Every now and then, Providence shines down on a single place and time, illuminating it as something special, something never to be forgotten. August 24th, a gloriously sunlit day, saw the gathering of a family made more of loyalty and love than blood in a small, stone-built church outside Sioux Falls, to see two of their number joined in holy and legal matrimony. It might have been any small wedding party on any day, but for the foreknowledge that marked it as memorable before it ever began.
Inside, the sunlight streamed in through the beautiful stained-glass window that stood behind the altar, bathing the priest, the groom, and the two who stood for his parents in a blaze of multicolored light. In silence, the groom's sister, resplendent in red and acting as bridesmaid, led the way down the long straight aisle, the bride and the man who was as close to her as any father could be following on behind. There were smiles and nervous laughter, an air of aching anticipation ... but all eyes were on the bride and groom, no matter what was coming.
The groom stood at the front of the church, near the altar, the epitomy of calm. He'd been a bundle of nerves for days, but now that the big day had arrived - the day they'd been preparing for weeks for - he felt oddly calm. The calm before the storm perhaps, determined not to let anything come between him and his bride to be, whether it be gods, angels, demons, or the tooth fairy. Bobby had bought him a new used suit for the occasion - a black suit over a white button-down shirt, and a blue striped tie. It wasn't a tuxedo, but it was neat, and clean, and pressed, and he knew he looked pretty damn good in it. Without a best man, Bobby was serving as both father of the groom and best man, and he and Ellen had pooled their money together to come up with a pair of plain silver rings for the occasion, much to Dean and Nim's surprise.
Ayden reached the altar, making a silly face at Bill as she moved to stand opposite him, making up numbers at Ellen's side. The two women had shaken out their best for the day, even knowing that it may well be ruined in the hours to come; Ayden in strapless, jaw-dropping red, and Ellen in slightly more matronly teal and black, covered up demurely with lace. The only thing out of place were the three open dufflebags placed around the steps onto the altar, each holding assorted weapons.
Even Bobby had dragged out his best suit - one he kept for special occasions, glad this occasion was a happy one and not the kind he usually wore a suit for, though as far as Bobby was concerned, it wasn't over 'til the fat lady sang. He'd been on pins and needles for days, going over the plan time and again, making sure everyone knew what to do, in case the sh*t hit the fan. He hoped Ayden's vision was wrong, but he wasn't taking any chances. He'd even brought The Colt along, just in case. If he wasn't so on edge, he might even enjoy himself, at least for a while.
And Nim? Ellen's own wedding dress fit her like a glove, simple and sleeveless, more ivory than white, snug to her waist and flaring from her hips to sway beneath her knees as she moved down the aisle. Sapphires borrowed from Ellen's jewellery box sparkled at her ears, her hair caught back from her face but left to sway on her shoulders. One arm looped through Brian's, the older man almost bursting with pride; the other hand held a small bunch of wildflowers Bill had picked for her that morning. But her eyes, dark and fathomless, were fixed on Dean, as calm as him even in the midst of the nerves that radiated from everyone else.
Dean watched his bride to be from his place near the altar, his eyes fixed on the her, feeling like he was about to burst wide open with pride and joy. She was a vision to behold as she walked down that aisle toward him, as beautiful as the day he'd first met her. Despite everything, he found himself smiling as she approached, anxious to make her his once and for all. They belonged together, and no one was going to tear them apart.
Surrounded by such a concentration of armed and obviously dangerous people, the priest kept his opening words to a minimum, evidently hoping to be done and away from the weapon-wielding group as soon as possible. As he stammered his way through the declaration of intent, Nim folded her hands into Dean's, her bouquet already passed from Brian to Ayden, gazing up at him in silent adoration. It didn't matter what was being said; everyone here knew that all they were witnessing was the formalising of a union that was already unbreakable in most eyes. And despite her discomfort in wearing a dress - Ellen's dress - and knowing that the calm all around them wasn't going to last, the bride couldn't help smiling. The words didn't mean anything, not really. The promises had already been made, one way or another.
Somewhere at the back of Dean's mind, he knew he couldn't let himself get too lost in the moment - that was precisely what Hades was most likely hoping for, to take them by surprise when they least expected it - but it was difficult focusing on anything but the vision in front of him. It was like a dream come true, and even though he knew it was meant to be, that she was meant to be his, that they were meant to be together, he kept wondering if he wasn't just dreaming and that he'd awake to find himself alone in some cheap motel room waiting for the next hunt. He said nothing; no words passed between them as yet, but it wasn't so much what he said, as what he didn't say that was important. If the saying was true that the eyes are the window to the soul, then Dean Winchester's eyes at that moment in time were telling his Nimue how much he loved and adored her.
Every nuance of feeling was reflected back to him from the dark eyes he seemed locked to, unable to look away from his adoring gaze even when it came time to repeat the words that would bind them legally to one another, as rings crafted of delicate silver were taken into their hands to slip over calloused knuckles and rest about fingers that then entwined once again in loving confirmation of the vows taken before their family.
Yet, as the ceremony moved on and there was no distraction, the bridal party began to grow antsy. Brian half-turned to look down the aisle to the wide door at the far end, exchanging a glance with Ayden as she crouched to take a handgun from the duffle by Ellen's feet. Ellen herself looked to Bobby, asking him in silence just how secure the sacristy to the right of the altar was. As beautiful as the joining of two lives was, it would mean nothing if those lives were cut short just moments later.
Bobby had been standing in silent vigil, sharp eyes on the lookout for any sign of trouble, but so far all was quiet. Bobby knew Hades might just be trying to lull them into complacency, but that if that was his plan, he was barking up the wrong tree. He caught Ellen's gaze and nodded back, having checked the sacristy himself just before the ceremony had begun. He'd even left a cache of extra weapons and ammo there, just in case they had to make a hasty retreat and defend themselves there. As for Dean, he seemed oblivious to the possibility of danger, lost in the moment he thought would never happen to him, trusting the others to warn them if there were any signs of danger.
For Nim, no one else existed but Dean in those precious moments. It was the culmination of years of adoration on her part, though she remembered only a very little of it personally. But she knew, to the deepest part of her soul, that no matter who she was - Joanna Beth Harvelle, Nimue Morgan, or Nimue Winchester - this was a beginning as much as an end, and she felt blessed to have Dean right there with her. As the priest intoned the final words and added, in his shaking voice, "You may now kiss your wife, son," her lips curved in an inviting smile, now inextricably linked with the man who possessed her entirely, heart, mind, body, and soul.