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“I know you have a secret, George.”

George freezes, glass of water an inch from his lips, unfocused eyes staring out the window at blurry dots of light, stark against the warm Florida night. He swallows once. Twice.

“A secret?” he repeats numbly.

“A secret,” Dream confirms, and his voice is so much closer than before, shades of lilting cockiness painting his tone playful. George is afraid to turn around. “Tell me?” Dream says into his ear and then there are arms around his waist, pulling him into a broad chest.

“No.”

“It’s been bothering you.”

“Has not.”

“It’s not very nice to keep secrets, Georgie.”

“Isn’t it?” George asks, voice barely steady.

Dream kisses his cheek. “Come on. Tell me.”

George takes a shaky breath. “No,” he says weakly, firmly ignoring the tremor in his voice, the trembles in his fingers at merely a kiss, at warmth around him. He pushes Dream off him and retreats to his bed, his cheek burning. He slips under the covers, closes his eyes, and lets out a long breath, trying to forget the warmth of Dream’s chest on his back, the press of arms on his torso, the exact texture of Dream’s voice low in his ear.

He almost jumps out of his skin when he hears the door open a few minutes later. George keeps his eyes shut and attempts to breathe evenly. Footsteps move towards his bed, and Dream slips in behind him, closing the space between them so fast it swallows George’s breath and he gasps in air just a little too loud.

“Still awake?” Dream teases, amusement dancing in the edges of his voice.

“Shut up,” George mumbles into his pillow as Dream’s arm finds a familiar place around his waist and he pulls George into him again, like they belong there, not knowing where one ends and the other begins.

“Just tell me,” Dream urges, pressing his nose into the nape of George’s neck. The weight of his arm presses kindly into George’s side, and George shouldn’t like it. He shouldn’t.

“No.”

“Come on.”

“Dream.”

“You’ll feel better when you tell me,” Dream offers, and George hates that Dream knows him so well.

It’s not like he hasn’t thought about telling Dream. In fact, sometimes he thinks it would just be easier if he came clean, if he just said it so he didn’t have to burn with embarrassment every time he thinks about it.

But the idea of saying it out loud. To Dream. It makes him want to crawl into a hole and never emerge.

George sometimes regrets his choice of friends.

Dream is going to be such a dick about this. Sapnap is going to laugh his ass off. And George- George is-

George is embarrassed even to think of it, although apparently that’s not working too well for him right now because Dream is so-

“You’re so clingy,” George grumbles.

Dream chuckles and presses a kiss against the back of George’s neck. It gives him goosebumps. “Can’t help it with you,” Dream murmurs.

Give me patience, George desperately thinks. Not like that’ll be enough, not when George’s mind seems to linger on every little thing Dream does, which is an exorbitant amount. George thinks it should be illegal to be best friends with someone and somehow get away with all of these things under the guise of ‘platonic,’ but here they somehow are and if Dream would stop kissing him for one second maybe he could think straight.

Dream unfortunately can’t read minds and he doesn’t stop, but on second thought George is extremely glad he doesn’t have access to his mind and a catalog of every embarrassing thought George has ever had. George would never recover from that.

“Stop kissing me, idiot,” George grumbles, and he hates that he can feel Dream’s smile against his skin, but Dream does stop with a soft sigh.

“You’re so pretty,” slips out of Dream’s mouth, and George contemplates booking the next ticket out of Florida to any place that isn’t in Dream’s arms.

And, even worse, he doesn’t want to do that at all. Even worse, he doesn’t want Dream to stop.

Dream’s mouth is still pressed to George’s skin, and his gentle puffs of breath are warm against George’s neck.

“You’re breathing on me,” George says blindly, almost dizzy.

Dream chuckles. “What’s wrong, pretty boy? Am I bothering you?”

“Yes.” No. “Why are you even in my bed?”

“I missed you.”

“Shut up.” George tries to take measured breaths.

“No.” Dream presses another kiss to the back of his neck. “You don’t spend enough time with me.”

George scoffs. “So you’re needy.”

“Desperate for you,” Dream breathes, playing into it, and George doesn’t think he’ll be able to sleep for hours, not when there’s electricity zipping over his skin.

“Shut up,” George says again. Dream does. They lie still for a few minutes. Dream’s still breathing on George, but George finds he doesn’t mind it much when he’s so warm against his back.

Dream oozes possession, comfort, a lot of things George shouldn’t crave, but he does, and they make him melt into Dream’s arms without a thought.

“George?” Dream mumbles eventually.

“Hm?”

“I love you.”

Dream says it so often it should have lost its effect, but somehow George’s breath still catches in his throat.

“Idiot.”

Dream kisses the same spot again, and George wonders if he’ll be able to feel the imprint of Dream’s mouth there tomorrow.

“I’ll have a tattoo of your mouth there if you keep doing that.”

“I could kiss you somewhere else,” Dream offers, and it’s painfully obvious that he doesn’t know George’s heart just constricted in his chest.

“No.”

“Aw, come on.”

Stop flirting. “No.”

“Then I’ll just kiss you here again,” Dream mumbles, and despite the thin layer of George’s shirt Dream’s hand resting against George’s stomach slowly drags a fiery trail up to his chest, so Dream can press himself a little closer to keep his mouth against George’s skin. George shuts his eyes. Breathe. “You’ve got goosebumps,” Dream notes with quiet delight. “Enjoying yourself?”

“No.”

Dream withdraws. And George hates it more, hates the cool air on his skin, hates that Dream is so considerate, hates that he can’t ask him to come back because something in him shrivels at the thought of asking, of admitting, of wanting something so desperately.

“Where do you want me?” Dream asks, oblivious, dangerously close to George’s thoughts.

“What?” George chokes out, and then he laughs because it’s ridiculous.

Dream giggles. “Okay- I meant like how should we sleep, idiot.”

“That didn’t sound-“ George tries to protest.

“You’re an idiot,” but Dream is laughing. “You know what I meant.”

“I didn’t,” George laughs, and then Dream returns to where he was, and this time he scoops his arm around George to try and turn him around. “What are you doing?” George asks in amusement as Dream struggles to turn him over while George remains unhelpfully limp.

“I want to look at you,” Dream says, and he doesn’t know what that does to George. George wants to swallow Dream’s smile when he catches sight of it, and then their faces are too close, heads on the same pillow, Dream’s fingers trailing over the corner of George’s jaw, so intimate he can’t breathe, and he thinks he’s drowning but Dream is smiling so wide.

“I hate you,” George says, but it’s so blatantly a lie, so obvious he’s surprised Dream hasn’t already figured him out.

Dream laughs. “I’m sure.”

George closes his eyes, just so he doesn’t have to see the fondness in Dream’s expression. He tries to sleep, but it’s the last thing on his mind, so he waits a few minutes and listens to Dream breathe. Once he’s deemed it long enough, George tentatively opens an eye.

Dream’s fallen asleep, lips parted slightly, a mess of hair falling over his forehead, brow relaxed. George soaks it in for a minute, eyes slowly and ever so gently tracing over sleep-softened features. And then he pokes Dream’s arm.

“Wake up,” he whispers. Dream grumbles something incoherent. “Dream.”

“What?” Dream mumbles, his voice deeper than before. It sounds good in George’s ears.

“I can’t sleep.”

Dream yawns. “Do you want some milk?”

George shakes his head wordlessly. Dream looks at him with half-open eyes and then props himself up on his elbow so he can rest his chin into his palm and look down at George, whose breath is wiped clean out of his chest.

“Not tired?” Dream asks tenderly, gently touching George’s chest. He can feel the touch as if Dream is dipping his hand into his heart, impossibly warm. George thinks there’s something in his throat, so he tries to clear it to no avail. He shakes his head. Dream is smiling again. “You’re so cute.”

“Dream,” George manages to plead.

“Fine, fine.” He stifles a yawn. “You usually sleep so easily. What’s up?”

George half-shrugs. Dream smirks.

“It’s me in your bed, isn’t it?”

George scoffs. “You’d like that, wouldn’t you?”

“I like you,” Dream corrects him gently, and George thinks it was a mistake to wake him up, because he doesn’t want to sleep when Dream’s voice thrums through his veins.

“You like me?” George’s voice cracks. Dream simply ignores it.

“You’re just like, made for me.”

It’s the dumbest thing George has ever heard. He meets Dream’s gaze, holds a straight face for barely a second before they burst into laughter together.

“Shut up,” Dream laughs. “Okay, you’re an idiot.”

“How am I the idiot?” George laughs himself silly, until his sides hurt, and Dream’s face is still so close, still hovering over his, and George’s eyes almost, almost, fall to his lips.

And if that weren’t bad enough, Dream’s eyes do fall to his lips.

“Stop,” George tries to say, suddenly feeling shy. Dream just grins.

“Your lips look soft,” Dream murmurs. George’s heart twists hard in his chest.

“Suck my dick.”

Dream raises an eyebrow, and then they’re both giggling uncontrollably again.

“I mean,” Dream says, on the verge of laughter, “all you had to do was ask.”

George groans and rolls on to his side so his back is to Dream.

“Oh come on,” comes the protest from behind him.

“You suck,” George pouts, hoping Dream can’t hear the slight breathlessness he’s caused.

“Yeah, I suck your-“

“Shut. Up.”

“George,” Dream asks in forgiveness, but says it low into George’s ear, moving up to gently press his lips against George’s cheekbone. George thinks his skin is on fire, his cheek tingling. He feigns indifference. Dream lingers again, then slowly moves his face up so his jaw drags against George’s cheek.

“Feels weird,” George mumbles. It does, but there’s also something about Dream’s stubble against his face that feels nice.

“Yeah?” Dream says, smile in his voice. He does it again, somehow slower than before. It leaves George’s face tingling. “You like my stubble, baby?”

He’s insufferable. “No.”

“No?” Dream pauses. “Want me to stop?”

Don’t stop, George thinks, but to say it would be humiliating, and to lie would be stopping this, so he remains silent.

Dream does it again. George wonders if he knows. Surely he must know. If Dream knows him well enough to know that George wants Dream to continue his stupid little motion, Dream must know his secret.

George isn’t obvious, he’ll give himself that at least. Sapnap jokes about it, but it’s clear he thinks it’s only possible on Dream’s end, always sneakily eyeing Dream as if trying to catch his reaction. What he doesn’t realize is that if he looked at George a little more closely, maybe he’d see the flash of panic on his face, or maybe the way he grits his teeth when the jokes poke a little too close to home. At his heart.

To Dream.

Who is currently pressing his cheek against George’s, just to lie there, just so they can breathe in sync right next to each other, just so he can wrap his arms around George.

George will never admit it, but he loves that Dream is far too affectionate with him. It kills him in some ways, stings a little when he’s feeling lonely, but it feels good too because he knows Dream doesn’t do this with anyone else.

“Still not sleepy?” Dream asks.

“No,” but George can tell Dream is sleepy, his words barely a rumble in his throat. Dream shifts back so he can bury his nose in George’s hair, head settled on the pillow.

“Your hair smells good.”

George is dizzy. “I used your shampoo.”

“I know,” Dream says, satisfaction curling through his tone.

“You like that I smell like you, don’t you?” George says, focused on keeping his voice steady.

Dream makes a small noise of assent, and George realizes he’s falling asleep again.

A thought passes through his mind. If he doesn’t act on it, he’ll sleep better, but there’s something so tempting about Dream like this, and George gives up after only a second. He pulls himself up to Dream’s quiet protest, and then settles himself back down so their noses bump into each other, faces closer than before, and George’s brain goes blank.

Dream doesn’t say anything, just watches him with tired, honeyed eyes for a minute before they slip shut. George watches him back, watches Dream fall asleep again, and then he brushes Dream’s hair off of his forehead for no reason other than he wants to.

He thinks, maybe, he can dare to think the words in the dead of night, when he’s sure no one’s awake to hear them in his head. But admitting them to himself is admitting defeat somehow. Maybe it’s because everyone will say I told you so. It was so obvious. Of course you’d end up fall-

George banishes that thought firmly. He’s living in a cliché. It’s a perfectly overwritten fanfiction trope, and that’s why George despises it.

It’s inevitable, someone once said in his Twitch chat, and George burns thinking about it.

(Only when his eyes are slipping shut to the sound of Dream’s voice so late at night he can’t remember how time works, only then does he admit to himself that it was inevitable.

“You falling asleep, George?” Dream will murmur fondly, and George will most certainly fall.)

He ghosts his fingers over Dream’s brow. Perhaps it’s too intimate. It feels too intimate, though Dream has done much more, but George is doing this for no one other than himself, and that’s far too overwhelming to think about right now. Dream’s face is all soft lines and golden undertones, all the way down to his eyelashes which are a shade too light to be brown.

Not that George would know. Not that George has looked that closely at Dream’s face.

Not that he’s looking right now, mesmerized by the lines of Dream’s cheekbones dragging into softer features.

Your lips look soft, echoes in his head and George shuts his eyes, as if to deter Dream from haunting him there. It’s futile when he’s curled up in Dream’s arms, when he can faintly smell familiar body wash, when he can hear soft exhales in even intervals right next to his ear.

Dream feels safe, George thinks. Physically, because Dream’s arms hold a quiet certainty, but also he’s glad that it’s Dream over anyone else because some part of him knows that even if he says it, even if Dream finds out, even if Dream is a bit of a dick about it, he won’t hurt George.

George trusts him, and that’s the scariest thing of all.

-

George expected that Florida would be hot. Sapnap had warned him before they flew back together, before he saw Dream for the first time, before everything changed, but George’s stay in Florida has been pleasantly cool so far.

He supposes that’s what happens when your best friend hasn’t revealed his face yet.

George had mentioned it offhandedly one day to Sapnap, sitting in his room, distracting him, and being a general menace, as Dream liked to call him affectionately. “I just thought he would as soon as I got here,” George had said about the face reveal. “It’s been so long since I’ve been here and he’s wanted to face reveal forever.”

Sapnap had turned back to look at him with a look that read clearly, Do you really not know?

The answer is no. Because he does know. He knows Dream so well there’s no way he couldn’t know, but it’s so ridiculous he doesn’t completely understand it either.

Dream wants to face reveal. Dream has wanted to face reveal so badly for months now. He’s admitted it, talked about it, planned for it, done everything under the sun relating to it, and now, the opportunity practically flinging itself into his arms, he resists it.

“I just want to wait a bit,” Dream had said with a frown when George and Sapnap had brought it up over lunch one day.

“Dude, you can cuddle your boyfriend in public if you face reveal,” Sapnap responded reasonably, causing George to snort into his soda and Dream’s serious expression to crack.

“That’s a good point,” Dream had said slyly, then yelped after George had slapped his arm.

The topic moved on naturally, and they didn’t bring it up again, but George knows that Dream will never admit why he won’t face reveal, and part of him wonders if Dream even understands it himself.

Dream is possessive. George has known it for years, heard it in slips of the tongue and seen it in hasty messages, but there’s something different about Dream being possessive when they’re in front of each other. Theoretically, nothing has really changed, but there’s a whole new layer woven into it. Now that they exist close enough to touch, Dream seems addicted to getting as close to George as he can as often as he can.

Dream reaches for George like he doesn’t even realize he’s doing it. He sits in his personal space without noticing, seeks George out in every free moment he can, presses their arms or legs together, annoys him relentlessly, and his clear enjoyment during every second of it makes George’s breath catch in his throat.

Dream is so expressive, every emotion written clearly all over his face, and George wonders if Dream even knows his expression blatantly gives his joy away.

“He’s so happy,” Sapnap had whispered to George once as Dream had washed the dishes, humming to himself.

“Isn’t he always?”

“Yes, but I’ve never seen him smile this much.”

George thinks about that for the next few days, something warm unfurling itself in his chest at the thought before he falls asleep, and he wakes up with honey still settled between his ribs.

Dream has only joined him twice in bed so far. The first time, they had stayed up far too late, laughing themselves silly until their stomachs had hurt and George’s smile pulled painfully at his cheeks.

Before Florida, only a few weeks ago back in cloudy London, the thought of Dream in his bed sent a thrill, or something like terror, up his spine. Then, Dream was simply there, cuddled up against him, wheezing right into his ear. It just felt right, as if Dream has always belonged by his side.

Dream feels right. Obviously they know how to toe boundaries, they’ve been friends for long enough, but Dream fell right into him the moment he caught sight of George, and the barriers of physical space that George pondered over were inconsequential within a second.

When would he stop him, George wonders one day. When would he stop Dream? What action, what step into his personal space would be too much?

George thinks his answer is far too telling. Because if Dream’s hands dipped below his clothes, if Dream asked him for more, George wouldn’t say no.

He wouldn’t. In any scenario, in any situation George can come up with in his head, George would say yes, and maybe he’d stop him at some point, depending on the day, but he knows Dream would be right in the same spot the next day, asking just as respectfully as he did the day before, and George may respond with an enthusiastic yes.

George worries that he’s romanticizing the Dream in his head, but Dream is just Dream. He used to have a compartment in his head to file away Dream in physical space. It mostly consisted of George’s imagination and the occasional tidbit from Dream himself, a mention of the size of his hands or the scuff marks on his boots. It’s gotten much smaller now in favor of just Dream, the real Dream.

The second time Dream ended up in George’s bed was the first time they had The Confrontation, as George has deemed it. Dream knows George is keeping something from him because George is a terrible liar in person, but George is trying his best not to relent.

It’s beyond difficult. Dream has this way of coaxing things out of him when George isn’t paying attention, meaning there’s a constant fear that accompanies George around the house while he does the most mundane things like putting on his socks or getting a glass of water. George glumly marks the latter down as another close call. It’s a growing list.

Thankfully, Dream hasn’t said much about it since then, and another three days have passed without another situation George has to nickname in his head.

It’s far too early to be up this morning, but George is having a rare morning where he can’t fall asleep again, so he slowly rolls out of bed to pad grumpily to the kitchen.

Dream is munching on something out of a bag, eyes glued to his phone. He doesn’t look up when George comes to stand in the doorway, and George moves so that he’s standing across the table from Dream. Dream doesn’t even blink.

This is rare. Usually Dream notices every movement out of the corner of his eye, spotting George as if it’s an Olympic sport.

“What?” Dream finally says bluntly, not moving his eyes.

George scoffs, and Dream’s gaze immediately jumps up to his, surprised.

“George,” and George should not feel that weak, should not love how fast Dream’s voice changed to affection once he realized who was there. Did he think I was Sapnap? George wonders idly.

“I thought you were Sapnap,” Dream explains, answering his question almost before he’s finished thinking it. George ignores the giddy feeling in his stomach so he can let out a laugh.

“You treat him like that?” George asks, but it doesn’t surprise him much, not when they act like the most idiotic brothers together, bickering constantly even as their care for each other is apparent in the way they speak.

Dream smiles. “He’s used to it,” and it’s all sorts of sweet and steady, and George wonders for a moment what it was like before he got here. “You’re up early,” Dream comments.

“Couldn’t sleep,” George mumbles, rubbing at his eyes, and Dream’s eyes soften.

“You want breakfast? I can make you some,” but Dream doesn’t wait for an answer, already out of his chair, his phone abandoned. George sits, watching Dream move around the kitchen.

This is the honeymoon phase, George tries to tell himself, just so he’s prepared for when it ends, but oh how he loves it. He loves Dream’s happiness and his inability to stop himself from fussing over George.

One day, Dream will greet him with unsugared words and it will be just as comfortable as he and Sapnap are with each other, and it will be as natural as breathing, and George will still know Dream loves him because Dream loves endlessly. But for right now, he’ll enjoy this Dream who’s young and in love with life and in love with living with his two best friends. In love with living with George.

Not… in love with him, but when Dream turns back around, eyes crinkling when he catches sight of George again, George thinks he can’t be blamed for any of this, not when Dream’s looking at him like that.

And, as if he’s reading his mind, Dream asks, “Finally going to tell me your secret?”

George groans and thunks his head on the table. Dream laughs and resumes cooking, the clink of silverware reaching George’s ears, a cabinet opening and closing, the click of the stove being turned off.

“Come on, baby,” Dream encourages as he sets the plate down in front of George, refusing to hand over the fork and knife when George lifts his head and reaches over. George glares. “I made you breakfast, it’s only fair you confess.”

“No.”

Dream sighs lightly, but he relents and hands over the silverware so that George can eat, and Dream can watch, which is another thing George was wildly unprepared for.

It made George weirdly shy for the first few days, hesitant to put food in his mouth while Dream simply sat there, but George has realized it’s just because Dream’s a mother hen at heart and he loves taking care of others more than taking care of himself.

So George takes it upon himself to return the favor. “Have you eaten yet? Like a proper meal, I mean,” George says through a full mouth to which Dream wrinkles his nose in fond disgust.

“No. And keep your mouth shut while you’re eating.”

George opens his mouth, and Dream laughs.

“You’re actually disgusting,” but he’s smiling, and George chews and swallows it down so he can return it.

“Get something to eat.”

“I was having trail mix,” Dream says, reaching over to grab the almost forgotten bag, his shirt pulling taut against his bicep, and George, to his horror, finds his eyes caught on the motion. “I’m not really hungry enough for a full breakfast,” Dream continues obliviously, leaning back, peering into the bag to search something specific out.

George is blushing into his plate by the time Dream looks back at him, eyes fixed firmly on the ceramic.

“Are you blushing?” Dream asks, amused.

“No,” George denies, stabbing his food with his fork.

Dream studies him carefully for a second. “You are,” like it’s a fact.

“Am not.”

“George,” and why does the softness of his voice make George’s breath catch in his throat?

“Dream.” George glances up to see Dream trying to puzzle it out, eyebrows scrunched together in confusion.

“Why the hell are you blushing?”

George tuts. “I’m not.”

Dream wants to argue, George can see it, but he’s adorably unsure of anything that could’ve set George off, which George is extremely thankful for.

“That’s another secret I’ll need to get out of you,” Dream says, and George flips him off.

George finishes eating under Dream’s careful eye, he refuses the offer of more food just as he usually does, and then Dream cleans up the kitchen as George watches this time, transfixed by the way Dream stands there in boxers and a t-shirt, putting dishes away, sun illuminating the hair on his arms, silhouetting long legs and broad shoulders.

There’s something incredibly comforting about Dream standing in their kitchen, hair still a mess, dressed for absolutely no one. He turns at one point, giving George a smile so wide his eyes disappear into it, golden sunlight practically making him glow and George thinks he looks like an angel, standing there comfortably in his own skin. When Dream blinks his eyes open again, George knows if he ventured a bit closer, he’d be able to see himself and the mirrored smile in the reflection in Dream’s eyes.

Dream just hums at the eye contact and then returns to cleaning up as George feels lazy warmth drench his chest. He blames it on the sun.

“Did you already feed Patches?” George asks as Dream once again resumes on the bag of trail mix.

“Yeah, she woke me up early,” Dream grumbles, offering the bag to George. George shakes his head, and Dream shrugs, taking it back.

“Well, cats do live on their own timeline,” George says, opening Candy Crush on his phone.

Dream groans. “She woke me up twice, you know?”

“Oh?”

“Once at six! Six, George, can you believe it? I nearly stepped on her, got her her food, the little glutton,” but he’s affectionate this time. “And then she woke me up again around nine and I couldn’t fall back asleep.” He sighs, and George finally looks up to give him a sympathetic glance. “And then, to top it all off, she leaves the kitchen and goes right into Sapnap’s room!”

George snorts.

Dream huffs. “You’re so mean.”

George continues to stare at his phone, and they fall into silence. It’s not even a minute later when Dream’s head hits the table, startling George. He stares at Dream’s hair.

“George,” Dream says, muffled into the table.

“What?” George asks, amused.

“Pay attention to me,” Dream whines, picking his head up to look at him. “I’m bored.”

“Then do something,” George offers, ever helpful, and Dream makes a face.

“Do something with me,” Dream requests softly. George hates that it works on him.

He closes Candy Crush. “Like what?” he relents.

“I don’t know,” Dream says. “What were you doing?”

George lets out a small laugh. “Candy Crush?”

Dream gives him a judgmental look. “Candy Crush?” he says witheringly.

George sticks his tongue out childishly. “I’m not doing anything with you anymore.”

“No, George, please,” Dream pleads. “Candy Crush is for boomers though.”

George mimics getting up, and Dream’s reaching across the table before George knows it, hands curling around George’s forearms to hold him in place. His hands are warm and reassuring, gentle even as they firmly grip him to keep him from moving.

“Let go,” George protests.

“Only if you promise you won’t leave me,” Dream begs. George scoffs. Dream pouts. “Promise me.”

It is incredibly embarrassing to want to cave this easily. The slightest whine in Dream’s voice sends George reeling, the plea in his eyes making George want to relent, and it doesn’t help that Dream’s hands are sure where they touch bare skin.

Dream, sensing that victory is close, moves his palm to rub against George’s arm comfortingly, and George hates that he can’t muster up the will to stop him. He hates that he’s enjoying it.

“Do something with me,” Dream requests again, more delicate.

“Fine,” George grumbles. Dream’s hands withdraw to his disappointment, though George denies it vehemently to himself, but Dream remains leaning forward, seemingly reluctant to go far. “Let’s see,” George sighs, swiping at his phone, inspecting the apps to see if there’s anything that he could do with Dream.

A funny thought passes through his head. He laughs quietly, Dream giving him a strange look, and George thinks he shouldn’t act on it. Dream shifts in his seat, picking cat hairs off his shirt as he waits patiently. George shouldn’t act on it.

Except…

There is something about seeing Dream being possessive that sucks the air out of George’s lungs, but there are real tremors in his hands when he thinks about Dream being jealous. George has only ever heard Dream jealous over phone calls and text messages, so it’s only natural that George wonders what he’s like now that George is right here. Will Dream reach for him? Thread their fingers together? Maybe a hand will squeeze at his waist. Or perhaps Dream will sit there, clenching his jaw, curling his hands into fists in an effort to restrain himself.

Curiosity burns. George’s mouth opens.

“Should I see who’s on Tinder?”

Dream stops moving. There’s a long pause. “You have Tinder?”

“Yeah,” George lies through his teeth, shrugging casually.

“You’re- George, fans will find you on there.”

“I don’t think men over the age of 25 are watching me play Minecraft for a living,” George responds drily, but Dream’s staring at him completely dumbfounded when he glances up. “What?”

“You’re…” Dream clears his throat. “Men?”

Oh fuck. Obviously it’s a lie because George doesn’t even have Tinder, but it suddenly occurs to him that they’ve never talked about this, about how this part does ring true. He flounders silently for a moment, panic rising up, but then he remembers this is Dream, his best friend, who doesn’t blink an eye at fanart of them kissing.

“What, are you homophobic or something?” George asks, but it’s so funny to him, the idea of Dream being homophobic, that he can’t even keep a straight face and Dream fully snorts.

“Am I homopho- you’re an idiot,” Dream laughs, but he sobers up after a second. “You definitely still have fans that are over 25 and are men, George.”

George shrugs, pushing his hair off his forehead absently, looking back at his phone. “This one’s cute,” he fabricates, looking up, and it would be comical how Dream clenches his jaw, eyes serious, if it weren’t so hot.

“You don’t have Tinder,” Dream says, an edge to his voice that George recognizes immediately as jealousy. It sends a delightful spark through him, the ease of it, the gratification of getting what he wanted with barely a few choice words.

“I do,” George counters. “Jealous?” he teases further.

Dream looks away at that, eyes on the doorway, gritting his teeth. “No,” he replies quietly, but he is and it makes George feel heat under his skin.

“You are.”

“George,” Dream murmurs in warning, eyes slipping to his as if to chastise him.

“You are jealous,” George pushes because when has he been known to stop, and there’s something so thrilling about seeing Dream like this.

Dream holds out his hand. “Let me see,” Dream commands. They both maintain eye contact. George refuses to lose. “George,” Dream requests, quieter, more potent. “Let me see.”

“You’re probably going to compare him to yourself,” George taunts, and Dream’s hand closes around his wrist to squeeze, making George let go of his phone with a gasp. Dream catches it easily, giving George a last look that burns with jealousy before he attempts to pull himself together.

George doesn’t fight. He could, he knows if he whined Dream wouldn’t look, he knows Dream will cave into him if he really means it, but he just wants to watch Dream’s face as he realizes. He wants to see the relief because there’s something in him that craves Dream wanting George all to himself.

Dream’s expression is unreadable as he stares at the screen. It’s just George’s homepage, and Dream swipes a few times idly, then typing it out to search it. There won’t be results, George knows, but Dream clicks something and then types again. He lets out a long breath. “You little shit.”

George smiles slyly. “Yeah?”

“You’ve never even downloaded Tinder,” Dream says, returning his phone so George can see he opened the App Store just to search it, no little cloud icon indicating he ever had it, and George loves the look in Dream’s eyes right now, though if anyone asked, he’ll never admit it.

“You were so jealous,” George laughs, and Dream inhales slowly, smiling even as he recovers himself.

“Can’t have anyone else all over you,” Dream jokes, but then he’s looking over George again with something unreadable in his eyes. “Come on,” he says, standing up abruptly.

George looks up at him in surprise. “Where are we going?”

“Your room?” Dream offers.

“You’re offering my room?”

“I own this house, idiot.”

“I own my room,” George says as he gets up, “idiot,” but he follows Dream cluelessly, only realizing why they switched locations when Dream’s hands settle on his hips possessively and he pulls him close after they’ve fallen back into his bed. There’s still jealousy written clearly all over his face, a furrow in his brow, but it’s softer now than before.

“Men?” Dream asks after a second.

George unlocks his phone to open up Candy Crush again. “Men,” he agrees.

“You were serious about that, then?” Dream pushes, and the fact that he’s not making fun of George for playing this stupid game speaks volumes.

“You just want to know if you have a chance,” and George means it to be teasing but the look on Dream’s face steals the humor right out of George’s mouth.

Dream doesn’t say anything. He slowly traces circles into George’s hips with his thumbs, and then he moves so he can drag a hand up to George’s side, feel his ribs through his t-shirt. George’s phone is no longer in his hand, probably dropped softly on the covers below them, but George can’t bring himself to care much, not when his breath is caught in his throat. “Do I?” Dream murmurs finally. “Will you give me a chance?”

It takes everything George has to turn his head away resolutely. “Maybe if you edit my videos for me.”

Dream laughs, his fingers stilling. “No way. Actually, how about I offer you a deal.” George turns just enough that he can catch Dream’s mischievous smile. “I’ll edit your videos if you tell me you love me,” Dream requests, predictable as ever.

“No,” George says without hesitation.

“George,” Dream murmurs, pressing a kiss against his cheek as George stares at the ceiling. “Just tell me you love me.”

“No,” George denies again, turning his head to the wall, and Dream kisses a spot under his ear this time, one that makes George’s next breath shaky.

Dream, damn him, hears it and kisses the same spot again. “Just say it,” he breathes, the warmth of his breath against George’s skin makes George shiver. “It’s only three words,” his voice dropped lower, and George’s will is eroding away, slipping straight through his fingers.

George sort of wants to. There’s just something about Dream when it’s the two of them, something about the way his hands rest on George, his eyes ever so slowly trail down him. It’s like Dream is trying to memorize him, like he’s never seen him before, but at the same time he knows exactly where to look to find what he wants.

George is so weak for it.

“I want to,” he whispers. I want to tell you. Dream pauses, nose bumping against George’s ear.

“You don’t have to. I already know,” Dream breathes, and he kisses the same spot again very slowly, leaving his lips pressed against skin. George squirms against his will, and Dream laughs kindly. “George,” and George feels paper thin when Dream says his name like that, feels like putty, and he doesn’t mean to, he knows he shouldn’t, but he turns and buries his head into Dream’s chest just so he can feel Dream’s arm encircle him, a kiss pressed into his hair.

Dream rubs slow circles on George’s back, and then the pressure dips down until he’s playing with the hem of George’s shirt.

More, George wants to request pathetically.

I know, he can imagine Dream whispering, and then a real hand meets bare skin and Dream gently drags his palm across George’s back. I know.

They don’t say anything for a long time, George’s head fuzzy, surrounded by so much of Dream he’s lightheaded.

“We should get up,” Dream finally says, voice rough from disuse. George feels so strongly for a second it overwhelms him, and he kisses the dip between Dream’s collarbones, where his shirt has ridden down. Dream inhales sharply.

“Sorry,” George whispers. That was too much.

“It’s okay,” and from this vantage point, George can watch Dream’s Adam’s apple bob in his throat when he swallows. “You can- it’s fine if you do it.”

George wants to ask more. He wants to ask Dream what he means, what else he’s okay with, if that was a permission of sorts.

He doesn’t.

They slowly untangle themselves, clambering out of bed. George is afraid for a second that he did step too far, but he makes a dumb joke he doesn’t even remember after it’s out of his mouth and Dream laughs the same as always and they’re fine, just the same as before.

Except they’re not really, because with every new step they take together forward Dream pushes himself a little more against George. The first day in Florida ended with a hug. The latest day in Florida ended with a love you and a lingering goodnight kiss on George’s cheek. Every day Dream moves closer, and George struggles to keep up even as he craves more.

What will today bring? George wonders when they find Sapnap standing in the kitchen, Patches at his heels.

And what about tomorrow?

-

Sapnap sends him the ‘days since George streamed’ counter on Twitter a few days later, having hit a high of 34. The replies are desperate, mourning the GeorgeNotFound drought, but there are a few outraged at Dream and Sapnap gatekeeping him, which makes George laugh over dinner.

“You can’t let it hit 35,” Sapnap says seriously, taking a huge bite of his lamb sandwich. Dream’s mum (“it’s mom, George,” “oh fuck off”) had made the lamb and brought it over for the three of them earlier. George met her the first day he came over, shy and a little awkward, but he sees where Dream got his sweetness from, and she had hugged George tightly as if he was her own.

“Mom away from home,” she said, winking. George smiled, and then smiled more when she proceeded to regale him about Sapnap and Dream talking about him. “They’re both so glad to have you here,” she said. “Dream, especially. He gets the biggest doe eyes when talking about you.”

George only knows how he didn’t manage to blush, but he thinks about it later when he’s washing his face. The thing is he knows what she means, knows exactly what face she’s talking about. Sapnap had pointed it out to him one day out of Dream’s earshot. “It’s his George face,” Sapnap complained but fondly. “I don’t think he even realizes he’s doing it.”

Dream just gets this soft look on his face when he sees George, content just to watch him exist even when they’re doing nothing, eyes shining, hint of a smile on his lips. His brow softens and the tension eases from the lines of his face, and he looks closer to his age because his personality is usually loud and a little authoritative, making him seem older than he is.

He looks young. He looks, dare George even say it, he looks in love. And that is far too much for George’s heart.

“Why can’t it hit 35?” George asks Sapnap, quirking an eyebrow. The lamb is delicious, and he takes his own bite. Dream is eating too, sitting quietly and listening to the two of them bicker as they always seem to end up doing.

“You’re almost 35-”

“I’m not even thirty!” George protests, annoyed.

“-and that’s really old.”

“You’re old,” George says.

“35 is a big number,” Sapnap retorts, deadpan.

“Aw, can someone not count to 35?” George mocks.

“Stop it, you two,” Dream chides, sipping at this water.

“Dream, he’s bullying me,” Sapnap complains. “I’m a kid.”

George scoffs. “Is someone scared? Hiding behind Dream again?”

“Are you going to stream?” Dream asks George. George knows it’s his way of diffusing the argument, and he considers ignoring it completely. “They’re going to see your new setup.” George’s thoughts halt in his tracks. Even Sapnap goes quiet.

None of them have streamed yet. Sapnap’s made appearances on other streams, which is expected and normal, Dream’s not approached Twitch at all, which is also normal, but that means there hasn’t been a Dream Team stream in over a month. Since they met up.

“They’ll ask about me,” Dream says conversationally.

“And the face reveal,” Sapnap adds, and they all mull over it for a second.

George hesitates. “I think I will.”

Dream glances at him. “Are you sure?”

“You two going to join?” George asks, finishing his sandwich. Sapnap shakes his head. Dream pauses. “Dream?”

“Uh. I- no, I think- no, you stream.” George watches him for an extra moment, and Dream nods in confirmation.

“I think I’ll use my facecam. And I’ll be in vc if you want to join,” George offers, shrugging. They clean up and separate. George sets up slowly in his room, double checking that everything looks okay. His bed is off to the side, out of sight of the camera, and it registers as he’s checking the camera that he’s actually streaming from Florida. He’s streaming, and Dream and Sapnap are a room away. He joins the empty vc that only Dream and Sapnap have access to, looks over everything again, adjusts his hair and his headphones, and hits the go live button.

“Are we live?” George asks, suddenly a little nervous. Chat immediately starts to zoom by, and the familiarity calms him. He thanks a few subscribers, and as donations start to come in, he grins. “Yes, I am in Florida. Look,” he says, pointing behind him. “Dream’s been there!” he exclaims.

The chat blows up. “He’s actually shorter than me,” George says. “He was lying all along, he’s actually three feet tall.” It makes him laugh, and he tells them a bit about Dream and Sapnap, just things that don’t matter though they’re still eating it all up.

Face reveal, George keeps seeing in chat. “Face reveal?” He sits back in his chair to contemplate it. “Soon,” is all he says, and that’s that.

He starts up some random game from 2002 he found by chance ages ago that Dream said would be funny to stream. It runs so poorly he keeps getting distracted by chat, and he spends more time talking about Florida than playing the game. He doesn’t think anyone minds, and he sees the comments about how he keeps smiling when talking about Dream.

If only they knew. George wonders what their reaction would be if he said they had slept together. He almost laughs out loud at the thought.

To his disbelief, two hours have gone by the next time George checks. The mechanics are so bad he’s spent the last ten minutes trying to get to the other side of a river, and in his frustration, he considers ending stream. “If I can’t make it past this part…” he starts slowly, and chat is a chorus of NOOOOs. “Ugh, fine. But if I don’t make it past this soon, I’ll just go annoy Dream instead.” A thrill runs up his spine.

He can just go. He can simply end stream, walk across the hall, and Dream will be sitting in his office, waiting for him. He can hug Dream and none of them will know. George suddenly feels the urge to actually end despite his promise not to. He ignores it, takes a moment to focus, and then places his fingers back on the keyboard.

It goes a little better than before, and George makes it across the river to his intense relief. And then, to his horror, there’s another parkour section right after. He groans.

George doesn’t hear the door start to open, but he sees the movement out of the corner of his eye and practically smashes the mute button, whipping his head around to watch as Dream steps into the room, gently closing the door behind him.

“I’m live,” George says dumbly, aware that Dream knows.

“I know,” Dream says, tilting his head.

“I have my camera on.”

“I know.”

Dream simply walks into the room to stand behind his chair and look at his monitor. George thinks he might break his neck with how fast he turns his head to check what his camera is showing. It doesn’t even show Dream’s chest and he exhales in relief before craning his neck to look up at Dream.

He’s startled to find Dream is looking down at him. They stare at each other in silence, and though George is muted, he knows his lips aren’t moving and the chat must be exploding, wondering whether Dream is monologuing or even worse, that they’re not saying anything to each other.

Which is the truth. But George isn’t sure how to explain that one in a way that doesn’t make his head dizzy.

“Missed me?” George quips, and a grin starts to tug at his lips. Dream’s eyes get that steely glint they do when George teases him, and he scoffs.

“Wouldn’t you like that to be true?” Dream responds, a glimmer of a smirk on his face.

“Isn’t that why you’re in here?” George turns back to his stream, sees chat zooming by and promptly ignores it. “I’m unmuting now.”

“Okay.”

“Sorry guys, Dream is being clingy.” Dream laughs.

“Oh, I’m being clingy?” Dream says in a tone that’s far too teasing. George resumes playing, having forgotten the dreaded next section. He misses the second jump, and Dream laughs again.

“Nobody saw that, nobody saw that!”

“You’re literally so bad, George.” And Dream’s voice is too close for him to be standing, and George feels the weight of Dream on the back of his chair only a second before both of his arms come down on either side of his head so that he can place his hands over George’s.

Besides the pressure of Dream around him, the tingles his touch sends up George’s arms, the warmth of Dream’s cheek resting gently on George’s, George is hit with a sudden realization that Dream’s face is on camera.

“Dream?” George whispers as Dream guides George’s hand on the mouse. He doesn’t look to the actual face next to his. He can see it clearly enough on his face cam, see the eyebrows furrowed in concentration, the trace of a smile on his lips. George chances a glance at chat, and it doesn’t stop long enough for him to even read anything, not that he could when his heart is hammering so hard he’s surprised his mic isn’t picking it up.

“Look, idiot, you were just jumping too early.” Dream clears it with ease as George’s eyes flick between his monitor and the still offending face cam.

And then he turns his head to press a soft kiss against George’s cheek before he’s out of frame again. George’s face burns, and he just gapes at the face cam, still processing what just happened. Dream chuckles from above him.

“Can you end soon?” Dream asks kindly. George finally recovers himself.

“Why?” he asks, already moving again in game.

“I want you.” But there’s a low note in his voice that makes it sound like a suggestion, like an invitation.

“Dream,” George warns.

“What?” Dream asks. George remains silent, eyebrows furrowed, but he does roll his eyes.

“He’s so needy, chat,” he says after a second. They eat it up, he thinks, though his eyes blur when he tries to read anything.

“I’m not needy,” Dream scoffs.

“No, you just want me,” George repeats, and the moment it comes out of his mouth he realizes exactly how provocative it sounds and makes a face that makes Dream snort.

“Am I not allowed to want you?” Dream presses on dangerously.

“Dream.”

“Because I do.”

Dream.” And when he dies this time, hardly paying attention, he turns his head and looks up so he can glare at Dream, who’s actually looking at him like he wants him, eyes dark, flickering to George’s lips.

George is rendered speechless for a moment.

“End,” Dream mouths silently.

George hits the mute button again. “I’m streaming.”

“Then stop.”

“What’s gotten into you?” George asks, feeling completely off balance.

Dream hesitates. “I want you,” he whispers this time, but this time he stares at the ground, avoiding George’s gaze, shifting his weight, unable to stay still.

“What are you, fucking horny or something?” George asks. Dream’s eyes snap up to his comically fast.

Dream opens his mouth. No sound leaves it. They stare at each other.

George’s mouth is dry. “No,” he responds flatly, but his hands are sweaty.

“I’m not-” and at least Dream has the audacity to blush. “I just want to cuddle or something.”

George chews absently on his lip, thinking. “You could get Sapnap.”

“Don’t want him.”

“That sounds-” George starts, and Dream can’t help the giggle that escapes him.

“Shut up,” Dream groans, but he’s smiling. “Please, George.”

“You can’t be patient?”

“George. Please,” Dream pleads softly, and it’s not in George’s nature to cave but Dream isn’t being arrogant or argumentative right now. Right now, there’s something fragile in his eyes, something that almost resembles… longing.

You have all of me you could ever want, George thinks.

“Ten minutes?” George bargains out loud.

“Five?”

“Fine,” George dismisses, and he finally registers that he was on camera that whole time, lips forming words that could be silently read, but though he stares at chat, he’s more focused on the rustle of his blanket off to the side as Dream lays down quietly in his bed.

George exhales. Unmutes. “Okay, I’m probably going to end soon because Dream is an idiot.” He hears a snort in the background, and it makes him smile.

He says goodbye slowly, gets a little distracted and starts talking about something, losing track of time, when-

“Baby.”

George sighs and rolls his eyes. “You’re so weird,” and he turns around to look at Dream, which was a mistake because Dream’s all cuddled up into his bed, nose pressed against his pillow, wide eyes and messy hair, lips parted, one of his hands loosely fisted in George’s sheets as if reaching for comfort. George stares at him for a second, in which Dream lets him, eyes softening, and then George turns back. “Okay, bye,” and ends stream.

Twitter will be a warzone when he checks later that night, but he gets up slowly, stretching as Dream watches, and then pads over to the bed so he can fall into it just as Dream reaches up towards him as if he can’t bear to wait the second it takes for George to lie down.

George ends up on his side, one of Dream’s thighs slotted between his own, his head buried into George’s chest, arm squeezing around George’s waist. George rests a hand on Dream’s head, and he listens to the muffled shaky breath Dream takes.

“What’s wrong?” George asks, playing with the strands of hair at the nape of Dream’s neck.

Dream just shrugs. George frowns but decides to let it go. “I cannot believe you just face revealed like that,” he says instead.

Dream lets out a small laugh. “I probably shouldn’t have done that.”

And it seems to hit the both of them at the same time, silence settling over them.

“I just face revealed,” Dream says in a tiny voice.

“Are you scared?” George asks, though he already knows the answer.

“No,” Dream says steadily. “I’m never scared when I’m with you,” and George can feel the words thrum through his veins, intertwine themselves into his heartbeat.

George exhales slowly. “Why do you say things like that?”

To his surprise, Dream pulls away, some sort of apology on his face, but George refuses to let him go so he only ends up a few inches away.

Dream doesn’t say anything as George inspects him carefully, gently cupping a hand against Dream’s jaw so he can feel the roughness of Dream’s face against his thumb as he rubs it against Dream’s cheek.

It’s extremely intimate, George realizes belatedly, going still as Dream looks at him, emotions mixed in his face.

“Don’t stop,” Dream whispers, shy, and it’s terribly endearing. George resumes his motion after a moment, registering Dream’s eyes fluttering shut, the slight tilt of his jaw into George’s hand.

“Enjoying this?” George murmurs, teasing, but he figures he’s just as guilty as Dream.

“Mm.”

There are muted sparks in George’s stomach, and he has the impossible urge to be closer, so he scoots, Dream blinking his eyes open to watch him, and then his thumb moves again and Dream fully nuzzles into his palm.

He can see the texture of Dream’s skin from this close, the faint stubble, a tiny scar on Dream’s chin that George knows he got when he was six and wiped out on a scooter.

George’s breath catches in his throat from the closeness of it, from how he knows Dream. He moves his hand so he can touch a light finger to the scar, and Dream makes a sound of protest.

“Needy,” George quips.

Dream laughs. “Come back,” he says, grinning, amusement drawing an easy smile across his face, but George knows Dream and he knows that Dream’s hand is pressed a little too hard against the sheets because he’s trying to stop himself from doing something.

“Make me,” George says unthinkingly, and when Dream raises both eyebrows this time, George is the one to laugh at himself.

“Make me?” Dream repeats, giggling.

“Oh, shut up.”

“Make you shut up?” Dream banters back, but he’s curving towards George despite how close they are already, close enough that his hair brushes George’s forehead.

“You’re an idiot,” George quips, and then he thinks it would be funny if he tilts his head, as if he was pretending to kiss Dream, so he does, only just realizing that their lips are less than an inch apart.

It is funny because Dream’s breath hitches, but then it’s not funny when Dream leans into it and George draws back in shock, even as Dream’s mouth stays angled towards his.

“What are you doing?” George asks, voice trembling against his will.

“Kissing you,” Dream responds like it’s nothing, and George wants to bury his head into his pillow.

“Kissing me?” he echoes, weaker, wondering if Dream can hear his heart skipping every other beat.

“Pretty boy,” Dream murmurs affectionately.

George drowns in his voice. “You think I’m pretty?” Breathless.

“You’re gorgeous.” Sincere.

George snorts even as a blush settles itself over his cheeks. Dream smiles at the sight of it.

“Seriously,” Dream says. “I wasn’t joking when I said you have pretty privilege.”

George shakes his head, fighting down his own smile. “You’re my simp. Of course you’d say that.”

Dream laughs. “Slap me if I ever say I’m not your simp.”

George very gently slaps Dream’s cheek. Dream turns his head and manages to kiss George’s palm before George pulls his hand back in mock disgust. “Gross,” George chides, but he curls his fingers into his palm as if he can touch Dream’s kiss, as if he can feel Dream’s smile against his skin.

“You’re gross,” Dream retorts, but he’s more relaxed now. They stare at each other for a few seconds, something unspoken between them. “How do you do that?” Dream whispers.

“Do what?” George whispers back.

“Make me better.” Dream’s hand finally makes its way to George’s waist, and George can tell that’s right where he’s wanted it this whole time. “I felt like shit and now I don’t.”

“Only took a face reveal and telling me you wanted me on stream,” George replies, and then they’re giggling uncontrollably.

This seems to happen a lot with Dream, this laughter and these smiles and something that feels so good in George’s chest that he gets all embarrassingly gooey. Sapnap teases them for it when he catches them, to which George responds by making faces and Dream by suggestive jokes, but he’s right. George only ever realizes it later, after he’s caved into tension and something push and pull that sends his heart racing, his cheeks hurting from a constant smile that tugs at his mouth. It’s so bad.

It’s so good.

“I love you,” Dream says through giggles, and George falls so hard.

“You’re such a simp.”

Dream’s hand on his waist tightens, and then he does the unthinkable.

He tickles George.

George shrieks bloody murder and squirms away. “Stop! Dream-”

“C’mere, George,” Dream grins, hands with murderous intent chasing George as he falls off the bed, scrambling up just a second too late before Dream careens over the edge of the bed too, pinning him to the ground and tickling him again.

“Stop it!” George laughs uncontrollably, trying desperately to push Dream’s hands away. “Get off! Dream, fuck-” George makes an embarassing squeak, sides starting to hurt from the force of his laughter, and in his desperation to get away he actually punches Dream in the chest, hard enough that Dream’s breath is knocked out of him, hands relenting for a second.

“You just punched me!”

“It’s your fault!” George fights for breath.

“You-” Dream starts, clearly preparing for an insult. What exactly that is, George will never find out because the door slams open with such force that it hits the wall, making both Dream and George jump.

“You fucking face revealed!?” Sapnap yells, something wild in his eyes as he stands there imposingly in the doorway. “Stop fucking,” they both splutter, “and explain why you-” he jabs an accusatory finger at Dream, “-just fucking face revealed without me!”

Dream actually looks like he feels bad. “Ah, I… I wasn’t thinking.”

Wasn’t thinking!?

Dream gets off George to George’s relief. It takes Dream ten minutes to calm Sapnap down, which George spends sitting next to them, picking quietly at a thread in the blanket coming undone.

“You’re an idiot,” Sapnap says, a faint scowl lingering on his face.

“I’m an idiot,” Dream repeats sheepishly.

“You’re doing what I say for the next month.”

“I’m doing what you say for the next month.”

“You’re giving George space for the next week.”

“I’m-” Dream cuts himself off. “I’m not doing that.”

“Dream,” Sapnap says in warning, George marvels at it, such a contrast to before when they were bickering in the kitchen, the roles completely shuffled around.

“That’s not fair!” Dream protests.

“You face reveal without me, you do what I say,” Sapnap says matter of factly. And now I’m saying stay away from George.”

“What the hell? You just want him to yourself.”

Sapnap gives him a scornful look. “You know, there were some other things I heard you said on stream.” Dream blanches.

“I- okay-”

“So no more George.”

Dream seems to be racking his brain to come up with any way out of this. He comes up blank, and tries a last desperate, “Listen-”

Sapnap raises an eyebrow.

“George doesn’t want me staying away from him! Right, George?” Dream blurts out, turning desperate eyes his way.

Oh no. Because George can’t say yes. George, the utter fool, can’t say yes. He considers it for a moment, wonders if it would give him away completely. He can’t picture himself saying yes in a neutral way. No, he realizes to growing horror, if he says yes, they’ll know immediately. Which means he’s left with the only option: indifference. And Sapnap will take that as permission.

Oh god. Because that means no Dream for a week. A week. He’s in too deep if he can’t fathom a week without Dream, and he can’t, his heart sinking. It takes everything in George not to look disheartened.

He’s going to miss him. George, the idiot, is going to miss Dream when they’re living two doors down the hall from each other. It’s a humbling realization.

“George knows how to control himself,” Sapnap responds for him, oblivious. George doesn’t know if he’s relieved Sapnap answered for him or still stuck on disappointment. Dream deflates. “Well,” Sapnap claps his hands together and stands, “I’m glad that’s settled. Come on, Dream.”

And Dream, with a last mournful glance, follows Sapnap out of the room, leaving George sitting there, the void of his room swallowing him as he remembers the feeling of Dream cuddled up against him.

He can do this, he thinks as he slowly gets up. He can do this.

-

It’s when he misses Dream tickling him that he knows he’s completely lost it. Day four of the Sapnap dictatorship is just as lonely and empty as the previous three. It is nice, George will admit, to get some Sapnap time, but he still finds himself with too much free time on his hands.

He hadn’t even realized how much Dream eats at his time until he was stuck with hours of nothing to do besides wallow in his room and scroll aimlessly through another app on his phone that brings him no enjoyment amidst the ache in his chest.

He misses Dream so badly it’s not even funny. He misses him so much he puts on one of Dream’s hoodies that he stole ages ago as a joke, just so he can think about the few inches that cause George’s head to tilt up just as Dream’s tilts down so their eyes can meet, just so he can smell him faintly because Dream smells good. He goes through their texts and smiles himself silly doing it. He naps to pass the time, and somehow ends up in bed at 10, a reasonable bedtime, and George wonders if his withdrawal from Dream is leading him to a normal sleep schedule.

George sincerely hopes not. He decides to sleep anyway, because laying awake seems to lead him to realizations he doesn’t want to make, and regrets that aren’t of significance.

He wishes he’d let Dream kiss him. That’s the one thought that lingers in his mind. He wishes he hadn’t skittered away from Dream’s lips closing the gap that George had created when he tilted his head.

He thought it was funny, yes, but in retrospect it had want written all over it.

I want, George admits to himself. Oh, how I want.

And then, on second thought, he’s glad he didn’t, because perhaps this would be so much worse if he had felt Dream’s lips moving against his own.

Could he even stand a taste? Would he be able to handle it if Dream kissed him and then they went back to before, just touching a little too much?

He doesn’t think he would. George thinks if he had let Dream kiss him, it would’ve shattered something so deep in him that he never would’ve been able to fix it, that he would’ve spent the rest of his life wishing even more desperately for something he already desperately wants.

He probably would’ve spilled everything too, told Dream everything, and just the thought is humiliating and far too vulnerable for George.

So he falls asleep at 10, sprawled out in Dream’s hoodie and his own boxers, even seriously considering just asking Sapnap at this point to relent because the loneliness won’t stop eating at George.

Lonely isn’t exactly the right word though. He’s not lonely, but there’s a gap in him that belongs to Dream and right now it’s hollow and empty, and that’s what George is missing. He just misses Dream.

They see each other under Sapnap’s all-seeing eye, eat meals together sometimes, pass each other in the hallway, but their rooms are strictly off limits. George knows his misery isn’t apparent because he’s never been easy to read, but Dream looks like a lost puppy.

“Stop being so dramatic, you’ll survive,” Sapnap will say, rolling his eyes, and George privately disagrees when he’s alone in his room, the buzz of electronics the only thing to occupy him.

And, unexpectedly, the face reveal is the last thing on their minds. They post a selfie they took a few weeks ago, mess around a bit on Twitter, but it was a long time coming and it’s more of a relief than anything. Dream, as transparent as ever, though he clearly cares about the face reveal, seems more stuck on the fact that he can’t hug George, which makes George’s heart do somersaults in his chest.

George awakens to a dream. Sleep is still so strong that his eyes remain shut, barely a thought passing through his head, fuzzy darkness and rounded sounds settling themselves around him. His limbs are heavy but comfortable where they lay against the bed, and his pillow is warm under half of his face, all mushed up against it.

It feels almost real, the sound of the covers shifting as they’re lifted up, the dip in the bed, and then the closeness of another human being right in front of him. He doesn’t often dream, so he’s pleasantly surprised by it, though he chalks it up to the ache that gets a little more pronounced every day. And, of course, the subject is exactly who he’s missing most.

It’s Dream, he knows it’s Dream by the way he moves, and the way his breathing sounds, but he doesn’t open his eyes, hoping he’ll get this for a bit longer. He doesn’t move either, simply waiting for the vision of Dream to put his arm around him or maybe for a hand to settle on his waist like it usually does. George’s sweatshirt is ridden up, and if Dream were to touch he would feel bare skin, and George sort of wants that, just like he sort of wants everything with Dream.

Dream doesn’t touch him there. No, Dream ever so gently touches George’s thigh, his bare thigh, and George inhales at the sparks that go right up his leg, past his stomach, all the way into his chest at the unexpected warmth.

“You’re not wearing pants?” Dream asks softly. It’s a funny thing to say, George thinks. Because truthfully he almost always wears sweatpants to bed, but he thinks it’s funny that his brain is stuck on that little detail.

“Am,” George mumbles, sleep making his voice gravel.

“As in… underwear?” Dream asks hesitantly.

“Touch,” George requests because he’s too tired to explain, fuzziness settled in his limbs, and he doesn’t feel like moving. His boxers have ridden up quite a bit too, up, far up his upper thighs, but he’s wearing them and for some reason this Dream in his head is especially interested in them.

Dream is frozen for a long second, and then ever so slowly runs his hand up George’s thigh, dizzyingly slow. Odd, how George’s breath can catch like this even in his sleep. Dream stops before he reaches the fabric of George’s boxers though, and George whines.

“George,” Dream breathes. “Are you- you’re not fucking with me, right?”

“Touch,” he repeats, muffled into his pillow, sleep dripping through his words. Dream’s fingers move another inch up his thigh, even slower than before, so feather light it makes George feel tingly. And then another. And then one final inch before George knows he’s finally found the fabric he was looking for because Dream takes a ragged breath.

He likes the quiet that follows, if only because Dream’s hand is high up on his thigh, gently squeezing once at warm skin, and George feels impossibly close to him right now.

“You’re wearing my hoodie too,” Dream whispers, and it sounds all soft in George’s head.

“‘S comfy,” he mumbles.

“You miss me?”

“I did.” And he’s dreaming so his thoughts spill out of his brain without inhibitions. “Hold me.”

There’s a shuffling sound, and then warmth blooms over him, the hand on his thigh gently relocating by dragging up his hip and then onto bare skin again, settling, as he expected, on his waist, Dream’s thumb rubbing into his skin. Dream’s chest presses into his, their legs tangle together, and Dream noses at George’s cheek just to press the softest kiss there.

It’s lovely. “Missed you,” George repeats, almost unintelligible.

“I missed you too,” Dream says and kisses his cheek again, so gently it pulls pink up to George’s ears. “You sleepy?”

“Mm.”

“You’re so cute like this,” Dream whispers. He kisses George once more before moving back a little so he can put his head on the pillow.

George is suddenly struck with the urge to see him, and he slowly blinks open his eyes.

It’s between one breath and another that he realizes he’s not dreaming. He’s not even sure how he knows, but he knows with absolute certainty that Dream, the real Dream, is lying in bed next to him, that the real Dream just ran his hand up George’s bare thigh, that George was- oh my god, he was acting needy. And Dream let him.

“I told you to touch me,” George says in growing horror.

Dream looks amused. “Mm. Right here,” and his hand lifts off George’s waist to brush high against George’s thigh again, and it sends the most violent lightning through George, letting out a shaky gasp. It’s so much more than last time that he thinks it should be illegal, but Dream is watching him with rapt eyes.

George‘s heart pounds in his chest. Dream’s hand tightens again, and it takes George three tries to swallow.

“Can I kiss you?” Dream asks quietly. “Here?” and he taps George’s thigh again. George can only imagine how wide his eyes are, but Dream’s expression is all sorts of mellowed restraint, and George realizes he wants this just as much as he’s achingly gentle.

“Yeah,” George somehow manages to say, and then Dream moves down, the covers moving down with him and there’s cool air against George’s stomach as Dream gently pushes him over onto his back, not bothering to pull his hoodie down from where it’s still ridden up, and Dream settles himself between George’s legs, looking up.

“This looks weird,” George whispers, propping himself up on his elbows so he can watch. Dream laughs, and it does, but the last thing on George’s mind is sex right now.

“We can try this later,” Dream says, joking, and George almost laughs except for the fact that Dream’s head dips down to press a kiss just below where the fabric of his scrunched up boxers fall, on bare skin, and the lightning George felt before was nothing compared to this. Electricity tears through him so fiercely he jerks up, and Dream’s hand is pressing his hip down so fast George can’t even draw breath.

“Sorry,” he gasps. “Sorry, I-”

“You’re fine, baby,” but Dream is looking at him again. “Want me to wait a second?”

“Yeah, yes- yes please,” George stammers, trying to pull himself together. His breathing is ragged, but Dream gently rubs his hip comfortingly. “Stop,” he requests, and Dream stills.

“Too much?”

“Yeah, I- I can’t think when you do that,” he confesses, squeezing his eyes shut, letting his head fall back so he can swallow a few times, little flickers of static still pinging through him.

Dream doesn’t make fun of him.

George picks his head back up again after a minute, letting out a breath, watching the way Dream’s eyes follow him. “Okay,” he whispers.

Dream waits a second as if to absorb him, looking at him adoringly, and then he moves and kisses George’s thigh again. It’s less jarring than before, Dream’s grip on his hip still firm, but George doesn’t move this time. Dream kisses him again, slightly lower. And again and again and again, until George’s arms are too weak to hold him up and he falls back into the pillows and just thinks about the feeling of Dream’s lips and the roughness of his stubble against him.

“You’d probably bruise easy here,” Dream says at one point, having made his way to George’s inner thigh.

George lifts his head to blink at him. “Is that a request?”

Dream smiles against him, and very lightly nips at George‘s skin before kissing him gently again. “Not right now.”

“Horny,” George chides as he lays back.

Dream laughs at that. “How are you not hard?” he asks. “I’m like, right here.” Between your legs, goes unspoken.

George thinks for a second. “Don’t know, really. My thighs are usually sensitive.”

“I never would have guessed,” Dream says sarcastically, and George giggles.

“You’re so dumb,” but he’s smiling at the ceiling. “I’m too tired I think.”

Dream hums to show he’s listening.

“I think I missed you too much,” George says then, and it’s so truthful it scares him a little.

“You have me,” Dream reassures. George locks that little sentiment away in his brain for safekeeping.

“Did you ask Sapnap if you could come in here?”

Dream freezes. “Uh…” He’s wearing a sheepish expression when George looks at him again. “I may or may not have snuck in here when I knew he was asleep.”

George wants to laugh but he suppresses it into a snort, afraid of being too loud and waking Sapnap up. “You’re an idiot.”

“I missed you,” Dream argues, George’s thighs forgotten.

“You just wanted to kiss my thighs,” George accuses back.

Dream looks a little flustered. “To be fair, I didn’t think you wouldn’t be wearing pants when I came in.”

“I am wearing pants.”

Dream sighs. “You and your bloody trousers. They’re called sweatpants, dumbass.”

“America is stupid.”

“I thought-” and Dream’s quiet for a second. He doesn’t say anything in response to the insult, and George wonders what’s on his mind. “I thought, for a moment, that you weren’t wearing anything under my hoodie.”

George’s heart stops.

Your hoodie?” George tries to bicker.

“You said touch, and I-” and it fully registers what he’s trying to say.

“You thought-” and George finds he can’t say it either. Neither of them move for three long breaths, and then Dream is pulling himself back up so he can lay next to him, so George can look at him, warmth still lingering on his legs.

“I’m sorry,” Dream apologizes.

George is perplexed. “For what?”

“For thinking… you know.”

“I’m not mad, Dream.”

“I thought, I don’t know.” Dream huffs. “I felt like I was taking advantage of you.”

George knows it’s supposed to be serious, and in some ways it is because Dream is trying to be respectful of boundaries, but also-

George laughs.

Dream gives him a hesitant smile. “I’m trying to seriously apologize, idiot.”

“Did you like my thighs, Dream?” George mocks. “Want to see me in a skirt?”

Dream grins. “Literally fuck off, you’d die before you ever wore a skirt.”

“You, on the other hand,” George starts, and Dream shoves him, but he’s laughing now too.

“You are such an idiot. Holy shit, I missed you so much.”

“I didn’t miss you at all,” George says, crossing his arms. Dream pulls him close, burying his head into George’s shoulder, and George can’t resist melting into him.

“I know you didn’t, dumbass,” Dream says, muffled. “But I missed you so bad.”

“You’re bad,” George says gently, burying his nose into blond hair.

“BadBoyHalo?” and that sets them both off, laughing against each other.

It’s a miracle Sapnap doesn’t come barging in. They calm down eventually, Dream unmoving, bare arm resting gently against George’s waist. George’s hand had come up at some point to thread his fingers into Dream’s hair, to trace the strands carefully.

“Can you even breathe?” George asks, amused. Dream’s face is pressed against his shoulder next to the bed, practically against George’s chest. He just makes a muffled noise. “Well,” George says dryly, “if you’re suffocating I can’t tell.”

“You’re stupid,” Dream says and he kisses George’s neck. George pauses. Quiet settles over them again.

“You’re too much for me,” George confesses into the emptiness of the air. He feels Dream move his head a little.

“Too much?”

“Everything you do.” He swallows. “I think I’m suffering from heart failure.”

Dream chuckles fondly. “Yeah? You like me?”

Yes, George wants to say. I like you so much it overwhelms me.

“You’re too much,” George says again, weak. “You overwhelm me.”

“Do you like it?” Dream asks, genuinely curious. “Me overwhelming you?”

“I do,” George whispers. “I missed you.”

“I missed you too.”

“I was lonely,” George’s mouth says though he doesn’t mean to. I think I’m in love with you, he dares to think. How in love with you I am.

“I know.”

“Could you tell?”

“I could.”

“You know me,” and he doesn’t think he’s making much sense, but Dream is nodding as if he is. “I- I haven’t told you everything.”

Dream frowns. “That’s okay.”

“It’s not fair.”

“I don’t mind getting to learn everything about you. I don’t mind waiting.”

George takes a shaky breath. “It’s a big thing.”

“I know,” like he knows. “I know it’s a big thing because you tell me all the small things.”

“Yes.”

“Yes,” Dream agrees.

“Please sneak into my room tomorrow,” George asks so quietly it’s barely a breath.

“Like you could ever get rid of me,” and George can hear the smile in his voice. “But if Sapnap finds me in here, we’re both dead.”

So Dream goes, and though the sheets fade into coolness against him, George feels warmth under his skin for a long time after Dream leaves.

He thinks he can survive the dictatorship now. He doesn’t even remember what it feels like to have a hole in his chest anymore.

-

Dream sneaks in every night until Sapnap finally, reluctantly, relents.

Dream waltzes into George’s room without knocking. “I’m back, baby!” he exclaims, all smiles as George stares at him in confusion, sitting on his bed, TikTok open on his phone.

“Predictable,” Sapnap snorts from behind him. “I tell him the week is up and he comes running back to you.”

Dream glares, but George laughs freely. Sapnap gives him a measured look, and George wonders if his excitement is apparent, but he can’t bring himself to care that much when he has Dream back, as much of him as he could ever want.

Dream launches himself at George, knocking the breath out of him as Sapnap watches, clearly entertained.

“He’s such a golden retriever,” Sapnap says, and George would have to agree, but he hooks his chin over Dream’s shoulder so he can look at Sapnap.

“What’s up?” George asks because he’s still standing there.

“Well, and hear me out. Dream face revealed,” he says, like it’s news.

“Wow,” George says.

“Which means we can go out,” Sapnap adds.

“Whoa,” George says, but this time genuinely. Dream extracts himself from George to sit back on his heels.

“I can’t believe it either,” Dream says excitedly, fingers tapping with energy he can’t contain. “We can go everywhere, I’ll show you everything, and-”

“Sure,” George says, amused, but listening to Dream ramble. His enthusiasm is infectious and bright, and Sapnap’s grinning by the door.

He knows Sapnap has been waiting for this for ages, a whole list of things he wants to do planned out for months, and suddenly their next month is completely booked. Dream and Sapnap take care of it all in the kitchen, meticulously planning everything, and George nods when he needs to nod, pulled into the orbit of the two of them.

It’s a whirlwind. George’s stay in Florida becomes hot under the sun, and they go out to tourist locations and hidden local shops alike, they meet fans and George is incredibly awkward but Dream is a natural at it, practically vibrating in excitement every time he meets someone. Sapnap drags him through the Disney World roller coasters and they scream their heads off while Dream remains firmly on the ground, smile gooey all the same. They do a cooking stream that ends with flour in George’s hair and chocolate stuck in Sapnap’s teeth, they take selfies, they go out, they post more on social media than they ever have, and George is so incredibly happy he thinks his heart may burst into confetti in his chest.

They get back home exhausted, nap or mess around, only to reconvene in the living room and stay there until it’s late, watching anime and playing chess and laughing until their stomachs hurt.

And George falls in love with all of it, and with Dream, a little more. He hadn’t realized how much he was stuck in his head until they went outside, touched grass (by Sapnap’s recommendation for all three of them), and zoomed through all of Orlando as if they had nothing to lose.

Dream hasn’t been doing as much in the physical touch department, but that’s only because when they’re alone, they’re too exhausted to do much of anything besides sleep.

Eventually, it slows. Not completely, but enough that he gets a bit of Dream time to himself, a few more soft kisses into his hair, a few longer hugs, ones that Dream doesn’t give him in public.

It’s not that they’re unaffectionate in public and in front of others. Dream still holds his hand sometimes, and he likes to bump their shoulders together, and he still speaks in that tone George jokes is reserved for Patches. Dream still gets flustered and they still say flirty things to each other, and they still look at each other in a way that continues the dnf agenda, which Sapnap seems to support, but they’re not completely wild in public. Just a little more reserved, and even then it’s not that much less than when they’re alone.

George jokes about Dream having a thing for thighs, Dream spits his drink out, and Twitter blows up all over again.

They must have done something, Twitter claims. Did you see Dream’s face when George said that?

They can only speculate, but the secret knowledge makes George’s grin a little sharper, and Dream’s cheeks a little redder.

They’re having a rare lazy day today, and Sapnap’s doing something in his room, so Dream and George had settled in Dream’s room on their phones, George sitting upright against the headboard, Dream laying on his stomach closer to the foot of the bed, feet dangling off the edge.

George, distracted for a while, finally peers over at Dream’s phone to see what he’s doing just as Dream retweets art of them almost kissing.

“What the fuck are you doing?” George laughs.

“Looking at art,” Dream says absently. “Isn’t this one pretty?” he asks, tilting his phone.

George begrudgingly admits he’s right, but he returns to his own phone, half-distracted, laughing softly to himself again at the thought. Everyone knows they could be sitting next to each other, and Dream is still liking art of them just the same as he did when they were apart. It probably looks worse now that there isn’t an ocean between them, and yet George finds himself feeling fond of Dream, rather than affronted.

“Are you under the dnf tag?” George asks, curious. Dream hums a confirmation, continuing to scroll. George opens Twitter and watches Dream like things in real time, watches people freak out and call Dream out for some questionable choices in likes.

“Have you ever thought about us kissing?” Dream asks suddenly.

God help him.

“What type of question is that?” George asks, mouth suddenly dry, frozen.

“Well… I’ve thought about it so I was just wondering if you had.” Dream glances up at him, not realizing at all what effect he’s had until his eyes land on him.

Oh god. Dream has- Dream has thought about it.

George probably looks like a deer in headlights.

Dream, lovely gentle Dream, doesn’t joke and doesn’t push. “It doesn’t matter,” Dream tries to reassure slowly, trying to figure out if that’s the right thing to say.

It’s not, so George, still floundering, says, “No, it does.”

Dream blinks at him. “It does matter?” he echoes, unsure.

That’s even worse, George realizes belatedly, his mouth dropping open soundlessly. They stare at each other.

“Is it… is it a problem that I’ve thought about it?” and he never understands how Dream defuses all his panic so quickly, but perhaps it’s that Dream is worried he’s overstepping again and the roles reverse in a blink.

“No,” he says far too quickly. “No, it’s not a problem,” he attempts to say normally, and the corner of Dream’s mouth quirks up a bit.

“Why, George,” Dream starts, a glimmer of cockiness in his expression, “if I didn’t know better I’d say you’ve also thought about kissing me.” And they’re back to before. “And maybe.” He pauses for effect. “Maybe you liked it,” Dream adds on, fueling the flame.

“You’re the one that brought it up, idiot,” but he knows it’s a confirmation and slumps back with a huff. Dream just watches him, grin growing wider. He looks a little wicked like this, and George has seen too many posts about his ‘fangs’ not to notice them, sitting there like he’s a predator stalking prey. “Stop that,” George says irritably.

“Stop what?”

George refuses to say it. “I hate you,” he says instead.

“Ask me to kiss you and I will, George,” Dream lilts, and George wonders if he can see the roll of George’s stomach, the sparks that flutter through him at the thought.

“You just want me to do all your dirty work,” George scoffs.

Dream tilts his head. “How so?”

“You want to kiss me, don’t you, Dream?” and the hitch in Dream’s breath is exhilarating, pushing George forward. “You want me so bad it makes you look stupid.”

Dream’s lips part. “I-”

“But you won’t ask for it,” George laughs harshly. “No, you want me to ask for it because you’re too arrogant.”

“I’m not-”

“I’m not kissing you, Dream.”

“You want it too,” Dream replies, eyes dark, tone low even as George can hear the breathiness in his tone. “I can tell.”

“You can’t tell shit,” George retorts smugly. “And that’s why you asked me if I’ve ever thought about kissing you.”

Dream struggles to find words. “Tell me,” he finally asks. “Tell me if you’ve thought about it.”

George is the one to give him an animalistic grin this time. “I’m not saying a thing.”

“You asked me to touch you, George,” Dream says, voice shaking. “That night I kissed your thighs, you asked me to touch you.”

“Not-”

“I would’ve,” Dream says, voice rough. “I’ve thought about touching you.”

Holy shit.

George thinks he’s choking on the lack of air in his lungs.

Dream lays very still, trying to exercise restraint, swallowing hard, fingers trembling. “I’ve thought about more than that,” he says quieter, almost hoarse.

“You haven’t,” George tries to say, but he can barely get the words out of his mouth. His heart is going to rip itself out of his chest and there’s so much heat under his skin he can’t feel the coolness of the air.

“I have,” Dream counters, and George dimly realizes he’s trying to ask for permission, trying not to break any boundaries even as his pupils take over the irises of his eyes.

George swallows. “Have-” and he falters. “Have you ever thought about having sex with me?” he asks, hushed.

Dream doesn’t even bother replying, the look in his eyes is answer enough.

“Because I have,” George confesses, trembling,

“Getting fucked by me?” Dream asks bluntly, desire crawling into his words, crawling right into George’s throat. His next breath is blistering heat.

“You wouldn’t top,” George whispers, and Dream lets out a long breath.

“What, you think-”

“I think you’d let me do whatever I wanted with you,” George says, and Dream’s breathing actually stops. “I think you’d do whatever I asked you to.”

Dream looks like he’s struggling to maintain composure just as much as George is. “I wouldn’t,” Dream protests weakly, after a beat, clearly a lie.

“Wouldn’t you like to take me like a good boy?” George pushes, and the sound Dream makes is unholy.

George finally stops, breathing ragged, heart pounding though he hasn’t moved an inch, and he registers that Dream’s hands are clutching hard at the sheets, eyes impossibly wide, red staining his cheeks. He looks a mess and George hasn’t even touched him, George realizes. He knows Dream is probably hard in his pants because he is too, arousal mixing with disbelief.

Holy fuck. Holy fuck.

“You have a praise kink,” George says quietly, simmering heat still flickering under his skin.

“You knew that,” Dream says, voice trembling, almost panting, trying to catch his breath.

“How would I know that?”

Dream looks half-embarrassed. “I’ve asked you to praise me before,” he admits, still flustered, still turned on though he keeps his hips very still where they lie on the bed.

“And got off to it?” George asks, just to check.

Dream squeezes his eyes shut, nodding. “Later. Not when we were on call.”

“But with the intent of using me as jerk off material?”

“I-” Dream takes a low breath. “Not exactly.”

“You did,” George notes, slightly taunting. “That’s so gross, Dream.”

“I’ve been jerking off to more than that for years, George,” Dream says, opening his eyes.

“To me?” George breathes.

Dream gives him half a smile. “Among other things.”

“Wow.” George rolls his eyes. “I can’t believe I’m not exclusive.”

Dream laughs softly. “Sorry to disappoint.”

“Next time you can be good for me,” George jokes, but the silence that follows is heavy and Dream goes stock still, eyes wide again.

“Stop,” Dream requests softly. “I’ll actually-” He cuts himself off, embarrassed.

George can hear his blood rushing in his ears. “You enjoy it that much?”

“I haven’t had sex in a long time, George.”

“I’m barely even saying anything.”

“I know,” and Dream takes a breath, then, quieter- “I know.”

“Should I not call you good?”

Dream’s hips twitch, and George snaps his mouth shut. Dream looks at him for a second longer, and then he turns his head so he’s facing away, resting his head against the bed. George watches the slightly uneven rise and fall of his back as Dream tries to take measured breaths, to collect himself.

George puts a hand on himself, just to release a little pressure, and then he removes it, dizzy with the contact. “You’re so hot,” he says because he wants Dream to know.

Dream just groans, still facing away. “You’re so hot it drives me crazy, George. You don’t even know,” but George thinks he gets it, thinks he understands it because he doesn’t think he’s ever been this turned on in his life.

It’s not going to go down, he admits to himself after a moment. “I’m going to shower,” he says. Dream turns back to look at him, question on his lips, but he doesn’t say it. “What?” George asks quietly.

“I-” Dream hesitates. “I don’t think I should ask it.”

George blinks at him for a few moments. “I don’t think any question you ask is going to scare me away, idiot.”

“Hot or cold?”

George doesn’t get it for a second, and then he realizes exactly what Dream is asking, and heat burns itself in his stomach all over again.

“Hot,” he croaks, and he doesn’t miss the way Dream’s breath stutters. “Hot, Dream,” and he disappears to his bathroom and turns the shower on to boiling and loses himself whilst biting down onto his knuckles to prevent himself from making any noise, knowing Dream is doing the same only a few walls away.

-

Talking becomes easier in some ways more than others. George’s feelings remain unspoken because he doesn’t know how to approach the subject, but he and Dream joke about everything under the sun, and Dream’s hands slip under his shirt now like it’s natural, though it still sends butterflies through George’s stomach every time he does.

They try their best to spare poor, oblivious Sapnap, but he’s perceptive enough that he knows something has changed. George watches him carefully, and Sapnap watches him carefully back, trying to figure out exactly what it is.

“What the hell is going on with you and Dream?” Sapnap asks him casually one day.

George pauses. “I don’t know what you mean.”

“Bullshit, George.”

George looks over at him, meeting Sapnap’s gaze bluntly.

“You’re like-” Sapnap cuts himself off in frustration. George knows exactly why he’s struggling. Nothing has really changed. They’re mostly the same as before, and all the stuff that has changed can’t be traced back to differences in eyes or hands or words or anything that Sapnap can ask about because that stuff doesn’t happen anywhere Sapnap can see.

George raises an eyebrow. Sapnap flips him off.

“You know what I’m talking about.”

“Do I?” George says dryly.

“George-”

“Just ask Dream,” George says, distracted.

“I can’t.” Sapnap frowns. “He’ll get all weird again.”

George pauses. “Again?” he asks, trying not to betray his interest, but Sapnap seems to have finally caught him.

“Yes, again. I’ll tell you if you tell me,” Sapnap offers.

George scoffs. “Right, I tell you everything and I get some stupid irrelevant information?”

“It’s not irrelevant if it’s about you now, is it?” Sapnap says, tilting his head, eyes glinting with knowledge. George eyes him suspiciously.

“How do I know you’re not lying?”

“Because I’m not,” Sapnap answers, sighing and leaning back in his chair. “It’s up to you.”

George spends a moment trying to debate if it’s worth satisfying his curiosity. Sapnap sits smugly in his chair. George sighs, and Sapnap sees the defeat in his shoulders, scooting forward.

“You first,” Sapnap prompts.

“I don’t trust you.”

“I swear I’m not lying.”

George squints at him, trying to find something other than honesty in his eyes. He fails to and sighs again, falling back into his own chair. Sapnap picks up something on his desk and starts playing with it, and George feels a sudden rush of gratitude that he knows George well enough to know speaking is hard enough for him, let alone when people are watching.

“It’s complicated-” he starts, unsure.

“Are you two fucking or something?” Sapnap asks. He turns to look at George, maintaining eye contact for a second before he goes back to fidgeting, head ducking away.

“If you thought that’s what was happening,” George says, annoyed, “why didn’t you just start with that?”

“Because I wasn’t sure,” Sapnap shrugs. “And I don’t think you would’ve answered me.”

He’s right, which annoys George more.

“So you are?” Sapnap asks, trying to confirm it.

“Not exactly, no.”

Sapnap pauses. He puts the thing he was fiddling with back on the desk and grabs a fidget spinner. “Not exactly? Or no? Because those are two different things.”

George watches him spin it. “Well, no.”

“But you want to be?”

“Sapnap.”

“George.” Sapnap stops the fidget spinner, and the silence is deafening. “You want to be, don’t you?” and George feels completely out of his depth.

He expected laughter and teasing from the both of them. But confessing he wanted to kiss Dream ended with Dream confessing he wanted to kiss him, and confessing he wants to have sex with Dream is ending with Sapnap’s too gentle, very kind tone.

Sapnap looks at him, and George isn’t sure how someone can look at him quietly, but Sapnap’s doing a damn good job of it.

George suddenly wants to be vulnerable. He suddenly wants to be taken care of, and he doesn’t want to keep up his walls, and he doesn’t know what he wants, but he also knows what he wants more than anything, and he wants Dream, and-

“I’m in love with him,” George whispers, hushed. He closes his eyes and swallows, trying to get rid of the lump in his throat.

“Mhm,” Sapnap hums after a second, and it’s comforting. “Have you told him?”

George shakes his head wordlessly.

“What have you been up to?”

“Talking,” George confesses quietly. “About sex.”

“But you haven’t actually had sex,” Sapnap says softly. George shakes his head again. “Jerked off or anything together?”

“No,” George says, shaky. “Like, he jerked off thinking about me. And I did too.”

“Thinking about yourself?” Sapnap asks, a little humor in his voice, and George smiles against his will.

“I hate you.”

Sapnap laughs gently. “Right.” They’re quiet. “But nothing together?”

“No.” George swallows again. “He has a praise kink.”

“Why would you tell me that?” Sapnap asks, amused. “But I know.”

It’s funny, and George can’t help but smile again.

“He-” and George’s voice catches in his throat. “He kissed my thighs.”

Sapnap is silent then. George is afraid to open his eyes. “Did he?” Sapnap finally says, unreadable.

“Yeah. I wasn’t hard though.” And it feels so good to tell someone everything, even though he’s probably over sharing, and Sapnap probably doesn’t want to hear about his two best friends doing whatever the hell they’re doing.

“You weren’t hard?” Sapnap echoes.

“I was like-” George feels small. “I was just so happy to see him. It was during the dictatorship.”

“The what?” Sapnap asks, and George huffs out a laugh.

“You told Dream he couldn’t see me for a week,” George says. “And he snuck into my room on the fourth night.” George’s eyes open. “Don’t tell him you know.”

Sapnap, to his relief, is smiling. “I knew.”

George gapes. “You knew?”

“He’s so obvious, George. You’re harder to read, but Dream went from moping and complaining to sitting quietly by the window staring outside like you were sitting right next to him.”

George can see it so clearly in his mind it hurts.

“He’s so dumb with you,” Sapnap continues. “I used to mess with him, you know? Just because it was funny, but the whole kitten baby thing with you started because he refused to believe he got jealous easily.” Sapnap chuckles. “He hated it so much. Wouldn’t fucking leave me alone for a week.”

George can only listen hard, unable to find words to express the ache in his chest.

“You should’ve seen him after we finally talked about you moving here.” Sapnap smiles at the memory. “He kissed Patches and he kissed me, on the cheek,” Sapnap adds with a glance in his direction, “and then he immediately called his mom and told her while pacing around the living room, and she knew, you know? Mom instinct.”

“Knew what?” George whispers. Sapnap looks at him for a second.

“He gets touchy,” Sapnap says, but George understands it’s his way of answering his question.
“I once asked him if he had feelings for you.”

The tension in the air is so thick, George can’t move. “And?” George barely manages, so quiet it’s more lips mouthing words than sound coming out of his mouth.

“He didn’t answer,” Sapnap shrugs. But George understands the gravity of Sapnap’s words as much as he understands Dream’s lack of response because-

“Such a George thing to do,” Sapnap says, reading his mind. “Couldn’t deny it so he didn’t say anything.”

“You think-” George’s voice fails him.

Sapnap fiddles with his fingers. “He’s so dumb when he’s in love, George. So dumb. What kind of idiot face reveals in the same breath as saying he wants his best friend?”

George can’t even laugh, closing his eyes and shaking his head. “My idiot says that.”

“Thank god he has someone who has a brain,” and he can hear the smile in Sapnap’s words.

George takes a quivering breath. “What if- what if he isn’t?” because he has to consider it a possibility.

“I would bet Patches’ life on it,” Sapnap says seriously. “To even think of putting Patches on the line,” monotone, like he’s reciting a speech, “is blasphemy blah blah, whatever Dream says when I bet Patches,” he rolls his eyes, and George gives him a weak smile, “but I would genuinely not believe him if he said he didn’t,” Sapnap ends firmly.

“I’m so in love with him,” George whispers. “So so in love with him. I didn’t get hard when he was kissing my thighs because all I could think about was the fact that he was right there.” He doesn’t think he’s doing a good job of articulating his thoughts, but he’s so swept up by his feelings he can’t get his brain to work.

Sapnap nods, listening, and George is so grateful for him.

“And I told him I missed him that night. I told him I was lonely and I missed him.” It’s so small. It’s so inconsequential, but for George it’s so vulnerable he trembles. Sapnap nods again, and George feels so safe it scares him. “I told him I thought about having sex with him.”

“And what did he say back?” Sapnap gently asks.

“He didn’t-” and George’s heart pounds at the realization. “He didn’t say anything back.”

Sapnap nods again. “You going to tell him?”

George doesn’t know.

“You can do whatever and take as much time as you want, but you need to say something at some point, okay?” Sapnap says.

George nods. “We haven’t kissed.”

Sapnap blinks, opens his mouth, closes it. “He’s kissed your thighs, but he hasn’t kissed you,” he says slowly.

George shakes his head.

“Well, he’s just a dumbass or something.”

George lets out a shaky laugh. Sapnap grins. He leans back in his chair, playing with the fidget spinner again.

“Sorry,” George says.

Sapnap glances at him. “For what?”

“All that. He’s like your brother.”

Sapnap considers it. “I don’t really care. Maybe that’s weird, but also I grew up watching you two flirt so I’ve been waiting a long time for this.”

George wants to apologize again, or maybe thank him profusely, but Sapnap gives him a look that pierces right through him, and George knows that he knows.

“You’re welcome,” Sapnap says, sighing. “Figures I’d be the one to save the day again.”

“You’re an idiot.”

“You’re literally so dumb, George,” but he’s smiling.

-

The hard thing about talking is serious words always sound awkward in George’s mouth. He doesn’t get much time to practice them anyway, not when Dream is constantly hovering over his shoulder, so he practices in the shower, quietly so he can’t be heard over the spray, and it comes out a little more natural every time.

He has this irrational fear that Sapnap’s going to be impatient with him, that Sapnap’s going to tell him to just do it, but Sapnap knows him too well for that, and he feels quiet patience from Sapnap even though they don’t talk about it.

The days pass. George falls more in love. Dream is everywhere, and now that Sapnap has pointed it out, George understands where he’s coming from. George won’t pretend he’s certain, because he’s not, but Dream smiles at him like he doesn’t smile for anyone else.

They still don’t do anything. Dream sleeps in his bed, kissing his cheeks and neck, and his hands always end up under George’s shirt, but Dream doesn’t ever dip lower. He talks about suggestive things he’s thought about doing with George and then excuses himself to his room or somewhere else to take care of it. It’s so kind.

George melts more often. Dream seems to get gentler with him in response. More loving maybe, he thinks, on nights when Dream is whispering all the little things he likes about George being in Florida, and it’s not sexual at all. Just safe and warm.

George admits things and talks about things he usually wouldn’t, like how he loves Dream’s cologne and when Dream cooks for him, even going so far as to admit he wants Dream to kiss his thighs again.

Dream complies, and George still doesn’t get hard from it, and Dream looks at him so gently George can’t speak.

He discovers the dnf apron five months after he moves to Florida. Dream told him he’d be making banana bread from scratch, and he left with a quick kiss to George’s cheek as George scrolled through his inbox, getting a few things done while taking a few too many breaks to check TikTok. By the time he finally finishes he’s bored out of his mind and, though admitting it to himself still makes him feel a little wobbly, he misses Dream.

He’s trying to be more forgiving with himself, more vulnerable. He practices admitting things in his head more than he practices saying he loves Dream out loud in the shower, and he’s getting better at it, though the first time he admitted something to himself, he felt so soft that even Dream noticed, holding him close and kissing George’s knuckles one by one, until George felt soft for an entirely different reason.

He’s dumb when he’s in love, Sapnap had said and George knew it but he didn’t quite understand it. He gets it now that he’s let himself love, gets it now that he’s looking for it in Dream too and he sees it everywhere.

George stretches his sore muscles and lets his feet guide him to Dream and the delicious smell wafting through the house from the kitchen. Dream’s wearing a pretty shade of blue today, one of George’s favorite shades, and Dream dons it more often after George tells him that. The care in that tiny gesture makes George feel impossibly bubbly. He tells himself he loves Dream after he sees Dream wear it for the third time in a week, and the admission sends his head reeling.

Progress. He’s making progress and he’s proud and he feels closer to Dream every day.

He notes the straps of fabric around Dream’s waist where he’s standing at the counter with his back to George, cutting into steaming banana bread, and George realizes he’s wearing an apron. George feels overwhelmingly fond of him for a second, and then Dream turns and every cute thought flies out of his head.

There, on the apron, a hand is squeezing the trigger on a spray bottle that says ‘dnf repellent’, and next to it is just a bold, red ‘no.’ George gapes.

“What the fuck is that?” George asks in horror as Dream’s eyes land on him.

“What?” Dream realizes a second later what he’s talking about and starts laughing. “Oh my- how have you not seen this yet?”

“What is that even supposed to mean?”

“Sapnap-” Dream tries to say and then dissolves into wheezing again. “Sapnap got it for me.”

What?” George asks, trying to wrap his head around it. It’s so ridiculous that he laughs in shock.

“George,” Dream says, coughing out a few last laughs. “You want to come over here and get some of my dnf repellent?” Dream wheezes again, banging his fist on the counter.

“You’re an idiot, you’re actually so dumb,” George says, trying desperately hard not to laugh and just as desperately failing. Dream can’t stop himself at this point, somewhat delirious with the force of his wheezing, trying to breathe.

“Come here,” Dream requests through laughter, chest still shaking, and George complies so Dream can pull him into his chest, an arm slipping around George’s waist. George kisses Dream’s neck, grinning.

“I thought you were going to be wearing a cute apron,” George mumbles.

That just sets Dream off again, and George laughs with him, feeling the way his chest rises and falls with his breaths. Dream calms himself down eventually, pressing little kisses against George’s forehead.

“Want some banana bread?” Dream asks, giving George a last affectionate squeeze before letting George go so he can finish cutting the loaf into slices.

“I’ll get Sapnap,” George says, taking a step away, but Dream scoops an arm around him suddenly, trying to stop him, and George yelps in pain.

Dream immediately releases him, worry painting itself over his face. “Oh god, did I hurt you?”

“No,” George rushes to reassure. “I just have this bruise on my hip from yesterday.”

Dream frowns, but he looks a little calmer. “How’d you get a bruise, idiot?”

“Walked into the wall.”

Dream scoffs. “No you didn’t.”

“I did,” George confirms, eyebrows quirking up.

Dream grabs a plate for him, transferring over a slice and handing it to George. “The wall doesn’t even move, how’d you walk into it?”

“I wasn’t paying attention.”

“Too busy thinking about me?” Dream teases, glancing at him.

George scoffs. He actually was, but he doesn’t bother telling Dream that.

George doesn’t sit down. Instead he stands next to Dream, enjoying his banana bread as he watches Dream meticulously wrap up a few pieces for his mom and sister. The last morsel is gone from George’s plate before he knows it, and he looks at his empty plate mournfully only for Dream to give him another slice without a word.

“You don’t have an eating kink, do you?” George says as he takes a bite.

Dream stares at him like he’s grown two heads. “What?”

George shrugs a shoulder. “You like watching me eat.”

“That’s not-” Dream scoffs. “That’s not a kink, George.”

“I mean…”

“No, I am not turned on when I watch you eat,” Dream says firmly.

George laughs. “Well, that’s good I suppose.”

“You suppose?” Dream says incredulously.

George accidentally bumps his hip into the counter and hisses. “The bruise is massive by the way,” George informs Dream, gently rubbing at the spot.

Dream frowns again. “Do you want ice?”

“No. It only hurts when something hits it.” George finishes his second slice, more content than after his first, and slides out his phone.

He isn’t paying much attention, opening Twitter, checking a few mentions when Dream’s hands hover over his waist. He notes it, somewhere in the back of his head, but doesn’t think much of it until-

Dream’s fingers dip into his waistband and George immediately grabs at his sweatpants, preventing Dream from pulling down.

“What are you doing?” George asks quickly.

“I want to see the bruise,” Dream responds, confused, and then George watches it click and Dream freezes in horror. “Oh fuck-”

“You’re pulling my pants-”

“That is not-” Dream starts to laugh.

“What is wrong with you?”

“I didn’t mean-”

“You didn’t mean-” George repeats incredulously, voice pitching.

Dream wheezes so hard he can’t speak. He still hasn’t moved, fingers still caught in a suggestive place, but the force of his laughter causes his nails to gently drag on warm skin, and George tries not to think about it too much.

“Okay, shut up,” Dream manages through laughter.

“Your fingers are still-”

Dream catches his breath, wiggles his eyebrows, and then bursts into laughter again at the horrified look George gives him. His hands finally remove themselves so he can clutch at his stomach as he wheezes, falling back so he can hang on to the counter for dear life.

George can’t maintain a straight face. It’s just so ridiculous, and Dream is red in the face from the force of his laughter, eyes squeezed shut as he tries to take a breath, only to succumb to hilarity once again.

“You’re so stupid, Dream, like you’re actually so dumb-” and George bursts out laughing, which just makes Dream laugh harder. “And your stupid apron-” George adds, giggling uncontrollably.

“George,” Dream says through laughter, lovingly. “George.”

“What?” George asks, wondering what the hell is going to come out of his mouth next.

“Will you be my dnf repellent?” Dream tries to say suggestively, and George groans and marches away as Dream collapses onto the counter, practically howling with laughter. George abandons him completely and fetches Sapnap from his room.

“What the fuck is going on here?” Sapnap says upon entering the kitchen. Dream has somehow made his way to the floor, slumped against the cabinets, catching his breath.

“Abandon him,” George says without remorse.

“Oh, come on, George,” Dream says dramatically. “You’d just leave me here to die?”

George flips him off.

“The apron works,” Sapnap notes dryly, making George crack a grin.

“George,” Dream whines. “Kiss me,” he requests jokingly, holding his arms out. Sapnap completely ignores him in favor of the banana bread. George eyes Sapnap as he gets a plate, and then he leans over Dream and kisses him right on the top of the head, not quite fast enough because Sapnap is standing there raising an eyebrow when he straightens up.

“You know, I got the apron for a reason,” Sapnap says, but he’s grinning. Dream looks a little starstruck, staring up at George.

“Like you don’t ship us too,” George accuses back, feeling a sudden rush of confidence. Dream looks between them in surprise.

“Me not shipping you,” Sapnap says as he gets himself a slice, “would be like me thinking the world is flat.”

“Oh, so it’s possible then.”

“Shut up,” Sapnap says, laughing. “What the fuck, George?”

“Did you two talk?” Dream interrupts. Sapnap and George look at each other.

“We’re talking right now, Dream,” George says, rolling his eyes in mock exasperation.

“Yeah, you know how to listen, don’t you baby boy?” Sapnap adds and takes a bite. He straight up moans. “Dream, you need to be a housewife.”

What?” Dream asks incredulously, but he’s looking at George with a silent question in his eyes.

“This banana bread is heavenly.” He munches on it, delighted, while George simply looks back at Dream.

Dream hesitates. “I kissed George’s thighs,” he says, and George’s heart stumbles to a halt. It’s so different when he says it. It’s so different when Dream is the one saying it. There’s heat in George’s cheeks and smoke coming out of his ears, and he loves Dream so much it consumes him, so much he thinks he could melt to the floor right now.

Dream means it. George can tell by the way he says it, soft but serious, and there’s so much underlying his words George doesn’t even know where to begin to decipher it.

It makes it real. Sometimes George is afraid that it’s all happening in his head because Dream feels like a dream, because they meet under the cover of night and whisper words that wrap them close together. George gets embarrassingly gooey when he’s with Dream, so much so that it’s like he’s looking through misty glass when they’re together, hazy shapes and blurry sensations that melt together into a mess in George’s chest.

It feels real, every second of it, but sometimes it feels too good to be true, and he holds Dream tightly, not wanting to let him go.

He needn’t bother. Dream always returns.

Sapnap doesn’t even blink. “He makes this really good pound cake too, George.”

“You told him,” Dream says to George, but he’s not mad, just still trying to puzzle out how much Sapnap knows.

George offers him a quick nod, biting his lip. And then Dream smiles.

“Good,” is all he says, finally getting up off the floor. “Do you want another slice?”

Dream eats healthy. He usually makes things at home so he can modify recipes and choose things to his own liking, and he constantly chides the two of them about not overeating. Two slices, Dream had said about banana bread. You’re limited to two slices.

George knows that Dream knows he’s already had two. He accepts the third, confused, and he’s halfway through it when he realizes Dream is trying to reward him.

Dream knows George. He’s had to needle things out of him, he knows George would rather cut off his own foot than talk, and he also knows that George is a softie at heart, though he’s better at showing it in gestures and actions.

Dream once told him, very late at night, the prime time for vulnerability from the two of them, that he was proud of him.

“For what?” George had said, turning over his little rose quartz elephant in his hands.

“Telling me stuff.”

George had scoffed. “Can you be more specific?”

“Being serious,” Dream had clarified, voice mild. George could hear Dream shift in his chair.

George didn’t know what to say, and Dream, Dream who knows him, had said, “Don’t say anything, George. I’m just proud of you.”

George finishes the rest of his slice, eyes on Dream just as Dream’s eyes rest on him. Dream is so distracted Sapnap manages to steal some other snack from the cabinet, winking at George. “He’s all yours,” he says with a knowing tone, and Dream turns just in time to see him disappear out the door.

“How much did you tell him?” Dream asks, simply curious.

George considers not saying anything, but he’s making progress with himself, so- “Everything.”

Dream looks at him for a long moment. “When you say everything-”

“I told him you have a praise kink,” and the horror that washes over Dream’s face makes George laugh despite the shiver of nerves plaguing him, the ones that arise every time he thinks about that conversation and how he laid his heart bare.

“You did not.”

“I-” George tries to school his expression, and Dream is smiling in the next second.

“What did he say?” Dream asks, amused now. They’re not serious with each other, the three of them, and they know the deepest, darkest part of each other’s hearts, they know boundaries and jokes, and they trust each other completely.

“He acted offended and then he said he knew,” George says, laughing.

Dream groans, grinning. “The entire internet knows too,” he says with a resigned sigh, running his fingers through his hair. He doesn’t ask anymore, though George can’t sit still with the fear that he will. He thinks, if Dream asked him, he’ll tell him everything, but Dream doesn’t ask.

Instead, George ends up leaning over the island in the center of the kitchen, putting his weight on his forearms, peering at his phone as Dream cleans up. He registers silence at some point and glances back.

Dream is smirking, head tilted up, eyes clearly stuck somewhere below George’s hips. He’s no longer wearing the stupid apron to George’s relief. When George turns, Dream’s eyes flick up to meet his briefly, and George turns back at his phone, chewing his lip and debating what to do.

He thinks. Hesitates. And then, ever so slightly, arches his back. It’s not enough that it changes much, but if Dream’s eyes are there then he’ll see it.

This time when George glances back, Dream’s smirk is gone. He’s just blatantly staring with lidded eyes and something darker in his expression. George’s gaze slips down without his permission, down Dream’s torso, past his waist, just below his hips, and-

Dream’s turned on.

“You going to take care of that?” George asks, mouth dry, somehow still caught by surprise even though he knows Dream thinks he’s hot, has jerked off to the thought of him more than once since they talked. He looks at his phone, eyes unfocused, still able to feel Dream’s eyes on him.

Dream clears his throat, but it doesn’t disguise the lowness of his voice. “You putting on a show for me?”

“You’d like that.”

“You look good.”

“You’re staring at my ass,” George returns.

“Your ass looks good.”

They’re silent for a few seconds.

“Should I take care of it?” Dream ventures.

George turns back to give him a look of disbelief. “What, you’re just going to sit here and wait for it to go down?”

Dream looks amused. “That is what I was thinking, yeah.”

“It won’t if you keep staring at my ass.”

“It won’t if you keep being a tease,” Dream retorts.

George straightens up, offended, but Dream’s expression looks almost disappointed, his eyes finally drawing away from where they were to meet George’s gaze. “Oh, I’m the tease?” George asks, without as much venom as he was going to use before.

“You literally arched your back.”

“You liked it, pervert.”

Dream laughs, caught off guard. “How am I the pervert in this situation? You’re older.”

“You’re bigger,” George snaps back and then immediately catches himself in dismay. “Oh, that sounded-“

“I’m bigger?” Dream exclaims, delighted, and he’s enjoying this, ease in the frame of his shoulders where he leans back on the counter. He looks effortless like this, he looks attractive, and George almost wants to go over and touch his chest to see if he’s real. “George,” he says, chiding. “If you wanted my dick-”

“You’re a dick.”

“Would you like to get on your knees for me?” sickly sweet.

And George, helpless, realizes that he kind of does.

He glances over at Dream, appalled at his own weakness, and Dream realizes it after a second of dense silence.

“You don’t have to,” Dream immediately relents.

“Not- not yet, I-” I kind of want to.

Dream shakes his head firmly. “You don’t have to,” he says again.

“Dream,” he whispers. I want you so badly it scares me.

“You don’t have to now or ever if you don’t want to.”

“I want to,” George whispers, unable to let it go unspoken. “I kind of want to.”

Dream pauses and then holds his arms out. George obliges and they’re so close, pressed against each other and George can feel everything but Dream doesn’t move an inch.

“Not now, okay?” Dream says softly. George doesn’t know if he’s saying it for himself or for George, but he clings to Dream and kisses his shoulder as if that can convey what he’s trying to say but can’t.

I’m in love with you, he mouths into Dream’s blue shirt.

“What’d you say?” Dream asks quietly. George doesn’t reply, but Dream doesn’t push, just smoothing George’s hair out of his forehead. Dream lets out a soft sigh. “George, I love you,” and George’s heart thumps, “but would you let go so I can actually take care of this?”

“What happens if I say no?” George asks sincerely, content in Dream’s embrace.

Dream breathes quietly. “Then I won’t go.”

George releases him, stepping back, and he knows his eyes are shining because Dream smiles when he sees him. “Pretty boy,” Dream says affectionately, playing with a stray curl of hair fallen into George’s eyes. “It’s okay if I think about you, yeah?”

“You have been, haven’t you?” George asks, reaching up to place his hand on Dream’s.

“Yeah,” Dream answers. “I just wanted to ask.”

“Such a gentleman.” George rolls his eyes.

Dream grins. “Not if you don’t want me to be,” he teases, and his hands land on George’s hips. He doesn’t say anything else, doesn’t move. He only squeezes possessively for a second, eyes him up and down, and then he’s gone, leaving George with a stupid grin on his face.

He almost said it. He almost told Dream he loved him.

He almost said it.

-

As it turns out, mouthing the words is not as close to saying it as George thought. It’s not a big deal though, because George thinks it a lot and sometimes he’ll imagine him saying it out loud but tap it against Dream’s leg, and it’s like Dream knows what he’s trying to say.

George isn’t yet frustrated with himself. He thought he might be, but there’s something about patience that’s infectious, and Dream and Sapnap are both patient with him and with each other in the ways that matter, in the ways that the fans will never see because there they drive each other up the wall and they’re impulsive and all over the place.

Sapnap and George must be at each other’s throats all day long, they speculate. Poor Dream, they say.

And sometimes they are, sometimes this is true, but when George is homesick, Sapnap is the one that makes him feel better, and Sapnap’s bed is the one he sleeps in peacefully that night, to Dream’s quiet, but understanding, disappointment.

Sapnap has stellar emotional intelligence. Maybe it’s just because he’s known Dream and George for so long that he knows how to comfort them, but the first time George sees Dream cry, he freezes while Sapnap bundles Dream into a burrito of blankets and cuddles him, inviting George to join him until Dream breaths are no longer shuddering.

George just feels like he doesn’t know what to do. Dream always knows what to do, and Sapnap sits in his shadow sometimes, but the moment Dream is lost, Sapnap is quiet strength right behind him.

George thinks it would be awkward to bring it up now, so long after their conversation, but he’s glad he told Sapnap first. He’s endlessly grateful for it, and even when he’s so scared he thinks he might be sick, he doesn’t regret telling him.

Sapnap is safety in a person. He’s endlessly funny and he’s the life of the party and he’s loud and has a dirty sense of humor and he loves easily and proudly and he’s reassuring in the best way possible. And despite all his bravado and his confidence and his noise, he’s a good listener and he’s quiet in a way George needs sometimes, and he nods when George speaks and holds him together without even knowing.

And Sapnap loves them together. He never says it outright, but he jokes and encourages them and prods them towards each other with the biggest grin on his face. It’s somewhat comforting to have a best friend that isn’t grossed out by the two of them orbiting closer to each other, and it builds a quiet confidence in George and when he practices saying it in the shower it’s not as hard as before.

“I’m going to shower,” George says to Dream, clambering up off him from where they were lying on the couch.

“Shower later,” Dream begs, twisting his head to look up at George, catching his wrist. “Stay with me.”

“I’m gross, Dream,” George mumbles half-heartedly, already caving.

“You’re not.”

“I’m sweaty.”

“You smell fine.”

“I feel sweaty.”

“Then let me join you.” It’s a joke. It’s very clearly a joke by the way Dream says it, by the smile tugging at his lips, but George lets the thought settle in his head.

“Okay,” George says.

Dream blinks. “What?”

“Okay,” George repeats, less sure, chewing his lip. “Join me.”

“Are you- are you sure?”

“Yeah,” George says softly. “I want you to join me.”

Dream hesitates. “Only if you’re sure.”

George nods wordlessly, and Dream pushes himself up off the couch so he can follow George. Dream ducks briefly into his room to grab clothes and his towel, and George debates asking to use his shower for a second before dismissing the idea.

Dream’s shower is nicer and a little bit bigger, but George is used to his shower and the spot is reassuring to him. He wants to see Dream in his space, in George’s shower, because he wants to invite Dream a little closer to him.

So he doesn’t say anything when Dream joins him, and they hang their towels and put their clothes down in the bathroom after George locks the door, unnecessary but part of his little routine, and then they’re standing there, staring at each other a little awkwardly.

“Well. Unless we want to get in the shower with all our clothes on…” Dream says, and George laughs, the tension easing.

“Then I wouldn’t have to do laundry,” George says, and Dream’s smile stretches on to his cheeks.

“You’re such an idiot.”

There’s another beat of silence.

“I’m nervous,” George confesses.

Dream’s eyes soften. “Me too.”

“Yeah?”

Dream nods, and it gives George strength. “I’ll take my shirt off slowly so you can watch,” he says, and Dream laughs in shock.

“You’re giving me a strip tease?” Dream asks, batting his eyelashes.

“Shut up,” George says, grinning, pushing at Dream’s arm.

“Let me undress you,” Dream suggests after a breath.

George looks at him sharply. He’s serious though, nodding at George.

“You want to undress me?” George repeats in a question, suspicious but not really, feeling a little unguarded right now in the safety of his bathroom with his favorite person.

“I do,” Dream says, a little proudly. “I do want to undress you.”

George doesn’t know what to say.

“Will you let me?” Dream asks.

George takes a small breath.

“Will you let me undress you, George?” and it’s the way Dream says his name that makes him nod, all tender and light and loving.

“Can you say yes for me, sweetheart?” and the pet name feels exactly the same way Dream said his name. “I just want to be sure.”

George opens his mouth and no sound comes out.

“Can I undress you?” Dream repeats ever so quietly, moving closer.

“Yes,” George whispers.

And he notices that Dream’s hands shake as they pull his shirt over his head. Dream gently touches George’s stomach and his chest and his shoulders, making George shiver with the intimacy of it, and then he pulls off his pants, and lightly brushes against George’s thigh and knees and ankles. George is left standing there in just his boxers, and Dream stares at him wide-eyed.

“Do you want to remove this too?” George says, pinching the material of his boxers. Dream inhales quietly, gently touching George’s hand.

“I’m afraid that if I see you naked, I’ll literally never get you out of my head,” Dream says softly.

George blinks up at him, and then he rises up on to his tip toes and presses a kiss to Dream’s cheek. “Undress me, idiot.”

Dream does so shyly, trying not to look, and this time he doesn’t touch anything.

“Can I undress you too?” George asks, and his hands are shaking too, but Dream lets him pull his shirt off. George, struck by a sudden urge, mimics Dream, tapping his fingers in the same spots as Dream did with him, stomach, chest, shoulders, and Dream catches on, smiling and leaving a kiss to the inside of George’s wrist when his hand gets close enough. He removes Dream’s pants and then his boxers too and they’re standing there, gazes locked, quiet.

“You drive me crazy, George,” Dream says, so gentle George can feel the warmth of the words slip down through his chest. “You overwhelm me,” he says, and George remembers when he said the same thing all those nights ago.

“You’re too much for me,” George says, echoing himself, and Dream smiles, memory written all over his face.

“Shower?”

“Shower,” George agrees.

They step in together and it’s like George is letting Dream into a little private piece of him. The shower is where George has touched himself, where George has said important things, where he has accepted flaws and has allowed himself to be vulnerable and he’s cried and thought of Dream so much it’s embarrassing.

“I think of you when I’m in here,” once there’s hot water running, once Dream’s hands are massaging shampoo into George’s scalp.

“Yeah?” Dream says fondly, rubbing George’s head.

“Feels good,” George murmurs, eyes closed to prevent soap from getting in, lost in the feeling of Dream’s fingers pressing against him, raising one of his hands so he can grip Dream’s arm lightly.

“You’re not hard though,” Dream says, playful, but George doesn’t think he could get hard here, in this place so deep inside him, where his emotions are kept like fireflies in a jar. Dream scratches lightly and it’s like he can feel Dream’s hand on the lid.

Will you let me?

“I don’t think of you only when I’m hard.”

Dream slows to a stop, and George is afraid for a second, but then Dream gently guides his head under water so he can wash the soap out.

George opens his eyes when the soap is all gone and Dream is wiping water off his face, and he thinks he could say it.

“Close your eyes again,” Dream says, grabbing the conditioner, and George doesn’t say it, doing as Dream says, but he feels close to Dream right now and he mouths it.

Dream can’t read lips for the life of him. George knows this.

“What’d you just say?” Dream asks, pausing, and George smiles.

“Nothing.”

Dream laughs. “You know I can’t read lips.”

“I know.”

“Did you just insult me?” and Dream’s hands are in his hair again.

“Maybe,” George grins.

Dream laughs but continues gently. He washes it out again, and then George blinks open his eyes to see Dream biting his lip in hesitation.

“Can I wash your body too?” Dream asks him, nervous. George nods, and then Dream’s hands are on him.

It feels different than when Dream’s hands slip under his shirt. There’s no fabric barrier right now, nothing to stop him, and George knows there’s a few inches of a gap between them but he can’t really feel it. He suddenly feels the need for even that to be gone, reaching up so he can rest his palm flat against Dream’s chest, feeling the quick heartbeat under his fingers.

Dream pauses. “You okay?”

“Can I touch you?” because he really wants to, and he registers what that sounds like a moment too late, but Dream seems to know what he’s asking.

“Of course,” and Dream washes him as George touches every inch of Dream’s skin, liking the muscle beneath his fingertips and little bumps from old scars and freckles that drive George wild until he’s kissing them one by one and Dream finally stops moving.

“George,” Dream breathes and his hands settle themselves on George’s waist like they have a thousand times and it still feels different and new and makes his legs tremble underneath him. George stops kissing the line of Dream’s shoulder to tilt his head up to look at Dream, blinking when he realizes how close they are.

He could kiss him. He could kiss Dream. Dream’s eyes flicker from his lips to his eyes and back again, and all George can think is that he could kiss him.

It would be poetic for George to kiss Dream in the place he confesses things to himself. It would be fitting to kiss Dream in the place he thinks about him.

Dream’s hand still rests on the jar, and he slowly, ever so slowly, opens the lid, releasing the fireflies.

“I want to have sex with you,” George whispers. Dream blinks at him in surprise. “Not right now. But I do.”

Dream’s hands tighten a little. “Whenever you want.”

“I’d let you top. If you wanted to.”

Dream lets out a small breath and they’re so close George can feel the puff of air. “I don’t mind either way.”

“Can I wash you?” George asks. Dream nods. George waits a moment and then slowly kisses the corner of Dream’s mouth, letting his lips rest there, feeling one of Dream’s hands come up to gently rest on the back of his neck. George withdraws with a last heartfelt look exchanged between them before he grabs the shampoo.

They don’t say anything else. Dream’s hands don’t leave him for a second, not even when they dry themselves off with their towels or slip clothes on, damp hair still dripping water down their necks. Dream kisses his temple when they’re in the kitchen, and a last kiss against his jaw before Sapnap walks into the room, the creak of wood in the hallway warning them just moments before.

They’re quiet, and Sapnap matches them because he somehow knows, not so much in concrete words, but he knows enough that he knows not to move suddenly and he speaks gently and they eat and they aren’t boisterous, and Dream’s hands refuse to let go.

George doesn’t know fear anymore. He can’t imagine what it is to lose. Hope spills out of his eyes and mouth, and he refuses to let go of it, refuses to let it slip through his fingers so he holds fast, just as Dream’s fingers never once let him get far enough to slip out of his reach.

-

They celebrate six months of the Dream Team together by posting a photo with Dream and Sapnap kissing both of George’s cheeks as he stands there, cringing, face squished between them but unable to stop laughing, trying to hold Patches steady in his arms.

Dream postponed his 23rd birthday celebration for it, and they throw a small party for the two in the evening, inviting a few people over to have cake and drink a bit. Dream wrinkles his nose at the alcohol, but he brightens considerably when someone reveals a baby blue sweater for Patches.

She’s the center of the party after that.

George doesn’t accept a drink. He’s not sure why exactly. He likes wine and a little vodka occasionally, or rum that one time he had the best drink he ever had in a little pub across an ocean, but he doesn’t drink.

Dream tells him he can, and George just shakes his head. Something tells him not to tonight, but he also likes the smile Dream gives him when he doesn’t.

He realizes after they’ve sung their hearts out to one of Sapnap’s playlists that Dream probably wouldn’t have let George kiss him if he had.

Not that they’ve kissed. Not that George anticipates kissing Dream tonight, especially when everyone’s sitting around. He thinks about it for a moment when he retreats to the empty kitchen to grab a cutting knife, but it’s gone from his mind when he exits back into a chorus of cheers.

They cut the cake, Dream and George blow out the candles, and Sapnap pulls a separate cake out of nowhere to smear all over the faces.

They clean up with paper towels and Sapnap’s shirt (“fuck off!”) and Dream chances a lick of icing off George’s cheek, which causes quite a few wolf whistles. George flips off the whole room.

The last person leaves around 3 in the morning, and Dream shuts the door with a sigh of relief but looking happy.

“That was fun,” George says, still thrumming with quiet energy.

“We have to do that again,” Dream says, still delighted, leaning against the door. “Your birthday’s soon.”

“Soon?” George scoffs. “It’s ages away.” He wanders back to the living room, and Dream follows him. Sapnap is asleep on the couch.

“We should move him,” Dream says fondly, ruffling Sapnap’s hair.

“He probably drank too much,” George says. “Idiot.” And then he watches as Dream picks Sapnap up almost effortlessly, arms tensing a little at the weight. George’s mouth runs dry. “Isn’t he heavy?”

“Not really,” Dream says and then catches the look on George’s face. He grins smugly, and George looks away, trying to force down a blush. “George,” Dream says knowingly.

“Just put him away,” George says, annoyed.

“Put him away?” Dream laughs, but he obliges and George follows until Dream is laying Sapnap in his bed, tucking him under the covers. They shut the lights and close the door gently behind them.

Dream turns to look at him. “Want to tell me what that was all about?” but he knows, trying to bite back a smile.

“Nothing,” George protests, not meeting his eyes, but then Dream’s fingers are gripping at his jaw, tugging his chin up so that he’s forced to look at him, breath wiped clean from his lungs.

Dream realizes what he’s doing a second later, grip loosening even as George stares up at him, eyes wide. He lets go after another second, gently touching George’s jaw, where his fingers just pressed, in apology.

“I’m thirsty,” George says, clearing his throat. He starts down the hallway like nothing happened and pours himself a tall glass of pineapple juice.

Dream joins him a second later, pours himself a strawberry drink, and they end up sinking into the couch, sipping their drinks in comfortable quiet.

“Happy birthday,” George says, realizing he never said it.

“Happy third trimester,” Dream responds, and George rolls his eyes amidst a smile.

“We’re going to have a baby,” George jokes.

“I’m good with kids.”

“Perfect. You’re changing all the diapers,” George points out.

Dream throws his head back and laughs. “No way!”

“Yes way! You think I would?” George asks, offended at Dream even entertaining an idea that ridiculous.

“Oh, I know you would,” Dream says, unable to keep his grin down.

“Why did that sound so weird?” George asks, making a face, and Dream wheezes, scooting closer so their knees bump.

“You’re an idiot. That didn’t sound weird,” Dream tries to argue.

“It did!”

“Shut up,” Dream says, and he ends up right next to George, smiling only a few inches away.

George smiles back. “Tell me a secret, Dream.”

“Why?”

George shrugs. “It’s your birthday.”

“Doesn’t that mean you should tell me a secret?”

“What do you want to know?” George relents, rare, and Dream appreciates it, taking a second to mull it over.

“What’s a secret you’ve never told anyone?”

“I don’t have any,” George realizes with a pang.

“None at all?” Dream presses.

“There’s one only Sapnap knows.” He sips his drink.

“One that I don’t even know?”

George nods, unable to maintain eye contact when Dream is looking at him like that. Everything’s quiet.

“Tell me?” Dream asks delicately.

George nods, and Dream backs up an inch to give him space. He realizes after a moment that he’s not going to be able to say it. He doesn’t feel nervous or uncomfortable, but he just can’t imagine saying words with such weight right now.

Dream is patient. George takes a gulp of his drink. Dream does the same. The seconds stretch to minutes.

I wanted to kiss you earlier, George decides, is the direction he wants to go. I wanted to kiss you in the shower.

He opens his mouth.

“I had the biggest crush on you,” slips from George’s mouth without a thought. Dream chokes on his drink.

He coughs for a minute, finally swiping at the droplets on his mouth that catch George’s eyes and gives George a glance. “What?”

George shrugs, looking away, and sips his drink.

“You had a crush on me?” Dream repeats carefully.

“Yeah,” George admits, and his stomach squirms.

George hears the clink of glass on wood as Dream sets his drink down. Dream clears his throat, inhaling as if he’s going to say something, but only poignant silence follows. “For how long?” Dream asks after long enough that George’s head has become fuzzy, voice dropped into a lower register that makes George glad he’s already seated.

“A long time,” George replies vaguely. He sticks his finger in his drink and swirls it, deliciously cold against his warm skin.

“When-“ Dream pauses, and when George swallows, it sounds deafening in his ears. “When did you- when did it stop?” and George’s breath is swallowed whole because he hears it, though Dream is trying desperately hard to hide it. He hears the crush of disappointment and the pull of hope.

George knows in startling clarity in an instant that Sapnap was right. Because that doesn’t sound like a man sitting next to his best friend. That sounds like a man who’s so desperately in love he can’t even fathom it himself.

George can’t even fathom it himself.

George pauses his motion, his heart hammering so hard he can feel the cavern of his chest pounding. And then he resumes. “It didn’t,” and his voice somehow comes out steady. Dream is completely still beside him, even as the flush comes up to George’s ears, admission settling itself into his ribs, even as his finger does another slow circle in his glass.

He can’t even feel the cold of his drink anymore.

Dream is going to kiss him, he knows with absolute certainty. Dream is going to kiss him.

George’s lips part to gasp a quiet, shaky breath from the air, not enough oxygen in his lungs.

“George,” Dream murmurs, and his voice licks flames up George’s throat. His mouth is dry. He tries and fails to swallow. “George,” Dream says again, leaning forward, right next to his ear, and George, startled, turns to look with wide eyes just as Dream’s hand hooks around the back of his neck so he can kiss him.

Dream tastes like the strawberry drink he was just drinking, all red lips and sweet tongue, kissing George like he’s the first rain drop in a year long drought, like he’s desperate for it, like he’s waited so long and can’t bear to wait another second.

George can’t either. George has thought about this for months. In bed, in the shower, Dream right next to him, a hand between his legs, and it doesn’t even come close to whatever this is. How Dream kisses him like he’s hungry, how good he is with his tongue and his mouth and his hands, gripping him like he can’t bear to let go.

George’s head spins, and he kisses Dream back like he’ll die if he doesn’t, and George wants Dream to eat him alive. Please, he wants to beg, not even sure for what. Please.

“Fuck,” George gasps when Dream surfaces for air, and then Dream is back and kissing him harder, the hand against his nape pressing into him with urgency, Dream’s other hand leaving marks in his waist that make George squirm. George registers dimly he’s still holding his own drink, one of his hands somehow tangled into Dream’s hair though George can’t even remember how that happened. He tugs Dream back by the roots of his hair, which makes Dream groan into the air between them and George’s mind runs blank. “My drink,” George mumbles brokenly.

“Put it down,” Dream says, tone dark, and George obeys thoughtlessly with trembling hands, the clink of glass Dream’s cue to kiss him again, this time moving closer, hunger apparent in the way he presses his teeth against George’s bottom lip just to hear George whimper. George’s free hand clutches desperately at the material of Dream’s shirt.

“Fuck, George,” Dream says through stuttered breaths, and George is shaking with the force of Dream against him. “You okay?”

“I’m fine,” but his voice cracks, and Dream’s eyebrows come together when he notes the way George can’t keep his fingers still.

“You’re fine, baby,” Dream says against his lips, threading their fingers together, rubbing his other hand soothingly on George’s bicep.

George can breathe a little easier without the warmth of Dream’s palm against his neck, but he’s still trembling against him, hyper aware of Dream’s hand dwarfing his. “I’m fine,” he tries to repeat, panting hard, biting his lip. Dream’s eyes drop to the motion, and George gets all shaky again.

“Sorry,” George whispers, terribly unstable, mouth still burning with the feeling of Dream’s lips on his.

“Don’t be,” and Dream kisses him gently, sweetness still on his tongue, now on George’s lips, dipping into his mouth. “Don’t be sorry.”

“I’m sorry,” George says again, struck dumb, and Dream kisses him softly until he’s dizzy.

“I’ve got you,” and Dream is safe against him. “So pretty,” Dream whispers and George shudders, liquid heat trailing down his torso, Dream’s hand slipping under his shirt again to press against bare skin.

“Dream,” George pants. “Please,” but he doesn’t know what he’s pleading for. Dream’s hand squeezes his waist, and it’s different yet again, different than all the times before and different than the time in the shower, pulling the breath from George’s lungs, and then they’re kissing again, and George can breathe even less than last time.

“C’mere,” Dream asks, pupils blown wide, pulling George into his lap so he can slip his other hand under shirt. George makes an embarrassing sound. “Fuck, you’re so hot,” Dream groans, and George’s clothes are too heavy on his body, and he’s half turned on, and Dream’s hands are all over him, roaming possessively.

He can’t breathe, gasping when Dream’s lips part from his, only to come back again with tongue, which George welcomes immediately until his own mouth tastes like strawberry even when Dream pulls them apart.

“Dream,” George mumbles again, gripping to him for dear life.

“What, sweetheart?” Dream says against his skin, leaving wet kisses against George’s jaw. George whimpers again, squeezing his eyes shut. “What?” Dream repeats softer, and then there are fingers pressing into George’s chin to tilt his head up so Dream can kiss his neck, making George’s jaw go slack, sucking in cool air as if that can combat the heat in his chest. Dream’s lips make their way to his collarbones, and George makes another embarrassing noise, his fingers scrabbling for purchase.

“Dream,” he repeats helplessly, unable to string words together, not sure he has thoughts to express.

“Doing so good, baby,” Dream rasps out, and fuck.

“That’s my line,” George gasps when Dream’s teeth sink into his skin, his fingers clenching Dream’s shirt so hard it hurts. “Being good for me, Dream?” Dream makes a needy noise against him and then roughly pushes George onto his back.

Dream leans over him and George sees when it all finally hits Dream, pausing through heavy breaths and red cheeks and swollen lips, pupils so wide his eyes look black as he stares down at George.

George can only imagine how he looks, flushed down to past the neckline of his shirt, breathing just as hard, eyes wide, hair spread back against the couch, lips still wet with Dream’s spit.

“Oh my god,” Dream breathes, sounding wrecked, eyes razing over George’s throat. “Those are going to bruise.”

George’s hand jumps up to where Dream’s mouth was only a second ago. “Is that your way of apologizing for giving me love bites?” he pants, joking, and he loves how Dream smiles back at him, catching on, but then Dream’s eyes soften.

“Love bites?” Dream repeats, and he leans down to kiss George’s throat tenderly.

George’s breathing is still uneven. “Hickeys?” he tries instead, distracted when Dream gently licks over his skin.

“You called them love bites,” Dream murmurs. “‘S cute.”

“I hate you.”

“George,” Dream breathes reverently.

“No more,” George begs.

“What, scared I’ll end up fucking you?” but Dream’s voice dips.

“Scared I’ll end up in your ass,” George protests back, and Dream laughs but moves back so he’s sitting on George’s thighs, looking windswept. His eyes briefly dip to George’s crotch, and he raises an eyebrow.

“Like you’re not turned on too,” George says, propping himself up on his elbows, giving Dream the same look, making Dream flush even as he grins.

“You’re hot,” Dream says, sly, gently resting a hand on George’s hip.

“So are you,” George offers back, glad Dream isn’t moving his hand at all, just letting it sit there with comfortable pressure.

“Do you-” Dream cuts himself off, licking his lips. George stares. “Do you want to- like, you could- you could use my mouth,” Dream offers, eyes dipping back down, heavy with desire.

George’s heart stops. “I-” he falters. “Do you- would you want to?”

Dream nods. “I’ve thought about this.”

“I know,” George says, and they grin at each other. “But-” and it’s too much too soon. He wants Dream. He wants Dream so badly, but he wants to kiss Dream slowly and fall into bed with him and tell him he loves him. He wants to chase the feeling of them in the shower, he wants to chase the closeness he felt, and he wants to tease Dream and take it slow and enjoy it instead of tearing into each other. He wants something more than mindless lust and he wants love because he loves Dream so much.

“Not right now?” Dream asks.

George nods, catching his breath. “We’re also in the living room.”

Dream laughs.

“And I haven’t even told you I’m in love with you,” George says, and Dream looks at him, eyes wide, rendered speechless.

He recovers himself after a few seconds, swallowing. “I’m going to fuck you so hard you see stars later,” Dream says, somehow adoring.

“What type of response is that?” George groans in disbelief.

“Or suck you off.” Dream says, shrugging. “Your choice.”

“Dream, get off me right now.”

“I’m so fucking in love with you, George,” Dream says, not moving an inch, voice raw with emotion. “I’ve been so fucking in love with you for so long.”

George gets it. “Me too,” he whispers.

“You told Sapnap?”

“Yeah.” George takes a breath. “I wanted to kiss you so badly in the shower.”

“Why didn’t you?”

“Don’t know.”

“I wanted to kiss you when I opened the door when you first got here,” Dream says, and it’s too much for George. He doesn’t know how much more his heart can take. “I opened the door and all I could think about was kissing you.”

“Dream,” George breathes.

“I couldn’t even stop myself,” Dream confesses. “I just wanted to touch you, and I couldn’t stop myself because you wouldn’t say no, and I’d put my hands all over you and you’d let me.”

George has to close his eyes at the thought of it, at how it must’ve looked from Dream’s perspective.

“How could you not know I wanted you?” George asks quietly.

“I could say the same. Maybe some of it could’ve been chalked up to me just being weird, but I-” Dream has to catch his breath. “George, you have no idea how badly I wanted you when you weren’t wearing pants.”

George opens his eyes. He can see the lust in Dream’s expression, but he can also see the ache of it, the longing.

“I slipped under the covers and you asked me to touch you and I thought you were only wearing my hoodie with nothing under it, and I-”

George knows. George has thought about it a thousand times, how that must’ve looked from Dream’s side.

“I missed you so much,” Dream’s voice shaking, “I hadn’t touched you at all and I could tell you missed me too, and I burned, George.” George can’t look away.

“You burn me alive,” Dream whispers with gravity far too strong.

“I paced in my room for so long before that, trying to talk myself out of it, trying to tell myself I could survive without you but I couldn’t. I just couldn’t take it anymore and I waited for Sapnap to fall asleep and then you- then I was with you and you-” the words all tangled up in Dream’s mouth.

“I wanted you like I’ve never wanted you,” Dream continues, voice a rasp out of his mouth. “I wanted everything with you. I wanted you to be mine and to wear my hoodie and nothing underneath it or maybe to kiss you until neither of us could breathe, George, I-”

“Dream,” George tries to say, but he doesn’t have enough breath to make noise.

“I wanted you to be mine so badly I would’ve destroyed myself for it, and you- you’re such a tease-”

George’s laugh is more of a quick inhale.

“-you knew I’d get jealous when you said you had Tinder and I have never-” Dream struggles to find words. “I saw red, you know that? I thought my heart would break right there into bloody pieces on the floor, and yet I still wanted to look because I wanted to make sure you were picking a guy who would take care of you if I couldn’t.”

“I wouldn’t have,” George whispers, hoarse. “I never would have chosen anyone but you.”

“I imagined you in my mouth when I kissed your thighs,” Dream says, and George has to squeeze his fingers into a fist to keep from making a noise. “I wanted to make you feel good.”

“You think I’m hot.”

“I think you’re so much more than that.” And Dream finally stops, overwhelmed by his own words, unable to even articulate the size of his thoughts. He swallows, and George has unholy thoughts.

“If I hadn’t been wearing anything else,” George asks, lips numb, “what would you have done?”

Dream looks at him with an inferno in his eyes. “I would’ve destroyed you,” Dream croaks, fire in his throat. George is dizzy from the lack of air. “I would’ve eaten you alive.”

“Later,” George gasps, trying to calm his spinning head. “Eat me alive later.”

“Let me- god, let me kiss you.”

George gives a frantic nod, and Dream is back on him a second later, kissing him just as bruisingly hard as before, tongue and hands everywhere. George’s hips buck up against his will, and Dream presses his hips down with his hands, gripping so tightly there’ll be marks tomorrow, and George actually moans into Dream’s mouth.

“We have to stop,” Dream groans.

“Don’t stop,” George begs blindly, pulling at his hair.

“You don’t mean that,” and Dream is sucking more bruises into his throat.

George whines. “I don’t,” he says, but he sounds desperate. “I don’t mean that.” Dream presses his tongue against George’s pulse point, and George squeezes his eyes shut, a lump in his throat, a burn behind his eyes at how intimate it is.

“I love you,” George says, feeling a tear squeeze itself out onto his cheek and it feels so good to finally say it. “I love you.”

“I love you too,” Dream says shakily into his throat and then he moves away. “I- oh, did I hurt you?” he says so gently, so apologetically, it drags tears to George’s eyes.

George shakes his head, blinking through blurry tears at Dream, who’s looking at him so affectionately George thinks he’s going to sob.

“I just love you,” he manages to say, trying to swallow down his tears.

Dream kisses his cheek sweetly. “Slap me next time.”

“What?” George laughs wetly.

“Slap me for being such an idiot and not kissing you on the doorstep when you moved to Florida six months ago.”

And George realizes, as the tears in his eyes recede, that Dream is crying too.

“Why’re you crying?” George asks, sniffling a little.

Dream presses his lips against George’s. “Because you were.”

“You’re such a softie.”

“I just love you, I think,” Dream admits.

“I’m yours.” George trembles. “I’m yours if you’ll have me.”

“George,” Dream says reverently, gently, and George wants to swallow his name in Dream’s mouth. “I couldn’t ever say no.”