A/N: So here's a story that I started writing a few days ago, because I forced myself to, and finished today. I hope you like it, because I think it's actually sort of sweet. And that's different for me.

Please review!

"Marry Me? Always."

The first time he said it, it was a joke, because of course it was! They weren't dating then, they were just friends, really good, almost best friends. And he was affectionate in his friendliness, and she was affectionate in hers, so it wasn't weird! (He didn't find out until later that she only was affectionate or touchy-feely at all with a select few.)

"I don't think I've ever seen the living room this clean before," he breathed, grinning. He had just come back to his apartment after his last class and wow.

"Yeah, I could feel myself getting bored, which I am vehemently against, so, yeah, I tidied." Damien couldn't keep the huge smile off of his face as he watched one of his best friends perfect the arrangement on the coffee table. (Coincidentally, she had been the one to find it for him.) Damn she was so cool!

"Marry me!" he laughed. Naturally, because he was joking and she knew that, so she laughed too.

"Sure," she responds lightly, and it's not even a thing. There was nothing to rethink, to analyze or react to. The conversation easily moved on as Violet asked him about his classes. He answers with an exaggerated and dramatic retelling of this 8am class. He finishes with a fully body collapse on the couch beside her, and then he hears about her day. It's mutual, and fun, and normal.

The second time it happened, there were other people around so they got a few weird looks. They were at a sports bar where a bunch of students hung out on game nights. Violet had connections and always managed to get them a good table, even if it meant getting there an hour and a half before the game started.

You see, there were about seven of them, including Damien and Violet, and it wasn't like it was abnormal for the seven of them to be together. In fact, this was a pretty established group with a solid history. Violet hadn't met Damien on his own, she'd met him alongside his best friends, Josh, Andrew, and Cole. She was like their sister, and after they'd all met her she introduced them to her best friends Ashlyn and Heidi. They all got along well and the chemistry was good and there was no uncomfortable flirting or romantic attractions. It was better that way.

It was just that Damien had started to view Violet differently, and with more heart-eyes. Damien and his best friends all lived together in that one apartment, and she was over a lot, just to make sure they weren't about to drop from just being twenty-one year old boys. And the other three had already met and were friends before Damien came into the picture, so sometimes it felt like Josh, Andrew, and Cole, plus Damien. When Violet was around, Damien felt like he was closest to her, so it was Josh, Andrew, and Cole, plus Damien and Violet. They were like a team. And she was like, really pretty, and smart. They had a lot in common.

"Two daiquiris for Ashlyn and me, a Cosmo for Heidi, three beers on tap for you three boys, and a Blue Moon for Damien," Violet said as she and her waitress friend, Vicki, came back with the drinks. Damien had been telling a story to his friends but completely forgot it as soon as his favorite drink was placed in front of him. He must have looked like a kid on Christmas.

"Hey, how come Dame gets the fancy beer?" Cole complained. Violet shrugged as she gingerly ran her fingers through a leaving Vicki's hair.

"Because he asked, and he's my favorite," she answered. And that was a joke, sure, but it was also true and that in itself had become a running gag. Ashlyn giggled at Violet's deadpan delivery, while Andrew pretended to be offended.

"I cannot believe you would just be honest like that. This group's friendship may be built on bullshit and lies, but it's also built on equality. I will get a fancy beer tonight, just you wait," Andrew ranted. Violet couldn't help but burst into laughter, and as much as Damien loved the sound of that laugh, he also was in a jovial and playful mood.

"You know what? Maybe I'm just better than you guys. Vi? Marry me," he joked, slapping both hands on the table as he said so. Violet's laughter turned into tipsy giggles.

"Oh, of course, Dame," she said. Damien probably would have made it less flirty if he'd laughed too, but instead he just smiled at her. When he turned to take a drink from his awesome drink, he could tell their friends thought more of the interaction. Heidi had that, "but that's none of my business" look going on as she sipped her Cosmo, and his boys were in various shades of taken-aback. Andrew, the best with exaggerated expressions, was the most obvious.

"Well damn, I didn't know this was a thing. Would you two like a private booth?" Josh commented, because his type of funny was blunt as fuck. It was a good type of humor, and it also managed to keep everybody in check.

"Nah man, it's just a joke, ya know?" Damien said, but to be fair his heart was fluttering a little. Violet had gone back to sharing secrets with Ashlyn and Heidi, but she kept a hand in front of Damien's place on the table, as a reminder that she was still engaged with him too. She was really good at making him feel included.

"Uh-huh, sure," Cole said, and it sounded doubtful but it was funny too, because he was almost as expressive and funny as Andrew. (Those two met at an improv group meeting.) It was still a point being made, but it was just a joke, everything was a joke. Always.

They had been dating three months the third time, and that's when it started to become a little more than a joke to Damien. He had no idea if Violet got the same flutter in her chest as he did when they had that interaction, she was simultaneously easy and extremely hard to read. It was her deepest emotional reactions that she hid, reacting to them like the way she bumped into doorways in the mornings. (He found it very funny how she would look at a new bruise and wonder how it got there, when he clearly remembered the sound from earlier when her hip caught on a table.)

He was half dressed, his shirt on and his boxers on, but he had no idea where his pants were. He had plenty of pants, but he liked to actually put clothes on that went together, and not just basketball shorts and a button up. That was just weird, even if Josh did it constantly. He ended up going in circles around his room, and then just stepping in a tiny circle around himself, turning once or twice and almost going dizzy. Then he just stopped and stared at the ground, hands stretched out like he was in disbelief.

"Where the hell are my jeans?" he asked. He didn't mean to get a response, but he did receive one.

"If you're talking about the dark wash ones then they're in the laundry basket from yesterday," Violet said. She had spent the night at his place. They didn't do anything, just cuddled in his bed and watched the first two Ghostbusters movies (again).

"Oh my GOD you're right. Just marry me, Vi," he sighed. He turned, still in his shirt and underwear, and walked out of the room. Giggling, Violet called after him.

"How many ways can I say yes, doofus?" Damien smiled, but it wasn't because it was funny, more just because he was glad she always went along with it, always said yes. He couldn't help but feel a little in love with her when they have that back and forth.

He saw Cole leaning against his doorway, because the laundry basket was right next to his room, and Cole gave him a look. Cole was probably his best friend out of the three others, because they could read each other's looks and gestures like they've known each other for years. Maybe one day they would be each other's best man.

Damien shrugged, unable to stop smiling, but not quite ready to say anything about it. He knew Cole wouldn't just accept the excuse that it was just their little inside joke, because to Damien it really felt like more than that.

The fourth time it happened, Violet was sick. Everyone could tell she had been coming down with something, and Violet was aware of it, but she felt like saying it meant that it was real, and that it then had permission to become a full-blown thing. Knowing looks were constantly exchanged, Heidi refilled Violet's orange juice twice one morning because, you know, vitamin C. (And also, Violet fucking loved orange juice.)

The day she was finally full-fledged sick, she kept her chin up (literally) the whole day even though she felt miserable. Her eyes were watery, her nose was stuffed and runny, her throat was scratchy and felt weird, and everything rubbed against her skin the wrong way. But Violet has her own thermometer (three actually, a glass one, an electronic physician's-office one, and a tympanic one, because her mom is a nurse and Violet is about to be one, thank-you-very-much) and she said her temperature was not high enough. She vigorously washed her hands, took a little more cold medicine than necessary, and went to every single one of her classes, and her study group.

Her first two classes were fine, but her professor in her third got mad at her class because they were being too loud- and Violet hated loud- and assigned a short paper due next class meeting. Violet's specialty was papers so it was fine, but she was sick and didn't do anything to deserve it so she was upset. Then, two of the people in her study group forgot to do what they had been assigned to do, and Violet was patient, as always, but it was just another thing wrong with her day.

Damien came home after his classes to find his girlfriend curled up in his bed watching Netflix on her laptop. Her eyes were glassy because of the virus, and the blankets were cocooning her.

"Baby, would you like something to drink? Orange juice?" he gently called to her. She didn't even move, just pouted a little and nodded, silently mouthing a thank you. So he went and poured her something to drink, appreciating the fact that none of his roommates were back yet.

Violet sat up so should could drink, but also leaned her head on Damien's shoulder and pulled the laptop over both their laps.

"Bad day?" he whispered, and she nodded. He nudged her, a silent way of encouraging her to talk about it, and she goes over the worst parts in short phrases. Her throat was still scratchy and weird, and talking too much made her nose run.

He wanted to cheer her up by more than just getting her orange juice and watching Netflix with her, so he said their favorite joke.

"Let's get married," he smiled, and she smiled a real smile back, the first time since that morning when she last saw him.

"Yes," she whispered, voice hoarse. She kissed his nose very lightly, because she didn't want him to get sick, even though he might. He kissed her forehead in return and they focused again on the movie. It was Nightmare Before Christmas, and it wasn't October or December, but she was sick so fuck it. She hummed a little to her favorite songs, even though her voice was cracked and hoarse and pitiful. He still liked hearing it.

"I love you," he said, and then immediately started to freak out internally. They hadn't said it to each other before and he just randomly said and it and what the hell dude and he totally missed the way she snuggled into him more, smiling a little.

"I love you too," she sighed, and oh. Okay. They were in love. Cool. She was sick, they were in love, and they were watching a movie meant for a totally different season. Cool. Good, great even.

The fifth time they said it, they're in the middle of having sex. Her roommates were out shopping or trying to hook up with a couple of guys or something, but all Violet heard was that the place was hers that night.

He was on his back with his hands on her hips as she was on top of him, bouncing. They were both panting and little sighs and breaths were coming out of her and he fucking loved it. Every few bounces she'd roll her hips too and that felt particularly good, and she liked getting Damien to moan. Every once in a while, she would do it kind of rough.

"Oh dear God Violet, marry me, please," he groaned, and her vibrant laughed filled the air.

"Absolutely, baby, you've got me," she said.

And maybe that's what sent him over the edge, all he knew was that he wasn't completely joking anymore. They were in love, and she was perfect, and he really kinda wanted to marry her. It was a joke, because it was them, but he was serious too.

Twenty minutes later when they were spooning and he had his arms wrapped tightly around her, he started to plan.

The sixth time it happened it was definitely not a joke, because Damien most definitely did not mean it as a joke. He had prepared and everything, told his roommates to stay out of the apartment for a couple of hours, went through a thousand different things to say, and he had a soft box with a ring in it. (It was not a diamond ring because Violet once said something about how diamond gems had no function and depreciated in value and blah blah blah. He knew she liked rose gold and amethysts, so that's what he had.)

He made a playlist with all of their favorite songs that he knew they related to as a couple, but he didn't call attention to it when he started playing it. They were just working on school stuff, and she had a paper to work on that she still had weeks to finish but it was Violet so of course she was working on it. Damien tried working on his own paper, something about taking a sociology theory and applying it to an event in history to prove it was important, but fuck if he even knew where to begin.

"Vi," he said, so uncertain, "by any chance can you think of how any sociological theory can be applied to an event in history, as a way to prove that the theory is important?" And honestly that was such a stupid way to word the question and he physically cringed at his inability to use his damn words, but he had no idea how else to put it. If he tried to use a longer explanation he would just go around in circles because honestly he wasn't quite sure exactly what was expected of him.

"Um, maybe. Try… labeling theory and the Boston Tea Party," she answered and honestly if she wasn't secretly a member of Mensa then he was Santa Claus.

"Can you, can you explain that to me for a minute?" And he felt like an idiot, because his girlfriend who isn't majoring in sociology or history started explaining something to him that really made no sense for her to remember, but of course she did.

"...So the Sons of Liberty were like 'oh we're savages? We'll show you savages,' and so they dressed up like natives and dumped a shit ton of tea into the harbor. And it was important because, like, it was a huge act of obvious rebellion and after a little back and forth things got even more heated and then boom: revolution," Violet finished with a grin and holy shit she was so fucking smart and perfect and just-

"Please marry me," Damien breathed, and fuck, that's not how he wanted to say that. Violet giggled because she thought he was being silly and honestly she took it as a compliment, and she loved it when he praised her intelligence.

"Okay, Damien," she continued to laugh, and Damien shook his head, because damn it, no.

"No, I'm like, serious. Like, we've been dating for a while and we love each other and you're perfect, and I like, really really want to marry you. I mean, I have a ring and everything, so will you please marry me?" He pulled the ring box out from under the couch and Violet had stopped laughing. She stared at the box.

"Violet? Marry me?" He opened it and kind of awkwardly showed her the ring, because he actually had it designed but it wasn't that expensive because it was rose gold and amethysts. He bit his bottom lip because okay, he was really nervous.

Violet stared at it with an unreadable expression, but Damien thought he saw some awe and wonder in there. He couldn't tell if she was still breathing, but sometimes it was hard to tell with her. Finally she took her eyes away from the ring and looked him right in the eyes and if the way she looked at him didn't metaphorically knock him back on his ass then everything be damned.

"Always, Damien, always," she whispered and then she shoved her binder and textbook off the couch and wrapped her arms around his neck, burying her face into his shoulder.

"I love you so much Damien, I will always want to marry you, be married to you," she said and yes. He wrapped his own arms around her tightly, shoved his own face into her shoulder because he couldn't believe this was happening and he needed to stay in this moment forever, as stupidly cheesy as that sounded.

"I love you too, so freaking much," he breathed. And they must have stayed in that embrace for too long, because when they finally pulled apart his joints definitely did not thank him.

And Violet laughed at him when he groaned and complained, but she put the ring on herself at the same time, smiling at it.

"And here I am always complaining you aren't listening," she joked. (It wasn't that he didn't listen to her, he did, he just found her mesmerizing when she was going on about something completely random and had no reason to know.)

"Of course I listen. But you're going to have to explain that Boston Tea Party thing again because I was kind of only half paying attention."

A/N: Yeah that's as good of an ending as you're going to get, so I hope you like it. Anyway, please review, and if you want something else similar to this, there's a poll on my profile that I would love if you voted on.

Thanks for reading!