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Five Weddings that Never Happened

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ONE

It was a good wedding. Sure, there was the drunken embarrassing father, the demonic gatecrasher, the cheap wine and bad bridesmaid dresses and a cold-footed groom who had to be talked down by his stalwart best man (er, woman) but by the end of the night they were married, and that's what counts.

A little after midnight, Anya whispered in Xander's ear "Let's go consummate our marriage."

"California law doesn't actually require—" he started, but she cut him off with a laughing kiss.

Xander Harris smiled, thought for a second about his incredible luck, and went home with his wife.


TWO

They stopped halfway through the ceremony because Connor started crying. Fred offered to take him outside the chapel and walk him around a bit to see if that would quiet him, but Angel shook his head. It had been six months since Holtz's failed kidnapping attempt, and Angel didn't hold it against Wesley but he still got a little uneasy whenever Connor was out of sight. "He's just hungry," Angel guessed.

"Got the bottle right here, dog," Gunn said, taking the baby on his lap.

"Right, where were we?" Cordelia said. "Oh, yeah. I do!"

And Angel kissed the bride.


THREE

He made it through the whole ceremony just fine. It was his own bloody speech at the reception afterwards that left him polishing his glasses to distract everyone from his suddenly-wet eyes.

Jenny stood up, smiling, to take her turn. He knew she saw the tears and would tease him later, and love him for it. "You know," she said, "this wedding nearly didn't happen. I did something terrible, and I thought Rupert would never forgive me." The silence was suddenly awkward. Then Jenny confessed to the room: "I took him to a monster truck rally."

Even Angel laughed.


FOUR

For the first dance, the band played "Wind Beneath My Wings." Anya and Xander collapsed together giggling, mystifying everyone but Willow, Giles, and the happy couple themselves.

Buffy was a wedding-cake bride in a fashionable white gown and $200 shoes. Spike wore all black: tuxedo, dress shirt, Doc Martens, eyeliner. For the second song, Buffy led Angel onto the dance floor and Spike took Dawn.

"Thanks for your blessing," Buffy whispered to Angel. "It meant a lot to him."

"We're family now," Dawn said, testing the word. "You'll love her forever, right?"

Spike nodded, solemn. "As long as I live."


FIVE

Walking down the aisle, Willow has a sudden, shivery vision of a world that might have been. She sees blood and pain and terrible dark power, grief that could maim and kill and shatter the world.

She blinks and it's gone. Tara waits for her under the canopy, smiling, practically glowing. They're mixing Jewish traditions and Wiccan ones, with a Unitarian minister officiating.

During the vows, Willow improvises. "We know there are so many possible worlds," she says, glancing at Anya. "Hell dimensions, heavenly ones, a world without shrimp. And you know? Today? This is the best one of all."