Wedded Bliss.

Xander walked around his farm in Denver.  The second contractor had done an excellent job finishing what the first had started until they had declared bankruptcy and shut down.  The kitchen had brickwork on two walls as accents, an old fire oven along with two modern ovens.  A big stove with a built-in grill beside it.  The fridge was built in and special order.  The kitchen was mostly open to the dining area.   The dining area had a beautiful table.

The living room was bare at the moment.  They'd be shopping for a few chairs and a couch for a waiting area out of a rental place.  The bedrooms were all closed off and empty right now.  The bathrooms worked.  The kitchen all worked.  Everything was beautifully finished outside of the front porch that needed a few last hours of work.  The guys were working on it right now.  Xander smiled when Ezra walked in.  "You thought it was going to look too un-ranchlike?"

He looked around the kitchen, nodding.  "It looks like a cabin in Aspen."  He took a hug, smiling.  "I do like it.  It's very comforting.  How are we decorating it?"

Xander shrugged.  "Comfortable stuff after we've got to find after the rental furniture for the wedding?  Stuff the dogs can hop up on."

"Definitely.  We can look for that shortly."  Xander grinned.  "Did you find somewhere?"

"I found a few things on a few sites but I don't think they go."

"We'll see on the honeymoon."  He winked and Xander grinned.  "We'll have to get a bed in here."

"Rental place," Xander said.  "Or...  There's a bed coming.  We can use it."

Ezra looked at him.  "Where is the bed coming from?"

"From a very old Southern house that is shutting down after a long run as a tourist spot," he admitted casually.  Ezra stared at him.  He grinned.  "It'll be here today.  We'll need a new mattress set though.  There's no telling who slept on it."

"You got the Carriage House's furniture?  I was bidding on some of that."

Xander grinned.  "I saw.  I did not get that one.  The Smithsonian got that one set.  I did get one of them though.  Possibly two.  She's deciding between two equal bids and will let us know later."

"You absolute snot," Ezra said with a smirk.  Xander grinned back.  He took a deep kiss, making Xander moan.  "I love you for being so nutty sometimes."  Xander grinned.  "Come along, let's look at the yard."  Thy walked back there together, Xander holding hands.  Ezra didn't mind this time.  Xander was nervous and needed a physical touchstone.  The tents were already up.  The floors were in place.  They looked around.  "It's smaller than I expected."

"It's much smaller than I expected," Xander said.  He looked around.  "Hello?" he called.  They were supposed to be here.  The wedding designer for the rental place came out.  "This isn't what we wanted."

She blinked.  "Yes it is, sir."

"No, we wanted beige," Xander said.  She pulled out the forms.  Xander took them to look at then at her.  "That's not our wedding."  He pointed at the address.  She moaned, calling the main office.  He looked at Ezra.  "Every wedding needs a crisis."

"It'll be a beautiful day," Ezra reminded him.  "We'll handle it."  Xander nodded, walking off with him.  "Did we reserve an extra tent to hide the garish portable necessities?"

"It was on the form," he said.  He smiled at Buck when they ran into him.  "Is the porch nearly done?"

"It is."  He looked at the tent.  "This isn't what you ordered."

"No, it's not," Ezra agreed.  "Can you...."  He waved a hand.

Buck grinned.  "Yes, of course.  I can sweettalk anyone, you know that."  He went to talk to the wedding designer, calming her down.   "Let's see what we can do."  She nodded, letting him handle the problem.  Clearly she was new.  Or drunk.  He wasn't sure which.

Ezra and Xander went to look at the other arrangements.  Just in case something else got mixed up with whatever wedding was going on across town.


The day of the wedding was here.  Ezra was at Chris's ranch to get ready.  He was staring at himself in the mirror ignoring his badly needed shave.  This was not what he had expected out of his life.  He hadn't really expected to get married.  Ever.  To find a lifemate that understood his darker nature yet didn't revel in it, but could help him stay out of it most of the time.  He didn't expect to be the supportive spouse when his husband needed it.  He took a deep breath.

Vin walked in without knocking, looking over Ezra's shoulder.  "You need a shave."

"I need a martini."

"He'll taste it on your breath during the kiss and worry."

"Maybe, I still need something for my nerves."

"If it helps, John said he's bouncing around there like he's eaten a ton of sugar.  We made sure he hasn't but he couldn't eat breakfast and he's looking like he's on a pogo stick.  He's twitchy, muttering to himself, all that."

"That does help," Ezra admitted.  "It means I'm not the only nervous one."

Vin handed him the razor.  "You need a shave."

"I do need a shave.  I look deplorably shabby again."  He put on some foam and watched his hand shake.

Vin grinned.  "Nathan, he's not going to be able to shave without ripping his face off."

Nathan brought in something.  "Here, it's herbal, it's a tea.  Drink it and it'll calm your nerves."  He took the razor to use after Ezra had drank his tea.  He could help him shave this time.  During his wedding, Josiah had to help him figure out how to button his shirt when he lost his mind.  He could return the favor.  Ezra sighed when it was done.  Nathan smiled.  "Showered, all that?"  Ezra nodded, checking to make sure.  "Then go stare at your suitbag."  Ezra went to his room.  JD had carried the important suits out so no one could see them.  "Are we sure he has the right suit?"

"Their names were on them," JD called.  "I'm pretty sure I read them right."  He stuck his head in.  "Doesn't his bag say Ezra on it?"  Vin looked and nodded.  JD grinned.  "John called Nathan for some valium for Xander."

Ezra let out a quiet chuckle.  "I feel the need for some chemical dependency myself."

"You have an hour, let's go outside," JD decided.  He and Vin walked out there.  Ezra inhaled the clean, cooler air.

Vin nodded JD to give them some space.  "Your mother might mind," Vin said quietly, leaning against the railing facing the house.  Ezra was looking at the barn.  "But I think it suits you to be goofy headed in love with the kid.  He makes you happy."

"He does," Ezra agreed.

"He makes you laugh."

"That too."

"He makes you squeal at night, and you'll finally be able to sleep with him at the ranch."

Ezra looked at him.  "That is not really a consideration at this point."

Vin grinned at him.  "It might be for Chris and the rest of us who won't sleep when he makes you groan, scream, and wiggle."

Ezra smiled.  "Those are fun nights."

Vin nodded.  "If you don't get dressed, they're gonna end and he's gonna be devastated."

"I know.  I would be as well," he admitted quietly.

"Then you're underdressed, Ez."

"I am," he agreed, going to change.  He went to take another shower because now he was nervous and sweaty.  Then he went to dry off and change.


Xander was bouncing around his room, listening to the people being cleared through security and let out to the carriages for the ride to the tent.  He heard a lot of 'this is very pretty' comments and grinned.  It had been his design.  He was still too nervous and bouncy.

"Shower," John ordered from his seat on the bed, sitting against the headboard.  "Now."

Xander nodded, going to pace in the shower.  It was almost big enough to give him a few steps.  He did manage the shower and came out shaking and twitchy instead of bouncy.  "I'm so going to screw this up."

"You said that about the white house and look how good you've done."

"Ezra is nicer and easier than being president but I'm still going to screw it up.  What if I...."

"Xander, if you even think about saying that, I'm calling Ezra so he can calm you down."  Xander gave him a pleading look so he called.  Vin gave the phone to Ezra and Xander did calm down.  Eventually.  It was getting very near to time.  All the guests were there.  John took the phone and said bye then hung up.  "You have five minutes to dress.  Brush your teeth."  Xander ran to brush his teeth then came back to slide into his special suit.

John smiled at it.  It did suit him very well.  He stood up to make sure he looked nice then helped Xander with his hair refix.  "Deep breath."  Xander took two just in case and they walked out.  They took one carriage to the waiting area.  He could hear Chris's truck with the others on the driveway.  John slipped inside and into his seat, nodding at Buck, who was here to oversee the dignitaries.  He had volunteered so he could not cry during the wedding, or so he said.

The casual instrumental music playing ended and the DJ put on the wedding song.  Everyone looked.  Xander came in from his side.  Ezra was walking in from him side.  The whole crowd sighed in pleasure.  Xander's black suit with the forest green shirt and black tie was barely shiny but it attracted attention and highlighted everything about his body.

Ezra's black suit with red shirt and red tie was the same for him.  They met in the center and Xander smiled.  Ezra smiled back.  They joined hands and turned to the local assistant director of the ATF office.  He was certified to do weddings and they had agreed since he had helped Ezra for years.  The ceremony was short and sweet.  Many of the people in the audience, including a few of the Secret Service guys, were sniffling.  They kissed at the end and the crying people sniffled at that too.  They all clapped.

Ezra smiled, looking at Xander.  Then at the crowd.  "If you'll adjourn to the next room, there's food and the reception waiting."  They all walked that way talking.  Ezra waited until they were alone, only Buck had hung back.  He took another kiss.  Xander smiled.   "Let us see the beauty you created for our most important dinner."

Xander grinned.  "I think you'll like it."  They walked over and the DJ announced them, getting claps and cheers.  They sat at their table.

Ezra looked.  Each small table had a classical looking steel blue glass vase with a good spray of delphinium and larkspur backed by a spray of ivy.  On each plate was a blue rose and a blue iris tied together with a silver ribbon.  The tablecloths were steel blue with silver edging and the silver charger, the plate that went under the actual plates, was a duller shade of pewter.  The silverware gleamed and the crystal glasses were trimmed with a silver band.  So were the white plates.  He smiled at Xander.  "You did a wonderful job."  Xander smiled and gave his hand a squeeze.  "Did they have to special order things?"

"Just the blue vases.  The rest they had."  He smiled at the waiters that came out.  The placement chart had included which meal everyone got.  They were served theirs and said a quiet thank you to the waiter, who smiled back.  Xander waited until everyone had been served and the wine stewards had went around.  He stood up.  "Thank you all for celebrating with us today.  I'm not the best spoken ever so I'll leave it as a simple thank you."  The crowd cheered and he sat down again.

Ezra smiled as he stood.  "A toast to my new husband and all our friends.  May they find such happiness as we have."  That got a louder cheer and everyone drank.  The food got a lot of happy comments.  Only one person wasn't totally happy and the waiter quietly and quickly fixed it for her.  She hadn't known she was allergic to shellfish.  Nathan had allergy pills for her and administered them quickly.  Fortunately it wasn't that bad of an allergy.  The rest went off without a hitch.  When it came time for the cake, Xander and Ezra had a small cake for themselves.  Ezra smirked at Xander.

The cakes had two layers of dark chocolate cake with a layer of slightly mashed cherries in a tangy cherry sauce.  The frosting was piped on overtop another layer of the cherries and some fresh cherries garnished the top.  Everyone moaned at the cakes that got brought out for each table.  Ezra and Xander cut his cake to much clapping and fed each other a bite.  Ezra was tempted to dot his nose with some but Xander nearly licked his fingers clean of the small bite he held.  He had to moan at that tongue action.  He, of course, did the same and Xander groaned back, clearly enjoying it.

They sat back down to eat the excellent cake.  The slayers were all moaning over slices.  Fortunately each table's cake came with an extra slice so the girls could argue over them.  The other tables didn't give theirs up so the slayers got to pout and arm wrestle their way into who got the last piece, making a lot of happy guests since it was entertaining.  The DJ rolled up the wall between two tents and started to play some less quiet music.

"I believe it's time for our song," Xander said quietly, eating the last little bit of his cake.  He had even scraped up all the spilled cherry sauce.   He stood up and held out his hand.  Ezra took it with a smile.  The girls watching all sighed as he led him out to start their first dance.  _When I'm Gone_ played, stunning some for the choice but the words made Buffy sniffle and Jack give her a hug.

The crowd gave them a standing ovation afterward and the girls came out to dance too.  Faith and all his slayers stole Xander for a dance.  The DJ did a good job mixing dance music with softer stuff for slower dances.  It made it special and the last hour of the party was mostly dance music so the girls could burn off the cake.  And so Xander could tease Ezra on the floor.  The girls all agreed he did look very nice together.  They looked downright hot when they were dancing to the faster music.

Finally everyone went home and Xander tipped the staff and helpers, plus handed over the checks to the chef and the rental company.  They all smiled and Ezra led Xander to the waiting carriage.   They were going last.  The carriage would depart after dropping them at the house.  They got a bottle of water from the kitchen and retired to the bedroom.  Xander opened the door and let Ezra see.

"I do believe this was in the room I lived in when I lived at that little inn for the summer," he said happily.  He walked around.  Yes, it was definitely from the same room.  He smiled at Xander.  "You are unbelievably sentimental."

"Well, yeah," Xander agreed happily.  He took a kiss and put the water down.  Ezra put a coaster under it and then took off their jackets for them.  They got properly hung up.  Then he came back to work on the ties.  Xander was moaning as he was freed, tipping his head back.

"You did an excellent job."  Xander grinned.  "For that I should reward you.  All through the dancing I wanted to do what we did at that one club that night in Alexandria."  Xander shivered, moving closer.  Ezra would give him a great time and it was a wonderful honeymoon night.


The next day, they looked outside.  The tents were gone.  The grass was a bit torn up but everything had disappeared.  Xander yawned, sipping his soda.  Ezra walked in and got his own coffee, looking out there with him.  "It's like it was a dream," Xander said.

"It was a very nice fairytale."  Ezra rested beside him, sipping his coffee.  Xander hauled him up and outside to the benches that had mysteriously appeared on the porch, complete with cushions.  "I believe these were housewarming gifts from Buck and JD."

"That's what the tag says."  Xander handed it over with a grin.  They sat there, watching the field, the trees blowing with the breeze.  It was a good morning.  Yeah, they could handle this pretty easily.  "Did you see anything you really didn't like about the remodel?"

"No, so far I've adored everything.  Will that brick even work?"

"Yeah, it's meant for wood fires."  He grinned.  "So we can make authentic pizza and you guys can make some oven baked stuff from a fire with meat."  Ezra smirked and nodded, he understood what that meant.  "You know they can hang out over here whenever they want."

"I know and so do they.  Outside of today of course."  He sipped his coffee and put it down.  Xander settled against his side like usual again.  "It is incredibly quiet without the horses."

"I'm having a small barn and paddock built for Companion."

"That'll help."  He smiled.  "Of course, we'll expect the horses to lounge near each other again."

"Of course.  Am I building a three stall or a two stall barn?"

"Hmm.  Three."  Xander grinned at him.  "Might as well let the two live together."  He put his arm around Xander's shoulders.  "The slayers were all very well behaved.  They were less bouncy than usual too."

"Buffy and Faith enforced manners."

"Ah.  It was funny with the fighting over the last slices of cake."

Xander grinned.  "I'm so proud that my girls won for the most part.  One even beat out Buffy, which is why Jack had to surrender his last half a piece."

"That was adorable.  Do we think there's more O'Neill's on the way?"

"No.  No weight gain.  Dawn... I'm not real sure.  Either she had gained a few extra pounds after the last one or she's getting that boob weight gain problem."

"I thought she bought that top to tease Samuel some more.  Though, Dean's face when she took off her jacket was priceless."

Xander grinned.  "He nags her sometimes about making Sammy have to take a nap or have a really sore back."

"Hmm.  Did she take lessons from you perhaps?" Ezra asked dryly.  Because his was throbbing at the moment.  Not that he'd admit it.

"From Anya.  The same as Buffy did once."

"Ah.  That explains that stamina as well."

Xander grinned.  "If you're a good boy and go get naked for me on the bed, I'll work on your back before I let you pounce me into another round."  He wiggled his eyebrows.

"That is very tempting, Xander."  He considered it.  "Hmm.  Perhaps a good backrub, followed by some soaking in that sinful and lavish outdoor tub you put in?" he asked with a point.

Xander gave him an evil smirk.  "Can we add your special bubbles?"

"We can add some cologne.  It'll make its own bubbles."  He stood up and Xander smirked at him, watching his hind end as he walked into the bedroom already stripping.  Xander followed after a minute.  He did have the best view from the doorway of the naked, pale cream ass and just a hint of a shadow of the cock he was hiding underneath it from the splayed legs.  Xander grabbed the oil and attacked Ezra's back like he was going to make him into bread dough.  Ezra moaned so he eased off some but it was still a good massage.


Chris came over for dinner, carrying the bag Ezra had asked him to pick up.  "Guys?" he called from the kitchen.  He heard the squeak and looked outside.  They were in the hot tub.  He carried the food out and put it on the table beside Xander's head.  "Can't get out?" he teased when he saw how wrinkled Ezra was.

"No, dear lord, he wore me out," Ezra said with a hoarse sounding voice.  Xander just grinned at him.  "I'll have to repay that favor after a good meal and bit of rest."

"I'm yours alllll day tomorrow too," Xander said smugly.  "Did the moving guys he hired get all his stuff into my suite?"

"Yes, and they ignored the protesters too.  As ordered," Chris assured him.  He smiled.  "You two want me to get you robes?"

"Who's going to see?" Xander asked.

"Good point.  Let me leave so you two can go back to your honeymooning.  We leave at two the day-after-next," he reminded them before he left.  He didn't want to know why Ezra couldn't move.  Having heard Dean complaining about Dawn's treatment of Sam's body and making him sore, he was sure they had gotten the same lessons.

"I do believe we traumatized poor Mr. Larabee," Ezra said dryly.  Xander cackled and kissed him.  "Do let me eat, Xander.  I need sustenance to provide you with the same sort of laxness I have."

"Sure, Ez, you eat."  He got the boxes of food out, knowing which one was Ezra's.  It had real, adult people food in it.  He got a fork and fed him.

Ezra swallowed and looked at him.  "I don't need such attention normally but tonight it is appreciated."

"Now and then I slip into 'let me spoil you' mode, Ez.  If I get too far down, let me know."  He fed him another bite.

"I will."  He let himself be spoiled rotten by his new husband.  It was the benefit of marrying a fusser.  By the time they made it back to bed, he was so thoroughly spoiled and lank all he could do was sleep.  Xander tucked him in and snuggled in for his usual cuddling all night.  He'd have to get used to that but it was comforting.  Even when Xander occasionally had strange dreams and bit him on the side.


Xander got out of the car when they made it back to the white house, staring at the chanters.  "Oh, shut the hell up!" he shouted.  "Sanctimonious bastards!  If I wanted your opinion on my sex life, I'd ask!"  The crowd booed.  Xander kissed Ezra then smiled.  "Get a life!  Clearly you don't have one if you can stand out here for three days!"  He walked them inside.  "Gibbs, go run off the fucking idiots please.  I'm in a good mood and I don't want it ruined."

Ezra snickered.  Xander was having a playful day.  That kiss had been something he would do as well.

Chuck stood up and grinned.  "Good afternoon, Xander."

Xander stared at him.  "If you say I have a problem to handle instead of going right to a nap, I'm going to have to get Blackhawk to come pee on your car again, Chuck."

"No, no problems.  A few calls of 'congratulations' we handled.  A few presents.  A protesting call by the Vatican that you're immoral and sucking all the morality out of the country.  Other than that, even Castro called to say congratulations but he still doesn't like gay people."

Xander nodded.  "That was an odd situation before anyone asks."  He sighed.  "Chuck, didn't I give you the week off?"

"Yup."  He grinned.  "I'm just back myself, Xander."

"Oh, okay then.  Let me pop in.  Are the dogs back?"

"John had them beamed in a few minutes ago with me.  They ran Teyla and Blackhawk ragged all week exploring the city."

"Cool."  Xander gave him a hug and a back slap then went up to the apartment to play with the dogs so Ezra could get some rest.  He had been mean to his poor back again.

Once everyone was settled in, Gibbs looked at Chris.  "Did something happen?"

"He's in one of those playful sparring mood days," Chris said dryly.  "Usually these amount to a lot of taunting and teasing instead of actual work getting done.  Since Ez can't sit, he has to pick a new target."

"My first wife did the same thing to my back on our honeymoon," Gibbs admitted.

"Yeah, mine too," Chris said with a happy smile.  "Damn I was young."

Gibbs laughed and nodded.  "I wasn't even in the service a year when I married Shannon.  Those two and Chuck make me feel ancient some days."

"JD does it to me," Chris agreed.  "The house is nice."

"I saw.  Someone leaked pictures."

"Yeah, JD said they got the film that someone sent to Chuck out of his email here."

"Hmm.  We'll have to find that leak and beat the shit outta them."

"Yes we do," Chris agreed.  The protesters started to chant again.  "I agree, if they had a life they wouldn't be able to stand out there chanting and being annoying for three days.  My wife would've killed me."

"Shannon would've come with me if I was that serious about it."

"You notice they're all men?" Chris asked.

"Yup.  The women gave up the first afternoon.  There were only three out of the twenty."

"You think women like watching two guys like most guys like watching two women?" Buck said as he joined them.

"Abby does," Chris said dryly.  "She wanted me to kiss Vin so she could have a picture."

Gibbs nodded.  "She tried to manipulate one of me and DiNozzo once.  I had McGee erase it after I spanked her for it."  They all smirked at each other.  "We should make them go."

"They're outside the gate so they're Metro's problem unless they're doing more than protesting peacefully," Chris sighed.  "Pity."

"They're coming to enforce them staying up the street by a bit," Buck said.  "I talked to the Captain and he agreed he could do that much since they were being annoying and blocking traffic."

"That may work.  At least they'd be out of sight of the windows," Gibbs decided.  He looked up.  "You don't think he'll try to provoke them by being overly noisy, right?"

"They couldn't hear that far away even if he was tempted to," Chris assured him.  "Plus, Ezra has sense and taste."  Buck snickered, nodding.  "They're planning on sneaking out to the farm tomorrow night, Buck."

"I heard we were going riding.  I already alerted DiNozzo so he can dress comfortably tomorrow or bring a change of pants.  What do you think they expected when they voted him in?  They knew he was dating Ezra."

"There was that small minority that didn't vote him in," Gibbs reminded him.  "Most evangelical christians."

"Yay," Chris said flatly.  "Okay, there's Metro."  They watched them herd people back up the street.  "How long do you think they'll hang out down there?"

"Two days, max," Gibbs said.

Buck nodded.  "Some'll give up by the morning.  They made their point and it didn't matter.  Though Xander might go live at Ezra's condo if he could."

"It'd be easier to guard the building.  Did he rent it out?"  Buck nodded.  "Figures.  Housing's a bit down right now."

"He still bought it for a steal," Buck said dryly.  "I swear they both bought their houses too cheaply going to seizure auctions."

Chris nodded.  "Wish I could have when I bought the farm."

"Do they have another hidden place again?" Gibbs asked.  Buck and Chris both nodded.  "Is Xander flipping it?"  They nodded with a smirk.  "How nice?"

"Very nice," Chris said.  "Very quiet, full house.  Last time it was a condo.  This time Xander bought about six and gave the local vo-techs that did construction the houses and let them flip them to teach the students on and then sell for their funds.  Three got done and they're *real* nice."

Buck nodded.  "The last two are for sale right now.  They're nice inside.  Nothing too fancy like marble and stuff but nice, plain, simple houses for a new family."

"That sounds like it helped the programs a lot," Gibbs said.

Chris smiled and nodded.  "I'm proud of the kid for it.  Vin said that one of the local vo-tech programs was having a problem finding funding to buy their own.  He didn't even ask, Xander overheard it on his way to get a snack and handled it.  They've done a lot of subtle helping down where Vin lives and in Anacondia."

"Huh.  I bet people might like to hear that."

"Not really," Buck said.  "It makes the people who work in DC upset because he's helping those that need it instead of everyone else."

"I have noticed that attitude running around, yeah," Gibbs agreed.  "My director might shit elephants before admitting it might be a good plan."

"He and Vin quietly went to the habitat project building a new community center," Chris said with a small shrug.  "The gang kids came up to try to stop it and he laid down some hard and fast beatings to stop them then gave them the parental lecture from hell.  Especially when he said Xander couldn't understand what they were going through.  Xander laid it real low on 'em and they were at least pleased one of the kids from the deep reaches of lower class made the white house but they'll respect it."

"I have never seen a gang kid being beaten like that," Buck agreed.  "And he didn't care *which* gang it was either.  Vin tried to tell him one was a Crypt.  Xander just shrugged and said they were human and therefore entitled to respect until they proved otherwise.  Then the next day he announced that really unpopular research study into how to help lower class kids get into colleges and good careers instead of fast food, drugs, and jail for robbery."

"I liked it," Chris admitted with a small shrug.  "He ran it past me and it made sense to me."

"It hinged on the kids wanting to do more and half of them have already given up," Gibbs pointed out.

"Yeah, but the half that hasn't, it's had great success with and it's gotten some to actually find some hope somehow.  The teachers he highlighted for speaking the same language as the kids was nice too I thought."

"It was.  Those schools have been transferred into a lot more," Vin said as he joined them.  "I still like his 'go to school, become a teacher, come back to your own neighborhood because you'll teach them the same way you were taught' section."  They all nodded at that.  "Can't we stop the idiots?  It's driving Ez to want to do something flashy."  Buck shuddered.

Vin walked that way on rounds, shaking his head at the chanting.  "You voted for him, people.  He was dating then.  You knew he was bisexual when he was VP and you still voted for him.  That's your own doing so quit bellyaching," he called as he walked past them.  That shut up a few of them.  Fortunately.  They were giving people headaches.  He ran into a reporter sneaking in and pounced her to cuff and walk off so Chris could scowl at her.  "We even get the creepy reporters," he said as he handed her over.  "Weekly World News?"

Chris looked at her credentials then at her.  "Why are you here?" he demanded.

"We think the aliens are going to come hold a summit soon."

Vin snorted.  "Everyone knows that's O'Neill's job with Sheppard, not Xander's."

She pouted.  "They'd like him the same way demons would."

Chris shook his head.  "He wouldn't stand for it and neither would Ezra."

"Oh."  She gave them a pitiful look.  "Can I be let go?"

He snorted.  "Hell no!"  He walked her off to arrest her and find out where she had gotten in.  That way he could cover the weak spot.  He thought he had them all covered.  Proved him wrong.

Vin shook his head.  "Idiots," he muttered.  Gibbs nodded, sipping his coffee.  "Where is McGee?  I haven't seen him in days."

"He and JD are doing computer things with Chuck to find the hacker," Gibbs said.  "He's been hopping for the last few days after breaking a toe."

Vin nodded.  "Done that a few times."  He walked off shaking his head.

Buck nodded.  "He and Ez get hurt all too often for our tastes.  And they never want to stay in the hospital."

"So, they're like the president about that stuff?" Gibbs asked dryly.

"Hell, yes.  It makes Nathan nag more."

"I heard he used to."

Buck grinned.  "Back before they were dating, when Xander was still sneaking out to go to clubs with the Secret Service guys and we were newly here, Nathan tried to nag Xander about having just coffee for breakfast.  Xander quipped back he had been giving a blow job for breakfast, the coffee was just his snack.   Stopped that real damn fast that day."  Gibbs walked off snickering, shaking his head.  Buck smirked and went on his own rounds. None of the guards were complaining of noisy bedrooms today so apparently Xander had let Ezra sleep off the soreness.  Or they had found them a gag to share and Ezra would get to sleep in tomorrow.


Xander was staring out his window a few days later.  All the protestors but one were gone.  That one was camping.  "Wonderful," he muttered.  He walked out there, sneaking past Buck and JD arguing so he didn't have to have a guard with him.  He walked out to the fence, staring at the guy.  "You can't really put up a tent out here.  Metro won't let you," he said in greeting.  He leaned against the bars, staring at the horrified person.  "I commend you on your strength of belief, dude, but this isn't the way to do it.  Even if you feel that you're on a holy crusade."

"You're still wrong."

Xander shrugged.  "That's your opinion.  Mine is that I've suffered for decades protecting people like you from things that tried to destroy all of us.  I deserve happiness."  He shifted, crossing his arms over his chest.  "You still can't put up a tent on the sidewalk.  We have plenty of campgrounds, go pick one.  You can still come back to pursue your semi-holy crusade if you must."

"You can't talk me out of it."

Xander shrugged.  "That's your right.  The same as it's mine to point out that you knew the man I was when you voted me in.  You have to take the parts you don't like with the rest of me.  If twenty years of combat isn't changing me, a protest by people sure as hell won't."  He stared at him.  "Like I said, I commend you for the strength of your belief, but it still sucks.  Clearly you're not married or she'd be filing fo divorce papers."

"My wife and children are safely at home," he sneered.

"Hmm.  Then I guess she's either behind you thinking you're the newest version of a messenger or she's filing for divorce, dude.   Seriously, how can you be a father or a husband when you're here all the time?  You're making your kids go fatherless for a point that everyone else quit caring about days ago."

"He knows I have to do this.  I talk to him all the time."

Xander shrugged.  "Then build a damn church or something.  Though I wouldn't use donations to rent a hotel room.  It does look bad on the ministers who use their church's funds for their own personal gain."  He stared at him.  "You still can't camp here.  Find a state park.  The Metro boys who'll be coming in a few minutes to make you move your campsite will probably gladly show you where they are and help you figure out which bus to take to get back here so you can protest until you feel better about things.  Because the same rights that give you the right to protest, give me the right to finally be happy with who I chose."

"You didn't have to marry him while you were president.  It's disgracing the white house."

"Why should I put my life on hold?  Why should I deny myself someone to sit there and help me with things, a good sounding board to talk about frustrating situations that I have to handle?  No other president didn't have anyone they could talk to.  I sure as hell didn't for the longest time.  I lucked out and got Ezra.  He helps me be a better president.  Even if he does make me dress better he explains things that I wasn't getting before.

"He's smoothed out a lot of wrinkles for diplomatic things that I never used to worry about.  My spot was in a never-ending war, not at the peace table.  He's helped me see some of the peace process."  The man nodded at that.  "I'm a better man and president for having Ezra.  Why should I make you all suffer as I screw more things up?"

"You were doing fine."

"I was dating him then.  Do you think that other presidents who aren't married should have to wait?"

"He's not a first lady."

"No, he's not."  He smiled.  "He has better taste than quite a few of them."  The man slumped.  "He's also better liked by a lot of world leaders than I am because I'm blunt."

"You should still go to hell for being gay."

Xander shrugged.  "I saw hell when I fought in the First Evil battle.  If I believed in your God, I might be pissed about that but the Goddess doesn't say a damn thing to me about it, and the other higher beings I've heard about, been talked to by, and all that, like me with Ezra."  He smirked.  "That's kinda Cordelia's job, dude.  She's the Messenger for the higher ups."

"I didn't know that."

Xander nodded.  "She served in the war too.  That was her reward.  Ezra's mine."  A Metro PD car pulled up.  "Have fun at the campground."

The officer walked over.  "Sir, it's illegal to post a tent anywhere in the city limits," the officer said firmly.

"I'll let you guys take him to a campground," Xander ordered.  The officer gave him a horrified look.  He grinned back.  "He's got conviction, and I admire that, but tell him which bus gets back here if he wants to keep abandoning his family."  He stared at the man.  "Man wasn't meant to be alone and if you love your wife, I'd do more than call.

"Otherwise your kid can go bad in a matter of weeks.  If you feel you're that strongly called to a crusade, start a church.  That way you aren't abandoning your God's laws to sit out here and try to convince others.  It'll get you heard faster with a larger audience."  He walked off.  "Have a better night."

The man stared at him then packed up his things.  "Which way to the nearest campground?" he asked politely.

"We can drop you off, sir," the officer assured him.  "And you take the number 8 bus from there to get to the terminal then the one stop is up the street," he said with a point.  He got him into the car and took him to the campground, letting him get his things from the trunk.  He had to admire the president for handling it calmly and not encouraging the nut.  He agreed, if he was that determined, start a ministry.

Chris stared at Xander as he walked back up to the doorway.  "That was fucking dumb.  He could've been any sort of mentally unstable or had a weapon."

"He has a wife and a son at home he's abandoning to this.  He's going to camp and bus back every day.  I admire that he's strong enough to do this, but I did remind him that doing this didn't get his point across and he should start a church."  He walked around him.

"You still should've had guards."

"Then he would've been intimidated, Chris.  It would've been a more violent talk.  Talking man to man with him worked better and made him see a few points."

"Whatever."  He followed him back to the oval office.  The dogs got taken out to pee and play for a few minutes then they went in for dinner.  It had been a long day.  He turned and found Cordelia watching Xander walk off.  "Bad news?" he asked quietly.

She shook her head.  "No.  I'm glad he's happy too.  He does deserve it and Ezra is both his punishment and his eternal torment because he won't let Xander be sloppy anymore."  She looked at Chris when he snorted.  "He's also got convenient hearing.  Have him clean out his damn storage areas?"

"How many does he have?" Tony asked as he joined them from the security office.

"Four.  He'll admit to two."  She smirked at him.  "Some were presents and some were other things."

"Weapons," Chris said flatly.

"There's some of those too.  There's also some other wedding presents from the higher ups and some pretty high demons.  Including the Powers.  I'm not sure that cursed artifact is such a present per se but they said so.  Angel had given it to them so they're regifting."  She faded out.

"He doesn't have a thing to do tomorrow," Tony said.

Chris nodded.  "Ezra and JD are excellent at organization and we can help."

"McGeek is too.  Plus Ziva could use some quiet time.  She's getting a lot of stress headaches from her father."

"What does her father do?" Chris asked him.

"He's the head of the Mossad."  Chris's mouth flopped open.  "Yeah.  So he's being pushy.  I told her she should ask Buck to play along and then dump her so he'd quit nagging her about things.  She said it was nagging over other things."

"Huh.  Yeah, he's had to help a few others that way in the past.  Schedule it and make sure they're around here?"

"If not, maybe we can ask O'Neill for a favor.  That way it's absolutely silent."  He grinned.  "Beaming is a lot faster and safer than driving."

"Yes it is."  He walked off to go talk to the kid.  Ezra answered the apartment's door.  "Cordelia showed up."  Xander looked up from his eating.  "She reminded me to tell you to clean out your storage areas tomorrow, kid."

"Okay, why?"

"Some wedding presents.  Including something cursed that whoever Angel is gave her Powers so they're regifting."

"Huh.  Angel was Buffy's first boyfriend and the Champion for the Powers.  He held LA for a while."  He ate a bite and nodded.  "Chuck knows where they are.  Two aren't anywhere near the US though."  He ate another bite.

"Let's do it quietly," he ordered.  "Wherever they are.  Especially so I can make sure that whatever you're bringing back to Denver won't blow us all up."  He gave him a pointed look then left them alone.

Ezra locked the door again, coming back to sit down.  "How many do you have?"  Xander held up five fingers.  "Do they know that?"

"I doubt they know about one.  I have a rental storage area on the West Coast from the Sunnydale stuff.  I've made sure it stayed paid yearly."  He ate another bite.  "You did a really good job, Ezra."

"Thank you.  It was nearly nothing to accomplish."

Xander smiled.  "You know I appreciate all the little things you do."  He took a kiss.  "I'm supposed to talk to O'Neill tomorrow anyway about the next apocalypse battle."  He cut another bite of chicken off and ate it, then looked at Ezra.  "Are you coming?"

"Oh, yes.  Just in case Chris does spank you for the weapons."

Xander grinned.  "Then I won't admit where one of them is."  He stuffed his mouth.  He grabbed the phone when it rang.  "Hello?"

//I will insist on having grandchildren some year,// a female voice ordered coolly.

Xander snorted.  "Yeah, if we feel like it, Maude.  Right now I'm enjoying having Ez all to myself and if we do have children, it'll be a mutual decision unless I go to one of the Council witches to help me get pregnant."

//I meant to tell that to my son, Xander.  Is he there?//

"He's eating and he needs his food.  Ezra, did you want to talk to your mother and her nagging about breeding for the family lines?"

Ezra considered it for a minute.  "I'll call her tomorrow when we have time for a talk."

Xander kissed him then smiled.  "If you want to talk to her, I won't interrupt."

"No, we're eating.  You missed lunch, I missed lunch playing with the dogs and with that meeting, so we need to eat dinner."  He took the phone.  "Mother, we're starved and eating," he said in greeting.  "Call my cell tomorrow."

"Call my cell tomorrow.  It'll reach inside the warehouses where yours won't because it doesn't have the magic filter on it," Xander said.

Ezra looked at him.  "I did have Dawn fix that before the wedding," he said with a smug look.

Xander grinned.  "I wasn't going to ask for the favor but get you a special one from the Council."

"I have a brand new one that has all the toys and features I could want," he reminded him.  Xander pulled out his new phone to show him.  "Oooh," he moaned.  "I've seen those."  He took it to look over.  "Yes, Mother, call his so I can check the sound quality tomorrow."  He hung up, getting into the new phone's features.  It was a new, expensive, phone meant to go with explorers, billionaires who might be kidnaped, and people who needed heightened security.  It had most of the standard features.  "No calculator?"

"It's on that side menu button."  Xander showed him.  "So we only have to hit two things to find it.  Most of us use that feature the most often."  He ate another bite.  "Yours is charging in the bedroom."

Ezra smirked, going to get his.  "Does it have the same locator?"

"Of course.  And it only needs to charge the backup battery about once a year.  The rest of the time it runs on ambient magic.  The Council gets a reduced rate because Andrew helped develop that system and integrated it into a whole bunch of electronics."

"Hmmm."  He put it beside his present one.  "I don't know if I should carry them both or switch over."

Xander kissed him.  "If you're out of DC, carry the Council one."

"I will."  He took another kiss, letting Xander get back to eating.  He had outdone himself with the simple, yet tasteful dinner.  Then he'd have to calm Xander down or make him take the husbandly attention tonight.  Not that he thought Xander would mind.  Xander wasn't even hard to seduce.  Just a smile and a good backrub and he was a purring mass of husband.  That was good to remember before he got too sore to work.


Xander looked around the first warehouse.  "Is this the ex-boyfriend warehouse or the ex-girlfriend warehouse?" he asked.  He checked the nearest boxes.  "Ex-girlfriend warehouse."

"You had them separated?" Ezra asked him, looking amused.

"Yeah.  The ex-girlfriends tend to be meaner.  The ex boyfriends tend to like me to have weapons.  That way if one of the ex-girlfriends blew up stuff it didn't include the weapons."

"That almost makes sense," Tony joked, walking around the empty area.  "Do we have a manifest?  If not, this'll take weeks."

Xander considered it then got into his old laptop, which still had the files on it.  "Some of them."

McGee took it and walked off.  "Starting in the back, Xander?"

"Um, started when I moved things to this one from the smaller one."  He pointed.  "Start on that wall."  He and JD walked that way.  JD squeaked and they all stared when he pulled out something.  "That was a present way back when, guys."  He went to look at things he knew he hadn't put in here.  They weren't stacked like the rest.  "Oh, hey, wedding presents."  He got into one, sniffing the chocolate.  Chris took it from him and put it into a bag.  "It's not drugged."

"We're not taking that chance, Xander."

Xander stared at him.  "I'm not that bad."

"I don't care."  He dug into that box.  More chocolates.  Clearly someone was trying to tempt his well-known sweet tooth.  Chris finally found the card and the name on it made him grimace.  "Xander, did you date someone who could've looked like Ezra's sister?" he asked dryly.

Ezra looked over.  "Mya?"

"Yes."  He held up the card.

Xander thought back.  "Does she move really gracefully?"  Chris and Ezra nodded.  "Used to be a ballet dancer then went assassin?"  They both smirked and nodded.  "She's the senior slayer in the Russian office, guys."  They both gaped.   He grinned.  "I'm the one that spotted her and told her what was going on."

"Shit," Chris sighed.  "She wasn't at the wedding."

"She probably thought it might not be a good thing if you guys knew her."

"Back when she was working, she tried to take out Vin on a date," Chris said dryly.  "That's how we found out she was an assassin."

"Former KGB," Ezra agreed.

Xander grinned and nodded.  "I met her former boss and partner both while working with her on the slayer how-to lessons.  They were not amused and called Giles to complain.  He told them to bite him in more polite terms from what I translated from the Latin he was complaining back in."  He looked at the chocolates.  "So that means they're probably not drugged."

"We still have to test them," Tony ordered, moving him to another crate.  Xander shrugged and opened it, making Tony gasp.  "Oh, hell."

Ezra walked over to look.  "Interesting present they sent."

Xander found the card and dug it out, looking at it.  "Huh.  Prais."  He tucked it into his shirt pocket.  "I'll have to write her a thank you note for not sending me anything dead."  Tony gave him an odd look.  He grinned.  "Her last present was a dead gazelle I had been tracking.  It was zombified as part of an asshole's compound guard force."

Tony shuddered, shaking his head as he walked off.  "Sure, diamonds are much nicer than that."

"Do we think they're blood diamonds?"  Ezra asked quietly.

Xander looked at one in the light then walked over to his section, looking around until he found one box.  He opened it and dug out a small pouch, comparing the two stones in the light.  "The one from Prais looks clearer."

"Where did that one come from?" Ezra asked casually.

Xander looked at him.  "Do you want to hear about the guy who took me and one of the girls hostage and had us dig until we got free and killed them all?  We took everything we dug with us since they weren't going to need it and I raided the house because I didn't want to leave them there for the other bad idiots to get them.  We went right to the cops and told them.  They said they did not want to hear it, they had never met us, there was no report being filed, and they were upset that we took away their extra paycheck," he said dryly.  "She nearly snapped him in half."

Tony stared at him.  "I heard about that."  He smirked.  "That was in the DRC?"

"Yup."  He looked then pointed.  "That one was the mafia guy in South Africa."

Chris swallowed.  "Another kidnaping?"

"I was rescuing when one was and got vindictive."  Xander smiled sweetly.  "He was not happy to find me in his office after I freed all his slaves, took out of most of his guard force, and was feeding his files to the main fax number at the CIA office in Johannesburg.  He was even less happy when I shot him in the stomach and left him lying there after I told him to never touch another slayer ever again.  On the nice cover sheet I wrote that it was from the files of, put his name and address, and that I had just freed some of the captives and slaves he had.  That I was being vindictive on behalf of one.  I didn't stick around long enough to hear what happened because of it."

"They had a grand old time arresting people and he died in jail," Tony told him with a smile.  "Thank you."

Xander grinned back.  "Welcome."

"He is scarily like a kid between Vin and Ezra," Buck complained, paying JD ten bucks with a head shake.  Xander pinched him, making him yelp.

"It had nothing on the club scene in Cairo's underground clubs," Xander shot back with an innocent looking smirk.

"TMI," Buck said, holding up a hand.  "Really."

"They don't go for easy sex there."  He brought the first one back to the other box.  McGee got into that box to make sure it was all on the list.

Chris stared at the kid.  "Did any of them send you any weapons?"

"Not in this warehouse beyond a pretty sword."  He shrugged.  "That's in the ex-boyfriend warehouse."  He grinned.  "Remember, I have an appointment with O'Neill at noon."

"He's gonna join us," Chris said, patting him on the back.  He let Ezra have him to ask more questions about his years in Africa.  Because that was insane!  He wasn't sure if it was stuff only Xander could get into or if it was the duty but damn!


Jack got beamed into the warehouse, looking around.  "I take it the wife doesn't know you have this?" he guessed when he saw Xander sitting on a crate reading a file.

"Nope."  He looked up with a grin.  "Jon said to hand this to you after I finish it."  He went back to his reading.  He finally handed it over.  Jack looked it over and groaned.  Xander shrugged.  "I don't know how you want to handle that."

"I'll handle it."  He looked at him then around then back at the kid.  "What's all this?"

"Former girlfriends' presents or stuff I found because of the general part of the trip."  Buck let out a bitter sounding snort.  "As Ezra calls it, my retirement fund."  He grinned.

"We've found cards from the last six attempts on Vin's life outside of cases and a few of Ezra's old problems too," Buck told him.  "Plus some drugged chocolates."

Xander shrugged.  "I knew that other box was good."

"Shut up, kid," Buck ordered, walking off shaking his head.

Jack smirked at Xander.  "How many more of these are there?"

"A few.  Including stuff from Sunnydale that has my comics."

"People are definitely going to complain about such things if they suddenly show up," Ezra reminded him. "Especially about the things you looted when getting yourself free."

"I knew there was a problem with conflict stones so I talked to Giles, who got me in with someone who charges you with that problem.  For both of them.  They're on file and no one's ever went to look.  I'm almost shocked no one over there leaked the file when I became VP."

Jack shook his head quickly.  "I'll check into how they sealed that."  He looked around again.  "Which one're you?" he asked Tony.

"Tony DiNozzo, NCIS.  When the ATF team got sent back to Denver, the Secret Service threw our team at them."  He smiled.  "It's not hard work but they can drive us nuts sometimes."

"Amen," Buck called.  "Because I just found the body parts stack.  This is disgusting."

Xander looked.  "That's all new stuff, Buck.  Did it come with the obligatory wedding card for thank you notes?"

"You're so warped," Tony assured him with a smirk before heading that way.  "Yup, it does.  Before the wedding, dated last year.  Oh, that's so sweet.  These ones wanted to kill you for being gay and president."

Xander looked at Jack.  "See what you let get started?"

Jack smirked at him.  "Not like I had a choice."

"Fine."  He shifted on his box.  "So, anyway.  We'll be doing this on and off all week."

"Tomorrow we're doing the ex-boyfriend warehouse," Chris noted.

"Maybe we can use some of it for the next apocalypse battle," Xander quipped.

"It'll be mostly magical."

Xander stared at him.  "Said...."

"The Coven."

Xander nodded.  "These are the same witches who told Willow to only do little things during her addiction needs."

"I'm prepared no matter what but they said it'd be a magical battle."

"Most magical things can still be shot, thereby minimizing the risks of them sending spells astray."  He gave him a look.  "Especially with energy weapons if they can't block it."

Jack smiled.  "We have many of those on hand."

"Congrats.  Need me?"

"Nope.  Not unless this totally gets out of hand by some locals jumping in."

Xander nodded.  "Then have fun and let me know, Jack.  I'll pop in if you need me or Evan."

"I will."  He smirked.  "That might save you for the next election."

Xander gave him the puppy eyed look.  "You think?"

"I hope.  It might not save Evan...."  He smirked at Chris, who shuddered.  "They like him more for being straight and needing to marry to soothe those same people who protest outside the white house."

"I've seen him."  He rolled his eyes.  "We had a talk the night he tried to pitch a tent.  I advised him the solo crusade was pretty pointless, his wife was going to divorce him, his kid was going to grow up like me, and if he started a church it'd be easier to get his message out because I wasn't going to give it up.  Now we've had the bible networks up to interview him a few times and causing all sorts of problems."

"I ran off one," Tony assured him.  "For blocking the entry and making Evan huffy after a bad day at the Senate."

"There's so few of those," Xander said dryly.  He rolled his eyes.  "I'm about to see if I can call in a favor to turn them into kindergartners for a day so they realize how childish they're acting."

Jack snickered.  "Don't tempt Buffy to see if she could.  She's getting huffy with the reporters who keep asking her if she approved of you two marrying and did it upset me.  I pointed out I wanted you to be happy and if Ezra did it, then I'm all for it.  She said the same thing and they're still hounding her."

"I've introduced one reporter to one of my ex's," Xander said with a grin.  "That should've stopped it recently."

Chris gave him a horrified look.  "Which one?" he asked quietly.


Chris walked off shuddering and scratching his arms like he had a sudden case of poison ivy.  "Oh, god, did she eat her?"

"No.  She was very nice to the deluded little thing and made the point that while she might be better for me politically she appreciates how well Ez and I fit together."

Ezra looked at him.  "I did get that charming message and an offer of puppies."

"I already told her we can't have puppies while I have the two dogs."  Xander smiled at him.  "The reporter for ET was very nice to her and very impressed I survived dating her.  She said it's clear I'm happier now with you and it's good for the country."  He smiled at Jack.  "We have a slightly less important but more personal job to deal with too."

"Okay, what?" he asked, taking the bait.

"John hasn't been off Atlantis since the day he got back there.  That's been almost two years now.  Even Willow's worried about him since he turned down talking to the Air Force academy."

Jack considered that then nodded.  "I don't see how I can help."

"When's the next military themed thing?  I figured it'd make him more comfortable."

Jack considered it.  "A picnic in four weeks for the local bases by DC.   The Marine ball in six."

"Can you make sure he has a uniform and a ticket?  He can even bring the dog if he wants."

"I can do that, kid."  He smiled.  "I know the attention bothered him."

"It bothers me too.  I'll be doing the same hiding in Denver when I finally get to escape but John hasn't done anything but look scared of people according to Willow.  Even Rodney's complained that he's not doing anything.  Even Jon thinks he's hiding."

"Gotcha.  Yeah, I can arrange that.  Dateless?"

"Up to him really."

"Dateless.  There's always plenty of singles there looking to dance."  He smirked.  "Plus I'll make sure he can go talk to the academy.  I did and it's important we graduate people just as heroically stupid and risky as we are."  He got beamed back to his office.  That was worrying about John.  The kid was right to bring it to his attention.

Xander smiled at Ezra.  "Are we going?"  Ezra shook his head.  "We went last year."

"We'll be in Cameroon."

"Oh, I forgot about that trip."  He came over to help them sort and notate but Chris put him back on his box to stay out of harm's way.  A few things had turned on as soon as he got near them.  He didn't want to risk it.


Evan got beamed onto Atlantis that night, the two boxes with him.  "McKay to the gateroom," he called over the intercom.  He came jogging in with a smile.  "These things are Ancient tech given to Xander by his ex girlfriends.  There might be more in the ex boyfriend warehouse, we're not sure yet."  He patted the top of the box with a smile.  "Where's John hiding?  I was going to help him for a bit.  It's insane that Glamour wanted me to do a topless picture."

"In the tv lounge again," he sighed.

Evan smirked.  "Xander and Jack talked earlier."  Rodney smirked at that, getting two soldiers to move the boxes to the lab for him.  Evan found John and his dog on the couch, flopping down on the dog's other side.  He looked so happy to find someone new to talk to him.  "Glamour wants me to do a topless picture after that marathon the other day."

"That's fucked up," John said with a smirk.

"Yup, which is why we're going to dinner and the dog's going to play with Xander's."  He put targets on them and beamed them back to his place to have dinner.  The two St. Bernards were running around the back yard.  Blackhawk ran out with a bark to be included.  John relaxed since they were still safe there.  More guards but less people watching them overall was nice enough.


John looked up as Evan appeared beside him six weeks later.  "Another dinner?" he guessed with a smile.

"Nope.  You're going in Xander's place to the Marine Corps ball with me."

John blinked a few times.  "Why?"

"Because you never date anymore.  It's pathetic that I'm getting all the action in DC."  He smirked.  "Plus, the commander in chief said so and neither one of us can go against his orders."  John groaned.  "Jack got you a new uniform so it'll fit too."

"There'll be reporters there."

"Not that many and we're beaming directly into the hotel.  They'll all be outside."  He stared at him.  "You need to get out more, sir.  You're moping.  You're pitiful, and people are starting to think that the reporters ruined you or you're depressed."

John shrugged.  "I don't know.  I wanted the peace and quiet.  It's nice."

"I know it is.  Still."  He handed over the suit bag.  "Yours.  Newly fitted."  John got up with a groan, going to shower and change.  He petted the dog, getting a happy bark.  Blackhawk followed him back to his own room to change then they met John in the gateroom.  He looked excellent but wary in his dress blues.  Evan smirked.  "Xander said you could bring the dog."

"Nah.  Blackhawk, go play with Ronon?"  The dog pouted at him.  He sighed.  "Fine.  Go play with Rodney and Willow plus the baby?"  He ran off.  He still loved the baby.  John put in his earpiece.  "Daedalus, this is Sheppard and Lorne.  We're ready."  They got beamed and he took a deep breath once they appeared.  He looked at Lorne.  "You're sure?"

"Yup.  You need to look at pretty things beyond the city.  She's beautiful but not a date."  He walked them to the doorway.  "Colonels Lorne and Sheppard."  He handed over the invitations.

"Thank you for attending, sirs."  The herald smiled.  "It's an honor, Colonels."  He announced them and a few people looked but not too many.  John got giggled at by a pretty young Sergeant but she only wanted a dance and he could use it to relax so Evan accepted for him.  They went out to dance and it was better.  Easier.  No reporters.  Everyone there was very polite, even if they had hated him as president, and nothing bad happened.  It was decent and maybe he'd start going out quietly again.

Evan watched him from the bar and *knew* something had happened.  He got his present guard in there, Gibbs was off in the corner pretending to be ignored, to ask him what it was.  Gibbs walked over to talk to him, making John stiffen but admit to something quietly. The pretty thing he was dancing with growled so it must be bad.  So hey, maybe Evan would have something to do this week instead of researching how to call down wish demons on the Senate.


Xander got the text message and excused himself long enough to read it.  He showed it to Ezra, who growled, and Chris, who growled louder.  The leader of Cameroon gave them an alarmed look.  "Sorry, just something bad I needed to hear."   He smiled.  "Someone in one of those stupidity groups is trying to cause a problem.  I'm sure people will deal with it for me so I don't have to?" he asked Chris.  Who nodded and went to handle that.  Ezra smiled and went with him.  He sat down again.  "Sorry about that."

"It's fine," the other leader said with a smile.  "Small things must be stopped before they become big things."

"Exactly.  Or before they cause multiple other problems to start."  He could not believe some militia had threatened Atlantis and John both.  So it wasn't just the reporters stalking them it was also this idiot group.  Xander dropped into one of the local dialects, which the watching reporters wouldn't get, and told him what was going on to get a better idea than an all out taking them out assault.

The leader gaped then gave him a really good one, which he texted to Ezra.  Xander smiled and glared at one reporter who had gasped.  She looked down so she wouldn't be talking.  He winked and went over how the local slayers were doing.  They were due in later so he could hang out with them.


John was watching the news later that day when the announcement of the group going down.  John tipped his head, staring at it.  "How in the hell?" he muttered.

Evan flopped down beside him, handing him the bag of popcorn and the leash to Blackhawk, who was now tired from his run.  "Because I got infected with Xander's I'll be damned syndrome," he said bluntly.  John stared at him.  Evan smirked.  "Sometimes it pays to be the guy in charge."  He ate a bite of popcorn, tossing some down for the dog.  "I also had a talk with the entertainment reporter at the white house and she agreed they should quit stalking you because they're being unfair to you and how else are you going to date."

He ate a bite of popcorn.  "She did say that she'd pass along a stern warning that they were going to be in trouble with the guards because so much shit was going on and they hadn't turned in that you had gotten verbal death threats, which pissed Xander off enough to ask the guy he's talking to in Cameroon for advice."  He ate another piece.  "Also, we had Dawn make you a disguise necklace in case you need it.  Will that solve most of the issues?"

"Yeah.  It will.  How did you know?"

Evan looked at him.  "I knew you weren't depressed, even if you have lived in front of this tv for a damn long time.  By the way, I'm assigning you to the Cleveland house for six weeks to work with the younger slayers.  You, Telya, and Ronon are all going.  They could use the advanced hand-to-hand training.  That'll give the two new ATA carriers they found time to get used to the city without her having to try to coddle you and them.  Then they're going to Archaic with Jon."

He grinned.  "There's almost no reporters in Cleveland because the slayers complained while staking vampires and the demons will eat them.  They've already told them they're annoying and in their way, even the peaceful ones, plus endangering the slayers and the peaceful community's health and well-being.  The judge agreed with the restraining order.  So you'll be more free to date there."

John relaxed.  "Thanks."

"You should've told me.  We could've solved it before they sent them to others.  They sent them to two senators to change their votes too.  Larabee called in from Africa to get them raided and shut down.  He has a whole list of how they should go and reasons why.  By the end of our term in DC there won't be any more of them if we can help it."

John flipped channels.  "The republicans want you to stay but not Xander."

"I'd kill every single one of them if they made me president," he said bluntly.  "Then I'd walk off and we'd go back to Pegasus."  He ate another bite of popcorn while John laughed.  "Take him to get him new toys tonight," he said with a nod at the dog.  "He's good and he deserves it."

"Yeah, I can do that," he decided, getting up.  "Wanna hit Petsmart?"  The dog barked and followed, tail going hard enough to throw off his stride.

"Excuse me?  We got death threats here?" Willow shouted a few minutes later.  "If I still had my magic, there'd be some damn small lizards with gunbelts and propaganda!" she shouted.  "I'll be Goddess-damned before I let that happen to this city!"

Evan smirked, putting his feet up.  "That's why you don't have it anymore," he said quietly.  "Because the US would be full of little lizards who'd want to vote Xander back into office so he'd protect them from you."  He nibbled while he watched the news.  He was going to have to shoot down rumors he wanted the presidency.  Hard.


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