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‘No, look,’ he says, and takes his glasses off. He folds them and hands them to you. ‘I’m not being crazy. I need you to listen to me.’

You stare. 'They’re staying on. And i don’t think you have anything you actually need to say to me.'

He sighs. ‘Fine. Fine, okay, mine are staying off. ‘

You blink. ‘Big deal. ‘

He crumples a little at that, makes fists (weak ones, weak ones with loose posture, nowhere near the same). 

‘I loved him.’

That’s all he says before he turns away a little melodramatically, and starts walking way too fast. 

‘Fuck not you too,’ you gasp.

And he swings straight on back, smoothly as if he were spinning around a lamppost. 

'What are you talking about?

‘I’m sorry you had to be brought up that way.’ Your jaw is tight.

'Well I’m fucking not. I loved him.'

And you don't really know what to say to that, so you go with him. 

-

You’re not sure you like this guy as much as you like your brother.

Judging from the way he’s acting, he’s feeling the same.

You’re glad he suggested you cut the crap and just get to broing out right away; it was easier than pretending to want to get to know him. 

So you were passing back and forth a blunt, and picking through the selection of databased movies that weren’t alien and impossible to comprehend.

You’d raided the communal kitchen space together and were actually kind of sort of enjoying each others company, shyly actually talking about things that weren’t your siblings. 

He’d been looking in the fridge for the beers that you were sure the skinny one with the glasses couldn’t have drank all of already, moving condiments around to look for bottles instead of in the drawer.

‘No, bro, in the front,’ you'd said.

And he'd stared at you with amber almond eyes and /that/ look of severity, and shook his head.

‘No, I’m not Bro. I’m Dirk.’

‘So what,’ you snapped, ‘I’m not Dave Strider?’ 

‘No,’ he said, mouth twisting into a crooked sneer just like you remembered, ‘you’re really not. Because we’re kids.’ Being able to look into his eyes the whole time was unsettling you and you felt really pissed off all of a sudden. 

You didn’t talk much after that, not except for vague comments on potential movies. 

‘Airbud,’ he said thoughtfully,’ there was a classic.‘

He was so... dainty and young and thoughtful, so intense and smart. You were terrified of him. He wasn't your brother. 

'I could go for some wacky horror,' you throw in flippantly, accepting the joint. 'Guts and gore and appalling acting. Like an Ed Wood or the remake of the omen.'

He looks at you and makes a face you only recognise half of. You never knew when your brother looked at you dotingly through his eyelashes. It felt like he was staring right into you. He knew where your eyes were in your shades automatically, which was awful, because the shades were there so nobody could look.

Then his lip quirks a little, into a smirk. 'A classic like scream, perhaps?' he muses with a slow exhale of smoke.

‘Why not go the whole fucking hog and pick Scary Movie,’ you drone.

He almost frowns, and you realise it’s because he can’t tell if you’re kidding. He can’t read you at all. That makes you feel a little better. 

He scrolls, scrolls, frowns, scrolls, rolls his eyes (you hate that), grunts with disdain, scoffs 'these titles are so fucking extensive, it's really fucking annoying.', but you barely nod, let alone respond verbally.

'You want to take over, maybe?' he doesn’t sound thrilled so you say yes, and snatch back your drugs. 

You find what you're looking for. ‘Don Coscarelli,’ you say with a tiny hint of a smile that he can’t stop staring at. 

'Are you seriously suggesting that just to irritate me?' He's eating dried fruit and mixed nuts and all of this junk Bro'd never even go near. War food. He’s holding a hazelnut between his thumb and index finger and nibbling the sides, like a squirrel. Like a big red squirrel. Or maybe, at a stretch, a praying mantis.

Bro was a jaguar, a swaggering insincere predator, when he wanted to be.

'I love this guy, it’s this or we go Hammer Horror,' you threaten.

He groans. He’s awful expressive and you're not sure what about that you hate so much. 'Have you seen all four Phantasms, David? I have, and I really don't want to ever have to again.' 

'Nobody calls me David,' you say, shaking your head. 

He touches you on the shoulder, lightly, as he passes the joint back to you. 'I want to.'