Watchers Council – Computer Room – Same Time
“Wait,” Faith protested. “That’s suicide. I mean talk about your frying pan/fire scenario. ”
“Not necessarily, my dear,” Reteesk said, “though I share your trepidation. However there are merits to the notion.”
“Then why go to Vor, of all places?” Robin asked.
“Brell not wish to hide,” Brell explained. “Wish instead to be useful. On Earth, no use – hide, or be hunted. Council would protect Brell, and Brell thankful, but would be of no use to Council here, unable to move through city, among other demons.”
“But the Presidium enslaved your people already, right?” Rowena asked, confused. “They won’t just let you roam around there, will they?”
“Absolutely not,” Reteesk said, “but the crux of the matter, you might say, is that we do not intend to ask for their agreement. Rather, there are others whose shelter would be offered.”
Willow began to shake her head and wave her hands. “Okay, you just lost me. So Brell has to hide regardless, either here on earth or in Vor, and you pick Vor?” she asked incredulously.
“We pick Vor,” Reteesk corrected her.
“We?” Willow asked, turning to Reteesk. “Both of you?”
“I suspect it is only a matter of time until this Volano character seeks me out for my involvement in the Council’s work against him,” Reteesk replied. “Besides, I have a certain status among my kind – who remain, for the most part, under Presidium rule – that should prove most useful if I travel to Vor.”
“There are warriors,” Brell interjected, “demons who have escaped capture, who hate Presidium. Have worked together before, to help others reach Earth, flee from Presidium’s conquest.”
“You want to join them?” Rowena asked.
“It would be mutually advantageous,” Reteesk urged. “In recent months the Presidium has slowed the pace of its conquests, and resistance to their rule has grown. Naturally, it amounts to little, for the most part, but those who truly oppose them have marshaled their forces, used the calm before the storm to seek allies among all the demon peoples under the tyrant’s yoke. Now, it seems, the Presidium is on the move once more.”
“Rumors even here,” Brell said. “Many believe tremor is sign. They say Presidium goes to war again. They fear they come for us here.”
“Seeing as we cannot remain here,” Reteesk went on, “Brell and I wish to go to Vor, to join the demons there who resist the Presidium occupation.”
“That’s very brave,” Willow said, “but…what would you do there? Don’t get me wrong, we’re grateful, but would you be able to make a difference?”
“Red Witch,” Brell said reassuringly, “we not seek merely to fight. With permission, we make Council’s case to Presidium’s enemies, ask them to do as we do, work together with Council.”
“The enemy of my enemy is my friend,” Reteesk suggested, “as your kind are fond of saying. The Presidium have conquered and enslaved billions upon billions of demon races and will surely do the same to Earth’s human races, if not in this present campaign, then soon. Their past actions demonstrate that they wish to conquer your world. You of the Watchers Council and the free demons remaining in the conquered hell dimensions have a common cause, a common enemy.”
“We will say to them,” Brell promised, “see how human Council has helped demons, good demons. See how they help those who flee Presidium, how slayers defend demons from Presidium’s assassins. Those who fight Presidium, many kinds, from many different hell dimensions, but work together to fight back.”
“The antipathy between humans and demons is old, and strong,” Reteesk said ruefully, “but these are desperate, cruel times. Old rivalries must be put aside, for they cannot afford such things. To again employ one of your phrases, let us be your olive branch.”
The four humans looked at each other thoughtfully, gauging each other’s reactions.
“It makes sense,” Robin suggested. “We’re fighting the same fight anyway, better to do it as allies.”
“It’s risky, though,” Willow worried. “Brell, Reteesk, no offense, but demons and humans…these aren’t demons who live among us we’re talking about, they’re hell-born and hell-bred.”
“True,” Brell said, “they hate humans greatly.”
“You’re willing to risk your lives to inform them of your association with us, on the chance that they hate the Presidium more?” Rowena asked.
“Yes,” Brell said. “Always is risk. Reward would be worth risk.”
“And if we are welcomed,” Reteesk put in, “there could be further benefits – the flow of information between yourselves and the allies in Vor, coordination of strategy…”
“That’s definitely worth thinking about,” Faith offered. “Because right now, let’s face it, we know next to nothing about how to fight these guys.”
“And if there’s going to be tension between us and demons,” Robin mused, “Brell and Reteesk have the best chance of making headway.”
“Slayers say aye,” Faith said, raising her hand. “Anyone else?”
“I say aye, but Rowena’s got Council seniority,” Robin shrugged. “Willow, Rowena?”
Willow shook her head. “No,” she muttered. “It’s too risky.”
When Rowena did nothing, Robin looked up at her. “One way or the other, Ro,” he prompted her.
She took a deep breath and blew it out slowly. “Aye,” she said.
“Gee, thanks for the backup,” Willow said, as she turned around to look at Rowena.
“It’s not personal, Will. If the Presidium is gearing up to make our lives miserable, or, more accurately, take them, I think we need to be doing something here. Waiting isn’t going to help matters. Robin and Faith made a good point of why it should be Brell and not us directly. At least not yet.”
“All right then. It’s settled,” Robin said. He nodded to Brell and Reteesk. “Is there anything you’ll need from us?”
“Not yet,” Brell replied. “We communicate with friends, make arrangements. May need help to create new portal. That way Presidium do not know of it and we return here when need be.”
“Let us see what we might be able to do.” Robin nodded and stood up to show Brell and Reteesk out, while Willow rose from her seat and moved past Rowena without comment.
“Will,” the watcher called out sympathetically.
The tone, however, did nothing to stop the witch from leaving the room. Faith placed a hand on Rowena’s shoulder, startling her. “She’ll get over it. And you made the right call, Blondie,” she told her.
“I hope so,” Rowena replied with a frown, as she watched Willow slip out of the room.
Watchers Council – Kitchen – Moments Later
Andrew was on the phone with a look on his face somewhere between surprise and sheer panic. “What do you mean it’s not set for today? I double-checked it twice in the last week!” he shouted. “No, tomorrow is no good. People aren’t going to wait an entire day to eat!”
Tracey, who had just walked inside, came closer to try to figure out the conversation. “What?” she mouthed silently.
Andrew shook his head and held up his finger. “Look, bucko,” Andrew warned into the phone, “I better see that catering truck out here in the next hour, or heads are gonna roll, and you can be darn sure it’s not gonna be mine!” He slammed the phone down and physically shook as he turned to Tracey. “They’ve got the wedding set for tomorrow…after I called to confirm everything! Can you believe this? What are we gonna do? How are we gonna feed these people? What do –?”
Tracey held her hands up. “Look, we’ve got lots of little helpers running around here with super speed and strength, right?” Andrew paused for a moment and then began to nod. “We just have to get them organized, is all. We’ll make a list and have them all go out to get the food to bring in. It will be okay. Trust me. You might want to consider taking a few deep breaths while you’re at it, though,” she teased.
Andrew relaxed slightly and smiled. “You’re right. I’m getting worked up over nothing.” He motioned to the island where the wedding cake sat. “At least we still have the cake, and that’s the most important part.”
The door of the kitchen crashed open and they watched as two younger slayers came in, tossing a football.
“Go long!” one of them shouted, before throwing the ball to the other slayer.
Andrew and Tracey both watched slack-jawed, in slow motion, as the ball passed through the receiving slayer’s hand and headed straight for the cake. In response, Andrew let out a long, “Noooo!” and jumped in the air behind her. His hands wrapped around the pigskin, successfully preventing it from smashing the cake. Then gravity took hold of his body and began to pull him back to earth.
As he landed, however, he hit the kitchen island, making the three-tier cake start to wobble. Tracey rushed over to steady it, but instead she lost her footing, shoving her hand through the bottom layer and knocking the other two tiers to the floor below.
“Uh oh,” one of the slayers said. They both promptly dashed from the room.
“Oh God. Oh God,” Tracey said as she looked at the mess.
At first, Andrew said nothing. He stood holding the football under his arm, staring at the confection now covering the floor. The sound of Giles’s voice from down the hall shook him back to reality.
“Andrew?” the elder watcher called out.
Andrew and Tracey exchanged a petrified look.
“Don’t let him in,” Tracey said. She reached for a dishtowel to start cleaning her hands. Andrew began to race toward the door but slipped on the cake and landed on his backside. He tried to stand, but slipped again. Finally grabbing hold of the island, he came to his feet and pushed the swinging door open with such force that it hit Giles in the face.
“Bloody hell,” Giles said, grabbing his nose.
“Are you okay, Mr. Giles?” Andrew said. He attempted to act casual, although he was covered in frosting, a red flower stuck to his hip.
Giles examined him for a moment while he held his own throbbing nose.
“Problem with the cake?” he asked.
“What? No, no problem. Don’t be silly. Everything’s fine and on schedule. Don’t you worry.” Andrew then gave him a nervous smile.
Giles reached over and picked the flower off, showing it to him without a word.
“Oh that,” Andrew said with a chuckle. “That’s nothing. I didn’t like that flower, so I decided to start over. You know how I love to get into my baking.”
“So I see,” Giles replied. “Anyway, when you’re finished, be sure to bring it out to the dining area. Vi has the table all set up now.”
“Will do,” Andrew said, giving him a salute and leaving icing on his forehead in the process. After Giles turned, Andrew quickly dashed back inside the kitchen.
On the verge of tears, he asked Tracey, “Now what?”
“We’ll fix it,” Tracey said optimistically, as Andrew bent down to the floor.
“How do we fix this?” Andrew asked. He righted himself with two huge chunks in his hand.
Tracey looked at the mess again and sighed. “I don’t know, but we will. Come on, time’s a wastin’ here.”
Watchers Council – Lobby – Moments Later
Robin was walking Brell and Reteesk out through the lobby when Hannah and Roxanne came through the front door. They both spotted the demons immediately.
“What the hell is that?” Hannah exclaimed.
“Must be from his side of the family,” Roxanne remarked.
“What are you supposed to be…the entertainment?” Hannah asked them as they approached.
Brell and Reteesk looked to Robin. “Oh, ah, this is Mr. Reteesk and Mr. Brell,” he explained. “Mr. Brell is an old friend of mine who-who does a show with the…um…Blue Men tour.”
“Oh really?” Roxanne asked. “I saw that show in Vegas.”
Brell did an awkward little dance and then looked pleadingly to Robin, as if asking silently if he could stop.
“Tah da!” Robin said.
“What’s his story?” Hannah asked, nodding to Reteesk.
“He’s a friend of Andrew’s – they do the sci-fi convention circuit and such. He just wanted to show off his new costume he finished. See? Rubber,” Robin said, pulling on Reteesk’s snout and making him snort. “Anyway, guys, I’d love to stay and chat, but I’ve got this thing to get ready for today.”
“Absolutely, Mr. Wood,” Reteesk told him. “Give our best to the bride and groom, if you would.”
“Certainly,” he said, with a nod and a wave as they left. “So,” he said, turning back to Becca’s sisters, “how’s the bride-to-be holding up?”
“Couldn’t tell you. We haven’t seen her since she stormed out last night,” Hannah offered.
“Well, I’m sure she’s feeling a little under the gun right now. Last-minute details and such.”
Robin turned to see Buffy burst through the door. “I’m here. I’m here,” she called out. “Where’s the gang?”
“Upstairs, I…think,” he replied as he watched her dash past him.
“Thanks Robin,” Buffy replied. Then she raced up the steps in a literal blur. “We’ll chat later.”
Before he could reply, she was already at the first landing’s hallway and out of sight.
“Willow and Xander’s best friend,” Robin explained to the women standing there.
“Track star too, I’m assuming?” Roxanne asked.
“Yeah, something like that,” Robin answered nervously.
Watchers Council – Willow’s Apartment – Seconds Later
“I’m coming,” Willow said to the banging door. She opened it to see Buffy standing there. looking winded.
“I’m really out of shape,” Buffy told her as she walked inside.
“Hi to you too,” Willow said.
“I’m sorry, Will,” she said, pulling the woman into a hug. “I didn’t think I was going to make it.”
“Well, we’re all glad you did.” Willow turned around and pointed to her bathroom. “Now I need to get the dress on, but you’ll have to help zip me up.”
“Shouldn’t your girlfriend be here doing this?” she teased.
“I’m not in the mood to see my girlfriend at the moment, so no,” she answered. “But we can discuss that later. Right now, let’s get you into your dress.”
Watchers Council – Kitchen – Moments Later
Becca walked into the kitchen and stopped dead just inside the door. The cake was in shambles, with Tracey and Andrew scurrying around it desperately.
“Oh my God!” she exclaimed.
Andrew began to wave his hands. “It’s not as bad as it looks, and cake surgery isn’t as hard as we thought…We had an accident by the way.”
“You don’t say?” Becca replied sarcastically. “Anything else I should know about?”
Andrew shuffled from foot to foot slightly. “The caterer isn’t coming,” he said with a wince.
Becca licked her lips slowly. “So we have no cake…and no food?”
“At the moment,” Andrew replied, then quickly added, “BUT that’s about to change. We’ve sent the girls out, so all will be fine after you come back down the aisle as Mrs. Giles. I promise.”
Becca just shook her head and walked from the kitchen.
Watchers Council – Hallway – Moments Later
Becca was still shaking her head when she walked past Willow’s apartment. When she looked up, she saw Buffy inside.
“You made it,” Becca said in a relieved voice, coming inside.
“Wouldn’t miss it,” Buffy replied with a smile.
“Okay, one more time. Deep breath,” Willow told her. The witch tried to pull the zipper up with a strained look on her face. “This isn’t working,” she said, giving up.
“Try again,” Buffy said. “It has to fit. I haven’t gained any weight.”
“I’m telling you, Buf, this ain’t workin’, and my fingers are starting to resemble nubs.”
“You can’t get the dress on?” Becca asked as she walked deeper inside the apartment. Becca gave it a try, but the zipper still wouldn’t move more than halfway up.
“What are we supposed to do?” Buffy asked. “I can’t go out there half-zipped.”
Becca let out a sigh. “Go to the tux shop and see if they have anything.”
“What?!” Willow said. “Why does she get to wear a tux?”
“Because you fit into the dress,” Becca countered, making Willow grumble incoherently. “Please, Willow, we’ve got less than an hour. My bridesmaids aren’t even dressed. Hell, I’m not even dressed. Not like it would matter, because I’m sure my sisters will do nothing but criticize the way I look. And-And the cake is in pieces on the floor of the kitchen and-and the caterer isn’t showing up and…and…you know what?…That’s it! The wedding is off!”
“No!” Buffy and Willow both exclaimed at once.
“Look,” Willow continued. “I’m sorry. I’ll wear the dress, okay? A-And we’ll get Buffy over to the shop a-and I’ll find Rowena and Faith,” she added quickly.
“They’re missing?” Becca asked, concerned all over again.
“Well, not exactly.”
“What does that mean?!” Becca asked.
“Faith is with Robin, I’m sure, but Rowena…We kinda had a little tiff, and I’m not sure where she’s at right this second…” Willow took a step back, as if she was unsure of the level of wrath she might get.
“Oh Lord,” Becca sighed.
“But everything will go according to plan, I promise. And if not according to plan, it’ll at least…go…So…sit tight, a-and we’ll be back,” Willow said. She then physically dragged Buffy from the room.
Watchers Council – Giles’s Apartment – Moments Later
Xander was in the middle of putting on his tuxedo coat when Giles rushed into the room, still not dressed.
“You do realize you’re getting married in about forty-five minutes, don’t you?” Xander teased.
“Please don’t start,” Giles begged. “I just had to listen to my mother give me a pep talk how it’s ‘about time’ and how it took me ‘killing the rabbit’ to get me at the altar.”
“You’re not at the altar yet, and you’re certainly not dressed for it. So go on and get ready,” Xander told him.
“But what if someone needs –”
“I’ve got it covered,” Xander told him. “Besides, that’s the best man’s job,” he added with a grin.
Giles grinned back and gave a nod. “Thank you, Xander.”
“Thank you,” Xander replied. “It means a lot that you picked me, Giles. Especially with your brother coming in.”
“The choice was easy,” Giles told him sincerely.
Xander gave him a grin. “Okay, enough with the mushy feely stuff,” Xander said, slapping him on the arm. “We don’t want to keep the bride waiting.”
Giles nodded and darted into his bedroom.
Willow’s Apartment – Moments Later
Rowena walked into Willow’s apartment to find Becca draped dramatically on the sofa, looking borderline catatonic.
“What’s wrong?” she asked after a beat.
Becca still continued to stare straight ahead and said, “The appropriate question would be, ‘What’s right’?”
“Excuse me?” Rowena asked.
Becca came slightly out of her daze and looked at Rowena. “You ever have one of those days?” she sighed.
Rowena gave her a warm smile and picked her up by the elbow. “Come on,” she ordered. “Let’s get you ready.”
“You need to get dressed, too,” Becca told her.
“A slip, a zip, and I’m done. The bride, on the other hand, is the most important thing next to the groom.”
“Speaking of,” Becca started.
“He’s with Xander getting ready, so we better do the same. Okay?”
Becca finally gave her a grin and nodded as they walked to the bedroom together.
Watchers Council – Grounds – Moments Later
Various guests sat in the chairs set up in front of the gazebo, waiting for the festivities to begin. Kennedy and Mia were seated behind Giles’s brother, mother, niece and nephew. As the two younger guests chatted, Kennedy couldn’t help but overhear them.
“Let’s hope Becca doesn’t get too involved in Uncle Rupert’s work like Jenny did.”
“Well, as long as his slayers don’t sleep with vampires, perhaps she won’t have to worry.”
Kennedy leaned over between them.
“Excuse me,” she said. “I don’t mean to eavesdrop, but are you talking about Jenny Calendar?”
“Yeah, Uncle Rupert’s last real girlfriend. Why?” the young woman answered.
“You mentioned something about vampires?” Kennedy prodded.
“Right, she was killed by Buffy’s boyfriend,” she added.
Kennedy opened her mouth in surprise. “Spike killed my…killed Jenny Calendar?”
“No, Angel did,” the young man answered. “Who’s Spike?”
Kennedy’s mouth hung open for a long moment. Then she closed it with a snap, steel entered her eyes, and she got to her feet. “Excuse me,” she said as she stood up.
“Ken!” Mia called out, but Kennedy was already on her way back toward the main Council building.
Willow’s Apartment – Moments Later
The door to Willow’s apartment slammed open and Kennedy stalked inside.
“Where the hell are you?!?” she yelled.
Rowena and Becca both shot from the bedroom.
“What’s the matter?” Rowena asked.
“You lying, conniving bitch! Where’s your better half?” Kennedy said sarcastically.
Rowena and Becca both looked at each other for a moment, dumbfounded.
“Kennedy, what’s wrong?” Rowena asked.
Kennedy placed her hands in her back pockets. “A vampire killed my mother? Buffy killed him? What a crock!”
“Oh, Gods,” Willow said from her doorway, with Buffy at her side.
Kennedy turned sharply to face her former lover. “How could you?” she asked
Willow walked over with her arm outstretched, but Kennedy batted it away and began to pace.
“We didn’t want to hurt you, and, at the time, you weren’t ready for the entire story, Ken.”
“Oh, so that explains why you haven’t said anything for the past year, right? That’s why I had to hear it from Giles’s family?” Kennedy countered.
Willow looked unsure of what to say. “It…It just didn’t come up again.”
“Looks like it’s up now,” Kennedy said, as she stalked out of the apartment
Watchers Council – Hallway – Same Time
Kennedy was headed back toward downstairs when Xander and Giles stepped out of Giles’s apartment.
“Kennedy,” Giles said warmly as she approached.
She didn’t pause in her steps for an instant. “Don’t speak to me, you S.O.B.,” she said coldly as she swept past.
Xander and Giles both shared a surprised look, while Willow walked up behind them.
“Do I want to know what that was about?” Giles asked her.
“She found out about Angel and Jenny,” Willow answered.
“Dear lord,” he sighed.
“Yeah, thank your family for that one. I guess they spilled the beans.”
Giles ran his fingers through his hair and groaned. “Look, why don’t you go see to the guests and get ready. I’m going to take a few minutes here.”
Xander gave him a pat on the arm and followed Willow back to her apartment, while Giles stepped back inside his.
Giles walked several steps into his apartment, then stopped to look at himself in the mirror. After a few moments, he began to shake his head and pinched the bridge of his nose.
Watchers Council – Grounds – Moments Later
Hannah looked at her watch and motioned to Roxanne beside her. “I think you’re gonna owe me that ten bucks.”
“The bride should always keep the groom waiting. You know that.”
“True,” Hannah agreed, “but if you notice…we’re the only people out here. We have neither a bride nor a groom.”
A few rows back sat Willow’s and Rowena’s parents.
“I’m only saying that it’s highly documented,” Sheila said, leaning past Ira to speak to Betty. “No one can turn someone gay.”
“And I’m telling you,” Betty said, waving her finger, “I don’t care about documents. I know my own daughter.”
“As do I,” Sheila replied.
Ira sat looking straight ahead, trying to stay out of the conversation.
“Obviously not,” Betty said sarcastically.
Sheila rose to her feet and placed her hands on her hips.
Ira began to shake his head. “Oh brother…Sheila, please sit down.”
Watchers Council – Willow’s Apartment – Same Time
Willow was looking out through her window and the gazebo area below, where her mother and Betty were nearly nose to nose, when Rowena walked in wearing her bridesmaid dress.
“Hey,” she called over softly to Willow.
“Hey yourself,” Willow said with a slight grin. “I acted pretty childish earlier, didn’t I?”
Rowena gave a shrug. “A little. I think it’s the first time we’ve ever gone head to head over anything. But do me a favor, okay?” Willow nodded. “Although we might not agree on what’s best, remember I’ll always love you. Okay?”
Willow smiled and took Rowena by the hand. “I promise.” Her smile began to fade as she looked back to the courtyard.
“Will?” Rowena asked, but the witch was already running out of the apartment.
“Oh God!” was all Willow said before she disappeared.
Rowena quickly looked outside to see her mother picking up a folding chair, while her father tried to grab her from behind. Ira, for his part, was trying to hold Sheila back from advancing on her Betty.
“Jesus,” Rowena said, and with that she was also on her way out of the room.
“What’s wrong?” Becca said, walking over to investigate.
“Uh…nothing. Don’t worry,” Rowena said quickly, trying to fake a smile. “I forgot, uh, something. Be right back.”
Becca walked over to the window to see Ira lying on the ground, with Betty and Sheila rolling around on the lawn nearby. The surrounding onlookers seemed almost in shock – except for Tony Harris, who was openly rooting for Sheila, despite his wife’s protests that he be quiet. Becca simply closed her eyes and put her fingers to her temples to massage them.
“May I come in?” she heard an English voice behind her ask.
“I’d say it’s bad luck, but at this point…” She turned around to see Giles standing there.
“Not the wedding you were planning, is it?” he asked.
“No,” she confessed.
Giles walked over to the window and looked out to see Tony and Jessica were now arguing with each other. Folding chairs were scattered over the lawn. Willow and Rowena, in their bridesmaid’s dresses, were struggling to get between the two of them.
“I’m not even going to ask,” he said, with a dismissive motion to the window. He turned back to Becca. “Look, I love you. I want you to be my wife. But this circus…”
“I know,” she told him. “It was all my idea.”
“No,” he told her. “I’m not criticizing. And if our friends and family were more…sane…it would be one of those picture-perfect weddings, I’m sure.”
“So what are we supposed to do?” Becca asked. “They’re all out there…waiting.”
“I say we let them wait. My brother told me something, and it was the best advice he ever gave me – none of this fiasco matters. What’s important is us. The two of us, together. I guess I have to ask. Are you with me?”
“You know I am.”
“One hundred and ten percent?” he asked with a grin.
Becca smiled and said, “I’ll give you one-twenty, how’s that?”
Giles smiled and took her hand. “Come with me.”
Watchers Council – Giles’s Apartment – Moments Later
Xander walked inside Giles’s apartment to find the living room empty.
“Giles?” he called out. “We should get downstairs.” When he got no answer, he walked to the bedroom. “Giles?”
He looked on the bathroom door and saw Giles’s tux hanging back on the hook. “Oh my God!” he screamed.
Watchers Council – Hallway – Moments Later
Willow came out of her apartment with a worried look on her face, but Xander didn’t seem to notice her expression as he rushed toward her.
“He’s gone! Giles is gone!”
“What?!” Willow asked.
Xander nodded repeatedly. “He’s out there making the worst possible mistake of his life right now! We gotta help him! We gotta stop him! So help me God…if I have to make this a real shotgun wedding, then I’ll go to the weapons room and I’ll –!”
Willow slapped Xander across the face. He looked stunned for a moment, then took a deep breath.
“Thanks…I needed that,” he told her.
“Don’t mention it,” Willow said dryly. “I don’t think you need to be worried. At least, I’m not as worried now.”
“Will, how can you say that? These two belong together.”
“I agree, and I think they are together.”
“What?” he asked, bewilderment on his face.
Willow dragged Xander into her apartment and showed him the abandoned wedding dress lying on her sofa. “She’s gone, too,” she told him.
“Becca skipped out on Giles, too?” Xander asked.
Willow sighed. “Think, Xander. I don’t think they left separately. I think they left together.”
Buffy walked out from Willow’s bedroom. “Hey, Xan!” she said as she came over.
“Nice tux,” he remarked, eliciting a grumble from Willow.
Buffy handed a note to Willow. “I think your theory’s on the money, Will,” she said as she did so.
Willow opened the note and read it as Xander peered over her shoulder. They both began to smile.
Wedding Chapel – Early Evening
Giles and Becca stood side by side, her staring up into his eyes “I know I promised you whatever type of wedding you wanted,” he said with a smile, “but I never imagined finding myself here.”
“It’s this, or the crazy people in Cleveland,” she told him. “Besides, with our love of music, who better to marry us than the King? And you did promise any kind of wedding I wanted.”
Elvis’s intro sounded, and a man dressed like the King of Rock and Roll stepped toward the couple, holding a Bible in one hand. He shimmied his way to the altar. With a wave of his hand, the music stopped.
“Dearly beloved,” he crooned, “we’re gathered here today to join this man and this woman in holy matrimony. If anyone’s opposed, speak now or forever hold your peace.”
Giles and Becca looked back to see no one in the chapel.
“I think we’re safe,” she told Elvis.
“Very well,” the king started again. “Do you, Rupert, take Rebecca to be your lawfully-wedded wife? Do you promise to love her tender, love her true, for the rest of your days?”
“I do,” Giles answered, turning to smile at Becca.
“And do you, Rebecca, take Rupert to be your hunka, hunka burning love and your lawfully-wedded husband for the rest of your days?”
Becca suppressed a giggle. “I do,” she said with a firm nod.
“Do you have the rings?” he asked, holding out his Bible.
They both nodded and placed them on the book. “A ring is a never-ending circle. It represents no beginning and no end. As you take these tokens and give them to each other, remember that, from this day forward, you are joined within that circle and the endless love you share.”
Giles slipped on Becca’s ring, and she gently placed his ring on his finger.
“Now, by the powers vested in me by the State of Nevada and the hierarchy of Rock ‘n Roll, I pronounce you man and wife. Now let’s have a kiss and a dance,” he told them.
Giles pulled Becca into his arms and kissed her soundly, as the King began to sing, “Can’t Help Falling In Love.” As they pulled away, they began to dance with each other. Giles softly kissed Becca on the cheek.
“Thank you,” he told her sincerely.
“For what? Going with Hipster Elvis instead of Blue Hawaii Elvis for the ceremony?” she asked.
Giles smiled. “Well, yes, that too, I suppose,” he answered, making her laugh. “But thank you for bringing new meaning to my life. I’ll do everything I can for you.”
Becca leaned up and kissed Giles on the lips gently. “Remember, that goes both ways,” she playfully warned.
As the music stopped, Elvis came down next to Becca and motioned to the back of the room. “Okay, lovebirds,” he told them, “everyone smile for the camera and say peanut butter and banan-er sandwich.”
Everyone struck a pose as the camera took a snapshot. Elvis then reached into his pocket, took out a roll of tokens and handed them to Becca. “Good luck at the casino. You kids take care.”
With that, his departure music played, and he danced his way back up the aisle.
Giles and Becca smiled at each other and she handed him the coins.
“Whadda ya say? Turn in these rented costumes and try our luck on the slots?” she asked.
“Since today’s been such a good day, I say we do just that,” Giles answered. He took her by the hand and led her back up the aisle.
Cleveland Alley – Night
“Is it going to hurt?” Dawn asked nervously.
“No, it’ll be fine, I promise,” Willow reassured her. Skye gave her girlfriend’s hand a squeeze. Around them the Coven, Faith, Buffy, Brell and Reteesk waited.
“What if something goes wrong?” Dawn asked suddenly. “What if-if it all messes up and I turn back into a ball of energy or light or something. I don’t want to be a ball of light! I like being human! I don’t even know how to be a ball of light.”
“You’re not going to turn into anything,” Willow said soothingly. “They just need you here as a…a beacon, for the portal. I checked the magic back to front. It’s all in the books and you’re perfectly safe.”
“The demons have magic,” Brell said, “much less complex, but similar to Key. Portal can be made from here straight to safe place in Vor, Presidium magic cannot locate.”
“So you think,” Dawn grumbled. “The Presidium gets the 411 on what I’m doing and I’m a Post Toastie.”
“You’re not going to be a Post Toastie,” Willow sighed. “None of us would let that happen, and if it looks like it’s going down that way, we pull you out. Easy as that.”
“Easy for you,” Dawn grumbled again.
Willow put her hands on her hips. “Okay then, let’s figure out something else. I’m not about to make you do anything you don’t want to do.”
“Dawn,” Skye began. “This is a way you can help, a way no one else can. And you know that I’m not about to let anything happen if it looks like it’s not working.” Dawn cocked her head to one side, thought for a moment, then gave a shrug and brightened a little.
“No one in the Coven will,” Andrew told her. He looked over to Jeff for confirmation, who also nodded his agreement. “All for one and one for all,” Andrew added.
“And you know I won’t either. Adult or not, you’re still my kid sister,” Buffy added with a slight grin. “You’ll be okay, Dawnie.”
Dawn grinned too and bobbed her head. “Okay,” she said, with a bit more certainty. “Let’s give it a try then.”
“Thank you,” Reteesk said sincerely.
Willow motioned to the coven and they all joined hands, with the exception of Dawn, who stood in the middle. The High Priestess began to chant just above a whisper.
The air in the alley stirred, then whipped into a tiny tornado, blowing rubbish and bits of old newspaper everywhere. The small group huddled together with the slayers standing guard around them. A few seconds after the storm had begun, the alley seemed to twist at its center, the world itself briefly blurring and warping. A moment later, all had calmed, and, where there had previously been no one, there was now a massive, towering figure. He was broad-shouldered and covered in an enormous, dark animal skin cloak, while his features were flattened, rugged and bestial.
“I think it went wrong,” Dawn whispered nervously to Willow. Everyone took a collective step backward and away from the massive figure.
“I am Creed. You are Brell and Monarch Reteesk?” the demon asked, in a rumbling, growling voice reminiscent of a lion.
“Monarch?” Faith whispered to Willow, who shrugged.
“Brell is me,” Brell said, stepping forward. The looming figure laid a huge, clawed hand on Brell’s shoulder, and did likewise when Reteesk stepped forward to join him. His gaze shifted to the group of humans.
“You are no longer required here,” he growled. The air around him and his two charges twisted, brightened, the gale whipped up once more, and when it was gone so were they.
“He seemed… brusque,” Buffy noted.
“Hell-born demons really don’t like humans,” Willow sighed. “I just hope they’ll be alright.”
“They’re just going to Hell.” Buffy shrugged. “Not like it’s as torturous as a wedding.”
Faith smiled and shook her head silently.
“Too true,” Willow mused. She put her arm around Buffy and Dawn, then turned and began to lead everyone from the alley.
Fade to Black
Special Guest Starring:
Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
End of Chapel of Love
Next on Watchers…
Several of the Council’s more unsung heroes try to spend a fun day at the Sci-Fi convention, but things go off the rails. Can Andrew both fulfill his dream of meeting Jeri Ryan and save the day?