Here's to the Losers
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Here's to the Losers
Days can be a funny thing. There are good days, and bad days. There are sunny days, and rainy days. There are good days when it rains, and bad days when it's sunny, or vice versa. Today is a good day. Today is a nice sunny day, which is a particularly good thing, because it's also a wedding day.
Any day that has a wedding is a good day, at least for most people. But today is Buffy Summers' wedding day. And for five particular people on this day... today is not a good day.
"Bloody travesty is what it is."
"Come on now Spike, we promised."
"I know I did Angel, but, for Manchester's sake... this has to be the worst tragedy to happen to anyone. Ever..."
"Hey Peroxide Boy, it's not that bad."
Spike scoffs at one of his other companions.
"Says the boy who brought his wife to his exes' wedding..."
He throws back the shot he ordered a little while ago, gulping it down. When he's done, he turns to the bartender.
"Can I get another one of these?"
Angel and Riley smile at each other because of Spike.
"Where is Sam anyway?"
Riley takes one hand off his cold scotch, pointing over to one of the tables.
"Over there with a bunch of those demons, no doubt probably asking them all sorts of questions about their world."
"You know, I never understood that. You guys spend all your time in the army with demons, and the second the two of you get some time off, she's got her nose buried in demon trivia."
Riley turns to Xander.
"Well, some of us weren't born on a hellmouth Xander. We didn't grow up on a hellmouth, learning everything we can before the next apocalypse. Most of our work involves hunting down and killing the more dangerous demons out there, doesn't leave us a lot of time for idle chit chat."
Angel raises his glass respectfully to Riley.
"Especially when they're trying to run you through with a sword or something..."
Riley does the same to Angel.
Spike throws his head back again, letting another whiskey dump itself down his throat. He lets out a bit of a low growl at the end, only partly from the burning in his throat.
"It's gotta be a bleeding trick or something, a spell of some kind. How else could it happen? I'm gonna go over there and make 'em tell me."
Just as Spike leaves the bar stool he's been sitting on, two pairs of hands from either side of him are grabbing him by the shoulders, dumping him back into his seat.
"You tried that already, remember Spike?"
"I know but..."
"The last time, Buffy put you in the hospital for weeks after she broke every bone in your body below your collarbone. Do you really want to have to go through that again?"
"If it meant saving her from whatever spell or curse she's under? I can live with the pain."
Again the blonde vampire gets up from his stool, and again he's brought down by two pairs of hands.
"I wouldn't risk it Spike. So far the day has gone pretty flawlessly. If you go and mess it up, she may not stop with just your bones this time."
"You could find yourself on the receiving end of something pointy and wooden."
Spike growls in a low voice again.
"Well there's gotta be something I can do. She's under some sorta love spell and someone's gotta break her out of it before it's too late."
He thinks about it for a second.
"I gotta talk to Red."
For a third time, Spike gets his legs under him, this time heading for the head table with a different reason in mind, only to be thrown down again by Riley and Angel sitting on either side of him. Xander looks over at Spike from next to Riley.
"It already is too late Spike. The wedding was hours ago. Besides, Willow wouldn't listen to you even if you tried. She already went down that route with the Buffster remember? Will had her tested for every love spell castable in this dimension and a couple others. She's clean as a whistle."
"They both are."
"Doesn't rule out demon possession of some kind, or some other evil plot. I mean, come on, those two are a match made in hell if there ever was a bloody one."
"Actually, we ruled that out, remember Spike? I'd say between the three of us, we've gone a little overboard with the whole Spanish inquisition of love."
Riley raises his drink while he speaks.
"Yeah Spike, you're kinda grasping at straws don't you think? I did the background check like she asked, even had Sam pull in a few favors with a couple of the higher up government boys for authentication. The records go all the way back. Buffy's not getting into anything she doesn't already know."
He takes a sip, as Xander finishes his.
"And the G-man had his tea time with just about every priest, shaman, wizard, sorcerer and seer on this side of the equator before giving the thumbs up for the event."
Angel readjusts his grip on the glass in his hand as he stares into it.
"We took care of the rest, remember Spike? I think we managed to threaten every dark priest, voodoo master and demon lord into staying away from the two of them for a while. There's nothing demonic or otherwise about either of them or this day. Just let it go."
Spike rolls his eyes and scoffs at the idea.
"Not bloody likely."
"Aren't you the one that kept insisting to Buffy that you were completely over her every time you went and accused one of them of being evil?"
"Hey, I'm over her."
Spike's three companions laugh at him.
"Yeah, sure you are Spike."
"Bite me Captain Cardboard..."
Xander leans forward to look over at Spike.
"Actually, that's your department overbite."
"Don't make me drain you drier then the Sahara then Harris. You and I ain't never been the best of friends, I don't think I'd shed too many tears over it."
"Except that might ruin the Buffster's big day. She asked me to keep an eye on the three of you today to make sure that didn't happen. I'm betting she'd be mightily pissed off if you sank your teeth into one of her best friends."
"Doesn't have to be today, could always wait till they're on their honeymoon."
"Fat chance pale face. I've got me a nice little slayer army to command. One word from me and you're dust blowing in the wind."
"Then why am I still walking and talking Harris? If you're as General Patton as you claim to be, then shouldn't I have a couple hundred splinters in me by now?"
"Don't think I haven't thought about it bleach for brains. Just consider yourself lucky that Buffy asked me not to. Otherwise your invitation might've gotten lost in the mail."
Riley laughs into his glass at both of them before taking a drink.
"What's so funny Riley?"
He turns to look at Xander.
"She's really got you wrapped around her little finger doesn't she?"
Xander's eyebrows scrunch together as he tries to figure out what Riley means.
The dashing soldier points his glass toward the woman at the centre of the head table, across from where the four of them are sitting. Xander just seems to get more confused by the gesture.
"Who Buffy? She and I are just friends."
Spike, Riley and Angel smile at the one eyed man.
"Sure you are Xander. That's why you hang around with a beautiful woman with superpowers who fights demons for going on 9 years even though for the first 7 or so you really didn't offer much more then a few suggestions or a badly delivered joke or two."
The boy wonder of the group looks down at the liquid in his drink for a second.
"Hey that ship sailed a long time ago. I don't think about her that way anymore."
Spike grins at the youngest one of them.
"Yet you just keep right on clinging to the side of the boat, don't ya Cyclops?"
"Does no one remember Anya?"
Spike rolls his eyes and Xander.
"Right, the woman you ACCIDENTLY didn't marry."
"I think that gives me some points in the moving on department."
Riley holds out his free hand, showing off his wedding ring.
"Preaching to the choir here Xand-man, you might try actually going through with it next time though. Once you get over the actual event hurdle, it's not so bad."
"Still, at least I'm not as bad as broody pants number one and two over there."
Riley chuckles as he takes another drink of his scotch.
"You got a point there Sergeant Fury."
Xander smiles as he looks over at the souled vampires to his right.
"Yeah, between the two of you blood suckers, I'd say you've cornered the market on brooding over the girl you both went out of your way to leave behind."
Angel lifts his glass but stops before taking another sip.
"I'm not worried. No matter what happens, I know she loves me somewhere in there. Ours is a forever love."
Spike drops the shot glass on the bar after gulping down another one of his liquid refreshments.
"Don't look now Captain Forehead, but I think that forever love of yours just found itself a replacement."
"Maybe... but at least I'm not out to destroy an important day for her, like some people."
Spike glares at his fellow souled vampire.
"I'm not trying to destroy anything you ponce. I'm just not convinced that this whole thing is on the up and up is all. I mean, after all the things that have happened, and all the crap that she's had to put up with over the last very long time, what were the chances that the two of THEM would be the ones to end up together? It's gotta be some kind of trick."
All four of them look up towards the head table again, staring at the subject of their conversation. Riley half grins in agreement before taking another sip of his drink.
"Well I can definitely say that I didn't really see it coming."
The other two don't exactly disagree.
"You have a point there."
There's a few moments of silence before Spike continues.
"That's what I'm saying. I mean, of all the people she could've ended up with, why did it have to be THAT one? It's a bloody travesty."
"I see you're really working on that whole getting over her thing."
"Don't make me carve it into your forehead Angel. I said I'm over her already. I just... think she deserves better is all."
Another moment of silence is shared between the four men sitting at the bar of the outdoor, but properly shielded from the sunset, canopy reception floor over the chatter of the rest of the guests. Four rows of three round tables draped in white table cloth, all with between five to ten guests sitting at each of them, sits between the bar and the head table on a beautifully tiled white floor.
"I mean, look at her."
The four of them look over at Buffy, her hair done up above her head with a few strands falling down and framing her face. She's dressed in her low cut white wedding dress with clear sequins decorating it from below the bust to her waist, sitting at the head of the table with a smile, chatting away with the other people in her wedding party. Dawn, in a beautifully sequined blue satin maid of honor dress, sitting in the next seat on her right with a huge grin on her face from something that Willow, in an equally beautiful darker blue-green low cut dress, just whispered into the former key's ear, and Giles, in a handsome older style tuxedo with bow tie, sitting on the end with one of those quiet, fatherly pride smiles on his face.
"She looks like a beautiful angel that forgot to go back to heaven up there in that dress."
Each of them takes a sip of their drinks after they comment.
"She does look beautiful."
"I know I was stunned when I saw her for the first time in that dress a couple hours ago."
Spike lets his hand drop to his side again.
"I don't know about you sods. But I'd say it's a bloody tragedy that all that beauty is wasted on... THAT one..."
Just then, someone else joins the bar flies.
"You know, he has a NAME Spike."
They all turn their heads to look at Faith at her comment as she walks up to the bar in her all black dress that's so tight on her that it only barely passes acceptable formal wear. She leans up against the bar and calls the bartender over.
"Can I get a rum and coke over here buddy?"
Spike scoffs, barely acknowledging Faith's comment.
"Yeah, and it's a bloody Nancy Boy's name if I ever heard one. What kind of name is Jason Michael Adams anyway?"
"Not sure blondie, but it goes better on an invitation then Spike, I know that."
The others agree with Faith's thought.
"Or William the Bloody..."
The blonde vampire gets quiet for a second.
"You know, I didn't really ask your opinion Faith."
Faith shrugs as the bartender hands her the rum and coke she ordered and she picks it up, turning herself against the bar to face the head table and the rest of the guests.
"Sure you didn't Spike-y. You know what though? They're happy together. He's just a regular guy who loves her and makes her happy. So who are you to argue? They make each other happy. I say, let them be happy."
Spike glares across the room at the man who now calls himself Buffy's husband.
"The guy's a ponce. He's a weak little ponce and he doesn't deserve her."
Xander chuckles a little while taking a sip of his drink.
"Yeah, sure he is Spike. That's why he had you lying face down in the pavement begging for mercy the other night at his bachelor party when you attacked him in the back alley of the club."
Spike lets out an annoyed growl at Xander and Angel grins at the new piece of information.
"I wasn't begging for mercy. I was just, trying to make him think he'd won so that he'd let his guard down and I could make my move."
Faith smiles knowingly.
"Whatever you say Spike, I'll say this for the boy though. He can definitely hold his own. May not have the strength of us other worldly types, but if need be he's got enough skills to take down a slayer."
Riley lets out a small chuckle.
"He'll definitely be needing them against Buffy."
All of them agree.
"You got that right."
They fall into a short silence for a while, the soft music and sounds of the guests the only thing in the room.
"No matter what skills the ponce may have, there's no way she's gonna be satisfied with someone like him. That girl's not exactly a newborn kitten in the bedroom."
Angel half nods at Spike's statement.
"No, she's definitely not."
Spike turns to Angel with an annoyed look.
"Oh what do you know Caveman Brow? You had her all of once before you went evil on her."
"Actually, it was more than once that night, and there was another night after that a while later."
The souled vampires look at each other, with the rest of them looking on. Angel sorta looks away, readjusting the collar on his tuxedo.
"I'm not really looking to talk about it."
The rest of them go back to watching the crowd.
"Figures... but come on soldier boy, back me up would ya? There's no way that Nancy up there has any chance of keeping Buffy interested. Am I right? Cause I know you never did."
Riley, in his semi-formal military uniform, gives Spike a bit of a glare.
"Bite me Spike."
Spike tilts his head and shrugs.
"If you insist..."
He moves to vamp out and Riley grabs Spike by his usual leather coat. Just then, Xander steps in.
"Come on guys, let's not. Besides, this probably isn't the best time for that topic."
Riley lets go of Spike and Spike readjusts his coat. Faith shoves Xander in the back of the shoulder playfully.
"Always the defender of Buffy's honor, ain't ya Z-man? Well I guess that makes sense. You ARE the only one of us who hasn't had a go with our sweet little B."
Faith takes a long drink of her rum and coke with a huge grin on her face to the tune of four long, silent blank stares in her direction. She finishes off the whole glass before she says anything, still with a big grin on her face.
"What? You didn't think all that tension between me and B was just because we hated each other's guts did you?"
More blank stares follow.
"Geez, no wonder she married that Jason boy instead. The guy figured it out within 3 weeks of meeting me, had to explain to him that it was pretty much a one time thing and that he didn't have to worry about me stepping on his... toes."
Another round of blank stares are served up.
"Don't worry boys, none of your toes were stepped on either. No need to get your panties in a bunch about it."
Xander is the first to look away from Faith, staring down into his glass, a bit of a smile on his face.
Eventually, Riley, Spike and Angel both look away. Faith looks over at the golden slayer across the room.
"It's kinda too bad that she's married now. That girl's a demon in the sack."
She turns to the bartender and orders another drink.
"Could I get another one?"
He starts mixing the drink and Faith goes back to the group.
"The way Buffy tells it though, our boy isn't exactly lacking in that area. He keeps her pretty satisfied. Almost makes me wish I could take HIM for a test drive."
She looks at the man next to Buffy with a bit of a curious look.
"Ah well... it's like I said. If they keep each other happy, then let 'em be happy, sounds like they're in it for the long haul."
All five of them fall into silence together, drinking their drinks and watching the happy crowd in front of them, each of them with memories of Buffy on their mind, with one exception.
"So... I guess I'm not really left out after all."
Spike is the first to respond.
"What are you on about you slayer's pet?"
"Well, if you think about it, if Faith slept with Buffy. And I slept with Faith. Then you could say that... I slept with Buffy by association."
The four other bar stool warmers look at each other. Riley, Angel and Spike sorta smile at each other, trying not to laugh.
"Hey, at least it's something."
Faith pats him on the back.
"You hold onto that for dear life Xander. Cause not only are you not about to get much else from Buffy in that department at this point, but from what I remember of that night, you'd never be able to handle her."
Xander gets this playful look on his face.
"You think so do you?"
Faith takes a sip of her drink.
"I know so Z-man. I almost had to pull out 'Mr. Vibrator'."
The rest of them can't hold back from laughing anymore.
"Trust me. Just stick with the 7 minute fantasy."
"You know, for the record, you kinda caught me in a weird moment that night. I wasn't really at my peak, definitely not like I am now. Dating a 1000 year old ex-demon can do that to a guy you know?"
Faith sorta eyes him for a second, sizing him up as she takes a step back with a bit of a grin on her face.
"You think you could do better with a second coming?"
Xander gets the same playful grin.
"I know so. All I'd need is the opportunity to rise to the occasion."
Neither of them says anything for a moment. Faith eventually speaks.
"I'll think about it."
Faith goes back to watching the reception and so does Xander.
"Still couldn't handle Buffy."
The other three have to agree with that.
"Not a bleedin' chance."
"Not even if he lived to be a thousand."
After a few seconds of silence, the gentle sound of a glass clinking against a spoon rings out through the reception and it's quickly joined by a few others. Eventually it dies down and Jason, in his formal tuxedo, stands up next to Buffy.
"If I could have your attention please, I'd just like to say a few words."
The clinking of the glass stops completely and everyone quiets down to pay attention.
"First of all, I'd just like to say that Buffy and I are both really happy that you're here and that you could share in what is such an incredible day for both of us. I don't think either of us could be more thankful for all of you."
He looks down at Buffy sitting next to him and she blushes, slightly embarrassed.
"Um... we... from the first moment I met Buffy, I knew that she was special. But it wasn't until much later that I would find out just how special she was. Of course, it probably should've clued in that she wasn't like other girls out there. Mainly due to the fact that we met because she saved me from a gang of vampires that were out looking for a midnight snack."
The guests laugh a little.
"Little did I know, that would hardly be the last time that she would have to save me from a vampire or two. But it was after that first encounter that I went looking for a self-defense class to brush up on my skills in case it happened again, since I was told by Buffy herself, rather bluntly, that it might just happen again if I kept going down dark alleys to get home. No sooner had I found and signed up for a self defense class, then on my first one I found out that my instructor would be none other than the woman who had saved me. She'd taken up the job as a way to make some extra cash on the side, and I was lucky enough to be one of her students."
Again he looks down at her and she just smiles back this time.
"We instantly clicked and became fast friends. Naturally, this made me the subject of much scrutiny from not just Buffy, but her friends and family as well. And when I found out that she'd decided to quit the job for prior commitments, I made the terrible mistake of asking her out the second I got a chance. But it wasn't until I showed up at her front door for our date that I realized why it was a mistake. Because waiting for me at the door was a slender young brunette named Dawn who threatened to hunt me down and cut out my heart and feed it to me if I didn't treat her sister properly."
Jason looks over at Dawn who laughs as he smiles at her.
"Most people would be scared off by such a confrontation right off the bat, but not me. Because I knew that Buffy was worth it, and I was right, she was. As time went on, I learned just how much Buffy meant to her sister, and vice versa. Honestly, that only made me see just how much more special Buffy was. And as time went on and I met more of Buffy's friends, I could see how special they were because of how much they cared about Buffy. That made them special to me. I'm glad to say that I've earned their trust, and most importantly Buffy's. I promise to her and to all of you, that I will do whatever I can to continue to earn that trust for years to come."
Some of the guests let out a little 'Aww' at his last statement.
"It took us three years to get here. We've had our ups and downs, an apocalypse or two, but it was all worth it for us to get to this moment. To here, now. I said in my vows that this would probably be the happiest day of my life, and it was, because now I'm married to the woman I love. I can only imagine that every day after this one will be just as special, if not more, because I'll be with her."
He holds out his hand to Buffy and she takes it.
"I love you Buffy Summers."
They lean into each other and share a short kiss. Then he stands up straight, raising his glass of champagne to the crowd.
The guests all raise their own glasses, including Angel, Riley, Spike, Xander and Faith, repeating the toast.
Everyone drinks to the new bride. It isn't long before she herself decides to get up, while her new husband sits down.
"Uh... hi... I'd also like to say a few words, if I could. Um..."
She pauses for a few seconds.
"It's uh, funny that Jason just said that it took us three years to get here. Because even though he said that and it's true, I feel like I've been trying to get here my whole life. Every day of my life for as long as I can remember, I've had to fight for what I want. I've had to fight for the people and the things that I care about most. It hasn't exactly been the easiest thing in the world for me to do, but like I said I've been doing it all my life. It's been my destiny. Along the way I've won and lost people."
Buffy looks over in the direction of the five people standing at the bar looking back at her.
"And some of them that I've loved and lost..."
She smiles lovingly at them from the head table.
"But all of them have shaped the person that I am today. The person I've become. I will always be grateful to them for that."
She pauses and just keeps staring at all five of them.
"And I will always love them for that. Because if it weren't for them, then I wouldn't be capable of the kind of love that I've found with the man who's become my husband here today. I can only hope that they can find it in their hearts to love and accept both of us the way that we love and accept all of them."
Again she pauses, staring at some of the most important relationships she's ever made in her life. It's then that Angel is the first to raise his glass to Buffy and gently nods. Riley is quick to follow, and he is followed by Xander and Faith. Spike looks at the people standing next to him and then at Buffy. For a second he frowns but eventually smiles as he raises his glass and gives her the same nod that those next to him have. She gives him a sympathetic sad smile in gratitude before mouthing the words 'Thank You' to all of them. Then she turns back to the guests.
"Today is the day that I start a new destiny. Because even though I've shared my slayer destiny with so many other people, both in the past and now, today is the day that I truly have my own destiny... a destiny of love that I get to share with my husband for the rest of my life."
Buffy raises her glass to the crowd first and then to her husband. He stands up and takes his own glass in hand, looking into her eyes lovingly.
"To my husband, and to our new life..."
The guests all raise their glasses to the happy couple, repeating the toast.
"To Jason, and their new life..."
Buffy and her husband share a passionate kiss to the sounds of clapping from all those around them. The applause fades out as they keep kissing, ignoring the rest of the world around them, and the guests all go back to talking. Xander turns to his four companions before they decide what to do with themselves.
They look at him.
"In the spirit of what Buffy just said, I think there's maybe one last toast that needs to be given, and I think it's better if we just share it between us."
He raises his glass to them and they hesitate.
"I promise it'll be short."
They all raise their glasses one more time, this time to Xander.
"When Buffy looked at us, she said that there were people that she'd loved and lost, and I think the same can be said for the five of us when it comes to her. So I think the only thing to say is..."
"Here's to us... here's to the losers."
They all look at each other separately once, nodding to each other before clanging glasses together saying these final words in unison...
"Here's to the losers."