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you can hear it in the silence

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Dream wasn’t sure how to describe the feeling that had buried itself deep within his core the night before George arrived in Florida. He wasn’t sure how to explain the way that it seemed to weave itself throughout his ribcage, or how it kept him awake and staring at the ceiling above his bed. It almost felt like how Christmas Eve did when he was a child, a deep rooted excitement for what was to come burrowing into his mind. But it was stronger than that in a way, an inexplicable layer hidden somewhere deep within the mounds of excitement and anticipation that had been building up ever since George had called him with the news of his visa being approved and Dream had stayed on call with him for hours, even after they had purchased tickets with finalized plans in mind and Sapnap left the call.

 

He knew it wasn’t anxiety — if it was, than he would have felt it as Sapnap had to lock him out of the house earlier that week in an attempt to get him to stop deep-cleaning the house (“I love you, but I will put one of the child locks you got for Patches and couldn’t figure out how to open on the cleaning supply cabinet if I hear you spray that Windex bottle one more- Seriously? Do you really think George is going to be inspecting the top of the fridge for dust? Get off the stepladder and go get one of those smoothies you like or something, Jesus Christ-”) — and excitement had never felt this abrasive before. It was like a cord tightening around his core, but instead of an uncomfortable pressure it almost felt comforting, a glowing sort of warmth emanating off of it and encompassing him.

 

The moon rose higher into the sky the longer Dream tried to figure it out, afraid of what it could mean. What if it really was fear? What if George could tell something was wrong when he got here? Would he be able to understand if Dream explained it to him? Or would-

 

Dream’s spiraling thoughts were interrupted by his phone ringing with the notification of a new text. He had set his phone to Do Not Disturb hours ago, and given the small list of people that were set to go through regardless, there was only one person who would be awake to text him now.



George

Go to sleep idiot



Dream smiled as he read the message, ignoring the scarily accurate timing that George had.

 

Dream

How do you know I wasn't already asleep?

 

George

Because you’re you

And I can hear you thinking from here

Duh 

Totally not a lucky guess



Dream watched as the typing bubble appeared and disappeared in his and George’s messages before eventually his phone lit up with an incoming call.

 

“I’m not talking unless you actually go to sleep,” was the first thing that filtered through Dream’s phone speaker as he answered George’s call.

 

The feeling seemed to glow even brighter for a moment at George’s voice, and a smile settled on Dream’s face as he set his phone on the pillow next to him.

 

Dream sighed dramatically. “Fine. I guess I’ll sleep, under one condition.”

 

“Oh?” Dream could hear the smile in George’s voice. “And what might that be?”

 

“Just talk to me?” Dream asked. In a moment of nothing other than sleep-adelled honesty, he added, “And a goodnight kiss.”

 

Dream could hear the slight hitch of George’s breath, followed by three, four, five seconds of silence before he replied quietly.

 

“Yeah- okay. Sure.”

 

It was like the moment had never happened when George began diving into a story about how he spent his final day in London walking around, visiting everywhere and anywhere that held any sort of memory one last time and filming some of it for the vlog they’d continue tomorrow. Dream could almost convince himself that he had imagined it as he let George’s voice gently guide him to sleep, everything else melting away until slowly even the honeyed cadence began to sound distant as well.

 

“Goodnight, Dream. See you soon.”



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Barely a week had passed since George had arrived in Florida, but he already brought such an undeniable warmth to the already blistering sunshine state. His arrival was like a puzzle piece being slotted into place, resounding relief initially taking over as Dream realized that the puzzle was finally complete before a tidal wave of happiness encompassed him, settling next to the still-persistent feeling in his ribcage as he took in the finished puzzle that told the story of the future he had been longing to attain for years. It told a story of hope, of how it burned and dwindled but never faded completely to embers, how it was shared and kept alight by a voice through static phone speakers when kindling was sparse. It told the story of the firsts already had and firsts yet to come, of newfound tangibility and things about each other that late night phone calls and webcams could never reveal. 

 

Dream would sometimes find himself wide awake at night while he sorted each new thing he learned about George into a list in his head, reciting and adding to it as time moved on until every quirk and habit seemed like a universal truth. George always wears the warmest socks he can find around the house because he insists that the floor is always freezing. He likes to have breakfast at the breakfast bar in their kitchen, but will always sit at the dining table if Dream is awake at the same time because that’s where Dream will sit in the mornings. He has a Patches voice too, but he won’t ever admit that he does. He leaves post-it notes around the house so he doesn’t forget to finish important tasks, and he slowly started leaving similar ones for Dream and Sapnap, using different colored post-its depending on who the note is for. He’s more clingy than even he thought he would be, and Dream made sure George knew that fingertips brushing his shoulder as he walked past or a head on his shoulder during movie nights were always welcome when George confessed one night that they reminded him that he was really here now. 

 

The newest addition to Dream’s list was more of a slower realization than a habit of George’s that was easily recognized and filed away. It was a gradual process of figuring out exactly what it was, and Dream was kept awake by the swirl of emotion in his chest as it was finally etched onto the bottom of the list he had carefully crafted in his mind. 

 

George had made what was once merely a house finally feel like a home to Dream. 

 

Because Dream had lived in Florida his whole life — he grew up under sunlight reflecting off of sand and ocean waves and atop kitchen tiles always chilled by air conditioning, never the outside air — but his home had always been a bit further away, cruelly placed just out of his reach by fate until now. 

 

Dream had found his home in George. He wasn’t quite sure if it was the same as being in love, but he figured it was close enough. 

 

Maybe they were one in the same if the way the thought of him and George finally being home — both figuratively and literally — eased his thoughts enough for him to fall asleep was anything to go by. 




As Dream walked into the kitchen the following morning, he was greeted by the smell of burnt toast and George mumbling a string of curses under his breath. 

 

Dream could feel the feeling in his ribcage flood with even more warmth when he noticed that along with the striped fuzzy socks and plain black sweatpants George was wearing, he had on one of Dream’s shirts. It was an Oklahoma Sooners shirt that was big even on Dream, one that George must have stolen right from the dryer given how recently Dream had washed it. The end of the shirt brushed George’s knees and the collar fell off his shoulder, exposing his collarbone ever-so-slightly. 

 

“Shit!” George hissed, practically flinging a piece of toast from the toaster and towards the trash can when he realized how hot it was to the touch. He sighed in defeat when the toast landed on the counter next to the trash can, crumbs flying across the counter upon impact.

 

Right. The toast. Dream figured he should try and help George before he was caught staring for any longer than he had been. 

 

“‘Morning.” Dream smiled as he ruffled George’s already sleep tousled hair, making his presence known.

 

“Hi.” George turned around, smiling softly at Dream. That was another thing that Dream vowed to himself to never take for granted — the ability to see how George’s nose crinkled slightly when he smiled, how his smile rarely failed to reach his eyes when Dream was the recipient. “Sorry ‘bout this, I was trying to surprise you.”

 

It was then that Dream noticed the extra piece of toast in the toaster. He was sure his heart stopped for a moment as he took note of the extra plate set out on the counter and the banana slices placed to one side of it, he could feel his heart melt fully when he noticed the jar of peanut butter set next to the butter and cinnamon sugar that George typically put on his own toast.

 

It was such a small gesture, but Dream reveled in the feeling of domesticity that it left behind despite it not going to plan.

 

George, however, didn’t seem to have the same outlook on the situation. His smile had fallen into a small pout by the time Dream looked back to him, and his brow was furrowed in what Dream assumed to be disappointment.

 

“Hey, it’s alright,” Dream assured, his hands falling to rest on George’s shoulders.

 

“I managed to burn toast, Dream. I’ve made toast almost every day since I got here, and I ruined it for the first time when I was trying to surprise you.”

 

Dream pulled George into his arms, and he could feel George relax slightly as Dream began to card through his hair, carefully smoothing out the few tangles sleep had left behind and scratching gently at his scalp.

 

“I’m so dumb,” George mumbled into Dream’s shoulder after a moment, burying his face further into Dream’s neck. Dream tried to ignore the warmth that the feeling of George’s voice against his skin left swirling through him.

 

“You’re so thoughtful,” Dream corrected, “not dumb, baby. Not for something like this. What would be dumb-” Dream smiled as George began to slowly move from where he was hiding his face in Dream’s neck to look at Dream “-would be thinking I don’t appreciate you doing this, even if it didn’t turn out as planned.”

 

Neither of them acknowledged the slip of the pet name, instead Dream stayed silent while George seemingly mulled over his words. 

 

“You really appreciate it?” George asked quietly. It was rare to see George so timid, but Dream knew firsthand how easily things like that could be hidden behind well-timed jokes and false bravado when there was a discord icon and an ocean of distance to hide behind.

 

“I do,” Dream assured, and he watched umber eyes soften slightly at his words. “Thank you.”

 

George smiled softly at Dream. He wondered if he was imagining the silent always that seemed to be hidden in upturned lips and sparkling eyes.

 

“I’ll help you finish cleaning all of this up, and then we can either re-make the toast, or we can maybe see if Sapnap wants to go get breakfast out with us?” Dream suggested as he let his arms drop from where they were still wrapped around George and began to carefully remove the remaining piece of toast from the toaster.

 

George seemed to think about it for a moment as he made his way over to the counter, depositing the toast that had landed there previously into the garbage and grimacing when he noticed the amount of crumbs it had left behind on the marble.

 

“Could we go to that one diner you told me about? The one with the pancakes?”

 

Dream could feel the feeling in his ribcage buzz at the mention of the diner. It had come up randomly in a late night conversation months ago, the type of conversation that both he and George knew might not be remembered by the time the sun rose. George had asked him about all of the places that Dream would take him to once he was home, and Dream had listed as many places as he could think of — Disney World, the beach, Universal, the park near his childhood home, the smoothie shop Sapnap had sent him to the day he locked him out of the house, anywhere George wanted to see — and the diner was among those places. It was a small local place, one that Dream had been going to since he was a child. He remembered telling George about how when he was ten he had gone there with his family for the first time, and how he was shocked specifically by the pancakes that were so big they took up the entire plate. The fact that George not only remembered the diner, but the acnedote that Dream had told along with it was enough to almost make him blush.

 

Dream smiled at George, and he knew he would find a way to move mountains and bottle the stars if that was what it would take for George to shine as brightly as he did when Dream responded.

 

“Of course.”



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A week after George arrived in Florida, Dream was struck with the realization of what the feeling that stayed persistent in his ribcage was.

 

“No, you idiot, don’t hide in there!” George yelled at the television from where he sat next to Dream on the sofa. Sapnap — despite Dream’s protests — had insisted that the three of them should have a scary movie night since Halloween was approaching. He had put on some horror movie that Dream couldn’t even remember the name of, and Dream couldn’t help but notice the way that George slowly gravitated closer to Dream as the movie progressed until he was pressed into Dream’s side completely, making it so Dream had no choice but to let his arm settle around George’s shoulders.

 

Sapnap threw a throw pillow at George from the armchair he sat in next to the sofa. “Dude, shut-”

 

Sapnap’s sentence was cut off by a shriek from the television, and Dream grimanced at the image on the screen in front of him. George elected to look away from the screen completely, hiding his face in Dream’s chest. 

 

Dream waited a moment to be sure before he spoke softly. “It’s over, you can look now.”

 

“Nope,” George declared, “I don’t need to do that ever again actually. I’m perfectly safe here.”

 

“You can’t stay there forever,” Dream reasoned.

 

“Watch me.” George moved only so he could wrap his arms even tighter around Dream’s torso.

 

“George,” Dream tried, but George — who was practically in Dream’s lap at this point — stayed persistent. “George.” Dream poked at George’s ribs playfully. “Georgie.”

 

George lifted his head slightly, faux annoyance coating his expression as he looked up at Dream. “What?”

 

Dream could feel every previous retort vanish from his mind when he made eye contact with George. His hair was ruffled, not in the same way it was in the mornings but in the way that it was after George would play with it mindlessly during the day. Umber eyes held a galaxy within them, flecks of gold and caramel dancing through them like the planets that lined the milky way. Dream could tell how much more prominent George’s freckles had become since he had arrived in Florida, and Dream wanted to connect them like they were stars forming constellations, to name every star and complete each constellation with a kiss and-

 

Oh.

 

Oh.

 

Dream knew he had been silent for too long now, but coming up with a reply seemed like too impossible of a task when his brain was short-circuiting with his newfound realization. 

 

“Hi,” Dream managed to whisper eventually, an overly fond smile spreading across his face.

 

“Hi,” George parroted, smiling just as wide.

 

“Either finish the movie or get a room,” Sapnap quipped.

 

George scrambled back to where he was sitting before the jumpscare when Sapnap spoke, and any hope Dream had to focus on the end of the movie was lost when George let his head fall against Dream’s shoulder.

 

Instead, Dream let his realization from before swirl through his mind even after the initial shock wore off.

 

He knew what the feeling was.

 

And he was certain now that finding your home in someone had to be the same as being in love. Because George was his home, and he was in love with George.



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Dream looked up from the half-typed reply to a tweet on his phone when he could hear the faint sound of knocking on his bedroom door later that night, followed by the door slowly opening.

 

“This one’s my room,” Dream had pointed to a door at the end of the hallway on the house tour he and Sapnap gave George on the day he arrived. “My door’s always open- well not literally, but you’re welcome in whenever. You don’t even have to knock.”

 

“George?” Dream asked as George silently walked into his room, scooting over on his bed so there was space for George to sit. “What’s up?”

 

“I-” George began, stopping to seemingly debate how to word what he said next. “I remembered something.”

 

“Oh?” Dream asked, setting his phone onto his bedside table to give George his full attention.

 

“Mhm,” George agreed, looking over at Dream. “About our call the night before I got here.”

 

George let his gaze drop to the mattress when Dream’s eyes widened slightly at his words. 

 

“You told me you’d go to sleep under one condition,” George said carefully, seeming to try and gauge Dream’s reaction as he spoke. “I only did half of it, though.”

 

For the first time since George arrived in Florida, Dream felt genuinely exposed without the armor of a discord call. Embarrassment flooded his veins, and he hoped the salt lamp on his bedside table wasn’t enough to illuminate the blush painting his entire face.

 

“You don’t have to, George,” Dream spoke hurriedly, hurling apologies and explanations off the cliff as he fell from its ledge in hopes that enough might accumulate to even slightly cushion his fall into the chasm below, “I wasn’t thinking, I-”

 

“What if I wanted to?” 

 

George’s words stopped Dream’s rambling almost instantly. Even George seemed taken aback by the words he had blurted out so hastily.

 

“George.” Dream said his name as softly as he always did, but this time there was something else in it, a warning edge hidden in its usual layers of honey and warmth.

 

“Dream.” George’s tone held unsure confidence, conviction overpowering apprehension.

 

“Tell me what you mean, please. Exactly what you mean.” 

 

“Why?” Apprehension gained the upper hand as George spoke, and the foot of distance that separated them never felt larger than it did now.

 

Dream didn’t give himself time to second-guess the way he let nothing but lovesick stupidity fuel his response. “Because I need to know for certain that you mean what I hope you do.”

 

George’s eyes flashed with something unrecognizable before a spark of confidence seemed to burn behind them.

 

“What if…” he began slowly, giving Dream as much time as he could to cut the conversation short if he wanted to, “what if I wanted to kiss you?”

 

“Then I’d tell you I wanted to do the same,” Dream whispered.

 

Suddenly the distance between him and George didn’t feel so big anymore, not when George closed the last of it by kissing him in a way that left Dream nothing short of certain that George was in love with him too.



When Dream woke the next morning to George still asleep in his embrace, he couldn’t help but smile at the way the feeling in his ribcage had transformed from something almost molten into nothing but gentle butterflies. 

 

Dream watched George’s eyes begin to flutter open, and he pressed a kiss to George’s forehead as George adjusted to the sunlight filtering in through the window behind him. “‘Morning.”

 

George hummed sleepily in response before moving to press a kiss to the underside of Dream’s jaw.

 

“We should get up soon,” Dream said, “we have to finish editing the vlog today.”

 

“Hmm, don’t care,” George mumbled, “‘wanna stay here.”

 

And Dream couldn’t help but agree when George continued to trail kisses along Dream’s jaw and down his neck. They could finish the vlog later. For now, George would press a kiss into Dream’s collarbone, and he’d let the kiss melt into a smile that wouldn’t leave his face even as he looked up at Dream from where he laid in his arms.

 

“Happy?” Dream asked.

 

“Yeah,” George replied breathlessly, honestly. “The happiest.”

 

Dream couldn’t agree more.