Chapter 1

Till death do us part

“With this ring I thee wed,” Xander said.

God, he was the luckiest man in the world. Dawn Summers was so beautiful. So sweet. She was the woman of his dreams. He still couldn't believe it had happened. And so fast. They'd only met a month ago. And yet with every fibre in his being, Xander felt they were perfect for each other.

“With this ring I thee wed,” Dawn replied.

“You may now kiss the bride,” the priest said.

Xander and Dawn shared a sweet little kiss. Xander's friends and family broke into a big round applause in the tiny little church they'd rented. Xander felt a tiny bit of relief when he remembered his parents didn't come. And then he felt guilty for that thought. When Xander looked over he saw Buffy Summers grinning from ear to ear and clapping.

When she gave him a wide smile, Xander felt a strange sensation in his chest. No, Xander thought. He couldn't be attracted to her. For one thing it was wrong. She was his wife's mother.

No matter that she looked like a perfectly preserved twenty five year old blonde goddess, Xander thought. Oh god, he was staring at her wasn't he. A sharp elbow in his stomach confirmed his worst suspicions. He braced himself for the worst. His new wife at caught him ogling her mother, after all.

But when Xander looked back at Dawn, she only shook her head as if to say 'you totally spaced out dummy' and gave him a sweet smile. God. Her eyes were so innocent. Pure. Guileless.

I trust you Xander, her eyes told him. I love you.

And Xander felt a pang of guilt in his chest.

I'll never hurt you Dawn, he promised himself.

Xander spent the rest of the evening at Dawn's side. He couldn't help but notice how copiously his new bride was drinking. Or stop himself from looking at Buffy. She was the life of the party. Every man wanted to dance with her. Almost every woman was giving her jealous looks. She almost looked like she was the bride.

“Sweetie,” he whispered in her ear. “Don't you think you're overdoing it a little.”

“Sorry,” Dawn said, giving him a shy smile that made his stomach flutter. “Just nervous you know.”

Xander could see Dawn's hands shaking. He clasped them in his.
“Nothing to be nervous about,” Xander soothed, kissing Dawn's hand. “We're husband and wife now. I'm never going to leave you.”

“It's not that,” Dawn whispered, ducking her head.

“What is it?” Xander asked.

“I,” Dawn whispered, then looked around. “I've never done it before. You know.”

“Done what sweetie?” Xandre frowned.

“Sex,” Dawn whispered.

“Oh,” Xander said, his eyes widening. And then it all made sense.

As much as Dawn had told him she'd loved and wanted him. Why she stopped him everytime they'd even begun to go in that direction.

“Oh sweetheart,” Xander murmured. “This will be a night you never forget. I promise.”

“I know,” Dawn said. “Just a little while longer. And then we can be together.”

It was only many hours later when Xander and Dawn finally made it back to their beautiful Hawaiian suite.

“God you're beautiful,” Xander whispered, kissing her neck. “I love you.”

“I love you baby,” Dawn slurred. “I want you so much.”

Xander shook his head. She'd had so much to drink. Xander had tried to calm her down and to keep an eye on her, but to no avail. Everytime he'd laid eyes on her she'd been taking a nervous sip of her champagne. Xander knew he shouldn't. She was drunk. But he wanted her so much. He couldn't hardly think straight.

Xander began undoing Dawn's wedding dress. She tried to undo his buttons, then began giggling drunkenly when she fumbled with the buttons.

“Let me,” Xander said, carrying Dawn and placing her onto the bed.

“Come here,” Dawn giggled, her words slurred. “Husband.”

“Be right with you wife,” Xander grinned, shrugging off his shirt.

“Wow,” Dawn sighed, touching his muscles. “You have such a nice body.”

“Thanks,” Xander said sheepishly, almost shyly. Dawn pulled his lips to her neck and fell back onto the bed.

“I love you,” Dawn muttered. “Xzhander.”

“I love you so much,” he mumbled, kissing her neck as he fumbled with undoing her dress.

Come on. Come on come on come on.

Aha, Xander thought, when the back of her dress finally came undone.

He grinned as he began rolling it down her body. Which is when he heard it.

Dawn was snoring. Right in his ear. Her head on his shoulder.

No, Xander thought. No. God. We were so close. I want her so much. He shut his eyes hard, praying for the courage to do the right thing.

Xander sighed heavily. And then he gently placed Dawn's head onto the pillow and covered her body with the bedcover. His wife
mumbled something in her sleep and then turned over to the side,
snoring even louder.

Xander buried his head in his hands. Oh god.

“It's okay,” Xander said under his breath. “It's okay. Waiting another night won't kill me. It's just one more night. We have the rest of our lives together.”

I need a drink, Xander thought, sighing heavily. He reached towards the bottle of cold champagne kept by the bedside, then realised it was empty.

“Son of a bitch,” Xander swore, keeping his voice down in order not to wake his slumbering wife. He snuck a hopeful look at Dawn. She was still sleeping. Knocked out cold, it seemed.

He looked towards the mini bar, then decided against it. He
considered going to sleep, but he really wasn't sleepy. No, he felt antsy. Amped up. His motor was running.

I need a walk, Xander thought. Yeah, that's it. A nice walk on the beach. That'll clear up my head.

The big head, Xander thought wryly. Not the small one. Sorry big guy, Xander thought. Looks like you're sitting on the bench tonight.

Xander dressed quietly, constantly sneaking looks at his wife.
She looked like an angel, he thought. She was so beautiful.

Xander felt himself throbbing inside his pants. God he was so hard. But no. He wasn't about to go wank alone inside the bathroom. Not on his wedding night. Like some loser. He could just imagine Dawn drunkenly stumbling in on him. God he'll never live it down.

Xander got into his slippers, collected the room key.

“Night,” he whispered, then quietly closed the door.

Xander had only taken about ten steps when he heard a familiar voice.

“Stupid door,” he heard her say. “Open up. Ow!”

He spun around. She was at the far end of the hall. Banging on her
door. Kicking it. Trying to get it to open.

“Ms Summers?” he asked. “Do you need any help.”

“Xander,” Buffy said, in a surprised tone. “Hi.”

“Is everything allright?” he asked.

“Stupid door won't open,” Buffy said, rattling the handle as she tried to jam in her keycard. “I'm locked out.”

“Oh,” Xander said. “Here let me.”

Buffy handed him the card, then stepped aside. Xander examined it, saw that it was upside down.

“Here,” Xander said, putting the keycard in and turning the door.

“Here you go.” The little light turned green and Buffy let out a victorous whoop.

“Go Xander,” Buffy cheered. “Who knew you could be so handy.”

“I do run a construction company you know,” Xander chuckled. “Glad I could help.”

“Wait,” Buffy said, frowning. “What are you doing out here?”

“Dawn,” Xander began, trying to come up with something that didn't make his wife seem like total boozehound. “She's tired. She wanted to get some rest. And I felt like a walk.”

“Oh,” Buffy said. And then something seemed to occur to her.

“You know,” Buffy began. “You and Dawn got together so quickly. It kinda caught me off guard.”

“You're not the only one,” Xander admitted. “Sometimes I think this is all just a dream.”

“I know,” Buffy said, shaking her head disbelievingly. “Right?”

“Yeah,” Xander said. “It's been....crazy”

“Crazy,” Buffy said, at the same time he did. They both laughed at that.

“I'm sorry your parents couldn't make it,” Buffy said. “I would have liked to meet them.”

“Trust me,” Xander said, his mood darkening. “Things are better off this way.”

“Oh sweetie,” Buffy said. “I didn't mean to...”

“It's okay,” Xander said gruffly. “I should probably get out of you hair.”

“Actually,” Buffy said. “I just realised something. This is the first real conversation we've had.”

“Seriously?” Xander said. He reflected on that for a moment. “I guess you're right. Things were so crazy with the wedding.”

“Yeah,” Buffy said, letting the silence linger for a moment too long.

“Do you want to come in?” Buffy asked.

Xander froze. What? Did she just invite me into her room?

Xander felt like he was having an out of body experience. His wife's gorgeous mother had invited him into her room. This was like one of his teenage porno movie fantasies come to life. He felt himself throb in his pants.

“I feel kind of weird just standing here,” Buffy said, sheepishly. “It's nice ya know. Actually talking to someone.”

And then Xander came back to reality and realised what an idiot he was being. She wanted to talk to him. Of course, Xander thought.
Xander Lavelle Harriss, you are an idiot.

Dawn had got him all worked up. That was all. His overactive imagination had combined with all the pent up sexual feelings over the last month. Which is why Xander knew he should scoot away. Before he made a fool of himself.

“Actually,” he began. He saw her face fall. Saw the disappointment in those beautiful green eyes.

“It's okay, Xander,” Buffy said, giving him a winning smile. “Who wouldn't prefer hanging out on the beach with the young folk than chatting it up with an old lady.”

Xander's jaw dropped. Buffy thought she was old? He couldn't believe that. She was drop dead beautiful.

“No,” Xander spluttered. “That's not...”

“It's okay,” Buffy soothed. “Really. I understand. Go. You're young. Have fun.”

But her smile couldn't mask the pain he saw in her eyes. She was lonely, Xander realised. Despite her youthful looks, she was lonely. Hungry for some conversation. He remembered Dawn telling him about what a piece of shit her father was. And what a bigger piece of shit Buffy's father was. And his heart hurt for her.

“You know,” Xander said. “I'd love to come in.”

“You don't have to humour me,” Buffy said. “Really.”

“I insist,” Xander said. “Please.”

She hesitated, considering whether or not to send him on his way. And then her face broke out into another heart stopping smile.

“After you,” Buffy said, opening the door wide. Xander walked in and Buffy followed, shutting the door behind them.

And before Xander knew it, it had been almost an hour. They'd been sitting on the couch. Talking. Laughing. Swapping stories about Dawn. About growing up. He couldn't believe it, but their families came from the same small town. Sunnydale. Or Sunnyhell as they called it together, laughing.

Xander shook his head impercetibly. God he'd been such an idiot earlier. What had he been thinking. Buffy was such an amazing woman. Incredible really.

“So what happened?” Xander found himself asking.

“About?” Buffy quirked her head to one side in a manner very similar to Dawn.

“Your ex-husband,” Xander said. “I mean after. You know.”

“Nothing happened,” Buffy said. “He ran off with the secretary. Harmony. Leaving me to raise Dawn.”

“Bastard,” Xander swore. “Sorry.”

“It's okay,” Buffy smiled. “He is a bastard. And I heard Harmony got

They broke out into uproarious laughter again. When they had settled, Xander couldn't help but pursue the inquiry.

“I meant,” Xander said. “Why didn't you ever. You know. Remarry.”

“I guess,” Buffy began. “I didn't want to get hurt you know. Not

Xander nodded. He knew all about hurt.

“Besides,” Buffy said. “I never met anyone I really...”

“Clicked with,” they both said together, laughing again.

“We click pretty good don't we?” Buffy said, flicking her hair over her shoulders.

“Yeah,” Xander said. “We do.”

For the first time since they'd walked through the door, they said nothing. They just looked at each other. Suddenly Xander found his throat parched. His stomach was fluttering. His breathing was heavy. He knew he was imagining things. The tension in her body. The question in her eyes. The slightest quiver of her lips.

“Do you want a drink?” Buffy asked, breaking the spell. “I could use

“Sure,” Xander said, licking his lips. God, he was thirsty. So thirsty.

You're just imagining things, Xander told himself. Stop it. She's just being nice. Buffy returned with a bottle of champagne and a champagne glass.

“Wow,” Xander said. “That looks...”

“Expensive,” Buffy giggled, settling in. “But I'm treating. So hush up.”
Xander saw her place the champagne glass on the table.

“Sorry,” she said. “Could only find the one.”

He shrugged as Buffy began struggling with uncorking the bottle.

“Need some help?” he asked, amused at her struggle.

“I'll manage,” Buffy said sardonically. “Thanks.”

She struggled for a long moment, before giving in, petulantly handing the bottle over to him and picking one of the glasses.

Xander uncorked the bottle with one smooth motion, directing the mouth of the bottle towards the glass even as it popped. Their eyes met when the white fizzy liquid filled the glass to its brim.

Xander felt his overactive imagination go into hyperdrive. Buffy's smile was knowing, but Xander knew she would absolutely have a meltdown if she knew what was going through his mind right now.
Xander felt his hands shake and he put the glass down on the table.

“Mmmmm,” Buffy said, bringing the glass up to her lips, taking a tiny sip. “That's good.”

Xander's eyes flickered to her lips. They were so pink. So perfect. They looked petal soft. He just knew they would taste like heaven.
God, he thought. Stop it. Just stop.

“My turn,” Xander said, holding out his hand, for the glass, hoping it wasn't trembling too much.

Buffy held out the glass, but then seemed to change her mind. She downed the entire glass in one quick gulp, then stuck out her tongue
at Xander and laughed. Xander reached for the bottle, but Buffy moved quicker than he'd expected and she'd snatched that up as well and moved to the other side of the table.

“Oh I'm sorry,” Buffy said. “Is there something you want?”

“Buffy,” Xander said. “Give it to me.”

The booze he meant. He wanted the booze. Of course. What else could he mean.

“If you want it,” Buffy said, backing away. She crooked her finger before she disappeared out of sight. Come and get it.

I'm just thirsty, Xander told himself, as he rose to his feet. Yes, Xander thought. That's all. I'm thirsty.

And the image of the champagne glass, poised at Buffy's lips flashed through his mind. Those soft pink lips. He swore he could see her little pink tongue swiping at the champagne.

Thirsty, he thought, wetting his lips. So fucking thirsty.

When he stepped into the bedroom his jaw dropped. Buffy was lying on the bed in a heart attack inducing lingerie. Her silken outfit was deadly, the colour of ivory with rich black lace at the fringes.

“Is there something you want Xander?” she asked again provocatively stroking the champagne bottle next to her with slender fingers. Xander just stared at her. She was perfection made whole. The sight was enough to unmake any man. And Xander was only a man.

“Yes,” he whispered.

“Good.” Buffy said, appraising him with bold eyes. “Then strip for me.”

Xander undid his shirt. His pants. His earlier words were forgotten. They were only words. Only vows. At this moment, they meant nothing.

“Nice,” Buffy said, inspecting his physique. When Xander's hands strayed to his underwear, Buffy stopped him.

“Not yet,” Buffy said. “Now come here.”

Xander settled in besides Buffy, who raised the champagne bottle.

“To us,” she said, holding it to his lips. Xander drank deep of the bottle.

“To us,” he said, wiping his mouth, then poured it on Buffy, who squealed. Xander kissed her neck, lapping up the champagne he'd
spilled on her neck, then began kissing lower.

“Xander,” Buffy moaned. “God.”

“Oh god,” he heard her say. “Xander.”

But this voice was outraged. Horrified.

Xander looked over his shoulder to see his wife standing there. Holding her hand over her mouth.

“Dawn,” Xander said. Oh no. No, no, no, no, no.

“How could you?” Dawn said. “With my mother!”

Xander opened his words, but no words came.

“Dawnie,” Buffy began desperately. “Sweetie. I swear this isn't what it looks like.”

“Shut up,” Dawn screamed. “I hate you.”

“Sweetie,” Buffy said, beginning to rise. Xander winced when Dawn slapped Buffy hard enough to make her fall back onto the floor.

“Dawn,” Xander began, his voice miserable. “I don't know what....”

“I never want to see you again,” Dawn said. She took off her ring and dropped it on the floor. “Either of you. Have a happy life.”

And with that Dawn walked out of the room.

1 month later

Xander sat across from Dawn. His lawyer talking to her lawyer.

“Dawn,” he began. His wife stubbornly avoided his eyes.

“Ask your client to address all his queries to me,” Dawn's lawyer chastised.

“Xander,” his lawyer hissed. “Be quiet. Let me handle this.”

“We're filing for divorce,” Dawn's lawyer announced. “We'll have half of everything.”

“Don't be absurd,” Xander's lawyer said. “They were married for five minutes.”

“Do you want everyone to know why?” Dawn's lawyer said. “Somehow I don't think you'd want all your friends to know all the sordid details.”

“Look,” Xander said. “I messed up. I know that. I just.....”

“Don't say another word,” Xander's lawyer hissed. “Now. What will it take to make this go away?”

An hour later, Dawn was boarding a flight to Chicago. First class.

“Champagne?” the airhostess offered.

“No thanks,” Dawn said.

“You should try it,” a voice said. Dawn looked up. Buffy was standing right besides her wearing sunglasses, glass of champagne in her
hand. “It's not half bad.”

Dawn shook her head, then scooted over to the side.

“So?” Buffy asked.

“Five hundred grand,” Dawn grinned. “Not bad for a month's work.”

“Nice,” Buffy chuckled. “Minus the dental work.Did you have to hit
me so hard?”

“It had to look real,” Dawn said, rolling her eyes. “Stop being such a baby,”

“You're the baby,” Buffy muttered, gingerly sipping her drink.

“Very mature,” Dawn said sarcastically. “Mom.”

And with that the girls burst out laughing. Buffy beckoned to the airhostess, who poured a drink for Dawn.

“What took you so long anyway?” Dawn whined. “I was out there for an hour.”

“You have to know when to make the move,” Buffy said, shaking her head. “Haven't I taught you anything?”

“Only how to be a big ho,” Dawn said snidely.

“Har har har,” Buffy said. “A toast?”

“To Xander?” Dawn asked.

“To men,” Buffy smiled. “For making it so easy.”

And their glasses clinked together as the plane soared into the sky.

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