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“For Coke’s sake, Dave – didn’t they teach you to knock before entering?”

The apology that is already on the tip of his tongue dies out as soon as he notices the gun David is weighing in his hand, ominously adding up the distinct lack of anger to his tone of voice. He fancies he can physically feel his blood run cold, and he just stands there rooted to the spot, his mind drawing a blank as to what he’s supposed to do, or even think.

A full minute drags by before he eventually gets enough of his wits about him, settling on a plan of action seemingly without any conscious decision on his part. “Oh, that’s an odd coincidence – I actually came here to ask if I could borrow your gun. Do you mind?”

David snorts, but it sounds hollow, somehow. “Please. Even you could do better than that.”

“Give it to me, David.”

“Hmm, I don’t think I will. Sorry.”

He clenches his fists, taking one step forward. “Stop being a selfish prick, and hand me that bloody gun.”

“Selfish? Look who’s talking.”

“The gun, David. Now.”

“Or what?”

Impulsively, he lunges at David, snatching the gun from his hand. They struggle, briefly, but it’s apparent David’s heart isn’t really in it; he lets go of him all of a sudden, and steps back.

“Fine. You can keep the fucking gun. There’s a crate of hand grenades under my bed, and failing that, all I need to do is to take a walk outside.”

“You wouldn’t,” he articulates at length, but he can tell from the look in David’s eyes that he will stop at nothing this time. He swallows, the gun a sudden weight in the palm of his hand, and finally averts his eyes.

“Well, that’s a shame,” he shrugs, somewhat tiredly. “You know poor Tom has never been particularly good at fending for himself.”

He’s already halfway to the door when a hand lands heavily on his shoulder, effectively spinning him around. “Don’t be a fucking idiot, Dave.”

“Look who’s talking,” he throws back at him, bitterly.

“Give it back to me.”

“You can hit me all you like, David – I don’t care.”

“Oh, for fuck’s sake,” David blurts out, his hands clenching and unclenching in frustration. “Why do you always have to be so melodramatic?”

“Because I care, you fucking prick,” he glares back at him, and of all the things he’s expecting, he’s not quite prepared for the sight of David suddenly deflating, his lips trembling with barely contained emotion.

Several minutes tick by, as David appears to be struggling to put his armour of cynicism and indifference back into place. “I won’t if you won’t,” he lets out at last, and there’s something about his voice that’s both pained, and painful to listen to.

“You idiot,” Dave utters with conviction, pulling him in for a tight embrace. It’s testament to David’s emotional exhaustion that he lets himself be hugged, and it may be more of a truce than an actual victory, but it’s close enough.