Blundering bride

+Mari looks perplexedly at the four...but then it clicks. "Oh...it's your family. Isn't it?" she gasps. They were taller than she imagined. The four approach menacingly. Obviously not pleased with Reynard. "Where 'Ave yew BEEN? Do yew 'ave any idea 'ow shameful your actions were? Did yew?" barked the one that was Reynard's father. He sends Reynard a heavy backhand to the face.

*Reynard receives the heavy blow. A loud smack is sounded as the hand meets the face. Reynard gasps in surprise and almost loses balance. He rights himself and says nothing. Too afraid to face his father again.

+Mari squeaks in terror at the sight of her new husband getting hit! She was sure that Reynard was the strongest ant around.

Leon, Reynard's Father, grabs Reynard by the collar of the cape and lifts him off the ground. "Yew little parasite! Yew are coming 'ome this instant. Yew will marry Belle as planned and take your proper place! Understood? I em going to let your brothers 'ave at yew. Zey 'ave traveled long and looked forward to zis." His face twists into a scowl.

*Reynard finds himself hitting the ground after his father yelled at him. He opens his mouth to explain, but his brothers have already approached. "Oh no..." he moans and braces himself for the blows he knows are to come.

+Mari covers her eyes. This is not what she expected to see on her wedding day! It was nice to meet her new in-laws and all but not like this.

Phillipe, the eldest, pulls out a thick rod. The other two, Jean-Claude and Louis, follow his example by pulling out cords with little stones on the ends. They commence in beating the living daylights out of their younger brother. They are brutal and without feeling.

*Reynard yelps and hollers for pity, but receives none. He starts to bleed and become very bruised. As can be expected he sobs and cries like there's no tomorrow.

Leon watches without emotion. He regards Mari for once, finally noticing she's there. He sidles toward her and puts a heavy, callused hand on her shoulder. "Dun't worry mademoiselle. Reynard will 'urt yew no more."

+Mari quickly shrinks away from Leon. "Don't touch me!" she shrieks. Her eyes wet and runny, her limbs shaking violently. What to do what to do? "Stop it! Stop it! Leave him alone!" she cries at the four. When they do not stop, she does a classic move of hers. Dives right in to protect her Reynard. Receiving the blows in Reynard's place.

*Reynard continues to suffer. When the painful blows seem to have ceased, he opens his eyes in confusion. His brothers hadn't stopped beating, but there was no feeling. It didn't take long for Reynard to figure out what happened. "My lord, no" he whispered. He knew Mari was on top of him. She really did love him that much.

The brother's reaction to Mari's sudden act was slow. When they finally recognized that they were not beating their brother, Mari was already a messy, bloody stain. They stopped their blows a moment and looked to Leon awaiting his order.

*Reynard quickly gets up from the ground. Bloodied and in extreme pain, he cradles the limp body of Mari. "Listen..." he says shakily. "I em not returning with yew. Not back to that place of dread. I em already married. Zis iz my wife, zis young girl which yew 'ave beaten mercilessly! Yew were never my family!" he screams passionately. Drops of blood mixed with tears run down his cheeks.

+Mari shakes slightly as she cries in pain. Snuggling closer to Reynard's thorax for safety. She glares at the four ants as they stare back without feeling. "Don't hate them Reynard...please." she pleads in a whisper.

*Reynard hears Mari's request, but does not turn to her. His gaze remains fixed on his family.

Leon mumbles softly in French to the others. Occasionally, he points to Mari and Reynard. The brothers nod and respond in French to Leon. They were plotting something. Leon finally points to Phillipe and gives him an order. Phillipe salutes and marches toward the injured couple.

*Reynard watches Phillipe's approach suspiciously. He braces himself around Mari protectively. Reynard's hazel eyes watch carefully.

+Mari watches too out of the corner of her eye. She trembles fearfully and hopes that everything will be okay.

Phillipe stopped and gazed down at them calmly. "Apologies brother," he says. "We did not know. Father wants to meet 'er. 'e iz sad zat yew didn't invite us to za wedding".

*Reynard blinks in confusion. This is not what he expected Phillipe to say. It was not an insane request at all, actually rather expectable. Cautiously, Reynard nods and gets off his knees. He helps Mari get to her feet and supports her with the crook of his arm.

+Mari follows Reynard innocently and obediently. A new nervousness overcomes her as they near the in-laws. She tries to duck behind Reynard as best she could.

*Reynard is gentle in persuading Mari out to be presented. Trying his best to look dignified Reynard announces in a soldierly tone, "Zis iz Marie Frances Bonapart, your new sister-in-law and your new daughter-in-law. We were shust married today a few minutes ago. We are going to live 'ere at Ant Island and 'appily raise our own family...away from yew!" He adds for a final effect.

Leon lets the last part of Reynard's speech bounce off without effect. He steps towards Mari and snatches her hand and starts to inspect her like some sort of livestock! He hums critically as he pokes, squeeze, and prods Mari in several uncomfortable places. O.O

+Mari becomes extremely uncomfortable as the eyes of her brother-in-laws stare at her hungrily and her father-in-law inspects her. She moans pitifully as Leon finally finishes.

*Reynard waits expectantly for his father's report. He becomes rigid so as to prepare for sudden action.

Leon sighs, "Too short, too skinny, too weak. Reynard I'm disappointed I must say. Why 'er? And don't give me anee of that personality muck!"

*Reynard scowls at Leon's rude comments. "She iz beautiful! She's my other 'alf! She's iz like mother," he boldly states.

+Mari's eyes become very wide as Reynard's brothers start eyeing her. One of them seems to be sizing her up! Another seems to be debating something. Mari tenses and wishes Reynard would do something soon.

Leon frowns at Reynard's remark. With the ball of his fist, Leon hits the back of Mari's head causing her to collapse to the ground, stunned. "Bind 'er up!" he shouts Louis, who obeys quickly.

*Reynard shouts in alarm as his new bride is gagged and hog-tied. Angrily he clenches his fists and shakes with fury. However, he is not rash enough to charge his father or brothers. He knows only too well, that he is well outnumbered. It would not be helpful to try and attack. He remains standing rigidly, awaiting his father's actions.

Leon nods to the boys. "Tres Bien! Take 'er to the wagon. Reynard! Yew are coming with us now, eh?" he asks tauntingly.

*Reynard takes a deep breath and nods. He bows his head in defeat, he can't abandon Mari. An instinct to defend her kicks in as he follows his family to the wagon in which he and Mari are locked in and taken to Reynard's old home.

After a long wagon ride, Mari and Reynard find themselves in an amazingly well furnished room. Mari rests in a feather bed (a bed made with one feather. ;)) while Reynard sits silently contemplating what to do next. When Mari reawakens, Reynard explains to her a few of the dos and don'ts of the Bonapart household.

Mari finds herself cleaned and bandaged, which was the work of Reynard. Reynard himself is looking rather dashing in a uniform and a clean face. He smiles trying to make sure Mari is comfortable. With evening closing in, Reynard escorts Mari to dinner, which is surprisingly more elaborate than anything any ant from Ant Island could imagine!

Reynard becomes stiff and rigid as he follows through the routine of a dinner of this nature. He waits for permission to speak and introduce Mari to everyone else in the family. After introducing Mari to his brothers and their wives, Reynard politely offers Mari a seat next to him. Dinner is solemn and quiet. No one spoke or looked at each other. Mari felt very out of place. She also felt like she was always being watched.

After dining, there was a family sit down, where each of the wives entertained somehow or one of the brothers decided to start a conversation. Reynard told Mari to keep quiet, submissive, and close to him. Mari quickly learned a lot about the brother's of Reynard. Phillipe was married to Maple, who was expecting a child sometime soon. He tried to hide his excitement from Leon. Jean-Claude was married to Rosemary, and he often went his own way with women. -.- He made many a disgusting comment to Mari just to watch her turn red with embarrassment and Reynard grit his teeth. Louis was married to Rose, a tiny young woman who hardly looked much older than Mari. Louis was rather short himself, but very strong.

Leon was a fascinating character. Mari could not figure him out. He knew how to get what he wanted out of all his boys. Reynard fidgeted quite a bit throughout the evening. Mari could sense that he expected something terrible.

After dinner had settled, Leon proclaimed that everyone should dance. Dancing was also a different experience. It was orderly, precise, and elegant in its own way. Reynard could dance very well, he was gentle, graceful, and coordinated. The same can not be said for his brothers, who all danced with two left feet. Leon stood and watched Mari like a hawk. Mari found out that the Bonapart's had another interesting tradition of switching dance partners. So Mari had the pleasure of dancing with every single brother. (Soon, her feet were trodden flat!)

Each brother had his own style of dancing too. Phillipe, almost marched and did not apologized every time he stepped on Mari's toes. #_# Jean-Claude was a little too grabby and inconsiderate. He would make disgusting noises and lick his lips. Louis was just plain clumsy, but he at least apologized sometimes.

So far, the evening seemed to go swimmingly...until Mari made a horrendous blunder. Reynard had warned her never to call Leon, "Papa" at all. It made him very upset. Also, she had to watch her decency in dancing...nothing like Grace's style of club dancing! Everything had become too much for Mari. She broke the routine dance by singing loudly and dancing however she darn pleased. Ending it with an apology to "Papa".

Reynard panicked and covered his face. This would not go well. It didn't. Leon was infuriated and popped a gasket, Mari had dared to break the rules. Therefore, much like the way he did with Reynard, he would have to punish her severely. But, he very much wanted to punish Reynard for running off and he still wanted him to marry Belle.

Leon attempted to murder Mari. It was his house, his kingdom, he made the laws. He shouted loudly at Mari moving her to tears. Then he scolded Reynard, smacked Reynard's head a couple times before pulling out a pistol! He aimed the weapon at Mari, who of course froze in fear.

It was not going to end like Leon wanted it to. Things went terribly wrong. Reynard leapt in the bullet's path and it ricocheted off one of his battle medals. The lead ball bounced off many other things before imbedding itself into Leon's leg. Leon dropped the gun and fell.

Reynard and his brothers immediately attended to the wounded Leon. They carried him to his room and rang up the family physician. Unfortunately for Leon, the only way for him to survive was to remove his leg. This procedure was performed and Leon became a cripple.

Meanwhile, the other wives had gone to their chambers like obedient children. Mari on the other hand joined with Reynard to see what was going to happen to Leon. She waited outside the door and listened to the insane screaming inside as the leg was removed! Guilty tears streaked her face as Reynard emerged from the chamber. He shot an upset at Mari before going down the hall to fetch something for his father.

When Reynard returned into the chamber, Mari slipped in behind him unnoticed and hid behind a plastic nightstand. Leon was telling his sons about their mother, Mari listened eagerly. She could hear Reynard sobbing as he heard some things that he never knew about his mother. How heartless she was to Leon and overly romantic. The other sons listened half-heartedly only waiting for the dismissal.

The sons were dismissed, but Reynard remained. Gently talking to his father and staying by his side. Swapping stories of the departed Angelica, Reynard's beloved mother. Mari very much wanted to help Leon, she poked out of her hiding place and was seen!

The sight of her there only aggravated both of the men. Reynard harshly ordered her to wait for him in the bedroom! When Mari protested and pleaded to help, she only found herself back in the room she had found herself in earlier that day. Anxiously, Mari awaited her husband's return. She expected him to be extremely angry and violent. She hid under the bed.

Mari cringed as she heard the sound of Reynard's footsteps entering the room. He shut the door softly behind him, assuming Mari was sleeping. He was surprised when he found the bed empty. He called her name softly a few times, before Mari mustered enough guts to emerge. Instead of the loud yelling Mari expected, Reynard quietly stared at her. The pained look in Reynard's eyes pierced Mari, she had done something worse than what she thought. Rapidly she apologized and tried to explain.

Reynard did not yell at her. He was extremely patient. "I just wanted to help you. He's my father too now...I just wanted, him to be...". Reynard silenced her and told her he understood, but he had to straighten things out. He knew his father better than Mari. "The only way yew cen 'elp, iz by being obedient and quiet, okay?" Mari nodded and rubbed her head affectionately against Reynard's.

Reynard explained to Mari that she had done something wonderful in her mistake. Leon wanted a new start. Leon wanted to come to Ant Island to see Reynard's new home. He was impressed by Mari's boldness and beautiful singing. He was going to live with Mari and Reynard for a few weeks! Reynard seemed very pleased with the plan, Mari was not so enthused.
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