It was meant to be funny.
It was supposed to be a good, old-fashioned, ‘ha-ha-ha’ prank that had John’s name stamped all over it and had everyone laughing and talking about it.
It was also, above all, supposed to be funny.
In some ways, John could call his ‘prank’ a success, in that he had managed to garner a few chuckles out of Rose when she saw it, and he swore he had seen Bro’s lips twitch when he dropped Dave and Dirk off at the annual Summer Fair that their school held. Dirk had given his younger brother the thumbs-up for good luck, along with a smirk, before he took off to find his own friends. Terezi found it hilarious and even Karkat failed to smother his snickers…but for some reason, John just didn’t find his prank to be anywhere near as successful as his past ones had been.
Forging Dave’s signature and getting him to man the Kissing Booth was supposed to be completely and utterly fool-proof and funny.
It was also supposed to be harmless. John knew that Dave could take a good joke, and he took most of John’s pranks in stride, living up to his namesake perfectly. That was why John picked Dave, out of all the rest of his friends.
Dave wouldn’t feel pressured or insecure about going on a Kissing Booth; plus he could easily shake off his embarrassment of the situation before it genuinely hurt his feelings. He was also single, which was just a
lucky bonus in John’s personal opinion.
After all, he couldn’t very well pick Rose, who was already with someone. Nor could he pick someone like Karkat, who would try and bite anyone who came close to his lips without his consent, and Tavros was definitely out of the question.
Dave Strider was a perfect candidate for the Kissing Booth and what was even better was that he didn’t even complain when the fair-managers approached him to validate his volunteering for the booth. Instead, he questioned whether or not this made him a ‘prostitute in the making’ and if his Bro would shed a manly tear at such an honour being bestowed upon him. Everyone laughed.
Because this prank was supposed to be fun, harmless and funny.
Except, everyone seemed to be laughing except John. For some reason, now that he was at the fair and now that he saw the tacky pink booth with Dave lounging behind it, he wasn’t so sure if this prank was really all that…brilliant.
His stomach was doing crazy flip-flops and John wondered if it would be doing this if it had been anyone else behind the booth, like Jade or Feferi, even.
He wondered if that was the problem; the fact that it was Dave at the booth, and no one else.
Wait, no, that was stupid. Who cares if it was Dave at the booth? No one should, except Dave’s crazy stalker fans; no one else should, least of all John himself. After all, he was the reason why Dave was behind that
stupid, pink, frilly stall; therefore he really ought to repress the sickly feelings that had blossomed in his stomach away.
Blowing a strand of dark hair out of his face, John strode over to the stand and grinned gleefully when Dave flashed him the one-fingered salute.
“You ready for this?” John asked airily, checking his nails out as he leant against the wooden frames of the crappy stall. Dave hummed in response and shrugged.
“Born ready, y’know?” he replied, “Striders have it in their genes to withstand the masses that collect around them, hoping for the chance to have their lips graced upon with our own.”
John’s eye twitched. “Ye-ah, okay,” he said slowly, not believing that bullshit for a second. “Have you met up with anyone else yet?”
Dave shot him a long sideways glance. “Jade came by earlier. Said some pretty interesting shit before she fucked off too.”
John grinned nervously; Dave really wasn’t supposed to know the full story behind him doing the Kissing Booth just yet. He had planned it all out, so that Dave suffered the entire day before John finally told him that, no the school hadn’t just picked him at random to man the booth, but that John had volunteered him for the job instead. Everyone but Dave knew this fact.
Or at least, everyone but Dave was supposed to know this fact.
“Oh? What did she say?” he asked innocently. Dave flicked him on the forehead for his blatant bullshit.
“Dude, you owe me a year’s supply of apple juice. At the very least, for this fucked up excuse of a clown show that you’re putting me through,” the blond stated dryly.
“Duly noted,” John shot back, before glancing across the field. The field was half an acre large and the grass was in desperate need of a cut, but it was such a lovely day and already, most of the space had been taken up by the amount of stalls and fairground rides that the school had booked in. There were also quite a few people milling about and, oh look who’s here. “Look here’s your first customers,” John nudged Dave, nodding towards the two girls who were approaching them.
“Good morning Strider,” Rose Lalonde greeted, her lips curled into a wicked smile. Her girlfriend, a beautiful young lady named Kanaya, stood by her side.
“Well shit Lalonde, if I had known you were hankering after my lips all this time, I wouldn’t have let you string Kanaya along and we could have gotten straight down to business,” Dave remarked, his own smirk tugging at his face.
Rose rolled her eyes. “What positively incestuous thoughts you seem to harbour; are you trying to tell me something here Dave? Should I have brought my notebook?” she asked, quirking a brow.
Dave just shrugged. “Last time I checked, we weren’t exactly biologically linked, but whatever. Like I want your sloppy, lesbian lips macking on me,” he replied, glancing over to Kanaya, who was taking in the fluorescent pink stall with distaste clear in her eyes.
“I find it perfectly laughable how you’ve assumed that I would even desire to kiss your disease-ridden face. God only knows where you have been and I would not wish to catch anything by touching you,” Rose shot back, contradicting her words by pulling out a single dollar bill and waving it before Dave’s face. “However, as I understand it, it would probably serve you well to have a kiss from someone who isn’t diseased at all. I envision a lot of cold-sore ridden mouths coming near yours in the future. Might as well have someone decent first, hmmm?”
Dave chuckled lowly. John didn’t understand why her words made his stomach squirm more, and tried hard to squash the feeling down.
“If that’s how you think,” Dave started, before turning to Kanaya, “c’mere princess and pucker up. Your girlfriend has decreed it that my first kiss should go to someone decent and you’re the only half-way decent person around. Better get your mack on, eh?”
John knew he shouldn’t feel insulted by that; he really shouldn’t.
And oh god, don’t let the feeling show on his face, Rose is watching him and oh god, someone make her stop smiling like that!
Kanaya blinked in surprise and then hummed shortly. “I suppose one kiss shall suffice; but I’m afraid that if I stay any longer at this eye-sore of a booth, I might go colour-blind.”
Dave shrugged. “Fair enough,” he said, and took the dollar off from Rose. She surprised him by pulling out another one, flicking it at him with a short frown.
“I don’t approve of you calling me anything but decent. And I hardly approve of you calling my girlfriend ‘princess’. But, I guess I can forgive your pig-headed ways. You are a Strider, after all,” the blonde stated, leaning over to press a chaste kiss to Dave’s cheek.
“Don’t let Dirk hear you say that. He prides himself on being the ‘sophisticated one’. If he hears you saying that, you might make him cry,” Dave murmured to her, pulling away to allow Kanaya to kiss his other cheek.
For some reason, John’s stomach squirmed again.
really, really didn’t like the way Dave’s cheeks gleamed slightly, with saliva and sticky lip-gloss shining in the sunlight.
“I suppose I ought to let Dirk off; he does seem to be the only one who’s capable of holding a civilised conversation, whilst maintaining a proper etiquette around ladies at all times,” Rose commented, wiping her lips daintily with a handkerchief.
“He also jacks off to anime characters that look like Jake by using robotic dildos that he made himself,” Dave quipped quickly, a wicked grin twitching at the corner of his lips.
“I’ll tell him you said that,” Rose promised, passing the hanky to Kanaya.
“You better; now go away, I can only take so many lesbian germs before I end up caving in to the urge of strangling myself,” the blond boy said, shooing the girls away with a lazy flick of his wrist.
Rose rolled her eyes and reached out to entwine her fingers with Kanaya’s. She glanced over to John and,
oh shit that was another knowing grin, what the fuck does she know, smiled at him. “I’ll be seeing you two later then? Try not to catch facial herpes in that time Dave. Good luck,” she called out as they left, Kanaya giving them a short wave as they did.
“Fucking hell, what a pair of broads, eh?” Dave muttered, before turning to face John. “So, you planning on just standing there, observing all my sloppy make-outs for the day, or what?”
Say no, say no, say no, oh god no, you don’t want to, this is a horrid idea, why did you think of this stupid prank, oh no, no, no!
“Why not? I want to see my prank unfurl to its fullest. No harm in that right?” John replied, forcing a laugh out of his throat. Dave hummed and turned away, and John just knew that he was still staring at him from the corner of his eye.
“Wouldn’t it be awkward? Seeing your best bro kissing the shit outta everyone?” Dave asked, jerking his head to the side sharply, in order to flick his fringe out of his face.
Holy shit yes, it would be awkward. John couldn’t stomach seeing Rose and Kanaya kissing Dave on the cheek, how the hell would he be able to handle anything that went further?
“Nah; just think of me as the free bodyguard that comes with the job,” John replied airily, stuffing his hands into his pockets and glancing up at the sky with a hum.
“You gettin’ paid for this gig?” Dave remarked.
“I wish,” John sighed back, hearing a familiar cackle and glancing over to the side to see Dave’s ‘BGF’, Terezi, waltzing up to the stand with her lethal walking stick beside her.
“Well shit, I was wondering when you were gonna show your ugly mug,” Dave called out, hearing the same cackle before John did. The brunet swore that they had…like, a sixth sense for each other. Dave always claimed that he could hear Terezi before she was near, and she would always claim that she could smell anyone within five miles of her at all times.
“Oh Dave~!” the brunette called out, waving her stick in the air dangerously. “I thought the smell of cherries was especially rich today!”
Dave smirked and John watched as he pulled out a small tube from his pocket. A tube of cherry chapstick and what the fuck, hell no, that’s just weird!
“The hell? You bought chapstick for this?” John asked in disbelief.
Dave smirked and popped it open, lathering the stick over his pursed, smirking lips. “Why not? Gotta give the masses a little something extra for their troubles. After all, if they’re willing to wait in a line and then pay for my sweet lips, then I might as well give something back.”
“Give what back?” John asked, completely appalled with the idea as he watched Dave tuck the tube away again.
“Taste,” he replied simply, his lips twitching when Terezi swung her stick in front of her and promptly smacked the stall with it. “Hey ‘Rezi, how do I smell?”
Terezi grinned widely, licking her lips. “Delicious,” she replied, before cackling once more. “So pucker up, princess!”
John snorted. “I see you’ve met Rose and Kanaya already,” he noted, dodging Terezi’s stick quickly when she turned to face him.
“Oh John! I thought I could smell blueberries! Oh yes, we all agreed that Dave was much more of a princess than anyone else around here!” Terezi declared, turning to Dave once more to show off her sharp teeth with a wicked grin.
“Fuck, it’s like everyone wants Dirk to cry today. Jesus ‘Rezi, didn’t you know? Dirk is always the princess. Always,” Dave muttered, and John frowned when he heard the affectionate undercurrents of his tone.
“Oh? I thought Striders couldn’t cry?” Terezi said, jabbing at Dave with her lethal stick.
“We can’t, but Dirk’s adopted. Sssh, don’t tell,” the blond replied, knocking the walking stick away gently.
“Can Striders kiss?” the brunette asked, causing John’s stomach to once more squirm and writhe uncomfortably.
This is stupid. Why was he even acting like this?
“For you babe, sure,” Dave murmured. “Pay up first though. You’re gonna need a dollar to grace these sweet lips of mine.”
Terezi frowned. “Don’t I get a ‘best girlfriend’ bonus?” she questioned, narrowing her eyes.
“Sorry. Thems the rule and shit. C’mon, pay up,” Dave said, snapping his fingers and rubbing them together. Terezi huffed and shook her head.
John sighed, feeling quite tired with their passive flirting and glanced behind Terezi. There were quite a few people in the queue already and shit, if that didn’t make his stomach feel any better.
Maybe he just needed a drink.
That was it. He was probably feeling sick and it had nothing to do with Dave and the Kissing Booth at all. He just needed a drink and everything will be great and normal and fine again.
“Oh fine! Maybe I don’t want a kiss then,” Terezi shot back, waggling her brows.
Dave smirked. “Cool. What would you like instead th—”
John cut through their argument smoothly. “I’m going to get a drink. Be back in a bit, yeah?”
Terezi nodded, but Dave turned to watch him carefully. John swallowed and felt his stomach twist. “Yeah, sure,” Dave shrugged, and John could feel his intense gaze just penetrating through the thin protective walls around his mind.
Nodding quickly in return, John turned and stiffly marched off to the nearest water stall. The summer weather was hot and dry, so the school ordered for several free water-bottle booths to be set up around the field; suitable for anyone who needed a drink but couldn’t afford anything with taste.
The nearest booth handing out free water-bottles was situated around about twelve feet from Dave’s booth. A perfect distance away, so that John could still make sure that his friend was safe, but it was far enough so that he no longer had a front-row seat to the theatre of sloppy make-outs.
And Jesus, was Terezi giving Dave a sloppy make-out and a half.
From where he sat, John could see her dragging her tongue up and down Dave’s face, casually licking away at his cherry-scented lips as she did so. John’s stomach turned for the worse and he quickly grabbed the nearest bottle of water and snapped it open, chugging the refreshing liquid down like his life depended on it.
His eyes were still trained on Dave and Terezi though.
From above the rim of the bottle, John’s eyes were narrowed as he watched Dave’s lips curl up into a small smile. As if he was enjoying her attentions. Or maybe he’s just humouring her because they were ‘BBFs’ or something like that.
He winced when Terezi finally pulled away, grinning when Dave shooed her like he had done with Rose and Kanaya. John watched as the brunette girl jabbed at Dave with her stick and waved him goodbye.
Dave’s face was shining and his cheeks were slightly pink.
John gulped down some more water, feeling his stomach turn at the sight once more.
The next person in the line was Jade, and for some reason, seeing her made everything better. Jade and Dave had been a ‘thing’ for about four months, before mutually calling it off. They were still close friends, and John didn’t understand why those facts made his stomach chill out for a second.
Maybe it was due to the fact that Jade was no longer interested in Dave like that anymore, and so she could be deemed safe and everything was hunky-dory, except it wasn’t. Even Rose and Kanaya made his stomach hurt, and they were lesbians!
Maybe it was due to the fact that Jade had already had her chance with Dave, and now she’s missed it and oh god, stop thinking right there Mister Egbert, s t o p!
John silently observed Jade wiping Dave’s face clean with a tissue, whilst sliding over a dollar towards the blond, a small smile on her face. The blond took the dollar with a shrug and stuffed it into the small cashbox that lay hidden on a shelf behind the crappy stall.
After cleaning his face, Jade leant up and pecked Dave’s lips sweetly.
John threw the empty water-bottle over his shoulder and quickly grabbed another. His stomach did a turn for the worse, and even better, now his head hurt as well. He rubbed his temples as he single-handedly opened the bottle.
All of the nice, calm feelings that came with Jade’s appearance vanished into a void of sickly, twisted emotions that came from god knows where. John completely lacked the understanding of why those emotions decided to screw around with him today, and dearly wished that they would fuck right off.
Maybe he was feeling crappy because this was the first proper kiss on the lips that Dave has had all day; discounting the licks that Terezi gave him anyway.
Taking a large gulp of ice cold water, and absently wondering how much his bladder could hold, John watched Jade wave Dave goodbye. She then proceeded to skip merrily away to retrieve her dog Bec, from a very haggard looking Rose.
Weren’t dogs forbidden from the fair? John thought, oh well. This is Jade we’re talking about…
He smiled to himself as he watched Jade play-hunt with her best friend, before he turned back to face the Kissing Booth. He knew that, by anyone’s standards, his actions could be considered weird and borderline obsessive; but John was only doing this because he was looking out for Dave.
Despite the fact that Dave could very well look out for himself, his brothers taught him that and, oh look! Speak of the devil.
The next person in the queue was Dirk Strider, the second oldest in Dave’s dysfunctional little family. He was joined by his boyfriend, Jake, who just so happened to be related to Jade in some vague fashion.
John thought his stomach would have chilled its tits by now, this is Dave’s brother after all, but then he found himself with a bad taste in his mouth. Dave’s brother was a man, despite anything that Dave himself might say.
But yeah, Dirk and Jake; both guys with Y-chromosomes and everything. Guys with penises and shit. Wouldn’t it be…odd, for Dave to kiss them?
Shouldn’t Dave be shooing them away?
John frowned when he observed his friend grinning up at his brother, in a manner that was entirely too friendly and not very ‘shooing away’ at all. Instead, Dave’s grin only twitched wider when Dirk flicked a dollar at him and pressed their lips together in an ‘ironic’ smush.
Dave was punching his brother in the arm, struggling to get away from Dirk’s iron grip. Jake simply stood there shaking his head, before he decided to take pity on the younger boy. He hooked his arms underneath Dirk’s and managed to peel him away from his brother easily, settling him down and pecking him on the forehead sweetly as an apology for ruining his fun.
Both Striders were smiling though; Dirk’s held a smug quality to it, whereas Dave’s was more snarling and threatening.
John watched as Dirk’s smile slid off as he slugged Dave in the arm sharply. He must have heard about the slanderous gossip that his brother had been spreading about him. Dave grabbed his arm and whimpered, milking it for all it was worth in front of Jake. The older man simply sighed and slid out a dollar, caving into to his pitiful act.
John caught the sly smirk that Dave shot at Dirk when Jake pressed a gentle kiss to Dave’s hand. The younger blond pretended to swoon and faint, causing Jake to laugh rambunctiously. His voice was loud and John could have sworn that he had something like ‘that’s what your brother did when I kissed him for the first time!’, but he couldn’t have been sure.
It probably was something like that, because Dirk then slugged Jake in the arm, flipping Dave off in the process, and telling him to get his own boyfriend or something to that effect. John blushed when he read Dirk’s lips, those words echoing around his mind and wow, no stomach, you do not get to flip your shit like that.
John huffed and leant back against the booth, rubbing his stomach wondering if it would stop all the twisting and churning already.
He glanced over at the queue and his hopes that it’s not too long are dashed completely.
Rather, his hopes got bent over and then fucked in the ass by the fact that the queue to the Kissing Booth stretched to almost halfway across the field. And John was not cool with that.
Why was he not cool with that? Why was all this happening to him? Dave is a bro and bros are allowed to kiss other people and shit, no that thought just made everything worse. John groaned in exasperation, not understanding why his body was reacting like this at all.
He should be chill with Dave making out with other people.
He should be fine with Vriska Serket, (John’s ex-girlfriend, and for some reason his stomach doesn’t churn at the thought of Dave kissing her; but it does squirm something awful at the thought of her kissing Dave and what the fuck, is there even a difference?) placing seven sweet kisses all over Dave’s face, before placing a wicked, nasty eighth to his neck.
John winced as he saw Dave’s face screw up in disgust slightly, when Vriska pulled away. To be fair, the blond had probably experienced a year’s worth of spit covering his face and he probably wasn’t all that eager to experience any more.
John watched as Vriska slapped down eight dollars, before waltzing off to where Tavros awaited her near the shooting gallery.
The next person was Nepeta, who was sweet and chaste and simply nuzzled the bite on Dave’s neck before giving it a small kiss. John’s heart nearly stopped when he watched Dave ruffle her hair before accepting her crumpled dollar.
The brunet lashed out for another bottle of water; fuck, his bladder must be made of steel or something, ‘cause no normal person could handle shit like this.
Behind Nepeta, was her boyfriend, Equius. He was a strong, tall guy, who trembled like a leaf and could sweat up a storm if placed in the right (or wrong, to be more correct) situation. Dave seemingly bestowed some mercy upon him and leant forward to give the guy a chaste kiss on the cheek, and woah, holy fuck, Equius was a dude, not just a brother or a brother’s boyfriend, but a full-on dude and Dave was clearly okay with kissing dudes.
John’s stomach and John’s head didn’t know what to make of this new-found information and instead, they exploded into a firework display of pain and confusion.
Another water-bottle bites the dust.
Next up was, strangely enough, Karkat Vantas. The guy who hated Dave with a burning passion and was probably dared to approach the booth by his blind, cackling girlfriend. John watched with narrow-eyed interest as Karkat slammed down a dollar and yanked Dave forward by his collar.
John winced as their lips smashed together in a vicious, violent display.
Karkat then pushed Dave away, roughly rubbing his lips and hiding his pink hued cheeks. Dave probably let slip some snarky remark because Karkat had just flipped him off before stalking away to probably find Terezi so he could tear her a new one.
Why was Karkat blushing? Why did he blush? He hated Dave, he hated him!
Dave’s lips were shining and bruised, but he seemed fine.
John wasn’t fine, he wasn’t fine, what the hell, why wasn’t he fine?
Behind Karkat was Sollux, who glanced over his shoulder to quirk a brow at Feferi and Aradia. John really didn’t get their relationships, and neither did he question them. All he registered was that Aradia and Feferi weren’t in the queue and his stomach was A-Okay with that fact.
Dave grinned as Sollux slid a dollar across to him. John’s brows furrowed in confusion when his friend reached across the stall and pulled Sollux towards him. Their lips met together, and John almost died when he saw their tongues reach out to meet in a lazy dance.
His stomach was seriously hurting and he accepted the fact that it was no longer a stomach-ache that was the cause. It was something…deeper, more depressing. Something that Rose Lalonde would have a field day with.
Biting his lip, John observed silently as Dave pulled away with a slow pucker of his lips and dammit, it seemed too slow and intimate and romantic and fuck! Sollux shot the blond a small smirk before slouching away back to Feferi and Aradia. Both girls pulled out their purses and handed over ten dollars.
So it was a dare. A dare coupled with a bet. A dare with a side-order of bet within John’s prank.
That’s- that’s fine. That’s cool.
John swallowed as the next person stepped up to Dave’s Kissing Booth.
Now, if there was one person who hated Dave more than Karkat, it was Gamzee Makara. John didn’t know the specifics, nor did he desire the knowledge of what occurred between the two. All he knew was that Gamzee despised Dave and yet, here he was, ready to get his mack on.
The brunet watched as Dave rolled his shoulders back, preparing himself for what was to come. The chapstick came out again and the dollar was accepted smoothly. A few seconds passed between the two.
Then Gamzee attacked.
And John meant that literally. Gamzee reached out, in a similar fashion to Karkat, and yanked Dave to him by the collar. And he attacked Dave’s lips like a savage animal and shit, he was stone-cold sober and ouch, was he biting Dave?
Hell fucking no.
John’s eye twitched as watched Dave’s mouth get utterly plundered by Gamzee; his fists clenched as the older boy’s teeth nipped and bit at his friend’s lips. He was unsure of where all this frustration and anger had come from, and he had the slightest inkling that there was some jealousy mingling amongst those feelings…but John’s one-track mind was totally focused on one thought: Dave shouldn’t be getting kissed like this.
Or rather, to be more exact: Dave shouldn’t be getting kissed, at all.
Shit was definitely about to get flipped, because dammit, John had finally had enough of this fuckery.
Stuffing one hand deep into his pocket, he yanked out a few dollar bills and stalked over to the stand. Forgoing the lengthy queue completely, John went straight to the front of the line and pulled Gamzee away from Dave sharply. The older boy gasped and choked at the sudden yank, his awkward long limbs flying in the air as he was shoved back.
Dave didn’t move at all. He didn’t react to John’s sudden appearance, nor did he react to John’s actions. He simply stood there, his lips shining and bruised, and his
soft blond hair ruffled up messily. John swallowed hard as his friend slowly quirked a brow questioningly.
Absently hearing the complaints from the people behind him, John slammed his money down and huffed.
“I’m renting you out,” he stated firmly, his blue eyes frowning at how red and puffy Dave’s lips had become. He coughed nervously when Dave licked them, a small smirk tugging at the corner of them.
“Kinky,” the blond responded, pulling the ‘CLOSED’ sign over the booth and stepping away from it to join John.
The brunet blinked. “Wait! We can’t just leave the money here alone,” he commented, all of his mangrit from earlier seemingly dissipated from his body. Dave shrugged.
“Lalonde will take care of it,” he remarked, “c’mon, let’s go. To grace upon a Strider’s lips is a rare treat; I’d hate to see anyone get too used to them.”
“Of course they are,” John rolled his eyes, smirking and tugging Dave away from the booth. He resisted the urge to flash those still in the queue a smug smile. “So, where do you want to go?”
It’s amazing how all those bitter feelings of anger and frustration and honest to god jealousy, have all disappeared at the sight of Dave’s smirking face. John doesn’t know why all those feelings left when they did; he doesn’t know why they appeared in the first place.
He has an idea though; an idea that will be locked away in some vault with a lock so secure, that not even Rose Lalonde could psychoanalyse the combination out of him.
“Dirk said that Jane has a bakery stall around here somewhere,” Dave replied, “and that her cakes are the shit.”
John wrinkled his nose. “Ew, cakes? Really? Dude, that’s gross. And no amount of ‘irony’ can save you from the blasphemy that you just spewed,” he said, shivering slightly as horrifying, cake-filled memories filtered through his mind.
“You have zero taste; it’s like when God made you, he decided to experiment a little and gave you an extra dose of derp and passed all the taste onto me. All of the taste; all of it,” Dave stated, flicking John on the ear. “Irony was just an added bonus that you wish you had.”
The tingly feeling left behind from Dave’s touch made John’s stomach flip.
He was pretty sure that the feeling wasn’t simply pain either.
“You don’t even believe in God,” John muttered back, rubbing his ear roughly, hoping to dispel the warmth that had blossomed there.
“Not important,” Dave shrugged. “Now, let’s go. I have some mad hunger for Crocker’s cakes and no amount of whiny bitching from you is gonna stop me.”
John scowled. “Why am I friends with you again?” he asked, sighing as he shoved his hands deep in his pockets. Dave had hooked his thumbs around the loops in his jeans, his hands clenched loosely into fists. John could easily just reach out and entwine their fingers together and oh god, what the hell was he thinking?
“I guess it’s ‘cause you love me, man,” Dave replied airily, lifting his chin up in a cocky manner as he observed the fair around him.
Meanwhile, John was choking on the air he was breathing.
Oh god, did Dave know what he was thinking?
“Then again, everyone loves me and I ain’t friends with everyone. Guess you’re just…special, eh Egbert?” the blond carried on, giving John a sideways glance. Despite not being able to see Dave’s eyes, John could feel that there was something…off, or strange even, about the way that Dave had looked at him.
Or maybe he was just feeling hopeful? Stupid, stupid, stupid hope that could just end up hurting him in the long-run.
“I guess modesty was something God skipped over in you; maybe that’s why you’re overflowing with so much ironic crap,” John muttered back, because that’s all he could say. It was all he could think of that didn’t involve awkward words and uncomfortable phrases.
Do you love me?
Do you really think I’m special?
What would you do if, maybe, I really did love you?
And oh god, those are questions that are being shoved and repressed deep inside that vault, never to be seen or heard of ever again.
Fuck! Why was this happening to him? This had never happened to him before!
“Nah, God made sure to give me equal amounts of irony to balance out my modest nature. Everything else went to my good looks, y’know?” Dave stated, rubbing his chin arrogantly.
John snorted softly. “Yeah, I know,” he murmured, rolling his eyes.
Then Dave smiled at him; not smirked, not ‘ironically’ grinned at him. A true and genuine smile that not even his brothers have probably seen. A strong rush of warmth floods John’s body at the sight of that smile and everything feels so cliché, like he’s just jumped out of Rose’s fanfiction…except not, because Rose’s fanfiction is a scary place to be.
The place where John is seems softer and more magical, and it’s all because of Dave’s stupidly crooked smile that shows off his hidden dimples.
And John isn’t even aware of the fact that he’s been staring at Dave’s crooked smile for that past five minutes. In fact, he’s been so busy in his daydream, that he hasn’t even registered Dave’s smile falling off into a concerned frown when he realises that John hasn’t so much as blinked for the past few minutes.
Quirking a brow, Dave snapped his fingers in front of John’s face and seemingly broke whatever spell that John was under.
He came crashing back down to earth with a bump, his entire face illuminated with embarrassment.
“You okay?” The question is asked flatly, like most things that come out of Dave’s mouth, but John can sense a hidden undertone of worry and it warms him and oh god, make it stop!
“N-Never better,” John stuttered back, averting his eyes quickly. “S-Sorry for losing it there…”
Dave just shrugged. “‘S’cool,” he murmured, glancing away with a hum. “Oh shit yes, there’s Crocker’s stand. C’mon dude, those cakes ain’t gonna eat themselves. My fucking stomach is craving them like a pregnant woman craves ice cubes covered in anchovies!”
John blanched. “Is there any point in me hoping that that mental image hasn’t put you off the cake at all?” he asked, wrinkling his nose in disgust. He gained a smirk in return.
“Not even close,” Dave replied, heading over to Jane’s quaint little stand. “So, uh, is there any point in me asking what you were dreaming about?”
Blinking, John coughed nervously and glanced away, hoping to hide his blush. “It was, um, nothing important. Really,” he insisted.
“You sure about that?” Dave asked, cocking his head two centimetres to the right slightly.
“Yeah, I’m sure! I’m totally sure!” he said, keeping his tone chirpy and bright. “Why the twenty questions though? It’s not that important, is it?”
“Dunno, I just got this weird ass feeling,” Dave shrugged. “Plus, you were kinda staring at me like you wanted to throw me down and have your wicked way with my fresh, virginal body. Which, by the way, totally wouldn’t be cool. We’re in public man, at least wait until we’re in private. As if these noobs haven’t had enough of my sweet lips, they don’t need to see my ass too; that’d be spoiling them too much. Plus, my brothers would kick your ass into the next fucking century. It would be pretty awesome to see, but fuck, you’re my best bro and that would suck.”
John didn’t hear the majority of Dave’s rambling. He didn’t hear the impending threat of Dave’s older brothers looming over him if he touched Dave in the wrong way. He didn’t register the fact that, once again, Dave had brought up the fact that people had kissed his lips before John and why the hell was he talking about that really.
His mind had halted to a stuttering stop once the words ‘wait until we’re in private’ slipped through Dave’s still bruised lips.
Shit, Gamzee really did a number on him; John wondered if that would warrant the older boy an ass-kicking into the next century and decided that all these jealous feelings really ought to go screw themselves.
“D-Dave?” John called out, his voice hoarse, his throat dry and his words dying quickly on his tongue.
The blond turned to look at him.
John could feel the
knowing look in his eyes, hidden behind his shades.
“W-What did you mean by that?” John called out, voice stronger, but god his mouth was like a desert and his throat was starting to grow a lump and all of these feelings were starting to hurt his head and Jesus Christ, no one would understand.
“What did I mean by what? I’m gonna need specifics here, Egbert,” Dave responded, glancing over to Jane’s cake stand longingly. “And could you make it quick? I’m almost dying here of starvation; you are literally killing me here bro.”
“I…what did you mean…when you said that we c-could, um, do it ‘in private’?” John stammered and stuttered his way through his question, but finally he forced it out and finally his words were out.
And shit, Dave was laughing at him.
The blond ducked his head down to hide his smile, but John knew it was there. He licked his lips nervously and felt his heart skip a beat when Dave glanced at him over his shades, revealing his
pretty, pretty, pretty, odd red eyes. There was amusement dancing in them; amusement and something else that began with ‘a’.
Something that rhymed with infliction.
That doesn’t even rhyme, what is wrong with him, oh god Dave, stop looking at him like that!
“What did you think I meant?” Dave threw the question back at his face and before John could recover from the indecency of it all, the blond had already slouched off to Jane’s stand, waving lazily to the girl as she handed out free samples.
Meanwhile, John gaped like a fish.
A very, very stunned and red-faced fish.
“Wh- Dave, wh- I…huh?” The sounds he emitted made a total of zero sense, and the frustration he felt at Dave’s vague answer was drowned out by the amount of indignation he was currently feeling.
Clenching his fists and gritting his teeth, John decided that enough was fucking enough. “Dave Strider! Get back here and answer me like a man,” he cried out, blue eyes flashing with annoyance.
Dave, who had finally gotten a slice of white chocolate and raspberry gateaux, turned around and smirked. “Ooooh, Mr Egbert, oooooh! Be gentle with me, please? I am but a fair maiden, lousy with virginity, with two fearsome warriors guarding my delicate body. I don’t think I am capable of answering anything like ‘a man’ when you’re spewing shit at me like that,” he retorted, dizzying John with the amount of sarcastic references he had riddled his speech in.
Shaking his head, John huffed with exasperation and started towards the cake stall. The sickly scent of sweet goods floated through the air and almost made him gag. “You know, sometimes you just…you make me, urgh! I can’t,” he sighed, throwing his hands up in the air when he caught up with the smug blond.
Dave smiled wryly. “What, you run all out of cans?” he asked, piercing the small iced rose on his cake and jabbing it towards John.
“Hell no,” the brunet shot back, smacking the fork away from. “God, why do I even put up with you?”
Jane giggled at their antics and Dave shot her a
knowing, oh god it’s knowing, why is it knowing, small grin.
“Told you bro,” Dave drawled,
and he’s smiling and it’s beautiful and shit, you really are knee-deep in this shit, aren’t you Egbert? “It’s ‘cause you love me.”
And John really didn’t know what to say in return, so he just said nothing and scowled when Dave tried to jab another piece of cake his way. Jane was still giggling and Dave was still smirking, but John refused to dignify them with any sort of answer.
Especially when he knew the answer would be drowning in a lake of denial, with naught but vicious piranhas to help him to the surface.
Oh god. Why did his feelings have to choose today, of all days, to short-circuit and fuck around with his mind? This was all because of that stupid prank that no longer could even be deemed as a prank, all things considered. Normally, his pranks left him with sense of victory and warm, joyful feeling. Now he just felt
sickly, angry, frustrated, jealous, empty. And John didn’t even know what that meant. He still had an inkling though; he would always have that inkling.
John wondered if Rose was still around, she would love to psychoanalyse him.
She’d probably do it for free too…