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It's A Bumpy Road

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Killer tapped at his phone screen, his expression giving no insight to his thoughts. His phone gave a sad tune as the little bird hit the floor. He pressed restart, though his eyes were elsewhere as the game started again.

Cross was sitting nearby, his eyes narrowed with concentration. He was drawing, something Killer used to tease him about. (He stopped though after Cross slapped him with an intricate drawing of Killer. It was a stupidly accurate rendition of the previous day, when Killer had sat on one of Cross’s chocolate bars.)

Killer stared at him, his phone chiming again as he lost yet another game. Cross’s left eye twitched, annoyance gracing his features. He still looked unfairly attractive, Killer mused to himself.

He pressed restart, watching the small changes in Cross’s appearance as the game over sound replayed. His mouth twitched, a handsome scowl spreading across his face. Those slender fingers tightened around the pen in his hand, broad shoulders squaring with irritation. Cross’s eyes sharpened, and Killer wanted to combust.

He bit his tongue before he could say anything about Cross cutting him with those eyelights. Killer risked another game. Cross pinned him with an aggravated glower, a low growl in the guard’s chest. Killer’s fingers twitched as Cross grumbled at him. “You’re doing that on purpose, you have to be. No one is that bad at that game.”

Killer snickered, outwardly swaggering. “And if I am?” Cross’s glare amped up, leaving Killer to hold back a shiver. “Then you’re fucking stupid. Anyone can play that game.” Killer tapped his phone, smirking as Cross grimaced at the sound. “Killer, I swear to the stars, if you don’t stop-”

“You’ll what? Are you going to punish me?” Killer mentally swore as soon as he said that. Dial it back, idiot. Cross didn’t react to it other than scoffing and putting his pen down. “Fat chance, you masochist. No, I’ll just let Epic into your room.” Killer’s expression soured, “You better not.”

Killer didn’t really like Epic. He was closer to Cross than anyone else, knew more about him than most, and he had somehow caught wind of Killer’s stupid crush. He’d made it his goal to constantly prod at Killer about it, and it pissed Killer off. But nothing was more annoying than the chickens.

Cross sneered, “I just might if you don’t shut that shit up.” Killer stuck his tongue out, to Cross’s chagrin. Nightmare, who’d been silent the whole time, let out a harsh breath, making the two shut up. He glared at them over the edge of his book, “Go flirt elsewhere, you morons.” Cross fake gagged, “Flirt? With that thing? Boss, you’ll make me sick.”

Ah. Another reason Killer tried to keep from giving any evidence to his feelings. The minute the other’s made a comment similar to Night’s, Cross never failed to express his disgust. Of course, he couldn’t let Cross know that it stung, so he swallowed the ache and scoffed. “Feeling’s mutual.” Cross flipped him off.

Nightmare’s eye lingered on Killer, his expression bearing the tiniest amount of pity and a knowing look. Killer pointedly ignored it, standing up and stretching with a groan. “Dunno about you, but ’m getting kinda peckish.” Nightmare’s expression didn’t change beyond minutely. “Horror may start cooking soon. Cross, go find Dust. I don’t want him missing dinner again.”

Cross inclined his head, standing up as well. Nightmare gave Killer a look, the most mischievous expression he was capable of, and before Killer could do anything, Nightmare had spoken. “Killer, why don’t you go help him.” Cross gave a suffering groan, “Boss, c'mon-” Nightmare held up a hand, his gaze on Killer as he repeated himself. “Killer. Why don’t you go help him.”

Killer stared back, silent. Cross glanced between them, his expression somewhat annoyed. Killer’s gaze shifted to Cross, without the guard’s knowledge. Cross was glaring at him, almost nervously, his– still unfairly attractive– frown deepening with each passing second. Killer felt his soul wobbling, and the twitch in Cross’s expression told him that it was visible.

Nightmare was waiting, watching the spikes in Killer’s aura with amusement. Affection, temptation, anxiety, and millions of other tiny things he paid no mind. Slowly, it shifted into reluctant excitement, and Killer gave a grin. “Might as well.” Cross was staring at Killer’s soul when Killer faced him, something that made him nearly trip over his own feet. Instead, he caught himself, snapping his fingers at Cross. “Eyes up here, bud.”

Cross’s cheeks went an incredibly faint purple, Killer’s mind doing flips at it. Nightmare hid his amusement behind his book, waving his hand. “Well, get to it. We don’t have all day.” Cross cleared his throat, flush fading. “Right. C'mon.”

Killer bounced on his heels, “Right behind ya.” Cross gave him a side-glance, his expression unamused. “Walk beside me, where I can actually see you.” Killer’s grin hitched up, a knife spinning in his hand as he stepped up to Cross’s side with a snickered comment. “Didn’t know you liked lookin’ at me so much, Criss-Cross.” Cross shoved him, hissing. “Shut up, idiot.” Killer chuckled, “You’re the boss.”

A heavy silence fell over them, the only sound being their shoes and Killer’s fingers on his knife. Cross’s eye twitched every time Killer’s fingers scraped against the blade. The final straw was when Killer started wiggling the knife between his teeth, like a toothpick. Cross snapped his arm out, snatching the knife and throwing it aside. Killer blinked in surprise, too startled to do anything when Cross shoved him against the wall and pinned him there. Once he registered it though, his mind drew up a blank, the only thought being ‘oh stars he’s so close.’

Cross hissed in Killer’s face, looking furious. “Is it your goal to piss me off with everything you do? Is that it? Did you come just to keep fucking with me!” Killer swallowed, his mouth dry, warmth rising to his cheeks. He stayed silent, his eyes riveted on Cross’s eyelights. Cross’s breath hit his cheek, only managing to fluster him further, and Cross, ever-oblivious, didn’t notice, only pressing Killer against the wall harder.

“Oh, now you’re quiet? Are you fucking kidding me!!” Killer inhaled silently, an odd feeling in his chest the moment he tasted the chocolate in the air. No, not in the air. The chocolate on Cross’s breath. His mind crumbled into hysterics. If he smells of chocolate, then did that mean he tasted like chocolate? Killer’s eyes drifted. Did Cross taste like chocolate? He stared at Cross’s mouth, his face heating steadily the more he thought about it. He wanted to find out.

Except, Cross let go and stepped back, still pissed. “I don’t have time for this. I’m going to find Dust, without you.” Cross teleported, missing the moment Killer fell to his knees and held a hand to his mouth. He swallowed the mouthful of liquid, laughing to himself at the prospect of vomiting from whatever weird combination of excitement and joy he was feeling. He wiped; his mouth, stumbling to his feet and wandering back to the living room.

Nightmare glanced up, sensing the pleased aura that Killer wore long before he walked in. Nightmare was incredulous for a moment. “Did you actually fuck??” Killer snorted, “Course not, you know Cross wouldn’t even consider it. Nah, he just got mad and pinned me.” Nightmare mulled over his words, growing irate as Killer flopped on the couch and started playing on his phone. He shut his book, folding his hands. “Well, aren’t you going to do anything about that crush of yours??”

“No.” The answer was quick, but it wasn’t mindless. Nightmare tipped his head, “And why not?” Killer shrugged, “Cause-” Nightmare’s attention shifted to the new aura that stood outside the living room door, red flags shooting up in his mind. He went to warn Killer, to make him stop talking, but Killer had already continued. “-it’d be pointless. He hates me, and to top it all off, I ain’t the best partner. Even if he did accept, it wouldn’t last long.” Nightmare bit his knuckle as Killer continued, oblivious to the eavesdropper.

“Best if I keep these stupid feelings under lock n’ key.” Nightmare hurriedly stepped in before Killer could keep going, “Yes, well, maybe you shouldn’t give up so quickly. Give it some time. For now, let’s go eat, Horror’s on his way to get us.” The intruding aura spiked with alarm, the interest fading rapidly, and the person vanished. Nightmare let out a breath, relaxing as he gave Killer a proper response. “He may change his mind about you, give it time.” Killer scoffed, having sat up, “Yeah, whatever. Dust just texted, said the table’s set.”

Horror showed up as soon as he said that, waving his hand for them to come on.

-

Cross was sitting beside Killer’s seat when they walked in. Killer froze the instant he saw it, backing out of the dining room. Nightmare rolled his eye, following him out. Killer had a hand on his chest, breathing unevenly, looking panicked. “Killer, it’s fine.” Killer shook his head, his usual grin having turned to a tight frown, “It is absolutely not fine, why is he sitting there?!” Nightmare bit back a grimace, choosing to keep it to himself and shrugging. “I don’t know, but he’s going to get suspicious if you don’t calm down.”

Killer wheezed, “Fine. This is your fault.” Nightmare gaped at him, “Wha- how is this my fault? I didn’t put him there!” Killer was already stalking into the dining room, any and all nerves hidden behind his easy grin. Nightmare huffed, entering the room as well and taking his seat. Horror sat next to Dust, and the two fell into conversation. Cross’s spoon scraped the bowl, the sound constant and making sure Killer was wholly aware of Cross.

Cross swallowed his mouthful, keeping his eyes on his plate as he said, “Epic wants you to come hang out.” Killer nearly choked, his soul stuttering with shock. Nightmare watched, amused. Killer set his fork down, settling back into his easy-going facade. “Really now? What if I don’t want to?” Cross flicked a grain of rice at him, hissing. “I already told him I’d bring you, you don’t have a choice.”

Killer laughed, “You’d have to catch me first. Where’s it gonna be?” Cross was glowering at his rice, his spoon held in a tight fist. (Killer wasn’t supposed to be fine with this.) “…His place.” Killer casually ate another piece of meat, chewing thoughtfully. “And what are you going to be doing?” Killer’s fingers twitched, the only sign that he was startled. Nightmare ignored him, waiting for Cross to answer his question.

Cross shrugged, “Epic wants to challenge Killer to some gaming. We might go drinking.” Nightmare hummed, pondering whether he should allow it or not. Cross’s shoulders tensed the longer he waited, relaxing when Nightmare waved his hand. “Alright. I won’t be picking anyone up, though. You’re staying at Epic’s.” Killer gripped his fork tightly, wanting to demand what Nightmare was doing. Nightmare met his gaze, his eyebrow raised. A challenge.

Killer backed down, shoveling food into his mouth. Cross let out a soft noise, “Gross, you eat like that??” Killer was silent until he swallowed, grinning at Cross. “Got a problem, girly?” Cross stiffened, “I am not a girl!” Killer snorted, “Really? You sound like one with all yer whining.”

Cross threw a handful of rice at Killer, “Asshole!” Killer met the attack with his own, picking up his plate and shoving it in Cross’s face. “Yours must hurt, with that stick so far up it.” Cross shouted, ripping Killer’s arms to the side and shoving him back. The chair tipped back, Killer’s eye’s widening. His skull bounced off the floor as he hit it, the chair biting into his back vengefully.

He rolled off the chair, sitting up slowly, a hand on the back of his skull. His head was spinning, still ringing from the impact. He made a face, blinking harshly, “Ow.”

“That’s what you get, you prick.” Cross’s voice came in waves, Killer’s hearing fluctuating in a way that made him think of a buoy on a stormy sea. He shook his head, but that made it worse. He stumbled a bit when he stood, squinting and widening his eyes to try and make his vision stop swimming. Cross’s sneering face was there when his eyes cleared. “Killer?”

He turned his head, a bit too quickly, at the sound of Nightmare’s voice, wincing as his head ached sharply. Nightmare had stood up, his hands held out. Killer snorted, waving his hand at Nightmare’s concern. “M'fine boss. ’s not like I’ll pass out.” He fumbled to find the crack on his skull, grimacing when he did. He healed the minor injury, his concussion disappearing with it. He gave jazz hands, smirking. “See? All better, no concussions here.”

“Concussion??” Cross parroted. Killer lifted his chair from the floor, setting it back on its feet and sitting down. “Yep. No big deal, I get 'em all the time.” Nightmare sat down as well, sighing heavily as he added, “Enough to know the instant he has one but never treats it properly.” Killer snickered, “C'mon boss, it was one time.”

“What was?” Cross interrupted KIller, asking Nightmare. The boss pointed accusingly at Killer, “This fool got a severe concussion a month ago and didn’t even try to heal it, instead telling everyone he was drunk. I had to pin him down just so he would let me heal it and then he refused to rest when he was told to!” Killer offered a sheepish grin, “Ey, let bygones be bygones! Concussion’s gone, everything’s fine now!”

Cross wasn’t listening, thinking back to the day Nightmare was talking about. Killer had been stumbling around for hours, giggling at everything and mumbling incoherently. He’d been off-balance the next day, but Cross had assumed it was a hangover, not the after-effects of a concussion. The rest of dinner passed quickly, Killer and Nightmare chatting as if Cross didn’t exist, which he was thankful for. He was the first to leave, heading straight for his bedroom to pack a change of clothes.

-

Killer was in the living room, staring at his phone with a sullen expression when Cross walked in. The expression vanished in an instant, making Cross even wonder if he’d seen it right, and a grin spread across Killer’s face. He hopped up, strolling over to greet him. “Sup, Criss-Cross. We finna leave?” Cross scoffed, “What do you think? Where’re your clothes?”

Killer blinked, his smile unfaltering. “I’m wearing them.” Cross pinched his nasal ridge, “You know what I mean.” Killer snorted, producing a plastic bag and holding it up. “Yeah, I do. ’s here.” Cross snatched it, shoving it into his backpack, ignoring Killer’s snicker. He opened a portal, shoving the bastard through and following him.

Epic’s house was like the Skele-Brother’s house in the original timeline, except Epic lived alone and his bro was back in Epictale. Cross dropped his backpack on the couch, kicking at a pair of shorts on the floor, muttering to himself “…thought I told him to clean up.” Killer sat on the couch, uncaring of the messy living room.

“Yer boyfriend’s got a cozy house.” Cross jumped at the sound of Killer’s voice, growling at him. “He’s not my boyfriend.” Killer smirked, “You two hang out a lot for it to just be friends.” Cross’s hands fisted, “That’s because we’re best friends.” Killer’s smiled didn’t change, “What’s the difference?” Cross huffed, stalking past him to stomp up the stairs. He opened the first door, vanishing inside. Killer closed one eye, staring up at the ceiling lazily.

Cross opened the next door, the bathroom, and moved onto the last, kicking it open. A startled yelp echoed in the house, Killer watching the balcony. Epic was thrown over the railing, hitting the wall with a grunt and falling to the floor, laughing loudly. Cross shouted something, which Epic only snickered at, and the caped skeleton rolled out of the way of several bone attacks.

Killer didn’t move as Cross jumped off the side of the railing, landing perfectly on his feet and grabbing Epic. He lifted him off the floor, setting him on his feet and poking him aggressively. “I thought I told you to clean the place.” Epic held up his hands, “Sorry bruh! I got sidetracked.” Cross glared at him, “With what?” Epic held up his phone, “Memes.”

Killer snorted, reminding Cross of his presence. “Oh, right, you’re here.” Killer shot him finger-guns, “Sure am. Is this how you normally act?” Epic mouthed something, covering his mouth so Cross didn’t see. 'He’s always like this.’ Killer chuckled. Cross smacked Epic’s hand aside, “What did you tell him!” Epic shrugged, “Beats me.”

Cross shook his friend, “I’m this close to bashing your skull in, dude.” Epic squirmed free, jogging into the kitchen. “Calm down bruh!” A bag flew out of the kitchen, Cross snatching it out of the air. Epic tossed him a few more things, and came out of the kitchen, lugging an ice chest with him. “I got us the good drinks, from Ink himself!” Cross rolled his eyelights, “I doubt that squidiot even knows what good is.” He turned the snacks he held over, grimacing at them.

“Gummy worms?? Gross, dude-” The bag in Cross’s hand was wrapped up in red magic and torn away, the bag landing in Killer’s hands. Cross opened and closed his mouth, dumbfounded. Epic gave Killer a grin, “You got some good tastes, amigo.” Killer didn’t answer, busy cutting the top of the bag off and shoving his whole hand inside. The bag was emptied pretty fast, each and every gummy vanishing to Killer’s appetite. He threw the now empty bag over his shoulder, sighing happily.

Epic set the ice chest down, the heavy box thumping against the couch. He sat down beside it, letting out a breath. He patted the chest, “This thing is pretty heavy. Good thing I’m here to carry it for you.” Killer grabbed the ice chest, heaving it up onto the couch with one hand and opening it to dig out a drink. Epic stared at him.

Cross sat next to his friend, patting his shoulder. “You need to work out more.” Epic slowly looked down at his lap, staring at his hands. Killer pulled out a can, putting the chest back down and cracking the drink open. He sniffed at it, a grin spreading across his face. “Damn, this really is the good stuff.” He took a sip, nodding. “Tastes good too.” Epic elbowed Cross, “Told ya.” Cross sighed. If Killer said it was good, then it was good.

-

Two hours later, Cross was sitting on the couch, watching the tv intensely. Killer was hunched over, mashing his remote viciously, his tongue poking through his teeth. Epic was half-standing, pressing buttons in a panic. Cross leaned further off the couch, open mouth curving with a shocked grin. “Almost..” Killer’s character pulled into a drift, catching a boost and speeding up.

Epic started breathing heavily. Killer slammed the brakes, his character’s car rear-ending Epic’s and sending the other off the side of the road. He hit nitro, speeding over the finish line, and threw his hands up with a cheer. “FUCK YES!! MARIO KART CHAMPION!!!” Cross shouted as well, kicking Killer. “HOW THE FUCK ARE YOU SO GOOD?!” Epic was staring at his hands, devastated that he was no longer the best gamer he knew.

He threw his controller aside, whirling around and tackling Killer. “CHEATER!!” There was no way Killer was that good. There was no way. Killer shoved him off, “What the fuck man!” Cross pulled Epic back, clapping his shoulder with a snicker. “Calm down, dude.” Epic threw his hands around, “You play against him!!” Cross snorted, bending over to grab Epic’s discarded controller, “I think I will.”

Ten minutes later, Cross was screaming profanities, throwing knives at Killer. “HACKS!! HACKS!!” Killer ducked under another pair of daggers, struggling to breathe from how hard he was laughing. Cross threw another blade, then charged at Killer with a war cry. Epic was rolling on the floor, in tears, doing nothing to help Killer. Cross slammed Killer against the wall, like he did earlier, except this time, they were both drunk out of their wits.

Killer’s face went a few shades redder, not that Cross noticed. Both of them were breathing heavily, Cross with rage and Killer from exertion. They stared at each other, both unmoving. After a few seconds, Cross huffed out a laugh, his arms relaxing. He dropped his head on Killer’s shoulder, still chuckling breathlessly. “Stars, you’re such an asshole..” Killer stared dead ahead, his skull bathed in red. He didn’t dare move, didn’t dare disturb Cross from where he was.

Cross suddenly pulled away, and Killer almost whined, and stars, would that have been embarrassing. Cross stared at him, his eyes narrowed. “I want a rematch.” Killer swallowed. “..Okay.” Cross moved off of him entirely, Killer’s knees going weak the instant he did. He stumbled back to the couch, picking up his remote and a drink. He downed the bottle quickly, wiping his mouth and focusing on the tv. Cross picked Rainbow Road, and Killer started sweating.

-

Three hours and eight rematches later, Cross was getting desperate to win. Killer had relaxed, stretched out on the couch peacefully, confident he would win again. Epic was snoring away on the floor, having blacked out two hours ago. Cross flopped onto his back, groaning. “Why can’t you lose alreadyyyy??” Killer chuckled, sipping from his ?? beer. “Skills.” Cross rolled over, glaring at him.

His eyes widened as an idea hit him, and he sat up, selecting another map. Killer looked up at Cross’s quick movement, his brow raising. “What advantage do you think you have now?” Cross gave him a wide grin– Cross was going to make Killer melt with those looks– and said nothing. Killer snorted, “Alright then. Let’s do this.” The screen lit up, showcasing the road.

And Cross waited for the perfect moment. He struck halfway through the second lap, casually asking, “So how’s that crush of yours going?” The effect was immediate, Killer’s character running right off the road and letting Cross speed by. Only, two seconds into the third lap, he noticed that Killer’s character wasn’t moving, despite having been put back on the track. He paused the game– horrible mistake, never pause a racing game– and turned to look at Killer.

“Hey, why aren’t you- Oh.” Killer was crying. Cross blinked several times, mouth opening and closing. Killer’s easy-going grin has vanished, his soul shifting irregularly, and there was a horrible expression of heartbreak and humiliation on his face. Cross set his remote down, feeling like a shitty person.

He made Killer of all people cry. “Um.” And he didn’t know how to fix it. Killer put his remote down, inhaling shakily. On unsteady legs, he stood up, bracing a hand on the wall. Cross hurriedly stood as well, “Killer-” The other laughed wetly, “Did you have fun?” Cross stops. “What?” Killer turns, and Cross inhales. His soul has shifted entirely from a target into an inverted soul. Cross gapes at it, “Why is-” Killer growls at him, “Answer me! Did you have fun?!” Cross flinches back, startled. “W-what-”

Killer has a hand on his forehead, laughing brokenly, tears mixing with the overflowing hate. “Two years of making myself a fool. You were laughing the whole time, weren’t you?” Cross takes a step back, confused. “You fucking knew.” Killer was swaying, looking like he’d fall any second. Cross started towards him, intending on steadying him, but a knife shot up to his throat and he froze. “Don’t touch me. Answer the questions, Cross. You knew about it, didn’t you? You knew the whole time, didn’t you?!”

Cross stammered, “I-I don’t know what you mean-!” Killer was struggling to breathe, his body shaking from his emotions. He shoved Cross back, the guard falling onto the floor, a cut on his throat. He held the wound, staring up at Killer with wide eyes. “K-killer-”

“I’m leaving. Don’t fucking follow me.” Cross flinched as Killer threw his knife at him, the blade pinning his shirt to the floor. He pulled at it, frantic, as Killer opened a portal. “Killer, wait!” The other stumbled into the portal, and the swirling gateway snapped shut. Cross stilled, his efforts dying off. His throat closed up, his eyes watering, and he cursed himself for being so stupid.

-

Killer’s bare feet clacked loudly on the cold castle floors, the wall cool on his face as he slid along it. He didn’t know where he was even going, and he didn’t care. He sniffled quietly, wiping at the glowing tears on his face, smearing the black hate around, and overall making a bigger mess.

He couldn’t believe it. All that time he spent with Cross, every single minute of it, Cross had known. He’d known about Killer’s feelings. Killer tripped, collapsing against the wall, sliding down it till he was resting on his side. He didn’t bother getting up, letting his vision fade out. And to think he’d loved him. Killer let out a weak laugh. What an idiot.

He didn’t know how long he’d been there, but eventually, someone found him. Dust stopped a few feet away, shifting quietly. “….What’re you doing?” Killer hated how his answer came out, his voice a pathetic croak. “Just chilling.” Dust’s sneakers were silent, but Killer felt the way the air shifted as the other crouched beside him. “You… You okay?” Killer blinked slowly, “….yes…”

Dust sighed heavily, “I’ll go get Nightmare-” Killer sat up, “No!” Dust jerked back, startled. Killer clumsily wiped his face, this time actually cleaning it properly, though his shirt was left stained. “I’m fine. Don’t get Nightmare. Just… just wanna get to my room.” Dust scrutinized him, wary. He caved after a moment, “Fine.” He grabbed Killer’s arm, teleporting him to his room. He let go, waiting until Killer wasn’t about to vomit to pat his back. “If you need anything, me 'n Horror are bunking in the living room tonight.” Killer nodded, muttering and fumbling with the door handle.

Dust was gone when he glanced back, having left rather quickly. Killer slipped into his bedroom, stumbling to his bed and curling up on it to properly cry.

-

Cross paced back and forth, his mind racing. Killer had left fifteen minutes ago in tears and Cross was having an anxiety attack trying to figure out why. Was it the crush thing? That part was fairly obvious, but why?? Why was it so upsetting?? He bit his thumb, his thoughts trying over and over to piece it together.

Nightmare made jokes about Killer’s crush plenty and Killer never blew up at him for it. Same for Dust, and Horror, even Epic had teased him about it. Of course, he didn’t know they were jokes about said crush until yesterday, when he’d overheard Killer and Nightmare talking about the person of Killer’s affections. So why was it so upsetting for Cross to ask about? He didn’t under-

It hit him like a brick wall, hard enough that he stumbled, gasping loudly. He covered his mouth. It was him. Killer liked him. The burning feeling of crying came back tenfold, his soul twisting sharply. God, it was so obvious. Like puzzle pieces, everything fell into place. The staring, the hardly-there blush, the slight panic whenever Cross was too close. Cross fell to his knees. He’d fucked up so badly.

Killer may just never talk to him again. The idea stung. He’d gotten used to their banter, the occasion fighting and unsolicited sex jokes. He’d come to rely on it. Cross rubbed at his eyes, getting to his feet. He had to fix this. A swirling portal opened.

-(Self harm tw)

Killer was staring emptily at the wall, fresh out of tears. The ache had dulled, overpowered by the stinging of his nicked arms. It was just to take the edge off. He wouldn’t do it again. He said that every time. He ran his fingers over the welts, counting each one silently. Eight on each side. The effect was already fading though. His fingers shook, fumbling for his knife. He skirted his fingers over the sharp edge, inhaling quietly. Just some relief. Just a few minutes with an empty mind. That’s all he wanted.

His hand jerked, startled by the knocking on his door. Frantic, loud, intruding knocking that broke his concentrations and had him going deeper than he meant. He yanked his sleeves down, unsummoned the knife, and stood up, hands in his pocket as he moved to the door. He opened it, stepping back as Cross stumbled in. His voice was quiet, tired. “Thought I told you not to follow me.” Cross wrung his hands together, stammering quietly, “I.. I need to talk to you. Please.”

Killer shrugged, stepping aside. “Whatever. Close the door. Don’t want any eavesdroppers.” Cross flinched. “R-right, uh.” He shut the door, standing with his back to it. Killer knew he’d been listening, why else would he have said it like that? “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to listen in, I-”

Killer cut him off, “What do you mean, listen in?” Cross shut his mouth, tears burning hotter. He quietly stepped up to Killer, lightly pushing him to sit down. Cross sat down next to him, his eyes on his lap as he recounted what he’d done. The silence after weighed heavily on him. Killer finally said something after a long minute, his voice unnervingly calm. “So you didn’t know.” Cross clenched his fingers together, his nails sinking into his fingers. “…I figured it out after you left.”

A tremor ran up his spine, his hands gripping tighter, blood starting to seep out around them. “Killer, I’m so sorry, I..I didn’t.. I never meant to upset you.” Killer shifted, and Cross recoiled. “N-!” But he didn’t attack him. Killer didn’t stab him, he didn’t even try. Instead, he gently took Cross’s hands in his own, pulling them apart and soothing the tiny cuts left behind with light rubs. “…don’t hurt yourself like that…”

Cross gave a near-silent whimper, shutting his eyes. Killer lifted one hand to cup Cross’s chin and tilt his head up, to face him. Cross met his gaze with teary eyes, his jaw trembling. There was the faintest ring of white in Killer’s left socket, Cross noticed distantly. The eyelight settled on Cross’s, searching his face, for what, he didn’t know. Killer was quiet, his expression soft with something Cross couldn’t name. Whatever he found, it was enough for his shoulders to relax, drooping low. “Cross.”

He answered with a whisper, “Yeah?” Killer’s single eyelight flickered. “Do you?” Cross wanted to ask him to finish his sentence, but he knew the question well enough. In lieu of an answer, he shakily leaned over, pressed the weakest kiss to Killer’s teeth. He lowered his head after, resting it on Killer’s ribs.

Cross took Killer’s hand, sliding his hand up his arm, intending to pull him into a hug, but he passed over a dampness and stopped. Killer stiffened. Cross straightened, pushing Killer’s jacket off his shoulders, tugging on the sleeves. “Take it off.” His voice was still strained from tears, but despite that, Killer obeyed, slipping his jacket off. Cross stared in horror as Killer bared his arms, his soul jumping into his throat.

“Oh, Killer..” Cross brushed his fingers over the deepest one, a fresh wave of tears building up. “I-I’m-.. Fuck, this.. this is my fault..” He thumbed at the dried blood, watching it flake away, his expression crumbling into a pained one. His own arms ached, and he realized that he’d never hated anything more than what he was looking at. His gaze grew firm, fingers lighting up with magic.

Tenderly, he zipped up every last one, passing over them twice to soothe any remaining pains. Killer’s smile was saddened, a small, weak thing. “Cross, you don’t..” He trailed off at the determined look Cross wore. Cross leaned down, peppering KIller’s arms with kisses, one for every scar he saw. Killer’s face was lightly flushed when he was done, having not expected it. “Cross-” A firm kiss cut him off, pulling a startled noise from him.

Cross didn’t give him a moment to breathe, pushing closer, their nasal ridges tapping together. Killer gasped when it was over, his eyes wide. Cross ran his hands up Killer’s arms, settling one at the base of Killer’s neck and the other on his back. He squirmed his way into the other’s lap, stealing another kiss. This time, Killer met him, eagerly deepening the kiss.

Somehow, in the blink of an eye, they went from kissing to tearing at each other’s clothes. Later, in the afterglow, Cross set his head on Killer’s bare ribs, his eyes closed, and murmured, “I love you, too.” And if Killer started crying, no one but Cross would know.

—–

Morning came faster than they wanted. Cross groaned the instant Killer tried to move, holding onto him tighter with a whine. “Stop moving.” Killer huffed, lightly pushing Cross’s skull. “You seemed fine with it last night.” Cross’s eyes shot open, the fresh wave of purple on his cheeks spreading down to his shoulders. Killer shoved down the urge to follow the pretty color’s path with his tongue, instead raising his brows. “Is there a problem?”

Cross stared down at Killer, his eyes wide. He sat up in a flash, blinking rapidly, as if he couldn’t believe what he was looking at. He threw the blanket off, squeaking at their mutual nudity, and looked away quickly, his blush brightening tenfold. Killer snorted, “Calm down, Criss-Cross, I don’t look that bad.” He stretched into a pose, smirking smugly at Cross. “You don’t look half-bad yourself.” Cross grabbed a pillow, smacking Killer in the face with it, his voice comically high. “SHUT UP!”

Killer gave an 'oompf’, his laugh muffled behind the pillow. “This isn’t how I expected the pillow talk part to go.” Cross fumbled with the blanket, yanking it up to cover himself, throwing another pillow at Killer, this time at his lower body. “Cover yourself, you idiot!” Killer lowered his pillow, deciding to quit teasing and did as he was told. He glanced at Cross, his brows raised high. “Is there a problem?”

Cross’s blush had yet to die down, nor his shocked expression. “I-I thought it was a dream!!” Killer chuckled, “I am a dreamy guy, aren’t I?” Cross shoved his face into a pillow, screaming something Killer could discern. Killer waited for him to calm slightly– his face was going dark with an entirely new shade purple– before he closed his eyes and asked, “As much as I’d like to pretend it didn’t happen, I think we should actually talk about this.”

Cross let out a shaky breath, “Agreed.” They fell silent. Killer picked at some dried stuff on the bedsheets–(it’s totally some of cross’s junk a;chahOCFKM;LAJF)– and flicked it off the bed. Cross was tripping over himself a second later, trying to jumpstart a conversation. “What are we-? I-I mean, pretending it didn’t happen is a nice thought, but I’m pretty sure you were joking- A-at least I hope you were-” Killer gave him an amused smile, “Breathe, Crossy.”

His smile relaxed into something uncertain, “I was joking, yeah. Honestly, I don’t know how to answer, at least not in a way that you won’t tie yourself to in some irrational need to keep me happy.” Cross glanced away, biting his tongue. He would’ve done that, wouldn’t he? Killer caught his attention with a light tap to the bed. Cross blinked. “I know what I want us to be. Tell me what you want, Cross.”

Cross’s answer was slow, but Killer appreciated the time. That meant he was actually thinking about it, and that’s what Killer needed him to do. He was patient, giving Cross all the time he needed. He kept his smile, trying to keep Cross from feeling rushed. It took ten minutes for Cross to answer. “I want to, um.” His blush came back, though not as bright as before. Cross fumbled to grab Killer’s hand, holding it tightly as if he could convey his wants through the contact.

“I.. Can we try- t-the.. uh.” Killer laughed, clutching back just as tightly. He had an idea of what Cross meant, so maybe the hand-holding was working. “Being together?” He offered, and Cross nodded, his eyelights softening. “Can we? That’s what.. That’s what I want.” Killer smiled, lifting Cross’s hand, teeth passing over his knuckles in a gentle skele-kiss. Cross went purple, his voice leaving him in a soft breath. Killer moved up from Cross’s hand, butterfly kisses trailing up Cross’s arm.

Cross shivered as Killer drifted across his collarbone, tipping his head back to give more room. Killer’s path led to Cross’s cheek, and finally ended with a light peck to his mouth, and they indulged in a short-lived kiss. Cross was speechless when it was over, his bones tingling from the tender touches. Killer smiled– it was Cross’s turn to hate how attractive and charming it was– and gave his answer. “It’s a dream come true.”

Cross’s response was to slip his arm from the blanket he’d hidden in and tug Killer into a hug. Killer snickered, giving in to the embrace, not that he’d resisted, and for a moment, everything was quiet. The minute passed though, disrupted by semi-loud knocking and Horror’s gruff voice telling Killer to wake up. He would deny the jump he gave at the sudden noise, though Cross snorted at his startled action. Killer slapped his hand over Cross’s mouth, calling back to Horror, “Tell boss I’ll be there in an hour!!”

Horror’s shuffling footsteps moved away from the door, Killer waiting till they vanished entirely to let go of Cross. He grinned, his expression full of mischief. “How’s a shower sound, Criss-Cross?” Cross lit up with purple. “Killer, no-” He yelped as Killer stood up, tugging him out of his blanket. Cross slipped off the bed, falling with a grunt. Killer grabbed his foot, dragging him across the carpeted floor to the bathroom. Cross grabbed at the walls, “KILLER NO!”

Cross had to submit to Killer eventually, letting himself be washed– he was fully capable of bathing himself, thank you very much– and dried off. Killer shoved Cross into a change of his clothing, claiming that Cross didn’t have any clean clothes. Cross made a face at the shirt he wore. “Why is it sleeveless???” Killer cackled, slapping him in the face with a spare pair of shorts. “Why not?” Cross grumbled, pulling the shorts on. Killer held out his jacket, grinning wide. “No, absolutely not, I’m going straight to my room to change into my own clothes the second I’m out of here.”

Killer pouted, “Please? I’ll let you fu-” Cross snatched the jacket, his face hot as he stiffly pulled it on. “Shut up, moron.” Killer snickered, “Yessir.” Cross didn’t like how the clothes felt, not really. The shorts were loose, the shirt too tight, and the jacket was bulky. He took an awkward step, and immediately began shrugging the jacket off. “Nope, nope, bad.” Killer burst into laughter, clutching his would-be stomach as he wheezed. Cross teleported into his bedroom, shucking the shorts off and hurling them across the room.

Killer showed up a second later, his arms crossed as he waited for Cross to pull on his own shorts and a long-sleeved t-shirt. Cross sighed, feeling much more comfortable in his own clothes. Killer crept over, slipping his arms around Cross’s waist from behind, startling Cross, who let out an adorable squeak. Killer nuzzled Cross’s neck, purring. “Hey there, handsome.” Cross squirmed in his hold, “Killer, c'mon, the others are waiting.”

Killer only held on tighter, chuckling, “I sure hope you aren’t going to wrap yourself up in those layers.” Cross stilled as Killer left a kiss on his neck. Thankfully, Killer let go, and Cross sighed in relief. He held onto the waistband of his shorts, rifling through his drawers to find his belt. “I’m not putting everything on today, mainly because it’s a hassle and I’m tired from-” He paused and decided not to finish his sentence, instead looping his belt through the fabric loops and clipping it in place.

Killer hummed, flopping onto Cross’s bed, spreading out with a content sigh. “Maybe I should start crashing here. You’ve got a godly bed.” Cross rolled his eyelights, grabbing Killer’s ankle and yanking. “C'mon, I’m done.” Killer rolled out of the bed, shoving his hands in his pockets. “Lead the way, sweet cakes.” Cross shoved him out the door.

Cross was the first to open the dining-room door, making straight for Killer’s seat. Killer gasped when he saw Cross in his seat. Nightmare sighed in exasperation, waiting for the moment Killer went into a gay panic. Instead, shocking everyone there, Killer strolled over and sat in Cross’s lap. “Don’t mind if I do-” Cross push him off, “Killer, you dick-” Killer tumbled into the seat beside Cross, cackling. “Aw, c'mon, just this once?” Cross flipped him off, “No.”

The shock passed quickly, replaced with amusement as Killer leveled Cross with a suggestive look. “Maybe next time?” Cross smacked Killer upside the head, “Shut up, asshole!” Killer chuckled. Across the table, Dust cleared his throat, getting their attention. “So? Did you fuck?” Cross threw a handful of food at him, whirling on Killer when he said, “Oh yeah, I totally screwed him.” Nightmare hummed, “It’s about time.” Cross didn’t dare attack the boss, so all he did was cover his face and groan.

Killer patted his back, huffing out a laugh, “Boss, you’re upsetting him.” Cross smacked his hand away, glaring at him, hissing for him to shut up. Killer did no such thing.