Death of a Character, Not a Fully Happy Fic, Some Xander Angst too. You F***ed Up!
Oz checked around his car, it hadn't been that long since Wolfram and Hart had given up on bombing Angel's friends and he was still security conscious. He stuck the key in the car door, opening it slowly, just in case. The fireball from the bomb hit him on the face and chest, throwing him back into the not-usually busy LA side street next to Angel's office. Oz died, again, vowing that he was going to get those people back.
Angel ran to the door, stopping when he saw Oz lying in the street. He checked the sky for clouds then swore and started to yell, "WESLEY!"
Wesley Windham-Pryce walked out into the sunlight and grabbed the old immortal, dragging him back inside so they could take care of him while Angel called a fire truck for the car before the fire spread to a building.
A little while later, Wesley walked out and looked at the wreckage, bending down to pick something up and carry it back inside. Oz had said he wanted it, even though he didn't know why.
Oz walked past the receptionist, glaring at her when she stood up to yell at him. "Sit down," he ordered quietly, and she did so, looking scared as he walked back over to her. "Which floor is the Senior Partner's meeting room on?"
"Th..third," she stuttered. "I can page them and have them waiting on you," she offered hesitantly. "I'm not supposed to, but I will make an exception for you."
Oz nodded. "Do that. They've got until I get up there." He headed for the elevator, the twisted piece of what had been his steering wheel clutched in his hands. He stabbed the button for the third floor and watched as the doors closed, checking the floor indicator as it started to move. He walked off the elevator and looked at the large oak doors, pushing them open hard enough to slam them against the walls. "I am Theodonius," he said coldly, staring at the men and demons surrounding the table as he slapped his former steering wheel down on the large table. "I am the world's second oldest immortal, student of Methos. You firebombed my car today, one which belongs to an heir of a Metharn lineage." He smiled cruelly as he saw a few of the demons go pale. "If I have to, I can make a call and have Methos here to help me destroy you within ten minutes. If I have to, I can call upon my mate's family and have them help me destroy you within the same ten minutes." He leaned closer. "You....fucked...up," he said slowly and clearly, making sure they had the message. "Fuck with me again, and I will destroy you." He pulled his sword as he heard someone walking up behind him, spinning and resting the blade against the lawyer's throat. "Try it," he growled, his eyes starting to change colors.
"I have no intention of it," he squeaked, wetting himself. "I told them going against Angel that way was a bad idea. He'd kill us all for any of you, especially over his cat and your mate. I didn't plant that bomb," he wailed when the sword pressed tighter against his jugular vein. "Please, Oz, I didn't do it."
Oz nodded and stepped back, his sword going back into it's hidden scabbard in a graceful move. He turned to look at the Senior Partners. "I'd take a lesson from him," he said quietly, leaving the meeting area and the building. He had to get home, before Angel or someone called Xander.
The lawyer that had been tortured cleared his throat. "I did try to warn you," he pointed out, then he ran for his office, hoping no one would kill him before he could update his will.
Oz walked into Angel's office and stopped when he saw who was standing there. "Micah," he said coolly. "Did something happen to Xander?"
"No, he's here for some advice," Wesley said quickly, hoping to stop an argument from starting. In the mood Oz had been in since he'd woken up, a fight would be a messy thing. A very messy thing if Wesley was any judge of body language. "Did you need something else?"
"Just a way home," Oz said dryly. "I don't think any of the local cab companies would drive me back to Sunnydale and all the hired car places have us on a blacklist due to the kidnapping incident."
"There's a demonic one," Micah offered. "I could call them for you."
"Are they trustworthy?" Oz asked. "I know how the Hellmouth affects some people."
"They should be fine," Micah said, giving him a faint smile. "Does Xander know?"
"Not sure yet. How did you?"
"It was on the news," Angel said as he walked in. "And yes, Xander knows. He recognized the building and screamed hysterically for about ten minutes." He gave Oz a once over. "Be prepared to be jumped as soon as you get home."
"Okay," Oz said with a shrug. "I was going to expect that anyway." He looked at Micah. "Please. I'd like to get home before Xander gets here."
"That may not be an option," Angel muttered. "I think Ray was the only thing keeping him from leaving." He shrugged at the dirty looks he was getting. "What? I'm just a messenger. Don't blame me for the message, I only work here."
"And you sound *so* Jewish when you say it that way," Ray said as he walked in. "We compromised. I get to come get Oz and bring him home safely and Xander gets to make sure he's all right once we get home." He nodded at the door. "The faster we leave, the easier he'll be on ya once ya get home."
Oz nodded and waved. "Later. I'll call if I live." He followed Ray out to Xander's sports car. "Break many speed limits?"
"Yup. Got three tickets, almost. Told them I was coming to get you from the hospital, that your car had been blown up earlier and you were getting ta come home tanight." Ray turned to look at Oz before he started the car. "Ya really okay?"
"Yup, and I got my point across with the Hell-lawyers too," he said smugly. "Ray, I need to stop at my bank. I have to check on something in an overseas account."
"Okay," Ray said with a shrug, starting the engine. "Whatcha gonna do about the car?"
"It's totaled," Oz sighed. "And I know Xander loved that thing."
"Nah, he still wanted ta trade it in next week." Ray spun the car around, pulling out into the traffic heading downtown.
Oz walked into the house, dropping the bag he had asked Ray to pick up for him while he was in the bank, and braced himself for Xander's running leap. Which never happened. Xander walked over to him and stood in front of him, pouting at him. "Baby, it was the lawyers. And I stopped them," he offered when the pout got bigger.
"You never called," he said quietly. "I was worried."
"I know. Angel told me, right before Ray showed up."
"Ray called," Xander said, glancing back up.
"Yup. I was getting you a prezzie, something to make you worry less," Oz offered.
Xander gave him a gentle hug. "As long as you're okay," he said once Oz's arms were around him.
"I'm very okay and you're still pouting instead of making sure of it."
"I know." Oz pulled back some. "I stopped because there's something I wanted to tell you, and I was going to do it anyway after I got done with Angel and Wes. Threatening the lawyers made me late."
"Did they understand?" Xander whispered, pulling Oz closer.
"Yup. I threatened them in my name, and your name, and in Meth's name." He squeezed Xander. "Wanna go upstairs and make sure I'm all right?"
"Actually," Xander said, giving him a slight grin, "I was working on a room down here when I heard the news. It was on the *radio*, Oz.!" He squeezed his lover harder. "Come on, let's go upstairs. I need to see you." He led the way, tugging Oz along behind him.
Oz looked around their comfortable room, smiling at the non-decorator touches Xander had left around the space. The clothes thrown over the arm of a chair, the stuff littering the top of one of the dressers. He stopped Xander, pulling him against his body. "I thought of you first," he whispered against the younger man's neck, licking the skin afterwards. "And I thanked the Gods that you weren't there with me today like we had originally planned." He licked over the tender skin again. "And I'm getting you a housekeeper."
"A housekeeper?" Xander asked, confused. "What does a housekeeper have to do with anything?" He turned in the firm arms, hugging his mate while he untucked his shirt. Once he had that done, he pulled back and gave his lover a kiss, starting to work on his buttons. "I don't need a housekeeper, Oz, I need you chained to the bed all day long."
"We can do that for a while," Oz noted. "But not forever. I'll still need to go out."
"Only with me," Xander said firmly, stopping his mission to undress his mate to make his mate look at him. "You're not leaving this house again, not without me."
"Then you would have been there with me and you might have gotten hurt even worse," Oz pointed out gently. "I don't want to see you hurt because of a stupid human's idea of revenge. I won't allow it, Xander." He nipped his husband's chin. "Now, let's get us both undressed and then we'll talk about it in bed, later?"
Xander grinned. "That's what I was doing, until you came up with the housekeeper distraction." He grabbed both sides of Oz's shirt and ripped. "I'll make you another one," he promised, and his mate rolled his eyes. "It'll be cuter," he promised with his usual impish grin.
"We'll see," Oz agreed, going limp under Xander's hands. He knew the younger man really needed to check him over, he was wondering when the rough, ready, searching side of Xander was going to come out and do so. He didn't have long to wait though, as soon as he started to look submissive to his mate, his mate picked him up and tossed him onto the bed, stripping him brutally. Oz stayed limp, watching Xander's face as it changed and his mate started to lick him, checking every inch of his skin for a single mark or bruise.
Xander finished his tongue's appraisal and moved to follow over the damp body with his fingers, staring at Oz. "Mine and no one had better try to take you away from me again, Oz."
"Trust me, if I had known there was a bomb, I wouldn't have tried to open the door." Xander flung himself down and clung to him, shuddering. "Shh," Oz whispered, rubbing down the tense back. "I promise, I'm okay. I wasn't in the car when it went off. I was actually blown out into the street." He looked at the remains of his shirt, what had been just his overshirt before and shuddered. "It was too close," he mumbled. "And I'm still glad that you weren't there." He grunted as Xander got free and grabbed him by the leg, flipping him over. "Hey!"
"Shut up," Xander growled. "You're mine and they'd better not take you!" He grabbed the lube sitting on the bedside table, pouring a puddle of it out into his hand. He tossed the bottle aside and bent down to Oz's back, using his free hand to prepare his mate's body as quickly as he could. As soon as could, he slicked himself up and slid into the prepared hole, stretching himself across Oz's back. "Mine," he growled, licking across Oz's neck.
"Yours," Oz gasped, wiggling. "Move it or I'm going to," he warned. He went limp as his lover bit him hard on the side of the neck and pulled out a few inches. He shuddered under the hard teeth and hot breath as he was slammed back into. "Oh, yeah," he moaned.
"Shh!" Xander yelled, releasing Oz's neck. He got to his knees, roughly pulling Oz up to match him, then riding him as hard as he could, all the while scratching down his back with his nails. "Mine! Those people are *DEAD*!" he shouted.
"No," Oz complained, trying to get free. "Xander, you can't..." he tried but his head was pulled back at an awkward angle so Xander could take that part of him too. "No," he panted once he was released to breathe. "Let me handle it, Xander, they're going to get theirs."
"No," Xander said, pulling out of Oz and forcing him onto his back. "No, they hurt what's mine and I had warned them when they came after all of us. I won't allow them to get away with this, Oz. No way in any dimension." They locked gazes and Xander felt a cool hand start to rub down his back. "And no amount of soothing is going to make this be all right!" he said, pulling back.
"It's being taken care of," Oz promised quietly, sitting up to pull Xander into his arms. "I promise, they'll never come after us again, not without getting stomped." He made Xander look at him again. "Let me deal with this, Xan. Trust me this once?"
Xander snorted. "I trust you all the time, but I've already warned them."
"Then we'll do this together," Oz suggested. Xander continued to stare but eventually nodded. "Thank you." Oz gave his lover a squeeze. "Now, I believe you were screwing me into the mattress?"
"I'm sorry, I got worried and scared," Xander said softly, almost whispering it as he touched the reddened spot on Oz's neck.
"Hey, I understand that. If you had been blown up..." Oz had to stop and swallow. "Well, let's just say you wouldn't be able to walk in the morning."
"Even worse than our marriage night?" Xander asked with a grin.
"Much worse," Oz agreed, smiling back at him. "Can I have more? Since I'm so worked up and all?"
Xander wiggled on his mate's lap. "You'll have to let me go for that, Oz."
"Hmm, then maybe we should do something else instead," Oz suggested as he lay back, pulling Xander with him. "How about you cuddle me into the mattress? I'd really like that right now."
"Sure," Xander said, shifting down some so he could reenter his husband's body while they cuddled.
"No fair," Oz complained. "I'm not that flexible."
"But I am," Xander said, looking up and grinning at him.
"Yes, you are," Oz said in appreciation as Xander wiggled again, inserting himself deeper. "Hmm, very bendy. But we can't really cuddle this way."
"So flip onto your side," Xander said, pulling out and getting to his knees. "Come on, roll over." He curled up behind Oz's back once he was comfortable, reinserting himself so they could cuddle. "Better?" he asked.
"Yup, much less bendiness needed for this position." Oz wiggled backwards and the arms around him tightened farther. "Very nice."
"Good, because you're not moving," Xander whispered, kissing the back of Oz's head. "Never going away again."
"I'll have to go sometime," Oz reminded him. "Just to go to the grocery store?" he asked when he felt Xander shake his head. "Or out to get more lube?"
"Hmm, not even to get you a housekeeper or to get you a prezzie?"
"Nope. I don't need either one."
"Hmm, you're being tough about this." He reached over to pick up the ringing phone, handing it back to Xander. "It's probably Giles."
"Hey, Rupe," Xander said quietly, not letting go of Oz, letting the phone rest against the side of his head. "Yeah, he's here. No, I'm not letting him out of the house again. I don't care! They can be fucked sideways and painfully for all I care. He's not leaving the house."
Oz reached back and took the phone, listening to the calm voice on the other end of the line. "Hey. It's still too close to me being blown out into the street..." He had to stop, he couldn't breathe, Xander was squeezing him too hard. "Hey, I'm not squishable," he complained.
"Shut up," Xander growled, pushing his body as close to Oz's as he could. "Mine, don't complain."
Oz picked back up the phone and sighed into it. "He's still not ready to listen to anyone else. Want to try later?" He snickered at the advice on the other end. "I tried that, he's got me pinned." Xander took the phone and tossed it at the wall, rolling Oz under him. "You needed something?" he asked flippantly.
Xander's eyes narrowed. "Don't you *dare* joke about being blown up!" he said hotly. "You could have been killed!"
"I was," Oz reminded him. "But my head was still in place."
"And it doesn't take that much energy to blow a body into small chunks, Oz, even when it's attached to a car." Oz suddenly looked like he understood. "Yeah, that's what I've been worried about. And I *warned* them!" He started to get up, but Oz caught him. "Let me go," he said calmly.
"Nope. We agreed, we were going to take them on together, Xan." Oz nuzzled Xander's ear, trying to calm him back down. "We'll take care of them tomorrow if they haven't given up."
"No! I promised them that I'd destroy them if they continued." He passed out suddenly, forcing Oz to catch him.
"Um, hi?" Oz called out, looking around the bedroom.
A skinny male appeared in the corner chair, grinning and waving. "Hi." He giggled at the disgusted look he was sent. "What? You wanted him to run out the door and hire a personal army of demons to take on the lawyers?" Oz shook his head. "Tell him that they're being dealt with on a...bureaucratic scale. I made sure of it. Oh, and Cupes is *way* pissed by the way. That's why it's being taken care of." The skinny male leaned forward some. "Theo, man, you've got to get him back to his roots soon. He's gonna forget soon if you don't remind him of what he really is." He waved and disappeared.
Xander snorted and started to wake up, blinking up at Oz. "What happened?" he asked.
"You got so pissed that you passed out," Oz told him, hugging him fiercely. "Listen, before I came home, I called in a few favors. They're gonna be punished the old fashioned way, by the government for not paying taxes and stuff." He squeezed Xander as hard as he could. "Okay?"
"No, I want their heads under my bloody, soccer cleat wearing feet," Xander mumbled.
"Me too," Oz assured him, "but that wouldn't be good enough. I'd have to go after their clients and others. This way, we have the dirty work done for us by people who enjoy it and we can sit back and watch."
"Yeah, the planning is the most fun," Xander admitted, looking up. "You swear they're going to be punished?"
"Yup," Oz said, kissing him on the forehead. "If they aren't, then we can work on destroying them. Okay?" Xander nodded. "Now can we please get back to the cuddling me as hard as possible?"
Xander stretched up, not at all like usual. There was no grace in this stretch, none of the usual lithe, cattiness that Xander usually showed. "Sure."
"How about we do it in a hot bath with bubbles?" Oz suggested lightly, watching Xander's eyes. There was something seriously wrong with his mate. What Strife had said suddenly made sense.
"No thanks. I'll shower with you if you want."
Oz got away from Xander, looking him over. "Are you feeling all right?" he asked cautiously. "You never let the chance to take a bath with me go by."
"No, that's okay. I'm not in the mood for one right now."
Oz heard a shout from the phone and walked over to pick it up, listening to the voice on the other end. "Yeah, I'm gonna do that. Can you have him meet us there?" He nodded and walked over to hang it up. "Go put on some clothes. I've got a treat planned for you." He watched as Xander walked into their large, walk-in closet, shaking his head. "What happened this time?" he muttered, going to sponge down with a washcloth before they left the house.
Oz dragged Xander in the front door of the spa Giles had recommended, smiling at the man behind the counter. "Hi," he said, tugging Xander up beside him. "I want him pampered until he admits that he likes it."
"Of course I do," Xander snorted, looking around. "I'm not in the mood for it though, Oz. Why are we here?"
"Because Adam's meeting us here." He took the forms the man had handed him, tossing over his platinum card. He glanced at Xander before filling them out, then handed them back. "Here, we need this."
The man smiled and typed in the information, running the card for them. "I have just the program for you," he said, his cute German accent light and soft. He handed over a pamphlet. "How about this program? Of course, we can design something if you'd prefer."
Xander tried to look over Oz's shoulder but was pushed away. "Hey, I'm the GHS here, I should know what feels best to me." He could see the reception clerk looking him over and shrugged. "I've had a few rough days. The whole moving thing."
"And the whole being threatened thing, and the whole family thing," Oz muttered, circling a few things. "Let's start with these and let's give him the most intense package we can. Does our friend have his reservation yet?"
"Yes, sir, a note was made in there that you were to have adjoining rooms." He handed over another brochure. "How about this package?"
Oz read it then nodded, crossing one thing off. "Everything but that one. And I'll want a scrub myself."
"Of course." The clerk typed it into his computer then handed over the card that popped out of the box next to it. "This is your room key, we'll bring your schedule up to your room tonight." He glanced at the floor behind them. "No baggage?"
"This was an emergency," Oz whispered, leaning closer. "He really is GHS, that's Xander Harris." The man looked stunned. "Yeah, so this was an emergency."
The clerk's eyes got very big. "I'll be sure to pass this on," he whispered back. "Please, go up to your room. We can send down to the local town for you if you need us to."
"I'm sure your gift shop has shorts and stuff," Oz said, taking the card and leading Xander up the stairs. "Please send our friend to find us as soon as he gets here."
"Of course, Mr. Harris," he said, waving.
One of the girls that had been sweeping next to the stairs jogged over. "That's really Xander Harris?" she asked.
"The dark-haired one," he said grimly. "His life has made him forget what he is." She looked shocked. "Yes, so it's up to us to make sure he remembers. That's why he was sent here by his other keeper." He smiled at the stairs. "I'm sure his husband will take good care of him during this time of stress." He shuddered. "I'm so glad our boss never went through that, it might have destroyed him."
"Yeah, Adam's been very cool about being GHS, but he's never been that stressed." She shrugged and went back to her cleaning. "I'll pass it on," she called as she finished sweeping up her dust pile and walked away.
"Good," he told himself, finishing his notes in the computer. "That man's going to need much help to get himself back to his usual stature. I remember when Adam came in and told us about his newest student." He licked his lips. "He is delightful to look at. No wonder he got two men."
Methos walked into the spa resort he owned, looking around in admiration. "I do have good taste," he told himself as he walked up to the desk. "Where are they?"
"In the scrubs, Adam," the girl behind the desk said, giving him a smile. "Your student is really bad, isn't he?"
"Very," Methos/Adam agreed, taking his keys to his private room as he walked back to the where the body scrubs were given. He tapped on the door, smiling at the masseuse working on Oz's back. "Where's the damaged one?" he asked Oz.
"Next door. They're doing a different sort of scrub on him," Oz moaned. "Oh, I needed this."
"Yes, I noticed," Methos said, looking at Oz's back. "Are you all right?"
"I was opening the door," Oz told him.
Methos leaned down to look at his face. "You were lucky. Bombs often take off people's heads." He let him go and stood up. "Which next door?"
"Marianne is working on him," she whispered. "He was bad, sir. Are you sure he's your student?"
"Yes, and then someone taught him how to fight," Methos grumbled, leaving that room to go find Xander. Maybe he'd get some hands-on time with him.
Ray walked into the spa, looking around the grand entryway. "Adam really decorated this?" he asked the woman behind the desk.
"Yes, sir," she said respectfully. "Do you know our owner?"
"Yeah, I'm Ray," he said, holding a hand out. "His man."
She squealed and grabbed him for a hug across the desk. "It's *so* good to meet you, Ray. He's been telling us about you every time he comes here." She pulled back and smoothed down her uniform when she saw his shocked looks. "Most of us that work for Adam here are college kids he's helped to find ourselves," she explained. "He's sorta like a surrogate big brother to us. So we're all *real* interested in who he's dating." She winked at him. "We never thought you were this cute though. We pictured some street-tough guy with a bad hair cut."
Ray snorted. "That's what I was when I met him. Where did the fearless one go?"
"Back to help your friend, Xander," she said, her smile falling away. "I was so sorry to hear that he's having real problems like that. Losing himself totally and all that."
Ray shook his head. "Someone taught him another way of life and he's been tryin' to work them together, but his GHS side is falling aside." He shrugged and walked down the hallway she pointed at, heading to where he could hear the argument. "Hey," he said as he popped his head into the room, smiling at Xander. "Hey, I heard you lost yourself again." He walked in and closed the door, coming over to give Xander a hug and force him to lie back down. "There, now let him give ya a backrub or whatever. Oz asked us ta pamper ya for a few days and all that good stuff." He grinned up at his lover, winking when Xander sighed and let himself be worked on by Methos.
"Thank you," Methos mouthed, grabbing some of the seaweed extract to smooth onto the young man's back. "Tell me if this is too cold and I'll have it rewarmed," he ordered.
Xander mumbled something but he didn't protest anymore.
Methos looked across the dinner table at Oz, who was eating silently. "Is it working?" he asked.
Oz dropped his fork and looked at Methos. "Not really. He says he's having fun but I'm not seeing anything that says he's going back to what he used to be." He glanced around then lowered his voice again. "Did Giles hear the warning we got?" Methos nodded so Oz stared at the table. "I don't know what's going to happen, but I don't want them mad at me for letting him learn how to fight."
"It's not that," the waiter said, putting down their cups of coffee. He was a blond man, tanned, fit, very handsome. One of those sort of people that for some reason you wanted to throw you across a table and fuck you to death. "It's more that he's unbalancing and forgetting his other side, which can be dangerous to those that he protects." He winked at Oz. "Give him this note," he said, handing a folded piece of paper over. "Then get him rebalanced. However you have to do it, dude, before he hurts himself trying to please you." He walked off and disappeared through the kitchen doors.
Methos looked at the paper Oz had put between them on the table. "Well, that certainly clears up a lot. You two need a bodyguard so Xander doesn't feel obligated to fight any longer." He leaned back in his chair, glancing around the room. "It's hard to believe that I've had this place for so long."
"To you and I, fifty years isn't long," Oz mumbled. He sipped his coffee, moaning at the taste. "That was gross," he mumbled, getting up and taking the note with him. He walked up to their room, tapping before he walked in. "Hey, I was given a note for you," he said, holding it out.
Xander looked up from his book, taking the note. He blinked as he felt it shock him, then stared at Oz. "One of Jace's friends?" he asked quietly.
"Yup." Oz closed the door and sat on the footstool in front of Xander, stroking over his ankle. "They're worried about you, Xander. You've overbalanced on the warrior side and forgotten who you were. You're not even swimming anymore and we have a sinful pool at home."
Xander put his book aside, sitting up and taking his foot back from Oz's grasp. "I know. I'm trying to balance it, but I haven't been able to."
"Then let me help," Oz begged. "You're scary like this." He smiled at the snort. "Xander, when you first came back from New York, you had a hard time fighting vamps. Now, you'd stake Giles if you had to. And I realize this is necessary right now, but I miss your other side. It's what drew me to you. *I* can protect us both if I have to, you I wanted for company and love."
"Oh." Xander glanced down at the blank paper he held. "But I like being able to defend myself."
"Which you do very well, but that doesn't mean it has to become your whole life, Xan." Oz shifted closer, lifting Xander's chin up. "Do you remember when I came up to Vermont for you?" Xander nodded. "You're like you were then. Are you depressed?"
"I'm still sad about the house and everything," Xander admitted.
"I'll have the house rebuilt," Oz promised quickly.
"That isn't it," Xander sighed, leaning back to get free. "Oz, it was my *first* thing, the first major thing that I had done on my own. Yeah, I have all that money and I had a nice apartment, but the house was *mine*, and I made it *ours*."
"Ah." Oz nodded, giving his husband a smile. "I can understand that. This new house can't compare to the comfiness of the old one, where we couldn't be that far apart from each other, but it does have a few advantages over the old one. The old one was *your* house. Yeah, we lived there with you but it was still your house. Same as my house is still my house, dragon and all." Xander nearly smiled at that one. "But this new house is really *our* house. We picked it out together. It's like this island of calm for us, Xander. A place where reality can bend for a little while." Xander looked a little happier about that. "And I know that you're worried about the lawyers for Hell, but don't. Strife promised that the government was going to take care of them for us."
"Which one? Human or demon?"
"I'm not sure, maybe both," Oz said with a shrug. "Does it matter?"
"No, I guess not," Xander said quietly, staring at the window over Oz's shoulder. "I miss what we used to have."
"Hey, we only use seven rooms in the house, I'm still feeling a little confined," Oz offered gently. Xander shook his head. "I know, I miss having you be right there every time I turned around, but now we have a little bit of room and no one can trip over each other."
"But I liked that." Xander looked at Oz, seeing the understanding there, but he decided to explain it anyway. "Oz, I felt comforted by all the closeness. If you were that close, then you'd see when I needed some attention."
"And you think I don't now?" Oz asked. Xander nodded. "Babe, I knew you needed attention for the last week, I was hoping I was giving you it by staying home instead of going to do something that I've been needing to do at the bank." He got up and grabbed the only bag they had brought with them, the one Ray had picked up for him from the bank. He brought it over and sat on the footstool again, holding it out to Xander. "A long time ago, I was told that I was going to find my true mate in this time period, so I've been planning presents for her most of my life." He shrugged at the dirty look. "Hey, the seer said it was a gentle person, I thought she meant a woman. For the longest time, I was thinking it was Willow. And then I started to see the man that you really were. That's when I figured out it was you." He ran his thumb across Xander's bottom lip. "In that bag is something from each time I've lived in, it was meant to help my lover better understand me."
Xander opened the bag and pulled out the stack of pictures. "Where are they?"
"In with the rest of my stuff, in special crates to protect them." He leaned forward to look at the pictures. "The only thing that's not in there was my favorite horse. I kept a member of his line around for almost six centuries. I lost the last of him right before World War 1 when he died. There had been a few problems in the line that were in him so I couldn't breed him." He accepted the hug Xander gave him. "Thanks, babe. I knew you'd understand but I wanted to share this with you, not the scary warrior you've become recently."
Xander smiled at him. "Okay, Oz. I get the point." He went back to looking at the pictures. "Oz, most of these things are jewelry."
"Yup. I thought you were gonna be a girl," he said with a shrug and a smile. "It's all very butch though. I never could stand seeing women in delicate little things that might break in a strong wind."
"But you gave Willow that delicate little filigree locket," Xander said in confusion.
"Meth gave that to her, supposedly from me. He wanted to get rid of it so he gave it to her. She never knew he was the messenger that brought it." He pointed at the pictures. "If you'd like to look at any of them, I'll gladly take you to my farm. I think it's still standing. It was last year."
"Okay," Xander said, flipping to the next picture, his mouth falling open. "Oz, is this really a jade collar?"
"In four pieces," Oz said, smiling at him. "Someone found some great big pieces of jade back then." He flipped it over. "Each one has the date and city where I got it."
Xander blinked a few times at the scrawl. "Byzantine?"
"Yup. I was there too. Bunch of fruitcakes half the time; I used to hang out with the priestly caste and some of them had some very odd ideas about life." He relaxed at the grin that his husband was giving him. "There was this one that thought Ox innards were the purpose of his existence. It was his job to gather them from the sacrifices. He thought his God had caused him to be born just to take care of the innards."
Xander shook his head. "I don't understand that way of thinking at all," he sighed, flipping to the next picture, after checking the date. "Pre-Catholic France?"
"Yeah, I didn't remember the exact year, but I remember that was before Charlemagne. I always thought that piece was the most femme thing I'd ever bought."
Xander peered down at the small, delicate cross and then looked up, nodding. "Yup, very femme for you." He grinned. "What are you going to do with them since I'm not a girl?"
"Well, a few of those pieces will still be yours, but I'll give you my journals that I kept up until I became me." He coughed lightly. "I quit writing down my thoughts about the same time I lost my mind, I didn't think anyone would ever want to hear them." He accepted the hug gratefully. "Thanks. Things like that cross I was thinkin' about auctioning off some day. There's people who collect things like that."
"And museums," Xander added with a grin. "What about that jade collar?"
"I want you to have that. It's got an inscription on it that I want to know what it says. Maybe I'll ask Giles to translate it for me, I've always sucked at languages."
"But you do computer code and that's another language."
"That's because I started in computers back when they first came out," Oz told him. "Back when it was command strings on punch cards that went into machines that were as big as gyms." He stroked down the side of Xander's face. "I'm not the programmer Willow is."
"But you're still great," Xander defended.
"Thanks." Oz glanced at the pictures. "Keep going. I'll have them brought to the house next month, when the rest of my stuff from my farm shows up." Xander gave him a quizzical look before flipping to the next picture. "The same lady that told me when I was going to find you told me that when I switched houses in this time, I had to bring everything from all my safe spots to be with me. That was the only way to protect them and us."
"Ah." Xander looked up and smiled. "Gee, it's a good thing I was working on rearranging the library, huh?"
"Yup," Oz agreed, leaning over to rest his head against Xander's thigh.
"Um, I had beans for lunch," Xander reminded him delicately.
Oz shrugged. "Wouldn't be the first time I've heard you fart. You do it at night all the time." He looked up. "That's all part of love, Xan. If you can stand their bodily functions then it must be love." He grinned and went back to resting on his husband's thigh. "So, which one is that?"
"Out of order I think, it says ancient Greece." Xander showed him the picture of a chalice.
Oz took the picture and crumpled it up. "You never saw that," he said quietly, not looking up. "We're protecting it until I can find the true heir to the chalice." He tossed the picture away. "Keep going. What's the next one?"
"Um, was that a *famous* and *searched for* cup, Oz? Maybe even in the Monty Python way?"
"Yup, very Life of Brian sometimes too. Our lives can be that way." Oz scratched his cheek on the soft fabric. "Don't ask, Xander, I'm just a protector of it. I'm only allowed to tell the person who I give it to."
"Okay," Xander said with a shrug. "Will I know them too?"
"Maybe. It'll have to be someone who comes not looking for it. That's what the person I accidentally took it off of said." He glanced up. "What's the next picture?"
"Um, it's the same one," Xander said, handing it over.
Oz looked at it, then at the spot where the old one was. "Huh. Guess I should go see who just checked in." He got up and walked out of the room, heading down to the front desk. "Hey, Marcus," he said, smiling at the other immortal. He pulled him aside. "Were you the only one who just checked in?"
"No, a few of my patients checked in with me, I'm forcing them to rest. Why?"
Oz shook his head. "I can't tell you, but it's not bad. Are any of them...holy?"
Marcus, the dark skinned immortal who Oz had once met in Giles' apartment, smiled gently. "Yes, one is. Tell me you've got something good for him?"
"Yeah, I do. But he's going to have to come get it from me when we're home in a few weeks. Okay?" Oz took Marcus' pen and wrote the address down for him.
The desk clerk craned her neck. "Sir, you have a different one in the records."
"Crap, that's to the old house. Guess I'm not so okay with it blowing up after all." He glanced up. "What sort of doctor are you?"
"General. Why? You got a problem?"
"Minor ones from something strange." He pulled him away. "Have you heard of that new spell?" Marcus opened his mouth, then shut it and nodded. "Well, we started it and it works, but Xander has flames and he still scars sometimes."
"Huh," Marcus said, glancing around them. "I feel another of us."
"That's the owner, Adam. You might have met him when you came to challenge Xander that time." He handed over the right address and the pen. "That's where I am. Just tell him he's to come not looking for it, okay?"
"Sure," Marcus said, confused. "Will he understand that?"
"He will if it's going to him," Oz assured him, nodding at the dining room. "Want me to introduce you to Adam?"
Marcus glanced in there, catching sight of someone peering out through a window. "Oh, that's him?" Oz nodded. "Okay. No, I met him last year in San Francisco. He was wandering." He shrugged. "I'll go tell them. Any idea what a sea salt scrub is?"
"Heavenly," Oz purred, patting him on the arm and running up the stairs.
The other immortal shook his head and headed up the stairs at a much slower pace. He didn't need this strangeness, and neither did his patients.
Oz leapt onto the bed beside Xander, pulling him into his arm. "I might get rid of that thing yet."
Xander handed over the note that had been delivered while Oz had been gone. "We have to go back," he whispered.
Oz looked at it, shaking his head. "How did Angel get stabbed?"
"Buffy went off on him." Xander rolled over to hug his husband. "Angel's still living, barely. Wes called Spike and Seth back from Europe too."
"We'll leave in the morning," Oz assured him, giving him a squeeze. "Give me the phone?" Xander handed it to him, letting him make the hard call. "Hey, Wes," he said, listening. "Is Spike back yet?" He grunted. "Okay, we're leaving tonight then. We'll be there by this morning." He hung up. "Buffy was drugged by Wolfram and Hart. It was their last ditch effort before the Demonic Counsel closed them down." He tossed the phone away. "Pack, we've got to catch the next flight back to LA." He got up and left the room, going to find Meth or Ray. He tapped on their private door, pushing his way in when Ray opened the door dripping wet without a towel. "We've got to go back. Wolfram and Hart drugged Buffy so much she tried to stake Angel. He's not in good shape and he's asked for us." Ray nodded, looking concerned. "Buffy realized what she did and staked herself for it. Or that's what Wesley said. You can go home to the house if you want when you come back. Tell Meth that I'm taking Xander with me. We're waiting on Spike to get back before we can do anything but I've got a decent plan in mind."
"Why don't you tell him yourself," Methos said dryly from the bathroom. His head popped out of the open doorway. "Is Angel all right?"
"No." Oz shrugged at the distressed look. "He'll probably live, but this is going to be a major guilt thing for Xander when he finds out. We're taking them down this time."
"I'll come back with you," Methos offered. "Back you up maybe?"
"If it goes that way, we'll call," Oz assured him, nodding at Ray. "We're leaving tonight, but Xander's realized the problem at least. I'll send him back if I have to."
"All right. I'll leave notice with the front desk in case he shows up. If we're gone, he'll be allowed to stay up here." Methos disappeared back into the bathroom. "Kill someone for me," he called.
Ray gave Oz a hug. "Get one for me too. I hate lawyers," he whispered before letting him out the door. Then he walked back to their mutual bath.
Oz stepped into Angel's office and looked around at the mess littering it. "Spike?" he called out, letting Xander walk in front of him.
"What?" Spike snarled from the storeroom behind them. "Come to gloat?"
"No, Angel asked for us," Oz said calmly. "After all, they blew me up the other day. Xander and I both want them too." He held out a hand. "To ruin?"
Spike slapped it. "Just let me have first bite."
"Deal," Willow said, coming up the stairs. "Oz, Xander," she said, smiling at them. "He's better. The herbs have drawn out the poison nicely." She frowned at Spike's bottle. "He said if you were drunk I was supposed to spank you until you got sober."
Spike snorted and took another drink from his beer then tossed it in the trash. "There, better?"
"Not quite," she said. Then she shrugged. "He's sleeping." She led Xander to a couch because he was yawning. "Crash there." She looked at Oz. "Do you have plans to destroy them?"
"Yup. Just before the cops and everyone gets there." He patted the bulge of his sword. "I've got it on good authority that they're going to be gone after by at least one government."
"Demon police?" Spike snorted. "Bloody ineffectual buggers. Not worth their weight in salt."
"Ah, but we've got the IRS," Willow reminded him. "Which has taken down the mafia where the FBI couldn't." She looked at Oz. "Is your teacher showing up?"
"Right after I figure out if I need him," he said gently, walking over to take off his jacket and cover Xander with it. "You sleep," he said quietly. "You can go babysit Angel in a few minutes."
"I want to do something more," he whined.
"Then we'll figure out what you can do," Oz told him. "Sleep now, plot the lawyers' downfall later." Xander nodded and curled up on the couch, closing his eyes. It wasn't more than a few minutes before Xander was asleep.
"Nice trick," Spike said as he walked past him. "Red thinks the pouf's up."
"I resent that remark," Oz said quietly. "I'm one too."
"The great broody one," Spike tried. Oz shook his head. "Bloody Hell, you're not Angel. Okay, how's this? The undead pouf who's been bleedin' like he's a stuck human?"
"Okay, I'm not one of those," Oz agreed, smiling as soon as Spike's back was turned. Willow had to clamp a hand over her mouth to hide the giggles. He followed Spike down the stairs, wrinkling his nose at the smell. "Eww."
"It's the herbs Red was usin'," Spike grumbled. "Seem to work well enough."
"Let me check him," Oz grunted, pushing Spike away. "Willow!" he yelled once he saw what was in there. He took a notepad from beside the desk and the pen Willow was playing with, writing down a list. "Go get these herbs. And hurry. You're poisoning him further with one of the ones you're using."
"Hello, vampire?" Willow suggested, waving a hand at Angel.
"Yay, and? Former High Priest of Athena and Bacchus, at different times. Go do it now." She looked shocked but she jogged up the stairs and left them alone. "Never let her use Henbane on a vampire, it'll suck what blood that's still in the system out eventually."
Spike looked impressed. "Good to know. What did you send her for?"
"A counteractive. It'll keep the blood from clotting, but it's dense enough to not allow bleeding through the wound. We used to use it on the battlefield." He shrugged. "Besides, it means she's gone."
"She's a handy little fighter," Spike reminded him.
"Yay," Oz said again, bending down to look at the wound. "Well, Angel won't live," he said, straightening up. "And he shouldn't have any scars either."
Spike smiled at that. "He's really okay then?"
"Yup, he will be once we work the Henbane outta his system. Got any fresh blood around here to infuse him with?"
"You mean like with a needle?" Spike asked, looking confused.
"Only if he had a heartbeat to pump it along. I was thinking more along the lines of someone feeding it to him."
"Oh, that I can do. Not sure if he has any human though."
"He does," Wesley said as he walked in, handing over a warmed packet. "Thank you for coming tonight, Oz. Where's Xander?"
"Napping on the couch upstairs." Wesley shook his head. "With Willow?" Wesley shook his head again. "Huh, gonna have to chain him to the bed after all." Oz shrugged. "If I know him, he's going to try and find the biggest demon he can and sweet talk him into helping him stomp the building."
Spike snorted. "Bit o'fun that would be. Got security and everything."
"Ah, but we're talking about Xander here," Oz said quietly, smiling at him. "The man who has dueled over my honor." Wesley looked stunned. "When we were across dimensions, someone suggested in court that not only did I not have any honor but that I was after the King's daughter, that I was using Xander to get to her." He smiled in fond remembrance. "Xander threw down his glass and beat the snot out of him, then challenged him to a duel, right there."
"Swords?" Wesley asked.
"Magic." Wesley choked. "A mage over there, actually the dragon that had taken him hostage, gave him a parting gift before he died. He gave him an amulet with magic stored in it. It's only got a few spells, but they're very powerful and...." Oz swallowed. "Wolfram and Hart's gonna be a puddle."
Spike looked really impressed. "What's trapped in the little trinket? An elemental?"
"A spirit," Oz said, shaking himself free of the past. "The spirit of the dragon who had captured him. It had a piece of his heart in it."
"But those are myths," Wesley exclaimed.
"I killed one," Oz said dryly. "If they're myths, they're smelly, enormous ones that bleed really nasty, foul smelling blood."
Spike snorted, then started to laugh. "I wanna see that," he said, jogging for the door. "Yell for me if he wakes up," he said as he grabbed the video camera. "I hope I'm not too late and this thing still works," he yelled as he walked out the door.
Oz shook his head, looking at the floor. "Well, better him than me. All dragons hate what I am." He shrugged it off and started to unpack Angel's wound. "I'll need the stuff Willow's bringing and some more of this moss if you have it."
"That's all we have of that," Wesley said, carefully separating out the moss to save it.
Xander tapped on the front door of the building that Wolfram and Hart owned, giving the security guard a bored look when he came to the door. "Yeah, I gotta package for one'a the senior partners," he said, trying his best to mimic Ray's voice. "Get one down here for me?"
"No." The guard held out a hand. "I'll see that they get it."
"First of all, I was told to only allow this into a senior partner's hand. Second of all, as you're wearin' a uniform, I doubt you're one. Now get one'a them down here now or I'm gonna leave and this is somethin' special."
The guard grumbled something that sounded like, "You can never be sure of anything around here," and walked back inside, making sure the door closed again. He came back a few minutes later with a man in a suit. "Here, a partner."
"You a senior partner?" Xander asked, looking him over. "That don't look like no Gucci suit or nothin'."
The dark-haired man smiled, trying to look calm. "Not exactly but I'm the assistant to one. I can bring it right to him."
"I was told no one but a senior partner was to get this." He canted his weight off to the side. "Now, do I gotta go back and tell the person who sent this that ya don't wan' it after all?"
The lawyer shook his head. "No, not at all. Who is it from anyway? Maybe that would make one of them come down faster."
"Some guy named Harris."
"Xander Harris?" the guard asked, his face scrunching up. "He's trouble, Mr. McDonald."
"I know," he said quietly, waving a hand. "Leave, we're fine." The guard left them alone. "He said to only give it to a senior partner?"
"Yeah, he said it was a peace offerin' or somethin'." He shrugged and held it out. "You sure you work for one direct like?"
"Yes, I do," Lindsey McDonald said, smiling again. "I'm actually a Junior Partner and head of Special Projects."
"Oh." Xander looked down at the box. "Okay, I guess. But you gotta give it to him right away like. The Harris guy said it was dangerous to anyone but one'a them." He handed over the box and pulled out a small slip of paper. "Sign for it," he ordered, shoving it over with a pen.
"You're not a professional deliveryman, are you?" Lindsey asked.
"Nope, I just do this part time. Someone in his family made him come ta me." He shrugged and took the paper back, waving. "Have fun." He jogged away, heading for a beat-up car parked down the street, camouflage enough for right now. He was pulled into an alleyway by Spike, who put a hand over his mouth to keep him quiet.
Xander snickered as he leaned against the wall, counting to see how long it would take to get to someone who could open it. About five minutes later, the windows of the third floor blew out and a ghostly tail flew out one of them. Xander hit the ground laughing, rolling around in the grime and things best not thought about.
Spike kept the camera on the building, but he was laughing so hard the camera was shaking. "What was that?"
"Spirit of a dragon who kidnapped me," Xander gasped. "Thought I was a Knight coming to hurt him so he decided to explain life to me. He was an honorable dragon, and he hated lawyers as much as I do now." He started to laugh again. "We talked," he gasped, "and he asked to come."
Spike filmed the exodus from the building, and the cops that showed up later, being careful to stay hidden from them so they wouldn't confiscate the tape. Finally, it was over and Spike pulled Xander over to his car, forcing him into it. "Come on, your mate'll love this one."
Xander cracked up again. "I'm sure. The dragon wanted to adopt me and he *hated* Oz. Wanted me to marry a nice girl and give him grandkids to tell stories to."
Oz fell off the bed he was laughing so hard, grabbing Xander to roll around with him. "Brilliant," he gasped, squeezing his mate to his chest. He looked over at Angel, who had wanted to watch it too. Angel was holding his stomach while he laughed, and it looked painful. "Spike, blood," he said, pointing.
Spike handed over a cup, grunting in displeasure. "I wanted to torture them," he pouted.
"So go catch a few," Angel suggested between sips. "They're in the open now."
Spike brightened up at the prospect of hunting. "Yeah, they are." He grinned at Xander. "Good job, mate. And a crack-up too." He walked out, grabbing his duster from the back of the couch as he walked past it.
Oz looked at Wesley, who was looking very pale. "Don't worry, the one over my fireplace said he really preferred virgins over other food."
Wesley stared at him in shock. "You have a dragon trapped at your house?"
"The one with the portals," Oz agreed. "He's stuck in the portals, dropped his key."
"Oh, my, I'd like to see that," Wesley muttered, glancing at Angel.
Xander whispered in Oz's ear, and got a nod. "My lovely husband has just suggested that I need to sell the house anyway, and it has to go to someone responsible."
"I could never afford a house," Wesley said, flushing. "Not even a small one."
"Easy payment plans," Xander offered. "You watch the portals."
Oz nodded. "Say fifty grand?"
"That's a lot of money," Wesley sighed.
"Hey, the house is worth almost a mil," Oz told him. "This is a steal. I don't want to deal with the portals again and you're responsible like that."
Wesley looked at Angel again. "Where is this one?"
"Carmel," Xander said quickly. "Just this side of the town actually."
"Angel could go into the realms and do good stuff," Oz offered.
"Oh, and I could go learn other sorts of magic," Willow said happily. "Maybe even from a dragon."
"You'd have a demon-free town," Xander added. "I didn't see a one while we were there."
Angel coughed. "He'll take it," he said quietly. "We could use a base of operations out of the area and Carmel is one of those very safe places. Wes, you could go down there and do research all you wanted."
"But fifty thousand?" Wesley said.
"Hey, loans are good," Xander pointed out. "I could even get you hooked up at the demon bank."
"No," Angel said. "You don't want them to have access to the portals at all. Talk to someone at your bank tomorrow, I'll co-sign," he sighed at the stunned look Wesley was giving him. "Just...no dragons in LA, okay, Wes?"
"Of course not," Wesley said quickly, straightening up. "I shan't let them out at all." He looked down at Oz and Xander. "How much of a guardian do I have to be?"
"I show up about once a decade or so," Oz told him.
"Ah, so I could conceivably do this on the weekends?"
"Yup," Xander said, giving him a grin. He looked up at the screen, watching as the cops arrived on the scene. "What do you think they put in their reports?"
"Unidentified smell or something probably," Oz said, wiggling to get free. He stood up and held out a hand. "Home?" he asked his husband, who was staring up at him.
"But I want to make sure that they're wrecked," Xander pouted.
Wesley froze the tape, pointing at the screen. "That's a Federal Agent," he noted. "They're taking care of them as we speak."
"As long as they can't jump us for releasing a spirit," Oz said with a shrug. "Come on, let's go, Xander."
"Okay." Xander hopped up and followed his Oz, hanging onto his belt loops. "Can they arrest us for releasing a spirit?" he asked as they walked out the door.
"Probably not. There's not a lot of laws regarding sprits on the books," Oz told him, opening the car door cautiously. He stopped at the click, turning to look at the blonde woman holding the gun pointed at them. "What? We're going home."
"What did you do to Wolfram and Hart?" she asked coldly.
"I released a spirit who hated lawyers, especially unethical ones," Xander defended, trying but not succeeding to get in front of Oz. "It's not against the law."
"They've been bombing us for over a month now," Oz put in quietly. "Our house, a few of our cars. Angel's old office." She looked stunned. "Yeah, so a little spirit is nothing compared to what they've done."
She firmed up, her gun no longer drooping. "Still, you endangered people."
Oz snorted. "Only if they were already bad," he told her. "Everyone else was safe."
"Did it eat someone?" Xander asked. Her pissed expression said it all. "Hey, they had to be bad for him to eat them. He was an ethical dragon when he got killed and trapped in there. He only attacked people who were trying to get him or people who were bad. Even when he kidnapped me, he only lectured me."
Oz looked at Xander. "Which can be a worse torture than being eaten," he reminded dryly.
"Actually, not with him. His was interesting and funny. He made Knights sound like boys out catching bugs at night."
"Ah." Oz shook his head and turned back to the woman with the gun. "Don't even think about it," he warned her. "You too can die and you won't stop me with a simple bullet."
"Why? Are you a vampire too?" she scoffed, looking him over.
"No, he's *much* more dangerous," Willow said from the doorway. "Go home, Oz, we can deal with her." She waved as they left then looked at the cop. "Kate, they were saving themselves being blown up, again. Oz was the one who was blown up about five feet from where you're standing just the other day." She stepped back and slammed the door.
The cop shook her head and put her gun away. "This is stranger than I ever wanted to deal with," she said, looking up. "Make it stop, God, please? I'll believe whatever, just not people who come back from car bombings." She walked off into the night, trying to figure out if she wanted to go somewhere simpler, somewhere where there's no demons or vampire detectives.
Oz walked into their house behind Xander, one hand around his lover's waist. "Can we start again?" he asked, keeping Xander from moving further into the house.
"I love you," Xander said, grinning at his husband. "Whatever you want, as long as you won't stop making me sew or love you." He stole a kiss. "See?"
"Much better," Oz sighed in relief. "Do you want to go back to Meth's spa?"
"Nah, there's a really good one in Beverly Hills that I'd like to try."
"Okay," Oz said, walking them into the kitchen. "We're still getting a housekeeper." He pulled out a bottle of wine and popped the cork, letting Xander pull down glasses for them.
"Why? I don't need a housekeeper, Oz."
"Think of it this way, Xander. No more sweeping all these floors."
Xander looked up at the ceiling, considering the house. "Okay, but are you sure only one person will be enough?"
"If not, they'll tell us." Oz poured the wine out, stealing a kiss as he handed over Xander's glass. "We'll put out a call for someone tomorrow?"
"If you want to pay for one," Xander said quietly, staring at his lover.
"It's not that you do a bad job, but we have a life," Oz reminded him gently. "And I'd like that life to not include vacuuming for hours on end each week."
"Okay," Xander sighed, grinning at him. "Twist my arm, find me someone who cooks and cleans up for us. Maybe they'll even take over litter box duty."
"Not likely," Oz said, taking a sip of his wine. "Are you hungry?"
"Yup. Want me to cook?"
"No, I want us to order," Oz said, opening the drawer with the menus in it. He checked his watch and pulled out the only 24-hour pizza place one's, handing it over. "Pick us something and remember that they have a hard time finding either gate." He walked out onto the porch, leaning back in one of the loungers to look up at the stars. "Hurry up," he called. "We've got shooting stars."
Xander jogged out and climbed into his lap to watch and cuddle at the same time. "Wow."
"Those used to be considered magical signs from God," Oz whispered to him, wrapping his free hand around Xander's waist.
"They're still really magical to some of us," Xander told him.
"Yup. To me too," Oz sighed, getting comfortable.