jeans he came to, grunting as he slid them on. "Must have shrunk."


Xander looked up from the table as his father sat down across from him, or seemed to. "Hmm, Buffy said ghost but I was thinking Casper. What do you want?"

"I want to leave," he said plainly, "but I can't."

"We can exorcize you," he offered. "Do the whole magic/summoning/Beetlejuice thing." His father frowned. "Get over it. I use magic. Deal and move on already," he finished with a small sigh. "Just go away. I'm not wrecking the house, I'm not having wild orgies or selling the family belongings. Everyone knows that you're gone so it's all okay. I'm working, I have the insurance settlement if your bodies would suddenly appear somewhere, and I'm okay. Just move on."

"I can't," his father said again.

"Why?" Giles asked as he and Oz walked in, earning a groan from his student. "I'm not letting you do this alone, there's no telling what may happen." He put down the book. "Besides, you left the spell at my house." He looked at Xander's father, smiling. "I'm his teacher, Mr. Giles, and if you'd kindly tell us why you're stuck, I would gladly help him fix it."

"I can't," his father said again.

"Gee, broken record," Xander muttered, getting up. "Want something? I'm actually out of food but there's stuff to drink."

"No thanks," Oz said. He pulled Xander closer, kissing him gently. "Relax, we're helping."

"NO!" his father screamed, heading for the couple next to the refrigerator. "Can't!"

Giles shook his head. "Paranoia does last after death it appears." He opened the book. "This is a bit easier with the spirit's cooperation but I'm sure..." he had to stop as the book went flying.

"Stop it," Xander said. "Go away. I had enough of you as a kid." He stared through his father's eyes. "Yeah, I kissed him." He kissed Oz again, deeply sinking into his mouth before letting him go. "What of it? You're dead, you can't say crap!"

"Wow," Oz said. "Anger does good things for your tongue." He faced off with Xander's father. "Your son and I have a bond that formed before you died. Nothing and no one can break it, same as nothing could break Xander and Giles apart ever again. He's well taken care of and protected by us."

"No," the ghost moaned again, holding his head. "No, can't!"

Giles frowned, going to pick up the book. "I dare say he's not happy about this development." He put the book down, walking over to where the younger men were. "May I?" he asked Xander, who gave him a funny look. He kissed him without his permission, going as deep as Xander had when he had kissed Oz. "I can see now why you spent so many hours in broom closets." They turned but the ghost was gone.

"One down," Oz said. "I hope."

"Yes, he's gone," Giles said, "but I don't think it was us."

"Willow," they said together, all shaking their heads.

"At least it's not directly on us," Xander noted, one finger up to make his point.

"True," Oz said, nipping the finger, "but she's still meddling. Wanted to hit the cop too."

"And the bad point is?" Xander asked.

"It's wrong?" Giles suggested.

"No, it's ethically gray. Wrong would be making the cop take a header off a cliff, making her leave us alone with an avoidance spell or something wouldn't be that harmful."

"Xander, don't start that," Oz warned. "Justifying leads to being her."

"Yeah, guess so," he said. He looked at Giles. "Can I say wow?"

"Yes you may, I feel the same about your kissing." Xander smiled, hugging him. "Now, let's go check for your mother, shall we, and make sure your father is really gone."



Xander looked over from his place on the end of the couch, watching Giles and Oz play chess. "You two need to relax and not think, not relax by thinking more."

Oz snorted. "Not thinking, he's easy."

"I am not, I'm moderately sluttish," Giles said with a small smile and a wink. Oz groaned. "Sorry, thought the joke would go well."

"Oh, it did, but we knew that," Xander said. "Anyone who can kiss like that is." He got up, walking around to sit on Giles' lap, distracting him from his planned move. "Can I have another one?"

"After I move my piece."

"That takes forever. Start it again later."

"Could," Oz said. "I was about to call a draw unless you could find a way to beat me in three moves or less."

Giles reached around Xander, moving his Knight to take Oz's King. "I think we're done," he said, putting the piece down. He pulled his student's head down, kissing him slowly. They pulled apart as Oz joined them, each giving him a small kiss. "I think we should take this somewhere more comfortable. This chair can't hold us all." He stood up, putting Xander back onto his feet. "Couch or bed?"

"Couch," the boys said together, pulling him over to it and sitting on either side of him. Xander kissed him first, enjoying the sensations the older man's tongue was giving him, while Oz unbuttoned Giles' shirt.

"Very nice," Xander whispered. "Just like your robe showed me that night."

Giles smiled at him, taking off the shirt. "I had hoped you'd like my body, but isn't this a bit one-sided?" He glanced at Oz, who took off all his shirts and Xander who was pulling his up at that moment. "Let me help," he said, nipping the newly bared skin and earning a giggle. "Oh, ticklish." He waited until Xander was trapped in his shirt to tickle him, catching him before he fell off the couch and hit his head. "Sorry, I can wait."

"Hurts," Xander said with a pout. "Hate being tickled."

"Fine," Oz said. "We won't tickle intentionally. Now strip so I can look at you both."

"That's a bit fast," Giles said. Until Oz pulled out a small vial of oil and put a drop on Xander's neck. "I thought we got rid of it," he whispered, smelling his student's neck. "Quite nice though."

"Yup, love elixir mixed to make Xander smell good is always helpful. I saved the bottle." Giles frowned at him from his duty of licking the rest of the youngest man's neck. "Have him, he's ours." Oz leaned back, watching them go at it.

Xander wiggled as the warm snort against his neck tickled a sensitive spot, and a hand came up to play with his chest. "Like that, but lower?" he asked. "Like tummy rubs."

"Yes, I know," Giles said as he sat up. "That night you went into the trance and I rubbed your back, I also did your stomach to find all of the spots that made you beg." He stroked lightly over one, earning a small pant. "See?"

"No fair," Xander said, knocking Giles onto his back, and into Oz's lap. "Hi," he said, grinning and stealing a kiss from his bondmate. "I want more, you okay?"

"I'm fine, you're the one who's going to end up riding him."

"Yup," Xander said happily, bending down to nip at Giles' uncovered throat. He steadily worked his way down, stopping at an interesting scar, which he licked and nibbled, then moved on to taste a nipple.

"Xander," Giles complained. "Let's take this to the bedroom. There's more room and I won't have to torture poor Oz." He tried to sit up but was held down by the man he was laying on. "You don't mind?"

"Good seats," Oz told him, pointing at where Xander's face showed his indecision.

"Not sure if I should nibble his tummy or just skip this nice stuff and suckle on him." He looked up at his friend. "What do you think?"

"First times are special and made for foreplay," Oz said.

"I can wait for the foreplay," Giles suggested. "Nibble later, just please touch me now." Xander grinned, opening his mouth and sucking Giles' cock down. "Thank you." His eyes closed as his whole body wiggled under the assault of the tongue.

All told, that first time didn't last all that long. As soon as Xander's mouth was filled, he grabbed his head, lying on the gently heaving stomach to recover from the briefly shooting pain. "What?" he mumbled, looking up.

"Yes, it's the teaching bond. It's not as strong as what you and Oz have, but it is present and I will be able to tell things about you, though we won't be able to talk over it," Giles said softly as he ran his fingers through the dark hair. "Now let's take this to bed and I'll gladly show you all that it could be."

Oz got up, leading Xander, who he helped up, up to the bedroom and laying him down. "Strip?" he suggested. He felt the arms wind around his waist and leaned back into the stronger body.

"Please," Giles added when Xander didn't automatically do as he was asked.

"Only if I'm not alone with the nudity," Xander said with a small grin. He got to his knees, unbuttoning his jeans slowly, then easing the zipper down until his boxerless state was revealed. "I've been naughty," he whispered. "All day long and no underwear." Giles smiled at him, urging him to hurry up with a nod. So the youngest man lay back on the bed, shimmying the tight pants down over his hips and thighs, raising a leg for someone to help him. Oz reached over, pulling them off for him then stepped out of Giles' way so he could get his first really good look at their lover.

Giles walked around the bed, looking over the man that was now his, surveying the taut flesh that he would have as his own on a regular basis. "I do see many things that I like," he said, looking at Oz. "I can see why you weren't willing to give him up." He smiled down at his student. "I do believe we'll have many pleasurable moments from now on." He stripped off his own pants, lying beside Xander, who was now blushing. "One would think that you've never laid with another man before."

"Oh, I have," Xander said, rolling to cuddle with the older man. "But it was only a few times. Ask Oz, I'm still tight enough to give him troubles."

Oz nodded, stripping quickly and laying down. "Very tight but also very sweet." He licked over the back of Xander's neck. "Did you do what I told you earlier?"

"Yup, all clean," Xander said happily. "Want to check?"

"Yup," Oz told him, bending down to lick down the spinal column indent on his way down. "Lay on him," he ordered, pushing his bondmate over. Giles gently rolled their lover on top of him, watching with interest as the man that would become their occasional lover worked his way lower. When Oz finally got to where he was going, Xander whimpered, closing his eyes and cuddling hard as the tongue breached him. "Relax," Oz whispered, teasing the little folds of skin that marked the opening. "Not hurting you, just something different."

Giles held his student tightly, watching the man on top of him as he worked his way steadily inside, breath catching as Oz smiled at him with a nip to the cheek beside his mouth. "I should try that," he whispered to Xander, who was clinging and making little noises of appreciation. "You seem to like it." He got a frantic nod for a response. "I'll try that later then." He smiled as Oz looked up, touching him as he licked back up the spinal column, ending up sharing a kiss with him. "Very nice," he whispered.

Oz grabbed the tube of lubricant, sliding some out onto his fingers, readying their lover while he and Giles kissed. By the time he pulled back for air, the man trapped between them was writhing on top of his teacher, more than ready for what would come.

"Would you let me, love," Giles whispered into Xander's neck. He got another nod so slid out from under the body, letting Oz take his place holding the younger man. He moved behind the stretched out form, sitting between the spread legs, looking up at the men he would be claiming as his. "Xander," he said quietly. "Watch me."

Xander turned his head, letting it rest on Oz's shoulder, as he watched Giles move closer to his entrance, shivering as the warm flesh touched his own sweating body. "Please?" he whispered.

"In a second, I just need to check you," Giles told him. He slid a finger in, smiling as it was clamped on with a quiet moan. "Very good," he whispered, moving himself up to the waiting hole. "Just take a deep breath, that's a good boy," he said as he started to push in.

"Push back," Oz whispered, "it'll make it easier since he's so big."

Xander nodded, his face scrunched up as he slowly was entered. When his teacher was all the way in, he sighed, pushing back against him. "Please?"

"In a second, I want to rest within your body first," Giles told him. "This isn't about speed, and I refuse to take less than an hour." He smiled at Oz, who groaned. "I could break it up so you can have some too," he offered, waving down at where they were joined. Oz shook his head. "If you're sure." He pulled back out, easing out of the tight heat that surrounded him, wincing at the squeeze. "I'm not leaving," he told his student, "hold me like that later." He pushed back in, staying slow and gentle, for now.

Xander and Oz shared a kiss, then the younger man got to his knees, closing his eyes. "More," he demanded. "Now?"

Giles shook his head, giving him what he wanted for a few seconds then going back to his slow progress. "How's that?"

"Tease," Xander said, pulling off and turning on Giles, pushing him on the bed. "Like this better," he said, climbing on top of him and sliding back down. "Yeah, like this better." He rode his lover harder, bouncing up and down as he used his muscles to caress the cock within him. When he started to pant, his mouth hanging open and his hair dripping with sweat, Giles flipped them so he was straddling his lap, still in control but unable to get as deep. Xander whined, clinging as he tried to get what he had had before, but Giles simply kissed him gently, pulling him off and holding him for a second before laying him on his back and reentering him. "Okay," he sighed, "we can do it your way." Oz laughed at that, leaning down to kiss him. "Got to try this, Oz," Xander said, stealing a second kiss, "he's very good."

"I'd like to think so," Giles said with a smile as he and Oz shared a kiss. "You sure you don't want some more of him?"

"Nope, I can have him later. This is your time. Bond with the man."

Giles leaned down, kissing his partner's chest. "So we shall," he said, starting to thrust again, much to the delight of his partner, who sighed as his eyes rolled back into his head. Each thrust got just a little harder, a little deeper, until he was pounding the willing body. Xander thrashed below him, eyes closed, hands grasping Giles' arms where they held him up, clawing futilely at the skin to have something to hold onto as he came. Giles' climax hit him like the mind-shattering process it should have been, adding just a little place in his mind for him and his student, both able to hear and feel from him at that moment.

Xander whimpered one last time as he came, eyes shut tightly as the light in his head burned, something he hadn't noticed when he and Oz had formed their bonds. When his breathing returned to normal and his body relaxed into the one on top of him, he looked up at Giles, who looked very worried. "What?" he asked, raising a hand to rub down a lightly stubbled cheek. "Did we screw it up?"

Giles smiled at him. "No, not in the least, Xander. As a matter of fact, it's much more than I ever expected it to be. I just hoped that I wasn't too rough with you."

"Nope, I'm fine," Xander said, pulling himself up onto the pillows, and Oz's lap. "Hi," he said, taking his friend's hand to hold. "You okay too?"

"Yup, pretty normal. Can't hear Giles at all." He looked at the man still in his usual lover's body. "Gonna hog him all night?"

Giles pulled out, rolling off to the side. "Not in the least. I figured you two would have to shore up your own bond."

"Not what I meant," Oz said, as he leaned down to kiss Giles, one finger wet with lube sneaking down to the now relaxed hole. "Want you," he simply said, rolling on top of the older man as he stretched him, sliding in after just a few moments.

Giles stopped Xander from moving, kissing him again. "You may lay there and watch," he whispered, "I'm sure it'd be fine."

"Sit," Oz ordered, pushing into Giles' body hard. "Now," he commanded at the hesitant look his friend had.

Xander rolled onto his side, watching his friends go at it, knowing what each was feeling right them. He watched as Oz got off, panting hard as his head hung down. "Can I?" he asked, rubbing Oz's back. His friend moved out of his way, letting him have access to this new thing. "Never done this before so tell me if I suck," he told Giles before slipping into him.

His teacher moaned, closing his eyes. "No, quite fine," Giles whispered, licking his lips. "Now if you'd do it faster, I'd appreciate it."

Xander laughed. "Gee, if you can get that out, I'm not doing it right." He pulled out and slammed back in, giving him the ride he had wanted earlier. It didn't take much, for either of them, to echo Oz's earlier yell, both pulling Oz over to cuddle with them after it was all over.

"Okay, I want a shower," Xander said finally. "I'm sweaty, good sweaty, but still drippy and wet."

Oz looked down the younger man's back. "Really? Should probably do something about that then."

Giles smiled at his lovers, shaking his head. "Yes, we should all shower then come back up here to remake the bed with clean sheets so we can all sleep for a bit. Then I'll reward you both for being good boys tonight and letting me sleep."

"Us?" Xander said innocently, just knowing it was him that Giles was referring to, and his habit of talking and nibbling in his sleep. "We'll be good if you will."

"I think he's always good," Oz noted, getting up. He looked down at the sheets, shaking his head. "Yup, we made a mess. Come on, Xander, let's go get you cleaned up for later." He led the young sorcerer down to the bathroom, helping him into the shower he started. "Now get clean for us and I'll be drinking juice until you get out."

"Replenishing so I can jump you?" Xander asked with a wicked grin.

"Nope, replenishing so I can jump you again." Oz walked out, sneaking a kiss to Giles' neck as he passed him, heading for the refrigerator and the Gatorade they had bought earlier. He drained one bottle immediately, relaxing into the arms that wrapped around him. "Better," he sighed, putting the second bottle down. "Now I'm ready for stamina boy and Xander." He looked up, kissing the lips that came down to meet his. "Hi."

"Good evening," Giles replied, smiling at him. "This doesn't change anything, you know." Oz nodded. "Just so you can understand he's still yours also."

"Yup, and always will be, but he also has you." Oz turned in the loose arms, kissing the older man deeply. "Hmm, you do that well."

"So I've been told," Giles said smugly, "but then so do the both of you."

"Me?" Xander asked, coming out still wet, and plastering himself against Giles' back. "Hi."

"Hi," Oz said. "Still mine?"

"Yup, yours. And his. Both of yours." He flinched as he heard the doorknob start to turn. "Company," he said, running for the bathroom and some clothes.

Oz looked down at himself and frowned, then at Giles, who was heading upstairs. "Robe?" he called. One floated down for him, which he managed to put on just as someone got their key to work in the lock. "Willow," he groaned, covering his face.

"Hey," Xander said, coming out of the bathroom in the sweat pants he had hidden in there earlier. "What's up?" He looked down at his first lover, smiling. "All yours and I saved some hot water."


Willow just stood there in the doorway, mouth open so Xander walked over, leading her inside. "We took care of my parent's ghosts," he said, sitting her down on the couch. "What's going on?"

"I...I, um, just came to check on Oz." She looked over her shoulder as Giles walked down the stairs. "Am I interrupting?" He shook his head. "Then what's going on?"

"As he said, we took care of his parent's ghosts but Xander didn't want to stay at home tonight so I'm letting him sleep here. Is Oz in the shower?" Xander nodded, grinning. "Ah, good. I hope he saves me some hot water." He headed for the kitchen, raising an eyebrow at his new lover, who shrugged.

Oz came out, rewrapped in the robe, and sat beside his girlfriend. "You know what Xan and I have, right?" She nodded, biting her lip. "Well, he and Giles have about the same thing now. It's a common thing between teachers and students while they're working so he can keep a closer eye on him." She nodded again, slumping a little. "And I've decided I want Giles' job when I get older. Not as a Watcher but as the guy people come to for advice on the stuff we deal with."

"So you're leaving me for them?"

"No, I'm not leaving you, Will. What we have is shaky at best right now, but we need to talk before we make that decision. I hate what you did to him and what you made me do and I can't be with you fully until you've, we've, worked through it." She nodded, sniffling. "At least you understand what I'm saying. That's why Giles and Xander did those memory spells on you, so you wouldn't have to know, but you have to fix it, not them, and you need to do it soon."

Giles walked back out, sitting across from them and leaving Xander in the kitchen. "It's true, Willow. What you did hurt them all and I refuse to let you harm Xander again."

"Hey, that's up to me," he said. "This is my discussion and I need to have it, no matter who else is there." He walked out, sitting in Giles' lap to be held while he talked. "Willow, you hurt me in ways I didn't realize existed until you did it. You took something special away from me with the switching spell and then you've done worse with your meddling. I...I want to stay friends, and I will act like we are for the group, but it's going to take a lot of things before I forgive you and time is just one of them."

"I'm sorry," she sniffled, "I didn't mean to hurt anybody." She looked into her best friend's eyes. "I really didn't mean to hurt you, I thought I was helping when I was meddling. And that...that switching spell wasn't mean to harm either."

"But it did," Oz told her. "It was the equivalent of rape, for all three of us." She shook her head. "Yeah, it was. You took away Xander's right to choose, you forced me to participate when I wouldn't have touched him under the circumstances, and your own body was violated in a manner that you probably didn't want if you think about it, because of the nature of the cure." He wiped away the lone tear rolling down her cheeks. "I may love you, still, but I can't really touch you or be around you until we get this settled, tonight showed me that." She nodded again. "We'll talk about this later, work for a cure for all of us, but it's not going to be easy or instant."

"I know," she whispered. "I'm sorry." She got up, walking out, leaving the door open.

Xander snuggled down into his teacher's body. "I didn't want to hurt her more," he whispered.

"You didn't," Giles assured him, "it was only the truth, and the hurt she feels is actually guilt. Give her a few days and we'll all talk about it again and deal with it as the group it happened between." He patted the younger man's back. "Now, I believe you two should go make the bed so we can all rest a bit. No strings attached of course, I'd just like to hold you both for the night."

Oz nodded. "I could use a good cuddle." Xander got up, walking over to hold him. "Thanks," he said quietly, allowing himself to be held for a few minutes. "We'll go start the bed, you go shower and join us," he told Giles as he stood, taking Xander's hand and leading him back up the stairs. Once the bed was remade and he and Xander were again cuddled in it, he looked at his friend. "I hated saying that to her but I feel better."

"I do too, but the cure hurts more than the original pain." Xander looked over his shoulder as Giles walked up. "Want the other side of Oz? I'm sure he could use your arms too."

The older man climbed in as he was requested, simply allowing the younger men to shelter in his body.