DISCLAIMER: I don't own Wicked or the concept of the show Don't Tell the Bride. Just FYI.

AN. Make that 3 offers to marry Corin, haha. And I'm glad you all liked the final flashback! And the bit with the garter. Ch 23 kinda wrote itself, which is always interesting, you never know where the characters will take you!

Chapter 24: The Article

"Yo, Fae! Mail's here!" Fiyero called out through the bathroom door.

There was a long pause, followed by a flush and running water, before Elphaba emerged, looking irritated.

"Yero, you and Galinda have to learn that mail is not interesting enough to interrupt someone when they're in the bathroom."

"What is interesting enough to interrupt someone when they're in the bathroom?" Fiyero asked in interest.

"A fire. That's pretty much it," his wife retorted. "Got it?"

He grinned. "Got it."

"And what's with the 'yo'?" Elphaba complained.

Fiyero just chuckled, not answering her.

Two weeks into married life, and the Vinkus was still adjusting to the news that the heir to the throne was married. Ibrahim and Kasmira had released a statement when they returned to the Vinkus after the wedding, whilst Elphaba and Fiyero had been secluded in Chorimall Irr on their honeymoon.

Their Royal Majesties King Ibrahim and Queen Kasmira Tiggular are thrillified to announce that on Saturday, August 28, their son and heir to the Vinkun throne, His Royal Highness Prince Fiyero, married his fiancée, Elphaba Thropp in a private ceremony in the Emerald City.

The ceremony was held at the Bacchus Gilikin Estate and attended only by close family and friends.

The King and Queen could not be happier to welcome Elphaba as their daughter-in-law; and are pleased to welcome Munchkinland Governor Frexspar Thropp and Elphaba's sister, Miss Nessarose Thropp into their family.

The royal family asks that you give the newlyweds their privacy as they spend their honeymoon at Chorimall Irr. Elphaba shall henceforth be addressed as Her Royal Highness, Princess Elphaba Melena Tiggular.

Full details of the wedding can be found in the October edition of Modern Ozian Weddings, on sale in three weeks.

The news had caused quite the stir amongst the Vinkus, but the reaction was mostly positive, although shocked. There was also a great interest in the final part of the statement with the reference to Modern Ozian Weddings, from what they could tell.

And judging by the large envelope that had turned up in today's mail, Fiyero was guessing the advanced issue they had been promised had just arrived, a week before the magazine hit stores.

Fiyero was excited to see the finished article. Kellye and Ioulia had come out to the Vinkus to meet Elphaba and Fiyero at the site where he had proposed to take a few pictures; and Ioulia had promised it was almost finished.

"One last thing," Kellye had spoken up hesitantly. "Elphaba, would you mind if the article made mention of your skin? I mean, the context... it's not offensive... or it's not trying to be, but..."

Elphaba cut her off, laughing slightly. "I really doubt any mention of my skin you're going to make will be anything too horrendible. And it definishly can't be anything I haven't heard before. I'd probably judge your journalistic integrity if you didn't," she said lightly.

Kellye didn't seem to know what to say. "Well... ok then," she finally replied.

Fiyero waved the manila envelope in Elphaba's face.

"Do you want to see if this is what I think it is?"

She smiled slightly. "You are so lucky I know what you're talking about."

He grinned. "I know."

They sat together on their bed and Fiyero eagerly opened the envelope. Sure enough, a shiny new issue of Modern Ozian Weddings slid out onto the bed. The cover shot was the formal full-length portrait of Elphaba and Fiyero, both looking at the camera with smiles, Elphaba holding her bouquet before her.

It was one of the posed shots Bryhan had taken; but she was somehow still surprised to see it, let alone on the cover of a magazine.

"Before we read this, let's pray."

Elphaba looked to Fiyero in confusion and surprise. "Let's pray?! Since when are you religious? And what exactly are we praying for?"

Fiyero looked at her solemnly. "That this is the last bridal magazine I will ever have to read."

Elphaba laughed.

"I'm with you on that."

Opening the cover, the first thing they found was Carleeh's editor column. Elphaba began to read it aloud.

"When we created our most recent competition, the chance to have your wedding paid for- and planned completely by the groom; we wondered how many couples (and men) would be brave enough to sign up. We were thrillified and surprised when amidst all the entries, we received a letter from none other than the formerly scandalacious Vinkun Prince, Fiyero Tiggular and his fiancée, Elphaba Thropp.

Recently engaged themselves, apparently the competition had ignited as much debate amongst the couple and their circle of friends as it had amongst our staff here at MOW. Not wanting to deprive an ordinary couple of their special day, Elphaba and Fiyero made a proposal we were only too excited to accept.

Elphaba and Fiyero worked with two of our staff writers, Kellye Pearce and Ioulia Schafer. They followed all the guidelines and rules set forth by the competition (although one half of the couple seemed to have trouble with the 'absolutely no contact until the wedding day' rule). Turn to page 216 to read all about Elphaba and Fiyero's special day.

On page 63, you can find the wedding of our competition winners, Eowyn and Rip Fountain. Our warmest congratulotions from all of us here at MOW to both couples.

Also this month, 10 tips for choosing the right flowers for your wedding; how to choose the best wedding dress style for your body type; and a special insight into the ever increasingly popular trend of inventive and custom wedding invitations.

Happy reading!

Carleeh."

"Which of us had trouble with the no contact rule?" Fiyero asked innocently.

Elphaba rolled her eyes at him. "Yeah, I wonder," she said sarcastically.

"Excuse me for missing you," he grumbled.

She thrust the magazine at his chest. "Page 216, Tiggular. Go."

Fiyero obediently turned to the article. "Aw, look. 'Love of a lifetime'... good headline."

"Keep reading," Elphaba prodded.

"No fair! The article is way longer than an editor's column," Fiyero protested.

Elphaba just looked at him, until he sighed and cleared his throat dramatically.

"Love of a lifetime: One of the most unconventional and intimate royal weddings in the history of Oz; with one of the most romantic and purest love stories at its heart. Modern Ozian Weddings was there for the wedding of Prince Fiyero Tiggular and the love of his life, Elphaba Thropp."

He stopped reading and looked up at Elphaba in confusion. "Unconventional? That sounds like a bad thing."

Elphaba snorted. "Yero, we got married after about two months of being engaged; in a wedding you planned in three weeks, on your own; and that no one knew about. As far as royal weddings go, it's pretty unconventional."

Fiyero frowned. "Oh, right. Touché," he said sheepishly, and continued to read.

"At first glance, they may seem like an unlikely couple. He was the party boy prince, renowned for being kicked out of a long list of schools and leaving an even longer string of broken hearts all over Oz- stop laughing, Elphaba. She was the studious Governor's daughter from Munchkinland, ostracised and alienated for the unusual green hue of her skin. Seriously, Fae, stop laughing!"

"Sorry," Elphaba replied, trying to keep a straight face. "Continue."

"But you only have to be in the room with Elphaba and Fiyero for a few moments to see the genuine and deep love and connection they share. Fiyero's eyes never stray from Elphaba for long; the girl he affectionately refers to as "his green girl", that is when he's not calling her "Fae", a nickname no one is entirely sure where it originated from.

Elphaba is less affectionate, which her best friend and maid of honour Galinda Upland [of the Upper Uplands] says is a deep-rooted habit of self-protection. But even still, there is a light in her eyes that she can't quite hide."

Fiyero nudged her, grinning broadly. "Hey, Fae. You have a light in your eyes."

"Hmm, I wouldn't get too excited. It's probably just the sun," Elphaba said, her eyes scanning the article.

"Here, you read. I'm done."

"You read two paragraphs!" Elphaba protested.

"My throat hurts," Fiyero whined. "And I know how it ends."

Elphaba rolled her eyes and continued to read the article silently.

"It's well-written," she said. "It has the interview we did at the beginning... every bit of the three weeks... Corin suggested a nude art class for my hen's night?!"

Fiyero nodded. "Aren't you lucky you have me?"

"I have so much love for Micah and Boq right now..." Elphaba said, reading over all the ideas Fiyero and Corin had made that had been shot down. "An elephant, really?"

"Hey, that would have been awesome!" Fiyero retorted in defence. "But Boq said they poop a lot."

"Yeah, that's the only thing wrong with that idea," she replied sarcastically.

She kept reading, until she got to the wedding day. After a few minutes, Fiyero looked over and saw a soft smile on Elphaba's face.

"What is it?" he asked, leaning over.

She pointed silently to a paragraph, and Fiyero took it from her to read it better.

"Elphaba and Fiyero both readily admit that being with each other has changed them. They both laugh that they had been told five years ago that they would be married, and Elphaba would be a princess; they both would called you insane. But both for different reasons.

For Elphaba, the reason seems rather simple. "I'm green," she points out, something which is hardly unnoticeable but the more you get to know her, the more you do find yourself forgetting that simple fact. "Until I went to Shiz and met Galinda, I never had a friend. I'm used to people not wanting to come within five feet of me in case having green skin in contagious. The idea of being in a relationship and getting married was ludicrous."

She then admits, "I was... I guess in some ways I still am... used to being alone. It's only in the past few years I've learned to trust people and let them in. I learned early on it was easier not to get close to people... it keeps you from getting hurt."

When this question is asked of Fiyero, his answer is more sheepish.

"I was kind of an idiot before I met Fae... and for a little bit after," he chuckles. "For a long time, I didn't want to accept any responsibility. Of being the future king, and all that. And I've always known part of that was marriage and a family; but I never wanted it. Until I met Fae. When I fell in love with her, I... I got it. I finally got what all the fuss was about, I guess."

Fiyero looked at Elphaba. "And this made you smile? Why? It's nothing you didn't already know," he pointed out.

"Maybe I was smiling at your claim that you're no longer an idiot," she teased.

Fiyero grinned. "Well, I'm less of an idiot. Happy?"

"This looks great," Elphaba said, looking at all the photos that were with the article, both candid and posed.

"This is my favourite," Fiyero said softly, pointing to one.

It was a candid shot, taken at the reception. Elphaba and Fiyero were sharing the sundae, spoons in hand. Fiyero was grinning and leaning in close to her, as Elphaba looked at him with an expression somewhere between amusement and exasperation, but a soft smile on her face.

"Why this one?" Elphaba laughed.

"I don't know," he admitted. "It just... it seems very us. Don't you think?"

Elphaba studied the photo again and had to agree.

"We should go show this to your parents," she suggested. "They'll want to see it."

"Yeah, ok," Fiyero agreed.

As they left the room, Fiyero slipped an arm around her waist. "So, now that we've read the article and you know everything that happened in the three weeks... do you admit that I won the bet?"

Elphaba rolled her eyes. "Haven't I already agreed that you won? Despite certain flaws in the wedding plans?"

"Yeah, but I like hearing it," Fiyero grinned happily.

She sighed. "Yes, you won. Ok? Satisfied now?"

"Yes."

He hesitated for a moment. "So, that means..."

Elphaba supressed a smile. She had been wondering how long it would be before Fiyero brought up the conditions of the bet.

"A baby," she nodded.

Fiyero was still beating around the bush. "So..."

Elphaba rolled her eyes and turned to him, just down the hall from Ibrahim and Kasmira's study.

"So that means it's on you now," she said brightly, keeping her face straight. "I can only do so much, it's up to you and your boys now, isn't it?"

And then with a gentle tap of his cheek, Elphaba entered the study, leaving her husband gaping speechlessly at nothing in the hall, finally letting her smirk cross her face.

The End

AN. And we've come to the end. Before anyone asks, no there will be no sequel to this story. My goal is to have my next big story (The Right Thing to Do) up by May (for my birthday), but we'll see how it goes. Life as a teacher...

Thank you all for reading this! I just thought it was something light and a bit of fun, and as always, I was stunned by the overwhelming response to it. And good luck to all authors who have stories nominated in the Wicked Awards!