Keeper of the Stars
It was no accident.
I tip my hand to the keeper of the stars.
Chapter one: You are Cordially Invited...
You are cordially invited,
Buffy and Willow lay curled up on the couch looking over their wedding invitation list, trying to figure out how they had invited so many people to the wedding. There were over a hundred names on this list, a list that had been trimmed down from an original three hundred. "I didn't think I knew this many people." Buffy said, ruefully, as she examined the list. In fact, she didn't recognize half of the names on it. Her head rested comfortably on Willow's abdomen, and she could feel the gentle curve that was gradually growing with each passing day, pressing against the back of her neck.
"Well...Joyce gave me the list of your Aunts and Uncles, as well as your cousins, and your Grandparents...do you think your dad will come?" Willow asked, pensively, stroking Buffy's arm with idle fingers.
"I don't know...I don't think so. I mean, I'll invite him, but he's always so busy with work..." The truth was, Buffy hardly ever saw her dad anymore. It was true that his business had always kept him away a lot...even when she was a child...and while it had stung then, she had grown to a certain feeling of resignation towards it.
Willow nodded, brushing the top of Buffy's head with a gentle kiss. She knew her lover's father's disappearance from her life bothered her more than she would admit...maybe even to herself. That was just one of the reasons she was confident that Buffy would make a great parent, she would never want her child to feel the devastation of having a missing parent.
"Yeah...anyway, I know Giles is looking forward to escorting me down the aisle...you should have seen his face when I asked him. First he turned red...then he started stuttering...and then he started beaming with pride and said he would be happy to escort me down the aisle."
Buffy laughed at the image, her stuffy Watcher had certainly come a long way since she had first met him. He had at one time preached at her the importance of the Slayer standing alone. Now he knew that an alone Slayer was a dead Slayer. Buffy certainly wasn't alone now.
"So, we've got my side of the family...are you sure you don't want to invite any of your family to this...I know your mom and dad probably won't show." Buffy said, feeling guilty for some unfathomable reason. There was no reason why she should feel guilty, the Rosenberg's had brought their daughter's estrangement down upon themselves, but she still felt a little guilty for being the cause of it all. Then, when she allowed herself to think about what Ira Rosenberg had done to her, the guilt was washed away in a flash of fury. She had told Willow and the gang as little as possible about what had really happened. She told them about the van, and about what had happened inside the Psych Unit, but left out a lot of the pertinent details...like the fact that Ira had been behind the whole thing. She suspected that some of them knew that she had left some of her story out...but they hadn't pressed her for the details...in which she felt extremely grateful.
Willow sighed, then shifted, pulling her lover closer to her as she wrapped her arms around her midsection. "No...things are still so messed up where they are concerned...it might be better to leave everyone else out of it. Besides, we've already got a large enough list as it is...it's almost like we've invited the whole town of Sunnydale. Course, half of the people won't show up because they have to travel in from out of town...but..."
"They why invite them?" Buffy asked, craning her neck so that she could see her lover. "I've got an even better idea. Let's just have a private ceremony. You ...me...and the preacher. What do you say?" She asked, looking at her lover hopefully. She got poked in the ribs for her trouble.
"Buffy...we only get married once...we might as well make it a memorable one. I thought you wanted this." Willow said, a quiet note slipping into her voice as insecurity started to nibble away at the red head.
Buffy noticed it right away and kicked herself, figuratively, in the head for being insensitive. "I do. I'm sorry. I guess I'm a little nervous. I've never gotten married before." Her blue eyes pleaded with her lover's for understanding, while she entwined her fingers with her lover's. She brought Willow's left hand up and kissed the engagement ring that lay possessively on her ring finger. "I do know I've never wanted anything more."
The doorbell rang before Willow could answer, and Buffy sent a glowering look towards the door. "Oops. I kind of forgot Cordelia and Anya were coming over today to take me to my fitting." Willow said, looking apologetically at her lover, who looked like she wanted to curse a blue streak.
"I'd rather take you to your fitting." Buffy replied, grinning lasciviously.
"Uh...I think not. You know, it's bad luck to see me in my dress before the wedding." Willow said, her green eyes blinking wide.
"You don't really believe that, do you?" Buffy raised a startled blonde eyebrow in question.
"We live on top of the Hellmouth...I'd rather not take any chances where bad luck is concerned, thank you very much." Willow insisted. "Besides, aren't Oz and Xander coming to get you soon, anyway?"
Buffy winced as she stood moving over to answer the door. "Yeah, we have to go pick up the tuxes today." She said, right before she answered the door. "Morning, Cordy."
Cordelia glanced over Buffy, then looked at Willow. "Let's shop...we only have thirty shopping days left."
Buffy stared at her reflection in the full framed mirror that stood in the rental shop. "I feel like a waiter." She said, as she adjusted the suspenders on her suit, then played with the cuff link on her right sleeve.
"You look like a waiter." Xander said, giving her a once over as he came out of the changing room behind her, dressed in his monkey suit.
Buffy shot him an offended look and Xander smiled awkwardly. "Heh. Just kidding. Come on, you have to admit we clean up very nice." He said, admiring himself in the mirror. Buffy nodded, a wry look gracing her bright blue eyes as she stared at herself in the mirror.
"Tell me again why I'm wearing a tux?" Oz asked, as he came out, adjusting his jacket. 'Dingoes Ate my baby' was playing back up for Joyce who was going to be singing at the wedding, though she had yet to tell anybody exactly what she was singing. They were also going to be playing at the reception.
Buffy looked at the guitar player, an amused smirk playing over her lips. "Because Willow insisted that you guys look good, and whatever Willow wants, Willow gets."
"How'd Giles luck out of this little field trip, anyway?" Xander asked, noticing the absence of the vaunted Watcher.
"He already owns a tux. Though, I can't imagine why." Buffy shook her head, still not able to comprehend that one.
Xander contemplated that for all the time it took him to get his bow tie straight then shook it off. He examined himself and Buffy in the mirror, then nodded his head. "I think we're about done here, what do you say we go find the ladies?" He asked, rubbing his hands together in anticipatory glee. That was, before he saw a blonde head shaking at him. "Why not?" He asked, sounding pretty whiny.
"Can't...Willow made me promise. Said something about it being bad luck...or something like that."
"Oh come on Buffster. You know that's just superstition." Xander said, sounding desperate, even to his own ears.
"You just want to see Anya and Cordy in their bridesmaid dresses. Forget about it Xander." The Slayer ordered. It was then that she noticed some Cowboy hick giving her strange looks out of the corner of her eye. She watched him surreptitiously, noticing his looks of disgust in her direction. She turned around to stare at him, her blue eyes boring into him as she met his stare.
Xander noticed the stare off and turned his head to see what the trouble was. "Hey. What's that guy's problem?" He asked, giving the guy a dirty look.
"Beats me." Buffy murmured, not dropping the intense glare. The cowboy must have taken it as a challenge, because he stepped across the room, avoiding the dressed up mannequins that littered the room, in convenient places, until he stood right in front of them.
"Ya playin' dress up, girlie?" The cowboy asked in a slow drawl, while slowly chewing on the tobacco that stained the side of his mouth, and Buffy wondered idly where he had teleported in from.
Buffy's eyes raked over the cowboys form, from the light blue tuxedo to the cowboy hat tucked haphazardly on his head. "Funny...I could ask you the same question." She said, sardonically, letting a wry grin grace her lips.
The cowboy looked down at his suit, then back up at her a scowl furrowing his brow. "You makin' fun of me, girlie?"
"Boy...you catch on fast. I bet you went all the way through high school." The sarcastic edge to the Slayer's voice hit the cowboy like a brick, causing his face to turn an interesting shade of red.
"Why you...if you weren't a girl...and I wasn't a gentleman I'd..."
"You'd what...haul me behind your Jeep Cherokee Ranger?" Humor danced in the Slayer's blue eyes. She had to admit, she was having fun. "I didn't ask you to come over here and stick your nose where it doesn't belong...really doesn't belong...so why don't you go buy your cotton candy suit so you can get out of here and run to complain to your DixieMart girlfriend how some girlie in a tux offended your manhood."
The red faced cowboy took a menacing step towards Buffy, before he managed to look around and notice Oz and the rest of 'Dingoes ate my baby' standing around with their arms crossed, watching him closely. He gulped at the menacing looks they sent in his direction, then looked back at the infuriating blonde. "Dyke." He spat at her, before he turned on one cowboy boot, and walked away, cursing her out all the way.
Buffy absorbed the word like a bullet. She stared somberly at the doorway the cowboy had disappeared through, while she felt her worried friends circling around her.
"Buffy...you all right?" Oz asked, looking at the distant Slayer.
She nodded, looking around at her friends. "Yeah...I'm okay. I'm sorry about that guys."
"I would have paid good money to see you wipe the floor with that guy." Xander said, still fuming. What right did that guy have to make comments like that anyway? "Why didn't you..."
"Beat him up?" Buffy asked him, a wry look filling the stormy blue eyes. "What am I supposed to do, Xander? Beat up every bigoted jerk that crosses my path? I'd be beating up jerks all day...and what with my night job, even Slayer's get tired of beating up on people." Besides the fact that as a Slayer she was supposed to protect people, not beat up on them, even bigoted jerks.
"Come on guys, let's just pay for our tuxes and get out of here." Suddenly, it felt like the four walls were closing in on her, and she had an overwhelming urge to leave.
Cordelia let out a low whistle as Willow emerged from the changing room in a haze of white silk, catching the former fashion queen breathless. Her eyes traveled up and down Willow's beautifully bedecked form, shaking her head in wonder. She had come a long way from the class geek, to utterly chic. "Willow...you look..."
Green eyes met the hazel eyes apprehensively, obviously remembering Cordelia's old habit of putting down her fashion sense. Cordelia saw the look and smiled in a self-deprecatory manner.
"Stunning." She answered honestly, admiring the satin filled form with admiring eyes. "Buffy's going to die and go to Slayer heaven when she sees you." Willow beamed at Cordy's compliment, then looked herself over appraisingly in the full length mirror. She had to admit, she didn't look half bad.
"She'll probably have an instant orgasm." Anya piped in, ignoring the shocked looks she received as she examined a fingernail intently.
"Does she always talk like that?" Cordelia asked in a hushed whisper, glancing around the nearly empty shop, hoping their conversation hadn't been overheard. There was just one other woman, besides the salesperson, in the store who was trying on a very unflattering bridal gown. The bleached blonde Kewpie doll was trying on an ugly cream colored lacy wedding dress that was way too small for her, and trying to make herself fit.
"Uh...yeah. Xander's trying to break her of the habit but he hasn't been very successful so far." Willow said, smiling as Cordelia snorted, no doubt amused at the thought of Xander breaking anybody of a habit like that.
It took a great deal of convincing to get Anya into the sapphire blue bridesmaid dress Willow had picked out, Cordelia hadn't been much of a problem, but Anya kept arguing, saying she didn't know why she had to wear a special dress...she wasn't the one getting married. Willow told her about weddings in painstaking detail, hoping that some of her words would get through to the ex-vengeance demon, and finally, with a slight huff, Anya got up and went to put on her dress.
Willow wondered what kind of a world she lived in where an ex-vengeance demon was one of her bridesmaid's and a person who used to ridicule her in high school was another. Yup, she definitely lived on the hellmouth. She grinned to herself ruefully at the thought, then sat down beside Cordelia who was already dressed in her dress.
They were both waiting for Anya to come out, when a surly looking cowboy walked into the store, bellowing out a woman's name. "Becky Sue! Where are you?"
The unfortunate woman in the cream colored dress looked up startled at the sound and shot a wary look to the door at the other side of the room. Willow followed her gaze to the cowboy and winced in sympathy at the deer in the headlight look coming from the poor woman.
"What are you doing here, Earl?! You're not supposed to see me like this until the wedding!" The woman called out to the man in the blue tuxedo.
"Forget about that...just get the dress so we can get out of here." The still furious man barked, before walking back out the door, clearly expecting his Becky Sue to follow.
The woman hurried back into the changing room to change out of her dress and Willow felt a great well of sympathy emerge for the poor woman. She wondered who had pissed the cowboy off so badly that he had to take it out on his fiancée, then realized that it was probably just the guy's nature. She wondered how anybody could put up with being treated like that, and thanked her lucky stars that she had fallen in love with Buffy, a person she knew would love her and take care of her and their child, and not treat them like possessions.
"Why do I get the feeling that guy ran into Buffy?" Cordelia asked, sarcastically, still staring at the door the cowboy had breezed through. Buffy had a supreme gift for infuriating people. Willow shot a worried look at her, then glanced back as the bleached blonde hurriedly paid for the dress, then ran outside.
As much as her curiosity was eating at her, it wasn't until later that she found out what happened from Buffy, who admitted that she was behind the cowboy's mad outburst. She had told her as little as possible about the comments the cowboy had made, choosing to gloss over the details, though Willow could tell the confrontation had upset her lover.
Buffy was determined not to let it bother her, but it did raise serious questions in her mind about how people would react when she and Willow were married. Not to mention what would happen once the baby came. The same humans she was chosen to protect could be decidedly cruel towards anything they perceived as different. Buffy had faced this many times before, because of being the Slayer...she was used to it. But she wouldn't tolerate it if it was aimed at Willow or her child. She knew she would defend them with every fiber of her being, and whoever was foolish enough to attack them would pay a heavy price.
Willow tried to chase away Buffy's gloomy thoughts with talk about the wedding. They had mailed the invitations, bought their outfits, the flowers were being arranged, and Mario was putting on the rehearsal dinner and the reception.
When they had told him they were getting married, he had gushed on excitedly, in his thick Italian accent, congratulating them both, then insisting that he would give them a wedding feast to be proud of. Buffy had said that she couldn't allow him to do both, feeling guilty for taking advantage of his kindness so far, but he had looked so offended at the comment, that she immediately backed down, accepting his offer with a graciousness that Willow could be proud of. He beamed at them both, a great deal of love shining from the old Italian's eyes, then broadcasted the announcement to his waitstaff in a loud boisterous voice, causing them both to blush as a round of cheers filled the restaurant. Couples had looked up from their intimate dinners at the commotion and had looked at the red faced couple curiously, before returning to their dinners.
Their rings had been ordered, the storekeeper had been extremely helpful in helping them pick out their rings. They had hemmed and hawed over the selection, until the shopowner had pointed out a beautiful pair of golden rings, that were decorated with an image of two embracing turtledoves engraved on the surface. The rings were being sized now, and they had been assured that the golden symbols of their love would be ready before the wedding.
The wedding was actually shaping up quite nicely, Buffy decided, relaxing under the feel of Willow's soft hands massaging over the bare skin of her shoulders and back as she lay on her bed. The only thing that bothered her, was the fact that she had yet to come up with a feasible plan for a Honeymoon. It wasn't like she could leave Sunnydale anytime soon. They had just started their spring courses, and their wedding didn't really fall under a convenient time for getting away for a week. Then again, there was the little matter of a lack of funds. Her mother was helping them put on the wedding as it was, and she couldn't really expect her to give them a Honeymoon as well, so it was most likely that they would have to put off having one for the time being. Willow didn't seem too bothered by it, insisting that all she really wanted was to be married to the Slayer. But, she vowed silently that she would find some way to make it up to her future wife.
Chapter two: practice makes perfect.
The cheerful, almost overflowing with joy atmosphere that reigned supreme at Mario's restaurant would catch the casual observer off guard. Attention would be drawn almost hypnotically to a radiantly happy couple that were laughing and talking with each other, as well as their close friends and relatives. That observer wouldn't know that the last month had visited the couple with a flurry of preparations that had to be made, cakes to order, clothes to buy, rings to get sized. Family to pick up at the airport and get situated in the hotels around SunnyDale. The fact that all of these things had come together perfectly, as if by magic or a guiding hand, would not even cross the idle mind. All that person would see, would be a happily beaming couple that were ready to face tomorrow and the joyous joining that would take two halves of one soul and forge them together forever, making it whole.
The couple in question were talking about the events that had taken place that day, their practice session, if you will. "I'm pretty sure I've got the words memorized...with a little coaching, I just might be able to say them." Buffy teased Willow, lightly, stealing a kiss from the beautiful red head that sat next to her, studiously ignoring the entertained looks given by her family.
"Just as long as you don't trip over your own feet again, eh, Buff?" Xander chortled, watching Buffy's face turning pink as he reminded the group of the fall that had occurred when Buffy was practicing stepping forward to greet her bride at the alter that had been set up on the beach.
"Well...that sand was very slippery." Willow defended her red faced lover, a quirky smile lighting her face as the others resumed their chuckling, no doubt remembering the Slayer's header into the warm sand.
"Well, I'm certainly glad you guys are amused by that." The slayer said, ruefully, rubbing at her cherry colored face.
Willow took pity on her embarrassed fiancée and shamed the others into silence with a look. "We should probably put more mats down tomorrow." They had decided to hold the wedding on the beach, with the reception at Mario's afterward. The weather had been forecasted to be sunny and warm, with a light breeze, perfect for a beachside ceremony. They had bought a very large white canopy that they would set up on the beach, and had rented about eighty white wooden fold up chairs for the guests to sit on during the ceremony. The alter would be up front, of course, and Willow would be led up the middle between the two rows of chairs.
Mario brought the food out as they were discussing the wedding, much to Buffy's mouth watering delight. The smell of the hot baked Ziti and the garlic bread sending delicious wafts of aroma to her nose. She didn't know how Mario was managing it. He had promised a full Italian feast for eighty people for tomorrow, though he had yet to divulge the menu, Buffy was sure it would be a fabulous dinner.
Mario set the large platters of food down on the table, beaming with pride at the murmurs of delight and hunger that went around the table. "Thank you, Mario. This looks great." Buffy said, enthusiastically, as she dug into the hot pasta dish in front of her. The rest of the group wasted no time in helping themselves to the steamy pasta and soon all of their plates were brimming with the delicious food.
"Eat...enjoy...dessert comes soon, eh?" Mario proclaimed, jovially, before he gave them all a beaming smile and headed back for the kitchen. He had so much to do, antipastos and canolis to make, as well as baked Lasagna and other such dishes.
The table was actually silent as the group feasted on the spicy pasta, their sounds of satisfaction being the only audible noise the group made.
After the meal, Oz and the other Dingoes checked out the small stage that was set up in the restaurant. Tomorrow part of the floor would be cleared of tables so that the happy couple would be able to dance.
Willow gazed at the band, as she imagined dancing with Buffy tomorrow after the wedding. She had danced with her before, of course, but she wondered how different it would feel, if she felt different at all, to be dancing with her new wife. Willow beamed at the word every time she thought about it. It sent a happy thrill down her spine at just the thought of Buffy being her wife. She had never felt so possessive over anything before, not even Oz, but she knew deep in her heart that tomorrow she would be claiming Buffy as hers, her wife, and she couldn't wait for the moment to get here.
Willow was startled out of her reverie when she caught a flash of black out of the corner of her eyes. She swept the room with her eyes until she settled on the imposing figure in black that was standing near the entrance of the restaurant. She met the soulful gaze with her own green eyes and watched as they gestured toward the door. She nodded briefly, then started to stand up from the table, catching Buffy's attention away from the conversation she was having with her grandmother about weddings in her day.
"Hey, where are you going?" Buffy asked, catching Willow's hand in hers as she started to walk away from the table.
Willow turned her attention back to her lover, a slight flush brushing her cheeks. "I have to go to the bathroom." She whispered into her ear, not wanting the others at the table to overhear her.
"Oh." Buffy said, flushing as well as she wondered why she had questioned her lover on this in the first place. "Well, hurry back. I'll miss you."
Willow smiled at her, kissing her cheek. "I won't be gone long." she replied as she slipped off, heading in the direction of the bathroom.
Buffy watched her in bemusement for a few seconds, something cloudy swimming in the deep blue of her eyes, then shrugged her shoulders and tuned back into the conversation that her mother was having with her grandmother.
Her grandmother picked this time to wheedle out. "Are you sure you want to get married, Buffy? I mean, I'm sure Willow is a very lovely girl, but surely..." She was cut off by a very serious vampire Slayer.
"I'm very sure, Nan. I love her." Blue eyes radiated the seriousness in her words to her grandmother, who suddenly saw the errant teenager she used to be in a new light.
"Well, who am I to stand in the way of true love." Nan said, in a gesture of showing her support. Buffy smiled at her grandmother, then excused herself as she went to find her fiancée.
"Angel?" The soft whispery call startled the vampire and he swung on his heel to meet the vibrant green eyes. The two stared at each other for a long moment, each unsure what to say to the other as past and present lovers of Buffy Summers met under a starless sky. Willow shot an uneasy look at the door, then returned her gaze to the vampire, taking a restless breath. "Did you want to come in?" She asked, warily, wondering why Angel had chosen to show up, the night before the wedding.
The vampire with a soul shook his dark head after a moment of quiet consideration. "No. This is your time. Tomorrow is your day. I don't want to intrude on that. I just wanted you to know that I think Buffy has finally found what she has been looking for all of this time and I'm very happy for the both of you."
At Willow's startled look, Angel smiled mirthlessly. "Not that happy." He clarified, noticing Willow's shoulders sag with relief.
Willow knew what a sacrifice this was for the vampire and she was grateful that he had made the effort to close this particular chapter in Buffy's life. "Thanks, Angel. I'd invite you to the wedding, but it's kind of going to be outside and I wouldn't want you to go all poof." A teasing lilt filled the red head's voice and lightened the conversation considerably.
"Probably wouldn't be a good idea." Angel agreed, a slight grin twitching on his normally somber face.
Willow grinned, unsure what to say now that the air had been cleared. She opened her mouth to say something, then closed it, before sighing and letting it out in one big breath. "Angel...I want you to know that I...really love her."
He could see the love radiating from the intense green eyes and he nodded his head sadly. "I know. I trust you to take good care of her, Willow." The dark Angel said, relinquishing any hold he might have still had on the heart of the Slayer. Willow shivered as she felt him let go, and she claimed the gift somberly.
"I will." A fierce surge of protectiveness rose in the Wiccan, feeling the power of it vibrate through to her very soul. "With all my heart." The power was tempered by the beat of her heart, as she felt the promise of tomorrow on her lips.
Angel nodded one final time, then disappeared into the shadows, the night enveloping him and embracing him with the cover of darkness. It was the place the souled vampire felt most comfortable and it was the only place that welcomed him back time and again.
Willow felt an almost tangible sadness for the lost vampire, sad that he could never experience the all consuming happiness that she felt with Buffy. Quiet footsteps on the floorboards behind her, alerted her to someone's presence as she felt warm arms sliding around her, and a warm body embracing her from behind. She leaned back into the comforting presence feeling the security she never felt anywhere else.
"I was starting to wonder where you'd disappeared to." Buffy said quietly, into her lover's ear, feeling her tremble under her touch. She watched the evening shadows move with a life all their own as she sighed. "Angel." It was more statement than question, Willow noticed, as if the Slayer had known he had been here all along.
Of course, she had probably sensed his presence, Willow reflected silently as she nodded her head slowly. She felt Buffy squeeze her gently, enveloping her more, if that was at all possible.
"Are you okay?" Buffy asked, wondering what they had been discussing with each other, though she herself was the most likely topic she considered ruefully. "What did he say?" She prodded her reluctant lover, gently.
Willow stiffened at the questions, unsure how Buffy would react to their discussion of her. "He kind of gave us his blessing, I guess."
"Well, that was sweet of him. Not that I need it, of course." Buffy said, a twinge of amusement mixed into her melodic voice.
The good humor in Buffy's voice relaxed her, and Willow leaned back against her peacefully, glad for a moment alone with her after the hectic activity of the last few weeks. As they stared together up into the black endless night sky, Willow noticed the almost dream like quality of bliss she was living in and it scared her to think she might wake up. "Would you mind pinching me?" She asked, a hesitant note in her request.
"Why?" Buffy whispered, bemused by the odd request.
She waited in silence for a few moments, before the whispered reply reached her ears. "I keep having this strange feeling that this is all a dream and I'm going to wake up back in high school, and I'll be the class geek that I was before I met you."
Buffy's hold on her lover tightened at the pain she heard in her voice. "Hey...I will never let that happen. I will never let you go." She vowed vehemently, turning her lover so that she could look into her eyes. "I don't know what I'd do without you. I love you Willow Rosenberg and tomorrow I'm making you my wife." She vowed, just before her lips met the red head's. A better cure then a pinch, the Wiccan concluded distractedly, just before she lost herself in the kiss.
"I can't believe I let you talk me into this." Buffy grumbled, as she crossed Giles living room and tossed her duffle bag and the bag carrying her tux onto the couch. "I should be sleeping with Will, not Mr. Gordo." Not liking the idea of sleeping with her stuffed pig one bit.
"Really Buffy, it's only one night. You can't expect Willow to forego tradition."
Buffy flopped down on the couch releasing a huge groan. "I don't want to offend the Goddess of tradition, but personally, I think this tradition sucks, Giles." Buffy pouted, crossing her arms over her chest. "I mean, obviously we've been sleeping together for a while now."
"Look, surely you can sleep without Willow for one night." Giles said, rolling his eyes in exasperation.
"No, really...I can't, Giles." Buffy said, earnestly, looking up at her Watcher. "I always sleep the best wrapped around Willow. I can't explain it really...it's just feeling her soft skin against mine that..."
"Uh...more than I needed to know really." Giles said, interrupting the Slayer quickly.
Buffy blushed, and looked away. "Yeah...uh, you mind if I call Willow." Buffy asked, darting her eyes to the phone.
Giles rolled his eyes. It had been less than twenty minutes since they had seen each other at Mario's restaurant. "Very well, but do try and get some sleep. I'm going to bed." Giles said, trying to remember when or if he'd ever seen two people so much in love.
Buffy waited until he had disappeared into his bedroom before she picked up the phone and dialed the number, waiting breathlessly for that familiar voice to answer the phone.
"Hello?" The voice coming across the phone line lit the spark inside her heart and she had to fight the grin that was taking over her face.
"Hey you." Buffy said, the smile in her voice carrying quite nicely to Willow who was curled up on their bed, staring longingly at her wedding dress.
"Hey back. How's Giles couch treating you?" Willow teased, lightly. "Is Mr. Gordo keeping you nice and warm?"
"Funny Will." Buffy said, as she soaked up the sound of Willow's relaxed voice. "To tell you the truth, I'd rather be sleeping with you. I don't know how I'm going to get to sleep tonight." Buffy said, ruefully.
"My poor baby." Willow said, in a mock commiserating voice. "Still, I think you should try. You don't want to be all pooped out on the Wedding night." Buffy heard the grin as well as the seductive tone to her fiance's voice and it sent sweet tendrils of desire through the Slayer's bloodstream.
Buffy chuckled, as thoughts of ways she'd like to spend their wedding night danced in her head. "Mmm, I think I'll find the energy somewhere." She promised huskily, feeling their connection sparking down the phone line. "I can't wait to get you alone in our room."
Willow felt the connection stirring her blood, and knew she had to get the Slayer off of the phone or she'd be awake all night with butterflies in her stomach. "I can't either." She admitted breathlessly. "But we have to, and you're not making it easier." She admitted regretfully.
Buffy laughed, imagining her red haired lover getting all worked up. "Sorry. This isn't helping either one of us." She said, with a great amount of chagrin. "See you tomorrow?" She questioned, as if she was half afraid her bride wouldn't show up.
"You betcha." Willow chirped back at her, sensing her partner's loneliness. "I'll be the one in the long white dress and veil."
Buffy smiled at the words. Willow always knew how to cheer her up. "I love you, Will."
A stunning glow lit Willow's cheeks when she heard the words, and she let herself absorb them, relishing the rare gift Buffy bestowed on her each and every day. "I love you too, Buffy. Get some sleep, I'll see you tomorrow."
"Night, Will." Buffy whispered into the phone, hearing a soft murmur in return, before she hung up, gazing reflectively at the phone before she laid her head back and stared at the ceiling in quiet reflection, hugging Mr. Gordo to her. Maybe this was what Giles and her mom had in mind, she pondered as she stared at the white painted surface above her head. To give them a chance to realize just what they were getting into, and a chance to reflect on how different their lives would be without the other one.
It really wasn't a lesson she thought that she needed. She already knew Willow was her life, she had been since she had arrived in Sunnydale, really, and one little ceremony wasn't going to change that...except perhaps allow everyone else to realize just how much they meant to each other.
It occurred to her that the ceremony really wasn't for them, she already felt like she was married to Willow in her heart. The ceremony really was a declaration to the world that she and Willow were meant to be together. She smiled at that thought, imagining standing by the altar with Willow at her side, looking into her eyes and declaring her undying love for her. Corny as that thought was, it made her grin from ear to ear. Yup, she couldn't wait to be Buffy Rosenberg Summers.
The sound of Giles' doorbell ringing disturbed Buffy from the wonderful doze she had been falling into, and she glared ominously at the door. "I can't believe it." She growled, as she got up and went to open the offensive door.
Ripping the door open, not knowing who she was going to find on the other side, she was surprised to see Xander, holding a pizza box and a six pack of beer, and Oz and the Dingoes behind him, carrying various other snacks and paraphernalia, some of which Buffy couldn't make out at first glance. "Hey Buffster! It's party time!" Xander announced as he slipped his way past her, and headed over to the coffee table.
Chapter three: Bachelor party
Hey little sister what have you done?
-- Billy Idol -- White Wedding
"Xander...what?" Buffy watched in bemusement as Xander unloaded his party supplies on the coffee table.
"You didn't think we were going to let you get married tomorrow without throwing you a stag party, did ya?" Xander asked, looking slightly insulted. "I think not." He proclaimed, popping open a can of beer and raising it in a toast as the other guys found places around Giles t.v. and Oz popped a tape in his VCR. "So drink up and be merry, Buff...for tomorrow you turn into an old married lady."
Buffy wasn't sure whether to take that as an insult or a compliment, but she did know if Giles woke up and found them here, there would be hell to pay, and she really didn't like to tempt hell, considering she lived on top of the hellmouth. "Uh...guys, thanks but I really don't think..."
"Come on, Buff. Live it up. You only get married once, you know." Xander said, trying to get the Slayer to loosen up a bit.
Feeling the situation running straight out of her hands, Buffy shook her head helplessly as she shut the door, and walked towards the couch. "Thanks, guys. But if you wake up Giles, I'm not protecting you." She declared forcefully, before she reached into the pizza box and grabbed a slice of pizza.
She had just taken a bite, when she noticed moaning coming from the TV set. Very sexy moaning at that. She turned her head slowly, her eyes widening as the sounds of pleasure became louder and more throaty. "Uh...guys...I don't think..." She was about to protest when the image of two women getting it on, captured her whole attention.
"Wow. I didn't know you could do that." A round of chuckles went around the room, as she sank back into a chair, feeling suddenly light headed as she stared in rapture at the screen. She tilted her head to the side to get a better angle as images of trying out with Willow what she saw on the screen, danced in her head. Watching the action unfold, she couldn't wait for her wedding night.
While Buffy and the guys were pigging out on pizzas and watching porno flicks, Willow was being treated to a Bridal shower thrown by Joyce, Cordelia and Anya. Joyce had made a plate of finger sandwiches and they drank ice cream punch while Willow opened a stack of presents. Cordelia wrote down every word Willow said while she was opening the gifts, for a reason she was about to make known after Willow unwrapped the last one.
Cordelia cleared her throat after Willow set the matching crystal candlesticks down with the rest of the opened gifts, and waited for all eyes to be turned to her. "I've written down every word you said while you were opening your presents, Willow, and it's an old superstition, that whatever you say when your opening your presents during your Bridal Shower, you said before on your first night with Buffy." Cordelia's eyes gleamed as she watched Willow's face turn pink. Joyce covered her mouth to hide a grin, as she remembered her girlfriends doing this when she married Buffy's father.
"Now...I don't know what some of this means, you would have a better idea than I would." Cordelia said, shooting a mischievous look at the blushing bride, "But personally I think some of this stuff is rather revealing."
Cordelia waited until she had all eyes and ears on her, then let loose with the first one. "OH MY GOD! I love it!" She cried, her voice full of passion, as if to mirror Willow's in an orgasmic moment.
Willow blushed furiously, as she tried not to choke on her punch. Hearing the gentle laughter around her, she tried not to feel mortified, and then ended up laughing anyway.
"Aww...Isn't that cute?" Cordelia squealed, as she read off the second line, amidst a roar of laughter. Willow didn't think it was possible to turn anymore red, as she gasped with laughter.
Cordelia adopted a puzzled tone, as she read off the next one. "I don't think it will fit."
Willow did choke on her punch this time, sending ice cream punch out of her nose. She coughed, waiving Cordelia's hands away as she started to slap the red head on the back. She was laughing so hard, tears were forming in her eyes.
"Will this color go with my face?" Cordelia questioned seriously, before she burst into laughter again, quickly being joined by Joyce and a beet red Willow. Anya was left puzzled at that one, as the three other women howled with glee.
When Cordelia managed to calm down enough again, she formed a regretful face and read off the next one on the list. "I already have one of those."
Willow's chest was aching by this time, but she couldn't stop the gusts of laughter that streamed from her. She was mildly embarrassed by Joyce hearing all these things, even though she knew she didn't really say them, they were close enough to the truth for her taste. But Joyce didn't seem to mind, in fact she appeared to be enjoying it just as much as the other girls were.
"And last but not least." Cordelia primed the next one by letting a beatific smile grow on her face, and clasping her hands together in front of her. "Those go really good together." She said, enthusiastically, as the room cracked up once more.
Willow had lived through it, and she hadn't died from complete mortification, she thought as she wiped the tears of laughter from her overheated face. In fact, it had felt pretty darned good bonding with the other women like this. She supposed embarrassment had it's place after all.
The squeal of seagulls mixed with the roar of the ocean as they stood in front of the justice of the peace, in full view of the people gathered there to witness the occasion.
The justice of the peace cleared his throat, looking down on the bride who was beautifully dressed in her white satin gown. "Do you, Willow Rosenberg take Buffy to be your wife. Will you love her, honor her and cherish her for as long as you both shall live?"
Willow looked over at Buffy, a look of hesitation filling her bright green eyes and for a moment the audience thought that she was going to say no. But then, her hesitant voice lifted above the crowd, saying quite loudly. "I do."
The group breathed a sigh of relief, then turned their attention back to the Justice of the peace. "Do you Buffy Summers take Willow as your wife? Will you love her, honor her and cherish her for as long as you both shall live?"
The Slayer peered at him for a long moment, as if she was trying to comprehend what he had just said. Then a light of understanding lit her grayish blue eyes and she grunted. "Ugh." She nodded, beating herself on the chest aggressively. "Huh." She grunted, before she swung around and picked up her bride, throwing her over her left shoulder.
"Uh Buffy...Buffy put me down...Buffy!" Willow cried, as the Slayer who had once again been turned into her prehistoric self by some faulty beer, started carrying her away. She beat on the misshapen back, but it did her little good as they got farther and farther away from the now gaping crowd.
Cave-Buffy took her to a nearby cave, where she removed the white wedding dress and stood gaping down at her revealed curves. An inscrutable smile lit up the Slayer's face before she leaned down and kissed her life mate on the lips, grunting in satisfaction at how sweet they tasted.
"Ugh...Wil-low good." She proclaimed, as she slipped a curious hand down over the soft skin. She caressed every inch, watching the green eyes below her in curiosity as her life mate writhed beneath her.
Slipping strangely gentle fingers between her mate's legs, she tested the sensitive area bemused to find it soaking wet. Bringing her fingers to her nose, she inhaled the intoxicating scent, then stuck her fingers in her mouth, sucking on the digits as the sweet taste filled her mouth. "Ugh. Wil-low good." The Slayer repeated her earlier statement, after she had cleaned her fingers off, and then added a new statement to her repertoire. "Wil-low foam-y."
Buffy woke from the dream, feeling slightly off kilter at the strangeness of it, to find that she had passed out on the couch after indulging in way too many pizza slices and seeing way too many porno flicks. The images on the screen had no doubt influenced her strange if racy and provocative dreams, and she wondered if all bachelors woke up like this on the day of their wedding.
Probably, she reflected, although they were probably a lot more hungover than she was, considering she had declined the beer last night for the sake of her vow to Willow to share all of the pregnancy's little inconveniences with her.
She looked around Giles living room, unsurprised to see that it was a certified mess. Pizza boxes and other snack packages covered the coffee table, video boxes were strewn all over the living room floor, along with Dingoes ate my baby, who were sleeping in various poses on the living room carpet. Xander slept in an armchair, his head turned in an awkward position, and Buffy knew he'd have one heck of a neck ache when he woke up. Their snores reverberated through the living room, and Buffy wondered how she had managed to sleep through all that racket. She knew the men would most likely have hangovers when they awoke, they had drank considerable amount of alcohol, if she had to wager a guess she'd bet that they had each managed to drink a six pack or more per person.
She stared at the mess in a fog, not quite awake enough to start moving and cleaning up the place before Giles woke up, when it suddenly occurred to her that it was her wedding day. A feeling of unbelievable joy, mixed in with a sudden case of nerves, washed through her body, and a humoungous smile lit up her face.
Feeling her inner imp start to jump up and down in her head, she felt a sudden urge coming down upon her. She knew the boys would probably glare at her for this, but she was unable to hold back the giant wave of glee any longer. Taking a giant gulp of air, she held her breath then let it out in one sharp, loud blast. "WAKE UP EVERYBODY! IT'S MY WEDDING DAY!"
Chapter Four: From this moment On
(I do swear that I'll always be there.
From this moment life has begun.
From this moment I have been blessed.
I give my hand to you with all my heart.
From this moment as long as I live.
You're the reason I believe in love.
From this moment as long as I live.
Shania Twain. -- From this moment On
After having received baleful glares for her rude awakening, at which she hadn't been able to help giggling, the joy she was feeling allowed no dampeners on her spirit, she tried to get them to help her pick up the room before Giles could come down and see it.
They did a minor amount of complaining, considering they were all hung over, but they got the room cleaned before Giles came downstairs, which is really all she cared about.
If Giles was at all surprised at the number of people that were taking up his living room, he didn't let it show, and Buffy figured either he knew about what went on down here last night, or he was too much of an Englishmen to ask about it.
After eating a quick breakfast, due mostly to Giles insistence that she not get married on an empty stomach, although if Buffy had it her way she would have foregone the food torture, considering the butterflies in her stomach were still having fun with whatever was left from last nights pizza fest, the guys went out to the van to get changed into their tuxes, while Giles dressed in his room, and Buffy opted for the bathroom, the only place left in which to change.
Buffy felt decidedly different this morning as she buttoned up the white shirt of her tux, while looking at her appearance in Giles' bathroom mirror. In the rental shop as she had put on the tux, she had felt out of place, like an overdressed waiter in a McDonalds restaurant, but today as she put it on, it only cemented her connection and commitment to Willow, the person she had loved secretly for so long, the one person she couldn't live her life without, and with every piece of the suit that she put on, the more right it felt, until finally she stood, fully dressed from the black bow tie to the shiny black shoes, and she could hardly reconcile the lonely girl she used to be with the confident, competent and loved woman that she had become.
Checking her appearance over one final time, Buffy grinned at the stranger in the mirror and exited the bathroom, finding Giles waiting for her in the hall.
"Well...how do I look?" Buffy asked, nervously, rocking on her heels as he looked her over.
There was so much he wanted to say to her. He wanted to tell her how proud he was of her, and how much she had changed and grown. But there was little time for that, they were due for the wedding soon, so he supposed it would have to wait for later. The watcher cleared his throat as he appraised her, a warm glint filling his eyes with pride as he did so. "Splendid." He answered, finally, a smile lighting the Englishman's face. "Except...for one thing."
Buffy looked at him in question, and he held up a single pink Carnation, which he then pinned to her lapel, matching the one he proudly wore on his. "There. Now you are ready to get married."
Buffy grinned from ear to ear at those words, feeling genuinely ready to take on the whole world, and Willow Rosenberg.
Xander popped his head in at that moment, looking rather dapper in his tux, and looked around for the Watcher and Slayer. "Hey." He directed toward them when he spotted them. "Come on, Buff. You don't want to be late for your own wedding."
"You look so beautiful." Joyce murmured, as she walked into Buffy and Willow's room, catching Willow's appearance in the bedroom mirror, covered from head to toe in white satin.
Willow smiled back at Joyce's reflection in the mirror. "Thank you, Joyce. For everything." She said, turning around to face her soon to be Mother-in-law. "You've been so good to me from the beginning, when my own parents turned their backs on me, and I could never thank you enough for that."
Joyce looked at Willow, an expression of sympathy mixed with warm regard on her face. "You don't need to thank me for that, Willow. You love my daughter so much, and that's thanks enough for me." She said, sincerely, hugging Willow gently, not wanting to wrinkle her gown. "I love you like a daughter, and I thank whatever divining force that brought you into our lives."
Willow felt happy tears slipping down her cheeks and rubbed them away with a trembling finger. "I'm sorry, that's just about the sweetest thing anyone's ever said to me."
Joyce smiled at her in understanding. "Don't worry, I'm sure both of you will be crying alot of happy tears today. It's perfectly natural, that's why I brought you this." She passed Willow an embroidered blue cloth, handkerchief to wipe her tears away, both the ones she was crying now, and the ones she would cry later.
"That takes care of borrowed and blue...your dress is new..." Joyce said with a smile, evoking the old tradition of Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue. "And this...is very old." Joyce said, pinning a sparkling butterfly broach onto Willow's dress. "It was my Great, Great-grandmothers. My mother pinned it on me when I married Buffy's father, telling me it symbolized the wings that we would be spreading to fly away together in our newly married life. It's been passed down in this way for many generations. I always thought that I'd be pinning it on Buffy some day, but I think that it was really meant for you."
Willow fingered the broach, then looked up at Joyce, fresh tears filling her eyes, too choked up to speak. A gentle smile worked it's way onto Joyce's face at the sight. "Oh honey, I know you and Buffy are going to have very happy lives together." She hugged the red head once more, then pulled away to look at her. "Now, what do you say we get this show on the road. If I know Buffy, she's probably pacing in front of the alter, chewing her nails, wondering if you're ever going to show up."
The attack of butterflies Buffy had felt over breakfast was nothing next to the ones she felt swimming in there now as she stood in front of the alter, surrounded by a bunch of people she wasn't sure she recognized, almost totally convinced she was going to pass out at any second.
Xander, her best man, stood next to her whispering reassuring things at her, like "Breathe.", "Relax." and "It will all be over soon."
She felt sweat breaking out on her forehead, and she was sure the minister was giving her strange looks, though that could just be her delirium, she reflected silently, wondering when the heck Willow was going to arrive. Wouldn't it just beat all if she was left standing at the alter in front of all of these people just like in that movie "Runaway Bride"?
It was with a great sense of relief then when she saw her mom, dressed in a lovely light blue dress, walking over to the band, who had set up, in an impromptu kind of way, on a rocky ledge not far from the canopy. If Joyce was here, that meant Willow was here too, and the wedding was about to start. Thank God.
Joyce spoke into a microphone that was powered by a small generator. "I am greatly honored to be able to sing at my daughter's wedding. Although I must warn her, I haven't done this in a long time and I may be a little rusty." Buffy grinned nervously at her mother, hoping her nervousness didn't show too badly on her face.
"This song reminds me of a mother's love for her child, the love that I feel for you. But I also think it best describes the love that I see between you and Willow. I hope you like it." As soon as Joyce finished speaking the Dingoes started playing a slow tune, while Cordelia and Anya started moving up the aisle between the two rows of people.
Willow followed behind them at a more sedate pace, and Buffy felt the breath leave her lungs as she caught sight of her bride, Willow's beauty captivating her like nothing else ever had. Willow's arm was curled comfortably and somewhat protectively by Giles' arm.
Buffy could see the pride that beamed on the face of her Watcher in the split second of attention that she gave him, before she stared completely entranced, as her gorgeous bride made her way steadily to her.
As Joyce started to sing, images of their relationship with each other danced
in their heads.
Willow had always been Buffy's light in the darkness, the one anchor in her chaotic life that kept her grounded and feeling safe. Without her, Buffy doubted there would be any light in her life.
"When you forget how beautiful you are.
As Willow walked up the aisle, hearing Joyce's voice echoing over the beach, it touched a place in her heart, a place that belonged to the Slayer, who was standing, waiting patiently for her to reach her side.
Buffy, the one who had stood up for the class geek from the first day they had met. The one that showed her each and every day just how beautiful she thought the red head was.
"When you can't find your way,
Willow reached Buffy's side, staring deeply into the Slayer's eyes, as Giles relinquished his hold and gave her a kiss on the cheek, then stepped aside as Buffy stepped forward to meet her, clasping her hands in her own as they listened to the words, getting lost in each other's eyes.
There had been times when they had each been lost both mentally (when Angel and Oz had left them) and quite literally. They had made it through the lost times with the love and support of the other, and they knew they never would have made it if the other hadn't been there.
"I'll be your shoulder
Willow had lost count of the number of times Buffy had cried on her shoulder, or lying face down in her lap, not that she had ever started counting. She had been there for Buffy during the darkest moments of the Slayer's life, and had been honored to stand by her side when everything else in her dark life was going wrong. It was an act of love, even before they had become lovers. Even the mighty slayer needed someone to turn to in times of trouble, someone to lean on, and she had accepted the responsibility as a treasured gift, reserved only for her.
"I'll be the rock that will be strong for you.
As Willow was Buffy's support, the same held true the other way around. When Oz had left, leaving her shattered and broken, it had been Buffy that had held her, and comforted her as Willow's tears had slipped down her fair cheeks, breaking Buffy's heart in the process. The unrequited love she had felt, or so she had thought then, threatening to burst from the restraints she had placed upon it.
"And when you're there with no one to hold.
Buffy and Willow smiled at each other, seeing remembrances of the times they had held each other, whether happy or sad, mirrored in each others eyes.
"And when you feel your faith is running low.
Without the red head's faith in her, Buffy would have given up the fight against the powers of darkness a long time ago, and without Buffy's faith in Willow, the wiccan never would have grown out of her shy, meek shell and grown into the beautifully confident woman that she loved with all her heart.
"When all you find are lies,
From the first, when Willow had found out she was the Slayer, Willow had been her confidant, the one she trusted to keep her secrets, the one she could tell all of her troubles to. She had told more to her red headed friend than she had to anybody else, including her Watcher. The wiccan was the first person she ran to when she was in trouble, and they had made a pact a long time ago to never keep anything from each other.
"I'll be your shoulder
As Joyce sang the chorus a second time, the couple reflected that they were each of these to each other...they were the shoulder that they cried on, the shelter from the storm, the rock that secured each other, and so much more.
"I'll be the sun.
They had seen each other through so many troubled times and had managed to lighten each others spirit when they had needed it most. Willow was one of the few people that could get her to smile when she was feeling her darkest. With her endearing grin, and her comedic way of stating the worst in a babbling kind of way, Willow usually had a way of seeing through the darkness to that one ray of light, causing it to grow until it's brightness drowned out the shadows in the Slayer's soul.
"I'll be your shoulder
'I'll be.' They both vowed to each other silently, seeing the promise reflecting in each others eyes. 'I'll be all those things and more.' They seemed to say, feeling the silent vow to the depths of their souls, bringing tears to their eyes as the last strains of the song wound down and the sound of the distant ocean roared into the quiet until the guests started applauding their appreciation for Joyce's singing.
After the applause calmed down, the minister moved to stand in front of Buffy and Willow and addressed the guests gathered there. "Friends and family, we are joined here today to join these two souls in joyous matrimony. If there is anyone here that can say why these two souls must not be joined, let that person speak now or forever hold their peace." Willow sent a worried look behind her, while the blue eyes of the Slayer pierced the gathered crowd. If anybody dared to interrupt their wedding, she'd...well she wasn't quite sure what she would do, but she wouldn't hold herself accountable for her actions.
Nobody spoke in the reigning silence, although one person in the crowd desperately wanted to. The unspoken voice wanted to shout above the crowd that Willow didn't belong with Buffy, that Buffy couldn't possibly love Willow the way this silent soul did. But the courage to speak eluded the lovesick soul, and the moment slipped past before the person could speak.
The minister turned back to the task at hand, that of marrying the couple in front of him. "Buffy and Willow have come here together today, not only to declare their undying and everlasting love to each other, but to declare it in full view of their friends and family, making a lasting pact to love each other not only in the good times, but also through the bad times to come. It is your job as witnesses to this love, to help them support each other, to remind them of the vows they will speak here today, and to help them to remain on that path they have started on today."
The minister smiled down on the couple in front of him. "As you have come here today to declare your love to the world, so you must as well declare your intentions to each other. Buffy and Willow have requested to use their own vows, which they have written and wish to present them to you now. Buffy..."
Buffy swallowed hard, hoping she wouldn't choke as her nerves played havoc with her once more. She turned to face Willow, and felt a steadying calm washing over her, just by looking at the sun beaming on Willow's sweet face. "For the longest time...I was alone. I had friends, if you could call them that, but they always seemed more interested in what I could give them than in any feelings I might have. It wasn't until I met you, that I learned what being a true friend was all about. You taught me how to love, and then you gave me the greatest gift ever. You gave me your unconditional love. And now, as I stand here on this beach, among all of our friends and loved ones, I want to give you the same gift you gave me so long ago."
Buffy looked down at her black shoes, then back up into Willow's beautiful green eyes, where she found the image of her own soul. Taking a deep calming breath, she continued. "Willow, I vow to love you unconditionally. I vow to support you in all of your dreams and wishes, and I vow to help you see those dreams come true. I will protect you with every fiber of my being, and I will lay down my life before I will let anything happen to you. I love you Willow Rosenberg, and I will love you all the days of our lives." Buffy could see the tears welling up in her love's eyes, and she felt them brimming in her own. She never knew she'd cry so much on her wedding day, she thought to herself ruefully, and slipped one more vow in, just to lighten the atmosphere. "And I vow to keep the cap on the toothpaste to keep it from getting all crusty."
Willow laughed through her tears, trust Buffy to make a joke at a time like this. She swallowed the tears out of her throat, then took a long cleansing breath. "Buffy, before you came I was locked inside of a shell so thick even I couldn't break it. My best friends were Xander and my Algebra book, and I was afraid of everything...including frogs. Then you came and pulled me out of my shell, almost effortlessly, or so it seemed to me, almost like magic. I never could figure out why you wanted to be my friend, I was just happy that you did. And before I knew it, I was becoming this completely different person. My shyness disappeared, I wasn't afraid to get jiggy with it at 'the Bronze', as long as you were there too, and I was standing up to people I'd never had the courage to before. You're my Knight in shining armor, and I love you."
Buffy grinned from ear to ear as she listened to the words, laughing with Willow at the image of her getting jiggy with it, and nearly choking on the knight in shining armor bit. But Willow wasn't finished, not by a long shot.
"So, now I vow to you Buffy to be your best friend, your lover, your wife, and your confidant. I vow to save you from the shell you disappear into at times to protect yourself from the greater hurts. I vow to fill your life with love and laughter, and protect you from the darkness that surrounds you. I will protect your heart and value it above all others. I love you Buffy Summers and I will love you for eternity." Tears slipped down the Slayer's cheeks at those words, and she wiped them away self-consciously, feeling the eyes upon her. Willow smiled at her uncomfortable lover, and wishing to lighten the mood slipped in a joke of her own. "Even if you do forget to put the cap on the toothpaste."
They grinned at each other then, chuckling as warm rushes of love filled them, as they wiped away their tears.
The minister took over for them then, giving them a few moments to compose themselves. "As Buffy and Willow have exchanged their vows of love, they must now seal that vow with a ring of pledge that will be a token of their love for all the world to see."
Buffy took her cue from the minister, then turned to Xander, elbowing him in the gut as he was staring off into space. He grinned at her in apology, then handed over the sparkling golden ring, managing not to drop it in the process. Buffy glared at him, scoldingly, then turned back to her bride, the gold ring in her hand. She took Willow's left hand in hers, and trying not to tremble as she did so, slipped the ring onto her ring finger while reciting these words. "This ring I give to you, is token and pledge of my constant faith and devotion." She watched as it sparkled beside the shining diamond engagement ring, and felt an unaccountable joy rising inside of her.
Willow couldn't stop smiling as she turned and took Buffy's ring from Cordelia, who passed it to her with a grin. Taking Buffy's left hand in hers, she placed the ring on her finger and repeated the words Buffy had spoken seconds before. "This ring I give to you, is token and pledge of my constant faith and devotion."
It felt so right to have the ring on her finger, and Buffy looked down at it in awe, before she returned her gaze to her love's face, unable to wipe the joyous smile off of her face.
"In Jewish tradition, the marrying couple greets their new life together by drinking from the same glass. Buffy and Willow have requested this symbol as a part of their ceremony and I am only too proud to help them fulfill this wish." Picking up a wine glass, that contained purple grape juice, he held the glass out to Willow with a ceremonial napkin, who took the glass and drank half of it's contents before she passed it on to Buffy. Buffy took the glass, drank the rest of it's contents, then placing it on the mat, she crushed the glass underfoot, symbolizing the breaking away of their old lives and the start of their new one, amidst cries of 'Mozel Tov'.
Xander surreptitiously moved the broken glass out of their way, as the happy couple clasped hands together, turning to face the gathered guests. "Friends and Family, I am pleased to present to you Buffy and Willow Rosenberg-Summers. You may kiss the bride."
That was the part Buffy had been looking forward to all through the ceremony, and as her heart filled with a mixture of love, pride and belonging, Buffy kissed her wife gently but thoroughly on the mouth, hearing the loud cheers and wolf calls coming from their guests. Willow grasped Buffy's hand with her own, unconsciously using her left hand, as she met her wife's lips enthusiastically.
Not wanting to turn it into a free for all on the beach, Buffy broke away shortly after, turning to look at the guests, her hand still clasped in Willow's. Knowing they were about to be pelted with something, they made a break for it, running down the aisle as a flurry of bread crumbs swam through the air. Buffy managed to avoid getting hit from most of it, protecting Willow with one hand as they ran. She heard Willow laughing beside her, and started laughing herself, unable to keep the outstanding amount of joy from exploding out of her as Buffy and Willow Rosenberg-Summers ran for the safety of her mother's car.
Chapter Five: Party time.
She's got the boogie woogie woogie spread all over the place,
Mario's Restaurant was decorated like a great big, Italian heart. Red, white and pink Streamers hung in a colorful display from the ceiling, while pink hearts literally covered every spot in the room, from the large pink heart-shaped paper mache hanging in the center of the room, to the cloth napkins, folded into the shape of a heart. Mario had truly outdone himself in decorating the classy this Valentine's Day...he had put a more special twist in on the day, considering it was Buffy and Willow's wedding day.
The newlyweds held center stage in the front of Mario's restaurant, seated at the long table he had set aside for the wedding party, and Buffy's closest relatives. Willow personally, could have done without being the center of attention, as she felt the eyes of every person in the room staring at her, but she supposed it was normal, considering it WAS her wedding day.
Mario had truly outdone himself in the food department, he had stuffed tables full of antipasto's, cannoli's, Lasagna's, ravioli's and fettechine's, along with a lot of other dishes, Willow couldn't even begin to pronounce.
There was a busy, festive burr to the air, and it filled the newlyweds full of a nervous energy, that had never really fully left them from this mornings activities...they had of course had to have the obligatory guest line, and Buffy and Willow were surprised their hands hadn't fallen off during the proceedings. As it was their hands still felt a little numb from all of the handshaking and hugging that had gone on, and if they never saw another greeting line again, it would be too soon. Then of course, Joyce insisted on getting photos of the wedding party, performed by a professional, somebody Buffy's mom knew from her connections at the Museum, and they had posed, for what seemed like hours on the beach, getting sand in their shoes, as they felt the hot afternoon sun beaming into their face. Willow would be surprised if they managed to get any pictures at all of them not squinting into the camera.
The photographer had taken at least three rolls of film, when finally Buffy had threw her hands in the air and proclaimed, "That's enough...no more...my wife is turning into a wilted Daisy." And with that said, had pulled Willow by the hand toward her mother's car, where they had hoped to stay for the rest of the day, or at least until they reached the fun stuff.
But now, they were at the reception, finally, and Willow was indeed having fun tasting all of the delicious dishes Mario had prepared for them. Buffy was enjoying herself as well, as she traded banter with Xander about nearly falling asleep during the wedding.
"I'm telling you Buff, I was not sleeping standing up...it was the sun in my eyes...the sun I tell ya." Xander defended himself.
"Yeah...sure, Xand...just keep telling yourself that." Buffy smirked.
"You know, you're awful cocky for an old married woman."
Buffy leaned towards Xander, a sly sexy smile lighting her face. "That's why I'm cocky." She murmured to him, taking great delight in watching him gulp nervously...a twitchy grin taking over his face.
"You may have a point there, Buff." He said nervously, then cleared his throat and stood up.
Buffy wondered what the heck he was doing, until he picked up his wine glass and starting clinking it with his fork. The noise seemed to gather everyone's attention as the small groups of people quieted and turned to hear what he had to say. "As best man, it is my duty to make the first toast." Buffy smirked at Xander's grandiose manner, as he turned and nodded his head at the newlyweds. "I've known Buffy for four loooong years." A round of chuckles went round the room, as Buffy glared mockingly at him, she was way too happy to stay mad at anyone today.
"Get to the point, Xander." The Slayer said with a grin, raising a blonde eyebrow in apparent menace.
"And I've known Willow all my life. Will, you know better than anyone what you're getting yourself into with this one." A titter of laugher was heard as Willow, grinned at her lifetime friend. "But if anyone can tame her...I think you stand the best shot. I'll admit I had a wiggens when I first heard about it, but now that I see you two happy together and married...I can't believe I didn't see it before now. To Buffy and Willow Rosenberg Summers."
"Thanks, Xander." Willow grinned, hugging her long time male pal.
Xander sat down just as Joyce was standing up. "I have my own toast to make...to my daughter and my new daughter-in-law. I'd have to admit to my own share of...what was the word Xander used...wiggens?...when I first learned about your relationship...and all that goes with it." She exchanged a secret smile with her two daughters. "But the thing I've wanted most for Buffy in her life, is for her to find somebody to love, that completes her and fulfills her, someone to be there for her, and love her, and make her happy, totally and blissfully happy, and Willow...you do all of those things and so much more. I don't think I've ever seen my daughter so relaxed and so in love. And so...it is my wish for you both to have a long and very happy life together."
"Thanks, Mom." Buffy said, tears filling the newlywed's eyes. Willow was looking equally teary, and Buffy was just getting ready to kiss the tears away when the sound of someone clapping obnoxiously, filled the room. The sound originated in the direction of the entrance, and Buffy swiveled her head in that direction to see who would dare mock her wedding.
"Well, isn't that just the sweetest thing you've ever saw." Buffy's eyes narrowed as she caught site of a familiarly colored tuxedo, and a disgustingly familiar tilted cowboy hat.
"God, not him." Buffy groaned under her breath, wondering why morons seemed to pop up at the most inopportune times. The Cowboy from the rental place was standing big as could be in the middle of the entryway, a cocky grin twisting on his unshaven, pale face.
"I told you, you'd have a proper wedding feast, didn't I Becky Sue? And I always keep my promise to my little angel." The Cowboy stepped further into the room, allowing his fiancée in behind them. She was still wearing the wedding dress Willow had seen her in that day at the Bridal shop, and the Wiccan wondered why the woman would still be wearing a wedding dress, then she noticed that the dress had dirty soil marks covering it, as if she had been buried in it, and noticed the too pale complexion normally associated with Vampires. She felt like slapping herself mentally, but didn't think her wife would like the distraction such a move would cause.
"You're right, love dumplin'." She said, as she looked around at the mass of people in the room. "And what a feast." Becky Sue licked hungry lips in anticipation of the feeding to come.
"I don't remember 'inviting' you to my wedding reception." The Slayer said, as she stood menacingly. "Mario?" She questioned the uneasy proprietor about the unwelcome presence.
"I think it has something to do with my slogan." The Italian answered her, nervously.
Buffy looked at him, her blue eyes demanding the answer to her unspoken question. "Come one, Come all to Mario's Restaurant. It seemed like a good idea at the time." Mario spoke rapidly, eyeing the hungry looking hicks apprehensively.
"I think it's time to change your slogan." Buffy said, before she turned her attention back to the present danger. She eyed them warily, knowing if she didn't act soon, they would start eating, and not the delicious Italian food Mario had worked so hard on, either. Then she spied the beautiful four tiered Wedding cake, Mario had made, and an idea entered the Slayer's head. Removing the top layer of cake, Buffy set it aside(no need in getting Willow mad at her) then picked up the second tier, holding it in her right hand and getting ready to throw. "Well you know what some Queen in England said...Let them eat, Cake."
Just as the Cowboy was getting ready to pounce on the unsuspecting guests, Buffy let the cake fly, hurling it across the room, directly into Earl's face.
"She shoots...she scores." Willow quipped, getting ready to go tackle Becky Sue, who was staring in slack jawed surprise at her now confection covered Love Dumplin'.
"Earl, how many times have I told you, you have to eat dinner BEFORE you eat dessert." The whiny voice of his undead wife, annoyed the blinded vampire who was busy trying to get Icing out of his eyes.
"Becky Sue, Would you please, SHUT UP!" The infuriated Vampire hick roared.
"You can't talk to me like that, Earl...I'm going home." Becky Sue, said, turning around and heading for the door. Buffy struggled not to start laughing at the scene, it was too darned ludicrous. Whoever turned these two must have been really hard up for company.
"I'm sorry, Becky Sue...I was just mad cause I got cake in my eyes. Don't go...you haven't even eaten yet." The Vampire hick pleaded with his pissed off wife. She turned around to look at him, her eyes gleaming as she reconsidered, looking hungrily at the closest person to her at the time, who just happened to be Buffy's mom.
"I guess you're right Earl...I am hungry." The Vampire licked her lips to reaffirm the statement, her eyes gleaming in a predatory fashion as she looked Joyce over like a tasty morsel she was about to consume.
"Mom." Buffy called out, worried that she wouldn't be able to reach her in time.
The Slayer needn't have worried...one second Becky Sue was looking at Joyce like she was a box of leftover fried chicken, the next she was a pile of dust on the floor. "Way to go, Mom." Buffy called over to her, grinning from ear to ear. Joyce shrugged back at her, as if to say, 'It must run in the family.' Then she looked down at the spiked heeled shoe she held in her right hand. "So they do more than just make your feet hurt, huh?" Joyce said, feeling rather proud of herself.
By the time Earl got the Icing out of his eyes, and realized what had happened to Becky Sue, she was nothing but a job for a dust buster. He looked infuriated at the person who had turned him into a widower. "Why you...I'm going to kill you for that. You killed my sweet potato pie." The statement was ludicrous, but his actions were very frightening, as was the look in his eyes as Joyce, paralyzed by fear, was thrown up against the wall. She stared down, petrified, into a pair of long pointed teeth, and tried not to scream as they got ever closer to her neck.
Buffy saw what was going on, and an instant hardness filled the Slayer's blue eyes. "That's it...Earl has to die." She heard her name being called and she looked away just long enough to see a drum stick heading her way. She nodded as she caught it, then turned her attention back on the person who had crashed her wedding party. "Hey Earl...I know you're hungry and all, but wouldn't you rather get back at the person that made you look like a Girly-girl in a tuxedo shop."
The taunts caught the vamps attention, pride more important than food to a dumb hic, and he let the older woman drop to the floor as he turned to face the Slayer. His face lit up in a pointy grin, as he stepped forward, the chance to seek his revenge not escaping the poor cowboy's mind. "Oh yeah, that's right...I remember you. You're that girlie in a tux that hasn't learned her place yet. But I intend to teach ya...right before I kill ya."
"Oh...I learned my place a long time ago." The Slayer said, as she played with the drum stick that she held loosely in one had. "You see, I'm the Slayer...and it's my job to kill you." She said, low enough so the whole room wouldn't hear her, but just loud enough so that Earl would. The words penetrated the Vampire's brain, just before the Drum stick pierced his heart and Buffy could see it penetrate on his brain, just before he turned into a pile of dust. "Somehow Earl, I don't think you're going to be missed." The Slayer said, reflectively, before she turned to view her wife, and make sure her mother was okay.
Giles was busy helping Joyce off of the floor, and she looked amazingly unscathed, the rest of the guests had gone back to talking as if nothing had really happened, another gift of forgetfulness thanks to the Hellmouth, and Buffy returned the drum stick back to the 'Dingoes' drummer, though he really didn't look like he wanted to use it anymore.
Buffy made her way over to Willow, feeling slightly guilty about the whole mess for some unfathomable reason. "Hey...I'm sorry about this, Honey. I guess it was too much to ask for an unscathed Wedding day."
"Hey...this is SunnyDale. If I wanted a normal Wedding Day I would have gone to Malibu." Willow smiled at her, in the way only Willow could, and Buffy felt her spirits lifting almost magically.
Just another day on the Hellmouth, Buffy thought, then kicked herself mentally. No, not just any other day...this was the day she had married her soul mate. "I love you Willow Rosenberg-Summers." Buffy said, loving the way her wife lit up at those magical words.
"I love you too, Buffy Rosenberg-Summers. Come on, let's dance."
Willow led Buffy to the cleared off area Mario had set up into an impromptu dance floor, while the band had set up on the small stage. As soon as Oz saw the newlyweds, he made his way to his mike, and signaled the other band members to get into position. "This song is a classic, and my wedding gift to you. I hope you like it."
As Oz started a slow rift, he met Willow's eyes, showing the red head all of the love he still felt for her and always would in the depths of his own brown eyes. She realized this was his way of letting go, and sent a silent prayer for him to find someone to love as much as she loved Buffy.
Buffy felt the silent communication and tried not to feel jealous as she reminded herself that she was the one that was taking Willow into her arms, so they could dance, and she was the one that would be taking her home after everything was over and done with. A flash of sympathy appeared for Oz then, a person who also knew what it was to hold the red head in their arms, and to love her...Buffy just hoped and prayed she would never find herself in the shoes Oz stood in today.
I guess the time was right for us to see.
As Devon started singing, Buffy and Willow melted into each other, losing themselves in the beautiful clarity of each other's eyes and the words of the song, pledging forever in their hearts, just as they had at the altar that morning.
If you had never wondered, Will you be there for me.
I finally found the love of a lifetime.
Jealous eyes watched the newlyweds dance, a jealous heart longed to be the one Willow clung to so tightly and looked at with so much love in her eyes. Buffy was clearly not the person the red head belonged with, her lifestyle was way too dangerous to be a suitable mate. A desperate yearning to hold the pledged Wiccan filled the silent soul with pain, and a vengeful spirit vowed to not give up the fight so easily. Feeling the burn of curious eyes, the unquiet heart lifted troubled eyes to meet those of the guitar player, seeing shared pain reflecting back. The guitar player's brow furrowed as if he sensed something strange, and the soul quietly stepped back, out of sight.
With every kiss our love is like brand new.
It was as if every other person in the room had disappeared and they were alone, dancing with each other across eternity. Every soft kiss Buffy bestowed was like a sweet breath of heaven on the red head's skin, and every touch seared a flame through her blood.
Buffy ached to hold her wife closer, longed to be alone with her to complete the joining their hearts had taken that morning, but she contented herself with the sweet contact she was allowed here, continuing to brush soft kisses across her wife's face as she held her close. "I love you." She murmured into her ear, hearing an echoing cry against her ear as they embraced each other on the dance floor.
I finally found the love of a lifetime.
Towards the middle of the song, other couples started joining in, dancing with their soul mates on Valentine's Day was a requirement of sorts after all. Xander and Anya danced slow, still casting looks upon the married couple as if they couldn't quite understand the concept of what brought two hearts together and made them one.
Joyce leant against Giles strength, enjoying how safe he made her feel while he held her close like this, and forgot to be embarrassed or wonder what her daughter might think if she saw them dancing. She had searched a long time for a love of a lifetime and decided she just might have found it in this odd person her daughter knew so well, yet in some ways didn't have a clue about.
It felt so good to hold Joyce in his arms, It had been a long time since he had let himself open his heart to anyone, the last one had been Jenny, and her tragic death at the hands of Angelus had given him pause for thought that maybe Watcher's weren't meant to fall in love. But if that were true, then neither were Slayer's, and Buffy seemed to be handling falling in love just fine. He had to admit he had felt drawn to Joyce for a long time, ever since that summer Buffy had disappeared and she had confronted Giles with the truth about her daughter. He had felt a certain amount of guilt for keeping the secret for so long, the responsibilities of the Watcher notwithstanding, and he had pledged, during that long summer of looking for Buffy that he would help Joyce to come to a certain understanding of her daughter. During the process, he had grown close to her, and now it just seemed like a natural progression for love to follow.
During Oz's Guitar rift in the middle of the song, he allowed himself to remember all of the time he had spent with Willow, the admittedly outrageous adventures she had her friends had dragged him into, and the love they had felt for each other. He tried to console himself that he couldn't have controlled the crazy spin of events that had pulled her out of his life, but he couldn't help kicking himself for allowing her to get away. Once you've loved Willow Rosenberg, you always love her. Willow is not a person you could easily forget, and Oz knew that he would always hold a special place in his heart for her.
I finally found the love of a lifetime.
As the song was winding down, Buffy managed to pull herself from the world she and Willow had evicted themselves to, and was surprised...well not surprised really, but disconcerted to see her mother dancing with her Watcher. She wasn't really sure what she felt as she watched them dancing close, showing obvious signs of being in love.
Feeling Buffy's distraction, Willow looked up and followed her gaze to the spot where Joyce and Giles were dancing close. A smile lit the lips of the red head at the obvious love being displayed, although she did wonder at the slight tension she felt running through her wife's frame. She decided she'd ask her later, when she got her alone.
The song ended and a few more played through before Buffy felt herself getting restless, feeling the ever increasing need to have her wife alone building up inside of her. "Hey, you ready to get out of here?" She asked, almost yelling in the din of the room.
Willow looked into her Wife's face, seeing the need that was burning in her vibrant blue eyes and it filled her with an unquenchable fire of her own. She nodded slowly, letting her eyes speak volumes. Buffy grinned impulsively at her, kissing her right on the lips...okay, but we've gotta do the Bouquet thing before we leave or we'll never hear the end of it.
Willow could see the wheels turning behind the intelligent gaze, as Buffy zeroed in on an unoccupied table, then pulled out a chair for Willow to sit in, although she turned it so the chair wasn't facing the table, but the dance floor. "Okay...stay here. I'll be right back."
Buffy took off across the dance floor, dodging dancing couples, and made her way to the stage, just as they were finishing up a song. She leapt up onto the stage, moving Devon out of the way as she stood in front of the mike. "Okay, I need all of the single men to form a small group." She grinned as the men pushed and shoved each other as they made their way to the small space of the dance floor.
Buffy went back to where Willow was sitting and knelt before her, an inscrutable grin lighting her face as she let her hand trail under the dress. "I've been wanting to do this all day." She grinned, as she let her hand trail over the red head's smooth leg, searching for the elusive garter belt, amidst catcalls and whistles.
Willow wondered just how far up Buffy's hand was going to go, noticing the gleam of desire fill the lovely blue eyes before her, when she felt the sought after material being removed and she saw Buffy's hand reappear with the stretchy material clasped firmly in her right hand. "I wonder what other items I can do that with." Willow heard Buffy murmur, a slight grin twisting her lips, before she stood up and showed her prize to the cheering men.
"Okay, guys...get ready! One...two...three!" The Slayer shot the belt up into the air as soon as she said three, and watched as it sailed up, noticing that most of the men took three steps backwards at the same time, then came down to land haphazardly on Giles frames.
Buffy choked on her laughter as she watched the bemused Brit reach up and remove the springy material, looking like he didn't quite know what to do with it. "Way to go, Giles." She called to him, watching in delight as color tinged his cheeks.
"Yes...well...yes...moving on." He directed with a stare, as he wrapped the garter around his arm.
Buffy took pity on his frazzled state, and moved on with the festivities, so that she and her wife could go make playtime. "Okay Ladies. Your turn."
The women assembled a lot quicker than the men had. As Willow turned her back and threw the bouquet over her right shoulder, the women jostled each other for position, each wanting to be the one who caught it.
It was a toss up as to who was going to win between Cordelia and Joyce, as the trajectory of the flowers seemed to zone right in on them. Cordelia feinted right as Joyce feinted left and they both reached out for the Garland, but when the smoke cleared it was Joyce that held up the floral bouquet and Cordelia that looked up from the restaurant floor, a disgruntled look on the brunette's face.
Buffy and Willow laughed out loud at the sight, then as if it was a mutual decision, they grabbed each other's hands and ran for the door, not stopping until they reached the darkness of the parking lot and it occurred to Buffy that she didn't know how they were going to get home. They hadn't even said goodbye to Joyce or Giles, and now they felt rather foolish standing outside, wondering if they should go back in and wait for a ride, or walk home.
Before they could come to a reasonable decision, Willow noticed a man dressed in uniform holding a sign that said "Rosenberg-Summers" and standing by the biggest black Limo that she had ever seen. "Uh...Buffy." She said, and pointed, not quite able to believe what she was seeing.
Buffy followed the finger and felt her mouth gape open at the sight. "Um..." She said, walking over to it, her curiosity getting the better of her.
"Greetings Mrs. Rosenberg-Summers. My name is Jim and I'll be your driver for this evening." The driver said, as he opened the back seat of the Limo. Without a second thought, Buffy hopped into the Limo, feeling the soft cushion as she landed, then twisted around and pulled Willow in on top of her.
She barely registered the door closing, as their lips met, a soft groan issuing forth from their joined lips, and Buffy allowed herself to wonder just what awaited her on this, her Wedding night.
Another Bride, Another Groom,
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