Christmas morning had been the most wonderful morning in Buffy’s life. She’d rolled over to find her lover, naked smiling adoringly at her, watching her as she woke up. For a fleeting moment, she was touched with fear. She and Angel in bed naked together…. then she remembered. It was okay. His soul was permanent. He wasn’t going anywhere. This was what she had to look forward to for the rest of her life. Waking up to the most handsome man, okay, demon, on the planet. The man that would soon be her husband. She rolled him over and straddled his hips. She leaned down and nuzzled his cheek before she gently bit his chin.
“Mornin’ lover,” she smiled seductively, rubbing her body against his, Angel’s growing erection brushing against the crevice of her behind.
“Morning to you,” he rumbled as he ran his hands up and down her back before he firmly gripped her sofly rounded ass cheeks.
“Merry Christmas,” Buffy muttered as she nibbled along his jaw and neck, her hot core pressed against his groin as she moved in a slow rotation, the moisture from her already dampening his skin.
Angel smelled the exotic fragrance of her arousal as it filled the room. He lifted his love up and slowly guided her down on his long, thick and throbbing length. They both gasped in pleasure at the contact. The physical joining of their bodies. Angel entwined his fingers with Buffy’s and reverently brought them to his lips before leaning forward and catching her mouth in a steamy kiss. They made love slowly, leisurely and sweetly. It was a joining of their hearts. Both of then savoring each other, their love and the fact that they were together at last.
Buffy was nervous. When she’d called Xander, Willow and Giles to invite them to Chrismas dinner at the mansion the reception had been lukewarm, especially from Xander. She hadn’t explained everything. She’d told them only a little; that she and Angel were back together, and had vehemently assured them that there was no chance of *grrr* from their being together anymore. She smiled to herself as she thought of how they had proven that, several times already.
Now Buffy was just hoping everything went smoothly. Angel had given her his credit card and she’d been able to get some great gifts. She thought about the gift she bought for Angel. A little teddy she intended to model for him a little later tonight.
Angel watched as Buffy prepared Christmas Dinner. He leaned against the kitchen island his arms folded across his large chest, his ankles crossed. His black cashmere sweater was molded to his wide muscular chest. His crisply pressed khaki pants emphasized his long legs. He smiled as he watched Buffy rush around the kitchen checking the progress of the food. He loved the way the little velvet dress hugged her generous curves. Although it was far from practical she looked so beautiful rushing around the kitchen in her high-heeled shoes. She pulled her hair back up in to a casual twist and secured it with the jeweled hair comb he’d given her this morning as a Christmas gift with matching earrings that adorned her ears.
Although Angel could not enjoy the food Buffy was cooking he loved the aromatic smells filling the kitchen. It was just so warm and homey. Angel loved it. It wasn’t often he got a chance to see Buffying being *domestic*. He knew she could take out a cadre of vampires, behead a demon and plot ambush techniques but seeing her like this was a wonderful and rare pleasure. He’d offered to have the meal catered but Buffy had refused. She told him she wanted to do it herself. With his help, of course.
Buffy had planned a small meal only consisiting of turkey, stuffing, cranberry/orange sauce, peas, honey glazed carrots, rolls, pumpkin pie and wine. Earlier this morning he’d helped her baste the turkey and prepare the pie filling. Angel was amazed at her culinary skills. She’d laughed and told him she’d cooked this meal once before during the Thanksgiving he’d come to protect her. That reminded him that they oth had things to remember from that Thanksgiving.
Angel watched as Buffy chewed her lips as she stirred the glazed carrots.
“Don’t worry, darling, everything looks great.”
Buffy put down the wooden spoon she had been using to stir the simmering carrots and walked over to her tall vampire. He opened his arms and pulled her against his large frame.
“I want everything to be perfect,” she mumbled into his chest.
Angel kissed the top of her head. “Everything is perfect because you are perfect.”
She tilted her head back to gaze at her lover, “You are sweet.”
“No one is as sweet as you. You are the sweetest thing I’ve ever tasted and I want to taste you over and over again,” he said seductively.
Buffy blushed thinking of the carnal and intimates kissed they shared and given each other. “Later. Later we can both taste each other,” she promised leaning up to place a chaste kiss on is cheek.
“Mmm. Tempting. I’ll be waiting for that all day.”
<Me too.> The demon within stirred, thoughts of sex with Buffy awakening him as usual.
“So will I.”
They were silent for long moments. Both luxuriating in the joy of being together. Simply feeling joy and not being afraid that Angel would be too happy and it would be *Grrr* all over. It was a new feeling for both of them to be happy in their love for each other. To be allowed to feel this way.
“I’m going to tell everyone about our engagement.”
“I want to get married as soon as possible,” Angel lifted her away from him, his voice impatient. “I know the minister at the mission. I can get him to marry us any day or time.”
Buffy smiled at Angel’s impulsiveness. “My Mom gets home tomorrow morning. I need to tell her about our decision to marry.”
“And if she objects?” Angel queried, a little fear creeping in his voice.
Buffy shrugged, “Then she objects. I want her to accept us but if she doesn’t … I’m still going to marry you. You are my future Angel. Forever.”
“Then let’s get married tomorrow night….that is unless you want something more formal.”
“Tomorrow… hmm, tomorrow. I’ll have to check my calendar. I may have plans.” Buffy teased, trying to hide the enthusiasm in her voice. “Now that I think about it, tomorrow night works!” She kissed him then, a sweet, tender kiss that showed her happiness. One kiss turned to several before the timer beeped, reminding them of the food cooking.
Buffy checked the turkey, stirred the carrots and gravy on the stove then returned to her earlier position, snuggled in Angel’s arms. “Just think, every year we can celebrate Christmas and our anniversary at the same time. It’ll be perfect. I seem to be saying that word a lot. Perfect,” she let the word roll off her tongue. “I like it. I want to be married here. In front of the fireplace and Christmas tree. I want to start our new life in our home.”
Angel loved the sound of *our home* slipping from her tongue. “Then it’s settled. Tomorrow night we’ll get married.” He leaned down and kissed his love reverently. It was a sweet kiss filled with love and promises for the rest of their lives.
Buffy eventually broke the kiss and laid her cheek against her love’s unbeating heart, “Angel? What last name will we use?” She giggled. “Angel Summers?”
Angel paused, contemplating the question. “Before… Before my change, my family name was O’Connor. I’d like to use it again. This time around I think I can make my father proud of me.”
Buffy cupped his cheek as her eyes misted over, “Angel, your father would be very proud of you now. And proud that you are using your name. As proud as I’ll be to share that name with you.”
In answer, Angel pulled Buffy in for a heated kiss.
Christmas Dinner was different than what Kendra had shown her, yet some things were the same. Giles and Xander where wearing Santa hats. They looked so adorable. Everything was going great. There had been a little tension at first, just after everyone had arrived. Angel had poured everyone a glass of wine and it seemed to loosen everyone up, breaking the ice and alleviating some of the tension in the air.
Even Angel was tense, hopeful that Buffy’s friends would accept their relationship without guilt or recriminations. He knew how important they were to her.
Willow and Tara were sitting on the floor pillows close to the fireplace. Giles and Olivia were sitting on the sofa. Giles had his arm casually draped over Olivia’s shoulder. Anya was sitting in Xander’s lap in the large oversize chair.
“I love your human ritual sacrifices with pies. First your giving thanks and then this presents day.”
“Anya, Buffy and I have told you it’s not a ritual sacrifice,” Willow explained patiently. “It’s called Thanksgiving and although presents are exchanged the day is called Christmas. You really need to remember these things. Right, Buffy?” Willow turned to her friend who was standing near the fireplace leaning against her lover.
Buffy laughed and backed up her friend, “Right Wills.”
Buffy was glowing and it wasn’t from the flames of the fireplace. Willow hadn’t seen the fire and light in Buffy’s eyes in years but it was back. And she knew why. It was because Angel was back and because Buffy and Angel were together again. She didn’t know if anyone else had noticed but Angel and Buffy were both wearing their claddagh rings.
Years ago, when Angel had first given Buffy that ring, the young slayer had told her the significance of the rings. The fact that they were both now wearing them again meant things were serious. Very serious.
Buffy looked around at everyone in the room. Everything seemed to be going as she’d hoped and planned. The Christmas music was playing softly in the background. Conversation was flowing and so was the wine. Buffy was enjoying playing hostess. Even though she’d only been staying there for a couple of days now, she really felt like this was her home. Her first dinner as Angel’s wife. The first dinner she planned in her new home. She looked around at all the people she loved and their loved ones and she felt her eyes misting. She silently wished her Mom was there but she promised herself as soon as her Mom came home she’d have her over for dinner. She knew that she wasn’t going back to live with her mother, not after tonight. This was her home. This was where she would live with Angel from this day forward.
This was the first time Angel had ever used the formal dining room in the mansion. Only half of the massive table was needed, given the number of guests. Buffy had arranged the place settings so that they all were seated close enough for intimate conversation but far enough apart to be comfortable. She and Angel had decided no one would sit at the head of the table. That would have been too formal and they wanted a very casual, very comfortable dinner. The table was decorated festively, Buffy decorating it with evergreen sprigs, holly, and velvet bows.
Buffy stood and cleared her throat. She glanced at Angel and he stood with her, taking her hand and squeezing it, silently offering support.
“You all know that Angel and I are back together.” Buffy paused and looked at her love, her eyes shining with happiness. She took a deep breath to bolster her courage, then continued. “I have one more announcement to make… Angel has asked me to marry him and I’ve agreed. I know it’s short notice, but we’re getting married here tomorrow evening. You’re all invited.”
Willow squealed with joy and jumped up, rushing around the table to throw her arms around Buffy in a big hug. She then turned and hugged a very surprised Angel.
“Congrats. I’m so happy for both of you. You so deserve to be happy.”
“Thanks Will,” Buffy hugged her friend back. “I was hoping that you’d feel that way. Now I can ask you to be my Maid of Honor.”
Willows eyes sparkled with happy tears, “I’d be honored.”
Giles stood with a glass of wine to make a toast. “I’ll be the first to admit that I thought that the two of you should never be together,” he took a deep breath, “but I’ve realized that the two of you belong together. I’ve never seen either of you as happy as you are now. It will be my pleasure to be here tomorrow night.”
“Good because I need you to stand with me and Mom. Will you?”
Giles inclined his head like the British gentleman he was and cleared his throat, choked up by her request. “There is nothing I’d like to do more. I can’t think of any one I’d rather spend the holidays with than all of you.” He raised his glass. “I don’t think I say this enough but each and everyone of you is important to me.”
Everyone lifted their glasses in support of Giles’s statement, nodding and smiling around the table.
“C-Congratulation,” Tara offered shyly, smiling.
“I wish you and Angel all the best. Rupert talks about you like a proud father. I know how pleased he must be to see you finally happy and settling down. If Rupert invites me I should love to attend your wedding.” Olivia looked over at Giles with a teasing expression.
“Of course I’m inviting you.” Giles told his girlfriend.
Anya shrugged, “I really don’t care, but if Xander comes and there will be food, I’ll come.”
“Speak for yourself An,” Xander said snidely.
He looked around in disbelief at everyone. He couldn’t believe this. Willow and Giles had not only accepted this….this travesty… but were actually supporting her decision. Had everyone forgotten that Angel was, in fact, a vampire, a demon, one of the undead. Had they forgotten about Angelus and all of his horrible acts? Regardless if his soul was permanent or not, he is not human. Buffy very much is.
“Am I the only one here who thinks this is a bad idea? Even if there isn’t the fear of Angel turning into his less than cuddly evil sidekick, Angel is a vampire, not a human. I don’t care how you look at it, this is sick. Buffy you are sick to even love Angel. He’s a…..thing…..he’s what you are sworn to rid this earth of.”
“Xander that is quite enough!” Giles admonished.
<I never liked that useless pup. Kill him. Kill him now.> Angelus stirred at Xander’s angry words, responding in kind.
Angel’s face didn’t betray his anger. In part, he agreed with his demon. He wanted to jump over the table and rip Xander’s head off. He looked over at Buffy. Although her bottom lip was trembling she had a stony look of determination on her face. Angel decided it was time he stood up to Xander once and for all.
“Xander everything you just said is true. So are the things you failed to mention. Like my love for Buffy or the fact that I’d sacrifice my life, my very soul for her.”
Xander sneered, “Well you did that once already. It worked out really well.”
<I thought so… Can we kill him already?> The demon asked, his tone one of bored indifference.
Angel ignored the boy’s taunt and continued, “I would give all that I am and will ever be to guarantee Buffy’s safety and happiness. Tomorrow evening, with or without your acceptance, I will marry her. If that’s not enough for you, then let me say one more thing. AND this is the most important thing…. If you ever insult Buffy again, you will deal with me and you’ll learn I can be just as unpleasant as *my less than cuddly evil side kick,*” Angel promised menacingly.
<I am so not a sidekick… if anything, you’re the sidekick, soul boy.>
Xander croaked, swallowing harshly as he met the hard glint in Angel’s eyes. He pursed his lips and stared at him mutinously. Although he was frightened by the anger radiating from the tall vampire, he knew that Buffy wouldn’t allow Angel to hurt him.
“Xander I’ve allowed you to put Angel down since the moment you found out about him. That has to end now. I’m going to marry Angel. You’ve been my best friend for years. And you’ll always be my best friend. You can either accept my relationship with Angel…….or there won’t be a place in my life for you. If I have to make a choice between the two of you, I will choose Angel. Don’t force me to make that choice, Xander.”
The boy was speechless. He played his cards. Laid it all on the line about his feelings regarding their relationship and Buffy had told him if it came down to his friendship and Angel’s love she’d choose Angel.
The room had grown quiet as everyone stared at Xander. He was beginning to feel foolish. Like a little boy who had thrown a tantrum and now had to face the consequences.
Angel pulled Buffy close to him. Her body was rigid. He could feel, the anger and hurt radiating from her. He kissed the top of her head giving her his support. The support she’d get from him for the rest of her life.
Xander saw no other choice but to back down. It was either that or lose the only friends he’d kept most of his life and maybe even risk getting his ass kicked.
“Fine,” he grumbled angrily. “I’ll accept it, doesn’t mean I have to like it.”
Angel felt the tension leave Buffy’s body. The tense atmosphere in the room relaxed. Giles was the one to clear the air.
“Well, then it would seem that a toast is in order. To Buffy and Angel. May you both finally have your happy ever after.”
“Here, Here,” everyone replied in unison, clinking their glass with the person closest to them.
Buffy and Angel married in a small ceremony at the mansion the following evening. The bride wore an ivory lace ankle length dress. Her long tresses were pulled on top of her head in a elegant twist with curls escaping to frame her face. The groom wore black leather pants, leather duster and an ivory silk shirt. Angel had finally gotten tired of Angelus constant nudging and had given in to his suggestion of attire for the wedding.
The ceremony was performed in front of the fireplace. The fire was crackling, Kenny G’s Christmas album played softly in the background as the lights on the Christmas tree twinkled. Candles were positioned around the room and glowed from every surface. They created a very romantic atmosphere.
Buffy’s mom wasn’t too pleased with her daughter’s choice of a mate, but she grudgingly accepted Angel when she saw how much in love they appeared to be. The fact that her daughter would marry her vampire regardless to whether she approved or not helped to sway her towards accepting the marriage. She didn’t want her daughter to marry Angel but more importantly she didn’t want to loose contact with her daughter over the choice of her husband.
Joyce was somewhat appeased when Angel took her aside and told her about his shanshu. She consoled herself with the fact that maybe Angel would turn human in her lifetime and he and Buffy would give her a grandchild. She realized she was a relatively young mother and not quite ready to be a grandmother yet, but hopefully in the future.
Willow stood next to Buffy who was holding thea large bouquet of red and white roses, adorned with sprigs of holly. The flowers had been a surprise from Angel that morning. Even Willow had to admit that for a man Angel could be so romantic. Willow looked over at Tara communicating her love through her eyes to her lover. She hoped one day in the future she and Tara could say their vows of love in front of their friends.
Giles couldn’t be more proud to have walked beside Joyce to give Buffy to Angel. He kept thinking of the sixteen year old mutinous Slayer he’d first met. He’d grown to love her as he would a daughter and today he’d walked his daughter down the aisle to her husband. The one person he knew who could not only fight beside her but understood her difficult and violent life and, if necessary offer her protection from the things that would try to hurt her. He may very well be the only person on earth that could offer her that. All of those facts combined, supported Giles’s realization that Angel was perfect for Buffy in every way. Giles looked over at Olivia and smiled. Maybe one day he and Olivia would be exchanging places with Buffy and saying their vows of marriage in front of their friends.
Xander pouted part way through the ceremony, until Anya took him aside and chastised him for behaving like an immature child. She also took him to task for his bigotry about demons, given that she was a reformed demon herself. If he insisted on continuing with his position, she threatened to end their relationship, especially the sex. Which gave Xander pause… He changed his mind immediately and with a sheepish smile promised her that he would try harder to be more open minded and accepting.
The A-I team stood in the background watching the ceremony. Fred was openly crying with joy. Gunn was just amazed at how quickly everything had happened, while Wesley was surprised that it had actually taken so long for them to reunite. Of course, they had all thought the curse had been an issue, so that likely had kept them apart for awhile.. It had only been three days since Angel had left LA and reunited with his girlfriend. It was almost unbelievable that they were now marrying. Although they were happy for him they were still amazed at how quickly things had progressed.
Throughout the ceremony Cordelia stood next to Wesley, frowning. In the brief conversation she had with Angel after they had arrived, she had tried to convince him to wait. That this was too quick. Things were too uncertain. He was needed in LA, Buffy in Sunndale – how could they possibly make it work? But it had been for naught. Angel had given her a choice; accept his marriage to Buffy or get out of his life. She finally realized that when it came to Buffy, Angel would let nothing stand in his way. Not any more. She still couldn’t believe that Angel had chosen Buffy over her. She couldn’t believe that any man or vampire, for that matter, would turn down a chance to be with her. It was unthinkable that he would choose to be with some mousy little blonde instead. But it had happened. Angel loved Buffy and nothing she could say or do would was going to change that. Cordelia stood watching the couple as they stared loving at each other. It was almost enough to make her sick. She wore a sour expression on her face throughout the short ceremony.
Angel and Buffy only had eyes for each other. Every vow repeated reverently. Angel reached over to brush the tears away from eyes. Buffy grabbed his fingers and raised them to her lips to kiss.
“I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride,” the minister said.
Buffy and Angel kissed. A kiss of a lifetime, a kiss of forever.
Kenny G’s instrumental version of *Let It Snow* played softly. Angel and Buffy were dancing. All eyes were on the recently married couple. Buffy’s cheek laid against the unbeating heart of her husband and his cheek laid on the top of her golden head. A look of pure bliss radiated from both of their faces as they swayed to the music.
Cordelia was standing near the fireplace the sour expression still marring her beautiful face. She had indulged heavily in the expensive champagne Angel had purchased for the small reception and was very close to being pronounced drunk.
She had eyed the delicate looking untraditional 3-tiered chocolate wedding cake. It was lavishly decorated with white and red sugared roses. Cordelia had wanted to pick the cake up and hurl it in the fireplace but a last bit of reason or perhaps self-preservation had kept her from carrying out her evil thoughts. She watched the other occupants in the room. No one was paying her much attention. She wasn’t the center of attention tonight and she wasn’t use to that. More importantly she didn’t like it. But there was nothing she could do about it.
“Look!” Willow exclaimed rushing over to the French door leading to the courtyard. “It’s snowing! It’s snowing in Sunnydale! I can only remember this happening once before!”
Angel and Buffy hugged each other as they stared at the fat flakes of snow falling to coat the ground with whiteness. They both new it was a sign from the Doyle, Kendra and Powers That Be that they belong together. From this day forward they would live, love and fight evil together, side-by-side forever.
<So, when do we get to fuck the new wife? Now? Soon?> Angelus, quiet during the day finally stirred. And, as usual, he had a one track mind.