The invisible clock every streamer had to cope with was getting to him, making him nervous. None of their chat liked it when they stalled for time, hoping for a fill, especially since three of them had talked about plans to jump into another game - and promised action on GTA. Uneasiness was getting to his palms, making them sweaty and the grip on his mouse was starting to get uncomfortable. He opened his mouth, about to make a fourth call to Rae and Leslie, reaching out to them because he didn’t know how to call their departure without hurting their friends, when a familiar name caught his attention.
His heart stopped.
“Wait, Corpse is here?!”
Before his brain kicked back in.
“Oh- Did someone leak?”
Trying to hide the deception in his voice was useless by now. His first call had been way too enthusiastic. Unless…
Corpse’s voice made everything fall right into place. When they were alone in a private call, he would sometimes close his eyes and none of the trouble for that day, no matter how bad life or chat had been could reach him. Stress faded out, tomorrow was made of certainties instead of false promises.
He had seen some people comment on this. How unfazed he was by Corpse’s voice compared to other streamers, how steady he could be when Corpse jumped into random calls while everyone else was freaking out.
The night was a low whisper right next to his ear. A shiver ran down his spine as he held back a broken whimper induced only by the tremors of that voice. A deep, soul-bared laughter echoed through the room.
Two warmths in a dark room, completing each other like pieces of a puzzle falling into place. The moment they realized none of them had truly known how to breathe before that.
So, so far from the truth.
Unfazed solely because he was always high on Corpse’s voice.
The memory made a wave of protectiveness surge right through him and he was brought back to reality. He was a streamer, a public figure with 50k pairs of eyes and ears watching him and analyzing his every moves. Corpse was a hidden figure, thorn between the need to be honest and bare his soul to his fans all while protecting his privacy from the terrifying everlasting web of the internet. The balance was hard enough to maintain, he wasn’t about to make things worse for the former narrator.
He missed having him all to himself.
A very different type of nervosity colored his cheeks softly and he covered his mouth to hide the smile he couldn’t control from betraying him. Thrice. Okay, he was being obvious… but it was probably fine. They had handled the aftermath of Corpse’s tik tok pretty well and to his surprise, Corpse had been right. It was easier to hide now that they were playing favorites. The world had stopped asking for explanation now that the preference was clear as day, laid bare for all the world to see.
Maybe things had been a little too easy. He still had to be careful not to go overboard, the streamer thought as he heard himself suddenly point out that he might not play GTA today. Okay, he was so far gone. Stop now before it went worse.
The wait seemed to drag on forever though, as they were back to not having a fill since Brodin had left even after Corpse had joined.
Corpse wasn’t talking much or texting him either, so reality slowly crawled its way back to him. He could feel the pressure from Leslie, Rae and his own chat thug on them as time went by. His shoulders were tense, movements stiffer than before. It annoyed him. He was impatient by nature, but he would have slept on his keyboard to play with Corpse if he had been off stream. Instead he felt taken hostage, torn between his ferocious need to play with Corpse and the half of his chat who was getting tired of empty promises and wanted them to freaking move on from Among Us.
Success brought a lot of blessings - Corpse definitely being the best of them - but the way it took away part of his freedom when it came to games was irritating. These people didn’t even know him and most of them wouldn’t even care for him if he wasn’t one of most talked about people on Twitch right now. The fact that he could even feel peer pressured by them was ridiculous… but here he was.
He shivered. These thoughts weren’t ones he liked to have on stream, but he hadn’t talked to Corpse alone in days, hence his surprise when he showed up. His urge to spend time with him offstream, to have him focused on them and nothing else was getting the better of him. He forced his eyes away from the screen for a second, feeling the need to ground himself, and exhaled slowly. He had to get his head back in the stream and the best way to do that… he winced and gave in to chat, backtracking and confirming that he would play GTA later. After all, if he switched games, they would be the ones missing out on Corpse. Not him, and now that he thought about it, he did feel a bit selfish tonight.
You could have texted me, I would have been there in a second.
His head went dizzy at how fast his heart swelled with affection upon hearing Corpse’s words. He had held back from texting him after the other’s visit in Vegas, and the younger man noticed. The way he knew exactly how to call him out so Sykkuno had no choice but to know he wasn’t joining or reaching out just to be polite took his breath away.
Many of his closest friends were able to do the same now, especially since he found it somehow easier to believe them lately, but he had known almost all of them for years. Corpse… Corpse had been, was, an all-encompassing storm that tore apart any wall he had built around himself, caught on every dodge he ever did to hide everything he was or wanted to be from the world.
Corpse’s eyes on him was exactly was he needed to make him believ that he could take a shot at getting confident. That maybe, just maybe people were not memeing on him this. Or that some of the memes really spurred from glimmer of truth.
And he was exactly what Corpse needed to feel that maybe, maybe people could bear with him. Maybe they could read his silences and not be bothered, pouring nothing but respect and acceptance towards his boundaries, even the weirdest ones, without ever asking for an explanation.
Things were different now that their world had collided. And Corpse made him confident that it was mutual.
He vaguely heard the sound of 5up joining in the lobby before Toast was finally able to press start. The following screen had his hand covering his mouth in vain, his smile radiant and unwilling to remain hidden.
“Oh my god, what are the chances?!”