Disclaimer: GW = not mine.

Author's Note: Partially inspired by the How I Met Your Mother episode "The Naked Man." Yes, that's where most of my inspiration is coming from nowadays. :) It's another one-shot set in the same universe as Nonsensical Nuances. It's set before NN and shows how Quatre and Dorothy got together.

Opportunity Cost
by mistress amethyst une

Opportunity cost is the cost of passing up the next best choice when making a decision.

"Marry me?" he asked, his eyes pleading with her as the box of blue velvet lay open on the table, the diamond ring resting inside glaring at her.

She snapped the box shut. "Make me want to."

"What?"

"Quatre, I've enjoyed this little romance of ours but, if you want me for life, I want something in return."

He was puzzled, still shocked from what seemed like rejection to him. "Excuse me? Didn't I just offer you my heart on a silver platter?"

She laughed. "And what exactly do I gain from that?"

He noted that her fingers were playing along his thigh now, gently stroking up and down, inching tantalizingly close to-

He shoved her hand away and glared at her.

She laughed again. "You're such a prude. You do know what I want, don't you? I want you to pay off the opportunity cost I'll have to contend with if I decide to be your partner for life."

"Name your price," he blurted. Despite his confusion and wounded pride, he still wanted her more than anything else.

She smiled the sick smile of an executioner about to deal a death blow. "Your innocence."

"What?"

"I want a test drive. Nobody ridden you before, right? Do I have to spell it out? If I'm going to marry you, I want to be sure you aren't defective. I may be sex on legs but I still believe in the sanctity of marriage. I don't want any deficiencies on your part tempting me into taking a lover. Besides, I've never been with a virgin before."

His mouth fell open. "Sex? You'll marry me for sex? And, excuse me, what makes you so sure I'm a virgin?"

"Again, opportunity costs. Do you have any idea what I'll have to pass up if I marry you? I'm just beginning to adapt to monogamy. As for your virginity, that was never in question. Don't think I didn't catch you blushing when I tricked you into watching porn."

He felt his face burn, remembering how- He really didn't approve of her taste in movies. He should've caught on when that pizza delivery guy came onscreen. Just remembering it made him feel a tad ill.

"So, what do you think? Are you going to put out?"

His mouth fell open. She was never one for subtlety, and she liked getting a straight answer when she asked a question. This awkward silence wasn't working for her at all.

"I guess I have no further business here then," she remarked, obviously disappointed. "Dinner's on you, isn't it? If we're splitting the bill, I'll pay you back tomorrow. My offer still stands should you change your mind. If you want my hand in marriage, I expect you in my suite and under me before midnight. I like to turn in early on weekdays."

She rose from her seat, placing her hand beneath his chin and closing his mouth before setting off. He sat frozen, the sound of her heels clicking against the pavement mimicking the pounding of his heart.

Against his better judgment, he looked at his watch. Was he really considering this? It was nine in the evening. Could he find the courage to walk over to her hotel room before the clock struck twelve? Did he really want this woman badly enough to let her corrupt him completely? She did have a point about opportunity cost. She would be giving up a lot if she married him. What exactly did he have to bring to the table? Besides, this wasn't some fling she was asking for. She simply wanted to be sure he was the right partner for her before tying the knot.

He gulped. But what if he wasn't the man for her? What if he couldn't perform? Would she simply throw him away? No, he wasn't supposed to be thinking like this. He was going to earn her hand in marriage tonight. Nothing would stop him. With a shaky hand, he took his box off the table and pocketed it. After paying the bill, he walked to her hotel, hoping against all odds that he was making the right choice.

Upon entering the lobby, he couldn't help but notice a gorgeous call girl on a particularly elderly businessman's arm. Prostitution was legal on L-4 and female members of the trade were marked by their skimpy attire. The male prostitutes were less overt, usually clad in tuxedoes. An older woman approached him, slipping a business card into his palm. Soon after, a blushing young woman he recognized as an L-1 diplomat slipped yet another card into his pocket. It was then that he remembered that he was in a tux. He had to get out of this lobby fast. Upon reaching the elavator, he pushed the 'up' button and got in with a well-dressed older gentleman. He arrived on Dorothy's floor with yet another business card unceremoniously stuffed into his clenched fist.

Inwardly cursing, he walked up to her door. Standing there, he couldn't help but think that this was the last point at which he could turn back. Was he really going to do this? Trying the knob on the door, he was surprised to discover it was unlocked. So she was expecting him... Well, at least this removed any awkward knocking on his part. He stepped into her suite, hearing the sound of the shower as he shut the door behind him. She was in the bathroom. Well, this was just great. How exactly did a man hoping to be deflowered make an entrance anyway?

Noticing the queen size bed, he cautiously sat himself down on the mattress. No, that didn't feel right. He shed his shoes and socks then plopped himself down onto the bed. He bit his lip. A fully-clothed man waiting for her as she got out of the shower? That wasn't sexy, was it? No, if that was anything, it was creepy. She wouldn't be turned on like this.

The noise coming from the shower ceased. She would be coming out soon. Oh hell, it was all or nothing now. He quickly slipped out of his clothes and resumed his position. As he lay there, his heart began beating so fast it hurt. The bathroom door creaked open.

He heard her gasp as she entered the bedroom. That was a good sound, wasn't it? He'd caught her by surprise. Spontaneity was hot, right? She was clad only in a towel and was definitely not expecting see a naked Quatre on her bed. He grinned at her nervously, trying to be sexy. Wearing only a smile wasn't all it was cracked up to be. He was even more mortified when she began laughing.

"Put some clothes on, Quatre!" she gasped out as she attempted to suppress her giggles. "I just wanted you to show up. I wanted to see if you were willing to make a sacrifice for me. I didn't expect you to- I'll marry you. Just...oh my goodness. You pass with flying colors. This is too much! Did you really think I was going to take advantage of you?"

"WHAT?!" he screamed, getting up off the bed and standing before her in all his naked glory. "You put me through this to- YOU?!"

"Calm down!" she exclaimed, trying to breathe as she wiped at her tears from laughing so hard. "Look, I told you to make me want to marry you, right? This takes the cake. I've never had a man want me bad enough to risk showing up naked in my room. And to think you're a virgin!"

He was red as a beet and angry as a hornet. How dare she laugh at his efforts? He needed to get dressed but that would entail bending over to pick up his discarded clothes.

She sighed. "Look, I understand if you probably never want to speak to me again. Really, I didn't expect you to go through all this trouble."

"You didn't?" he blurted, glaring at her through the tears of embarrassment and anger now flowing from his eyes. "I would have given anything for you to be mine. Didn't you realize that? I was mistaken for a call boy thrice while coming up here!"

She ran a hand through her wet hair. " A call boy? Oh...the tux. Quatre, I'm so sorry. But really, I didn't tell you to show up naked."

"You didn't need to. That's the whole point of loving someone. You anticipate their needs."

"And I needed to see you naked?"

"You were the one asking for a test drive!"

She could tell that his rage stemmed mostly from shame. Sighing, she let her towel drop and bent down to pick up his clothes.

"What are you doing?" he asked. She didn't think it was possible for him to get any redder but, apparently, the human face had a greater capacity for blood than she ever could have imagined.

"Making us even," she replied, handing him his shirt. She went through his pant pockets and took the ring box out before getting up and returning the garment to him.

"If you think-"

Before he knew what was happening, she had gotten down on one knee, smirking as she presented him the closed box. "Quatre Raberba Winner, would you do me the honor of proposing to me again?"

It wasn't every day that a naked woman proposed to him. He heaved a heavy sigh. "On one condition."

She smiled. "Anything."

"I want your heart. That's my opportunity cost. Your heart for the blessedly peaceful though dreadfully dull life I would have had without you."

Again, she laughed. This time, it was a good-natured sound, amused more than anything. "What a silly boy you are. Asking for something you've already got..."

He took the ring box from her and helped her up. "Then it's a deal. Miss Dorothy, it would be my honor to propose to you again. But first, I think we need to put some clothes on."


Well, this one was written in a rush. I'm hoping it's up to par. The idea sort of visited me while I was half-asleep in the car.