Summary: Andros has lost everything that ever meant something to him… did he?
AA Lover: Start the hunt…
LunarFairyPrincess1989: Well… he hasn't left… yet…
Zeopurple: Glad you have such faith in stripey.
Johnny: You think this is bad? After such a bumpy road during the story so far… you actually think I'll go easy on them now just because they're back together and in love?
Star Fata: -blushes- Thanks.
Rangerfan58: Well, I already answered the updating part in a pm. Glad to see you back.
KairiAngel13: Thank you, I think it's one of my best so far.
xSapphirexRosesxFanx: This soon enough? Writing this chapter the way it should be written was a bitch.
Phantom Rogue: Yes… I know you didn't review, so I'm not actually replying to anything, but… Review this one? –Andros pouty face–
Ashley stood nervously in front of a full length mirror. Karone smiled reassuringly and put an arm around her shoulder. "Don't worry," she teased. "He's not going anywhere."
Ashley nodded and took in the dress she had eventually picked at the very last possible moment. The design was very simple, a pale yellow, formfitting, sleeveless dress with a v-cut neck, stopping just short of showing cleavage. The skirt of the dress flowed down to the floor, hiding her bare feet. Around her waist she wore a wide golden belt, held together by a diamond shaped buckle. Her hair was allowed to flow down to shoulders in its natural waves.
"I know." She eventually whispered. "It's just… I can believe this is actually happening."
Karone laughed. "You'd better believe it. Now, I think it's about time we went." She began moving towards the door when whispered words drifting through the room caught her attention.
"Karone? What if… what if I really can't get pregnant, or my body won't sustain a pregnancy, or-?"
Karone cut her off abruptly, drawing her into her arms. "Oh Ash… Andros doesn't care about that stuff; not as much as he cares about you. And hey," Karone smiled easily. "If it comes to it, I'll… I'll carry your baby for you, hmm?" She poked Ashley's cheek, brushing away a tear, and smiled. "So no crying. There's a very nervous brother of mine waiting for you."
Ashley nodded, composing herself, and letting Karone steer her out of the room. Outside a hover-car was waiting to take them to the spot she and Andros had chosen. The ride was spent in silence, Karone occasionally glancing over at Ashley with a little smile. There, Andros stood waiting for them and when the hover car stopped, he helped Ashley get out. He was wearing white dress pants and a white, long sleeved shirt with a high collar. Over this he was wearing a deep red, sleeveless tunic and a black belt. His feet, like Ashley's, were left bare.
Karone joined one of the two rows of people, forming an aisle for Andros and Ashley to walk down. Laura, standing next to her, smiled as she handed Karone a candle to match the rest of the people.
Andros looked at Ashley, who nodded and took his hand. Together they walked down the rows of their friends and family. They were both still a little surprised at how large their wedding party had become. At the end of the aisle a circle of candles burned with an open design of three interlocked spirals within.
Andros guided Ashley to the centre of the design, careful to avoid contact with the tiny candles. At the centre they turned to face each other and held each other's hands. The two rows now moved to stand around the circle of candles, forming a solid wall of bodies that kept the ceremony a private gathering that glowed with an effervescent light.
Andros took a deep breath and looked into Ashley's eyes as he began talking.
"Through all the trail and heartache of my life, no matter how hard it was sometimes to get up in the morning, you were always by my side, if not in person then in thought. No matter what anyone said, to me you were the most beautiful girl on the colony and still are. Whether is laughing, crying or just a simple touch in silent comfort, you always know what it is I need. I can think of no harder time in my life the past two years we spend apart, yet if I got the choice, I would go through them all over again for a chance to stand here with you tonight. They showed me just how much I truly love you and taught me never to take for granted what I've been given again. Ashley, you are the shining star that lights up my darkness, the unmovable rock when all things seem to disappear, the delicate angel that no one can destroy and the ever changing whirlwind that blows through my life so it's never boring. Now I stand before you here tonight, surrounded by those we love, promising forever. For every triumph, I bring a smile; for every bump in the road, a shoulder to cry on; for every joke, a laugh; for every hurt, a tear; and for every moment for now and the rest of eternity, my ever lasting love. This I promise you, in front of these witnesses, as I take you to be my one and only until the worlds stop turning, the suns burn out and the universe is no more. From this moment on, I'm the most blessed of men in calling you my wife."
Andros reached for the ring on Ashley's right hand, his own shaking slightly. Their eyes locked as he pulled the ring from her finger and transferred it to her left hand.
Ashley's eyes were brighter than usual, with tears brimming in them. She offered Andros a watery smile before she took a deep breath.
"Even though I was forever told it was not true, I always felt I had something to prove. Anything I ever did was already done before by my brothers, other rangers or even the older kids down the street. I never thought anything about me could ever be special, except when I'm with you. You give meaning to my life. You gave me a reason to keep fighting, even when Death was calling out my name. You taught me that beauty is not made by of looks or words, but lives in the eyes of those that look beyond what they see. You made me want to be the girl only you could see. You can put a smile on my face with just a look and you won't even know you've done it. You make me laugh and cry and you never walk away when life gets too much. You are the air that I need to breathe, the water after spending a month in the dessert, the warm shower on a cold winter morning and the kiss that I need more than that air and water put together. Tonight, surrounded by those we hold dearest, I make a promise of forever. For every frown, I bring a smile; for every cloud, I bring a silver lining; for every closed door, an open window; a wish for every shooting star; and from now until the stars burn out, my undying love. I promise this now, in front of these witnesses, as I take you to be my one and only until all has ended. From this moment on, I'm the most blessed of women in calling you my husband."
A plain silver ring floated towards Ashley. She took it into her hands and slipped it onto the ring finger of Andros's left hand. Their eyes never left each other's and a small smile started playing on Andros's lips. When she released his hand, he raised them and gently cradled her face in them, while he moved in and tenderly brushed his lips against hers.
"Forever and always." He whispered when he pulled back.
"Forever and always." Ashley echoed just as quietly.
The flames of the candles in the design sparkled purple before they began to extinguish from the outside in. When all the flames had gone out, everyone brought the candles they were holding to their lips and blew those out too. Now the only light in clearing were the stars littered in the sky and reflected by the lake close-by.
Everything was dark and quiet for a few moments longer. Finally Andros and Ashley stepped apart, just as a gentle breeze sweep through the grass. When they looked around everyone had left and they were all alone.
"Let's go home." Andros suggested. Not waiting for Ashley's response, nor wanting to waste time walking, he lifted his morpher to his lips. "Deca." Without another word a red and yellow light enveloped them and carried them away.
The next day
Everyone had gathered in one of the largest community halls of the colony. Most of the returned colonists had made an appearance to congratulate the newly wedded couple and celebrate their marriage. Said couple barely left each other's side and when they did, it was only for a brief period of time.
Zhane walked over to where Karone was standing, watching the beaming faces of her brother and sister. "Hey." He greeted as he went to stand next to her.
"Hey." She smiled back at him, a little giddy with joy. "They look happy, don't they?"
"They look perfect." He agreed, a little laugh in his voice. After a moment's pause, he added a little more softly, "So, are you going to spend the rest of the day just watching them, or are you going to join in on the celebration?"
"Zhane…" Karone warned, but it sounded weak even to her own ears.
"Please… may I have this dance?" Zhane all but begged. When she looked at him, he was holding up his hand. She quickly looked back to her brother and found both him and Ashley now watching them. The smile on Andros's face became gentler and was somehow reassuring when their eyes met.
"Go on." His mental voice urged. "Have some fun."
She turned back to look at Zhane and now recognized the look in his eyes as something not quite adoration but similar to. Her conversation with Ashley came back to her and she smiled. When she placed her hand in his, Zhane's face exploded with joy and he quickly led her to the middle of the dance floor, almost as if he was scared she'd change her mind if he didn't act immediately. She let out a jubilant laugh, attracting the amused looks of the couples dancing around them.
Andros and Ashley watched the pair dancing together. Before long Zhane and Karone were off in their own world, totally oblivious to the rest of the world. Close by Nathi and Elias were also wrapped up in each other and on the other side of the room Kobin was whispering into the ear of a pretty girl, Ailita. The two had been spending a lot of time together since they met and everyone expected them to soon officially announce to their friends they were dating.
"Do you think they'll be happy?" Andros asked quietly.
Ashley didn't need to ask who he meant. "Yes." She answered. "I can see Elias and Nathi getting married. For Kobin and Ailita it's too early to tell, but they'll be happy together for as long as they are. As for Zhane and Karone…" She thought about how to put her thoughts into words. "Zhane's going to have to be patient. Karone is willing to give him a shot, but she needs a chance at her own life too. He shouldn't be expecting too much too soon. They can be happy, as long as Zhane gives Karone her space when she needs it."
"And us? How do you see our future?"
"Well…" And she pretended to think. "It might take a while, a few arguments, maybe a divorce or two." Here she giggled when Andros nodded sagely. "But right now? I can't think of a better life than one right here by your side."
A/N: There! I did it! I think. I hope you think the wedding does the story the honour it deserves, because this story deserves that scene to be nothing less then perfect. Please review!
Curious about Ashley's dress, Andros's outfit and the design of the candles on the ground, I put up links to the pictures in my profile.
And everyone give a big thanks to Jenny, my beta-reader. She did a great job beta-ing this chapter and though this published chapter doesn't hold all her chances, she deserves some recognition. I'm just being anal about some details about the ceremony.