Rolling her eyes, Ailis swallowed her smile. Neither one of them were all that good with words, and with an audience, to boot. "All right, I'll go," she conceded, slipping the larger ring from about her thumb. She drew in a deep breath, looking up at him.
"John ... from the first moment we met, you've infuriated me. I've been frustrated and confused, too quick to anger and too slow to forgive. But it wasn't until I lost almost everything that I realized what that meant. I love you, John. I have done for years, and though I know I'm not the easiest to live with, I know I would not be living if you were not a part of my life. We don't need a piece of paper, we don't need the rings, to know we're meant to be together. One thing I can promise you is that you will never be bored with me." The ring slid into place over his knuckle, her hands raising his to let her kiss the place where it now rested. "Oh, and lots of make up sex."
He arched a brow at her introduction, wondering where she was going with that speech, though nothing she said surprised him really. He knew it all already. Despite the lack of poetry in her words, he was deeply touched by what she said, understanding her perhaps better than anyone else there, including her own father and brother. Yes, the infuriated each other and fought like cats and dogs sometimes, but only because they were both of fiery and passionate, one flame fueling the other. Turned to face her, he hoped she was the only one who would see the expression on his face, the glisten of tears in his eyes at her open confession of love and devotion, as unconventional as it was. He couldn't help but chuckle a little at the make up sex remark, hardly noticing the comment from Jake that followed: "Right on!"
John took her much smaller, more delicate hand in his, grasping hold of the small heart-shaped ring to slide it carefully onto her finger. "Ailis, I knew from the first moment I met you that you were a firecracker, that you couldn't be tamed, that I'd finally met my match. Every time we were together, it was like fireworks going off, and I mean that in a good way. You're the only woman I've ever known who could put up with me, who's been willing to put up with me. I know I'm not an easy man to live with. I know my own flaws better than anyone, but I know that I love you. You're the reason I'm still here, the reason I'm still alive. We've both been through a lot. We've paid our dues in life. We deserve a little happiness, and for me, that happiness is you. I love you, Ailis - and so help me God, if any of you breathe a word of this after today, I will kill you," he deviated for just a moment to flash a look of warning to those gathered around them, before turning back to the woman before him.
"I love you, Ailis. I always have and I always will," he told her, his voice gentling uncharacteristically as he said those words. He wasn't the poetic type, and he wasn't very comfortable speaking his heart in front of other people, but he'd done as his sister had asked - he'd spoken his feelings, as well as he could. Taking the lead from Ailis, he lifted her hand to his lips to brush a kiss where the ring now rested, a symbol of their love and fidelity.
Despite the threat that was taken only too seriously by their companions, there was something only too genuine about the words that had been shared by the couple. They hadn't been thought out in advance, hadn't been polished to sound pretty. They were honest promises, made in the moment and born of years of affection. The Elder smiled, nodding to them both. "Promises made in love and honor," he intoned warmly. "Who bears witness?"
"I bear witness," the Chief said with a nod, closely followed by Rory.
"Aye, so do I."
"We all do!" Jake added, excitedly. "Pronounce them husband and wife already!" It wasn't his wedding, and he knew John was less than fond of him, but he was still glad to see the two of them happy, if only for Ailis' sake. Besides, maybe it would mellow John a little, or so Jake hoped.
Sam gave Rory's hand a squeeze but said nothing just yet, merely smiling proudly at her twin brother and his soon-to-be wife.
"Shhh," Leia laughed, poking at Jake's stomach as Sloti nibbled on the man's hair, both woman and ferret amused but respectful of the moment.
Ailis laughed, shaking her head at the excitement around them, turning her eyes back to John as the Elder spoke once again. "Then, by the power invested in me by the good people of this town, I pronounce you man and wife."
Jake couldn't help it, breaking into applause and whistles at the announcement, despite the warning from Leia and Sloti. John didn't even bother to toss a glare his way, instead taking advantage of the moment to seal the deal with a kiss. He pulled Ailis closer, his arms circling her waist, and kissed her in front of all those in witness of their promises. He had no regrets, no second thoughts. He secretly wished her brothers could have been there to see this, but maybe they were watching somehow, somewhere. He hoped they were as happy and at peace as he was. "Hello, wife," he told her once he was done kissing her, a soft smile on his face.
Jake wasn't the only one applauding the match, Rory letting his own enthusiasm rip free as he cheered. Ailis laughed into the kiss that drew her close, barely remembering a considered aversion to showing off their affection in front of others as she melted into John. Her only regret was that the rest of her brothers could have lived to see this moment - Con, especially, who had been John's close friend as well as her most trusted sibling. But perhaps they were seeing it, after all. John's greeting made her smile as she opened her eyes, nose to nose with the man she loved. "Hello, husband."
"I think I like the sound of that," he remarked, touching his forehead to hers for a moment as they soaked up the moment.
As it happened, Sam was the first one to come up and congratulate the newlyweds, seeing as it was her brother. She hugged them both, whispering quietly in John's ear, "I'm so proud of you!" before turning to hug Ailis, too. "I hope you never regret becoming a Grimm," she teased. She was and had always been fond of the other woman and was overjoyed to be able to now call her sister.
Enveloped in Sam's unexpected embrace, Ailis supposed she shouldn't have been surprised to feel Rory's long arms wrap around them both. "I don't think I'll ever regret becoming a Grimm," she promised Sam. "Just don't you hold off too long on becoming a Warren." She winked, laughing as Rory choked and headed over to John, seizing his new brother's hand firmly.
"Welcome to the family," he chuckled to his new brother in law, lurching a little out of the way as Leia, of all people, shot underneath his arm to hug the grim man while he couldn't stop her.
"Thanks," John replied with a happy and slightly relieved smile on his face as he gripped Rory's hand in his. No, he wasn't Con, but he loved Sam and maybe in time he'd be able to think of him as the brother he'd never had. A little overwhelmed by all the love, the look on John's face was priceless as Leia converged on them to hug him tight. He paused a moment as if in a state of shock and then miraculously wrapped his arms around the tiny elf woman to hug her back, whispering quietly, "Thank you." He had a feeling she had more of a hand in all of this than she was willing to divulge.
For someone who was still timid around all men but Jake, that embrace was nothing short of a miracle in itself. Leia smiled as she felt John hug her in return, pleased she had read him right in that moment. "It was fun," she confessed just as quietly. "Tell me when it is Sam's turn." Mischief lit up her violet eyes as she skipped back to Jake's side, allowing the Chief to clasp John's hand.
"She's yours now, son," the older man said gruffly. "Trouble and all."
Jake remained on the outskirts of the little gathering for the moment, waiting his turn to congratulate the couple, allowing family to go first. He and Leia were the outsiders here, and he always felt a little out of place when it came to family, his own family back home somewhere probably wondering what had happened to him.
Of course, Jake wasn't entirely alone. For some reason, these days he always had Sloti perched on his shoulder, or tucked into a pocket. The ferret had definitely taken a liking to Leia's bond-mate.
John's glance drifted to his sister at Leia's words, a small smirk on his face as the realization that he was off the hook and it was Rory's turn now. He intended to take full advantage of that at the earliest opportunity. "I think I can handle it," John assured the older man, with another smirk, this time for Ailis.
Ailis met John's smirk with her own. "Talking about handling me already, are we?" she asked, brows raised above a teasing smile, even as she made a grab for his arm, heels wobbling beneath her.
John laughed, in part at her comment and in part at her wobbling. "I think the first order of business is getting you out of those shoes," he told her.
Jake hung back still, feeling strangely out of place, for some reason, grateful for Sloti's companionship. If he'd been about to congratulate the couple, it seemed the opportunity had escaped him. "What now?" he asked instead.