Chapter 1: Gus's Work
“So, wait, Burton. You’re married?”
Gus sighed, lifting his left hand so that the worn silver band on his ring finger could be plainly seen. “Yes, sir. Have been for nearly seven years, now.”
His manager, a portly and red-faced man who he had known for four of those years, smiled. “You’re lucky to have found love so young. We’d all like to meet your wife at the next office party.”
“No, sir, you really wouldn’t,” Gus said politely, forcing a smile and edging towards the door.
“Nonsense, I’m sure she’s a lovely woman.”
Taking a deep breath, Gus looked his manager in the eye. “Sir, I’m not really one to mix my personal life with my professional one, so I’ll only say this once and hopefully we’ll be able to move forward with our jobs when I’m done. I am married to a man. For obvious reasons, it’s not legal, but we had a small ceremony with our families and, for us, it’s as binding as any certificate could be. I am already the only black man working for this company. I prefer that not everyone know I am also the only gay one. Sir.”
“Oh, um. Of course, Guster. Carry on.”
Chapter 2: Lassiter
“I demand a phone call,” Shawn stated. Lassiter rolled his eyes.
“As of right now, you’re not in police custody. You can call whoever you want after we finish questioning you.”
“Thanks, buddy, you’re a godsend,” Shawn said, immediately pulling his cellphone out of his pocket and dialing.
“I didn’t mean right now!”
Smiling at Lassiter politely, he waited for Gus to pick up. “Shawn? I’m about to get off work.”
“Hey, yeah, babe, it’s me. I know I was supposed to pick up some Chinese food for dinner, but I’m kindof at the police station instead.”
“How are you only kindof at the police station? You’re either there or you aren’t, Shawn. Did you get arrested? I don’t know if we can afford bail. We just finished the payments on your motorcycle.”
“No, actually, I’m not in police custody or anything,” Shawn said, looking Lassiter straight in the eye. “Get this, though. Remember that store manager on Channel Four News yesterday night? They totally arrested him.”
“I thought you said you wouldn’t call that in,” Gus said, sounding exhausted. “They’re going to think you’re involved one of these days.”
Shawn paled, forcing out a weak chuckle. “Babe, don’t get mad, but…” There was a harsh exhalation on the other end of the phone.
“Stay right there and don’t say a word. Not a word, Shawn. I’m heading down right now.” Gus seemed to hurriedly hang up, likely so that he could proceed to run for his car. Shawn dropped the phone and idly smiled at the officers in front of him.
Lassiter was thumbing through a manila folder and frowning. “Are you married, Spencer?”
Shawn nodded, flashing his ring with a grin. “Proudly participating in a seven-year honeymoon phase, Scully.”
“Don’t call me that,” the officer said warningly. “There’s no legal record of your marriage. You might want to check into that soon, before you and your wife get pulled in for tax fraud.”
Shawn raised an eyebrow and shook his head. “Thanks, but I’m not concerned.”
After about fifteen more minutes of arguing, there was a knock on the door. Lassiter, looking remarkably ruffled, stood up to answer it.
“Yes?” he barked to the young officer on the other side of it. “What could possibly be more important than what I’m doing right now?”
“Sorry, sir,” said Buzz, inching back, “but Mr. Spencer’s partner is in the lobby right now, and refuses to leave until Mr. Spencer is released.”
Lassiter turned to Shawn. “Your wife, I’m assuming?”
Shawn shrugged. “Maybe, but I’m kinda betting on it being my husband.”
Chapter 3: Office
“I said no.”
Shawn, affronted, waved his arms around pointlessly. “Look at this! Babe. Babe. You said I should get a hobby.”
Gus could feel a migraine building in his left temple. “No. This is not a hobby. This is real estate. This is you trying to spend my hard-earned money on an office in order to house a job you do not have.”
Shawn put a hand on over his heart. “Babe-”
“I swear to God, I might actually divorce you if you keep calling me that. We are arguing, Shawn. This is an argument.” Gus took a deep, slow breath in and out, looking around at the building he had been dragged to by his husband. “You get one more try to explain to me why we absolutely have to sign a lease on a small office in the middle of nowhere.”
Shawn opened his mouth immediately, excited-
“If you say ‘for the greater good’ one more time,”
-and then closed it, squinting at the property around him in concentration. For a few minutes, he said nothing, and Gus felt himself calm down, thinking that he had maybe won this round.
The building wasn’t really too bad, truth be told, but their financial situation was, at it’s best, not great. Shawn generally had a job of some kind, but rarely anything that lasted longer than a month, and never something well-paid enough to remove Gus from his permanent role as the provider.
“Thank you,” Gus made himself say, “for not just signing my name on the lease and telling me about it later. We’re a team. We make these choices together.”
Shawn nodded, smiling and grabbing his hand for a second. “Okay,” he finally said. “I know it’s ridiculous, and I know that we probably shouldn’t buy this property, and I know I’m totally unreliable-”
“You aren’t unreliable. I just-”
“No, no, babe. It’s okay. I kinda don’t stick to anything for very long. I know. It’s just, like. I think this is a thing I can really do. I think I would be good at this.”
Gus sighed. “If we do this, we’ve got to really do this, Shawn. You can’t run a private detective agency halfway. I mean, not that I know how to run a detective agency. Do you know how to run a detective agency, Shawn?”
“I mean, not exactly, but-”
“Okay, no, I don’t, but we can totally figure that out.”
Pausing, Gus looked at his husband for a few seconds, trying his best to understand why he wanted it so badly. “Okay,” he said slowly, “but this doesn’t interfere with my job.”