TTH Award Nominee:
Kiwikatipo's "Here comes the bride"'
Demona's "That didn't suck!"
Best Crossover Author 2010
SunnyD Award Nominee:
Best Crossover TV
Best Crossover TV Pairing
Thanks to all who voted for me.
Well, Campers, our little adventure is almost over. I dearly hope you'll tell me what you thought. I think this is one of my best stories. It certainly was more of a challenge to write than I had ever expected, but then again, it was supposed to be one chapter long. Anyway, it's all over but the singing. Hope you like were it ended up!
I want to thank those who have faithfully reviewed me and offered their support, especially azulkan and btvsfrk. I also want to thank Sithspit, KWJordan, Sassyfrass, Spk, Mmooch, Angeleus, Exiled, AerynSpeedleCaine, CallmemasterKent and many others who reviewed or otherwise corresponded with me. If I didn't mention your name its *not* because your support is unappreciated. Thanks to all.
Giles of course walked Buffy down the aisle. First, the bridesmaids had made their way down the aisle of green, lush grass. Willow and Dawn, were family. Juliet and Elizabeth represented their sister slayers. Then the surprise bridesmaid appeared, gave Buffy a ghostly peck on the cheek and slowly began her trip down the aisle. Many of people in attendance had met her, either in her ascended form, or before she had died. No one but Buffy and Dan were aware that she would be a part of the ceremony, however, and a murmur went through the crowd, then the slayers began to cheer. Soon they were waving daggers or stakes in the air. When Buffy and Giles began their trip down the aisle, everyone was on their feet, and the roar was almost deafening. Buffy instinctively quickened her step when her eyes met Dan’s standing at the arch, the sunshine catching his hair. He was so beautiful! She grinned at him, and he grinned back.
She and Giles stood at the end of aisle. Giles removed his glasses and swiped them on his jacket. Buffy pulled a twenty dollar bill from her bosom and waved it dramatically at everyone, then she kissed it, and put it back for safe keeping. There were peals of laughter and Giles looked slightly perplexed, then Rona pantomimed removing glasses, and making cleaning gestures and he grinned, shaking his head. Buffy knew him much too well.
The officiant cleared his throat. The crowd got slightly quieter. Faith wolf whistled, loudly. There was complete silence.
“Thank you,” the officiant shook his head.
This was like no wedding he’d been to before. Fortunately, it wasn’t his first council wedding, so he was not even slightly surprised by the fact that everyone on the bride’s side of the family, other than an intimidated looking older blond man sitting next to the green demon, had some kind of weapon.
“Who gives this woman in marriage to this man?”
In addition to the hands of the bridesmaids and Xander, who was for obvious reasons, standing on Dan’s side, Oz, Ethan, Rona, Lorne, Roger and Trish Burkle all rose. The blond man looked uncomfortable, but remained seated.
“We do,” they chorused.
“Who gives this man in marriage to this woman?”
All of Dan’s attendants raised their hands. Lucas and Nathan who were both still surprised to be standing there and grinned at each other. He had two more attendants. He had chosen Mike because Dan felt he had proven himself a true friend. He had put his life on the line for Dan and Buffy, and their daughter, and he had done something most people were afraid to do. He had stood up to Dan. His best man surprised everyone. Spike. In addition to his attendants, Whitey came to stand on the opposite side of the podium to Giles. Dan’s mother stood with him.
“We do,” they chorused.
Giles, Whitey and the Dan’s mother all took their seats.
The rest of the wedding seemed to go in a flash. Buffy and Dan couldn’t take their eyes off each other. Dan thought Buffy was even more beautiful than she had ever been. Her simple, full-length strapless dress of pure white clung to her in all the right places and her smile warmed Dan’s soul. Buffy gazed up at Dan and she thought that today felt like a fairytale. He was her prince. She’d never seen him in a tux before, but he was oh so sexy. He seemed to know exactly what she was thinking because he was smirking at her. She stuck her tongue out at him, and was barely aware of the photographer’s flash capturing the moment. That would become their Christmas card picture that year.
At one point, she looked out into the audience and gasped. Arrayed behind the guests was a small group of people, most of whom she recognized instantly as Angel’s gang and every slayer they had lost including Kendra. She looked straight at Angel, who winked at her. She grinned at him and turned back to look at Dan, who squeezed her fingers tightly. He was grinning at her, but there were tears in his eyes. She reached up and brushed them away gently. She was utterly lost in his eyes.
“Do you take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband?” the officiant repeated, dragging Buffy’s mind back to the task at hand.
“I do! I do!” she said enthusiastically. They kissed with passion and a high degree of proficiency.
This caused a new wave of laughter from the attendees.
Then it was over and they were coming down the aisle, and everyone was applauding. Buffy felt as though she would burst with happiness. Half way down the aisle, she stopped and reached up to kiss Dan passionately again. He met her half way.
They greeted everyone. They hugged everyone. Xander. Roger and Trish Burkle. Lorne. Peyton, Brooke, and Haley, Dan’s mom, Whitey, Giles and dozens of slayers and about a dozen council staffers that Buffy had become particularly good friends with. It seemed to take forever to reach the rear of the chairs, but their ascended guests were waiting patiently. No one who hadn’t been on the podium seemed to be aware of them yet, but Buffy, Dan and all the attendants were impatient to make their way to the back. Buffy hugged her father gently and formally then shook his hand. Behind Buffy, Dawn glared at the man. Dawn would not be inviting him to her
wedding… well, maybe not.
“Thank you for coming,” she said.
“Thank you for inviting me,” he said.
“You’re welcome,” said Buffy, unable to think of anything else to say.
“Just as long as you never hurt her again,” said Dan, just loud enough for Hank Summers to catch the pure menace in his voice.
“I won’t,” he said, nervously. “I promise.”
Finally, the throng had parted. People were beginning to gather their belongings, and Buffy and the wedding party were making a beeline for the clump of uninvited loved ones.
“So, you’re the one Spike was so enthusiastic about,” Angel said.
Buffy looked at him warningly.
“I approve!” he said, grinning at Buffy and Dan.
“Hey ponce, you made it!”
“Spike, try to behave!” said Dawn, smacking him on the arm.
“She’s abusing me,” said Spike.
“Nothing, you didn’t deserve,” said Fred.
“Freddikins!” said Lorne. “You look scrumptious!”
“You don’t look so bad y’self,” Fred grinned at him.
“Fred?” Roger Burkle’s voice cracked.
“It’s me, dad!” Fred beamed at her parents.
“Oh my goodness,” said Trish Burkle. “Oh my goodness.”
The group was beginning to intermingle. Trish and Roger and Fred were catching up and everyone was in tears. Lorne hung back until Roger and Trish realized he was being polite, and dragged him into their little Fred-fest. Then Spike was there and Fred was the center of attention for everyone who had known her. Then slowly, everyone started to mingle with all the other ‘visitors’ and there was a certain amount of bedlam.
Buffy found herself standing in front of someone she never expected to see again.
“I can only stay a minute…”
“Oh, mom,” Buffy wept.
Dawn was at her side.
“How?” Dawn said, before wailing. “Mommm!”
Joyce extended both hands to ‘touch’ her daughters.
“Apparently, the powers owe Cordy a big debt,” said Joyce. “They gave her a wish.”
“Thank you Cordy,” Buffy said, realizing that Cordy was standing quite close to her, just observing everything. “You couldn’t have given me a better wedding present!”
“Enjoy it, now, thank me later,” Cordy said, seeming almost embarrassed.
Buffy and Dawn drew close to Joyce.
“Is heaven still as wonderful as I remember?” Buffy asked.
“It is. Don’t worry. We’ll be waiting,” said Joyce, reaching out to touch her daughter. Her touch felt almost corporeal, just much gentler.
“I can feel you,” Buffy said in awe.
“I wasn’t sure. Cordy tells me we’re vibrating on slightly different wavelengths. That’s why making us visible is so complicated. I want you to know I’ve been watching over you all these years. I’m very proud of both of you. Dan is a fine man. I’m so glad you found each other.”
“Dawn, I won’t be able to attend your wedding, but I want you to know that I wish you and Xander a joyful day, and a lifetime of happiness.”
“Thank you, Mrs. Summers,” said Xander.
“Joyce,” Joyce corrected. She reached out and touched Buffy, and Dawn, and then Xander and Dan.
“Always remember I love you more than I could ever tell you. Take care of my girls or I’ll find a way to come back and haunt you,” said Joyce, looking over her daughters and up at both men.
“We’ll take care of them,” Dan said.
Xander nodded. He was crying too hard to speak.
“I love you mom,” said Buffy.
“I love you so much,” said Dawn.
“Meet your grand daughter,” said Willow, holding Faith out to Joyce. Joyce reached out to her, but didn’t quite touch her. Cordelia had warned her that she couldn’t do that.
“She’s beautiful,” said Joyce. “I love you all so much. I’ll love you forever and ever.”
“Mom,” said Buffy, reaching out to touch her mother one last time.
Then she was gone, and Buffy hid her face in Dan’s jacket for a moment.
Once she had gathered her composure again, she hugged Dawn for a moment. Then they both went over to Cordelia, who was beaming at them.
“You ROCK!” said Dawn, still wiping away tears.
“Yes, you do,” said Buffy, grinning at her.
“Glad to be of service!” Cordelia smirked proudly. “You do know that this is a one time thing, right? We’re not going to be able to visit too often from here on out, but they gave me a little special something for the game changer. They like you a lot.
“Because I’m the queen of threes?” Buffy asked.
“Because you’ve changed everything,” said Cordy, nodding.
“Well, I guess I don’t have to make hats out of their ribcages anymore!”
“Hey!” said Whistler, appearing right next to Cordy, “Don’t hurt a guy’s feelings. Who you think Cordy comes to when she wants to shake everything up?”
“You changed him too,” said Cordy. “Gave him back faith that things could get better. Even the powers are starting to reconsider some of their assumptions.”
Buffy didn’t know what to say, so she said nothing. She’d affected the Powers?
“Thank you,” said the impossibly badly dressed demon, grinning at Buffy and doffing his lime green fedora theatrically. “Congrats, by the way. Didn’t see him coming. Nice catch.”
“Neither did I!” said Buffy, squeezing Dan’s hand, and grinning at Whistler. “Thank you.”
“He’d better behave hisself. We’ll be watchin’ ya,” said Whistler darkly.
Dan swallowed hard, and tried not to look alarmed.
“I know you will,” said Whistler. “Have a beautiful life, wid da beautiful wife.”
The man in the mustard suit vanished.
“Wow,” said Dan. “My eyes hurt.”
“He’s got interesting taste in clothes,” said Angel, looking elegant in his tuxedo.
“If interesting is a euphemism for bloody awful,” said Giles.
“Hello, Giles,” said Angel.
“I am so very sorry, Angel,” said Giles.
“I forgave you a long time ago,” said Angel.
“I don’t deserve it,” said Giles.
“Yes, you do,” said Angel. “I understand why you didn’t trust me. I remember that night. I’m sorry I didn’t understand what I did. You have no idea how sorry I am for what I did.”
Giles just stared at Angel.
Dan steered Buffy away. They mingled with the various guests. Kendra surprised Buffy by giving her a ‘hug.’
“Is the best ah can do now, but ah do hugs now,” said Kendra in her strange accent.
“Ah tank you,” said Buffy, mimicking Kendra just a little. Kendra smirked at her.
“We watch over you. All da slayas. We watch over dem. Especially da younga ones. You tell dem dat, OK?”
“I will,” said Buffy.
Then Cordelia was beside them, steering them towards a small group of slayers standing with Gunn and Wesley who they had already greeted.
“Dan,” said Cordelia, in a voice that made the hair stand up on the back of his neck. “There’s someone here who wants to talk to you. Someone with more courage than any of us.”
The others stepped aside. Dan could only stare. Then tears began to stream down his face.
“Keith?” Dan breathed, afraid to trust his eyes.
“Uncle Keith?” said Lucas, who just happened to look in Dan’s direction at that moment. “Oh my god! Uncle Keith!”
Suddenly, every eye was on them. Within moments, Whitey and every single Scott including Lucas’ mother Karen and her daughter Lily surrounded them. For some reason, they hung back behind the others. Little Lily stared at Keith as if she was trying to memorize her father’s face. Buffy stood to one side watching with a happy smile and tears running down her face.
“So much for keeping it quiet, bro,” said Keith, quietly as the Scott crowd finally started to dissipate.
“When did we ever do anything quiet?” asked Dan, grinning at his brother.
“When did you
ever do anything quiet, you mean?” Keith grinned at him.
“I’m trying to mellow with age,” he told his brother.
“So I heard. I had to come check up on you for myself,” Keith smiled at his brother.
Dan extended both hands, palm facing out as he’d seen Buffy do with Faith and several of the others. Keith touched his palms to his brother’s and Dan felt a surge of emotion pass between them.
“I can’t believe you’re here,” said Dan, weeping unashamedly. “You can’t believe how much this means.”
Keith just grinned at him.
“You always did manage to be there for me,” said Dan.
“I try,” said Keith.
“Were you…” Dan swallowed hard. He didn’t dare ask. “Did you see?”
“I was here. Just didn’t want to cause too much commotion,” said Keith. “It was an amazing ceremony. You’ve still got great taste in women.”
“I’m not letting this one go!” he glanced over at Buffy, who was holding Faith, and grinned at them.
“Smart boy,” said Keith.
“I’m working on it,” said Dan, stroking his daughter’s hair.
“We’ve been watching.”
“How come you never came back before?”
“I did,” Keith said. “I know you felt me.”
“I did,” said Dan, remembering the dreams and visions that had haunted him after Keith’s death. “I’m not sure why you bothered with me when you had Karen and Lily to look in on.”
“Oh, I visited them too,” said Keith, smiling at Karen.
“Wait, are you Karen’s guardian? Lily’s?” Dan asked.
“You know the rules. That’s not for me to tell,” said Keith, smiling at Karen.
Karen nodded at Dan.
“Yes, he is. He came to me last night. He asked if it would OK for him to come today. I told him I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Karen smiled at both men, her expression full of emotion. “I always wanted you to have this, Dan, especially after we met Cordy and Wesley. I didn’t realize he could be with the others… but he was willing to sacrifice himself to save Jimmy…”
“He died a hero,” said Dan, his eyes filling with tears.
“I just did what anyone else would have done,” said Keith, humble as always.
“No, Keith. You’ve always been the best of all of us,” said Karen.
Keith just smiled at her, looking slightly embarrassed.
“Cordy’s the reason I was able to show myself in person,” said Keith, eager to change the subject. “They really frown on us showing ourselves.”
“Cordy’s quite a lady,” said Dan.
“You have no idea,” said Keith, grinning.
“We love our Cordy,” said Angel, “She’s our heart.”
Angel gave Cordy a quick hug before wandering off to greet Trish and Roger Burkle, who were still chatting with their daughter, Fred.
“Thank you Cordelia,” said Dan.
“Today… has made everything…” Cordy brushed away tears. “You don’t owe me anything, Dan. You’ve no idea how much you’ve changed the world.”
“Me?” asked Dan.
“Never underestimate the power you have, Dan,” said Cordelia. “You’ve changed Buffy’s life – you’ve brought everyone together. And little Faith? She and her fellow immortals? They’re going to change worlds. You helped do that, Dan.”
“Worlds?” Dan asked, stunned.
“You’ve come a long way, huh, little brother?” said Keith.
“I… I’ve had a lot of good people helping me. I owe everything to them,” said Dan, echoing Keith’s humility. He smiled warmly at his brother and drew Buffy and Faith close. “Thank you big brother.”
“Anytime,” said Keith.
Keith caught Karen’s eye and she smiled broadly. Both of them had always dreamed of a day like this, but neither of them had really dared hope for Dan to change quite this much. After everything, this was a miracle. Dan was happily holding his daughter and smiling at his new wife and didn’t notice this exchange.
Cordelia surveyed the happy scene around her and smiled to herself.
“We did good,” she said.
“Yes, we did,” said Wesley. “And they all came through.”
“Yes, they did,” said Charles.
“They’re five by five,” said Faith.
Note: I thought it over, and I decided this felt like an ending. I will probably post an epilogue or two some time in the future, but this is all for now. Thanks again for all your support.