Xander looked over at Devi, his boss, well to be truthful his pimp, and shook his head. He got free of the mob around him, heading for where the demon was sitting, curling up on the footstool in front of him. "Am I supposed to be helping them argue or stopping it?"
"That's up to you. It's going to turn into a bidding war." He raised his glass. "Gentlemen, and other creatures, you're boring my newest worker. Talking about him isn't going to get him any money tonight."
Three of the demons arguing glared at him. "We'll fix that soon enough," one of them, a large, green, mossy demon hissed. He looked at Xander, licking what the human guessed was his lips. "What does he do best?"
"He's not very long in the business," Devi reminded them. He glanced over at the couch, where everyone else was sitting and watching the bidding war. "The rest of you, once this is settled, are more than welcome to bid on another one of my people's services."
"A human in here is rare," the moss demon reminded him. "Thirty."
Another of the prostitutes hissed. "Xander, what did you do to them? That's unheard of until after you've got a rep!"
"Sixty," said the vampire in the group, one who had pulled out of the bidding war earlier that evening. "In American dollars."
Devi smiled at him. "Blair, I didn't think that you wanted him because of what he used to do."
"That was earlier, after hearing Preston's remarks on his first assignment, I'm more than eager to taste this little boy." He smiled at Xander. "Don't worry, I didn't mean that... literally."
Devi looked around at the crowd of demons waiting on Xander. "Of course, he'll have another assignment in an hour," he noted for those that weren't even interested in his other people. He was going to have to be careful or the new guy was going to make a lot of enemies with his other workers. "I'd prefer if this bidding war were wrapped up soon and some of the rest of you went with some of my other people though. This really isn't fair to Xander on his first night." He'd have to explain it to his other workers as new things were always more expensive for the first few days - it was the 'new' factor.
"Seventy," Blair said, staring at Xander, giving him an alluring smile. "For an hour. No funny or rough stuff."
Xander looked at Devi, who nodded. "I guess you win this hour then." He stood up and held out a hand. "Pick a room," he invited, giving him a confident smile. Having someone pay seventy thousand dollars for an hour of your time was very confidence inspiring after all. He must be doing something right. He walked into the room the vampire had chosen and locked the door behind them.
Devi looked at the other demons then at his other boys. "Pick someone else guys, at least for now," he said quietly, going back to his drink.
Xander checked this vampire out. "No biting," he said quietly.
"I don't do that without permission." Blair took off his shirt. "Contrary to the ones that you've run into, young man, not all of us are blood thirsty killers. Some of us are lovers."
Xander grinned at him. "Good. I'm glad I'm not the only one in the room." He dropped his pants and stepped out of them, walking forward to help his client out of the rest of his clothes.
Devi looked up as one of his oldest workers walked into the office. "What's up, Peter?" he asked the quarter demon, inviting him to sit down.
"What's with the new guy, Xander? He's taking everyone's clients and he's starting to get a bad rep upstairs. I thought you said he was human."
"He is," Devi said, giving him a reassuring smile. "Peter, were you here when Martin was here?"
"Yeah, and so were a few other of the guys, that's who he's being compared to."
"Well, he's a lot like Martin, only fully human. He's GHS to the bone, of a level that's not commonly seen today." He leaned back in his chair. "Otherwise, I'm not sure why he's so special. I haven't seen this sort of behavior from our clients in years."
Xander tapped on the door. "I may have a partial answer but not a why," he offered, leaning against the door frame. "I, for whatever reason, attract demons." He grimaced at the other pro. "I don't know why, or how, but you can put me in Sunnydale's park and an hour later there's going to be half the demons in town drawn there. Even they don't know why. I've asked a vampire I know and he couldn't figure it out at all. He thought it had to do with me being trapped in a school over a Hellmouth for four years." He shrugged. "I don't know why, but I'd like it to stop too. I got scared earlier."
Peter looked at him. "You're really not demonic? Not in the least little bit?"
"Not as far as I know," Xander told him. "I've looked back through my family records when I first started attracting strange things, and I couldn't find a single entry that wasn't verifiable and human." He gave him a smile. "After attracting a Praying Mantis Science teacher and an animated mummy girl, I looked really hard, but I never came up with anything out of the ordinary."
Devi shook his head. "I knew there was something strange but I never knew what. Now that you've said it, I've heard of it but I'm not sure what it's called. He's right though, Peter, it's just that he smells good to them. Basically, its' a product of his pheromones." He waved Xander in. "Shut the door, kid." Xander did so and leaned against it. "What would you like to see happen?"
"I'd like for everyone to not hate me," he said simply. "Oh, and not to sound like I'm whining but when do I get my first night off? I'm really sore."
"In two days." Devi looked him over. "I'll release you tonight so you can go bathe. Would that help?"
"Maybe. It's not the muscles, it's the..." He blushed. "Well, okay, I guess it is the muscles, but not the external muscles." He looked at Peter, who was staring at him in shock. "What? I'm new to this!"
"Sorry, kid," Peter said, standing up. "If you say you're human, I'll believe you but you'd better watch out. Some of the other guys are *real* pissed at you right now." He left the room, letting Xander have his seat.
Devi watched as Xander sat down as delicately as he could. "You okay?"
"I'm numb and what's not numb is aching," Xander told him quietly. "I don't want to be hated."
"I'm working it out now. We'll cut your hours back each night to give the other guys a chance. I'll move you into a featured spot and that might cure some of it too." He looked the young human over. "Have you taken out your portal yet?"
Xander shook his head. "I'm not sure how, that's why I came in here."
"Easy, you squeeze it out, same as you would anything else up there." Xander blushed again. "Don't tell me that you've never had anything stuck up there." He hit himself on the forehead. "Sorry, I forgot. Okay, shit it out basically. That should remove it. You put it into it's box and put the box into the bathroom, leaving the faucet in the sink running lightly. Leave the box open so some of the vapor can get it. Any other problems?"
"Is there some sort of balm I can put on my ... rear?" he asked, turning pinker.
"Nope. Just time and practice, and some judicious application of warm baths. That's all we can do." He gave him a smile. "You really don't know why you attract them so much?"
"Nope." Xander pushed himself up, using the arms of the chair for leverage. "Not a clue. Can I go bathe now?"
"Sure. You're dismissed for the night. Maybe the other guys can have some clients now."
"I really didn't mean to steal them," Xander said as he opened the door and walked out, heading up to his room. He walked into the bathroom immediately and started his bathing preparations.
The next night, Devi was growing tired of watching everyone glare at Xander, so he called him over. "Go upstairs," he ordered. "Go watch TV and relax."
Xander gave him a hurt look. "I don't mean to," he whispered.
"I know, and so do they. I had a talk with them before the shift tonight." He patted Xander on the thigh. "Go upstairs. I'll call you back down if it's someone like Adam." Xander nodded and headed for the elevator. "Guys," he said, standing up to walk over to them, "it really isn't his fault. We don't know why he attracts demons this way."
"We could always have him tested," Peter suggested. "The Doctor's back in town."
Devi nodded. "I heard, but only if the kid agrees of his own free will."
John, the pro that had greeted Xander on his first night to the brothel, got up and walked out of the room, heading up to the living quarters. He found Xander sulking on his bed, looking at a picture. He walked over and took it, putting it beside the bed so he could stare down at the man who was starting to become his friend. "There's a way to figure this out," he told him quietly. "There's a guy in town who can test you for demon taint. He's been here before and he used to be a regular client."
Xander sat up, looking at him. "But I'm not demonic."
"He can also test for blessings and for curses."
"Oh." Xander nodded. "Yeah, I want to figure this out."
John stared at him. "You really don't want this?"
"I don't want to be hated," Xander told him. "I never know what's going on or when this comes out. Some months it's there and some months all the demons ignore me. I've never understood it and if this guy has answers then I'd like to have them too." His voice got a little shrill at the end and he coughed. "Sorry, but this disturbs me." He gave the other man a helpless look. "How do you get your portal out? It took me almost an hour last night."
"I usually reach up and catch the edge of it but you've got to be careful because you can rip it that way. The best way is to shit it out." He shrugged. "I'll go tell Devi that you've agreed."
"I heard," Devi said from the doorway. "You sure, kid?"
"Very," Xander said, looking around John at him. "This bothers me, Devi, it always has. I'm either so totally overlooked that I'm the asset in the fight, or I'm the bait, and I'm tired of it."
"Good. We'll try to get him up here tomorrow. Stay up here tonight. And no, don't take his advice about pulling it out, you'll rip it." He closed the door, after nodding John out. "Sleep, kid, it's probably going to be a rough test tomorrow."
Xander grabbed the picture and laid back down, staring at his friends. He wondered what they were doing.
The demon Xander was standing in front of reminded him of a troll. He was small, bumpy, and hadn't done more than grunt yet. He moved where the demon pointed and sat down on the stool, looking at him. "Can you really tell me what's going on?" he asked.
The demon glared at him and pulled on a funny pair of glasses, then he smiled. "Fully human," he pronounced. The other prostitutes groaned en masse. "No spells except for his retightening charm. He's a human Quarth basically." He took the funny glasses off and put them away carefully. "There's no demon anywhere in him, he's one of the tenth of a percent that attracts us. If I could bottle his pheromones, I'd be the richest demon on the plane. His chemicals are Viagra for demons."
"We can't compete against that," John complained.
"Huh?" Xander asked quietly.
"You took basic biology, right, young man?"
Xander nodded. "But I didn't learn very much after the Praying Mantis teacher tried to eat me."
"And you never wondered about this?" Quaran, another of the pros who was Quarth, asked incredulously. Quarth were the official demonic concubines; out of all the sexual demons, they were the only ones that every species was attracted to. They were also the most often kidnapped, but they were usually harmless, their whole purpose in life was pleasure - the giving of it.
"I come from Sunnydale, strange things happen there," Xander shot back.
"Is there any way to mask this?" Devi asked. "This can't be good for him."
"Outside of changing his bodily chemicals or turning him into a vampire, no." The doctor gathered up his things. "Xander, to answer your question, everything secretes hormones. Yours are just keyed towards demons for some reason. If you had grown up anyplace else, you'd already have been taken by a demonic entity and made his sex slave." He watched as the young man turned pale and ran out of the room. "What did I say?"
"He's only here for six weeks," Devi told him. He looked at his guys. "I'm going to put him on special assignment, guys, and I'll cut back on his hours. I know it isn't fair to you, but it's for the best."
Peter shook his head. "That boy's *dangerous*, Devi. To us and to himself. We should give him to someone to keep."
Devi glared at him. "We do not take part in the trading of human flesh for keeps, Peter," he said coldly. He looked back at the doctor. "Can we change his personal scent? He did say that sometimes every demon ignored him."
"Those must be the days he's out of tune with himself." The doctor shrugged. "You might be able to mask it with magic, or some sort of charm maybe, but I can't guarantee that it will work. I just hope he finds a human mate that will be able to protect him. You might want to ask the person that trained him though; if it's the same person I heard it was, he may have an idea from it happening in the Society in the past." He nodded at the other men. "Peter, would you feel free to take me on tonight? I really could use some of this worn out of me before I go see my next patient. Not even I am immune to his scent."
"Sure, Doc," he said, pointing at a room. "Come on." He walked him into the room and shut the door.
Devi tipped his head to the side like he was listening to something. "Who's Willow?"
John shook his head. "The Wiccan who made his charm. She's his best friend." He checked his watch. "You want him on tonight?"
"We'll bring him out later and put him in the special room. We'll let people look at him on video tonight and see if that changes anything." He glanced around. "Go take the sign off the door while I call Adam." He headed for his office, letting John inside before he closed the door. "What?"
"What if we can't fix it? He's cutting into our checks, Devi."
"Then I'll put him into the external dating program. That should help some." Devi sat down behind his desk. "Why are you worried?"
"His innocence is helping this problem. We've got to get him to be less innocent. He's like a virginal siren calling out to our clients."
"We'll fix it. It's not the kid's fault," he reminded John. "As for debauching him, I'm not sure even that would take away his innocence." He looked down at his desk, and the note sitting on it. "I do have a special client coming in and I'll ask him to take it instead of you, but I don't even think a Sarthna encounter will change his innocence. I think that's all part of his package." He looked up to see the desperation. "John, I'll do what I can, but he won't be here that long. Only for six weeks. He's already well into his first week, you can live with it." He pointed at the door. "Go back to work. I'll send Xander shopping tomorrow and talk to him his next night on."
"Yes, sir," John said, trudging back out to the common room.
Xander walked into Devi's office, giving him a hesitant smile. "You called?" he asked.
"Yeah, sit, Xander."
Xander swallowed and sat down. "Are they still mad? I can't help it. Even the witch I know doesn't know how to help me fix it."
"I know. That's why I'm sending you shopping tonight. You're going to be going on special assignments." He tossed over a catalog. "You see, we also happen to have an escort service. You'd be expected to learn social graces and manners so you could go out with some of our more affluent clients. There may or may not be sex involved but it wouldn't be done here."
"So the other guys couldn't get pissed at me anymore," Xander said, giving him a faint smile. "Okay, I'd like that. Is it dangerous?"
"We screen pretty well, but there have been a few incidences in the past of clients getting rough since they weren't being monitored. If that happens, then they're banned from here and their names are given out to other establishments like this one. They know this though so they know it's in their best interests to be nice to you guys." Devi looked him over. "I'm going to send someone to guard you and to help you choose clothes. Not that I don't think that you're going to do badly, but just in case. Get clothes that you like. Some formal, some not so formal but more formal than jeans. Oh, and get a pair of leather pants. There's always a need for them sometime." He tossed over an envelope. "I'll have your guard take you to our bank so you can deposit some of that if you'd like. It's best not to let it lie around here."
Xander opened the envelope and his mouth fell open. He nodded at it a few times.
"You get forty percent of everything you earn," Devi reminded him with a smile. "That's from your first night's trade. Part of it anyway, I didn't have that much cash on hand and I haven't been to the bank yet. I'll pay you the rest when everyone else gets paid. You okay?" he asked when he noticed the kid still hadn't taken a breath.
"That's a lot," Xander gasped.
"Yes, it is. That's why it needs to go into the bank," Devi said patiently. He pushed a button on his phone and a very big, tough-looking human walked into the room. "Lyle, I want you to take Xander shopping. He's going to be our newest out-sourcer and special assignment guy." He looked at Xander, who was still staring at the money. "Take him to the bank first, once he comes up for air."
Xander's head shot up. "Huh?"
Lyle picked Xander up and carried him out the door to the special car Devi always used. He set Xander in the back and climbed in next to him, tapping on the divider so the driver would go. "You gonna live?" he growled.
Xander nodded, his eyes still very big. "This is part of my first night's take," Xander said, handing it over. "You hold it. People won't mug you."
Lyle smiled and tucked the money into his pocket. "So, you're the one who attracts demons?" Xander gave him another panicked look as he looked him over. "Don't worry, kid, I'm human, same as you are. I just thought we could have some polite conversation."
Xander relaxed. "Yeah, it looks like it. Even that doctor guy couldn't explain it beyond pheromones. I called home to a witch I know last night and had her explain it to me in small words, but she didn't understand it either. Though she joked about it explaining most of my high school career." He looked out the window. "Where is this bank?"
"We'll go there after you go shopping. That way you don't have to worry about how much you're spending." He looked out the window, then at the guy in front of him. "You're GHS, right? That's the rumor anyway." Xander nodded. "Good, I've told the driver that we're going to a store that sells lots of silk and velvet stuff."
"Devi said I had to get a pair of leather pants."
"I know. We discussed this earlier when he made out your itinerary. Relax, kid, you're in good hands."
"Okay," Xander sighed, getting really comfortable on the leather seats. "I want a couch like this when I get home."
"That shouldn't be too hard. Leather couches are still pretty common in California." He smiled at the frown. "I needed to know, in case someone tried to jump you."
"Yeah, but I only took out the bad guys, the ones who came to the attention of the town. The vampires who were trying to eat the populace. I don't think I ever hurt an innocent demon, one that wasn't bent on destruction."
"Oh, you've hurt some of them, but in the wallet and possibly the heart," Lyle said with a smile. He rubbed across his bald head. "I don't look like a Lyle, do I?"
"No, you look more like a Butch or a Tom. Something a lot more..."
"Manly?" Lyle asked with a smile. "That's part of my charm and good fortune. Everyone underestimates me." He stood up as the car stopped, getting out first and looking around before letting Xander out of the car. He led the way into the store, smiling at one of the sales girls. "My associate needs fancy clothes. Soft, seductive, fancy clothes." She nodded, licking her lips. "We'd like your personal attention," he told her, waving toward the back.
"Of course," she said, hurrying back to clear a spot for them to look at clothes in. "Right this way," she called.
Xander was pulled away from a rack and led back to the back by Lyle.
Lyle tapped on Devi's door, giving him a dry, bland look. "Do you know how many people I had to take him away from?" he asked. Devi's mouth opened. "How many times I had to steal him back today?" Devi's mouth opened a little farther. "Do you know how many halfies there are on the NYPD, all of which tried to take him home with them?"
Devi sighed, "Oh, no." His shoulders slumped. "That's why it took you so long?"
"I took him to Madam Qui's for etiquette lessons. She got all the way to Connecticut before I got him back. That's what took me so long."
Devi burst out laughing. "No," he moaned, holding his head. He looked up. "I can't send him out, can I?"
"Not unless you send him with someone like Blair or Preston. No." Lyle walked in and closed the door. "He told me his Wiccan friend can't help him change his scent. She doesn't know how."
Devi shook his head. "I guess he's our special assignment guy then."
"You might want to be careful if you give him to that Sarthna coming in at the end of the week. Xander's gotten everything from pouts, to offers of marriage or being kept, to outright threats when I had to take him back, and those were from the ones who saw him and tried to snatch him, not the ones he actually talked to. One of those decided to commit stupidity and I had a run-in with Blair's minions over him."
"Blair was involved?"
"No, his childe was involved. Blair stepped in and staked him for his arrogance, then gave Xander a brilliant smile and invited him to dinner since it was his night off. He turned him down, telling him it was a momentary shopping thing because he needed indecent clothes." He rubbed across his head again. "He has good tastes, a bit loud but otherwise good. I stuck him with the darker reds and blues, and black. We stuck with velvet, silk, but he's shown a definite taste for cashmere and silk. He's fully kitted out for whatever. We even stopped by the lingerie store so he could pick up some more working outfits. He's got one that's the same color as blood as it spills, and he's got one that's got a single line of red part-way down the front in the same shade, but the rest of the outfit's white. He's killer in both of them, boss."
"Thank you, Lyle. Tell him to come down and I'll let him work for three hours or so, it's been not so busy tonight. Maybe he'll bring in business."
"I'd let him go down to the bar tonight," Lyle suggested. "Let him string for the rest of the guys. He's really worried about how they see him, he wants to be liked by everyone."
"I'm sure he will be. Go tell him to get dressed in clubbing clothes. I've got an idea." He picked up the phone as his personal bodyguard left to go upstairs. "Blair? Yes, it's Devi. I was wondering if you'd like to initiate Xander into the out-sourcing program? No, I think he needs to get out tonight. Yes, standard fee would be fine." He smiled. "Of course. Oh, but I best warn you, the problem you had with your childe wasn't the first one today. No, Lyle told me about the others. Including Madam Qui, who should understand since she's a Quarth. Yes, you'd think that since her species are the official demonic concubines that she wouldn't have reacted like that, but Lyle said she was in Connecticut before he stopped her with the boy." He smiled. "I'm sure you'll take good care of our walking advertisement." He hung up and smiled at Xander as he walked in wearing a pair of velvet drawstring pants and a skin-tight t-shirt, all in black. He checked his footwear, a pair of soft leather boots, and nodded. "Good. Blair, you should remember him from your first night, is taking you out tonight to a club. You're going to be our advertisement and he's going to see if there's a way we can stop you from being kidnapped. He's got a large circle of acquaintances that you'll probably be seeing. Will you be on your best behavior?"
Xander nodded. "I'll do my best. What's expected of me?"
"Nothing more than clubbing, kid. I'm not expecting you to get any tonight. Do you have your portal in, just in case?" Xander nodded. "Good. If he does desire something more, remind him he's going to owe me more money when you get back." He looked over the outfit again. "You've got a good body, but you need toned a little. We'll get you started at the gym tomorrow." He waved a hand. "Go have fun and relax. We'll figure this out." He watched as Xander walked out, smiling at his backside and the lack of pantyline. "Yeah, he'll be a good advertisement." He picked up some of the paperwork on his desk. "Shoot, forgot to ask him. I'll do it tomorrow when the guys start to get frustrated."
Xander wobbled into the brothel and smiled at everyone. "Hi," he said, waving.
John snorted. "Got you drunk? Did you remind him about paying more?"
Blair walked in and glared at John. "I know. Unfortunately he's not drunk. Someone tried to kidnap him after injecting him with a foreign substance that I can't identify by taste. Where's Devi?"
"Right here," Devi said as he came off the elevator. "How many people did it take to get him back this time?"
"One. I ate him." Blair smiled at him as he handed over the young man. "You really need to put a locator on him. That was only one of sixteen attempts to take him tonight." He looked over at the other prostitutes, who all looked stunned. "This gift of attraction of his isn't a gift, it's a curse. It makes *all* of us want him. Even you, John." He smiled coldly and turned back to Devi. "I suggest you have him looked at, I couldn't tell what the drug was but it was injected into his arm." He pointed at the bruise. "I got the person as they withdrew the needle but they refused to tell me what it was. He was human though. His boss and I had a few... words." He nodded at Lyle and turned, leaving the brothel.
"Well, well," Lyle said, taking Xander. "Who tried for you this time? More cops?"
"Only a few," Xander slurred, giving him a brilliant smile but sad eyes. "Everyone loves me but no one likes me. I don't know why."
"Take him upstairs," Devi ordered, looking around. "I'll call our doctor in to look at him."
"It's a happy drug," Lyle told him. "Maybe GBH." He picked the young man up and carried him up the stairs. "Where were you when he got you?"
"Bathroom. Had my pants open and everything," Xander said, patting the side of his neck. "You're nice."
"Thank you." Lyle kicked the elevator's door when it didn't open automatically for him.
Xander walked down to the office the night after his Sarthna encounter and gave Devi a pitiful look. "That was fun but it wasn't," he complained. "Do I get him again?"
"Yup, if he comes back, he's demanded you if you're still here." He looked up and smiled. "You hit another record last night."
"Not in it for the money," Xander reminded him. He looked down at the outfit he was debuting, the white silk with the faint trail of blood leading down from a drop near his collarbone. "Do you like?"
"Very enticing. I'm sure you'll have Blair all over you again tonight." Xander blushed. "You okay? Did anything funny happen that night?"
"Not that I remember," Xander told him with a shrug. "Of course, for a few minutes I couldn't remember my name. Did Blair really eat the guy?"
"Yup." Devi handed him a check. "I heard you got an account now so I'll pay you this way from now on."
Xander looked at the check and his mouth fell open. "But I only worked three days!"
"Yes, you did." Devi smiled at him. "Kid, you make me a lot of money because of your odd condition, but I promise that I'll try to help you cure it while you're here. Now, let Lyle take you to the bank and then come back and work for the next few hours." He waved his hand, shooing Xander away.
Xander got up and walked out, still looking at his check. He ran into a hard chest and looked up, smiling at Lyle. "Devi said for you to take me to the bank."
"Sure. You going in that?"
"Yeah, I need to go deposit it, not go out and do anything else." He grinned, showing off the check. "I'm not in it for the money, but I'm still happy about this."
"Good," Lyle said, putting his arm around Xander's neck so he could lead him to the car.
Devi looked up at the clock then back out at the common room. He picked up the phone and dialed it, but he still wasn't getting an answer from Lyle's cellphone. He slammed down the receiver and walked out into the common area. "Has anyone heard from Lyle?"
John looked up, his mouth open; he'd never seen Devi this upset in the four years he'd been working for him. "He take Xander out?"
Devi nodded. "To the bank an hour before the shift started." He looked toward the door as Lyle walked in, dragging Xander with him.
"But I want to hurt him!" Xander was yelling. "He's *mine*!"
Lyle handed the boy over with a smile. "You might want to get him calmed down," he said quietly, then left the room. Everyone flinched as they heard the punch to the elevator's door as it closed, and a few winced when they saw the dent.
Xander fumed and paced in front of Devi. "They were mine to beat up, why couldn't I have killed them? I can do that. I've done it before with Buffy. I'll gladly do it again without her."
Devi stopped him and forced Xander to look at him, hands on each side of his face. "What happened?" he asked slowly, hoping it would get through. There weren't too many things that could upset Lyle like that.
Xander glared at him after getting free. "You want to know what happened? This time I was ignored." One of the other pros burst out laughing so Xander turned to glare at him, making him flinch. "I was the one they ignored as they decided to come in and rob the bank. So I got to help take them out. Lyle tried to get in their way but he got knocked out and I got to take on sixteen little slithering demons, which I don't remember the name of but I know they can be killed with cold. So I got to save the day and then, *then* the security guard comes up and gets gropey with me. I tell him no and he nods at one of the tellers, who comes out and tries to gas me so they can take me away. By now, Lyle's awake and all, but I'm already in the back of a car and who should save me but one of my old *enemies*! And then, to top it all off, I was taken from *HIM* by someone else! From Spike!" He threw up his hands and started to pace again. "This has gotten out of hand. I can't even walk outside right now. I mean, really, three kidnapping attempts in less than ten minutes is a bit much." He stopped when he ran into Devi, giving him a long look. "You promised me that you'd help fix me, what's going to do that?"
"I'm not sure. I have a call out to Adam and to a bunch of sorcerers, including Preston. They're working on it, Harris. The smell of demons already on you must make it worse somehow, but we're working on it." He pulled Xander in for a short hug, but he was vibrating. "You need to go wear that energy out. Want to take on someone and work them over?"
Xander ran a hand through his hair and nodded. "Make it someone who can take it. I'm not going to be responsible for killing someone when their heart goes or whatever."
"Deal." Devi walked into his office and picked up the phone, bringing in an old client that might need to be worn out.
Xander came out of his work room a few hours later perfectly clean. He nodded at his client as he dragged himself away and headed for the office, giving Devi a sweet, but cold smile. "Another?"
Devi stared at him and nodded, pointing at the man sitting still on one of the couches.
Xander walked over and found Adam, and immediately calmed down as he slid into his lap. "Hi. Do you know how to fix me?"
Adam sighed as he rubbed down Xander's back. "Not yet, I'm afraid, but I'm also working on your problem. How are you?"
"Still tense and uptight. I need someone who can wear me out."
Adam smiled at him. "If you insist. Would you be willing to try me?"
Xander slumped. "But I don't want to hurt you. I almost killed the other guy I think."
Adam's smile gentled. "I assure you, young Alexander, that you won't hurt me. I'm a very hardy man." He stood up, letting Xander slide down his body. "Come, I should take care of you now." He walked him into a clean room and locked them in, not caring that everyone was staring at them.
Devi looked at his crew. "And you thought you guys had it rough because some of your clients were going to him? His last one, Malvastrum, just went to the hospital because he was having chest pains." He walked into his office and closed the door, hard.
Xander walked into Devi's office the next day after a light tap. "I'm sorry about last night," he said quietly, looking at the carpet. "Is everyone okay?"
"Lyle's fine. He had a few drinks and went to bed." Devi tapped the desk a few times, making Xander look at him. "Do you want me to lie to you?" Xander nodded. "Okay, then everyone's fine." Xander sat down and put his head in his hands. "I know you needed to wear it out," Devi said kindly, "but I still don't know how you did that to Malvastrum."
"Neither do I," Xander admitted. "It was nice, normal, but hard sex, I swear, Devi. I never meant to hurt him." He swallowed. "Is he really not okay or mildly not okay?"
"Really not okay. He died of a heart attack last night. They said that his heart basically exploded as soon as he got to the hospital." Xander turned very pale. "Yeah, he was a good guy."
Xander nodded, he was too choked up to talk. "I did that," he whispered finally. "I did a really bad thing to a nice guy."
Devi came around to give him a hug. "He knew you didn't mean it, kid. Don't stress over it. Next time, though, I'm calling Adam first. He seemed to calm you down right away."
"He understood," Xander said, wiping off his damp cheeks. "Is there some way I could send a card to his family?"
"He didn't have one. He was over nine hundred years old," Devi told him, giving him back his personal space. "He was too old to have been doing that last night in the first place. I should have remembered that." He gave Xander a smile. "Next time, it's going to be a punching bag. No more getting that stressed over all this."
"I can't go out anymore," Xander said quietly. "Not without an armed escort."
Devi snorted. "I noticed. It'll slack off. You're just the new thing. This is only your second week here. Next time though, you're taking a long shower. Preston said that some of this had to do with the demonic stench already on you, that it's building on what you're putting out naturally and making you irresistible. Which means that you should be okay when you go home." He smiled. "It has to get better, right?" He waved at the common room. "Today's your normal day off. Do you really want to work?" Xander shook his head. "Didn't think so. Why don't you go steal John and take him shopping? He needs to go and he knows some good, safe places. I'll send you with Bulbous Nose for a guard. He tends to scare off most people."
Xander nodded and stood up, leaving the office.
Devi sighed as he leaned back. "He'd better scare of most people, I don't think either of us could take him being kidnapped again." He shook his head and made out John's check. He'd pay the guy to take the kid out for the day, and he really did need some new clothes.
Xander walked into the office to get his third week's check, not surprised in the least by it. He'd gotten used to having multi-digit checks recently and he appreciated how much he was earning. He had some plans for it when he got home. "Devi, how do I transfer this?" he asked.
"When you go home?" Xander nodded. "One of two ways. You start an account there and have it all transferred, or you carry it with you on your trip back. Or a combination of the two. I'd say a combination would be best. Why? You don't leave for another three weeks."
"I know, but I'm making plans on how to get home now. I think I'm going to take a few detours. Go see Adam now that he's back in Chicago. Maybe see the Northwest; I hear it's really pretty up there."
"Good. You should enjoy yourself before you go home. You still going to help the Slayer chick?"
"Only if she needs me. I appreciate the distinction but I know that we only take out those that are trying to hurt people against their wills. The vamps that are trying to snack on the whole of the populace and all that. Besides, I'm a research guy most of the time, not a fighting guy. I don't do too well in that area."
"As long as you understand that there's a difference, kid," Devi said gruffly.
"Yeah, I do. You nice guys don't come to my Hellmouth and set up shops. The bad guys come to the Hellmouth because I draw them there." He smiled at the snort. "I don't? You mean it's turned itself off again?"
Devi looked up. "At least you can joke about it now. Has it turned off?"
"I didn't get picked at all last night," Xander said, giving him a smile. "It was kinda nice to watch the other guys go get sore."
Devi chuckled. "Yeah, it was for them too." He waved a hand. "Go to work, kid. You can deposit that later."
"Okay." Xander nodded upstairs. "Gonna go hide this." He jogged to the elevator and went up to his room.
Xander wandered off shift and up to his room, stopping when he saw how messy it was. He always tried to keep it clean and it had been a lot cleaner earlier. He stepped out and walked out to where the guard was standing, motioning him over. "Someone's trashed my room," he said quietly. "Come help me?"
The demon guard nodded and followed him in, silently calling for Devi to come up.
Xander walked over to where he had hidden his check, pulling out the little hidden drawer, and swore loudly, bringing John.
John whistled. "Man, someone got you good," he said, leaning against the doorway.
"Got my check too," Xander told him, slamming the drawer shut. He looked around. "I'm not even sure what's wearable yet." He looked up. "Do you know anything about this?"
"I didn't hear a thing, but I had my headphones on," John admitted, giving him a small smile. "I'm sure it'll be found. Devi knows almost everything that goes on around here, he has some sort of spell." He got out of Devi's way at the poke to his back. "Hey, boss. Look what someone did to Xander's room."
Devi looked around and nodded. "I think I know who did it, but I was monitoring the bar downstairs when it happened." He held a bag out to Xander. "I had some clothes packed for tonight and I'll move you across the hall. Don't worry, I'll have someone come up and look through everything to make sure I'm right and it'll be your room again tomorrow." He waited until Xander was in his new room to look at John. "Headphones?"
"I wasn't in on it, Devi, and I don't condone it, but I saw what he did. I'm pleading willful ignorance here."
"I know. Let's not hold this against you, all right?" Devi said coolly as he walked down the hall to Peter's room. He tapped on the door and walked in, stepping through the middle of his casting circle to break it. "You can't summon someone to come steal him," he said coldly, grabbing Peter by the hair and pulling him up. "That's not your right." He handed him off to the guard. "Take him down to my office and have Lyle come up here and pack his things. Call Preston's protégé to come take care of this mess." He walked away, taking the check that was in the middle of the altar.
Xander tapped on Devi's door and walked in with his portal's box. "I did something bad," he said quietly, setting it down in front of him, "and I'm not sure what."
Devi looked at the portal then closed the lid. "You killed it."
Xander shook his head. "I didn't rip it."
"No, you didn't, but the portal's punctured. Tell me what happened *exactly*, Xander."
Xander swallowed. "I was having trouble getting it out. It keeps flipping upside down and sideways on me whenever I try to push it back out, so I reached up in there, but I didn't scratch it. I was really careful to only touch it around the edges."
Devi looked at it again, then frowned at his worker. "It flipped on you? How?"
"I don't know. I'm guessing it's something like how my ex's tampons would somehow flip string side up and she didn't notice. All I know is that it kept coming out upside down or sideways. I don't know what I did but I'm sorry," he said quickly. "I want to make it right. Can I help make another portal?"
"No." Devi put the box behind him. "Those portals are actually the demon themselves formed into another shape." He looked Xander over. "She never noticed?"
"No, she'd take it out and have to do it manually because the string was now up inside her. It was always right side down when she put it in, but somehow, she moved it."
"I want to check something. Close the door." Xander stood up and did so. "Come over here so I can check the inside of you." Xander slowly walked over and dropped his pants. Devi lubed his finger and stuck it in. "Okay, now squeeze. Not that hard!" He swatted his worker before his finger could break. "Try that again, only gentler, like you would when walking." The human's legs moved and Devi sighed. "Your muscles are some of the best trained I've ever seen. It's like a trick horse in there," he said as he pulled out his finger. He looked at the box, then at Xander, who was redressed and back across the desk from him. "When you walk, you clench your internal muscles and it sucks on the portal." He gave him a disgusted look. "I've *never* seen anyone who could do that unconsciously. Peter used to be able to do it when he first started, but he'd have to concentrate on it."
"This is another one of those things that'll never be understood?" Xander guessed.
"Yeah," Devi said dryly, "it is." He pulled out another portal and handed it over. "Go ask John to take this out for you each night from now until you leave next week. Hopefully, he won't tear it when he goes in for it."
"Yes, sir, I'm really sorry, Devi."
Devi waved it off. As soon as the door closed, he hit his head on the desk a few times. The kid was worth it for all the money he made him but not even Xander Harris should have muscles like that in his body.
Xander walked over to John and leaned down next to his ear. "Devi told me to ask you if you could start taking my portal out at night. My last one kept flipping or turning sideways and getting stuck."
John looked up at him in shock. "It did? How?"
"He called my internal muscles a trick pony," Xander said, sitting on the back of the couch behind him. "I don't know how I did it, but I hurt the last one really bad while taking it out."
John sighed. "You killed a portal?" Xander nodded. "Did that once, during my first week." He patted Xander's thigh. "We'll figure this out tonight. Go put it in, one of your regulars is coming soon."
Xander hopped up and went upstairs to put his new portal in. After all, he couldn't work without it, it ate the sperm.
Xander looked around at all the people gathered for his next to last night. Devi had put out invitations for this night instead of tomorrow, on which he only expected Adam. He looked back at Devi as the arguing started again, a mirror to his first night's work. He walked over and sat down in front of his boss. "You never told me if I was supposed to egg them on or not," he reminded him with a smile.
"Egg them on, you'll get more and you'll have to do less."
Xander grinned. "That makes sense." He stood up and walked over to the mob of demons, getting in the middle. "Guys, I'm going to change the bidding," he told them once he had their attention, which wasn't usually hard. "I'm going to start taking bids for the last guy and work my way backwards." He held up a finger at the clapping. "One thing, the last one will actually be the next to last one because I promised my last night to the guy who broke me in."
Blair smiled at him. "That seems very fair." He glanced around. "It would have been fitting if Preston had made it to be here tonight as he was your first."
"Um, he died a few weeks ago," Xander told him quietly. "He got even with the guy who killed his family." He opened his jacket to show the scar across his stomach. "I was his sword-bearer."
"Oh." Blair reached out to touch it. "I had wondered about this mark." He smiled at Xander. "How many of us are you willing to take on?"
Xander did a quick head count and figured it up, he wasn't going to service twenty people tonight, no way in, well, Hell. "Ten," he announced, getting booed for it. "Guys, I'm still tender from last night's celebration," he complained. "Ten. Last one first, highest bid wins that spot."
"I have a hundred thousand," Blair said proudly.
"I have more," another demon hissed at him. "I'm not willing to bet it all on one hour's ride though." He walked away, going to find some cheaper form of entertainment.
Xander shrugged. "Sorry I upset him. Okay, anyone else want to challenge Blair?" Nobody said anything. "Okay, Blair you get last spot." There was muted clapping. "Who's going to be number nine?"
"I've got fifty," a demon said, giving him a smile. "I don't want to go higher, but I'll take wherever that puts me."
Xander looked around. "Anyone going to go higher?" Everyone shook their heads. "Okay, how about forty?" One guy raised his hand. "You want forty?" He nodded. "Forty-one?" The other guy shook his head. "Okay, then you get me for forty-one, Marthem." He smiled and walked off to pay Devi. "Next is you," he said, pointing at the man who was going to bid for ninth. "You said forty, anyone going to challenge him?" No one said anything. "So I guess you got eighth." He smiled as the demon walked off. "Next?"
"Thirty," two demons said at once.
"Thirty-one," one corrected instantly.
The other demon growled at him. "I'll take seventh then," he decided.
"Only if you go past me," another person said as they walked up to the group.
"Riasu," Xander said, giving him a smile. "I didn't think that you liked me."
"I do, but I could never afford you. I figure first will go for a reasonable amount though."
Xander nodded. "Maybe." He went back to the bidding, letting it slowly go down to the non- headache range. At the end of the bidding, he took his first client, Riasu, back to one of the rooms.
Xander walked out after servicing his last client and flopped down beside Devi. "I'm tired," he announced. The other guys all clapped. "Gee, thanks." He smiled at Lyle as he walked in. "Hi. How are you? Still pissed at me?"
"Not at all," Lyle said, pulling a gun, "but I'm wondering what everyone else sees in you so I'm going to find out." He motioned Xander over with the gun. "Come on," he said when he hadn't moved.
Xander looked at Devi, who looked shocked. "Lyle, it's a pheromones thing. My chemicals like to attract demons." He glanced over at John. "Some one even suggested that I change my name to Demonus Flytrap."
Devi snorted. "That's a good one, John."
John smiled at him. "Thanks, boss." He looked up at Lyle. "He won't do a thing for you, you're human."
"Yay," Lyle said, grabbing Xander and pulling him up. He backed out of the room with him, making sure no one followed, though no one looked like they were going to try.
A few seconds later, Xander walked in with the gun dangling from his finger. He handed it over to Devi and sat back down, giving John a smile.
"Okay, I got to ask," one of the guys said, "what'd you do to him?"
Xander smirked. "I kissed him." He reached over to pat John's knee. "See, since the night I had trouble with my portal, John's been training me to use my natural gifts." Devi started to laugh. "Including training my stupid muscles." The guys all looked clueless. "I was turning the portal around as I walked, it ended up upside down and sideways because of the action of my muscles. So John trained them for me. Then he trained me how to pout and beg, and to kiss of course." He wiggled his eyebrows at his boss. "Won't Adam be surprised tomorrow?"
"I'm sure he will," Devi said in between snorts of laugher. "I'm very sure he will." He pushed himself up and went to get a drink. "Guys, you're looking at one of the most lethal GHS in the world right now. He can turn his pout on anyone and get them to do anything for him." He saluted Xander with his glass. "Good job, kid. I can't wait to hear Adam's comments."
One of the guys shook his head. "I can't believe that. How do you train trick muscles like that usefully?"
"Easy," Xander purred, a recent bad habit he had picked up, "and now I can stop them cold." He got up and left the room, heading up to pack. He wouldn't have time once he got through showing Adam what he had learned.
Adam's scream of, "What was *that*?" floated out into the common area. John looked at Devi and snickered, leaning on his client for support.
Blair, whom John was leaning on, looked over his shoulder. "Did he show him the trick where he can stop anyone cold?" he asked.
Devi shook his head. "Nope, another one, something oral I believe." He saluted John again, there'd be a nice bonus for that guy this week.
Adam walked out of the room just before dawn and grabbed the water Devi was holding out to him to drink. "God, someone taught that boy some amazing things," he gasped after he finished the second bottle of water. He looked over his shoulder at Xander, who was leaning against the doorway smirking. "I'll get you back someday, imp, remember that. Even those fancy tricks won't save you next time."
Xander strolled over and kissed him, knocking his teacher out cold. He yawned as he looked at Devi. "I'll leave as soon as I take a nap. I'm all packed and everything." He squatted down to tap Adam on the head. "Hi, I'm going to bed now and then I'm going home. You're always welcome in my home, Adam. Remember that." He stood up and strolled to the elevator, going up to rest and recharge so he could start his journey home. He'd found himself and the man he'd found was one he liked and respected, if only for the things he could do now. But he also enjoyed him, it was fun to be him some days. As long as no one got to him on the trip home.