“I, Buffy, take you, Rupert, to be my husband...”
She had never meant for it to get this far. It had been three years since the collapse of Sunnydale, and almost seven years since she’d last seen her father. In all that time they had exchanged the occasional holiday card, played phone tag a half dozen times, but neither had made any real effort to see the other. It bothered her that he didn’t try harder to be a part of her life after she moved to Sunnydale. She wanted to get back at him, so to speak, to make him as angry as she was. She figured there was no better way to achieve that goal than to tell him she was engaged to a man even older than he was.
She hadn’t expected the crying. She had never seen her father cry, but no sooner were the words out of her mouth than he started blubbering, apologizing, and asking for a chance to walk his little girl down the aisle.
Rather than doing the sane thing, at this point, and setting the record straight, she said whatever she needed to say so her daddy would keep paying attention to her. It annoyed her how much she still craved his approval, even after all these years.
Suddenly he was calling every week, trying to schedule dinners with her and her fiancé. And when she told him they lived in London, he offered to fly out so they could meet. She didn’t have to worry about a thing, he’d make all the arrangements. He had already missed so much, he wasn’t going to let a little thing like international travel keep them apart.
She should’ve told him then, but instead she dug her heels in more. It wouldn’t have been so bad, except there was no fiancé.
She waited until they were at the airport to tell Giles what had transpired between her and her father. She could tell he didn’t understand why she told him the story at first, by his bemused expression. It took another couple of minutes for him to register that she wanted him to play the part of her fiancé. She begged, pleaded, and bribed him, but it wasn’t until she pouted that he gave in.
“I, Rupert, take you, Buffy, to be my wife…”
He had never meant for it to get this far. It never ceased to amaze him the predicaments Buffy managed to tangle herself up in, and by extension him. His life before her, save for his stint as Ripper in his youth, hadn’t been nearly this farcical.
Still, he couldn’t deny her anything for long, he agreed to help her even though he knew he’d probably live to regret it. Besides, after they talked it through they had a foolproof plan. Or, it would’ve been had the plan not changed several times.
They initially planned to break off the engagement. However, if Buffy’s father were to continue to be in her life he would eventually start to question why she was still working closely with her former fiancé after he’d broken of their engagement.
So then she asked him to have a small ceremony, ten or so close friends, and of course Hank Summers. He agreed, it wouldn’t be a real wedding anyway, no paperwork so it wouldn’t be a legal entanglement.
Then her father found out they were planning a small ceremony. He told them it simply wouldn’t do, and that Buffy should have the wedding of her dreams. He would pay, he was the father of the bride after all.
Again he agreed. It wasn’t legal, why should he care whether there were ten or ten thousand people there?
It wasn’t as if their relationship had changed much throughout the process either. Buffy’s father didn’t seem to question their lack of intimate contact in his presence, probably figuring it was due to his British reserve. Since the collapse of Sunnydale they had been putting a lot of work into their broken friendship, and had managed to rebuild it nicely. In fact, with the restructuring of the Council making them equals, it gave them an opportunity to become closer than they had ever been before.
It wasn’t until the night before the wedding that Buffy mentioned one final change that sent their relationship careening into the unknown.
Buffy’s father was a lawyer, and as such insisted on helping them with the legal paperwork and documents in preparation of their coming nuptials. Giles filled out the paperwork, signed them, then left them in a folder, where they were supposed to eventually be shredded.
Hank apparently decided there was more he could do to help, so they wouldn’t have to take time out of their busy schedules to file paperwork.
The key to their fake marriage being fake was it not being legally binding. Thanks to Hank Summers that was no longer the case. As soon as they said their vows their marriage was legally binding, and a whole lot harder to get out of.
With the vows said there was only one part of the ceremony left and both their hearts pounded in their chests as the words they knew would eventually come were finally spoken.
“I now pronounce you husband and wife, you may now kiss the bride.”
Giles looked at Buffy, silently asking her permission to cross a line they knew at the beginning of this charade would inevitably be crossed, yet hadn’t been discussed.
This was one part of the ceremony she wished she’d given more consideration to. She didn’t exactly like the idea of one man giving another man permission to kiss her. It should be completely up to her. So while Giles looked to her, she jumped into action, as is her nature, and pulled her husband’s face down to hers in their first kiss, and as his soft yet insistent lips met hers with equal fervor, she wondered if it would be their last.