Author: Zuriel

Rating:  PG-13

Pairing: Angel and Buffy

Disclaimer: No profit, no gain, just fun. No beta, any errors mine.

Word Count: 3,048

Summary: Long awaited events, finally realized.


A tribute, dedicated to the Couple We Love and to IWRY on its Tenth Anniversary.






Everyone is talking about this day - the first of tropical warmth, signaling a long hot summer, they hope - although it’s the afternoon’s ceremony that really has them all atwitter.


And could there be a more fitting backdrop to the new beginnings being celebrated today than the awakening from dormant, bleak winter to the blossoming of earth’s vibrant greenery, and with it hope renewed and reborn in a dazzle of activity. Bees buzzing, zipping from flower to flower, birds overseeing the festivities, perched on ringside-seats in trees at the edge of the beach, singing chirpy, cheery tunes, and colorful butterflies, flitting and prancing about, while friends gather in the Pacific breezes. The occasional seagull soars overhead, vocalizing his approval for this extraordinarily special event, where most everybody is in fancy dress, though formality is not required.


The sun squats, ablaze, in a cloudless, blue-as-the-sea sky, gleaming in all its brilliance on this momentous day longed for in countless dreams, after years of togetherness that no man could put asunder, though they damn well tried hard enough, peppered with pure joy and heavily seasoned with utter despair, through times of immeasurable angst and distress, pathos and pain, wedged between hearts that pined, bled for each other, and through all the trauma and drama, through heartbreak and ecstasy, their sacrificial deaths to save the world, a glimpse of Heaven, a century in Hell, and places in between – through all of it, they never once stopped loving each other. Forever tethered by destiny or fate, if one believes in such things, but definitely souls mated, for better, for worse.


The bride-to-be, a radiant vision of loveliness, stands, slightly nervous, in her pale pink satin, ankle length, strapless dress she spent hours searching for, because he’d casually hinted she looked stunning in pink, her sun-drenched, golden hair in loose waves caressing her tanned bare shoulders, lips stained Diva Pink, worthy of a princess, and so what if it cost more than she’d ever spent on lipstick, she had a right to splurge, her cheeks blushing a delicate shade of rose, enhancing her wide, hazel eyes, voted, hands down, her best feature, sparkling with fervent anticipation.


All of her friends are here, she notes, except the one who’d begged off, harrumphing “Bollocks!” and “Bloody hell, no way I’ll watch you get hitched to the poof,” puffing on a cigarette as he’d stalked off, mumbling and rambling about drowning his sorrows in a whiskey bottle, maybe writing a tragic little poem about how much his life sucks, as the words, “sore loser,” came to her mind. But there’s one very important person missing who would make this day positively perfect, and with a tear poised in her eye, she thinks of her mother. “Look at me, mom,” she whispers under her breath, “Did you ever think I’d be this happy?”


While at the opposite end of the beach is the tall, dark and handsome groom, standing aloof in the shadows, though he doesn’t need to, except it’s been such a century-long and necessary habit he can’t seem to break, still looking over his shoulder, thinking the hounds of hell are close by, apt to nip at his heels, just to remind him from whence he came, because he’s not used to this mortality yet. He steals a furtive glance at her, as blown away as the first day he’d laid eyes on her outside her high school, a smile lighting up his recently-tanned face, captivated and enraptured by her beauty, yet worrying at the last minute if he’s good enough for her, only he’s not that damned, cursed thing anymore, and those troubling issues he’s endlessly brooded about were never really concerns in her eyes, as she’d repeatedly declared. He thinks about how far he’s come; never imagining such good fortune would ever grace his guilt-ridden soul, while considering whether he should change his name back to Liam. But then she calls him “honey” or “hotness” if she’s feeling especially amorous - and he likes those better, although, he chuckles to himself with a bemused grin, he can’t actually use either of them on his driver’s license.


Taking a panoramic sweep over the sand and the sea, the milling guests and his beloved, he’s overcome by the magnitude of this breathtaking moment, still bewildered that he really does have breath that can be taken away, thanks to The Powers That Be, who honored their word, which he never really believed would happen, yet here he stands, and it’s all real, and he’s got a shiny, happy future, as the spirits above whisper “get on with it,” nudging the betrothed to the altar before either gets cold feet, which anyone with half a brain knows is ridiculously impossible, which proves the PTB aren’t that omniscient, if there ever was a doubt.


For a moment, though, his mood turns melancholy, saddened by the absence of his friends, his team, for he likely wouldn’t be here at all if it hadn’t been for their support, never giving up on him, even when they should have, giving him flack when he needed it, and a shoulder to lean on when he felt the world conspired against him, which was nearly all the time, and he hopes they know, wherever they are, how much they mean to him, always in his heart, always with a pang of guilt that will never go away.


Then it’s her turn to ogle him when he’s looking the other way, a catch in her throat, thinking what an amazing hunk of goodness he is in the rented tuxedo he’d grumbled about wearing, because he’d said with a scowl, he looked like a penguin, whereupon she’d insisted with those full, pouty lips he simply can’t resist, and so to appease her, he’d kept the silly thing on, despite the discomfort of itchy wool trousers and a too-tight cummerbund, which earned him a sweet-as-honey kiss, with a promise he’d never have to wear one again, fact being, she’d said with a lascivious grin, she much preferred his birthday suit, and he’d laughed, promising anything she wanted in return, and as no surprise, she’d answered, “All I want is you, always.”


Her thoughts drift to The Night It Happened, remembering vividly, how that quiet evening had erupted into a blinding flash of unearthly brilliant luminescence, with trumpets blaring, she swears, how shocked he was, how she’d hugged him tight, and with tears in her eyes, whispered, “I love you, whatever you are,” whereupon giggling ensued, and with wild abandon, they’d indulged in spirited, congratulatory sex, without scary consequences, thank you very much, during which she soaked up the warmth of his touch and listened to the faint thump-thump of his heart pressed against her chest, as they kissed long, wet kisses, eating each other up in unparalleled euphoria.


Just thinking about that night is giving her goose bumps and tingly twitches below her waist, and she nearly swoons, desiring to rip that tuxedo right off of him, but there’s this formality standing in her way, and whether she likes it or not, she’ll have to subsist on delicious memories for the time being.


A hush falls over the crowd as music begins. No one can tell where it’s coming from, but it sounds heavenly, like Cherubs strumming angelic harps, and the music is just everywhere, on cue, pleasantly mellifluous, appearing to hover in the air on motes of fairy dust, while Xander oversees the seating of guests, and Willow and Faith, giggling at being a little old for this, sprinkling flower petals along the path as the two lovebirds stroll up to the rose-covered arch, whereupon Giles gives away the bride, and Dawn, the Maiden of Honor, stands beside her big sister, with Connor as Best Man next to his dad, as the beaming pair clasp hands and speak their vows, exchange customary rings, and, finally, to cheers and applause, kiss passionately to seal the deal, though neither cares about tradition, for nothing about them is conventional, yet finally acquiescing to friends who had begged them, for once, to just do it the old-fashioned way, commenting it really won’t hurt you to be normal for a few hours, will it?


The Happy Couple turns to face their guests as out of the same enigmatic neck of the woods where the music came from - and those present not in the least startled, having accepted long ago that strange things happen whenever these two are - flocks of doves suddenly appear, cooing and darting off in all directions, a fluttering bevy of excitement, while all in attendance cheer some more or whistle, tossing handfuls of rice overhead, as pink and white balloons arrive on the heels of the doves, bobbing in the air, while passersby stop, pausing to watch the spectacle with ooh’s and ah’s and grins, for the joining of lovers renews their faith that all is right in the world, that even in the throes of discontent, economic woes, rising crime, and the threat of war - or, heaven forbid, an apocalyptic disaster - love still conquers all.


Mingling with their guests afterwards, and breathing sighs of relief that no one – or nothing, to be specific – crashed the ceremony, the bride grips her husband’s hand, exuding charm and poise she wears so well when she’s not fighting the forces of evil, coyly fluttering her eyelashes at the congratulations heaped upon them, while the groom accepts handshakes and accolades from those who never really thought they’d bear witness to his transformation, truth be told, while those who know him well believe he deserved this a long time ago, but, well, what can you expect from a bunch of fickle powers who aren’t remotely trustworthy, so all considered, it’s miraculous they took time out of their shuffle-boarding of life and came to their senses long enough to redeem him properly. Its significance is stunningly unique and unprecedented; a well-earned gift bestowed upon him for turning his life around, for showing the world a monster can change, with the right mission, the right girl and a fluffy soul.


The music stops for a moment then begins anew, only this time it’s the haunting refrains of an Irish folk tune that fill the air, plucked from lively, ghostly fiddles and those mysterious harps, as the married couple kicks off their shoes, embracing in a spirited dance, giggling when they slip and trip in the sand, while everyone watches, many with happy tears, for this is his song, a song long overdue, as he takes her as his, to have and to hold from this day forward.


And it wouldn’t be right if the music didn’t honor her, having accepted, with her own soft-spoken vow, his oath to love and to cherish her all the days of his life, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part, and they change pace, swaying and spinning in a slow waltz when the music switches to a modern, romantic ballad, with several people singing along in hushed voices, for her song is infamous, and anyone who’s ever been in love for five minutes knows by heart. The passionately poetic lyrics speak of deep, heartfelt, sometimes heart wrenching yearning, a Romeo-and-Juliet love, defying all the odds and naysayers, that exists and triumphs for no other reason than two hearts will it so.


Congratulations, toasts and the couple’s solo dancing aside, the honored guests gather round the reception table, piled high with food and drink, or dance barefooted in the squishy, shifting sand, time to let loose, pomp and circumstance forgotten, as Lorne relaxes after his officiating duty is behind him, strolling among the guests in his hot pink leisure suit, chuckling and chatting like a magpie, who’d offered, after hurriedly acquiring the proper credentials on the internet, to conduct the ceremony non gratis, because, hell, he can’t charge these two sugarplums, and it definitely helped that the groom offered, in lieu of payment, to let the thrilled Pylean belt out a hearty rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, because he’d always wanted to sing it in front of a live audience, although envisioning it would be at a baseball game, but what the heck, these people qualify as alive, for the most part. And though it’s not the sort of music in keeping with the occasion, not what the guests expected, evidenced by their blank stares and sideways glances, nevertheless, they catch his contagious enthusiasm, even as the shrill high notes abuse their ears and cause throbbing headaches, they agree he sings it with cacophonous gusto, loud enough to wake the dead, if nothing else. 


And while they’re surrounded by all these well-wishers who seem pleased as punch to be included in their nuptials, she can’t stop thinking how some of them argued she was crazy-mad to fall for He Who Can’t Be Trusted, who turned on her, don’t forget, as if she could, but that wasn’t his fault she’d reminded them with angering, glowering eyes, and still they’d said, mark my words, his nature can’t be ignored, he’s bound to disappoint you, if he doesn’t kill you first, whereupon she’d loudly and vehemently proclaimed they could shove their opinions where the sun doesn’t shine, smirking as she’d watched their faces dissolve into sulky indignation at her overly prideful audacity, heard them muttering she’s got a lot of nerve talking to us like that - clearly in denial, she is, they nod in agreement - whereas we, on the other hand, are not blinded by his sneaky charm, we can see the writing on the wall, little girl. She’d interrupted them, enraged, lashing out with an inventive diatribe of what she thought about their snooty, pious attitudes, haughtily brushing passed them, walking away with her head held high. For a moment she’d love to point them out and rub their noses in the sand, or at the very least scowl and sing-song, “I told you so,” but she reasonably refrains, happiness overriding her vindictiveness, and well, it’s really just muddy water under the bridge now.


To an encouraging round of clapping, Willow approaches the center of the crowd, waving a smoldering bundle of herbs, murmuring a ritual blessing to ward off evil things in this marriage, yet everyone knows the couple attracts evil like magnets, and they’ll be back patrolling before a fortnight passes, no rest for the weary or newly wedded. Together they’re a formidable, fearless pair, taking on everything evil, anything with fangs and funky foul odors, slimy skin or shaggy fur, big red eyes or beady black orbs, if it howls and growls, grunts and roars or screeches like a banshee. And the town, being duly grateful and relieved, owes them this celebration for keeping the unclean uglies at bay, for there wouldn’t be a town fit to live in, if it wasn’t for these two.


After more dancing and mingling, eating and drinking, conversing and laughing, well into the waning daylight, and the customs having been endured, the blissful couple, anxious to get away, says a hasty and heartfelt goodbye, adios, and thank you for coming, with more hugging of shoulders and kissing of cheeks, with snickers and joshing that too much time in bed will make you lazy and fat. They laugh and wave, running off amid last minute shouts of don’t do anything I wouldn’t do, though it’s common knowledge, they will do things no one else will.


And when the frivolity had run its course, and the sun slowly sank into the jaws of the horizon, when the doves were long gone, the balloons nowhere in sight, likely on their way to China or maybe Hawaii, the weary guests arrived home to their beds, thinking what a terrifically grand time they’d had, remarking “Didn’t they make a lovely couple?” - while hidden away in a remote location where they won’t be disturbed by man nor beast, Angel and Buffy relax after the wedding-night nookie lasting for hours, but who’s counting, certainly not them.


Murmuring sweet nothings when they aren’t kissing, they lie cuddling in each other’s arms, sublimely sated, but already dreading the moment this serenity must end, knowing it has to, dammit, because the world is still in trouble, and who are they kidding, they can’t give up the good fight, not while the world trembles, while the lost souls and the hopeless ones cry out in misery, not while innocent victims are preyed upon by bumpy-faced monsters and fire-breathing demons, all the people they have to save and protect, because that’s what they do better than anyone, and honestly, no one is volunteering to take their places, you can bet on that.


But in this blessed union of two inseparable souls, there is more at stake – and not the pointy ones –  meaning she’ll watch him like a hawk, though he’ll grumpily insist it’s  not necessary, which won’t deter her in the least, and he’ll play guard dog, fussing and fretting over her, which will annoy her to no end, but he’ll do it anyway, for it’s been this way from the first moment they met, except now they have this new fragile future they will desperately fight for, as long as they both shall breathe, the daily struggle to keep this life together never desired so much as now.


So after all is said and done, exactly nothing has changed. No breath is taken not filled with a sense of apprehension, no heartbeat felt in absolute, peaceful repose, mortality being unpredictable and fleeting, and even as the darkness continually threatens their lives, as they pound and stomp on nefarious bones, they’ll say, if asked, every second is worth the trials and tribulations that have plagued them from day one, for when you love so completely, when the person you adore with all your heart and soul, who takes your breath away with a loving glance or smile, who turns your knees to jelly with a kiss - the one you can’t live without -  there’s nothing greater or more precious, in this world or beyond, than having your paramour love you back even more, reminding you every single moment of every single day why you fell in love.

~ end ~

November 2013