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Nightmare’s castle is a lot less creepy and foreboding once Dream has spent a good month living in it. In fact, after everything with Cross and Ink and the whole damn multiverse turning on its head, it’s sort of nice to be able to walk through the dimly lit corridors and feel the stone walls solid under his touch. Safe and real. Nostalgic.

It helps that he’s not being kept here under duress—he’s no prisoner. He can come and go when he pleases, though he clings to the habit of letting his brother know before he leaves. Nightmare never says anything to it, grunting his acknowledgement on good days and glaring at him on worse ones. In a way it’s like centuries past, far before all of this, when there was only the Tree, the village, and each other to consider.

“Clean your fucking room,” Nightmare hisses, and Dream startles at the table where he’s daydreaming.

Thankfully, it’s not directed at him. Horror stares at his brother, that creepy, disconcerting smile still stretched across his face. “... why?”

“Because it’s disgusting,” Nightmare spits, tentacles held tense in irritation, “The smell alone could clear a stadium. You’re not a fucking cat. Don’t drag your kills back here.”

Dream curbs the immediate urge to demand that Horror stop killing things all together. The shambling skeleton is mostly harmless, snaring wildlife for food over eating a cooked meal like the rest of them. Besides, it’s not like Horror would stop if he asked. He knows that much from experience.

There’s a tense pause as Horror continues to stare his brother down, eerily still. There’s not a twitch to his expression, nothing to hint at what thoughts are lurking behind his dead gaze and rictus grin. He could be planning how to take one of them apart, limb from limb, and none would be the wiser. It’s enough to make Dream shudder. Nightmare, however, meets his look evenly, unbudging.

Horror shrugs. “Okay.”

And that’s the end of that. Horror turns away and leaves the dining hall without another word. Killer and Dust haven’t turned around for any of this, and Nightmare scowls after Horror but doesn’t seem overly concerned. Only Dream continues to stare, an oddity that catches his brother’s eye.

“Problem?” This time, it’s definitely directed at him.

“Nothing!” He pipes up, quick as he scarfs down the rest of his meal. “I’ll be hanging out with Blue later today. I might sleepover.”

As always, Nightmare’s expression grows bored. “Whatever.”

Dream smiles at him, bright and wide. His brother gets that disgusted, fed-up look on his face and turns away. Perfect. That way Dream can grab his plate, drop it off in the kitchen and then slip back to his room without any further questions.

He’s not planning on going to Blue’s at all—he’s got a room to clean.

He hasn’t forgotten what it was like, ages ago when they lived together. Back then, Nightmare had been fussy about keeping things in their place. From his books to his clothes, his brother always kept things neat and orderly. Dream, however, was terrible at it, more interested in playing and enjoying himself. His mess would inevitably end up crossing into his brother’s path and annoying him. But still he would try his best, if only to see Nightmare relax a little. Especially after the arrival of the villagers—those days he was willing to do anything to get Nightmare to give him another one of those hard-won smiles.

Knowing that, even now, that part of Nightmare remains the same, makes his soul ache.

His brother rarely comes into his room in the castle, but Dream wants to clean it anyways. On the off chance Nightmare drops by, at least he won’t have to stress over the state of it. It’ll be his chance to do something nice for him. After all, Nightmare hadn’t needed to offer him a place here. He could’ve easily told Dream to get lost in the aftermath of all the fighting. But his brother had given him a room, and he’d even done it with minimal grumbling and death threats!

It’s been years since they’ve been free enough for even that much. If keeping things tidy is the cost, it's the least Dream can do.

Dream enters the room and immediately closes the door behind him before turning around to survey the scene. When he’d come here, the room had been dark and everything in it in shades of purple. Nightmare had walked him in and gestured towards the expansive space with an air of disinterest, even though the style of it meant he must’ve decorated himself. Dream had asked, cautious, if he could change things. The pause following his question had been foreboding, but eventually Nightmare had shrugged and told him he didn’t care what Dream did so long as it stayed to this room.

Now, the room is brightly lit with golden wall sconces, made brighter still by the change from purple to yellow in the curtains and the bedspread. It makes the room seem larger, more comforting. Over the last little while he’s been here, it’s really started to feel like… well, like home.

His room in the castle isn’t exactly messy but it certainly looks lived in. There are clothes and stray items littered everywhere. The golden furnishings are in need of a good dusting and the sheets should probably be washed. It’s better than the situation at say Ink’s place, but definitely not up to Nightmare’s standards.

Determined, he strides forward into the room and gets to work tidying.

He starts by picking everything up off the floor and dumping it onto his bed. Then, he sorts through the mess one item at a time, shelving books, hanging clothes and tossing out the garbage. He follows that up by dusting all the surfaces and then polishing the fancy looking ones for good measure. He gives it his all, starting to sweat. He pulls at the top of his scarf, trying to let air in, before deciding to just take it off all together and placing it on the chair by the desk next to his bed. He removes his sleeves as well, relishing in the feel of cool air on bare bone after strenuous work.

It’s easier to continue after that, and Dream is very nearly done all the cleaning when a glint of gold at the back of his closet catches his eye. Curious, he reaches a hand in and manages to grab hold of something cold to the touch. When he brings his hand back out, his breath catches.

It’s Nightmare’s old crown.

The sight of it is like a punch to the solar plexus. He’s winded, aching and dizzy all at once. His hand trembles, phalanges clattering against the band of gold. His legs feel weak.

Nightmare kept it.

Dream isn’t sure what to make of that. Sure it was hidden away, deep in the back of this closet his brother doesn’t even use but… he’d kept it all the same. Dream had been so sure that Nightmare had gotten rid of everything that reminded him of their past, anything that connected him to who he used to be. He swallows, dry, suddenly tired beyond the weariness from cleaning.

He shakily makes his way back to the bed and takes a seat at the edge of it, letting the mattress take his weight. Once he’s sitting, he doesn’t think he can get up again, the energy draining from him. He continues to stare at Nightmare’s crown, reverent. Dream slowly rubs his thumb over the crescent moon at the top of it, dangerous waves of pained nostalgia overtaking him. It’s a bittersweet feeling and he struggles to curb it. Too much of that and his brother will feel it. He’ll know Dream never left at all and he’ll come around asking questions. And what can Dream say to him when he comes in and sees him lost in thought, holding a relic of their past?

He closes his sockets and tries to calm himself. It’s stupid to be getting emotional over this. That’s what Nightmare would say if he knew, anyways. But despite knowing that, he can’t help himself, his grip tightening around the crown and his soul beating harder underneath his ribs.

Dream lays back, splaying himself over the bed and snapping his sockets open to stare at the vaulted ceiling. There are painted stars dotted everywhere, making beautiful constellations. It does nothing to ease his restlessness. He brings his hands over his midsection, absently rubbing at the crown as he continues to think of his brother.

Once, he thought that he could change Nightmare back to normal, but what even is normal at this point? Nightmare has spent more time in this form that his previous one—is this just who he is now? If Dream changed him back… would he still be the same Nightmare he’s spent centuries getting acquainted with? No, he wouldn’t be. But… that was for the best right? That was for the good of everyone in the multiverse and beyond it.

‘Don’t forget who I used to be,’ his brother had pleaded, so long ago.

Dream hasn’t but… 

He can feel himself grow weaker, poisoned by his own negative thoughts. It’s hard to keep positive in the castle as it is, surrounded by his brother’s entourage. He’s managed, especially with Nightmare slowly siphoning their negativity and helping to keep a balance. Right now though, Dream can feel himself succumbing to it, feeling more and more exhausted. His sockets start to droop, darkness at the edges of his vision. He hopes, at least, that if he passes out, his brother won’t feel it.

He sleeps.

He doesn’t dream, not really.

There are shapes, dark and formless, whispering words that make him shrink away. The negativity is palpable. But there’s nowhere to hide when shadows, all encompassing, bear down at him from every angle. He holds light, cradled deep in his chest till, slowly, slowly, even that is snuffed out.

Dream wakes up, gasping.

The room is dark, the candles in the sconces having long since burned out. He must’ve been asleep for hours. He’s tense against his pillows, catching his breath, panting low and desperate. The crown is still in his hands, clutched tight to his chest.

“You lied to me.”

Dream chokes on air, head whipping to the side. His soul almost stutters to a stop when he sees his brother standing by the desk, one eye glowing eerily in the darkness as he runs a hand over the scarf Dream left draped over the chair. 

“H-huh?”

“You didn’t go to Blue’s.” Nightmare isn’t looking at him. His touch leaves streaks of black on the fabric under his hands. His brother frowns.

“I-I—” He’s overcome with guilt, but he doesn’t know why. He wasn’t doing anything wrong. Could it just be remnants of the negativity from earlier? Is it because Nightmare is here, casting out his aura when Dream has yet to recover?

“Now why would you do that, hmm?” Nightmare turns to look at him at last, gaze cold and piercing. “Were you planning something, brother dearest?”

There’s something off about Nightmare’s voice. Dream can’t quite place it, but he sounds different than usual. It sets him on edge. That irregularity coupled with the suspicion and paranoia radiating off his brother makes Dream instinctually soften his voice, his speech gentled despite the continuous pounding of his soul.

“Night… are you okay?”

 His brother’s eye flashes, angry, and that’s all the warning Dream gets before Nightmare pounces forward onto the bed, bearing down on him. Too late he remembers the crown in his hands and he quickly raises his arms along the mattress, shoving it under his pillow and out of sight. Before he can move them again, Nightmare pins his arms right there on either side of his head, tentacles dripping steadily onto his bare bones, the fluid strangely warm. If he noticed Dream hide anything, he doesn’t show it.

“Am I okay?” Nightmare growls, “I let you stay here. I let you hang around and smile that stupid smile all day long. I let you reek of joy and happiness until it makes me nauseous. And then you lie to me. So tell me, Dream, do you think I’m okay?”

His brother leans into him as he speaks. This close, Dream can smell an unpleasant mixture of sweet and sour on his breath. He’s been drinking. This revelation is both a kick of dread in his false gut and pool of bewilderment.

Nightmare’s been drinking? Nightmare drinks? He doesn’t think he’s seen his brother consume anything post apple era, let alone alcohol. What does that mean? What should he expect in this situation?

How is there still so much about his own brother that he doesn’t know?

He’s quiet too long. Nightmare’s eye narrows and he grips Dream’s face tight by the jaw, twisting his face forward into his. “Don’t you dare fuckin’ ignore me.”

Dream winces, spittle from his brother’s angry outburst hitting just under his socket. “I… I’m not. I’m just… confused.”

His soul is still hammering helplessly in his chest, unsettling him. He slept but he didn’t rest, his body still weak from the overwhelming negativity from earlier. The hazy images before he woke up didn’t help either. And now, with Nightmare here, it’s harder than ever to focus.

“I didn’t… I didn’t think you cared where I went in the first place. I didn’t think it would be a big deal.”

Nightmare has no response to that, still gripping Dream’s face tight. His expression is unreadable, calculating. His eye continues to stare straight at him, vivid bright.

“I just wanted to clean my room.”

His brother’s phalanges twitch. “What?”

Dream swallows, thick. “I lied so I could sneak away to clean my room. I wanted to do it for you. I… I wanted to make you happy. I’m sorry.”

The room falls silent. There’s a lengthy pause in conversation between them, punctuated only by the steady dripping of Nightmare’s melted form against his bedsheets. His brother’s tentacles remain firmly in place, keeping him held down. Dream doesn’t fight it, staring up at Nightmare and willing him to see his honesty for what it is.

Nightmare’s grip on his chin relaxes. “... happiness isn’t in my purview.”

“But that doesn’t mean you can’t—”

You don’t get to decide what that does or doesn’t mean for me,” Nightmare says, heat in every word but face impassive, “You should’ve just told me.”

“I’m sorry, Night…”

The corner of Nightmare’s mouth quivers. There’s another distant flash in his eye. “You keep saying that… but are you?”

His words are rumbling, hitting somewhere untouched underneath Dream’s ribs. He shifts in place, uncomfortable, but he can’t move much with Nightmare still holding him down like this. The image they must be making hits him all at once and his bones flush hot. He’s overcome with the sudden urge to shy away.

“Actions speak louder than words, brother,” Nightmare purrs, words slurring a little now that he’s relaxed and not steeped in fury, “I think you owe me a proper apology.”

The hand at his chin moves down till it rests on his neck. Carefully, Nightmare wraps his phalanges around it, exerting the slightest pressure. That action alone has Dream’s face feeling heated. With his free hand, his brother caresses the side of his face, running the back of his fingers down the smooth bone. His whole body feels warm. Dream’s soul is seconds away from popping right out of his chest with how hard it’s beating.

Then, Nightmare leans in towards him.

Dream knows it’s coming, but his mouth parts in surprise when his brother’s teeth click up against his anyways. Nightmare slips his tongue in, the taste of him a reminder of his intoxication. Startling, whatever his brother drank tastes of apples and the nostalgia paralyses him. He’s frozen, back flat to the mattress, lax as Nightmare licks into him. It’s only when his brother pushes closer, parting Dream’s legs and making a space for himself in between them, that he reboots.

“Nm—!” Dream wrenches his head to the side, breaking the kiss. His face glows fiercely in the darkness, lit bright by his magic. “Brother, what—what are you—?!”

Nightmare grips him by the chin again and aligns their mouths for another kiss. This time, Dream keeps his teeth clenched shut, holding back his hiss of pain as their teeth collide, rough. His brother bristles in anger at the rejection, leaning away from him. “You really need an explanation? Gonna keep up that naive little act of yours? Like somehow you’ve spent the last five hundred years a blushing virgin?”

The words embarrass him, his body squirming before he forces himself still. He can’t meet Nightmare’s eye.

“Four hundred years…” he corrects, stupidly, in lieu of anything better to say.

Nightmare snorts, amused. “My mistake. Guess you really couldn’t have been fuckin’ anybody for the century I left you in stone.”

His face burns at the mockery. He ignores it.

“Earlier… that’s not what I meant, Nightmare,” he says, braving a look back at his brother, “I just… why?”

“Don’t tell me you can’t feel it,” Nightmare growls, “We’re connected. Things are different when we’re around each other.”

‘Better,’ he doesn’t say, but Dream understands unspoken. He knows because he does feel it. He appreciates, intimately, what his brother means.

“We’re two halves of a whole, Dream.”

He stares up at his brother, trying to read into the things he won’t say. It’s hard to puzzle out his thoughts on a good day—right now, with his face barely visible in the dark and inebriation showing a different side to him, it’s even harder. Nightmare wants him, that much at least is obvious. It hits him with the same bittersweet feeling as earlier. For so long, all Dream yearned for was to be with his brother again.

Not once had he ever considered it might be like this. 

They’re brothers. That should be reason enough to discourage something like this. Just the idea of it should make them both nauseous. But Dream knows Nightmare and knows every excuse and every argument his ‘other half’ would make against such an appeal. It wouldn’t stop Nightmare, it wouldn’t curl his gut. And Dream… well…

“And if… I don’t want to?” He doesn’t manage more than a whisper, but somehow it manages to echo loud in the silence between them anyways.

Nightmare’s eyelight shrinks, like he’s surprised this would come up at all. “If you don’t want to…?”

Dream flexes his wrists against Nightmare’s hold. The tentacles gripping him press back harder, enough pressure behind it that it makes him wince. Vicious fluid drips down and lands on his cheek, sliding down the curve of it, a warm, stickiness Dream feels somewhere low. Nightmare’s hand around his throat tightens and Dream flushes harder. His brother’s glowing eye watches him, unblinking.

Their magic is the only brightness in the dark surrounding them. They’re twin stars against the inky blackness of space.

Nightmare smiles, teeth stark white bursting from the shadow. Every inch of it is a challenge. He rubs his thumb against the corner of Dream’s mouth, making him shiver. He tilts his head at him. “Then stop me.”

With that, Nightmare digs his thumb into the space behind Dream’s jaw, prying his mouth open. Dream makes a sound, surprised, uneasy, but it’s swallowed by Nightmare’s mouth overlapping his own. He chokes on his protests as his brother works his tongue into the forced space between his teeth, licking against his magic. Dream struggles, shaking against Nightmare’s grip, against the tentacles at his arms and the hand at his throat. His brother doesn’t relent, slowly pulling Dream’s tongue in and sucking on it. Reflexively, Dream groans at the feeling, at the apple-sweet taste of him, and then immediately stiffens with shame. Nightmare’s chest rumbles with laughter where it’s pressed against his own.

‘Stop me,’ he’d said, but how exactly did he expect Dream to do that? Even now, he doesn’t want to hurt Nightmare. That hopeful part of him—the positive core that his brother hates—says that there must be another way.

“Nightm—” He tries to speak, but Nightmare presses into him further, silencing every syllable. The slick sounds of their tongues fill up his skull, drowning out everything else. His chest feels tight, his arms and his throat hot where Nightmare has him restrained. It’s overwhelming, being touched in so many places at once. Then, he feels something warm and slimy work under his robes.

“Nnh—!” Dream’s sockets go wide as Nightmare’s other two tentacles slither under his clothes. It’s too much for the tight fabric of his undersuit and he can hear the sound of the seams ripping from the strain. Nightmare pays it no mind, continuing to drunkenly kiss him, wet and messy, while his tentacles explore Dream’s body. They leave warm trails of that inky fluid in their wake, touching him wholly. Finally they find their positions, pausing for only a moment before they start to stroke his ribs and spine in tandem.

Dream arches into his brother, the sensations too much, his body desperate to get away. Unfortunately, it only lets Nightmare kiss him deeper, grinning against his mouth. The overflow of stimulus crushes him, tears springing to his sockets involuntarily. They spill over his cheeks, dripping cool down his face. He doesn’t know if that’s what does it, but Nightmare pulls back, his tentacles stilling.

Dream wheezes, struggling to catch his breath. He’s still being held down but, right now, it helps him ground himself, still floaty from the sensations. Nightmare uses his free hand to wipe away his tears. When he speaks, it’s half idle curiosity and half frustration. “You didn’t stop me. You didn’t even try.”

He shakes his head, dislodging Nightmare’s hand in the process. “D-didn’t… didn’t want to hurt you…” He sounds hoarse.

Nightmare frowns. “Hurt me? You honestly think you’re capable of that?”

When Dream doesn’t answer, panting ragged and wet, Nightmare leans in. Dream squeezes his sockets shut, expecting another assault, but his brother only drops his head next to Dream’s on the pillow. Nightmare’s breath tickles the side of his face, low laughter coming in puffs. More than before, having his brother’s body draped over him like this feels like he’s been trapped, completely ensnared.

“I’m out of your league, Dream.”

Speechless, he shivers, full-bodied. In doing so, he feels something pressing up against the inside of his femur. His face goes impossibly hotter.

“You… you’re hard.”

His brother goes tense on top of him. Did he not expect Dream to notice? That’s ridiculous though, right? Wasn’t this his plan all along? Doesn’t he want to… 

Before he can think too deeply about it, Nightmare backs up. He gives Dream the most room he has since all this started, sitting up on his knees. He’s still straddling him, still holding him down with his extra appendages, but it’s breathing space Dream hadn’t expected to get. Nightmare looks him over, distant.

Then, he smiles, rueful. “Yeah.”

Without warning, Nightmare’s tentacles retreat, going back to their usual position, hovering around his brother’s head. For a second, Dream feels unmoored, free of the pressure that had been keeping him pressed into the bed. He doesn’t know what to make of it.

Testing his newfound freedom, Dream slowly drags his hands down to his chest, watching and waiting for Nightmare to do something about it. His brother doesn’t move, quiet in his observation. Dream rubs at his sore wrists, easing the ache. All the while he keeps his eyelights firmly on Nightmare. 

His soulbeat thuds loud in his skull. Is this where he should push Nightmare away? Should he run? Somehow, he can’t make himself move. His curiosity overcomes his self-preservation. What exactly is Nightmare trying to do? 

Dream addresses his brother, cautious. “Are you letting me go?”

“Not quite,” Nightmare says, measured and even, nothing in his voice to hint at the fact that he wouldn’t even be here if he was sober, “Like I said, if you don’t want it, then stop me.”

Meeting Dream’s eyes, his brother surges forward. This time, when he presses an open kiss to his mouth, Dream instinctively pushes at his shoulders, shoving him away. To his surprise, Nightmare doesn’t fight it. When Dream pushes, his brother goes, retaking his earlier sitting position. Dream stares at him, shocked and confused.

Something changes in the air then. The dark doesn’t seem so cold anymore. Nightmare watches him, eye pulsing with light and Dream isn’t sure he’s imagining it when he sees something near soft lingering there. His soul pounds, no longer the sickly panic from earlier but dangerous none-the-less.

This time, when Nightmare bends, he does it slow. He watches Dream the entire way down, motions lazy like he has no where else to be. There’s plenty of time for Dream to stop him.

Dream doesn’t.

This time, when Nightmare kisses him, there’s no force behind it.

This time, Dream opens up to him, easy.

It’s languid, entirely unhurried. Nightmare is starting to taste less like apple whiskey and more like how he must normally, muted cider and spice. Or maybe Dream’s just gotten used to it, slowly corrupted till they’re both the same. Nightmare’s tongue is skillful, rubbing against his in a way that makes him hold back a desperate noise. His brother laughs, teasing, not malicious like before.

Just as slow as the kiss, Nightmare’s hands stroke their way up his arms, bare bone against bone, before settling on his shoulders. He rubs his thumbs there, idle, soft. Every bit of it hits Dream like a suckerpunch, each action wholly new from his brother. He hadn’t known Nightmare could be like this, not ever. When Nightmare’s hands finally travel up to cup his face in between them, further deepening their kiss, Dream moans into it.

“Dream…” Nightmare sighs against his mouth, and Dream can’t help it, not really. He throws his arms around his brother’s neck and arches into him, kissing him back fully. He feels Nightmare’s surprise only in the way his grip tightens on his skull before relaxing again, and then Nightmare’s matching him in the quickened pace, kiss turning near frantic.

When they part, both panting for breath they don’t really need, Nightmare looks down at him, single eyelight hazy, searching. Dream doesn’t say a word but he also doesn’t disentangle himself from his brother. Hesitantly, with far more care than he’s ever seen from his brother in ages, Nightmare moves a hand back down towards his neck. It’s a question that Dream answers by tilting his head back and baring it further.

Finally, there’s a familiar flash in his brother’s eye. Hunger, greedy need to own something, it’s all plain in the way a smile curves onto his face, inky socket half-lidded. Nightmare’s eye roves over his body like he’s mapping it for later, planning out his conquest. Dream’s bones tremble from the look alone, his mouth dry.

“Gonna let me have you afterall, huh?” Nightmare whispers, too loud, too raw. He flexes his hand on Dream’s neck, phalanges rough against the sensitive bone. Dream can almost see his own blush brighten further.

“Y-you know me. I’m all about sharing,” he jokes, pushing past the anticipatory breathlessness.

“Well then…” Nightmare grins, wide and predatory. His tentacles slither closer, a promise. “Don’t mind if I do.”

Abruptly, Nightmare’s two bottom tentacles shoot out and grab Dream by the femurs, yanking him forward. He’s reminded of how interested his brother really is in all this when he feels his arousal press against him again, more fully than last time. He bites back a groan at the shape of him, big where he’s pressed to Dream’s pelvis. Nightmare himself puts one hand on Dream’s clothed ribs and then presses close to lick at his neck.

“Hnn, N-nightmare…” Dream squeezes his sockets shut, soul likely leaving permanent impressions against his sternum at this point with how hard it’s beating.

“Shh,” Nightmare murmurs as he licks another long, wet stripe up his neck, “Good boys don’t talk with their mouths full.”

There’s a moment of confusion, Dream frowning at what his brother could mean, and then another of Nightmare’s tentacles is on him, pushing into his slackened mouth. The taste of it is unexpected, less oily than he’d imagined it might be. It’s salt and slick and something that’s unmistakably Nightmare as it penetrates. Dream’s face goes hot, choking on the girth of it as it invades his mouth. He burbles past it, desperate, but Nightmare only chuckles, running his hand down his ribs.

“That’s better.”

With his remaining tentacle, Nightmare unhooks Dream’s arms from around his neck. He then encircles both wrists within it, easily pinning them above his head. Like this, Dream is totally at mercy to Nightmare; he knows from experience that his brother doesn’t have much of it. As if to prove his point, his brother starts to move his hips, the most striking of all the stimulation so far.

He can’t see it from this angle, but just the thought of Nightmare’s cock straining against his shorts while rubbing up against his torn undersuit has him gurgling incoherent against the tentacle in his mouth.

“You look good like this, Dream. It’s a shame none of your friends are here to see it,” Nightmare laughs, rubbing the heat of his cock right along the sensitive center of his pubis, “What do you think they’d say if they saw you like this, laying flush under me, practically begging?”

The thought of being seen like this by anyone is humiliating, his body burning at the words. Dream shakes his head. The appendage in his mouth squirms in response, choking him further. Dream squirms right back, trying to get away from it, but he’s held in place by his pinned hands. It’s too much, making the magic quickly pooling in his pelvis feel like it’s going to overflow.

Nightmare hums against his neck, “Maybe next time I can get a couple of them to join in.”

And that’s it, that’s all it takes for Dream’s magic to choose a form, snapping into the shape of a pussy just in time for another forward thrust from his brother. Nightmare’s cock rubs against the thin fabric of his undersuit, catching against the soft give of his mound. Dream’s sockets clench closed at the sensation.

“Shit,” Nightmare groans, “Fuckin’ hell, Dream.”

Nightmare breathes hot against his vertebrae while a tentacle holding his femur steady detaches itself and moves down to where their magic meets. In short order, Nightmare tears the fabric away, leaving his pussy open to the cool castle air. Despite how far they’ve gotten already, something about his brother, his own bone and dust, only having to look down to see him naked so intimately, makes him cross his legs, shamed.

Quick as a flash, Nightmare’s tentacle returns to its earlier position, this time wrenching his femurs apart further in the process. “I’m gonna ruin you.”

The words have him keening, pussy even wetter from just the thought. He can’t verbalise an answer like this, so he responds by finally putting in some work of his own, laving his tongue against the underside of the tentacle in his mouth and then sucking on it in turn. It strains him, and it’s not exactly easy in the position he’s being held in, but it’s worth it to hear the way Nightmare chokes on his words, barely holding back a guttural moan.

Nightmare’s hand leaves his ribs, trailing down. He yelps as he feels his brother’s hand sliding along his slit, gathering wetness. Nightmare’s thumb pulls him open and face feels like it's about to combust. He distracts himself from it by working his mouth up and down the tentacle and listening to the way his brother’s breathing hitches. 

“Stop,” Nightmare pants, removing his tentacle from Dreams’s mouth entirely. It comes away with a slick, wet pop, Dream gasping in air after it. He feels dizzy with each breath, too much following such a long stretch deprived of it. “I wanna hear you.”

He’s still dazed, trying to focus past the saliva he can see coating his brother’s tentacle. He doesn’t quite follow. But when the pressure of Nightmare’s other hand by his neck disappears as well, he instantly knows what’s coming.

With one hand still holding him open, Nightmare uses the other to guide himself into Dream slowly. So slowly in fact, that Dream tries to sink his hips down to meet him, desperate. He’s making a low, reedy noise that he can’t stop, sockets lining with tears. Nightmare’s newly freed tentacle holds him by the hip, keeping him from moving.

Ohh,” he breathes, not sounding like himself at all, “Hhn, brother… Nightmare, please…”

“You want this? You want my cock deep in your cunt?” His brother says, rough, crass and viscerally pleased.

His pussy throbs at the words, making Nightmare laugh into his shoulder. “I…”

He can’t say it, his throat feels too swollen to get the words out. Frustration makes even more tears fill in his sockets and he hates that he can’t even try to wipe them away, arms still pinned and useless. Nightmare is entirely in control but he wants more. He wants Dream to beg. Dream would do it too but his mouth can’t shape the words and his voice can’t speak past the lump in his throat.

“Come on,” Nightmare coos at him, shifting his hips so that his cock slides in a little further. Dream’s toes curl, femurs shaking. “All you have to do is ask.”

He tries. “I… I want it…”

“Want what? Gotta be specific.”

His brother follows it up by dragging his cock almost all the way out again, leaving Dream empty. He whimpers at the feeling, pussy clenching uselessly.

“I want your c-cock,” his voice breaks as he says it, his whole soul on fire. But once he’s gotten that far, he finds that he can’t stop. The words tumble out of him, flagrantly uncensored, ceaseless, pouring like a broken dam. “I want you to f-fuck me, Night. Please. I want your c-cum inside of me.”

‘I want us to be close again, like we used to be, even if this has to be the first step to it,’ he manages to hold himself back from saying, but his soul twists like he said it anyway. He’s embarrassed, he’s overwhelmed, he’s regretting getting into this situation at all, not in the least because Nightmare isn’t saying anything. His brother is quiet, his face still pressed into Dream’s shoulder and—tense? Why is he suddenly so tense?

“Say it again.” Nightmare whispers, all the earlier authority stripped from his voice. He’s shaking where he’s curled into Dream.

Dream has no idea which part he means. He doesn’t know what happened. “I-I… I want your cock… ”

No. The other part.”

“… I want you to fuck me…?”

“Say the whole thing.”

Oh. Dream’s face burns. Oh, that’s… “I want you to fuck me, Night.”

Nightmare makes a noise like he’s been kicked. The sound of it makes his soul squeeze in concern, but he isn’t able to get a word out to ask if his brother is okay. Nightmare scrambles, phalanges slipping against Dream’s wetness as he pulls him open even further before pushing the full length of his cock in.

Hhn—!” It knocks the breath out of Dream, body tingling all over.

His brother shudders, pulling back a little before fucking into him again. And again. Over and over till he’s got a rhythm going that has Dream seeing stars with every thrust.

“I hate you,” Nightmare seethes, mouthing over his neck, breath hot, “You self-righteous son of a bitch.”

“Nightm—”

“Shut up, just— for once in your life, shut the fuck up!” Nightmare barks, still steadily pushing into him. His teeth graze Dream’s vertebrae, sending sparks of desire down his spine. “I hate that you do this to me. I hate it. I hate that despite everything you fucking put me through, I—”

The next thrust has them both moaning aloud. His brother loses himself, swearing as he fucks him harder. Dream can feel the pressure build and wants, desperately, to be able to reach down and touch his clit. He struggles uselessly against Nightmare’s hold on him, wriggling his legs in the hopes the friction will somehow reach his pussy.

Fuck,” Nightmare gasps, “Dream, you feel so—”

His brother’s cock swells inside of him, a promise of what's to come. Dream wants it. Badly. More than he can say in words. He settles for pushing his hips down again, meeting Nightmare thrust for thrust. This time, his brother’s tentacle doesn’t hold him back, instead stroking Dream’s clothed spine, giving him more friction to work with but nothing near enough to finish him off.

“Nightmare… Night, please, I…” He’s whining, he knows it. He’ll be embarrassed about it later. Right now he needs Nightmare to know just how fiercely he wants to come.

Delirious, Nightmare nuzzles against him. “Shh, I’ve got you. I’ve got you, don’t worry.”

A trembling hand comes back up to his neck. It’s sticky and wet and Dream shakes with need as it touches him. Nightmare holds him with that hand and closes his mouth over the side of his throat, dragging his tongue over the smooth bone. 

His hips are falling out of rhythm now, cock throbbing. Dream squeezes around him and Nightmare moans, the vibration traveling along his spine and all over his body. With his other hand, his brother rubs three fingers over his clit, ruthless and fast. Then, Nightmare bites him.

“Ghk—Night—!” The feeling of his brother’s teeth against sensitive bone, hurting him, marking him, is unexpected. His clit swells, phalanges on it relentless in their efforts. The combined stimulus of pleasure and sudden, sharp pain sends him over the edge. 

Dream comes with a cry, vision blacking out.

Blearily, he can feel Nightmare pull back away from him, grabbing his hips with both hands and fucking him hard. His skull is ringing with noises, Nightmare grunting in the background. The tentacles pinning his arms shift with the next thrust and something clatters to the floor, loud. His brother pushes into him a few more times and then stills, his breath catching.

Dream’s still shaking, breathing hard, as Nightmare comes in him, filling him up. Overstimulated, Dream chokes out a low moan, breath stuttering further as his brother pulls out of him. Nightmare pants quietly, slowly reaching a hand out to stroke Dream’s face. It’s dangerously fond and Dream wonders if his brother even knows he’s doing it in the first place. He doesn’t call it out.

Starting to ache now that the high is wearing off, Dream twists in the sheets, wincing at the stretch of his arms. Seeing it, Nightmare finally releases his wrists. Again, Dream brings them back to his chest and rubs, trying to get feeling into them. Once he’s feeling a little less shaky, Dream pushes himself up into sitting position and braves meeting Nightmare’s eye.

Only, Nightmare is looking just a touch lower than his face, his expression deeply satisfied. Instantly, Dream’s hand flies to his neck. His phalanges tremble as they move over the bruise his brother left on him. Brushing over the bite hurts and a little whine escapes him at the contact.

Nightmare smirks. “That’s gonna take a while to heal. Better cover up.”

Dream blushes. “Jerk.”

“Here.” Chuckling, good-humoured, Nightmare steps off the bed and moves to grab him his scarf. “Catch.”

His brother tosses it to him, underhanded, and Dream grabs it but frowns. “I’m not going to put it on right now. I have to clean up first. Otherwise it’ll just get—”

“Covered in jizz.”

—messy,” Dream finishes, colouring further. Nightmare only laughs more and takes a seat on the chair. Dream stares down at his scarf, rubbing his thumbs over the sun patterned into it, safe from the black stain of Nightmare's touch just a little lower. He finds his courage in it, letting his genuine concern bleed through despite how his brother might react to it. “You ought to clean up too. It’s late and you’ve been out who knows where, drinking all night. Take a shower and go to bed.”

When Nightmare doesn’t respond, Dream’s afraid he might’ve taken offence. He darts a look up at his brother, only to see Nightmare isn’t paying attention to him at all. His brother is sitting in the chair and staring at the floor, expression blank. Dream wouldn’t read into it at all if it weren’t for the way Nightmare is gripping into the back of the chair, tight enough to splinter wood.

“... brother?”

Quiet, Nightmare says, “Where did you find this?”

“What?”

A tentacle whips down and then up again, holding a golden object up in the air. Dream goes cold. It’s Nightmare’s crown. It… it must’ve fallen out from under the pillow while they were…

“Where the fuck did you find this, Dream?!” Nightmare shouts, angry and panicked.

“I—” He’s at a loss. He doesn’t know how to save this conversation. His brother looks like he’s getting ready to bolt. Dream feels sick. “It—it was in the closet, I—”

Nightmare stands up, brusque. “I have to go.”

He rushes away, body lined all tense. Dream clambers off the bed and after him.

“Nightmare, wait—”

Instantly, his brother’s tentacles shoot towards him, all four at once, shoving him back hard enough to make him fall to the ground. It stings.

“Do not follow me,” Nightmare snarls, “Or I swear to you, I will make it so you can’t walk ever again.”

Dream stays in place, stunned. His brother only watches for a second, like he wants to make sure he stays put, before he jerks back around and heads to the door. The light from the hallway floods the dim of the room, briefly making the crown still in Nightmare’s grasp glint brilliantly. Then, his brother slams the door shut, the force jostling the stone walls around him.

Dream sits on the floor, plunged into darkness.