Francis McQueen was a smart man. He kept copies of the same button-up and brought an extra with him in case something happened to the first. He made sure all his socks matched so that he would never have to worry about something about his outfit being off. He had copies of his jacket so that he would look the same no matter the weather. He owned exactly one brightly coloured tie for special occasions. Overall, he was more proud on his ability to keep his composure in most situations which allowed him to be such a great detective. He kept his room organized and made sure everything had a space, the only fault would be overflowing trash bins due to his failures at paper toss.
He was very happy with how this was, and to the lengths he went to for keeping up such an image. Of course, like any other man, highschool Francis was not like this in the slightest which meant it was all the more reason to keep composure now. Also more of the reason to dive into work, make a better name for himself than what nickname he got slapped on him in the education system. Of course, he took breaks. What kind of proper detective didn’t take mandated breaks so the government wouldn't be on his company’s ass? Yet here he was in his apartment working overtime on a case as Patrick was doing something in the background.
He wasn’t bothered, as Patrick came and went as he pleased, they practically were living together at this point. If Patrick wasn’t at his house, then they were at the other’s. It got to the point that they each had clothes for the other to change into incase of an impromptu stayover, in memory of when they got snowed in.
“Uhm- Fran- McQueen?” Patrick called from the kitchen following a loud bang.
“Can I use your shower?”
“Yeah, why?” Francis glanced behind him to where Patrick should’ve been. He was understandably not there, causing Francis to furrow his eyebrows.
“I spilt something.”
“Oh. Do you need help cleaning it up?”
“I- I got it!” Strange, typically Patrick’s voice didn’t raise an octave for no reason but Francis brushed it aside.
With shuffling following the pause in dialogue, Francis turned back to the paperwork for the case they just solved in hopes to finish it tonight. The last thing he needed was to have the paperwork carry over into other cases, and it wasn’t like he would be able to ask Patrick to fill it out himself. With the water having been turned on, Francis sighed and undid his tie. The last thing he needed was to accidentally choke himself while messing with it. Soon enough the apartment had the background noise of pen on paper and water through pipes.
It was a peaceful while, Francis finally feeling productive, at least until he ran straight into a block his brain refused to comprehend. Great. Clearly the only option was to stare at the paper as he fiddled with the pen until he figured it out. The shower stopped at some point, but Francis didn’t notice. He was too consumed by the mental block and staring at the page. The two hands on either side of him startled Francis back to reality, on instinct pushing his chair back hard.
"Ow." Patrick whined, stumbling back.
"Shit- sorry!" Francis quickly stood up, turning to face his partner that was crouched over in pain. "Are you alright?"
"Fine!" Patrick gave a thumbs-up, taking a deep breath. "Peachy!"
Francis took a shaky breath, grabbing Patrick's arm. "Dooley..."
"Are you actually okay or are you just saying it again?"
"It's just some pain," Patrick assures, straightening up to reveal a very old band shirt. "Nothing severe, I don't think."
Francis nodded, letting go of Patrick's arm hesitantly. "Alright."
"Alright." Patrick echoed.
They stared at each other for a few seconds before Francis turned away quickly, going back to sit down and attend the case. “I need to finish this.”
“What is it?” Patrick once again leaned over the detective, putting his hands on the table on either side of Francis.
“The paperwork for our latest case.”
“The one we got pizza after?”
“...Yes. The one we got pizza after.”
“That one was cool.” Patrick smiled faintly.
“The gremlins got into the computer lab!” Francis sighed, resting his head on his hand.
“Heh, yeah they did. They look like green lemurs.”
“They broke the entire internet!”
“Is that why you’re using paper?”
Francis sighed deeply before leaning back in his chair to look up at Patrick. “Yes, Dooley, that’s why I’m using paper.”
“Weird.” Patrick grinned, looking down at Francis.
“Don’t give me that look.” Francis mumbled softly.
“What do you mean?” Patrick tilted his head to the side, still looking Francis in the eyes.
“That one.” Francis slowly extended his hand to touch the side of Patrick’s face, seemingly unaware of the proximity or simply ignoring how it seemed.
“This is how I look all the time though?” Patrick hummed. “Is it because I don’t have my hat on?”
Francis couldn’t help but laugh at that, pulling away from him. “Yeah, you look a lot different when I can see your mullet and bangs.”
Patrick smiled at that, leaning closer to the detective. “That’s all?”
Francis continued to fidget with his pen idly, ignoring Patrick who was essentially looming over him. At least that was what he was hoping to do, though with Patrick pressed against his back and dripping water onto him it was a bit hard to focus.
“You’re getting water on the table, Dooley.” Francis muttered, glancing up at the officer who looked back at him innocently.
“Why are you looming anyways?”
“I wanna know when you’re done with your work.” He smiled.
“So we can hang out! You always have your face in a document, the only time we really hang out is on-duty or when Patricia makes us handle Buzz because she needs a break.”
Francis bit his cheek. That much was true, even after everything he still found a struggle in balancing work and life. One could call it escapism from realizing there’s not much to his life besides Patrick and his job, though Francis would probably ignore whoever said that. He sighed, glancing back at the paper before putting his pen down.
“I can take a break to hang out, what do you want to do?”
Patrick’s grin brightened, taking a few steps back from his looming position so Francis could get out of the chair and stand up.
“I got you a surprise!”
“Is that what fell earlier?”
“Shh!” Patrick hushed, covering Francis’ mouth with his hands whilst leaning closer. “It’s a surprise.”
Francis couldn’t do much but nod. Patrick slowly pulled away, before grabbing Francis’ hand, intertwining their fingers, and dragging him into the kitchen where a large bag was sat.
“What… is this?”
“The surprise!” Patrick grinned, doing jazz-hands. It was a bit strange considering he was still holding Francis’ hand, but let's not look too deep into it. “Do you know what day it is?”
That threw Francis for a loop. The day? He genuinely had no clue, perhaps a Thursday? No, that couldn’t be it because he just had pizza as leftovers and he only gets pizza on Mondays. Would a pizza last that long in a fridge? Probably, though that would just confuse the timeline more. Was it the number of the day? The whole date? It was certainly the first half of the month, or would the first half be over by tonight? Was that technicality important for anything?
“Earth to Detective?” Patrick hummed, jostling Francis from his thoughts.
“Of course I know the day.” Francis lied. “What do you take me for?”
“Someone who still relies on food to tell the days of the week?” Patrick tilted his head to the side.
“Why do I love you?”
“Who knows.” Patrick giggled. “It’s spaghetti Sunday! But beyond that, it’s our meeting-anniversary. Meetiversary, if you will.”
“Meetiversary?” Francis raised an eyebrow. “Patrick, we’ve known each other for years- decades even.”
“Yeah! That’s so neat!” Patrick nodded enthusiastically. “This is our 25th anniversary of knowing each other! It’s a big number.”
“It is.” Francis agreed, feeling at least a little bit shitty about forgetting something that Patrick held so close to his heart.
“And we’ve been dating for 5 of them! I know you don’t like to do anything super flashy or public, so I just bought a bag and thought maybe you could take the night off, but you had cases to wrap up so I tried to arrange it nicely but then I spilt the glitter all over myself-”
“There was glitter?”
“-so I had to clean it all up and I decided it would all be safer in the bag and not set up on the counter so now it’s kinda like Christmas. If Christmas was about meeting you instead of Jesus.”
“Right.” Francis chuckled at that. “It did slip my mind, I must admit, it’s a bit embarrassing not having anything to give to you.”
“You have yourself!” Patrick smiled, not understanding the many contexts his words could fit into, thus being confused at how the detective’s cheeks flushed. “You’re spending time with me, that’s more than enough F- McQueen.”
“We’ve been dating for half a decade, you can call me Francis.” He reassured, squeezing their still intertwined hands.
“It just feels really intimate.” Patrick confessed, letting go of his hand. “You still need to open your gift first McQ- Fran- Francis.”
Francis couldn’t help but smile at the hesitation, nodding. “Alright, Patrick.”
Ignoring how his boyfriend’s face turned a shade of red, Francis turned to the shiny bag albeit hesitant due to the forewarning of glitter. He picked it up and set it down on the table, it was arguably much lower than the counter, to peer inside.
Inside the bag, covered in a thin dust of bright red glitter, were a few items. There was a thin circular item, though the glitter covered up whatever it was supposed to be. Perhaps a badge, though Francis left that in the bag to pull out later when he figured out how to handle the glitter. Secondly there was a bouquet of plastic flowers, causing him to pull it out and glance at Patrick.
“I can handle real flowers.”
“What about PD?”
“You raise a good point there.” Francis nodded. “I don’t think these flowers would be safe for cats.”
“Do you like them?”
“They are rather nice.” He smiled, setting down the glitter covered amaryllises.
“There’s more.” Patrick encouraged, causing Francis to chuckle.
“You seem more excited than me.”
Brushing some of the glitter off, he found a new notebook with the cover covered in stickers. Notably it seemed to have ‘Patrick x Francis’ on the cover in bubble letters, causing Francis to laugh brightly.
“What is this?” He held it up for Patrick to see. “What does this mean?”
“Do you like it? I did the sticker work with Buzz, he’s the reason there’s a train on it.”
“There’s a train-?” Francis cut himself off, turning the notebook to see the cover again and quickly locating the Thomas the Tank Engine sticker that was stuck on the top-left corner of the notebook. “There is a train. Huh.”
Patrick tried not to laugh at the reaction as Francis put the book down on the table. “I will be asking more questions about this later you know.”
“Like what kind of questions?”
“What does ‘Patrick x Francis’ mean?”
“...It means we fuck.”
“PATRICK!” Francis’ face turned about as red as the glitter, causing Patrick to start laughing.
“I think that’s what it means? The internet told me that’s what it means.” He smiled innocently. “Do we not?”
“I-” Francis took a breath, “Patrick- we-”
“Do we or don’t we, Detective?” Patrick teased.
Francis just huffed, turning back to the bag causing Patrick to start laughing, needing to hold onto the table for support.
“It’s not that funny.”
“It’s a little bit funny. Like when you took me to Make-Out point-”
“That was for a case!”
“But you never took me when we were in highschool. I’m an established gentleman now!”
“When we were in-?” Francis shook his head, digging through the bag blindly in hopes to pull something out to change the topic.
It was the small circular item! With the glitter shaken from it, it looked like a badge from back in the day when they both were in scouts together, albeit with a very different design.
“What is this?”
“It’s a bloodwolf badge!” Patrick smiled.
“Okay, but what is it?”
“You earn it when you start using the buddy system, except I added the heart on it myself.”
Francis could only nod, looking at the very crude stitchwork of the button. He wanted to frame it, but that’d be a little weird. He’d just have to put it somewhere where anyone walking into his apartment could see it, clearly.
“That’s… really sweet.”
“Are you crying?”
“No.” Francis lied once more, wiping the tears that were brimming in his eyes.
“C’mere.” Patrick opened his arms for a hug that Francis quickly barreled into. “What’s the matter?”
“Nothing!” Francis’ voice was muffled, hugging Patrick tightly. “That’s- you’re just so sweet and thoughtful.”
“Aw, thank you.” Patrick patted Francis on the back. “That doesn’t really explain why you’re crying though.”
“I’m happy.” Francis mumbled. “I’m happy I met you. I’m happy we’re dating. I’m happy to have you in my life and that fate- which I still think is bullshit- let us meet again.”
“I mean if fate is what put me back into your life, I should thank her.” Patrick hummed. “Do you think she accepts gift cards?”
Francis couldn’t help but laugh at that. “I love you so much.”
“I love you too. Happy meetiversary, Francis.”
“Happy meetiversary.” He echoed softly, before pulling out of the hug to wipe his tears and take a deep breath.
Perhaps he was mentally psyching himself up, Patrick didn’t need to know.
“Do you want help with making spaghetti or should we just order
some? I heard there’s a really good place that just opened up down the street! They also have schnitzel but I don’t know what that is, it looks like a really flat Popeyes’ chicken.”
“Patrick?” Francis hesitantly grabbed one of his hands.
“I- uh…” Francis took a breath, “I think I’ll be alright if we come out to your sister…”
“Us… in a relationship… my sexuality- I think I’m… I think I’m good with it now.” Francis nodded. “Maybe still slow on the PDA but… I- I really do want people to know how much I love you.”
“You’re sure?” Patrick pulled Francis closer. “I know you’ve always been… intent on keeping your image. Please don’t just be doing this because you feel like you need to-”
“I want to.” Francis’ tone was firm. “Maybe not to my parents yet, but your family. I know you’re already out to them and they probably already have their own ideas on our relationship, but uh one step at a time. Yeah?”
“Yeah.” Patrick nodded slowly, smiling gently at the detective in his arms. “Does this mean I should bake another coming out cake?”
“Coming out cake?”
“I made a cake when I came out.” Patrick shrugged. “I burnt it a little, guess I’m just a tad flaming.”
“Patrick-” Francis giggled, shaking his head. “Maybe store bought will be fine.”
“It will be.” Patrick reassures. “I’ll be right beside you.”
“Thank you.” Francis pulled Patrick in for a brief kiss. “I love you.”
“I love you too.”