Chapter One: The Wedding and the return of Xander
The Nature Boy Presents
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….Star Wars
Rise of the Jedi
It is a time of turmoil and celebration for the Skywalkers, Solos, Summers and the Alliance as a whole. The official wedding of Joyce Solo to Wedge Antilles, though a joyous occasion, is still overshadowed by the threat of the Empire and the villainous Jabba the Hutt. News of a new Death Star has filtered to the Rebel Alliance; the evil Emperor Palpatine has hatched a new plan to ensnare the Skywalker and Xander Harris, the heart of the Scoobies, has been missing for several months.
As the Slayers and Jedi struggle to deal with the multitude of problems, those who have been unable to help will find themselves thrust into the middle of the crisis. Padmé Skywalker - former Queen and Senator of Naboo, founding member of the Rebel Alliance, must once again take an active role in rallying the Alliance members for once final battle; Willow Rosenberg, once the Dark Lady Traya, must once again delve into the Dark Side of her own past if she is to have any hope of defeating the Emperor and saving her daughter; Luke Skywalker and Leia Nabberie, in their roles as warrior and leader respectively, must rally their troops to stop the insidious plans of Palpatine…and one of their own, after years of soul searching, will finally take their place in battle in a desperate ploy for victory. For victory there must be, for in the shadow of death, new life awaits…
Disclaimer: Star Wars and its characters are owned by George Lucas and Lucas Films. Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its characters are owned by Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. I own neither.
Buffy Summers-Skywalker; Jedi Master, Senior Slayer (female human)
Willow Rosenberg-Naberrie; Force-Sensitive Witch (female human)
Anakin Skywalker; Jedi Master (human male)
Padmé Skywalker (female human)
Obi-Wan Kenobi; Jedi Master (human male)
Aayla Secura; Jedi Master (female Twi’lek)
Bol Chatak; Jedi Master (male Zabrak)
Roan Shryne; Jedi Master (human male)
Ydra Kilwallen; Jedi Master (female Mirialan)
Teryl Sibwarra; Jedi Master (Female Kuat)
Zett Jukassa; Jedi Master (human male)
Serra Keto; Jedi Knight (human female)
Olee Starstone; Jedi Padawan (female human)
Dawn Summers; Jedi Knight (female human)
Luke Skywalker; Jedi Apprentice (male human)
Leia Naberrie; Jedi Apprentice (female human)
Han Solo; Captain, Millennium Falcon (human male)
Chewbacca; co-pilot, Millennium Falcon (male Wookie)
Joyce Antilles; Mandalorian Slayer, Jedi Apprentice (female human)
Boba Fett; Mandalorian Bounty Hunter (human male)
Qui-Gon Jin; Force Apparition (male human)
Talon Karrde; Smuggler, Captain, Wild Karrde (Human male)
Darth Vader (Jorus C’baoth); Sith Lord (male human)
Nejaa Halcyon; Master Hand (human male)
Mara Jade; Emperor’s Hand (female human)
Wedge Antilles; Rebel Pilot (male human)
Lord Nigel Ambrose-Bellairs; Head, Watcher’s Council (male human)
Xander Harris; Wather’s Council Represenative (male human)
Rupert Giles; Senior Watcher (male human)
Faith Lehane; Senior Slayer (female human)
Wesley Whyndam-Pryce; Watcher (male human)
Winefred Burkle; Council Tech Specialist (female human)
Spike; Council Operative (male vampire)
Angel; Council Operative (male vampire)
Episode 6 Chapter 1
An Overdue Wedding
“This is all kriffing ridiculous.”
Joyce looked at her reflection in the mirror - first one side, then the other. The long white wedding gown seemed to gleam in the sunlight. She stared at the frilly, lacy thing with undisguised contempt. “Why do I need to wear this blasted thing? I can barely move in it!”
“You’re wearing it to keep your mother happy,” Dawn said as she worked on the Mandalorian’s hair - not an easy feat. “You know, your mother, who you didn’t bother to tell that you got married in the first place? The one who’s still my Master and therefore can make my life miserable to make your life miserable…”
“Yeah, yeah. Like I care about that,” Joyce grumbled. “Frankly, she’s making my life miserable just by insisting that we have this blasted ceremony. I mean - what does it matter? Wedge and I are married under Mando law, its official, end of story!”
Dawn shook her head in mock sympathy. “No one will ever confuse you for a hopeless romantic, Joyce.” She chuckled as she placed the veil on Joyce’s head. “It’s every mother’s dream to see their baby girl get married. Just deal with it, then look forward to the honeymoon.”
“Still a war on,” Joyce noted. “No honeymoon until it’s over.”
“Buffy’s got a plan,” Dawn said and sighed in satisfaction as she stared at Joyce’s reflection in the long mirror. “Man, I hope I look as good when I get married.”
Joyce smirked. “Well, we do look somewhat alike, so you could probably bet on it. Still, I m better looking than you…”
“Watch it, buster, or I won’t give you any time off to consummate the marriage.”
“Already took care of that a long time ago,” Joyce said with a broad grin. Dawn groaned.
“Let’s go take care of your make-up - with a minor miracle we may be able to make you look somewhat decent.”
“Thanks for doing this for me, Luke. I know you’ve been busy…”
Wedge fidgeted in his suit, hopelessly fiddling with his bow tie. Once again he undid the knot and attempted to retie it. “How do you do this kriffing knot…”
“Here, allow me.” Luke moved over and tied the tie effortlessly, then smiled impishly. “Benefits of having a Senator for a sister and a former Queen for a mother. You learn how to dress up.”
“You go to a lot of balls on Tatooine, did ya?” Han asked from his seat on the bed.
“No, but I did visit my grandparents on Naboo more than once.” He smiled at the nervous groom. “And it was no problem. All I’ve been doing in Quinn’s old hut was meditating and building my new lightsaber. Nothing I couldn’t take a break from, especially for my wing mate’s wedding.”
“Now that it’s official, and all…” Han grumbled to himself. “Still can’t believe she did that…”
“Would you give it a rest already, Han?” Wedge asked in exasperation. “She knew you’d give her a hard time, so we kept it quiet. We were planning on having this after the war…”
“But you didn’t count on the wrath of Buffy,” Han replied, smirking. “Finally had to do it just to shut her up.”
“And you get to walk the bride down the isle, so everyone’s happy.” He glanced at the watch on his wrist, staring at the unfamiliar numbers for a few moments before giving up. “Is it time yet?”
“Why are you so anxious? You’re already married!” Han exclaimed. Luke nodded.
“Just think of it as reconfirming your vows.”
“It was one thing to do it at a Mando ceremony. Short, simple, two witnesses. This time, it’s a circus!”
“At least you know almost everybody,” Han said.
“And at least now the Slayers will leave you alone, since the ‘marriage’ will be official,” Luke smirked. Wedge groaned.
It was a beautiful day for a wedding, especially considering English weather. The wedding tent had been set up on the far side of the lake, close to the forest and a respectable distance from the memorial wall. The guests - including Padmé’s parents and Luke’s uncle and aunt, sat on the left with the rest of the Jedi Order. On the right sat the Slayers, various Council members (Sir Nigel was conspicuous in his absence - exactly what Joyce had wanted) and the members of Rogue squadron, who had been brought over (to their confusion and amazement), just for the occasion.
At the moment, Buffy was busy greeting guests while Willow fidgeted nervously in her seat. She was seated with her adopted parents and Padmé; Anakin had also decided to forgo sitting with his own Order to sit with his in-laws and relatives. Buffy greeted the last of the guests as Luke and Wedge made their way down the aisle and then took her seat next to Willow.
“Never thought I’d see this day,” Buffy said in amazement. “The day when I’d have a daughter and she’d be getting married!”
“Sure did make sure it happened soon enough once the cat got out of the bag, though, didn’t you?” Willow snickered. She hid it well, but Buffy could feel the shame and nervousness bubbling under the surface and she reached a calming hand over and laid it in her shoulder. She drew back when Willow flinched, only just realizing she had laid her mechanical hand on her friend’s shoulder instead of her real one. “Sorry.”
“No, that was my bad,” Buffy replied.
Willow sighed. “I just feel like I shouldn’t be here…”
“If Joyce didn’t want you here, you wouldn’t be here. Read Ambrose-Bellairs, Lord Nigel,” Buffy snickered. “You should have seen how red his face got…”
“Not an attitude befitting a Jedi there, sister,” Anakin chastised lightly. “You’re a Master, you need to set an example.”
“It still rankles me the way he treated the Slayers before Giles and Faith set him straight,” Buffy complained. ”And he’s made our lives much more difficult than they should have been.”
“Still, as a Master, you should always reach for forgiveness and understanding,” he paused, but couldn’t resist adding, “Of course, in your case you may need a stepladder…”
Willow giggled nervously and Buffy sighed. “Will, you’re welcome here, so be a man and suck it up!”
Willow glanced over at Buffy with a wry expression on her face. “I’m gay, not butch.”
Joyce peered nervously out from behind the wall where she waited with her brother. She swallowed at the sight of so many people, then scowled.
“For the love of the Force… I became a Mando warrior and this of all things is scaring me!”
“It’s not every day you have a wedding where most of the guests show up armed,” Han remarked, looking over the Jedi. Joyce snorted.
“Come to a Mando wedding. Then you’ll rethink that statement.” Han chuckled at that, but she saw him looking at her with misted eyes. “Oh, gods. You’re not going to cry, are you?”
“I was just thinking…”
“Don’t strain yourself. You still need to walk in a straight line.”
“I was just thinking,” Han started over again, “how absolutely beautiful you look today. And…”
Joyce frowned as he trailed off. “And what?”
Han choked back a small sob, even as he wiped the tears from his eyes. “And I was thinking how proud dad would be of you today.” Joyce smiled and a few tears leaked out from the corners of her eyes, but before she could say anything, ‘Here comes the bride’ played over the speakers. Han smiled and extended his arm. “Shall we?”
The strains of the Wedding March started playing and Wedge straightened his tux jacket, even as Luke adjusted his dress robes. Wedge looked him over once more in amusement. “I can’t believe my best man came in a bath robe.”
“Be thankful I found one with pockets for the rings, Wedge,” Luke replied wryly. Wedge was about to respond when he spied his bride coming across the lawn towards him and his breath hitched. He had seen her in all manners of get-ups - from pilot, to warrior, to even naked; but this was the first time he had seen her look so…feminine. At that moment, Wedge thanked whatever gods were listening for giving him the heart of the most beautiful creature in the galaxy.
“You got the rings, Luke?”
The young Jedi smirked. “What’s it worth to you?”
“Wanna die, Luke?”
It was a beautiful ceremony. Master Kenobi proceeded over the wedding; Han gave the bride away in their father’s stead, Dawn stood by Joyce as her maid of honor.
“Friends, we are here today to perform a sacred act; one that has not been performed for a member of this order for many centuries. We are gathered here today to join Joyce Solo, Slayer and Jedi Padawan, and Wedge Antilles, Commander of Rogue Squadron, in the bonds of matrimony. If anyone here has any cause why this should not be so, let them speak now or forever hold their peace.”
There was dead silence as both the bride and groom turned their heads as one and glared out at the audience. Dawn smirked outright, while Luke tried his best to maintain his composure.
“Right. Rather thought not,” Obi-Wan said. Light laughter flitted up from the assembled guests. “Now, marriage is a sacred commitment and one not to be taken lightly. Though, this shouldn’t be news to either of you, seeing as you two are already married.” The crowd laughed some more. “Now, I have a request from the bride and groom for, what they termed, the ‘short, short version’; however, I do have to work with your mother, so this will be a bit drawn out. Joyce, do you wish to recite your vows?”
Joyce cleared her throat quietly, then looked into her husbands eyes. “I’ve never been the easiest person to live with, Wedge. And I know that I’m usually not the most…feminine…woman out there. I tend to be violent and repress my emotions, something that isn’t healthy for either a Jedi or a Slayer. But you have kept me grounded these past two years. You’ve stood by me, protected me, fought with me and besides me - and you never gave up on me. On us. For that I thank you, and I pledge my love until the day I die.”
Obi-Wan nodded at Joyce, then turned to Wedge. “Wedge, do you wish to recite your vows?”
Wedge smiled, his eyes never leaving Joyce’s. “Ever since that day you saved me, coming out of the trench run on the Death Star, I knew you and I were destined to be together. We haven’t had the easiest road together… and perhaps we made some bad decisions along the way. But over two years later, here we are. Surrounded by our friends, out family, finally ready to state publicly what we’ve felt all along - that we love one another, and that we will be by each other’s side until the day we finally shuffle off this mortal coil. I love you, Joyce Solo, and I pledge to live my life and, if necessary, give my life, for you.”
Obi-Wan smiled. “Joyce Solo, do you freely bind yourself to Wedge Antilles to be his companion, partner, aid and comfort for all the days of your life?”
Joyce smiled radiantly. “I do.”
Buffy watched the ceremony without seeing her daughter. Instead, on the raised platform she saw herself, several years ago, gazing into the handsome face of Jacen Solo. To her left stood Willow, her long red hair glistening in the sunlight; Joyce cradled safely in her arms. Next to Jacen stood his friend and former commander Thomasen; Han stood slightly behind him, their rings sitting on a small pillow. Out in the audience her friends and family stood - Anakin and Shmi, Obi-Wan and Mace, Dawn, Xander and Giles.
Mace stood in front of the couple, officiating over the ceremony. “Buffy Summers-Skywalker, do you freely bind yourself to Jacen Solo to be his companion, partner, aid and comfort for all the days of your life?”
Buffy smiled, happy tears filling her eyes. “I do.”
Obi-Wan smiled, then turned to Wedge. “And do you, Wedge Antilles, promise to forsake all others, to be Joyce’s comfort and confidant, friend, lover and companion for your Mortal Days?”
Wedge beamed. “I do.”
Mace smiled, then turned to Jacen. “And do you, Jacen Solo, promise to forsake all others, to be Buffy’s comfort and confidant, friend, lover and companion for your Mortal Days?”
Jacen grinned the familiar Solo grin. “I do.”
“The rings, please,” Obi-Wan asked. Luke quickly fetched them out of his pocket and handed them to the elder Jedi. Obi-Wan took them, and held them up between his thumb and forefinger, one ring in each hand. “The rings are a symbol of your love, unbroken and shining. They show the galaxy the vows you make here today.”
In her mind’s eye, Buffy sees Jacen slip the ring onto her finger, even as she slips hers onto his. As her daughter does the same, Buffy absently rubs her ring finger where the band would have been. A tear runs down her cheek and she closes her eyes to keep the rest from falling. Quietly, to herself, she finally utters the two words that she has been so reluctant, so fearful to say for so long.
Next to her, Willow holds back tears of her own and takes a small comfort when Padmé gently squeezes her hand.
Obi-Wan beamed at the couple. “You have exchanged vows and rings. I pronounce you husband and wife. You may-” the elder Jedi stopped abruptly as Joyce flew into Wedge’s arms and the kissed passionately. “Oh, my,” he finished. “Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you the Antilles.”
The couple pulled away and beamed at the applauding audience. Then, hand in hand, the newly re-affirmed husband and wife walked the aisle, leading the procession back up to the Council building and the waiting reception.
“I can’t thank you enough for hosting the wedding, Buffy,” Wedge was saying later. All around them couples danced, drank champagne and ate cake cut from a four-tiered wedding cake - dark chocolate, at Buffy’s insistence. Buffy laughed lightly and waved the thanks aside. “It was no problem. Getting the Rogues here was a logistical nightmare, but even then…”
“Well, at least we knew there wouldn’t be any disruptions. If we had had it across the barrier and Jabba found out…”
“Yeah, that would have been bad,” Joyce remarked. “But that should be cleared up pretty soon. Dawn and I have been working on a plan…”
“I don’t want to know,” Buffy interrupted. “Plausible deniability is key in my job.”
“Well, we were hoping for your help. Yours and Willow’s, believe it or not,” Joyce paused and looked around for the redhead. “Say, where is she, anyway? I actually invite her to the wedding and she doesn’t even stick around to congratulate me?”
“She wasn’t feeling very well, actually,” Buffy replied. “She said she needed to lay down for a bit.”
“And Xander?” Wedge asked. “Any news on him?”
Buffy sighed in exasperation. “No. He left shortly before we got back - told Aayla that there was a mission he needed to carry out and that he might be gone for a while. But that was over a month ago and we still haven’t heard anything. He even turned his PPG off so we couldn’t track him!”
“How’s Master Secura taking it?” Wedge asked.
“Good, all things considered,” the Slayer replied. “She knows as well as I do that Xander has been worried about their future once we go back. We’ve talked about it several times… he scared that he won’t have a place with us, which is ridiculous.”
“Is it really?” Obi-Wan chimed in. At the look in Buffy’s eyes, he held up a hand to head her off. “Just look at it from his perspective. He’s a perfectly normal, healthy man surrounded by people who can do amazing things, be it through the Force or sheer physical feats. He’s bound to feel weak and somewhat useless. He’s trying to find a way to be useful to the war, to the Jedi - trying to find his place. Trying to be helpful.”
“He can be helpful by getting his butt back here,” Buffy groused.
“Well, all you had to do was ask.”
Buffy spun and stared in amazement as Xander came to a stopped right behind her. His hair had grown longer and a beard now adorned his face, which only accentuated the eye patch he still wore. He was dressed in pilot’s garb - loose fitting pants, a heavy shirt with the sleeves rolled up and a utility vest worn opened above it. He carried a small knapsack across his back and a blaster pistol was strapped to his thigh. The Jedi Master could tell from the look of him that he had spent several months on a freighter just by looking at him.
Buffy yelled out in joy as she grabbed Xander into a fierce hug. "Wuh duh ma huh tah duh fong kwong duh wai shung!” she exclaimed. “Where have you been, Xander! I’ve been worried sick…”
“Sorry about that,” Xander said meekly. “We would have been back sooner, but we could risk our leads drying up by taking the time to report in. It’s been lightening strikes all the way.”
“We…” For the first time, she spotted the person behind Xander. “Karrde? What are you doing here?”
Talon Karrde, smuggler and information broker extraordinaire, smirked at the Slayer-come-Jedi. “Well, I was under the impression that I was invited. And I wouldn’t have missed this - not only was the wedding in another dimension, but I finally got to see a Mandalorian in a dress.”
Joyce grinned wryly as Wedge laughed outright. “I know you like to live dangerously Karrde, but don’t push your luck.”
“Trust me. When you see what we got you for your wedding gift, you’ll forget all about my smart remarks.”
Buffy’s eyes narrowed. “This mission of yours better not have been about wedding gifts, Xander. Some serious stuff has gone down in your absence.”
“Well, it wasn’t,” Xander started, pulling out a small, portable holo projector from the sack, “But, as they say, timing is everything. And it just so happened I found this at the right time.” He switched the projector on, and a small, three dimensional image appeared hovering over his palm. In it was a seemingly endless fleet of old ARC and Jedi starfighters; in the background Buffy could make out several Venator-class Star Destroyers. And in the foreground, nearly out of the holo’s image, were rows and rows of cloning tanks.
Full cloning tanks, each holding a fully matured clone in the Civil War era armor.
“After all, what else do you get for the warrior how has everything except her own personal army?”TBC…
Aaaaand we're off! The final chapter in the Chosen Saga starts here! Comming soon- Where is this frozen army? What do Dawn and Joyce have planned for Jabba? And what roles will Padme, Willow and Buffy play in building up the troops as we push towards that final battle? Find out soon!