Chestopher stared at himself in the mirror. The dress made him look a little too much like a princess, he thought. He turned around. On the other hand—it was very flattering to his tail, which he’d always felt wasn’t quite muscular enough, and which the train of the gown accentuated nicely. He sighed and went back to straightening his veil. The sequins on its hem caught the light from the open window in the turret.
“Bro,” a voice hissed, and Chestopher jumped. “Buddy. Bruh.”
He turned around. Squadrick had snaked his head in the window and was looking at him wide-eyed.
“Oh my god, bro, what are you doing here,” Chestopher growled. “Don’t you know it’s bad luck to see your bro before the ceremony?”
“I have the jitters, bro,” Squadrick said, laying his head mournfully on the windowsill; and he did indeed look shaky. His scales were trembling softly and he was panting. “Bro. Maybe we should just like. Run away,” he whispered. “Let’s just get some princesses for the road and book it out of here. No one will know.”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” Chestopher said. “Literally our whole families are waiting for us down there. Not to mention all the princesses we know, so it’s not like we can sneak out of town.” His voice softened. Squadrick was usually the expressive one, but he seemed too genuinely distressed to deal with the situation. Chestopher looked down at his ring. Squadrick had worked up the nerve for a bro-posal. Chestopher could do this part, even if it made him feel a little undragonly.
He lifted up his veil so he could see better, being careful not to tear the fine fabric with his massive claws, and scooted over to the windowsill. He laid his head down on top of Squadrick’s, just like they used to do when they had nothing, not even a cave, and had to be snugglebros just to keep warm.
“Hey,” he said. “Pal. Bro. If you really don’t wanna do this, we don’t have to.” Squadrick made a plaintive noise, and Chestopher gently blew fire over him to calm him down. “What I mean is, I want to do this. But a ceremony isn’t going to change anything.” He rolled his head over so that they were looking into each other’s eyes. “You’ll always be my best bro,” he whispered. “You always have been.”
Squadrick was silent for a moment; and then he said, “Did it hurt, bro?”
Chestopher narrowed his eyes. “I—no? Did what hurt? I’m not—”
“When you fell down from heaven,” Squadrick finished, raising his head. “’Cause you’re an angel to me, bro!” He snapped his talons and grinned.
“Not your best,” said Chestopher, but he was grinning too.
Squadrick puffed out a little smoke happily. “I’ll be down in the courtyard, bro,” he said, and then he was gone.
After fiddling a little more with the veil, Chestopher gave up. Squadrick wouldn’t really care if everything wasn't perfect, he thought. And it didn’t matter if everything was perfect. Chestopher sniffled. Everything would be okay as long as his bro was with him.
When he went down into the courtyard, though, and he saw everyone standing there—their princesses, their parents, even his son, who had taken a break from his glamorous castle siege and flown in from lands distant—well, Chestopher got a little choked up.
And then he saw Squadrick, tears streaming down his face as the music started up. Squadrick opened his mouth to sing.
Let’s face the facts about me and you / our love unspecified
Chestopher walked slowly down the makeshift aisle, and everyone rose to their feet. The florists had done a really good job, he thought. Each set of lawn chairs had a massive bouquet at each end, with shimmery grey and white ribbons tying them together to match the color of their scales. As Chestopher walked past his mom, he saw that she was crying, her tears smoking softly as they ran down her face. She smiled.
Chestopher began his part of the duet:
I feel exactly those feelings too / and that’s why I keep them inside
As they sang, Chestopher sneaked a look over Squadrick’s shoulder; Fucking Nancy was absolutely killing it on the keyboard, smoking a cigarette and looking not at all moved by the ceremony. Ah, Fucking Nancy. She was eternal, like underscale rash.
They came to the end of their song, and Squadrick, unscripted, reached forward and took Chestopher’s hands. He blushed.
It’s guy love / between / two guys.
Everyone applauded when they were done. After Squadrick carefully lifted Chestopher’s veil, they turned toward the officiant: Squadrick’s younger sister, Dismembra. She had a clerical collar on, and Chestopher wondered whether she’d eaten a human officiant to get it. Probably not. Squadrick’s family was really nontraditional that way.
“Welcome, everyone,” Dismembra intoned, “to this sacred occasion, on which we join these bros together forever. It is a blessing to preside over a bromance so natural and so strong. I’ve watched these two go from awkward hugs to awkward domesticity. It seems like only yesterday you met on BROkcupid.com.”
Chestopher chuckled, remembering, and Squadrick ducked his head. God, that profile pic had been a disaster—Squadrick holding a Smirnoff Ice and grinning toothily at the camera. He’d kept trying to “ice” his new bro for a good two weeks, and Chestopher had pretended to be annoyed, but really he was touched. Squadrick’s pranks were such a transparent expression of affection.
“And now: Chestopher, do you promise to be Squadrick’s lawful bro, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, as long as you both shall live?”
“BRUH,” Chestopher replied loudly, choking back tears.
“And you, Squadrick. Do you promise to be Chestopher’s lawful bro, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, as long as you both shall live?”
“Bruh,” Squadrick said softly, holding Chestopher’s gaze. His expression was so tender, Chestopher thought he might faint.
“By the power vested in me,” Dismembra said, “I now pronounce you... bros for life!”
“You may kiss your bro,” she added, winking, and Chestopher and Squadrick rushed toward each other. He heard one of the princesses wolf whistle off in the distance, but he didn’t care. They were going to be together forever.
“Bro,” Chestopher murmured. “Are you a parking ticket?”
“What?” Squadrick said. “Am I a parking ticket?”
Chestopher grinned. “Yeah.”
“No?” Squadrick said. “I think I paid all our parking tickets...”
“Because you’ve got FINE written all over you,” Chestopher finished.
“Broseph,” Squadrick said weakly, too overwhelmed to speak. “Brah.” He gripped Chestopher’s hand. “I never thought I’d see the day,” he added at last.
“Bros for life,” Chestopher said. “Now let’s get to that bro-nymoon.”