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Till Death (Or Denial) Do Us Part

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It started out as a joke.

Matt and Foggy had been friends since they were sixteen, meeting online on a forum for students interested in going into law. They’d partnered in a mock-debate, started chatting via Skype, and never really stopped. Still, when they first began talking about going to the same college, being roommates, and opening a firm together, it was a joke.

When they both admitted (one particularly stressed out night in the middle of AP exams) that neither was entirely straight, their hypothetical future situation added a layer of gay married lawyers, and that was very much most definitely a joke. They didn’t even live in the same state, after all. Matt was a child of Hell’s Kitchen through and through, and while Foggy was born and raised there as well, he’d gone through high school just outside of Boston.

Then they got their acceptance letters from Columbia, and the jokes suddenly became a very possible reality.

Even then, they didn’t think on it too much. They were preoccupied with cross-examining their different options and factoring in tuition, scholarships, and grants. It was only when Matt decided on Columbia but Foggy picked a lesser school that the topic came up again.

“It’s out of state, Matt. I can’t ask my parents to pay that, and I don’t qualify for hardly any scholarships.”

“It’s a private university. There’s no tuition difference based on residency!”

“Yeah, but the cost of living going there versus staying local is brutal, man. They’re not offering me as much aid, either...”

“Not based on financial need, maybe, but you can apply for essay scholarships independently. I’ll help!”

“Dude, I’m not competing for scholarships against you!”

“So we compile our resources and split them up, fifty/fifty. That’s what future partners do, right?”

“... Uh, Matt...”

“Future law partners. Or, well, maybe the other kind, too.” There was laughter in Matt’s voice, but it trailed off after a moment. “Actually...”

“Oh, god. Do I want to know?”

“You were planning to work in college, right? Married couples—”

“MATT.”

“—get tax breaks for filing jointly, and we’d be ensured the same room.”

“Oh my god, Matt, we’re not getting married for—you really think it’d work?”

“Why not?”

“Okay, but what if we meet people we actually want to date?”

“So we say it’s an open relationship. Although honestly, if we’re working and going through the law program, I doubt either of us will have that much time for dating anyway.”

“That was seriously the least romantic proposal ever.”

“I can get down on one knee in front of the laptop, if you want?”

“Jesus Christ, Murdock!”

“Language, Fog.”

The admonition lacked heat; by this point, it was a running joke more than anything else, and they both snorted with laughter.

The chuckles died down to thoughtful silence. After a few moments, Foggy asked, “You gonna buy me a nice ring?”

“I’ll buy you a whole box of rings, Nelson. Best in New York.”

**

Two months before the start of the term, Foggy took the bus into Manhattan and met up with Matt. It was their first time meeting in person.

Stepping off the bus, he recognized his best friend instantly. A year and a half of Skype chats meant he had his appearance down pat, and there was definitely no mistaking somebody that good-looking for anyone else, even without the cane and familiar black sunglasses.

Especially when Matt’s reaction to Foggy calling out his name and drawing close was to grin, drop down on one knee, and offer up a large, white box. Curious, Foggy opened it up—

—and was immediately hit with the fragrant scent of a still-hot stack of Tabla’s spiced onion rings.

Foggy cracked up.

Like the giant dork he was, Matt grinned shamelessly. “I promised, didn’t I?”

“Best in the state,” Foggy agreed, shutting the box and singing an arm around Matt’s shoulders as the brunette stood. “You’re so damn lucky that was me and not some other acquaintance, buddy.”

“I’d know your voice anywhere,” Matt replied in a strangely soft tone. “It’s great to meet you in person.”

Foggy couldn’t respond for a few seconds. Once he managed to work past the sudden emotion lodged in his throat, he cleared it and nodded. “I just nodded,” he said. “You, too. Ready for our big day?”

Matt smiled. “Yeah. Let’s go get married.”

As they grabbed Foggy’s bags and headed off to the motel Matt was already checked into, Foggy stuck his hand in his coat to make sure his two most important packages were there. One was indeed a ring (god bless relatives who gave money as a graduation present), titanium for its hypo-allergenic properties and not bound to be a surprise; they’d talked about ring sizes ages ago, back when this was all just a fantasy.

The other, and significantly more important, package was a case that held a year’s worth of birthday and Christmas and wedding presents all in one: a pair of round, blood-red sunglasses.