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==> Dave: Be A Poster Boy

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Being in a position like that, Dave wasn’t sure if he should laugh, cry, feel proud, kick himself in the face or set the whole apartment on fire with him and everything else inside. There was a greater good behind all that, but it still didn’t change the fact that, yes, everything about the situation was weird and unnatural as hell.

It all started a couple of month earlier. He was sitting on the couch, playing games and minding his business, when his brother just barged in, muttering something under his breath and looking quite worked up.

That was unusual. He had never seen his older brother so concerned, except for when his grades had dropped, and even then he wouldn’t shuffle around papers while talking to himself in a clear state of desperation.

Dave paused the game and patiently waited to see if Bro was going to say something, anything, in regards of his unusual behavior. When an entire minute passed and Dave was under the impression his brother wasn’t even seeing him, he called out his name, what finally grabbed his attention.

“Yeah?” Bro asked, with a pile of papers in his hands.

“What are you mumbling about?” Dave went straight to the point. No use kicking around the bush.

“The asshole who used to help me with the pictures of my site just called it quits; I need to find someone else.” Bro let out a huff of air, leafing through the papers he had on his hands.

“Help… you?” Dave’s face slightly contorted in confusion. He had absolutely no idea that someone else was helping with his brother’s site. He thought Bro did everything all by himself, because that’s how he always did things.

“This girl used to pose for me with my puppets, but she told me some bullshit about aiming for something better and more prestigious. Fucking skank, she could have been big if she stuck around. It’s not like she was doing it for free…” Bro kept on complaining, the sound of rustling paper filling the room.

That was news to Dave. He had never seen anyone in the apartment to model for his brother. Maybe he did it somewhere else? That would explain his sudden, mysterious trips outside the apartment. Bro sure was taking this whole website business a lot more seriously than Dave thought.

“Fucking hell man… Now what am I going to tell the people who visit the site? That I lost the hot chick? Some of them went there just to see her…” Bro said to himself, putting down the papers. “Fucking useless. I can’t believe I have to go out or search around the net for a new model, this fucking blows…”

Dave couldn’t help but feel a bit bad for his brother. He looked really exasperated and his patience was clearly running short. But it wasn’t like he could do anything to actually help Bro out of this jam. It was his site and, consequently, his issues. And knowing his brother, Dave knew he was going to find an answer to it, just as soon as he stopped freaking out so much and put his mind to it.

With a small shrug, Dave resumed playing Xbox, just to have his brother turn the console off on him.

“Hey!” Dave glared at Bro, angrily setting the controller on his lap. “I was in the middle of something!”

“So, while I’m flipping my shit over here, you're just going to sit there and play games?” Bro asked, arms crossed in front of his chest.

“Dude, it’s your site. It’s not my responsibility to fix your shit” Dave sighed in irritation, leaning back on the couch.

“Oh, you better start putting in some effort to help me solve this shit, because if the site counter starts dropping, I think we’ll have to start cutting things around here. And I’m willing to bet you don’t want that to happen.” Bro went to sit at his computer, deciding to prepare some manner of notice to post on his site about how his model jumped ship, in a sense, and he would have to find someone new to replace her.

Bro was one-hundred percent sure those news would piss off a large part of his audience. He constantly got e-mails from random guys – and sometimes girls – stating how they found the girl modeling on the site attractive, and some of them would even go to the extent of describing in great detail what they would like to do to her. Bro regarded those as “too much information” and often refrained from reading those in their entirety. He had no interest in knowing the machinations of those people’s minds.

“Fine, but what do you expect me to do?” Dave turned his head to look at his brother’s back, as he typed away on the computer.

“I lost a beautiful, busty and curvy gal. If you could find something with almost the same appeal, I would be quite glad.” Bro teased, more than anything. He didn’t want Dave to actually find a replacement to his model, but he would like if his little brother showed some concern about the thing that was, basically, their breadwinner.

“If you don’t know what to put in her place, how am I supposed to figure it out?” Dave furrowed his eyebrows, frowning. He couldn’t believe his brother was asking him such a thing.

“I wasn’t expecting you to know, geez…” Bro said, leaning back and taking a look at what he had written so far. “Just show a little interest in the issue, OK?”

“Fine…” Dave’s face softened and he got up from the couch, walking to his brother’s computer. “What you doing anyway?”

“Looking for a way to tell the people who visit the site that the hot babe is no more and I’m going to find someone else to put in her place. It won’t be pretty though. A lot of people liked her and, hell, I can’t blame them. She certainly was a nice piece of ass.” Bro resumed typing and Dave just watched with little to no interest, while trying to devise a solution to their dilemma, but finding nothing.

“Where did you find the previous chick? Can’t you find someone the same way?” Dave asked, leaning against the computer desk.

“She was a stroke of luck, honestly.” Bro kept typing and erasing things, searching for the right words to use.

Frankly, Dave wasn’t surprised by that statement. He could imagine not many people were willing to be part of his brother’s business, because, well, it wasn’t like puppet porn was something anyone would be terribly exhilarated to be part of. Bro was obviously the exception to the rule.

“Well, I’m going to take a shower, and like… try to think of something?” Dave said, honestly a little bit disappointed he couldn’t really help. The look on Bro’s face clearly translated all the frustration going on inside his brain, and just how absolutely nothing was coming to his mind. And that was worrying, because his brother was rather good at getting out of tight situations like those.

“Alright then.” Bro made a dismissive movement with his hand, eyes fixed on the screen.

Dave left his brother’s room, going to the bathroom, struggling with his brain to come up with something, anything that could get Bro out of that pickle. He was right about what he said earlier: if people stopped visiting Bro’s site, money would stop coming, and they would be in trouble.

They needed an answer to their issue, and they needed one quick.

Ten minutes later, Dave came out of the bathroom, a towel wrapped around his waist, shades in hand and his hair still damp. Absolutely nothing had occurred to him while showering, and he felt stupid. He honestly thought he was sharper than that, despite his age. Before going to his bedroom to change, he decided to check on his brother and see if he was less agitated.

“Hey, how is it going?” He pushed the door open, walking inside. Bro was still sitting at the computer like before, but now there were a bunch of smuppets all over the furniture and floor. “… What happened here?”

“I was trying to think, but I got nothing.” Dave failed to see how spreading those somewhat creepy dolls all over the room had anything to do with thinking, but he wasn’t going to question his brother’s methods. “What about you?”

“Nah, I’m still at square one too.” Dave’s shoulders slumped forward, imagining just how long they would go on without a solution. “What about the text you were writing? Are you done?”

“Yeah… but I’m going to wait a while to post it. Maybe I’ll put it up tomorrow morning.” Bro wasn’t going to post it at a time the site got heavy traffic. He surely didn’t want an even bigger mess on his hands.

Dave just nodded, and turned to walk out of the room to go to his own and put some clothes on. He was so distracted thinking about the present issue, he failed to notice a smuppet which was right by his feet, and tripped on it, falling unceremoniously to the floor, face first, with his shades falling a few inches from him.

Well, that wasn’t very cool… Dave thought as he tried to collect himself as quickly as he could. Talk about an awkward scene, with him just laying there covered only by a towel while surrounded by those weird puppets. Although, he stopped on his tracks and turned to look behind, when his brother talked to him.

“Hey, be care… Dave, wait! Don’t move!” Bro had the biggest tone of urgency in his voice as he spoke those last two words, and Dave froze in place, not sure why his brother wanted him to be static. Maybe there was an insect on his shoulder or something?

In a split second, Bro already had a camera in hand and was pointing it at Dave, his finger resting on the shutter button. It took two or three second for Dave to register what was going on, which was more than enough time for his brother to take a photo. When the flash of the camera burst out in front of his eyes, his brain finally registered what was going on, and his eyes widened as he flinched back on the floor, cheeks instantly going red.

“WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK ARE YOU DOING?” Dave shouted, one hand firmly holding on to the towel around his waist and the other going for his shades, as he tried to get up as quickly as possible.

“I told you not to move… Fuck, I hope the one I took looks good.” Bro said, seemingly unfazed by the whole situation.

“Bro, are you going to do what I think you are? Are you out of your fucking mind?” Dave was already on his feet when he finished talking, eyes narrowing as his fingers tensed gripped on the towel.

There was no answer from Bro as he plugged the camera to the computer, loading its pictures into it.

“Fuck you, give me that thing!” Dave tried to reach for the camera and pull it from the computer, but his brother simply held him back by placing a hand on his chest, still looking as indifferent as ever.

“No can do.” Bro simply shook his head, watching the images on the camera load on the screen.

“I swear to God if you do this, I’m never talking to you again!” Dave was still trying to get the small gadget sitting on his brother’s table in all ways possible, but it was hard work reaching for it while avoiding his brother and preventing the towel from falling from his waist.

“Look, this is just going to be a temporary solution. I need something to keep those people distracted while I try to find something else.” Bro explained, as if what he was about to do was the most normal and common thing in the world.

“Are you shitting me? I… fuck you. Just fuck you Bro!” Dave stormed out of the room, crossing the hallway and entering his room, slamming the door shut behind him and locking it, back pressed against the wooden surface. His blood was boiling and he was seriously thinking about slashing his brother’s computer to pieces the next time he left the apartment.

He could barely believe his brother was capable of something of that caliber. He knew Bro was a total weirdo, but he never imagine he would go so far as…

Shaking his head vigorously, Dave walked to his small closet and grabbed some clothes, angrily throwing them on the bed. He wasn’t even sure if his brother was being serious about it or if he was fucking with him. It was never easy to tell when his brother was joking or when he was being dead serious. This time though, Dave really wished he was joking.

Because, if he wasn’t, Dave wasn’t bluffing back there. He would honestly  never, ever talk to him again as he lived, if he dared doing such a thing.

Dave opted to stay the rest of the day pretty much locked inside his bedroom, and he was quite surprised his brother didn’t knock on his door at some point, trying to lure him outside with the promise of pizza or Chinese food. That was how things usually went down.

The day turned into night and, after waiting all day long for any sort of sign from his brother, curiosity was eating Dave from inside out, and he couldn’t help but send him an e-mail message from his computer. No subject or anything, just a message saying “you didnt do it did you?

The reply he got back was short, but enough to cause his heart to skip a beat and his face to go pale.


Dave sunk on his chair, wanting to disappear forever. How could his brother do something like that, and be so absolutely blatant about it even?

In a matter of seconds, Dave felt his stomach turning, imagining his photo somewhere in the front page of his brother’s site, probably with big bold letters above it, just to make sure everyone would notice it.

Or maybe Bro was still pulling his leg? Sure that was taking a simple prank way too far, but sometimes his brother definitely didn’t know when to stop with certain jokes, especially the ones which caused him utmost embarrassment.

But to be sure if his brother was lying or not, he would have to go to that damned site and see it with his own eyes. There was no way his brother would simply tell if he was just faking it or not.

Hesitantly, he typed the url to his brother’s site, pausing between each letter, a gut feeling telling him he shouldn’t be doing it. Maybe he should just consider all that as a joke, even if it wasn’t, and just leave it at that. It would certainly save him a lot of energy and, mostly importantly, mental scarring.

Still, he kept going, and reluctantly pressed the Enter key, eyes closing as he put a hand over them.

Please be joking, please be joking, pleasebejoking Dave kept chanting that sentence inside his mind like a mantra, as he peeked through his fingers to look at his computer screen.

All of a sudden, his eyes immediately snapped open and his hand immediately fell to his lap, and he could swear his stomach dropped to the floor at the same speed.

He had done it.

The asshole actually did it.

There was the photo his brother took, right in the front page just like Dave imagined, big bold letters and all. But he barely paid attention to what they were saying. He was far too shocked and disoriented by the image itself.

If Dave ever needed to define the word “humiliation” in a single picture, he certainly could use the one right there in front of his eyes. There was him, lying on the floor, a white towel loosely wrapped around his hips, as he just stared blankly at the camera, lips slightly parted and his red-tinted eyes wide and completely in the open, his figure surrounded by his brother’s colorful puppets.

Dave’s stomach turned even more at the sight. He felt disgusted by how unbelievably vulnerable and delicate he looked in that photo, and how it clashed so much with the exact opposite image he wanted to show others. And suddenly his face contorted in anger, frustration and disbelief.

He just wanted to scream at the top of his lungs, but he was so downright dumbstruck by the incident whatever sound trying to escape from his mouth got stuck in his throat, and he just silently and angrily closed the browser and shut his computer, going to his bed to lay on it, face buried on his pillow, muffling a chain of swear words. Dave never really felt like dying, but that seemed like a quite convenient time to just go to the rooftop and take a leap.

As if his brother knew what just happened, there was a knock on the door, which just served to get Dave even more infuriated.

“FUCK OFF! I’M NEVER TALKING TO YOU AGAIN!” Dave yelled, not bothering to get up from his bed. He had to admit he was happy when his brother didn’t say anything else and did “fuck off”. That almost never happened.

With a heavy sigh, Dave covered his head with the pillow, wanting to disappear from the face of Earth forever.

A few minutes later, the sound of paper brushing against carpet reached his ears, and he peeked from under the pillow to see a small piece of paper on the floor, next to his door.

Is he joking? Dave honestly couldn’t believe his brother was handing him one of his stupid notes at a moment like that. Of all the times to do such a thing, that had to be the worst.

Pushing the pillow aside, Dave got up from his bed and sluggishly walked to the door, picking up the small piece of paper lying there.


That was all the note said. Dave shifted his gaze from the message to his computer, and back to the piece of paper. That went on for a few seconds, as he tried to figure out just what Bro was attempting to achieve. Did he send some kind of apology by e-mail? Dave doubted it, because it wasn’t like his brother would ever apologize for anything, even atrocious things like what just happened.

And it wasn’t like any sort of explanation would magically fix things.

Either way, Dave wanted to know what that was all about, so he turned his computer back on, another heavy sigh escaping from his lips as he sat on his chair, still frowning.

When he opened his e-mail, he thought his eyes were playing tricks on him.

His inbox had a total of more than one hundred new messages, all from Bro. And all of them had different subject lines, or no subject line at all, and the way some of them were worded didn’t seem like his brother’s way of writing at all.

Needless to say, Dave was quite puzzled about just what was going on. When he opened up the first e-mail, he noticed it was actually some manner of forwarded message. He automatically deducted all of those other ones followed the same style, since they had literally seconds of difference in between them.

There was a pattern to all those messages though: all of them seemed to be, more or less, praising him for his picture that was up on his brother’s site.

Well, maybe “praise” wasn’t the best word to describe the nature of some of those. Dave literally couldn’t read more than half of those till the end, because there were some really nasty scenarios going on in some of those. And pretty much all of them involved Bro’s colorful puppets.

But the fact remained that a good amount of people seemed to be considerably interested in him, and clearly in the best way possible, considering the nature of Bro’s site.

That didn’t help to ease the turmoil going on inside Dave’s head though. If anything, those messages only served to get him even more flustered, confused and… flattered? There certainly was a strange sense of accomplishment growing in the back of his mind, but he tried his best to choke back that feeling. How could he feel even the littlest feeling of triumph for something so upsetting? That was, without a doubt, mortifying, so how could he even for a moment think that was something to be proud of?

Still, he couldn’t say getting such an overwhelming amount of attention in such a short time span was bad, but the circumstances revolving around said attention were surely displeasing. Not to mention Dave had no idea just how perverted the people who frequented his brother’s site actually were. They were getting off by looking at the image of some half-naked pre-teen. That was some sick and twisted shit right there.

Dave skimmed though all the messages his brother sent him, and by the time he was finished, he was just staring blankly at his computer screen, not sure of what to say or do. He didn’t know if he should just stay in his room for a long time and avoid his brother completely, or if he should go out that very second and confront him about it, or if he should just let that feeling of victory take over and give no fucks…

And, hell, he couldn’t even ask anyone how to proceed. He was completely on his own, and he had no clue how to act.

A notification sound reached his ears and he looked at his computer. There was a new message on his inbox, once again from Bro, but this time it wasn’t a forwarded one.

Showing no hesitation for the first time that night, Dave just opened the last message, and as he expected there wasn’t much written on it, except for one single question.


There was actually a pretty damn good question and Dave had no idea how to answer to it.

Chapter Text

In the end, Dave ended up staying in his room for the rest of the night, dazed, confused and, mostly, hungry. He was pretty much starving, but he sure as hell didn’t want to risk venturing through the apartment in search for food and cross paths with his brother. He would like to have his thoughts in place before such a confrontation.

For the longest time, he just laid down on his bed, staring at the ceiling, trying to make some sense out of the situation. Not that he got anywhere, but he was at least able to calm down a little and not freak out so much. It was still weird, still unnatural, but Dave figured out throwing a hissy fit over it wouldn’t change anything. The damage was done and nothing he said or did could change what happened.

Past midnight, he attempted sleeping, but as expected, he simply couldn’t do it. His mind was still racing and working non-stop, thinking about the avalanche of messages his brother sent his way, and Bro’s last question was still echoing inside his brain. And he still had no reply whatsoever.

Dave shifted on his bed for hours, occasionally drifting off to sleep just to wake up in a jolt five minutes later. And the fact that he had school the morning after didn’t make things any better. In fact, having to wake up early the next day for such a task made things even worse. He already didn’t like school normally, but going there after such a shitty night just made him dread it even more.

The fidgeting and sudden waking up continued till sunrise, and when the clock hit 6AM, Dave was already fed up with those and just sat up, staring at his lap for a while before getting out of bed.

With a yawn, he unlocked the bedroom door and went to the bathroom for his morning routine. Upon looking at himself in the mirror, he realized that he looked way more tired than he thought he would. He could already tell he was going to have a crappy day. As he slowly brushed his teeth, he considered going to school all by himself. He still didn’t feel prepared to talk to his brother.

Another yawn came from Dave’s mouth before he proceeded to wash his face, which didn’t help much with how he looked, but at least it made him feel more determined to leave the apartment.

Back in his room, he changed into his everyday clothes, and sat around for a while. It was still too early to go out, since the school gates would only open at eight. But he had to make sure to go out before his brother woke up. Knowing him, that little “incident” from yesterday didn’t interfere with his sleeping at all, and he was probably still in dreamland. This, for Dave, was a relief, even if it didn’t sound fair at all.

At around seven, he finally gathered his stuff, and then cursed himself when he picked up his math book and realized he completely forgot to do his homework. He was so worked up the night before he completely neglected it. With just a roll of his eyes, he angrily crammed the book inside his bag, trying not to think too much about his slip. His crabby math teacher was going to nag at him endlessly about it, but he couldn’t care less about the old hag.

When Dave finished packing his things, he left the bedroom without a noise, tiptoeing through the apartment to reach the front door, and he was honestly surprised his brother didn’t suddenly flash-step right in front of him, to give him both a heart attack and the embarrassment of a lifetime. If it was even possible for Dave to feel even more self-conscious than he already was.

The trip to the ground level of the building was an uneventful one, but when Dave finally hit the sidewalk, he held his breath for a second, his eyes wide as he scanned everything and everyone around him.

A sudden wave of absolute paranoia came to him. What if he crossed paths with someone who saw him at that God-forsaken site? What if someone recognized him? What were even the odds of something like that happening?

Panic took over Dave’s brain as he rushed to the bus stop, eyes staring at the gray-colored ground at his feet as he waited for his bus to arrive. That nauseating feeling from hours ago returned once more, at full force, and he could barely look at the driver as he got inside the bus in a rush, going to sit in the very back, face half buried on his backpack.

Not even once while he was pondering on his bed at night he considered the fact he would have to go out of his apartment and interact with people. His mind was so wrapped up in other thoughts this notion didn’t even cross his mind. But now he was out and about, and it almost felt like all eyes were on him. As if the entire world knew about what happened.

When the bus arrived at its destination, Dave left it as quickly as he got inside, and rushed to the school’s front gate, barely paying attention to the people around him or if anyone was talking to him, replying to greetings with only a quick hand gesture as he made a bee-line for the classroom.

The first period was a total nightmare. Dave was literally sinking on his chair the whole time, and whenever anyone called his name, his heart would skip a beat and he would freeze in place for a second before answering.

Lunchtime came around, and Dave hated himself for forgetting to pack anything to eat before leaving home. He was still starving from the night before, and the food they served at school was far from appetizing, but he would have to make do with that, or else he would barely be able to concentrate on the following classes.

The food sucked, as he expected, but at least he wasn’t so famished anymore, and the feeling of paranoia that had been washing over him all morning was starting to fade away.

No one seemed to be acting differently towards him, and everyone he interacted with was behaving as normal as ever. No weird looks or whispers behind his back. Absolutely nothing.

Because of that, second period went by a little bit better, except for the inevitable scolding from the Math teacher, which Dave listened to and nodded at, but didn’t really take into consideration.

When school time was close to ending, Dave’s heart started to race again, but it wasn’t the paranoia. It was because he knew he wouldn’t be able to avoid his brother when leaving the building. He knew Bro would be waiting for him outside in his pick-up truck, to take him back to the apartment.

Dave still wasn’t sure if he was ready to face him.

The school bell rang and Dave was literally the last one to leave the classroom, walking slowly down the hallway, highly contrasting with the other kids that were passing by him in a hurry. When he reached the front gate, his eyes quickly scanned around and he tensed when he saw the back of Bro’s truck.

Looking at his own feet, Dave walked to the vehicle, opening the passenger’s door and getting inside, not even once looking at his brother’s face as he closed the door.

“How was school?” Bro asked casually, as he started the engine.

“It was OK.” Dave replied in the most neutral tone of voice he could muster, which was actually a feat, considering how things were going inside his head.

Bro drove away, and started the familiar path back to their building. After a few minutes of silence, he spoke again.

“You never answered me.”

“Hm?” Dave involuntarily looked at his brother, a bit confused. “I did, I said it was O-”

“I don’t mean school. What I asked you yesterday. How does it feel like to have fans?” Bro allowed the ghost of a smile to appear on lips, because he was honestly amused.

“I… … I don’t really know.” Dave looked away, out the window, running his fingers through his hair.

“I admit I’m as surprised as you. I wasn’t lying when I said that was a temporary solution. I just needed something to distract the people who visit the site, just so I could borrow some time before I found something more… fitting.” Bro finally allowed himself to smirk when they stopped at a red light. “They are more twisted than I first expected though. I actually thought I made a huge mistake after posting that photo there and that would ward off visitors instead of enticing them. Turns out I was wrong.”

Dave didn’t say anything in response to that small speech from his brother. What could he say anyway? He barely knew how to feel, let alone vocalize anything. The light went green and the truck started moving again, and when nothing came from Dave’s lips, Bro decided to talk again.

“Did you eat anything at school?” He asked, looking at Dave from the corner of his eye.

“Just the crap they serve there and try to pass as edible.” Dave crossed his arms in front of his chest, trying not to remember the awful taste of what his school classified as “food”. He had airplane meals that tasted better than that.

“You didn’t eat anything yesterday night. Want to go for some tacos?” Bro didn’t like it when Dave skipped meals. The kid was already a bit too much on the skinny side. He didn’t need more help with that.

“Hm… Well, sure, why not?” Dave shrugged, relieved Bro didn’t push the subject further. As much as he wanted to clear his head about that and actually come to some sort of conclusion, he honestly didn’t feel like discussing the subject at the moment.

Bro just nodded and changed directions, driving to the nearest taco-selling drive-through, while asking Dave what he wanted.

After the less than exciting process of buying food, Bro just parked the pick-up truck somewhere, not really feeling like driving all the way back to the apartment for them to eat. He did that mostly because he didn’t want the food to get cold. Dave had no objections.

They sat there eating in silence for almost ten minutes, until Dave finally spoke.

“I don’t know how it feels like. The ‘fanbase’ thing I mean. I wasn’t really prepared for that…” Dave sighed before taking another bite from his taco. “I… well I feel somewhere between, like, flattered… and baffled. And a bit sickened.”

“Can’t say I disagree with you on the ‘sick’ part.” Bro could enjoy a lot of dubious things, and he knew the people who frequented his site were far from being pure, innocent individuals, but he didn’t know they would welcome something like that with such open arms. “Still, people liked you and this is a fact.”

“I know… I just get this weird feeling when I think someone might be getting off to a picture of me, like, right now.” Dave felt a shiver down his spine, and he took a sip from his soda trying to erase that mental image from his mind.

“… Yeah, that’s a pretty unsettling thought.” Bro couldn’t help but feel a bit uncomfortable himself, thinking about some old, balding guy on a sweaty chair jerking off to the image of his little brother. He didn’t stop to think about that and now he was doing so, he felt a quite disgusted. “OK, let’s not think about that, or else I’m never finishing this taco. Instead, let’s think about what we can achieve here.”

Achieve?” Dave raised an eyebrow, not sure if he wanted to see where that conversation was going.

“Creepy, old guys aside, if that little experiment from yesterday told me anything, is that you can please the crowd who goes to the site.” Bro leaned back on his seat, taking a quick sip from his soda. “The messages I forwarded you yesterday were just a part from what I got in my inbox, and when I woke up today, there were even more. It was pretty crazy.”

“You aren’t going to tell me to start doing this, are you?” Dave asked, eyes narrowing as he looked at his brother.

“Well, shit, you got me.” Bro said sarcastically, but he was actually glad Dave realized what he meant without him having to be specific about it. “Either way, I’m just saying the site counter sky-rocketed yesterday, and I don’t need to tell you how good this is for our bank account.”

“So you are willing to expose me to a couple of perverted old guys for a few extra bucks?” Dave sometimes had doubts about his older brother’s sanity, but now he was pretty sure he had gone bonkers.

“First, don’t act as if more money wouldn’t bring you more luxury too, and second, it’s not like I’m suggesting you to sell your body on the streets.”

“Bro!” Dave almost chocked on his taco with those last words.

“Don’t go flipping your shit. Besides, I’m not going to force you to do this. I’ll keep looking for someone else to put on the site. I’m just saying you had a very positive effect on the site’s popularity. Make of that what you will.” Bro took a last sip from his soda and finished his taco, starting the engine again, as Dave stared at him with an annoyed look on his face.

There were so many wrong and illegal implications to what his brother was suggesting, that Dave was having a hard time trying to figure out if he was dead serious about it, or if he was just being his regular, weird self. It was really, really hard to tell, sometimes.

Like that one time, years ago, when they were at the zoo and Bro said he always wanted to have a pet snake, and Dave just scoffed at it, only to find a snake awfully similar to the one they saw a week earlier just slithering around their apartment one morning.

Till this date, Dave never knew if his brother stole the poor thing from the zoo or if he bought it at some store. He never actually dared asking. He also never asked what happened to it, when the unfortunate reptile just simply disappeared, a month later.

Some questions were better left unanswered.

Although, joke or not, Dave wasn’t sure of how to answer. Putting aside his initial disgust towards the situation, he couldn’t say the prospect of filling their bank account wasn’t tempting and highly appreciated, but there were a multitude of ethical implications that applied to the case and Dave wasn’t sure if he wanted to brush so closely to immorality just to make a quick buck.

As for Bro, he wasn’t kidding, and he honestly wouldn’t think twice before giving decency the middle finger if that meant he could a) have fun, and b) challenge society. And that plan surely would give him the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone, and get a little bit richer in the process. He really failed to see the problem.

The rest of the trip to the apartment was made in total silence, with neither Striders saying anything. Dave, because his mind was a mess of thoughts again, and Bro because he actually had nothing to say. He had already put his offer on the table and was just waiting for Dave’s reply. Although, he wasn’t one hundred percent sure if he wanted a positive answer to that. In the end, Dave was still his little brother, still a kid, still the only person he honestly cared about in the world and the one he would actually give a damn if anything bad happened to.

Only Dave could make him hesitate, even if only a little, about anything.

They finally reached their building, Bro parked the pick-up truck in the garage and they took the elevator all the up to the top floor. When they stepped out of it, Bro pulled his key from the back-pocket of his jeans, and when he was about to unlock the door, Dave called him and he stopped to look back at the boy.

“If… If I agree on this… thing… It isn’t going to be forever, right?” Dave completely avoided any sort of eye-contact with his older brother, even if that was naturally hard to achieve with two layers of shades in the way of their eyes.

“Well, of course not. We are just going to mess with their heads for a while and then, puff! You are going to disappear, the same way you appeared. No questions asked, no one knowing who you are, nothing. Don’t you think that’s a good hoax?” Bro used the most reassuring tone he could convene, because all in all he didn’t want to scare his little brother. Maybe if they treated everything  like some big, well-elaborated prank, then it would feel less like a crime.

“You aren’t joking about this, right?” Dave was still skeptic about it all, but he couldn’t help but be a bit comforted by his brother’s words.

“Look, I can joke about a lot of things, but not this.” Bro turned his attention back to the door, finally unlocking it and opening it up. “To be honest I just want to drive those suckers mad and eventually leave them begging for more. And believe me when I say that you are a perfect ‘bait’ for that.” Bro said, as he entered the apartment, while Dave stood there for a moment, processing what was being said to him.

So, him and his brother were going to start some manner of ruse to suck money from a few poor desperate, lonely bastards? It still felt wrong, but that was a way more thrilling and interesting way to look at things. And Dave couldn’t say he wasn’t growing a little bit more interested.

He was still weary, yes, but terribly curious about what would unfold.

Chapter Text

To say the conversation that took place between Dave and Bro after they returned to their apartment was an unusual one would be an understatement. But Bro couldn't exactly disguise his enthusiasm about the whole thing.

It was thrilling for him to be discussing such a subject with his younger brother. Not only they were talking about something he was interested in, Dave was going to be an important part of it, and in a kind of twisted way, that made Bro proud.

On the other hand, Dave was both highly interested and intimidated by the plan his brother was developing. But he also thought maybe this experience would be a good way for him to learn more about Bro's mind and how it actually worked. Of course that was a strange way to try to get inside his brother's head, but it was certainly better than waiting for Bro to drop occasional cryptic hints at him.

Bro went on explaining how his whole business worked, which was something Dave never really bothered learning much about. Basically, the whole thing worked as some sort of 'pay per view' online channel; with a wide variety of puppet porn videos to be chosen from. He even casually asked Dave if he wanted to see any, and the younger Strider just politely declined - as politely as upbringing in their household allowed him to that is.

“Well, your loss.” It was Bro’s reply.

Aside from the videos, there was also a whole market going on which revolved around selling smuppets of all colors, styles and sizes to those eager enough to pay for them. And Dave was actually surprised by the amount of people who were actually willing to shell out money for those, and more surprised to find out people would go the extra mile to add a few more dollars to have then customized.

And of course Bro would be more than happy to supply his costumers with those, even if that meant more work for him. More work only meant a fatter bank account by the end of the month, and who wouldn’t like such a thing?

Finally, they came to Dave’s role on the entire thing. The plan was simple, or at least Bro made it seem like an easy enough task. All Dave would have to do was take a few slightly edgy photos with the puppets, Bro would put them up, and that would attract the attention of the masses.

“Bro, are you sure this is such a fail proof scheme? Maybe that one picture was just a stroke of luck.” Dave couldn’t understand how something so wrong could work so well.

“I wouldn’t call over 200 messages a ‘stroke of luck’.” Bro laid down on the couch as Dave watched him from the chair he was sitting on. “Besides, let’s not forget who had been running the site for the past years. I know a smash hit when I see one.”

Dave fidget on his seat, not sure of what to say or do. Sure he kind of agreed on going on with his brother’s scheme, but the more he thought about it, the more reluctant he felt towards it.

“We aren’t going to rush anything though, if that’s what’s bugging you.” Bro said when he heard the squeaking from the chair. “If we really go on with it, we're doing it over the weekend.”

The weekend in question was three days away, but that didn’t really give Dave the relief he was looking for. In fact, having some sort of set date only served to keep him even more on the edge of his seat.

“And I’m not going to force you into doing anything. There’s nothing set in stone here and there’s nothing, like, a blood pact between us or something. If you want out, you just have to say it.” Bro shifted on the couch, lying on his side.

At the same time Dave was impressed – and even a bit envious - by how unconcerned his brother could be in a situation like that, he couldn’t help but wonder how many screws were loose inside Bro’s head for him to treat such a bizarre scenario with such normality. Dave didn’t even know if that was just him and his ironic ways at work or if his brother was just plain weird.

It was so hard to tell when the irony stopped and the legit weirdness began.

All things considered, Dave’s curiosity was picked, there was no denying it. That was a whole new “world”, and he couldn’t say it didn’t appeal to him. It actually did. In a wicked way, yeah, but it did nevertheless.

“If it makes you feel any better.” Bro suddenly said, snapping Dave from his inner thoughts. “I’m not going to mention this throughout the rest of the week.”

“Hm… I guess it would make it better.” Dave wasn’t even sure if that was going to help or make things worse, but it was worth the try. Not having a constant reminder would be nice.

True to his word, Bro didn’t mention anything about the upcoming weekend, and Dave was glad he was actually able to not think too much about it. Sure he still caught himself pondering about the situation and thinking if it was the right thing to do; but not discussing it with his brother and going back to their normal lives for those three days was a huge relief.

When Saturday rolled in – with Dave being a bit disrupted in his sleep the night before, but not as much as the night after that fateful first photograph – the younger Strider woke up late in the morning, almost around noon, to find the house empty. He was actually expecting his brother to be around to hear his final word about their deal, but apparently he was wrong.

Maybe he didn’t want to pressure him into coming to a decision right after waking up? If that was the case, even if Dave doubted it, he mentally thanked his brother for not being in his face first thing in the morning.

Bro only returned an hour later, with a bag from some random clothing store and didn’t mention anything about was supposed to take place that day as he passed by Dave playing a video game, sitting on the couch. He had decided to leave the decision up to the boy. When he felt like talking, then they would talk.

It didn’t take long for Dave to bring up the subject, stopping his game and turning off the console in the process, and Bro was silently happy about that, because he would be lying if he didn’t say he was anxious to hear his younger brother’s definite reply.

“So, I thought about this whole thing and… I guess I… I guess I want to go for it.” Dave fumbled with his thumbs, eyes gazing at his own lap. He still wasn’t 100% sure about that, but he could at least say his mind was leaning more towards ‘yes’ than ‘no’.

“Can’t say I’m not happy to hear that. And I guess the sooner we start, the better, don’t you think?” Bro gave Dave a half-smile, placing the bag he had brought with him besides Dave. “By the way, I bought these for you to wear in the pictures we are taking.”

“You bought stuff for me to wear without even knowing if I was going to agree with it?” Dave narrowed his eyes, shooting a glare at his brother. Talk about counting his chickens before they hatch...

“If you said no I could use those for something else.” Bro simply shrugged, completely unaffected by Dave’s angry stare. “ 'Cmon now, go to the bathroom and chance so we can get this show on the road.”

Dave mumbled some complaint under his breath as he picked up the shopping bag and slowly walked out of the room, not even bothering to check the bag’s contents. He supposed those were just some frilly boy’s clothes his brother had acquired to make this whole thing even more embarrassing. That wouldn’t be a first.

Bro sat around the room, fiddling with his camera as he waited for Dave’s return, and when he did, only in his underwear and shades, and with the bag’s contents on his hand, Bro would have laughed at the exasperated look on his brother’s face, if his self-control wasn’t set pretty high.

“Are you really expecting me to wear this?” Dave’s voice rose as he spoke, as he threw the clothes he had in hand right at Bro’s face, who didn’t really make an effort to dodge them.

“Why? You don’t like the color?” Bro asked casually, picking up the articles that were thrown at him.

“I don’t… Bro! The fuck’s wrong with you? You gave me girl’s clothes to wear and you are asking me about colors?” Dave was almost foaming from his mouth, his fists tightly clenched.

And sure enough, the only two articles of clothing on Bro’s hands were a pair of lacy, pink panties and a light blue plaited skirt.

“Alright, fine. I was aiming for something more ‘out there’, but if you want to be boring then just put on a pair of shorts or something.” Bro rolled his eyes behind his shades, putting the clothes on his computer desk.

Something different... Hmph…” Dave said in a whisper before stepping out of the room, not really believing his brother was already making him regret that decision. Not even ten minutes had passed and he was already almost giving up. It was demeaning enough to be taking those photos, he didn’t need help from shameful clothes.

When Dave was out of the room, Bro allowed himself a chuckle, as he expected such a reaction from his brother, but it was way more priceless to actually see it than imagining how it would go down. Those were one of the best thirty dollars he ever spent.

It didn’t take long for Dave to be back, with a pair of black shorts on and with his arms crossed in front of his chest.

“Is it more of your liking Your Majesty?” Bro teased, getting up from his seat with a smile.

“Shut up. Let’s just… let’s get over this, OK?” Dave leaned against the computer desk, letting out a huff of air.

“You know the shades have to go right?” Bro asked, placing a few smuppets on the couch.

“Wait, you joking right?” Dave’s face changed from angry to skeptical. As far as he was concerned, there was a policy inside their household which was pretty specific about the use of shades, and it followed a simple rule: they weren’t supposed to be removed, unless it was necessary, like during showers or while sleeping. No exceptions.

And now Bro was straight out telling to diss the shades like they were nothing, and Dave could barely believe what he was hearing.

“You heard me. If people can get a clear look of your face like they did in that first picture, I’m sure the appeal will be higher.” Bro explained as he kept placing the puppets on the sofa, shifting them in place as he tried to figure out the best positions for them.

Dave was pretty certain his brother was going out on a limb there and taking conclusions based on a single photograph, but he didn’t feel in the mood to discuss the subject with him, so he just whipped off his shades and placed them on the table.

It felt really strange to not wear them for no reason whatsoever, especially in his brother’s presence. Sometimes he would take off his shades while alone in his room, but that was a whole different thing. Every so often he just got bored with watching everything through dark-tinted lens and wanted to see everything clear and in full color. It was a nice breath of fresh air to see the world as it was meant to be seen.

But while he stood there in shorts, watching his brother mess around with those puppets, he felt the urge to just fetch them again and put them back on his face to at least make that whole ordeal a little bit less unnatural. If he went through with it though, his brother was sure to scold him, in a way.

“Alright, all set.” Bro said, stepping back from the couch, admiring his “work” on decorating it with colorful smuppets of varying sizes. “Take a seat over there, yes?” He pointed an empty spot on the couch, and Dave was less than willing to comply, even if he had to. But, he was the one who gave permission for that to happen, so it was partially his fault for being in that situation.

Seating himself, with his arms still crossed, Dave tapped his bare foot against the carpeted floor, watching his brother fiddle with the camera for a while, before looking at him.

“OK, first thing, you really need to drop that pose and the pissed-off look on your face.” Bro looked at the younger Strider through half-lidded eyes. Couldn’t he show a little bit more enthusiasm?

Dave almost felt like shooting something around the lines of ‘I would like to see you try’ at his brother, but all things considered, Bro would most probably be acting normally if he ever found himself in the same position, so he refrained from saying anything on the matter.

“What do I even have to do?” Dave asked, uncrossing his arms as he sat there, not even sure of what he should do with his hands, his gaze falling on his lap.

“A good start would be to look at the fucking camera.” Bro already had the small device already pointed at Dave, framing him in the center and a good portion of the couch.

Lifting his head a bit, Dave did as he was told, eyes now staring at the camera’s lens. There was no going back now, and he knew it very well. His brother would never let him live down the fact he chickened out at a time like this.

“OK, you also need to stop looking like a deer caught in the headlights, Jesus.” Bro lowered the camera, a silent sigh escaping his lips. “Relax your shoulders a little, OK?”

Not having the camera pointed at him helped Dave feel a little bit more at ease, but he was pretty sure as soon as Bro put it back in place, he would tense up again.

“Will it help if I close my eyes?” Bro asked, getting the camera to frame the same area from before.

“… Actually yes.” Dave said, and he almost didn’t have to think before talking. To be fair, not having someone looking directly at him would be nice.

“OK, so, here.” Bro used one of his hands to slide his shades a bit till they were at the end of his nose, giving his younger brother just a partial view of his eyes, but enough so he could tell they were closed or not. “My eyes are closed. Is this any better?”

“Hm, yes.” Dave leaned back on the couch a bit, feeling a little bit more at ease.

“Alright, I’m going to trust you aren’t looking like a scared mouse anymore, so just do as I say.” Bro held the camera firmly in place, and Dave nodded in response, before remembering his brother couldn’t even see him doing that.

What followed was Bro directing Dave to do all sorts of poses, to put his leg here, put his hands there, lean back, lean forward, tilt his head up, then down, look to the side, part his lips a bit, partially close his eyes, hold one, two, three smuppets, press them against his chest…

That went on for almost an entire hour, with Bro keeping his eyes closed all the time, just limiting himself to move the camera back and forth. He had no idea if Dave was doing whatever he was telling him to right, but for some odd reason he trusted his younger brother was doing a good job with the instructions that were given to him.

On the other hand, Dave felt a bit strange by doing those things, but he was trying real hard to follow Bro’s commands the best way he could, even if he felt everything he was doing lacked certain softness. He was more than aware of the fact he was still acting pretty stiff, even though he wasn’t being constantly watched by his brother as he did those. Bro was still going to see those photos eventually, and that was enough to get him quite nervous.

“And, we are done.” Bro lowered the camera and opened his eyes again, the first thing to fill them being the image of Dave sitting on the couch, looking a bit perplexed, but still somewhat calm, as he hugged three smuppets against his torso. “Well, that definitely isn’t something you see every day.”

“Asshole.” Dave murmured, which was followed by a grunt as he discarded the puppets somewhere on the couch.

“Good job surviving this whole thing though. I thought you would definitely flip at some point.” Bro pushed his shades back so then they were covering his eyes again. “Now it’s time to see the final result. Do you want to check those with me?”

Bro kind of wanted to leave the job of sorting those pics to Dave alone, hoping that would make him feel a bit more at ease, by knowing he would be the one looking through those pictures instead of someone else, but he doubted Dave would have the skills necessary to judge which were the best.

Yes, he knew very well Dave was into photography and he was able to take great photos and discern good pictures from crappy ones, but those weren’t some images of imposing buildings or eye-catching shopping windows or anything like that. This was a whole different department.

All the while, a part of Dave wanted to simply decline that invitation, because he certainly would feel uncomfortable by looking at those with his brother, but at the same time it was weird leaving him alone to evaluate those.

“If you don’t want to be around as I sort these, here’s something to make you feel more comfortable: I promise I’m not going to touch myself while looking at them.” Bro grinned in mockery and Dave threw the first puppet he could reach right as his face.

“Oh God, Bro, this was really disgusting and uncalled for!” Dave’s cheeks turned red instantly, as he sunk on the couch, arms once again crossed in front of his chest. “I’m not going to look, but I’m going to stay here.”

“OK, whatever makes you feel better.” Bro walked to his computer, sitting at it and turned it on, plugging in the camera as soon as it finished booting up.

A silence remained between the both of them for the longest time, with only the sound of clicking and typing cutting through it.

At some point, Dave darted a glance to the computer screen from where he was sitting, but it was hard to see whatever was going on with his brother’s head and most of his shoulders blocking his view.

“So?” Dave finally decided to speak, when he realized that trying to sneak a peek was useless.

“So what?” Bro said, eyes never leaving the screen.

“Are they any good?” Dave went back to looking straight ahead, eyes aimed at the television’s direction.

“It’s not ‘grade A’ material, but they are pretty damn decent, not gonna lie.”

“Oh…” Dave wasn’t sure how to react to that reply, so he just limited himself to stay put and don’t say anything else.

Bro kept sorting the photos in silence and Dave didn’t dare say anything anymore. This went on for almost twenty minutes, until the incessant clicking and typing came to a stop, and Bro got up from his seat, dropping a small memory card on Dave’s lap.

“What’s that for?” The younger Strider inquired, his gaze shifting from the card to his brother’s face.

“The ones I picked are there, if you want to take a look at them on your computer.” Bro gave Dave a sort of reassuring smile, trying to get the boy to look less uncomfortable.

“Maybe… later.” Dave said, stuffing the small memory card inside the back pocket of his shorts. “I’m going to put on some real clothes now.” He got up from the couch, walking to the room’s door, passing by the table to retrieve his shades and put them back on.

“I’m going to post two or three of those pictures in a few. I’ll tell you about the outcome later.” Bro went back to sitting on his chair and Dave just quickly nodded at him, exiting the room.

Reaching his bedroom, Dave closed the door behind him, back pressed against it just like he did a couple of days ago. His emotions were all mixed up again, but at least this time he didn’t feel enraged.

He pulled the small memory card from his pocket and looked at it, not even sure if he wanted to look at what was inside it. He was embarrassed enough just imagining what those photographs looked like.

Carelessly tossing the card somewhere on his desk, Dave went to pick up some clothes from his small, crumpled closet, changing into a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, but not bothering to put on shoes. That already felt a whole lot better.

Dave let himself fall on his bed, as he let out a sigh.

Well, it’s done now…

With his eyes fixed on the ceiling he wasn’t sure how things were going to unfold from that point on. The only thing he was certain of was that the confusion inside his mind wasn’t going to diminish anytime soon.

Chapter Text

Dave fell asleep on his bed that afternoon until his brother came barging in; calling his name loudly and with a grin plastered on his face.

“C’mon now, wake up! I have great news!” Bro announced, standing next to Dave’s bed as the boy sat up straight, rubbing his eyes and reaching for his shades.

“Hm… What is it?” He asked, looking up at his brother. It was quite rare to see him so overly excited about something, and usually when that happened it was over something weird or unusual, so Dave couldn’t help but be a bit cagey about those “great news”.

“Guess who filled the site’s inbox to the fucking brim?” Bro kept smiling, placing a hand on top of Dave’s head and ruffling his hair.

“Wait, are you serious? It’s been only…” Dave checked the clock next to his bed. “Three hours tops.”

“Would I joke about something like that? Here, let me show you.” Before Dave could even register what happened, he was already being carried out of his bedroom over Bro’s shoulder, and it took him a few seconds to actually say anything about it.

“I can use my own fucking legs!” Dave protested loudly, hitting his brother’s back with his fists.

“Don’t be an idiot.” Bro said, paying no mind to the punches landing on his back. “You are now the crown jewel of Plushrumps, you deserve to be carried.”

Literally feeling his cheeks and ears burn after Bro’s statement, Dave didn’t know if he should be infuriated, embarrassed or somewhat flattered by those words. And thinking about it, he had been feeling like that far too often for the past week. He would really appreciate it if his mind could finally decide on a feeling and stick to it.

Bro only put Dave down when they were at his computer, setting the boy down on the chair in front of it.

“So? What did I tell you?” Bro tapped the top of the monitor with his fingers, and Dave’s eyes instantly fell on it.

By merely giving the screen a quick glance, Dave could already tell what his brother meant by ‘filling the inbox to the brim’. There was a total amount of two hundred un-read messages on the screen and God only knew how many had already been read. And just by looking at the subject lines Dave could already tell what kind of content those messages held.

“This… this isn’t happening…” Dave was baffled. He couldn’t believe his eyes.

“Oh, you bet it’s happening lil' man.” Bro’s smirk turned into a softer smile, as he passed an arm around Dave’s neck and ruffled his hair again. “People love you and there’s no denying it.”

“It still feels weird…” Dave said in a murmur, as Bro moved away from him.

“I know it isn’t the most natural thing in the world, but you really should be happy about this. After all, you are going to make the both of us filthy rich if things continue at this pace.” Bro leaned against the computer’s desk, arms crossing.

“I guess I can’t complain…” Dave’s eyes scanned the messages on the screen again, his mind growing curious to know what was written on them.

"Did you ever see the pictures I put up?" Bro asked, moving from the desk to go sit on the couch, taking his younger brother away from his thoughts.

"Not really..." Dave was still highly uncomfortable with those, but if they had such an effect on the ones who visited his brother's site, they had to have something special about them.

"They are quite good. Not 100% great, but that's understandable. It's not like you are a professional model." Bro also knew he was no professional photographer either, at least when it came to taking photos of other people. He could take the most outstanding photographs of his puppets, but people were a completely different story. But he obviously wouldn't admit it openly.

More than that, he never could admit Dave had better photography skills than him.

Dave glanced back and saw his brother wasn't looking at him. That was probably an attempt to make him feel more at ease and check the images he mentioned. Still...

"I'll see them in my room." He said, getting up from the chair and walking to the door, kind of expecting his brother to say anything, but nothing came from him.

Already in his bedroom, Dave flopped on his chair before turning on the computer, his eyes falling on the memory card his brother gave him. He could always simply connect the card to the computer and see the pictures from there, but he honestly didn’t want to see all of them. Dave imagined that just seeing whatever Bro put up on the site would be enough to make him feel even more conflicted.

When the computer finished booting up, he hesitantly opened up his browser and began typing the url to his brother’s site, as he still refused to use the auto-fill function. He knew typing every letter would only buy him a few seconds before pressing ‘Enter’, but it was better than nothing.

Resting his fingers over the keyboard for a while, Dave took a deep breath before finally allowing the browser to load the site, his eyes closing like the very first time.

Slowly opening one of his eyes proved to be quite an useless action, because he couldn’t help his eyes going wide as he stared at the screen. Even if he had an idea of what he was going to see, it was still quite unbelievable.

There were those big, bright letters again, that he once more didn’t bother reading, as his eyes focused on the two images right under it.

The photo on the right was more or less normal, as it seemed more like some random photo of him in shorts sitting around the couch surrounded by smuppets than anything. It didn’t even look like he was making any sort of effort in posing for it. Wasn’t for his lack of shades, he honestly wouldn’t be able to tell that picture from some other common one taken on a hot summer day, with the puppets added for ~hilarious~ ironic purposes.

The image on the left on the other hand was seriously bugging him.

He was sitting pretty much on the same spot of the couch, but he was leaning back a bit, seeming a little bit more relaxed than in the first one – or as relaxed as he could be in such a situation – while clutching to one of those colorful puppets, with eyes half-lidded, in a way it made him look somewhat sleepy, which was probably not what was needed for the site, but his brother used the photo anyway.

The same uncomfortable feeling of vulnerability Dave got from the very first photo Bro put up came back at full force, and he had to look away for a while, biting his bottom lip while trying to sort out that weird feeling.

Dave was always attempting to act and seem way older than he actually was, hoping to emulate his brother’s actions. So much, he sometimes forgot he was still only a kid, and as one it wouldn’t be too hard for him to look helpless, unless he tried real hard to suppress that side of him.

And to have the entire world seeing the exact side he wanted to hide, was a really uncomfortable feeling.

Still, vulnerable or not, the fact people were enjoying how he looked couldn’t be changed, and that made Dave feel relieved, in a way. If anything, it kind of showed him putting up a “weaker” look wasn’t all that bad.

He was still fed up by that image though, so he decided on closing the browser, no sure if he should be going back to Bro’s room to talk to him. Was he expecting him to return and make some manner of report about his impressions on those pictures? Did he even want to discuss the subject even more with his brother?

Those questions were left unanswered though, because Bro popped up at the door, still all smiles.

“What you think of going out to eat so we can celebrate? And I don’t mean eating shitty tacos from a drive-through. I mean real food.” Bro said, leaning on the door frame.

“Hmm… Sure, why the fuck not.” Dave shrugged, scratching the back of his neck. “Where are we going?”

“You decide. After all you are the reason why we are going to celebrate in the first place.” Bro moved from the door, going to the bathroom.

Leaning back on his chair, Dave started thinking about where they could go. He thought it was nice that his brother was in such a great mood. It was pretty clear on Bro’s face he was enjoying sharing that part of his life with him, and Dave couldn’t really complain about having a closer bond to his brother. That was always welcome, especially due to how much he admired him.

Even if said bonding was over something so unusual.

Dave was suddenly reminded of this new restaurant which opened not too far from their apartment, where they sold, based on what he heard from others, the biggest, juiciest and most delicious burgers in the entire town. He was thinking about going there but then forgot about it for a while. That seemed like a good opportunity to try it out.

He heard the bathroom door opening and soon enough Bro was at his door again.

“So, did you decide on something?” He asked, leaning on the door frame again.

“Yes. It’s a new place a few blocks away from here. Apparently they have impossibly delicious burgers there.” Dave was finally able to crack a quite genuine smile. The first one on the entire week. The prospect of stuffing his face with food and taking his mind away from whatever was bothering was more than good.

By seeing his younger brother smile at him, Bro felt a lot more relaxed. He wasn’t really showing, but he was growing worried by how conflicted and quiet Dave looked throughout the week and that smile was a sign he was starting to feel at least a little bit more at ease.

“Well, greasy burgers it is. You sure you don’t want to go some other place with real food?” Bro chuckled as he watched Dave’s face contort in a fake expression of disgust.

“Bro, does it really look like I care about real food?” Dave went back to smiling and Bro nodded at him.

In no time, they were already out the building, walking down the street. The restaurant was just fifteen minutes away from their apartment, and Bro didn’t feel like driving. Their walk was somewhat silent, except for a few brief exchanges between the both of them.

When they arrived, the place was packed with costumers, as it would be expected on a late Saturday afternoon. Still, they were able to get a seat for two near one of the large glass windows.

As they tried to decide on what to order, which wasn’t the hardest task in the world considering the menu wasn’t exactly long, some casual conversation began between them, as they discussed the things on the menu while making fun of some of the people that were sitting on the other tables.

“I would be able to concentrate better on what I’m going to order if there wasn’t a guy’s ass-crack showing right in front of me…” Bro said and Dave quickly glanced back to see some bald man sitting not too far from them, whose pants were far from an “acceptable” height.

“You think we should tell him?” Dave smirked, before turning his attention back to the menu.

“Nah… the asshole probably knows it. He probably left his house thinking ‘Hey, I’m going to ruin someone’s day today by showing them my hairy ass’.” Bro rolled his eyes, putting down the menu. “I lie though. I already decided on what I want. What about you?”

“Yeah, I’m done too.” Dave leaned back on his chair, looking at his brother over the menu and watched him scan the place for a waitress.

Some girl named Sally was the one who took their order, with Bro ordering a soda and some cheeseburger with bacon, while Dave chose a large chocolate milkshake and some double burger with egg and salad. When the young woman left, Bro turned his attention to his younger brother.

“You sure you’ll be able to eat all that?” He asked, watching the boy pout.

“Of course you idiot! I’m famished! If you didn’t realize, I haven’t eaten since I woke up.” Dave crossed his arms, looking at his older brother’s face from over his shades.

“Relax. I know you haven’t eaten. I didn’t eat anything either. Just pulling your leg lil’ man.” Bro couldn’t help but be amused by how Dave tried so very hard to look serious sometimes, even at moments where he didn’t even need to. Although, he was starting to think he should remind Dave he was a kid and he should act like one more often.

A brief moment of silence went by between them, until Dave finally spoke.

“Bro, I don’t understand.” He said as he looked out the window.

“What?” Bro leaned closer, his facial expression turning stern too, as he read the seriousness on Dave’s voice.

“This whole thing, with the site. How are people so… accepting of it? I mean, I’m not an idiot, I know this whole thing is illegal. And they do too.” Dave’s voice was quiet, but loud enough to for his brother to hear him over the ruckus of the restaurant. “What kind of people are they anyway?”

“Losers; that’s who they are.” Bro didn’t hesitate on his answer, and Dave turned to look at him.

Dave didn’t say anything and simply waited to see if his brother had anything else to add to that. And he had.

“Those people, they are fucking helpless. I’ve been dealing with them for a while, and I know them quite well by now.” Bro’s face was still serious, his eyes focused on Dave. “They are really seedy I tell you. You just shake an ass in front of them, and it doesn’t matter who it belongs too, they fall for it like the weaklings they are.”

“So… it could be anyone in those pictures, and the effect would be the same?” Dave would never admit it, but he felt a bit pained by those words. A part of him truly believed he was something special.

“Actually, not really. The girl I used as a model before, she got messages, but it was like, five, seven per day, at the most.” Bro went back to smiling again. “Now you… you were unbelievable. Like, I honestly didn’t expect any of that to happen, not even in a million years. I was pretty sure the police would be knocking at our door an hour later.” Bro always took the right precautions on his computer and on the site to prevent others from being able to track him down, but he would be lying if he said he didn’t feel a bit worried when he made the first post.

They stopped talking for a moment, when the waitress came with their food. She smiled at them and wished them a good meal, and then walked to another table. Dave picked up his burger and watched as his brother talked some more.

“Apparently, the people who visit the site are not only pervs, but they also like to have a bit of an ‘edge’ to what they are seeing. I mean, fuck, they are willing to pay to watch puppets fuck. They can’t be right in the head.” Bro said, as he took a sip from his soda. Dave almost felt like pointing out that Bro wasn’t really much different from them, since he was willing to make said videos, but decided not to.

“And I’m the ‘edge’ they are looking for then?” Dave said after swallowing a piece of his burger.

“Obviously. I wouldn’t be too bummed about it though.” Bro chuckled.

“Hm? Why?” Dave said, mouth half-full of hamburger.

“Well, you are like some sort of ‘internet idol’. You should be proud. I don’t think many thirteen year olds ever achieved the sex symbol status.” Bro said, and began eating his cheeseburger, with Dave looking at him with, not quite sure if his brother was being serious.

Just in case.

“You are kidding right?” He asked, eyes narrowing.

“Hm? Kidding?”

“Yeah, about me being some sort of fucked up idol.” Dave frowned before taking a sip from his milkshake.

“I’m being serious. People wouldn’t be piling up messages in the inbox if it wasn’t true.” Bro gave Dave the best reassuring smile he could.

“It’s still fucking weird…” Dave murmured, taking another bite from his burger.

“Stop whining. We are going to get a butt load of money and people are head over heels about you. What’s there to complain, exactly?” Bro let out an exasperated sigh, his smile fading for a bit. He honestly couldn’t understand what was so bad about being a sort of internet celebrity.

“Oh, I’m sorry I’m worried about the fact we are breaking a whole bunch of laws!” Dave said between his teeth, before taking an angry bite from his lunch.

“Would you stop fretting about it? I have all my bases covered.” Bro grinned, and went back to eating.

“Fine, fine…” Dave mumbled to himself, knowing his brother wouldn’t change his mind so easily. That was something Dave learned to accept with the years.

They kept eating and drinking in silence, until another casual conversation sprouted between them, and they started talking again, the other subject being dropped entirely. Although, in the back of Dave’s mind, Bro’s words were still echoing inside of it. That whole talk about ‘internet idol’ made him feel a strange feeling of self-satisfaction.

He could get used to that feeling, if he could overcome his feelings of insecurity that is.

Chapter Text

A few days passed after that fateful Saturday, with things being mildly uncomfortable for a while, but that feeling started to dissolve with time.

Dave was beginning to slowly - but surely - get over his overall insecurity about the whole deal. Sure he wasn’t all smiles regarding it, neither was he strutting proudly around the neighborhood, but that nagging voice on the back of his mind was gradually shutting up.

After all, maybe his brother did have all his bases covered and there was nothing to worry about. It wasn’t that Dave didn’t trust him, but they were brushing far too closely with illegality, and Dave wasn’t looking forward to the repercussions their actions could bring upon them.

But, by the middle of the week, his worries were alleviated considerably, especially when his brother assured him it would take a while for them to go through another session of photographs. He told him they had enough for a month, and that was a more than relieving thought.

It was Wednesday night, and Dave found himself sitting at his brother computer, scanning through the messages sent by the site, as his brother sat on the couch, sewing smuppet after smuppet. The demand for those things had sky-rocketed in the past days. So much, Bro had to stop selling them for a short while. He could only sew so fast…

“Bro, these people are sick…” Dave glanced over his shoulder, his gaze finally leaving the computer’s screen after almost one hour. Dave realized the more he read those perverted messages which were more or less directed at him, the less bothered he was about them.

There was a hearty laugh from Bro as he stopped sewing for a moment, placing a half-finished yellow smuppet on his lap. He actually did need a break. He had been on it all day, and as much as he loved those little puppets, he could use a small break.

“What is it this time?” Bro smirked, leaning back on the couch.

“How about everything these people write? I mean, some of them seem to have a foot on reality, but others…” Dave let out a distressed groan, eyes back on the screen.

“Don’t think about it too much. Most of these things are probably written on impulse. I’m pretty sure most of them regret what they did the minute they hit the ‘send’ button.” Bro stretched his arms, putting his hands on the back of his head. “I haven’t read those messages in a while though. Can you fill me in on what people have been coming up with?”

“Well, let me find a less horrible one…” Dave looked through the little over sixty messages piled in the inbox. Their frequency was slowing down, but Dave was pretty sure that, as soon as his brother fed the visitors with new pictures, the inbox would implode on itself again.

“I’m a fucking adult Dave. You don’t need to make this PG-13 or something.” Bro rolled his eyes, while getting a glare in response.

“I’m not doing it for you, asshole.” Dave let out a huff of air and went back to scanning the messages. “OK, found one.”

“Hit me.”

“… Are you kidding? I’m not going to say this shit out loud. Get your ass out of the couch and come over here to read it.” Dave lashed out at his brother, spinning in the chair to face him.

“Fine you big baby.” Bro placed the doll he had in his lap onto the couch and got up, stretching a bit before walking to the computer desk and staring at screen.

Dave kept sitting there, eyes on the monitor but not really looking at it. He had read that message not too long ago and he surely didn’t need repetitions. When Bro was done with reading, he let out a quiet “hm” sound and Dave looked at him, waiting to see if he had something to say.

“So, they want to stuff your ass with three smuppets. I don’t see what’s so wrong about that.” Bro said flatly, and Dave’s face became even more pale than usual.

“Bro, what the fuck?” Dave’s voice came out full of exasperation as he glared at his brother for the second time in less than ten minutes. That had to be a new record for them.

“Don’t get all worked up about it, I’m just fucking with you.” Bro smirked, punching Dave lightly on the shoulder. “You are so easy to fool when it comes to these things.”

“You have a fucked sense of humor, Bro…” Dave murmured, letting out a sigh. He could barely believe he would joke about something like that. He didn’t even know if he was doing it for the irony or if he genuinely found it funny.

“I’ve seen and heard shit far worse than that. It’s easy to take it lightly when you are me.” Bro just kept on smiling, taking a hold of the chair’s back. “Now scram. I need to check my stuff.”

“You don’t need to kick me out of the room.” Dave got up from the chair, still looking a bit shaken by Bro’s little “joke”.

“Don’t you have your internet friends to check on? I haven’t seen you talking to them in a while.” Bro said, taking a seat on the chair and opening a few tabs on his browser.

It had finally downed on Dave he really didn’t talk to anyone in the past days. He was so wound up on the recent happenings, he didn’t even remember checking Pesterchum almost every day like he usually did. He was pretty sure everyone was flipping out by now thanks to his absence.

Or they didn’t give a damn. Sometimes, those guys could be really insensitive.

Dave was going to tell his brother he was going to do just that, but decided not to. He didn’t need to report every single step of his.

Already in his room and with his computer properly booted, Dave took his time to check on a few sites before logging in on the chat client. He didn’t need notifications and windows popping all over while trying to see his stuff.

Almost one hour after idling surfing through various sites, Dave finally decided to open Pesterchum and check to see if anyone was online. The fact that it was a Saturday night didn’t make much of a difference when it came to his friends being on-line, the only exception being John, because his father liked dragging him out to eat on Saturday nights, even if John, sometimes, wasn’t in the mood.

When Pesterchum connected, neither John nor Jade were on, and only Rose’s name was active. He sat there staring at her handle, not sure if he wanted to talk to her. So many strange things had happened and he was such a mess of thoughts and emotions, if he let anything even remotely unusual slip into their conversation, she was going to probe into his mind until she found the source of it. And pretty much the last thing he wanted was psychoanalysis on his recent situation.

He didn’t have much time to think if he should message her or not though, because soon enough a window with her handle on top popped up on his screen and those purple letters were right there in his face.

And because he didn’t want to be rude – or at least not more than usual – he decided to answer.


tentacleTherapist [TT] began pestering turntechGodhead [TG]

TT: Hello.
TT: Couldn’t help but notice you’ve been absent for a long while, and I was almost ready to send Search And Rescue after you.
TG: how considerate of you to assume the worst
TG: only because i didnt get online for a week
TT: One week and a half.
TG: you sure are keeping track of my schedule over there arent you
TT: I wasn’t aware of the fact that it was a crime to worry about my friends.
TT: Either way, how are things? I’m pretty sure you have a good reason for being away for such a long time.
TG: just busy with some stuff
TG: you know how it is
TG: with my life
TG: its just one thing after the other and i can never catch a breather
TG: its like every corner i turn theres something waiting to blow at my face
TT: Sounds like you had a rough week.
TT: Would you like to talk about it?
TG: hell no
TG: im not going to give you room to get into my fucking brain and dig around with a shovel until you find some psychological gem to over analyze
TG: ive fallen for that trap before
TG: im ready for you now lalonde
TT: Are you now?
TT: Don’t try too hard to hide your thoughts though.
TT: You know I can help.
TG: look can we change the subject
TG: why don’t we talk about you and your problems for a change
TT: I have no problems at the moment, but I’ve seen something a few days ago which made me very… thoughtful.
TG: well lets roll with that then
TG: what did you see that ground your gears or whatever
TT: I don’t think you want to know.
TT: It might upset you.
TG: i cant be more upset than i already am
TT: Oh, so there’s something bothering you after all.
TG: you are never going to stop are you
TG: you are like one of those miners in rivers
TG: with a sieve looking through little rocks and shit
TG: hoping to find that little sparkling speck
TG: and then go
TG: holy shit i found gold someone call the press this is fucking big news right here
TG: i found riches among all this garbage
TG: im the fucking best there is
TT: I wish I could say finding something worth analyzing inside your mind could be as valuable as finding gold, but unfortunately I would be lying.
TG: that was really nice of you rose
TT: I know.
TT: Now why don’t you tell me what’s afflicting you?
TG: look lets do it like this
TG: you tell me your unsettling discovery
TG: and i spill the beans
TT: Something tells me you aren’t going to honor your part of this deal.
TG: jesus fucking christ just tell me already
TT: Alright, but only because you seem really annoyed.
TT: Now, I was sitting here, minding my own business and going through my usual web surfing routine when I was reminded of a certain site.
TG: yes
TT: Please let me finish.
TT: And I won’t lie and say I don’t like said site despite its… dubious content.

With a sensation similar to his stomach dropping to the floor, Dave sunk on his chair, feeling what could only be labeled as absolute horror. Such feeling lasted only a few seconds though, as his fingers jumped to the keyboard and he pretty much mashed the keys.

TT: What?
TG: im not a dumbass I know where this is going
TG: shit
TT: You are a sharp one Dave.
TG: im not fucking sharp you literally spelled to me what you saw with all the letters
TT: So this is the source of your annoyance then?
TT: It figures.

Dave patiently waited for Rose’s next line, which would probably involve heaps of psychobabble about his present situation. Strangely enough, nothing came from her, and he was genuinely surprised.

TG: is that all
TG: you dont have any sort of mind game you want to throw at me
TG: like me telling you details about how I ended up neck deep into puppet ass
TG: and on the fucking internet no less
TT: I admit the first time I saw it was a bit of a shocker.
TT: Not only due to the nature of the image, but also because I didn’t know you could be so…
TG: dont you dare
TT: … Cute.
TG: im going to murder you in your sleep lalonde
TG: when you least expect it im going to be under your bed
TG: like the freaky clown from the poltergeist movie
TG: and im going to drag you under the bed
TG: and no one will ever see you again
TT: A little bit bitter aren’t we?
TG: really fucking easy for you to say that rose
TG: its not your ass thats on the line
TT: There seems to be new photos now.
TG: are you on the site like right NOW
TG: while talking to me???
TT: It seemed appropriated.
TT: These are really good shots by the way.
TT: Didn’t know you had a future in the modeling career.
TG: i fucking loathe you so much right now

Dave just wanted to disappear into nothingness. That wasn’t happening, and he had to fight the urge to just get up and go to the other room and murder his brother in cold blood. No jury in the world would ever be able to convict him if he did so, if he told them his story.

TT: Although, when I saw the first pic, I honestly believed that your brother was only trying to mess with you.
TT: I thought this was just one of your usual games of upmanship.
TT: But when the same picture stayed up for almost a week I started to reevaluate my conclusion, because no game can go that far.
TT: And now that new pictures were posted, I’m lead to believe you are complying with this, at least at some extent.
TG: theres no upmanship here
TG: just complete and utter shame
TG: and me not really thinking straight before jumping into my brothers stupid plans
TT: Well, this being his idea goes without saying.
TT: Just what triggered this whole chain of events though?
TT: I bet it’s a riveting tale.
TG: its a pretty dumb tale thats what it is
TG: it involves my bro being on a fix and me being clumsy as fuck
TT: You sure know how to tell a story in minute detail and keep an audience captivated.
TG: i just dont really feel comfortable talking about this
TG: can you respect that for a change
TT: OK, I’m not going to ask you any more questions on the subject.
TG: thank you
TG: you didnt tell anyone did you
TT: You mean John and Jade?
TG: no your mom
TG: or course i mean john and jade
TT: No.
TT: I never brought such subject up with them, because I’ve never saw a point in doing so.
TG: oh ok
TT: You thought I had?
TT: Dave, I’m offended that you think I would spread such a thing around.
TG: sorry its just that im really paranoid about this whole thing
TG: like the day it happened
TG: when i went to school i was behaving like some sort of fugitive or some shit
TG: scurrying around the school corridors like a little mouse and hiding my face to avoid looking at people
TG: it felt like everyone and their mothers knew
TT: Can’t say I wouldn’t react the same way.
TT: I admit you are taking this a lot better than I expected.
TT: Maybe I’m psychoanalyzing you all wrong.
TG: what is that I hear
TG: is that lalonde admitting her analytical skills arent as impressive as she claims
TG: stop the fucking presses this is our new headline
TT: I never said my analysis were perfect.
TT: The only thing I ever said is that my skills are higher than average for someone my age.
TG: yeah whatever
TG: but thanks for not telling anyone though
TG: i mean i know john and jade don’t really go to that site so they probably dont know shit
TG: and i want to keep it that way
TT: Can’t condemn you for thinking like that.
TG: and thanks for not freaking out either
TT: My first instinct was to go down that path.
TT: But then I realized just how unusually exciting all this is.
TT: How you and your brother are punching law right on the face and not really caring.
TT: Not to mention seeing you in a vulnerable position isn’t something I expected to witness in my lifetime.
TG: you could have asked me for naked pictures or something if you wanted to see photos like those
TG: i could do that for you
TT: I’m sure you could, but this way is certainly more fun.
TT: I can’t wait for the next update.
TG: cant really block you from seeing those I guess
TT: Why? Can’t you ask your brother to block my IP or something?
TG: you would find a way around rose
TG: you always do
TT: Was that an attempt at complimenting me?
TT: If so, I’m flattered.
TG: take it as you want to
TT: You are so charming Dave.
TG: im a real gentleman
TG: all im missing is the monocle and the top hat

A small smile appeared on Dave’s lips. He wasn’t really sure as to why he felt a bit comfortable talking to Rose about the subject. It was probably due to the fact that she wasn’t judging him, but he didn’t want to jump to conclusions.

TT: Can you wear those on the next photos?
TG: sure thing
TG: im going down to the store right now to fetch me some dapper clothes
TG: next update will be the classiest update of all adult sites in existence
TG: we will start a new trend and everything
TG: next thing you know theyll be making porn movies with women shyly showing their ankles
TT: How scandalous!
TG: shit will need to be rated 30+
TG: it will be that sick
TT: I’m looking forward to your revolution on the industry of adult entertainment.
TG: thanks rose
TT: For what exactly?
TG: this is the first time i was able to joke about this
TG: my bro is joking about this all the time but he takes little to nothing seriously
TG: so i kind of expected that from him
TG: i guess i needed to talk to someone about this besides him
TT: Well, if you want to talk again, I’m always here, and I assure you my lips will forever be sealed regarding this subject.
TT: Oh, fuck.
TG: what happened
TT: I heard a pretty loud sound of glass shattering from downstairs.
TT: I guess it’s be wise to check on my mother.
TT: Saturday nights are a bit wild over here.
TG: ok I hope your mom didnt die
TT: Thanks for the comforting words.
TT: I’ll be back soon, I hope.

tentacleTherapist [TT] ceased pestering turntechGodhead [TG]


Dave leaned back on his chair, looking at his computer screen, still not quite believing the conversation he just had with Rose.

He honestly thought that, if anyone close to him ever found out about those pictures, they would cut ties with him completely. Although, he should have guessed Rose was a bit more mature than that, and she would be the only one not be completely weirded out by it, enough to even show a really accepting demeanor.

Rose was a really cool person, and sometimes Dave kind of forgot that.

Still, he thought it was wise not to tell Bro that she knew about their little “endeavor”. He honestly didn’t know how he would react to such news.

Chapter Text

The following two weeks were supposed to go by smoothly, since Bro’s plan was to use the pictures he had stored from the very first photoshoot he did with Dave.

Although, he soon found out his crowd was a little bit harder to please – or better yet, “trick” - than he first imagined.

The influx of messages on the inbox declined violently, with even a few complaints as to how the photos he had posted were too similar to the ones from before. The scenario is the same, He’s wearing the same outfit, This already got old were one of the few messages Bro got, and he honestly hated the fact he wasn’t going to be able to give his younger brother the break he promised. He told the boy he wouldn’t have to worry about taking pictures and the like for two weeks or so, and he seemed quite relieved.

How was he supposed to expose such bad news to Dave and tell him they had to take more pictures, because he underestimated his audience?

It was already Thursday when Bro finally decided to tell Dave what was going down. And the boy was far from happy to hear that.

“Look, it was a little miscalculation. Listen, we can take a whole bunch of varied pics this weekend and then you can really forget about it for a while, OK?” Bro tried to sound as apologetic as he could, even though he wasn’t very good at that.

“You sure know a lot about the people who go to your site, hm?” Dave teased, arms crossed in front of his chest as he stayed put on the couch, the X-Box controller sitting on his lap.

“I’m sorry if I don’t survey every fucker which goes there to cater to their tastes!” If Dave thought that situation was only bad for him, he was severely wrong. Last thing Bro wanted was complaints and a bad reputation for the site. If they didn’t play their cards right, that whole scheme would result in both. “And we are just starting. You can’t hope to get it everything perfect right off the bat.”

“Fine, then let’s take those stupid pictures this weekend then…” Dave let out a sigh, resuming his game.

“The only problem is, I have no idea what the fuck to do.” Bro hated to do that, had to admit he was short on ideas. There was just so much he could with Dave for those pictures. He wasn’t some random model he found wherever and which he could do whatever he wanted with. He was his younger brother and like hell he would expose him even more. Those people on the other side of the screen certainly weren’t deserving of that.

“Can’t help you with that.” Dave said flatly.

“Wow, thanks for the support.” Bro’s voice was dripping with sarcasm.

“What? Do you want me to magically pull a solution out of my ass?” Dave asked, eyes fixed on the TV screen s he played.

“That’s not what I mea-” Bro’s speech was cut instantly, when he saw a familiar white-gloved hand sticking out from under his younger brother.

“Why did you stop talking?” Dave asked, completely unaware of the angry look his brother was giving him.

“You… are sitting on him.” Bro said between his teeth, and Dave paused the game, finally looking up to see his older brother staring at him, eyes narrow behind his shades.

“What…” Dave mumbled, looking at the couch, to finally realize he was sitting on Lil’ Cal’s arms.

With no warning whatsoever, Bro just picked up Cal and pulled him from under Dave, almost causing the boy to fall to the floor.

“Hey now! What happened to the ‘you are a crown jewel’ talk?” Dave snapped at Bro, watching him cradle the puppet in his arms.

“You are a jewel as long as you aren’t sitting on the C-Man.” Bro took a long look at Cal to see if there was any damage, and then gently slumped him over his shoulder. Then, something clicked inside Bro’s mind. He almost felt guilty for not having such an idea before.

Dave was ready to restart his game when Bro grabbed him by the shoulders, which genuinely startled him for a minute, even if he was able to keep a straight face.

“What?” Dave asked as his brother stared right into his eyes.

“I had the fucking greatest idea.” Bro’s lips curved into a smile as he spoke, and his younger brother wondered what that was all about. It was almost like he had discovered a new planet or something similar, judging by the gleam in his eyes.

“And what exactly is it?” Dave asked, not sure if he wanted to hear it. Usually, his brother’s great ideas were usually only great to him and no one else.

“First, I’m off to buy some clothes for you. And no skirts this time, don’t worry.” Bro said when he saw Dave’s mouth open. “And second, this will be your new modeling companion.” He pointed at the lanky doll on his shoulder.

Dave’s eyes widened like saucers behind his shades.

“You gotta be fucking kidding me if you think I’m going to pose around with your creepy doll!” Dave’s voice rose in volume as he spoke, and his body almost involuntarily pressed against the couch.

“Watch what you're saying. You're going to hurt his feelings.” Bro lashed out, genuinely offended by Dave’s remark. Cal was part of their family as much as the both of them, and he had to be treated like such.

Rolling his eyes, Dave let out a sigh, knowing that trying to talk any manner of sense into his older brother about the subject would be a colossal waste of time. Sometimes he wondered just why Bro was so attached to Cal, or why he treated him as if he was a living, breathing thing, but he never really asked about it, because that wasn’t the kind of exchange they usually had.

“And don’t give me that look.” Bro narrowed his eyes, carefully picking Cal and placing it sitting up on the couch. “I’m out to buy those clothes.”

“Just stay away from the girl’s section.” Dave said between his teeth, looking at the doll sitting by his side from the corner of his eye.

“Promise.” Bro said as he waved at his younger brother, leaving the room to go out.

Dave’s shoulders slumped forward, and he turned to look at Cal. God, he was so unsettling… Wasn’t that thing going to ward off visitors instead of attracting them? Was his brother serious about including him?

Why, of course he was serious. His most absurd ideas were always serious, why would this one be any different?

It took Bro almost three hours to come back, and when he did, he had something around ten bags hanging from his arms as he unceremoniously entered his younger brother’s bedroom, finding him there sitting at the computer. Dave watched him walk towards the bed, dumping everything on it.

“Did you leave anything back in the store for the other costumers?” Dave asked, hopping from his chair and walking to the pile of bags occupying his bed.

“You know, you could at least ‘thank me’ for going out and buying you these.” Bro let out a groan. He kind of got a little bit carried away, that much he had to admit, but the more they bought now, the less they would need to worry about “costumes” in the near future. He was pretty glad when Dave started to peek inside the bags by his own free will though.

“What did you buy anyway?” Dave started to dig through the pile of stuff on his bed, not really sure what to expect.

“Just some fancier clothes. If those assholes want better costumes, we are going to deliver them some Shakespearean grade shit.” Bro sat on the edge of Dave’s bed, watching him pull things from the bags.

For something about twenty minutes, Dave dug through a multitude of shirts, pants, shorts and other pieces of clothing, with some of them with almost too much lace and too many frills to even be considered male clothing. But the tags on them told him otherwise, so Dave couldn’t really say his brother had broken his promise of not buying girl’s clothes again.

“So, what do you think?” Bro asked, arms crossed in front of his chest.

“It’s… different.” Dave tried not to look as disgruntled as he really was, because he knew, deep down, that his brother had good intentions with those, even if it was hard to believe.

That was all the reassurance Bro really needed. Not that Dave saying he didn’t like those would change anything. He was going to wear those garments like it or not. The kid had to learn how to please the crowd, and sometimes that didn’t entail doing things you really want to.

“OK then, so Saturday, we start shooting. And I’m going to make sure to make those pictures as varied as possible, so then there’s no way those assholes can complain.” Bro’s voice had a tone of annoyance to it. He wasn’t exactly pumped to do that. He just wanted to enjoy a photo-free weekend. But he knew he had brought that upon himself, by underestimating his audience.

“Hm… OK.” There wasn’t much Dave could say in response. He started to stuff everything back into the bags, and watched his brother pick them up.

“I’m going to put together some nice outfits for you. And I promise they won’t be embarrassing.” Bro couldn’t help but allow a small smile to appear on his lips.

I can’t be more embarrassed than I already am… Dave thought, but didn’t say a word. He just nodded so his brother knew he heard it.

He watched as Bro walked out of the room, and when he was gone, Dave sighed, not sure what to expect from that next weekend. His sole consolation was that the next photoshoot was probably the only one he would do in a while.


TG: remember what we said about me dressing fancy on the next update
TT: I recall such a conversation.
TT: Why?
TG: well it looks like bro raided marie antoinettes closet this afternoon and hes going to make me wear those for the pictures
TT: That’s a really tasteful thing to do.
TT: Considering it’s a porn site.
TG: you bet hes going to be able to turn those into less than
classy clothes

TG: he has a way of doing that
TG: we talking about a guy who can make puppets have a sexual connotation to them
TT: That's true.
TT: Still, I’m on the edge of my seat.
TT: Can’t wait to see how you pull off fashion from the 1700's.
TG: i will wait for your judgment with bated breath
TG: like your critic is the only one that will matter
TT: I’m happy I’ll be given top priority.
TT: May I ask what kind of competition I’m going up against in this situation?
TG: mostly just a bunch of pervs
TG: i would send you an example of what kind of messages ive been getting
TG: but i wont
TG: for your own good
TT: Are you trying to keep my thoughts pure and untainted by the evils of the world?
TT: That’s really considerate of you Dave.
TG: told you i was a gentleman
TT: Can’t say I never tried to imagine what’s under that towel though.
TG: for all thats holy
TG: stop that shit


Saturday came by a whole lot faster than Dave wanted it to. If he could, he would have delayed the weekend as much as humanly possible.

It was past noon, Dave had just returned from going out with Bro to have lunch, and he found himself yet again sitting on the couch, nervously fidgeting with his fingers as his brother dug through one of the cabinets to get the clothes he had sorted for the day.

“Do we really need to do it so early?” Dave asked, letting out quiet groan.

“How many times do I have to tell you, the sooner we get this done with, the sooner we can stop worrying about it?” Bro closed the cabinet door, with a small bundle of clothes in hand, and walked to the couch. “Now stop whining and put these on.”

Dave eyed the clothes that were dropped on his lap, and he thought about saying something, but just limited himself to pick those up and walk to the bathroom to change. He didn’t really ask his brother what kind of outfits he picked. He only knew that was the first one of the three or four he had planned.

The changing process was quick enough, but it took Dave a while to actually leave the bathroom, as he just stared at himself in the mirror, trying to think if that was his brother’s idea of a “joke”.

The pair of white socks he was wearing was the only OK part of the entire outfit. The other two pieces were a pair of puffy, royal blue shorts which looked more like a pair of bloomers than anything, and suspenders of the same color. No shirt or anything.

I look like I'm five. Dave thought, and suddenly a minor shiver ran down his spine. The idea of him looking so ridiculously young just before doing what he was about to was sick. But, that was probably his brother’s intention. Dave was pretty sure he wouldn’t pass up the opportunity of such “shock value”.

And judging by the nature of the people who visited the site, he was pretty sure they would get off on that.

The world sure was full of fucked up people.

Trying to resign himself the best way he could, Dave stepped out of the bathroom and walked to room where Bro was waiting for him. When he entered, he could clearly hear his older brother stifling a laugh.

“Looking pretty cute there, lil’ man.” Bro said in the usual joking tone he used when trying to get under his younger brother’s skin. And it worked every time.

“Fuck you.” Dave bared his teeth as he took off his shades and placed them on the computer table. He knew his brother was going to ask him to take them off sooner or later anyway.

“No bitter thoughts or frowny faces now. You have to look precious and smile for the camera, in case you forgot.” Bro cooed, prepping the shooting area by placing smuppets in their proper places and tidying up the room a bit.

Dave stood around, not sure of what he should do, when he was suddenly given Lil’ Cal to hold.

“Here. And be careful not to damage him.” Bro’s eyes narrowed behind his shades, and Dave just nodded a bit nervously in response.

The minutes Dave spent there just observing his brother go from one side to the other of the room setting up everything were almost torturous. He felt so terribly out of place while just standing there with Cal on his arms while in those dubious clothes. What would happen if he just told Bro he didn’t want to do this anymore? Would he be mad? Or would he just let it go and they would keep on living their lives like nothing happened?

After all, he wasn’t sure if Bro was genuinely fired up about it or not. Sometimes he didn’t really seem all that willing. It was hard as balls to read any kind of emotion coming from Bro which didn’t involve irony, sarcasm or anger, but Dave could swear that whole thing was bothering him a bit, and he just kept going because that was putting food on the table.

“There, perfect.” Bro’s words cut through Dave’s thoughts, and he finally paid proper attention to whatever his brother was doing.

There were colorful puppets everywhere, sitting on the furniture, lying on the floor and hanging from the ceiling, all of them in rather compromising positions. He had really gone all out this time.

“This looks like a circus.” Dave said almost under his breath.

“Remember; it’s your circus.” Bro picked up the camera that was lying on the kitchen counter. “Ready?”

“Will it make a difference if I say ‘no’?” Dave’s eyebrows knitted, as he already knew the answer.

“Not at all.” Was Bro’s straight answer. “Now go sit on the counter.”

Looking at the counter for a moment, Dave didn’t even bother questioning his brother. That whole scenario was far too surreal for him to question anything. When he was properly sitting on the edge of the counter, legs hanging on the air and with Cal on his lap, Bro stared at him for a few seconds.

He tried to find some funny remark to make about the situation, but found nothing.

“Alright, now, just do as I say.” Bro tried to give Dave a reassuring smile as he spoke, leveling the camera in front of his face. “Want me to close my eyes like last time?”

“Nah…” Dave said as he tried to shift his unimpressed and annoyed facial expression to a more agreeable one. It was enough having Cal on the picture to scare people off. He didn’t need to look pissed to make things worse.

“You sure? Aren’t you going to feel more comfortable without me staring at you?” Bro lowered the camera, his facial expression growing serious again.

“Yeah… I’m cool.” Dave knew he wasn’t being completely sincere about that. He was still pretty damn nervous and having his brother close his eyes would make things easier, but then again he had no idea for how long they would be carrying out that plan, and he couldn’t ask his brother to forever close his eyes and take photos solely based on luck.

Bro could clearly see through Dave’s words and how insecure he still was about the whole situation, but at the same time he was a bit proud of the fact he was willing to get over it on his own. And so soon.

Talk about an impressive kid.

“If you say so,” Bro shrugged, and was about to raise the camera again, when he remembered something. “Oh yeah… Here.”

Dave tilted his head to the side as his brother approached him, propping Cal more appropriately on his lap, slouching an arm around the boy’s shoulder and straddling its legs on his thigh.

“Now we can start.” Bro smiled proudly, as if what he just did was a masterpiece. Dave just felt his cheeks burning red in embarrassment. He couldn’t believe that image would be floating on the Internet in a few hours from now. Luckily, Rose was the only person close to him who knew about it, but he wasn’t sure just how “better” a situation that was, either.

The photoshoot with that set of clothes went by pretty much like the first one, with the exception of them moving around the room to change the scenery and Bro occasionally moving towards Dave to place Cal’s arms and legs where they were supposed to be. Not that he didn’t trust Dave to do it, but he was sure the boy wouldn’t be able to place those limbs as accurately as he wanted them to be.

The first batch of pictures – something around ten or fifteen – was strange, and Dave felt utterly ashamed for doing that, specially hugged with Cal during it.

Although, as more pictures were taken and more minutes passed, he felt a little bit more at ease, and even being in such close proximity with Cal wasn’t such a chore. In fact, he was starting to feel rather comfortable with him. He never really noticed just how soft those lanky legs and arms were, and the feeling of felt against his skin wasn’t something he could honestly complain about.

As Bro watched Dave through the lens of the camera, he noticed a few things which showed him how progressively more relaxed his younger brother looked with each new shot. The way his shoulders dropped a bit, the softening of his facial expression, the dissolving of the red tint of his cheeks and ears… Maybe he was underestimating his little brother too. Maybe he could take on such a task just fine.

When they reached around fifty pictures, Bro paused the shoot, a satisfied smile planted on his lips.

“Great job lil’ man. I think you deserve a break.” He said, putting the camera down. There were still two outfits to go, and he sure enough didn’t want to wear out Dave so soon.

“I am kinda hungry…” Dave said, still sitting on the couch with Cal pressed against his chest.

“Want to go downstairs and grab some ice-cream?” Bro suggested, gathering the smuppets from around the room. He would have to re-arrange those for the next session.

“Fuck yeah!” Dave said, more excitedly than he really intended to.

“So go change into something else… Unless you want to go out like that.” Bro chuckled, but his laughter was cut short when Cal was thrown right into his face. Bro grit his teeth, and was about to scold Dave, but the kid was nowhere to be seen. He had most definitely flash-stepped out of the room, the little rascal.

Still, Bro couldn’t fight the smile that appeared on his lips. Dave never really failed to amaze him by how fast he learned things.

Chapter Text

The two following sets of photoshoots went by a lot more smoothly, especially thanks to the fact that Bro picked way more sensible attires for those than the first one he made Dave wear. Bro later on told him that outfit was his “trump card”, and he was going to keep those pictures in store, for whenever their audience started to get restless.

The other two outfits were almost on the plain side, compared to the previous one. A loose, oversized tee-shirt paired with a pair of very short shorts, and a white frilly shirt accompanied by a bowtie, pair of black pants and shiny black shoes – those being the ones Dave only worn at special occasions, which were rare.

Cal was the only constant in all those pictures, with the scenario ultimately extending throughout the entire apartment, when Bro realized taking all of those in the same room didn’t really gave them the variety they needed. There were even a couple of pictures taken on the rooftop.

Near the end of the photoshoot, Dave was feeling a lot more comfortable with the situation, and was even able to crack a joke here or there.

At some point, when they were at the very last pictures, he gave his brother a smile before speaking.

“Hey, what if I pose like this…” He laid on couch, arms above his head, with Cal lying between his legs as he threw his head back.

“Excuse me. I’m trying to aim for something tasteful here. Take your strip club poses elsewhere.” Bro gave Dave the most dead-pan expression he could muster, even if his tone of voice was translating some level of amusement. He was glad his younger brother was being able to loosen up like that. He was most definitely starting to get worried.

“Speaking of tasteful… don’t you think these clothes are far too formal for what we are doing?” Dave sat up again, looking down at the shirt full of ruffs he was wearing. Even though he was thankful for having most of his skin covered, he was failing to see how such attire would help them to “lure” people to the site.

“If new people going to the site want to look at you, they’ll have to learn how to wait. That’s why I’m keeping those first pictures as ‘secret weapons’.” Bro felt somewhat proud of his planning. He knew quite well the very first picture he put up on the site was ridiculously revealing, but that one was just a tentative test, and since he didn’t even expect something to come out of it, he couldn’t care less about a proper costume.

But things had changed drastically, and now they had to be careful on how they treated the subject and what kind of steps they should take. Any kind of miscalculation could lead to everything crumbling around them.

Also, Bro realized things came to a point that it wasn’t his plan. Dave was into it just as much, and he had to make sure his younger brother was OK with what they were doing, as weird as it was. He never really asked Dave straight if he wanted to stop, but he knew the boy was mature enough to simply come up to him and tell it like it is. Even if he always taught Dave to not let his weaknesses get to him, this wasn’t a matter of being weak or strong. It was a matter of what made him feel comfortable or not.

After all, this wasn’t just covering his younger brother in puppets, or setting up stupid traps throughout the house, or letting out embarrassing remarks roll out of his tongue. There was no comparison between those daily things and the plan they were putting in motion. Those were just between the two of them, and they were far from harmful.

That whole scheme was a completely different ball game. It involved outsiders, most of them being people Bro would never really want to have any kind of association with. Being used to deal with them didn’t mean he liked them and their attitudes. And the fact they were all so fascinated by his younger brother just made them even more rotten to the core than he first imagined.

Still, they were the ones bringing food to their table, so Bro couldn’t simply tell them to fuck off.

It was almost midnight when they were finally done with the photos, and as Bro retrieved the camera’s cable, he watched Dave yawn and rub his eyes.

“Tired?” He asked, booting up his computer to go into the somewhat tedious process of sorting the pictures.

“We’ve been running around this apartment all day.” Dave took off his shoes, leaning back on the couch. “I know this will come out as stupid, but this is way more exhausting than fighting.”

“I don’t blame you. I mean, I’m not tired but I’m bored as fuck. If you want to go to bed, be my guest.” Bro sat on his chair, typing up the password to the computer as he spoke.

“I think I’m going to heat some of that Chinese food we have in the fridge before I go.” Dave said, not really moving from his spot on the couch.

“Hungry again? Jesus, do you ever stop eating?” Bro teased, knowing Dave was glaring his way without even looking at the boy.

“I’m sorry that I’m in my growing phase.” Dave still didn’t make a move for the fridge.

Bro simply made a dismissive gesture with his hand and started to look at the pictures taken that day. Those were far better than the first ones he took blindly, not to mention adding Cal to the mix was, in his opinion, an ingenious move. After all, how could he make anything bad? The answer was simple: he couldn’t. He was far too cool and everything involving him instantly became hundreds of times better.

Distracted by the pictures, Bro didn’t even notice the time passing, and when he finally paid attention to the computer’s clock, it was already way past 1AM, and he was far from finishing his task.

“Hey, weren’t you going to raid the fridge for that Chinese food?” Bro spun on his chair, to look at his brother, and found him sleeping soundly on the couch, still on a sitting position. He had no idea when Dave fell asleep, but it had been a while, judging by just how deeply he was into it.

Shaking his head a bit, Bro got up from his chair and walked to the couch, carefully removing Cal from Dave’s lap before picking his brother up.

“C’mon Mr. Fancy Pants, this is my bed.” Bro said quietly while carrying Dave to his bedroom. The kid deserved a way better night’s sleep than sitting on a far from comfy couch. Not to mention it completely defeated the point of Bro giving up on the only bedroom in the house to give it to his younger brother.

After placing Dave softly on the bed, Bro lightly ruffled his hair and left the room, considering raiding the fridge himself after that box of noodles from the night before. He had to admit he was starving as well.

The picture sorting process only ended at around 2AM, and after updating the site with Dave’s “fancier” pictures, Bro went straight to sleep, only waking up at around noon, to the sound of his brother opening and closing the fridge.

“Dude, finally.” Dave leaned against the kitchen counter, poker face perfectly in place as he watched his brother groggily sit up and rub his eyes.

“What time is it?” Bro asked, stretching his arms.

“Noon. And newsflash: we are out of food.” Dave pointed at the fridge with his thumb. Not that their fridge was always full of supplies, but having it completely bare wasn’t an option.

“Really? Well, guess we are putting the money you earned these past two weeks to good use then.” Bro smirked before jumping from the couch. “I’m taking a shower and then we're going to the store. And no cheap ass snacks and candy this time. We're goin' to buy the good stuff.”

“Wait… you mean the good, good stuff?” Dave’s eyes widened a bit behind his shades.

“Why would I mean otherwise?” Bro said as he walked out the room, and Dave felt his heart skip a beat. It was a bit unusual for them to spend a large amount of money on things like those, because his brother would always come to him with a talk about saving for college or some bullshit like that. Dave couldn’t give two shits about college. High quality sweets and tasty snacks were his top priority at the moment, and knowing his brother was willing to go for that was excellent.

Maybe that was his brother’s way to reward him. If that was the case, Dave was more than glad.

Once on the road, Dave almost couldn’t disguise his excitement and anxiety. He already knew exactly what he was going to get and just how much. The promise of stuffing his face with colorful, good tasting candy and high grade salty treats was too much. And that didn’t escape Bro’s radar.

“Careful not to have a heart attack lil’ man.” Bro held back a small laugh as he drove down the road.

“Can’t you drive this thing any faster?” Dave watched the buildings and people outside with little to no interest.  He actually didn’t care if his brother was able to tell just how hyped he was.

“I’m not looking forward to using the money we have for food on a speeding ticket, so calm your tits.” Bro was grateful Dave was showing so much enthusiasm about something so simple. Sometimes he thought his younger brother was never very emotionally involved with things, and he couldn’t help but blame himself for that, to some extent.

When they arrived at the supermarket, Bro had barely parked their pickup truck, when Dave was already hopping out of the vehicle - even before Bro could tell him to wait for the thing to stop moving. When he finally caught up with the kid, he was already pushing a cart to the direction of the market’s front door.

“Whoa there, where’s the fire?” Bro asked, holding Dave by the shoulder.

“In my stomach.” Dave kept pushing the cart and didn’t even bat an eyelash before answering, and Bro thought that was actually a pretty good come back.

“OK, but try not to get too carried away.” Bro let go of the boy’s shoulder and allowed him to keep going at his own pace. He wouldn’t deny him the enjoyment of going through the almost endless shelves in the supermarket.

Many indecisiveness, laughs, running around and dropping goods later, the Striders were finally waiting in the line to pay for their stuff, with Bro looking through the things inside the cart, most of them put there by Dave.

“You sure we need seven boxes of Lucky Charms?” He asked, picking up a bright red box from the cart. “And ten boxes of Cheez-Its?”

“Sure as hell.” Dave couldn’t fight the smile on his lips even if he wanted to. His eyes scanned all the bright colored packages inside the cart and he just couldn’t wait to get home, hell, get past the cashier to get a taste of those.

“At least wait ‘till we pay to start devouring everything, OK?” Bro could see the eager look on Dave’s face pretty clearly, and last time that kid was so excited about something, was long ago, so it was a huge relief to witness such a scene.

The whole process of waiting in line and paying for their stuff was almost torturous to Dave. He just wanted to grab the cart and take it to the truck already.

When that was finally out of the way, Dave started pushing the cart out of the market and to the truck as fast as he could. He just couldn’t wait to get home and rip open some bags of chips, open a large bottle of apple juice and just be a huge lazy ass all day.

Riding back home would be an uneventful thing, it wasn’t for the conversation Bro started.

“I sorted all your pictures yesterday.” He said, his eyes fixed on the road.

“Really?” Dave turned his attention from the window to his brother.

“Yeah. You were looking way more confident in some of them.” In a way, Bro was almost proud.

Dave had to admit he was feeling a whole lot more at ease regarding that, but he didn’t know it was so easy to tell from a bunch of pictures.

“And did you post anything before going to sleep?”

“Yeah. And not only that. I made a few changes in our plan.”

Our plan? Dave thought to himself, not really sure what to think about such a statement. He didn’t know when things changed from everything being attributed to Bro only, to something which belonged to the both of them. Although, for some reason, hearing that made him feel like a more integral part of his brother’s plan than just some manner of “mannequin”.

“And what changes were those?” Dave was genuinely curious to hear more.

“First, I’m just going to upload new pictures once every two weeks. Those people need to learn to play the waiting game a bit.” Bro’s lips curved into a smile as he spoke, imagining the faces of those poor souls just waiting for him to feed their urges. “That way, the pictures we took are going to last for a month, at least.”

“And what more?”

“I thought of a way to make more money out of this thing.”

“Really? How?” Dave was a bit surprised to hear that. After all, Bro himself told him people were spending far more on the site than before, so why did he feel the need to come up with yet another way to suck money from them?

“Well, we took a fuckton of pictures yesterday, and since I can’t really use photos of you wearing the same clothes two updates in a row, or else everyone throws a hissy fit, I thought about making them ‘pay’ to see more pics from the same set.” Bro didn’t really know why he didn’t think of that before. It was such an obvious route to take, and he completely missed it.

“You're going to sellthem?” Dave’s voice came out a bit louder than he intended to.

“Well, yes.”

“God, Bro, this is… This is really…” Dave wanted to say that was brushing even more dangerously close to illegality, if such a thing was even possible. Suddenly, all his thoughts of paranoia came back like a tsunami washing over his mind. The real problem wasn’t the people who would get his pictures, but whatever bad thing which could come out from such a move.

Bro looked at Dave from the corner of his eye, watching him nervously fiddle with his fingers and his face slowly getting tinted by a red tone. He then suddenly pulled over next to the sidewalk, much to Dave’s surprise.

“Look, we can always stop this if you want to.” Bro turned to look at Dave, the truck’s motor still running. “If you are worried this is going to blow up in our faces, I’m more than OK with giving this a halt. I just don’t want to see you all jumpy like that.”

Feeling as if he had a lump on his throat, Dave swallowed in silence, trying to think of what to say.

“I… it’s not like I don’t trust what you said about everything being secure and protected regarding this… But… I still worry… I don’t want you to, like, go to jail with me ending up in some foster home because of this.” Dave scratched his arm, letting out a sigh.

There was no way Bro could blame Dave for being worried. He had to admit, if he wasn’t so naturally inclined to not give a fuck about things, he would be concerned too.

And maybe he was a little concerned, but he would never say it out loud.

Suddenly, Bro noticed their conversation was starting to look way too similar to the one they had just a couple of days ago, after the first picture was posted and he went to pick Dave at school. And he really didn’t want them going all the way back to square one, after the pretty visible progress they made. He had to alleviate his younger brother’s worries, no matter what.

“Look, no one’s going to jail, foster home, or any bullshit like that, OK?” Bro put a hand on Dave’s shoulder, trying to soften his facial expression as much as he could. “I’ll make sure nothing bad happens to either of us.”

Dave honestly didn’t know just how his brother could act so secure about something that would worry pretty much everyone in the entire planet (except for a select few). His brother sure was an astonishing guy.

“And I promise, if things start to get too hot to handle, we are pulling all the breaks and calling it quits, OK?” Bro shook Dave’s shoulder lightly, looking at his face to see if it would change from worried to something else. Any change would be a good sign.

Letting out a huff of air, Dave leaned back on his seat, gazing at his own lap.

“Even if things don’t get too hot, if I ask you to stop, are we going to do it?” Dave’s voice almost came out as a murmur, the tip of his fingers pressing against the fabric of his jeans.

“Yes.” Bro didn’t hesitate in answering. “And I’ve never been so serious in my entire life.” He let go of Dave’s shoulder, hand going for the gear lever, but he didn’t move the pickup from its stationary position. He had to make sure Dave was fine before they could continue going back home.

“OK…” Dave let out under his breath, staring out the window again.

Bro didn’t really buy that, but he still went back to driving. They couldn’t just stay parked there forever.

After two minutes of driving in total silence, Bro finally spoke.

“If I ever break my promise, I’ll give you my sword.”

Dave’s eyes widened as he turned his sight from the window to his brother, not sure if he heard it right.

“You, what?” Dave had to ask, because he was sure he got it wrong.

“You heard me. I break my promise, you keep my sword.” Bro repeated himself as he turned to enter the garage of their apartment building.

There wasn’t much Dave could do aside from staring at his brother with his lips half parted. Bro seemed to love that sword more than his own life sometimes, and hearing him say he would give up on it for the sake of a promise… that was a real shocker.

“Are you fucking serious?”

“Dead fucking serious.”

Their conversation ended right there, with Dave too stunned to say or ask anything else, and Bro not having anything else to add. And that silence continued as they unloaded those endless bags of food from the truck, on their trip inside the elevator, and all the way up to their apartment.

Chapter Text

In the end, it turned out the pictures taken lasted a little bit longer than Bro had first predicted. One month and a half to be more exact. In the meantime, little to nothing was discussed on the subject, and the Striders just kept going with their daily lives.

Dave had gone back to his regular routine of going to school, filling pages of homework, talking on Pesterchum with his friends – sometimes discussing his present situation with Rose - and strifing with his brother.

Although, as time passed, some things were changing inside Dave’s mind. It was a gradual process, but there was no denying that his views on what was taking place were starting to change; his acceptance following accordingly. He wasn’t sure if that was a good or a bad thing, but it certainly made everything a lot more comfortable, and that was somewhat relieving.

He soon realized reading those messages which were aimed at him didn’t make him feel as queasy as before, and the pictures he took… They didn’t seem as terrible as he originally thought. He could almost see some kind of aesthetic quality to them, if he analyzed them long enough. Like observing the lighting, posing, setting and so on. And once again he didn’t know if that was a good thing.

At some point, Dave even caught himself smirking at nothing while walking down his school’s hallway, watching other people passing by him without suspecting a thing. That made him feel somewhat superior. None of the people there would ever know about his so called “internet fame”, and he thought that was somewhat amusing.

When the next photo shoot happened, Dave found himself almost completely at ease, so much so that he would even discuss things more actively with his brother during the process. Even while wearing that really stupid velvet suit Bro got from God knows where. That outfit was tacky as hell, but Dave was just happy that he got his skin covered.

At some point, Dave asked about the first photos they took almost two months before, the ones with those embarrassing shorts and suspenders, since he didn’t see those anywhere on the site.

“I told you I’m saving those. They're  our trump card.”

There was just a shrug from Dave and the photo session continued.

As for Bro, he couldn’t be more satisfied with the outcome of his plan. Money was stacking up to the ceiling, smuppets were being sold left and right, the site’s counter was sky-rocketing and the idea of selling Dave’s pictures was a real stroke of genius in his humble opinion. People were simply crazy about his younger brother, and Bro had got over his initial sense of disgust and now felt a little bit proud.

Not to mention watching Dave feel progressively more relaxed was a gigantic relief.

Last thing he wanted to do was to cause his younger brother more distress with the whole process, and end up being hated at the end of the day. Dave was, first and foremost, his family, and he really didn’t want to fuck that up.

One a particular Saturday afternoon, while Dave was scanning through the site’s messages on his own computer – a few weeks before, Bro had given him the username and password to access the site’s inbox, so then he could see it more easily – a message caught his attention. First, because it had a proper title. Most of the e-mails sent to the site lacked one, and the rare ones that contained titles were terribly written- grammatically wise.

This one lacked any kind of grammatical abomination, and it didn’t even hint at something perverted. All it read was a simple “For the Boy in the Pictures.” That alone got Dave’s attention. None of the messages were ever actually directed towards him. They were just general e-mails with people venting their fantasies. Also, this one came from an address he had never seen before.

Out of curiosity, Dave decided to open the message and actually pay attention to what was written on it.


Dear young man,

I hope this message reaches you and that you are the one reading it.

I’ve been following the progression of your photos on this site for a while, and I have to say, you are one attractive boy. I always wait with baited breath for your next batch of pictures. To see someone so young and so beautiful on a regular basis is… well it is hard for me to describe what I feel, exactly.

The puppets… they do not interest me in the least. The only reason why I keep coming back to this site is to see your face. If you eventually leave, I won’t be coming back anymore.

In the interest of keeping this message brief, I’ll be direct: I would like to know if there’s any way I can contact you more directly. If that is not possible, I will understand, but getting in touch with you, even if briefly, would certainly mean a lot to me.

I will be waiting for your answer.


Now that was… new to say the least. To Dave, most people who visited the site seemed to be fascinated by him, but in a completely different way. They were far more interested in ravaging his body than complimenting him on his looks, let alone wanting to have a proper conversation with him.

And now this random person wanted to send him direct messages and start proper communication. Talk about something that came out of nowhere.

Still, Dave was suspicious. Who could guarantee that wasn’t a message sent by the police; in an attempt to track down his and his brother’s activities? He couldn’t just rule out such possibility.

He eyed the minimized Pesterchum window and remembered Rose was online. Maybe he could consult with her on the matter. She could give him some guidance, maybe.

Or she would just mess with him, which seemed more likely.


turntechGodhead [TG] began pestering tentacleTherapist [TT]

TG: something really weird just happened
TT: Define weird.
TT: Because based on the most recent events I’m finding it hard to classify what could be considered as strange in your household.
TG: i got this message on my bros site
TG: it looks nothing like the ones we usually get
TT: So it’s not a perverted message I take?
TG: nope
TG: this thing is more like
TG: someone wanting to know me better i guess
TG: its suspicious though
TT: What does it say exactly?
TG: someone is just throwing compliments my way
TG: and wanting to send me direct messages
TT: Look at you!
TT: You got an admirer.
TT: How cute.
TG: this is not cute
TG: this is the total opposite of cute
TG: we talking about someone who seems to be getting his rocks off from looking at me
TT: Or maybe he genuinely likes you.
TT: Don’t be so judgmental Dave.
TG: easy for you to say when its not your ass thats literally on the line
TG: besides this could be some kind of trap
TT: Trap?
TG: you know
TG: a cop trying to track us down
TG: cmon rose you are sharper than that
TT: That’s a justified worry.
TT: Still, didn’t you tell me before that your brother has, in your own words, “all his bases covered”?
TG: well yes
TG: security on my bros computer is tighter than the fucking fort knox
TG: wait you dont want me to answer this person right
TT: If everything is so safe, why not entertain your anonymous admirer for a while?
TT: Maybe you can even have some fun while doing it.
TT: And if this person really is a cop, if they can’t get anything from you, they’ll leave you alone, eventually.
TG: rose far from me to refuse an offer to mess around with someone
TG: and i know this sound weird coming from me
TG: but I think this is really irresponsible
TT: Oh, and taking risqué photos for an adult site is the epitome of responsibility, right?
TG: tou-fucking-ché
TT: But seriously now, what do you have to lose?
TT: Like I said, it may even be entertaining.
TT: Maybe this can even help you understanding your audience better and improve the quality of your… work.
TG: does it look like a give a damn about the people who visit that godforsaken place
TG: honestly
TT: How inconsiderate Dave.
TT: Remember they are the ones putting food on your plate.
TG: you are sounding like my brother
TG: stop
TT: Well, I can’t force you to make a decision.
TT: But if you end up getting in touch with your admirer I would like to know more about this fellow.
TT: It takes a lot of courage to straight up sent a message, like that. At least if you don’t happen to be an undercover cop.
TG: i agree with you on that
TG: itll be better to hide this thing from my bro though
TG: god only knows what he could do if he saw someone wanting to get to know me
TG: the possibility of him tracking down the poor bastard to teach him a lesson is quite high
TG: speaking of the devil
TG: he just got back home
TG: better hide this thing on the double
TG: speak to you later lalonde
TT: I’ll be waiting for the exciting conclusion of your story.

turntechGodhead [TG] ceased pestering tentacleTherapist [TT]


Dave made short work of the message, sending it to the e-mail’s bin and erasing it, but not before writing down the address on it. Maybe he really could provide this person with some entertainment, even if for a while.

Then, he spun on his chair, just in time to see Bro show up at the door, a shopping bag in hand.

“Paying some attention to your audience?” The older Strider asked, smiling a bit as he walked to Dave’s desk.

“I thought they deserved some.” The boy eyed the paper bag in his brother’s hand, raising an eyebrow at it.  “What is that?” he could make out the shape of a square shape inside, but nothing else.

“Merry early Christmas lil’ man.” Bro put the bag on the table.

Dave stared at the bag even more suspiciously, but didn’t say anything before peeking inside the bag. His eyes almost instantly widened and his jaw dropped when he saw what was inside of it.

“It’s… Bro this is…” Dave couldn’t help but stutter, shifting his gaze from the shopping bag’s content to his brother.

“Are you going to take it out of the bag or not?” Bro placed his hands on his waist, his smiling fading for a minute.

In a rush, Dave pretty much shoved his hands inside the bag, taking out the box that was inside, revealing a brand new analog camera.

“This… This is the camera… from the other day…” The younger Strider was rather speechless as he handled the box with utmost care, analyzing every single inch of it as if it was some kind of rare jewel.

“Yeah. This is the camera you were drooling all over last time we went out. Man, you were really hypnotized by it.” Bro couldn’t help but chuckle a little, as he watched his little brother look at the camera with a sparkle to his eyes. “Do you like it?”

Do I like it?! Dave thought to himself, staring at his brother. There he was, holding the camera he was madly in love with from just a week ago, and here it was, a gift from his brother. He didn’t even have to ask and whine about it. It was just there.

But as excited as he truly was, he tried his best to keep a more straight face, even if his wide eyes were almost visible through his shades.

“It’s a good camera. I mean, I could tell you the specifics about it, but I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t know what the fuck I would be talking about.” Dave shrugged while trying to seem neutral, but couldn’t hold back the smile that appeared on his lips.

“Save your technological babble.” Bro made a dismissive gesture with his hand before ruffling his younger brother’s hair. “Either way, this is your ‘reward’ for a job well done.”

“… Thanks.” Dave’s facial expression softened a bit. He really didn’t feel like keeping up the poker face act. He was so happy about the gift and in a way he wanted Bro to know it.

“Don’t mention it. I mean, I know how you're crazy about these things and, well I’m making you go through all this effort. I thought it was only fair.” Bro awkwardly scratched the back of his head. He wasn’t very used to showing gratitude, even when he meant it, and seeing Dave’s smiling face made it all that much harder.

Unceremoniously, Dave began opening the camera’s box, so focused on it he was almost ignoring his older brother. Bro didn’t really mind though. The boy looked so excited he wouldn’t dare call him out on something like that. He simply left the room, deciding to leave his younger brother to have fun with the present. Besides, he was in dire need of a shower.

Dave messed around with his new camera ‘till nighttime, reading the manual back to back and searching around his room for a compatible film, and was elated to find one that fitted just right. He took one or three pictures of his room and a few of himself, before finally putting it down, wholly satisfied. That camera was one of the best gifts his brother could get him, and the fact that he took notice of something he liked without him having to mention it meant a lot. He almost felt like going after him and doing something completely out of the ordinary.

And he did just that.

Stepping out of his bedroom, Dave walked to the main room, where his brother was at, watching some crappy horror B-movie on TV. No lights were on and only the glow of the screen was illuminating the room.

“Hey Bro?” Dave said, walking to the couch, with his older brother sitting up straight.

“Hm? What is it?” Bro asked, watching Dave nervously look to the side. He almost instantly grew concerned. “Hey, did something happen?”

Without a word of warning, the younger Strider threw himself at his older brother, arms wrapping around him and pressing his face against his chest. Needless to say, the man was quite speechless and pretty much froze in place, hesitating on even moving his arms.

“Thanks Bro…” Dave’s voice came out slightly muffled, and he almost flinched when he felt Bro’s arms wrap around him.

“Gee, if I knew getting you a camera would cause all this, I would have given it to you sooner.” Bro joked, rubbing Dave’s back.

“It’s not just the camera…” The boy mumbled, sitting on the couch next to his brother.

“I know.” Bro smiled, resting his chin on top of Dave’s head.

For how long they stayed like that, none of them knew nor cared. Bro couldn’t really help but feel content. The last time Dave hugged him for almost no reason like that was years ago, and in a way he blamed himself for that kind of behavior. He was always trying to teach Dave how to be serious and tough, in an attempt to protect him from whoever wanted to give him shit. But somewhere along the way he forgot to balance things out, to teach him it was alright to express feelings when the situation called for it.

Such a fact wrenched Bro’s heart a bit. He didn’t want to be a failure as Dave’s guardian, but sometimes he felt just like that. He knew his younger brother grew up to be an outstanding boy; the fact that he agreed and went along with their plan was living proof! Not to mention their countless strifes- with the kid getting better and better at them with each passing day. Still, he felt like he failed on developing his younger brother’s more emotional side by encouraging him to bottle up his feelings to not show signs of weakness.

As Bro thought about those things, he wrapped his arms a bit tighter around Dave, who said nothing in response to it. He simply moved his head to the side, eyes resting on the television.

“What are you watching?” He asked, looking at the crude black & white movie on the screen.

“The Brain That Wouldn’t Die. It’s unbelievably shitty.” Bro smirked, looking at the screen as well. “It’s already halfway through though.”

“Can I watch the rest with you?” Dave moved away a bit, eyes still glued at the screen as he didn’t feel comfortable looking at his older brother after what he just did.

“Not a problem. Want me to explain the plot so far?” Bro went back to lying on the couch, with Dave lying on top of him, on his back.

“I don’t care. It’s probably a stupid story anyway.”

“Well, that much is right.”

Neither of them spoke a word for the duration of the movie. Not even some stupid joke about the obviously bad effects in the movie. Dave was too busy shifting on his place to snuggle against his older brother’s chest, and Bro’s mind was anywhere but on the bright screen right in front of his eyes, as he ran his fingers through the younger Strider’s hair.

When the movie was over, Bro shifted his gaze from the screen to Dave, and shook his head when he realized the boy was sleeping soundly.

It’s only 10PM on a Saturday and you're already sleeping? Bro smirked, turning off the TV and engulfing the room in darkness. His eyes turned toward the ceiling, staring silently.

He certainly could get used to situations like these. In fact, they would even make him feel more relieved.

Chapter Text

The following morning, Dave woke up to the smell of bacon filling his nostrils. Shifting on the couch, he almost instantly remembered he fell asleep on his brother the night before, just a few minutes after lying with him. He didn't even get to see the ending to that terrible movie they were watching.

Sitting up, he looked over the couch to see his brother cooking breakfast, the sizzling sound from the frying pan reaching his ears.

"Hey." He called, and Bro turned around to face him.

"Good morning." The older Strider said, before turning his attention back his present task. "You sure slept early yesterday."

"I think I can only go to bed late so many times before fainting..." Dave spoke more to himself than anything, getting up from the couch and walking to his brother.

"And, fuck, you sleep like a goddamn rock! I mean, I moved from under you this morning and that didn't even faze you."

"Oh, so that's why I felt so comfortable all of sudden." Dave commented, getting a punch in the arm right after.

"Very funny." Bro kept paying attention on the sizzling bacon and eggs. "I could barely move at night with your sleepy ass on top of me. You were pretty damn comfortable if you ask me."

Dave simply shrugged, rolling his eyes.

What a cry baby... he thought before walking out of the room. He needed to go to the bathroom and to his bedroom real quick to turn off his computer before Bro found out he left it running all night long. If he did so, he wound definitely lecture him about not wasting energy and all that. Dave thought it was too early in the morning for that.

After a quick visit to the bathroom, the boy entered his room, greeted by the sight of his new camera which made him smile almost involuntarily. He walked to his desk to turn off the computer and pick the camera up, when his eyes rested on a small piece of paper resting near the monitor.

It was the note he wrote down with e-mail address from the message he got the day before.

Thanks to the excitement related to his new gift, he pretty much forgot about the message completely, but just looking at the small note brought it all back, and he eyed the e-mail address for a while. Should he send that person a message back? "Entertain" them for a while, like Rose said? If everything was safe, there would be no harm in trying, right?

This wasn't the time to make such a decision though, so Dave simply stuffed the note on the back pocket of his jeans, to prevent his brother to ask questions about it, and headed back to the main room. Bro was almost done with their breakfast.

"Are you going to carry this thing everywhere now?" Bro asked when he saw the camera on the boy's hands.

"You can't say much mister 'I play the same record for a whole week straight after I buy it'." Dave snapped at his brother, arms crossing in front of his chest.

“OK, fair enough.” Bro said as he set an egg and the bacon on a plate, together with a slice of bread. He promptly handed it to Dave, along with a fork. “Here. Have a ball.”

Taking the plate, Dave went back to sitting on the couch, ready to “maneuver” his way into eating, thanks to the lack of a knife. Bro joined him shortly, and for a long while they just sat there, eating in silence.

Dave was still thinking about the message from the day before and, admittedly, he wanted to give it a shot. Maybe fuck around with that anon for a bit just for shits and giggles. Although, if he were to go on with it, he needed the same sort of safety measures his brother had on his own computer, because 1) staying in contact with anyone through Bro’s PC would be a dire mistake and 2) he couldn't just start interacting with a stranger without some manner of protection. Not only it could be an undercover cop, but it could also be some sexual predator trying to track down the origin of those pictures. Both options were grim in their own way.

Then, he had an idea. He wasn’t sure if that would work, but it was worth the try.

"Bro, can you tighten the security on my computer?" Dave asked all of sudden, not daring to look at his brother.

"Why do you even want that?" Bro rose an eyebrow at his younger brother.

"Well, since I've be accessing the site's inbox now, maybe we need to get my PC secure too." Dave made up that excuse not really sure if his brother would fall for it. He honestly didn't understand much about computer safety aside from the basics, so he was just going on a limb and hoping for the best.

"Hmm... Actually you may be right. It won't hurt making your computer safe too. Good thinking." Bro smiled, genuinely believing Dave's words. And that was a relief to the younger Strider. “I’ll get on that as soon as we finish breakfast, because it may take a while to set up everything.”

“Anh, ok.” Dave was actually speechless by how easy it was to persuade his brother. Although, his request probably triggered the older Strider’s more cautious side, and the boy was glad such a thing happened. That way he wouldn’t have to make up some crazy story to convince him.

The rest of the breakfast went by in silence.

When both were done eating, Bro just dumped the dirty dishes inside the sink. He couldn’t care less about washing them, especially in the morning.

“I’m going to go take care of your computer now.” He said, turning to leave the room. “Are you coming?”

“Nah. I’m just going to stay here playing X-Box… Don’t go messing with my personal stuff though.” Dave glared at his older brother, who just scoffed at him.

“Yeah, as if there’s anything that interests me in your files. It’s probably filled with pseudo-artistic photos and lame music anyway.” Bro could literally feel Dave’s eyes like daggers on his back, even if no words left the boy’s lips.

Three hours passed until Dave grew bored of playing, and wondered what was taking his brother so damn long anyway. He didn’t know much about the subject of adding safety measures to a computer, but he definitely didn’t expect it to take forever.

Getting up from the couch, he walked to his bedroom, pushing the door open to see Bro sitting at his computer, clicking and typing away.

“Still not done?” Dave asked, leaning on the door frame.

“Just a bit more.” Bro replied, eyes fixed on the screen.

“Well, get on with it, I have people I want to talk to.” In reality, Dave was just getting more and more impatient to finally get to talk to whoever that person who messaged him earlier was. Curiosity was, once again, getting the best of him and he would be lying if he said he wasn’t tempted to mess around with them, even if only for a cheap laughs.

“As if you don’t talk to your friends all the time. I think you can survive another hour away from them.” Bro shrugged, as he kept on working on Dave’s computer. “Also, way to make your computer totally exposed to everyone. I know you don’t do anything too important on this thing aside from storing your silly photos and songs, but still…”

“… I’m going for a walk.” Dave sighed, pretty sure that his brother wouldn’t be done with that anytime soon, and being lectured wasn’t something he was looking forward to.

“Get some money and bring me a bottle of Mountain Dew from the store, will you?”

Dave only nodded, moving away from the door and back to the apartment’s main room, getting some money that was lying on the kitchen counter and stuffing it into the back pocket of his jeans before leaving the apartment.

Thanks to it being a Saturday afternoon, the sidewalks were packed with people everywhere, and cars were zipping down the streets. The weather was hot, as it usually was, as Dave made his way down the block, heading for the nearest convenience store.

While he walked, he caught himself thinking about the recent events. Some of that old feeling of uneasiness began emerging from the back of his mind. What if they were taking things too far? What if they were risking themselves too much? Dave had come to accept the situation as almost natural now, but it still didn’t change the fact what they were doing was dangerous. And the last thing he wanted was to get separated from his brother due to an irresponsible action.

And what they were doing was the peak of irresponsibility.

Deep in thoughts, he almost missed the convenience store. Walking a few steps back he pushed the front door open and was greeted by the cool air on inside. He walked to one of the many fridges in there to pick his brother’s order, thankful for the bottle being ice cold.

Taking a quick look at snacks aisle, he picked up a bar of chocolate to himself. He was sure Bro wouldn’t mind he was buying something extra. After all, most of the money they had was thanks to his efforts, so he deserved a treat.

Waiting in line, paying and leaving was as uneventful as expected, and Dave was soon enough back on the warm streets, turning at a corner to just take a walk around the block and then return to the apartment. Although, he stopped at a small park, that was somehow empty despite the crowds on the streets, and decided to stay there for a while. His brother wouldn’t be done with his task for a while, so going back seemed pointless.

Sitting in one of the benches, he picked his chocolate and unwrapped it, taking a bit from it before leaning back. He tried to suppress all the thoughts of insecurity that were threatening to come back, and tried to focus on his plan. So he was really going to answer that stranger- whoever they were. He couldn’t believe he was actually going for it.

Sure, if he wanted to, he could always drop them whenever he felt like and pretend nothing happened, but he was still surprised he was feeling bold enough to reply at all.

Dave sat there thinking about how that would go down. What was he even going to say to this person anyway? Their intentions were quite obvious, based on the hundreds of other messages from his brother’s site, but Dave never really had to think about answering to those.

But maybe he was thinking too far ahead. Maybe that anon wasn’t going to virtually jump his bones on the first opportunity… That was a possibility, considering their first e-mail seemed quite polite and collected.

He sat there munching on his chocolate and thinking for God knows how long, until he finally realized he had spent far too much time out and about, as evidenced by how warm the bottle of Mountain Dew had gotten.

Shit… Dave thought to himself, picking up the bag with the bottle and rushing back to the apartment.

When he finally arrived at the front door, his hand quickly went for the knob, but it turned before he could reach it and he was soon face to face with his older brother.

“Fucking finally. I was about to go out and try to find you. What took you so long?” Bro asked, letting out a sigh of clear relief.

“I was at the park and I kind of lost track of time. Sorry.” Dave hesitantly handed the shopping bag to Bro. “Brought your drink though.”

“At least you didn’t forget about that.” The older Strider smiled, snatching the bag and putting a hand on Dave’s shoulder, guiding him inside. “What made you lose track of time anyway? Busy playing on the swings?”

“No I… I was thinking.” Dave said, staring at his own feet, entering and hearing the door close behind him.

“Were you over thinking again?” Bro gave his younger brother a worried look as he went to the fridge to get some ice.

“A little. All this is still kind of strange.” Dave scratched his arm, not really looking at his brother as he heard the sound of ice hitting against glass.

“Look, like I said, whenever you want to quit this whole thing, you just have to say the word. Don’t push yourself, alright?” Bro turned to Dave, a glass full of Mountain Dew and ice in hand and a reassuring smile on his face.

“It’s not that I just… Whatever. Did you finish doing all the shit you needed to do on my computer?” Dave tried to change the subject and hoped his brother would follow accordingly.

“Yeah. It’s done. You are free to use your computer and chat up with your friends.” Bro took a sip from his drink, watching Dave leave without another word. He thought it was better to leave the boy be for the time being and not push him into talking.

In his room, Dave pretty much threw himself into his computer chair, looking at the screen. Everything looked pretty much the same on it, except for an extra icon on the desktop. He decided it was better to leave it be.

He didn’t even bother opening Pesterchum, because that wasn’t the priority at the moment. He pulled the note with the e-mail address from his pocket and stared at it for a moment, thinking about the conversation he had with Rose about the subject.

Just a small exchange of messages wouldn’t hurt, right?

Although, he couldn’t just straight out use his main e-mail account to send those messages. He had to be more careful than that. So, he set up a side account, solely for the purpose of getting in touch with that stranger. After picking a random username that didn’t really mean much, he just sat around for a while, wondering just what he should say. All he knew is that he wanted something brief and straight to the point.

After some thinking, he finally started typing a new message, checking the “To” field countless times to see if he wrote down the e-mail address properly.

Stopping for a second to stare at the screen, he took a deep breath and read what he wrote for the ninth time.

ok ill bite
what do you want from me

Taking a deep breath, Dave hit the "send" button and sat back on his chair, patiently waiting for a reply. Which came pretty quickly. Less than ten minutes to be exact.

You did reply to my message! That makes me quite elated!

As for my intentions, they are many, but first I would like to know more about you. We could start by your name.

As he read the message, his lips curved into a smile, and he promptly typed a reply.

yeah good luck trying to get a name out of me
totally like me giving my name to strangers on the internet

Another five minutes passed by before there was another message.

Both cute and smart. What a wonderful combination.

Can't you even give me a random name? I just don't feel it's right for me to be calling you just "boy" during our conversations.

Shifting on his seat, Dave considered the stranger's request. An alias was a good idea... But he had a better one.

just call me dave then
first name that came from the top of my head
and i think now we should be naming you as well
and you could tell me your damn gender while we are at it

In all honesty, he thought that was a smart move on his part.

Dave. Very well then.

You can call me Mike. And I believe my gender is quite evident now.

Tell me Dave. Your eyes are astounding. Such a gorgeous shade of red. Are they really such an amazing color?

So that guy had the time to pick up his eye color from the pictures. Dave doubted most of the people who visited his Bro's site cared about what color they were.

yes those are my very own eyes
no photoshop tricks or contact lens

How wondrous. I wouldn’t mind looking deep inside those for hours on end.

I also couldn't help but noticed your skin is sprinkled with freckles. I really like that.

That guy was proving to be a lot more observant than Dave expected, and he wasn't sure if he should be flattered or freaked out. Maybe a little bit of both would do.

you sure took time to analyze all my pics didnt you

I can't help it, I'm quite fascinated by you.

Seeing your face is the highlight of my day.

you must lead a really sad life dude
i almost feel bad for you

This time, it took a good while for another reply to come around. In the meantime Dave just decided to click around some sites, and when he grew bored he started trying to draw something for SBAHJ, to no avail. The things he was drawing weren’t coming together bad enough.

The sound of a new message, almost more than half an hour later, took him away from his attempts at shitty art.

I apologize for the delay, something came up.

And my life is far from sad, believe me.

And speaking of your face, can you tell me when the next site update is? I would love to see you in different attires.

Staring at the screen for a while, Dave couldn’t help but roll his eyes. Why was that guy beating around the bush so much, when it was pretty clear he was just after some tail?

dunno man
i’m not the one who decides that
also you can drop the politeness act now
we both know you are just talking to me because you want to do something disgusting to me
so just spit it out and save us some goddamn time

There was another long delay, and finally a new e-mail.

Sharp kid.

Although, I am not so shallow.

As attracted as I am to you, I’m also curious about who you are. After all, I assume there’s more to you than a pretty face.

Dave honestly couldn’t believe that guy. Was he trying to woo him with that bullshit?

now I know you really lead a sad lonely life
taking the time to get to know boys on the internet

I do not “know boys”.

You are the first one I addressed directly.

yeah ill believe that

In a way, Dave was amused. That was the most interesting thing to happen during that whole experience and it sure broke the routine of all those perverted and unsavory messages he got on the site’s inbox, even if he was still convinced that was a ruse and that guy would jump at him on the first opportunity.

We have barely spoken to each other.

You shouldn’t jump to conclusions.

dude you visit a porn site with puppets and an underage boy in it
i dont think the conclusions im taking are too far off

I admit my tastes are odd but it’s not my intention to jump at you like some animal.

And shall I remind you that those puppets do not attract me in the least?

Crossing his arms, Dave didn’t know what to say in response to that. Maybe whoever was on the other side of the screen was being just a bit sincere and actually wanted to know him before the inevitable wave of debauchery those messages would lead to.

Letting out a huff of air, he began typing again.

alright lets suppose you are being honest
just what kind of stuff do you want to know about me anyway

Oh, there’s so much I want to ask.

I’m willing to bet you are a very interesting boy!

Chapter Text

The conversation between Dave and that so-called Mike guy lasted longer than the younger Strider expected. The stranger was quite inquisitive about his hobbies, and Dave thought there was no harm in sharing that aspect of his life with him.

i like photography
and i dunno
i make music sometimes
i also like collecting dead things

Collecting dead things?

What does that entail?

it’s like
dead things conserved in jars and shit

Dave was pretty damn sure such an exposition would weird out whoever was on the other side of the screen. But alas…

That is quite the unusual hobby.

I never heard of anyone who did that. I would like to hear more.

I’m also interested in whatever kind of music you do.

Jesus, this dude certainly was into him to not be turned off by him having jars with unsettling things scattered all over his room.

At least he seemed interested in his music. Dave wondered for how long he could distract the guy with the subject before they got to the inevitable.

it’s mostly remixes
and some raps but they are kind of rusty
still have ways to go


It’s kind of adorable that you rap to be completely honest.

Feeling his cheeks get warm almost instantly, Dave let out a huff of air, arms crossing in front of his chest. For some reason that was a lot more flustering than all those ridiculously perverted messages he got on a regular basis.

He just sat around for a while, not really feeling like answering to the last message, when a new one popped up, twenty minutes later.

Did I make you upset?

I apologize.

I’ll remember to keep my compliments to a minimum until you and I are better acquainted.

thanks I guess

For the remainder of their conversation – which was interrupted just once by Bro, when he asked Dave what kind of pizza he wanted for dinner – Mike kept his word and no other random compliments were throw in the middle of his messages. Then again, they were just idly discussing about music, and Dave was surprised to find out that stranger was more knowledgeable on the subject than he first assumed.

They exchanged messages the whole night, and when the clock stroke midnight, Bro once more showed up at Dave’s door, arms crossed.

“Hey, aren’t you going to bed? You have school tomorrow in case you forgot.” He leaned on the door frame, as the younger Strider spun on his chair to face him.

“I’m going, I’m going.” Dave’s voice came out with a tone on annoyance to it. He was actually interested in the conversation he was having.

“You’ve been there all fucking evening, I barely saw your face. You sure like chatting up with those friends of yours, don’t you?” Bro chuckled, clearly blissfully unaware of what his younger brother had been up to all day.

“They're nice to talk to I guess.” Dave shrugged, hands resting on his lap.

“You’ve been ‘guessing’ they've nice for the past three years.” It felt like it was just yesterday that Dave came by the kitchen, excitedly telling him about this three kids he met online: some dorky four-eyes, a somewhat cryptic and well mannered blond girl and some solitary and yet easily excitable girl from a remote island.

Honestly, Bro was incredibly relieved when he got those news from his younger brother, because, at school, he was hardly the most popular. He wasn’t left in the corner, but he rarely spoke about his colleagues and didn’t seem very eager to go visit them and whatnot. There was a point where Bro began to grow worried and feared Dave would end up as a loner.

And in a way, Bro blamed his own lack of social skills for that. He never really taught Dave well on this area of life. Strifing, irony, dolls with dubious meanings to them… Those were things he knew and tried to pass on to him. Now interacting properly with others? That was another story altogether.

“Yeah, whatever…” Dave rolled his eyes, more or less faking his irritation.

“Either way, you better scurry off to bed. Last time you stayed up it was a struggle to get you to go to school.” Bro moved from the door, and off to the hallway, leaving his younger brother alone again.

With a quiet sigh, Dave turned to the computer screen again, looking at all the messages he exchanged with that stranger. Well, he wasn’t really that much of a stranger anymore, but Dave couldn’t really call him an “acquaintance”, let alone a “friend”.

Just for the hell of it, he decided to let Mike know he was calling it a night.

gotta go to bed
you may not know but I have more things to do in life than chatting up with you and posing with colored dolls

Getting up from his chair, he went to his cramped closet to change into his PJs, and while he did so the sound of an incoming message reached his ears. He walked to the computer again, shirt in hand, to check whatever Mike was saying to him.

What a shame that you have to leave. I could have talked to you all night.

But we’ll have plenty of time to talk in the future I assume?

Either way, sleep well Dave.

The subtlest smile appeared on Dave’s lips as he read the message. He simply couldn’t believe the guy.

To say that the following morning was an uneventful one would be an understatement. Everything was far too slow and boring. And the fact that Dave and Bro barely spoke to each other while at the apartment and on the way to school didn’t help. Not that it was  nothing “new” to them, but for the past few weeks they had been a lot more talkative towards each other.

Dave was mostly to blame though. For whatever reason his mind kept drifting back to the messages he exchanged with Mike, even if they were pretty mindless. And at some point he was even bothered by it. Why was he giving those so much thought anyway?

He did his best to pay attention to his classes, hoping to distract his mind from them, and that seemed to work for a while. Although, the closer he was to listening to the school’s bell ringing, the more distracted he got.

Maybe he should vent to Rose a bit. After all, she did ask him to keep her informed about the situation, and far from him to break his promise, especially when she was so understanding of his current position. He could be a bit of a douche to her at times, but being a complete tool wasn’t in his plans.

When the school bell rang, Dave only noticed how fast he was walking towards the front gate when he was already at the end of the hallway, and he cursed himself mentally for such an action, because he knew that wasn’t only due to his natural willingness to leave the school grounds as quickly as possible.

Stepping out and scanning the streets, he was surprised to see Bro’s pick-up already waiting for him at the corner. He was almost never on time.

“So, how was school?” Was the first thing Bro said when his younger brother entered the truck.

“Passable.” Dave shrugged, closing the door and fastening his seat belt.

“Wow, your enthusiasm for learning sure is admirable.” Bro shook his head, a smile on his lips as he started the truck’s engine.

“Not my fault if that place is the most boring thing in existence.” Dave rolled his eyes, crossing his arms.

“But this utterly boring thing is important for your future. I don’t want you to grow up to be some jackass loser with no education.” Bro briefly looked at Dave from the corner of his eye, more or less glaring at him.

“Fine, fine…” Dave put his hands up in defeat, before his brother could extend his discourse even more.

“Speaking of learning, yesterday I realized I’ve been neglecting your training a lot. I mean, when was the last time we dueled anyway? It's been more than a week. We gotta fix that” Bro said as he drove, and even without looking at Dave he could feel his disapproving stare.

“Really? Today? It’s a fucking Monday.” Dave put his head back, letting out a groan.

“Would you rather do it Saturday?” Bro asked, knowing his younger brother wouldn’t be willing to sacrifice his weekend for the sake of strifing.

“OK, we’ll do your cruddy training today.”

The rest of the trip back home was silent.

When they finally arrived at the apartment, Bro wasted no time in asking for Dave to go fetch his sword and meet him at the rooftop. The younger Strider just nodded and went to his bedroom to get his katana. He was certainly not in the mood for training. He rarely was, but there were times he would rather chew glass than partake in those duels against his brother. That was one of those days, and there was no glass in sight, so he had to comply with Bro's orders.

Throwing his backpack on the bed and fetching his sword, Dave glanced at his computer briefly, shaking his head right after. Why was he thinking about those messages again?

Maybe getting his ass handed to him could help with distracting his mind.

Dave climbed the stairs to the rooftop slowly, in no rush to reach his destination. When he finally arrived, he could tell Bro was slightly glaring at him through his shades.

“Took you long enough.” Adjusting his pointy shades, the older Strider got in position to start. “Now take your stance.”

With an almost inaudible sigh, Dave did as he was told, firmly clutching to the handle of his sword. If he couldn’t genuinely enjoy what was about to unfold, he could at least try and do his best, and see if his brother would give him some time off from strifes.

As usual, Bro jumped at Dave without any real warning, and if it wasn’t for the fact that the younger Strider was used to such an action, he wouldn’t be able to block the incoming attack aimed at his shoulder.

Taking a step back, the boy tried an attack of his own, only to be blocked and pushed,  causing him to almost lose balance.

“You're not paying attention.” Bro said, going for another attack which was barely countered whilst Dave was still trying to regain his footing.

“We’ve just begun asshole.” Dave canalized his frustration at his brother’s remark into his next move, aiming to hit his brother’s torso, but only being able to push him back a bit.

“No difference.” Bro flash-stepped to his younger brother’s side, sword pointed at the boy’s ribs. “You have to be alert from the very first second.” And with that he thrust his katana forward, with Dave barely blocking it again.

With a grunt, the boy leaped towards the man, sword above his head as he tried a more decisive approach, which failed too, his brother’s block sending him back a few steps.

The sound of metal against metal kept echoing through the rooftop for minutes on end, with both Striders taking turns trying to hit each other and trying to counter each other’s attacks, with Bro barely nicking his younger brother while delivering line after line about focus and dedication, and Dave tried his best to protect himself while hopelessly trying to land a hit on the older man, all the while throwing insults at him and telling him to shut up.

All in all, it was more of the same they were both used to.

At some point, while trying to flash-step towards his older brother, Dave suddenly lost balance and fell face first to the floor, with Bro pausing his actions almost immediately in response.

“Hey, what happened? Are you tripping over your own feet?” He asked, walking towards the boy.

Dave pushed himself up, sitting up and looking down to his own feet.

“Fucking shoelaces…” He said under his breath, staring at his untied shoes.

“That’s why I keep telling you not to use these stupid sneakers while we are…” When Bro was just a feet away from Dave, he noticed a small red drop on the rooftop’s concrete floor, and crouched almost too fast, grabbing his younger brother’s chin to tilt his head up. “Fuck, what a mess.”

It took Dave a second, but then there was a sharp pain on his nose, and his hand almost automatically went to it, and he could feel the blood under it.

“Shit…” Dave’s voice came out as a murmur while he wiped the underside of his nose with the back of his hand.

“How much does it hurt?” Bro asked, hoping for it not being a broken nose.

“A whole fucking lot.” Putting his hand down for a moment, Dave sighed. Such a thing certainly wasn’t going to give him that “free pass” he was aiming for. If anything, training would only get harder, thanks to him being clumsy.

“C’mon, let’s go downstairs and take care of that.” Bro said as he offered Dave a hand to help him stand. His voice was almost too neutral for the situation, but there was a small hint of worry deep down.

For a brief moment, Dave just stared at his older brother’s hand. He was kind of expecting the man to force him to keep strifing to, more or less, punish him for his fuck up. Clearly, he was wrong.

Grabbing Bro’s hand, Dave stood up, hand still under his nose to prevent it from bleeding all over the place, as they walked back to the apartment, his brother picking up their swords on the way. Once there, they went to the bathroom, with Bro telling Dave to sit down at the toilet, as he got a wet towel to clean up the boy’s face, putting his head back to get the bleeding to stop a bit.

“It was really graceful, the way you feel flat on your face.” Bro joked, after getting Dave’s face clean, going to the bathroom cabinet and grabbing the first aid kit they had there.

“Screw you.” Dave held his head back, rolling his eyes.

“But really, next time, do as I say and don’t wear these stupid shoes with ridiculously long shoelaces.” Bro opened the kit and grabbed some cotton from it. “I’m actually surprised it took you so long to trip on those after all this time.”

There was no response from the boy, as he just sat there, his older brother stuffing cotton balls inside his nose.

“Does it look bad?” Dave asked, feeling a sting every time Bro pushed the cotton up.

“Not much. But if it keeps hurting, you tell me, OK?” Bro finished his task with the cotton balls and went to put the kit away, as Dave slowly straightened his head. “You also should put some ice on it.”

Nodding slowly, Dave got up from his seat, looking at the bathroom mirror and touching the tip of his nose as delicately as he could.

“You really scared me back there lil’ man. I thought it was something a lot more serious.” Bro sighed in relief, watching his younger brother.

“Why? Were you afraid that I had damaged my face beyond repair so we couldn’t use it as our source of income anymore?” Dave said before he could stop the words coming out of his mouth. He really didn’t mean it.

“It wasn’t for such a shallow reason you dumb fuck.” The glare Bro was giving towards his younger brother was clear even through his shades.

“Sorry…” Dave ran his fingers through his hair, getting his sword and walking out of the bathroom. “I’m going to my room.”

“Hey, we're going to have spaghetti and meatballs for dinner today, and I want you to help me.” Bro said, watching his younger brother walk away and making a vague hand sign at him to show he had heard him.

Weird kid… Bro thought, shaking his head and smiling a bit. It was rare of Dave to swing between moods like that, but whenever that happened, it was always amusing, even if a little worrying. He would have to talk to him later on.

Inside his bedroom, the younger Strider flopped on his computer chair, throwing his sword on his bed. He eyed the black screen of the computer. He was in such a shitty mood he didn’t even feel like turning on the computer to satisfy his curiosity and see if Mike had sent him a new message. Still, he had promised Rose he would talk to her after contacting the guy, so he had to do at least that. Maybe chatting up with her a bit could improve his mood.

When the computer was properly booted up, Dave didn’t even bother checking his e-mail. He straight up opened Pesterchum, letting out a frustrated sigh when he saw Rose was offline. John was online though. He decided to talk to him a bit, since it had been a while since their last chat.

They talked about school, the past weekend, and Dave even told him about his embarrassing fall during his strife against his brother, with John responding with laughter, but also telling the blonde boy to be more careful next time.

Then, Rose got online, and a window with her nick on it popped up almost instantly on his screen.


tentacleTherapist [TT] began pestering turntechGodhead [TG]

TT: Are you there Dave?
TT: I am anxious to hear news about your mysterious admirer.
TG: you sure are interested on that arent you
TG: but what am I saying
TG: you are probably so into this because you want to use your weird psychoanalysis bullshit on both me and the guy
TT: Oh, so your admirer is a man.
TT: I expected so. After all, the percentage of men which are attracted to younger boys is bigger than that of women.
TG: oh you did your homework goodie
TG: and yeah its a dude
TG: or at least thats what they claim to be
TG: told me his name is mike
TG: probably a fucking empty lie
TT: Did you give him a name as well?
TG: yeah
TG: gave him my own name
TG: but pretended it was a fake one
TT: I have to admit, that was a pretty clever move on your part.
TT: Didn’t know you had it in you to “play” with someone like that.
TG: i guess all this contact with my brother is teaching me how to mess with people
TT: Could be.
TT: Speaking of him, he’s still unaware of your activities, right?
TG: he doesnt have a clue
TG: and if he does hes doing a really pro job at hiding it
TG: im impressed I was able to keep something from him for more than a day though
TG: dude is everywhere like fucking oxygen and knows everything im doing
TT: Maybe he’s realizing you need your own time and space.
TG: yeah and hell may freeze over
TG: rose we are talking about my brother here
TT: OK, enough about your guardian.
TT: What kind of exciting conversation did you have with Mike?
TG: actually it was far from exciting
TG: he just asked me shit like
TG: what I liked doing and my hobbies and stuff
TG: to be honest it was a pretty normal conversation
TG: especially when he stopped throwing compliments at me
TT: What kind of compliments?
TG: telling me im pretty and adorable
TG: for some reason this weirds me out more than those disgusting messages people send to my bros site
TT: Probably because he’s showing something more than superficial lust towards you.
TT: Affection can be scary at times.
TG: affection?
TG: really now rose
TG: theres no affection here im quite sure of that
TG: he pretty much admitted wanting to bang me right off the bat
TG: but mentioned some bullshit about wanting to know me better
TT: If that’s the case then maybe there’s more to this man than uncontained lust.
TT: Dave, didn’t you ever consider the possibility of him being genuinely infatuated with you?
TG: you gotta be fucking kidding me lalonde
TG: dude is just being nice because hes hoping that wont make him sound super creepy when he finally exposes his weird side
TG: but guess what
TG: it will still be creepy no matter how well he knows me
TT: I think you are being needlessly judgmental.
TT: If that guy was only after some tail, why would he go through all this trouble?
TT: I think you should keep talking to him, get to know him better.
TG: im beginning to suspect you are the author of those messages
TG: you are supporting him too much
TT: You think I’m the mysterious Mike, trying to woo you?
TT: As much as I would have enjoyed coming up with such a plan, I can guarantee I’m not involved in this in the least.
TG: so you are honestly serious about me throwing myself at this strangers arms with wild abandon
TT: Well, not really throw yourself at him, but more like give him a chance.
TT: Maybe he’s not as perverted as you think he is.
TT: Or maybe he wants to know you better to fit his perversions to your taste.
TG: well how considerate of him then
TG: still doesn’t change the fact he wants to bone me
TT: It doesn’t, but he at least seems better natured than regular folks who visit the site.
TT: Did you talk to him today?
TG: nah
TG: first thing my bro made me do when we got here was to strife
TG: which went kind of awful


Dave softly touched the bridge of his nose, remembering he still didn’t go fetch the ice Bro told him to put on it. Then, almost as if his brother had read his thoughts, he showed up at the bedroom door, holding a small towel with some ice in it.

“Here. You completely forgot didn’t you?” Bro handed the already cold towel to Dave, a smile on his lips.

“Kind of. Thanks… And sorry for being an asshole back there in the bathroom.” Placing the ice over his nose, Dave looked up at his brother.

“Pft, forget about that. It was no big deal.” Bro shrugged, shaking Dave’s shoulder a little. “Hey, what you talking with purple text over here?” He leaned closer to the screen, which made Dave let go off the towel and throw his arms in front of the monitor to block it.

“Damn it Bro, a little privacy here?” Dave protested, barring his teeth.

“Oh, I see what’s happening here.” Bro grinned, letting out a chuckle. “You flirting with the smooth, blond girl, aren’t you?”

“Oh my God no, that’s not what’s happening at all!” Dave felt his cheeks and ears burn almost instantly, and he tried looking anywhere but at his brother’s face.

“Hey, calm down. I’m only joking. And besides, I always seemed to have a thing for island girl anyway.” As soon as Bro was done talking Dave’s fists were hitting against his chest.

“Just go away, Jesus fuck!” Dave almost shouted, and Bro stepped back, laughing to himself as he left the room.

Letting out an exasperated sigh, Dave grabbed the ice again, bringing it to his nose once more. He looked back at the screen and saw some new messages from Rose.


TT: What went so terrible during your fighting routine?
TT: Dave, are you still there?
TT: Or are you too embarrassed to tell me what went wrong?
TG: sorry about that
TG: bro came around and started being his usual asshole self
TG: and the thing is that i was a klutz and tripped on my own shoelaces when we were fighting
TG: fell flat on my face and my nose paid the price
TT: Don’t you think you should be resting then, instead of sitting here talking to me?
TG: im fine rose
TT: If you are saying so.
TT: Either way, so you didn’t talk to your admirer today yet.
TT: That’s no way to keep a relationship you know?
TT: Especially at the beginning.
TG: rose i dont want a relationship with him
TG: i would rather let john talk to me about his shitty movies for all eternity
TT: OK, you want nothing with the guy.
TT: But at least entertain him for a while.
TT: I’m interested to know what kind of thoughts he has towards you, aside from finding you cute.
TG: ok i will try to get him to spit up some of his deep dark secrets and pass them on to you
TG: how does that sound
TT: I would highly appreciate it.
TT: But really you should lay down for a bit.
TG: ugh fine

turntechGodhead [TG] ceased pestering tentacleTherapist [TT]


Without saying anything else, Dave decided to do as Rose said. He could use some rest to put his thoughts in place and get that stinging pain on his nose stop.

Still, he couldn’t resist checking his e-mail for any new message from Mike.

And there was one, sent to him somewhat early in the morning.

Good morning Dave.

I can only hope your morning is a pleasant one.

Message me whenever you have the time, yes?

Dave just closed the message and got up from his chair, going to his bed. Dude could wait a bit.

Chapter Text

Shifting on his bed, Dave woke up to a hand shaking his shoulder. He almost instantly noticed that there was no sunlight coming from the window as he opened his eyes, and looking up he saw his brother's face staring down at him.

"Hey lil' man, is time for dinner." Bro said as he watched Dave sit up.

"Hmm... Hey, didn't you say we were doing it together?" Dave rubbed his eyes before putting on his shades.

"You were sleeping like such an angel I didn't want to disturb you." The older Strider said in a mocking tone, feeling the boy's glare on him.

"Asshole..." Dave said under his breath.

"Do you want the spaghetti or not?" Bro crossed his arms in front of his chest.

"OK, I do. I'm starving." Dave got up from the bed, following his brother out of the bedroom and into the front room of the apartment.

The smell of tomato sauce and meatballs was filling the air, and Dave could barely remember when it was the last time their home was permeated by such a smell. Not because they lived in starvation, but because his older brother was anything but a good cook.

Opening one of the pans tentatively, Dave peeked inside of it, and couldn't help smiling.

"Looking good, hm?" Bro asked, grabbing plates from the cupboard.

"Who did you hire to prepare this delicious looking sauce for you?" Dave teased, looking at his older brother.

"Hahaha... Very funny. Now stop teasing and start eating." Bro pretty much shoved a place into Dave's hands, serving him a large portion of pasta. "Put as much sauce and meatballs as you want in your plate."

The young boy nodded and proceeded to cover his spaghetti with plenty of red and three or so meatballs.

The rest of the night was spent with both Striders indulging in eating pasta and playing video game against each other. And Dave rushing, trying to get his homework done past midnight, when he realized he completely forgot about it.

When the younger Strider finally went to bed, he just briefly thought about the fact he completely ignored the stranger he was, more or less, in contact with. Maybe he would reply to that guy the next day.


The next day was, for the most, uneventful, until Dave came back from school and sat down on his computer to work on a paper. He was suddenly reminded of Mike and his last e-mail to him.

Message me whenever you have the time.

Why, Dave didn't have time to waste on answering some creepy Internet perv. He had a research to make, and lots to write about.

But then again sending a two line reply wouldn't take all that long.

When opening the inbox Dave saw there were no new e-mails from his so-called "admirer". At least the guy wasn't needy or pushy.

yo dude im here
you there
or did you get tired of waiting for me and moved on to prey on other boys

He hit "Send" and didn't have to wait much for a reply.

I've told you once and I'll tell you again. I am not the kind to go after boys. You are the only one because my interest in you is special.

You shouldn't accuse me of doing things when you barely know me.

Dave couldn't help but roll his eyes at the computer screen, letting out a sigh before getting up to pick up a notebook from his school bag. He sat down again, and before he got to his research he sent Mike another message.

ok fine
lets play your little game of getting to know each other better
tell me something about you that doesnt involve you being creepy around children

Letting out a huff of air, Dave shook his head and got a move on with his paper. It didn't take long for him to hear the notif sound, signaling he had a new message.

Dude sure is quick with answering, he thought to himself before checking the new e-mail.

You mentioned you make music. I'm a musician myself. I've been into it for a couple of years now. It's mostly electronic music.

I could send you one of my finished works if you are interested. I would like to hear your opinion on it.

Tilting his head to the side, the younger Strider didn't know how to react to that exactly. So this guy really wanted to have civilized conversation with him after all? It sounded like it.

And, hell, he was a sucker for new music.

hit me
im no critic but i can tell whats good and what is total crap

The reply Dave got from his message was a single link to a song hosted on some audio site. He decided to listen to whatever music that was while doing his school's research.

It was a manner of tribal-ish tune, which didn't seem all that impressive at the beginning, but it evolved to a quite flawless conjunction of deep bass lines and intense and varied drum samples. It had been a while since Dave heard such a well-constructed and finely composed song, and if Mike was the one who created it, as he claimed, the boy was jealous.

But he obviously wouldn’t let that out.

it was an ok song
I mean I kind of liked it

I can show you other stuff if you want to hear it. And if you ever feel comfortable with that I would like to hear your tunes too.

I’m pretty sure you are quite good.

Dave shifted on his chair, thinking about the guy’s request. He could send one of remixes to this guy, but he was suddenly feeling not all that confident about those. After all, he was still learning how to make things from scratch, so sending those was a no-no, and he doubted some mix of some random song would be particularly impressive.

And showing him any of his raps to him was completely out of question. He didn’t need to know how his voice sounded.

you can send me more of your stuff
im doing some school work right now and i  like having some music to listen to while im at it

Oh, I’m sorry that I’m disrupting your concentration.

Let me know when you are done and we will talk later.

Letting out a huff of air, Dave just shrugged and went on with his research. He wasn’t sure how he should react to Mike’s behavior towards him. At the same time the boy knew for a fact he was most definitely a creep just waiting for the right moment to show his perverted side, he couldn’t help but think, like Rose said, there was something more to it.

Like… maybe the dude genuinely gave a fuck about him and didn’t just want some young boy to stick his dick into? If the fact he was trying to hold normal conversations with him was any indication.

The younger Strider than shook his head. What was he thinking? That was obviously the kind of thought Mike wanted him to consider. Delude him into thinking he was worth anything just to have a free pass to be a creep.

He wasn’t falling for that, no sir. That stranger would need to do more than sweet talk him and send him some nice songs to make things not so creepy.

Putting those thoughts aside he went on with his school work.

It took him a few hours, but around 7PM Dave was done with his paper, relieved that he wouldn’t have to do anything past midnight like the day before. As he stretched on his chair, he heard the front door of the apartment opening. Bro had been away almost all day long, and finally came back.

“Hey, Dave, come here.” Bro’s voice echoed through the apartment and Dave took a second to lazily get up from his chair and walk to the front room.

“Fucking finally. Where have you been all day?” Dave asked as he entered the room, hands on his pockets.

“Oh, so that’s how it’s gonna be, hm? Then I guess you aren’t getting the gift I bought you.” Bro said as he raised a small bag ‘till it was on the same level of hi face.

“Wait, a gift?” Dave’s eyes widened a bit behind his shades. That was the second thing Bro had bought him in two months, and he wasn’t the kind to buy presents on such a regular basis.

“Yes, but too bad for you, because you aren’t getting it anymore due to being a rude little shit.” Bro lifted the bag above his head, and couldn’t help but smirk when Dave gave a step forward, eyebrows knitting.

“Oh my fucking God, give me this thing already!” Dave got as close as he could to his brother, reaching up to try and grab the bad, even if he knew that was a failed plan.

“Apologize proper.” Bro teased, holding Dave back by placing a hand at the top of the boy’s head.

“I ain’t doing shit. You leave me here all day long to do God knows where and you expect me to welcome you with open arms? Fat chance! The least you can do is to give me something to compensate for being so neglecting.” Dave waved his arms, fits hitting the lower part of his older brother’s torso.

“Jesus, where did you learn to be so damn obnoxious?” Bro pushed Dave back a little bit more, even if the boy’s punches weren’t actually hurting him.

“Maybe from the one who raised me?” Dave barred his teeth, frustrated by how he was just being pushed back and repelled as if he was nothing.

“Alright, fine, here, have your crummy gift. I almost regret using our money to buy you this.” Bro lowered the bag, which was snagged by Dave almost instantly.

Thank you.” Dave said sarcastically, Opening the bag and taking out whatever was inside of it.

There was a dead silence in the apartment for almost a minute, as Dave alternated between looking down at the small box on his hand and up to this brother’s unamused face.

“This is a… I mean you bought me…” Dave’s words were getting stuck on his throat as he tried to speak up, eyes now fixed on the object in his hand, eyebrows almost reaching his hairline.

“Kid, it’s just an iPhone. Don’t act as if I just gave you Aladdin’s lamp or some shit.” Bro rolled his eyes, but he was also entertained by his younger brother’s reaction.

“Why did you even buy me this?” Was all Dave could ask as he opened the box.

“Well, we had some money to spare, and, I dunno, maybe sometimes you want to talk to your friends and not have your ass glued to your chair for once.” Bro leaned on the kitchen’s counter, hands clutching to the edge of it. “Also, when you go out I now have a way to contact you.”

“… Since when you are so worried about my safety?” Dave eyed his older brother from over his shades.

“Oh yeah, because I was never worried about your well being.” It was Bro’s turn to knit his eyebrows. “The other day when you were spacing out at the park and took forever to come back, I was getting really worried. Besides, with you being on the site, who knows what kind of creeps you can attract?”

A shiver ran down Dave’s spine and he froze in place for a few seconds. Did he know about him exchanging messages with Mike? Probably not? Why, if Bro found out about such a fact, his most obvious course of action would be to track down the poor bastard and cut off his dick. Then send the boy to his room for a month without Internet and double their training sessions.

At least that’s how Dave thought he would act in a situation like that. His older brother could be incredibly unpredictable 99% of the time. There was no telling on how he would react towards something for certain.

“Hey, what’s wrong? Just now you realized people want it in your pants thanks to the site?” Bro looked at Dave with half-lidded eyes, and that seemed to startle the younger Strider a bit.

“That’s… actually pretty close to what I was thinking of.” Dave answered, letting out a sigh as he took the small gadget out of the box to take a closer look at it.

“Don’t worry. If anyone just as much breathes a little bit more heavily next to you I’ll grant them a one way ticket to the hospital.” Dave could clearly see a hint of anger on Bro’s eyes, even through his shades. He didn’t doubt for a minute his older brother could fuck someone up just by looking at him funny.

Sometimes Dave didn’t know if Bro truly cared for him or if he didn’t give a shit, if their constant rooftop strifes and constant teasing counted for anything.

“So, based on you being rendered speechless and the way your eyebrows shot up, you liked the gift, hm?” Bro moved away from the counter and walked to the couch, sitting down and turning on the TV.

“Y-yes. What idiot wouldn’t like a gift like this?” Dave asked as he turned on the iPhone. It didn’t have much battery in it, but it would be enough for him to mess around with it for a while. As he fiddled with the small device, he went to sit on the couch, by Bro’s side.

“Just don’t go haywire with the apps. I’m not going to pay five dollars for some small program that makes the lights on this thing blink or something like that.” Bro said as he flipped through the channels.

“Bro, I barely touched this thing and you are already ruining the fun.” Dave felt the urge to stick his tongue out to his brother, but decided not to. He was more mature than that.

Both Striders sat down in silence, with only the sounds from the TV and some small clicks and beeps from the gadget filling the room. Dave was far too absorbed into exploring every single function on the phone to care about anything else.

Eventually, the younger Strider left to go to his own room, ready to set up everything on his computer so then he could use his gift proper. He was already planning which songs he was going to put in it, what wallpaper, and everything else.

And speaking of music, just so he wouldn’t come off as rude – or ruder than had been already - he decided to answer to Mike’s earlier message.

it took longer than i thought to finish my school work
feel free to send me your shit if you are still feeling up to

Good to hear you are still interested in my works.

I’ll send you a couple of files and you can listen to them whenever you feel like.

The next message from that stranger had a few audio files, all labeled with random names which didn’t really mean anything. Dave couldn’t help but be amused by that. For a guy who was apparently so creative at making music, his creativity for naming files was a really poor one.

He downloaded the audio files to his computer and began to hear them as he set up his computer and new phone, and, well he had to admit. Those were all good. They were almost professional level stuff. That only got him even more self-conscious about his own stuff. Because it wasn’t like he didn’t feel enough pressure by having Bro being better at rapping, mixing and composing. Oh no. He needed to cross paths with some random guy on the Internet who was also better.

But there was no way Dave would admit that openly to neither of them.

He didn’t send any other messages to Mike before going to sleep, but he did get a new one from him.

I assume you are close to your bedtime.

I would like to wish a good night, and I hope you enjoyed my music, if you got to hear it. I still want to hear what you got.

Dave groaned to himself, turning off his computer. He honestly didn’t know what to make out of that guy. Although, he was decided to solve that issue soon enough.

And that’s exactly what he did.

When Dave got back home from school the next day, he pretty much inhaled lunch before rushing to the computer, making up some excuse like he needed to finish something for school.

In no time, he had his inbox open and was typing away.

look dude lets come clear here
from day zero you told me you wanted to get into my pants
and im starting to get really fed up by you trying to play mr nice guy
in a sad attempt to make this not sound creepy or unnatural but guess what
its never gonna be not creepy
you are probably some balding fifty something dude just waiting for me to fall for your dumb trap and let out more info than I could so then you can find me and bone me
but you must be fucking crazy if you think im that stupid and that some sweet words and some nice songs are going to do the trick

Almost angrily, Dave hit the send button, and impatiently waited for an answer. He knew the guy was going to try and sugar-coat the truth. He knew he could always stop talking to that man, but he also wanted him to admit what he truly wanted.

It took more than half an hour for a message to show up, but it did and Dave opened it in a rush.

You truly are one sharp kid. And also really bold. I’m leaded to believe you aren’t the kind to accept things with your mouth shut, do you? These are both qualities I appreciate in all people I get in touch with.

Part of what you said is true. I do want more from you than just some casual chit chat. I want our conversations to evolve to something beyond.

But in no way do I intend to ever track you down and do anything to you. I know I promised I wouldn’t compliment you, but I have to open an exception now. I find you beautiful, and I put aesthetics pretty high on my list of priorities. If I ever did anything to hurt you, in any way, I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself.

That said you can rest assured I am not working on trying to figure out where you live. All I want is to keep exchanging these messages with you, and get to know you better. And hopefully build a solid relationship with you through them. I still believe you are a fascinating boy.

Reading the message two, three times, Dave let out a small laugh, shaking his head. That guy was truly unbelievable.

ok i will humor you a bit if thats what you want
because apparently you get off by reading messages written by young boys
thats some really specific fetish right there
but ok lets do your thing but if i just get up and leave when you start acting weird you cant blame me

If you decide to stop answering me I only ask you to tell me. At leave wave me good bye?

well sure why the fuck not

And one more thing: I still have ways to go until I reach my fifties.

whatever you say gramps

After that, Dave spent the rest of the afternoon switching between playing computer games, talking on Pesterchum with Jade and having conversations with Mike about music, since their tastes seemed to be somewhat similar.

He honestly didn’t know what he was getting into by actually giving that man any attention, but he couldn’t deny it was entertaining.

Chapter Text

TT: So, how are things with your charming admirer?
TG: hes not all that bad actually
TT: Oh? How come?
TG: i dunno
TG: theres something about him
TG: hes still a bit creepy because the circumstances are super weird
TG: but weve been having so many casual conversations for so long it doesnt really feel like im dealing with a total perv
TT: He's not some mindless pedophile then?
TG: not really the impression im getting from him
TG: i have to admit
TG: dude knows how to keep a conversation going and sometimes i even forget hes probably some guy in his late forties
TG: possibly fat and balding
TG: and ugly as fuck
TG: you know how these guys are
TG: you see them on tv all the time and its never some young attractive fellow
TG: its just men who make you go
TG: why no one ever suspected this fucker was bad touching children
TG: its never someone that gets you thinking
TG: i wouldnt mind much if that dude boned me
TT: I see.
TG: oh god I talked too much didnt i
TG: you are so writing that down to add it to your pile of bullshit analysis you have of me
TT: I promise to forget what you just typed.
TT: Either way, you seem to be bonding with this guy quite well.
TG: hes kind of interesting to talk to and is willing to listen to what i say
TG: maybe it wasnt total bullshit when he said he wanted to know me better
TT: Will you ever share any of your conversations with him with me?
TT: I can't help but grow curious about those.
TG: our chats are kind of boring
TG: discussing music and photography and shit
TG: theres no saucy conversation between us
TT: What a shame!
TT: I was looking forward to reading about a spicy and forbidden romance between a young boy and an older stranger whom was capable of sweeping him off his feet.
TG: rose this is not some harlequin novel


And just like that, another month flew by. Posing for pictures on even more and more ridiculous outfits - at some point Dave began to suspect just how specific were these people's tastes which demanded him to be on a sailor costume - reading page after page of perverted messages and chatting up with Mike ended up becoming regular things on the younger Strider's routine, to a point none of these really upset him.

And he was especially not upset to talk to his so-called admirer. Dave found himself not treating that man on the other side like a creeper and started to think of him as something better than that.

Not really a friend, but certainly something less cringe-worthy than an old guy creeping on a boy.

It was probably that one night he was pissed at his brother and ended up letting out more than intended. Told Mike he had an older brother. That wasn't part of the plan, but he seemed eager to listen.

Dave just threw himself on his bed and typed away on his phone.

i just dont know what he wants from me
hes fucking demanding and wants me to do so much shit and
im so damn tired
and im specially tired of trying to match him

You trying to be like him?

fuck it i can tell this to you
im probably never going to see you in person and you cant tell this to anyone i know
dude is my fucking role model
i wish i could be like him but i cant even compare
hes better at everything

I have no doubt that your brother is a great person if you are trying so hard to be like him.

But shouldn't you be more worried about being yourself?

nice attempt to try to cheer me up
but i think he kind of expects me to be just like him
im just tired of competing with him

How can you be so sure he wants you to grow up like him?

Have you ever talked to him about this?

fucker wont listen
he never does
he has just been a bit nicer lately because im helping with his stupid site

Well, the cat was out of the bag, too late to try and retrieve it.

So, your brother runs the site.

And... you want to stop taking pictures?

i dont even know to be honest
sometimes i just want to stop it all and i know he told me that whenever i said it he would respect my choice
for once hah
but at the same time it seems we are bounding
i mean shit just the other day i was helping him out with sewing those unsettling puppets
i know this is the worst thing for brothers to bond over but yeah

Did you two spend a lot of time together before this?

not really
we kind of always been distant

Don't you think it's possible that he's genuinely happy about you being an integral part of something of his?

I have to admit this is an unusual bond, but maybe that's an opportunity for you to get closer?

i guess
its hard to tell with him hes a damn wall when it comes to emotions

I'm always here if you need to vent about anything.

Although I doubt I would be your first option for such a thing.

Dave looked at the small screen of his phone for a few before writing his next message.

actually i think its better if i talk to you about these
i mean you are just some random dude on the internet
i dont exactly need to hide this kind of shit from you

If anything is bothering you, just come talk to me. I can't promise I'll make you feel better, even if I wish I could, but I'll listen.

He never really thanked Mike for that last message, but he was grateful someone was willing to listen to him babble without being bothered or without taking weird conclusions like Rose.

Besides, it was like talking to a therapist, only cheaper.

That was the turning point on his relationship with Mike, where their conversations became a mix of hobbies talk, music talk and Dave having someone to spill out his insecurities without fear.

So what if he was some old man who was attracted to him? He was listening to him, and even advising him. And that was more than he could ask from some people. His brother especially, even if he did seem to be acting a bit more amiable and open, especially after that one day, after Dave's talk with Mike. The boy remembered that as if it was yesterday.


Those words left Dave's lips before he could keep them inside. They just popped up in the middle of an argument he was having with Bro about strifes. Again.

For the first time in years Bro was rendered speechless and didn't even know what to do. He just stood there, watching his younger brother gaze at his own shoes, fists clenched, face bright red and breathing irregular.

"Just cry already."

Dave lifted his gaze. Those words didn’t really sound like they should. That was not how his brother spoke. Was there insecurity to his words? It couldn’t be. And when he looked up at Bro's face, he was met with a sight he never thought he would see.

A tentative smile was there yes, but he... Was he sad? Did he look genuinely sad? No, his mind had to be playing tricks on him. His brother would never allow such a thing to slip... right?

"Can you just go ahead and cry this is getting awkward."

There was a failed attempt at a mocking tone to Bro's voice, as realization came to him. He was always so worried about making Dave grow up to be completely independent, he never really realized just how much of "himself" he was projecting on Dave and how much he was expecting from the boy. Even he had to admit he went overboard many times.

There was one, two, three quiet sobs. Then the tears finally began to roll from Dave's red eyes, and they just kept coming, stronger and stronger. At some point, he almost involuntarily walked up to Bro, face burying on his shirt as he hit his fists as strongly as he could against his older brother's chest.

Bro didn't dare stopping his younger brother. He pretty much deserved each and every one of those punches and he knew it.

It took five long minutes until Dave started to calm down, fingers clutching to Bro’s shirt, his face still pressed against the wet spot in it as his crying subsided. As soon as the punches stopped, the older Strider placed a hand on top of his younger brother’s head, fingers running through his hair.

"I never said you needed to be like me." Bro said trying to use the most reassuring tone of voice he could muster. He knew it wasn't the best one, but he was trying. "I just want you to be able to fend for yourself and be strong when you get older."

"I... I understand. And... I always keep trying to be as good as you, but I... I don't think I am…" Dave suddenly felt Bro pushing him away a bit, right before crouching in front of him, hands on his shoulders.

"Oh no, you are not going down that lane, kiddo." Bro looked straight into his younger brother's eyes, his fingers gripping on the boy's shirt. “If you are about to say you aren’t ‘good enough’, you cut that crap right now.”

Dave didn’t utter a word. He just shifted his gaze to avoid Bro's intense state at his eyes.

“Tell me, how many kids out there know how to wield a sword and can fight one on one with an adult? And come out mostly unscathed?” Bro smirked, a hand on top of Dave’s head. “And how many can come up with rhymes as sick as yours?”

“Wa-wait! How do you know about my rhymes?” Dave’s eyes met Bro’s once again, and he looked just like a deer caught in the headlights. He rarely showed anything of that nature to the older Strider, pretty sure he would laugh at his face due to his lack of experience.

“You should be more careful with that beaten up notebook of yours.” There was a brief chuckle from Bro as he watched his younger brother’s eyes widen behind his shades. “There’s some good material there, but you need help with some stuff.”

“You asshole! You weren’t supposed to read that! Those weren’t finished!” Dave felt his ears burn, his brows knitting.

“Heh… Now, don’t get so angry. I just said they are good, didn’t I?” Bro moved away from Dave, standing up straight again. “I could help you perfecting your weak points though.”

“I don’t need your help.” Dave said without hesitation, his pride speaking louder than his willingness to spend more time with his brother and get better at rapping.

“Oh, so you gonna figure out everything on your own then? Well, my offer still stands so whenever you change your mind…” Bro shrugged, still smiling, before leaving the room to go to the bathroom. “By the way, we are eating out tonight. You should take a shower and put on some fancy clothes.”

Dave watched as his brother disappeared on the corridor and heard the bathroom door open and close. Maybe, he really could use some help with his rhymes.

After that day, their routine didn’t change much, although, it was as clear as the day Bro was trying his very best not to overburden his younger brother. Sure it was hard work. After all, old habits die hard, and he constantly found himself falling back into his regular demanding ways, telling Dave to be faster and sharper and stronger at moments which didn’t really call for such an attitude.

All the while, Dave would randomly vent at Mike about whatever was bothering, even if his complaints were getting rarer and rarer with each passing day. Maybe Mike was right. Maybe that whole experience with the site had to happen for him and his Bro to make emends and start to get along a bit better. Why, he was even able to put his stupid Strider pride aside and ask the older man for help with his raps. And he was actually glad he did.

It was the end of that fated month, and Dave could barely believe how things were progressing, both with his brother and his admirer. But, the path of his conversations with Mike was soon to change gears.

It as a Saturday night and no one was online on Pesterchum. Jade told him something about having a picnic with Bec under the moonlight – God, he could never tell her just how lonely she sounded when telling him about such plans – John was going out to the movies with his dad, and Rose had some manner of “urgent” school paper that required her full attention.

For that reason, his computer was off, and he was just lying in bed, playing some silly game on his phone to pass the time. He really needed a new X-Box game, and needed one soon. Maybe he could bother his brother to death until he took him to the game shop.

A notification noise came from the small gadget, and a note signaling he got a new message from Mike popped up on the screen. Reading it sounded better than lying around doing jack shit. Besides, that wouldn’t be the first time he would exchange messages with him while on the phone.

Good night! I know it’s a Saturday night and maybe you aren’t even there? Maybe your brother decided to treat you to some quality dinner time?

Well, whenever you get this, I would like to talk.

Wandering just what Mike wanted to talk about – it had been a while since he sent any e-mail with that kind of line – Dave quickly responded.

im here
no nights out for me it seems
my bro is busy with whatever the hell hes doing back in his room
probably sewing more of those dolls

After hitting “Send” it only took a few minutes for Dave to get an answer.

I’m actually relieved you are around right now.

There is a thing I want to discuss with you. Something I’ve been delaying to ask you for a while.

Dave looked at the small screen of his phone and, even though he had an idea of what was about to unfold, he didn’t want to jump to conclusions. Doing that with Mike proved to be quite stupid.

whats the deal

Since we’ve been talking to each other for a while and I’ve been feeling that our bond has grown stronger, I think it’s the right time for me to bring out this subject.

I don't suppose you ever kissed anyone, right?

For a moment, Dave was surprised. Sure they were finally beginning to walk down the politically incorrect path of their relationship, but it sure started a lot more “tame” than the younger Strider predicted. Either way, that was going to be interesting, in a way.

im not one of those boys whom the moment they hit thirteen they begin to crave exchanging saliva with others

I see.

You probably have more things in your mind than that.

like you wouldnt believe
my bro keeps me busy
not to mention school and music making
and the photographs

The boy had never realized just how involved he was his his obligations and hobbies to start investing in a legitimate relationship. Besides, he always thought he was too young anyway. Life had more to offer than smooching someone.

As unlikely as this is, I wouldn't mind being the first to kiss your lips. I have entertained the thought for a while in my head and I thought of quite the lovely scenario for that to happen.

With a scoff, Dave allowed a half-smirk to appear on his lips. Yes, that was going to be interesting indeed.

and what exactly do you have in mind dude
share it with the class

If you say so. I apologize if this gets lengthy though.

I thought we could be sharing a couch, both of us sitting side by side, having our habitual conversations. Then I could wrap an arm around your shoulders, pull you closer to me.

Would you have any objections regarding that?

There was a head tilt from Dave.

why are you even asking me that

Because making advances towards you without your consent is not what I want. Like I said, you are too beautiful and if I ever hurt you I won't be able to forgive myself.

So, do I have your permission to keep going?

The younger Strider was a bit perplexed by that, but still he couldn't help but feel a strangely warm sensation inside. So, the guy wasn't a mindless, sex hungry predator who only thought of himself. That was different, considering the situation.

dude just get on with the fucking story

Very well then.

I would pull you close, and my hand on your shoulder would move to your neck, my fingers brushing against your soft skin and reaching for your chin. Then I would guide your head so you would look my way.

And then, naturally, I would lean towards you, until my lips were brushing against yours, very softly at first, then a bit stronger. Maybe I could even nibble on your lower lip a little. How does that sound?

Dave tried to imagine how that would feel, which was kind of hard. Not that he never entertained thoughts of kissing, but those definitely didn't involve him and some way older guy. It didn't sound completely terrible though.

ok i guess
kind of hard to tell to be honest

And what if I legitimately kissed you? Tilted my head to the side, slid my tongue past your lips and inside your mouth? How would that be?

Honestly, the boy wished he could say he was disgusted by the idea, but...

i have no clue what real kissing feels like
all i know about it is what ive seen on tv
but doesnt look like such a bad thing

Coming from you... Dave thought to himself before hitting send. He had no idea why he wasn't completely weirded out by Mike as he was supposed to. Maybe because he took the time to know him? Didn't mind when he rambled about his problems? Stuck to his word and never showed any signs of trying to find out details about his life, like where he lived and such?

Dave didn't really know and, to be honest, he didn't care much. It wasn't like the guy was going to reach out through his computer screen and abuse him, so it was harmless, right?

Well, think about it for a while, yes? I believe it’s kind of hard to imagine yourself in a situation you were never into, but do that for me, OK? I would be eternally grateful.

And sadly, I can’t keep talking to you. I have some things to attend. But drop me a line as soon as you give my messages a bit more thought.

The younger Strider laid in bed for a while, his phone lying by his side as he stared at the ceiling, thinking. Not exactly about those messages that were just sent to him, but how he accepted them so naturally.

Why he felt so damn comfortable with Mike was beyond him, but he did. Not that he would ever tell Rose about that. If he ever let anything out about his next conversations with his admirer, he would most definitely paint a different picture to her, saying the guy was a creep and was sending him unwanted messages. He didn’t want to deal with Rose trying to find a reason for his behavior, and coming up with some bogus explanation based on those psychology books she read.

The rest of the night was slow and boring, with Dave even going to the apartment’s main room to spend his time watching TV, as Bro typed away on his computer to fix bugs and other things on the site.

And the night would have stayed completely uneventful, if it wasn’t for one thing that happened to Dave while he was asleep. Most of his sleep was dreamless, but at some point, he could feel a weight over his body, and a face pressed closed to his, lips and hot breath brushing against his own lips as breathy words he couldn’t decipher entered his ears, and a hand rested softly against his waist.

That went on for almost a minute, until Dave woke up with a jolt, sitting up and looking around his room. It was still 3AM, and his room was just poorly lit by the moonlight coming from the window. He shook his head and quickly tried to go back to sleep, giving little to no attention to the dream he just had.

He was probably just impressed by those messages.

Chapter Text

The next two days, Dave didn't send any e-mails back to Mike. After all, he did tell him to only answer when giving his last messages enough thought, didn't he? And Dave was making sure to analyze those carefully.

Although, it wasn't like his thinking was doing him any good. There were three key factors which were making things complicated for the younger Strider.

First of all, he had never considered any kind of romantic interaction with anyone of the same gender, let alone a stranger. He had a few thoughts about some of girls at school. And maybe Jade. But never other boys, but lo and behold, there was him entertaining thoughts of locking lips with some guy.

The other problem was their obvious age gap. Dave wasn't the kind to fantasize about people much older than him. The further he went to was to think about some actresses from the TV, but what teenage boy never had dreams about older, yet highly attractive female stars?

Last but not least, it was particularly complicated to visualize that scene when he had no idea how Mike looked like. Coming to think of it, Dave never asked anything about the man, like his age or at least some basic info about his appearance. Maybe those would make things a bit easier on his end. Even if the guy lied about his looks, which was likely, it was better to have a fake image than none at all.

So, when Wednesday finally rolled in, Dave found himself typing a new message to Mike.

hey dude
help a guy out
you told me to think about that riveting kissing scene between us
and not that my imagination is limited
but you could at least give me a few hints on how you look like
you know to make things easier on my end

He didn't have to wait too long for a reply.

I apologize for that. It was kind of rude of me to never give you a proper description of myself. It certainly isn't fair that I know exactly how you look, while you are left in the dark.

Well, as I told you before I'm not old. I'm still on my thirties, short dark brown hair, brown eyes... I suppose my height and build are average? Can't really complain about how I look.

Also, I realized maybe a kiss was too straight forward? Maybe I could have delayed such an action a bit? Take my time to run my fingers through your hair and caress your face, plant kisses on your cheeks? Does that sound less intimidating to you?

Feeling his cheeks warm up as he read the last lines of the message, Dave quickly shook his head to dismiss that feeling. Why the hell was he blushing in response to it? He was supposed to be messing with the guy and not getting allured by him.

He began typing a reply to distract his mind.

dude whatever floats your pedophilic boat
if you want to take it slow or go all out
i dont care

But what you want is also important.

How are we supposed to enjoy ourselves if the both of us aren't truly involved?

So, Mike was assuming he wanted to get involved, even if he never mentioned anything about it. Dave figured he kind of deserved that for giving some random stranger so much attention.

Alright, dude wanted to play? He would play then.

lets do your thing then
so you are all lovey dovey patting me on the head and petting my face like im some precious little girl
hope you are keeping those hands above the waist though

I wouldn't dream going beyond anything you are not comfortable with. Although, I'll admit the idea of running a hand up your thigh is an endearing one.

Still, I'll keep such an activity for a later date.

Tell me Dave, what would you like me to do? What appeals to you? Maybe me caressing your neck with the tip of my fingers, or perhaps massaging your shoulders? After all you seem quite tense in some of those pictures. You shouldn't be nervous though. You are a beautiful boy.

I'm sorry I threw another compliment at you, even though you told me not to. But I find it hard to hold back.

Dave stared at the screen of his computer for long minutes, eyes a bit wide behind his shades. He honestly didn't know what to make out of that message.

On one hand, he was almost flattered by how fascinated Mike seemed to be with him, to the point of giving him control of the situation, in a way. He was allowing him to call the shots.

On the other, that was pretty damn weird, and the younger Strider thought about calling it quits and pulling all the breaks on that plan. Everything started off as a joke, almost a prank, but now he was pretty sure things would end up getting serious if he continued with such a charade.

Still, he was curious. He knew Mike wanted to go far, but just how far? What was he willing to type down to some thirteen year old? He kind of wanted to find out.

His curiosity and flattery won over the weird feeling on the back of his mind, and he carefully thought about his next message.

what i want
you seriously asking a kid what they want to do in a setting like this
dude you are really really fucked up
but alright lets humour you and your wacky fantasies
lets say i want you to run your fingers through my hair like you said
then you can lean forward and whisper some fucking sweet nothings in my ears as you scratch behind them
shit would make me melt in your hand faster than a popsicle on the damn sahara
and hell why not kiss me
shove your tongue in my mouth and just go on with it
then keep going as you pass your arms around me and put me as close to you as humanly possible
we both know you want that
feel my small body against yours

In all honesty, Dave didn't know where more than half of his message came from. He began writing on a whim and pressed "send" pretty much without reading what he wrote.

He was quite surprised with himself. And a bit proud.

It took longer than Dave expected for Mike to send him a reply. He was quite sure he had stumped the older man with such a blunt and "straight to the point" e-mail.

He was almost excited when he got the notification for the stranger's message.

You sure are a piece of work kid. Who would have thought you are beautiful, smart and, to top it all off, so bold?

I can do all the things you mentioned and more. When I pull you closer, I can make you to sit on my lap, not to mention leave your lips to place kisses all over your neck.

Also, I can't help but wonder what else is stored inside your mind. I'm quite sure that if I stimulate your thoughts the right way you'll have the best reactions.

Shaking his head, Dave couldn't help but chuckle. The whole situation was so weird and absurd there was nothing he could do but laugh it off. That guy was getting excited with the prospect of what he could get from him, and far from the younger Strider to stop everything now. It was obvious that was going to be fun. Even if completely wacky.

Sure there was this funny feeling in the bottom of Dave's stomach as he read Mike's reply, but he ruled that off as anxiety regarding what would follow.

alright but whatever little games you have in mind youll have to wait
i got things to attend to

Not a problem. I can wait as much as you need me to. Although I won't say I'm anxious to know what thoughts may pass by your head.

I hope to hear from you soon though.

Dave stretched on his chair as he finished reading the last e-mail of the day. He sure as hell was going to make that guy wait a bit. After all, he needed to think about what he could type down to make Mike even more... anxious.

Although, something was bothering Dave a bit, and it had nothing to do with the stranger. It mostly concerned his brother.

Bro was literally like oxygen. He was everywhere, watching every move of his, but apparently his conversations with Mike were going by unnoticed by his brother, and that was strange to say the least.

Maybe all his work with the site, the pictures and the smuppet making, not to mention the occasional dj-ing at clubs, were distracting him too much? It could be a reason. After all, as much as his brother could multitask, even he couldn't handle taking care of all of those things and keep a vigilant eye on him.

Dave decided it was better not to think about that too much. After all, even if Bro knew, he wasn't going against it, yet, so it was probably better to leave it be.

Either way, he had a plan going: he would make Mike wait 'till the weekend to send him any manner of message. He wanted to get the guy to play the waiting game for a bit. It would probably do him good.

Although, it was kind of hard to hold on to that idea when he went to sleep that night, after re-reading the message he send Mike by impulse, and thinking about it a bit too much.

There was a second dream, way clearer than the one he had a few days before. He was sitting at some couch which certainly wasn't his, no shades on, by the side of a tall, mildly built guy, with the same hair and eyes Mike loosely described him. There was a hand resting on his shoulder and lips were almost dangerously close to his ear.

"What a beautiful boy..." A deep, whispery voice entered Dave's ear, and he almost instantly gripped the fabric of his jeans.

The soft breathing against his skin was sending shivers down his spine, and he could almost feel his face going red when he felt the fingers which were once holding onto his shoulder softly brushing against the back of his neck.

"Are you scared?" Lips brushed against his skin and the tip of a tongue flickered against his earlobe, causing him to silently sigh.

The young Strider just limited himself to shake his head in response. Fear wasn't really what he was experiencing, but he was feeling something alright. That same weird feeling at the bottom of his stomach he felt earlier.

The man - whom Dave, after waking up, recognized as being a personification of Mike - pulled him closer, and fingertips touched his chin and guided his head to look to the side. Before Dave knew it, brown eyes were burning right into his red ones, but not for long, as the young Strider shifted his gaze to the side, cheeks and body warming up.

The boy flinched slightly when lips brushed against his and fingers softly gripped the hair on the back of his head. He soon could feel the tip of a tongue barely brushing against his half-opened lips, and his body warmed up even more.

Dave wanted to move his arms and hands, push Mike back a little, because he was feeling overwhelmed, but it felt like he had lost all the will to fight and was willing to give himself to the man next to him. Or at least that's what he supposed his body was telling him with all the heating up, sweating and heart racing.

Lips were pressed a little bit stronger against his, and the tip of a tongue pushed against the small open space in his mouth. He showed little to no resistance to it.

The fact that the kiss came out as rather sloppy from his end came as no surprise to Dave. After all, as far as he was concerned his experience in kissing was none, and not even dreaming was being able to fix the problem. Although, that didn’t seem to be enough to stop the older man from keep going with it, pressing his lips against the boy’s ever stronger, while sucking on his tongue and nibbling his lips.

There was a muffled groan from Dave as his eyes closed and he allowed himself to indulge in all those foreign and overwhelming sensations running through his brain and spreading all over his body. He was so lost in feelings that he barely noticed when a hand was placed on his thigh.

“Your heart is racing…” The kiss was broken and that single line was whispered against Dave’s lips, and he searched his brain for an answer, but in vain.

“I wonder if I can make it race even more…”

The dream suddenly blacked out, and Dave’s eyes snapped open as he sat up in one go, cheeks burning red while his eyes scanned his room frantically. It took him a few seconds to register he was sitting on his bed, with the morning light already bathing his room and his alarm clock was ringing.

Reaching for the clock, he turned it off, mind still a bit dazed as he stared at his own lap, breathing in and out deeply. When his thoughts were more properly organized, he wasted no time on cursing himself mentally.

What was that all about anyway? Was he honestly dreaming about and getting turned on by those messages? That sure wasn’t the plan he was going for. Wasn’t he trying to pull a prank on Mike? He wasn’t supposed to feel anything towards him, dream or not.

Pretty much throwing his alarm clock to the side, Dave got up from his bed and slowly walked to the bathroom to wash his face and brush his teeth. He really needed to pull himself together. He wasn’t going to be stupid and fall for whatever Mike was trying to do with his head. That dream was probably only a slip. His young mind was most likely just a bit impressed by those.

It was definitely just that.


Done with his morning routine, he went back to his room to change into his everyday clothes, and quickly left for the front room to be greeted by his brother pouring bowls of cereal.

“You are up early.” Bro said as he reached for the milk. “You are finally learning how to wake up by yourself without me having to throw smuppets at you.”

“Why can’t you try and wake me like a normal person would?” Dave huffed, before a bowl of cereal with a spoon in it was shoved at him.

“Would you rather go back to the bicycle horn?” Bro smirked, and couldn’t help but snort when Dave angrily pulled the bowl of cereal from his hand.

The younger Stride went to sit on the couch to eat, and was shortly followed by his older brother. As they ate, they stayed in silence, which was common, but Bro sensed that there was something more to it, by how slowly Dave was eating and how he seemed to stop at times to stare at seemingly nothing.

“Hey, what’s up? It’s not like you to eat at such a slow pace.” Bro asked before swallowing another mouthful of cereal.

“Hm? It’s nothing. I just had a weird dream, that’s all.” Dave began eating with a bit more haste, and no other questions were asked.

Bro had a tendency of trying not to push his younger brother for answers, unless he was clearly heavily upset by something, like some days before where the poor kid even ended up crying. He knew for a fact that wasn’t the best way to handle things, and he was seriously trying to teach himself to be more considerate, but that was yet another one of his habits which were so ingrained in his mind, he had a hard time replacing them. He was sure he could get better with time, but he needed a lot of time.

The rest of the morning was the same as always, with bro dropping Dave off at school, but not before telling him that, if he didn’t have too much homework, he needed to help him stuffing some smuppets, to which the younger Strider just shrugged and nodded. He was progressively getting less weirded out by those things. After all, before ending up on the hands of some random perv, they were only stuffed toys with plump butts. It could be a lot worst.

Dave tried his best to concentrate at school, but he found it hard to do so, as images from his dream kept coming to his him and his min would wander off to other places, which even earned him a scolding from his teacher when he was spacing out in the middle of class. He really needed to get those thoughts of his under control.

He was pretty sure that those persistent thoughts were due to a combination of the novelty of those messages and his teenage hormones starting to act up. It had to be it.

When finally back home, he was glad that there was little to no homework for him to do. Stuffing smuppets sure beat sitting down on his ass and filling pages of homework. At least he didn’t have to think much to fill those little guys.

Although, he was still lost in his thoughts a lot, which picked Bro’s curiosity.

“Hey, a penny for your thoughts?” Bro stopped sewing for a minute, looking at Dave and waiting for an answer. “You still bothered by whatever dream you had?”

“Hm?” It took Dave a second to register Bro was talking to him, and he slightly shook his head when he did. “It’s not that, it’s just… Bro, what if all this gets too big?” That was something else that had been on his mind. Also, like hell he would discuss his dream with his brother.

“What you mean?” Bro raised an eyebrow at his younger brother, waiting for a better explanation.

“You know, what if the site gets way too popular? Do you think we’ll still be safe even if that happens?” Dave knew he promised not to be paranoid about them being caught, but that was a constant worry of his.

“There you go again.” Bro shook his head, a smile on his lips. “I’m not going to say this isn’t a dangerous thing, and no matter how much we say that you are not being forced to do it, no jury in the world will let me get away scot free. Still, I don’t think we’ll get too big to the point where out security measures won’t protect us.”

“Alright… I just don’t want you to end up in jail, OK?” Dave went back to stuffing the smuppet on his lap, apprehension pulling on his heart strings.

“I already told you, no one’s ending up in jail. It almost looks like you have no faith in me.” Bro rolled his eyes, before going back to sewing.

I’m just worrying about you, asshole… Dave thought to himself, letting out a frustrated sigh, which Bro chose to ignore.

Chapter Text

Mike had become progressively more straight forward in his advances, and in turn Dave felt the need to try and one-up him at any chance he got, using search engines as a tool to guide his messages a level above those of Mike’s. He was surprised by how incredibly easy one could have access to literature and stories of the adult kind, without even needing to prove his age.

He could only imagine how surprised Mike was on the other side of the computer, certainly not expecting this thirteen year-old to be able to keep up with him.

Dave was almost proud of himself, if a part of him wasn’t extremely confused by why he felt the need to be on a par with his admirer. He supposed that since he always felt compelled to compete with his older brother on everything, he should try and do the same with this other random adult. If he could strife one on one with his brother, he could very well keep up with a few perverted messages. It was no big deal.

It wasn’t like his mind wasn’t already partially tainted by being in contact with those dumb smuppets almost ever since he was born. And now by being neck deep in his brother’s schemes, not to mention those random messages from the site directed at him, he was far from being “innocent”.

The messages exchanged between them followed a logical progression, from mindless flirting – most of them coming from Mike – to kisses and caresses, hands always descending lower, staying put for longer, words slowly changing from sweet to vulgar.

And there were those dreams too. More and more present with each passing night, always getting longer and more vivid.

It certainly didn’t help that, for whatever reason, Mike seemed to be able to tap into kinks and desires Dave didn’t even know he had in the first place. He was being far too good when it came to pushing Dave’s buttons and getting into his brain, and that was what bothered the younger Strider the most. Sometimes that made it quite hard for him to rationalize about what to say next, or how to react in a way which would not make him seem hopelessly disoriented.

Naturally, none of it was shared with anyone. Not even…


TT: How is everything with your admirer? You haven’t spoken about him for a while. Did you break up?
TG: we had to be in a relationship in the first place to break up
TG: which is obviously not the case
TG: things are just uneventful
TT: That’s quite disappointing.
TT: I was expecting an exhilarating tale of forbidden love from you two.
TG: sorry to disappoint you
TG: but the truth is that dude isnt even being creepy anymore
TG: hes just being his constant nice self
TT: Well, at least you seem to have gotten a manner of “friend” out of this whole experience, right?
TG: i suppose you could call him that yes
TT: You sound a bit disappointed about that.
TT: Were you expecting more out of this?
TG: i dunno
TG: maybe
TG: considering how interested the guy seemed on me i expected him to be willing to get in my pants at the first opportunity
TT: Maybe in the end his fascination for you was only on an aesthetic level, and not a sexual one.
TG: you are probably right


Dave hated lying straight to Rose’s face like that, but he couldn’t take chances. God only knows what could happen if he began spreading the word about the true nature of his relationship with Mike. Not to mention he also feared losing Rose’s friendship because of that.

Still, as “perverted” as Mike’s messages could get, straight out sex was never a subject. The make outs were heavy, and the vocabulary heavier, but the real deal was never mentioned.

Until one momentous Saturday night.

The night before, Dave had received a sole message from Mike, which read only the following:

Dave, I want you to watch the video I’m sending you.

If you grow to enjoy it, then I can be more… bold in my advances towards you.

Of you don’t, it’s a not a problem. You have been exceptionally alluring so far.

Then, there was a link which lead to a downloadable video. The file name didn’t give out many clues as to what it was, but Dave had an idea of just what were the contents of said video. It didn’t take a genius to figure it out.

When Saturday night rolled in, Dave watched his Bro get ready to go out. He had some dj-ing job in a club downtown, and as the young boy expected, he wouldn’t be back ‘till way past midnight.

“You don’t go spending the whole night up, right?” Bro said as he fixed his hair while looking at the bathroom mirror, with Dave standing in the doorway and rolling his eyes.

“Bro, every time you go out at night we have this exact same conversation, I know all your instructions by heart already. Don’t go sleep too late, don’t stuff my face on ice cream, don’t answer the door to strangers… I know all of this, and I’m not a baby anymore.” Dave let out a huff of air as he finished speaking, and in response to that he got a smirk from his brother.

“You forgot not to rummage through my stuff.” He could hear Dave let out a ‘ugh’ in clear frustration.

“You should stop leaving your shit all over the apartment then. Yesterday I found one of your gross underwear hanging on the edge of the kitchen s-” Before Dave could finish his sentence, Bro put a finger to his lip.

“The kitchen is part of my room too, deal with it.” The older Strider stepped out of the bathroom, as his younger brother glared at him from the back.

Dave waked after his brother to the front him, watching pick up the keys to their truck and walking to the door. Before he left though, he turned to his younger brother and stood there for a while, with Dave tilting his head to the side, waiting for whatever his brother had to say.

“So, are you really going to let me leave without a hug or a ‘bye’ or something?” Bro said, the fakest tone of sadness to his voice.

“You should be the one to hug and say bye, you are the one leaving!” Dave walked to his brother, a bit against his will, but hugged him either way.

“Bye you little shit.” Bro said mockingly, patting Dave on the head. “And really, don’t stay up.”

The younger Strider’s answer to that was a punch right under his older brother’s rib. He watched Bro laugh out loud while opening the door to leave, and closing it behind him. Dave still could hear Bro’s mocking laughter as he walked down the corridor, and he couldn’t help but chuckle a little at that.

His brother was such an enormous asshole, but Dave knew all he did was in the interest of keeping him safe, and for him to grow up proper. Even if his methods were… very unusual.

Locking the door, Dave looked around the empty apartment and didn’t really know what to do. Here was still half an hour to go ‘till 11PM, and if he went bed any time before 1AM he should be on the clear with his brother. He considered wasting time away with the XBox, while munching on some microwaved pizza, but then his mind went to the message Mike sent him the night before.

Suddenly his interest on that video grew, and considering he was home alone, he could watch whatever it was without the fear of his brother suddenly popping up behind his back. He had a nasty habit of doing that at the most inappropriate moments.

He sat at his computer and left the video to download. It would take a while for it to finish though, so he thought he should actually go for that pizza. He was kind of hungry. He also thought maybe he could catch a bit of some dumb movie while he ate.

It was already midnight when Dave finally realized he had been sitting on the couch with an empty plate on his lap as he watched some random Charles Bronson movie. Something about him being hunt down by some evil organization which wanted to drive off a family from their house to dig around where they lived. To be perfectly honest Dave was barely paying attention to the plot. He was too busy thinking about all the jokes him and his brother could do about plotholes and shitty twists.

Turning of the TV, Dave left the plate in the sink and went back to his room, sitting back on his chair and checking to see if the download came through alright. It did, and for a moment he was reluctant about opening it. Did he really want to be exposed to whatever was there? He concluded the nature of the video, but he had no idea what it had, specifically.

If anything, he could always close the video, delete it and never speak of it again.

Taking a deep breath, he double clicked the file, and watched as his video player opened. The first few seconds of the video were the logo of some company, certainly the ones behind what he was about to watch. At least that eliminated the possibility of him watching some weird homemade movie.

The whole thing was pretty direct. It didn’t even have a dumb porn plot or anything. It was just making out and sex, plain and simple. Some blond boy who resembled him a little, only a lot older - he was clearly legal – was sharing a fluffy and comfy bed with a dark haired man, whom was clearly a lot older. Both of them were still fully dressed, except for shoes, but they were already kissing when the scene faded in, the man’s hands firmly grasping at the youngster’s waist, their legs interlaced and their bodies pressed together as closely as humanly possible.

Dave watched as they made out for a while, the brunette pulling up the blonde’s shirt at one point to remove it, before unbuttoning his own shirt, lips on the young man’s neck, causing him to groan.

He kept watching as the older one kissed down the blonde’s body, stopping in the way to bite and suck at his nipples.

Clenching his fists on his lap, Dave kept his eyes on the video, the expectation of what would happen next getting a hold of him, and before he knew it, when the older man was finally unzipping the youngster’s jeans, he was almost involuntarily biting his lips.

The brunette’s pants were discarded shortly thereafter, and both men were finally down to their underwear only. The blonde laid down on top of the other man, and the make outs only got heavier, with the older man’s fingers digging on the soft flesh of the younger man’s ass and thighs, their hips pressed and rubbing against each other.

With a shift motion, the older man changed sides with the younger one, with him now on top, his lips hungrily sucking and biting on the blonde’s neck. Dave heard him murmur some random swear word as his fingers dug on the sheets under him.

The younger Strider barely registered the space between the make outs and the moment where the older man had his underwear off, his half-hard cock just a mere inch away from the youngster’s mouth.

And then he watched the blonde take that dick in his mouth as it was nothing, as if he had done that a thousand times before. He probably had. And in the back of his mind he knew he shouldn’t be getting hot and bothered by that scene, but he was. Worse than that, he couldn’t help but put himself in the place of the younger man, and he cursed himself for following such a thought, because he knew Mike picked that one video with this exact outcome in mind. The sly fucker…

With his fingers gripping his jeans a little, Dave watched the sucking with his eyes almost too wide, leaning forward a bit to get a closer view. The younger man was ridiculously eager about it, sucking and lapping at the cock in front of his face as if his life depended on it. Although, apparently that wasn’t enough, as the older man soon put a hand behind his head and grabbed a fistful of his hair, pulling his head closer until his entire erection was gone inside the blonde’s mouth, the youngster’s nose almost touching his stomach.

The older man kept guiding the depth and pace of the sucking, with no protests whatsoever from the younger one.

“You like that?” The brunette said, almost in a whisper, pushing the blonde’s head back, a little bit away from him. The younger man hummed and nodded, lips bright red and parted slightly, his cheeks tinted pink.

Dave watched the older mean lean forward to kiss the other man in the lips. It was a pretty long and rather intense kiss, one of his hands running down the youngster’s body to pull down his underwear and expose his erection. And almost in a flash, they were sucking each other, and the Strider’s eyes were like saucers, his fingers rubbing the inner side of his thigh.

Don’t get hard, I swear to fucking God that if you do… He thought to himself, ears being filled by muffled groans as he felt a feeling of warmth build up at the bottom of his stomach.

The more he watched though, the toughest it was to not feel aroused. His eyes couldn’t decide if he should focus on the older man’s hips thrusting at the youngster’s mouth, or at how softly he teased the blonde’s cock with those long licks.

When that was over, Dave was relieved, but that feeling was short lived, because soon enough, the blonde was sitting on top of the brunette’s hips, moving back and forth and causing their erections to rub against each other. And with each moan from the younger man, Dave could feel his own cock twitching inside his pants in response.

After almost a full minute of staring, Dave finally acknowledged the bulge in his pants, and both angrily and reluctantly placed a hand on top of it, the palm of his hands rubbing softly against it, almost on the same pace as the blonde’s hips moved.

Then, there was the peak of the video.

The younger man lifted his body a little, getting a hold of the older man’s hard rock dick and guiding the tip to his ass.

Shit, they are really going to do it… Dave watched intently as the blonde eased himself on top of the brunette’s cock, as it slowly disappeared inside him.

When the younger man began moving up and down, Dave licked his lips, his hand pressed firmly against his bulge as he got harder with every move and every sound.

It didn’t take long for the older man to apparently grow impatient and begin thrusting up into the younger man’s ass, the sound of flesh hitting flesh and the loud moaning from the blonde being enough to send the younger Strider even more and more over the edge. His hand began to work faster, fingers gripping onto his bulge as he heard the younger man moan louder and watched the older man’s hips work faster and deeper.

Even before any of the men on screen could come, Dave came inside his underwear, his free hand holding on the edge of his desk as he felt hot spurts being shot inside his underwear.

Panting a bit and paying little to no attention to the video still running on the computer screen, Dave felt a mixture of arousal, frustration and anger inside his head as he leaned back on his chair, shifting in place. He was frustrated at himself for actually giving in and being aroused by that video, and angry because the only reason why he had that thing in the first place was because he indulged Mike far too much.

He tried to pay no mind to his aroused side, which was urging him to send Mike a message and ask what he had in store for him.

Stopping the video, because he had seen enough, Dave got up from his chair decided to take a shower and go straight to bed, trying not to think too much about whatever he just did. He was genuinely lost. That wasn’t a matter of one-uping a stranger anymore. He had just sloppily jerked off to two guys doing it and even heavily considered being in the place of one of them, and it was just plain unnatural.

Entering the bathroom, he took off his clothes and entered the shower with his underwear still on. He was going to wash that himself, because he wasn’t feeling like explaining Bro why his underwear had suspicious stains on it. And he was pretty sure his brother wouldn’t let him live down such a thing without mocking him for all eternity.

Dave’s shower was brief and his briefs were stain free in no time. He dried himself up and stepped out of the bathroom, towel wrapped around his waist. He hung his underwear somewhere inside his closet to dry, and put on clean one, before slipping on his pajamas.

Eyeing his computer, he shook his head to dismiss the thoughts that dared come back to it. He left his wet towel on his chair and turned off his computer, proceeding to turn off the light of his room and lying in bed.

He stared at his phone lying next to his pillow, that nagging voice inside of his head telling him non-stop to send Mike a message. Dave shifted in bed for almost ten minutes, eyes shifting from the ceiling to his computer and his phone, until he angrily picked up the small gadget and opened up his inbox, answering to Mike’s last message.

i watched the video
whats the catch now
is that what you want to do to me

There. He thought angrily, throwing the phone near his feet, and putting his pillow over his head. He honestly didn’t know himself anymore.