Killer Brides From Hell

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Er… sorry about the story title. I know it sucks, but I had to call it something and I couldn’t think of anything better. If I do, I’ll come back and change it.

Anyway, it’s my posting day, and here is my story. It’s part of a very daft series of fics I started back in August, the rest of which can be found here, and this one probably won’t make a lot of sense if you haven’t read at least the first of those, Marriage of Convenience. However, if you don’t want to read the others, I hope you’ll just try this and go with the flow.

Setting: BtVS Season 4, AU from Something Blue. This story takes place around the time of This Year’s Girl/Who Are You.
Rating: PG-13 at most
Pairing: You’re joking, aren’t you?
Beta: Many thanks to hello_spikey for her sterling (and extremely fast) beta assistance, and to dwyld for last minute ideas bouncing.
Also, if anyone can think of a better title (something wedding-related – Hell’s Bells would have been perfect but it’s taken), please tell me and I’ll happily credit you.

Killer Brides From Hell

“Will you quit with the singing?” Buffy snapped. “I’m nervous enough without the Loony Tunes soundtrack.” Her hands were clenched so tightly around her bridal bouquet it looked like she was trying to strangle it.

For what felt like the hundredth time today already, Willow treated Drusilla to her best Senior Maid of Honour disapproving look and put her finger to her lips. “Shush!”

But Drusilla took no notice. She was staring blankly into a fragment of broken mirror in the palm of her hand, like she had a reflection in its jagged surface and had put herself under thrall. Meanwhile, the irritating half-singing, half-chanting continued.

This was bad. Any minute now Buffy would be threatening to stake Drusilla again, and then all hell would break loose – which, Willow thought, was probably Drusilla’s plan all along.

On cue, Buffy leaned close to hiss in Willow’s ear,

“Can’t I just stake her?”

Willow shook her head. “Uh-uh. You promised Spike, remember? No staking the ex-girlfriends. At least, not this one.”

Buffy pouted. “But I crossed my fingers when I promised, so it totally doesn’t count.”

Willow cringed. Vampires had awfully good hearing and the last thing they needed now was a repeat performance of what had happened at the rehearsal dinner. Buffy’s Aunt Arlene threatening to sue Drusilla’s dopey new boyfriend with the antlers over that sliming incident was bad enough.

Fortunately, Drusilla seemed lost in her own, creepy little world. She continued to stare into the broken mirror, and sing half under her breath. Meanwhile, Buffy fussed and fumed and twisted the hideous, silver-skull ring on her finger, the very picture of a terrified bride-to-be

Willow felt an all too-familiar pang of guilt at the sight. What was with that Do My Will spell? Why wouldn’t it just break already, before it was too late? She’d never, ever meant this to happen, so how could it be her will? And yet here they were, with Giles still blind, Xander still joined at the hip with Anya, and Buffy about to marry Spike, her former nemesis, and still an evil, unrepentant bloodsucking fiend.

Despite the guilt, Willow shook her head again firmly. “It totally does count.”

Buffy’s pout grew poutier.

“Can’t you at least get her out of here until the wedding starts? Take her for a walk, or something?”

The thought of going for a moonlit stroll with Drusilla didn’t appeal much at all, not even as a sop to Willow’s guilty conscience.

“You’re not being fair, okay?” she said loudly, right in Drusilla’s ear. “After all, it’s Buffy’s big day, and every bride is queen for a day, right? Right?”

At first, Drusilla’s face stayed blank. Then, with a suddenness that made Willow yelp and step away hurriedly, she surged to her feet and bobbed Buffy a curtsey, peach satin skirts pooling on the ground around her in a neat circle.

“Bad mirror!” she exclaimed. “It muddled the red queen with the white and made my poor head hurt. So sorry, your majesty.”

“I bet you are.” Buffy glared at her. “You’re just lucky my Spikey still cares word one about you, that’s all, after the skanky way you treated him.”

Drusilla laughed an enigmatic laugh, which of course only made Buffy look even more slay-happy.

Willow interrupted again quickly. “Cool it, you guys. It’s nearly seven-thirty. They’ll be striking up the wedding march any moment now.”

“Not so much.” Joyce Summers, looking flushed and bewildered, which had been her default expression ever since Buffy had announced her engagement to Spike, had ducked through the torn velvet curtain into the vestry, where the bridal party were waiting. “Spike’s disappeared, and so have Angel and Xander.”

“Bloody typical! Tole’ you he was completely unreliable.”

Everyone turned to where Giles sat slumped on a pile of broken down pews stacked up in the corner. His hair and dress shirt were rumpled, his bowtie slightly askew, and there was a suspicious hip-flask shaped bulge in his pants pocket.

Joyce put her hands on her hips. “Mr Giles, are you drunk again?”

“Not a bit of it,” Giles slurred. “No, tell a lie. ‘Course I bloody am, an’ I intend to be a lot drunker b’fore this is over.” Taking the hip-flask out of his pocket, he uncapped it and took a long swig.

“Oh, for heaven’s sake. Fine father of the bride substitute you turned out to be.” Joyce turned her back on him and began fussing with Buffy’s veil, even though Willow had already re-arranged it three times.

Buffy did look very pretty, Willow thought, with the blonde ringlets and the daring décolletage, even if her dress was kind of meringue-like, undulating out in frothy folds from the narrow waist until she looked like a doll drowning in fabric. The Do My Will spell seemed to have affected her sense of taste in more ways than the obvious.

“I always wanted a bride dolly,” Drusilla said, suddenly. “But Daddy and Spike won’t let me. No eating the bride, they said.”

“I beg your pardon?” Joyce gaped at her, but Willow cut in quickly again, because a little reminder never hurt.

Or the guests. You got that, Dru, didn’t you?”

It was Drusilla’s turn to pout. “No one ever lets me have any fun.”

“And a good thing too,” Joyce muttered. “Willow, go find out where Spike’s gotten to, will you? The caterers are expecting us at the hall at 8.30pm sharp, and you’ve no idea how hard it is to persuade people to work after dark in this town. If we’re late, they may all skedaddle.”

“Sure thing, Mrs Summers.” Willow gave Drusilla a last warning glance, which was probably totally lost on her, and went over to the moth-eaten curtain that separated the vestry from the body of the burned-out church. Poking her head through it, she frowned up at the big holes in the rafters, through which shafts of cool, late evening light, like searchlights, picked out faces here and there in the congregation.

There seemed to be a pretty even two-way split, with human guests on one side of the aisle and demons on the other. The demons were mostly friends and relatives of Spike’s. Who knew Spike had friends?

Here and there, some poor human or demon had gotten themselves seated on the wrong side and was looking very uncomfortable, or in the case of Willow’s mom were taking the opportunity to broaden their cultural horizons. Sheila Rosenberg was deep in conversation with Drusilla’s new boyfriend, the chaos demon with the antlers, unaware that she was being slimed on.

Willow rolled her eyes. Cue a new research paper on indigenous American peoples – or not-peoples in this case.

Towards the back of the church, the remains of the organ that Buffy had toppled onto Spike during the Order of Taraka incident two whole years ago were still piled up every which way. Buffy hadn’t wanted anything moved – for sentimental reasons, she said.

At the front, the minister – Spike’s floppy-eared friend Clem – stood waiting in his Gurnenthar the Ascended-ite ceremonial bloodstained apron. But bridegroom, best man and chief usher were conspicuous by their absence.

Anya was sitting in a nearby pew, wearing a really dumb-looking wide-brimmed hat. With a grimace of distaste, Willow tiptoed forward, bent down and hissed in her ear – not easy, what with the hat brim – “Where are they?”

Anya turned, almost knocking Willow flying in the process.

“Oh, it’s you.” Her dark eyes narrowed critically as she took in Willow’s bridesmaid’s dress. “That colour really doesn’t suit you. When I marry Xander, I’ll make my bridesmaids wear green. Then you won’t look all washed out the way you do now.”

Willow felt herself blushing. It was true. Peach really wasn’t her colour. It wasn’t Drusilla’s either, but Buffy had insisted. In fact, that was probably why she had insisted.

“Never mind that. Where’s Spike gone?” Willow growled, adding silently, And who says you’re going to marry Xander anyway?

Anya shrugged. “To have yet another fight with Angel, of course. The two of them have been quarrelling non-stop since they got here. Angel said that Buffy’s only marrying Spike because she’s under a spell, and besides Spike isn’t even a Gurnenthar the Ascended-ite but Church of England, so the ceremony won’t count. Spike said Angel was just a sore loser. Then he said something rude in British and Angel hit him.” She smiled a sunny smile. “It’s all very tedious, but best to let them get it out of their systems, I think.”

“Well, I don’t,” Willow said. “The wedding was supposed to have started five minutes ago. They’re ruining Buffy’s big day.”

Anya looked puzzled. “But isn’t that a good thing? I thought you didn’t want her to get married to Spike.”

“I don’t, but…” Willow shrugged helplessly. She was all argued out, trying to reason with Buffy.

Anya gave her a sympathetic look, which quickly morphed back into the infuriating overly bright smile. “I understand. You feel swept along by the forces of destiny, like a twig in a stream. Best thing is, don’t fight it. Fighting destiny is kind of futile. Because it’s destiny.”

“That’s dumb,” Willow protested. “It was a spell gone wrong, that’s all. Destiny has nothing to do with it.”

Anya shrugged again, the smile never faltering. “I didn’t mean it anyway. I only said it so you wouldn’t feel so guilty about the fact that it’s all your fault Buffy’s marrying an evil, unrepentant bloodsucking fiend. Which it is.”

Willow bristled, but since she didn’t have an answer and time was a-wasting, she ducked back through the curtain into the vestry and attempted to smile at Buffy’s frowning face. “Er…um…seems Spike and Angel had a bit of a theological disagreement and have gone out back to settle it mano a mano.”

“Oh, aren’t they the limit?” Joyce huffed. “I’ll go give them a piece of my mind.”

“S’okay, mom.” Face like thunder, Buffy thrust her bouquet into Joyce’s arms, and headed for the curtain. “I got it.”

“Buffy!” Joyce reached for her, but missed. “Don’t, honey. It’s bad luck for Spike to see your dress before the wedding, remember?”

This had about as much effect on Buffy as might have been expected. But Giles dissolved into a bout of hysterical laughter that made even Drusilla frown at him and shake her finger disapprovingly.

“Bad luck?” Giles crowed. “Bad luck?”

“Silly Watcher,” Drusilla hissed. “The Slayer can’t help it if the naughty mirror shows her the wrong reflection!”

“Willow…” Joyce began, but impelled by guilt yet again – you’ve already screwed up Buffy’s life forever, at least don’t screw up the screw up -Willow was already on the move.

“On it!”

Somehow or other, Willow managed not to trip over her long skirts as she pelted after Buffy. When they burst through the curtains into the aisle, she was right behind her.

“Hey there!” Willow waved at the assembled guests, who’d all turned to stare at them, paused for a moment to wonder what that goat was doing tied to the altar and why Clem was holding that very big knife, realised Buffy was getting away and ran after her again, to the door.

As they went, there was a loud burst of unkind laughter from the vampire section of the congregation.

“What’s the matter, Slayer?” someone called. “Gotten cold feet?”

“None of your business, stakebait,” Buffy growled. Then she was gone through the door, with Willow in hot pursuit.

The sun had set and creepy dark shadows were spreading over the ground. Somewhere off in the woods, an owl screeched loudly. Willow followed the glimmer of Buffy’s white dress towards the sounds of distant pummelling. She could hear Xander’s voice now, shouting, “Guys, guys! Enough already. Angels can so dance on the head of a pin, okay?”

Then the pummelling sounds were suddenly a lot closer, there was a weird glow and a sort of silent boom, and Willow came around the corner of the church and ran slap-bang into Buffy running back the other way.

They rebounded off each other, went staggering back and ended up on their butts.

“Oh hey, Buffy, I’m sor –” but Willow broke off mid-apology as the fluttering folds of Buffy’s wedding dress settled to the ground revealing a third person lying a little distance away, all dark hair, mad dark eyes and skanky leather pants.

Willow stared, stared some more, then grabbed hold of Buffy’s arm.

“Faith! It’s Faith! What’s she doing here?”

“Let go of me!” Buffy shook off Willow’s grip and staggered to her feet. She looked flustered, her veil was askew and there was a big rip in the hem of her wedding dress. Her eyes were wild and staring.

“Oh God!” Faith wailed, scrambling up in turn, and sounding very un-Faithlike. “Look at my dress! It’s ruined.”

“Huh?” On her feet now too, Willow looked from Faith to Buffy and back again. “Buffy, do something. She’s gone crazy! Crazier.”

Buffy looked down at herself, smoothing her hands over the folds of the wedding dress, which wouldn’t stay flattened but billowed out again like a hot air balloon about to take off. “You’re not kidding,'” she said. “This dress totally sucks.”

Willow blinked at her. “Say what now?”

Then, as a big black truck came screeching into the parking lot on three wheels and three men with big, black guns piled out of it, and Angel and Spike, herded by Xander, appeared around the corner of the church, still snapping and snarling at each other, Buffy pushed Willow aside. “Out of my way, loser.”

She began to run back in the direction of the church.

“Stop her!” Faith shouted. “That’s my wedding dress she’s wearing!” Meantime, the guys with guns all swung them around in Faith’s direction.

“Faith Lehane, ” one called, in a British accent, “we arrest you in the name of the Watchers’ Council of Great Britain.”

Faith stared at them with her mouth hanging stupidly open. “I am so going to kill her when I catch her.” Then she put her hands on her hips. “I’m not Faith, you knuckleheads. She is.” And she indicated the fleeing Buffy.

“Yeah, yeah!” the British guy sneered. “Pull the other one, Lehane. It’s got bells on.”

“Huh?” Faith’s mouth dropped open again. “What other one?”

Willow realised her own mouth was hanging open and shut it with a snap, just as Angel, Spike and Xander drew abreast of her.

“Who’s this?” Spike asked. He was panting, and blood was dripping from his nose onto his white shirtfront, ruining his only concession to the traditional bridegroom’s wardrobe, if you didn’t count the spray of wilting carnations in his duster lapel.

“Another Slayer.” Angel was fingering his split lip. “A crazy one. She shot me with a poisoned arrow once.”

“And yet you’re still here?” Spike gave Faith a disgusted look. “Bint has a crap aim. She ought to bloody practise more.”

Xander had grabbed Willow’s hand to drag her away from Faith. “Careful, Will. She’s dangerous, not to mention totally psycho. Get back.”

“‘Oi!” one of the British guys called, gesturing with his big, black gun. “Civilians! Get out of the bleedin’ way.”

Spike vamped out, grinned a big, fangy grin and turned towards the three British guys.

“‘Who’re you callin’ a civilian, tosser?”

“It’s a vamp! Lehane’s in league with a vamp!” There was an urgent clattering as the British guys scrambled to replace their guns with crossbows out of the back of their truck, but Spike was already barrelling towards them, snarling horribly, with Faith in hot pursuit.

“The chip, honey! Remember the chip!” Faith shouted, while behind them Angel lumbered into motion, with a muttered, “Can’t he stay out of trouble for even five seconds?”

“Will,” Xander said, plaintively. “What’s going on?”

Willow shook her head. “I wish I knew.”

They watched, faces screwing up in reluctant sympathy, as Spike knocked aside a flying crossbow bolt, landed one punch on the nearest British guy, then fell to the ground yelling and clutching his head.

“What did I tell you?” Faith scolded. She began to drag Spike clear, calling to Angel over her shoulder, “You can manage on your own, Angel, right?”

Angel gave her an inscrutable look. He snatched a crossbow from one of the British guys with contemptuous ease and stomped on it. “Yeah, guess I’m gonna have to.”

Spike was beginning to recover. He allowed Faith to pull him to his feet.

“Huh!” he said. Then he leaned in close and sniffed her, like an animal.

Faith pushed him. “Eww, stop that! It tickles.”

“Doesn’t look like her. Doesn’t smell like her.” Spike tilted his head. “Buffy?”

For answer, Faith put her hands on her hips again. “Dumbass. Of course it’s me!”

Then, her lower lip began to wobble. “How did you know?”

Spike smirked at her. “I’d know you anywhere, pet – even wearin’ some other bint’s body.”

“You would?” Faith beamed at him, in a sunny, very un-Faith-like way. “That’s so sweet.” The next moment, they were kissing. There might have been some groping involved too. There usually was with Spike.

“Woah!” Xander said. “So that’s…woah!”

“Yep,” Willow agreed, looking anywhere but at the kissing couple. “It’s Buffy.”

Suddenly Faith – or Buffy, as it seemed –pushed Spike away and went back to glaring.

“That’s all very well, but how did you know?”

Spike smirked some more.

“Two ways. First, the bint who looks like Buffy ran away and left her best friend alone with this psycho slayer, and Buffy’s too much of a goodie two shoes to do that. Second – well, dunno who this Lehane chit is, but from the way you – she, that is – looks, can tell she’s not the marryin’ kind – nice leathers, by the way. Not the dress-wearin’ kind either, yet there she –you, I mean – was, frettin’ over that bloody stupid wedding dress.”

“Oh boy!” Willow huddled closer to Xander. “He shouldn’t have said that.”

Xander nodded vehemently. “Brace for impact, Will.”

Faith– or was she really Buffy? This was so confusing!- had a face like a thundercloud.

“It. Is. Not,” she gritted, each word very distinct, “A. Stupid. Dress.”

Agree with her, agree with her, Willow begged Spike silently, but of course, “Looks like a sodding meringue,” Spike teased. “Can’t you just swap gear with this Faith bint permanently?”

“Playing with fire, William,” Angel sing-songed in the background, in between trading blows with one of the British guys, while Xander let go of Willow and put his hands over his ears.

Buffy-as-Faith looked about ready to explode. “Well, at least I made the effort. Look at you. You’re still wearing those filthy old docs.”

Spike, who seemed completely insensible to the danger he was in, only smirked even more, until his face was all smirk. “Not wearin’ a sodding penguin suit even for you, Slayer.”

For a moment, Willow felt a surge of hope. Maybe this was it? At long last, the spell was going to break, and Buffy and Spike would both come to their senses before it was too late.

Then Xander shook Willow’s arm. “So, if that’s Buffy, where Faith’s gotten to?” His words were followed by the sound of crashing glass and horrible shrieking from inside the church.

Buffy-as-Faith froze with her fist already raised. “Mom!” she squeaked, and began to run.

“Soddit! Wait for me!” Spike pelted after her, with Willow and Xander bringing up the rear.

Inside the church, things were even more chaotic. Clem was slumped on the ground looking groggy and rubbing his head, while Faith-as-Buffy – wild-eyed and increasingly dishevelled-looking – was holding Clem’s big shiny knife to Joyce Summers’ throat. The goat, still tied to the altar, was baa-ing plaintively.

The different sections of the congregation had reacted to this shocking turn of events in very different ways. The human guests were huddled against the far wall of the church, looking shocked and frightened and making calls on their cell phones, while the vampire/demon contingent was plainly enjoying itself. There seemed to be a sweepstake going as to whether or not the Slayer would kill her own mother. Money was changing hands. Willow saw her mom put a ten dollar bill into a passing hat.

“Stay back!” Faith-as-Buffy shouted, when she saw them coming. “I don’t even wanna know what crazy shit’s going down here, B, but I’m guessing your mom getting it in the neck will spoil the party mood.”

A hand clutched Willow’s arm, and she turned to see Giles. He was staring straight in front of him, and as always Willow couldn’t resist waving her hand in front of his eyes to see if the spell had worn off. It hadn’t. Giles didn’t even blink. Behind him, Drusilla hissed and spluttered like an angry tabby cat.

“Willow.” Giles breathed whisky fumes in Willow’s face. “Would you please tell me what on earth is going on?”

“Long story,” Willow said. “Faith’s woken up from her coma, she’s swapped bodies with Buffy somehow and now she’s threatening to kill Mrs Summers.” Okay, maybe not so long.

“Ah.” Giles didn’t look greatly surprised. “Faith must have used a Servlakian Mirror Spell. No doubt a final gift from the Mayor. Well, I did tell everyone no good could come of this wedding. No one ever listens to me.”

“No one,” Drusilla echoed him, crossly. Then she pushed the fragment of cracked mirror into Willow’s grasp. “Take this and give them back their proper faces, witch. My little Spike is not allowed another dark princess. Mummy doesn’t like that idea at all.”

So not helpful, not to mention rude! Clutching the mirror shard in her hand, Willow turned back in time to see Clem waver to his feet and steady himself on the end of the nearest pew. The goat, meanwhile, had stopped baa-ing and was busy chomping the altar cloth.

“It’s okay, it’s okay,” Clem called to the congregation at large. “Seems the Slayer’s opted to bless the wedding with a human sacrifice rather than the standard goat. That’s unusual these days, folks, but by no means unheard of. Settle down now and we can start the wedding.”

“I’ve done no such thing,” Buffy-as-Faith called, indignantly. She indicated the human guests. “Xander, try and calm these people down. Assure them that no one – not even a goat – is getting sacrificed.” Then she held up her hands.

“Okay, Faith. Tell me what you want.”

Faith-as-Buffy’s eyes darted wildly right and left. The spray of pearls that kept her veil in place tilted even further askew as she clutched Joyce more tightly to her.

“How about I keep this body? Mine is wanted by the Watchers’ Council, and the cops, and it never brought me anything but trouble anyway. Also, I want a fast car outta here. And clothes.” She indicated the wedding dress. “Real clothes, okay? Not this stupid thing.”

“It is not stupid,” Buffy-as-Faith muttered crossly. “Why does everyone keep saying that?” More loudly, she said, “You want my body, Faith, you can have it. Just don’t hurt my mom, all right?”

“I’ll think about it,” Faith-as-Buffy called back. “Just go get the car.”

“You got it.” Buffy-as-Faith dropped her hands and began to back away. As she passed Spike, she mouthed something at him. Willow couldn’t make out the word exactly – something like ‘coat,’ or maybe ‘choke.’ No wonder Spike seemed pleased. Choking people was probably right up his alley.

While Buffy-as-Faith backed out of the church with Faith-as-Buffy’s mad, suspicious eyes fixed on her, Spike elbowed his way to the front of the crowd. He fished a pack of cigarettes and a lighter out of his duster pocket, put a smoke in his mouth and lit it. Then, hips to the fore, he began to saunter slowly in Faith-as-Buffy’s direction.

Faith-as-Buffy took a firmer grip on Joyce’s neck. “Stay back!”

Spike paused. He put his hand on his chest, as if to say, “Who, me?” and took another step forward.

“Hey!” Faith-as-Buffy snarled. “What’d I just say?”

Spike stopped again. Then he vamped out. “Oh don’t mind little me,” he said. “Just want a better view of the blood lettin’, that’s all. Yum yum.”

Faith-as-Buffy frowned. “Just don’t get too close, Fang-face, okay?”

Spike held up his hands, but continued to sidle closer, while Faith-as-Buffy watched him, the hand holding the knife shaking slightly. “You’re the boss, Slayer,” Spike purred.

“I so am!” There was a loud crash and Buffy-as-Faith came flying through the big window at the north end of the church, did a somersault in midair and landed feet first on the altar.

A collective gasp went up from the congregation. All eyes were on Faith-as-Buffy and that big, shiny knife, so close to Joyce’s vulnerable throat. But in that same frozen moment, Spike had leapt forward and torn the goat’s tether from the altar. He kicked it hard in the hindquarters with one big, black boot, before dropping to his knees clutching his head again. The goat squealed furiously and butted the nearest person, which happened to be Faith-as-Buffy.

Faith-as-Buffy went stumbling forward with a surprised yelp, while Spike staggered back to his feet, wrenched Joyce from Faith-as-Buffy’s arms and threw her clear of danger. Joyce went sailing past Willow, and straight into Clem, knocking him over again and landing in his lap. Buffy-as-Faith, meanwhile, leapt down from the altar and battle was joined.

“Cat fight!” one of the vamps shouted, and they all stood up in their seats, craning their necks to see, while the human members of the congregation shrieked and hugged each other and took pictures.

Willow had expected Spike to try to join in the fight, but he must have remembered the chip this time. Instead, he stood on one side, eyebrow cocked, shuffling around to get a better view as Faith and Buffy rolled frantically together on the floor.

Again, there were collective gasps from the congregation. “Ooh!” they said, as Buffy-as-Faith socked Faith-as-Buffy hard in the jaw. “Aah!” they cried, as Faith-as-Buffy responded by kicking Buffy-as-Faith hard in the midriff and sending her flying.

Willow winced, clutching Drusilla’s mirror shard tightly to her chest, as both Slayers scrambled to their feet and began to trade serious blows. They were too evenly matched – and even if Buffy defeated Faith, what then? Was she stuck in Faith’s body forever?

Then, it was like a light went on inside Willow’s head. What had Giles said about mirror spells? And hadn’t Drusilla had been rattling on about mirrors all evening?

Looking down at the shard in her hand, its cracked surface splitting her reflection into fragments, she felt a sudden surge of confidence. She might not be able to break the Do My Will spell, but she could totally break this one, especially since Faith-as-Buffy was looking right in her direction.

Holding the mirror shard aloft, so that the light of the rising moon was reflected in its surface, Willow directed the dazzle right into Faith-as-Buffy’s eyes.

Faith-as-Buffy cried out and flung her arm across her face. Then there was another of those weird silent bangs, and both Slayers went flying in opposite directions.

In the ensuing stunned silence, Spike darted forward, grabbed the Slayer in the wedding dress by the arm and hauled her upright.

“You okay, love?”

Buffy’s response was to glower at him, spit torn wedding veil out of her mouth and growl, “You didn’t really prefer those skanky leathers, did you?”

“‘Course not. Who said I did? I’ll bloody kill ’em.” Spike glared at the open-mouthed congregation as if looking for the culprit. “You look amazing, Slayer. Beautiful. That dress is bloody gorgeous.”

Buffy’s glower turned into a sunny smile. “Liar,” she said. Then, she kissed him.

Faith had staggered to her feet too. She looked at Buffy, then at Spike, then back at Buffy, neither of whom took any notice of her. She shook her head.

“And they say I’m insane.”

Then she was off, sprinting towards the door of the church, only to run slap-bang into Angel coming the other way with the three British guys slung unconscious over his shoulders, rebound off him, hit her head on a pew and go down like a skittled ninepin.

Angel’s brow creased into a craggy, uncomprehending frown. He indicated the British guys. “Where do you want these?”


Later, the reception over and Angel departed for LA with Faith – he’d decided he needed a project – Willow stood with Giles on the edge of the crowd of well-wishers surrounding Spike’s Desoto. The engine was already running. There remained only one thing left to do.

“Catch!” Buffy called, and threw her long-suffering bouquet over her shoulder towards the milling guests. Willow watched as the bouquet flew up into the sky and came arcing down, missing all the wildly clutching hands, Drusilla’s and Anya’s among them, to be caught by a surprised looking Joyce Summers.

“Oh my.” Joyce blushed and studiously didn’t look at Clem.

“Bloody ridiculous,” Giles muttered, right next to Willow’s ear, and she turned to see him wincing and screwing his eyes up against the moonlight, which bathed the parking lot in cool, silvery radiance.

“Giles!” she exclaimed. “You can see again.”

“I suppose so,” Giles muttered. “Once my hangover’s worn off anyway. God, I feel rough!”

Willow patted his arm sympathetically. For a moment, she half-expected to see Buffy and Spike come bursting out of the DeSoto in opposite directions looking horrified, as the spell broke for them too. But nothing of the sort happened, and Willow realised, with a pale reprise of her earlier guilt, that she was kind of relieved.

After all, she reflected, as the DeSoto drove off with all the stakes tied to its rear bumper rattling merrily along the ground, as weddings went it could have been a lot worse.

No one had died, and everyone had enjoyed themselves in their own ways – even the goat.

What’s more, successfully de-Buffyfying Faith had made Willow feel a lot more upbeat about magic again. She didn’t suck at it nearly as much as she’d thought, so maybe there was some reason other than her total suckiness to explain her failure to break the Do My Will spell.

And okay, so Buffy and Spike had gotten married, which was terrible and bad and wrong, but on the plus side, they’d made a great team during the whole Return of Faith thing, and they’d been kind of cute standing at the altar together, Buffy in her torn wedding dress and Spike in his dirty old boots, stabbing that drawing of a goat with Clem’s knife while they promised to love each other and slay each others’ enemies – except for Angel – for as long as they both should live.

Maybe, just maybe, this was going to work after all.


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