-three weeks later-
“Puppy, get back here! Those are for the reception!” Dennis chased Sagebear down the hall, dressed in his leather vest and bandana ensemble like he had for his own wedding.
Sagebear herself was dressed in her very own dog tuxedo, carrying a package of raw steaks between her teeth. She waddled down past a corner, into one of the doors on the other side.
When Dennis turned said corner himself, it looked as though Sagebear disappeared into thin air.
“Ah, doggone it. Now where’d she go?” Scanning the hallway, he then noticed a door hanging open. The amount of space between doorway to door looked to be wide enough for her to walk through.
When Dennis took a peek, he saw the ever present wagging tail of hers, walking away. Knocking on the opened door, he entered.
Shark was sitting in front of a mirror, wringing his hands anxiously for the impending event that was happening in less than an hour.
“I hope things go right for this,” he said to himself as he slumped down onto the table in front of the mirror.
He was then distracted by Sagebear coming up to him, bringing with her something she was apparently not supposed to be having.
“Aw, Sagebear!” He said to her as he reached for the steaks. “I don’t think you should be stealing anything like that. Here, give it to Daddy. Give the steaks to Daddy.” Placing his hands under her mouth, Sagebear dropped the package down into them.
Just as Shark was setting the package onto the table, Dennis appeared, and briskly walked over to the two.
“Ha! There you are, you little thief,” Dennis said as he picked Sagebear up. “Attempting a heist, just like your grandpa used to back when he was younger.”
He then petted her to show all was forgiven, before turning to his son. “So how are you holding up in here?”
Shark could only shrug. “I’m nervous. Like, I don’t have cold feet or anything. I’m just worried things aren’t going to go right.”
In a gesture of reassurance, Dennis patted his son on the shoulder. “I don’t blame you. This isn’t just any other day, after all; It’s your wedding! It’s perfectly normal to be worried.”
Now Sagebear placed her paws on Shark’s shoulder, trying to mimic what Dennis was doing.
Dennis went on. “Now I know that you’ll be fine. You’re marrying the love of your life. Trust me, I know that the both of you will have a wonderful married life together. And if you ever need any kind of help, just know that your families will be there.
“Now then,” he said as he looked down at Sagebear, “I think it’s best that I get these steaks back to the kitchen. I’ll be back in a few minutes.”
Rubbing his temples, Sinbad tried to get himself into a proper mindset. He then stared into the bathroom mirror, wondering if he’d brushed his teeth good enough.
Marc and Harwood were sitting on the edge of the bathtub, dressed in what they considered finery. Both of the younger men were amazed at just how much red clothing Harwood could put on without looking overdressed.
“Are you aware you’ll probably upstage everyone at the wedding?” Sinbad asked his father as he proceeded to tie his long hair up into a ponytail.
Harwood just shrugged. “So? Someone in this family needs to put on the happy colors.” Then he muttered to himself, “Who had the bright idea to be dressed in black for a wedding?”
Then both Harwood and Sinbad heard a rustling sound. Looking over, they saw that Marc had somehow managed to sneak a bag of chips in with him.
“Bro, where’d you get those?” Sinbad asked him. Marc just pointed outside to the hallway.
“Vending machine,” he said with his mouth full.
Annette was scanning the letter she now held in her hand. She hadn’t the faintest idea who “Andrew Waverly” was, at first. Despite the same last name, she couldn’t think of anyone with that first name in her family.
“I hope this isn’t some kind of junk mail…” Opening it, she scanned through the alleged nonsense written on it.
Folded in with the letter was a recipe for Salad Olivier. This proved to Annette just who exactly sent the letter. With a smirk, she set it aside for later use.
She was about to put the letter in a safe place when a bright light began to flash behind her. Turning around, Annette saw a most welcomed face:
“Oh, it’s you,” she said with a smile.
Sinbad was still fidgeting even when he was standing under the arch. He looked to be sweating profusely. His hands were shaking as he ran them through his ponytail.
Noting his half-brother was nervous, Marc put a hand on his shoulder. “You’re going to be fine, Sinbad.”
“Easy for you to say, bro,” Sinbad muttered. “You’re not the one getting hitched today.”
He then covered his face, and breathed in deeply. The guests already seated looked worried for him, as though they all thought he were going to pass out.
Marc tried to keep Sinbad steady. He was aware at just how jittery Sinbad was on this special day.
When Dennis came back, Shark was already waiting for him by the door. Sagebear was now happily trotting by his side, ready to be a part of the wedding.
“Is Mom already at the venue?” Shark asked in reference to Blaise.
Dennis nodded. “That she is, boy! She can’t wait for the ceremony to begin.” He then stepped forward and gave his son a big hug.
When Shark returned it, Dennis pulled back and wiped the happy tears from his eyes. “You ready, boy?”
“Yeah, Dad,” Shark said as he was trying not to get too overwhelmed with emotion himself. “I’m ready.” With that, Dennis slung his arm over Shark’s shoulders, and led him out to the arch.
Still in her ethereal finery, Meliora gently dropped to the ground, and approached Annette. A beatific smile was across her face as she held something in her arms.
Annette was just as entranced with what she had as she was with Meliora herself.
“That’s for me, right?” Meliora nodded, and handed it to her. Holding it up to look at it better, she was grinning at just how lovely the dress was.
Right away, Annette scurried into the bathroom to put it on. When she came back out wearing it, Meliora beamed with joy at seeing her.
“So what’s the occasion, if you don’t mind me asking?” Rather than tell her, Meliora linked her arm with Annette’s and led her into a brightly lit portal. In no time at all, both of them came to a recognizable place.
Racket Mansion was very much a distant memory by this point. In its place were chairs, a small building, and a wedding arch. Under said arch was a face also familiar to Annette, as were a few of the guests.
Sinbad looked sweaty and nervous where he stood, almost like he were about to pass out. His anxious expression only intensified when the music started playing.
At this point, Meliora pulled Annette behind the nearest tree, to watch two people and a dog come out of the building, and in between all the chairs.
Shark was surprised Sinbad hadn’t collapsed from nerves or anything like that. He almost wanted to break away from Dennis and run over to hug Sinbad.
Thankfully, neither of them reacted too strongly. Sinbad was just blushing heavily, his face almost as red as his hair. He then gave a bashful smile when Shark was finally led under the arch.
“Yeah, just for the record, I don’t do so good at weddings,” he said to all who cared to hear. “Not even my own, apparently.”
“I know, Sinbad,” Shark said to him as Dennis sat next to Blaise. “Just take your time.”
Taking this advice to heart, Sinbad cleared his throat and began. “Obviously, we’re all here for a wedding. My wedding with Shark, to be specific. I…”
He then paused and pressed his fingers to his temples. “Well, first off, I really hope both of us have the blessings of Mara for this.” The remark got Shark to chuckle, him understanding the reference.
“Anyway, it’s been a hell of a ride from the day we met to now. Been a lot of ups and downs. Definitely a hell of a down there for about a year.” Sinbad cleared his throat before continuing. “Now look at us, getting hitched today.”
He looked out over the guests, before looking back at Shark. “If I had to put how I felt about you in ways you’d get, well…” Sinbad then tried thinking of the many references that Shark would also understand.
“If I had a Focus that involved hurting or killing you in any way, I’d deliberately fail and become a Cie’th.” Then he thought of a few other ones. “If I were Plusle, you’d be Minun. I’d go up against a thousand dragons for you, including Alduin himself.”
Each phrase he said, made Shark blush harder. After all the references he could think of were said, Sinbad then reached up and stroked Shark’s cheek.
“A few years ago, I didn’t think I would have anything to live for; That I wasn’t gonna have a future. And now look: I’m getting married to the love of my life.”
Hearing all the sweet words come out of Sinbad’s mouth got Shark crying with joy. Sinbad wiped them away as he continued.
“I tried to write my own vows, but they all turned out to be shit, so… Just gonna lay it all out here: I’m gonna love you until the end of all eternity, and then some. I’d die a thousand deaths for you. You get the idea.”
In the audience, a few of the attendees began tearing up. Sagebear went out and tried to comfort all of them. Dennis was included in this group of sobbers.
“Oh, hell!” He said loudly as Blaise put a hand on his shoulder to calm him. “That boy used to watch cartoons in his Thomas the Tank Engine pajamas. Now he’s getting married!”
“I know, Denny,” Blaise told him as she then wiped a tear away from her own eye. “Ain’t it the best damned feeling in the world.”
Annette and Meliora stood by, quietly watching the ceremony go on.
“This is…weirdly sweet to watch,” Annette commented on what was happening. It gave her a strangely warm feeling in her chest to see Shark finally be happy, as he and Sinbad exchanged rings and then kissed. The other attendees were also quite glad to watch.
It was at least enough for her to crack a smile.
This looked to be enough for Meliora. She waited until Annette turned to look at her again, and linked their arms together.
They then went back to Annette’s house, through the portal. As she went back home, Annette took one last look at the ceremony, knowing it would likely be the last time she’d ever see them all.
-a month later-
Sinbad stood in front of the couch now, staring down the two canines who had claimed the seating as their own.
“Funny how even when they’re not here, the old man and my bro manage to make it feel like they still are.” He then reached out and scratched the heads of the Shar Pei and the Pug before him.
As he did, a giant brown Newfoundland and a Saint Bernard came out of the bedroom to greet him. After they did, Shark followed them, rubbing his eyes.
“Morning, Sinbad,” he sleepily told his husband while yawning. “I take it Harwoof and Scotchka took over the couch again?”
“Yup.” Sinbad then turned his attention to the two bigger dogs that had arrived. “And Hawkeye and Brownie here kept you warm while you slept, I hope?”
Shark nodded. “Not just them, though.” As he said this, Sagebear nosed her way out of the room, and waddled over to join everyone. Behind her toddled a small, speckled gray puppy.
“Mornin, Sagebear,” Sinbad said to her. Then to the puppy, he said, “Mornin’, Faridah.” He then moved over and gave attention to them both.
It had been Shark’s idea for him and Sinbad to watch the dogs while their relatives were out of town. Dennis and Blaise went off to have a proper honeymoon, but Harwood and Marc had another, slightly obscure reason.
“Why’d your dad and brother go to Bridgeport again?” He asked as he sat in between Scotchka and Harwoof.
Sinbad stopped what he was doing, and pulled out a laminated paper from his back pocket. “This should give you a hint.” Before Shark now was a sonogram picture, belonging to one ‘Cressida Wells’.
On the back of it, a happy announcement in Marc’s handwriting said, “I’m gonna be a dad!” with a doodle of Marc smiling and giving a peace sign. Beneath that was one of Harwood, stating, “I’m gonna be a grandpa!”
“Oh yeah…” Shark smiled as he handed the sheet back. “They’re really happy about this child, aren’t they?”
“Damn straight, especially since Marc’s junk doesn’t exactly work the greatest. So that’s kind of a miracle kid.”
Sinbad then stood back up and headed toward the kitchenette. Hawkeye and Brownie followed him, hoping to get any scraps he might drop before their proper breakfast.
Sagebear then took her seat in front of Shark, in guard mode. Little Faridah sat next to her, mimicking the dog she had been cloned from.
“Hey, Sinbad?” Shark asked as he watched his husband pull out some breakfast fixings. Sinbad grunted to say he was listening. “After breakfast, you want to take the dogs out for a walk? They might appreciate the fresh air and exercise.”
Sinbad deliberated for a few moments, before nodding. “Sounds like something we can do, man.”
With that planned for later, Shark and the dogs now waited for their meal to be cooked. Shark watched his husband make pancakes now with a dreamy smile on his face.
Thus far, married life was blissful for them, if not always perfect. And the two of them wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
The best part of all to them, was that they were enjoying this life with each other.
With a man they were proud to call ‘husband’.