(Takes place after the flash forwards in part 2) GHS 5: Calm New Friends.

Xander looked up from his position under Oz's hands, grinning at Giles as he walked in. " Hey," he purred, shifting some to get the oiled hands where he wanted them. The older man sat down on the bed beside them. "Want one too?"

"I'd love to have a massage," Giles said, giving each of them a kiss, "but I believe Oz's hands are probably tired by now, he's been working on your back for almost a half-hour."

Oz nodded. "Yup, getting finger cramps." He pushed himself up, giving Xander's rear a swat. "Get up."

Xander rolled over, looking up at his lover. "We could go bother my old masseuse, she was great and did this for a living."

Giles nuzzled Xander's ear. "I think I'd like that. I'm feeling a definite need for pampering." Oz headed for the bathroom shaking his head. "I do," he called after him. "I'm also feeling a definite lack of spoiling right now."

Oz walked out of the bathroom, wiping his hands off on a towel. "We spoiled you the other day," he reminded Giles. "Both of you."

"It was nice of him to dip into his emergency funds to spoil us," Xander said, nodding, giving Giles a big grin. "Get me the book under the phone in the livingroom. I'll call and make us an appointment for today." He pushed himself up. "Oz, why didn't you do what the other guys did and save a lot?"

"I did, but I'm also an artist, which is expensive. Not to mention moving every few years. Guys like Meth have a longer range that they can hide in. I'm perpetually just barely legal." He shrugged at the pout. "I try to not touch what I do have saved up. This is the first life I've touched it in in a while." He strolled over, grabbing the phone and dialing. "Hi," he said softly, "what's going on with my stuff and the inventory?" He hummed. "Really? Okay, so when can I have the inventory?" He nodded and hung up. "I've got some stuff in storage that I really hate so I'm going to get rid of it. My stuff-keeper is dealing with an inventory issue." He handed Xander the phone as Giles walked back in with Xander's personal phone book. "Going to go on a spoiling binge?"

"Yup," Xander said with a small grin. "He needs it." He took the book, flipping to the right page by the letter tabs. He looked at the number then dialed, grunting as he got someone else. "Isn't Missy working there?" He sighed. "I didn't realize that she'd gotten so popular. Can she work in one or two people today? No, I'm spoiling my man. No, this is a client. Xander Harris." He nodded, tapping his fingers. "Hey, Missy. I hear you're doing great stuff." He grinned. "No, I want to spoil one of my men and you're the *only* one who can do it right. Really? Coolness. No, I'm living outside of town now, out in the forest. We'll be there. Yup. That'd be so great. Thanks." He hung up. "Go get dressed, she can slip us into her schedule in about an hour." Giles walked over to the closet. "Oz, are you wanting to come?"

"Nope, but give her a hug for me. Working on your back must have broken her fingers." He slid a hand over the growing muscles. "You're getting very well built again."

"Thanks," Xander said with a light blush as he got up to put on clothes too. "Giles, do you want to go shopping afterwards? I noticed you looking at something of mine and I was going to see if we couldn't find you one."

"I'd like that," Giles said, giving his youngest lover a kiss. "Thank you."

"Always, we're very alike." Xander pulled a shirt over his head, walking over to his drawers in just that to get a pair of jeans. He stopped when he felt a hand rubbing along one of his butt cheeks. "We don't have time to play," he warned. "Not that I'm not sorry for that fact."

Oz stood up behind Xander, pulling the plug out of him. "I was going to remove this for you." He slid himself in. "But now that you mention it, I'll gladly work you over in what little time you have." His hands wrapped around Xander's waist, giving him a good hold while keeping the young man still. "Ah, freshly fucked Xander," he whispered in his ear. "Love to take you when you've been used by us."

Xander shivered. "Oz," he whined, pushing back onto the hard cock. "Need it."

"I know you do," Oz told him, pulling out and pushing back in slowly. "But you need a lot of things more." He pulled out suddenly, pushing Xander over the bed, bending him down at the waist to slide himself back inside him. "There, much better." He slammed back inside his lover's tight body, grunting as the muscles clamped around him. "Not nice," he warned, pulling back out with a grunt and pushing back in harder. "You wanted."

"Do, just teasing," Xander panted, spreading his feet more for better balance. "Come on, you can do better than that." He howled into the bedspread as his body was invaded by the hard cock, eyes closing in relief. "Yeah, Oz, more. Just like that."


"Yes, Oz."

"Better." Oz swatted him lightly, then looked at Giles, who was standing there with his pants still undone. "Wanted?"

"Yes, definitely, but I wanted to watch you get off first. I seem to have found my old affinity for rimming again."

Oz groaned and came, leaning over Xander's back. "God, that image was good." He slid out, waving at the opened body. "All yours, you have about twenty minutes before you have to leave." He sat down in the chair by the window to watch Giles attack Xander.

Giles got to his knees behind Xander, licking up his crack lightly, earning a groan. "Now, Xander, just relax. You liked this before."

"Giles," Xander whined, pushing back. "Don't talk, do."

Giles chuckled, parting the cheeks and diving into the well prepared hole, licking up everything that Oz had given him, fucking him hard with his tongue. Xander was wiggling by the time he was done. "Ah," he said, pulling back and licking his lips. "Much better." He stood up, sliding into his lover's body. "Very nice. I don't like it as messy in there." He leaned down, licking the back of Xander's neck as he slowly thrust into him. "Come on, love, give it back."

Xander turned his head. "Giles, more." That got a smile and a harder stroke. "Please?"

"What would you like, love?"

"More," Xander said, pushing back against him. "You're being way too gentle with me again."

"Ah, then you want it harder." Giles pushed himself back upright, grabbing the mobile hips to slam into his lover's body, stopping when he moaned loudly. "Wasn't that..." He trailed off when Xander pushed back, kicking one of his feet. "Now, now. None of that." He held him still, just like Xander liked to be, and gave him a hard ride, working him as well as he could. Xander came with a muffled scream into the bed, Giles not far behind when those extremely tight muscles clamped around him. "Ah," he sighed, leaning down to kiss his lover again. "I need a rest."

"Nope, we need to go play and spoil," Xander said, getting free and crawling across the bed. He looked down at his shirt, taking it off once he saw the cum spots on it. "Oh well, need to do laundry again." He walked naked to the closet, pulling out another shirt. He turned to find Oz behind him, letting the older immortal button up his shirt. "Hi," he said, giving him a small kiss. "Thank you."

"How can you have this much energy? Oz asked, running his hands down the young man's arms. "Most men take a nap."

"But I'm not most men, I'm GHS, we live for pleasure. It energizes me. I don't know why." He walked around his senior lover's still form, heading for the dresser to pull out a pair of jeans. "Giles," he called as he pulled on the skin-tight denim. "Come on or no spoiling."

Giles groaned, pushing himself off the bed. "I want his energy," he complained, heading for the closet to get redressed.


Xander leaned over where Giles was lying on the massage table, kissing the back of his neck. "You're purring," he whispered, getting a beautiful, peaceful smile for it. He stopped smiling when the older man stiffened, looking around. "What?"

"Someone's here," Giles whispered, sitting up.

"Another one?" the woman doing the massages complained. "That's the second person today who's reacted to someone walking by. What's with you guys today?"

Giles shook his head. "It's nothing. I just need to check it out." He grabbed the towel, wrapping it around his waist and heading for the door. He pushed Xander back when he was going to follow. "Stay." He walked out into the waiting room like he was looking for something, glancing at all the people. His gaze settled on a man slouched in a chair staring at him. "Hello," he said, heading back into the room. The man followed him, making Missy walk out in disgust. "What did you want?"

"Nothing, I just felt you and was wondering." The other man's voice was soft, and softly accented. His whole body radiated relaxation. "Shouldn't you be doing something else?"

"He just wanted to see if..." Xander stopped, glaring at the man. "I know you. My teacher has a picture of you with that guy that's stalking him." He crossed his arms. "Fighting or not?"

"I'd prefer not, but for the record, who was your teacher?"

"He's one of Adam's students," Giles said as he sat on the table. "Who might you be?"

"Russell Nash." He held out a hand. "You?"

"Rupert Giles, I'm Oz's student."

"Ah, then I really don't want to fight. I need to find your teacher."

"I'll call him," Xander said, pulling out his cellphone. "Giles, go back to what you were doing." He walked the other man out into the reception area, smiling at Missy. "Sorry, small conference." She walked back into the room, shaking her head and locking the door so they couldn't get back in. Xander dialed his cellphone, tapping his foot impatiently until Oz answered. "Hey, have an *old* friend here that wants to talk to you. No, Nash, Russell Nash?" He looked at the man. "Um, maybe thirty, sandy brown hair, really uptight at the moment?" He handed over the phone. "Don't upset him, he's writing code." He strolled over to look at the magazines laying on a table.

"Oz?" Nash asked quietly. "Yeah, it's me. No, I need to talk to you about my cousin. He's truly gone now and he's looking for you again." He went stiff. "He is? How?" He snorted then relaxed. "You're sure? Okay. I'll be there," he checked his watch, "say at five? Thanks." He hung up and handed the phone back. "*Adam* taught you? As in the perpetual college student Adam?"

"Yup," Xander said, looking him over. "Gee, you don't look like you're GHS."

Russell Nash smiled gently at him. "No, I'm not, but it's good that he's found his way again." He bowed to him. "I'll be out at your house tonight at five. Oz is going to talk to me then." He walked out of the office, shutting the door gently behind him.

Xander looked around and shrugged. "Okay. Whatever." He snuck over to the massage room's door, tapping lightly. "Can I come back in? I want to watch Giles' face as he melts under your uber-talented fingers."

Missy let him in, checking behind him first. "As long as you don't keep doing stuff like that."

"Me?" he asked innocently, giving her a small grin and a kiss to her cheek. "I'd never upset you, Missy, I depend on your magic fingers too much." He hopped up on the table, lifting Giles' head so it was in his lap. "Comfier," he pronounced. "This is how I get mine at home."

She snickered as she closed the door. "I'm sure he's most attentive to you." She bent back over the older man's back, picking back up her soothing, relaxing motion.


Xander leaned over to whisper in the saleswoman's ear, making her smile. "Okay?" She nodded and headed into the back room, coming back out with a tray that she put down in front of where Giles was standing.

Giles picked up the herringbone platinum bracelet, looking at it in the light. "I do like this one," he admitted, "but it's a little expensive for a present, Xander."

Xander wrapped a hand around his lover's waist. "Shut up." Giles looked at him in shock. "I mean it. Do you like it?" He got a nod and a smile. "Then it's yours." He pulled out his wallet with his free hand, putting some money down on the counter. "I think that's all I owe you?"

The sales woman looked at the paperwork under the tray and nodded. "Yup." She gave him a smile. "Would you like it wrapped?"

"No, I'll wear this out."

Xander snorted. "The whole tray's mine, it was being cleaned. Please, in those pretty boxes if you have them. You saw how my bracelets got tangled in the jewelry box." He kissed Giles' cheek. "Don't complain again."


"Just stop. I mean it." He looked up. "I mean it, Rupert, stop it."

"Xander, you shouldn't..." He stopped when a hand covered his mouth.

"Stop it, I'm more than able to give you one of my own bracelets." He gave him a patient look. "It's not like I bought you some antique Egyptian jewelry, of which I found some killer stuff at an estate sale in LA." He smiled as the saleswoman came back toward them with a handful of boxes. "Thanks, dear. I really don't want to have to fight to put on a bracelet in the morning."

She smiled sweetly at him. "Mr. Harris, we *adore* you here, those three bracelets took four of us almost sixteen hours to figure out how to untangle. We were going to suggest wrapping each individually in a velvet bag." She placed all the pieces of jewelry into the boxes and handed them over. "There you go. Thank you for your timely retrieval." She handed them a receipt. "Oh, and the restoration pieces are almost done too. Give us a few more days to work on the last one and they should be ready for pick up."

He leaned over, kissing her cheek. "Thanks, you're a dear." He turned, taking some of the boxes and sliding them into the bag from his work, they had stopped to pick up something he had ordered through them. "Okay," Xander said, looking around. "Did you want something else?"

"No, I think we've spent enough today," Giles told him, glaring down at him. "To the car, Xander."

Xander waited until they were in the car to look at his older lover. "I didn't spend hardly anything."

"And the 'restoration pieces'?"

"Oh, those I found at the estate sale. They were in bad shape so I got them cheaply. Actually, two are Cordy's, it was cheaper to get them all fixed at the same time." He gave him an expectant look. "What else are you going to complain about?"

"Just how touchy you've been today." He glanced out the window on the driver's side. "I didn't want everyone in town to know that we were together. For a teacher, or even a librarian, its not a good thing to be seen dating a recent graduate of your school. People start to wonder how long it's been going on."

"Giles, chill," Xander whispered, putting a hand on his arm. "No one cares in this town. Sad as it is, that's an unfortunate fact. There are teachers over at the high school that have been openly dating young students for *years* and no one says a word to them." He shifted and grabbed his seat belt. "Home, Giles." He grinned. "I always wanted to say that."

Giles shook his head as he started the car, buckling himself in. "You can be such an enigma some days," he muttered. "One of these days I'll have to figure you out."

Xander leaned over. "I'm complicated so you can never become bored with me," he whispered, rubbing down a jeans-clad thigh. "Home, Rupert, I want to play with you."

Giles shoved the car into gear, turning around to check as he backed out of the parking space a little faster than he had to.


Giles opened the front door just as Xander yelled out 'Oz! Damn it, I need more!'. He gave Russell Nash a small, apologetic smile. "Come in," he said, getting out of his way. "Oz will be done shortly."

"I remember what it's like to have a GHS lover, I can wait," he said with a small smile back. "Though it's been a while."

"I have two," Oz said as he strolled out. "And the other would like to make you suffer," he told Giles. "He needs your help now."

Giles smirked and headed for the bedroom, closing the door behind himself.

"Hey, Connor. What's going on with your psycho-cousin this time?" Oz sat down on a couch, looking at the other immortal. "Sit, I won't bite, today."

Connor sat down, looking over Oz's bare body. "You seem much happier now. The last time I saw you, you had this pitiful expression and were all slumped in on yourself. It's good to see you happy, Oz."

"It's good to be happy. I've had three great relationships in the last few years. Right now, I have two men that are driving me insane." The other immortal smiled at that. "So, what's up?"

"I need to talk to you about Mac, and I need to ask about a nasty rumor I heard. Something about the gathering not happening?"

Oz nodded, giving him a serene look. "It's not going to happen according to Giles' books. He found an entry from some Watcher, their version, that said the whole thing was because of some demon and the last one of us would be blessed by him. Well, he's dead so he can't do that, and he can't force the endgame. So no gathering, no final quickening, none of that 'oh, will it be me' stuff."

"You've just ruined some people's dreams. Is there any indication of why we're here?"

"Not a one," he said, sighing and looking toward the bedroom as he heard a crash. "You two okay?"

"Fine," Xander called. "We didn't get a bolt tight enough and a corner fell into the dresser."

Oz got up and ran into the bedroom, picking up the corner and post of the antique bed and putting it back in it's normal place. He checked the bolt then looked down at his lover. "The bolt broke. You guys worked it too hard."

"Funny," Xander said dryly, getting up. "Giles, it's safe to come out of the bathroom now."

"No it's not," he said, handing out a towel. "We have guests, you shouldn't be naked, Xander."

"Why not?" Xander gave in at the stereo frowns, wrapping the towel around his waist. "Better?"

"Much," Oz said. "We need another bolt, guess we'll be sleeping in the guest room tonight." He looked toward the door as Connor strolled in. "Unless you have something that would resemble a 9/16th bolt?"

"Not here, but I have one on my workbench."

"The hardware store," Xander said, snapping his fingers.

"Closed, it's well after five."

"But the hardware store at the mall isn't," Xander said as he grabbed his clothes and started to slide into them. "I'm sure they'd have something." He reached between the pieces of the bed, grabbing the broken bolt. "This size was right?"

"Little loose, need one size bigger," Oz told him. "Tell them it's for an antique bed, they might have a better solution." He set the corner of the bed against the wall where it wouldn't fall and hurt anything. "What else broke?"

"My glass jewelry box," Xander said as he pulled on his shoes. "I'm going to go get the bolt since you guys need to do your sort of peoples stuff." He hopped up, grabbing his wallet and keys from the mess on the dresser. "Oh, and Giles, don't even think about remarking on some of the pieces in the box, they were gifts." He jogged out of the room.

Oz waited until he heard the Lexus drive off before taking a deep breath. "Sex does that to him after the first time. He's a natural concubine." He looked over at Giles, who was examining the remains on top of the dresser. "Want to tell him what you found out about the gathering while I do this?"

"Of course." He held up a long, thin gold rope chain. "Though this doesn't seem to be his style."

"He said they were presents," Oz pointed out, strolling into the bathroom to grab the trashcan from in there. "Out, go talk, I'll clean. Use the room upstairs so our banging the bed back together won't get in the way."

Connor smiled. "Sure you don't want help?"

"Nope, got it. Gonna tease him later about his taste in jewelry." Oz picked up the first piece of glass, tossing it into the can. "Why do we have earrings? Emerald ones?"

"Someone gave them to him," Connor said. "Adam was staying with me for a few days while his place was being sprayed, I still don't see how you lived with the man for almost a century, Oz, and he went on a rant about one of Xander's ... clients giving those to him. There should be a gold bangle bracelet also." He nodded out in the hall. "Shall we?"

"Please. All of my books are upstairs."

Oz picked up more of the glass pieces, pushing the small, delicate pieces of jewelry aside with a shudder. "Why did they give him femme stuff? He's not femme, and he doesn't have pierced ears."

Giles pointed at the extra chair beside Oz's desk. "Sit there, I'll find the book." He knelt before the main bookcase, quickly pulling the one he wanted out to bring over so the other immortal could read it. "Here," he said, flipping to the right page. "You can read Latin, correct?"

"I am that old," Russell Nash agreed with a small smile. He took the book, reading it slowly, his lips moving through most of the words. He ignored the man fidgeting around the space until he sat up, looking at him. "Unless I've read this wrong, we've been fighting for years for no reason."

"No, there was a reason, it was all the demon's doing. Why we continue to fight is beyond me though." Giles pulled a chair over to sit next to him. "There is no reason for us to fight, unless it's to weed the bad and harmful members out of the pack as it were."

"That's a good point. There are some immortals I don't want to tell this to, and most wouldn't believe it anyway. They'd think it was a trick." He looked back down. "What about the final prize? Most everyone's agreed it's a return to mortality."

"It may well have been, but the demon isn't here to grant the wish of whomever wins." Giles pointed behind him. "You're more than welcome to use my library to check things out. I've told Methos, Adam I mean, and he was almost livid. He said he had some methods of checking also so he went to do that. We've not heard from him since."

"He's in town," Russell said quietly, looking out a window. "I've felt him." He looked at the young immortal again. "What are you going to do with this knowledge?"

"I'd like to let some of the others know, let the information leak out to whomever we have that are scholars of the old school. I know some that won't believe it because of the source, but I can prove that they exist, we've fought many of them here."

"Ah, the Hellmouth. How goes the fight with the Chosen One?"

"She's much better now that she's been fixed recently." Giles frowned, looking down at his hands. "She's recently done something most unforgivable to Xander, that's how I came across. We let Adam deal with it for us, more concerned about him as he was just a few days out of surgery." He looked up. "We're working on a spell to link Xander's energies to ours. It'll give him basically immortality, but without our liabilities. We all weren't ready a few weeks ago when we were going to try the spell but we'll be trying it soon."

"You'd be willing to ruin his life that way?"

"He's agreed. And he's already distanced himself from most everyone important in his life at this time. He's only got one friend left, and us, so I doubt he'd be destroyed the way some of us are."

"But it's still a hard transition." Russell leaned back. "You really want him around forever?"

"Truly. I can't imagine my life without him now. Ever since he came into my life, it's had color and depth. If I lost him, it would lose all the life to it." He smiled sadly. "We know how to do it, I've even found an alternate spell, but we're all wary of doing it. We tried once but none of us were ready in case it failed."

"If you do and it works, tell me and Adam, we both know some of us who wish that our loves could stay with us." Russell stood up, looking out the window. "This is a great house. You just need to work on the security."

"It's Xander's and he's having someone come out to strengthen it. Adam broke in once and we've had one other."

"Ah, Henderson." He frowned. "I know you're new to all this, but you can't call the cops on the others."

"I didn't know what else to do. I've only been over for three months, and he was insistent that we fight. If Richie hadn't shown up, I would be in trouble now." He glanced out the front window as he heard a car drive up. "That must be Xander." He stood up. "Would you like some supper, we've not eaten yet."

"Please." Russell followed him downstairs, stopping to watch Oz deal with a police officer. "Is there a problem?"

"Not much of one," Oz said, letting the officer in. "They're saying Giles deliberately lied about the man who shot one of them."

"I told you what I saw," he said, indignant. "If he turned out to be somewhat different, it's not my fault." He looked at Oz. "I was thinking about supper, would you like the chicken you set to thaw or something else?"

"I'm thinking easy and quick. We'll let Xander do stirfry when he gets home." Oz walked around the man standing stiffly in their foyer. "I've almost got all the mess cleaned up from when the bed broke, yell if you need me."

Giles looked at the officer. "I told you what I could. I'm sorry if I didn't notice him well enough."

"No, the description we got from your neighbors was vastly different." He pulled out a sketch, handing it over. "This is the man they saw."

Giles looked over it, keeping the wince at the very accurate picture inside. "It may be, it was sunset and I could have been mistaken." He handed it back. "Maybe I'm not the best judge. I do need my glasses checked and my depth perceptions a bit off."

"If you say so," he said, folding the paper up and putting it back in his shirt pocket. "By any chance you wouldn't know the man, would you?"

"No, he just showed up here one night. I've never seen him before. If it wasn't for my friend stopping over, I would have probably been hurt also."

"Of course." The officer nodded at Russell. "Good day, gentlemen. If we need something more from you, we'll come out." He walked out the door, slamming it behind him.

Russell leaned over. "That's the other reason why we don't call the cops. Things tend to get awkward." He headed for where he could see pots hanging up. "Would you like some help preparing? I've not cooked in months and I miss it."

"Please," Giles said as he walked into the kitchen. He pulled the chicken out of the refrigerator, handing it over with some vegetables. "There, that should be enough for the four of us." The doorbell rang. "Or maybe not. Bring out some more vegetables if you wouldn't mind," he called over his shoulder as he headed for the door. He opened it to find a pleasant looking middle-aged man standing on his steps. "Yes?"

He held up his badge. "I'm looking for a man named Ray Kowalski?"

"He's in Canada," Russell said as he walked out. "His friend sent him up there when he started to get death threats."

"Ray or his *friend*?"

"His friend," Giles told him, waving the detective inside. "I could try and get in contact with his friend and see if he can make him call you."

"I'm his former partner, I just needed to know that he was okay."

Oz walked out, handing over the phone. "Memory nine." He walked into the kitchen. "When Xander gets home, we'll fix the bed."

Giles smiled toward the kitchen then looked at the detective as he listened the phone ring. He hung up and redialed quickly, putting the phone back up to his ear. "Yeah, hi, this is Ray's partner, Ray, and I needed to get in touch with him..." He nodded as a voice came over the line. "Yeah, that's where I am right now. I just need to get in touch with him really badly. No, one of his cases is loose and looking for him." His shoulders slumped. "I tried up there, there wasn't an answer." He nodded and hung up. "Where's the mall?"

"Next town over. If you get on the interstate, it's the next exit and off to the right." Oz walked out of the kitchen. "If you want back roads, just follow this one for three miles then turn left and keep going until you run into the sign. Its' on the left."

The detective nodded. "Thanks. I really don't want this person to find him." He handed back the phone, heading for the door. "If you hear from him, tell him he has to call me or our old boss, immediately. Hanes is out and he's looking for just him this time." He shut the door behind himself and an engine growled to life outside.

"Oops," Oz said, heading back into the kitchen. "Come help me."

"Only if you've washed your hands," Giles told him. "You've been playing with glass that's been Gods only know where."

"Point," Oz said, rinsing off the blade. "But I used the hand santizer and washed them." He stole a kiss. "You worry too much. You won't get sick. Worry about Xander getting sick, he can still do that."

"That's a good point," Russell said quietly, sitting across from where Oz was cutting up peppers. "Will he survive without you both?"

"He will," Xander said as he walked in through the garage door. He handed over a plastic bag. "We have a hack-saw, right?" Oz nodded. "Good, he said this should be a better fit and we could cut it to size." He stole a kiss from Giles and nodded at Russell. "You guys told him?"

"He's one of the ones who should know," Oz pointed out. "He's a very good guy, even if Mac is related to him somehow."

"We're clanmates."

"Gee, that's complicated," Xander said dryly. "Oz, why do try to make things hard to understand?"

"Because I like to watch you think," Oz said, dropping the knife to grab and kiss his lover hard. "Come on, let's go fix the bed. We can let these two cook." He handed the young man the bag while he went for a hacksaw, both eventually heading for the bedroom together.

Russell looked at Giles. "He is an interesting man."

"A very interesting man. He says he's complicated so we don't get complacent." He looked up with a smile, accidentally slicing into his finger. He watched in fascination as his finger knit back together again, his whole face showing amazement. "I never tire of watching that, it's a miraculous sight."

Russell nodded. "Truly, until it's your chest."


Russell Nash looked over at Oz from where he sat on the back porch. "He's looking for you again. And he's went from mildly psychotic to fully insane." He toasted Xander's dive with his beer. "What did you do to him?"

"The original time or this last one?" He heard the snort so shifted until he was comfortable. "Mac got a little possessive about one of his lovers way back when. She was one of my models so she came to me to get away from him. Meth and I set her up in a nice house out in the country. Your cousin thinks I not only slept with her but that I stole her from him."

"Ah. You took what was his." Russell shook his head. "He should have gotten over that by now."

"But Meth is another matter all together. And since I'm his student, and Mac's stalking him, I must be bad too. Not to mention I wouldn't play his games the last few times we met, including a few months back in a bathroom during a dinner out."

"Do you ever have an easy life?"

"Yup, have one now except for him."

"Guys, quit being so serious," Xander called from the pool. "Frowns aren't allowed as you watch the sunset." He pulled himself up from the water, his wet, naked, dripping body padding over to where they were sitting. He sat himself in Oz's lap, putting his beer aside first, and gave him a long, drawn out kiss. "There, no more frowns." He hopped up and headed back to his water, diving into the pool on a sharp angle. He came back up looking down the outside of one arm, frowning at it. "Remind me that the pool hurts next time I do that," he called.

"Will," Oz told him, picking back up his beer. He looked over at Russell. "Connor, why else did you come?"

"I came to hide behind the old one for a while. One of my last wife's friends is looking to kill me." He looked down at the mug in his hands. "She died of cancer, Oz, and I miss her, but this friend said I killed her. Even though there's no evidence, even though he's been kicked off the police force, he still thinks I did something to harm her."

Oz reached over to rub his arm. "We're a safe place. You're welcome to stay until you've found another." He looked up as he heard a splash. "Xander, the pool's not deep enough to dive into," he reminded loudly.

"But Oz..."


"Fine," Xander said as he climbed up the ladder. "It's not that shallow." He walked over, pulling a chair over so he could look at their guest. "Do you want me to leave you guys alone?"

"No, you're fine," Russell said softly. "Just some painful memories."

"We all have some of those," Xander said, getting up. "I'm going to go shower. The spare bed has sheets on it." He strolled back into the house, stopping to kiss Giles where he was reading just inside the sliding doors.

Oz looked over at his friend. "He's unusual, that's why we love him."

"Yeah, if I had someone like him in my life, I'd keep us locked in the house." He finished off his glass of beer. "What're you doing about Mac?"

"I'm not. I'm more worried about Henderson." Oz took a sip of beer. "I'll be facing him first."

"Maybe, but Mac may be facing him before you do. Adam said Mac's been looking for both of them. Something about not taking what was his by right."

"So they're fighting over the old guy's head?" Oz rolled his eyes. "Wonderful. Let's hope that they won't team up to get us both." Oz looked over his shoulder as something in the house crashed. "Sounds like someone heard that. Xander, are you okay?"

"Yeah," floated out of the house. "Phone!"

Oz got off his lounger, wandering into the house to pick up the phone. "Yeah?" He sat down hard. "Are you okay? No, Connor's here with me." He hung up. "Connor, Mac and Henderson teamed up. That was Richie, he and the old guy are trapped together at his place."

"Damn." Russell/Connor walked in, frowning. "We can't interfere."

"We can't leave them," Giles said, standing up. "It supposed to be against the rules to team up."

"Which is what we were planning," Oz pointed out. "I'm going to him, I owe Meth my life too many times. If one of them takes him, they're mine." He stood up and jogged upstairs, coming back with Xander and his sword. "Keep him," he said, shoving him at Connor. "He refuses to stay at home." He kissed each of his men hard, then took Xander's keys, heading out to go fight.

Xander looked up at Russell. "Let me go," he said quietly. The other immortal shook his head. "I need to be there." He struggled but Giles helped hold him. "No, he needs me."

"No, he needs to not have you there," Russell told him. "He can't fight if he has to worry about you."

"And I refuse to let him lose by himself." He got free, staring at the other immortal. "If Oz dies, I'm going to be there. No matter what." He headed for the board with the keys, but Giles stopped him. "No, let go!"

"No, we'll do something else," Giles whispered in his ear. "Come upstairs." He led the now- complacent young man up to his work area upstairs, sitting him across the fire. "We can watch it happen and protect him at the same time." He pulled over a candle that looked melted and reformed. "As long as this burns, he won't be killed." He handed the matches over to Xander. "It's your choice to interfere this time."

Xander didn't hesitate to light the match, simply sticking the fire against the wick to light it. He looked up. "I can't let him go, not without me." Giles nodded, moving closer to him. "I can't do that."

"I know," Giles told him quietly. "I don't think I could make it without him either." He looked over his shoulder as he heard footsteps, nodding at Russell to sit down near them. "He'll be fine. Adam won't let him die anymore than he will Adam. They'll protect each other to the best of their abilities."

"But someone's got to lose."

"And it won't be them," Russell said. "Methos hasn't lived this long to die at the hands of someone like Mac." He reached over to touch the young mortal's shoulder. "I know it's hard but you can't interfere. This isn't something that you can help him with."

"I'll do what I want," Xander said, pulling away. "I won't let him die alone." He stood up, glaring at the other immortal. "You don't know this about us, but we don't let each other down. There is no form of alternate existence where I would leave him alone, not to die alone." He looked down at himself then at Giles. "I'm going. Don't even think about putting me down for a nap with your spells." He jogged down to their room, pulling on the first clothes he came to. He was actually in the car when someone tried to stop him. He fought against the rope that had appeared around his neck, trying to get free. Before he blacked out, he hit the horn, warning everyone inside that something was wrong.

Giles started when he heard the horn, getting up and grabbing a sword. He checked with Russell, but he had grabbed one for himself, and they both walked carefully down the stairs. He felt the other immortal as he walked off the last step, looking around carefully.

"Damn cousins," Connor said. "Mac, get your insane ass out here, now," he called. "I'm not fighting you, I don't want your mind in mine that badly." A dark haired man stepped out of the shadows in the living room. "Oz is gone, Mac, you know that."

"I'm not here for him," the other immortal said softly, his accent much clearer and crisper. "I'm here for you."

"Oh, no," Connor said, backing up. "You're still insane, I refuse to fight against someone who can't remember themselves."

"The challenge is made, Connor, you can't refuse without running away."

"Bet me," Xander muttered, sneaking up behind the dark haired man and smacking the back of his head with a lamp. "He wasn't the one who got me." He turned, looking toward the kitchen. "Where's the other one?"

Giles groaned. "Not him again."

"Yes, me," a voice hissed from down the hall behind the stairs. "You're mine." He looked at Xander. "You can't interfere."

"Bet me." He looked over the man. "I do what I want when I want. This is *my* house, so get out." He lunged, catching the guy by his sword arm and swinging him into the wall.

"He's feisty," Connor said in admiration. "I'd want him around too." He hopped the last few stairs, pulling Xander off the other immortal. "Henderson, it's not good form to attack students. If you attack this one, you'll have all of mine and Methos' after you. Do you really want that?"

The other immortal smiled. "Definitely," he purred. He backhanded Xander before looking up at Giles. "Come on, young one, let's do this and end your miserable life."

Mac got up with a groan. "What are you doing?"

"He's being insane," Oz said as he walked back into the house with Methos and Richie behind him. "Henderson, you're not taking my student, I will fight you instead." He looked at where Xander lay on the floor. "Go lock him in the bedroom. I don't want him to witness this."

Connor picked the unconscious young man up, carrying him into a bedroom and locked him into it. He walked out to find Oz and Henderson dancing around the living room. "He's locked in the bedroom without the big bed." He lunged and caught Mac's blade before it could hit Methos. "No."

"No," Methos said, pulling out his sword. "He's mine. This isn't something I can hide from anymore." He dodged Oz's step back and took a swing at McCleod. "Why do you want me this badly, Mac? What did I do to you beside try to make a friend for a change?"

"You infected me! I can't stop thinking about you and what you've done!" He carelessly lunged and ended up stabbing Henderson in the gut because both Methos and Oz had dodged out of his way. "No."

"Thanks," Oz said, taking a swipe at Henderson's head. He winced as the pounding in the bedroom started. "Xander," he sighed. "Stay!" he yelled.

"Fuck you! Let me out!"

Connor shook his head, picking his clansman up to shake him hard. "Do you feel better? This is the one man that may actually hold the cure to whatever your problems are and you're trying to kill him." He turned and shoved Giles into a closet, locking him in it before he could be brought into it.

"Let me go, Connor, or I'll take you on too."

"Bet me," Oz muttered, his mid-section dodging even as his sword went toward Henderson's head. "Bitch. Die." He threw himself off to the side, slamming through a coffee table and rolling onto his feet again. "I liked that table."

Methos looked at the man his friend was holding firmly by the neck. "I'm not sure what's wrong with him, but I do know he's not behaving normally." He cuffed Mac with his sword's hilt, knocking him out. "We'll figure it out later. I know his Watcher." He turned to find Oz pinned against the wall. "Oz, I know you can do better than that. I'll watch for your cheerleader."

"So used to fighting with him here," Oz panted, kicking Henderson in the stomach and making him move backwards. "Still a bitch." He stopped as the pounding stopped. "Hell." He glared at Henderson. "You're messing up my happily ever after. Go fuck yourself." He had started toward the bedroom when he was jumped, flipping his attacker over his back and onto the floor. He looked up in time to see his worse nightmare, Henderson reaching for Xander. His Xander. Who seemed to have something very black and unusually long. It took Oz a moment to realize it was his gun and silencer, but by that time Henderson was shot through the chest and so was Mac. Connor had escaped with a mild wound to his thigh.

Methos held up his hands. "Xander, you know I wouldn't hurt Oz," he said calmly. The gun was tossed at him and Xander walked past him, heading out into the night, his face blank of everything.

Oz just stood there, numbly looking at the bodies around him. He sat down when he looked at Methos, using Henderson's unmoving back as a seat. "I didn't know he could do that," he muttered, looking at his teacher.

"He loves you," Methos reminded him, squatting down to look at Oz. "I'd go find him." The younger immortal looked at the man he was sitting on. "I'll deal with Henderson and if I lose, Connor can. Go find Xander before he leaves for good."

Oz nodded and hopped up, dropping his sword beside the door as he ran out it. "Xander?" He stopped in the driveway, looking at the cars that were still sitting there. "Xander?" He turned slowly, trying to find him. "Xan? Come on, I'm not mad!" He jogged to the gate, opening it to stand in the middle of the street. "Xander! Please, come back!" His breath caught in his chest. "Please come back?" he said, quieter. He looked around the dark landscape, not seeing him at all. He looked over his shoulder as he heard the quickening start, but he kept standing there, watching for his love to come back. "Xander?" he asked Connor when he walked down to get him. "Please?"

"He'll be back," Connor soothed, leading Oz back up to the house and sitting him on the couch. "I'm sure he'll be back soon." He looked over his shoulder at Methos where he was considering his cousin. "Leave him, we'll fix him."

"Fine," Methos sighed. He sat beside Oz, pulling him in closer. "He'll be back, Oz, I promise." He watched Connor walk toward the closet he had locked Giles in. "We'll find him, young one, I promise," he soothed, letting Oz curl up against him. He looked up at the youngest immortal's confused look. "Xander shot Henderson and Mac then left. He's gone, Oz couldn't find him outside."

Giles rubbed over his face, his shoulders relaxing and falling. "I knew he was going to be difficult about this. He's determined that he's going to be the one with Oz when he loses so that he won't die alone." He sat down on the other side of Oz, touching his lover's hair. "Oz, I'll help you find him."

"Find him?" Oz asked, looking at him. "Before he can leave?"

"I'll try," Giles promised, handing off his sword and heading up to where he cast his spells.

Connor looked at Methos. "We'd better leave."

"The Watchers will be here soon to take Henderson. I'll be in the bedroom then." He looked toward the outside as a car pulled up into the driveway. "If that's them, let me get Oz up and into the bedroom."

Connor looked out the window. "Cops." He turned to find Methos alone on the couch. "Oz?"

"Disappeared," he said with a small smile. "He's lying down." He waved at the door. "Let him in. He committed suicide. He was chasing after Giles, saying he knew things that he wouldn't tell him."

Connor let the police officers in as they made it to the door. "He broke in, yelling about how Rupert knew things that he wasn't sharing. When Giles moved away from him, he cut off his own head."

The cops bent down to look at the headless body. "Okay," the first one said, nodding. He looked up. "With what?"

"His sword," Methos said, pointing at the one laying on the floor. He shook his head. "No, that's Giles', the other one. The saber."

The second officer picked it up for approval. "Okay. We've seen stranger things." He made the call to get people out to come pick up the body. "Give us a few hours, guys."

Methos nodded. "That's fine. We'll be upstairs or in the kitchen." He stood up, looking at Connor. "Can you fix dinner? I want Oz to eat." He walked past the officer. "Mr. Osbourne's napping on the spare bed, he was traumatized by the man cutting his head off in front of him." He headed up the stairs, sitting down to watch Giles finish casting. "Anything?"

"I've found him, but he's moving quickly. He's heading for LA."

Methos picked up the phone, dialing a number he knew by heart. "Joe, it's me. No, I need a young man picked up in LA. No, he's Oz's younger lover. He had a run in with Henderson also. No, I'll email you the details. The police are here." He hung up and turned to look at Oz's computer. "Can you log me into his email account?"

"I can log you into mine," Giles said, getting up to turn on the machine.


Xander looked at all the destinations on the train station's board and shrugged. He walked up to the ticket window. "I need to go to Vermont?"

"Which city?" the man behind the window asked.

"Doesn't matter. I just need to escape LA for a while." He was looked at funny. "I had a fight..." He got a sympathetic nod. "Just a nice, small town please. Not a city."

"Sure. Got just the place. My sister lives near there." A ticket popped up. "Seven fifty." Xander slid his credit card over. "Wow, a platinum, we don't see too many of these." He ran the card and handed it back with the slip to be signed a few seconds later. "How many bags?"

"None, I forgot to pack." Xander shook himself. "When does it leave?"

"Tonight at seven."

"I'll have a bag to check then." He took the ticket, folding it and putting it into his pocket. He walked out of the train station, walking past the men in the dark suits who were scanning the crowd.


Oz looked up from the table as Connor sat across from him. "Did they find him?"

"They found out he had bought a ticket to Vermont but nothing else. The man who sold it to him wouldn't even say where. They'll have to hack into Amtrak."

"That's not hard, I can do it."

"No, you're not going to be careful enough," Connor said, putting one of his hands on Oz's. "Let us handle it. A few weeks won't matter, Oz, you both need the time to calm down."

"No, I need Xander." Oz stood up, getting free, and headed for the room he kept in Methos' house, locking himself inside. He lay down on the bed, hugging the pillow he had stolen from their bed because it smelled like his love. "Come home, Xander, I need you," he whispered, closing his eyes.


Xander stood in the middle of Grand Central Station, frowning at all the activity. He switched the bag to his other hand and walked toward the sign that said 'Taxis', grabbing one to where he needed to go. He looked up at the building he had worked in for six weeks, paying the driver and getting out. He walked into the club, nodding at the bartender he remembered. "Devi?" he mouthed.

"Office," the bartender called back. "He's waiting on you."

Xander nodded, heading up the grand staircase and to the office. He tapped on the door and walked in. "Devi? I need some help to hide." His former boss waved him at a chair. "Oz and I are finished. I did something unthinkable and I need to go hide somewhere that he won't find me." He set everything in his pockets on the table, pausing and putting one of the credit cards back into his pockets. "This is all I left with."

Devi looked at the few things on the table, including the two bracelets. "Okay, we gotta cash you out. Oh, and I have that missing paycheck for you too. That should help." He picked up the train ticket, looking at the destination. "On a layover?"

"Yeah. I checked, I can get back on tomorrow. I told them it was an emergency that I had found out the last stop." Xander sighed and relaxed. "Thanks."

"No problem, kid. We'll fix it so they can't ever find you. Whaddya do?"

"I killed two men who couldn't die so Oz wouldn't fight and die," Xander said, not looking up from his hands.

"Damn, I thought those guys were a myth." Devi leaned back and shrugged. "Okay. That's a small town?" Xander nodded. "Then it'll be easy enough." He lifted his phone, hitting the buttons before he brought it to his ear. "Phil, I need some help down here. No, Xander's had a problem with his mates and he's moving far, far away from them to hide." He smiled as he hung up. "You can stay upstairs tonight if you want. No working involved. John'd even like to see you. He's been lonely since you left."

Xander gave him a weak smile. "Thanks, Devi, I knew I could trust you."

"Usually." The demon pushed everything towards the man that walked in. "Take Xander up to his old room. He's staying for the night and we're going to help him hide himself." The other man nodded, holding the items in one hand and grabbing Xander's arm in the other to carry him up the stairs. "Yeah, he'll be fine. We just gotta get him out of this mope." Devi pulled out a drawer in his desk, looking at the small tray inside. "I'll miss this," he sighed as he shut the drawer again.

The End, to be continued in part six...