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"Is everyone assembled?"

"All present and accounted for, sir," Victor said, looking around the assembled group with a smile.

"We have all necessary witnesses?" the registrar pressed. "Miss Liddell's aunt and uncle, and--"

"My father and cousin, Mr. Drapewell," Victor provided, feeling a deep, warm glow inside at introducing his friends as such. "Emmett Brown and Martin Brown-McFly."

"Pleasure to meet you, sir," Doc said, extending a hand.

Mr. Drapewell stared for a moment, before slowly accepting it. ". . .You're his father?"

"Yes, is there a problem?"

"I think it's the accent, Unc," Marty said, rolling his eyes. "Vincent's adopted, Mr. Drapewell. Which is probably pretty obvious, but still, if you want proof--"

"No, no, that's fine," Mr. Drapewell assured him, waving a hand with an embarrassed look. "Excuse me, I was just surprised." He coughed softly and resumed his stern look. "Now -- you two have a full understanding of what's expected? Neither of you are doing this through coercion?"

"We're both fully ready and willing," Alice said, glancing at Victor lovingly.

"Well then--" a few papers and a pen were produced and laid in front of them "--it's simply a matter of signing the correct paperwork."

"Er--" Victor rubbed the back of his head. "You wouldn't object if we exchanged vows? Quickly?"

"It is the closest our girl will get to a proper church wedding," Aunt Susan added.

"It's a common enough request," the registrar said with a nod. "Do you have vows prepared?"

"We do," Alice said.

"All right -- first sign here, then you can exchange them before we prepare the marriage license." Mr. Drapewell pushed a few papers toward them, and Victor and Alice added their signature where necessary. Finally, all that remained was the license. "Mr. Brown? If you would?"

Victor turned to face Alice, a few butterflies fluttering in his stomach. It had been years since he'd said these vows (excepting to himself in the mirror last night). What if he got them wrong again? For a moment, all he could think about was the disaster of a rehearsal at the Everglots, and the shame with which he'd been forced to flee --

Then Alice reached forward and took his hand, giving it a squeeze. The silent reassurance there -- that she didn't care if he messed up; they would be married regardless -- quieted his nerves. He squeezed back and smiled. "With this hand, I will lift your sorrows. Your cup will never empty, for I will be your wine. With this candle, I will light your way in darkness." He reached into his pocket and produced the gold band he'd gotten earlier in the week. "With this ring--" which slipped so easily onto her finger you'd think it had been waiting with the same anticipation he had "-- I ask you to be mine."

Alice beamed at him, pure sunshine on a warm spring day. "With this hand, I will lift your sorrows. Your cup will never empty, for I will be your wine. With this candle, I will light your way in darkness. With this ring--" She caressed his cheek, engagement and wedding rings glinting in the lamplight. "--I will always be thine."

Mr. Drapewell did not oblige them with a "you may now kiss the bride." But in that perfect, beautiful moment, Victor did so anyway.

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Victor (Van Dort) Brown

December 2014

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