A/N: I cannot believe that the end is finally here. This has been a wonderful journey, and I hope that you guys like the grand finale. It's been lovely, guys, truly lovely.

Random Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy.

If I did. The ending would have gone a little like this. ;)


Epilogue: As It Should Have Ended

Finally.

After all that she had been through, finally, the day had come. The day when, for once, it was all about her. The day when she got to be the star of her own show. Today, she was not Buffy the Vampire Slayer. No. Today, she was merely Buffy Summers.

And she was getting married.

Buffy stared at her reflection, almost mesmerized that she was finally marrying the love of her life. Her golden hair, now long again, is pulled back from her face, though it falls in blonde ringlets down her back. The dress itself looked magical. Which, Buffy supposed, it should considering that Cassie had made it with her magic fingers. Literally.

Seeming to undulate slightly with every movement, the white fabric created the illusion that she was hovering just above the ground. When she actually walked, she was gliding through the air, light as a feather. Long sleeves of sheer, glistening fabric clung to her arms until it hit her elbow before billowing out lightly, seeming to be flowing in a nonexistent breeze. The body of the dress was exactly how she had always wanted it. A princess.

"Knock, knock."

Buffy turned and smiled at her best friend. "Hey, Cordy."

Cordelia Chase, her maid of honor, waltzed into the room, looking stunning in the deep green dress that Buffy had chosen for her bridesmaids. "You know, I think that Angel is going to have a heart attack when he sees you."

Buffy laughs. "Keep a doctor on standby," she grins. "He's still not used to the 'thump-thump.'"

It had certainly been a trying three years. Only a year after giving birth to Connor, the First had returned, bringing with him an army of Ubervamps. Outgunned and outnumbered, Buffy had looked to Willow for help. Guided by Cassie and encouraged by Oz and Dawn, the young redhead had fully grown into her power. And with this power, Willow had activated every potential slayer. Buffy was no longer alone.

Together, Buffy and her army of slayers defeated the First, with a little help from some unexpected outside sources. Faith, her sister Slayer, had shown up right when the fight was getting good, helping propel the Slayers to victory. Oz, fully in control of his werewolf, transformed and took down Ubervamps left and right.

Angel, of course, was there too in the final battle: Gunn, Wesley, and Cordelia right behind him. What Buffy had never noticed, not until it was too late, was the amulet Angel wore around his neck. It was only when the tide turned in the First's favor, when the cavern began to cave in that Buffy realized what Angel had known all along. The amulet harnessed and refracted sunlight.

It had been their second teary goodbye, except this time their positions were reversed. It was Buffy begging him to live, and Angel who was sadly smiling, saying a final goodbye. If Connor had not existed, Buffy was sure that she would have stayed with Angel until the cavern collapsed.

But she had to live for Connor, for their son, her little part of Angel that she would always have.

It was chaos, but Buffy and the Scooby Gang managed to escape a collapsing Sunnydale by means of a yellow school bus. Buffy had only needed to take one look at Connor, wrapped securely in his godfather Giles' arms that brought on a never-ending stream of tears. In a last notion of goodbye, Buffy had moved to the very back of the bus to stare out the window at her home, now completely gone, taking Angel with it.

Imagine her surprise when she saw a figure clawing out of the rubble . . .

"Still adjusting to the living?" Cordelia rolled her eyes. "You know, for a guy as old as he is, he should be used to change."

"Having a heartbeat for the first time in two hundred and forty nine years is a big change, Cordy," Buffy laughs. "Though you should have been there when he got his first headache."

"You think he misses it?" Cordelia asked as she gently fussed with Buffy's hair, getting it exactly right. "All the super strength and stealth?"

Buffy smirks. "I think he misses his senses the most. He's still getting used to the glasses."

"They're only for reading!" Cordelia mocks in her best Angel impression, causing Buffy to laugh.

Cordelia glances at the clock. "Well, would you look at that? Showtime."

A pit of nerves settles in Buffy's stomach. This was it. Her big day. One of her greatest dreams coming true.

When Cordelia leads her out of the room, Giles is there waiting. "Ready to walk me down the aisle, Giles?" Buffy smiles.

"It will be my honor," Giles replies kindly. "Though I'm not quite liking the idea of giving you away."

"Oh, come on Giles," Buffy teases. "Angel's not that bad. I mean, I could do worse, don't you think?"

"Ugh, yeah, like Spike," Cordelia shivers. "That would be worse."

Buffy screws up her face. "Ew, Cordelia! I'm getting married! Besides, me and Spike? Seriously? Never happen. Not even in a different dimension."

"I was just pointing out your other option," Cordelia shrugs.

Buffy shudders. "Let's hop on another train of thought, shall we? One less disgusting, perhaps?" she asks as she takes her position behind the doors.

"You're getting married in five minutes," Willow pips up from her spot behind the doors.

"Oh, now we're talking Will," Buffy laughs, nervousness and joy teaming through her.

"Mommy!"

Buffy's eyes immediately dart down in front of her, and she can't help the wide smile that stretches across her face. She gently eases herself down to his height. "Hey, there handsome," she grins. "Let me look at you."

Connor, now three years old, looks just like his father. They share the same face, the same hair, the same charming grin. But his eyes, his bright green eyes, proved that he was Buffy's son. Attitude wise, Connor favored his father. Quiet and reserved, but smart. Very smart.

"It's a monkey suit!" he informs her happily. "Can I have a banana?"

Buffy frowns. "Who told you it was a monkey suit?"

Connor points a finger at the perpetrator. "Gunn!" Buffy scolds.

Gunn raises his hands in a surrendering gesture. "Come on, Buff. It's true. I'm choking on this thing," he says as he pulls on his tie.

"Stop messin' with it, Charles," Fred chides. "You're just making it tighter."

"Really? I hadn't noticed," Gunn suddenly grins at his fiancée. "You should invent something to replace ties."

"They already have bowties."

Wesley, who had been silent all this time, finally speaks. "Please, can we all focus? I don't want to miss my cue."

"Aw, don't get your knickers in a twist," Spike says as he takes a swig from his flask. "Just start walking when the bloody music starts playin'."

Oz leans over to Buffy. "Why is he in the wedding again?"

"Cause she's my grandmum!" Spike says. "'Sides, I've always wanted to crash Peaches wedding."

Dawn looks to Buffy. "I'll make sure we walk on time."

"Thank you."

"Places! Places!" Cassie pops into view, clipboard floating in the air beside her. "As the wedding planner I demand you get into your places! Seriously, you all! Tut, tut, tut, come on, scoot it that way Billy Idol!"

"He stole his look from me! Me!"

"I'm sure he did, Blondie." Cassie says as she flits from person to person, fixing hair and ties.

"And here . . . we . . . go!" Cassie giggles excitedly as the music begins to play. "Alright! Wesley and Willow! Go!"

Buffy waits nervously as she watches person by person walk down the aisle. She has to smile as they pass. Dawn and Spike. Gunn and Fred. Cordelia and Oz, who is Angel's best man. She sincerely hopes that Anya snapped a picture of Connor, the ring bearer.

And then, it's herself who is walking down the aisle.

Everything fades away. There are no guests. No one. It's just her and Angel.

He stands at the altar waiting for her, tears in his eyes as he smiles at her. It's all Buffy can do to keep herself from running toward him. Almost as if he senses her inner thoughts, Giles' pressure on her hand tightens.

Finally, she closes the distance between them, and when Giles places her hand in Angel's, it's almost too much. This day, this day she has dreamed of for years. It's about to become reality.

She stares into Angel's eyes the entire time, and he does not look away. Their gaze shares a history, fraught with battles of good and evil, of love and loss. But, together, they overcame it all. They're still standing, still living, still cherishing each other.

And now they're making the ultimate promise.

"You may kiss your bride."

Angel takes her face in his hands, so gently that it's like he's afraid she'll vanish at the slightest touch. Buffy smiles just before their lips meet, and then she's lost in the most wonderful elated bliss. After they pull away, their foreheads meet.

"You'll always be my girl," Angel murmurs with a smile.

Buffy smiles, too. "I can't imagine being anyone else."

End


There we go, guys! I just want to say thank you to everyone who has reviewed, alerted, and favorited not only this story, but all my other Buffy stories too. You guys have been amazing, following me from story to story. You are what makes writing worth it (aside from the eternal joy it brings me). Readers are just icing on the cake.

Lots of love,

AC

P.S. Don't forget my Hunger Games rewrite, for those of you who might want to read it! I posted the first chapter, and you can get to it on my profile. It's called Someone To Watch Over Me. Hope to hear from some of you! :)