Chapter 5

Buffy woke and stretched, inadvertently hitting her sister in the head.

“OW! Clumsy much?” the younger girl complained before diving under the covers of the bed she was sharing with her sister in Willow’s spare room.

“Sorry, Dawn. Forgot you were there. And don’t go back to sleep – get up. Squeeee! It’s my wedding day!”

“Yay! And you’re not getting married until it goes dark. So go back to sleep. It can’t be any later than 7.00 am.”

“I can’t sleep! I’m excited. Oh come on, Dawnie!”

Dawn grumbled and tried to burrow further under the quilt. She screeched as Buffy ripped all the covers off the bed and started bouncing up and down.

“Thought you had a headache.”

“No, that was yesterday after the party. There’s a reason I wanted to have it two days before the wedding and that was it.”

“Alright! Alright! I’m up, quit bouncing – you’re making me seasick.”

Buffy bounded off the bed and ripped back the drapes covering the window. It was still dark outside but it didn’t seem to be raining so that was a bonus. Turning back to the bed, Buffy noted the comatose form of her sister still curled up in an attempt to retain the warmth of the missing covers. Feeling excited and giddy, she pounced on the younger girl and started tickling her mercilessly, giggling along with her.

“NO! Buffy….stop………I can’t…….breathe……..BUFFY! NO! ...HELP! MOM!!!”

Buffy relented, slumping back onto the bed and lapsing into companionable silence as Dawn stretched and groaned, before swinging her feet down to the floor. She still found immense pleasure in simple things since her days of being “The One” had ended. Hanging with her sister, shopping, dining with her friends, just…being: each activity created a swell of emotion that lapped at her heart’s core and made her thankful for her existence. Of course, that appreciation had only started after being enfolded in her vampire’s arms in Rome after yet another drunken night of disappointment. Prior to that pivotal moment, the very fact that she was still here, breathing and continuing on without him, caused her anguish and turmoil with every second that passed. But now…now every second was treasured as the precious thing it was, every moment savoured. Now she had Spike. Spike……….

“Oh I want to see Spike right now!” Buffy squealed out as she jumped up from the bed.

“Well, you can’t so get back down here. It’s bad luck before the wedding.”

“Oh, I don’t believe in that nonsense, Dawnie. I need smoochies! Now! Give me my cell phone.”

“No. No way.” The girls indulged in a heated competition then over the cell phone clutched in Dawn’s hand, Buffy trying to trip her and grab it. Finally snagging Dawn’s leg from under her, they collapsed in a heap on the bed, knocking over a lamp from the bedside table as they did so. The resulting crash brought Willow, Amber and Joyce to the room.

Buffy and Dawn tried to look full of remorse under the baleful eyes of the hastily robed trio at the door but failed miserably. Giving in to the giggles lodged in her throat, Buffy bounced up and hugged the three; “I’m getting married! Today! To Spike!”

Her laughter was infectious, the five-way hug completed by Dawn. Eventually, the women broke up the love-fest and headed down to the kitchen for breakfast.


“Time to get up, Spike! Come on now, don’t make me come in there with the wet sponge.”

“I’m up, you ninny. Been waiting for you to stop that bloody awful snoring for hours.”

Xander opened the door to the connecting room in the hotel suite he was currently sharing with Spike. “You decent?”

“Well, much as a bad-ass vamp can be decent I s’pose.” Grinning, Spike pushed himself off the bed, clad only in pyjama bottoms. “I usually do a Marilyn Monroe but didn’t want to offend your innocent eyes, Harris. Besides, don’t want you going all jealous on me when you compare our packages.”

“Pfft! Yeah, right. Get over yourself, you pulseless prick.”

“Nice comeback – you been listenin’ to me for tips?”

“Just get in the shower. We need to be ready to leave in an hour so that we can get installed in the Lodge at the Stones. Don’t want you bumping into Buffy before it’s time – it’s bad luck you know.”

“Bollocks to that! If I see her I’m gonna give her the biggest…”

“DO NOT finish that sentence. Just go get showered, alright?”

“I’m on it.”

Spike stopped dead mid-way across the room. He looked up at Xander, his jaw slack and eyes wide.

“What? What is it?”

“Nothing. It’s just…I suppose it hadn’t really hit me before, been so caught up in everything, you know? I’m…she’s…bloody hell, Xander…….I’m getting married! Me…to Buffy!”

“Yep, you are!” Xander smiled a big toothy grin.

“Wow. To Buffy; my Buffy. The Slayer. She’s marrying me. Bloody hell!”

Xander walked up to the stunned vampire, patting him on the back. “I’d say breathe deep, but then – that won’t work, will it? Come on, two fingers of JD’ll get the old motor revving then it’s into the shower with you. Move it, dead-boy – that’s an order. I’m the best man so I’m in charge.”

Pressing a glass of bourbon into Spike’s hand, Xander manoeuvred him towards the bathroom, leaving him at the threshold. Spike downed the golden liquid, feeling the warmth course through him. Turning back to the bedroom, he spoke softly to Xander’s departing back.

“Thanks, mate. For everything.”

Xander nodded. Another moment of shared understanding between the two men.


“That’s the last bag, Willow. I’ll just go and check again…”

“It’s done Buffy, relax! Everything’s ready and in the car except this last one. Trust me.”

Buffy smiled, nervously. Her excitement of the morning had been replaced by a slightly panicked flutter in the pit of her stomach. She just wanted everything to go perfectly and most Buffy-centred celebrations had a tendency to veer off in the opposite direction. God, her birthday bashes over the years had been anything but straightforward, the unexpected gatecrashers who always seemed to join the party causing no end of mayhem. Always a good fight to remember

But that was back when Sunnydale was Monster Central, when Buffy’s life hadn’t been hers to control. Before she’d been released from the burden of her calling, before she’d found peace. The Powers That Be owed her one. She intended to collect, big-time.

Before they could leave to go to the car, the doorbell sounded. Quizzical looks all round, nobody was expecting a visitor. Amber answered the door, returning with Giles in tow.

“Giles! Is anything wrong? Spike…is he…”

“Everything’s fine, Buffy. I just wanted a quick word with you before you left. Joyce…would you join us?”

Buffy followed Giles into the living room, Joyce behind her. Amber looked at Willow.

“What was that about?”

“Don’t know, sweetie. But I guess we’ll find out soon enough.” Lugging the last bag out to the car, Willow and Amber left them in the living room.


“Sit down, Buffy. Don’t be alarmed! It’s nothing awful…I hope you think that anyway.”

“Now I am getting seriously wigged, Giles. Come on, I’m tense enough here!”

“Well, the thing is…ahem, what I mean is…perhaps you’ve noticed that …ahem…lately I’ve been spending a lot of time with your mother and Dawn.”

“Yeah, you’ve been helping Ethan with his rehab; and Dawn’s kinda always a bit needy and she so needs help with homework. What are you getting at?”

Giles shot a look at Joyce, silently begging for help. Joyce just raised an eyebrow and folded her arms, an enigmatic smile on her face. Nope, no help there then.

“Erm…quite. Yes. Well. Ahem…”

“Giles – would you spit it out! I’ve got a wedding to go to you know.”

“Yes, erm…right then. The thing is…”

Joyce sighed and took pity on him. Standing at his side, she laced her fingers through his, tightening her grip as he instinctively jerked away.

“Buffy, what Rupert is trying to tell you is that we’ve been seeing each other, as a couple. And we want you to be okay with it. Are you okay with it, honey?”

Buffy was stunned. Or rather…she thought that she ought to be stunned. Actually, she found herself not at all surprised. Looking at her mom as she leaned against Giles, hands clasped together, she took in their body language; they were settled with each other, happy to be in close proximity, content. How could she be anything other than pleased to see her mother and the man she thought of as her father so at ease?

“Oh mom! Of course I’m okay with it. More than okay. And Giles… don’t really know what to say, but…I’m fine, I really am. I’m so happy for you both.”

Giles felt the relief flow through him. He’d been tense the entire drive over, not sure how Buffy would react. He’d hoped she’d be accepting, didn’t want to dare think any further than that. But she seemed entirely happy. He didn’t think he’d ever been prouder of her than that moment. She’d grown up. His slayer.

Buffy enveloped them both in a hug before collecting her purse and coat. Heading to the door she turned, a mischievous smile on her lips. “You coming…daddy?”

Oh dear lord.


Buffy gazed at herself in the long mirror. She wore a gown of pale green silk, bias cut, fitted at the bodice then flaring out over her hips to finish at the floor. The neckline was sweetheart shaped, following the curves of her breasts before ending at the edge of her shoulders. Tulle sleeves fell from the shoulder line to finish in points draped over her hands, the edging decorated with embroidered flowers. In her hair, which was swept up with tendrils draped loosely around her face, she wore tiny white flowers trimmed with green leaves, smaller versions of those that formed her bouquet. ‘Not too bouncy to be distracting,’ she thought with a smile. Fixed at the back of her head a simple veil cascaded down the back of the gown to end at the hem.

Joyce gazed at her eldest daughter, one hand at her mouth. “Oh, Buffy! You look so beautiful!”

Turning to face the other occupants of the room, Buffy smiled. “Thanks, mom; I bloody well should do – this dress cost a packet!”

“Channelling Spike, Buffy?” Dawn enquired.

“Oh I do hope so…” Buffy breathed, her cheeks flushed. “Do you think he’ll like it? He’ll hate it, won’t he? Too girly.” She spun to face the mirror, fidgeting with the hair ornaments and the sleeves.

“No, Buffy. He’ll love you. He always loves you. You look terrific, honestly.”

“Well; it’s either this or the jeans so he’s got two choices. Right. I’m ready. What time is it?”

“The sun’s just going down, Buffy, so Amber and I’ll head out to the altar and get things ready. You sure you’re happy with the candles, the colour? You want me to run through it again?”

“Erm, yeah – better had. Don’t want to call down a curse, do I?”

“Oh, that wouldn’t happen, Buffy!” Amber burst out; “The Gods wouldn’t be offended – it’s just the colour of the candle and the ribbons calls to different Gods. White will call to all the Goddesses, but if you want specific blessings you need to use the right colour. You’ve decided to call on Freya and Aphrodite, yes?”

“Yeah – I’ve always linked Aphrodite with love and Spike’s studies were along the lines of Greek mythology, so I think that’s right. And Willow told me that Freya was the Mother Goddess so I figure she’s the one I should be thanking for leading Spike back to me.”

The combined “aw” of the wedding party made her eyes fill and her bottom lip tremble.

“Yes, that’s right. So, Aphrodite – her candle colours are pink and red while Freya’s are green, red and black. So red should cover it just fine. I’ve set up the white candles already so I’ll just see to the red at each end of the altar.”

“Now the cords or ribbons have meaning too. Did you look at the chart I gave you? Have you decided?”

“I think so. Part of me just wants them all – you know, just to be on the safe side – but I think gold, white and red should cover it. Is that okay?”

Amber smiled. “Very wise choices, Buffy – red for courage, strength and passion; gold for unity, prosperity and longevity; and white for peace, sincerity and devotion. I think you’ve covered all bases. I’ll go and see to it.”

“Thanks, Amber. You’ve been a great help.” Buffy gripped the young wicca’s hands in hers, squeezing them as she looked into her eyes.

“It’s been my pleasure, Buffy. And I’m sure the Goddesses will smile down on your union.”

Amber scurried off to put the final touches to the altar and make sure that the candles were aligned properly with the points of the compass. Dawn went to take her place in the clearing and Joyce went to seek out Giles and check on Spike.

Left alone, Willow turned to Buffy and the two friends smiled at each other. “Who’d have thought this would be happening, Willow? All those years ago, the first thing he tries to do is kill me and what do you know – the Buffy heart takes that as a perfect first date!”

Chuckling at the memories of their time at school, made rosy with hindsight, the two girls embraced.

“I wasn’t sure at first, Buffy, you know that. He was a sadistic killer who tried to cut my throat with a broken bottle once, so I think my reservations were deserved. But when I see you look at him, when he looks at you…it’s like the whole world goes away. You were never this happy with Angel or with Riley -- well, he was nice and safe but you said yourself…. you missed the anguish. I think Spike had it right all along…you need a bit of monster in your man.”

“I do that! My man, my monster. I love him more than I thought possible, Willow. When he was gone, after the First Evil…I couldn’t even function properly. It was like a gaping hole had been left inside me. I didn’t even realise how cut off from people I was, until he turned up on my doorstep.” Buffy smiled to herself. “He’s so frustrating sometimes but I want that, I need that. I’ll never be Mrs Normal, Willow. How could I be after all that I’ve seen, all that I’ve done? But I’m absolutely ready to be Mrs The Bloody.”

Both girls snorted; it was a standing joke with them as to what Buffy’s married name would be. The door opened softly and Xander slipped inside. He took in the vision of his two oldest friends, all pink with happiness, and his mouth curved into a grin. Noticing him, Willow and Buffy stretched out their hands, drawing him to them.

He moved to join them in a group hug; “So, how’re my best girls today? You good?”

“Just peachy! You bring my vampire here in one piece?”

“Sure did – all spruced up and chomping at the bit. He’s kinda pacing at the moment but I’ve taken the JD off him for now, so he can actually still speak. Hey, Willow – your double x’s still look good in formal wear.”

The redhead blushed, remembering the incident before the prom when she’d locked lips with him and freaked afterwards. “Yeah, well your xy’s ain’t pulling the style level down either!”

Amber came back in at that moment and the three friends broke their embrace, each remembering with mixed emotions the last wedding the Scoobies had attended. Buffy reached out a hand and stroked Xander’s arm as she recognised the pain welling up in his eyes. He was thinking of Anya, of the last time they’d all gathered in wedding clothes. Softly she spoke to him, “I know, Xander.”

He acknowledged her concern with a nod of his head. Willow softly brushed her lips across his cheek and smoothed his hair back from his forehead. He flashed her a watery smile, then took a deep breath and headed towards the door.

“Well, don’t know about you lot but I’ve got a wedding to go to. See you all later!”


Everything was placed according to tradition, the candles at the compass points, the salt, the water. The night wasn’t warm but at least the sky was clear. At the front of the grove was the stone altar, spread with a green cloth and bedecked with candles. Candles also blazed around the stone circle and each guest carried a small flame. In front of the altar, Spike stood with Xander at his side – his new suit and shirt causing him some discomfort as he pulled and pawed at the neckline.

“Stop fidgeting!” Xander hissed at him, whilst keeping a smile fixed on his lips.

“Can’t bloody help it! You’ve strangled me, I can’t breathe!”

“You don’t need to breathe – you’re dead. Now shut up – they’re coming”

They turned to see the candle-lit procession approach the avenue between the stones. Buffy was a vision of pale green silk and golden hair, shimmering in the candlelight as she approached the altar. Giles linked her arm as he guided her forwards and Dawn and Joyce followed her behind. Willow and Amber stood to off to one side of the altar awaiting the bride.

About two feet away from the altar the procession stopped, Buffy’s eyes fixed on Spike’s as she came to a halt. Spike smiled at her, a heart-stopping flash of teeth that hit her in her gut and caused her to breathe in sharply. God, he was gorgeous. And he was blond! Somehow, that seemed right, brought the thing full circle. And he was hers.

Reluctantly, she broke the locked eyes between them and they both turned to face the altar, Xander melting away into the dark. The drums that had accompanied the procession silenced as Willow stepped forwards to begin the proceedings. At Buffy’s puzzled look, Willow winked at her. This was the final surprise – Buffy had expected Amber to officiate as Priestess, but Willow had wanted to do it and had cleared it with the coven.

Willow started the ceremony with blessings and invocations to the Gods to bless the union of the two people in front of her. The guests formed a circle around them, holding hands with the person next to them, and Buffy and Spike joined hands in the centre. Willow began.

“In this sacred circle of light, we gather together in perfect love and perfect trust. O Goddess of divine love, I ask thee to bless this couple, their love, and their joining, for as long as they shall exist in love together. May they each enjoy a healthy life filled with joy, love, stability, and fertility.”

Spike and Buffy held hands together over the dish of salt that Willow placed beneath them.

“Blessed be by the ancient and mystical Element of Earth. May the Goddess of love in all her glory bless you with love, tenderness, happiness, and compassion for as long as ye both shall live.”

The blessings continued, then Willow smudged their brows with incense before handing them each a white candle to hold. Waving the willow wand above them, she chanted:

“Blessed be by wand and flame, symbols of the ancient and mystical Element of Fire. May the Goddess of love in all her glory bless you with harmony, vitality, creativity, and passion for as long as ye both shall live.

After blessing them with oil and water, Willow consecrated their wedding rings and the cords that would symbolise their union before approaching them and handing them the rings to hold and one end of the cords each. Nodding to them to begin their vows she stepped back to allow them centre stage.

“I was dead inside before you reached me, soul empty, bereft. I thought my life would be merely an existence but you drew forth from me such yearning to be part of this world. I am what I am because of you. You complete me. I love you. I never want to be parted from you. I don’t forget what went before; it is part of who you are, part of who I am. But together we are greater than our separate parts. And I want to be a part of you forever. I give you this ring as a symbol of that promise; as it is a circle without end, so is my love.” Buffy slipped the ring on Spike’s finger, her eyes shining with unshed tears.

“I am yours forever. I was lost for an eternity, cut off from the world and content to be so. The emptiness within me I filled with violence, hurt, cruelty. But the moment I saw you shining in front of me, I had to be a part of your life. Had to absorb your light, have it illuminate the dark places inside me. Buffy, without you I am only a part of what I am meant to be. I will never leave your side, will never leave you to fight the darkness alone. I am what I am. I am what I became…for you. Your light makes me whole. I am yours. Forever.”

Spike placed the ring on Buffy’s finger, and then completed the knot on his end of the cord.

Willow stepped forwards and tied the other ends of the cords in a knot as they held the knots they had tied as a symbol of their love.

“By the knots on this cord your love is united.”

Willow tied their hands together and asked the guests to give thanks to the Gods. After a moment of silence, she removed the cords, clasping their hands as she did so.

“By the power of the Goddess and her Horned Consort, I now pronounce ye husband and wife for as long as ye both shall live together in love. So mote it be.”

There was a “whoop” from the guests as Spike gathered Buffy in his arms and crushed her to him. Holding her face cradled in his hands, he slowly lowered his mouth to hers and kissed her, sucking her full bottom lip in between his teeth and nipping it with a promise of things to come. Finally breaking contact, Buffy’s hazel eyes burned into his before she gathered her skirts and turned to face the congregation.

The gathering erupted into cheers and applause as the bridal pair made their way through the throng to join in the All Hallow’s Eve worship as practiced at the Stones for hundreds of years. As the Pagans who worshipped there all year round carried out their rituals, the wedding party stood to the side in awe. The magical power was tangible. Amber had explained that in the Pagan tradition All Hallow’s Eve was the night when the veils between worlds was at its thinnest, allowing the souls of those who had passed on to wander freely in this life again. With the mist rising between the stones and the haze cast by hundreds of candles, there was no doubt in everybody’s mind that this was so. Buffy caught Willow’s eye as Amber spoke on, giving her a small smile as she no doubt thought of Tara at that moment. Not forgetting Xander, Buffy reached across Spike to squeeze his hand, a small token to remind him that Anya may be gone but not forgotten.

The rituals complete, the Pagans and the wedding party left gifts of food within the Stone circle as offerings to ease the passing of the wandering souls, then headed up to the Lodge to celebrate in a more worldly fashion.


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