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Electric Feel

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The first time it happens, you’ve only just gotten into the medium and as you crash through the underbrush of jungle chasing after a slippery knave of an imp there’s Dirk, all tall and angular and splattered liberally in black goo, your imp lying slain at his feet. It’s the first time laying eyes on any of your friends in person like this and you are suddenly overcome with a surge of giddiness that you can’t quite hold in.

“Strider!” You cry out, launching yourself at him as he turns quickly, eyebrows crashing into his hairline as he sees you rocketing towards him. You throw your arms around his waist and lift him straight off the ground in your excitement and it’s easy to do because golly is he a skinny thing! Hardly any bulk on him at all, and he goes rigid in your grasp, making a choked noise of surprise and you are just so happy that he’s actually here and you dimly realize you’re saying all of this out loud, laughing boisterously as you swing him around in a circle before setting him back down on his feet.

His cool façade seems totally broken, he’s staring at you with his mouth slightly agape and you can almost imagine the wide eyes behind those blasted shades. All you can do is grin at him though, and you’re still holding onto his hips because he’s actually here and so warm and real beneath your hands and you can’t quite bring yourself to break that connection just yet.

“Jake,” He says, pulling himself together long enough to grin hesitantly down at you, “It’s good to see you’re holding up well.”

“Same for you, old chap!” You say, pulling back to clap him amiably on the shoulder, a move you’ve seen practiced between best bros in several of your favorite movies but never had the opportunity to put into practice yourself. It sends him slightly off-kilter but he lets out a surprised huff of a laugh that sends a rush of warmth through your stomach and you just know that this is the start of your best adventure yet. Your hand lingers on his shoulder, fingers feeling his deltoid muscle beneath his shirt sleeve and you realize that while he might be skinny, he’s all wiry and toned underneath.

He’s looking down at you again, and you can almost sense the nervous energy coming off of him. He’s tense under your palm and he’s holding himself awkwardly, as if he’s not quite sure what to do around another human being and well, you figure that must make two of you.

Instead of letting the silence drag on however, you squeeze his shoulder one last time, lingering just long enough to absorb this wonderful sensation of human contact, before suggesting that it would be best that you both find some kind of shelter before more of those blasted imps show up or any resident fauna finds you. He snaps out of it and agrees, following you as you lead the way deeper into the jungle towards your house, which you had already secured from imp invasion earlier.

As you clear a path through vines and underbrush, your thoughts are still on the boy behind you and how the warmth from his body is lingering in your fingertips. It sends a warm pulse of happiness through you, to be sharing in such a splendid adventure with one of your best bros. You could not ask for a more perfect development!

***

You set up a temporary base of operations inside your bedroom, and if you aren’t resting up or making supply runs to the ruins, most of your time is spent watching Dirk repair the Brobot. Just before the start of the game, Brobot had forcibly ripped out the uranium heart inside his metal chassis and presented it to you, much to your horror at the time. Thanks to this final gesture, you had managed to get Terry Kiser to the Transmaterializer in time and the bunny was now on his way to John. You had brought Brobot’s lifeless metal shell of a body back to your room, unable to bear leaving it to rust in the jungle.

Dirk was nothing if not resourceful, a quality in him you find incredibly admirable, and he manages to make do with your paltry equipment to make his repairs. He works quietly and efficiently, fingers deftly handling tools, wires and bits of metal, effortlessly shaping them into anything he needs. It’s mesmerizing to watch from your perch on the bed, lying on your belly with feet swinging aimlessly in the air overhead.

Sometimes you can’t help but kneel next to him, handing him things and letting those nimble fingers brush against yours as he reaches for them. The little touches cause warmth to snap through you and if he catches you lingering he doesn’t comment. Sometimes you catch the glancing sensation of warm leather from his gloved palm, and it’s new and different and so uniquely Dirk and you find yourself craving these little novelties. You yearn for this warmth of human companionship after countless years alone, and each and every touch you manage to sneak is tucked away in your mind and treasured.

You replay every one of them later when you tuck in for the night, lying next to Dirk in bed with a respectable distance between you, listening to his breathing slow and even out. You watch his chest rise and fall rhythmically in the dim light and remember what it felt like, brushing fingers or resting a hand on his shoulder, or even one time when he carefully placed a hand at the small of your back, steadying you as you began to scale the ruins during a supply run. You fall asleep thinking of deft digits tucking wires away inside a metal hull, and thumbs smoothing out the kinks in pieces of shrapnel.

Soon enough though, Brobot is repaired and re-fitted with a small store of uranium that Dirk had managed to alchemize. As the bot stands and addresses his proud creator, you smile at the sight but feel a pang of loss at being unable to watch Strider work any longer.

***

You’ve been keeping up with the girls this entire time, and based on what they’ve been telling you there is a lot more to these new worlds of yours than meets the eye. Roxy and Jane have both met up as well and they talk about consorts and quests and Denizens and it all sounds so splendidly adventurous that you find yourself antsy to get going! You’ve been stationary for too long while Dirk was making his repairs, and now that Brobot is fixed you send him on his own mission while the two of you upgrade your weapons and alchemize some supplies before setting off to explore.

It seems as though your island is no longer an island, but rather the center of a vast jungle. There are endless ruins to be explored and your sense of curiosity and desire to plunder each and every one of them until they have given up all their secrets is unquenchable. Dirk follows you easily into caves and through booby traps, rescuing you from your reckless antics on more than one occasion and enduring the excited hugs you squeeze him in after each successful mission. You both cut through imps and other monsters, laughing and making small talk throughout it all.

Occasionally you strife one another. To make it even, and to satisfy your urge for fisticuffs, you both put your weapons away and use only your fists. Your tussles are always quick, but it’s great fun to be able to do this with a living person instead of the metal approximation of one. Dirk’s skin gives under your fists, and he yields to the way you yank his arm behind him much better than when Brobot would strife with you. His punches aren’t much compared to yours, and he doesn’t have much weight to put behind them either, but he’s quick on his feet and dodges you easily. His flash stepping is a nuisance to deal with at times, and you’ve managed to get lucky and trip him only twice thus far. Once you’ve managed to do that though, pinning him is an easy affair. More often though, you find yourself on your back staring up into shaded eyes and a broad smirk, your arms pinned above your head.

It’s easy to tell yourself that the warmth coursing through your body is due to the sweat you’re both working up, and that it has nothing at all to do with the way his leather-clad hands are gripping tight to your wrists, or the way that his knee feels, pressed against your thigh. There’s no way it has anything to do with the lingering sensation of his fists hitting your stomach and shoulders, or the persisting sting of his knuckles against your jaw. It feels amazing and real, and you swallow the pleased noise you begin to make at the back of your throat, grinning up at him instead.

“It seems you’ve bested me once again, Strider!” You say, conceding your defeat as he gets off of you, extending a hand silently to help you up. The warmth of his palm against yours is pleasant and you find yourself lingering again, squeezing his palm one last time before letting go after you’ve been hoisted up.

You both find a stream to wash off in and continue on to the next temple, following the mountains that are now spreading back from your island’s old volcano and using it as a guide.

Chapter Text

The second day into your journey you recall something that itches at your curiosity and stays with you long into the evening. Something that Dirk had mentioned towards the beginning of all this game nonsense, that in the excitement of him showing up the both of you seem to have forgotten. You bring it up later, when the two of you have taken up shelter in a cave and are eating dinner.

“Earlier, before the meteor hit and I got into the medium, you told me you had something important to say to me when you got here.”

He looks up at you, suddenly stiff and nervous like the first day. The silence hangs and you continue looking at him expectantly through the crackling flames of your campfire. He plays with his food some and you imagine the wheels turning inside that head of his as he plans out his response.

“I suppose,” he finally says, “That I’ve just been waiting for the opportune moment to lay it down and it just hasn’t happened yet.”

You frown, “Well, what could be a more opportune moment than presently?”

“No, not now,” He shakes his head, scoffing, “The right time and place are essential for something like this. It can’t just go flying out of my mouth half-assed, it has to bide it’s time and then it’ll strike when least expected.”

You shake your head at him, resigning yourself to not getting it out of him tonight, “Alright, alright. Your point has been made, chap. But just promise me that if it’s really that important, you’ll let me know?”

“Yeah, whatever. Don’t worry about it, it’s not like the fate of the world rests on it or anything.”

You laugh at that, turning back to your dinner and for the time being that’s the last you both talk of the subject. You still think about it later though, curled up next to Dirk as the embers from the fire smolder and cool on your other side, wondering what could apparently be so important and yet still something he had to keep secret from you. He’s sound asleep now, breathing softly and you scoot slowly closer as you watch his chest rise and fall, drawn in by the idea of touching him again. You get close enough and with your heart in your throat you dare to lay your head on his shoulder.

Dirk continues sleeping and you sigh in relief, cuddling closer towards his warmth, a pleasant tingle running down your spine at the sensation of your cheek pressing against the fabric of his shirt. You curl against him and your head rises slightly with each breath he takes and it’s such a comforting feeling that you focus in on it as you drift off to sleep.

You wake up first the next morning to the sensation of being cocooned in warmth, and as your mind fires fuzzily to life, you realize both you and Dirk have shifted in the night. Your head is still pillowed against his shoulder, but he’s now tilted towards you, chin tucked into your hair and you have your arms wrapped around his waist. Your legs are tangled together and one of his hands is resting gently against your hip. As you come fully awake all your nerves light up as they register every little way in which you are touching and it fills you with such a strong surge of warm affection that you suddenly feel breathless. Dirk’s own breath puffs gently against your hair and you feel so warm and tingly and happy and there is no possible way you can deal with all these feelings you are having.

You want to bury yourself further against him, tuck into the circle of his arms and press your head against his chest to hear his heart beating, but something holds you back, makes you pause to think that no, this isn’t the normal way in which close friends act around one another. This is something more, because it was one thing to be enjoying those glancing touches you had shared earlier during scuffles and while helping him repair Brobot, but these new feelings are completely different. The warm sensation you feel running down your spine has just a touch of electricity to it and you feel your skin tingling and buzzing with new realizations.

You worry briefly that Dirk might freak out upon waking up to find the two of you tangled so compromisingly, especially when it was him who put the “respectable sleeping distance” rule into effect the first night. In fact, you are kind of freaking out yourself right now. You carefully extricate yourself from his arms, tensing only once when Dirk mumbles incoherently in his sleep, arms twitching slightly as you slither out of his grasp.

You stumble off into the woods to take care of morning business, and find a stream to splash cool water on your face with. The water spills down your neck to soak your shirt collar and the refreshment of it helps to clear your thoughts. By the time you get back to camp, Dirk is awake already and offers you a granola bar for breakfast that you graciously accept. The two of you pack up what little you had out into your sylladexes and set off into the jungle.

***

For the rest of the day, you are distracted with your thoughts. You keep replaying that morning in your head and each time you recall how it felt to be pressed against Dirk, to feel his breath gently rustling your hair, to feel your arms around his waist, you feel a warm tingle down your spine that comes to rest pleasantly in your stomach. As nice as it is, the pleasure of human contact mixed with your awakening teenage hormones are starting to confuse the dickens out of you.

Shortly after you’re both done exploring the first ruin of the day, both of you tired and running on adrenaline after several close calls, including one instance where Dirk had to flash-step in and save your ass after you distractedly tripped a wire and were nearly skewered on a spear, you decide that this distraction has gone far enough.

Rather than consulting the source of the problem - who had stomped off into the woods, aggravated but likely hunting down something for lunch - you decide to pull out the old husktop and pester Roxy.

golgothasTerror [GT] began pestering tipsyGnostalgic [TG]

GT: Do excuse me madame but i must ask if i can bother you for just a tick!
GT: That is if you arent terribly busy at the moment!

TG: jaaaaaaaaaaaaaake
TG: you know im never 2 busy 4 u <3
TG: wats up

GT: Well i seem to find myself in a bit of a pickle at the moment and i sure could use some advice…
GT: And i recall from an earlier conversation that a certain bee eff effsy made an agreement to offer such advising when it came to certain matters. So if it agrees with you can i take you up on that offer now?

TG: oh hellz yeah jake
TG: lets get our feelignds all kinda jammed up in here
TG: * feelins
TG: what can the good doctor rlal do 4 u today

GT: Well first off i suppose i should ask you to please keep this between us? Im hesitant to see this get around to either jane or especially strider…
TG: oooh you got it jakey boi
TG: mums the fuckin word
TG: aint nothin getting said to no1 bout this
TG: got my word fo sho

GT: Splendid! I know i can count on you miss zuipperpips!
TG: heh heh
TG: so yah whats the dealy o
TG: whats got my bffsys feelins all dicksomboblated
TG: * discumboblated
TG: * yah waatever

GT: Well i guess the heart of the matter resides in the form of our mutual acquaintance mister strider.
GT: Its still difficult wrapping my noggin around this.
GT: But i think i might be…
GT: Well....
GT: I think i might be falling in love with him.

TG: HOPY SHIT
GT: Yeah…
TG: no rly wow
TG: thats sum srs bsns

GT: It sure feels like it!
GT: Ever since he showed up here its seems like everythings topsy turvy.
GT: At first i just thought it was because i was happy to have someone here with me for once. Its always been pretty lonely out here and striders been a right splendid traveling companion!
GT: But now im not so sure its just that…
GT: Ive always considered him a very close friend and an upstanding gent to be aquainted with. So maybe i had some previous romantic inclinations without fully realizing it?
GT: But now that he’s here its like…
GT: I just cant get the bloke out of my head. Having him so near is playing tricks with my senses…
GT: Just… Theres something about the way i feel whenever we touch. Its really hard to describe…

TG: ooooooooooooooooooooo
GT: Oh christ. That is not innuendo for anything!!! *dabs at forehead nervously*
TG: awright calm yo tits lolo
TG: i gotta say tho i shouldave seen tis comin a mile off
TG: * shoulda

GT: Huh?
TG: i mean after ur conversatin w jane
GT: Oh… Right.
GT: I still feel kind of bad about that even if we did agree it was for the best.
GT: I trust shes holding up alright?

TG: yah yah shes fine its been hella busy up in here so she hasnt been thinpking bout it much
TG: Im keepin her distrackted too wonk
TG: * distracted

GT: Ah good. It makes me glad to hear that thank you roxy.
TG: np <3
GT: But still what does my relationship with jane have anything to do with me and strider?
TG: noooooooothin
TG: only that now u got the jane thing resloved it opens up lotsa room for dstri to bust a move on ur fine ass

GT: Wait… What do you mean?
GT: Theres no way hed reciprocate if i tried to make a move of courtship towards him! Thats kind of part of the problem roxy…

TG: SIIIIIIIGH
TG: oh jake
TG: jaaaaaaaaaaaaake

GT: What?
TG: god daaaaamn you guys make this so hard on urselves
TG: what makes you think he wudnt like you back

GT: Well… I suppose there really isnt a reason…
GT: Only that i never pictured him as the homosexual type. But i suppose considering my own situation that seems like kind of a silly assumption to make because i never thought id like another bloke like that either.

TG: seeeee
TG: so maybe u have a chance after all

GT: I don’t know… What if i say something and it just makes things awkward?
GT: That might be worse…

TG: bluuuuuuh
TG: well all i can say without givin way 2 much is at lyeast think bout it k
TG: u know as my bffsy all iwants is the best for u <3

GT: I know. And i thank you sincerely from one bffsy to another!
TG: DAAAAANG
TG: wat a fuine gent <333

GT: Heh heh
GT: Oh bollocks here comes strider i gotta run!
GT: Bye roxy! Ill let you know how things turn out!

TG: good u bettah
TG: i gots my fingers crissed for ya
TG: * crossed
TG: gl <3

golgothasTerror [GT] ceased pestering tipsyGnostalgic [TG]

You turn off your husktop and place it back in your sylladex right as Dirk comes out of the brush, carrying with him a couple of slain birds to cook for lunch. You grin at him and the two of you set about getting a fire started and everything more or less goes back to normal. You muse over the conversation you and Roxy just had, and resolve that it would probably be best to tell Dirk about your feelings at some point. You owed him that at least, to be honest to someone you consider such a close friend.

But before you did that, you needed to sort your thoughts out a little. Some much-needed self-reflection was definitely in order.

Chapter Text

By the time you reach the next set of ruins to explore, the mountains you’ve been following are barely even hills and the thick jungle starts to be cut by deep ravines that plunge into misty depths where the only thing indicating a bottom is the distant gurgling of water. The air is thicker here, and by the time you reach the entrance to the underground caverns that are the focus of your next adventure, the both of you are damp from sweat and humidity.

You notice that Dirk has been slightly on edge ever since your close-call from earlier. He hovers close to you and seems hyper aware of his surroundings, jerking his head left or right if so much as a twig snaps in the distance. He’s already made some grumbling remarks about heading into another dangerous area, saying “I have a bad feeling about this,” but you quickly dismissed his worries as poppycock, because no adventurer worth their salt ever backed down from something just because it was a little unsafe!

But even now as you creep along the dimly lit entrance corridor with guns at the ready, Dirk stays close and attentive, his breath softly rustling the hair on the back of your neck and causing your thoughts to derail into distraction again. You find yourself timing the swings of your arms so that on every other step your wrist or fingers graze his just so, causing little sparks to go off in your stomach. You’re warm and happy again, and you’ll never get over how perfect it is that Dirk is actually here with you. No adventure you’ve ever gone on before can compare to this and you’d give anything to keep things this way forever.

You manage to go quite a ways before running into any trouble. You easily avoid the first set of booby traps and dispatching a small group of monsters is like breathing to the two of you now, what with how high you’ve both climbed on your respective echeladders. However your distracted mind eventually slips up once again, and when it happens this time, it’s a disaster.

You’ve wandered ahead of Dirk because you can just sense that the treasure room filled with spoils must be near at hand. In your excitement you stumble on a loose brick and catch yourself on the wall. The stone you’ve grabbed groans and pushes inwards under your weight and you hear the unmistakable sound of gears sliding into place. You have a split second to think ’Bollocks…’ and hear Dirk shout out ”JAKE!” before arrows are flying towards you from a crack in the adjacent wall.

You have no time to think let alone react, and surely this is it. You’re done for. But then you’re being shoved roughly out of the way and you hit the stone floor hard, your guns knocked from your hands to skitter across the ground. Above you there’s a thud and a shout of pain and you whip around to see Dirk standing above you.

His sword has clattered to the floor and he’s clutching at his left arm where there’s an arrow straight through it. Another arrow is imbedded in the meat of his shoulder and blood is flowing down his arm to drip on the stone below. You are staring in complete and utter horror as your own blood turns to ice in your veins.

“I told you this was a bad idea…” Dirk says through a grimace, his whole body clenched tight with pain.

“Dirk…” your voice is quiet, and you can barely hear it above the pounding of your pulse in your ears.

“Maybe next time you’ll listen to me instead of going charging off ahead. This gun half-cocked business has seriously got to stop, dude.”

“Dirk, you…”

“I mean, I get that this is your shtick and all, being some rough paragon of manliness who goes charging into dangerous tombs or whatever the fuck. But you’re still fucking flesh and blood and can get hurt, and holy shit does this fucking hurt.”

He leans against the wall, panting and you’re suddenly next to him without realizing you’ve even gotten up. You’re breathing hard too, trying not to panic and start hyperventilating or something because oh shit oh shit Dirk is hurt and it’s all your fault because he did it to save your useless ass. He just fucking saved your life.

“Thank you,” you blurt out, and immediately flush because what the fuck was that? Dirk is injured and bleeding everywhere and all you can manage to say is a fumbled apology for your stupidity and it feels terribly inadequate for the immensity of the situation, “I mean, you just saved my life, Dirk. I don’t… I’m sorry I…”

“You’re fucking welcome, idiot,” he cuts you off, but there’s no bite or anger there. He almost sounds amused and oh hell he must be going into shock or something. You’ve got to get him out of here, to hell with the grist cache at the end.

You retrieve your weapons and manage to hoist his good arm over your shoulder -- despite his protest that ‘my legs work just fine, dumbass’ -- and you carefully make your way back to the entrance. Once outside you set him on the steps and as you both catch your breath you lean in to inspect the damage more closely now that you have better light. The back of his shirt is almost completely soaked through and you can’t help but worry that maybe he’s lost too much blood already, but you bite down on that train of thought before panic sets in again.

You assess that the arrow through his arm should be simple enough to remove, and the one in Dirk’s shoulder will be trickier business but you’ve dealt with a similar injury in the past and should be able to manage. All in all Dirk certainly managed to avoid the worst, and doesn’t seem to have punctured any internal organs or arteries. It truly does appear worse than it actually is and you allow yourself to breathe a sigh of relief as you finish checking the wounds and realize he’s not going to bleed out or anything.

You go into your sylladex and pull out the massive first-aid kit Dirk had specially alchemized before you had set off. You can only manage to do a quick patch job for the time being and don’t want to risk taking the arrows out now, you’re still in the open and there are still all kinds of game monsters lurking in the area. After you finish cleaning him up and wrapping a bandage around the arrow in his arm, you put your hands gently on an uninjured portion of his back and realize you’ve started shaking.

“Thanks,” Dirk mutters, relaxing slightly and leaning back against your palms. The softness to his voice does something to you and the events of the afternoon finally sink their claws in, because you’ve never dealt with something like this before. You’re realizing now that with human companionship comes a multitude of feelings and experiences and not all of them are warm touches or happy butterflies in your stomach. Sometimes it sucks because people get hurt. People get hurt because you were too brash and headstrong to realize that that was even a thing. It is honestly freaking you the fuck out and the trembling in your hands travels up your arms and then to your shoulders and you realize as you blink that there are tears pricking at the corner of your eyes. You feel like your whole world just got turned inside out.

“Fuck,” you gasp out, sinking forward to rest your forehead against the back of his neck and digging the fingers of one hand into his shirt. ‘It’s okay’, you tell yourself, letting a sudden wave of relief wash over you, ‘He’s right here, he’s safe and he’s not going to die. He’s right here and everything is going to be okay.’ Because there was a moment back there where you had been terrified, every inch of your body screaming silently as you pushed back thoughts of what it would be like to lose Dirk.

“Hey, Jake no. Stop that,” He says, and you back off as he turns to face you fully. He reaches out with his good arm and takes one of your hands in his and he’s looking straight at you, “Shhhhh, it’s okay.”

His thumb traces soothing circles against your hand and you close your eyes and shiver because of the different sensation, feeling too much already to deal with that particular problem on top of everything. “I’m sorry,” You groan softly and lean forward to rest your forehead against his, bringing the hand that isn’t being held to run through his hair and hold him in place. You need this right now, to feel him against you, to feel his breath coming warm and fast and so close to your lips, to feel his skin under your fingertips as you trail them through his hair and then down the side of his face. He doesn’t pull away and you’re still shivering as you just keep repeating “I’m sorry, I’m so so sorry,” and through it all he keeps murmuring comforting nonsense and holding your hand as though he needs this too.

***

After the two of you had gathered yourselves together again and realized that maybe sitting in the middle of the jungle having a feelings jam while darkness sets in was not the best plan ever, you travelled a short distance to the nearest canyon. Scaling the cliff face downwards was a sheer impossibility for Dirk, who was wavering on his feet and you could tell he was feeling weak and shock-y even if he wouldn’t admit it out loud. But you manage to find a fairly sturdy slope down into the ravine after wandering for a bit, and a short ways down was an opening to a series of uninhabited caves where you decide to take shelter in.

You see about tending to Dirk’s wounds after you’ve settled in and got a fire going. At this point in your life, you’ve cleaned and stitched yourself up so many times that it’s become second nature. You also know how much it’s going to hurt, and after you’ve gotten through cutting Dirk’s shirt off of him, you cut a sleeve off your over shirt and hand it to him. He looks at it with brows furrowed in confusion.

“To bite on,” you explain, “Because it’s going to hurt a lot once I start, and I don’t have anything to numb the area. It’s better than biting through your lip, or worse your tongue.”

He takes it wordlessly and sets it in his lap as you turn to ready everything you’re going to need. When you turn back to him he’s removed his shades and is holding the rag of your sleeve, and you want to savor the moment because wow, you’ve not seen his eyes before and they’re a really intense shade of amber, but his expression is so pinched and in pain that you set in immediately to the process of getting him patched up.

The shirt sleeve comes in handy when you pull the arrows out, carefully so as not to rip or tear any new skin or muscle. Dirk bears it well, but his face contorts into painful grimaces as his shouts and groans are muffled into the fabric gag and there’s a terrible wrenching sensation in your stomach again at seeing him in this much pain. You can’t let yourself start feeling guilty again though, so you pull it together and see to cleaning the wounds, mopping up the fresh blood that pools down Dirk’s arm and back.

He holds up admirably throughout it all, and when you’re done stitching and bandaging him up he groans and wrenches the gag from his mouth to pant for breath. You lay a hand comfortingly on his shoulder -- well clear of his injuries -- as he sags forward, elbows resting on his crossed legs.

“Fuck, Jake,” he says, voice raspy from shouting into the gag, “that was completely brutal, man. I can’t even begin to wrap my dumbstruck brain around the fact that you’ve done that kind of Bear Grylls in-the-field medical shit on yourself. Hurts like a bitch.”

“Well, it’s not exactly like there’s an emergency room just down the road! And there’s plenty of dangers lurking about.” You say, chuckling wryly to yourself. At least he’s still able to yammer on like that.

“Yeah, well. Just… be more careful from now on, okay?” Dirk says, glancing up at you with those tired, worn eyes and here comes the guilt again, crashing into you like a freight train.

“I… I will,” You say, looking down and removing your hand from his shoulder, “I’m sorry, I never intended for you to get hurt and I feel so terrible that it ended up like this and...”

“Stop,” he cuts you off, and his hand is suddenly there, cupping the side of your face and tilting it so your eyes are meeting his again. Your breath hitches as a shudder goes through you at the contact, and his expression is deathly serious, “I said no more of that. I won’t sit here and watch you blame yourself for something like this. You know what, Jake? Shit happens and it sucks. But I know you’re stronger than this and you don’t need to be wallowing in some endless ocean of self-pity because boo hoo someone got hurt,” you can’t help but grin a little at the stupid falsetto he affects, and his lips quirk at that too, “And if it makes you feel any better, then well, apology fucking accepted. I mean it. But… for the record…”

He pauses and looks down for a brief moment, suddenly nervous, before looking back up at you all serious and earnest and for some reason your heart is racing and you hope it’s just his palm on your cheek that’s causing your face to feel so warm. The air between you is supercharged and you have no idea how that happened or why your chest feels so tight.

“For the record, I’d do it again in a heartbeat,” he says, “Because there is no way in hell or heaven or anywhere in this fucking universe that I’m going to sit idly by and watch any more of the people I love get killed.”

You stare at him, breath caught in your throat because there it is. The admission and its implications hang in the air between the two of you and you find yourself suddenly at a loss as to what to say in the face of it.

The people I love’, your mind turns the phrase over and over in your head, starting and stopping like a skipping record. Your heart is pounding because oh wow does he really mean what you think he means? Does he actually love you back? Just like Roxy said?

“Dirk…” You manage, your voice cracking as hope flutters maddeningly in your chest, and there must be some tell in your expression that his hawk-like eyes train in on because next thing you know he’s leaning towards you and just before your lips meet he pauses, giving you one last chance to pull back. As if he’s still not sure that this is the right move and that at any moment you’re going to pull away.

Your lips tingle from the anticipation between the two of you and while you appreciate the chivalry, you think To hell with this!’, and then you’re crossing the distance, closing your eyes and mashing your lips inexpertly against his.

The first moment is not quite what you imagined your first kiss to be, and you admit that your posters have left you ill-prepared for the real deal. Your nose squashes against his uncomfortably and your glasses are digging into the bridge of your nose, but the sensation of his chapped lips gently pressing against yours is enough to send pleasant tremors running down your spine. Then he’s sliding his hand from the side of your face to cup the back of your head, tilting you to the side slightly, and oh. Oh.

You gasp against his mouth and he uses the opportunity to take your bottom lip between his, sucking on it gently and that’s it. You are undone. Nothing on this earth could have prepared you for how wonderful it felt to have Dirk Strider’s lips on your own, to feel his warm breath this close, to hear him make tiny pleased noises and feel the way his fingers tighten in your hair as you squirm forward until you’re practically straddling his lap.

Your own hands have come up to hold his face in place as you greedily kiss him back, his hand leaving your hair and blazing a fiery trail down your back to clutch at your hip. You shudder and gasp into his mouth again as the sensation sends heat racing through you to pool in your belly, and he takes the opportunity to slip his tongue between your open lips, meeting with yours and oh Christ not only does he feel amazing against you but he tastes wonderful too.

You have to pull back for air, but are on him almost immediately afterwards and there’s no preamble this time. You’re kissing him hungry and open-mouthed, tongue searching out every last bit of him because there is no way you will ever have enough of this.

But then Dirk’s pulling away and groaning, and not in a way that you would imagine as sexy groaning, but instead he’s grimacing in pain and you realize that in the course of your activities he’s gotten himself pressed back against the cave wall. The cave wall which is digging into his injured back.

You jerk backwards off of him like you’ve been electrocuted, panting for breath. “Fuck, I’m sorry!”

He leans away from the wall and instead of looking upset he’s starting to laugh, “Sorry? For what? Jumping me like a wildcat and trying to eat me alive via lip suction?”

You can feel your face going scarlet and he laughs harder, “Uhh…”

“Seriously. I will more than gladly bear the burden of an injured back if in the process of hurting myself I get to be kissed stupid by you again,” Dirk says through quiet huffs of laughter and okay, so this is a thing that is happening. He liked kissing you and wants to do it again. You are officially friends who kiss (boyfriends?) and you can’t hold back the grin that slowly starts to split your face in half as your whole body goes warm and tingly at the thought.

“Though in all honesty, some heavy duty pain killers would be really great right about now. If you’ve got any on hand…?” Dirk says. The humor of the situation dissipates as you can see how tense he’s become again, and you scramble up to retrieve said medication from your sylladex and some water for him to take it with.

It dawns on you as Dirk downs both pills and then settles back to lie on his uninjured side. “That was the important thing you were going to tell me about, wasn’t it?” You ask. “That I was… That you love me.”

“Yeah. It was,” He says, tensing again at the topic being brought up. You smile at him and reach out to gently brush his bangs back from his head because it’s okay now. You’re allowed these little gestures and touches of affection and it feels wonderful. Your fingers tingle where they brush his scalp and there’s a warm floating sensation building again in the pit of your stomach.

“I’ve actually been planning to tell you that I’m in love with you for a while now,” he admits, closing his eyes as you gently card your fingers through his hair. You feel a thrill run through your whole body at him saying that he loves you so easily, like loving you is like breathing, something he doesn’t even have to think about. It’s just an ingrained fact of his being.

“How long?” you find yourself wondering out loud.

“Three years…” He says, slowly opening his eyes.

“Wha…Three years?” you parrot back at him, stunned. And seriously, how do you even respond to that? You only just recently admitted to yourself that you might want to kiss this boy and do more-than-platonic things to him and here he was ahead of you by three whole years. Over half the time you’ve even known each other for pete’s sake!

“Yeah, I know how it sounds. Really uncool, huh?” He huffs out a laugh and his eyes are slipping closed again. “This mental image of the great Dirk Strider, wasting away for three years of his life pining after his best friend like some sighing princess locked away in a tower. And yeah, alright, maybe it’s taken me three years to work up the nerve to tell you, but those three years were far removed from melodramatic pining. So far removed they aren’t even on the same planet, let alone the same room as one another.”

He’s rambling on and you can’t help but laugh at him. As he goes his words are getting softer and more slurred and you can tell that the events of the day are catching up to him. He must be exhausted.

“Thank you, though…” Dirk mumbles quietly, and you have to crane your head closer to hear it. “I guess I always figured that you’d turn me down, so I spent most of my time preparing for that.” At that you find the smile slipping from your face and your heart clenches painfully in your chest.  

“But I’m really happy… that you… ” he murmurs, and it’s almost unintelligible because halfway through he’s fallen asleep.

You continue to absently run your fingers through his hair, enjoying the feel of it scratching gently against your fingertips, and wonder at the fact that not only has this boy been in love with you for three years, but has spent a good chunk of them under the impression that you would only be turning him down. It breaks your heart in such a weird way, because as sad as that is you can’t do anything to change it. All you can do now is make it up to him as best as you can.

You lean down to kiss his forehead as he sleeps, murmuring a quiet ‘Sweet dreams’, before setting to the task of putting food together. Dirk would likely be starving by the time he woke up.

Chapter Text

Dirk proves himself to be the most insufferable patient ever the next day. If you got up to leave, even for something as simple as retrieving some water, he’s immediately grabbing his sword and pulling himself up to follow you. It’s only after you’ve fretted and fussed him into next week that he begrudgingly lies back down. He’s already strained his arm and shoulder three times since waking up earlier, all while trying to help you fix food or while cleaning his sword. You caught the grimace he had made and threatened to put his arm in a sling after that, until he finally agreed that if he needed to do anything that’s going to involve his bad arm he’ll ask for your help. The last thing you needed was for him to pull a stitch out and start bleeding again.

The new aspect to your relationship hasn’t been helping matters either. Kissing Dirk is dangerous to both of you it seems, because every rough slide of his lips against yours sends such a wave of need through your whole body that it’s difficult to hold yourself back when all you want to do is pull him tight against you and crawl inside him. It’s nothing like the tiny tremors you got when his fingers brush yours or how he had held you close in your sleep that one time. It makes your whole body positively hunger for more of him, and you always pull yourself back before you can get too wound up, not wanting to hurt his shoulder again in your enthusiasm. You can’t help but sneak little pecks here and there however, because he loves you back and you are allowed, and that feels so bloody wonderful you have to take as much advantage of it as possible.

He doesn’t appear to realize the affect he has on you yet and seems wholly content to let you steal as many kisses or touches as you like without asking for more. Normally you would worry about that, because he can be so bloody perceptive that it’s maddening sometimes, but pain and exhaustion seem to be clouding his judgment for the time being. It’s probably for the best, because with how worked up you get just kissing him, you can only imagine what it might be like if you take it any further and you’re not sure what you would do should he try to push things in that direction.

It’s not like you don’t want to try anything! You’re certainly willing and raring to go in that department, because you are young and full of obnoxious teenage hormones. Plus, you signed up for this particular adventure and you will see it through to whatever end may be in store! However your experience with these matters are pretty minimal, and you aren’t sure where the start of this road to sexual exploration would begin. Also, for the time being at least, it would probably be best to start with waiting for Dirk’s shoulder to heal.

His wounds seem to be doing alright. When you change his bandages and clean the sutures everything looks to be healing well -- there’s no excessive redness or icky oozing to indicate infection, you are relieved to note. The sutures are holding up well too, despite Dirk’s need to test their limits every time he gets up and tries to do something. You would still feel better waiting at least another day before trying to take up the journey again however.

You keep checking in with the girls to see how their progress is doing (very well it seems, despite Roxy grilling you incessantly for details regarding your relationship status), and your husktop has a small library of your favorite films which keeps you both entertained and helps pass the time. You find that it’s infinitely more enjoyable to watch your favorite Sci-Fi flicks with Dirk as a warm, comfortable presence at your side -- even if you could do without some of his more snarky commentary. You sputter and rise to your movie’s defenses too quickly at each comment he makes and while you’re busy telling him what-for he starts laughing and steals all your thunder. You don’t ever truly get annoyed at it though, because you’re used to spending long amounts of time with only yourself for company and just having Dirk here to share this with you is a treat that you don’t think you’ll ever tire of. So you shove him lightly on his good shoulder and settle back against him, snatching his hand up and lacing your fingers together.

It’s even better when you both settle in for the night, because you both throw the notion of “respectable distance” to the wind and instead Dirk pulls you right up against him and gingerly wraps his bad arm around your waist. You sigh happily to feel his chest against your back and lean into him with a smile as he tucks his head into your neck and kisses you there. Just that brief contact is bordering on too much and you have to take a deep breath to keep your oversensitive body in check. You can’t help the unconscious shiver that goes through you however as his lips gently brush the skin of your neck.

Your heart feels positively full to bursting as you lie like that, easily drifting off to sleep tucked away safely in the circle of his arms.

***

When you wake up the next morning you feel hazy and warm and Dirk is still wrapped around you, his breath slowly brushing against the nape of your neck as he continues to sleep. Your body is loose and languid as it starts its familiar process of categorizing each and every way the two of you are touching. The palm of Dirk’s hand is pressed against your sternum keeping you in place, his chest is a hot and solid presence against your back, and your legs are tangled together again. You sigh and close your eyes, leaning into his touch further and lazily relishing in the sensation, letting the warmth of it wash over you and settle deep into your bones. Then Dirk unconsciously shifts forward in his sleep in response to your squirming and gives you pause, because while Dirk may not be awake, it appears as though there are certain parts of his anatomy that are up and standing at, er, attention.

You feel your cheeks flush and your blood is now rushing in two directions at once and you have to bite your bottom lip to hold back the groan wrenching forth from your throat. Dirk is sporting some pretty substantial morning wood which is pressing against your clothed backside and you can hardly help the way your own body starts to respond against your will. An unconscious shudder goes through you and suddenly the pleasant warmth of him pressed against you is changing from lazy enjoyment to something hungrier.

And oh God it’s embarrassing how much of an effect he has on you -- your whole body was tingling to begin with, but now every nerve is lighting up with repressed teenage hormones and there is no way to will away this erection you are currently sporting. You don’t quite know what to do about it either, because waking Dirk up would not only be embarrassing, but you still aren’t sure his shoulder could handle anything too, um, strenuous. Plus, this is all unfamiliar territory to you, and you still aren’t sure how to feel about wanting Dirk like this. Everything is just too hot and too much and you find it hard to think as all your blood pools down south. You feel the wisest choice of action is probably to abscond and take care of this on your own.

You carefully, nervously, wriggle yourself out of his grasp and make for the entrance of the cave as quietly as you can. Once outside, everything is suddenly, blindingly green and you go a little ways before veering off the trail and behind some bushes. You have enough sense in you to collapse back against a tree trunk and then you’re sinking down to the ground and shoving a hand down the front of your pants so fast that you’re almost dizzy from it. You palm yourself roughly through the thin fabric of your briefs and can feel where you’re already leaking a damp patch against them. It gives you enough relief so that you can hastily shuck your pants and underwear as far down as possible -- because explaining how you ruined them would be flirting with yet another road towards total mortification -- and then you reach down and have to bite your lip to stifle a moan as you wrap a hand around yourself.

You grasp yourself tightly in hand and stroke from base to tip a few times. It’s truly a wonder how hard you are already, how just Dirk being pressed against you, his hot breath on your neck, the way your legs roughly slide against each other, how everything about the way he touches you gets you hotter than you’ve ever been before in your life.

In fact, just thinking about Dirk right now is enough to send you flying precariously close to the edge of release. You shove a hand over your mouth but it barely muffles the loud moan and the stream of nonsense coming from you while imagining what it would be like if it was Dirk’s hand on you. If it was his sword-calloused fingers running along your length and then tightly grasping you and stroking you to the rhythms running through his head. How would it feel, to be totally at his mercy like that? Perhaps to have his other hand wandering your chest and stroking your sides as he breathed against your neck and shoulder, whispering things into your ear, urging you to come for him.

At that, your release punches through you so quickly that you let out a startled shout against your palm, hips jerking as you spill over your hand. You collapse back against the tree, gasping for breath as you recover, mind reeling.

“Frig,” You groan, wiping your soiled hand lazily on the leaves at your feet.

After your world pieces itself together again, you redress and make your way to the bottom of the ravine to wash off in the stream. You undress and wade out, making quick work of rinsing off the spunk drying on your stomach, and dunk your head a few times to clear it. You feel refreshed and more in control of yourself as you head back up to the caves.

When you get back to your makeshift camp, Dirk is awake and lying propped up on his elbows, distractedly viewing something on his sunglasses’ viewscreen. His body posture is loose and there’s no tent in his trousers to indicate the presence of his erection from earlier. Immediately your mind flies through several mental images of Dirk jerking himself off in the same way you just did and you feel your face flushing painfully again.

“Morning,” He says, tilting his head towards you as you come closer. He takes in your appearance, probably noting not only the flush across your cheeks but also your damp hair and dirty clothes. You’re suddenly self-conscious; worried that Dirk is going to figure everything out, because he really is sharp as a tack. All your body has to do is betray one little clue and then he’s likely to be exploiting it for all it’s worth.

“Good morning, Dirk!” You say however, squashing your embarrassment and grinning down at him. You kneel and lean in to give him a kiss, feeling it as his lips smile back against yours and how the sensation sends butterflies fluttering in your stomach.

“So where did you go running off to?” he asks when you pull back, eyeing you through his shades.

“Oh! Um,” you pause, smiling in what you hope is not a nervous manner, “I just went to go freshen up.”

“Is that so. Didn’t do a good job of it then, considering there’s more dirt on you now than there was before.” He says, smirking as he reaches over to brush some of said dirt off your shorts.

“Uh…” You backpedal furiously in your head, trying to come up with a plausible excuse because the grin on his face has a touch of too much knowledge there for comfort, “I just ran into an errant lizard monster is all! The ruffian gave me a bit of a run for my money, but nothing I couldn’t handle.”

“Right.” Dirk says, and you can see in his expression that he isn’t totally convinced. You’re starting to wonder just how asleep he actually was this morning.

You change the subject quickly, “Anyway, on the topic of freshening up, let’s take a look at that shoulder, eh?”

He accepts the conversation shift easily, sitting up so you can have better access to inspecting his wounds. You set about what is now becoming a routine process of un-bandaging him, cleaning the sutures and applying fresh gauze and adhesive where necessary. There’s less blood spotting now, and Dirk seems to be only mildly uncomfortable while you’re messing with the wounds. All in all, you’re happy with the progress that’s being made so far and tell him so as you produce some more pain killers from your med kit, handing them to him and absently running a hand down his back.

“Good,” He says after downing the pills, “I’m tired of sitting around and waiting. There’s still a game going on and we really need to be getting back to that. We need to figure out what the end goal of this thing is and meet up with the girls as soon as we can.”

“Yeah, I know,” you agree, “As much fun as exploring has been, I suppose we really should try to think things through a little better…”

You feel another pang of guilt at this, because that’s mostly your fault. So far your journey has involved Dirk following you as you rush from one temple to the next, your thirst for adventure and exploration taking the driver’s seat of your game play. You’ve completely missed the bigger picture, and it’s likely that Dirk already has an idea of where to go from here and was only waiting for you have your fill of tomb raiding. He always seems to be one step ahead of you and it’s as maddening as it is impressive. He’s always been a complete monster strategist when it comes to these things while you were always more focused on the here and now.

“What do you propose we do next?” you ask.

His lips turn down in concentration as he mulls his answer over, and you can almost see the cogs turning in that brain of his. “Well, for starters I don’t think exploring those temples is such a terrible idea by itself. We’re both gaining experience and grist that way, which could help us later on. Also, I’ve noticed some weird symbols or hieroglyphics on the walls where we’ve gone and I think those could clue us in on what our next goal should be.”

You nod and let Dirk continue to think as you pull some pre-packaged rations from your sylladex for breakfast. You recall seeing those symbols that Dirk mentioned as well. You hadn’t paid them much mind however, being more interested at the rewards that lay at the end.

“Anyway, I think we should just keep exploring for a little longer. Hopefully we’ll run into some of those consorts that Jane was talking about at the start of this. They seem like they might be an aspect to this game that could help us out.” He says, taking a granola bar that you unwrap and offer him as you munch idly on your own. “They should be able to point us in the direction of your quest bed at the very least.”

“My what?” you ask around a mouthful of crumbs.

“Your quest bed,” He smiles at you, “It’s one of the things in this game that can help you ascend to the highest level possible, God-tier. We need to make reaching that level a priority, because there’s no way to tell how dangerous this game is going to get. It’s best if we level up as quickly as possible, before our enemies can take us out.” Dirk says all of this calmly, measured as if he’s thought about this a great deal. He’s very intense like this, and it leaves you a little bit speechless.

“Okay, fair enough,” you say after a moment, “but for now I think one more day of rest should suffice before we set off again. Don’t want you straining yourself unnecessarily on my behalf!”

He makes a displeased sound at that, but there’s still a grin hiding in the corners of his lips. “Alright, fine. But this time you had better pick some good movies to watch. Your last selection really left something to be desired.”

You sputter at that, “Wha-?! The Tomb Raider films and The Mummy are classics! And, might I remind you, totally relevant to current circumstances!” and there Dirk goes laughing at you again. You cut your ranting short to huff at him, frowning disapprovingly. He really does enjoy getting a rise out of you, doesn’t he?

Well, in any case you were going to pick some absolute hits to watch today. Dirk had better ready himself for the cinematic masterpieces you were about to unleash!

Chapter Text

The two of you spend the rest of the morning watching movies, curled up together comfortably. The events of earlier have left your head completely, and instead you just focus on how warm Dirk feels where he’s pressed against you and where his palm is against yours, fingers slotted together. You really enjoy holding his hand, feeling the sword calluses pressed against your own rough, sun-stained hands. His fingers are long and nimble compared to your short, blunter digits, and you’ve seen how delicately they mend machinery as well has how powerful they are when gripped tight around the handle of his sword. His hand fits neatly in your own and you find yourself getting distracted from the movie every so often, fascinated at watching Dirk absently rub his thumb along the skin of yours.

As the movie goes on, his gentle caresses and your position tucked against him begin to lull you to sleep. You’ve seen the movie countless times and coupled with the fact that Dirk has been keeping mostly quiet this time, you find it becoming a lulling background noise. You feel warm and lean back against him, tucking your head easily under his chin. Your eyes start to droop, and the next thing you know, there’s a soft voice murmuring in your ear.

“Jake, hey.”

“Hmm?”

“Movie’s over. You fell asleep.” There’s the sensation of something against your stomach and your fuzzy brain helpfully supplies that it’s Dirk’s hand, gently caressing you through your shirt. It feels good and you squirm against it, tilting your head and tucking your face against his neck. You hum as he continues to almost absently run his fingers along the muscles right below your navel.

“Feels nice…” You murmur, and when he chuckles you feel it against the side of your face where it’s pressed against his throat.

“You awake, then?” He asks, and you nod as you actually do start to wake up fully. In your sleep you’ve managed to work your way closer to the point where you’re practically sitting in Dirk’s lap. The hand he had been holding yours with is the one now absently stroking your belly and that right there sends a sudden shiver down your spine as you register just how good it’s making you feel.

Your body begins to tense in nerves as you realize the path that this situation is likely to take. If Dirk either looked down or moved his hand just a little bit southwards he would probably notice the tent that was starting to form in the front of your shorts. A part of you is waiting, ready for him to notice and take full advantage of it, while another part of your brain is going on red-alert with panic.

“This is okay, right?” He asks and his hand stills, just above the waistline of your pants and you know that he must have noticed. It’s such a ridiculous question too, you think, because you are so full of want and need right now that you’re breathless with it, despite your nerves. It’s making it hard to think and you’re overcome with how much you suddenly want his hand to keep moving, blast it.

Then he’s reaching up to gently grab your chin, pulling your face away from the crook of his neck and silencing your thoughts. “Hey, look at me,” He says and you do. He’s still got his shades on but at this point you’ve gotten to know his body language pretty well and right now you are listening attentively. Because in the line of his mouth and the set of his eyebrows somehow you can read the same nervousness that you’re feeling. Seeing that, the knot of nerves in your stomach begins to unwind itself.

“Yeah, it’s fine,” you say, and smile up at him.  

You reach up to remove his sunglasses and set them to the side, then his hand that’s still gripping your chin tilts your head up and you’re kissing, slow and unhurried. His tongue when it slips past your lips is tentative, and you’re both still exploring the waters here but you groan encouragingly against his mouth and it’s like a switch flips somewhere. His hand trails back down to your belly where it presses you further against him and he’s pressing his advantage, tongue flicking in and out against yours in a perverse imitation of something entirely different and you’re overwhelmed and breathless with the implication there, and also so so ready for it.

There’s a brief scuffle as you reposition yourselves and you end up with your back still to him, his legs splayed on either side of you as you lean back into him for another kiss. You can’t really reach him like this and that frustrates you for all of a second before Dirk’s hand takes over, running down your chest. You grab onto his legs as his hand slips under your shirt, the warmth of his palm sending arousal pooling in your belly. You close your eyes tightly and just breathe against Dirk’s mouth for a moment because it feel so bloody amazing for him to be touching you like this and you have never been this turned on in your entire life and that’s ridiculous. He only has a blasted hand up your shirt, for pete’s sake! Then his fingers find one of your nipples and tweak it lightly and you can’t hold back the startled moan that slips past your lips.

Dirk grins and kisses your cheek and then begins to mouth kisses and tiny bites along your jawline and neck while his hand continues to rub your chest. He bites down hard, right where your shoulder and neck meet, and you gasp out loud “Ah!” and grab for his other hand that he’s keeping out of play as best as possible. You lace your fingers together right as he sucks the bruised skin he had bitten down on and oh god, he is driving you out of your mind like this.

You’re painfully hard right now, and you squirm your hips in an attempt to gain some kind of friction down there. Dirk’s hand is still preoccupied with running up and down your chest though, teasing your nipples with his rough fingers and caressing the muscles of your stomach. You feel warm and dizzy with how much you want him, and while every brush of his skin against yours is sending jolts of pleasure down your spine it still isn’t enough.

“Ah, Dirk…” you whine as his hand drifts down again, only to pull back up your chest right as he brushes the waistband of your pants, “Stop being such aaaahh, an insufferable tease!” You feel his smile against your neck and groan again, anticipating now that he was going to be deliberately obtuse about his touches. Just friggin’ great.

“Sorry,” he says, voice husky now and his breath is hot against the shell of your ear, “Just enjoying myself, is all. You don’t know how long I’ve been waiting to do this…” Your breath hitches at this, but his hand mercifully changes it’s trajectory to skirt downwards, running over the top of your thigh. His fingers dip down to run along the skin of your inner leg, just below your knee, and you start gasping and babbling a string of noise and total nonsense as his teasing touches get closer and closer to where you want them most. Then, much to your dismay, the bloody tease runs those sinful fingers of his up and away.

You curse and grip his other hand in yours like a vice. It’s not exactly where you want it to be, but the hand running lightly up and down your thigh is still sending sparks of desperate arousal straight to your groin and if he doesn’t touch you soon you think you might just come in your pants. In fact, that’s starting to feel like an inevitability at this point, because you don’t think you can last long enough to even undo your belt right now and you will hardly allow Dirk to stop touching you long enough to do the same.

“Dirk, Dirk, oh my god, oh hell,” You’re groaning and shaking and panting and you are a total mess right now, you just know it. Every nerve in your body is alight and then finally Dirk is moving his hand from your thigh to rub your erection through the fabric of your shorts; your sharp gasp is so loud that you can hear it reverberate back to you as it echoes along the cave walls. Your head falls back against his shoulder and he takes the opportunity to lean down and kiss you then, swallowing the stream of obscenities that are flying carelessly from your mouth. He grinds the palm of his hand down against your crotch and you hump your hips up into it desperately, and it only takes a couple of frantic thrusts before you’re crying out loudly against Dirk’s lips and coming in your pants.

You wind down from it slowly, breathing heavily and leaning back against Dirk’s chest. Your hand is still gripping his tightly and he’s nuzzling into your hair as you piece yourself together again.

“Wow, Dirk,” you say, voice still breathless despite your best efforts, “That was… that was something.”

You feel his shoulders start to shake and his breath is puffing out and rustling your hair and you realize that he is laughing at you.

“What now?” You ask, turning to look at him and his whole face is scrunched up as he giggles at you. Part of you is getting defensive at this while another part of you is starting to worry because what was so funny? Did you say or do something wrong?

“Jesus, Jake,” he wheezes, calming down just enough to speak, “Only you could sound so awe-struck about coming in your pants like that!”

“Hey!” You flush bright red, defensiveness winning out against your panic, “And what the devil is so wrong about that? I mean, I enjoyed myself at least, um…”

You trail off as Dirk’s laughter starts to peter off and while you had been arguing with him you had turned yourself round just enough to realize that while he was busy getting you off, Dirk had been neglecting his own erection. Your eyes are drawn to the noticeable lump in his pants and suddenly your throat is dry because you’re wondering what it would be like to feel it, to brush your hands along its clothed length. You are a gentleman after all, it’s only fair to return the favor.

Dirk’s stopped laughing at this point and has gone still and you realize you’ve been sitting there staring at his crotch and whip your head up to look at him, face burning. His cheeks are flushed too, and there’s a brief flash of wariness in his eyes. You lick your lips.

“Do you um, need help with that?” What the hell are you even saying?

He grins wryly though, “You don’t have to if you don’t want to…”

“No, I do. We’re well past the point of that kind of embarrassment, don’t you think?” You shake your head, scooting yourself closer so that you can rest a palm on either side of his skinny hips. You feel it as his breath catches and smile a little at that, “But um, forgive me if I’m not quite as good at this?”

He exhales against the side of your face and you run your hands tentatively up his sides, gently stroking along his ribcage and finding it endlessly fascinating how his breath hitches when he breathes in next.

“I think I can forgive you anything if you keep doing that,” he murmurs, right against your ear and oh, that’s nice. You’re far from being able to go another round so soon, but you feel warmth flood your belly again at his voice, low and gravelly and somehow just so mindlessly attractive that he is driving you crazy all over again.

You’re still unsure of what you should be doing here, not knowing what feels good for him or where you should touch. He doesn’t seem to mind as you gently explore though, running your hands up his clothed chest and along his arms, mindful of his injuries. You hear the tiny, pleased sounds he makes as you move your hands lower and you figure that had felt good for you so it was a good place to start.

You toy with the hem of his shirt, “May I?” you ask and grin at his incredulous snort, but he nods and you tuck your hands under his shirt to splay across his toned abdomen. You’ve already seen his stomach and its impressive six pack several times now, but it’s different now as you run your fingers across them with appreciative intent. You explore his stomach and chest carefully, enjoying the feel of his skin under your fingers and how his breath hitches and huffs out every time you discover a sensitive area. It’s not quite like the excitement you feel when he touches you, but having him warm and responsive like this under your hands sends a different thrill down your spine and you admit that you quite like having this power over him. You like it a lot.

He must be getting impatient with your slow exploration though, because next thing you know he’s grabbed a handful of your hair and is wrenching you into a deep, probing kiss. You moan again into his mouth, leaning into him and increasing the pressure of your hands against his chest. You admit to yourself you’re probably no good at this teasing business and decide that you may as well go for broke.

You tentatively reach down to brush your hand against the bulge in Dirk’s pants and are pleased with the reaction you get for it. He gasps into your mouth and bucks up slightly against your palm and you can feel him through the rough fabric of his jeans, warm and firm. He pulls back from your mouth to breathe and you lean up to nip at his chin and along his now-exposed jawline as your hand sets to the task of stroking him through his jeans.

“Ah, Jake,” he gasps out as you experimentally bite down on the skin of his neck. You kiss the reddened area and relish the taste of his skin against your lips, salty with sweat but still sweetly intoxicating and uniquely Dirk, and glance up to see his face is flushed, mouth open and eyes scrunched shut. You bring your other hand to run along one of his thighs, digging your fingers in slightly every now and then to feel the muscles underneath tense and bunch.

“This is good, yeah?” you ask as you close your fingers around his erection as best as you can through his jeans, and his breath catches and he keens, hips bucking off the floor minutely under your grip.

“Yeah, Jake. Fuck,” he groans tilting his head against the side of yours as he continues to rut against the palm of your hand, his hot breath panting out across your cheek and his hand clenching and tugging your hair, sending tremors of sensation down your spine. “Fuck yeah, you’re doing great. So good, so so good, ah!”

His release seems to take both of you by surprise and he bucks up into your hand with a sharp cry, his hand grabbing at your shoulder to find purchase. You work him through it, gently stroking the softening bulge and the wet spot forming in the front of his pants.

Eventually he relaxes against you, his body boneless as he leans his head onto your shoulder, just breathing you in. You remove your hands from his hips and bring them around to pull him against you, smiling into his hair.

“What was that you said about coming in my trousers?” You ask, snickering.

“Oh my god shut up,” he groans, burying his face against your neck.

Chapter Text

tipsyGnostalgic [TG] began pestering golgothasTerror [GT]

TG: jake
TG: jaaaaaaaaaaaake
TG: omfg u had better answr me right nopw
TG: ur bffsy has sum srs matters to discuss w u

GT: Haha well alrighty! Sorry i was a little preoccupied just now…
GT: Whats up? Did something happen?

TG: no nothings happenin here
TG: but i gotta ask u right bak
TG: DID SOMETHIN HAPPEN???

GT: Uhhhh?
TG: u know wut im talkin bout
TG: now fess up
TG: did you tingle dirks dingle yet

GT: Roxy! *blushes!*
GT: Thats rather uncalled for! And totally out of left field…

TG: yah yah wutever
TG: quit the stamperin schoolgirl act and get with tha details
TG: * stammerin
TG: that blushin looks pretty suspect to me

GT: Oh geez.
GT: Should i be concerned with how much interest you have taken with mine and dirks relationship?
GT: It seems like thats all we talk about nowadays…

TG: nah its just more interesting than anythin else goping on
TG: and my own relationship stuffs not much to talk about
TG: over here its nothin but quest bed this and that
TG: im up to my f’n eyebalps with stupid salamadnrs
TG: * eyeballs
TG: * salamanders
TG: BOOOOOORING

GT: Awww! I dont think that sounds boring at all!
GT: Id like to meet my own consorts soon but so far we have seen neither head nor tail of them.
GT: Itd be right smashing to meet some helpful talking animal friends i think.

TG: omg stop bein all cute
TG: im sure youll run into em evntally
TG: * eventually
TG: theyve actually been a lotta help so far ngl
TG: weve almsot figgered out where janeys quest bed is
TG: those gaiz rly take this thing pretty serious
TG: u gaiz r gunna find ur bed right

GT: Yeah dirk mentioned something about that. I think were going to try to switch our focus to that now.
GT: Exploring this world has been a lot of fun but i do realize that time is of the essence!
GT: I hope we find it soon because that undoubtedly means we will be that much closer to all meeting up!

TG: awwww yisssss
TG: bffsys all up in this shit
TG: me an janey gonna get this party started right
TG: shits gunna be off the chain

GT: Hahaha indeed! I cant wait!
GT: I trust that you have been taking good care of her? Jane that is.
GT: We talked not too long ago but i still get the feeling shes avoiding me for some reason. I just worry about her and i hope i didnt say something to upset her?

TG: nah janes been great
TG: and u know u got nothin to worry bout with rlal on the job
TG: weve been havin our own feelings jams and i think she just needs some time
TG: im sure shell come around when we all meet up later

GT: Thats fair enough. More the reason to get to our god tier levels as soon as we can!
TG: u betcha
TG: so enjoy that alone time u and dstri got fer now
TG: WONKWONK

GT: Oh geez.
TG: which btw still waiting on the juicy details
TG: what were u preoccupied with just now hmmmmm

GT: Well er…
GT: Thats kind of a private matter i should think.
GT: Plus a true gentlemen never kisses and tells!

TG: so u WERE doin sumthin??
GT: Ah! No!
TG: …
GT: …
GT: Yes?

TG: come oonnnn spill already
GT: Oh alright if you insist.
GT: What kind of juicy gossip about our love life were you wanting to scope out anyway?

TG: wat base didja get to
GT: Pardon?
TG: second third or aalllll the way to home
GT: Uhhhh.
GT: This method of quantifying physical relationship advances always baffled me i have to admit.
GT: But based on my estimation then possibly somewhere between first and second? Maybe a one point five.

TG: omfg
GT: I mean we kept our clothes on!
GT: And it er felt really nice? Oh who am i kidding it felt bloody amazing.
GT: Geez my face is so red right now im surprised strider hasnt asked me about it yet.

TG: aww yeah thats right
TG: u get sum jakey boi

GT: Its just…
TG: Hmmmm?
GT: Well it felt fantastic and all i just hope next time we both have a little more ah…
GT: Stamina.
GT: I dont think either of us were terribly prepared for that step in our relationship um.

TG: LOLLOL
TG: omfg u guys

GT: Heh. What can i say? Teenage hormones and all that.
TG: well im sure u will b better with practise
TG: maybe i can offer u sum tops
TG: * tips lol

GT: That would be awfully kind of you roxy! Though i do wonder exactly what kind of advice you could offer me in this particular situation…
TG: o jake
TG: u have no idea
TG: i shuld send u my fanfictions sumtime

GT: Im not sure i know what you mean by that but it certainly sounds interesting!
GT: Are those the stories you are always so busy writing? How would those help me and strider out?

TG: omfg so naaive
TG: neways we will get back 2 this later
TG: janeys bein a tightass again and sez we gotta get goin

GT: Ah i see. Well best of luck to you both!
TG: thanx
TG: an go get im lover boy
TG: ;D

tipsyGnostalgic [TG] ceased pestering golgothasTerror [GT]

*

TT: Well then.
TT: That was interesting.

TT: Here is where I attempt to play coy and deny that I have any idea what you’re talking about.
TT: But unfortunately we both know that isn’t true.

TT: Yes, that won’t work very well at all.
TT: I don’t have the words to properly criticize you with at the moment, but this video should suffice.
TT: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLnWf1sQkjY

TT: Oh my god.
TT: You did not seriously just make that comparison.

TT: It seems that you are embarrassed.
TT: Don’t worry, I would be too had I the capacity to express such emotion.
TT: After all I had no idea that years of pining and careful planning could result in such a… Brief climax.

TT: No. You are going to stop that right now.
TT: Am I?
TT: Then again, maybe I should defer to your experience in the matters of ending things quickly.

TT: Christ dude, just no.
TT: We are not going to have this conversation.
TT: I’m cutting this off right now. There will be no more lame jokes made about what is a totally normal experience for a decidedly inexperienced teenage boy having his crush of three years touching his dick for the first time.
TT: I do not want to hear about it.

TT: Fine, have it your way.
TT: But riddle me this, batman.
TT: Is it acceptable to start calling you ‘The Flash’ now?
TT: Because that seems to have more connotations now than just in regards to your fighting style.

TT: I swear to god and all that is holy that I will delete your program file. Do not tempt me.

Chapter Text

The next morning the two of you pack up camp and bid farewell to the cave that has been your home for the past two days. You set off down into the ravine and follow the river at the bottom, using it as a guide as you drift even further away from the ruined laboratory you once called your home. It hasn’t been that long since you entered into the game, but it feels like lifetimes have passed since you were last in your bedroom, laying on your bed watching Dirk repair the Brobot. This entire time has been spent moving forward, never looking back while everything around you has slowly changed. You wonder how far you’ve managed to travel since starting out on this quest, but find you don’t particularly miss your room. You may miss your posters a little though, because those were awesome.

On your way, the two of you stumble upon the entrance to a temple, carved into the side of the ravine. The thrill-seeker in you lights up at the sight, and your fingers twitch as they brush your gun holsters, but a part of you still hesitates, more wary after your last attempt. You look to Dirk, who shrugs and stretches his injured arm, wincing only slightly as he flexes it.

“I’m good,” He says, gesturing at you to lead the way, “Let’s do this thing. Just yanno. No stupid heroics this time, right?”

You grin at him, and lean over to plant a kiss on his surprised lips because you are just so helplessly fond of this boy that you can’t help yourself. He snorts a laugh and shoves you forward, lips twitching into a smirk as you turn and lead the way inside and you’re laughing as well, from excitement and all this energy that’s flowing through you again.

Dirk takes it easy and you do the brunt of the fighting, but despite that the two of you take the place by storm - dodging traps and cutting through monsters with ease and before you know it, you’re standing at the end and reaping the rewards. This time however, in addition to swinging Dirk excitedly into a hug, you lean in and kiss him hard on the mouth. You manage to dip him clumsily, and he lets an exasperated huff of laughter escape against your lips and mutters fondly “You dork,” before leaning into it.

When you pull back he pretends to swoon overdramatically and you nearly drop him when you start laughing - loud, happy guffaws that echo in the large expanse of the treasure room. You let him up and the two of you finish stashing away all the grist you’ve earned, smiling the entire time. On the way back, you can’t quite resist the urge to reach out and grab hold of Dirk’s hand, enjoying the comforting warmth of his palm pressed against yours through his leather gloves.

When you get closer to the entrance, Dirk pauses to inspect a set of carvings on a wall. You can’t make heads or tails of them, but Dirk studies them intently as though if he were to just think about them hard enough, their secrets would reveal themselves. There’s a large symbol at the top that looks like a pair of angel wings, and you figure that must be important somehow, as well as some highly stylized and exaggerated etchings of what look like snakes or lizards or some kind of reptile. Beyond that it all looks like a bunch of chicken scratch. Total gibberish.

Dirk seems satisfied with what he sees though, and the two of you finally head back through the entrance and into the jungle again.

***

You make good time with travelling for the rest of the afternoon, and it feels like you cover quite a bit of distance. Unfortunately you have no sense of scale right now, unsure where the boundaries to this newly formed world are. You wish you had a map of some kind so that you could chart out your position, because somehow you doubt that the stars above you are the same stars that you’ve slept under your entire life, and thus have no way of reading them anymore.

Before the sun has a chance to set, the two of you stop to make camp next to the river. You set about gathering firewood as Dirk perches on a rock and fishes for your dinner with a makeshift rod and line. You don’t have much in the way of bait, but you manage to scrounge up some old lunch meat and some dried fruits from your sylladexes that seem to work well enough. By the time you get the firewood arranged and ready to go, Dirk’s already managed to catch a couple of decently sized fish.

You leave him to it and decide that taking a dip in the river sounds like a good idea. You announce that you’re going upstream to go rinse off, to which he gives a small nod of acknowledgement, too focused on the task at hand. You smile at the picture he makes, perched atop the rock and staring with utmost concentration on the line as it bobs gently in the current, before you head off up the trail.

Once you’ve gone a good ways, far enough so that you don’t think it’ll affect Dirk’s fishing, you strip down and wade out. The water is cool against your skin and for once it feels nice to just enjoy the sensation. Which you do, swimming out where the river is deeper, flipping onto your back and floating aimlessly for a moment. As you drift, you close your eyes, happily allowing your mind to drift and wander along with the sluggish current. You smile to yourself as you dredge up memories of what you and Dirk had gotten up to over the past couple of days.

After awkwardly cleaning yourselves up and changing clothes following your first foray into the realm of heavy petting, things had more or less returned to normal. The two of you had chatted with the girls some, sitting comfortably side by side, and then you had fixed dinner. All par for the course, you had been relieved to note. Some part of you had been a little worried that once your relationship had advanced in that direction it might make things uncomfortable between the two of you. After all, while you had no qualms with what had happened thus far, it still felt like you were treading miles and miles of open water and had no idea what to expect or where to go next.

Dirk had been happy to provide familiar ground for you to work with however, because later he had gotten the jump on you, pinning you against a wall and kissing you senseless. It makes you feel warm and giddy to remember it, because while it had taken you by surprise, your initial reaction had been to push back - giving as good as you were getting - and it had been then you realized that nothing had really changed between you at all. It had been just like your playful strifing earlier in the game, where it was never really about who won or lost, but more about the enjoyment of the moment. The two of you had just given it a new form.

You recall that your movements against each other had still been awkward and unpracticed, more about urgency and need than anything else. He had pressed you harder into the wall, his grip on your hips burning you through your clothes and it had felt so overwhelming that all you had been able to do was arch into it. It had felt so much different than the first time - the two of you moving in sync, rubbing and grabbing at each other roughly as your kisses deepened and the friction between you grew.

In your daydreaming you realize you’ve drifted further down the river where the current is moving a little faster. You change positions so that you’re treading water instead and continue on reliving the memory, eyes closed and arms splayed out to keep you afloat.

The two of you had continued making out like that for quite some time, until Dirk had slid his hand up your shirt again to explore. Your body had felt over-warm wherever Dirk’s hands had touched and you can feel those phantom touches still now as you think about it. How the combination of his leather-clad hands and bare fingertips had sent shivers up your spine. 

Then those hands had gone lower, tentatively fiddling with the fly of your shorts. Dirk had kissed your cheek softly in a questioning gesture that had your heart doing something funny in your chest both then and now and you smile softly at the memory. His head had been tucked against yours, so when you had opened your eyes to look at him you could only catch the brief glimmer of hesitation as he side-eyed you and you had giggled at him because really? Dirk Strider was hesitating again?

“Go on then,” You had said as you unwound your arms from around him, reaching down to grab at the waistband of his jeans in an answer to the challenge he had placed.

He had grinned against your cheek and begun kissing and nipping along your neck in such a way that had you thoroughly distracted from the actions of his fingers undoing your fly. It had only taken him grasping you through the too-thin fabric of your boxers to redirect your focus however, and you bite your lip remembering how that had felt. It had been one thing to have his hand working you through your shorts but this way he could almost fit his whole hand around your length and that had been a fantastic change.

You feel a flush rising to your cheeks as you remember what it had been like to finally come to your senses enough to get one of your own hands down the front of his pants. How after finally getting his pants undone you had been initially shocked to discover he wasn’t wearing any underwear.

He had paused when he noticed your surprised hesitation and had started to quietly mumble some kind of explanation but you weren’t paying attention. Instead you had tentatively reached forward and taken him in hand, shivering both from the feel of him, hot and heavy against your palm, as well as from him tensing his hold on your own erection.

Your memories of what followed were hazy and unfocused at best, because after that point all you can truly remember was the sense memory of how warm his body had felt as he pressed you back against the wall and began moving his hand against you. This only intensified when he had slipped his hand past the waistband of your boxers to grasp you directly, pumping you a few clumsy times before setting a pace that you tried your best to follow. You had worked each other like that, hips jerking occasionally when one of you stroked just right and it had been too hot and too rough and too much for you to process.

You groan unconsciously at the memory and the noise cuts through your thoughts, forcing you abruptly back into reality again. You realize that you’ve drifted quite a ways from the shoreline at this point, and your legs are getting kind of tired from treading empty water. You’ve also worked yourself up again while thinking of last night’s activities and you flush harder as you feel your erection throbbing between your legs.

You swim back towards the shore with the intent of propping yourself up against a rock to continue immersing yourself in this all-too-true fantasy, when you hear a rustling in the brush. You tense, your need to jerk off forgotten as your eyes dart over to where your guns are sitting on top of the pile of your discarded clothes several feet away. You’re caught out in the open here, and don’t have time to dart over to your weapons from your current location, chest deep in the river.

The sound draws nearer, and right as you think you might risk making a break for it Dirk emerges from the jungle and your whole body deflates.

“Hey,” he says as he looks you over, and you flush and don’t think you’ll ever be this thankful for being chest-deep in water ever again, “Sorry, I didn’t mean to sneak up on you.”

“It’s quite alright! No harm done!” You say, proud that your nervousness at being caught off guard hadn’t quite worked its way into your voice. “How’d the fishing go? Finished already?”

“Yeah, dinner’s all taken care of. No need to worry about that,” He says and your eyes widen as he suddenly pulls off his shirt and starts to strip down, “I was hoping you could help me get these bandages off so that I could clean up too, though.”

“O-oh!” You say, hesitating long enough to catch a glimpse of Dirk shucking his pants down - he still wasn’t wearing underwear - before you had the presence of mind to turn around and give him some privacy. It’s not like you hadn’t bathed in the river together before, but now it felt different. It was also doing absolutely nothing to help your flagging erection from just a few moments ago. “Sure thing! It’s about time to change them anyway.”

You hear the quiet splashes as he wades out into the river, and then feel the current change as he gets closer to you. You hazard a glance to see that he’s already waist deep and you meet him halfway. He’s taken off his sunglasses as well, you’re happy to notice. You like being able to see his entire face.

He offers his arm to you and you distract yourself by focusing on unwinding the bandages. “Turn around,” you tell him as you toss the used wrappings the short distance to the shore, and he turns as instructed.

All things considered, he seems to be healing up remarkably well. You gently inspect the sutured skin with your fingers and he tenses only slightly at your touch, which tells you that he isn’t finding it as painful anymore either. After your initial inspection is over and you’re pleased with what you see, you find yourself getting distracted by the feel of his warm skin under your palms. Your body is still sensitive from your earlier fantasizing, and you allow yourself to smooth your hands across the muscles of his back once before pulling away.

“Alrighty, then. All done!” You tell him, and he turns around to face you, “It’s looking really great so far. You still shouldn’t strain it too much but I think we should be able to leave the bandages off from now on.”

“Good,” he says, looking a little relieved, “Those things were starting itch like hell.”

“Come on, then,” You tell him, grabbing his arm and pulling him out towards deeper waters, “I know it’s not one of your fancy showers, but the water still feels nice and I know you could use a rinse.”

His lips quirk as he follows you out, “Is that your polite way of telling me I smell, Jake?”

“Like a sewer, chap!” you say, laughing and holding your nose mockingly as his expression falters only slightly. You’re both treading water now and you dive under to dunk your head. When you resurface Dirk is still just floating there, watching you.

You swim up closer to him, shaking your head and smiling, “I’m kidding, you know? You smell fine.”

“Yeah, whatever,” he grouses, and you’re in the middle of scoffing and readying a retort about how he takes hygiene and appearance way too seriously when the next thing you know he’s splashing you right in the face.

“HEY!” You shout, sputtering and shaking your head and ok, maybe you deserved that but it was still a low blow! On top of that, Dirk’s smirk was just too smug for you to let it pass without return fire, so you don’t give him any warning before you’re splashing him right back and in the next moment there’s a full-out splash war being waged.

You try not to laugh too hard, because you keep accidentally inhaling water and coughing, but it’s just too much fun. You send wave after wave at each other, and within seconds you’re both thoroughly drenched and gasping for breath through your laughter and shouting. When Dirk pauses for just a split second to catch his breath you take the chance and charge forward.

“VICTORY!” You shout, grabbing him by the shoulders and dunking him abruptly underwater. You make sure to thoroughly mess his hair up for good measure, just because you know it’ll piss him off. When he surfaces, spluttering and gasping for breath you swim teasingly out of his grasp as he makes incoherent noises of rage.

His growl is the only warning you get before his arm darts out and grabs you by the leg, yanking you off balance and back towards him. You yelp as your lose your buoyancy for a moment, and then he’s grabbing you roughly and dunking you face-first into the water and everything goes blurry and silent for a moment.

You jerk yourself upwards and heave in a giant breath as you surface, just in time to hear him shout above the splash of water “That’s for my hair, asshole!”

You look up at him and as disgruntled as he appears you can tell he’s not actually mad at you. His hair certainly is a sight however, all mussed and sticking up in weird clumps and you can’t help the snigger that sneaks past your lips. It quickly evolves right into peals of laughter as his frown twitches and his eyes narrow.

“Oh that’s it,” he says, advancing forward and slamming his body into you, dunking you back under. You inhale a mouthful of water, as you were right in the middle of laughing when he dunked you, but you push yourself up and manage to get some air into your lungs before your splash fight goes the way of full-on body grappling.

It’s even more fun like this, and you admit that you’ve really missed strifing with him while his shoulder was on the mend. You missed this full-body contact, roughly pushing and yanking and grabbing at each other as you fought to gain some level of control. It makes your blood sing in your veins and your whole body is going warm and tingly everywhere Dirk grabs you. It’s thrilling and wonderful and you wonder how your jaw is still attached to your face, because certainly your grin must be splitting it right off.

You’ve managed to push yourselves back into the shallows, feet gaining purchase against the ground and adding some leverage to your grappling. You tussle for just a few brief moments, loudly splashing water every which way and working even further towards the shore, before Dirk shoves you over and pins you.

You’re both grinning from ear to ear and breathing hard form exertion and you take a moment to recover, all the fight going out of you and you go limp underneath Dirk’s grasp, the water jostling around your bodies. He’s got your arms pinned above your head and he’s straddling your hips again and it’s such a familiar position that you didn’t realize you’d missed it as much as you had.

“Got me again, eh Strider?” You say, and his breath hitches slightly.

You realize all at once just how naked the two of you are right now. In the heat of the moment, you had completely forgotten that you were both essentially wrestling with each other in the nude. It had been just another bit of fisticuffs between chums to you.

But now, Dirk’s weight pressing down on you feels much more significant. His knees are pressed against your thigh and his hands have a tight grip on your wrists and you are suddenly completely aware of the mood shift the moment has taken. The tension from earlier is back between you and the air surrounding you feels electric. Every tiny brush of his skin against yours leaves you sensitive and wanting.

“Yeah, I guess I do, don’t I?” He says quietly, and your breath dies in your throat as you look up at him, his grin gone as his eyes bore into you, searching. You know full-well the double meaning in his response and you think to yourself that ‘Yes, Dirk. You’ll always have me,’ before licking your lips - partly out of nervousness and partly from the fact that they suddenly feel too dry and too warm. That slight movement seems to trigger something in Dirk because next thing you know he’s crushing his lips against yours.

You moan and arch into the kiss, your whole body feeling alive with sensation as his body presses you into the riverbed. The lower half of you is still underwater, and you can feel shells and sand digging into your back but it makes no difference to you. All you need right now is Dirk pressed against you, his mouth hot and wet and perfect against yours.

He still has your arms pinned above your head and you strain slightly against him. You can’t deny that being restrained like this is turning you on more than you’d like to admit, but you just want to touch him, blast it! To try to give back some of these overwhelming feelings that are racing through your body.

You whine as he pulls back from you to kiss and suck bruises into your neck. He really enjoys doing that, you realize. He likes paying special attention to the soft skin of your neck and shoulders, alternating rough bites that bruise and mark your skin with soft, tender kisses that are just barely brushes of his lips. It all sends shivers of desire racing up and down your spine, making your brain hazy with want.

“Ah! Dirk…” You say, tugging against his hold on your wrists again and gasping as he sucks a particularly hard kiss just under your adam’s apple. “Can you let me-- nnnggg… Can you let me go?”

He barely pauses in his motions, mouthing along your collarbone now. “Please…?” You add on hopefully.

“Now why would I do that?” He asks, looking up at you and settling himself more comfortably on your lap. Your hips are just short of lining up properly and you can feel your newly-regained erection twitch as you think about how if you only shifted your hips just so

“I don’t think I want to let you go just yet,” Dirk continues, smirking down at you, the insufferable prick, “I think I might still be a little angry about that stunt you pulled with my hair.”

You--!” You imagine you’re doing a rather splendid impression of a fish right now, your mouth opening and closing uselessly as you stare at that punchably smug expression. Was he really bringing that up right now?

“Mmm. You’ll just have to put up with it for now. Besides,” Dirk says, leaning up to stare over you, his blonde hair haloed in the quickly-fading daylight. There’s still enough light to see by but everything down here on the jungle floor is starting to go a little indistinct and hazy, just like your brain. Dirk shifts his hips so that he’s got a leg between yours now and ever-so-gently he leans forward to put some pressure against your aching erection. You gasp loudly as he does so, hips bucking at the much-desired contact to seek out more friction.

“I know you enjoy me touching you too much, so just sit back and enjoy it for a little bit.”

You can feel your blood thrumming through your veins at this statement and aren’t sure exactly how to react. Of course it was only a matter of time before Dirk caught on that he affects you more than you let on, but did he fully realize the extent yet?

He leans forward and plants a kiss right between your eyes, at the same time he grinds his thigh against you again. “Fuck!” You groan weakly, attempting with what little leverage you have to thrust your hips back, “You are just… haaah, impossible sometimes, christ!” You break off into a string of obscenities as his lips descend downwards again.

You continue grinding against each other like that for a few moments, and you really wish Dirk would line up your hips for some proper contact down there, but his hips remain where they are. Glancing down you can see his straining erection bobbing between you, feeling as it grazes the muscles of your stomach every so-often and you groan loudly at the sight of it, flushed and leaking against your darker skin. It’s really not just in the way he touches you, after all. Dirk himself is truly a sight to behold and you don’t think you’ve ever been attracted to someone more than this, even considering your bodacious blue babes from back in your room.

Which is totally not something you should be thinking of right now, and Dirk reminds you of this by removing one of his hands from yours to trail down along your chest. He’s still sucking and nibbling along your neck and you know he has to realize at this point how he makes you crazy when he touches you, because his hand is barely touching you in places, gently trailing along the muscles of your chest and stomach and just that is causing you to gasp and moan and arch underneath him shamelessly. You truly can’t help it, though. You’ve never felt like this before and it’s amazing and addicting and you just can’t get enough of him.

Then finally, finally he’s releasing his hold on your hands and the moment he does so you’re reaching down to grab his face and mash his lips back against yours. It’s messy and sloppy and the two of you can barely manage to coordinate your movements enough but you just have to kiss him right now.

You also need to get the two of you back on the same page here, and you reach down to grab his waist, hearing him gasp quietly as you hoist him up and into a better position that has him straddling your hips. Your hips which are now lined up perfectly and when you push him down against you, your cock brushes his in such a perfect way that it leaves the both of you gasping and moaning into each other’s mouths.

“Better,” You gasp, grabbing at his hips and pushing him down against you again, leaving the both of you shuddering.

“Yeah,” He agrees, voice shaky as he works his hips against yours now. He’s gripping your shoulders and each thrust of his hips has both of your cocks - slick with pre-cum and river water - sliding against each other and it just feels so good that you’re having a difficult time concentrating on much else at the moment.

In fact, you keep trying to kiss each other but it’s barely more than an awkward slide of lips. Neither of you have the coordination to deal with both kissing and rutting against each other like you are, so instead you just close your eyes and gasp a string of obscenities into Dirk’s mouth. You don’t know what you’re even saying either, probably damning things about how stupid he makes you and how much you care about him or some other sappy nonsense but it doesn’t even matter. Because it’s all perfectly true and he does make you crazy and stupid and all kinds of other things, especially with his fingers digging into the skin of your shoulder, and how each rough slide of your cocks against each other has you turning into a puddle of sensation and desire underneath him.

It really takes no time at all before you’re nearing your peak, frantically bucking up against him and losing what little coordination you had managed to scrape together. You can feel him getting close too, his fingers tightening in your skin and his breath coming out in keening whines every time you manage to get your hips to align just so.

You think you’re just shy of going over the edge together when suddenly there’s a loud crash from behind you that has the both of you freezing in place.

Your blood, which had been pulsing hot, is now ice in your veins. You can’t quite tilt your head back to see what’s heading towards you from your position pinned into the riverbed, but you know that both of you are unarmed and caught with your proverbial pants around your ankles like this. You’re both tense and suddenly nervous, and Dirk jerks his head up as whatever is charging through the brush comes out into the open, and you can see him sag visibly at whatever it is.

“What is it?” You say, assuming it’s not a monster from Dirk’s reaction. You twist yourself so that you can see too, but don’t have to move too far because soon enough the new member of your group comes walking into your line of vision.

“Brobot!” You exclaim, and the excitement you feel at seeing him again is quickly overshadowed by the realization of the position you are currently in. You blush what you can only assume is the most vivid shade of red possible, based on how quickly you feel your face heat up. “Um… Bad timing, old chap.” You tell him, not sure of how his computerized brain might be processing this new information about his master and creator. He doesn’t seem to be particularly phased by it however, as he just keep staring down at the two of you with those blank, expressionless LED eyes behind plastic shades.

“I’ll say,” Dirk grumbles in frustration against your ear, and he goes limp on top of you for a moment. You groan in agreement, because the moment was now officially ruined and you had been so close to coming. You can feel your erection wilting yet again and wince in over-sensitive discomfort as Dirk finally lifts himself up and off of you to address your new companion.

You grumble and sit up, feeling the mud and sand and other gunk sticking to your back. You glance behind you to see Dirk producing a towel from his sylladex and drying off before fixing his glasses back in place so that he can properly address the Brobot. You leave them to it and instead wade back out into the river to give yourself a final rinse. You could also use a cool down as well, because after two failed attempts to get off you are starting to feel a little irritable.

“Hey, Jake!” Dirk calls out to you after a few moments and you can see him gesturing you to swim to shore, “Come check this out!”

You swim in and take the fresh towel that Dirk offers you and begin to dry yourself off. Dirk - who has dressed himself at this point making you feel that much more self-conscious - looks to Brobot, whose glasses flicker before beams of light are shining out of them to form a 3D projection of what looks like a rather intricate map.

“Oh hey! That’s a neat trick!” you exclaim, looking at the layout of the map as Dirk smiles and shakes his head at you. Darkness has started to set in more fully now and it helps the dull glimmer of the hologram stand out better. The topography on the map appears slightly familiar and it’s not until you see the volcano and lagoon at the southernmost edge that you realize exactly what you’re looking at.

“It’s a map of the area!” you announce, glancing up at Dirk who’s looking pretty pleased with himself behind those glasses. You don’t find it as aggravating this time though, because this is genuinely a pretty cool thing that you’re seeing right now! “Was this what you sent him off to work on while we were exploring?”

He nods and you smile widely, turning back to the hologram and leaning in to inspect it more closely in your excitement. There’s a glowing dot which you assume is your present position that’s somewhere near the northwestern corner, and you spend a moment taking in the surrounding area and the temple entrances that are nearest to you. The idea of being able to plan your next exploration out makes you antsy and excited to get moving again, but something else catches your eyes.

“What’s this?” you ask, pointing to what looks like a small village on the eastern edge of the map.

“If I’m correct in assuming so, I think that’s a consort village. It’s a pretty big cluster too, so I would guess your quest bed should be close by,” Dirk says.

“I take it that’s where we’re heading next, then?” you ask, still eyeing the nearby ruins scattered around your area. Dirk hesitates only slightly before his response.

“Well, yes. We could still stand to climb higher in our own echeladders before then though, so don’t worry,” He says with a fond smile, “There’s still plenty of adventuring and exploring that we can do on the way.”

You laugh sheepishly because of course Dirk saw right through you. Brobot’s glasses flicker again and the hologram disappears from in front of you, everything suddenly becoming much darker in the quickly fading light. There’s a loud growl that startles you suddenly, before you realize it’s coming from your stomach. You are positively starving.

Dirk laughs at that. “Come on, get dressed and then we can head back and get dinner started,” he says, and you realize that you are still very naked and blush as you scramble over to your clothes and dress yourself quickly.

The three of you set off and Brobot’s glasses once more prove themselves useful as they shine brighter to light your way back to camp.

***

After stuffing your face with the delicious fish that Dirk had caught earlier, the two of you relax for a while in front of the fire. Dirk sends you a digital copy of the map for you to pull up and explore on your husktop and you content yourself with studying it and figuring out which temples you want to try to hit up tomorrow. Meanwhile he sits next to you, distracted by something on his glasses. When you ask him about it he just says dismissively that he’s talking with Jane and won’t elaborate further. You make a face at him for keeping secrets but it doesn’t really matter. You know he’ll tell you if it’s something important.

Brobot has wandered off into the jungle again to keep an eye on any imps or game monsters that might sneak by in the night. Even though he had interrupted the two of you earlier, you have to admit that it’s nice having him back. As much as his surprise attacks had been a pain to deal with, for the longest time Brobot had been the only thing around that made you feel like you weren’t entirely alone on your island.

Dirk had fiddled with his settings so that he wasn’t in active strife mode any more, which is an added bonus to his return. Dirk says that he still has that capability, but won’t act on it unless he’s engaged by someone or something. Which makes sense considering what Dirk had sent him off to do - Brobot needed to be able to observe instead of running around looking for a fight.

You finish making adventure plans and are starting to get bored waiting for Dirk to finish up his conversation, your mind inevitably starting to wander again. You’re still feeling kind of weird and irritable about not finishing with Dirk earlier and you’re kind of hoping that he might be up for another try at it before you both go to bed. You flush again, remembering how it felt to have him pinning you to the ground. It felt nice, but Dirk was always the one pinning you lately. You wonder what it might feel like to reverse the situation?

Your chance to find out arises shortly after you’ve imagined it, when Dirk sighs heavily and flops back onto your sleeping pad, removing his glasses and setting them off to the side. He runs a hand through his hair and he looks pretty drained. You scoot closer to him.

“Is everything alright?” you ask, because it doesn’t look like that had been just any silly old conversation between pals. He’s got an arm thrown over his face, but he removes it so he can meet your eyes, propping himself up on his elbows.

“Yeah everything’s fine,” he says, and you frown because you really aren’t buying this.

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, I’m sure,” he says with a tired smile, and that’s only marginally convincing. “Just… got a lot on my mind. The girls are getting close to Jane’s quest bed.”

“Oh! That’s a good thing, then!” You say, smiling to think of Jane being able to achieve such an accomplishment. You really can’t wait to see her and Roxy, and it will be all the more exciting when you’ve all gotten your cool powers and such.

“Yeah,” he says, closing his eyes and laying back. He’s still sounding distracted and tired, but this was also the first long day of travelling you’ve done since he injured his shoulder, so you figure that must be a contributing factor.

“Say, Dirk?” You ask, because you know he’s tired but you still kind of want to have another go with him. He opens his eyes slightly to show you that you have his attention.

You bite your lip before making a decision and shifting up and over so that you’re lying on top of him, figuring that you’re rubbish with words anyway. He starts only slightly as you settle on top of him, but he relaxes easily, bringing his arms up and around your waist. One of his hands runs up and down your back absently and it sends a pulse of warmth along your skin that quickly spreads throughout your body.

“Hmm?” He asks. His head is resting between your elbows and he’s regarding you with a fond quirk to his lips that you lean down and kiss.

“Do you think we could, um,” you say quietly when you pull back, feeling a little flutter of nerves in your stomach at the way he’s looking at you right now, “Perhaps finish what we started earlier?”

He laughs quietly, barely a huff of air past his lips as he shifts and presses you a little harder against him. “Yeah, I think I can get on board with that,” he says, before leaning up to kiss you again and you smile against his lips.

You sit up so that both of you can take your shirts off and unbutton your pants before getting too worked up to deal with it. You’re learning quickly based on how your first two times had gone - first coming in your pants and second getting jizz stains on both of your shirts. Also it feels silly to be prudish about this sort of thing at this point.

You get a little distracted when Dirk starts to kiss your bared shoulder and down towards your nipple, which he takes into his mouth right as you’re trying to push your pants off your hips. You yelp as he tugs gently at the sensitive skin with his teeth, breath hitching when he brings his arms back around your waist and runs his fingers down your shoulder blades.

Dirk...” You whine, pushing him backwards as you manage to rid yourself of your shorts. He lies back, arms behind his head as he watches you strip, and there’s that silly self-satisfied smile again. You shake your head in exasperation before crawling over him to settle between his legs, getting rid of that smirk of his by kissing him thoroughly.

You admit that you quite like this position on top of him. It’s nice to be able to press him down into your sleeping pad, feeling his arms wrap around you and hear the quiet noises he makes as you kiss him and trail your hands down his chest. It’s especially good when he arches and spreads his legs underneath you, making it easier for your hips to settle down against him and rub your forming erections together.

Despite your earlier eagerness down by the river, the both of you now take your time, kissing long and slow and unhurried, gently rolling your hips together. The fire is nothing but burning embers at this point, making you both dim, indistinct shapes to one another, and the air is quiet and still save for your quiet gasps and moans.

It’s less overwhelming for you like this. You’re still burning hot at every place you and Dirk are touching, and you shiver every time he digs his fingers into your back or squeezes your hips between his thighs, but it’s more of a slow burn under your skin than an all-out explosion of fireworks. It’s easier to drift along with the sensations, allowing yourself to pay attention to the way Dirk sounds, how he tastes, how he smells - sharp and boyish with the faintest trace of motor oil and sweat. You want to stay close to him like this forever.

But it can’t last forever, unfortunately, and you feel yourself getting closer and closer, chasing your release as your hips pick up the pace ever so slightly. He grunts and bucks up underneath you, obviously getting closer and needing more as well. You shift yourself so that you can prop yourself up over him as you reach down between you to grasp the two of you - slick with sweat and pre-cum - in your other hand.

“Oh, fuck yes,” Dirk hisses underneath you as you gently pump the both of you. You can’t help but answer with a low moan of your own at the way it feels having his dick pressed against yours like this.

The next few moments are a dizzy haze of thrusting against each other that gets gradually more and more uncoordinated. You bite your lip in an attempt to hold back the flood of words and nonsense that always wants to force its way past your lips in moments like these, but can’t quite manage it. Mostly you just find yourself chanting Dirk’s name over and over as you rut down against him, and he’s clutching at your back and biting out curses of his own against the skin of your shoulder until suddenly his hips are arching up against yours and you feel his cock twitch against yours as he comes, shouting your name.

“Oh my god, Dirk,” you groan, and it only takes a few more thrusts into the circle of your hand before you finally cross that finish line as well. He gently rubs his hands along your back in encouragement as you shudder above him.

Finally you slump down on top of him, thoroughly spent, and you both take a moment to just breathe and recover. His hands are still rubbing soothing circles into the skin of your back and it feels so pleasant and warm and safe that you just don’t want to leave the circle of his arms ever.

Eventually he mutters something about you being heavy and gently thwacks you on the shoulder to get you to move, so you do, sliding off of him but snuggling right back up against his side to pillow your head on his chest and smile up at him. He returns the smile and reaches up to run a hand through your hair, gently combing it back and forth with his fingers. It’s soothing and you close your eyes for a moment to enjoy it, humming happily.

A moment later you hear Dirk producing something out of his sylladex before you open your eyes to watch him gently clean himself off with one of the towels from earlier. He passes it to you so that you can wipe yourself off as well. When you lie back against him, he’s managed to grab the sleeping back and brings it up to cover you both.

You lean up to kiss him, soft and sweet and happy before settling back against him and closing your eyes, “Good night, Dirk.”

“’Night,” He says, and it’s the last thing you hear before succumbing to sleep finally. 

Chapter Text

You dream.

Most of your dreams nowadays are weird distortions of long-forgotten memories. Sometimes they’re of strange places and people both familiar and not - people who you could swear you’ve seen before but can’t quite put your finger on it. They’re easily dismissed when you wake, and only ever leave you with a vague sense of uneasiness.

Other times, like now, your dreams are a little more lucid. Sometimes you cross paths with these strangers and can actually strike up a conversation with them - ghosts of past worlds flowing in and out of your dreamspace as easy as breathing. The strange spider girl - Aranea - is one such acquaintance that you’ve been seeing more and more frequently lately. She seems to be drawn to your dreams in particular.

Right now the two of you are in your old room - your comic books and guns and other random junk strewn on the floor around you. She sits indian-style across from you, grinning faintly, her blank eyes creased in amusement.

Gosh, she’s awfully pretty - she always makes you feel a tad flustered when she smiles at you from behind her cat-eye glasses like that.

“Hello, Jake. I take it you’re enjoying playing the game so far?”

“Yes!” you say, nodding, “Yes, so far it’s been absolutely bully, if I do say so myself! I can’t wait to see what else is in store!”

“Good! I’m glad to hear that! There are so many different things you can do while playing, I know you’ll do well!”

She continues to smile at you and you find yourself jittery with excitement as you wonder what secrets to this game she might disclose this time. She had revealed to you - before your game had even started - that she herself had played a version of this game as well, before she was killed.

It turns out she knew quite a lot, and had many different theories regarding possible gameplay and the importance of each player’s decisions. You’ve spent hours of dreamtime listening to her talk your ear off about the subject. Most of it sounds pretty darn complicated and flies right over your head, but it’s intriguing to listen to.

“Dirk and I are making plans to head towards my quest bed next. How exciting is that? I might be able to go God Tier soon! Then I’ll be just like you!”

You’ve been excited about this for so long now that it’s baffling when you notice Aranea’s frown. After all, what could be bad about gaining such an esteemed title? In fact, it seemed like next to actually beating the game, reaching God Tier was a pivotal part of this thing’s gameplay. Aranea herself had mentioned that she had reached her highest title as Sylph of Light, so what could be so bad about this?

“What is it?” you ask, the giddiness that had been bubbling in your chest going stale.

“Well, it’s just...” She starts, then sighs before regarding you with a sad expression, “Jake, do you know anything about what it means to attain God Tier?”

“Um, well, you find your quest bed, right? Then something about taking a nap on it I think...” To be quite honest, you hadn’t really thought much about what the requirements for reaching God Tier actually were. You just knew that it was important and had trusted that Dirk knew what to do.

Your lack of comprehension seems to disappoint Aranea, and she shakes her head.

“Well yes, at its very basic that is indeed what you have to do. However, the ‘nap’ you are required to take on your bed is rather permanent...”

You frown, brain working to parse this knowledge, “I’m not quite sure that I follow you...”

“Jake, in order to reach God Tier you have to die on your quest bed.”

Silence.

“Oh,” you say faintly, “That sure puts a damper on the situation, doesn’t it?”

Her lips quirk a little at this, but her expression remains serious, “There’s more to it though. You have to satisfy a number of requirements in order to successfully achieve ascension. One of which is that you need to have an active dreamself to assume control after you die in this world.”

Your heart sinks, “But, my dreamself is...”

“Dead. Yes, I know. Which is what concerns me about this plan of yours to find your quest bed. Once there you won’t be able to do anything. If you die there, you won’t come back. You’ll just be dead. Like me.”

“But...” you start, and then stop. But what? There were the facts, laying plain in front of you. There was no way for you to attain God Tier at this point. Finding your quest bed was pointless, and yet...

“Dirk must have something in mind,” you say, stubbornly. “A smart guy like him must have an idea or two up his sleeve.”

Aranea smiles sadly at you, “I hope for your sake he does, Jake. I know the two of you have gotten close lately, but do you really trust him with your life?”

“Yes,” you reply, without hesitation. After you say it, you’re shocked for a brief moment at how much you truly mean that. You’ve trusted Dirk for as long as you’ve known him, blindly following him and listening to him every step of the way, no matter how far-fetched his ideas were. He was your friend, and he’s never betrayed your trust in him. Placing your life in his hands feels natural.

However despite your best efforts, a part of you can’t help but feel a little apprehensive. Dirk’s always been a secretive guy and you’ve never really pushed the matter, but this is kind of big. At the very least you kind of wish he would let you in on what he’s planning, especially with your life on the line like this.

You do trust him, and you know he must have your best interests at heart - he always has in his own roundabout way - but you just wish he would show that same trust in you.

Your mind is reeling, but when you glance up Aranea is smiling at you and you feel your face melt into an answering grin. She reaches forward and brushes her cold, ghostly fingers against your forehead, smoothing back an errant lock of your hair.

“I enjoy these conversations of ours, Jake, but now it’s time for you to wake up,” Your smile fades and you’re about to protest but she cuts you off, “Talk to Dirk. I know you trust him, but it can’t hurt to find out what he has in mind. I’m not telling you to doubt him, but this is your life that’s on the line. You have a right to know what he has planned.”

Your stomach does an uncomfortable roll at the suggestion, but you have to agree that she has a point.

“Alright, I will,” you tell her.

You feel a slight pressure against your forehead where her thumb presses against it, and the last thing you see before you wake up his her smiling face.

***

You wake with a start, as you often do after talking with Aranea. You sit up, knocking the arm Dirk had wrapped around your shoulders off, and your vision sways in a sudden moment of dizziness. Your mind is still back in the dream with Aranea, and it takes you a second to come to your senses.

Right, the game. You’re still in this jungle, sitting on a mat with Dirk’s sleeping bag pooled around your naked waist. It’s not as dark as the last time you remember - the fictitious sun is rising in the distance.

“You okay?” You hear Dirk ask you, and look down to find him awake and giving you a sleepy look of concern.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to wake you up,” You attempt a sheepish grin.

“It’s fine,” Dirk sits up. His voice is still a little sleep-rough and he places a hand on your shoulder, rubbing it absently. You feel a fond warmth go through you, but the moment is ruined when your mind drifts back to the dream you just had, and you frown. Of course Dirk notices, annoyingly perceptive despite having just woken up.

“What’s wrong, Jake,” He says, and it’s not a question. You sigh, resigning yourself to the upcoming discussion.

“I suppose you wouldn’t just take ‘Nothing’ and leave it at that?”

“Nope.”

You curl into yourself, hugging your knees to your chest as Dirk continues to rub soothing circles against the skin of your shoulder. He doesn’t push you, but you can tell he’s going to keep waiting until you say something. It doesn’t stop the shiver that runs down your spine at the sensation of his fingertips against your skin.

You still don’t really want to talk about this. It had been nice when it was just the two of you and the thrill of adventure, not this confusing mess of thoughts tumbling through your brain. You feel thrown again, like you had when Dirk had been leaning against the brick wall with arrows sticking out of his arm and dripping blood everywhere. You don’t really know what to do with this heavy feeling in your chest.

Why did the threat of death have to keep following you around like this? After all, this was all supposed to be a game, right?

“I don’t want to die, Dirk.” you say, almost choking on the words as they come tumbling out of your mouth.

His hand on your shoulder stills.

“For the record, I don’t want you to die either,” He says carefully and the feeling in your chest shifts, clenches down hard.

“But I’m going to, aren’t I?”

“Wh-” Dirk starts and you turn to catch his eyes, watch his eyebrows raise slowly, “Why would you think that?”

He looks genuinely startled and for a moment you wonder if maybe he didn’t know after all. If maybe he overlooked a detail or two and wasn’t aware of the price of getting you to God Tier. It was possible, after all.

“I was talking with Aranea about the game,” You start explaining in a rush, because Dirk already knows about your dream conversations with dead aliens, “about how excited I was that we were nearing my quest bed and... And she told me about ascending. About what was required in order to do so.”

You watch Dirk’s face as you talk, how his eyebrows draw together and then his expression goes completely, carefully blank. You watch it happen and it feels like a section of your stomach bottoms out. Somehow you manage to keep talking though, needing to get this off your chest before you lose your nerve. Or punch him. You’re not exactly sure which might happen first, because frustration and anger are starting to bubble beneath your skin like an itch you desperately want to scratch.

“The player has to die on their quest bed and is then reborn through their dreamself. Or something like that, it was all rather confusing, but the bottom line I got was that death was involved in some way and you have to have a dreamself to take over for you in order to go God Tier. A fact that I find a tad worrisome since I happen to be down one dreamself.”

You watch his face for a reaction, any kind of change to indicate this was new information to him, but it remains a blank slate and you lick your lips, mouth suddenly dry.

“So, I’m going to die and that’s it. No coming back, no God Tier. Zip, zilch, nada,” Anger starts to seep into your words without your permission. You can’t help it though, because you are angry. Angry that he hid this from you, forgot to tell you, is planning to let you die - seriously, what the ever-flipping fuck was that about?

“No, Jake. That’s not what’s going to happ-” He starts to explain, still staring at you with that same level expression and you don’t want to see that face anymore. He knew. He knew this whole time and hadn’t told you and it’s so much worse to have it confirmed like this than just imagining the possibility.

You cut him off, so sick of that look on his face and needing to wipe it off somehow.

“Then tell me, Dirk! What is going to happen? Because obviously you’ve been aware of the requirements this whole time and conveniently neglected to share! So enlighten me! How on earth can this end in any other way than my sudden and permanent end?”

“That’s not- You’re not going to... I’m not going to let you die, Jake,” He huffs in frustration, running a hand through his messy bed-head and normally you would find it cute but all you can think right now is thank god he’s not giving you that calculating look anymore, like you’re just another variable in a complex math problem he’s working out, “Technically what you’re saying is right, but none of it will matter. I’ve got a plan to fix everything so just trust me on this, okay?”

“That’s the thing, though! I do trust you!” You shout, the last sentence coming out strangled and a little high-pitched, like your body was trying desperately to hold on to the words. His eyes widen, confused.

“I trust you, so much that apparently I’d risk my life on it,” You continue, quieter, “I just wish you’d trust me in return.”

“Jake...”

Dirk never gets a chance to say anything further, because there’s a rustling of bushes at the edge of the clearing and then brobot is suddenly standing at the edge of the campsite.

Dirk gets up to retrieve his glasses, as well as to pull on some pants - because the two of you basically just had an argument in your birthday suits - and starts up a silent conversation with the automaton. You decide to get dressed too, because it’s better than sitting there simmering in your frustration. You’re feeling tense and jerky and just need to do something.

As you’re retrieving a breakfast bar from your sylladex Dirk heads back over. His glasses are firmly in place, blocking his eyes once again and you feel another uncomfortable stab of irritation at the sight.

“Let’s get packed up and moving. Brobot says there are some larger imps hanging around and I’d like to avoid an ambush this early in the morning.”

“Right, okay then,” You say, mentally wincing at the terseness in your tone. Dirk’s posture goes stiff and you sigh. “Whatever, let’s just go. But I’ll have you know that we aren’t through talking about this.”

“Fine.”

The two of you pack up camp and are on your way in record timing. In all honesty you hope the two of you do get jumped by some game monsters soon. You’ve got a lot of pent up frustration you need to get rid of, and it’s better than taking it out on Dirk and his still-healing shoulder.

After all you were angry at the guy, but that didn’t make you a total jerk.

***

The two of you are in a new temple within half an hour of leaving camp and proceed to unleash all sorts of hell on the imps guarding the place. By the time you reach the treasure room at the end, the two of you are panting for breath and covered liberally in imp slime. You’ve also rocketed up several levels on your echeladders.

“Not much further now is it?” You remark later, as the two of you settle down for lunch, “We’ve almost maxed out our levels at this point.”

Dirk just nods at you from where he’s tucking into his sandwich.

“So is that part of it, then? Your master plan?” You ask, frowning down at your own food. You were still plenty mad at him but now that you’ve had a chance to blow off some steam you’re feeling a little more reasonable.

“Not... exactly,” Dirk starts after a long pause, “But it doesn’t hurt to be stronger, right?”

“I suppose,” You agree.

The atmosphere is still pretty stony between the two of you, and you’re about to ask more questions when from somewhere in your sylladex you hear the chime of one of the girls pestering you. As you pull your laptop from your sylladex you notice Dirk has that faraway look on his face he gets when he’s talking to someone on his shades. Both the girls then.

You open your laptop and see Jane’s familiar blue text for the first time since entering the game.

gutsyGumshoe [GG] began pestering golgothasTerror [GT]

GG: Jake!!
GG: Jake, I did it!

GT: Congratulations jane!
GT: Er.
GT: For what am i congratulating you on? What is it youve done exactly?

GG: I made God Tier!
GT: OHH!
GT: Then congratulations indeed! That is some spiffing news!
GT: How does it feel to be on top of the world? So to speak!

GG: It’s pretty amazing! :)
GG: I just woke up on Prospit. New clothes, new abilities, everything!
GG: Hah! I can actually fly now! Not just the floating aimlessly my dreamself was able to do before.
GG: Flying! How absurd is that?

GT: I dunno jane! It sounds like itd be pretty dang fun to me!
GT: Shucks though im so happy for you!
GT: I shouldve known youd be the first of us to make it! Being such a clever and upstanding sleuth!

GG: Oh hush. :B
GG: I just wanted to catch you up on the good news! Roxy’s told me that you and Dirk are closing in on your own quest bed, so you should be able to join me pretty soon I wager!

GT: Yeah…. I um.
GT: I guess so!

GG: Then before you know it all four of us can go fly around together!
GG: Won’t that be fun?

GT: Indeed! I’m looking forward to it.
GG: Gosh though, I better get back to Roxy quick. I left her in quite a state.
GG: Good luck with your quest, Jake! We’ll see each other soon! :)

GT: Same to you too missy! Dont let all that power go to your head now!
GG: Hoo hoo!

gutsyGumshoe [GG] ceased pestering golgothasTerror [GT]

You close your laptop and smile ruefully to yourself. Despite your reservations regarding your own ascension, and despite how poorly your morning has gone so far, this news from Jane has really brightened your day. You really are happy for her, because just think of what a thrill it would be! Nifty new powers and the ability to fly anywhere you wanted.

You sigh to yourself and glance over at your partner who is still conversing with his shades. You wonder if Jane talked to him too, or maybe it’s Roxy?

Roxy. She would have been there when Jane - when Jane ascended. Meaning…

“Is that Roxy? Is she ok?” You ask, realizing all too suddenly what Roxy must have seen, the hand she may have had in what just took place.

“Yeah, she’s fine,” Dirk says, slowly, still following along his own conversation, “She’s a little shaken, but she’ll be alright. Jane is heading back to her now.”

“Good,” You sigh in relief. You’ve been so wrapped up in thoughts about your own potential demise that you’ve barely spared a thought for what this must mean for your friends. After all, dying on your quest bed was one thing but there had to be someone to pull the trigger too. So to speak.

You don’t know how you’d handle it if you had to kill Dirk. The thought alone leaves your stomach rolling.

Dirk stands and stretches carefully, “Good news for Jane, in any case,” He says, neck popping as he rolls it from side to side. You watch as the stitches in his arm stretch with his movements. You had warned him about straining that arm, but he barely winces as the skin pulls.

“Wha- Oh! Yes! She’s really excited about the whole thing!”

Dirk nods, absently and you toss your laptop back into your sylladex just as Dirk begins to tread back into the forest. You hurry after him, swatting errant leaves and vines out of your face.

This thing between you and Dirk was still weighing you down, but at least it feels like the knot in your stomach is unwinding just a little bit. Trust Jane to brighten your spirits in the middle of a crisis. At least your group was getting that much closer to being as strong as it could be.

***

By the time you reach the next temple, at least two hours have passed and you have to admit you’re feeling a little winded. The trek out of the valley had not been an easy one and the higher you climbed the more difficult the terrain seemed to get. Even Dirk was breathing heavily, leaning up against a nearby tree to catch his breath.

You take a swig of much-needed water out of your canteen and then toss it over to Dirk, who catches it easily. He takes a drink and tosses the jug back to you, which you fumble and nearly drop.

“Come on, let’s get to it,” He says and heads up the slope to the temple entrance without another thought. You stash your canteen away and follow after quickly, not quite knowing what to think of this anymore.

Yes you’re still frustrated with Dirk and you want him to talk to you, but it seems in bringing up the issue he’s distanced himself even further from you. It’s infuriating all over again. You find yourself missing the back-and-forth banter the two of you had kept up when you had started this journey - trading jokes and goofing off while you explored. It’s not just the emotional distance either - Dirk has been keeping several paces ahead of you, when before you were both in each other’s spaces. Close enough for those small glancing touches to play hell with your senses. Now everything feels like it’s strictly business and you don’t even know how to start fixing it.

The two of you enter the temple and Dirk takes point, keeping a close eye out for any traps or imps or what have you. He’s still hyper-vigilant and you can almost feel the tension coming off of his shoulders. It’s giving you uncomfortable flashbacks to just before Dirk had gotten shot and you feel a sudden need to call this off. To go back because seriously, Dirk getting hurt again was not worth all this.

And isn’t that a funny thought for you to have? To suddenly be wary of continuing onwards when before you would have rushed head first into danger without a second thought.

“Dirk, I think maybe we should turn arou--“ you start to suggest, but before you can get another word out the two of you enter into a deep cavern and imps are upon you. There’s no time for second guessing or turning back, all you can do is focus on putting bullets in the enemies in front of you.

The two of you rush through the cavern, felling enemies left and right. It’s a pretty spectacular feat, all things considered. Each temple you enter seems to have larger numbers of enemies to contend with and they seem to be increasing in strength at the same rate you are. Experience is on your side however, and the two of you collect your grist and reach the other side without a scratch.

“What was that about turning back?” Dirk asks, a grin playing at his lips and for a moment you can’t help but smile back because this feels like old times again. He’s leaning into your space, warm and sweaty from the fight, and reaching up to brush a smudge of imp slime off your cheek.

Your breath catches at the contact and you’re suddenly aware of the fact that the two of you haven’t actually touched each other since this morning. His thumb is barely there but a moment but the sensation lingers, warm and pleasant and it’s like a jolt of lightning down your spine.

Dirk pauses with his thumb hovering distractingly next to your face. He’s no doubt carefully taking notice of your reaction and filing the knowledge away, processing it and putting two and two together. Your face heats.

“Come on, then,” You say, ducking away from his hand and heading through the next corridor, “Can’t be much further to go now.”

“Yeah…”

You lead the way this time, easily making your way through the tunnel into cavern after cavern filled with monsters. It’s only when you’re closing in on the final room that everything inevitably falls to shit.

You can even see the gleam from the grist cache waiting through the exit now, it’s right there in front of you. There’s one last imp you and Dirk have to contend with and he’s proving to be rather annoyingly difficult to finish off. It doesn’t help that your rhythm is still off - you and Dirk aren’t quite the well-oiled fighting team you once were. You’re both getting in each other’s way as you dodge each attack and attempt to parry.

You trip each other up one last time and right as the both of you are attempting to fall back into your fighting stances, a giant black arm is hurling Dirk across the cavern into a wall.

Your blood runs cold for a moment as you watch him slide to the floor, but he gets his feet back under him and takes a moment to catch his breath. Having determined he’s ok for the moment you whip around to face the brute lumbering towards you.

Dirk eventually re-joins the fight and the two of you manage to best the giant. When it finally explodes in a fountain of grist you take a moment and flop right down on the ground to catch your breath.

“Holy bajeezus! That sure was an ordeal, wasn’t it?”

“Entirely unnecessary,” Dirk agrees, using his sword to lean against.

“You’re ok though? You hit that wall pretty hard.”

“Yeah, fine,” Dirk grunts, standing up straighter and putting away his sword. “I’m ready to be fucking done with this place though, come on.”

You groan and mourn the lost moment of relaxation, before hopping up and following him into the treasure room. You whoop excitedly as you cross the threshold, however - Your excitement at reaching the end of an exploration winning out over your exhaustion and emotional turmoil once more. You hurtle headlong down a side path, collecting grist as you go and leaving Dirk to wander towards the center platform of the room.

After you’ve had your fill of collecting spoils, you head back up to the center platform. Dirk is still leaning against it, just watching you run around. You frown, because that’s not like him at all. Usually he’s right there with you, albeit with a little less youthful enthusiasm.

“Hey, what’s up?” You ask, when you get closer, “Are you sure you’re ok? You’re usually not one to pass up a romp through the grist cache.”

“Said I was fine,” Dirk grunts again, but there’s a tension in the corners of his mouth that gives his pain away. You frown.

“Alright then, come on. Let me see that shoulder of yours,” you say, motioning for him to turn.

He does so with some reluctance, moving to lift his shirt out of the way but then gasps and winces when he does so. You move forward in alarm and that’s when you notice the red spot blooming on the back of his shirt.

“Dirk…” you say, breath catching in your throat. You help him get his shirt off with a few more grunts of pain on Dirk’s part, finally getting a good look at the arrow wound that was now open and bleeding fresh. You suck in a deep breath as you start to dab the blood up with Dirk’s shirt, anger washing over you in a sudden wave.

“You flipping idiot!” You watch him flinch, and whether it’s from your words or from a more forceful dab of cloth against injured skin you can’t tell, “Were you really going to try to hide this? I can’t believe you!”

“It’s not a big deal, ok? It’ll be fi-“

“Shut up! Just… Stop talking right now, ok?” You cut off his protests, getting fresh suture material from your sylladex and forcing him to sit on the raised platform so you can stitch him back up again. “I can’t think clearly right now because you are just a prize moron, Christ.”

“Jake.”

“Shh!!” You cut him off again and he tenses as you carefully start to re-stitch the wound. You feel a small bite of satisfaction when Dirk hisses in pain as the needle punctures his skin, “I mean, I don’t get it. Why do you have to be so stubborn all the friggin’ time? You don’t have to do everything by yourself, you know? I’m here too, I can help you, you bullheaded prick! You just have to let me!”

You stab him a little more forcefully than needed with the needle and he cries out. You mutter an apology and feel your anger deflate. In its wake a worried melancholy begins to creep in, making your chest go tight. All you want to do was help. Why can’t he see that?

“Why can’t you just trust me?” It comes out weaker than you meant, words catching and tangling in your throat, “You know how much I care about you, you giant dunderhead, why can’t you let me in?”

You’ve finished stitching him up now and idly apply a bandage to his back so it can try to heal again. You smooth the bandage out and lean forward, huffing a breath against the sweat-damp skin of Dirk’s neck. He’s still tense as a rock.

“This isn’t about my shoulder anymore, is it?” He asks quietly and you roll your eyes. Because of course it isn’t. It’s everything that’s been building up between you these past few weeks. How you feel like you’ve reached some kind of breaking point now and don’t know what to do. There wasn’t any turning back for you now, you know that much.

“Why the hell did I have to fall in love with such a jackass?” You mutter and it’s only when Dirk makes a noise like he’s been punched in the gut that you realize what you just said.

“What… What was that?”

“Oh my god,” You make a strangled squeaking noise and sit back up, handing Dirk his ruined t-shirt which he just tosses carelessly to the side, “Can we just, can we just get going? Your shoulder’s patched again, just don’t try another stunt like that because I’m about at my wit’s end because of you I swear to--“

“Jake. What did you just say?”

You feel pinned by his stare and he hasn’t even bothered to take those shades off, heaven help you. You feel your face heating again and you know your apologetic grin is nowhere near convincing right now.

“Don’t know what you mean?”

He’s clearly not buying it. Shit.

You decide to try to save face by turning around and heading right back out the way you came. Hopefully he’ll follow along and leave it alone and then the both of you can forget this ever happened. The moment you turn to leave though, he reaches out and snags your wrist.

You’re unable to protest as he pulls you back and presses you against the platform, both your wrists trapped in his hands as he leans into your space. All you can do is stare wide-eyed up at him and ride the wave of sensation that races up your spine from where he’s touching you. You’re panicking because you hadn’t meant to say that out loud, how embarrassing, but your nerves slowly slide away when you take in the wide smile splitting Dirk’s face.

You shouldn’t be surprised when he kisses you but it manages to take your breath away all the same. He presses against you desperately and there’s so much emotion in the way he’s kissing you that you can barely keep a handle on your own reeling thoughts. Your hands twitch uselessly in the grip Dirk has on them and you try as best as you can to keep up with him, tilting your head and pressing your lips eagerly against his with a quiet groan.

When he pulls back his lips are slick and red and your brain goes a little hazy for a moment.

“Now tell me what you said, Jake. Again.”

You have a moment of confusion because Dirk kissing you threw all your thoughts into a jumble. When you finally realize what he’s asking you go pink in the face again.

“I, uh…”

“Say you love me again,” Dirk says, leaning in to brush a kiss to your cheek and you go weak at the knees when you feel his smile against your skin, “I want to hear you say it for me.”

“I do,” you manage finally, “I love you. I really, really love you, you stupid beautiful bastard, god only knows wh--“

Your words are cut off when his mouth slots back over yours again and his hands are now cupping your face, holding you still while he kisses you silly. You’re finally able to reach out and grab onto his hips because you need to anchor yourself somehow. You feel adrift in all the emotions you’ve just gone through today, and right now it’s all just a little overwhelming.

Dirk leaves your mouth to start sucking kisses into your jaw and neck, moving downwards until dropping to his knees. You give him a confused look but he doesn’t even pay you any mind, going straight for the buttons of your trousers.

“Dirk, what are you--“

“Shh, Jake. Now it’s your turn to shut up,” he says, glancing up at you with a wicked tilt to his mouth. That does it, your brain is officially offline. Jake English is not at home.

You barely register him getting your pants open or shucking them around your knees, but when he palms you through your briefs he has your full and complete attention.

“Oh my god.” You groan, pressing your hips into his touch. He makes a pleased noise, grip going firmer around what he can grasp of you through the cloth. Just kissing him had gotten you halfway there already, but you can feel all your blood travelling south at a right quick pace as Dirk continues to fondle you. His other hand is gripping your hip, fingers sliding up your shirt and pressing into your skin, sending sparks of sensation ricocheting up and down your spine. Heavens did that feel amazing!

“Not complaining, but, mmm, you couldn’t wait until we - Ah! Got outside? Set up camp or something?”

“Nope,” And if you thought his hand had felt nice, it was nothing compared to the shock of him leaning forward suddenly and breathing hot and heavy against your clothed erection.

“Jiminy Christmas!” You hiss, and Dirk just keeps pressing his mouth against you, leaving open-mouthed kisses along your dick from the bottom up. By the time he reaches the tip of you, mouthing around the head and attempting to suck it into his mouth through your underwear, you are having to bite your lip because of how painfully hard you are. Your underwear is soaked no doubt in Dirk’s spit and your precome but you don’t even care. All you care about is that Dirk continues to keep his mouth on you exactly how he’s doing.

His mouth moves downwards again, pressing kisses to the base of your erection and mouthing your balls through the damp fabric while his fingers find their way to the waistband of your briefs. Your hands twitch uselessly at your sides, not quite knowing what to do with them, where to put them. This wasn’t so much a step up in your relationship as it was a pole vault and your brain is still scrambling to catch up with the fact that Dirk apparently intends to put his mouth on your cock, Christ on a cracker.

And then Dirk’s peeled your underwear down over your hips, freeing your erection to the cooler air of the cavern and you suck in a breath at the feeling. His hands move up to press into the skin of your bare hips and you can’t look down, you can’t see what he looks like right now, kneeling between your legs and staring at your cock with intent because that’s just too much. It’s all too much.

It’s still too much when he actually gets his mouth on you and you can’t stifle your surprised cry when he presses a kiss to the head of your cock. He continues to kiss you there, moving down and then running his tongue along you from base to tip.

You’ve got your eyes closed because you seriously can’t look, you’ll just embarrass yourself and come right there. Your hands have at least decided they need to get involved in the proceedings because you can feel them blindly reaching out and feeling Dirk’s hair, winding the strands between your fingers and gripping to hold yourself here. Every time you tighten your grip Dirk hums or groans in appreciation and the sound is just so lewd, coming out muffled or around a slurp as he licks you like a flipping popsicle.

“Fuck, Fuck, Dirk oh my god,” You moan, hips twitching with the need to buck up against the warm heat of Dirk’s mouth. The hands on your hips keep you still however, Dirk’s fingers digging into your skin so hard you think there may be bruises later.

Then, oh god Dirk is sucking you entirely into his mouth and you’re surrounded by tight wet heat. He reaches down with one hand to grasp whatever he can’t fit in his mouth and then he’s sucking, moving his mouth up and down the length of you and you can’t do this much longer. There is no way you can hold out and you try to warn him before you embarrass yourself again but don’t have time to because the next thing you hear is him pulling off of you with an entirely unnecessary ‘pop’ and then his voice, thick and rough.

“Jake, look at me. Open your eyes.”

Reluctantly you crack one eye open and then the other as they widen and lock onto the sight of Dirk. Your hands are still in his hair, messing it up beyond any level of repair and at some point he’d removed his shades so that his eyes meet yours clearly, pupils blown wide and almost no amber left in his gaze. His mouth is spit-slick and reddened and there’s a positively criminal flush spreading from his cheeks and down his neck and shoulders. He’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen in your entire life.

“Oh my god I love you so much,” You blurt out, watching as that happy smile splits his face again before he leans back in and this time you watch as he takes your flushed erection into his mouth. Watch it disappear past his lips and how his cheeks hollow as he moves up and down and that’s it. You are done.

Your orgasm rips its way out of you and the only warning you have time to give is a tightening of your fingers in Dirk’s hair followed by a strangled cry. Your hips strain against his grip as you proceed to come right into Dirk’s mouth.

When you finally come back to your senses you’re greeted by the sight of Dirk licking his lips thoughtfully, rubbing at the come - your come - dripping down his chin. You groan, tilting your head back and closing your eyes again because that sight should not be as hot as it is.

“Sorry, sorry! Oh my god I didn’t mean to, not like that! I just, wow,” Your brain is still not quite firing on all cylinders right now, but Dirk just laughs quietly from where he’s still kneeling on the ground.

“It’s ok, Jake,” Dirk says, climbing slowly to his feet. You open your eyes when you feel him brushing a kiss to the corner of your mouth and you want to protest because of where his mouth just was oh my god but then you find yourself curiously tilting your head towards him, brushing his lips with yours. He stares at you for a moment, before actually kissing you.

He’d managed to clean most of your spunk off of his face but there’s still the lingering taste on his lips and in his mouth when he opens it to you and that is just the weirdest thing to you. Tasting yourself in Dirk’s mouth like that. If you hadn’t just come as hard as you did, you’d almost be ready to go another round just from kissing him like this.

Instead, you continue to make out up against the platform still pressing into your back. Dirk is slowly rutting his hips against your thigh and you can feel his erection straining against his pants. Dirk had just raised the bar particularly high in your sexual exploits, and you aren’t quite sure you’re ready to reciprocate quite at that level yet but you can at least give him some relief.

You tangle one hand in his hair again, keeping his head in place as you continue to fuck his mouth with your tongue while he presses against you, riding your thigh to seek out some friction. You reach down with your other hand to undo the clasp on his belt and slowly attempt to unbutton his jeans.

Dirk whines against your mouth when you finally get a hand down the front of his pants, getting a grip on where he’s hard and wanting for you. He bucks his hips up into your grasp, his hands coming up to fist into your shirt while you stroke him with what is starting to become a familiar rhythm.

He pants and groans into your mouth while you pick up the pace, twisting your wrist just so and causing Dirk to clench his fists harder into your shirt.

“Fuck, Jake, ah!” He buries his face into your shoulder, clinging to you harder as his hips piston erratically against your grip. You stroke his hair, kissing the side of his face as you feel him shake and fall apart against you.

“Shh, I’ve got you, it’s ok.”

His hands release your shirt, reaching up and grabbing your face and he lifts his head to press sloppy kisses against your mouth. His soft groans and curses are muffled by your lips while you continue to stroke him. It doesn’t take very much longer before Dirk lets out a shout and his whole body goes tense as he comes in your hand.

You murmur comforting words against his jaw as you work him through his release, his hips jerking with aftershocks as he clings to you tighter.

After a moment of him breathing heavily against your neck, he leans up and kisses you slowly, closed-mouthed and smiling against your lips. The hand you’d had tangled in his hair drifts down to caress the skin of his back, carefully minding the bandage when your fingers brush over it.

“I love you too, Jake,” Dirk murmurs against your lips, still smiling. Your heart clenches.

***

Eventually you manage to clean yourselves up using Dirk’s ruined t-shirt. Dirk borrows your own shirt in the meantime and the two of you make your way back out of the temple and into the jungle again. By now night is starting to set in and the jungle is quickly getting darker around you.

You head off again in the general direction of where your quest bed lies, stopping once you find a suitable clearing to make camp in. At this point Brobot has caught up with you and assists in preparing dinner while the two of you set up sleeping mats and bags. It isn’t until you’re sitting beside the fire eating your dinner together that the day starts to really catch up with you.

What happened in the temple didn’t exactly solve any of the issues between the two of you. Dirk seems to have warmed back up to you but he still hadn’t entrusted you with his plan about your quest bed yet, nor has he really done much else other than try to distract you from it, it seems. You want to bring the subject up again but a part of you is afraid of going back to the tension and silence from this morning. You don’t know if you can handle that again.

Dirk takes notice of your mood shift while the two of you settle in for bed, wrapping his arms around your torso and pulling you back towards him. You can’t quite hide the tension in your shoulders and he presses a kiss against the back of your neck in a soothing gesture.

“Jake, what’s wrong. I’ve been listening to you think too loudly all evening.”

You sigh in frustration, figuring it’s a matter of inevitability at this point. The two of you are going to be at odds over this issue forever unless you fucking talk about it.

“It’s just… We should be reaching my quest bed in the next day or two and I still don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Dirk goes rigid, arms tightening slightly around your waist, “Jake, I told you already I--“

“I know! I know, you have a plan. I get it. And I trust you! I really, truly do, Dirk. But I still just wish you’d let me in on what this plan is at some point, so I’m not an anxious mess by the time I’m supposed to, for all intents and purposes, die.”

Dirk is quiet for a moment, and you’re afraid he’s going to pull away, that he’s going to get up and leave you or something and you don’t want him to. You want him to stay here and talk to you for once in his freaking life. In an attempt to stop this you reach down to grasp his arms, grabbing one of his hands and tangling your fingers with his. His breath hitches.

He doesn’t leave, however. He sucks in a deep breath and leans forward again, resting his forehead against the back of your neck.

“I will, Jake. I’ll tell you everything soon, ok? Just… not now. Right now, I just want to go to sleep. I’m tired of arguing with you.”

“Ok, fair enough,” you say in relief. It’s not a perfect answer but it’s something at least. Progress. And you have to admit you’re pretty tired of fighting too.

“Go to sleep, ok? We can talk about this tomorrow.”

“Alright. Goodnight, Dirk.”

“Goodnight, Jake.”

You close your eyes, and bite your lip for a moment, listening as Dirk’s breaths slowly even out behind you.

“I love you,” You say quietly.

His fingers tighten around yours and you feel his smile against the skin of your neck.

***

That night, instead of being visited by beautiful blue spider-alien girls, you have another, entirely unexpected guest.

You feel weightless in this dream. Your eyes are closed tightly and no matter what you do you can’t seem to bring yourself to open them. It’s not dark, however, as from behind your eyelids you can tell the world beyond is a bright, vibrant place. There’s a whisper and murmur of voices all around you, and there is a melancholy in the air that makes you sad to the very core of your being.

You wonder what on earth could be so sad.

Suddenly the voices around you shift into sounds of surprise and alarm. Some cry out and others just gasp and you feel something settle above you, the skin of your eyelids darkening as a shadow passes over top of you.

“It’s time to wake up, Jake!” a voice says, and you feel the soft press of unfamiliar lips against your own.

You’re finally able to open your eyes suddenly, and as you do so you are greeted by the sight of Jane.

She’s floating above you, eyes closed, and she’s kissing you.

Chapter Text

Jane is kissing you.

This is a concept you are having a hard time wrapping your head around, because the kiss is all… weird. It doesn’t actually feel much like a kiss at all, more like she’s sharing something with you. Unlocking a piece inside of you and releasing something pent up that you weren’t even aware was missing. You feel energy flowing through you and out into your limbs and suddenly you can move again, can breathe.

You’re so startled by the sudden rush of life flowing through your body that you involuntarily jerk upwards with a gasp, heaving in a great gulping breath.

There’s a sudden blinding pain as your forehead slams into Jane’s, her cry being the last thing you hear before you black out.

You come to once again wrapped up in Dirk’s arms. Your whole body spasms as you gasp awake, eyes flying wide as you continue to heave in great breaths. Your whole body is screaming for air still. There’s a desperate feeling clawing at your chest, like you might never be able to breathe again.

Dirk grumbles behind you, shifting forward as his grip tightens around your waist.

“Mmnn… Jake…”

“S-sorry, old chap! Didn’t mean to wake you…” You settle back against him, trying to calm your still-racing heart.

“Is this gonna be a regular thing now? You waking up freaked out because of weird dreams?”

You laugh weakly, “Ha ha, I guess? I don’t know…”

He shifts again, arms moving until he’s able to reach one of your hands and slide his fingers back through yours. It goes a surprisingly long way in getting you to calm down and you suppress a shiver when his thumb idly strokes the skin of your hand.

“You’re alright, shhh,” Dirk murmurs, “Go back to sleep, mmm?”

You nod, already feeling much better. You concentrate on the sensation of his fingers laced through yours, the soothing rhythm of his thumb stroking your hand. The warm puff of his breath against the back of your neck.

You feel safe and warm, and eventually drift back off to sleep. Pleasantly blank and uninterrupted by strange dreams this time.

***

By the time you wake up in the morning, the dream you had seems foggy and distant like a memory. You still have no idea why you would dream of Jane kissing you - of all things! - or why you would have had such a reaction to it. Jane was a fine dame, you can’t imagine having such a panic attack over getting to kiss her!

Still, you’re hesitant to tell Dirk anything about it. Your relationship still felt as though it was a little on the rocks, despite everything that had happened. As absurd as your dream had been, telling him you were dreaming about kissing Jane? You couldn’t imagine that going over very well. Best to keep mum on that topic for now.

Neither of you had said much when you finally woke up, though it did take a surprising amount of effort to pry Dirk off of you. He had still been wrapped around you like a particularly clingy barnacle and refused to budge no matter how much you had shifted and wriggled. He must have been pretty tired!

You still have plenty of thoughts buzzing around your head when the two of you sit down to breakfast. There was the dream, obviously, making you feel weird and jittery, plus there was also the fact that Dirk had promised that he would let you in on his plans at some point soon.

Well, time was running out and Dirk still wasn’t talking. Based on the map that Dirk had sent you from Brobot, the two of you should be reaching your quest bed sometime in the next day or so. You didn’t want to broach the subject, out of fear that Dirk would just close up again and you’d lose all the ground you had gained yesterday. Waiting for him to bring it up, however, was making you even jumpier than usual.

You’re almost relieved when you reach the first set of ruins for the day, eager to let loose some of this pent up energy bouncing around in your head. For a while you give yourself over to the fight, taking out monsters and relishing the fact that Dirk seems happier now. The two of you are back to your old routine of bantering teamwork and it warms your heart to have it.

You give him the customary Jake English victory smooch upon finishing your quest, laughing as he kisses you back eagerly. Your happy grin sticks to your face, even as the two of you head back out, hand in hand.

You exit into the bright jungle once more, and no sooner have your eyes adjusted to the light than you hear the bushes in front of you rustling.

At first you think it might be Brobot, coming to assist you on the next length of your journey, but Dirk goes tense next to you. His grip is tight and white-knuckled on the hilt of his sword and you fumble for your firearms, suddenly anticipating an ambush.

What pops out of the vegetation is a type of creature you haven’t seen before. A small, orange snake slithers out, pink tongue flicking in and out of its mouth. It stops the moment it sees the two of you and makes a frightened noise before hurriedly turning back for the safety of foliage.

You glance over at Dirk and the face he’s making at the bushes. When you glance back, you can still see the snake’s head in between the gaps of leaves and the whole bush seems to be shaking as the thing trembles.

“Aw, it’s scared! C’mere lil’ fella! We won’t hurt ya!”

You crouch down, craning your head to get a better look underneath the foliage. You can see the little guy’s tongue still flicking in and out of his mouth and give the best disarming smile that you can as you reach out towards him.

“It’s okay, you can come on out!”

Slowly, it pokes it’s head out, still eyeing your hand warily. You briefly glance to Dirk who’s still watching you, his features creased like he’s still worried or something.

“Jake, I don’t think that’s a good ide-“

Your attention goes back to the snake as you feel the soft, ticklish sensation of its tongue darting out to taste your hand. You beam down at it.

“There you go! Nothing to worry about, lil’ guy!” you say, curling your fingers until you can carefully brush them against the side of its scaly skin. It seems to smile, nuzzling its head against your fingers while making a pleased hissing noise.

You laugh as it slithers closer to you, continuing to make that strangely happy noise as you stroke the top of its head and neck. You notice out of the corner of your eye that Dirk has put his sword away and is approaching slowly.

“Now where did you come from, hmm?” You wonder aloud.

“My village!” The snake says.

You lose your balance and your butt hits the ground.

“You can talk!”

“Well of course I can, silly!” The snake hisses, seeming put out now, “Why wouldn’t I?”

“Ummm.”

“What are you two doing out here, anyway? Don’t you know there are dangerous monsters guarding these temples? It’s not safe here!”

“Well, w-we were just exploring! Um,” You look to Dirk for help, feeling entirely out of your depth. He just shrugs in response.

“You should follow us back to our village! It’s safer there, the monsters don’t come near us.”

“Us?” Dirk asks, looking around suddenly. The snake turns its head around and hisses something into the underbrush. Soon enough, another orange snake appears from under the leaves to join the first.

The new snake peers at you and Dirk, eyes narrowed and calculating. You feel a little strange to be under such a scrutinizing gaze from such a small creature.

“You can follow us if you want! The village isn’t very far from here.” The first snake says, smiling.

“Your village,” Dirk says slowly, “It doesn’t happen to be near a giant tower with a bed on top of it, does it?”

You whip your head to stare up at him just as the snakes do the same.

“Why yes, it is!” the first snake exclaims, tongue flickering back and forth even faster now, “So you are familiar with the legend of the Page that is to save us from ruination, then?!”

You groan, because of course. These must be your land’s consorts. Roxy had mentioned way back in the beginning about the cute animal inhabitants of her and Jane’s worlds. You should have known better!

“You could say that, yes,” Dirk gives you an amused look and you stick your tongue out at him.

“There are some who think he has already arrived,” Says the second snake, who seems more interested in the two of you now, despite not being as excited as its counterpart, “There is a rumor that the monsters that drove us out of our treasured temples are being slain by a mysterious hero.”

You and Dirk share an awkward look.

“It’s why we came out here!” says the first snake, “Since you two have been travelling, have you seen him perhaps?”

“Umm, we haven’t run into anyone, no….” You say, not sure if you should admit that not only had the two of you been taking care of the monster problem, but had also potentially dipped liberally into the consorts’ treasure stashes.

You had been excited to meet the animal consorts of your land, but now that you have you feel kind of embarrassed!

The first snake looks disappointed by this news, but the second snake is still eyeing the two of you with interest. It almost reminds you of the calculating look Dirk gets sometimes, and you wonder if the game did that on purpose.

“We’d be happy to follow you back to your village,” Dirk says and the first snake perks up, “We were heading in that direction regardless. As long as you don’t mind if we make a couple of stops along the way?”

“Not at all!” the first snake replies, “We should go though, before we lose the daylight!”

Dirk nods and leans down to help you back on your feet.

“Why don’t we just go straight there?” You ask him quietly, brushing your pants off as you stand up. He runs a hand down the back of your shirt and you suppress a shudder at the sensation, feeling your cheeks go a little pink at the contact.

It’s not that you didn’t want to stop exploring, far from it! It’s just you figured that with the end so close in sight Dirk might want to cut straight to the chase.

“Because, we still have those last few levels in our echeladders to hit,” He explains, hand lifting and moving to your elbow where it lingers as the two of you follow after the two snakes down the jungle path, “It can’t hurt to be a little more prepared, right?”

“No, I suppose not,” You say, smiling in relief.

Anything to postpone dealing with your quest bed.

***

Despite the new travel companions, your pace through the jungle doesn’t slow a bit. You reach the first temple in your list of pit stops in good time, this one jutting above the thickening jungle in an impressive skyscraper of a building. You whistle as you look up, admiring it for the architectural feat that it is, especially having been built by snakes.

Dirk instructs the snakes to wait outside while the two of you enter the towering structure. The snakes make distressed noises about the monsters inside but you give them the good ol’ double pistols and a wink as you dart after Dirk through the entrance, promising you’ll be right back.

Floor after floor you climb, taking out each room full of monsters and imps as you go and dodging several creative traps. The imps continue getting stronger but at this point you and Dirk are a coordinated team and have no difficulty passing through. You climb up further and further, endlessly it seems like, until at last you reach the treasure room at the top.

You take a moment to rest this time, noting that both of you have only one level left before maxing out completely. You nudge Dirk excitedly when he flops down next to you and he leans against you with a smile that you have to lean over and kiss quickly. For tradition’s sake.

When you set about gathering your spoils your mind begins to drift as it usually does. Mostly because you’re still a little disconcerted that Dirk still has yet to mention anything about his plan to get you to God Tier. You’re trying not to let it bother you, you really are, but it’s hard. Especially with the end so close in sight now.

After all he did promise! You wonder what he’s waiting for, especially since you’ve had plenty of time alone where he could have brought the topic up. Like now, for instance.

You look up and watch as he methodically goes along the opposite side of the room, gathering up grist. The snakes are downstairs and the two of you are alone. It would be a perfect time to talk, yet he’s over there. Not saying anything.

You sigh quietly and shove your thoughts into the back of your head again. Stressing about it won’t make Dirk talk any sooner, after all. No, Dirk would bring it up when he was good and ready, you just had to trust in that.

A distraction from your thoughts comes soon enough. Right as you’re done collecting the last of the treasure, you hear a noise from the entrance and both you and Dirk whirl around to see both snakes in the doorway. They’re staring at you with wide, wondering eyes and you realize that the jig is apparently up.

“Woooow!!” the excitable snake says, tongue flickering faster than you’ve seen it go yet, “I can’t believe it! It was you all along!”

“I thought as much,” The other snake says, looking satisfied with itself.

You laugh nervously, eyes darting from the snakes and over to Dirk who just shrugs at you again. You huff. Some help he is.

The excitable snake is moving closer now, wriggling in it’s enthusiasm, “This is amazing! We always prophesied that there would be one savior, not two! You’re both heroes!!”

“Well, shucks! It’s really not that big of a deal...” you try to explain, but the snake is having none of it, winding around your feet making excited hissing noises.

“Don’t be modest, it’s amazing! You’ve rid us of a scourge of monsters that has befallen our prized temples! There must be celebrations tonight and you both will be guests of honor!”

“Guests of what now?” You ask, turning and watching as the snake makes it’s way over to Dirk who had been snickering into his hand this whole time. You glare at him, but it dissipates into laughter as you notice the face he makes when the snake brushes up against his leg.

For some reason Dirk seems pretty weirded out by these reptilian consorts of yours. Every time they come near him, he tenses and represses the urge to shudder while side-stepping away. It makes you laugh because who knew that Dirk Strider would be afraid of snakes?

“There will be a feast tonight,” The snake still in the doorway says proudly, “We have been greatly anticipating your arrival, Pages!”

“A feast?” You parrot back dumbly. You had been excited to meet your consorts, but all of this attention was sure making you flustered!

A feast didn’t sound all that bad, though. Especially after so long with only survival rations, alchemized food items, or the few animals you’ve managed to catch. It’s been a long time since you’ve had a decent meal, actually...

“We’re very grateful,” Dirk finally chimes in, moving closer to you as the snake excitedly slithers off, “And we’d be happy to join you, but first we’d best take care of the other temples along the way.”

“Of course! We will gladly lead you to the next location! There is much to prepare however, so let us hurry!”

“Oh, and he’s the page by the way,” Dirk says, punctuating this remark by clapping a hand on your shoulder. You go stiff as both snakes stare at you, “I’m just a... travelling companion.”

You shoot him a glare as both snakes hiss excitedly at you, babbling something about how they knew the page would come, and something about how regardless the two of you were heroes.

None of what they’re saying is really registering however. You’re distracted from their babbling by how Dirk’s stare is pinning you in place and the playful tilt of his mouth. The way he slides his hand over your bicep, reaching out to brush his thumb against your chin.

You flush and tilt your head away, your heart racing from that brief touch. It was innocent enough, but the way he was looking at you now and how just that small bit of contact had your knees going weak was making it difficult to breathe.

Also, having that kind of reaction in front of your new friends was probably not the best idea. You start for the door with a nervous laugh.

“Haha well, let’s just get going then! Monsters to take care of and all that!”

The snakes follow you out, Dirk bringing up the rear with that smug look still plastered all over his face.

Bastard.

***

The journey to the final two sets of ruins takes a little longer than you had expected. The jungle now is getting thicker, the plant life growing larger and more expansive the further you go, obscuring any visible path. The air also feels more oppressive, the plant life dripping and oozing moisture all over the place. Everything feels damp and it doesn’t take long for your shirt to start sticking to your chest uncomfortably.

Brobot meets up with your party after you exit the second temple, much to the surprise of the snakes. They dart into the bushes the moment he appears, and it isn’t until you excitedly greet him that they crawl back out, eyeing the robot warily.

Having Brobot there makes the journey much easier and he cuts a swath through the jungle for you to travel through. It gives you a sense of relief as well, because all this nonsense with consorts and prophecies and your imminent demise still have you feeling out of sorts. Brobot is something from your past, from before all the confusion of the game, and having him there is familiar and comforting.

Not to say that Dirk hasn’t been a comforting presence either. It’s a little eerie how well Dirk can pick up on your moods and he’s been lingering closely as you travel. You can tell he’s feeling the heat as well, his white t-shirt sticking and going almost see-through in places, but it hasn’t stopped him from hovering.

It’s not uncomfortable either, and in a way it helps make everything less oppressive. The little brushes of his hand against yours, his small quiet expressions that you catch out of the corner of your eye, everything brings a smile to your face and helps you settle into the situation.

Even if you’re still a little upset that he hasn’t said anything to you about his plan.

By the time you finally set out for the village, both of you have finally maxed out your echeladder levels. You celebrate the moment by launching yourself at Dirk with a giddy laugh, hoisting him up just like the first time you saw him and swinging him around. This time though, instead of yelping in surprise Dirk laughs back, holding on and allowing himself to be swung in a wide arc.

You’re not even embarrassed when he leans down and kisses you, even if it is right in front of the two consorts.

As you close in on the village, you run into more and more of the tiny snakes. Your two travel companions eagerly announce who you are and before you know it you’re walking into the town with an entire entourage of snakes, all hissing excitedly and shouting your praises.

Dirk is looking increasingly more unnerved by the sheer number of snakes around you, but you can’t help but get swept up in the festivities. You greet every one of the new creatures you’re introduced to, even if it gets overwhelming very fast. They all want to meet you and Dirk, thanking you for taking out so many of the monsters.

You’re a little humbled by the experience, especially when you discover that many of these creatures had actually been living in some of the ruins you’d explored. They’d had to re-locate themselves when the monsters flooded in and could now move back thanks to you. You can’t help but feel a little proud of yourself, despite the fact that your initial reasons behind exploring the ruins had been admittedly self-serving. At least some good had come of it!

You and Dirk explore the town while dinner is being prepared, meeting even more snakes as they rush to-and-fro. Everyone is bustling about getting things prepared so you do your best to stay out of their way.

The entire village seems to be carved out of the ruddy stone you’ve grown so accustomed to seeing, but there are still plenty of trees and bushes lining the pathways. There are shops and fountains and gardens and all sorts of interesting places all throughout the village, teeming with life and giving you plenty to explore.

Rising ominously from behind the town is a tower of rock with a stone staircase spiraling up it’s length, ending in a flat platform on top. It towers over the entire village, casting a great big shadow as the sun shifts across the sky. At the very top you can just make out what seems to be four pillars with globes at each tip and assume that must be where your quest bed lies.

Seeing it right there in front of you makes your blood go cold and you feel the edges of panic start to claw at your stomach. It’s right there in front of you. The place where you’re going to die.

You try your best to quell your rising hysteria, putting on a smile while you walk through the village with Dirk and Brobot. Inevitably something must show in your expression because Dirk finally pulls you aside, just when you feel on the verge of tears.

“Jake, hey, it’s ok,” He says, cupping your face gently in his hands and causing you to shudder involuntarily. You’re embarrassed to be caught in such a state and having Dirk touching you like this threatens to undo you completely.

“Just breathe, man. You’re ok,” Dirk continues in a soothing voice, and you close your eyes for a moment and suck in a shuddering breath. You focus on his voice and the way his thumbs are gently stroking the skin of your cheeks and you feel yourself calming back down.

“Sorry,” You’re finally able to choke out, “I’m just scared.”

It’s painful to admit, that you’re still so frightened of this thing, but Dirk doesn’t hesitate in tugging you in for a hug. His arms wrap around you and you bury your face in his neck for a moment, breathing him in. He presses a kiss against your temple and you suppress another shudder from the contact.

“It’s ok to be scared,” He says after a moment, and you want to roll your eyes because this is partly his fault anyway. What does he know of being scared? “We won’t go anywhere near your bed until tomorrow, ok? Just try to enjoy the dinner tonight and get some rest.”

“I’ll try,” you mutter, letting some of your annoyance seep into your words.

He pulls back slightly to look at you but you can’t meet his eyes. Instead you stare down between the two of you at your feet. You hear him sigh, his arms loosening around you after a moment.

“Jake, I promised you that you weren’t going to die and you won’t. Not for real.”

Now you look up, hoping that finally, finally he was about to say something about his plan. You can see him thinking his next words through, until he finally sighs again, removing a hand to run it distractedly through his hair. He slides his shades off and rests them on top of his head, staring at you without anything between you now.

“Remember how you need an active dreamself in order ascend to God Tier? I know you’re concerned because your dreamself is already dead but that’s about to become a non-issue becau--”

“There you are!” A voice says from next to you and both of you look over to see the small, excitable snake staring up at the two of you. You move out of Dirk’s grasp just as he awkwardly drops his arm from around your shoulders.

“The feast is nearly ready, I’ll show you to your seats!”

“That’s great!” You say, summoning some enthusiasm while mentally you’re ready to scream in frustration. What did Dirk mean by ‘non-issue’? How can your dead dreamself become un-dead?

And now you’re thinking of Zombies. Great. Zombie dreamself-Jake.

“Come along!” The snake says, slithering off down the path towards the center of town. Dirk moves away but holds his hand out expectantly.

“Just trust me, ok? You’ve got nothing to worry about,” He says.

You huff out a frustrated breath and reach out to take the offered hand. The gesture is at least somewhat comforting, and your little group makes its way to the center of festivities.

***

It turns out you were right in anticipating the feast - dinner is just as delicious as you’d hoped! There are tables set up throughout the town square, and every single consort appears to have turned out for the shindig. There are platters of cooked fish and birds, plus different types of stew and a few vegetable dishes the snakes appear to have put together just for you and Dirk.

By the time everything is done, you feel full to bursting and completely worn out. All you want to do now is curl up and sleep for several hours while you digest.

Luckily the next stop in your tour of town is your bedchambers. Your two snake guides show you to a room that has been prepared with plenty of pillows and blankets, all heaped into a pile on the floor.

Turns out these snakes didn’t have much use for beds, but were very fond of cushions and throw rugs.

You eagerly set into putting together a blanket fort with some assistance from Brobot and a very bemused Dirk. When you had exclaimed that you could make a right fantastic fort with the materials in front of you Dirk had made a face. A face that said he had never truly known the joy of an amazing blanket fort. Such disbelief needed to be fixed, by golly!

You admire your handiwork proudly when you’re finished, taking a step back and nodding appreciatively. Having finished helping the two of you, Brobot turns and heads out. Presumably to stand guard outside of your door. You’re never sure what’s whirring around in that computerized head of his.

Dirk still has that amused smile on his lips as he looks at your magnificent creation. You wait for some smartass remark but he keeps his mouth shut for once, which you assume is a good sign.

“Come on, then!” you say, eagerly lifting aside a blanket and flopping down onto the pillows underneath with a happy sigh. Dirk follows and lays down next to you, still smiling as he removes his shades and sets them carefully aside.

The blankets surrounding you also block the view of your quest bed from the window in your room. It’s pleasant and comforting to have them all around you like this and you still feel happy and full from dinner. Dirk is a line of warmth all along your side and you tilt into him unconsciously, closing your eyes and feeling sleep slowly grabbing hold of you.

He makes a pleased noise, reaching over to wrap an arm around you. Before you’re actually able to drift off, however a chime from your somewhere within your sylladex rouses you. You listen to it chiming for a moment before you realize where it’s coming from.

“Hmm? Oh!” You sit up, Dirk making a disappointed grumble as his hand falls away. He sits up as well, leaning distractingly over your shoulder as you retrieve your laptop and pull up pesterchum.

“Roxy?” Dirk mumbles, staring at the bright pink text flooding the chat window.

tipsyGnostalgic [TG] began pestering golgothasTerror [GT]

TG: jake
TG: jaaaaaaaaaaaaaake
TG: earth 2 mister english
TG: com in jakesters
TG: ...
TG: hope im interruptin something good hehe
TG: YO DUDEZ
TG: QUIT W THE DOKIS ALREADY
TG: GOT SUM IMPORTANT ANNOUCEMENTS ALL UP IN HUR
GT: Roxy hi!
GT: To what do i owe the pleasure? Whats happened?
TG: nice of u to finaly get w the program
TG: and just for keepin a lady waitin imma make u guess
GT: Aww shucks!
TG: im sure dirk is there too right? so he can help
GT: Yes mister strider is here alright. He says hi.
TG: I KNEW IT
TG: hiiiii dirk!

You hear Dirk snort from his perch over your shoulder, feeling his muscles move as he smiles, “I think I already have an idea what’s happened.”

“What is it?”

“Not telling, where would the fun be in that?”

“Augh! That’s not fair!”

GT: Roxy dirk knows but he wont tell!
TG: thas ma boy
TG: gj dirk keep im guessin
GT: Aaaaaaugh!!
TG: here ill give u a lil hint
TG: what has super speshul powers
TG: can flyyyyyy thru the air
TG: looks totes badass
TG: and has aaalll the levels??
GT: Hmmmmm....
GT: Hang on a sec! Roxy have you perchance...
GT: GONE GOD TIER??
TG: ding ding ding!!!
TG: we have a winnar ladiez and gents

“Heh, I thought so,” Dirk murmurs, still smiling at the screen.

“Well gosh, you could have said something!”

He laughs and you lean back to punch him in the shoulder.

GT: Well congrats to you roxy!! From both myself and dirk!
GT: First jane and now you... Our little group is just flying through this game now!!
TG: u betcha
TG: an from what i hear ur gonna be joining us soon is that right?
GT: Haha it would seem so!
GT: In fact tomorrow is looking to be the time of reckoning so to speak.
TG: hot damn
TG: cant wait to see u in ur cool new duds
GT: Im sure ill cut a nice figure!
GT: Just like im sure you and jane are looking rather striking in your own new attire!
TG: o u flatterer
GT: Ehehe
TG: by the waaaaay
TG: i heard bout that smooch janey gave ya
TG: ;)
GT: WHAT?!

“What!?” you say out loud, startled by that statement, “B-but that was just a dream!”

“Oh, so is that why you were all weird this morning?” Dirk asks, completely unphased by the apparent fact that Jane kissed you.

“Um, uh, yes?” You stammer, watching Dirk just shake his head at you and how his lips are quirking at the corners indicating what you are coming to know as Dirk’s smug asshole grin, “Wait, did you know about that? Did that actually happen?”

“I told you there was a plan, didn’t I?”

TG: lol
TG: bet ur blushin right now arent cha
GT: Roxy!! I thought that was just a dream!
TG: awwwww thats cute
GT: Did everyone know about that but me?
GT: Dammit!
TG: its ok jakey
TG: jane just used her new lifey powers ta bring ur dreamself back 2 life
TG: so now u can go god tier w no worries!
GT: Gosh i guess youre right about that...
GT: I guess i best thank jane next time i see her!
TG: lol youll see her soon enuff
TG: tomorrows ur big day after all! better get u some booty sleep
TG: *beauty lol
TG: or maybe both ;)
TG: ( THAT WINK WAS FER BOTH OF U )
GT: Oh my god roxy! *blushes!*
TG: dont be all coy now
TG: dont keep him up too late dirk
GT: HE SAYS HE WONT
TG: liiiies
TG: gnight jakey!
TG: nighty night mister strider
GT: GOOD NIGHT ROXY
>TG: lol see u tomorrow gaiz

tipsyGnostalgic [TG] has ceased pestering golgothasTerror [GT]

You close your laptop quickly, still blushing furiously from Roxy’s departing comments and no longer sleepy in the slightest. That girl was going to kill you one of these days with talk like that!

Dirk is still just leaning over your shoulder, silently shaking with laughter. You glare at him.

“You are absolutely no help, whatsoever! Stop grinning at me like that, when were you going to tell me about Jane using her powers to bring my dreamself back?”

His laughter calms and he backs off a little, not leaning onto you anymore but still in your space. Without the light of the laptop screen it’s darker but his eyes are still bright in the darkness of the blanket fort.

“I was trying to tell you earlier, before we got interrupted. I would have told you beforehand, but I was waiting on either Jane or Roxy to confirm that it’d happened. Which was what Roxy just did.”

“Augh! I can’t believe you didn’t warn me sooner! You are such an asshole!”

You really are pretty angry about that, but there’s less heat in your words than you expected. You’re still nervous about what tomorrow has to bring, but at least now you know that it will, in fact, all end up okay. It feels like a weight has lifted off your shoulders.

“Next time just tell me if you have a plan like that! I mean it. The past couple of days were not fun at all, you jerk.”

“Alright, alright. I will.”

He gives you that smug look that you’re learning to start hating, before leaning forward to nuzzle his face against your neck. You shudder as his warm breath ghosts along your skin, and make a small noise when you feel his lips move, kissing your neck.

“H-hey, stop that! We’re having a discussion here...”

“Mmm, nope. Don’t want to...”

Instead of stopping, he shifts forward and winds his arms around your chest as he continues to kiss your neck softly. You can’t stop the whine that comes from the back of your throat, especially when he bites down softly at the skin just above the collar of your shirt.

“Ah! That’s not... That’s not fair, Dirk! Stop trying to distract me!”

“Feels good though, right?” You can just feel that tilt of his lips against your skin and if you were in your right mind you would want to turn around and punch it.

Right now you kind of just want to kiss it.

“I know how much it drives you crazy, me touching you like this,” One of Dirk’s hands runs down your chest to slip under your shirt. You draw in a breath as he splays his fingers out across your abdomen. It’s not fair, it’s not fair at all and your stomach muscles tense as you fight the urge to push into the caress.

“I’ve noticed how even just the smallest little touch makes you shiver,” his lips run up the side of your neck until his breath is warming the shell of your ear. You have to close your eyes and bite your lip against the moan threatening to spill out.

You can’t even remember what the two of you had been talking about anymore. Dirk’s hand is making your stomach flutter and you feel so warm. He’s an oppressive, hot presence, curled around you like he is. His breath against your skin, his touch, his everything is just too much and you feel your heart positively racing as it thuds against your ribcage.

You tilt your head because you have to kiss him. You have never needed to kiss him more than you do right now, just to have something to release all the pressure building under your skin. He reads your shifting movements easily, he always reads you so easily, and he meets your mouth as you move towards him.

He presses you against him as he kisses you, drawing your breath out of your lungs with each shift of his lips and his hands. The moan that was building up finally breaks free and is muffled as Dirk’s lips swallow it up.

He pulls back slightly and you involuntarily follow after before catching yourself. He grins and shifts, removing his hand from under your shirt and you feel way too cold. You want him to be back against you, and you make a small displeased grunt as he reaches to move your laptop.

“Don’t worry, just going to make this more comfortable,” He says, returning to slowly push you back into the cushions until you’re on your side and he’s facing you.

It’s better this way, you have to admit. You can’t make out Dirk’s features very well, just enough to see how focused his eyes are, how his lips are curling in a fond smile as he reaches forward to cup your face in his hands. You laugh self-consciously against him as he leans in, telling you to shhh briefly before kissing you again.

It’s easier to reach out and touch him back now. You’re able to grasp his hips, pushing your thumbs through his belt loops and pulling him in further as he pushes against your touch and makes an eager grunt against your mouth.

“Roxy said not to keep me up, remember?” You tease, feeling his lips quirk against yours. One of his hands moves lower, running along your neck and causing you to shudder at the caress.

“I never made any such promise,” he laughs and his hand reaches your shoulder where his fingers dig in. He claws gently at you through your clothes and drags his hand down over your chest. You gasp loudly and arch into the touch as his fingers find your nipple through your shirt.

Dirk’s hand stills against your chest, thumb flicking and rubbing your nipple through the fabric. You groan and squirm against the contact while Dirk shifts and moves one of his legs between your thighs.

“God, you’re so sensitive Jake,” he says between kisses. You’re both getting distracted by how he’s touching you now, your kisses getting shorter and shorter - just small, quick presses of lips as you breathe and gasp.

At some point Dirk manages to push you back, because you open your eyes to see him above you. Your hands are still at his waist and one of his legs is still rubbing between yours, but both of his hands are now splayed on your chest and moving downwards.

You hiss and arch your back up into the touch as both hands run under your shirt briefly, smoothing up your sides before grabbing at the hem of your t-shirt and lifting it up.

You sit up so he can lift it off, and reach for his in an attempt to level the playing field. Instead he swats at your hands and makes a tsk-ing noise. You frown, but let him push you back into the cushions and grab your wrists, pinning your hands to either side of your head.

“Not yet,” He says, moving so that he’s fully straddling your waist. His eyes are so intense right now, and you have to swallow hard as that gaze sweeps over you.

“First, I’m gonna touch you more. I want to watch you squirm.”

“Christ, Dirk,” You groan, closing your eyes because really, it’s just too much.

Your whole body is quivering in anticipation of what he has planned and you feel like you should be nervous. But you aren’t. The two of you have been through so much together and despite everything, all you feel now is trust. And desire. So much need for him welling up under your skin.

His weight shifts as he leans down and you gasp when he plants a kiss directly in the center of your breastbone. You sink further into the cushions, letting him hold you down as he trails his mouth slowly and deliberately across your chest.

“At first, I thought it was just first-time nerves,” He murmurs into your skin, kissing one of your nipples and making you cry out. “Neither of us lasted very long that first time, after all. But no, you really are this sensitive.”

“It’s embarrassing,” you say, flushing even as you push up against his touch in an unconscious effort to seek out more. It’s like the riverbed all over again. He’s got you right where he wants, completely at his mercy and pulling you apart piece by piece with each touch.

“No it’s not, it’s amazing. You’re amazing,” He hums against your skin.

Your whole body goes hot at that, and you risk a glance down to see him staring at you. He’s got a predatory tilt to his lips but there’s so much intensity to his eyes, so much focus and love in his gaze that you feel adrift.

“Dirk...” Because how can he even say things like that?

He presses a kiss to your chest, right over where your heart is hammering against your ribcage, and you have to close your eyes again. Tilt your head back and groan as he continues to drive you crazy.

It’s less frantic than any time before, and you’re happy to let him take his time, slowly leaving kisses and small nips as he keeps his promise of making you squirm.

Even when he eventually releases your wrists you leave them where they are, twisting your hands and digging them into the pillows. Partially because of the look he shoots you when you finally slit your eyes open to watch, and partially because it feels incredible to just let him have his way with you.

Your entire body is twitching and shaking with need as he finishes exploring your chest and moves to pay attention to your arms, to your legs. The sensitive skin at the inside of your elbows, your knees, your wrist. Carefully winding you up until you can do little more than writhe under his touch, gasping and moaning into the darkness of the blankets surrounding you.

You feel incredibly warm, like your skin is on fire and each place he touches is hot and new and shocking like a brand. Your fingers are clenching in the pillows and it’s getting harder and harder to resist touching back, to share some of what’s inside of you, clawing at your skin.

In the delirious haze of your mind, you fail to notice when he loosens your pants and drags them off your hips. It isn’t until he carefully kisses and bites the skin where your leg meets your hip that you realize you’re now fully naked and you give a shocked cry as he continues to explore your newly exposed skin.

He’s avoiding touching your cock however, and you’re almost insane with the need for some relief from the pressure building inside of you. He kisses your hip, your stomach, the inside of your thigh, but never moves inwards to touch where you so badly want him to.

“Fuck, fuck, Dirk, come on, please,” You whine, arching your hips in frustration.

“Please, what?” He plants another kiss on your thigh, one of his thumbs rubbing soothingly against your hip while his other hand slowly presses your down. “Tell me what you want, Jake.”

His voices is so rough and breathless and you can just tell how turned on he is - just from touching you. Your cock twitches from the knowledge, and you wonder if he’s as hard as you are and how on earth he can stand it?

“Oh my god, just, just -- touch me already, please,” you beg, not having any sense left to be embarrassed about it.

“I am though. I’ve been touching you this whole time,” He says and you make a strangled, desperate sob of frustration. Insufferable prick!

“Where do you want me to touch you, Jake?” He says, kissing your thigh again. “Here?”

He moves up to your hipbone, pressing a kiss there next, “Or here?”

“Or maybe here,” he says, moving inwards to kiss the skin just at the base of your cock.

“HOLY crap!” You cry out and your whole body shudders.

“Bingo,” he says. You glance down - glasses slightly askew - to see him giving you that smug look that makes you want to scream.

He holds your gaze though, and you find that you can’t look away as he moves his hands and spreads your thighs further. You gasp, breath coming fast and hard as he keeps staring at you, even as he moves to press another deliberate kiss to the base of your erection.

“Watch,” he commands, before he leans back down again to drag his tongue along the underside of your cock. You keep your eyes fixed on him and have to bite your lip when your whole body shivers from the contact.

He finally takes you into his mouth and eagerly focuses on the task of trying to swallow you whole. Your hips cant up against your will, so eager to have more of him and desperate for the wet pressure of his mouth. He has to lift a hand from your thigh to hold you down.

Watching him as his lips stretch around you, at the satisfied face he’s making while he goes down on you, is almost too much. You’re ready to burst just from the sensation alone but that sight is making it difficult to breathe.

“Dirk, Dirk, oh fuck--” you chant, and you have to touch him. You can’t keep your hands still anymore. You have to reach out, have to grab his head, hold him there and feel him.

He groans around your dick when your fingers wind and tug into his hair, holding on for dear life. It’s the first involuntary noise of pleasure he’s made since you’ve started and you file that knowledge away for later, when you’re not out of your mind with lust.

Your glasses are fogging as you pant for breath. You’re still so wound up and desperate for release that you’re almost surprised you last as long as you do. “Dirk, wait, I’m gonna--”

Your efforts to warn him do absolutely no good, because he just swallows you down as deep as he can go, making a muffled sound of encouragement.

“Fuck!” You choke out, grip tightening in his hair as your stomach clenches and your orgasm snaps through you like lightning.

His mouth stays on you the entire time, working you through each shivery aftershock as he swallows your release. You have to lie there for a moment, remembering how to breathe as well as how to perform other essential life-functions.

You let your arms fall to the side when he finally moves off of you to shift up. He kisses your neck and shoulders and jaw while his hips press forward and settle in the V of your thighs. You lazily spread them to accommodate him, moaning as he presses his clothed erection against your over-sensitive and softening cock.

“God, Jake,” He mutters, voice hoarse and a tad desperate. You tilt your head, nuzzling it against the side of his, bringing your arms up and around his shoulders to hold him in place.

Your whole body feels boneless and all you really want to do right now is sink into the cushions with Dirk and sleep for about a week. You can feel how desperate Dirk is though, can feel him tense and wanting above you and after what he just did to you there’s no way you could leave him hanging.

“You’re so amazing,” he murmurs, shifting to kiss your cheek, the corner of your mouth, and lingering against your lips, “So, so good. I love you so much, Jake, god I just--”

You kiss him to shut him up, deep and slow while your arms hold him in place because god it still makes you so flustered to hear him say things like that. He shifts and melts against you, his hips unconsciously rutting against you as you take his lower lip into your mouth and suck.

One of your hands moves down his back, reaching the hem of his shirt and slipping underneath as you seek out his skin. He hisses against your mouth as you lift his shirt up, running your hand up and down the small of his back.

“What do you want me to do, Dirk?” you ask him when you part, your other hand cupping his face and stroking his sweat-damp bangs away from his face. “What do you want?”

“Jake...” He makes a low noise of want as he stares at you. His pupils are so wide now and for the first time tonight he seems nervous.

“I really just, I want to...” He starts, stops, and rethinks his words. You smile, because Dirk being flustered is actually really cute. You rub his back gently and this seems to bolster him.

He leans forward, breathing into the shell of your ear, “I want to be inside you. Will you let me fuck you, Jake?”

Your breath hitches. His request awakens a surge of nerves and an endless number of questions begin to flood your brain, but through it all is an intense need for that to happen. For him to be even closer to you than he already is.

He pulls back to look at you and your heart rate, having just calmed back down, rockets up again.

“Yes,” You say quietly, “Yeah, I want you to.”

“Okay,” He says, a pleased smile spreading slowly across his face, “Okay, I’m just gonna--”

He pulls back to yank his shirt off and you help him, nerves fluttering in your stomach as you sit up.

“Just, um. Be careful?” You say, watching him retrieve a couple of items from his sylladex. A condom and a small tube. You flush, “Please tell me you haven’t had those things this entire time?”

He pauses guiltily at this, “Can’t be too prepared?”

“You’re absurd,” you say, but it comes out more fond than accusatory.

He grins at you and leans down to kiss you. “Turn over.”

“Huh? Why?” You knew the general idea of how this was supposed to work, after all. You had rather hoped that you’d be, um, doing this thing face-to-face.

“I’ve got an idea. Just trust me, ok? Come on,” He motions at you with his hand until you finally turn with a nervous exhale.

You settle onto your stomach, arms crossed underneath your chin. You crane your neck a bit so you can try to see what he’s doing, startling only slightly when he grabs your hips in both of his hands.

“Up,” He says, pulling you into position until your hips are raised and your legs are spread slightly. You bury your head into your arms, flushing at how exposed you feel like this. You shiver when Dirk runs a hand down your spine, gently in an attempt to calm you down.

“You’re doing fine, Jake. Just relax, ok?” You can hear him shift and a quiet shock runs through you when he plants a kiss right at the base of your spine.

“I won’t hurt you,” He says into your skin, hands moving down to cup and massage your ass and the backs of your thighs. “Just want to make you feel good.”

You groan and bury your head further into your arms, flushing red to the roots of your hair most likely. It hasn’t been too long since you came, but your dick still manages to give a halfhearted twitch of interest as Dirk squeezes your ass again.

His mouth moves downwards, leaving kisses on each of your ass cheeks before digging his fingers in and parting them. You suck in a breath.

Dirk makes a small noise, and you feel his hands shift to knead your ass one more time before spreading them open again with his thumbs. You groan, unable to handle him looking at you like this.

Part of you wants him to stop, the other just wants him to quit teasing and touch you already. You’ve never felt so exposed and you realize that you’re almost panting into your arms now, nerves fluttering madly in your stomach.

Finally, Dirk shifts his fingers, a thumb stroking tentatively against your entrance and you gasp and go tense.

“Shh, it’s ok,” He continues to rub his thumb there, gently pressing against the sensitive skin. “God, Jake you’re gorgeous.”

“You know you’re weird, right?” You tell him with an embarrassed huff. He deliberately presses his thumb further against your asshole and you cry out.

“You’re not gonna think that in a second,” he says breathlessly. You hear him shift around behind you, before moving his thumbs to part your cheeks as far as they’ll go.

You muffle a shout into your arms when he licks a stripe straight up from your balls and across your hole, not expecting that at all. You moan as he does it a second time, before placing a kiss right against your asshole.

“Dirk, what are yo--” You start to ask, but cut yourself off when you feel his tongue gently licking at you and wow does that feel strange. It sends a shock running through you and your toes curl, not quite sure why something like that feels so bloody good.

“Nevermind just, mmm, just keep doing that,” You shift your hips into it as he presses his tongue even more firmly against you and makes a pleased noise.

You reach out and drag a cushion over to bury your face into as you let loose another ragged moan. He keeps flicking his tongue against your hole, occasionally pressing it in a little further until the tip of it finally works its way inside of you.

“Holy shit,” you gasp out, clutching the pillow as he works his tongue further and further inside of you and it’s strange and warm and full and wow. Wow that feels so much more amazing than you would have expected.

It leaves you breathless and gasping for a moment and you’ve somehow managed to relax completely into it now, your body going warm and pliant. There are sharp spikes of pleasure running up your spine as Dirk’s tongue continues to work inside of you and his hands gently knead your ass.

At this point your cock has finally seen fit to join back in on the fun, and has started to throb from where it’s dangling between your legs. Arousal is pooling in your belly again, replacing the flutter of nerves you had been feeling. That maddening buzzing sensation is also back, clawing at your skin and making it hard to breathe.

“Fuck, Jake,” Dirk pulls off of you with a lewd, wet sound and you whine at the loss. His voice is wrecked. You’ve never heard him sound so raw before.

You turn your head to look at him over your shoulder and he even looks undone. His hair is still in disarray from your hands earlier and his eyes are heavy and lidded, staring at you with so much desire that it’s making you dizzy.

His mouth, too. His mouth is red and spit-slicked, swollen from kissing you earlier and from what he was just doing. How that mouth was just getting closely acquainted with your ass.

“Oh my god,” you groan, and he makes a choked off noise in response. You see him mentally shake himself before he shifts off of you and moves to the side, presumably to retrieve the lube and condom from earlier.

You take a moment to catch your breath, but then he’s back and holding onto your hips again.

“Ok, just... Stay like this for now,” He tells you, and you choke down on a hysterical giggle for a moment, because where else are you going to go like this? “You’re doing great, Jake. God you look so good like this.”

You sputter and bury your face back into the pillow, “Y-you can’t just say stuff like that!”

“Why not? It’s true,” He sounds calmer now. There’s a slick, wet sound and then one of his fingers, cold and apparently slicked with lube is rubbing gently at your asshole. You inhale sharply.

“Ah! Cold,” you say and jerk your hips out of the way unconsciously. One of his hands reaches out and grabs you, holding you still.

“Sorry, sorry. Just-- hold on, it’ll warm up in a sec,” His finger continues to probe, spreading the cold lubricant around and you grimace a little at how weird it feels.

He works the lube into your skin until you can feel it actually starting to warm. It feels… strange. Not unpleasant but not as nice as his tongue had felt earlier.

There’s a pause as he removes his finger and apparently adds even more lube, because the next thing you feel is that same finger slowly pushing against your entrance until it slides inside of you.

You gasp and attempt to remember how to breathe as you feel yourself clench around him. It’s different from his tongue, which had been hot and warm and yielded to you. Instead his finger is a slow, long stretch, a little uncomfortable but not entirely unpleasant.

Your dick seems to be happy enough with everything that’s happening, in any case. You’re fully hard again and aching for Dirk to keep going.

It seems though, that Dirk fully intends to take his time with you. A fact that, despite your growing desperation, gives you a sense of relief. Rushing this was definitely not a good idea, because even the finger he’s slowly working inside of you feels like a huge step. You can’t even imagine what his cock is going to feel like.

And that’s it, isn’t it? He’s going to have his dick inside of you soon. You bite back a groan at the thought because holy hell, the idea is still new and strange and hot and you’re having a hard time coming to terms how desperately you want it.

“Relax,” He says, voice cutting through your whirling thoughts, “You’re doing good, Jake, but you need to relax a little, dude.”

“Sorry, it’s just…” You stop, because how do you describe it? All of it? “A lot.”

And that’s so inadequate. So incredibly inadequate to how you feel about everything happening to you right now. But he says “I know, I know,” in a soothing voice and runs his free hand down the base of your spine, causing you to shiver.

His finger is now fully inside of you and it’s stopped feeling uncomfortable and now you just want more of it. He withdraws, slowly, and you find yourself actually arching back to follow the movement, not ready to have it gone now that you’ve adjusted.

Dirk makes a soft, strangled noise, pausing with the tip of his finger just inside and you hold your breath.

He shuffles around behind you, removing the hand that had been running soothing circles along your hip and grabbing for the small tube of lube. You hear the wet sound of him squeezing more out, feel the cold drip of it down the finger still resting just inside of you and then finally. Finally he’s moving back inside of you and curling his finger, dear god.

You moan, arching yourself back into him as he begins to slowly push his finger in and out. You grip the pillows beneath you, clenching yourself down every so often when he shoves in hard or curls his finger inside.

There’s the sudden sharp pressure of a second finger being added, slowly working itself in next to the first and you suppress a shudder. The discomfort is back, and the stretch as he works the second finger inside is just shy of painful this time.

“S-sorry,” He seems to sense your discomfort and pulls both of them out. You can hear him breathing now, when you stop to catch your breath. Sharp, controlled pants for breath behind you and it’s incredible to think that he’s so turned on just from watching you.

When they return, there’s even more lube on his fingers and as they press in you feel it dripping down, sliding in a small rivulet down your balls.

“Fuck,” you gasp, inhaling sharply when both of his fingers press inside again. The lube helps - and god there’s so much of it now that you feel almost too wet - but there’s still a sharp, biting pain as you stretch to accommodate the added girth.

Focusing on your breathing helps, and you clench and unclench your fingers in the pillow as you try to relax. His fingers feel huge inside of you, opening you up and filling you. It’s almost too much but right as you’re about to tell him to stop, he does. Both fingers fully inside of you now.

“There you go,” He says, still sounding a little short of breath himself, “God Jake, so good. You’re doing so good. Fuck.”

The pause helps you adjust and by the time Dirk starts moving again the pain has receded into a dull ache. You’re able to just enjoy the pressure now, leaning into it and cursing into the pillow when Dirk starts to pick up the pace.

His fingers are sliding in and out of you much easier now that you’re relaxing. They twist and curl and stretch you further, a sharp burst of that ache whenever he attempts to scissor them inside of you. You’re just barely holding on, gripping the pillow for dear life while he keeps fucking you on his fingers.

He withdraws them to add even more lube, holy hell, before carefully pressing a third finger in.

You’re anticipating the pain from the added stretch now, and let loose a long exhale as he presses in. Easier this time, now that you’re not resisting the intrusion as much.

“Oh my god, Jake,” Dirk says, and it’s a strangled sound, like he’s barely even able to say the words, “If you could see yourself right now…”

You shake your head furiously, unable to respond beyond a slightly hysterical giggle. You don’t want to even think about what you look like right now, because it’s hard enough just dealing with what it feels like. Adding a visual to the mix would just undo you completely.

“I’m just, I’m just gonna keep,” He moves his fingers out of you before twisting them back inside and stretching you as wide as you think you’re capable of going. Your strangled whine is muffled by the pillow as he repeats the motion, over and over until you’re crazy from the pressure inside of you, sparking and sending shivers up and down your spine, making your arms and legs feel like jelly.

And Dirk’s still talking somehow. An endless stream of curses and words of encouragement, peppered ever so often with embarrassing statements about how amazing you are, how good you look. Really, you can’t take much more of this. You feel like you’re about ready to claw completely out of your skin with both your need for him and embarrassment.

“Come on, Dirk,” you manage to say, interrupting his litany of words “Come on I’m, aaah shit! I’m pretty sure I’m as ready as I’m going to get.”

“Ok,” He breathes, “Ok, good. Yes. Hell yes.”

Your laugh turns into a groan as he withdraws his fingers. You’re not quite expecting to feel so empty, but you do. You’re warm and loose and wet from all that fucking lube, and you really just want him back in there again.

“Here, come on, turn back around,” He says, grabbing your hip with his clean hand and you twist yourself until you’re on your back. You still feel shivery and boneless from everything, and turning around and seeing him is like a punch straight to your gut.

He’s leaning over you, and he is absolutely wrecked. He’s got a flush running all down his chest - which is heaving like he’s just run a marathon - and his eyes are so bright. He looks so desperate and so needy and you make a strangled noise, reaching out to grab him and yank his face down for a kiss.

He makes a broken off noise of protest as he falls gracelessly against you, his lips mashing down against yours uncomfortably. You keep kissing him though, quick, frantic presses of lips as your hands grab at his hair, at his shoulders, pressing him as close as you can get him.

He melts against you, bringing his - thankfully clean - hand to run through your hair as he pushes down. You part your legs to make more room for him, thrusting your hips into his and that’s when you realize he is still wearing his jeans.

“Jeans. Off. Now,” you say between kisses, reaching down to grab at his fly. “Why are you even still wearing those, you doof?”

“Bossy,” He laughs, but lifts off of you so it’s easier for you to unfasten his jeans and pull them impatiently off.

Christ almighty you have no idea how he’s been able to stand being trapped in those pants this whole time. His cock is an impressive shade of red, shiny with precome dribbling from the tip and he looks painfully hard. Judging from the way he bites his lip as you free him to the air that’s a fairly accurate assessment.

“Holy hell, Dirk,” You say as he kicks his jeans off to the side. You don’t let him push you back though, instead grabbing his hips in your hand and holding them in place. He hisses as you dig your thumbs into his hipbones.

“I need to be inside you, Jake. Want to so badly,” He says, staring down at you and your breath hitches because yes. Yes you want that too.

“Yes,” You say out loud, “Yes, please, come on then.”

He groans and makes a grab for the condom that’s still lying off to the side. One of his hands is still slick with lube - from fingering you, Jesus kringlefucking Christ - and he’s having a hard time actually getting the bloody thing open so you reach out and snatch it from him. Carefully ripping the foil.

He hisses and grabs for your shoulders as you put it on, digging his fingers in and body going tense. “Shit.”

“Alright, you’re good to go, come on already,” you grab his hips and tug him forward impatiently. You still feel loose and open and you want him back inside you so intensely that it’s like a physical ache.

“Yeah, Ok, just - first let me,” He grabs for the lube again, squirting even more out onto his hand and reaching down to slick his cock before tossing the tube to the side and leaning back over you.

You grab for him as you fall back into the cushions, pulling him in by his shoulders as he slots his hips against yours. His cock brushes wetly against the cleft of your ass, where you’re still slick and open and ready for him.

He kisses your jawline, just slowly moving his hips but not pressing in yet and you tighten your arms around him. His hands move to grasp your hips and you press yourself back against him in an attempt to get him to move.

“Hurry up,” you’re tired of waiting. He laughs, a high strangled sound.

“God, who knew you would be so impatient,” He smiles against your cheek and you laugh at him, butting your head gently against his because it really always comes back to the two of you like this. Egging each other on in a constant push and pull.

One of his hands reaches down behind you and then he’s lining himself and slowly, ever so slowly pressing inside of you.

“Ah, fuck,” you breathe and try to relax, but it’s a lot to take in. His fingers had prepared you well enough but now he’s actually pushing inside of you and the stretch of it is so much more intense.

He’s shaking underneath your hands, eyes closed and mouth slack as he concentrates. You can tell how hard he’s holding himself back from just pushing into you all in one go and you feel your whole body go tight from the thought. How good he’s been to you, how he’s doing everything he can not to hurt you and you feel your love for him cut through you like a knife.

“Love you,” you press a kiss against the side of his face, just below where his eye is clenched shut, “So much, Dirk. I love you so much, come on, keep going.”

He shudders with a groan, hips twitching as he bottoms out. You gasp and your fingers dig into his shoulders as you hold onto him, adjusting to the pressure of him inside of you, filling you up.

“God, I love you too,” He gasps, moving so that he can kiss you, “Fuck, Jake. You have no idea, just--“

He grinds his hips into you for a moment, causing you to moan into his mouth. One of his hands reaches up to stroke your hair away from your face, grabbing you and holding you in place while he keeps kissing you, open mouthed and sloppy.

It’s just, really overwhelming having him like this. He’s above you and around you and inside you and it’s pretty much as close as you can possibly be to him. It’s safe and scary all at once and you’re so full from not only the physical sensation of him but from how much you want him, how much you love him.

“Go,” You tell him, urging him with a push of your hips, “Move, it’s ok.”

It’s more than ok, especially when he makes a few shallow thrusts before pulling mostly out and shoving back in. You groan, tilting your head back and digging your fingers into his shoulders while he sets in, finding a slow rhythm.

“You feel so good, Jake. So good,” He’s kissing your neck and shoulders now, mumbling into your skin all these sappy endearments and you can’t deal all of this. Can’t handle how much you want him to stay here forever, how you don’t want tomorrow to even come or to deal with anything else going on outside of your safe cocoon of blankets and pillows and Dirk.

You curl around him, legs lifting and wrapping around his waist and your fingers pressing bruises into his shoulder blades. Your whole body is warm again, shivering as each snap of his hips send sparks going off under your skin and up your spine. Heat is pooling in your belly and your cock keeps pressing and rubbing against his abdomen, and as much as you want to stay like this - draw it out - your sensitive body can’t hold off the inevitable.

And you know how close Dirk must be, especially with how hard he was, how hard he feels inside of you. He’s still shaking, face creased and focused while he jerks his hips in an increasingly erratic rhythm. You shudder, reaching up and digging your fingers into his hair and causing him to cry out.

“Come on, come on,” You say, and Dirk bites his lip on a groan.

“Yeah, I’m going to. I’m, ah! So close, Jake, shit.”

“Me too, again,” you tell him, “I’m going to-- ah, fuck!”

You arch up as one of Dirk’s hands reaches down and closes around your cock, jerking you slowly while he slams back into you. It doesn’t take much, just a few short pulls before you’re coming apart underneath him for a second time. Your whole body tenses, clenching down on his cock inside of you and causing him to curse loudly.

You go boneless as he keeps kissing you, and you feel weak and dizzy from two orgasms but manage to move your hips with him, helping him seek his own release.

It doesn’t take long. He presses into you, fast and urgent, before sinking in as far as he can and shivering as he comes. You feel his cock twitch and pulse inside you and give a halfhearted groan because wow, wow he’s still inside you, Christ.

He collapses on top of you, resting his forehead against yours while he gasps and shudders and catches his breath. You lean up to kiss him through it, smiling and running your hands through the messy strands of his hair as you hold him against you.

His cock is still inside of you, and he should really pull out and take care of the condom or something, but you’re still trying to hold onto that feeling of him filling you up. You’re not quite ready to let go of that yet.

Dirk makes the decision for you, though. He raises himself back up on shaking arms and slowly pulls out of you with a wince before turning aside and pulling the condom off.

You curl onto your side, feeling empty yet still full of a tangling web of thoughts. Your whole body is exhausted and limp, but your mind is still whirling with taking in what just happened.

When Dirk shuffles back over to you, he’s pulled a towel out from his sylladex and is wiping his hands off with it.

“Here, let me,” He gestures at you and you uncurl yourself a little so he can reach down and wipe the come that’s drying on your stomach.

“Thanks.” You murmur, sleepily.

As he’s putting the towel away, you reach over to grab a loose blanket, pulling it over both of you when he settles back in against you. You turn, grabbing his arm and pulling it over and around you until he’s completely curled around you, fingers lacing with yours over your stomach. You hum happily.

“That was good,” You tell him, and he laughs into your hair.

“Just good?”

“Don’t want to raise the bar too high, now. Might give you a complex.”

His arm tightens around you, “Heaven forbid that happens.”

You laugh, wriggling back in an attempt to elbow him. “You’re insufferable.”

“But you love me,” he says, kissing the back of your neck. You’re exhausted, but the contact still makes you shudder.

“Yeah, I do.”

He makes a quiet, pleased noise and both of you settle into silence. Your whole body feels worn around the edges now that you’re finally able to relax, and you really want nothing more than to sleep. For as long as you possibly can.

But something nags at the back of your mind, not letting you drift off fully.

“Mmm, hey, Dirk?” You ask, voice quiet with exhaustion. He makes a small noise to tell you that he’s listening.

“What are we going to do tomorrow? I don’t… Want all those consorts watching as I, as you--“ You can’t finish that thought.

He squeezes your hand and kisses the back of your neck again, “We’ll go early. Before they wake up.”

You groan, because waking up early after all that you just did was not something you were looking forward to.

“We should have listened to Roxy,” you say miserably, and his quiet chuckles follow you into sleep.