Weddings Do Make You Feel Like a Queen.
Xander threw down his scissors and stomped out to the living room. "This sucks!" he told everyone in there. "Nothing's going right!" He sat down and pouted at Oz. "This is all wrong." He crossed his arms over his chest.
Oz rolled his eyes behind the cover of his book. "What's wrong?" he asked calmly. Xander had gone into queen overdrive since they had gotten back, and after Giles had accepted his proposal.
"The fabric's not big enough," Xander pouted. He looked at his best man. "It won't be enough for more than one piece."
"So go find another piece of fabric," Oz suggested lightly. "Ray, take him fabric shopping." He heard the snort so lowered his book. "Listen, this way you can make sure your outfit is something that only you will ever wear. You'll be able to make sure it's perfect this way." Xander continued to pout and it was a pitiful sight. "Xander, pick which part of your outfit you want to make from the beautiful velvet and go see if you can't find another piece," he told him.
Xander gave him a helpless look. "But it won't be the same," he complained.
"Only you will know that unless you change your design," Oz reminded him, trying to control his temper. "Ray, take him fabric shopping."
Ray got up and grabbed Xander's hand, pulling him out to the car. He came back a few minutes later and took the wallet Oz was holding up. "Is this his?"
"No, but two of his cards are in there and so's a bunch of cash." Oz looked up at him. "Try and calm him down, okay? I can't take two more days of this."
Ray grinned. "Really? All I see is normal worrying." He walked out, going to take Xander wherever he needed to go.
Oz pulled his book back up and sighed, shaking his head. "I can't take two more days of this," he told the book. "If I do, I'll be more insane than he is."
Methos snuck up and patted Oz on the head. "Of course you can." He strolled past him, going upstairs to get away from all of them. Maybe Richie would spar with him.
Xander looked at all the velvets and shook his head. "It's not here," he called.
Ray walked up behind him and rested his head on Xander's shoulder. "Then pick something that'll make it look good."
Xander turned and gave him a hug. "But I wanted the silver velvet."
"But you'll look some disco throwback," Ray told him, giving him a smile. Xander didn't like that at all, he stomped off.
"Fine. Be that way then." Xander stormed over to the cotton section.
Ray slumped his shoulders and followed after him. "I'm sorry," he called as he walked over to him. "I know you're stressed." He stopped and picked up a pewter piece of silk. "Xander, I found it," he called, holding it up.
Xander looked up and squealed, jogging back over to hug him. "I love you. That'll go *so* well!" He searched the remnants table, looking for more of it. "Um, we need more," he said, looking around for one of the women that worked in his fabric store. "Hello?" he called.
"In a minute," floated out from the back. An older woman walked out carrying two bolts of blue fabric. "How can I help?" she asked as she set them down on a rack near them.
"I'm getting married!" he said happily. "My outfit, at least the lower half, is silver velvet." He held up the pewter piece of fabric. "Do you have any more of this? It'd go so great."
She took it and looked around the store, pointing at an area. "If it's anywhere, it's over there," she called after him. She smiled at Ray, a very sympathetic look. "How long before his day?"
"Two more days," Ray said, shaking his head as he followed after Xander. "You don't need the whole row," he complained. "It won't fit in your car."
"But Oz and Giles need new outfits. And you and Adam too," Xander reminded him with a grin. "Even one for Richie if I can get him to hold still so I can fit him."
Ray turned around and banged his head against a rack of silks. "Oz is going to kill me," he moaned.
"Not," Xander said, frowning at him. "Which color for you? Or do I want to do everything in one color?" He looked at the available wall of fabrics. "Ray, should I make you guys all in one color?" He looked over but Ray was still banging his head. "Hey, bruises go with nothing." He jogged over to hug his friend. "Me sewing means that I can't jump Oz or do any of the planning."
"Good point," Ray said, breathing in relief of being let go of. "Um, make us all in green? And you in a nice, neutral color?"
"Silly," Xander said, pinching him on the stomach. "I'm still wearing my silver pants." He turned back to the wall, not noticing as Ray slipped away.
"Hey," he asked the saleswoman, "do you have tranquilizers? We won't live through this otherwise."
She laughed and patted him on the side of the face. "This is always a stressful time for the bride. Especially when it's rushed." She looked at what Xander was picking out and shook her head, going over to help him. "Honey, you can't dress people in that. Not in this heat." He pouted at her. "I know, but you can't. Maybe a shirt, but not a whole outfit." She looked him over. "What are you wearing? Silver velvet and what?"
"Well, I got this big piece of silver velvet in India recently, and I love it, but it wasn't big enough. I'm making my pants out of that, now I need stuff for a shirt."
She nodded and pulled him over to another rack, pointing at the contents. "Try one of these. They're lighter, they won't stain like silk, and it's washable." She watched as he examined them, holding the three rolls he picked out. "That's enough," she reminded him. "You've only got two days."
He looked up, giving her a smile. "I know, but I can stock up this way." He picked up one of the light green pieces. "Think this would go well on my friend over there?"
She looked at it, then at the young man who had asked her for drugs. "No." She put down the ones she had handed him, picking out one of the ones he had picked out and handing it back. "Take this one, and this one," she said, pulling out a light, textured tan one. "This one goes well on most people. Make them *shirts* out of it and let them find their own pants." He nodded, looking down at the others. "Come back for those when you're less frantic," she suggested, bringing him over to the register. "Are you doing a veil? I don't know much about homosexual marriages."
"I can," Xander said, looking at the walls of lace. "Oh, but I found an *exquisite* piece of fabric the other day in one of the Indian shops." She nodded. "But it was for brides and I don't think they'd count me."
"We can go ask," Ray suggested as he walked over. "If not, then what here would do it for you?"
"Um," Xander said, running over to where the lighter, see through, fabrics were, coming back with two bolts. "Which one with pewter and silver?"
She looked at them, then at the tan fabric, pointing at the red one. "It's a traditional color of joy in Asia. I'm assuming it's the same in India." She shrugged when Ray looked at her. "He'll have to go find shoes anyway."
"Barefoot," Xander said. "Oh, Ray, can I ask you to do something nasty for me later?"
He nodded. "I'll go clean up the backyard for you," he said, handing Xander the wallet. He went over to a piece of cloth he had seen, coming back with it. "Xander, what about something like this?"
Xander felt it, considering it. It was almost see through, but not quite, and it was soft as newly moisturized and scrubbed skin. It was perfect. A whole new idea formed in his head for his wedding outfit if the silver didn't work out. "Oh, I can do a whole outfit in this," he said, smiling at his friend. "Was there any more?"
Ray pointed behind him. "A few." He winked at the woman behind the counter. "This'll go with the tan, right?"
She laughed and smiled. "Yes, that and the blue one would both go. What about his man?"
"Men. They'll dress themselves without him. They always do."
"Oh, and I can do this for Giles," Xander called out, grabbing a dark gray fabric. "And a blue one for Oz."
Ray hung his head and shook it. "Why?" he asked.
She laughed, putting aside the pewter fabric.
"Oh, I want that too, just in case," Xander called. "It'll go great under the vests anyway."
Ray picked up the wallet Xander had left on the counter, checking it for money content. He pulled out one of the cards and handed it over. "You might as well ring all this up now, or we'll be here forever."
She picked up her scanner and ran it over the end tab of the first flat of fabric, typing in the yardage when it asked for it.
Oz looked at the fabric lumps lying on the bed, then at his sleeping mate. He picked up the fabric and put it aside, going to climb in between his men.
Xander hopped up and grabbed the fabric, going back to his hand stitching. "Got to get this done," he complained. "I can't sleep."
Oz pulled a pillow over his head and curled up against Giles. "Come to bed whenever you're ready," he called out, waving at his lover.
Xander walked out and went back to his sewing. Everything had to be perfect. He fell asleep surging one of the seams on a pair of pants from the nearly see-through material, that's how he was found in the morning.
Richie walked into the sewing room, investigating the noise. "Um, Xander," he said, nudging him with a foot.
Xander popped up. "I'm okay," he said, looking down at the seam, and the four foot string behind it. "Shit." He took his foot off the pedal and cut the string at both ends. "It's okay. I didn't ruin it." He held up the half-finished pair of pants. "You're the only one who's seeing this. Oh, I need to fit you for your outfit." He stood up and grabbed a set of pins and a pile of fabric. "Come on, get into these; if you're going to be a best man to Giles, then you'd better look like the other ones. It only needs to be fitted, I used a standard pattern that I use on all their pants."
Richie got a panicked look and ran out of the room, narrowly missing hitting his head on the door.
"But I need to fit this!" Xander called petulantly. "You won't look good if I don't."
"Quiet!" Giles yelled. "You can do that later."
"Sorry," Xander called in a little kid's voice. He sat down at his machine and went back to his seams. These needed to get done if the wedding was going to go on. Oh, they'd see how hard he had worked.
Oz looked at the outfits lying on the bed and looked at Giles. "He outdid himself," he noted.
"Yes, I'm assuming that our honeymoon night will be full of him taking a nap."
Oz shrugged. "Hey, we'll have fun if he does." He picked up his outfit and went into the bathroom to try it on. He came out five minutes later with a smile. "He made it loose but comfy."
"Good." Giles walked in to try his on. He laughed, opening the door so Oz could see it. "He does know his colors," he said, turning to admire himself in the mirror. "This also fits very well."
"He has a permanent pattern set for us. These are all things that he's made before. It's a matter of little adjustments to make them looser." He touched the overly loose crotch area. "He messed up there."
"No, I believe he thinks we'll need it." He smiled and took off the outfit, carefully hanging it up and handing it to Oz so he could hide them from the cats. They didn't need hair on the clothes for their wedding. He walked out and lounged on the bed with a book. It was just better right now for him and Oz to hide in here while Xander fitted everyone else in the house.
Xander hopped up as he heard the doorbell, running past Richie to answer it. "Jace!" he squealed, pulling her inside. "You came early!"
"Yes, dear," she said, hugging him to try and keep him from bouncing again. "How are the plans coming?" she asked, pulling them both inside and closing the door before any of the animals could get out. She could get her bag out of her rental car later.
"Oh, I've got to fit you," he said, getting free and grabbing her arm so he could tow her back to his craft room. "Duck," he called, ducking through the short door.
She ducked just in time and looked around the chaos. "My, you've been busy," she noted, looking at the soft, flowing outfits hanging up. "Are you in the fitting stage?"
"Yup," he said proudly. "Did you want a dress, a robe, or a pants outfit like everyone else?"
"An outfit?" she asked, trying hard not to panic. "Dear, I brought my own clothes."
"Give in," came from all over the house.
She looked behind her but there wasn't anyone in the halls, not even an animal. She grabbed his shoulders and pushed him down onto the chair. "Xander, you need to calm down before you alienate everyone. This sort of activity can't be good for you, dear."
He grinned. "It's keeping me from fussing over everything else."
"Oh." She looked at the outfits again. "Those are nice," she admitted. "I'd prefer something more feminine though."
He pulled over a piece of material he had been working on. "Here, try this on," he said, getting up and helping her into the piece of material. "I had to guess your size, and I think I got it too small," he said with a frown. "Huh. Oh, well, I can always put a large border on it." He clasped the silver frogs on the front, turning her around to look at her. "Arms up." She did so, still looking confused. "Yup, definitely need two sizes larger so I can fit it perfectly." He helped her out of it and turned to his table of patterns, using the original pattern and some tracing paper to make a new one. "Give me about an hour and come back," he called. "This isn't that hard."
She hurried away before he could get her again. She walked through the open door, giving Oz and Giles a panicked look. "Has he been like this for long?"
"Since the day he proposed to Giles," Oz said, not looking up. "What are you getting?"
"A cross between a robe and an oriental dress," she said, smiling at the animals. "I see they're resting in peace and quiet too?"
"There's no sewing allowed in here," Giles said, looking up and giving her a smile. "After he tried to fit a few of the animals with carrying pillows and sachets, they all came in here or went into one of the other rooms to hide." He got up and offered her his spot on the bed, but she waved him off and sat on the padded chair. "It's been most frantic," he told her. "Xander's not gotten a lot of sleep for the last day and a half."
"There's only one day left," Oz said, putting down his book. "Would you like to sleep upstairs? It doesn't have much Xander protection but it's free right now."
She laughed. "I'm sure that will be fine." She looked at the door, watching the animals sniff at it. "I believe the little ones should go out," she said, pointing at them.
Giles let the animals out, following them so they could use the backyard.
"Hey!" Ray called. "I just cleaned that up. Scoop up after them."
Oz shook his head. "It's been a manic two days so far." He laid back and went back to his book. "Expect to be pounced in about an hour. He's been sewing like he's possessed."
"Are you sure he's not?"
"No, he's simply anxious," Giles said as he walked back in. "He's turned all that nervousness into energy for his projects. We've all gotten wonderful outfits out of it though."
"That's good. Has anyone thought about the ceremony?"
"Xander has and I wrote it," Oz said, holding up a finger as the sewing machine stopped. "Get ready," he whispered.
Xander bounced through the door a few minutes later, grabbing Jace and forcing her to come with him. "I'll bring her back," he called as he dragged her out of the room.
Oz looked at his watch. "That was fast."
"He probably only did rudimentary seams until he could fit it perfectly," Giles said, lying back down. "Should we check about the food?"
"Nope, I suggested that and I got pouted at. He's done it, or so he said. If not, I guess we're cooking."
Methos walked into the room and shut the door. "Did I hear Jace?" Oz nodded. "Did Xander already snatch her?"
"Twice," Giles told him, giving him a smile. "Have you double checked anything for him?"
"I've made sure that there's food, and I've made sure you have enough music here. I've even asked him what he wants to walk out to since he's doing the bride's part." He smiled at Oz as he shuddered. "Don't worry, all you have to do is stand there and let your mouth hang open. Richie's seen his outfit and he said it's positively gorgeous."
Oz nodded. "That's what I'd expect. I'm wondering about the lack of velvet scraps on him at night."
Methos smiled, getting out of Jace's way. "Did he fix it?"
She nodded, sitting down to catch her breath. "Give that boy some drugs," she told Oz. "Before he drives himself to death."
"He'll be fine," Oz said, turning the page.
Giles tossed her a bottle of water from the cooler beside him. Oz held out a hand so he got handed a bottle of juice. "We have some limited amount of food in here," he offered.
Methos waved it off. "Don't worry about me. Ray and I have been ordering out." He walked out. Xander had just called for Richie and he knew that the young immortal wouldn't come at that bellow without some encouragement.
Oz looked at Giles. "Bet on who stays up the longest tomorrow night?"
"No, thank you. I know that Xander could wear me out every time." Giles lay back down. "We'll go fix up your space in a few minutes," he told her. "Feel free to use our bathroom whenever you need to." He picked up his book and started to read it again. "I'd hide," he said as the sewing machine went off again.
Jace got up and started to leave the room but the pale, soft hand grabbed her once she walked into the hall.
"Come on, and you've got to figure out which necklace you're wearing with this."
Xander walked out of his sewing room and looked around, watching everyone look at him. "Did anyone go get the food?" Methos nodded. "Did anyone pick up champagne? Because we're out." Ray nodded. "Did anyone pick up the flowers?" Oz pointed at the table, where a dozen red roses were spread out. "Cool. What am I missing?"
"About an hour's worth of dressing?" Oz suggested, still looking at him. "Go take a nap, Xander."
"I'm good," Xander told him, sliding down into his lap and possessing his mouth. "Hmm, do we have time to do anything?" he whispered.
"Nope." Oz pushed him up and stood up. "Come on. You need to get ready. Our clothes are in Richie's room. Jace has hers and she's using Meth's and Ray's bathroom. Go destress and get ready for us," he said, pushing Xander into their bedroom and closing the door, making sure he had the garment bag holding his outfit. "We'll be out here, waiting on you." He walked back out to the living room and sank back onto the couch. "Do we have everything?" he asked Methos.
Methos raised one eyebrow. "Yes, Oz, I've gotten everything together and it's all ready and waiting. All we're waiting on now are the guests."
"They'll be here in a half-hour," Ray told him. "They called before they left. Did you move the cars out of the garage so they could get out without bursting into flames?"
"Yes," Methos sighed, getting up to go upstairs and play solitaire on the computer.
Oz looked at Giles. "You want to get ready first or me?"
"I'm getting ready second," Giles told him. "We arranged that last night with the coin toss."
"Oh, yeah, I forgot." Oz got up and went downstairs to get ready.
Giles smiled at Ray, who was already dressed. "We'll all get there eventually," he told him.
Ray nodded, sinking into the chair and closing his eyes. He had time to take a nap now. He'd need it; keeping Xander calm was a hard job and that last half an hour was going to be insane.
Oz and Giles stood at the end of the aisle Methos had laid out with flowers and candles, watching Jace fidget. "It fits, right?" Oz asked quietly. "He'll hurt himself if it doesn't."
"Relax, it's a wedgie," she whispered, giving him a smile. She stood up straighter as Ray opened the sliding doors and stepped aside. Then her mouth fell open, as did everyone else's who was attending.
Xander, at least they assumed it was Xander since they couldn't see him, walked out into the twilight. He was covered, head to toe, in thin red silk with gold and silver embroidery. He stepped one step closer, his foot coming out from under his veil, showing off the rings on his toes. They could faintly hear bells ringing as he stepped. Apparently Xander had decided to take an Indian custom and wear all his jewelry to show his new husbands his wealth and dowry.
Oz wiped his mouth off and held out a hand. "Come to us, Precious."
Xander moved closer, stopping a step away from them.
Giles held out his hand. "Come, Precious. We're waiting on you."
Xander took their hands under the veil and his head turned to face Ray. Ray nodded and he stepped closer to his future husbands. "Will you protect and care for me?" he asked just loud enough to be heard.
"As always," Oz said, bowing to him. Giles followed his lead. "May we see you, Precious?" Xander tipped his head down, letting Oz see the small platinum pin holding his veil down. Oz stepped closer and undid the pin, motioning Giles to help him remove the veil. Ray stepped up behind them and took the veil, making sure that none of it touched the ground. He folded it over his arm and handed it to Cordelia, who had been asked to hold it during the ceremony.
Methos' and Richie's mouth fell open as they saw Xander's outfit. It was pants of the same material, in the same pattern as his dance pants. Loose, flowing, tied in front and the ankles, but you could see the outline of his cock through it quite clearly. You could almost see the color of his skin, but not quite...it was the most frustrating and erotic thing the men had ever seen. He was shirtless, and his chest glowed with something that could almost be glitter, but it wasn't visible.
Methos blinked and looked up at Jace. Jace smiled down at them, opening the scroll with the wedding ceremony Oz had written on it. "Friends, brethren. Lovers," she said, nodding at Xander. "We are gathered here to rejoice in the union of these three men. If there are any objections, I'm siccing Xander on you." Cordelia snickered. "Shh," she said, smiling at the young woman. "Oz, do you accept the challenge Xander has presented you with? To protect him, to honor him, to cherish him as your love?"
Oz coughed and then kissed the back of Xander's hand, avoiding his many bracelets. "I do," he said, looking into the chocolate brown eyes. "As he has submitted himself to be mine, so shall I take him and keep him. I will keep him safe from all that would object to us or try to harm us. I will make sure he has all he needs and most that he desires. I will keep him healthy and happy as I am able."
Xander smiled at him. "I accept." He looked at Giles.
"Rupert, do you accept the challenge Xander has presented you with? To protect him, to honor him, to cherish him as your love?"
"I do," he said, smiling at his lover, taking his other hand and kissing it. "I will help Oz protect and cherish him, and will do so in my own right. For whatever Xander lacks in Oz, I shall be to him, and I will be the same to Oz." He took Oz's free hand and kissed the back of it. "To you both, I pledge myself."
Xander smiled and kissed him lightly on the lips. "I accept you as an equal to us," he said, wiping off the moisture from his kiss. He looked up at Jace.
"Xander, do you challenge these men to cherish, protect, and love you?"
"I do. As such, I shall let them know when I am needy, when I have something that is missing, when I need their attention to protect me or to hold me." His smile got brighter as he heard the sniffling from the crowd. "I will allow them to cherish me as I do them. I will love them as they do me. For however long we live, they are mine from this point forward."
"So be it," Jace announced. "These men are bound. By all that was once Holy and all that is still Holy, I announce them joined. Step forward to witness the binding."
Cordelia stepped forward. "I witness," she said, handing the veil back to Ray. "I witness their love and their devotion. Let none harm them before going through me." She glared at the rest of the crowd, who backed away from her.
"I witness their love and devotion," Buffy said, stepping forward, startling Giles. He hadn't seen her hiding behind Angel. "Let none harm them before going through me." She smiled at Giles. "And I'm still a formidable fighter."
Jace nodded. "Let us rejoice then, and let us feast!" She rolled the scroll back up and handed it to Ray, walking down to kiss Xander on the forehead. "You are bound by all that I have ever found Holy." She did the same to the rest of the couple. "Inside," she ordered. "And someone blow out the candles. It's fire season out here."
Everyone trooped inside, followed by the happy couple.
Methos leaned over to Ray. "Did you know about that?" he whispered.
"Richie did," he answered back, stealing a kiss. "I found out when I went in to get him. I had to help him with the veil." He winked and walked into the bedroom, going to put Xander's veil on the bed. He brushed the single blade of grass off the bottom of the veil and tossed it away. Xander would be devastated if he found out it had touched the ground.
"Did it?" Xander asked from the doorway. "Did she drop it?"
"No," Cordelia said, following him in to give him a hug. "It picked up a blade of grass from the chair but I couldn't pick it off without you noticing." She smiled at Ray. "Shouldn't we make him change? He looks cute, and I'm sure his lovers are getting a thrill at being able to see everything he has in shadowy detail, but I'd like to see the other outfit."
"Okay," Xander said happily, turning to give her a hug. "Go wait, I'm changing. Ray, are you helping me?" he asked when the young man hadn't moved. Ray shook his head and left the room, closing the door. Xander walked into the bathroom, where his second outfit was, and closed the door. He had to prepare himself for his husbands.
Richie tapped on Xander's door a few minutes after he had disappeared, sticking his head into the bedroom. "You almost done? Everyone's hungry," he called.
"Coming," Xander said, and there was running water. He walked out with his silver velvet pants, which had long slits in the side, and a pewter tank top. "See," he said, turning around so the young man could see it. "So?" he asked.
"You look good." Richie opened the door. "Come on. You've got to cut the sheet cake." He led the way out, stepping out of the way so Oz and Giles could see him.
Oz handed him the knife, licking his lips at the outfit his lover wore. "You look radiant," he said, stealing a kiss. "Come cut this with us so we can feed the starving horde."
Xander grabbed the knife with him and cut a line, sharing the knife with Giles to cut the second one, then letting those two share to make the third cut to get a square of cake out of the side. He held the plate it was placed on and picked off a corner, feeding it to Oz as he was fed by Giles and Oz fed Giles. Then he fed Giles as Oz fed him and Giles fed Oz. Everyone clapped and Ray whistled. Xander licked his fingers off and took that piece of cake, going to sit down in one of the chairs.
Someone chose that moment to try and get through the door. Amanda and McCleod met with seven swords pointed at them. "Oh, my," she said, rubbing her throat. "Did we miss a party?"
Xander got up and walked over to them, giving her a smile. "Oz made an honest man out of me and Giles." He waved them inside. "Come in, if you want to celebrate with us."
She smiled and kissed his cheek. "Congratulations." She smiled at Oz. "I promise to be good if you do," she told him.
Oz put away his sword and all the others disappeared, except Buffy's and Angels, who went back into holders on their backs. Buffy looked at Giles. "Where did you hide yours?" she asked him. "I want to learn that trick."
Xander turned his head and smiled at her. "Oz won't teach me that either." He winked at Ray, the only mortal he knew who knew that trick. "Come in, Amanda, Mac. Party with us. We ordered enough for a royal feast." He led her to the table, letting Oz cut her a piece of cake. "Why did you come?" he asked as he led her out onto the patio around the pool, where most everyone else was congregating and playing with the animals.
"He wanted to have a talk with Joe and Richie. He's going back into seclusion to think and he wanted them to watch his things for him."
"He almost lost his head," Oz said as he walked over to where they were sitting. "You're always welcome here as long as you don't try to steal from us again." He took a bite from his cake and smiled at Methos. "You did great, old guy."
"Thank you, Oz," Methos called, feeding Ray a piece of his cake.
Oz looked at Xander, and at his outfit. "I'm really glad you didn't wear that earlier," he said, stealing a kiss. "I would have hated to need sunglasses as sunset hit you."
Xander grinned. "I wanted to share some of our trip with everyone here," he said, waving a hand around. He got up as Willow walked past, giving her a hug. "Hi, you came," he said happily.
She smiled up at him. "Yup, I came. And I'm staying in LA. I need my sire." Xander gave her a squeeze. "Thanks. For all of it."
"Hey, we love you," Oz said, holding out a hand to get his own hug. "It's more platonic now, but we do still like you lots."
She smiled at them, wiping her cheeks off. "You guys are just *so* perfect." She got free and walked away, going to sit beside Angel.
Methos cleared his throat and stood up. "In ancient times, which this ceremony had hints of, it was usual to mark one's bride. Some did it with a tattoo." Oz grunted in annoyance and he smiled at his student. "Some people did it by marking them with a necklace. Others did it with a chain around the stomach."
"But which do we do that to?" Buffy asked. "Do we do it to Xander, or to Oz and Giles? It sounded like he owned them or those two owned him, I'm not quite sure which."
"We do it to all three," Ray told her.
"And since there are three, we decided to do a little mixing and matching of our own. We, Joe, myself, and Ray, have gotten together to buy you a gift. Because of certain...allergies of the couple, we've decided to make them in platinum." He pulled up three long, thin boxes. "Step forward and be marked as each other's."
Oz took the boxes and looked inside them. "You bought us t-collars?" he asked, pulling out the first line of chain. He nodded Giles over, watching as he took off his shirt. "You can take this off only for a good reason," he said.
"Only when at least one of you agree," Methos corrected. "Or if Xander's kidnapped again and they take it off him, but then he's honor bound to kick their ass and get it back." Mac glared at him and mumbled something too quiet to hear, earning a look from Methos. "Or his mates," Methos amended. "Sometimes Xander's too pissed to fight back without killing them both."
Oz nodded. "Don't worry, we always go after him."
"I don't think that they need to ask to take it off when they take a shower," Giles told him, turning the conversation back to the present.
"You mean you don't shower with them, Xander?" Ray asked.
"Nope, Oz refuses to. He said that he needs *some* time away from me." He grinned and winked at his best friend. Everyone laughed.
"I do," Oz complained. "Xander, want a new pattern?" Xander leaned over and gave him a kiss. "Thanks. Is that a yes?"
"Sure, I'll take some new patterns so you can have some time alone." He worked the clasp on the stomach chain to Giles' set, watching as Oz got the necklace part. "Those are cool."
"Good. Strip, shirt only," Oz amended as Xander reached for his drawstrings on his pants. Xander grinned and took off his shirt, and a few of the girls gasped. "What?" He looked down at himself and frowned at the red marks. "Hey, someone gave me lipstick kisses," he complained.
Oz wet a napkin in his glass and wiped off the lip marks. "It's the Monsoon demon," he mumbled. "He was watching."
Xander stopped his rant with a kiss. "Then he knows that he can't ever get between us again." He stepped between Oz's legs, letting him wrap the stomach chain around his middle.
"The other box," Methos told him. "That one's yours."
Oz switched boxes and pulled out the last set, wrapping them around Xander's stomach while Giles got his neck. Then he stood and took off his shirt, letting Xander get his neck and Giles his waist to avoid any temptation of Xander's naughty side. They all pulled back on their shirts and sat back down to applause.
Angel stood up. "I couldn't think of what to get you three, so we, as a family, got you something practical." He was handed a long box by Buffy and Willow, and walked it over to Xander. "For the times when they're not there," he said, presenting it to him and stepping back.
Xander unwrapped the gold paper, inhaling sharply as he saw the sword inside it. "Oh, my," he said, standing up to hold the sword up. "And it's something I can use too."
Methos took it and looked at the handle. "McCleod, let me see your sword."
"It's the same maker," McCleod said after pulling his sword to compare them. "This sword is older than most of the people here. It was made in Japan approximately nine hundred years ago." He bowed to Xander. "It's got a unique balance. If you need information on caring for it, I've written them down for the person who gets mine after I'm gone." He sat down.
Methos walked the sword back over and carefully presented it. "I'll help you learn the sword later," he promised. "Each one is different and you must practice with that one."
Xander nodded, wiping off a tear. "Thank you, Angel. This is really special to me." He carefully put the scabbard on his back by the red leather strap. "I'll cherish this as much as I do Oz and Giles."
Willow sighed. "I knew it was the right gift. It was in bad shape when we got it. Angel spent almost a week shining it up."
Oz nodded at him. "Thanks."
"Hey, I was going to give it to him anyway," Angel said with a shrug, going back to his seat.
Amanda reached into her purse. "Well, I obviously didn't come with a present but I do have a gift for the young ones." She walked over and whispered in Xander's ear. He beamed up at her and she pressed something into his hand before going back to her seat. "What?" she asked innocently when Methos looked at her. "It was a private gift."
Xander pulled Methos down and whispered in his ear. "Oh," he said, his eyes going wide. "Yes, that would be a most useful gift in this family." He smiled at Amanda. "Let's remember things like allergies though."
Xander winked at her. "We'll talk later, before I kidnap my mates and make everyone run for cover." Everyone laughed, except Oz, who blushed and shook his head.
"I lost the bet," Oz told Giles. "How much did I owe you?"
Giles smiled. "I'll let you work it off," he said with a leer.
Oz got up and went into the house, coming back with his sword. "Any jokes and you get it."
Everyone laughed, except Amanda, who blushed. "My, Oz, are you a bit possessive?" she asked jokingly.
"Yup," Oz said seriously. "Xander's mine, and so's Giles." He sat down and looked at everyone.
Joe leaned over to Amanda. "He's a berserker, you won't win," he told her.
Angel looked at Oz, his mouth open. Oz nodded. "Which is why I don't fight that much."
"Which is why I got fight training," Xander said proudly. "And why I got so good."
"So we heard," Joe said, smiling at him. "How do those feel?"
"Feels good," Xander said, touching the necklace. "It feels right actually." He smiled at Giles. "I can see someone's going to have to get used to it though."
"Yes, well, I've never been used to necklaces, much less things shifting around my waist and down my chest." He pulled Xander's head over for a kiss. "You, though, are in for quite a time later. We're going to make you clean up your craft room."
Xander grinned. "Is that *all* I have to do?" he asked sweetly.
Angel started to laugh. "Giles, give it up, he's going to talk you into the bedroom one way or another."
"And he's got a beautiful bed," Buffy added. "Maybe they'll be able to admire the view tonight?"
Oz shook his head. "Haven't yet."
Xander blushed. "Like you complain."
Methos snickered and walked back to his seat. "I think that's all we have for you three. Unless someone bought them an individual present."
"I did," Cordelia said, standing up and walking a small envelope over. "I figured you'd like this," she said with a smile to Xander. "Maybe you'll even convince your men to go with you. Oz could definitely use some moisturizing."
Xander opened the envelope and grinned up at her. "Thanks, Cordy." He held it up. "She got me a spa gift certificate and a year's membership." Methos clapped. "Oh, and I will get Oz moisturized tonight, don't worry about it. I intend to pamper them later."
"Naughty," Oz sighed. "Not in front of the guests."
"Yes, Oz," he said, grinning his most lecherous grin at him. "I'll be good."
"You'd better be good," a new voice said from the doorway. "I challenge the immortal," he said coldly, looking at Giles. "You killed my student."
"Your student killed my teacher," Giles said, equally cold as he stood. "We're having a celebration, this is not the time for this."
"That's why I'm here," he said, throwing back his hood to show his bald, pale white head. "You took my life from me, now I take yours from you."
Xander pulled his new sword. "You dare interrupt my wedding?" he hissed, getting between his lover and this strange man. "Know this. Even if you won, your life would be over." He looked him over then spit. "No real man interferes with a marriage ceremony or it's reception."
The immortal looked this young man over. "You're not one of us, yet you talk like you are." He looked at the hard faces around. "My student did this?"
"Your student killed Connor McCleod. I was honorable enough to wait for his quickening to die down and for him to be able to grasp his sword before challenging him," Giles stated. "Name yourself and we'll go battle." He pushed Xander down into his chair, looking at him. "You may not kill him if I die."
"It's a losing battle," Oz told him. "He knows he can't interfere, but I wouldn't count on your winning opponent making it for very long. Xander's got enough of what I am in him to lose it when we're gone."
Methos nodded. "I've noticed." He looked at this stranger. "Know this, imbecile, you challenge my student. If you win, I will challenge you next. You will not walk out of here alive."
McCleod stood up. "Let me. He killed my clansman. It's my right to have him first." He nodded at Giles, almost bowing. "Thank you for avenging him when I wasn't able. Do you want this challenge or do I take it?"
"I remove my challenge," the man said, looking at Xander, who was burning holes through him with his stare. "The young one was right. I have no business interrupting a happy occasion. It was my grief that drove me to it." He bowed deeply to Giles and Xander. "May you two have happiness together. I will avenge my student tomorrow."
Giles bowed back. "I'll await you here." The stranger left and everyone relaxed. He looked at the crowd. "I wouldn't worry about it. His student was foolhardy. He couldn't hardly fight at all." He looked at McCleod. "He tripped over the other man as he fell. That's what did him in. The young immortal was faster to his feet. He kicked Connors' sword...." Xander placed a hand on his arm.
"Why don't you two go talk about it," Oz suggested gently. "That way you don't have to deal with it alone."
McCleod stood up. "I'd be honored to hear about that fight," he said, waving a hand at the house. Giles followed him inside.
Xander looked at his sword, then easily put it back. He knew Amanda was looking at him, but he didn't care. He had to make Giles forget about his challenge for tonight. He looked over at Oz and grinned. "I think we need music. Ray, weren't you in charge of that?"
"Yup," Ray said, getting up and going inside. After a few seconds, music floated out the open door. Something light, contemporary, but without words. "There ya go," Ray said, walking back out. He walked back in when he heard the phone and came out a few minutes later, giving Xander a hug. "Stop me from exploding," he begged quietly.
"Shh," Xander said, pulling him down into his lap for a hug. "Who was it and why do I have to go beat them?"
"That was my boss. Chicago wants me to come back and go undercover as a hooker."
"No way in hell," Xander said coldly. "Haven't you applied out here?"
"Yeah, but they won't release my service record without me coming back to at least fill out the paperwork again in person."
Methos walked over and took Xander's chair so he could take his lover back. "What did they do this time?"
"They won't release my records without my coming back. They're pushing for me to do that job still."
"Over my dead body," Methos said quietly. "I'll go back with you."
"So will I," Xander said, looking at him. "No one gets around me easily." He gave Ray a squeeze and shifted him back to his lover under Oz's watchful gaze. "Chicago's being crappy to him."
"Then *we'll* go fix it," Oz told them. He looked at Ray. "What do you need most? Your records or their consent to let you leave?"
"I already quit, they're saying that they lost the paperwork," Ray told him.
"Oh, let me," Angel said with a cold smile. He got up and walked over, smiling at Ray. "We all stick up for each other around here, even for the new members of the group." He smiled at Xander, who grinned back. "After all, we do have a bespelled Spike twiddling his thumbs while his conscious works overtime on him."
Willow cleared her throat. "Sending him out as a weapon would break my spell."
"Not if we don't send him out," Angel said. He stood up and waved at his table. "Let's go plan how to manipulate him," he told his family, giving Xander a smile before they all left. Cordy mimed 'call me' before she trailed out after them.
Xander looked over at Ray. "Or I can go and fix this too."
"We," Giles said as he walked back out. "Ray, are you all right?"
"Yeah, I'm fine, Giles. Thanks for askin'."
"Well, you are a member of our group now, and Angel was correct that we do stick up for each other when we need it." He smiled over at Richie, who was talking quietly with Joe. "Even for the ones on the fringes of our group." He caught Joe's eye and smiled at him, getting a nod. The Watcher would take care of Richie tonight so he didn't have a problem with the noise they would be making.
The party slowly faded out, everyone going back to their room, Amanda and McCleod going to the craft room to sleep on the pillows spread around in there. Xander led the way into their bedroom, getting out of the way so his husbands could see the way he had set up the bed. He nodded at Oz, who railroaded Giles into stripping and being tied down before he knew what had gotten to him.
Giles looked up from having rose petals sprinkled across his body. "This isn't my usual position," he noted.
"Yup, but we're going to prove to you yet that you're here as an equal," Oz told him, kissing him.
"Yeah, we all get time down there with you," Xander grinned, sliding his cloth-covered body down his lover's, grinding the roses between the velvet and silk.
Giles pushed up against him, panting as the fabrics rubbing across his cock changed. "Xander!" He tried to grab him when the young man moved, but he got grinned at when he reached the end of his restraints. He growled and started to work on his left wrist restraint with his teeth.
"No-no," Xander said, pulling his mouth away from the strap and possessing it. By the time he pulled back, Giles was breathless and willing to go along with whatever he wanted, just what he had planned. "Now, isn't that better?" he cooed, taking off his own tank top. Giles nodded, watching his new husband be uncovered. "Did you like my outfit?"
"Loved it," Oz told him, reaching around to untie Xander's pants. "I want to see if that glowing stuff goes all the way down. Xander arched up so he could get the pants off him, and Oz nipped him on the back of the neck. "Calm down, you're getting it soon enough," he told his youngest lover. He noticed the gleaming cheeks and looked down at the cleft between them. "Naughty," he mock-sighed, looking at Giles. "He was lubed all this time and not even plugged. How are you going to get that out of velvet?" he asked, kissing the back of Xander's neck.
"I'll wash it," Xander groaned, taking a kiss from Giles. "Same as I will you after we're done." He winked at his lover then turned to look up at Oz, using Giles as a pillow. "Hi," he said, lifting his hips up to rub against Oz's still-covered cock. "Don't you think you're overdressed?"
"Probably," Oz agreed, letting Xander go. "Why don't you have Giles while I go shower? I'm sweaty and nasty." He stood up, watching as Xander crawled up Giles' body for a kiss before planting himself firmly down on him. "No foreplay?" he asked.
"Later," Xander promised, grinning at him. "After I have Giles." He leaned down for a hug while he was riding the immobile man. "Want more?" he asked.
"Yes, I'd like some more," Giles said, smiling at Oz. "Go shower. I can handle him alone for a bit."
"Then you're a stronger man than I am." Oz left them alone, going to take his shower.
Xander grinned at his lover. "So, you think you can handle me, huh?" he smirked, being down to lick over the hard, dripping cock. He used every dirty trick he had ever learned to make Giles scream, and when he hadn't after ten minutes, he looked up and smiled. Giles had passed out. "Damn, I'm good," he told himself, getting up to go bother Oz in the shower. "Oh, Oz," he called out as he walked through the door. "I made Giles pass out."
"Huh." Oz stuck his head out of the shower. "Congrats." Xander beamed. "Go finish playing with him and then you can play with me before we get down to the serious honeymooning."
Xander turned and jogged out, taking a flying leap and landing on top of his lover's insensate body. "Giles," he said, waking him up with lots of little kisses. "Time to get up, big boy."
Giles blinked and looked up at his lover. "Xander, please let me up," he whispered. Xander jumped up and released him, helping him sit up. "Thank you. I'll be right back." He walked out of the bedroom while he put on his robe, knocking on the room next door. "Methos, may I talk with you?" he called quietly. The door opened and Ray let him in. "Thank you. I know I'm interrupting, but I'm not feeling the best right now." He sat down on the bed as the room started to spin again. "Oh," he said, grabbing his head. "That doesn't feel that good." He passed out again.
Methos picked up Giles' hand to look at the nails, then leaned down to look at his eyes and smell his breath. "Cyanide," he said, sitting up. "Ray, I need to help him. Can you go get Richie? If he's been poisoned, that one will know." Ray nodded and left, and Methos killed Giles by clamping down on his carotid artery. He looked up as Richie walked in. "What haven't you two eaten together?"
"Almost nothing," Richie said, coming over to sit beside him. "What happened?"
"Cyanide poisoning," Methos said, getting up to close the door. "Let me see your hands. Have you been feeling faint?" Richie nodded. "For how long?"
"A few days," he said, sitting down beside the reanimating body. "Before Xander proposed to him, I think."
"Which would explain why he passed out then," Methos agreed. He looked down at Giles, giving him a faint smile. "I know why that keeps happening. You've got something in your system that's contaminating it. We have to force it out before you worry Xander sick."
"All right. What will help me in the fastest time?"
"The bomb," Methos said, getting up and going into the bathroom. He was in there for a few minutes and came out with a thick, oily glass of fluid. "Each of you drink half of this. Give it twenty minutes and your body will rid itself of *everything*."
Richie grimaced as he drank his portion. "Eww. What is that?"
"Castor oil and Milk of Magnesia," Methos said with a smile. "I've never known it not to work."
Giles got up and ran into the bathroom, and gross sounds came out of the open door.
Richie got up and closed it, looking at Methos. "What did it?"
"I'm not sure. For now, eat things that only one of us have fixed. All right?" Richie nodded. "And whatever you do, don't let Joe eat anything that we haven't fixed."
Richie held his stomach and ran from the room, going to the bathroom downstairs.
Giles walked out of the bathroom, wiping his hands off. "Well, they certainly named that aptly." He turned around and ran back into the bathroom, this time shutting the door all the way.
Methos smirked as he walked back over to the bed and laid down. "But the important thing is that you're fine and that Xander will never find out," he said quietly as he picked up his book. He smiled as Giles walked out of the bathroom wiping his hand off. "Just be careful," he reminded him. "And don't tell Xander."
Giles shook his head. "I'm not that dumb or naive, Methos, but thank you for fixing it." He left the room, going back to his own, where Oz was now lying strapped to the bed. "Did I miss anything?" he asked them, closing the door behind him.
"Just an excellent blow job," Oz told him, waving him over. "What's wrong?"
"Just an upset stomach. Methos had just the thing for it." He looked at the bathroom. "I think I need a shower, before I do anything else. I'll be right back."
Oz looked down at Xander, who was grinning at him. "What did you overhear?" he whispered.
"Lots, but he's fine and so's Richie." He winked. "Methos' got it." He knew better than to tell Oz. What Methos thought he would do was nothing compared to what Oz would do if he found out. Oz was overprotective of Giles, just as much as he was of him. He bent down, going back to his blowjob, taking Oz's mind off Giles' stomach.
Oz growled and pulled Xander's head up, taking control of his mouth. "Enough with the sucking. Do more," he ordered.
Xander grinned and wiggled his way up Oz's body, tempting him with his movements. His new husband grinned as he sank himself down onto his cock and grabbed his hips. "Did you really want me to do more?" he teased, squeezing with his internal muscles. Oz squeaked. "Oh, did you like that?"
Oz pulled Xander's head down and took control of his mouth. "Dance on me," he said against the lips, then his eyes rolled back in his head as Xander did something that he'd never done before. He heard the evil chuckle before he passed out and promised himself to pay Xander back for whatever it was he had done.
Xander hopped off Oz, checking to make sure he was all right. Then he padded into the bathroom and jumped onto Giles' back, riding him. "Hi. Are you okay enough to let me play with you? I heard the first part."
Giles reached back and patted the firm rear. "Yes, love, I feel much better now." He choked as Xander slid his way down his back and slid himself into the hole he had just prepared for later. "Xan... Oh," he moaned, bracing himself against the tiles to take all he was getting. He noticed Oz walk in but he doubted Xander did.
Oz stopped to watch Xander hump Giles like a poodle on top of german shepard, then shook his head, pulling his youngest husband off and bending him over the edge of the sink. "Naughty, naughty you," he chastised, "leaving me like that. Coming in here to hang on Giles' back and screw him into the shower wall."
"I didn't mind," Giles said as he rinsed off. He turned off the water and got out of the shower, pulling Oz away from Xander and bending him over his lap as he sat on the edge of the tub. He stuck his fingers into the slick hole and proceeded to fuck him that way for a few minutes. He spread his legs so Xander could get between them and suck on Oz's cock, completing the circle between them as the young man's fingers found his hole. "Oh, yes," he sighed, coming against the soft stomach.
Oz groaned and came, sitting up so the blood would leave his head for a while. He pulled his cock away from Xander, ruffling his hair. "Who gets tied down now?"
"Me!" Xander said, hopping up to go strap himself down, at least as far as he could.
Oz leaned against Giles' side. "He just did something to me that I've never felt before. It was all inside and it felt like his muscles were sucking on me."
"I'm waiting," Xander called.
"Oh," Giles sighed, standing up and pulling Oz up with him. "We'd best go satisfy him. We can figure out this new trick later, once we've all rested."
Oz patted him on the back. "I can buy us some time." He walked out and unstrapped Xander's wrists, not saying anything about the wet strap on one of them. "You're going to show us what you want us to do to you," he told his lover, pulling out the drawer with their toys. "Pick your weapon and tease us, babe."
Xander leaned over and looked at the choices he had. He pulled out a few and weighed them in his hand, putting most of them back. He ended up with two toys, one a flesh-like, smaller one, and the other the cast made from Oz's cock. He licked over the signature Oz had put on it, making his eldest husband shiver. He laid back on the pillows, letting Giles put a few more under him so he was propped up. He sucked on the Oz-cock, deep throating it a few times before pulling it out to play it around the inside of his mouth, making sure they could hear his sucking. He shook it in his teeth, lightly holding it like he would the real Oz, and Giles moaned, picking up the second toy to use it on him. "Let me," Xander said, taking it from him, moving them both in an intricate rhythm.
Oz sucked in his breath and took the cock from Xander's mouth, replacing it with his own by sitting across his husband's chest. He knew Giles had replaced the one below with himself, both of them energized by watching their lover play.
"Yeah!" Xander shouted, bucking up to get more of both of them.
Oz rode the waves of Xander's chest, leaning forward to let him have more of the cock he was begging for. He came with a grunt as he felt the tongue trying to get inside him, holding Xander's head still so he had to take it all.
Giles thumped Oz on the back as he came and flopped onto his side. "Oh, lord," he groaned. "I think I'm dead."
"Not yet," Oz promised, pulling out of Xander's still sucking mouth. He took a gentle kiss in apology for the roughness he had given him.
"More," Xander demanded, lifting his hips up.
"Babe, we need time to recuperate," Oz reminded him, flopping down to cuddle between his men. And they were his men now.
Xander picked up the toy and stood on the bed, chaining himself to a hidden loop up in the canopy. He used his free hand to use the toy on himself, spreading his legs so he was straddling Giles' body. "I don't," he smirked, starting to move it harder and faster. He came a few minutes later, shooting all over Giles' chest and face. Then he sighed and let himself down, laying between his men. "I think that'll hold me for a few more minutes," he said, closing his eyes.
Oz gave Giles a panicked look, but he got a smile of confidence back. "We can handle this level of need," Giles assured him gently. "We've done it before."
"True," Oz agreed, pulling Xander tighter against him to take a nap himself. He was going to need it.
Jace looked across the dining room table at Methos, who looked haggard this morning. "Did they keep you up too?" she asked sweetly.
"Yes," he sighed, picking up his cup of coffee to take another drink of the strong brew. "Between their six times last night and Ray wanting some every time they woke him up, I don't think I got a bit of sleep." Ray leaned over and bit him on the arm. "Oww. Bloody cannibal this morning."
Ray grinned at him. "But I like how you taste," he purred, leaning in for a kiss.
Methos granted him the kiss then pushed him away. "Ray, immortal doesn't mean always ready. No matter what Xander's convinced Oz of." He patted him on the head. "Give me a while to rest, all right? I'd hate to be hard on you, which I tend to get when I need a nap."
Ray shook his head. "I've never noticed it before."
"I've never been this tired before," Methos said dryly. "If we did anything now, I'd fear that I'd hurt you unintentionally. I can be quite savage when I'm exhausted."
"But I still love you," Ray said, giving him a hug. "You can sneak off now and get a nap. They're not up yet."
"Yes, but I'm sure they're going to wake me up if I do," Methos sighed, getting up to go take his nap.
Ray grinned at Jace. "He's a sweetie. He takes very good care of me."
She nodded. "I can see that. Is he going to train you too?" Ray shrugged and she put down her cup of tea. "Ray, I shouldn't tell you this, but you read like a pre-immortal to us. There are many who'd kill you that first time to take your head as you woke up."
He smiled. "I know. Xander told me about that part. Oz didn't want to tell him that either, but Amanda told him that he read like a pre-immie and he figured the rest out. You guys are great at protecting us, but we don't need it. A gun won't stop you permanently, but it'll stop you long enough for me to get away."
Jace smiled, relaxing. "Yes, it will. Just be careful, all right? I'd hate to see Methos falling apart because something happened to you." He got his sappy grin back. "More than already has," she amended. "If you thought he was overprotective before, you're in for a treat now. He's very possessive of what's his. Even more so than Oz can be." She winced as Oz screamed, his voice hoarse from the last night's passion. "Well, they're awake," she sighed, picking back up her tea to take a sip.
"Stop it," Methos called, slamming his door as he stomped down to the trio's room. He shoved their door open, not caring that it hit the wall. "Stop it right now! Some of us haven't slept yet and we'd appreciate having the time to take a nap."
Xander got off Oz and came over to give him a hug. "I'm sorry," he whispered, leading Methos back to his room. "I promise to make Oz be more quiet," he soothed, tucking his friend into his bed. "We won't keep you awake any more," he cooed, kissing him on the forehead. "Comfy?" Methos nodded. "Good. We'll be quiet and you'll nap." He blew another kiss and padded back to his room, closing the door and locking it. He looked at Oz, who Giles had helpfully filled his mouth for. "Thanks." He climbed back onto the bed and went back to his blowjob. He loved his Oz in the morning, it was an addiction now, even stronger than coffee for him.
In the living room, Jace and Ray shared a smile, both going back to their breakfasts.
Richie walked up the stairs from the basement. "Is it safe?" he asked Ray.
"Yup, the naked Xander is safely back where he belongs." Ray pointed at the dishes on the stove. "I made them. Eat. Hey, Joe."
Joe smiled at him. "Was it as loud up here as it was downstairs?"
"No," Ray said with a bright, naughty grin, "you guys got sound proofing."
Jace snickered. "I didn't, and let me tell you, it was an amazing feat those three did last night. It belongs in some record book." She winked at Joe as she pulled up a piece of toast to nibble on.
Joe laughed and went to dish himself up some food. "Ray, thanks for feeding us."
"No big. I'm used to being the first one up becausa work and all." He looked toward the back room where he could hear people moving around. "Sounds like more grumpy people are up," he noted.
Amanda walked out, fluffing out her hair. "Do they ever stop?" she complained. She patted Ray on the head. "Where's your other half?"
"Back in bed." He smiled up at her. "How did you sleep?"
"Sleep?" she asked with an enigmatic smile. "I think we got some." She winked at Joe. "How was your rest?"
"It was more peaceful that everyone up here," he told her, handing over a plate. "Ray cooked."
"Good. I'm horrible at the domestic applications." She dished herself up some of the food and went to sit beside Ray. "When is Methos going to teach you how to fight?"
"He might not," Jace said. "Ray's a Police Officer. He's trying to switch to a department out here, but Chicago is being most uncooperative."
Amanda raised an eyebrow. "Oh, really?" she asked, faking disinterest. "Maybe they need a friendly chat with Ray to make things go smoother?"
"They're trying to blackmail me," Ray said, staying calm. "They're not getting me to go undercover again; I refuse to lose myself to the streets ever again."
"Good," Jace said, letting her pride echo in that one word. "We'll help any way we can."
"I can get someone to talk to the LAPD if you'd like," Amanda offered. "I know a few people in there that might be able to help you get on faster."
"Nah, I want to work for a small department," Ray said wistfully, looking around the house. "I want a place like this, with better security, and no more Vice assignments, somewhere that the homicide rate is below eight percent."
"That leaves this town out," Jace said.
"Yeah, but there's this nice town about thirty minutes away," Ray told her excitedly. "They've got an opening for a detective and I applied. I should be hearing something any day now." He looked at Amanda. "I even told them about my problems with Chicago. I'm not the first person they've heard this from. A few years ago, they got someone from New York with the same problem." He checked his watch. "I'm going to go check my mail." He brought his plates into the kitchen then jogged upstairs to use the computer. "What's the password?" he called down.
"Which account," Oz called hoarsely, opening the door to go up and help him.
Xander walked out wearing a pair of dance pants and sat in Ray's chair with a hiss of pain. He grinned at the women. "I didn't make the sound," he told them quietly.
"Of course you didn't," Amanda said, reaching over to pat his hand. "Would you like your craft room back? I straightened up a little last night, just enough to spread out the pillows."
Xander got up and ran into his craft room, coming back after a few minutes. "You didn't mess up the forms," he said, giving her a hug before sitting down. "Thank you."
"Sweetie, I used to work with a seamstress. I know what not to touch." She smiled at Jace. "As I'm sure she does."
Jace nodded. "She does. She remembers those days quite well. Trust her, if she had the money, she'd be going to a designer all the time." She looked at Xander, who got a wicked glint in his eyes. "I'll come to you sometimes, but not enough to bother your men."
He nodded excitedly. "I'm starting to get really good and change patterns now. Give me a year and I'll be good enough to take a design you give me and make it."
"I'll keep that in mind," she said, giving him a smile. "A warm bath might be in order."
"Giles is in there," he said proudly. "He's *sore*."
"Honey, so are you," Jace reminded him gently.
"Yeah, but I've got a reputation to uphold," he said, winking at her. "I'll be fine. I'll get a long bath later."
Oz walked down the stairs and grinned at Jace. "I heard that," he said happily. "You admitted that you're sore. The first time in the three years I've been with you." He stole a kiss. "Want me to go run you a bath in Ray's room?"
"Nope. I'll do it in our room after Giles gets out."
"Come get me when you get in," Oz told him. "I'll spoil you this time, like I was going to in LA." He kissed the top of Xander's head. "How's everyone else?"
"Tired," Amanda said sweetly. "There seems to have been a bit of noise...." Xander was blushing so she stopped. "We got to sleep well enough," she admitted, trying to keep him calm. "McCleod snores, he can sleep through anything."
Oz shrugged. "It was a honeymoon. What else did you expect?" He walked into the kitchen, looking at the mess. "Who cooked?"
"Ray," Jace said, gathering her plates together and bringing them in. "I could fix you something so you can rest," she offered. "I know how much you hate to cook."
"I like to cook for Xander," he told her, patting her on the arm. "I've learned that cooking wasn't evil. Don't worry about our starving."
"He's even pretty good at it," Xander told her. "Which is good, 'cause I can make microwave stuff but that's about it."
Amanda looked at him. "You can't cook?"
"I can cook enough to feed a bachelor," he corrected. "Which I'm not anymore. But Giles can cook pretty well, and Oz can cook pretty well, so all I have to do is dress up the table."
Oz looked at his husband. "And do the dishes."
Xander grinned. "Me?" he asked innocently.
"Yes, you," Oz told him, walking out to give him a hug. "We'll teach you how to cook. Don't worry about it." He looked at the remains of breakfast on the table, then at Xander. "What would you like? We should still have a bagel or two."
"Okay," he said, rubbing down Oz's side. "Just as long as you make it for me, we're good to go. What about Giles?"
"He wasn't hungry yet," Oz said as he walked back into the kitchen. "I'll make him something soon."
Methos walked out of his bedroom and over to where Oz was, examining what he was pulling out. "Not that," he said, taking the leftover pastries from yesterday away. "They're not fit to eat without warming up again." He put them back and gave Xander a hug. "May I please nap for a bit? I couldn't get to sleep until you were all out of that blasted pleasure hole you call a bedroom and the noise stopped."
"Sure," Xander said graciously. "Nap away. I'm going to bathe later."
"Thank you." He and Xander looked at each other and Xander nodded, so Methos went back to his room and his nap.
Oz looked at Xander, staring at him. "What?" he asked, gripping the edge of the counter.
"Nothing," Xander said. "Methos said something tasted funny yesterday."
"Uh-huh." Oz walked out and pulled Xander's chair back, sitting in his lap. "I can tell when you lie, you're not very good at it with your friends," he reminded his new husband. "Don't start us off like this."
"It's nothing," Methos called.
Xander gave Oz a helpless look. "It's nothing," he repeated.
Oz got up and walked into Methos' room, coming back a few minutes later. He stared at Xander, who looked pitiful enough. "When did you find out?"
"Last night while you were in the shower. I snuck down to listen at Meth's door."
"Oh." Oz rubbed through his hair. "Does he know what went bad?"
"Nope," Xander said, keeping in his sigh of relief. "All we know is that Giles and Richie both ate it."
"Okay," Oz said, looking at the kitchen. "What have they eaten that we haven't?"
"Sports bars," Amanda said. "I saw him eating one last night after you left for your room."
Oz stopped and looked at her. "True. I haven't eaten any. Giles and he have been working out together, they might have shared." He walked down to the basement, where Richie had retreated to eat in peace. He came back up with the bag of sports bars and took them in to Methos. They could test a few. A few minutes later, his aggravated voice floated down the hall. "That's not botulism, that's Cyanide!" He stormed out and looked down at Xander. "You knew last night?"
"Meth figured out what was making Giles pass out so often and he cleaned both their systems. That's why Giles needed the shower last night."
"We didn't want to tell you," Methos said from the hallway, where he was lounging against the wall. "We know how you can be, and we're very sure it wasn't a move against your family, Oz." He walked closer at the stiffening body. "You trust me as a doctor, do so for your mates. I took appropriate action once I figured out what it was. They're both fine, as evidenced by Richie cleaning out the leftovers."
Oz turned on him. "You should have told me!"
"Yes, I probably should have. Would you have wanted this to ruin your honeymoon?"
Oz shook his head. "I still should have been told. You told Xander."
"No, Xander snuck down and overheard," Xander told him quietly. "I knew how you'd react and I wanted us all to have one night free of stress. Methos sounded like he had it and I was going to help him search for what was contaminated today." He looked up at Oz. "I was trying to keep us all happy, Oz, don't be mad. Please don't be mad," he asked pitifully.
Oz pulled him into his arms, cradling him tightly against him. "I'm not mad at you. I know you were trying to do what was best for us. Was there anything else that might have been contaminated?" he asked his teacher.
"Not unless Richie has been sharing something else with Giles," Methos said lightly. "I've tasted his sports drink last night when I found one in the refrigerator. He's eaten most of what we have and it's been a recent as well as a long term contamination. I think the sports bars are it."
Oz nodded, kissing Xander on the neck. "Fine. Go tell him, I'll go tell Giles."
"He has a challenge today," Xander whispered.
"I know. I'm trying to forget about it too," Oz told him. He gave him a squeeze and walked them both to their bedroom. "Giles, we found what was making you sick," he called from the doorway.
Joe walked up the stairs and looked at the sports bar in Methos' hand. "That's it?"
"This is it, we think," Methos amended. "This is all we could figure out that they alone shared."
Joe nodded, looking around. "I heard Oz get upset."
"He is. He's in their room talking to his lovers. Probably telling them not to keep him out of the loop."
"But, Oz, I'm sore there too," Xander's voice drifted down the hall.
Methos shook his head, hanging it. "I stand corrected. He's making sure they're all fine."
"Oz," Giles called out. "Not yet. I can't take that yet. I'm not ready."
Methos sighed and went to lay down on the couch. "Maybe some space will make them less noisy and I'll get some sleep now."
Jace snorted as she made some more eggs. "Joe, would you like something else? I am a passable cook. I've even taken some lessons from my chefs."
He smiled. "Thanks. I'll take that challenge." He sat down next to Amanda and gave her a smile. "Richie's fine. He's presently sleeping it off too." He looked at the couch as a horrendous snore came from it. "I hope that's one of the dogs."
"One of the human variety," Jace said, giving him a brilliant smile. "He used to snore so *horribly*," she complained. "It was hard enough to get to sleep on the trail, but with him snoring it was impossible. Oz and I used to take turns clamping his nose shut." She cracked the eggs into the bowl. "Scrambled okay, or did you want fried?"
"Scrambled goes farther," he said, returning her smile. "Jace, we don't have a thing on you in the Chronicles. Would you mind if I talked with you today to put some information in there?"
She laughed lightly. "Me, talk about myself?" She shared a look with him. "That used to be one of my favorite activities. I even used to have a theme song."
"Please, not that," Methos complained, still sleeping. "Leave Joxer the Mighty dead. Please!"
She laughed again, throwing a bagel at him. "Quit. You definitely need sleep, old one." She winked at Joe. "Of course, but what I can tell you may go against some of your deeply held beliefs."
Joe shrugged. "If it's that odd, I'll have them put it in as 'this is your story, as you told it'. Some will question it but others will look at it as the truth." He leaned on his hands. "How old are you?"
"Let's see, I'm two years younger than a former immie named Theodonius."
Joe nodded. "I remember reading about him. He disappeared, we don't have a clue who killed him."
Methos made a noise and rolled over, falling off the couch. "Damn," he muttered, getting up to go to his room.
Joe saw her frown of concentration and started to get up. "Can I help?"
She shook her head. "There's a story you probably should know but never record, but it's not mine to tell." She looked toward the bedroom, seeing Oz standing in the hall. He nodded to her and went back into his bedroom, closing the door. "But I just got permission. Amanda, can you finish this?" She nodded and got up to help while Jace led Joe outside. "You may not spread this around to anyone," she said quietly, sitting him beside the pool. "Theo still lives. He was one of my two teachers."
"But I thought Methos and Oz were," Joe said, looking confused. She nodded and his face cleared up. "Methos?"
She shook her head. "Oz." She sat beside him. "You know he's a berserker, correct?" He nodded, getting comfortable. "Well, about four hundred years ago, a year before Oz came to be, Theo attacked his best friend because his woman was sleeping with the best friend. Now, this was all her doing. She wasn't in love with Theo, she was using him to get to his best friend."
"So, Theo tried to take his head," Joe finished. She nodded slowly. "Then what?"
"Then Theo, once he realized what he was doing, ran away. He was mentally blocked for most of that year. His friend stopped in to ask if I had seen him, and when I found out, I helped in the search for him. We found him on a cliff in Greece, where his temple used to sit. The one his teacher and friend had saved him from. He thought it was back then. He was even speaking in Ancient Greek."
"So, Theo changed and became Oz?"
"Who hardly ever fights," she noted. "He can't. Whenever he does now, he loses control. So far, Xander's the only one who can bring him back. Oz becomes possessive to the point of needing to claim his mate. It happens when he dies also."
"So the whole trip to your place after Chicago was all to help him?"
"Yes, and to protect Xander. At the end of that trip, I found out that Xander can handle him in that state and bring him back. He's very good at it actually." She smiled at the house. "Those two are meant to be together. Giles will be here and there in their relationship. He's going to use his eternity to study everything he can."
"That's what he's good at though," Xander said from the doorway. He closed the door behind him and walked out. "Joe, we know you know why you have to protect Oz, but do you know why you have to protect me?" Joe shook his head so he sat down next to him. "The binding spell worked. Same as it did for Meth and Ray. I'm reading as a pre-immortal by all the immies around." He pulled out a dagger and sliced into the back of his hand, watching as the flames sprung up to heal him. "I do it a little differently, but I still do it somewhat, only I scar." He put away the dagger and looked at Jace. "Amanda knows, she thinks I'm some strange immortal. We're not spreading around this spell though, it's too dangerous. Mostly for the immortal."
Joe nodded slowly. "I heard that Oz had a problem with his quickening a few years ago. Was that...." Xander held up a hand.
"Yeah, it was. And I helped solve it." He showed off the pale, thin scars across his chest. "I helped cure him, but I doubt that a one-on-one thing would work. When we did the spell, I got linked to Connor, Giles, Oz, and Methos. Ray's linked to all *three* of us." Joe started. "Yeah, I felt it too. He doesn't know that, and he won't if I have my way. He's very insecure about me taking Methos from him, but he shouldn't be. Methos and I consider each other fun for a while, but nothing else." He smiled at Jace. "As someone has seen on her security cameras."
Joe coughed. "All right. If that works, then what else works?" He looked at Jace. "What else is real?"
"For one, the old Gods are," she said calmly. She looked at Xander, who left. "Joe, this is a strange, twisted, heartbreaking tale to me. I used to be a man named Joxer. I fell under a curse from Hera." She held out her arms. "The Gods helped me to become what I am today. They changed me when I refused because it had to be. I had to stop them from dying and taking the world with them."
Joe went pale. "Are they still around?"
"It's a matter of belief," she told him, reaching over to touch his hand. "I'll give you the whole story, but it cannot be recorded in any way. They've demanded it."
"I'll make up a lie," he said quickly. "I'll mention you, how old you are, who trained you. That you've been seen. Can I mention the resort?"
"Of course," she said with a smile. "It will be like free advertising. Make sure it's known to be a neutral place. I refuse to have any more Watchers there that try to kill an immortal."
He nodded. "I heard about that, that's how I learned of the resort." He leaned closer. "What did Xander do that got him in the news? I never heard the whole story."
"He danced," she said smugly. "He's very good." She leaned closer. "It's positively sinful, the way he moves when he dances or fights." She leaned back again. "Like I said, I used to be known as Joxer. Or as I called myself, Joxer the Mighty. I was learning how to be a warrior from a woman named Xena."
"I know that name," Joe said, surprised. "She saved a few of you."
"Including me," she told him with a smile.
Joe finished up his report and ran it through the fax machine, with the cover sheet overtop. He picked up the finished pages and folded them up to put them in his pocket. He jumped as the machine started, reading the pages that came back out. He took them down to Xander, who was probably going to be the best to help him. "You guys made the Chronicles," he said, sitting down next to him and handing over the paper.
Xander read it and snorted. "Uh-huh. Why do they want to know about me?"
"Because your family's last Watcher thought that you were an immie when you pulled out your sword during McCleod's and Richie's talk."
"Excuse me?" Oz asked from his reading corner, making Joe notice he was there. That guy could hide amazingly well in plain sight, you could look directly at him and never notice he was sitting there. "They thought he was an immie?" Oz asked, getting up to walk over and look down at them. "They did?"
"They did," Joe agreed. "And now they want to know who and what he is, which means I need a story."
"Tell them the truth," Xander suggested. "I'm an anomaly. I'm not an immie, but I'm married to one and I'm going to be living a very *long* time."
Joe smiled. "If I do that, someone's going to want to know why."
"Not necessarily," Oz said, sitting behind Xander once the young man had gotten up. He pulled his husband into his lap. "I've seen one of the Chronicles. There's some things in there that have never been explained."
"Yeah, but a lover of an immie, who's not an immie but will live forever, isn't one of them," Joe told him.
"Well, Amanda thinks I'm some strange sort of immie," Xander offered. "Put it in as interviews with the other immies here, ones that they know you know, that say that I'm not an immie, but that I'm a something that they can't identify. Have them state that I did something to keep myself with my men forever, or for as long as they live. Oh," he looked back at Oz, who nodded. "Giles said that he's willing to preform the spell, as long as the immie truly wants to be with that one person forever."
"Like that Kate woman, the mercenary," Oz added. "She and her man. They're very together too."
"We could let it slip to them," Joe agreed. "She knows her Watcher." He looked at Oz, who nodded. "What about the needing more than one immie part?"
"I'm sure she could fix that problem," Oz told him quietly. "Speaking of which, he'd better start getting Willow to preform it. We don't want too many immies linked to him."
Joe chuckled. "Yeah, that's a good consideration."
"Is that why Methos feels so different now?" Amanda asked as she walked down the halls. "Whatever Oz did to Xander to make him one of us was linked to him?"
"It's a spell linking our energies, our quickenings, to his life energy," Oz told her. "And yes, probably. I've noticed that I can tell when Methos and Ray are about to walk in, they do feel more...familiar isn't quite it."
"Then the real question becomes does it link the immortals," Amanda said, sitting down in a chair. "What about when the Gathering happens?"
"It won't be," Joe told her. "Giles found that out. He's working with me to prove it."
Amanda's mouth fell open. "It won't? Then why have we continued to fight?"
"Because it's an innate drive," Oz told her gently. "And to weed out the bad ones for some of us." He squeezed Xander. "Giles found where the endgift was coming from and he found out that the demon who was offering it was dead."
She gave him a hard look. "Demons don't exist."
"And neither do vampires, right?" Xander asked. She nodded. "Then how do you explain Angel, Willow, and Buffy last night?"
Her mouth opened and closed, and she shook her head. "This is one of those things that I need to see to believe. Is this ...spell available to all?"
"It's got to be given to those who want their lovers forever. Not in the flush of first love, not the comfy companionship that we can get. The true, heartwarming, I'm going home to them tonight, sort of love. It won't work otherwise. That's the stipulation."
"From what Giles said when we were talking about it, those companionship relationships would be killed off if they tried. He said it has to be love," Xander told her. "We're going to have to make sure that they understand this, we don't want a grieving immie to come after us."
"True," Oz agreed. "I'll talk with Giles about it tonight." He looked at Joe. "Who is his challenger anyway?"
"All I know is that he's the teacher of the guy who killed Connor. I've never seen his picture before," Joe admitted. "We have a lot of you, but not all of you." He cleared his throat. "Maybe you should read this," he said, handing over the fax he had received.
Oz read it then nodded. "Tell them Methos killed me. It was a fight over a woman, we were both lit." Xander looked up at him. "Theo's disappearance has been widely wondered about."
"So tell them that you went into hiding, in case you need to become him again. That way you can still be Oz and no one will know." He looked at Joe. "Tell him that Theo had a heartbreaking experience and he went into deep hiding until his grief abated. Say something like only Methos knows where he is."
"Yeah, Methos is still a myth, right, Joe?" Amanda asked.
Joe nodded. "Pretty muchly. Except for certain contributions to the Chronicles by a former Watcher named Adam Pierson, no one's seen him in almost six hundred years."
"Then have him and Theo together," Oz said quietly. "They got into a stupid fight and decided they needed to retreat from life to recuperate and think. When the time's right, they'll come back."
Joe wrote that on the fax. "And we're listing Xander as an anomaly, right?" Oz nodded. "Good. I'll make up something sappy about you said that your love's keeping him with you for however much of eternity you two have." He stood up.
"Mention Giles in that part," Xander reminded him. "It's both of them that love me."
Joe smiled down at him. "Yeah, it is. It's very evident to the rest of us. Oz, can I use your computer?"
"Sure. You might have to kick Meth off though."
"Okay. Thanks." He walked away, going up the stairs. "Oh, you're cute," he said from the hallway.
Amanda looked out and then smiled. "That's Fluffy, Joe. It's Methos' cat."
"You may *not* have my pink one," Methos said from upstairs. "Steal another of Xander's cats if you want one."
Xander looked over his shoulder at Oz. "Does Meth have a second identity?"
"Yup. It's gone away though. He might be making a new one as a different Adam Pierson, I think that's what he's doing now." He shrugged. "It's pure protection once we get old enough." He looked at Amanda, who waved it off as she stood up.
"I don't need one, boys. No one comes after me unless they know me." She walked into the kitchen. "I'm stealing a beer for Mac."
"He may *not* get drunk in this house," Xander said sharply. "No one can."
She looked startled but nodded. "I'll tell him you said that, but I don't think it's going to be a problem." She held up two cans. "Just for us. We're going to go lounge beside the pool."
"Take the animals out with you," Oz told her, resting against Xander's back. She nodded and went outside, after a quick trip to the craft room for Mac. "Relax," Oz reminded him. "We'll cut off the booze before anyone gets drunk and no one's going to hurt you, even if they are allowed. I wouldn't let that happen." Xander nodded and sank back against him. "Good. Let's go get you back into a bath, naughty. I think you'll need one soon."
"Yes, Oz," Xander said, pushing himself up and pulling Oz with him. He had to let go of Oz so his husband could head to the refrigerator and grab the rest of their chocolates. "Pampering me?" he asked, looking at the half-empty box.
"Yup. As always. C'mon. We've got good smelling bubbles for you to use this time." He took his husband's hand and led him into the bathroom, running him a soothing bath.
Amanda looked in from the back porch. "It must be nice to be that in love," she sighed. "But it's got to be a pain in the ass sometimes."
Mac nodded. "Aye. It is." He took a drink and closed his eyes. "At least they're happy now. That's what's important." He took her hand. "We'll find it again one day," he promised her. "There's got to be reincarnation."
"Maybe," she agreed, trying not to think about it. She didn't want to be a child again, not even in this day and age. "Hey, maybe we could come back as the kid's they'll adopt some year."
McCleod laughed. "Maybe. Wouldn't that beat all."
"Yes, it would," Joe said as he walked out. "I can just see Xander trying to teach Amanda how to pick locks." He sat down near them. "I want to get your take on the marriage ceremony for the Chronicles."
Mac smiled. "It was a beautiful mixture of old and new, just like they are."
Amanda agreed. "And Xander's outfit was stunning."
Joe wrote that down. "Thanks, guys. What about Xander? Do you guys want to add anything about him?"
"No," they said quickly, shaking their heads.
"Never say anything about Xander," Amanda said. "There's going to be someone hunting for him if you do."
"He's already hunted," Joe told her. "That boy's been kidnapped so many times it's not funny." He looked at his papers. "From what he said, about seventy times so far."
She shuddered. "I'd hate to be the next one."
"I hated being the last one," Mac said softly, finishing off his beer. "Give me yours."
"We promised, you can't get drunk," Amanda reminded him as she handed it over. "You don't want to fight Xander again, right?"
He turned pale and put down the beer. "I never want to fight that boy again. I just want to know how he learned to move that way."
"He dances," Joe said. "Jace told me."
Amanda smiled. "I saw one of the tapes when we were in Paris. He wanted my opinion on the background, if he should rerecord it or not." She looked at Joe, still smiling. "I've never went on such a toy buying trip before. Met them there too. They were having casts made of each other."
Joe choked. "That I didn't need to know," he said, but he made a note of it. "Those two are amazing."
"Add in Giles and it's a charged situation," Amanda said, looking up at the sunlight. "I like this place. We should think about visiting this area again, Mac."
"With the Hellmouth in town?" Joe asked. "I'm not that brave." He stood up and walked off.
"What's a Hellmouth?" Amanda called after him. "Joe!" She got up to follow him, determined to know what was going on around there.
TO BE CONTINUED...