Word count: 5600-ish
Rating: PG13 (for some cussin’ and slayerly violence)
Summary: It’s Buffy and Spike’s Very Special Day. AU Angel Season 5.
Warnings: Big-time wedding!fic, fluff, and schmoop. Very minor song!fic and baby!fic.
A/N1: I couldn’t resist, although I probably should have. Written in honor of the recent nuptials of our own enigmaticblues, though she may decide that it’s an honor she can easily live without. Thanks for bringing us the love, sweetie.
A/N2: Profuse thanks to beta readers angearia and clawofcat, both of whom provided a killer line in a pivotal area, among other things, but who cannot be held responsible for any errors because neither saw the whole story. Sorry about that, guys!
A/N3: This is a sequel to my entry from last round, With This Ring. Prologue can be found here.
They pulled into the shade of the porte couchiere of the Chapel of Happiness, out of the late afternoon sun. The Quinceañera that was scheduled ahead of them was still filing out, and the mix of that party and theirs made a typical Southern California stew. Little girls in fluffy white dresses and mary jane patent leather shoes, and little boys in immaculate tiny suits observed the incoming crowd with enormous eyes. Their parents and grandparents herded them toward the parking lot, minds already on the coming reception. The Wolfram & Hart limo looked right at home behind the candy apple red low rider Impala and the iridescent green ’56 Chevy truck decked out in paper flower streamers. Charles Gunn looked longingly after them as they slowly drove off, speakers thumping.
Outside the chapel, Giles could see Lorne talking animatedly to Willow. Clem chatted with Harmony, who huddled under a huge black and pink striped umbrella, staying as far from the Slayer contingent as possible. Vi was doing a hair check on Faith and Rona, who both looked more interested in the various demons in their midst than whether their up-dos were sufficiently solid. Dawn was all smiles in her blue silk wrap-dress, the twin of Willow’s pale green one.
Giles turned to pat Buffy’s hand on the seat between them, where it clenched his tightly. Now or never. “Are you quite certain that this is what you want, Buffy? If you have any doubts whatsoever, there’s still time to reconsider. You certainly don’t have to do this today, you know,” he said.
She turned from the window, and stared at him in surprise.
“Oh, I so do. If I wait another week, this dress will never work.”
He chuckled. “I meant, you don’t have to do it at all. There’s no reason to rush anything, not in this day and age.”
“Giles. Even if I were modern enough to think that, you’ve got to know what Mr. Victoriana says by now. ‘Live in sin like bleeding hippies?’” she recited, trying for the right note of British incredulity, and failing. Giles winced. “’No child of mine will be called a bastard unless he earns it?’” she continued. “Remember that one?” He did.
“I know it seems like we’re rushing things. Maybe we are. We’re still figuring it out. But if slaying has taught me anything, it’s that sometimes you just have to damn the torpedoes.” She thought for a moment. “Although, come to think of it, I’ve damned a lot more tentacles than torpedoes. Very few demons use torpedoes.”
She seemed to remember herself and gave Giles an embarrassed smile. “Anyway, it’s the right thing to do, Giles. He loves me. I love him. We fit. We’ve put each other through hell, but we really get one another. He’s not perfect, but I wouldn’t want him to be, because I’m not either.”
“Just as long as you’re sure. I only want you to be happy, Buffy. Maybe I’m asking too much. I want you safe, strong, and loved. Forever, if possible. Or, at least as long as I am around to see it.”
She squeezed his hand. “Funny, that’s my plan, too.”
While they were talking, the crowd had filed inside. Only Willow and Dawn remained, looking expectantly at the car, smiles and bouquets firmly in place. Dawn appeared to be vibrating with excitement.
“Duty calls,” said Buffy. Giles helped her out of the car. Willow and Dawn swarmed around her, checking for anything out of place, smoothing her skirts.
“You’re beautiful,” they chorused.
“Jinx!” said Dawn. Their smiles got wider.
“All right, children. Let us to church,” said Giles. With the requisite eye rolls, Willow and Dawn arranged themselves, Giles squared his shoulders, and held his arm out to Buffy. The organ sounded the opening bars, and they started off in the most stately fashion they could manage.
Meanwhile, inside the chapel…
Spike tugged fretfully at the collar of his shirt. Now the tie was probably crooked. He fiddled with the knot, hoping he wasn’t making things worse. He patted his breast pocket, reassured by the crinkle of the marriage license nesting there. He still missed the satisfying feeling of a sturdy pack of fags there, but it would serve. Why had he quit smoking, again? Oh yeah. Mortal, now. Deep breath, in through the nose. Out again. What was taking so long? Why were his shoes so shiny? He felt a strong urge to scuff them up.
“Easy there, tiger,” Lorne said, managing to make the flower-strewn pulpit look like a Vegas showroom. “You’ve got nothing to worry about. I’ve heard you two turtledoves sing, remember?” He winked. Spike nodded. Right. No worries.
“So, gents,” he said, rubbing his hands together as he turned to his groomsmen. “How about a small wager? First one of you to get a bit of fluff onto the dance floor takes the prize.”
Clem nodded, ears flapping agreeably, but Angel looked thunderous. As always.
“I don’t dance, Spike,” he ground out.
“Too right you don’t,” agreed Spike, rubbing his nose. “Lesse. How ‘bout you talk to a girl you’ve never met, for five minutes together. Don’t make her cry, mind. Think you can handle that?”
“I’m not going to make anybody cry, Spike.”
“See that you don’t. Don’t need more than one wet blanket hanging around. Better for everybody if we don’t have a lot of bored slayers at the reception, right?”
Angel and Clem both grimaced. The engagement party three weeks ago had been a chilling reminder of how things could go wrong. Best not to think about it.
Satisfied that they would do their duty, Spike shot his cuffs and wished again for the distractions of blessed tobacco. He was reaching again for his tie, when Angel put a heavy hand on his arm. “She’s here,” he said, nodding toward the door. Spike had a few seconds to be annoyed by Angel’s enhanced vampire senses, and he hoped it was hearing and not scenting that was at play in this case. Then Mendelssohn kicked in and the room became a tunnel, with his focus firmly on the chapel doors, while everything else fell away.
Dawn and Willow began their dignified walk down the aisle. His Niblet was turning into a duchess, as regal as anything to the manor born. As they passed him on the way to their places, Dawn gave him a quick smile and a wink. Why was everyone winking at him today?
At a cue from the organ, everyone stood. There she was. His brave girl, her chin high, stood with her hand lightly on Giles’ arm. She shone there, ready to do the impossible, once more. Ready to leap into the abyss, because he’d asked it of her. His eyesight failed him for a moment, and Buffy and Giles became a blur of black, ivory, and gold. He blinked furiously, sniffing once or twice, and made a business of cracking his neck. Don’t blow it, mate, he reminded himself. Keep your eyes on the prize. It was no hardship to follow his own advice, once his vision cleared.
She quickly scanned the room, a habit of years of constant combat, but when her eyes found his, they never wavered. She moved so lightly, like a sprite, and he felt nostalgic for all the times she’d stomped over to him with some outrageous demand or other. Surely this agreeable creature wasn’t meant for the likes of him? The immense pressure in his chest seemed to increase and fade at the same time as she drew closer.
She kissed Giles’ cheek. Giles, he noted, was also blinking rapidly. She came to stand beside him, clasping his hand with her own, warm and dry. She was radiant, of course. The slight rustling of her dress gave away her nervousness, but her face was relaxed. Her perfume was a subtle reminder that his every sense was full of her. He didn’t need vampire perceptions to appreciate this woman. They looked at each other with wonder. He took in her sad eyes, her silly bumpy nose, her scrawny arms, her smile that almost wasn’t: he fell in love again.
The organ fell silent, and there was an expectant hush.
“Dearly beloved,” began Lorne. “We are gathered here today to join this man…” Angel shifted almost imperceptibly beside him. “…and this woman in blessed matrimony, which is an honorable estate, recognized by the great state of California, the United States of America, the nations of the earth, and most of the better dimensions.”
Lorne made some amusing remarks about how the couple of the hour had met, become attached, overcome obstacles, etc. Spike knew the stories, of course, but had to admit that Lorne could spin a yarn. He tried to pay attention when Lorne moved on to the ideals of marriage and so forth. He should probably be on the lookout for some sort of shifty evil lawyerese. Now would be the perfect opportunity for the Powers that Fuck with You to deliver that final, crushing blow. But seeing Buffy, standing in front of god and everybody, ready to pledge her troth to him, he was finding it hard to focus on much else.
Willow stepped forward to call the blessings of the East, South, West, and North. All apparently had some virtue to add to their wedded life. He lost track after vitality, passion, and love, but Red made it sound like plenty of good things were coming their way. He began to worry. Shouldn’t we be deflecting attention from all this good fortune? Like those Chinese mothers loudly calling out how ugly their children are, so as not to attract evil spirits? They had the right idea, those mothers.
Lorne snapped him back to attention by flourishing an assortment of cords. Wearing a severe expression, Lorne asked, “Spike, will you cause her pain?”
Knowing all too well the truth of it, he looked again at Buffy. “I may.”
“Is that your intent?” asked Lorne.
“No,” replied Spike, silently begging Buffy to believe it. Her open expression never wavered.
“Buffy,” asked Lorne, “will you cause him pain?”
“I may,” she responded, a hint of apology in her voice.
“Is that your intent?”
“Will you share each others’ pain and seek to ease it?” Lorne asked.
“Yes,” they both replied.
With that single word, the connection he felt between them seemed to strengthen. Lorne draped a red cord over their clasped hands. The pressure in his chest lessened.
“Will you share your laughter? Look for the brightness in life, and the positive in each other?” Too often the laughter between them had been bitter or used as a weapon. Now, it was the sweetest thing in his world, and he promised not to forget its value. As he and Buffy voiced their shared assent, a pink cord was added. The tiny weight of it soothed him.
“Will you burden one another and share the burdens of each so that your spirits may grow in this union?” He knew how difficult it was for Buffy to let him take his share of the load. She’d been responsible for so much, so young. But he saw the earnest promise in her face, and he knew she would try. They both said yes, and a black cord was added. Her little hand seemed to become part of his own.
“Will you share your dreams? Will you dream together to create new realities and hopes?” That he could see himself reflected in Buffy’s shining eyes was evidence enough of the miracles wrought from their dreams, but they wouldn’t stop there. Already she was making his most outlandish hopes into reality with the child she carried. They agreed, smiling widely, and a silver cord was added. He never wanted to look away from her eyes.
“Will you anger him? Will you anger her?” Buffy’s rueful smile answered his own. “Will you take the heat of anger and use it to temper the strength of this union?” His eyebrow rose in question, and she flushed pinkly. Brilliant. A smattering of chuckles sounded behind them. Dawn elbowed Willow. It wasn’t just Spike’s nose that got a work out when Buffy was pissed and everybody knew it, especially her. Buffy struggled to find her voice while Spike tilted his head and smirked at her. Lorne looked from one to the other expectantly. He added a white cord as soon as they had both managed to say yes. Spike was intoxicated by her not-so-maidenly blush.
“Will you honor each other? Will you seek to never give cause to break that honor?”
“Yes,” they said with relief. A gold cord was added. He could feel her under his skin, in every particle of him.
Lorne began tying the cords together around their hands in an intricate Pylean knot. He felt more connected to her in this moment, in front of all these people, than ever before. And, he could remember some pretty sweet connecting.
“The knots of this binding are not formed by these cords but instead by your vows. Either of you may drop the cords, for as always, you hold in your own hands the making or breaking of this union,” he reminded them.
The still-knotted cords were removed from their hands and placed in Willow’s care. He had a moment of vertigo when the cords came away. They had been holding him up, holding them together, and now he feared he might topple. Buffy’s hand found his again, and the connection was still there, warm and strong, in her eyes, in her hands, shooting up his spine and over his skin. He nearly laughed in his relief.
The traditional vows followed, with laughter from the congregation at the “until death do us part” bit, louder each time. He supposed they deserved that, cheating fate the way they kept doing. The exchange of rings was a blur, as was the lighting of the one candle by their two. The sniffing noises from the pews were starting to get to him. He wished Giles would stop being such a big girl's blouse and pipe down. How many more hoops were there to this marriage business?
There was a pause, and he wondered if the axe would finally fall. It would kill him, for good this time, if this were all a dream or some trick. But whatever came, he would face it. He stood a little straighter. He smiled at his Slayer. His Buffy. She smiled right back, full bore.
“By the power vested in me by the Church of St. John Coltrane and Grabthar the Grandiose, I now pronounce you husband and wife,” boomed Lorne. Spike continued to stare at Buffy’s upturned face, aware that her goofy smile matched his own. Lorne added, “Swizzle stick, you may kiss la luscious bride, now.”
He took her two hands in his, and bent to place a gentle kiss on her lips. When they met, it hit him. Husband. Wife. Done deal. Not breaking the kiss, he gathered her up in his arms and swung her around in joy. The chapel erupted in cheers, whistles, and applause. He threw back his head and laughed, crushing her to his chest.
“Hey,” she protested. “Leave a little for later, lover.”
He loosened his grip, examining her for damage, but she was exquisite, as always. The smudged lip rouge and rumpled waistline just accented her perfection. He kissed her again, and waited for her to retrieve her bouquet from Dawn before swiftly leading her back up the aisle, and out the doors. Angel and Willow, Dawn and Clem covered their retreat with more measured steps, and by the time they made it outside into the dusk, the car was gone.
Restaurante El Gaucho
The party was in full swing by the time they arrived at the restaurant. Buffy wasn’t wearing a watch, but she didn’t think it was even an hour since the ceremony. They’d driven up Mulholland to see the city lights and have a quiet moment to themselves. Champagne had been drunk, it was true. She hadn’t let him drink from her shoe, though. Gross. They’d come to an amicable arrangement, in the end. Then another, even more amicable. Okay, maybe it had taken more than an hour to get here.
The mariachi band struck up a fanfare as they entered, and Spike beamed as everybody applauded again. He was so cute when he smiled like that. Buffy squeezed his arm a little tighter and resolved to make sure she saw that smile a lot more from here on out.
She cast a hopeful look at the taco buffet, where Fred was already working on a new creation, but was swept off to accept congratulations from myriad well-wishers.
“Beautiful ceremony, Buffy,” Wesley said, shaking her hand.
“Thank you. Willow worked really hard on it.”
“You’re a lucky dog, man,” Gunn told Spike.
“Don’t I know it.”
“Ohmigod, Buffy! I can’t believe you’re married! You’re, like, the first one from our class,” gushed Harmony. Not having the advantage of a reflection, she obviously didn’t know her mascara had run. Buffy found that marriage didn’t make her feel any more charitable toward exes.
“Believe it, Harmony.”
“Well, of course I believe it. Duh. I’m just really happy for you guys,” she said, sniffling a little. Lorne patted her shoulder and smoothly passed her a hankie.
“We all are, churrita. I want to hear you two lovebirds sing, again. I have a little theory about befores and afters I want to test out. Maybe after dinner?”
“The least we can do after that terrific send-off, mate. Don’t remember a word of it, but it changed my life,” Spike called after him.
“Where will you be going on your honeymoon?” asked Vi. Oh, now that she was ready to discuss.
“Well, we aren’t going camping! That diplomatic mission to the Sasquatch in September was more than enough for me, thanks. Of course, Spike loved it. It helped that he speaks Sasquee. I just did a lot of nodding and breathing through my mouth.”
“You liked those waterfalls well enough,” he murmured into her ear.
“Sure. Pretty. But I like my running water to come in two flavors: warm and hot.”
“Nature boy.” They beamed at each other. By the time she remembered Vi’s question, she had moved on.
After the first crush, Buffy had time to take stock. The slayers were causing a bit of a scene at the margarita bar. Not all, or even most, of them were of legal drinking age. She felt for the poor bartenders. It wasn’t easy deflecting a thirsty slayer in search of tequila. Andrew was capturing everything on video, of course, and Buffy thought she saw a little tremble of his bottom lip behind the camera as he focused on Spike showing off his jacket lining to Xander.
Wesley and Giles were deep in conversation, probably about some scroll. Angel was awkwardly patting the shoulder of a sniffling girl. Huh. Gunn was chatting up one of the newly discovered slayers, Buffy thought her name was Deborah, and she was, thankfully, one of the older ones they’d found. A college girl, even. She was getting tired of the incredulous looks on guys’ faces when she reminded them of the ages of these girls. Perverts.
It was going really well. The exes were playing nice. No major disasters had interrupted the ceremony. You could even say that she’d got hitched without a hitch. Not that she would ever say something like that. She was just about to follow her nose to the taco buffet when Xander walked up with Willow. “Well, Buff, married lady. That went smooth as a baby’s behind,” he said. Willow and Buffy stared at him, horrified.
“Out loud? You just say it out loud?” asked Willow, incredulous.
“Hey, we’re not on the Hellmouth anymore,” he protested, just as the screaming started.
“My bad,” he muttered, signaling to three girls to follow him as he took off running to the weapons supply/transport that traveled to every slayer-heavy event.
Six demons burst into the room, frightening the lawyers. The slayer brigade regarded them with professional curiosity. Subtle movements put the girls into strategic placements.
“Hey,” said Dawn. “Those are the first demons I ever researched. Primae noctis. Uh oh. They’re here for the bride. Buffy! Look out!”
Five of the demons rushed Buffy in “V” formation, while the sixth guarded their retreat. It almost looked like a scaly football offensive line, with a decided lack of team uniform. That was just disturbing. Buffy had time to think, “It’s American football,” before she hitched her skirt and took out the demon on point with a leg sweep, ducking to avoid its clutching arms. Once it was down, she stomped on its chest with the heel of her pump, and felt something give way. Apparently, it was something vital, because the demon started to flatten like a deflating balloon. Most of it, anyway. Eww.
On her left, Spike was gleefully taking apart demon two. She paused for an instant to admire his technique. Niiice. To her right, Faith, Deborah, and Vi were toying with demons three and four. Demon five, retreat guy, was overrun by liquored-up slayers, so that was being handled. That left demon six.
She hoped there would be enough to go around. One thing she’d learned in kindergarten was that it wasn’t nice to bring a treat if there wasn’t enough for everybody. Now that the girls had got started, there was going to be trouble if they didn’t finish.
Number six grabbed her from behind, just as Xander and his team ran in with armloads of bladed weapons. It lifted her off the ground, arms pinned to her sides. She kicked futilely a couple of times, thrown off by the excess yardage of her skirt, and eventually went with the tried and true head-butt. The old Glasgow kiss, Spike called it. The demon’s grip loosened enough for her to free one arm, and she swiveled around to kick out one of its knees. It dropped, but Buffy dropped with it. She yanked her arm free, and rolled away just in time to avoid the tip of the blade decapitating the demon.
“You leave her alone!” yelled Harmony. “It’s her special day!”
She stood there, panting, the sword point digging into the ground, the hilt in both hands. Buffy felt a twinge of guilt for her behavior earlier.
“Wow, Harmony. That was really … unexpected. Thanks. I’m… Thank you.”
Spike was suddenly beside her, once again checking for injuries. His jacket was ruined, but he otherwise looked okay. Better than okay, actually, because his hair had got mussed.
“Are you hurt, baby?” he asked.
“I’m fine,” she replied. “How about you?” She investigated the rips on his sleeve.
“Fine. Fantastic.” He was beaming that cute smile again. She started to feel a little melty, but there was business to take care of.
A quick survey showed that all the demons were dead. The mariachis were packing up their instruments with alacrity. Faith was cleaning her blade. Giles toed the flattened corpse of demon one while consulting with Wes. Most of the slayers wandered back to the bar, though Buffy could hear Vi inquiring about where to find the compost bins. Demon carcasses were always an issue. Rona wandered back from the powder room and surveyed the damage.
“Damn! What’d I miss?” she whined.
Harmony looked like she was in shock. Buffy realized that this wasn’t her day-to-day activity.
“Dawnie, would you help Harmony get cleaned up?” she asked.
Dawn, ever the trooper, took the sword from Harmony and passed it back to Xander. “That was really amazing, Harmony,” she said, steering her gently toward the ladies room. “Was that your first slay? Because if it was, you’re a natural.” Buffy and Spike watched them go.
“Seems shallow waters run choppy,” noted Spike, making chopping gestures with one hand. Buffy punched his shoulder, then rubbed the spot gently.
“Hey there, fighty guy. How about we get a little nourishment before the DJ gets started,” she suggested. “I’ve got big plans for you later, see? Gotta keep your strength up.”
“Never fear,” he smirked, but he made sure both their plates were piled high, and found a free table for them. Were those crab enchiladas? Buffy dug in with relief.
Dawn flopped down beside them. “Two, so far,” she reported to Spike. “But everybody wants a shot. I think it’ll take, oh, six before he catches on, if we pace it right.” Spike pulled out his wallet and counted some bills into her outstretched hand.
“What’s going on?” asked Buffy.
“Spike didn’t want the girls to get bored,” explained Dawn. Spike tucked into his tamale with gusto.
“Uh huh. And that translates into the exchange of legal tender, how?”
Dawn looked nervously at Spike, whose gaze never left his rapidly emptying plate. “Spike made a bet with Angel. It’s nothing bad!” she yelped when Buffy looked daggers at her beloved. “He just bet that Angel couldn’t talk to a girl without making her cry.”
“Do go on, Dawn,” urged Buffy with a dangerous smile.
“Um, so I asked the girls if they’d take turns, you know, crying,” mumbled Dawn. “For money.”
“Well, Andrew wanted a turn, but we told him he couldn’t because Angel already knew him.”
“You guys,” sighed Buffy. “I think you’re losing your edge. Thank god.”
Dawn and Spike exchanged surprised glances, and Dawn scampered off, while the getting was good. Buffy tried to send a disapproving glare Spike’s way, but he pouted until she finally cracked. They grinned at each other foolishly.
“Naughty,” she chided.
The DJ made a few tentative taps to his mike, before announcing it was time for the first dance. Buffy took one last bite while the intro played and allowed Spike to lead her the center of the dance floor.
Like the beat beat beat of the tom-tom…
There’d been some lively discussion about the choice of song for their first dance, going back to when they’d first been “engaged”. Buffy had finally admitted that Spike had a more encyclopedic knowledge of music than she ever would, and cared more about it, so she told him she would listen to his top choices with an open mind. Veto power went without saying. In the end, there wasn’t anything to argue about.
Night and day, you are the one…
Spike matched his surprising enthusiasm for the American songbook with mastery of several dance styles Buffy had never seen outside of old black and white movies. When he first tried to show her, it had been an abysmal failure. But once he told her a trick or two about following that he’d picked up during the Weimar days (whatever that was), she discovered that she loved dancing in his arms.
Only you beneath the moon and under the sun...
As they danced, looking into each other’s eyes, he asked, “Having a good day, love?”
“Not bad. You?”
“It’s up there in the top five,” he teased. “The fight was over a little too fast. Good grub, though.”
“How about the company?” she fished.
“Couldn’t ask for better.”
“Mmmmm,” she agreed, resting her cheek against his.
…'Til you let me spend my life making love to you,
Day and Night, Night and Day.
As they came to a stop, he gave an old-fashioned little bow and kissed her hand. She giggled while everybody applauded. Giles claimed her for the second dance, Spike dragged an embarrassed Dawn out onto the floor, and the party was truly on. Clem had no lack of partners, winning the bet handily, and Charles looked happy with all the slayerly attention he was getting, though Buffy knew he would flag as the night wore on.
Angel was trying desperately to calm another sobbing slayer when Buffy finally took pity on him.
“Hit the road, Sylvia,” she said as she sat at his table.
“Okay,” said Sylvia, bouncing up cheerfully to go dance.
Angel looked surprised for a moment before a thundercloud descended over his brow. “That little shit,” he groused.
“Hey! That’s my old man, old man. Besides, you’re an easy mark,” she said affectionately. He nodded.
The DJ announced “Sk8tr Boi” and the slayers went nuts, shouting out “Slayer Boi” at the appropriate moments, and urging Spike to crowd surf. “Show us your punk stuff, Blondie,” called Faith.
“He really fits in, doesn’t he?” asked Angel, mournfully.
“Angel, he was in arrested adolescence for decades. Of course they love him.”
“And you?” he asked.
She laughed. “I’m not sure I fit in as well as he does. Maybe that’s part of why we make a good team.”
“That’s not what I’m asking.”
“I know. Angel…”
“Why do you love him?” he blurted out.
“Why do you?” she shot right back.
They looked away from each other.
“It’s not the shanshu,” Buffy said. “It’s not because suddenly those fat grandchildren are a remote possibility. I know you think it is, but I told you before that he was in my heart. I didn’t tell you that he made my heart bigger than it was.”
“He built an extension to your heart,” said Angel, deadpan.
“Family room or media room?” he asked.
“Okay, now I’m being the easy mark. That metaphor? Never leaves this room,” she admonished. “Come for dinner when we get back? Yummy blood will be served.”
“Sure. I really do wish the best for you, Buffy. I’m happy for you both. And before you ask: no, not too happy,” he smiled at her and it even reached his eyes.
Buffy patted his hand and got up as the cake was rolled in.
Spike found her by the table. Out of the side of his mouth, he muttered, “Think adding sugar to the mix is a good idea?” She surveyed the sea of excited and too-bright eyes.
“Extreme no to that. How ‘bout we do it and split this malt shop?”
“I like the way you think.”
“Yes, I often get compliments on my brilliant tactical mind.”
He chuckled and they joined hands on the cake knife while flashes went off around them and the DJ spun AWB. Two ceremonial bites of cake later they started toward the door. The ravening hordes descended on the wedding cake, a terrifying sight that left Giles aghast. It was a massacre.
Dawn clued the DJ, and he announced their departure while the slayers were still glassy-eyed from their cake attack. They rallied enough to show a passable enthusiasm for seeing them off, and after a few hearty handshakes from the lawyers, they made good their escape.
Settled in the back of the car, Spike stretched out, crossing his ankles. “That went w-mmphf!” Buffy silenced him mid-sentence with a kiss and settled herself comfortably in his lap.
“No more tempting the fates today!” she ordered. He obeyed with enthusiasm.
Later that night
Of course Spike carried her over the threshold of the hotel room. He also tipped the bellman carrying their bags with a hearty, “Sod off.”
“Do you think the girls will be okay? I wouldn’t want things to get out of hand again,” said Buffy.
“Not our problem tonight. Giles and Faith can handle it.” He pulled off the hated tie, and reminded himself to "accidentally" leave it behind when they checked out.
He watched her trying to reach the fastenings on the back of her dress, circling like a puppy.
“Can help you with that,” he suggested, patting his knee.
“That’d be great, thanks. It’s probably ruined. Demon goo always destroys my best things,” she complained and walked over to perch on his knees while he pulled the light closer.
“Should’ve worn leather, like I suggested.” He squinted at the contraption.
“Right. A white leather wedding dress. That’s classy,” she scoffed.
“Would be if you wore it. Besides, I was thinking of something more in the catsuit line.”
Buffy snorted. “Dream on. Any progress back there?”
“Could rip it off you, if you like.” They both stopped to consider that option. Finally, Spike shrugged. “Better not. Oh. Got it.”
Once he had the back undone, she wriggled enticingly out of the dress. He sent up a few thanks to whoever invented wedding undergarments. She glowed in the low lighting, golden and smooth. Her lacy underthings were pale ivory, as were her stockings and garters, and her shoes – well, one matched her rig, but the other was unevenly dyed the color of primae noctis blood. He decided not to say anything.
“Buffy,” he whispered, not having anything more intelligent to add at the moment.
When her hand fell to the slight bump on her belly, he looked up to see her eyes round with surprise.
“What is it, love?” he asked.
“It’s… I think it’s the baby,” she breathed. “I can feel it moving. It’s fluttering around. Oh! Yep, that’s the baby, alright.”
He knelt before her and put his hand next to hers. If he were still a vampire he’d be able to sense the movement, he knew. But, if he were still a vampire there would be nothing to sense.
They looked at each other with amazement.
“I think it stopped. This is the first time I’ve felt it. Her. Him. The very first time.”
“Little nipper couldn’t miss the party I'll wager.” He caressed her abdomen.
“Funny,” he added.
"Not really," she said, sounding hurt.
“No. Just that’s one wedding night ‘first’ I never dreamed of.”
“Oh. Really? Does that mean you dreamt of some other 'firsts'? ‘Cos I seem to remember we vowed to share our dreams, hmm?” she purred.
Oh, yes. He planned to take his vows very seriously, indeed. Starting right now.
1. The Chapel of Happiness and the Church of St. John Coltrane are real congregations. One is in San Diego and the other in San Francisco. (The Church of Elvis is in Portland, but I couldn’t squeeze it into the story.)
2. Many elements of the marriage ceremony herein are from pagan handfasting ceremonies. I’m sure Willow would have pointed out the appropriateness of such vows to Buffy, who is nevertheless a bit of a traditionalist. Spike, being CofE, can’t much be fussed, as long as it’s legal. And, when did that happen?
3. Jus primae noctis, or droit du seigneur (right of the first night), is disputed as an actual custom. But maybe the legends have that grain of truth (i.e. demons, demons, demons)! This species of demon is doomed to extinction if they don't change with the times.
4. Night and Day is by Cole Porter. Sk8tr Boi is by Avril Lavigne. The title, Under My Skin, is from another Cole Porter classic.