RATING: pg? pg 13? I dunno! =)
DISTRIBUTION: Land of Denial, Isa, Crystal, Tarina, Denial Bliss, etc.
DISCLAIMER: I own naught. Just the kids. I even stole the vows off a site. =)
THANKS: Tarina, quick beta and loads of praise. Same goes to Sam.
DEDICATION: For Michelle, it was her challenge. Love ya girl! Challenge requirements will be at the end of part 4. (Which is not to say part 4 will come TODAY ...)
“Happy birthday to you ... happy birthday to you ... happy birthday dear Harrison, happy birthday to you!”
“Blow out your candles,” Buffy prodded, looking at her son as she bounced her daughter on her hip.
Harrison took a deep breath and blew out all the candles in one try. The room erupted into applause, and he grinned broadly.
“Happy fourteen, baby,” Buffy whispered, kissing him on the cheek. She passed Hanna off to Angel and began to slice ... rather, butcher, the cake.
The entire gang of twelve sat smushed on the living room floor of Buffy and Angel’s house, spooning down chocolatey cake, homemade by Cordelia (who had finally gotten the recipe right, after fourteen years of practice). In the case of the littlest ones, they were pressing their faces into the frosting and then licking their lips.
“Why is it,” Cordelia questioned, “That we’re all 34 and up and yet Harrison is the only child over three?”
“Because there are so many flavors of condoms,” Anya responded matter-of-factly, trying to get a bottle into her daughter’s mouth.
Harrison blushed at Anya’s comment. “Aunt An-ya,” he protested, focusing his eyes on the cake.
“What?” she asked, tactlessly oblivious.
“I think he would like you to keep your sex life private,” Buffy informed her friend, wiping cake off Hanna’s face with a napkin. “You’re a mess, Hanna, you know that?”
“Wh’about me?” Hunter asked, toddling over to his mother on chubby legs, his face covered in vanilla frosting.
“You’re definitely a mess,” Buffy agreed. “Go see Daddy and get him to clean you up.”
“Hey, when our son is born, will we have a birthday tradition, too?” Willow asked, holding Oz’s hand as she surveyed the room.
“Of course, Wills. We always need an excuse for more cake.” Xander shoveled another piece into his mouth.
Anya swatted him on the back. “Don’t give Kellyn ideas!” She motioned to Kellyn, who was trying to stick an entire piece of cake in her mouth.
“No you don’t,” Xander scolded, taking the piece out of her tiny hands. “You just stick with the frosting and --”
The sound of the doorbell being leaned upon cut into Xander’s reprimanding, as Buffy stood up, her hand on her protruding belly, to answer it.
“Hey, hey, hey!” Faith greeted her, throwing her arms around her in a hug. “I miss my Buffy!”
“You’re drunk,” Buffy responded good-naturedly.
“Yeah, but not drunk and driving - Spike brought me over!”
“In his blacked out car?” Buffy stuck her head out the door and spotted Spike, wrapped in a black blanket, running towards the door. “What are you two doing here?”
“We were invited!” Faith chortled, wobbling into the house. “Hey! Birthday Boy! Give Auntie Faith a kiss!”
Harrison stood up and ran to Faith, kissing her cheek. “Thanks for coming, Aunt Faith.”
Buffy’s eyes bulged. “YOU invited her, Harrison?”
Harrison nodded, an innocent look on his face. “I never got to see her when I was little, but she’s better now and I want to know her.”
“Y’see, Buffy ... it’s all good, isn’t it?”
Buffy frowned. While she had been becoming friends with Faith again, and while Angel already was, she wasn’t sure she liked the idea of Harrison inviting her to the family party. “Uh, yeah. Why don’t you sit down?”
“An’ me,” a British voice muttered as a blanket flew across the room, hitting Hunter’s head.
“Watch it,” Buffy snapped, then sighed. “What the hell ... get in ... you know better than to snack on us, anyway.”
“Damn straight, you’re as slayer-feisty as ever.” Spike slid onto the couch beside Faith, who was braiding her hair in front of her face.
“Cake?” Buffy questioned, as Angel went over to talk to the two, kissing Buffy’s forehead on the way.
“Yeah ... cake is GOOD!” Faith announced, giggling. “Do you have a screwdriver?”
“We have!” Hunter shrieked, running over to Doyle. “Unc’Doyle, iss downstairs!”
Doyle chuckled as Cordelia snorted with disgust. “You see what you did, Faith?” She turned to Hunter. “Auntie Faith doesn’t want a tool, she wants a drink.”
“Oh. Milk!” Hunter ran into the kitchen, returning with a sippy-cup filled with milk and presenting it to Faith.
Faith took it with a smile, pulling one knee up to her chest as she struggled to remove the top. “Thanks, Hunt.”
“Give me that,” Buffy demanded, taking the cup from her and in turn giving her cake. She handed the cup back to Hunter. “This is for you, not Faith.”
“Aw Jesus Buffy, he was being nice!” She cut into her cake, choking it down with a fit of coughs as Spike shook his head.
“You’re more piss-assed drunk then I get,” he muttered, taking the cake from her and scooping a glob of frosting up with his finger. Licking it clean, he smacked his lips together. “Vanilla. Delicious.”
“Hey ... Spikey, we gotta sing to the birthday boy!” Faith grinned widely, standing up. “Harrison, dance with me.” She grabbed him by his hands and began spinning him around, singing off-key. “Happy birthday to you ... hap-py birthday t’you! Happy BIRTHDAY dear Haaaaarison! Happy birthday to youuuu!” No sooner had she finished the song then she stopped dancing, collapsing onto the floor dizzily. “Oooh ... you’re all spinny,” she informed Anya.
“No, you’re just crazy,” Anya snapped back, pulling her one-year-old into her lap and kissing her cheek. “That’s a sweetie, Kel-Kel.”
Buffy was about to say something when there was a sharp knock on the door. She shut her mouth quickly and glanced around. “Everyone’s here, right?”
“Wh’about Giles?” Faith questioned, her eyes closed as she leaned against the side of the couch.
“He’s in England,” Buffy responded quickly, walking hastily to the door. She pulled it open. “Can I help ...”
Angel heard Buffy trail off in shock, and hurried to the door to see who was there.
Riley Finn and Lindsey McDonald.
Buffy visibly blanched. “R-Riley ... what are you ... what are you doing here?”
“Lindsey,” Angel murmured quietly.
“I’m here for my son,” Riley told her, stepping into the house, Lindsey following him.
“W-What?” Buffy gasped, storming after Riley. “What son?”
“That one.” Riley jabbed a finger in the direction of Harrison, and Lindsey nodded, scrawling something down in a notebook.
Angel had to clench his hands at his sides to keep from knocking out Riley. “He’s not your son,” he said, his voice quiet but firm. “He’s ours.”
Riley opened his mouth, then paused, as if just noticing everyone in the room. “Hello Xander, Willow.”
“Hi Ri --” Willow stopped off the looks of her friends, putting on her resolve face. “What do you think you’re doing? Claiming Harrison is your son?”
“He is, Willow,” Riley whispered, his voice overcome with emotion. “His age ... his looks ... look at him.” He motioned to Harrison’s blond hair, and Harrison backed up into his mother’s arms.
“Harrison, go upstairs,” Buffy demanded of her son, not moving her eyes from Riley.
“Go,” she ordered, the tone of her voice leaving no room for argument. Harrison slipped out of the room and up the stairs. Xander stood up, picking up both Kellyn and Hanna, and ushered everyone upstairs until only Buffy, Angel, Riley, and Lindsey were left in the room.
“Well, now that we have the room to ourselves ...” Lindsey murmured, trailing off. “Why don’t we sit down and talk about this.”
“I don’t want to talk about this,” Buffy hissed. “I want you out of my house.”
Lindsey held up his hands as though in surrender. “We’re not here to fight. My client just wants rights to what is his.”
“Harrison is not a car or a house or any other kind of object. He is my son. Mine and Angel’s.”
“I’m sorry, Buffy, but he’s not,” Riley said, his voice now barren.
Buffy was ready to pounce on her ex, and Angel had to hold her back. “Shh, Sweetie,” he whispered in her ear, kissing her neck gently. “It’ll be okay. Let’s sit down and get this over with.”
Buffy nodded, allowing Angel to lead her to the table. She turned and looked up at him, her voice hoarse as she said, “But he’s ours, Angel.”
Angel stroked her hair gently, pulling her close to him. “I know, Baby, I know. We’re going to get this all straightened out.” He looked up at Lindsey and Riley. “Sit down,” he barked.
Lindsey sat down across from the couple, putting his briefcase on the table, and Riley sat in the chair next to him.
“What is this all about?” Angel asked, rubbing Buffy’s hand soothingly with his own.
“My client,” Lindsey began, motioning to Riley, “Has become aware of the fact that you are raising his son as your own without the legal documentation to do so. He wants to be a part of his son’s life, and you aren’t allowing him that.”
“He’s not your son,” Buffy snapped in a fit of rage, before anyone could stop her. “He is mine, and Angel’s. I never had your child, Riley, and so help me God I never will.”
“Ms. Summers, please,” Lindsey asked, his voice a little too calm. “I realize you are pregnant and your hormones cause attitude problems, but you simply can not act that way.”
“I’m not acting any way,” Buffy snapped. “He’s not yours, Riley, now leave.”
Angel moved his hands up and down her arms in a calming motion, whispering inaudibly in her ear.
“My client --”
“Shut up about your client and say his damn name!” Buffy screamed, glaring at them both. Her breath was jagged and tears were beginning to fall down her cheeks.
Lindsey turned to Angel. “Mr ... Angel, Angel, if I could just ask you a few questions ... if you would rather have a lawyer present, I underst --”
“My friend is a lawyer,” Angel cut in. He turned towards the staircase and yelled, “Willow!”
Willow was down in a heartbeat, running as best she could being six-months pregnant. Lindsey’s eyebrows went up at the sight of her, and he glanced at Riley.
“You can go ahead,” Angel informed him flatly.
“You two are married?” Lindsey asked, looking from Buffy to Angel. When Angel nodded shortly, he continued. “How long have you been married for?”
“Fifteen years,” Buffy responded without hesitation, smiling bitterly when Angel squeezed her hand.
“And you are ... 35? So you would have been 20 when you got married.” Lindsey scrawled this down. “And how old is Harrison?”
“Fourteen,” Buffy whispered, not meeting his stare.
“So you birthed him when you were 21, after nine months of pregnancy, right?”
“Eight months,” Buffy shot back, and Lindsey continued.
“That means that you became impregnated when you were 20?” Buffy nodded again, eyes downcast, and Lindsey finished. “My client ... Mr. Finn ... has told me that at the age of 20, you two were still involved in an intimate relationship.”
“You want to know what happened?” Buffy hissed. “You really want to know? We were together until April. I found out Angel was going to be granted humanity, we were married in May. Harrison was born the following January.”
“Interesting ... so in other words, it is possible you became pregnant by Mr. Finn in April and gave birth nine months later?”
“No. No, it’s not possible ... not possible it all,” Buffy whispered, a forlorn look in her eyes.
June 24, 2001
“Eeks!” Willow shrieked gleefully, throwing her arms around Buffy. “You’re so beautiful. I can’t believe you’re really getting married!”
“I know, I know!” Buffy moaned, tugging on her veil. “How do I look?”
“You’re amazing,” Willow cried, straightening her lavender dress. “I can’t believe it ... you and Angel ...”
Buffy and Willow stood in the mirror together, looking at themselves together. Willow was the only bridesmaid, Xander the best man, and Giles was to give her away. She had wanted a small wedding, so other friends were invited, they were the only ones involved in the wedding party. Buffy closed her eyes, keeping a tear under her lashes. “Thank you, Will.”
Willow raised her eyebrows in surprise. “For what?”
“For being here,” Buffy gushed out, sobbing into a tissue. She took a deep breath and looked in the mirror. “Okay. I’m ready. Let’s do it.”
Because there was no flower girl, no petals coated the aisle. But in her hands, Buffy held a beautiful bouquet of pink roses, which had become the symbol of her and Angel’s romance.
As she walked down the aisle with Giles on her arm, her friends faded away from her and all she saw was Angel, looking at her with the utmost love in his eyes.
“We are gathered here today,” the minister began, “To celebrate one of life’s greatest moments, to give recognition to the worth and beauty of love, and to add our best wishes to the words that shall unite Buffy and Angel in marriage.”
He paused, looking from Buffy to Angel. “Should there be anyone who has cause why this couple should not be united in marriage, they must speak now or forever hold their peace.”
He turned to Giles, looking at him gently. “Who is it that brings this man to this woman?”
Giles choked up a little as he murmured, “I do.” With a final smile at Buffy, he took a seat in the front row next to Anya, and Angel took Buffy’s hand, looking at her lovingly.
“Buffy and Angel, life is given to each of us as individuals, and yet we must learn together,” he told them, his voice soft. “Love is given to us by our family or by our friends. We learn to love by being loved. Learning to love and living together is one of the greatest challenges of life - and is the shared goal of married life.”
The minister turned to Angel, addressing him. “Do you, Angel, take Buffy to be your Wife?”
“I do,” Angel responded without hesitation, looking at his love.
“Do you promise to love, honor, cherish, and protect her, forsaking all others and holding only unto her?”
“I do,” Angel whispered, giving Buffy a small, secretive smile.
The minister then turned to Buffy. “Do you, Buffy, take Angel to be your Husband?”
“Yes,” Buffy murmured, tears evident in her voice. “I do.”
“Do you promise to love, honor, cherish, and protect him, forsaking all others and holding only onto him?”
Buffy’s lips curved upwards when he said “protect”, and she looked into Angel’s deep chocolatey eyes as she responded. “I do.”
“Wedding rings are an outward and visible sign of an inward spiritual grace and the unbroken circle of love, signifying to all the union of this man and this women in marriage,” he informed the guests before turning to Buffy and Angel again.
Angel took the slim gold band he was holding and slipped it onto her ring finger, followed by the engagement ring as he spoke. “I, Angel, take thee, Buffy to be my Wife - to have and to hold, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, and I promise to love you forevermore.”
As Buffy slid the larger golden ring onto Angel’s hand, she could barely speak over the emotion in her voice. “I, Buffy, take thee, Angel to by my Husband - to have and to hold, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, and I promise to love you,” she paused, a sob escaping, and then finished, “Forevermore.”
The minister then faced both of them, gently touching their clasped hands. “Buffy and Angel, in so much as the two of you have agreed to live together in Holy Matrimony, have promised your love for each other by these vows, the joining of your hands and the giving of these rings, I now declare you to be Husband and Wife. Whom God hath joined together, let no one put asunder. Congratulations, you may kiss the bride.”
Beaming at his love, Angel lifted her veil gently and leaned down, pressing his lips to hers. She moaned quietly, standing on tip-toes to get closer, loving the feeling of his warm lips on hers. When they broke apart, the small group of guests cheered, and even the minister broke into a smile.
“I now present to you Mr. and Mrs. Summers.”
As Buffy and Angel moved to greet their friends, they were inseparable and beaming.
“Oh, Buffy,” Willow whispered. “I’m so happy for you ...”
“I know, and thank you, Willow,” Buffy choked out. She hugged her friend tightly.
“Congratulations, man,” Xander greeted Angel with a handshake, no sign of roughness in his voice. “I hope you two are happy. And if you hurt her --”
“I’ll kill myself,” Angel finished with a smile, squeezing Buffy’s hand tightly.
“Good. Just checking.” Xander grinned, pushing Anya towards the couple and muttering to her, “Say something nice.”
Anya smiled at the couple sincerely. “Congratulations. Be nice, Angel, or I’m going to work some magick on you, just as soon as I get my powers back.”
Angel chuckled. “I hear you.”
There was no formal reception, just a nice dinner at Willow’s that she and Anya had cooked the previous night. The newlyweds mingled and chatted with their small group of friends, but not once did their eyes stray from each other, and not once did they let go of each other’s hands.
Eventually, night fell, and the gang began gathering their things to leave Willow’s house. As each friend left, Buffy presented them with a single pink rose from the bouquet she had chosen not to toss. (“I hate that stupid tradition,” she had informed them grumpily.)
In a mere few minutes, Buffy, Angel, and Willow were the only ones left in the house. “Thank you, Will,” Buffy murmured, leaning over and hugging her friend tightly.
Willow gave her a broad smile. “It was my honor,” she vowed, kissing her friend’s cheek. “Have a good night, okay?”
Buffy raised an eyebrow, chuckling. “I’m sure we will.”
Willow blushed furiously. “Oh, Buffy, I didn’t mean like that, I just meant --”
“I know what you mean,” Buffy promised, hugging her friend again. “I’ll call you tomorrow afternoon?”
“Please,” Willow nodded. She wrapped her arms around Angel in a friendly hug, congratulating him again. “Have fun. Or, um, you know what I mean ...”
“I know.” He returned her hug, and then took Buffy’s hand again. “Thank you again, Willow.”
The couple had decided not to go on a honeymoon, instead spending the night at Angel’s old Sunnydale apartment, where they had made love for the first time.
It was nearby to Willow’s house, and they arrived quickly. Angel unlocked the door and pushed it open, then picked up Buffy and carried her over the threshold, setting her down on the bed. “I cleaned it up a bit,” he told her, stating the obvious. “It hadn’t really been touched in years.”
Buffy ran her hand over the black silk sheets, looking up at Angel radiantly. “I like it.”
He knelt in front of her, kissing her cheek gently. “I hoped you would.”
Buffy leaned forward, kissing him gently. “I missed you, for so long ...”
“I missed you,” Angel echoed, his voice choking with emotion. “With everything in me.” He ran his hands through her blond hair gently. “I love you so much ...”
“I love you,” Buffy sobbed, falling forward into his arms.
“Don’t cry, my love,” Angel endeared pleadingly. “Think of the now.” He lifted her up and gently laid her back on the bed, settling himself next to her and pressing his mouth onto hers lovingly. As the intensity of their kisses grew, so did their need for one another and soon their were laying skin-to-skin under the sheets.
“Angel ...” Buffy murmured. “There’s a chance ... there’s a chance ...”
“A chance what?” Angel prodded, running his hands over her shoulderblades.
“There’s a chance I could get pregnant if we make love now,” she rushed out.
“Do you want me to stop?” he asked seriously, looking into her hazel eyes.
“No,” she shook her head. “Never stop.”
And he didn’t. He didn’t care if she got pregnant, as long as she didn’t mind. And he would be damned all over again if he didn’t make love to his wife on their wedding night.
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