Title: Grossly Inappropriate for a Church Wedding.
Setting: Post AtS, in a world without comics.
A/N: It's my posting day, and I'm so nervous :) Already read some amazing fic, and looked at some beautiful artwork in this round. Big thankyou to the wonderful people who keep this community going.
She already knows she’s late, and the sight of Giles pacing back and forth at the top of the stone steps confirms it. With a sudden burst of speed Buffy takes them two at a time, no mean feat considering the killer heels she's wearing. Giles stops his pacing and raises an eyebrow. He’s smiling calmly, all his unspoken questions written plainly across his face. “Where have you been? Is everything okay?”
It’s what she sees in his eyes though, that touches her most. “I’m so proud of you.”
Buffy smiles silently back, and tosses her sword at him. “There was trouble. I’m fine. Thank you for being here. There’s a demon behind you.” He catches it easily in his left hand, spinning quickly, and making short work of the demon. Stabbing it in the stomach, then kicking it down the steps.
She’s suddenly struck by how handsome he looks, all dashing and debonair in his morning suit, with the sword and a crooked bowtie adding that extra edge. “Just look at you!” She says happily, reaching over and affectionately straightening his bowtie. “I may actually be lost for words right now.”
“Ah yes,” Giles blushes. “I believe Willow refers to it as the ‘incredible power of formalwear’.” He studies the dead demon below them. “Do you think we should move it?” he asks with a smile. “Wouldn’t want it spoiling the photographs.”
“Nope. Just wait.” Seconds later the dead demon explodes, purple goo splattering all over the bottom three steps.
“How ever did you…?”
“Know about the explosion? We ran into some of its friends earlier.” She pouts unhappily and turns around, displaying the mess of goo marring the back of her otherwise perfect dress. “Stupid dress ruining, ambushy demons.”
“An ambush?” Giles asks with obvious concern. “Are you absolutely sure?”
“Well they were all ‘now we have you where we want you’, followed petty quickly by the usual ‘die Slayer die’” She tilts her head, considering briefly. “And we walked right into it.”
“Actually,” Dawn gasps out from behind them. “We were driven into it.”
Breathing heavily, she climbs the last step and collapses against the wooden door. Moments later, she’s joined by a red faced Willow. “For future reference,” Willow pants out. “You might want to avoid hire-car companies using the words 'hellishly good deals' in their ads.”
Giles examines the two women, searching for any obvious injuries. “We’re fine,” Dawn reassures him. “Just gotta get my breath back. We chased one for six city blocks.”
“We lost him.” adds Willow. “But judging from the big pile o’goo we nearly slipped on, I’m guessing everything’s okay.” Buffy twirls around, showing off the back of her dress. “Or not.” Willow frowns at the stained dress, and then chants softly under her breath. The purple stains shimmer for a few seconds then disappear. She looks up at Buffy with an expectant smile. “All better now?”
“You can do that? Buffy's dumbfounded, and just a little impressed. Also, a little bit annoyed. “You couldn't have figured that out say, eight years ago?”
“It's a one day only kinda deal,” Willow smiles. “Want to make sure everything runs smoothly for the big day.”
“Speaking of which,” Giles is all business now. “There are several factions who wish to ensure things do not run smoothly today, and this ambush concerns me. It may be worth looking into...”
Buffy cuts him off quickly. “Do not finish that sentence,” she warns. “Wedding now, research and ass-kicking later!” Her tone softens as she looks at the people around her; her sister, her best friend, and her father. “We knew when we got into this, that a lot of people didn't want it to happen. But it's happening, and if anyone, or any thing tries to stop it, we're gunna stop them.” She takes a deep breath. “Everyone knows what to do, right?”
“Everyone's in place.” Giles confirms, pulling open his suit jacket, and holstering the sword. “I've already completed a preliminary sweep, and I'm ready should we have any unexpected guests.”
“We won't,” Buffy states confidently. “Not if the protection spells are working. Willow?”
“Still holding,” she smiles. “The only demons in there are the invited kind.”
Finally, Buffy turns to her sister. “Dawnie?”
Dawn pulls a small leather-bound book from her clutch. “Ready when you are.”
Buffy takes a deep breath as Giles offers her his arm. “Okay then. Let's do this.”
She tries to make their walk down the aisle as serene as possible. Giles is mumbling under his breath about the unconventional choice in musician. “Traditionally,” he whispers, “String quartets are made up of four players, not a single octodextrous demon.”
“This is way cheaper.” Buffy elbows him gently, and he stops the muttering. “Just think of the savings!”
The church is fairly crowded, with an odd mix of humans and demons, and one garishly dressed green guy trying to hide up the back. She concentrates on unobtrusively scanning the crowd for troublemakers. They pass Faith half-way down the aisle, and she gives them a not-so-subtle thumb up.
The closer they get to the altar, the more nervous Buffy becomes. Everyone's wearing the same look of joyful expectation, and she wants to stop moving. Her feet however, have a mind of their own. “I can't do this,” she whispers. “I should have never agreed to it.”
“Buffy, do shut up.” he whispers back. “And for heaven’s sake, smile. You're scaring the guests.”
Buffy pouts, and sure it might make her look like a petulant five year old, but it’s usually pretty effective. Not so much today. Giles ignores it. “This is the start of something new and exciting for you Buffy.” He squeezes her arm gently. “You should be embracing it, not letting your doubts hold you back.”
“You’re right! I should be embracing it.” Taking a deep breath, she looks toward the front of the church. Her new and exciting future is waiting for her at the end of that aisle. The doubts fly out of her mind, and she nods to herself. “In fact,” she smiles. “I’m embracing right now. It’s going to be great.”
Actually, it’s going to be fantastic, because this is the best decision she’s ever made. She’s happy, and she’s excited, and she’s oh so very nervous, and looking down at her looming future, she’s definitely not overlooking any minor details.
Maybe just one kinda major one. “Giles,” she whispers nervously, “Where’s Spike?”
Spike is not waiting at the end of the aisle the way he's supposed to be. In fact, he's nowhere in sight. There's a few seconds of mild to incredible panic, until a flash of shockingly bright hair sets her nerves at ease.
He had warned her he had a surprise planned for today, but this? This is just... unexpected. There are, in fact, no words to describe the way he looks. But she tries anyway. “Oh…” and “Wow...” and a strangled little moan that makes Giles blush.
She can see the smirk on Spike’s face, and it’s her turn to blush. Her brain stops communicating with her feet, and she comes to a dead stop. The only thing she's aware of is Spike. Well Spike, and the fact that the thoughts she’s having about it him are all grossly inappropriate for church.
Buffy’s immobilised with lust, but the rest of the party isn’t. Dawn crashes into her back, letting out an ungraceful squeak. “Hey! What’s with the sudden stop?” Righting herself, she peeks around her sister, and finally notices what’s got her rapt attention. “Oh my god,” she says shakily. “What is he wearing?”
Buffy smiles dreamily. “It's a tuxedo Dawn.”
“Well, duh!” She snaps her fingers in front of Buffy's face, trying to pull her out of her lust induced trance. “On his back! What is he wearing on his back?”
Dawn watches the dreamy look slowly evaporate. Buffy’s eyes widen, and she takes off at full speed, dragging a befuddled Giles behind her.
Spike’s grinning as she barrels towards him, confused Watcher in tow. There’s a large part of him proud that his girl's so keen to get things started. She drops the Watchers arm, and he's taken by surprise when she grabs him by the shirt-front and drags him behind the closest stone pillar. “What the hell are you wearing?” she hisses, pulling at his jacket.
“It's a tuxedo Buffy,” he explains. He shrugs his shoulders, and looks away. “It’s just… you told me to wear something nice, yeah?”
“I'm not talking about the tux!” She lets go of her hold on his jacket, smoothing out the creases caused by her firsts. “I love the tux.” The smoothing turns into a caress, and before it leads to more grossly inappropriate thoughts, she twists him sideways, gesturing wildly at the contraption strapped to his back. “I’m talking about that thing! Why are you wearing a jet-pack to a wedding?”
“It's not a jet-pack.”
“It's a flame thrower.” He tries to take a step back, but he’s blocked by the pillar behind him. She’s angry now, really angry; with that hot little glare that gets him going every time. “What?” he asks innocently. “I like it. Makes me look all double-oh-seven.”
“It's. A. Wedding. We do not wear flame throwers to weddings!”
“It’s supposed to be the happiest day of his life, luv,” he grins. “Thought it best not to take any chances.”
“Exactly what part of ‘he's human now’ are you not getting?” She glares at him, daring him to argue. “And do not even think about telling that story at the reception!”
“But it’s a great story!” She folds her arms. Spike nods and stares down at his feet, just a little shamefaced. “I mean, you should have seen him Buffy,” he mutters. “What with all the crying, and the moaning, and the frankly hilarious bodily functions...” He raises his head defiantly. “And Xander thinks it's funny! Whole thing was his idea anyway.”
“Wait, the flame thrower was Xanders idea?”
Buffy spins around, facing back towards the wedding guests. “Where is he?” she asks, eyes searching the crowd. Spike takes her hand, and pulls her towards the large baptismal font. Xander is crouched behind it, hidden from view, and holding a very large gun in his hand. “Oh my god,” she says with horror, pointing at the gun. “What is that?” She closes her eyes briefly, trying to clear her head. “Actually, on second thoughts, don’t bother answering that. I don't even want to know.”
She pulls Xander out of his hidey hole, and pushes him over towards Spike. Facing both men, she crosses her arms, and musters as much steel as she can into her voice. “I only agreed to take care of security today because Angel asked me to, and I am not going to stand by and watch you two sabotage this.”
Meeting Spike's eyes, the steel disappears. “Angel’s happy now, and he deserves that. What's more, he's happy for us.” She sighs sadly. “If you can't deal with that, then maybe its better you wait outside.”
“Well hey, that’s great and all Buffy,” Xander drawls. “But if we’re out there, then who’s going to help you with security up here?”
“Andrew!” It’s really not the greatest solution, but with everyone else already in place, it’ll have to do. “Have you seen him?” When Xander and Spike both avoid her question, Buffy groans. “Where is he?”
They’re both silent, and it’s only a fleeting glance upwards from Xander that gives them away. She looks up warily, cringing at the sight that greets her. Andrew's suspended high above the altar, dressed in his special ops get-up, and brandishing his electric net.
“Buffy, wait,” Spike begins, sensing the imminent explosion. “It's really not what you think.”
“You have no idea what I'm thinking!” Mostly she's thinking about how great it is that the guys are finally bonding, but it's overshadowed by the fear that something terrible might happen to Angel today, and that it'll be the fault of her over enthusiastic team.
“Angel was worried pet. He's still not sure what all this Shanshu business means for his soul.” He gestures at the weapons. “Who’d you think asked me to do all this?”
“But we already did all the researchy stuff. It’s fine.”
“’Course, it is.” She opens her mouth to interrupt, and Spike presses a finger against her lips. “But it’s what he wanted, for his own peace of mind. Understand?”
Buffy nods. “I still don’t like the gun.”
“It’s loaded with tranquilliser darts,” he explains. “First line of defence.”
Buffy looks up at the ceiling again, and Andrew waves happily. “The net?”
“Contain and capture,” he rolls his eyes. “And now I sound like one of those Initiative wankers.”
“Still doesn't explain the flame thrower.”
“Seen a lot of nasties in my life Buffy, but there’s nothing that’ll bring out the bad in people more than a free bar at a reception.”
She tries to hide her giggle, but it’s hopeless. Spike’s standing in front of her, and she can’t hold onto her anger. “I just don’t understand,” she says quietly, trying to understand. “Why would Angel want all this?”
“Can’t say I know for sure, but I’d say he’s scared of being happy.”
“Because of before?” It would make sense, she supposes. “I mean he got happy, he lost the soul. You think he’s scared of losing his humanity?”
“Can’t lose what you’ve earned Buffy.” For a moment Spike’s a little wistful. “It’s ‘cause he’s never had all that much to be happy about, has he? Now he’s got his son back with him, he’s surrounded by friends, and he’s just about to get a bloody gorgeous wife. I’d wager there’s a good part of him waiting for something to just come along and bugger it all up.”
He leans in closer and taps her nose gently. “And the strange thing is, I actually feel sorry for the poor sod. ‘Cause I know exactly how he feels.”
They're off to the side of the proceedings, hidden from view, so as not to spoil the photographs. Buffy's not sure exactly what's digging into her back, but she suspects it’s the barrel of the flame thrower. Either that, or Spike really likes the service. “God this is boring,” he mutters from behind her. “Can we go home yet?” Flame thrower it is then. He shrugs the pack from his shoulders, wraps his arms around her waist, and pulls her back towards him.
He rests his chin on her shoulder. “You've got Loxh'ar blood behind your ear,” he whispers softly. She'd like to wipe it off, but that would mean untangling her hands from his.
“There was a thing, earlier,” she explains.
“Did you know they explode when you kill them? Make a right mess.”
“Yeah. Kinda noticed that.” He turns his head a little, and starts nuzzling her neck. “Spike,” she exhales softly. “You have to stop that.”
“But Buffy,” he whispers, kissing his way towards her ear. “I'm bored.” She lets him be, because honestly? A bored Spike should not be left unoccupied so close to a flame thrower. Buffy watches as Dawn rises from her seat in the second pew, and nudges Spike. He stops the kissing, and she leans back into his chest, settling herself comfortably against him.
Dawn smiles at them, opens her leather-bound book, and begins her reading. “Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God”
Spike’s arms tighten around her as Dawn speaks, pulling her even closer. “I'm not so sure about the God bit Buffy,” he whispers softly. “But the rest… ”
“Yeah.” She swallows the sudden lump in her throat, and turns around in his arms to face him. “You remember that big talk we had at the engagement party?” He nods, recalling that important discussion six weeks ago. “Well, I gave Giles my resignation yesterday.”
“Buffy?” He tilts his head, a dozen emotions flashing in his eyes. “Are you sure about this?”
“It’s just like Dawnie said. Wither thou goes, I go.” Her nose scrunches up. “But, you know, hopefully without any actual withering.” She glances over at the soon-to-be happy couple. “Angel's leaving a big gap here, and I think we're just about the right size to fill it.”
“So we're staying then?” The hope shines through in his voice. “Setting up shop?”
“We are,” she continues, smiling brightly. “We’ve already got that super sweet set-up just waiting at the hotel, and Xander can help deal with the dragon damage.” Her eyes light up, and her mind's awash with plans for their future. “It's going to be great.”
“Bloody brilliant!” he agrees. “Have to do something about the name though.”
She smiles up at him happily. “Definitely.”
“Can't have the great forehead on the letterhead forever.”
“You got any ideas? Like maybe SlayPire Investigations.” Her nose crinkles as she mulls it over. “It’s a little bit...”
“It’s a little bit terrible is what it is. I was thinking something like 'Summers-Pratt Security' myself.”
She slides her hands up his jacket. “I like it, our names kinda go together nicely.”
“Lot of things about us go together nicely,” he smirks. “Want me to show you? Could really put the ‘happy’ in happy occasion.”
“Oh god yes!” Spike laughs quietly at her eagerness, and she blushes. “I mean no. Definitely not.” He’s crestfallen. “But maybe later? When this is all done…?”
Smiling at her, with that bright new future stretching before them, Spike looks perfectly happy. Well, almost perfectly happy, and that’s when she finally gets it.
Angel’s not the only one afraid. But this is Spike, and he won’t hold back because of his fear. He’ll just throw himself into loving her, and they’ll fight their battles, live their future, and one day, hopefully real soon, he’ll realise that nothing is going to bugger it up.
She so badly wants to reassure him, but they’re getting starting on the vows now, and she doesn’t have time to say everything she wants to. That’ll have to come later. Instead she kisses him softly on the lips, and says what he needs to hear most. “I love you.”
“Yeah,” he smiles softly, holding her closer. “I know. Love you too.”