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February 2006 – The Invitation
A week after Willa’s second birthday, the envelopes arrive; the recipients believe them to be cleverly written thank you’s for their gifts. The heavy cream colored vellum is opened to the accompanying sounds of jaws dropping.
invites you to
the handfasting of her parents:
Buffy Anne Summers
William Matthew John Bennett
April First, Two Thousand and Six
on the beach behind their home
A ceremony surely not to be performed by a priest. And the legal issues of marrying a man dead some 126 years? Perfect date, however… two fools for love.
March 2006 – The Bridal Shower
Buffy sits in the middle of Ma Dolce Vita, tears of joy sparkling in her hazel eyes, surrounded by women. Which is not exactly novel for her, but it’s the composition of the group that amazes. Dawn and Willow, as usual… and at least twenty mommies from Willa’s playgroup.
Papa’s home, taking care of the sprout, and everyone she knows has conspired to throw her a bridal shower.
Gifts piled high, good food, chatter of babies and wedding nights – and it’s Buffy who raises a glass to toast – “To my family, my friends and my future… it’s a good life!”
March 2006 – Rehearsal Dinner
It’s back to Ma Dolce Vita - their private patio serves well the curious amalgam of demons and humans who make up their entourage.
Xander spends time with Molly, a P’linth demon and single mother to Treena. Some things never change. Angel tries to blend into the background – see previous statement. Willow is going over the ceremony details with the happy couple – she’s presiding over the handfasting ceremony.
And Willa? She’s playing ‘see-saw’ with ‘Gampa’ Giles. Seems nobody can withstand the charms of the mite. Spike catches his eye from across the room and a lifelong bond forms between them.
April 2006 – The Wedding
Mother Nature is cooperative for once – the sky’s tinged with fading streaks of coral and pink and the winds soft and gentle. The gentle lapping of waves upon the beach provides all the accompaniment necessary to complete the scene.
Dress is casual; comfort being the order of the evening. Angel out of his Armani suits is a sight to see. Xander in crisp white cotton; no trace of the awkward boy left. Dawn in a simple grey silk chemise has also left childhood behind.
Friends and family gather, taking their seats in front of the muslin canopy… and they wait.
Willow stands under the canopy as the ceremony begins.
Dawn is first to appear, as Maid of Honor, flanked by Xander as Best Man, and they walk barefooted down the aisle marked by seashells.
Spike is next, to everyone’s amazement. Dressed in fitted cream colored jeans with a white silk button-down, he practically glows in the moonlight. Willa follows her Papa, throwing handfuls of blood red rose petals from her basket. Some land on the ground, some on the guests… half end up in her own hair. Midway down the aisle she drops the basket and runs to Spike’s arms.
Everyone’s in place. Willa’s bouncing in her Papa’s arms, sing-songing ‘Mama time’ over and over to the delight of the guests.
Giles appears, dapper as always; Buffy on his arm, resplendent in a flowing cream colored sundress. No veil for this gal – she’s going into this marriage with her eyes open. A bouquet of red roses completes her look.
Midway down the aisle he kisses Buffy on the forehead, placing her hand into Spike’s before he sits down. He’s given away the daughter of his heart.
Hand in hand, the couple turns to Willow for the official ceremony to begin.
Willow begins the ceremony with a blessing, and talks of the couple’s commitment to each other. Her part to play is relatively small, since Buffy and Spike have their own vows to recite to each other. She reaches out to take Willa from her Papa, but the little one won’t budge.
Buffy clasps Spike’s free hand in hers, looking deeply into his blue eyes. She declares her love with words and gestures. Acknowledging her faults and asking for patience she pledges her life to him.
In turn, Spike’s vows are short and to the point. “I will always love you.”
Spike and Buffy each take a sip of wine from the proffered chalice, and have to remove the little one’s grabby fingers before she manages to douse them all.
All that’s left is Willow’s actual blessing: “By the power vested in me by the Goddess, I now pronounce you bound unto each other for as long as you both shall live and unlive. May your love so endure that its flame continues to guide your path.”
To a chorus of ‘kiss now’s’ from their daughter, the newly handfasted couple did just that.
The reception lasted until the sun came up.
April 2006 – The Honeymoon
It seems that miracles do come to pass. Angel not only dances with Buffy and Spike at their wedding, but gives them an all expenses paid honeymoon to London via the company jet; necro-tempered glass making the flight possible.
With their little one being cared for by Dawn and Willow, the next two weeks are spent in connubial bliss. Sightseeing at night, making love and sleeping all day… the time flies by.
Spike’s birthplace still stands, as does his gravestone. The couple pay their respects to family long gone. Once back at the hotel, they call home; needing baby kisses.
April 2006 – The Homecoming
When Angel’s Porsche pulls up in front of the Summers-Bennett house, the passengers barely remember to thank the grinning vampire for ferrying them home in their haste to get to their baby.
Willa stands on the porch, steadfastly refusing to look at either parent. Papa gets down on his knees to gather the mite in his arms but she turns away. Stung to his very soul, tears spill from his eyes.
Mama tries to pick up her little girl for a hug and Willa sits down hard on the floor. All three are crying in short order.
Dawn takes pictures.
The sight of her parents crying catches Willa’s interest. She walks over to Spike, cocks her head and says: “Papa sad? No cry, Papa.” and hugs him tightly. She wriggles out of his arms and walks to Buffy. “Mama, no cry,” she says and lifts up her arms for comforting.
Buffy scoops up the mite and the three Summers-Bennetts reconcile in a flurry of baby kisses and ‘Missed you’s’. It’s cute enough to set one’s teeth on edge, but nobody’s complaining.
Angel’s invited in for family milk and cookies and can’t refuse. The door closes. It’s good to be home.