"dream? dream, you in here?"
he shone his lantern into the cavern, the blazing centre parting the darkness like moses did the sea, and soon his shoulders sagged when he found a camp consisting particularly of a bed full of dream.
those wisps of dirty blonde peeking out from the top were like no other's to sapnap.
"oh, dream," he said gently, as if he were talking to a whimpering, broken legged puppy, his levelled voice permeating the cave and resonating softly.
setting his lantern down on top of the bedside crafting table, he perched himself on the edge of the bed and peered over the dream shaped lump under the covers.
"dream," he repeated. "you awake?"
the lump shifted, and sapnap smiled. he placed a hand over him, squeezed briefly, and discovered a concealed knee. he slipped his hand upwards, meeting a shoulder, before finally reaching up to blonde hair. wiggling his fingers through the soft though tousled strands, he dug his blunt nails gently into dream's scalp, scraping through and massaging comfort into his head.
the bed sounded as dream moved, but a white smiley faced mask shifted slowly out of the covers instead of the scarred, green eyed face sapnap was expecting.
"it's just me," sapnap said. "george was gonna come too, but i wanted to be selfish just for a bit," he chuckled meekly. he shuffled closer on the bed carefully and shifted the mask away. "wanted my dream all to myself~."
the bed moved again and finally sapnap was greeted with eyes he had committed to memory the first time he saw them when they were both only twelve years old. yellow-green held the lantern light in them but also glowed with an explicit sadness that made sapnap's heart throb. the skin around them was swollen, pink and puffy, and all he wanted to do was kiss over those delicate things, hoping that his soft lips would ease the sadness in them forever.
"hi," sapnap smiled weakly.
now, to others, this act of vulnerability from dream would have been foreign, thus odd. dream, with a mask already concealing the truths of his visage, hardly ever displayed weakness to the village. rather, he was known worldwide for this strength - across every kingdom and land, when his name was uttered, people shuddered in fright or gawked in awe.
assassins trained from the moment they could speak feared him, and for good reason. dream was not to be hunted, unless you wanted to be reduced to bloody limbs sprawled across the floor and the daunting presence of his mask's smiley face glaring down at you.
but sapnap was different. he saw beyond the mask, and even further than his eyes. he saw dream in his rawest and truest form.
only a few people were trusted to see such a form, and amongst those few, george was believed to be the closest. villagers swooned over the two of them, believing that they were together, but they were so wrong. anything beyond friendship was a front, a game they liked to indulge in for the people's enjoyment.
george and dream were close, sure, but he and sapnap were closer.
sapnap smiled in awe. dream, who was seen as a big, bad wolf, the predator, the elite, adept hunter who hunted those who hunted him, was now as weak and feeble as a rabbit with a broken foot, all putty beneath sapnap's hand.
"hi," dream murmured back, his voice coming out as a timid whimper.
he slowly moved to his elbows, reluctant, and sapnap's hand that nestled in his hair dropped away. for a brief moment, sapnap thought the act was cute. it was if he were approaching a baby deer, wobbling on its knees. the thought was fleeting as he focused on the task at hand when dream sat up completely.
with that movement, sapnap could see clearly the toll the tournament against technoblade had had on him - the white of bandages peeked out from the neck of his clothing and he spotted a medical plaster just behind his shoulder. though dream was wounded, sapnap knew that techno would have looked just as bad; he had that much faith in him.
dream collected the sleeves of his signature green sweatshirt up in his fingers. his limbs seemed weightless as they were dropped in his lap, and the imaginary crown sapnap had put upon his head was falling as he gazed downwards.
sapnap's heart ached. dream couldn't look him in the eyes.
he brought a hand up and lifted dream's head, wriggling his fingers slightly and tickling beneath the boy's chin. "hey, dream," he said softly. when their gazes met again, he smiled warmly, his nose scrunching up so that his eyes gently came together. "i missed you, dude. d'ya miss me?"
they were so close that sapnap caught dream's breath against his lips with his senses. he could see the flecks of muddy green and autumnal yellow, and the thinnest of brush strokes of his faint blonde eyelashes that framed sapnap's favourite eyes.
dream's face was blank, questioning and confused, until it slowly wobbled into what sapnap perceived as relief, or gratitude that he was there with him. sapnap watched; his eyes had filled with glossiness, tears trembling at the brims; before he was enveloped and pulled down, crashing against him to the bed by his arms.
a loud sob sounded right up against his ear as dream's chin hooked onto sapnap's shoulder, the arms around his neck tightening and keeping him closer than ever.
"oh, dream," sapnap sighed again, a slight chuckle tumbling out and echoing in dream's own ear. he couldn't help it. dream made it so difficult not to be fond.
"i-i did," dream cried, his voice shaking, coming out in little whimpers like the sound of shoes against a gym hall. "i missed you... missed you, missed you, missed-!"
"shh," sapnap cooed, a hand carding through the thick locks at the top of his head and the other hooking behind his neck and scratching at the shorter strands at his nape. he lifted himself up to create a gap between their chests. he didn't want to hurt him. "dream, dream, my dream, dreamypoo," he murmured softly, smiling when the sobs shrunk in his mouth and left only laboured breaths that smoothed out into order.
the lantern flickered in dream's little getaway as sapnap looked down at him, the silhouettes of their mingling shadows glaring upon the stone walls behind their intertwined bodies. his forearms gated dream's person as he hovered above, the tips of their noses brushing together affectionately.
"hi," sapnap giggled.
dream smiled, his tear stained cheeks twitching. he had almost let out a chuckle. "hi."
"how are you, dreamypoo?"
dream furrowed his brows and he sniffled. "don't call me that." sapnap could only snort at the pout he shot upwards at him. "i'm... not doing so good," he then mumbled.
"awh, my dreamypoo's not doing good," sapnap pouted back, his fingers still dug into his hair and scratching. "now we can't have that, can we?"
"stop talking to me like i'm a child," dream huffed though with not a single bit of bite. he, dare sapnap say, might have even liked the doting. it wouldn't have been the first time. it wasn't a problem, he had quite the habit of baby talking with his friends.
sapnap caught the slightest of movements, like the way dream's arms tugged him closer by the neck, and the tilt of his head upwards to nuzzle his head back into sapnap's palm. his bottom lip wobbled, his teeth biting at it on the inside, until it popped back into place and admitted its truth.
"i let everyone down." dream stared into sapnap's darker eyes, worry etching out his features. "i... i couldn't win for everyone."
sapnap's face scrunched up. "are you kidding me, dream?" he said softly, despite wanting to scowl at the boy for even thinking such things. to sapnap, they were blasphemous!
dream looked away insecurely.
"you could never let us down, dream," sapnap sighed, nudging him by their noses and making them see each other again. "don't you know what you mean to us? you're our pride!"
"that's all the more reason to be disappointed in me!" dream argued back, his face full of dread. "i can't face them, sap, i–... i can't... everyone was counting on me..."
"so, what? you're just going to never return?" sapnap scoffed, moving further up from dream, despite the arms begging him to stay close.
he couldn't keep a soft and gentle approach, not with dream. he knew just how stubborn the blonde was. after all, he was there when the boy refused to go to the academy, when the teachers chased him around the yard and when the village's iron golems hunted him down when he ran away. dream stood his ground like he battled: relentlessly.
"i'll stay in the shadows!" dream insisted. "just for a little while... until the moment goes away."
"you're such an idiot, dream," sapnap huffed, rolling his eyes.
this time he moved away completely. he didn't want to, especially with the whiny sound dream made from the loss of contact, oh, how that noise pierced his heart and travelled under his skin. but he needed to be firm. if he was going to get dream to return, he couldn't be lenient, no matter how cute the boy was.
"i'm not an idiot," dream mumbled as he followed sapnap, sitting up in the woollen covered bed. he leaned against the pillowed headboard and watched his counterpart rid his body of his leather armour.
as sapnap tugged off the leather chest plate, the clothes beneath it rode up, giving dream a flash of his adorable tummy. just the sight of his bare skin filled him with need.
having him near was not enough. he needed him close.
sapnap caught his gaze as he kicked off the leather pants and boots, stacking them up onto the crafting table.
it had been long since they had each other's undivided attention. when the fight against the notorious technoblade of the east was confirmed, dream spent most of the rest of his days training, sharpening his best skills and improving on others. he was so focused that sometimes sapnap would have to remind him to do the basic things necessary for survival, like eating and sleeping. this left for them only brief kisses and fleeting touches.
those times, sapnap woke up to empty beds and slept to ones too, sometimes feeling dream's lips against his, and his cheeks, and his nose, and his forehead, while his calloused, battle torn hands cradled his round cheeks, as he was half asleep. i love you's whispered quietly, goodnight's too in the same fashion.
and when the moment came where dream really had to go for much longer, the actual journey to the agreed battlegrounds being far and scathing, sapnap held him in his arms and kissed him long and hard, even pushing him to their door to make up for all of their lost days and nights, and the ones they'd continue to lose.
"you've got this, baby," he had whispered, his lips quirking into a grin as their heads knocked together.
dream grinned back, mischief glinting in his hazel eyes. "i do, and when i come home with it, you're going to give me much more of a congratulations than anyone else can, right?"
"oh? now when did i agree to that i wonder?" sapnap teased, feigning thought with his wandering eyes.
dream only responded by stealing another kiss, being quite vocal of how much he'd miss sapnap with the curls and whips of his tongue. it was so typical of him to decide things for the two of them, to take charge because there was something that he wanted. smirking, sapnap responded to the passionate kiss with just as much fire. if a congratulations is what dream practically demanded, who was he to refuse?
on the evening of his descent, the village gathered at the gates. they surrounded him, their friends huddling around the masked man and giving him words of encouragement. the kids grabbed at his knees, yanked him down to their heights and babbled their enthusiasms. dream charmed everyone with confidence, reassuring that he'd bring the victory home for them.
after all, it was a big deal. dream and technoblade, the two best players in the game, constantly argued about by inhabitants of all lands, were going to settle the debate once and for all. although it was a private tournament, the whole world would be watching virtually as it was broadcasted, and although friendly, many had already placed their bets on the battle.
sapnap wasn't amongst them. he hid in the trees beside the village gates, watching his boyfriend from afar with fond and faithful eyes. saying goodbye with the others was not necessary to either of them; he had said his peace, and moulded the other less sentimental ones with their kisses.
"hey, dream. no matter what happens, i'm gonna be so freaking proud of you, you know that, right?"
the younger boy smiled as he watched dream pat the head of one of the village kids. he was always so good with the little brats. he smiled wider when dream looked up, his smiley face facing the tree he was perched in. ah, caught red handed.
it was easy seeing him go. he watched his little green body venture off into the sunset, until he became just a dark dot in the horizon, then leaped from the tree completely and returned to their home when he disappeared over the hills.
back to reality, sapnap, now out of the tight discomfort of his armour, slid beneath dream, taking his place against the headboard and placing the older boy in his lap instead.
"remember what we talked about before you left?"
hands made themselves comfortable. sapnap's squeezed affectionately at dream's thighs as he straddled him, and dream's lay flat against sapnap's front. it felt good to just sit after the tedious search for dream, and it felt even better to sit with the weight of him in his lap. he looked pretty, even with the bloodshot eyes.
dream, after a thoughtful wriggle of his freckled nose, gawked with a regretful realisation.
"now i can't even get your congratulations because i didn't win!" he exclaimed, exhaust in his tone.
sapnap snorted, because really, how else was he supposed to respond to dream's shameless display towards the possibility that he wouldn't get the sex he was apparently looking forward to?
"i wasn't talking about that, dream," he retorted slyly. "and you need not worry about that anyway, my green one," he continued, voice smooth and humming as he reached up to bop his button nose, it wriggling up again at the gentle nudge.
"but i didn't earn it."
sapnap shook his head firmly. "what did i tell you, dream?"
dream didn't look happy as he turned his head.
"dream," sapnap said loudly, kneading the heel of his palm into his fleshy thigh. "tell me what i told you!"
dream sighed deeply, eyes still up at the rocky ceiling. "no matter what happens," he recited through a drawl. "you're going to be freaking proud of me."
sapnap grinned, flowers blooming around him as he felt pleased. he guided dream's head back to facing him with his hand and beamed at his stubborn, grumbling expression.
"and i am proud of you! i watched the fight, dream, you gave it to techno good!"
"i didn't give enough!"
"you did, dream!"
"i didn't win! i trained so hard for nothing!" he snapped angrily, not at sapnap but at himself, and sapnap understood so. he exhaled softly in disappointment through his nostrils as dream slowly rested. "and the best i could do was bring a split of the money home, only because techno pitied me."
for a moment they sat there. dream fiddled and picked at the material of sapnap's t–shirt. sapnap gazed at him, staring at his bandaged chest, to the flecks of pigmentation across his cheeks, to the untamed eyebrows, and every where else he loved appreciating.
he sighed again, audibly through his lips, and then bucked his legs up to push dream down his lap.
"come here, dreamiepoo."
their chests were pressed together, crotches connected in the most chaste way possible, and sapnap relaxed with what he had claimed; dream in his arms, his head resting steady against his shoulder. the blonde returned his affections, squeezing his torso back and inhaling in his scent.
"i hate it when you get like this," sapnap mumbled sadly. "i know you like being the best of the best, and you know, you'll always be number one to me no matter what, but you don't always have to win, dream. it's okay that you lost!"
dream grumbled sourly.
"so stubborn," sapnap tutted almost fondly.
"this meant a lot to me."
"i know it did, and i get that," the darker haired male stressed. he knew very well of the passions his boyfriend had. "but i can't listen to you beat yourself up over it. you have this high expectation for yourself, but if you really think the village would hate you for losing, you really don't realise how important you are, dream!"
dream shifted, lifting his head a little.
"a village without you wouldn't be home at all, to anyone." sapnap murmured thoughtfully.
he and dream had been one of the original inhabitants of their village. they had watched it grow far and wide before their very eyes. dream, even at his young age, had been the captain of such a ship, giving their home a name across lands, making it reputable because the smiley faced killer was rumoured to live there. the dragon's head had become a monument in their town that tourists came to see because dream was the one who carried it home, with not a single serious scar on his person and only bags of enchantment points for the village to use.
sapnap's words... they weren't some form of romanticism. they couldn't be more sincere.
"you are so amazing, dream. the things you've done for yourself, for us, in such a short time, they're incredible, dude! you're like, a god, or something! really, this is just a flimsy loss to us, because that's how much your successes mean to us. honestly, dream, for you to even think we'd look down on you..." sapnap let out a doting chuckle, his lips brushing against dream's temple and resting a kiss against his forehead. "you're silly, aren't you?"
dream's eyes wobbled. his fair eyelashes blinked as they darted in thought. sapnap grinned triumphantly as he watched the negativity dwindle slowly from his green eyes. jeez, didn't he have a way with words?
"what about you?" dream said quietly.
"what about me?" sapnap's face dropped. "hey, don't you start doubting what i feel for you, dude!"
"no, i mean." dream's cheeks flushed in shame. "all the time i spent training, i didn't pay you any attention, and it ended up being all for nothing!" he gripped sapnap's shirt tighter. "you dont feel resentment towards that... right?"
sapnap was a very clingy guy. he loved affection, from his boyfriend and from his friends too. he always did tease and mess around with george because that was how george paid him attention, and he liked his attention. dream did scold him a lot for picking on him, despite being so much younger than him, but that was his way of doing things with him. why are you so mean? because i love you. karl was another friend of his that he liked messing around with. they playfully flirted much like dream and george, but of course, those interactions were nothing next to what he felt for dream.
he craved touch, he was always up front about his feelings, he said what was on his mind, and if he wanted a hug, or a cuddle, or a kiss, then he'd do everything in his power to get it. sapnap was not shy by any means.
"are you kidding, dream?" sapnap giggled.
that's what made the wait so worthwhile. all that time away from dream just meant that he had rights to keep him all to himself. george was not getting a piece of his boyfriend any time soon. dream was staying right there in his lap, in his arms, beneath his body, and underneath his lips.
"of course not," he added, holding his lover tight. "jeez, you must have been here long to overthink things."
"you're my baby, dream," sapnap grinned, bringing his hands up to cup his cheeks. "i'd never hate you~."
"i'm not the baby, you're the baby," the blonde scoffed, his freckles glowing ladybugs beneath his palms.
"yeah, who's in whose lap right now?"
sapnap snickered in delight as dream continued to act all huffy and puffy. when he saw such facial expressions, he liked to think the reason for the mask was because dream was so darn adorable that fighting without one would make his enemies dote on him instead of fear him. it wasn't a bad theory if he hadn't known the truth. dream was very, very cute.
"so." sapnap's hands dropped back to dream's thighs, massaging circles. "will you come back with me? everyone was so worried, especially bad. i promised them i'd being you home."
dream's arms wound up leisurely around sapnap's neck. "i'm still not sure..."
what a fool he was for believing dream's iron will had met a bound. he'd have to pull the big guns. "don't make me do this, dream."
"OOOH, GIRL, YOU'RE SHININ'!"
"oh, god," dream winced.
"LIKE A FIFTH AVENUE DIAMOND! AND THEY DON'T MAKE YOU LIKE THEY USED TO, YOU'RE NEVER GOIN' OUT OF STYLE!"
dream opened his mouth to protest, to say that he would definitely come back if it meant he didn't have to hear his awful singing, but the echoes of the cavern whipped his words back.
"OOH, PRETTY BABYYY! THIS WORLD MIGHT HAVE GONE CRAZYYY!"
"sapnap, no, please–," he tried again, but to no avail. he was tugged out of bed and onto his feet. his eyes fluttered into half lids as he sighed. there was no stopping the boy when he wanted to sing, and dance, in other words, make a fool of himself.
"I WANNA THRILL YOU LIKE MICHAEL!"
dream snorted as sapnap pressed their hips together and guided them around the centre of their stay. "you missed a line, idiot~."
sapnap ignored his snide, snickering happily through his singing as they danced.
"i wanna kiss you like prince!"
"nick!" dream couldn't help the laughs that escaped his mouth as sapnap peppered kisses all over his face, leaning into the dip and curve of his jawline. the short bristles of his beard brushed against the sensitive skin of his neck and had his body tingling.
"LET'S GET IT ON LIKE MARVIN GAYE!" he yelled. "LIKE HATHAWAY!" dream's ears ached at the levels his voice reached. this couldn't go on. he couldn't let him sing the chorus too. "WRITE A SONG FOR YOU LIKE THIS!"
as sapnap took a deep inhale, dream seized the opportunity. he grabbed him by the shoulders and pressed their lips together, taking the air from his mouth as his own and kissing him hardly. sapnap hummed, the groove in his body dying down, seeming pleased with the kiss much more than carrying the song on. they stumbled back, dream guiding their bodies, until sapnap's knees knocked against the edge of the crafting table.
the lantern rocked on top, and before it could hit the floor, dream reached over and caught it without looking, setting it untidily on the floor before continuing the ascent.
"dream~," sapnap purred, cooperating with their waltz and pushing himself up against the table. he wiggled his eyebrows and wrapped his dangling legs around dream's body, tugging him forward against him. "got me on top of the crafting table? and for what?"
dream's hands rubbed at his hips. "to stop your awful singing," he scoffed, leaning in for another kiss.
it wouldn't be the first time they had made out like this.
sapnap let out a thrilled sigh as their lips parted with the sound of the smack of them together.
barely illuminated by the light, they sat again in each other's embrace.
dream closed his eyes, so sapnap followed.
"i'll come home," he whispered.
their foreheads balanced against each other's.
sapnap smiled joyously, and whispered back, "i'm glad."