Till Death Do We Part
By Jessi Knorr
Page 1 of 2
Summary: Three marriages... after a funeral?
Part of The Memories Series
Disclaimer: Buffy, Angel, Oz, Willow, Xander, Cordelia, Ms. Calendar and whoever else belong to the Devil himself, Joss! And also, the WB and Fox. What's not theirs -- Sage, Summer, Tia, Cora, Lance, the plot--is mine. Got it? Good. Now get going. The mythology is based off of Elisabeth Chandler's amazing novel-trilogy "Kissed By An Angel".
It was the most beautiful ceremony anyone could ask for, and private at that. The only ones there were the happy couple's four friends, the bride's own mother, and their children, plus of course Reverend Green. Her dress was a lavish fifty yards of ivory satin decorated in white beads, with a sheer piece draped over it. Glitter fell over from her veil as she moved her head to look into her groom's eyes. They exchanged rings, vows, and the softest but most love-filled kiss they'd ever shared in their almost 12 years together. It had been only two months since they'd found each other again, but the two were ready to spend eternity together. The four young adults situated at the front on the right side pews clapped, one even obnoxiously hooted and whistled.
"Dead Boy! Dead Boy!" He repeated. The bride and groom broke and laughed at him as the group came forward.
"Xander, shut up." His wife Cordelia chided.
"If you wanted to support the groom," Oz Rosenberg calmly stated, "You should have sat on the other side. We can't all be in support of the bride, can we? I mean, is that standard? Normal?"
"Oz, you're forgetting that we're not your normal couple," Buffy grinned, wrapping her arms around Angel's neck.
"I guess you're right."
"Oh isn't this so great? The Scooby Gang all happily bound for life. Now we can never have an excuse to miss out on special get-togethers!" Willow smiled.
"Scooby Gang minus one, Willow. Remember that Giles never got the chance before-" Cordelia instantly saw their downcast looks. "Well, unless he did, when he was a teen. You know, like the Ripper?"
"So, do we get to throw the confetti in honor of the happy couple or are you all just going to stand there talking inaudibly while the children get fussy?" Joyce Summers came up behind them.
"No need to break out those messy little pieces of paper and make Father have to sweep again Mrs. Summers, I've got something just as festive..." Xander pulled back his tux coat and produced a can of Silly String from the pocket. He popped the protective cap and began to shake it.
"Don't you dare," Buffy's eyes traveled from it to him.
"Xander, if you spray that-" Cordelia reached for it but he pulled it away. She lunged for it again. He bent over backwards, over the front pew, to keep it out of her grasp. When she swung at him again, he accidentally set it off right in her face. Sage and Summer giggled at them. Tia was a little more stern faced but her eyes betrayed her laughter at the couple. Cordelia stepped away from Xander, covered in foam. She wiped the stuff out of her eyes and glared at her husband, who was grinning innocently, still holding the can. Cordy shrugged casually and straightened the pastel gown she'd helped Buffy pick out for the wedding. Then, unpredictably, she lunged again at Xander. He moved quickly and dashed down the carpeted aisle as fast as he could.
"You're going to pay for that Harris! You're driving all the way back to Cincinnati nonstop!!" The adults laughed as well at the mismatched lovebirds, even the reverend chuckled before he disappeared into the back hall.
"How they've lasted this long it's a mystery to me," Angel said. They all smiled again and Buffy put her head on his inviting shoulder. Sage shifted uncomfortably in his starched dress clothes and the girls fiddled with their lacy gowns.
"What do you guys say, why don't we head back to the house and get at that cake huh?" Buffy smiled.
"Ooh, did you get chocolate?" Willow asked as bride, groom, and remaining guests followed after the Harrises.
"What do you think? Vanilla gives the girls hives and they didn't have that strawberry kind we always have on birthdays."
"Well if you'd have called me before, I could have gotten a friend at the gallery to make you one in Sunnydale Buffy," Joyce sounded offended. Her daughter stopped and looked at her.
"Mom, I don't care if Marisa back in LA made it and had it sent to you, I'm not getting a cake from Sunnydale. It could have pickled fire demon or eye of newt or fricasseed korridor-"
"Korred," Oz corrected.
"Whatever. Anyway, when you see it, you'll renounce our decision of getting a six foot delicacy from the local bakery rather than have it sent from a town three and a half hours away."
"It wasn't our decision Buffy. You wanted a leaning tower of sugar, I wanted a nice, small, reasonable sized cake. The-"
"Angel you wanted one of those frozen ice cream ones they have at Dairy Queen."
"Guys, happy occasion? You just tied the knot, became man and wife... are you going to separate this early over something as trivial as a pastry?" Willow stopped them. "We aren't even out of the church. And Xander's not even out of silly string!" they heard screams and shouts rising on the late summer air and the sound of escaping pressure from a spray can. "Well, maybe not. Come on! You two just did something you won't be getting to do any more! And already you're acting like a couple who have passed their 50th anniversary."
"Sorry Will. You're right."
"Good old reliable Willow," Angel gave her a smile as they finally stepped out of the chapel. The kids were cheering Cordelia on as she chased her now-foam covered husband around the parking lot, having somehow wrestled the silly string from him. The can ultimately gave up on Cordy, freeing Xander from her stringy wrath. Buffy unraveled from her husband's grip and made her way to her son and new step-daughters. Angel stood at the bottom of the stairs, alone while Willow, Oz and Joyce joined them. He stared at Buffy with an affectionate gaze, almost unsure of the day. Just two months before he didn't even know who any of them were, but after he'd called off his marriage and engagement to Cora and he and Buffy had shared their first kiss in almost a decade later that night outside his residence, the flood of memories that washed over him was almost too much for himself to handle. Then he remembered he was mortal. He also had Buffy. And that he'd sired his first children all remarkably in the same year; Sage on the night after he'd had his mortality restored, and the twins Tia and Summer when he and Cora had been seeing each other in the fifth month of their relationship. He'd met Cora while staggering around Sunnydale, she was a vibrant young lady from San Francisco, and he'd lied and said he was wealthy and also lived in the Bay area. With luck he'd actually remembered the number of the account he had money stored in Whistler had somehow provided. Now he was reported to be the richest man, or former vampire, in San Francisco. Angel's mind wandered to the dream, or nightmare rather, he'd had on the night before he broke up with Buffy, on her prom; they'd gotten married. They'd walked outside, exactly like this. And when she'd sat on the side of the stairs leading from the chapel, she'd caught aflame. He made a double take to make sure she wasn't a ball of fire, but his new bride wasn't there. He gasped and looked around panicked before someone tapped his shoulder. He spun and jumped away slightly. There she was, smiling and holding the keys to his black Porsche.
"Hey, are you back from la la land yet? I wanna go before the press spots us." She kissed him with his keys dangling by his ear. Angel took them and kissed her back. They were interrupted by a car horn honking.
"Let's go! You guys can do that when the kids are asleep!" Xander yelled. Cordelia dug her nails into his arm, pulling him back down into their red convertible that resembled her old car. The only difference was the license plates. They rolled their eyes and climbed into their own car, where Joyce and the kids already were.
They stood assembled out in the garden off Angel's relatively large mansion. It was bigger than the one in Sunnydale he used to occupy, but it wasn't quite as large as those you hear about in Los Angeles and where ever. His had only ten bedrooms with a large den and equal family room, kitchen and a library tucked off to the side of the family room complete with fireplace and wall-to-ceiling bookshelves. He'd given Buffy and Sage each one to store their own volumes, and of course Buffy put the Watchers' Diaries she'd kept from the council, written by Giles, in there. Leading outside from a small room off the kitchen was an outdoor pool that had lights in the bottom tiles that could make the water glow in a bunch of colors and an elegant patio adjoined to the deck. Outside the patio and surrounding it was a grand copse, complete with flower garden, with a stone path that led to a little fountain and a stone bench where the newlyweds would spend most of their time.
Tonight it was adorned with white crate paper and balloons and the infamous cake they'd been debating: as high as Angel's nose, decorated in various shades of icing and the little couple that always stood atop. The cherry trees around it were beginning to loose their blossoms again, and the pool would be filled with little pink petals by summer's end. They too were draped in crate paper and above the bench where Willow and Oz sat with Mrs. Summers was a banner stretched from tree to tree, reading C0NGRATULATIONS! in written font. The sun hung low in the late summer sky, making the women's hair sparkle; the Summers' like gold, Willow's copper and Cordelia's strands of dark chocolate. Angel cut a first slab and handed it off to Oz, and continued dishing it out until half of the first layer was gone. The plastic couple stood on a slight slant in each other's arms, happy even in their awkward position. Xander and Cordelia started bickering about their restaurant they planned to open in mid December in Cincinnati. Cordelia wanted the inside wallpapered once it was completed, with a full wall mirror in the back. Xander wanted to paint it wood brown and hang pictures of them on the suggested wall. Before long they were arguing like a pair of five year olds.
Then, when Cordy stuck her tongue in an attempt to finish the fight, Xander flung a piece of his cake at her. She wiped it off her face and while Xander turned to Willow, laughing softly, she took another slab from the towering sugar mound and pushed both slices in his face. Buffy choked slightly and Angel broke into a wide, amused grin. The Rosenbergs shook their heads, Joyce moved between the feuding couple and the cake. Sage and Summer giggled and Tia rolled her eyes like Willow and Oz. Xander scowled, took a handful of icing left on his plate and smeared it across her face. Cordy pulled a big hunk of the cake out and threw it at him. He ducked and it splattered all over the second couple. Oz licked what he could off his face and took his slab. Willow armed herself as well and they let the pastry fly. Oz's smacked Angel square in the chest, Willow's got Xander again.
"Six can play at this game," Buffy challenged, picking up the vegetable dip. The newlyweds placed a hand each under the bowl and steadied it with the other. Everyone else ducked but Xander as the dip came soaring right into his eyes. The kids laughed harder now and Joyce giggled behind her cake. The other three stood back up and Angel pulled out another piece of cake, throwing it straight at Oz and getting him in the same place the werewolf had got him. That's when the arsenal started to sail. Bride on first slayerette, werewolf on former vampire, net girl on ice queen, they all targeted one main person but sometimes missed their mark. Willow even got Sage with the other bowl of dip.
A loud scream interrupted them. Xander wiped the veggie dip off his face. Cordy relaxed her grip on the ketchup bottles out for the fries her husband insisted they have. Oz picked a carrot out of Willow's hair. Buffy sat her entire layer of their wedding pastry down. Tia's face was bright red, her dress, the one she'd worn to her father's called off wedding to her mother, was covered in food and stained with chocolate. She breathed heavily, glaring, and stormed off, leaving a trail of foodstuffs behind. Angel set his full bowl of red Jell-O back on the table and smiled slightly at them, then went off after his daughter.
"Tia! What's wrong?" he picked her up from behind. She just pulled out of his grasp and ran for the house, tears streaming down her dirty face. Summer looked to her stepbrother, who shrugged. The dip that covered him made a thick slopping sound while he moved.
"Uh..." Buffy swallowed, noticing the only one who wasn't touched by the appetizers and deserts was her mother. "We should really go get you guys cleaned up... and us." She lifted her gaze from the children to the food splattered bench and walkway. "And then out here..." The Scooby Gang all groaned and turned away from the messed table to the house.
Buffy removed the last of her makeup and clicked out the bathroom light, walking into her new bedroom. Angel was reading again, his lean back poised solidly against the dark chestnut headboard. He was so engrossed in the book he nearly went over the side when the Slayer moved in beneath the red satin comforter and put her hand on his bare arm.
"Don't jump too high honey, you might go through the ceiling," she smirked as her husband regained his bearings. "Whatchya readin'?"
"Buffy! Uh, nothing..." he pulled himself up again, quickly put the volume on the table beside him and turned off the lamp, snuggling closer to his new wife. The only light in the room was the full moon streaming through the large window several feet away. The drapes were drawn back, allowing a view of the back of the house, the garden, and the highway past the neighborhood. There were only two other houses around Angel's estate, one was owned by a rich old couple and the other was empty. Buffy stared out over the cherry trees and up at him. The moon illuminated Angel's features like a white candle, shadows cast over his handsome face. She rested her head in the crook of his neck and rested her slender arm across his chest. It rose and fell shallowly and she watched his eyes behind the closed lids. He gave up on trying to sleep when she began tracing his lips and stared at her. He kissed the pads of her fingers when they ran across. She teased him by bringing her fingers further and further away, and stroked his cropped hair. Angel reached up and brought her hand back down, kissing the palm in small circles, then pulling his bride closer so their lips met.
And met, and met again. They shifted together so Buffy lay cross his chest now, their hands entwining, her hair creating a curtain over them. Angel devoured her lips passionately before she broke off, so slightly. Buffy straddled his torso and their hands continued to entwine, exploring both. The bands of their rings, wedding and claddah, brushed with the softest of metallic clangs. Angel smiled up at his Slayer and brought her hand down again, kissing the knuckles that had met flesh time and again when she was fighting to keep the world from ending. She spread her fingers and gently touched his lips with them, then traced up into his hair that was always short and spiked with gel. He brought his arm up and around her back, gently pulling her down over him. Their lips encountered once more as he stroked the skin exposed by the back of her silk nightgown. She brought her hands down and cupped his face, then let it go.
Buffy let the kiss linger again before she gently rolled off to the bed beside Angel's warm body. She lightly placed her palm over his heart and felt its beating. It was a feeling she never knew she'd experience. In Angel, at least. He moaned softly in protest and turned his head so he could see the moon bounce off her eyes. They were big and green, and beautiful. And full of love that he projected back. This was the day both of them had dreamed about but thought never would happen. This was the fantasy. The fairy tale. Buffy pulled up again to kiss him and laid her head over his chest. Angel stroked her gold hair, lifting it and letting the light spill over her beautiful face.
"Do you know what I did those nights when I didn't see you at the Bronze, or out? Or after we said goodbye for the evening?" the Slayer broke the silence. Angel looked down and her, his brow slightly creased. He shook his head. She repositioned herself so they could see each other clearly. "I'd fall asleep dreaming of everything we could do if you weren't a vampire and I weren't the Slayer. Or, if we could be together forever. And even... when you were evil... I still dreamed of us, of being able to find your soul and get you back.
And when you were in Hell... and back... and then even when we broke up and you left... you were the only one I dreamed of. Neither Scott, nor Riley, or Parker, none of the other guys I've tried dating have been able to fill the space reserved for you." Her eyes glittered. He could see she was pouring her heart out and he smiled down at the strong you lady who lay on him. She smiled back.
"I always dreamed of you too," he admitted. "I'd stand outside your window at night in the tree, watching you sleep. Or I'd step in and watch you from beside your bed until the sun rose. Then when I got home I prayed nothing happened to you before we could see each other again. I couldn't stand to loose you, if you were ever in trouble. If you were, I knew I'd hunt down and kill who ever did it to you," he blushed slightly, rubbing her hair, anticipating her response. When none came he looked back and saw her eyes shut. She'd fallen asleep. Angel laughed quietly and relaxed on the pillow, allowing his own exhaustion from the past day take him over.
After he'd fallen asleep too, a small shadow crept into the bedroom. It grew as the owner crossed to the bed and stood in the window. Buffy winced slightly and shifted so she now sat on Angel's arm, and quickly fell back into the void.
"Daddy?" Tia whispered softly. Angel didn't move, even when she tried calling him louder a few more times. She nudged him slightly and he moved away, but didn't wake. Tia looked around the room and down again at the bride, who was cuddled against her father with a wide grin on her face. The young girl's eyes hardened at her stepmother, but turned back to Angel. He exhaled deeply and sunk into the satin pillow under his head. Left with only one chance, she reached out her small arm and squeezed Angel's nose closed with her index finger and thumb. He sputtered for air after a few seconds and woke up to see the girl, who recoiled her arm and waited for him to speak.
He rubbed his eyes hastily and squinted to see her in the dim light.
"Tia? What? Is something wrong?" His daughter cast another glance to the sleeping Slayer and nodded. "What?"
"I had a bad dream," she answered weakly, meeting his gaze. Angel sighed and rolled his eyes. He looked down at Buffy, who had stretched out her arm to keep him there, and threw off his part of the comforters.
"Okay," he huffed, picking Tia up and balancing her on his shoulder. "We'll get you back to bed and you can tell me what happened. All right?" She nodded once and they went out the door. Tia kept her dark eyes fixated on Buffy until they were down the hall. Buffy winced at the sudden movement again and stretched out her arm, feeling for Angel. She noticed he was gone, but didn't stir, and finally gave in to her full fatigue.
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