DISCLAIMER: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dexter and Law & Order SVU do not belong to me, nor do the character contained herein, ‘cept for the original ones, like Jimmy, he’s all mine and no one else can have him. This is for fun, not money…suing is bad and provokes the wheel of Karma in a negative fashion…
AUTHOR'S NOTE: : I need to get this out of the way quickly. First of all, I try my best to backfill information from the previous two stories. I don’t think it’s wholly necessary that you read One Last Shot or Dark Passenger first, although it may help. Second, there’s a loose pattern to the scene shifts as they switch POV from character to character…I’ve been told that it can be a bit distracting, tough cookies on my end. There’s no way for me to go back and change it. If you pay attention and know the characters, it should click during or right after the first paragraph. The pattern goes BtVS character – SVU character – BtVS character. Third, thank you to my long suffering beta, Dirk. The poor bastard has to put up with my awful spelling. Last, read and enjoy, comments are unnecessary, but welcome if you feel so inclined.
FEEDBACK: To whedonistic.tendencies[at]gmail.com
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Ch. 20 Hymn for the Dead
A finger hooks around my collar and I give it a slight tug. I crane my neck and try to loosen the tie cinched around my neck as Deb has my right hand in an iron grip. The Sergeant at the podium is also in a similar getup, his dress blues clean and pressed with a black band around the shield at his chest. All of us, Debra, me, Cupcake, hell even Elliot and Olivia are here at Dexter's funeral dressed in N.Y.P.D. blues while Alex and Red are dressed in simple black dress suits.
The weather here is muggy and the cloud cover provides little relief. It's gonna rain soon that much is obvious. Three days ago we were tear gassing the place that held Deb, her brother and a slayer hostage. Today, we're burying my uh I scratch my neck and try to figure out what exactly Debra is to me.
We chatted about it. I was trying to warn her off, but the girl's persistent. Not to say I don't want to, I just she shouldn't tie herself down to someone old enough to be her father. She told me to fuck off and that she made her decision. It opens up all sortsa questions about our current living situation.
She says she's gonna find a place somewhere in Manhattan. I wonder if she's looked at real estate prices. We spent yesterday packing up her and Dexter's things. Some stuff we gave away. Some stuff she kept. She showed me his collection of blood slides.
I told her to keep them. As crazy as that sounds. It was who he was. What he cherished.
She squeezes my hand and I turn my attention back to Sergeant Batista at the podium, "Dexter, mi hermano in arms, may the Lord cradle you and rest well." He crosses himself and steps down.
Guess I missed that. Ah well. Cupcake leans in on my left side and whispers, "Jimmy, let her hand go, she needs to go up there."
I flush and look at Debra. She offers me a thin lipped smile as I let her hand go. Leaning in she kisses me on the cheek and I wonder if the stubble bugs her. I can never seem to get it to go away. Leaning back to my left, I whisper, "Thanks partner." Cupcake pats my arm and offers me a placating smile.
I give her a once over in her dress blues and wonder how long it's gonna take Red to have them off her when they get back to the hotel.
"Hi everyone, I'm pretty sure everyone here knows me. I'm Dexter's sister, Debra " I watch Deb as she speaks fondly of her brother. Her hair is in bun on the back of her head. Her hat is placed firmly on her head, and her suit is starched and pressed. The only thing that gives her away are the dark circles under her eyes. Those are from the nightmares that I hold her through in the night and her white knuckle grip she has on the podium. She stands next to Dexter's casket and speaks in a soft timbre laced with regret and grief.
I wish I could take her away from this. Wish she didn't have to go through this. I can't though. Buffy says just to be there and let her cry all over my shirt. I have. I will until this over. I'm not sure how long that'll be. The doctors said she'll have another two weeks off work. We're all taking some time away. Buffy and Willow say they may just hole up in the apartment.
Me, I'm thinking once we get Deb back to New York and square the paperwork away for her transfer and her new position in S.V.U. we'll take a week and go upstate. Me, her, a secluded cabin in the woods for a few days. It's either got the makings of a really bad horror movie or something not fit for television.
At some point, I'm gonna hafta introduce her to Susie and James. James'll be alright with it. He's usually alright with anything. Fact, one time he told me that if I were involved with Buffy and/or Willow that'd be okay with him. Said if he wasn't gay, he'd be jealous.
Susie's gonna be a different story. I ain't looking forward to that conversation.
I refocus my attention back on Deb as she clears her throat. "Dexter was a special man, a good brother. Our father would have been very proud of him. I was." She straightens and lingers in front of his casket for a moment. I watch as her hand reaches out, resting on the lid. She pulls away finally and looks past the casket, squaring her shoulders. She faces the crowd and resumes her seat next to me.
The priest steps up to the casket and turns to face the crowd of mourners gathered in the cemetery. "At the request of the departed and his family, I was told to take it easy on the "God stuff" A small ripple of laughter goes through the crowd as the joke does what it was intended for and alleviates some of the tension in the crowd. "I will say this; the Universe has a plan for each and every one of us. While we feel the sting of loss and grief, know that Dexter does live. His memory is alive in each of you that loved him. In the lives that he helped saved with his work." The priest walks the length of the casket, ignoring that drops of water that begin to fall and paste his hair to his head. "As we lower him to his final resting place, go in peace and know he is being taken care of," the man finishes.
From the back of the crowd, people begin to file forward to pay their last respects to their friend and co-worker. I sit with my girls as we watch people come and go offering their condolences and sympathy. Like a trooper, Deb takes it all until the very last one is gone. The only people that remain are me and the rest of the gang from New York, LaGuerta and Batista. The two Miami cops come up and each offer Deb a hug.
She murmurs a few words to them and I watch as they stride from under the canopy and disappear over a hill that's pockmarked with grave plaques. She nods at the priest and the casket begins to lower. He's being buried next to Rita and her kids. Deb says he would have wanted it that way.
She turns to me and falls into my arms. The rain finally breaks as I hold her sobbing form.
Our fingers lace and lock together as we stroll down the boardwalk. It's not really all that cold tonight, I think the rain from earlier made it a little warmer than what it would have been had it not poured. Our casual stroll after breaking off with everyone after dinner has led Alex and me out by the ocean. The air is crisp, damp and even though it's only eight in the evening, the night is hushed for a Saturday.
"Liv," Alex whispers getting my attention. "This good?" she asks and points to a bench we've stopped in front of.
I nod and we sit down, snuggling into one another. The sea is black as night and the waves crash into a grey shore. I relax into the gentle touch of Alex's hands running along the length of my back. Her hand hits my side and she stops.
"Were you expecting trouble Detective?" she asks, fingering the holster of my side arm.
I shrug. "It's like my American Express card." She looks slightly confused and I smile. "Never leave home without it."
"Ah," she nods. Alex looks at me and eyes the bandage over my eye. "We should change that once we get back to the hotel."
I reach up and finger the fabric covering the stitches. "They're fine, dear," I linger on the word dear and cup her cheek.
If you would have told me three months ago, I would be calling Alex Cabot dear and sharing a bed with her by April I would have involuntarily committed the person who said it.
Now, it's not a fantasy or a pipe dream I let die. It's a reality that I need to hold on to, but now
It's also a reality that might change after we get done talking. "Hey, Alex," I lick my lips and gather my thoughts before continuing, "I, uh, can we talk for a moment?"
"I thought we were?"
"Well, yeah, but like talk, talk?" I want to kick myself. I'm forty-five years old. I shouldn't feel like I'm fifteen begging to ask my boyfriend to go steady. I roll my eyes and run my hand through my hair.
"Detective, is there something that you want to talk about?" my lover asks, teasing me.
I scowl at her before answering, "Yeah, actually there is." I turn towards her a little more and grab a hold of her hands. "When you came back to testify against Connors, we cleared the air on a few things. These past two months have meant a lot to me Alex. Even with the whole," I look around the pier and realize we're the only out here and continue, "vampire war mess and I don't really know about you but I'm not getting any younger."
"Age is relative, Liv." She tucks some hair behind my ear and leans in whispering against my lips, "You could be eighty and still gorgeous." Closing the distance, I capture her lips. I press them together briefly not wanting let this escalate into a make out session instead of a conversation.
Pulling away, I say, "Be that as it may, after everything, I really want to try and make this work. I just want to know what we're going to do."
"Hmm, well, if you're intentions are similar to mine, I would say that we take it as it comes." Her eyes turn to the ocean and she closes her eyes. The moonlight frames her features causing my breath to hitch. She really is stunning. "I need to know what's more important to you, having me as you're A.D.A. or having me as your partner."
"There's no way we can do both?" I ask hopefully. It's not like I didn't know this decision wasn't coming. I was hoping to prolong it for a little while longer.
Her answer is a shake of her head. "Not really. As much as I'd like both, it'll create too many conflicts. Jack let's me get away with a lot. I don't think he'd let me get away with that. It'll bring things into question and I already know that I.A.B. would have a conniption."
I let her words sink in. I hadn't really thought of it like that, but she's right. "I'll take a new A.D.A. if you train them. Breaking in the newbies is I nearly shot Casey and Greyleck was a pain in the ass."
"Is that you're answer?" she asks, turning to me.
"If it's between the opportunity to try and build a life with you or keeping you in S.V.U. I'm choosing a life." I smile at her hoping she understands. "I would like it on record that I won't be held responsible for shooting an A.D.A. though. I also want immunity from the rest of the team if they decide to kill me for making you leave."
She laughs and rests her head on my shoulder. "I can get you out of the shooting. Trevor is good at what he does." She winks at me and purrs, "Another dinner in a short red dress, I could get you out of multiple homicide on national television."
Playfully, I swat her shoulder and gasp, "You wouldn't dare!"
"Depends," she shrugs, "it's John, Elliot and Fin that I'm more worried about."
Burying my face in my hands, I groan, "I'm never going to hear the end of it."
"If we make out at your desk, I'm sure they'd forgive you," she teases.
"You want me to die of embarrassment don't you?" I ask looking at her through my fingers.
Her arm snakes around my waist, crushing us together. Her nose brushes my ear as she nips at my lobe. "On the contrary, I need you alive."
I shiver and husk, "That's a good. Really," I squeak as her mouth trails down my neck, "good."
Her ministrations stop as she chuckles against my skin. "I wasn't aware humans made that kind of sound."
Blushing, I keep my mouth shut about the sound that came out and instead say, "So then, that's it?"
Her head comes up and she searches my eyes before nodding. "I'll put in my transfer paperwork when we get back with the condition that I train the new A.D.A. before I leave."
I grin from ear to ear and reflect, "I never thought I'd be so happy to get a rookie to break in."
She returns my smile. "I love you, you know that right?"
I nod, bringing her lips dangerously close to mine. "I know. I love you too," I whisper before closing the distance.
Looking up as we crest the hill at Flagler Memorial Park, I see the moon's full. Briefly, I think of Oz and what he would say to me engaged to his ex-honey. Knowing Oz, he'd probably just wish us luck.
I also wonder if Dexter walked this place with Siobhan on their patrols. Did he walk this path hunting the creature that killed him? The cheerleader in me, the little bit that didn't wither and die away, wants to believe that he didn't suffer a lot.
The other ninety-nine percent of me knows that he did.
Sighing, Willow squeezes my hand as we spot a bench near the grave we're looking for. She sits first then makes room for me. I snuggle in next to her and close my eyes. Patrol back in Sunnydale would have been so much better with her if we could have done things like this.
I turn to her and smooth her hair away from her eyes. Even in the pale moonlight, the clear green reflects back at me and I warm. How different I would be if she wasn't here. Nightmares about her leaving or never having come. Sometimes she doesn't exist at all. Those are the worst and, if that was the reality that I lived in, I would have been dead long before I jumped off that tower.
She'll never know how much I owe her. I know I plan on showing her until I do die again.
I just hope I stay dead the next time.
"Will," I whisper, "I've been thinking."
Her eyebrow rises and my mouth turns up into a crooked grin.
"We need to set the date on the ceremony and reception." I grin at her and she blinks.
"We had a date remember?"
Uh oh, I know that tone. I try to back pedal and say, "We did, but with everything, I'm glad we didn't have it." Her look tells me she's not buying it so I try reasonable and cute, "I just want the focus on us. Not on the current demon threat or with a case hanging over our heads. I want that day, our day to be about what we've accomplished together."
Her features soften and she huffs, "And here I thought it was because the hospital had my head firmly planted in the vicinity of my tush."
I grin and shake my head. "While I was upset, there's a part of me that understood. I just " I run my hands through my hair trying to find the right words that will lighten the mood and ensure a naked Wiccan in my bed, "I just didn't like seeing what that was doing to you." I look at the faint scar from the stitches she received right before she quit the hospital. My finger reaches out and traces it.
"I'm the one that has the high risk job," I tease.
Her hand covers mine as I cradle her cheek and she smiles. "So, date?" her tone's enthusiastic and infectious.
"Yep." Knowing that I need to do this right that my first proposal here in Miami wasn't as smooth as I would have liked, although
The fact that Dexter's playing another key role this time, just like last, doesn't escape me. I scoot off the bench and drop to me knee. I'm a slayer, I'm a cop, I'm one of the best at both and kneeling for anyone
Well, it would only be for her.
I gather her hands in mine and look up at her. "Will, I know the past few months have been less than stellar. But me wanting you with me hasn't changed. It won't. So will you, on August twenty-seventh, marry me?"
Her smile lights up the darkened cemetery and out shines the full moon tonight. The tears in her eyes spill over and track down her cheeks as she nods. Unable to resist, I sigh dramatically and say, "Phew, thank God. I already paid for the reception hall in full."
My Will laughs as her tongue pokes between her teeth and lips. "Sure of yourself, Buff?"
"I was hedging my bets," I say standing and pulling her up. Her arms go around my waist as I pull her to me. I tilt my head and meet her lips. The kiss is soft, unhurried and full of a bumpy, happy future for us.
Breaking away, my ear tunes into the ground shifting behind me. "Keep that thought. I'm going to take care of this." I hold up a finger and spin around, grabbing the stake from the lining of my coat.
I walk up to the fresh mound of disturbed earth and shove my hand in meeting another clawing hand underneath the soil. I grasp his wrist and pull him out to his waist. I look at the yellow eyes and bumpy brow.
He appears shocked as I offer him a sad, smile. As he tries to move, I hold him still, shove the stake into his chest and release my grip on him and my weapon. Backing up, I watch him burn and turn to ash, mixing with the dirt of his grave.
Will comes to my side and takes my dirty hand. She turns to me and kisses my temple before stepping forward and digging in her pocket. The glass of the microscope slide glints in the moonlight. His drop of blood is black against the night and my lover rests it gently on top of his grave plaque. "Goodbye Dexter," she whispers.
She stands and turns to me offering her hand. Gratefully, I accept it and lead her out to the street the way that we came. I can't seem to find the words, if there are any, until we reach the busy street two blocks over. "Do you think we did the right thing, not telling Deb?"
I see her think before she answers, "Maybe. Probably." She swings my arm as we make our way back to our hotel. "I think that she needs to move on and with him ya know, being she wouldn't have." I mull over what she said for a moment and agree. "So," she says, "Did you talk to Angel finally?" She bumps my shoulder and I roll my eyes.
"Yes," I answer. That was an enlightening conversation. "He says he's sorry for jetting the way he did. He needed time. I guess. Which is valid. Kind of. He apologized for being a jerk."
She laughs a little and says, "We should invite him and Spike to the reception."
I pull on her arm, stopping our progress. "You what, huh?"
Her grin is full of mischief as she says, "We should invite them." She gathers a stunned me in her arms and explains, "You're mine. They need to know."
I rear my head back and look at her like she's grown two. She wiggles her eyebrows and giggles. "Besides, Buff, rubbing it in, so not a bad thing."
I laugh and shove away. God she's incorrigible some times. When I send her a glare, she smirks, "What? Are you telling me that you hadn't thought about inviting Oz or Kennedy just 'cause?"
How my face heats up and I hang my head. I hate it when she knows things she shouldn't.
"You suck," I pout and begin walking the last little bit to our hotel.
"But you love me," Will singsongs behind me. She catches up and her hand slips into mine, twining our fingers together.
Unable to refute her claim, I just keep my mouth shut and head for our room. I have some claiming of my own to do.
Ch. 21 Lost in You
I look back in the mirror and wonder for the seventh bazillion time if I have the something borrowed, something new, something blue thing. The blue is covered in the embroidered garter belt that Alex got me claiming me property of the N.Y.P.D. Oh! And it's the new thingy in the rhyme too. The borrowed and old is the necklace that I'm wearing that belongs to Debra.
I can do this. I can not be a spaz.
"Will, quit with the worrying. You look gorgeous," Xander smirks at me from the doorway. I spin to face him, standing there in his tux. He looks so Bond like with the eye patch and cummerbund.
"Why do I feel like I'm going to pass out?" I whimper as he steps into the room, strides over and grasps me by my exposed shoulders.
"Because you're marrying our high school crush." He smirks and wags his finger at me. "Which, by the way, how does that work? How do you get the girl?"
I shrug and offer a lame, "Uh, I look better in heels than you?"
He shakes his head and says, "Hey, you haven't seen me in two inch spiked heels. Trust me; I've got legs that go on for days."
My mouth drops open a little bit at his revelation and he, finally realizing what he said, clamps a hand over his mouth. I narrow my eyes and warn, "Alexander Lavelle Harris, you've been holding out on me!"
His face is redder than my hair as he shakes his head, his hands still over his mouth.
My hands go to my hips and I tap my foot. "Xander!"
His hands drop and he pleads, "Just, no, don't ask. I'm not telling you."
Poking him the chest, I joke, "We'll see if you stick to that tune when I have some tequila in you."
"Feel better?" he asks smiling at me.
I reflect for a second and notice that I'm a little calmer and the salad I had for lunch isn't going to make a reappearance. "Better. Thank you."
"Hey what are best buds for." He slings an arm over my shoulders and looks at his watch. "Now, we have a few moments and normally I would leave you alone to collect yourself, but I'm not taking the risk of you bolting. So, I'm stuck to you like glue on a fat kids tongue."
Where oh where does he come up with some of his jokes Instead of asking that, I wiggle my eyebrows at him and tease, "So, you. Faith. When are you going to make an honest woman out of her?"
He blanches and backs away. Rubbing the back of his neck, he says, "Will, you know Faith. This is as honest as she's gonna get."
"You asked and she shot you down?" I guess.
He nods and I pat his back. "She really isn't the marriage type."
"She shares my bed, we have fifty percent of our D.N.A. combined in a very rambunctious child that looks like a miniature her, but has the grace of a miniature me. It's all we can really hope for." He glances at his watch and takes my hand. "Alright Will, it's go time. You ready?"
I shake my head.
"Too bad," he says and drags me out the door to the entrance of the garden. I blink against the bright sun that shines down on the garden that's holding our ceremony. We both know it isn't legal in the strictest sense, but both of us need this tradition. I breathe deep and look around at the guests assembled. It's a relatively small gathering, but all of the people that we could want are here.
My parents aren't but, that shouldn't shock me. I just thought they would make an effort to see me get married. It's only gonna happen this once. Sighing I shake it off and take Xander's arm. He leans down and whispers in my ear, "Will, you do know I'm hunting down your mom and dad and letting Faith beat them up when we leave here tomorrow, right?"
I grin up at him and nod. "I love you, Xander."
"Love you too Will. Now," he says and clears his throat, "Let's get you hitched to the woman of your dreams and my occasional masturbatory fantasy."
I pinch his side and he yelps. "Right," he squeaks, "forget I mentioned that."
"I'm telling Faith," I growl.
I take one last look at the people around me and at Giles standing facing them. The wicker arch he's standing under has vine woven through it and roses in bloom. Orchids and lilies line the aisle and the band strikes up the traditional wedding march.
Xander pats my arm and we put one foot in front of the other to start the longest walk of my life.
As we get to the front, Giles smiles at me and I can't help but return the grin. Xander and I turn and face the audience and I see Buffy filling the entrance I was just at. A grin, wide and cheesy oogles my wife to be in her dress. When Olivia described it to me, she said slinky. She was right. It hugs her curves and leaves just the right amount of fabric in the best spots so I can imagine what it's going to be like when I peel it off of her tonight.
Jimmy enters from her left and they link arms. I watch him lean down and whisper something in her ear. Even from here, I see the blush tint her face. Slowly, the music starts and they walk towards me.
The closer they get the calmer I get. This is exactly where I need to be. They finally make it to me and I watch as she turns to Jimmy and kisses him on the cheek. He reddens and then takes his spot opposite Xander.
She holds her hand out to me and greedily, I take it.
Olivia's hand slips into mine as we take our seats and watch Buffy grab Willow's hand. The rest of the guests take their seats as Liv leans in and whispers, "Alex, did you bring the camera?" I shoot a look at her and scowl.
The look does nothing as she asks again without saying a word. Rolling my eyes, I pat my clutch next to me and she smiles. "Thank you," she whispers and kisses my cheek.
I swear I had no idea that she had a little kid inside. Sometimes, I think she's worse than a six year old. I turn my attention back to the man in front of them, Giles, as he clears his throat and begins speaking, "Hello everyone, I'm Rupert Giles. Some of you know me, for those of you who don't, I'm going to be officiating at today's ceremony." He opens the book in his hand and begins reading, "What is love, but an emotion. It is strong and pure. A force that can halt time and triumph over the dark and impossible moments in one's life, especially when that love is shared with another. Love is a champion of the soul. It is a beacon to guide our wayward hearts and shed light upon the confused and wounded. Love in all forms is eternal and sincere. A powerful force that can save the world." He closes his book and folds his hands in front of him.
"Today it is my deepest honor, to witness and officiate at the union between Buffy Summers and Willow Rosenberg. I've watched both of them grow and mature into amazing women, whom I'm proud to call my family. I've not met two people who are more deserving of the happiness that they have found and share together."
I listen as he speaks and feel Liv tighten her grip on my hand. I squeeze back and know that one day, perhaps sooner than she thinks, we'll get here. It will be our turn to stand up before the others and declare our love for each other. Piece by piece that's already started happening.
When we got back from Miami, I put in my transfer and started training the new girl the following week. I've been in Major Cases since the start of May. The guys took it like I expected when I told them about me leaving until Liv spoke up and told them why.
I was shocked when they all chorused, "About damn time!"
I don't think I've ever seen Liv turn that particular shade of red before or since. I also know that Deb is working out well in S.V.U. Elliot and Olivia say that she has such a passion for it and she's almost as good as Liv when it comes to dealing with the victims. This is a little shocking, considering the woman has a mouth like a sailor and is on occasion very irritable.
Liv and I have been together seven months and tonight, when I take her home, I'm asking her to move in with me. The nights when she's not there I have a hard time sleeping and the mornings I wake up and I'm not curled around her, the detectives on my squad stay clear of me. I'm tired of not having her there with me.
I have a feeling she'll say yes as Elliot's made it a point to tell me that I should spend the night at her place more because she's evil when I'm not around. A small smile forms and I can't help but feel good about that. I know there's some lesbian stereotype about jumping into things, but we've known each other so long. We've danced around each other almost the entire time. I think that it's safe to say, that after it all we're still here, that neither of us is going anywhere.
Olivia's finger drifts in front of my eyes and she whispers, "Quit thinking and listen, they're saying their vows."
I divert my attention back to the wedding in front of me and I hear Buffy speak first, "Willow, the first time I saw you, I knew you were special. As we grew up and became closer, I knew, the first year I spent in Sunnydale, I would die to protect you. You have been my rudder through life. You have seen me at my weakest, darkest moments and you've seen me at my best and brightest. The pain of it, our rise together and our fall, I see it every day when I look at you. And every day I find that I want to share that with you. I'm nothing without you Will and if you'll have me I promise to love you and cherish you until we're old and gray, toothless and can't remember each other's names."
Tears trail down both of their cheeks and Willow nods before Buffy slips the band on her left ring finger.
I watch as my redheaded friend gathers herself and laces her hands with Buffy's. Her voice is soft, but it carries, "Buffy, when I was young, I had this dream of what my life would be like. And then you approached me at lunch and said, "Hi, I'm Buffy," It was then that it all changed. I was warm and comfortable inside my shell, but you drew me out. You're friendship meant the world to me. And as we got older, these boundaries that I didn't think I'd cross, I suddenly found myself over them, drowning. You saved me when we first met and you saved me then. I promise that from now until I die, we'll breathe together, hold each other's hand as I know that I'm nothing without you and I vow to love you and cherish you until we're old and gray, toothless and can't remember each other's names."
She waits as Buffy whispers a 'yes' and slips a matching band on her partner's hand. They lean into each other and share a brief, tender kiss.
Rupert's grin is enormous as he booms, "Ladies and gentleman, it is my greatest honor to introduce for the first time, Mrs. Buffy Summers and her partner, Doctor Willow Rosenberg."
Xander wraps a goblet in a cloth and lays it at the feet of the new brides. Buffy offers Willow an indulgent smile and then Willow's foot rises. It goes crashing down on the glass which crunches under her foot. From my left, John Much hollers, "Mazel tov!" as the rest of us join in shortly after.
I watch as they walk down the aisle hand in hand and a sense of right shifts in my world knowing that they're finally as official as they're going to get until the laws change.
I look out over my friends and family as they laugh and dance. Amazed that no one's gotten into a fight or worse a demon hasn't attacked. Oh
See and this is why I need to keep my mouth shut. I just jinxed this entire shindig. I swear if a demon of any sort comes crashing through those doors all bets are off. I wait a minute and heave a sigh of relief. It could happen. Demons have the worst timing.
"Buffy?" I look over and see Susan standing next to me. I motion for her to sit and internally cringe. Worse than a demon I get Jimmy's attitude challenged eldest. This should be fun.
I fake a smile and ask, "How are you?"
Her arms fold across her chest and she shrugs. "Not bad, but uhm, I just wanted to say that I owe you an apology."
My eyes go large and I swear my heart stops. Me? Apology? From Susan? The urge to get up and gather the troops for the end of the world is an irrational one, but it's so totally the right one. "I, uh, well, what for?" I stammer.
Her eyes drop to the table in front of us as she grunts, "Accusing you and Willow. I haven't been that fair to either of you." Her hands rub together and she continues, "My dad introduced me to Debra. Can you tell me what the hell he's thinking?"
Oh, I see. Will and I have been replaced in the people she needs to be jealous of in her life. She's now mad at Deb. I shake my head and idly wonder how someone can be so miserable with their life. A small seed of sympathy for the woman begins to take root.
Instead of doing what I really want to do, punch her in the face and tell her to get over herself, I say, "Susan, you're dad loves you." I find him in the crowd dancing between Dawn and Debra laughing.
"Look at him for a moment." I watch her eyes track where my finger's pointing and she harrumphs. "He's happy Susan. As weird as it is for me to say this, he's in love. Why be angry about that?"
Her head snaps to me and she glares. "See I knew this was a bad idea. James is so getting it for this."
Sighing, I manage to not hit her and say, "What apologize to me? Susie, you can take that apology and shove it. What you can't do is be upset or jealous over your dad finding some peace."
"What the hell do you know?" she spits.
"I know," I growl, grabbing her wrist and forcing her to look at me, "That he loves you and would do anything for you. You're lucky to have him just as much as he's lucky to have you. Get over the bitter bitch act. It's really not doing you any favors."
She tries to twist away, but I hold on. I'm not really done with her yet. "I swear to every deity that I can think of, you keep your shit to yourself and don't ruin a good thing. They're good to each other and for each other. If you make this miserable for him, Susan, daughter or not, they won't find your bits for a century."
She blanches and I smirk. I let go of her hand and she scrambles up, away from the table. Stupid woman. I shake my head and watch her stalk off.
"Buffy," Willow's disapproving voice sounds in my ear.
"Was that really necessary?" she asks, taking her seat next to me. I feel her hand slip into mine and she squeezes while I grumble.
"She's God that woman is insufferable." I seethe.
My wife nods and says, "She is, but she really isn't hurting anyone but herself. Let her be miserable." She grins at me and drops her voice, husking, "We have more important things to do."
My eyebrows rise and I wonder just what exactly she's talking about.
She sees my confusion and grins. "We need to dance. And we need to celebrate."
"No you goof, our marriage. All of these people are here for us. Let her be and come have some fun with me."
"But," I pout, "As weird as it is, they're really cute together and I don't want his bitch of a daughter to ruin that for him. Jimmy deserves to be happy."
Her hand reaches out and tucks a strand of flyaway hair behind my ear. Her lips form a tight line and she nods. "I get that, we're all on that page together, but you can't do anything about Susan. James and I talked about it and he says he's already been that way. He says she gets it from her mom."
My face scrunches and she taps the tip of my nose with her finger. "No, no thinking about this and being broody for the rest of the day." She leans in, kisses me on one side of my mouth, then the other and nips my lower lip. "Come dance with your wife."
Unable to resist, I let her pull me up and we make our way around the table and join the collection of friends and family on the dance floor. Alex and Olivia are dancing so close together, I don't think I could wedge a piece of paper between them. They grin at us and I say, "If you start removing clothes, I'm arresting the both of you for public indecency."
Olivia wiggles her eyebrows and purrs, "Now that's something to shoot for. Counselor, how much hooch am I going to have to get you to drink to do a dance on one of the tables?"
Alex rolls her eyes and moans, "Did you have to help her with the idea?"
We laugh and Willow pulls me to her, lacing her hands around my neck. As we move, I make sure there's no air between our bodies. By the end of the night, they may just have to arrest us for the public indecency.
I look over Will's shoulder and see Xander and Faith dancing. Giles has his chippy of the week at the wedding party table. James and Tim are dancing by Kathy and Elliot. The four of them seem to be enjoying each other's company. Everyone is happy except Susan, but hell, Will's right. She's hurting no one but herself.
Jimmy manages to flounder his way over to us and Deb follows, her face bright red. "What's the funny?" I ask, spinning Will and I so that we can all talk together.
"Your partner's dancing Summers," Deb answers. "You should have warned me he has two left feet."
"I've never danced with him," I say shrugging.
Debra gapes at me and I smile.
"Red," Jimmy finally speaks up, "You mind if I cut in?"
Willow let's me go and I pout, "He's going to ruin these shoes."
"Can it, Cupcake," my partner grumbles and settles his hands on my hips. I rest my hands on his shoulders and move us away from Deb and Will laughing at us. "So," Jimmy says, "you ready for the Honeymoon, partner?"
I laugh. "Honeymoon? Here I thought Will and I were just going to hole up in the apartment while you stayed the week at Debs so we can make sweet sweet love over every available surface."
He flushes and I laugh. "Do me a favor, partner, use the bleach when you two clean up." He grins at me and winks.
"I can do that," I say and stick my tongue out at him. "Hey, you really aren't that bad a dancer."
"Tell that to Deb. I stepped on her feet twice," he mumbles.
Rolling my eyes, I tell him, "You're too nervous with her. Loosen up old man and have some fun." His shoulders give a little and I move my arms around his waist and pull us together. Resting my head on his chest, I let the rest of the song play through before I pull us apart. "Come on, let's go find our women."
We find Will and Deb talking with Alex and Xander. Not wanting to even jump in on that conversation, I let Jimmy wade into the fray and catch Willow's eyes. Crooking a finger, I motion for her to come over as the D.J. cue's up a slow song.
Do I have timing or what?
Will smiles at me and we meet in the middle, mirroring our positions from before Jimmy cut in. This time though I rest my head on her shoulder and bury my nose in her neck. I breathe her in and relax.
I let her spin me wherever she wants and hang on for the ride, depending on her for guidance. The rest of the people here fall away and in my world, it's only the two of us. It's only the two of us until I feel the tips of my toes scrape the floor. Not even opening my eyes, I whisper into her neck, "Will, we're floating."
Her body shakes under me with laughter and she says, "I know, now be quiet and let me have my fun."
I pull back and look at her. "You're nuts, Will, but I love you."
Her tongue sticks out then she says, "That's good. 'Cause I've had this huge crush on you for like ever, but I'm married," she jokes and wiggles her ring finger in front of me.
"Too bad," I say leaning in and brushing our lips together, "I would have rocked your world."
Before closing the distance between us, she moans, "I'm counting on it Detective."
For the millionth time that night, a few pieces of my world fall into perfect harmony and I lose myself in her arms.
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