Xander looked up at Oz, giving him a smile. "Will you fix me dinner?" he asked quietly.
"It's almost ten at night," Oz reminded him, sliding down onto the couch beside him. "Want a snack?"
"No, I was going over the inventory of our stuff and I forgot to eat." He leaned his head against his lover's shoulder. "Are you happy?"
Oz nodded. It had become Xander's favorite question of late. "I'm still happy, but you need to quit asking. Every time you ask it makes me think that you're not."
Xander looked out the window. "I'm worried."
"I know, but that demon's going to stay gone," Oz told him, wrapping his arms around his lover's body. "I promise, he's not coming back. Especially not through me. Remember, Giles searched me for traces of him and he wasn't there anymore." He kissed the back of the young man's head. "Relax, Xander, and quit worrying. Even if we have a bad spot, I'm not going to be repossessed. I promise."
Xander turned to look at him, straddling his lap. "You can't promise that, Oz. You can't control him and we can't be sure we got rid of him for good. He could be watching right now."
"He might, and you might be paranoid. Even if he's watching, he's not getting you." He squeezed the lithe body lightly. "Now, relax about it. What would you like for dinner?"
"Maybe something light?"
"Something light it is. Without ham and cheese?" Xander nodded. "Okay," he said with a smile. After a few seconds, he pinched the firm rear. "To do that, you have to get off."
Xander put his head down and cuddled his lover for a few seconds. "I will in a while."
Oz rolled his eyes but let it happen. He knew Xander needed to be reassured, the incident with the Monsoon demon was still too fresh to him and it was all right for him to be worried. He'd just have to prove it to Xander that it was all right for him to move on. He gently shifted the young man back onto the couch and got up to fix them something to nibble on. He found some frozen treats in the freezer and smiled. Yeah, that would be best, Xander needed treating.
Oz woke up and looked up at the canopy above him, wondering why it was still dark. He turned his head, watching Giles head for the hallway. He knew what it was once the door was opened, two of the cats were fighting again. He flipped onto his side, running into Xander's sleeping form. He pulled him closer, nibbling on the soft lips. It was time to move his lover past this. He had a whole day planned tomorrow, but a little treat tonight wouldn't hurt either. He ran a hand down his lover's stomach, earning a sleepy mumble. "Hey," he said when the chocolate brown eyes opened to look at him. "Can I touch you?" Xander nodded and yawned, hiding his head under Oz's head, making him chuckle.
Oz's hand moved lower, gripping the semi-hard cock lightly. His lover snuffled his neck so he changed his grip, making it a little tighter as he started a long, slow stroke. He felt the grin and inserted a knee between Xander's legs, giving him a little more room to play. "This would be easier if you were on your back," he whispered.
Xander immediately flipped over and spread his legs so Oz could crawl between them. "Can I have cuddles afterwards?" he asked quietly.
"Sure. As always." Oz licked over the head of the hard cock while stroking it, making him groan. "Ah, you like," he noted, moving his mouth back to suck on the balls as he kept up his handjob, making his lover wiggle. He knew this tickled Xander, that's why he was doing it. They both needed some fun right now. He let a finger from his free hand slip under his head, heading for the soft opening, almost smiling when Xander jumped. "Problems?" he asked, looking up. The young man shook his head frantically. "Okay. Want more?" Xander nodded just as hard. "Good." He went back to his playing, alternately making Xander laugh and try to wiggle away, and then moan in extreme pleasure. It was one of the great things about having a lover for almost three years, you knew exactly what turned them on. That thought stopped him, making him count backwards. Their three year anniversary was in a week. He mentally shrugged and planned on using the week to find him a present, going back to his teasing and tempting.
Finally, Xander couldn't take it anymore and he came, making a high-pitched keening noise. Oz looked up at him, giving him a questioning look but not asking anything. Xander grinned down at him. "Great," he panted, patting his stomach. "Give me a sec and I'll give you some too."
"Not needed," Oz said as he slid up and cuddled his lover. This had all been for his love, he could wait until their usual morning session. He smiled as Xander fell asleep, noticing how his smile lit up the room.
Oz led Xander out to the car, waving over his shoulder at Cordelia. They had stopped in to say hi, and to drop off Cocoa. Cordelia had complained and balked, but all it had taken was one look at the dog. And if she couldn't have dogs because of her lease, well, Cocoa was safely ensconced in Wesley's lap right then so Cordy didn't have to be covered in dog hair when she went in for an audition later. He settled his lover comfortably into the passenger's side of the car and hurried around to get in. He slid into the leather seat and slammed his door, turning to look at his lover. "How would you like a treat?" he asked. He saw the light of joy come back into his lover's face. "I planned your day for you, but we've got all night. Giles agreed to stay home with the animals tonight so we could have some time alone." He reached over and touched Xander's lips, but it was interrupted by the back door opening and Wesley climbing in.
"Good, I caught you before you left. Giles just called. Richie got a call and a challenge. He's headed this way to answer it."
Oz shook his head. "Why today?"
"It was McCleod. That's why he called," Wesley told him. "He thought you'd like to know."
Oz nodded. "Yeah, I wanted to know." He looked at Xander. "Will I be able to drop you off at the spa and go watch this?" Xander shook his head. "Okay. Does Richie have one of our cars?"
"Yes, he has Xander's sports car."
"Which has my carphone," Xander noted as he pulled out his cellphone, dialing the number. "Hey, Richie, it's me." He handed the phone over to Oz.
Oz leaned back in his seat and took a deep breath. "Hey, me. What's going on?" He snorted. "You're bringing your sword, right?" He nodded. "Okay, do you need us?" He glanced at Xander. "Yeah, we've got plans. When do you meet him?" He checked his watch. "We'll be done by then. Why did you leave now? Ah. Okay. You know where the spa is?" He chuckled and hung up. "Richie will meet us at the bar closest to the spa. He doesn't have to meet McCleod until sunset." He looked over at Xander, leaning over to give him a kiss. "We're going to go spoil you and then we'll meet Richie for a drink. We'll figure out what's going on after that. All right?" Xander nodded, giving him a brilliant smile. "Thanks, Wesley," but the man was gone. "Okay." Oz turned back around and started the car, checking behind him before he pulled out into traffic, not stopping as Xander turned to make sure the back door was closed.
Xander looked up from his body scrub, smiling at Oz as he walked in. "Hey, have I told you yet that I love this?" he asked with a silly grin.
"Yup." Oz pulled a stool over to sit on, holding up a glass with a straw for his lover to drink from. "Here, lemonade."
Xander blew a kiss and sucked on the straw, moaning as the sea salt scrub was worked over his legs. "Oh, I like this," he groaned, putting his head down. "Oz, can I be thankful and not make you upset?"
"Sure. As long as you don't have to become clingy, I won't ever mind." He ran his fingers through the damp hair, Xander had been subjected to a steam bath before this. He got a dreamy smile and a nod. "Then we're good." He stole a kiss and looked up at the person doing the scrub. "What's he got after this?"
"A cleansing body wrap. It's meant to pull the rest of the toxins out of his skin." She smiled down at the purring noise her client was making. "This was a good idea."
"Yeah, we needed it and he needed pampered," Oz said, grabbing another kiss. "After this, we go see a friend, and later we have a wonderful dinner planned." Xander opened his eyes and looked at him. "We do. And then tomorrow, you get to take me shopping."
Xander grinned. "Okay," he said sleepily. "This is really nice."
"So I noticed. You rest, babe, I'm not leaving."
Xander slid into the seat next to Richie, giving him a brilliant smile. "Hi. Oz gave me a great treat."
"So I can tell. You're glowing." Richie looked at Oz. "He said he only wants to talk."
"So he says now," Oz said. "Are we sure he's sane?"
"For good from what Joe said," Richie said before taking a drink of his beer. "Xander, order a drink, you look very out of place in here."
Xander waved a waitress over. "What imported beers do you have? Better yet, do you have Guinness?"
She smiled. "We have it, and we have the lager too. Which would you like?"
"Oh, the lager please," he said happily, pulling out his wallet, but Oz pulled out his instead. "I can get this. You're getting dinner."
"Point," Oz agreed. He looked over at the waitress. "I'll have a regular Guinness and what snacks do you have?"
"We have a whole supply of wings, or we have a sampler tray with things like potato skins and peppers."
"Wings please," Xander said. "Mild?" She nodded. "And some ranch dressing?" She wrote it down for him. "Thanks. Oz did you want to share a sampler plate with Richie?"
"Honey, the plate has seventy wings."
"He missed lunch, he's always hungry when he's happy and sated," Oz told her. "Give me a sampler plate. Richie?"
"No thanks. I've been nibbling on pretzels and peanuts." He handed her the bowl. "Can I have some more nuts?"
She smiled and walked off.
Xander pulled out his wallet and took out a few bills. "Um, do you have anything smaller?" he asked, checking to make sure the hundred was the smallest.
"Nope. They'll have change," Oz told him. He patted him on the hand. "No overt actions, Xander, please."
"I won't. I know about this stuff too." He smiled at Richie. "So, what else have you done today? Besides play with the cats?"
"Well, Motocat needed a bath, so I spent a good hour fighting with him." He finished off his beer, waving the waitress over. "Want to get my tab for me too?" he asked.
"Sure," Oz said. "If he won't, I will."
Xander handed the waitress the hundred. "For his tab and our stuff." She nodded and walked off, coming back a few minutes later with their drinks. Xander took a sip of his beer and grimaced. "A little warm but it'll do." He looked over at Richie. "Were you coming back tonight? I noticed the furry lump that seems to be wiggling."
"Yeah, I'm coming home tonight, but I didn't want to leave him at home," Richie said, patting his moving lump of cat. "Besides, maybe Mac will respect that I'm real if I show him that I have something that depends on me."
"Maybe," Oz agreed, taking a sip of his beer. "Oh, you're right, warm." He looked over at the bar, bringing their waitress back. "Cold beer?" he asked.
"Our cooler broke about an hour ago." She leaned closer to Xander. "Sir, that bill didn't look right."
Xander pulled out his wallet and looked at bills in it, holding them up to the light. "These look all right. Why didn't that one? I got it at the bank with these." She handed him the bill, letting him look at it. "Huh. It still looks fine to me. Did it fail the light test?"
"No, our bartender questioned it."
He shrugged, handing over an older bill. "It's probably just a case of new billitis." He gave her a smile. "Can I get a cooler glass?"
"I'll see what I can't rig up," she said, bringing it back to the bar. She turned and smiled at him, nodding.
"Maybe we should go get the new bills changed," Oz suggested. "Not everyone seems to recognize them."
The waitress walked over with their snacks. "He admitted that he hadn't seen any of the new bills." She winked at Xander. "I'll be getting a good tip, right?"
He nodded. "I always tip very well." He picked up one of his wings and nibbled on it. "These are great."
"Honey, they're frozen." She gave Richie an extra smile and walked away.
Richie shook his head. "I don't want flirting, not when I've got to face my teacher down."
Oz looked at him. "It'll help take your mind off it if you flirt back." He looked over at Xander. "Did you realize that an anniversary is coming up?" The young man stopped nibbling and shook his head. "Three years."
"Oh." Xander put down his food and wiped his fingers off. "Um, what do you want?"
Richie snorted. "That's what he was going to ask you."
"Oh." Xander shrugged. "I can consider our travels a gift."
"Okay." Oz picked up a potato skin and bit into it. "Xander, eat normally," he said quietly.
Xander started to take bigger bites. "Where's dinner tonight?"
"It's a surprise. Oh, and Amanda's in town." Richie rolled his eyes. "She's been really nice to us ever since we caught her stealing," Oz told him.
One of the guys at the next table got up and came over to look at them. "What are you guys, fairies?" He laughed.
Xander looked up at him. "Why would it matter?" The guy quit laughing. "After all, we're not here to bother you and no, we're all straight, but why should it matter in the first place?" He wiped off his fingers as he stood up, facing off with the guy. "Listen, I just wanted a beer with my friends, same as you did. If that bothers you, I'm sorry, but tough."
The guy growled and took a swing, which Xander ducked and Oz dodged
"That was stupid," Oz said, starting to get up.
Xander held up a hand. "I believe he was just leaving," he said, doing a picture perfect heel strike into the guy's abdomen, making him bend over in pain. "Weren't you?" The guy nodded and backed away, heading back to his friends, who were jeering him. Xander smiled at the waitress. "Maybe we should get these to go," he said, tossing down some of his change for a tip.
She stayed smiling but left, coming back with boxes for them.
Xander dumped his wings into it and looked at Richie. "Want to go picnic in the park?"
"Sure. But I can't let Motocat out. I don't have a leash or a collar for him."
"We can fix that," Oz reminded him. He dumped his plate into his box and stood up. "Let's go find a grocery store to get Xander more dressing and you a leash for the kitten." He walked away from the table, going to their cars. Richie followed and they headed off to find a grocery store.
Richie looked around the park they had chosen and nodded slowly. "This is a nice place. No thugs."
"There shouldn't have to be thugs," Oz reminded him. "Or cops, but it's still a nice place for a picnic." He picked up one of his stuffed peppers and bit into it, waving a hand in front of his mouth. "Hot."
Xander handed over his bottle of ranch dressing without looking up from fixing his next wing and sharing a little with the cat lounging in the middle of the blanket.
Xander hopped up onto the hood of his car as Oz and Richie walked over to meet the car pulling in. He had control of Richie's cat and was cuddling him for all he was worth. He knew that if both men fell, he would kill McCleod. Even if he couldn't take Oz's quickening from him, he refused to have him keep it. His eyes narrowed as Amanda got out of the car with him, taking in her now red hair and the bronze outfit she wore. "Oh, she didn't," he groaned. "That's tacky."
Someone cleared their throats and he turned to find an old man with a cane beside him. "Hey, Joe, pull up some hood?" The old man walked around, his gait stilted because of his prosthetic legs, and climbed up onto the hood. "Want to pet Richie's cat?" he offered.
Joe looked down at the motor oil and yellow colored cat, shaking his head. "When did Richie get a cat?"
"One of ours liked him. This is Motocat. Motocat, this is Joe. He's a friend of Richie's." Motocat meowed up at them. "Yes, sweetness, I'll keep petting you." He went back to scratching behind the tiny ears. "He rides around in Richie's jacket. We just got our first collar and leash today," he said, holding the tan leash up. "Right before we went to have lunch in a park."
Joe snorted. "Yeah, I heard about the bar fight."
"Wasn't much of a fight," Xander noted. "I only hit the guy once. He didn't connect at all." He shrugged at the stunned look. "What? I've had some very good fighting teachers recently. Oz is very good at teaching me some of the more basic moves to defend myself without a knife."
Joe nodded. "I can see how that might be necessary. Good save with the cops by the way. We kicked the guy out."
"Thanks, but I don't want to think about that. When I do, I get clingy." He handed over the cat and slid off the hood, pulling out his own sword and setting it in plain view as Amanda moved like she was going to pull hers. He saw her startled look and gave her a steady one in return. She backed off. He got back onto the hood and relaxed against the window again. "It'll be a fair fight," he told Joe.
Joe saw the determination on the young man's face and wisely left it there. He knew Xander was more than capable of doing someone some damage and he had no doubt that McCleod would be the victim of it if Oz got even the tiniest scratch.
Oz looked his nemesis over. "Well, you look sane," he said in greeting. He nodded at Amanda as she walked closer. "You his babysitter this time?"
"Yup. We've just spent a week with Jace, hearing how wonderful Xander is." She smiled at him. "How is he? I heard he had a run-in with some bad people again."
"Just the one and a few cops," Oz told her, turning his attention back to McCleod. "Are you really stupid enough to follow through on your challenge? None of us respect those that take their student's heads."
McCleod bristled and stood straighter. "I needed to talk to him, not fight with him. I'll never attack Richie again." He looked at his former student. "Are you all right?"
"I'm fine, I have been fine." He saw Amanda start and watched as she backed away, glancing at Oz, who nodded. "Sorry, Xander's a little paranoid and he seems to have adopted me too."
"Yup, you're just like another kitten to us," Oz quipped.
Richie reached over and shoved him. "Stop it. Grumpy." He turned back to his teacher. "Why did you want me here? I'm real, you're possibly sane. What's this about if it isn't a challenge?"
"This is him needing to make sure that you're real," Amanda said from where she was standing. "His slip down the insane slide started when he thought he had killed you. He'll start going down again if he doesn't reassure himself now that he's sane again." She glanced at Xander again. "Is he serious?"
"Yup," Oz told her, nodding. "Xander will probably jump into any fight that I lose, but I can't keep him away. It doesn't work. Besides, if I lost and he wasn't there, then he'd be even more destroyed."
"You'd better keep winning," she told him, sizing Xander up. "I don't think I could beat him, not when he was that angry."
McCleod shuddered. "I couldn't beat him, Amanda." She stared at him in shock and Richie nodded.
"Yeah, I got there and Mac had a sword in his lung. But, Xander's got a very unique fighting style. I've worked out with him and I've seen Oz and Giles working out with him. He's very fast, very lithe, and very much into his dancing." Oz snickered. "Not that!" He grabbed his head and held it. "Oz, you promised."
"Sorry, man, was just a flash of Xander doing the sword dancing." He looked at Amanda. "I'd put him at some of the hundred year old's level. He's been learning though. He gets kidnapped far too often to not keep up with his practice."
McCleod gave Oz a pitiful look. "I was out of my mind," he grated, his brogue getting thick again. "I'm sorry, Oz. I never meant ta hurt either of you."
Oz shrugged. "Whatever. I may forgive you one day. Remember this, McCleod, Xander feels the same way about me that I do him. You harm him and I'll come after you. You harm me, and he'll kill you easily." He turned and walked away, leaving it between Richie and his teacher, the way the challenges were supposed to go. He slid up beside Xander, smiling at the cat purring in Joe's lap. "I'm thinking you get Motocat if anything happens to Richie."
Joe nodded. "He told me that if he was killed and I was alive, everything he had was mine." He looked down at the cat. "I guess that means him too." The cat looked up and licked his lips. "What? I don't have any treats on me, sorry."
Xander reached into his jacket and pulled out a cardboard container. "Here. We're never without them anymore."
"Speak for yourself," Oz said, watching Richie get uptight. "Relax," he called.
Richie looked over his shoulder as Oz yelled at him. "Man, he's good."
"He's an artist," McCleod reminded him, moving closer. "May I touch you?" he asked. "Just your face?"
Richie stepped back. "Nope, but I can prove I'm real." He pulled a knife out of his jacket and sliced his palm, letting it bleed on the ground. "See, very real."
McCleod grabbed the hand, feeling it as he watched it heal. "You're real," he sighed, looking into the green eyes. "You really were trapped in an alternate dimension?"
"Yeah, it was all very swirled and boring. I'm not sure how long I was there, but there I was." He pulled his hand back. "Cut the crap, Mac, you knew I was alive. You weren't willing to give up any of your precious beliefs to admit it though. Your pigheadedness has always been your undoing." McCleod looked embarrassed. "It has!" Richie insisted. "And it always will be unless you lighten up and look at the world as it is instead of the knight-and-carriage place that it used to be."
"Is was never really like that," Amanda called out. "But he has to be himself, Richie."
"Drop it," Oz called over.
"My, he's very protective of you," she noted, looking the young man over. "What's going on out there?"
"Nothing," Richie ground out. "I'm living in his basement until I figure something out." He looked at his teacher again. "When will you learn? Just once, I'd like to see you embrace reality as something other than an affront to your moral code." He turned his back and walked away, heading back to the car with all the people on it. "I messed up," he moaned as he got there.
"No, you gave him a kick in the ass and you made it clear you were still pissed. That's very normal," Oz told him. He slid off the car. "Of course, one of you may die tomorrow, mostly likely him because he's thinking about everything too much."
Richie turned and ran over to McCleod, stopping him before he could get into his car and pulling him aside to talk to him.
Xander nudged Oz with his foot. "Good job," he whispered. Oz turned and winked at him. He took Motocat and walked over to his friend with him. "Here, you forgot him," he said. Richie looked at him in shock. "I'm thinking you guys are going to be talking all night. We aren't going to be able to watch him, and that leaves Joe."
"Oh, yeah." Richie nodded, then smiled. "Thanks, Oz. I'll see you back at your place?"
"Sure." Oz turned and headed back to his Xander, getting a hug as he slid in to drive them to their hotel.
Xander looked around the room, then at his lover. "This is where a lot of this stuff began," he reminded Oz, who nodded. "Here, I found out about immortals, and about you being one. I found out about Meth and I first heard McCleod's name." He turned and gave his lover a long hug. "Thank you. This place has good memories for me."
Oz gave him a kiss. "I know. That's why I got it for us." He patted the firm butt. "Go relax in a bath until it's time for dinner. I've got both wallets and I'm going to have the new bills looked at by someone here." He walked out of the room, making sure it was locked behind him.
Xander grinned and looked around. He needed to surprise his love with something when he came back. He pulled out his backup credit card and sat down with the phone book, searching for a number. He found it and dialed it, smiling as a familiar voice answered the other end. "Hi, this is Xander Harris." His smile turned into a grin. "We're fine, but I need to spoil my lover and I noticed those flyers on your table. Yeah, those. Can I?" He cheered. "Cool. Um, Mastercard number...."
Oz watched as a deliveryman walked in with a big bouquet of flowers, shaking his head. Some woman was getting lucky tonight. He turned to look at the man examining his bills again. "So, are they real?"
One last one was held up to the light. " From what I can tell, yes. You did say you got them at a bank, correct?" Oz nodded. "Then they should be real. Did you have a problem with one earlier?"
"Yeah, we got a bartender that couldn't tell because it was one of the newer bills." He pointed at the only new hundred in the pile. "That one actually. I wanted to make sure before I paid for dinner with it."
The manager smiled. "That's quite reasonable. From what I could tell, these are real and the new bills are what they appear to be." He sorted the stack and evened them up, handing them back. "I'm glad that they were real, sir. Was there anything else we can do for you? Check your reservations?"
"We're eating here," Oz said with a faint smile. "Our bags are already upstairs. Um, computer access?"
"Of course. There's a public terminal across the lobby, there between the payphones."
Oz checked, then nodded. "Thanks." He walked over and checked his mail quickly, not sure if he was expecting anything from Methos and Ray or not, but he got a very nice virtual card from them. He sent a naughty one back then went up to his room, having to knock because he forgot his key.
Xander's head peeked around the edge of the door and grinned. "Go do something for the next ten minutes," he said and shut the door.
Oz considered breaking the door down, but thought better of it and went to get another bottle of lube. They had a full bottle, but from the look in Xander's eyes, it might not be enough. He came back eleven minutes later and knocked again, but the door was open. He strolled in and looked around, first noticing the big bouquet of flowers that he had seen in the lobby. "Xander, did you buy a flower shop too?" he called. He didn't get an answer so he looked around. There was a trail of drops of something on the floor, so he followed them into the bedroom. There, he found a small present sitting on the bed. He picked it up and rattled it, it sounded like paper. He saw more of the strange droplets and followed them into the bathroom, where his lover was kneeling beside a bubble bath. "I thought you were supposed to be taking the bath," he said, leaning against the doorway. "Just a question," he asked at the smile his lover was trying to hide. "What are those drops?"
"They're drops of grape jelly. It's the only thing I could think of without tearing up the flowers." Xander held out his arms. "Come strip and let me bathe you," he said, giving him a smile. "You deserve to be spoiled."
Oz groaned. "I'm supposed to be spoiling you, not you spoiling me." He sat down next to Xander, holding his chin still so he could get a kiss.
"What makes you think that spoiling you won't spoil me?" Xander asked with a grin.
Oz thought about that for a second, then handed over the present and stood to get undressed. He climbed into the hot bath without another word. He leaned back against the neck pillow and enjoyed the neutral smelling bubbles. "When did you have time to find anti-smelling bubbles?"
"Remember the jewelry store?" Oz nodded. "Well, I saw this very nice brochure while I was there. It's a whole surprise-pamper-your-lover thing in one package. So I called them and told them what I wanted, and they had almost everything in stock. The only thing they didn't have...." He jumped up as the doorbell rang, putting Oz's present on the back of the toilet. He came back with a large box and a huge grin. "The only thing they didn't have on hand was the treats." He gracefully folded himself next to the tub and put the large box on the floor, well away from where it might get splashed. He opened the red top, smiling as he saw what was inside, and picked up the chopsticks. He picked up the first piece of broccoli and held it out to his lover. "Remember, the veggies are always hotter than the meat," he warned as he fed it to him.
Oz started to laugh as he swallowed. "You got me Chinese food as a treat? I love it!" He started to lean over but Xander leaned up instead, so he wouldn't have to move. "Every time you do something like this, you get more and more special to me," he said, reaching out to touch the young man's hair. "What else is in that box?"
"Well, I wanted to try sushi so there's a small sampler box of that. And we've got some nuts, and some chocolates under some separating material." He grinned. "I wanted us to be able to snuggle for a while, and to be able to have a snack tonight." He snapped his fingers and reached behind him, handing Oz his present. "Yours."
Oz carefully opened it, not wanting to get whatever was in there wet. He pulled out a piece of paper and looked at it, absently handing the box off. "Xander, this is..." He looked at the young man, his mouth open. "You, um, wanted...."
Xander got to his knees and pulled the other item out of the box, holding it out. "Not right now if you don't want, but whenever you're ready, I'm good to go for the whole thing too," he said with a grin. Then shook his head. "That wasn't the way I rehearsed that. Sorry."
Oz snickered. "It never goes the way you rehearsed it." He rolled onto his side, handing the paper off so it wouldn't get wet. "Xander, are you sure? I get very possessive."
"Gee, Oz, I had no idea," Xander quipped gently, still holding out the ring.
"What are you going to wear?" Oz asked, taking the ring to look at. "This is beautiful. Did you pick this out that day too?"
"Yup. I saw it while we were waiting and I explained which one it was. She said I had very good tastes because this would sparkle on your hand."
Oz nodded, turning it around. "Where's yours?"
"I was kinda hoping you would help me pick out mine," Xander told him with a self-conscious grin. "Make it an exchange of rings?"
"Um, okay." Oz nodded. "Can I have a bite of Chinese?" Xander quickly picked some up and fed it to him. "This is really good. We need to know where they got it from." The receipt was held up for his inspection. "Huh. Keep that." He swallowed and smiled. "Okay, you got me if you really want me that much."
"YES!" Xander crowed, leaning over to give him a kiss. He found himself sitting in the water on top of Oz. "We didn't get the food, right?" Oz looked over then shook his head. "Good. I want that to be around later." He climbed out and grabbed the box by the bottom, going to put it in the other room. He came back naked, except for a sparkly thong. "I started working with beaded stuff," he said proudly, showing it off to Oz. It was a very nice striped design done in beads.
Oz shook his head and crooked a finger. "Come here, after taking that off."
Xander wiggled out of the thong and jumped back in, straddling his lover's lap so he could steal a kiss. He took the ring and put it aside so they wouldn't lose it. "I'll put that on you in a few days."
"What about Giles?" Oz whispered.
"Um, I was going to ask him first."
Oz nodded. "Good idea. Springing the whole marriage thing on him as we do it wouldn't be good. When did you want to do this?" He moved his hand through the water, bringing up bubbles to sit on top of his lover's head. "And where?"
"That I wasn't sure of. I know the whole guest list though."
"How many of them are presently at our house?"
"All but Jace and the LA crew."
"Okay." Oz nodded. "I want to invite Joe."
"Cool by me."
"And I may want to invite someone else." Xander nodded. "I think I want to invite Buffy and/or Willow, if we can find them. They deserve to know that we're happy."
Xander paused then nodded. "I'd like that too," he admitted, putting his head back down on Oz's chest, forcing him back onto his back. "I think I know how to get in touch with Willow. I got a card from her last week."
"And Angel knows where Buffy is."
"Also a good. How are we going to feed them?"
"Gee, Oz, I don't know," Xander said dryly. "We could cook, or we could cater, or we could just be cheap guys and order enough food for everyone from Maise's and tell Angel to bring enough blood for himself and the girls." He got poked for it. "Sorry. I don't want to wait and do the whole 'wedding' thing with the caterers and the big cake. I want something small and more us."
"Okay, sword salute it is," Oz said, then grinned at the groan. "You mean that's not us?"
"Yes, that's very us. Do you want Meth or Ray as your best man?"
"I want Meth. You get Ray. Jace can marry us. She can do that."
"Yup, she can do that. She probably would even have the blessing of her *friends* to do that."
"Good point," Oz said, staring up at the ceiling. "You know this means we're never breaking up, right? Oz's mate for life."
"Good. Then all I'll have to worry about is those long vacations when we get cranky with each other."
"Fine by me." Oz pulled the phone down off the wall and handed it to Xander. "Want to tell Giles to join us so you can ask him?"
"I'd rather do it when we went home tomorrow and I have the ring in hand," Xander admitted quietly.
"Okay. Want to call and tell him to be home tomorrow then? Say something about needing to talk to him?"
"Sure." Xander dialed their home, smiling as Ray picked it up. "Hey, you. Is Giles still there?" He nodded, looking up at Oz. "Hey, you, it's us. Nope, we were just sitting here talking in the bathtub and we decided we needed to talk to you tomorrow when we got home. No, as in sending Ray and Meth out to do something interesting while we talk sort of talk." He grinned. "Yeah, but don't worry about it. Okay? It's nothing bad, but it's a talk I need to have with you."
"We," Oz said.
"We," Xander corrected. "Nope, Oz has already fallen to my diabolical plans...." He had to stop because the phone was taken from his hand and tossed back into the cradle, Oz rolling over to pin Xander against the side of the tub so he could kiss him.
"Naughty," Oz sighed. "Such plans in your head."
"Can I wear the silver velvet?" Xander asked with a grin.
Oz shut him up with another kiss.
Giles hung up the phone and looked at the other men in the room. "That was Xander and Oz. They said they needed to speak to me tomorrow, alone." He sat down hard in a chair, looking at his friends. "I've tried my best to reintegrate myself back into this home. What did I do wrong?"
Methos came over and stood in front of him, staring down at him. "What did Xander say? And more importantly, how did he say it?"
"He sounded happy," Giles said, shaking his head. "All he said was that they needed to talk to me tomorrow and that I was to send you both somewhere interesting."
"Ah, the key is he was happy," Ray said. "Xander couldn't sound happy about a bad thing. He can't act that well." Methos nodded. "So it's probably a great new plan of his."
Giles' mood lightened. "He did say that Oz had fallen in with his diabolical plan, but the line went dead right after that." He shrugged it off. "I'll worry about it later. What am I making for supper and do you think Richie will be coming in?"
"No, we got a call from Joe," Methos said, snapping his fingers. He picked up the phone and dialed Joe's cellphone, smiling as he took it into the garage.
Ray stared at the door, confused for a few seconds, then shook it off with a shrug. "Want help? I can do pasta or meats really well." He jumped as he heard the laughter from the garage, getting up to go see what was so funny. Methos refused to tell him though, so he'd have to wait it out too. He glared at his lover, but all he got was a smile and a kiss.
"It'll be fine," Methos told him as he came back in. "Xander was in a spoiling mood and I have no doubt that it's going to extend to you also." He looked at the kitchen. "Ray, why don't you start that pasta dish with the wine and the chicken. Giles, why don't you go relax or work out? I'm sure you'll soon need the practice." He mentally cheered his students on, but he wondered what sort of ceremony Xander would want. How traditional could he be? Oh, but he couldn't wait to see this happening.
Oz got off the phone with Jace and nodded. "She'll be up in three days but she can't stay more than a night." He leaned back into Xander's side, watching him pick at the sushi before trying it. "It won't bite," he promised, picking up a piece and eating it. "Hey, they did good, it's still cold."
Xander picked up a piece like Oz had eaten and nibbled on it, then shook his head, handing it over. "Okay, I didn't like that. I liked the other Asian stuff we had in Kyoto."
Oz ate that piece too and took out the sushi tray, and the ice pack between it and the chocolates. He settled down to eat it while Xander called Angel. Or actually, Cordelia. You never told Angel anything, you let Cordelia get him wherever you needed Angel to be.
"Cordy?" Xander asked, grinning. "Sit. No, good news, sit!" He snorted. "I'm sure Cocoa did. He's a very good dog." He nodded. "Yes, I'm aware that dogs need that. Um, lint brush?" he suggested lightly. "No, not the point. Sit." He took a deep breath and then babbled it out. "IaskedOztomarryme andhesaidyes."
He pulled the phone away from his ear and even Oz could hear the squeal.
Oz took the phone. "You're loud," he said in way of greeting. He looked over at Xander. "No, he's fine. He's grinning again. Nope, we're asking him tomorrow when we get home."
Xander stole the phone back. "No, in three days. Tell Angel that we've decided to ask Buffy and Willow if he can find them, and that he's responsible for any food he might need that's non-people edible." He chuckled. "No, I don't need to find an off-white dress. I need to find a pattern for some heavy silver velvet I have."
"Pants," Oz said. Xander looked at him. "Your drawstring pants. And a shirt."
Xander grinned. "Thanks, no Oz just told me what to wear. Yes, I said silver. Because I like the color." He laughed again and hung up. "She said she'd get everyone there barring a vision."
"Coolness." Oz stole one of the chocolates, but it was taken from him and fed to him. "Even better. I always loved the story of Godiva."
Xander nodded. "Me too. She was such a brave woman to defy everyone that way."
"And that's where we get Peeping Toms from too."
"Yup; according to the legend, a guy named Tom watched her and they poked his eyes out for it."
"Oh. Then why aren't they called Poking Toms?"
"Because he peeped first?" Oz suggested, stealing a chocolate and eating it himself this time. "Are you feeling spoiled yet?"
"Yup. Feeling truly spoiled. But not bratty."
Oz looked him over and saw the smirk. "That's up to interpretation."
Xander danced up to his house and through the door, on cloud twelve or so if anyone had bothered to ask him. He plopped down into Giles' lap and gave him a kiss and a hug, then held out the box, ignoring his pale face and shaking hands. "Oz said yes, and I was very devious about it, but I figured that you wouldn't want me to be devious so I'm not being sneaky at all."
Oz walked in and shut the door. "As you can see, he's very nervous." He looked around. "How long did it take Methos to call Joe last night?"
"He called within a minute I think," Giles said, staring at the box. "Is this what your plan was?" Xander nodded, standing up and getting to both his knees, making Giles smile. "You don't have to beg, dear boy." He took the box and opened it, his mouth opening and closing before he promptly passed out.
Oz looked at Xander, then at the ring they had picked out, a simple band of diamonds, often known as an eternity band. "Huh. Worrying must have caught up with him." He shrugged and headed to the refrigerator to put up the rest of their chocolates. "Xander," he said, turning around and running into him. "Teleporting again?" The young man grinned and grabbed him, pushing him against the counter to get a kiss. "Hmm, someone ate the last strawberry at breakfast."
"It was nummy too," Xander whispered against his lips. "Now I want more."
"And more you deserve," Oz agreed, pulling him in tighter against him.
Methos and Ray banged through the door, Ray heading over to where Giles was slumped on the couch. He picked up the box dangling from his hand and shrieked, coming over to give his friends a hug.
Methos wiggled a finger in his ear. "Raymond, kindly never make that sound around me again."
Oz looked over Xander's and Ray's shoulder and stuck out his tongue.
"Just for that, you're getting a tuxedo," Methos admonished, going over to wake Giles up so he could enjoy this moment too. He looked at the ring and whistled. "Xander, you still have very good taste," he called, slapping the young immortal lightly to wake him. "Up and at 'em. You don't want Xander to get a wild hair up his ass and force you to elope, do you?"
Giles moaned and pulled a pillow over his head. "Anything but that. Please?" He looked at the ring, then up at his friend and teacher, giving him a mischievous smile. "It's beautiful," he admitted. "Should I accept?"
"I think they're counting on it," Methos agreed with a smile of his own.
"You'd better, or I'm going to let Xander pout," Oz called.
Xander came over and got to his knees before the couch, giving Giles his most powerful pout, full of sorrowful begging eyes and even a hint of chin quiver.
Giles immediately felt like an ass and gave him a hug. "Of course I accept. When are we doing this? I'll need some time to figure out who to invite and all."
"Three days," Oz said from the kitchen, searching for leftovers. "Jace is doing the ceremony, everyone's already invited. All you have to do is find something that matches with silver velvet."
Ray smiled. "I can do that part." He looked at Oz. "Who gets me?"
"I do," Xander said, instantly turning happy and smiling at him.
Giles shook his head. "Xander, those eyes of yours should be registered as lethal."
"Tell me about it," Methos sighed as he sat on the end of the couch.
TO BE CONTINUED...