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Coming Back To You

Chapter Text

“Alright guys, we did it, we beat Minecraft with max weakness and mining fatigue. I hated this immensely and I hate all of you. Dislike this video. Bye.”
Dream clicks “END RECORDING,” George giggling in his headset.
Dream groans. “Why do we do this to ourselves?”
“Stop groaning in my ears!” George screeches, still giggling.
Dream groans again, just to spite him.
“Dream! You’re such an idiot!”
Dream falls into George’s laughter, drowning in it. He’s been trying to subtly seduce George for years now, but he figures being four thousand miles away makes that a bit harder. That, and the fact that he has such severe anxiety that he’s never been able to bring himself to show George his face.
Dream isn’t gay. At least, he doesn’t really think he is. He’s only ever really been attracted to people he’s close to. He had a tiny crush on Sapnap years ago, a few girlfriends since, and then George. He’s been in love with George for years.
They shoot the breeze for a while, talking about nothing at all and yet it feels like the most riveting conversation Dream’s ever had in his life.
“Alright, it’s getting pretty late here,” George says. “I’m gonna get some sleep and you need to eat something and then get some sleep, too, yeah?” Dream tends to get really into his editing, to the point where he completely forgets to take care of himself. George has taken it upon himself to make sure Dream doesn’t, ya know, die.
And Dream appreciates it. But that doesn’t mean he’s not gonna be a brat about it. “Make me.”
“I’m gonna DoorDash you some Taco Bell.”
“Dude, I can order my own food.”
“Yeah, but you’ll forget. Plus, you’ll feel bad if you don’t eat food I paid for.”
“You’re such an idiot,” Dream mumbles.
“Yeah? Would you prefer I just let you starve to death?”
“Oh, come on. You know you’d miss me.”
“Idiot,” George huffs, and hangs up.
Dream calls him back immediately.
George answers with a “What?”
“You hung up before I could say ‘thank you,’” Dream pouts.
George scoffs. “You’re welcome.”
“And before I could say ‘I love you.’”
George giggles, an uncomfortable little thing. “Yeah. Whatever. ‘Night idiot.”
- - -
George feels particularly stupid tonight, tangled up in soiled bedsheets, trying to catch his breath before the unbearable guilt sets in. Why does he do this?
George knows he’s gay. He’s known for a while now. He’s pretty sure Dream knows, too, and he’s always been chill about it. George wonders if he’d still be so chill if he knew that George saves all those “Dream Hand Thirst Trap” TikToks.
He doesn’t know how long he’s been in love with Dream, but it’s been years, certainly. He finally came to terms with it on the night of the MC Championship where Dream had almost shown George his face. George had stayed up all that night, angry, so angry at Dream for teasing him like that, and hurt, hurt at the way Dream had accused him of being manipulative, of only caring about appearances. They both knew that wasn’t true—it was obviously something said in the heat of desperation—but it had still cut him down to his very core. And as the sun rose in the sky, George felt something break inside of him. He has feelings for his best friend.
He has feelings for Dream, yes. For the act he puts on in their videos. For the aggression, the cocky attitude, the dominance. For the silly, wheezing, shouting martian man.
But has feelings for Clay, too. For the man who comes online just as the stream is ending. For the softer, sweeter, anxious man who forgets to sleep or eat until George reminds him. For the man who hums and shuffles his feet when he has to leave the house. For the man who whispers, “I love you, Georgie,” seconds before falling asleep.
Sometimes, George wishes Dream would stop teasing him on stream all the time. Sometimes, he thinks it’s the only thing getting him through.

Chapter Text

George and Dream are fighting. It’s not exactly a new development. They’ve fought every day this week. It’s to the point that Sapnap had refused to be in a call with them until they worked their shit out.
George wants Dream to visit. Dream wants George to mind his fucking business.
“George, literally go fuck yourself. I don’t want to fly out to fucking England in a big flying metal fucking death trap, and you know that, so just fuck off already.”
“Then let me fly out to you!”
“That’s stupid! You don’t need to fly out to me! We can talk online! We talk literally every single day, what more could you possibly want?”
“I want to see you! I want to be able to put a face to the man I’ve been friends with for the past five years! Is that really so absurd?”
“What’s absurd is you trying to guilt-trip me into doing something you know I’m not comfortable with!”
“Oh, you’re so full of shit! 'Guilt-tripping you!' What, are you gonna go tattle on me to Twitter?”
“Ya know what, George, I’m done. You’re being fucking ridiculous. Call me when you’re done being a melodramatic asshole.” Dream’s finger hovers over the "End Call" button.
George calls out, “Don’t you fucking dare end this call, you son of a bitch! I swear to god, Clay, if you end this call, it’ll be the last call we ever have, you understand me?”
Dream pauses. George is dead serious right now, and he knows it.
“George,” Dream sighs. “Please. Please just drop it, ok?”
“No. I’m not gonna drop it, Clay. It’s been five years. Five.”
“Are we on a fuckin time crunch?”
“Stop being a fucking dick, ok? You know this is killing me. You know I feel like my best friend in this entire bloody world doesn’t trust me enough to even show me his face. You trust Sapnap. You showed him your face. You bloody moved in with him. So why me? What’s wrong with me? Why don’t you trust me?”
Dream softens at that. He fucked up. He knows he fucked up. “It’s not you, George.”
“You can tell me that all you want but I’ll never believe you, and you know it. I’m done being made to feel like you don’t even care about me.” George tries to catch his breath, but the hurt builds, floods his lungs. “Sap is due to come visit next month. Either you’re with him or you’re not, it’s up to you, but if you choose the latter… I’m done, Clay. I’ll record videos with you because I don’t want to disappoint anyone, but no more sleep calls. No more Netflix streaming movie nights. No more karaoke parties. I’m either your best friend or I’m not but I’m done doing this half-way. I’m done, Clay.”
Dream’s always done well under pressure. He’s a speed-runner for Christ’s sake. But now, faced with an ultimatum, faced with the possibility of losing George forever, he folds.
“I’ll call you tomorrow, once you’ve settled down. You’ll see this was all just a big misunderstanding.” And that’s all Dream says before hanging up.
- - -
George cries himself to sleep that night. He’s an idiot. Why would he ever challenge Dream’s friendship like that? Why would he risk everything just to see the face of a man who would give him anything else in the world that he asked for?
Because he likes him. He likes him so goddamn much, and he misses him. He misses him like an army wife misses her husband, and he hates him. He hates him because he will never, ever know what it feels like to care for somebody so whole-heartedly and to know they’ll never look your way.

Chapter Text

Dream spends all the next day looking at airplane tickets. He gets all the way to the payment screen before panicking and shutting his tab down.
He just can’t do it. He just can’t. Dream’s never been an overly confident man to begin with. The cocky, ambitious persona you see online is just that—a persona. In real life, he’s terrified. He’s a coward.
The Dream Team is set to record today, and everyone makes believe that nothing is wrong between them. But when the stream ends and George logs off without even saying goodbye, Sapnap storms into Dream’s room, already yelling.
“Dream! What the hell did you do to George?”
“I didn’t do anything! George is just throwing tantrum. He’ll get over it.”
“I know he will, Dream. He always gets over it. He forgives you every single time you screw up, no matter how bad, because you’re his best friend and he loves you. But he shouldn’t have to.”
“Oh god, now you’re being overdramatic, too?”
“I’m not being overdramatic, Dream! I’m pissed! And rightfully so! George is my best friend, next to you, and you’re hurting him!” Sapnap softens his tone, knowing Dream will just shut down if he keeps yelling. “I know you’re anxious. I understand that. I’ve seen it firsthand more times than I can count, and I feel for you, man. But you know George. He needs to be able to see you, to feel you. It’s the only way he can feel connected to you. It’s been five years, man. We know he’s not a catfish. We know he’s a good guy. So why won’t you just man the hell up and visit him already?”
Dream grits his teeth and spits, “I can’t.”
“You can!” Sap yells, completely forgetting his former calm. “You just won’t because you care more about tending to your anxiety than comforting the man you love most in this world!”
“That’s not true.” Dream nitpicks Sap’s argument, trying to focus the attention anywhere but himself. “I love you both the same.”
“That’s bullshit and we both know it.”
“Sap, how can you even say that? You know how much I care about—”
“I’m not being self-deprecating here, Dream. I know you love me like a brother. But you love George like a something-more, and that’s why you’re so damn scared to see him.”
Dream feels the words hit him like a brick to the chest. “You’re so full of shit,” he spits, storming past Sapnap and out of their apartment.
- - -
Dream doesn’t come home that night. He sleeps in his car, a block away from their house. Well, sleep is a strong word. He lays in the backseat, scrolling through Twitter and wishing he had his computer somehow.
He returns early the next morning, red-eyed and strung out. Sapnap will hardly look at him. George hasn’t messaged him since their fight. He feels so entirely alone.
But Dream is a stubborn son of a bitch. Once he’s made up his mind about something, it’s damn near impossible to change it.
So, for the next month, he plays by George’s rules. No more sleep calls. No more Netflix streaming movie nights. No more karaoke parties.
No more “I love you”s.
The night before Sapnap leaves for England, he knocks on Dream’s door.
“Come in,” Dream calls out.
Sap takes a seat on the bed, wading in the silence, trying to find the words. Cautious, pleading, he whispers, “There’s still time. We can find you a flight. It doesn’t have to be this way.”
A forced laugh scrapes its way up through Dream’s chest. “What’ll happen will happen.” He stands and stretches, nodding curtly at the door. “You should get some sleep. Early flight and all that.”
Sapnap reluctantly leaves the room just in time for Dream to collapse against the door frame. Sobs wrack viciously threw his chest as he bangs his fists into his skull, pulling desperately at his hair, as though the mild external pain could distract from the gut-wrenching agony inside of him.

Chapter Text

Sapnap leaves around six o’clock the next morning. Dream is still awake, still pouting in his room, refusing to come out to say goodbye. He knows this isn’t Sap’s fault, but he’s there and he’s easier to take anger out on.
It’s around four o’clock in the afternoon when Dream gets a text from Sapnap. All it says is:

>sapnap< here.

glad you got in safe >dream<

A moment of hesitation.

say hi to gogy for me, ok? >dream<

A few minutes pass before Dream’s phone buzzes again. Sap sent him a picture of himself with his arm wrapped around George, pressing a playful kiss to his temple. George’s face is screwed up with laughter. Dream feels nauseous.
He fills a water glass, hoping it’ll chase away the unease that’s corroding his stomach. It’s only when the first sip hits his tongue that he realises: He can’t remember the last time he drank water.
It’s not like he’s incapable of caring for himself. He'd just gotten complacent, what with George taking care of him for the past year or so.
And what good care George had taken. Dream had never felt more loved, more cherished than he did with George. He had taken care of Dream without asking for a single thing in return, and when he finally did ask—not, not ask—beg Dream to make him feel cared for in return, Dream told him to go fuck himself.
He looks back at the picture of George and Sapnap. So happy. So perfect.
Dream wants that. He wants it more than he’s ever wanted anything before. More than he wants to abide by his anxiety. More than he wants to protect himself from rejection.
He grabs his mask.

Chapter Text

Dream is humming.
He’s been humming since he stepped foot in the airport and he can’t imagine stopping any time soon.
The anxiety builds in him, a tsunami on the horizon of his consciousness, his ego a helpless observer on the shoreline, bracing for impact.
When he was a kid, Clay was outgoing. He was never scared of what people would think of him. Now, it’s all he thinks about.
It’s a little easier on stream. For the most part, his chats are overwhelmingly kind. They feel like old friends. When something goes wrong, it hits ten times harder than it would with a stranger, but it’s worth it to feel like he has such a great, loving family.
But leaving his house has become a chore. He sends Sapnap out when they need groceries, he orders in when he doesn’t feel like cooking. He feels anxious all of the time, like every single person is staring straight into his soul and hating what they see. So, maybe he could excuse the stimming with that.
Or he could chalk it up to the stress of meeting his best friend in person for the first time. He could pretend like the only thing that really scared him was the idea that George might laugh at him, or call him ugly, and that would be embarrassing. And that was part of it. That was definitely part of it.
But really, the worst of it had nothing to do with his face. The worst of it was that he just knew, in his heart of hearts, that seeing George would solidify every floating, fluttering, flustering feeling inside of him. Tsunami be damned; it was the earthquake that would kill him. That earth-rattling feeling he got whenever he saw George smile. The earth-shattering feeling when it was Dream who caused it.
But that’s just the thing, isn’t it? It’s always Dream who makes George smile—not Clay. George will never see past the mask; he’ll never see the man who is so pathetically, heart-breakingly lost on him.
Clay pulls himself out of his head. The tsunami is crashing. His palms are sweating, his fingers drumming solidly against the armrest. His humming’s grown loud enough that the guy in the seat next to him can probably hear him over the roar of the engines.
He pulls out his phone and opens Twitter on reflex. Remembering that he won’t be getting WiFi for the next few hours, he opens his photo app, scrolling through the folder labeled, “Legal Documents.” He knows it’s fucking stupid but it was the most boring title he could think of. If anyone ever thought to look inside… He would never hear the end of it.
He knows it’s pathetic, but when he’s at his lowest, it helps to remember that he has someone in this world who loves him more than anything else, even if it’s not in the way he wants so badly. So, some of it’s just pictures of George. Just cute screenshots, and edits he found on Twitter. The clip of George saying “I love you” after the MCC is sprinkled throughout the folder, probably a dozen times, at least.
But some of it is fanart. Pictures of Clay and George hugging, or kissing, or clinging to each other like lovers reunited. He isn’t proud of the way he stares at the photos, desperate, praying for someone, somewhere to do something. He knows that someone would have to be him, but he never will. No, no. It’s much safer to just stare at the photos of a life he’ll never lead, trying to calm his breathing, with an hour left until he meets the love of his life face-to-face, with no plan on how to deal with that.
Clay hardly remembers the landing or customs. He refocuses in the airport parking lot, realising he has no idea where he’s going from here.

sap? >dream<

>sapnap< yeah?

are you with george rn? >dream<

>sapnap< uhh yeah
>sapnap< why?
>sapnap< I’m not apologizing for u, if that’s what ur about to ask me.

that’s not what I was gonna ask you, asshole >dream<
where are you guys rn? >dream<

>sapnap< uhh england???
>sapnap< dream what’s going on?

dammit sap, stop fucking around >dream<
turn on your location >dream<

>sapnap< dream wtf are u talking about
>sapnap< is this some weird stalker lover thing???

jesus christ almighty, sap, NO. >dream<


THANK YOU. >dream<
stay there. >dream<

>sapnap< dream ur freaking me out
>sapnap< what’s going on???
Dream clicks his phone off, leaving Sap to freak out in peace. He hails a cab and heads straight to the address Sap had sent him.
“Thank you,” Dream croaks, handing the driver a wad of American cash and jumping out of the car, barely registering the cabbie’s yelling.
The Lucky Beach Cafe. A homey, beachy, hipster type of place. It’s dorky, but charming. Just like George.
Dream picks at the strap on his mask. Five minutes. Could he do five minutes without the mask? Yeah, he could do that. But was he willing to risk his entire brand for George? Well, that question’s even easier than the first.
Dream slips the mask off, stealing his posture, forcing air into his lungs, before taking the first step through the door.
Sapnap catches his eye first, sputtering his tea all over the place.
George cocks his head like a puppy. He looks over his shoulder to see what has Sap so spooked. He sees a tall, disheveled man with a plastic mask dangling from his strong hands.
“Dream…” George breathes the name, a prayer, a plea. His God standing before him, looking so small and afraid and beautiful.
George gets up so quickly he nearly his plate off the table. He jogs toward the door, stopping a few feet before him, glassy brown eyes searching desperately for something. Love, comfort, he doesn’t know, but he finds it in Dream’s golden eyes.
“I missed you, too, Gogy.”
George launches himself into Dream’s arms, desperate, sobbing. He rambles, practically incoherent, into Dream’s broad shoulders, “You’re here. You’re really here. I didn’t think you would come, but you’re here. Oh, god. Dream. Clay. You’re here. Oh, god.”
Clay pulls him impossibly closer, strong arms wrapped around his shoulders. “I’m here,” he murmurs in his ear. “I’m here. I’m not going anywhere, Gogy. I’m here and I’m not going anywhere.”
They know they’re making a scene, but they couldn’t possibly care less. And when George looks up into Clay's eyes, and Clay looks down at George, and their lips find their way together without the consult of their minds… Everyone else just fades away.

Chapter Text

The kiss is chaste, sweet, innocent. It’s over before it even begins, but it lives on for an eternity. Reluctantly, Clay pulls away, gently, brushing his thumb over George’s jawline, trying to reconcile what he knows with what he feels. But it gets all jumbled because now he knows the taste of George’s lips.
Clay parts his lips to ask George what just happened, or maybe to apologise, or maybe to kiss him again, but before he can do any of that, Sapnap does what he does best.
He puts himself between Clay and George before they can do anything too indecent.
“Dream! I’m so glad you came.” Sap pulls him into a hug, obviously much less intense than George’s hug had been. He whispers, just loud enough for Clay to hear, “I’m proud of you, man.”
Rose blossoms across Clay’s face, mostly hidden by his sunkissed skin. “Thanks, Sap,” he says with a gentle pat on the back.
George has composed himself for the most part, but he still looks like he can’t believe his eyes. Like any minute now, Clay is just going to disappear back into his fantasies.
George lifts one hand, trailing the pad of his thumb over the dark circles surrounding Clay’s eyes. “I mean this in the nicest way possible, but you look like shit, Clay.”
Dream huffs a laugh to shield prying eyes from the devastation inside of him. “Well, now you know why I wear the mask all the time.”
George pulls his hand back, startled out of his reverie. “OH! Oh my god, no, god no, that’s not what I meant!”
Dream forces more laughter. “It’s fine. I know I’m ugly.” He’s practically wheezing with fake laughter at this point, hoping it’ll explain red of his eyes.
“Oh, shut up. You’re not ugly.”
“No, no, I just ‘look like shit.’”
“That’s not what I meant and you know it.” When Dream remains silent, George gapes, scandalised. “Oh my god, Dream, you actually think you’re ugly?” George looks to Sapnap for confirmation.
Sap hesitates, not wanting to betray Dream’s trust, but concedes. “Yeah, it’s, like, a mental thing or whatever. It’s why he wears the mask.”
Dream elbows his ribs hard.
“Clay, you idiot,” George whispers, fingers itching to trace the constellations of freckles on his face. “You’re…” He struggles to find the right word; one that both encompasses Clay’s inhuman beauty without being too mortifying to either party. He settles for, “Stunning.”
The blush on Dream’s face can no longer hide behind his tan. He glues his eyes to the wall behind George, scuffs his shoes against the floor, and mutters, “Yeah, well.”
“What I meant was that you look like you haven’t slept in days.”
“I’ve slept.”
Sap cuts in. “Yeah, a whole two nights this week.”
“Oh, shut up, Crapnap,” Dream snaps. “No one asked you.”
The trio take their seats. Dream wants to sit next to George, but he worries about being too close. He knows George has never been a very touchy person—hell, Dream’s surprised he even gave him a hug—and he doesn’t want to ruin… whatever this may be.
He’s too busy studying the wall to see the disappointment that graces George’s features.
“And when was the last time you ate?” George demands.
“You don’t have to take care of me. I’m an adult. I can take care of myself,” Dream says, but the words sound more guilty than biting.
“Clearly not, if the bags under your eyes are anything to go by.” George flags down the waiter. “My friend here is going to have your Lucky Beach Burger with a side of fries and a cup of chamomile tea.”
Clay struggles to keep his jaw from falling into his lap. George had always been a bit eccentric when it came to taking care of his friend, but this was ridiculous… And kinda hot.
Dream clears his throat and mutters, “I can order for myself, ya know.”
“Yeah, but I know the best items on the menu here.”
And they just kind of stare at each other for what feels like forever, until Sapnap clears his throat. “I’m still here, ya know.”
“Unfortunately,” Dream says, eyes still glued to George, who kicks him under the table.
“Be nice,” George says, and it takes every ounce of restraint Dream has not to say, Make me.
The rest of the meal goes well, their conversation light and pleasant. It’s not until they’re standing outside the restaurant, Dream’s mask slipped back on, and Sap is calling an Uber to take him to his hotel that Dream realises he never booked a room.
He pulls out his phone, looking for any decent lodging that would have a vacancy this last minute. He has a feeling he’ll be staying in a motel.
“Hey,” George rasps. He clears his throat, trying to find his voice. “Hey,” he tries again. “You can—I mean, if you want—you can, like, stay with me or whatever. If you want.”
Clay’s brain short circuits. “Oh, uh…” What would Dream say? How would he deflect from his feelings? “I bet you’d like that,” he laughs.
But George doesn’t laugh. He just stares holes through his shoes, like he’s praying the pavement will split open and swallow him whole. “I didn’t mean it like that,” George whispers. He sounds so humiliated, so heartbroken. It makes Clay feel broken, too.
“Hey,” Clay says, gently grasping his hand. “I was just joking around.” He takes a deep breath, holds it tight in his chest as he presses out, “I’d like to stay with you.”
The slightest tremble of a smile graces George’s face. Nodding more to himself, or perhaps the concrete, he whispers, “Okay. Good.”

Chapter Text

Back at his flat, George realises his mistake.
George has already shown him around and they’ve both changed into pyjamas when he notes how small the sofa is. Sheepishly, hands full of blankets and pillows, George turns toward Dream. “You’re taller than I realised. I don’t know that you’ll be able to stretch out here,” he says, nodding at the sofa.
Dream just shrugs. “It’s fine. I’m so jetlagged right now, I could probably sleep on the floor.” Dream flops down on the sofa in emphasis, but only manages to prove George’s point. It’s at least two feet to short for him to lay flat.
“I could take the couch and you could take the bed,” George suggests. “It’s only for the night; I really don’t mind.”
“Dude, I’m not kicking you out of your own bed. This is fine.” Dream pauses and then snickers at himself. “I mean, unless you want to have a sleepover.”
George’s mind floods with… unfriendly imagery. His cheeks stain red, and he forgets how to breathe for an instant. As his upper brain comes back online, he tries to force a laugh. “Yeah, right.”
But Dream notices. Of course Dream notices. And of course he couldn’t just let it go like any normal person would.
Dream cocks his eyebrow. “You wanna have a sleepover?” he asks, teasing but serious at the same time.
George shrugs, like it wouldn’t mean the world to him. “If you want,” he mumbles.
“Oh, I want,” Dream purrs, standing, stalking closer. “I want so,” closer, “so,” closer, “bad.”
Dream sweeps George off his feet and carries him to the bedroom, bridal style. George laughs, banging his fists weakly against Dream’s chest. “Let me down, idiot!”
Pressed to Dream’s chest, George feels more than hears his laughter. It all feels so intimate, like maybe this time it isn’t a joke, maybe this time it’s more than an unwittingly cruel prank. George starts fighting in earnest, not wanting to hurt Dream, but not wanting Dream to hurt him either.
“Dream, I’m serious right now, let me down,” he huffs, pushing against Dream’s chest. Bad idea. Oh, so he has muscles, too. That’s exactly what I needed right now.
Dream drops him unceremoniously onto the bed, barely giving him a breath before crawling on top of him, pinning him down. “Gotcha,” he whispers, so close George can almost feel Dream’s breath against his lips. And Dream just laughs, like nothing means everything, like nothing means anything at all.
George huffs and presses his cheek to the pillow, refusing to meet Dream’s playful eyes, pathetically determined to retain some sliver of dignity. “Please get off of me, Dream.”
Dream clears his throat, climbing off of him. Great, George thinks, Now I’ve gone and made it awkward.
“Sorry,” Dream mutters, staring holes into the floorboards. “It’s weird being in person, I guess. I forget I can’t exactly mess around with you like I normally do. I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable.” George’s chest heaves and his cheeks burn as he tries to think of a remotely heterosexual response to what just happened.
“It’s fine,” George says finally, forcing himself to make eye contact. “You were just joking around.”
Dream swallows, seemingly realigning himself, and looks back up. His mask may be on the kitchen counter, but there’s a new one shielding his thoughts from public view. “So…” A slow, evil smirk spreads across his face. “Sleepover?”
George laughs, a real laugh this time, relief bubbling up from his chest as he rolls his eyes and says, “Fine, fine. Get in.” He tugs the covers down on the opposite side of the bed. Dream happily climbs in beside him.
They chat for a while after George turns out the light. When they’re finally well and tired, eyes drifting shut of their own accord, Dream whispers, “‘Night Georgie.”
“‘Night Dream.”
“I love you.”

Chapter Text

The first thing George knows when he wakes up is warmth.
He wraps his arms tighter around the heat, snuggles into it, half-asleep, thinking, I don’t want to wake up. This is a nice dream.
Nice dream.
Nice Dream.
Oh, god.

George’s eyes fly open as yesterday’s events come flooding back to him. He pushes away on instinct, only to find himself wound up tightly in Clay’s arms.
“G’morning,” Clay murmurs, lips pressed carelessly to burning hot skin.
George squirms to get away from him, desperate to quell the fire in his belly before Clay is awake enough to register the situation.
“Dream, let go of me.”
“No,” Clay whines, snuggling closer and burying his face in George’s hair.
“Dream, let go.”
Clay pulls away ever so slightly to scowl at him. “Don’t tell me you’re afraid of a little friendly cuddling.”
“I’m not afraid,” he mumbles, still fighting in vain to push away from Clay’s chest, only forcing his hands to memorise firm muscles under soft cotton.
“You are, too!” Clay squeals. “I’m telling Twitter that you’re full of toxic masculinity.” The smirk slips from his face as George’s silence stretches on. He loosens his hold and drops his gaze. “I’m sorry,” he mumbles. “I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable.”
For just an instant, George lets himself imagine. He imagines pain in Clay’s voice, a blush on his face. He imagines that Clay wants to hold him.
George pulls away.
“It’s fine,” he mutters. “You were just joking around.” He rolls out of bed, looking forward, never back. “Do you like eggs? It’s just about the only thing I know how to cook.”
“Love ‘em.”
Dream follows George into the kitchen, leaning against the counter while he cracks the eggs. “Love you.”
George laughs, an honest, raw, painful laugh. “Okay.”