“You know what I realized?” Dream murmurs into the phone.
George can already picture him. He’s got this denseness to his voice, something thick, all syrup-like and sugary. He’s in bed—or at least George hopes he is, with the way he’s dragging out his words. Probably on his side, his right, because his left makes him fall asleep quicker, and George knows Dream wants to stay up for a while to talk. If he’s not wearing a shirt tonight, if it’s hot over in Florida, then George knows his blanket is up to his chin, maybe even tucked in at the slit between his lips.
Maybe he’s biting at it.
“What have you realized?” George asks as he pinches the bedsheets between his fingers.
His phone rests on his chest, and even the faint rumbles of Dream’s voice causes the phone to vibrate against his body.
“I realized I think about you a lot.”
George waits for him to add to his sentence. He waits for a laugh, for a snicker, for some other words to come rushing out of Dream. But all he hears is the ticking of the clock in his room and the silence from the line, a buzz that slithers into his ear and tickles at his insides.
He wants to shiver. He wants to say something. He wants to give in.
If he craves to admit his own thoughts about Dream at these hours of the night, he doesn’t. Instead, he sniffles and perches up a knee until his foot flattens on his mattress, until his toes curl a little in anticipation.
“You think of me? A lot?” George teases. “Like how?”
He wants to know. If Dream is going to talk and tell and spill out some honesty at this hour, George wants to be prepared.
And he’s not.
Dream is on the other line, probably half dressed and gnawing on the lip that he cut with his teeth just yesterday, and that thought alone is already making George sweat.
“I do,” Dream murmurs faintly, and George swears he catches onto that smile in his voice. “In almost everything I do. I guess it pulls from our friendship and how much we talk.”
“Give me an example.”
“Hm—like, last night when I got groceries for my entire family, I thought about you in the toothpaste aisle.”
George bites back his grin. “The toothpaste aisle?”
He’s not sure if Dream is lacking context because he wants George to ask, but he can’t help the way his chest feels every time Dream stops talking and every time he has to pick up where he’s left off. It’s the constant hum and the smile he knows that is plastered across Dream’s face that is killing George. It’s the light feeling across his sternum despite the device that sits over him that burns him more than he’s already burning.
“You use that one toothpaste that you couldn’t find anywhere for, like, weeks. Remember?” Dream chuckles. “‘Cause you were so sensitive to cold things and you needed that one fucking brand that makes your teeth feel good,” he mutters, getting cut off when George says, “—feel good—” in a sarcastic tone.
Dream continues, “I found it here first, and I almost shipped you a bunch, but then you finally found it online. Remember? I don’t know, I saw it in the store last night and I thought about that whole goddamn situation.”
A laugh tickles up George’s chest. Of course he remembers, Dream brings up the story because it’ll make him laugh and then laugh harder and then laugh so hard that he’ll get George laughing.
George fiddles with the drawstrings of his pants, pushes the tips of them together until one slips past the other. He scrunches his nose up as he stares at the wall.
“I remember,” he says slowly. “I hardly use it anymore. I bite through ice cream with no problem now.”
Dream says nothing this time, other than the little scoff of the word, “bite?!"
George almost hopes Dream is grinning to himself—maybe he’s picturing George with strawberry flavored ice cream crowded against his somewhat-sensitive teeth. Maybe that thought alone makes Dream want to grin.
George can’t say the same.
The thought of Dream with ice cream against his lips, cold and creamy and spread over the little bitten cut on his mouth, makes George want to send a giant, fuck you, to the world so he can kiss his best friend. No worries about confessions, ruining friendships, or commitments. Just the taste of vanilla or chocolate or whatever Dream wants.
And George wishes a lot harder than he wants to admit.
“Or,” Dream adds, “this one is a little funny because of the place and concept, I guess. But, in the shower—”
“—In the shower? Dream,” George teases again.
“Oh, shut up.”
George rubs his cheek against his pillow. “Go on.”
“When I wash my hair, I always think about how you explained your shower routine to your stream,” he says easily, like he’s teasing George.
George ponders a moment, thinking back to how he revealed in so much detail when someone asked him through a donation. He had done it all excitedly, despite the constant groans of the others in the call—Quackity and Dream and Karl. He’s lucky that Sapnap had just gone to sleep because he knew he wouldn’t have heard the end, with all his tiny details about soaps.
“Oh god,” George mumbles, drawing random letters and shapes over his knee as he stares at the wall. “Are you talking about the way I always have to start with my body wash, then shampoo, then all of my sugar scrubs—”
“—you have so many!”
“Cause they’re so good!” George defends himself, raises his voice until his chest lifts and until his phone slips off his body.
He grips it again and watches as his phone lights up to reveal Dream’s contact name on his phone. He beams when he sees the name and the time they’ve spent on call.
Three hours, sixteen minutes, forty-nine seconds.
His body is weak against his bed and his neck hurts. It’s been storming for over five hours, light rain against the windows that bleed in moonlight. His curtains are never open like this, but the moon hangs in the sky, acting bored, yet giving George so many reasons to be happy tonight.
He’s thankful for the light in his room.
Sometimes it’s dark.
Most times it’s dark, but the company of a storm by his side brings light and sound, and George appreciates the company for his loneliness.
If Dream were here, George knows he’d try to open the windows. He’d close his eyes and stick his head toward the rain, letting the droplets hit his cheeks like they were tears. He’d open himself up to the nature outside, whirl back inside and blink at George, with wet eyelashes and color in his face, rosy and barely below a flush of a fire. Maybe his hair would drip and maybe he’d double over in laughter, show his teeth, deliver the most sincere grin.
And perhaps then George would fall. A lot more than he already has.
“You made Sapnap and I buy some,” Dream says slowly, dropping his tone like he knows George is thinking about his presence in his room.
George’s eyes squint as he smiles. His face is flushed.
Maybe if he closes his eyes hard enough, maybe if he squeezes his fists and thinks hard enough, then Dream would appear.
“Wait, you’re kidding,” he exhales after a moment.
Dream hums like he does, and George flutters his eyes to a close as he pays attention to his voice, slow and dripping with just a quarter of as much warmth as George thinks he really has to give. Dream talks again, about how much he thinks about George in the shower—about how he’s got this whole act of George’s stuck in his head like mud because of the shower. George finds it endearing.
“Well, which is your favorite?” George asks him for the sake of continuing the conversation.
Dream is on the other side of the phone, tired, ready to sleep. It’s somewhere past one in the morning for him, and George knows he needs to be up early.
He’s got work, ideas to plan out, people to talk to, things to see, and just—stuff to do. George doesn’t technically need to keep him here, but every part of him wants to drop to his knees and beg Dream to stay on the call.
He knows Dream when he gets tired.
He knows Dream when he wants to flee.
He’ll go a little silent, hum into his responses. He’ll click his tongue and make fewer jokes, breathing down the line in a more saturated way. And even if George cares immensely for him, he wants more to listen to the sound of him in his ears more than he wants him to leave.
He wants to take and take and take all that he can grab from Dream in these last few moments of the night, because when morning rises and when the sun wipes pieces of their memories, they’ll feel less close, and George’s confidence will sink. And they’ll retreat to jokes here and there.
He hates that.
“I am not a fan of the sweet ones.” Dream’s voice echoes a bit like he’s gone away from the phone. “You know, like the vanilla ones, or the—fuck—there was a cupcake one or something. I almost died in the shower. Gave it to Sapnap, and he actually smelled really nice afterwards. I guess it just was intense with the hot water and all.”
George laughs, cackles so hard that he flips himself over and muffles his voice into his bedsheets to hide the sound.
“Oh, my god,” he says. “I actually got you guys to like sugar scrubs.”
Dream whispers an, oh my gosh, under his breath.
“You didn’t tell me which ones you like, though,” George says carefully.
“Oh,” Dream pauses a moment, and his voice pulls away from the phone again. George wonders if he’s out of bed now, walking around his room. Maybe he’s in the bathroom, maybe his hands are getting all sticky as he drags through his different products lined up in his shower. “I like the ones that make you feel like you're in a spa. Eucalyptus. Lavender. Like those.”
He’s got good taste. He picks them well. Much different from Sapnap, who seems to enjoy the scents that’ll fill the bathroom until his lungs are all cotton candy and sugar.
That’s cute, George thinks.
“You must smell good then,” he says into the phone.
Dream huffs. “Is that your favorite scent or something?”
George shifts around on his sheets. His nose flutters between two of his pillows and he takes in the familiar scent of eucalyptus. His knees press together and he curls up without realizing.
Usually he’d cover more of his bed with the pillow spray before he climbed into it, but he was lazy tonight. He hadn’t thought hard enough and hadn’t expected that this conversation with Dream would even get this long.
“Yeah.” Dream drops his voice low again, and when George hums in approval, he continues. “I like that you like this scent too.”
His expression turns vacant over a few seconds. It’s a weird way to want Dream, but George doesn’t want him to shut up.
If his tongue fattens in his mouth and if it fills with a cruel, definitive need to reach out and grab him, George doesn’t hold it back. Not at this point.
“Why’s that?” George turns a little, rests the palm of his hand against his stomach, tucks it comfortably until it’s wedged between his body and the mattress.
“I don’t know,” Dream just breathes. “I guess it makes me feel like we’re closer than we actually are.”
George hooks his ankles together.
George doesn’t know what to do with himself. When he feels uncomfortable, or even slightly uneasy, he’ll laugh. And when he’s flustered, when the blush that crawls from his neck surges out towards his ears and pricks at the apples of his cheeks, he’ll also laugh. But this is so different, because he knows somewhere underneath the tightness of his ribs, that it’s Dream that he wants, and his light laughter sounds nothing but nervous.
“Cause we smell the same?” George asks soundlessly.
Dream wears his feelings out, shows them off like he’s the brightest sign in a big city, all neons and flickering letters that glow, and George can almost taste them.
He hums, agreeing with George and then says, “it makes me think I see or know parts of you I don’t get to see every day.”
A familiar burn crawls up both sides of George’s legs. It’s a creeping heat, like blood seeping out of a wound, but this reaches the lower part of his stomach, somewhere most responsible for where he burns for no one but the man who can fuel his fire.
George thinks of him in the bedroom, of the way Dream would touch him. A pointer finger on his kneecap, a palm across his belly, dragging up and up.
Parts of you I don’t get to see every day, Dream says.
But there are so many you do not know about, George thinks.
“Can I be honest with you?” Dream asks, interrupting George’s thoughts.
“I’d hope you would want to be,” George replies, voice strained as if his hands hadn’t been on his legs but rather his throat.
“I’m scared to meet you.”
If this is the peak of Dream’s honesty, if this is his breaking point, the reason he’s built up all of tonight, then George will not be strong enough to break him back down. He stands tall, builds with him, swallows the thickness of his fear and hopes sincerely that nothing ruins the two of them more than his next words will.
“‘Cause you think that we’ll be different from how we are now?” George asks.
He doesn’t want Dream to lie to him.
His reliability matters, especially here in this moment, with only the bleakness of a cell phone call separating them.
But Dream has never left George on the edge. He’s never let him drown. He’s never been ruthless with his words and has never wanted to let the water choke him.
So, he doesn’t.
“No,” he whispers. “Because I’m scared that I am going to end up loving you a little too hard.”
George is stripped raw. Stripped and torn and shredded down past the meat on his bones.
The words out of Dream’s mouth are not like a promise, but like a gift — a gift that George doesn’t deserve, a gift that he convinced himself he would never receive.
A sliver of coiled fear bubbles up behind George's neck, anchors right along the sides of his ears.
If it's here, if its purpose is to pivot itself and tip George forward until he's facing downward on this cliff, then it has succeeded. All this time, just tonight, talking to Dream has been an obvious example of how George's fingers are lubed up and grabbing tightly on this rope. And at the other side, on the very end of the rope, stands Dream, with those wet eyelashes and that fond, unapologetic smile. Because maybe he isn't sorry for pulling George too tight, maybe he isn't sorry for the way the rope has somehow become tied around his waist and his thighs and his ankles and his heart.
George traces his finger along the edge of his phone as if it's Dream's shoulder blade, touches it like his friend is right in front of him.
He doesn't know what to say to him, not after they were just bickering about sugar scrubs and joking about toothpastes and soaps and scents. It's not too far, it's just unexpected—like an arrow has shot through their protection of ice and shattered below their bare feet.
Now they drip. Bleeding would be too painful for them. And these words from Dream's mouth are warmed tones and far from dull. If he bled from Dream's tongue, it would kill him.
"You know?" Dream adds to their silence. It's too much, it must be. "There's so much, George. So much that we do from this far, and I get scared that when we meet—that it'll be—I don't know, me pushing you away with the amount of things I want."
Things he wants.
Things you want, what do you want, Dream?
“Things you want," George repeats softly. Dream hums a little.
He doesn't know how much of what Dream is saying is technically true.
His life, so many of these years he has had Dream in his ear, guiding him, leading him to success, standing alongside him for milestone after milestone. But when it came down to it, he hadn't ever thought they'd make it to where they'd get opportunities to see each other, to potentially touch and grip and fall and get back up again.
George swallows, "there's so much that you still don’t even know about me, Dream."
Because it's true.
Dream may want to love him, but there are these parts of him Dream hasn't had the chance to see, or know.
Maybe it's the wrong move, bringing it up at this time of night, because the inaudible murmur is enough to bring an unsettling feeling to George's stomach. Dream is uneasy. Maybe he's turned onto a new side in his bed, and maybe he's let the darkness of the room take his thoughts by now.
George has fucked it up, surely. Dream’s far too curious and worried and confused.
"Like what?" Dream whispers to him, his tone hiding what he really wants to sound like. And George can tell, really, how Dream wants to dip down further, lower, deeper into George’s open cracks tonight.
No matter how different he tries to hear it, George is only a gentle part of a big storm, a soft break through the tide, and the low tone of Dream's voice in both of his ears is enough to shatter him.
George smacks his lips together and closes his eyes, listening to the silence that Dream gives him.
Carefully, Dream speaks up again. “Talk to me, George.”
And George does. As he wants to.
“I don’t like being alone early in the mornings,” George tells him. Out of nowhere— and he’s hardly sure why he’s chosen this one first. But he’s spent years with Dream, learning him, talking to him. But somehow, tonight feels fresh, like new.
George wonders if Dream will guide him to a solution, if he’ll give George comfort that he just so deeply craves. But most of George wants to talk. About all these little things he’s kept tucked behind sloshing, salty, thick waters in his chest.
He grins. “I don’t know. I never have. When I was young, I always just found my way into my parents’ room. Or in school, I’d catch rides with people ‘cause I didn’t want to be alone during traffic.”
Dream acknowledges his words, soaks them in like he’s thankful George is even sharing.
“Mornings are—they’re a new start, yeah?” Dream asks.
“Exactly,” George sighs. “I like to start my days with someone. Not alone.”
“What about ending your days?”
George thinks for a moment, bites on the edge of his lip as he thinks about the sheets tucked around him, the loneliness of his bed, the hole in his heart, the need and want and desire, the dark windows, the blanket of goosebumps across bitter skin.
“I don’t know, Dream,” he answers flatly. “I think I’ve just been waiting so long to be with you and with Sapnap that I wish to never be alone again.”
Dream doesn’t say a word. And George takes it as a chance to fill the void with his thoughts, to tell Dream how afraid he is of meeting his friends.
George continues, “You know? I've seen so much of you two. I see how enjoyable your mornings are, getting to wake up and see each other after all this time. I don’t really like breakfast, but seeing the photos you send of each other—I just—I think that sounds fun. Fun and I don’t know, good? I’ve never wanted to be with my friends so much.”
He pauses, takes a breath, and considers Dream's words from earlier. “Then there’s you, Dream,” George mutters between the fingers he has pressed to his lip. “Wanting to touch you, know you, feel you. When it was night and when we’d watch movies online, like, thinking about that in person, I guess—I dunno, I guess I don’t wanna be alone when I go to bed either.”
George laughs just under his breath, sighs lightly into his phone. Dream says nothing, and George almost hopes he doesn’t, not until the two of them can look each other in the face. Because talking is hard, and although George does it sometimes, he wishes he could go back and shut himself up.
I’m scared I am going to end up loving you a little too hard.
George’s body sinks further into his mattress. Say something, Dream.
“Can I say something?” Dream asks, his voice dangerously low.
George tightens his jaw and brings his eyes to a gentle close, eyelash to eyelash. His hand lies over his stomach and he feels the steady rise of his breathing along with the quickened pace of his heart.
“You’ll never have to be alone here if you don’t want to be,” Dream says.
“You promise me?” George whispers to him, pinching his face tight. The bones in his ankles press together, hard and rough and George wishes he could see Dream’s face as their words start to dial down.
“George,” Dream whispers, half-broken and half-breaking George as he says, “Baby, I promise you.”
It’s totally unfair how George’s hand on his stomach rises and falls a lot quicker, how it squeezes his shirt and his skin. Unfamiliar patterns of heavy breathing become his friend as his lips turn upward and as his eyes squint harder. Stars form behind his lids as he holds his breath, so he forces himself to let out a heavy sigh, a whimper making its way through.
Dream is wounding him, shattering his walls of iron and steel, turning him to just dust. Goo. Whatever the hell makes him feel as careless and free as he does right now.
“Sorry,” Dream adds quickly, sniffling as he chuckles through the phone. “I didn’t mean to just say that out of nowhere.”
“Don’t be sorry,” George whispers back to him. “Don’t—Don’t stop.”
George lifts his hand to his cheek, cradles his face and takes a deep breath in the light of his own moment.
He’s not sure what possesses him to move so forward. It’s the lack of touch on his skin, the sudden touch of his own hand on his face, the thought of Dream, the sound of his voice, the comfort of knowing he’ll be there for George, and his damn feelings—that’s what brings him to say such words.
“I wish you’d touch me right now,” George whispers into his own air. It’s his, but he feels as though he’s sharing it with Dream.
“Yeah?” Dream asks, shifting around in his bed. His voice sounds perpetually low, and George gets a stomach-turning feeling of heat when it echoes in his mind.
He smirks as his eyes flutter shut. He’s so fucking tired.
He hums. “Right here.” His hand moves. “And here.” His hand moves again. “Maybe here.”
Dream copies the sound George had made, followed by a careful chuckle. “Gotta tell me where, I can’t see you.”
“That’s a shame.”
“George,” Dream laughs. “Come on.”
His head spins a bit as his cheek turns to the side. Inside of his belly blows the wings of a thousand birds, beaks of a thousand more, strong and brave, and George cannot help but smile as he flattens his palm over his stomach, pushing down as his legs spread over the sheets.
“My hand is on my stomach,” George says to him, digging his nails just lightly into his skin. “It’s warm.”
Dream breathes slowly. “I can do that.”
“Earlier I had touched my cheek,” George mumbles.
“And my chest,” George smiles as he slips his entire hand up his shirt, skin to skin. He drags his nails down just slowly.
He thinks of Dream’s hand, his palm here and there and there again.
“Yeah?” Dream asks. “I can do that, too.”
“Yeah,” George breathes heavily. “I feel like I’m going to bite my tongue off.”
Dream sputters for a moment, leaving a new sound for George to long for. He pulls his hand from underneath his shirt and runs his fingers through his hair.
“Why’s that?” Dream asks him impatiently, the hint of his smile so cruel. He sounds just as breathless as George.
“Because you keep talking to me like that, and I cannot stop thinking about your hands.”
“What about my hands?”
“Why do you keep raising your tone like that?” George mewls a little, rolling onto his side until he can grip at his throat in an abundance of pain, annoyed that his friend isn’t in bed with him.
Dream makes a sound, he makes that sound, that sound where he hums under his breath, loud enough to rattle George’s brain and loud enough to curl the pit of his belly into a frown-shaped ball.
“Like what? Like this?”
A tongue pokes out from George’s mouth, and he wets his lips two times. The first time because they’re completely dry, and the second time because he wants them wetter.
“Yes. Like that.”
George wishes the earth were smaller, and he wishes he were larger, so his feet could slip into some shoes, and he could step over the ocean, and clutch at Dream’s chest like a man with a simple desire. He wishes he could drop into a bed that isn’t his and touch a man that he’s never touched before, grip a heart that doesn’t belong to him, but a heart that he craves and needs and yearns for.
Dream could finally give in, hold him, touch him like he’s been promising George.
But distance never shifts like they want it to. And time is an enemy, always. And everything they’re whispering to each other into these late hours, everything they’re teasing about, sounds so empty.
“Soon,” Dream eases the thought that George has. George presumes he must’ve said something else, because Dream isn’t using that tone anymore. He’s battling soft varieties of kindness at the back of his tongue. “You know it’ll be soon.”
“I know,” George says, voice hardly there as he plays with the drawstrings of his sweatpants. “It—I. I know.”
“It’ll be soon, George,” Dream tries, reassuring George in a single breath. “And then you’ll be here, and we’ll shower with your damn sugar scrubs, and I’ll look at you like I’m scared of loving you too hard.”
George’s eyes flutter closed.
It’s Dream’s way of trying. A little effort through a softhearted joke.
“I don’t care. Love me too hard, Dream, love me so hard that it’s just you and me and the stupid eucalyptus.”
“Fuck. I promise.”
Dream sounds gone, like he’s been taken from his body and placed into George’s bed, shredded from the silent breaths of his own voice. Desire can only be caught in an open net, and neither of them have their hands grasped on any handles. George just wishes he were closer so he could touch down the veins of his chest, rip through rope and blood to settle himself against the walls of Dream’s heart.
He doesn’t like being alone. And he doesn’t even have any part of Dream to hold onto right now.
“Promise me again,” George pleads with an undertone of gray and navy, heavy clouds of blue already dripping down him.
Dream shivers from miles and miles and miles and miles away, and George shoves his nose into his pillow to take a breath, too muffled, too restricted.
“I promise to love you as hard as you’ll let me,” Dream whispers, and George’s fingers drift up to his neck, to his lips when Dream adds, “for a really, really long time.”
He chuckles into his fisted palm, a mess of spit from his lips and unknowing tears that have taken flight from his eyelashes. They’re in his fist now, living freely on the flat of his skin, soaking and seeping through tiny crevasses back into himself.
“My lips,” George croaks, shattering himself as he loses his high, his colors.
Dream hums. “Yeah? Are you touching your mouth? Is that what you want me to do?”
“Of course I do,” says George as his feet kick in quick thought. “I want to touch your fingers and in between them. Your skin and your neck and your chin — and your mouth.”
A sound of a giggle echoes from the phone. George closes his eyes and touches over every part of his body that he tells Dream about. He imagines how it would feel on Dream, shoulders much broader, neck slightly longer, chin smoother since he’s shaved more recently.
“Oh,” Dream whispers. “Now you’ve got me touching all over my body, George.”
George revels in that.
“Good,” he mutters, clutching onto his phone harder. “You should think about me doing those things, you know.”
Dream hums at him, gives him that sound of approval as he must go from place to place to place across his body.
Even though the vibrations are nice, George cannot help but wish there were more to it. A farther reach, a deeper one, a dip into the speakers so they can feel each other’s skin and catch each other’s warmth in that stupid, stupid net.
“Bring your hand to your neck, Dream,” George tries, voice nearly catching on the hook of his tongue as he talks.
“Okay,” Dream listens. “How come?”
“Can you feel how your pulse, like, how it flutters on your neck?” George closes his eyes and lets his mouth draw out into a small smile.
Dream, on the other side of the phone, and on the other side of the world, forces a giggle from between his lips. “I can, yeah. Why’d you want me to do this?”
For just a moment, George is quiet. He feels for his own heartbeat, and in turn, thinks of the steadiness of the both of them, beating together at the same time, how their hearts can do the same thing.
He hums to himself and then regards Dream, thinks of him, gives him all of his attention and thought by saying, “because I am doing it, too. We’re doing it together. That’s my heartbeat you’re touching. This is yours. Got your pulse under my fingertips, Dream.”
A hitch of a breath gushes prettily down the line, and much to George’s liking, his stomach flares, starts rising and falling slower, but conveniently heavier.
“Kind of like our eucalyptus. How we smell the same,” Dream replies grittily, too low for George to still consider them friends, too low for him to call this another one of their late night phone calls that is starting to dip into unknown lands. “Got the same heartbeat right now.”
This is beyond that, this is Dream in his bed, in his lungs, breaking his ribs and clawing at his heart.
George pushes two fingers into his carotid artery and then forces his lips closed. “Yeah, just like that. Just us.”
He mutters out the sound of his heartbeat, and then waits for Dream to mimic the sound of his own.
It’s just heartbeats and mouths and closed eyes down the line of their phones, and George wishes he could have the confidence to ask what morning will be like for them. He wishes Dream would say something now about getting on the computer, about buying a plane ticket, about moving George in so they can do all of these things — touch and breathe the same air, make their lips bruised, ruin each other in ways they cannot even fathom.
“‘s all warm in my bed, George,” Dream says to him, and the words themselves sound enough to be an invitation part of a promise. Or maybe the other way around: the promise part of an invitation.
“Is it?” George spreads his fingers over his sheets.
“Mine too,” George lies.
“Yeah?” Dream whispers tiredly.
“Yeah,” George says before he drags the back of his nails over his hip bones. From one to the other, crossing over the sensitive skin below his navel. “I want you to kiss me here.”
He says it because there is no time for him to avoid it. He wants Dream’s breath to stutter against his belly, wants his eyes to flicker up in hesitation, wants his teeth to shine with a shy smile before he buries his mouth somewhere on George’s stomach. Light kisses that turn to strong suckling of lips and teeth and blood to the surface of his skin. He wants Dream’s hair tickling against his belly button, wants that shivering feeling that’ll burn at the tip of his toes and loop seven times in the lowest pit inside of him. Dark caves and torched stone-walls.
Right now, Dream is just a voice.
No eyes to see where George’s fingers drift back and forth over his core.
By now, his shirt is raised, and he’s got goosebumps to accompany his desire. But, there’s just too much he needs.
Sleep and Dream and Dream and sleep. Time to think and understand his feelings and his desires.
“In your bed?” Dream asks, acknowledging George’s words.
George pauses momentarily, looking from where his hands rest on his stomach, back to the ceiling, cheeks flushing out.
“Sure,” he teases, clearly lying.
“Baby,” Dream slips into the word again, just like earlier, when it had warmed George up. He sounds disappointed, a little silly, like he’s humored. “Where?”
George knocks his knees together.
“You’re going to fucking kill me with that word,” he tells him in a tight voice. “My hand was like, dangerously low on my stomach.”
“If you kissed me here, I think I’d die.”
Dream hums like he wants to find out. “You wanna send me a photo?”
Every nerve in George’s body becomes shot, stings at too high of a level to comprehend. The color carves onto George’s cheeks. He becomes even redder as his lip goes between his teeth.
George worries that this is just a misspoken confidence for the night, something that’ll disappear by morning. “A photo?”
“Of where you want me to kiss you. Or anywhere. Or you. Any part of you, George. I wanna see you if you want to show me.”
He rolls over and buries his nose into his pillows, forms his own blush on his cheeks over how tough his face rubs against material. He heaves gently for a breath and groans into his pillow, pulling away to make his sounds more audible.
“I can’t,” he whispers playfully. “I literally cannot. I’m so red everywhere that I feel like I’m sweating.”
Dream chuckles, and it’s so low. It’s so, so low that George starts thinking of it as smoke trapped in his mouth and his throat. He thinks of Dream’s hot hands against his face, squishing his cheeks together until his white teeth show, until his mouth cranes open because there’s nothing else for him to do except take.
Because what else is George to do when he’s wanted this for so long. Now he’s got some of this in front of him and he’s horny and lonely and Dream continues to use that tone every once in a while and it makes everything worse.
No other sounds fill the line, and George feels the creaking inside of his heart.
He thinks of Dream and the laughter, of the teasing and the flirting and how stable he seems about it all. He envies it a bit, and it burns something down in the pit of his stomach, because maybe this is all Dream wants it to be — just this hour of the night, the fun, the flirting. Maybe he wants to wake up and press new keys on his keyboard and pretend he didn’t make George as hot as possible just hours prior.
“Do you not feel as flustered and as heartbroken and as pathetic as I do right now?” George asks him, managing to put a hand between himself and his pillows.
A hum, one of Dream’s questionable hums, lands in the middle of the wire that connects them.
Then there’s a buzz of George’s phone.
Photos of Dream. His rosy cheeks and his wet mouth and his knotted eyebrows and his insatiable pout sits in their messages.
kiss me here and here and here and here
i can’t fucking stand this distance either
i promise i’m just as heartbroken as u are
And then George is mewling over the sensations in his body and the photo on the screen. The color of his friend’s cheeks and the neediness all wrapping devilishly inside of them.
George gives himself a second to stare.
He closes his eyes and breathes in deeply before rereading the few messages from Dream, taking note of the singular first message of the word, baby. He doesn’t think he’s going to get over that. He doesn’t want to get over it.
His eyes lift to tears and he curls up against his pillow to snap a photo of himself.
His face is red, his eyes show how tired he is, his hair is messy and there are obvious tears beginning to sink in his skin, from cheekbone to cupid’s bow and similarly some are already down the tip of his nose. But he sends it anyway and writes, unfair, right underneath. Totally unfair.
“George,” Dream whispers to him as he puts a heart onto the message, chuckling underneath the soft breaths he gives down the line. “Don’t cry.”
“How could I not?” George groans, covering his flushed cheeks with his palms. The frustration is burning over his body and he sits up in bed and knocks his knees together while he wipes the tears across his face. I’m literally horny and sad and you’re not even here for any of it right now. This is terrible, Dream. I'm miserable.”
This time, Dream does laugh. He laughs one of those out loud and from the core sort of laughs, and George hears the repercussions of it as it knocks around a couple of times in his own body.
Because Dream’s laugh is George’s. They share the same heart in George’s bed tonight, the same fluttering pulse with nervous, tear-stained fingertips that press eagerly to feel.
“How about Christmas?” Dream asks, deciding to quicken the pace of George’s pulse, lifting the headache that pounds in his head, turning it into something excruciating.
George stops to wonder if Dream really is here, in his room, somewhere near the window with those wet eyelashes and that smirk and that stupid, stupid laughter that’ll splatter his room with light that’s been missing for entirely too long. Maybe Dream’s in his head, pressing his limbs to the sides, begging George to give in to love and desire and begging him to give himself to Dream, despite his fears of commitment and worries that they’ve always talked about.
Distance, trust, touch, family, feelings, communication.
When he tries to speak, no words come out. Only a broken sob. A few gasps, cries that drown the line.
“Fuck,” Dream mutters, clearly understanding George’s lack of stability. “Can I Facetime you?”
George shakes his head, gripping at his sheets. He stares at the messages he has pulled up, and settles on texting Dream when his voice fails him.
“Okay,” Dream whispers back, voice desperate and careful and hopeless. He wants to help George, and George knows this, but there’s too many thoughts in too tiny of a place. “Okay, sweetheart, okay. I’m—I’m sorry, George. Take a second, okay?”
This time, George bites through the thick air in his bedroom to get to what he needs. He blinks hard, looking to the ceiling like it’s his escape portal. He nods, tightening his lips into a line before he eases a more soothing breath.
“Okay,” George tells him. “okay, yeah.”
“Yeah?” Dream asks, voice dripping that same worried tone.
George smiles a little, “yeah, I’m good, just thinking.”
They don’t do this. This back and forth nervous emotion that bounces here and there from chest to chest to mouth to mouth, both of them spitting back words of nervousness.
Maybe it’ll happen over text, when one or the other sprouts a bit of anxiety from work. But these are new thoughts and new situations. This is the singular claw in George’s chest, and Dream can’t pat the wound dry because it’s too wide, too deep.
But George lets him try, because he wants to try with Dream. Wants to let that awful worry in his gut burn away until it’s just him and Dream and stupid eucalytpus.
“Christmas,” George whispers in a steadying breath. “Please. Yes.”
“Yeah?” Dream asks again, this time stronger, like he’s thankful for George’s words.
George buries his hands between his sensitive legs and then drops his forehead to his knees, tucking his body as close together as it’ll get. He sniffles, attentively poking his tongue against the back of his teeth as he thinks of it all. That communication and that future. The touch. Dream, Dream, Dream.
A weak sound slips past his lips. He doesn’t whimper, but rather turns the sound into a long and drawn out groan.
“God, I am such a fucking fool for you, I swear,” George mutters, letting the words stick to his throat as he speaks. “Fuck you, actually fuck you for ruining me this bad already.”
The layers of George are chipping away with every laugh Dream gives, and he clenches his fist while he laughs back, sweat building up in the crevasses between his hands.
George is recovering from crying, his heart is beating with Dream, and more than anything, he’s a little numb with the dazed smile spreading across his reddened mouth. His eyes grow heavy, body following shortly after, and all he wants to do is listen to Dream and the promises that are beginning to sound not so empty.
“I would apologize, George, but that’d be a lie.”
George snorts. “I know you’re not sorry.”
“You shouldn’t be,” George says tiredly, getting more comfortable underneath his blankets. He drags the comforter up until it reaches his chin. Dream rests on the mattress beside him. “What’d you say you’ll do? Love me, what?”
He supposes it’s the sleep that’s suddenly gotten to him, that’s making him want to tease Dream when he’s still got these stains of tears across his cheeks. And maybe Dream knows it too, being able to tell George from the inside out since the day he’s known him, but Dream chuckles and takes a deep breath at the sound of George’s low tone.
“Too hard,” Dream says slowly. “Said I was scared of lovin’ you too hard.”
George presses fingers to another pulse point on his body and notices the threat of an aggressive pattern. He gnaws on his lip, closing his eyes to focus on the lightening feeling inside of his belly, all sugar knotted and warm.
“Try,” George whispers as his eyes open again. He catches the flicker of lightning out his window and then thinks of rain and wet eyelashes and Dream’s terribly beautiful smile. “Try to love me as hard as you can. I promise I will take everything you give me.”
They sway back and forth in these breaths down the line. It’s so sharp that George swears Dream’s breaths are next to him, inside him, in his mouth. He wishes he were closer, huffing out against the pulse on George’s neck, his palm splayed over George’s stomach, smirk of a smile and tip of a cold nose in his space.
He thinks, and he thinks, and he thinks so hard that he falls asleep to the thought of Dream’s body in his bed, against him, pulse underneath his fingertips, curious of how his hand would feel against his own.