Your name is John Egbert, and you are not Dave Strider's boyfriend.
You are not a homosexual, after all. Granted, you are pretty sure that you aren't exactly heterosexual either, but it had been made very clear a long time ago that such ridiculous nonsense as labels would not be tolerated in the Strider-Egbert household. Labels belonged on boxes, and boxes were for squares. And neither one of you were particularly square, last you checked. So you laughed in the face of Dave's complete deadpan, and agreed that labels were not going to be observed as long as the two of you did live, amen.
You moved into an apartment with him as soon as high school was over. It only made sense, since you were both planning to attend the same college, and neither one of you particularly felt like being away from home by yourselves. Not that Dave would ever admit it out loud. It was true, though. You simply couldn't imagine being anywhere except with each other. So this was just a thing that was inevitably going to happen. And both of you were perfectly okay with that.
Living together isn't anything like you had imagined. When you were in high school, you thought that it would mean hanging out all the time, chilling and playing video games in your down time, watching movies, doing your homework together—bro stuff. But most of your classes are in the morning, while Dave's tend to be in the afternoon, and wrapped up in between and over the weekends are various jobs that help pay the rent. Dave is usually home by the time you drag yourself in from another day of cheerfully putting together sandwiches for impatient assholes who complain if you move too slowly or don't organize everything quite right, but at that point all you can do is stagger to your own bed and pass out cold for a few hours. By the time you wake up again, Dave has usually gone off to his late night pizza delivery job. Occasionally you can pick up a gig doing magic tricks for some gleeful child's birthday party. Friday and Saturday nights, Dave rocks whichever night club in town offers him the highest pay. Between the two of you, the bills get paid, but during the school year there's little time to do much other than work, sleep, and more work.
Vacations are great, though. As always, you live for summer. You still have to work, of course, but you don't have to balance everything around school, which gives you infinitely more time to just chill. You would say that you'd forgotten how much you enjoyed Dave's company, but you would be lying. You never forget how much you appreciate Dave in general. Even when he's being a massive bag of dicks and shit-talking all of your favorite movies. Even when he's bitching about how you sniped him from halfway across the map in Halo because you must have been screen-looking. That's the only way you could have found him. He is just way too damn skilled to leave his head up like that. You just give him your best shit-eating grin, and he glares at you, and everything is cool.
Summer is when you get the worst shit from him for not having anybody over, but you give Dave plenty of shit for it in return. After all, you're not the only one with an apparent lack of interest in any sort of relationship, temporary or otherwise. That's not to say there haven't been offers. You can't even count the number of times Dave has been propositioned in your presence (you refuse to even consider the number of times he might have been propositioned outside of your presence), and you've had a respectable number of offers, yourself. But neither of you ever say yes.
Dave scoffs every time you mention that little fact, and insists that if he were going to shack up with someone, he wouldn't bring them back to this pigsty anyway—seriously, when the hell was the last time you cleaned this place up a little? You snort and tell him to clean it up himself if he has that much of a problem. He says that's your job, and you throw your controller at him again, and then both of you scramble to pick up whatever it was that got knocked over before someone comes upstairs with a noise complaint.
Even after almost two years, there are still things about Dave that really piss you off. Like how he leaves the cupboards standing wide open and doesn't close the drawers all the way, and how, given enough time and opportunity, any flat surface becomes a place to pile anything from papers to throwing stars. There are also still things about you that really piss Dave off, though. Like how you insist that he put his toothbrush inside the medicine cabinet instead of keeping it on the side of the sink, and how you have to keep the refrigerator organized in a certain way. Sometimes you argue about it. Most of the time you compromise. Inevitably you work it out, and eventually things go back to normal.
As normal as anything ever is for the two of you, anyway.
"Normal" is a very fine line for you. You never discuss it. There are some things you argue about, and a very few you talk about openly to make sure there are no miscommunications or misunderstandings. Those things are few and far between, but they do happen. "Normalcy", however, is never a subject of conversation. It is intuitive. It is fluid. It is.
For you, normal is flopping on the couch and sprawling across Dave's lap with a gigantic grin on your face, trying to get a glimpse behind his shades before he looks down at you, his brows curving in that faint irritation very few can recognize. Normal is Dave sneaking up behind you and stealing your glasses while you're intently focused on finally beating Rainbow Road, and you throwing the controller at him with a loud curse that would have made your father raise his eyebrows and look pointedly at you until your ears went red. Normal is sitting down to watch some horror movie, and hiding your face in Dave's shirt at the worst parts, and noticing that his arm snakes around you and holds on even tighter at those same parts, and somehow you know his eyes are closed even though you aren't looking at him, and neither one of you admit when the movie is over that it ever happened at all.
Normal is waking up from one of your recovery naps after work, and finding something waiting for you on your bedside table. Sometimes it's a gigantic bag of chips—sour cream and onion, your favorite. Sometimes it's just a note telling you to get your lazy ass out of bed and go shopping because you're out of apple juice again. One time it was a cherry red ring pop, with a long, hand-written note proposing to you as your heterosexual life partner, or, in more vernacular terms, a "Boston marriage" (though labels are still not a thing in this household). You never did open that ring pop. It holds a place of honor right beside your alarm clock. You felt kind of awkward about it for a few days, until you found your long, hand-written note of acceptance and eternal faithfulness to this bromance neatly folded and tucked inside a drawer in Dave's desk (you totally had a good reason to be there, you were looking for staples, shut up).
Normal is Dave always knowing exactly what time it is, anywhere, and exactly how much time has passed between two points. Normal is you sending gusts of air through the apartment when you get bored, spinning up Dave's hair and making him scowl at you. Normal is Dave waking up on time every day without an alarm clock, and always knowing exactly how long to leave your bread to toast so that it comes out just the way you like it. Normal is being able to lick your lips and taste a storm coming, no matter what the weather man says, so that you can warn Dave to grab his poncho before he gets soaked again.
Normal is you being catapulted out of sleep in the middle of the night, sweating and shaking and gasping for breath. Normal is creeping into Dave's room, trying not to wake him up, but he's such a light sleeper that he always catches you before you can even get the door closed. Normal is collapsing on the mattress next to him, and you don't even have to ask for him to put his arms around you and just hold you there until the shudders fade and you finally stop sobbing into his collar. Normal is waking up at the sound of your alarm and finding Dave curled around behind you, arms around your waist, dead asleep with his forehead pressed against the back of your shoulder. Normal is you wishing that he could have at least woken you up if he needed you that badly, but still being glad that you were able to help him sleep in peace. Normal is knowing that he doesn't get to sleep in peace very often.
Normal is remembering things that no one else does. Normal is trying to forget about those things that no one else remembers. Normal is knowing that no one will ever understand, no one but your closest friends—the friends that went through the same things as you.
Normal is knowing everything Dave has to deal with, everything he has to remember, the identity crises that make it hard for him to remember which one of the infinite timelines crammed into his head is real. Normal is being there for him, something solid and real that he can hold onto when he can't remember for himself. Normal is him knowing all of your insecurities, everything you felt that you had done wrong. Normal is him reminding you that no matter what you might have done, if things hadn't gone the way had, none of you would be alive today.
And life does goes on.
Your name is John Egbert, and you are not Dave Strider's boyfriend, because labels are not a thing in the Egbert-Strider household. You have no idea what you are, to be honest. Whatever it is, it remains nameless for now—and it probably always will. This is one of those things that he and you will dance around forever, and never talk about openly if you can help it. It doesn't need to be spoken to be understood. And that works out just fine for the both of you.
Because whatever it is, it is beautifully, perfectly normal.