May 21, 2005

Anna walked down the shore from the changing house. She was holding the hem of her gown up with one hand, and a single calla lily in the other. The gown was a simple ivory sheath with spaghetti straps and random pearl accents. Her hair was down and her feet were bare. It was a bit blustery for May, but the sun was shining low in the sky. As she neared the small gathering of people, she had to laugh. Zach had done away with his tie, as she figured he would. What she didn't anticipate was that he had rolled up his trouser legs to mid calf. He was also barefoot. The touch of devil-may-care was one of many signs that Zach finally felt at peace with the world. He didn't have to hide behind a façade of suits and unreadable expressions. Anyone passing by could see that he was happy.

Now all that was needed was to pass his attitude on to his son. Ethan wasn't quite as ready to shed the formal aspect of his nature. He still had on his tie, and his shoes. Robin was wearing a midnight blue dress that fell to just below the knees. Her touch of whimsy was in a pair of flip flops that were also midnight blue, but were covered in sparkles. Anna smiled at Robin and Ethan. "Thank you for being our witnesses." Robin grinned impishly. "I finally get that brother I always wanted." Ethan's smile was stiff, but warm. "I can see already that I'm in for it."

Zach couldn't take his eyes off Anna. Her eyes were dancing, her smile never dimmed. She was finally happy again, and he couldn't believe that he was the one who made her that way. He saw her look up the beach, and then she turned to him with a mischievous grin. "Zach, I see that my wedding present is arriving." Zach gazed at her, letting her know without words that she was all he needed. But he obliged his future wife by looking in the direction that she pointed. His heart melted at the sight of Bianca and Maggie approaching. Bianca was holding Miranda in her arms. Anna stood next to Zach and leaned her head on his shoulder. "I know we decided to keep it simple – just Robin and Ethan – that way we wouldn't be tempted to invite more and more people until it got out of control. But how could we leave out Miranda? I just couldn't do it." Zach turned to face Anna, and lifted his hands to cradle the sides of her face. "Thank you." He kissed her for a long time, until the minister harrumphed. "I believe that is supposed to happen at the end of the ceremony."

Zach and Anna broke the kiss, laughing. The minister smiled and winked at them. He opened his little Bible and cleared his throat. As he spoke the words that began the time-honored tradition of the joining of two hands in holy matrimony, Zach and Anna faced each other, both of their hands clasped in the others'. They did not notice Maggie snapping pictures on her digital camera, or Ethan bouncing Miranda up and down, trying to distract her from her very clear desire to get down from his arms and toddle down the beach. They barely even noticed the sun beginning to set, and the lights of Monte Carlo starting to wink on as twilight came upon them. They only had eyes for each other.

As they held each other's gaze, they both thought back to that first day that they met, exactly five years ago. Both of their lives were covered in infinite darkness cast by shadows of the past. Together they found a ray of light in each other, but their past caught up with them, and enveloped them in darkness again. Now the past has firmly been put behind them. They chose sunset for their ceremony as a symbol. Because their love burns brightly, they will never fear darkness again.

Author's note: I chose May 21 to be a date of significance to Zach and Anna for the simple reason that it is my birthday. On the show, major events in their lives did happen around that date, so it seemed fitting. Most notably, Zach Slater appeared on All My Children on May 20, 2004. What a nice birthday present for me. The gift that keeps on giving.

For the first time in one of my fanfics, I am offering a chance to be drawn further into the story through a slide show I created. It contains screen caps of Zach and Anna (provided by and groups. and features the song presented in chapter 3 - Sweet Dreams by Air Supply. If you go to my profile, you can find the link.

I hope you enjoyed this story. It is my favorite, so far, of all the fanfic I've written. Thank you.