"I present to you Mr. and Mrs. McKellan."
The church erupted in cheers as everyone stood and clapped vigorously. I grinned and joined in the clapping and cheering. Then, to my surprise, Mom turned and enveloped me, one of her bridesmaids, in a hug.
"I love you, sweetie," she whispered in my ear.
"I love you too, Mom," I answered.
I looked over Mom's shoulder to see Dad gently taking her by the waist. "Come on," he said. "We'll get all the hugs we want at the reception."
Mom nodded and with one final smile at me, allowed herself to be lead down the aisle.
From my place at the altar, I watched as Dad led Mom away from the crowd. Mom's smile actually reached her eyes now. I loved the way Dad could make her smile like that. And I loved the fact that maybe now, after so many years, I would get a happy family like the one I'd always envied my friends for having.
"The wedding was so beautiful!" I heard Aunt Willow tell Mom and Dad later that day at the reception. "I'm so happy for you both. See, Buffy? Things did work out for the best."
I jumped back, startled, when I felt a figure brush past me to my parents. "And how's the Buffster doing?"
It was Uncle Xander. Well, Uncle Xander dragging Aunt Cordy behind him.
"Oh, and hey, Dead Boy... er, not so Dead Boy..."
Mom squealed. "Xander, you made it!" she cried as she grabbed him in a huge bear hug. "And Cordy, I didn't think your new movie would allow you some time to come visit the little people."
Aunt Cordy smiled and hugged Mom and Dad respectively. "Don't get used to it!" Aunt Cordy said. "And you... you were afraid to come down here, Angel. You owe me so big for that talk we had..."
Dad clamped a hand over Aunt Cordy's mouth. "You're right," he said. "Lets leave it at that."
Uncle Xander turned and seemed to notice me, standing there to the side watching the interaction between the old friends, for the first time. "Lynn," he said as he put an arm around me and brought me over to the circle of friends. "How's it feel to have a mom and dad now currently married." He held a fist to his mouth, as if it were an invisible microphone.
I giggled. "Nice, I guess..."
"And how does it feel to be the daughter of a Vampire Slayer and a vampire... er, former vampire?"
"Xander," Dad said in a warning tone. I could tell that he was used to talking to Uncle Xander like that.
"No, no," I said. "Um... it feels weird. You know, knowing why I have that extra strength and stuff. It's good to know I don't come from a normal family."
"Here, here!" Xander said, raising his glass of wine. "Welcome to the Hellmouth!"
"Room for one more?" a voice behind me said.
I turned in time to see Uncle Oz behind me. His and Willow's ten year old son, Alex, standing kind of awkwardly at his father's side.
"Oz!" Aunt Willow exclaimed as she ran past me to hug Uncle Oz.
"I decided to take a small break to come be with my family and friends," he said. "Hey congrats, Buffy, Angel."
"Thanks, Oz," Mom said.
Suddenly, a sound of metal clicking against glass was heard through out the room. Uncle Xander cleared his throat and held up a hand. "Excuse me?" he said. Everyone stopped what they were doing and turned to look at Uncle Xander.
"Um, I'd like to say something," he started. "I met Buffy seventeen years ago. I swear... I'll never forget that day. I guess it has something to do with the fact that I kinda fell for her."
There was laughter in the room.
"But she wasn't meant for me," Uncle Xander continued. "She turned down my offer for a date, but thankfully, she didn't turn down my offer for friendship.
"And, okay, so I held a grudge against Angel for months after that because he managed to get the girl I had wanted so badly. But really, I think he's a great guy, and I can't think of anyone better fit for the Buffster over there. And I got over her anyway. My movie star wife kinda helped, too..."
Once again, laughter filled the room and I saw Aunt Cordy slap his arm lightly.
"And now looked how great it turned out," Uncle Xander said. "They had a beautiful daughter." He gestured at me and I know I must've blushed. "I mean, come on, is that Buffy and Angel's kid, or what? Buffy's face, Angel's hair..."
I motioned for him to stop talking about me and he smiled. "Now she's embarrassed," he said. "They have a beautiful daughter, and who knows, maybe another one on the way?"
"Xander!" Mom hissed at him.
Uncle Xander held up two hands in surrender. "The point of all my rambling is: I'm happy for you. I know I disapproved of Angel for a long time. And I know I seemed like a jealous idiot for the longest time... which I probably was, by the way. But putting all that aside, I can't think of anyway else better for you than Angel. And I couldn't be any happier for both of you. You know what? You deserve all the happiness in the world."
"Here, here!" The words echoed throughout the reception hall.
As everyone took the toast and got back to the talking and dancing, I saw Jade and Daniel go up to my mother. I got close to see what was going on.
"I'm really happy for you, Buffy," Jade said. "This all turned out really weird, but I'm really happy."
Mom leaned forward and enveloped both Jade and Daniel into a hug. Ever since they had moved to Sunnydale four years ago, Mom had treated them both like her own. "I'm glad you're both here," Mom told them. "But, hey, I know you're all probably bored out of your minds in here with the old people. Go, do something fun."
"No way," Daniel said. "I'm great here. I just met one of your cousins and I'm having a great time."
Mom laughed as Jade slapped Daniel lightly on the arm. "Behave," she told her brother.
Finally, I stepped forward. Dad was holding Mom around the waist, his chin resting on top of her head. It looked like the most natural thing in the world to me.
"Congratulations, guys," I told them.
"Thank you," Dad said. "For being understanding and accepting of me. I know it was hard, but..."
I shook my head. "We already had this talk."
He smiled. "I promise, as soon as Buffy and I get back from Ireland, you and I are going to have one of those father/daughter things and just talk."
"It's a deal," I said sticking out my hand. He shook it dutifully and then pulled me in for a hug.
"May I?" I heard a voice say behind me. I turned to see the photographer standing there.
I nodded and he snapped the picture. When he was about to take another one, I held up a hand. "Wait!" I said. "This picture is missing something."
I took Mom's hand and pulled her stand to my other side. "Say cheese!" Mom cried.
I smiled to the camera, feeling truly happy. Here we were... mother, father, and daughter; a small, happy family together forever. This was the new start Mom and Dad so wanted and deserved.
Yeah, so maybe I was her little souvenir. But at least it got Dad to come back. And I think we will live happily ever after.
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