Xander looked around the VIP lounge of the restaurant they were in. He and Ezra had snuck off for a quiet dinner away from all the nagging and begging people. He sipped his milkshake then put it down. "We have one major decision to make before everything."
"Which one?" Ezra asked with a small smile. Xander was having french fries and a milkshake for dinner, no matter what he had gently pushed him toward. Clearly things were getting pushy again.
"DC, Denver, or Cleveland?"
Ezra blinked a few times. "That is a problematic issue. I will rule out DC unless you absolutely want it here."
"No, but I thought it might be easier."
"Perhaps but not something I want to look forward to." He nibbled his fajita. Xander had talked him into it and it made him grin that goofy, silly grin at him. "Denver or Cleveland."
"I could mention LA but I'm not from there, it was just a stopping place and I'll be damned if we have it in the ruins of Sunnydale."
"Not something I wish either," Ezra agreed. "It would be hard to protect things. I would have reservations about the inclusion of the hellmouth in our wedding." He sipped his tea.
Xander grinned. "Well, the thing does love me. Every time I go to Cleveland, it welcomes me home but it settles down after a day."
"Hmm. Then can I push for Denver? Between both ranches we do have splendidly safe places to hide from the mass of writhing heads that spout nonsense."
"Mine has razor wire," Xander said proudly.
"Yes, but Chris's is actually safer and has more land. Plus there's a few beautiful buildings we could choose."
"Okay, so it's Denver. Did you want to talk church versus somewhere else weddings?"
"I don't think that's necessary. While Josiah might be one for that, as is Nathan, I'm not needing to have someone else's blessing at this time. Perhaps when it's legal there." He ate another bite. Xander nibbled a few of his fries and slurped more of his shake. "So that would leave outdoors or a hotel?"
Xander shrugged. "I don't care either way, Ezra. Weather might be a concern but we can put up tents. After we clean the field from the horses probably."
"There's a few places like that. We would definitely have to be downwind of the barn." He considered it. "We can use your farm for the wedding itself. It's a mere mile away. It's private and we can hold everything in the unsullied yard. Have our wedding night there." Xander grinned at that and Ezra felt his stomach tighten. He took a fast kiss then got back to his dinner. "You really should have some protein, Xander. They'll drive you to yell otherwise."
"I'll have plenty for dessert," Xander said smugly. Ezra blushed at that, giving him a look. Xander smirked. "No matter who says what, we aren't living together and if I want to invite you up for some 'tv watching' then they can't really complain more than usual."
"They didn't yell at the O'Neills when they had sexual relations in the apartment."
"I don't think they got down and funky that way before the wedding. They kinda went from kidnaped together to a few dates to the wedding." He ate another fry. "Besides, they're complaining that we're having gay sex in the white house before marriage." He shrugged. "I have no idea if they'll switch it to just having gay sex in the white house later." He snatched a piece of fallen meat with a grin then ate more of his fries. "So my farm. Big tents?" Ezra nodded. "White?"
"That is the usual tent color. Beige would be nice, very neutral no matter the color scheme we plan on."
"Okay." Xander made that note for himself. Then looked up. "We'll have to ship our wedding clothes or sneak it somehow. Otherwise the bag checking people will blab."
"We can have someone else carry them like they're theirs." Xander nodded that would work. "Attendants?"
"I..." He sighed. "I'm not sure who I'd ask to stand up for me, Ez. I'm back on equal footing with Buffy and Willow but we still never talk. I haven't talked to Willow outside of planning for the next apocalypse in six months."
"When is that?"
"Small one this spring. Major one next year unfortunately."
"Hmm." He considered it. "That would mean one election year."
"Which we can use to point out how good someone else is at protecting everyone."
"True, a subtle campaign might help with that problem." He sipped his tea, considering things. "Unless I had the other six stand up beside me, I don't see how I could choose."
"So no attendants?"
"That seems the most reasonable choice, yes." He sipped his tea and put it back down, smiling at him. "Formal or not?"
"You know I'm more than ready to go for the wedding on the beach idea," Xander said.
"I know, but I don't really like the beach that much." Xander grinned. "Do you want to wear a tuxedo or a suit?"
"Jeans and a nice shirt?"
"I doubt that." He smirked. "And no fantasy costumes either."
"Shoot, I can wear a cute toga or a gladiator outfit, or hey, even be a cowboy and embarrass Chris to no end."
"No. No fantasy costumes, even if you were in leather armor or an outfit like that one show with Ares." Xander smirked at that. "I know you have one."
"He's why I bought the leather pants." Ezra snickered, shaking his head. "Hey, I look good in them."
"You do," Ezra agreed. "They do conform nicely to your shape." He smirked. "Suit or tuxedo?"
"Then we'll do that." He patted his hand. "Eat." Xander nibbled some more, taking some more spilled meat from the fajitas. Ezra made him one and handed it over. "There, eat more. You can still have that other protein later." He smirked as the boy gulped it. He knew he had been hungry. The generals were annoying him to no end again. They had no idea what Xander was going to come up with to horrify them all. Ezra knew, but the generals were in for a rude awakening soon. "What do you think about the suits?"
"I think the Armani guys were getting pushy and expecting you to come to them. I think maybe finding someone who'll make us look fantastic but isn't our usual so it's a special suit?"
Ezra considered that sentimental reason then nodded. "These are some of the most important suits in our lives." Xander grinned. "I can see that and I do have a few in mind we can interview with. Two are speciality suit makers. They only make it to fit you. One is a fashion designer I adore but it is exorbitantly expensive."
"Some wedding dresses cost up to fifty grand, Ez." Ezra shuddered. "If I was female they'd expect me to have something pricey and exquisite. Something like that one designer on that one show you got me watching, Pnina Tornai."
"She does do some fantastic dresses that are sultry yet tasteful for the most part. Yes, I can see us wearing something that would be like hers." He smiled. "I know which ones to talk to. Color scheme?"
"Season?" Xander countered. "Spring, winter?"
"Winter is notoriously hard." He considered that. "Fall is too soon. It's early spring now."
"We can pull together an event in that amount of time if we do the invitations soon."
"It will take a month to print."
"So winter? Maybe October? Is that snow season or just chilly?"
"That tends to be chilly. The month tends to start in the seventies and then slowly degrade to the sixties and fifties but overnight is very cold."
"So a morning wedding, then the lunch and dancing times, letting everyone make it home for snuggling after dinner?"
Ezra considered it. "September seems to have the prettiest days. But the first part of the month will be hotter." He finished his last fajita, pouring the last of the meat and vegetables on top of Xander's fries for him, getting that same shy grin that made his stomach curl up. "Late September, early October. We'll have a bitter cold snap at night."
Xander kissed him. "Both of us have found nirvana and even the Powers That Hate Me won't mess up the wedding," he said quietly. Ezra smiled and nodded at that sentiment. "Or we cap Cordelia." Ezra laughed, giving him a better kiss. The waiter came in and headed out again. "We're good," Xander called. He came back to clear off any dishes. Xander finished his quickly and handed it over with a smile. "Can we have a piece of pie to share?"
"Of course," he agreed with a smile, going to get it for him. He brought back a large slice and left them alone again. He didn't care if he was gay, but he was a good president.
Xander fed Ezra a bite with a grin. "Chocolate cake?"
"I have the most delightful cake to introduce you to," Ezra countered. He fed him a bite. "Then we'll talk." Xander smirked and nodded. "We have one in town that makes the most divine cakes."
"What about the caterer? Since we both liked that one place and it's here?" He ate a bite then fed Ezra one, getting one back from him to earn a smile. "You need to eat some too."
"Like you, I'll have a very wiggly dessert later." The person opening the door gave him an odd look. He winked at her and she blushed, pouring them some more ice water before leaving them alone.
"Naughty you, I should spank," he teased. The girl outside the door squeaked and moved on again. He snickered quietly. "Sorry."
"No, that was something I was about to do." He fed him a bite then took a kiss once he had swallowed it. "We'll talk to the chef, see who he recommends."
"Okay." He smiled. "Invite him up?"
"No. That would be mean. We'll schedule an appointment there." Xander nodded, sneaking a small bite of fruit then feeding Ezra a large bite. Ezra fed him again and it was good. Xander was still hungry, as Ezra knew he would be. They'd have a good snack after their cuddle and things to the tv watching. They paid, Xander putting down a very high tip, and snuck out.
The waiter came out with it to split with the water girl. "They left a fifty percent tip."
"He's a nice man," the chef agreed. "I was in the kitchen as an intern during his first term as VP. He's a really nice guy." He smiled and got back to things. "Did they sort anything out about the wedding?"
"I heard mention of a chef they both liked but he was local and the wedding wasn't."
"Hmm. Interesting." He smirked and got back to his orders. They weren't that busy tonight. At least until the press heard and descended to get a story out of it. They'd want dinner to go, like usual.
Chris opened the door of the restaurant the next morning, following Xander and Ezra inside. "They have a meeting with the chef," he told the hostess, who gaped and nodded quickly. She went to get him.
He came out smiling. "Sir," he said, shaking Xander's hand. "A special dinner?" he asked, shaking Ezra's hand.
"Actually, if we were having the wedding in DC, you'd be our choice for caterer," Ezra said happily.
"Oh!" He blinked. "Wow." He led them back to his office. It was tiny but not bad. Chris went to the bar for now. "So, not here?"
"No, it might be infected by politicians," Xander said. "Denver."
"Hmm. I can't really leave the restaurant for the few days I'd have to be there."
"Do you have someone out there you can recommend?" Ezra asked. "I've tasted most of the higher end restaurants out there and none have settled in the way you have."
He smiled. "I'm glad to hear it. I know a few guys out there." He pulled out his rolodex. "Hmm. This is who I know out there and I like." He let them see them.
Ezra handed three back immediately. "Bad service and I actually got sick at that one," he admitted quietly. The chef nodded. "Hmm. That one's a well known chef."
Xander looked. "I like Emerill's show but I can't handle that spicy for everything."
"True, we'll have touchy stomachs. Some spice is fine but not that much." That one got handed back. He stared at the last two. "I've never seen those two."
"Both are mid-class places. Neither are really extensively known, even to the locals."
"I'll be back there in a month so I'll check them out." He took pictures of the cards with his phone, putting it back in his jacket pocket. "I do wish we were having it here."
"But we were thinking about having a celebration sort of dinner here. That way it doesn't look like we're snubbing all the people who want to know what we do," Xander added with a grin. "For that, we'd like you to cater." He pulled out the notes they made, handing it over. "The invitations haven't been sent yet so the number's probably going to go down."
He looked it over, nodding. "That's not a bad plan. When's the wedding?"
"We haven't set a firm date but late September, early October," Xander said.
"Hmm. That's not a bad time for me." He flipped through his book then looked at them. "What were we thinking about colors, tastes, all that?"
"I have a fantastic black forest cake I'll introduce him to."
"That is a sinful wedding cake." He smiled at Xander. "Never had one?"
"Small piece at school once."
"This will be nothing like that," Ezra assured him. "I'll ship one from the restaurant when I get back." He got a grin and a nod. "You can make JD quit moping."
"I can do that." He looked at the chef again. "I know it's hardly ever done but I was hoping that would soothe some temper tantrums over the marriage and help those that want to say they're in good graces relax since the wedding's going to be fairly small."
"It's not that unusual." He put them into his book. "I can easily plan a menu that will go with that sort of cake, and once you've set your reception menu I can mimic it or complement it." Xander nodded, smiling again. "Let me know when we have more firm details and I can start planning for you."
Xander gave him a hug across the desk. "Thank you." He pulled back. "Have a good, prosperous but non-cranky day, Chef Thomas."
"I hope the politicians leave you alone soon, sir."
"I hope the reporters do," he said dryly, cracking the chef up. They left, picking up Chris at the bar to go back to the white house. Xander pulled his security people into his office, all of them, after kicking out a waiting general. "Give me ten. Thank you." He shut the door and walked back to behind his desk, staring at them. "We have a tentative wedding plan." JD beamed at him. Chris nodded slowly. "We're doing it at my place."
"When?" Buck asked.
"Around the end of September," Ezra said. "We haven't set an exact date yet. I'm going to be looking over some future forecasts."
"Tent, fake floor to keep out any mud," Chris said, considering it. "Yours is safer than mine but smaller. How big is the wedding going to be?"
"I have seventy five I want to invite," Xander said, looking at Ezra.
"I have about fifty. Perhaps a few more."
"So we'll even out at about one-twenty or just under," Josiah said. "Not too many to clear. World leaders?"
"Jack and John are on mine," Xander said, looking at Ezra.
"Mine as well," he agreed. "I know most of yours are slayers and Council." Xander nodded. "Anyone higher?"
"No, but some of the girls might have dates."
"So, probably no bigger than two hundred total," Chris decided. "Seating?"
"Big group or tables," Ezra said. "Whichever will work easiest."
"I say theater seating so we don't have the 'which side are you on' debate," Xander said with a small shrug. "We both walk in from the sides?"
"That would work." He smiled. "It can be made dramatic if you want." Xander grinned but shrugged a bit. "I'll be doing the clothes, of course." JD snickered. "Food is presently being thought about."
"Two weeks after we get back, we'll be hosting an event here in town," Xander said. "To soothe tempers that didn't get invited and things. We can possibly turn it into a charity event and not blatantly state it's a second reception."
"I would like that," Ezra decided. He made that note to talk about with the chef and find a good charity. He looked up. "We're deciding on invitations later." Xander handed over the sample he liked the most. "That's simple and elegant. Colored band?"
"Can be made to match the wedding colors," Xander said with a grin. "Or we can leave it silver or gold."
"That's reasonable." He looked at them. "Any questions so far?"
One guard raised his hand. "The security at your ranch, sir?"
"It used to belong to a paranoid yahoo, as Ezra called him," Buck said. "It has razor wire, bunkers, all that."
"That might be handy then," the head guard decided. "We'd like to look it over."
"Make Jack go check the building to see what else needs renovated?" Xander suggested with a smile.
"That'll work, sir. Any other plans?"
"The restaurant we favor in town will be doing the catering for the local event. We talked to him earlier. I have a cake maker in mind. I'll mail him back a sample so he can gush." He smiled at JD. "And let you quit moping again." He looked at them again. "We have decided to go unattended. That way neither of us has to make a choice about who will stand up for us and who will pout in the audience." Vin grinned at that, nodding some. "Not that I feel I can't but I do not want to make such a choice."
"That makes good sense," Chris agreed with a small grin. "We can look up who can do the nice tents. Any choices?"
"Beige," they said in unison.
"That way it goes with everything," Xander agreed. "Including the landscape at that time of year."
"True. The grass will be a bit brown that time of year." He scratched behind his ear. Xander and Nathan both frowned. "It's a spider bite, people. Relax."
Xander looked. "Yes it is. And it's infected." He let Nathan have him.
Ezra smirked. "That was mean, Xander."
Xander smirked back. "Now and then I get to be the mean one in this 'ship, Ezra."
"True. I do enjoy it when you do." He smiled at the guards, who were trying not to laugh. "We'll have some shouting later by the way. Not us, but during a meeting."
"We can watch out for it," the head guard promised. "We'll need a guest list as soon as you have it made. Before the invitations if possible. That way we can do background checks. That way if there's anyone contentious we can argue before you send them."
"Okay, I can finish mine tonight," Xander said. "I have to call Faith to see where everyone is."
"Mine is mostly made out but not written down," Ezra admitted. "Give me until Monday." They nodded. "So far that is all we have planned."
"No bar?" Xander asked. "Just a bit of non-atrocious wine or champagne?"
"I do agree that would be suitable since it'll be a morning wedding and a lunch reception." He smiled. He understood why Xander didn't want to see drunks on their special day. "Do not include the horses."
"Companion would look stunning with me riding her up to the altar."
"That would go with a fantasy theme and I think we both decided against doing that sort of thing in pubic." He gave Xander a pointed look, getting a naughty grin back.
"I nearly talked him into the toga," he told Buck, who cackled and walked out shaking his head to go to the bathroom before he lost control. Xander grinned. "We'll let you know more as we get it done, guys. Thanks." They left. Xander nodded at Gibbs to stay. He pointed at the general waiting impatiently outside. "Yelling," he said quietly.
"I heard his last one," he admitted.
"It won't be any prettier today. Find me Jon O'Neill please? I know he's somewhere."
"I can call around." He went to do that from Evan's office. He was in there. "Where's Jon O'Neill?"
"We have no idea. The last time we knew he had left a meeting here and he's supposedly at the mountain."
"Get him here. Xander needs him for a shouting match with a general."
Evan popped in his earpiece. "Apollo, this is Colonel Lorne, I need an immediate beaming in of Jon O'Neill to my office. There's a situation." He hung up after he heard the 'got it' from the comm officer. Jon appeared in jeans and a t-shirt. "Where have you been?" he demanded.
"Bermuda. Landry sent me on vacation."
"Xander's going to break a few generals in the balls," Gibbs told him.
"Oh, no," Jon muttered, heading that way. Now he knew why he had the unscheduled vacation; it wasn't just team downtime. He walked past Chuck. "The yelling started?"
"No, not yet. Soon though." He handed over the notes Xander had given him for when someone found Jon. Jon read and grimaced, shaking his head as he walked inside. Chuck relaxed. This was going to be fixed and Xander would go back to not eating that much sugar again. He got really bouncy and it was hard to hide that from the press. He winced at the general's shouting.
"How in the hell would you know, kid!" the general said loud enough for it to carry.
"Because I'm Jack O'Neill's clone and have all his memories," he said dryly. The general huffed off. "Have him checked for a snake, Chuck."
"Already done, sir, and he's not, just cranky."
Xander leaned out. "Yes he is. Let's not spread that but he definitely is." He handed over notes. "Also non spreadable, Chuck. What we have so far so you know who to let call me." He winked and smiled, going back to his desk. "So, this is what I was thinking," Xander said, handing over those notes. "As opposed to theirs."
Jon sat down, looking it over. He looked at Xander. "Won't work."
"Too dangerous, not enough people, and it's not a known location."
"We can fix two of those." He sat down across from him. "I was thinking a diversion run...." Jon shook his head and fixed the plans on him. That was better and Xander grinned. It made more sense to him than the generals' plans. "Thank you."
"Welcome. Let me deliver this and kick some tushes." He walked out with the notes, shaking his head. "Chuck, no generals today please."
"Sure." He walked in to see Xander. "Are you worried I'm the gossip chain link, Xander?"
"Hell no!" He stared at him. Then he smiled. "But I know that the receptionist on the door has two of the janitors bribed to go through your desk because he wants your job."
"Yeah, that's what happened to your box of gobstoppers. I stole the mints though, sorry."
Chuck nodded. "I figured you did. You were pretty bouncy and you left me five bucks to refill the jar." He smiled. "As long as you're not worried about my performance."
"Chuck, if you even think about leaving for any reason short of wanting to kill me, I'll beat your ass in sparring practice and make you work while sore."
Chuck laughed. "Thanks, Xander." He smiled. "Here?"
"Denver. My place."
"You might want to hide the weapons better."
"They are. I had Dawn do it."
"Even better, sir." He smirked back. He was Xander's age and they got along very well. "The Generals?"
"Oooh, so much trouble. Jon got sent on a sudden vacation?"
"Can you call Jack for me?"
"Yes, sir. Give me a minute to find him." He went back to his desk, hiding those notes in a drawer no one but him could get into. It had a fingerprint lock installed. He called the cabin and got Buffy. "Mrs. O'Neill, this is Chuck at the White House. Xander needs to speak to your husband about some generals please." She quipped something. "I can do that. Please do, ma'am. Thank you." He smiled at the fussing noises. "Did that tape help?" He beamed at Buck when he walked past his desk. "That's good. It helps Willow's son too, and the new one quits being so fussy when she hears it. Yes, she is. Doctor McKay said it was in retaliation for all the condoms Colonel Sheppard gave them for a wedding present." She cackled and said Jack had just stepped in. "Sir, Chuck at the desk. Xander needs to speak to you about some problems, sir. Yes please, sir. I can hand over the phone... That's fine." He checked. "Nothing for the next two hours and then he's meeting with some religious reps from a few different faiths to try to work out his problem with the Vatican." He saw the flash go off and said bye quietly before hanging up. "Only Agent Wilmington is in there, sir."
"That's fine." He called Jon. "Give me a sit rep." He listened and snorted. "Hell no!" He listened to the rest. "No way. Thanks, kiddo. Wait on me." He hung up and walked in there. "We want McMahon or someone with sense there."
"Please do appoint and let me know so I can make it official," Xander told him. "Has the general that didn't know who Jon was gotten back to the Pentagon yet?"
"No clue. I can go make sure of it though. That bad?"
"Oh, so huffy. They had him checked for an infestation before I said to. He's been pushing me for the last few weeks." He found those notes on the table and handed it over.
Jack read them over. "Hell no!" He walked off shaking his head.
"Jon did the same thing," Buck quipped once he was out of hearing.
"There's a reason for that," Xander said with a grin. "What's wrong?"
"No attendants?" he asked quietly.
"Buck, who would I pick? I keep in touch with the slayers I trained but we're not as tight as we used to be. Two have died and the others are doing wonderfully and living their own lives. Buffy and I aren't close anymore. She gave me an odd look when I showed up for the Council's last meeting."
"I get that. So it was to spare you making a choice?"
"That and how would he decide among you six?"
Buck nodded. "I understand that. I'd have to pick between JD and Chris more than the others. He'd have to break someone's heart sometime."
"Exactly. That way everyone can celebrate and you guys can still do all that pre-wedding stuff but no one's got to be uptight about it."
"I can handle that. Your weapons stash out there?"
"Hidden by Dawn."
"Good! I saw what you moved, kid." He gave him a dirty look. Xander just smiled back. "Fine. If we need it because of an attack, we're grabbing."
"Of course you are." He smirked. Buck walked out happier. Xander relaxed, reading the latest stupid things from Congress and two good things. He signed what needed to be signed and made calls to talk about the bill written in Yoda. Someone needed some sense.
Jack walked into the Joint Chief's meeting area, glaring at the one lower general that had been plaguing people. "Do we really want him to give bad ideas?" he demanded.
"Jack, calm down. Jon's fine," one said with a smile.
"Yes, after he mysteriously got sent on vacation, which was after he got sent on a long, pointless meeting off-world." He sneered. "No more. The kid's fine. He knows more than I do about some things." He looked at the head general. "He's had enough, I've had enough, Jon's had enough, and all three of us can kill them."
"What's been going on? I just got back from my back surgery to find everything in chaos." Jack handed over the notes. The lower general tried to snatch them. "You touch these and I'll have you in the brig," he warned. He read them over. "No wonder my wife didn't want me to see the news."
"Oh, it gets worse," Jon said as he walked in. He handed over some others. "Found these waiting in Jack's office since he's been off liaising and shit."
The head general looked them over. Then around the room. "You three," he said with a point. "And you," he said with another point. "Join that idiot in the brig," he ordered with a point at the lower one who had been huffy earlier.
"Did you know he's not human!" the lower one shouted, pointing at Jon.
"Yeah. Aliens made Jack a clone to experiment on to get his ATA gene." He smirked. "It caused a lot of problems. It's the same reason the NID captured Harris as the VP to get his blood." The man's face went pale. "MP's!" he shouted. They came running in, snarling at Jon. "Leave him alone!" He pointed. "They got to the brig. Now."
"Sir, do you know what he is?"
"Yes. I have known. The Asgard, who were our allies, made him. One psychotic little one who thought we needed another Jack O'Neill out there making us enemies in space." The MP went pale. "How do you know about that since it's above your classification?" The MP backed up. "He can go too." The other MP's arrested and walked them off. The head general stared at one until he slunk off to join them. He looked at Jack. "Do we have a problem with Landry?"
"Perhaps. I was going to find that out. Or actually let my wife figure that out." He smirked. "She has a highly sensitive bullshit meter."
"I'll get you a list of names in case."
"Thanks. I'd like to nominate from inside but that would mean Sheppard or Mitchell. They'd both kill me."
The head general nodded. "I would too." They shared a smirk. "Clean house, O'Neill, and let me know what you need. Apparently we have some openings." The two O'Neills left. He looked over Jon's notes. "That's a really good plan." He sent it to the operations office that would need it. He recognized some of the old plans from a failed mission that had crossed his desk for posthumous medal nominations. He looked at the remaining ones.
"Apparently we need to clean house, people. Let's do it today." They nodded. "Nominate for the open spots too. We all know Harris doesn't know too many of us." They left to gather their staff and interrogate them. "Jesus, what a cluster fuck," the head general said, going to chew his own Marines a new one. This was not allowed. At least the kid in the white house had sense enough to stall until things could get looked over by someone competent.
Xander got mugged by the press the next time he was out with the dogs, going to the vet's. "People, they aren't feeling good," he warned. The dogs were growling. "Back down." They backed off with help from the guards. "Thank you." He petted both dogs. "What's wrong now?"
"Sir, we've heard wedding invitations have been ordered?"
"Yes, they have." He smiled. "I can already tell you no member of the press will be invited." A few pouted at that. "We're private people, guys. We hate it when you want to know what we do for alone time." They nodded at that. A few more took pictures and the dogs started to growl again. "What?" he asked her, petting her. She was still cranky and staring in one section. Gibbs went to look over that section.
"Gun!" Gibbs announced, going for that person. A few reporters got in his way and got shoved. Xander moved, as was planned. One of the dogs got a graze when the gun went off but otherwise he was fine. Xander got a graze too and kicked that person's ass since he wasn't the only gunman in the group. The reporters watched, staring in horror.
"Off!" Chris ordered. Xander backed up. "Get them inside. You can get a bandage too. We'll be right there. They're safe." Xander nodded, walking inside with the dogs. "Everyone else good? Not that I want to save a reporter's life but I will."
"Sir, how did he do that?" one asked quietly.
Chris stared at her. "Have you not realized he's been in every single apocalypse battle but the one in LA?" She nodded. "Did you think he stood there and looked pretty?"
"He's not a slayer."
"No, he trained them and trained with the original ones." She nodded quickly. "Clear the area for the local PD, people." Cars were rushing up. "Guys, corral them so we can make sure we got them all." Gibbs nodded, forcing them against the cars so they could sort them out. He glared at one that was still taking pictures. "Try not to be so useless and do something decent," he ordered, giving her a shove toward the group. "Dam idiot, might've been shot but still taking pictures," he told the Captain.
"They're reporters. It's always like that with some of them, Agent Larabee. Just the two?" Chris nodded.
"I have one with a gun on her but a permit and a copy of a restraining order. She did not even think about pulling it," Gibbs noted. "I was staring at her when the first shot went off because I saw the holster."
"So she was the gun you saw?" Chris asked. Gibbs nodded. "The others?"
"That one was behind her and it looks like a jacket harness." He let them see it since the guy was dead. The other was moaning and bleeding. "That one goes to the prison hospital."
"Already sent for people to pick him up," the head Metro PD guy said. "Calm down. Where's the president?"
"Inside with the dogs. One's got a graze and so does he," Chris said quietly. JD and Ezra showed up with Vin driving in a screech of brakes. "Inside," he ordered. "Vin, make sure he lets them bandage his arm."
"Knowing him, he's already done it himself," Ezra sighed. They went inside. "Xander?" The nurse pointed a shaky hand. "Relax, it's over with," he said calmly. She nodded, going to lock the door and then calm herself down. They walked into the exam room, finding Xander sitting in the corner hugging the other huge dog in his lap. "Mamma is going to be just fine," Ezra soothed, touching his shoulder. Xander flinched, looking at him. "She'll be fine."
Xander nodded. "It's only a little graze but the upset stomachs they're worrying over. I think they're getting my ulcer."
Vin grabbed a bandage and held it up. Xander groaned but let Pappa go so he could put the bandage on. JD did it for him with a slight grin. "Thank you," JD said quietly.
"I'm fine, guys. I burnt out some anger taking it out on one of them."
"We saw the pulp that used to be human," Vin quipped. The vet walked in and looked at them. "We're his other guard team. Relax."
"I am. He's clearly calmer now." He smiled at Ezra. "Xander, have you got any poisonous plants at the white house?"
"Not as far as I know. What is?" He held up a leaf. "What has that?"
Ezra looked. "I believe a bush in the back of the garden. It's been causing the stomach upsets?"
"Yes. It's not exactly poisonous but it's not good for them. They tend to vomit it back up and to crap out any that made it down their throats." Xander relaxed, nodding at that. "So watch them around that one or replace it if it's not an heirloom plant." He shook his hand. "Do you need any help beyond the bandage change?"
Xander looked then at him. "I just put it on. I'll get it changed once I'm back at the white house. Is hers bandaged?"
"Yes. We put on a nice one and wrapped it." He let him see by making JD move. "See?"
Xander nodded. "I can change that if she needs it. Thank you." He shook his hand. "I'm sorry about the reporter ambush and the other one."
"Having you shown as a responsible pet owner is actually encouraging others to do the same." He patted him on the head. "I'll let you guys go out through the emergency back exit if you need to."
"Please," Ezra agreed. "Vin, clear it and move the car." He went to do that since he had the keys. Ezra helped the dog off the bed. "Should we worry about the joint pains when they jump too far?"
"They're hefty dogs, Agent Standish. They could lose about ten pounds." He gave Xander a pointed look, getting a shrug back. "But with their age, it's not unreasonable. Nothing shows to be bad enough for a joint replacement yet. Some St. Bernards do need it because they are such large dogs. Try to keep them off anything too high and we'll keep an eye on that." They nodded and walked the dogs out. He relaxed, letting his nurse come in to clean up the mess. "I hope they weren't aiming at the dog," he told her.
"No, the president moved pretty fast and it was aimed at his hip, sir."
"Crap. Well, they have it well in hand." That got a nod and she went to check. The crowd of reporters had been made to go away. The two former people were gone. They were down to the scene clean up crew. He sighed in relief and opened the lock on the door, making one jump. "Can our clients walk around that mess?" he asked from the doorway.
"Yes, sir. Not a problem." She smiled. "It's all done with. We're pretty fast whenever something like this happens. Looks bad on us." He smiled back and went back to his office to calm down.
Nathan and Tony were waiting when they got back to the White House, Tony taking the dogs' leashes. "What the hell happened!" Nathan demanded.
"They were aiming to shoot me in the ass and missed me, getting the dog," Xander said. "The second shot hit my arm. It's a graze. I've already bandaged it but it could use changed since it's clotted." Nathan growled. He stared back. "I can do that."
"Like hell! Inside!" The dogs got free of Tony's hand and ran for safety.
Ezra walked Xander inside to the infirmary. The paramedic and Nathan fussed over the bandage, checking him for other ones. They gathered the dogs from cowering under Xander's desk, taking them back upstairs. Ezra pointed out the plant to Evan since he was handling the grounds upkeep right now. Then they went to talk to the waiting press people. Evan was pissed off, and not about the plants either. Evan promised if this ever happened again to Xander or any other president, he would personally fly back, capture a wraith, and put the asshole in a cell with him. All the reporters shuddered at that mental image. They hadn't seen Evan mad before. They didn't want to see it again.
John flipped to the news conference/emergency news broadcast, watching the shouting Evan was doing. "He clearly needs a vacation," he told Rodney and his dog.
"I think putting a wraith in a prison would be a bad thing. It might be like having dementors."
John smirked. "She's making you read Harry Potter?"
"To our children so they grow up as strong as Xander," he said dryly, sipping his coffee. "The daughter kicks quite strongly whenever Ron is mentioned. I'm worried she'll fall for a redheaded slacker with anger and jealousy issues." He took another sip and put it aside. "Need to call to make sure he's fine?"
"I have no doubt that Ezra is calming him down," John said. He shifted some to get more comfortable. His dog scooted over to get some petting in. "Spoiled," he teased with a grin. "Did you see that Animal Planet had a special on the dogs? They even tracked down the kid they saved to talk to her. She didn't know the dogs had saved her."
"I'm sure that will cause her psychological trauma for a bit."
"Maybe." He sipped his coffee shaking his head. "Are you going to name the daughter Hermione?" Rodney hit him on the arm with a scowl. He grinned back. Rodney huffed but let it go.
"He showed your style of turning someone into a begging heap of flesh and bones."
"Yes he did. I helped his self-defense skills a lot. He was scarily self trained before." He put down his cup and went back to the ear petting, making his dog thump his tail against Rodney's leg. "Is Willow still on her kick thinking that you're bisexual and we had hot monkey sex in Pegasus as she put it?"
"Yes," he complained. "I've told her time and again I didn't. I even had Keller tell her we dated."
"Is that why she's kitty hissing at her?"
"I believe so. Jennifer apparently said I was bad in bed and that's why we broke up. Willow rightly knows how fantastic I am so she's upset with her being so bad and trying to put it off on me." He got up. "She's due up soon." He left him and his dog alone. They really did have to fix John up with someone soon. He was too busy hiding to date.
John looked at his dog. "At least you're not female," he said quietly. "You don't fuss over clothes like Buffy." The dog got up with a groan and licked his face, making him laugh and pet him better.
"Maroon and baby blue?" Xander offered.
Ezra looked at him. "Those don't go together." Xander showed him the color palette generator he had been playing around with. "Well, that sample webpage doesn't look horrible but I don't think so for a wedding."
"We both look fantastic in maroon."
"We do, but what about the traditional white?"
Xander shrugged. "I guess it's okay. I mean it's our only marriages."
"Well...." Xander gave him a dirty look. "I was very young. She left me. Mostly at Mother's urgings so I couldn't get too attached before a child came along."
"Can I beat your mother up?"
"No," Ezra said but he was smiling. "She does have a warped sense of what is right for me but she did try to love me."
"That's better than mine did but still. She's not invited."
"No, she is not invited. She made herself plain," he agreed with a kiss. Xander grinned again. "Not maroon."
Xander went to google and found a color chart that had the names written in their colors. "Well, what do you like?"
Ezra read it over, thinking about it.
"Sage/seagreen?" Xander suggested.
"Hmm. Too dark for that time of year. For the summer, definitely. Or in the winter for a sharp contrast." He looked over the list again. "Steel blue for the wedding color. Our suits... We'll work on that later." He smiled. Xander took another kiss. "Steel blue and what? By the color wheel we should pick a green, a blue, a violet, or an orange. Always next to it, surrounded by it, or across from it."
"Not an orange."
"All right, a green hue or a violet hue?"
"Steel blue is a medium dark blue. No hints of purple or green. The one for dark cyan is pretty. Or a silver/gray tone?"
Ezra nodded. "Very masculine. The dark cyan is a blueish tinged toward purple it appears." He considered it. "Silver." Xander smiled. "That will be easier on the equipment people as well." Xander snuggled closer. "Did we need more help with things?" he asked casually.
"Why am I doing the flowers?"
"Because I know nothing about them."
"Can I delegate to Evan?"
"I doubt he knows anything beyond what he's been taught about the gardens here."
"Can he ask a botanist friend?"
"We can leave that up to the florist but we must pick what type."
Xander went looking for a site that had flower pictures. "In blue flowers there's: Cornflower, Delphinium, Hyacinth , Iris, Lisianthus, Sea Lavender, Anemone, Hydrangea, and a few genetically engineered roses." He looked up.
"My grandmother planted Delphiniums," Ezra admitted with a smile. He looked over the pictures. "She said they meant fun and big hearted."
"I can add them to the list," Xander said quietly. He wrote that name down.
Ezra looked up the other's meanings. "Not Hyacinth. Iris has a good meaning - wisdom, valor. That's interesting, I never knew ivy meant affection, fidelity, and wedded love."
"I thought it meant itchiness," Xander said. He wrote that on the list. They could do them as background leaves probably. "Larkspur? They didn't have that on the list."
"It's a pretty purplish blue flower," Ezra said, looking that up in another tab.
"Looking at the blue roses, there's a few varieties I want to add to the garden." He made notes for himself. "The Black Jade rose is a deep, deep red with some hints of black that's going to go well in that one corner. That'll match with the Black Magic rose. That and there's a Tuscany rose that'll look pretty grouped with them. It's more maroon with a yellow center. If we had went with maroon as a color we could use that."
Ezra looked. "They'll go very well in that one corner with the dying tree." Xander smiled at him. He looked. "Most of the blue roses are purplish but there is one fully blue rose hybrid. That will be hard to find. Perhaps we'll add some white ones?"
Xander gave him a kiss. "Even if I have to ask Dawn to magic them blue for me," he said.
"That won't be necessary. I'm not that picky. Some Delphinium, some cornflowers or Sea Lavender, and some ivy would be fine."
"You told me to do the flowers," Xander reminded him.
"I know. Do not spend the whole mint bare however."
"A hundred-eighty people, say six to a table? So thirty small tables to put small centerpieces on or we can do individual sprays of flowers for each plate." He made that note for himself as well. "Are we wearing lapel flowers, whatever they're called?"
"Hmm. I don't know. Do you wish to?"
Xander shrugged. "I don't really have an opinion about that. I know I don't have to wear a veil, so that's something eased."
"True," Ezra agreed with a grin. "Or the fancy dress."
"Thank the Goddess."
Ezra laughed, taking a kiss. "That's a silly picture."
"So, you have the clothes, I have the flowers, we have the menu almost decided on?"
"Something simple yet not dry. That you can talk around if you wish or stuff your mouth when someone is annoying you. Simple, homey fare. Not finger foods for more than the pre-luncheon nibbling."
"Separate tents for the reception and the wedding?"
"Yes. Joined if possible." He sketched out his idea. "I'll need to check your yards to see how it's shaped but that would be for the best. Then, during the lunch, they can fold back up the chairs in the wedding side so we can dance there." Xander grinned. "What are we dancing to?"
"I have no damn idea." Ezra laughed. "I'll go through my mp3's to see if I have something nice. I doubt you want _Pain_ by Three Days Grace."
"Isn't that one where he'd rather have pain than nothing at all?"
"Yes. That's the chorus." Xander smirked. "I don't listen to much softer stuff. But I'll see what we have. I'll ask Faith to ask the girls."
"That might help. They are hip to modern music."
"Oooh!" Xander said, jumping up to find that mixed CD and put it into the player. "The girls sent me this. It's 3 Doors Down." He sat down once it was playing. "There's a few pretty songs on it. I'm kinda torn between _When I'm Gone_ , _I Feel You_, and _Here Without You_."
They listened to all three. "I think _When I'm Gone_ fits us very well. Almost scarily well." He let Xander rest against his side while they talked about it. Music was something that was important in Xander's life. Most of the time he'd have music on instead of the tv for noise. He needed the background noise most of the time but music was the one he gravitated toward for any sort of emotional needs. Xander restarted them to go back over them.
"_I Feel You_ reminds me a lot of myself when I was younger. The same as it probably does you." Xander nodded, putting his head down on Ezra's shoulder. That song did speak to him. It was almost exactly like he had been before he moved to Denver. Before he found a family. _Here Without You_ was queued up. "Did you listen to this one when we were apart?"
"The day I talked to your mother I came back to the office and put this song on repeat until England called." He sat up and found something on his laptop, sending it via email to someone. "I found the theme song for Rodney and Willow." He got comfortable again. "So not this one?"
"No, I like the first," he admitted quietly. Xander gave him a hug. "So much has changed since we were young men."
Xander smiled. "We're both still young. Just ask Chris."
Ezra snickered. "That is true. He does still call us both children now and then." He flipped the song to another one. _Leaving London_ piqued his interest and so did _Changes_. He'd have to check out their other songs. The slayers who had sent it to him had very good taste.
John walked toward the lab when the loud, modern, rappish sounding music started to blare again. That was going to drive him nuts. "What are you doing?" he demanded.
Willow smiled. "Xander sent it. He thought it should be our theme song. I'm not sure if he meant me and Rodney or the city." She restarted it.
John listened, snickering. "The city's definitely. You're just the king and queen of the geeks on the city." He walked off shaking his head. _White and Nerdy_ by Weird Al certainly fit those two, and most of the other geeks on his city. Blackhawk was giving the lab doorway an odd look, head tipped to the side. "Don't worry, Blackhawk, we know you're not a nerd." The dog followed him back to his office. It was still a bit rappish for his taste but he could ignore it for now. They'd find something nicer soon. Evan appeared. "Xander sent them the geek theme if you're down near the labs."
Evan looked at him. "He was blasting _White and Nerdy_ the other day before calling England." He walked off shaking his head. The dog followed so he got some dog time in. Maybe he'd get a pet to take up some of his free time. He'd have to find something that got along with Xander's huge piles of fur and slobber but he was sure he could. They were nice when they weren't drooling on him.
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