Disclaimer: I do not, nor will I ever own Pumpkin Scissors or anything affiliated with said show.

"Speaking"

'Thoughts'


Randel had thought asking Alice's father for her hand was going to be akin to stepping in front of a firing squad, but it hadn't been nearly as bad as he'd expected. The man had taken one look at him, one really long look that had sweat dripping down the back of his neck, and then announced him worthy of his daughter.

He was guessing that Alice had softened him up a bit beforehand because although he'd allowed the engagement, the look in the man's eyes promised no one would find his body if he even so much as thought about hurting her. Not that he would, but the message was received loud and clear.

So in the end dealing with her father had been a breeze, which thankfully meant he was in the clear and they could be married. Then came her sisters.

The idea of dealing with her father had terrified him, but Solice and Elis were who he should've been afraid of. Those two took great pleasure in making his life hell. Oh, they approved of the union wholeheartedly, after they realized he wasn't going anywhere of course, and that was precisely the problem. Since Alice wanted no part in planning the wedding they felt it was their duty to plan it for her, and Randal was forced to help every step of the way. From invitations, to cakes, to venues and entertainment, he was drug around on every single outing. Well, except for the time they went shopping for Alice's gown. That time they practically threw him out of the house.

Oreldo and Machs thought his situation was hilarious and spent countless hours joking about everything he'd been forced to put up with, but as Alice seemed to enjoy their banter it didn't bother him all that much.

While Randel would've been content with a small gathering of close friends and family, Elis and Solice were determined to make it the wedding of the century. They claimed it was mandatory for someone of Alice's standing to have an extravagant wedding so they could invite all the prominent nobles and make a big show of the new couple, but he suspected it was more their desire to dress her up than anything else. Or maybe they were going overboard to torture him even more, who knows.

After three months of preparation, which between that and the sudden rise in missions left him no time to search for that bastard Lionel, the wedding was finally upon them.

Dressed up in a fancy suit they'd had to special order because of his extremely large frame, Randel stood at the altar awaiting his bride-to-be. To keep himself from fidgeting, something that would no doubt get him chastised by his evil soon-to-be step-sisters-in-law, he looked around the courtyard where the wedding was taking place.

They'd decided to have the wedding at Alice's mansion as nothing else was large enough for the five hundred guests, except the military base which her family vehemently refused to set foot in. The large open courtyard was filled with chairs, each one occupied by someone important, with a long aisle down the center that led to the ornate wooden altar where he currently stood with Oreldo, Machs, Solice, Elis and the grey haired preacher who'd be joining them together.

With all the craziness during the preparation he'd anticipated something more over-the-top, but the decorations were very tastefully done in his opinion. White orchids and pale pink carnations covered everything from the tables to the altar, with bouquets at the end of each row of chairs as well. It was taking place at dusk so the amazing waterfall that sat in the center of the courtyard could be lit up, and because Solice seemed to have a thing for candles as nearly every flat surface had tiny flickering lights dotting it.

He hadn't paid much attention to the food, much to Elis' delight as she routinely told him he had no sense of taste what-so-ever, but the banquet he'd spied on the other side of the grassy hedge that partitioned off the courtyard looked delicious.

They'd agreed on a five tiered round, white cake that was dusted with some kind of glitter and had the same combination of flowers as the rest of the place spiraling up the sides. It was the only cake he felt Alice would actually like out of the three choices her sisters had given him.

Speaking of, he turned and caught the eye of Solice who gave him a quick onceover to make sure he was still perfect before smiling. The sisters were both dressed in matching knee-length pale pink sleeveless dresses that had rhinestones around the neckline and a white sash that tied on the side. If he hadn't been forced to tag along on their countless dress hunting excursions, he would've said they looked good. Instead he got flashbacks of that horrible week every time he saw those damn things.

Before his eyes had a chance to wander again, the orchestra that had been playing softly in the background changed to a tune he was quite certain they weren't supposed to play, if the exasperated look on Solice's face was anything to go by. It was a sweet melody, gentle and soothing, reminding him of a lullaby he'd overheard a woman singing to her child once. As everyone turned to stare down the aisle he couldn't help but smile knowing that Alice most definitely chose that song herself.

Turning to join the crowd he caught his first glimpse of her and his jaw dropped open in shock. She always looked beautiful to him, but today she looked breathtaking. Her floor length white gown had a full skirt that flowed around her feet as she walked, the back of which was slightly longer to give the appearance of a train. It was strapless, and in matching with her sisters had rhinestones across the top and a pale pink sash tied around her waist. She was absolutely stunning.

A dark blush covered Alice's cheeks when she saw the look on Randel's face. She'd been nervous the entire way outside, but that changed to utter joy when she spied her soon-to-be husband waiting for her. Arm in arm with her father, who was giving rather smug looks to some of the eldest sons from a couple of the other Thirteen Appointed Families, she made her way down the aisle with a soft smile on her face.

When they reached the altar her father placed her hand in Randel's, and after kissing her forehead, went to take his seat. Returning her sisters smiles, she tilted her head back to look up at the man she loved more than anything.

A few moments later the preacher began his speech, but the two were completely lost in each other's eyes and didn't hear a single word that was spoken. If Oreldo hadn't nudged him and glanced pointedly at the preacher, Randel wouldn't have known it was time for him to speak. "Um, I do?" he said almost questioningly, hoping he was at the right part. When the man continued on he breathed a sigh of relief. He'd never live it down if he screwed up the wedding.

There was a bit more talking and then Alice gifted him with a dazzling smile as she spoke those two words he couldn't wait to hear. "I do," she whispered, only to repeat it louder when her sister narrowed her eyes. "I do." This time he was fairly sure everyone present heard.

"I now pronounce you man and wife. You may kiss the bride."

Since he'd been waiting to do so since she'd arrived Randel wasted no time in reaching down for her, but Alice had already beaten him to it. The second the words left the preacher's mouth she'd latched on to the jacket he wore and yanked him down so she could reach his lips, much to the shock of the nobles present.

Despite her less than proper behavior, the crowd applauded the new couple when they faced their guests and smiled. Wrapping her arm around Randel's much larger one, Alice waved at her family and friends who were sitting in the front two rows.

The reception afterwards was bound to be the talk of the city for weeks to come. Along with the wedding guests, another seven or so hundred people showed up to pay their respects to the happy couple, which kept the party going well into the night. Copious amounts of alcohol mixed with non-stop music and dancing led to many a situation that was vowed never to be spoken of.

At one point Oreldo convinced Machs to try doing a striptease, only to join in when all the young women flocked to see him. Alice's father got into a drunken argument with Captain Hunks about the proper way to dress a cat, much to Elis' embarrassment, and then there were the dozens of people passed out around the area from partying too hard.

Randel refused to leave Alice's side as they were forced to endure the endless congratulations, too afraid of being eaten alive by the group of women who were eyeing him like some kind of meat. Alice had only laughed when he'd told her his thoughts saying they were simply jealous he belonged to her now. That comment of course had him kissing her senseless, much to the annoyance of the aforementioned group.

After what felt like forever, but in reality was only about five hours, a horse drawn carriage was pulled out in front of her family's mansion to whisk Alice and Randel off to their honeymoon. They were once again bombarded by well wishers, subjected to hundreds of handshakes, hugs and tears –most of which came from a very drunk Machs— as they made their way towards the white carriage that was being pulled by six equally white, beautiful mares. With a final farewell, Randel opened the carriage door and helped his wife up the steps, careful not to let her gown catch as she climbed inside. Quickly following after, he closed the door and released a sound of relief. "Finally, I thought we'd never get out of there," he grumbled half jokingly. "I was starting to think your sisters weren't going to let you out of their sight."

Shaking her head, Alice laughed as she straightened out her gown and kicked off her shoes. "I think that was more to make sure you didn't cart me off before they managed to show off all their hard work. Not that I would've minded in the least," she added under her breath. "I hate formal gatherings like that, especially ones for me. I feel so out of place."

Shifting in his seat, he leaned against the side of the carriage so he could pull her into his arms. "You were perfect tonight, absolutely wonderful," Randel breathed into her ear, delighting in the shiver he felt race through her. "And I'm not just saying that because I love you either." Kissing the top of her head contentedly, he continued. "Though I have to agree that your sisters went a tad overboard. I've never had so many people congratulating me before, it was a bit overwhelming."

Twisting her upper body around she pecked him on the cheek. "To make up for their . . . enthusiasm," she said with a grin.

"I'm going to need a lot more than that to make up for it," he replied, crushing their lips together hungrily.

Suddenly the carriage jerked to a stop startling the couple enough to release each other. "Driver, what's going on?" Alice demanded in a tone she usually reserved for nobles and officials. "Why have we stopped?" The voice that replied had her trembling in fear and unconsciously cowering behind Randel's arm.

"Why? Because if I'm forced to listen to you devour each other for another second I'll hurl," Lionel said as his impeccably dressed form leaned into their compartment, one hand holding a gun he aimed in their direction. "Either that or I'll end up killing you both. And losing you would be such a shame," he finished, giving Alice an appraising look.

Pulling her closer to him, Randel narrowed his eyes. "You won't get away from me this time," he growled. "You're going to pay for what you did to her." He would've lunged for him, but the tiny fingers digging into his jacket kept him in place. Patting her leg reassuringly, he let his arm drape across as much of her body as possible.

"Ah, ah, ah," Lionel tsked, his blonde hair moving with every shake of his head. "Unless you want me to put a bullet between your eyes you'll remove yourself from my property at once."

"I will never belong to you!" Alice snapped, shoving Randel's arm out of her way so she could glare at Lionel defiantly. "Why can't you get that through your thick skull and leave me the hell alone? Haven't you hurt me enough?"

That was precisely the opportunity he'd been waiting for and without hesitation Lionel grabbed her hand and yanked her across the carriage so she was pressed against his side. Ignoring her struggles as she tried to get out of his grasp, he raised his other hand and leveled the gun at Randel's head. "I thank you for bringing me my wife, but your services are no longer necessary. Can't have two grooms showing up at your honeymoon suite now can we. Might make people a little suspicious."

Half a second before the gun went off Alice threw herself forward between it and Randel. Since Lionel hadn't been expecting the sudden jolt she slipped free easily and a scream tore past her lips as the bullet ripped into her chest.

Lionel barely had time to register the blood that had begun to spread across the bodice of her gown before a large fist collided with his face, effectively rendering him unconscious.

"ALICE!" Randel cried, dropping to his knees and pulling her into his arms. "Stay with me!" Yanking off his jacket he pressed it tightly against the wound as her eyes fluttered open. "Alice, speak to me. Please."

Wincing as she slowly raised her hand to wipe at the tears that had begun to pour down his face, Alice gave him a tiny smile. "I love you," she whispered, coughing slightly on the last word. "Don't ever . . . forget . . . that."

When her eyes drifted closed and her hand slipped from his face he let loose a heart wrenching cry. "Noooooooo!"

ooooo

The first thought that crossed Alice's mind when she woke up was that she was really getting tired of waking up in unknown locations. The second thought was fear over what had happened to Randel, but that one was laid to rest as soon as she spotted him sprawled across several chairs in the corner of the room. And the final thought she had was that she was well and truly sore. Which combined with the tubes sticking out of her arm and the beeping machines around her led her to assume she was in a hospital, though the nurse standing by her bed should've been enough of a clue.

"I see you're awake," the nurse said politely. "That's good; we were worried you weren't going to make it for a while there." Writing down a few things on a clipboard she gave Alice's hand a gentle pat. "I'll go let the doctor know how you're doing."

Watching her walk away, Alice moved her eyes back to her slumbering husband and found herself staring into his wide eyes. "Hey," she croaked out, throat dry from lack of use.

Jumping out of his chair Randel dropped to the ground next to her bed and pressed his cheek against her hand. "I thought I'd lost you!" he cried, tears soaking the blanket under his face.

It took several tries but eventually she was able to move her free hand to rest atop his head. Running her fingers through his hair she smiled. "Sorry I worried you."

They sat together in silence until the doctor walked in. Short, with brown hair and glasses, the woman looked as though she'd been up for awhile and her white lab coat had definitely seen better days. "How do you feel dear?" she asked from the foot of the bed. "Any pain?"

"Not much," Alice replied, and other than a tightness in her chest and her body feeling like it had been hit by a truck, she meant it.

"That's good to hear," the doctor said with a nod as her eyes scanned the clipboard in her hands. "Your surgery went well, I was able to remove the bullet fragments with no problems, but you lost a lot of blood and will likely feel a bit weak for a few days. "Making a couple of notes she continued. "You'll be stuck here for about another week and then you'll be able to go home, but I'm going to keep you on bed rest for awhile to make sure you don't pull any stitches."

Nodding Alice returned to looking at Randel's face, and the doctor, taking the hint, slipped quietly from the room. "What about Lionel? What happened to him?"

Eyes hardening at the mention of the man he despised, he took a calming breath before speaking. "After they fixed up his nose," he stopped long enough to flash her a smirk. "They locked him up down at the base. I heard they're going to give him a trial, but everyone knows it's just for show. He'll never get out of prison alive."

Glad that she would never have to deal with him again, she tugged gently on a few strands of Randel's hair and shifted over a little. "Come here," she commanded, pulling him towards her.

Not able to deny her anything, he slid onto the bed next to her and draped his arm over his waist. His large body, even on its side, barely fit in the space available but he didn't care. "I'm sor—"

Cutting him off with a finger over his lips, Alice shook her head. "Don't you dare apologize, this wasn't your fault." When he looked ready to speak she narrowed her eyes. "It wasn't. I did what I did to save you just as you would've done for me. Now, no more talking, I need my sleep."

Opening his mouth to protest, he let it slide shut when she closed her eyes. There would be time to discuss things later; right now she needed to get better. Nestling into her side as best he could without hurting her, he kissed her cheek and closed his eyes as well. "Sleep well darling," he breathed into her hair as she drifted off to sleep. "I love you."

ooooo

It took nearly four months for Alice to be cleared completely and allowed back out on missions, not by the doctor mind you, but her overprotective family. The most boring time of her life if you asked her. True she loved spending time with her husband, but the Pumpkin Scissors was her life, a way to help those in need, and not being able to do so often left her . . . temperamental.

On her first day back she was far too excited to mind doing the backlog of paperwork that hadn't been done in her absence. Of course when that led to even more paperwork, which essentially meant deskwork, she wasn't happy. She was even more annoyed to find out Randel had been the one to request her lack of missions. Everyone at the base heard that argument.

Eventually Alice got her way and once again joined her team, only to be pulled back from the field a few weeks later when she found out she was pregnant.

Everything changed after that. Captain Hunks retired, leaving Alice his position so she'd be closer to home once her child was born. This of course left Alice's position open, which Oreldo took on less than enthusiastically. Though in the end Machs ended up doing most of the work as usual. Being married to his boss, so to speak, Randel thought his life would be easier, but he quickly found out that while she loved him, duty was her top priority when at work and he often found himself doing extra jobs between missions.

Several months after her promotion the couple welcomed a beautiful baby girl into the family. And as they sat together on the front porch of their little cottage, Randel couldn't help but think he was the luckiest man in the world. Smiling down at his baby girl who was cuddled against Alice's chest, he wrapped his arm around them tighter. His girls, his life, his whole world. And he wouldn't have it any other way.