Ezra came back from Denver to find a drooling, begging boyfriend hoping he had brought more cake with him. He handed over the two individual cakes and Xander moaned, kissing him there in the entry to the white house, in the public part. A few tourists clapped. He smiled as he walked him off. "Save them for after dinner. I'm sure you had plans?"
"Not really. I was going to run a few ideas that's very stupid past you, maybe have some baked steaks sent up, and then 'watch some tv'?" he teased with a naughty grin.
"I could appreciate that. What about the supposed panic that was on the news?"
"I got told to butt out. I've already told the press I wanted to know what projections were going on when they got some done, but that my advisors had said to stay out of it. I also pointed out that if I felt I had to, I'd find new advisors. I got given a few names." He took the precious cakes up to put them in his personal refrigerator then came back down. Ezra was waiting and so was Jon. "Big problems?"
"They told you to butt out?"
"Yeah. They said something I said caused it and I have no idea what."
Ezra shook his head. "The stock market plunged on bad earnings reports."
"So people need to save and spend again?" Xander asked. Ezra nodded. "We can help encourage that. Make a rush on jewelry and things." He considered it. Ezra smirked at him. "What? You haven't even flashed your ring yet. If you did, the entertainment people would change topics and Harry Winston would probably thank you a lot. Oh, I added three songs to the playlist. One the Carlos Santana/Guy from Nickleback song you liked."
"Which one is that?" Jon asked.
Xander turned it on. "_Why Don't You and I_."
Jon nodded. "That's definitely a mushy love song done by rockers. Can we have beer and wine?"
Ezra shrugged. "The dinner won't go exceedingly well with beer."
"You're doing frou-frou food?" Jon asked with a grimace.
"Oh. Then maybe it won't be so bad." He shrugged. "The Generals are huffy?"
"I told two to grow up?" Xander guessed. Jon smirked and nodded. "I nearly sat one in the corner for huffing at me that I didn't know what soldiers did. I called one of my girls and had her explain to him what soldiers and slayers did. He left nearly in tears. He apologized by letter."
"Good," Jon agreed with a grin. "He's probably the one they took the sidearm from. His daughter's a slayer."
"Sucks," Xander said. "I want like hell for us not to need them but we will. The duty sucked worse when it was only one at a time."
"True." Jon handed over the notes. "They said your wanted timetable on the pullback is unrealistic."
Xander read it over. "They have to start building that stuff," he said, handing it back. "If we set a firm timetable they know when they have to have it by. If they start now, it shouldn't be that hard. You can train one of ours in basic in six months."
"True," Jon agreed. "I pointed that out. They want a year."
"I'll compromise and say ten months."
"I'll tell them." Jon texted that to one, getting back that was doable. "They liked that more than seven." Xander smiled. "Hyt's caretaker said not to invite him."
"Not on the list," Xander admitted. "For the charity ball yes but not the one in Denver."
"Okay." He texted that as well. Then he looked up. "Two generals want on the list for Denver."
"No. Close friends and family only. That's why we're having the charity ball."
"You're bringing up an African general."
"I saved his life and he saved mine twice. I owe him." He shrugged.
"Okay," he said, making that known. That got a sigh and they'd agree to that. "That's fine but they don't think he's very nice."
"He's not, but he's not a dictator yet. He's still a general. He's not even one that wanted me." Ezra snickered. "Did you run into that ex out there?"
"Yes I did and it was not a happy moment when I did," he said dryly.
"I told him if he came near you again I was going to serve him his nuts in a pretty sauce."
"That's probably why he was wearing the athletic protector," Ezra said. Xander smirked and nodded. "Where is he right now?"
"I made him go see Faith." He gave him an evil, mean smirk, which made Ezra shiver. "He's not real happy. He's been whining at her for days about how he would be better. She's already let Ronon kick his ass, and then the other girls, down to the mini ones. He's very pouty and very sorry but I sent Buck and Vin to arrest him to put him out of the girls' misery."
"I like that about you, Xander. You're willing to be mean," Jon said, shaking his head quickly. "A houseful of pouty girls would be torture to me too." Xander smirked at him. "Anyway, am I invited?"
"Yes," Xander said patiently. "We are friends, right?" Jon nodded. "Then yes."
"Cool." He left, shaking his head the whole way to his car.
Chuck leaned in. "Sir, the Russians are on line 1 and they're laughing."
"I hope he shares the joke." He picked up the line. "Yes, Minister?" He listened. "No, that was not my doing. I'm told earnings are bad. Yes, my advisors are. I've already gotten names of a few others." He listened. "No, it's nowhere near that bad. I'm told it'll even out after this week. If not, I'm kicking asses."
He smirked. "I thought that might relieve some people. Yeah, I'm doing that. Thanks. No, just ride it out. It'll be fine. Thanks." He hung up and called the news program that was calling him an idiot again. Then he went to find the one assigned to the white house. "Yo." She looked up, giving him a scared look. "It's not earnings based?"
"Well... slightly. Then you made a mention of liking some foreign things better than American ones."
"That's because some things fit me better." She grimaced. "I'm sorry but German guns fit my hand better. The American ones are slimmer."
"We can go live with a comment time, sir." She smiled. "It would definitely help me get a promotion and maybe my own show."
"Are you going to quit remarking on how tight my ass is and whether or not I top?"
"Probably." She smiled.
"Fine." She set things up and called her news desk. They got another economist on there with one of his to argue with them. He settled into a chair, getting comfortable. She gave him an odd look. "I turned my ankle when I was jogging on the treadmill earlier."
She nodded. "That's fine, sir." She pointed. "We're live."
"Can I get a screen showing them so I can argue with them while looking at them?" She set that up. "All right, as I was told by a few different sources, it was earning based. That within a week things would be back to normal. Was I told wrong?"
"Well, consumer confidence did plummet in some sectors since you said that you prefer some European and Eastern Bloc things," the other economist told him. "Oh, there you are. They finally got my screen fixed as well. Mr. President, why did you go to him?"
"He helped John. You guys all go to him. He wrote books that made sense to me."
"Ah. Yes, he's one of the talking heads you spoke of before."
"Hey!" the other economist, the one that helped Xander, complained. "I've taught for many years and I've helped multiple presidents." He looked at his screen. "Yes, Mr. President, there has been a small drop but we know you stated a personal preference."
"I buy a great many American products. Just not weapons and some leather gear like harnesses for my weapons. A few cars because I like Volkswagen. They seem to last and my guards said that one was safer and had better fuel economy."
"It does," the first economist agreed. "Ours could but haven't really except some smaller cars. In the larger sedan class like what you need for traveling it's Volkswagen or BMW basically."
"Ferrari has one but it's *real* expensive and I'm not that rich," Xander quipped. "Or compensating." They all snickered at that. "I've never met a ferrarri driver under forty-five, sorry if there are any." He looked at them. "I buy plenty of American things."
"Is your outfit for your wedding going to an American designer?"
"I have no idea. Ezra handles all my fashion stuff. He likes being the best dressed and neatest dressed person. I like comfortable. I'm told I'll look fantastic and like a god." He smiled. "His ring was Harry Winston and had been part of some American jewelry that had been remade as I later learned."
"Oh?" the commentator asked. "We haven't seen a picture of that ring."
Xander smiled. "That's up to him but it is very pretty on his hand. Suits him very well." He looked at the economists. "So, what do I need to be doing? Mine," he said with a point. "Told me to let it handle itself."
The other one shook his head. "I would say that we do need to boost spending a bit in the communal sector of society. Durable goods. Things that will last."
"Okay, so like before when I suggested that we push remodeling to up the value of the houses we own and yet still spend on things that will last for ten or more years?"
"That would help," he agreed. "And that was an ingenious plan that did actually help." He stared at him.
Xander considered it. "Then why don't we start offering companies that stay here, build here, sell things at a reasonable price here, a way of being repaid? Say, you quit moving your companies overseas to save money and keep people working, we give you a five percent break on your taxes?"
"That's not much," his economist admitted.
"For some businesses that is a lot. IBM would have millions in that. But you're talking about the mid-level manufacturing jobs." Xander nodded. "That might help. Have you been thinking about that?"
"For over a year." He shifted. "Sorry, I twisted my ankle earlier when I was jogging in the gym and I've got it elevated." He looked at his economist. "You're thinking what?"
"Well, there is one group that spends a lot. You did raise their taxes."
"I'm not going to lower those. I'm sorry but I'm not going to tax the poor to cover the rich's asses."
"Um, no swearing please, sir," the commentator asked politely.
"Sorry. Now and then one slips out." He looked at them again. "They're still spending. Or didn't you see the shopping spree of the century covered on ET the other night?"
"You watch ET?" the other economist asked with an odd look on his face.
Xander smiled. "Yeah. That's how I find out what people are saying about me and how hard I have to complain about the relationship rumors or questions." Both dogs got let in by Ezra. "Hi, guys." They climbed up and he groaned but petted them until they sat beside him again. "Bored?" They barked. He looked up with a smile. "I also think that perhaps we should talk to companies that do produce lower level of quality goods. If you're making stuff that's going to be destroyed within a day, why are you doing that?"
"Usually they're fads," the good economist admitted.
"The drywall thing from China was a fad?"
"No," he said. "Are you worried about jobs?"
"I'm worried that we can start another slope. I don't want that on my watch." He petted them then looked up again. "I'd like to keep as many jobs as humanly possible in the US."
"I agree," his economist said. "They're staying?" Xander nodded. The reporter on that side went outside to sneeze.
"Sorry," Xander called. "Didn't know you were allergic."
"I'm not, sir, I have a cold." She blew her nose and took something for it before coming back in.
Xander looked at the screen again. "What do I need to do, or to say to help people understand it's not a crisis? Because if we're heading to a crisis let's stop it now."
"We do need to keep jobs and spending steady and possibly increased," the good economist admitted.
"That's easy, pretty soon we'll have winter and the usual 'stuck indoors' babies will start coming so shopping will pick up in the spring, right? Plus the holidays?"
"Yes," he agreed. "That is a major reason for spending, both of those." He stared at him. "If we gave people a reason to shop beyond the holidays it may help."
Xander considered that. "Well, I won't beg for wedding gifts," he said dryly. "We're asking that people donate in our names instead." That got a dual set of smiles. "But... what about offering a first year of marriage small tax incentive?" They both gaped. "All the conservative buttholes on tv complain that marriage is being eroded. Half of them think I'm hot enough to make everyone gay and get divorced to find a nice, tight soldier of their own." The commentator coughed to hide his snickering. He was one of them. "So let's offer a small tax break for the first year of marriage?"
"That may help," the good one agreed.
"How much?" the commentator asked.
"Say, one percent of the wedding budget back? So those who buy the seven grand dresses are getting back a lot. Maybe with an extra five hundred credit with the regular taxes?"
The commentator put that up on the screen. "How much is your wedding costing?"
"So far... I think about thirty thou. Including all the tents, the clothes, the flowers, his ring's not included. I spent nearly fifty large on his ring so he'd look so wonderful." He smiled a goofy grin. "There's that show on TLC that shows a wedding boutique."
"There's two actually. One's in Atlanta and one's in New York," the other economist said. "My wife watches them. He's right, most wedding dresses start at thirty-five hundred for something more than cheap or really plain and go up to fifty thousand from there."
"Some socialite bragged hers for her two week wedding was about eighty since she had went high couture," Xander said. "The cost of the rental of the church, the minister's fees, the license fees, all that, even if you're on a really tight budget, can still be in the thousands if you include the reception. I've seen weddings done on two hundred bucks but not that many."
"My sister-in-law went to Las Vegas for hers. The wedding itself cost about three hundred, the few people who went did a buffet for the reception so that was about two hundred, her dress was four thousand, and the flight plus rooms for the weekend were about another three hundred," the reporter locally said. "She's one that could use that five hundred for the first year of marriage credit if you did decide to do it."
The commentator nodded. "That sounds more reasonable than seven thousand for a dress."
"Buffy's dress cost her about two grand," Xander said. "It was plain, simple, a more formal dress than a wedding dress."
"Hmm. Interesting. I don't think anyone caught sight of her dress." Xander smirked but shook his head. "You were there?"
"Huh." He considered the economics of it, putting that on the screen. "That doesn't sound like a lot."
"No, but five hundred of taxes you don't have to pay can be a lot for families that need it and they would probably use it to buy something they've been wanting," the good economist said.
Xander nodded. "Or pay down debt, which would help as well."
"True," the commentator said. "Why do you rely on advisors so much, Mr. President?"
"Because I never even took an econ class," he said dryly. "I can say things that make sense to me; it's up to my advisors to tell me if I make sense to others." He petted the dog, cooing at the one panting at him. She settled back down. He smiled again. "I've never claimed to be perfect, an expert, nothing like that."
"True, you haven't. That's actually a refreshing change. You and the two before you have been quite a change for the usual politics."
"That's because we're not born, bred, lifetime politicians."
"True." He looked at the economists. "Would something like that really push up spending enough?"
"I think it will give a nudge," the good economist said. "Right now we only need a nudge. We're not on that slope he spoke of. We're nowhere near it, but things are slowing down before the holidays and that's not a good idea. We need that holiday spending or some stores could be in fiscal trouble. Then we'd see some lost jobs and other complications we don't really want to get near again."
Xander's economist nodded. "That does make sense and it is a good time to put that through. There's a tax bill right now."
Xander shook his head. "The tax bill has a few fatal flaws. Even if part of it is needed, there's three riders attached that we can't really put into law and one that if we do it'll cause all sorts of problems. I'd like to see them taken off but no one's listening to me at the moment."
"What sort of problems?" the commentator said.
"One of them is a massive bill to start ... Rider 32." The commentator pulled that up and shuddered. "Exactly. Even though we need the tax bill part of it, and two provisions need to be cut, we can't let the riders go through right now."
The economists saw that rider and one gave him a horrified look. "Who did that?"
"I think Mr. Wyoming sponsored it. I can't remember his name right off the top of my head." Xander looked at the camera. "Of course, he's the one that wanted to give any educational or religious institution a grant every year too." He smiled. "Which won't go through either. I'd have to fight that. They're already tax exempt and those that don't do charity work seem to earn a whole lot."
The commentator laughed. "The bigger churches with the ministers who live in gaudy mansions and say they do charity work?" he asked.
"Yes, them. I'm all for people finding faith if it suits them and they want to. I'd never push anyone's belief structure in front of another. There's ones I don't get. Them usually. A few others." That got a smirk and a nod. "I know, we've been at odds since the people wrote me in as the VP. It's not my fault they all think my mother was so drunk she slept with Satan." The commentator did laugh at that. "One said that. Another few have used her as examples of why you don't drink, you get kids like me." He shook his head.
"Anyway, back on topic." His economist snickered. "I was thinking about tying religious tax exemption to charitable works. I'm not sure if that's legal but I've been thinking about it. I would leave an out for any church that could prove it was in financial distress. One that was on the edge of bankruptcy because it ran a school or needed massive repairs, the congregation doesn't give them enough to do anything with. That sort of church."
"I think that would be controversial," the commentator said.
"I think it'd bring in millions in taxes," the good economist said, getting a nod from Xander and the other one. "They'd hate that."
"I know," Xander agreed. "I've had some very unpopular tax-the-really-expensive-things ideas that they hated forever and ever. Then again if I can afford to drop fifty large on Ezra's ring, then I should be able to pay the tax on it, and if I'm really that wealthy that I'm not counting the taxes, then why would I care? I can brag I paid more for it."
The commentator shook his head. "I know you grew up in California during the age of greed, President Harris, but most people don't think that way."
"Most of them don't need to spend a mil on clothes," Xander shot back with a smirk. "Why would it bother them?"
"True," he admitted, thinking about that. "Why was his ring so expensive?"
"The diamond." He smiled. "If he ever lets anyone see it, it's beautifully crafted yet classical."
His economist smirked. "You just want him to show it off."
"Not if he doesn't want to. Though I have heard that some entertainment anchor on a certain news network pout out a hundred grand bounty for a picture of the full thing."
The commentator snickered. "I heard about that and our bosses yelled at him, sir."
"I thought he was paying it out of his pocket."
"He thinks you want to show off that you have taste after all."
"I have a wonderful eye for beauty. Look at what I'm marrying. He's the most beautiful ever." Ezra smirked at him from the doorway. "Doesn't he conform to the Greek ideal of the perfect man?"
The commentator sighed. "He's very well spoken, fashionable, and an agent."
"He's very well read. He explained Plato to me the other day for a bedtime story." He grinned at Ezra.
"Of course you can have both the cakes I brought back, Xander. Let me have the dogs?" The dogs followed him off. Ezra waved his ring hand back through the doorway.
Xander grinned at that bit of theatrics.
"Was that his ring?" the economist asked. Xander smirked and nodded. "That's... actually it fits his hand perfectly and matches his other one."
The commentator looked at him. "Rerun that, see if we can get a picture." A fuzzy one went up onto the screen. "Hmm. Center diamond. Two rubies, platinum?"
Xander smirked and nodded. "You can donate that hundred thousand to an animal shelter or somewhere that helps homeless children please." He got up and walked off.
The commentator smirked. "I can do that, Mr. President." He looked at the economists. "Let's get back on topic. Will those tax breaks really help?"
The local reporter turned off their feed, smirking at the president's bit of theatrics. She had caught a glimpse of the ring one day in the halls. It was worth the fifty thousand he had dropped on it.
Chris moaned when he saw the grainy picture of the ring and the story that went with it. "Why can't some starlette get into trouble?" he complained. Vin snickered from the chair. "They're going to start bugging us for information on Ez again."
"No they won't. Maude tried to give an interview until Ezra slapped her with a restraining order and proof that if she did, she was going to jail for fraud and burglary charges thanks to some of her former men." He sipped his beer. "It's good to see Ez hasn't lost his sense of the dramatic."
"They need to come out for some quiet time soon," Chris complained. "His horse is edgy."
"They snuck out this morning," Vin told him. "Woke me when Ez's gelding bit him and he yelped."
Chris smirked. "He was feeling ignored?"
"No, like his master, they got him up too early." Chris snickered at that, shaking his head. "Companion trotted around looking pretty, not letting Xander saddle him until they switched for a bit. So even their horses agree they belong together." He finished his beer and put it on the table then sat back again. "I wonder how bad the wedding is going to be."
"Not bad from what I've seen. It's a short hike from the house though. Ez was talking about hiring a carriage and horse to cart people out there after we cleared them through security."
"He might need two," Vin said. "Though the date is supposed to be pretty by all estimates. If not, we can clear security in the house and let them wait in there with some stuff to nibble on."
"That's not a bad idea." He texted that to Ezra's phone, getting back a 'I'll discuss that with him later'. "They're going to eat, have sex, then talk."
"Probably," Vin agreed dryly. "It's been weeks. They've been together a long time."
"They didn't get that physical until the night Xander got elected. They were hiding from the results in the tack room after some clubbing. I walked in on them being naked the next morning. They had kept the horses up."
Vin laughed. "They should've hit the hayloft!" He bent over to continue laughing.
Chris nodded. "Might've been quieter. At least they didn't use the equipment for anything." Vin fell out of his chair. Chris smirked at him. "JD needs to hear that too so he can wait on his girl. If he ever gets off his ass and asks her out."
Vin nodded. "Maybe." He settled himself back in the chair. "All those idiots on tv think they got together their first weekend."
"No. Once they were dating, Xander quit going to the easy access club and went somewhere safer. Somewhere Ezra could go with him."
"Huh. That's real love, holding off for a year."
"Means they settled their relationship early on and it won't break out into bad fights later," Chris told him.
"Hopefully. I'd hate to see them both be pouty at the same time. It's weird seeing Ezra drinking cocoa."
Chris nodded quickly. "Gets worrying too." He finished his beer and got up to get them another. It was a nice, quiet night in. Thankfully!
Ezra looked at Xander. "Some nosy sorts want you to do an interview with someone popular."
Xander shrugged. "I heard. Chuck thinks it'd be a good idea too. I think I'll get nagged about it. Plus I don't really like Barbara Walters. She seems kinda... non mushy."
"There are other reporters. Including some of the entertainment ones."
"They're busy with award season. I had Chuck set it up with someone nice." Ezra smirked at him. "I know, I'll have to dodge relationship, sex, and lifestyle questions."
"They probably want to ask you about your parents."
"They already did a long documentary on them, including finding them and asking them questions, both drunk and sober."
"I saw. You do look more like your mother." Xander smirked at him for that. He patted his wrist. "What else were we dealing with today? You said you needed some non-guarding time."
"I could use some peace and quiet. Now I understand why Regan scheduled a nap every day." He yawned. Ezra smiled, letting him sleep on the couch for now. He yawned again. "Figure out if we're doing anything to the house?"
"I think we should probably paint it and finish the renovations."
"They're nearly done from what I've heard. Buffy was supposed to be checking for me."
"Chris went out and said there's no workmen there, nothing is anywhere near finished, and do we want those disgusting portable bathrooms brought out for the wedding?"
"Better than digging a trench?"
"True. We can camouflage them with another tent or something." He made that note and found the notes from Chris. He was at home and trying to figure out what was going on with the renovations. There was no way he had stopped paying for it. Ezra had carried out the last check himself. If they had to, they could sue the contractor and find another one he supposed. Plenty of people would love to do that sort of work because they could brag on it. "Why are we putting in a gourmet kitchen?"
"You like to cook?" Xander muttered.
"True. It's very lavish for the style of the house though."
Xander looked at him. "It'll all be bricks and wood mostly."
"Ah!" He nodded, looking over the pictures. Xander looked over so he showed him.
"Remind me to find the fucker and gut him?"
"Definitely." He went back to it and sent that order at Chris. He could verbally flay someone and then scowl at them. It would save bloodshed. Chuck knocked then opened the door, letting in the Speaker for the House. "He's having a slight headache. Do I need to leave?"
"No. Just a few questions." Xander blinked at him. "Should you have your shoes up there?"
Xander looked then at him. "They're the slippers I wear around here when I'm not going out." He kicked them off, earning a smirk. "What sort of questions? I'm trying to pretend to be Regan."
The older man snickered. "I can understand that. Have you heard about what the senate passed today?"
"No, Evan's off today for a speech at the Air Force Academy. None of my spies have checked in." Ezra changed screens and shook his head. "No emails either. What's going on?" He sat up with a groan.
"The senate is pushing a measure to confiscate your ownings, and any future president's residences, as historical sites."
"They can't claim my birth home. It's sucked into the hole that was the hellmouth in Sunnydale."
"They're talking your present one since you bought it with your public supported salary."
"Then they can do it to all their houses because they do the same thing."
"Ah, but they're not historical," Ezra said dryly.
"The way it's written, that is a point," he said. "It's attached to the new spending bill you wanted."
Xander smirked. "Who?"
"Wyoming in revenge for suggesting we take some tax exemptions from churches who don't do charitable work and not remembering his name."
Xander nodded, smirking more evilly now. "That's fine, then his megachurch of choice also will be since it's public sponsored. Not like the church pays for it out of anything but donations." The Speaker gaped, looking horrified. "They're supposed to serve the public as well, right?"
"Yes, sir. That's devious."
"No, I'm cranky," Xander assured him. "You can spread around I'm now cranky. You can also spread that if it comes to me with that rider I will make sure that every demon in his state votes for the other guy this upcoming election. I can go campaign beautifully among them and not even need guards." The Speaker laughed, walking out nodding. "Chuck, find out who's running against the guy from Wyoming?"
He leaned in a minute later. "She's a hardline republican. There's no democrat running. She's the sort you hate."
Xander considered it. "Huh. Is she nicer?"
"She hates you. She's spread a lot of anti-gay messages."
"Which means I'd hate her. Hmm. Is it too late to slip in someone?" Chuck shook his head slowly. Xander called someone from his personal phone book. "Run for office in Wyoming? Democrat. Yes, against both of them." He smirked. "You're good for the people, you've kept peace in their major city, all that, for years. You're behind the peace accords between the local Native Americans and the settlers. Yes all that. Because they're annoying the fuck out of me, that's why. Or else Ezra and I are moving to your city." The guy shuddered.
"Thanks." He smiled. "Hey, she's anti-gay and won't work with Congress. He's working against Congress and just introduced a rider on an important bill to claim everyone's house if they're funded by the public. Exactly." He smirked at Chuck. "Thanks, man. Sure, I'd back you. You know that. I'm in awe about how you've kept peace and quiet up there, even with the paranoid groups and militias. Thank you." He hung up. "There'll be someone else running," he told Chuck.
"Human?" he asked.
"No." He smirked. "He's the reason that the last six treaties were created. He's kept the peace out there no matter how comes out. He's worked for the community for *ages*. He doesn't care if someone's gay or not as long as they're consenting. The only thing they can get him on is that his species has multiple wives but he's only got one after one died recently."
"That'll be contested but he might win against those two," Chuck said, going back to his desk.
Ezra coughed. "We'd move to Wyoming?"
"Yeah. They want Chris to head the regional office there. You didn't hear that gossip?"
"I heard he went to growl at our Director. Again."
"Yeah. They offered him the LA office a few weeks back."
"No, I don't believe he'd go for that very well." He smiled, letting Xander kiss him. "Do soothe that headache before you go from simply mean to truly evil." Xander nodded, laying down again. He went to tell the press secretary to spin that particular rider so it was counted as ridiculous and voted off the important bill. They needed that little bit of spending encouragement right now.
Xander walked out into the rose garden, looking nicely casual but in good clothes Ezra had made him put on. He did look hot and very nice today. He smiled, looking at the press corps. "It's a short one," he said. They all grinned at that. He didn't make long speeches by any means. He went over his points for the rider that was annoying him, including how that would mean all public servants would lose their homes, especially all of Congress.
A few snickered at that subtle 'don't screw with me, I'll make you miserable' and then announced he was adding three new roses bushes to the heirloom collection in the rose garden. He took them back to see them. They all liked them and said he had good tastes. They went to spin that speech and the conservative news channels could blabber about it for days. That rider was going to die. Quickly.
He had made sure that any of them that got seized would go on auction to Habitat for Humanity and for the local housing authorities to use for poor people. The rich hated poor people in their homes if they weren't working for them. The really influential one in California had bragged for weeks about his new ranch. He had mentioned it specifically as being a good place to put a new housing development for the poor that needed out of the city due to health reasons. By the time he got inside, the Senator from California was in his office. Xander smiled at him.
"Fine, we'll kill the rider."
"Thank you." He shook his hand. "He's got a lot of competition."
"I heard there's a demon running?"
"He's been in control of the territory to keep it peaceful for over two hundred years. He can point out a lot that he's done and I'd rather see him in Congress than the one presently serving or his anti-gay zealot opponent."
He smirked at him. "You're back in 'don't screw with me' mode," he said happily.
"Oh, so much. Especially since he's going to be really unhappy. Pastors have the same public created paychecks because their churches run on donations. He likes that one mega preacher idiot who likes to use me as an example of why we're all going to hell. Though I do think it was nice that one of the baptist demon churches, which are *so* much more strict, showed him what hell actually looked like because he was describing it wrong."
The senator snickered. "I wondered why he changed his description. Thank you for being subtle."
"Evan's not in so I had to play again."
"I understand fully, sir. We'll kill that rider before I have to surrender my new farm to a whole bunch of elderly poor people." He left looking very smug. He'd have to look that demon up. He didn't like demons but if that guy was that good, he wanted to know more about him and possibly be cautiously hopeful he won.
Xander smiled at the person waiting on him with Chuck. "The fitter," he said.
"Yes, sir." He smiled. "Your assistant was very helpful about some things."
"Chuck's a great guy and I adore Chuck. We're stealing Chuck when I leave. Unless Evan needs him."
"If you're both out, I'm going to be going back to the city," Chuck said smugly. "The colonel is grousing he can't find anything."
"Then maybe he should quit hiding and date? It might make him less scatterbrained." Chuck walked off snickering. Xander took off his jacket, letting the guy measure him every which way. Even his crotch. Xander stared at him oddly.
"So we know how much room to give you, sir."
"About eight inches," Xander said. "And about four around." The fitter smiled at that. "I used to do carpentry. I can measure some things by sight." The fitter laughed and nodded. "So how soon before we have one that I need to be poked with pins for?"
"Another month. Then the final fitting a month before hand in case there's any weight or muscle fluctuations."
Xander grinned. "The month before is a short apocalypse in Cleveland."
"Oops. Well, we'll come after that." He noted that down. "Agent Standish was letting you pick the fabric." He let him have the samples they had narrowed it down to. "These aren't in the colors, just the fabrics. He's already picked the colors."
Xander felt each one then arranged them and did it again. He shifted one to the front, fingering two. He pointed. "In that order."
"Okay. I'll let him know." He put things back, the stack in order. "Now, will we be changing into another suit for the reception?"
"No, not unless Ezra wants to."
"Not that he's said, we were just making sure."
Xander shrugged. "I don't think so. It's not like it's heavy dress."
"True." He wrote that down. "Let me get these back to our shop, sir, and we'll see you in about a month for the first fitting." He shook his hand and gathered his case to leave. Chuck walked him out to where Ezra was waiting. He picked the second fabric selection, it was the stronger one and felt softer. It would nicely flow over yet highlight their muscles. He went back to the airport to fly back to the shop. His designer was so pleased with this commission. They could do look-alike suits for the winter line too. They had asked for privacy, not secrecy.
Xander sat down across from the reporter. They were doing the interview at the farm for safety reasons. She wasn't going to say that, just that they were borrowing a friend's house for security reasons. He got comfortable and made sure he could sit still for a while. He knew none of his interviews had ever went fully according to plan but maybe this time's would be all right.
The reporter checked the camera angles and nodded at her camera guy before sitting down and making sure she looked good. The camera guy pointed when he started the filming. "Thank you for sitting down with me, Mr. President. It's an honor since usually you go to the less celebrity centered news people."
"I don't like Barbara Walter's style. I'm used to fussy women and she's a bit like my grandmother, who used to scare the crap out of me. I'm sure she's nice but I'd probably end up flashing back and that's not good."
"No, it's not. So, um, Mr. President....."
"Xander," he corrected with an easy smile. "For this interview."
"Thank you for that honor, Xander. Let's get the questions most celebrity news people would ask out of the way. Are there any wedding details you want to slip out?"
"Ezra has made me an addict over the guy who's doing our cakes." He smiled. "Every time he has to go back to Denver he sends me a mini cake to feed my habit." He smiled. "He spoils me rotten."
"Sorry, can't divulge that," he offered with a grin. "Others might try to feed my habit to take me from him."
"Chocolate? I know it's said you like chocolate."
She smiled. "The suits? Or are you doing a formal one and wearing tuxedos?"
"From your usual designer?"
"No, we went with a one-of-a-kind one. Someone we've never worn, or at least I haven't worn before, and that way it'll be more special. Armani is for daily things for Ezra but we wanted something that we'd probably look back and sigh about but not wear again."
"That's a sentimental idea," she assured him. "Honeymoon?"
"Taking a trip?"
"No." He grinned again. "We're going for peace and quiet on our honeymoon."
"That's wonderful, you could probably use it." Xander nodded quickly. "Have the reporters gotten bad again?"
"They've been camping out in front of the White House. They've given the wedding a cutesy name. It's like *way* overblown for anyone but us."
"You are the first gay president."
Yeah. Still way overblown. I've had letters from kids in other countries that want us to post pictures of the wedding so they can do reports on it. It's kinda...humbling in a way and kinda freaking me out in others."
"Are you going to put some up?"
"A lot of celebrities award an exclusive contract for those special occasions so they only have to deal with one set of reporters."
"No. No reporters on our wedding day or during the honeymoon. Please no reporters during it. All that attention makes us nervous, not only because you guys have been used as cover for a subtle attack, but because you guys shout rude questions at us and make Ezra blush sometimes. You guys even made Agent Larabee blush last week."
"I saw that. It was adorable." She smiled.
"We were near a school and she shouted out questions about our sex life."
"That was in bad taste," she agreed. "She got reprimanded for it when the letters of complaint came in from the parents."
"I chastised her there because of the kids. Plus you guys make everything we do a...spectacle and it's amazing but not that amazing. I don't understand it. John was prettier and you guys didn't plague him that way."
"If he had been dating, we might have."
He shook his head. "I hope not. Some of the reporters are like creepy stalkers. I expect to open up my closet and find one of them or their cameras some day." He smirked. "Which would then let Agent Larabee and Agent Gibbs break bad and show how mean they can be while I go whine at Ezra."
"Sorry but you are newsworthy."
"You guys aren't going to keep this up after the wedding, right?"
"Maybe now and then."
"Please don't?" he begged, giving her the puppy eyes. "Pretty please?"
She sighed in pleasure. "We'll try." He grinned and she felt her stomach tense then made herself relax and ignore the wet panties she had. "Onto other topics. Have you talked to your parents?"
"Not since before Sunnydale fell in. I never went back after I finally got to move out."
"If they suddenly got sober, would you grant them another chance?"
"No. Because frankly they wouldn't want it. They decided that my birth was the drain plug being pulled on the pool of their lives. They were drinking before then but not as hard. They clearly didn't want me. I'm not going to put myself through the emotional hell to rehash things if they go to therapy. I moved on. I'm healthier for it and rehashing it won't help me any."
"Have you talked to your lover about his mother?"
"Very few times." He sighed. "I talked to her the day before he came home that last time. She was giving the former director of the ATF bribes to keep Ezra in bad cases that could have killed him with the attention you guys gave him during his guarding term." She gaped and dropped her pen. He picked it up for her and handed it back. "She told me that Ezra had went back to Denver as a subtle way of telling me that we were through and I should move on. That he was never actually in love with me. That he was using me in fact, and had done it as his duty."
"Oh, my," she said quietly. "Have you talked to her since she said that?"
"No. He did that once to tell her to go away and never come back. I think she's sent a letter but I'm not sure if they're even back on those terms. I'm not sure if they will be. That's something to ask Ezra. I can only support him and make sure he's all right emotionally if they do decide to talk again."
"So, she did that because she didn't want her son to be gay?"
"Ezra's mother is...complicated. She's not like gaybashing because we're together. She's more 'Ezra shouldn't fall in love, he should play the field and amass status and wealth from it'." Ezra had told him to put it that way. It was subtle but the truth.
"Interesting. You don't think they'll reconcile? Most mothers would love to have their sons married off to someone as nice as you are."
He shrugged. "I'll be there if Ezra needs my support when or if they work on that stuff. I can't tell the future that way. I only have visions of attacks and battles."
She smiled. "That has to hurt."
"All visions hurt. Everyone I know with them say they're a pain in the head."
"Aww. There's others?"
"Yeah, a few other hunters, the slayers get them but they tend to get dream ones. They wake up with the headache."
"Huh. That's interesting." She looked at her notes then at him again. "Who's your maid of honor?"
"No one. We're not having any attendants so neither of us has to pick." He grinned. "It'll just be us and the Justice of the Peace."
"So not a religious ceremony?"
"No. We've had a blessing ceremony with a coven I've worked with in the past. That's as close as I really get to religion unless I'm complaining to the Goddess. She seems to listen and understand."
She smiled. "We've heard you complaining to her in the halls of the white house a few times."
"It's very cathartic. Much better than a heavy bag or wishing a lion into Congress." He smirked.
"That might be bad."
"With the way some of them have acted in the past.... not really. There were plenty of days when things got that annoying from the childish crap."
"I'm told that you're pushing for a demon candidate in Wyoming?"
"Yes. I've met with him in the past. His son was one of the ones keeping the peaceful demon problems in Sunnydale down. We met with his son a few times when the ones hiding there had problems. His father is a really nice guy. He's kept peaceful things going in his territory for ages. He's helped broker peace treaties, he's helped settle disputes, he's kept the humans and native demon populations protected when something came nearby.
"He lost his wife and daughter to a hunter that was taking out the peaceful ones. He went to a slayer to get them stopped instead of having them stopped another way." She shivered. "He's always believed in peace and the prosperity of his people. He was one of the first to apply for citizenship so he could tell his people how it worked and what to do. He's been a legal and illegal resident so he understands both sides.
"I think he'll do very good. He's not going to stir trouble up just to watch it go. He's not going to be a polarizing force for more than being demonic. He's a very good thinker and planner. I want guys like him to run the enclaves and safe havens because they do it the right way. I never have to worry about him doing something that will harm anyone else.
"Yeah, I want him over the one that's trying to split the Senate before an important vote. The guy who's destroyed some long lasting alliances by his petty tantrums and plots. The other one running there is almost like a Nazi. We don't need that as a people. Yeah, I know people are going to be worried because he's a demon. He's a very peaceful demon, from a peaceful species who's used to ruling enclaves and safe havens."
"So, if he was human he'd be a perfect person to take the seat and he'd do good. You're saying that him being from a peaceful demon clan means the same thing?"
"Basically." He smiled. "I know it's a lot for some people to think about and I know there's been some increased agitation against demons. He's settled his people into a safer place to move on from. It's been years since they came into the open. I think it's about time they take responsibility for the country they live in too. They have to live and work here, pay taxes, raise families here, all that. They should have the same say."
"They should. Do you foresee a demonic president?"
Xander shrugged. "I don't have those sort of visions either." She smiled at that. "Maybe not this century. We're still at the civil rights stage with demons. Maybe early next century we'll have one."
"That would be interesting to see." She glanced at her notes then at him. "Do you have any regrets from taking the nomination?"
"You know I've said all along I shouldn't be doing this job. I'm not trained for it." She nodded. "I do regret that it took me away from the slayers' side when some needed me. Two of the girls I've personally trained have died since I got elected." She swallowed. "I miss the hell out of them every day. They're like my little sisters."
He swallowed, looking down then at her. "If I had been there I couldn't be sure it wouldn't have turned out the same way, including taking me out," he said quietly. "I would've made sure they were saved even if it had meant my life. But then I wouldn't have met Ezra and found some happiness that I wasn't really sure I was missing before."
"It's said that you nearly married someone else but left her at the altar. Are you nervous about this commitment?"
"If her friends hadn't stepped in to show us how miserable we'd be in the future, how much she hadn't been able to fulfill in her life, then I would've married Anya. She understood that I didn't want to see that future for her."
"So you walked away to give her the chance at finding happiness?" she asked. He nodded. "Did she?"
"She got her old job back, which did make her happy, but she found her time as a human again had given her a conscience. She wasn't as happy with the job she'd had for centuries. We talked after that, a great number of times. We moved back into a solid friendship and she was starting to see what she needed to be happy when the First's situation started. Then she died during the final battle saving Andrew's life."
"Oh," she said weakly, staring at him. "Is that why he changed? It has been said he was part of an evil group of geeks who wanted to rule the world?"
"Some of that happened earlier when he realized the methods one of the others wanted to use weren't great ones. He's seen the dark before then, walked on the edge, but knows it'll suck him in and he'll turn into something he doesn't like so he doesn't go back there. I think it was a good decision in his life and he's a great friend to have."
She smiled. "You don't have many female friends?"
"Outside the slayers?"
"Outside them, yes."
"No, not really. Why?"
"You see a lot of gay men being the best friend of some women who need the more male perspective."
He shrugged. "The slayers dragged me shopping plenty of times. I had a whole pack mule phase thanks to them. I hate shopping because of it. As long as I'm comfortable, I'm good. Ezra and I fight over my wardrobe but he understands the nightmares I have about shoes attacking me from slings made of bras and panties."
She snickered. "They made you their fashion approval committee?"
"Often. They dragged me shopping for all sorts of occasions, including apocalypses." He shook his head. "They made me carry the bags, drive them around, approve of stuff that didn't make them look too trashy but still cute or hot, yet still this side of bad girl or slutty. They never fed me when we were out either. I was a very abused pack mule Xander."
She giggled. "Is that why you don't care about your wardrobe now?"
"Yup. Even before then I was all about the comfortable, easily cleaned from goo and stuff sort. Thrift shops, all that. I was usually found in baggy jeans and brightly colored shirts."
"Does Ezra allow that in your closet now?"
"He's taught me to match them with things." He grinned. "It works better."
"Do you think you'll wear that special suit for your second term's swearing in."
"To be honest, I'm not running. If Evan wants to run, I'll stand behind him. If not, we'll stand behind the best candidate that runs. That way I can't screw anything up too huge that can't be fixed."
She smiled. "You're doing better than you think. That first year of marriage tax credit and the credit for the wedding expenses are well liked among the people in the industry."
"Thank you." He smiled.
"How much is your budget so far for the wedding?"
"The suits are going to be fifteen grand I think, maybe twenty, I'm not certain. We're at about... " He texted. He grinned when he got an immediate answer back from Chuck. "My assistant, who is *the* wonder assistant of the world, I'd be *so* lost without Chuck, said we're at thirty five thou outside of his ring. We're looking at about seventy by the end of it including the charity event we're hosting a few weeks after we get back." He put his phone back.
"You're hosting a charity event?" He smiled and nodded. "Right after the wedding?"
"Yes. We have a wonderful charity event planned for one of the local children's hospitals." He grinned. "We're doing a wonderful dinner that night as a fundraiser. Our favorite chef locally is doing the catering."
"Hmm. Is that going to have a larger list of guests than your wedding?"
"It probably will. We're inviting some and we'll leave some tickets open so others can buy a seat."
"That sounds nice," she said happily. "Plus a very good thing to do. You haven't hosted many dinners. Only the one white house dinner."
He shifted some, grimacing. "I'm not really certain what I'm supposed to do at those. At first, I wasn't sure I got to actually eat instead of walking around like a restaurant waiter to make sure everyone was happy. Thankfully I did get to eat some and talk to the people around me. It went okay but I'm sure they said stuff about me not being totally comfortable with that stuff."
"They said you were a gracious, if a bit fussy, host. That you did check on the others often, that discussions were lighter than usual, which they appreciated. That you banned all politics during it." Xander nodded quickly at that. "You don't allow that?"
"Why ruin a good dinner with politics?"
"True," she agreed with a smile.
"We mostly talked about how mean some of you reporters were."
She laughed. "Some of us can be because the industry is a shark pit at times to get the good stories and therefore noticed so we can move up to the higher profile jobs."
"I had one that snuck onto the white house's lawn and was taking pictures through the window." She smirked. "We had one, when my dog was shot at that one time, who kept snapping pictures even after the guards had to physically move her out of the way of harm. They could've shot her easily and she was just snapping away like we were there to be her tourist attraction."
She nodded. "I know her. She is like that about big stories."
"Gibbs nearly smacked her on the head to impart sense."
"She needs it." He smirked. "She started out chasing accidents and disasters."
"Clearly." He shifted again. "Can we go back to the lighter topics again?"
"Definitely. Are you getting a ring?"
"I don't know." He smiled. "I haven't heard a thing about it. I figured we'd pick the wedding bands together sometime soon."
"So he got the engagement ring and you're just getting wedding bands?" she asked. He nodded. "Hmm. Do you think he might surprise you?"
"Have we seen him ring shopping?" Xander asked.
"No, no one's seen him in the last week actually."
Xander smirked. "He's had a slight cold so he's at his condo in bed. I go over to baby him."
"Have you two had sex in the white house?"
He stared at her. He blinked a few times. "We've cuddled. We've kissed. We've groped. We are dating. It's not immoral to do that during the later dating times."
"How soon after you two started dating did you two have sex?"
"Our first night with actual intercourse instead of groping and touching, that lighter stuff, was the night I got elected president. He was taking my mind off the election in the most beautiful way possible in a club and then we went to hide from the various forms of information in a friend's barn to play with the horses. It wasn't decided or anything first. Or else I would've brought him to a great hotel, had a huge bubble bath drawn for him, spoiled him absolutely rotten before and afterward. It just kinda moved on and it was the right time. It was wonderful."
She grinned a sappy smile. "You waited almost a year?"
"Just over a year. Our anniversary was the week before. I spoiled him so rotten with spa time and snuck in to do his massage myself," he said with a sappy grin back. "He came out so happy and then we went to dinner at his favorite place, where I had ordered a spectacular dinner that he had been wanting. It was wonderful."
She grinned. "Anniversary presents?"
"He ordered I was not allowed to."
"Did he give you one?"
"He bought the dogs new collars and tags."
"That's sweet. I know your dogs are like your children. Are you considering adopting?"
Xander shrugged. "I have no idea. We haven't really talked about it. He hasn't mentioned he wanted kids. I'm not sure I could handle little kids. I'd probably treat them like the slayers I trained, which was like family but I'd have them training in self-defense pretty early. So I'm not sure. We'll talk about it after our first year together."
She nodded. "That seems pretty sensible. If he wants children, will you give in to him?"
"Yeah, if he wants a few kids, I'm all for that. If he hates kids, then we'll adopt his friend's future kids as nieces and nephews to spoil them rotten. Even if their parents complain." She snickered. "Drum kits were invented for complaining parents." She cackled at that, shaking her head. He grinned. "I can even give them African drums and other native drums for a diverse, world-ethnic sound experience."
She snickered. "That's so bad."
"Thank you," he said with a grin.
"She's just fine in the barn. She likes Agent Larabee's team's horses. They're a herd together."
"That's wonderful. Are you still riding with them?"
"Yup. We have a ride planned in a few weeks. We go every few weeks together and I get some riding time in every other day around the paddock."
"It's given you a different way of walking you started riding."
"It's definitely changed my posture and how my back relaxes."
She smiled. "Who gave you your horse?"
He shrugged. "No one knows for sure but the gifter. I have my ideas," he admitted with a smile. "But we can't prove it."
"That's good. I've heard stories that some of your former boyfriends are being arrested?"
"Not just my former boyfriends but yeah."
"Did you date more than that one woman?"
"Yeah. Cordelia was my ex. I've dated a few different women. They were just as dangerous and deadly." He grinned. "Some of them have sent wedding presents but I got told I had to send back the artillery one sent me." She gaped. He nodded. "Yeah, a few have. One tried to send me some blood diamonds and I sent them back." He shifted to cross his feet.
"I sent back one that sent me drugged chocolates. She also tried to take Ezra's team hostage to pout at him that we weren't together; that was during the whole he's back in Denver time. Agent Larabee was not amused but she had diplomatic immunity so she went to Paris and bought us drugged chocolates. That led to someone going to yell at her for us."
"What does she do?" she asked.
"She's an arms dealer," he sighed. "I haven't heard from any of the assassins I dated yet. I'm expecting a nice card mostly."
She blinked a few times. "Is Ezra dangerous enough for you?"
He smirked at her. "I didn't pick them. I'm not usually the one that goes hunting for relationships but they all thought I was a prize worth hunting." She blushed. He grinned. "Ezra's clearly better for me and more stunning than the others."
"Does he compare against Anya?"
"I don't make that comparison. They're totally different sorts." Cordelia started to appear then faded out. He rolled his eyes at that.
"Could we talk to Cordelia sometime?"
"She doesn't come when called," he admitted. "If you try, she might. She doesn't come when I call."
Cordelia faded back in, staring at him. "I'm not yours to call."
"I know that. She wanted to talk to you."
She looked at the reporter. "Not this week. I'm kinda busy."
Xander stiffened slightly. "Busy bad, busy good? Busy with me?"
She smirked at him. "No, you're getting chewed a new one for dating that skank in Asia!"
"She hunted me, not the other way around. It was fun. I left when I got tired of the fun. Even if I did have to disable two of her guards to do it."
She blinked at him a few times. The reporter was gaping in horror. The camera guy gave her the sign that he was capturing it. Cordelia tipped her head to the side. "Have you ever went over your storage area?"
"No. I was planning on moving it all to Denver when I got to move and then going through it on the bored days."
She nodded once. "Yeah, not a good plan."
"Why? Is something growing? Or something alive that's trapped?"
"No, thankfully," she said with an evil smirk.
"Bomb going to go off?"
"Something I need for the wedding?"
"Perhaps. Maybe some things some people are going to complain about. Like from that one vacation trip to that beach...." She trailed off, giving him a pointed look.
"That was long before I got elected. Why would they complain?"
"Because they're politicians and are like that," she said dryly.
"They'd probably complain more about what I got for my birthday."
"Yeah, no doubt." She smirked. "By the way, the upcoming one? Bring the birthday presents. All of them. You'll need them." She faded out.
"Good to know," Xander agreed. "I should've kept those wedding presents." He shifted to look at her again. "We'll talk about that with the senior slayers later."
"What did you find on that beach?"
He grinned. "Actually, I found some buried treasure." She gaped. He grinned and shrugged. "I tried to be a good boy and tell the locals. They ignored it and told me to quit talking about it. Said it was cursed. Said to not put it back if I didn't want bad things to happen to me. Even touching it was enough to cause bad luck. So far I haven't had any."
She cleared her throat. "Would they complain?"
"No. I pulled the ambassador aside when I became VP to ask him about that. He was surprised I survived the curse but figured the injury in that one battle was it and said I could keep it under national and international law. He wished me luck. Later on I told him about a few of my ex's that had been noted as being in the country. He decided it was probably reversed and that's why I got someone so stunning as Ezra."
She nodded, hoping the bad mental images stopped soon. "You said he explained Plato for a bedtime story?"
"Someone was quoting it in a speech and I didn't understand but it seemed to resonate so he went over the things I wasn't getting, which meant I didn't like it as much. He sat next to me and read more to me, explaining the references I wasn't getting to Ancient Greece, and I fell asleep to him reading to me."
"Aww. That's sweet."
He smiled and nodded. "He can be very sweet. He's the perfect man for me. He's smart, well read, explains things when I don't understand but doesn't think I'm dumb because of it, he's great to me emotionally. If we're having problems like being attacked he can help me defend us instead of being a fainter and going 'oh no'," he mimicked a higher pitched voice. "Or trying to just out-macho and protect me all the time. He lets me be as macho as I need or want to be and he does the same. One of us doesn't have to be the so-called weaker one."
"So there's no real husband/wife split in your relationship?"
"Well, Ezra is a wonderful cook, but I think even that split in straight couples isn't all that pronounced these days. We're just Xander and Ezra. It works when we be ourselves. I don't have to hide any of my personality, even on the bitchy days, and he doesn't either, even on his cranky days. We just...work together."
"Is there a split in the bedroom?"
Xander stared at her. "That's so a stereotype, dear."
"Sorry. I know some that do split that way."
"Not all of us do."
"Sorry." She smiled. "Flowers for the wedding?"
"Yes, there will be some. I need to meet with the florists next week to decide if we're doing centerpieces or individual sprigs on each plate."
"I've seen both done beautifully. About how many people are coming?"
"We invited a hundred fifty, so possibly up to two hundred with dates."
"So a very medium sized wedding then. Outdoor or a hotel?"
"Outdoor in tents. It'll be very security conscious. There will be no access to the area without an invitation. We can block off the road to the site at the private driveway that's about a mile away from the wedding site."
"So that's going to be at your farm or somewhere else?" He just smiled. "Are you going to be blocking off flight lines overhead?"
"If at all possible. Thank you for reminding me of that," he said with a grin. She smirked back. "I would hate to have to fire on any helicopters. Or have my guards do that. They won't get much anyway since there'll be tents."
"I'll make sure they know that." She smiled back. "Did you pick your colors?"
Xander nodded. His phone rang with a text and he pulled it out to look at it. "Chris said Ezra said I could tell you that much. We picked silver and steel blue." He put it back in his pocket.
"I wouldn't think with his green eyes that would go."
"He looks *so* hot in his suit," he assured her with that goofy grin. "I feel so plain next to him sometimes."
She smiled. "I can see why. He is a very nice dresser and he has upped your own style as well."
"I suggested we marry in jeans and t-shirts on a beach and he tried to talk me into tuxes."
She laughed. "So suits were the compromise?" He smiled and nodded. "Any hints on the reception dinner?"
"We will not be having a bar. It will be a noon wedding, or about one. We haven't picked an exact time. The wedding won't be one of those dragging ones and we'll be doing dual tents if at all possible. That way the one we marry in can be changed into the dance area and the reception can be set up ahead of time." She smiled at that. "Um... We'll have a good wine to go with the lunch, it's not really a beer capable one."
"A signature drink?"
"No, I don't think so. Neither of us are really drinkers and most of the people we know have a beer now and then but not really more than that."
"So a nice lunch?" He nodded. "Vegetarian options?"
He gave her a horrified look. "I don't think any of the guests are and no one's sent back one with their RSVP. The card did get included with the two options and a please tell us about any allergies section."
"That's what they normally are." She smiled to make him relax. "Side dishes?"
"Oh, yeah, of course, and an appetizer course too if I remember right. I have to check on that." His phone rang with a new text. He read it. "Chris said that there is one and it's a very nice one. We only have two vegetarians that he knows of so we won't have any problems with cheese." He put it back down.
"Chris would be Agent Larabee?"
"Yes. He's guarding me today and all the guards have been alerted with all the plans so they don't have any security concerns for us."
"Have any of the bigger names in gay rights been invited?"
"I don't really know any of them. We're inviting close friends, near family, those people. If they want to help us celebrate our wedding but weren't invited, they can come to the charity event."
"You aren't worried that they'll complain about having to buy a ticket?" she asked.
"The tickets are going to be a hundred dollars a plate so that's about a nice wedding present's worth."
"That's about what I spent on my sister's wedding present," she agreed. He grinned. "So it's part second reception and part charity event?"
"It can be seen that way if you want," he agreed with a grin. "It's also a way for anyone who wants to celebrate the wedding with us but wasn't invited can."
"Do you think some of this is being made over because we didn't get a huge white house wedding out of the O'Neill nuptials?"
He shrugged. "I don't know. I know you guys go stalker over celebrity weddings." He grinned. "The one last month got just about as much press attention."
She nodded after a second's thought. "You're right, we did." He smirked and nodded. She grinned back. "What do you think will happen after you leave the white house, either in two years or in six?"
"I'm going to hide. John may have a better way of hiding but I'm so going to hide. I'm going to become the ultimate house husband and sword sharpener for the slayers."
She giggled. "You'll have to come out sometime."
He shook his head. "No I won't."
"Even for dinners out?"
He considered it. "Maybe for that but Denver's not as high profile so we can sneak around for a bit." He grinned. "Ezra said there's a few places he wants to introduce me to so I can drool and beg to go there for special dinners." She went 'aww' again. "Plus I'll have a really high fence to keep out reporters." She cackled, nodding. His phone rang. "That's Chuck, excuse me." He got up and walked off. "Yeah, Chuck?" He listened. "I can be there in about thirty."
"Call the chopper out if it's an emergency," Chris called from the kitchen.
"Chuck, send the chopper out. Thanks." He hung up and leaned back in. "We're having a crisis moment, sorry." He walked off, going to wait outside. Chris helped the reporter and camera guy pack up their things and watched them leave. They knew not to film the farm at all. The chopper landed and Chris locked up, walking over to help Xander in and get in with him. They flew back to the white house and they got out, heading inside. The generals were waiting. The two heads of Congress and Evan were waiting. "Okay, what happened? That was so carefully planned!" He sat down and Chuck brought in drinks.
Later that night, Xander crawled in with Ezra, burying his nose in Ezra's shoulder to inhale his scent. Ezra held him, stroking his back. "We lost half a unit on something stupid that the locals were doing and didn't tell us," he said quietly. "It was like they assassinated them for daring to let them do it on their own."
"Then we'll pull back harder so they have to take the responsibility for their actions," Ezra said.
"That can endanger everyone there."
"Xander, even if they're starving, they can walk out of the country," Ezra reminded him. "You saw it in Africa when times got hard." Xander nodded. "Did you make the hard decision?" Xander nodded again, snuggling in better. Ezra held him. The command decisions were not easy sometimes. They would do what they had to together. "Did you call that leader to complain?"
"Yup. He said it wasn't his people's fault. That we should've known they were going to be doing that. That whole base is being pulled back. This week." He lifted his head. "I won't let their lives be wasted. I can't. If I tell the people that, they'll cause problems. If I don't, I'm saying that it meant nothing."
"You tell them. The people will see that it's the right thing to do."
Xander nodded. "We've got to give that tomorrow." He snuggled in better. Ezra held him all night, giving him what he needed. That was all a spouse could do.
Xander walked out to the reporters the next day, looking around. "Let's be serious, people," he said when he got smiled at. "It's not a happy talk today." He put his notes down and glanced at them then up. He gave a good, stern, 'we've had enough now' speech. The reporters were gaping in horror. Hopefully that the 'accidental attack' had happened. At the end, the reporters all clapped. He stared at them, looking confused. "What?"
"You sounded like a president, sir," one said with a smile.
He blushed but nodded. "Sometimes it takes me a while to get in the right frame of mind." He slunk back inside. "They're weird today," he told Evan since he was watching.
"You did sound like the ultimate president though." He clapped Xander on the back. "The generals have the pullback announced to the troops. There's going to be a lot of happy families." Xander smiled at that. "John would be proud too." He walked him off. "Steel blue?"
"We liked it. We look good in it."
"Okay. Suits for the guests?"
"Only if you drool on me in my suit. I didn't think you were that way, Evan." They walked off together.
"I'm not, unless you come out with breasts of doom, Xander." Xander punched him on the shoulder with a smile. "You good with that?"
"I hate myself right now for what the people in that country will have to go through," he said quietly. "But it couldn't go on."
"No, you're right to do this." Xander nodded, relaxing again. They walked into the oval office and a horn went off. Xander looked around, looking confused. "It's your birthday, dumbass," Evan quipped with an evil smirk.
"I haven't celebrated in years."
"You are now," Chris assured him. Xander grinned and came over to blow out the candles on his cake. It was nice to celebrate and Xander did need the relaxing. They talked, ate, and all relaxed together. Chuck took pictures for the press people so they could relax too. It was a better day.
The End. Until the Wedding.
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