Author's Note: This is the last installment in my "Dark Angel" novel "The Air That I Breathe." It has been an amazingly creative experience writing this story, and I loved every minute of it, even those in which I had nasty writer's block. The amount of people who enjoyed this fic was overwhelming. Your constant support and incredible notes kept me writing and made the process all the more enjoyable. I would like to also thank Cameron the Wonder Boy and Chick the Bald for creating such amazing characters for me write and expound upon. I meant no infringement by writing this fic; please don't sue.

Thanks also to Evil Twin, an astounding beta who always made sure she let me know what parts of the fic she liked, disliked, or didn't understand. Girl, you helped make my stories so much better.

And finally, to Lady Callie: sistah girl, words cannot express. Your constant love and support for me and these stories was overwhelming. You are an amazing beta and an even better friend. If nothing else, I'm so glad this story brought us together as friends. You rock!

And now...our final scene...
___________________________________________________________________________________________________

*If I could make a wish
I think I'd pass
Can't think of anything I need*

"Dearly beloved, we are gathered here this evening..."

It was nighttime in the city. The sky was full of starlight, twinkling orbs that danced for the lovers. The light of the full moon streamed in through the large windows, luminous and brilliant, creating an eerie beauty along with the candlelight. The rather large crowd was made up of those who loved and were loved by the couple before them. It was a blessed and joyous occasion.

*No cigarettes
No sleep
No light
No sound
Nothing to eat, no books to read*

The city below was quiet, peaceful. It was a world people were finally beginning to enjoy once again. The bride looked at her parents and smiled. She knew that they, with the help of their friends and comrades, and others like them, the country had emerged from it's most tragic low. There was far less hunger, disease, and poverty than there had been since the Pulse almost forty years prior. Martial law was a thing of the past and the sense of normalcy that had swept its way across the country during this generation was a source of joy for those of the previous, the ones who could remember the squalor and corruption. That their children were now marrying in a time of more prosperity than had been known in forty years was wonderful.

*Making love with you
Has left me peaceful, warm, and tired
What more could I ask
There's nothing left to be desired*

Standing on the concrete roof of the bride's childhood home, framed by an arch of flowers and enough candles to set a small inferno, the lovers stood in profile. The groom, tall and handsome, with defined features, large eyes, and shoulder length black hair (tied in a ponytail for the occasion) was dressed in a tuxedo, a red rose in his lapel, and shiny shoes on his feet. His eyes gleamed in the candlelight, reflecting the light shining from his eyes. His bride, a young beauty of twenty five with incredibly long and thick dark hair and crystal blue eyes like her father, wore her mother's wedding gown, a simple white floor length empire cut dress with a scooped neck and no sleeves. She and her mother, sisters, and female cousins, had sewn hundreds of tiny shimmering beads into the entire dress, which made it sparkle in the candlelight. Similarly, they had attached a train to her mother's wedding tiara, and it too was covered in the sparkly beads. Her hair was piled high atop her crown, accented by the glintingcrown she wore in her hair. Wispy strands fell delicately around her face and neck, from which hung a gold locket, her mother's, a family heirloom. Her hands were clasped in those of her soon-to-be husband's, and it was obvious they only had eyes for each other.

*Peace came upon me
And it leaves me weak
Sleep silent angel
Go to sleep*

"I would now like to ask them to recite their vows. They have chosen to write their own, as sincere and heartfelt expressions of their eternal love and devotion." The minister turned to the groom. "Kieran, if you please."

Kieran O'Doyle took a deep breath and tried to smile through his nerves. It wasn't that he hated public speaking—he was, after all, a broadcast journalist on one of Seattle's nightly news programs. It was that he was determined to make his vows to his beloved perfect. They were surrounded by her entire—and rather large—family. In the front row were her parents, married almost thirty years, with six children, all but Jacqueline adopted. They had been so good to him, especially after his own parents had died in a boating accident two years ago. They had virtually taken him in, made him part of the family, even before he had proposed to their eldest daughter and first born. And what a family he had been taken into—a complex network of aunts, uncles, and cousins. While his betrothed's father was an only child, her mother made up for his lack of siblings. She had a dozen sisters and brothers, all married, all with at *least* three children of their own. Family gatherings like Thanksgiving and Christmas at Casa Cale were all carefully orchestrated events, planned with almost militant precision.


This wedding had been no small feat either. Planning it so that her entire family could attend, and arranging to have it held at night atop one of the city's most lavish apartment complexes, Fogle Towers, where Jacqueline had lived until she was eight, had taken months of preparation. And now there they were, all watching him, waiting for him to pledge his love and fidelity to her.

"Jacqueline Eva Gabrielle Cale, I love you beyond words, beyond life itself. You are truly the greatest thing that's ever happened to me. Your unwavering support and unconditional love have given me more strength and courage to follow my dreams and ambitions than you will possibly ever know. I can't imagine my life without you, nor do I want to. You have given me so much that I will never be able to repay you. You gave me love and a family when I lost my own. You gave me safe harbor. You are my rock, my light, my strength." He turned to Case, Jacqueline's cousin and his best man, for the ring. The twenty-three year old son of Tinga and her husband of twenty-four years, Charlie, gladly handed his friend a sparkling gold band. Turning back to his shining bride, Kieran continued. "This ring is a symbol of my everlasting love and devotion. From this moment on, I promise to love you, honor you, cherish you, respect you, comfort you, and care for you. From this moment on, and as long as we both shall live, Jacqueline Cale, with this ring I thee wed." Blinking back tears, Kieran slipped the ring on her finger, fighting the urge to take her in his arms and kiss her that moment. The time for that, he knew, would come.

*Sometimes
All I need is the air that I breathe
And to love you
All I need is the air that I breathe
Yes to love you
All I need is the air that I breathe
Oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh*

Jacqueline, known to her family as Jackie or Lynn, smiled widely as she felt the cool ring slide onto her finger. It gleamed in the soft light. Still smiling, she looked to her parents, who were fighting back tears of their own. Her mother Max, dressed in a stunning champagne-colored gown that made her look younger than her age of nearly fifty, was seated next to Logan. With salt and pepper hair and matching scruff that somehow did not betray his age of sixty years, and the same twinkling blue eyes as his daughter, the father of the bride sat clutching his wife's hand proudly, dressed in a classic tuxedo. From the look on his face Lynn could tell he couldn't believe she was getting married. She knew he would forever see her as the precocious three year old who loved when he took her for rides in his wheelchair, even though he'd regained the use of his legs long before she was born. She was her father's princess, his first born. And now she was about to make an eternal vow to the man she loved.

"Kieran Francis William O'Doyle, I love you more than words can express." She smiled and cast another quick glance to her parents. "Growing up, I was cynical, and thought the love my parents had for each other was unrealistic and too much like a fairy-tale to be duplicated." Max and Logan grinned, each blinking away tears, knowing how much parts of their lives before Jacqueline, both apart and together, had *not* been like a fairy tale.

Jacqueline continued, "But then I met you." She felt tears come to her eyes. "And all the cynicism I ever had about love and relationships went flying out the window. I knew the moment I laid eyes on you that you were "The Guy". You were everything I wanted and everything I didn't know I wanted and everything I didn't know I was missing. I thought you were talented, funny, ambitious, passionate, creative, caring, compassionate... and yet there was something about you I couldn't put my finger on. But then you let me into your heart and into your life and I came to know your soul. Thank you for loving me and letting me love you. Thank you for teaching me everyday." She took the ring from Brin and Zack's daughter Jacinda, her maid of honor. "This ring is a symbol of my everlasting love and devotion. From this moment on, I promise to love you, honor you, cherish you, respect you, comfort you, and care for you. From this moment on, and as long as we both shall live, Kieran O'Doyle, with this ring I thee wed."

Kieran smiled as he felt his beloved slide the ring onto his finger. He looked deep into her eyes and knew if he looked too long he would lose himself in their depths. Logan had once told him that Lynn had her mother's large eyes, eyes the man admittedly knew he would gladly drown in. Max had told him that Lynn had her father's coloring, so crystal clear and expressive, eyes the woman unashamedly admitted she could fall into. Lynn was so much a combination of both her parents. While her mother was tall, around five-foot-seven, her daughter was closer to Logan's height of six feet. Their daughter was a physical, emotional, and spiritual representation of them as well. She had her mother's long dark hair, her father's eyes and facial features, her mother's lips and feline-like grace, and her father's love for basketball. She rode a motorcycle, like virtually every other member of her mother's family. All but Tinga and Brin owned motorcycles, and that was because their respective spouses owned them. All the children over eighteen owned them as well. They were their own division of the Hell's Angels.

Lynn was strong willed and determined, stubborn and fiercely loyal, a trait inherent to both her parents. She had her mother's smart-ass attitude, and her father's high-minded altruism, which might explain why she had become a public defender and advocate for human rights. Lynn played guitar, taught by her father, and sang. She wrote poetry, like Logan, and had inherited his culinary skills. Like her mother, she was street smart, tough, able to take care of herself in any situation. She was the best of everything that made Max and Logan who they were.

From their front row seats, the Cales watched their oldest daughter marry the love of her life. The pride and joy both felt were overwhelming. Logan held tightly to Max's hand as they watched in happy silence. On either side of Lynn and Kieran were Max and Logan's youngest children, six year old fraternal twins, Jessica and Michael, the flower girl and ring bearer, respectively. Along with Jacinda and Brianna, Zane's oldest, both of whom were like sisters to the bride, stood her other sister, Nicollette, age twenty. The remaining two Cale children, boys Damian and Austin, ages eighteen and sixteen, had been two of Kieran's ushers, and stood beside their older cousin Case, who considered the two his brothers, as he was the only boy child.

Max squeezed Logan's hand and felt a tear fall down her cheek. Logan reached out with his other hand and brushed it away with his thumb.

*Making love with you
Has left me peaceful, warm, and tired
What more could I ask
There's nothing left to be desired*

The minister grinned, "Now that Kieran and Jacqueline have made their vows of love and devotion to each other, in the sight of God, witnesses, and their family, it is my pleasure to present to you, for the first time, by the power vested in me, Mr. and Mrs. Kieran O'Doyle." The assemblage looked at him expectantly and he started. "Oh yes, how foolish of me." He smiled broadly at the excited young lovers. "You may now kiss the bride."

*Peace came upon me
And it leaves me weak
Sleep silent angel
Go to sleep*

Kieran let out a muted "Woohoo" that sent giggles through the crowd, and closed fraction of an inch that separated them, bringing them together. Kieran took Lynn's face in his hands and sweetly kissed his bride, relishing the look of sweet anticipation on her face as she met him to return the kiss. As their lips touched, at first soft and gentle, but then more passionately, and full of joy, their arms enveloped each other.

Jessica and Michael exchanged mischievous glances and exclaimed, "Eeeeeeewwwww!"

Their sister and brother-in-law broke apart, laughing, but not before Max and Logan tried to hush their outspoken youngsters. Lynn smiled at her parents, then extended her hand to Jess. Kieran did the same with Michael and the four retreated back up the aisle, pelted good-naturedly with grains of rice thrown by their nearly one hundred guests. At the end of the aisle, the newly weds shook the rice from their hair and brushed it off of the kids. Then Kieran swept Jacqueline up in his arms and spun them around, kissing her deeply, with a softness and tenderness that was overwhelming.

*Sometimes
All I need is the air that I breathe
And to love you
All I need is the air that I breathe
Yes to love you
All I need is the air that I breathe
Oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh*


Later, at the reception, held in the lavish function hall in the complex, Max and Logan watched as their children and family danced around them. All of Max's siblings, their spouses and children, their dates and friends; Jacqueline and Kieran's co-workers; Original Cindy and her wife of ten years, Blaze; Bling, his wife and their two children; Kendra and the two kids she had with Walter before he died of a heart attack five years prior; and everyone else who had in some way impacted Jacqueline and Kieran's lives. Max and Logan smiled, overwhelmed by the love and happiness that was in the room. They both knew they were truly blessed.

"Well Dad," Max said, sipping her champagne and peering jovially at him over the rim of her glass. "She's married." She swallowed the champagne thoughtfully, watching Logan's face.

Logan grinned and cast a glance at his daughter, who was trying to teach her youngest siblings the *latest* version of the Electric Slide, a dance that just apparently refused to die. "It's pretty incredible," he remarked, taking the glass from his wife and sipping it as well. "It seems like just yesterday I brought you both home from the hospital."

Max nodded, a fieriness creeping into her large dark eyes. "Yeah, ya know; yesterday, twenty-five years ago... same thing." She smiled at him when she saw the loving annoyance cross over his still ruggedly handsome features. Gently, and somewhat apologetically, she caressed his face, her touch familiar and soothing to him. "One down," she remarked.

"And five to go," Logan finished, watching as Jess and Mike stumbled over their own feet and had a great time doing it.

"I think Nicollette will have a ring by Christmas," Max said, pointing slyly to her daughter and her daughter's boyfriend of three years, Jason, who were sitting at a corner table, engrossed in what appeared to be a very intimate and private conversation.

"You think?" Logan asked, incredulously. He groaned, "I won't have finished paying off *this* wedding when the times comes to start paying for hers."

Max chuckled, "I think your wallet can handle it."

Just then, the "Electric Slide 2047 Remix" stopped and Max and Logan became aware that their daughter had apprehended the DJ's microphone. She and Kieran were smiling broadly.

"What are they up to?" Logan whispered to his wife, who could only offer an unknowing shrug.

"Mom, Dad," Jacqueline began. "You guys have done so much for us. You've been so good to us and made this wedding everything we wanted it to be and more. There will never be any sufficient way to pay you back."

"But if you really want to, have your father send you the first bill!" her Uncle Krit called from where he stood with Johnny and Zane and their wives near the bar. Everyone in the room laughed.

Kieran took the mic from his bride, "Aside from giving them money, we thought the next best way to show our gratitude would be like this." He nodded to Case's younger brother Dante, who dimmed the overhead lights. "Please come out here you guys. This is your dance." The crowd began to applaud wildly.

Max and Logan exchanged surprise looks as the spotlight was literally placed on them.

"Did you know about this?" Max hissed as Logan led her out to the dance floor.

"Actually yes, I asked them to make a spectacle of us on *their* wedding day," Logan replied, receiving a slight jab to the arm for his sarcastic comments.

Their daughter and son-in-law came up to them and hugged them. "We love you," Lynn whispered, before taking her husband's hand and walking to the edge of the dance floor, where the crowd had formed a circle.

Soft piano music filled their air. Max smiled as she looked up at Logan. They were playing the song. *Their* song. The one Max and Logan had danced to at their own reception so many years ago. Max had wanted it played at the wedding itself, but Logan had thought somehow the minister wouldn't want a song that mentioned making love to be played during the sacrament.

As the music filled the air, Max and Logan melded into each other's arms, dancing around as they had so many times before. After a time, they were only vaguely aware of the crowd that watched in silence, smiling as they saw the two still looking like newlyweds.

Max and Logan had lived in the new and mysterious world they had wondered about on the night like this one so many years ago. They had experienced the new and exciting (and most likely occasionally dangerous) adventures. They had lived through good times and bad, through times of pain and times of joy, and had come out happier and more content than they had ever imagined. They had six—now, by marriage, seven, and, if Max was correct, soon to be eight—beautiful children, a large extended family, great friends, a nice house in the suburbs, wonderful memories, and many years to come full of many more wonderful memories.

And they could only wish the same for Jacqueline and Kieran. They knew there would be times of pain and times of joy, times of hardship and times of plenty. But, as they danced, somehow Max and Logan knew that once again, everything was going to be all right. As they were living their happily ever after, their oldest daughter was beginning her happily every now.

*Sometimes
All I need is the air that I breathe
And to love you
All I need is the air that I breathe
Yes to love you
All I need is the air that I breathe...*






~FIN~








That's it everyone. "The Air That I Breathe" has come to an end. I hope you all enjoyed it. Thank you to everyone who read this. I appreciate it more than I can say. I'm planning a prequel, but don't plan on seeing the first chapter any earlier than the first of January, 2002.