When Canton opens the door to his apartment, placing his coat on the hook and keys on the front table, he turns the corner and nearly runs into Michael leaning against the wall.
“Christ,” he gasps, heart jumping up then down in an instant.
With all the mystery and aliens and time traveling blue boxes, Canton has been decidedly more jumpy than his usual self. And to think four months ago removal from the bureau for daring to come out used to be as ‘bad as it could get.’
Michael raises his eyebrows, “tough day?”
Canton laughs. “Uh, well, you could say that.”
“Did you get to watch?” Michael steps back once and nods his head at the TV still on with newscaster commentary about the moon landing. “It’s really amazing.”
Canton clears his throat and nods. “Well, I did… sort of.”
He can’t tell Michael he knows there was more to the footage than bouncing in zero gravity; he can’t say how involved he was, how aliens no one remembers until seen again lurk among them still. Canton stares at the TV, the reel of Neil Armstrong climbing down the Moon Lander ladder repeating, and he thinks of a blue police box.
Then Michael touches his cheek and he blinks, eyes sliding on to Michael’s face. “You all right?”
Canton smiles and grips Michael’s arm, “I’m fine, really.” He turns Michael around and slides his arm down around Michael’s waist. “I almost punched President Nixon today.”
Michael makes a choking noise and whips around. “You what?”
Canton laughs. “Well, I thought about it.”
Michael raises an eyebrow. “Is this about that special project they brought you back for; the on the sly, can’t-do-within-the-Bureau thing?” Michael makes one of his haughty ‘stupid peasants’ faces and Canton really wants to kiss him.
He pulls Michael closer and shrugs. “Actually, that’s finished… mostly finished. Well, yes, it’s finished.”
“Finished how?” Michael leans his weight against Canton even though he’s a good two inches taller and fifty pounds heavier. “Did your project have anything to do with the moon landing? Am I dating a spaceman?”
Canton blinks slowly because it’s really just too funny and it’s odd but he wishes the Doctor was here to appreciate the irony, Amy too, she would have laughed hard.
“I would say at least 98% human here,” Canton kisses Michael, “and staying that way.”
Michael gives him a slightly confused look then shakes his head and stands up straight. He turns out of Canton’s arms and walks to the right into their kitchen, talking as he goes.
“Well, if it brings you back home away from surprise man hunts I’ll be happy.” He turns around as Canton leans in the doorway. “And no more nightmares.”
Canton purses his lips but says nothing. Michael watches Canton, that face which projects more than Michael needs to vocalize, concern and always knowing how the wheel turns. Michael nods after a minute and looks away. He picks up two plates of what looks like lasagna and walks past Canton back into the living room.
“I have a bit of good news, as good as it can get at the architectural firm of White and Whiter.”
Canton snorts at the nickname Michael always gives to his company and sits beside Michael on the couch.
“Davis was fired and you were named acting division head?”
Michael bursts out laughing, nearly knocking over his glass of lemonade. He claps a hand over his mouth and points his finger at Canton accusingly. Canton smirks and swings an arm over Michael’s shoulders onto the back of the couch.
“So, really then?”
“Well, it is Davis related but still fully entrenched on his golden seat.” Michael picks up his fork and circles it around in the air. “He finally looked at the plans I made for the Johnson account.”
Canton eyebrows fly up. “Did Christmas come early?”
Michael shrugs. “Well, he looked at them and tried very hard to not be impressed. Said something like ‘could use work in the artistry’ and some more he pulled out of his ass.” Michael takes a bite of his lasagna and taps Canton’s leg. “He may have used a phrase akin to ‘your people.’”
Canton scoffs. “Has he not heard of civil rights?”
“He probably voted for Nixon, Mr. Silent Majority.”
They both chuckle, the television beginning to chime with the first notes of some patriotic song still paying tribute to America affirming claims on the moon.
Canton wants to imagine a certain man flying around that moon in a bowtie, too young for the style and yet perfect for him, with three companions, not quite normal themselves. Canton misses them already, a new kind of adventure compared to his old days following drug trails over state lines and investigating governmental espionage. Fighting alien invasion with supposed Scotland Yard operatives? Well… He will never forget the four of them; never forget those creatures he cannot physically recall. Tick marks on a page look like warning labels now but the hard part, the leg work, the charade, the chase, everything is over.
Beside him, leaning against him, warm and normal and his whole world, Michael stabs his fork into another noodle eyes half on the TV. Canton knows the other half of Michael’s attention rests with Canton’s untouched plate. Michael never stops paying attention, always aware of every step or missing step Canton takes. Canton might have been the one with the gun but he knows Michael would see red in an instant if anyone ever hurt him.
Canton smiles to himself then sits up suddenly. He stands and walks over to the TV, turning the set off. He rotates around and claps his hands together once. Michael puts down his fork and waits.
“I know I can’t marry you as I’d like.”
The line of Michael’s lips thins slightly but beyond that he remains still.
Canton slips his hands into his pockets. “I can’t marry you; I want to and you want to marry me…”
“But I love you.” Canton pulls his hands out of his pockets, a small box in one. He steps back over to the couch and sits down beside Michael. “I love you and, to you and I, damn everyone else, we can be married if we want.”
Michael’s eyes flick down to the box then back to Canton’s face. His expression looks like it did when Canton first asked him, when Canton burst through the door ‘Let’s get married, for real, I mean it, you and me’ as if they were in Casablanca or An Affair to Remember, two Hollywood starlets reaching for the ‘happily ever after.’ Michael’s face looks excited, frightened, confused, and so full of love, love, love.
“You’re crazy, as usual,” he says quietly and takes the box out of Canton’s hand.
He opens it slowly and sighs. He stares into the box and bites the edge of his fingernail. He gazes up at Canton and smiles. Michael pulls out one ring and takes Canton’s hand, sliding it onto Canton’s finger. He pulls out the other gold ring and puts it on his own hand, box falling to the floor.
Canton smiles and for the first time in weeks, months, so many days of trying to remember a foe he could see only in the moment, peace and happiness fills his heart, the only thing worth feeling here.
“I’m not saying I’m going to stop being the FBI agent inside and become a house husband…”
“Or that it’ll be perfect.”
“Never had been, Canton.”
Canton raises an eyebrow. “But,” He threads his fingers around Michael’s, rings clinking in the quietest way, “But I’m yours until someone shoots me or you throw me out.”
Michael scoffs. “Both things that will never happen.”
“I sure hope not.”
“Well,” Michael leans forward, only inches apart, “I supposed I can put up with your dry humor and gruff voice.”
“And you’re not afraid of everyone out there so neither am I.”
Canton sighs in a slow breath out. “I love you.”
Michael pulls Canton to him, half into his lap and kisses him fiercely, “I love you too, Canton Everett Delaware the III, my husband.”
Canton kisses Michael back, arm around him and squeezes his hand, their rings pinching tight together, golden and marrying them because they say yes.