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Michael woke from yet another dream about David. He would have liked to say that he’d dreamed of Star, of her wild hair and haunted eyes, but no. She might have been there, but only outside looking in, a shadow at the edge of his vision, nothing more. All the world had been filled with David, and his presence left no room for anything else. It should have bothered him - it was bothering him now - but in the dream he hadn’t minded at all. David had been saying something, something that Michael had desperately needed to hear. He couldn’t remember what it was, though. Only David’s lips, moving.

That memory was still quite fresh and vivid in Michael’s mind when he got to the boardwalk. Everything was bathed in neon and seemed like a continuation of the dream more than a real place. All the edges were blurry, objects seeming to bleed into one another and the night. Then again, most things looked like that these days. Not David, though. David was always horribly, painfully clear.

It didn’t take him long to find the gang. They were playing some silly game that was obviously rigged not to let anyone get too many points, but they didn’t seem to mind. They were clearly more interested in jostling and egging each other on than they were in actually winning anything, in any case. It looked like fun. Good, regular fun that he too might have had with his friends back home.

Just as Michael reached them, he heard David laugh softly at something one of the guys said. The sound sent a shiver down his spine.

Later that night they were once again at the cave, sitting scattered around the rubble. Somehow Michael had ended up next to David. They were perched together on top of something that looked like nothing so much as a pirate’s treasure chest. Michael really wouldn’t have been too surprised to find out that it was full of actual gold. David’s right hand was resting at the nape of Michael’s neck. Friendly, relaxed, like he was an old chum who’d had a little too much to drink and so felt more affectionate than usual. Like it was normal, what he did. Michael didn’t like it one bit, but for some reason he didn’t move away either. He just sat there, feeling uncomfortable and sweaty and full of this weird energy that he couldn’t name.

They had takeout, pizza this time, and despite Michael’s misgivings it stayed the same all the way through. He couldn’t have told anyone what the toppings were, though. He just chewed and swallowed and tried not to think about anything. David didn’t move his hand away to eat, he just held the other one out and someone would put a slice in it, as if that was the way they always did this. And for all Michael knew, maybe it was. The others seemed to follow every order David ever gave without missing a beat.

It was when David started to move his fingers, catching the soft hairs at Michael’s neck between them, that he finally snapped.

”What the hell do you think you’re doing!” he demanded, trying to stand up.

David moved too fast for Michael to react. One moment he was getting up from his seat and the next he found himself held up so that only the tips of his sneakers touched the ground, back shoved tightly against the stone wall and wind knocked out of his lungs. Michael had no notion of what he would even have tried to do if he’d had the opportunity. Fight the guy? That seemed like a royally idiotic idea now. David’s right hand was around his neck, forcing his chin up with a grip that felt as immovable as the wall behind him. His left one was planted casually against the wall by Michael’s ear, as if to demonstrate how David did not need it at all to hold someone just where he wanted them to be.

”You like this better then?” David said.

Michael tried to shake his head but found that he couldn’t even move that much. ”No,” he rasped out and David smiled. There was something about David’s smile. Even here, even now, the sight of it did things to Michael. He should have been trying to free himself, to get a kick in or something, but he just stood still as the bastard pressed in even closer and slowly lowered his lips to his neck. First there was only the sensation of cool breath on his skin, feather light and maddening. Then Michael could feel David’s lips, moving softly against his throat like he was whispering secrets in a voice too low to hear.

It shouldn’t have felt good. Quite apart from Michael definitely not liking David that way, or really any way at all, he was still painfully wedged between him and the wall. David’s thumb was digging uncomfortably into his jaw and -oh god, what was he doing now? Those had to be teeth, grazing his skin almost tenderly before slowly biting down.

After that it all got a bit hazy. Or hazier than what passed for normal nowadays. Michael felt a sharp pain, but before it even had time to fully register, it was gone and replaced by something else. A sense of pressure, warm and relaxing. Well, sort of relaxing. All the nerve endings in his body appeared to have migrated to where David was touching him. Where David’s lips and tongue and teeth were doing things to him that he never even had imagined possible. He couldn’t really feel the rest of his body anymore - it had stopped being relevant. The only thing that mattered was that point of connection, that burning that went from him to David and somehow back again.

Then it was over. All at once Michael was left standing by himself. Or not so much standing as frantically scrabbling for something to brace against to stop himself from sliding down the wall. Somehow his legs had turned to goo. It’s the adrenaline, he told himself, a totally reasonable reaction at the end of a scrap. That would also explain how cold he now felt, how empty. Adrenaline rush, pure and simple.

David was standing by the opposite wall, his back to Michael. He seemed to be deep in conversation with Marko, who wiggled his eyebrows and smiled widely at Michael when he noticed him looking. The guy was seriously weird, but way nicer than the others. Still, Michael didn’t have enough energy left to try and figure out what that expression was supposed to mean.

”I’m going to crash,” Michael announced to no one in particular. Some of the gang raised their hands, but David didn’t even turn. Despite that, while he was climbing up Michael could have sworn that he felt those eyes following him. He was sure that if he’d stopped and looked back over his shoulder, David would have been right behind him, smiling ever so slightly. So he didn’t.

It still was David that he thought of as he fell into exhausted sleep, a little before the sun began to rise.