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Rain Stomping

Title: Rain Stomping
Characters/Pairing: John Egbert, Dave Strider, Dad Egbert, Bro Strider; John/Dave, pre-slash
Rating: T/FRT
Genre: Drama/Hurt/Comfort
Summary: The thing about arguing with your best friend is that they know exactly where to hit you to make it hurt the most.

-/-/-

"Dave- Dave, wait-"

Dave didn't hear the rest of John's call, if there was any more to be heard. He was already slamming past the glass door that led out of his monolithic apartment building and stomping out into the rain. He had almost cleared the shadow of the building before he could hear a second set of shoes slapping the wet pavement. "Dave! Jesus, wait a minute!" John shouted breathlessly across the expanse of sidewalk.

The blonde didn't turn back, but he didn't keep walking. He stood in the rain, hunched and tense, listening to the spatter of dropping water and John's heavy breathing. He never did get his air back as easily after the game. Talk about irony.

One car drove by, splashing the already damp figures, but no people vied for space on the sidewalk. Most everyone was sane enough to stay out of the downpour. Finally, Dave couldn't take the silence. He could never take the silence. Had to fill it with beats and words and noise, noise, noise, lest he hear the telltale sound of time slipping past his ears again. "You gonna apologize, Egbert, or are we standing around for nothing?"

"Apologize? Apologize for what?" John asked, incredulous with a side of irritated, "For being honest? For answering a question that you asked? Or, what, for daring to suggest that you could maybe use a little improvement in some areas?"

"Well, that's a damn funny paraphrase. Maybe you could apologize for basically faking being my friend all these years." Dave finally turned and his words, smooth as ever, fell like lead on the concrete.

"What? Oh my god, Dave, stop being so dramatic! I am your friend! I'm your best friend." John paused and scowled, "Dave, I'm your only friend."

"Fuck off, you are not my only goddamned friend. I've got plenty of friends. All the friends, even. Friends out the proverbial fucking wazoo." Still not shouting, not quite, but Dave's hands were waving in the wind like he was trying to conjure some people up just to spite John.

"Who are you even talking about? Those people you sit with at lunch sometimes? The people in your classes you sometimes talk to, but don't even know their names?" John demanded answers and the rain fell harder. They both knew he had nothing to do with the weather, not anymore, but sometimes it seemed…

Dave shrugged.

"Oh, okay, sure. They're definitely your friends. They are and I'm not." John nodded, throwing his hands up, "Because they were definitely at the hospital a few months ago when you had to get stitches. But I wasn't there, nope. And they were totally at your 18th birthday party before that! But I was not there and I did not bring you a great gift. Oh, and it must have been all of them who moved thousands of miles just to be with you in this stupid state, not me! Because of course they knew something was wrong when you stopped talking and I had no fucking idea!"

"There's a difference, Egbert. There is a fucking difference between someone you're friends with just for the hell of it and someone you're stuck with because of a stupid decision you made when you were 13." Dave growled in return, "But you still seem to have trouble wrapping your head around that."

John faltered. He almost took a step back. His fists clenched and he stood his ground, instead. "So that's it. You're just stuck with me, huh? But since you have all those other people to care about you, you can just… drop me when I say I'd like it if you would just be yourself!" He can't keep his voice from rising in anger again.

"I am myself. I've always been myself. Christ, Egbert, I don't know who you thought you were friends with, but it sure as fuck wasn't me!" Dave is even less successful in his attempts to keep his voice level.

The other boy didn't have anything to say to that. For a moment, Dave's words sat heavy and hard on the ground before being washed away with steady shush of the rain. The blonde moved one foot to turn away, this sneaker squeaking on the damp sidewalk, but John's voice stopped him. "Dave Strider." He said, a hair too uneven to be called clearly, "That's who I thought I was friends with. He's a weird guy, who's into preserved dead things and swords but actually isn't a creep. He's a good rapper and a great DJ and is super funny and has a pretty nice laugh and he'll do weird, sweet stuff for you if he thinks he can get away with it. Sometimes he thinks he's too wrapped up in himself, but he's not really."

Dear god, were those tears welling up behind his shades? Just another grand reason never to remove them, Dave is sure, even if they were a gift from John. He's proud that, when he speaks, his voice is a good deal more even than the brunet boy's. "Well that guy sounds like a real peach. Why don't you go find him and leave me the fuck alone."

"Dave!" John is reaching his breaking point, "For the love of- why can't you just be yourself?"

Dave has reached his. "And what? Be like you?" The word comes out so harshly and Dave can't stop it. He can't stop any of it. "Be like you and have no connections outside, me, Rose, Jade, and your fucking Dad? And you think I'm pathetic with my handful of acquaintances, but no one even likes you! You mumble and twitch when there's thunderstorms and you talk about weird, outdated shit that nobody gets! And you don't even realize they all laugh at you, at how excited you get about all your sad little hobbies. You think I'm sad, but holy shit, you take the Crocker Cake, pal. You just don't get it!"

He didn't get it because Dave worked so hard to keep it from him. Dave worked hard to push it all down and wave it away from John like a foul cloud that surrounded the boy. He pushed it away and piled it all up, apparently so he could whip it out and slap John with it when the boy least suspected it.

And if Dave thought the tears welling up in his eyes were bad, it was only because he hadn't gotten a load of the ones sliding out of John's and mixing with the rain on his face. And things just stayed that way. They didn't seem to move for an incalculable amount of time. They both knew Dave had nothing to do with time, not anymore, but sometimes it seemed…

"You're right. Right about everything, Dave. And you really do just look out for yourself, don't you?" John's voice is too quiet, Dave could never take the quiet, "Some fucking knight you turned out to be."

Then he was gone. Dave blinked and the boy with sopping black hair and rain-streaked glasses disappeared, like he hadn't been real the whole time. But that, of course, was bullshit. He was very real and had very much been there and his last statement was still very much stinging at the back of Dave's throat.

Without anything else to do, Dave took a walk. He took a walk in his thin red jacket, because holy hell, who expected this much rain in Texas? But it only seemed to be getting worse and Dave could remember the weather man rambling on about thunderstorms and hail and that, at least, seemed a little more par for the course. But Dave didn't hurry his pace. He walked and listened to the thunder get louder and watched the sky get darker and walked until he was sure he'd circled his block at least twice.

Finally, soaked to the bone, he wrenched the apartment door open and stalked up the stairs, taking care to stomp on every one, taking care to occasionally punch the banister, taking care to get the last of his aggressive energy out, because he really expected John to be up in the apartment, angry and waiting for an apology and that he was surely owed. Dave treated the door leading to his and Bro's apartment with a little more care than the one downstairs and began to toe his shoes off.

Bro chose that moment to appear. "You two kiss and make up?" He asked casually, as though he didn't care in the slightest, though Dave knew that if Bro didn't care in the slightest, he wouldn't even be there.

"What, you mean he's not up here, bitching to you about the whole thing?" Dave asked, sullen and surprised.

"Nah. Hasn't been here since he ran out after your sorry ass." Bro quirked an eyebrow over his pointed shades. "You don't know where he is?"

Dave shrugged. "Probably just went home." He was already slipping his soaked and uncomfortable sneakers back on.

"Better hurry, weather's getting worse." Bro reminded him as he opened the door to step the other way through it.

"Real helpful, man, thanks a bunch." Dave knew he couldn't always depend on Bro. He couldn't count on someone always being there to bail him out.

At the same time, he knew that if he didn't give Bro a status report in a timely manner, the man would be out driving the streets and looking for both his and John's sorry asses.

The first place Dave headed was John's house. Just a couple blocks from the apartment there were some cramped city houses that at least hadn't failed Mr. Egbert's thorough inspection and he and John had settled into one in no time. A knock on the door revealed that, not only was John not there, but Dad had no idea anything was even wrong. John hadn't even been home. "If he's out there in this weather, I should really be looking for him." Dad insisted, already making a grab for his coat.

"No, it's fine. Really. I've got this. I-" Dave faltered for just a moment, "I'll bring him back. Promise."

The blonde got the feeling that, had it been anyone else offering to go out and search for his son, Dad would've put up more of a fight. But it was not anyone else and Dad sighed and took his pipe from between his teeth and pointed it at Dave. "You be sure to."

"Yes, sir," Dave never called anyone 'sir' unironically, but Mr. Egbert seemed to pull the word right out of his mouth.

"You'd better hurry, the storm is coming on fast!" Said Dad as Dave took off briskly down the sidewalk. Dave waved his warning off. As if the driving rain and rushing wind weren't indicators enough.

He turned the corner at the end of the block and met a street of shops, all deserted due to the weather. He followed the street down to more cramped apartment buildings. He pounded pavement long past wet and watched a half-drowned cat dash out of an alleyway. He could not find John.

He may have promised to bring his friend home, but he honestly didn't know where to start. The weather was reaching a point which Dave felt safe calling 'horrible' and his best friend was likely out in it somewhere.

"I am… John Egbert," Dave muttered to himself, looking left and right at a street corner and hanging right, "I am John Egbert, I am angry with my best friend… the guy I thought was my best friend… the guy who pretty much just said he hated me- which I don't-" Dave broke off and shook his head, returned to his muttering, "I am John and I am angry and I don't know where to go and the weather is fucking terrible…" A gust of wind blasted the blonde's face for the acknowledgement, "I am John and I have some weird kind of asthma and I need Dave to look after me because if he doesn't, I land myself ass-first in trouble and…"

Before Dave could talk himself into any more of an anxious state, a hurricane of black hair topping what looked like a person caught his eye, huddled on a bench just up the street. He barely even glanced at the green t-shirt to confirm what he was certain of. "John!" He called against the wind.

Two eyes appeared somewhere in the mess of hair and met Dave's, pairs of eyewear long since folded away in their useless, rain-smattered state. The eyes and the face that went with it turned away as their owner leapt off the bench. "John, get back here." Dave ordered even as he was running towards the boy.

He'd always had a speed advantage on John and he caught up as though the distance between them just ceased to exist. "John-" He reached out and gripped his friend's arm.

"Go away, Dave!" John wrenched his arm and paused to breathe.

"Shit, where's your- the thing?" Dave asked, reaching for John's hand. Why couldn't he remember what it was called? It wasn't as though John hadn't told him several times.

"I'm fine… just the weather. And it's you…" Heavy breathing was bad, always bad.

The wind was stealing John's breath away before he could even take it in, but didn't it understand that John didn't belong to it anymore? Didn't it understand, it couldn't have John, John belonged to Dave, John was Dave's and… damnit. "Where is your thing?" Dave demanded this time, clutching John's hand in one of his and using the other to mime the action of the device he was after.

"In my jacket… at your house." John informed him breathlessly.

"Shit. There's one at your house, though!" Shouting was a default now, as the wind roared in their ears and whipped at their bodies and kept everyone with sense out of the moment.

John only nodded and followed as Dave dragged him back along the streets by the hand. It didn't seem as long of a walk back to John's squished urban home; it had taken Dave ages to find John, but only moments to bring him back. The door was unlocked and the blonde scaled the steps in double time to open it and lead John in, lead him to the chair in the cramped entry and sit him down. "The table," John pointed helpfully at the small table at the other end of the entryway.

"Yeah, yeah, okay. You're okay, you're going to be okay, you're alright, it's alright," Dave babbled and yanked open the single drawer to reveal- John's inhaler.

God, that's what it was called.

He snatched the item and carried it back to John, forcing it into the brunet's hand. John would sometimes refuse to use the thing anyway, indignantly huffing and puffing that he used to be a wind god, damn it, but he brought it to his lips without a fight. Dave felt he could breathe easier when John finally did. "Okay? Okay, okay, it's okay, you're okay, you're alright," Dave babbled on, quieter and reassuring, unsure who was meant to be reassured.

The blonde brought one hand up, cupped John's jaw and ran his thumb along the soaked skin of the boy's cheekbone. Then John pushed him away. "Not alright. Go away, Dave."

"No." The answer was immediate.

"Now isn't the time for your stubborn crap! I don't want to see you anymore." The medication made John shiver, but his shove as he stood up was firm.

"I'm not going anywhere," John tried again, "John-" Dave reached up and caught his friend's shaking wrists, "Fuck, stop it! I'm sorry!"

All the fight in the other boy went out. He flopped back down in the chair like a boneless doll, and when Dave released his wrists, he let his arms just fall into his lap. "I'm sorry." Dave repeated.

There was silence. Dave knelt down on the puddled floor in front of John's chair and waited. He hated the silence, but he waited.

There was more water on John's face. He sniffed. "I-Is it true?"

"Of course it's true, I told you. I'm sorry." The words didn't come any easier, no matter how many times Dave had said them.

"No. The other things… you said." John leveled his bloodshot eyes at Dave, blue and red.

For once, the other boy couldn't think of a reply.

"Because, if it's true. Then you don't have to be sorry. Don't be sorry for telling the truth." He sounded like an empty echo of his words to Dave in the rain-soaked street not long ago. "In fact, if it's true, if you think you're just stuck with me, then go. I'm unstucking you, you're free. Just go, Dave!"

That could have been it. Dave could have left. He could have come back later when John was more reasonable and they were both less damp and shaken, but that still would have been it. That could have been the end of them.

"I don't want to go. Alright, Egbert?" The addressed boy looked away, "I'm sorry, John. I'm sorry for saying all that shit, I worked so fucking hard to keep it from you," John sniffled. Dave had seen John cry only once before and the idea that he was this upset- over Dave, over what Dave had said- was a heady one.

"So… what? I'm just a big joke to all the people at school? That weird kid you hang out with?" He sounds lost now, and Dave really isn't sure how to bring him back to where he belongs. "No one likes me at all?"

"Fuck them, I like you. I like you a lot. Probably more than I should." Dave reached out for John's hand, but the dark haired boy snatched it away. "Hell, I probably love you. I'm uncomfortable amounts of attached to you."

John's eyebrows drew downwards as he steadfastly refused to look at Dave. "I'm so angry at you." He muttered.

"I can wait, then." Dave replied.

John didn't say anything.

So Dave sat down in puddles of murky rain water, letting them seep into his already wet jeans, and he waited.

-/-/-

Author's Note: I'm… not sure about this. I really enjoyed writing it, though. It's probably one of the most self-indulgent pieces I've done in a while. Hope some of you guys got a kick out of it, too!

Jeez

Title: Jeez
Characters/Pairing: John Egbert, Dave Strider, Dad Egbert, Bro Strider; John/Dave, Dad/Bro, slash
Rating: T/FRT
Genre: Humor/Fluff/Kinda Romance I guess
Summary: Ice cream and movies and eight-year-olds being dorks and adults being dorks.  A sort of prompt from/tiny gift for humanmatingritual.

-/-/-

"Jeez, Egbert, who the hell actually eats bubblegum ice cream?" Dave elbowed his friend slightly as they pressed their noses to the glass protecting about 15 tubs of ice cream from infection.

"David, language." Mr. Egbert's gentle reminder rang out firmly, causing the 8-year-old culprit in question to shrug sheepishly.

"Sorry…"

"Jeez, Dad, don't squash the kid's freedom of expression," Bro nudged Mr. Egbert in the side, doing an admirable impression of his young charge.

Mr. Egbert glanced skeptically at Bro, but John spoke before his father had the chance. "I think bubblegum ice cream is great! It's way better than your stupid pistachio ice cream, anyway." He told his shades-wearing friend, elbowing him right back.

"Hey, pistachio ice cream is the- bomb." Dave glanced discreetly up at Mr. Egbert and scowled as John giggled at his aborted swear.

"Well you guys better pick something or we're gonna miss the whole damn movie." Bro told them, pointedly ignoring the look the elder Egbert shot him.

"But Dave keeps making fun of my choice!" John whined.

"You keep makin' fun of mine!" Dave decidedly did not whine in return.

"Boys, boys," Mr. Egbert spoke over them, placing a hand on each of their shoulders, "Why don't you just agree to split?"

A wide grin cracked the surface of John's face and his father beamed back. The Striders were lost, obviously having been caught up in some bizarre Egbert family joke and/or tradition (which, to the Egberts, were really one and the same). The mystery was solved shortly, however, as Mr. Egbert turned to the exasperated man behind the counter, saying, "One banana split, hold the nuts, please."

Then Dave was smiling too, and Bro quirked an eyebrow over the pointed shades that matched his brother's. "You think that was funny, kid?"

Dave shrugged. "It's a banana split, man. Anything is funny for a banana split."

Bro snorted and reached out to ruffle the boy's hair, much to the younger's annoyance. Soon, however, the ice cream was ready and any grievances were forgotten. Mr. Egbert placed the bowl on the table, where the two boys sat down to devour their treat, and then pulled out his wallet. "Hey," Bro caught his attention before any payment could be made, "What about us?"

"Pardon?" Mr. Egbert turned towards the blonde.

"I said, "what about us?" We get any ice cream, or're we just watching the midgets eat?" Bro inquired.

Mr. Egbert blinked, then grinned. "Some ice cream sounds like a novel idea, Strider." He replied, promptly turning to the attendant to order a scoop of bubblegum ice cream.

Rolling his eyes, Bro stepped up and ordered a double scoop of chocolate chip cookie dough. Mr. Egbert gladly handed over his payment before heading over to the table where the boys sat, devouring their banana split. "I do hope you realize this means you'll be springing for your own movie ticket, Strider." The man informed Bro lightly as he took the seat beside him.

"Yeah, yeah." Bro waved him off, busying his mouth with the waffle cone in his hand.

-/-/-

The ice cream was finished with more than enough time to reach the nearby movie theater, buy tickets- "Yes, Egbert, I am paying for my own ticket. In fact, I will generously pay for the young ones' tickets. Why don't you use the extra money to buy yet another outdated fedora?"- tell the kids that they've just had ice cream and they don't need popcorn too, buy some popcorn, and find some decent seats.

John insisted that they simply had to sit at the very front of the theater and Dave seemed content to follow him. Bro said he wasn't going to spend the entire movie craning his neck to look at the screen and Mr. Egbert conceded that the boys could sit by themselves. The men chose seats a few rows further back, but still just behind the eight-year-olds.

Neither Mr. Egbert nor Bro made a move to remove their hats until the lights dimmed and the previews started up, showcasing more movies of the kind they were about to see; the sort that still featured talking animals and immature jokes and ratings that barely even approached PG-13. Still, John enjoyed himself immensely at the movies and Dave never made a serious complaint about what they watched, choosing instead to rag on it simply because it annoyed John. Bro suspected the young blonde enjoyed the movies almost as much as his friend but would never stoop to admitting it.

The last of the ads faded away, cell phones were ordered to be switched off, the lights dimmed to their final darkened setting and, at last, the movie began. The two guardians let the first half of the movie go by without much comment; it wasn't bad as far as movies for kids went, though it wasn't the best, either. But it was at least holding their attention. Then, they could both see the silhouette of John's arms rising above his head, which was just visible over the top of his seat. Mr. Egbert shifted, ready to move if something was wrong, but things in the front row seemed far from it. The skinny set of arms stretched further outwards until one dropped back down beside him and the other dropped down over Dave.

Bro watched the top of Dave's head, his blonde hair easier to see in the darkness than John's dark brown, waiting for a reaction. Finally, the eight-year-old shifted a little closer to his friend and neither boy made anymore moves, so to speak. Bro sat back and glanced over at Mr. Egbert, who was trying very hard to contain his laughter. "Sneaky little bastard. You'll have to keep an eye on that kid, Egbert." Bro said, his voice low and amused.

"Come now, Strider, my John is a perfect gentleman. If anything, I'm worried about your delinquent charge corrupting him." There was no heat in the slightly older man's words, only barely concealed chuckles.

Bro snorted and said no more. Another 15 minutes passed until Mr. Egbert sat up straighter, stretched his arms above his head until his back cracked, and then draped one easily over Bro's shoulders. Raising his eyebrows, the oldest Strider looked over at Mr. Egbert. "Are you shitting me, Egbert? Stealing moves from an eight-year-old?" He asked quietly.

The other man didn't look away from the screen as he shrugged, an easy and amused smile stretched across his face. Bro shook his head but indulged the corny action by leaning across the gap between the seats and resting his head on Mr. Egbert's shoulder. "Jeez, you're a loser, you know that?" He muttered softly.

"I have yet to hear you protest." Mr. Egbert mumbled in return.

Bro let a huff of air escape, but neither man moved until the credits were rolling.

-/-/-

Author's Note: So this is something humanmatingritual (tumblr) sort of prompted me to write months ago and I don't remember quite everything she said, but I know it involved Dad/Bro and Dave/John and fluff and little kids… or something like that? So anyway, here's this.

If you see this posted elsewhere, it's because I quadruplefuck post everything everywhere.  It's on ff.net, tumblr, and Ao3 as well.

Tears and Chivalry

Title: Tears and Chivalry
Characters/Pairing: Nepeta Leijon, Dave Strider; Nepeta/Dave, het, mentioned Karkat/Terezi,
Rating: T/FRT
Genre: Hurt/Comfort/Friendship/slight Romance
Summary: Being 17 is hard- especially when the object of your affection starts dating someone else. Or when the object of your affection is crying into your shoulder because the object of her affection started dating someone else.
Disclaimer: I do not own Homestuck, nor do I make money off of this.

-/-/-

The knock that woke you up came obscenely early. Of course, you consider any time before noon to be obscenely early, so that isn't really saying much. Squinting at your digital clock, you manage to discern it is roughly three in the morning. Dear lord. You've barely been asleep for half an hour.

Grasping around on your nightstand for your shades, you stumble (awesomely) to the door. You're pretty sure you're still wearing the ironic Hello Kitty sweatpants that you picked up at a thrift store but since it's only a quarter past you-don't-give-a-fuck, you're not going to bother changing. Instead, you focus on wrenching open your bedroom door and hitting whoever is on the other side with a searing glare through your shades.

"Hi, Dave."

Oh, hell. Of all the inhabitants of this fucked up interspecies orphanage you were expecting to find on the other side of your door, Nepeta was pretty low on the list. She had been holed up in her room for nearly two days now, lamenting the official coupling of Karkat and Terezi. Everyone had, apparently, been expecting you to be rather torn up about it too, what with the romantic tension you'd had with Terezi. But that, of course, was a bullshit reason. You were 14 at the time; you could have had romantic tension with a particularly alluring potted plant.

Those were dark times and you prefer not to devote thought to them.

Instead, you turn your attention back to young troll shuffling in your doorway. When it had become apparent that Vantas and Pyrope were together, Nepeta had quickly and quietly taken to her room in the basement and not come out. Equius hadn't been able to get her out through the power of moirailegiance, or whatever-the-fuck. You hadn't been able to get her to come out, despite the fact the two of you had become pretty damn tight since settling in this house, and that had been quite a shock. You're very persuasive.

But you guess it's not much of a shock that she's at your door and not anyone else's. You're only topped by Equius on her list of friends (she told you so herself, actually) and the sweaty guy's never exactly taken an accepting stance on her little crush on Karkat (she also told you that).

"She lives." You finally comment, leaning on your doorframe.

Nepeta nods sheepishly. "I… 'm sorry." She mumbles, looking down at her bare feet.

"For what?" You ask, letting an eyebrow raise to show your genuine confusion.

"For… I… overreacting. I just… don't know what I expected, 'cause I always knew Karki- Karkat didn't like me… like that. But I… just. I dunno." You can't really see too well, considering it's dark and you're wearing your shades, but you can hear her choking up. You know she's going to cry.

A weakness to tears runs in your family (which is to say, neither you nor your bro could ever handle them that well) and even though you try to keep that under wraps, you think your secret is about to be blown. "Leijon…" You try.

She sniffles. "Nepeta," You try again.

She sobs. Aw, shit. "I'm… sorry!" She warbles out.

You're not really sure what she's apologizing for anymore, but it doesn't really matter, anyway. "Yeah, yeah, it's okay, c'mere," You mutter, pulling her into your room and shutting the door behind her. This is turning out to be kind of a scene and you don't think either of you really want any witnesses.

She's still crying and doing a horrible job of trying to hold it back as you lead her over to your bed, carefully steering her around all the shit on your floor, and sit her down next to you. "Okay, it's okay," You say again, reaching over and putting your arms around her.

You weren't entirely sure she would be receptive to the whole 'tender embrace' thing at the moment, but she just sort of falls into you and keeps sobbing, so you tighten the hug and let her cry herself out. "Wh- why am I so dumb, Dave?" She sniffles when she's calmed down enough to talk again.

"Hey, hey. I don't want to hear that shit, you're not dumb. I mean, yeah, you bet on the wrong cranky-ass horse," She sniffs loudly and you change tracks as quickly as possible, "But that doesn't make you dumb. Everyone does some things they call themselves fucking stupid for, but it always passes."

You're kind of shit at giving pep-talks. It doesn't help that you've never exactly been crushed by a crush before. In fact, the girl you're having some uncomfortable squishy feelings for at the moment just fell into your arms. Sure, it's because she's lamenting the loss of a boy she liked, but you're 17- you take what you can get. "It does?" She mumbles against your shoulder, bringing you back to the conversation.

"'S what I've been told." You assure her in what you're pretty sure is a comforting tone.

Nepeta sniffles again but doesn't ask any more questions, so you guess she's either placated for now or tired of your shitty attempts at feelings-jamming. You're not sure how long you two sit on the edge of your unmade bed, her face pressed into your neck, one of your arms wrapped around her shoulders and the other cuffing her tiny waist, but it's long enough for you to notice that her hair is damp and that it's uncomfortably cold against your bare shoulder. You suppose she must have taken a shower before coming to see you, which you appreciate; you really like the girl, but two days without a shower does unpleasant things to a person. Suddenly, she heaves a watery sigh. "I'm so tired," She says quietly, turning her head slightly so she can look up at you.

"No shit. It's almost 4 AM." You inform her.

"Can I stay here with you?"

Shamefully, it takes you a minute to actually to come up with an answer. "Yeah, sure. Welcome to Strider's Bed and Breakfast. Stay as long as you like, all it'll cost you is a crying session in the proprietor's arms. 'That's kind of weird,' you might think, 'Maybe I shouldn't stay here after all.' But actually, you should, because there is nowhere you will be safer, even if the owner is a fuckin' creep. He'll keep you safe as goddamn houses, whatever that shit means…" You keep your disjointed metaphor running on until Nepeta interrupts you.

"Does the silly owner sit up all night talking to himself, or does he sleep too?" She asks, pulling back in your grasp and smiling a little. Her face is still green and blotchy, but she doesn't look utterly devastated, which is good.

You shrug. "Little of column A, little of column B." You release her and move up to the head of the bed, "Now c'mon, I'm about to pass out."

The green-eyed girl joins you, looking a little guilty. "Sorry. Fur waking you." Oh, good, the puns are back.

"Whatever," You shrug, "I'm just… glad. To see you again. Out of the basement." God, that was awkwardly phrased. It makes her smile, though.

"I'm glad to see mew, too."

With that, she crawls up to where you're sitting, slithers under the blanket and snuggles right up against your side before you've even really managed to get comfortable. "Guess I'll just resign myself to being your personal pillow then." You mutter, shifting around in a manner that was most definitely not awkward.

"Yes." She yawns and shuts her eyes.

Just like that, she's out like a light. She falls asleep faster than Harley, you swear to god. Then you realize that you are, in fact, alone in your bed, snuggled up with the object of your possible affections. You can feel her body pressed against yours, smaller and slimmer than you, but at least as strong; you can feel her damp hair sticking to your shoulder and her breath ghosting across your chest and god, why don't you wear shirts to bed?

But you're not going to freak out, of course. You are way cooler than that. You are also not going to do anything ungentlemanly because you're knight and knights are nothing if not chivalrous. But it definitely wouldn't hurt if you were to just… put your arms around her. She snuggles up closer against you and you take that as a sleepy sign of permission and cinch your arms just a little tighter. Gotta keep your word and keep her safe as goddamn houses, whatever the fuck that means. And also be a creep. …Whatever.

You shut your eyes and relax your muscles and attempt to settle your mind. It is at that point that your realize you're not going to get back to sleep tonight.

But it's worth it.

-/-/-

Title: 50 Ways to Lose Your Heart
Characters/Pairing: John Egbert, Dave Strider; Dave/John, slash
Rating: T/FRT
Genre: Romance/Humor/Drama/whatever
Summary: 50 sentences for Dave/John
Disclaimer: I do not own Homestuck, nor do I make money off of this.

-/-/-

01. Air
The crowded floor afforded little space to move and even less to breathe freely, music pumping through their bodies and dancers writhing on all sides, but John’s mouth against his gave Dave all the fresh air he needed.

02. Apples
“I figured, since you like apple juice so much…” John trailed off, shrugging sheepishly as Dave eyed the fresh-made apple pie with nothing short of reverence.

03. Beginning
Whoever this kid is, he’s pretty funny, with his weird, pointy sunglasses and silly heart shirt and his always talking about irony, and you decide you want to know everything about him.

04. Bugs
Dave still maintained that a picnic date in the park was one of his best ideas, and ironic to the max; John still insisted that being covered in ants was not in any way romantic.

05. Coffee
There will be no more coffee for John, you decide, as you watch your bespectacled boyfriend run around the apartment, simultaneously cooking dinner, rearranging the furniture bit by bit, and shouting about how he’s going to run out to the store because you’re out of French roast.

06. Dark
On bad nights, when the memories became too much for the two of them, all the lights would go out and they would lie together, wrapped in each other in the darkness, just the feeling of the other in their arms enough to soothe the fraying edges of their nerves.

07. Despair
This wasn’t how it was supposed to be, this was wrong, wrong wrong wrong- after everything, how could a damn car accident bleed the Heir off the face of the planet, and why, why wasn’t Dave able to fix it this time?

08. Doors
There were only three doors in their tiny apartment, but the noise they made when they were all slammed simultaneously by what remained of the windy thing was more than enough to let Dave know how pissed John was.

09. Drink
Tap water, boxes of apple juice, dollar sodas from the gas station, it was all champagne to them when they dined together.

10. Duty
No, it doesn’t matter how tired you are, it doesn’t matter that you’re about to pass out, or that you haven’t really slept in days, or even that he’s worried about you, you simply can’t go to sleep until you’re sure he’s safe; it’s your duty to protect the Heir, after all.

11. Earth
Of course you missed flying, you missed it like hell, but being bound to the earth once more wasn’t so bad when you took into account Dave was right there next to you on the ground.

12. End
When taking into account the collared shirts John had been wearing for the past few days, along with Dave’s sudden preoccupation with the state of movie theater floors, it didn’t really surprise Rose that neither boy remembered how the film had ended.

13. Fall
“I swear to god, if you let me fall, Egbert, I’ll come back and haunt your ass for eternity,” Dave warned his friend, tightening his grip on the front of John’s shirt as the brunette responded by chuckling and hastening their flight speed.

14. Fire
Everything about Dave was heat and fire, everything was done with a certain purposeful passion and flame, every touch that dragged across John’s skin left him singed, but he was happy to let it burn and come back for more.

15. Flexible
“You’re such a sore loser; just admit I’m more flexible than you,” You taunt as you fold up the Twister mat you had soundly bested Egbert on, only to be cut off by the aforementioned loser’s mouth as he growled something to the effect of ‘I’ll show you flexible.’

16. Flying
You couldn’t feel the ground beneath your feet anymore; all you really felt was the cool air on your skin and the chaste press of Dave’s lips on your own and a sort of weightless bliss and you were certain, even though you knew you couldn’t anymore, that you had to be flying.

17. Food
Dave wasn’t much of a cook, having managed to scorch the kitchen ceiling while attempting to make scrambled eggs, and it was hard on any given to day to get John to stop what he was doing and actually remember to eat something, and they occasionally both just gave up and phoned in for pizza at 9:30 at night, but between the two of them, they somehow never went to bed hungry.

18. Foot
If anyone were to ask, Dave would insist he had broken his foot while fighting a horde of ninjas for Egbert’s honor, and John played along, promising not to tell anyone that the blonde had dropped the couch on his own foot while they were moving.

19. Grave
Stirders are tough, so you didn’t need John to drive you to the boneyard where Bro’s (purely symbolic) grave was, and you didn’t need him to walk past all the dead people with you until you located the stone that would have marked your bro’s final resting place if the fucking game had given you his body back, and you certainly didn’t need John to reach over and grab your hand and squeeze it tightly in his own- you didn’t need him to, but it was still appreciated.

20. Green
It was pure happenstance that you were looking at just the right spot at just the right time, but you managed to catch a glimpse of John, bathed in the green light of the sun you and Rose had just created, tossing that bucket through a girl-shaped portal and straight at Karkat’s head and, quick though it was, the lime-tinted image of your best bro, alive and safe, was enough to keep you going for now.

21. Head
When you wake up in the middle of the night, staring into the pitch dark that your eyes wouldn’t permeate even if you were wearing your glasses, breathing heavily and on the verge of panic, it’s all you can do to reach across the bed, grip Dave’s arm, and assure yourself that it was all in your head.

22. Hollow
Dave rolled his eyes and reached for the chocolate bunny he’d been vehemently directed to by John, but not without a complaint of, “If we’re gonna eat it either way, I don’t think it matters if it’s hollow or solid, Egbert.”

23. Honor
“Don’t be dumb, Dave,” John retorted with a huff, “I’m not just a bride’s maid, I’m Jade’s Maid of Honor, and see if you get invited to the bachelorette party now.”

24. Hope
It wasn’t much, just an embarrassed peck on the cheek and a request to have time to think about it, but for the first time since Dave had fallen for his best friend, he felt like he might actually have a chance.

25. Light
Though it might have seemed almost uncaring to some people, the way Dave cut efficiently through to the heart of your problems, you were forever grateful for the way he would shine a light on what was really important- even if you wouldn’t tell him so out loud.

26. Lost
John liked to call it taking the adventurous route and Dave liked to roll his eyes and insist they knew where they were all along, but even when they somehow ended up in Iowa on a drive from Texas to Washington, the two would never admit to being lost when they were together.

27. Metal
The very sight of blood would never fail to dredge up a memory of the long-gone Davesprite’s- when a heavy metal tang filled the air, twining with the scent of cooked flesh, brought together by the sight of John’s still-smoking body- and though Dave dealt with it far better now than he had, he sometimes couldn’t resist finding John, his John, to be sure he was okay.

28. New
Two men looked down into the crib with equal parts adoration and terror at the small, pink, wriggling mess it had taken them months and months to acquire and were unsure of how to proceed- this was new, so new and so strange, but it was them and it was theirs and they were sure (they hoped) they would figure it out.

29. Old
It was the last thing unpacked, placed ceremoniously on the bed with the pillows and the knitted afghan they’d received as a housewarming gift, and the tattered and grubby stuffed bunny given on a birthday so many years ago looked like it had never belonged anywhere else.

30. Peace
The seemingly constant Washington rain fell against the windows, tapping gently and further obscuring the grey light filtering down through the clouds, lulling the two boys tangled in a pile of gangly limbs on the bed off to sleep, whispering that it didn’t matter what tomorrow held, that for now, all was well.

31. Poison
You’re only teenagers, you’re not equipped to handle the death and destruction you’ve both seen, and every time one of you gathers the other in their arms to comfort, you only drag each other down further; you are slowly killing each other, poisoning yourselves, and you can’t really find it in you to care.

32. Pretty
“I don’t know where this weird self-esteem issue came from, Egbert,” Dave said seriously, pulling down his shades and squinting in the harsh strobe lights illuminating the gym where Prom was being held, “But you should know I think you’re the prettiest girl here tonight.”

33. Rain
The rain came down in harsh sheets, soaking the two boys facing off in the middle of the deserted sidewalk while thunder battered the clouds overhead, but they paid it no mind as they attempted to stare each other down, neither willing to take back what had been said, but both unwilling to walk away.

34. Regret
You wince as the sound of the front door slamming echoes through the empty apartment and look over to where a pair of broken aviator shades lay on the floor, wondering if you’ll ever be able to fix what you’ve just done.

35. Roses
“Shut up, Egbert, it was a damn good gift,” Your boyfriend just smiles and lets out a wheezy noise you’re pretty sure is supposed to be a laugh; “How the fuck should I have known you were that allergic to roses?”

36. Secret
He mumbles those three words in your ear, quietly, haltingly, like he’s imparting some forbidden secret, like you don’t already know what he’s telling you, but you play along and whisper right back into his ear, making him flush under his overlarge glasses, I love you, too.

37. Snakes
Taking John to the reptile house was simultaneously one of his best and worst ideas to date, Dave decides as they circle past the snakes for the third time that day while John pleads, “Just one more visit to the salamanders, Dave, then we can go!”

38. Snow
Your first encounter with snow, on LOFAF, was brief and connected to some unpleasant memories, but you’re beginning to think you might just prefer being shot to temporary death as John shoves yet another handful of the frozen stuff down your coat.

39. Solid
The first thing you notice when John delivers a ‘tender bro embrace’ unto you after you both meet is that the guy is damn solid; you also notice that Rose and Jade are both smirking at you, at which point you notice you’ve probably spent more time than is normal admiring your good bro’s solidity, so you pull back while Egbert chuckles and teases, “Ladies love the hammer arms, Dave.”

40. Spring
Neither of them are sure when, exactly, John’s enforced regime of spring cleaning had devolved into reminiscing, but before they knew it, it was 10:30 in the evening and they were laughing at how horribly awkward they looked in their respective freshman class pictures while surrounded by more of a mess than they’d had to clean up to begin with.

41. Stable
Bro seemed pretty impressed with how quickly Egbert was able to pick up horseback riding, and you’re as unsure of why that’s important as you were when you first got to the stables, but you figure it works out if Bro’s off your back about figuring out if John is worthy and John’s off your back about figuring out if Bro actually approves of the two of you.

42. Strange
In the mornings, you wake up before Dave and take your time in the shower, then start breakfast when he finally hauls ass out of bed, and he starts the coffee because, for some reason, you can never do it right, and he gets the newspaper for you while you’re serving up whatever you felt like making that morning, and then you both sit down and eat and drink and mumble at each other tiredly over the newspaper you mostly just pretend to read and it’s all very domestic and just… strange, but you don’t think you ever want it to stop.

43. Summer
The summer in which Dave convinced John to come visit him in Texas was possibly the most terrible either of them can remember, as John managed to end up with heat stroke, and Dave got the worst sunburn in the history of humanity, and Bro called them both morons as he drove John to the hospital, but they both still manage to regard it with some amount of fondness since they got to spend it together.

44. Taboo
This isn’t wrong, how could there be anything wrong with this, you wonder as you pull John closer to your body and he returns the embrace even as he mumbles about having to go soon so his dad won’t know he’s gone and, of the vast amount of things you know, and for all your “knowledge beyond your years,” you just don’t get why it has to be like this.

45. Ugly
Dave got to come visit you shortly after the game was over and he helped you take down all the wrecked and defaced posters you’d been avoiding until then, but you can still see the scrawls sneering at you, mocking you, shouting your imperfections out in neon bright colors, and you’re not sure that ugliness is ever going to leave you alone.

46. War
They’ll get to meet up sooner or later, they are both certain of that fact- they are certain that on the other side of the mess of monsters and planets and space and blood, they will meet each other for Dave’s promised bro hug bump, but until then, they keep fighting.

47. Water
The hot water is beading up on their skin and plastering their hair to their heads in a way that would probably look silly to any outsider, but to the two young men sharing a shower that was never meant to hold more than one person nothing had ever looked better.

48. Welcome
It wasn’t until Mr. Egbert reached out to shake his hand with a friendly smile that Dave’s body released some of the tension he’d been gathering since he planned to come visit John, and the rest of the tiresome anxiety melted away when John grabbed his hand, pulled him to the kitchen that smelled like warm apples and dinner, made him sit at the table, and did his very best to make the blonde feel welcome.

49. Winter
The only thing about winter in Washington Dave would fully condone was the part where he and John would come in from the cold and the brunette would help warm Dave up, if only so the proclaimed coolkid would stop whining.

50. Wood
For five years, you’ve been waking up to see the familiar face, the person you love lying next to you, there for years of ups and downs and sickness and health and poverty and wealth and all sorts of other sentimental crap and, for the life of you, you’re not sure you’re ever going to have a way to properly thank him.

-/-/-

If some of you don’t get the connection in 50, a couple’s 5th anniversary is the wood anniversary (like the 25th is silver and the 50th is golden).

Can also be found on FF.net, Devart, Tumblr, and Ao3.

Shared Space: Homestuck Kink Meme Fill

Title: Shared Space
Characters/Pairing: John Egbert, Dave Strider; Dave/John, slash
Rating: M/FRAO
Genre: Romance, I guess?  It's mostly just smut.
Summary: "This is exactly why teenage boys shouldn't be forced to share a bed, Dave decided." Oneshot.
Disclaimer: I do not own Homestuck, nor do I make money off of this.

Shameless Plug: Come check out Homestuck Plot Waffles!  It's a monthly writing challenge blog and anyone can join in with ease.  Signups for the April challenge are now open, but they close on March 30th, so hurry if you want to participate!

-/-/-

This was exactly why it was a bad idea for teenage boys to double up while sleeping, Dave decided.

The hastily assembled pile of blankets and pillows that made a barely acceptable sleeping surface was too small to start with. The temperature on the meteor was far too low to be comfortable for sleeping- not that the trolls noticed, being as warm-blooded as they were. And, of course, there were those pesky budding hormones. All of this had culminated into the situation Dave Strider found himself in now- plastered snugly against his best friend's warm back and, more problematic, his burgeoning erection pressed firmly to his strictly no-homo best friend's ass.

He wouldn't really be complaining, save for the fact John had absolutely no idea this was happening. Eager though Dave would have been for the chance to tangle beneath the sheets with his friendleader, he wanted full consent. Asleep was definitely not fully consenting.

However, from the past few nights they shared in the same poor excuse for a bed, Dave had at least gathered that John was a heavy sleeper. Tossing and turning barely stirred him, and the blonde felt confident he would be able to successfully pull away and get up without disturbing his bedmate. He was a little reluctant to leave though; awkward boner or no, it was nice to share this sort of closeness with the object of his affection. It wasn't as though John wouldn't gladly share a hug, or even some self-dubbed "bro cuddles," but this was just different.

The remaining trolls had been uncomfortable with the idea sharing sleeping quarters with the humans and the humans reciprocated, but Rose had insisted she simply wasn't comfortable sleeping in such close spaces with the boys. This left the kids in two pairs with their choice between two rooms and before he really knew what had happened, Dave found himself stuck in the tinier, hole-in-a-wall of a room because John had wanted to be chivalrous and give up the bigger room to the girls. On the up side, however, it did give Dave an excuse as to why he and John woke up so close to one another.

But now, there was no need for excuses. There was just a comfort in being pressed together, sharing their warmth, John's sleep-limp body spooned against Dave's slighter frame. No, wait, there was something wrong with that phrase. Dave realized with a start that John was not limp, but rather tense and, upon closer inspection, appeared to be awake. Well, shit. "…John?" He murmured into the near-darkness.

In the dim glow of John's Cosbytop (which had to be at least the fifth incarnation of the disturbing device), he felt more than he saw the boy stir against him. He was obviously awake, but he wasn't saying a word. "Egbert… I know you're awake." Dave said, a bit louder this time.

John cleared his throat and shifted again. Dave swallowed a curse; he would almost swear the brunette was pressing back against his crotch on purpose. Almost- the thought was still a bit ridiculous. "Look, sorry, I'll just…" The blonde began pulling away from John but he was stopped when the other boy's hand darted back and grabbed his wrist, tugging him close again. "…John?"

Dave wasn't entirely sure what was going on at this point, but he could feel his friend shifting around slightly and oh god, what if this turned out to be one of those nightmares where everything is good and then suddenly someone turns around and they have Lil' Cal's face and- no, it was just John. The dark-haired boy had twisted around enough that his face was towards Dave's and his dark freckles and orthodontically lacking teeth were just visible in the dim light. "Don't go away." John whispered.

For once, the ever verbose Strider was at a loss for words. He was laying in the semi-darkness in a room in a lab filled with trolls on a meteor, with his obvious arousal pressed against the pleasant backside of his good friend who was telling him not to go; he supposed he brook a lack of eloquence this once. Instead, he settled for a simple, "What?"

His friend was silent for a moment, gnawing on his bottom lip in indecision. "I've been waiting for you to wake up. You… you were sort of, uh," John let out a strangled noise that was more embarrassment than discomfort, "Thrusting. In your sleep. Against… y'know, me…"

Dave wished it wasn't so dark so he could see the blush that was likely spreading across John's face. Then again, if it were brighter, John would be able to see the matching flush spreading across Dave's face and that simply wouldn't do. "Oh, man, I-"

John cut him off. "I just didn't want you to go because it wouldn't really be fair you to go and… take care of things and just… leave me here."

Then John was shifting back again and, oh, that just had to be on purpose… Oh. Oh! Right… As soon as the full realization of what John was suggesting resonated in Dave's head, any thoughts and fantasies about what they might've done promptly fled his imagination. He was left uncertain what to do and, since John had stopped moving, it seemed he was feeling the same. But his ass was still pressing against Dave's erection and that seemed like a good place to start.

He took a deep breath and gave a tentative thrust upwards against John's rear, causing the other boy to release a breathy little noise Dave quickly decided he wanted more of. He brought a hand up and ran it down John's side before grabbing onto his hip and thrusting up with a little more force, which amplified the volume of the noise just a bit. Repeating the action and tightening his grip, Dave set out to make that noise into an all-out moan and he felt he was making pretty good headway until John's hand found his hip and caused him to still. The blonde opened his eyes (when had they closed?) and saw John opening his own blue orbs and taking a deep breath. For a panicked second, Dave wondered if John had decided they were done, but the dark-haired boy put the fear to rest when he rolled over onto his other side and faced Dave. "My neck was getting tired." He muttered before leaning in close and placing hesitant lips against his friend's.

That first, soft kiss broke off quickly and was replaced with deeper, harder meetings of the lips. As John scooted in closer, pressing his lower half against Dave's, the blonde could feel that his friend was, indeed, as into their activities as he was. The bulge tenting the front of John's sleep pants was pleasingly stiff and offered a wonderful friction when it was pressed hard against the matching protrusion in Dave's boxers. "Mmh," John hummed against Dave's mouth at the dual sensations of their erections making contact through fabric and Dave's tongue stroking inexpertly against his.

Dave let out a surprised breath and broke the kiss when John pushed their hips together harder, questing for more pressure and distracting the blonde. Multitasking wasn't really in their repertoire just yet, being as this was their first adventure between the sheets, but they weren't complaining. Belatedly realizing his hands were just clenching against the blankets pointlessly, Dave brought his right hand back up to John's hip, spreading his fingers little wider in search of more contact. This prompted John to move his hands as well, which had previously been sandwiched in the ever-shrinking space between the two boys. He slid his left hand under Dave's head and brought it against the back of his skull, pulling him forward and pressing their lips together once more.

They were uncoordinated to say the least, as John messily and haltingly explored Dave's mouth, forced to break off every now and then to voice some noise of pleasure as Dave continued snapping his hips up and down against John's in an odd sort of one-two rhythm. The lack of coordination did little to lessen the shocks of pleasure running up and down their bodies, however, or the enthusiasm they were acting with. Dave's hand was sliding lower and lower, until he found himself with quite a nice handful of John's ass, if the blonde did say so himself, and he squeezed the yielding flesh gently with his next upward thrust. "Ah- Dave!" John called out with an initial note of surprise and an ending whine of arousal.

And, fuck, if the way John had practically moaned his name didn't do something to egg Dave on. He gripped the brunette's ass harder, trying to spread his fingers wider and letting them dip slightly into the cleft between the cheeks, the thin, soft fabric of John's pajama bottoms stretching accommodatingly with his digits. "Hnngah- D…" The blonde's name was on the tip of John's tongue, they both knew it, but the slightly shorter boy silenced the cry by pressing his lips against Dave's throat.

John wrestled his arm from between their chests and slid it up Dave's back, pressing against the blonde's shoulder blade as he laved the boy's Adams apple messily with his tongue. They were now pressed together completely from shoulder to knee, Dave's arm trapped between them and clutching John's t-shirt, both panting and grinding together forcefully, almost desperately at that point. Dave could feel the heat coming off of John's face and once again wished it was bright enough to see the flush that had surely joined the freckles across his cheeks. The thought only lasted a moment, though, before John attempted sucking on his Adams apple. "Hu- Oh," Dave found himself moaning under his best friend's efforts, "Eg- John. Fucking…"

He could feel as well as hear John chuckle against his skin and the blonde frowned despite the pleasant sensation of the heir running his tongue down to the place where his neck became his shoulder. Determined to pull that moan out of his friend yet, he reached down a bit and hitched John's leg over his hip, sliding into the extra space provided and redoubling his efforts. Pressing his dick to John's once more, going for as much contact as he could, he began rubbing against his friend, hard and fast, and attempting to keep a rhythm rather than devolving into the senseless grinding they'd just been engaging in. "Oh-" John's mouth came away from his shoulder for a moment with a gasp of pleasured surprise and Dave kept moving, grinding the length of their erections together through two thin layers of cloth.

"Ah- hah- ahh," The heir's pleasured noises grew steadily louder as he humped back against Dave, who was letting out breathy groans of his own, too close to the edge to really care about what ridiculous sounds came out of his mouth.

The inexperienced teens weren't destined to last long, and John came first with a loud cry. "Dave-!" The movement of his hips stopped as his release spilled into his pajama bottoms.

Dave lasted less than a minute longer, spending himself in his boxers, John's name leaking out of his throat in a long, low groan.

The two lay their panting for a few minutes, tangled together so completely they weren't certain they could extricate their limbs from the mess. John's forehead was pressed against Dave's shoulder and his leg was still slung over the other's hip while one of the blonde's legs was pressed between John's, as their arms were still clinging to one another. John's fingers were tangled hopelessly in blonde hair and Dave's fingers were, likewise, lost in the twists of John's shirt. The brunette moved first, wiggling back a bit and releasing his hold on Dave's hair, which caused his counterpart of let go of his shirt and assist in the detangling process.

Finally, they were on separate sides of the blanket-mattress and were able to get up and stumble over to where they kept their things. They both donned fresh bottoms, changing back to back despite what they had just done together, and then wandered back to the bed. The air was heavy with what might have been awkwardness had they not found themselves quite suddenly utterly exhausted. Instead, as Dave laid down on his side of the makeshift mattress, John scooted back to meet him, pressing against the blonde's chest. "Hm," Dave allowed the small sound of approval to pass his lips as he wrapped his arms up around John.

"I knew you were a cuddler." John mumbled before stifling a yawn.

"Shut it, Egbert." Dave muttered.

He didn't release his hold, however, and John shifted around in the knight's arms until he was facing Dave again and pressed his forehead to the other boy's shoulder once more. "Yeah, okay," A pause for a yawn, "But I make no promises about the morning."

Dave barely managed to push away the fond smile that threatened to break across his face before he drifted off to sleep, John not far behind.

-/-/-

Author's Note: Wow, this is so out of character, isn't it? I just… porn is hard. It's hard and nobody but everyone who's ever written something porny understands. Yeah… Despite all that, I hope somebody enjoyed this!

Can also be found on ff.net and tumblr.

Catlike: Homestuck Kink Meme Fill

Title: Catlike
Characters/Pairing: John Egbert, Karkat Vantas, Nepeta Leijon; Karkat/Nepeta, het
Rating: T/FRT
Genre: Humor/a bit of romance
Summary: If Nepeta fancies herself to be counted among the cats, obviously she acts a bit catlike.  The other trolls don't find it strange anymore, but it does worry the humans a bit.  Oneshot.
Disclaimer: I do not own Homestuck, nor do I make money off of this.

Author's Note: In which all the kids end up on the meteor with trolls, like people used to write before we found out how it really happened.

Shameless Plug: If you're a writer, come check out Homestuck Plot Waffles, a monthly writing challenge blog.  Signups for the April Challenge are open now, and anyone can join in!

-/-/-

"Hey, Karkat." John greeted his grumpy friend upon entering the computer lab.

Karkat's reply was a grunt of acknowledgement, though he didn't look up from his screen. By the looks of it, he was attempting to code something; John could sympathize with the need for concentration and was blessedly quiet as he headed over to his own computer and took a seat.

At this time of night (or day, no one had really figured out how timing worked in the veil, particularly considering the troll's nocturnal nature and the human's diurnal habits) the lab was empty, save for Karkat, who didn't seem to sleep much. John, himself, occasionally had trouble sleeping and had decided to wander out and occupy himself on the computer for a while.

The peaceful quiet of computing settled over the room, a background noise of Karkat's typing and John's mouse clicking comforting the two occupants. However, before long, Karkat's shout-harshened voice broke the peace. "I can't feel my legs."

John looked up from his computer screen and glanced over. Karkat wasn't even looking over. "Well, that can't be good. Maybe you should get up and walk around a little." The heir suggested.

This time, the knight did look up and he glared over at John. "I wasn't talking to you, fuckass." He said, the insult slipping out mostly by habit, before turning back to his own computer.

Brows furrowed in confusion, John glanced around the computer lab to make sure he hadn't missed any other occupants. But all the other desks were unoccupied and the horn pile was empty- as if anyone could have missed someone sitting down on that cacophonous mess of devil props. There didn't appear to be anyone but him for Karkat to address, but John shrugged it off as an odd troll quirk. He, Rose, Dave, and Jade had become well-acquainted with many such ticks during their time on the meteor with their alien companions and had long since learned not to pick at them if they could help it.

Quiet settled back in for a bit until, once again, Karkat spoke up. "I'm fucking serious. You might as well chop my legs off and shove them in whatever gogforsaken, stupid treasure chest we ended up stashing Tavros's limbs in. That is how little feeling I have in these fucking things."

"Wait, wait, Tavros's old legs are in one of those weird treasure chests?" John asked, whirling around in his computer chair.

Karkat threw another irritated look in his direction. "Once again, fuckass, does it look like I'm talking to you?"

"Well, no, but…" John glanced around the room again and shrugged.

The other boy had already turned his attention back to his screen, however, shaking his head and muttering about John's undying stupidity, or something that would have been equally offensive if John wasn't so used to it by now. Frowning and wondering if maybe he should leave Karkat to his own devices, or perhaps get help, John spun his chair back around and attempted to pay attention to what he had been looking at before. His attempt was generally successful until Karkat made a strangled noise in the back of his throat and alarmed the human. "Karkat, are you-" John started.

The troll cut his question short with a bark of what was definitely laughter. "S-stop that!" He demanded, hunching over his computer desk, "Stop doing that you," There was a break in his sentence for another snort of laughter, "You- bulge- ha- lick- snort- whiff-" That was about as far as he made it before he broke down completely.

To say John was concerned would be an understatement. "I- I'm gonna go get help, okay…?" He said slowly, wheeling out from under his desk and standing up.

Karkat didn't seem to be paying him any mind. "Oh my fucking gog, that is it!" He shouted, also pushing out from under his desk.

Of all the things John expected to see, Nepeta curled up like a cat on Karkat's lap was not one of them. "Jeez!" He jumped in surprise, "Nepeta, what are you doing under there?"

"Sitting on Karkitty's lap, of course!" She replied cheerfully, uncurling slightly to look up at him.

"And my legs are fucking asleep, didn't you hear me?" Karkat demanded, giving the girl a little shove on the shoulder.

"Mmm, but your lap is so comfortable…" Nepeta practically purred, "I like sitting with you best of everyone!"

"You… sit on everyone's laps?" John interjected, confused. He knew Nepeta was Karkat's matesprit and trolls seemed to be fairly monogamous within each quadrant (of course, considering how long it had taken him to catch on to the concept of those things, he wouldn't have been surprised if had his facts wrong).

"Of course! Cats sit on laps, after all." Nepeta replied, as though it was obvious. She then unwound from her curled pose with admitted catlike grace and positioned herself so her legs were on either side of Karkat's, allowing the blood flow to return to his extremities, "But Karkat's lap definitely the best."

"Oh. Um… That's, uh, sweet. I guess?" John half-asked.

Karkat made a dismissive noise and glared at the girl in front of him. "Don't be fooled. She just likes being able to get at my stomach with her fucking tongue."

"Okay, ew, TMI, guys!" The bespectacled boy grimaced, waving his hands as if to banish the disturbing thoughts.

"To tickle me, you sick nookstuffer!" Karkat informed him, looking slightly scandalized.

"Oh…"

With a little smile, Nepeta leaned forward and reclaimed Karkat's attention with chaste kitten-lick to the tip of his nose. "I'm sorry," She giggled, hardly sounding very sorry at all, and bumping foreheads with the boy in what John supposed was a cat-esque manner, "I'll make it up to you."

She then seemed to be awaiting Karkat's word of approval and Karkat seemed torn between replying and sending displeased looks in John's direction. "Well, I guess… I'll get back to bed now, then…" The heir decided his presence was neither required nor desired, so he hopped onto the transportalizer pad and disappeared.

As he wandered back towards his bed, he made a mental note to look under his desk for Nepeta before he sat down next time and shook his head, wondering what other surprises life here could still hold.

-/-/-

Author's Note: I'm not really sure how I feel about this one. It was hard to write, since it was the first time I've done this pair. Oh, well. Hooray, first Karkat/Nepeta story I've posted!

Can also be found at ff.net, devart, and tumblr.

Hand in Hand: Homestuck Kink Meme Fill

Title: Hand in hand
Characters/Pairing: Dave Strider, John Egbert, Bro/Dirk Strider; Dave/John slash
Rating: T/FRT
Genre: Drama/Romance
Summary: John highly values his personal space, while Dave sees no reason to, which can be a problem when two people are dating.  Oneshot, Homestuck Kink Meme Fill.
Disclaimer: I do not own Homestuck, nor do I make money off of this.

Come check out Homestuck Plot Waffles, a monthly writing challenge blog!  Anybody can join in!  Signups for the April challenge are open now.

-/-/-

You figured when you and Egbert finally met up in real life, no danger or chat windows between the two of you, he'd be all for a totally bromantic hug-fest. In fact, you expected it. You prepared yourself for it. You were psyched for it. Well okay, let's not get carried away.

Point is, you were utterly surprised when you dropped your suitcase on the airport floor and went in for an all-out bestest-buddies bro-hug, and Egbert flinched away. Just for a second. But you noticed (of course you noticed). But then he was back and hugging the air out your lungs with all the strength his arms could muster. Which was a lot, thanks to those damned hammers he'd taken to swinging around.

You weren't about to miss out on this touchy-feely moment, but it seemed that, as soon as you'd gotten your arms wrapped firmly around the slightly shorter boy's shoulders, the hug was over. John was pulling back, looking slightly unsettled, and reaching for your suitcase. "It's great to see you, man!" He finally speaks, and it's with all the enthusiasm and cheer you remember hearing and finding admirably annoying during the game.

But that hug. That was some awkward shit. You glance at Mr. Egbert, and he's not giving you any sort of dirty look, or any sort of weird look in particular. So, you're pretty much at a loss.

Your name is Dave Strider, you are 14 years old, you have been in Washington for 15 minutes, and you already feel as though you've done something unbearably weird. (Not that you show it, or anything.)

On the way back to the Egbert residence, John chatters away about this and that, saying things like, "Are you sure Washington is cool enough for you, Dave? We can't have your irony melting off, or something," and you're responding with things like, "No sweat, Egbert. Your dorky state has gained some chill through my presence, alone." It's pretty much like that flinch never happened, and you two are just enjoying seeing each other outside a life-or-death situation. In fact, you're pretty sure that's exactly what's happening here. No weirdness abounding, no worries.

Except, later that day, when you lean right up against John to look at something on his computer screen- personal space? What the hell is that? Bro certainly never taught you there was any big need to value it- he flinches away again. Then he nudges you away with his shoulder and for a second- for half a second that you'll never admit existed (and people should take your word for it; you're the goddamn Knight of Time)- you feel a bit hurt. But then John is laughing it off and saying, "Jeez, Dave, if you want to see it so bad, why don't you just sit down?" and he vacates his chair.

You try like hell to figure it out in between all the bro-tastic times you and John have (urg, 'bro-tastic?' You're definitely going to have to flush that one from your brain). Maybe it's some leftover reaction from playing the game? You can get jumpy as hell sometimes, just sometimes, and Bro might even lay off if it's noticeable. Or maybe it's some rampant no-homo reflex? Or maybe you're just imagining it? (You cross this out as a possibility when John has a mini seizure trying to get you off when you plop down in his lap on the couch once.)

Still, barring those incidents, you have a fuck-roaring enjoyable time with Egbert and he returns the sentiment, and it's quickly agreed that, in his words, "this is sooo happening again."

And it does. It keeps happening.

-/-/-

Your name is Dave Strider, you are 17 years old, and you're waiting around at the airport for your boyfriend's flight to get in.

Yeah, you and Egbert started dating. It shocked everyone. Except for Bro, Mr. Egbert, Jade, Grandpa Harley, Lalonde, Lalonde's mom, and… Okay, so everybody and their grandpa saw it coming. Whatever. Doesn't change the fact that you love the little geek- even if the first thing he did when you two became official was pull up a chat with Karkat and announce to the troll how his shipping chart had been all wrong.

Ah, and there he was now; a beacon of messy black hair and completely sincere hipster glasses amongst the rest of the people, standing on tiptoe and searching for his ridiculous luggage.

You walk up to him and lay your hand on his shoulder to announce your presence- a necessary evil, unfortunately. You learned early on that surprise hugs will only earn you an elbow to the ribs and a scowl full of braces. It isn't that he doesn't like hugs from you (and god, that was one of the unmanliest-sounding conversations you two ever had), it's just he doesn't like to be touched without warning. It's no big deal, though- you're so on top of this being sensitive shit that it's pretty much second nature to give him a bit of warning before you glom onto him. He turns around at your touch and grins widely. "Surprise!" He cries, still wearing what you're pretty sure is the widest freaking grin you've ever seen him pull.

You're about to retort that you were expecting him, so it's not exactly a surprise, and then possibly call him a dumbass, but then you see what he's getting at. Well, no more scowls full of braces. "Well, shit, it's about fucking time you got those things off," You reply, "D'you have any idea how many times I've cut my tongue in the past two years?"

He rolls his eyes. "Wow, I'm so glad you're happy for me, dude." You're never sure if he picked up the sarcasm from you or Lalonde. You're pretty sure it was you, though- Lalonde is always insisting you're a bad influence on John.

"You know it, babe."

Egbert scrunches his nose at the nickname- and, really, that's the only reason you use it on him- but his expression gets softer when you put your arms around his waist and pull him close. He puts his arms around your back and lets you hold him there. It took for-fucking-ever for him to be sure it was okay to just hug you back and, even though you know it's highly uncool, you celebrate every hug as a small victory. It isn't long before he's pulling away from you again, a bit awkwardly, and you let him. Prolonged physical contact isn't really a thing, either. But, as ever, it's cool. "C'mon, let's find my bag so we can get going." He's chirping- that verb should not be applicable to a 17-year-old boy, but he pulls it off pretty well so you don't tease him for it. Often.

It doesn't take long to find his luggage- it's a neon yellow monstrosity of a duffle bag that he always packs to the weight limit with crap then hefts it around like it's nothing. He also takes great joy in hefting it at you without warning, in which case you waste no time in tripping him as he walks unwittingly beside you. He'll then tease you about how much you're struggling to carry his bag- which you're fucking not- and you'll snark about how he can't stand to be away from home without his extensive collection of shitty movies. Your visits with each other start like this more often than not, but it works for you.

Soon, you're on the freeway and heading back to the shitty apartment you and Bro still live in after all this time (even though you're almost certain Bro could afford some place bigger and better). Some things still haven't changed- John is still chattering away like he did the first time you came to visit- but you know that when you get back home, as soon as you're really goddamn sure Bro is gone, you'll be doing more than playing video games and looking up brain rotting YouTube videos.

Egbert graciously lugs his bag out of the back seat for you and you head up the way too fucking many stairs to your apartment. On the walk up, you reach over and grab John's hand, lacing your fingers with his, and you have to quash the urge to smile when he squeezes back. You hate to admit it, but you're a pretty touchy-feely guy. Hugs all around, leaning on people, hands on shoulders, hand-in-hand, attaching yourself to the person sitting next to you while you watch a movie, that sort of stuff. Of course, those last two things you save exclusively for Egbert, but the point still stands. You think personal space is pretty pointless and that physical contact is just great, thanks for asking.

John, however, doesn't. It's almost always you who'll initiate touchy-feely time and it's always John who ends it. There are a few exceptions, of course- you remember John having a hellacious nightmare when you were visiting last winter and even though you felt like a grade-a ass for thinking it, it felt wonderful to have him be the one doing the clinging for once. Not that you cling. You are simply inexplicably attracted to John's physical presence and must be within at least two feet of him for reasons of science you don't want to get into. Don't let Egbert say otherwise.

The point which you seem to have gotten away from is that, ever since your first visit, it's been this way. Ever since you've begun dating, it's been more noticeable. Hugs require warnings, cuddling is rationed, sloppy make-out time is limited, and you never really were able to figure out why. Not that you didn't try- fuck did you ever try. However, online conversations always left John with an out and you never wanted to ruin your unfortunately infrequent visits with an argument.

Instead, you don't say a word as John releases your hand and you oblige and do the same as you walk through the door of your apartment even though there was really no reason to let go at all. "Hey, Bro." John greets your brother, who is sitting on the futon when you get in, and you can tell without even looking that your boyfriend is now suppressing a smile. He thinks it's damn funny that nobody calls your bro by anything but… Bro.

You lift your hand in your own method of greeting and he nods, acknowledging the two of you, before you veer off down the hall and into your room. Here, John drops his bag in the usual place and then leans in to kiss you. This sort of contact, he'll start. It's usually short and sweet, but whatever. You'll take it. Slowly, you place your hands on his hips and tug him closer, and you're embracing like you did at the airport but with the added bonus of face-sucking (okay, it's a little too tame to be placed in any sort of "sucking" category, but you can work up to it).

At the moment however, with a building full of neighbors, a living room full of Bro, and a day full of catching up to do, things remain fairly tame. His hands are on your shoulders and you're leaning against each other and your tongue occasionally reaches out to brush across his lips, but that's pretty much all you're up to when a pounding noise makes Egbert flinch (Striders do not flinch, you are no exception) and you break the kiss.

The pounding noise is coming from your door. "I'm going to work. Don't set the apartment on fire. And stop sucking face." Bro calls through the thin wooden barrier.

Do you have to explain the lack of face-suckage again? Really? "Yeah, fine." You call back calmly. You know he added the last part to get your ironic, metaphorical goat and you're not about to give him the satisfaction of knowing the bleatbeast is now in his possession.

John looks a bit uncomfortable and backs away with a final squeeze of your shoulders. Yeah, Bro has all your goats, the bastard. You can hear the front door open and shut, along with the metallic click of the lock and now you and John are pretty much alone for the night. "So, we gonna make up for five and a half months of separation or what?" You ask said boy.

"I dunno. You're not suggesting anything untoward, are you, Strider?" John asks with a smirk.

"What do you take me for? My intentions are completely toward, you don't even know. We're talking me taking one of your gloved hands in mine while you blush like a maiden at me over your lacy fan. I can express my undying love by reading poetry written by some dead guy. We'll call Lalonde to chaperone. Real chaste shit."

Rolling his eyes, John sits down on your bed. "I'm sure Rose would get a kick out of all the homoerotic undertones in that scenario."

You snort and settle down next to him. "Egbert, that didn't make any sense." You inform him.

John gives you a little shove. "So? Where would I even get a lacy fan, anyway?" He scoffs.

The question is so stupid and so kind of utterly Egbert that you actually laugh and he joins you.

-/-/-

A few hours later, the two of you are still in your room, still on your bed, watching some movie you're not paying attention to because it probably sucks- you've long since come to terms with your boyfriend's terminal inability to choose decent movies. There's a half-empty box of pizza sitting on your desk and John nagged you into submission when insisting on making "real" food for breakfast. You wished him luck with your deathtrap of a kitchen.

John is sitting closest to the laptop, his attention rapt, and you're sitting behind him, leaning against the wall. You've been eyeing him rather than the movie for at least half an hour now and he has yet to notice. He's sitting cross-legged, elbows propped on his knees, and you really want to just sort of sidle up behind him, put your chin on his shoulder, maybe wrap your arms around his waist, rest your chest against his back… Maybe you could just reach over, slowly…

You put your hands on his waist first, as a warning, and he glances back at you, but doesn't move. You move instead, leaning forward, resting your head on his shoulder lightly and wrapping your arms up around him. He tenses up a bit, but lets you stay. He even reaches up and puts a hand on your wrist, so you relax and lean in even more, pressing against his back like you wanted to. If hugs are a small victory, you can count this one among the big boys.

It lasts for all of 23 minutes.

Then John starts fidgeting. He takes his hand off your wrist and shifts under your grip a little. You figure it might just be him trying to get comfortable and loosen your arms a bit. He still fidgets. Then the sighing starts, as he presses back and forth in your arms. You heave a sigh of your own, annoyance and exasperation, and release him completely, leaning back against your pillows and crossing your arms over your chest. No, you're not fucking sulking, what would give someone that idea?

John's shoulders slump even more. "Sorry…" He mutters, pretty much making you feel like a total ass in the space of two seconds.

You sigh again, regret. "It's fine." You mutter in reply.

"No, it's… you can, y'know, come back, if you want. I won't move around or anything. Promise." He's craning his neck around to look at you and you can practically see the guilt coming off him, even through your shades.

You mean to say something reassuring, really. Tell him it's totally fine, you don't need to plaster yourself to him like a needy bitch, seriously. Instead, what comes out is, "Yeah, you will."

His brows draw down and he's frowning at you. "No, I won't. Seriously, I don't mean to, I just…"

"Don't like the whole touching thing, I get it. Whatever." You shrug.

John blinks, still frowning. "I… Sorry." He sighs and turns back around to face the movie.

And then, because you're apparently feeling like a petulant dickwad tonight, you say, "Are you sure it's not just that you don't want me to touch you?"

That warrants a complete 180, and Egbert is now facing you entirely, looking confused. "What?"

You shrug again. "I'm just saying. You used to maintain that you were nothing but 100% heterosexual and now you're dating your male best friend. Who you don't let hug you for more than a few minutes at a time." He still looks confused and you toss the last shovelful of dirt out of your own grave, "I don't need you to be dating me out of pity or some shit if you're that uncomfortable."

His eyebrows rise into his bangs and good fucking god, why can't you ever keep your goddamn mouth shut. "What the hell, Dave? Dating you out of pity? Where- where the fuck did you get that idea?"

Your mantra of shutupshutupshutupshutup doesn't appear to be working because more shit is coming out of your mouth before you can stop it. "I don't know. Maybe because you freak whenever I touch you. You won't let me hold you for more than a few fucking seconds," That's an exaggeration, but you can't stop fucking talking, "Because you never seem interested in touching me."

You expect him to get angry, to start a shouting match. Instead, he looks like you slapped him across the face. And, fuck, you kinda did. "I- I… shit," He swears quietly before looking up at you with the patented Egbert kicked-puppy stare, "Dave, I'm sorry."

Well. If you didn't feel like the scum of the Earth before, you certainly do now. You want to say something, but John beats you to it. "I know… I make things difficult for you, don't I? And, I don't mean to! I just… I don't know, get really uncomfortable when people are touching me. It's really nothing personal, I promise! And Dave," He pauses and stares into your shades, as if he wants to make sure you're listening. As if you'd drone out in the middle of his goddamn heartfelt speech, "Please, please, please don't think I'm dating you out of pity. I… I really like you. A lot. I really like being with you. Do you know that?"

"Fuck," You mumble, running a hand through your hair, "Yeah. Yes. Yes, I know that. I just… Why?"

"What?"

"Why does it make you uncomfortable? You'll never tell me and… fuck, John, I don't get it." You admit. You reach up to thread your fingers through your hair again and jar your shades in the process. With little consideration, you reach up and yank the things off your face; it's not as if John hasn't seen you without them and if he's opening up, taking them off is the least you can do.

He's eyeing you carefully, not like he doesn't trust you, but like he's not sure he should say anything. "You're just gonna think…" He trails off and huffs, "Look, did Bro, like, hug you and stuff when you were little?"

You raise an eyebrow. The 'what are you implying?' is implied. "I mean, did he do… affectionate stuff, I guess? Y'know, give you a hug, pat you on the head, put a hand on your shoulder to comfort you, whatever…" John elaborates.

"Yeah…" You draw out the word slightly, a bit confused. What was he getting at?

"Well… my dad didn't, really." He shrugs, "I mean, don't get me wrong! He's, like, the best dad ever. It is him. Even with all that stupid cake. But he was never all that comfortable with touching people either, and so he never really did that sort of stuff… So, I guess I just never really got comfortable with it?"

"You don't sound too sure about that, Egbert. Is that really all that makes you freak about being touched?" You feel a little bad for probing when he already looks uncomfortable, but if you don't get all this shit out in the open now, it's never going to happen.

"Isn't that enough?" he asks, a sort of edge to his voice, "I mean, I guess- It's just… Well, if most of the times you were in contact with people it was when they were beating you up, you wouldn't like physical contact very much either!"

Your eyebrows are torn between rising to your hairline and scrunching in confusion. They get stuck somewhere in the middle. "Excuse me?"

"What? I told you I got bullied a lot in elementary and middle school." He said defensively.

"Yeah, well, you kinda left out the part where that was pretty much the only contact you had with people." You deadpan, years of practice keeping the tension out of your voice.

He just shrugs again. "Look, it's not like I have 'Nam flashbacks, or something, I just… get uncomfortable. It's weird being so close to a person already and then I don't like feeling like I'm… I dunno, trapped? I guess?" He frowns, "No, that sounds, dumb, sorry, I-"

"Nah, it's not dumb," You dismiss his worries with a shake of your head, "It makes sense. But you could've clued me in sooner, jackass."

"I guess…" He looks away, "Sorry."

You sigh. Well now what? Glancing around, you can see the movie has ended, so you shut your laptop and place it carefully on the floor before an idea hits you. You go back to your spot against the pillows, laying back a bit and making yourself comfortable, ignoring John's confused looks, then gesture to him. "C'mere."

He quirks an eyebrow but obliges, scooting over and sitting next to you. Gently, you reach up and tug him down until he's reclined slightly next to you, flush against your side. You turn to face him. "We can work on this, if you want. Start slow, y'know? Look, both hands where you can see 'em." You raise your hands to show him and he chuckles, "We can lay here and talk or some shit, okay?"

John smiles at you and you feel him relax at your side. "Thanks, Dave." He says quietly.

"Yeah. No problem."

There is silence for a bit before John breaks it. "Maybe… maybe it would be okay if you put your arm around me. A little?"

You're too busy turning so you can sling your arm over his waist to ask how the hell you're supposed to do it "a little." He seems okay with how you do it, anyway.

The two of you stay that way for at least 40 minutes before John asks you to move your arm. It might just be because he wants to change position, because he does. Then you're not touching anymore and you're a bit disheartened until he reaches over and links arms with you and grabs your hand, meshing your fingers and squeezing tightly.

It's not quite what you want, and you're pretty sure he knows, but you're also pretty sure that, if it means the two of you can be together, you can wait until he gets more comfortable.

God, you're such a sap.

-/-/-

Author's note: Done and done. Finally. This was so hard for me to write because I have massive issues with physical contact and it was one of the things that ended my last relationship. Writing about the same problems we had, but from the other side, made me kind of feel like a horrible person… But anyway, I hope this came out alright!

Can also be found on ff.net, devart, and tumblr.

React and Interact #27

Title: React and Interact #27
Characters/Pairing: Edd/Double Dee, Nazz, gen
Rating: K/K+/FRC
Genre: Friendship
Summary: A short story for every possible pairing of Ed, Edd, n' Eddy characters, both frienship and romantic.
Disclaimer: I do not own Ed, Edd, n' Eddy.

-/-/-

"Dude, Ed and Eddy can be so uncool, sometimes!"

Edd's head snapped up from the butterfly he'd been inspecting (which had flown away at the disturbance) when his eardrums were assaulted by a pair of distinctly powerful lungs. He blushed when he found himself looking right up at Nazz. "I-I'm sorry, Nazz, but whatever do you mean?"

"I mean that they do some of the weirdest, jerkiest stuff sometimes! And- and you do, too!" She waved her hands in exasperation, "Do you even know what the heck they're doing now?"

"I…" Edd frowned and looked away, still kneeling in the grass, "I've taken my leave of their shenanigans for the day. It does become tiring participating in such weird and… jerky activities now and then."

The blonde towering over him seemed to be attempting to hold onto her irritation, but ultimately decided to let it go. She let out a gust of a sigh and flopped down in the grass beside the hatted Ed. "I'm sorry, Double Dee. I know half the time you get dragged into all that stuff… And beaten up for it."

"Yes, well… Thank you, Nazz, but most of the time I do allow myself to go along with it. I'm as much to blame for our antics as they are." Edd replied quietly, unable to look the girl in the eye as he did so.

There was a moment of silence. "Why do you guys even do all that stuff, anyway? You'd be way more awesome if you'd just… I dunno, be yourselves." Nazz finally asked, looking over at Edd.

He chuckled slightly and sat back on his hands. "It's a vicious cycle, I suppose, generally supported by Eddy and Kevin. We make a desperate bid for popularity, it goes terribly wrong, you all get angry with us- often rightly so, I think- and shun us further, causing us to engineer some form of revenge, which only makes things worse… And I'm the engineer."

Nazz giggled and nudged Edd in the side. "Hey, I happen to think you're pretty cool. I mean, when you're not scamming with Ed n' Eddy… Why do you do that, anyway? You seem like too smart of a dude for that."

Edd, still blushing from the compliments, cleared his throat. "Eddy and Ed are my friends… Usually my only friends- no offense meant of course!" He assured Nazz quickly, who only smiled, "And… well, when we're not pulling ridiculous scams on the cul-de-sac, they really are decent fellows…"

There was another brief silence. "Yeah, y'know… they kinda are. You guys should really try just… hanging out with us all sometimes, y'know?" Nazz cocked her head inquisitively, "You can be a pretty cool dude, Double Dee."

Blushing more furiously than before, Edd attempted to stutter out a reply. "I- I- er, well, thank you. And… I'm sorry for whatever my friends have done this time…" He began.

"Don't sweat it, dude. It gave me a chance to talk to you!"

Nazz giggled as she watched Edd turn the approximate color of a stoplight.

-/-/-

Words: 512

React and Interact #26

Title: React and Interact #26
Characters/Pairing: Edd/Double Dee, May Kanker; Edd/May, het
Rating: K/K+/FRC
Genre: Romance
Summary: A short story for every possible pairing of Ed, Edd, n' Eddy characters, both friendship and romantic.
Disclaimer: I do not own Ed, Edd, n' Eddy.

-/-/-

What started out as a bizarre Valentine's Day one-off quickly evolved into a lot of giggling and note-passing. Most of the giggling was on Edd's part. His friends- well, Eddy, anyway- were beginning to fear for his sanity. But the snarky and off-the wall comments did little to phase Edd, and he paid them no mind.

Even when May's sisters were unable to figure out what she was up to- Edd had happily taught her how to be much more discreet- and simply began throwing barbs at her, she didn't let them bother her. Especially considering she had Edd to help soothe the more painful teases away.

After six tiring months of meeting secretly while pretending they were elsewhere- and after May had helped Edd get over his "dishonesty crisis"- they and their peers were set to begin high school. Their glorious freshman year. Except, May was not convinced it would be quite so glorious.

"I want to start the year with a boyfriend!" May whined, pulling the puppy-dog eyes she knew would always melt her hatted companion, "Not some boy I have to sneak off to see!"

Edd sighed and looked away from the pleading blonde in front of him. He was notoriously poor at saying 'no' to anyone, particularly her. Particularly when she made a good point. "May… I… I thought we'd come to a decision on this." He replied, attempting to sound firm as he stared a hole in a nearby tree.

May groaned and crossed her arms, her irritated noise echoing around the clearing in the woods by the creek where they often met. "Well, I changed my mind! C'mon, Lambchop… doncha wanna be my boyfriend?" She asked, her voice softening slightly as she spoke.

"O-of course!" Edd's head snapped back towards her finally, a frown on his face, "However, it's really not the best decision to reveal a relationship between the two of us just now… is it? It wouldn't be terribly… smart."

"Sooo? Romeo an' Juliet weren't very smart, but they were in looove!" May poked him in the side with a giggle.

The reference made Edd smile; he'd told May all about the Shakespearian play, even read it to her, and she'd been in tears by the end. It was now the subject of many of her points. "My parents insist a relationship would get in the way of my studies…" He attempted.

"Nah, you're too smart for that!" May smiled coyly.

Edd blushed. "We could very well become the targets of the cul-de-sac's collective ridicule." He warned.

May flapped her hand dismissively. "Aw, nobody around there likes me, anyhow."

"And my friends certainly wouldn't like it…" Edd continued.

"Neither would Lee'r Marie." May shrugged.

"Yes, that's another thing. Marie could very well murder us, you realize." Edd shivered, looking directly at May again.

May grinned devilishly, a look Edd was well used to, and giggled. "Let'er try!"

Edd swallowed nervously, but leaned over and pecked May on the cheek. "Very well, then. If… if you're so set on it, then I am with you 100%." He said.

"You got that right! You're with me!" May giggled, pulling him into an affectionately crushing hug, which he couldn't help but smile through.

-/-/-

Words: 538

React and Interact #25

Title: React and Interact #25
Characters/Pairing: Edd/Double Dee, Marie Kanker; Edd/Marie, het
Rating: K/K+/FRC
Genre: Romance
Summary: A short story for every possible pairing of Ed, Edd, n' Eddy characters, both friendship and romantic.
Disclaimer: I do not own Ed, Edd, n' Eddy.

-/-/-

10 years ago, this was not something Edd would have ever, ever considered. Ever. The idea would have been utterly absurd, even to a creative and open-minded boy such as himself. Yet, here he was, at the ripe, old age of 22, a junior in college, perusing engagement rings at a jewelry store. He didn't have much money, but he supposed he had enough to pay for a modest ring. That was really the only kind Marie would wear, anyway.

That was one thing he'd always loved about her- well, once he decided he loved her, it was something he loved about her- she really was rather modest in her style. She may have gotten gussied up now and then, but it was usually just earrings and a splash of makeup at most. And he just loved seeing Marie's natural beauty shine through.

Shaking himself from his distraction, Edd continued looking over the rings beneath the protective glass. It had to be perfect, just as he strived to make everything else in his life. And there. There it was. A thin, silver scrollwork band with an oval-cut sapphire set into it. Simple, but beautiful, just like his (hopefully) soon-to-be fiancé.

Much later- nearly two months later- Edd still hadn't plucked up the courage to present the ring to Marie. He was sure she would like it- she did so love blue, and silver suited her much better than gold- but her possible answer had had Edd hesitating on edge for weeks, constantly fingering the small, silken box that was forever in his pocket. Anytime he managed to convince himself that of course she'd say yes, she threw him for a loop and made him doubt his judgment all over again.

Then came the day when he was contemplating how he might go about asking the question, as he routinely changed the method he wanted to go with, absently grasping the box in the palm of his hand, when he heard Marie sigh and lean on the couch behind him. He jumped and looked around at her, finding an almost bored expression on her face. "So, are you ever going to do it?" She deadpanned.

"D-do what?" Edd stuttered. A rare occurrence these days, actually.

Marie smirked. "Propose to me." She stated, drawing a startled noise out of boyfriend of five years, "Seriously, you bought that thing, like, what? A couple months ago?"

Silence. "How did you know?" He asked incredulously.

"You're not really that subtle." She smirked.

"I…" He fumbled with his words for a moment. "I worry about what you're going to say… What will you say? If… when I ask?"

Marie raised her eyebrows at him. "Well, yer just gonna have to ask me and find out."

Frustrated, Edd drew the box out of his pocket, slid off the couch, and knelt in front of Marie, presenting his gift to her and temporarily forgetting his insane nerves. "Marie… will you marry me?"

-/-/-

Words: 494

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