Don’t Wake Me
By Maquis Leader
Author’s note: This is set a few years after Chosen.
“Buffy, I want you to listen to me. As your – “
“Giles, you don’t – “
“I do.” Giles held up a hand to cut off her protest. “I am going to talk to you and you are going to listen. For once.” A smile threatened to ruin his stern expression. “And if you’re good, I’ll give you a cookie.”
Buffy smiled, remembering her comment to Wes years ago. “Whenever Giles sends me on a mission, he always says please. And afterwards, I get a cookie.”
“Now, on this day, there are certain things a young lady must know. And as your Watch – your substitute father figure, I – “ He stopped as Buffy's smile faded and her bottom lip wobbled. After a moment, he continued more softly. “As the man who wishes with all his heart that he were your father, it’s my duty to discuss these things with you.”
Her throat tightened and tears welled up in her eyes. Blinking them back, she tried to focus on what Giles was saying.
“This day is a turning point, a beginning, if you will, and it’s very important that you understand certain things. There will be difficulties. Hardships to be faced.” He stopped and took her hands. “But there will be joys and wonder. And love. And you must always remember that you have a partner – someone to help shoulder the burdens and share the good times.”
“I will.” She leaned forward and kissed his cheek. “Thank you.”
“I’m not quite done.” He smiled and squeezed her hands. “Normally, your mother would speak to you about certain things – “
“That’d be a heck of a long distance phone call.” Somehow it hurt less to think of her mother who was dead than her father who wasn’t.
“Yes well, in any case, I shall do my best.” Giles straightened his tie and shifted in his chair. “As your mother, it’s my duty – “
“Giles!” Buffy's jaw dropped nearly into her lap. “You – you’re not – “
“Well of course not. But there is no one else. Willow is older than you by, I believe, six months? Hardly the maternal figure.” Buffy's eyes filled with tears again. That went well, Rupert, perhaps you should find a puppy to kick to cap the day.
“Really, Giles, it’s okay.” She sniffled and blinked hard.
“I want this to be perfect for you, Buffy. You deserve this more than anyone else I’ve ever known.” His own eyes were tearing up, and he blinked quickly to clear his sight. “You’ve saved the world time and again – unselfishly given your own life – and you deserve a perfect day.”
“I do, don’t I?” She grinned, an impish sparkle in her eyes. “I’d be all modest, but then, hey, it’s my day, right?”
“Right.” Giles settled back in his chair, thought about crossing his legs, and then decided against it. “Now, if it helps, you can imagine me in a violet gown. Stunning and yet tasteful, and of course looking much too young to have a daughter your age. Ash blonde hair artfully arranged.” When Buffy giggled, he smiled. “Or perhaps not.”
“Good try.” She giggled again. “Maybe I should give you a cookie.”
“We’ll see.” He took a deep, fortifying breath. “Now then, as a young woman, there are certain aspects to marriage you must aware of.”
Biting her lip, Buffy did her best not to laugh as Giles outlined the duties of the new bride to the marriage bed. He was deadly serious, although a flush stained his cheeks.
This time, she let the tears go and to hell with her mascara. Through thick and thin, good times and demon guts, Giles had been there for her. Her father had abandoned her, and her mother had tried her best to ignore the reality of her life as the Slayer. Angel left her, Parker dumped her, Riley ran away from her, Spike used her – only Giles had stayed by her side.
“I love you.” Buffy wrapped her arms around his neck. “I love you so much.”
Hugging her tightly, he kissed her cheek. “My dear girl.”
Looking up, Buffy saw that Willow had come back into the room, and held out an arm to her. Giles wrapped an arm around her as well and for a moment they held each other. Willow’s parents had long been absent from her life, and Giles had come to consider her his child as well. Not a bad job for a bachelor, old man.
“Well, all right then.” Giles kissed Willow’s cheek and then Buffy's once again. “I have to go see a certain young man and give him a stern lecture on providing for my daughter and the sound thrashing he’ll receive if he breaks her heart.”
After he left the room, Willow turned to Buffy. “A stern lecture?”
“He’s jonesing on the whole parental thing.” She pulled a tissue from the box on the dressing table and dabbed at her eyes. “Am I all raccoon?”
“Nope, not a smudge.”
“Is he – did he – “ Her hands shook as she threw the tissue away. “Is he here?”
“Who? Angel?” Willow’s green eyes went wide. “He showed about ten minutes ago.”
“Wow, just in time for the main event.” She shook her head. “He always did have dramatic timing.”
“Buffy, you knew Angel would be here.” Picking up the bouquet, she adjusted the pink roses. “It’s your big day. Come on, did you really think he wouldn’t be here for this?”
“I dunno.” Sorting through her makeup bag, Buffy found the lipstick she wanted.
“Even Xander didn’t bet against him.” Willow grinned. “Spike lost twenty bucks, though. And I think he has to wash someone’s car.”
“I’m cursed.” She carefully slid on pale pink over her lips. “Round up the flying pigs and plagues of locusts.”
“I think that’d be flying frogs, and no you’re not.” Handing Buffy another tissue to blot her lips, Willow shrugged. “You just have an unusual life is all. There’s worse things. You could be a boring person somewhere with a boring life.”
“Not sure that’d be so bad.”
“Except you wouldn’t be here.” She ran a hand down her dress. “And I wouldn’t have the bridesmaid dress not from hell.”
Willow did look good, the soft green showing off her red hair and pale skin. “You could be in one of those dresses the other girls were wearing.”
“Only if it came with a sack to put over my head.” Sticking out her tongue at Buffy, Willow giggled. “And our friendship – so over.”
At the bridal shop, they had both watched in a combination of awe and horror as a group of bridesmaids was fitted in shocking pink and neon red dresses. Their saleslady had quietly offered her opinion that the bride had actually picked her worst enemies because no one would dress her best friends in those dresses.
“How’s my makeup?” Willow leaned in to look over Buffy's shoulder into the mirror.
“It’s fine. No raccoon eyes for you either.”
“I had a weepy moment earlier.” Willow sighed. “Xander.”
Xander had tried to hide it, but the wedding preparations had reminded him of his and Anya’s own stalled walk down the aisle. And those thoughts always led him to her death and his guilt over not having been with her when she died.
There was a knock at the door and it opened slowly. “Any naked women in here?”
“Xander!” Willow pulled him into the room and shut the door. “Speaking of…”
“Darn it all, my luck just never changes.” He sighed dramatically. “Never a naked woman around when you need one. Or even if you don’t.”
“Not even at the bachelor party last night?” Buffy arched an eyebrow.
“Nary a one.” Xander assured her. “Probably the most boring bachelor party in the history of mankind. Even more boring than mine was.”
“Still miffed you’re not the best man?” Willow kidded.
“Whatever.” He plopped down on the small sofa. “I was angling for maid of honor – I’d look much better in that dress than you do. I’ve got the shoulders for it.”
“Touch the dress and die.” Willow said cheerfully.
There was another knock, and they heard Giles’ voice through the door. “We’re ready whenever you are.”
“I’m ready.” Buffy stood and slipped off the robe she’d had on over her dress and shook out her skirts. “How do I look?”
“Wowsa comes to mind.” Xander got up from the sofa.
“Seconding your wowsa.” Willow added. “And trumping you with an I hate your guts.”
“Oh, Will.” Buffy threw her arms around the other woman. “That’s the sweetest thing anyone’s ever said to me.”
“And women wonder why we don’t understand them.” He grunted as the two women turned on him and hugged him.
Giles turned as the door opened. Xander came out, pink lipstick on one cheek, red on the other, and a smile on his lips. Willow followed, stopping to give him a quick peck on the cheek before trailing after Xander down the hall to the chapel.
Buffy stepped out of the room and Giles caught his breath. The bloody expensive dress she’d wanted was perfect. The white silk and lace accented her flushed cheeks and honey golden hair, making her look almost ethereal. “Dear Lord.”
Concerned, she looked down at her dress. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing – nothing at all.” He held out his arm. “That was a good dear Lord, not a, ah… the world is coming to a grinding halt dear Lord.”
“You’d think I’d know the difference by now.” Taking his arm, she smiled. “Shall we?”
“Of course. If not, all those shrimp puffs will go to waste.”
At the door to the chapel, Dawn gave her a quick hug while Willow straightened the train of her dress out.
“Okay, checklist.” Dawn ordered. “Something old?”
“Check.” Buffy ran her fingers over her necklace.
“Check.” She winked at Xander. “One little black garter.”
“Which you did not let me see you put on.” He sighed. “I miss all the fun.”
“You’ll get to see it later.” Buffy told him. “If you’re lucky you might even catch it.”
“Something borrowed? Which you better remember to return?”
“Check and double check.” Grinning, Buffy reached up and tugged at the earrings Dawn had lent her.
“What um? What’s um?” Dawn frowned. “What is it?”
“Don’t worry, it’s covered.” Buffy assured her sister.
“You could say that.” Willow giggled.
“We’re not screwing this up. Do you have something blue or not?” Dawn demanded. “Show me.”
“Yes.” Buffy bit her lip to keep from laughing. “But only he gets to see.”
“Silky blue pantalets.” Willow added helpfully. “And I did see them and they’re so cute and he’ll just go all – and I’m shutting up now.”
“Eww!” Dawn made a face. “Just eww!”
“Oh dear Lord, there’s a mental picture I didn’t need.” Giles sighed.
“You didn’t need?” Xander looked up at the stained glass skylight. “Does God strike people down for incestuous thoughts in church?”
“Let’s go, people.” Dawn fluffed out her own skirts. “Let’s get this dog and pony show going.”
“Yes, ma’am.” Opening the doors, Xander escorted Willow and Dawn inside and the music started.
Buffy took a step. Then she stopped. Frozen.
“I can’t get my deposit on the hall back, so you’re bloody well walking down the aisle.” Giles said softly.
“I’m scared.” Her heart was pounding so hard it hurt.
“Just pretend there’s a vampire waiting at the other end.” He patted her hand. “You’ll be fine.” That might not have been the best thing to say considering her past, but Buffy did begin to move again.
The pounding in her chest was so loud it drowned out the music. The faces of her friends blurred as she paced slowly by, smiling automatically. Xander reached a hand to her and she squeezed it gratefully as she went past. Not daring to look up, she watched her shoes play peekaboo from under her skirt.
They stopped when they reached the end of the aisle and she turned to hand her bouquet to Willow. Both Willow and Dawn smiled at her and she did her best to smile back. Turning, she found the priest smiling gently down at her.
“Who gives this woman into marriage?”
“I do.” Giles placed her hand into a large, warm, male hand. “Her father.” And God can just bloody well strike me dead for lying if he likes.
When Giles stepped back, Buffy turned and stared at the chest of the man beside her. Silvery buttons on the white shirt. Black vest. Black coat.
Warm fingers under her chin tipped her head up. Gulping, she counted the buttons as they went past.
“Second thoughts?” His voice was soft, pitched for her sensitive ears only.
Past the tie, throat, chin, lips – sexy, kissable lips – nose, eyes. The wonderfully dark chocolate eyes. “I’m afraid.”
“What if I wake up?” Her lips trembled. “I’m afraid I’ll wake up.”
“I could pinch you if you like.” Wes whispered.
“Dearly beloved.” The priest began. “We are gathered here in the sight of God, and in the face of this company, to join together Buffy and Angel in holy matrimony.”
Angel caressed her cheek softly with his fingertips. “The dream begins here, lass.”
Other stories in the Fluffily Ever After Series.
The companion piece to this one, from Angel's pov: Before I Wake
Shanshu and the past: Finding Angel
A fluffily ever after ficlet: Roses
Back to the main page for more B/A fic.