"-I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride."
From the look on his face Balthazar neither wanted nor cared for the priest's permission. He waited all the same though before gathering her in her arms and kissing her fiercely. It was a little unchaste for a church, but no one was willing to argue. In this crowd that could mean being electrocuted.
Blushing Veronica looked over at the assembled host. Kate was there with a man that she'd been told was called George. Michael had winked when he told her the man's name and Kate had smacked him. The rest of the New York Merlinians were also there. They had all fought together and it seemed fitting that they should be there. In the depths of their vault, under ancient protections, they had also placed the mirror containing Horvath. It didn't get much more familial than that.
There were other reasons than their association for the attendance though. Many of them had also seen it as a historical occasion that they couldn't afford to miss. She'd overheard Jack telling the twins that they'd be telling their grandchildren about it one day. He'd also mentioned that it could very well be in the Incantus and she'd had to repress the urge to join in on the conversation.
They started clapping. From behind Balthazar Dave joined in, his hands moving a little stiffly. Dave had been healed up for the most part, and was looking fine from his position as best man. Balthazar had grudgingly given it to him. He hadn't wanted to give it to anyone at first, but thought that he needed to since Veronica had selected a maid of honor. She had laughed when she'd seen him tell him his decision in his normal brusque manner.
Dave had been surprised, especially at the manner that the invitation was offered, but had accepted. Veronica hadn't been able to resist teasingly telling him the age-old-tradition that if a groom didn't show up the best man would marry the bride. Then he had understood and looked a little sick. Balthazar then very loudly declared that he would be showing up, thank you very much.
Veronica had debated whether or not to tell him that the same thing went for the maid of honor in reverse, but she figured the poor boy had suffered enough haunting mental images. He had needed a little help getting up the steps, but since Balthazar had too they had very discretely helped each other. Two weeks wasn't as long as it sounded to help get the pain and stiffness out of their muscles.
Becky had gone before her, and in lieu of a relative, Veronica had given herself away. When she was younger she had hoped that Merlin would do the honor one day. Things had taken a rather different turn and she found herself walking alone. However, Balthazar was still waiting for her at the end. At least that hadn't changed.
He took her hand and led her down the aisle. Her wedding band clicked against her ring. Balthazar smiled at the sound that it made and gripped her hand tighter. They went into the car, which had been turned into a black Porsche for the occasion. She buckled herself in this time, careful not to tear the silk of the dress.
They didn't say anything on the trip to the Chrysler building. Originally they had planned to use the Arcana Cabana since there would be so few. With the new additions to the guest list using the small shop would make things awfully crowded. Anxious to help, and since they really hadn't bought a wedding gift, the New York Merlinians offered their floor of the Chrysler building.
Every now and then Balthazar would look over her and grin which she would reciprocate. His was starting to touch his ears by the end of it. Any bigger and she thought that it would split his face in two. Veronica was pleased to see him so happy. It took years off of him to see him smile like that. She could almost believe that they were on their way to Merlin's Keep when he looked that way. Well, if she ignored the fact that they were driving in a car through a steel and concrete jungle.
Upon arrival he helped her out of the car since her veil and dress were a little hard to navigate in. The comfortable clothes of the modern century had been spoiling her in their convenience. A few people in the lobby looked at them with open mouths. Veronica supposed that it wasn't every day a newly-married couple in full regalia would walk through the lobby and go into the elevator. The people who were going to take the next elevator moved aside, a few smiling in confused but congratulatory ways.
As the doors closed she caught that one of his cuff links was coming undone. Rolling her eyes she grabbed his hand to fix it.
"You're hopeless you know," she said.
"First words of our married life; you're hopeless you know," Balthazar commented, "Next thing you'll do is insist that I dance. Just making it clear right here and right now that I don't dance."
"Second phrase is sarcastic."
"The third is keeping track-" he started.
She rolled her eyes and kissed him mid-sentence. He stopped talking abruptly and responded, warm and sweet. Balthazar pulled away and smiled.
"Less talking," he said, "More of that."
He swooped in for another kiss just as the doors to the elevator opened.
"Geez, get a room," Dave said, mock-shielding his eyes.
"Nope," said Kate, shaking her head and leaning her elbow on George's shoulder, "That happens later kiddo."
Veronica pulled away and found herself blushing again.
"Children present," Jack said.
"That's right Kate, children present," Balthazar said, pulling Veronica into the room, "Isn't there supposed to be music or something?"
Craig snapped his fingers and orchestral music started to play from somewhere. They had done an excellent job decorating. Lilac roses spilled out of crystal containers on the tables. Yellow-green banners were draped around new columns and the floor had somehow been turned to wood so polished you could see your reflection in it.
Veronica suspected that Becky had assisted in the color scheme. Even the place settings had the appropriate colors, as did the slipcovers on the seats. Many of the Merlinians were looking at the flowers and decorations proudly as they took their seats. The food would be coming later, but at the moment it was all just a little informal.
When they sat down Balthazar reached out so that he could place his ring over hers. He let his glow a little before setting it down, letting her know that he'd figured out the color scheme. She smiled in return as he put his hand down fully. The clink she heard was much more satisfying than the one that her own rings had made on their own.
"Dave, we sit up near the front."
"I can't move very fast in these shoes."
"Never wear new shoes to a wedding," said Becky, "Break them in first."
"Yeah, I'll remember that next wedding I go to," he said, rolling his eyes.
"You'd better," she said as they sat down, "I'm not having you step on my feet when we dance."
Smiling Veronica inclined her head towards them. Balthazar rolled his eyes but she knew he was secretly pleased for his foster-apprentice. It was good that things were working so well for them, and she had a feeling that they would continue to. Noticing that they were watching Becky turned and looked at them.
"My grandmother sends her apologies that she couldn't come," she said gently.
"No need," Balthazar said.
"She gave me this to give you."
Becky opened her purse and took out a thick bundle of fancy envelopes. Balthazar reached for it but Becky jerked it back.
"She said it was for Veronica."
"Typical," said Balthazar as the envelope was passed to Veronica.
The first envelope had the date of their wedding on it. Veronica opened it to see a picture of the two of them in their wedding finery dancing across the floor. She grinned mischievously.
"Looks like you do dance," she said as she opened the next envelope which also had the date on it.
The two of them were sitting together on a park bench. In the picture Veronica had laid her head on Balthazar's shoulder, who in turn rested his head on top of hers. Gray hairs were starting to show, white in a few cases. Age had started to wear on their faces, but it was still them, give or take a few decades.
Veronica held back tears and clutched the picture tightly. Balthazar kissed her on the top of her head. With trembling hands she reached for the third envelope. Just as she was about to open it she stopped.
"The date's a year from now," she said.
"We'd best wait until then," he said, laying it down on the table, "Seers you know. They don't want you to know too much. But…"
He grinned at her.
"…she's very accurate. How about that dance?"
She nodded happily and he pulled her onto her feet. Dave and Becky watched them go. When they had gone Dave turned to Becky.
"What was in the third envelope?" he asked.
"You're asking me. Why would I know?" she shrugged.
"Aw, come on!"
"No. No freebies," she said.
As Dave groaned she let her gaze drift over to the third envelope. Closing her eyes briefly she conjured up the image of a small child with raven hair and glittering blue eyes at around five years. The child was laughing as her father picked her up. Her mother was standing next to him, one hand wrapped around the father's shoulders and the other patting the girl on the head. On the bottom of the paper the name Yvainne Matilda Blake was written, born May 8, 2011.
Becky grinned before opening her eyes. She turned and grabbed Dave's arm, pulling him to his feet. As soon as he'd gotten up she kissed him.
"Come on," she said, "Let's go join."
A/N: And that's the end! Altogether, all of the stories, it clocks in at 330 pages on Microsoft word. Whew! Thanks to everyone who's been reviewing. Special shout-out to Arlothia, Jaselin, Kenobigirlz, nanu107, and Senendipity who have been constant reviewers. Thanks for the critiques and make sure to keep your classy old man shoes on!