Skate Two by SCWLC
Disclaimer: I don’t own the Dixie Chick’s “Sin Wagon”, I don’t own Mary MacDonald’s song, “Sealwoman”, I don’t own the Rogers and Hammerstein song “Lonely Goatherd” and I don’t own any of the characters in this either.
Distribution: Want it? Take it. Just lemme know.
Summary: There were requests for a sequel to the first figure skating story and I was (somewhat) inspired so this is what happened between the end and the epilogue of the first story.
Rating: R It got upped because of some naughtier bits.
Notes: I have many. First, I need to apologise because in the last story I forgot that Coffee Crisp is a Canadian product, meaning no one but Canadians who have watched too much TV will recognise the ad. So, for those who were wondering, the so so so so so thing was an ad for a chocolate bar with coffee in it. A friend of mine and I used to recite the ad. Anyhow, to maintain the theme, I’ve put in another candy ad. For those who don’t know, Smarties are essentially M&Ms, only they’re tackier. The ad is to be sung to the tune of “Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavour on the Bedpost Overnight.” The “Hockey Night in Canada” thing is to be sung to the Hockey Night in Canada theme song. You just have to kinda smush the Canada on the first couple. Those who watch hockey in Canada will know what I’m talking about. Everyone else just smile and nod.
Notes2: I felt this next set of things deserve separate notes. I have actually broken many ISU regulations on pairs figure skating, so any figure skating fanatics out there yes, I know this. However, I wanted to sort of match the choreography to something and lyrics are easier than trying to explain to readers what’s going on with the music. Also, someone mentioned with the last story that one of the amendments in the US constitution means Buffy is and American citizen despite her place of birth. Well, pretend that amendment doesn’t exist because it’s not worth finding a way around it. The Gaelic is, in fact, Scottish Gaelic because I wanted to practice somewhere and this seemed as good as anywhere. What Angel says is literally (because I have no freakin’ clue what dictionary in Gaelic is) “I am a fool. Look for fool in a book my picture is there.” I also suspect I wrote it wrong.
Feedback: Anything else I’ve missed? Feel free to tell me at firstname.lastname@example.org
“Darla Wells you are hereby found guilty of assault with intent to kill. You have been sentenced to twenty years in a maximum security facility,” the judge presiding over her trial said.
She was dignified as she stood and began to make her way toward the exit, but as she got close to where Buffy and her fiancé were sitting she abruptly lunged toward them and was jerked back by the guards escorting her. “I’ll get you for this, bitch! He won’t stay with you! Soon he’s going to want a real woman and not some anorexic little skater!” Darla was dragged from the courtroom kicking and shouting obscenities. In her wake the reporters and camera crews closed in on Buffy and Angelus.
“What is your response to Wells’ threats?”
“Is it true you’re marrying to gain a US citizenship?”
“Are you pregnant?”
“How will Wells’ incarceration affect your performance in the coming season?”
“Is the damage to Miss Summers going to keep her off the ice?”
The questions continued to swirl around the couple with them responding to the select few that directly pertained to either their careers or the trial that had just ended. “Buffy and I are about to begin rehearsals for this coming season,” Angelus said. “We’ll naturally have to go through the whole gamut of regionals since we’re an untried team, but I expect us to reach the Worlds without too much difficulty. What happens after that is anyone’s guess.”
“So you are both going to skate for Ireland?” one reporter questioned.
Buffy smiled. “Absolutely. Angelus has no intention of skating for anywhere else, and I have no intention of skating with anyone but him.” They two shared a smile and created a perfect photo-op for the surrounding cameras. The questions paused as a hundred flashbulbs went off simultaneously.
Another reporter finally got through with a sensible question. “So who’s going to coach you both? With Darla Wells now in prison will you be getting a new coach?”
“No,” Angelus replied firmly. “We will be coached by Rupert Giles who has been Buffy’s coach for years. He knows pairs skating as well or better than anyone else in the business and we both know and trust him.” They continued to field questions all the way out to the car, avoiding the ones that were demands for sensationalistic headlines, and brushing aside those that were too intrusive. Finally they were inside and Angelus floored it out of there.
“How are you feeling?” he asked his fiancée. He glanced over at her as she sat calmly in the passenger seat. The stitches had come out and she looked healthy and ready, but he knew looks could be deceiving. He had no intention of letting her anywhere near a rink if she wasn’t fully ready to begin training again.
She rolled her eyes. “Angel. Honey. This wasn’t even as bad as what happened when Parker dropped me. I want to get back on the ice and start practising. With you. Besides, how am I gonna keep up with my new partner if I don’t stay in shape?” She smiled and placed her hand on his knee.
He took a hand off the wheel briefly to place it over hers. “I just don’t want you to get hurt.” She said nothing in response, just squeezed his knee and then sat back for the rest of the drive. They’d had this discussion before and everything was said.
The pair climbed out of the car on reaching the arena and went to change and warm up. By the time Angelus got out of the changeroom Buffy was already skating around the rink. He paused and smiled as he watched her swing into a spread eagle, glide easily into a turn and then change legs into a Bielman spin. She was just so beautiful. Tiny, slender and with an iron will that had her trying a quad before she was ready.
He was practically next to her when she missed the landing on the quad axel and fell. He stood over her, glowering irritably. “Why can’t you wait until you’ve been practising for a while before trying the damn quads?”
“Why can’t you let me practice my quads so that I’ll be able to land them in competition?” she shot back, equally cranky.
Giles came walking onto the ice and gave both a warning look. “Angelus, you’ll have to trust that your partner knows what she’s doing in practice or else you’ll have no trust when it comes to competition. Then you’ll lose.” He turned to Buffy. “You know damn well that you aren’t ready to try the more difficult jumps. I will not work with a young fool who refuses to pay attention to the state of her own body.” He determinedly ignored the stuck out tongues from both which became giggles between the pair, then turned into more heated looks. “Buffy, do you still recall the steps you had in mind for your short program last year?”
Buffy came out of the staring contest she was in with her fiancé and replied, “You mean the “Sin Wagon” routine?” Giles nodded.
“Sin wagon routine?” Angelus asked.
Buffy grinned at him. “Riley didn’t want to do something risqué, so we didn’t do it, but I wanted to do a short program to the Dixie Chicks’ song “Sin Wagon”.” She cuddled up to him and he wrapped an arm around her.
Giles nodded again and added, “Actually, I think this would be a perfect introductory piece for the two of you as a pair.” He smiled happily. The year was looking up for him. His skater looked happy and she finally had a partner worthy of her mettle. “The thing is, Buffy has more to her than the sweet and innocent appeal people are used to, and with the two of you beginning an artistic, as well as personal relationship, the new style of skating would be an excellent change from her previous style.”
“And I was thinking of you in leather,” Buffy said with a grin. She reached around him and squeezed his butt. Angelus jumped and then smiled down at her wolfishly.
“Okay,” he said after a moment’s consideration, “But since I haven’t ever heard the song, why don’t we listen to it. Maybe improvise a little before I say yes. I may not like it.” Buffy jerked her head at Giles who promptly went over to the tape player and started it up.
There was no discussion of other music for the short program after that. Giles was privately convinced it was partially because of the way Buffy was writhing all over her lover, but he refrained from comment. Mainly because all the improvisation gave them practically a whole routine by the end of the afternoon. He knew he could rely on Buffy to remember what he didn’t of the choreography, and Angelus had come up with a wonderful little lift and twisting drop that was perfect for showpieces. Giles grinned at the startled look on Buffy’s face when Angelus lifted her up and then got her out of her sweater as he put her down.
He hadn’t been certain the two would be ready for pairs work in time for the new season, but while Buffy recovered Angelus had learned to partner with another coach. She used to be a pairs skater, so he had learned how to properly do the lifts and throws on her, and when Buffy started to skate again, he was ready.
Buffy came out of a triple loop with barely a wobble and Giles brought things to a close. “We’ll pick this up tomorrow. Buffy, I don’t want you overdoing it, so I’m cutting practice off now.” She tried pouting but the two men ignored her. “I’ll see you tomorrow, Buffy.”
She then tried pouting at Angelus. He just kissed her and pulled her off the ice. “How about we watch that movie you’ve been wanting me to see,” he said. She stopped pouting and eagerly dragged him back to the car and their shared apartment. They had started living together almost before Buffy got out of the hospital and they were in the middle of plans for the wedding as well as everything else in their lives.
Unfortunately the movie was not to be. They arrived home to find an unfamiliar car parked in the visitor’s lot and Angelus’ parents waiting in the living room for them. “So, I see you were no’ gonna tell your own parents about the wedding,” were the words that greeted the skaters.
Angelus tensed and his jaw began to work. “I sent the both of you letters, emails, faxes and I even left phone messages tellin’ y’about my fiancée. Just because you refuse to talk to me-”
“Oh. Right. We dinna want to talk to our only child,” Henry Joseph Mackenzie snorted. “Yer mother’s been worried about ya ever since you decided to ignore your heritage and change your name.” He glanced around the living room to where his wife sat and back to the couple standing uncomfortably in their own home. “So does your ‘fiancée’ know her lad is a bleedin’ gay man?”
Buffy smiled. “Oh I heard the rumours, but if my lover is gay then I’m Mary Queen of Scots.” She paused, frowned, then said, “Mary Queen of Scots? I’ve been hanging around Giles way too much.” She took Angelus and her coats and hung them up, then turned to her boyfriend’s parents and asked, “Is there anything I can get you? We have juice, milk-”
“Whisky on the rocks,” said Henry. His wife frowned and smacked him on the arm.
Angelus stalked past them to the bedroom growling irritably, “Neither Buffy nor I drink. We both have to maintain our balance on the ice when we’re training or competing so there’s no alcohol in the kitchen.” He slammed the door behind him, leaving Buffy to deal with their unexpected guests.
Twenty minutes later, Buffy was desperately fielding questions from Angelus’ father about skating, the wedding, their relationship and whatever else seemed to come to mind. Finally she had enough and shouted at the man. “You know, you’re not even giving him a chance! He went to university and got those degrees to make you happy! He’s doing something he loves! Why can’t you let him be happy?”
Henry glared at her and snarled, “He was supposed to take over the family business! Instead he’s prancing around in those poofy great tights and-”
“Have you ever watched him? Do you even know what he does? Angelus is one of the best male skaters on the ice and I am grateful to be skating with him!” Buffy shouted. She advanced on Angelus’ father and sent the man backing toward the door. “Furthermore, he is my fiancé and I would appreciate it if you could keep from badmouthing the man I’m going to marry.” She marched past him and yanked the door open. “I was going to ask him to invite you both to our wedding since your opinion is really important to him, but since neither of you seem to care one way or another about what your son wants I’m telling you both to get the hell out.”
Buffy stood in the doorway with one hand pointing out the door, and stared the other couple down. They left silently and she went into the bedroom to find Angelus pretending he wasn’t upset. “You okay?” she asked him.
He cleared his throat. “I’m fine. Fine. Why don’t we watch that film hunh?” He tried to brush past her, but Buffy stopped him in the door.
“Why don’t we talk about your parents?” she asked softly. His jaw worked a little and he refused to look her in the eye. “Angel-”
He sent a good-natured growl her way. “Why do you keep insisting on calling me that?” he grumped at her. “It makes me sound like a girl.” Buffy giggled, leading him over to the bed.
“I like calling you that. Only I get to call you that so it’s a name for you that’s all mine,” she replied as they sat down. Buffy plunked into his lap to keep him on the bed with her and said again, “Why don’t we talk about your parents.”
Angelus nuzzled into her hair and wrapped his arms around her. “I don’t want to talk about them because it makes me depressed.” He caught her look and sighed. “Alright!” Buffy squeaked as he pulled her to lie down with him and they twined themselves comfortably together. He sighed and started. “We used to get along. I worshipped the ground my mother walked on and even though Dad and I never got along well, we could always talk about football or fiddling.”
Buffy cuddled him a little closer and asked, “What happened?”
“I met my first skating coach,” he replied. “We were at some Irish culture festival that my father always liked to play at and there was a rink for kids to skate on. She started to improvise a bit while my father was playing and I copied her.” He sighed again and smiled at the memory. “Mum thought it was a nice thing for me to do and let me take up skating. Dad didn’t quite like it but I thought he’d be okay since he could understand about art and music and dance. He couldn’t,” Angelus said bluntly. “When I got serious he was furious. I tried to make him understand but I couldn’t. Mum always thought Dad hung the moon, so when he said . . . whatever it was he said to her, she just started treating me like a criminal.”
Buffy looked into her lover’s eyes and saw how much it had hurt him to have his parents turn on his dreams that way. “I’m so sorry sweetheart,” she said.
“’Salright,” he replied. In a sudden mood swing rolled them so that he was lying on top of her then grinned wickedly. “I’m suddenly in the mood for a little fun.”
Buffy giggled and arched up a little bit, “Oh?” she asked. “What sort of,” she paused to lick her lips, causing Angelus to groan at the sight, “Fun did you have in mind?”
Angelus swooped down and kissed her. After that there was little in the way of coherent conversation.
The weeks passed as the two worked on their routines. Angelus was the one who picked out the music for the long routine. Things went well until Giles told them they ought to take on the opportunity offered by a Rogers and Hammerstein musical special. Buffy was promptly excited and started to try to come up with a good piece for them to skate to. Angelus took one look at the notion and said, “Absolutely not.”
Angelus glared at her. “No. I will not ham up to a crowd who knows nothing about skating and is only there to watch people be cute.” He flopped down on a chair as Buffy and Giles exchanged looks.
Giles hesitantly tried another tack. “You will be paid into a trust account and given access after you enter the professional skating world,” he offered. Given that, should he be paid, Angelus would no longer be an amateur skater and would become ineligible to skate in the Olympics or World Championships, this was the best offer.
Angelus just glared and slumped down.
Buffy pouted. “Fine. I’ll just have to ask Xander to skate with me.” She sighed wistfully. “It might have been nice to get in a nice performance or two before there was any pressure on us, and I just won’t be able to do as much but-”
“You are not skating with anyone but me!” Angelus interrupted. He frowned. “We’ll find something else if you feel we need a no-pressure performance,” he added.
“But I want to do this. It’s great PR. Besides, you could show people that you have a sense of humour. We could do a threesome thing with Xander and us.” Buffy trailed off as an idea occurred to her. “Giles?” Her coach looked at her. “What would you think of Angel in lederhosen?”
The two men just blinked.
Angelus was still unsure one month later how this had happened precisely. One moment he was objecting to the very notion of skating to anything which had yodelling, the next he was rehearsing a three-person routine in which he had to dress up like some freakish Bavarian. It was extremely disturbing. He was certain the worst part was the bit about to happen as the latest round of yodelling ended.
Xander came bounding out of the back after his last costume change and did a backflip to land between them dressed like a big baby. Literally. Angelus suppressed his wince and concentrated on the unusually demanding choreography. He had been suspecting for the past two weeks it had been arranged to make sure he shut up. It had also been done to compensate for Xander’s limited capabilities, but it was mainly so that he couldn’t whine at the other two during the performance. They reached the big conclusion and Angelus legged it off the ice.
Xander followed him and asked, “Y’know, I’ve been wondering. Why are you doing this if you hate it so much?”
He was about to answer the other man when Buffy’s arm shot out of the dressing room and dragged him in. When Xander poked his head in seconds later he found his ex-partner and Angelus wrapped around each other and Buffy wriggling out of her skating costume. Xander was about to close the door and hurry off when he heard Buffy say, “See? That wasn’t so bad.”
Angelus harrumphed. “Right. I look like a fool and the song is moronic and ahh!” He broke off as Buffy reached between the two of them and did something Xander couldn’t see. Angelus started whimpering.
Buffy was rocking on Angelus’ lap as she repeated, “See? That wasn’t so bad.”
“As long as you promise to keep that up I’ll agree to anything,” Angelus replied.
Xander left, chuckling, and was still smirking when the pair reappeared looking calm and together except for the lipstick barely visible on Angelus’ neck. Xander waved the couple over to his table at the arena hot chocolate stand and said when they got close, “Angelus you got a little lipstick . . . “ He finished by gesturing at his neck.
Angelus hastily wiped the smudge away and sat down. Buffy ignored the empty chair and sat on his lap. Xander grinned at them both and said, “I see skating together hasn’t destroyed your romance yet.”
“Nope,” Buffy said. “We’re enjoying being joined at the hip. How’s life with Anya?”
“Good, although you can ask her what she thinks of life with me.” Xander stood as Anya arrived and held her chair for her. She took one look at Xander standing at the ready to be a gentleman and shoved him into his chair again before imitating Buffy by sitting in Xander’s lap.
She looked Angelus up and down and said, “Xander says you’re going to be wearing lederhosen. I’m looking forward to seeing whether your legs and butt look as good in the shorts as they do in black leather.” Angelus made a choking sound. He looked at Buffy expecting her to be furious, but she was just giggling.
“What’s so funny?” he asked her.
She snorted a bit to get herself under control and replied, “I was just thinking how perfectly Anya described my thoughts about it.” He frowned as he thought this over and then glared at her.
“You’ve got me doing this utterly humiliating routine because you want to see me in some stupid shorts?” he growled. He was going to try to dump her off his lap when she whipped around and straddled him. Angelus found himself briefly staring at her enticingly bouncy chest and completely forgot what was going on. Then she finished turning around and was seated facing the other direction.
“Actually,” she grinned, “I just saw this little pink costume I thought would look totally cute on me and I just had to find something to wear it in.”
Xander laughed. “You know, she used to do the same thing to me,” he said. “She would find some outfit she adored, then she’d convince Giles to make us do a routine to fit the costume.” Buffy pouted at Xander while Angelus filed the information away for future use. “I think those were some of our better programs actually,” Xander added thoughtfully.
“So to really inspire Buffy to work you need to buy her clothes.” Angelus sounded contemplative as he spoke. The wicked twinkle in his eye gave him away. “Why am I unsurprised by this?”
Buffy swatted him and the two couples turned their discussion to Buffy and Angelus’ upcoming wedding. They talked flower arrangements and bridesmaid dresses until the two men were about to go insane. In response the guys had their own talk about the wedding night and finding a stripper who could skate. Buffy was about to swat her fiancé again when she noticed someone hovering at the back of the room. “’Scuse me guys,” she said. “I’ve gotta go to the bathroom. I’ll be right back.”
She crossed the room and sat down next to Justine Mackenzie. “Hey. I almost thought you weren’t going to come.”
Angelus’ mother looked at her soon-to-be daughter-in-law and said, “I don’t know if I should be here. I don’t need to watch my son prance-” she would have continued but Buffy cut her off.
“If you’ve never seen Angel skate then you don’t know what you’re going to see.” Buffy sighed. “Of course, he’s not going to be at his best here. It’s a difficult program, technically speaking, but it’s not him.”
Justine glared at Buffy. “If this isn’t a good program for me to see him in, then why am I here?” She started to stand up but Buffy grabbed her arm and pulled her back into her seat.
“You’re here because you refused to listen when I tried telling you that, and insisted on seeing the soonest performance rather than the competitions or even a better demonstration piece.” Buffy said it calmly, but there was an edge to her words that made the other woman sit down and pay attention. “Now if you want character references from people I can have a friend introduce you around to some of the other skaters.” Justine stared at Buffy for a moment before agreeing to the introductions.
Buffy quickly handed her soon-to-be-mother-in-law over to a couple of her old team-mates and hurried back to Angelus and Xander. “Hey, where’s Anya gone?” she asked, noticing the other woman’s absence.
“I sent her to find you,” Angelus replied pointedly. “What took you so long? I was getting worried.” He punctuated his sentence by tugging her into his lap.
Buffy gave him a look of exaggerated repentance. “I’m sorry sweetie,” she said. “How can I ever make it up to you?” she finished, her voice husky and sensual. Angelus promptly stood and made their apologies to Xander and Anya, dragging Buffy away with him.
They were nearing the door when he froze, his eyes narrowing. “Is that...” he trailed off staring at the door that his mother had disappeared through.
“Is that what?” Buffy asked, hoping to distract him.
Angelus frowned and hurried after Justine. “My mother,” he replied.
Buffy’s eyes widened in surprise and she hurried after him, hoping to catch up to the other woman before Angelus did. Luck was with her and she caught Justine and pulled her out of sight. “So how was your tour?” she asked.
Angelus’ mother looked troubled. “It was . . . enlightening,” was the reply. “I don’t think I’d ever really watched the skaters before.” She suddenly turned to Buffy. “The performance is at eight tonight?” Buffy nodded silently. “Then I’ll see you then.” Justine turned away sharply and vanished into the crowds at the rink. Moments later Angelus appeared.
“Did you see her?” he asked. Buffy couldn’t tell whether he was hopeful or angry.
She chose to misdirect rather than lie. “Angel, maybe she wasn’t here. There are women with red hair like hers.” Her fiancé looked ready to disagree, but he let her steer him out the door and then distract him on the ride back to the hotel.
At eight thirty that evening it was the threesome’s turn to skate. The music started and Angelus was hard put not to wince in emotional agony as Julie Andrew’s voice came on over the PA. He pasted a fake smile on his face and concentrated on the fact that his Buffy had spent a fortune on Victoria’s Secret products. It almost helped with the yodelling.
//High on a hill was a lonely goatherd
Lay ee odl lay ee odl lay hee hoo
Loud was the voice of the lonely goatherd
Lay ee odl lay ee odl-oo//
Angelus began the routine with the footwork and a series of jumps on the yodels. It was difficult as all hell, but he still felt ridiculous. Here he was, prancing across the rink in lederhosen, playing up to the audience and listening to yodelling. He had once sworn this was his concept of damnation.
//Folks in a town that was quite remote heard
Lay ee odl lay ee odl lay hee hoo
Lusty and clear from the goatherd's throat heard
Lay ee odl lay ee odl-oo//
Some more step work and a Russian split jump later and he still had half a verse and more yodelling to go before Xander would come in to take the burden of acting like a moron off his shoulders. Angelus gritted his teeth and prayed it looked like a smile as he dropped into a glide on one knee and spun around, coming up into a spread eagle for the last yodel of the verse. And he still had yodelling left to go. He was never going to make it.
//O ho lay dee odl lee o, o ho lay dee odl ay
O ho lay dee odl lee o, lay dee odl lee o lay//
The crowd was clapping. It had to be Hell. Okay, so it was nice to hear them encouraging him, and the cheers every time he did a death-defying feat were a boost to his ego. And he had to admit that his normal routines didn’t gain him the smiling faces he was getting from the audience as he swung into an illusion turn and then a scratch spin made the vertigo of turning far too quickly seem a little less dizzying than usual.
//A prince on the bridge of a castle moat heard
Lay ee odl lay ee odl lay hee hoo
Men on a road with a load to tote heard
Lay ee odl lay ee odl-oo//
Xander had finally arrived, cavorting across the ice in his pretend Bavarian traveller costume. He bounded across the ice to Angelus and faked looking amazed at the tones that were supposedly issuing from Angelus’ character of the goatherd. The shameless mugging had Angelus wincing internally.
//Men in the midst of a table d’hôte heard
Lay ee odl lay ee odl lay hee hoo
Men drinking beer with the foam afloat heard
Lay ee odl lay ee odl-oo//
Then came the part Angelus had had the most trouble with. The two men were to circle in towards each other, join hands and do backward scissor kicks with the momentum holding them up and letting them circle. Angelus liked the other man well enough, but the only person he’d ever felt comfortable in a skating partnership with was Buffy. The insane spinning backward kicks went off without a hitch and Angelus felt his knees go weak when he realised he hadn’t made a fool of himself.
As Xander took off to change into his second costume he hissed at Angelus, “Don’t lose it now, man!” Then he was gone and Buffy was swirling onto the rink in her lovely little pink skating outfit. She looked like Dorothy Hamill or something.
//One little girl in a pale pink coat heard
Lay ee odl lay ee odl lay hee hoo
She yodelled back to the lonely goatherd
Lay ee odl lay ee odl-oo//
Buffy came in, mugging just as much as Xander had. Angelus felt a vague sort of horror at the thought. He also realised, rather abruptly and with some self-directed disgust, that the upbeat responses of the crowd were revving him up. He quashed the thought and concentrated on the lift and Buffy’s shifting positions above him as she went from prone, to upright, to her side all the while with him shifting his grip until she was held aloft on one hand.
//Soon her Mama with a gleaming gloat heard
Lay ee odl lay ee odl lay hee hoo
What a duet for a girl and goatherd
Lay ee odl lay ee odl-oo//
Xander reappeared in a voluminous dress and the couple stopped in the centre of the rink while Xander pretended to fuss around them. And there was more yodelling. Angelus decided that whatever good came of this, the yodelling more than balanced it.
//One little girl in a pale pink coat heard
Lay ee odl lay ee odl lay hoo hoo
She yodelled back to the lonely goatherd
Lay ee odl lay ee odl-oo
Soon her Mama with a gleaming gloat heard
Lay ee odl lay ee odl lay hmm hmm
What a duet for a girl and goatherd
Lay ee odl lay ee odl-oo//
They hit their side-by-sides, in triplicate, as Xander was still on the ice in his dress. Angelus watched, impressed as usual with the quality of the other man’s spins. Xander was barely able to manage a triple flip but the speed and precision of his spins had given Angelus the understanding of Xander’s high placement within amateur ranks. Xander had been an adequate partner for Buffy because he had strengths that could partially make up for his deficiencies.
There was more yodelling then and Angelus and Buffy both began to steel themselves for their new signature move. It wasn’t going to be much. Certainly they wouldn’t go down for their creativity on this one, but it was coming.
//Happy are they lay dee olay dee lee o
o lay dee odl lay dee o ee oo
Soon the duet will become a trio
Lay ee odl lay ee odl-oo//
Xander came back dressed as a big baby for their finale. Angelus hadn’t been skating the whole time, but he was starting to tire, and the pause while Xander backflipped between him and Buffy was a welcome rest. Then they started the final run of jumps.
//Odl lay ee, old lay ee
Odl lay hee hee, odl lay ee
Odl lay odl lay, odl lay odl lee, odl lay odl lee
Odl lay odl lay odl lay//
It started with a simple ‘voice and echo’ motif. Angelus and Buffy would do a jump, Xander would copy. Then they did their quads and Xander stopped dead. Then it was there. For the last line of yodelling Angelus wound up for the throw. They had discovered this fact in practice that, with the added momentum of the throw, Buffy was capable of doing five turns to a jump.
This was the first time they’d tried it in a public forum and Angelus could sense how nervous Buffy was. When they settled into position he gave her hand a quick squeeze for reassurance. Then she was leading them into the throw and Angelus threw her into her toe loop. She looked beautiful in the air, but when she came down, her supporting leg wobbled and her whole body dipped. But she held on.
The rink exploded. There was nothing else that could be said. The three skaters came together for the final pose, but no one could hear the music over the shrieking audience. There was a sizeable crowd of knowledgeable people there and the three on the ice could feel the floor beneath them vibrate with the strength of their reaction.
They finally left the ice and Buffy was shaking with a combination of triumph and relief. A good part of the relief was simply that she had pulled off the jump, but the rest was that Angelus hadn’t noticed his mother in the audience. She had been within feet of Angelus at one point and Buffy was simply relieved that she didn’t have to deal with her fiancé’s fury over her plot to reunite his family. Angelus sweeping her off her feet and kissing her pulled her out of her thoughts. “You were fantastic!” he said.
Buffy sent him a look that tried to be annoyed but never got past amused. “What happened to Mr-I-hate-this-routine-and-everything-connected-to-it?” she asked.
Angelus frowned at her. “I never said that,” he replied. He smiled at her again. “Besides, I love you, and you’re connected to this routine so I can’t hate everything about it.” Before she could respond to that he kissed her again.
“Hey lovebirds!” Xander interrupted them. “I hate to break this up but there are a couple of reporters out here who want to talk to you guys about the quintuple loop.” Buffy stuck her tongue out at her former partner and then tugged an exceedingly reluctant Angelus to meet the press. They had almost reached the reporters when Buffy spotted Justine trying to catch her eye from the edge of the crowd
Buffy thought quickly and yanked a skate guard off and hid it when Angelus turned away. She tugged his arm and said, “Angel, I can’t believe this, but I forgot a skate guard back there.”
He raised an eyebrow. “That’s not like you. Buffy-”
“I know, I know,” she said, as Justine became more agitated off to the side. “I guess it’s just the whole performance had me more on edge than I thought.” She began to move away slightly. “I’ll find the guard and be right back. I promise.” She began to hurry off. Then she stopped, trotted back to Angelus, kissed him, and scurried off again.
In the background she heard him say, “She is the strangest girl.”
Paying no mind to him, Buffy hurried out of sight and pulled the guard on over the blade and went to catch up with Justine. “Hi,” she said breathlessly, “Sorry it took so long but I had to sneak off-”
Justine was barely paying any attention to Buffy. “Why didn’t he ever show us?” she muttered.
Buffy blinked. “Show you what?” she asked the older woman.
“He never showed us any of what he did,” Justine explained. “I don’t know. Maybe if he’d let us see what it is he does . . .” She looked deeply troubled and Buffy frowned.
“This really wasn’t the best stuff he does,” Buffy tried to explain hastily. “I mean, I think our competitive piece is way better. In fact he complained the whole time-”
Justine interrupted her looking confused. “Why would he complain? He looked . . . “ She paused, clearly searching for the right word. “Magnificent.”
There was a pause, then Buffy frowned at Angelus’ mother and said, “Y’know, if you’d actually gone to some of his competitions or performances you might’ve seen something like this sooner.” Justine acknowledged the reprimand with a nod but seemed distracted.
“Is it . . . D’ye really think we can still reconcile?” Justine asked.
Buffy smiled. “I know he wants to. He’s just scared that you’ll reject him.” She glanced up and said, “I hate to say this but I’ve got to catch up with him. Why don’t we talk again after our first competition?”
Justine just nodded and vanished into the crowd saying, “Thank you.” Buffy turned and hurried off to catch up with Angelus. She was greeted by a hail of flashbulbs going off and Angelus pulling her into a lengthy, albeit very pleasant, kiss.
“Hey, what’s going on?” she asked, somewhat breathlessly, when he let go.
Angelus pulled her to him. “There was some question as to whether we were having a fight over your landing of the throw,” he replied.
Buffy rolled her eyes and turned to the crowd of reporters. “In case this goof didn’t tell you guys I was going back for something I forgot.” She and Angelus answered a few more questions then they headed for their apartment and an evening of planning their wedding. Her friends and her mother were all there and Xander pulled Angelus aside saying something to him about stag parties, while Buffy’s mother started talking flower arrangements.
“Honey, what do you think of having the violets form a figure skate?” Joyce asked her offspring, who was promptly appalled at the very notion.
“A skate? Mom! This is my wedding, not a theme park!” Buffy said indignantly and looked disgusted. “Besides, I wanted the violets there to offset Angel’s clan colours and stuff. Once we had the yellow, red and green as well as the pink and white for wedding colours I figured we could just do a sort of multicoloured thing.” She explained. “That way we’ve got a lot of colours and nothing clashes ‘cause it’s all rainbowy.”
Joyce blinked at her daughter and then muttered, “Right. My daughter wants a tie-dyed wedding.”
As the wedding preparations continued on the far side of the room, Xander was promising Angelus the “Best Bachelor Party Ever in the History of Male Pre-Wedding Events.” Angelus was somewhat sceptical of the whole thing until Xander told him about the scheduling. They were going to have it literally a month and a half before the actual event so that the party wouldn’t interfere with the competition and, more important, so that Buffy would forgive them both by the time the wedding ceremony started. Then he had to agree, although Xander’s comments about requiring forgiveness for the night were a little nerve wracking at best.
Finally the crowd of friends and planners left and Buffy dropped to the couch with an audible thud. “I hate seating arranging!” she said vehemently. Angelus slipped in behind her and began to rub her shoulders. “Mmm. That’s niiiice.”
“What’s got you so riled up about the seatin’? Everybody gets one,” Angelus said with a confused frown.
Buffy rolled her eyes. “I have to make sure that people who don’t like each other don’t sit next to each other. Barring that, I’m gonna have to keep everyone who might get into a fight separated. I have to keep the family drunks away from the bar, I have to balance the number of men and woman at a table, immediate family has to be seated together, I have to get a kids table set up and-“ Buffy was interrupted in her list by a very determined kiss.
“I’ll take your word for it,” Angelus said, amused. “Why don’t you stop thinking about it for a little bit?” His shoulder massage moved around to naughtier parts as he spoke. Buffy let herself be distracted.
A week or two later it was time for that first big competition and the two psyched themselves up to reveal their new routine. It was only the regionals, but they had no ‘by’ given the newness of their partnership and there was a certain degree of nervousness in both skaters as they did their five-minute warm-up following the break. Angelus was doing quads to work off his nerves while Buffy repeated the same footwork sequence over and over.
When the call came to clear the ice both were left with nothing to do but fidget and watch the competition. Buffy stared into the TV showing the pair currently on the ice as she stretched while Angelus studiously ignored it. Finally, curiosity got the better of him and he asked her, “Why are you watching? We both know we’re better than this.”
Buffy rolled her eyes at him. “Overconfident much? Besides, if I don’t watch them then I’ll start harassing you or Giles about stupid stuff like choreography it’s too late to change or the itchy spots in my outfit.”
“Need me to scratch you anywhere? Say those hard-to-reach areas?” Angelus smirked at her wiggling his eyebrows suggestively.
“Would Angelus and Summers please make their way to the rink,” came the bored voice of the person on the PA system.
Buffy took in a deep breath and released it. “Looks like we’re up.” They went to stand by the boards and watched as the ice was cleared of flowers tossed by well wishers. The voice on the PA announced them and they stepped out for their first real competition together. Both were confident they would win this but it was only the first step to making the Worlds.
They settled into their opening positions and waited for the music to start. At the opening riff of banjo they exchanged glances, both looking forward to Buffy’s new image and the routine they had choreographed together.
//He pushed me 'round
Now I'm drawin' the line
He lived his life
Now I'm gonna go live mine//
The routine started of typically. Getting the double side-by-side jumps out of the way. This was going to be their first distinguishing move however, as they were doing something no other couple there that night could do. Something no other couple in competition could do. They were opening with two quad axels in a row. The move drew applause and the crowd shrieked wildly.
//I'm sick of wastin' my time
Well now I've been good for way too long
Found my red dress and I'm gonna throw it on
'Bout to get too far gone//
From there they made the transition into their next element, a split triple twist lift. Angelus came up behind Buffy and lifted her from behind. Her legs scissored open, then snapped shut as he twisted her momentum into three rotations overhead. It was in the part where he put her back down that Angelus had invented a cute little move where he tugged off a jacket or shirt on the downward flip. They were saving that for demonstrations.
//Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition
Need a little bit more of my twelve-ounce nutrition
One more helpin' of what I've been havin'
I'm takin' my turn on the sin wagon//
The first two lines they worked in a bit of character work then moved on to the next element. It was the same throw they had done at the Rogers and Hammerstein celebration, but they had toned it down to four rotations for the competition deciding to play it safe. If no one else could do four, they didn’t have to do five. Again Buffy lead into the throw, Angelus slipped behind her and put his hands on her waist then gave her the toss into the throw.
This time the landing was perfect and the choreography left an opening for Buffy to do a victory wave to the audience. They went wild again and the skaters shared a moment of basking in the cheers of the crowd. Even if some of them were shouting things that sounded like “Cure an! Cure an!” Buffy resolved to ask Angelus after what they were supposed to cure.
//On a mission to make something happen
Feel like Delilah lookin' for Samson
Do a little mattress dancin'
That's right I said mattress dancin'//
Another bit of music to allow the transfer from one element to the next and then Buffy was stretched out, her back arched, her head near the floor as Angelus crouched holding her hand in a death grip for the death spiral. Buffy grinned to herself, wondering if anyone in the audience would get the intended imagery of a woman flat on her back in a skimpy red dress.
//Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition
Need a little bit more of what I've been missin'
I don't know where I'll be crashin'//
Angelus pulled Buffy out of the spiral and contemplated exactly how fantastic she looked like that. He was almost willing to drag her off the ice right then. He held on solely because he didn’t want to lose the competition. He forced his mind away from bedroom acrobatics and back onto the ice.
//But I'm arrivin' on a sin wagon//
They came to a dead stop, posed in a pseudo-latin dance position with Buffy leaning against her fiancé, him holding one of her legs at the thigh. He slipped in a naughty little caress under the hem of her skirt and Buffy glared at him for teasing. Then the instrumental started and they moved into their side-by-side- spins. Starting in the arabesque of a camel spin, the pair moved into sit spins and came out into the footwork. While the banjo and fiddle instrumental continued, they fit in their turns and leaps and all the partnering they needed and flirted their way across the rink.
//When it's my turn to march up to glory
I'm gonna have one hell of a story
That's if he forgives me Oh Lord please forgive me//
They worked their way, moving close by the stands, until Buffy felt Angelus stiffen beside her. She followed his line of sight and saw Justine sitting right in front of them. She smiled and waved and Buffy heard Angelus curse under his breath and glared at her as they did the combined spin. Her arms were held up in a gesture of supplication to the heavens as they spun, and Buffy sent a quick prayer up that he wouldn’t be too angry with her for scheming up the reunion.
//Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition
Need a little bit more of that sweet salvation
They may take me
With my feel draggin'
But I'll fly away on a sin wagon//
The rest was just dancing the song away and too soon the routine was over. Angelus hissed at her from behind his smile, “What is my mother doing here?”
They swept around to bow to the other side of the rink and Buffy muttered back, “Um . . .”
They skated off the rink and pretended to be not in the middle of something until they were away from the cameras. Justine appeared and grabbed Buffy. “I canna believe it! That was amazin’, d’ye think I could have the chance to tell Li- Angelus that?” she asked.
Buffy looked a little fearfully at him. “I think you just did.”
Angelus glared at both Buffy and his mother with equal ice. “What is she doing here?” he demanded of Buffy.
Justine laid a hand on her son’s arm. He shook her off but she persevered. “I’m here because Buffy said somthin’ that made sense,” she said. Angelus raised an eyebrow at her, which she took to be encouragement. “She told Henry an’ me to watch what ye do ‘fore we judge it.”
Angelus turned the force of his anger on Buffy. “You asked them to come? What the hell were you thinking?”
She tightened her mouth into a thin line and subtly shifted her weight into a stronger posture. She replied, “I thought you were hurt by your parents rejecting you. I thought that if it was you might be happier if your parents accepted who you are.”
“You thought?” He let out a hysterical laugh. “Clearly you didn’t think!” He looked as though he was about to cry suddenly and his voice dropped. “For years I’ve been tryin’ to make them understand.” His hand gestured in his mother’s direction.
Justine’s voice was calm as she cut into her son’s rant. “I was wrong Liam.”
“What?” His whole being expressed doubt and distress. Buffy tried to wrap her arms around him but he pulled away, stepping closer to his mother. “What do you mean, ‘wrong’?” he asked, his voice cracking.
She sighed and took his hands in hers. “I mean I’ve been watching you skate. What you do is beautiful and it’s an expression of who you are.” Angelus looked mistrustful. “Liam. Liam, I’m sorry for what we put ye through. I love you and I hope you can forgive me for what I’ve done.”
There was a moment of silence and then Angelus and his mother were hugging. Buffy stood awkwardly to the side. She was happy for him, but had no notion of what she should do with herself. Finally mother and son separated. Buffy found herself on the receiving end of an enthusiastic kiss. He pulled away saying, “Thank you.” Then he turned to Justine. “Mum, I don’t think you’ve been properly introduced to my fiancée.”
Buffy smiled, “So can you make our wedding? We’re not getting married until November.” She chuckled a little. “Two days after the Nationals end in fact.”
Justine smiled and was about to speak when Angelus’ father appeared and stormed up to the three. “What in blazes is goin’ on ‘ere!?”
Justine turned to her husband. “Henry, why don’t we talk about this somewhere else?”
“No! We’ll talk about it here!” He shouted drawing attention to the foursome.
Angelus frowned at his father. “Dad-“ he began.
He was cut off. “Ye damned fool! Canna ye see he’s tryin’ ta turn y’against me?”
“If you’d bother to listen to our own son, see what he does, ye’d know he’s none o’ the things ye’ve said he was!” Justine shouted at Henry.
His face darkened and Angelus’ father grabbed his wife and began to tow her off. She gasped in pain and Angelus strode after them and wrenched her away from his father. “Let her go,” he said softly.
“Liam.” Justine took his face in her hands. “It’s alright love.” Then she turned and followed her husband out the door. Angelus watched her go, his expression pained. Dimly he heard the announcement that they had the top marks in the short program and would be first going into the free skate.
They arrived home and Angelus asked, “I’m not arguin’, but tell me again why we’re getting’ married-“
“Right after the qualifiers for the Worlds?” Buffy interrupted. “I want to not be worried going into our wedding night about whether or not we’re gonna make it. Either we’ll be in or-“ She was interrupted in turn by her fiancé.
“We will be in the Worlds,” he told her firmly. “Now why don’t we talk about the actual wedding.” He paused, looking thoughtful, and continued. “Or let’s just talk about the wedding night.”
Buffy smacked him and glared before softening. “Angel, I know you’re thinking about your mother. Are you okay?”
“I just . . . I’m worried she’ll change her mind.” He pulled her against him reaching for her comfort. “Dad’ll never change his mind and Mum . . .” Angelus trailed off helplessly. Buffy cuddled him for a couple minutes before reaching for the wedding plans.
“Now I’m gonna have to change all the seating arrangements and other extra stuff,” Buffy briskly began to play with her Velcro Board o’ Seating. Angelus watched, amused, as she muttered to herself and took little bits of felt and began moving them around the board. Finally he tired of watching and took it from her. “Hey!” she said and reached for him.
Angelus rearranged the board and then handed it back. “Now can I be the centre of your attention again?” he asked her.
“No!” Buffy replied crankily. “Not after what you’ve . . .” She trailed off as she gazed at the board in awe. “You fixed all the seating problems. How did you do that?”
“I gave everyone a seat.”
Buffy glared at him but set the board aside and resumed cuddling. Suddenly she twitched and flipped around to look at Angelus. “I have a question. I meant to ask before but stuff . . . came up.”
“What’s the question?” Angelus braced himself. She usually only prefaced her question like that when she was going to ask him something especially bizarre.
“When we were skating the crowd was chanting something. ‘Cure an’ or something. I was wondering,” she continued, “Cure a what?”
Angelus blinked at her and cast his mind back. “Cure . . . Oh!” Buffy looked at him expectantly. “They weren’t speaking English. They were speakin’ Gaelic. From what I can tell, they were cheerin’ our quad jumps.”
“What were they saying?” Buffy asked.
“Ceithirean,” he replied. “Near as I can tell they were shoutin’ ‘fours’.”
Buffy blinked at him. “That’s really weird.”
“I agree,” he said and pulled her back down. He smiled as she wriggled for a moment then settled. He felt her twitch a moment later and looked down to see her frowning. “What’s wrong love?”
She craned her neck to look at him. “Why didn’t they just chant ‘quads’ or something?” As she looked at him he considered several responses including that Gaelic didn’t really have a word that could be used to mean quadruple or that the Irish audience was trying to show their heritage in chant.
“I have no clue.”
The next morning the phone rang just as they were leaving for practice, sending Angelus back into the house. He scooped up the phone and held it with his shoulder as he zipped his coat up. “Hello?”
“Ye damned bastard! I hope ye’re happy!” shouted a hoarse, slurred voice at the other end.
“What?” Angelus asked, but the other phone was slammed down and he was left with a dial tone. He frowned at the phone. The voice was familiar, but the rage and liquor in it had prevented him from identifying it.
Buffy poked her head back in. “Angel? Honey? Is anything wrong?” He looked up and shook his head, following her out the door. He put the call out of his mind until they finished a run-through of their long program and he saw his mother’s tear-stained face waiting rinkside. Suddenly, the voice on the phone came clear. It had been his father.
“Mum?” He skated over and cupped her face in his hand. “What happened? Dad-“
She leaned over the boards and hugged her son. “Your father said I had to choose between the two of you.” Angelus felt her tears soak into his shoulder as she said, “It was no choice. You never asked me to choose and you never would. I never thought Henry . . . “ She trailed off and pulled away. “I canna stay with a man who would ask me to choose between my son and my husband.”
Buffy had joined them. “Oh Justine, I’m so sorry I-“
“Ye have nothing to be sorry for,” the elder woman said firmly. “You gave me my son back. ‘Tisn’t your fault my husband’s a damn fool.” She smiled weakly at both of them. “Or that my son insists on callin’ himself a Catholic bell ritual.”
That broke the tension of the moment and soon Giles had invited Justine to stay with him and his wife, Jenny. Angelus shook his head. “Mother, I’d be happy to have you stay with us.”
She shook her head and laughed. “No. I’ll not be hearin’ my only son and his wife-to-be’s bedroom antics.”
“Mum!” Angelus looked scandalised and Buffy giggled. He glared at her. “You werena so calm when your mother talked about her weddin’ night with you.”
She rolled her eyes. “That was my mother. This is yours. Besides,” she continued, “You laughed at me when Mom started talking about handcuffs so I get to laugh at you about this.”
Buffy and Justine were watching the news, waiting for Angelus to come home so they could go out to dinner. “D’ye know when he’s comin’ home?” Justine asked.
“I have no clue,” Buffy replied. “He said he would be home about fifteen minutes ago, but he said he might be late.”
Angelus’ mother rolled her eyes. “That’s my son, ‘I’ll probably be at a time sometime around six but I’ll probably late but maybe not.’” She snorted. Buffy was about to reply when the television’s news headline caught her ear.
“In other news, skater Angelus changed his name back to Liam Mackenzie earlier today according to sources in the civic government offices. Although there are no definite reports as to why the change was made, speculation is that this signifies some sort of reconciliation with his estranged parents, Henry and Justine Mackenzie.”
As the show moved on to a report on a game between Newcastle and Aston Villa, Angelus came in. “Hey! Are you ready to go out?”
“Is there a reason we just found out from the sports news that you just changed your name?” demanded Buffy.
He looked at his mother, who had tears in her eyes, and his future wife, who looked inquiring and annoyed, and contemplated running after he told them his original inspiration. “I uh . . . Well, I mean, I got the name in part to annoy my parents. Since me and Mum are gettin’ along again it seems a little pointless.” He wrapped his arms around his mother and held her while she wept.
“Oh Liam!” she sobbed into his shoulder. He looked at Buffy who seemed torn between scepticism and tears herself.
Buffy walked up to him and asked, “Okay, so there’s the reason you’re going to tell the press. What gave you this idea in the first place?” She pinned him with a stare and he squirmed under it.
“I thought it might make things easier between Mum and my Dad,” he said. Buffy raised an eyebrow. “Well, it’s also what mother said the other day about a bell ritual. I mean, who wants to be called something like that for the rest of his life?” Now his fiancée’s arms folded while the eyebrow and stare remained fixed. “I thought it sounded better after all.” He was starting to flinch from that iron gaze. “Alright! I wanted you to take on my name and have a name I could pass on to my children!”
Buffy relaxed her stance. “You wanted a name I could take on?” Her voice was very calm.
“Uhhh . . .” He knew her well enough to be frightened of the calm she was exhibiting.
“*You* wanted me to change my name to *your* name, and *your* children to bear *your* name.” She continued to be quite calm as she said this, the emphasis not lost on her husband-to-be.
He bit his lip and tried to fix some of his error. “*Our* children love,” he said earnestly.
Buffy spoke as though he hadn’t said anything. “So essentially you were exercising some male instinct to mark ownership and you expect me to comply with your male chauvinist urges.” Angelus gulped and nodded, assuming a submissive posture as he did so in the hopes of appeasing her fury. “Okay!” she said.
Justine was smirking to the side and he spared a moment to shoot his mother an irritated glance. Buffy grinned at him. “You’re so cute when you’re acting all manly and stuff. Besides, Summers and Mackenzie sounds way better than Summers and Angelus.”
He blinked, suddenly feeling hurt. “You’re not takin’ my name?”
She rolled her eyes at him. “Yes I will, but I refuse to be a member of ‘the Mackenzies’. Makes us sound like a trapeze act or something.” She giggled at the look of relief on her lover’s face.
Justine broke into the moment. “Just so’s I’m clear on this. Ye’ll have my son’s last name but you’ll perform under your maiden name?”
Buffy shrugged. “This way we’re an equal partnership on paper and people are forced to mention both of us when they talk about our partnership. I like ‘Summers and Mackenzie,’ don’t you?”
The other two shrugged and Justine rolled her eyes at her son’s relief. He just scampered over to Buffy and hugged her. “Whatever you like love.”
“Liam?” Buffy asked him.
“Can I still call you Angel?”
Liam stood in the centre of the rink staring with confusion as to how he’d wound up there for his bachelor party. He could have been home with Buffy, recovering from their latest competition victory, but instead he was here. Giles and Xander were snickering as they circled around the ice with several other skaters and Willow’s boyfriend Oz. They were also getting quite drunk on the kegs they had brought to the arena.
This was exceedingly strange and, although there was ample liquor present, there was nothing going on that he couldn’t have done without Buffy. In fact, two minutes ago Xander had ordered him to stand in the middle of the rink and not move. It seemed as though Xander’s Best Party in the History of Bachelor Parties was nothing but drinking while skating. He was about to call Xander’s bluff when ‘Genie in a Bottle’ came on over the PA system.
An extremely attractive brunette woman slinked into the rink and started to do a striptease on ice. Xander gave a startled squeak on seeing the woman, but Liam ignored the dark-haired schmuck for the more appealing view as the young woman tugged off a tiny tank top to reveal a tiny sequinned bra.
Xander was still making incoherent squeaks and added an alternating pattern of muttering to that when the woman stripped off the miniskirt leaving her in a thong reading ‘Faith’ and pressed herself against Liam. She started writhing around him and whispered in his ear. “I know you’re not interested, but play along a little. Trust me. You’ll like this.” He sighed and let her pull him along until the music reached the bridge and Faith grinned and turned him in time to see Buffy, dressed the same as Faith, skate up to him and tug Faith off. Xander’s squeaks and mutters were joined by the others’ and Liam watched the two women in a clearly pre-choreographed routine that involved a lot of bumping and grinding.
It ended with the two women fake groping each other and Liam with uncomfortably tight pants. He then realised that many other men had just seen his fiancée nearly naked. He turned to yell at Xander when the other man came to a hurtling halt beside Faith and started shouting at her. “What the hell are you doing here!? I am not going to have my baby sister acting like some whore-“
“Whore!?” She glared at him. “I am a stripper, not a hooker! Besides, Cordelia asked me to do this as a favour for her since there isn’t anyone at AI who can figure skate besides her and she’s pregnant.”
Liam turned to Buffy and asked, “AI?”
“Angel Investigations,” she whispered back. “It’s a sort of strip club, porno production place and escort service all in one. Xander’s ex-girlfriend works there.”
Faith and Xander were now arguing about the routine and why Buffy had been called at all. “Someone had to choreograph it, who was I going to ask anyways? Giles?”
“Leave me out of this!”
The siblings ignored him. “What? Cordy could have asked me to do it,” Xander growled irritably. He now remembered why he avoided his sister. He hadn’t won an argument with her in ten years. And they argued a lot.
“Not if she’s asking me to do it for her.” Faith trumped Xander.
Liam turned to Buffy and said, “You know I didn’t want to come here.” He was anxious that she not think he wanted to spend time with a stripper over her.
“I know,” she said, smiling. “I notice you seem a little uncomfortable.” She pulled him down to kiss her, both of them ignoring the argument going on elsewhere. “I don’t suppose I could help with that,” Buffy added breathlessly when they finished.
He glared at her, “You caused it, you’d better fix it.” Then he scooped her up and headed for the changerooms leaving Xander and Faith to their audience. He paused, glancing back, “Is she coming to the wedding?”
“Didn’t you pay any attention at all to the wedding plans?” Buffy groused at him as he killed the mood. “She’s always been like a sister to me. She’s working as a stripper to fund going to the Olympics.”
“She’s that good?” Liam asked her curiously.
Buffy fixed him with a look. “That had better be speculation about her skating and not her stripping.”
Liam just kissed her and helped her back into her dress for the drive back to their apartment. As they were leaving the last thing they heard from Xander was, “Cordy’s pregnant and Connor’s the father!? For God’s sake! She practically changed the guy’s diapers!” Liam and Buffy exchanged glances and took off at a run for the car.
The Nationals went off without a hitch. Buffy was beaming as they were announced as Buffy Summers and Liam Mackenzie. They were through to the World Championships and getting married. Buffy took in her bridesmaids Fred Burkle, Willow and Faith. Fred was actually there as one of Liam’s friends, but he had asked his friend Wesley to be his best man and his old soccer team-mate Gunn to be a part of the wedding party.
The arguments over the bridesmaid dresses had ended with Gunn’s suggestion that they wear similar styles and not worry about matching colours. So while Willow was in a long velvet burgundy dress, Fred had a deep blue silk and Faith was in a scarlet and much abbreviated version of Fred’s outfit. Buffy ‘s mother came bustling in dressed in green and smiled at her daughter. “You look beautiful honey. Ang- Liam will fall in love with you all over again.”
Buffy frowned. “He’s dressed right? I mean, the ceremony starts in like, five minutes.”
Faith rolled her eyes at Joyce. “She’s been talking like this all morning. She thinks he’s gonna back out on her.”
“I do not!” Buffy protested. Her expression changed. “Oh God! What if he decides he wants to stay single and sleep with a lot of women instead of staying with me?”
The other women in the room exchanged bemused looks.
In another room Gunn and Wesley were holding Liam down. “Angelus man! Take it easy! She’s not gonna dump you for a . . .” Gunn paused. “Whatever the hell you just said.”
“Really Liam. You need to keep from reverting to Gaelic under stress. It’s not even your first language.” Wesley said irritably.
Giles came in at that moment and saw the three men tangled on the floor in their wedding finery and raised an eloquent eyebrow. “Is there something I ought to be telling Buffy about your previous university relationships?” he asked.
“No!” shouted Liam. “She’ll . . . Oh God!”
Gunn and Wesley looked down at him. “It’s a joke you moron,” Gunn said.
“Tha mi an amadan. Rannsachadh ‘amadan’ anns an leabhar tha mo brindeal an sin.” Liam shouted hysterically. “Why would Buffy want me?!”
“What’s he babbling about?” Giles asked.
Wesley frowned slightly. “He said something about being an idiot. And I think that saying about looking up something in a dictionary and finding his picture there.”
“Amadan means fool not idiot, not that it matters! I’m an idiot too and Buffy going to leave me for someone else-“
His hysterics had attracted attention and Faith strode in and slapped him. “You are being a complete moron! Buffy is not going to leave you at the altar and if you keep this up I’m going to gag and chain you up until you’re supposed to be exchanging vows.”
Liam calmed down until he heard Buffy’s voice outside the door. “Angel?”
“Buffy?” He ran over to the door and tried to yank it open. Buffy stopped him. “What? Oh no. You’re . . .”
“Not allowed to see me before the wedding. Remember?” Buffy said.
Liam froze and turned panicked eyes to the door. “Why are you here then?” From behind him he could dimly hear snickers from his friends as they derived great amusement from his hysterics. He paused in his terror long enough to glare them before returning his attention to the door. “You’re not gonna change your mind are you?”
“Not since you’ve reassured me that you’re going to go through with this by freaking out at the top of your lungs,” she said wryly through the door. “I’m just here to tell you that I’m not gonna leave you you goof.”
Liam started to breathe again after that pep talk and was fairly sane by the time he stood waiting for Buffy at the front of the church. He watched as Gunn and Faith walked down the aisle, then Fred and his mother, Wesley and Willow, and then there was, to him, an interminable pause. He was about to storm down the aisle and search for his bride when his mother grabbed his arm and held him in place. Exactly the same way she used to when he was five and wanted to chase pigeons at the mall.
Buffy appeared and he couldn’t feel anything below the neck. His whole world narrowed down to the small blonde skater in white. Somehow he managed the appropriate responses.
Liam looked absolutely magnificent, Buffy thought as she reached for his hand. He squeezed and smiled at reassuringly. Buffy felt a little glazed over through the whole ceremony. Liam was Catholic and had wanted a Catholic ceremony. Buffy determinedly *did not fidget* through the interminable ritual. Finally came the vows, rings, and the words she had been waiting for all day. “I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride.”
And then they were kissing and there was no bad there. There was no bad for the rest of the evening even though Wesley got so drunk he barfed on Fred’s dress, Xander tried to dance and looked like Travolta having a seizure, and Anya insisted on toasting them. “I hope you have many excellent orgasms and that any children you have are very attractive and not before Xander and I have had any children.”
Everyone but Buffy and Liam’s mothers flushed while Joyce and Justine both shouted “Hear hear!”
Willow came over while the newlyweds were happily gazing into each other’s eyes and naught else. “Hey, am I interrupting anything?”
“Yes,” replied Buffy. “But go ahead anyways.” She tore her attention away from her husband, who whined at the loss of totally devoted attention. “Oh hush you.”
“I just wanted to wish you guys well and tell you people are starting to wrap up for the evening.” Willow smiled as her friends looked up eagerly at the news. “Yes you’ll be able to go home and practice making your mothers into grandmothers soon.”
“Oh stop it. You were thinking the same thing.” Willow grinned a little more widely.
“True,” replied Liam and was punched by his wife. “Will I have to report you to the police for spousal abuse?”
They said goodbye to everyone at the reception and drove home. Liam practically ran to the bedroom and waited eagerly for about five minutes before he realised Buffy wasn’t about to appear. “Buffy?”
“Coming!” she shouted back from the bathroom.
“Well I’m not and I don’t know why,” he groused at the bathroom door.
“Funny,” she responded acerbically. “What? You can’t wait for like ten minutes?” He was about to respond when she appeared in the doorway dressed in a white corset, thong and long white gloves. “Worth waiting for?” she asked.
Liam made some vague vowel sounds before leaning down to kiss her. It began tenderly but before long she slipped her tongue into his mouth, stroking his tongue and driving him insane. Somehow he managed to get them to the bed and sat down, pulling her after him to straddle his legs. He leaned over to kiss down her neck, feeling his wife’s small hands undo the buttons of his shirt.
Buffy felt the last button go and grinned wickedly before leaning down lick at his nipples. Liam gasped and convulsively pulled her back up. His hands found the laces on her corset and undid them. He gently reached out to cup her breasts . . .
And the doorbell rang.
The couple stared at each other, unable to believe that someone had to call then. Buffy reached for a robe and wrapped it around herself before going to answer the door, leaving Liam to figure out what to do with his raging hard on.
At the door stood Henry Mackenzie looking sheepish. “I was wonderin’ if I might speak to Liam for a bit,” he said.
Buffy shook herself and said, “Come in. Liam sweetheart? I think you’d better get out here.”
“I don’t care if someone’s dead, it’s our wedding night and whoever it is can just . . . Dad.” Liam came to a halt and stared at his father standing in the living room.
Henry flushed as he took in his son’s state of dress. “I’d best come back another time.”
Liam was about to agree when he saw Buffy’s look. “It’s alright Dad. Why’re you here?”
“I watched your competition yesterday. I just . . . I’m sorry son. I misjudged ye.” Henry said softly. “I guess I just wanted ye to be more . . . I don’t know. Can you forgive me?”
Liam looked at his father. “What brought this on?” he asked, unwilling to hope.
“When your mother left I had a lot of time to think about what I’d done,” Henry told his son. “What kind of a man asks his wife to choose between himself and his son?” He held his hands out in a gesture of supplication and waited for Liam’s response.
There were tears in his eyes as he pulled his father into a hug. “I’m sorry I was such a disappointment,” he whispered.
“Never,” Henry told his son firmly. “I was wrong and I should never have said the things I did.” He pulled away and smiled. “You’ve got yourself a great lass there Liam. Don’t let her get away.”
Buffy grinned at the two men. “I’m not going anywhere. I can’t wait to get to know you better Mr. Mackenzie.”
“Call me Henry,” the older man said. “I’d best go apologise to my wife. Where is she stayin’?”
Liam gave his father directions and saw him off. When he turned around, Buffy had taken off the robe and was playing with the top of the corset. “Where were we?” she asked him. Liam just scooped her up and carried her off to the bedroom.
It was a month later in Beijing that Buffy heard the announcer say, “Next up, Buffy and Liam Mackenzie!”
She glanced at Liam, about to chew him out, when she noticed he looked as confused as she did. They went out and danced their short program. Buffy immediately stormed over to her coach. “Giles! Did you tell them I was supposed to be announced by my married name?”
“Yes,” he replied, “And before you start after me about my doing so, need I remind you that you wished for part of your new image to include the fact that you are a married pair?”
Buffy paused, looked for support on the matter she knew she wouldn’t get from her husband and grumped off. “Fine,” she said over her shoulder.
Later that evening, Liam joined her in their hotel room bed. She turned away from him. “Buffy-“ he began.
Liam forcibly turned her over. “Sweetheart, I know you don’t want to be known as ‘Angelus’ partner’, but don’t you think I worry about the same thing?”
She sighed. “Angel, it’s not just that.” Buffy reached out and cupped his face in her hand. “You helped me find myself. Be a person on my own. I just . . . I’m a little scared about losing me.”
He pulled her against him. “I guess I wasna helping by wantin’ to be called ‘the flying Mackenzies’.”
“Besides. I don’t wanna have to jump through flaming hoops and stuff.” Buffy giggled at the joke then became serious again. “I can’t help feeling that maybe you want a little wifey type to suit your manly image,” she said.
“Never.” Liam looked her in the eye. “I love you as you are. All the weird things you do, those insane American things you like and the way you can’t read maps and argue with me every time we get lost because o’ you.”
“Hey!” She was about to protest when he pulled her down and kissed her.
They stood around, waiting to be called up to the rink for their turn on the free skate, listening to the Canadian team sing behind them.
“When you eat your Smarties/Do you eat the red ones last?”
“You okay?” Liam asked her, shooting an irritated glance at the team behind them.
“Do you suck them very slowly/Or crunch them very fast?”
“Yeah,” Buffy said and snuggled into her husband’s side.
“Eat that candy coated chocolate/Now tell me when I ask,” they sang.
Liam whipped around. “Will you two ever shut up!?”
“When you eat your Smarties do you eat the red ones last?” replied the other pair.
The PA came on. “Will Liam and Buffy Mackenzie please come to the rink?”
“Come on sweetie,” Buffy said, laughing. “You can kill them later.”
The Canadians smiled and waved and started to sing again. “Hockey Night in Canada! Hockey Night in Canada! Hockey Night in Canada Canadaaaa!”
Out on the ice, Buffy prepared for their make-or-break performance. They were in the lead as of the short program, but it was a thin margin and their free skate was tough. She nervously settled her gauzy blue and grey outfit one final time. She was dressed to look as ephemeral as possible so as to contrast more with Liam’s solid black outfit.
Then they settled down, standing with their backs to each other, waiting for the music to start. It began with a soft chant and Buffy slowly spun, reaching out to Liam, taking his hand and slowly circling the rink. Then they moved into the first lift. It was a long one and there were a lot of position changes overhead before she came down.
//Over the waves, you call to me
Shadow of dream, ancient mystery//
They went straight into the side-by-side spins. Ten rotations on each leg, the camel spins were in perfect unison as they turned. Buffy could feel the utter perfection of the moment. Each change came at the end of the line. Just as choreographed. Liam moved with her with perfect synchronicity.
//Oh how I long for your sweet caress
Oh how I long for you gentleness//
It had been hard to fit the jumps in, but this had been one of the few perfect spots. They did their combination, Quad axel, followed by a quadruple toe loop, flawlessly. Liam felt the energy flow from himself to Buffy back to him again. There was nothing to describe the moment. He was flying.
//Torn between sea mists and solid land
Nights when I’ve ached for a human hand//
Their second lift wasn’t as complicated as the first, instead it was a simple, but hard, straight one-armed lift, held for a long time. He lowered her back down and immediately prepared for the next move, their signature.
//I’ll come to you while the moon shines bright
But I must go free with the first streak of light//
The quad throw was normally tough, but tonight it felt as though they could not set a foot wrongly. They came out of the lift, and pulled close. Liam’s hands found her waist and tightened slightly in reassurance. Buffy squeezed back, and then she was floating through the air. Four turns in a quadruple axel and a perfect landing. Liam was right there for the spiral sequence. The arabesque took them around the rink to the applause of the audience.
//Over the waves you call to me
Shadow of dream ancient mystery//
Just as with the first verse, ten rotations each leg, ten per line. The combined spin was unusual. A Bielman spin, Buffy on one leg, her body forming a perfect oval with the other leg as Liam did a sit spin below, then a changeover into a tight two-footed spin which had them wrapped around each other, their legs tangled together.
//Oh how I long for your sweet caress
Oh how I long for your gentleness//
They came out of the spin to do a quick spread eagle before pulling into death spiral. Liam looked into Buffy’s eyes as he slowly let her down. She slid out in a widening circle until her body was skimming over the ice. Almost, but not quite touching the surface beneath her, Buffy looked weightless and Liam felt pride surge through him as he realised yet again that she was his.
The chant began again and they were in the final stretch. All that was left was the second jump combination and the footwork. It was an act of bravura to place the second set of jumps at the end when they were so tired, but Liam couldn’t feel it. Buffy was beside him and he felt her presence and the music lend him an energy he never knew he had.
Buffy exchanged glances with her husband and saw the sheer joy in the movement in his eyes. She had been tiring, but that one glance made her smile and she rocketed into the jumps. There was no flaw and the rotations matched perfectly. A perfect four on the lutz and then they did the quad Salchow landing with perfect synchronicity. They did their closing footwork sequence with a background roar in their ears dimly identified as the crowd cheering.
They heard the music fade away, finishing in the centre with their arms wrapped around each other. Slowly the couple pulled apart, their eyes locked and they smiled at each other. Finally the sounds the audience was making broke through the moment and both felt their exhaustion. Liam turned and smiled at the crowd then spun Buffy into a kiss. “What was that for?” she asked breathlessly.
“Because you are the most wonderful woman on the face of the Earth and I want you to know it,” he replied. Then he smiled, just for her, and said, “Maybe we’d best take our bows and clear the floor.”
Buffy giggled but didn’t reply as she curtsied, and then went to wait in front of the cameras for their scores. The girls-who-pick-stuff-up-that-was-thrown-on-the-ice appeared with the usual flowers and stuffed animals, as well as stuffed shamrocks and some homemade things that seemed to be pillowcases covered in Celtic knotwork.
And a blushing little Chinese girl brought out a pair of green silk boxers with an indecent proposal written on them. Buffy smiled and took them from her, holding them up so the camera could take in what was written on them. The cameraman shot her an “are you serious?” look. Liam just buried his head in his hands.
And the scores came up. “The technical scores: six-point-o, six-point-o, six-point-o, five-point-nine, six-point-o, six-point-o, six-point-o. The presentation scores are: six-point-o, six-point-o, six-point-o, six-point-o, six-point-o, six-point-o, six-point-o.”
The crowd roared and Buffy shrieked and leaped up and down, hugging her husband. Under cover of the crowd’s noise he said to her, “I can’t wait to get you home so we can celebrate in private.”
“Me neither,” she replied as they went to wait for their medal.