Bed Monster

Blair woke up comfortable and obviously not alone. He frowned at the ceiling. He had gone to bed alone, but he could feel hair tickling his side. He rolled toward it, lifting the covers to look down at his roommate. "Needed a teddy bear?" he whispered, hugging him back when the strong arms went around him. "Hmm, nice at least." He closed his eyes, going back to sleep, comforted beyond belief by the feeling of not being alone for a little while.

Blair woke up again, grunting up at Jim, who was glaring at him. "What?" he asked sleepily. "Am I late?"

"No, you're sleeping with someone." He pointed down at the ball of person under the covers. "Want to explain that to Oz, who was frantic when he couldn't find him?" He sat on the edge of the bed, rubbing the foot that came out to push at him.

"Meany, sleeping," Xander said, looking at the men around him. "Hey, sorry. Guess I needed comfort." He slid out of the bed, looking down at himself and blushing. "Gee, I know I was wearing clothes earlier," he said, still mentally fuzzy, as he walked down the stairs to the bathroom. "Hey, Oz, Devon," he said as he walked past them, yawning.

Devon's mouth fell open. "Oz, man, get me hooked up with him?" he begged, wiping at his mouth to make sure no drool came out. "Come on, man, could use a man built like that."

"I'm not going that direction," Xander called out from the bathroom. He stuck his head out. "I only top, Devon, and I'm a demanding lover. I don't do one night things and I refuse to cheapen what I *do* do." He withdrew back into the bathroom, closing the door, listening to the snickers from Oz and Blair.

Oz reached over, punching his lead singer on the arm to get him to shut his mouth, as Jim and Blair walked downstairs. "Sorry, he's still hormonal."

"It's the profession," Blair said. "Oh, and Oz, next time you use my guitar, put it back and wipe the sweat off it. It's priceless." He walked into the kitchen, tightening his robe. "Who wants food?"

"I want an omelet," floated out from the shower.

Oz walked over to the bathroom, opening the door. "What you call it or a real one?"

"Either's fine," Xander said, tossing a washcloth at him. "Privacy? Unless you're wanting to switch teams?" Oz quickly left him alone. "Didn't think so."

Jim snickered, looking at his Guide. "Oz and I have eaten, Teddy Bear Blair, so just feed your hugger." He walked back over to his apartment, dodging the pot and cup his Guide threw at him. "Easy, I'll bruise then you'll have to carry your own books." He shut the door quickly, seeing Blair looking meaningfully at the knife block.

"So," Blair said, putting on water for tea and pulling down a pan to cook in. "Sorry about that. He apparently just snuck up there." Oz shrugged. "Jim said you were worried."

"Am but we'll talk later." He glared at Devon before he could make a noise. "And naked boy wanted whatever you wanted to call an omelet." He looked away as his Guideling walked out of the bathroom, dripping and naked, and headed for his room. "I'm guessing you're out of towels."

Blair nodded. "Figured that out last night when I got out of the shower." He looked at the younger man's door. "I'll start food in a few minutes," he said, pulling his water off to start his tea. He looked at the two men in his living room. "What can I make you, Devon?"

"Nothing, thanks dude. I ate before I came over." He grinned at Oz. "Just a nibble, understand, but a nice little package."

"Don't want to hear that either," Oz told him, going back to his studying. "Test next week, right teach?"

"Same day the paper's due," Blair told him. "That means next class, not today, one after today." He sipped his tea, walking over to the refrigerator to pull out eggs and some of the thinly sliced deli meat. "I'm not making you ham," he yelled. "I refuse to break that rule."

Xander walked out, dressed in some nice, normal, baggy clothes. "That's fine. Want me to cook instead?" He got a small head shake. "Okay. Hey, Devon, talk to you for a minute?" He pulled the young vampire over to the stairs, frowning at him. "I can't make this plainer, man, I'm *way* taken. Like if he was here and had a ring, I'd beg for it, taken. Okay?" The singer nodded, pouting. "And I refuse to cheat on him. He's a great guy. You can drool, you can look. You can even compliment because it makes me feel tingly and tingly's a good, but don't hold your breath."

The vampire smiled, kissing the mortal's forehead. "A guy can dream." He smiled, walking back to the sofa with only a small pat to the firm chest under the baggy t-shirt.

Blair waited until he and Xander were alone to talk to him. "So, you really needed to be held that badly?"

The younger man blushed. "I guess. I kinda got used to sleeping curled around someone comforting. Darryl and Darrien both let me do it. I guess I just needed it more than ever last night." He shrugged, just a hint of movement. "I'm sorry I embarrassed you."

"Xander," Blair said, sitting next to him and making him look at him, "you didn't embarrass me. Oz's friend embarrassed him over you but if this is going to continue, I'm going to staple your clothes to your butt." He smiled at the small grin. "I didn't mind at all. That was the first time in almost a year that I'd woken up next to anybody and it felt good. Good enough to make me want to go date again." He patted the tense jaw. "You look just like Jim when you frown like that."

"Gee dad," Xander said, joking. "Are we dividing up traits now? 'Cause I'm messy like you." He grinned. "I'll try to not sneak up there any more. We okay?"

"Yup. But if you insist on being naked when you do it, I'm going to make you and Oz switch rooms. I don't want either of them thinking that we're together."

"So, should I tell Philip or will you?"

"Oh, I think we both should tell him. Then we ought to get you a life-sized teddy bear." He stroked through the younger man's dark hair. "Come on, let's go splurge on snacks. Have a treat night tonight since those two have classes."

"Oz has classes?" Xander asked in awe. "And Jim does too?" He broke up laughing at the poke to his side. "I want to be able to skip like they do," he said, giggling as he was tickled.

"Oh, no, young man. You may not skip *my* classes. I refuse to allow that." He followed the younger man to the floor, tickling him the whole way. "Such a bad boy," he taunted, "making those straight guys drool like that." He tickled him harder. "Then flaunting your wet, gleaming butt when you wiggled to your bedroom."

"I give!" Xander shrieked, laughing really hard now. He grunted as Oz piled into them, helping Blair torture him. "Oz! You're supposed to be on my side!" He rolled to get away from them.

Oz and Blair shared a look then started to spank him lightly, the other tickling the young Sentinel. "*So* bad," Oz told him. "Teasing the horny singer like that. And Blair too. I'm sure you drove him to masturbate." He spanked his Guideling again, grinning at him. "I, on the other hand, am immune to your numerous charms."

"Sure," Blair snorted, pulling Oz under him and tickling him hard, making him let go. He looked up as Xander helped him, grinning. "Think he protests too much?"

"Yup," Xander said, leaning down to kiss his Guide's forehead. "Much too much." He smiled at him. "We've just got to find you a good one, Oz, and you'll see what we mean."

Oz pulled Xander's head down, kissing him hard. "This may be destined," he told him, "but it's not going to happen." He wiggled out from under them, sitting on the couch.

"Wow," Xander said, touching his lips. "Now I know why Willow used to get that look after missing lunch in your van." He hopped up, smiling down at them, edging away from his roommate. "So, a real guy's night? Can I pick the cheesy movie so we don't have subtitles?"

Blair made a grab for an ankle but Oz caught him, holding him still, tickling him. The older man shrieked, getting his assistant back for it.

Xander just sat down and watched the two very serious people play.


Xander looked up as Jim walked through the door, nudging his roommate and stealing the cheese puff from his hand.

"Hey," Blair waved over his head. "Go home."

Jim looked at Oz and sighed. "Your Guideling's a bad influence on him. He finally made him give up healthy food." He grinned. "I'm so proud of him." He ducked the pillow Xander threw, glaring at him. "Unfortunately he's picked up the other bad habit for himself." He ducked over to his apartment in a rain of pillows. "Happy guying," he called as he shut the door.

Oz sat down, watching them watch tv. "Having fun?" he asked.

"Yup," Blair said, nodding.

"Certainly," Xander said. They looked at each other and threw handfuls of popcorn at the other.

Oz rolled his eyes. "You two do a funny personality switch thing? Or is this simple assimilation?"

"Both," Xander said. "You still want to look at my work? I could use a non-Blair opinion." His Guide nodded so he pointed at the table. "Just don't get upset tummies at the content." He looked at Blair, leaning closer. "I drew Darryl and I in there. He looked so *sweet* when he took my ass." Oz choked. "Sorry, man, just ignore us."

"You're supposed to think that way about your first," Blair pointed out, waving his hand in the air to draw a picture. "It's supposed to be special with a special someone, which Darryl certainly is, and you're supposed to think he's sweet and manly and just perfect for you. Until he breaks your heart. Then you get to cry about how perfect he was for you and how you miss him and how you'd crawl across hot tar naked to get him back." He tipped his head back, looking at Oz. "You're awfully quiet over there. You sickened?"

"No, Oz's are supposed to be quiet," Xander told him patiently. "They're supposed to be deeply hidden in the emotional field and very quiet, only giving out thoughtful words."

Oz balled up a napkin, tossing at his Guideling. "No, we're supposed to be normal, I'm just an odd Oz." He flipped the pages, sucking in his breath. "Wow."

Xander leaned closer to Blair. "I think he liked it," he whispered, laughing and laying his head on the comfortable shoulder. "Was that a bad or a good wow?"

"A great wow." Oz turned the page, his mouth hanging open now. He had to clear his throat to talk. "Um, Xander, when did you sketch him?"


"Memories," Blair started to sing, "all alone in the moonlight."

"You're off-key," Jim yelled over his Guide's voice, closing the door between their apartments. "And you've got the wrong words still." He shared a look with Oz. "We might have to make you sleep over here tonight." Oz shook his head. "Oh, come on. Xander won't jump *you* that way."

Blair snickered. "He won't be jumping me either." He reached over, ruffling the younger man's hair. "We got him a real teddy bear. Much more furry too." Oz snorted, turning his head to cough. "And it's even anatomically correct!"

Xander started to laugh, falling onto the floor after a few seconds. "Blair," he whined. "Don't tell them *that*. Oz'll expect me to announce we're dating!" He ducked the flying body, rolling away from his Guide, trying hard to get away from the tickling fingers. "OZ!" he shrieked, trying to crawl away.

Jim and Blair shared a look then looked down at their charges. "Boys," they said together. "Enough," Jim finished.

Xander gave him his best begging face. "But we're *happy*!" He turned around to lick the side of Oz's face. "See? He didn't even yell." He grunted as he was poked. "No, or I'll name my bear after you."

Oz sat up, looking down at him. "You really got a teddy bear?"

"Yup," Xander said, pulling himself up until he was sitting against the front of the couch. "Big and furry and dark haired, just like me. So I can shed and not notice it." He leaned closer to whisper, "I got Jim's hair and Blair's messiness." He didn't quite dodge the Jim-thrown pillow so it hit both of the guys on the floor. "Sorry dads," he sighed in fake remorse, grinning the whole time.

Blair looked at Jim with a very serious face. "They're your kids, I didn't have them. No children of mine would be this ungrateful after ten hours of labor. Oh and the pains," he rubbed his back.

Jim shook his head as he picked up the remote. "You two need to stop now." He flipped off the movie. "I think all the fun has rotted your brain, Chief." He looked down at his roommate. "Got your keys? I'm locking the door so he can't sneak over and get to me too."

"Xander?" Oz asked, confused.

"No, Blair." He ran out of the apartment, being chased by his Guide.

"I don't want to become their age if I have to become that serious," Xander said. He looked at Oz. "You really liked?"

"I really liked. I was stunned. Some of them looked like snapshots of Darryl in the perfect moment. And that one where he's looking down at you, with that smile and those eyes? Well, I'm sure you could sell that and earn major money."

Xander shook his head. "Nope, private stuff. Just for us." He grinned, wiping his spit off his Guide's cheek. "Sorry about that."

Oz leaned closer. "No big." He lapped his friend's face. "I'm going to go dream of Willow and fields of flowers. Night."

"Night." Xander pulled himself back up on the couch, looking at the tv. "Wow. He liked them." He got up, heading for his room. He lay down on his bed, hugging his anatomically correct teddy bear which Blair had found through his vast network of friends for him. "Night, you," he told it, squeezing it tightly for a second.


Blair grunted as he felt the body in his bed snuggle harder into his chest. "Didn't we buy you a bear to stop this?" he asked the pillow his face was hidden in.

"Shh, comfy."

"Okay, Xander," Oz called. "You decent this morning?"

One hand fought its way out of the blankets to flip off the voice.

"There's a wall there," Blair reminded him, trying hard to close his eyes again. He felt the hardness against his stomach shift, snorting back from the edge of sleep. "I'm superglueing your boxers on," he mumbled, going back to sleep.

Jim looked down at the two men on the bed then at the other Guide. "Your turn," he said, waving at them. He flinched as he saw Blair react to his voice, snuggling and wiggling closer to Xander's front.

"Xander," Oz called softly. He got flipped off. "No thanks man, looks like you're thinking of it though." The body behind his friend's moved closer. Now you couldn't see a line marking the boundaries of their uncovered bodies. "Blair," he called softly. "No humping my Sentinel." He rubbed his newly punched arm, glaring at Jim. "Hey, I don't hit you. Or even bite."

Xander snorted, opening one eye to look up at them. "Damn, died and went to Hell." He rolled over, snuggling into Blair's stomach until you couldn't see where his body ended and the Blair's began. "Figments are up," he told his bedmate.

Blair sat straight up, looking up at Jim, his mouth open. "Oh, God," he said, looking down at the protesting body trying to get him to lay back down. "Xander!" The younger man sat up, blinking at him. "You did it again!" Jim gave him a pointed look at his lap. "And to me too!"

"Bad bear," Xander said, flopping back down, trying to get Blair to lay with him again. "Got to sleep. Have to work tonight."

Jim crooked his finger at his Guide, handing him his robe. They headed downstairs, letting Oz deal with his own Guideling.

"Xander," Oz said sharply, grimacing at the naked body spread out before him. "I don't need to know this much about you."

"Bite me, dad," the younger man mumbled, flipping over, his rear coming up just enough to make it a focal point.

"That would be real easy right now," Oz sighed, sitting on the end of the bed, then getting up and moving to the side so he didn't have to look directly at the cleft that was just barely starting to open from the position the younger man was in. "Xander," he said, touching his shoulder. "You need a better teddy bear or we need to give it life sounds." He got a confused blink. "Yeah, morning. You and Blair were about to hump while we watched." He got a small head shake. "Yeah, you were. This isn't your room. Your bed's not this big." He waved a hand around the room, making the younger man look then blush deeply, pulling a few pillows over his head. "Oh, no," Oz said, pulling them back off. He handed over the robe he had gotten, watching as Xander struggled into it without moving the rest of his body. "Come on, time for you to do some reverse migration." He helped the young man up, tying his robe for him before he was forced to look at the hard cock parting the material. "Come on, we'll put you into your bed with your bear." He led him down the stairs and to his own room, ignoring the people arguing in the kitchen.

Oz looked at the teddy bear and shook his head once, turning to help the younger man out of his robe and under the covers. "There," he said quietly, handing him the bear. "Sleep in here now, Xander, we'll be out in the living room." He waited until he heard the first quiet sleep noise before walking out, going to where Jim and Blair were now staring at the other. "I thought you were kidding," he told the elder Guide.

Blair shook his head. "No, we found him a bear that reminded him of Darryl, or so he said." He sipped his coffee, glaring at Jim again. "I didn't invite him up, Jim, so stop the crap. There's no way I'd sleep with him."

"Quiet," floated out of Xander's room.

Jim rubbed over his face. "We'll discuss this later with Philip." He looked at Oz. "You're due to see him today too."

"I have a make-up test." Oz glanced at the bedroom door again. "Blair, would something that sounded like a heartbeat make it better?"

"Maybe, but I'd have to ask the expert here." He looked at Jim. "Well?"

"It might or it could make it worse. It has a heart beat but doesn't breathe? I'd know it wasn't real, even asleep." He ran a hand through his hair. "We'll figure it out, Oz, and the Nature Boys will just have to start sleeping in clothes."

"I *was*," Blair said testily. "And so was he."

"Whatever," Oz told them. "We just have to fix it." He walked over to his room, slamming the door.


Philip smiled smugly at Blair as the younger man leaned across his desk, massively pissed at him. "I told you it wasn't going to be that simple this time, dear."

"Philip," Blair sighed, going back to his chair, rubbing his forehead, "this isn't funny. We both ended up naked this morning. Jim said we were so close he thought we were having sex." He flinched at the sound of a door slamming outside the office. "Sounds like one of them heard."

"Maybe but they'll be back. Tell what bothers you the most. Is it him climbing in with you or you both ending up naked together?"

"Um, yeah," Blair said, nodding. "That's about right." He got a dirty look. "Well, it's both of them. I might not mind him climbing into bed with me if we were both dressed and stayed that way but we're not and I think I'm ready to start dating again." His former roommate gave him a pleased smile. "It was waking up with him that first morning that made me realize I wanted to start dating again, that I missed the comfort of waking up beside someone. I realized I wanted to start doing that regularly."

"So buy a door and get a boyfriend," Philip suggested, smiling at his old friend. "But I would suggest one with a lock. He'll probably open an unlocked one."

Blair grimaced. "Do you know how hard it was to get walls up there?" Philip nodded, holding up his hand to show off the scar on the palm, which he had gotten helping put up the walls in question. "How would I do a door?"

"Ask Jim, I know not a thing about building." Philip looked at his watch. "Oops, gotta talk to the guys. Call whichever's out there in here." He watched Blair walk out, and Xander and Oz walk in. "Does that mean it was Jim that slammed out of here?"

"His pager went off, Captain Banks wants him," Xander told him. "How did my test look?"

"Very good. You're down quite a bit." He leaned back in his chair. "Any more problems between you two?"

"No, we've gotten good at the talking thing," Xander said.

"I have a few of my own though," Oz admitted. "And it does affect us." He looked at his friend. "I have a problem allowing myself to stay or get close to gay men and it's hurt us already." Xander patted his wrist. "I almost wrecked what we had over that." He turned back to their Psychiatrist. "I have to figure that out."

"Why do you think you have this phobia," Philip asked gently. "Is it a real fear or an imagined time when they're going to hit on you?"

"A little of both," Xander said. "We started being able to talk again but once the issue came up, he got really tense like he was waiting for something to happen. Like I was going to just jump him or something."

"It's actually a common fear to think that someone's going to hit on you, Oz, but I have a question meant to start you thinking." The Guide nodded. "Do you think every woman wants you?"

"No," he said slowly, "but that isn't all of this. I've gone over that rationale but between me and him it's much more...." He closed his eyes, searching for a word.

"Intense?" Xander suggested. "Predestined? Scary?"

"Yeah, those would fit." Oz looked at him. "I really don't mind you dating guys, but I feel like it's being pushed into my face and my head that we're supposed to be doing that."

"Jim and Blair don't have that level of togetherness," Philip reminded them.

"Yeah, but Jim told me that's because he wasn't that open to new things," Oz countered. "I mean, I love Xander, but it's like a brother maybe, or a best friend, not like he has with Darryl or anybody else."

"And you feel like you're being pressured into some sort of physical thing with me?" Xander asked. "Oz, man, straight talk here, but I wouldn't have you. I *need* someone that can focus on me and me alone most of the time. I understand work and things but I need someone whose hobby is me and it's fascinating to them. Your music and your studies and everything else in your life would get in the way." He smiled gently at his friend. "You never have to worry about us getting together."

"See," Philip said, siting up to be closer to them. "You're not meant for each other and, if by some stretch of the imagination, such a bond would be forced upon you in the future, there's probably another way around it." Oz nodded. "Still not enough?"

"No, not really. I've been over most of those arguments, though I didn't know Xander needed someone who wanted him to be their religion. I'm still feeling some pressure."

"From where?" Philip asked him. "Do you want Xander to leave?"

"No," Oz said, starting to reach out and touch his friend's hand but pulling back, frowning down at his extremity. "See, I can't even bring myself to touch him. I know that some physical contact is necessary but I can't bring myself to give it."

"Maybe that's why he's been crawling into bed with Blair," Philip suggested. "Xander, are you usually a very tactile person? Hugging and touching?"

"I like to be but I'm not always. I am feeling a need to be closer though so it may be the senses or it could be my comfort and confidence." He shrugged. "Not a clue." He looked toward the outer office. "Crap, Doc, call the cops. Someone's outside with a gun." He got up, frowning at Oz to sit still. He walked over to the door, trying very hard not to make noise, nudging up his hearing by a spot. "Got Blair," he mouthed, "wanted him." He backed away from the door, hiding behind it as it opened.

"Don't even try it," the gunman said, pointing his weapon at Philip then at Oz. "Out in the waiting room. Now." The two men walked out, leaving the phone off the hook, and the door closed again.

Xander snuck over to the phone, dialing it quickly. "Hi," he said quietly. "I'm at Doctor Philip Water's office and there's some guy with a gun here for Doctor Blair Sandburg." He looked up as the door opened again, smiling at the man. "Hey, I had to try, right?" He winced as the gun went off, turning down his sense of touch as the bullet hit his arm. Then he blacked out.

When he woke up, Blair was sitting across from him at a table, pushing a cup of water toward him. "Um, hi," he said, frowning, looking around the room. "Did I do the bad thing?"

"Yup, just a little. How's your arm?"

Xander looked down at it, frowning. "Must be turned down, I can't feel it."

"That's the anesthesia. It's just a graze." He frowned at Jim as he walked in. "How much longer?"

"Not too long. Just have to get his statement."


"Xander, you grabbed the guy and Oz had to pull you off him before you beat his head into the floor," Blair said gently, taking his hand when his mouth fell open. "You've never done that before?" The young Sentinel shook his head. "Okay, so what should we do?" They looked up at Jim.

Jim set down the papers. "He's not pressing charges and neither are we." He leaned on the table. "You don't remember anything?" Xander shook his head, his eyes going wide. "Not the beating, not the hospital, not the stitching?" The young man shook his head again, looking around desperately. "Oz is fine," Jim said quietly. "You saved him, the gunman was heading for him next." He shared a glance with Blair. "Come on, we can let you go home. Oz is downstairs waiting on you."

Xander stood up, then fell back into his seat. "I hurt him?"

"He had to have some bone fragments of his skull bolted together," Blair told him, squeezing his hand. "He regained consciousness already, in a semi-coherent state, and said he wasn't going to press charges because you did the best thing in his life." He smiled, just a little. "You made him never want to do it again."

Xander simply nodded, frowning up at Jim. "I'm not under arrest?" The elder Sentinel shook his head. "You're sure?"

Captain Banks came in, smiling at his son's boyfriend, rubbing his tired-looking face. "Xander, you're not in trouble, we just wanted to see if you could give a statement." He patted the young man's head. "Come on, I sent someone for your Guide." He led the young man out of the room and into his office, settling him in a chair. "I have a new letter, want to read it?" Xander nodded, taking the paper and bending his head to read. "Son, you did the right thing but we're not charging you."

"But I hurt him."

"You protected your Guide. Have Blair tell you about what Jim did to protect him sometime." He waved Oz in. "It's an innate response to a threatened Guide. You just blacked out when you did it."

"Could have been from the wound," Oz explained, touching the top of Xander's head. "Ready to go home?" He got a small nod, taking the letter and handing it back. "Come on, I'll drive you since Jim and Blair still have to give a statement," he said quietly, leading him out to Blair's car. He got them both buckled in, looking worriedly at his Guideling. "You still in there?" He got a small nod. "Want to talk?"

"No. I don't remember anything so I can't talk." Xander looked at his Guide and friend. "Oz, does this make me bad?"

"Nope," he said, pulling over to a curb and turning off the car to look at his friend. "You're no worse now than you were before you hurt that guy. That was purely protective and I don't have a problem with it if you don't." He hesitantly touched his shoulder. "I'm not worried about you unless you decide to call that part of you up again." Xander turned suddenly, burying his face in his shoulder. "Shh," he soothed, patting and stroking his back. "You're okay. You didn't hurt him that bad and you're not bad." He closed his eyes, letting his own fear and anger out now too, safely being held.


Oz looked up as Jim walked into his apartment, stroking over Xander's hair some more. "He's thinking," he whispered. The older man nodded, heading up to his room.

"Jim," Xander called. "Is he gonna be okay?"

"Yeah," he said, coming over to sit on the table to look at him. "He's fine. He's awake and arrested and there's no permanent damage from your rightful beating."

"But I hurt him bad. Everyone said so."

"Yes, you did, but not that bad." He reached out, brushing some of the hair around himself. "I would have reacted the same way. You acted to protect Oz and Blair when they needed it and I'm proud of you for it."

Blair snorted. "Then we can take the non-violent person's words as he says the same thing." He walked over, lifting his roommate's feet to sit under them. "You did the right thing. You didn't hurt him that bad and he's never going to do it again because you screamed at him how bad it was." He stroked over the still legs. "You're not any more evil than you were this morning." He looked at Oz. "Did he call off work?" The younger Guide nodded. "Good, I don't think he should go deal with drunk and happy people tonight." He looked back down at the eyes focused on him. "Xander, you did the right thing. You stopped when Oz told you to, which proves that you two have what it takes to make it as a pairing." He smiled at them. "Now, why don't you try to nap, both of you, and we'll see you after supper."

"Can't eat," Xander said, sliding to the floor and then standing, wandering over to his room.

Blair stopped Oz from moving with a hand to his arm. "Go with him. He needs the comfort now more than ever. Just sit beside his bed if you can." The younger man nodded, getting up to follow his friend over.

"Hey," he said as he walked into Xander's room. "Want me to stay with you?" He got a small head shake. "Come on, I promise to be good." The younger man moved over, letting him sit on the edge of the small bed. "They're worried that you're going to zone again so I'm going to stay. Want me on the floor or up here?"

"Doesn't matter. Whatever." Xander closed his eyes, pulling his new bear around to hug tightly. "Thanks Oz."

"Hey, welcome," he said, sitting against the wall, watching his friend sleep. "Did you name him yet?"

"Nope. He's still at the 'you' stage."

"What did you want to name him? Giles, Blair, or my name? They all seem to mean comfort to you now."

"I wanted to give him all three but I thought you wouldn't be nice about it."

"Hey," Oz said, leaning over to talk closer to his ear. "I'm happy if he's a good guy and he comforts you like I try to."

"Then he's Rupert Oz Blair Bear." Xander flipped over, looking at his friend. "You don't have to watch me sleep. Really," he offered.

"Let me go get my pillows and I'll crash on your floor in case you need me." Oz got up, heading for his room. He came back to find one of the precious animal skins on the floor spread out for his sleeping area. He settled down, sniffing deeply at the hide, soothed by the scents it contained. "Night," he whispered.

"Night, Oz." Xander closed his eyes, holding Rupert Bear tighter to his chest.


Blair looked in on the young pairing, smiling as he saw them curled up together on the floor on one of his animal skins. He closed the door as gently as he could, going back to Jim's living room to sit next to him. "Oz is going to start getting the visitations," he said as he sat.

Jim nodded. "Together?"

"Yup, just like you used to do. On one of the zebra skins on the floor, Xander curled protectively around his Guide." He smiled in fond remembrance. "That always used to make my nightmares go away."

"Should I plan to do that again tonight?" Jim looked at him. "You were pretty shaky by the time I got there. You okay now?" He patted a strong shoulder, watching the small shudder happen. "So, who was it?"

"A student that had flunked out of school because of my class. His life had gone to Hell since then and he blamed me." He snuggled into his Blessed Protector's side, sighing deeply. "Jim, it's kids like that, the ones that are hurt because of something I couldn't get across to them, that make me wonder if I should be a teacher."

"You're a good teacher," Xander said, wandering in to lay beside/on top of Blair's spread out body. "Sorry, Oz got cold."

"That's fine," Jim said, patting the top of his head. "Why don't we move this to a better napping spot? Blair's bed?" He watched Oz walk in, seeing the half-awake body flop down on top of his Guideling's body.

Blair snorted, looking down at the people laying on his stomach and legs. "Guys, want to move this some?" They both shook their heads, cuddling closer, falling behind Blair's legs as he moved them.

Jim helped his Guide up and they went to talk in his room, figuring either they would get privacy or the younger pair would follow them. It took about five minutes for sleeping Xander to pull an almost awake Oz up to their new perch, laying down to curl together.

Blair looked at Jim and smiled. "You owe me five bucks," he whispered. Jim just shook his head.


Xander looked up as his manager walked toward him, tapping an envelope against his leg. "Hi," he said, getting up to meet him. "Sorry about having to call off yesterday."

"You have a good reason?" He looked down the young man's body. "You don't look dead."

"No, I ended up breaking up a hostage situation by losing it and beating the guy. I was in shock all night." He rolled up his sleeve, showing the bandage over his graze. "Not supposed to lift for a while either. Until they take the stitches out."

His manager touched the bandage. "That was you?" Xander gave him a confused look. "Kid, you make the news. Actually, any time that paternal person gets kidnapped it makes the news but your save of him made it too." He folded up the envelope, putting it in his pocket. "You want some more time off?"

"No, I'd rather try to get back to a normal routine." He frowned, looking around to make sure there was no one near by. "What did I do?" He leaned closer. "I don't remember any of it, just what Blair told me."

"All the news said was that you jumped him at great risk to yourself and beat him badly." The older man shrugged. "I have no more clue than you do." He pulled him closer, looking at the bandage. "I don't want you working fights with that. Go do the bar for the next few days."

"Thanks man." Xander hurried to go wash his hands as the manager went back to his office.

The manager sat down in his chair, dialing the number on the card Doctor Sandburg had given him. "Hi, is this Sandburg?" He leaned back. "No, I'm checking on why the kid was missing last night." He nodded. "Okay, so that was him?" He snorted. "No, he asked me what happened." He sat up suddenly. "He doesn't? Then how..." He nodded. "Okay."


Xander looked up from handing over a beer, watching his fellow bouncers break up a fight. He saw a guy heading for the back of one of his co-workers with a broken bottle so jumped the bar and headed over to stop him, growling at the stupid, drunk human. "I don't think so," he said, pulling the guy away from the melee and dragging him to the door. He tossed him outside, watching as he slipped and fell on the rain-soaked street, cutting his leg on the bottle in his hand He continued to watch him as the cops picked him up, leading him and the other people that had been thrown out away, telling them all about their rights to act human.

He looked down at his arm then at the shiny puddle of blood on the sidewalk, blanching and grabbing the doorframe. He didn't hear one of the other bouncers, the guy who trained him, come up behind him, just jumped and did a nice hip throw when he was grabbed by his sore arm.

Xander looked down at the man he'd just put on the floor then the blood and ran out into the night, not able to see anything but that man he had beaten not two days earlier. He knew somewhere safe. Someone safe. And they always helped him.


The manager of the nightclub frowned at the man sitting across from him. "I don't know what happened to him, Professor. It was like he freaked badly, tossed my guy, then ran away in a panic."

Blair nodded slowly. "The fight must have triggered a memory from the beating." He sighed, closing his book. "Is the other bouncer all right?" The other man nodded, smiling slightly. "What?" he asked warily.

"That other bouncer was the guy who trained him and he said that he wished he knew how to do that."

"Beginning self-defense," Oz said. "Military style." He cleared his throat. "His Uncle was in the service and taught him." The manager nodded. "Did he say anything?"

"Not a word. He kept looking at this puddle one of the brawlers left on the street then at his arm." He covered his mouth. "You think he's remembering and associating, don't you?" Blair nodded slowly. "Oh, then I'm sorry for the kid. I thought he had split mentally there for a while. Go find him. If you can bring him back soon, I'll put him back on the payroll, no questions asked."

Oz stood up, shaking the man's hand. "Thank you." He followed Blair out to the car. "I know where he's going, but we need to give him a day to get there." The elder Guide started the car, pulling out into the street. "We'll fix it, Blair, I can bring him home."

"I hope so."