Fandom: Sky High
Characters: Warren and the gang
Word Count: 4.611
Spoilers: All of the film
Disclaimer: Sky High is owned by Disney. I make no money.
Notes: This is the second transitional piece between the end of War and Peace In Mind and the beginning of the sequel. It starts immediately after the Epilogue. This won’t make a ton of sense if you haven’t read WaPIM, so you were warned! And while there are some funny moments in here, this isn’t as comedic as the other “Warren versus” stories. This has extra plot, dag nabbit! And romance! And friendship!
Summary: Warren has to help Will get ready for his wedding, and also his own! Romance, friendship, and a few wacky hijinks ensue!
“You have to make the choice, Stronghold. I can’t do it for you,” I said solemnly.
Will stared in front of him, eyes practically glazed over in panic. It was a choice that could affect his chances for future happiness, not to mention the fate of the entire biosphere if he chose wrong.
“Please, just what would you do?” he begged. I shook my head sadly. I’d already made my own choice, but my choice couldn’t be Will’s too. The world just didn’t work that way.
“Sorry,” I said apologetically. I’d promised to help him, and I had, but now that things were down to the wire…
“Gold or platinum?” Will asked in desperation.
“You’re not asking me to marry you Stronghold. You’ve known Layla her whole life; don’t you know what she wants for an engagement ring?”
“Why did it only take you five minutes to decide on Monica’s ring?” Will asked, stalling as he looked at the seemingly endless trays with despair.
“I knew what I was looking for. Monica looks good in red,” I said simply. I had the small ring box clutched in my hand already, the ruby engagement ring inside.
“Layla looks good in green,” Will offered tentatively. I gave him a look that said, “And?” “And she likes Free Trade, no-conflict, organic…”
Fifteen minutes later, Will had managed to ascertain there was such a thing as a “eco-friendly” diamond. Five minutes after that, he had another three trays of rings to consider.
Thirty minutes, two reminders to not bang his head on the case, and finally a game of “eeny, meeny, meiny, mo” later, Will had finally his engagement ring.
Then he realized he had forgotten to bring his checkbook.
“So, you do actually want to get married, don’t you?” I asked several minutes later, when Will had returned from “running out to the car” to get it.
“Yes, yes I do,” Will said without the slightest hint of irony as he finished paying. The clerk was holding back a smile as she gave him the ring.
“So, you proposing tonight?”
“Ah… actually I have some things to do first, but yeah. It’s gonna be great! I have this whole bunch of stuff planned out.”
“Does it involve a football stadium?”
“Any large machinery at all? National Monuments? Wildlife preserves?”
“No, no, no. Come on, I’m not that weird… am I?” Will asked.
I rolled my eyes. “Let’s hear it.”
I didn’t exactly consider myself a traditionalist or a romantic, but sometimes, every now and then, there was a certain satisfaction in following every step in a happy, time-worn path. I didn’t want to wait to propose, and I didn’t set out to make it a huge spectacle, because this was only between Monica and me.
Besides, Will had gone into excruciating detail about his proposal. In involved a scavenger hunt in Lakeview Park, a rowboat on the lake, and a picnic in a gazebo, topped off with a starlight flight over Maxville. I couldn’t top that without somehow appearing on national television during halftime of the Super Bowl, so I wasn’t even going to try.
But I would put my own stamp on things. I managed to get reservations at Anthony’s Italian, got roses, and generally made a semi-normal romantic date for that evening. Actually, it was possibly the first normal date Monica and I had ever gone on. Every other time it had been in conjunction with work somehow. For us, having a normal date was special!
This wouldn’t be completely normal though. I quietly enlisted Ethan’s help for that evening, to prepare the one thing that would add my spin on the time-honored tradition. Will would be too busy getting ready for his proposal to Layla, Magenta would blab on principal, and I while I trusted Zack with my life, I wouldn’t trust him with a plan, not when there was too much good material for jokes.
So, for the first time in my life, I picked up my girlfriend from her house, took her to a nice restaurant, and had a nice, quiet meal.
“You’re scoring major boyfriend points,” Monica said at one point, looking at me over the roses. She had shown up in something long, red, and low-cut, almost like she’d been reading my mind, and I was feeling more confident by the minute. I mean, I was nearly almost absolutely sure that she would say yes, but…
“I’m allowed to do that,” I said, folding my hands as the waiter arrived to remove our dinner plates. A significant glance told me everything was ready on the patio, and I gave a tiny nod in return.
“You’re being secretive,” Monica said accusingly as the waiter departed. “Cough it up.”
“How about I just show you instead?” I asked, standing up and stepping around to take her hand. Monica looked at me sideways, and took my hand hesitantly, letting me lead as I drew her outside to the private terrace, shutting the door behind us.
We were getting into November, and it was far too cold to have other customers out here. All the chairs and tables were gone, and the place was quiet and empty.
“Warren? It’s freezing out here,” Monica said.
I only smiled and bent down to touch the concrete. Powering up a bit, flames began to race along the ground. Ethan had set this up with the staff while we were eating, and I owed him, big time. Across the whole patio flaming letters looped and curled around to say, “Will you marry me?”
Monica’s mouth dropped open as I went to one knee, taking out the box and opening it to reveal the ring. My heart was racing, and I had to concentrate very hard to make sure I didn’t accidentally send the box up in flames.
“Warren…” she breathed, the flames reflecting her face. “Yes.” She didn’t say anything else, but she was smiling, her eyes glittering, and if she was feeling anything like me, she probably couldn’t say anything else. She let me put the ring on her finger, and then pulled me into a kiss, not letting go.
“I love you.”
“So, she said yes?” I asked Will the next day. We’d met to swap stories about our proposals while our fiancés (our fiancés, what a strange. happy thought) were looking up wedding things.
“Yeah!” Will said, looking happy but exhausted. “She loved the scavenger hunt, the thing on the lake went really well, and all the stuff in the gazebo was perfect. She said yes before I even got the ring out! And she actually liked the ring! It’s just that after coordinating all that, I’m tired.” Will flopped back on the couch, staring at the ceiling.
I hated to say the next thing, but I was Will’s best friend, and he needed to know.
“Stronghold, you realized that Layla’s going to try to top ‘all that’ for your wedding,” I pointed out soberly.
Will looked utterly horrified at having brought such a fate on himself.
“Warren? Kill me now,” he begged.
“Sorry, no. Layla wouldn’t like it,” I said with a smirk.
“Why don’t you ask Ethan and Chloe to help you? Those two are really organized,” I said a day later as Will frantically tried to get a handle on what he needed for a wedding. Layla had given him a list of things to decide on, and Will had wrangled me into helping.
“They’re getting married in a week! I wouldn’t do that to them,” Will protested.
With Ethan being a public relations manager and Chloe about to become a lawyer, their wedding had been fully planned the week after their engagement. If the church they wanted hadn’t been booked for nearly a year in advance, they could have been married months ago.
“Besides, I just, I don’t, I- wanted to do it ourselves. How hard can it be?” Will asked.
“You have balls Stronghold, I’ll give you that,” I said, shaking my head.
“Dude, you have to do this fast. You’re a leader,” I explained patiently.
Ethan could afford to wait nearly a year because he was both not a team leader and he was marrying a citizen. But since Will was a leader, he had to get married fast. The Bureau hated having the stress of long-term wedding plans interfering with hero-work. This went double for Will, because he was not only marrying a fellow superhero, he was marrying a teammate. I too would have to get married quickly, because Monica was a leader, but I knew Monica didn’t want the kind of huge shindig Layla did.
“Well yeah, but-.”
“Do you even know who you want in the wedding party?” I asked.
“Well, you’re going to be my best man…”
“I am? When did this happen?” I asked, grinning nevertheless.
“Who else would I ask?” Will asked.
“So, I’m your last resort,” I said in mock-hurt.
“Hey! Do you want to be my best man or not?”
“Yeah sure. Are you going to be mine?”
“Better slate some free time, I’m getting married in two weeks,” I said smugly.
Two days ago.
Monica and I had just gotten home from Anthony’s Italian when my phone rang. It wasn’t an emergency ring, and I was extremely tempted to ignore it, but I knew no one who had that number would call tonight for a stupid reason. I checked the caller ID reflexively, and started to see it was my grandfather. Blinking in confusion, I opened it.
“Tobias?” I answered.
“Warren, put this on speaker phone, would you?”
Monica looked at me curiously as I hit the button, raising her eyebrow.
“Monica, Warren, I wanted to extend our congratulations on your engagement,” Tobias opened. Monica mouthed “How the hell did he know…?” to me, and I shrugged. Tobias Battle was a very resourceful person, but I was going to have to talk with him after this to keep his nose out of my business…
“Uh, thanks,” I said finally, and Monica’s lips quirked in a repressed smile.
“I had a proposition for you. A wedding gift from the Battle family, actually. Have you decided on where and when you’re getting married?”
“Since we just got engaged about an hour ago, no, not exactly Tobias,” Monica said in tones of tolerated exasperation. Tobias chuckled indulgently.
“I rather thought that was the case. I assume you need it to be sooner rather than later?”
“Yeah, we kind of have to-,” I started.
“Did you know the Battle estate has its own chapel? It dates back several centuries. All of my children and grandchildren were married there, and my staff is very knowledgeable about what to do,” he explained.
“Offering the Battle estate for your wedding. My staff will take care of everything. All you have to do is make a few decisions, and then show up. You could be married in a week, if that’s what you want,” Tobias said grandly.
Monica’s eyes lit up. She’s heard my description of the Battle estate, and had always wanted to visit. She and Tobias got along great, and she had a standing invitation to go, but work had kept us both too busy to indulge.
She nodded vigorously at my inquiring glance, smiling brilliantly before holding up two fingers. Ethan and Chloe were getting married this week, so we’d only have to wait a little bit…
I felt a faint thread of unease, almost reflexive, at getting married in the same place my parents had. But I took a deep breath and shoved it away. History would not repeat itself. History could go take a long walk off a short pier. Besides, this way we could avoid the whole mess that Will was going to have to deal with. And that was worth nearly anything. I nodded, smiling faintly.
“Tobias, we’d love to!” Monica said.
“Must be nice to have a rich grandfather,” Will joked.
“A rich, guilty grandfather who feels the need to make up for family time,” I said, and Will snickered.
A week later, Ethan and Chloe’s wedding reception
“You know, I’m actually glad Ethan didn’t ask for us to be groomsmen,” Will said, swilling down another cup of punch.
“You wouldn’t have had the option. His relatives would have smothered you,” I said.
Ethan’s wedding was the exact opposite of Zack and Magenta’s. It had been long in the planning, at an old family church, and heavily involved every single relative from both families. Other than having Zack as his best man, Ethan had been forced to name nearly a dozen of his cousins to be his groomsmen, and asking either Will or I would have forced out someone he didn’t dare offend.
So we stayed back, watched the living sea of relatives keep everything in perfect lock-step, and just helped ourselves to the approximately ten dozen homemade dishes that stocked the reception buffet.
I knew my own wedding wouldn't be so crowded; heck, I don't think even Ethan knew some of the people here. Possibly some of the people didn't even know Ethan! My wedding was just going to be the Battle clan, the Peace family, and my friends. Poor Monica wouldn't have anyone at the wedding save her team. She wouldn't even have anyone to give her away. She said it didn't matter, that she was used to being alone. That should have sounded particularly depressing, but the way she'd said it, while looking right at me, made me focus on the fact that very soon that wouldn't be the case. Which was probably the point.
Making all the wedding plans, including helping Will with his, gave me several hours of hard thought with the one person who was conspicuously missing from my mental list of guests. I knew that Mom was keeping Dad appraised, in a vague way, with what was going on in my life. And I knew that I really didn't have to stick to my childhood vow of never, ever writing or visiting him again. But... While I wasn't so angry with him anymore, I didn't know if I wanted to deal with the stress of talking to him, not so close to the one day that should be the happiest in a person's life. At least not until and unless Monica asked me. Maybe then, if ever.
“Hey, we did our duty to Ethan anyway,” Will pointed out, wrenching my attention back to the present.
I laughed at that, my mood mellowing.
“You have to save me!” Ethan said frantically.
“Dude, we’re not even part of the wedding party-.”
“But you’re my closest friends! If I’m with you guys, I can avoid my cousins,” Ethan pleaded.
“Why? I thought they were taking you to your bachelor party,” I said.
Ethan looked miserable.
“That’s the point. I can’t go. I promised Chloe that I wouldn’t.”
“Have a bachelor party?” Will asked.
“Go to a strip club! Harold and Robert and Marcel are saying she’d never know and I just know they’ll somehow ‘accidentally’ take me into one…”
“Ethan, you must be one of the only men I’ve met who’d be scared about watching women dance around in g-strings,” I said, snorting. He glared at me darkly.
“If Monica or Layla made you promise not to go, would you?” he demanded. Will and I winced simultaneously. The thought of either of our fiancés’ wrath was extremely unpleasant. “Besides, my cousins have never seen Chloe fight. They don’t know what they’d be getting themselves into. I’m more worried about protecting them than protecting me!”
“So, if you don’t want to do the usual bachelor party stuff, what do you want to do?” Will asked.
Which was how Will and I ended up losing to Ethan in multiple rounds of Champion Debate over the next four hours.
“Hey, that was the best thing we could have done for him. I mean, other than giving him a three-day vacation from work,” Will added. I looked impressed. Three days was the longest honeymoon an active hero could get.
“He deserves it,” I said. Between keeping us all organized and keeping everyone informed, he practically did more work than Will. “So, do you know where you’re going to go for you honeymoon?”
“Don’t remind me about it,” Will groaned. “Layla and I only have one day and we’re trying to pick between two dozen places.”
“That’s after we narrowed it down.”
There was a long moment of sympathetic silence as we watched Ethan and Chloe dance to some kind electronic waltz. I’d never seen Ethan look happier.
“So, what’re we going to do for our bachelor parties?” Will asked, changing the subject.
I thought for a second of how Monica might react to me going to a traditional bachelor party of half-naked women and too much alcohol.
“Seriously, I think a few rounds of Champion Debate would be safer than a strip club.”
Will pondered rapidly, probably considering Layla’s aggressive equality issues.
“Yeah, you’re probably right.”
The Planning, Phase II
Monica and I had spent a single day in Berlin to make all the decisions for our wedding. Or rather, I’d just stepped back and was going to let Monica decide everything. A wedding was more a woman’s thing, or at least I didn’t have a single scrap of meaningful experience with elaborate floral arrangements, invitations, cakes, or dress clothes. She’d forced me to give an opinion on a few things though, on the insistence that, “You’re getting married too!”
After that, we were back home for a few days, and I was trying to help Will keep his sanity during his own planning.
“You guys picked red and black for the wedding colors?” Will asked incredulously. He’d wanted to hear my own plans, in desperate hope it would inspire him to make the choices Layla had asked him to. “Isn’t that a little… goth?”
I shrugged at the question.
“We both like red and black. So sue us. It’s not like I’m going to be wearing leather at the ceremony or anything,” I pointed out. What I wear on my honeymoon is my own decision, I thought smugly. The snarky part of my brain took one look at what was going on in the main part of my brain, and ran off into a safe corner, yelping the whole way.
Will rolled his eyes and dropped the subject, opening the folders before him with trepidation.
“Layla wants a green wedding,” he explained, staring at the brochures and lists of websites he was supposed to examine.
“Uh… ok. She’s the bride, so if she wants everyone to wear green…” I started.
“No, I mean eco-green!” Will corrected. “Recycled paper decorations and eco-friendly cloth and tents and carpets and plates, organic food…”
“Oh,” I said neutrally, forcefully repressing laughter.
“Oh?! That’s all you can come up with?!” Will demanded, eyes wild.
“You’re the one marrying her. You knew about this when you gave her the ring.”
“Good grief…” Will said, dropping his head into his hands.
“Hey, at least you don’t have to worry about flowers,” I pointed out helpfully.
“Warren, how am I supposed to find an organic tux?!”
I tugged at my tie for the third time before Mom finally slapped my hands away and adjusted it herself.
“Warren, relax. You look incredibly handsome, and no fiddling with a tie is going to change that,” she said with a proud smile.
I actually grinned at that, dispelling some of the nerves that had been with me since I’d woken up. It was my wedding day. I was getting married to the woman I loved. Today. Amazing.
“It’s going to be fine,” she assured me, and then stepped back at a signal from Anthony that everything was ready. Mom tossed me a last smile of encouragement as she went to sit down, leaving me standing at the altar, Will at my side.
The Battle chapel almost reminded me of something out of Dracula movie, but somehow the addition of flowers had made it look warm and inviting, rather than intimidating, but still very impressive.
Almost like you, my brain snarked cheerfully.
Organ music started up as my aunt Lauren played, and I swallowed hard, willing myself to not burn my tuxedo.
“You’re gonna be fine, really,” Will whispered, and I cracked another smile. All it had taken was a few days for the roles to be reversed, from me being the one to calm Will’s wedding jitters, to the other way around.
Instead of playing Champion Debate for my bachelor’s party, Will had managed to get tickets to an NBA game. So after grabbing Zack and Ethan, we’d flown back to the States and spent the night cheering on the Suns, eating nachos, hot dogs, and drinking gallons of pop. I owed Will a lot for keeping me from being too nervous to sleep the night before my wedding.
I tried to take a steadying breath as the doors swung open at the back, only to nearly choke when I saw who came out. We’d asked my cousin Thomas to be the ring bearer, and he was pleased as punch to be included in the wedding. And while he was carrying the little pillow that was supposed to have the rings on them, the rings themselves weren’t on it. As a matter of fact, reclining upon the cushion was my cat Trixie.
Trixie looked up at me with wide, innocent eyes, her tail wrapped around her paws, glittering with the two rings on the end of it. Thomas just traipsed up the aisle, acting like this was all part of the plan. I began to wonder how Trixie had convinced him to go along with this… or how she’d even gotten to Berlin in the first place!
Thomas stopped at the bottom of the three steps and held out Trixie to Will. Will was supposed to take the rings into his pocket for the ceremony itself, but now just looked confused. I could almost see the thoughts going through his head. Should he just take the rings from Trixie? Or should he just take the whole cat? If so, should he put her in his pocket? Or just try to hold her? Trixie solved the dilemma by jumping onto Will’s shoulder and purring. Thomas just grinned at both of us and went to go sit with his mom.
I glared at Trixie. No tuna for you for a month, I growled mentally. She tipped her head to the side and mewed, looking so innocently adorable my teeth ached.
Will and I jerked our attention back to the door as Monica’s maid of honor made her way down the aisle. She’d asked her teammate Brittany to stand up for her, and the tall, gravity manipulator ex-villain was so nervous about the whole thing that I was half expecting to have to peel myself off the ceiling any second. She was clutching her bouquet so hard I was sure the stems were nearly powder. Trembling, she managed to step up across from Will, biting her lip hard to keep control. I smiled at her briefly, and she jerked her head toward the door as the music changed.
I couldn’t remember things too clearly after that. I remembered Monica walking down the aisle, the fact that her wedding dress was red and looked royal. I remembered she was wearing something that looked like the Crown Jewels (the Battle family jewelry my mom told me she had worn on her wedding day). I definitely remembered lighting a candle together, because I nearly burned my own sleeves, I was so nervous. There were probably vows in there somewhere, and I recalled Trixie, being held by Will, dropping the rings into our palms so we could exchange them. And I remembered kissing Monica, and knowing she was now my wife. Till death do us part.
The Planning, Phase III, about two months later
Will only had another week until his wedding, the date now precisely set six months from the academy battle, and was practically living at my house. If Monica hadn’t had to work so much, I might have been more annoyed than I already was.
“If I dared, seriously, I would get you drunk,” I said finally, as Will stared at the seating arrangements with despair. It wasn’t so much that I knew more about seating people than he did, as it was to keep him from ripping his hair out by the handfuls before the wedding. Layla would never forgive either of us if Will had get married with a shaved head.
Will’s problem was that even though he wasn’t doing a superhero wedding, he was still a Son of Pillars of the Community. His fiancé was a City Official. Their wedding had become a Social Event. The mayor was coming, and the city council, and all of Will and Layla’s relatives, all of their friends from Sky High, plus a lot of the Stronghold’s friends and business associates, plus everyone’s spouses, children, and assorted pets.
“That wouldn’t help me relax! Warren, d’ya think Layla would be ok if we just eloped?” Will asked desperately.
I looked at Will with no compassion whatsoever, and he groaned again.
“Stronghold, either you calm down, or I’m going to find some way to tranq you for a week.”
“Your wedding went off fine! Your wedding was small! My wedding is… is…”
“You’re going to marry Layla.”
Will stopped, his mouth open on another objection, and then shut it. Then he slowly smiled.
“I think I finally get it,” he said.
“Everything else,” I said, waving at the stacks of paper, RSVPs, seating arrangements, and music choices, “is just for your family. Really, this is you two being happy.”
“Are you and Monica…?”
“Yeah. I mean, after that bad call last month, it just sort of hits you. She’s there, and she’s always going to be there, and she knows that I’m going to be there, no matter if it’s a supervillain attack on a nightclub or if I can’t remember where I put my keys.”
Will got a contemplative look on his face, and calmly turned back to the seating arrangement, writing off the last dozen names.
“Thanks Warren,” he said, tossing the last bit of paper into the “finished” pile. I grinned; this was the first time I’d seem him actually calm in two months.
“So, what do you want to do for your bachelor’s party?” I asked, waiting for Will to get flustered again.
“You know? I think I’d just like to hang out with my friends,” Will said simply, and I smiled, proud of him.
“So, not going to have any more panic attacks?” I asked.
“Hey man, after supervillains and meteors, the organic tux, the five hundred invitations, and everything else, I think I’m finally getting over the freak-out threshold. Finally.”
I grinned broadly.
“So, are you going to turn off your emergency phone during the ceremony?”
Will got an expression of absolute panic on his face for a moment, and then glared at me sharply, shedding the brief fear for the heroic determination I knew so well.
“We’re superheroes,” he said, straightening his shoulders. “We can handle it. You know, for better or for worse.”
Author’s Note: Will’s wedding will be picked up in the beginning of We Are Legend.