Happily Ever After



Could he ever have imagined something like this? Not the easy, competent way in which Xander showed off his new home, juggling the tour with getting his guests set up and comfortable in their rooms. The laid-back friendliness and self-confidence was something that Giles had always foreseen for his lone male ‘child', as was the incredible success and wealth Xander had created for himself.

"And here's the pool—it's heated and that's one-way glass, so it's completely private. Buffy and Wills were down in there yesterday, sun-bathing nude." Xander grinned, but the lasciviousness was mild compared to amusement at his old friend's and pride in his accomplishments. Giles echoed that smile, emotions identical. His children were all quite attractive, enough that even an old bloke like himself wouldn't mind just wondering. . . But Xander had built this magnificent home to his own specifications and designs, often creating things he needed, rather than using conventional means to circumvent the problem. This was truly Xander's home, possibly the first he'd ever had, and Giles couldn't stop beaming like an absolute wanker.

"The kitchens are over that way—and we imported that muesli you like, so raid it whenever. And this," Xander opened carved wooden door, "is your room."

Simple and elegant and thoroughly British. "Let me guess. You designed this room specifically with me in mind."

"Actually, no. Designed it for what I wanted."

That was what Giles never could have guessed. The way Xander's arms curved familiarly around a trim, narrow waist, his nose buried in white-blond hair. The comfortable affection, the constant touching and verbal by-play, all with the established patterns of a couple long familiar with their partner.

It'd taken Xander so long to get over Anya's death. None of them had ever imagined that it would be Spike to be the one who finally did it.

"Indeed. And I suppose having a frail old man in your den of male inequity—"

"Rupert," Spike warned, grin wide and bright in his pale face. "Won't have you callin' yourself frail. S'pretty much a blatant lie and besides, it worries my boy."

"A thirty year old man is hardly a boy," Giles admonished, taking the bag from Xander despite his protestations and placing it on the bed. Now wasn't the time for presents, of course, but that was alright. He loved gifting both of these men, who neither needed nor truly wanted such gifts. "For the two of you."

Exchanging glances, Spike reached out and took the blue-wrapped package. "You know you didn't have to," he said nervously. "Not that we mind a few more prezzies, but we did say no gifts, 'member?"

"Of course I remember. If I'm not allowed to be frail, then I'm not allowed to be senile, either. And I daresay the girls brought gifts too, didn't they."

Both men looked sheepish, answer enough. Spike glanced once at Xander then shrugged and tore the paper off. Though he'd calmed down over the years, there was still a touch of hyper-active vampire that loved to destroy things in that small frame. Something Giles had been well aware of, when it wrapped his present in the most convoluted way possible.

Five minutes later, a small mountain of shredded cardboard and wrapping paper at his feet, Spike had successfully opened the box. Two pairs of cufflinks winked in the soft golden light, both of them silver, with an embossed yin-yang symbol.

"I thought a horse was over the top," he got out before he was engulfed in two pairs of arms. "Happy wedding," he whispered to them both.

* * * * * * * * *

The music was meaningless, an unheard collection of words and sounds. The room could have been crawling with demons, weapons trained on their unprotected backs. The sky could have threatened to fall from the heavens, and those ringed and staring would have fought to the death to make sure they were undisturbed.

Spike and Xander were slow dancing.

All of them were crying. They'd tried not to, adults well past the stage where emotion led instantly to tears. But watching how happy the two of them were, how utterly at peace—and the tears had dripped down each of their cheeks. Buffy had her arms around her sister, golden head pressed to brown. Their makeup was ruined, but they grinned like children. Willow sat wrapped around herself, alone but for her memories, her tears not just for the couple on the floor. Had Tara survived, Spike had told her, she would've been his Best Man, just as Willow was Xander's. Willow had cried then, too, happy and sad all at once, and strangely pleased that Spike had chosen no one at all.

Giles was buried in his cups, too British to cry openly, but there were tears on his face, too. His clan had survived against impossible odds and now they flourished. Dawn's daughter was nearly three years old, a grandchild he thought he'd never have. Willow was planning to adopt, and Buffy had threatened dire mayhem on her husband if children were not produced forthwith. The world was not safer, was not saner, but they had still survived, still found love to share and grow.

And below them, arms wrapped around each other, two men swayed to the rhythm of a single heart.