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The Small Print

How Eridan had ended up falling for and dating Dave Strider of all people, he had no idea. Maybe it was how the human had just sauntered into his life and had stuck around, bugging him and teasing him and running his mouth as if he was getting paid to do so.

Maybe it was how he openly mocked him for enjoying FLARP but always listened when Eridan rambled on about their last campaign, throwing in a comment here or there.

Maybe it was how he had offered Eridan his headphones when the troll had been over at his apartment for the first time, the human standing over his turntables as his fingers ghosted over the disks and knobs, twisting this and that and suddenly, Eridan was caught in a whirlwind of music and sounds. His awe must have shown on his face because Dave's lips had curled into a tiny little grin. The awed expression had quickly disappeared from Eridan's face, instead replaced by a thoughtful one and he'd deemed the song Alright as he handed the headphones back to Strider.

Maybe it was how Dave hadn't mocked him for taking to the double bass like a fish to water and had alternatively decided to spend time at Eridan's hive to listen to him play.

Maybe it had happened when Eridan had trolled Dave in the middle of the night to pour his heart out about his actions in the Veil and the human had simply let him talk before saying his own piece. Dave hadn't bothered with soothing his fears and instead had told him that he had screwed up and he was still not owning up to his mistakes, judging by how most of the other trolls didn't bother talking to him whenever all sixteen Sgrub-players met up. Dave did not coddle him and hadn't bothered to tell him how to fix this mess past do something about it before letting Eridan blubber all over him again. (Which Eridan later on denied furiously ever having done, it was too bad Dave had the pesterlog to back him up.)

Maybe it had been when Dave finally stopped dodging his questions about his missing guardian and told Eridan straight up that the Game had killed him for good. Perhaps all the players had been given a new chance but their parents had been not. No emotion had been displayed on Dave's face, expression unreadable behind his poker face and shades.

Maybe it had been when Eridan had sat next to Dave's hospital bed, watching him with tired eyes, his own arm in a sling and cursing the bastard who had decided that drunken driving was a good idea. His heart had ached, seeing Dave lying on the bed, paler than usual and unmoving, save for his falling and rising chest.

Maybe it had been when Eridan had fallen asleep in his chair and had woken up to sleepy red eyes staring at him and a slightly shaky, warm hand holding his own, uninjured one.

After that, something had changed between them. Eridan had been unable to place his finger on it but he had almost lost a friend. A good friend. And after the events of Sgrub, Eridan didn't have a lot of friends left.

But his experiences had also taught not to be too clingy. So he let Dave do his usual thing and Eridan had minded his own business as well until they were sick of doing that and decided to meet up on a frosty winter day to watch a movie together.

When Dave had shown up, he'd looked cold, hands buried in his jacket's pockets to preserve some warmth. But he didn't complain about it so Eridan, wrapped in a nice, warm, fashionable jacket, gloves and his scarf, didn't comment on it.
The movie was as shitty as they both thought it would be and they'd spent the entire time exchanging banter under their breath until the woman sitting in front of them had turned around and told them to shut up or she would get someone to kick them out.

Ditching the movie had most likely been the best idea they'd had all day, sneaking off into a different, empty one, curling up in one of the love-seats, mocking the cliched storyline and the horrible acting. Eridan's heart had been pounding inside his chest as if it planned on winning an award for it.

And then Dave had wrapped an arm around Eridan's shoulders.

Afterward, Eridan had felt awkward and warm and he was blushing furiously as they made their way back to the bus stop so Eridan could wait for his. Sometime between exchanging teasing jabs and comments (and Eridan bristling at one or two of said comments), Eridan's hand had found Dave's. The coolkid had made no move to untangle their fingers.

At the bus stop, they'd huddled close together to share warmth and to shield one another from the snow falling down all around them, the wind making the flakes dance left and right and back again.

When Eridan's bus finally started to roll along the street, he'd been relieved.

But Dave, glove-less and cap-less and freezing stoically, had looked far from happy.

Eridan hesitated.

Then he took off his scarf and folded it once before wrapping it around Dave's throat, tugging at it until it was resting loosely against the pale skin.

The troll didn't remember who had looked at the other first but their gazes caught each other and refused to let go. He didn't remember which one of them had leaned in first but he remembered the heat, Dave's breath ghosting over his lips before they met each other half-way. He remembered how Dave's arms had wrapped around his waist to pull him closer.

He remembered pushing Dave against the nearest surface and deepening their kiss.

He also remembered missing his bus.

Maybe this was when they had started dating, maybe they'd silently agreed to it between the second or third or fourth kiss.

Eridan really wasn't sure how he had ended up falling for and dating Dave Strider but he honestly didn't care.

Because, for once, the world was alright.