This was Dave Strider in his element. The beat rising and falling, pulsing, ticking, slowing and speeding, settling in his chest cavity and pumping in time with his heart- there was nowhere else he would rather be in this moment.
True it was difficult to keep himself from falling prey to his own sick beats now and then; difficult not to do more than nod his head in time, difficult not to jump out into the crowd and let the music really flow through him. But it was enough to watch the mass of club-goers writhing in time to the music he so carefully crafted, knowing he was the reason they were all moving so freely on the floor.
There were few times when he felt so fulfilled. Up here, manipulating the music with his deft fingers, nigh invisible to the dancers yet the most important person in the club (with the possible exception of the bartender), he felt perfectly at peace with everything. Many of the only other times he had felt such excited contentment swell in his chest involved a dark-haired young man Dave knew would be sleeping soundly in their shared bed at the moment.
And, sure enough, at four-thirty in the morning Dave found his best friend of 13 years- and boyfriend of five- snoring quietly on the left-hand side of the queen sized bed they'd managed to squeeze into the tiny bedroom. He was quick to shower off the scent of cigarettes and sweat before slipping on a pair of boxers and sliding into bed next to John. The other young man's reaction was immediate, as if he could sense his lover nearby- and Dave wouldn't put it past him to be able to do so- and he quickly snuggled up to the blonde, unwittingly sharing his body heat. Dave allowed John to find a comfortable position, curled into his chest and still sound asleep, before wrapping an arm around the dark-haired boy's shoulders and closing his eyes with a quietly pleased sigh. Though the musical high he'd been on had since worn off, this feeling was no less intense and no less wonderful.
Dave woke again around two-thirty in the afternoon, searching for a warm body that wasn't there. Swallowing away the slightly tang of disappointment, as he was long used to waking up without John after a late night, he instead focused on the noise of unsteady piano-playing coming from elsewhere in the apartment. An uneven set of notes would ring out, followed by a sweet-sounding counterpart, uneasy and practiced fingers taking turns on worn keys. John was in the midst of a piano lesson.
Slowly, Dave slithered out from under the covers, reluctant to leave the warmth of the bed too quickly. He spent a few minutes searching for a pair of pajama pants and a sweatshirt, being as walking around in his boxers with a minor present was likely a bad idea, took a moment to place his shades at their rightful station on his face, and then padded out into the living room. As expected, John was sitting at the upright piano with a girl with frizzy brown hair who looked frustrated even from behind. Dave walked past the instrument and into the minuscule kitchen, silent as ever. John, mostly used to Dave's patented Strider stealth, didn't flinch, but the girl jumped and executed a perfect key-mash which John, bless his heart, only laughed at a little.
"It's only my roommate; he's a cool guy. Nothing to worry about." Dave could hear John saying as he made a beeline for the pantry.
The playing resumed as Dave poured himself a bowl of Fruity Pebbles and by the time he had devoured half the bowl, it was actually beginning to sound rather good. The blonde moved back to the kitchen entrance and leaned against the doorjamb, looking down at the piano, which was pushed up to the wall right by the doorway. As he continued munching his cereal, the playing quickly devolved into a rush of wrong notes and John frowned up at him. "You're making Chelsea nervous, Dave." He said sternly, only succeeding in making Dave want to laugh a little.
Instead, he smirked a bit and took another bite of pseudo-breakfast. "She's going to have to play in front of people eventually," The DJ replied after swallowing.
"Dave…" John warned in the tone of voice that suggested there would be 'trouble' if Dave didn't make himself scarce.
"Alright, I'm gone." And he was- and though flashstepping back to the bedroom was wholly unnecessary, a night like the one Dave had had always left him in a good mood.
After finishing his cereal, Dave busied himself with his computer, checking up on the various ironic sites he still kept running, until something filtered into his consciousness. The piano-playing was no longer hesitant nor stuttering, but smooth as glass and beautifully flowing.
Venturing out into the living room once more, Dave saw John sitting by himself at the piano, hands flying across the keys of the instrument and drawing out gorgeous noises. Quietly, Dave stepped up behind John and watched intently as the young man swayed back and forth, caught up in the music. The blonde carefully sat down on the piano bench and John took no notice of him, leaving Dave free reign to observe him as he played. He loved having the opportunity to do so.
He could plainly see the happiness on John's features, the contentment that flowed through him as he played so evident that Dave could almost feel it, himself. Piano-player fingers caressed the keys they were so obviously made for, pulling out a powerful melody. To watch John play the piano was almost as good as being up behind his turntables once more. Dave decided he really wouldn't mind sitting there all day, warm in his ironically pedestrian flannel pajama pants and John's university sweatshirt (a bit loose on Dave about the shoulders, but it was more comfortable that way), just listening to the piano sing under his boyfriend's ministrations. However, he could tell the tune was coming to an end and quickly dropped his face into a look of indifference. If John were to learn how much Dave enjoyed listening to him play, he'd never hear the end of it- the teasing, or the piano.
John allowed his fingers to linger on the keys until the final note faded away, then looked up and jumped. "Dave!" He cried in surprise, but smiled just the same.
"John." Dave monotoned in return, causing the dark-haired boy's smile to widen. Though Dave had generally stopped calling him 'Egbert' a couple of years ago, it still seemed to make John happy to hear his name pass the former coolkid's lips.
"How was your gig last night?" John inquired, idly reaching up to press a few keys down.
"Not a dry eye in the house. I got up there and people couldn't help but weep at the sheer beauty of my miraculous beats. That motherfucking Juggalo troll would've been proud." Dave appraised, "A few starry-eyed fans did feel compelled to pelt me with their underwear, though. It was just bras, panties, tighty-whities up all over me. I'm telling you John, it's goddamn embarrassing sometimes."
"Da-ave…" The pianist cut in, half-whining, half-amused.
"Don't get your skirt in a knot, I made sure they all knew I would be coming home to you so you could squeeze the life out of me like a big, derpy, boa constrictor."
"Damn straight," John grinned, "And who's squeezing who, now? I woke up with your arms wrapped all around me, Strider."
"Obviously it was an attempt to keep you from crushing me in the night- what are you doing?" Dave broke off as John reached across his lap and grabbed his right hand in his own.
"Nothing." John chirped, gripping Dave's hand firmly enough that the blond couldn't pull away easily.
"Well I can see that's bullshit. You're obviously up to something. You're always up to something- you and your twisted Prankster's Gambit…"
In the time it had taken Dave to complete his sentence, John had placed the blonde's hand on the keyboard of the piano and laid his own over it. "Y'know, if you'd shut up for a minute, you'd see what I'm doing." The pianist said, pushing down one of the keys with Dave's finger.
Dave shot an unimpressed look in his counterpart's direction. "Told you before, Egbert, I don't want to learn to play this thing."
"Tough." Was John's only reply.
He busied himself using his fingers to nudge Dave's into position and smiled when he was allowed to do so. Dave reveled a bit in the feeling of John's calloused hand over his- roughened in different places than his own, illustrating the difference between hammers and swords- and listened as the young man helped him play out a simple melody that took Dave a moment to recognize. "Mary Had a Little Lamb? Are you kidding me?"
John laughed. "It's what I start all my students with."
"Well, I'm not a student." Dave waited a moment before adding, "Anyway, I'm pretty sure I like listening to you just fine."
He hand was relinquished after a moment and, looking over, Dave caught sight of John's luminous smile. The young man in question leaned over and pressed a quick kiss onto Dave's mouth before bringing his hands back up to the piano with renewed vigor.
Dave allowed a small smile of his own to slide into place as he watched John's fingers dance across the keys.