"It's the happiest day of my life," Merle Ambrose declared one sunny morning, wiping a tear from his eyelinered eye.
The Headmaster of Ravenwood Academy had proposed to his longtime friend and ally, Gamma the Owl, just three weeks prior. "What? Of course I will, old friend," Gamma had replied. "What a silly thing to ask! I promise I'll make sure you're taken care of when the time comes."
Now, in a glittering white gown adorned with lace and rhinestones, Ambrose sat in the parlor of the wedding venue while Professor Dahlia Falmea and Professor Lydia Greyrose applied the finishing touches to his wedding ensemble.
"You mustn't cry, dearie," Greyrose chastised. "We couldn't afford the waterproof eyeliner. It simply wasn't in the budget."
Falmea had designed Ambrose's wedding gown, and though she refused to allow him to charge her for this service, they needed to have it made. Eloise Merryweather, bless her soul, worked day and night for three days on the elaborate dress. Though it had cost Ambrose an arm and a leg in Crowns, it was well worth it.
"Indeed," Ambrose sighed, happy nonetheless with his ensemble. "Professor Falmea and Professor Greyrose, I must say this is your best work yet," he praised, offering a smile of gratitude.
"Of course it is! As the fire professor, I'm qualified to tell you that you're as hot as can be!" Falmea laughed, her bright red eyes twinkling as they swept over Ambrose's dress.
Ambrose frowned. "Don't say such things, professor," he scolded. "After last month's incident with Professor Balestrom at the Fireglobe Theatre, you're lucky I haven't put you on unpaid leave." The Headmaster shuddered to himself. Professor Balestrom could scarcely walk for the next few weeks.
Mr. Lincoln hurried into the parlor before Falmea could reply. "Headmaster Ambrose, sir," he gasped for breath, readjusting the glasses he had perched on his bill. "The floral arrangements just came in. We're working as fast as we can to get the rest of the venue set up."
"Excellent work, Mr. Lincoln. Be sure to give the rest of the staff my kindest regards," Ambrose instructed. Lincoln nodded and began to scamper out of the room. "Oh! One more thing!" Ambrose called, stopping Lincoln in his tracks. "Have our special guests arrived yet?"
Lincoln readjusted his glasses once more and pulled a piece of parchment from his vest pocket, quickly scanning the paper. "Err, let's see here…ah, King Artorius, Queen Gwendolyn, and Emperor Yoshihito arrived just half an hour ago," Lincoln's eyes shifted further down the paper. "Grandmother Raven—I'm not sure how—made it about ten minutes ago all the way from Wintertusk," Lincoln went further down the paper. "And Belladonna Crisp, unfortunately, got stuck behind paperwork and won't be able to make it in time for the ceremony. However, she says she might be able to finish up just in time for the reception."
Ambrose nodded. "Thank you, Mr. Lincoln. Your services are much appreciated."
Lincoln's eyes shined with pride. He gave a respectful nod before exiting the parlor to resume his duties as wedding planner.
"Headmaster Ambrose, if we may continue applying your foundation," Falmea gestured to the Le Teint Touche Eclat sitting on the vanity. "It is almost time, you know."
"Oh, yes, of course," Ambrose turned in his seat back towards the mirror. "Don't forget to polish my monocle; I want to be sure to get the best look at my groom as I possibly can," Ambrose sighed dreamily, almost in a state of euphoria.
After Greyrose and Falmea had finished applying the Headmaster's foundation and had polished his monocle, they lowered the tiara with his wedding veil fastened to it onto his head. Ambrose stood up and looked over his appearance in the mirror, on the verge of tears. He turned to Falmea and Greyrose, both equally choked up.
"Today," he started, his voice cracking. "I become Mr. The Owl."
Ambrose stood waiting at the end of the aisle just before the lectern where the officiant, Professor Cyrus Drake, would conduct the ceremony. Drake tapped his foot impatiently and scoffed in annoyance every so often as the guests all took their seats. Ambrose's best man, Avalonian King Artorius, stood proudly at his side, joyful tears in his eyes.
Drake checked his pocket watched, and his annoyed expression changed into something more resolute.
"Ladies and gentlemen, please rise in honor of the groom."
The sound of rusty wheels turning filled the hall. Ambrose gave a quiet gasp as he watched his groom, his beautiful groom, being carted down the aisle in a jewel-encrusted cage. Gamma wore a mermaid-style gown, and rather than his usual velvet cap, he too wore a tiara with a veil fastened.
He looks so beautiful.
"Hoo?!" Gamma shouted when he reached the lectern, meeting Ambrose's eyes, too confused and disoriented to pay attention to Drake as he conducted the ceremony.
"Now, the esteemed Headmaster Ambrose will articulate his vows," Drake motioned for Ambrose to speak.
Ambrose cleared his throat, salty tears dribbling down his cheeks. "My dear Gamma," he wiped some of his tears away. "You have always been my closest friend and ally. It was when I realized my feelings for you that I feared I would lose that companionship."
Gamma looked at the crowd, absolutely horrified, but no one seemed to notice, as their eyes were all trained on the Headmaster.
"Just a few short weeks ago, when I asked you to marry me—"
"Marry you!" Gamma squawked. "I thought you were asking me to BURY you! You know, when you're fucking DEAD?!" he shrieked, his veil slipping off his head as he jostled around.
The wedding hall went completely silent. Ambrose's lip quivered, and he wiped more tears away. "Oh, Gamma," he choked out. "Your sense of humor was always one of my favorite things about you."
The crowd gave a few aww's, and somewhere in the middle of crowd, someone blew their nose into a handkerchief loudly.
Gamma was too shocked and bewildered to say anything else, even when Drake announced that it was his turn to offer his vows.
"Do you, Merle Ambrose, take Gamma the Owl to be your lawfully wedded husband?" Drake asked.
"I do," Ambrose cried, eyeliner running down his face.
"Do you, Gamma the Owl, take Merle Ambrose to be your lawfully wedded husband?" Drake turned to Gamma.
"Hoooooo noooooooooo!" Gamma shrieked in horror.
Drake ignored him. "Then, by the power vested in me, I now pronounce you partners for life," he closed his book. "You may now kiss the groom."
Ambrose lifted his veil over his head and closed his eyes, puckering his abnormally withered lips as he leaned in to kiss Gamma. Gamma backed as far into the cage as he could to prevent the kiss from coming to fruition. Unable to make it past the bars of the cage, Ambrose gave up.
"Ladies and gentlemen, it is my honor to present to you, for the first time as husbands: Mr. and Mr. The Owl!" Drake could barely get his words out when he was met with raucous applause for the newly married couple.
The wedding reception had barely started when Eloise Merryweather, exhausted from working day and night on Ambrose's wedding dress, collapsed. Professor Moolinda Wu pronounced her dead before she had even hit the ground.
"Dead?!" Professor Dworgyn eagerly pushed through the crowd to look at Merryweather's still form. "Is the body still warm?"
As the majority of the crowd had gathered around to mourn Eloise Merryweather, Ambrose leaned in to whisper in Gamma's ear as the two were eating their wedding cake.
"Later tonight, I'll show you why they call me the Headmaster," Ambrose winked.
"Hooo nooo!" Gamma shook his head profusely.
To distract himself from his horrific new husband, Gamma watched from the corner of his eye as Merryweather was removed from the reception hall. He shook his head sadly. "She was a great seamstress."
Gamma suddenly thought to look at Ambrose's wedding dress. "Ambrose?"
"Yes, dear Gamma?"
"Why are we both in dresses? First of all, we're both men. Second, if one of us had to wear a dress, then why not just one of us?"
The Headmaster remained silent before giving a meek nod of acknowledgement. "Indeed."