There is a man in a church.
It’s a nice church – small, with a stained-glass Jesus and flowers on the altar. It’s actually quite cosy, as far as churches go.
The man is standing by the altar. He’s tall, scarred, no longer a young man, though you can’t call him old, not yet. His fists are clenched.
Earlier, there were more people in the church. A man of the cloth glancing impatiently at his watch, friends, family, colleagues filling the pews. But that was earlier. Now there’s just the man.
A door slams and he opens his eyes, stops arguing with God and turns to see a young woman striding up the aisle.
“Dad, you’ve got to stop this.”
“Not now, Britney.”
“Yes, now. Dad, the guy fucking left you at the altar. He’s not worth it.”
“Not now, Britney.”
“He’s just scum, Dad. Come on, let’s go find Mom and…”
“I said: NOT NOW, Britney!”
He closes his eyes again, doesn’t open them again until he’s heard the door close behind his daughter. Then he sighs, slumps, turns to look at the pews.
Earlier, they had been full – his ex-wife with that new friend of hers, one of the former Bonds getting into an argument with the German Major from NATO, his sister-in-law-to-be looking more and more lost and uncomfortable with every passing minute. Everybody in his life had been present - save one.
No, that’s not quite right, is it?
There is a man in a church.
It sounds like he’s growling.
Somewhere else and somewhat earlier, there’s a man tied to a chair.
“Honestly, Mr. Gyldensted, this is just childish.”
“You’ve never minded before.”
“You’ve never abducted me on my wedding day before.”
“Oh, I see how it is. You find a new guy and suddenly your old friends aren’t good enough anymore.”
“We’re not friends, Mr. Gyldensted. Besides, didn’t we establish that you had no business interfering in my relationship with Agent 250?”
“You wound me, 300 – and besides, I’m not interfering.”
“What exactly do you call abducting me on my way to my wedding, then?”
“Performing the service I was hired to do.”
“Someone hired you to abduct me on my wedding day?”
“Yes, that’s what I said.”
“An interested third party.”
But Niels just leans back and smirks.
And time passes.
“You’re just going to sit there?”
“Well, usually I’d swap with Duncan right about now, but he’s absolutely refusing. Can’t think why.” The Dane cocks his head, consideringly. “Though I don’t suppose you’ve really got anywhere left to stash a knife, so I guess it won’t do any harm if I went and got us some coffee.”
Which he does.
In a bedroom with faded wallpaper, there is man tied to a chair. He’s beginning to regret having gone with real Scotsman rather than real gentleman. It’s beginning to feel a bit – drafty.
There’s a man walking up his drive-way, his young daughter holding his hand.
Thomas had expected being home hours ago. But then there was the wedding that didn’t happen and then there had been Agent 250 storming into the police station, demanding his help in tracking down Niels, and then there had been hours spent establishing that not only does nobody know Niels Gyldensted’s current whereabouts, but his house is empty. Duncan, Natalie – even Elliot seems to have vanished right along with him.
Eventually, he had put his foot down and gone home. It was already well past Wendy’s bedtime. She had kindergarten tomorrow, dammit.
All of which brings us to now and the front door opening just as Thomas reaches out to open it.
Niels just smiles, gesturing for Thomas to come in. He doesn't look particularly intimidating, but then, people with milk moustaches rarely do. When Thomas hesitates, Niels frowns.
“Don’t make me hold a gun to your head in front of your daughter, Thomas.”
So Thomas sighs and walks in and the door falls shut behind him. There are sounds and interesting smells coming from the kitchen and Wendy is already heading in that direction, while Thomas lifts an enquiring eyebrow in Niels’ direction.
“I brought Kiddo along. I thought he and Wendy could have a sleepover.”
Thomas just sighs and goes through the routine – gun and badge goes in the locked safe, up the stairs, into the bedroom. He pauses at the door at the sight of the man tied to a chair.
“Oh, you have got to be kidding me.”
Niels just looks innocent, gestures with the gun that came out as soon as Wendy was out of sight for Thomas to sit on one of the empty chairs.
“Wendy’s staying downstairs tonight.”
“Of course she is – Duncan’s made a den for her and Kiddo under the table,” and Niels pats the detective on the head before leaving the room.
There are two men tied to chairs, sitting in a bedroom with faded wallpaper. The dressed one glares at the other one.
“What did I do?”
There is a man leaving the police station.
He walks to his car, gets in. Takes out his gun, checks it.
Nobody’s heard from Detective Yellowfield since last night. His daughter isn’t at her kindergarten.
Agent 250 finally has a place to go.
He parks the car some distance away from the house, sneaks through back yards, climbs in a window and points his gun at - two small children looking up at him.
“Drop the gun.”
He turns around to find himself face to face with a shot-gun held by an angry-looking man.
“I said drop the fucking gun.”
So he does – and then hurriedly picks it back up when the small boy reaches for it and hands it to the woman who has just walked in before anybody has a chance to get too excited about it.
A little while later, in a bedroom with faded wallpaper, there are three men tied to chairs.
There are voices approaching the bedroom, indistinct through the closed door.
“…weren’t supposed to…”
“…really should have expected…”
Then the door opens and a woman walks in, followed by Niels.
“I swear, Gyldensted, if you lay one finger on my daughter...”
But Niels just leans against the doorframe, gesturing towards 300.
“See. I’ve done my part.”
“No, you haven’t!”
“Sure I have. Keep ‘George’ away from the church and look – he’s nowhere near it.”
“But you weren’t supposed to kidnap my Dad!”
“Oh, I didn’t. He came along all by himself. What did you expect him to do? Sit at home and cry?”
“Now listen here, young lady,” and 250 has a pretty impressive ‘disapproving father’ voice. “I know that you and ‘George’ aren’t the best of friends, but you need to understand that who I choose to marry is my choice. Not yours.”
As it turns out, Britney has perfected the daughterly arts of storming off in a huff, slamming the door behind her. A picture falls from the wall and glass shatters.
“So, what happens now?”
“Well,” and Niels grins, “I suppose we could have a wedding.”
“I thought Britney hired you to prevent the wedding.”
“Nah, like I said, she hired me to keep Agent 300 away from the church – which I did. Nobody said anything about a wedding.”
“Doesn’t matter – it’s not like we have a priest.”
“Well, as to that – did I ever tell you about that time Peter had me officially ordained in his church?”
“Oh no! No! We are not going to get married like this and we are not getting married by you!”
“Are you absolutely sure about that?” and Niels smirks.
In the end, in the bedroom with faded wallpaper, there’s a shotgun wedding. Well, a gun wedding, anyway.
In a bedroom there are two newly-weds, tied to chairs.
Niels has left, taking Thomas with him and oh-so-considerately closing the door behind them with a wink.
The older newly-wed takes out a knife from – well, from somewhere – and cuts himself and his husband loose. For a moment, he considers going after Niels, but “He’s probably long gone by now, isn’t he?”
Really, he’s getting too old for this sort of thing. He sighs, looks at his husband – his very naked husband standing next to a very nice bed – and suddenly don’t feel old at all.
“Well, I suppose it is out wedding night.”
Downstairs in the kitchen, Thomas looks up from his well-deserved cup of coffee at the rhythmic noises coming from above.
“Oh, you have got to be kidding me!”
After a moment's consideration, he grabs the squirt bottle that's kept around for when Mimi starts climbing the curtains and heads upstairs.
Three days later, there are two men in a church.
Britney is sitting between her mother and Detective Yellowfield, looking absolutely furious. Niels and his family is sitting in one of the middle pews, invited in the possibly vain hope that if they can keep an eye on them, they can get through this wedding – reneval of vows, whatever you will call it – without any further interruptions.
“You may kiss the groom.”
Of course, that’s when the alien fleet chooses to invade...