Notes: Thanks to Xandria and Otter, and the rest of my list, for help with Giles' father's name. Meeting the Family.
"Giiiiiiilllllllllllleeeeeeeeeessssssss!" Xander screeched as he ran inside, dripping wet and naked, and pounced his lover for a hug. He continued to ignore the man at the table, he'd been doing that ever since he had shown up that morning, so it was okay. He pulled back some and gave his other lover a kiss. "Hi, how was your trip? And Vegas?"
"They were both fine, Xander," Giles said, patting him on the rear. "Maybe you should go put on some clothes."
Xander snorted. "I'm going to finish my laps. *Then* I'll put on some clothes." He winked and jogged back out to the pool, diving into the shallow end. "Oww," floated through the window.
"I told you not to do that," Oz called after him. He looked at Giles. "Told you so," he smirked. He brought over a cup of tea for his lover, and put another on the table for the fussy man that had shown up very early that morning, at eight. "He's Marilyn's Watcher and he thinks we're strange," he warned his lover as he headed back to his office. "The software people wanted a different color on the backgrounds so I've got to change that," he called.
Giles sat down at the table, looking at the young man across from him. "Why did you take on a girl, Frederick?"
"Not much of a choice," he snorted. "She showed up on my doorstep asking for my help. Do you know what those... boys of yours tried to convince her of? That demons had children, Rupert!"
"They do," Rupert said calmly. "I've met a few. One of them even adopted Xander as a residual heir to save him from his actual family. We've all seen some very young demons, just not here on the Hellmouth." He sipped his tea. "If you want, I can call in another Watcher, Fredrick, I do still have some contacts over there."
"Please. But make sure you get one who knows what they're talking about."
Giles shook his head. "Frederick, there are so many amazing and unusual things in this world. If you'd allow yourself to unbend, you'd see them. Even Wesley has by now, though it took him quite a while to find himself."
"Is he still pretending to hunt demons?" he said snidely.
"Actually, he's helping Angel in LA. He's been a great help to him from what I've heard. I can call and ask if you could pop around." Frederick glared at him. "I'll pass on a hello for you then." Giles got up and went to the living room, coming back with one of the cordless phones and his address book. He looked up a number and then dialed it slowly, eventually, listening for a grumpy voice on the other end of the line. "Hello, Mum. Is Father there? Yes, it's me, Mum. No, I've got Marilyn's Watcher here and there's a slight problem." He tapped his fingers a few times. "Yes, Father, that's what I said. It's Wesley's brother Frederick." He smiled at the young man. "He said hello and where did you find her? They've been looking for her for the last month or so."
"On my doorstep, literally," he said grumpily. "Tell them the rest."
Giles handed over the phone. "Go right ahead. My Father's probably already heard it."
"Sir, yes, this is, Mr. Giles." He smiled triumphantly, then it fell. "Really? All right." He paled a little. "You mean he was correct about that?" He glanced at Giles again. "Really?" he asked weakly. He firmed up a bit. "Yes, we both thought that might be for the best. No, he said my brother was in LA helping someone named Angel..." He quickly handed the phone back.
"Yes, Father, he's helping Angel and Buffy, who's training with her Sire and Grand-Sire." He rolled his eyes. "I'm not sure, but I can ask one of the boys. They'd know." He pulled the phone away from his face. "Xander? My father wants to know how Buffy got turned. It wasn't recorded in the Chronicles."
Xander climbed out of the pool and padded over to the sliding door. "Spike found her dying from a fight or something and decided to turn her for fun." He grinned at him. "That's your father?"
"Yes, and you're still not talking to him," Giles said firmly, putting the phone back against his ear. "Did you hear that? Yes, that Spike. Which is why she's training under both Angel and him. Yes, Father," he sighed, rolling his eyes. "No, actually, she seems to be very repentant." He looked at Xander, who walked in and sat on the floor, so he wouldn't get Giles' jeans wet, and took the phone.
"Hi, this is Xander Harris. Yup, me. No, that's not it. No, he found her already dying and he turned her because he thought it'd be funny." He snickered. "Not anymore. She was for a little while. She and Spike ran into me in Las Vegas and tried to corner me, that's how I found out what went on. No, she's fine too. She's Angel's and they've mended their fences." He looked up at Giles. "No, he looks good actually," he said with a grin. Giles groaned and finished off his tea. "What?" Xander asked in shock. He pulled the phone away from his head. "Rupe, your father wants to know if we made any tapes."
Giles spluttered, spitting tea all over the counter. "What? Of what?"
Oz jogged out and took the phone, taking it back to his office. "Hi, this is Oz," he said in greeting. "We have pictures from the wedding, but no video." He glanced back at the naked Xander and Giles who were looking like they wanted to stalk him. "Of course. Whenever you'd like. We have a large house and we can put you up for a few days." He smiled. "Sure. I'll tell him. Who?" He nodded, frowning a little. "Deal." He hung up. "Giles, she's to go to Wesley until your father comes for her in a few weeks." He walked out to the end of the hallway, looking at them. "And he wants to see pictures of the wedding. Apparently, Wes told someone and the news got back to him. He's really pissed with you for not telling him yourself."
"Yes, well, there's a few things I'd like to discuss with my father anyway," Giles said grimly. "Call Wesley and get him up here to take the girl. Where is she, Frederick?"
"Sleeping in the den," Oz said dryly. He dialed the new office number in LA. "Hey, Wes. Yeah, but a small bit of Watcher-type business first. Giles' father said you're to take over the new girl until he gets here in a few weeks." He pulled the phone away from his ear and handed it over to Giles. "For you," he said with a smirk.
Giles listened to the loud swearing for a few seconds. "Really, such phrases from such a proper boy," he said sharply, ending the diatribe. "Yes, Wesley, it was my father. Because your brother Frederick was chosen by her and he's been having a few problems." He looked down at Xander, who was still sitting there. "Go get dressed, Xander. Now please," he added when the young man continued to stare up at him. "What?" he asked, turning his back to listen to Wesley. "No, he told Oz a few weeks. She's here. So's he." He hung up and put down the phone. "Xander, clothes," he ordered when he noticed the younger man hadn't moved.
"But I'm comfy," Xander said. "And you haven't seen my latest things from when I was bored." He smirked when Giles rolled his eyes. "Does this mean I can't finish my laps?"
"Yes, go finish your laps and then get dressed," Giles told him, looking exasperated.
Oz smirked, watching Xander's rear as he left again. "You missed it, Giles, we had an attack of dicks. Xander got *bored*."
"Oh, dear," Giles said, looking around. "Where did you put them?"
"In the new trunk he bought for toys." He smiled. "He even bought a case of lube. Ray and Meth took two bottles and we've worked through another, but I'm expecting that at least one more bottle out of the twenty-four will be used tonight.."
Giles shook his head and sighed. "That boy. Did we get the car issue resolved?"
"Yup. Oh, the car dealership needs you to go down and look at one. It's cursed."
"I'll do that tonight," he said in resignation. "I had just found the right person to talk to," he said, frowning. "I could have finished my research in days."
"Hey, bad timing sucks," Oz agreed, "but it happens in life." He went back to his office. "Think they'd like puke green?"
"No," Giles called after him. "Make it a nice color, Oz."
"Make it one of those funky dye colors," Xander called, sticking his head back in. "Giles, that black and white cat's back."
"The touched one?" he asked in shock. "What ever for?"
"Because he likes George," Xander said with a shrug. "He's in with the kittens and Rocky's puppies." He ran back to the pool and dove into the deep end, finally going back to his laps.
Giles went back to the room with the animals, stopping to pet Fluffy, who was queen of the harem at the moment. He got down to look at Rocky's puppies, patting her on the head when she growled. "I simply wanted to look," he told her. "I won't touch them, dear." He got up and smiled down at her. "They're very beautiful, Rocky. I'll be here the next few days if you need anything, all right?" He reached down to pat her once more then left the room, going up to their bedroom to see what else Xander had bought.
A few minutes later, Oz looked up at the ceiling as an, "Oh, dear God," floated down the stairs. "Looks like he found the new toy chest," he told himself as he went back to changing all the backgrounds to puce. He was tired of these people's pickiness about his background colors.
Wesley walked around the back of the house, knocking hadn't brought anyone so he was now searching for someone. He found Xander sprawled naked, sleeping in the sun, and he found his brother staring at Xander. "Frederick," he said quietly, breaking his concentration. "They've destroyed people for less," he warned his brother, coming over to shake his hand.
Frederick looked his brother over, snorting. "I see you've changed for real this time."
"I had before," Wesley reminded him. He pulled his brother into the house. "Frederick, believe me, Xander is the most deadly of the three, but it only comes out when he's taken away from his mates."
"So you say," Frederick sneered. "Tried that have you?"
"No," Wesley said with a smile. "I helped buy him a sword for a wedding present. Which I've seen him use to defend himself against fifteen people or so. All I'm saying is be a bit less obvious." He looked around. "Where are Oz and Rupert?"
"Upstairs. Marilyn's in the den, still sleeping." He grunted in dissatisfaction when Xander flipped onto his side. "How do you know what he's like?" he asked his brother archly.
"Because I've seen both before and after he found himself. He's become an amazing young man, Frederick, but he's very taken and satisfied to remain that way. Besides, if Xander didn't kill you, Oz would."
"Which would be worse?"
"Yes, it would," Wesley said seriously. "I've seen Oz in a possessive mood and it was not pleasant for the person on the receiving end." He waved at the living room. "Maybe you should tell me what you've trained her to do so far." He walked in and sat down, humming in appreciation of the couch that was just right. "What has she run into so far?"
"Besides the demon-sympathetic trio that lives here?" he asked sharply. "Not much. A few vampires. A demon that they stopped her from killing."
"It was ten," Oz said as he walked in. "It was out looking for some oak leaves, or so Xan said." He smiled down at Wesley. "You're brother's a lot more stiff and much more of an asshole than you were when we first met."
Wesley smiled at him. "Thank you, Oz, I think that's the nicest compliment you've given me to date."
"Hey, you saved me from going to the hospital the other day. You deserve it." He started to turn away but then turned back. "Oh, did they ever remove the spirit?"
"No," Wesley said with a smirk. "The dragon seems to have taken up residence in Wolfram and Hart's offices. I doubt they'll be starting again soon though, I've heard the Demon Courts aren't allowing them to argue cases any longer."
"We heard the IRS was auditing them too," Oz told him. "Want a snack?"
"Just some water if you would," Wesley said politely. "I borrowed Angel's car and had the top down the whole way up. It's a bit dry out there."
"Sure. Frederick?" The other man shook his head so Oz pulled a sword out of a nearby potted tree. "Good, then let's get one thing straight. I've used one of these longer than your line has been alive and you just fucked with my mate. Who do you think's gonna win my Xander?"
Wesley sighed and pointed at the sword. "It's not necessary, Oz, Frederick's not that much of an idiot. He's simply too young to realize that not everyone fools around."
Oz nodded and put the sword back. "As long as you vouch for him. And don't let Xander find out, not if you don't want to have to do CPR tonight." He walked away, heading for the kitchen.
Wesley looked at his brother. "I warned you," he said quietly. "I won't stick up for you again."
"Like that's so unusual," Frederick snorted.
"I have stuck up for you, in my own way, but I won't go against my friends for you, Frederick. Especially not against these. These people are like extended family to me and I won't break the trust they have in me, not even for my brother. You can leave Xander alone."
"And I will. Does he actually know how to use one of those?" Wesley nodded. "And he's really that old?"
"You'd have to take up the issue of his age with him," Wesley said firmly. "I'm not going to discuss that with you." He reached over to tap his brother lightly on the cheek, making him stare at him instead of Oz. "Leave them alone, Frederick. It really is the most healthy." He stood up. "Now then, let's go meet this girl." He took the glass of ice water Oz handed him and glanced around. "Where is she?"
"In my office. I'm going to go wake Xander, before he burns." He walked away, letting Wesley wander around to find the office.
He found the animals, and incidentally Marilyn, first. She was sitting in the middle of the floor petting one of the puppies that had escaped the basket. He leaned against the door and sipped his water, the ice cubes clinking making her look up. "Be careful, Marilyn, mothers are very protective of their puppies. She's bitten Xander from what I've heard."
Marilyn nodded and helped the puppy back into the basket, pausing to pet the mother dog too. "I know. My mother used to raise dogs." She stood up and faced him. "You're Wesley?"
He nodded. "Yes, dear. How long ago were you called?" He sipped some more of the water as he walked in and sat down, accepting a kitten into his lap immediately. "Hello, little one. Ribbon, isn't it?" He petted the long hair cat and nodded at the floor. "Sit, we can discuss this in here. The animals are very soothing." He stared at the black and white cat staring at him. "Except that one." He shook himself. "Even my boss has a kitten, given to him by the trio who live here."
"No, dear, I work for Angel. Though you will be meeting Buffy. And please, ignore most of her stories. It was never that easy for her either." He smiled gently. "You never answered me."
"I woke up with a vampire standing over my bed and I staked him," she said quietly, looking away from him. She gave him a shocked look when he squeezed her shoulder. "What was that for?"
"Because you obviously needed some comfort and I doubt my brother did it. He's not the sort." He finished off his water and put the glass aside, then picked up the cat and removed her from his lap so he could scoot closer to her. "Marilyn, I don't need to know the details, but should I try calling your home to tell your mother you're fine?"
She shook her head. "My mother would be very pissed at me because I killed her last boyfriend," she sighed. "It was instinctive though," she complained, slumping in on herself. "I ended up running away." She looked up at him. "Do you have to say anything to her?"
"We'll just send her a note saying that you're living and fine."
"Can we wait? Until she's not pissed?"
"Of course, if that's what you feel is best." Wesley reached over and gave her a hug. "There now. Do you have anything that we need to stop and pick up?" She shook her head. "Surely you have more than one set of clothes."
"Nope, I didn't have time to pack. Like I said, she was *pissed*." She looked around the room. "Do you think the next Watcher will mind if I asked to take a cat with me?"
Wesley smiled. "It depends on which one it is," he said lightly. "If it's Giles' father, then I'd hazard a guess to say yes. If not, then you might want to ask him. The worst he can do is say no. And if he does something worse than just saying no, then you have my permission to come to me and allow me to get you one." She laughed. "There, much better. A girl your age should be smiling and happy." He let her go and looked at the doorway, where Oz was standing. "She was thinking about asking her Watcher if she could have a cat."
"As long as she doesn't try to take Meth's cats, or the top ones here, that might be okay," Oz agreed. "Ribbon could probably go. If not, all you have to do is find one and take it to the vets to get travel certificates and shots. We did a lot of that in Europe." He shrugged. "Giles' father just called back and amended his date. He'll be here tomorrow. And he's not handing her over." He held up a hand at Wesley's shocked look. "That's what he said. I have no idea if it means you're keeping her or if it means he is." He shrugged and walked away. "I'm fixing supper in about an hour if you wanted to stay."
"Please," Wesley called. He smiled at the young girl. "Well, Marilyn, I've been dying to wander into the woods here, would you like to walk with me?"
"Sure," she said happily. She stood up gracefully and helped pull him up, then followed him out of the house and out onto the few acres of trees.
Oz looked out at Xander, who had refused to wake up, then shook his head as he watched the duo disappear into the trees. "Well, someone enjoys walking out there," he reasoned. He went back to chopping garlic for his stir-fry.
Giles spit his food across the table. "What did you say?" he asked harshly.
"I said that your father moved up his arrival date," Oz said calmly, ignoring Xander's intense look. "He said he had to so that you would be here." Giles muttered something and Xander stared at him. "He wanted to actually see his son this time, or so he said," Oz told him again.
"It won't be that bad," Xander told him, reaching over to pat him on the hand. "Really, it won't. If he gets mean, I'll spank him for you."
Giles moaned and put his head down on the table, shaking it.
Oz reached over to tap the back of Xander's hand. "Maybe you shouldn't mention spanking and his father together again," he suggested.
"Please," Giles moaned. He pushed his head back up to look at his husbands. "Though, if you wanted to smite him, I wouldn't complain."
"He seemed nice over the phone," Xander said with a pout.
"Xander, no offense, but he thinks you're my wife. He believes that you're some very effeminate man who I pretend to love." He sat up and brushed his hair back off his forehead. "He's never believed that I was really gay and he still happens to believe in the stereotype."
"So I'll be more butch," Xander said with a shrug. "You need to spar anyway."
"True," Oz agreed, nodding. "And I'm not 'femme by any stretch of the imagination."
"No, but he'll think that we're sharing Xander," Giles pointed out.
"Then let him, because you do," Xander said happily. He passed Wesley some water when he started to choke. "You all right?" he asked, looking concerned.
"Xander, I think you've missed the point. I know Giles' father. Even if you suddenly became one of those horrid bullying macho motorcycle gang members, he's still going to see you as an effeminate man. That's what he's expecting to see. Even if he sees you put his son onto the ground and paddle him raw, he'd still see you that way."
Xander leered at Giles. "Can I do that?"
"No," Giles ground out. He took a deep breath. "We'll simply have to avoid any personal interaction so I don't smite him over what he'll say."
"You know, and this may sound strange, but your father might just accept it," Xander suggested. "Even fathers have been known to change when it comes down to their only children."
"He's not an only child," Wesley told them.
"We don't discuss him," Giles said firmly.
"Why not?" Oz asked. "That bad?"
"Very. It's more of a hypothetical adoption in this case." He looked at his family. "My father adopted a young Watcher when I was ten. The man is a bloody arse and I don't want to talk about him."
Xander's face clouded up. "Do we need to go hurt him for you?"
"No, dear," Giles said, his mood lightening as he leaned over to give Xander a hug. "You don't need to go hurt him, he's a pain but he's never harmed me physically." He let Xander go. "But we won't speak of him again."
"Okay," Xander said, looking over at Marilyn and smiling at her. "Sorry. So, what part of the country are you from?"
"Virginia," she said quietly. "Will your father be nice?"
"To you, probably," Giles said calmly, giving her a reassuring smile. "At least until you don't train hard enough for his expectations. Then he'll be cutting and cold. At which point, we'll expect you to yell at him for us. The man has no idea what he's doing at most times, especially when it comes to you girls." She looked a little more at ease. "Eat, Marilyn. He's not cruel, he just has very high expectations."
She nodded and tucked back into her dinner. "This is really great, Oz. Thank you."
"Welcome," he said, looking at Wesley, who was looking very worried. "Marilyn, would you like to sleep upstairs in a bedroom or down here on one of the couches?" She dropped her fork and looked at him in shock. "No, sweetheart, nothing like that," he soothed when he realized what it must have sounded like to her. "Just wanted to know if you wanted to be bothered by the animals. We'd *never* hit on you. You're not our type, we only do willing and non-obligated people." He gave her a bland look. "Trust me, you never have to worry about that with a Watcher or with us. And our house is often a refuge for wayward Watchers."
Wesley snorted. "Yes, Oz, and thank you for having me stay tonight, though Angel was most upset when he found out I had taken his car instead of my bike." He smiled at Marilyn. "Trust these people, Marilyn, I've fought beside them before and they're all very decent. They would never hurt you without reason."
She nodded and started to eat again, staying silent through the rest of the meal. Everyone around her looked at each other and Xander looked determined. As soon as she was done eating, he grabbed Marilyn and walked outside with her, heading towards the woods. Down there was a nice little bench where a former owner had apparently wanted a garden. He sat her down and looked at her. "Marilyn, who did it?" She looked up at him in shock. "Really. We're not like that here. No one here would ever presume to ask you for sex. First, you're underage. Second, you're underage and a guest. Got it?" She smiled and nodded. "Good. Now tell me who tried that trick. 'Cause if it was Wesley's brother, I'm sure we can go beat him up for you."
She shook her head. "No, it wasn't. It was long ago, Xander." She looked around then back at him. "Do you usually run around naked?"
"Mostly," he agreed, sitting down next to her. "But if it makes you that uncomfy, I'll put on some clothes when I get up tomorrow. At least a robe and dance pants."
She shook her head. "No, that's actually a pretty cool and funny thing." She leaned her head on his shoulder. "You're like this adult guy who's done it all."
She snickered. "Sorry. I realize you're not that old, you or Oz, but you've seen all this stuff that I'm gonna end up seeing soon. Am I supposed to be looking up to you?"
"Not unless you want to," he said dryly, giving her a one-armed hug.
"Okay, but can I call and ask for advice?"
"Sure. Anytime. All three of us would gladly help you whenever you needed us to." He let her go and stood up. "Come on, it's time to go scoop the litter boxes and I could use the help." He walked up to the house, her walking right behind him.
Giles glared at Xander as he opened the door, they'd just started an argument, and was rudely brushed aside. By his father. Who went straight to Xander and gave him a hug. "Father, that's Xander," he said as he closed the door. "The man walking up behind him is Oz, my other husband." His father switched over and gave Oz a hug too. Giles shook himself. This was certainly odd.
"Son," Giles' father said, turning to look at him with a smile. "I'd say you've chosen very well for yourself." He smiled over at Xander. "You were Xander, correct?"
"Yup," he said, nodding, looking a little shocked. "You are *nothing* like Giles described you like though."
Giles' father laughed. "That's the way it is with all children." He looked around. "Is Wesley still here?"
"He's in the woods," Oz said, managing to get free so he could head to the kitchen. "Henrietta," he called long before he got there, giving her a panicked look. "Did we make snacks yet?" he asked her.
She pointed at the refrigerator. "Your men have been fussing over them all morning," she said with a smile. "Want me to go home?"
"Nah, you're fine. Besides, every time you walk out the door, Ribbon follows you." He shrugged as he picked up the two trays of snacks and nodded at the pitcher of ice tea. "Please?"
"Sure." She grabbed it and a few glasses, walking into the living room behind him. She set them down with a smile for Giles, then left them alone, the long-haired cat trotting after her giving her loving looks.
"You're taking the cat with you," Oz called. "She likes you best." He heard her laugh and turned his attention back to the meeting in progress. "So, Marilyn is out in the woods with Wesley, it seems he's missed having woods."
"His family's house is out by a small wooded area, he used to play out there," Giles' father said quietly, looking at his son. "How have you been, Rupert?"
"Fine, father, but I would like to know something. Why did you never tell me I was adopted?"
"Because we didn't," his father sighed, getting comfortable on the couch. "We actually found you but we never formally adopted you. It seemed like a bad idea at the time," he explained at the hurt look. "Your mother figured that you were left in that horse field for a reason and she didn't want the people who had left you to come looking for you when they saw the notice. So we never made it official." He shrugged lightly. "Has it made a difference in your life?"
Giles glanced at Oz, who shrugged. "Yes, actually it has. But I'm not sure I can tell you about it."
"He's used to keeping secrets," Xander pointed out, leaning into Giles' side. "I'm sure he could keep this one."
"You're one of those immortals?" Giles' father asked lightly. Everyone stared at him. "There's another branch of the Watchers, a horrid split a few centuries back actually, but we're still taught about them and all. Which is why I was all for adopting you when we found you, son."
"Yeah, he is," Oz said quietly. "So am I and Xander's actually a very good fighter in his own right."
"Ah." Giles' father nodded. "That's good to know. At least he's not facing this alone. Which one are you?"
"Oz," he said firmly. Giles' father smiled. "Really. Sixteen hundreds. I'm in the Chronicles."
"I see. Oh, yes, I've heard of you from my boy. You were a werewolf there for a bit."
"Yup, and we're still wondering why the contagion hasn't quite left me yet." He looked over at Xander, who was looking a little queasy. "Want to go play with the animals?"
"No. I just have a very bad feeling suddenly," Xander said quietly, glancing at the windows. "Henrietta, is there anything on the security monitor?"
"Yes," she called back. "A troop of people in body armor with guns. They're just coming through the gates."
"Wow," Oz said, blinking a few times. "We're being raided." He stood up and held a hand out to Xander. "Coming to meet them with me?"
"Sure," he said lightly, taking the hand to be hauled up. He walked out with Oz, letting the father and son catch up, locking them into the living room actually. He stepped out onto the porch beside Oz, looking at the man walking up the driveway. "What do you want?" he asked coldly.
"We're here to search the house for illegal weapons and drugs," the agent said, holding out a paper.
Oz took it and shook his head. "That must have been with the last owner," he said, handing it back. "That's not our names."
"We bought the house a few months ago," Xander told him helpfully. "The old owners are supposed to be in jail. A nice federal one, right, Oz?"
"I think so," Oz agreed, nodding. He looked down at the agent. "You can go tell your boss that because the warrant isn't right and you have no right to search anything without a real warrant with the correct identity on it." He pushed Xander back into the house. "Now leave, or I'm going to have you thrown off the property."
"Oz," Xander yelled from inside. "We just got a messenger. My brother was watching. Watch out!"
Oz stepped back closer to the house and looked around, then frowned down at the agent. "I'd leave, his brother's got some very vicious bodyguards that are probably on their way here."
The agent sneered. "Oh, really?" he asked. Just before he was picked up by the demon who appeared behind him and tossed him away into the rest of them.
The demon turned and growled at the remaining humans, who turned tail and ran. He turned look at Oz and bowed. "Your brother-in-law has suggested that I come look out for you," he said, his voice high-pitched and squeaky. "I will have a talk with their bosses." He faded out, leaving the grounds to go talk to a higher authority - the demon guarding the White House, who just happened to be his brother.
Oz shook his head and walked back inside, taking the phone Xander held out. "Hi, this is Daniel Osbourne. We just had some Feds up here trying to serve a false warrant..."
"With someone else's names," Xander added.
"True, with someone else's name on the form, and they got into a big fight. No, not ambulances, at least not for most of them, but they might need a ride back into town until they wake up." He hung up and walked into the living room, looking at Giles. "It got cleared up," he said calmly as he sat down. "Ray's going to come pick them up with the rest of the cops."
"Who-hoo!" Xander said, grinning and jogging off. "I've got to give him that present that he'll need for tonight!" he called as he jogged up the stairs.
Giles looked at Oz. "Do I want to know?" Oz shook his head. "Thank you." He looked out the window as cop cars started to pull up with their lights on. "My, they're fast today."
"Feds make trouble for local guys," Xander panted as he jogged back in, showing Giles what was inside the cloth bag. "See?" He jogged out and hugged Ray, handing him the bag. Eventually he stuffed it into Ray's jacket so he would have to take it. He came running back inside and closed the door. "The local guys are *not* happy with them. The Captain's chewing out the guy who was talking, and he *told* him that we weren't those guys." He sat down in Oz's lap, giving him a kiss. "We're okay again."
"Maybe," Oz agreed, looking around Xander's cuddling body at Giles' father, who was looking a little shell shocked at the moment. "As you can see, it's never dull around here."
Giles' father laughed hard, having to bend over to breathe while he was doing so.
During supper that night, Xander uttered his most scary phrase. "Oz, I'm bored," he sighed. Oz and Giles both patted down their pockets, and Wesley handed Xander his wallet. "Not that sort of bored," he said, grinning at Wesley. "Want to go shopping with me next time?" The young man shook his head quickly. "Oh, did Spike like his suit?"
"Suit?" Oz asked.
"Spike?" Giles asked.
"Why?" Giles' father asked.
"Seth's Sire wanted him to go out to dinner with them and he decided Spike needed a suit," Xander said with a shrug. "I helped him pick one out while I was shopping last time."
"I heard he liked it quite well. He even admonished one of the demons he was beating up not to spill blood on it. Said it was not only comfortable but also the only one he was ever going to have." Wesley smiled at Xander. "It seems he liked it."
"Cool." Xander looked at his husbands. "No, I was thinking that I could use my knowledge to help others." Oz closed his eyes and shook his head. "Maybe write a book or something."
"Ah," Giles said, giving him a smile. "Well, that's a much better idea than either Oz's or my head could come up with. I think it would be good for you to try at least, and we would help you as much as possible."
"Okay," Xander said happily, picking up his fork to eat again.
Marilyn looked from Xander to Giles and back. "What special skills does he have?" Wesley choked, making her focus on him.
"Let's just say he's very ... talented in certain areas," Oz said, not wanting to traumatize her, or to make her attracted to Xander. He liked her too much to have to kill her, not that he wouldn't if she tried to take Xander from him.
Xander smirked at him and winked, promising he was going to get rewarded later. He looked over at the young girl. "I'm a member of a very special society called GHS and I wanted to use what I had learned over the last few years to help others."
"Oh." She nodded politely. "What do they do?"
"They enjoy life," Oz told her, pointing at her plate. "Eat or I'm telling Henrietta and she'll fuss over you again."
Marilyn smiled but ate, remembering the fussing she got earlier. The woman was like a grandmother. She looked up at Giles' father once she swallowed and gave him a timid smile. "Are you really the bastard Frederick said you were, Mr. Giles?"
He snickered. "Not quite. Frederick and I never got along, he was always so self-centered." He smiled at Wesley. "It's a shame your first girl had to be Faith, Wesley. I think you would have made an excellent Watcher if you had been put under someone else for a bit." Wesley blushed and looked away from him. "And call me Leslie. Everyone else calls my son Giles so it's better if you don't confuse us."
"He's also very short sighted," Oz pointed out. "Frederick argued with us about demons having children."
"Yeah," Marilyn said, putting down her fork. "He had me attacking this little demon that Xander said was only out gathering oak leaves to nibble on. That's not really fair, you know."
"No, it's not," Leslie agreed, looking at Xander. "But then, some of us have had more interaction with demons than people like Frederick." Xander raised an eyebrow and took a drink of water, refusing to blush. "But," he said, smiling at her again, "Frederick was right about one thing. Not all of them are good."
"No, but we've taken a 'wait until you see them harassing someone' approach to it here in Sunnydale," Oz said calmly, reaching over to tap Xander's knee under the table. "Most of the ones we've ran into recently haven't been planning anything sinister."
"Yes, but we've also got the Hellmouth under control here," Giles pointed out. He grimaced at his father. "I can see both sides, Father, but really, she must learn that not all demons are cruel and mean, or out to eat you. They're not."
"True," Leslie agreed, "but we'll have to show her which is which, won't we," he said, his voice growing a little colder. "An active Hellmouth would make some of the demons more prone to violence."
"Actually," Oz said quietly, putting down his fork, "it's not the Hellmouth, it's the energy that's leaking out of it. This one has a portal key, which we've grounded, to draw out some of it's energy. If the Council could find a way to drain any other Hellmouth and keep it safe, then you'd probably have a lot less problems with the bad demons."
"Then you'd find them by their sinister plans to take the keys," Xander added. "The bad ones always show themselves, but they don't always do it graphically," Xander told Marilyn. "I had a teacher that turned out to be a Praying Mantis. I found that out when she captured me to bite my head off and make babies." She looked sickened. "Sorry." He grinned at her. "Just remember, if it's too pretty/nice/or good, it's not right and you need to find out why."
"Except for some people," Oz argued. "Some people are just that nice."
"And they usually need medication," Giles put in quietly, looking over at Oz. "Trust what Xander said, if it's too nice to you, then you need to leave it be."
Leslie nodded. "That is a very good rule to live by," he agreed. "Most demonic communities are very closed and you never hear or see of them. It's only places like Sunnydale where you see openly walking around demons. Those are the ones we have to worry about." He leaned back in his chair, picking up his glass of water to play with and look at. "You see, a Slayer's job isn't only to protect the humans from the demons, but also to protect the humans from the knowledge of the demons. We're there to make sure that the two worlds don't combine." He glanced at Xander. "Except in certain areas."
"Yup," Xander said, shooting Marilyn a grin. "The demon bank we use gives us great interest rates."
"They're much nicer than your other bank too," Oz pointed out. Giles just shook his head. "Headache?"
"No, being caught in the middle," Giles sighed. "Father, I know how important it is to keep the two worlds apart, but in this day and age, you really can't do that like you used to. The world is getting smaller and the demons have had to come out into it so to speak. It's more a matter now of protecting both sides from each other. The humans are very vicious when they discover a demon in their midst."
Xander nodded, swallowing fast. "While I was visiting my adoptive family, there was a lot of discussion over the increased violence towards demons who were only trying to live peacefully. Even against some children." He cut up his lasagna some more and took a bite, chewing slowly. "I think," he said after swallowing, "that we have a duty to become a barrier between the two communities now, or maybe a buffer. That might be the most important job a Slayer will have in the future."
Leslie thought for a second, then nodded. "I can see that, but we still have to teach Marilyn how to protect the humans."
Marilyn smiled at him. "Yeah, but protecting the humans can still make me a buffer between the two communities, Leslie. I can still protect the humans while acting as a buffer. I'll have to learn the different sort of demons and what their average behaviors are, but I think I can do that. That's more my area of interest anyway."
He nodded to her. "All right, then we'll start on that with you."
"I can help with that," Wesley spoke up. "I have been very active while out and about with Angel. Also, I believe Angel could help her. He and Spike are very knowledgeable about the various types of demons and what you can expect from them. Also, Spike happens to know many demon languages. She might be able to talk him into teaching her a few of them."
"I only know a few phrases in the most popular one," Xander admitted with a grin.
"Including 'Watch out, that's the Slayer'," Oz pointed out.
"In eight," Xander said proudly. He winked at Marilyn. "So, how about it? Can we drag you to LA and have Angel and Spike give you a crash course in demonology?"
"Perhaps we should call first," Giles pointed out gently. "They might be in the middle of a case."
Wesley got up and walked over to the phone. "Xander, may I call home?"
"Go ahead," Oz said. He looked at Giles' father again, giving him a bland look. "So, what were you going to teach her first, before we ganged up on her?"
Leslie laughed. "Oh, dear, now I can see why my boy likes you so much." He smiled at Xander. "And I must say, you're nothing at all like what I imagined you to be."
"Nope, I'm not," Xander said politely. He looked at Giles. "After supper, you owe me a sparring session."
"Of course," Giles said, giving him a grateful smile. "Where's your new sword?"
"My katana's in the bedroom. Or we could use staffs. Your choice." Xander finished his dinner and pushed his plate back, smiling at Marilyn. "Giles still has to spar every day. He's still got a lot to learn, same as I do."
"Cool. You really fight with a sword?" she asked Giles. Who nodded. "Wow. Can you teach me?"
"I can show you the basics," Leslie told her.
"Or I could," Oz suggested. "I have got a lot of experience with them." He looked at Marilyn's plate. "Finish eating and we'll do sparring lessons out on the front lawn. It's more like what you're going to be fighting on."
"Except in clubs," Xander pointed out. "Buffy did a lot of that, and in the alleys behind them."
"That's because the local vamps liked the music and clubs are easier to hunt in," Oz pointed out. "But yeah, Marilyn, clubbing is an essential part of your job in this day and age." He gave her a slight smile. "There's a lot of people so if one disappears, they aren't noticed for a good few hours."
"Primo hunting ground," Xander tacked on.
"Just don't fall into the fashion trap Buffy did," Giles sighed, giving his men a hard look. "The outfits she used to wear," he said, shaking his head.
"She only ended up topless once," Xander pointed out.
"She did?" Leslie said, shocked.
"Well, yeah, but it was one of those little tops that wasn't much more than a band-aid and a few straps." He shrugged then turned his attention back to the girl. "Get good clubbing clothes, but make sure you can fight in them."
"That was one thing Faith always had," Oz said quietly. "She was always ready to fight in whatever she wore."
Xander shut up and looked down. "True," he agreed quietly. "She was always ready to fight. No matter what she wore."
Oz leaned over and whispered something in Xander's ear, making him nod and relax. "I think we should go sit down and let dinner settle so we can spar. Xander, I think your sword needs to be found."
"I think we'll work with staffs tonight," Giles said quickly. "I'm not really in the mood, especially not with the agents that showed up earlier." He pushed his chair back and smiled down at Marilyn as he stood up. "Come, let's go check on the animals. It's my night to do so." He walked out of the room, with her following behind him.
"Boys," Leslie said once they were alone, "I'm sorry if Faith was a touchy subject, I had no idea of what she has done to this group." He stood up and followed his son out of the room.
Oz leaned over to kiss Xander on the cheek. "We okay now?"
"Yeah," he sighed, looking at his husband and giving him a weak smile. "She just brings up some bad memories and I don't like to dwell on them." He took Oz's hand to squeeze. "Thank you for bringing me out of them."
"Hey, anytime," Oz told him, giving him a smile. "Go find the staffs. I know Giles doesn't know where they are." Xander got free and jogged out of the room, leaving him alone. Oz lost his smile and took a deep breath to calm down. Xander wasn't the only one with bad memories of Faith. He shook himself out of them and got up, going to help Giles with the puppies.
Giles backed away from Xander, leaning on his staff to catch his breath. "My, you're vicious tonight," he complained, glaring at his husband. Xander gave him a slight shrug. "I have actually been practicing, Xander. You don't need to kick my ..." He glanced at his father. "Rear."
Oz walked over and gave Giles a hug. "You just need some more time with our love bunny," he said quietly. "You know he has more stamina than you do."
"I had forgotten how much," Giles sighed, bowing to Xander. "I concede, you win this time." Xander grinned at him and jogged over to give him a hug too. "Thank you. Now go terrorize Marilyn for a bit." Xander jogged over there, picking up the short staff Oz had dropped to start working with her. "Oz, what's he doing now?"
"Standing there watching you with an odd look," Oz told him. He patted Giles on the back. "Ready to go with me?"
"Not really," Giles complained. "Do we have to do this tonight?"
"The only way to gain stamina is to practice and build it," Oz noted, going for Xander's staff. He twirled it around a few times and motioned Giles over. "Come on. I'll kiss all the bruises later."
Giles sighed but he walked over and took up a fighting stance, ready for Oz's attack.
Xander rolled over and hugged Giles, snuggling into his chest. "Are you okay?" he asked quietly, not wanting to wake Oz up; after all, he had spent a lot of energy wearing Oz out so he could sleep. "We can cuddle."
Giles stroked through Xander's hair, taking comfort from the simple action. "I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop I think. He's never been this nice before. Even the minor argument we had over dinner was much more calm and reasonable than we've ever had over that subject. We've always fought tooth and nail over every little thing."
"And now he wants to stop fighting and appreciate having a grown child," Xander told him, letting Giles continue what he was doing. "Maybe he's here to make amends. Maybe he's ready to see you as an adult. You never know, maybe he's here to apologize for some of those other fights."
Giles chuckled. "Xander, if I had that sunny of an outlook on my father, we would have parted long ago and never talked again."
"Didn't you?" Xander asked. "I've never seen you call him. You never talk about him." He looked up. "Haven't you already parted?"
"Yes, we have," Giles agreed, "and not on good terms. Maybe you're right, this is my chance to work it out with him. The Gods know he's getting older ever day." He rolled into Xander's body, cuddling him tightly. "Thank you, Xander. What are you doing tomorrow?"
"I'm going to go to my new room and redecorate it for my unique tastes," he said with a smile into his husband's chest. "Then I'm going to set up shop in there and think up very wicked ideas for everyone." He looked up. "Can I count on you as a test subject?" he asked with a naughty grin.
"Of course," Giles said, returning the smile. "I'm always ready to try out new things for you. Though, I would ask that you remember I'm not as flexible as you are." He gave Xander a squeeze. "Go to sleep, precious, it's time. I'll help you figure out what you want in your room tomorrow." Xander nodded and scrubbed his face against his chest, making Giles smile at the homey feeling. "I will miss this when I go back in a few weeks," he whispered.
"If you leave before I start writing, I'm gonna pout," Xander warned.
"I have to get back, but only for a few more weeks," Giles promised, rolling his eyes at the dissatisfied grunt. "I'm sorry, Xander, but I really did find someone I need to talk to. I really should be leaving tomorrow."
Xander looked up at him. "If you leave, you have to promise to come back to me and you have to promise that you're gonna edit *everything* that I write."
"Of course," Giles said quickly, giving him another squeeze. "Now go to sleep, Xander. It's long past time when we should be asleep." He closed his eyes and pulled Xander just a little closer, hugging him tightly.
"Night," Xander said, yawning. "I'll make you help me clean the kitty gyms tomorrow before you leave."
Giles rolled his eyes but he was smiling as he fell asleep.
Xander walked into the kitchen and gratefully accepted the cup of coffee the housekeeper was holding out. "Thanks, Henri," he murmured as he walked away.
"Put on some clothes," she called after him. "You have guests." She chuckled at the flip-off she was sent, shaking her head. "That boy," she sighed, going back to cleaning the top of the stove. A few minutes later, she looked up in shock as she heard a scream, running back to where Xander had just made the horrible sound. She stopped when she saw the condition of the animals' playroom, looking around at all the mess. "It wasn't like this when I got in," she told him, patting him on the back. She got out of Oz's way, staying clear of his sword. "It really wasn't."
Oz nodded, letting her go. "We'll deal." He shoved Xander, making him look at him. "Check all the animals and put them in the living room," he ordered. "We'll need to figure out where this came from." He looked up. "When did the ceiling fall in?" he asked, pointing.
Xander looked up and frowned. "It was fine yesterday." He walked out to the front door, finishing off his coffee. "Henrietta, didn't you rearm the alarm when you came in?" he yelled.
"Yes, I did, and after Mr. Giles' father walked outside earlier," she called. She walked out. "Though, it did go off for a second but by the time I got to the control panel, it was all right again, but not set." She shrugged.
Oz nodded. "Okay. Help Xander move the animals. I'm going to search the house. If Giles comes down, tell him that I'm searching and to guard you guys." He walked away, heading for the far end of the house to start his search there.
Henrietta went to help Xander move and count the animals, helping him calmed her too.
Oz growled as he found the man hiding in Xander's sewing room, pulling him out of the closet and putting the sword he carried against the stranger's throat. "Who are you?" he hissed. "Speak now or be in pieces."
"I'm an FBI agent," he gasped, trying not to get cut deeper by the sharp sword. "My ID's in my pocket." Oz reached for it. "My boss told me to come search the house," he whined.
Oz glared at him and tossed the badge back at him. "We'll see about this. The warrant you tried to serve was in the wrong name and now you're violating our rights." He walked over to Xander's phone and dialed Ray's new cellphone number, frowning when he didn't get an answer. He tried Methos' cellphone and got an answer, a grumpy, pissed off one. "It's me and I need Ray," he said when the grousing stopped. "We have an uninvited guest." He grunted and hung up, turning to find the Agent still in the same spot on the floor, with a wet spot growing under him. "Eww," he complained. "I should make you clean that up."
"Please don't kill me," he begged.
"My boss said you were mafia," he whined.
Oz shook his head. "That was the *former* occupants, not us. I'm a computer programmer and my husbands are researchers." He walked over to stare down at the errant man. "Did you really think we were the former occupants? They were a man and a *woman*, not three men with a lot of animals." He looked over as Xander walked into the room, stopping him from touching him. "Is everyone okay?" he asked quietly.
Xander nodded. "Mostly. We're going to have to give everyone baths at the groomers to make sure none of the insulation hurt them." He glared down at the man kneeling on the floor. "I will tell you this *once*," he hissed, getting free of Oz to walk over and tip his head up. "You hurt my animals. You hurt my house. If I see you again, I will kill you. *No* one touches what's mine and gets away with it *twice*." He let the man's chin go and stepped back. "We may not be who you think we are, but I will do my best impersonation of the Godfather if I see another of you back here." He turned and left, going to crate his animals up and bring them to people who could make sure they were all right.
Oz nodded once Xander was gone. "You're lucky, I'm the cold one." He crossed his arms and waited for Ray to show up and arrest him.
Ray walked into the manor house and stopped in the animal's room when he saw the mess, whistling. "Someone's got to have paid for that," he muttered as he walked back to Xander's sewing room, where he could hear voices. "Hey," he said, leaning in the doorway. "My boss said I could arrest him and we might be able to charge him, but it probably won't stick."
"As long as somewhere in the court statements it states they tried to serve a false warrant," Oz said with a shrug. "Get him out of here so I can clean the carpet before Xander gets back. He's already promised this guy a bad death if he sees him again." He got out of Ray's way, watching as he was arrested. "Please," he said, stopping Ray by putting a hand on his arm. "Make them see that couple isn't us?"
"I'll try," Ray promised, walking the Agent out of the house and out to his car.
Oz looked at the carpet and shook his head. "That's gonna stain," he complained, going to get some cleaning supplies.
Xander strode into the Police Station, glaring at the officer that tried to stop him on his way to the Captain's office. He tapped politely but walked in immediately, glaring at the man standing behind the desk. "You let him go?" he hissed, slamming the door. "That man constitutes a threat to my home and you let him go?"
"We had to," the Captain said quickly.
"Goody," Xander purred, his eyes narrowing. "If I see him on our property again, then you can come pick up a body." He turned and stormed back out, heading out to his car. He was stopped by Ray. "What?"
"Xander, calm down. They're not comin' back," he said quietly, trying to calm him down. "His boss was yelled at by their boss and they were told to leave you alone."
"Yay! Do you think that someone saying so would stop people like them? It didn't stop them when the law wasn't on their side. What makes you think that a boss will stop them?"
"Because he's got some authority behind him," Ray said quietly, pulling Xander over to the car to sit him on the hood. "Xander, there's some major people behind you on this. The threats weren't necessary. We all knew that you were willing to kill the man just from how he came in."
"That was Oz," he admitted. "But I will not allow him back onto my property."
"Okay," Ray agreed quickly. "That's good. But he won't be comin' back. I promise ya, he won't be comin' back, not if he wants to keep his job, which is his life. I've seen his type, if they lose their jobs, they're lost for good. You're not worth his life."
"I don't care!" Xander complained, getting free of the comforting grip. "I don't want him back at my house, and I don't want to see him ever again. If I do, I'm gonna do something very bad and mean to him." He glared at the cop that stopped when he said that. "Go away," he growled. The cop's eyes widened and he walked into the station. "Ray, I will tell you this *once*. I will not allow that ... man," he spat, "back onto my property. If he shows up again, you're going to be getting an official call to come clean up the body. I don't care if I go to jail for a few years, it's worth it." He walked around and got into his car, speeding away.
Ray shook his head and went in to talk to his boss. This was going to take more a delicate touch than he had and his boss had more experience with calming enraged people.
Xander walked out onto his front porch with the hand-held crossbow, pointing it at the ground between the agent that just gotten out of the car's feet. "I warned you," he said. "Get off my property." He glanced at the man getting out of the car, but his attention came back to the man in front of him. "Now, or I'm gonna send one your way."
The man who had gotten out of the car cleared his throat. "Mr. Harris, I'm Special Agent Mullens. I'm over his unit, and we've come to apologize to you for the recent invasion of your home."
"*Illegal* invasion," Xander ground out. "I refuse to be a victim to a system that I pay for."
"And we understand that," Agent Mullens agreed quickly. "Please, Mr. Harris, put down the crossbow."
"Aren't those illegal?" the first agent sneered. He flinched as a bolt landed between his feet.
"And I'm a *very* good shot," Xander told him, turning up the heat of his glare. He looked at the Agent in charge again, giving him a cold look. "I told you not to let him back up here. Didn't you get the message?"
"Oh, I did," Agent Mullens said with a grimace. "All the way from the top actually. We only came today so Agent Baker could apologize to you for his earlier actions."
"Yay," Xander said coldly. "A letter would have done it for me." He crossed his arms and looked at Agent Baker. "Well? I'd like you to be gone before my lovers get back."
Agent Mullens shoved Agent Baker, making him stumble. "Ah. Yeah. I'm sorry, Mr. Harris. I was mistaken about you being the former owners. I was also wrong to send in that agent to search your house." He looked down. "I really am sorry." He looked up at the cold laughter. "What?"
"If it was any less sincere, there'd be snow in Hell." Xander looked at Agent Mullens. "I'm not holding this against you, but get him off my property before I lose control."
Agent Baker stepped forward and a bolt went between his thighs. "Mr. Harris," Agent Mullens protested.
"What? I warned him," Xander said coldly. "Get him out of here or the next one goes through his balls."
Agent Mullens nodded. "I understand completely. Please, you have *my* heartfelt apologies." He pulled Agent Baker back, shoving him toward the car. "Go, now," he hissed. "Mr. Harris, if I may have a word for you?" he asked, stepping forward. Xander shrugged so he pulled out a paper from his pocket. "If you wouldn't mind signing this," he said politely, holding it out from a relatively safe distance. "It's a letter saying you won't sue us for this."
Xander took the paper and sat on the porch, reading it. "I'll have to discuss this with my husbands," he said, looking up. "Like I said, I have no problems with you, you seem like you follow the law and you do your job. Yeah, I could have understood it if we had just been mixed up with the last owners, but you put them in prison over a year ago." He folded the paper back up. "I'll present this when they get back and send it back to you one way or another in three days time." He walked into the house and shut the door.
Agent Mullens breathed a sigh of relief as he walked back to his car, getting into the back and nodding for his driver to go on.
Xander sat in the living room, watching the car pull away. He looked over at Henrietta, who came in from the kitchen. "They want us to promise not to sue," he said, handing over the paper.
She snickered. "Of course. They don't need the bad publicity."
"We don't need it at all," Xander said quietly. "Not with our lives." He looked at her. "Have you ever felt so dirty because you knew you had to do something that wasn't really right?"
She shook her head, but she wouldn't look at him. "No, I've always tried to do what was right."
He reached over and patted her on the arm. "It's okay. Sometimes we don't have a clear path to what's right." He took the paper back and went back to planning what to do with his room. "Tell Giles to come find me when he gets back," he said as he left the room.
Henrietta pulled her mind away from her son's problems and went back to scrubbing the bathtubs and sinks. It helped her to work her thoughts out while she scrubbed things very hard.
Oz looked up as Xander tapped on the office door, saving what he was working on so he could focus on him. "Hey," he said, turning so he could pat his lap and get cuddles. "What's wrong?" Xander handed him the paper, which made him grunt and grab a pen. "It sucks," he agreed, sensing the silent debate his young husband was going through. "It's better this way though."
"If you say so," Xander said, taking the pen to sign his name. "Where's Giles?"
"About ready to pack and leave. I think he had to run out for something from the store. He should be back soon. I'll make sure he signs it if you want." Xander nodded, cuddling into his body. "Shh, I know. It sucks but it is for the best."
"I know." Xander was quiet for a few minutes. "Oz, the guy in charge said he got orders to leave us alone from the higher ups."
"Wow." Oz shrugged as he wrapped his arms around Xander's waist. "That's impressive. I feel kinda honored. And scared."
"Me too," Xander said softly. "Should we worry?"
"No, I don't think so," Oz said, giving him a pat on the rear. "I think we'll be okay. And if we're not, we can disappear within a day." He gave Xander a squeeze. "I'm rewriting my will. Want to help?" Xander shook his head violently. "I didn't think so. Why don't you tell me what you're planning for your new room?"
"I was thinking some of those tapestries we found that I've been storing and maybe some pretty draping over nice paint. Some soft furniture and low lighting." He looked up. "Would you like to help me?"
"Sure. Just not for another hour, okay? I swore I'd get this done today." Xander looked pained. "Not for any reason, just to get it done." He gently shoved Xander off his lap. "Go watch the puppies for an hour and I'll come help you afterwards." Xander gave him a light kiss and left, much happier now. Oz forced himself to go back to rewriting his will, arguing with himself about who should get what and out of all he had, what should Methos get for all the years they had been friends.
Xander looked up from his new couch, smiling at Giles' father. He was still here, even though Giles had left almost three weeks earlier, training Marilyn and her Watcher. He put aside his laptop and uncurled from his oversized chair, giving the older man an interested look. Giles' father wasn't *so* bad, just a little set in his ways, something he and Oz had been trying to help him get over. "What's up?" he asked, pointing at the soft, fire-colored couch. He noticed the older man looked uncomfortable as he sat down, but he also tried very hard not to look at the tapestries hanging around the room that depicted sexual acts. "What's wrong, Leslie?" he asked again, when the older man had stayed silent for a few minutes.
"Xander," he started, then cleared his throat. "Young man," he started again, more formally this time, "I know that you love my husband, but is all this really necessary?"
Xander snickered. "Leslie, this is who I am. I'm sorry if you don't approve, but Giles has known what I am and what I've been." He raised one eyebrow at the stunned look. "He knew when I got back. We've talked about it, especially before we started to sleep together." He curled up again. "I'm sorry if *you* don't approve of my *past*, but I can't help that. That's all on you."
"No, actually it's more a concern about you and your intentions toward my son." He looked at the young man, frowning at him. "My son will live a long time."
"And so will I," Xander retorted. "Oz found a way for me to stay with them for as long as they're alive." He examined his nails. "I know you're worried about your son's future, but I'm actually a very decent man, my past notwithstanding. That was a one-time exploit to find myself and there's no reason for you to hold that against me. That whole incident has made me the man I am today," he said, waving a hand around the room. "If I hadn't found myself, Giles and I wouldn't be together. Actually, if I hadn't found myself, I'd probably be dead," he said quietly, looking back up again. "Because of that incident, I stopped fighting in every battle. I stopped being the White Knight I was and started being the person who actually saw the other sides of life."
"Which you drew my son into," Leslie said coldly.
Xander snorted, then started to laugh. "Me? Giles was gay *long* before I got to him. He was sleeping with Ethan Rayne for quite a while before he came back to the Watchers. It's your fault he felt uncomfortable and had to hide what he was." Xander gave Giles' father a smile. "I know that you only want what's best for your son, but I'm it. I keep him happy and safe, same as I do with Oz."
"Then why isn't he here now?" Leslie said, losing some of his coolness. "Why isn't he with his family?"
"Because he needs some time with is other love, research. We understand that so we let him go, but he comes back to us each and every time. We've worked out a very pleasant arrangement, he goes to study for at the most a month and then he spends an equal amount of time at home. It works for us," he said with a one-sided shrug.
"My son would never be with a man who could top him," Leslie explained. "He's always been closer to women who were weaker."
"I think, if you'd look at your son's former lovers and girlfriends, then you'd see that some of that weakness was an act for you, which I refuse to do. I'm sorry if you don't approve of me, but I won't let you get between us. Not even to make him miserable, which you would if you tried to break us up."
"What about giving him a family?" Leslie asked.
Xander shook his head. "Immortals are infertile," Xander said quietly. "He never would have had one, no matter if he was with a woman or not."
"He could have adopted," Leslie thundered, standing up to loom over Xander.
"And he still can," Xander pointed out calmly. "Gay couples do it all the time in this state. By the time he's ready, maybe most of the rest of the world will recognize that we're not bad too." He stood up, forcing Leslie back some. "Listen to me, Leslie Bertram Giles, if you try to harm your son by taking him away from me or Oz, I will make your life a living hell. I will take away everything that you still hold dear by exposing Marilyn, and ever other Slayer I can find, to the truth that you don't want to show them. I will make sure that you are pointed out as the reason that the girls die, because you refuse to acknowledge the new realities of modern life. And then I will personally come and financially ruin you and the rest of your family, and give everything to my Rupert." He crossed his arms. "No matter what you think, Giles is mine and is going to stay mine. So is Oz. There is *nothing* on *any* plane that can take either of them away from me, not even you as his father."
Leslie nodded. "That's fine, but if you go back to your whoring ways...."
Xander laughed. "Me? I've left that life *far* behind. I only did it for *six* weeks, and that was to find myself."
"You still know the people who you used to service."
"Yeah, and one of them is half of the couple that's staying with us right now, he taught me how to enjoy my body and became one of my dearest friends. Unlike *some* people, sex for me isn't about monetary exchanges and being bored while acting like I'm not. For me, it was an exploration of who and what I am." He looked Leslie over. "Maybe, if you actually started to enjoy your body and everything it can do, then you might find out that sex isn't about money or about marriage." He sat down and curled up in his chair again. "Now then, do you have anything else you wanted to say to me before you left?"
"No," Leslie said, but he looked shocked. "You'd really do all that if I talked to my son about my concerns?"
"No, not if you talk to him about them. If you *force* him to do something because of them, then yes. And I'll enjoy doing it," Xander finished, staring into his eyes. "This is all on you, Leslie, and you need to fix it before Giles never speaks to you again. You already aren't that close and I can't remember the last time he called to talk to you." He pulled his feet back up beside him. "Face it, Leslie, you're getting older and you've only got so much time, same as Giles' does. You need to fix this before one of you dies." He picked back up his laptop. "Call him if you'd like, I'll even allow you to use the phone in my sewing room if it'd make you happy." He read over the last few lines he had written and fixed a grammatical mistake he had made before starting to write again. "Out. I can't think when I'm being stared at," he said after a few minutes. By the time he looked up, he was alone again. "And let's hope you took the hint," he sighed, starting on a new chapter.
TO BE CONTINUED...