A/N: Please note that for those of you keeping up with Derik and Quan's stories this occurs YEARS LATER. They are both graduated and thus obviously it contains certain inherent "spoilers" HOWEVER...since it was one of the first few pieces I wrote with this couple, I don't really think it hurts the story to have it out of order. That is all.

Marriage Business

Birds chirp merrily outside his window. Golden rays of sun muscle their way easily through the thin veil of his window curtains. Everything about the beautiful Sunday morning bids him, 'Wake up, wake up! It's day!'

Quan snatches a second pillow, pulls it over his head, and burrows stubbornly deeper into his covers.

Then, the mattress sinks under the weight of a second body. "Oh, come on…really?" interrupts the aghast voice of his boyfriend/lover/not-quite-fiancée of five years in counting, and Quan whines fittingly into the sheets. "It's almost noon," Derik protests, "…and this is exactly how you were last time you promised you'd be up!"

Quan squeezes his eyes shut, "Five more minutes?" coming out significantly more like, "Fvvh mhrr mnns?" due to muffling nature of his pillows (and the fact that he refuses to unbury himself). He hears Derik sigh.

"Come on, Mulan…it's been two 'five more minutes' since you said that ten minutes ago…" The bed sinks some more, Derik's weight settling itself more fully over him this time, and Quan feels the shift as Derik leans in. "Come onnn…" There's a kiss to his bare shoulder, and he stirs, "…you know you don't wanna make me wake you my way…"

"Mm…" Quan's grip on his pillows lessens slightly, his body betraying him more or less immediately in the face of Derik's attentions. "An' what way's that…?" he asks around a yawn, knowing full well what Derik means.

He lets Derik tug away his second pillow, and spares his boyfriend a one-eyed, squinting glance as he leans in. "Oh, I dunno…" Lips brush his now-bare neck, "…but I'll give you a hint…" Teeth nip his ear. "It'll involve you…and me, take a lot of time, and…" Quan rolls just enough to meet Derik's mouth in a kiss, parting his lips under a questing tongue, and then bestowing a light, teasing nip on the appendage when it draws into his mouth, "…mn…" By the time Derik draws back, both their faces are a shade warmer than before, "…won't involve clothes," Derik finishes.

Quan chuckles. "I thought you said I wouldn't like this idea?"

Derik grins. "Okay, I lied…but," He leans in again, kissing Quan's lips, then nose, then forehead, "…we don't have time this morning." At least he sounds honestly regretful. "I have to be back at the precinct in forty-five min."

"Mm." Quan shuts his eyes, dropping his head back fully into the pillows. "Too bad…and so why do I have to be up again?"

Derik rolls his eyes, sitting back up and taking some of his weight off Quan again. "'Cause," he reasons, "I'm lonely…" Quan opens one eye, "…and I'm looking over all our junk mail and shit and I need your help! There's stuff for you."

"Ah…" Quan brings hands to his face, pinching the bridge of his nose and then rubbing sleepily. "How do you know it's for me?"

Derik scoffs. "Umm…because I can't read it." Quan draws his hands away, giving his boyfriend a puzzled glance. "As far as I can tell from the way the first squiggly line shit blends into the second squiggly line shit…it's more stuff from your parents telling you to knock up some hot Asian chick already."

Quan groans, rolling to re-bury himself in the covers, but-

"Hey, no, uh-uh! Come on, baby, please…?" Derik whines. "Look, I'll make you some tea-"


"You don't drink-"

"I know. I need something disgusting to wake me up." 'And so that anything, even talking to my parents, will seem better in comparison…'

Derik sighs. "Okay," he concedes. "I'll make you some coffee…" Bending back down, he places a chaste kiss on Quan's cheek. "Chill…I'm sure it won't be as bad as you think…"

Quan's, "Ungh…" is unconvinced. "Last time, they tried to hook me up…with a MAIL. ORDER. BRIDE."

Derik blinks. "Well…can't get much worse?"


Derik sighs. "Okay…so get hitched with someone and shut 'em up already." He removes his weight from the bed completely, and Quan shakes his head.

"You and I both know I'm not marrying some chick, Derik…not happening." With his head in the pillows, he misses Derik's complicated, assessing look. At last, he turns from the room without comment, leaving Quan, after a long pause in silence, to wonder if that by any chance hadn't been what Derik meant to suggest.

In any case, ten minutes later he's sitting at their small kitchen table, an array of letters – and various bills, ads, and other scattered junk mail – fanned out around him. The one directly perpendicular to his coffee gives him, by far, the most stress.


These past few months you have yet to call us or write us even once. You must know we really miss you! How have you been lately? How is your life going? Have you still not found a good lady friend (girlfriend)? As for that, you mother has some great news for you…

Quan stops reading, scowling. 'Why-'

A second coffee cup joins his on the table, a hand dropping to his shoulder, and he tilts his head back, glancing up to study Derik's puzzled, contemplative expression.

"So," Derik's brow furrows further, "let me guess…it says: Qing…shing…wing tong woo?"

Quan breaks into a laugh aloud, too used to Derik's atrocious attempts at the language to even bother wincing or shaking his head, and he glances back to the page. "Close," he says, and then starts reading: "Hâi zì, gùo le jî ge yùe nî hái mêi gêi bà bà má má dà le shén me dìan huà…"

Derik winces for him. "Yeah, umm…close. You know, I, uhh…think I almost got this."

Quan smiles. "Well, you translated about right, anyway…" he concedes, and skims further down the page. "They've found some unmarried niece of a friend of theirs who wants to come to the states…"

"Mm…and she's sweet, and well-cultured, has gorgeous black hair straight down to her prim ass, cooks, cleans, has a two-inch waistline, and knows how to honor her husband by kissing his toes every morning and never saying a w-"

"Derik," Quan cuts him off sharply, irritated, but the anger melts at Derik's look: eyes turned away, hurt barely lingering in the furrows around his eyes and lips. The second, "Derik…" is softer.

"Just tell them you're only into blondes," Derik grumbles, still not meeting his eyes, and Quan frowns.

"Derik…you know I'd never-"

"I know, okay?" Derik snaps back, and then immediately looks guilty for losing his temper, turning his face away again. "I know you won't. It just…" He sighs, dropping his weight against the kitchen counter and staring blankly into his coffee, "…it just bugs me…sometimes…I mean…" A long, pregnant pause fills the tiny kitchen: Quan watching his boyfriend, waiting; Derik shutting his eyes and drawing his thumb idly up and down the side of his coffee cup. Finally, he says, barely a whisper, "Can't you just tell them…"

"You know they won't understand-"

"Then what will they understand, huh?" Derik jumps back in, harsh again. "You're my boyfriend, you're my…my…" He shakes his head. "You're mine, okay? You're not some pixie…'well-bred' ching-chong chick's husband fodder. You're not going to give your parents cute, brilliant little grandchildren who can do logarithms by the time they're five…you're Quan! You're the same Quan I've known all my life, and you're gay, and one day…one day…"

Quan stands, approaching slowly. "Derik…"

"One day, they're gonna have to learn that," Derik finally finishes. "Just like mine did. Whether you don't want them to know, or whether you're ashamed, or you think I'm…I'm…"

"It has nothing to do with you…" Quan says quietly, arriving before Derik and stilling, catching a cheek in his fingers and running his thumb over it, all too aware that Derik has his eyes doggedly trained to his coffee again. "You know that…"

"Yeah, well, you know what?" At last, Derik looks up: all blue eyes and masked hurt. "Sometimes it feels like it does, okay?"

"Even if I told them-"

Derik shrugs out of his hold, retreating. "They 'wouldn't understand,' I know." He dumps the rest of his coffee in the sink. "So you've told me."

"They understand traditions, Derik…and contracts," Quan pleads with him to understand. "If I told them I had a boyfriend, they would think you were just my friend, and then if I explained, they'd either be worried, or confused, or think I was kidding, or that it was just a thing, or a 'Western trend' I had picked up-"

Derik scoffs. "Your nainai seemed to understand well enough, didn't she?"

"Those were under extreme circumstances, Derik, and you know it. With my parents, it would only make them more determined-"

"Then marry," Derik insists again, and Quan scowls.

"Dammit, I told you! I'm not going to tie the knot with some random woman just so you don't have to be bugged by these letters anymore! I'm-"

"I'm going to work."


"I'll see you at seven."

"Derik-" Quan catches Derik's arm, forcibly halting him.

"What?" Derik snaps back, and Quan hesitates, lost in the hurt and conflict running rampant in the expression of the man he loves.

"Why are you so upset…" he barely dares to ask, wishing, not for the first time, that those beautiful blue eyes came with an instruction manual or a script: something rock solid and readable to explain what went on under all the countless layers of tangled emotion.

"I'm…not…" Derik looks away. Quan refuses to let go, but at least Derik has quit his struggling. "I never said I wanted you to tie the knot with some random woman…" he says softly, slowly. "I…I don't want you to marry any woman." He shakes his head. "I'd hate that…and I'd probably end up in jail for whatever I did to her-"


"What I was telling you, was…" Derik continues. "Well, I mean, what I was asking, really…was…"

Quan's heart gives an involuntary thud; suddenly it almost hurts to breathe. "Derik, are you-"

"I-I gotta go to work-"

"No!" Quan's grip tightens, stubborn, and Derik shuts his eyes, cheeks pinking. "You started this," Quan persists, because he can be as stubborn as Derik when he wants to be. "You started this, and you're going to tell me now what you meant, or we're gonna stand here all day…"

At first, he thinks Derik might hold him to that: simply stare at the floor all day. But then, at long last, he says, as if making an excuse, "We've been together for a long time…"

"Yeah…" Quan agrees, intrinsically aware of Derik's every shuffle.

"Like…six years, in two months…" Derik continues, and Quan nods in silence, waiting, "…and…I love you…" Quan's throat knots, his heart still fluttering in response though he's heard the words a thousand times by now, "…more than…everything…ever, and…" Quan opens his mouth, but, "…I know it would prolly be a big hassle…" Derik continues before he can get a word in, "…since we'd have to, like…go out of state to find someone who would do it, umm…'cause I'm pretty sure it's illegal here, or something, but-"

"Derik…" Quan cuts him off, "you wanna get married?" and Derik gives him a curious, convoluted expression.

"Well…I sorta thought I was gonna be the one to propose, but, umm…since you asked…" He tilts his head, giving Quan a full opportunity to withdraw if he honestly isn't interested, and Quan gives a chopped, breathless laugh, almost at a loss for what to say.

Eventually, though, he manages to shake his head, eyes dancing. "Well?" he prompts. "Jeez, Derik, don't leave me hanging…" And he smiles before asking, "Will you marry me?"

After two, startled seconds, Derik's blank look breaks into a genuine, shit-eating grin. "Yeah, umm…I'd love to."

Two hours later, naked on their shared bed, it occurs to Derik that he probably ought to call in sick or something.

A/N: Gratuitous fluff. My bad. Hope you enjoyed. :)

Also, in case there is any confusion yes, I still intend to continue their story on the high school timeline. This is just a little jump because...I wrote this a while ago and feel like publishing it here now.