NC-17, X/O, X/O/R/M
On The Way Home.
Xander looked around their room, humming in thought. He thought he had everything packed already, but things kept popping up thanks to the ferrets. He shrugged off his worries about where his favorite thong was and headed downstairs, ready for the party. Their going away party. Nethisha and her daughter Siblinth were throwing a massive party for them. Of course, it probably wouldn't rival the one they'd be throwing on Earth in a few weeks, but that was okay. Xander didn't have to plan that one at all. Someone official was doing that. He took Oz's held- out hand and allowed himself to be led outside to the flying carts.
Being offworld had been good for them, both as a couple and as individuals. Xander had learned a lot working with the native metal and jewelry people. Not to mention what he learned from the native clothiers and prostitutes. Oz had learned a lot from the native weavers. And together, they had gotten a lot closer. Not even the problems with Giles could dull what they had between them. They'd grown closer, and Oz had even opened up about his past.
Even Methos and Ray had found peace and serenity with each other and with them.
But now, it was time to party. Then they had to finish packing and head home. It was time. Xander smiled as he walked off the cart and headed into the palace. This had almost become like a third home to him.
"Xander, dance for us!" Nethisha called across the crowded room. He shook his head, but he was smiling to ease the negation. "Please?" A few other female voices took up the cry.
Oz nudged him. "Give them one last show. I'm not letting you do it at home." A few nearby people laughed.
"Oh, all right," he sighed, taking off his shirt. A few of the women sighed as they watched his tight body move out onto the dance floor. "But just a short one," he told the Queen.
She nodded and a chair was brought for her so she would have a front row seat. She held her breath as he took his first position. She knew this dance. It always made her happy. Her eyes traced his fluid muscles as he slowly stretched and spun, getting lost in the hypnotic moves of his body. She knew she wasn't the only one, but that just made it better. Specimens like him hardly ever came along to interrupt her boring life. She consciously had to stop her hand from drifting down to touch her stomach, it would be acceptable but she wanted to hold off for as long as possible. She had built up an incredible tolerance for the man's dancing.
Xander moved slowly closer to her, swaying right in front of her. He let her nails tease his flesh, but when she tried to use her fingers on his stomach, he moved back with a wink. He twirled around and started to sway again, this time playing to the whole audience. He heard a few women start to pant as he moved over to where Oz was waiting, and even more when he danced just for his husband. He noticed that Oz was starting to react and turned up his smouldering looks, wanting him to be so hot that his mate took him right then and there. He heard the faint growl and leaned in, licking up his husband's cheek. He danced back quickly, before Oz could grab him, but he wasn't quite fast enough. Oz had grabbed him and Xander was now dancing only for him, the hands on his hips keeping him basically in place. He wiggled but the hands weren't going to let him go. It was a statement of who they were as a couple. Oz was the steady one and Xander was... well, he was him and Oz kept him steady. Xander licked Oz's chin, nipping him lightly. Oz let him back up some, but he was still only allowed to dance for him. Xander knew that Oz would hunt him down if he tried to move away.
One of the women tried to move closer to get a better look, but she had to back away again when Oz growled at her, the sound loud in the quiet room. The queen giggled and moved her chair closer. Oz liked her, he only looked over at her.
Xander finished up that dance and paused, letting the musicians get in line. He had bribed them earlier with some sheet music Daniel had found for him in the Middle East. He started to belly dance, thrilling his mate who had never seen him do it before. The musicians played nearly flawlessly, and it was all good. Even the women were squealing in joy at his stomach movements.
Oz smirked at his husband's teasing. Xander was an artiste at teasing and it was good to enjoy it in a safe environment. No one here would take him, they all knew better. So he could relax and enjoy it himself. He snagged a drink off a waiter's tray, that guy was frozen too. Xander was *good*.
Daniel and Jack faced off with their boss, smiling. It had been a great assignment, easy and unstressfull for the most part. And neither of them had been shot at in three years. It was a vast improvement over their usual assignments, which they were going to have to go back to soon enough. He accepted his medal and handshake from General Hammond's boss. He waited until the four star was headed for the banquet before looking at General Hammond. "Sir, what next?" he asked.
"Next, we have to get ready for the landing, gentlemen." General Hammond sat behind his desk. "As soon as we get Dr. Carter back here and give her her medal, we'll start going over what we're going to do to help this landing and meeting go smoothly." He smiled as the door opened and Sam walked in. "Dr. Carter. Is everything all right?"
"Fine, sir," she agreed, saluting him. He waved it off. "The going away party is in full swing. Xander's presently giving the queen a going away present. He's dancing for them."
"Oh, God," Jack groaned.
"They won't touch him," the General soothed. "They know that it would derail everything if they so much as moved one of the very long hairs on his head." He scratched his bald head. "When are they coming back?"
"Tomorrow," Sam told him. "They're mostly packed, but the ferrets keep bringing out their treasures." She looked at Daniel, then at the door. "Did I miss the ceremony?"
"By about five minutes," Jack told her with a smile. "The General is downstairs waiting on our reception." He patted her on the shoulder as he walked past her. "Is everything set for the grunts to move the Osbournes out?"
"Funny, Jack," General Hammond noted dryly. "We can't let them go across the portal." Jack groaned and exited the room.
Daniel smiled and shook his head. "Xander already brought most of his stuff with him, including most of the animals. Blair and I have three bags and Dessie, and three of her kits. The rest have been adopted." He saluted and left too.
General Hammond stood up and handed Dr. Carter her medal. "Here you go, Dr. Carter. I know that you wanted the higher ups to not hear about your gifts." Her smile got brighter. "I've kept it quiet so far, but I want you to give me a possible target in the next few months. I want to continue this project and your form of gateways are much more stable and energy efficient."
Sam beamed. "Yes, sir, but I have it on good authority that the Empire itself is looking at this experiment to judge what part they want to play." The General looked thoughtful. "The Empress is coming down in a few months herself because Xander keeps ducking out of his discussion with her. I hear she'll be down here quietly a few months after the embassy's set up." She put her medal into her pocket. "Sir, shouldn't we go join the party before all the food's gone?"
The General smiled and let her lead the way out. Ladies were still first through the door, even in his military. Hopefully, the Joint Chief wouldn't question him about whom she was. He didn't want to explain her gifts to him and he would have to if he asked.
Xander put the last bag onto the cart they had rented and looked back into the house. He was going to miss it. The cramped rooms, the hard beds, all the little hiding spots for the ferrets. But it was time to go back to his home, their real home. Whichever one they decided they wanted to go to after Vegas. Steve had been warned and he swore the resort would be ready for an inspection by all of them. He got out of Methos' way, watching as he put his and Ray's bags on the cart. Xander smiled at the small pile of stuff ready to go back to the base. He had taken most of it home already, and most of the animals too. Ray and Daniel carried out the last three carriers and secured them into a corner of the cart. They'd be walking probably, the cart's floor was full.
Oz walked out and gave everyone a hug. "Everything's ready for the next tenant." He got on to fly the cart and everyone else started the thirteen block hike to the portal.
Xander snuggled into Methos' side, on the other side of Ray. "Are you coming with us to Vegas?" he asked.
"Yes," Methos said quietly, kissing him on the top of the head. He dropped a kiss on his mate's head too. "We'll come home with you until Nethisha lands, then we'll see."
"Cool," Xander whispered. He was comfortable. He was snuggled. He was even hard, but it wasn't too much yet, not even enough to distract him. He was going to have his buddies while Oz dealt with the resort. Life was good. They walked through the portal together. And stopped when they saw all the soldiers standing there pointing their guns at the Stargate. "Problems?" he asked, heading down the ramp first. He looked at the open gate, then up at the control room for General Hammond. "He's not here?"
"He's on his way up," the soldier in charge told him. He looked him over. "Sir, please clear the room. We'll grab your gear in a few moments."
Xander took his gun from him and checked the clip. "Some of us can use these," he told him, handing it back when he saw the unease. "We can stay and help."
"No," General Hammond said as he walked into the room. "Go wait in the conference room, boys." He smiled at Methos and Ray. "Get him safely away. We'll bring your gear and the things left in the closet to you in a few moments." He watched as Xander was pulled back by Ray.
A single figure stepped through the Stargate and it closed behind him. He walked down the ramp and nodded at the General. "I've made them see reason," he announced. "They're not going to attempt to come here and attack again." He smiled cruelly. "I do believe that they're scared of us now." He bowed to the soldiers behind General Hammond. "If I may?"
"No, you may not," the General told him. "You will go up to my office and wait on me to debrief you." He tried to keep the coolness from his voice, but it didn't help that much. He was still very angry with this man, not only because he had endangered his base by going to the Goa'uld, but also because of the way that he had treated his mates.
"Giles?" Oz breathed as he walked through the other portal.
Giles smiled at him. "Yes?" He walked away, tapping a solider to lead him. "Let's go." He walked out of the gate room and did as he was told.
Xander relaxed against Ray's body. "Oh, crap," he whispered.
Strife looked up from his book, one eyebrow going up. "Did someone call?" he yelled.
His mother walked past him. "No one called you, dumbass." She fluffed her hair. "I think all my plans are starting to come together nicely. Stay here." She started to disappear, but an outside force kept her in the temple. "What the fuck!" she screamed.
"Unc said we had to stay here," Strife said, going back to his book. "Otherwise I'd be with my boy." He shifted his hips out a little, getting more comfortable. "Pull up a book, it's been two days so far." He turned the page. "I never knew my boy was this good."
"Which boy?" she sighed as she flopped down into a chair. If she had to stay here, she should probably get some enjoyment out of it.
"D'Nalia's boys. They just started to write. Ian just got his first short story published in this book and Sean's got a novel-length one due out next year through a vanity publisher." He turned the page. "Ian's got a great hand for horror. Sean's got a dark fantasy thing going." He looked up. "Wanna read?" he offered. She sneered at him. "Never mind," he sighed, going back to his stories. They were really good, he'd have to pop in and see them soon to tell them that.
Discord sighed and shifted angrily. "This sucks," she announced. Her son ignored her. She zapped him. "I said, this sucks," she repeated, louder this time.
He nodded. "Sure does, but it's a nice break from the crap I've been doing." He turned the page, frowning when he came to the end of the story. "Tease," he snorted. "I'll noogie him for that." He started the next story. He was having fun frustrating Discord, it was always a treat.
She glared at him and tried to take his book, but he held onto it and protected it. "Putz," she told him. "Who reads?"
"I do," he told her, not looking up. "Lots of people do. They're the smart ones in case you hadn't noticed." He turned the page.
She shrieked, giving up easily. She stomped off to another room, somewhere without her son.
Zeus looked up from his viewing, smiling at his wife. "Is it ready?"
"Everything's ready," she assented. "They'll get a warm welcome."
Ares appeared, arms already crossed, scowl in place. "Touch them and die," he reminded them. "And remove the barrier from my temple before I get more pissed."
Zeus smiled at him. "Ares, butt out."
"Ah-ah," Apollo chastised as he appeared. "You can't touch the weights around his family's soul. You agreed that you'd leave the anchors alone for the good of all."
"They bother me," Zeus told him. "I don't care if they are keeping us alive."
Jace appeared, frowning at him. "Oh, really?" she asked. "Didn't all of us do that?" She walked up to stand beside Ares. "As a former method of your survival, I'd stop now. I can tell Xander how to let his link go, I managed to do it twice while I was the anchor. You know what will happen if he does."
Hera glared at her. "You're still mad at me, aren't you? All this is about that stupid curse on that town."
Jace gave her a bland look. "Not really. I've learned to live as a female. Too bad you can't." She turned away from the Queen of the Gods. "I will teach Xander how to let the bonds of his duty go," she warned them. "That means that every God that's not presently worshiped will disappear. Which means you two go first." She looked at Ares. "Where's Strife? He was supposed to spar with me today."
"Locked in my temple," Ares told her. "He's with Discord." She shuddered. "Exactly. My temple will be in ruins by the time we can get in there."
"You could go now," Zeus told him, waving a hand to send him there. It didn't work. "What?" he asked, glancing at Hera.
"Unfortunately, I've found a few new sources of worship," Ares told him with a smirk. "Unfortunate for you." He pointed at his father and zapped him with his newer source of power. "Deal with it and release my family before I have to react," he said calmly. "You won't like that." Zeus actually looked scared. "Now," he repeated quietly. Hera waved a hand and he felt the barriers around his temple release. "Thank you." He nodded to her. "Migrid will be down in about a month, she'll be on the ship that the Queen's coming on." He looked at Joxer, giving her a slight smile. "You get to plan the party for her and Bliss' homecoming."
Jace grinned. "Great. Subtle and non-kiddie or not?"
Ares shrugged. "I don't have a clue," he admitted. "Ask Cupid." She nodded and disappeared. He looked at his parents again. "Never come near the anchors," he said calmly and quietly. "My family protects them so that you can't mess this up for everyone. No matter how much you don't like them and no matter how much jealousy you feel toward them. If you touch the anchors again, by your own decree and backed up by the Fates, you're to be imprisoned. Then it falls to me to lead the Pantheon. I *know* you don't like that idea." He turned and walked away, disappearing once he was out of their sight. He couldn't let them do anything to hurt Xander, some of his own family would end up disappearing slowly and painfully. Fortunately, he had a plan in place for just such an occasion. He felt a shiver of fear from Xander, but the others could handle that. Strife and Cupid were probably already down there with the boy.
Cupid appeared in Hammond's office, then promptly disappeared, hopefully before the man sitting there had seen him. This was so not good. He landed in front of Discord. "Your toy's back," he said angrily. "My boy's upset because he's back."
"Whatever," she sighed, standing up and smoothing a hand down her leather mini-dress. "Where?"
"Hammond's office. Waiting on something. Keep him away from Xander."
"And Oz," Strife said as he appeared. He blew Cupid a kiss. "They're back for good," he said happily.
"Yup, for now," Cupid reminded him. "Until Xander has to deal with that whole 'owning a planet' issue."
Strife grinned. "Yeah, but he'll be building us a real temple."
"Point," Cupid conceded. "Let's go. Where are they?"
"Conference room," Ares said as he appeared. "What was that?"
"Giles is back," Cupid said coolly. "He's on the base."
Ares just nodded and looked at his twin sister. "Deal with him. *Nothing* can interfere with the anchors." He walked away from them, going to find something for his growing headache. She just had to fuck this up for him, didn't she?
Strife and Cupid grinned at each other and flashed out, appearing behind their boys with squeals of delight. They grabbed Xander and Oz tightly, hugging them both. "Welcome back!"
General Hammond cleared his throat and nodded at the other General sitting next to him. "Explain this please," he requested pleasantly.
Strife grinned at the four star. "Hey, whazup. Ares' second in command. These are *our* boys." He patted Xander on the head. "Just happy ta have 'em back." He smiled as Sam walked in, frowning when he saw she was wearing her uniform. "You didn't bring any clothes back?" he pouted.
She smiled at him. "I can only wear them at home," she reminded him as she sat down in her spot. "Later," she promised. Cupid laughed. "As for you, thank you for the nice flowers."
"Hey, you watched out for my boys too," Cupid said with a shrug. "Besides, I thought it might tickle you." He looked back to Hammond. "We'll get out of your hair soon enough. Oh, and Discord's coming to get her toy."
The General stood up. "Excuse me, I should probably go deal with that."
The four star coughed, ending the minute or so of silence that Hammond left in his wake. "So, who are you two again? I thought only certain personnel knew about this base." He looked at Xander.
"We're Gods," Strife scoffed. "We already knew." He leaned closer. "I'll have Unc come talk ta ya," he told him with a wink. Then he stood back up. "Xander, Oz, where to now?"
"We're all heading to the resort," Oz told him. "We'll decide which house from there."
"Go to Sunnydale," Cupid told them. "It'll be easier to work from there until after the embassy's set up. Then you guys get to go disappear." He waved. "Later." He disappeared.
Strife made two books appear in his hand. "Short reading," he told them with a grin. "You're such a *bad* influence," he told Xander, pinching him on the arm. "They'll be there in a few days." He disappeared too.
Xander looked down at the books that had been left on the table. "No way," he breathed, picking them up. "The boys are writing." He handed them to Oz with a brilliant grin. "That is so cool."
"Boys?" the general asked.
"Our housekeeper's sons," Oz said absently as he read the summaries. "These look interesting." He patted Xander's thigh under the table. "We'll congratulate them later. Buy 'em quill pens or something." He smiled at Sam, offering the books to her. She took them to look over and Oz looked at the General. "So, everything's set up?" he asked.
The General nodded, smiling. "Yes, everything should be fine. Do you know how many ships they'll be bringing?"
Xander shrugged. "Probably one and a small supply ship. It doesn't take them that long to get here, but that should be enough. Maybe one other one if they think it's necessary."
"They won't need a military liaison?"
"I think she'll be riding with the Queen," Oz offered. "It's a lot less formal up there." Sam snickered, trying to cover it up as a cough.
"You had something to add, Captain?" the general asked.
"No sir, but the Military liaison will be on the Queen's ship. She'll be the redheaded woman with the long braid and the silver clothing. I've talked to her a lot, she's very interesting."
"How does she relate to the rest of the Empire's military?" the general asked.
"The Empire only asks that each member planet send two ships, on a rotating schedule, for a year's service. This planet's due another stint in about three years. Their version of the Joint Chiefs will want to talk after the embassy's set up, just in case this doesn't go well." She stared him in the eyes. "They'd really hate to have to smash us like bugs, sir, so they're staying out of it and watching for now."
"A wise choice," Methos said from his seat in the corner. He looked like he was almost pouting. Strife hadn't hugged him and Ray was supervising the moving of their things. "We could all do with a little of that caution."
"Oh, we have it," the general told him. "We're not sure that we like these very powerful aliens, especially when they're coming here to try and absorb us."
Everyone in the room laughed.
"What?" he asked angrily. "You don't believe that they won't try to take us?"
"No, they won't try to take us," Xander told him, after he had calmed down. "They're not like that. If you don't believe me, one of your own is up there right now. He'll be back later tonight."
"They think we're like precocious children," Oz explained. "They don't want to take us over, but maybe give us a nudge in the right direction. We're very far behind them socially in most areas."
"Except that they have slaves," the general butted in.
"Only for death penalty offenses," Methos corrected. "It's a possible alternative." He stood up and walked up between Xander and Oz. "You really should read those briefings a little better instead of just skimming it. That's why they forced us to write them."
The general glared at him. "You wouldn't know what it's like to be in my position."
Methos smiled coldly. "I do know what it's like to be in your position and...." He stopped as the door opened, readmitting Hammond. "Everything go all right?"
"Yes, Mr. Giles has agreed to go to Florida and wait on you to call him." He closed the door and looked at Methos. "Don't threaten him," he said conversationally. "He doesn't know what you are."
"Is he like those others?" the four star demanded of his minion.
General Hammond shook his head. "Not at all." He walked over and reclaimed his seat. "What he is is much older than all of us. He's got a genetic anomaly that makes him age more slowly. He's over two hundred years old and he's done our jobs before. That's one of the reasons why I sent him on this mission." He looked at Methos. "Your mate is presently loading everything into a jeep. He'll be back for the stuff in the closet in a few moments. Then he wanted to leave."
"That's fine with us," Oz agreed. He looked up at Methos. "It'll be okay. Military people are supposed to be paranoid, that's how they stay alive."
"I remember the feeling well," Methos said dryly, going back to his seat in the corner.
The four star looked at Hammond. "Are you agreeing with them that these aliens won't want to take us over?"
"That's why I was up there," Xander reminded him. "To gauge the social climate and get some of their history down so that people like you could read it. Maybe you should do that." He stood up. "With all due deference, I'm feeling a bit tired now that I'm not in the happy air." He took Oz's hand as his husband stood up. "Did you need anything else or can you come get us at home?"
"Go ahead and go," General Hammond said with a gentle smile. "Any remaining questions we might have we'll come to you. I need to take another tour of that base anyway." He smiled at their backs as they left. "Captain Carter, did you have anything to add?"
"No, sir," she said, looking up quickly from the story she was reading, those kids were *great*. "I agree with Xander, he should probably read the books and the briefings more closely before Nethisha gets here." She stood up. "Sir, with all due respect, I'd like to head home." General Hammond nodded and she saluted, then left.
The four star looked over at his underling. "Do you agree?" he asked coldly.
General Hammond nodded. "It would be a shame to ruin all this work on some easily eradicated fears," he said calmly.
"We'll see," the four star said as he stood up. "Was there anything else that had to be gone over on this trip?" General Hammond shook his head. "Then I'll be going." The other general saluted and left.
General Hammond took a deep breath, then stood up and headed for his special little red phone.
Xander signed them all out and led the way to the carpool, only getting lost once, but that was okay because Oz pulled him down the right hallway. He hugged Ray hard. "Can we go?"
"Our flight's in an hour," Ray told him. "And there's press at the gates. They followed the big dude downstairs." He slid on his sunglasses. "What're we gonna do?"
Oz grabbed the phone off the wall and called back downstairs. "General Hammond? There's press at the gates." He hummed and hung up. "We're waiting. He's hoping that they'll be going when the asshole leaves." He pulled Xander back into the shadows. "Just in case. You're a bit too well known, babe." He cuddled his man, content to wait for now. Ray, on the other hand, was nearly vibrating with the urge to leave. "Calm down, he's on his way out. Hammond said so."
"Then we get to steal the dark car over there," Oz said, nodding at the official sedan. "We'll stuff you guys in the back and let someone else drive our stuff."
"I'll do it," Sam said as she walked up to them. She looked over at the gate. "Again?" she muttered.
"Back when we were moving stuff in, we got a lot of press wondering what was going on. They camped out there for days. We had to send people out to clear the road for each shipment." She considered the jeep, then the men. "Okay. I'm taking your stuff to my house."
"I don't know where that is," Oz told her.
"I do," Methos said. "If it's still in the same place?"
"Yup. I had my check automatically deposited and pay my bills." She stuffed her hair up under her cap. "Meet me there in an hour." She walked over to the jeep and shifted the animals around so they would be more secure, buckling them in. "An hour," she called as she started the engine. She drove away, the photographers listlessly taking a few snapshots of her as she drove past, she wasn't who they wanted to see.
Xander looked over his shoulder as he heard running footsteps. "You missed her, Jack. She's heading for her apartment."
Jack shook his head. "That'll be a little hard since it burnt last month." He frowned at them. "Why is she driving your stuff?" Oz pointed at the reporters at the gate. "Oh, that reason." He looked Xander over. "You got another of those illusion thingies?" Xander shook his head. "Why not?"
"I left it at home. I haven't needed it except there." He got free of Oz's arms and started to play with his hair, putting it up quickly. "Okay, how's that?"
"Very cute," Oz said, looking confused. "Why are we worried about your hair?"
"Like you said, I'm the most known person here." He grabbed Jack's hat and put it on, pulling it low. Then he and Methos exchanged shirts, leaving him in a baggier shirt. "How do I look?"
"Fast disguise and not totally working," Oz told him. "But I guess it'll have to do."
Xander frowned. "I'm sorry I forgot, Oz, but I didn't think anyone would be paying attention on the flight back."
"Point," Ray said, breaking into the growing argument. He looked over Xander's outfit, then handed him his jacket. "This too." He looked back at Jack. "Think you can get us a ride?"
"Sure. Daniel and Blair are on their way up. We'll split you between our cars."
Once the other two men got there, they headed out together, in pairs. Xander with Ray. Methos and Oz together. They met up with Sam in her former parking lot and grabbed the jeep. Hugs were exchanged before they left Colorado all together, and Daniel promised to come see them soon. It wasn't long before they were at the airport, waiting on a mundane flight back to the resort in Vegas.
Xander looked up as they pulled up to the resort. "Ribbons?" he snorted.
"Must be a festival." Oz got out and grabbed the animal carriers with Ray, leaving their husbands to pay the driver and get the tip. They walked into the resort together, and nearly got mobbed by some women. "Out of the way," Oz said tiredly. He put the carriers on the desk and smiled at the receptionist. "Harris," he said quietly. She nodded and pushed a button on her phone. Steve walked out a few minutes later and did everything, letting Xander deal with the fans. "Thanks," Oz said, handing the carrier to the bellhop, who had everything else on his cart already. "Xander, upstairs?" he called.
"Coming." He signed one last autograph and jogged to catch up. The doors shut as soon as he stepped inside the elevator. "Hey, Steve," he said happily. "How did they know I was coming?"
"We're hosting a book fair this weekend," he noted dryly. "You have bad timing."
"Oh. Okay." Xander nodded. "That's cool." He kissed his mate on the cheek. "Nearly home."
"Where there's no fans," Oz pointed out. "And your illusion is."
"Oz, I can say I had really good plastic surgery." Methos looked at him. "It works for everyone else."
"Good point," Methos agreed, looking at Oz. "It'll only be for the next few months anyway."
"Point," Oz agreed. He looked at Steve. "Like a con or a book fair?"
"Like a con," Steve admitted. "Amanda's here too. She took over some other woman's romance line. She talked me into it when their original hotel ended up double booking conventions." Methos groaned. "Definitely," Steve agreed, shooting him a smile. "I found myself unable to say no so now we have sixty writers here and a ton of fans coming and going."
"As long as we don't have a fight, it should be fine," Ray put in.
Oz shook his head. "There are so many of us who used to be actors. We'll have some media ho here soon enough."
"She's downstairs in room 2612," Steve told him. "Amanda's stuck in the middle of a sex scene and she's not due in the convention area until around four for a book signing."
Ray nudged Xander. "Maybe you should go offer ta help," he joked.
"I could," Xander said thoughtfully. "I've been stuck in the middle of one before." He was the first off the elevator, smiling at the family's suite. "Hey, you painted."
"We had to. The last person who stayed here destroyed one of the walls by pouring whiskey on it and lighting it on fire." Steve walked over to the in-suite safe and opened it. "In here, you'll find all the stuff that you've left over the years," he noted dryly. "Including some other casino's chips, a partial manuscript of Xander's, and a thong that I can't say how anyone would wear. Also, in here are the keys to your car, which is sitting downstairs because Giles drove over the last time he was here to run things." He got out of Oz's way so they could see the mostly filled safe. "We found it all while renovating. The crew really loved the thong by the way, Xander." He smiled at his friends. "If you need anything, just call downstairs and ask for me. I'm usually wandering around the writers tables to find something new to read."
"Did you read my new ones?" Xander asked. Steve shook his head. "You should."
"I don't like fantasy," Steve told him. "I like mysteries."
"Read them," Oz told him, patting him on the shoulder. "You'll end up doing it eventually." He pulled out Xander's thong and tossed it at him. "When did you make tiny fake stone decorated ones?"
"Three years ago." Xander tossed them onto the baggage, then decided to let the animals out.
"We'll be using a gate across the elevator," Steve told them with a smile. "Just so we don't have any escapees anytime soon." He bowed to them and let the bellhop go first into the elevator. He reached down and pulled the gate out of the wall, hooking it into the opposite wall. "Rest and tell me what's going on later," he called as the doors closed.
"Phew," Ray sighed as he flopped down onto a couch. "Really active day so far."
"And only dinner left," Oz pointed out.
Xander shrugged. "Okay, if you say so." He smiled and grabbed his husband, kissing him hard. "I missed this all day long."
Methos finished releasing all the animals. "There we are." He looked at the assorted doors off the living room. "How many bedrooms are there?"
"Four. I talked to Steve on the way over," Xander reminded him. "They renovated the top six floors when they did this room, when they finally got Jace declared legally dead and her will was enacted. This is the penthouse suite." He waved a hand at the ten doors spread around the room. "Two of those are bathrooms, one of them has the jacuzzi in it, and four of the doors lead to bedrooms. I'm guessing one is a linen closet too."
"Only one way to find out," Ray said as he heaved himself up. "Meth, us with them or not?"
"We'll play it by ear," Oz told him. "Wherever we fall is all good to me." He grabbed his bag and headed for the opposite side, whistling when he saw the room. "Wow, they put in a Xander bathtub." He shook himself free of his dirty thoughts and went to the next one, opening the door to show the built-in bar. "And we're lushes now too." He closed that one and the next one was one of the bedrooms. "This is ours." He tossed his bags in on one of chairs. Xander, stuff?" Xander grabbed his stuff and carried it over, putting it into the closet. Oz watched him unpack everything. "Didn't you bring any other human clothes?"
Xander grinned at him. "I only brought one outfit with me when I came back," he reminded his husband. "I'll go shopping tomorrow." He started on Oz's things, putting them away efficiently too. "Will you go with me?"
"I'll have to go with you," Oz reminded him. "All the cards we have are in my name." He patted Xander's butt as he walked past him to the in-room bathroom. "This is comfy," he noted as he closed the door to use it.
Xander walked back out into the main room, and picked up a puppy to play with. "Just a few more days and we'll be home," he told her. "Then you can run and play in the grass again." He teased the puppy, making her bark.
"Xander, let the poor thing sleep. It's probably exhausted from the flight." Methos walked out and sat near to his former student. "How long were you planning on staying here?"
"Three days," Oz told him. "That way we can check on everything with Steve, make sure all our finances are in order, and Xander can find some decent human clothes."
"Besides, don't you want a vacation?" Xander asked.
"I do," Ray called from his room. He came out in tighter clothes. "Hey, Xan, wanna go hit a table or two?"
"Sure. But I need better clothes before I do," he agreed with a grin. "I only brought one outfit when I came back."
Oz walked out and picked up the guide for the resort. "There's two clothing stores here now," he announced. "One is mens." He handed it to Xander. "Get yourself something and go play nicely." Xander cooed and grabbed him to cuddle, letting the puppy go back to the rest of her friends for their nap. "Thanks. We'll be here. Come back for dinner."
Xander licked up the side of his mate's neck. "Ray, call them and ask them if they're open," he requested, one hand drifting down to play with Oz's stomach. "I think he deserves a cuddle."
"Two outfits," Oz told him. "You can go shopping in LA when we get back." Xander released him.
Ray hung up and nodded. "They're open." He held a hand out. "Money?"
Methos and Oz both sighed but pulled out their wallets and handed over money, and one credit card, to Ray. "We're trusting you to keep Xander out of trouble," Oz told him.
"Yes, dad," Ray sighed, rolling his eyes. "Come on, stud. Let's get you pretty." He hauled Xander up and over to the elevator, making sure the gate was closed properly before they left their husbands alone.
"Finally," Methos sighed. "I think I need a vacation from hyper young men."
Oz snickered. "You and me both. Let them wear themselves out. We'll go enjoy the book fair." Methos nodded so they headed downstairs too, after making sure that they gave Xander and Ray enough time to disappear.
Amanda found the boys at a game table a few hours later, smiling at the happiness those two bled into the air. "Hey, guys, you look spiffy," she said in greeting, leaning in to kiss Xander on the cheek. "Get rid of that one," she whispered in his ear.
"Nope," Xander told her, putting his hand down. He loved Baccarat. He grabbed her and pulled her into his lap to give her a hug. "Were you being naughty again?" he teased.
"Me, naughty?" she asked haughtily, but she was smiling. "I'm a good little girl."
"I'm sure ya are, but get off his lap," Ray told her, helping her stand back up. "I'm his official luck and you can't get in the way of the flow."
Xander smiled at the dealer and tapped the back of his cards. "I'm staying." The dealer dealt himself one more, then pushed the pot over to Xander. "Thanks." He flipped the man a fifty dollar chip and scooped the rest into the bucket beside him. He even let Ray carry it for him. "Cashing out or did you want to go play?" Xander asked his buddy.
"I was invited to a poker game I wanted ta get into," Ray admitted. He looked back at Amanda. "You?"
"I was pushed out of the resort and told to go be annoying somewhere else," she said with a shrug. "Steve's a *bit* tense today."
Xander chuckled. "I'm sure he is." He put his arm through hers. "Come on, we'll go cheer Ray on."
"Darling," she whispered, leaning closer. "What about Giles?"
Xander smiled down at her. "I haven't forgotten," he assured her. She backed off some. "But I'm also not in vengeance mode right now."
"Good. Those nightmares were bad." She smacked him lightly on the arm. "Though I guess I deserved them." He nodded. "Then we're even?"
"Until you try something again," he said, holding the door for her. "High stakes poker?" he asked Ray.
"Yup. But I promise I won't take all your winnings," he promised with a naughty grin. "I'm actually kinda good at most poker games." He smiled at the guard. "Hi, I was invited by the floor manager?"
The guard looked him over then nodded. "Fine. Is that your stake?" he pointed at the winnings in Xander's hand.
"No, I'm his sponsor," Xander said nicely. "These are mine, I'm letting him use some of it." He ran a finger down Ray's neck, making him shiver. "He's mine."
The guard smiled and opened the door for them. "Third door to the right please, gentlemen." He looked Amanda over as she walked past him. "Your luck?"
"No, a friend," Xander said with a shrug. "She's going to help me go jewelry shopping later." Amanda looked back at him. "And she's going to be a good girl or I won't help her get past her stuck spot."
"Fine with me," she agreed. She opened the door for Ray, smiling at Xander. "Can I have a prezzie too?"
Xander shook his head. "Not a chance. If you want it, you've got to work for it." He walked past her, following Ray to his seat. He dug into his stash and pulled out a handful of hundred dollar chips. "Here, babe." Ray looked at him. "What?" Xander asked innocently.
Ray sat down and put his stakes in front of him. "Forgive him, he's horny," he told the dealer, who dealt out the cards as soon as Ray had put his chips in.
Xander sat back to wait, watching the dealer's hand. He caught him doing something funny and leaned closer, putting a chip of his own in. "Give me a set too," he demanded. Then he smiled. "Try not to lose the top card," he said once the hand was dealt. The dealer looked shocked, but there was a guard at the door. "He was dealing funny," he told him. He smiled at the manager coming in. "Can we get into a different game?"
"Of course, Mr. Harris. Right this way please," he said, leading them to another room in the hallway. "We apologize for that dealer's stupidity."
Xander smiled. "Not an issue. There's usually one." He let Ray go in the door first, again, and smiled at the men around the table. "Can my Ray join in?" he asked. The guys grunted and the empty seat was pointed to. "Thanks." Xander handed over his stash to his buddy and sat behind him, watching the game start. It wasn't long before someone offered something besides money. "Let me," he requested, looking at the necklace. "Two flaws in the ruby, and one of the diamonds is fake," he announced, handing it back. "Still worth about sixty grand."
The guys at the table looked at him.
"I design jewelry," he told them. They nodded and the necklace was accepted, it's worth written down on a tablet beside the dealer's hand.
Ray wasn't doing too bad, he won every few hands. His pile of chips hadn't changed much, just grown by about two. Then came the big hand. The guy on the dealer's left decided he wanted to lose it all and pushed all his chips into the pot. Ray whistled. "How much is that?"
"Six hundred thousand, four hundred dollars," the guy told him. "Ante up?"
Ray looked at his chips, then back at Xander, who shrugged. "Sure, why not. I'm risky like that sometimes." He pushed the correct amount of chips over, taking some of out the stash to make it all. He accepted his cards and winced. "Ow," he muttered.
Xander leaned in and whispered in his ear, "You win this and I'll suck you off on the ride to the jewelry store, and after."
Ray shifted some and glared at him. "Gee, now I can't think," he complained. But he was smiling. He tossed down three cards. "Three please." The dealer gave him three cards. "A little better." He moved his cards around, three of a kind wasn't that great of a hand, and it was low. Another round of card disposals and he wasn't any better, but the guy that wanted to lose it all was out, after a very colorful curse that had Amanda reaching for some paper and a pen to write it down. Apparently no one was having much luck, the only other player opted out with a sigh. Ray put down his cards and the dealer pushed all the money over to him. "Thanks, guys. It's been fun." He held up the necklace. "What should I do with this?" he asked Xander, letting him carry everything else. Including the matching ring and diamond cufflinks that had been thrown in. Even the car and house slips were stuffed into the buckets for chips.
"I take donations," Amanda said coyly.
Ray looked at her. "I bet you do," he agreed, but he was grinning. "We'll see. My man'll make that decision." He stuffed it back into the most empty bucket. The guard at the door opened it for him. "Thanks, man, how about an escort to cash us out?"
"Of course, sir," the guard said and pushed on his earbud. "We need an escort for a high-roller," he announced. He smiled at Xander. "Someone will be here with you shortly," he told them. He looked at the necklace. "May I?"
"Sure," Xander said, letting him take it out. "It's got a few little problems, but it's a nice piece. Kinda too gaudy for my tastes though."
"I'm sure you'll find something to do with it," Amanda said helpfully. She smiled as a female guard walked up to them. "Hi."
"If you'll follow me, sirs," she said, smiling at Amanda. "And ma'am." She led them away, after the guard gave back the necklace. She waited while they were cashed out, even agreeing to carry the small case the casino gave them for the cash. "Where to now?"
"Car," Xander said with a smile. "We're staying off the strip at a small resort."
"I'm at the writer's convention," Amanda told her. The guard looked at her. "What?"
"Sorry, I mistook your profession," the guard said simply. She waved one of the for-hire cars over. "Take them somewhere," she told the driver, letting them get inside. She handed the case to Xander with a smile. "Please come back sometime and let us win some of it back, sir." She closed the door and stepped back.
Xander giggled as they drove away. "They thought you were a pro," he snorted between laughs.
Ray shook his head and leaned it against Xander's shoulder. "You promised," he reminded him.
Xander handed Amanda the case and leaned down, unbuttoning Ray's pants so he could get at *his* prize.
The driver cleared his throat. "Before you get too involved, where am I going?"
"Oliver building," Xander said, then he licked across the head. "Then we're going shopping."
"Yes, sir," the driver said with a smile. It was going to be a good night for him. He even got a few peeks at what they were doing.
Amanda pulled out her notepad and made notes as she watched them. She forgot all about the necklace and ring, Xander was that good.
Xander smiled at the receptionist at the demon bank. "Hi, I need to talk to the person who handles hidden accounts," he said happily. Giving blowjobs always made his day. She called someone and then pointed him at a small office off to the right. "Thank you." He walked in and sat down in front of the small demon - who looked exactly like what you thought a troll would. "I need to check on my accounts since I've been gone for the last three years."
The demon nodded and handed over the papers in front of him. "I knew you were coming," he said at the perplexed look. He smiled, nearly scaring Xander. "Anytime someone like you's in town, we know they're coming in."
Xander smiled at the nice, big amounts in his accounts. "Wow. What about my hidden ones?"
"Third page." The demon leaned forward. "Sir, I do have to inform you that we're going to relieving ourselves of those accounts next month. We would have told you but we didn't know where you were, so we moved all the money you had hidden away, and the two safety deposit boxes you had in New York, into one box in Los Angeles since we know you visit that branch the most regularly."
Xander looked at him. "All of them?" The demon nodded. "I had three boxes in New York and about six accounts. Or seven, I can't remember."
"Those other ones were listed as having to stay there and they're still there," the demon said quietly. "We weren't sure why, but we were ordered to ignore them until you brought them up." Xander nodded. "If I may ask, is there something...dangerous in them if they move out of New York?" Xander shrugged and went back to looking over his accounts. "You don't know?"
"One of the stones was one I was told not to take out of New York," he said with another shrug. "Other than that, I wanted to ignore those things very muchly." He handed them back. "So, most everything is in LA?"
"Yes, sir. For a small fee of five percent I can have the box brought here. It's not that big." Xander shook his head. "No?"
"No, we'll be through there in a few days. We're on our way home." The demon nodded and made a note. "Is there anything I have to do in relation to the move?"
"No, sir. Our President made all the arrangements for you." He smiled again. "Though I must say, some of the stones you had stored in New York were quite beautiful."
"I didn't have any stones left in New York except for that one box," Xander said, his forehead wrinkling. "Five percent?"
"Deal. Bring it to me please." He stood up. "Let me go tell my friends that this is going to take a few minutes." He walked out to the car and leaned in the window Ray opened. "They've moved some of my money around, I'm going to be a few more."
Ray smiled. "Sure. Need help?"
"Not yet." Xander gave him a quick kiss and walked back inside. The box was laying on his desk. "Messenger demon?"
"Teleportation spell. Messenger demons can't get into the underground vault." He opened it with the key taped to the top. "There you are, sir." He picked out a stunning, fist sized diamond. "I think this should cover our fee." And a little more probably.
Xander looked through the box. "Where did these come from?" he muttered. "I don't remember them." He found a letter with his name on it and sat down to read it. "Well, fuck me," he sighed. "Okay. Can I take the box?" The demon nodded. "Thanks. What about the cash?"
"It's been placed into that small white bag," he said, pointing at it.
Xander lifted it out and opened it, wincing at the sight of all the cash. "Shit, Steve's going to kill me." He stuffed it back inside and locked the box, putting the key into his pocket. "Thanks. Anything else I need to know?"
"Just for you to call New York as soon as you can. It's the same number for all of our branches and we'll transfer you to our specialists out there." He shook Xander's hand. "I hope that your wealth makes you very happy."
"It has up until now," Xander sighed as he carried the heavy box out to the car. The driver popped the trunk and he stuffed it down inside. As soon as the trunk was closed he slid in. "They're getting rid of all their hidden accounts so they had to move all my stuff to a safety deposit box," he quietly told Ray. "I'll need to latch onto Steve when we get back and steal him for an hour or so."
"I'm sure he'll be happy to get away from us," Amanda said with a smile. "The convention has been driving him nuts."
"Cool. Then maybe he'll laugh about some of it," Xander said dryly. "Now where?"
"Jewelry shopping," Ray reminded him. "You wanted to get Oz those marking bracelets that you forgot last time."
"Point. The Luxor please," Xander told the driver. "As long as that high-end jewelry store is still in there."
"It's moved to it's own building, sir. I can call ahead for you."
Xander smiled. "Thanks. I left something in their care and I want to pick it up." He leaned back, considering all his options. Oz was going to be so pissed.
Xander walked into the jewelry store, giving them a sheepish smile. "I'm sorry," he said at the frown on the manager's face. "I didn't mean to disappear for three years."
The manager 'humph'ed and handed over the small box. "I hope these live up to your expectations." He smiled when Xander gasped. "They are quite pretty. If I may ask, what are they for?"
"For my husband," Xander said with a silly grin. He looked up. "To take the place of a wedding ring." He closed the box and taped it down. "Thank you. Do I owe you anything?"
"No, they've been sitting in our safe." He looked around the quiet store. "Did you need anything else?"
Xander grinned and winked. "Let me get my buddies in here." He popped his head out the door. "Ray, come see." He went back in, walking around the bracelet section. He had lost his last platinum bracelet. "I like these three," he announced, pointing at them. "And this necklace," he said, pointing to something more delicate. "For her, of course," he said when the manager looked at him. He heard Ray's indrawn breath and hurried over to see what had caught his attention. "Wow, it's their symbol. And this," he said, pointing to the small charm. "We'll need an appropriate necklace for a man too." He wandered over to where the loose stones were, humming in appreciation. "And I'll take this case, and that one over there," he said, pointing it out. "Except for the weak green stone." The manager looked at him in shock. "I design jewelry," he told him. "I did the bracelets."
The manager just nodded and went to get the keys for those display cases. His wife would forgive him for being so late. He smiled when he heard the *female companion* with them squeal in delight. "And for the lady?" he asked.
"Yeah, I guess so," Xander said with a nod and a smile. "It'll keep her from trying to steal mine." She glared at him. "What? It will."
"Or at least it had better," Ray added.
Yes, the wife would forgive him for being so very late on their anniversary.
Oz looked over at Methos, who was chewing on a french fry while they waited for the rest of their food to show up. "You think they're in trouble yet?"
"Probably," he agreed with a faint smile. "How long do you think it took him to head to his bank to check on things?"
"Probably right after they left here," Oz suggested, taking his plate from the waitress, but feeding the extra side of bacon to the puppies under the table. Steve had done a wonderful job with the pet-friendly part of the dining room. "Think they've lost it all at the casino?"
Methos snorted as he took his plate. "Xander?"
"Point," Oz sighed. "Guess we'll have to deal with that too." He took a bite of his sandwich. "This is really good. The chef's definitely making his own mustards and mayonnaise."
Methos nodded, his mouth was full and he was enjoying it.
Xander looked through the racks of clothes with a sigh. "There's nothing here."
Ray waved him over. "I found something." He held up a pair of leather pants. "Didn't you used to have a few pair of these?"
"Three actually," Xander said thoughtfully. "Okay, I like those. I'll try them on." He took them and quickly found a shirt to go over them. "We need to head to a more me spot," he said as he walked past Ray to go try on the clothes.
"This is it," Ray reminded him. "Even the bartender at that club said that clothing was slim around here, everyone who could went to LA or ordered online." He followed his buddy to the changing area, waiting on him to come out. "They don't fit?"
"No, they're a bit tight," Xander said as he walked out. "Apparently I've gained more muscle while we were gone."
Ray swallowed hard. "Buy them," he ground out. Xander looked at him. "Buy them," he repeated, not able to tear his gaze away from the sweetness of the leather over that tight body. Then Xander turned around and the view got even better. He didn't know if he'd be able to walk out of there in his condition. "Better yet, wear 'em out," he ordered.
Xander walked back out, pulling back on the shirt. "Okay," he said innocently. He walked up to the salesgirl. "He wants me to wear them out," he told her.
She licked her lips. "I can see why. Let me cut those tags off for you and we'll get you checked right out with a bag for your other clothes."
Amanda walked up to them and promptly dropped the outfits she wanted. "Oh, my god," she whispered. "Now I know why you wear leather." She cleared her throat when she realized Ray was glaring at her. "I wasn't going to touch," she protested.
Xander grinned. "Get her stuff too. I'm feeling generous. It's not often that I look hot enough to make Ray possessive." He lifted his arm, letting the salesgirl get the tag on the sleeve. "Thanks. Ray, wallet?"
"Right here," Ray said, pulling it out of his tight jeans pocket with a slight struggle. Xander walked over and gave him a full body kiss, making him come with a moan. "Much looser now," he panted, "thank you." He handed over the wallet and went to find himself something new to wear. Maybe he'd find an outfit to make him as hot as Xander looked. He doubted it, but he could dream. It didn't hurt anything.
Just as long as no one else got any ideas about taking Xander.
Xander got out of the rental car, helping Ray out, and let the guys running for the car carry everything. "Up to the penthouse suite," he told them, tipping them well. "Where's Steve? Oh, I need the silver box." It was handed to him, but Amanda took it from him. "Nope, you go eat. We'll see you later." He took it back from her and headed inside. "Steve?" he asked the receptionist. She pushed the button on her phone and Steve jogged out of the convention room a few minutes later. "Hey, got a few?"
"Take him to my office, I'll be with him in a minute," he ordered one of the guards. Xander carrying a large silver box was probably not good news. He went back to the book stall to get his books. It was probably going to be a long night. Especially with how that boy was dressed.
Xander looked up as Steve walked in, giving him a smile, and not a happy one. "You know about my *other* accounts?" Steve nodded as he sat down. "Well, they're taking away their hidden ones." He patted the top of the box. "I have this and some stuff in New York that may have to stay there."
Steve held a hand out for the key and watched as Xander patted himself down. "In your other pants?" he asked lightly. He knew Xander hadn't walked out of the resort wearing that outfit. It was nearly scandalous and the resort's shops didn't sell leather.
"Yup." He picked up the phone and called the suite. "Hey, it's me. The key's in my other pants pocket. Can you bring it to me?" He smiled and hung up. "Ray'll bring it down. Where are Meth and Oz?"
"Your publisher's here and they're chatting in the convention room," Steve told him. "They've got most of the puppies with them." He smiled as Ray walked in. "That was fast."
"That's because I was unpackin' everything," Ray told him, handing it over. He closed the door and sat on Xander's lap, comforting him. He knew something in there was bothering his buddy and he would make him feel better.
Steve opened the box and stopped to whistle. He looked at Xander. "What did you do to get all the stones you have?" he asked.
Xander cleared his throat. "Do you really want to know?" Steve nodded, looking nearly scared. "I kinda did a turn in a demon brothel for six weeks. But I didn't leave with these. These were apparently given to me after I left and no one told me." He shrugged at the incredulous look. "What? I was very lucky that they liked me."
Steve frowned. "Xander, *everyone* wants a piece of you. Especially when you're dressed like that." He shifted some, trying to ease the discomfort of his own hardness. "I'm just amazed that it was only six weeks."
Xander shrugged. "I was finding myself. That's how I found out I was GHS."
"And met my man," Ray put in.
Xander grinned at him. "Yup, and met the old guy. He was a great teacher."
"*Methos* taught you how to be this way?" Steve asked, his shock getting a little deeper. "He never looks like that, or seems that ... slinky."
Ray snickered. "He is, trust me. Xander's just a whole new level of GHSdom." He kissed Xander on the cheek. "So, what's in there?"
"The white bag has cash," Xander told him. It was held up, it had been torn by the lid. "Or at least it did," he said, taking it to look inside. He frowned and rubbed the necklace he always wore, bringing his brother. "Can these be fixed?" he asked Micah as he appeared.
Micah shrugged and took the bag. "Maybe. Bringing the stuff on the inside back is another matter." He leaned down to give his brother a hug. "Welcome back. How long do we have?"
"Six months," Ray told him, giving him a smile. "How much was in there, Xander?"
"Close to six million." Steve choked. "Sorry." He shrugged.
"I'll see if our house people can fix it," Micah sighed.
"How did you store that much in this little bag?" Ray asked.
"Easy, it held a dimensional portal," Micah told him, his voice dry. "It's a common thing for the demon banks to do." He nodded at Steve. "I'll be back soon, our time's running faster than yours." He disappeared.
Steve looked over at Xander, who was frowning. "Hidden accounts?"
"Stuff I didn't want to look at," Xander told him.
Steve nodded. "All right then, I can understand that." He looked inside the box again, pulling out everything to examine. "Safety deposit box?" he suggested finally. Xander shrugged. "I see. You don't know?"
"I'm kinda on the stunned side myself. Like I said, I've never seen most of that before." He looked over as Micah reappeared, looking a little rumpled. "Problems?"
"The default dimension where the broken portals go to is not a nice place," he told his brother. "But the inhabitants there decided that they'd rather have us on their good side." He leaned down to whisper in his brother's ear. "I suggest you never use those bags again," he said quietly. "The default realm houses our version of the mafia, who also seem to own the banks." He stood back up. "Got me?"
Xander nodded quickly. "I'm sorry for the inconvenience. Should I write a thank you note?" Micah shook his head. "Thank you," he said, giving him a smile.
"Just stay out of trouble," he chided gently, handing over a small carpet bag to Steve. "This is our version of the bag of holding. We'll use those."
"I have one of those," Xander said happily.
"Now you have a whole set. I dropped them off in Sunnydale." He ruffled Xander's hair. "See you soon, call on me for non-emergency matters please." Xander nodded, giving him a happy smile. "Thanks." He nodded at Steve and disappeared.
"Bag of holding?" Steve asked as he opened it. "Oh. It's bottomless?"
"Nearly," Xander agreed. "I've had one for ages. They're really nice when you're moving. As long as you can put it inside, it'll all fit and won't weigh that much."
Steve put the bag aside. "Good to know. I may have to come borrow some if I ever have to move." He sorted through the stones again, then added the piles of cash to it. "Six million?" he asked, pulling out another bundle from the bag. "We've already run past that amount." He looked at Xander. "You're going to need to hide it better, kid."
"We could always buy a plane and a pilot," Ray suggested cheekily.
Xander pinched him on the butt. "Yes, we could, but your man would get pissed."
"Talk to him about it," Steve suggested. "He might agree." He continued to pull out cash, then decided his arm was getting tired so he upended it onto the desk, and the floor, and his lap. "Holy shit!" he said in awe. "This is closer to sixty billion."
Ray hid his face in Xander's neck. "Brit counting?" he suggested.
"Maybe." Xander shrugged. "The paper said million but my buddy here suggested that they may be using British counting, which doesn't have billions?"
"Maybe," Steve agreed, enjoying being partially buried in money. He blinked a few times. "Did you ever see those cartoons where the rich character swims through their vault of money?" Xander nodded. "I feel like that right now."
"I pay a five percent commission," Xander offered.
Steve laughed. "Yes, you do." He kicked the money to the side so he could move. "And I may be buying a second resort." He got everything counted out and sorted, then made a phone call. He managed to shovel everything but his five percent into the bag of holding and handed it to the guard who walked in. "Put this in the safe for Mr. Harris," he ordered. He looked at Xander. "I'll have a plan for you by tomorrow." He stood up. "Go talk to your publisher, he was anxious to see you."
"Okay," Xander agreed, standing up, letting Ray slide down his body. "Dinner tomorrow or lunch?"
"Lunch." Steve shook his hand then watched them leave. He counted his five percent commission again and dreamed of swimming through it. Maybe if it were in tens?
Xander and Ray strode confidently through the convention area, drawing a lot of attention, and quite a few stares. By the time he had found their lovers, he had signed a few books, and a pair of breasts. One of the books had even been his. He smiled at the seller next to his publisher's booth as he took an empty seat behind it. He pulled out his own book from the stack and smiled at the cover. "Nice art," he called, bringing his publisher from the back room. "Want me to sign a copy for you?" A crowd started to gather, mostly teenaged girls. He smiled at the crowd. "I like to sign books," he offered. The crowd grew as the stack of his books, especially his latest, dwindled.
"I'd better get some more out here," his publisher said, hurrying into the back. He stopped to look at Oz. "Your man's here," he told him, smiling broadly. "He's signing books. He looks quite tasty too, it was a great idea to bring the bodyguard." He hurried through his portal to get the other boxes of books. They were going to need them. This was the best he'd ever done. He included some of Xander's other books, just in case, and pushed the dolly back through the portal so he could put them out. The crowd surged forward, all book hungry because they had run out. He opened the boxes on the table and let them get what they wanted, it was safer for him. He looked down at his favorite author. "If I had known you were willing to do this, I'd have called you earlier," he told him.
Xander shrugged. "I was breaking a casino," he pouted. A few women sighed and held their books up to their chests. "Then I went jewelry shopping." A few of the women started to sniffle and Xander looked at them. "I design jewelry," he announced.
"Can we see some?" a girl asked.
"It's high end," Ray told her. "He uses real stones." He held out his hand with his wedding ring. "He made this for me and my man." A few of the women backed off, but a lot came over to look at it, apparently admiring it greatly because they asked Xander about making something for them.
Xander smiled. "I'm setting up a small shop in a few months," he told them. "That way I can disappear into the house and not come out for a few years." The girls all smiled at that. "Now, who wants me to sign something?" The crowd came closer, everyone holding out something. The publisher rang them up, happily humming in tune with the canned music playing over the intercom system.
Oz came out when the last of the girls was getting her book signed and kissed Xander on the top of the head. "Naughty," he scolded. "Did you cause people to get hot?"
Xander grinned up at him. "Me?" he asked innocently.
The girl looked at him, then at Oz, then back at him. "You're gay?" she asked.
Xander nodded. "This is my husband. He hates publicity though."
"That is so cool," she breathed. "Hey, Silly!" she yelled. "He's one of us!" A new girl walked over. "That's how he wrote such very good female characters."
Xander leaned in. "Just wait until October," he told her. "It'll all become really clear where those came from," he said in a near whisper. He leaned back and signed the girl's book for her. "There you go." He stood up and both women looked at his outfit.
Oz's mouth fell open and Ray reached over to close it for him. "Thanks," he told Ray, looking over at him. "Weren't you supposed to keep him *out* of trouble?"
"You said he didn't have enough clothes," Ray said with a shrug, standing up himself to show off his outfit.
Oz swallowed. "Oh, Gods, I'm going to pass out." He walked into the back and grabbed Methos by the wrist, forcing him to stand up and follow him. He pointed at Ray, making Methos' mouth fall open. "And he let Xander go shopping too," he complained.
Methos looked at Xander, then at Ray. He picked Ray up and swung him over his shoulder, striding out forcefully. Ray was his!
Xander grinned at Oz. "That's the look he was going for. Guess it worked." He grinned at the few women standing around.
"Did you ever give women a chance?" one girl asked.
Xander nodded. "Before I found my man, I had a few girlfriends, but it never seemed to click. I guess I'm bi because I appreciate the person more than the wrapping, but he's mine," he said, taking Oz's hand to hold. He put down his pen. "We're going to go upstairs. Come up later if you want to talk," he told his publisher, waving as Oz dragged him out of the convention area. "But I wanted to look at everyone else's books," he complained.
"I got your books," Oz growled. As soon as the elevator door closed, he pinned Xander to the wall and took control of his mouth. "Naughty, naughty Xander. Teasing all those women." He grabbed the hard cock. "And me. I should punish you for teasing."
"I never tease you," Xander panted, his head hitting the wall behind him a few times. "Please, Oz, more?" he begged.
Oz's smile became feral as they stepped off the elevator. He remembered to close the gate, then those leather pants came *off*. He took his man right there on the floor, fortunately someone had left them some lube on a nearby table. It was primal. It was loud. It even brought security running. Oz looked over his shoulder as he pounded into his mate. "Mine!" he growled at them.
"OZ!" Xander screamed, coming with such force that his back lifted off the cold floor and his seed sprayed them both, and one of the guards watching them. He panted and squeezed his mate internally, making him come with a growl and a bite. "Ow!" He swatted Oz. "No biting." He looked at the guards, who he hadn't noticed before. "Um, hi," he said happily. "He liked my new leather pants."
Oz rested his face on the heaving chest under him. "Go away," he told them. "He's fine." He opened his eyes and checked his mate. "And hard again."
"Ray!" Methos shouted from their bedroom. Ray laughed. "Naughty! Bad you!"
Ray walked out of their bedroom and carefully pried Oz off Xander's chest, then took Xander with him. He had something he wanted Methos to watch.
"Mine!" Oz called, hurrying after them. He peeked out of the room. "Close the gate, guys, please." He slammed the door and turned to watch Ray slide himself down Xander's hard cock. "Good show?" he asked Methos, who was panting. Methos nodded, his head hitting the bed hard. "Hmm." Oz walked over and bent down, licking his mate where he wasn't fully engulfed. The man tied to the bed whimpered, but it only got better. Oz was starting to get hard again and Xander's hole was winking at him, begging him for more. He pulled Ray off and pushed him onto the bed, then flipped Xander over and slammed back into him. "Ride him, babe," he ordered.
Xander shrugged and climbed back into Ray's body, making him moan in pleasure. Hey, he was happy, he was giving and receiving, and teasing. It was all good for him. By the time he got off again, both Ray and Oz had some of him, and Methos was begging for release, so he rode his teacher into a coma too. "Yeah, that was great," he sighed as he stretched out next to Methos' limp body, undoing one of the restraints so the man could get free later.
After three tries, Oz managed to lift a hand off the bed and grab the phone. He hit the button for the operator. "Food?" he begged. She laughed and connected him to the room service coordinator. "Food?" he asked. He listened to the specials. "Good, yes, that last one with fries, three salads with ranch on the side, one with italian and no onions or we'll never hear the end of it, and something like meat stuffed in flaky bread crust?" He listened as she described a few more things. "Yeah, about ten of those and something to nibble on. Thanks. Penthouse." He hung up and let the phone drop back to the bed. "Dinner's coming," he announced, knowing that someone else was awake but not able to move to see who it was.
Ray groaned as he tried to sit up, managing only to lift his head. "How long?"
"Half hour." Oz grunted as he tried to flip over, managing it and landing on Ray's chest. "Think Xander should have to get it?"
"Xander's not all there yet," Ray told him. He caught sight of something and frowned. "And he's got blood on him."
Oz reached down and ran a finger around the outside of Xander's hole. "Huh. Guess we should probably check him out." He slid a finger inside his husband's body, checking it for him. "Little tear. Need to get him into a bath." He scratched across Xander's prostate, making his mate moan and shift. "Get up and go take a bath. We were too rough." Xander moaned again and pulled away from him, curling up in a little ball. "Come on, you've got to go soak that," Oz ordered. He forced himself to sit up and tap Xander on the head. "Come on, I know you're awake."
"Am not, can't prove it," Xander mumbled.
Oz nudged him. "Babe, you have a small tear. I need you to go soak. We'll bring dinner into the jacuzzi and we'll eat in there, 'kay?" Xander nodded but didn't move. "Now, Xan. Before you stiffen up and it hurts more."
"All right," Xander complained as he climbed out of bed. "I'm feeling old." He trudged that way, ending up answering the elevator. He signed the slip. "If there's anything else coming up, just leave it somewhere high so the puppies can't get it," he told the girl, heading for the big bathroom.
"Yes, sir," she said, trying hard not to stare at him. "Sir, would you like me to call the resort's doctor?"
Xander shook his head. "I'm fine. Just a little sore." He waved. "Talk to Oz." He completed his journey and kicked the puppies and the ferret out of the jacuzzi so he could have it all to himself. He cleaned out the larger clumps of hair then turned on the jets and sighed in relief. One was placed just under him. He smiled as the ferret jumped in to help him, pulling her over so she rested on his chest. "Hey, baby. Daddy's sore." He kissed her on the head and closed his eyes. He could nap. He felt the sharp claws digging up his chest and let her go, smiling when she climbed over his shoulder to somewhere dry. Yeah, it was all good.
Oz walked out of the room, having enough sense to wrap a towel around his waist, and smiled at the young woman still standing there. "Needed it signed?"
"No, sir, but I wanted to check and make sure that he didn't need some sort of medical help," she said quietly. "Steve is very protective of his guests."
Oz nodded. "I know. No, it was just strenuous sex, he's fine." She nodded and got back on the elevator. "Bring the rest up and put it somewhere high enough that puppies can't get to it." He grabbed one of the salads and sat down to eat it, he'd need the energy to go deal with Xander. When he was done, he put the plate aside and finished his trek to the big bathroom, losing his towel and climbing in with his sleeping mate and the brave puppy paddling around in the water. "Hey, you, maybe you should get out," he told the little collie mix, helping it by putting it on the side of the tub. "Go dry off." He curled up on Xander's chest and went back to sleep.
The puppy barked, bringing the rest of them running, and they all climbed into the huge tub to play. One of them got splashed by a foot, but they were all okay and happy. When Ray and Methos came in, they all got out and bounced around their masters' feet, begging for attention.
"You guys smell," Ray told them as he scratched ears. "Go lay down." The elevator dinged. "I'll get it, you rest." He walked back out, grabbing the large tray of food from Steve. "Hey, needed something?"
"No, just a report that I should probably come up and check on you guys. Apparently Xander had some suspicious marks?"
"Yeah, Oz bit 'im," Ray said with a shrug. "It happens sometimes when they play." He put the tray down and grabbed one of the fluffy pastry things, taking a bite of it. "Thanks."
"You're welcome." He smiled as he looked around. "At least you guys don't damage things." He noticed the suspicious stain on the floor and made a mental note to have the cleaning staff treat it in the morning. "Did you guys need anything else?"
"Not unless you got a clue about Xander's unexpected windfall." Steve shook his head. "Not at all?"
"I'm looking at various types of accounts for it. I'll have solid recommendations tomorrow at lunch." He looked around again. "Oh, the book fair people left Oz's books at the front desk, along with yours and Methos'. I'll send them up if you want."
"Give us a few. We're relaxing in the jacuzzi. If we can keep the puppies outta it." He grinned. "Later, man, gotta go snuggle and nap."
"Okay. Just call downstairs whenever you're ready." He got back on the elevator and left them alone.
Ray grabbed a second pastry and meat thing, taking his dinner into the bathroom so he could nibble while he soaked. Man, he was sore. Xander had pounded him *hard*. He slid into the water with a sigh of relief, then had to move suddenly when the water under him moved and clawed. He put down his pastry thing and picked up the ferret to look at it. "That was dumb," he told her. "Go lay down." He put her on the floor and checked before sitting down again. The ferret huffed and walked away with an indignant air.
Ray took another large bite. He'd need it for later. This resort always made Xander horny.
Steve looked up as his door was knocked on. "Come." A big man walked in and stood there. "Yes, can I help you?" he asked.
"Sir, one of my...clients earlier lost some of his wife's jewelry to a man staying here. We'd like to see if we can buy it back from him."
Steve sighed. "That would be Xander. Why don't you go sit in the cafe and I'll call them to come down and talk to you." The man nodded and Steve picked up the phone, hoping someone was awake up there. On second thought, he dialed Amanda's number, she'd know where they were, they were probably in her luggage by now. "Amanda, did Ray or Xander win some jewelry earlier?" He frowned. "No, there's someone here who wants it back. He's sitting in the cafe. You don't?" he asked, shocked. She hadn't stolen them yet? "Oh. Well, I guess that explains it then." Xander buying her stuff was a good excuse, he guessed. "Can you go wake one of them up and tell them? No, they're in the tub and I don't need to know that much about them. Thanks." He hung up and put his head down on the desk. Xander and Ray had crossed the mafia. Dear Gods.
Xander woke up to someone shaking him. "What?" he asked grumpily.
"Where's the necklace and ring?" Amanda asked him. "The original owners want to buy them back."
Xander nudged Ray with a foot. "Where'd you put them?"
"In the safe." He climbed out and finished his snack on the way to the safe. He pulled all three boxes from the safe and looked inside them, handing her the one with the necklace, ring, and cufflinks. "Give me a few to get dressed." He headed into his bedroom and put back on the clothes he had been wearing earlier, then joined her on the elevator, after shooing puppies away from it. "No, go lay down. You'll get walked in a few minutes." He closed the gate and shut the door before any of them figured out how to jump the gate. "Who is it?"
"Steve just said a big man." She fluffed out her blonde locks. "Apparently he decided that I would know where they were."
"He probably expected ya ta steal 'em," Ray noted, then he yawned.
"Xander wear you guys out?" He nodded, starting to smile. "Can I get a tape? For a story," she finished quickly when he looked at her. "I have a gay couple having sex and I have no idea how gay men do it."
"Easy, the same way a het couple have anal sex only there's two dicks and a prostate involved," he said with a shrug as he walked off the elevator. "Where?"
"Cafe." She followed him in, smiling at the man who stood up to meet them. "Gee, Ray, does this look bad?"
He nodded as he sat down across from the guy. "I'm open to suggestions," he said. Then he smiled. "I'm also going to inform you that I'm a former Detective out of Chicago." The man nodded. "So let's make it fast. My lovers are upstairs."
The man pulled out a check and wrote something on it. "The current worth of the gems," he said as he pushed it over.
Amanda snorted. "Honey, you should have heard Xander." She sat down and opened the box, taking out the necklace to look at. "He was right. This ruby's not worth that much and one of the diamonds is fake." She handed it over. "He found that at the table," she told him when she caught his frown. "You can check the security tape." She picked up the ring and looked it over. "This one's missing a real diamond too," she announced, looking at the cufflinks. "These are still real."
"Those aren't our concern," the man said, smiling at her. "How'd ya know?"
"I'm Amanda," she said, holding out a hand.
"The jewel thief?" he asked. She nodded. "And you hang with a former detective?"
Ray shrugged. "Only for right now. We're friends, but we don't *hang*." He shifted some. "I'll let you change the check if you want."
The man replaced both necklace and ring into the box and closed it. "That's all right. Their rightful owner will be happy to get them back. I'll tell her what you said though." He smiled. "I'm sure she and her husband will be having a discussion about his gambling and the missing stones." He paused before leaving. "Who was that other guy?"
"Xander Harris," Ray told him. "Jewelry designer and author. He and I are buddies."
"Oh. Thank you. I'll tell her about the missing stones." He walked away.
Ray folded the check and put it into his pocket. "Anything else?"
"Not yet," she said with an innocent look. "I'm probably going to be leaving tomorrow."
"We're leaving in a few days for the Sunnydale house." Ray stood up and put a small tip on the table for the waitress who had stayed far away. "I'm gonna go back to my bath." He walked away, leaving her there. By the time he got upstairs, there was a young man standing there with the leashes, trying to figure out what to do with the ferret. "Dog walker?" he asked. The boy nodded so he put the harness on the lone ferret so she could go out too. "They like little places," he warned, watching as the animals left for a while. He checked on their cats, who had chosen an empty bed for their napping spots and were hard at work on that task. "Whatever. Need a litterbox." He looked around and noticed a fake plant, smiling when he saw that some of the hay-like stuff had been moved. "Yup, we need a litterbox." He headed back to the living room, stopping long enough to call down for one from the resort's store, then stripped and went back to soaking with his lovers. "Yeah, this is nice," he sighed as he slid back into the warm water. The elevator dinged again. "Just put it down," he called. A young man walked in and held out the slip, letting Ray sign it. "Thanks, man."
"Sir, we only had the prefilled, disposable ones. I hope that was all right?"
"Even better," Ray admitted with a grin. "Can ya tear open one?"
"I already did. There was a small kitten who came out to meet us and she appreciated it greatly." He smiled and backed out of the room.
"Wow, really fast trip," Oz said through a yawn. "What's up?"
"When I was playin' poker, one guy offered up his wife's jewelry, she wanted it back. Then I called for litterboxes because the cats have used the fake tree in their room."
"Puppies?" Xander sighed, without opening his eyes.
"Puppies and ferret are off bein' walked," Ray told him. Oz looked at him. "The ferret wanted ta go so I put it in a harness."
"Cool," Oz agreed. He shifted over, cuddling up to Ray. "How do you feel?"
"Sore. I forgot what a Xander pounce felt like," he said with a grin. "I think we'll have to take it slowly later."
Oz nodded and closed his eyes. "All good for me. I doubt Xan's gonna want to be on the bottom anyway."
"He heals," Ray reminded him. He felt Oz's smile against his chest.
"Yup, I do, and the lightening feels very odd down there." He opened his eyes. "Food?"
"Thanks." Xander climbed out, managing to not get caught by Methos. "I'll bring the tray in here." He padded out, startling the dog walker coming off the elevator. "That was quick."
"They appreciated it immensely," the boy said with a grin. He handed over the ferret. "She just wanted to visit the front desk and steal a peppermint."
"She likes the color red for some reason," Xander said with a shrug. He searched Ray's pants and pulled out some money, giving it to the kid. "Thanks. Three hours?"
"Of course, sir." He closed the gate and got back onto the elevator.
Xander put down the ferret and grabbed the trays of food, taking it into the bathroom. He laid it on a nearby table then went to the bar to get them something to drink. A bottle of champagne and some ice later, the door to the bathroom was closed and they settled in to enjoy each other.
The puppies sat outside the door and whined.
The ferret snuck onto the elevator when the bed-turn-down lady came up and went back to her pilfering. She'd have a nice nest of the crinkly stuff soon and unborn kits would love it.
Ray sat down across from Steve, shrugging when he got a questioning look. "Meth said to come down here and bug you about our accounts to make sure everything was still copacetic."
"They are," Steve told him, turning around to grab a binder from the bookcase behind him. He handed it over. "That's for the accounts he told me about. I had to move some of the interest around so that it wouldn't draw attention from any regulatory agency."
Ray looked over the numbers, then back at Steve. "This is kinda Roman to me."
Steve smiled. "I remember feeling that way before I took accounting and business classes." He picked up a pencil and used the eraser end to point at the book since Ray had put it on the desk. "All the numbers represent millions."
"So that 2.3 is million?" Ray asked, looking a little pale. "We have that much money?"
"In an emergency fund," Steve agreed. He picked up his phone and called the kitchen. "Could I please have a pot of coffee and two cups?" he requested, then hung up. He smiled at Ray. "Don't worry about it. Almost everything's the same as it was." He flipped a few pages. "That's the one I couldn't remember. The city of Paris bought the building his apartment was in for a public works project. I couldn't fight it." He shrugged. "Sorry."
"That's okay. Did you get the stuff out of it?"
Steve nodded. "And I had someone there on site in case he had anything hidden in the walls. So the trunk of books is safely stored in Jace's former storage vault. But I was going to talk to him about that anyway." Ray nodded. He flipped back a few pages, to the beginning. "All right, this is a summary of all the accounts that you have," he instructed. "Each one is a separate account in a different bank, that was your man's idea not mine." He paused as a young woman brought in a tray with a carafe and two cups, along with a sexy smile for Steve. "Thank you, Melody."
"Anytime, Steve, you know that." She winked at Ray and left.
Ray looked at Steve. "You boinkin' her?"
"No, but she's been hinting now for months," he admitted with a smile. "I don't touch the staff, it makes for bad morale." He poured himself a cup of coffee and handed everything over to Ray, he had more room on his side of the desk.
"So, we're really rich too? Like Xan and Oz are?"
"Methos has done some wonderful planning through the ages," Steve told him. "Somehow he even managed not to lose it all in 1929." He shrugged. "Other than that, it's a good thing that he understands all this. He made some very interesting plans."
"Yeah, he's real careful," Ray agreed. "But I can't see the point in me doin' this."
Steve looked at him. "Ray," he said quietly. "A long life isn't guaranteed by what Methos and I are. There's still the chance that he'll die tomorrow in a fight." He stopped at the shudder. "I'd guess that he wanted you to know how and where you stood on the money issues in case something happened to him." Ray nodded and put down his coffee cup. "Sorry to bring you down, but it will happen sometime."
Ray sighed. "I know. I'm tryin' ta block it outta my head, but I know he's still able to die. But then again, I'm also bound to Xander and Oz."
"Which means that you might have millennia more to go on," Steve agreed. "In which case, you need to know about this stuff and where it is. It's the best way for Methos to protect you, knowing that you'll be protected in the future."
"Okay." Ray leaned forward. "So, all these are his accounts somewhere?"
Steve smiled and picked back up his pencil to use as a pointer. "Each one of these is a separate account in some foreign country. I've listed the ones in the United States together at the end, which is on the next page."
Oz flopped down next to Steve. "How're we doing?"
"Fine. Your interest income grew steadily by five percent while you were gone. I had to sell the stocks to one of your more questionable companies when they started to tank. Everything else is set up. Your emergency accounts are all in place. Everything's set in Canada and Sunnydale. Did you want to cede the house in Florida to Giles?"
"Personally? I'd like to see a hurricane come by and take it out with him in it," Oz said honestly. He glanced around. "No funny quirks in Xander's income?"
"Well, for that, you're going to have to talk to him," Steve said with a grim smile. "He got a surprise the other day and he wasn't too happy about it."
"Wondered why he was brooding. How's he doing otherwise?"
"Everything's stable and growing." He ate a bite of his danish. "This is much easier than having to explain all this to Ray last night."
Oz nodded. "Meth decided to be sly and tell him without letting him stress over it. He was stressing over being back in the game after three years absence." He looked at the other man. "I'm guessing that you reminded Ray that we could lose though because he was hyper cuddly last night." Steve nodded. "Thanks. Can you remind Xander?"
"I doubt he needs it, Oz. He's very aware that you guys can lose at any time. It's one of the reasons he's so protective of you. It's probably why he took up fighting lessons." Oz sighed and rolled his eyes, but he relaxed. "He loves you, man, you've got to get used to it."
"I am," Oz agreed. "Just thinking about him jumping into my next battle."
Steve snickered. "I doubt that you'll have one anytime soon. According to some sources, there's only been one fight in the last three years and it was in Europe between an asshole and a wannabe MacLeod."
Oz grunted. "Great." He sat up again. "No other issues?"
"Just get Xander to talk to you. Or possibly Micah, he usually seems to know what's going on in your man's head."
"Point." Oz stood up. "Coolness. We'll be going tomorrow, back to Sunnydale since it was suggested. Then, after everything calms down, we'll be disappearing." He waved and walked away.
Steve took another bite of his breakfast and smiled. Those two couples were so easy to deal with. If only the other immies he handled money for were that easy to deal with.
Oz flopped down on the couch beside Xander. "What sort of problems did the demon bank drop on you this time?" he asked.
Ray tugged Methos up and led him into their bedroom, closing the door to give the other couple some privacy.
Xander looked at his mate. "Just a few big ones. Did Steve nark?" Oz nodded. "But he didn't tell you what?"
"Nope, he just suggested that I come be a sounding board so you could vent."
"Oh." Xander put the half-finished manuscript aside and turned to face his husband. "The demon bank is getting rid of their hidden accounts." Oz nodded. "And I found out I had more than I should."
"Um, that's the part that's been frying my brain. Devi, apparently, left me half interest in the brothel. The other owners have been depositing the money into an account for me, and the demon bank decided to put it into my hidden accounts." Oz nodded. "And I can't get hold of anyone over there to protest and argue."
"Huh." Oz gave him a hug. "We'll stop through in LA and see if we can find them and make them take it from you." He let his man go. "Wanna go swim in the pool?"
"Actually, I was going to go down to the salon and get them to look at my white streaks. They're starting to look dark," Xander told him, lifting up some of his waist-length hair to show the streaks off. A chemical accident had given him the white streaks and he had grown to like them once the other side effects had worn off. "I was also going to get some idea about what to do with this mass once we had to change identities."
Oz fingered some of the soft strands. "Dye it blond."
"Go red!" Ray yelled from his bedroom.
Xander snickered. "We'll see." He leaned his head on Oz's shoulder. "Thank you for not yelling."
"Nothing to yell about. If you had known about it and not told me until now, I'd be screaming." He patted the firm thigh. "You really have gained muscle mass."
"Yup." Xander snuggled in and closed his eyes. "Hold me?"
"Sure." He shifted so Xander was resting on his chest, comfortable on the large couch. He waited until Xander was asleep to touch the messenger pendant his husband always wore. "Hey," he told the messenger. "I need you to take a message to his brother. Tell him that Devi decided to screw him again, just like he thought he would." The messenger nodded and disappeared. Oz settled in to wait. There was no telling what Micah was in the middle of.
Amanda plopped herself down next to Xander, interrupting what Steve was saying. "I think I'm going to stay around for a few more weeks. This place has been great for my writing."
Steve smiled at her. "As long as you pay your bills and don't invite another convention over on short notice," he agreed. She glared at him and his smile just got brighter. "Fine, whatever. Don't charge the card number I gave you. I'll give you a better one in a little while." She played with a lock of her hair. "So, what was with the big silver box anyway?"
"Unexpected complications," Xander told her. "Steve's being nice enough to fix it for me."
She sighed. "Okay, I'll take the hint, but I need your help with a plotline and you're the only writer around here that I know and trust." She stood up. "I'll expect you in about half an hour?" Xander nodded and she left them alone.
"Now I know why Joe warned me about Hurricane Amanda," Steve muttered. Xander heard it and laughed. "So, anyway, I've got everything set up to put that money into a few investment accounts with checking privileges. The rest I deposited in your usual shopping and backup checking accounts, which I filled when I heard you were coming back for good. Oh, and D'Nalia called me. Henri's handing in her retirement forms the day you come home."
Xander sipped his coffee. "I figured as much. She's getting kinda old and she probably has stuff she wants to do besides take care of me." He shrugged. "I'll miss her, but we've created a retirement account for her and D'Nalia already."
"Good," Steve said with a smile. "Will it hold?"
"I did it back when she had her heart attack. I put a mil away in an interest bearing, low risk account out of our normal bank in LA. They thought it was a sweet gesture." He finished his coffee and put the mug aside. "Now what?"
"Forms." Steve opened his briefcase and handed over the forms. "All for you."
Xander smiled as he signed each of the forms, until the next-to-last one. "What's this?"
"Your statement that you've read Jace's will and agree to the stipulations." He looked around, letting Xander read. "She left the resort to the group, so named as most of us. She did ask that I take control of the daily management, but you and Oz, Meth and Ray, Richie and Giles, are all listed as the new ownership board. The State Review board didn't ping on any of you so it's all good. Also, her collection of dildos has become your responsibility. The judge nearly choked when he saw that clause so I had to produce pictures." He smiled, but he was blushing slightly. "He was very interested in that one sapphire one. But she took her favorites of them with her."
Xander nodded and signed the form. "Nothing that'll come back and bite me on the ass?"
"Not really. Everything was straightforward and I know she's popped in to look a few times."
"You believe in angels visiting?" one woman asked as she walked past them.
Steve looked at her. "Not really, but I believe that sometimes spirits can come back. She keeps rearranging my desk," he told her dryly. She smiled and left them alone. He looked at Xander, who was smirking. "She does." He shrugged. "Anyway, everything's good to go. Sign the last form and I'll deal with it."
"Yes, why do you have control over my fortune should something happen to me?" he asked, holding up the form. "Shouldn't that be Oz's form?"
"Yes, but what happens if you have to disappear at the same time?"
Xander sighed. "Point." He folded it up and put it in his pocket. "I'll send it to you later, after I talk to Methos."
Steve nodded, having expected that. Xander didn't know that much about him and he wasn't as close as Ray and everybody to him. Besides, that amount of money under his control, with easy access to loose cash, could be quite a temptation. Even for him. "Whatever you feel is best," he told him.
"Cool." Xander leaned over and hugged him. "Thanks, Steve. I'm going to go help Amanda." He left the room, the puppy following him at a run.
"Xander, dog," Steve called after him. He watched as Xander looked down and realized he had brought one of the puppies down, and grabbed the leash. The young looking man waved and they disappeared into the resort. Steve sighed, that boy sucked the strength from you with his hyperactivity. He didn't know how Oz did it, Oz always seemed like such a low energy sort of guy anyway. He finished off his lunch, he rarely got a quiet one these days, but he wouldn't trade it for anything.
Oz followed Micah through the temporary portal, nodding at the demons standing around. They were all small, and trollish, but all of them looked very hard to kill.
"You dare bring one like him here?" one of the demons said angrily.
Oz shrugged. "I'm Xander Harris' mate." The demons all backed off. "Yeah, and since you guys are upsetting him, we're going to have a talk." He pulled his sword and put it on the table, then sat in front of it. "Since all of you have upset my mate by stupidly giving him more money from something that he hates, I think you ought to reconsider it."
"You threatenin' us?" another demon asked, sitting across from him.
"No, I'm doing this calmly and rationally. If I had threatened you, one of you would already be dead." The demons carefully took seats, staying as far away from Oz as possible. "Now then, let's get down to business. What will it take for you guys to leave my mate alone?"
"He's human, he'll die," the second demon suggested lightly.
Oz smirked. "He's my *mate*. He's as immortal as I am, and as immortal as my teacher is."
"Yeah, which one are you anyway?"
"Theodonius," Oz said simply. The demons backed off a little more. "Now known as Oz." He looked around. "Do we have a problem with that?" They all shook their heads. "Good. Then leave my husband alone." He stood up. "Next time, I'll *be* threatening." He put his sword up and nodded at Micah. "Come on, faithful brother-in-law."
Micah bowed nervously toward the head demon. "Thank you for your patience."
The head demon stepped up. "It will be done, young man," he told Oz. "We didn't want to upset him. We've been using his name and it's drawn amazing profits."
"Yeah, but he doesn't want to be associated with that life anymore," Oz told him. "He's over it. Has been for a very long time." The head demon nodded. "Thank you." He walked through the reopened portal, letting Micah follow him. Once they were back in the hotel room, Oz looked at his brother-in-law. "Gee, they weren't nearly as bad as dealing with the human mafia."
Micah stared at him in shock. "Oz! Those are the cruelest, coldest, meanest demons we have outside of our insane ones!"
"They seemed reasonable enough," he noted with a shrug. "As long as they stop, I won't tell Giles about them doing this to Xander." Micah went paler. "Do you need to sit down?"
"Micah," Xander said happily as he got off the elevator. "Why are you here?" He hugged his adopted brother. He pulled him down onto the couch to sit next to him. "Is there a problem?"
"No, I wanted to talk to him about what Devi had done," Oz told him, reaching over to pat him on the knee. "He said he can make them stop."
Xander squeezed Micah as hard as he could. "Thank you! You are *so* great!" He let Micah go when he squeaked. "Thank you."
"You're welcome, kid," Micah said, giving him a smile. "Anything for you, you know that." He petted the puppy trying to jump into his lap. "You're active."
"We just went for a stroll through the resort. He pooped on Amanda's mink jacket."
"Ouch, she's gotta be pissed," Oz muttered.
"She doesn't know yet," Xander said with a smirk. "We kinda left before she found out." He scratched behind the soft ears. "Yup, we had an accident. A nasty one." He handed the puppy to Oz. "You might want to tell Ray that they want to go to the vets." He looked at his brother. "So, what else is new? How's Elizabeth?"
"She's fine. She's found a young demon of a rival clan that she finds quite nice. They're planning on getting married." He shrugged. "I don't personally like him, but he's the heir to his clan so it's more than acceptable from the family point of view."
"But she's happy?"
"She's very happy. He makes her laugh and sing."
"That's great," Xander said with a grin. "I'll have to get her a present."
"She's registered at Sears. Her chosen is a constructing demon. It's mostly power tools."
Oz snorted. "I didn't know you guys had demons like that."
"You thought we magicked up all our buildings?" Micah asked. Oz nodded. "Not all types are that attuned to magic. We even have some that can't do any at all. Constructor demons are very highly thought of, and usually quite wealthy. There's never enough to fulfill all the demands that the rest of us make." He squeezed Xander's arm. "I've got to go. I'll see you later, once you're home?"
"Sure. Invite me to the wedding and I'll come. As long as it's not in October or right before it." His brother shook his head. "Then it's all great and I'll be there. We'll catch up."
"Good." Micah gave him a hug and stood up, then shook Oz's hand. "I'll see you later too." He opened a portal and left them alone.
"Wow," Oz said, lifting an arm so Xander could cuddle. "We'll stop by in LA on the way home and get them some of their bridal registry." Xander nodded and sank against his side. "You feeling okay?"
"Just a little tired still. I guess it's from the stuff that was in the air off world, that caffeine and chocolate acting stuff." He yawned. "I agree with the puppies, we should nap."
"Okay, we'll go nap," Oz agreed, sliding the sleeping puppy off to the side so he could help Xander up. They went to lay down together, the lack of that happy air was making them both tired.
Giles looked up as the door was knocked on. He left the study and headed out to answer it, smiling at the mundane messenger standing there. "Yes?"
"Rupert Giles?" The man asked. Giles nodded. "Sign here please," he said, holding out a clipboard.
"If I may, what is this about?"
"It's a delivery from the Council, sir," the messenger told him. He watched as the older man signed it. "Thank you, sir. The High Council wanted you to have an updated book of happenings and this letter." He pulled them out of his pouch and handed them over. "Your sister-in-law also asks that you write to her now that you're back." He bowed and stepped back, then turned and ran for his rental car. He wasn't sure who this guy was, but he was scary.
Giles closed the door with a kick and unwrapped the book, smiling at it. "Thank you, love," he called to the thin air. "I've been wanting this." He sat down on the couch and opened the letter. "Oh, my," he said with a smile after reading it. "I know what I can do to help my love now." He smiled at the ceiling, a chilling smile. "That's just perfect. Thank you very much, love." He stuffed the letter in the book and headed back to the office. He was writing his sister-in-law a letter it seemed.
Amanda's scream echoed down her hall. "That dog!" she shrieked as she ran out of her room. She headed right down to Steve's office. "I want them!" she demanded.
Steve looked at the messed up coat and shrugged. "They left earlier," he told her. Her eyes narrowed. "Really, Oz and Xander wanted to go home. Everything was set up and they hadn't seen the boys in a long time. They went home."
"Fine," she spat. "Then I need this cleaned."
Steve nodded and escorted her to the front desk. "Bag it," he told the clerk. "Send it out to be cleaned please." He smiled at the clerk. "Apparently one of our four-legged guests decided to be naughty with her jacket." The clerk bent down and grabbed a bag from under the desk and handed it to Amanda, then took the bag and stapled a notice to it. "Thank you, Herman." He smiled at Amanda. "Is there anything else I can do for you?"
Amanda gathered herself back together. "Not if they've left." She stormed off.
Steve picked up the phone and called the penthouse. "Stay up there," he told Ray. "Amanda just found out her jacket had gotten a tad bit messed up by a puppy." He laughed. "Sure." He hung up and looked at the clerk. "There's a ferret loose in the resort. If you find her, she lives up in the penthouse and she likes the peppermint bowl."
Herman pulled out the ferret from under his desk and handed her over. "She nipped me earlier when I told her she couldn't have any more," he explained. He heard her hissing and squeaking and looked down. "Oh, dear, sir." He pulled out the whole drawer and handed it over. "I'll get more of the forms from the storage room," he said, handing the nest to his boss.
Steve carefully put her back in there with her babies and sighed. "Well, it's a first," he said happily. He carried the drawer over to the elevator. "You'll get a new one tomorrow," he called back.
"Thank you, sir."
Steve rode up and handed the whole drawer to Methos, who had come at the ding. "She wanted privacy," he said, starting to laugh. "My guys are so straight, he didn't even blink when he found the poor babies on his forms."
Methos chuckled. "Good. Xander!"
"Sleeping," Ray reminded him, coming out of their room to look down in the drawer. "So *that's* why you wanted the crinkly stuff." He scratched the top of her head. "Good for you." He took the drawer and snuck it into Xander and Oz's bedroom, putting it near the daddies. "There we are." He turned and found Oz looking at him over Xander's shoulder. "Babies. Steve's desk guy didn't even flinch when he found them dirtying up the desk." He waved and left, making sure to close the door.
"Huh," Oz said, laying back down. "That's cool."
Ray hugged his lover, waving at Steve. "So, we're stayin' up here *all* night?"
"Yes, imp, all night." He turned and grabbed his man, carrying him into their bedroom. He had something he wanted to show him.
TO BE CONTINUED...