~*~

The day was going slowly. Melchior's secretary had nothing for him in the morning, nothing for him when he came back for his lunch-break. Nothing. But just as he was getting up out of his chair, Henri tapped lightly on his door with a somewhat confused look on his face, "Two men here to see you, sir. They say they know you…"

Melchior blinked and nodded, "Send them in, Henri."

Behind his blonde secretary appeared two people he would have never thought would come to see him: Hanschen Rilow and Ernst Robel.

"Hi, Melchi!" Ernst said.

"Ernst! Hanschen! What a surprise! What brings you here? You didn't commit a crime on anyone, did you?" Melchior asked.

"No… you're the only lawyer in town we know who would give in to our request…" Hanschen replied, blushing slightly.

"We figured… you were such a radical in school…" Ernst struggled with the request.

"Will you marry us?" Hanschen asked, seeing as his lover couldn't really spit the words out.

Melchior blushed, "You… You want to get married? You know our society would never allow it!"

"That's why… we thought… you would marry us… You always fought the system, Melchi…" Ernst replied.

Melchior thought for a moment, "You know what… you're absolutely right. It will have to be a secret between us three, all right?" Melchior asked. He, after all, didn't want to get his license taken away for a radical stunt like this one…

"So… you'll do it?" Hanschen asked. He took out his pocketbook, "Umm… how much would I owe you?"

"Nothing. You guys are old friends, and, if you don't pay me, I'll have a legitimate excuse to keep my license if my supervisor does find out," Melchior replied.

"Great!" Ernst said, taking Hanschen's hand. Melchior began rummaging through his desk, looking for the marriage certificate. A thought struck him:

"Ernst, get the flowers from the vase in the lobby. HENRI! GET YOUR ASS IN HERE, BOY!" Melchior shouted. Henri shuffled in, sweat on his brow. He nearly bowed as he entered Melchior's office. Ernst gave him a withering look as he went to get the flowers.

"W-W-What is it, Melchi, uh, Mr. Gabor?" Henri asked, blushing slightly.

"You're wife just left you, yes?" Melchior asked, as if he hadn't just yelled at the smaller man. Ernst walked in once more, a suddenly confused look on his pale face.

Henri nodded sadly, and Melchior beckoned the younger man to him. Henri went over almost like an abused puppy, not sure if Melchior would rub his belly or kick him, so to speak. Melchior took the man's hand softly, inspecting the gold ring on the ring finger. He looked at Ernst's hand, and suddenly ripped the ring off. Henri nearly whimpered, but went back to his desk out in the lobby. Melchior slipped the ring on Ernst's ring finger, smiled at the perfect fit, and then gently took it off. He then took the ring off his own finger (it wasn't a wedding ring. Some trinket his mother had made him wear when he graduated. He didn't remember why he still wore it) and slipped it on Hanschen's finger. It fit, so Melchior took it off and placed it next to Henri's ring.

"They may not match, but it's the symbolism that counts, right?" Melchior asked. He found the marriage document and made Hanschen and Ernst sign it. Once all the paperwork was signed and ready, Melchior stamped it, and made the lovers stand up. Situating them in front of his desk, he went behind it once more and cleared his throat.

"Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here today…" Ernst giggled. "What?"

"You don't have to do that part, Melchi…" he said.

"Fine… let me have some fun. Please?" Melchior asked.

"All right. Do the rings and the… umm…" Hanschen was a little embarrassed to go on.

"Perfect idea!" Melchior shouted, and took up Henri's ring… which was now Ernst's.

"These two lives are now joined in one unbroken circle. Wherever they go – may they always return to one another. May these two find in each other the love for which all people yearn. May they grow in understanding and in compassion. May the home which they establish together be such a place that many will find there a friend. May this symbolize the touch of the spirit of love in their hearts." Melchior said, handing Hanschen the gold band. "Hanschen, in placing this ring on Ernst's finger, repeat after me: Ernst, you are now consecrated to me as my husband from this day forward and I give you this ring as the pledge of my love and as the symbol of our unity and with this ring, I thee wed."

Ernst and Hanschen, taken aback by Melchior's almost pastor-like speech (wasn't he an ardent atheist… and lawyer?) turned to each other as Hanschen repeated: "Ernst, you are now consecrated to me as my husband from this day forward and I give you this ring as the pledge of my love and as the symbol of our unity and with this ring, I thee wed."

Melchior grinned at his former classmates' confusion and turned to Ernst, handing the other ring to the small raven-haired boy, "Ernst, in placing this ring on Hanschen's finger, repeat after me: Hanschen, you are now consecrated to me as my husband from this day forward and I give you this ring as the pledge of my love and as the symbol of our unity and with this ring, I thee wed."

Ernst smiled at Hanschen and repeated the words, "Hanschen, you are now consecrated to me as my husband from this day forward and I give you this ring as the pledge of my love and as the symbol of our unity and with this ring, I thee wed."

Melchior sighed, "May you always share with each other the gifts of love; be one in heart and in mind; may you always create a home together that puts in your hearts; love, generosity, and kindness. Oh, and keep the marriage a secret from everyone except those you trust. And don't tell anyone I was the one who married you…"

Ernst and Hanschen both hit Melchior childishly on his upper arms. He laughed and said, "Ow! You may kiss the bride!"

Ernst and Hanschen turned to each other and kissed each other delicately, grown up from that first time in the vineyard, certainly not the last time they had shared a kiss. Melchior sniffed silently, a tear coming to the corner of his eye. Ernst broke away from Hanschen to look at his former classmate: "Danke, Melchi!"

"Yes, thank you, Melchior," Hanschen replied, his smile no longer mysterious, as if the impromptu wedding had cured him.

Ernst threw the flowers suddenly, just as Henri walked in the room. He caught the bouquet, not sure what was going on. Ernst smiled as Hanschen took his hand to lead him out of the room and winked at Henri. "You're next!" he called, looking back behind him at Melchior, who had watched the spectacle and was now pretending he hadn't, filing the marriage papers and locking the drawer.

~*~

Nope... still see OBC. And gay marriage in the 1800s sounds like fuuuuuun.

And I'm sorry. Henri just kind of made his merry little way into the fic, and he wouldn't leave. /pets Henri/ I think I'll keep him, though. Good, OC, good boy...

Please reveiw.

~Ana~