She was late--half an hour to be precise--everyone probably worried about her absence by now, wondering if she’d gotten cold feet. It was supposed to be the happiest day of her life, and yet here she was. Her long black hair was pulled over to one side, cascading over the bobby pins in loose ringlet curls, little white flowers pinned perfectly in her hair. She smoothed her gloved hands down the front of her embroidered corset bodice, the lace of the wedding dress strategically placed to draw the imagination. She’d sent Cora, Peebee, and Vetra ahead, hoping she had time for a quick stop before she made her way off the crashed section of the Hyperion and out into Meridian, where Liam was waiting to marry her. The fingers of the hand not holding her bouquet, traipsed along the top of her father’s lucky rock, tears threatening to fall onto the granite surface. He should've been there, but having his wife wake up in a world without one of her children hadn't been an option.
“Thank you for giving me this chance, Daddy; I love and miss you so much it hurts sometimes. I’m going into this with no parents...and I just feel a little lost; you always knew just what to say to make me feel brave, even when I didn't want to hear it. I hope you're looking down and smiling right now, watching over Scott and I, protecting us still.” She bent and pressed her lips the stone. “Liam’s so sweet and he makes me so happy, Daddy--I know you’d approve.”
“I think Alec would be proud of you Alex, everything you have done since we got here, and now taking a step forward into the next chapter of your life, with Liam.”
She bit her lower lip, lost in thought. “Thanks, SAM that really means a lot.”
“Should we say hello to Ellen while we are here?” SAM asked. “You are already late...I do not believe Liam will begrudge you five more minutes.”
She nodded, sighing heavily as she straightened up, making her way into the cryo bay and heading towards the back to the pod of Elizabeth Reily, tears prickling at the edges of her vision again. At least time she wasn't talking to a ghost. The pod looked the same as all the others, but just knowing her mom was behind the door changed how the atmosphere in the room felt. There was a chance she was going to see her mother again, and even if it wasn’t today, her wedding day, it was better late than never. She would at least get to meet her grandchildren when she and Scott got to that point, there'd be at least three, the ones Liam had not so subtly hinted that he wanted. Who knew how many her brother would have, now that he was out of his coma, and flirting with everything that moved again.
“I miss you.”
“I miss her too. How did Liam know you’d come here when you were finished getting ready? That boy knows you so well, he’s not even worried that you didn't show up on time to your own wedding.”
Alexis whirled around at the sound of her brother’s voice. Scott was leaning leisurely against the doorframe, arms crossed over his chest as he watched her, a sad smile on his face. When Ellen Ryder woke up it was going to be in a strange new galaxy, her eldest married and the new Pathfinder with a fully-integrated AI regulating her systems, her husband gone. It was going to be a lot to take in...SAM said they were getting closer everyday to being able to wake her up, but it hadn't happened soon enough. She hadn't wanted another moment to go by where she and Liam weren't married, then she’d run off to the cryo bay as soon as she could.
The sound of footsteps echoed around the cryo bay...several footsteps. The door opened, revealing several familiar faces, including that of her fiance--soon to be her husband, if she ever made it to their ceremony. She took off one of her elbow-length white satin gloves, running her hand along the cool surface of her mother’s stasis pod, wishing she could be there on her big day. She had to blink back the tears threatening to fall--refusing to ruin her makeup, she wouldn't have time to fix it if she cried. Liam frowned and crossed the room in three strides, taking her in his arms. There was still time to make this better.
“I brought everyone here, so let’s just do it here; that way, even if your mom can’t be with us, she’s still here.” He murmured kissing the top of her head and placing his hand over hers on the pod door.
“Liam, thank you; that sounds perfect.”
Everyone took their places lining the edges of the bay, all the people whose lives she’d touched, or made better just by stepping up when the harsh new galaxy needed a hero. It was nice to be a part of hers and Liam’s big day. Scott was bathed in an orange glow from his omni tool, as he set himself up to record the ceremony for his mother to watch when she was out of stasis. Liam reclaimed her hand after she pulled her glove back on, together the two of them turning towards Lexi who stood in front of the wall at the end of the hallway they were in; she was their officiator. She’d been all too happy to agree, seeing how much they loved each other. Alec would've been so proud of his little girl, finding her own happiness in a crazy world, a man who cared about her and would bend over backwards to make her the happiest woman in the galaxy.
“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today, amongst family--” Lexi smiled, her gaze flicking around all the assembled faces, Liam squeezing Alexis’ hand lovingly. “--and friends, to bond these two people, Liam Kosta and Alexis Ryder in holy matrimony. These two have been through so much together, and deserve this little slice of happiness in this crazy new galaxy. I will be the first to admit that nothing has given me greater joy than watching these two find their way into the arms of one another, even if sometimes they stumbled along the way. Now, the two of them have written their own vows; Liam if you will.”
Liam smiled softly, turning to face her and bringing her hand to his lips, kissing the back of it. “Alex, since the moment I saw you across the cryo bay before we came to Andromeda, you made my heart flutter in my chest whenever our eyes met--how fitting that we've come full circle, getting married in the same place we met six hundred and thirty five years ago. I promise to love your spirit, cherish your mind and body, and never let a day pass without letting you know how much I love you, now and forever.”
A small chuckle escaped her lips, as she wiped a stray tear from her eye.
“You are so adorable and sweet...that makes my vows look awful; I should've gone first, especially since I promised to risk your life regularly and drive you crazy with jealousy.” She winked at Jaal who coughed into his hand--when Liam had pulled away after their first night together, Alexis had started flirting with Jaal to get a reaction of some kind, wanting to see if he cared; it had worked better than she could have dreamed, he’d been ridiculously overprotective of her after that. “But in all seriousness, I’m so lucky to have found you. Even before I became Pathfinder, you’ve been there for me, no questions asked, always offering a shoulder when needed and being the brightest of lights when I thought I was the last of the Ryder clan. I promise to give back that support tenfold, never letting you walk into danger without me guarding your back. I will love you long after the stars crumble, with the red hot intensity of a thousand suns.”
Laughter echoed around the room--the human Pathfinder was quite the character. Scott rolled his eyes...she’d been wanting to use that line forever, since they'd heard it in a cartoon when they were little, and somehow had decided her wedding was the perfect time to break it out. Her timing could've been questioned, but sap was never her strong suit. When Scott had broken his arm when they were younger, instead of finding a nice thoughtful get well soon card like all their friends, Alexis had given him one that read ‘Bob broke his arm in three places--he doesn't go to those places anymore’...though, in retrospect, it had made him feel better than anything else. Lexi smiled.
“Do you, Liam, take Alexis to be your lawfully wedded wife, to have and to hold, in sickness and in health, through good times and bad as long as you both shall live, ‘til death do you part?”
“What if I don't want to part even in death? I want us to be ghosts together and haunt the shit out of people.”
He placed a gentle finger to her lips. “Hush Alex--I do...are we married yet?”
“By the Goddess you two, let me get through it once.” Lexi pinched the bridge of her nose exasperatedly. “And do you, Alexis, take Liam to be your lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold, in sickness and in health, through good times and bad as long as you both shall live, ‘til death do you part?”
Alexis grinned and bit her lower lip. “I suppose it’s too late to back out?”
“Not funny.” Liam leaned forward, Lexi clearing her throat before their lips could touch.
“Not yet.” Lexi stressed, inserting her hands in between the two of them and pushing them both back a step. “It’s like dealing with two obnoxious children and trying to herd them inside for a nap. Alex?”
“Then by the power invested in me, I now pronounce you man and wife...now you may kiss the bride and I need a drink.” If Lexi had known how much the two of them were going to try her nerves, she wouldn't have accepted the role of officiate.
Alexis was about to say something snarky, but Liam’s mouth was on hers, the rest of the world falling away, her focus narrowing to the soft touch of his lips and the way his body curled into hers. A cheer went up from the assembled crowd as her arms draped about his neck, Liam dipping her backwards and deepening the kiss. He felt like cheering himself, except then he’d have to stop kissing Alexis. Her mouth opened against his, her tongue intertwining with his as his hands wandered to her hips, pulling her pelvis gently closer and flush against his. A finger poked him surreptitiously in the ribs, and he pulled away, huffing slightly in annoyance that they’d been interrupted. He’d been enjoying kissing his new bride.
“Enough. We have a party to get to.” Scott’s low whisper was almost inaudible over the din.
If Liam didn't know any better, he’d say the overprotective brother had resurfaced, the same one who had threatened his life when he'd found out he and Alexis were sleeping together. Saying if Liam broke her heart, Scott would break his neck...but it was too bad. He was going to kiss his wife, anytime and anyway he pleased. Alexis gave him a wry smile, it hadn't been long enough for her either, but they’d have plenty of time for everything later, when all the guests had gone. Arm in arm, the Pathfinder and her Crisis Specialist went to accept the congratulations of their guests, leading them out of the cryo bay for their reception, cake, and first dance together as man and wife. It was the first day of the rest of their lives together, and together they’d face everything head on.