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It was a bright, sunny afternoon when Dream finally snapped. 

 

He was signing a pact, one that would slightly alter the fates of the people of L’manburg. It was bright and sunny, and Dream was already annoyed by how others didn’t seem to take him seriously. With the sun glaring at him and shooting beams shouting oppressive heat, his patience was wearing thin.

 

So when Tommy decided to challenge his power, he snapped.

 

“Actually, what do you have on me, Dream? On anyone?” 

 

Dream looked up from the newly-signed pact between him and L’Manburg to meet Tommy’s gaze. 

 

“Excuse me?”

 

“You heard me. What gives you power over any of us anymore? You don’t have my discs - Skeppy and Tubbo do. You have nothing to use against any of us.” Tommy smirked, his expression bordering maniacal. 

 

“But I have something of yours.”

 

Tommy beckoned for someone to place an ender chest, unable to stop chuckling as he went through its contents. Dream watched as the teen closed the chest, grinning evilly as they made eye contact. 

 

“You see, I’ve had this for a while. I’ve been holding onto this, waiting for the perfect moment to finally gain the upper hand, to kill Spirit-”

 

“Listen, okay-” Dream took in a deep breath, annoyance seeping through his words. “Listen, you fucked up this time. I don’t give a fuck about Spirit. I don’t give a fuck about anything, actually, all I care about are your discs. That’s the only thing I care about on this server, actually.” He had glared down at Tommy, eyes boring into the weary teen. “That’s what gives me power over you, your friends, and anything you care about.”

 

“I have lost all care for anything on this server, Tommy. Go ahead and burn Spirit if you wish, but you won’t get anything from me. There’s nothing here I’d miss if it were gone.”

 

Tommy raised an eyebrow, disbelief clouding his features slightly as Dream chuckled, heart hammering against his chest. He didn’t show it, didn’t show how there’s a particular someone that’ll break him, someone who’s sitting on a throne overlooking the entire country, someone whom he holds close to his heart. He didn’t show it, not even when Sapnap’s asking for confirmation, for reassurance. 

 

He never shows his weakness. Not when there’s so many pairs of eyes on him. Not when his mask is on him. 

 

“Look, Tommy,” Dream chuckled once again, closing in on Tommy, causing the other to cower slightly at his pointed gaze. “If I were you, I’d play the game a little more careful, don’t you think?”

 

Lies. Lies. Lies. 

 

“After all.” Dream grinned. “I have nothing to lose.”

 


 

The crown was heavy and gaudy upon his head.

 

The gems and jewels encrusted into pure gold weighed him down like shackles. It sat uncomfortably on his hairline, too wide at the rims,and fell almost to his eyebrows. He looked more awkward than he did a king in it. But then again, who was he to complain? 

 

It’s not like this crown was his to begin with.

 

“I'm hereby, crown you, George--”

 

Something stirs in his stomach, wild and uneasy. It rolls and turns and flips until a storm of worry brews within him. Roaring and thunderous as it plagues his mind.

 

What if I can’t be a good king? 

 

“As the new, reigning King--”

What if I end up just like Eret?

“Of our great land, Essempy.”

 

He stands, on unstable feet. Kneecaps clinking together like silver spoons as they struggle to carry the weight of his dread. His mind is a storm cloud of pure worry. It seems that all he could focus one was the bad in it all. 

 

Wasn’t he supposed to be happy?

 

The crown was about placed on him, yet he immediately felt like an imposter in his own skin. At that moment, when the responsibility was placed onto him in the form of the foreboding crown of the former traitor, he realized the severity of it all.

 

He wasn’t fit to be a king.

 

He began to spiral, his mind forming into a maelstrom, sinking him deeper and deeper into the abyss of what ifs? George was almost nobody before this- sure he was a figurehead in the war, and cabinet member of the Schlatt administration, but that doesn’t change the fact that he was first and foremost inexperienced. He had never taken charge of the projects, nor led any team, he was simply the middle man who waited to be put into the action by the larger forces. 

 

George wasn’t ready.

 

“Hey,” 

 

The sound of his voice made George’s skin crawl. He’d recognize it anywhere, sweet like nectarine. He looked up tentatively.

 

He was met by bright viridian eyes, staring right back at him.

 

“You alright?” he whispers, leaning down closer to George. In his hands is the crown itself, sparkling blindingly in the afternoon sun that spills into the throne room.

 

George gulps, feeling frankly honest as he whispers back. “No.” 

 

Dream’s eyes glint with something incomprehensible, but even so, the smile on his freckled face is all it takes to send George out of his little storm cloud slump.

 

He’s utterly infatuated by him, and it shows.

 

His response makes the freckled man frown. “I’m in no position to comfort you right now, but just know.”

 

Dream leans in, hands brushing his the soft curls of his hair gently. As he places the gaudy crown atop his head. He leans in, near his ear and with a tender voice acts like he’s sharing the secrets of the universe.

 

“Even when you don’t. I believe in you.” 

 

George’s eyes widen, but before he can even look back up at Dream to question his words- the other man leans away. Leaving him flushed longing.

 

Long live King George!

 

He stood, facing the swats of people who had come to watch his crowning. Even the L’manburg citizens, cloaked in the shadows of the sun, stood there with neutral looks. 

 

It didn’t make the pool of bubbling anxiety in George any better, but then he looked to his side.

 

Dream stood there beside him, white mask ominous as ever, yet, he seemed almost docile. Standing with George as his knight.

 

“Long live King George!” 

 

The crown on his head may be heavy. The land he rules over may not even be his. Yet, there was this sense of pride in him that peered and seeped through the cracks in his imperfections, the pride of being able to start something with Dream.

 

“Long Live King George!”

 

He stood over all of what he had known. Crown on his head and knight by his side.

 

He didn’t need anyone else if Dream believed in him.

 

“Long live King George,” the masked man said in his ear, soft and sweet, and George felt like he was on top of the world.

 

Because all the king needed was his knight. 

 


 

“George?”

 

It’s a quiet whisper, something that’s akin to a light tickle to George’s ears as he wraps the blanket closer to him, a small smile on his face as he pretends to be asleep. 

 

“George!” The voice grows louder, bolder. “I know you’re awake, idiot!” 

 

A small giggle escapes the king’s lips, and he can feel the bed dip beside him from Dream’s weight. A pair of arms snake around his waist shyly as warm breath lands on the skin beneath George’s ear. Turning around, he’s greeted with Dream’s jade green eyes twinkling in amusement, as well as a bashful smile. 

 

“Hi.”

 

“Hi, dummy.” George grins back, leaning into Dream’s hold. “How long have you been waiting for this?”

 

“Years.”

 

“You’re so dramatic.” George rolls his eyes. “Please, it has been… what, about three days? You’re so needy.”

 

“For you,” Dream replies, and George’s breath hitches for a moment, still not used to Dream’s bold, flirty ways. When he lets his eyes linger on Dream’s face for a tad bit too long, the other merely rolls his eyes and pulls away from George’s grasp. “C’mon. I have a place to show you.”

 

George sits up, a slight pout forming as he watches the knight stand. “Are you not afraid? Of us getting caught?”

 

“I’m the head knight for a reason, George,” Dream chuckles lowly, making George’s stomach squirm. “Today’s a rest day. No one’s on duty except for me.”

 

“What would they say if they find that the king is missing from his bedroom, and the head knight is nowhere to be found?” George teases, though he’s standing up and taking Dream’s hand, his actions betraying his own words. 

 

“Well. We’d have to run away then, won’t we, King George?”

 

And even though George hates to admit it, that idea isn’t that bad after all. “Well, I suppose we’d have to. What a shame.”

 

Dream squeezes his hand as he holds the lantern higher, illuminating the dark walls of the castle, leading George through winding hallways, “Such a shame.”

 

There should be guilt where love is, pooling at the bottom of his stomach at Dream’s confession, but George chooses to focus on the calluses on Dream’s hand and how their fingers are tightly locked together. 

 

He watches as his boyfriend seems to be shielding George with his body, carefully placing him in between the king and the outside world as he glances outside, checking for any danger before pulling George alongside him. 

 

“Where are we going?”

 

“It’s a surprise.”

 

George raises his eyebrow. “You aren’t going to kill me, are you? Assassinate me?”

 

Dream lets out a wheeze, tugging George gently and leading him further up a small hill. “Yeah, right. I’m afraid I’m going to have to murder you for fifty thousand dollars, Your Majesty.”

 

“I’m worth only fifty thousand?” George snorts, feigned disappointment lacing his words. “You have a shit dealer.”

 

He can feel Dream’s eyes linger on him, before turning to the cobblestone path in front of them that’s lit up by street lamps. “With you being this skinny? You’re lucky they’re offering fifty.”

 

“Hey!”

 

Dream’s wheezes only grow more violent, the silent night disrupted by the two of them as the moon watches in curiosity, shining brighter than before. The wind plays with both of their hair cheekily, Dream’s long, untamed hair swaying slightly. 

 

For once, Dream doesn’t have his hair tied up in a bun. Perhaps he remembers that George likes his hair down, or maybe he just doesn’t feel like tying it up today.

 

Either way, George isn’t complaining.

 

“We’re here,” Dream announces, setting the lantern down on the grassy patch, and George realises that they have reached their destination. He sees the castle in the distance.

 

“Where are we?”

 

“A field. We’re in a field,” Dream says sheepishly, rubbing the back of his neck as he glances around. “I- If you don’t like it we can go back and cuddle or-”

 

“Why did you bring me here?” George looks around.

 

Even under the dim lighting, he can see Dream’s blush creep up his neck. “I-I want to stargaze with you…”

 

And in that moment, George almost melts.

 

“That is, of course, if you want. I mean, I kinda have a mat there but we can go back if you want and just stay in your bed and talk or-”

 

“I love that,” George says, his fingers brushing the side of Dream’s face, watching as the other seems to relax slightly under his touch. “I wanna watch the stars with you.”

 

Dream smiles, and leans in to kiss George on the cheek. “Come. The mat is… somewhere here if I remember correctly.”

 

It takes a while, but soon the both of them are lying on the ground, the red and white checkered fabric underneath them, the lantern right beside them. George looks over to Dream, his eyes tracing over the bridge of his nose and his lips, and even when Dream looks at him he doesn’t look away.

 

“George, stop looking at me like that.” Dream rolls his eyes, a small blush present on his cheeks. “C’mon. I wanna show you the stars.”

 

George rips his eyes away from the knight beside him as he stares up at the pitch black sky, stars dotting the canvas. They twinkle in interest, watching the duo carefully.

 

“So there’s the Northern Star,” Dream whispers. “And there’s The Dippers.”

 

“How do you even spot them?” 

 

Dream’s hand brushes against George’s, lifting both their hands up as he guides George. “Do you see this pan-like thing that the stars form?” He traces the star with his finger, and although it comes easy to Dream, George has to squint a little. 

 

“Brighter stars?”

 

“Yeah! Like-” Dream points to the sky again. “-right over there.”

 

“Oh, really?” George smirks. “Because the brightest star-” he looks over to Dream. “-in my opinion-” he guides both of their hands towards Dream’s chest, resting just above the other’s heart. “-is here.”

 

Dream sputters. “George, oh my god you’re- stop!”

 

In between George’s flirting and Dream’s attempts to teach George the constellations, they had gravitated towards each other, the mat bunched up underneath them. George is tucked safely in Dream’s embrace, feeling Dream’s light breath on his face as he lets his fingers trace the freckles on his cheeks, scattered in such a way that they form their own constellations.

 

“Isn’t it lovely?” George mumbles, no longer on the topic of stars and skies. “I want us to remain this way.”

 

“Me too, but-” Even without Dream completing the sentence, the both of them can fill in the silence themselves. “We can't- I don’t think-”

 

“You’re like the Sun,” George hums, trying to ignore the ache in his heart at the thought of them hiding their relationship, hiding behind closed doors and quiet whispers in the night. “And I’m like Earth. There’s this… bond between us, y’know? But we can never truly be together.”

 

“But you’re here.” Dream’s chest rises up and down, and George listens to his steady heartbeat. “You’re here, in my arms. What does that make us?”

 

“Well then, maybe we aren’t the Sun and the Earth.” A cricket chirps in the distance, eavesdropping onto both of their conversations. “Maybe we aren’t the Sun and the Earth, but we’re the Sun and the Moon.”

 

“And why is that, Your Majesty?”

 

George shoots him a glance, looking into the depths of green eyes, and he wonders how far he can fall into them before it’s too late to turn back. “Because… because we’re always separated by day and night, but there’s always the eclipse, when we’d overlap and we’d meet with each other. And occasionally, if you pay attention, you’d notice that the Moon is there during the day. Barely visible, but there.”

 

“So who’s the Moon, and who’s the Sun?”

 

“You’re the Moon.” George places his forehead against Dream’s. “You protect me, don’t you? In the day. You’re there, even though I have to pull my gaze away from you at times because I should never look at you for too long, for we’d be found. You’re there, and we’re separated by our ranks, but sometimes your fingers will brush against mine, and I know that you’re there for me.

 

“You’re the Moon, because even if no one sees you, I see you, Dream.”

 

“If we’re going by that, does that mean that this is the eclipse then?”

 

They’ve closed the distance between them, and George can feel Dream’s lips brush against his, featherlike touch sending shivers down his spine. “Yes.”

 

And when their lips touch, it’s almost beautiful.

 

It’s forbidden love, and George knows he’s going to get exiled if they’re both caught, but in this moment, underneath the moon and the stars, all George can think about is the body underneath his and the lips against his, warm and moving and real . His head is spinning, heart reaching out to Dream’s and pulling him closer, begging to close every gap between them so that they’re inseparable and they’re together until all that’s left in him is the thoughts of Dream, Dream, Dream .

 

Their love is beautiful, an eclipse meant for no one else but themselves, and George deems it a shame that they have to hide it from everyone else.

 

“I love you, Dream.”

 

Under the twinkling stars, Dream smiles. “I love you too, George.”

 


 

“This is boring.” 

 

Dream laughs, the way that George finds endearing. That being said George finds breezy teakettle and full body racking laughter endearing but honestly- it’s Dream. Every single part of him is endearing.

 

“It’s only boring to you,” Dream says with a teasing lilt. “I for one, find it very entertaining.”

 

They sit in the uppermost tower of the castle. The one that towers over all the land, with a singular window that lets all the summer light seep through and bathe the dust covered floors in golden sunbeams. 

 

The tower itself has clearly been unattended for a long while now. There are long ropes of vines that crawl down from the ceiling and wrap themselves snuggly on the wood beams that support the roof. And dust so thick that when the afternoon sun shines down on them, George can see the little particles that dance around in its light. 

 

George leaves his crown laying on the floor. Only focusing on the battered old chess board in the center of the table. The colored black tiles faded and cracked, the small wooden figures on the board look to be handmade. 

 

There are still some patches of unsanded wood, rough and prickly against George’s thumb as he moves the small pawn figure across the board. 

 

It does hurt a bit, yes. The splinters dig deep into his skin, leaving small indentations from where he touched them, but any pain is worth the beaming smile on Dream’s face as he talks wildly about the pieces he made himself. 

 

“This one’s the bishop.” He points to the messily painted black figure in George’s palm. He cradles it gently while listening to Dream speak about the mechanics of the game. “It can only move diagonally, and can’t jump over other pieces like the horse.”

 

“Then isn’t the horse the best piece?” George mutters. Placing his bishop forward on one of the white squares. 

 

Dream scoffs. “Well that’s up to you really, the horse can jump over other pieces but it’s the Queen who’s the powerhouse of the team.”

And in some grandiose display of power, Dream moves his pointed wood-carved piece that vaguely resembles the king but slimer- to the tile that George’s bishop was just standing on.

 

George glares at the other man, “Did you really have to prove your point like that?” He says with feigned hurt.

 

Dream wheezes again. “No, you’re just bad at this.”

 

“I could get you executed for saying that y’know.” George says jokingly, tone more fond than annoyed.

 

There’s this knowing look in the other man’s viridian eyes. Soft like dewy grass after the rain, his long ashen hair, pulled back into a tight bun at the back of his head. George is tempted to push back the small strands that fall out by his hairline. His fingers bite back the urge to cradle the sharp edges of Dream’s face and hold him in the palms of his hands. Adoring all the beautiful, blemished and scarred parts of him as much as his aching, lovelorn heart could.

 

But he doesn’t, his hands fall to his lap as he listens to the addictively sweet sound of Dream’s laugh. Watching how his eyes crinkle like semi crescent moons, freckles like the stars, and George was stuck in the galaxy of loving him.

 

“But you won’t.” Dream says with a huff. “Because in a sense- I’m your queen.”

 

George tries not to laugh at the other man’s statement, he holds his laughter until it bubbles up inside him and he asks in a small, mirthful voice. “Really now?”

 

Dream doesn’t miss a beat. “Well the King is the most important piece on the board.” 

 

George thinks he would listen to Dream ramble until the words in his mouth become nothing more than a discoherent string of sounds, and he would still depict them as symphonies.

 

“You see, the king is the most powerful person on the board. He rarely moves but when he does it comes in great danger. But his choices lead the group to victory, that's why he's the most important piece.” 

 

Dream smiles at him, soft and shy, “But even in the end, you basically lose the game without the queen.”

 

He doesn’t need to know the innuendos, he doesn’t need to know all the double layered meaning to it. George knows Dream too well, his heart too open, he says the words before they even leave his mouth.

 

George smirks, "Why do you know so much about chess?"

 

"I find the methodical decision making of it therapeutic."

 

"Sounds boring."

 

His laugh returns, and this time George laughs with him. Their sounds of laughter echo across the long corridors of the castle, flying out of the window and spreading across the land they’ve fought so hard for. 

 

George looks at Dream, eyes bright and chest filled with love. He’ll scream his love he has for this man from the mountaintops, he’ll shout how in love he is until the world falls in love too.

 

“So, you’re the queen now?” George says, fiddling with the king in his hand.

 

“ As long as you’re the king of course.” Dream chides, looking down at the board,

 

“Does that mean you protect me now?” George smiles, impish and coy. Spinning the piece in his hand. 

 

Dream looks back up. “For as long as you’re King. I’ll be your Queen for as long as you want me to be.” 

 

There’s this quiet silence between them. Beautiful and fragile and-- theirs. Sitting in the tallest tower in the land, with the man he loves and the kingdom he adores.

 

“It’s still boring.” George chuckles, moving his own King forward.

 

“Check,” Dream says slyly, positioning his queen directly in front of George’s king.

 

What?! ” 

 

Dream’s wheezy cackles echo in the dusty tower. “Your move. Your highness .” 

 

George pouts, knowing the inevitable. Dream is far more experienced than him, far more smarter than him. Dream is better in almost every way yet-

 

George wants to see him smile.

 

So he moves his king slightly to the side, where he knows Dream’s Queen can easily overtake.

 

“And mate,” 

 

The king falls, with a single swoop it’s knocked down. And the grin on Dream’s face and the victorious shout he lets out after, drowns any trace of bitterness in George.

 

“Congrats.” He cheers with an equally happy grin. He wins at the same time, as long as Dream is happy.

 

George smiles, heart full.

 

“Guess you’ll be stuck with me for a long time then?” 

 

Dream smiles back.

 

“For however long you want.”

 


 

It's taking almost everything in Sapnap's being to keep calm in this situation, his lips stretched into a thin line as he is forced to listen to this useless, one-sided argument of his best friend. He knows that once Dream makes up his mind, no one can change his decisions. Nevertheless, he can still feel anger boiling from the very bottom of his soul .

The fury, combined with the urge to just aim his crossbow at Dream heart spreads like a forest fire through his veins, wild and untamed. Low and relentless. His hands clutch tightly onto his weapon as Dream continues.

“I’ve been the best king, this nation could ever have.” George counters back right after Dream had throned Eret right in front of his eyes.

“I agree, I agree," Dream steps forward, his gaze unrelenting, "but you’ve also been the least safe king. You've been attacked so many times because people don’t… like you.”

That sentence takes everyone by surprise. Quackity gasps loudly and there's an awestruck look on Eret's face. Sapnap's heart hammers in his chest as he clutches his crossbow, his knuckles turning white with his grip.

He can hear the genuine pain in George's words, each delicate, soft spoken sentence becoming wavering waves, threatening to turn into a tsunami. It overflows, and Sapnap drowns in his despair.

“Just say you hate me.” He watches as George lowers his head and mutters the sentence. 

 

It pisses Sapnap off.

 

"George, George," Sapnap shifts closer to him and aims his arrow at Dream. "Can't you see? I was right. He doesn't care about us, he's just a power-hungry prick and–"

 

" No ." Dream looks annoyed. Sapnap glares at him, but is ignored. "I care about you, George. I care about the both of you." His voice is softer, more tender, but Sapnap won't have it. The lengths Dream will go to to pull them onto his side makes Sapnap sick . "It's because I care about you that I want you to step down."

 

Sapnap flares. "Don't listen to him, George." Whirling onto Dream, he directs his arrow just a little closer to the blonde's heart. "Shut the fuck up, you manipulative jerk. If you really cared about him, you'd let him stay king. You'd protect him from everything." The words come out in a low hiss, and Sapnap narrows his eyes further. "Who's to say people won't continue attacking him even after he's dethroned?"

 

George is still beside him, but Sapnap can tell from the slight slump of his shoulders and the way his eyes keep darting towards Dream that he's just barely holding himself together, and it's all. Because. Of Dream.

 

Why can't Dream see that George is clearly hurting? The longer Dream denies George's retaliations, the more George's pain grows. Sapnap can't stand it. 

 

"Just say the word, George," he proclaims, drawing his arrow back further, "Just say the word and I'll–"

 

"Sapnap."

 

He turns to George, and the brunette is shaking . It's clear from the look in his eyes that he doesn't want Sapnap to release the arrow.

 

Sapnap grits his teeth and obeys, but he doesn't put down the arrow or the bow.

He has to dig his feet to the ground, keeping his composure as his best friends continue their banter. Back and forth, accusations and points are flung across. If words had a visual representation, Sapnap would see arrows being shot at George, each landing a fatal hit onto his emotions, each arrow crumbling the walls George set up around himself to prevent the ocean spilling from his eyes.

“You think you know me so well,” he hears George chuckle bitterly, lips curled up in a bittersweet smile. His eyes are directed to the side, tears glossed over them. Sapnap wants to reach out, caress George's face, do anything to make him feel better. It tears him to pieces the longer he stands beside George.

He's George's knight, though. He has to keep up the unmoving, unwavering front. Has to keep his mouth shut and listen in to the pain George reveals in his words.

“Of course I do,” Dream says in a soft tone, outstretching a hand to touch George on the shoulder. Sapnap can't help but feel a surge of guilty satisfaction when George moves away, clearly hurt.

“Really?” George laughs seemingly light-heartedly. His words waver like ripples in the water. “Because it seems like you don’t.”

Sapnap fights back the urge to let his lips curl up to a smirk, as Dream's arm retracts back dejectedly.

And when the deed is done, George dethroned, Sapnap watches as denial and pure sadness leaks into the brunette's voice, smiling melancholy and follows him as he runs to a missing throne, one no longer his nor there any longer.

 

He wants to scream into Dream's face, jab an arrow into his throat, shoot his chest to get his emotions across. but he keeps himself in line. For the sake of George's safety and his sanity.

He watches as George crumbles to the floor, tears in his eyes threatening to fall down his delicate face. He watches as George turns away from who used to be his knight, his best friend. Sapnap bites his bottom lip, swivelling around and placing a hand on George's shoulder.

"Let’s go, George. He doesn’t care about us anymore.” He says, the venom in his voice directed at the masked ‘hero’ in front of him. George reluctantly stands, Sapnap escorting him with a cold blank expression.

“Don't even look at him,” he mutters, looking straight ahead as he links an arm around George’s, taking him away from this dreadful, unfair place, away from what used to be his most trusted confidant. Even if he hadn’t looked, he still would've known that George had stolen one last glance at the green hooded man.

“He hates me, doesn’t he?” George's tone is profound, grief-stricken as he goes limp in Sapnap's arms. 

 

Sapnap doesn't answer, his eyes dropping to the ground as they both descend from the castle.

 


 

The night wind whistles through the trees, between the tall grass, and blows past George. The grass is cold and a little damp beneath him after the downpour earlier, but George can't really bring himself to care.

 

He looks up, and inky black swirls across the heavens. Little golden lights blink down at him, eerily familiar, and George finds the entire situation quite ironic.

 

Sapnap settles down beside him. "Hey."

 

George releases a heavy breath. "Hi."

 

"How are you," in the corner of his eye, George sees Sapnap move to reach for him and draw back. He doesn't acknowledge it. "How are you feeling, George?"

 

George brings his knees up to his chest and laughs, dry and devoid of humour. "How do you think I'm feeling?"

 

Sapnap shifts. "Yeah." He looks like he has more to say, but seems to stop himself.

 

Unspoken words knit the uncomfortable silence between them. George feels bad, partially, for killing the conversation. He knows Sapnap's only trying to help distract him from… everything, but he's just not in the mood for it.

 

(Not when the ache in his chest has yet to subside, not when familiar, yet painfully estranged green eyes plague his every thought, not when all he can think about is Dream .)

 

"You know, I did this with him, once." His lips move before he can stop them, and he feels Sapnap bristle beside him.

 

"Did what?"

 

George presses on, knowing the conversation won't end well. The day's events have left his tongue loose and his mind wild, and he can't seem to care about anything anymore, much less Sapnap's response. He's started thinking about it, and now he can't stop. "Stargazing."

 

"Oh." Sapnap says simply. George can feel the agitation radiating off him in waves.

 

"It was way before all this." He tilts his head to the skies, and can almost feel Dream's arm guiding his own to trace the constellations. 

 

"And it was,” The image of Dream inches away from him, warm and inviting, flashes before his eyes. “Nice." 

 

He remembers the warmth of Dream's lips against his and shoves aside the sharp pang that comes along with it. "Very nice."

 

Sapnap is tense beside him, and George knows the outburst is coming.

 

"Why do you still think about him like that?" Sapnap says, voice acidic and biting. George flinches. "He hurt you. He hurt us." When George musters the strength to meet his gaze, Sapnap's eyes burn with a fire he's never seen before. "You shouldn't be still–" he pauses, taking in a deep breath, "You shouldn't still be thinking about him like that. Like he's good."

 

You shouldn't still be in love with him, is what George knows he's trying to say.

 

He wishes it were that simple.

 

"I know he's not good, Sap. He's… he's changed." George is grasping at straws now, because he knows, they know, about how Dream is like now — all chilling gazes and sharp words, strong strides and unflinching decisions. 

 

"But I think the real him – the him we knew – is still under there somewhere." His chest hurts, and he thinks of Dream . The Dream he knows. The Dream who laughs and loves and smiles like the end of the world can't take him down. "We can bring him back, Sapnap. Don't you want that?"

 

The flame in Sapnap's eyes seems to grow. "Don't try and do that, George." He spits, back rigid and straight. "Don't try to insinuate that I don't want the old him back." Sapnap's voice cracks with strain. "I treated him like he was my brother. I loved him too, George."

 

George looks away.

 

"He's changed, George. He's not the Dream we used to know." Sapnap's laugh is harsh and cold. "Or maybe they've been the same person the entire time, and we just couldn't see it."

 

"But it's not the same, is it?" George's fingers dig into the dirt.

 

"What's not the same?"

 

"The way we love him." George says, simply.

 

Sapnap looks like he's been slapped. His eyes darken with something incomprehensible.

 

"I'm in love with him, Sapnap." George breathes. "It's not… I…" Dream's laughter rings brightly in his ears. "I don't know if I'll ever be able to fall out of love with him."

 

Sapnap falls quiet. His lips are slightly parted, as if he wants to speak, but the words never come.

 

The sky is dark and the lights from the city – where Dream is, his mind adds unhelpfully – are barely able to be seen atop this hill, but all George can seem to think about is how foreign Dream's eyes had been earlier, like he'd been a totally new person, and how he'd known – he had to have known, he reads George like a fucking book – that his every word had driven a dagger deeper into George's heart but he still didn't feel guilty, and God, does George want to find him and pull him close, immerse himself in the home-like scent of pine and fall into Dream like he always does.

 

Fuck, he misses him already.

 

"I care about you."

 

George inhales, feels tears sting at his eyes, and lifts his head to the constellations decorating the night.

 

"Bullshit." He whispers, and tries to remove Dream's smile from where it's burned into the back of his eyelids. "He's full of utter bullshit."

 

If he concentrates hard enough, he can almost feel Dream's arms around his waist, can almost feel the curve of Dream's chin fitting snugly over his shoulder, can almost feel the little beats Dream likes to tap into his skin.

 

"Stop thinking about him," Sapnap says, quietly and abruptly.

 

George has to laugh at that, even if it's hollow and insincere and it doesn’t sound like him in the slightest. "You say it like it's easy." 

 

When Sapnap doesn't speak again, George sighs.

 

"I'm going to need time, Sap," he swallows the lump in his throat. "Moving on is hard."

 

Sapnap fixes him with an unreadable expression, but his gaze is weighted and pained. Almost knowing. "I know."

 


 

It's around midnight when Sapnap catches Dream in their territory, right after he soothes George to sleep and leaves him to lie under a tree.

He isn’t surprised. He'd known that Dream would eventually try to come and talk to them, to get them back on his side-

It isn't a surprise either when he lunges forward and socks Dream right in the chin, his anger and fury all embedded into that one swing. The adrenaline coursing like fire in his veins overriding the pain in his knuckles.

“Sapnap-”

“Shut the fuck up.” He hisses, clenching his fist tighter as he glares up into Dream's face. He snarls. His punch hadn't made the stupid mask drop off.

“You can’t just walk up to us and talk to us like you didn't just take everything away from us!” He spits, jabbing a finger into the taller's chest.

“You took everything from us Dream! How much more until you're satisfied?” He's sure he has scared Dream with his aggressiveness. They both know how easily he can explode, swear bombing the fuck out of a person's ears.

“You didn’t care about me. Not even from the start. I was only just a leverage of power to you. You never loved George either, did you? Using him as you pleased, giving him the hope that will eventually crush him the end like a boulder-” Sapnap said with a sizzling fiery tone. Dream could feel the emotion of obscure and unfairness. Making his hair on his skin stand.

 

“Was it fun Dream? Was it fucking fun to fuck our feelings, fuck our minds and the trust we had in you? Did you laugh when I was in denial? When George's face dropped as he realised he was just a pawn?” His voice drips with venom, each word trailing gasoline, adding onto his harsh tone and lighting up the fire in his eyes.

Dream stands there, quiet as the wind blows past them. 

 

Sapnap remembers how George had looked at him under the night sky, talking how much he loves Dream. It tears him to pieces that this, this scum is the one that George had given his heart to. It tears him apart that it's not him .

In a flurry, he tears the mask away from Dream's face. Grabbing the man by his collar and baring his clenched teeth at him, Sapnap screams into his face.

“H-He-” He opens and closes his mouth as his eyelids squeeze close tightly. His hands tremble.

He tried to stay calm, use anything in his memories for him not to scream at Dream. He tries to reason with himself, to find anything, anything at all that's rational for him to debate before he yells at Dream with a bitter, unreasoning and uncontrolled voice.

“He loves you. He gave his trust, his love and everything to you, Dream-”

He inhales shakily. Dream's eyes widen in shock as he opens his mouth to speak.

Sap-”

“Why,” he feels Dream place a hand on his shoulder and bites into his bottom lip, uncaring of the blood it draws. His tired eyes burn, filled to the brim with unshed tears, unsaid confessions.

“Why can’t I be you?” He mutters, bitterly. 

 

He lets Dream go, wiping his eyes and mouth.

He stares at Dream with a newfound determination. Digging his feet on the ground, fist clenched at his sides, he stands his ground.

If George can't love him, if George can’t get Dream out of his head. It's okay. He's content to be by George's side, to see him smile and laugh and live.

“You took everything from me, Dream.” He says, quiet. His eyes flash with a firm determination. "So I’ll do the same.”

“You took Mars, giving it to the enemy.You said I was the one tearing you both apart? Well Dream, You killed our friendship.” He spoke quietly, vicious intentions laced in his tone.


“Say goodbye to our friendship. To our brotherhood. To George.” There's a strange sort of satisfaction that rises in his chest as soon as the words pour out.

He turns on his heel, leaving Dream behind with a newfound strength and power to drive himself forward.

 



Dream wanted to speak, he wanted to say anything. He wanted to yell back at Sapnap, tackle him to the ground and just force the ravenette to listen to him.

But it died down when Sapnap showed absolute unreasoning, inexplicable reaction. He did expect to be punched in the cheek, he knew his brother all too well that he wanted to kick him in the shin or punch his face until his lip bleeds.

He wondered where he went wrong, was he really clouded by all his judgement? The mere determination to get rid of anything potentially dangerous. That would threaten the safety of the ones he cared about.

He wanted to make sure George was safe, untouched. Smile and able to live his days without being hunted down for his crown, his skin to stay pretty and shine under the sun for him to admire.For his best friend and brother to be happy, free and unshackled. Doing things he loved and raising his head to the sky with the same bright smiling face.Joke around and chuckle happily beside his lover and him.

To have their friendship on a stronger bond, safe and never breaking.

He didn’t know Sapnap had feelings for George, the twinge of jealousy he felt at the moment. When he realised Sapnap had George to himself, to have Sapnap the only person he trusted now.

Dream felt clearly lost for once, his hair whisking in the air messily, following the flow of the cool, deadly cold night. In each split second of darkness when he blinked, he could see the vivid memories before everything went down to manic. When everything was in pure contentment, days spent in cheerfulness. Hours of satisfaction going with seconds of gaiety.

With every mourn of the past, memories of the recent recollected into his eyes. His senses slapping him in the face of the events that followed one after the others.The image of clear anguish in George's face. The emotions of persecutions written on Sapnap's face. Fiery coal, igniting in the raven eyes as the ocean collected in his lovers different coloured ones. How did he not notice? That he was losing them with each word slipping out his chapped lips, the thing he swore that he will never give up of. The people he actually cared for were slowly slipping away from his tired,beaten up and calloused hands.

He sat on the ground of a mountain, staring aimlessly into the morning night sky. Arms resting on his knees, realising how damaged Sapnap had felt. He blinked as his eyes burned, the cold air a constant reminder he was alone. That he wasn't out here with someone that loved the night more than him. The warmth of a particular person pressing up to his side, that he could easily wrap his trained arms around. Whisper sweet nothings into his ears, tangle his fingers into soft horribly cared brown locks of hair.

He felt something damp run down his cheeks, he outstretched his palm. Thinking it was gonna rain-

Only to be confused that he felt no water droplets.

He brought his hand to touch his cheek, the realisation sinking in. That it has been so long,so very long, For him to feel tears run down his flushed, cold cheeks.

He let out a hopeless laugh, wiping his cheeks. Covering his face with his hands, for that moment letting memories of when he held a sword more than George hands. The feeling of the handle embedded into his skin, the lingering feeling of George’s skin warmth seeping away slowly as he cried silently into his hands.

His wallows of regret, grief and shame carried into the dark night sky. Only the moon and stars would hear the broken cry of a heartbroken human that played God. A man that loved something so much, gave everything his all. Used what he thought was right to protect his friend and love, but in the end only left with an empty heart and an empty soul.

Alone in this miserable story he thought he had control of.

A puppeteer that lost his strings.

 


 

Sapnap catches Tommy lurking around L’manburg one day.

 

“Tommy.”

 

“Ay, Sapnap, big man!” Tommy greets him with as much passion as possible, loud and boisterous. “How are you?”

 

“I have a plan.” Sapnap cuts to the chase. In the back of his mind, he’s yelling at himself, telling himself to turn back and abort, but he stands firm as Tommy looks at him expectedly. “You want your discs back, right?”

 

At the mention of his discs, Tommy’s eyes light up, and Sapnap knows that he has his attention. Crackling his knuckles, he grins.

 

“I need you to kill Dream for me.”

 

Tommy splutters, clearly taken aback. “Well, Sapnap, my man, you know 

I’d do anything for you, but-” he lets out a nervous laugh. “-but don’t you think this is too much? I- I can’t-”

 

“Tommy, I need you to do this.” He can feel his chest burning, filled with hatred and jealousy and everything vicious at the thought of Dream. He thinks back to warm smiles and a broken heart, and if there’s anything that he can do for George, it is to get rid of Dream. “Can’t you see? He has the disc. If you kill him, you get them back.”

 

“But how am I gonna do it? He’s always on guard. I can’t-”

 

Sapnap chuckles, and there’s something dark brooding at the back of his mind, though concern still wraps around his conscience like vines. “Oh, can’t you see? There’s someone he cares about a lot… someone whom he doesn’t want to get hurt.”

 

“Who-” A glint of mischief flashes across his eyes, something akin to a flicker of a flame. “George.”

 

“Yes.”

 

“I’ve got a plan,” Tommy says confidently, striding back and forth on the wooden tiles. “So, I’ll take George as a pawn, and I’ll barter with Dream.”

 

Sapnap’s breath hitches. He isn’t sure if he’s confident enough in Tommy, but when his eyes meet blue, determined ones, he realises that he’s probably given away too much to consider turning back now. 

 

So he sucks in a deep breath, and agrees.

 

“Fine. But under one condition.”

 

“What?”

 

“Don’t let George get hurt.” Sapnap says, and in his eyes, Tommy seems to spot something familiar. Something that he has seen only when Dream looks at George. 

 

It makes him want to puke, to be honest. To see someone so in love that he is willing to sacrifice anything. It’s almost sickening to see love plague his best friends (comrades? He doesn’t know where they stand anymore) and infect them like a disease. 

 

In the distance, thunder roars. Tommy swallows the words he wants to say to Sapnap, swallows the rant that he’s going to go on to tell Sapnap to wake up, to stop pining, swallows the warning that he wants to issue to Sapnap, and instead smiles. 

 

“Yeah, alright. That’s easy.” Tommy bumps Sapnap’s shoulders lightheartedly, ignoring the pity that’s gnawing at his heart. “C’mon, big man, it’s gonna be okay. I’ll make sure it’s okay.”

 

“Yeah.” Sapnap breathes out, pushing away the sudden doom that’s weighing him down like a storm. “C’mon, it’s going to rain soon. We should head back.”

 


 

It comes abruptly.

 

They’re standing on the hilltops, water flowing down below them and splattering into the large river circling L’manburg. With him are Bad, Quackity and Sapnap, all going at each other like rabid dogs.

 

“If George gets to be king again, you can have fifty percent of the land here.” Quackity admonishes, gesturing to the wide planes of land, to towering builds and swats of oakland trees, to areas ranging past houses and bases that each and every single person has established.

 

This is the land Quackity is giving away.

 

“--But you can’t have all of it! Because when George becomes king he needs something to rule over.” He says, bold and confident.

 

He stands in the crossfire of dagger-like words. Made to hurt and start wars. George is nothing more than the bystander in the main story right now, listening to others make the plot and decisions for him, waiting when he’ll be put into play.

 

“You make an enticing deal.” Bad says, almost sardonic. “But the Badlands have already set their markers and drawn their territory lines. We even have our own flag--”

“Bad, think about it.” Quackity cuts him off, sharp and clean. “Think about it for a second.” He pauses for effect.

 

“Who does Dream have?” 

 

The mention of his name is like poison. Heavy and suffocating, George feels like he can’t even breathe. 

 

“Who does Dream have? After he just lost George and Sapnap--but here’s the thing, Bad. Even with these cut of losses--we still can’t take him on by ourselves. That's why we need the Badlands.”

George watches with bated breath. Sapnap stands beside him, tall and foreboding, his body directly parallel to George. George knows that he does it on purpose, so that if anyone were to attack him, Sapnap would immediately be there to defend him. 

 

He’s too much of a knight for his own good. 

 

George looks away, away from the conversations and the prying eyes. He ignores Sapnap’s worried gaze and turns back to the stars.

 

Dream used to do the same thing.

 

“But we can’t do this alone. We need the Badlands, and you guys need us.” Quackity finishes with a proud smirk. “And if we win this, you can get 50 percent of it. While George takes the other half.”

“Then, we’ll have our rightful king back.” 

 

George has learned to hate it. He’s learned to loathe the title and the name, how the words sit heavy on his mouth and stain it with all the sins and imperfections he simply is. George is all mistakes and wrongs, he’s the cause of this-- it’s all his fault. 

 

George hates it.

 

He’s no king.

 

“Hm…” Bad hums tantalizingly, the three of them watch as he edges closer to the cliffside. Looking out at the entirety of Essempy with open arms. 

 

“I’ll have to talk about it with the rest of my cohorts. The Badlands don’t just consist of me.” He says, almost proud as his eyes wander past the clearing.

 

George wonders if this is what a true leader is like. One who looks out at his kingdom with a sense of pride, his heart full with nothing but the love he has for his citizens. One who holds his head tall while riding into battle with his brothers-in-arms. One who doesn’t depend on his knights for safety and his people to speak for him.

 

George wonders where he went wrong.

 

“But let me ask you this time, Quackity.” Bad turn on his heel, long red cape flowing in the wind behind him.

 

“Are you saying that George is a better king than Eret?” 

 

The question certainly shocks them all. George whips his head up to look at Bad. Only to find that the man clad in red and black is already staring straight at him. Expectant and waiting, as if he knows what George is already going to say.

 

The fallen king dares to reply- but nothing comes out. It feels as if all the words he could say have been glued to the top of his mouth, rendering him mute and speechless. 

 

Everyone else seems to be in the same predicament as him. Even Quackity, who just earlier was spewing all the reason why he should be king-- is suddenly silent. Staring at the ground with a panicked look as he glances back between George and Bad. Even the man who could fill an ocean with his words, was suddenly left dry and barren.

 

Quackity’s eyes are clouded with confliction. “Bad listen--”

“Yes.”

All their eyes go to Sapnap. Who stands proud and unmoving like a willow tree in a storm. His eyes, unlike Quackity, are clear with blind faith. 

 

George looks at Sapnap, heart churning at the thought of their earlier conversation. 

 

His heart churns.

 

Sapnap believes in him even when George doesn’t.

 

He turns back to Bad, whose expression is incomprehensible. For once, even he doesn’t know what to say.

 

“Hm,” he murmurs. “Okay then.”

“Listen Bad even if he wasn’t-- even if he never was. What kind of organization lets their king be dethroned in a second-- and then replaces them with a new one. That’s no government. That’s no order. That’s just someone pulling the strings in their favor.” Quackity explains. Voice confident in his statement. He looks off to George, with knowing eyes and continues.

 

“What matters here is what Dream’s doing, and all the strings he’s selfishly pulling.” 

 

Quackity stands tall, and his voice does not waver. “Dream might be his own self proclaimed king now, but he sits on a throne of lies.”

 

Bad grimaces. “Making George king again won’t make anything better.”

Quackity frowns. “No, but he’s all we got now.”

The two of them stand in arm’s reach. For the soil that they’ve fought for, for the land that deserves a rightful king, Quackity bites back his pride.

 

He approaches Bad, feet heavy as he raises his hand for a friendly shake.

 

“Now, at the end of the day, all we really want is peace--”

 

It comes abruptly.

 

George watches, he watches as the arrow whizzes by him. The silver head glinting bright in the moonlight.

 

He watches, as Sapnap grabs his side and pushes him away. 

 

He watches in horror, in Quackity falls limp to the ground, the arrow head that he narrowly avoided, now embedded in his right calf. He howls out in pain and George is frozen to the spot in terror. 

 

“George!” Sapnap yells, voice hoarse and desperate as he grabs the smaller man’s arm and begins to run ahead, dragging him along.

 

Sapnap take George and run!” Bad cries out, staying behind with Quackity.

The man doesn’t waste a second. George doesn’t even have a moment to cry out to them before Sapnap’s legs begin to break out into a sprint, his hand tight on his wrist as they swiftly dart by towering oak trees. 

 

He tries to look behind him, but all he can make out is the fading figure of Bad as he fends off against another man. Cloaked in the colors of the night, with glints of netherite armor shining through.

 

And an ominous white mask.

 

His stomach drops, turning back to Sapnap as they run closer towards L’manburg, enemy territory with nothing more than their weapons and rising fear.

 

“George just keep running we’ll be fin--

His sentence stops midway when he spots a round, green ball flying across the sky and hitting the oncoming tree in front of them. 

 

Dream rises from the grass, shoes stained carmine with what he can also assume dreadfully--is blood. 

 

George never found Dream scary, no matter how many wars that reigned upon the land, or the scars that riddled his skin because of it. No matter how many people he struck down with his bruised and battered hands. Not even George knew he should’ve been scared of him. 

 

Maybe it’s because he thought Dream would never hurt him.

 

George keep running!” 

 

He doesn’t hesitate for a second. His feet hit the earth in heavy steps. The breath heaves out of him as he runs-- runs until his feet are blistered and sore. Runs until there is nowhere else to run.

 

He’d never thought it would come to this. Where he’d be running away into enemy land, with nothing more than a fraying piece of hope that they would be merciful enough to spare him upon entry. 

 

He used to be a king, used to rule the land beneath his feet with pride. He used to be a king, with a crown donned on him, a gift and a curse at the same time as he accepted it from the knight’s hands. He used to be a king, used to be someone with power, and now-

 

Now he’s barely a civilian.

 

Oh, how far he has come.  

 

He runs, running towards the tall black obsidian walls that hide the flourishing insides of the self made nation. George can see the buildings peaking over the skylines-- trees branching over the walls. 

 

He’s lost in the sweet, tempting feeling of security, that he doesn’t even notice the ender pearl that’s flown overhead.

 

He more or less- bumps into Dream. The pearl lands right in front of him, causing George to unwillingly ram into the masked man with all the accumulated speed he was getting. And in turn, it caused them both to barrel down the grassy paths to the closed off nation.

 

George felt Dream’s body press against his tightly as they rolled down the path. His hand covering the back of George’s head so he wouldn’t get injured by any of the sharp rocks or pebbles. It felt almost familiar, 

 

Almost safe.

 

It isn’t until they lose momentum, Dream pins George down against the ground and points his axe towards his throat, the top of the sharp blade slowly drawing blood.

 

He dares not to breathe, fearing for his life as Dream’s ominous white smiley face mask stares him down. His stomach is doing backflips- not out of anything other than the abyssal terror that floods him.

 

Dream points the axe closer, and George gulps.

 

“Checkmate.” He says monotonously. 

 

It’s painfully ironic in a sense. With the once King of a land greater than himself, and the knight who’d sworn to protect him. Now pitted against each other. He’d never thought it’d come to this, he thought they were fine.

 

He used to be a king,

 

and Dream used to be his knight.

 

If he had more time to think about it, more time to sort his thoughts through and rearrange the myriads of escape routes he could’ve taken- He still would’ve chosen the same thing. 

 

“Make it quick.” he says, voice barely a whisper.

 

If he is to die, he’ll die by Dream’s hand. 

 

He’s long accepted the fact that things may change too quickly for his liking. One moment he was on a throne, at the top of the world, with everything by his side. Then the next he was just George . An exile thrown off his throne by the very same person who gave it to him. He was nothing.

 

He thinks back to his coronation, how the happiness in Dream’s smile could've been misinterpreted for fondness, how he looped his arm around George and laughed with him. 

 

It starts-- and ends with Dream.

 

“Just make it quick.” 

 

His tears cloud his vision. Warm streaks of water flow down his soot stained cheeks as he tries to bite back the rising sob in his throat. 

 

There’s the pestilent silence that fills the air. Tense and heavy as it weighs down George like iron shackles. He’s waiting for death with open arms- yet nothing seems to come.

 

George looks back at Dream, whose mask stares back at him, completely expressionless. 

 

“George-” He stammers, voice broken and hoarse. George doesn’t want to assume it, but he sounds like he’s crying.

 

“Just say you hate me.” 

 

George thinks he might be hallucinating when Dream’s grip on the axe loosens just a little, the mask showing just a tiny hint of human emotion. George thinks he’s losing it, finally succumbing to insanity. 

 

The air around them stills, George’s cries barely audible as Dream’s axe is still pointed at his throat. He waits in anticipation, waits for Dream to land the final blow on him, to take his life just like how he used to take his breath away. He waits, until his chest aches from sobbing and his heart longs to reach out to Dream, for Dream to hold him like he’s his entire world.

 

George is greedy, trying to take everything that he can have his hands on. He’s greedy, because he wants to be king and to have Dream and Dream’s right, isn’t he? I’m nothing more than just a pawn in the game of chess.

 

“Please, Dream,” George pleads, the masked man still unmoving. “Please, please, Dream.” And he sounds so pathetic, so pitiful that even he himself can’t take it anymore. “I need you to tell me you hate me. So that I can go with no regrets.”

 

He can see Dream shaking through blurred vision, the tip of the axe barely pressing onto his neck. Before he knows it, the cool, black metal is no longer against his skin.

 

He scrambles backwards, putting as much distance between himself and Dream as possible, until his back hits the smooth surface of the obsidian wall. 

 

He has reached the borders of L’manburg, reached the borders of what used to be his kingdom, reached the borders of the land that used to keep him safe. 

 

“Leave.” 

 

Dream’s words are cold, but underneath it, George can hear his shaky breaths, a veneer of strength that he’s trying to keep up. “Dream-”

 

“I said, leave.” 

 

George used to be amazed at how Dream seemed to be able to regain his composure quickly, used to be amazed at how he kept his cool, but now he’s terrified of him. He’s scared of Dream, of how ruthless and reckless he can be.

 

“Dream…”

 

“George!” 

 

George blinks, and Dream is already pinned to the floor by Sapnap, the two wrestling for power as Dream growls. Their weapons clash against each other, creating a sickly sweet melody as George watches in fear.

 

It’s only when he meets Sapnap’s eyes that he’s pulled back to reality.

 

“George, run!”

 

And just like the coward he is, he books it. Scrambling to his feet, he sprints far from the duo, far from the potential bloodshed that’s going to occur. He doesn’t want to see what happens next, doesn’t want to know.

 

So he runs, lets his legs bring him further and further away from the fight, until the clanging of metal against metal doesn’t fill his ears, until all he can hear is his own ragged breathing and all he can think of is Dream and Sapnap.

 

He doesn’t even register the footsteps that’s following quickly behind him stealthily until something hard smashes against the back of his skull.

 

Collapsing in pain, he lets himself fall. 

 

The last thing he sees is blonde hair and a playful, childlike smirk before he succumbs to darkness.

 


 

Tommy approaches Dream one day. 

 

“Hey, Big D.” There’s a shit-eating grin on his face, one that Dream recognises doesn’t mean any good. Tommy himself is already a pest - one that Dream deems useless unless he needs someone to toy with, someone to manipulate, so it further ticks him off when the younger boy leans on the railings and blocks his path. “How’s your day?”

 

“What do you want, Tommy?” 

 

Tommy’s smile grows wider. “Well, I have a deal to make, Big D.”

 

Dream tries to walk past him, electing to stay quiet, but Tommy merely follows, standing tall and prideful until Dream sighs and turns to him. “What deal?”

 

“Well you see…” Tommy trails off, trying to build suspense, though he quickened his pace as Dream’s hand moves to the hilt of his sword. “I want my discs back.”

 

“Sorry Tommy, but you know the rules. It’s not refundable.”

 

“Ah, but you see.” Tommy’s eyes glint with mischief, and Dream suddenly feels a sense of dread pool at the bottom of his stomach. “I have something you want. Something you care about.”

 

Dream gulps. 

 

“Or should I say, someone.”

 

Dream feels his hand tighten on his sword, his teeth gritting together. It’s barely there, and he doubts Tommy can sense how on edge he is, but the thought of him getting hurt is enough to spark something in him. An image of brown hair matted in blood and dead eyes stare at him, but he pushes down the fear that’s rising. “Yeah, well. Tough luck, Tommy. I’m not-”

 

“It’s George.”

 

Dream falters in his step, his confidence wavering slightly, and that’s an enough hint for Tommy to jump at the opportunity as he continues to ramble on. “George is with us right now. Either you return me the discs, and I give you back your beloved, or we’re gonna have a problem.”

 

“I can’t believe it, Tommy.” Dream straightens his back as he forces a smirk on his face, trying not to think of George and if he’d been hurt. “Out of all people, you? Stooping so low as to kidnapping someone just to get something back? You gave me the discs willingly, Tommy.”

 

Tommy ignores Dream. “So what do you say, Big D?”

 

“No.”

 

Even though he wants to agree immediately, to get George out of danger, his pride stands in the way. Even though his mind is blaring warning signs, yelling at him to do something, he doesn't budge. He stands his ground.

 

“What?”

 

“No, Tommy. I do not accept the deal,” Dream snarls, far too fiercely. “If you want to get it, earn it yourself.”

 

Tommy’s eyes harden. “Fine. Meet me here, at dawn. Bring a crossbow and the discs. I’ll bring George.”

 

Dream’s guts are tying knots, unease settling on his shoulders, yet he cracks a shit-eating grin that almost matches Tommy’s before turning around. “Fine. At dawn. We’ll duel.”

 

He holds his stance, even when Tommy’s out of his sight. He holds his head high, even though his hands are shaking. He smiles and waves at Eret when he passes him, and even gives Techno a cocky grin that leaves the other confused.

 

Only when he returns to his base does he let himself crumble, let himself fall apart. 

 

George. At dawn.

 

What the fuck has he done?

 


 

George is the first thing he notices.

 

Dream looks past Tommy, who’s lunging George by the rope that’s binding his hands. Dream looks past the curious onlookers who have somehow caught wind of the duel, and are now crowding around the field noisily. Dream looks past Ranboo, who’s standing beside George.

 

Dream looks past everyone, and in that moment, he only sees George.

 

He’s tempted to lunge forward, to snatch George away from Tommy and Ranboo and run, run as far away as possible from L’manburg, away from their problems and the stupid duel that he has agreed to. He’s tempted to just pull George by his shoulders and let the wind carry them to wherever it desires, such that all that’s left of the world is themselves.

 

But he doesn’t. Instead, he checks if George is okay, and rips his gaze away to focus on Tommy. 

 

“So, Big D, I thought you only cared about the discs?”

 

At the corner of his eyes, he sees George perk up in curiosity, his eyes on him, and Dream has to suppress the shiver that runs through his spine by letting out a scoff. “Well, yeah.”

 

“Are you sure about that?” Tommy pokes further. As if on cue, Ranboo holds out a sword and points to George’s throat, the edge barely scraping his Adam’s apple. “If we hurt George, you still won’t give me the discs?”

 

George is struggling to hold his head as far from the blade as possible, and Dream should’ve denied, should’ve just swallowed his pride and saved George. But in that instance, all he wants to do is wipe the stupid smirk off of Tommy’s face. 

 

“Yes.”

 

And he sees the light in George’s eyes fade, just a little, but enough for Dream to feel guilty. He takes his eyes away from him, and focuses on loading his crossbow instead.

 

“Fine,” Tommy declares, huffing in anger. “Winner will take both George and the discs. On ten.” 

 

Dream grits his teeth as he feels his back hit Tommy’s, trying to distract himself by aligning his steps along to Techno’s countdown. His breath is shallow, and he can almost feel George’s gaze on him.

 

“One. Two. Three. Four.”

 

The wind howls, and Dream can feel loose strands of his hair blowing in the wind. In that instant, he almost feels majestic, with everyone’s eyes on him and the weight of the crossbow in his hand. Tightening the mask on his face, he takes a few steps forward. 

 

He remembers the day when Tommy had challenged him to the duel for L’manburg’s independence, when the latter had made decisions impulsively. He remembers the wooden path beneath his feet, how the moon had hung high when he had shot Tommy that night.

 

He must not lose. He has to win.

 

“Five. Six. Seven. Eight.”

 

He can see where the discs are, sitting in a chest just beside Eret, their yellow and white centers shining in the sunlight. It’s almost horrifically stupid - their deal, because George’s life is worth way more than a few pieces of plastic that he doesn’t give a shit about. 

 

In the corner of his eyes, he sees Sapnap.

 

He still remembers how George and Sapnap used to be on his side, standing just above the small hill, still remembers how their gaze had followed his every movement. He remembers how he had to convince the both of them that he will be fine, that he will win.

 

Now, George is here, and Dream can feel his gaze on him.

 

“Nine.”

 

The stakes are high. He has to win.

 

“Ten.”

 

Dream turns around and barely dodges the arrow that whizzes past his shoulder as Tommy unloads his crossbow. He reckons it’ll take a moment for Tommy to shoot another arrow, so he releases his, managing to scrape past Tommy’s torso. 

 

Adrenaline runs through his veins as he parkours, avoiding Tommy’s arrows left and right as he tries to catch Tommy off-guard with his own shots. It’s almost successful: he has managed to hit Tommy’s left shoulder, but that’s not enough to convince the other boy to surrender. 

 

He has to win. 

 

Smoothly, he jumps onto a cobblestone rooftop, pressing his body flat against the rough surface. His crossbow is loaded, ready to shoot, and when Tommy is looking around, trying to spot where he is, he presses down on the trigger.

 

“Tommy!” 

 

He watches as the arrow skims past Tommy and hits George in the chest.

 

His hands run cold.

 

“George!”

 

He jumps down the roof, past panicked onlookers and a terrified Tommy, and skids to a stop beside George. Everything is shaking, and in the midst of trembling fingers and hushed whispers, he has managed to slice the ropes off George, the other boy collapsing into Dream immediately.

 

Dream realises at that instant, when blood pooled at the palms of his hands, blood that isn't his staining the front of his armour, that he fucked up. in his arms lay George, his George, with an arrow to his chest, shot by none other than himself in an accidental crossfire. 

 

George was never meant to die. 

 

"George!" Dream howls, his crossbow discarded and forgotten, as he scrambles to the boy with an horrified expression. George looks down, disbelief clouding his features, until the arrow confirms what he had thought and he had collapsed when he realised that blood is dripping from his torso. 

 

“For as long as you’re King. I’ll be your Queen, for as long as you want me to be.”  

 

George was never meant to die. It should've been Dream. 

 

"George!" Dream scrambles, desperately holding the smaller boy to his chest, cradling his weak body and trying his best to stop the blood from flowing out and everything is so red, why can't this stop? It's his biggest nightmare to watch George's face twist in pain, a weak cry ripped from his lips as Dream pressed down onto the wound in a desperate attempt to save him.

 

Only when George grasps his hand does he realise that George cannot be saved. 

 

George was never meant to die. Out of everyone, George is the least deserving to die. Instead of participating in the war, he had chosen peace, had chosen to build a fucking mushroom house on the sidelines. Instead of staining his hands in blood, he had chosen ignorance, chosen mercy, chosen everything that hadn't been bloodshed and broken bones and wounds and crying. 

 

George was never meant to die, but all's fair in love and war. 

 

Dream wishes he'd never agreed to the duel. 

 

He can feel George's shaky breath on his left ear, where he had held him close, held him where hearts are on top of each other and where souls mend. He had held him close, even if blood was staining the oak wood floor and painting it deep crimson, because time is ticking and all Dream can think of is George, George, George and the fact that today is the day he's going to lose him. 

 

"It's alright," George whimpers, "I'm okay. I'm alright." And Dream had realised that the whole world had faded away around him, and all that's left is George's hair tickling his neck and George's breath on his neck and George in his arms. 

 

"You're-” The world is spinning, and he barely recognises Tommy yelling at someone to get paramedics. “You're fucking bleeding out!" Dream pulls back, just a little too quickly as George winces. "You're... George! Fuck, I-" 

 

"Shh... I'm alright, Dream. Can't you see? I'll be alright." 

 

George was never meant to be here, in this war, and now, despite not partaking in it, he’s paying the price for Dream’s actions.

 

"I'll be alright," George grins, strained and sad and so, so brilliant. Even when Dream's tears have flowed down his cheeks and choked sobs are ripped from his body, as if this entire situation isn't painful at all. "I'll be alright. I'll be in a better place. Can't you see this is better, Dream?"

 

“How is this any better?” Dream’s world is spinning, and somehow in between tears and comfort there’s a sickly realisation that George’s blood is warm. “I’m going to lose you, George! I- I’m going to- you’re going to-”

 

“You’re here, aren’t you?” 

 

Dream lets himself chuckle, his fingers brushing George’s fringe aside, and for once, there’s no storms that haunt his eyes. “I am. I’m here.”

 

“You know… I thought you left me, when you had dethroned me and chased me out…”

 

“I- I’m here.” And the world seems to shatter just a little, when George coughs and a trickle of blood seeps through the corner of his mouth. “I’m here now, Your Majesty.”

 

“For as long as you need me.”

 

George wheezes, his brown eyes twinkling despite the hurt, and tugs Dream closer. Leaning down, Dream closes the distance until their foreheads touch and their eyes connect, and all Dream can hear is the faint heartbeat and their ragged breaths. 

 

Dream doesn’t even realise his hair is let down, the bun that he has tied up carefully replaced by golden locks that flows past his shoulder, until George reaches up and tucks a strand of his hair behind his ear. His mask is pushed aside, George’s trembling fingers brushing his cheek. 

 

“You look so pretty with your hair down.”

 

In that moment, the dam breaks.

 

“Dream?”

 

“Hm?”

 

“Promise me something?”

 

“Anything, love.”

 

Blood is flowing steadily down the corner of George’s mouth now, gushing out like a broken tap, and Dream is desperately trying to wipe it away, pretending that George isn’t wheezing for oxygen, every breath painful. “Promise me you’ll move on,” George grits his teeth, and why is his face so pale? “Promise me you’ll be with Fundy, be happy with him.”

 

“But-”

 

“As a King, I demand you follow those orders.”

 

And Dream is tired, tired of running away from his problems and running away from people he cares most. He’s tired of pretending everything’s fine when nothing is, pretending to push those closest to him away, so he pulls George closer and intertwines their hands together and hopes that somehow, the pulses underneath can dance longer to the rhythm of life.

 

“I… I promise, George.” The words barely make it past his lips, his voice strained from crying. 

 

He’s so fucking tired.

 

George coughs, his grip weakening on Dream’s hand, and Dream is desperately trying to grab hold of George, because he’s let him go far too many times for fate to rip George away from him once again.

 

He supposes that it’s his fault, but he clings onto George this time, as if Death will answer his pleas and spare George, just this once.

 

“Don’t miss me too much,” George says, and even though he’s struggling to keep his eyes open, his lips still curl up into that godforsaken smirk that Dream has fallen for. “Don’t get hung up over a dead man.”

 

“How can’t I? When you’ve been my love?”

 

“Y’know, sometimes, maybe we weren’t meant to be,” George whispers, strength slowly fading away and no, this can’t be happening right now. “Maybe the universe just didn’t line up for us. Maybe, in another universe, we’d live our happily ever after. Don’t you think so, Dream?”

 

“Yes.” And he’s sobbing, tracing George’s lips with his thumb, his gaze dancing on George’s features in a desperate attempt to remember him. “Yes, yes, yes please. We’d sit in your mushroom house, and you’d complain about how much you hate tea, and… and-”

 

“Dream?”

 

“Yes, George?”

 

“I love you, but sometimes… it’s just never meant to be.”

 

“George…” Dream mutters his name, whispers it like it’s delicate, as if the wind would break it if he isn’t careful enough. “George, I… we could’ve made it. The both of us together, we could’ve made it, couldn’t we?”

 

He’s wiping at George’s brows, smearing some of his blood but Dream doesn’t give a fuck now, not when George’s breath seem to grow more shallow with every word he’s spluttering out. So he rambles on, lets his mind run wild, trying to hold onto George, trying to not let him slip through his fingers.

 

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry for dragging you into this… this hellhole of a place. I’m sorry for dragging you into my feelings, but you’re… you’re my love, aren’t you? My darling, my king.”

 

My Sun, the love of my life. 

 

George winces, though it doesn’t stop him from letting out a pained huff of laughter. His words barely make it past his lips, but Dream holds onto it tightly, holds onto it like it’s his lifeline. “Stay with me? Just for a little longer?”

 

Dream is tired of running. So he decides to stay, just this once, watching life drain from pretty brown eyes that he has grown to love, that he has grown to miss. Watch as a smile finds its way onto his paled face, life draining from his embrace.

 

“Always, my king."

 


 

Nothing is okay.

 

Nothing about this is okay.

 

George is supposed to be fine. He's supposed to be safe, unharmed, healthy, alive.

 

So, why? What the fuck is Dream doing, cradling George's body in his arms like– like he's–?

 

Sapnap won't have it. There's no way. The arrow Dream shot must have missed, somehow, there's no way George is dead, no way, no way–

 

Before he knows it, he's sprinting. The wind whips against his cheeks and leaves his skin cold, sifts through his hair in the way George never ever got to, and no, please, not George, this wasn't supposed to happen–

 

"Get away from him!" He snaps as he reaches Dream, and shoves the blonde aside as he carefully takes George into his arms.

 

George's eyes are closed. If Sapnap ignores the arrow embedded in his chest, he can pretend as if he's sleeping.

 

"George?" He pats his – cold, but Sapnap doesn't want to think about it – cheeks and coos. "George, wake up. This isn't the time for you to be sleeping, okay? Open your pretty eyes for me."

 

George doesn't respond, and Sapnap hurts.

 

"George? Please." He's begging now, words slipping off his tongue as he prays and prays and prays, "I know you're just sleeping, George, but you've got to wake up for me, okay?"

 

What'll Sapnap do, without George? What can he do, even, without him? A life without George? What's a life without George even worth? What's the point, if George isn't there to hold him down when he gets too much, if George isn't there to laugh and shove him for making too-inappropriate jokes, if George isn't there to banter with him, that playful sparkle in his eyes, the one that Sapnap has come to adore?

 

Sapnap doesn't know if he wants to do anything, without George.

 

"I know you can hear me, George," he cups his hand against the lines of George's jaw, his thumb rubbing against the skin of his face, "You have to wake up. This isn't funny anymore."

 

George doesn't move.

 

His blood stains Sapnap's netherite chestplate, and Sapnap vaguely wonders if he'll ever be able to scrub it off.

 

"Please wake up," he whispers, and the stinging in his chest rises up to his eyes, burning tears into them as he gives in to reality.

 

George is never going to wake up.

 

Sapnap will never get to see his eyes again, Sapnap will never get to make him laugh again, Sapnap will never get to hold him close again. Not anymore.

 

(And he'll never get to tell him how he really feels, after all. He'll never get to taste George's lips, never get to make George's eyes light up in that way only Dream can, never get to love him fully, the simple, unique way that he wants to, so badly.)

 

"And it's all your fault." He rasps, his voice rising as he turns to Dream with a roaring inferno in his chest, "You killed him."

 

He sets George gently down on the ground. Dream doesn't look at him.

 

"You're a filthy murderer, Dream," he stands up, drawing his sword as he towers over the blonde man. "Was dethroning him not enough for you?" His voice breaks as he laughs. "Was breaking his heart not enough for you?"

 

The fire in his stomach leaps into his throat and scorches his tongue. "You never cared about him. You're a liar, a traitor, and a murderer now, too." He grips the hilt of his sword tighter. "Fuck, Dream, I used to call you my brother."

 

Dream just kneels there, silent, and somehow it only seems to make everything worse.

 

"Say something, you coward," he taunts, fury like liquid fire searing through his veins, "you finally killed George. Isn't this what you wanted, you fake?!" He gestures to the land around him, purposefully sweeping past George's body.

 

There's a bitter taste in his tongue.

 

"You didn't deserve him." He snarls, hands trembling with barely-restrained rage, and he wonders what it would have been like, to be able to carefully hold George's hand in his. "And he didn't deserve this."

 

Maybe if he'd taken George away sooner. Maybe if he'd backed out of the dumb deal he made with Tommy. Maybe if he'd read the signs, maybe if George had fallen in love with him instead, maybe George would still be alive.

 

Sapnap will never get to love George the way he wants to. 

 

And all the hurt and anger crashes into him at once, swirling together to form a hurricane in his head, in his mind, and everything is a blur but Dream, Dream, who betrayed the trust and love Sapnap and George had had in him, Dream, who dethroned George and left him in shambles, Dream, who killed George with his arrow  and Sapnap moves.

 

Dream is right there, seemingly aloof and deaf to the world as he processes the situation in his own way. Easy target , a little voice in his head whispers, fueling the bright-hot anger licking through his mind. It's the image of George's cold, lifeless body that drives him to sever the shreds of his bond with Dream, screaming encouragements of he deserves it, he fucking killed George, he needs to DIE–

 

He brings his sword up, even as tears prick at his eyes and slip down his face, swings–

 

–and stops.

 

And suddenly the man kneeling before him isn't a murderer, isn't a cold-blooded, power-hungry manipulator, he's Sapnap's brother, George's lover.

 

The one Sapnap had never been afraid to show his worst to, the one Sapnap would joke around with, at any time, any day, the one Sapnap would fight back to back with, knowing that with every step he took, the other would be right behind him.

 

The one George kissed, the one George loved, and if Sapnap concentrates hard enough, he can almost envision George's hands on his arms, begging him to spare Dream, if not for anything, then for him.

 

And he looks back at Dream, at the man he once called his brother, at the man who's changed so much, but at the end of it all is still the dumb fucker who laughs like a goddamn tea kettle and wears a mask all around the damn place just to terrify people, and he can't.

 

Dream finally lifts his eyes to meet him.

 

Sapnap has come to loathe those viridian irises.

 

"Fuck you." Is what he settles for, sheathing his sword as he suppresses the aggravation in his blood, and he turns away.

 

His left hand goes under George's neck and his right arm hooks under the back of George's knees.

 

When he walks off, George's motionless body held gently against his chest, he doesn't look back. 

 

No one calls him back either.

 


 

It’s cold, and the night is still young as Dream puffs out a cloud of smoke. It’s cold, and they’ve just attended George’s funeral, and in the midst of tears and mourning Dream somehow is unable to feel anything, as if the life in him has drained alongside George’s on the day of the duel.

 

So he does what he’s good in: running away. 

 

Somehow, Fundy manages to find him, tucked away at a small, abandoned corner of the wake, and he wonders if Fundy has been paying attention to him all this time. 

 

“You’re out here.” Fundy notes, and Dream scoffs, letting smoke escape his lips once again. His fingers fumble with the stick of cigarette with ease, practiced such that it’s almost muscle memory. 

 

If George was here, he’d chide Dream about smoking and smack it out of his hands. He’d make snarky remarks about Dream ruining his health until Dream leans in to kiss him in order to shut him up. He’d blush and stutter afterwards, the confidence from before long gone, and Dream would tease him before kissing him again.

 

Too bad George isn’t here.

 

“You’ve never loved me, have you?” 

 

The quiet voice almost causes Dream to drop his cigarette, but he manages to pull himself together at the final second as he spares a glance towards Fundy, his eyes cold. “What do you mean?”

 

“You’ve never loved me.” Fundy points out, and ouch, if that didn’t hurt, but Dream lets him continue. “You’ve only loved George. I’ve seen how you looked at him.”

 

“Love,” Dream corrects him, “I’m still in love with him, Fundy.” And the smell of smoke almost chokes him, almost buries him alive. “I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to fall out of love with him.”

 

Fundy is quiet. 

 

It’s cold outside, so Dream kills the cigarette, tossing it haphazardly into the grass as he avoids Fundy’s eyes, and it’s almost scary how Fundy is so calm about this, as if Dream wasn’t cheating on him with the king. 

 

“Stop thinking about him.” Fundy says, his plea barely there, a small string of hope in his voice, only to be broken by Dream’s loud guffaw. 

 

“You say it like it’s easy.” He moves towards the entrance, where George’s body lays, and his heartstrings tug at the thought of George’s cold, dead body in the coffin. When he feels Fundy’s eyes on him, he sighs. “I’m gonna need some time, Fundy. Moving on is hard.”

 

Fundy stares at him, as if in disbelief, but Dream’s tense posture is enough to stop him from protesting. In the end, he turns to look at the field, choosing his words carefully. “I know.”

 

“Good.”

 

With that, Dream leaves.

 


 

It’s almost been a month since George’s death.

 

Dream is back at the castle, though this time, instead of the throne room, he has escaped to the uppermost tower of the castle, one that overlooks the entire land. There’s this one window that allows sunlight to streak in, landing on dust covered floors, and if Dream squints hard enough, he can see the particles dancing in the sunbeams.

 

But he doesn’t. Instead, he focuses on the chess board in front of him. There’s no one opposite him. 

 

Silence fills the room as he starts moving the white pieces, and when the wind blows, he can almost hear a familiar voice, coated in honey and happiness, whisper in his ear. 

 

“This is boring.”

 

His fingers run along the splintered edges of the chess piece, recognised as the bishop. Pushing it forward, he lets it shift to the white checkered area. 

 

He remembers when he has started making the pieces, every single one handled with care as he carved them out. It’s messy, sawdust filling the air as he coughs, almost choking on them while his eyes water. 

 

He remembers when he finally leaves his workbench, tired and worn out, when George wraps his arms around him in worry. 

 

“You’ve disappeared for three days!” George cries out, fingers brushing against his cheek. “I’m gonna get you some tea. You need to rest.”

 

“The pieces. They-”

 

“I don’t give jackshit about the pieces! I- you need to get some rest!”

 

Dream almost protests, almost pulling himself away from George’s embrace, until George looks up at him with confidence and firmness that he rarely sees in the King’s eyes.

 

“This is an order.”

 

And who is he to not obey it?

 

He’s George’s loyal knight, after all.

 

He can see how careless his work is, some of the patches still unsanded despite him checking over and over again. He supposes that there are always mistakes that he’ll make, no matter how hard he tries to be perfect.

 

He pushes his queen forward, the bishop falling almost immediately as he conquers the tile.

 

“The horse isn’t the best piece, you dummy.” Sunlight dances at the spot where his lover used to sit. “The Queen, however, is the powerhouse.”

 

The lights must be playing a trick on Dream, because for a moment, just for a moment, he spots a mop of brown hair and a warm smile. 

 

He tears his eyes away to focus on the board, his heart racing. 

 

“But-” he clears his throat. “-the King is the most important piece on the board.”

 

"Why do you know so much about chess?"

 

"I find the methodical decision making of it therapeutic."

 

"Sounds boring."

 

Among the howl of the wind, he can almost hear the lighthearted laughters. One that he used to share, one that he used to adore.

 

Still adore.

 

“The Queen is supposed to protect the King,” he mutters, and in the distance, he can see the twinkles in George’s eyes, and the small giggle that occasionally slips past his lips, still fresh in his mind.

 

“For as long as you’re King. I’ll be your Queen, for as long as you want me to be.”  

 

“And the Moon is supposed to protect the Sun.”

 

He nudges the piece, nudges it so that the King falls, nudges it so that the Queen is still standing, tall and proud, and this isn’t how you’re supposed to play chess .

 

“Checkmate.”

 

“You’re the Moon, because even if no one sees you, I see you, Dream.”

 

He doesn’t even realise he’s crying until his tears drip on the wooden board. 

 

Curling in on himself, a loud sob echoes through the room. Tears are flowing freely down his face, and he’s so fucking tired of keeping a facade up, so fucking tired of pretending that everything’s okay and that he has moved on from George.

 

“Promise me that you’ll move on.”

 

“I’m sorry, George.” He’s shaking, frantically trying to smother his words and his sobs so that he doesn’t attract any attention at all. 

 

“I’m sorry for not protecting you. I’m sorry for killing you. I- I’m sorry for loving you, and losing you, and-”

 

He covers his mouth, taking in a shaky breath. 

 

He can almost see George in front of him, sun on his shoulders and wind in his hair, almost ethereal and angelic. He can almost feel the tips of George’s fingers caressing his cheeks, the pad of his thumb smooth, a stark contrast against Dream’s calloused hands.

 

It’s so beautifully tragic, how their love went down. Separated by day and night, yin and yang. King and knight, Sun and Moon. Opposites that attract, gravitating towards each other, yet never touching, 

 

For a moment, he sees George in front of him, wiping his tears away and tucking a stray strand of blonde hair behind his ear, and he swears George is just right there, alive and well. There’s a soft smile on his lips as he whispers in Dream’s ears.

 

“You look so pretty with your hair down.”