30th story in the Angel Girl series.
Characters: JD, Buck, Chris, OFC, OMC
Disclaimer: Not mine. Don´t own any part of them. Make no financial profit from them. Do not pass go, do not collect $200.
Author's Notes: I know this is not the way a lot of fans wanted to see this, but it was what came to my tiny little brain so it´s what you get. This hasn´t been beta-ed, so you´ve been warned.
Vin Tanner knocked once on the heavy walnut door then entered, throwing a concerned look at the large tuxedo-clad man standing in front of another open door leading from the tiny room. The sounds of someone retching could clearly be heard from the other room as the dark haired man turned to look at Vin when he made his entrance.
"He still at it?" Vin asked in disbelief.
"Yep. I'm afraid that boy is about to puke up something he's gonna need later at the rate he's going," Buck Wilmington replied with a shake of his head.
"Think he's gonna be ready soon? Things are about to start," Vin said.
"I'm okay," the weak voice of JD Dunne assured his friends as he stepped from the tiny bathroom, wiping his mouth with a cloth.
"Sure ya are, kid," Vin assured him. "Everything's gonna be just fine."
"Here," Buck said handing the young man a bottle of mouth wash, "better use a shot of this. This sure isn't a good day to have bad breath."
Both men waited silently as JD grabbed the bottle and returned to the bathroom once more. The sounds of gargling and liquid being spat against porcelain were heard next, and then JD reappeared and gave the bottle back to his friend.
"Thanks," JD smiled sickly.
"No problem, kid," Buck grinned, "that's what a best man's for.
"Are you gonna make it, JD?" Vin asked.
JD straightened his shoulders and stood up straight, like a soldier at attention (one who was facing a battle or a firing squad).
Buck stepped in front of the young man that had become a little brother to him, and helped him into his tuxedo jacket then straightened the bowtie that had gone askew during his last bout of nervous vomiting.
"I'm fine, Vin. I can do this," he told them firmly, trying to convince himself as much as them.
Buck smiled down at JD and told him, "Sure you can, JD. This is what you wanted isn't it?"
"More than I ever realized," JD looked up at his mentor and big brother, "I love Casey. I'm ready for this it's just ,"
"It's a big step," Buck finished for him, laying his hands on JD's shoulders, "You wouldn't be human if you weren't a little nervous about taking it. If I wasn't completely sure you're gonna be happy, I'd be hauling your butt outta here right now, but I am sure. You need Casey, JD, and she needs you, and that baby she's carrying needs the both of you."
JD emotionally threw his arms around the tall dark haired man and held on for a moment before pushing back and wiping at his eyes.
"Thanks, Buck," JD told him, his dark brown eyes shining warmly with heart-felt gratitude at the man that had not only taken him under his wing when he had joined the team, but had opened his home and his heart also, "for everything."
Buck loosely hooked an elbow around the kid's neck and grinned. "Any time, little brother."
"It's about that time," Vin interrupted with his own grin. "You ready?"
For a minute JD looked like he was going to throw up again, but sucked it up and nodded.
"Alright," Buck laughed, "it's show time!"
7 7 7 7 7 7 7
Chris Larabee landed a soft kiss on the back of his son's head as the baby squirmed and placed his open mouth against the protective cloth covering the shoulder of his father's dark suit. The two- month-old Cody gnawed happily on the fabric as he watched his cousin Angel over that broad shoulder. Angel was sitting behind them sandwiched between Rita and Nathan making funny faces at the baby. Raine sat beside her husband smiling at the children as she watched Angel keep Cody and herself entertained.
Chris patted the back of the baby resting on his shoulder absently as he glanced around the interior of the simply decorated chapel. The smell of flowers and burning candles caused the blonde-haired man sitting on one of the front pews of the small chapel to smile nostalgically. Chris could only nod in approval of his friend's choice of location for his wedding service. The gleaming polished wood and brass furnishings were understated but beautiful, and seemed to focus attention on the magnificent stained glass window that adorned the wall of the chapel behind the alter; the window that his youngest agent would be standing in front of in a few minutes to speak his wedding vows.
Chris felt both happy and sad at the thought of the young man getting married. The boy that had started out as only another member of his team had slowly worked his way into his heart; becoming a member of his family, a younger brother and in many ways a son to the older man. He had watched the youth grow and mature, proud he could claim a role in helping JD reach the potential that he had seen in him on their first meeting. Now, that boy no, that young man was taking his next step forward.
It stirred up so many bittersweet memories of his and Sarah's wedding so many years ago. He had been so young, so eager and so damn scared. He couldn't help but chuckle to himself at the memory. It had taken Buck threatening to marry Sarah himself if he, Chris, tried to bolt to get him to pull it together enough to leave the waiting room and step out into the church to wait for his bride. He had stood trying to hide his trembling hands from the crowd of guests watching him, and had shot dark, threatening looks at his best man as Buck made no attempt to hide his amusement at his best friend's condition.
It had only taken one look at his lovely bride as she started down the aisle to erase his fears. He had been overcome with emotion as his eyes met those of his sweet Sarah and he had known that everything would be all right as long as this woman loved him. With a singing heart he had stepped forward to take the hand of the woman he would love for the rest of his days, and willingly placed his life, his very soul, into her gentle loving hands.
Now, JD was about to take his own vows, supported by the same man that had stood by Chris all those years ago. Somehow that just seemed right, as though a circle had finally closed. Chris shook his head at his own thoughts. He was starting to sound like Josiah.
Chris glanced to his right and looked at his team's profiler. Josiah was seated farther down on the same pew, with his grandson Lucas on one side and his granddaughter Rhiannon on the other. The man was patiently trying to explain to his grandson why he couldn't go visit his Uncle JD. The little boy just couldn't seem to grasp that his hero might have other things on his mind and might not have the time for him right now.
Chris had to stifle a laugh as he watched Lucas pat his grandfather's hand kindly and state in a voice eerily reminiscent of Josiah's patient one, "Grandpa, of course Uncle JD wants to see me. He loves me," the little hand continued to pat the larger one, and the little head nodded seriously, "We're best buds. He told me so. He said I'm always welcome. He'll really want to see me."
Chris caught the older man's eye and grinned. Josiah threw him an exasperated look then returned his attention to his grandson. The whole team had worked hard to make sure the two children felt secure with their places in their new family after the death of their mother. It looked like they had done their job well. Lucas had absolutely no doubt of his welcome. Chris didn't envy Josiah the task of convincing the boy that now was not the time to bother JD.
Chris glanced to his left and saw Ezra stand up to let Vin slip back into the pew. Ezra and Chris had been watching over his three children while he was gone. Vin was trying to shush the enthusiastic greetings his triplets called out to him as he resumed the seat he had left earlier to check on JD.
Vin sent him a grin over the top of the triplet's heads and nodded to let Chris know that everything was fine with their young friend.
"He's doing alright?" Chris asked.
"Yeah. Buck's holding him together, but I bet he must have puked up meals from last week."
Chris chuckled in amusement.
7 7 7 7 7 7 7
JD stood with his hand on the doorknob and straightened his shoulders. He drew in a deep breath and released it slowly trying to relax and let go of some of the tension that currently had him in its grip. He ordered his hand to turn the knob, but somehow the hand didn't seem to be listening to him because it only tightened its grip on the door knob.
He looked down as a large, warm hand closed over his. Buck gently pried JD's fingers from the knob where he had frozen, then wrapped an arm around the younger man's shoulders.
"Steady on now, JD," Buck told him, "I'll be right beside you. You're gonna do fine."
Buck watched as the young man seemed to get even paler than he already was.
"Just breathe, JD," Buck said and held him a little tighter.
"Oh God, Buck, what am I doing?" JD whispered.
"You are about to marry your one, true love, JD. You are about to get everything you ever wanted."
"I can't do this, Buck!" JD said with a sudden burst of panic showing in his eyes.
"Yes, you can, JD," Buck looked at his friend seriously, "and you will. You promised that sweet woman you would marry her. You told her you loved her and wanted to spend the rest of your life with her. You told her you wanted to be a Daddy to that baby the two of you made together. She put her trust in you, son. You owe it to her to keep your promises, JD."
"I don't I can't..." JD trailed off.
"Because if you don't, then I will," Buck looked down at the smaller man sternly.
"What!" JD looked at his friend in shock.
"You heard me," Buck told him. "There is no way I'll let that woman go through the humiliation of being jilted at the altar. She deserves a hell of a lot better than that. And that baby deserves a father, so if you're not man enough to do the right thing then I will."
JD stared at the serious face of his friend, all his nervous tension draining away in the face of the anger that filled him at the thought of his best friend marrying the woman he loved, being the father to his child. JD pushed Buck's arm off his shoulders roughly.
"You son of there's NO WAY IN HELL you're marrying Casey. She belongs to me! I love her, and she loves me! Not you! Me! That's our baby! Mine and Casey's! Just who in blue blazes do you think you are anyway? I ought to " JD broke off his tirade as Buck's grin broke through and the large man started laughing in the smaller man's confused face.
"Yep," the big man chuckled, "it works every time."
"Buck? What just happened here?" JD asked staring back at the blue eyes looking down at him with amusement.
"Just helping you get a little of your perspective back, JD."
"You set me up!" JD reluctantly smiled at his friend.
"Yep!" was the proud reply.
"You're welcome, kid," Buck grinned and threw his arm around JD's shoulder again. "Hey, all part of the service as your best man," he said and led the young man through the door into the chapel.
7 7 7 7 7 7 7
Concerned looks were exchanged by the seated wedding guests as JD's raised voice could be heard in the tiny chapel yelling, "No way in hell!"
Vin started to rise to check on the problem when Chris reached out and caught his arm. Vin stared in surprise at the smile stretched across the face of his usually more stoic friend and the older man began to chuckle.
"Cowboy?" he questioned.
"Don't worry, Vin," Chris said loud enough for those around him to hear clearly, "I imagine Buck just gave him the 'Buck Wilmington patented "qqqqIf you don't do the right thing then I will" zzzzshock 'em into forgetting they're nervous'qqqq zzzztreatment´qqqq.zzzz
"The what?" Vin looked at his friend as if he were crazy.
Chris just waved him off, still laughing, and said, "I'll explain later," as the pianist began the opening bars that signaled the wedding march.
The wedding guests rose as JD and Buck emerged to stand at the front of the assembly. Josiah had to grab Lucas by the hand to keep the child from rushing to JD's side, but couldn't stop the boy from waving madly and calling out to the groom.
JD grinned and waved back to the excited child. From the corner of his eye he could see a smiling Buck winking at Angel when she waved to her father as he took his place by JD's side.
The triplets, not to be out done, gave their own version of a wave (which mostly consisted of repeatedly opening their fingers and then closing them into fists) and assaulted the congregation with their latest word. Their cheerful "Hi, hi, hi, hi," echoed in the rafters of the chapel in their usual three part harmony and caused the guests to smile and laugh at their enthusiasm. The organist was laughing so hard she had to stop playing, much to Vin's blushing chagrin. Even JD enjoyed the children's innocent excitement, forgetting his nervousness for a few moments.
His attention was drawn to the back of the church as the organist began to play once more and Casey's best friend and Maid of Honor began a measured advance down the short aisle and took her place with a smile opposite JD and Buck. Then time itself seemed to hold its breath as Casey and her Aunt Nettie entered, and suddenly everything seemed to fade into the background and all JD could see was Casey.
The cascading bouquet of white and pink roses and baby's breath she carried had been a gift from his teammates, their way of welcoming their new little sister into the family. She wore her hair down around her shoulders, and had chosen to wear a circlet of flowers instead of the traditional veil. The white satin and lace dress she wore was of a simple, almost old fashioned design. The bodice was fitted with long lace sleeves that ended in points on the back of her hands, and the long skirt with a small train flowed around her like liquid elegance as she walked. JD stared in awe at his bride. Her beauty stole his breath away. Casey had always been beautiful to him, but now she seemed to float down the aisle with a luminous grace that captured his heart all over again, and made his eyes fill with joyful tears at the wonder of having this woman pledge herself to him. She glowed with a love that he felt echo in his own heart.
Their eyes locked and both lovers knew that this was the moment when their souls were truly joined. They would say the words for the assembled friends and relatives to witness, but they knew in their hearts that all the vows they would ever need had been exchanged in that one, timeless moment of complete accord.
Nettie and Casey reached the altar and the old woman smiled at her niece as she hugged her gently and placed a kiss on her smooth cheek then placed Casey´s hand in JD's. JD leaned over and received his own kiss from his newest relative. Nettie gave the couple a teary smile and stepped back, blinking rapidly to keep the moisture in her eyes from spilling over. The pastor gestured and the congregation sat once more.
Dearly Beloved, the man´s voice rang out strongly, We are gathered here today
| Two such as you with such a master speed
Cannot be parted nor be swept away
From one another once you are agreed
That life is only life forevermore
Together wing to wing and oar to oar.
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